The Gibson Gazette

This blog contains the ramblings of a Brit who been living in Singapore 20 years and counting.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dear All

Time flies!

2008 has just passed and we are now in 2009. We are sorry that it has taken a while for us to write to you but it is better late than never. Last year was a year of great breakthrough for us. The Lord has indeed done a great thing in our family, children & for us as a couple. We want to truly thank each of you who have given your support in any way to us, especially those who pray & intercede for us. We know we would not be able to accomplish anything of worth without your prayers and words of encouragement.

One of the highlights of last year was that God gave us a trip to the UK to visit Tim's family in May & June. We are grateful to God for many of our brothers & sisters who sowed a seed of faith into our trip. It had been 8 years since we made a trip to the UK. Of course it was Matthew's 1st time & God blessed our trip with a brand new car for us to drive around in.

We were able to visit Shen's niece, Elaine & her children in London. It was great to hear Shen's niece's wonderful testimony of how the Lord helped her to settle down in London with support from good friends. We had a great time encouraging & praying with her.

We were also able to visit & stayed with Tim's good friends, Ian & Claire who accepted the Lord a few years ago. The Lord has blessed them with 3 beautiful kids after not being able to have children in the early years of their marriage. It was really a time to bonding with them & singing worship songs through late into the night. They had gone through some rough patches & we were grateful to God that we could be a listening ear to them, to encourage them & pray with them.

It was also great that we could share with Tim's parents the goodness of God. This time, Tim's elder brother & wife, his elder sister, husband & 2 children were so opened to what we shared & they witnessed what the Lord has done in our lives. We are really grateful to God for this special trip in which we could bond with them & also to witness for Him.

Though it was only 3 weeks but we prayed that whatever we sowed in their lives will bear much fruit. Needless to say we also had fun time touring some of England. We will share more in each of the sections below.

After our UK trip, one of the great things God did for us as a couple was that we were able to go to Cambodia for a mission trip. We have adopted a girl who is 11 years old and who lives in an orphanage in Cambodia. It was the 1st time we went on a mission trip together as a couple after about 10 . We went with 40 people from our church & some from other churches. Shen will share more in her section.

As for our children, we want to thank God that they truly excel in their studies & have even shown leadership skills. Melody got a S$250 bursary award for making it to top 25% in her school & Gideon got a S$250 scholarship award for making it to the top 10% in his school & S$120 for the leadership eagles award. Do rejoice with us in what the Lord has done in our family.

Overall 2008 was a year where many of my desires started to come into being such as going more regularly back to England to spend time with my parents and siblings, travelling more in South East Asia teaching and preaching and seeing the English service that I am Pastoring grow and come together more. England never looked more beautiful after 8 years absence and it was great to explore my Parent's glorious new surroundings in Devon and to meet up with all the family in a holiday camp in Warmwell, Dorset where we saw many of my childhood haunts including Corfe Castle and the Tank museum that the boys particularly loved.

Last year was a season of travelling and I wend to the Philippines, Cambodia and Malaysia on missions teaching trips. In Cambodia I taught the 250 orphans about the Trinity and had to think and pray hard about how to teach at their level. Also we took an Encounter Retreat in Cambodia earlier in the year where we took the leaders through an inner healing programme. I also started teaching more in other of our sister churches in Singapore and Malaysia as part of our combined Bible School, AIMS. This year too I will be travelling to other churches in Singapore and Malaysia to teach and will be returning to Cambodia and the Philippines later in the year.

The English service that I am leading is doing very well and I have been getting excellent support from the members. We saw the men's ministry grow in quality and quantity as a team of men took ownership and there's more excitement and sense of God's presence in the service and all activities. It is a joy to be ministering to such a loving and lively body of believers.

Last year was truly a year of breakthrough for me to have greater faith in the Lord. It was like a dream to me when we were able to go to England. I could not believe it because it was a great sum of money for us a family to go, but the Lord made it happened. It truly increased my faith in the Lord that He is able to do more than we can think of or imagine.

I was also very grateful to God that Tim & I could go on the mission trip to Cambodia. It was a big trip with about 40 people. We were there to bless about 250 orphans from 7 orphanages. The 40 of us were there to conduct a children's camp for them. Of course my desire was also to see our adopted daughter, Sreynine, & to build a bond with her. We all stayed in a hotel near the beach. It was the first time for many orphans to see the beach & they had great time there.It was overwhelming for me to see the many orphans but they were truly happy & glad with simple things. We brought boxes of clothes, goodies & toys for them. Every morning & night we had a time of P&W & it was so encouraging that they worshipped God with all their heart, soul & might. It was inspiring for us to see that they have so much hope in the Lord even though they live in such a hopeless condition. They were so happy with the clothes given to them that they wore them immediately.

We all had the opportunity to take a group of orphans & did a discipleship program with them & prayed for them.Before we left Singapore, Tim & myself went to say goodbye to our girl & it broke our hearts when she began to cry. However we were thankful to God that we were able to invest our time & lives into them. We prayed we would make a difference in their lives in times to come. Our trip to Cambodia was provided by our almighty God too. The Lord had impressed upon me that this mission was 'when I am hungry, you give me food, when I am thirsty, you give me drink & when I am naked, you clothed me because when we did to the least of these, we are doing unto me'.

I thank God that the Lord opened a door for me to be a relief teacher for a church child care for 6 months. It was a challenge for me because most of them come from dysfunctional families & they are rebellious. However God is good that I am able to input into them some spiritual truths & godly character. At the year end concert, I taught them to sing & dance 'My Redeemer Lives' & there was good feedback from non Christian parents.

Hi everyone, I am so thankful & grateful to God that I could go to England for the 3rd time. My dad was really cool driving a new car around everywhere. We sang our worship songs in the car & we were able to see the beautiful English scenery. God is truly awesome. I spent a great time with my uncle Andy & aunty Sara who invited me to have a longer stay with them. It was great to share the goodness of God to my grandad & nanny too. I was delighted to bond with my cousin, Laura who is only 2 years older than me.

One of the highlights for me was to find a nice & cheap shopping centre, which is difficult in the UK. However God is good & we managed to find 1 near London where everything is 1 pound where I got many great gifts for my friends & cousins.

I was not able to go on a mission trip last year but I thank God that I managed to bring my 2 best friends to Youth Impact & they had accepted Jesus as their friend too. Last December, my mum's cell group had a celebration on 26 December, celebrating my 14th birthday to which I was able to invite all my good friends. I had fantastic presents from my friends & my mum's cell group. God has been really good to me all these years.

Last year I prayed hard for my streaming & I am proud to say that that I go to the best triple science class this year. Please kindly pray for me as I am taking biology, physics, chemistry, additional & elementary maths.

Hi everyone, this is the 2nd time time for me to travel to England. God has been really good to me. I was awarded for my leadership skills last year for my contribution to the school & community & as a prefect for the school.

Last November our whole family was involved in my mum's good friend's wedding. My dad did the exaltation & marriage ceremony & my mum was the interpreter. Of course, I was the handsome page boy. I don't know whether all the eyes were on the bride or me because everyone looked like they were drooling when they saw how handsome I was (sorry, just joking).

Please kindly pray for me as this year I will be taking the Primary School Leaving Exam this October.

Hi everyone, I am very happy because this is the first time that I went to the UK. I loved flying on the aeroplane with my own little TV Mobil & enjoyed all my children's films. I am proud to have celebrated my 5th birthday in Devon, England. Grandad & nanny said I was a special boy because I am the only one of my siblings to celebrate their birthday in the UK.

Grandad & Nanny got me a Thomas the Tank cake & we had a big meal in a nice restaurant. Of course I received lots of presents from all my uncles & aunties in England. Gideon & I (plus Daddy of course) were very delighted that we could go to the Dr Who exhibition in Earl's Court, London, & we also went to the Thomas Land where I saw all of Thomas the Tank Engine's friends & the fat controller.

In all ways I enjoyed myself very well last year. Please pray for me because my Chinese is not good & I will be going to Primary 1 next year. Mummy said I have to be serious in my studies because I will go to the big school which I don't want to.

We hope you enjoyed our brief news and do continue to pray for us just as just we pray that God's highest purposes will be accomplished in your lives. This year, the Lord gave us this verse to claim as a family.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 'Blessed are those who trust in the Lord & have made the Lord their hope & confidence. They are like trees planted along the riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green & they go right on producing delicious fruit'.

Do not be affected by what the world recession but do spend time in the Lord for those whose hope in HIM will not be downcast. We pray that it will encourage & bless you. Here is the Gibsons wishing you a joyous & fruitful 2009.Thank you so much for partnering with us in all of the above in whatever way, big or small. May God bless you all mightily to be a mighty blessing.

Lots of love from,Tim, Shen, Melody, Gideon and Matthew.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

New Wine 2009

The Lord spoke to me that this year (2009) will be a year of turning water into wine. Indeed I preached this message on the first Sunday of 2009 in our church.

The first sign of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John was the turning of water into wine at the wedding in Cana when they had run out of wine (John 2:1-10). This sign was actually pointing to the ministry of Jesus in the lives of believers that would be accomplished through His death and ressurrection through the shedding of his blood (symbolized by wine). The use of "On the third day" in verse 1 actually points to a later similar phrase in the same chapter, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up" (v19) where Jesus was giving them the sign of His own death and ressurrection, the Temple here referring to His own body. When Jesus told Mary that His hour had not yet come (v4), he was referring to the hour (not literal hour but a season of time) of His death that came as the Disciples met for the last supper (John 13:1 - "His hour had come that He should depart from this world") where they partook of the wine together, Jesus revealing this was a symbol of His blood about to be poured our for our sins.

So Mary's "They have no wine" (v3) was taken by Jesus to mean "they have no life in Christ, no real abundant, joyful, sparkling life". When His hour did come, and He died for us on the Cross, He made that wine-filled life possible. But we can only live that life if we, like the servants, are obedient to Jesus and fill our lives with His water (by repenting of our sins and asking Jesus into our lives) and then draw out that water to bless those waiting to be served (especially the Lost). As we step out in obedience to the Lord and minister to others as He leads us then we will see the water turn into wine.

There are three things I see water turning into wine can represent:

1. Dead tradition into Abundant Living.
The six stone water pots were used for ritual purification. Each guest was required by the religious law to wash from these pots before and after the feast otherwise they would bring a curse on the couple. Although ritual purification is mentioned in the Biblical Law this particular ritual purification was a later addition by the religious teachers and had become a dead, even superstitious practice. Because of this tradition these stone pots stood more than half empty. Six is the number of work (man was to work six days and rest on the seventh). Hence these pots represent man living in dead works with dead traditions trying to reach God. In that state we will always be amost empty!

We need to simply obey Jesus and be filled to the brim with living water - by asking Him to fill us with His Holy Spirit. He wants to fill us with His new wine, bringing Joy and abundance into our lives - "And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit" (Ehesians 5:18).

2. Natural to Supernatural Living.
Pouring the water into the pots was nothing extraordinary, but drawing out that water into jars and it turning into wine was supernatural. If the master of the feast who tasted the wine had seen where the wine came from he would have been fuming mad - "What are you doing to the ritual purification pots? People have washed in that water and you are driwing it our to drink!". Often Christ asks us to do things that seem sacriligious, going against our religious (or superstitious) nature. But if we want the new wine to flow in and through our lives we must break dead religiosity in our lives.

As we obey Jesus in drawing out our lives to minster more to Him and to others then we will see the supernatural released in our lives. We must break out of dead traditions that hold us back in our worship of God and service to others. God maybe prompting you to dance during the worship service but you say, "That's foolish, we don't do things like that here", but in drawing out to do that you will experience the wine of the Lord, the flow of the supernatural in your life. The Lord may be asking you to lay hands and pray for healing for your sick neighbour and you may say "But that's too radical Lord. I will pray for them in secret". If you only allow God to draw you out of your comfort zone and go and lay hands on them you will see God's healing wine flow! If you only believe you will see the glory of God!

Would you rather be a boring half-filled pot, standing in the same place day in, day out, performing the same mundane rituals, or would you like to be drawn out by the Lord, overflowing with His abundance and dripping with His Joy-filled, supernatural New Wine?

3. Shame to Joy.
At the beginning of this story the bride and groom in that wedding would have been filled with shame. In those days if the wine ran out during the week-long wedding celebrations it was a great shame. Years on people would harshly remember that shameful start to their marriage. But Jesus turned all that around! He turned the sombre, shame filled mood into ecstatic joy and celebration. Not only was there wine but it was the best wine, usually drank at the start of the wedding. Here Jesus saved the best for last. Jesus has the best in store for you. He want to turn all your shame into joy and use you to bring the wine of joy to others living in shame.

This year God will do these three things for you if you simply ask Him to fill you up to the brim with His Spirit (as you are filled to the brim with expectation that He will do this then He will) and then allow Him to draw you out in your ministry to Him and others.

Let's see the water turn to wine in 2009!