Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Calling.....

Last weekend, I had the privilege of hosting the Bible College of Malaysia E-Team members. They are in Penang to minister at our church, Tabernacle of Praise. They have been a great blessing to us and I enjoyed the fellowship time we had together.

During one of the lunch fellowship, one of the students asked me an important question - whether I am a full time minister. My immediate response to this question was “Yes”. In my response, I told them that I view my secular job as my calling. I am called to the marketplace ministry.

I believe that the New Testament describes ministry as any service rendered by a Christian that is motivated and empowered by the Holy Spirit that benefits all mankind and brings glory to God. In the Old Testament, ministry was largely the responsibility of the few, the priesthood. In the New Testament, all true Christians are priests and thus the ministry is the work of all the believers. I Peter 2:5 says “you yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

There is a lot of misconception with regards to our individual calling. To many, a calling is described as something to do with a five fold ministry. I believe God does not distinguish between secular and spiritual, but only between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the Spirit. So whatever we do is to be done as to the Lord and for the Lord. We are required to give thanks in everything we do. Colossians 3:17 says “And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

By no means I am undermining the calling into the five fold ministry and Christian service. They are important and play significant part in the overall plan of the Kingdom of God. I believe that God calls some to serve Him in a secular occupation, while others are called into “full-time Christian service.” I Corinthians 10:31 says “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God”. I believe I am called to the marketplace for this season of time in Penang. If the Lord calls me for another new area of ministry, I will be willing to give up everything for HIS glory.

In conclusion, it is not a question of whether your work is in the realm of the secular or the spiritual, but whether the work you do is done in the power of the Spirit or in the power of the flesh. God desires to be glorified by His children, whether it is in the marketplace or in the pulpit. May God help us to glorify Him in our work and to be content where He has called us to serve Him.

Be Blessed.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Be Fruitful in Spite of Your Circumstances!

Matthew 7:17-20 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

In Israel, it’s amazing how many trees are being planted all the time. In fact, the green line that you hear about so much in the news isn’t an actual drawn borderline, but it is a visible line you can only see from the air. It’s where Israelis stopped planting trees.

Now suppose I wanted to plant a fig tree — would I go searching for lemon seeds? Of course not! And even if I planted a fig tree next to a lemon tree, it would still only produce figs, no matter how close it was planted to the lemon tree.

So in our lives, though we may be surrounded with sourness, even planted in a “lemon grove”, we are “fig trees” — and the sweetness of our fruit will remain, because we were planted by the Lord Himself, to produce good fruit under all conditions. There is no question that if we are planted in Him the good fruit we bear will come forth in both good times and bad times.

Life is filled with ups and downs, unforeseen circumstances that send our lives in strange loops we weren’t expecting -– nevertheless we were fashioned to be fruit bearers…unconditionally. You may say ” George, you don’t understand, you have no idea what’s happening in my life right now!” You’re right, I don’t — but I do know the Lord who laid down his life unconditionally for you — and that He did it so He could abide in you and you in Him — guess what for…

If life is overwhelming you, then it’s time to reach down deep and draw nourishment from the Root of our lives -– Yeshua the Messiah. The sap of His Life will produce… MUCH! GOOD! FRUIT!…despite the lemons!

This devotional was provided by Worthy Devotions.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Praise & Strength

This morning we had a great time at our church, Tabernacle of Praise, celebrating Father's Day. The Lord indeed spoke to me in a very special way. As we were worshiping God, right in front of me was my good friend - Alvin Tan, Eunice and their 1 year old boy, baby Davin. Baby Davin lifted up his both hand as Melissa (our worship leader) leading the praise and worship. As I was observing Baby Davin, the Lord reminded me the verse from Matthew 21:6 ""Have you never read, 'Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings you have perfected praise'?" Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew based on Psalms 8:2 that says "From the lips of babes and infants you have established strength, because of your adversaries, that you might silence the enemy and the avenger."

It is amazing to compare these two verses. Jesus speaks about "perfected praise" and equates it with what the Psalmist says about "established strength". I reckon that there is something connected about praise and strength. When we come to His throne of grace with a child like heart - seeking our Abba Father, our praises to Him will be a channel where we can draw His strength. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says that "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." Some translation uses the word power instead of strength. Wow....I can rely on His power in my weakness. As I come to His throne of mercy with simplicity in heart, I can draw my Abba Father's strength to face the day. Isn't that awesome? Praise is not a psychological means of calming our emotions; it is a vital spiritual force that helps a person to access God's strength.

Praise is an act of faith. It takes boldness and courage to praise and worship God despite our circumstances. When a baby has a need, it doesn't think about the need, or contemplate the problem while searching for a solution. They simply cry as a reflex, knowing that their help is going to come from a source bigger than themselves.

That's how our praise should be. Whenever we have a need we should not contemplate the problem, or try to search for a solution on our own. We should, as a reflex, cry out to God in praise, thanking Him for the answer that He has already provided. This is where praise becomes an act of faith. This is where we can begin to thank God for the evidence of things not seen.

Thanksgiving gives birth to praise and praise stimulates worship. Praise instantly brings down the presence of God. God’s presence makes the difference any day! It will make a genius out of a dullard.

Be Blessed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Take a Leap of Faith!

Luke 17:5-6 And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith. And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

The African Impala (an African antelope) are amazing creatures that can jump to a height of over 10 feet and cover a distance greater than 30 feet. Yet Impalas can be kept in a zoo inside an enclosure with a simple 3 foot wall. Why? Impalas will not jump if they can’t see where their feet will land. Do we have something in common with these antelopes? Able to take great leaps of faith, but refusing to do it unless we can see where we’ll land?

George Mueller said of faith, “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”

In Biblical terms: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

True faith cannot see how the landing will occur…it simply leaps under the conviction that it WILL occur. Remember, Biblical faith begins where our power ends!

This devotional was provided by Worthy Devotions.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Financial Management

A good friend of mine email me a letter written by Dr. Tan Tee Kwong, a former deputy minister, revealing about how the money of Government Linked Company being misused. It is indeed sad to see how financial mismanagement leads to the destruction of a well managed organization. Well, in my considered opinion, I appreciate Dr. Tan for revealing the matter but I think it is a bit too late. He should have resigned from his cabinet post in protest when he discovered this issue. Instead of speaking out now, he should have expose this in 2004 and bring this issue to the public knowledge But he failed and I only can link this to the fact that politicians are opportunist !!!.

On the other hand, we should also not forget the crisis that is happening in the Christian community around us i.e. Calvary Church(CC) and City Harvest(CH) and many others that we may not aware off. In the case of CC and CH, I will not say who is right and who is wrong but I am sure there are lessons than we can learn from this crisis. The most common battle cry by the Christian leaders is that they are under attack from the devil when such crisis comes up. Well, we will blame the devil for the crisis but we fail to realize, it is our own error/weakness that allows the devil to manipulate the situation.

This is a wake up call to the churches in Malaysia and elsewhere to be on guard with regards to the governance of the house of God especially in the area of financial management. There is dire need to setup a proper and well structured policies and guidelines in managing finances. Like it or not, many don't have clear structure and guidelines in this aspect of church operation. This is one area where many ministries fail and fall. When such policies are not there, we may allow for temptation to creep in that leads to many decision made without proper guidelines and carried out of self interest.

Too many times as we have seen in Malaysia and elsewhere, a lack of transparency and accountability in organizations has led to all sorts of troubles for those in charge. Churches preach about integrity and accountability, and many work hard to manage their finances appropriately. Yet, surprisingly high percentage of churches don't do all that's required in financial management. The Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova’s School of Business (US) reported in January 2007 that 85% of U.S. dioceses responding said that they had uncovered embezzlement schemes over the past five years.

Like putting watchmen at the city gate, we also need to be on guard on how we manage the responsibility and the resources that God has entrusted to us.I believe in the establishment of sound financial management systems, policies, procedures, controls, and practices in the financial management aspect of the church. It is important we set it right so that the future generation can be blessed with the structure that we have setup.

Be Blessed.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I did it my way.....

All of us at some point of life may ask the question ""What on earth am I here for?". The Bible gives a good answers to this question....."to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10). God created us for a prearranged mission. You're a conscript, not a volunteer. Each one of us have our own unique calling that God has planned for us. And it's a mistake to try and duplicate somebody else's calling. We cannot be another Mother Teresa.

Remember Moses? God calls him to deliver Israel from Egypt but he tries doing it in his own way. Killing an enemy to save an ally's life, he winds up a forty year as a fugitive. When God called Moses to deliver His people from Egypt, Moses decided to do it his own way. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, but instead of consulting God he took matters into his own hands. The Bible says, 'He looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand' (Exodus 2:12).

Obviously Moses was more concerned with the opinions of people than how God felt about it. So God had to teach Moses that his orders came from Him. After Moses dug a hole and tried to hide the work of his flesh, God allowed it to be exposed. He showed Moses that by doing things his own way he couldn't keep a single soldier buried in the sand. Whereas, by doing things God's way, a whole army could be buried in the depths of the Red Sea. So today, make up your mind to do it God's way.

Serving God cannot be best defined by Frank Sinatra's song called, “I did it my way.” Moses did it his own way and not God’s way. The result was forty years of exile. After living in the wilderness and learning his lesson he returns to do God's will - God's way. All of us, not just ordained ministers, are called to do God's work God's way.

Be rest assured that you are Highly Favored, Deeply Loved and Greatly Blessed by the Lord. Continue to be faithful to the calling that God has placed in your heart. I am always encouraged with a quote from Mother Teresa that says "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."

Be Blessed.