Tuesday, October 19, 2010

7 Years Of Grace

19 Oct 2003, a memorable day, the day my life started to turn around ...

19 Oct 2003, I attended New Creation Church for the first time. My father was very ill then; his liver was failing. My sister's sister-in-law invited her to New Creation Church, and the whole family including my mum, two younger sisters, my wife and I went with my father, hoping for a miracle.

When we arrived at Suntec City, there was already a long queue outside the Rock Auditorium but we managed to join the shorter priority queue since we were first-time visitors. After we got into the auditorium, my sisters and wife left their seats to go to the toilet. Barely a minute later, an usher came up to me and asked me if the three empty seats beside me were taken. I replied yes. A few minutes passed, another usher came up to me and asked the same question, and got the same reply.

Another minute passed and I could see the worship team getting on stage, ready to begin the service. At this moment, yet another usher came up to me and asked me the same question! I told her, yes the seats are taken, the ladies were in the toilet. The usher answered me, "Could you call them to come back now, otherwise the seats will be given to others." This made me really fed up, and I was boiling inside. I mean, the ladies were in the toilet, doing their thing, how can you expect them to just come back to their seats at your call? I was very angry because the ushers, instead of making me feel welcome, were like trying to chase me out of the auditorium! However, an ugly confrontation was avoided because the ladies came back just at that moment and the usher backed off.

The worship leader asked everybody to stand and the loud and energetic praise and worship session began.  However, I was still boiling hot inside because of the usher episode and I refused to stand and join in the praise and worship. I just sat, folded my arms and sulked. Inside my heart, I challenged God: "What are you gonna do, God?"

After the praise and worship was over, Pastor Prince came out and started his preaching. I still sat there, sulking.  Pastor Prince's sermon that day was "The Blessings Of The Third Day", and as he started preaching, I couldn't help but pay more and more attention to his words. The way he brought out the truths in the bible seemed so different and refreshing from what I am used to at the AOG church which I attended since I was a child. Before I knew it, an hour had passed and his sermon was over but I wanted to listen some more; I wasn't the only one.

My mum and sisters also wanted to listen some more and we decided to go again the next week. However, while we were queuing up for the service, we received a phone call from the maid informing us that my father was not looking so well and we rushed home. My father passed away less than a week after that.

The Sunday after the funeral, my whole family was back at NCC again. We were hungry for God's Word; we wanted to learn more from Pastor Prince because the Christianity he preached was so different from what we had been hearing and experiencing for the past thirty years. What's so different?

Firstly, NCC changed my opinion of the Heavenly Father. He is no longer the school principal that I thought He was, always waiting to catch me doing wrong and then punish me. 

No, I have now learnt from NCC that the Heavenly Father is my Daddy God, always looking out for my interest, always there to love me in spite of my mistakes, always there to turn around my mistakes to lead to good for me, a Daddy I can count on in my time of need:

Rom 8:32
He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Secondly, NCC changed my opinion of the Son, Jesus Christ. I always knew that Jesus' blood washed away all my sins, that is, all my sins up to the point when I received Him as my Saviour but after that, I had to confess any sins I committed since then in order to be forgiven of them, and that was all I knew about Jesus.

However, NCC has taught me that Jesus' blood was shed on the cross once for all time to wash away all my sins, that is, literally all including my past, present and future sins -  I no longer feel condemned when I sin but now feel eternally grateful to be already forgiven and learn from my mistake and then move forward with my life in Christ.

Heb 10:11-18
11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
 15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: 

 16"This is the covenant I will make with them 
      after that time, says the Lord. 
   I will put my laws in their hearts, 
      and I will write them on their minds." 17Then he adds: 
   "Their sins and lawless acts 
      I will remember no more." 18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.

NCC has also taught me to discern Jesus' body. I have divine health and wholeness because of Jesus' broken body. Healing is mine because of Jesus' stripes which He bore for me. I expect to live to be 120 with my eyes not dim and my strength not abated.
Isaiah 53:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
After thirty years of being a Christian, I also learnt, for the first time, from NCC why Jesus had to die on the cross and not any other way, for example by stoning. I learnt that Jesus died on the cross to take away the curse of the Law so that I can now enjoy a life of God's blessing, just like Abraham did.

Gal 3:13-14
13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

Thirdly, NCC changed my opinion of the Holy Spirit. I used to think that the Holy Spirit lives inside me to spy on me, to remind me of my every sinful thought and action. Now, I know that the Holy Spirit lives in me to glorify Jesus' eternal and complete work on the cross. Now, I know that the Holy Spirit lives in me to constantly remind me that, despite my sinful thoughts and actions, I AM the righteousness of God in Christ. Hallelujah!

2 Cor 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

I have learnt so much during these past seven years that it is impossible for me to share them all in this short post. I'm writing this because I want to thank God for leading me and my whole family to NCC, to (for want of a better word) "resurrect" my/our Christian life.

I now enjoy being a Christian. Do you?


Joshen said...

Very much so... better than that, I now love to serve! Pastor has rarely called people to join a ministry as a server, but we have people fighting to serve! Cos if you're too slow, all the slots will be taken!

I believe one of the ways a church is evaluated is by the willingness of the people to serve.. its a fruit of the Spirit!

Larkin said...

Thanks for sharing about the goodness, mercy and grace of God. I am very encouraged and excited about God. Truly Pastor Prince has impacted my life as well. At first it went against everything I believed. I purchased his book Destined to Reign in 9/2009 and one year later picked it up for the first time around the same time I had purchased it 9/2009. It has been a great, time of discovery to experience the awesome love of God without any reservations. Thanks for sharing.....