It’s the end of the year again! This year, I’ve written very little – only 7 posts before this one. But there’s been a lot of stuff that’s been brewing in my mind that I will share a bit here, but will do so more hopefully next year in longer posts.
Street Healing in Singapore
I started to get serious about healing early 2010 after listening to Curry Blake’s Divine Healing Technican (DHT) course (go to my Healing Resources to get the course) – and having read Bill Johnson for a few years previously. Most of my posts have been about healing since then. A group of us Singaporeans passionate about healing soon got together (we’re now on the Singapore Healing Room Facebook Group) to meet from occasionally to regularly. We met pretty regularly the 2nd half of 2010 (up to weekly in some months) but slowed down starting from 2011. In April, we invited Roger Sapp to Singapore, Malaysia and Batam early this year. Before that in March, some of us attended Randy Clarks’ mini School of Healing and Impartation at Cornerstone Community Church. By the way, Randy Clark and Bill Johnson will be in Singapore for a full School of Healing and Impartation next March (2012) – find out details here at Kingdom Invasion and many of us are excitedly looking forward to it.
As mentioned here on a post Street Healing in Singapore, a group of South African youths came to Singapore to visit New Creation Church in January. We met up with them and also spent time doing a treasure hunt at night in Geylang. This led to contact with some migrant workers we prayed for who got healed there. They contacted me July this year to pray for their friend and we went to a square in Little India to pray for them and saw literally dozens of people flock to us for prayer for healing. Since August, the group has met about 8 times from August to December to minister to these migrant workers in Little India and organized a BBQ for about 20-30 migrant workers on Deepavali. You can find out more about this ministry at Singapore Healing Forum.
In 2012, we’re planning to meet alternate weeks: one week to minister healing in Little India and the other at a member’s home to discuss healing, study the Bible on healing, pray for people’s healing and just grow in our ministry of healing. This group consist of Christians from various Churches and some of them are helping out in different “Healing Rooms” in Singapore. You are definitely welcome to join us.
I know at least two other groups who go to the streets of Singapore to minister healing and also prophesy. God is indeed doing something new these past few years and it’s wonderful to see the Church go out into the world and the streets to demonstrate the love of God as Jesus did.
Preaching and Teaching
I wrote last year that I hope to start preaching and teaching to young people this year. I specifically said “young people” because I’m not that old and I guess I feel more comfortable relating to young people and also because of my relative lack of experience. Well, I actually preached a total of 4 times this year – ranging from 10 minutes to about an hour to between 15 to 100+ people – but the crowd was a normal crowd, not specifically a younger crowd.
It was definitely a challenge for me to preach – but a challenge I gladly took because I love to challenge myself and I know this is something I want to do more of in future and something I do believe God has called me to. I prepared a lot and was definitely a bit nervous as anyone would be! But I do enjoy sharing what I’ve been learning – I have received a lot over the years throgh many people’s teaching and preaching and I want to give out through the same way. While I still have so much to learn in terms of how to preach and share, I am happy to have gotten started.
I know I have my own unique way of approaching preaching and teaching. My Christian journey has allowed me to appreciate very good solid theology because of my non-charismatic Reformed background. I’m also an Arts and Social Science graduate who loves to do research and understand different perspectives and who has written lots of argumentative essays. In other words, I’m very left-brain dominant and a perfect candidate for membership in any non-charismatic church whose messages are comparatively more theoretical, intellectual and theological than sermons in charismatic churches. But I’m not like that.While I do find a lot of charismatic teaching and preaching too shallow for my liking, I also find a lot of non-charismatic and Reformed teachings too theoretical. So I’m very much in between, appreciating the strengths of the charismatic and non-charismatic worlds of Christianity. And I’ve been like that for 15 years and many times I’ve felt like a misfit where I am. But I’m already used to that.
While I can’t stand a lot of charismatic teaching and preaching, that’s not to say I don’t listen to them. I listen to all kinds of charismatic teachers and preachers (although I’m selective) because I think I can learn from everyone and everybody has different gifts. And I also don’t think the way I like to learn (as a left-brain dominant person) is a holistic way. We all need to be balanced in terms of functioning in the left and right brain. Because I’m left-brain dominant, I’ve been trying to be more open to functioning with my right-brain. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere (Hearing God’s Voice Again), I believe prophetic people and those who flow more in the Spirit tend to be right-brain dominant. And that’s why I want to be open to tap on the right-brain. Prophets and prophetic people, because of their inclination to being right-brain dominant, also tend to be really bad teachers and preachers. This is of course not always true – I think Kris Vallotton is a good preacher.
I’m also more postmodern (or maybe more accurately critical-realist) in outlook in that while I believe in absolute truth, I also believe we human beings interpret the Word through our own biased lenses. I don’t just accept anything taught by anyone (even my favourite preachers/teachers). I find many Christians (especially charismatics because of their bent to the anti-intellectual and anti-theoretical) too accepting of teachings they’re taught by their pastors or favourite teachers. Because of my background in Reformed theology and my reading of many different Christian traditions, I tend to be more critical and I would acknowledge different perspectives and views and the fact that I don’t know many things. God’s truth is absolute but our interpretation can easily be flawed. I find no place for a lot of dogmatism I see in the Church today, which to me has sparked the growth of the emerging Church movement and the anti-institutionalism of many modern Christian movements. However, in relation to preaching, while I understand a lot of it is our interpretation (and I don’t want to mistake my view of things for gospel truth), I know many times in teaching and preaching (especially) you sometimes have to speak in absolutes if not you don’t really get anywhere.
Anyway, out of all the ministers who have influenced me in recent years and who hold on to beliefs that are similar, I think Andrew Wommack is one of the best teachers of the Word. He’s charismatic (in beliefs), yet teaches in a very solid, logical and organized way that has benefited many people around the world. I think the organization of his teaching is one of his great strengths and the reason why so many have benefited from his ministry. I think Joseph Prince is one of the best preachers. His teaching is also very good, although many times it tends to be very disorganized. However, when he preaches a message that is more or less organized, he’s one of the best preachers in the world. Joseph Prince is probably more holistic in his balance of preaching/teaching skills, though I think Andrew Wommack is more holistic in his message (he touches on many important topics and not just focus on grace). By the way, I’m defining ‘teaching’ here as something that’s slightly more left-brain oriented that appeals more to the mind and logic and ‘preaching’ as slightly more right-brain oriented that appeals more to the emotions.
I’m still very new in teaching and preaching but I do want to improve. My strength is more on the teaching and left-brain organization and logic (as people can see from this blog and my writings) and I want to improve more on the right-brain aspects to sharing – appealing to emotions, using stories, being led by the Spirit, prophetic preaching, etc.
My heart has always been doing ministry full-time. And I do intend to move into that in future after prospering in my businesses. I don’t want to work for a Church or ministry and be beholden to the politics of institutional Christianity. I want the financial freedom to be able to minister where I feel God wants me to go – and to minister freely especially to the marginalized and the poor and disciple them in their identity in Christ. Now is the time of learning and applying what I’ve learned. The essential message that’s been brewing in my heart these few years is “identity in Christ”. Topics like grace, new creation, new covenant, finished work, sonship, Daddy’s love, etc., is all related to that. And this message of a new identity in Christ ought to be applied in all areas. I want to focus on the healing ministry in future. But right now, I want to apply that message in my life especially to prosperity and my businesses. Eventually I will do more preaching and teaching and I can’t wait for that to happen, but I’m enjoying my time right now too.
On Dr. James B. Richards
I’ve learned many things this year. I continue to encounter new ministers to learn from. Before 2011, the people who have had the biggest impact upon my theology and Christian life in recent years have been Joseph Prince, Bill Johnson, Curry Blake, Andrew Wommack, Roger Sapp and Dave Roberson. Probably the person who has had the biggest impact upon my Christian life and theology this year is Dr. James B. Richards of Impact Ministries. I’d seen his book Grace: The Power To Change around in various bookstores for a few years but never picked it up. I knew he was a grace-based preacher, but I thought he was probably like others and maybe didn’t add anything radically new to what I’ve already learned from others so I resisted getting into his teachings. Actually, right now, though I love his teachings, I still haven’t read that particular book. But I’ve read and listened to dozens of hours of his teachings and interviews and have gone through his Heart Physics program.
I think the first teaching of his I got into was his Anatomy of a Miracle which touches on Quantum Physics. I had been interested in Quantum Physics and its relation to faith and miracles and his book was all about that. I’ve become interested in recent years in the relationship between science and the Bible and Quantum Physics has a lot to say about this. So I read that and went on to his other materials. James Richards is definitely very different from many grace-based preachers. He has degrees in theology, human behaviour and medicine and thus he brings different perspectives to things and that sets him apart. I’m someone who reads widely myself and thus I love it when people brings in the perspectives of other disciplines as I think it makes things more holistic and it gives us greater insight to the workings of the world and humans.
I do plan to write more fully (and also do an email interview) with James Richards in 2012 so I won’t write much here except to say that I think he’s brought in a missing piece to the faith message and that is the importance of meditation, which to him consist of physical relaxation and using of imagination. Anyway, I can’t say I agree with everything he advocates (I’m not sure yet) and some of his stuff is pretty controversial. But generally I like what he teaches and I think what he specializes in (his essential message is about the heart and the use of meditation to persuade one’s heart) is something that would really bless many Christians.
Having a similar message (on meditation and persuading the heart) to James Richards is Dave Martin. I’ve listened to a lot of his stuff and also do his meditations. I started to read the books of Jay Snell this year after having known of him for a while but not having the motivation to finish reading any of his books. I don’t know much about him but his first book on Abraham’s Blessings is a book to re-read and study. His other books are quite hard to follow. I’ve started to read E.W. Kenyon and listen to Charles Capps’ stuff. Both are from the faith tradition. I actually got more into Kenyon’s stuff after I read Donald Mann of Covenant Peace Ministries.
Donald Mann is one interesting guy. As James Richards majors on meditation (imagination) and really believes in that, Donald majors on meditation in the form of confession/affirmations and really believes in that too such that he advocates confessing Scriptures at least 2 hours a day. Like James, Donald also brings in the science of the mind. I got to know him recently and communicated a bit with him through email. I want to follow up with him to get to know him more and also read his 3 books which look really good. He’s been influenced by Curry Blake I believe and his books are full of mainly Scriptural confessions. All about good identity in Christ stuff. He also seems to have ministering healing working well in his life.
The Exchanged Life tradition
One Christian tradition that I found this year which is very grace-based is the Exchanged Life tradition. This tradition is all about union with Christ and is very grace-based. It is a pretty non-charismatic Christian tradition, but I’m interested to learn more from it because unlike the many grace teachers that’s been impacting the world recently, this is a tradition that’s been established longer and consist of non-charismatics – which generally means they handle the Word of God better. As a more established tradition/movement, there’s a lot to learn from them. For example, Steve McVey, who is a big name in the grace movement, I believe has benefited a lot from that tradition. I really like the writings of John Best of Abundant Living Resources. He’s written a lot of solid theological books that relate to many topics related to grace. While I do appreciate a lot of the new grace-based authors that having been writing good books, I’m a big believer in also drawing from the Christian tradition and understanding the perspectives of the past and building on them. To ignore how much we can learn from the past is being really stupid – because truly there’s nothing new under the sun. I learned a lot about grace from the Reformed and Lutheran tradition (there’s a lot of mixture there too) and also the Redemptive-Historical Biblical-Theology tradition. The important thing is to draw from as many people and be aware of the different arguments because all this has actually been around for a long time. There’s a lot of good stuff in the newer authors and preachers and they bring their unique gifts and interpretation of things. But it’s best to combine the new with the old – building on the foundation of the past, yet not letting it restrict you.