Monday, May 24, 2010

Faith Beyond Boundaries

by Rev. James Wong

There is a story about a super market that sells human brains. All kinds of brains are available except with different price tags. There is a brain that is new and beautiful but very cheap. It is cheap because this brain is seldom used. There is another brain on one shelf that cost a fortune and the reason being that it is a brain that has been used extensively, stretched to the limits of its usefulness. It was an inventor’s brain. Yet, there is another brain which is the most expensive of all. It is a brain that is not only well used but it is made up of ‘faith’ cells all over it; full of imagination and a vision into the future of hope and endless possibilities. It is a brain that is connected to the invisible power of God.

The brain is the residence of reasoning, memory, imagination, visualization, creativity, thoughts, attitudes, faith and emotion. The greatest discovery is that we can choose our thoughts, therefore our actions. Our mind can develop patterns of thinking and finally it forms its own habit. Habit dies hard. The habit of thinking thoughts of fear and doubts eventually undermine our potential whereas thoughts of faith can bring us beyond the boundaries of lack and limitations.

A life of lack and misery can develop a scarcity mentality in us. Although we claim to have faith in God we are seldom able to live a life that is governed by thoughts of faith in our daily living. Thoughts of possibilities are undermined by the constraints of the present. Vision into the future are clouded by the negative circumstances of the present. The power for living is negated by doubts and unfavorable experiences. The future is held hostage and crippled by the failures of the past. We stunt our own progress and the progress of those over whom we have influence and control.

‘Thinking outside the box’, a phrase that is commonly used in the business environments, is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking. Faith thinking is more significant than thinking outside the box or positive thinking. It is not simply searching for an answer to some life problems but it is a transformation of the habit of the mind, creating a new pattern of thoughts that is fueled by faith in the omnipotent God. The mind is taught a new inner voice that affirms “with man this is impossible but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Faith in the living God liberates the soul from captivity. The potential of the future can only be realized by a change of thinking. When we learn to live by faith in God we move beyond our human limitations and see a whole new world of possibilities lay bare before us. “I cannot do it’ becomes “I can do everything through him who gives me strength’ (Phil 4:13). How would you handle a problem that your 8 months salary would not be able to solve? How would five loaves and two fishes be the solution? That is the focus of the sermon this Sunday.

Faith Beyond Boundaries

Lessons from the 5 loaves 2 fishes

1. Seeing the Need
What do you see? Do you have the eyes to see the needs around you?
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. ~John 6:5-6 (NIV)

2. Seeing the Problems & Limitation

Beware. If you cannot see beyond your problems and limitation you will not go very far in everything you do.
Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!" ~John 6:7 (NIV)

8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, 9 "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?" ~John 6:8-9 (NIV)

3. Seeing Beyond the Boundaries

Lift up your eyes beyond your present circumstances and trust God for more.
10 Jesus said, "Have the people sit down." There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. ~John 6:10-11 (NIV)

4. Seeing the Power of God
Victory is yours. What God can do is beyond your imagination.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
~John 6:12-13 (NIV)

4 But the LORD said to Gideon, "There are still too many men. ... 7 The LORD told Gideon, "With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home."
~Judges 7:4a, 7 (NLT)

Thoughts on Leadership

Are you moving toward breakdown … or breakthrough?

by John Maxwell (

Every major difficulty you face in life is a fork in the road. You choose which track you will head down, toward breakdown or breakthrough. Dick Biggs, a consultant who helps Fortune 500 companies improve profits and increase productivity, writes that all of us have unfair experiences; as a result, some people merely exist and adopt a “cease and desist” mentality. He continues,

One of the best teachers of persistence is your life’s critical turning points. Expect to experience 3-9 turning points or “significant changes” in your life. These transitions can be happy experiences … or unhappy times such as job losses, divorce, financial setbacks, health problems and the death of loved ones. Turning points can provide perspective, which is the ability to view major changes within the larger framework of your lifetime and let the healing power of time prevail. By learning from your turning points, you can grow at a deeper level within your career and life.

If you’ve been badly hurt, then start by acknowledging the pain and grieving any loss you may have experienced. Then forgive the people involved – including yourself, if needed. Doing that will help you move on. Just think, today may be your day to turn the hurts of your past into a breakthrough for the future.

Don’t allow anything from your personal history
to keep holding you hostage.

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord , "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11-12 (NIV)

Brigade Anniversary Dinner

Our BB and GB will be celebrating together their 25th and 22nd Anniversary respectively with a fund raising dinner on 26 June 2010 at Sanbay Hotel. We thank God for the BB & GB ministry in our church for the past 20 over years where many young hearts had been touched by the Word of God. To celebrate this special occasion, the Brigades have invited their first Chaplain, Rev Lee Tak Vui to be the Guest of Honour for their anniversary dinner.

We urge all brothers and sisters to give your full support to this ministry by purchasing tickets for their anniversary dinner. Tickets are priced at RM100 each. They also have complimentary tickets for brothers and sisters who wish to give more towards this ministry by sponsoring dinner tables at RM800.00 each.

The fund raised will be used for the BB & GB evangelistic camps held annually and retreats for their members as well as the Officers with the objective of leading members to follow Christ and to strengthen the faith of those who have believed.

For further information, please contact Captain Raymond Wong or Captain Carol Lai. You may purchase the tickets from the Captains and Officers.

Life Group Discussion

1. Read the story on the three different types of brains in the ‘Faith beyond boundaries’ message on page 3 of the Sunday bulletin. Which kind of brain do you have and what is the reason?

2. Jesus saw the needs of the people, whereas the disciples saw the problem (John 5-6). Which kind of eyes dominates your outlook of life?

3. Read 6:7-9, study the attitude of Philip and Andrew. What kind of attitudes do they have? How would such attitudes affect our daily living?

4. Jesus fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fish which was the offering of a small boy. What lessons do you learn from this miracle?

5. What would you change to improve in your work/ life/ ministry this week gaining from the insights in the study of feeding the five thousand?

6. Share what is the most important lesson you learn in the discussion.

Smart Hero Children Camp

Welcome On Board

We are pleased to welcome Rev. Johnny Wong Giam Fui to be part of our pastoral team.

Rev. Johnny is a local boy and he grew up in Sandakan and studied in Sung Siew Primary School and completed his Form V education in Sung Siew Secondary School in 1978. Thereafter, he worked in a commercial bank for ten years and then spent 3 years in a construction firm working as an administration executive.

Rev. Johnny came from a non-Christian family and he came to know the Lord during his Secondary days through the religious classes and he also attended the youth fellowship of the Sandakan Baptist Church. He accepted the Lord and was baptized in that church during the Christmas of 1981. Immediately he and a few others were commissioned out from the Church to start the Leila Baptist Church. Ten year later he had the call of the Lord to serve full-time and he took up his theological training in the Malaysia Baptist Theological Seminary in Penang from 1993-1996 and graduated with a Bachelor of Theology degree.

After he completed his studies he returned to serve in the Leila Baptist Church as a senior pastor . He was ordained as a Reverend in March 2005. After serving in the church for 13 years he felt that it was time for him to move on and he resigned in December 2009.

Since Rev. Johnny has not committed himself to serve in any church, after discussion in the Personnel Committee of the EGC and the Personnel Committee of our church, we have invited him to join our pastoral team. We hope that it will be the beginning of a long term relationship to serve the Lord together.

Rev. Johnny is married to Rebecca Lo Su Kyun who is also a member of the BCCM Tenom before her marriage in 1986. God has blessed the couple with three children; Nehemiah (20), Priscilla (19) and Meshach (16). Rebecca had previously served in the Campus Crusade for Christ for two years and then a Kindergarten teacher for five years in the Sandakan Baptist Church Kindergarten. Today she is the General Secretary of the Ren Ai Counseling Association which ministers to the people who are suffering from depression.

We welcome Rev. Johnny Wong to be part of our BCCM church family and we pray that it will be a meaningful and fruitful journey for him and us as we seek to serve the Lord together. Let us give him our warmest welcome and make him feel at home.

EGC signs MOU on distance learning

The English General Council (EGC) signs a MOU (Memorandum of understanding) with Millennium International University (MIU) for distance learning on the 7th May 2010 in the EGC office in KK.

Rev. James Wong the Dean of the EGC and Rev. Dr. Stephen Tee the Director of Millennium International University signed the certificate of collaboration witnessed by Bishop Dr. Thomas Tsen and Dr. Catherine Chin of the Registrar of Millennium International University. Also present were Dr. and Mrs. Albert Chia. Dr. Albert is also a faculty member.

MIU is an evangelical, multi-denominational, university-based institution committed to equipping believers academically, spiritually, emotionally, theologically and culturally for ministry in the church and globally. The distance learning programs provided by this university bring the study of Christian theology and practical ministry to where you are, without having to leave your home, family, careers, business and ministry. The university offers Bachelor degree programs, Master degree programs and Doctoral degree programs.

EGC will promote this distance learning course so that members of the church can pursue a study in a systematic way to grow in their knowledge of the Scripture and to serve the church effectively.

Traditionally, theological education is only available to those who are ready to serve full-time in the church. Courses offered to members by the local church are often limited in scope and non-systematic and they do not lead to any academic recognition. Except for members who are staying in KK they can attend night classes in the Sabah Theological Seminary (STS).

Distant learning accords flexibility and individual pace for you. You can continue to work and study at the same time. We already have a number of church members and full-time workers taking the course. Equip yourself and serve the Lord. Get a flier from the enquiry desk for more details.

Coming Events

Church Activities Of The Week

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekly Message

I Think of Work
By Rev. James

“Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Ephesians 6:7-8 NLT).

We all have different feelings about our work. I see that most people complain about their work after staying in the job for some years. Somehow the enthusiasm is gone compared to the days when they first started. Very rarely I meet someone who says he is very happy with his work and find it meaningful and life fulfilling.

Different people are motivated by different things in their career. Here are the four universal dimensions that affect our life, thus our job satisfaction. These four dimensions represent the four basic needs and motivations of all people.

1. Body. This is the physical or economic dimension. We need to live and to survive. Consciously or sub-consciously we will give to our work depending on how we are treated. If you feel that you are not paid fairly or the pay you get does not accurately reflect the level of your contribution you will be ‘riding on a cow while looking for a horse’ attitude. You will leave the job when you have a better opportunity.

2. Heart. This is the dimension of love and relationships. Even though you are paid well but treated unkindly, not respected and treated arbitrarily, dictated by the mood of your superior, you will be very stressed out. The stressful relationship will make you want to leave the job for a better environment.

3. Mind. This is the dimension of learning, growth and development. Some jobs only required you to press the right buttons and your creativity is not valued. You just follow orders and you are required to work within a lot of useless rules and regulations … you will not find satisfaction here.

4. Spirit. This dimension talks about meaning and contribution. Even if you are paid well, treated with love and your creativity is valued but the work is meaningless to you, you will get no satisfaction. If the job is unethical you will choose to leave.

You will be happy in a job that fulfill these universal basic needs of a human being. Such a job may not be available for you yet, but the Bible has some clear teaching about your work. While you may not be able to change your job, you can definitely change and reinvent your attitude towards your job. When you do that, you will reinvent your job. What about stopping to work for your boss, but work as if you are working for the Lord Jesus Christ? This is what the sermon is all about for this week. Stay tuned.

Reinvent Your Job

1. Work Nature

Understand that work is a gift from God will change your perspective towards what you are doing.

“And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God.”

~Eccl 5:19-20 (NLT)

2. Work Attitude

You may not be able to change your job. By changing your attitude to serve the Lord, you reinvent your job.

“Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”

~Eph 6:7-8 (NLT)

3. Work Diligence

Diligence and laziness are enemies. One makes you successful and the other causes you failures.

“All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”

~Prov 14:23 (NIV)

4. Work Skill

The importance of Skill cannot be underestimated. You must improve in what you are doing.

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.”

~Prov 22:29

“Show me a man who does a good job, and I will show you a man who is better than most and worthy of the company of kings.”

~Prov 22:29 (TEV)

5. Work Relationships

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:”

~Eccl 4:9 (NIV)