Bishop's Message

Meeting God through worship

Meeting God through worship

Apr 2017    

The late Robert E. Webber, a theologian known for his work on worship, referred to worship as “God meeting His people” in his book Worship Old and New. Clearly, it stands to reason that man must also be willing to meet God for this to happen. Several passages in the…

The cost of true discipleship

The cost of true discipleship

Mar 2017    

‘Discipleship’ may seem to be a well-worn topic, but it is the most important and fundamental condition for the continued growth, vigour and vitality of the church. The church disregards discipleship at its own peril. The gradual demise of churches in the West is testament to this. We are reminded and…

Being channels of God’s blessing

Being channels of God’s blessing

Feb 2017     In the hymn ‘Channels Only’ by Mary E. Maxwell, the lyrics of its last verse are as follows: Jesus, fill now with Thy Spirit Hearts that full surrender know; That the streams of living water From our inner man may flow. Refrain: Channels only, blessed Master But with all Thy...
Blessings and hopes in the New Year

Blessings and hopes in the New Year

Jan 2017     The New Year is a time to give thanks for the year past, and a time of new hope. We give thanks because there is much in life to be thankful for: our parents who are still with us, the loving companionship of our children and grandchildren, and grace and...
Life and death at Christmas

Life and death at Christmas

Dec 2016     BISHOP’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE There is a teaching of Jesus missing from many of our pulpits today. It might appear to be out of sync with the mood of this Advent season (but it is not). By its very nature, it is an instruction that makes us flinch, or ignore, if...
Sleeping with frogs

Sleeping with frogs

Nov 2016     That is something most of us would find unthinkable, squeamish, and will avoid at all costs. Yet some people would choose to do it: sleeping with frogs. One such person was Pharaoh. The second great plague that came upon Egypt was frogs (Exodus 8). From the Nile, frogs came into...
Pokémon GO – or not?

Pokémon GO – or not?

Oct 2016     Sufficient time has lapsed to allow for a brief reflection on Pokémon GO. Immediately as the craze began, there were Christians demonising the game – i.e. linking satanic connection to it. I have seen this phenomenon before: When Teletubbies, Power Rangers, Harry Potter, and yes, even The Lord of the Rings...
Body care

Body care

Sep 2016     This month, our General Conference meets to elect new leaders for the next quadrennium, and enact new or amend existing legislations in our Methodist Book of Discipline, among other matters. This responsibility is entrusted to 42 delegates elected by their Annual Conferences. Most Methodists in Singapore would be unaware of...
Doing what is right

Doing what is right

Aug 2016     What happens to us when we choose not to follow God’s way? I do not mean where we might ultimately end up, i.e. heaven or hell, but what happens here and right now. Many of us are familiar with the story Jesus told of the wise man and the foolish...
At the Crossroad

At the Crossroad

Jul 2016     UMC bishops taking their places for opening worship at the 2016 UMC General Conference. A few years ago, during a conference organised by a Methodist Church overseas, I was asked by a member of the host committee what I hoped to learn. Rather impertinently (upon hindsight), I replied that I...
If it is not of God

If it is not of God

Jun 2016     As Methodists we remember our genesis as a movement that posed a challenge to the religious establishment, its theology and practices. Wesley was accused of being an“enthusiast” (one who promoted emotionalism). At some of his meetings, people fainted, cried out, and leapt for joy.He preached in open air, something frowned...
God in the Marketplace

God in the Marketplace

May 2016     The arena where Christ’s followers serve is outside the church, not within it. When Christians think of serving God, they often see themselves doing so in the church: as a Sunday School teacher, usher, singer in the choir, member of the various church committees, full-time worker, etc. This narrow perspective...
If it is of God

If it is of God

Apr 2016     When confronted with an energetic movement that threatened the status quo, Rabbi Gamaliel counselled leaders of the religious establishment who felt the need to suppress it with these words: “So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan...
We have risen!

We have risen!

Mar 2016     “Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12, ESV) At Easter, we celebrate not just the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but ours too. In 1 John 5:12 (ESV),...
The virtue of respect

The virtue of respect

Feb 2016     In the month when we celebrate Lunar New Year, we turn our attention to the virtue of respect, as in filial piety, honour and the like. The erosion of this virtue begins when a higher premium is placed on individual rights. There is something appealing about championing your self-interest as...
Wholly Spiritual

Wholly Spiritual

Jan 2016     One of the most spiritual things we must do is to take care of our physical body. There is a deception quite widespread even among Christians that spirituality is all about attending to matters of the spirit. We do not have to dig too deep to see that this is...
The pursuit of hospitality

The pursuit of hospitality

Dec 2015     For a few months this year, the world was caught up in following the tragedy of migrants seeking refuge as they fled the war raging in their own countries. It was heartbreaking to see the photo showing a toddler from one of the fleeing families washed up dead on the...
Keys of the Kingdom

Keys of the Kingdom

Nov 2015     One of the greatest gifts of God to the church and her leaders are the keys of His kingdom.   What are keys for? To lock and unlock doors. We lock in what we want to protect and we lock out what we do not want to enter.   Looking...
Walking in integrity

Walking in integrity

Oct 2015     Many of us may have seen the TV commercial of a father and his son going to an amusement park. Before entering the merry-go-round, the father paid for tickets for both of them. The man receiving the payment looked at the son, and then told the father that he could have...
Grace and Truth came

Grace and Truth came

Sep 2015     After the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States on same-sex marriage, I read several online comments on the matter. I noticed two extreme positions.   On the one hand, standing with the supporters of same-sex marriage, are those who appeal for love, acceptance, inclusiveness and respect...
The three ‘rights’ that uphold a nation

The three ‘rights’ that uphold a nation

Aug 2015     “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34, ESV Doing what is right. Doing it the right way. With the right people. Then we will have a great nation. The Bible has many examples showing this is true, but we have space to consider only...
The secret of facing plenty and lack

The secret of facing plenty and lack

Jul 2015     “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” Philippians 4:12, ESV It seems odd that the apostle Paul should speak about the secret to facing plenty. We know the...
Honouring our own

Honouring our own

Jun 2015     Isn’t it time that we give more air space to local and Asian Christian speakers, pastors, and teachers? Or do we really want to prove that “no prophet is accepted in his hometown”?   I t has been 50 years since we became an independent nation. Yet in many ways,...
Bishop’s Invitation

Bishop’s Invitation

May 2015     The theme for Aldersgate SG 2015 is “Seeking the Welfare of Our City”, based on Jeremiah 29:7. Should we be concerned about our city? The answer appears obvious to most: “Yes, of course.” “This is my home.” “I have my family and friends here.” “Here is where my future lies.”...
Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

Remembering Lee Kuan Yew

May 2015     It is just slightly over a month since the passing away of Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Singapore, on 23 March 2015. We still remember him. I have never met LKY (as he is often referred to by many) face to face. Yet what he did...
Death’s defeat

Death’s defeat

Apr 2015     While sharing his testimony, a man suffering from terminal cancer pointed out that even though many of us sing this chorus (right) in Sunday School, when the time comes, we show that we do not believe in it. Simply put, we are not willing to die. We are not ready...
Denials and Desires

Denials and Desires

Mar 2015     One of the great themes of Lent is self-denial. It is one so contrary to our culture today. Yet it is what brought about the mighty act of salvation in Jesus Christ. This present generation is driven by instant gratification and seeking to pursue one’s passion because “YOLO” (you only...
The Year of the Lord’s Favour

The Year of the Lord’s Favour

Feb 2015     In anticipation of this year of Jubilee for Singapore, much has already been written about what it all means from the Christian perspective. Here is a personal view. Jubilee is essentially a celebration of God’s favour; the Bible calls it “the year of the Lord’s favour”. If we have been...
Life ‘above the sun’

Life ‘above the sun’

Jan 2015     What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (ESV) Déjà vu. Same old same old. We have been here before, at the turn of the year. If we are more than...
Name above all names

Name above all names

Dec 2014     The name “Jesus” was confirmed to Mary by the angel who visited her with the news that she would soon be with child. The naming of a child in different cultures may follow various practices, but the significance is never in doubt. Sometimes, the name may reflect the circumstances in which...
Obviously not!

Obviously not!

Nov 2014     Finding out the will of God is a matter of trust (Proverbs 3:5-6). Faith does not operate by sight (i.e. the obvious). It requires Spirit-inspired discernment and wisdom, grounded on a familiarity with Scripture. What is obvious is not necessarily God’s way. Paul was a changed man following his Damascus...
Quick fixes and slow solutions

Quick fixes and slow solutions

Oct 2014     The modern obsession with success and the desire to develop it quickly – in fact, instantaneously if possible – has robbed us of developing well-rounded and healthy individuals, families, churches and organisations. As I write this, I am in the midst of the Annual Mission Conference of The Methodist Church...
The root of grievance

The root of grievance

Sep 2014     “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV) The title of this article is not the exact term used in the...
What makes a nation great

What makes a nation great

Aug 2014     “Righteousness exalts a nation”, said the wise man in Proverbs 14:34 (NKJV). The Good News Bible translates the verse simply as: “Righteousness makes a nation great.” What then is “righteousness”? In Hebrew, the language in which the Proverbs were written, it means to adhere to what is required according to...
Have we lost our way in worship?

Have we lost our way in worship?

Jul 2014     The term that Brown used to describe this phenomenon is “performancism” – “The worship leader as the performer. The congregation as the audience. The sanctuary as the concert hall.” There is so much to read along the information superhighway that sometimes we miss some good articles. I came across one...
A different approach

A different approach

Jun 2014     There is a fear, I think, that if we were to find a way that is neither left nor right, it would be seen as compromise – a word which has negative connotation to many. It has been said that the church in this part of the world should be...
What’s the big deal about Aldersgate?

What’s the big deal about Aldersgate?

May 2014     The big deal about Aldersgate is that it is a journey back to the future. Our tradition stresses a holiness that is both personal and social, but more importantly experiential. For a living faith to be passed on from generation to generation, the fire must be kept burning in our...
Easter encounters

Easter encounters

Apr 2014     Every now and then, I hear the remark that a person has had “an encounter with God”. This is said to account for the noticeable change that has taken place in that person’s life. Often the conversation refers to a person who had been a nominal Christian, a sceptic, or...
Didn’t they know what they were doing?

Didn’t they know what they were doing?

Mar 2014     And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34, ESV These were among the last words of Jesus at the cross, just before He gave up His spirit. Much has been taught from this saying about how it fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy (Isaiah 53:12), and...
Celebrate our faith in festivals

Celebrate our faith in festivals

Feb 2014     Festivals bring families, relatives and friends to reconnect with one another. They draw communities together and serve a unifying purpose. Festivals were integral to the lives of people in the Old Testament. There were daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly festivals. Most of these were religious, as instructed by the Law....
Forever new

Forever new

Jan 2014     “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. " (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)  The love that God has for you this New Year is not last year’s love. It is a 2014 love, not something...
More than just a birthday

More than just a birthday

Dec 2013     A birthday, however, is just the beginning. There is growing up that must follow. A Christianity that focuses and spends too much resources at Christmas compared to the other festivals misses the opportunity to develop well-rounded followers. Christmas is more than just the celebration of the birth of Jesus. We...
Constant Practice

Constant Practice

Nov 2013     The mature is described as “those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish between good and evil”. Hebrews 5:14, (ESV) Presently, there is a trendy fascination with training. Many different kinds of courses, seminars, degree programmes and weekend workshops are available for those seeking them....
Defeating  Enemies Within

Defeating Enemies Within

Oct 2013     Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.1 Peter 2:11 (ESV) Who is this enemy? ... They are the natural selfish human desires whose sole purpose is to find satisfaction outside of the influence and control...

Must I confess my sins?

Sep 2013     When we do confess, our fellowship with the Father is restored. He extends His parental forgiveness. He cleanses us of all unrighteousness, thus removing the consequences of the previously unconfessed sin. For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night...
Tourists and pilgrims

Tourists and pilgrims

Aug 2013     "Pilgrims go to be transformed in their spirit and seek how God works out His will and plans in that place." RETURNING FROM A RETREAT with our Cambodian Methodist pastors, I pondered my now-frequent visits to Cambodia with the question: Am I there as a tourist, or as a pilgrim? Sure,...
Revelations about revivals

Revelations about revivals

Jul 2013     IF YOU ARE SOMEONE who is very keen on advocating revival today, I wonder whether you are aware of what that might say about you and your church. When we call for revival, we are saying that something is not right with the spiritual state of the church. A body...
Spirit Search

Spirit Search

Jun 2013     AMONG THE FASCINATING things in modern technology are software tools called search engines which you can use to trawl the World Wide Web. The most popular among them are Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Key in words or phrases related to the information you seek, and you may find what you...
Too scared to share the  Gospel?

Too scared to share the Gospel?

May 2013     IT IS A SUBJECT that has been raised countless times. Why do followers of Christ find it hard to talk about Him and share the Gospel? It is basically a matter of fear. Like in many areas of life, fear operates where in reality the perceived grounds for it to...

God’s Grace and imperfect parenting

Apr 2013     IT HAS BEEN ALMOST thirty years of parenting. I am amazed at how my two children have turned out as adults, and I am grateful to God. They are not perfect children, and neither are my wife and I perfect parents. But I am happy with how they are shaping...
Alive, raised and seated with Christ

Alive, raised and seated with Christ

Mar 2013     “BUT GOD, BEING RICH IN MERCY, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in...
In Christ alone

In Christ alone

Feb 2013    

WHY DOES GOD ACT? “The problem arises when we begin to acknowledge God only by His deeds and action, without contemplating who He is so as to understand why He acts in those ways.”   THIS SONG IS often heard during Christmas: We are the reason that He gave His…

A Johannine Christmas

A Johannine Christmas

Dec 2012     There is every reason to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but be aware of the danger of cultural distortions EMBELLISHED STORIES “The biblical Christmas stories in Matthew and Luke are wonderful in their beauty and simplicity … but we have embellished the biblical stories with traditions and customs that have...
Mastering two prayers

Mastering two prayers

Nov 2012     On trusting GodAnd being grateful to Him WHEN I ONCE ASKED the late John Stott what he considered to be the greatest problem in the church, he gave a one-word answer – superficiality. I cannot agree with him more. Connected to the epidemic of superficiality in the church is the...
Custody of the tongue

Custody of the tongue

Oct 2012     “How can we use our tongues to sing the most sublime praises to God, and then go for lunch after church and enjoy slandering a brother or engage in coarse speech, or go to work on Monday and lie about the products we are selling?” AN EGYPTIAN DESERT FATHER (in...
It and Thou

It and Thou

Sep 2012     Beware of Satan’s great distortion THE FIRST GREAT DISTORTION Satan introduced into the mind of the human race is that the most important human quest is to know something as opposed to knowing Someone. God placed the first couple in His paradise, giving them all they needed and inviting them...
The Earth belongs to the Lord

The Earth belongs to the Lord

Aug 2012     CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING two cameos. A huge Climate Convention was held in Copenhagen in December 2009. About 15,000 delegates and officials, 5,000 journalists, 98 world leaders, and an entourage of celebrities descended on the Danish capital. It was noted that a record 1,200 limousines were hired for the occasion, and...
When the medicine is worse than the malady

When the medicine is worse than the malady

Jul 2012     KING GEORGE III OF ENGLAND was a contemporary of John Wesley. Born just days after Wesley’s heart-warming experience in 1738, the king died in 1820 as a deaf and blind madman. George began experiencing bouts of madness in later life. He exhibited bizarre behaviour and wild outbursts (such as straying...
Taking shelter in the wounds of Jesus

Taking shelter in the wounds of Jesus

Jun 2012     THREE TRUTHS Taking shelter in the wounds of Jesus — Three important truths: § The truth of God’s forgiveness; § The truth of God’s protection; § The truth of God’s empathy. A SUDDEN STORM would make people run for shelter – in a building or wherever they can be shielded...
‘You have not wearied yourselves for me’

‘You have not wearied yourselves for me’

Apr 2012     PICTURE: www.turnbacktogod.com THE PERFECT MODEL “Acts of being wearied for others are highly commendable and speak of sacrifice and self-giving love. The greatest and most perfect model of this is Jesus Himself.” WHEN WE WANT TO THINK of one who wearies himself or herself for another, we readily think of...
Will you lay down your life for Jesus?

Will you lay down your life for Jesus?

Mar 2012     “The way of the cross is paved with self-giving love.” IMAGINE YOU ARE WALKING along a busy road crowded with people and vehicles. en you notice to your horror that while a man is crossing the road a speeding heavy truck is heading his way. e man seems oblivious of...
Employed or laid aside

Employed or laid aside

Jan 2012     COMMITMENT TO GOD: “The Methodist covenant prayer is a wholehearted commitment to God … the key is to follow Jesus with undivided loyalty and love, and to trust Him for everything, and to accept all things (whether limelight or shadow, whether prosperity or adversity) – all for His glory.” IT...
We are in the priesthood of all believers: Bishop

We are in the priesthood of all believers: Bishop

Jan 2012     Dr Andrew Peh Swee Kian being ordained as a Diaconal Minister by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon. With them is the CAC President, the Rev Dr Chong Chin Chung. – CAC picture by PHILLIP LAM. ‘The pastor is the football coach, lay people are the players’ PASTORS, LAY LEADERS AND CHURCH...
The Two Names

The Two Names

Dec 2011     ‘Jesus’ and ‘Immanuel’ have profound meaning and say something of the identity of the baby THE EYES SAY IT ALL “The eyes of her baby confirmed all that Mary saw – for she saw in them the majesty, holiness and love of God.” THERE WAS SOMETHING about the baby that...
Sleepwalking in church

Sleepwalking in church

Nov 2011     Some church members go through religious rituals but they are in a state of spiritual slumber AMBULATORY PARASOMNIA – this is the big umbrella word for the phenomenon of sleepwalking, a condition that is difficult to understand, and yet occurs fairly frequently. It is said to affect 4-10 per cent...
A three-legged race

A three-legged race

Oct 2011     UNITED WITH CHRIST “The Christian life is like a three-legged race, in which we are to be united with Jesus and yoked to Him. We will find out that it is in fact His race that we are called to run. All other races are an illusion and bring endless...
Jesus and the crowds

Jesus and the crowds

Sep 2011     NO POPULAR AGENDAS “The potential temptations of a crowd were well-known to Jesus. at is why though He was followed by crowds, He refused to submit to their popular agendas or be swayed by their herd instincts.” A CONSTANT FEATURE of the ministry of Jesus was the crowds that followed Him....
A story of the five senses

A story of the five senses

Aug 2011     RELIGION OF THE EAR “Both the physical and spiritual ears are important in the exercise of our faith. The other senses may be important in their own ways, but if we have to choose just one of the senses, the Bible’s choice is always the sense of hearing, for it...
Redemption Woods

Redemption Woods

Jul 2011     Wounded animals, abused children, damaged environment are being redeemed here by God’s grace “Those whose lives are wasting away, those who are wounded and lost, those who have been the victims of evil, those who are exhausted and whose strength has ebbed away, and those who have lost hope are...
He ascended into Heaven

He ascended into Heaven

Jun 2011     THIS YEAR, Ascension Day in the church year falls on June 2. It is celebrated in some churches, but tends to be largely forgotten or neglected in most others. How important is Ascension Day? A local preacher wrote to me recently with a theological question (Does Jesus still have a...
The story must live on

The story must live on

May 2011     IN THE CITY OF PUNE in India stands the Oldham Memorial Methodist Church, which I visited recently. You may ask how Bishop William Fitzjames Oldham (1854-1937), who played a leading role in the founding of Methodism in Singapore and in its early years, including the founding of Anglo-Chinese School, got...
The Lamb of Heaven

The Lamb of Heaven

Apr 2011     IF WE WERE TO CHOOSE the best symbol for Jesus as He reigns in heaven, we would probably choose the symbol of the lion. Jesus as the Lion of heaven would be, to our minds, a most appropriate picture – what with the majesty, power and ultimately victorious roar of...
DESERT TIME

DESERT TIME

Mar 2011     THE YOUNG EGYPTIAN was on his way to church. He came from a fairly wealthy family and was brought up in a godly way. By the time he was 20, his parents had died, leaving him to care for the estate and his only sister. It was now six months...
The three moments in life

The three moments in life

Feb 2011     SINFUL MOTIVES “Many things done in church can be clothed in piety but hide deeper and subtler sinful motives.” WHAT DO YOU DO when a whole nation is on the move in the arid desert, and there is no water to drink? at was Moses’ problem. e frustrated grumblings of...
Numbering our days

Numbering our days

Jan 2011     KNOWING THE DIFFERENCE “Many people spend a good part, if not all, of their days worrying and running after functional penultimate goals. They have difficulty knowing the difference between means and ends, between that which will crumble into dust and that which will endure.” I KNEW A CHURCH MEMBER who...
The Word became flesh

The Word became flesh

Dec 2010     “ The truth that the Word became flesh is the distinguishing mark of biblical orthodoxy – the foundation of our salvation.” (1 Jn. 4:1-3). THE ASTOUNDING TRUTH that the unseen and divine Word became visible and human flesh dawned on the first Christians as they tried to make sense of...
Objects of wrath?

Objects of wrath?

Oct 2010     A BELIEVER WROTE TO ME seeking help to understand what is, to him and many others, a disturbing passage in the Bible. He was referring to Romans 9. Paul writes that “God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden” (Rom....
Principles for pulpits and pews

Principles for pulpits and pews

Sep 2010     IN RECENT DAYS, criticisms have been directed by members of the public against some preachers who are said to be guilty of offensive preaching. As President of the National Council of Churches, I have received some of these letters of complaint (none of which, thankfully, had to do with Methodist...
How we should treat aliens

How we should treat aliens

Aug 2010     “As Christians, we should welcome aliens and invite them to integrate into the life of the community, treat them with justice and compassion, and reach out to them with the blessings that are in Jesus our Lord.” THERE IS A WORD in the New International Version of the Bible that...
Life-spans and plumblines

Life-spans and plumblines

Jun 2010     HOW WE ARE MEASURED “We are measured not by the busyness of our lives, but by the faithfulness of our hearts and steps. We will be measured not by how much we have accumulated or accomplished but by how much we have become Christ-like in our walk with God.’’ BEFORE...
John Wesley and the Poor

John Wesley and the Poor

May 2010     “Our ministry to the poor becomes a means of grace by which God does His work of holiness in us. It becomes a way by which God perfects us in His love and makes us Christ-like.” JOHN WESLEY, THE FOUNDER OF METHODISM, had a big heart for the poor. He...
Look carefully at the Crucified Jesus

Look carefully at the Crucified Jesus

Apr 2010     The Bishop’s Easter Message IF YOU VISIT JERUSALEM TODAY to trace the footsteps of Jesus on the Via Dolorosa and other places, it is difficult to ignore the physical and psychological torture that Jesus endured before He was strung on the cross. One such place is the Church of St....
Remembering whose we are

Remembering whose we are

Mar 2010     THE WATER FROM HIS BAPTISM in the Jordan River evaporated quickly in the dry and hot Judean desert air as Jesus climbed the barren hills. Was He on His way to where the action was – to crowded urban Jerusalem, where the temple and palaces were? Or was He off...
Together in God’s Mission

Together in God’s Mission

Feb 2010     The Methodist Church in Singapore celebrates 125 years of blessing METHODISM FIRST SET FOOT IN SINGAPORE 125 years ago when Bishop Thoburn and three others arrived on Feb 7, 1885. Within two weeks, following evangelistic meetings, the first Methodist church was constituted on Feb 23. We have come a long...
The queue and the circle

The queue and the circle

Jan 2010     GOD’S QUALITY LOVE “The quality of God’s love for each of us is never diluted or diminished by our numbers. It does not mean that the more of us there are, the less God’s love and attention for each of us. No, He gives each of us undivided attention so...
Clinging to God

Clinging to God

Nov 2009     A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE “Those who have gone through very difficult circumstances when kith and kin, experts and friends, were not of much help, when they had only God to whom to turn, often come out transformed by their experience. Somehow clinging to God is a life-changing experience. It changes the...
Christianity in a nutshell

Christianity in a nutshell

Oct 2009     A DELUSION "Beware of the delusion that religious busyness is equivalent to knowing God. It is not." AT ITS HEART, the Christian faith is not a religion as such. It is a Person. Rules and rituals may be important but they are not at the heart of Christian discipleship or...
Darwin’s theology degree

Darwin’s theology degree

Sep 2009     SOUND THEOLOGY Sound theology holds that God is the Creator of all that is seen and unseen. We must hold to that firmly for it will help us in our approach to interpreting the initial chapters of Genesis. CHARLES DARWIN, whose 200th birth anniversary is celebrated this year by scientists,...
Thoughts about Heaven

Thoughts about Heaven

Aug 2009     WHO WILL WE BE WITH? "Heaven should not be conceived of in terms of what we will do, or even who we will be, but rather who we will be with." CHRISTIANS THINK ABOUT HEAVEN in many different ways. One of the questions people ask is “What will we do...
The Line and the Circle

The Line and the Circle

Jun 2009     The Bible speaks of the importance of drawing both lines and circles. It is not a question of either/or but both/and. Strong lines are drawn between the worship of the true God and idolatry, between righteousness and unrighteousness, between light and darkness, between the children of God and the children...
SERVANT OR SON

SERVANT OR SON

May 2009     THE pathetic figure tried to run along the dusty road, his face a strange mixture of eager anticipation and fearful dread. He attempted to speed up his progress, but he did not have the strength to do it, his hunger and physical weakness having taking their toll on him. He...
God’s appointments in our disappointments

God’s appointments in our disappointments

Apr 2009     Bishop’s Easter Message IMAGINE how disappointed Jesus must have been when He died. His own inner circle of friends had abandoned Him. One of His disciples, in cold calculated fashion, betrayed Him to His enemies who were delighted at the opportunity that knocked at their doors. Another, a leading member of...
WAITING ON GOD

WAITING ON GOD

Mar 2009     IF THERE is one Christian discipline that we are rapidly forgetting or are hardly practising, it is the discipline of waiting. We live in a hurried world of greed and anxiety that preaches that unless you seize opportunities, you will not survive or succeed. That is not a wise way...
HOLY DYING

HOLY DYING

Feb 2009     WE NOW have increasing public discussions on dying, a topic that is usually not the subject of social conversations. But two things have changed that. Firstly, the rapid development of medical science and technology poses novel dilemmas for patients, and their families and physicians. Secondly, the erosion of long-held moral...
ALL THE TIME …

ALL THE TIME …

Jan 2009     “THERE is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven,” said the Teacher who wrote Ecclesiastes. And there is wisdom in that, for he reminds his listeners that there was “a time to be born and a time to die … a time to weep and...
SOLVING A PARADOX

SOLVING A PARADOX

Nov 2008     EARLY in my Christian life, I encountered a conundrum that puzzled me for some time. As an enthusiastic new believer, I was very keen to make the best use of my time and opportunities to serve the Lord. Books and sermons that urged me to “Go” for the Lord propelled...
RECOGNISING GOD

RECOGNISING GOD

Oct 2008     THE sons of Jacob saw the man in his splendour – he was the prime mover in Egypt, a man whose authority was second only to that of Pharaoh’s, Egypt’s supreme ruler. They needed his favour to buy precious grain to bring home to their starving families. The man was...
Is it safe to follow your heart?

Is it safe to follow your heart?

Sep 2008     FOLLOW your heart. That is an increasingly popular mantra that has taken root in postmodern culture. It evokes at once the freedom of being yourself, and the need to chart your own course in life. Ideas of the freedom of individual expression, the importance of feelings, and not letting anyone...
The Sermon and the Listener

The Sermon and the Listener

Aug 2008     ‘The seed takes time to bear fruit. True evaluation of the planting of the seed has to wait till the fruit is seen. Instant evaluation of sermons is based on a childish notion of how the Word works.’ AT A recent conference where several speakers preached, there was a time...
Why did they die so young?

Why did they die so young?

Jul 2008     HE WAS barely 20 when he started keeping a spiritual journal. He wrote down his thoughts and prayers regularly for the rest of his life – which was to end eight years later, when he was tragically killed. His journal entries reflect a maturity way beyond his age, and a...
LOSSES AND GAINS

LOSSES AND GAINS

Jun 2008     RECENTLY my computer crashed and bade a sudden farewell to me. I tried to retrieve as many of my documents as possible, but found out, painfully, that I had permanently lost a number of sermons and an article that I had written. These were for future use. Rewriting the article was...
Living in a Pavlovian experiment

Living in a Pavlovian experiment

May 2008     THE king was full of pride and an intoxicating sense of self-importance. In his arrogance he had all but forgotten the words of the prophet Daniel who came to the palace to explain a strange dream he had. He dreamed of a huge statue made with a medley of metals. The head was...
Living beyond the Tower

Living beyond the Tower

Apr 2008     THE notorious Tower of Babel was a human attempt to “make a name for ourselves”. (Gen. 11:4). In it was human pride and a sinful desire to live a God-free life. God saw that it was not only foolishness but that it also threatened the human race; He caused linguistic...
Notes on spiritual short cuts

Notes on spiritual short cuts

Feb 2008     The following is a conversation between a senior demon (SD) and a junior one (JD). The conversation is imaginary but the lessons are real. JD: SIR, thank you for seeing me at such short notice. I have been trying my best to learn as quickly as I can in my...
The compass and the map

The compass and the map

Jan 2008     HOW is it that migratory birds can fly thousands of miles and arrive at the right place? Researchers have offered several answers but most have agreed that such birds have an inner compass that helps direct their flights. Taking their readings from the earth’s magnetic fields, the birds instinctively fly...
FINDING THE BEST LIFE

FINDING THE BEST LIFE

Jan 2008     THE fellow who gained the world and lost his soul. Each of us can probably name one or more miserable or foolish persons we know who could fit into this category. The original warning, of course, comes from our Lord Jesus: “What good is it for a man to gain the...
The Bishop’s Christmas Message

The Bishop’s Christmas Message

Dec 2007     The God who became a baby A LEADER of the early church insisted, “I cannot see how a baby can be the God who created the heavens and the earth.” He was referring to Jesus who was born in Bethlehem. Later this church leader went on to relentlessly pursue his...
A museum of left behind things

A museum of left behind things

Nov 2007     IF WE read the Bible carefully, we will discover a list of things that were left behind. When God encounters  individuals, the biblical pattern is that something is left behind as a result of that encounter. Take, for instance, the case of Abraham, who lived in pagan Ur, where the moon god and goddess were worshipped. There...
The wilderness state

The wilderness state

Sep 2007     WILL all Christians go through a period (or periods) of spiritual darkness? After all, did not the Lord Jesus say that everyone who follows him will have much trouble in this life? (Jn. 16:33). In the 16th century, there emerged several prominent spiritual writers and guides who took the position that...
The difference between winning converts and making disciples

The difference between winning converts and making disciples

Aug 2007     YEARS AGO, I read of a new pastor in a church who was quite disturbed by what he saw in his church. Over the years, the church had become bloated with countless activities and programmes without a clear focus and direction. The church was going in circles, like the desert...
Beyond biology and public opinion

Beyond biology and public opinion

Jul 2007     A GROUP of researchers caused a stir in 1965 among scientists studying human aggression. In a review of several studies they found that 3 per cent of the male prisoners in maximum security prisons and hospitals in a British region had an extra Y chromosome in the 23rd pair, i.e....
Whatever happened to obedience?

Whatever happened to obedience?

Jun 2007     SOME sermons from the distant past may sound strange to our ears today. Take, for instance, John Wesley’s sermon, “On Obedience to Pastors”. Imagine you were in the congregation when he preached that sermon. You would have heard these words: “I would now apply myself in a more particular manner...
A poet’s lasting legacy

A poet’s lasting legacy

May 2007     THIS year Methodists all over the world celebrate the 300th birth anniversary of Charles Wesley – God’s poetic gift to the Methodist movement and the larger Body of Christ. Charles was a gifted poet and song smith, the psalmist who inspired the early Methodists to have faith in Christ, and...
UNITED WITH CHRIST

UNITED WITH CHRIST

Apr 2007     The Bishop’s Easter Message Truths of Good Friday and Easter must be internalised in our personal experience THE rhythm of Christian worship has a pattern. It is shaped after the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. The church year closely follows the life of Jesus – His birth,...
A time to give attention

A time to give attention

Mar 2007     THERE is a growing focus on prayer in many parts of the Church, and this is most encouraging. But how does one pray, especially in our highly stressed and feverishly frantic modern society? In one sense this problem is not new. Even in the ancient world, when the early Church was...
The communion of saints

The communion of saints

Feb 2007     A LOCAL church applied to be a member of the National Council of Churches of Singapore, and as a result representatives from the church came for an interview. When asked how old their church was, one of the representatives patiently replied, “We have been around since the first century.” True,...
THE HEART’S TREASURE

THE HEART’S TREASURE

Dec 2006     A Christmas Message from our Bishop ✰ Jesus came not to help angels but human beings ✰ It was because God wanted to save us from sin and death that He had to become a man IN THE cold Judean night, the new mother kept looking lovingly at her fresh-born son....
Keeping our eyes on Jesus

Keeping our eyes on Jesus

Nov 2006     THE past few months have been a difficult time for our Church and for me personally. Anonymous letters have been circulating about the bishop’s remuneration package, making various allegations against the Church and its leaders. Newspaper articles followed. As a result, the Commissioner of Charities enquired the Church about this....
Doing away with childish things

Doing away with childish things

Oct 2006     DOES God intervene in the minutest details of our lives? Can we say that God knows all things, is interested in both the big as well as the small matters in life, but that He does not necessarily intervene in every situation, according to our wishes or expectations, because He...
THE DIVINE SEEKER

THE DIVINE SEEKER

Sep 2006     JESUS encountered many individuals during His earthly ministry. One such person was the unnamed Samaritan woman who had the great privilege of meeting Jesus alone at a well in Sychar in Samaria (Jn. 4:4-42). Jesus invited her into the kingdom of God and she gladly accepted His gracious invitation. In the course of their conversation, Jesus also taught...
Deliver us from emails

Deliver us from emails

Aug 2006     HAVE you ever asked these questions: How does God manage to listen to all the prayers of all the people praying to Him? How does He keep up with all the prayers directed to Him? How can He respond to them all at the same time? Does He have some assistants...
Spartan Christianity in a spa culture

Spartan Christianity in a spa culture

Jul 2006     IF WE were really to follow Jesus, we would discover a difficult path – no, an impossible path (except for the grace of God). The crowds that followed Jesus did so for various reasons, most of them having to do with their happiness and comfort, happiness as reduced to creature comforts....
Lessons from a Stone Age tribe

Lessons from a Stone Age tribe

Jun 2006     DON and Caroline Richardson went to live with the Sawi tribe, a Stone Age people in Irian Jaya, in the 1960s. There they learned the language and tried to understand the customs of the people. The Sawi were illiterate and were ignorant about iron; their tools were made of stone and...
The Breath and the Voice

The Breath and the Voice

May 2006     IN THINKING through about the reality and ministry of the Holy Spirit, Christians sometimes do what they should not. They separate what God has put together, often leading to distorted versions of Christianity and Christian discipleship. One connection that we should hold on to is the relationship between Jesus and...
THE EMPTY CROSS

THE EMPTY CROSS

Apr 2006     Who can fully appreciate the agony of Jesus who was separated from the Father for the sins of the whole world? THE danger of trivialising the cross of Jesus is ever real – when people treat it lightly or superficially. It is not a new problem though. In 1945, a collection...
The foundations of humility

The foundations of humility

Mar 2006     AFTER Sadhu Sundar Singh had completed a tour around the world, people asked him, “Doesn’t it do harm, your getting so much honour?” The Sadhu answered, “No. The donkey went into Jerusalem, and they put garments on the ground before him. He was not proud. He knew it was not done...
The ladder of perfection

The ladder of perfection

Feb 2006     ARSENIUS, one of the Desert Fathers who lived in the early centuries of the Church, joined his fellow pilgrims in a serious pursuit of God and His righteousness. His life was marked with a deep hunger for God and a determined effort to be totally available to God. His longing...

The strongest reality

Jan 2006     OUR calendars (tracing the repeated journeys of planet earth around the sun) remind us of the flow of time. We record this with days, months and years. With the passing of time, we are reminded of the deeper realities of our lives, our own mortality, our own appearance and disappearance in...
Reading the Bible

Reading the Bible

Nov 2005     THERE are Jews today who still tie phylacteries (little boxes with biblical verses) on their foreheads and hands. Are they guilty of taking their scriptures (Dt. 6:8) too literally? Most of us would think so. There are sections of Scripture that are not expected to be taken literally. But does...

Feeding and leaving: A view from the other side

Nov 2005     THE main complaint I hear from people who have left their own church for another is that, “I wasn’t getting fed.” Generally, I suppose this is code for “lousy sermons”. But is “feeding” only about sermons? Are poor sermons enough reason to leave a church? NO! Firstly, the primary reason...
Knowing whose we are

Knowing whose we are

Oct 2005     I REMEMBER watching a funny film that was screened in school in which the inimitable Peter Sellers played the role of a hapless Indian actor. At the party where he was a fumbling guest, someone, obviously irritated, asked him, “Who do you think you are?” The answer is one of those...
HERDS AND COWBOYS

HERDS AND COWBOYS

Sep 2005     JESUS was wary of crowds, though he often ministered among the crowds. Is there something He knew that we should also know? We live in what has been called the “age of individualism,” the “me-first” age. This is expressed in countless ways in popular culture and lifestyles. The way one dresses,...
They don’t make them like they used to: The problem of mass-produced Christians

They don’t make them like they used to: The problem of mass-produced Christians

Jul 2005     HOW often have we heard people say with frustration or resignation, “They don’t make them like they used to … “ The “them” may refer to buildings, electronic products, furniture or the host of modern paraphernalia. These days, mass-produced things are made not to last – so that consumers can buy...
The joy of being forgiven

The joy of being forgiven

May 2005     AMERICAN psychiatrist Karl Menninger once remarked that if he could convince the patients in psychiatric hospitals that their sins were forgiven, 75 per cent of them could walk out the next day! Sadly, the psychiatric hospitals are still filled with people whose hearts and souls are tormented by guilt. People...
Kingdom or Republic?

Kingdom or Republic?

Apr 2005     THERE have been several attempts to unseat God from heaven. Lucifer and his rebellious angel friends tried it a very long time ago, and failed (Is. 14:12; Rev. 12:7-9). They have refused to accept defeat, and for some not-fully-understood purposes of God, they have been allowed to roam the earth,...
If Christ had not died…

If Christ had not died…

Mar 2005     A GROUP of eminent historians got together to share what they imagined would have happened if certain well-established historical events had turned out differently. In their book What If and its sequel More What If they use their imagination and expertise in history to entertain history buffs. What if Socrates had died in...
The final hour is ours

The final hour is ours

Jan 2005     IF YOU see someone reading a mystery novel, and you have already read it, you are not supposed to tell him how the story would end. You are expected to let him enjoy struggling with every twist and turn of the story. As far as literary enjoyment goes, that is fine....
Mary’s Little Lamb

Mary’s Little Lamb

Dec 2004     Jesus was born among the lambs THE birth itself was clearly a miracle. The mother was a virgin. We profess this in the Apostles’ Creed when we declare that Jesus “was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary … ” What is also special about the birth...
Questions for life’s quest

Questions for life’s quest

Nov 2004     People often forget that there will be some form of assessment of our lives MANY students get very busy at the end of the year. It is time for important examinations that they are told will determine the course of their lives. These exams are often drenched with the perspiration...
No-frills church?

No-frills church?

Oct 2004     Yes, but we must fill our pews not with consumers but with disciples of Christ WE LIVE in an age of no-frills airlines, no-frills hotels, and the like. Will we also see the emergence of no-frills churches? That would indeed be a good thing. It would greatly improve the spiritual...
The shadow and the reality

The shadow and the reality

Sep 2004     RECENTLY I attended a military ceremony that included a video show and a talk wrapped around a Powerpoint presentation. At the end of the ceremony a picture of the state flag was screened while the national anthem was played. The officer on stage turned towards the screen and gave a...
A root of evil

A root of evil

Aug 2004     Church against setting up of casino CASINO operators are trying to set up shop in Singapore. What should be our response as Christians? Is there anything in the teaching of the Church that can guide us in our response? The Book of Discipline of The Methodist Church in Singapore has a...
The audience of one

The audience of one

Jul 2004     TRY this thought experiment. You wake up one morning and prepare to go to work. You go to the kitchen and greet your wife but she does not return your greeting. “Is she angry with me?” you wonder. You stand in front of her and ask her what is wrong....

A New Ear

Jan 2004     THE story of time begins with a speaking God. "In the beginning was the Word … (Jn. 1:1). "In the beginning … God said …" (Gen. 1:3,6,9,14,20,24,28,29). When God spoke at the dawn of time, the universe appeared and began flexing its cosmic muscles. The earth was shaped and sprang...
The boys of Bethlehem

The boys of Bethlehem

Dec 2003     THIS is the time of the year when the story of Christmas would be told countless times in nativity plays, sermons and magazine articles. The story of the birth of Jesus brings joy to our hearts and smiles on our faces as we hear the familiar carols in churches and...

Two steps forward, three steps back

Nov 2003    

IS SOCIETY making progress? Do we feel the wind on our faces as we are rushed into the future? There are people who assume that this is so. It is evident in the many discussions on changes taking place in society. The contributors to the discussion are divided into “progressives”…

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Sep 2003    

IN A field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest. “Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling…

GULLIBLE TRAVELS

Jul 2003    

People continue to embark on gullible journeys, buying up  whatever promises false and temporary hope  THE fear of death is having a field day these days. Not that it is a new phenomenon. The Bible does describe people “who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Heb 2:15). This…

What’s so deadly about sin?

Mar 2003     AN AMERICAN psychiatrist, Karl Menninger, wrote a book in 1973 entitled, "Whatever Happened to Sin?" He observed that modern society had abandoned the word "sin" from its popular vocabulary. Behaviour that once was attributed to human sinfulness was now being seen as nothing more than the result of some physical...

Hallowed be Thy Name

Feb 2003     A YOUNG boy was taught the Lord's Prayer. His proud parents asked him to recite the prayer when their pastor visited them. He did well except that he inadvertently said, "Hollowed be thy name." The adults had a good laugh. This mistake caused by childhood innocence and ignorance points us...
The mess and the Messiah

The mess and the Messiah

Dec 2002     THE ancient world into which Jesus was born was a pretty rough place. Life was short. The average lifespan was 40 years. In the international sphere, Rome was the imperial power that ruled a large part of the known world. And yet decay was setting in. A third of the...

Making decisions in church

Oct 2002     THE calm blue sea around the Mediterranean island of Crete was something to behold when I was there recently for a consultation. I tried to imagine the stormy sea that wrecked a ship long ago. The story is in Acts 27. Paul must have found it very difficult to convince...

Can you trust your impressions?

Sep 2002     SEVERAL years ago, a reader wrote to a columnist with a puzzle: Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors. Behind one door is a car, the others, goats. You pick a door, say number 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the...

A time to be silent

Jun 2002     THERE was a picture of some dead fish in the newspapers recently. It was reported that someone had cruelly taken them out of the water and left them to die. The fish died gasping for air. It is strange, isn't it, that the fish should die for lack of air...

The heart of revival

May 2002     IMAGINE what would happen if John Wesley's heart-warming experience on May 24, 1738 is reproduced thousands of times among us. Most of us would say that we would have a revival or great awakening or renewal. This is because following this experience, Wesley began a long ministry of revival in...

From the Master’s Voice and Holy Word

Apr 2002     This article is written to commemorate the official opening of Trinity Theological College  by President S. R. Nathan on March 16, 2002.   Reflections on theological education WE GENERALLY expect those who come forward to serve as pastors and church workers to go through a programme of formal theological education. And...

Why we need solitude

Feb 2002    

SOLITUDE is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is often seen as a deprivation, a loss, the result of unfortunate circumstances.           On the other hand, solitude can be seen as a gift that enriches our lives. In reality, it is in fact a necessity that meets one of our deepest…

 
 

REACH OUT

Fuzzy therapy that works

Fuzzy therapy that works

Apr 2017    

Every second Saturday of the month, the residents of the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Bethany Methodist Nursing Home (BMNH) eagerly await the arrival of visitors of the furry kind. They are the friendly canines from Therapy Dogs Singapore (TDS), a non¬-profit voluntary welfare group which has been making monthly visits…

The rainbow connection – nurturing Laotian children

The rainbow connection – nurturing Laotian children

Apr 2017    

  Twelve years ago, it was a glorious rainbow that sealed God’s call to Lesley and Kok Liang Yeow to live and serve in Vientiane, Laos. In faith, they started a centre for teaching the English language to adults. Twelve years ago, it was a glorious rainbow that sealed God’s…