- The biblical worldview says: “Serve the one true God – the Creator of the universe – alone. Since God loves you personally, love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. God’s rules are good and are for our good.”
- The Haunted worldview says: “Eclectic. Syncretistic. Don’t judge anybody. Get in contact with spiritual power, which spiritual power works for you.”
- The What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) worldview says: “The physical world is the only reality. You can only know what is material. Any appeal to spiritual reality is outlawed from the start as mere superstition, hype, hokum, wishful thinking, or deception. All morals and ideas of good, evil, truth, and beauty are man-made.”
- The Dueling Yodas worldview says: “Good and evil are in an eternal battle in a moral universe, but neither side ever wins. It is an eternal struggle.”
- The Omnipresent Supergalactic Oneness worldview says: “Absorption of all things into pantheism or monism. Evil and good are only apparent opposites. There are no innocent sufferers, since suffering is exactly proportionate to one’s karma. You create your own reality with your mind. You are ‘God,’ but so is that cockroach scurrying across the floor.”
- The Designer Religion worldview says: “It’s okay to mix and match religions. Never judge anybody. Get in contact with a spiritual power that works for you.”
Monday, July 31, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Imagine you were the eagle, what would you do?
Saturday, July 29, 2006
In preparing for the facilitation of the World Team CLiMAT training, I went back to read one of my favourite books "Guardians of the Great Commission" by Ruth Tucker. She said that women have played an outstanding role in the modern missionary movement. Dana Robert shows that women's mission theory was holistic, with emphasis on both evangelism and meeting human needs. With their holistic approach to missions, women were committed to healing. They have been permitted great latitude in Christian ministry with their work ranging from support efforts behind the scenes, pioneer work, evangelim, church planting to Bible translation, teaching in seminaries, preaching, organisation and training on the home front, women's work for women, orphanges and children's work, health and humanitarian services, linguistics, literacy, missionary writing, fundraising to urban ministry etc. Since women were less involved in denominational activities and more focused on human need, it was easier for them to be ecumenically minded and risk cooperation for common purposes.
Helen Barrett Montgomery's saying decades ago is really challenging to me personally. She said, "We have done very little original work. We have made very few demands upon the brains of the women....and as a result, we have been given over to smallness of vision in our missionary life."
I pray that God will give women in this emerging postmodern age the courage, wisdom and strength to go forward in missional outreach, never forgetting the remarkable heritage that is ours.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Where does the source of my value come from? Does it come from my work? my ministry? my friendship? my performance, past experiences, how much I am loved, cared for or missed?
Stripped of anything that makes me who I am, I reckon my source of value and identity must come from who I am in Christ, not what I do, the ministry I am in, or even the significant relationships that I have with people. I think that is it! It is impossible for me to know even myself fully, let alone people around me. Only God knows me fully! Every one of us is subjective, but who we are in Christ is the truth, the reality of our existence.
How about you? What is your source of value and identity?
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Since then, I felt that I had done quite a bit of 'travelling' in terms of my journey in mission and ministry. To simply put it, I am one of many who constantly grapple with issues related to missions and ministry. God called me to mission through Hudson Taylor's biographies many years ago. Without Hudson Taylor, we Chinese people wouldn't have had the opportunity to hear the gospel. I sensed that God was calling me (as a Chinese person) to 'return the debt' to the nations.
More than four years ago, I attended a Christian arts seminar in Cooma in New South Wales. Michael Frost was the main speaker. That was the first time I'd ever heard of the so called 'alternative ways of being / doing church'. I was blown away and challenged by Mike's messages. I came to know a bit more about the concepts of emerging missional church through study, books and blogs.
I really want to "cast off anything that hinders....", and I start to wonder if "church systems or programmes" do hinder more than help in terms of missional efforts in God's Kingdom. They're not evil or necessarily wrong in themselves, but God's attitude towards us is not based on how well you've fit into the church structure (as some believe so). I think 'sacred space' doesn't have to be within the four walls of the church buildings. As a friend of mine said, "Non churched people could actually teach the Church a thing or two about building community, generosity and making a difference in the world we live in. " More and more I think sharing and living out the Gospel in everyday language and in the natural rhythms of life would have more impact than just working in the church office. Mission is really about asking 'what is God doing around me' and then seeking ways to join in those things. That is my intention and my prayer. The process of grappling and wrestling with all of the baggage I put on myself, and the church's role in this has been going on for the last couple of years in my journey.
Hence moving back from being a full time paid Christian worker to a different journey is not beyond question. I must admit though that I am on a crossroad, and still haven't made up my mind......
Tell me oh Lord how You want me to live Your life.....
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
- God gives each of us a unique personality. Most of us don't know much about our own personalities. I think knowing more about our personality -- who we are and how we interact with others -- is very important.
- I Cor. 11:28 says, “Let a man examine himself...”. According to our personalities, our “work” on examining ourselves will differ from another’s. How we perceive reality, how we react to life, how we look at things will impact throughout the frame of our personality. I think knowing our personality type can assist us in knowing how to face difficult situations.
- No personality type is “good” or “bad”, that none is better or worse than any other. Accepting ourselves is the first step in accepting others. Every one has both strengths and weaknesses.
- God has given us gifts according to our personality.
Ro 12:4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
Ro 12:5 so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Ro 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.
Ro 12:7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach;
Ro 12:8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
- 4 Jobs You Have Had In Your Life:
- 4 Movies You Could Watch Over And Over:
A Beautiful Mind, Beyond Borders, Passion of the Christ, Joy Luck Club
- 4 Websites You Visit often:
Google, Living Room, World Team, CCBC Xanga
- 4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now:
in my bed, Greek Islands, Taiwan.... come to think of it, I should be quite happy where I am now :s
Feel free to consider yourself tagged!
Monday, July 24, 2006
•Not just in the NT….but in the OT
•Not just a formula….but the heart of God
•Not just to share….but to live
•Not just for heaven….but for this life
•Not just for Non-Christians….but for Christians
Sunday, July 23, 2006
McLaren uses a scene in the story of "The Wizard of Oz" to make his point. When Toto pulls back the curtain to reveal that the great Wizard of Oz is in fact a very average person hiding behind an imposing image. The 1940's world was a world immersed in modernity. The film exposes the Wizard as a fraud, expressing a relentless doubt and displaying an early pang of discontent with its dominant model of larger-than-life leadership. The answer to this problem appeared in the next scene. McLaren said,
"At first glance, Dorothy is all wrong as a model of leadership. She is the wrong gender (female) and the wrong age (young). Rather than being a person with all the answers, who knows what's up and where to go and what's what, she is herself lost, a seeker, often bewildered, and vulnerable. These characteristics would disqualify her from modern leadership. But they serve as her best credentials for postmodern leadership."
McLaren says that Dorothy is a bit disoriented, and she gathers other needy people in the belief that all their needs can be fulfilled in a common quest. Dorothy doesn't have all the answers and can't solve all the problems, but she believes that somehow they can journey together. McLaren lists a comparison of this post-Wiz leadership to the original modern leadership model, which I am very challenged by.
1. From Bible analyst to spiritual sage
2. From Broadcaster to listener
3. From Technician to spiritual friend
4. From Warrior/Salesman to dancer
5. From Careerist to amateur
6. From Problem Solver to co-Quester
7. From Apologist to apologizer
8. From Threat to includer
9. From Knower to seeker
10. From Solo Act to team builder
As Al Rogers said, "In times of profound change, the learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." I think that is very insightful!
Saturday, July 22, 2006
I was reminded today that too much of our time is spent in trying to chart God on a grid, and too little time is spent allowing our hearts to feel awe. By reducing Christian spirituality to formula, we deprive our hearts to wonder.
As I shared previously in my posts, I have been grappling with a number of paradoxes of faith and spirituality. Today I heard a still small voice telling me: "There are things you cannot fully understand, and you must learn to live with this. Not only must you learn to live with this, you must learn to enjoy this." What a challenge! Well the chances of any of my theology being exactly right are extremely slim, but I know that God has things figured out, and I just need to simply trust Him, worship Him and love Him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength.
Friday, July 21, 2006
A. W. Tozer said that organization is necessary but dangerous, and I think that is so true, and offer a wise balance. The key with both leadership and organization is to seek forms, styles, and attitudes that serve, not that dominate – and that are flexible, not new rigidities. This approach, of course, is what Jesus taught and modeled.
I find the following quote from Brian McLaren very meaningful, it gives me a perspective that encourages me to continue seeking balance as I proceed my journey with the Lord, although this journey is never easy:
"we are all in process, and we move forward like inexperienced canoe-paddlers at times, veering toward one bank, over-correcting toward the other, and so on. With experience and time, instructed by both internal self-examination and constructive external criticism, I trust that we will develop a smooth, graceful, and balanced stroke and move strongly forward in our adventure, enjoying both the journey and our companions, in the joyful presence of God."
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
- A Gospel leader always goes back to the basics. As John Newton said, our hearts are 'prone to wander' and we always need our heart warmed by the Gospel. In the midst of busyness, are the 'eyes of our understanding' on the Lord or are we overwhelmed by the 'stuff' in our lives? The Gospel leaks out of us everyday! We must put it back in! After all, we work, but we work because it is God who works in us, changing our minds and emotions so that we regain our spiritual balance, enabling us to live for the praise of His Name (Phil 2:12-13)
- A Gospel leader asks God to help him or her be willing to lead out of weakness, not out of their strength. Are we willing to let God help us give up the idol of having to control life and live out of our human resources apart from Him? Is our model of a leader the charismatic CEO or someone who really sees his need for Christ? Even people in the church do not want this kind of leader!
- The Gospel leader needs to be willing to take risks. While we often criticize Peter for his lack of faith when he was trying to walk on the water, he at least stepped out of the boat. What does risk-taking look like for the Gospel leader? Just a few ideas: the willingness to lovingly confront and stretch people, to stand for what is right but recognize our own personal failings.
- Leaders living out of the Gospel should reflect an attitude of humility. Both Peter and James remind us that God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. John the Baptist acknowledge that "He (Jesus) must increase; I must decrease." Paul tells us in Ephesians 4 that we must be "completely humble."
- Gospel leaders feel the pain of this sinful world. The more the Gospel works on us, the more we realize we are family. It will drive us to Christ for more grace and draw us to one another in mutual interdependence. It will help us feel the heartbeat of God for the lost sheep which surround us.
The Gospel leader will begin reflecting these characteristics as he aligns himself and herself with our Father. Such attitudes and actions will flow out of workship, going back to the basics, longing for a time of solitude to let God change ungodly attitudes, to learn to live and even rejoice in weakness, to take risks, to walk humbly before our God, and to embrace the pain of this world, knowing that our Savior sustains us and helps us look beyond the pain to the hope that lies before us.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
1. We've never done it that way before.
2. We're not ready for that.
3. We are doing all right without trying that.
4. We tried it once before.
5. We don't have money for that.
6. That's not our job.
7. Something like that can't work.
There's probably an eighth step, but we've never looked it up before hehe.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Lately I have been convicted about the fact that majority of the western church has lost touch with people who didn't know about Jesus. We need to repent and start loving people who are very different from us. I wonder if living missional lives and intentionally befriending people would be the key. The idea is not to befriend somebody just to 'attract' them into going to my church, but to love people just because they exist and that they are made in the image of God. I like the idea of loving people just to love them.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Kel's poem is called "I want to know":
I don’t care which denomination or religious community you align yourself with.
I want to know how spiritual you are as a singular person in the daily movement of life.
I don’t care how many fundamental beliefs you cherish in your head.
I want to know what your heart cherishes, for that is what your hands will ultimately do. Show me what you do with your time and how you spend your money and I will know what your real beliefs are.
I don’t care what doctrinal knowledge you possess, or how many times you’ve proved your position through the selective use of scriptures.I want to know how many times you’ve proved God exists by being His helping hand to the lonely, the sick, the poor, and the unseen, unheard voices.
I don’t care if your church building has fancy stained-glass windows, cushions on the pews, or beautifully landscaped gardens.
I want to know about the people inside. Do they act differently when inside those four walls than when outside? Do they use different words, put on different mannerisms, or even dress differently? Do they have any friends outside those four walls?
I don’t care if you pay tithes and offerings to your local CSP [church service provider], or how much you donate to charities or other tax-deductible organisations.
I want to know how the other 90 percent of your income is spent. Your generosity in all of life speaks more to me of who you are and what kind of God you serve.
I don’t care where you are on the ladder, or what your title is.
I want to know how much family time was sacrificed to get there and what you will sacrifice to stay there. Show me how much family time and personal time you spend with God, and I will have a clearer picture of where you are spiritually.
I don’t care which food you choose to eat, or drinks you choose to drink.
I want to know how often you share that food and drink with others. If you practice hospitality - whether your table is groaning with gourmet delicacies, or simply bread and water - that tells me more about your “inner health” than any dietary preferences.
I don’t care what special days, seasons or festivals you observe.
I want to know how you live sunset-to-sunset every day of the year. Your daily pace, rituals and observations reveal more to me than your beliefs about specific days.
I don’t care which books or magazines you read, conferences or seminars you attend, or even how much Bible study you do.
I want to know how all that information is making a difference to your ability to live in such a way that I might be attracted to That Story as my own Truth. kh copyright
I wonder if you have ever struggled with the same questions in your life?
Friday, July 14, 2006
I was told that the thing with corridors is that you have to learn to tune into God's voice. I thought I have been doing that, yet it still seems His voice is not that clear. I am struggling, and I have been trying to beat down the doors myself. I almost feel helpless. Am I to just resign and not try anymore, simply waiting on God? Or should I put my feet into the "Red Sea" and trust that God will open the waters for me?
Oh Lord, I need to experience you sitting in the corridor with me, if that is what I am supposed to do. Please help me to be settled with having more questions than answers, and let me enjoy this season of my life with You.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
All this is flashy rhetoric about loving you.
I never had a selfless thought since I was born.
I am mercenary and self-seeking through and through;
I want God, you, all friends, merely to serve my turn.
Peace, reassurance, pleasure, are the goals I seek,
I cannot crawl one inch outside my proper skin;
I talk of love - a scholar's parrot may talk Greek -
But, self-imprisoned, always end where I begin.
I sat there in the chapel of a church close to my home yesterday wondering if I was like the parrot in C.S. Lewis' poem, swinging in my cage, or engaging in a valley walking along a narrow road hitting the sides of the road.
More than six billion people live in the world, more than 1/3 have never heard of Jesus, and why am I engaging in thoughts for me? How am I to deal with my own depravity? I know deep down that Jesus feels strongly about communicating the idea of our brokenness, and I do need to figure out what is wrong with the person in the mirror in HIS strength. I really can't do it on my own.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box. "There are 5 things you need to know," he told the pencil, "Before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be."
- One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in Someone's hand.
- Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you'll need it to become a better pencil.
- Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.
- Four: The most important part of you will always be what's inside.
- Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write.
The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart.Now replacing the place of the pencil with you. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best person you can be.
- One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in God's hand. And allow other human beings to access you for the many gifts you possess.
- Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems in life, but you'll need it to become a stronger person.
- Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make.
- Four: The most important part of you will always be what's on the inside.
- Five: On every surface you walk through, you must leave your mark. No matter what the situation, you must continue to do your duties.
Allow this parable on the pencil to encourage you to know that you are a special person and only you can fulfill the purpose to which you were born to accomplish.Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot make a change.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
- ‘radical’ postmodernity, based on a head-driven philosophical search
- sociological search
- creative postmodernity
The first two of these three approaches are about Deconstruction (A) and one is Reconstruction (B). To get from (A) to (B) is a painful journey, and one that many in the Emerging church have made, are making or are about to make. It is common knowledge that any fundamental shift in the way we go about life will inevitably involve some pain, and is therefore something that requires the support of those around you.
‘Creative postmodernism’ is far more healthy, and akin to a deconstruct/reconstruct approach. In this scenario, people engage both head and heart, and are influenced by the thoughts, experiences, dialogue and interaction with others.
A Jamieson reports that this is the beginning of a process, which relates to Fowler’s Stages of Faith. The greatest mistake that people in ‘deconstruction mode’ make, is to stop praying. The reasons given for stopping praying are usually some form of objection to the mechanics and purpose of prayer. Rather than persevering with it or finding alternative methods of prayer, it has become the first casualty of deconstruction. The approach to faith turns into an exercise in philosophical truth claims rather than a relationship to the divine.
Prayer takes you beyond yourself and your limitations; it enables you to listen and encounter the God that is beyond, and not defined by us. It is believed that deconstruction held with prayer can help us hear and encounter the real Jesus and the real Godhead.
What do you think?
Monday, July 10, 2006
1. It is focused on God's presence and kingdom (Acts 4, Exodus 33, Nehemiah 1).
- a request for grace to confess sins and humble ourselves
- a compassion and zeal for the flourishing of the church
- a yearning to know God, to see his face, to see his glory
2. It is bold and specific.
- pacesetters in prayer spend time in self-examination
- in the context of the gospel, it is purifying and strenthening
- pray that the world might see the glory of God through his people
3. It is prevailing, corporate.
- prayer should be constant, not sporadic and brief
- pray withouth ceasing, pray long and hard
- the process will have our hard hearts melted, to tear down barriers, to have the glory of God break through.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
We are going to have "New Life" as our BYO worship as the theme next Wednesday during LR, where each of us will bring something such as a prayer, a bible verse, a testimony, a song, or an artistic piece etc to the gathering. I'm still thinking about what to bring...any suggestions for me?
Friday, July 07, 2006
What do you think of the following perceptions of self-awareness?
The first one is the thinking that we only need to know God, and we don’t need to spend time knowing ourselves, because knowing ourselves will make us more self-centred.
Calvin thought that “lacking self-awareness will not lead us to knowing God. Almost all the wisdom that we have is real and concrete wisdom, is composed of two parts: knowing God and knowing self.”
The second perception is to achieve self awareness through human psychology. They study diligently and without a doubt have increased their self awareness, but behind that some of the values are contrary to the Christian worldview. For example, they think that they don’t need God to achieve real self-awareness and affirmation of identity. The answer to the meaning and purpose of life can be found from logical thinking. Self-development and satisfaction is the core of personal growth.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Dr Steward suggests that Biblical Holism is where God, people and deeds connect. He reminds us that the gospel is not bound to either societal tastes or traditional ideals: rather, it stands apart as a timeless message with radically fresh ideas for each age.
Steward retells the salvation story with an eye on the big picture. Creation, the fall of man, and redemption are examined from a 'whole-life' perspective. God is pre-eminent, Lord over every area of life, spiritual, physical, and social. When assimilated into individual and corporate life, it is important to foster a balanced, vital community of faith.
Biblical holism, according to Steward, thrives when every person, culture, and race adds a voice. This blending of perspectives, practices, and priorities makes a glorious choir of God's work on earth. It is based on Christ's lordship over every part of life - where people who are in right relationship with God and one another (relationship) are responsibly managing the resources entrusted by Him (stewardship) in ways that show that those resources belong to God (ownership). Understanding the meaning of biblical holism is essential to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.
As a person serving in mobilizing missions, I find this insight very useful for dealing with the ambiguities of different cultural, economic, environmental, and religious paractices in various mission fields (which of course go beyond Western culture).
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
I was thinking: it must have shaken his disciples to the core when Jesus gave them this mission. Two thousand years later, if we take them seriously, they still both shock us and thrill us. This Commission was given to every follower of Jesus, not to pastors and missionaries alone.
- A never-to-be-forgotten day
Imagine the scene. 11 men had gathered on a mountainside, and they were emotionally exhausted. Who wouldn’t be, after all they had been through in a few short weeks? They had experienced the heights of hope and the depths of despair, not once but over and over again. They had lived for weeks in fear of their lives. They had endured the shock of having their best friend and inspirational leader publicly executed, and unbelievably, break free from a heavily guarded rock tomb and appear among them on several distinct occasions after his resurrection.
- A never-to-be forgotten mandate
It is in this highly charged context that the Lord Jesus gives the disciples his final instructions. For centuries, the church has known the concluding verses of Matthew’s Gospel as “the Great Commission”, in the same way that Matthew 22:37-39 is known as “the Great Commandment”.
What exactly is it that Jesus told his disciples? “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(Matt 28:18-20)
In fact, there is only one command in these verses: “make disciples of all nations” (that’s the only imperative in the original Greek). But, that command is encircled on the one hand by a breathtaking statement of fact (“All authority…) and on the other by a comprehensive promise (“and surely I am with you always,…), and explained by three activities / participles (“as you go”, “baptizing”, “teaching”), which are the inescapable tasks to undertake in order to fulfil the command!
However, I was also thinking - perhaps “going, baptizing and teaching” are illustrative rather than saying all there is to say. Or perhaps, each embraces a significant portion of what is involved in making disciples and God's mission. Hence I also reckon that the other items in the previous post are part of God's mission for His Church universal.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
(1) go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
(2) to clothe the naked?
(3) to feed the hungry?
(4) to set at liberty those who are oppressed?
(5) to see and name the injustice of the world?
(6) to work to change the conditions that perpetuate poverty and oppression?
(7) to reach out to the hurting in loving compassion?
(8) offering what you have in service to others?
(9) to engage in dialogue with persons of faith wherever they may be and join together in making the world a better place for all of God’s children?
(10) joining with Christians around the world in global partnership and mutual cooperation to do the work of God?
Monday, July 03, 2006
Hey I was wondering - for those of you who have boy friend /girl friend / partner / husband / wife, how do you determine your time together and time alone? Do you have a concensus between yourselves regarding this?
Sunday, July 02, 2006
"God is about a big purpose in and for the whole of creation. The church has been called into life to be both the means of this mission and a foretaste of where God is inviting all creation to go. Just as its Lord is a mission-shaped God, so the community of God's people exists, not for themselves but for the sake of the work. Mission is therefore not a program or project some people in the church do from time to time (the church's very nature is to be God's missionary people. We use the word missional to mark this big difference.) Mission is not about a project or a budget, or a one-off event somewhere; it's not even about sending missionaries. A missional church is a community of God's people who live into the imagination that they are, by their very nature, God's missionary people living as a demonstration of what God plans to do in and for all of creation in Jesus Christ."