Part 4: H.I.S. Mission

“Christians have been given a cause far more important than saving the baby whales, the spotted owls, the rain forests and yes, even the cave beetles.”

I like how Vicki Courtney shared in her book Cherish (which I’m currently reading) on the topic of “Why are you here? God’s Purpose for your Life.”

This fits in well with Box 4: Mission/Future.

Jesus said to His disciples, “Go into all the world. Preach the good news to everyone.” (Mark 16:15)

Nations Discliple

Those were the very last words Jesus said before He was taken up into Heaven.

Just as Jesus entrusted His 11 disciples to share the good news that Christ has paid the price for our sins, He has called each one of us (not just pastors, missionaries etc) to do the same thing.

As followers of Christ we are called to carry out H.I.S. Mission.

H.I.S. stands for:

HIS

My church’s 2015 Mission Statement

 

We are called to be His ambassadors! As a representative of Christ, it is our duty to imitate His character and His love towards each other. (Yeah, that includes our enemies (Matthew 5:44) because we were once enemies of God but He chose to love us and forgive us.)

Well, you don’t have to be a missionary or go to a foreign country in order to serve the world. You can do so where God has placed you at this very moment. Your mission field includes your school/uni, workplace, neighbourhood/community.

For me as a student, I’m thankful that I can serve Him at uni where God brings the nations to my doorstep. #UniMentor #OCF 🙂

Yes, I know it can be scary going up to your friends or even to strangers sitting next to you on the bus and tell them about Jesus Christ. But God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us on what to say.

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Just a simple act of kindness can lead your friends, classmates, neighbours, colleagues or even strangers to Christ. I was really amazed and thankful through God’s help that I managed to invite a stranger I met on the bus to OCF the very next day. You can read it here.

The key message is:

We must break the silence and bring Christ’s message to a dying world.

Therefore, BE BOLD AND COURAGEOUS in sharing about the Good News to the people around you!:)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

“You Make Me Brave” by Bethel Music & Amanda Cook has given me the courage to make Him known and I hope it will encourage you too!

I pray that God will give you opportunities, courage and wisdom to do H.I.S. Mission! 🙂

Annalisa

Related post: How Can I Break the Silence?

 

 

 

 

Part 3: Leaders Need Mentors Too

Hello again! Thanks for tuning in today! Sorry for the delay, had a busy weekend helping out with my church’s youth! But I believe it’s a good thing we had to wait, as I just received an email yesterday saying I’ve been accepted to be a mentor to welcome new freshers next semester! More on that later…

Now let’s continue on with Box 3: Time with Leaders. From what we’ve learnt in Box 2, Jesus does some pretty amazing things after spending time alone with the Father ( Box 1). But did you know that Leaders need Mentors too?

“You’re going to wear yourself out—and the people, too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. Now listen to me, and let me give you a word of advice, and may God be with you.” (Exodus 18:18–19)

Jethro had watched Moses at work and saw that he was taking on way too much. Moses spent every day handling the disputes of all God’s people . . . all day. So Jethro, like a good mentor, offered his son–in-law some leadership strategies that would empower other leaders in the community, serve the people more effectively, and give Moses some space.

Like Moses who learned from Jethro’s insight, just because we have a call to leadership doesn’t mean we automatically know everything. I know I don’t. Strong leaders are lifelong learners. There are those around us who have seasoned leadership skills that can only enhance what we do. Their strategies can make us more effective and their insights can grow our leadership capacity—if we let them.

Recently at the OCF Winter Camp, I was asked to be a Group Discussion Leader. At first I was a bit hesitant because this was my first ever OCF Camp and I don’t really know what to expect. Also I already agreed to be one of the Worship Leaders so I wasn’t really sure whether I can cope with an additional leadership role. (Even though they said I’ll have an Assistant Leader to help me.) Thankfully when I told the Camp Committee about my situation, they were really understanding. I told them I was happy to serve as an Assistant Leader instead, so that I can learn to be a better leader in the future. I’m really thankful for my Leader for being very encouraging and supportive and gave me the opportunity to lead the devotion on the last day at camp.

And every night after our sessions, all the leaders gathered together with the Camp Commandant. Even though it was past my bedtime, it was definitely a time well spent learning from each of the leaders and encouraging one another! Especially on the final night there, I was surprised to hear that most of the leaders also felt inadequate or they were new to this role! The Camp Commandant told us we were prayerfully selected. This emphasised what we’ve learnt during camp, that it is important to involve and train new people to take up leadership roles!

Christian Mentoring.jpg

Have you ever been part of a small group that were intentionally involved in training and development?

Who provides a fresh pair of eyes for your situation, sharing leadership wisdom?

Whether you are currently in a leadership role or will be in the future, I pray for one gift for your leadership journey: a mentor. A mentor who will help you discover and realise your potential. Someone who offers perspective, reminding you of your purpose here on earth, no matter what the cost. A mentor with a fresh pair of eyes and insights that make you a better leader. A person who is willing to take a risk on you, opening up new frontiers of opportunity and wider influence. And my prayer, too, is that one day you’ll mentor other leaders. =)

Mentoring

Join me for the finale of my OCF Winter Camp Reflection, Part 4: H.I.S. Mission (You’ll find out what the abbreviation stands for!)

I also plan to write about my Mentoring journey with you in the near future! So look out for that too!

Until then, take care & God bless,

Annalisa

Some sections about mentoring taken from: Why Leaders Need Mentors . A good read, highly recommended! 🙂

 

Part 2: Serving the King of kings

Hi again! Welcome to Part 2 of my OCF Winter Camp reflection! Today I’ll be sharing about Box 2 – Time with People/Crowds.

Have you ever felt like Jonah? Or Moses? Where you felt like running away from what God has called you to do because you felt inadequate to do the task He has specifically entrusted you to do?

I know every Christian is called to share the Good News with the people around them. But at the start of this year through my suffering, I felt that God has called me to be an evangelist, in particular a “Social Media Evangelist”. I enjoy sharing about my journey with God through my blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

There are definitely challenges that I need to overcome and times when I doubted, especially when I’m still so young and inexperienced.

Exactly this time last week, I shared a post on End of Financial Year. I’ve been wanting to share about the Good News on LinkedIn. (Just in case you haven’t come across LinkedIn, it is a business-oriented social networking service. My Career Advisors have been asking us (uni students) to get LinkedIn because “it’s not who you know but who knows you.”)

Anyway,s back to my story, after posting the EOFY article I felt that God was telling me that this was a good opportunity for me to share about God on LinkedIn. But I felt scared and worried. “Why should I be doing it? Can’t you ask someone else to do it instead? Anyways, who am I to tell these professionals what to do? They won’t listen to me anyway and they’ll probably rebuke me.” Yeah, I sound like Moses don’t I?

From experience I knew that arguing with God will get me to nowhere. Learning from Jonah, I know no matter how hard I try to run away, God will make me go back to square 1. (I’m sure it wasn’t a coincidence that my group was given the story of Jonah to perform on Skit Night. So Thank You God! ^^)

Just as Jesus draws on the strength He gets from spending time with the Father (Re: Box 1), I decided to spend time alone with God. (That night my parents were out watching my sister’s performance.) I just got down to my knees and prayed out loud. I wanted God to give me the strength, guidance and courage to do His will.

Then I went on Instagram to see if there were any encouraging words from God. Wow! God never fails me! As I was scrolling through my News Feed I saw this!

You a difference.png

Dayspring posted this “Hey, you. Just in case you forget or you’ve started to doubt: you were created to make a difference!”

I also felt that God was telling me, “Why do you fear men rather than God? Why do you worry about what other people think of you when you should focus on what the King of kings have asked you to do.”

Christian Quotes 34.png

I’m so glad for God’s timely messages! God even prompted the blogger (whom I based his article to write my EOFY article) to like my article. This gave me the courage to share it on LinkedIn!

After posting on LinkedIn, I decided to share that article with my CPA Manager. I just received an email today around 3pm, she said she enjoyed reading my EOFY post! 🙂

I’m just so amazed at how God is always there for us and He will give us the strength to do His will!

Looking back at my Spiritual Gifts post, evangelism wasn’t in my top 3! But that’s ok, when He calls us, He will equip us! 🙂

If you’re not sure what your Spiritual Gifts are, you can check out:

http://giftstest.com/test

How Do I Uncover My Spiritual Gifts?

Let me end with this song “We will Not be Shaken” which greatly encourages me! As long as we put our Trust in God, we don’t have to be afraid! Because He has overcome! 🙂

See you soon for Part 3! Can’t wait! ^^

Annalisa

***********************************************************************

The above article is based on the following Qs discussed during OCF Winter Camp 2016:

  1. What does “box 2” currently look like for you? Do you have a specific job or ministry that you feel you are doing to serve God? Describe it.
  2. What challenges come to you as you do it?
  3. To what extent is your box 1 providing strength, guidance, and energy for your box 2? Do you find yourself needing help with identity, guidance, refreshment and courage to do what you need to do? To what extent do you get those things from God?

Weakness + Strength = Perfection

Wow!I can’t believe it’s been exactly one week since I’m back from the OCF Winter Camp 2016!

This year’s OCF Winter Camp theme is on Weakness + Strength = Perfection, which is based on 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.  I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to #findingthatperfection during my time at camp! There were a couple of times when I was physically unwell and didn’t think I was able to help lead the group. But it was during those times when God spoke to me through the theme verse. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

OCF Winter Camp Theme

OCF Winter Camp 2016 Logo designed by the wonderful camp committee! 🙂

After coming back from camp, so much has happened in the space of one week! I attended a CPA workshop the very next day where I had the opportunity to learn from the Chief Operating Officer of CPA about his accounting journey so far. Despite his very busy schedule, he inspired and encouraged all of us (future accountants) to give back to the community.  Over the last weekend, I had extra shifts (which I am super grateful for), helped out with the church’s worship team and had a meeting where we planned for the upcoming youth group social event & workshop.

Despite my busyness I was reminded of what I’ve learnt during my  4 days + 3 nights at camp. We learnt about The Four Boxes which is based on Jesus Christ’s Ministry on Earth. Today I will share with you all about Box 1 – Time with God.

Jesus found Affirmation, Direction, Refreshment and Courage when He spent time alone with the Father. If Jesus needed time away from the crowd to pray, how much more do we as children of God need to take time out from our busy schedules to spend time alone with our Heavenly Father through prayer and devotion?

I will share about my personal experience on some of the questions that were discussed during group time.

  • Can you recall a time when you were exhausted? How did you fix it?
  • Have you experienced struggles where it’s hard to get alone time or personal space? How have you handled it? What might it mean for you to “dismiss the crowd” and “make them get into the boat”?

Just before Winter Camp, I was so busy and exhausted with exam preparation and exams itself. I haven’t even had the chance to start my  own revision when a number of my friends/classmates asked me for exam prep advice/help on revision questions (some of them were the same questions). I was overwhelmed as I wanted to help them but at the same time I need to get myself ready for the exams. So how can I “dismiss the crowd” and have some alone time?

I decided to go to uni to study because I was pretty unproductive at home. That day the weather was really good which was a big contrast from the gloomy weather the day before. So I decided to cross the road to have my lunch while enjoying this beautiful scenery.

Matilda Bay.jpg

Psalm 23 came to mind while I was having my lunch

During the months of May & June, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts on Instagram as well as on Facebook. God has been telling me to “Be Still”. At first I didn’t know what He meant. Yes I was busy but I’ve been feeling God’s peace during this stressful period. So why do You still need me to “Be Still”?

Well, that day I finally understood what He meant. I’ve been so busy studying, attending events & faithfully serving Him that I haven’t had a chance to properly let my body rest.

I’m glad that “He leads me beside quiet waters and makes me lie down in green pastures”. (Psalm 23:2) That was exactly what I did. I enjoyed my short nap despite the hustle and bustle of the cars passing by behind me.

Indeed, He “refreshes my soul”. That was a much needed nap. And it gave me the energy to stay on for 2 music graduation recitals that afternoon.

God also gave me the idea to invite my friends to a study group session where we can discuss the questions and prepare for the exams.

Thank You Lord for helping me to “Be Still” in your presence. Amen.

Indeed, prayer can refresh us!

Yes, it can be tempting sometimes to skip our personal time with God because we have endless “To-Do List” but…

time spend alone with god is never wasted.jpg

Stay tuned as I’ll share about Boxes 2-4 in the next few days! ^^

Blessings,

Annalisa

 

 

CHRISTIANS STAND FIRM IN YOUR FAITH

Hello everyone! Australia will be holding their Federal Election tomorrow (2nd July)! Just received this email and thought I should share it. Please pray for Australia that God will appoint the Government that will protect religious freedom and Christian values in this country.

The article is taken from: http://deargoldie.com/2016/06/29/christians-stand-firm-in-your-faith/

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

1 Corinthians 16:13

The events of the past few weeks overseas have no doubt been alarming to the Christian community throughout the world, especially in Australia (where the federal election will be held on 2nd July), with a female security guard arrested and facing hate crime charges for removing a male from a female bathroom in Washington, D.C.1) and the prestigious Yale University introducing gender-neutral bathrooms in 23 of their buildings2). Last year, the LGBT community welcomed the Supreme Court decision to legalise same-sex marriage in all 50 states of America. The list goes on and on, with the victories over common sense and good morals seemingly ever-increasing. The issue of tolerance for the LGBT minority’s gender and sexuality preferences has become a significant source of discussion, and indeed we find that it has become a source of persecution for the Church, as men and women of God are taken to court for resisting endorsement of same-sex marriage and gender-neutral bathrooms.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY

The Church must remember that it is the responsibility of all Christians to make a stand for what is true and what is right. Of ever-increasing importance is the role of Church leaders in educating their members about the situation. We are called to uphold God’s word as His representatives on Earth (2 Corinthians 5:20). It is incredibly vital for members of the Body of Christ to understand just where God himself stands on the issue.

Jesus said this when asked by the Pharisees about the legality of divorce:

v.4… ”Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and femalev.5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? v.6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”’ [bold added] Matthew 19:4-6

Jesus’s very own words put to rest any attempt to manipulate the Bible to support any sort of transgender or transsexual behaviours, or the so-called same-sex “marriage”. They do so by stating that from the very beginning, when God created the very first humans, he created them distinctly male and distinctly female. Jesus not only says this, but clearly states that for this very reason, because God created them male and female, a man is to leave the care of his parents to marry a woman, even stating that God himself has ordained such a joining of the two into one flesh. Marriage is clearly defined by Jesus as between one man and one woman.

So there we have it. Our King, our Lord and Saviour himself confirms our Father’s position on the matter, his eternal Sonship in the Trinity further validating it.

OUR ATTITUDE

How then shall we as Christians approach, in practicality, the reality of the situation? That is, how do we talk to those who oppose our view, the position which has been made extremely clear to us by God himself? At the root of our cause to evangelise – meaning to spread the gospel through both our actions and words with intentionality – is that we must do everything out of love.

As the Word clearly states:

v.19 “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

v.43 ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  v.44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” (Matthew 5:43-44)

We should not be attacking individuals nor see our message as one that should be used to do so. We should not be using our words as an attempt to simply force others to see things our way. As I have learned, it is possible to be right in your sentiment but wrong in your choice of words. Simply being right does not automatically mean that we are being helpful or that we are being loving. We should not simply attempt to “win the argument” and leave our opponents fuming at their loss and onlookers in awe of our intelligence. That is to say, if we are truly to act with the same love which Christ and the Father has first loved us with, by choosing to die as a sacrifice for our sins on a cross, our basis should be to warn others of the sinful behaviour which leads to eternal damnation in hell.

As Paul makes clear in his first letter to the Corinthian church:

v.9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, v.10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. v.11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1Corinthians 6:9-11

The passage is both a warning and an encouragement. It is a warning in that it clearly states that those who do not turn and repent from their sinful behaviour (homosexuality being named among them), and a warning for us not to be deceived by those who claim that the listed sins are compatible with Christianity. It is also a source of encouragement, given in verse 11: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God”.

Notice the words Paul uses: “And such were some of you”, “such” referring to those practicing the listed sinful behaviours, and “were” being a past tense meaning that those whom Paul is referring to practiced those behaviours in the past, but no longer do so, having been washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of God. There is hope for those who are caught in the snare of sin that in the name of Jesus Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit there is justification and sanctification, if we confess and repent of our sins. And for those of us who have been freed from the bondage of sin and death and are continually justified and sanctified daily, let us not forget the place that Christ freed us from, the place that God himself became flesh and blood and died a painful death on a cross in order to ransom us from our sins.

v.1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins v.2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— v.3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. v.4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, v.5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— v.6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, v.7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. v.8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, v.9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. v.10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:2-9

While we should not be trying to simply “win” arguments, we should also not be actively seeking to avoid such discussions or conflict, by compromising- that is to say, for example, when a friend brings up the fact that they support same-sex marriage and ask you about your thoughts on the matter, simply nodding and muttering indistinctly in agreement in order to avoid being questioned on your beliefs. Our actions should be characterised by an unshakeable conviction that God’s word is true and that it must be upheld. As Peter said in 1 Peter 3:17, it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. Whom do you love more? Christ, who in loving obedience to the Father became a man and died for your sins? Or man, whose praises are far from having eternal value?

OUR RESPONSE

So then how shall we make a stand, how shall we put our faith into practice?

There are plenty of opportunities nowadays, particularly over this next week in Australia, with a Federal election coming up where both major party leaders are in support of same-sex marriage, the time has come for Christians to stand firm in their faith.

Be prepared to be challenged about your faith. Vote for a party that upholds Biblical marriage. Invite your non-believing friends to church. Share the gospel with them. Despite wanting to please others, instead, please God, even when we so desperately want to be loved by others, the best way we can show love to them is by warning them that continued rebellion against God leads to damnation. Pray for Godly leadership in your nations, and for your neighbours suffering from the oppression of sin.

NOTES

All scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Haydn Lian is 18 years old and is a first year student in university in Perth.

References:
1) The Daily Caller. [2016]. Female Security Guard Arrested For Escorting Man Out Of Women’s Restroom. [online] Available at:http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/19/security-guard-arrested-for-removing-man-from-womens-bathroom/ [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].

2) Mail Online. [2016]. Yale embraces transgender students with gender-neutral bathrooms. [online] Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3602975/Gender-neutral-bathrooms-introduced-Yale-University-embrace-transgender-students.html [Accessed 10 Jun. 2016].