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Let us not forget our Spurs

posted 11.08.2012

by Lena Wilson

I used to ride horses when I lived in California. I rode Western, where you wore spurs on your boots to urge a horse forward instead of whipping it with a crop used by English riders. Although it seems somewhat barbaric, truth is, horses are smart and will stall to eat grass, or just stall to frustrate you, unless given a swift kick in the flank.
 
For this reason, the Camp’s theme verse, “Let us spur one another on to good deeds…” (Heb 10:24) has special meaning for me.
 
Like running is to horses, so is spiritual discipline to humans. We have a tendency to stall and get lazy or bogged down and distracted by life. And the enemy is an amazing farmer, knowing just what kind of tasty grass to plant to distract us. 
 
Although there is never a good time to stagnate in our personal spiritual lives, it is even more crucial at this juncture in time, both locally and internationally, that the church as a whole does not dally. Instead, we now have a unique opportunity to catch souls that are falling down everywhere, disillusioned by a world full of not only material and wealth that does not satisfy, but also of pain and discouragement of suffering and of broken human relationships.
 
Of course, this does not mean that we all don superhero costumes, beam our self-fashioned bat-lights and become vigilantes for God. As a church, according to Jesus’ desire for us, we need unity and one-mindedness in our mission, our love for God being our only underlying motivation and the love of Christ our only fuel.
 
And as the saying goes, it all starts from home.
 
Close to half of the church attended this year’s camp. With the theme “Spur On”, our speaker Dr. Michael Ross- Watson (pic to the right) blessed us richly. He spoke on the “Marks of a Church and shared a vision for what our church should seek to be. And the message is clear: we need to stay close to God, and we need to spur each other on.
 
This doesn’t mean we need to be hard on each other but rather, among other ways, to build a church with a strong culture of honor. To honor is to love others and consider their welfare more important than our own. Radiant  honor extends on all directions from us, to those above us, to around us, and to those below us. These directional cues are derived from socioeconomic status, spiritual maturity, seniority, life experience etc. This culture must not be reserved for within the church, but more importantly must be extended to those outside the faith.
 
In particular, as is emphasized throughout God’s Word, we need to honor the poor and needy. That is, we need to serve those poor in pockets and in spirit. In a society like Singapore, where beneath the superficially pristine varnish of wealth and success, lurks many who are left behind and left irrelevant, this cannot be a more relevant call.
 
Have you experienced the hope and assurance from God that transcends life circumstances? If so, you have something to share to those in need. Share your time and money. Love one another, as Jesus has commanded us, for by this all men will know that we are His disciples and be drawn to Him.  To honor and to serve, these are counter-intuitive to our human nature, so we will surely fail if within the church we don’t stand by each other, encouraging each other to persevere, lending a hand, praying alongside, and being examples for each other.
 
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, says Jesus, “ask of anything in my name and it will be done for you. Apart from me, you can accomplish nothing.”
 
Our second lesson or reminder from camp is that we are to stay so close to God in order for any of our efforts in kingdom building to truly pay off. After all, if it all starts from home, then the health status of the home, spiritually speaking, is of paramount importance. Sit at the feet of Jesus at all times, be it to learn, to find comfort, to complain, to worship, to rest. If we choose the one thing that is important, as Mary did, it will not be taken from us. While sitting at His feet, we need to grow spiritual ears to hear His voice.
 
Michael challenged us to cultivate our spirits to be attuned to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. Only when we hear His plans can we carry them out, and His plans are always infinitely better than ours.
 
Lastly, after we hear, we must obey. Often I think I have heard, but doubt the clarity and veracity of the voice, and choose instead not to obey. Again in this second endeavor we have to spur each other on -  to cut past the casual conversations and small talk about the weather, where the good food is, or even legitimate issues such as parenting and career woes -  that we may challenge and pray for one another’s faith journey.
 
What about doing this in practical ways? I heard a recent testimony about how a brother in our church texts bible verses to another brother daily to help him get through. That is a spur in action!
 
All through the 4-day Camp, I witnessed many instances of spur action, in the form of encouragement letters, of prayer small groups, of cell groups coming together to make commitments, even amongst durian-seeking parties venturing out to the night streets.
 
But let us not relegate those moments to fond memories. A church camp should not be an event that we each spent a couple hundred dollars and a few days of time off work in exchange for a few good photographs and memories. We all acknowledged as we left that God had done a very good work in Malacca in the SJC family.  
 
Let us now bring that fruit to bear by putting on our spurs daily.

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by Lena Wilson

 

Photo: Zach & Lena Wilson. The Camp messages can be listened to or downloaded here.

 

 
 
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