Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Service

Today we have Bro. John Carter preaching in our church. For the last two weeks he has been here preaching on the book of Ephesians over at Agape Baptist Church. Today he preached on Matthew chapter 3, 4, and 5, He concentrate in particular on the Beatitudes. He explained why God said "blessed are the poor in spirit...meek etc. He said God made these qualities come out from our inside, we cannot do any thing. Basically we have to humble ourselves.

Marriage Course

Two marriage courses will be running at the end of February. Bro, Chew, Sister Lena, Bro, Tung Hui, Sister May Sum shared their experiences and all attested to the benefits of the marriage course regardless of whether you have been married one year or 50 years.

Alpha Classic

Our church is also starting Alpha Classic on 4th March 2011, and Bro Han Wei promoted it by distributing the yellow stars for our members to invite their friends.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What Good Is God?

This is the title of the book written by best selling author Philip Yancey. This may be a question that most Christians asked one way or another in our lives. When things are going well for us we do not think very much about God, but when things are not going our ways, we ask question like "What is God good for?". Philip Yancey, a journalist turned author wrote this book like an investigator and not an authority although he has some theological training. He asked questions like many of us would ask.

From his research and visits to people around the world, he found that faith in God does help people to overcome various trials and tribulations. Some of us may have experienced this for ourselves.

"We live by faith, not by sight".
2 Corinthians 5:7

Note : to read more click on the title of this post.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Blessings in Ordinary Things

Usually most of us see blessings from God in the miraculous happenings that He gave us. This is quite normal for many of us. But there is the other side of the story, that is His blessings in the ordinary things in our lives. In fact, being chosen by Him to be in His kingdom is a miracle in itself. Why didn't He chose someone but you?

I believe a part of living a Godly life is to enjoy His blessings in the ordinary things we experience daily. Like a few weeks ago, I was going to pick my son at St. Joseph Secondary school, Kuching after class at around 12 noon Friday. If you are staying in Kuching you know how bad the traffic jam around the school every Friday. As I was about to leave my house, a Sister called asking me to be the assistant secretary of our Church, because I spoke to her for a while there was a delay in arriving at his school, but the timing was perfect,as soon as my car arrived he just hoped into my car! No waiting required! Praise the Lord! Otherwise I have trouble looking for a parking.

A brother and I are in the exhibition business. We had organized a health expo at a bigger venue, Borneo Convention Centre, Kuching.(Outskirt of city). A prime customer Parkway Health Group ( they own Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Greneagle etc in Singapore), Singapore had signed up as a Platinum Sponsor earlier. Because of business consideration we have to change to a smaller venue in the city center. Our challenge was to discuss with our customer Parkway about the change and wondering how they will take it. We prayed about it before seeing their manager. We met the manager, discussed with her about our plans and she agreed to continue as Platinum Sponsor! She even said her prayers have been answered! Praise God! Our God work in mysterious ways.

A Sister from Alpha Malaysia came to town on a Friday evening two weeks ago. She did not have prior dinner arrangement but she thought of a Kuching sister whom she got to know earlier, but she could not remember her name nor her mobile number. As she was making other arrangement this sister whom she thought about rang her to invite her for dinner! This sister said she received a missed call on her mobile. Later our sister from Alpha checked her mobile directory and found she did not have phone record of this sister! Glory to God! Only He could have made this arrangement.

Let us seek our Lord everyday, and let us enjoy His blessings in the ordinary things He provided for us.

"Surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous, you surround them with your favors as with a shield". Psalm 5:12

Monday, January 24, 2011

One Minute Apologist

Apologetic is about defending the Christian faith, what you believe as a Christian.

One Minute Apologist is a You-tube based program to teach about the Christian faith to enable Christians to spread the good news. This program is founded by Bobby Conway.

As a young Christian he tried to evangelize but found that he could not answer many questions about Christianity, therefore he started this program to help others.

I have such experiences too, that I am not equip to share the good news with non believers. I believe many Christians are facing this problem. Here is a good avenue to equip ourselves by watching One Minute Apologist on You tube.

On the other hand, I found that Alpha course is a good way too. All the Biblical teachings are done on DVD by Vicar of Anglican Church Nicky Gumble. Up to date 169 countries and more than 18 million people have experienced this course. Many souls have been saved.

Note: to read more click on the title of this post.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Commissioning of New Alpha Team

Our Church, First Baptist Church has completed the first Alpha Classic last year, and now we are preparing to conduct the second Alpha Classic. The new team has been formed and today we had the privilege to have Sister Cynthia of Alpha Malaysia to pray and commission our new Alpha Team.

Our second Marriage course is starting in February and this morning we had Bro Malcolm, and his wife Sister Irene to share how they benefited from this course. Bro. Chin Luk also shared his view.

Note: Picture of Sister Cynthia praying.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Workplace Alpha - KTS Group

Sister Cynthia from Alpha Malaysia is here to conduct leaders training for the KTS Group of companies. KTS is a local conglomerate involving in timber industry,oil palm plantation, construction, food manufacturing etc. It has about 1000 employees. Understand that it is the Deputy Managing Director, a Christian who wished that all his employees get to hear the good news. There were about 15 people attending the training today. It was assisted by two brothers, and a sister from FBC. Bro. James from Breakthrough Centre was there to help out too. KTS planned to start their first Alpha course on 4th March 2011.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

John Carter

John Carter, Bible teacher, and elder of Holborn Church, UK is here again in Kuching to deliver a few lectures on the Book of Ephesian. John Carter is no stranger to many Malaysian, as he has been helping Malaysian churches for the past three decades. Last July he and his son Andrew were here to teach on the first eight chapters of Romans. His son is the pastor of Therfield Chapel, near Cambridge.

Last evening Bro.John covered on the first seven verses of Ephesian chapter one. He will be giving a series of lectures over these two weeks.

His visit is jointly organized by Agape Baptist Church and First Baptist Church.

Note: Picture of Bro.John and Bro.Andrew

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Don't Play Pray

Don’t Play Pray,
You are to pray and not to play,

Don’t Play Pray
Because God knows whether you pray or play

Don’t Play Pray,
Be serious as life is too short to play,

Don’t Play Pray,
Pray with your heart and God will answer your prayers,

Don’t Play Pray,
Once God is angry you don’t get any play!

Don’t Play Pray,
Pray every day and when you are in heaven you really get to play!

Don’t Play Pray,
Now be serious and pray.

I wrote this poem, if you can call it a poem when I was a very young Christian. This is a twist of the famous comedian,Phua Chu Kang's statement "Don't Play Play!". Those from Singapore and Malaysia will know the comedy show on TV , "Phua Chu Kang". Incidently, the actor of Phua Chu Kang is Gurmit Singh from Singapore. He is a devoted Christian for many years now. Recently he was interviewed by Asian Beacon, a Christian magazine from Malaysia.

By the way, I don't mean to degrade prayers, and I am for prayers. Perhaps writing this peom as an acknowledgment of the importance of prayers since I was aware of its importance as a very young Christian.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pray Diligently

The subject of prayer has come to me often this past week or so. In our church meetings, we prayed and we shared about the importance of prayers. As our church is embarking on the second session of Alpha Classic we prayed and requested our church to pray corporately for those participants who will be coming as well as praying for the new committee members. Last weekend I was helping Alpha Malaysia to train leaders here in Kuching, we talked about the importance of prayers in the Alpha ministry because it is the Holy Spirit who will work in the participants.

Yes, prayers are very important and I notice one important pattern too,that we must pray diligently. God does no reward casual acquaintances, but those He has a relationship with.

Hebrews 11:6 (Amplified Bible)

6 But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].

We have to earnestly and diligently seek God before He can reward us. Although, I usually participate in our church prayer meetings, my prayer life still has room for improvement.

This is what Martin Luther, Father of Reformation said about prayer:

"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing".

This statement may not state directly the frequency of prayers, but try not breathing for a few minutes! You get the picture.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Alpha Leaders Training

On 15th and 16th Jan, Alpha Leaders Training was conducted at Break Through Centre, Kuching. Trainers Bro Kee Huat and his wife Sis Gay were here to lead the training. Alpha National Malaysia Direct Bro Foo Lai Wai was also here to lend a hand. Since, I am one of the Adviser for Alpha I also helped to conduct two modules of the course.

There were 6 participants from the Catholic Church, one from Faith Methodist, and one for First Baptist Church.

After this course the participants can go back to their respective churches to conduct similar course to train their facilitators.

Note: picture of Bro Foo.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Christian Atheist

The term "Christian Atheist" seem to be a contradictory term. A Christian is one who believes in the Almighty God, and an atheist is someone who does not believe in God.

Author and Pastor Craig Goeschel wrote a book on this subject. An article commented about his book. He said a "Christian Atheist" is someone who believe in God but does not live like He exist. The person goes about his daily live like any other non believer.

What he described seem to be not only happening in America but all over the world. He calls this situation a pandemic. A pandemic is like a disease. It is that serious.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tithes With Credit Cards ?

An article in discusses the issues of paying tithes with credit cards. Some churches are for this method and some are not in favor. Some said they just want to give more options to church goers to give their tithes.

At Faith Promise Church, Knoxville said 40% of their collections from 3,600 members came electronically. Seacoast church said 20% of their collections came this way. Obviously electronic collection is important to these churches.

On the other hand the question is whether it is right to collect tithes through credit cards because some of these people may get into debts. My personal view is that church should discourage this method because of the debt issue.

Proverb 3:9 " Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;"

If you examine this verse it says to honor God with our wealth, and first fruits.

Credit card debt is a debt and not wealth. The "firstfruits" must be earned before you can give away.

This is just sharing of my view, of course there are many practical issues concerning this method of collecting tithes.

At present Malaysian churches do not have this problem.

To read more click on the title of this post.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Homeless Man With A Golden Voice

This man was discovered by a TV station that featured him begging with a unique voice. And he thanked God for his life and being discovered again. Praise God!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Intentional Discipleship

This morning in our church service our Bro. Ho King Swee preached on this subject. He said it was Pastor Ben Wong of Hong Kong who reminded him that discipleship got to be intentional. It does not just happen. We as a church has to intentionally disciple some one. It is building relationship with people, it is not a program or course. Otherwise one can graduate from a discipleship course. He based his teaching on 1 Thessalonian Ch. 1 & 2. From these chapters he derived 7 principles:

1. Always thank God and pray for the person you disciple.

2. Use and depend on the power of the Words of God.

3. Be a life model.

4. Involve the person in discipling others.

5. Lead people to follow Christ

6. Serve to please God with pure motive of love.

7. Disciple with parental heart.

He than went to the question "What is a disciple?" ( From Navigators)

1. Put Christ first in this life, taking steps to separate from sins.

2. Study and memorize Scripture.

3. Have a consistent devotional life of growth, prayers etc.

4. Demonstrating Christ's love to others.

5. Identify with Christ's sharing.

6. Growing in the above 5 areas for at least 6 months.

This teaching on discipleship reminded me of the recent message of NECF's Chairman who said one of the issue of Christianity in Malaysia is that most Christians just wanted to be a Christian but not willing to be a disciple. God wants each and every Christian to be a disciple, that is following the steps of Jesus and to share the Words with non believers to bring them to the Lord.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Top Spiritual Trend in 2010

Last year many things happened and some were earth shaking events like the Haiti earthquake. An on line magazine reported that spiritual trend is more difficult to notice because media usually reports on secular events.

The 10 most spiritual events of 2010:

1. Haiti Earthquake. More than 230,000 people died. A million homeless.

2. Muslim converted to Christianity increased. More came to faith in Jesus in the last 1o years than the last 15 centuries.

3. Threat of Islam prompted backslash. E.g several countries in Europe banned the use of full veils.

4. Christianity growing in Asia. Spiritual revivals sweeping Asia. China is an important harvest field. Christians there are said to number at least 70 million, and growing.

5. Persecution of Christians increased. Human rights groups reported that at least 200 to 230 million of Christians are persecuted.

6. American mega churches growing despite recession. Recession has not dampen mega church growth. 81% of mega churches reported increasing members.

7. Young Americans lost faith. Those born between 1980 and 2000 do not consider religion important.

8. Mainline denominations continued a downward slide.

9. Scandals plagued high-profile charismatic ministries. E.g Benny Hinn's wife filed for divorce.

10. Evangelical church-planting movements grew. E.g Francis Chan of Cornerstone living his church to plant churches in Asia.

To read more click on the title of this post.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Francis Chan Back from Asia

Earlier on it was reported that Pastor Francis resigned from mega church Cornerstone and headed for Asia, but we did not know which countries. Now he revealed that he had traveled to China and and India to witness for himself the faith of Christians faith there. He said his fame did not fit Scripture anymore. "He said his life, including how famous he has become in the Christian circle, no longer fit the Bible and he wanted to take time off to realign it with Scripture".

He left his church as he felt God calling him to do something else

To read more click on the title of this post.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Control our Mind

Controlling our mind is not easy. Personally I feel it is a big challenge. I believe this is a challenge of many people. Our mind tells us to do things we should not do. Beth More a popular author told the young people in a conference that it is possible to control one's mind with the help of our God. She quoted Roman 12:1-2 "1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

The process of repentance is the changing of our mind.

She said to change your mind you have to have new thoughts to old events to diffuse the power of bad memories.

To read more click on the title of this post.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

FBC Ground Breaking Ceremony

This morning at about 9am our church had our ground breaking ceremony at the new building site which is about 7 miles from Kuching.

Despite the rain, the dedication went a head. We were blessed that the contractor put up a canopy, chairs, finger foods and drinks.

About 60 people attended including guests. It was very encouraging that despite the rain, all three congregations' members attended this ceremony. Bro Howe Tung just had his eye operation but he came! Praise God!

Bro Tung Hui in his speech said the building is just for us to gather to worship, the most important thing is the building of our hearts in Jesus.

Bro Malcolm shared on Book of Haggai and said we as a church must work hard and look forward because God is with us.

Pastor Richard said despite the rain, God is in control. We must walk closely with God, and He will be with us.

Our elders, Bro Tung Hui, Bro Nee Wen, Bro Simon, Bro Chiew together with the contractors symbolically broke the ground with the iron hoes.

The ceremony of dedicating the new church building finished with light refreshments and fellowship with each other.