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Showing posts from August, 2011

Looking at the world

Argentina
89.28% Christian (actually mostly nominally Roman Catholics)
8.68% Non-religious
0.75% Muslim
1.29% Other

Brazil
91.4% Christians (73.8% declared Roman Catholics)
5.4% Ethnoreligionist
2.24% Non-religious
0.96% Other

Cambodia
83.34% Buddhist
4.8% Ethnoreligionist
3.13% Christian
2.97% Non-religious
2.85% Chinese religions
2.3% Muslim
0.26% Others
0.22% Hindu
0.13% Baha'i

China
20-30% Taoism & Buddhism
18-20% Mazuists
40-60% Agnostics
14-15% Atheists

Ghana
63.4% Christian (many only have tenuous link to a church)
23.79% Muslim
2.5% Ethnoreligionist
0.21% Non-religious
0.1% Baha'i

Indonesia
80.31% Muslim
15.85% Christian
1.3% Hindu
1.2% Ethnoreligionist
0.9% Chinese religions
0.4% Buddhist
0.04% Non-religious

Mexico
95.03% Christians (either nominal Roman Catholics or syncretistic Christianity)
3.6% Non-religious
1.2% Ethnoreligionist
0.1% Buddhist
0.4% Jewish
0.03% Baha'i

Nigeria
51.26% Christian
45.12% Muslim
3.31% Ethnoreligionist
0.3% Non-religious

Philippines
92.2…

Moses and Elijah

After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. - Matthew 17:1-3 It is always interesting to see how people look at this passage. If I ask you, why Moses and Elijah, I am sure people will be quoting from Matthew 5:17 that Jesus did not come to abolish the Law and the Prophet, but instead was sent to fulfill them. As such, Moses and Elijah both represent the two categories of Scripture that were mentioned, Moses being the person who gave Israel the Ten Commandments and the Levitical Laws, and Elijah being the person who was deemed as the forerunner of the prophetic ministry which started the writings of the Prophets.

However, I wonder if people are able to see the interesting similarity between Moses and Elijah. It is inte…

God Moves in a Mysterious Way by William Cowper

1. God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

2. Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

3. Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

4. Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

5. His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

6. Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.
I penned this down in Facebook: 'In times of trouble, in times of trial, I can only say, "thank You, Jesus"'

Didn't know what prompted me to think of this, it must be the Holy Spirit. This just happens to be a busy period for me, with work and ministry confluencing together. Of course, it comes with certain difficulties, and it is easy to be embittered and for grudges to appear and unhappiness to surface. But I guess this is the time when we need to thank God the most, for gratitude is food to the soul. The bible says to thank God in all circumstances, and in the Lord's Prayer, when we prayed 'hallowed be Your Name', it's Jesus teaching us that praise and gratitude comes top in our prayer and should come in our prayer as naturally as our other prayer requests.

God, give us men

God, give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honour; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and Justice sleeps!

 - J.G Holland
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I was watching a preaching by JFK Mensah when he was invited to preach in Biola Mission Conference 2011. His message was about how we should be desiring for the fire from God. It was excellent preaching, not because it was passionate and reflects of the topic that he is preaching on, but because he did an incredible thing: he preached without any script (or at least he got it in his brain) and he was churning out bible verses like GPMG... all these without reference to a hardcopy bible. Apart from the message, I was amazed by his bible knowledge, or at least the implicit zeal and desire to know and memorise bible verses and understand how they apply in our lives. Truly amazing. I think after Ravi Zacharias, he must be the next preacher whom I will treat as a spiritual role model, not because of what he preaches, but because of his postures and how he does it.

The dearth

I reflected upon the tough questions that Christians in this region of the world will face from non-believers. Singapore is a very interesting country, because it stands at the crossroad between the west and the east. In some sense, this country is a confluence of both eastern and western thoughts and influence.

Generally, questions on humanism and atheism are easy to answer because there are ample materials out there. The Americans have written so much in the field of apologetics that you can just step into a bookstore and grab a book that talks about how to answer the tough questions that an atheist or agnostic will have.

Here comes the problem. I did a quick survey, most of these books are written from the perspectives and the contexts of North America. Even when you look into the books on comparative religions, it's always from the perspectives on the kind of eastern religions that invades the American society. Very few books out there, if any, address some of the unique tough…

Wisdom and understanding

"My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgement and discretion" - Proverbs 3:21  I was thinking about the issue of wisdom and understanding for the longest time since God knows when. Recently, during the conference, Thio Li Ann said something which made me go 'whoa'. She talked about how people commented that things that she talked about are very 'chim'. She rebutted that it should not deter people away from understanding, cos if these are from God, we should ask God for wisdom to understand these 'chim' stuff. I perfectly like what she says.

I think it is not a matter of deliberately being 'chim' and trying to look sophisticated in our theology and philosophy. As I quoted in my previous post, the narrative of the bible appeals to wide range of audience, and is so simple that kids can grasp the truth and so profound that theologians can grapple with these biblical issues for centuries. I like what Ravi …

Complex Simplicity

From the beginning to the end the narrative is rich in simplicity, so that even a child can grasp the truth of its stories. Yet it is so profound in its exposition of great theological themes that it has challenged the best of thinking minds and inspired the greatest of artistic genius. The stories are varied enough to apply to the king who hosted a feast; to the politician who sought the best seat in the banquet; to the athlete who ran a race; to the soldier who went to war; to the widow who lacked any income; to the shepherd who lost his sheep; to the father of a wayward son; to the fisherman who cast his nets; to the needy who longed for acceptance. - Ravi Zacharias I was asked of a question once by a sister on how can people know the truth in the bible when the bible was so deep and when people's interpretation of the bible can be so varied and different. I believe that in the quote that I have provided from Ravi Zacharias lies part of the answer to the dilemma that a lot of …

F - the saga

I muse at the recent saga by the NTU valedictorian, Trinetta Chong, who muttered the 'F-word' towards the end of her speech and got into a lot of media outrage, from as usual from parents who became oversensitive over the use of such words.

I become very buffled by such reactions normally. People don't seem to complain when movies are screened with profanities and such. But when a girl sprout off just one, just one, and people come jumping with their face red saying this is not correct. Movies with profanities, if I am not mistaken, are generally M-18, which are around the age of the attendees in this kind of ceremonies. Why hasn't anyone complain with such intensity and passion? Is it because parents refuse to believe that the kids they have breed are capable of such profanities? If so, I have bad news for parents and the public, if you are concerned, you should not send your kids to schools, allow them to step out of the house, deny them the right to television, inte…

Absurdity in obedience

Recently there has been a lot of commotions in the press regarding this thing called the 'Obedient Wives Club'. The premise for such a thing is that if the wives are obedient to the husbands' demand and meet their sexual needs, they will least likely be going to commit adultery and extra marital affairs. An article in Straits Times dated 19 Jul reported that the club is not taking off in Singapore.

The question raised is whether the premise is true. But I think the founders of the club missed the point. It is as if human transgression is a matter of doing the right thing. The flaw in the premise is that it missed out on the fundamental issue of sin in our lives. We know this from the bible that the fundamental problem in our lives is sin. That was why when asked about divorce, Jesus said that 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard...' The problem lies within, not in the things we are doing. It has certainly nothing to do with a wif…

Staring into the eyes of a humanistic worldview

In an article from Straits Times dated 23 Jul 2011, there was a feature article on the Singapore Humanist Society. The headline was 'I've no God - and am proud of it'. This is quite an interesting article. It reported that these humanists are united in their belief that morality comes from humanity itself and in their rejection of a theistic explanation of reality and their embracing of scientific inquiry. And I felt 'well done, you believe in humanity'. But tell me how reasonable is this position?

Let me show you the unreasonable stance of their humanist position. One such humanist, in the article, declares himself to be an atheist-agnostic secular humanist. What a coalescence of contradiction mixed together by a supposedly university student. I can understand if you declare yourself to be an atheist, or an agnostic. But to mix all these up is just plain unreasonable. An atheist is someone who, by definition, proclaims that there is no God. On how this position ca…

Post Conference Thoughts

Directly from my email to my LG after the WCWM conference:


Hi all,
the conference is over, but our mission in the city and in the world has barely begun. Will just want to share some thoughts with you all (but will share more this week over LG). 
Firstly, I just wanna thank God for Hope Church. Just as Ps Jeff was in tears earlier during the service while leading Holy Communion, I was in tears as well, because it was through Hope that I came to know Christ and found the significance and purpose in my life amidst all the material pursuits of the world. I entered this church when we were about 2K strong and when Nexus auditorium was still big enough to accommodate the uni group and the poly group. But you know, I was so blessed by what God has done in my life and in the church (actually I would end up like Ps Jeff if I share this face to face, that's why I think I will do it through email =P) Over the years, I have seen lives dedicating to Christ and lives transformed by Christ. I r…