Monday, September 27, 2010

The 4 Cs of Leadership (2)

Give God the Right Kind of Worship

Music Sunday
Rev. James Wong

We are living in a ‘music loving’ generation. An iPod can store 20,000 songs. Young people don’t use mobile phones that can’t play music. That tells a lot about our younger generation’s taste for music. In the Psalms we read that in their worship they used drums, loud trumpets, tambourines, cymbals and various types of string instruments. That sounds like contemporary music to me.

1. The Place and Mode of Worship is irrelevant
19 "Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem." 21 Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. ~John 4:19-21 (NIV)

2. God is Only Looking For One Type of worshiper
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. ~John 4:23 (NIV)

3. There is Only One Condition In worship
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." ~John 4:24 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit prays for us
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” ~Rom 8:26 (NLT)

The Holy Spirit teaches us the Word of Christ
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” ~John 14:26 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit tells us the love of God
“For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” ~Rom 5:5 (NLT)

Jesus is the focus of our worship
“Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” ~John 14:6 (NIV)

The discipleship making phases (6)

He's Waiting to Hear from You

NEWS UPDATES from the English General Council (EGC)

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Monday, September 20, 2010

The 4 Cs of Leadership (1)

by Rev. James Wong

Beginning this week I will write a series on Christian Leadership. These are thoughts that I have shared with the BB & GB officers in our recent retreat in Borneo Paradise Resort in KK.

Whether you like it or not, you are a leader in some ways. The question is, whether you are a good leader or a bad one. If you are a parent, you are a leader over your children. If you work as a supervisor or manager, you are a leader over your subordinates. If you serve as a ministry head, you are a leader over your group members. Christian leadership and secular leadership is not the same and there is a clear dichotomy between the two though there are some similarities. Christian leadership is based on Biblical principles. Let us begin with some introductory facts about Christian leadership.

1. Heart Before Hands. Leading from the inside out, deals with the heart first before we deal with performance because Christian leadership begins with the heart whereas leadership in the secular world looks at the ‘hand’ - which is performance and profit most of the time. A manager could be living an immoral life but if he can bring in the profit, secure the deal, he is doing good. His immoral living is his private matter. Whereas this is entirely unacceptable in the church because such character will affect the witness for Christ and such person will be removed from the leadership position without question.

The church’s team of leadership must be made up of people with strong Christian Character. This is the first “C” of leadership” - CHARACTER. Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Over time the real person will surface. The Bible has clear qualifications for church leadership based on the character and faith of the person.

2. Christian leadership is harder than secular leadership. Success in secular leadership is not equivalent to success in Christian leadership. When I was in the secular world I fired people who did not perform to expectation, fair and square. I employed people for results. In the church we cannot use this approach because we are working with serving volunteers who give their time and energy freely. For example we cannot simply fire a ministry head or a committee member because he or she is not delivering the result. We can only encourage the person and provide the necessary training to help the person to rise up to the level we expect. Alternatively, we can choose another person to take over when the election of new leaders comes around. Therefore choosing people to leadership role in the church is a crucial matter. Prayer and careful selection is a decision of paramount importance as reflected in Acts 6:1-6.

3. Encouragement needed for Church leaders. Here are a few important biblical teachings with the way we deal with people in church leadership. Leaders are the pastors, council members, and ministries heads in the local context.

“Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” (Heb 13:17 NIV)

“Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” (1 Thess 5:12-14 NIV).

Why the need to encourage members of the church to submit to the leaders’ authority? Why is there a need to make their work a joy and not a burden? Why is there a conscious effort to respect the leaders of the church and hold them not only in regard but in the highest regard in love? Because in the church of Jesus Christ we are dealing with ‘family matters’ not ‘company matters.’ Everyone is a member of Christ’s body, a precious serving volunteer, and without love and respect all ministries cease to exist for long. So, encourage the people who are serving in ministries. Next week I will deal with the first “C” of leadership in more detail. (to be continued next week)

The discipleship making phases (5)

Pakistan Flood Disaster

NEWS UPDATES from the English General Council (EGC)

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Monday, September 13, 2010

See You In Facebook

by Rev. James Wong

A girl commented: “I will die without Facebook.” Those who are using the iPhone can respond to messages in the Facebook almost immediately. Because of its powerful sharing features of pictures, albums, video clips, games, news and etc, many people are addicted to it today. The modern phones are designed with browser that can access Facebook with a click. Its power and influence cannot be ignored today.

According to the New York Times site, Facebook, the company, founded in 2004 by a Harvard sophomore, Mark Zuckerberg, is the world's largest social network. By July 2010 it had 500 million users around the world. The company has grown at a meteoric pace, doubling in size since 2009 and pushing international competitors aside.

Today, Facebook gives people the power to share and makes the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, upload an unlimited number of photos, share links and videos, and learn more about the people they meet.

When we wanted to show a movie in our G412 Saturday night fellowship a few weeks ago, I ask a few young people which mode of communication do they use, email or Facebook, they all said they use Facebook. The news spread fast in the Facebook and we had about 100 people turned up for the show. As a communication tool Facebook is unparallel among the youngster.

If you are using the Facebook, why not think of encouraging a friend, send a positive message of encouragement, share with a friend what has inspired you when you attend church, extend an invitation to your friends, share some uplifting thoughts that you learn from the Bible, show your concern, a word of wisdom, invite your friends to visit your album so that they can see what you are doing in church, post a meaningful quote about life, or simply write a sentence on the beauty of God’s love and the joy of living a life of purity. It is endless...

The discipleship making phases (4)


Your security is not in your bank account (6)

You can't find the right answer if you're asking the wrong question

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, September 5, 2010

by Rev. James Wong

“I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord , the Maker of heaven and earth.”
~Psalm 121:1-2 (NIV)

The time has come for me to leave home. I was making all the preparations and suddenly mum came in to my room. She gave me a piece of paper written with her own handwriting. She said she wanted me to keep it while I was away in Singapore for my theological studies. What was written on the piece of paper were words of great encouragement to me during the course of my studies. I knew they were words quoted from the Bible but I did not know from which book.

As I was reading through my Bible one day I finally came to Psalm 121 and found that the words that my mum had given me on that piece of paper was quoted from this Psalm. My mum must have thought of the times when I would struggle with my studies and would need encouragement. Indeed Psalm 121 was precious to me. Here are the few lessons I have learned.

1. Watch what you have chosen to see. Our perspective will determine our outcome. I have seen many people living in misery as if they are stuck in the miry clay. Really, I have found that we have a choice to what we want to see. “I lift my eyes to the hills …” (v.1). The psalmist saw his help coming from the Lord who is the maker of heaven and earth. Successful people always see solutions and opportunity in a problem whereas the failures always see problems and dead ends. Faith in God gives us a new perspective in living. We are often betrayed and kept hostage by our wrong perspective of life. If you are starting to make mobile phones, just by looking at the models available in the market will kill your dream of getting started. But iPhone came around and cause a storm and change the history of mobile phones. Consumer wants a better phone.

2. Watch who is taking charge. “My help comes from the Lord , the Maker of heaven and earth.” (v.1b). Knowing who is taking charge of our life changes our confidence and faith level. It is so easy to see the ‘storm’ that we are going through taking control of our life. But if we see that God is in control of the ‘storm’ and our destiny is in his hands, we rise above the storm and see the sun. Beyond the dark clouds the sun is always there. We can be easily defeated by the adverse circumstances of our lives but when we know that the Lord is in control even of our death and beyond, our fears will have to give way to the peace of God. “The Lord watches over you” (v.5).

The verses must have meant a lot to my mum in her own struggle … and she gave them to me for my reminder. By keeping my sight high I am able to move on with confidence.

Straining Towards Spiritual Maturity

4 Steps Towards Spiritual Maturity

Evaluation: Face my faults

Question: Where do I need to change?

Elimination: Forget the former: let go of the past

What to forget: 1) Failures 2) Successes

Question: What memory do I need to let go of?

Concentration: Focus on the future

What is my goal in life?
What is most important?

Determination: Fight to the finish. Persistence.

3 suggestions:
1) Don’t become complacent
2) Be teachable
3) Be persistent

The discipleship making phases (3)

ELCA International Camp Counselor Program

Trust God and maintain your integrity (5)

Build your relationships on the solid ground of TRUST

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week