God Is Love
“How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?” (Matt 18:12)
I was born into a Christian family, and homeschooled by my parents with a Christian curriculum for seven years. Looking back, I am sure that I believed in the gospel when I was young, but that faith was untried and untested until I became old enough to have some sense of independent reflection.
The church I grew up in was a place of contradictions for me: The preaching taught me almost everything I knew about God and the Bible, but my experiences in it posed the greatest challenges to what I had learned. In my childish inability to reconcile the truth of the Bible’s teachings with what I had experienced, I steadily came to view Christianity as a hollow and hypocritical religion in my teenage years. I privately disliked reading the Bible, praying, and family devotions, and the stress of secondary school led me to struggle with thoughts of suicide and self-harm. However, I was too afraid to stop conforming outwardly because I wanted to maintain everyone’s approval of me. Following my peers, I reaffirmed my faith when I was sixteen despite not finding joy or comfort in God and His Word.
When I entered university, I entered an environment where other people publicly expressed the opinions that I privately held about Christianity. It felt exhilarating at first not to have to pretend anymore, and I mustered the courage to tell my parents to treat me as an unbeliever while I started looking for answers to my doubts and disillusionments about the Bible and even God’s existence. This brought me into great conflict with my family, but I thank God that my parents allowed me to move to True Life for Sunday worship in the meantime instead of staying in my previous church.
I sincerely wanted to find the truth and finally align what I believed with what I professed. God was merciful to me in my search and brought people into my life who shared their own salvation journeys with me and took the time to understand and respond to my doubts about the faith. He also led me to the 2018 YPF Camp where the YPFers befriended me and encouraged me to participate in various church activities like prayer meeting and youth choir.
God reveals more answers the more we are willing to hear His voice and seriously consider what He says. Even though the period of uncertainty and searching was truly a valley of shadow, I am thankful for it in hindsight because God used it to show me His faithfulness and power. He kept me in His hand despite how much I lost sight of Him, and has greatly strengthened my personal faith with deeper understanding.
Over the past year, God has given me unprecedented warmth and joy in worship, service and fellowship in True Life. I hope to call this church home, with ties and commitments born out of hunger for God’s Word and true conviction, not of obligation, fear, or a desire for man’s approval as they were in the past. There are still many things that God will teach me about Himself, but in the past two years, He has taught me beyond doubt that He is love. “Whom the LORD loveth he correcteth” (Prov 3:12), “And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing” (Luke 15:5). Teo SA
To Find a Loving Church
I first came to Singapore for my children’s education. In the early days of my SG life, I did not speak English nor did I have any friend. I was barely living in dark loneliness while supporting the kids. On top of that, I had to follow my strong-willed husband’s opinion to attend a Buddhist temple every Sunday.
As I was living day by day with little joy, I was invited to a “Sunday market” held by a small Korean church. I felt great meeting same-minded people, speaking Korean and laughing. So gradually I became a member of that congregation. All of us were like a family. We ate together, studied Bible together, shared our happiness and sadness, cheered and consoled each other in the arms of Jesus for five good years. It was definitely where I could rest and relax in a foreign country. To be honest, I was not attending the church for God’s word in the beginning. It was the people and the comfort that kept me going for the first few years. I used to just observe people with eyes wide opened during prayer, and mouth firmly shut during worshipping.
Just then, my financial status got worse. Strangely I found myself praying one day. Although nothing changed—it was still difficult, I found some sort of peace of mind. I felt at ease and did not worry at all. Bible verses I used to ignore started coming into my heart and it got me back up on my two feet again. I wanted to share this greatness with others. I started volunteering at the church. It started small—preparing meals for churchgoers after the service. Even though I was happy to serve the church, I often witnessed internal conflicts as well. Anyway, I believed that was common in any organization and I continued serving with all my heart until the pastor left for Korea for good.
After the pastor left, I could no longer be part of the “new” system in the church. I was wondering whether to look for another church to serve or not. This was especially hard decision to make for me because I surely did not want to be hurt again by the greed of men. After few months of listening to YouTube videos of sermons, I was naturally led to church, where I started volunteering again as a Sunday School Teacher (pre-primary). Seeing the bright, young, happy children on Sundays was most exciting.
However, this also led me to think, “Have I recently been with the Lord?” I really missed having morning services, prayer time, weekly Bible study and cell meetings from the previous church. In this new church, there were two Sunday services, but I could not give my best attention as I was too occupied with the other duties (like Sunday school). Only in the third year, did I get to properly think about my needs as a daughter of God. I needed more Bible studies and fellowship meetings which I lacked in this church.
As I started rethinking about my purpose as a Christian, a major incident happened—four of the church members were expelled from the church. I knew the whole story inside and out. Personally, I felt it was not justifiable. For months, I thought, “Is this a church of God or of men? Do we even have God’s love with us?” I decided in December 2019, when my time as a Sunday School teacher was up, I would leave the organization. I wish to find a family that practises the true love of Jesus and that can lead me to become a better Christian. Yoon Jung
My Pilgrim Journey
I was not born into a Christian family and was introduced to Bible stories at a young age as I studied in a missionary school. However, I did not think much about God at that time. Before starting university, I met several individuals who shared the gospel with me. In particular, I remember two young children who shared with me about God in simple terms (I was working in a special needs school back then). I started to wonder about these sharings and about the existence of God. That same year, my good friend invited me to a church Christmas service and it was there that I said the sinner’s prayer and was given my first Bible. I was not truly convicted of my sin then, neither did I have a proper understanding of the gospel. I just thought ‘no harm trying’ since everyone was telling me that God is real. This marked the beginning of my journey of seeking the Lord. As I read the Bible, the Lord began to help me see some of my sinful ways and strived to overcome some personal sins with prayer. However, I still did not have a clear understanding of what sin is and the significance of the gospel.
Shortly after, I went to university and settled in a charismatic church. I loved the Lord and served the Lord fervently in church. However, I only had a shallow understanding of the Bible, of the gospel and the importance of holy living. To me, the gospel was simply bringing hope and love to others in a fallen world, and this hope was very much on earthly things (e.g. hoping that the Lord will grant one earthly blessings). There was no need to share about sin as it ‘shoos people away from God’. It was a very different gospel.
Gradually, false doctrines crept in and I was led astray by them. I became a firm believer of sign-gifts, dreams, visions and healing. I went for classes and conferences and even taught them in my small church group. As I started chasing these visions (which was often termed ‘the word of God’ released through a ‘prophet’), I did not realise how it subtly caused me to undermine the authority of the Bible. I stopped reading the Bible regularly and only relied on all these ‘visions’ given to me by so called ‘prophets’. I did not see anything wrong with it then; after all, I was still following the Lord and not denying my faith.
I started questioning these beliefs when I began working in a hospital, a place where I observed pain and suffering every day. I was taught that God wants to bless us with earthly things and good health so that we can live life to the fullest here on earth. If that was so, why did people still die after we prayed for them? As these questions and contradictions started to surface, I grew weary in my walk with the Lord. I started questioning my faith and the existence of God. I remember having to share the gospel during a church outreach, and I realised I did not know the gospel at all. It felt like a story to me but I did not know its significance.
Thankfully, the Lord was gracious towards me and did not leave me in this state for long. I was introduced to a BP church, and shortly after a church friend invited me to FEBC’s Thursday night class on soteriology. I joined the class midway and my very first lesson was on the topic of salvation. I started to realise the differences in what I had been taught previously and what is in the Bible. It was a blessed period for me as the questions that I had about the fundamental doctrines of the faith (e.g. the Holy Spirit, Holy Communion and Baptism, the Lord’s Day, the cessation of sign-gifts) were answered week after week in the night classes.
Over time, by God’s grace, a deeper understanding of sin and how all of us have sinned was revealed to me through the Scriptures. Romans 3:10 says, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” I began to grow in understanding of the grace the Lord has shown to me through the Lord Jesus Christ, and was ashamed of the sins that I had committed against the Lord. I realised that there is nothing I can do by my own strength to wash this sin-stained garment that I have, but only by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel had a new significance in my heart as I began to understand it. The questions that I had previously about earthly suffering were eventually answered through Scripture and various sermons. Indeed, I am sojourning in this earthly life and may the Lord grant me the grace to always look heavenward. There is a growing conviction to strive to live according to what the Lord has taught me in the Bible. May the Lord continue to guide me in this pilgrim journey heavenward, by His grace. Eugenia
1 Goldhill Plaza, #03-35, S(308899) firstname.lastname@example.org 6254 1287
© 2020 True Life Bible-Presbyterian Church