Great tennis, great expectations


I got up this morning feeling groggy and had to focus to get through my morning routine. Tress and I had fun watching the tennis last night, soaking up the quality tennis on display. It was a bit sad to see Novak the reigning champion exit the tournament but Stan Wawrinka looked like a really nice fellow, gruff notwithstanding – so it was all just a great treat.

After the match, we waited a little while and then drove to the Blackburn station to pick up our visitor, who was lucky enough to have been able to watch that fabulous match in situ. We got home around 1am, and Tress and I went to bed straight away.

My 4.30 alarm went off too quickly and the snooze went unheeded for a few extra minutes. I eventually reacted and stumbled out feeling groggy.

The car park at Blackburn station has been closed since the new year started and I have had to get in for the 5.30 train, if I were to get a park. So I had no choice but to stick to this routine, and still got to the gym a bit after 6.

I’ve re-started reading the scriptures from Genesis and as I was making my way through Moses, Aaron and the numerous plagues befalling the Pharaoh’s land, I tried to think of different tacks to knowing God from these narratives.  God is in control, He has a purpose, uses His people to achieve His plan and He too, caused a hardening of heart to apparently thwart His plans. Yet, it also looked like those “setbacks” were also designed/built into the scheme of things so that more aspects of His power may be seen.

I wonder therefore, if the obstinacy seen in LifeGate church leaders is a parallel of sorts. Could the refusal of these people to own up to what they did to Jason be just what the Lord has designed and is there a purpose to that which either we have missed or is yet to be revealed?

Either way, I hope this episode no longer becomes something which holds back progress in the lives of people involved. The seeds were sown back in the second half of 2012 and so they have been distractions long enough. Too long, in fact. Ordinarily this sort of issues should have been resolved very quickly – within weeks at most. Be that as it may, I hope the focus now is how everyone involved should work out best to reach out to others who need the Lord.

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Deo, Dad, Dongzhi and Dread


 

Lots of stuff happens at this time of the year. Today’s my late father’s birthday. He would have been 75. Yesterday was the winter solstice and we were at Gerry and Jesslyn’s for some “Dongzhi”. Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve. We’d had a few parties already. Events at work too, other than the usual year end rush to complete tasks.

In all of these events one’s attention is spread across different parts of one’s life. What matters most is being with people you care about. After all that’s what started it all in the first place – God wanting to dwell amongst men. Some events you don’t particularly care about but you attend anyway, because otherwise for the rest of the year it become awkward. Like work events. Some events you look forward to because it is with people you care about and you just want to be with them. Some events you brush off with no hesitation because they involve people you don’t particularly want to socialise with.

And so when we got a missed call and a text from someone I can’t particularly care for, I simply responded by asking him to stay away. Just as I have several times now.

Lots of stuff happens at this time of the year. Some are meaningful. Some are curious. As long as I can give the best of my time and effort and it is with people I care about, I work at being with people. It’s not at all a bad time of the year…

Emmanuel?


  • Little Ezra. Ms SS. Madam Lee. Madam Lim. One little boy and three elderly ladies.
  • 2 elderly men, both tethered on life’s edge and back again. Back again to give thanks to God in a church service.
  • Ms BS. Smart, educated and looked like awarm loving lady, incapacitated by long term illness. Gave thanks to God for others who could live normal lives.
  • Ms YLT. Strong willed lady who willed her family through storms. Husband fought against stage 4 cancer and came out healed. Willed her children through poignant moments of challenges.
  • Mr MS. Smart, successful, educated and warm and loving man who carried his family strongly in support.
  • Ms N and Mr A J. Smart, energetic and sacrificial servants of God. Qualified business people, they headed offshore and have had to deal with wide range of challenges in serving God in obedience.

God has blessed us with a journey that helped us come into connection with such people in the past few weeks. Some closer than others, some more distant. Every one of those people touched us in ways which made us reflect on life, God and our journey on earth. These connections, whether by merely listening to them in a public forum or sitting in their kitchen listening to them, deepened my conviction that engagement and a desire to be there with and for someone is fundamental to ministry.

This is against type for me. I have been one for being by myself – in a corner at home reading a book, listening to a CD or watching a movie has always been a preferred activity for me. Yet this wasn’t what God did. He always wanted to engage with His people – be among them, eat, work, weep, teach and make lives better by being with His people. Jesus died so that God’s people can be with Him in perpetuity.

With about 4 weeks to Christmas, this message of Emmanuel is a timely one perhaps…

Voting – What Happened in my church


· Thankfully, voting is not done very often in most churches. This is because the matters the church is principally concerned with have very little to do with the democratic process. When members of a church are asked to vote, it is often driven by extraneous and unusual (i.e. infrequent) reasons. Voting therefore cannot be a tool to communicate any principles or a medium to promote any characteristics. It does however provide an opportunity for members to engage each other in a manner which best reflects what a church is, which is the family of God.

· The church is called to be holy – “called out”/”separate” because God is holy. The manner in which a church seeks to use every opportunity to demonstrate its “separateness” or difference, will set itself up to live in obedience to the scriptures. We are asked to not conform to the world but be transformed by the renewal of our mind. It is a constant challenge to look at everything we do and ask ourselves if as a church, we ought to be choosing options which best reflects who and what the church is and demonstrate this difference.

· The process of identifying persons to serve as members of a church board varies and depends on factors which range from very fluid considerations (such as the state of relationships between members) to very objective ones such as legal and logistics requirements or considerations. In our church, we are required to elect our board members in a members’ meeting. This election requires every member to be given the opportunity to “personally” vote. There are no prescriptions beyond that.

· Hence as a board member I have a duty and discretion to consider the manner of electing board members. In so doing, I looked at the normal voting process adopted by (1) churches; (2) comparable organisations in terms of size and activities; and (3) generally for organisations which require election of board members. I also looked at what a church is and what it can do to best reflect the nature and characteristics of a church.

· Historically voting is by a show of hands. This convention has continued to this day. Companies, sporting and community clubs, associations and political parties all practice this method of voting. However, as this manner of voting is transparent, it is subject to threats and intimidation, coercion and such other elements where voters come under the undue influence of parties with an interest in the outcome which may not be shared by the voting members. To overcome such influence, secret ballot is often adopted. It allows voters to vote free of such undue influence. Secret ballots are particularly useful and effective in Australia at union elections, where the practice of undue influence abounds.

· There are pros and cons for either process. As a board member, I recognised that secret ballot provides members with greater confidence in expressing his or her choice. This however, comes at the cost of engagement by the voting member with the person being elected as well as with the general body of members. The Board considered the advantages of providing members with confidence of expression and the challenge of using an opportunity to facilitate an engagement which reflects what the church ought to be, i.e. a family where there is a genuine relationship and members seek to build each other up.

· In particular, I urged the Board to encourage members to put aside the comfort which secrecy provides, in exchange for a truthful engagement with the aim of building relationships. In some ways, this can be considered a step up in the sense that it challenges members to engage the candidate and other members at large, should his or her choice entail that.

· The Board recognises that a member faced with a show-of-hand form of voting, may vote in a manner which does not truthfully represent his or her choice. Such a member however, has a choice of either voting in a manner which avoids the issue (by voting contrary to his or her true intentions) or remaining true to his or her intention and proceeding to engage the candidate as to the reason for his or her choice.

· This may cause many other levels of interaction such as between the voting member and the candidate’s family or members close to that candidate. Such interaction however, can be a positive thing which ought to be encouraged. The alternative is to rely on the protection of secrecy and ridding the need for engagement. Just as importantly, a showing of hands also allows the candidate to approach the voting member to seek engagement with a view of correcting any flaws the candidate has but may not have seen for himself. It allows the member to share his or her view with the candidate in this regard. The secret ballot also denies the candidate this opportunity.

· In making preparation for the general meeting, the board considered the above matters and decided to adopt a show of hands as the form of voting. Unfortunately there wasn’t the opportunity for the above matters to be shared with the other leaders of the church, prior to the general meeting. This meant the very real challenge of open engagement as a core objective, was not presented to leaders to be shared with members, prior to the general meeting.

· At the general meeting, some members chose to exclude themselves from the voting process altogether. I do not know if this was because they did not like an open expression of their choice. A leader expressed her opinion in that general meeting that she didn’t agree with the process adopted.

· The board in reviewing the general meeting, felt that as a result of that opinion expressed in that general meeting, there was a need to respond to members generally. Following that meeting cell leaders were asked to invite feedback from cell members. This feedback extracted more opinions of preference for the secret ballot method. The board’s reason for adopting the show of hands method was never presented outside the board safe for some explanatory comments made in response to the leader’s question raised in that general meeting after the voting had taken place.

 

Calm and Storm


I managed 14+ km today… alas it was on the stationary bike, not treadmill. Mr G was still affecting the big toe so this morning I hopped on the bike instead. Plus I continue to feel flat and just listless. There’s a sinking feeling that somehow I have to pull myself up and deal with all of this, by myself.

Such is being a Christian. On the one hand you know God’s there and He’ll help you and whatever happens, will only happen with His sign off. So you try and pull together and go through whatever. On the other hand, I cant help but wish, quite often, than somehow there’d be some special dispensation of sorts and He’ll give me that special lift, out of nowhere.

I am reminded of past experiences where I appear to be going through a little storm, only to have Jesus sleeping in a corner on the boat. He appears to be sending a message of sorts – that I should trust him to get up and calm the storm and prevent any real harm or danger to befall me or anyone in that boat, instead of complaining that he doesn’t appear to take any action even as we face the storms.

To be fair, it isn’t quite a “stormy weather” situation for me. I just need a fillip and my take is I need to get out of my present role to have any chance of that happening and yet I need the security of my present situation, somehow. I don’t know. Maybe I am just making something out of nothing.

Remembering not


Officially it was 30 Nov. In reality, no one really knew. It could have been 29 Nov. So every year I start remembering my dad on 28 Nov.

On the morning of 30 Nov 5 years ago, my dad was found to have passed on. I still have to think hard to recall the last time I spoke to him He was a man with free spirits and though that was what probably sent him packing earlier than he should, it also made him the man that he was. The fact that he was the eldest in a family of 8 siblings didn’t dilute that one bit.

Every year for the past 5 years around this time I get a bit moody.

I still cant remember the last time I spoke to him.

 

Communion 6-11-11


A couple of months ago, a new monument was opened in Washington DC . It was the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial. The sculpture you see is in the memorial centre, and it is the work of a Chinese artist, who comes from Changsha in Hunan – the same town Mao Zedong spent his early days in. Martin Luther King Jr, as most of us know, was a church minister who was better known as a civil rights leader. Other than his “I have a dream” speech, another speech I like is about how people should seek to unite as much as possible, to always seek common ground. An extract of this speech reads like this:

… all life is interrelated, … somehow we’re caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

I have no doubt Dr King’s aspiration for people to work together, was borne out of his knowledge of our God. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit as members of our triune God, are in a relationship where each member shares a common purpose with the other two. We are created in the image of God so we too, are to have a relational character which we exercise by sharing a common purpose. We are here every Sunday, to build each other up. Our lives are inter-related and we share mutuality and a common destiny. When one hurts all ought to hurt. When one rejoices, all ought rejoice.  When you are blessed, I am blessed.

Sometimes we hear the saying, “it doesn’t matter what everyone else in church does – we are here to worship God”. That may be true but only in part, and quite often a partial truth can be the worst kind of deception. We do not worship God in isolation. We are in a community of faith – we are one body. What one does or does not do, affects everyone else. We watch out for each other, we come here for each other.  Our plans and activities are always about the wider community of faith, not about us as individuals or even families or groups of individuals. When someone is not here, everyone else should be affected. If we aren’t affected by each other’s absence or pain, I guess we haven’t quite become one body yet. It isn’t just about whether something is good for my personal wellbeing and development or my family relations it is also about whether it is good for the community of faith and whether my plans and activities would benefit this community.

Thus we are not called to remember the holy sacrament just so each of us can individually remember the Lord’s death for us. Often in a communion exhortation, we read 1 Corinthians 11:24 & 25 to remember that it was the Lord’s command for us to commemorate His death that we eat the bread and the cup. The context of this passage however, is one where Paul chastised the believers in Corinth because each person was doing his own thing. It is the body of Christ which is in focus, and we are asked not just to do things which benefit our own walk with the Lord, but also to build each other up.

So this morning as we hold the bread and drink from the cup, can I encourage all of us to consider this fellowship of believers, as one body to whom we are accountable. As a body then let us each the bread together in remembering the death and suffering of our Lord Jesus. (pause). Let us now also drink from the cup together, as a body in common. Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, when your Son was on earth, He prayed that all who believed in Him may be one, just as You and Your Son were one. Help us this morning as One Body, to come before You as Our Lord and God. Teach us to love and build each other up. Teach us to think as one, beyond just as individuals or even groups of individuals. Help us to be like you God, and be one. Amen.

Course of Your Life, a fantastic Alpha Course alternative


The Alpha Course is sometimes said to be helpful not just to someone new to Christianity, but also to one who has been a Christian but hasn’t quite gone through the basics of what Christianity entails.

Several months ago, before my local church started another series of Alpha Course, I picked up a copy of an Alpha course publication which has the contents of the course. I thought I needed to be familiar with the contents. It appears to have the basic points but somehow shies away from a narrative of why man needs God and will be condemned (according to the Bible, not me or the church) unless he believes and accepts what Jesus has done on the cross. In this sense, the Alpha Course appears to be a useful introductory material for someone who is searching, but probably short in terms of completing the message. Some form of follow through is essential and this is from the perspective of someone new to Christianity.

For someone who is already a Christian, why does this introductory level material appeal and what learning does this person derive from this course? It would seem the whole event – the meals, camaraderie, spending a weekend away, the open forum for people to speak their minds – is the appeal, not the content proper. In other words, a Christian who finds Alpha beneficial lacked fellowship, more than teaching. It wasnt teaching that attracted, most probably, but the forum for fellowship and interaction generally.

I’m not sure therefore if Alpha should be the vehicle to bring the church together in that sense.

From this perspective, a more substantial and therefore beneficial tool appears to be the “Course of Your Life“, written by Tony Payne of Matthias Media.

Yes, I am very partial to content produced by this mob and I have relied heavily on CD‘s and books from them for my learning, in particular those by Phillip Jensen.

All this should however, be secondary to the consideration of the content and logic of this course. Course of Your Life appears to have all the basic substantive stuff in a narrative which completes the core message of the gospel of God’s plan for salvation – something Alpha Course skirted around at best. It appears also to have the rigours of basic biblical exegesis and a logic to the content organisation and flow which extracts core points to plot what God’s plans for HIs creation (and us) entails. It appears a lot less lazy, and cuts through the soft core approach of alternatives like Alpha. It appears to be well written in an attractive manner, without sacrificing any elements of the message of the bible.

Also, I like the fact that for the equivalent of the weekend away for Alpha, it suggests ways which pre-empts the need to get away on a Sunday. It doesn’t take a believer out of the fellowship of other believers by taking them away in order to find God (or more accurately, the Holy Spirit). It encourages believers to spend time with God’s family, not take them out of such fellowship and time.

In this regard, I have come to view programs and courses which take participants away on a Sunday, with dismay and disappointment. In particular, course, seminars, conferences and programs which take leaders away from their congregations on Sundays. Somehow organisers who think it is acceptable for ministers and leaders to be away from their wards on the ground of personal learning and development, dont rank highly in my esteem. COYL recommends a Fri/Sat get away or even 2 consecutive Saturdays – not a Sunday get away. This ranks highly for me. It shows the writers value the time spent on Sundays between Christians and only exceptional circumstances should take this blessing away.

I am certainly going to look at COYL a lot closer, and see if a group may be interested. At the moment, kudos to Tony Payne and Matthias Media for coming up with another useful tool to make disciples.

Is Mutuality Unreasonable?


I recently had a conversation which reminded me how challenging life can be for anyone starting out on a new phase in his journey. A new migrant was relating to me how one of his children miss their previous home, and how that child misses the parents’ stations in society. I offered some words of comfort and encouragement but I suspect what was much more needed was simply a listening ear.

Being present, being available was almost as useful if not more useful, than any practical advice I may have had to offer.

This morning we had an in-house sermon from a leader, who gave a warm, touching and challenging message. I believe the message spoke to many hearts and the experience of being in the congregation among whom the message clearly resonated, was palpable although obviously intangible. If only more members were present to listen not just audibly but also with the heart.

Being present amongst the congregation in that sense, was priceless.

I have been brought up to be present in church at every Sunday. In my past life I often missed church on Sunday when I travelled for work, or I was simply too engrossed with the things of this world to think about being there as a member of the community of faith. That was something I regretted badly and while I love to use my Sundays to enjoy the many things this beautiful country has to offer, my upbringing sees me in church on almost every Sunday, safe for the once or twice a year when we are away for one reason or another, usually because we are out of town during a holiday season.

It feels great when I turn up on Sunday morning and see many faces – familiar as well as new ones – being in church. Being present in itself, can be an encouragement to others. It can build others up. I feel deflated when I notice many not there. I tell myself I am in church to worship God but I am also there as a member of the community of faith, which doesnt quite work if we all dont have a mutual commitment to each other as members of that community, that it will be our priority to be there.

In this busy and stressful world we live in, there will always be good reasons to take time off to de-stress and re-charge. If we cant do that however, by coming to the Lord and leave our cares with Him and wait on Him for our souls to be refreshed and revived, we are shortchanging ourselves. If we cant be encouraged by others’ presence and mutual commitment to the body, there is work to be done in refining our understanding and commitment to this body.

Sometimes we absolutely need to be away. Sometimes in a place like Australia when summer sees a lot of people travelling, perhaps on a de facto basis that commitment becomes released and the expectations may then have to be recalibrated. Maybe I am old schooled but I would have thought that is perhaps the only time we can safely be away and where our mutual commitments and obligations to the body may be parked aside, because our presence is no longer expected, where we can expect our fellow sojourners can be refreshed and revived in their travels also.

Maybe I need to calibrate my old schooled expectations to take into account the dynamism and subjectivity of each person or families’ circumstances. Maybe the body of Christ as a whole also need to calibrate that expectation as given the countless permutations of perceptions of what is important and what is beneficial in each person or family’s lives, there can no longer be the expectation that we will all be there on Sunday to renew our relationships and covenants with each other.

Maybe that mutuality is no longer reasonable.

Why We “Fought”


For posterity, and as a reminder of why we pursued what we did, quite strongly, more than a year ago.

Hi everyone

I like to share my personal thoughts with you as home group members, concerning the integration.

I don’t think the questions (which were raised yesterday) about what is the will of God for ICC and whether Pastor TF engagement fits that will, are questions which bother us in our home group. In any case I would like to share my thoughts with you, so that we have a (somewhat) clearly articulated position.

If you agree, then we can at least be clear in our mind about why we are doing this. We will also be better placed to share this with others in ICC.

My apologies for being “cheong heh” but if you can spare 10-15 minutes please read through. If you agree, you are welcomed to share this with others.

Finally, if you can, try to attend the prayer meetings. Apart from the integration, it is always good to pray together and to meet specifically to pray. For this integration, come together to pray as a church if you can. This is just so we can commit the matter to Him even as we plan and do the detailed work of implementing these plans.

—————————————-

Why integrate? What is the will of God? Is it simply to plan and do our best for Him?

1. ICC has not had a pastor[1] since late 2005/early 2006. In the second half of 2009, efforts to find a pastor escalated and a number of candidates were identified and considered at length.

2. Prior to 2009, efforts to find a pastor were confined to limited number of candidates namely, Rev Jeremiah Yap and Rev TT Quah. Both these candidates have current and extensive portfolios in Australia as well as overseas. They are often overseas and their current commitments preclude them from responding to our needs in the manner we expect them to.

3. The candidates we have considered in 2009 have now been narrowed down to just one, namely Pastor Tham Fuan. I will refer to him as “TF”.

4. TF graduated from the Bible College of Victoria in 1994. BCV is a seminary accredited by the Australian College of Theology. Prior to 1994 TF was serving as a lay leader in his church in Malaysia and served as a leader in student ministry in Tasmania. From 1994 to-date, TF has been serving actively as a full-time servant of God. He continued his seminary training and obtained post graduate qualifications – an MA in Ministry from BCV in 2002.

5. TF has served as a pastor (in chronological order) in Canaan Church in KL Malaysia, FGA Melbourne in Box Hill and Cornerstone Church of Christ in Oakleigh East. He has been with Cornerstone since 2006.

6. We have heard TF preach in ICC for maybe 6-8 times now. Some of us have also had the opportunity to spend time with him socially a number of times. I believe many (if not all) share the view that he is a godly man who is committed and has a passion for the work of fulfilling the Great Commission and building His church. His pulpit messages have been godly biblical expository teachings which challenge listeners to take life changing actions and decisions.

7. TF was a board member of Wycliffe Malaysia and has participated in mission work both on-field and as a support mobilising intermediary. In fact ICC first initiated contact with TF as a result of Alex’s mission network which included Beram Kumar and STAMP, whom TF also knows and worked with.

8. Additionally TF is a sole pastor in Cornerstone, a church which shares the same statements of beliefs as ICC.

9. On a personal level, TF is married to Suan Choo and they have 2 daughters, Danica who is in Year 12 and Elysia who is in Year 7. We have been to his home for meals and they are not unlike any ordinary lively and loving family making their lives in the suburbs of Melbourne. Suan Choo works as an accountant in the city and Danica and Elysia attend Oxley College.

10. In all respects therefore, there is nothing about TF, his beliefs, teachings, work ethics, values, family lives and commitment to God and His work which creates any concern for me. To me he is as good a candidate as ICC can be blessed with.

11. As with all good candidates, he is presently serving in another church – Cornerstone Church of Christ. Cornerstone renewed the engagement of TF last year and under TF, the church has settled, stabilized, grown and is seeking to be even more effective for God.

12. I am glad TF is not seeking to resign from Cornerstone to come to ICC. This demonstrates his commitment to the flock he has been entrusted with. He is looking to ICC only as an expansion to provide both Cornerstone as well as another church (namely ICC) in Melbourne, with a common and enlarged platform for even greater effectiveness for God, so that we can better obey Him and be better agents of the gospel for Him.

13. We are therefore looking at engaging a pastor who has been and remains committed to the work of God as a full time pastor. There is neither any question about TF commitment to do this on a dedicated full time basis nor has there been any event in his life to render continuation of this work problematic.

14. Obviously TF will have his flaws. He is shy – we all know that. There have been remarks that he has a strong character and while I don’t see that as a flaw, let us just accept that it may be at this stage. That makes him human. However it is his good traits I am more interested in and all of these which have been identified, have no doubt been seen by Cornerstone as well. They too want him to continue serving as their pastor.

15. This brings to a logical question of whether ICC and Cornerstone can come together as one, with TF as the pastor for a new merged church.

16. To me, this requires much harder work than just engaging a pastor who doesn’t “come with a church”. However. I’d rather wear this hard work than engage a pastor who has for example, just left a church (making it necessary for us to consider why he left) or just joined the ministry (he would then lack the experience of TF) or any other circumstances which makes him available readily. The only other scenario is to get someone from overseas. This may not be the best route as such a person would have to acclimatise himself with the way churches function in Melbourne/Australia. As a relatively fresh migrant I see very different setting between churches in (say) Malaysia and in Melbourne/Australia.

17. And so we consider merger. Even as I looked closer, I begin to see why this can be a good thing.

18. Churches in Melbourne are a fragmented scene. The average number in a church in Melbourne is about 65. Every week thousands of churches some as small as 20-30 persons and most with less than 100, replicate resources and stretch what we have in order to carry out the most basic of church functions.

19. In each of those thousand of churches, we all replicate and invest time so that a church will have basic Sunday worship, prayer meetings, weekly or fortnightly bible studies and some (often annual) outreach programs. For a church of under 100 persons, these activities alone will keep most members busy.

20. Additionally, if you consider the 80-20 rule, you’d have pockets of 20 persons across Melbourne all doing the same thing – attending to the bare necessities for a church to function. Few have spare time to do more than the basic functions. If someone gets sick and needs visitation or attention then that stretches the resources of the church. If someone is moving house that stretches resources. If there is a wedding that really stretches the church resources. If a newcomer comes and needs follow up – ditto. Someone needs a lift – ditto. Someone has emotional needs – ditto. We spend our time tending to the most basic of needs to keep the church running (floating?). This is especially true in a church such as ICC, which has had no pastor for a number of years.

21. These are important functions but they must not erode the role the church has to play to fulfil the Great Commission.

22. Size isn’t everything, but it does tend to provide more resources so that efforts can be pooled and deployed more strategically. Resources must be targeted at outreach and mission work, at work which builds disciples and at work which teach and edifies members.

23. As someone has already mentioned (I think it was Pauline) Cornerstone also provides a plug to a critical demographic gap. Cornerstone comprise of a large proportion of young adults and young families. This complements the demographics of ICC. This age group is critical because it is a bridge between the 40/50+ and the youth (primary and high schoolers). Without this age group, primary and high schoolers may not have the required handles as to what sort of role models they can focus on, relate to and/or aspire to become.

24. As a merged church, I hope to see ICC (or whatever our new name may be) become better resourced to do the work of God which matters the most – outreach, evangelism and mission, and teaching each other the Word of God.

25. Pastor TF will be able to provide us with sound, biblical teachings with life changing challenges and do this consistently and systematically and members will be better placed to grow and become agents of the Great Commission and make disciples of those God place in their lives.

26. I cannot see how the above scenario can be against the will of God. I often say to others that God doesn’t lead us just by the weird and unusual stuff – ie dreams, visions, “word” etc.

27. God by and large leads and guides us by providing us with logical thoughts and preparing us to put those thoughts into perspective by making us go through a range of experiences. God is an orderly and logical being as evidenced by His creation. Why would He lead us in ways other than in an orderly and logical fashion? Why are we not confident that when we think logically and plan in an orderly fashion it isn’t being lead by God? Against those thoughts and plans, I’d pray and search the scriptures. The Word of God ultimately has to be the arbiter of whether it is against the will of God for us to be doing something.

28. If what we have logically and orderly sought the Lord, planned and determined – and therefore confident God has lead us in an orderly and logical way – cannot be refuted by any biblical principles, then we should be confident to move on. We cannot orderly and logically plan for example, to kill, steal or hurt our neighbours. Where what we have committed to the Lord and thought and prayed through and considered all facts and circumstances in a responsible, engaging and wise manner, and there has been no biblical principle adduced to suggest otherwise, we should be confident to move ahead.