My Read of the Month:

Title: The Fourth Dimension, Vol. 2
Author: Dr. David Yonggi Cho
Published: 1983
Genre: Spiritual Development/Leadership
Ratings: 4.3 out of 5 stars

In this book, Dr. Cho who pastors the largest church in the world- Yoido Full Gospel Church shares his personal insights and experiences that he had amassed from his successful faith life.

This second volume presents more bible lessons in comparision to the first volume where it mostly introduced his concept of the Fourth Dimension.

The keys to success according to Dr. Cho is growing in the level of intimacy with the Holy Spirit. From the Holy Spirit, visions and dreams from God give birth in our lives that make up the blueprints to our destinies in God.

He also provides an interesting study on the importance of words and their influence over the kind of life we will have. According to  Dr. Cho, there is power and substance in the choice of words we choose to confess daily. For instance, if we confess we are poor, we will create a poor self-image by our confession. Hence, we will always remain poor.

In spite of it being a 1983 publication, this is still a very helpful read to establish the building blocks towards a power and successful spirit-filled life.

Who should read it: Those who desires to lead a successful faith-driven life

Growing Irreligiously

It’s been almost three months since my move of church.

I must admit that there had been ‘wobbling’ experiences as I detached myself from the ‘comfortable environment’ and ‘safety structures’ of my previous home church.

Spreading out

But like how it is necessary for a butterfly to break out from its cocoon state in strengthening its wings for flight, that is how I would describe this phase.

God-incidentally, that was the prophetic vision He gave to me amid my decison-making.

I know He is preparing me for the challenges that lies ahead. And I need to be close to Him; plugged in with Him to flow with His plans.

In a relationship, not religion

Launching out from where I was has taken my faith in God to another level of trust and reliance in Him towards His will for me.

This transitional phase has somewhat strengthened my relationship with God. I am more secured in who I am as His child based on my relationship with Him and not only because of my involvement in ‘spiritual’ or church-related activities.

“We live by faith, not by sight.”

2 Corinthians 5:7

This new ground with its uncertainties that He has led me has activated my faith even more where I can further exercise my faith in leaning on His principles, not methods; led by His Spirit, not routines.

The Amazing Love of God (上帝)

During last weekend’s Chinese New Year church service, we were introduced to the origins of ancient Chinese characters.

Interestingly, Chinese characters have been around for more than 4,500 years and are made up of picture symbols called radicals.

When examined, the different combinations of the radicals point to biblical truths, and suggest the ancient Chinese ‘Shang Di’ (上帝), who was referred to as the Ruler above all, was the same God (Yahweh) worshipped by the people of Israel.

Find out more on Chinese characters- God’s language here>>>

上帝’s love has no boundaries

With Christianity commonly regarded as a western religion in Asia, tracing back this roots of Chinese actually debunks this notion. And I believe this notion is particularly adopted by our elders or baby boomers.

Personally, I am really bowled over by the amazing love of 上帝. I was reminded about His common grace for mankind and was moved for His pursuing love for me.

No one loves me like He does. Even when I did not acknowledge Him as my God during my pre-believing days, He never stopped loving me.

Just like how He left His imprints of His unwavering love through the timeless Chinese characters to reach out to us, He also did the same to me with the various events that had happened in my life.

I love you 上帝.

Some Change from Budget 2009

Now for some political updates on our own shores with yesterday’s Singapore Budget 2009.

Against an unprecedented economic uncertainty, many businesses and households were anticipating for some  change (pun intended) from our government.

Unfortunately for many, the Budget merely dished out loose change. You can read  some feedback and learn about the Budget’s key initiatives.

Though I found the Job Credit Scheme a creative incentive for employers in order to retain employment, but the rest were expected measures that were necessary for any downturn.

Some of these measures included corporate tax cuts (from 18 per cent to 17 per cent?!) and 15 per cent rental rebates for JTC/HDB/SLA tenants. However, we know that this is not any ordinary downturn that we are experiencing today.

Hence, it is natural that more help is expected from businesses to cope with the financial crunch especially since their survival will benefit our economy and livelihood of Singaporeans with gainful employment.

MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC, Inderjit Singh was reported saying: “We did not do enough in the area of cost reduction and this is a very urgent issue. Freezing government charges alone was not sufficient. We could have reduced and also looked at other initiatives to help companies reduce their costs.”

Nonetheless, this year’s Budget seemed to have more heart for Singaporeans such as the lower income group and disadvantaged. But how these measures will translate to direct help remains to be seen.

Read a related news report from Wall Street Journal here>>>

Change is Coming

Obama is now in the house. A new era is approaching us with the change that is happening in the US.

I for one believe that this change is not confined to the political arena, but spiritual realm as well. God is moving behind the scenes as He always has.

We as the Church need to brace ourselves for that change (signs of it has been appearing) that will inevitably spill over unto the world including Singapore.

For glimpses of the change ahead, read Obama’s inaugural address here>>>

The Church: Renewed and Relevant

I chanced upon an interesting entry written to describe the present state of the Church in this 21st century. If you love His Church, I believe you will find this a thought-provoking and soul-searching read:

Among the ranks of the frustrated are members of Christ’s fold seeking a deeper walk of faith. Other Christ-followers have doubt, unanswered questions and, quite frankly, do not feel fed by the current vision under which the Church is operating.

One of the most significant challenges to today’s Church is to find ways to address the legitimate needs of these congregants.

Church leaders can no longer afford to turn a deaf ear to the issues raised by Christians who are less than satisfied with the status quo.

Given the context of the post-modern culture in which the Church now exists, to minimize the spiritual needs of these well-intended seekers is to invite death.

The great paradox here is the fact that the world today needs the Church more than ever. However, it needs a vital, vibrant and service-oriented church that is committed to carrying out Christ’s work in this post-modern age.

As Christ-followers, we are called to continue incarnating his life in the world. That is the fundamental duty of the Church and I look around and see that, although well meaning, we are not doing a very good job of it.

Many churches and many Christians are anything but “living epistles” or a “pleasant aroma.”

Read the full entry here>>>

The Church- A Salt Shaker

So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple.

Salt is good [an excellent thing], but if salt has lost its strength and has become saltless (insipid, flat), how shall its saltness be restored?

It is fit neither for the land nor for the manure heap; men throw it away. He who has ears to hear, let him listen and consider and comprehend by hearing!

Luke 14:33-35 (Amplified Bible)

The Divide Between the Church and the Marketplace

In my humble opinion, I think many churches in this present age function with a dualism that divides life and ministry into sacred and secular compartments.

Because of this, many of us followers of Christ unknowingly or knowingly grow up adopting a “only work in church and church-related ministries are spiritual” attitude.

This also forms a perception that   church-related ministries  or activities are of greater interest or importance to God when compared to secular activities.

The great divide

If we seriously take a quick glance across churches, we will find that majority are spending most of their time and money in equipping members to do church ministries.

Not that there’s anything wrong in doing so, but I think we have sincerely overlooked the fact that most of us followers of Christ are actually spending most of our time outside the church.

But the real pressing need is for us believers to be equipped for the marketplace.

Jesus in the marketplace

Re-visiting and studying  the life of Jesus Christ and His ministry while He was on earth should help us understand the essence of Christianity.

When we follow Jesus, we have a higher chance of  living out the faith out and walking in His will as originally designed for our relationship with God.

Statistics show that out of 132 public appearances made by Jesus, 122 of them were in the marketplace. Out of the 52 parables He had told, 45 had a marketplace context. Out of the 33-plus years He lived, most of His adult life was a carpenter.

He demonstrated for us a living faith that bridged the so-called spiritual and secular seamlessly.

Christians in the marketplace

I think it is clear that it is not enough to equip the clergy for the church. We need to equip all of God’s people for all of life. We need to equip Christians for the marketplace.

In this context, marketplace refers to anywhere outside the four walls of the church. And that’s the place where our faith needs to be lived out as everyday, that’s where we need to cope with the opportunies and temptations in our workplace and in our home.

Hence, if we are spending most of our time living only in the so-called spiritual world, what earthly use will we have to His cause?

Our work in the office or at home is as much God’s work as evangelism and praying for the sick.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 10:31

If we desire to see the universal Church fully embracing and living out God’s original mandate for humankind to manage His creation, then churches need to teach, model, pray and provide relational support towards a balanced theology towards of life and work.