Interview with Daniel Lim
The Burning Hearts Conference was held from 13 to 15 July this year. Believers from Singapore and Southeast Asia came together at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, representing their local churches and houses of prayer, to encounter Jesus and His word.
I had the privilege of speaking with Daniel Lim. He spent his growing up years in Penang, Malaysia, and was a pastor over churches in Southeast Asia. Currently, he is the CEO of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, which is a community of believers committed to establishing and maintaining a 24/7 house of prayer. Having Daniel with us at the conference was a breath of fresh air because he understood our cultures enough to provide fresh insights.
What do you think God is saying to the church in Singapore through this conference?
Through this conference, the Lord is highlighting various key principles about the church that was in Antioch (see Acts 11–13). Brian Kim spoke about apostolic suffering, highlighting the persecution that the apostles and many of the saints endured. Samuel Whitefield, thereafter, spoke about apostolic sending, encouraging the church to send out labourers into the harvest field. I spoke about giving generously, which characterised the believers in Antioch. Without the speakers coordinating with one another, we have each highlighted a few of the key principles about the Antioch church.
Of the three levels of giving — our wealth, health, and relationships — I think the final one is the most challenging. This is the ability to offer up some of the most precious relationships we have to the Lord — your children, parents, or spouse.
Jesus said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 10:37–39 NKJV).
Do we love anyone more than Jesus? If this is so, then we are not worthy of Him. This passage is not commonly shared in church, but I believe that in order for us to walk, corporately, as a church in Singapore into the Antioch calling, there is no way around answering this challenge that Jesus poses. Do we love our children, wives/husbands, or parents more than Jesus?
The church in Singapore has to come to terms with what this means. In the midst of rightfully loving one another, honouring our parents, and loving our wives as Christ loves the church, there needs to be a supremacy of our devotion towards Christ.
What do you think the church in Singapore has to do to prepare for the future?
The Singapore church needs to prepare to embrace the fellowship of his sufferings [Philippians 3:10] — this needs to be assimilated as part of the spiritual DNA of the Singaporean church. This is something that requires many years, even a generation, of preparation. Right now, you do not have locals who have modelled the way to give you courage to do likewise. Perhaps, you are the generation that, through the invitation of the Lord, will find the joy in carrying the cross, having fellowship with his sufferings, as well as knowing the power of his resurrection.
What do you think the fathers and mothers in the faith need to do in order to prepare the next generation to champion Singapore’s destiny as the Antioch of Asia?
Firstly, we need to pray for the young generation — prayers like those of Hannah (Samuel’s mother) and Hudson Taylor’s mother. These are the prayers of parents who gave birth to a generation that walked radically. It was my mother’s prayer that gave birth to my calling! So I think it is very important that you, as young people, start praying now.
Your prayers will affect the next generation that will be born. Praying is like soaking the land with water and nutrients; when you cast the seeds, the trees will suddenly spring up, bearing much fruit.
Secondly, we need courageous modelling. We are never too old or too young to walk in the calling of God. And we must do so in a radical manner.
Lastly, it is important to pray and fast in order to release the Antioch calling in Singapore. We are to give radically in terms of the way we relate to the resources that God has entrusted to us. We, also, are to give strategically — in a way that really affects the generations that are being trained and released for the apostolic sending mission of the Antioch call. This giving should also target the unreached people groups on the frontier of world missions.
Moreover, we need to offer our children — the next generation — towards the Great Commission. We should not hold them back and put them in a box; we need to release them into their God-ordained destiny.
There was a tribe on the island of Borneo that experienced revival not too long ago. The revival was so strong that every single family would expect at least one of their children — and they had many children — to be a missionary. This was almost like a culture among the tribesmen. Every single family unit had somebody whom they offered up to be a missionary. Maybe one day, Singapore will be like this.
You have been involved in work in Southeast Asia. What do you envision for the church in this region?
Southeast Asia is a very large place with a great diversity of things that God is doing here, such as the birthing of songs from the 24/7 prayer tower in Indonesia and the wave of prophetic worship that started in Tabernacle of David (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) which swept across many nations. I believe that the missionary movement in Indonesia is just beginning; it is at its infancy stage, but very strong. The Filipino worship and missions movement has matured over the decades, and they have gone ahead of many Southeast Asian nations. The movement in Thailand is still waiting for a breakthrough. So different parts of the region are at different stages of growth.
If Singapore is in a period of cyclical review, this is a very significant time. John Sung, the revivalist, was in Singapore preaching in 1938. Forty years later, in 1978, Billy Graham prophesied that Singapore was the Antioch of Asia. And now, another 40 years later, in 2018, we do not know what is going to happen. Every 40 years, the Singapore church has a significant spiritual milestone.
Southeast Asia, as a region, is not a homogenous place, but one thing is clear: we have the largest population of the unreached people groups on the earth. In other regions, we are not seeing much breakthrough and conversions among their unreached people groups. But in this region, we are seeing unprecedented breakthroughs among these people groups. The stories of local missions from this region is giving courage to the world.
With all my heart, I believe that songs will rise from this region. The Bible prophesied that songs of praise will rise up from the islands (Isaiah 42:10). I believe that songs of the Lord will come forth from the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the nations around.
Southeast Asians are also some of the most suitable for missionary deployment because of the cultural diversity in this region. Many of these nations are already naturally connected with the unreached people groups within their borders. We need to pray that the enemy will not hijack the plans and purposes of God by creating unrest and war in this region. During World War II, everything had to stop because of the conflict here. The enemy might want to do that again. But I believe that the church needs to pray so that we have time for a generation to mature and be sent out before we might have to deal with chaos and war.