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  • Pastor Lim Kee Oon

return to God



Dear WEFCers, 


God has given us leaders a vision of working towards Intergenerational Mentoring for the next 5 years until 2028. It is a vision of a church with a new culture where people of different generations actually interact personally with one another in a meaningful way. 


Our mission of making disciples who transform Woodlands and the world remains central and unchanged, and the depth of our disciple-making is still measured by the FORM of our discipleship — Family, Obedience, Relationship and Mission. But how we carry out our disciple-making must change or we will have no future. This change is not just strategic or relevant to our times. This change is a return to God's model for what His church should be as described by Psalm 78, Titus 2:1-8 and many other passages of scripture. 


Intergenerational Mentoring will obviously change how we disciple our next generation of children, youths and young adults. But it must also change how we develop future leaders. And we pray that it will also correct our weakness in Personal Mission and Evangelism. This is our Vision 2028. 


While we sow and labour towards 2028, we must continue to grow deep in our discipleship. Hence, our discipleship focus for 2024, “Return to God” is a call for us to allow God to speak deeply into our hearts, show us the ways we have strayed and become unfaithful, and draw us back to Himself. To help us in our journey back to the heart of God, the prophets Hosea, Amos and Micah will serve as our guide. 




As we begin preaching through these three books, I want to share a few thoughts that I hope will address what I detect to be a negative sentiment towards these portions of Scripture — sentiments that will not help us to receive God's Word properly if we do not address them.  


We cannot avoid or ignore the “difficult” parts of God's Word that make us feel uneasy lest we lose the significance of why God included them in the canon of Scripture in the first place.

 

Firstly, there is a misconception that these books are only about condemnation and we are in for a whole year of scolding and nagging. Well, it is true that there are long passages of rebuke. But it is important to note what God is angry about. He is angry that something in His beautiful design is not fulfilled. His people are not living as they ought to, and things are a mess. If we can see what God sees, then would we not also share in His anger and seek to return to His beautiful, original plan for us and this world?   


Secondly, note that in almost all the passages of rebuke, there are often a few stirring verses of hope. These stand like a beautiful flower emerging from a landscape of ashes. These 'flowers' remind us of something about God that is just so needed in times of darkness and despair. Sometimes it is an aspect of God's character while at other times it is the initiative of God to restore us, without which we are doomed. 



Thirdly, these books are full of imagery that tug at our hearts, not just our minds.


In Hosea, God is not just hurt or angry at our unfaithfulness and wants nothing more to do with us. He is the jilted lover deeply hurt by an adulterous wife, yet He still wants her back! He still wants US back! Therefore, shouldn’t we return to God to experience His love? 


In Amos, He is a roaring lion, roaring for justice for the poor and downtrodden in society. Do we dare continue with our comfortable lives while ignoring the needs of the less fortunate around us? Shouldn’t we return to God and administer His justice to the world around us?   


In Micah, the message he penned was particularly personal for him. You see, his name Micah is short for 'mikaya' which means "Who is like God?" Micah carries God's painful message with rebuke, warnings of punishment and a call to return. And at the end, he asks a pertinent question using a reconstructed form of his own name 'mi-el-ka-mo-ka' — who is a God like you? And his answer is not about the power, sovereignty, or transcendence of God, but a revelation of God that is so needed for the painful message he carries. I'll leave you to check out his answer in Micah 7:18-20. Therefore, let’s return to Him and submit to His discipline.     


Woodlands EFC, young and old, would you join me to journey to the heart of God? Let's seek to know God's heart through His Word in Hosea, Amos and Micah. With His help, let's throw off all that distracts us from Him. With His Spirit’s enabling, let's work to correct all that is wrong in our lives, church and society that doesn't conform to His design. Let's return to Him. 

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