The Courtyard Fire: Gleanings for Missions

That fateful night of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest, Peter was on fire … on a mission for Him! A mission wrought with danger as he infiltrated the courtyard and possibly thought of rescuing Jesus (after all he had probably kept one of the swords!) Peter’s desire to showcase his love and loyalty rang out loud! Yet, a small courtyard fire – set up for warmth and light – unexpectedly and quickly extinguished Peter’s fiery and passionate bravado.

Attending numerous mission conferences during my younger days, I was Inspired by the symbolisms of fire invoked by speakers to signal the urgency of missions. Exuberantly, I participated in numerous short-term trips. I even took a further step of spending a decade to prepare myself for cross-cultural assignments. I was on a roll – or so I grandly thought – for Him to impact the nations! Just as the courtyard fire unsettled Peter, a diagnosis of learning challenges for a family member – which was given for appropriate follow up therapy – became the “courtyard fire” that halted this self-affirming roll. While Peter denied Jesus, my response was to put aside missions into the backburner for many years. 

Thankfully, the aftermath of Peter’s denial was an invite by Jesus to be part of His mission again – an invite that I am sure Peter earnestly and gratefully accepted in contrast to his rejection of Christ around the courtyard fire. Amidst 2020’s tumultuous months due to the pandemic – the opportunity to work for a new organisation and with an unexpected hiccup in the relocation process – the Lord pathed an opportunity for me to come into contact with the Singapore Center for Global Missions (SCGM). Through the ongoing and inspiring conversations, I sense an invite by the Lord to re-engage with missions. My encounter with the “courtyard fire” and my regrettable response were formative moments that have led me to appreciate this opportunity to re-start.

God, as the Divine Fire, is the One who sets our hearts aflame for missions. We may be undertaking grand projects in the name of extending God’s kingdom. Yet, at times He may send along a courtyard fire – one that exposes our bravado, fears, and identity and puts brakes on our grand plans in missions. How will we respond? Disbelief? Anger? Frustration? 

May we be mindful of God’s gift of trials to unravel our motives and gaps in our preparation. May the reassurance of a fresh invite by the Lord on the other side of this experience help us embrace missions again.


DR DANIEL LOW is Vice President of Academic Affairs at William Carey International University (WCIU). He previously held positions at Raffles Christian School Jakarta, Concordia University Chicago, Biola University and Ministry of Education Singapore.


40 FRiends of SCGM have been invited to take part in our 40-Day Devotional Project to help raise funds for SCGM’s 40th Anniversary. Each day starting 20 November 2020 to 31 December 2020, SCGM will publish one devotion written by our 40 FRiends in our FundRaising effort and celebration of God’s goodness and provision over the last 40 years!

Through their devotional reflections, we pray that our FRiends of SCGM40 will bless and encourage many to reflect upon God’s Presence, Protection, Provision, Purification and Power in Missions.




20 NOVEMBER 2020 – 31 DECEMBER 2020

OUR MISSION: To catalyse the national missions movement in Singapore.
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