Cultivating Hearts for Christ

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Cultivating Hearts for Christ

Posted on 23 Feb 2024



How did you come to know Christ?



Nic circle portraitNicholas

Growing up in a Catholic family, I attended church services every Sunday from when I was in primary school. However, back then, I did so more out of duty as a believer in Jesus, rather than because it was something I found joy in. I knew Jesus died on the cross for humankind because there was a gigantic cross with a resemblance to Him on it inside the church. Yet, the significance of the cross, the knowledge of the Bible and the purpose of fellowship were unknown to me while I was growing up.

One day, while I was preparing for my exams in my first year in Polytechnic, two members from The Navigators came to talk to me at the canteen. During the conversation, they asked if I was assured of my salvation. I told them I was unaware of such a word. Back then, I strongly believed that good works led to salvation, so to me, no one could be sure they would go to heaven since you can’t be certain that you have been a good person till the day you die.

But God put 1 John 5:11-12 and John 1:12 in my heart with so much affirmation, that I knew these words were for me. I could indeed have confidence in my salvation not because of my good deeds, but by God’s grace through the completed work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

“And this is the testimony: ‘God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.’”

— 1 John 5:11-12


“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”

— John 1:12


From there, they invited me to read the Bible together, to which I happily agreed. It was here that I embarked on my journey of knowing Christ—more than a religion, it became a personal relationship with my Saviour.


The Navigators changed my life in countless ways. I was once addicted to gaming and hung on to it every possible minute of my waking hours, but I became a Word-seeking and fellowship-loving Christian.

Through my mentor and through fellowship with The Navigators, I was thrilled to realise that the Bible was more than just a book teaching me to discern right from wrong, or a compilation of historical events. Instead, it was a book that God wanted me to read to know Him and live a life that pleased Him. It was not long thereafter that I too, shared the same joy and helped others to receive Jesus and grow in their relationship with God.

I’ve always told people around me, “As much as I praise God that He led me to Him through many people He placed in my life, I won’t deny that The Navigators played a vital role in drawing me to Him. They laid a solid foundation in my life in helping me to know God and making Christ known to others as well. Without my mentor’s persistent pursuit and encouragement from the fellowship, I doubt I would still be following Christ today.”



Chi

I grew up thinking that there was no God. I was proud and viewed myself as a self-made person. I only trusted in science and empirical evidence and believed that I must always work hard by my abilities and should not seek help from a higher being.

However, God was faithful in pursuing me by sending me many Christian friends who shared with me about a good God who loved us and had a plan for our lives. Though I often debated about the existence of God with them, I could not refute one thing—the joy, purpose and love that exuded from their lives.

Eventually, I began to reflect on my purpose in life, what would become of me after death and the lack of control I have over my life. I came to recognize my sinfulness and wondered if anyone would still love me after coming to know how sinful my heart was. I began following my friend to church and had more spiritual conversations with the Christians around me.

I was moved when I discovered how God has loved me from the beginning and created me for a purpose, how Jesus loved and died for my sins though He knew them all, and that death is not the end as eternal life is given to those who believe. I realised that the answers to the big questions I had about life were found in Jesus and the Scriptures. At the age of 16, I decided to give my life to Jesus.


Knowing Jesus brought great joy to my heart and gave new meaning for my life, I wanted to learn how to be a true disciple of Jesus and how to share this faith with those around me. When I was 18, I came across a book titled “Born to Reproduce”. The idea of follow-up and one-on-one discipleship introduced in it deeply impacted me.

I desired to learn from real-life examples in following Jesus and making him known, so I joined the Navigators when I was in university. It was then that I learnt how to spend time with God through spiritual basics such as daily Quiet Time, Bible Reading and prayer. I was taught how to share the gospel with others through the help and example of my spiritual mentor and fellow believers.


Having fellowship with people who were passionate about Christ also inspired me to put Christ first in my daily life and decision-making.
 

Having Quiet Time Sharing with fellow passionate believers


How have you been impacted personally by life-on-life discipleship?

Nicholas

Personally, life-on-life discipleship was the trait of The Navigators that attracted me the most when I initially joined them during my polytechnic years.


More than just the teaching sessions and seminars or reading Christian books, I had the opportunity to observe my leader’s life and imitate his faith, which made for a true blessing to me. I had the privilege of staying at the ministry leader’s house where I could observe his life closely and learn from his character. 

There was a quote in my Bible Study that I loved a lot:
 

“I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.”

— Edgar Guest


Fellowship at ministry leader's house
 

The mentors who journeyed with me became my pacesetters when I first started reading the Bible. They imparted the rich insights gained from their disciplemaking journey to me, as apostle Paul did to Timothy. In like manner, they have passed the baton to me so that I will continue to do likewise for the next generation.


Chi

When I first joined The Navigators, I initially thought of a personal mentor as someone whom I could ask questions, share my troubles with and request prayer from. However, I soon realised that that role encompassed much more. I am thankful that I could share my life with them and observe their examples of sacrificial love for God and people in daily, practical ways.


In addition to teaching me Bible knowledge and training me in ministry skills, my leaders also helped build my character by working with me through their corrections.


One memorable instance was when one of my leaders sat down with me, and in tears, spoke to me about my lack of faithfulness in spending time alone with the Lord. She pointed out that maintaining my fellowship with the Lord is key to living a fruitful life in Jesus.

I am thankful that despite the difficulty of such a conversation, she did not hesitate to speak the truth to me to ensure my growth in discipleship.

Chi’s (middle) personal leaders at her graduation ceremony


Can you share your experience of investing in the lives of others and those you are currently reaching out to? 

Nicholas


After graduating from the National University of Singapore (NUS), I met a freshman named B.

B was already a Christian, had some desire to grow in his walk with God and so, joined us occasionally. He was unique; daring and adventurous in trying new things, to the point that he disliked disciplines because they were repetitive. Initially, mentoring him was tough as he didn’t seem to “fit in”. While this eventually led him to stop joining The Navigators fellowship, we kept in contact personally and met up periodically.

In his third year of university, several events flipped his life around and prompted him to attend counselling sessions. This challenging period compelled him to turn to God seriously again. Coincidentally, I bumped into him on campus around this time, and he shared his challenges with me, expressing a longing to change for the better.

From that day onwards, he committed to joining Quiet Time sharing daily despite his busy schedule and various commitments. It was far from easy, as waking up early had long been a struggle for him. Nonetheless, he persevered.

10 years have passed ever since, and I am always thankful that God didn’t allow me to give up on him during his "rebellious" phase. When the right time came, he experienced a complete transformation.

 

One-to-one time: Nicholas (left) and B (right)


In recent years, God has placed a burden on his heart to reach out to the Japanese, and he is now actively involved in reaching out to the Japanese community in Singapore while preparing himself for future missions in Japan.



Chi

The greatest blessing I have received from investing in the lives of others is to be able to understand the love of God more deeply.

Once, I felt lost in how to follow up with someone bitter towards God. She had experienced countless unpleasant circumstances that culminated in her negative perception of Him. I felt helpless and wanted to give up on following up with her, but that very day, when I was reading my Bible, I was struck by Moses’ conversation with God in Exodus 33:
 

“Moses said to the Lord, ‘You have been telling me, “Lead these people,” but you have not let me know whom you will send with me […]’ ”

— Exodus 33:12


This was after Moses learnt of the golden calf that the Israelites built. He must have been lost and unsure of how to lead God’s people who easily strayed from their faith. I could relate to Moses as I thought upon this girl’s stubbornness at times. However, God’s answer to Moses was not a detailed plan for changing the people but simply a promise and an affirmation:


“The Lord replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’ […]

‘I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you
and I know you by name.’ ”

 — Exodus 33:14, 17


God choosing me to serve His people is a privilege because He is pleased with me and knows me by name. Although I may be clueless in discipling others, His presence will always be with me to guide me in the process.


What are your life verses and how did they come to be?


Nicholas

My life verse is Matthew 6:33—

“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.”


During my early days joining The Navigators in polytechnic, my leader introduced me to Scripture Memory.


As I progressed in the Topical Memory System 60, one of the verses I came across was Matthew 6:33. It was an interesting verse to me as a young believer back then.
“What does it mean to seek His kingdom and righteousness first?”, I asked myself.


Growing up, I’ve always thought prayer was about praying for myself the things I wanted to achieve and God helping me to achieve them. For example, “God bless me in this”, “God, grant me success in that” etc.

But Matthew 6:33 taught me otherwise.

To my amazement, time and time again especially during my polytechnic and university days, God drew me back to this Scripture multiple times, each time with increasing faith and trust in Him. It can be tempting at times to do things my way, or to make my plans independent of God’s guidance. However, each time I put God first, God never failed to surprise me with what He had in store, and how He can still provide what I need in the end.


Chi


Philippians 3 deeply impressed me when I read it for the first time. I was finding it difficult to lay down various things for Jesus’ sake after becoming a Christian and yet Paul was ready to count everything as a loss compared to the sake of knowing Jesus Christ.

I was amazed by his great faith and love for Christ; I realised the gift of knowing Jesus Christ was so precious that a person would give up everything to gain this singular goal.

As I continued to follow Christ, I grew in my appreciation of the sweetness of fellowshipping with Him, especially when I experienced heartaches and discouragements.

I used to dream of doing a myriad of things for Christ but was later humbled to see there was little I could do for Him; He called me to His work not because He needed me, but simply because He wanted me to know Him through sharing His heart and suffering. 


Philippians 3:10-11 recapitulates the lessons that I have learnt over the years. I consider this my life verse, in the hope that I may have such a pure heart of devotion like Paul and may continue to know my Lord all my life:
 

“I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

— Philippians 3:10-11


What is your vision and/or mission?


Nicholas


My mission remains the same since I first saw The Navigators motto at my first Navigators camp 16 years ago – "To Know Christ, To Make Him Known and To Help Others Do The Same."

Romans 10:14-15 says—

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?”


Looking back at who I was, I would have never imagined that I would be reading the Bible daily and having conversations with people about Jesus Christ today; it's almost impossible. Before turning 19, my life revolved around gaming, but someone who knew Christ told me about the Saviour he believed in, and in turn taught me to know Christ and do the same for others.

 

Since then, I’ve encountered various like-minded individuals who journeyed with me in Christ, willingly doing the same and reproducing.

Today, there are people like B who are reaching out to the Japanese, while others are reaching out to a mixture of countries from Southeast, East Asia and South America. I hope to see more individuals coming to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour and becoming His disciples in the place where I live now, and especially in the university that I’m reaching out to.


Chi

My life vision and mission are summed up in my life verse (Philippians 3:10-11).

I hope I will know Jesus Christ more and more as I share in His heart for His people, to become like Him as I continue to invest my life in people and obey His Great Commission to make disciples wherever I am. 



 


About Nicholas and Chi

Nicholas and Chi are our newest self-funded associate staff who have been appointed to support our campus ministries and overseas missions.
They are a newly married couple and have been key lay leaders in the NUS Navigators. Nicholas is helming his family business and Chi, a research scientist, is working on translating our discipleship resources.

 

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