Sunday, February 27, 2011

Why My Next Job Is The Best

by Rev. James Wong

So, this is what some people think—the next job is the best. There are many reasons why we can feel lousy about the job we are holding down now, such as , a calculative boss, overloaded workload, lack of incentives, stringent regulations, meagre pay, meaningless routine work, no value for creativity, negligible year end bonus, unfair work distribution, unreasonable demands, no appreciation for extra work hours, a sense of a bleak future and so, no light at the end of the tunnel.

Add on to the fire is this: the prices of properties have sky rocketed unprecedentedly for the past two years and owning a house is beyond the reach of many employees. After a brief walk around I found that the property prices in Sandakan is comparable to that in the capital city of Kota Kinabalu. Generally, working in the capital city offers better pay. Attractions and higher pay are among the reasons why a lot of young people chose to work in Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur and the neighboring countries.

The income potential will be the main consideration for most people to decide on the kind of education they want to have. The offering trends of our churches in the Basel family has shown that, comparatively, the offerings from the English congregations are higher than the Chinese congregations. There are two main reasons for this. Either the members of the English congregations are more generous (this is unlikely) or they are financially more affluent because of the kind of works they do. The later is true. Certain categories of job will never give you the kind of pay you desire no matter what you do or how faithful you stay in it. Higher education or specialized education that can garner a good market demand is the key to higher income. Parents encourage their children who are educated overseas not to return because of the much higher income they can earn outside the country. Is higher income the whole gamut of work? … NO!

Not underestimating the importance of the income amount, something more important than the money is the way we approach our job. Why and how we get our job done is more important than the money we get because our job reflects our character. We cannot bring our job to heaven but we bring with us our character to heaven.
God wants to see the kind of character we develop through the works we do.

The Bible gives us clear principles on the way we should approach our work. The moment we understand that we offer our worship to God through the work we do, our whole perspective changes. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” 2 Col 3:23-24 (NIV). Who are you working for?

While you may think that the next job you get will be the best, you can make the present job the best for God. Don’t work for a small boss, work for a bigger boss—God.

Success Principals For Work

S = Start Working Enthusiastically

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom. ~Eccl 9:10 (NIV)

Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically. ~Rom 12:11 (NLT)

U = Understand Who I Am Working For

Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and the Master you are serving is Christ. ~Col. 3:23-24 (NLT)

C = Concentrate On Building My Character

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. ~Rom 5:3-5 (NIV)

C = Care For Those I Work With

Do everything in love. ~1 Cor 16:14 (NIV)

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. ~Eph 4:2-3 (NLT)

E = Exceed Of What Is Expected Of Me

Servants, do what you're told by your earthly masters. And don't just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. ~Col 3:22-23 (The Message)

E = Expand My Skill With Continuing Learning

“Do yourself a favor and learn all you can; then remember what you learn and you will prosper. ~Prov.19:8 (TEV)

D = Dedicate My Work To Be Used of God’s Purpose

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. ~Prov 16:3 (NIV)

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

What Tou Choose To See Is What You Get

by Rev. James Wong
Many years ago I used a computer program by the name, WYSIWYG which is ‘what you see is what you get.’ It means, what you see on the computer screen is what you will get in the final printout of the document. I later found out that this is one of the most important principles of living. What we see is what we will get in life. We call this ‘perspective’.

Perspective is the way we look at things. It is the mental pictures and script that we form and write in our mind. Ultimately, our perspective controls our life. What we see will either build us or ruin us. The outcome of our life depends largely on what we have chosen to see.

How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as ugly, boring, lacking in aptitude and stuck in the rut ? You are right about yourself because life is a self fulfilling prophecy! WYSIWYG. Or do you choose to see yourself as a unique person created in the image of God (Gen 1:26-27) having the position of a child of God in Christ (John 1:12), so loved unconditionally (Rom 5:8), destined with the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7) with God’s favor on you? You have a choice.

How do you see God? If you see God as your refuge and your fortress and in him you trust, you will not be easily shaken (Ps 91:1-2). This is one of the most empowering forces in daily living. You will grow in faith to know that God is for you and not against you and Christ who is in you is greater than all the opposing forces outside you (1 John 4:4). You have a choice to write a new script for your faith.

How do you see others? The way you see others will determine your feelings and actions towards them. You may have formed the habit in looking at the speck of sawdust in others’ eyes and pay no attention to the plank in your own eyes (Matthew 7:3-4). You can choose to think well of others who deserve your attention and love or you can treat them as your enemies. You have a choice.

How do you look at circumstances? You can see challenges as problems or problems as opportunities. You can sit in your chair and moan and do nothing or you can get up and write a new chapter for your life because you see that God has given you special talents and passions. Don’t just see things in black and white. There are many other colors. You have a choice to see properly.

How To Handle Life's Problems?

I) 3 facts we need to know

1) problems are inevitable

2) problems are unpredictable

3) problems are purposeful

II) 3 purpose of problems

1) purify my faith

2) Fortify my patience
3) Sanctify my character

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. ~ Romans 8:28-29

III) 3 ways to handle problems
1) Rejoice
2) Request
3) Relax

12 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. ~ James 1:12

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Lot Of Rain But No Water

by Rev. James Wong

We have record high downpour throughout the Chinese New Year and this has wreaked havoc in many parts of Sandakan. There were flooding, land slides and broken pipes. This resulted in many homes without water. Some of the badly affected areas are Kam Jai Yen and along Trig Hill where our church is.

There has been no water in the office and the pastors’ apartments for more than a week. Our staffs visit the nearby hotels to ease themselves and in the evening, for me and my wife, it was a matter of calling up members to have our showers in their homes plus unexpected dinner! Isn’t it funny that we have so much rain yet our faucets are running dry? I believe most of us take water for granted. We seldom realize the importance of water until we lose it.

There is a very important figurative use of water in the bible, that is, the water of life. There were two places in the New Testament that Jesus spoke about the water of life. To the woman at the well Jesus said: “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14 (NIV). Water satisfies our thirst and the water that Jesus gives will satisfy the deepest thirst of our soul. For those who drink this water they will have a spring of water welling up to eternal life. What is this water that Jesus is referring to?

Jesus explained it in another place. "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. John 7:37-39 (NIV).

To drink this water is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will bring to us a new life that will last eternally. The goodness of it can be described as ‘spring of living water.’ Although this is entirely the work of the Holy Spirit we need to empty ourselves and be “filled with the Spirit” as Ephesians 5:15 says. Let us go through the week with gratitude knowing that we have the water of life in spite of the inconveniences of not having water in our faucets. Let us share with others this water of life that is found in Christ.

Let's Koinonia Together

The purpose of Life Group Ministry

1. Fellowship (Koinonia)

24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another— and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ~ Hebrews 10:24-25

2. Edification

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

~ Ephesians 4:15-16

3. Discipleship

8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. ~ John 15:18

4. Evangelism

40 Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41 The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, We have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas (which, when translated, is Peter). ~ John 1:40-42

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The Reunion Dinner And Harmony

by Rev. James Wong

“How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron's head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.” Ps 133:1-3 (NLT).

I feel that the reunion dinner is the most significant tradition of the Chinese New Year because children far and near would make an effort to return home for this dinner. It is a time for the renewal of relationships. The giving of Ang Pao to parents, children and singles makes the occasion even more meaningful and joyous.

I have many fond memories about the Chinese New Year. My mum will cook all the delicious food for us for the reunion dinner. Food will include such items as pork, duck, chicken, mushroom, many sweet delicacies and some wine for the adults. Mum has been keeping this tradition yearly. She would call and wait for all of us to be home to have this reunion dinner.

Since all of us are staying separately, the New Year reunion dinner becomes more and more significant through the years. Perhaps, it is the only time in the year that all the siblings can come together in one place and have a good meal together. It is not so much about the food, but about treasuring the relationships we have as a family. Psalms 133 gives us important truths about harmonious relationships.

(1) It is a wonderful and pleasant experience when there is harmony in the family. Let us learn to forgive and accept each other’s differences to keep the family relationships.

“The man who brings trouble on his family will have nothing at the end.” Proverbs 11:29 (TEV). The Bible places premium value on family relationships.

(2) Harmony is the most precious glue that holds a family together. The importance of this harmony is likened to the anointing oil in the Old Testament. The Priests and Kings were anointed with oil during their consecration. Everyone should strive to keep the harmony of the home and should not take this lightly. Joy and conflict cannot coexist.

(3) Harmony is refreshing and life giving. Family strife is time consuming and energy sapping. Encouragement, love and caring empower family members with strength and hope. Eliminate all negative perceptions and enjoy each other’s company.

(4) It is in the home with harmony that the Lord’s blessing resides. If you nurture the sore spots in your relationship with your family members, you will not grow better but bitter. “First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift to God. ” Matt 5:24 (NIV). Waw, relationships are so important in God’s eyes!