19 MAY 2013 :: This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday - marking the end of the season of Easter, and i wonder how this feast commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the twelve Apostles of Christ applies to what we are experiencing today.
How is the Spirit working in our lives? How are we transformed every day as we abide in the Spirit and the Spirit abides in us?
What are the things we need to let go of? And what are the things we need to hold on to?
GET READY FOR AMPLIFY 2013 :: Amplify Conference is a gathering of the affirming and inclusive
Christian communities from all over the Asia-Pacific region. This year's conference will be held in Hong Kong from 7-9 June 2013 and will include a church and worship leadership pre-conference on Friday 7 June 2013. You will be blessed by the ministry of international speakers including Rev. Dr. Cindi Love (Soulforce, USA), Rev. Dr. Patrick Cheng (USA) and Rev. O Young (USA), incredible worship with the international Amplify Conference Band comprising of worship leaders from all over Asia and a unique time to fellowship and share your journey with other Christians as we are equipped together to serve the "kin"-dom of God!
Make a decision to join us at Amplify 13 this year and start planning to come! If you are a member of FCC and considering to attend Amplify 13 but may be concerned that you may not be able to afford to attend the conference, please do approach Rev. Miak Siew as we have set aside some sponsorship for those who truly need it to be there!
UPDATE: Amplify 2013 is now completely SOLD OUT. You may still register at www.amplify2013.com but we may not be able to accommodate everyone so please sign up early!
THANK YOU FOR CONTRIBUTING TO PROJECT RENEW-VATION! :: A big thank you to everyone who contributed to "Project Renew-vation" - our month-long project in February where you contributed more than 100 ideas of how we can make FCC home, the kind of spaces we need to bring life to the kind of activities that you want to see at FCC! We will be distilling all the ideas as we put together our BLUEPRINT for the new church as we prepare to move in Summer 2014 to our new premises! More details to come!
FROM THE DESK OF REV. MIAK SIEW - 09 MAY 2013 :: THE SUBSTITUTION EFFECT
I've been thinking a lot after reading Daniel Kahneman's book, "Thinking, Fast and Slow." That's what good books should do to you - make you think long after you have finished reading.
One of the ideas that Kahneman brought up is the idea of substitution. When confronted with a different question, our brains will find a related question that is easier to answer and answer that instead. He points out that:
- The target question is the assessment you intend to produce.
- The heuristic question is the simpler question that you answer instead.
Kahneman gives the following examples:
- Target question: How much would you contribute to save an endangered species?
Heuristic question: How much emotion do i feel when I think of dying dolphins?
- Target question: How happy are you with your life these days?
Heuristic question: What is my mood right now?
- Target question: This woman is running for the primary. How far will she go in politics?
Heuristic question: Does this woman look like a political winner?
This substitution effect doesn't just happen in how we think. It happens in what we do. We often substitute things in our lives - the easier tasks for the more difficult tasks. Retail therapy - shopping to make ourselves happy, or to get over a difficult period in our lives - is common. It substitutes what we really need to deal with - whatever problems and issues we are facing - with shopping. The same applies to alcoholism, drug use, food addiction and many other addictions.
It is second nature to substitute. We even substitute sex for love.
I often see people substituting in the way they lead their lives. As a Christian pastor, I am very critical of how we have often substituted what we are called to do with what is easy to do. We are called to love, but it is sure a lot easier to substitute it with something else. Instead of doing what is difficult, we do what is easy - pointing out how other people are a lot worse than us, thereby absolving psychologically in ourselves what we are guilty of.
That is why I think so many Christians quickly jump onto the bandwagon on the issue of homosexuality, calling it a sin. Because it substitutes the difficult task of self-examination and loving people with the easy task of judging others. It makes it easy not to think about one's own sin when one is thinking about how another person is sinning.
That is also why I am critical of worship that is just what Bishop Yvette Flunder called a "Jesus party." Worship that gives you a spiritual high but does not lead you to ask the question - what you are called to do. I am critical of the substitution of the difficult task to "follow Jesus" with the much easier task of "believing in Jesus."
Perhaps that is why many Christians are uncomfortable with silence. Because that is where God disturbs us, the Spirit troubles us, and stirs us into wrestling with ourselves. That is why Christians quickly substitute away the silences. Not realising that God is waiting to speak to us there.
BLESSED BE THE NAME OF THE LORD :: Rev Miak preaches a powerful study on the book of Job - the only book in the Bible that directly deals with human suffering. Get this message here
FOCUS ON "OUR" FAMILY :: The witness of the church is not about pounding the Gospel into other people but about transforming the quality and nature of relationships with have with one another in community. Learn about the kind of community we are called to become as Christians and overcome the barriers to becoming that community.. Read the full transcript and other past sermons here.
CHURCH CENTRE BUILDING PROJECT 2012 :: The FREE COMMUNITY CHURCH is taking a big step to prepare for our future. In February 2012, we launched our two-phase church centre building project. This year in 2012 we are coming together to raise S$175,000 to move into our own property by May 2013 in the first phase of our project. Find out more information about the Church we are called to build and join us to build our new home right here.
HOW TO HAVE GOOD SEX - PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN SEXUAL ETHICS :: As a gay Christian, with whom and when can I have sex? When is sex just and good and when is it not? What should I be considering when I want to be intimate with my partner? Is there a different standard for ethical sexual behaviour between a heterosexual and a homosexual couples?
At the Free Community Church, we believe that as part of living out our faith, there should be not be a disconnect between what we believe and how we live our lives as Christians - as followers of Christ. After years of reflection as a community, we have developed a framework for sexual ethics that contains a set of principles that we encourage everyone to apply to own their lives.
To find out more about FCC's Principles of Sexual Ethics, click here.
"STONEWALLED" MUSIC FOR HIV MEDICATION :: The inaugural album of Free Community Church is now available for sale on CD, Amazon.com and iTunes!
"STONEWALLED" contains 12 original songs written, performed and produced by a group of volunteers who came to work on this project together.
We firstly want to help raise funds for people living with HIV. The CD is available at FCC at S$20 and ALL proceeds from the sale of "STONEWALLED" will go to those who can't get access to or can't afford the expensive HIV medication.
We also want to use music to share the truth of God's unconditional love for everyone. In a world where our differences are often used as the reason to reject and judge each other, we want you to know that you have been uniquely and lovingly created by a God who has a plan and purpose for each one of us. Whether you are straight, gay, bisexual, transgendered, poor or rich, black white or brown, HIV+ or negative.
To support this project and download the CD digitally on Amazon.com, please click here. All proceeds will go to our HIV medication fund.
Stay tuned to the latest updates on our music by joining our facebook page here.
SUNDAY SERVICE :: Each Sunday, we have a fantastic time in Church. So come join us this Sunday for an awesome time of praise and worship, a time of reflection and prayer, and powerful, life-transforming teaching by incredible speakers from all over the world! Do invite along your family and friends. You won't want to miss a moment of it at our brand new venue at the Century Technology Building Level 3 at 56 Geylang Lorong 23, right across the road from the Aljunied MRT!
Click here for instructions on how to get to church by MRT, bus or if you are driving.
PRAYER REQUESTS :: Is there something troubling you? Is there too much to bear? At some point in our spiritual journeys, we all realize that our own strength is not enough. And fortunately, we are not alone. So whether or not you are a member of this church, we would earnestly like to pray for you, and commit your needs to God. We will be doing so as a church community at our monthly prayer meetings, conducted on the last Wednesday of each month.
Click here to download the form you can drop into our prayer box at the entrance or let us know a bit about your situation and how best we could pray for you by sending us an email at email@example.com. Do also indicate if you are comfortable with your name or the names of your loved ones mentioned. Please be assured that we fully respect your need for confidentiality.
GIVING :: The effectiveness of any Church is limited by the generosity of its members. As we are looking to be able to reach out more effectively through our community action projects, relocate to a place where we can call our Home and manage the day-to-day running of the Church, we hope that you will be able to join us in committing a set amount of your finances to the work of FREE COMMUNITY CHURCH.
Tithing and pledging are important spiritual disciplines as it helps us be grateful stewards over the money that God has blessed us with. Click here to download a copy of the Financial Pledge Form and mail it back to us or drop it into the offering bag during service.
Please note that although FREE COMMUNITY CHURCH is a registered charity in Singapore, donations are not tax deductible.
LEADERSHIP COUNCIL :: Ever wonder who's behind the FREE COMMUNITY CHURCH? The leadership and management of FREE COMMUNITY CHURCH comprises of a team of individuals that represents the diversity of the Church. Click here to find out more about the team.