In COBS, we have only one Teacher - our Messiah, the Lord Jesus.
"Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters… And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah…” (Extracted from Matthew 23:8-12 NLT)"
“A teachable spirit is a humble spirit.”
There are at least four people whom God has sent to mentor me:
- I learnt from Ai Boon how to read the Bible when I was a new believer, dissecting every sentence; recognising the significance of each punctuation, nuance and the context they were written in.
- God sent a couple, The Wongs, to train me in spiritual warfare when someone handed them keys to the empty apartment, without rent, right next to mine. Over four years, I learned how to identify and overcome the evil forces operating in the old conserved Freemason apartment building we live in and how to drive away the evil darkness in our neighbourhood. I saw for myself the power of God firsthand working through their lives. My cautious husband commented, “They are the closest to a miracle I have ever seen.” Then God sent them away.
- Pastor BC, Head of Prayer and Intercession and also “prophet” of one of the largest churches in Singapore then encouraged me to embrace my spiritual gifts when I was unwilling to. Through her, I learned about corporate prayer and intercession and how to embark on mission trips safely and effectively. After my husband decided that we should leave the church, I continue to meet up with her about twice a year to this day. Her prayers and counsel are most precious to me.
- I also have mentors who are no longer alive - the testimony of past Christians, the people in the Bible, inspired writings and more – God uses them. Their voices and spirits sometimes call out to me from bookcases or come alive in my spirit as I read their works, guiding me and leading me at critical points in my life.
But all of them are not the Teacher and I do not worship nor follow them, nor take up their cause. They are instruments and precious vessels used by God to teach and guide me, only for a season.
The other important thing in COBS is this - we have only one Father, God Himself. I have personally experienced and witnessed messy relationships and soul ties in church when they started this nonsense of calling people or themselves a ‘spiritual mother/father’ too casually without prayer or thought. It opened the way to a controlling, abusive and manipulative spirit, stumbling and harming so many good and earnest Christians.
"Because God has no grandchildren. He only has sons and daughters."
No Hero Worship, No Competition
There is no room for hero worship, titles, ranks or competition amongst members.
I always remind members not to put me or anyone in COBS on a pedestal, no matter how much that person means to them and how much that person has helped them.
"We do not worship man, only God."
Take a moment to read Matthew 23 in the Bible and see what Jesus says about Pharisees and the Teachers of the law – 不要害我! (Translation: Do me no harm!)
The only Person worthy of all glory and honour is God and God alone. We only worship One God, One Father, and One Lord, in spirit and in truth.
No Excuse For Poor Work Standards Or Discourtesy
In the workplace, employees have to deliver to their bosses what they are paid to do and to do it well if they want to keep or advance in their jobs. Business owners have to provide quality products or services to stay in business, and observe proper business etiquette and protocol to maintain good business relations. Being brothers and sisters in Christ is no excuse for poor work ethics, substandard work, bad manners or bad attitude. In other words, we do not take each other for granted just because we are fellow Christians.
"We do not take each other for granted just because we are fellow Christians."
The same goes for our personal life. For example, in our Chinese culture, we have to address elders – parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles - reverently and accordingly. Addressing an elder by their first name reflects poor upbringing.
In church, we address pastors, church workers and elders respectfully. If you work for the military, you have to salute a senior officer and address him appropriately in your line of duty. Similarly, we show courtesy and due respect for our government leaders and officials, regardless of our political stance, for it is written:
"Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” - Romans 13:1 (NLT)
Building Deep, Not Wide
For now, I feel that COBS shall remain small; focusing on the growth of our inner man, building deep rather than wide. We started COBS in our business where we were given favour by our Principals to conduct our worship meetings in their meeting room. When that season was over, we celebrated God in our homes together with our family and our loved ones. Our bonds grew stronger and deeper as our families cared for one another - helping each other, studying the Word, laughing and crying together and going on mission trips and retreats led by the Holy Spirit as one COBS family.
"Small & Intimate"
We freely welcome anyone who wanted to worship God with us. But when the meeting place gets too crowded or whenever led by the Holy Spirit, members leave to light up a new torch (worship place) in their homes or in another place. We have no ambition to become big or to change the world. We simply focus on God and worship Him and love Him with all of our heart, our strength and our soul.
Worshippers, Not Ministers
As we gather every week to worship God, we do not let anything nor anyone take away our focus on Him. That is precisely why we do not do any ministry, or pray for anyone, when we start to worship.
We are not called to shepherd anyone. That is the work of the pastors. We are not pastors, just worshippers, joining with all of creation to worship God until we are in one voice, one sound. We simply welcome His presence into our meetings and let His Spirit minister to those who need it.
He always does.
"We simply worship God."
Because everyone is taught how to hear His voice, they take ownership for hearing God for themselves. We only intercede when His Spirit leads us to do so. And help one another only when He leads us to.
Family Before Church
"The family was the first community."