My Doodling:

Today I passed my driving test! With His favour and grace of cos… And my wife is the person most delighted by this news. Why not since she now has a free chaffeur? Haha… But I’m also rejoicing becos today’s marks a decade since my H2O baptism. Jesus I love, and I’m never turning back.

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My Read of the Month:

Title: Think Big: Make It Happen in Business and Life
Author: Donald J. Trump and Bill Zanker
Published: 2007
Genre: Business/Leadership
Ratings: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Donald Trump is arguably one of the most recognised businessmen in the world. His extremely successful career as Chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization has made him a highly sought after speaker for many who are hungry to emulate his success.

In this book, Trump not only reveals some of his personal key principles and business philosophy, he also reveals his larger-than-life personality. And he is definitely kick ass!

Trump’s first advise to those who want to be financially successful is to find one’s passion. He explains that if you love what you do, you’re going to work harder, you’re going try harder, you’re going to be better at it, and you’re going to enjoy your life more.

He encourages his readers to find a mission or purpose that go beyond monetary rewards that they can be passionate about. If they find their passion in doing something useful for people, the money will follow.

Another one of his advises is to adopt the traits of all highly successful individuals- thinking big. Displaying a big-thinking attitude stems from self-belief in his/her ability and worth. According to Trump, that kind of attitude is more important than one’s IQ as how big a person thinks determines how big a success he/she will become.

Though I do appreciate Trump’s no-nonsense leadership style, but I do not admire some of his traits as a successful businessman. However, he is incredibly open about them. He shares much of his ‘juicy’ personal life and experiences  in this book.

For instance, Trump readily admits that it is mostly his fault that led to his two failed marriages. He is now married to his third wife. On his ex-wives, he said, “I just know it’s very hard for them (Ivana and Marla) to compete because I do love what I do. I really love it.”

Like him or not, you got to give him credit for where he is today for his persistence in achieving his dreams. Through this book, I now have a newfound respect for this man.

Who should read it: For those who want to learn how to get rich in the business world.

Marriage versus Ministry in numbers

Below are some alarming statistics extracted from PastorBurnout.com. It clearly shows that when marriage competes with ministry, there can only be one outcome – everyone loses.

13% of active pastors are divorced.

25% of pastors’ wives see their husband’s work schedule as a source of conflict.

33% say that being in ministry is an outright hazard to their family.

40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.

45% of pastors’ wives say the greatest danger to them and their family is physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual burnout.

52% of pastors say they and their spouses believe that being in pastoral ministry is hazardous to their family’s well-being and health.

80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.

80% believe that pastoral ministry affects their families negatively.

Strong Marriages for Strong Families

No one can deny and undermine the significant role of marriages in building a strong society.

Strong marriages provide children with a safe and secure environment where they can find support and develop uprightly. And studies have shown that children from broken homes or dysfunctional families are more likely to become young offenders.

When families breakdown, society pays a heavy price. This is clear to see with the recent occurence of gang-related fights that erupted in Downtown East and Bukit Panjang.

However, the opposite end is also true- strong families lead to a strong society.

Marriage versus ministry

Sadly, I think the health and longevity of marriages in the Christian community have often been overlooked among churches in general, with ‘ministry’ often taking more priority.

This narrow-minded and erroneous thinking is stemmed in a belief that God and His ministry (which often refers to church-related work) are closely intertwined and their priority should never be compromised.

Hence, it is not uncommon for couples to feel as if marriage is in conflict with ministry. The attitude seems to be: “Marriage is important, but my ministry is for God, and He deserves 100 percent.”

Perhaps the bluntness of the above statement is something that we would never say in a blatant manner.

Normally, this type of thinking creeps in subtly, especially among church leaders and members that are considered committed to a church’s vision and mission.

Because of ‘ministry’, very often our marriages are left at the back burner. And our spouse and children are the unfortunate casualties due to our negligence.

Marriage is ministry

Early this year, a Barna survey revealed that Christians suffered the highest rates of divorce when compared with other groups of religion. That is both alarming and disturbing.

“Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.

He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)”

1 Timothy 3:1-7 (NIV)

In the light of scripture and understanding God’s heart, I’m against that old thinking and order of priority. If not, how different are we from non-Christians who pursue careers at the expense of their marriages?

As the above scripture suggests, the biblical order of priority ought to be our relationship with God first, followed by our marriage and then ministry (which can refer to our church or secular work).

Personally, I believe that marriage is a ministry like no other; a God-given platform to impact lives within our families and the best opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for generations.

When our marriages are thriving, we can truly be “salt and light” in our society by building a strong social foundation through our families to make a lasting change with the next generation.

A Great Revival is Approaching

Last Sunday, I caught up with one of my long-time-no-see friends, Alex.

We had not met since 2005 and he was released from prison only two weeks ago. That day also happened to be the first time we went to a church service together.

Over lunch, he relayed his story to me in how he invited Christ into his life and his desire to live his life right from now on. I could see the determination in his eyes.

In the past, we were brothers in a gang. Now we are brothers in Christ!

It is always heartening to witness how Christ turns someone’s life around; like an inner light that suddenly switches on and now that person is able to see clearly a better path to chart.

Since 2000, I’ve observed that many of my friends from the gang such as Alex, Thomas and Kiat have gotten saved in Christ. Many of whom I’d never expected to be converted, actually became Christians.

Much of this is due to the sacrifices and unconditional love of ministry workers who have faithfully brought the gospel of God’s saving grace into prisons over the last couple of years.

I strongly believe these are mere glimpses toward a great revival that is approaching our city and Asia as more Christ-followers unite and take their rightful positions in His kingdom.

Our Earth, our resposibility

When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.

You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:

all flocks and herds,
and the animals of the wild,

the birds in the sky,
and the fish in the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalm 8:3-9 (NIV)

Did you know?

20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of the planet’s resources. GEO4, UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) 2007.

The world spends 12 times more on weapons than on aid to developing countries. OECD, 2008 (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

5,000 people die everyday because of polluted drinking water. 1 billion humans have no access to safe drinking water! UNDP, 2006 (United Nations Development Programme).

1 billion people are going hungry. FAO, 2008 (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

75% of fisheries products are exhausted, depleted or are in danger of being so. UN (United Nations).

The average temperature of the last 15 years has been the highest since records began. NASA GISS data.

The ice cap has lost 40% of its thickness in 40 years. NSIDC, 2004.

There could be 200 million climate refugees by 2050. The Stern Review: The economics of climate change part II, chapter 3, page 77.

Over 50% of grain traded around the world is used for animal feed or biofuels. Worldwatch Institutue, 2007.

40% of arable land is degraded. UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme).

Every year, 13 million hectares of forest disappear. FAO, 2005.

1 mammal in 4, 1 bird in 8, 1 amphibian in 3 are threatened with extinction. Species are dying out 1,000 times faster than the natural state. IUCN, 2008 (International Union for Conservation of Nature).