Category Archives: New postings

Show us Your way

Show us Lord not a way, but Your way.

Grant us the open door that none can shut

For You have crucified us to the world

And the world to us.

So as you show us Your way

May we let your whole world

Set the horizons before us

That we may go and come

Wherever You send us

In the fullness of Christ’s blessing.

Amen.
Reflections from Exodus 33.13f; Roman 15.23, 28-29; Galatians 5.14b; Revelations 3.8.

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Prayer for cities worldwide

Father, in the way of Jesus 
With joy in Your Spirit, we praise You. 

Enable us to cause global justice 

To labour against poverty and hatred. 
We pray that within our cities 

You enable us to share our space 

With many peoples not like us. 
Enable us to embrace them 

That through our differences 

We grow into full humanity 

Shown through Jesus’ life 

In whose name we pray 

Through Your Spirit 

That makes us one.

Amen. 
I crafted this prayer, drawing themes and its structure from a Collect for “Cities” in the Book of Common Prayer. The Collect specifically concludes by suggesting that only through encountering people “from different cultures,” can we find “with one another the fulfilment of” our “humanity through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I directly informing this prayer is the “many tongues” theme of Pentecost. Another factor that guiding my own version of the prayer, was sitting in a briefing yesterday for upcoming national missions conference in 2018, the focus of which will be on cities. 

Following are further parts of the original Collect:

Heavenly Father . . . you have given us a vision of that holy City to which the nations of the world bring their glory: Behold and visit, we pray, the cities of the earth. . . . 

Enable us to eliminate poverty, prejudice, and oppression . . . that men and women from different cultures and with differing talents may find with one another the fulfillment of their humanity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Let us go

Foxes have holes, birds have nests

Yet let us go forth to the other side

Walking on raging waters

Finding our rest in 

Christ the Victor
Following Him 

Like prophets waging war 

Against all imprisoning powers 

Proclaiming the Year of God’s favour.

Several Scriptures inspire the preceding speech-act: 1. Discipleship involves sojourning (Luke 9.57-62); 2. Jesus’ word to the disciplines to “go to the other side,” where on the way they witness Jesus’ authority over the raging waters (which in Scripture signifies opposing spiritual powers), is often a symbol calming the storm. On the “other side,” Jesus brings them into a pagan land where they encounter the tormented man living in tombs (Luke 5.1-13). There, the disciples share in Jesus’ prophetic ministry of proclaiming Jubilee (Luke 4.16-18).

Note that I refer to the reflection as a “speech-act.” It has today dawned on me that for some time now, I find myself writing many such “speech-acts.” A speech act (“Let us . . . “) is a declaration that encourages action in a stated direction. When inspired by the Holy Spirit, or when good, true, and beautiful, all speech acts find their primal example in the creation story, where God says, “Let there be light, and there was light.” This means that all true, good, and beautiful speech-acts promise light, life, and goodness— flourishing (Gen. 1.3-25f).

Let us go forth to the other side

Following Him 

Proclaiming the Year of God’s favour.

Vision Cast – Moving Forward 2018

  • Mission / Passion / Vision
  • Present ministry endeavours
  • 2018 SPS conference (March 18 USA trip)
  • Earlier acceptance in PhD programme / can’t begin without a way to meet tuition fees
  • Prayer requests / how you can help

Dear Friends

Through the Spirit of God who proclaims the healing of Jesus to all creation— grace, peace, and joy be yours in increasing fullness!

MOVING FORWARD 2018

  • Mission / Passion / Vision
  • Present ministry endeavours / some milestones on the way
  • Approved paper presentation for 2018 SPS conference (March 18 USA trip)
  • Accepted placement in the PhD programme of the Centre of Pentecostal & Charismatic Studies, Bangor University (Wales, UK) / can’t begin without a way to meet tuition fees
  • Prayer requests / how you can help
  • Conclusion

Mission / Passion / Vision

When I was on staff in a large Anglican church in 2006, the Lord clearly told me that I am to represent the pentecostal tradition, and minister its full gospel message of Christ our Saviour / Sanctifier, Spirit Baptiser, Healer, and Coming King.  Over the years since then, this conviction has become within my soul, further clarified.  Let me share this with you.

Life mission

To preach the Gospel for all creation, fostering pentecostal spirituality and its theological tradition worldwide— for the unifying renewal of the global Church.

Passion / Vision

I have a vision that impassions me.  It flows direct from the mission I believe God has given me.  I believe that this cause should navigate the ongoing outcome of my life.  It is a mission that impassions me with a vision of:

  • The global renewing of pentecostal spirituality
  • And the growing renaissance of this tradition’s theological tradition
  • In ecumenical service for the unifying renewal of the Church of God worldwide and the greater glory of God.

Believing I have a part to play for this great cause, to it I have committed my life before God.  Both my wife Jee Fong and I are thus ready to go wherever its labour may take us, that we may fulfil this mission for the good of the global Pentecostal tradition and the worldwide Church of God, the saving of all nations, the healing of creation, and the glory of God.

Present Ministry Endeavours / Some Milestones on the Way

Let me share with you my present ministry endeavours, what has been achieved, and relevant prayer requests.  You may get a better picture of this by viewing my Curricular Vitae and Speaker Profile (web-links provided below).  I preach within a given year’s time, about once month in different churches or settings.  Within those venues, this has gone well.  So as time goes by, I feel the Spirit’s quickening, the fire in my bones, and God’s pleasure when I proclaim His Word.  As earlier stated, my aim is that people encounter Christ who saves, sanctifies, baptises in the Spirit, heals and reigns as coming King over all creation.  I believe I should be preaching or delivering some kind of speaking engagement at least three to four times a month.  Please pray then, for expanding open doors, as we move towards 2018.

Please pray also for my 18 November workshop on “Preaching the Epistles,” for the Eagles Communications ARETE Programme.  Eagles Communications is a well established parachurch ministry, focusing on leadership and development and the preaching ministry.  ARETE is a 1.5 year mentoring programme for preachers.  Eagles told me that my same workshop last November was very well received.  I am thus looking forward to this upcoming event.

Finally, I am still getting my writings published in books, journals, and other mediums.  Most recent is an essay I wrote for Thomas Oord’s volume titled, Theologians and Philosophers Using Social Media: Advice, Tips, and Testimonials (SacraSage, 2017).  This book is currently ranked first on Amazon as the best-selling book in Religious Studies Education.  I was honoured to be included in this volume, as many of its contributors are influential trend-setting leaders in their respective fields.

Now in spite of these varied endeavours, I have out of a salaried role (or regular income) since 2006.  To help make ends meet, I have over the past ten years been doing a lot freelance motivational training for youth.  However, oftentimes this not generated sufficient income meeting many of our basic needs; we have lived on a very tight and short shoestring.  Therefore, may I therefore seek your prayer for my return to a more “full-time” ministerial role and/or setting.  Namely, one that would enable me to fulfil the mission and vision that God has impassioned for.

This has lately been my prayer (I call it the “Way” prayer):

Show us Lord not a way, but Your way.

Grant us the open door that none can shut.

And as you show us Your way, may we let Your whole world

Set the horizons before us, that we may go and come wherever You send us

In the fullness of Christ’s blessing.  Amen.

 

Approved Paper Presentation for 2018 SPS Conference

(March 18 USA trip)

In earlier August I received news that my paper proposal for the 2018 SPS Conference (Society of Pentecostal Studies / http://www.sps-usa.org).  This meeting (8-10 March, 2018) will be held at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, Cleveland, Tennessee, USA.  The conference theme is one that strikes deep in my heart: “The Good News of the Kingdom and the Poor in the Land.”  The conference will address pentecostal/charismatic responses to issues of poverty worldwide.

To be presented under the Ecumenical Interest Group, I have titled my presentation: “‘Sounds of the Poor that Deify the Rich’: Pentecostal Oral Liturgy as Primary Theology.”  The paper reflects themes I earlier developed for the first chapter of my dissertation proposal.  Namely, the power of pentecostal oral liturgy (e.g., how pentecostals worship) towards empowering the world’s poor.

God willing, this will be my sixth presented paper in seven consecutive SPS annual meetings.  Let me share some aims to my part in this conference.  First, through it in at least a small way, I am helping towards the blossoming of world Pentecostal theology.  Second, this will be my four year of involvement with the Ecumenical Interest Group, which fosters conversations between Pentecostalism and other Christian traditions.  This helps our varied traditions learn from one another through the unique gifts God gives to each tradition.  The Ecumenical Interest Group thus regularly involves representatives from traditions, including Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and other Protestant groups.  Third, I am linking my local setting (Singapore and Southeast Asia), to conversations occurring amongst this international fellowship of ministry leaders, pastors, theologians, and scholars, on the role of Pentecostalism towards addressing poverty worldwide.

 

Accepted Placement in the PhD Programme of the Centre of Pentecostal & Charismatic Studies, Bangor University (Wales, UK) / Can’t Begin without a Way to Meet Tuition Fees

Last April I was scheduled to formally begin my PhD programme with Bangor University (Wales, UK), under the Center for Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies.  I was privileged to have as my doctoral supervisor, Dr Frank D. Macchia, a world-class pentecostal theologian.  Visit his website at https://www.frankdmacchia.com/bangor-u .  You will note that he is still maintaining my profile as one of his PhD students.

Unfortunately, I could not complete the procedure as I could not meet the first year’s tuition fee of £5,200 (US$6,300; four years total, plus a yearly meeting trip).  I have applied for a local scholarship, but my application was unsuccessful.

At the beginning of this year, I was starting a great working relationship with Dr Macchia.  He expressed a lot of optimism towards getting the dissertation journey off the ground.  The title is, “Towards a Pentecostal Liturgical Theology/Aesthetic and Practice of Sacred Time.”  Liturgical studies is an emerging and exciting new field within pentecostal scholarship.  I believe I have a substantial contribution to make to it.  So I would also like to see my eventual dissertation published.  While I am not able to presently begin the programme, I was advised to stay on the project, so that once God willing the means comes together, I am able resume the programme with greater speed.

Yet at this point, it seems only a great miracle can launch this endeavour any further.  There are friends worldwide who are praying that God would make a way.  Meanwhile, I believe I have done everything I can humanly do.  Therefore, this brings me back to the “Way” prayer.  For concerning this endeavour, its seem our prayer should not be so much as, “God show us a way,” as rather, “Show us Your way,” and the open door which none can shut.

 

Prayer Requests / How You Can Help

Broad prayer requests

Please pray for me and my wife Jee Fong.  Please pray that I may fulfil this mission and vision which God has impassioned for.  This brings me back to the “Way” prayer I earlier shared, which conveys important themes the Lord is pressing into me.  The “Way” pray retrieves these themes from Scriptures like Acts 16 (Paul’s Macedonian call) and Romans 15 (Paul moving outward— bringing pentecostal fullness worldwide).  To be faithful to the mission, and the vision God has shown us, I have shared with Jee Fong that we must be open for a “Macedonian vision”:

Lord, show us not a way; but show us Your way.

If not Bithynia, grant us a vision of Macedonia

Show us the open door that no man can shut

For I have heard the trumpet blow

I have felt the wind blow

I have seen the glory

Show us Your way

Send us through open doors that none can shut.

May Your whole world set the horizons before us

Sending us wherever and however

We might best come to all people

In the fullness of Christ’s blessing.

For now, these are the themes that shape our prayer and posture before God.  Now if the Lord would have us stay in Singapore for years to come, then we are ready for this.  Yet if He should move us out anywhere worldwide, we ready for that also.  We just want to be in the centre of God’s heart, will, and full blessing.  So in the meantime, please pray for expanding speaking and ministry engagements.  Please pray for my resumption to a more “full-time” ministry role and/or setting.  Pray that God would place us within the church / organisational / denominational / network setting(s) where we may best serve Him, His Church, His world, and His coming kingdom.

 

March 2018 USA trip for SPS paper presentation

As in these past years, my attendance next March depends on coming to God in prayer for all necessary expenses (plane fare, hotel accommodations, conference fees, etc).  It remains a big faith venture, wholly dependent on God’s miraculous provision for that which is beyond our present capacity.

Please note the following time-expedient items:

Conference registration fees

By 1 November, conference participants are required to have their registration and membership fees covered.  Because my income is limited, I need help with these expenses.

Airfare

It would be best if I could secure airfare soon as possible (September-November), to avoid rising costs/limited seat challenges as we move closer to March 2018.

Your prayer towards these items is appreciated.  And if you are able to financially help, just let me know and we can arrange in ways that get the funds directly to these items.  I do immediately need help in meeting the conference registration fees.  I will then need help with airfare expenses, and the varied trip expenses (e.g., accommodations, etc)

Bangor PhD Programme

I will try not to unnecessarily repeat what I’ve earlier stated.  I am recognising that this aspiration may not come to pass.  I am not fully sure what to make of this, which has been a life-long aspiration.  I do not interpret this as something outside God’s will, but rather as a setback suffered as a soldier who labours for the coming kingdom.  Meanwhile I have friends local and worldwide who have expressed their prayers in my behalf in this matter.  So these are issues we wrestle with.  I value your prayer towards this matter.  On a practical note, I value your prayer and/or involvement:

  1. Immediate tuition funding that I may resume the programme.
  2. Long-term strategies for meeting the 4-year PhD expenses.
  3. Any new ministerial, church, organisational, or collaborative relations that may also help towards the short or long-term funding of this venture.

If you feel prompted to converse towards seeing this come to pass, feel free to write me.

 

Conclusion

Many of you, who are reading this letter, have many times prayed, and have generously helped in diverse ways over the past several years.  Many have helped in very big and sacrificial ways.  Please know that my wife Jee Fong and I, are indebted to you.  I live in deep debt to people worldwide.  So as I have said before, I say again: in return, the best I can presently do is this.  That from a posture of gratefulness before God and you who have helped us in any past way— to faithfully go forward as best as we discern God’s leading into the future and this coming year.

Throughout this letter, I have tried to share something of the passion, vision, and missionary commissioning that burns within my spirit.  I have also tried to share some planned endeavours, aspirations, and practical needs.  So again I write that I may enlist your prayer and involvement via however God prompts you— to help me do my part for the up-building of the Church, the coming Kingdom, and the greater glory of God.

May the Lord prosper you with renewed passion for God’s coming kingdom, good health, and overflowing abundance.

The peace of Christ be yours through the power of God’s Spirit,

Monte

monterice@gmail.com

 

monteleerice.wordpress.com

sg.linkedin.com/in/monterice

academia.edu/MonteRice

 

Curricular Vitae: https://app.box.com/files/0/f/57952994/1/f_554694150

Ministry Profile: https://app.box.com/files/0/f/57952994/1/f_554691848

 

For the healing of our Father’s world,

May we of many tongues

Through Pentecost—

Be made one

In Christ.

Before God: Practice mercy, cause justice, heal the world.

cropped-blog-logo-pentecost.jpg

Invoking Holy Spirit, the many tongues Spirit

Father pour out your Spirit on us

And the cup and bread we eat

Empowering our many tongues

In Christ as gifts of healing

To one another

That we may labour 

With You for the world’s healing 

From the hating spirit that causes

Inhospitality to foreigners

Nationalistic tribalism

And fear of others

Different from us.
For the sake of Christ our King

And the coming of His kingdom.

Amen.

A eucharistic Collect, in the key of Pentecostal fullness.

Sources of inspiration:
I was reflecting today on the meaning of “epiclesis”: the term referring to the eucharistic prayer prefaces Holy Communion. It is an ancient custom that has remained lodged in most of Christian memory, throughout Christian traditions. Through it, we calls on God for fresh comings of His Spirit upon His gathered people: “Pour out Your Spirit upon us.” It is the epicletic prayer and the Father’s continued response that is still creating the Church worldwide. It is the prayer that comes from encountering God at the altar of Pentecost; the altar of Pentecostal blessing.

As Simon Chan notes, “The epiclesis that presupposes the dynamic and continuous coming of the Spirit to the church— ‘a perpetual Pentecost’ . . . It is an acknowledgment that we need a continuous Pentecost . . . The church’s eschatological longing itself is induced by the eschatological Spirit in the church.”

Simon Chan, “The Liturgy as the Work of the Spirit: A Theological Perspective,” in The Spirit in Worship—Worship in the Spirit, eds. Teresa Berger and Bryan D. Spinks (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009), pp. 41-57 (pp. 54-55).

But— as Matthew Myer Boulton exhorts us, many times our epicletic prayer itself needs the Spirit’s cleansing. Yet for this reason, God sends His sanctifying Spirit. The Spirit’s cleansing coming is the grace we need, and the grace God gives us. Boulton writes,

“ . . . the epicletic character of Christian worship— that is, the extent to which it takes the explicit or implicit form of epiclesis, a plea for the Spirit to come and be present to and in the worship service itself— should be conceived and enacted as a recognition of worship’s own destitution and malformation, its urgent need for the Spirit’s gracious, transformational presence.  

Every epiclesis is an urgent call. Even and especially Christina worship requires divine deliverance. Without the ruah elohim, notwithstanding our ostensibly well-organized, well-executed liturgical proceedings . . . Christian worship is tohu vabohu. . . . The Holy Spiit can and does condemn it— but she does not merely abandon it to its self-imposed exile. By the grace of God she also ‘falls afresh’ on worship, as the old revival chorus goes, to ‘melt,’ ‘mold,’ ‘fill,’ and ‘use’ it in her own renewing work. . . . 
In a word, she joins it: as a Comforter and Sustainer, to be sure, but also as an Adversary, a cunning opponent, a merciful foe, a prophetic challenge, a violent wind, and a purgative fire, blowing and burning away whatever chaff would keep her beloved children from life.”

Matthew Myer Boulton, “The Adversary: Agony, Irony, and the Liturgical Role of the Holy Spirit,” in The Spirit in Worship, pp. 59-77 (pp. 77).

Lift up the lowly— prayer for the beautifying of creation

Father of creation

Open our eyes to see

Your Beauty in all you create.

May we labour with You

To lift up the lowly, hidden

In the background, left behind

In the moving march of history.

Let us labour to reverse their lost

Lifting them to the blessed foreground

Of Pentecostal fullness

That rejoicing in Your whole creation

We grow united to You in the joy

Of beatifying all your works

For the sake of Christ

Our King

Amen.

Inspired from the Collect “For Joy in God’s Creation,” in the Book of Common Prayer, and the theme of aesthetic “foregrounding” in Alejandro García-Rivera’s book, The Community of the Beautiful: A Theological Aesthetics (The Liturgical Press, 1999).

Sunset suburst