My Key Learning Points in Preaching for the First Time

Haven’t been writing for a while… I always tell people that I hate writing, and yes I really don’t like to write because I can’t seem to write very well, but I do have a thing for blogging. Maybe because this is my own space and I have the freedom to write about anything and everything that my heart desires.

“Lord, what do you want me to write about?” I caught myself asking this question as I stared at my computer screen. I was eager to write a post but I had no idea what to write. Too many things have happened the past 3-4 months, and when I asked the Lord what to write, He brought to mind my first preaching experiences in my youth ministry. So here goes…

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The first time I ever preached was in Sri Lanka. I could still remember vividly the sermon I preached, and the feeling of sharing the word of God to the crowd. Initially I was nervous, but as I started speaking, I found myself enjoying it and in fact it was right after I finished preaching the sermon that I felt the Lord say this is what He will lead me to do in the future. At that point, I didn’t really know what God meant – all I knew in my 19-year-old understanding was I’m going to serve God with my life.

Fast-forward to about 6 years later, with much difficulty yet by the grace of God, I am finally in the place where God had been preparing me for – R-AGE, my very own church‘s youth ministry.

I have preached in other countries, taught in children’s church, taught in youth cell groups, but never preached to a youth group in Singapore before. The first time I preached onย home ground was on the 23 April 2016. I felt so stressed during the time leading up to that day, especially the few days before that day. I was stressed for the following reasons:

  1. That I couldn’t deliver the Word of God accurately to the young people
  2. That I couldn’t make the Word of God relevant for the young people
  3. That I couldn’t hear God properly, resulting in sharing an untimely message to the young people
  4. That I couldn’t articulate the thoughts properly to the young people

Even thought I surrendered these fears to God before I went up to preach, it wasn’t until recently after I preach my second sermon to the younger youths, the pre-teens, that God showed me a revelation of serving Him in this area of preaching.

  1. Preaching is not about how good a speaker I am, but how great a God He is.
  2. Focus on preaching the Word of God accurately and precisely, not on persuading the congregation with flowery words.
  3. The response of the congregation does not determine whether I have done a good job because what matters to God is my obedience in delivering His word and delivering it accurately.

To sum up, God wants our obedience when we serve Him (not only in the area of preaching). And when we have the privilege of sharing His word, to share it accurately.

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Redeem One

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About 6 months ago, PJ and I met to catch up and he shared with me his vision of Redeem One over lunch. I was excited but I don’t recall saying yes to be a part of it. 2 months after the meet-up, I see a WA group “Redeem Movement 2014” appeared in my WA. I was like “huh? win.” but I did it anyway ๐Ÿ™‚

The conference ended yesterday, and today marks the first day of the movement; low and behold, I am eternally grateful to be a part of this vision. We saw God move from the first day of conference to the last day of conference – surely God is faithful. He met with the young people just as He has promised – “Draw near to me and I will draw near to you.” and “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”. It is God’s promise to us to when we seek Him with all our hearts, He will be found by us. He will meet with us. And yes, we did right there at the conference. The spiritual atmosphere changed from what felt like a heavy dark cloud hovering above us on the first night, to a light hearted joyous celebration on the last night at the conference – it was simply amazing, and I could only stand in awe of what I saw.

In the words of PJ – “Finally. Finally the young people of R-AGE knows the true meaning of their youth group – to Redeem A Generation for Eternity.”. I am excited to think about R-AGErs growing in the Lord and R-AGE growing for the glory of God. Indeed every opportunity to serve in the youth ministry makes me want to go back to the ministry so much more, but I have so little capacity right now.

Lord, if it is Your will, I pray for greater capacity. Greater capacity to love the young people, greater capacity to have compassion for the young people, and greater capacity to minister in this area.

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Not just an experience, it’s an encounter.

For the past three days, I was suffering from a lack of sleep and my mind was constantly active. I am emceeing for YAYP service this weekend (today) and it’s my first time doing it at yayp, hence I thought I needed more time to prepare. But no, things happen and I wasn’t given the time that I think I would need to do it. I was totally stressed up and I feel overwhlemed everytime I thought about it. Yes stressed up and that is something that I have never felt before.

On Thursday night, ST happened to text me right after I told LC that I needed to talk to ST about it. So as I replied ST, it gave me an opportunity to talk to her about how I was feeling about emceeing this weekend. She affirmed me and shared with me abit of the flow of emceeing in yayp. I felt more relieved after talking to her, but still, I wasn’t feeling perfect about it. I continued to pray and ask God to place His words in my heart that He wants to speak to His people about. I asked God for strength and for sensitivity to hear Him speak.

Friday past, Saturday came and 45 minutes before service started, there wasn’t any word that the Lord has given me. 30 minutes to service, I felt the Lord lead me to Psalm 127:1 for pre-service prayer. I continued to pray in my heart for words to speak to His people.

Service finally started. I went up, shared the verse and prayed… there were moments that I felt there wasn’t words to pray but I was constantly reminded that ministry belongs to the Lord. Prayer isn’t about me, it’s about God. In fact, nothing in this world is about me, it’s all about God.

As soon as worship started, and the next thing on my mind was closing worship. “God, what is it that you want to tell your people? Speak to me Lord. Use me.” Thats all I could tell the Lord because I really didn’t know how I should close worship. Then I felt God saying “dont worry. Just focus on worship” so I did and when I sang the songs, the Lord used them to minister to me. The Lord brought me back to the past three days that I was struggling to prepare for emceeing. He showed me that truly what I needed was just to trust Him and find rest in Him. His grace will always be enough for me (and you).

Then at the fourth song, my attention went back to closing worship again, but this time, Psalm 23 was placed on my heart. I read this Psalm to the congregation and closed in prayer.

Next was welcoming guests, tithes n offerings, and announcements. Honestly, this section is my weakness. I’m not fluent and sometimes even incoherent when doing this section of the service. This time also like that.. sigh.. maybe I need more practice. Haha..

When the time for sermon came, I was all ears. I had to pay special attention to what was preached because I had to close the service. That doesn’t mean that I don’t usually pay attention, it’s just that I had to pay extra attention. Haha.. and as I listened to the sermon, I realise even more how good God is. Truly God brings us through life to learn and to mould us. I start to realise even more that throughout this emceeing journey, from the prep to the end, God was teaching me something new. Well, perhaps not something new but something that I’d never realised.

Although there were parts that I think I didn’t do too well as an emcee, but at the end of the day, when I think back, I can only thank God for the opportunity because He is more concerned about me rather than whether I am a good emcee. He cared more whether I learnt something out of it than simply letting me enjoy the process of emceeing. God loves me (and you) and cares about me (and you too!). ๐Ÿ™‚

22 weeks at GF

“0 days to END OF IA!!!!”

Yes, that’s what I actually put on the screen of my phone. I countdown to the end of IA because I really dreaded it soooo much. Each day I looked forward to the day that it will state “0 days to END OF IA!!!!” and the day has finally come. It is today.

Time is the best gift one can ever give. That’s what I truly believe. Plus the fact that my colleagues love to eat (well majority of them…), I decided to take time to bake some cupcakes for them on my last day — RED VELVET CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING.ย It’s my first time baking that and I have absolutely no idea if they will turn out right, I could only pray that God will help me make it right. Haha.. It’s true..

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Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Nice red colour

 

And guess what? Of course one man’s meat is another man’s poison so it’s impossible to satisfy the tastebuds of every person but I’m glad that regardless of whether they liked it or not, I’m very sure they appreciated it and yes, I know they liked it! ๐Ÿ™‚ haha..

As I think back, I can only thank God for His faithfulness and His goodness to me during these 22 weeks. As human as I am, I couldn’t see what God was doing with my life at GF initially, but now, I do.. My mind cannot comprehend how it would have been like to NOT be in GF.. I had such great colleagues, such an awesome internship environment (where people are always so nice to one another), I even made friends with the security guards! ๐Ÿ™‚ Which intern will have the privilege to have a supervisor that treats him/her like a friend? where you can say whatever you usually say to your friends? Well, I did.. ๐Ÿ™‚ “ไฝ okๅ—๏ผŸ” *fist bumps* and whatever else that I do or say to my friends normally.. Haha.. He never looked down on me when I didn’t know my stuff. He taught me and explained to me anything that i didn’t know. Today he thanked me and told me that I really helped him alot, but honestly, I didn’t know how I have helped in terms of work. Haha.. It really felt like I didn’t do much to help him :/ but yes, that’s what he said and he even tried to show me how much I have helped. haha.. How nice right? People call him ‘Tiaw’ by the way…

I also had a colleague who was really nice.. People call him ‘Mong’ but I always feel weird when I call him that maybe because he gives me the ‘fatherly’ feeling.. haha.. I will always remember him for the one time that he brought me into the fab cos my supervisor was on leave. He taught me the basics of a CA liner tool (and abit of Cu tool), which I believe I wouldn’t have been able to learn if not for him. Thank God for him, really… He even shares his experiences with me.. His life at home, back then when he was in school, and today, his travelling experiences.. haha.. It’s really quite funny what he shared..

Every single one of them made my experience in GF a truly unique one. Now that I think of it, I might even cry.. Haha.. We played ไธ€็ฌ”็”ป together, trying to outplay one another… We introduced to one another what are the good food at Marsiling Hawker Centre…

I really have the best supervisor.. He even brought me to the fab today JUST to take photos. Haha.. He even took into consideration to bring me upstairs cos it’s more secluded.. So people won’t see.. (supposedly not allowed to take photos in fab) Haha..

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Act yi ge working

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RARRR!!~

Alright, ’nuff said, I wanna end this post by thanking God once again for all that He’s given me during this semester, and I pray that He will help me to continue to reach out to them even when I am no longer in the company anymore. ๐Ÿ™‚ ALL GLORY TO GOD!

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Sup and I

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Uncle Prakesh, the security guard

Sneaks of REAL 2013

Planning a REAL program has always been what I desired ever since I finished my very own REAL program in 2010. I wanted the young people to have a chance to use this platform to get deeper and real with God. Because I did.

And so about four weeks ago, Sheryl was the usher for the English service at G2. “hey tiff! you attended REAL before right?” “uh huh…” “I was thinking if you would like to be involved in the lock-in camp for REAL next year…” *eyes bright up* “you’re doing REAL program next year?” “errr…yupp” “wow cool! Okok!!” “alright! I will contact you again to meet up totals about it!” “Okok!”

After that short conversation with her that week, I was like ‘woah! God You must be kidding me..’ I couldn’t believe I will actually be involved in REAL 2013?!

About two weeks later, we arranged a date to meet to talk about it. And the date is today. ๐Ÿ™‚

So we met for dinner just now and we chatted over dinner.. Not ONLY about REAL but really just sharing about life. She told me my role in the lock-in camp and because I’m the kind that needed a theme to work with, I asked if there was a theme that I could follow.

She took out a piece of paper and started to share the vision that she has for REAL2013, and when i heard the theme verse, I was shocked. It’s the exact verse that God has shown me since last Friday during cell. Things couldn’t be so coincidental.. So we both got really quite excited the more we talked about it.. Haha..

Oh yes.. And we also got the chance to talk about full time in church.. And I’m glad we met today because I felt she could understand the situation I am in and I thank God for our meeting up today ๐Ÿ™‚

McDonald’s aunty

*ding dong* “Choa Chu Kang”

I alighted from the train and made my way towards the seats outside McDonalds in hope that there might be empty seats for me to sit there, read my book, and wait for Sheryl.

As I approached that area, my eyes met with those of an old lady that’s sitting alone at that area as well. I went over to an empty seat and as I was adjusting myself in the seat, the aunty said “you need some tissue to clean the table?” “Hmm it’s ok.. thank you..” I said.

Then she started to take out some pieces of paper and started to talk to me. I felt something strange within ny heart. I took the chair I was sitting on and went beside the aunty. She started to talk to me in hokkien about her problems and me being me, asked deeper in hope to find out more and even better, be able to share the gospel.

Our conversation reached a point where she started sharing about her life and tears filled her eyes as she spoke. Honestly, I almost cried when I was listening to her.

“Eh? You believe in Jesus?” She asked. “Yes I do. Do you?” I said. To my surprise, she knows the gospel and she’s even been to a church in clementi before.. she told me she’s been meeting Christians recently who came to talk to her, helped her and even bought food for her. And so I shared with her which church I attend and invited her to Grace cos I thought it is near her house. She agreed and was even glad that she will be going. I agreed to meet her this Sunday to bring her to the hokkien service. ๐Ÿ™‚

Really thank God for the opportunity to be able to reach out to this aunty.. and pray with me that she will come to know the Lord more deeply and even find her purpose in God in time to come.. ๐Ÿ™‚