19 Feb 2014 by Jason Law CM –
Almost every Christian, at least within the Klang Valley, would know about the Dream Center in PJ headed by Pr Daniel Ho and have the utmost regard for it. But do you know that there’s also a Dream Center in Ipoh? Dream Center Ipoh, is a English-Chinese bilingual worship service that meets fortnightly at YMCA Ipoh. It is steer-headed by bro Philip Loh, a man who ministers from his direct experiences and who works along with the Spirit.
In last Sunday’s service, Philip Loh shared a personal testimony before giving his message. He shared about a young man that came from a very traditional family, who had parents who found it very difficult to come to the Lord. He prayed for many years, right until the day his father was in a coma and this young man thought that it was the end for his dad. He continued persisting in prayer through 3 hours of his dad’s coma, and a miracle happened. The dad woke from the coma, and restored his relationship with God not long after that. Not only that, as He did with King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:4-6, God gracefully extended the dad’s life for another 4 years, and after another 17 years from his dad’s salvation, the young man’s mother also restored her relationship with the Lord. All together, it took 31 years of persistent prayer for this breakthrough.
This experience taught Philip 2 things about the Grace of God. In the first instance, God showed Himself as a God of 2nd Chances, and through the second instance, God showed Himself as a God of ‘More Than Enough’. This was the theme of the message shared by bro Philip, taking the example from the text of Acts 3:1-10.
Acts 3:1-10 is where the well-known event of Peter healing the lame beggar is, but there is more significance to the event than that. It also tells us some things about God. Firstly, He is a God of ‘More Than Enough’. The beggar asked merely for money, and Philip shared that the beggar may not have even recognized Peter. God appointed Peter to meet the beggar’s needs at the moment, but not through mere alms. God gave the lame man what he really needed and more than what he asked for. God restored the strength in his legs.
One of the notable things we notice is that Peter just spoke through his authority given by God (Acts 3:6-7). There is power in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and this power comes through our Identity in Christ. Philippians 2:10 says ‘that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth’. How much do we recognize Christ’s role in our lives and our Christian identity? How large are our dreams for God and dare we ask God for more?
6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 7 Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.
New King James Version (NKJV)
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
Acts 3:1-10 does not just show God as the God of ‘more than enough’; it also shows Him as a God of 2nd chances. Acts 3:2 tells us that the beggar had been lame from birth, and that he had to be carried daily to the Temple gates in order to earn some alms for his living. Putting ourselves in the beggar’s position, we can imagine that he must have lost the joy and hope in life.
Perhaps his friends had also grown tired of the chore of taking care of him. The beggar wasn’t blind or deaf. He would have heard the stories about Jesus or even seen Jesus when He entered into Jerusalem not long before Peter came along. Why didn’t he ask Jesus for healing? Perhaps his perspective had been limited by the stresses of his life, perhaps he had doubts, or perhaps he had totally given up hope. Hearing of the news of the crucifixion of Christ must have compounded his hopelessness. Even if he heard of the Resurrection of Christ, Jesus had ascended up to Heaven after 40 days, and here he was, perhaps feeling this time all hope has definitely passed.
Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.
Yet, right at the unexpected moment of life, Jesus gave him a second chance. Throughout the Bible, God has shown Himself as merciful and full of Grace. In the examples of Saul, the persecutor of Christians who became Paul, the great apostle of God, and in Peter, the man who denied Jesus 3 times who later became a great leader in the Early Church. Even in the Old Testament, God gave second chances to Gideon who tested God more than once and to Jonah who fled instead of obeying God. Many things in life, there are no second chances. Things that are broken cannot be mended. For example, you cannot redo failed exams; you either have to repeat the semester or you fail outright. Road accidents, etc cannot be undone.
Life ruined through mistakes seems to have no 2nd chances. Do we bow to pressures in life and resort to means like lying in order to get ourselves out of trouble, pornography to relieve ourselves of our loneliness, or to other kinds of addiction in our times of stress? Most of these will only land up with us digging deeper and deeper holes for ourselves. Only Christ can and has come to give broken lives like these second chances while we’re still living in a Time of Grace. The service ended with an altar call ministry and fellowship over some refreshments.
Philip shared in a briefing with the leaders of Dream Center Ipoh that what matters is not how big a church is, but how solid is the foundation it is set in. A strong and effective church is not grounded on the efforts of men but on the Identity of Christ, for the Church is not about us, it is about God. Bro Philip shared from his heart that if we have the right focus in ministry, God will bring the harvest in. He holds every newcomer to Dream Center Ipoh, every new believer, and every transformed life, to be directed and appointed by God. If a church is focused towards serving God rather than winning earthly glory, it will grow naturally.
Dream Center Ipoh meets every second Sunday morning (2,16,30 March; 13,27 April; 11,25 May; 8,22 June ), 10am-12pm at YMCA Ipoh. The service is held bilingually, in English with a Chinese translator, and a Children’s Church Service is held concurrently. Pr Daniel Ho will be speaking at the service on 2nd March 2014.
References for pictures