Some Insights for a Marketplace Minister

Recently, I was re-visiting the book of Daniel and was led to some interesting insights from the marketplace standpoint.

In chapter 1 from verses 3 to 4, it mentioned that the king ordered to bring in some Israelites to serve in his palace and these were the pre-requisites: “young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand.”

Lesson One- Outward appearance matters

I believe in this list of pre-requisites that the king was looking are similar qualities that our employers or bosses look for in promoting us or entrusting us for higher tasks.

Likewise, whether we are employees or not but as business-owners, we should strive to have this qualities as this would lead us towards upward mobility for higher influence.

Notably, physical appearance was highlighted by God citing that Daniel was handsome. Much to conventional christian thinking where heart is more important than looks, this provides an added perspective that looks do matter. If it didn’t, it would not have been included in this passage.

This means that as marketplace ministers, it is equally important that we pay attention to our outward appearance where we’re well-groomed. As people will normally judge our personality and character from our appearance, therefore we should dress to impress in order to impact positively.

I believe this is true as there have been many examples that I have personally witnessed where the boss did not appreciate the good work of his staff just because he (the boss) didn’t like his face or his style. Or how someone who dresses sloppily does not pass a job interview or sales pitch in spite of having a good portfolio.

Lesson Two- Attitude seals the deal

It was only after getting pass the physical test (as indicated by the order of pre-requisites), the king was then able to look further into the inward traits of desire for learning, being well-informed and quick to understand.

This clearly shows that we need to be people that keep learning and improving on the job. Employers are looking for people who display competence and a spirit of excellence that are ready and quick to produce and contribute to their ‘kingdom’ or organisation.

Having these inner traits speaks of forward-thinking people, who do not wait for things to happen, but make things happened because they see the things ahead that are coming their way.  With their progressive intelligience, they are able to respond and not react to the changing market forces.

Like Daniel who was able to interpret visions and dreams, as effective marketplace people we should also be able to interpret the trends in our industry. For example, understanding the trends would help in identifying the opportunities that might be present ahead and to seize it before our competitors do.

This simply means that we also be thinkers who give solutions to problems and not merely doers with our jobs.

Conclusion- My personal prayer

Many of us usually hope to see changes in our results or outcome, but I have come to discover more and more than it begins with ourselves first. It begins in redefining who we are, and upping our commitment to ‘play the game’ in the marketplace as a professional.

Once our thoughts and attitude changes, our actions changes, and so do our results.

With these simple insights, I pray that I will avoid complacency at work by just meeting the basic expectations. I want to strive in exceeding the normal expectations by putting more effort in taking my work to another new level with God’s anointing.

I believe every word that is written in the bible is inspired by God, is meant to teach you and me invaluable lessons for living successfully.

Impetus of the Contemporary Church Movement

During the Asia Conference, a well-known pastor called the leader of a local mega-church a driving force for the transition of the Asian Church from a traditional model to a contemporary one.

By Edmond Chan

When the pastor asked Pringle about how the Asian Church can transit from a traditional church to a contemporary one, the latter replied, “Two words: Kong Hee.”

Kong, who founded the mega-church 19 years ago, is known for his emphasis on fulfilling the Cultural Mandate – a movement by which the Church attempts to penetrate society and transform it.

The pastor, who leads his church with his personality and gift of preaching, believes that the key to church growth lies in the importance of the leadership of the pastor. A pastor, according to him, needs to be effective in communicating the vision of the church to its members, and in motivating members through his or her messages.

Evangelism is also high on the agenda of the 44-year old church leader, who believes in mobilising his masses to spread the Gospel where they are based in the workplace and even in closed groups normally inaccessible to ordinary people.

He adapted this concept of “3rd Space” from author Erwin McManus, which explains Christianity in terms of space and how we need to connect with people in their space and help them to experience God.

Read the full article here>>>

The New Era of His Church in Asia

Wow… I am still reeling with the Spirit’s fire from last week’s smashing Asia Conference.

It was an awesome privileged to be part of this historical 5-day event and to be imparted by some of the world’s servant leaders of God.

Their sessions (including the controversial Benny Hinn’s) really expanded my paradigm of God’s word and God at work. 

The rising of His Church

For certain, God is rising His Church to a whole new dimension of anointing that many of us have not seen  or experience before. The kind of anointing that we only read in the book of Acts and only heard about at the Azusa Street in the early 1900’s.

The era is coming where the Church will no longer be regarded as an out-of-touch or irrelevant religious white elephant that has been confined to the ‘back of the room’ of society for too long.  

The Church will come in such power in the coming times that our world will start to pay attention to what She will have to say pertaining to every matters in the arena of government, education, business, arts & entertainment and mass media. 

Getting ready for this rise

What our governments of Asia have failed to do, the Church will succeed; in uniting Asia as one. In time to come, Asia will be one people with one mandate. Through that mandate, economies and political borders will be flattened.

The question for many of us is to what part do we want to play in this? Or will we let this slip through our fingers and leave it for the next generation to take responsibility.

I for one aspire to do my part and fulfill my responsibilities of His mandate in my generation. I do not think there is always an opportunity where we can be part of something great which will leave a mark in the history of mankind for His glory.

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

Isiah 54:2

Brace yourselves and get ready to catch the next wave of the Holy Spirit’s wind.

Developing Your Reputation for Christ

Many of us overlook the importance of developing our reputation. This reputation should be one that displays a strong character and a sharp mind; one that adds to our value in the eyes of those around us.

If we believe we are ambassadors of Christ, we are to be conscious of our reputation because it can either be good or bad.

Being ambassadors of Christ

According to some definitions, an ambassador is a high ranking official representative of their country. He is someone who clearly understands the value, history and philosophy of his nation and puts his country’s interest above his own. 

Likewise, as Christians we need to imbibe the spirit, the power, the philosophy, the sense of purpose and the mission of the kingdom of God. We are sent out into our world to represent that kingdom.

This leads us to some hard questions we need to ask ourselves:

“What reputation am I building within the marketplace?”

“Am I known to be reliable or unreliable?”

“Does my reputation enable me to effectively bring the gospel across to others?”

“Or are my words and actions a constant stumbling block that hinders others from approaching Christ?”

Like it or not, we all have a responsibility as individuals to strive to grow and develop ourselves in all areas where required such as our character, intelligence and competence related to our profession. Even more so a greater responsibility for us Christians who are called to represent His kingdom.

Living out this privileged responsibility

As famously quoted from St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times and used words only when necessary.”

In order to win people to Christ, we first have to win them to us. We can’t expect others to want to know more about our faith if we cannot even get them past who we are and what we stand for.

So let’s live out our responsibility and not let reputation ‘just happen’ to us. We need to build it intentionally; knowing the kind of person that we want to be and going to work on being that person.

If we want people to trust us, then we need to work on our trustworthiness as someone who gets the job done. Credibility comes from reputation which instills confidence towards our words, actions and choices.

Your reputation is a revelation of your character.

God in Government & Politics

I believe many Christians are for the motion that Christianity in politics should be doing more to ban abortion or to enforce laws against homosexuality.

Not that I approve these acts of immorality (in accordance to scripture), but politics in the government isn’t as straight-forward and simple as the State comprises of people from a multi-religion, multi-racial and multi-cultural background.

Even if a government were to ban abortion, would that really put a stop to abortions from happening?

Likewise, if a gambling law was enforced which worked against the construction of the Integrated Resort (IR), would we be naive to think that people will not gamble?

The biblical role of the government

According to Darrell Dow in an article Christians and Government, God created civil government for three primary reasons:

  1. To protect human life that is made in the image of God (Gen 9:6)
  2. To defend the law-abiding from law-breakers (Rom 13:3-4)
  3. To provide for a peaceful and orderly society (1 Tim 2:1-2)

Its role is to restrain evil by exacting negative sanctions which is limited to the administration of just laws to defend life and property, punishment of criminals, and to defend the innocent.  The government is not meant to be a redemptive institution.

With God’s love and truth being the fundamental modus operandi, Christianity and politics in government should exhibit respect to others and not enforce religious laws on others.

The government is not the same as a Christian organisation even if the President or Prime Minister is a Christian. For a Christian organisation, the Christian leader can easily address issues to its members as it is assumed that all believers subscribe to the same book- The bible.

Wherelse in the State, not all people subsribe to that same book, hence the bible cannot be used as a justification or reference for setting public policies and laws.

Being salt and light in the government

In an article- Christian View of Government and Law written by Kerby Anderson, the author said that “the Bible does not propose nor endorse any specific political system.

The Bible does, however, provide a basis for evaluating various political philosophies because it clearly delineates  a view of human nature. And every political theory rests on a particular view of the human race.”

He went on further to add that the government is unambiguously a “legitimate sphere of Christian service.”

In view of this, we as Christians have an obligation to fight for our godly biblical values and to correct the evils within the political system. But the challenge is doing it with love and truth, not out of bigotry or self-righteousness.

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness”

1 Timothy 2:1-2

As marketplace ministers, we are also called to government and politics, and to be salt and light; participating from the inside, as an elected representative or a civil servant, or from the outside, as a lobby group or advocate.

By being an active citizen, we are doing God’s work in politics and playing our part in obeying His Great Commission.

Q&A: Barack Obama

Interviewed By Sarah Palliam and Ted Olsen

You’ve talked about your experience walking down the aisle at Trinity United Church of Christ, and kneeling beneath the cross, having your sins redeemed, and submitting to God’s will. Would you describe that as a conversion? Do you consider yourself born again?

I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.

But most importantly, I believe in the example that Jesus set by feeding the hungry and healing the sick and always prioritizing the least of these over the powerful.

I didn’t ‘fall out in church’ as they say, but there was a very strong awakening in me of the importance of these issues in my life. I didn’t want to walk alone on this journey. Accepting Jesus Christ in my life has been a powerful guide for my conduct and my values and my ideals.

There is one thing that I want to mention that I think is important. Part of what we’ve been seeing during the course this campaign is some scurrilous e-mails that have been sent out, denying my faith, talking about me being a Muslim, suggesting that I got sworn in the U.S. Senate with a Quran in my hand or that I don’t pledge allegiance to the flag. I think it’s really important for your readers to know that I have been a member of the same church for almost 20 years, and I have never practiced Islam. I am respectful of the religion, but it’s not my own.

One of the things that’s very important in this day and age is that we don’t use religion as a political tool and certainly that we don’t lie about religion as a way to score political points. I just thought it was important to get that in there to dispel rumors that have been over the Internet. We’ve done so repeatedly, but obviously it’s a political tactic of somebody to try to provide this misinformation.

Read the full interview here>>>

The Saint in this Devil

Manchester United’s latest Red Devil, Dimitar Berbatov speaks…

“And when I realise I give myself airs, the red light in my head flashes. Many times I was ashamed because of some of the things I had done….. And I am religious and I take the bible everywhere with me. There are many good pieces of advice for those like me in it.”

View the enlarged version of this article here>>>

Stepping Out and Shining Forth

Next on our list of “Jesus in the Marketplace Series” is singing artiste Sun Ho who serves as Music Ambassador for the Olympics Songfest for Beijing 2008. She needs little introduction as she is also widely known as the wife of Kong Hee, Senior Pastor of City Harvest Church. In a recent cover interview story with VANILLA magazine, she shares her reasons in moving from the church into the arts & entertainment world. Here’s an extract…

It was not a sudden departure or an uncalculated decision. It took a lot of me to make the decision to move into the secular pop industry because that had many implications and affected many parts of my life and ministry as the wife of a prominent church leader.

Many didn’t understand why I had to do it, and I am aware that some still wonder what my motives are: Am I desperate for fame or fortune? Anyone who knows me would know that money and recognition have never been and will never be the motivation for anything I set forth to accomplish in my life.

Kong and I thought long and hard before I finally decided to step beyond the four walls of the church. As head counsellor and music director, I was so happy serving and helping people with broken lives and hearts. To step into the music industry, a world so familiar to me, was very hard.

One of the questions that I have always asked myself and, in a real sense, built all my counselling and humanitarian efforts on is: “Can one make a difference?”

Helping others has always been a life-long passion in my heart. Ever since the day I was led out of depression by faithful friends who stood with me through my darkest times, I made a decision to use the second chance that I had been given to help others in the same way.

In the past, being a counsellor based within the church, the hurt and the broken had to come into the church to look for my assistance. One day I was given the opportunity to sing a secular song, and I was debating it when a friend said something that tipped the balance: “With counselling, you help one person at a time. With your voice and music, you have the chance to impact and influence hundreds and thousands!”

Many are skeptical about why I am in the industry. In truth, I believe that, as a Christian, my responsibility is to help and serve others, and to contribute to the society that I belong in, wherever I may go, with whatever I have in my hands.

In my case, it would be to sing and perform, something that I’ve done all my life, since the time I was a child singing and dancing in front of my mother, making her laugh out loud and de-stressing her!

Using my voice and talent is how I hope to make the world a better place in my own small way- singing songs of hope and love, strength and a future in the midst of imperfect situations, connecting with the youth of today and, hopefully, inspiring them to believe in themselves and the dreams that they have.

Reformation of the Church in the 21st Century

Former Ren Cis Chief Officer, Venerable Ming Yi

Just last month, another charity organisation- Ren Ci had came under the scrutiny over irregularities in its books. Their now former chief, Venerable Ming Yi had since been suspended and is awaiting charges.

From everyday reports of sex and money laundering scandals that seem to plague politicians and religious leaders including pastors and priests, to the NKF to Youth Challenge discrepancies.

Once again, such news has further dampened the publics’ confidence and trust in religious or humanitarian and charitable causes.

But even without such endless controversies, today’s donors are much more well-informed bunch than before in this Digital and Information Age and also demand more involvement as a stakeholder.

Bridging the rift of mistrust

Now, any fund-raising projects or donation drives will not escape the scrutiny or skepticism from the public including corporate organisations. Hence, with the diminishing of trust, there is a need to re-invent or to re-create the approach of garnering support towards humanitarian and charitable causes.

And in my opinon, a better and ideal approach or model is to move towards being “social business” or also commonly known as “social enterprise”.

This model moves the traditional charity organisations from one that is passive to one that is pro-active. It no longer just reaches out its “hand” when funds are depleting, but it learns to “fish” and feed itself.

In other words, charity organisations become self-financing. When that happens, the used of funds become more “flexible” as a social business is not reliant on public giving. This also attracts more stakeholders to support its causes because  it serves as an asset in adding value to society in terms of humanitarian and economic contributions.

Bridging the Church to the lost

In my personal observation, the Church also somewhat shares similar issues with in terms of gaining credibility and being relevant. Hence, we need to tackle these in order that the gospel can be made easily available and receptive to people.

From a secular viewpoint, the Church is a merely a religious institution. Though there’s nothing wrong with that statement, but in truth, God’s true intent for His Church is MUCH MORE than being a religious institution who’s only role is to preach the gospel.

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 3:10-11

The Church’s mandate and capability (with God’s omnipotence) should not be confined just to preaching the gospel, but being in touch of our world by being an asset in championing humanitarian causes and even further adding value with economic contributions by creating businesses and employment.

Somehow, we need to break the perception of the world (even Christians) that God only works within the “four walls” of the Church.

The Church is and should be relevant because our God is a BIG God with a big heart that cares for every aspect of our lives and not just the spiritual aspect. And His wisdom is given for every aspect of our lives too.

Godly Business System

Presenting a worldview of a godly economic system with some criteria that can be used to evaluate how it serves the purposes of God intended:

  • The system should produce an adequate supply of products and services to enhance the quality of life
  • The system should provide for the basic needs of marginal and disadvantaged people
  • The system should respond to and allow for individual differences and needs. There should be fair and equitable means of resolving conflicts
  • The system should reward and encourage initiative and hard work
  • The system should provide meaningful work for all people and provide opportunities for them to contribute to welfare of society
  • The system should use natural and human resources efficiently and carefully
  • The system should respect and care for other countries; it should not exploit them or rob future generations
  • Power and access to power should be spread equitably among sector of society and special interest groups
  • The benefits of the system and the costs of providing them should be spread equitably throughout the system
  • Human rights should be protected
  • Individuals should be valued and given opportunity to grow and develop