Evangelist J. John was in Singapore last year for a Pastors and Marketplace Leaders Gathering at St Andrew’s Cathedral.
With just a few weeks to Celebration of Hope, we share here some thoughts inspired by his message which still stir our spirits and move our hearts:
1. Love is action, whatever it takes!
"They made an opening in the roof above and lowered the man…” MARK 2:4
Four men took their paralysed friend on a stretcher to see Jesus (MARK 2:2-5). A huge crowd had gathered, jamming the access doors. Nobody could get in or out. The desperate four had no choice but to climb the roof and remove a part of it to create a hole large enough to lower the man on his stretcher to Jesus.
What a powerful picture of love in action! Indeed, love is more than feelings. Love is a verb. Love looks like something. Love is an active experience that can sometimes be precarious. And if biblical love requires risk and costs us time and energy to be the best neighbour we can be, then the four friends of the paralytic win hands down. They personify love in an extraordinary
Celebration of Hope challenges every Christian to make extra-special efforts in loving Singapore. Non-believers make up 80% of our population. They are all around us: family members, friends, neighbours, colleagues, classmates, strangers. Where there is a will, there is a way. To this, J.John adds: Let’s lift up the roof of our thinking to get people to Jesus.
2. People are our focus, no matter what!
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. 2 TIMOTHY 4:5
The Early Church faced persecution. At the same time, false teachers threatened to undo the fledgling Christian community with their fake gospel. Amidst all that, Paul exhorted his protégé, Timothy, to stay focused and faithful, to carry out the ministry expected of him, including the work of an evangelist. According to the original Greek text, the Apostle Paul instructs Pastor Timothy to think like an evangelist and lead his church like an evangelist, whether Timothy sees that as his spiritual gift or not.
In other words, eat, sleep, and breathe evangelism, no matter what. Evangelism is about pastoring the lost people of our city. We watch and pray, we search and rescue, we care and share. Pastoral care and evangelism are not mutually exclusive. They are integral to what it truly means to be the Church Jesus builds.
Celebration of Hope challenges every local church to pastor our city, to reach the world by reaching ‘our’ world. Be other-centric. Because when we are other-centric, we will naturally cultivate our web of relationships. We will pay close attention to the lost among us, many of whom we know in person and by name. We will get the Gospel conversations going. We will adjust our schedules to flow with theirs, and make sure we are there for them at the rallies. If our unsaved friends make a decision to follow Jesus at the rallies, well and good. But if not, the conversation continues, the pastoring carries on. Without a doubt, God will use Celebration of Hope to spark countless conversations between believers and unbelievers all across our city—for the sake of the Gospel.
Be other-centric. Get in touch with long-lost friends who have yet to follow Jesus. Be imaginative. Think out of the box. What are some ingenious ways to engage them? Cool ideas to warm their hearts and win them over for Jesus. Go the extra mile and accompany them to the rallies.