Sailing from Troas we made a straight run for Samothrace; the next day for Neapolis, and from there for Philippi, a Roman colony and the principal city of that particular district of Macedonia. After a few days in this city we went along the river outside the gates as it was the sabbath and this was a customary place for prayer. We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting. One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple-dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptised she sent us an invitation: ‘If you really think me a true believer in the Lord,’ she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘When the Advocate comes,
whom I shall send to you from the Father,
the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father,
he will be my witness.
And you too will be witnesses,
because you have been with me from the outset.
‘I have told you all this that your faith may not be shaken.
They will expel you from the synagogues,
and indeed the hour is coming
when anyone who kills you
will think he is doing a holy duty for God.
They will do these things
because they have never known
either the Father or myself.
But I have told you all this,
so that when the time for it comes
you may remember that I told you.’
Your faith may not be shaken
As a university, we continue to grow and evolve. And after more than 5 years, I have seen many good people come and go. I have often wondered why seemingly good people decide to leave their job just as all eyes are on us and we begin to establish ourselves as a distinctive brand in Singapore.
Some of the senior management and most heads of department attended a culture building workshop recently, facilitated by a young husband and wife team. One exercise involved a handful of colleagues going out of the room while the rest of us were given ‘briefs’ about the kind of people we were and how each team was supposed to build the tallest tower possible out of a variety of material (paper cups, balloons, straws, crepe paper, markers and the like). Then halfway through the process, the handful of colleagues who had been asked to step out of the room were re-introduced into each group. But they had obviously been given a different ‘brief’ to us in terms of their culture. They all behaved pretty oddly and as they tried to assimilate into our groups, there was some obvious discomfort and even tension.
At the end of the session, we all shared that as an organisation that was so focussed on getting things done, we sometimes portrayed ourselves as cold, distant and unwelcoming. To outsiders and new employees, this could take some getting used to. While reflecting on this, I drew a parallel with my ongoing spiritual recovery journey and the other 12 brothers who are journeying together with me. As a new ‘leader’, I have had to ensure that readings are disseminated, attendance at our meetings is decent and that no one falls by the wayside – especially those who are not so regular. Unfortunately, the reality is that we have already had one or two casualties. Ordinarily, I would have taken the blow rather personally and questioned myself as to whether I had been open, caring, or even available to my other brothers who may be struggling with various issues at work or at home.
Unlike our Lord who cares for each and every one of His sheep, I feared that I may have been too uncaring as a leader. But during the recent CER#46, I pulled the same bible verse three times – 1Chr16:11-12 – He was reassuring me that all I needed to do was to look to Him in my hour of need.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord is always there waiting to catch us, no matter how wretched we feel about ourselves. He is a loving God full of compassion and mercy, ever willing to enfold us in His arms so that as His true sons and daughters, we will never fall by the wayside. I know I have to trust in Him completely to keep my group together, united in the bonds of His undying love for each and every one of us.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)
Prayer: Lord, help us to see your face in every situation that we face. Help us to remain focussed and committed to you as we journey on this earth.
Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for always watching out for us and being there to catch us when we falter.