Last week in Part 1, I highlighted some sobering numbers with the intent to ignite a fire in your soul.
Shekinah cannot be a “sunset ministry”. We must reverse the trend and be a “sunrise ministry”. I believe you share the same concern. I know many of you do.
The grim reality of a rapidly ageing church invites us to radically shift our mindset. Our posture to discipleship cannot be business as usual. Our approach to Winning the NextGen cannot be conveniently delegated to the children or youth ministries. How do we intend to move forward?
The more I pray, listen, and consult, the more my heart tells me that every generation in Shekinah has an important role to play.
Our parents, Sunday School teachers, and youth leaders need help. Winning the NextGen requires churchwide collective and intentional efforts.
It’s time for us to usher in a new era of cross-generational discipleship where every generation takes on the responsibility to disciple their NextGen through spiritual parenting.
As Barack Obama said, “Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
Picture your future 1 year, 5 years and 10 years from now. What would you like to see unfolding in that decade of your life? How would things have changed?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines an “ageing society” as one in which more than 7% of the population is 65 years or older, an “aged society” when it crosses 14%, and a “super-aged society” when it reaches 21%.
On that basis, Singapore is projected to become a “super-aged society” in 3 years ie 2026. This is a massive change for our society. We see it in our daily lives. At our workplaces and communities, we interact with many more seniors today.
How about Shekinah? Using the WHO yardstick, we are already an “ageing church” today, with about 1 in 10 (or 11%) aged 65 years or above.
In 5 years, assuming the status quo with no addition or attrition, it would rise to about 1 in 7 (or 13.5%), meaning we are set to become an “aged church” by 2028.
Another 5 years later, by 2033, the proportion of those aged 65 or above would rise further to over 1 in 4 (or 28%), qualifying us to attain “super-aged church” status! =)
Do you ever wonder why are some people so relentlessly positive?
I think it all stems from a little word in the Bible: Hope. “To live without hope is to cease to live,” wrote Fyodor Dostoevsky. “What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life,” wrote Emil Brunner.
Our world has been shaken since Covid-19. Many people see only a hopeless end, but with Jesus, you can enjoy an endless hope!
This hope is not wishful thinking. It is rooted in what God has done for us and is doing in us. The apostle Paul prays, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow [“bubbling over”, AMP] with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). As Nicky Gumbel put it, “the origin of hope is the God of hope. The reason for hope is Jesus. The source of hope in you is the Holy Spirit.”
Beloved, Jesus wants to fill you with hope in 2023! Hope in the midst of suffering and despair. Hope in spite of the brevity of life and the inevitability of death. Hope in the ultimate triumph of good over evil. However bad your current situation is, never give up hope. Jesus sets the prisoners free from “their hopeless cells” (Zechariah 9:11, MSG). We are “prisoners of hope” (v.12).
In fact, the purpose of the Bible is to give us hope (Romans 15:4). Ask God to speak to you as you read it. It is through the Scriptures that you know about Jesus and the hope that is in Him. This hope leads to “all joy and peace as you trust in him” (v.13). Our hope is in Jesus, the King, who will one day return and establish His Kingdom forever!
Wishing you and your family an awesome year ahead!
❤️ Pastor Hock Cheng
Christmas is my favorite story about worship.
In the opening texts of Matthew and Luke, we find worship as a central theme. Angels worshipped Jesus. The shepherds came to worship Him (Luke 2:20). Simeon and Anna worshipped Jesus at the temple. The wise men traveled a long distance to worship Him. The uniqueness of this Child and His fulfillment of prophecy informed and inspired the worship of these individuals.
If Jesus were born today, what would you offer Him? The wise men offered gold, frankincense, and myrrh – what about you and I?
Someone might ask, “Doesn’t Jesus – the Son of God – already own everything? What more can I give Him that He doesn’t already have?” Well, you might be surprised to find that there are some things Jesus wouldn’t have unless we choose to give them to Him. Here are a few suggestions on your gift list to Jesus this Christmas.
1. My love: I pray for a heart that will love you with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, and the capacity to love my neighbor as myself (Luke 10:27).
2. My attention: I ask that the Lord help take my eyes away from the world and set them unto His Word. May I learn to study, meditate, and soak in His Word – day and night – so that I may be careful to do according to all that is written in it (Joshua 1:8).
3. My trust: I trust God with my life plans, and I want to learn to cooperate with His plans even when they seem illogical and make no sense because I trust that His ways are better and higher than mine (Isaiah 55:8-9).
4. My life: I offer myself to the Lord as a living sacrifice, and pray that it will be holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1) and that He will make every part of me an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:13).
I want to encourage us to return to our first love this holiday season. Give God the worship that is due Him. Thank God and praise Him for all He’s done. Let’s all worship Him with our whole being this Christmas. In his great love for you and me, Jesus paid by His blood on the cross – the ransom price to set us free! 🙌
❤️ Pastor Hock Cheng