Dear Students From Pastor
June 2020 Edition
Dearest Campus Students,
I pray this finds you all happy and healthy in the Lord!
First of all, let me thank those of you who responded to my previous letter with such positivity and honour. I was and still am, very encouraged each time I think about your kind feedback. I know it was a very long letter, so just by you taking precious time to read it was already admirable. In light of that, I hope to keep this letter shorter.
Allow me to begin with a Scripture:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
John 14:26 NKJV
Now, let me share with you what’s been on my mind and heart…
Firstly – the test and the testimony.
COVID-19 has been the biggest test the world has had to face together for a long time. And from that test, came the lockdowns in different forms all across the globe. Ours here in Malaysia is known as the Movement Control Order (MCO) or the recently eased version of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO). I think it’s the MCO that has been the greater test to many, if not all of us, rather than the virus itself. Still, we can be thankful that the order to stay home has largely curbed the spread of the disease.
But what’s foremost on my mind now, is a lingering question – not so much concerning the test itself, but more so the testimony. We know that there will be no end to testings in our lives. They may come in different shapes and sizes…but they WILL come. And so, the more important question is one of purpose. Yes! There’s that word again – PURPOSE! And the purpose of a test is for a testimony. In fact, you can’t even spell TESTIMONY without first spelling TEST. And without a testimony, the test is futile – useless – a sad waste of precious time and resources.
WHAT’S OUR TESTIMONY FROM THE ‘MCO’ TESTINGS?
So, the key question for us is – while the MCO is coming to an end – what’s our testimony? We shouldn’t wait for the test to end before we have a testimony. It’s like wanting to fight when the fight is over or buying popcorn when the movie is done. That’s NOT the goal of a test. The goal is to have a testimony WHILE the test is in session.
And yet, many of us do that. We say, “Wait until I’m less busy then I’ll serve.” But who can’t do that? We say, “Wait until I have more money, then I’ll give.” You don’t need to be a believer to believe that. We say, “Wait until I’ve finished my final exams, then I’ll answer the call.” What’s the difference then, between us and the other students who don’t know God?
We say, “Wait until my children are older then I can do more for church.” But why can’t we have a fresh testimony at every new age or phase or test that our children go through? You mean we can only have testimonies when our children turn 12 and not when they were 6 months old, or one year old or two or five or 8?! You mean God can only take care of our children when they’re old enough to take care of themselves?
If that were true, wouldn’t you think that all those precious years of testings are just a waste of time and in vain? And if you accept that some of the tests in our lives are in vain, then you might accept that COVID-19 and the MCO are possibly in that same category too – just a useless and worthless interruption in our lives. I can’t believe that, let alone accept it. And I believe you’re the same too – or at least I hope that’s true.
Now, this is the opportunity that our eyes should have seen in the midst of all those obstacles – that we could have gained testimonies at every level of testing. But not only that – we could have had the privilege and honour of being used by God as His model of what He could have done in and through our every situation or circumstance – if we only allowed Him to. So in the end, it’s not only about testimony. It’s also about being a template – meaning that we become examples for others to follow.
The truth is, every testing has the potential of a testimony. But it’s not after the test that we gain it. It’s during the test – and while we’re going through it. Our goal is not that the test will pass but that we will pass the test.
Secondly – the basics and the beliefs.
I’ve heard many people say, “We don’t know what to do because we haven’t experienced this ever! We’re scared and unsure because we have never walked this way before.”
…it’s not true that we have to be scared and unsure of what we need to do.
Well, while it’s true that none of us have ever experienced the effects of COVID-19 or an MCO before, it’s not true that we have to be scared and unsure of what we need to do. As I said earlier, testings will come in all shapes and sizes and there will be no end to them. Truth is, we don’t have to know them to defeat them, just like we don’t have to familiarise ourselves with the counterfeit, to know what’s real.
A man who handled money for the bank was once asked, “How do you know when you’re holding counterfeit money? Do you have to go through some specialised training where you handle so much counterfeit that you get familiarised with it?” He said, “No. On the contrary. We are trained to handle so much of the real thing so often, that when a counterfeit does come through our hands, we immediately know it.”
All we need to do is to handle the truth of God’s word and ways as much as we can so that when an opponent does come our way, we not only recognise it, but we will also know what to do.
It should be the same with us who believe in Jesus. We don’t need to give too much attention to the opponent that we begin to familiarise with it. All we need to do is to handle the truth of God’s word and ways as much as we can so that when an opponent does come our way, we not only recognise it, but we will also know what to do. I call this knowing your BASICS.
Look at a football team at training. Do they train differently just because they are facing different opponents? Well, it’s true that they do study their opponents just to know their strengths and weaknesses… but they don’t change their training just because of them. What they do is to work on their own strengths and weaknesses. They go through their basics, again and again to strengthen them.
Their opponents may be different each time, but their basics remain the same and as long as they stay strong to their basics, their chances of victory will be high each time… no matter how their opponents are playing. And we will do well to do the same. Don’t say, “But it’s an opponent we’ve never played before… so we don’t know what to do.” Of course you do. Play as we’ve trained – no matter who or what the opponent. Keep strong to our basics.
WHAT ARE OUR BASICS?
What then are our basics? Simply put, they are our beliefs. The belief that God is first – always. The belief in giving God only our best. The belief in prayer and patience, obedience and faithfulness, kindness and generosity, mercy and compassion…hope and love. Stay true and strong to these beliefs and you will not need to fear any test. For God’s word will be a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.
And don’t forget, according to the Scripture above, the Holy Spirit will remind us of everything that Jesus had told and taught us. So the real secret to facing all that we will face – whether we’re familiar with it or not – is to remember what Jesus said.
In the past 25 years of full-time ministry, I’ve travelled many unchartered waters and cut through many unknown paths to get to where we are today – all because of the strong basics and beliefs that my Master Coach has trained me in. All glory to Him alone! But this isn’t the end. If anything, 2020 is just the beginning to the most fruitful and fulfilling era of our ministry. Amen! And I am without a doubt that there will be many more opponents and opportunities ahead of us – not just testings to overcome but testimonies (and templates) to establish.
Facts may change but faith always remains the same.
COVID-19 will come and go. We may never pass this way again. There may never be a chance ever like this to gain a testimony. I hope we don’t miss it. But even if we have missed it for some reason, don’t worry. There will be others. We may have miss the last boat but let’s take our positions for the next one. It’s coming. Be ready. Meanwhile, let’s work on our basics and strengthen our beliefs.
If you’re willing and ready, let me have the pleasure of inviting all of you to join us in our next adventure. God always saves the best for last.
With much love and prayer,