My Read of the Month:

Title: Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something: The Incredible Power of Intercessory Prayer
Author:Ronald Dunn
Published: 1992
Genre: Discipleship/Spiritual Development
Ratings: 4.3 out of 5 stars

I must confess that I don’t have a wide collection of books on prayer. Nor do I read a lot of books on prayer.

But this has to be the best book on prayer I have gotten my hands on in spite of it being published more than 20 years ago. This shows the timeless-ness of prayer.

The author does a great job in sharing comprehensively on this subject without boring the reader with an overload of theology.  He shares many relevant anecodotes and personal experiences that helps readers understand about prayer.

The book is systematically broken down in 20 chapters with four parts: (1) God’s great idea, (2) The secret kingdom’s secret weapon, (3) The life that prays and (4) The God who hears.

Definitely a must-read for all Christians. You will be motivated and inspired to pray down a storm in your life and community!

Who should read it: Christ-followers who desire to be an effective prayer or to have an intimate prayer life with God.

Fighting Apathy in the Church

Two years ago, I wrote an article sharing my observation and opinion on Singaporeans’ general apathetic attitude towards politics.

My concern was how this general passivity and overly ‘trusting’ of our goverment leaders would pose as a threat that was awaiting to implode.

Today, it appears that the Church also suffers the same predicament.

Apathy in the church

“I believe they (pastoral leadership) know what they are doing”

“Things are not that bad and it won’t happen here”

These are common cursory responses that we too often hear from members within the ranks of a church in regards to their church’s leadership and governance.

I think we are in such a position because we believe or safely assume that the leadership in the church are people of high moral standards or even perfectly godly.

Perhaps some of us might be resigned to the fact that we cannot change anything as one person out of many. Thus, we accept the status quo since it is “not that bad” and stay out of engaging our leadership.

But who is to say that this happy situation will always be the case- when we know that these are also imperfect men like you and I that are operating in leadership?

Jesus was not apathetic

I believe God expects us as His followers to be actively involved and to take ownership of His Church since we are His sons and daughters.

We read in the gospel how this sense of ownership is displayed in Jesus when the holy temple became a ‘den of robbers’.  In Luke 19:45-47, it said that He drove those wrong practises out!

Though it was the main responsibility of the teachers of the law to uphold the holiness and governance in the temple, Jesus didn’t wait for them to do so as He saw the temple as His Father’s House.

Therefore, whether out of apathy, ignorance, indifference, resignation or complacency, I do not think Jesus wants us to blindly follow or to just “sit on the picket fence” and be apathetic.

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

1 Peter 4:17

On the contrary, we should be deeply involved in not only supporting the leadership, but also actively engaging them when policies or decisions are made especially in terms of finances for the accountability of His Church.

In whatever positions of authority we may have in our church- no matter how little we think our authority is, we can contribute to the betterment of the church by highlighting possible errors or wrongs in policies or processes.

Dear A.I.G., I Quit!

The following are extracts from a letter sent on Tuesday by Jake DeSantis, an executive vice president of the American International Group’s financial products unit, to Edward M. Liddy, the chief executive of A.I.G.

DEAR Mr. Liddy,

It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. 

I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so.

Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid.

Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.

I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.

But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us.

I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.

Read the full letter here>>>

Leading with Heart & Skills

From tending the ewes that had their young He brought him to be the shepherd of Jacob His people, of Israel His inheritance.

So [David] was their shepherd with an upright heart; he guided them by the discernment and skillfulness [which controlled] his hands.

Psalm 78:71-72 (Amplified Bible)

Five Myths on Leadership

A myth is something that is false, but believed to be true. As in many things in life, there are several myths surrounding the concept and practice of leadership.

Unfortunately, these myths prevent qualified people from rising to the top. By listing these leadership myths, it is my hope to dispel many of the false beliefs.

Myth 1 – Leadership is a rare ability only given to a few

Many people still think leaders are born not made. This can’t be further from the truth. Most people have the potential to become good leaders. Leadership is not like a diet pill.

Like most learned skills, it takes time, training, and lots of trial by error. The key ingredient making people good leaders is the ability to care about others. The second ingredient is a sense of purpose, vision or mission.

A good leader charts a course and provides direction to those they lead.

Myth 2 – Leaders are charismatic

Many leaders are charismatic, but closer scrutiny shows that most leaders are not. Some of the world’s most famous leaders had warts–some sort of shortcoming or personality issue.

In a leadership role, people skills are very important–more important than technical skills. However, the best leaders are those who work toward a goal. Your cause, your purpose and your mission in life will make you charismatic, not the other way around.

Myth 3 – The person with the title, most rank or the highest position is the leader

True leadership is not based on position or rank. It is based on action, performance, ability, and effectiveness. We all relate to working for those people who were placed in leadership roles who did more to demoralize and destroy the business than anything else.

People naturally gravitate to those they want to follow, respect, and work with. There are no limiting job descriptions, job titles, and few rules and regulations. If a person comes up with a new idea, he or she puts a team together of people who have the desire and knowledge to make it work

Myth 4 – Effective leadership is based on control, coercion, and manipulation

Leadership is about the future, not the past. Joel Barker’s has the best quote about leadership, “A leader is someone you would follow to a place you would not go to by yourself.”

Good leaders gain followers out of respect and their ability to cause people to work toward a particular goal or achieve a destination. People follow because they can relate to the vision or goal personalized by the leader.

A good leader helps people become better than they are. A good leader creates a work environment that attracts, keeps and motivates its workforce.

Myth 5 – Good leaders have more education than other people

Educational degrees may mean you have a good education, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good leader. When it comes to leadership, experience is the best teacher.

The U.S. military has the best leadership development program in the world. In the military, you start out at the bottom. You are placed in leadership positions and closely evaluated.

As your experience broadens, so does your responsibility. This practical experience is reinforced with weeks and months of formal training throughout the individual’s career.

Leadership is Not a Position

Leadership is not a position.

People follow people, not positions. They respect people whom they trust.

They tag along with people in whom they believe in. They follow people who have demonstrated they deserve to be followed.

Using Jesus as a prime example, the magnitude of people followed Him even though He was a Nazarene and a carpenter by trade.

“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law”

Matthew 7:28-29

Jesus wasn’t even in a position of leadership. He was not even part of the Jewish hierarchy of the teachers of the law, but yet this Man commanded the respect and the following of people.

Leaders puts others first

Being committed to His Body over the years, I have also learnt much about leadership. This time, I understoodd that the true essence of leadership is about “washing other people’s feet” or to serve others.

This lifestyle of service though easy to talk about, is not an easy way of life to live. This is so because it demands a total surrender of one’s rights by putting the interest of others first.

Having said that, to lead and to serve others should not be carried out because of a title like pastor, shepherd, cell leader, deacon or bishop. It should be birthed out of an identity as a child and servant of God.

Leaders walk the talk

Leadership is not a position. A leader is a leader not because of a title. Leadership is something that is earn from people on a day to day basis.

Examples of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi reflected this. They led with the “walk the talk” formula. Hence, they did not need position or title to lead.

It is what is inside a man that truly makes him a leader- His character or moral excellence, competence and intelligence.

No one will ever acknowledge a person as a “leader” till they have earn it.

Violation of the First Degree

I caught an episode of Crime Watch on television a couple of weeks ago.

One of the cases re-enacted was about a young 10-year old girl.

Her unexpected usual ride on an elevator was about to change her life forever.

About the case

On that particular ride, she met with an unfortunate incident. A stranger who took the same elevator outraged her modesty.

In that short 5-minute horrid act, her entire life was now never to be the same again. You can say it was a defining moment for her.

I believe that girl is merely one out of the numerous similar cases that happens almost everywhere.

Violation of trust

In my opinion, the most scarred of victims are those who are violated by someone close to them like a father, uncle or teacher.

Apart from being physically violated, they are tormented emotionally by the sense of betrayal.

Most victims of this nature suffer in silence. They are trapped in a dilemma because the person in question is in a role of authority over the victim.

Obviously, the related offenders have clearly abused his authority over the victims. They have abused their roles by harming the victims instead of protecting them.

Likewise, it is equally disheartening when we witness or experience when the government, employers, business partners, spouses or even church leaders abuse their positions of authority for their selfish gains.

Victims of such violation of trust, in general will carry the scars of these betrayal for the rest of their lives and would not so readily trust again.

The fortunate ones heal over time, but  some less fortunate never recover fully and live dysfunctional lives.

Being Bold in our Prayers

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him”

Matthew 7: 7-11 (New Living Translation)