Christian Living

In this series, you will find out...

Some thoughts and perspectives of believers from different walks of life. 

Through these bite-sized thought videos, we hope to shed perspective across a range of issues from our identity and the way God sees us, what a follower of Christ looks like, to ministry and more. 

So check back with us, and stay tuned for more! 

Christian Living: Beauty

Josphine Lam

Meet Josephine Lam, a faculty member at the East Asia School of Theology (EAST), and avid speaker to empower women and advocate for beauty.

Josephine has been involved in various ministries with Muslim refugees, Chinese orphanages, local church outreach programs, and other women ministries. Her passion is to teach and reach out to women from various backgrounds, as well as to evangelize to the people from different nations. 

Is Beauty Really in the Eye of the Beholder?

It tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

There is a beauty in everything that God has made, which includes us. But can we see this beauty in our lives? Do we struggle to see ourselves, or our lives as beautiful?

“I love to create beautiful things. When I create, I catch a glimpse of how God sees us.”

Josephine’s deep interest in beauty and creativity led her into the world of marketing, fashion and interior design, before she went into full-time ministry. In 2013, she completed her Masters of Biblical Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where she concentrated her studies in Women Ministries and Cross Cultural Missions. 

Now based in Singapore, Josephine and her husband have been serving at EAST since June 2015. She is passionate about the Partner-In-Ministry programme and her heart is to serve women from different nationalities.

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Not about who you are, but Whose you are

The way we perceive beauty in our life, in our world—is tied to our identity. Where we find our identity and worth determines our ability to see beauty.

Each of us have different versions of what a “beautiful life” looks like. Certain things we want to achieve, certain things we want to happen, before we decide, ‘yes, my life has worth, my life is beautiful’.

For Josephine, different phases of her life held different places where she found her worth.

“When I was a senior in high school, I thought I had to look beautiful so people would treat me differently. When I was in university, I thought I must get into the right degree, right programme, so that I can get the right career and make lots of money. When I graduate, I’ll marry a good husband and start my family,” she shared.

All these milestones, these goals are not wrong—but a beautiful life is more than that. So much more than just achieving those goals and getting what you thought was so important.

“It was when I moved to Canada and went back to church that I found my true identity. Where I understood that my true worth is who I am in Christ,” Josephine remembered.  

She continued, “I love what it says in Ephesians 2:10. The Bible actually calls us God’s masterpiece and tells us that He has good things planned for us.”

A beautiful purpose even when life gets in the way

“Before I went back to church, I honestly thought I was having a great time. I had freedom, I was doing what I wanted. But I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t have a purpose” Josephine reflected.

She continued, “But when I began to put my trust in Jesus, I started to realise that it’s not about how much I own in this life, how many degrees I have, or who I marry. He gave me a new purpose in life.”

However, the process to that beautiful purpose is not often an easy one.

Drawing a parallel to her artistic creations, Josephine explained, “When I create something, I get to see how God sees us. My eggshell earrings, for example—it starts with the average, everyday eggshell. But in the right hands, through a process, it can be made into something beautiful.”

She continued, “In the same way, such ordinary beings like us, can be transformed into something beautiful through His mighty hands. But sometimes, it requires us to go through a process of breaking; to be re-formed into something greater.”

“Maybe we’re too proud, maybe we lost our focus, or maybe we’ve walked away from God. Through whatever breaking process we go through, He allows us to go through it to gently break these hindrances away from us, so we can refocus on Him.”

It is especially during this most painful part of the process, that we need to remember that our God is one of love. That we need to trust Him, and trust that He is who He says He is.

Josephine shared, “In all circumstances, no matter good or bad, I know God is with me. And I have a joy that comes from Jesus—that surpasses all my circumstances, all the problems in my life.”

“So on days when it feels like it’s impossible, I remember—like my beautiful eggshell earrings, I would still remain an ordinary eggshell without the breaking, and my Maker piecing me back together.”

“We are God’s masterpiece. He is able to turn our brokenness into something beautiful,” she concluded.

Christian Living: Ministry

Paul Shi

Meet Paul Shi, a ministry staff of Covenant Evangelical Free Church (CEFC) who enjoys a great conversation over a good cup of coffee any day.

Paul used to work in one of the major professional services firms as a management consultant. In July 2011, he quit his job to attend a Bible college and started leading a young adult church in Melbourne. 

What Does it Mean to ‘Serve God?’

“One of the important things you need in ministry is to grow in self-awareness, which means try different things.”

“When I first started, I was a Sunday school teacher, then a worship coordinator, then the choir pianist,” Paul Shi, a ministry staff of Covenant Evangelical Free Church (CEFC), recalled chuckling.

With the years he’s had in Christian ministry—both as a lay leader and full-time staff—Paul’s no stranger to the perils and joys of Christian ministry.

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Ministry—what it IS and what it’s NOT

To Paul, “Ministry is first ministering unto the Lord, because of who He is and what He’s done. Only out of that place, ministry is then anything we do that extends the love of Christ to anyone.”

“It could be leading a cell group, worship leading, even getting a glass of water for someone,” he shared.

“The truth is, all of us are in ministry for some sort of significance,” Paul points out.

“But we need to be aware of it and give it to the Lord. We need to be able to say, ‘God, I know I’ve got to be careful about this part of my life. Because if it just becomes about more influence, more people, more praise, it leads us down a very dangerous path.”

We need to be able to recognise where the source of our creativity, leadership and identity stems from.

Paul puts it this way,” It’s this fundamental grounding of identity. I am not my accomplishments, I’m not my failures either. I’m not how many people I lead or how many people I speak to.”

“On one hand, Paul says you’re a slave of Christ Jesus. On the other hand, you are co-heirs with Christ. And you’re deeply known and loved by God.”

Before you begin anything

Paul explains that we must first know who God is and understand His Kingdom before committing to Christian ministry.

“The most important thing to know about God is to actually know Him—to experience Him and have a real relationship with Him,” he states.

“Not who we project Him to be, but who He really is. And the most important thing to know about ourselves is that—we need to abide in the Vine to truly bear fruit. We can’t do it on our own.”

Paul continued, “The Kingdom of God is an upside-down Kingdom. Jesus descended from Heaven and washed the feet of His disciples. The Creator is crucified by His creations.”

Following in Jesus’ footsteps then, those who lead, must serve. Those who minister to the broken, must first understand their own brokenness. Those who want to give, must first receive from Him.

“We need to get it into our hearts that if we are a follower of Jesus, He usually went the opposite direction of the world. And that’s the direction we must follow.”

Finding your place, passion and posture in ministry

He continued, “While I was the choir pianist, people told me, ‘Oh your gifting is in music!’ But I knew it wasn’t. I continued anyway, but it was totally not me! After trying more things, from worship leading to organising events, I realised that when I teach the Bible—that’s when I felt most energised and most excited.”

“And I felt that was one of the main things that God wanted me to do.”

As a leader, as someone who’s teaching the bible, I don’t have it figured out. I think there's a healthy sense of being certain of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, balanced with a continued learning and study of the Scriptures." Paul reflected.

“You’re always learning, and you always want to learn from people around you. If you see others through the lens of Christ, you will value the people around the same way He did.”

Because at the core of it, Paul ends off, “Ministry is ultimately about the love of Christ flowing through us towards others.”

Hear more insights from Paul’s insights on Christian ministry in our latest mini-series!

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