Sunday, March 27, 2011

How Well Do You Get Along With Others?

by Rev. James Wong

"1 I urge you, then — I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. 2 Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3 Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together.” ~Ephesians 4:1-3 (TEV)

This is one of the most important passages in the Bible about keeping the unity and harmony in the church. It boils down to the inter-personal relationship that we have with one another. A relationship falls apart if both parties do not know how to deal with the differences and the disagreements that exist. Here are the practical tips to keep a relationship in unity and harmony.

1. Live according to God’s standard for relationships. “Live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you.” (Eph 4:1). Unity here is not about uniformity and many people get this wrong. The Bible uses the picture of the human body to describe the church as the body of Christ. The body is made up of many different parts yet one body (1 Cor 12:12). All the body parts are not the same and it is a unity in diversity. As such, we must learn to live with differences and disagreements. We must learn to ‘agree to disagree’ to keep the relationship going for the glory of Christ who has called us to be united in Him and to live in harmony with each other.

2. Live according to the etiquette of relationships. “Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.” (Eph 4:2). What preserves the harmony in a relationship? (1) “Be always humble.” People who are humble has a magnetic personality. They do not presume that they are always right. Arrogance turns friends into enemies. (2) “Being gentle” to one another is to learn to be sensitive to each other’s feelings and preferences. “A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” (Prov 15:1 NLT). (3) Be patient with each other is to bear with others’ mistakes or weaknesses. The relationship may give you discomfort but you are willing to endure it. (4) And “making allowance for each other's faults because of your love.” Everyone is faulty in some ways.

3. Live according to the principle of personal responsibility on relationships. “Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives.” The Holy Spirit gives us unity and harmony but it is our responsibility to preserve it. “Do your best” means “making every effort” (NLT), “being diligent” (NASB), “eager to maintain” (ESV), “endeavoring to keep” (NKJV), “take care to keep the harmony” (BBE). It is our personal responsibility to keep a relationship in unity and harmony. In every failed relationship, there is a personal failure somewhere. Either we have made life too difficult for others or we have not done our best. To follow Christ is to live with a godly codes for relationships.

The Debt of Love

Rev. James Wong

1. The Debt Of Love 8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 10 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. ~Rom 13:8-10 (NIV)

* Mari and her puppies—The love between them.

1. The Debt To Love Your Family

“But if anyone does not take care of his relatives, especially the members of his own family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” ~1 Tim 5:8 (TEV)

2. The Debt To Love Your Friends

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your friends, hate your enemies.' ~Matt 5:43 (TEV)

46 Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! 47 And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that! ~Matt 5:46-47

3. The Debt To Love Your Enemies

44 “But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may become the sons of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. … 48 You must be perfect — just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” ~Matt 5:43-48 (TEV)

4. The Debt To Love The Lost

9 Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." ~Luke 19:9-10 (NIV)

Invite a friend to the Alpha Introductory Dinner out of love

7 Habits of Highly Frugal People (Habit 5)


Government backs down in Alkitab row ahead of Sarawak polls

The Alpha Course

LiFEgame Camp 2011

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, March 20, 2011

I Want To Be Your Friend

By Rev. James Wong
One day I received this SMS from a young person: “I am always not happy because no one wants to be my friend because I am a person with disability. I ask God to give me many friends but I know this is very difficult because others are fearful and feel ashamed to be my friend. I have to keep the unhappiness in my heart; I feel so difficult.” For this young person, life is very lonely without friends.

How much do you value friendship? The power of Facebook is its ability to connect people with their friends far and near and provide them an environment to share friendship and ideas. Although Facebook and Twitter are banned in China, the Chinese version of Facebook, has surpassed 150 million users as of last year. Young people read their Facebook first before they turn to their emails. Friends can be made today and meaningless relationships can be deleted tomorrow.

This is what the Bible says about the importance of friendship. “Do not forget your friends or your father's friends.” Proverbs 27:10 (TEV). Friendship is relationship and it is a great determining factor for the success or failures of our lives. Having high IQ (intelligence quotient) is no assurance for successful living today. What is more important is EQ (emotional quotient) which refers to emotional intelligence, the ability to manage relationship. “Research tracking over 160 high performing individuals in a variety of industries and job levels revealed that emotional intelligence was two times more important in contributing to excellence than intellect and expertise alone.”( Our ability to relate to people and manage relationship is one of the keys to success in life, spanning from family life, social life to church life.

1. Relationship precedes vision. This is especially so in the church. Nothing great can be achieved in any ministry by anyone without great relationships. In fact, people give up when there is little meaningful relationship or when relationship turns sour. To achieve more for God we need to understand the importance of relationship above ministry, for every ministry is built upon relationships. Jesus called his disciples his friends.

2. Relationship in the home and work place. Our ability to manage difficult relationships is part of the skill-set we need to learn to progress in life. Broken marriages are due largely to the inability to manage the relationships in the home. Unhappiness in the work place is also caused mostly by unhappy relationships. Books on managing relationships are available. Buy and learn from them. Don’t say I don’t know.

3. Relationship in sharing the Good News. Friends listen to friends. Friends buy from friends. Friends obliged to their friends. To share the Good News we need to be a friend, or learn to be friend to others. Jesus was called a friend of the rejects and sinners (Mat 11:19). Friends accept invitations from friends. Be a friendly person and make friends. Care for someone because “Friends always show their love.” Proverbs 17:17 (TEV).

Building Friendship & Winning Friends

Rev. James Wong

“Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father,” ~Prov 27:10 (NIV)

How To Build Friendship & Win Friends

1. Show your Love
12 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.” ~John 15:12-15 (NIV)

2. Open yourself to others
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” ~John 15:15 (NIV)

3. Take the initiative
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”
~John 15:16 (NIV)

4. Learn to disregard people’s faults
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, 'Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and "sinners." ' ~Luke 7:34 (NIV)

“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.”
~Prov 17:9 (NLT)

5. Be helpful
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” ~Eccl 4:9-10 (NIV)

“Many seek favors from a ruler; everyone is the friend of a person who gives gifts!”
~Prov 19:6 (NLT)

7 Habits of Highly Frugal People (Habit 4)

Complicated problems need creative solutions

By John C Maxwell

I’m still traveling this week, but like everyone else, I was horrified to learn of the tragic devastation that occurred in Japan. I lived in California for many years, where earthquakes were a fact of life. But I never experienced anything like the quake that hit Japan last week. And of course, the tsunami took a bad situation and made it even worse.

I won’t attempt to give advice to the people of Japan right now. What they most need from us is prayer and relief efforts. But one thing I do know is that they will need to be creative in overcoming the difficulties they are now faced with. And we can all benefit from learning more about that topic. So let’s talk a little about creativity.

To face the greatest challenges of life, we need to cultivate creative thinking. In times of crisis, you need to tap into every good idea you have. Of course, the best time to increase your creativity is before the crisis occurs. This can be done by establishing the discipline of creative thinking. Here are a few ways we can do that:

1. Spend time with creative people.
Make a habit, both inside and outside of work, of spending time with creative people. Let their way of thinking challenge and influence yours.

2. Look for the obvious.
When problem-solving, many of us make the mistake of looking only for the “big” solution. Creativity means exploring all ideas, even the obvious and seemingly insignificant ones. Often the simplest solution is the best solution.

3. Be unreasonable.
Logic and creativity can work together quite well, but sometimes rational thinking gets in the way of being creative. Be willing to look at unreasonable ideas. Often they expand your thinking and lead to breakthroughs that you might otherwise miss.

4. Practice mental agility.
Creativity requires flexibility. Rigid, bureaucratic thinking is in direct opposition innovation and creativity. So make a habit of considering every idea, no matter how difficult it might seem to implement or how much change it may require.

5. Dare to be different.
Being creative means standing outside of the norm. You must cultivate a willingness to challenge every rule and assumption.

6. See problems as opportunities.
Sometimes the only difference between a problem and an opportunity is the word you use to describe it. Whenever you face a problem, take a step back and ask how it could be described as an opportunity—to innovate, build, and improve.

The discipline of creative thinking will change you—and for the better. As jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.”

My prayer is that people who have spent years cultivating creativity are already at work in Japan – and the Middle East, and around the world – to serve people and bring solutions to hurting nations. May we keep them in our prayers.

A New Low! Our Holy Scriptures Desecrated

Prayer Focus: Japan Shaken By Severe Earthquake & Tsunami

Japan Earthquake Relief Fund 2011

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I Don't Want To Feel Depressed

by Rev. James Wong
I read an article from about the Causes of Depression. One of the major causes of depression is stress. For example, a serious loss, difficult relationships or a financial problem can cause severe stress. People who have low self-esteem and who are consistently pessimistic are prone to depression. Depression is a mental state characterized by a pessimistic sense of inadequacy and a despondent lack of activity.

Mental health is as important as physical health. This is the most important verse in the Bible that talks about mental health, “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” Proverbs 4:23 (GNT). A life of unhappiness is shaped by unhappy thoughts. A life of fear and defeat is shaped by thoughts of fear and defeat. This is the reason why the Bible teaches us to be careful how we think. Our life is controlled by our thoughts. We have a choice to choose our thoughts. So, think carefully!

1. Think Godly Thoughts. What we are thinking could be wrong. We must allow God to change our thinking. “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLT). The only way God can change us is to change our thoughts. Start the day with the Word of God rather than with our old presumptions or the Newspaper.

2. Think Hopeful Thoughts. Stress can trigger a depressive mood. The Psalmist was very depressed and he talked to himself, “Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5, 6, 11; 43:5 (TEV). Self reflection is important. The Psalmist made a decision to put his hope in God and once again praises return to his mouth. Refocus our attention and hope in God gives us the power to rise above our adversity.

3. Think Helpful Thoughts. “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me ... Then the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT). We can choose what goes into our mind and what gets out. Helpful thoughts bring us the peace of God.

4. Think Thankful Thoughts. “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thess 5:16-18 (NLT). Joyful thoughts bring about joyfulness. Praying helps us to see things from the perspective of God and thankful thoughts keep us being thankful. A spirit of complaining cannot take root in a thankful heart. If I feel depressed, it is time to service my thinking.

How To Live Our Life In These Challenging Times?

1 Peter 4: 7-8
Rev. Johnny Wong

7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self- controlled so that you can pray. 8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. ~ 1 Peter 4: 7-8

I) Be careful of our thoughts
23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. ~ Proverbs 4:23

II) Watchful in prayer

III) Loving one another
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. ~ 1 John 3: 16-18

7 Habits of Highly Frugal People (Habit 3)

Group: PM gave consent for Bibles in BM

Inter Life Groups Cooking Competition

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, March 6, 2011

by Rev. James Wong
"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)

As I was coming out from the bank a handsome looking young man stopped me and asked me for 2 minutes of my time. He showed me some pictures and closed his canned talk by asking me for my support. Though I declined, I admired his courage of talking to me, a stranger, so freely without fear or shame and accepting my ’rejection’ with a broad smile on his face and thanking me for giving him the time.

Sharing the good news of the love of God that we have found in Jesus Christ is not a very difficult task. What makes it difficult is the fear of rejection and shame that is hovering over our heads. Unless we overcome this fear and shame factor, we will give ourselves a lot of unnecessary pressure. Here are a few things that can help us to ease the pressure and making sharing the Gospel fun.

1. No more ashamed to tell a friend
Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel.” Romans 1:16a (NIV). The word gospel is derived from the old Anglo-Saxon word meaning "good message" or "good news." Generally we have no hesitation to guide our friends to a good doctor when they are sick or give them information about products that we have found to be useful. We have no fear because we know that what we are doing will help our friends and enrich their lives. Every time when you want to invite a friend to church or to a church event, remember you are caring for your friends and sharing God’s love. There is nothing to be ashamed of in caring and loving people. Say goodbye to fear to share the Gospel.

2. No more ignorant of the power
The Gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. This Gospel has the power of God to bring about salvation, healing, restoration of broken relationships and the prospect of living a rich and satisfying life in Jesus Christ (John 10:10). It is our duty to share the Gospel but it is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction and opens the hearts of the people to the love of God. For those who don’t believe, we keep them in prayer. God has his timing. People go through different seasons of life and there are times when they will be more receptive to the Gospel. Don’t stop the sowing and watering but leave the result to God.

The Alpha Course is here again. It is an opportunity for us to invite our friends to attend. Research has shown that most people come to know Christ because someone invited them to Church. Ah … I was one of them. I remember someone invited me to church when I was a young kid. From then on, I followed Christ. I am the fortunate one.

7 Habits of Highly Frugal People (Habit 2)

Finding a vision's "true north"

The Double Life

Installation of Neon light on the Church Cross

Prayer Focus: Tensions in Libya

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week