Sunday, November 28, 2010

Excellence for Christ

Hope for One More

1. Love that came too late.
Why you did not tell me?
Why you come so late?

2. The News that Worth Sharing
The four lepers found food and saved a city (2 King 7)

What they found ... food that could save the city
“When the lepers arrived at the edge of the camp, they went into one tent after another, eating and drinking wine; and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and hid it.” ```
~2 Kings 7:8-9 (NLT)

What they talked about ... The danger of not sharing the news
9 Finally, they said to each other, "This is not right. This is a day of good news, and we aren't sharing it with anyone! If we wait until morning, some calamity will certainly fall upon us. Come on, let's go back and tell the people at the palace." ~2 Kings 7:9 (NLT)

What they did ... shared the good news
“So they went back to the city and told the gatekeepers what had happened. "… Then the gatekeepers shouted the news to the people in the palace.” ~2 Kings 7:10-11 (NLT)

What they accomplished ... saved the people from starvation
"By this time tomorrow in the markets of Samaria, five quarts of choice flour will cost one piece of silver, and ten quarts of barley grain will cost one piece of silver." ~2 Kings 7:18 (NLT)

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” ~Rom 1:16 (NIV)

3. Hope for One More
There are thousands and thousands of starfish on the beach. When the sun rises they will all die if they are left on the beach. The boy who picked up the star fish and put it back to the sea said: “It made a difference for that one.”

You can make a difference.

Service is the pathway to real significance

You Can Make A Difference

Friendship Evangelism

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Change For The Better

by Rev. James Wong
The S.E.R.V.I.C.E. Culture

I shared that the final “C” of leadership is culture and together we need to build a church culture that is biblical and progressive using the acronym S.E.R.V.I.C.E. I have covered these: S=Serving Heart, E=Empower Others and R=Result Oriented, V=Value Teamwork, Innovate for Growth. For this week I would like to focus on “C” which means, “Change for the better.”

C = Change for the better. What does it mean?

Progress requires change. Everyone resists change in some ways and many leaders don’t like change but progress requires change. Being a leader, whether in the home, office or in the church, to make positive progress, you must lead forward and not leading in circle. To lead forward is to lead in a direction that will arrive at the goals that you want. But this will mean that you have to change the way you think and your mode of operation. To lead in circle is to lead with a set of rules or an old set of beliefs to maintain the status quo. You cannot move forward without thinking of change. Without change there can be no improvement. Change is not an end in itself but a necessary process of advancement.

Change could be a great obstacle. Change could be one of your greatest attitude obstacles that you need to deal with. In a marriage environment, it could be pride or seer stubbornness that a spouse is unwilling to change his or her way of living for a more cordial relationship. In the church, most people resist change because of tradition. The wrong assumption is that if something has become a tradition, it is better. Not so! If tradition helps to reach the purposes of the church effectively it can be a good thing. If it doesn’t, it could be time to try something new or create a new and homogeneous tradition. When we have the awareness that change can bring better benefits or better results, we will be more receptive to change.

Our natural resistance to change. We must understand that we have a natural resistance to change and some of the common reasons why we do not want to change is the fear of personal inconvenience, fear of the unknown and reasons best known to ourselves.

Columbus set sail from Palos in southern Spain in search of a western route to Asia on August 3, 1492. When he returned from the New World he proclaimed that the world was round but nearly everyone else at that time in Europe believe that the world was flat. His generation died and when another generation grew up they believed that the world was round. That was how change took place in the mind of the people!

What Jesus teaches about change
The parable of the wine and the wineskins is a parable about the necessity of change.
“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matt 9:17 NIV). In ancient times goatskins were used to hold wine. New wine which was made from fresh grape juice would ferment and give off gas and the new wineskin would stretch. But a used wineskin, already stretched, would break. Jesus brings a newness that cannot be confined within the old forms.

The parable first of all refers to the Pharisees who had become very rigid in their beliefs and they were like old wineskins. The Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ is like new wine which will destroy the old wineskin. God’s truth is always the new wine and our mind is the wineskin. God is always doing something new and his ways will always challenge our conventional thinking. We must be prepared to change. In Christian leadership, we must create a culture of changing for the better all the time. How do we do that?

1. Adopt a humble attitude. Change begins with a humble attitude. The Pharisees were so learned in the scripture that they completely missed the point concerning the Messiah. They could perceive nothing in Jesus that had the slightest resemblance of the kind of savior that God would send to deliver them. Their historical experiences, unequalled religious devotion and learning had conditioned their minds to think of the savior in terms of military might and conquest only. But the Good News of God’s Kingdom is about God’s rule in the hearts of men that has a global and eternal implication. To adopt a humble attitude is to be open to change.

2. Keep an open mind. "A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open." (Frank Zoppa). The Gospel is always the new wine and will ferment and will add “pressure” to our lives. A closed mind is a mind of old wineskin where there is no more room for stretching. We cannot confine God’s activities to our pattern of thinking or the traditional practices of our church because God says: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord . "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways” (Isa 55:8-9 NIV). That is why we pray “let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” because God’s will is better than our will.

3. Keep your heart pliable. Our heart, like a wineskin can become rigid and prevent us from accepting the new ways that Christ offers. Our church programs and ministries constantly require new approaches, new structures and new administrations. We must have room for the fresh touch of the Holy Spirit, a new method, a new idea or a new way of thinking. Change for the better is an eternal principle of progress and advancement in every field of endeavor and the church is not excluded. How can we change for the better is the cornerstone question for us to serve the church effectively.

We just exist when we aren't serving

Why The Numbers Are Important

How can I witness?

Go & Make Disciples of All Nation

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The S.E.R.V.I.C.E. Culture (5)

by Rev. James Wong

I shared that the final “C” of leadership is culture and together we need to build a church culture that is biblical and progressive using the acronym S.E.R.V.I.C.E. I have covered these: S=Serving Heart, E=Empower Others and R=Result Oriented, V=Value Teamwork, .For this week I would like to focus on “I” which means, ‘Innovate for Growth’.

I = Innovate for Growth. What does it mean?

The word innovation means a new way of doing something or "new stuff that is made useful". It refers to positive changes that is taking place in thinking, products, processes, organizations or church. Creativity always goes with innovation. To have a culture to innovate for growth is to find new effective ways to do things to reach people for Christ. We cannot talk about growth without talking about increasing in numbers. Quality must produce quantity. Maturity must bear fruits. Faithfulness must result in fruitfulness.

Innovations in the consumer world
The consumer world is driven by innovations. The new products we see in the market place today are better than those of yesterdays. Take for example a notebook computer. The new computer that you buy today will be replaced by another newer and more efficient model in six months time to meet the needs and demands of the consumers. Innovative methods must be found to deliver the desired results. “Innovate or perish” is one of the key principles to stay alive and competitive in the marketplace. While the fundamental principle of meeting the needs of the consumers will not change, the methods of meeting those needs must keep on changing in order to be relevant and effective. Steve Jobs, who has been listed as either primary inventor or con-inventor in over 230 awarded patents, the CEO of Apple, best known for his paradigm-shifting products such as the iPad and the iPhone says this: “innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Innovation in the workplace
One of the innovative methods taking place in the workplace is in the police force. Datuk Sri Idris Jala, the Minister in the PM Department, citing as an example of innovation at work, said: “The police have successfully lowered the street crime rate by 38% this year after the Government implemented an incentive giving RM500 each for everyone stationed at the best-performing police station.” ( Nov 4, 2010). Innovation in the workplace is the ability to come up with a creative and effective way to arrive at the desire result. Just following the conventional way to curb crime has proven non effective. Without new innovative ideas, there will be no new result. It has often been quoted that insanity is: “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” In fact, the easiest thing to do is to follow a set of regulations in a work place without much mental thinking. Thinking is the hardest job and most stressful.

Churches choose death over innovation
Innovation is quite a neglected aspect in the church. Any church that is effective in reaching a particular age group of people has employed a method that is relevant and creative. The goal of the church is to reach people for Christ. In the book 11 Innovations in the Local Church by Elmer Towns, Ed Stetzer and Warren Bird say this:

“Most churches need to change because they’re showing little or no statistical growth (numerical, spiritual or otherwise) and minimal impact on the surrounding culture. Too many are struggling just to keep their doors open, and yet they tend to keep replaying what they did “last year.”

American churches have the money and resources to seek new and alternate ways to revitalize their lethargic outreach. Yet instead of looking for a breakthrough, churches across the country are slowly dying because too many tend to value tradition over expanding God’s reach.

Innovation or death? Too many churches choose death over innovation. The choice we make today will impact the church of our children.”

We need to rethink, unlearn, learn and relearn and learn fast what works and what don’t work in the church context. We need to be creative in thinking and innovative in our actions to achieve our goals of reaching others for Jesus Christ, lest we become ineffective in the ministries of the church.

God is an innovative creator
Just look at the diversity of the natural world. If we want to be like God, we must value and enjoy diversity and creativity. Let us look at the following according to a report, and it tells us a lot about God’s nature. His creativity is beyond our imagination.

* There are at least 350,000 species of beetles.
* More than 230,000 species of flowers and flowering plants.
* 4,629 species of mammals.
* There are more than 6,000,000,000 different faces and DNA on earth.
* There are no two leaves with similar pattern.

Innovation in the church
Innovation begins with asking the questions concerning the purposes of the church. (1) In the area of worship, how can we make all our services more inspiring and meaningful to the different age groups? (2) In the areas of ministry, how can we improve the effectiveness of all our ministries? (3) In evangelism, how can we be more creative and effective in inviting our friends to Church? (4) In fellowship, how can we be more loving, caring and build meaningful relationships with each other? (5) In discipleship, how can we motivate and inspire each other in our daily walk with God? Change is the issue! We will look at this next week.
1. Go and serve the people
35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. ~ Matthew 9:35

2. See and know the people
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. ~ Matthew 9:36

3. Pray for the people
37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” ~ Matthew 9:37 - 38

35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. ~ John 4:35

Spiritual maturity is never an end in itself

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G412 - Reaching The Young For Christ

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The S.E.R.V.I.C.E. Culture (4)

by Rev. James Wong
I shared that the final “C” of leadership is culture and together we need to build a church culture that is biblical and progressive using the acronym S.E.R.V.I.C.E. I have covered these: S=Serving Heart, E=Empower Others and R=Result Oriented. For this week I would like to focus on “V” which means, ‘Value Teamwork’.

V = Value Teamwork. What does it mean?

The success of any church ministry largely depends on developing a strong team with a strong sense of comradeship. When team members work as individuals and not as a team, power is diffused and it is impossible to create growth in the local church. To achieve significant impact we must create a culture of teamwork in all our ministries. Teamwork is intentional and not accidental. Here are some thoughts to build good teamwork in the church.

1. Value Teamwork. Jesus was very powerful in his ministry but he did not operate alone. He recruited twelve disciples to be with him and “he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1-2). Later he “appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” (Luke 10:1). And before he returned to heaven he gave this command to his disciples “Go and make disciples of all nations…” (Matthew 28:19). Let us dream big for the Lord’s work, but we need a big team to grow big.

2. Do Your Part. Practically this means, when you are in the team you must play your part otherwise the whole team will be dragged down by you. We have to be proactive and take the initiative to make ourselves available for meetings or activities to achieve our common goal. Imagine the drummer who forgets to turn up for the worship or the teacher who arrives late in his / her class. All this affect the moral of the worship service and the participants as well. Like in a wristwatch, one wheel that breaks down will cause the watch to malfunction. There are many dysfunctional churches around because a wheel here and there have broken down. People who are supposed to be doing the serving did not do his/her part. The success of the team depends on our participation.

3. Make Work Fun. While there are works to be done and a lot need to be done on schedule and efficiently, this adds pressure on those who are involved in serving in the ministries of the church. We need to be more understanding and more encouraging. While we are working together, we need to enjoy each other’s company and contribution to make serving meaningful and fun. Be extra sensitive to other people’s feelings but let not yourself be too sensitive! “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” Ephesians 4:2-3 (NLT). Let us cultivate a culture of teamwork for the advancement of the gospel.

Let's Share the Good News

1. Jesus commanded us
16 For when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, since I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. ~ 1 Corinthians 9: 16-17

2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. ~ 2 Timothy 4: 2

2. Salvation comes only through Jesus
9 Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.” ~ 2 Kings 7: 9

3. Jesus is the only way to transform our nation
3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. ~ Daniel 12: 3

God created you help others

November Mission Month

4 Dead and 50,000 Displaced in Malaysia Floods

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