Thursday, June 28, 2012

City Harvest Problem
Latest news is that there is further allegation that the amount involved is Singapore 50 million.  It has been alleged that subsequently a further $27 million was used to cover up the initial $23 miilion.

A Singapore theologian Reverend Dr. Daniel Koh rightly called for people not to speculate but let the laws of Singapore take their course.  He asked Christians to prayer for City Harvest.  He said, "Apart from praying, what Christians should do at this distressing time is to allow the law of the state to take its course."

 As Christians any where this is indeed the right course of action on our part.  Finally only God will judge.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kong Hee founder of City Harvest Arrested

 The founder of City Harvest Church Singapore, one of the largest church in Asia was arrested for criminal bleach of trust.  he and four others were charged for misappropriating USD18 million of the church funds to finance the music career of Kong Hee's wife Sun Ho.

Monday, June 25, 2012

7 Things in Church that Will Not Change

This is interesting observations by Thom S. Rainer about the Church.  Here are the 7 things:

1.  The Bible is the Word of God - for thousands of years God's Word never changes
2.  The Gospel still change lives  - e.g lives of prisoners
3.  Small Groups are still vital - fellowship of Christians
4.  The mission filed still need workers - harvest is plentiful workers are few Matthew 9:37
5.  Prayer is still power - revival happens through prayers. Numerous prayer movements around the world
6.  Hurting people need ministry - you can see this in your church.  How about Mother Teresa's ministry to those who were hurting?
7.  God is still in control - regardless of what is happening or going to happen our God is in control, He knows the Beginning to the end.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Prayer Movements

Inview of the decline in morality and spirituality of people in America there is a "new awakening" of people to reach out to God in prayers. This is not only happening in America, but across the world as we are facing challenging times.  In America the OneCry initiative was launched to pray for America and thousands of people are gathering to pray.  This is happening across the denominations in the US.  A leader said,  "While there may be differences in doctrine and on some issues of faith and practice, the need to pray and the conviction that prayer makes a difference, are points of universal agreement. As we unite in prayer, God's hand moves in powerful ways."  We are seeing similar patterns happening elsewhere.  Like in Indonesia recently, The World Prayer Rally saw more than 100,000 people from all denominations from all over the world gathered in Jarkata to pray for the nations.  Back in our country prayers gathering have been organized frequently by various Churches and Christians organizations to pray for our nation, as it is going through political and social challenges amidst the coming 13th General Election.

Prayers are powerful and we cannot underestimate God's power upon us and the nations when we pray.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Disciplining a Nation

Once again Pastor Peter Tsukahira is here in Kuching to give a seminar on "Disciplining a Nation".  It was done on Monday and Tuesday night.  I was able to attend only the first night. 

He said in disciplining a nation, the individual has to be disciplined first.  Each has to be a disciple before he or she can impact the nation.  From the many stories of Jesus' teaching, one can see that he taught alot and many a times He was teaching the disciples in particular.  Pastor Peter referred to Matthew Ch.13 The Parable of the sower.  From this passage you can see that the general public did not understand what Jesus taught.  According to Pastor Peter, Jesus was in fact teaching His disciples.  But why do it in public and not privately?  Pastor Peter said Jesus wanted to show them the actual results.  He said the general public did not have the heart for God like the seeds that fail on shallow soil.  But the disciples understood the secrets of God that was why they could understand His parables.

God's Guidance

Another subject Pastor Peter taught was how do we obtain the guidance from God?  He illustrated his story with a story of how in the old days sailors were guided by lights.  On the mountain there was a light, another one in the harbour and another on a buoy.  Once these 3 lights lined up, the sailor knew how to turn his ship into harbour.  He said God guide us in the same way.  Light 1 is the Bible, Light 2 is God's voice, Light 3 is circumstance and counsel of elders.  First we must read the Bible to see what it says about our situation, second we pray and seek God's voice to tell us, third we consult our elders, friends and matured Christians regarding our circumstances.  Once all three agreed, you can be sure that is what God said.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Power of Two Temples

On Sunday, Bro. Gan preached for the very first time in our Church.  Certainly he will preach more in time to come.  His sharing was on 1 Corinthians 6 which was about lawsuit among Christians and also sexual immorality.  He said there are two temples from this passage a) Corporate Temple (Church) which is able to settle internal disputes without referring to secular courts, b) individual Temple (Believers) who are empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome vices.

In the old days in Israel the Israelites built physical temples like Temple of Solomon and the second temple that was built after the Israelites returned from Babylon.  However, these temples were destroyed by their enemies.  But when Jesus came, He built His temple in everyone of us which cannot be destroyed.  That is provided we are willing to follow His commands and be a true servant of Christ.

The second Temple, that is the individual temple which affected all of us.  We are fallen and we are bound to commit sins in our lives.  However, this second Temple, the Holy Spirit is given to all Christians who follow Jesus' commands and live according to God's ways as taught in the Bible will forever possess the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome any vice or temptation that comes our way.  But are we willing to follow Jesus as He taught us?  The Bible taught that we can do all things through Christ ( Philippians 4:3).  If we commit any sin we are to repent and recommit our lives to Jesus.  If we continued to sin we cannot be in the kingdom of God.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Blessed Father's Day

A Blessed Father's Day to all of you who are fathers.  The celebration here in Malaysia is not as grant as Mother's Day, nevertheless people of all race and creed still celebrate this day.

May you have a blessed time with your children.  God bless.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Why Go To Church When You Can Watch Online?

Now a days more and more churches are streaming their sermons on-line.  People said than there is no point going to church.  Like many people who disagree with such statement, no doubt you can hear and even study the sermon on-line, but you can't be with fellow Christians in your congregation.  We are a community of believers and associating with each other is important.  You cannot do this while listening and watching on-line at home.  Christianity is about relationship, like how Jesus taught us to be kind and serve others.  Granted you can serve without being presence, but that is very limiting.  We are social being, thus we need to relate to someone.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, argued that allowing technology to serve as a substitute for participation in a local church is "dangerous."
"The fellowship of the saints is a vital means of grace for the disciple of Christ," he maintained in a recent commentary. "Believers need the accountability found only within the local church ... We need to confess our sins and declare forgiveness by the blood of Christ together. We need to be deployed for service in Christ's name together."

No doubt on-line church service is a great way to reach people who are unreached by conventional methods.  Yet it is vital for believers to come to together to build each other up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Teen Carrying Cross to Washington

A Texas teenager is carrying a 12 foot Cross from Texas to Washington!  Walking all the way for 1369 miles!  It is great news to see that this teenager really have the heart for Jesus.  He walked the talk so to speak.

He said, “I just felt that separation from Him and felt like it was just time to get rid of worldly desires and focus on Him,”  For a teenager to say something like this is commendable.  How many adults will say something like this, I wonder.

As the world is facing attacks by darkness here we see some light from Christians.

Matthew 5:14  

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

How Much of Corinth in our Church?

This morning our Pastor Malcolm preached on the above subject.  The sermon was based on 1 Corinthians 5.  The background was that the Corinthian Church accepted incest which was not even acceptable to the city of Corinth.  The city was notorious in their immorality, yet it was not acceptable.

This question is interesting in that we have to question ourselves how we should react in such situation.  Many a time, we evangelicals at least in the Asian context is more lenient in dealing with expulsion of members in such cases.  From 1 Corinthian 5, Paul taught that we should not associate with such Christians.  In 1 Cor 5:13 said, "Expel the wicked person from among you.”  But Pastor Malcolm taught that we should not straight away expel such person, but only if he does not repent but continue in his old ways.  This teaching is reasonable because we are commanded to love our neighbors so we should encourage our fellow brother to repent and not to continue to sin.  This standard can be applied to other situations that violate the teachings in the Bible.  We have to stand on the teachings of the Bible and not on man's teachings or standards.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Snake Handling Christians

Recently Pastor Wolford of West Virginia died from a snake bite while worshiping with it.  To many of us who are not familiar with such practice, it seem weird and dangerous but for those who believe it is just part of their worship.

Snake handling worship came out of Pentecostal tradition in the 1900s. They based their believe on King James Version Mark 16: 17-18
"17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

Pastor Greg Laurie said he doubted God would agree with such practice.  Like him and other pastors, they see this as testing God rather than trusting God.

The community need not worry that their tradition will die with the older folks because young snake handling pastors are readily taking on this tradition.  Watch this video.



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Increasing Worldly Christians

A recent on-line survey in North America found that more and more Christians are becoming worldly.  That is they do not live the teaching of Jesus Christ.  The result is alarming for North American standard.  It was found that 31% of those survey rarely live the teaching of Jesus.

The survey was designed to determine whether the Christians are a) worldly Christian b) Good Christian c) spiritually matured Christian.  The founder of the survey that they mission is to reverse the trend.  he said, "Our mission is to reverse negative Christian stereotypes by helping Christians become more like Jesus Christ. And so, our goal is to work with local churches and to help transform these unChristians into spiritually mature Christians who walk the walk, and better represent our faith to the world."

In terms of the Asian experience, just wondering what our result would be if similar survey is done.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

10 Warning Signs of an Inward Obsessed Church

Recently I read a report by a church researcher whose research led him to arrive at a checklist or warning signs of inwardly obsessed church.  Most churches will have one or two such signs as listed in the list beyond that the church has to be cautious.  This is interesting in determining whether a church is healthy or not.  Here are the summary :

1.  Worship war - this refers to preference of music style and the use of musical instruments, when deviated members become angry and demands change.

 2.  Many meetings - the church spent an inordinate amount of time in meetings but forgot about the Great Commission.

3.  Facility focus - spent time and money in ensuring buildings and furnishings are kept.

4.  Program driven -programs become an end instead of a means to greater ministry.

5.  Inwardly focused budget - larger amount spent to ensure comfort of members instead of out reaching to the communities.

6.  Inordinate demands for pastoral care - when members demanded pastoral care members to vist them even for minor issues.

7.  Attitude of entitlement -  members feel the church owe them somethings.

8.  Greater concern about change than the Gospel - members are concerned more about little changes rather than making changes in participating in works of the Gospel to change lives.

9.  Anger and hostility - members are constantly angry and hostile toward church staffs.

10.  Evangelistic apathy - members are more concerned for their own well being, than participating in the Great Commission.

From my own observation perhaps one point that people may not see is the lack of prayers.  The church may not have a specific prayer ministry, and the members do not pray as they should. 

They treat prayer as the last resort instead of the first resort.

Friday, June 1, 2012

New Face Book Game

There is a new Face Book game exploring the life of Jesus.  This is good news for all Christians because those who do not know Jesus may have an encounter with Him in this game.  I think there is also a game about Moses on FB.

According to report there are currently about 300 million people playing this game.

Pastor Jack Hayford endorsed the game he said, “I wouldn't have thought a game could do so much to remind us that Jesus walked this earth of ours, involved himself with real people and lived with both life's daily-ness and its dramas. Journey of Jesus: The Calling is marvelous because it's more than a game.”

Note : One of Pastor Hayford's  famous Gospel song is "Majesty"