True Riches in Christ

B.jpgGreat fellowship with the ENZER man, Boyd Au who walked the holy grail of an entrepreneur by successfully taking a start up to IPO. More importantly, God ambushed and saved Him in that journey!

Boyd never fails to inspire me with his servitude in spite of his accomplishments, and not to forget wealth; pursuing true heavenly riches above worldly riches!

You may read Boyd’s story here>>>

Philippians 3:7-8
“But whatever were gain
s to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ “

Being A Culturally-Savvy Christian

Here’s an extract of an article I wrote during this year’s Asia Conference.  I think it does some good in revealing the DNA of City Harvest Church and what it stands for; getting the Church into the heart of our world to bring radical (not religious) transformation from the inside out.

“For too long, churches have adopted wrong mindsets that have led us in disengaging our culture,” said Kong. “No doubt popular culture has risen but church culture has decreased.”

Citing the story of John Wimber (1934–1997) who was a famous producer in the music industry in the early 1960s before he became a pastor as an example, Kong revealed how The Beatles had at one time approached Wimber to become their producer.

However, due to the advice of the church that Wimber was attending as a young believer, he turned down the offer.

According to Kong, that church was against the association of the secular or popular culture. And he believed that things might have panned out differently if Wimber had accepted that offer, noting the  high possibility that the members of The Beatles might have converted to Christianity given Wimber’s evangelistic fervor. It might have been that Christianity lost a potentially powerful and influential force in The Beatles.

Kong illustrated how it was possible for the Church to engage culture effectively without compromising the faith through the biblical example of Daniel, who was a highly favored servant of the king of Babylon during Babylonian reign over Israel.

The preacher explained that Daniel was successful and experienced upward mobility because of his maturity in learning the Babylonian culture, language and fashion. He even adopted a Babylonian name and took on a job in Babylon. In his time, Daniel was contemporary yet consecrated. He was serious about culture yet serious about his faith.

He said, “The only way to become a successful Christian in the marketplace is to build your life on spiritual disciplines. Reading the Bible, prayer, fasting, praise and worship and thanksgiving, solitude, confession, repentance, forgiveness and going to church—these are the spiritual undergirding support of one’s upward mobility.”

Read the full article here>>>

Being a ‘Joseph’ at work

Since joining my current organisation, the biblical character of Joseph in the book of Genesis has been my daily inspiration.

His journey towards fulfilling his destiny is one that demands respect and rouses one to follow his example.

Key attributes of Joseph

In many aspects, I find Joseph a great exemplary of a marketplace leader that all of us can emulate in this 21st century.

He embodies the key attributes necessary in setting us up for success. These attributes are: (1) character, (2) competence and (3) charisma.


Even with the lack of supervision from Potiphar (his boss), Joseph displayed integrity by being faithful in his work.

He was also trustworthy with what he was entrusted with as he didn’t covet what wasn’t rightfully his (c.f. Genesis 39:7-8).


It should be the case that things in Potiphar’s household would usually turned out in disarray or went missing when the other slaves were entrusted.

But with Joseph in charge, everything was in order and prospering (c.f. Genesis 39:4-5).

Obviously, Joseph was a problem-solver and not a problem-creator.


Joseph’s charismatic flair was not about his personality or mannerism, but it was his ability in using his personal being to interface.

It seemed that he had an innate magnetism that caught the attention and favour of Potiphar. And that was the presence of God in his life (c.f. Genesis 39:2-3).

Ultimately, it was God who brought success to Joseph.

My Prayer in being a ‘Joseph’

I believe this recurring impression of emulating Joseph- his perseverance, credibility and success- is His word for the season for me in this organisation.

Taking my cue from Joseph, I want to carry and exude the presence of God in my life at work.

I pray that I may be favoured as a reliable and trustworthy manager and that everything which is entrusted to me will prosper for His glory.


Time for the Church to Love

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong presented his National Day Rally speech.

Strangely, the topic of race and religion dominated his speech.

However, in view of the inevitable force that is changing our social, political and economic landscape in our global world, I reckoned that his speech was somewhat a timely reminder and a wake-up call to us Christians.

That force is that of globalisation which is pushing people together even closer than before. And religion or its fundalmentalists and dogmatists are becoming an opposing and dangerous force that divides and threatens our society’s progress.

“Catalysts” for further globalisation

Back in early June, US President Obama visited Cairo, Eygpt and delivered a groundbreaking message to urge an end to suspicion and discord between America and the Muslim world.

He highlighted that “the relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars.”

In a gesture of reconciliation with the Islamic world, Obama further conceded that tension “has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.”

Even Tony Blair, the Bristish ex-Prime Minister had launched his new inter-faith foundation called the Tony Blair Faith Foundation this April.

What makes the foundation’s work distinctive is its emphasis on uniting people of different religious traditions in practical action – with the eradication of malaria a key priority at this moment.

The Church’s divine appointment

With this backdrop, I strongly believe that if there is a such divine appointment for the Church to represent Christ in His fullness, it is NOW.

For too long Christianity that was founded upon a legacy of love has been tainted with the worst sort of intolerance and prejudice.

Most troubling of all is witnessing how the teachings of Christ has been hijacked by believers who hate in the name of love.

“When people worship Him today – or even speak his name – the object of their devotion is unlikely to be who they think he is,” said Deepak Chopra in his book titled- The Third Jesus, “it seems clearly that He has served to divide peoples and nations. He has led to destructive wars in the name of religious fantasies.”

Even in his rally speech, PM Lee cited the AWARE saga as an attempted takeover “by a religiously motivated group who shared a strong religious fervour to enter civil space”.

I submit to you that if we Christians truly desire to spread the message towards fulfilling the Great Commission, then we cannot afford to be known or driven by a religious motivation.

As a people, we need to be more concerned about what is right than about being right. We need to be love motived, simply because God is love; being the message is more important than us merely spreading the message.

Christ in this 21st century not only needs to be accurately represented, but also re-presented.

Vision and Purpose in the Marketplace

Being in the marketplace, I’ve observed one prevailing breakdown among organisations that hinders true sustainable growth or success- the lack of vision and purpose.

Having a vision and purpose

In the marketplace, growth or success is generally defined in terms of power, position, recognition, material possessions and wealth.

However, if we truly put things in the right (godly) perspective, all these are merely short-term achievements or temporal.

Though I do not play down their pragmatic importance of survival in the marketplace, but there’s more to life than just surviving.

That’s why I believe a vision and purpose (ideally God-inspired) is of fundamental importance in differentiating an organisation from the rest.

More importantly, having a vision and purpose will expand an organisation’s definition of growth or success to significance; from making money to making difference.

Therefore, when rightly prioritised, these (power, recognition, material possessions and wealth) are, should be and will be the “by-products” of a compelling vision and purpose.

Transforming the marketplace

Albeit most organisations may have their “vision and purpose or mission statement” proudly emblazoned on walls or on their websites, but in reality they’re at most serving as decorative or cosmetic measures.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish…”

Proverbs 29:18

At present, there is a pressing need for leadership in organisations to have depth and foresight in their vision and purpose. Especially during this slowdown of the economy, this poses as good opportunity to reflect, re-visit or even re-align focus and priorities.

As leadership determines the rise or fall of an organisation, so leaders have to be clear about their vision and purpose as that would determine the business sustainability.

Leaders have to communicate it constantly and consistently. And not just communicating with nice superficial words, but also with action through their exemplenary leadership.

As an employee, besides earning an income, I believe people are looking for more meaning and purpose in their work. This is most natural and expected as we spend the most time of our days at work.

But unfortunately, the reality remains for bottom-line pressure for profitability taking precedence over meaning and purpose in the marketplace.

As a result, it also remains a challenge for us to either choose to conform to this pressure or to be strong and choose to transform the marketplace towards true sustainable growth that makes a difference.

Getting Ahead in a Downturn

For the past eight months, the global recession has driven Singapore’s export-dependent economy to its knees. Unemployment has reached one of the highest levels.

Everyday we hear of more retrenchments looming around the globe that has caused the general sentiments of Singaporeans to be cautious and pessimistic.

Nonetheless, if we understand history, this downturn of an economic cycle is something that we’re all susceptible to.

Seeing the downturn as our big break 

Our outlook towards a recession should not be one of denial or fear. It should be one where we aim to minimise the negative impact of the downturn.

In fact, with the correct mindset and attitude, we might even capitalise on the opportunities that are present in a downturn.

Personally, I view the downturn as a moment of reset where God hits the ‘RESET’ button of the economy. When that happens, almost everything drops to a new low and leveling the competitive field.

Think Lehman Brothers, General Motors, Citibank and AIG to name a few, and you get the picture. Now the smaller players with the right financial fundamentals and attitude can catch up on these big players, if not overtake them in the market.

Getting a break in getting ahead

For employees like you and I, the same rules apply. If we are to keep our positions or desire to see new opportunities opening up, then this is the time that we need to raise up our game.

During this pressing circumstances, it will not be unusual to find people around us who will be doing as little as they can at work or doing just enough to get by just to save their own skin.  They simply go to work to pick up a pay check.

Hence, I believe this downturn presents a great platform for those of us who have high aspirations or ambitions to stand out and get ahead.

Please do not misunderstand that I’m implying that we become solely competitive. I’m only encouraging us to simply be the best that we should be with our god-given potential and talents that we have.

In that way, with a positive attitude and the right skills set, we can become an invaluable individual and employee that is able to contribute proactively to our organisation towards the upturn of the economy.

Who knows, some of us might even find new avenues to start our own businesses. In fact, I already know one of my friends who has done just that after being retrenched.

Getting motivated in getting ahead

In reality,  I acknowledge that we cannot disregard the temptation for us to sink to the norm level of the mediocrity displayed ubiquitously around us is exceptionaly high too.

However, I believe we have the will and responsibility to choose where we want to be when the upturn begins. So I’m certain that most of us if not all, would like to choose to be a cut above the rest and excel in our field.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Colossians 3:23-24

We need to motivate ourselves by adopting an attitude and a biblical mindset that we are working for our God first and foremost. And when we do our best and excel at work, God gets the glory. 

Even if one is not a believer in God, we can still be motivated to strive in being a person of dignity and integrity which can only work to our benefit for our career and profession.

Be AWARE: Where is the Church?

The recent Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) debacle had created quite a furore on a national level.

In the end, the now defunct new guard led by then newly elected President, Ms Josie Lau was overthrown by the old guard with a resounding no vote of confidence against them by AWARE members.

Even as the dust has settled after that extraordinary general meeting (EGM), there are still plenty of opinions and views of this AWARE saga being debated in cyberspace.

However, it is not my provocative to take sides.

Out-of-touch of issues

In my personal opinion, this AWARE debacle offers many takeaways and one that has largely exposed the gap between the Church and the world.

From my observation of the new guard’s actions, the reports from the media and the general reaction of Christians, it clearly revealed how out-of-touch and out-of-depth we are with our world.

Firstly, the new guard had cited that the reason for their sudden takeover of AWARE’s leadership was due to the old guard’s agenda in promoting lesbianism and homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle through sex education in certain schools.

Apparently, that discovery caused a knee-jerk reaction to their dubious takeover with the new guard seizing nine of the 12 positions on AWARE’s executive committee. It was subsequently revealed that 80 of the 102 the election attendees turned out to be newbies who had joined AWARE in recent months.

More unhappiness and tension escalated when Dr Thio Su Mien, the self-styled “Feminist Mentor” revealed that she was the person responsible for the takeover. Later, it was also found that she and several of the new elected leaders were members of a same church.

Out-of-depth in relating

Secondly, many members were left disappointed in how Ms Lau and her team was not able to answer many of the questions asked at the EGM.

It was reported that even though members kept asking to “please give me the right of reply”, the new guard stuck mainly to statements that had been already released to the media.

For instance, when queried on their stand on homosexuality, Ms Lau sidestepped the issue and maintained that AWARE would remain a secular society that would provide support to homosexual women.

One well-known blogger, Yawning Bread who was observing at the EGM made an interesting comment describing like-minded Christians supporters of Ms Lau at the EGM displaying “an over-earnest politeness in speech and demeanour, punctuated by frequent invocations of blessings and goodwill”.

He further commented that this behavioural pattern was the result of ‘brain-washing’. He wrote that “they were likely people who were uncomfortable with conflict and ambiguity, whose personality is such that they prefer order and hierarchy”.

I think with such encounters with Christians, it is not surprising that the world perceives us as being sheltered, anti-homosexual or judgemental.

Reasons for the gap

I believe that this gap between the Church and the world is caused because for too long we as Christians have loved people with a conditional love.

It is sad that we, Christians are known more for whom we hate rather than whom we love.

Too often, we have been too quick to judge and only choose to love readily those that are similar to us or who share closely to our beliefs and lifestyle.

Another reason might be us being too pre-occupied with church-related activities or ministries that have unknowingly drawn us away from the lost or unchurch.

Ironically, these activities or ministries have lost their original intent but have become self-serving and losing its relevance and effectiveness in reaching out to the lost and unchurch.

Whether intentionally or not, this has caused the Church to be out of touch with the world; losing our ability to identify and relate  compassionately towards the lost and unchurch.

Time to love radically and be the Church

We should not merely confine our love within the Christian community. Like Jesus, we must engage the culture we live in and start radically loving and serving people beyond the “four walls of the church”.

When we are IN the world serving others and not in isolation away from others, we’ll be in a better position to respond and address any moral or social issue in their early stage. This avoids any unnecessary knee-jerk reaction from us.

More importantly, we will be able to earn the credibility to lead in addressing such issues and avoid the same awkward situation that the new guard found themselves in when questioned during the EGM.

“Where were you when women were abused and battered in the home, and the girls raped?

“Where were you when children and husbands of Singapore women were denied citizenship?”

“Where were you? You were not there.”


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 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.