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>>>

Arise and Build

Watch the video below of the announcement made by pastor Kong Hee during one of last weekend’s services, in regards to the acquisition as co-owners of Suntec Convention Centre (worth S$310 million) over one of last weekend services.

You can read more about it here>>>.

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>>>

Power To Get Wealth

Below is a daily devotional message (dated 25 March 2009) taken from Kong Hee’s website on truths about prosperity with a kingdom mentality.

 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.”

Deuteronomy 8:18

We all know that money can’t buy us happiness, a good name, a happy marriage or lasting friendships. Money certainly can’t buy us eternal salvation or the anointing of the Holy Spirit. But nevertheless, God still wants us to have money-the more the better!

There is a reason why Jesus, for your sakes, became poor that you, through His poverty, might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). Deuteronomy 8:18 says that He gives you the power to get wealth for the purpose that His covenant with all mankind can be established.

So, the reason why God wants you to have money is so that you can use it to bring the gospel to the whole world. No wonder the psalmist says, “Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant” (Ps. 35:27).

Because the more we prosper financially, the more we can preach the good news and magnify our Lord. There are two contrasting covenants in the Old Testament. One is God’s covenant with Abraham which is eternal, and the other is God’s covenant with Moses which is temporal. Under the Abrahamic covenant, God blesses you to be a blessing to others. God told Abraham, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).

But under the Mosaic covenant, there is another set of promises found in Deuteronomy 28. It is about God’s favor and blessing for our individual lives. Now, you have to be very careful which covenant you lock your mind onto.

If you focus exclusively on the temporal Mosaic covenant, you could become self-serving and greedy, and end up destroying your life. But if you mature to focus on the eternal Abrahamic covenant, then the more prosperous you are, the more you can be effective for the cause of the kingdom.

The truth is this: you can’t be a blessing if you haven’t been blessed. If you can’t even feed yourself, how are you going to feed the hungry? If you can’t even clothe yourself, how are you going to clothe the naked? If you have no money for your church projects and world missions, how are you going to take the good news to the world?

Meditate on this thought right now: “God has given me the power to get wealth, that I can use it to bring the gospel to the world!”

My Doodling:

It is a pleasant surprise to notice how a well-read blog by a reporter from My Paper was taking real interest in what God was doing through Pastor Kong Hee. Check out the reporter’s entries here-

My Bitter-Sweet 2008

If I may sum up how 2008 has been for me, I would describe it as a bitter-sweet year.

Bitter because of the number of cross-roads I was thrust into where difficult decisions were required of me.

Sweet because after making those decisions, I see myself inching closer towards God and His will for me.

Last year, two major decisions stood out. The first was to call off a relationship and the other was deciding to move to another church.

The course of my love life

The first caused me to lose faith in myself; that I was not worthy to love or to be loved.

I was very close in accepting and believing that I was hopeless and  incapable of  loving someone else.  And that I didn’t deserve to be in any romantic relationship.

But in His goodness and wisdom, He showed me  what I was choosing to accept and believe was not true.

As indicated in my previous entry, some time after that relationship ended He allowed me to cross paths with someone whom I can confidently call my ‘missing piece’.

The course towards His vision

My second major decision had led me to City Harvest Church in the later part of last year in which I had briefly recounted in my past entry.

In regards to this, I have to thank His godly visionary leaders and teachers of His word in A. R. Bernard and Kong Hee.

Through them, God further expanded my horizon and my hunger for the things of God and His Church; the summit of my vision became a plateau towards an even higher summit.

Not only has my faith being radically challenged, my identity in Him has also being renewed and further established.

Moving forward, I’m now armed with a better grasp of His vision (not a church’s) and my calling towards His redemptive plans for this world.

Tasting the sweetness after the bitterness

I think it is fitting to say that God was doing a lot of major ‘underground’ work in re-aligning my life and priorities with His plans in 2008.

“In his heart a man plans his course,
but the LORD determines his steps”

Proverbs 16:9

Many of those decisions that I had to confront emerged unexpectedly. In fact, they were neither part of my plans nor what I thought were God’s intended direction for me.

Like how a train’s destination changes course with a mere switch of lanes, I believe those decisions I had made were  defining ones that will lead me to the destination He wants me to be.