We first came to Life Church on 26 Feb 2017. We just came along with a friend who was invited to visit this church. By Monday my husband and I already looked forward to the next Sunday to come again. Our first impression was that Life Church was different. What is it? Now we know that it was your intentionality and your authenticity.
“Week after week our hearts were pricked by the message and we were brought down to tears.”
Having spend the last over 20 years in a Chinese church we found ourselves learning English again. To name a few, starting with IDMC, then ABCD, ADID, SPO, 3As, 3Ps, 4Rs, 4Ss, 4Ts… and it got harder, “paradigm shifts, anthropological thinking, ontological inversion.. Week after week our hearts were pricked by the message and we were brought down to tears. We heard God speaking deep into our hearts even though it was Pastor Paul’s voice. It was a season of trimming and pruning, digging and replanting for us.
A few months later we started joining a life group. Because we also came from a cell group church, initially we were comparing, and between the two of us we started criticising and complaining. We thanked God that he was quick to rebuke and correct us. Very soon He opened our eyes to see that the leaders are chosen because of their life and obedience, to be faithful not to be perfect; to be available not to be faultless. We saw our leaders sacrifice their time, talent, treasure and territories week after week as we attend in comfort and convenience. We started praying for them. We also prayed that we would have a more patient, gentle and sensitive spirit with attentive ears, and an open, teachable heart. Coming from a more reserved culture, we were surprised to see how openly people shared about their private struggles and pain. Of course now we understand that was brokenness we saw. Our hearts ache together, we prayed for one another and rejoiced and praised God together, as we saw God’s hand move among us.
“Coming from a more reserved culture, we were surprised to see how openly people shared about their private struggles and pain.”
God has his reason to take me to Life Church to humble myself and to be broken. For the last thirty years, I was proud to depend on my own strength and talent to survive in this secular world and within the church. I thought I have done pretty well in comparison to others. However I was struggling with the fact that self righteousness has prompted me to criticise others without hesitation. I can see the wrong from others, but was ignorant to my foolish self-indulging behaviour. I was acting as if I am the only person holding the truth. I was struggling to see what His plan is for me. Confrontation, accusation and arguments were unavoidable. At the end I had to get away from it all.
But God did not give up on me and he brought me to Life Church to experience a different way of Christian life. Life Church is not perfect, but your focus is directional toward God, your mandate is the unshaken waving of the flag of IDMC (Intentional Disciple-Making Church) and we are marching toward the goal to be authentic. I will embrace this whole-heartedly and it is a necessary journey for me to be broken again and again. To take on this necessary journey, I need to be part of an Authentic Biblical Community. Through support and prayer from Life Group I have a better chance of becoming an ABC- Authentic, Broken and Courageous.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrew 10: 19-25
Another testimony was from earlier this year. A probing question from my daughter pierced me one day when she asked me what I have been learning in church. I told her I have been learning ‘stewardship, surrender, paradigm shifts of my inner life, brokenness…’ She said, “ Mum, you are only giving me words, but what is it, how? “ She was making me accountable. She was asking me “How have you responded?” and “What are you doing differently?”
“In the end only God, His kingdom and the souls of men will last and I don’t want to live a wasted life.”
In this season, God has gradually revealed my sins and my pride, convicted me of my pretence, self-centeredness, half-heartedness, double-mindedness, worldliness. He’s telling me to make Him the most precious in my life, to put Him back into the equation, let Him dictate the terms of how I live, to give more generously. My perspectives, pursuits and purposes must change because I owed Him my life. He is my creator, redeemer, owner, ruler and sustainer. In the end only God, His kingdom and the souls of men will last and I don’t want to live a wasted life.
Looking forward, I must continue to pray that I am not only a learner, but also a doer of God’s word. Please make me accountable.