Emerge Bi-Weekly Boost #ebwb

Emerge Devotion No. 8
May 16, 2018

Position Yourself For Encounters

By Lee Yi Lun

It is two more weeks to our Emerge Youth Camps! I want to strongly encourage all of you to avail yourself to join your zone’s youth camp. This is one sure way to position yourself for a life-changing encounter with God!

Consider the powerful spiritual encounter on the Day of Pentecost. 120 believers experienced the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit because they were positioned for it! Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told 500 people to tarry in Jerusalem until they received the “Promise of the Father”—i.e. the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). But notice, only 120 people received the Holy Spirit because they made room for God by being present in the Upper Room. Where were the rest of the 380 believers? The Bible doesn’t tell us. Perhaps they were too busy and got distracted by the demands of life, or they were simply too weary and decided that it was not worth the wait for the “Promise of the Father.” Whatever the reason, one thing for sure is that these 380 people totally missed this life changing, history making encounter! They failed to position themselves for their encounter by being present and available. Don’t end up making this same mistake!

Emerge youths, like the 120 disciples, let us position ourselves for our youth camps and come spiritually hungry for God. To hunger after God is to have a strong and intense desire for God, to pursue God and God alone.

Matthew 5:6 (New King James Version)
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

Hunger and thirst are strong desires.

God is not going to show up if you and I are not desperate enough to meet Him. We must be “poor in the spirit” and be hungry for Him. Our attitude must be: God, I am not satisfied, I cannot have enough of You. Let us position ourselves for life changing encounters by being hungry and expectant, desiring for God in a way like never before.

Our hunger for God must be demonstrated. Our hunger for Him, though inward, must be revealed through our outward attitudes. In our youth camps, let there be so much FREEDOM in expressing our worship and devotion to God. Lifting up our hands in surrender, jumping and whirling in joy, kneeling in humility—these are different ways for us to express our hunger for God.

Matthew 11:12 (New Heart English Bible)
And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

This June, let us be relentless in our pursuit of God, to discover His heart and His will for us!

 

Emerge Devotion No. 7
May 2, 2018

Do Not Be Weary While Doing Good

By Ong Wei Ren

Gal 6:9
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

We are in the month of May now, nearing the midway point of the year. And like every race, the halfway point is the hardest part of the run. Having just expended our energy for the first half of the race, we need to catch our breath and brace ourselves for the next half of the race.

Maybe some of us began the year with dreams and visions for the Lord.

Maybe some of us made some resolutions at the start of the year.

But now that we are approaching the midway point, we’re feeling so tired and worn out already.

This is where the Word of God encourages us to not be weary while doing good, for God is faithful to reward us in due season—if we do not give up!

Here’s where I’d like to share my personal testimony ...

During my O-levels, my L1R4 was 35 points for my mid-year exams. It was a very challenging and discouraging time for me. I studied hard for the first half of the year only to obtain bad results. I was only left with another four to five months to improve my results exponentially. The temptation to cave in and quit was so strong!

In September that year, I came to church and received Jesus as Lord and Savior.

During that time, our church had a “study hours” program where every student was strongly encouraged to clock 20 hours of studying. Failing to meet the quota of 20 hours of study would result in a “ban” from attending that week’s Cell Group meeting. I was encouraged by my Cell Group leader to keep studying hard, and that if I did not lose heart, I would reap the reward. So I faithfully fulfilled my 20 hours of studying every single week.

Because of that, my results improved tremendously and I scored 17 for my L1R4. I was able to enter Singapore Polytechnic and eventually moved on to get a 2nd lower class honours degree in University! Praise the Lord!

I want to encourage all of you with this: Be it your exams or your God-given dreams, do not grow weary while doing good; keep on keeping on! And you will reap a harvest in due season because our God is faithful!

 

Emerge Devotion No. 6
Apr 18, 2018

Sojourners

By Ee Zhen Ying

Last week was the first time in a long while since we’ve had our services at our Jurong West church compound. I still remember the days when I used to stay in Hougang and had to travel two hours by public transport to get to church in the far far west—and those were the days when the North-East line was non-existent. Yet, to be able to soak in the presence of God and hear His Word made all the travelling worth it!

As I was praying about what to share for devotion this week, I was reminded of the word, “sojourn.” The Oxford Dictionary defines “sojourn” as a temporary stay. While Suntec is our permanent worship location, for three weeks in April, we have to travel and sojourn in Jurong for our services.

If you think about it, we are all sojourners in this journey called “Life.” Apostle Paul says in Philippians that “our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Our permanent residence is in heaven, and earth is just temporary.

When we truly understand that earth is temporary, we will then be able to live life with greater clarity. This life that we live is not a pursuit of material goods, academic achievements, fame or popularity. It’s not about having the most Instagram followers, getting the latest gadgets, or fulfilling our #wanderlust by travelling to the most picture-worthy countries. Our life is so much more than just worldly achievements that will one day fade away. This life we live has eternal value and our reward is in heaven!

2 Cor 4:16-18 says, “16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

When we go through difficult times, know that God is dealing with our character and purifying our hearts. When we have to make tough decisions, know that God is refining our priorities, teaching us to live a life of faith. Therefore, do not lose heart. Know that God loves you, and what we go through here on earth is simply in preparation for an eternity in heaven.

 

Emerge Devotion No. 5
Apr 4, 2018

Just Believe!

By Pastor Edmund Tay

We have just celebrated Easter and God has been faithful to us by giving us a big harvest of celebrations. Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!

Many of us have been actively claiming this verse throughout Easter and God has been true to His promises.

John 4:31-35 (NKJV)
31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” 33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?” 34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!”

When we invited our friends, we had our doubts about whether they would come for Easter. In the natural, our friends and family members may not have looked ready for the harvest. They may have rejected you, or even made fun of your faith. However, that is why Jesus reminds us again that we will need to “lift up our eyes and look at the fields.”

The focus is never on the natural! When we look at difficult situations with our natural eyes, our faith will disappear. Molehills can become mountains as we turn to look at our personal limitations. As Christians, the truth is that we need God to intervene in our situations.

In the same way, when we want our breakthrough for our studies, careers or our family’s salvation, we need to “lift up our eyes” and look beyond the situation, believing God for a breakthrough. Our job is to believe and to claim God’s promises. His job is to bring it to pass.

This does not mean that we just sit back and relax. If we want to excel in our studies, we still need to study hard. Similarly, when it comes to our family’s salvation, we need to be a good testimony at home and spend time with our loved ones. As believers, we have God on our side, tackling problems together with us; working and co-laboring together with us.

Ultimately, God wants to give us the desires of our heart. As we reach out to Him, His grace is more than sufficient for us and His faithfulness will prevail over our situation. Let us continue to hold on to His promises, as He continues to do a work in our lives.

 

Emerge Devotion No. 4
Mar 21, 2018

Intercessory Prayer

By Josephine Lim

 

Emerge Devotion No. 3
Mar 7, 2018

Discipleship

By Kelvin Tan

Discipleship.

A word that is not being used often these days and its meaning is even less understood or practiced.

Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples ... ” (Matt 28:19-20) How does one actually make disciples and more importantly, how does one become a good disciple?

It’s not a coincidence that both “discipline” and “disciple” share the same root word. To be a disciple of Christ, we must be willing to discipline ourselves and to direct our energy towards spiritual training. Paul says it very well in (1 Cor 9:25-27 NIV) “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave ... ”

We have to train ourselves in matters of godliness. It takes effort, sweat, focus and a heart that is hungry for Him. Just like a child learning to speak and to walk for the first time, you may fall down, you may see little progress at first; but the more you soak yourself in His presence, the more you spend time in His Word ... what started out as a routine and discipline will eventually become a lifestyle of delight.

So youth of this generation, we’re cheering you on to be disciples of Jesus Christ!

 

Emerge Devotion No. 2
Feb 21, 2018

The Courage to Love

By Pauline Kong

Luke‬ ‭10:33‬ ‭(NLT‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬
“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.”

That journey to travel from Jerusalem to Jericho was notorious for robberies taking place and there was a good chance that the injured Jew could have been in cahoots with robbers.

How did the Samaritan find courage to help the injured Jew?

1) The Samaritan could identify with the injured man.

During those times, Samaritans held a very low status in society, which explains why he was a “despised” Samaritan.

We may feel that we are too broken to help anyone, but God knows otherwise. He uses our brokenness to identify with those who are broken and bring them to Jesus.

One man was asked, “Why did you become an alcoholic?” His answer was “Because my dad was an alcoholic.” Another man was asked, “Why are you not an alcoholic?” His answer was “Because my dad was an alcoholic.”

The shared experience brought about two completely different responses. You can choose how you want to respond to your brokenness today. Why not give it to the Lord and let Him use it to reach out to others with love and healing?

2) The Samaritan had compassion.

True compassion always leads to action; and true compassion needs practice.

In our busyness and self-centredness, it is easy to assume that we are not adequately equiped to help; or perhaps someone else will come along to help. Friends, practicing compassion is not a matter of resources, but a matter of stopping and giving what you can.

Luke‬ ‭10:34‬ ‭(NKJV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬
“So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”

The Samaritan only had oil and wine, which he used to clean the man’s wound. He knew that the man needed more help and therefore, he brought him to an inn. He didn’t have enough money and so he told the innkeeper that he would come back later with more.

Clearly, the Samaritan was not fully adequate to care for the man, but he did what he could at that moment and brought in other resources later on.

All of us can love like Jesus. What we need to do is to allow God to use our brokenness and let compassion to lead us to action.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank You for Your loving kindness towards me. Teach me to love others like how You love me. Use my brokenness to enable me to identify with those who are hurting so that I can bring hope to them. Teach me to practice compassion daily by offering the little that I have. I believe a little will become much in Your hands. In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen!

 

Emerge Devotion No. 1
Feb 7, 2018

Don’t Lose Your Sense of Awe

By Pastor Wu Yuzhuang

Exodus 19:9-13 (NKJV)
9 And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in the thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever.” So Moses told the words of the people to the LORD. 10 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves that you do not go up to the mountain or touch its base. Whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death. 13 Not a hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot with an arrow; whether man or beast, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come near the mountain.”

God wanted to speak to Moses directly, and He allowed the Children of Israel to hear their conversation so that they would believe in Moses’ leadership. However, the Children of Israel were given some serious restriction and instruction:

The first thought that came to my mind as I read this was ... Why was God so strict? Did it warrant a death penalty? What’s the big deal about talking to God and going up the mountain?

We come from a generation that questions and challenges the settings and boundaries around us. To us, meeting with God is very much needed and we do it all the time. So why were there so many restrictions? What’s the whole deal about it?

Exodus 19:16-19 (NKJV)
16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. 19 And when the blast of the trumpet sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by voice.”

Finally, the day came for the people to meet with God. There were thunders and lightnings, thick clouds and loud trumpets. Mount Sinai was completely in smoke. There were earthquakes and then the voice of God was heard.

God came down into the tabernacle of meeting to meet with Moses. God wanted the people to see Moses speaking to Him and how He responded back to Moses. To the Children of Israel, it was almost an unbelievable sight! A man actually speak with God and have God responding back to him. It had never happened before. That, was a HOLY moment. The Children of Israel were in awe! This was something uncommon! Certainly, to them, it was something holy!

But let’s fast forward to this day and age. For many of us, we view praying or doing our Quiet Time as something normal, regular or even burdensome. How do we treat the presence of God today? Very often, we would reduce our quiet moment with God to that 5-minute prayer before we sleep or saying of grace before food. Some of us pray only when we are in a crisis.

In the days of Moses, it was a supreme privilege to meet with God! They had to prepare themselves for that holy moment. Strict instructions and restrictions were given. And even so, they could only draw near and not enter into the presence of God. Today, the veil is torn and the way is open for us to enter into God’s presence without restriction. We can freely come into His presence. We can worship and pray without rules and restriction. Over time, we become over familiar with this privilege. Something that is so holy has now become common to us. Friends, we need to renew our mind concerning the presence of God; to have a holy reverence as we come before Him. Let us never lose that sense of awe of being in God’s presence, always having a hunger and an unquenchable passion for Him!

Reflect on this: Are you passionate for the Lord today? Or has spending time with God become somewhat of a routine? What are some of the things that you are passionate about and want to do for Him?

Prayer:
Dear Heavenly Father, we pray that You will set us on fire once again. Ignite and deposit in us that passion for You. Let everything that we do for You be out of a genuine love and passion and may it always be a sweet smelling aroma to You. We only have one life to live, help us to live our lives 100% for You! In Jesus name, Amen!