And you shall seek Me

And you shall seek Me

ABOUT THE VICAR

Terry Wong Photo

ARCHIVES

All 2016 September Vicar Writes

25 September 2016 | Vicar Writes

And you shall seek Me

By Terry Wong

When I came to the Lord at the age of 13, a worship chorus based on this verse was in vogue then. Some of you may remember Dale Garrett’s songbook, Scripture in Song. This chorus was a top favourite from that book. 

I can recall how this song set off some curious questions in my mind. Still fresh then was the game of “hide and seek” which I played often with those at home. The seeker was supposed to close his or her eyes and count 1 to 10 while the rest of us scurry away to find a place or way to hide. I was actually pretty good at hiding. I knew how to “play hard to get.”

And so I asked as a young teenager: Why does God play hard to get? Why does He make us count 1 to 10 and then scurry off to conceal Himself? Why does He make it so difficult for us to find Him?

It took some spiritual growing up for me to grasp the import of this verse and understand its message. The opposite is true: God is trying to show us how to find Him.

If we are cavalier in our spiritual lives, don’t expect to hear His voice or know His presence in our lives. The world - like sin crouching at the door (Genesis 4:7) - waits readily to take over every aspect of our lives. It seeks to stand in the way of our communion with God. As Isaiah 59:2 warns us, “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you…”

Jesus instead re-calls us to love God “with all heart, soul, mind and strength.”(Mark 10:30,31, Deuteronomy 6:5) Later in my Christian life, I began to understand the significance of fasting, setting aside time intentionally to read His Word, going on spiritual retreats, observing the spiritual disciplines and so on.   

I once took a lesson on Siew-Mai making (prawn dumpling) from a Dim Sum master. I struggled with making it consistently. I really thought that I could learn it on the spot. After all, I paid for the cooking lesson. He said this, “It took me many years to master this. If you can learn it in one day, why do you need a Dim Sum Master?”

Not the best illustration to reference to, I suppose. But if it is so easy to deal with sin and draw near to God, why did spiritual communion have to cost the life of His Son? Now that Jesus had gone to the cross, we may think that the way to God has been made easier and more accessible. But human nature has not changed much and on this side of life, sin is ever crouching at the door. And so, I go back to the point of spiritual disciplines. 

God is always present. Always loving. Always ready, like the Father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son to embrace us. But we are looking elsewhere and highly distracted. Unlike the Prodigal Son, we have not woken up to our senses. Sin (in the full meaning of that word) has a way of hiding Him away from us as we scurry around chasing after the things of this world. Indeed, we can’t love God and mammon at the same time (Matt 6:24).

As the apostle of love reminds us: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17) 

What I have experienced again and again is that He is not playing hard to get. Instead, I am simply too distracted. I am too mortal (not able to believe), selfish (not able to love) and fragile (easily tempted by the the triad of my desires, the world and the devil). I am always playing “hard to find.”

I need to be intentional and seek after Him. I need to close my eyes and count 1 to 10... 

18 September 2016 | Vicar Writes

Visiting cathedral.org.sg

By Terry Wong

It has taken a while but the new SAC website is now ready. We focus on what SAC needs and those we are trying to reach. We are immensely grateful to the dedication and professionalism of the team at Hop Studios (based in Vancouver, Canada - See here for their insights into the design of this new website). Enough has been done to release it for public view and use. As any good website should be,it is still very much a work in progress. Here are some features:

Reaching Visitors: These days, potential visitors will visit the website first before they come into our premises. It needs to carry as much helpful info as possible to inform and welcome visitors.

Events publicity: There are many events going on in SAC and they will receive a level of publicity suited to the nature of the event. A combination of website and social media will be used.

Vision sharing and Community integration: Information about ministries, events and people will all add to strengthening our SAC community. The weekly Vicar Writes is also posted online here. The 2016 AGM report can be viewed. On-going projects like the Jurong Building project will be given some focus.

Ministry News: What is going on in PKH? Or the latest Medical trip to Batam? What are the latest SMF activities? How is the soon-to-be eleven:30 Service progressing? What is the vision behind the new cafe and how will it benefit you? The website can be a channel for news like these.

Courier Online: You can catch some latest articles written by SAC staff and members. We have also published some past Courier articles. There are uplifting testimonies of God@work and helpful teaching articles.

History, heritage and culture: This is potentially a huge section which is still very much a work in progress. We continue to work with those who are interested in researching our history to ensure that the public and future generations have accurate access to the past. Even what is happening today will be tomorrow’s history. The website can be a growing repository of data and resources which can benefit future generations.

Administration: There should be easy access to admin resources, including baptism sign- up forms, briefing for those wanting to get married in the Cathedral, info on financial giving, membership needs, how one may serve and so on.

There is still much work needed on the site. On your part, use it regularly and participate. Get onto our mailing list (cathedral.org.sg/page/subscribe) or sign up on our Facebook page (@standrewcath). Give us feedback (info@cathedral.org.sg) and suggestions on ways to improve it. A successful site is not just about the design but how the community owns and uses it.

May the Lord use this site for the purpose of His glory and Gospel. 

11 September 2016 | Vicar Writes

Missions and Evangelism

By Terry Wong

SAC’s Committee on Missions and Evangelism (COME) met last Wednesday, 31 August. COME is chaired by Deaconess Bessie Lee and its members include various heads and representatives of SAC’s Missions Ministries, SAC Missions Department staff, and appointed members of the Parochial Church Council. Various matters were discussed:

The Missions Policy regarding missions internships was updated:

These interns are SAC members who serve for fixed periods of time at local or overseas mission stations, with a view to determining God’s call on their lives to be professionally engaged in Christian ministry and missions.

COME supervises 3 categories of internships:

SERVE interns refer to youths awaiting tertiary education or national service. This internship is for 2 to 6 months.

TRIBUTE interns are young people who have completed their education and who wish to spend a gap year in missions.

MINISTRY APPRENTICES are working adults who take a year or two away from their jobs to be engaged in Christian ministry and missions work.

Hannah Chee completed a 3-year term in Lat Krabang Anglican Church; she is now doing a 6-month course at the Discipleship Training School (DTS), with Youth With A Mission (YWAM), at Chiangrai, Thailand. Belinda Lim completed a 1-year stint in Lat Krabang; she is currently on course at the YWAM-DTS in Singapore. At YWAM-DTS, Hannah and Belinda are now partially supported by SAC and contributions to their training needs are welcome (email: geraldinelau@cathedral.org.sg). Two other interns, Samantha Ooi and Joshua Kwok are still serving in Lat Krabang and Ho Chih Minh City, respectively.

COME is also responsible for longer-term missions workers. One is serving with Operation Mobilisation and eight with Project Khmer H.O.P.E. in Cambodia.

Missions Month in November:

There will be a focus on missions work at some of our Services. We will give emphasis to the work of our Diocese in the deaneries of Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia. SAC hopes to make a good contribution to the Diocesan effort to raise funds for its missions work; this project is called “Give Him a Hundred”.

Missions Evening

SAC members and friends will be coming together for purposeful fellowship on Friday, 18 November, to encourage one another to up our involvement in missions. All can have a share in this work of the church and Connect Groups are especially invited to this event.

The programme for the evening will be held at SAC; it includes a buy-sell of products from countries served by SAC’s missions ministries, an exhibition to provide information on SAC’s range of missions work, testimonies from workers and beneficiaries in the mission fields, and a simple buffet dinner.

Missions trips and security issues:

COME discussed the recent threats to security especially in the countries of SAC’s missions work, and set certain measures to guide mission teams ministering overseas.

The Missions Ministries represented on COME:

• 289 Fellowship of the Manger, Batam

(Mr Mike Nga)

• Batam Medical Outreach

(Dr Joseph Thambiah)

• Boys Brigade & Girls’ Brigade, 5 BB and 3 GB Coys, Singapore

(Mr Wee Lian Kuanh)

• Healing of the Nations, Medan

(Dr Joseph Thambiah)

• Mobile Medical Outreach to Foreign Workers, Singapore

(Dr Joseph Thambiah)

• Project Khmer H.O.P.E. , Cambodia

(Miss Adeline Hee)

• Vietnam Interest Group,

(Miss Karen Chua)

4 September 2016 | Vicar Writes

Works at CNS

By Terry Wong

The air-conditioning systems at CNS B1, B2 and the Welcome Centre are presently being replaced. They have served us since 2005. We will be looking to upgrade the Sanctuary’s chiller system at a later date.

Works will also start soon at the Welcome Center which will involve the following:

  • Fabricating and installing a new counter to accommodate a Cafe serving area which can serve a wider variety of hot and cold drinks.
  • A new information desk area and improving the way we serve visitors and members.
  • Refurnishing the seating area to include more tables to encourage community interaction
  • To introduce different types of seating which can cater to the needs of the young and senior alike.

These steps will enhance the way CWC is being used every day of the week and make it more effective as a channel for community interaction and outreach.

We will also make the door between the chapel and CWC accessible again so that there is better integration between the two spaces when an event requires that. For example, before a meeting starts at the chapel, the pre-meeting gathering is at the Cafe/CWC. Think of lunchtime talks for example or even a small Alpha group. The Chapel is underused at the moment and this link will encourage better use of that space.

As for the Prayer Halls, we have plans to renovate this heavily used space so that it is suitable to host a main Service, i.e. the new eleven:30 Service. We intend to name this space (any good ideas out there? Cranmer Halls?) We will construct a new stage, improve the video projection, acoustics and lighting.

There are also plans to consider building a canopy over the amphitheatre area and parts of the lawn so that it can better serve the need for community space, pre and post Service overflow, wedding receptions etc. This also means that the tents adjacent to the Nave (can be an eye sore!) will not be necessary. That area can be landscaped and refurbished with weather-proof garden benches and tables.

The CNS basement classrooms are also being refurbished and partitioned into smaller meeting rooms. There is also a major spring cleaning going on at the CNS basement area and new cupboards will be brought in to meet storage needs neatly.

All these are being done to better serve the community and the vision/mission of the church. As always, we welcome feedback. Email to feedback@cathedral.org.sg

ABOUT THE VICAR

Terry Wong Photo

Revd Canon Terry Wong is the Vicar of the Cathedral. He writes weekly for the weekend Service bulletins and the articles are posted on this site.

Recent Vicar Writes

25 September And you shall seek Me
18 September Visiting cathedral.org.sg
11 September Missions and Evangelism
4 September Works at CNS