Thursday, November 28, 2013

Isreal, The Church and End Times

The Full Gospel Businesmen Fellowship (FGB) organized a seminar entilted "Isreal, The Church and End Times" on 27th Nov 2013 at Trinity Methodist Church, Kuching.  The speaker was David Silver a New Zealander based at Mt.Carmel, Israel.  Since moving his family to Isreal in 1992 he and his wife have been sharing with people around the world to support Israel because of the prophesy in the Bible.

He said that the western world is declining spiritually and Isreal needs the support of Christians from Africa and Asia where Christians are already fervently praying for Isreal.  Christians need to support Isreal because this is God's prophesy in the Bible.  The Isrealites are the chosen people of God Deuteronomy 7:6-8.  God wants to bless people through Isreal Isaiah 27:6.

The end times is also drawing near, and all of us are to pray for Isreal and that Jesus will return to Jerusalem as it was prophesied in Act 1:9-12, Zechariah 14:4-5, Matthew 24:44.  Since the creation of the nation of Isreal in 1948 many nations are opposing Isreal because they
claimed that Isreal has occupied Palestinian land.  However, the Bible said this is the Promised Land that God has given to Isreal.  It belongs to God not anyone else.  Sadly David said many Christians denominations are also supporting these nations to oppose Isreal.  But as Christians we are tied in with Isreal since this was prophesied in the Bible.  You can say Christians shared the same heritage as the Jews.

David urged all Christians especailly those from Asia to pray fervently for Isreal untill Jesus return to Jerusalem. If there is no Jerusalem, the Son of God will not be released from heaven.  Prayers are powerful and we all know that.

Next David played a short video of a orthodox Jew singing "Cry No More".  It is about the hurts people inflicted on the Jews and they cried to God "No More", they realized the importance of the Jewish nation.  Although the orthodox Jews do not believe in the Resurrection, the video depicted a dead child coming back to life again.  The powerful prayers were shown as prayers written of papers inserted in the Western Walls flying out destroying missiles and finally forming the Temple of God.  Watch this video here:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tweeting the Bible in Three and Half Years
This is interesting a British worship director at Kings Church Durham tweeted the entire Bible in three and half years.  He has 30,000 followers.  That's interesting and what is more interesting is that he gets queries from non believers about the Bible.  His effort is certainly helping to share the Gospel with the lost.  Praise God for his effort!

Note: you can read the story at the link above.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Association of Churches Sarawak Official Press Statement on "Allah" Issue

This press statement was presented by Archibishop Datul Bolly Lapok the Chairman
of Association of Churches Sarawak at a public forum on 13th Nov 2013 in Kuching.

The Bumiputera Church will continue to use the word “Allah” as it is the fundamental to all aspects of our profession and practice of our Christian faith.
As we have heard from the public forum today, and has been stated numerous times to the media by church leaders from both East and Peninsula Malaysia, the word “Allah” has been used or spoken by the native communities of Sarawak and Sabah for generations. “Allah” has been used long before the formation of Malaysia and is part of our native language.  It is used in all aspects of Christian faith and practice by Bahasa Malaysia-speaking Christian and other native speaking including in services, prayers praise, liturgy, worship and religious education.  As such, it is reasonable to expect that the word also be use in our Christian publications and multi-media resources.
It thus makes no sense that only Christians in Sarawak and Sabah may use “Allah”.  Christians from Sarawak and Sabah move across the country from East to West to live and work and carry with them their Alkitab and other Christian materials in the Bahasa Malaysia language.  Even non-native from West Malaysia own and read the Alkitab as Bahasa Malaysia is our national language.
It also makes no sense for the Court of Appeal’s recent judgement to be interpreted as being applicable only to The Herald.  While The Herald may have been the case brought before the court, it is our view that the judges have overstepped their boundaries in determining that using the word “Allah” was not “intergral to the Christian” faith.  In deciding thus, the judges have arrogated to themselves a right that does not belong to any human court of law-the right to determine religion.  It is the fundamental right of every religion to determine its expression and practice of its own faith.
As such, the “Allah” controversy is about unreasonable government policies and laws that infringe on the right of non-muslim Malaysians to practice their religion of choice.  In the face of such unreasonableness we cannot and should not remain silent.
The right of native Bumiputras to profess and practice their faith in their own language is safeguarded by the Federal Constitution.  When Sarawak and Sabah agreed to join in the formation of Malaysia in 1963, they did so as sovereign states and with conditions attached; these being known as the Sarawak 18-point and Sabah-20-point Agreements a kind of covenant to which Malaya was a party.
It was not coincidence, it was intentional that the first point in both these agreements concerns the freedom  of religion, Sarawak and Sabah consented to form the greater Malaysian nation with Islam as the religion of the Federation on the express condition that there will be complete freedom of religion without hindrance placed on other religions.  According to these agreements, Sarawak and Sabah were not to have any official religion.
We thus view with grave concern the Court of Appeal judgement on The Herald which has re-interpreted Article 3 of the Federal Constitution to mean that non-Muslim religions may only be practiced in peace and harmony subject to Islam.  We do not believe this was ever the original meaning of Article 3, which simply states that other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.
We need more that just a display of and ad hoc benevolence by the Malaysian Government.  We need  a tangible commitment from the authorities to respect and uphold the freedom of religion guaranteed.  By the Federal Constitution which is the supreme law of the nation.
We thus ask the Government to recognise and affirm:
  1. that the word “Allah” is an integral part of, and inherent to the practice of the Christian faith by Bahasa Malaysia-speaking and other native speaking churches in Sarawak and Sabah and Christians in and from these two States;
  2. that the Churches expect that guarantee of religious freedom enshrined in the Federal Constitution when Sarawak and Sabah joined Malaya to form the Malaysian nation will be full respected and honoured; and
  3. that the 10-point Agreement by the Federal Cabinet in April 2011 on the printing, importation and distribution on the Alkitab in which the word “Allah” is an intergral part of the Bahasa Malaysia Holy Scriptures and also on the practice of the Christian faith in Bahasa Malaysia-speaking churches based on the Alkitab, will be fully honoured.
Two thirds of Christians in Malaysia are the 1.6 million Bumiputra Christians of Sarawak and Sabah who use the Bahasa  Malaysia language of worship in addition to their native languages.  The rights of these Bumiputra Christians must be respected and upheld.
Any attempt to forbid the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims would be most regrettable and wholly unacceptable as it is a flagrant disregard and betrayal of the Malaysia Agreements which guarantees the inalienable rights of non-Muslims in Sarawak and Sabah to complete religious freedom.
With greatest respect, we asked that these rights be given its rightful place and that religious bigotry, racism and extremism should not be allowed to show its ugly head.  Mutual respect and acceptance of each other community of faith should be the order of the day in a plural society like Malaysia.
We are most heartered by YAB Pehin Sri Chief Minister of Sarawak public stand that Allah is non-issue in Sarawak.  We are also most encouraged to know that many members of Council Negeri  had expressed their dismay and deep disappointment over how the Allah issue was handled.
Malaysia was formed and built upon trust and mutual respect of all that made the rich diversity of Malaysia.  Let us build upon that foundation and defend it from any who would want to rob it away from us.
God bless Malaysia!

Archbishop Datuk Bolly Lapok
Chairman, Association of Churches in Sarawak
Dated on:  Wednesday 13th November 2013  Kuching, Sarawak

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Standing Together For Religious Freedoom

A public forum was organized by Association of Churches Sarawak (ACS) at ACS building in Kuching.  The forum came about because of the current controvesy in the use of the word "Allah" to refer to the Christian God which the Muslim claimed they have the exclusive right.  The Court had recently passed judgement prohibiting the Catholic Herald to use the word "Allah" refering to the Christian God in their publication.  However, the Christians in this country do not think so as religious freedom is enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Three distingushed speakers spoke on the Following:

1. Constitution and religious freedom by lawyer Lee Heng Seng
2. Theological and historical perspective on the use of Allah by Dr. Ng Kam Weng
3. The role of churches in nation building by Prof Jayum Jawan

The show of support from all Christians denomination was very encouraging as more than 1,000 Christians from various denominations went to listen to the speakers.  Leaders from Hindu and Buddist oragnizations were there too.

These talks were very helpful because they explained the rights of all people under the Federal Constitiution.  Most importantly they explained why Christians should take their stand in this issue.  When Sabah and Sarawak joint Malaya to form Malaysia, the freedom of religion was enshrined in the Constitution especially Article 3 but the Court chose to re-interpret as if all other religions are subsevient to Islam.  This was not the case at the time the Constitution was drawn up.

One of the speakers said it rightly that all Christians will continue to use Allah in our worship and practise of our faith untill the second coming to Jesus Christ!  Hallelujah!  Praise God!

Note: you can read the full statement of Archibishop Datuk Bolly Lapok in the above link.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Piper on Pastors' Pay
There are many pastors and evangelist out there who seem to live very luxuriously when so many people they ministered too are struggling.  Some how this just do not seem right.  How can pastors own luxury homes and live like super stars?  They do not resemble Christ at all.  These pastors are not only found in American but all over the world.  Even in Singapore we had read of pastors living in luxurious condominium and homes.

Pastor John Piper's article about how a pastor should handle his pay and honorarium is Biblical and closest to how to be Christ like in handling one's income.  Read it on the above link.