True Riches in Christ

Great 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 “

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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.

Character

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).

Competence

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.

Charisma

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.

Amen.

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.