so…I’ve known I would someday step into full time ministry for almost 4 years now and just recently (since Nov ‘11) Pastor Ben & Pastor Dan would somehow manage to mention it during GenRev or the leaders & servers session. And every time they do, I feel like it’s more a sure knowing, peaceful and calm rather than the hype of ‘OMG! I’m so enthusiastic to go full time!’. Not sure when is the right time yet (ok, fine, so Pastor Ben keeps saying there’s no right time, feel the call, just jump in). I guess I’ll give it till July maybe?
Talked to Sharon about it as well, she says to just wait and see unless there’s a real urge to go into full time ministry now. And Pastor CK said not to let the past stop me from going full time just cos of bad experiences cos NCC is not like that.
First Sermon of 2012 @ New Creation Church: Unceasing Fruitfulness in the Year of Drought by Pastor Joseph Prince
How has 2011 been for you? Some of you experience the the blessings in the last month, some on the very last day, but God always comes through. And even in those things you don’t understand, God is working behind the scenes, He is preparing something for you.
11 is the biblical number of disorganisation, but 12 is the number of God’s (not man’s) organisation.
- Remember 2011 there was the tsunami and other things that happened, there was a lot of mess in 2011.
- Things will come into their divine order in 2012.
- When God gave Jesus disciples, there were exactly 12, when God gave sons to Jacob, knowing that the sons will be fathers of the tribes, God gave him 12 sons.
- Keep a look out for Israel and the Middle East.
When God gives you something from the onset of the year, it is to prepare you. The world goes through life uncertain, but what if I tell you you can put your hands in the hand of the One who knows the future? He is the first and the last. Jesus has the first word and He has the final word. God knows what is in store for you. Doesn’t mean there is no challenges/trials, but in the midst of it, God wants you to walk in the place where it’s like heaven on earth.
The Bible is complete for everything you need. All scripture is God-breathed and God doesn’t waste His breath. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works)
When the Bible gives us directions, it does not need an outside source for its interpretation. God’s Word will not send you to the mayan prophecy. He does not go outside the Bible to teach you anything. The Bible’s interpretation is within itself.
The Word of God is all you need for this year. His Word will prepare you, equip you, furnish you, so that when you come into a situation, you will just sail through it.
5Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man (geber) that trusteth in man (adam), and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.
6For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
7Blessed is the man (geber) that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
8For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
- even though the man is cursed, good still comes to him, because God is good.
- God makes His rain (blessing) to fall on the just and the unjust. And we have so much rain. We have superabundance of rain in Singapore. (Deuteronomy 28:12 - The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.) Sign of superabounding grace that is in front of us for 2012.
- v. 5: man (first mention) = geber (Hb.) = strong man
- v. 5: man (2nd mention) = adam (Hb.) = fallen man
- v. 5: strong man trusting in fallen man
- v. 6: the good is coming all the time (in imperfect tense in Hb.), but the cursed man cannot see it, he cannot take advantage of it, because he is under the curse
- What is this strong man doing trusting in fallen man? This strong man can refer to Christians as well.
- when you try to do the law, you will be cursed, because the moment you try to do one law, you have to do all and if you fail in one, you will be cursed.
- Trust in Christ, not in man or in yourself. God is your source, other things are just His channels of blessing you.
- Don’t have self-confidence, have Christ-confidence!
- Your trust must be in the Lord. He is your source of supply, not your boss. Look to the Lord alone this year.
- v. 7-8: “heat” = pressure, difficult situations, financial downturns, all these are the heat we will see this year, but the blessed man does not see it
- heat is going to come, but the blessed man does not see it
- God knows the future and He wants you to be the blessed man
- "planted" = there is tender loving care looking after it and Someone planted you. God wants you planted in the House of God.
- leaves are always green, even though heat comes - always fresh, forever young
- "year of drought" for those in the world
- "careful" = anxious
- the blessed man shall not be anxious in the year of famine, he will instead be evergreen and always fruitful.
- You don’t have to be smart for God to bless you, you just need to follow Him and He will lead you to green pastures.
- the whole world will be in the year of drought, but it is in this year that believers will be fruitful and not anxious so that we can be a testimony for the Lord.
- Works is the outcome of effort, fruit is the outflow of life.
- A tree does not need to worry about producing fruit, it just has to receive nutrients, water and oxygen and it will naturally produce fruit.
2012 WILL BE THE YEAR OF UNCEASING FRUITFULNESS IN THE YEAR OF DROUGHT.
The people of God will never cease to yield fruit in the year of drought. The people of God will not be anxious in the year of drought. The people of God will be evergreen in the year of drought.
When you see others blessed, don’t get jealous, rejoice! God does not need to take from someone else to bless you, God has an inexhaustible supply! What He does for them, He can do for you.
Psalm 1:1-3 (KJV)
1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
- Man can only supply based on his resources but God supplies from His inexhaustible supply. Keep your eyes on the Lord.
- v. 2: law refers to the Word of God (the entire bible), not the 10 commandments
- v. 3: one tree, many rivers - God oversupplies!
- "green" = rahanan = fresh, young. our covenant is the new covenant, the green covenant
- Revelations 22:2 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
- One tree has 12 types of fruits - there will be fresh manifestations of God’s goodness every single month of 2012
- Every blessing won’t be the same as the previous one, you’re in for a pleasant surprise!
- fruits for you to consume and enjoy, leaves for your health and the healing of the nations
- If you will meditate on His Word, your leaves will be evergreen
- v. 3: whatever you do shall prosper; if you do nothing, nothing prospers
- Jeremiah 17 tells us blessed is the man who trust in the Lord, Psalm 1 tells us how to trust in the Lord - the key is meditation
- v. 2: meditation and delighting in His Word is the key to prospering in everything you do. We don’t worry about how He blesses us. Our trust is in God and because of that, He can use all channels to bless us.
- You’re a blessing going somewhere to happen!
- "meditate" = hagah (Hb.) = to utter or mutter; to speak with oneself, murmuring and in a low voice, as is often done by those musing
22For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
- God’s word is life and health to all your flesh
- Medication has side effects, but God’s Word doesn’t
Meditation is the key to unlocking the blessings of the blessed man.
Don’t assume you know a verse well already. The more you meditate, the more God gives you. If you mutter it, you will not forget it or be distracted from it (vs rehearsing it mentally only).
You’re feeding yourself when you meditate on God’s Word.
When you’re relaxed, you meditate better. When you start meditating, it relaxes you.
In the book of Leviticus, God told Israel not to eat animals that don’t chew the cud (meditate) and don’t split the hoofs (law and grace).
Don’t eat from ministries that don’t meditate on the Word of God and doesn’t rightly divide the Word (can’t tell what’s law and grace).
Psalm 1:2 (KJV)
- if you delight in something, it’s not a chore, it is not legalistic
Meditation should be a delight.
Don’t listen to the experts, trust in the Word of the Lord because His Word never fails.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
- meditation engages your mouth
- prosperity and good success are all tied up with muttering God’s Word
Genesis ends with “coffin in Egypt” (the world).
The entire Old Testament (the law) ends with “a curse” (Malachi).
Revelations ends with “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all always. Amen”.
The antidote to the curse of the law is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Joshua ends with “Ephraim” = double fruitfulness.
The book of Joshua begins with meditation and ends with double fruitfulness.
29And it came to pass after these things, that Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old.
30And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathserah, which is in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaash.
31And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel.
- v. 29: lived till one hundred and ten years old (health)
- v. 30: Timnath Serah = portion of the sun or abundant portion
- v. 31: Joshua was a wonderful influence on Israel, he left a legacy
Find out the promises in the bible, memorise it, then meditate on it.
You can have all Joshua had by meditating!
2012 WILL BE THE YEAR OF UNCEASING FRUITFULNESS IN THE YEAR OF DROUGHT.
This question was asked at CG tonight: "Where would you be if you have not heard the gospel of grace?"
Honestly, I would have left church and never looked back. I would probably be living a defeated life instead of a victorious one. At that point, I still believed in God, in Jesus but lost faith in the church as there were too many lies going around, rumours spread and things that are absolutely wrong, no matter how some might try to justify it. But my main issue was with how God’s word was twisted; it’s always about earning the blessings, be it through serving more, praying more, fasting more, giving more. Testimonies go something like “I gave xx amount, and God blessed me xx amount”, and when you don’t give, it’s almost like you can’t expect to be blessed.
Of course I didn’t realise the wrongness of the teachings overnight; it was my first church and I was all for the vision/mission, whatever, you name it. Spent late nights in the church office serving, neglected studies (of course then, it was called sacrifice). My life revolved around the church and not Jesus, and that was the problem. I literally spent more time at church than I did in school or at home. I’d almost gone into full time ministry after I graduated, and I did actually, for 3 days; it was the most uncomfortable 3 days of my life. Serving full time was what I’d always wanted to do, it’d been THE dream for so long. It wasn’t like the work load was heavy, in fact, I was just being intro-ed to the various systems during those days and it was stress-free, easy, yet for those 3 nights, I couldn’t sleep and I knew something was wrong then. Serving God isn’t meant to feel like that, and it was only when I decided to “quit” that the peace of God came. Thank God the HR department was busy at that time, and didn’t have any contract ready for me to sign so I could go without any issues. Now I know that’s not a mere coincidence. That happened a couple of months before I left the church and I’d thought it was a strange experience, but brushed it aside. Afterall, some of my best friends were in that church & those relationships matter, and it’s special because it’s the first church I’d been to.
After that though, I began to see signs of dishonesty, slandering, just things that Christians shouldn’t do, yet these were done by those in leadership positions. It actually escalated when Dev and then Pst CK left, and that was when I really knew something more was going on. The building fund was questionable, so was the whole AC10 and I remember texting a friend saying it’s a circus show and the only good part was the Reign album. That was also around the time when I lost trust in the church, but I still decided to stay because of relationships. The final straw came in mid-June when a certain ‘pastor’ came and tried to bullshit his way through, and that was when I left.
I didn’t dare to go to another church in SG then but decided to go to COC JB because it’s familiar, Pst CK is pastoring the church, and I’m most comfortable with him. It’s also then that I discovered why he left and I was super shocked. Yes, unlike what certain idiots try to slander, he did not ask anyone of us to leave, neither did he say anything to any of us until we’d decided, on our own, to leave, and then, only when we asked him questions.
Eventually, after a month or so, some friends on FB started talking about a sermon that Pst Prince had preached and I got curious. And decided to ask Pst CK about it (like who else do I ask right?), so he passed me the DVD. It was so impactful and so different from the fluff that I’d heard week in, week out; the message was deep and that was exactly what I was looking for. It was then that I decided to try attending a service at NCC that week. I was still going to JB with Pst at that time and he would drop me off at JW on the way back cos I’d meet friends there. That particular week when I told those friends that I wanted to give NCC a try (since they’d also been telling me to go try out other churches if I don’t find CHC suitable), their reaction, on hindsight, was quite funny. They actually said they were going to town and were driving there, so they would drop me off somewhere nearer; so I got into the car, and then they refused to let me go off, I eventually managed to get off though. 4th service at that time was at 5pm and I was super late. Went in during the worship songs and I immediately started tearing, all the way through to communion and later the message. I’d never ever, ever done that in CHC, at all. Because of what I was taught before, I felt like everything in my heart was screaming Yes! this is home! and everything in my mind was screaming No! Danger zone!…but the heart won out (of course). I started attending NCC regularly then.
The Word was awesome! Transformational, and really deep stuff. But what really made me stay on was the people. I’d lost faith in the church by then (and COCJB is special cos I know Pst CK well and that fear of the cycle happening again wasn’t there), so it was like “sure, the message is great! but why should I commit to another church? what if it’s the same cycle again?” But seeing how believers in NCC live out the gospel of grace so effortlessly, that really helped, especially seeing that in my CG. I’d actually met Pst Ben, Pst Dan & Pst Mark very shortly after I started attending NCC. How short? Erms…I had absolutely no idea who they were, that’s how short. LOL. And they’re so different, they just carry that awesome sense of the love of God. I’d met various other pastors over the years at the previous church and absolutely none of them gave off that kinda vibe (yes, even when I first met Pst CK, but he’s changed and I’ve known him for so long that we’re friends so…it’s different), it’s more fear than anything else, and believe me, now that I know better, THAT is not natural.
It’s funny cos when I asked God why the whole experience had to be so painful and why couldn’t I just stay ignorant and still be there with my friends, He answered and reminded me that I’d prayed a prayer once, a year or so back, asking Him to reveal Himself, asking to see Jesus without the frills of religion, and this was His answer. And the ‘friends’ that I lost because I’d decided to go to NCC? well, restoration came and it’s MUCH MORE in quality and quantity.
I’ve been attending NCC for 15 months now and so much has changed! I used to be quite negative & would need lots of persuasion before I could believe I’d be able to do something, but now, no matter how overwhelming the situation is (and believe me, I would have crumbled under the pressure before), I just look to Jesus, knowing that He’s forseen it, that He’s provided for it and He’s graced me for it, and I’m just able to handle it. It’s always about looking to Jesus.
I now know what Christianity is really about - nothing but Jesus, God’s grace. And I see His super abundant grace manifesting in my life and it’s AMAZING! Now when I say God has blessed me more than I can ever ask, think or imagine, it’s no longer a grudging, ‘I say it cos everyone else does (but what do you mean bless? I earned it what)’, it’s said with conviction, because He did and it’s blessings in all areas! And honestly, tell me I’d be here, just barely over a year after all that, and I wouldn’t have believed it, at all. It’s unimaginable, too good to be true, yet it is true and that is grace. Just listen to grace messages, believe in God’s goodness & behold Jesus in all His beauty.
Thank God for His grace and thanks Pastor Prince for obeying God to preach the gospel of grace which has transformed thousands of lives.