My Read of the Month:

Title: , Outliers: The Story of Success
Author: Malcom Gladwell
Published: 2008
Genre: Social Psychology/Business
Ratings: 4.0 out of 5 stars

After reading Malcom’s earlier book- The Tipping Point, I thought I would grabbed my hands on this latest title. And I’m not disappointed that I did.

In Outliers, Malcom reveals secret patterns behind everyday phenomena of success. Using several case studies, Malcom goes against conventional thinking that ambition, talent and IQ are the only contributing factors to success.

These outliers (meaning something or someone who is markedly different in value from the others in sample) are outliers more because of a convergence of events entirely out of their control that have created extraordinary opportunities. And had it not been for those opportunities, they may never have become outliers.

Living in a meritocracy society, it is obvious that those who do better would be given more attention to cultivate the talent. So he investigates the possibility that success that could be a result of a random advantage. Like the month we were born in comparison to our peers?

For example, in school, a few months of maturity will likely translate to quicker comprehension, better behavior, and more likely to stand out as “brighter” than the rest, when really they’re merely older.  But the proof is in the numbers, and Gladwell presents plenty of them.

Apart from the age factor, Malcom goes on explain the factor of 10,000 hours. This means getting the chances to practice a skill for at least 10,000 hours which for instance, path the way for the Beatles and Bill Gates towards success during their time. He also includes the idea that cultural legacy as an integral part of the success formula.

In essence, Malcom concludes that outliers are products of history and community, of opportunity and legacy. Their success is not exceptional or mysterious and are grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances. All these are critical to making them who they are.

Reading this has inspired me to think beyond my lifetime and to be determined in living a solid legacy for my children and the next generation.

This is a highly entertaining and enlightening book. Go read it. You won’t regret getting your hands on this one.

Who should read it: For anyone and everyone.

Meet my friend, Thomas Chua

Meet Thomas Chua or also known as Chee Siong.

He’s a friend of mine whom I had got acquainted through the Handicap Welfare Association (HWA) some six years ago.

If you do not know him, it’s time you did.

His freak fall

Growing up, Thomas led a normal life just like any of us. However, things took a drastic turn when he was 18 years old.

In a freak incident, he somehow fell out of a window from the second floor of his friend’s place while drunk. He was alone in the room then.

That fall has since left him paralysed from his neck down and totally incapable of taking care of his basic daily needs. He relies fully on his personal caregiver for anything and everything.

His life after the fall

Now after the fall, Thomas has a mission. That mission is to achieve financial independence.

His mission is both important and commendable as his ageing parents will need to retire and his younger siblings will eventually need to have their own families.

And I intend to help him to succeed in his mission. He needs the help in order that he can help himself.

How will this be done? Can you play a part?

Stay tuned to find out.

My Doodling:

Chanced upon this pastor’s blog who hails from the US. Quite impressed by his forward-thinking entries… I’ve picked some of his interesting entries that are related to my previous post of the Church in the 21st century. Click here, here and here!

Churches Need to Grow Larger and Smaller: Warren

I’m certain that the Church of the 21st century will be adopting a different model from what is commonly practiced among churches today that operate like silos. Rick Warren’s concept of ‘decentralizing’ looks to be that relevant or suitable model for the future where Christians can be more mobile and empowered in permeating our society as His salt and light.

While many people believe megachurches are a modern phenomenon, Warren wants to emphasize that it’s a 2,000-year-old idea.

Moreover, multi-site churches – which have begun to explode in recent years – are nothing new either.

Where did the more than 100,000 people attending the first church in Jerusalem meet? Warren posed to pastors at the “Radicalis” conference.

They met in temple courts (plural emphasized) and from house to house, he said, citing the New Testament book of Acts.

“They met in different courts,” Warren underlined. “Notice: one church, multiple locations. One church, multiple venues.”

“That’s a biblical concept,” he stressed.

Saddleback Community Church in southern California currently has 12 “temple courts,” eight of which are on the Lake Forest campus and four of which are in other cities.

Rather than build one large temple court, or a stadium to fit the some 22,000 weekly attendees, Warren chose to have a campus with multiple smaller buildings and several separate campuses, in keeping with the standard set by the first church.

Plus, it’s better stewardship, he said.

“I’m not interested in building a stadium. A building that’s that big is used once a week and sits empty [the rest of the week],” he said.

“You need to understand this, pastor: nobody really likes big churches. The only people who like big churches are pastors because we like to preach to a large crowd. People don’t go to church because of size. They put up with size in order to get the benefits.”

Read the rest of the article here>>>

My learning points from Pastor Rony Tan’s incident

No one had expected that the recent incident of the insensitive comments by Senior Pastor Rony Tan from Lighthouse Evangelism Church would have resulted in such a severe public backlash.

That said, I do believe Pastor Tan never did intend to be demeaning or insulting towards the beliefs of Buddhism or Taoism.

Nonetheless, lessons can be drawn from this incident. And below are some of my personal learning points:

1. The influence of new media

Pastor Tan subjected himself to the online community when the videos with his inappropriate remarks were uploaded on the church’s website.

Unknown to many, he was hauled by the Internal Security Department (ISD) after it had first appeared on Hardware Zone’s online forum which eventually escalated to the authorities.

This incident is a fine example how the new media has become a powerful tool that can either work for you or against you. And it is imperative that we as Christians learn how to use it effectively and strategically with the purpose to engage as salt and light.

2. Be a responsible communicator

I believe being responsible is a better description than being careful when in comes to communication. We not only need to be mindful with what we communicate, but how we communicate. And this is especially so when there is a wide audience who are listening, watching or reading what we’re communicating.

Whether it is on the pulpit, through the media, in a group or with your spouse and even through social media sites like Facebook or blogs, we need to consider the impact of what we want to communicate. And more importantly, as best as we know how, reflect Christ in us with our communication whether in words or in deeds. (c.f. Colossians 4:6, 1 Peter 3:15-16).

3. Let the Church be known for what She stands for

This is another unfortunate incident that has not helped to mitigate the negative perceptions that people have towards God, the Church or Christians in general. You may read this as a reference to some of the general perceptions.

It is time that the Church of Jesus Christ gets to be known for what She stands for rather than for what She is against. And what the Church stands for is LOVE. We need to be known for loving people radically just as how Christ did so and does so.

Till now I can recall how I was won over and reconciled to God, and it was not theology that persuaded me. It was LOVE.

I was drawn to God by Christ’s unconditional love in spite of my sins. He literally love me out of sin and darkness, and I believe that this is how the Church ought to demonstrate His word and be known for, in order to truly advance His Kingdom.

Most Christians Stuck in Church: Kong Hee

Would you agree that most of us Christians around the world are not making any impact in the world because we have restricted their ministry to the confines of the church? Take a read of the following article and feel free to share your comments.

Jesus “moved very freely among the worldly and ostensibly sinful people in society… out of obedience to His Father because those people needed God,” the Singapore pastor-businessman said.

Responding to Christians’ fears that associating with the world might contaminate their faith, The Rev Kong said, “This is precisely why God empowers us with the Holy Spirit, so that ‘He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.’”

He said that Christ taught Christian to seek God’s spiritual ‘insulation’ for the purpose of societal ‘penetration’.

Besides, “One cannot lead or change what one is afraid of,” the pastor said.

“If a believer is afraid of the world, how is he/she going to influence it, let alone change it?”

According to the pastor, the church is the ‘training place’ for life in the outside world.

“Coming to church should prepare and equip the believer to live a vibrant, dynamic and magnetic life” outside the church, he said. “Every day, we are supposed to be the voice of Jesus, the hands and feet of Jesus, in the world outside the four walls of the Church.”

“The problem is that once we become believers, the Church has a tendency to consume all our time so that we have very little left for” the world outside, the pastor said.

Read the full article here>>>