Goodbye with last words, survival tips and mushy stuff
Posted on 26 Jan 2018 by Vanessa Ong
When I am not too busy being nervous about leaving Malaysia and my beloved church for three years, I’d daydream about the children’s lessons that I will write after coming back from seminary. I’d imagine the depth and precision the children’s syllabus will have and the children’s resulting sense of awe and wonder at God and his truths.
*big sigh of happiness*
For those of you who are not updated on my plans (sorry), I am leaving NEXT WEEK to Moore Theological College, Sydney for Bachelor of Theology. My goal for the next three years would be to prepare my theological thinking and life for serving the church in the long term.
Church, please pray that my time at Moore is a success okay?
A note to our supporters (current and future!)
Please support CERC as CERC takes on the financial burden of funding my theological studies in Sydney (Details on how are at the end of this post).
Last words to the church
I may not seem nervous about going to seminary, but the truth is, deep down inside I am trying not to drown in nervousness about seminary and making it count for God and His church. These questions come to mind when I worry about the big and small things:
Will I be more godly or change for the worse?
Will I find myself struggling to make progress in my studies?
Will I keep being focused and continue to love my church with all my heart?
Some advice to the church
1. You have one shot at this
You are only (insert age) once.
There will only ever be XYZ CF Camp 2018 once and never again. There will only ever be XYZ Conference 2018 and never again. There will only ever be one Geddit that your friend was available to attend this whole year. Will you use the gifts given to you by the Spirit of God and push yourself to give the best to all that you do for the building up of God’s ministry, all to the glory of God and the good of your neighbour?
You have only one chance as a (insert age) year-old to practice and make effort in the areas you need to. The more years of sinful habits, the harder it gets to bear fruit for God. The more fervent your practice of making wise choices, the more godly you will become for the good of the young ones that look up to you even though you don’t realize or desire their respect.
You are (insert age) years old only once in your life. Are you really going to “let other people talk to newcomers”? Are you really going to let your employer blossoming reputation and success at work become measly replacements for the glorious privilege of being a servant cleaning the toilet of the church of the living God? As you enjoy being satisfied by the good gifts God has allowed you to enjoy– be it love in human relationships, travel experiences etc., are you going to tell Jesus, our perfect and good high priest, and our worthy Father to “MOVE OVER, C’MON GET OUT OF MY RADAR FOR A WHILE”?
No. We are CERC, Jesus’ church. We are going to ROCK IT at whatever age we are at this year. We will be FOCUSED on who we are and our calling as ones who will be glorified with Christ when He returns.
2.Don’t forget to be the real you
Be stronger, fiercer and more aggressive in your loyalty to God and His Word.
Living out your Christian identity entails suffering – this is the will of God and you must be true to who you are.
When you are true to your identity, people around you can see who Jesus is and His worth. You will be a living testimony to others that Jesus is THE BOSS– His Lordship is not an abstract idea but a concrete and practical reality.
When you are true to your identity, you give strength to your brothers and sisters to persevere.
When you are true to your identity, you give glory to God.
What does this mean?
This means having that conversation with the person whom you know needs it.
This means growing in great ambition for eternal Jesus – He deserves more of your passionate ambition than your own short life deserves.
This means working hard at Scriptures! We are people of the Word, we LIVE by the Word. No Word, no life. The Bible is not just for word ministers!!!
This means caring deeply and personally about the church of God no matter what happens – CERC may or may not “prosper” but Jesus’ Church will always prosper, and our role is to grow in love with God and with theology, and to suffer gloriously no matter what happens.
Survival tips for my fellow comrades
1. Simply attack the ‘laundry’ one pile at a time.
Sometimes when there are just so many urgent deadlines cropping up, my mind will just flit from one task to another, one project to another. It’s very disorientating but sadly, natural to me. It feels completely unproductive. It also feels really demotivating that there are so many tasks undone and they can be pretty massive tasks!
Well, do you know what’s a stress reliever? Having less things to stress about. So JUST START on one of them, just like lots and lots and lots of laundry left undone. Choose the one with the highest priority, just like I choose the clothes that I need to wear and dump it in the machine ASAP. Sometimes I force myself to do the thing I will most likely procrastinate because it is too massive and too important.
Send out an email to tell the whole world that they can expect document X from you. Put a deadline to it and TA-DAH, before you know it, focus kicks in! I sure hope so…
3. Be a leader like the suffering servant.
Many people from all sides will attempt to discourage you from giving Jesus your best. They could be the closest friends, the members of your church, the people who dislike your ministry or even those you disciple. They will do so because of their own convenience, preference or habit, all done out of plain rebellion against God’s will.
Don’t give in. His church deserves your best effort and theirs. So, be a leader. Just like Christ who was driven by the zeal for God’s house and suffered for it, yet he was utterly dependent, focused and determined. Again, don’t give in.
4. It’s not just about conviction and commitment, but more importantly discipline
Hard work doesn’t just end at working hard. Work hard at being a certain kind of person – someone convicted, someone committed from that conviction, and someone disciplined from that commitment. It’s really about the way you work as well as how you build the character and habit necessary for a productive and godly life for Jesus.
Be disciplined in following the advice that you gave yourself after you’d made a mistake. You will have very specific things you need to work on, based on hardship, experiences, mistakes, and feedback from others. Your advice will most probably be very sound if you have godly desires and thinking!
Never forget that you are nothing and Jesus is everything.
The best kind of self-worth, the truest freedom from everything including identity
crisis, the deepest assurance comes from remembering this.So, be a servant and take up the tough challenges that come with this destiny of yours. Is there really anything more?
Mushy stuff and LASTTTTTTT last words
(Warning: Cheesy but sincere words ahead)
I will miss you, church, so much so that I cannot find the words.
Love each another deeply.
Love one another on my behalf too. Add my share when you are loving one another since I cannot be physically there to participate in the gatherings.
Remind me to love you all by studying hard and by not being preoccupied with missing you all.
Lastly, an important reminder
If you would like to support me (or you know of anyone who would like to support) via CERC’s Theological Education Fund, PLEASE, whether in small or big ways, the details are on this link: www.cerc.com.my/support-us/
You could also contact Joshua, the head of our fundraising (email@example.com/ +6010-7812828) if you need further details.
If you are able to contribute to the CERC Theological Fund, please do so.
Thank you in advance for your love, support and partnership in the Gospel!
Vanessa was one of our Church Ministers’ Apprentices. She is now studying for her Bachelor of Theology in Moore Theological College, Sydney. Her first degree was a Bachelor of Science (Psychology). Her favourite pastimes include sitting and reading at the chup fun shop near CERC Central and waiting for random people to join her.