Following The Road Less Travelled

Leadership in most times requires one to take the road less travelled.

And this is even more so with godly leadership, as standing on God’s truth usually demands us to stick out like a sore thumb among the crowd.

Just look in the Bible and we can read the scores of stories about the prophets that chose to obey God and spoke against the Israelites wayward practises towards God.

Their obedience in many cases led them to being persecuted and excommunicated from their people.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7:13-14

Even the apostles during the early Church chose to proclaim the Good News despite of orders by the high priests and authorities to stop or face punishment. And end of the of their ministry, we see that all but one of the apostles were marytered.

Godly leadership is usually counter-cultural in our world, but sadly, at times this may also includes within the Christian culture.

The Greatest Revolution

Martin Luther. From 1483 to 1546

In Germany in the 1500s, Martin Luther created the greatest revolution of all time when he set about reforming the church in embracing salvation as a gift by faith, not something to be earned.

The church reacted immediately to his challenge of the pope’s authority. It branded Luther a heretic and attempted to assassinate him but he went into hiding.

While in his seclusion. Luther accomplished his most important work: he translated the Bible into German, the language of his people. Before this, the Bible had been in Latin which only the elites could read. By availing the Bible to the people, this would later change Germany and others.

Luther didn’t intend to leave the church, Like others before him, he wanted to bring it back to its foundational beliefs, to bring reformation.

Voice for Equality

Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. From 1926 to 1968

Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. From 1926 to 1968

In America where discrimination against the blacks was rampant, Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. entered the civil rights movement in 1955. By that time, he was a Baptist minister, a husband and a father and he did all to make people realise that “all men are created equal”.

King became the most important voice of the American civil rights movement, which worked toward political and social equality for all races. He was famous for using non-violent resistance to overcome injustice, and he never got tired of trying to end segregation laws.

From the time he assumed leadership to his assasination 13 years later, he faced hundreds of death threats. His home in Montgomery was even bombed, with his wife and young children inside.

But the defining moment of King’s life came after a threatening telephone call at midnight alarmed him: “Nigger, we are tired of you and your mess now. And if you aren’t out of this town in three days, we’re going to blow your brains out and blow up your house.”

Shaken, King went to the kitchen to pray. “I could hear an inner voice saying to me, ‘Martin Luther, stand up for righteousness. Stand up for justice. Stand up for truth. And lo I will be with you, even until the end of the world.'”

Today the entire world especially America owe it to King for liberating them from the burden of centuries-old hypocrisy about race. It is only because of King and the movement that America can claim to be the leader of the “free world” without inviting smirks of disdain and disbelief.

Being Godly Followers

Generally speaking, we people are more natural followers than leaders.

From the beginning when we enter into this world, we learn to follow our parents. Gradually as we grow up, we enter into school where we learn to follow.

For the men in Singapore, we enter into national service where we are trained to follow. Eventually, we enter into the workforce and again we follow our bosses.

Taking it further, we are consciously or unconsciously subjected to the dictatorship of our government. And you guess it right… We follow again.

Why be a follower

Being a follower is not necessary a bad thing. In fact, being a good follower is important for any system or organisation to function and progress.

In the Bible, scriptures teach us to submit to authorities placed above us as purposed by God. And in the Body of Christ, we are encouraged to obey our leaders and submit to their authority so that their work would be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage for us (c.f. Hebrews 13:17).

Hence, we can conclude that to submit and to follow is not just about loving and respecting your “neighbour”, but it also concerns the advancement of God’s work and purpose through the Body or any system and organisation.

Biblically, unity and cohesiveness leads to godly and optimised performance- His results.

Therefore, understanding and embracing our respective roles and purpose will help us to follow and contribute to the common vision or goal of the Body.

Don’t be a blind follower

Paradoxically, we as Christians are called and destined to be leaders. As we follow God and His word, leadership becomes a responsibility to undertake as we grow in our service to God and people.

But as followers of Christ, we lead by example with a Christ-like life and setting the standard for morality, character, attitude, competence in our field of work and excellence in how we live out God’s will.

However, knowingly or unknowingly, we have become natural “followers” with our “herd” mentality shaped by our environment and not the word of God. This is the go-with-the flow mindset or the go-with-the-majority approach.

Below are some of the wrong reasons of following:

  1. To gain acceptance by fitting in and by not being seen as out of place or deem different
  2. To feel secure with the sense of belonging developed by “going with the flow” or maintaining the status quo
  3. To win love by pursuing the approval and meeting expectations of others
  4. Just plain laziness, ignorance or out of fear in order to avoid hassle, trouble or conflict

Following God first

Personally, following for the wrong reasons is not only unhealthy, but unbiblical. God commands us to love Him with all our hearts, our soul and our MINDS- to know why we do what we do. It may seem safe or the easy-way-out by just following, but eventually it will lead to disastrous consequences.

For certain, this will not produce true leaders in the Kingdom of God. And we can also observe this problem in the corporate world with our government encouraging entrepenuership among Singaporeans.

Therefore, if not careful, we may find ourselves following for all the wrong reasons with God not even in the picture in our obedience. And this is what we usually term as “blind obedience”.

Ultimately, you and I need to know and to be fully aware that we need to follow God first. And that is by obeying His word and walking in His ways first before anything or anyone else.

“We love because he first loved us” ~ 1 John 4:19

Our obedience has to spring from our love-relationship we share with God. And of cos, our following plans and actions has to be undergirded with His love.

Being All That I Can Be For Him

Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever.

I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view.

I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!

1 Corinthians 9:19-24 (The Message)

Just some “tagged” questions…

1. What’s your ideal partner like?

Someone who’s not only God-fearing, but loves people with a lifestyle of service. She must also be a lady that is respectful to others. And towards me, she has to be exceptionally supportive and patient since I am work-in-progress. Ha ha…

2. If your partner betrayed you, what will your reaction be?

Devastated. I think I will certainly hide in my “cave” for 1-2 weeks before I can come out and feel normal again to talk to her.

3. What will your dream wedding be like?

In a garden or anywhere outdoors with beautiful flowers and greenery as our backdrop for a touch of simplicity and nature.

4. Which is more blessed, loving someone or being loved by someone?

To be truly blessed, we need to love and be loved. Having one lesser than the other is not exactly blessed.

5. Would you rather be single & rich or married but poor?

Why cannot be married and rich?! Ha ha… But if I only have these two choices then I would choose being married but poor. That’s because I believe life is about the relationships we build around us and not mainly about material possessions we accumulate.

6. If you can have a dream to come true, what would it be?

Being a travelling minister or a global “tent-maker” for the Lord.

7. How do you see yourself in ten years time?

In another country as a “tent-maker” with a business to fund my ministry.

8. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?

Status quo; mediocrity; ineffective leadership limited by lack of vision, wisdom and love.

My Read of the Month:

Title: Men are Clams, Women are Crowbars
Author:
David Clarke
Published: 1998
Genre: Christianity- Relationship/Marriage
Ratings: 4.2 out of 5 stars

I’ll give this book the “two thumbs up!” for its wonderful and useful insights!

Guys, you will most definitely find this book a life-saver as it will explain in detail the differences between how a man and a woman relates. These insights not only teaches how a guy ought to love a girl, but also vice versa.

This book entails with it many good case studies and stories to present the dynamics of communication between a man and a woman. For instance, the author shares “The Train” concept to help men and women to build better understanding of each other’s modus operandi. Using “The Train”, this enables couples to have deeper communications towards enhancing their relationship with one another.

This is not an academic read, but an enjoyable read for either gender. The only “fault” I can find in this book is that it could provide more scriptural references to his insights. This would help the reader to “beef up” a reader’s knowledge of the Bible too, in regards to relationship matters.

Who should read it: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for ALL couples. Especially a must-buy for the men!

TAG United: We Did It!

Me and my soccer buddies- Xavier and Kio

Hope Premier League table

We did it! The impossible happened with a team of “ah-laos” and soccer amateurs on 6 July 2008!

Our soccer team- TAG United managed an incredible win in our last match which got us through into the Top Four to steal a spot in the Hope Premier League play-offs!

Read the coverage of the game with more pictures here>>>

The Gospel of the Kingdom

Parable of the Growing Seed

Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.

The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”

Parable of the Mustard Seed

Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it?

It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”

Mark 4:26-31 (New Living Translation)

Extending the Influence of The Church

I am convinced that the Church should be the most powerful institution or organisation in this world.

Potentially, the Church has phenomenal power and influence at her disposal with as God the CEO.

However, I think today we see that the Church do not seem to command such a position which is rightfully ours.

Instead of the Church influencing the world, the contrary seems more apparent where the world has influenced the Church.

This is sad.

Reclaiming our position

In influencing our world, the Church needs to start by gaining a foothold in every one of these territories- government, education, business, media, arts & entertainment which is commonly known as the marketplace.

The marketplace is the very heart of the nation. And in order to win a nation towards discipling a nation, we need to engage our marketplace.

According to a survey done in the US, it reveals that up to 90% of believers felt that they weren’t trained for their calling in the workplace through their local church. I think it is safe to say that most churches in Singapore do face a similar predicament.

Generally, the Church is operating more like a cruise liner instead of a battleship. And there are a couple of reasons for our lack of influence according to Os Hillman. They are:

  • Not engaged in culture
  • Evangelism not carried out in mainstream key networks of influence
  • Lack of social and economic capital to influence
  • Flawed eschatology- “If its only going to get worse, why bother?”

The gospel of the kingdom

Another key reason of our lack of influence with our world is that we preach and live out a gospel of salvation.

A gospel of salvation is incomplete. What we need to preach and live out is the gospel of His Kingdom as salvation is just the first part, but not the end goal of a Christian. Living out the gospel of the kingdom will impact our will, intent and purpose, manifesting a culture and society reflecting Jesus’ nature, values and morals.

As a kingdom is the governing impact of a king’s will over a territory or domain, his influence over a people, and a government led by a king. Therefore, a Christian after being saved needs to continue to live under the sovereign rulership of Jesus in his/her life where he/she is- with friends, or with the family and in the marketplace.

This is where local churches comes in to disciple and equip its members to discovering and fulfill their calling; releasing each one into ministry towards fulfilling the Great Commission.

Consequently, this will produce an extended Church that reaches out and influences the world, and not a nuclear Church where God’s power and influence is confined within the walls of the Church.