Sharing of common sense and wisdom…

Archive for October, 2010

God’s Concept of Love Isn’t Complex


27th Oct 2010 

Commented by:  Church Goer

I would like to share this piece of story published in the TIME magazine recently, about his life and thoughts – Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Here’s Tutu spoke about a larger context of God’s love:

“The texture of our universe is one where there is no question at all but that good and laughter and justice will prevail.”  –  Archbishop Desmond Tutu

It is from that simple statement he makes, illustrates the meaning of human existence in the universe.  Achievement means nothing if there is no good deed, no laughter and no justice.

In summary, it reads in the TIME article, “Tutu’s secret. then, is no secret at all. It is faith…”

Archbishop Tutu retires on Oct 7.  That would be a relief for oppressors from Afghanistan to Zhimbabwe. But for millions of others, a world without Tutu would be a bit darker, a little more dull… his legacy will be his life and the story of how this pastor with a huge laugh from South Africa became our global guardian.

 

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Have Faith Not Your Knowledge


China's Rare Earths mine worker

24th Oct 2010 

Article contribted by:  Joshua (Ministry)

For those Christians who think that God isn’t taking good care of them, is primarily due to their ignorance of how larger population of people who are living under extreme tough environment, such as miners and farmers.  Not all farmers drive tractors and Landrover around like what we saw in movies.  Asian and African farmers are used to hard labour work and hardship in the field.

Christians living in modern cities will have a very different view point about what is God’s blessing as compared with christians living far away from cities and in the wild nature… like Africa and some under-developed countries.

Interestingly, to a certain degree pastorial staff who are serving God’s missionary work in developed cities may also have very different view points about God’s blessing.  Though they received the same calling to go into missionary work.  In particular, the lack of leadership by example of these “well-blessed” pastorial staff is evident.  Hence, the way they developed into a syndrome of “blame culture” (i.e. put blame on church members for lack of spiritual growth) and kept trying for management solutions for the growth of church instead of critically re-examine their leadership & shepherd role. 

But dear brothers and sisters, do not lose faith of what God can do for your church and especially for individuals.  Hang on there and be conscious of sharing the love of God and the word of God. It is amazing that how our Lord restalls peace and the flow of rythem of worship and hence, revive his church.

Firstly, is to embrace clear identity and mission of Pointing People To God. Those who are involved in teaching and guidance, must look for signs of “inner circle building” that split members of the church into different groups of people who only go about protecting their own relationship and kept open communication much within the group. A church must be a whole in order to progress and revive. Pastorial staff must relook their power of prayer and power of sermon, to motivate and enlighten people, not looking at the wrong stuff such as demography of church members.  Church “business” is God’s business, not your notion of million/billion dollars businesses.

Think of people who are in different parts of the world, how they live a tough life on earth to feed their family.  think of people who suffer in war zones; think of people in pain; think of children in Africa…

So, dear brothers and sisters, we are blessed and at the same time, bare a constantly changing mind of questioning whether we are blessed. Have faith.

God Allows It?


Contributed by:  Joshua (Ministry)

“The optimist sees the doughnut, the pessimist sees the hole.”

Life is such that it is up to individuals to pay attention to the different parts of life’s encounters and make a story out of them.

Recently a young medical student was knocked down by a London bus during midnight when she was crossing the road.  The young lady studied medicine at Cambridge University.  So a church-mate asked me, “Why is God allowing such thing to happen?” 

This is a classic perception that is planted deep inside our mind. We all, as human being love to enjoy all the good things and hope that they are never taken away, while bad happenings must be an act of God! (Because God allows it to happen). We all blame the God, one way or another.  Seldom we remember even the smallest good things happen to us, attribute our appreciation to God’s doing.

My answer to this church-mate is: “God didn’t allow this or that… according to what we think or suspect. ” 

Many christians hold the idea that everything on earth must go through “permission” of God otherwise it will not happen.  Is that true?  seriously speaking, no one could confirm such doctrine.  So, once we take it for granted, we form our own “divine” understanding that it is the case. So, the death of this young medical school lady should be attributed to God’s permission!?  Is God cruel or loving?  Why does He allows bad things to happen?

Dear brothers and sisters, stop guessing God. Once we “think” that we understand such happenings in life, we soon lost ourselves in the woods again. Yes, God intervenes in many parts of humanity and our life based on His plan. But God does not owe us an answer as to why. Our focus should be on the eternity and not this earthy world’s occurences that form just a passage of time. We can hope for the best but still have to face the worse in each time slot. Thinking that God “allows this and that to happen” merely put blame on God. In this instance, the bus driver made mistakes and killed the young medical school lady. The bus driver is wrong of course. Is God wrong too?  But how did the lady cross the road at that moment? 

“The good news is that God has a plan. The world is not out of control, neither is it based dependent on human ingenuity for its survival. God is in control and he knows what he is doing. He has not left us in the dark. … At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ – everything in heaven and on earth.”  

To guess whether God allows this and that to happen does not strengthen our faith in God and will not make this world any better.

Pointing People to Christ


Contributed by:  Joshua (Ministry)

Let me use the following extracts to share with people who are lost in the woods while serving their church and community.

“The point of ministry is to point people to Christ.” 

Following mainstream activities can be an issue in conflict with the essence of pointing people to Christ. I have a friend who lives and attends church in one of developed nation – The Lion City State.  He expressed that some churches tend to overly involved in community services and up to a point, start to conceal even their identity in order to be involved. The main reason being that the local authority on one hand encouraging religious organizations to actively participate in community services, yet the law forbids such entities to preach their respective religion to the masses. The city state remains a multi-racial society and nation. This is to prevent any conflict of spreading different religions. There is nothing wrong with that.

When a church’s ministry steps into such sensitive ground of doing community services, it is important to learn to be “right on target”.  What does it means?  Let’s follow the basic rule here,

(1)  It is alright to provide for the poor and needy, at the same time maintaining the identity of Christianity. i.e. the church provides its resources helping the community. That’s all. It does not involve preaching of religion in this case.

(2)  Be sensitive of conducting public activities without breaking the law.

(3)  When holding activities in the church premises with its members and community folks, rituals and tradition are valuable and help to point people to Christ. It is not right to use church premises to conduct too many social and cultural activities under the name of community services, and eventually lost its identity. Church is church, not a community centre.

Maintaining a clear sense of calling – Pointing People to Christ is the core of christianity.  Provide for the poor & needy is but one of the roles of christians, not the highest calling.

“There is no shortage of people who will participate in community services and religion, but there are few who will point people to Christ.”

“Servant Leadership”


Contributed by:  Church Goer

19 October, 2010

Here is an extract:

“…  if Jesus did not wash Peter’s feet, then Peter did not belong.  … Just as Jesus was demonstrating his unique leadership in dealing with the sin of the world, he was also demonstrating what it means to lead by serving.  It is remarkable that he used such a ctucial moment in his life as a teachable moment for us!  He was giving an example of how leadership must be exercised in the church, the home, the family, and the marriage.  We are to lead by serving.” 

I share my thoughts on this blog “Faithful Thoughts” using the example of Jesus washed Peter’s feet to illustrate a sydrome in some of the churches today. In that, Pastors assume the role of modern “CEO of church” rather than a true shepherd who’s to lead by serving his flock. 

Recently one of my friends came feedback to me about the syndrome in his church.  Just to summarize some of his inputs into simple practices:

*  His pastor ever mentioned that anyone could leave the church as “the door remains open”.  (There was no attempt to counsel leaving church members at all.)

*  The pastor quoted the verse from the Bible, in John 21:15 – 17.  Jesus was challenging Peter, “do you love me more than these?”, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”… the essence, according to the pastor, was that Jesus meant not only to draw commitment from peter but all christian believers, to come forward and share the loads/duties in pastorial responsiblity and capacity, so called, put it simply a shared responsibility. 

The role of christian/church leadership was never mistaken since the ancient time, that the shepherd cares (feeds) his flock of sheep. Hence the challenge was meant to make aware and draw ultimate commitment from church leaders (pastors, ministers, elders etc.). Leadership structure & responsibilities cannot be overemphasized and must not be diluted to end up “everybody’s duty” and “everybody shares the responsibility” sort of blurred line drawn on the sand.  Otherwise, it sure to end up the worse case scenario of Nobody’s fault and responsibility… so, where’s the shepherd?

Another sad issue in this case is the notion of “the door remains open” mentality.  The Bible clearly illustrates how a shepherd went the whole night out  in search of his single one lost sheep until he found it and happily brought home the sheep.  A church is not like a business outfit.  It is the body of Christ. No sheep should be let loose and lost in the open. 

A clear danger in church sermons today, remains that some pastors prefer to adapt God’s Word to fit into their own messages. The greater danger is that the majority hold the mentality of “who’s to say that the pastor is wrong?”.  Pastorial commitment and leadership are therefore the pillars of growing the church, supported by Power of Sermons and Power of Prayers. 

God is Love.

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