• Blog
  • My 2.5 Star Review: Dealing with Criticism

    When I launched my album ‘The Kingdom’ back in 2014, it was a joyous night of celebrating the accomplishment of the songs that the Lord had given me in that season. I was very proud of the work because I was deeply satisfied with the revelations and the messages these songs carried, which I knew would have a significant impact on people’s lives. It was also a dream to have recorded it with Ed Cash’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee, which had always been a lifelong dream of mine!

    I remember the next day being pleasantly surprised that there had been a critic at my launch and they had written a public article reviewing my music. Curious of course, I logged in straight away to read it. Interestingly though, the article was not quite a positive one that I would have ‘shared’ enthusiastically over my social media. In fact, the album was given a 2.5/5 review for its work.  

    I remember sitting there, having a brief moment staring at the computer screen. I knew I could allow my heart to go either of two ways: 1) I would let a number dictate or destroy the works that I knew to be powerful, or 2) listen to God’s voice, and be confident in the value of His work done through me. I chose the latter.

    I know for some people receiving difficult criticism, especially in a public setting can cause one to spiral into condemnation and question their self-worth. First, your work is separate from your identity as a child of God, so don’t foolishly let a ‘performance’ dictate your value. Secondly, if your art has a greater purpose than just to ‘impress’, then that in itself is invaluable.

    For me personally, I was and still am very proud of the work of art the Lord had given me. Not just because of the production and the effort put into the art of songwriting, which I personally thought was done phenomenally as a team, but also because of the fact that I’ve had very REAL testimonies of miracles that have been released because of these songs! One woman received a miracle baby (his name is Lucas) after declaring in faith the lyrics of ‘Hand in His’. This song also gave couples, who were suffering in marriage, the courage to love again with the strength of Christ. Do these songs have value? Absolutely.

    As artists and creatives, especially if you know you are a son or daughter of God; having purpose in your art beyond simply ‘entertaining’ or ‘impressing’ others is vital. Art can be used to heal, uplift, and invite Heaven’s government – it is a conduit to express the very heartbeat of God. Your primary role is not to win the praises of man, but it is to be faithful to the assignment entrusted to you by the Father.

    I pray that the Lord will release His grace upon you to create without fear but to create instead from the overflow of a steadfast confidence that He loves you and will partner with you to release His goodness across the earth.  

    You can find the link to listen to my album ‘The Kingdom’ here!

  • Blog
  • Hallelujah When It Hurts

    By Jean Tan

    It’s easy to sing praise when all is well. What happens when the realities of your world don’t seem to match up with the goodness of God’s promises?

    I was born with a cleft palate and lip. My first operation was at 3 months of age, my second when I was 1 year’s old. My third at 9, when they discovered a hole under my lip. My fourth at 16, when my jaw grew out so much I couldn’t talk or eat well. My fifth at 17, and then sixth at 18.

    I had to go through 6 surgeries to look and speak as normally as I can today.

    I have been called a monster, crooked, ugly. People stared in the streets, boys laughed or recoiled.

    Somewhere along the way, my parents divorced and my dad went bankrupt. I did well in school to make things better for myself and ease the finances on my family, but also so that I could go away for college and live life on my own terms for a change.

    And when life was finally heading somewhere, I was diagnosed with kidney disease at 24. The doctor’s prognosis: a 30% chance that this would go away after treatment, another 30% that symptoms would recur through life, and another 30% that I would have kidney failure by the age of 40-50.

    It didn’t make sense. Somewhere, somehow, I felt betrayed, unfairly given a load I’d never asked for, and one that few else understood. I stood by pews and cried, soaked up hospital bedsheets with blame, couldn’t utter the words of the songs on Sundays.

    But even through all of that, I couldn’t rid myself of an undeniable sense that Someone was with me. And that, despite the madness of life and the questions that came with it, that He was palpably real, present, and was giving me a great measure of resources to deal with whatever I needed to deal with.

    So through all that madness, I knew I always had a choice: to turn further inward, and away, into the poison of bitterness, doubt, and anger, or move into the light in an almost insane trust in the goodness of God. The former consumed me alive, again and again; the latter was the only thing left to save.

    For the next 6 years, as I lost practically everything, I kept turning to the light. Every time I stumbled, I turned. Every time I didn’t understand, I turned. Every time I was hospitalised, I puked, I fell, I turned –

    Turned to One I was angry with, and yet the only Person whom I could trust. The only One who saw it from the start and understood; who knew pain and chose to take it upon Himself so we would know what strength and hope was. The One I’ve come to intimately know as Lord, because He’s proven Himself faithful, time and again.

    Because when I began to turn to the light, regardless of the darkness that loomed – the light began to form itself in me. Light replaced night, and hope replaced the hollow. Instead of anger, thankfulness grew. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I learnt to give strength to others. Instead of despair, I found confidence and faith: that no matter what happens, everything will be okay.

    And strangely, as I turned – all the things I’d lost began returning, one at a time, like flowers blooming out of the wintry cold. Relationships, job opportunities, money, music, travel… they came back with a vengeance and with a beautiful sweetness I’d never known.

    It was in that journey that “Hallelujah” was written. It’s a song about giving your very last breath and turning to the light again and again, even when you don’t see the good that comes out of it. It’s about making the choice to trust, even when you are riddled with doubt. It’s about knowing that there is darkness in this world, but that His goodness overcomes it.

    Because He is good.

    And He will never fail you.


    Instagram: @jeantanmusic


  • Blog
  • Dealing with Offence, the Number One Relationship Killer

    by Alarice

    Have you ever known a particular ‘easily-offended’ person whom, after a while, would consecutively get offended by every one of their friends and systematically start to cut them off from their circles of influence? It’s not long before you would see them completely isolated, offended by everyone – it becomes them against the world. 

    THIS is the NUMBER 1 strategy of the enemy to steal the abundant life that God has for us.  It says in John 10:10 that the ‘enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy’, and he loves to do this by sowing seeds of bitterness and offence that ultimately lead to the destruction of God-given relationships! Friends, our Christian life MUST be done in the context of relationship, community and family – it is the foundation of Heaven’s culture. There is so much richness to be found in doing life in community – it is where our callings and our identities are affirmed, where we are positioned to fulfil our destinies, and where we are sharpened and experience growth. It’s time we got smarter and realised the enemy’s schemes, learn to forgive, and let go of offence so that we can enjoy the abundance of being ‘set in a family’. 

    So how do we overcome offence? How the Lord has personally shown me, is to ask the Lord to give you a revelation of WHO that person is DESTINED TO BE. Sure, they may have flaws (we, too, have flaws), but it’s not to stumble over who they are not. Instead, we are to celebrate who they are! They are sons and daughters, God sent His Son for them, they are called to do great and mighty exploits in His name! Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities – we have a common enemy and it is NOT your neighbour. Ask the Lord to give you eyes to see the greatness in that person and you soon will find that you will be able to release your hurt and release that person into the fullness of their destiny in Christ.

  • Blog
  • “I’ll be praying for you…” – Sound Familiar?


    by Ian Chew

    “I’ll be praying for you”.  

    We quite often say this as a casual remark to bring comfort to a relative or friend when they are going through difficult moments. Yet, how many of us actually do take time amidst our day to present before God in prayer the person we said we would pray for? Many Christians acknowledge the importance of prayer but struggle in the daily pursuit of it. I know I am guilty of expressing the intention to pray for a person yet never really getting down to it.

    It wasn’t until things starting going wrong for the people around me that this realisation came to light. A friend struggled to find a job. A church member failed a driving test. A colleague suffered from sleepless nights because of spiritual oppression. Suddenly, the Lord convicted me of my negligence & indifference. It is not enough just to have a ‘thought’ or ‘intention’ of praying for someone, & then expect God to come through for them at the end. I needed to contend in prayer intentionally to see breakthrough.


    No, not that the hand of God is manipulated through intense & fervent prayer; but that the Lord is passionate about one thing – PARTNERSHIP. The Lord reminded me of this mind-blowing Kingdom truth: He has placed such a weight of power & authority in our lives that until & unless we partake of God’s desires & ask that His will be done, we will not see the fulfillment of things we expect & hope for. How inconceivable it is to recognise that our obedience or lack of it has such a profound effect on the outcome of events & circumstances for those around us!

    “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, & stand in the gap
    before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.

    Ezekiel 22:30

    God is not needy of us; but He desires partnership & wants us to be involved in His redemption story, and He searches for those who would agree with His heart. We carry godly authority – more than we think we do – to shift atmospheres, affect outcomes, heal the sick, break bondages, & simply call things into being. We can all press in to greater things when we partner with God in obedience.

    Ian Chew was part of Awaken Generation’s pioneer vocal stream batch & joined the team mid-2016 as the head of missions & media. Having always had a heart for missions, he yearns to see revival throughout the nations & serves actively in his church’s music ministry as a worship leader. Ian leads the team frequently in prayer, devotions & worship.

  • Blog
  • Student Testimony: Learning to Say “Yes” to God


    by Faith Lim

    This is a testimony of God’s providence, gentleness, grace and glory.

    Songwriting has been a calling close to my heart & affirmed by God through different people that He has placed in my life. When I received the notification email from AG that 2016 registration was open & that there was a songwriting stream, my heart was filled with much excitement. However, the total cost of this 8 month-long course stood as a hindrance as a student without an income & so I decided to wait another year to save up for it.

    On the day of the early bird closing date, I received an unexpected but timely message from a brother of Christ & something in my heart began to stir. God was speaking! Stepping out in faith, I sat in front of the piano & to my amazement, a song was birthed forth by the grace of God all within 15 minutes. I submitted my application with so much joy & by God’s grace once again, I got accepted!

    Orientation day came & I found out that there was an additional 10% reduction in cost if the full year’s fees had been paid in full. The ‘Singaporean’ in me & my fleshly wisdom & reasoning thought it would be a good decision. My boyfriend agreed to help pay the full fees first & when God had provided the funds in the future to then return him the cost. The next day, we heard God’s gentle rebuke, “Did I tell you to pay for the whole year? Do you not think I am able? I want you to press in & trust me to take care of this.” God didn’t need me to help him save anything because He is our Abundant God & in Him we lack nothing.

    My boyfriend & I made it a point each day to set aside time to seek God for His providence. Through divine appointments & simply sharing my encounters with God, I was blessed with sufficient funds for the whole year with approximately $400 in excess by the 3rd week of class commencement. The following week, I heard of a brother who had dedicated his life to serve in another ministry & was also in the midst of trusting God to provide the necessary funds. Guess how much he was asking God for? $400!!! My surplus was his answered prayer!

    Every week, God broke through with His undeniable goodness & involvement in my life. This is who our God is, His timing is perfect & He desires for us to experience His Greatness & His dedication in our lives. Be blessed, knowing how much our Lord desires us & is investing in our lives. May we live lives of faith & obedience as we seek to glorify His beautiful name!

    In His love & my love,

    Faith Lim is one of the students at Awaken Generation this year & currently attending the songwriting stream. Her testimony is one of the many that have risen from our student cohort this year; testimonies of God’s abundant provision & grace.