Thursday, June 30, 2011

80 / 20 Rule

This 80/20 rule is not only happening in the corporate world, but in our churches this is also happening. Does not matter whether the church is big(mega) or small. Usually 20 % of the church members are actively involved in some ministries and the other 80% are not involve at all and they may or may not attend church regularly. This situation is also happening in Malaysian churches.

Our church is also facing this issue and the leadership is trying to engage the congregation to be active in church's activities in order to build relationships with one another. Of late our church leadership is embarking on re building relationships in our church one a one-to-one basis because we want to build deep relationships and not superficial relationships. Like anything new in church, this is challenging but the leadership feels that we need to start somewhere.

As reported in the US, some churches concerntrated so much on evangelism that they neglected those in their congregations. Many realized that they have to do something to engage the rest of their members otherwise they may leave their churches. Most probably balancing between evangelism and spiritual growth of the congregation is important. The teaching of Jesus is that even one sheep is important to His Kingdom. Unlike, the humanistic world, majority is more important than an individual.

In the end, discipleship of church members are more important than the numbers in the church.

To read a story click on the title of this post.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top Threat to Christianity: Secularism

Secularism is about separation of state and religion. The state should be independent of religous belief.

Over 70 % of evangelicals attending the Lausanne Congress of World Evangelism said that secularism is the top threat of Christianity and not Islam. When all threats are combined 91% said secularism is a top threat compared to 81% for Islam. However, in US 92% of evangelicals said secularism is the top threat in their country.

In fact, this threat is real and it is there all over the world. This state of affair is worsening by consumerism, materialism and the popular culture of sex and violence that is happening around the world. The young generation seem to be caught in this situation and many do not know God.

In the Malaysian context, our country is also facing this problem. Not only is secularism encroaching into society but the minority Christians are facing Islamization in this country and also the persecution of Christians like forbidding Christians to use "Allah" to refer to God in their Malay language Bible. This is an outstanding issue in our country.

Christians cannot take lightly the problem of secularism because it is subtle. Theologian Francis Schaeffer commented that secularism is more dangerous than direct persecution.

It is important to defend our faith and to evangelize to the lost. Despite up hill battles, we must not lose heart. The battle is of the Lord and not ours.

To read further click on the title of this post.

Watch this video about secularism.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Restoring the Altars of Our Lives

This Sunday, our Church had the honor of Pastor Christina Tan from Houston, USA. She is a pastor in International Full Gospel Fellowship (IFGF), Houston. She is also a cousin of Bro.Gary of our Church. Pastor Christina has a long connection with our Church and she shared that she was baptized at FBC in 1977. Therefore, this is like her home coming.

Pastor Christina's sermon is called "Restoring the altars of our lives". She refered to Genesis 8:20-22, the story about Noah building an altar and sacrificing clean animals to God. In the past people built physical altars, now we have our altar in our hearts. We need to build a personal altar as well as a family altar where the whole family pray together.

She asked whether we realize that when we come to God, He set us apart from the world. Yet most of the time, we Christians acted like non believers. Now we have to rebuild our altars and come back to God. Let outsiders see that we Christians are different from non believers.

God also want us to be holy. In many passages in the Bible He repeated, "Holy, Holy, Holy", that is three times. This is because He wants us to be holy. Therefore, we need to be aware,that since we are set apart and called to be holy, we are to examine our lives on a daily basis. Ask are we living holy lives each day? If not repent and strive to live a holy and godly live. If there are things not right in our lives asked God to help us to set things right before Him.

Are You a Citizen of Heaven? This is the title of the book written by Pastor Christina after she had a dream.

Watch a video

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Alpha Workplace - KTS Group

Alpha Workplace is an Alpha course specially designed to evangelize to people in the working world.

KTS Group, a local company with businesses throughout Malaysia launched their very first Alpha Workplace course in their corporate HQ in Kuching during lunch from 12noon to 1 pm yesterday.

This Alpha Workplace introduction was attended by about 150 members of KTS Group located at their HQ at Crown Plaza, Kuching. Initially only 131 registered to attend but eventually about 150 staffs attended. It was very encouraging. Sister Cynthia, the Coordinator from Alpha Malaysia was there to guide and encourage everyone. She commented that it was one of the largest workplace turnout she has experienced.

From KTS Group, Bro. William and Bro.Yap were leading this Alpha Workplace assisted by around 15 Helpers. Other local churches like Trinity Methodist, Faith Methodist and First Baptist Church also sent their members to help out as Hosts of the small groups.

Thanks to Sister Mee Yen from First Baptist who initiated this Alpha Workplace at KTS Group through her networking with the people at this company.

This large turn out is very encouraging to all of us who are involved in Alpha Course. According to Bro. William eventually may be about 80 staffs will stay for the whole course. Nevertheless, we pray that many will decide to stay and complete this course.

Sister Cynthia from Alpha Malaysia was there to guide and encourage the leaders at KTS to ensure smooth implementation of Alpha Course in their company. At the end of the one hour session, Sister Cynthia gave a debrief to the Hosts, and Helpers. Rev. Lau, from Trinity Methodist Church closed in prayer.

We give glory to our Lord for this opportunity to share the good news with non believing staff of KTS Group. We uphold them in prayers and pray that the Holy Spirit will move mightily among them to bring them to Christ.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Floating Church

Yes, we have a floating church in Long Jawe,upper Rejang River, Sarawak, Malaysia. Because in that vicinity the land had been floored to build Bakun dam and as a result the village was flooded. The devout Christians there have deep faith and they came out with a clever idea to use empty oil drums to float their church! The villagers are looking for a permanent location for their church.

Praise God, for the villages strong faith in our God ! Our prayers go to them, and we pray that they will be well in this difficult times where the villagers have to moved to higher ground. May our Lord be with them. Amen.

"Everything is possible for him who believes". Mark 9:23

To read the news report click on the title of this post.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Social Media Saves Lives

Social media like Face Book has been used very effectively empowering people to unite to change governments. In this process, many lives are saved, otherwise many would have died in the hands of oppressive governments. Of late, we witness such phenomenon in the Middle East like Egypt, Syria,Libya, Lebanon and Yemen. Many oppressive governments have been overthrew or in the process of being overthrow. Tools like Face Book has enabled many people to connect for a common cause, which they could not do previously. Although other medias can be used but they do not have the speed of social media like Face Book.

In other parts of the world, this media is used for other purposes like pursuing a cause or promoting an idea among the people in a country or community. Like anything that is meant for good can be used for bad purposes. Like in Malaysia recently, the police caught members of a gang of motorcycle thieves who used secret codes in Face Book to communicate and to organize their motorcycle stealing activities. Praise God that they were caught early! Several months ago it was aslo reported that a pastor in the US instructed his congregation to close their Face Book accounts because there were many cases of infidelities discovered among Face Book using church members.

Read a report of this issue by clicking the title of this post.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Christian Doctors Testify of Miracles

Many people do not believe in miracles, but many Christians do because we know the power of God in miraculous healing.

There is a group of Christians doctor coming under the World Christian Doctors Network recently met in Brisbane for a conference to hear testimonies by doctors of miraculous healing and to study their results. Testimonies of doctors are powerful because people can easily relate to these doctors, after all they are medical doctors who know their work better than non medical professionals.

Dr.Sean Thomas George of Western Australia gave a remarkable testimony of how he died and came back to life again after being prayed for.(Read the full article by clicking the title of this post).

Nothing is impossible for God. When science cannot solve the problems God can.

Below is a video of a miracle of a foot growing 1.5 inches recorded as it happened!
Note: this video is not related to the above conference).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day and our church had a celebration organized by the children and youth. They presented a song to all the fathers in our church. The young people also made two cup cakes for each father. (see picture. the cakes tasted nice too! ). The fathers appreciate this gesture because usually Mother's Day is a bigger celebration here. Our Brother Song said a prayer for all fathers after the song presentation and cup-cakes gifts were given out.

Structured to Serve

Bother Ho shared on the about subject. It is one of the 6 ethos of our church which our elders would like to see implemented in the church. Pastor Ben from Hong Kong has coached us for about one and the half years and trying to help us to go forward. Brother Ho based his sharing on Mark 10:35 - 45. This is a passage where John and James wanted Jesus to let them sit one at the right and one at the left of Jesus. Jesus taught one who wanted to be great in the eyes of God one must be a servant. Brother Ho shared that if one wanted to be great you have to:

1. Serve with humility
2. Serve without fear with holiness and righteousness
3. Serve faithfully
4. Serve without losing your heart

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unashamedly Ethical

Unashamedly Ethical is another initiative started by South African Christian businessman Graham Power. In my previous post I wrote above Global Day of Prayer also a worldwide prayer initiative by Graham Power.

The aim of Unashamedly Ethical (UE) is to promote clean, ethical, non corrupt practices in our lives. Our Bible also teaches us to be fair, considerate, compassionate, and not to take advantage of any one. Translating all these into our daily lives is to not to practice corruption in any form.

Transparency International ranked Malaysia at 4.4 ( out of 10)in 2010, dropped from 5.3 in 2009. Corruption is a problem here if you read in our newspapers. We read of corruptions in the various sectors in the papers everyday.

In May 1-2 , 2011, the Unashamedly Ethical Conference was held in Kuala Lumpur attended by people from various groups. Before that about 2500 people had signed a pledge to be ethical in whatever they do.

As Christians let us carry out what our God instructed us to be accountable and live with integrity.

"I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity".

1 Chronicles 29:17

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Global Day of Prayer

The Global Day of Prayer was initiated by South African businessman Graham Power in year 2000. Since than it has spread to many parts of the world. Graham based his initiative on 2 Chronicle 7:14 "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

Some people are asking whether the prayers have made any difference. It may be difficult to pin point specific results, but certainly people and countries have benefited from prayers. We can see revivals in African and Asian countries. God instructed us to pray unceasingly and to make it our lifestyle. We are also to pray with loud cries to God.

You can watch a testimony by Graham Power and the power of prayers by clicking on the title of this post.

Graham Power is coming to Malaysia to be a speaker at Alpha Workplace Conference to be held in Kota Kinabalu in October 2011.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Medical Facts About Speaking In Tongues

I came across this article while reading another blog. The research was done by Dr. Carl R. Peterson. Read this interesting article below:

Dear Friends,

First a caveat, I am not a Charismatic but I am fortunate to recieve the gift of tongues even without anyone laying his or her hands on me.

Secondly, this note is not only for people who do not believe in the gift of tongues but those who don’t understand why God would give such a gift as his first gift to the church and whether is it relevant today.

I ask that you read it with an open mind. My intention is to bring praise to God for such a gift and pray that those of you who have recieve such a gift use it for His glory. To those who do not think it is relevant- think again. To those who has it but do not use it – Use it. To those who abuse it – Speak with understanding. Grace and peace to you.

“The Physical Benefit of Speaking in Tongues

God has made provision for you and I to be whole, to be well and to have access to His healing process. There is a study that has been done by Dr. Carl Peterson, M.D. (the husband of author and evangelist Vickie Jamison Peterson). This Study revealed that there is an available healing power that can be released from our own bodies for our own benefit. Dr. Carl Peterson, M.D. worked on this study at ORU in Tulsa, Oklahoma a few years ago. Being a brain specialist he was doing research on what the relationship was between the brain and praying or speaking in tongues. Some amazing things were discovered.

Through research and testing he found out that as we pray in the Spirit, or worship in the Spirit, (our heavenly language) there is activity that begins to take place in our brain. As we engage in our heavenly language the brain releases 2 chemical secretions that are directed into our immune systems giving a 35 to 40 percent boost to the immune system. This promotes healing within our bodies. Amazingly this secretion is triggered from a part of the brain that has no other apparent activity in humans and is only activated by our Spirit led prayer and worship.

Before the fall of man did God in His perfect creation provide for the total healing of mankind in this manner? As Adam walked and communicated with the Father in the Garden was this close and intimate fellowship and communication causing divine health to flow in his body? Just something for us to think about. God is the restorer of all things. As we exercise our life in the “Spirit” by speaking in our heavenly language that He has put within us, we are touching the supernatural power of God and we are letting Him restore part of what was lost.

Now science has proved the process and you and I can turn this healing process on by our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Just one more great reason to be filled with the Holy Spirit and commune with the Father in your “Heavenly Language.” According to the Holy Spirit, speaking through the apostle Paul: “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself” (1 Corinthians 14:4). We always thought of the edification as only spiritual edification, which is great and always needed, but Christian psychiatrist Carl R. Peterson, M.D. describes physical edification also! Isn’t God amazing?

We have found on the Internet documentation from Dr. Peterson’s office, which is below. As a matter of reference, Dr. Peterson is highly respected, as a psychiatrist and as a Christian.

PLEASE NOTE: Dr. Peterson begins his attachment by specifically referring to praying in the spirit (speaking in tongues), then begins to just use the words prayer or praying. Throughout his paper he is referring to speaking in tongues, as that is the context of the whole paper, and is as introduced by his letter.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Hungary is Hungry

Hungary is hungry spiritually. Many thought that Christianity is almost completely wiped out in Europe, but the scene is different in Hungary. People there are literally hungry to receive the Holly Spirit. It is always encouraging to read of such spiritual rivals in places where one thought Christianity is dead. Even the nomadic gypsies are coming to Christ. Praise God! People are witnessing miracles in their lives. Young and old are coming to the Lord.

“Blind eyes opening … in Europe? Three-hour worship sessions … in Europe? Churches filled with teenagers and young adults … in Europe? It’s all happening in Hungary, a nation that borders seven other European countries—and could affect them all.”

To read the full article click on the title of this post.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Turning to Prayers for Health

The American Psychological Association found that Americans are increasingly praying for health. Between 1999 to 2007 the number increased by 36%. This was an increasing trend unlike attendance in worship which surged after 9/11 but declined after that.

It is a good sign that people are turning to God for their health or other matters. God is in control and He knows what is best for us. Not all prayers will be answered, but we will certainly receive comfort when we pray. In fact, prayer is like blood flowing in our body, and without prayers the Christian life is dead. The Bible thought us to pray unceasingly, and in whatever we do to need to pray. Usually, people tend to pray at the last resort, but this is incorrect, we should pray at all time, not when we are in trouble.

To read the full article click on the title of this post.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Face Book Prayers

Social Network like Face Book is very popular and people use it for many purposes. Of course you have read of recent cases where a Pastor banned his congregation from using FB because some spouses had affairs via FB.

On the positive note there are numerous prayer pages on FB, and people are using it e.g for prayers to help fellow Christians in crisis. There is a case of Donald Michael Black who had an accident and went into a coma. His family launched a prayer campaign and as a result of prayers his conditioned improved.

Even in our church some of our members are using FB to connect with each other and to pray for one another. It is an efficient way to share our prayers, as you post a prayer or message your friends on FB can read them and they can in turn encourage each other by making comments on your posts.

This is just one of the methods of praying for one another. Personally, I think corporate prayers or praying in presence of each other is effective, personal and relational.

To read more click on the title of this post.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

FBC Camp 2011

Our Church, FBC had our camp from 3rd June to 5th June at Sinar Serapi, a resort about 35 minutes drive from Kuching city. This was the first time we had a camp at a location other than a hotel. Praise God, everything was done well!

On 3rd June, Fri we were there by 6 pm for our dinner. After dinner, Pastor Ben Wong from Shepherd Community Church, Hong Kong gave us a short message of how to build strong family. If we have strong family, it will be easier to build a strong church. It is about relating to each other. After that members gathered to talk and to get to know each other better.

The main aim of this camp was to gather our members to build strong relation, and on 4th June, Sat was just purely fun time for all. All members participated in the kayak and rubber dingy competition, and indoor games for young and adults. Everyone enjoyed themselves. Those who did not participate enjoyed talking to know one another.

In the afternoon of 4th June, we heard another message from Pastor Ben Wong of how he build a strong relationship with his children, family and in-laws. It was a very encouraging message that all of us can emulate. He is really a fantastic father to his children. That afternoon, two members were baptized, Rachael and Ezra.

In the evening we had a camp fire and we gathered to sing a few worship songs. After that we went to our respective Life Group, and we did an exercise of encouraging each member of our Life Group. It was very touching, and all of us were encouraged by each other. This was very appropriate because we are building up relationship with each other and encouraging words and actions are the starting points.

On Sunday 5th June, our church had our Sunday Service at the camp. More members who did not join the camp, came to join this service. Pastor Ben again shared with us his experiences and encouraged all of us.

By grace of God, we all had a very enjoyable time at the camp. Not only that, we learned many valuable principles from Pastor Ben.

Our thanks go to the organizing committe led by Brother Nick.

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Fast Food" Church

Mega Church New Life Church's Pastor Brady Boyd commented that many mega churches in the US are becoming like fast food restaurants. Attendees are treated more like customers rather than disciples or potential disciples. These churches are more concerned about the number of people attending their church rather than how many of these people they are discipling to be followers of Jesus. Brady said “Church is not a product to be consumed like a gym membership, but rather a holy gathering of sinners who are becoming saints because of grace,”

Marketing methods are not evil themselves but church should not forget the main objective of its existence, is to disciple people. Pastor Ben Wong from Hong Kong is in Kuching to coach our church and he also spoke about mega churches like those in Singapore which resemble McDonald rather than Churches that disciple their members. Mega churches certainly face challenges in building relationship with their members because of their sizes. Smaller churches are in a better position to disciple all its members and build relation among members.

At the same time, he is coaching us to rebuild stronger relationship with members of our church and how to be effective in these efforts. Pastor Ben has a lot of experiences that can be shared with us. His church, Shepard Community Church, Hong Kong is a cell-church.

To read more click on the title of this post.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Rick Warren Fears Pride

In an interview with Pastor John Piper, Pastor Rick Warren shared his struggle with pride. He said he has no problem with money and sex, but pride is a different thing altogether. There are many well known pastors who have fallen because of sex, money and pride. When the successful book Purpose Driven Life came out, Rick Warren became a celebrity Pastor. This book sold 3o million copies.

We ordinary people are not immune to pride, and many a time we ourselves got caught with this sin. We have to deal with pride on our level. We can learn from people like Rick Warren, John Piper and also Francis Chan who are exposed much more to the public and they face greater temptations to pride instead of focusing on God in what they do.

Rick Warren said "I didn't want to be a celebrity. I think always being in the spotlight blinds you,"

John Piper was facing similar problem, and he decided to take sabbatical leave for 8 months last year. He said he saw "several species of pride" in him and felt the need to reexamine his soul"

Francis Chan, former Senior Pastor of Cornestone community Church left his job about a year or so ago for the same reason. He felt that he was attracting the wrong attention. He was concerned that people are willing to travel more than 70 miles to hear him speak, instead of hearing God. The sickness of pride was larking too near for comfort and he decided to leave his Senior Pastor position to pursue what God has planned for him.

"When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom."
Proverbs 11:2

To read the full interview click on the title of this post.