Singapore, Day 3

Sunday was a great day at the Pasir Panjang Church in Singapore. This is probably the largest church in Asia—some 400-450 in attendance on Sundays. And they love being with each other. The hum was palpable.

They have two services: 8:00 and 11:00 with class in between. I preached both services this Sunday—a sermon on “The Power of Grace.” I’ll post the manuscript for that sermon next, if you’re interested.

People responded so well. “Narrative preaching” is not something they are exposed to very often in this region of the world. When I was at the Asian Mission Forum last summer (in Thailand), they invited me specifically to do narrative preaching and to expose people in this larger area to that sort of message. I thought I would try it again here in Singapore. Listeners were fascinated by the use of story to carry the central message of a sermon and the idea that sermons ought to evoke an emotional response … not just an intellectual assent. It was fun and, I think, meaningful.

After worship, we all enjoyed a meal together—the lemon fish was out-of-this-world! Rice, rice everywhere, of course. Some meals feature three different kinds of rice! But I’m loving the food and eating more hot-and-spicy food than is probably good for my gaijin system.

Then: a wedding! Jason and Laura are Chinese. They have been married for a few weeks, but were only able to have a civil ceremony back home. Religious wedding ceremonies are forbidden. So while they were going to be in Singapore for Pasir Panjang’s Family Camp, they asked if they could be married in a religious ceremony. Henry Kong (the preacher here) officiated the wedding. Winston Chong (one of the elders) gave the bride away. A member of the church here bought the bridal gown for Laura. And this church rose to the occasion to honor this young couple’s desire to found a marriage on their faith. Not a dry eye!

Dave Hogan is a missionary working in Singapore with a church in another section of the city. We’ve struck up a friendship of late and finagled a way to get together during my visit. It happens that this is also the time of year when that church has its Family Camp. Randy Harris and Randy Gill are here helping that congregation. So all of us got together at Dave’s home for some wonderful Indian food (are you sensing a food theme to my Singapore visit?), a carton or two of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, and good conversation. It was lots of fun and a good time was had by all.

I’m posting the manuscript to Sunday’s sermon. Hope it will encourage you. I would love to hear any feedback you have to offer. And enjoy the photos of the Pasir Panjang Church at worship.



© 2012 by Tim Woodroof. Reproduction of this material requires permission from the author.