The Church and The Marketplace

I think it is not wrong to say that in today’s age of globalisation, the Church is presented with a greater opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission in winning the nations for Jesus by engaging our global marketplace.

The marketplace is the battlefield for souls. Therefore, the Church of Jesus has the onus to position herself in a way that is seen not only in touch with the marketplace, but an asset to society rather than a white elephant.

As a country, the US not only creates jobs for the world’s economy, but their influence also impacts the social values of the world and stretches beyond the economic value. This can be observed how their MTV pop culture and Hollywood movies shapes the way our kids behave, and their Mac’s and Starbucks changes the way we eat.

The US has, indeed done well in achieving control and influence over the nations of the world even without waging in any war over the years.

Singapore’s emergence as a powerhouse

Taking the cue from our own country, it is a fact that Singapore cannot spread her presence or territory by waging wars in order to conquer more land from our neighbouring countries. That would be an out-of-date and a crazy strategy.

However, with the aid of our cash-rich soveriegn wealth fund (SWF) empires of Temasek Holdings and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), Singapore of late has discreetly gained global prominence and influence with its investments in Merril Lynch, UBS, CitiGroup, British’s Barclays.

Temasek HoldingsFew people would realise how much these two vehicles (Temasek & GIC) have ploughed into Australia since 1995, buying many sensitive and prestigious assets such as Optus, Myer Melbourne and large parts of the old State Electricity Commission of Victoria.

With established strongholds in the marketplace, one is able to positively influence the people, culture, economy and the governments of nations.

The Church engaging the marketplace

Similarly, the Church of Jesus Christ- not referring to any organisation or church building but the Body of believers- should not just see extending the kingdom of God by means of geographical missions, but having a paradigm shift of doing missions through our global marketplace which would eventually transit towards geographical expansion.

Therefore, there’s a need for the Church to unite; tapping on our unique and diverse God-given talents to ride the waves of globalisation in adopting a similar strategy that engages the marketplace in order to spread God’s presence and influence.

The Church cannot forfeit her rightful place and role in the marketplace where she must be able to extend her influence beyond the walls of the church or it will be seen as irrelevant.

For too long the Church has been confined and conforming to the world, it is time that the Church demonstrates the power and presence of God in engaging and transforming the world. If this isolation continues, the Church will eventually lose her God-given authority and inheritence as the head and becomes the tail.

The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.

The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.

Deuteronomy 28:12-14

To do just that, the Church needs to establish a stronghold in the marketplace. Through winning the marketplace, she wins the nation.

And in my opinion, that’s how the Great Commission can be relevantly and effectively accomplished; nation by nation with the presence and influence of God through the marketplace.

My Read of the Month:

The Fourth Estate by Jeffrey ArcherTitle: The Fourth Estate
Author: Jeffrey Archer
Published: 1997
Genre: Fiction- Political
Ratings: 4.2 out of 5 stars

After reading too many teachy books, I picked up this one to stimulate my creative juices and widen my worldview in the media world. Great to say that I was not disappointed as Mr Archer presented the story with such virtuoso that is mainly centred between two characters.

Mr Archer keeps you in suspense with every chapter escalating with the dueling media moguls, Richard Armstrong and Keith Townsend – the main characters. And it is alleged that these characters are resemblance of the flamboyant British publishing magnate, the late Robert Maxwell and Australian press, Rupert Murdoch.

It is an entertaining read as it provides insights into the media business and also some historical knowledge about how life was like during Hilter’s rampage against the Jews.

Who should read it: Those who enjoy reading a “rags-to-riches” story.

Fighting the Battle in the Ring

A boxer isn’t a boxer until he steps into a ring to face his opponent.

Likewise, he doesn’t become a world-class champion boxer by merely throwing punches at a punching bag.

All those gruelling training and diet the boxer subjects himself to isn’t going to count, if he doesn’t take the step into the ring.

Cos in the ring, that’s where the real battle begins. One can expect the opponent to attack and retaliate with punches, unlike a punching bag that doesn’t fight back.

And it is in a real battle that the boxer’s reflexes, stamina, mental and physical strength is truly tested and built up.

The battlefield for our faith

What about us, especially Christians?

Are we really fighting in the battlefield for the faith against the enemy- satan? Or are we just playing it safe and merely punching bags or the air in our daily life?

And what could be worse is that we might be even thinking that we are fighting in a battle and afflicting damage to the enemy when we aren’t.

The battle today for us Christians are in our global marketplace- in the arena of politics, arts & media, education, healthcare, science & technology and business; to penetrate and engage our marketplace where we can influence and transform lives in this world towards Jesus!

The challenge for us

Let’s challenge ourselves today! This could even mean for some of us to uproot ourselves and work/do business overseas for missions in order to extend the frontiers of His Church.

We need to step into the ring and pit our faith to the test. And yes, we might risk ourselves getting hurt and falling, but we need to trust in His leadership and grace for our lives.

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

2 Timothy 4:6-8

Maybe we might be in the ring, but are we fighting or hiding in some safe and comfy corner to avoid the challenge.

I think we need to understand that there is no such thing as failure, but only feedback. When we fall, get up, re-group, evaluate, re-strategise and attack again and again and repeating the whole process again and again.

So unless we fight, we can never fully experience the power and presence of God working in our lives.

Following the Apostle Paul’s example, we should cease our fight only when we reach the day where we see our Maker face-to-face in heaven!

It is The Lord who will enable us for Battle

As for God, his way is perfect; 
   the word of the LORD is flawless. 
   He is a shield 
   for all who take refuge in him.

For who is God besides the LORD ? 
   And who is the Rock except our God?

It is God who arms me with strength 
   and makes my way perfect.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; 
   he enables me to stand on the heights.

He trains my hands for battle; 
   my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

You give me your shield of victory, 
    and your right hand sustains me; 
    you stoop down to make me great.

Psalm 18:30-35 (NIV)

The Marketplace: The Battlefield for Souls

Here’s a blog entry by Pastor PK’s blog who serves Hope London Church. I am very much encouraged by his passion for God’s Kingdom and vision for His Church in being a powerful instrument of change in the marketplace. I pray that fellow Christians will be inspired to live out their faith in God more boldly from Mondays to Saturdays at work, just as they would on a Sunday. 

Pastor PK and his wifeThe Archbishop Rowan Willaims, Head of the 80m Anglican Communion worldwide, provoked outrage when he suggested on February 7th that the adoption of elements of Islamic sharia law in Britain was “unavoidable”. This undermined further his authority in trying to bring unity to the Communion which has been divided over the issue of homosexuality between the liberals and the conservatives in the Communion.

This also weakens the position of the state church which has been seen by the increasingly secular Britain as privileged yet irrelevant. By trying to extend religious rights that Christians enjoy to the Muslims, it actually upsets the secularists further. They are already calling for a smaller official role of the church in Britain. At present 25 bishops sit in the House of Lords.

I personally believe that Christians have to find their voice in society like anyone else, without any advantage over non-Christians. To demonstrate our faith and the greatness of our God, we have to reflect God’s greatness in our lives.

This means that Christians have to raise the bar in our performance in the classroom or in the workplace, wherever God puts us. There is a greater need for us to shine for Jesus in the world in order to attract people unto Him. Whilst the classroom continues to be a fertile ground for harvest, I believe that the marketplace is where the biggest battle for souls is fought.

The challenge is immense; serving God, not money. The key is living out the Gospel with the help of God. (cont’d)

Read the rest of the entry here>>>

10 of the Biggest Employers in the World


Have you ever wondered what companies provide the most number of jobs, both in the United States and worldwide? Here is a list of the largest publicly traded companies by number of employees.

  • Mcdonalds Corp. is the largest fast food company in the world, with 465,000 employees.
  • Petrochina Co. is the huge China-based petroleum and natural gas company, with over 463,000 employees.
  • Siemens A G is the large German-based electronic conglomerate, with almost 400,000 employees.
  • Target Corp. is the Minneapolis-based operator of general merchandise stores, with over 350,000 employees.
  • Sears Holdings Corp. is the Illinois-based holding company which operates Sears and Kmart department stores, and has over 350,000 employees.
  • Hitachi Ltd. is the Tokyo-based conglomerate of electronic and telecommunications businesses, with 350,000 employees.
  • China Petro & Chemical is the China-based integrated oil and gas company.
  • Arcelor Mittal is the Luxembourg-based producer of steel.
  • Kroger Co. is the large Cincinnati-based food retailer.
  • Matsushita Electric Ind. is the large Japan-based electronic products company.

 Information courtesy from Stockerblog

Managing CHANGE in Our Lives

Change Your Life!The only constant in life is CHANGE.

Living in an ever-changing environment where change is inevitable, it is interesting to observe how we react or respond to change.

Just as how everything is moving up the value chain in our globalised economy, likewise we as humans also have a value chain to climb.

Climbing up this chain enhances our development (in particularly spiritually) as a person and being able to be a value-add to society. 

Our resistance to change

But I think it is safe to say that as humans, it is our nature to get easily caught in habits, routines and traditions. Cos due to our need to be secure, we some times or most times rely on these “patterns” in defining who we are.

Even when these “patterns” may be hazardous or unhealthy, we may still keep them as they can be very difficult to unlearn once ingrained in our lives.  The difficulty may arise from the efforts needed to be invested in re-learning.

CHANGE though good, may not necessary come about so easily. And so it seems that we people some times want a change, but don’t want to change.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Romans 12:9

Besides it being troublesome, resistance (I believe) is mainly an attitude issue. This is where we become too comfortable or used to to our current position that we do not desire to and change at all.

This could be a fear factor or a case of being arrogant/ignorant.

Change begins with our attitude

In managing change effectively, what is most vital is having a right attitude with a positive outlook. This would provide the flexibility factor in the face of change. And of cos, the key is being able to see circumstances in the light of God’s purpose.

With change emerging some times without warning, flexibility provides us the reflexes to respond appropriately with the new situation.Understanding that change is the only constant, we should also always be prepared. By being aware and keeping in touch with our environment and its going-on’s, we do ourselves a big favour in studying the tide and wind direction as how a sailor would at sail.

Throw away any status quo kind of an attitude, or else when change happens we will be “caught with our pants down” and the consequences would only be ours to solely bear. 

Uniquely Being Human

To love and to be lovedHave you ever wondered why it seems that we, human beings are the only creatures on the face of this planet that is constantly looking for LOVE?

Or why we it seems that we are uniquely able to LOVE and not other creatures?

For certain, we can never expect animals to exhibit compassion, kindness or mercy. These virtues can only be expected and seen in us, human beings.

Why is this so?

Uniquely created by God

According to some readings, our primary motivation as human beings to love is to expand the self and to increase our abilities and our effectiveness. And one of the ways we accomplish this is through our relationships with other people.

But this does not explain how we attain this potential and the ability to love.

Opposing to Darwin’s theory that human beings evolved from apes, I am more convinced that our unique existence is crafted by none other than GOD.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

Genesis 1:26-28

And I think there’s a good reason why his (Darwin’s) theory since 1838 has still remain as a theory till today.

Created in God’s image

Besides being Scriptural, this also seems like a more logical reason to why we, as human being have this innate desire to love and to be loved. Cos God is LOVE, and so that is precisely why we who are made in His image have that ability to reflect His love.

Secondly, Scripture explains that we are made above all other living creatures, which explains our superiority in intelligence and the ability to innovate; rising above the merely live-to-survive mode and being able to contribute to the betterment of life on earth.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

Romans 1:20

Therefore, looking hard at human beings actually points us to the existence of a God and a special relationship that we share with Him.

So wouldn’t you agree that we, human beings are exceptionally unique with a divine heritage and calling?