Saturday, March 31, 2012

John Piper Stepping Down

I came to know about the teaching of Pastor John Piper about a decade ago when I read his book"Desiring God". At that time I was a young Christian, nevertheless I was inspired by the theme in his book that is "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him". It is a profound statement, hence I have used it as the heading of my blog.

His teachings have great impact in the Christian communities worldwide. I have learned much from his website Desiring God.

Finally he will be stepping down as Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church soon. His retirement from this job has been planned about 12 years ago and it is not a surprise to people. According to him he is getting older and God has other plans for him. Beside after he leaves this job he will still be preaching, writing and sharing the Word. For the general public we still can learn from him at his website Desiring God.

To read further click on the title of this post.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Church Hiring Family Members

Many of you must have read about the bankruptcy of mega Church Crystal Cathedral in Southern California. The iconic church has been sold to the Catholic Church recently. Some said the failure of this church was the changing demographics of Southern California and some are saying something else.

Amidst the bankruptcy status there are on going differences between Robert H. Schuller’s family and the management board. The latest was that Senior Schuller and his wife are suing the board for intellectual rights over the materials produced by Schuller used by the Church. Meanwhile, Robert Schuller’s daughter Sheila Schuller Coleman the former Senior Pastor of Crystal Cathedral left to operate her own church.

Many of Robert H. Schuller’s children were involved in the Church full time. In fact, Robert Schuller’s eldest son Robert A.Schuller was the former Senior Pastor and he left due to difference in ministry directions. Recently Robert A.Schuller commented that it was siblings rivalry that caused the downfall of Crystal Cathedral.

You can see the troubles that the Schullers are going through not to mention the congregation. The question is whether family members should be hired in churches? One thing for sure is that people from outside the church can easily accused the family of nepotism. After all the church is run by the family, it is obvious the management will favors the family members. Many businesses in the corporate world avoid hiring family members. Why not church? Perhaps to avoid complications hiring of family members to run Church should be kept to a minimum.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Godly Pastor

In the previous two blog posts, I have written about the danger of celebrity pastors and another about prosperity gospel preached by some of these celebrity pastors. It is refreshing to read about and being inspired by truly godly pastors like Charles Stanley.

Pastor Charles Stanley is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta and he has been in ministry for more than 50 years. He also run the popular In Touch ministry.

We can learn from Pastor Stanley as his teaching is Biblical and he points us to Jesus. He said in our relation with God we must be right with Him, otherwise nothing is going to be right.

Although a televangelist in his own right he never solicit money on his programs. He said God has instructed him not to ask for money. Despite his fame as an evangelist and preacher he has no pride. He said "because God has done something that I would never have dreamed of," He attributed all his successes to the work of God.

Pastor Stanley has written several books. Now I am reading one of his books, " Our Unmet Needs". We all have many needs either when we are down or successful. He teaches us how to see our needs from a Biblical perspectives and how to overcome these needs in godly manners.

To read further click on the title of this post.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Church Moving

Today is a historic day for our church, First Baptist Church, Kuching (FBC) as we moved from our present location at Wisma Saberkas, downtown to our new premise which is about 6.5 miles from town. We have been in the old place for about 16 years, and now we have moved into our new premise. First of all we have to thank God for providing us with this new facility and for the support of all church members.

It was most encouraging to see members turning up to help to carry and move the church belongings from the 5th floor of the old building to the loading bay downstairs. Our Iban brothers and sisters led by Bro Emong and Pastor George were the ones who did most of the carrying and moving. They were at the old church as early as 7.30 am this morning. By around 9.15 am most of the stuffs were downstairs waiting for the trucks to pick up. Our brothers and sisters from English congregation were also there to lend a hand. Our Chinese congregation members waited at the new church to help out too. Bro Paul and Sis. Nancy were there early also to organize the dismantled musical instruments and parts for transportation to the new church. Our friends from Germany Bro. Wolfgang and Sis. Heidi were busy helping too! Some of our elders were there to help out .

By about 12.30 pm most of the things have been unloaded from the trucks and carried to their respective rooms, like main office, Sunday school, library, dry kitchen, wet kitchen and others. Many things are still in the process of being put into their right places. We have one week to sort everything ready for worship on Sunday 1st April, 2012.

We called it a day around 5 pm this afternoon.

Once again thank God for His provision and also all members who helped out today.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Use A Cell, Go To Hell

Here is a funny church advertisement about using cell phones in church.

Watch it!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Prosperity Gospel

Prosperity Gospel or sometimes it is called Gospel of "health and wealth". It is the teaching that God wants to bless everyone with material riches and good health if you follow Him to claim His promises. Some how it appears that the real celebrity seeking pastors and evangelists are also preaching the prosperity gospel.

To us ordinary Christians, the teaching may not seem negative, after all it is teaching us to work at it and earn lots of money. But, it is the message of Jesus that we should strive to be wealthy? Hardly so. He said we will face trials in this life.

If prosperity gospel is not biblical how are we to avoid such teaching? In our local environment we can check the teaching of the pastors whether they are Biblical before continuing to attend their church. What other Christ centered pastors or Bible teachers are saying about their preaching. What kind of lifestyles are they living? Next, you may want to avoid reading books written by these pastors or evangelists.

Pastor John Piper gave a very good view of prosperity gospel which you can watch at the end of this post. He said prosperity gospel is an abomination to God for misleading Christians into the wrong path. Our lives are just a small part of eternity and it is not helpful to emphasize on this small area. He was upset that prosperity gospel has been exported from America to Africa, and Asia.

Another re-known Pastor-Bible teacher John MacArthur of Grace Community, California used very strong word against these pastors and evangelists. He said their teaching is satanic. He named these prosperity gospel pastors, they are : Benny Hinn, Jocye Meyer, and Kenneth Copeland. Elsewhere you will also find that people are calling Joel Olsteen a prosperity gospel preacher.

We need to be discerning in order not to follow the wrong paths.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Celebrity Pastors - Danger

Pastors, evangelists, Bible teachers and various religious leaders are just human like anyone of us. Somehow it seem that it is human nature to go after fame and fortune. This is most obvious in the entertainment industry, but it seem in Christian ministries this "fame and fortunate" factors are also there. You will be able to see many famous pastors and evangelists in the US, some have fallen on the way to stardom.

Seeking fame in ministry is dangerous. If one is not careful one will fall. It is dangerous because as a pastor become famous it is a tendency to preach and promote himself rather than God. Pastors should be pointing people to God and not himself.

Previously I had also written about Pastor Francis Chan formerly of Cornerstone Community Church, Simi Valley. He is a good example of how he felt that his celebrity status might get in the way of his work in leading people to Christ. He decided to leave his mega church. He said he was disturbed by people driving more than 50 miles each Sunday to his church to hear him preach! And that did not seem right to him. The message of Jesus is the most important, it is not the pastors.

Personally I am reminded of my reactions when a celebrity pastor Bro Yun of China who is known as "The Heavenly Man" came to my home town to speak several years ago and I was so excited I told my mentor that I will be going to listen to him. He reminded me and asked whether I was going to listen to God's words through him or I was excited because of his celebrity status. That really woke me up.

We the Christian audience has a role to play, if we do not seek after these pastors like celebrities of this world, these pastors may not behave like celebrities. We are to seek after the Words of God and not after man.

To read further click on the title of this post.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Red Bull Mocking Jesus

Red Bull is a famous energy drink that you can find in many countries. It is popular in Malaysia. Recently the company caused outrage in the Christians communities especially in Brazil where its advertisement mocked Jesus walking on water. In the carton advertisement it depicted Jesus walking on water as false and implied that Jesus could walk on water because of consuming Red bull drink that enabled Him to fly. Brazilians were especially outrage and this advert may be banned in Brazil.

The news is out that the co founder of Red Bull, a Thai tycoon Chaleo Yooridhya has passed away about 2 days ago. Is this a co incident or something else? Mocking Jesus is not a funny matter.

To read further click on the title of this post.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Creation Makes Better Science

Last week I attended a Creation Apologetic seminar where I learned how we Christians can use creation as described in the Bible to defend our faith. It was incredible to see how the evidences could be found in the Bible.

Evolutionists claimed that life forms developed from non living organisms yet we have not seen anything like these. They claimed mutations create more complex organism, but science has proven that in mutations information are lost, so it is not possible to create more complex organisms. If living organisms evolved from less complex to more complex form, scientists should be able to find organisms that were in their process of being evolved, but none have been found. We believe God created all living organism whole.

Cretaceous limestone were produced by sediments in the water and this can be found throughout the world which proved that these areas were under water at the same time in history. Yet scientists do not accept Noah's flood as described in the Bible.

We are confident that God's Words cannot be wrong.

To read more click on the title of this post.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Is Hell Real?

According to apologist Mark Mittelberg hell is real. Personally to me it is real because the Bible talked about it in several passages. It is a subject that is difficult for many to understand partly because it is something that is negative and gloomy. Not many preacher preach about it in church too. This is also my personal experience, I have not heard of a sermon about hell in church for the past decade. Mittelberg said we must be taught about hell unless we forgot about it.

This is what he said, "It's a topic no one likes to think about and that, frankly, isn't a lot of fun to teach about either," Mittelberg told The Christian Post on Monday. "But therein lies the problem: if we don't teach about it, if we don't warn people, if we don't emphasize the reality of hell the way Jesus did, then it soon fades to the back of people's minds."

His advice is to teach the subject with love and compassion like how Jesus taught.

Read more click on title of this post.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ethical Business

There not many companies in Malaysia that can claim to uphold ethics in their business dealings. One of the outstanding example in Malaysia is Thumbprint Utd Sdn Bhd founded by Tam Wah Fiong in Kuala Lumpur some 20 years ago.

He practice no bribing policy in his company. He said “It's so easy to not bribe. People say that if they don't bribe they can't run a business in Malaysia but it's not true,”. He is proving other businesses wrong because he showed that it is possible to conduct a successful company with out bribing to get their ways through the government authorities or otherwise.

Mr. Tam is a committed Christian and he had shared his testimony of his life as well as his business in Asian Beacon, a Malaysian Christian magazine. He also practice Biblical principles in dealing with his employees as well as his customers.

His testimony is an encouragement to many Christians who are running businesses in this country.

You can read a news article of his company by clicking the title of this post.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"Voice of God" Alarm

Many churches in England have been targeted by thieves who ripped off the metals fittings on Churches' rooftops. In particular metals like lead and copper which fetch high prices in the market. On average 7 churches are targeted each day in the U.K. Therefore this is a serious problem not only to the churches but the insurance companies.

Interestingly the church has come up with an innovative alarm that is "voice of God" alarm. Motion sensors will be installed on the roof tops and when motion is detected a booming "voice of God" will be activated to announce that the thieves have been detected! Most likely many of the thieves will be surprised by the "voice of God".

To read an article on this subject click on the title of this post.

Watch this video. Ecclesiastical is the insurance company insuring the churches.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

New Life Restoration Center

This morning our church had the honor of Pastor Teo Chung Hock from New Life Petaling Jaya branch to share with our congregation. He has been invited to host our church's youth camp over the next few days.

New Life has an Iban language branch here in Kuching.

During the morning service Pastor Teo shared his inspiring testimony. He hails from Miri and now a pastor in Kuala Lumpur. Before he became a Christian, he hated Christians and called them hypocrites. His sister in K.L was a fervent Christian then and when he has to go to K.L to attend college he warned his sister not to bring him to church. Knowing that he will not have anything to do with church, his sister introduced him to the church's youths who befriended him. Since he did not want to go to church, his new friends brought him to cell meetings. Teo agreed and he told himself that he wanted to prove to the Christians that he was a more righteous person than the Christians. The cell meeting was held weekly and he attended weekly to show that he was a better person than the Christians. He even sneered at the Christians who missed some of the weekly meeting. As for him, he never missed any of the meeting ! As he get to know more about Christianity and also the love shown by his new friends, he said to himself that Christianity was alright. Slowly he was moved by God. After 4 months of cell meetings, during a worship session he accepted the Lord. That day was 24th April 1996. At that time his sister did not know of his conversion yet, and as he reached home his sister gave him his first Bible, than he broke the good news to his sister. Hence, he can remember the date of his conversion clearly. A very significant and meaningful day in his life.

After working in the secular world for 5 years he felt God calling him to full time church work therefore he joined New Life in 2004. In 2008 he was installed as a pastor in New Life Church, Petaling Jaya.

Praise God for his testimony! A person who hated Christians before now he is a pastor!

To go to New Life website click on the title of this page.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Creation Apologetic

Last evening trainer Joseph Tan from Kuala Lumpur conducted a three hour course on Creation Apologetic at Good News Fellowship. Creation Apologetic is defending our Christian faith using information and data from the Bible. It is also to prove that God Words are true and they are consistent with what had happened and what is happening to man kind and this universe.

The scientific worldviews are contrary to the Biblical world view, and many people are confused by the different in views. In secular schools evolution is taught and young people of today find that it is hard to understand because the Bible seem to contradict the scientific information. The speaker use various information and fact in the Bible as well as things happening in this world to prove that God is indeed the Creator of this universe and the earth.

One example, scientists claimed that the Grand canyon in the US was formed million of years ago, and you can see the fine layers of sediments in the mountains. But when Mount St.Helen erupted not too long ago scientists found similar layers of sediments were created in a very short span of time, not over millions years ago.

In the final analysis God Words are true.

To check up a helpful website on Creation Apologetic click on the title of this post.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Worship When Depressed

Is it possible to worship when one is depressed? In most circumstance people tend not to participate in worship when one is in a low state of emotion. At least this was also my experience. But Pastor John Piper and worship leader Bob Kauflin said otherwise.

According to Piper worship is satisfaction with God and it is not an outward emotional state. If we are a born again Christian we can worship God even when we are experiencing depression or a low state of emotion. The key is satisfaction with God does not depend on our emotional state. Piper said we can be "satisfied with God and weeping your eyes out at the death of your mother.” Since we have the contentment of God we can worship Him despite our emotional state.

What Piper said is Biblical :

2 Corinthians 6:10: “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”

The lesson here is that no matter what our emotional position is knowing that we are satisfied and content in God we should worship Him wholeheartedly. Especially worshiping Him in songs.

To read further click on the title of this post.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Investors Fleeced of RM620 Million

The Companies Commission of Malaysia reported that for the past 3 years Malaysian investors have been fleeced of Ringgit Malaysia 620 million! (About USD200 million). These are reported cases, plus the non reported cases, the figures is surely more than this.

In Malaysia there are many kind of scams and people fall into them despite cases reported in the news media. There is also a recent case of investing in gold where the company cheated investors of about RM440 million! These people were convicted in court and they are returning some money to the investors.

We may wonder why so many people are falling into these scams. Many people are not satisfied with what they already have financially and they are looking to be rich quickly. Thus many of these scams promised high interest returns, e.g 30% in one year. The current bank interest is around 3-4% per year.

Basically it boils down to greed. It is a good lesson for us Christians because the Bible taught us too,

Proverbs 25:28

'The greedy stir up conflict,
but those who trust in the LORD will prosper."

To read a news article click on the title of this post.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

400th Anniversary of Alkitab

The Malay language Bible is known as the Alkitab. Recently the Malaysian Christians celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Alkitab. Despite the length of the existence of this Malay Bible, the use of the Arabic word for God - "Allah" is not allowed in this country. The Muslim communities said the word "Allah" is exclusive to Islam, thus no other religion can use this word as God. However, "Allah" has been in use by the Middle Eastern Christians and Muslims for ages to refer to God. Even before the creation of our country, the word had already been in used. Sadly, the Malay speaking Christians in Malaysia cannot use "Allah" freely to refer to God. The Catholic Church of Malaysia won a case against the government in 2009 to enable them to use "Allah" in their weekly publication "The Herald", but the government appealed this case and it is still pending. Meanwhile, the Catholic publication is not allowed to use this word.

This issue is a challenge to the Malay speaking Christians in Malaysia as a large portion of the Christians in this country speak the Malay language, thus using the Alkitab. There is no solution in sight.

We pray for God's will to prevail in this case and many other issues relating to Christianity in Malaysia.

To read a news article click on the title of this page.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Jesus Discovery

The Jesus Discovery is also a title of a book written by Professor James Tabor and film maker Simcha Jacobovici in which they claimed that they have found the tomb of Jesus and his family. They said the bones of Jesus and his family were found in 10 ossuaries and one of them marked with "Judah son of Jesus". These certainly contradict what modern Christians believed about Jesus who resurrected from death. Many experts disagreed with these findings, firstly their evidence are based on a robotic camera that took some images and there was not actual excavation of the sites and secondly those inscriptions were common in that era. These experts also said that this authors are only interested in selling their books and making money.

"Many experts agree with the Christian viewpoint that the controversial findings are false, not only for faith's sake, but to prevent archaeological and scientific misuse as well."

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