A word from PJ

MAY - JULY 2021

New Norm, Same God
10 August 2021

Dear church,

On 29 & 30 May 2021, we gathered online as an entire movement across 36 countries at our Hope Conference ‘Pivot: New Norm Same God’. We heard from my spiritual overseers, Pastor Alan Platt and Pastor Benny Ho, share about being anchored in God as a disciple and to continue making disciples and ministering to others as a church community in this pandemic. We also took time to remember God’s faithfulness to our church over these 30 years, and celebrated His grace and mercy in our individual lives. 

In Session 1, Pastor Alan shared from John 14:16-19 that our hearts need not be troubled because of our rich union with God through Christ. Even in a pandemic – whatever its nature may be – we can handle it the same way Jesus has handled life – by remaining assured that our Heavenly Father lives in us, will come to us, and will work through us. 

In Session 2, Pastor Benny shared with us critical perspectives we are to have to be both future-ready and crisis-ready. He encouraged us from Titus 2:11-14 that while Jesus has redeemed us from our sin, He also gave us His Holy Spirit to reform us from the inside-out. We asked God to recapture our passion for intentional disciple-making, so that our churches will make disciples that make other disciples until Christ returns.

In our final session, I shared a prophetic word God dropped in my heart from Joshua 4:19-24. Some of us who have been serving God for a long time may think that our time is up and God will call a new generation to continue His work without us. But as long as we are alive, we are still journeying with God. We still have rivers to cross and mountains to climb. Our bestest days are yet ahead, never behind us. For generations now and generations to come, we will remember God’s faithfulness and remember our hope in God.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

While some time has passed since the Conference, the message God has for our movement is clear: Even though the contexts have changed, back in the early days and today, God’s vision and mission remain the same. Jesus still sits on the throne. Jesus is still in control. Jesus is still reaching out to the world through His church. So let us continue to put our hope in Christ and magnify Him through our lives!

In Christ,
Pastor Jeff

An invitation to trust in a faithful God

Sandy, LYTE

Since the start of 2021, I’ve had to make multiple trips to the hospital to care for my dad. Just before Conference, my mum’s health took a sudden hit and I had to send her to the hospital too. Apart from taking care of my parents and siblings, I was also juggling school and thinking of new ways of leading my LG amidst the Zoom fatigue. I felt so suffocated by everything and even though I asked God for strength every night, I struggled to trust that He would make a way. 

During the Conference 30th Anniversary video, I realised that if the founder of Hope Church and the other leaders allowed the odds to defeat them, all of us wouldn’t be celebrating the movement of God in and through Hope today. Ps Jeff also shared that if the Israelites stopped before the red sea and let their doubts trap them there, they wouldn’t have known how far God would bring them or have rocks to put down so that they could remember what God has done. 

I asked myself, “If I had stopped now, would I be able to testify of God’s power and faithfulness just like the Israelites could?” I realised that I stopped trusting God because my struggles seemed big, but God is bigger than that. So I surrendered the previous ideas that I had of God and asked Him for a new heart and fresh eyes to look at my situation not with despair but this time, with hope.

The entrance of that split-opened-red-sea was God’s invitation for the Israelites to trust Him. The years of Hope Church took willing hearts more than capable hands; to surrender and remember. Today, I am learning to recognise that it wasn’t anything that man could do but everything that God has been doing and will do. From there, my faith lies in an unlimited God who will lead me through my life’s red seas and wilderness.

Since the start of 2021, I’ve had to make multiple trips to the hospital to care for my dad. Just before Conference, my mum’s health took a sudden hit and I had to send her to the hospital too. Apart from taking care of my parents and siblings, I was also juggling school and thinking of new ways of leading my LG amidst the Zoom fatigue. I felt so suffocated by everything and even though I asked God for strength every night, I struggled to trust that He would make a way. 

During the Conference 30th Anniversary video, I realised that if the founder of Hope Church and the other leaders allowed the odds to defeat them, all of us wouldn’t be celebrating the movement of God in and through Hope today. Ps Jeff also shared that if the Israelites stopped before the red sea and let their doubts trap them there, they wouldn’t have known how far God would bring them or have rocks to put down so that they could remember what God has done. 

I asked myself, “If I had stopped now, would I be able to testify of God’s power and faithfulness just like the Israelites could?” I realised that I stopped trusting God because my struggles seemed big, but God is bigger than that. So I surrendered the previous ideas that I had of God and asked Him for a new heart and fresh eyes to look at my situation not with despair but this time, with hope.

The entrance of that split-opened-red-sea was God’s invitation for the Israelites to trust Him. The years of Hope Church took willing hearts more than capable hands; to surrender and remember. Today, I am learning to recognise that it wasn’t anything that man could do but everything that God has been doing and will do. From there, my faith lies in an unlimited God who will lead me through my life’s red seas and wilderness.

Choosing the ‘more than enough’ mindset

Poy, Adults

Prior to Conference, I was troubled by many aspects of my life that required my time and attention. At work, I was managing several on-going projects and overseeing a team of 4. The endless Zoom meetings and constant multi-tasking to meet deadlines were really physically and mentally draining. My young daughters also wanted me to spend time with them daily, but because of my long work hours, we couldn’t have much meaningful and quality time together. I was also serving in Multimedia and overseeing 2 Life Groups and Family Life Ministry with my wife. Most of our conversations were centred around our ministries and children rather than our relationship.

During Conference, God spoke to me about priorities and how I need to be careful of what I deemed important in my life. The online nature also allowed me to really spend moments of time in-between the sessions to reflect on what was shared, rather than running around dropping off the kids, picking them up, or rushing to eat a meal. I learned that when my heart is troubled and tired, I can choose to have the ‘more than enough’ mindset instead of the ‘not enough’ one. I was also reminded why God’s word is so important in my life and to always go back to the Bible for guidance and assurance especially in uncertainty. I also learned to schedule in quality time with my family, so that my memories of God’s work will be also that for my children.

Now, I seek God first thing in the morning before busyness sets in. I am aware of His Presence throughout the day, and I thank Him for what He is doing at the end of the day. I am still a long way off from what I think is ideal, but God gives me hope to never give up; to keep persevering while doing a little at a time to reach my goals!

Prior to Conference, I was troubled by many aspects of my life that required my time and attention. At work, I was managing several on-going projects and overseeing a team of 4. The endless Zoom meetings and constant multi-tasking to meet deadlines were really physically and mentally draining. My young daughters also wanted me to spend time with them daily, but because of my long work hours, we couldn’t have much meaningful and quality time together. I was also serving in Multimedia and overseeing 2 Life Groups and Family Life Ministry with my wife. Most of our conversations were centred around our ministries and children rather than our relationship.

During Conference, God spoke to me about priorities and how I need to be careful of what I deemed important in my life. The online nature also allowed me to really spend moments of time in-between the sessions to reflect on what was shared, rather than running around dropping off the kids, picking them up, or rushing to eat a meal. I learned that when my heart is troubled and tired, I can choose to have the ‘more than enough’ mindset instead of the ‘not enough’ one. I was also reminded why God’s word is so important in my life and to always go back to the Bible for guidance and assurance especially in uncertainty. I also learned to schedule in quality time with my family, so that my memories of God’s work will be also that for my children.

Now, I seek God first thing in the morning before busyness sets in. I am aware of His Presence throughout the day, and I thank Him for what He is doing at the end of the day. I am still a long way off from what I think is ideal, but God gives me hope to never give up; to keep persevering while doing a little at a time to reach my goals!

Capable through The Holy Spirit

Jasper, Hope SG Filipino

Before the Conference, I was struggling with my work. I was given a new role that I didn’t expect and there was no one to guide or mentor me in the new responsibilities. I grew complacent and procrastinated so much that I even played games during my work hours. I would then feel guilty and anxious about getting laid off for neglecting my job.

God spoke into this area during Conference. Through the sessions and workshop, I learned that excellency and effectiveness in all that I do is praise and glory unto God. And because of the Holy Spirit that lives in me, I am capable of changing my current situation and doing my work responsibly and excellently. I also learned practical steps in prioritising my daily activities in work, ministry or personal life. Lastly, as I prioritise things in life, it will result in having time to disciple and bless others as well!

Now, I’ve learned to manage my time wisely and prioritise things that will contribute value to spreading the Gospel. I also gained new hope that I am able to overcome whatever challenges I face in work. Every morning, I remind myself that God loves me, and He has a wonderful plan for me.

Before the Conference, I was struggling with my work. I was given a new role that I didn’t expect and there was no one to guide or mentor me in the new responsibilities. I grew complacent and procrastinated so much that I even played games during my work hours. I would then feel guilty and anxious about getting laid off for neglecting my job.

God spoke into this area during Conference. Through the sessions and workshop, I learned that excellency and effectiveness in all that I do is praise and glory unto God. And because of the Holy Spirit that lives in me, I am capable of changing my current situation and doing my work responsibly and excellently. I also learned practical steps in prioritising my daily activities in work, ministry or personal life. Lastly, as I prioritise things in life, it will result in having time to disciple and bless others as well!

Now, I’ve learned to manage my time wisely and prioritise things that will contribute value to spreading the Gospel. I also gained new hope that I am able to overcome whatever challenges I face in work. Every morning, I remind myself that God loves me, and He has a wonderful plan for me.

Only God can provide

Gregory, Creative Access Nation

In 2018, our government launched a new stringent religious law which requires all the churches to register with the authority and mandates that the church must own a building to be qualified for the registration.

Our church started to raise funds for the church building project. The minimum amount to purchase the plot of land is 220k SGD. In Nov 2019, we raised about 110k SGD. In one prayer service, a sister stood up and prophesied that our church would own a plot of land by Oct 2020. Her prophecy was confirmed by another brother who shared the same vision. When hearing these prophecies, I said in my heart, “O Lord, we’ve raised funds for the last 2 years but only have half of the needed amount. There’s less than a year left. Only You can provide; only You can make it come true.”

The Lord touched the hearts of many brothers and sisters to bless our building project. To our surprise, in Sep 2020 the fund reached 190k SGD. At the same time, He opened the door for us to find a very good plot of land at 220k SGD. It was a great blessing, as for the past few years we found various good plots of lands but couldn’t secure them due to lack of capital. 

I was so eager to see the vision the Lord gave to our church come true, so I planned to loan and borrow the outstanding amount. Thank God I have a godly wife who advised me to wait upon the Lord instead. Miraculously, a few days later, a brother sent the exact outstanding amount to the church building fund. We were able to secure and purchase the plot of land, and God’s vision for our church came true the day we signed the contract – exactly in October 2020. Praise God!

We are now at Stage 2 of the project to raise funds for the building construction. We are trusting that the Lord will continue to provide for us abundantly to see His first Hope church built in this nation!

 

In 2018, our government launched a new stringent religious law which requires all the churches to register with the authority and mandates that the church must own a building to be qualified for the registration.

Our church started to raise funds for the church building project. The minimum amount to purchase the plot of land is 220k SGD. In Nov 2019, we raised about 110k SGD. In one prayer service, a sister stood up and prophesied that our church would own a plot of land by Oct 2020. Her prophecy was confirmed by another brother who shared the same vision. When hearing these prophecies, I said in my heart, “O Lord, we’ve raised funds for the last 2 years but only have half of the needed amount. There’s less than a year left. Only You can provide; only You can make it come true.”

The Lord touched the hearts of many brothers and sisters to bless our building project. To our surprise, in Sep 2020 the fund reached 190k SGD. At the same time, He opened the door for us to find a very good plot of land at 220k SGD. It was a great blessing, as for the past few years we found various good plots of lands but couldn’t secure them due to lack of capital. 

I was so eager to see the vision the Lord gave to our church come true, so I planned to loan and borrow the outstanding amount. Thank God I have a godly wife who advised me to wait upon the Lord instead. Miraculously, a few days later, a brother sent the exact outstanding amount to the church building fund. We were able to secure and purchase the plot of land, and God’s vision for our church came true the day we signed the contract – exactly in October 2020. Praise God!

We are now at Stage 2 of the project to raise funds for the building construction. We are trusting that the Lord will continue to provide for us abundantly to see His first Hope church built in this nation!

 

A word from PJ

Nov 2020 - Jan 2021

OUR MANNER AND MISSION IN LIFE 
9 February 2021

Dear church, 
I hope that you are having a blessed new year!  
After 10 months of living in this new norm, I’ve observed that some of us continued to gather momentum and thrive for God, while some of us began to lose momentum and dwindle in our faith.  I believe this difference is due to our life manner. Therefore, I’d like to encourage us with this word that the Lord has spoken to me regarding how we are to live as we pivot upon God in this new year.

One day, an angel of the Lord appeared to the wife of Manoah, an Israelite, telling her that she will be expecting a child. Manoah asked the angel, “what is to be the child’s manner of life and what is his mission?” (Judges 13:12)

This is a crucial question for all of us – after knowing Christ, how should I live (life manner) and what should I live for (life mission)? There are two observations here. 

 

Firstly it is manner before mission. If we live the manner of our life right, we will also live the mission of our life right. If we are only concerned with our mission – busying with our studies, work, serving, and family – but not working on our life manner, we will have what the Bible describes: ‘a form of godliness but denying its power’. (2 Timothy 3:5a) We still do what we are supposed to do, but if our true love for God is gone, what is left is just an empty shell. Therefore, we must build our life manner strong.

Next, it is both manner and mission. We cannot divorce our life mission from our life manner. If we claim to have the right manner, our mission must follow suit. Our mission is the outflow of our manner. It is not manner or mission but both manner and mission.

As we begin this new year, I’d like to bring us back to the basics of building a strong foundation for our life manner:

  1. Keep your daily appointments with God – God wants us to know Him deeply; it’s in these moments that He will speak to you and refresh you directly. Come daily before God; open bible and open hearts.
  2. Schedule regular times of solitude and community – Find time to withdraw from people in order to enlarge our soul with God AND also find time to fellowship, carry each other’s burdens and encourage one another in the ways of God.
  3. Surrender yourself to God daily – Our hearts are prone to wander away from God; be intentional to come before God and surrender our lives to Him on a daily basis.

Just like how God has used these fundamental things to help me walk with Him through the highs and lows the past 20 plus years, I believe that He will use them to help you walk strong with Him as well. As your pastor, I truly love you. I want us to live our lives in proper biblical fashion, so we will have both life manner and life mission right. This 2021, let us commit to get our basics right, and live a life that is both fruitful in God and fruitful for God. 

In Christ, 
Senior Pastor Jeff

Framing each day in His Love

Since the Circuitbreaker period in April 2020, we have been working from home. With the flexibility from telecommuting, we realised that while mornings were less hurried, there was a tendency to sleep in more.  Hence, we had to be disciplined to wake up slightly earlier so that we could still set aside at least 15 mins to read God’s Word before we began our work. In the morning, I (Larry) also began to develop the habit of kneeling down and praying to God, to make it my first discipline. I find that the posture of kneeling helps my focus on praying, frames my day right in God’s love, and see things through His perspective. I find myself less anxious and become more aware of God’s presence during stressful situations at work. 

Working from home was also a time where we found it easy to gain weight due to less physical activity. Hence, we decided to eat just 2 meals a day (breakfast and dinner) and have fruits for lunch.  With the change in our lunch habits, we decided to channel the time for personal devotion in addition to mornings, where we could carve out about 45mins to worship God, read His word, or tune in to online resources to enrich our faith.  Not only were we able to upkeep our physical health, we also received spiritual refreshment regularly. Though we didn’t always manage to keep to this lunch devotion 100% of the time, the habit is now ingrained into our lifestyle.

Besides personal devotion, we also partake in weekly virtual fellowship with our workplace Christian group and remain connected with our Hope spiritual family through small group and 1-on-1 meetups, as well as with pre-believers. We also had opportunities to connect with neighbours better where we collaborated together to build a mini community garden, and became good friends with another young family with children as they come to our house regularly to play board games. While being intentional to reach out to our neighbours, we enjoyed the process of building relationships with them. As we seek to refresh them, we find ourselves refreshed as much!

All in all, we are thankful to God that through this season, He has provided us with the opportunities to build deeper relationships, with Him, and with people around us!

Larry & Kelly
(Hope Singapore Adults Axis)

Finding brotherhood in battle

This Life Group, to me, is truly God-given. It has allowed me to have a solid brotherhood to keep each other accountable for our battle with temptations and lust. Shout out to them for being so supportive and loving in encouraging me to chase Christ in not just fighting for purity, but in surrendering other guy-related struggles in my life like pride to God. The unusually long and encouraging text messages from my leader and calls late at night from my LG mates to stay pure, help me know that other people deeply care about how I’m walking with God.

Every Christian man really needs to have a group of trusted brothers to share and do life with; to train us in putting down our egos and admitting our flaws. As guys, it’s so easy to fall into the temptation of keeping our sin private to maintain our outward image. In that same way, having brothers that platonically love each other creates an environment of authenticity and real brotherly love where our vulnerability isn’t taken advantage of and isn’t ridiculed. Choosing God isn’t easy as it’s not in our nature, but thank God He helps us to choose Him!

Ashley
Hope Singapore Tertiary (NS)

Igniting our faith through His Word

At the start of the pandemic, my sub-district members expressed their doubts and fears about what was happening, hence we quickly jumped to online interactions so we wouldn’t feel alone in this journey. However along the way, some members stopped attending Life Group with excuses like work matters, poor connection, and shifting schedules. It was evident that they have neglected to feed themselves with God’s word daily and were sliding away from Him. That was when God prompted me to gather everyone for group devotions on a weekly basis. 

Our devotions focused on igniting our faith through the life of Job, Joseph, Moses and Joshua. Initially only the Life Group Leaders and core team came, but with constant follow-ups and encouragement in the LG chats, members started attending too. 

Through this group devotions, we see many members fully connected into the Word of God, with some even taking the lead in the discussions! We were also able to encourage a new believer who joined us in December 2020. She was having a difficult time, but through the group devotions her faith was reignited, and she now fully commits her time to LG and services. 

Right now, our sub-district’s prayer and worship life has completely evolved and we can evidently see it in the growth of our people. We’ve had 4 water baptisms during this pandemic, even in our bathtubs. We have members who have grown in their discipleship journey, from A to B, and B to C. Members are sharing more and more devotions in the LG chats, and constantly inviting friends from all over the globe to join our online / hybrid LGs. Prayer requests such as new jobs, approval of passes, healing and provisions have been poured out generously by God. We are really pressing in for more because with Jesus, there is always more for us and more to come! 

Deniece
Hope Singapore Filipino

A Safe Space Amidst Uncertainty

When COVID-19 struck, we in Hope Melbourne were immediately thrown into a state of uncertainty. It became increasingly difficult for international students and fresh grads to stay in Melbourne. Even locals and residents lost their employment and people had to move out of the city. As a Life Group, we needed to find a new way to stay connected. 

We moved our gatherings online and started to livestream services together. We share our learning from the Word regularly and get very real about our prayer requests. We also have crazy times of games which are both hilarious and competitive to the point of shouting over each other on Zoom (and my parents knocking on my door). We persist in meeting together and at the end of every LG session, our hearts are full to the brim. 

The pandemic might be a disruption, but it did not stop God’s work. Prior to that, we were just meeting as Hope Melbourne. But across 2020, we meet virtually across Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide as well as Singapore. As part of Christmas celebration, we even played Secret Santa and sent each other gifts across the continents!

More importantly, I can see how God’s hand is on His community. Even though we gather over Zoom, Hope Aussie has become such a safe space for us to share vulnerably about our struggles in our walk, to embrace and uplift each other when some of us are in doubt or afraid, and to pray and proclaim truth over each other as we look to God above the challenges.

Truly, Hope is better together. Hope Aussie became my home away from home, and I thank God for it every day! 

Grace 
Hope Melbourne & Adelaide