Songkran Weekend in Singapore
We might have had to pull a work weekender last week, but were saved by Thailand being on a no-negotiations Songkran break. So there was time for brunches and coffee stops:
late brunch at Min Chan’s Club Street Social (facebook, 5 Gemmill Lane, off Club Street) – Italian-inspired menu with New York interior and service that could not be faulted. The crostini bread was fresh and crisp, and in the lobster panini, chunks of crustacean were pan-fried in butter and paired with grilled avocado (the yuzu mayo might have been too subtle);
in comparison, brunch at Privé was rather dismal – limp sausage of doubtful texture and taste, soggy maple-syrup-laden bacon. Perhaps they were overloaded during Boat Asia 2012. Lovely waterside dining though with adequate ventilation and breeze;
11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- The judgement of Christ governs the style of ministry – Paul said he will concentrate on plain-speaking proclamation of the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:2). He was permanently homesick because his real home was in heaven, and he was longing to be with the Lord in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1-10). And he knew when he met the Lord, there would be judgement for the believer in heaven. This certainty of future judgement impacted the style of ministry then as it should do now. While false teachers had great CVs, and looked successful in the context of the 1st century where being a great orator was thought of as extremely glamorous, Paul said because he knew that he would be laid bare before Jesus, he would simply proclaim the gospel without sneaky methods or trying any funny gimmicks. It is the proclamation of God’s word that the Spirit will use. So where is our confidence – in music concerts, in funny anecdotes, or…? Since we fear the Lord and want to please God, we must work and sweat away at preparing for Bible studies or talks because we want to proclaim him plainly. And we will not be side-tracked by a group member who wants to talk about his sick parrot or how tough his work is.
- The love of Christ impacts the shape and scope of ministry (2 Corinthians 5:14-17) – the scope is anyone anywhere and the shape is at any cost. Because Christ died for us, therefore we can no longer live for ourselves; we can do nothing else but bring the gospel message to others. We are a new creation brought from death to life so that we might live no longer for ourselves but are compelled to live for Jesus. The false teachers looked only on the face of things, but Paul was unable to look according to the flesh, he saw people from the gospel point of view as someone for whom Christ had died, who understands that others too will face the wrath of God if they do not repent. And do we regard group members from human point of view or gospel point of view? Do we see them from the love and judgement of Christ, or do we just see whether they contribute well, or prepare their studies, or are boring?
- The commission of Christ is the subject of ministry – God has given all of us the ministry of reconciliation.