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Showing posts from June, 2012

The CHC debate continues

After reading comments and responses to the CHC incident by people on Facebook, MSM, and pastors, I think several threads of thought emerged.

For the Christian community in Singapore, there are much food for thought. Perhaps the first question we need to ask ourselves is what is God really telling us as His people through this incident (or in fact any other incidents that might be reported in the news). We need to bear in mind that God does not operate anything in vacuum and does not do anything without any purpose. Just read the bible and one will realise this. I am currently reading the book of Jeremiah and I can see that even when God decides to 'abandon' the kingdom of Judah, there's a reason and purpose for His decisions. Jeremiah 29:11 is often quoted by us to say that God has a purpose for everyone of us but we often forgot that He mentioned this in the context of Judah's plight with the Babylonians. If we put things into context, we learn that He had a purpose …

The CHC reaction

Again, I think there is no last word on this saga. It is appearing big time on newspapers and a lot of people have commented so much on it that I feel like telling them to shut up and just watch what God can do in such a situation in His mercy and His grace. Talk is cheap but deed is deep. Yet, one point that people have been bringing up consistently, and I thought I shall want to offer my own take on this.

This incident reminds me, as I have mentioned in my previous post, of what happened in Hope in 2009. This was preceded by the Planetshaker scandal. During that period of time, my leader decided that she was not doing well enough to lead us. Someone then pointed me to this verse:
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something they are not, they decei…

The CHC Arrest

Looking at the recent arrest of the five leaders from City Harvest Church, one of them being the founder pastor, Kong Hee, I just have to comment a little bit on the incident.

In some sense, this incident reminds me of another incident that happened to the whole Hope movement sometime back in early 2009. While I shall not comment further what happened then, I will say that the incident was similar to what CHC is going through now and involved the top leaders, including the founder of the Hope movement and the president of the movement then. Therefore, as a member of Hope who has been through that period, sat in conferences where the leaders of the movement began to teach and admit to the members how we need to rethink the way we manage our church, I am not totally unsympathetic to what CHC is going through at the moment.

Probably more difficult for CHC members at this current moment is the fact that the incident is so widely reported in the media that everyone has the opportunity to c…

Matthew Parris: As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God

(Originally posted in The Times on 28 Dec 2008)

Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it's Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.

It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These…

A new era?

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This week will mark a new milestone for YGC4 as we receive three more new transfers from the uni group. It has been three years since I moved to YG, two years since I formed this LG and one year since the LG grew beyond the size of ten. As I look back the past one year, indeed, God has brought us through a lot of the bads as well as the goods. People are willing to share life with one another and people are growing and maturing. I await the day they take up further roles and responsibilities within the group and in the church.

The growing of this LG to a group of around 16 people will mean that things will not remain as status quo for a very long time. Indeed things are not going to be the same. The LG has already been restructured into two discussion groups which will break for discussions and reflections on LG weeks where there will be bible discussion. Considering my own calling and circumstances that we will see as a unit, I would think that the people will see a lot of changes o…

Seeing through the eye

This life's dim windows of the soul
Distort the Heavens from pole to pole,
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not thro' the eye
- William Blake

Ravi Zacharias, in response to this poem from William Blake, said, "We are intended to see through the eye, with the conscience. Instead, the visual media, especially the television and movies, manipulates us  into seeing with the eye, devoid of the conscience, whose role it is to place parameters around what we see."

Indeed, it is so true as I reflect upon this simple statement. The advent of television, and subsequent visual media such as movie and even today, with the usage of iPhone, iPad and smart devices, the availability of internet streaming broadcast has made it easier for us to access contents visually.  When used appropriately, this enhances understanding of our current world. However, one wonders how media today plays around with our perceptions, influencing our thoughts towards the world.

Putting Ravi …

Funny cartoon

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This is not very funny, but it's amusing enough for me to want to share it with other people.
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It is an enjoyment to once in a while indulge in musics I like outside of church.

Carpenter

There was no systematic education for a boy after age thirteen. After this age, the father was obligated to teach his son his trade or apprentie him to a craftsman of another trade of the boy's choice. A boy could study the law with adults who studied in their spare time... The quote is taken from a section on Jewish and Greco-Roman education from the book, 'Dictionary of New Testament Background'. What this implies to me is this: could Jesus have taken on any other form of employment or apprenticeship other than carpentry? We have always assumed that Jesus would have taken after Joseph to be a carpenter, cos this is of course the logical pathway to go. But if the quote is true, then it could have been any other occupations. Jesus might even have studied under a scholar of the law or be trained to be a rabbi. If this is so, it does solve one of the mysteries in the gospels, which stated that Jesus began teaching after His 40 days in the desert. I have always wondered other…

I would rather

As I was walking home just now, I suddenly missed the time I had at Watonoha, cleaning the houses and ministering to the people.

But a thought came to my mind. If I have an option, I would rather not have the opportunity to be there to clean up houses. I would rather the houses remain intact and the lives remain as per normal.

Yet God has a plan in all these.

And I continue to miss the place.

Assignments

For those who may have known, I signed up for the HopeSem module on NT Foundation as an audit student, meaning I don't need to do the assignments.

But the assignments look interesting and after looking at the self-study assignment, I think I might want to try my hands on them (although I will stick with the audit option). Most of them are apologetic-related, which is really fun to do, and I have all the extra materials needed for the research.

Being hated

It more or less occurs to me that for a significant part of my life, I am being hated for reasons or whatsoever, whether for the right reasons or wrong reasons. It even seems that it is possible to be hated in church for just doing the things you are supposed to do and being who you really are. My question to myself remains whether I should try my best not to get hated too much around or not.

In some sense, I am the archetypal Christian. I don't do things conventionally as people would normally suppose in church, and I like to challenge practices that are not exactly stated clear in the bible. And I am not exactly the nicest guy to work with, for those who have worked closely with me before. I am not of the view that a Christian should be nice, thus I am okay to be ruthless in my dealing with people whenever I deemed fit. One example would be the mission camp I organised last year. I remember I made a stand that all late payers will pay the late fees when one of my committee membe…