At the invitation of Pastor Ezra and Pastor Janice of Elim Kairos Church in Berastagi, Pastor Simon and Pastor Marilyn travelled to Medan to speak at Elim Kairos’ church retreat. Pastor Ezra’s G12 team, along with the full-time church staff travelled several hours from Berastagi to Medan for this retreat. The Singapore team who joined Pastor Simon and Pastor Marilyn were Clement, Clare, Stephen, Sam and I.
It was a great joy to see Pastor Ezra, Pastor Janice, Pastor Yoyong, and Mr and Mrs Fong at the Medan airport when we touched down. We are very thankful for their love and hospitality. Their humility and willingness to serve are great examples for all of us to learn from.
After we left our bags in the hotel, we made our way to Anugerah Church where the Elim Kairos team was waiting to hear Pastor Simon’s sharing. Pastor Yoyong of Gereja Kristen Perjanjian Baru, Pastor David and his wife, Pastor Naomi, of Gereja Elim Medan were also attending the retreat. Last November, Pastor Yoyong and Pastor David travelled from Medan to attend the first G12 Conference in Berastagi. It was good to see them making time to participate in G12 meetings and consultations with Pastor Simon.
One important lesson I learned is that G12 is about building relationships. From my few visits to Indonesia, I saw how Pastor Simon and Pastor Marilyn built relationships with the local pastors and their teams. It may take more time and effort to build cross-cultural relationships but genuine love and patience help to foster trust and confidence between people.
A good turnout at the retreat, which included pastors from churches in Medan
Pastor Simon’s Sharing: Remember Your First Love
Pastor Simon shared the rhema word on love at the retreat
Love is the foundation of our Christian faith. In 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Apostle Paul warned that great spiritual gifts and church ministries are vanity without love. Do you believe that a church can be successful without love? The church of Ephesus (Revelations 2: 1-7) was seemingly successful, doing all the right things for God. But the Lord threatened to remove them because they had forsaken their first love. Jesus taught the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matthew 22:36-37).
So how do we love God? Pastor Simon shared three key ways to find out if we truly love the Lord. First, we need to guard our hearts from hurts, offenses and self-pity. These can hinder us from loving God and others. When we are in a crisis, we need to go to the Lord and bring Him into our crisis. The enemy will seize every opportunity to make us doubt God. We need to exercise God’s given authority and His Word to silence the enemy.
Second, we must guard against harbouring idols in our hearts. Idols can be things that make us worry such as family and finances. Worry stems from our unbelief, hindering us from trusting God totally. Third, if we truly love God, we must love the people He has placed in our hands. And the love we have for one another will testify that we are His disciples (John 13:35).
But how should we love one another? Pastor shared there are two important factors that we need to possess in order to act in love. First, we need to be in one spirit with our spiritual family, like the Trinity. Second, we must embrace an attitude of humility towards one another. Let nothing be done out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).
Pastor Marilyn’s Sharing
Pastor Marilyn shared the importance of trust and unity
To reinforce the message of love and unity, Pastor Marilyn reminded the Berastagi team that the first step towards unity is to stop thinking negatively about our spiritual family. Without trust and love, the church cannot work cohesively. Mindsets need to be transformed. Biblical culture needs to replace the existing culture in the church.
The Power of the Shout of Victory
The congregation released a mighty shout of victory in the name of Jesus
Have you ever wondered why believers can continue to live in defeat even though Jesus has won the victory? The challenges that assail us daily can either make or break us. If we are not spiritually vigilant, we may allow fear, insecurity, pride, rebellion, deception and many other schemes of the evil one take us captive!
As Joshua led the people to shout and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, Pastor Simon shared that there is power when we shout in the victory of Jesus Christ. Our shout signifies that we are standing up against the oppressor and asserting our authority as children of God. Pastor led all of us to release a great shout of victory over our circumstances and challenges. We were amazed how the spiritual atmosphere shifted quickly and was filled with greater freedom and joy after the shout.
Pastor Simon also reminded us to live by God’s Word and not by our emotions. For example, we may feel God is far away from us. But God’s Word states that He will never forsake us. Do we trust His Word or our emotions? If we allow our emotions to lead us, we will become vulnerable to the snare of the enemy. To live victoriously, we must rely on His Truth and not our feelings.
The Victorious Mindset
The first G12 Conference in Berastagi last November left a very deep impression on all of us and we are eagerly looking forward to the next one. During the retreat, Pastor Simon invited the Elim Kairos team to share their thoughts on organising the next G12 Conference in November 2018. Many came forward to give positive feedback on the first conference. In particular, the parenting seminar by Edmund and Mun Lan (Pastor’s 12) was very well received by parents in Berastagi.
Despite the victory, the team highlighted the constraints in manpower, funding and time to plan for the conference. Pastor Simon challenged the team to adopt a victorious mindset, embracing the spirit of possibilities. God will always call us to do things that are greater than our abilities so that we need to depend on Him. He encouraged Elim Kairos not to be afraid of hard work, and the youth in the church can play a major role in the preparation for the next conference. Such challenges are meant to stretch the team as it requires the church to unite and serve as one body. This is only the beginning. Elim Kairos must persevere in God’s vision in order to see the fruits of their labour.
A vision from God can die prematurely if we see it from our perspective. It’s time to check and align our perspective with God so that we will not miss out on the breakthroughs and victories He has planned for us! When we have God’s vision, we will be led to live and do things differently. We need to see ourselves as ‘transformers’. The Bible is filled with men and women who carried God’s vision and brought transformation to their families, communities and the whole nation.
Forgiveness and Restoration in the Spiritual Family
Elim Kairos team releasing forgiveness and love to one another
At the closing of the retreat, Pastor gave a call to the team to go and settle the offenses and hurts that they have with one another. As they released their confessions and forgiveness, many broke down in tears. What a wonderful way to close the retreat! The Lord brought healing and reconciliation to the hearts of the Elim Kairos family.
Pastors’ Meeting with Boys’ Brigade Team
Boys’ Brigade’s mission is to advance the Kingdom of God amongst the boys and to promote obedience, reverence, discipline and self-respect. Stephen, who is an officer in Singapore’s Boys’ Brigade team, organised a meeting between the pastors and the Boys’ Brigade team in Indonesia. Ms Resien Chiu, the President of Boys’ Brigade Indonesia, together with the Medan district officers discussed with the pastors how the local youth can be reached for Christ through Boys’ Brigade.
Pastor Simon hosting dinner for Pastors and Boys’ Brigade Indonesia
Beyond spiritual mentorship, the FCBC team also gave counsel on operational matters. Pastor invited his G12 couple, Clement and Clare, to provide help to Elim Kairos Church in the area of accounting processes. They met with the accounting staff to understand the existing system and made the appropriate recommendations to Pastor Ezra and Pastor Janice.
The Beginning of Love North Sumatra
One significant milestone for this trip is the formation of the Love North Sumatra team amongst the local pastors. The pastors in the team will take turns to host prayer meetings to intercede for Indonesia, and their first meeting is planned in June. Truly, God is doing a new work in their hearts. We pray God will continue to move the hearts of many more pastors and draw them to seek unity for the body of Christ in Indonesia.
Love North Sumatra – A first step towards unity