Tuesday, May 18, 2010

To Be A Tramp For The Lord

I wrote the following on Sunday. :)

Mmm. This is probably going to be an ultra-looooong stream-of-consciousness rendering. =) But oh, I am so happy.

1. Today's service was so encouraging. I woke up in the morning for the first time in many weeks with a peaceful heart, because of the reassurance that I had done the right and mature thing in settling something that had been causing me a great deal of uncertainty in the past few months. So I realised what the Bible says about the righteous having peace is really so true. Peace is such a blessing, especially when you know that you did the right thing in God's eyes. What a joy peace is. =)

Hmm. Then the service today. Wow. The songs were as though God was using the songs to let me know that He knows perfectly everything that I've been through. And the song, "Lord I Offer My Life To You", really gripped my heart. I think it's like God is telling me that one major "campaign" of my life has passed, and a new period shall begin soon. To borrow a term from Ps Jeff's sermon - this is a new kairos.

And I was so inspired by Ps Jeff's sermon! It really echoes what I think God has been placing in my heart increasingly! =D You know, I've been thinking and praying about what kind of work I shall do. I ended up having a good chat with Weizhu near his office yesterday (we were just chilling out, but the discussion went deeper)... and we talked about the kind of jobs that we really want to do. And now, Ps Jeff's sermon - God's guidance for me revealed more clearly.

Ps Jeff shared about how Jiexian was led by God to go to Chile as a missionary. The most dramatic thing about her testimony... was how undramatic it was. But the beautiful thing was that Jiexian came to know Christ in the NUS ministry, started aligning her heart with God's heartbeat... until she started centering her plans, family, future, career, dreams all around God's vision.

Personally, I felt very excited when Ps Jeff shared about Jiexian's testimony. Because at that point, like a volcano that suddenly erupts after lying dormant for so many years, I have this increasingly strong impression that God may be calling me to a particular place already.

I was worried about the cost, but I'm reminded that I'll just do my best practically. If God has truly called me to go, He will supply the rest of the costs. You know, I was inspired by Joyce's testimonies about how God met her financial needs for her missions trips... AND her holiday trips! She did her best practically (which was really quite small), but God miraculously met the rest of her finanical needs through other means.

2. Now I see how the future is starting to unfold exponentially for me. If it is God's will, this year, I hope to start a Nerf-gun club for the boys in June... and in July, start trying out volunteer storytelling. And perhaps an English-language enrichment class for children, especially the Chinese nationals in the later half of the year. To write more plays for the children in church. And pioneer more creative teams.

Then... perhaps at the end of this year, I'll go down to that place to visit the churches there. Honestly, I dunno how I can help. But see where God leads me. Oh. Just to clarify, I mean it as a short-term mission trip. But maybe a longer short-term missions trip... I want value for my money lah. I spend $4 or 5K, I want to make sure I squeeeeeeze heaven and earth out of my money ok. Haha.

Anyway, it's very meaningful to me, this hope, because in 2001, I responded to an altar call to go missions to that country. And everyone around me prayed for me. Then God helped me learn a language really, really fast. But after that, for the next decade, I didn't sense anything from God regarding going to that place. So I went on a couple of missions trips in the meantime, and God really stirred my heart to see how children are so important in missions and so precious to Him. And now, nearly ten years later, this thought about going to that place just came in today. =)

It's so beautiful to see how God can take all the little unresolved 'threads' of your life and like the master storyteller that He is, weave all these little thread into a grand narrative that declares His glory. Lord, I offer my life to You. Everything I've been through - use it for Your glory...

Wow. So God may have called me to get ready to prepare and get ready to go. In effect, He's put me on standby, to be ready to be mobilized anytime. But when? I dunno. That's why I said it's like being on standby. Hee. :) After the past one year, I've learnt that when He says "go", you just pack up and go. =) The blessing of obeying Him is that I've grown so much more in intimacy with God, and have the joy of seeing Him work so real and visibly in my life. How good God is! How great He is! How REAL God is!

Yet I feel very burdened for my fellow bros and sisters who sometimes get rather sian with the Christian life. Yes, their lives could be more exciting. But I wonder, is it because God didn't call them? I don't think so. After all, He said that "many are called...". Thus I think, it's simply because they chose not to have faith in God, choosing to look at the present "realities" rather than the reality of His presence. "So we see that they were not able to enter [the Promised Land], because of their unbelief." Hebrews 3:19

Again, it's not just about us making plans to go here or there, not even about missions. It's about us first aligning our hearts to His big big heart. To be CONSECRATED TO HIM. TO BE HOLY. TO BE SET APART FOR HIS USE. To be - first and foremost - His child. So we must be called by God first.

BUT... we can make ourselves freely and unreservedly available to be called upon by Him, and IF He pleases and IF your heart is single-minded to be totally His, then He can choose to train, equip and send you... anywhere He wants you to go.

3. Hmm. I think some of you may ask me what about Cambodia though?

That's the thing. I was praying and asking God where to go to next? Honestly, I do not know. But humanly speaking, I think that I can start out on this whole missions business first by supporting our Hope churches overseas first, and practically speaking, I think that place's not a bad place to start.

Just that I'll need $$$ to rain down from heaven like manna. :P But maybe I could also do fund-raising, etc... or write and ask for sponsors... see what are the most feasible ways to work it out. And oh yes, PRAY and FAST too. Because God's work done God's way will never lack God's supply. Amen! That's why I am preparing to be a freelancer. Being a freelance web developer is a great thing in the sense that you can really take your business pretty much anywhere - have internet, will travel. :)

Then... after maybe 5 or 10 years doing missions in that place, maybe go to another place that I also have in mind. Maybe another 5 or 10 years there... then go elsewhere? :) I hope I can be a globe-trotter for the Lord - or in Corrie ten Boom's own words: "I am a tramp for the Lord." Inspired by Peter Truong's lifestyle here.

Gosh. A 15-years plan. But that's the power of being called by God. Eventually you can't but help plan... and plan eagerly... because you've been touched by the all-consuming love of God and you can't but help burn with passion to see this Bible verse come true:
Habbakuk 2:14
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
as the waters cover the sea.
So, like Jiexian, God has guided my heart to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness... to align my career choices, my dreams, my hopes, and so on, along the lines of extending His kingdom.

What about writing + media? That's another thing I'm thinking about. Honestly I don't know. I can't say anything much except that from what I can see so far, this media is meant to be used for missions. Of course, practically speaking, I suppose I can always take photos and do a book on my travels and write stories about the children there + raise social awareness. I think that's how God might be able to integrate my writing skills too. Writing scripts as well, 'cos if you want to communicate across different cultures, it helps to have visual aids.

And... you know, I prefer plays + skits with minimal dialogue, because of my hearing-impairment ever since young. So I've loved watching mime... especially since they transcend cultures by employing universally understood human motions. =) Who knows? Plus the video camera I brought along to Africa + camera I brought to Cambodia really attracted the kids. So I reckon, reasonably speaking, is how I see the three passions I have become combined: media, missions and ministry to children. =)

4. There's so much preparation needed in so many areas, but I think what's important is to first and foremost be devoted to God and capture His heartbeat for people. To be consecrated and set apart for Him to use. To totally surrender, be totally abandoned unto God. And to know His will clearly as expressed in the Scriptures. There's really no substitute for studying His Word to know His will and listen to His heartbeat for all mankind and to learn from His infinite wisdom.

Well... yup. =) This is going to be a long, long journey. But oh, these quotes inspire me:
"God, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. And sever any tie in my heart except the tie that binds my heart to Yours."
— David Livingstone

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
- Jim Elliot

"Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God."
- William Carey

"I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done."
- Hudson Taylor

"Many Christians estimate difficulty in the light of their own resources, and thus they attempt very little and they always fail. All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence to be with them."
- Hudson Taylor

:) Thanks for reading this super-long epic extended edition! :) You made it...


All About Shenteng said...

Thanks for sharing this heart-felt entry. I believe that God will show you clearer as you desire to do His will. :)

yeu@nn said...

Hee! Thanks so much Shenteng! I really appreciate your encouragement! :D