Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Boomerang Generation - Slackers in breeding?

Recently I came across the term Boomerang Generation. It refers to Young adults who left to go to college, get married or just strut their independence - are moving back in with mom and dad thus "boomeranging" back to their place of origin.. Boomerang Generation can be a mixed blessing for parents, both emotionally and financially. The reasons are many for returning, the first being economics. Some blame this situation as the result of "helicopter hovering parents" era where parents overprotect their children and indulged every whim that leads to kids who are not developed to face the reality of life.

Many of the young adults who in this category of Boomerang Generation are postponing their transition to adulthood. Instead of taking charge of their lives, they fall back to the comfort of home and parents - back to their safety nest. They continue to be financially dependent on their parents for periods much longer than earlier generations. A recent survey by the Royal Bank of Scotland of 1,200 university graduates in Britain found that nearly 60 percent are still being supported by their parents three years after graduation.

One of the grave effect of such phenomenon is young adults who are able to return home after an unsuccessful job hunt often become more passive in their search for employment if they continue to be financially supported by their parents. A lack of motivation can delay the start to a young adult's career and cause him/her to miss months or years of job earnings and experience.

I wonder what is the situation in Malaysia? Are we are simply breeding a generation of slackers? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The gift of Discernment - An "Early Warning System" for the Church

When the tsunami struck on December 26, 2004, the Indian Ocean had no early warning system to speak of—at least nothing like the Pacific Ocean's array of tide gauges, seismometers, deep ocean sensors, high-tech buoys, and communication systems. One year after the Indian Ocean tsunami killed an estimated 300,000 people, progress has been made on setting up basic early warning systems in the region. A full-blown regional system, however, may be years away, despite predictions that another huge wave could strike at any time. Such preparation probably saved thousands of lives recently in Japan and other parts of the world. When the recent earthquake struck, systems were in place to prepare people for the imminent tsunami. In fact popular search engine like Google even update “Tsunami Warning” in their web page. With a click of the mouse one could access life-saving information. The result of this early warning system was that people took shelter and much human devastation was avoided.

A network of ocean buoys designed for tsunami warnings called the Deep-ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis, or DART was deployed. In each of the DART, a recorder on the seafloor monitors the pressure of water passing overhead; a buoy tethered on the surface can instantly transmit warnings when a tsunami arrives.

What are the “early warning” systems in the context of the New Testament era especially for the church? Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to equip His church with power and spiritual gifts (Greek -- charismata) so that His disciples could continue to carry out His ministry objectives. While there are certain gifts of a spectacular nature that are often given greater attention, the New Testament mentions at least 21 that are provided to the church. These gifts are listed in Ephesians 4:11, Romans 12:3-7, and 1 Corinthians 12:1-12,28, and are generally assigned to one of three categories, as listed below:

- Ministry (office) gifts: Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.

- Motivational (practical) gifts: Service, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, Mercy, Helps and Administration.

- Charismatic (spiritual) gifts: Wisdom, Knowledge, Discernment, Prophecy, Tongues, Interpretation, Faith, Healing and Miracles.

It should always be remembered that the purpose of all the gifts are to edify the church, and their distribution within the body is completely dependent upon the discretion of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:11). The scriptures imply that it's appropriate to seek specific gifts; however, one's motive must be for the building up of the church, not for self-gratification. "...since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel" (1 Corinthians 14:12).

In the context of the “early warning” system, the gift of discernment fits into this criteria. The gift of discernment (1 Corinthians 12:10) is a supernatural ability to distinguish between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error, between holiness and evil. 1 Timothy 4:1 says that in latter days, deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons will come, so the important role of the gift of discernment is to identify those spirits and doctrines. A.W. Tozer says "Among the gifts of the Spirit scarcely one is of greater practical usefulness than the gift of discernment. This gift should be highly valued and frankly sought as being almost indispensable in these critical times. This gift will enable us to distinguish the chaff from the wheat and to divide the manifestations of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit."

A discerning spirit tests the spirits with this rule of scripture:

- Observing what a person does. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus explains that false prophets are known by their fruit; by their conduct and actions.

- Observing whether or not a person exalts Jesus Christ as the Son of God and as Lord and Saviour (I Corinthians 12:3).

- By listening to what a person says (1 John 4:1-3). Does their confession line up with the truth of God's Word?

Paul illustrated the use of this gift in Acts 16:16-18, as Peter had exercised it in Acts 5:3. When it was not being exercised in the Corinthian church, grave distortion of the truth occurred. God still empowers His people to unmask false prophets and carnal hypocrites. He gives them insight to expose imitations and deceptions that most Christians would take as genuine. The gift of discernment, however, can easily deteriorate into a critical, proud, and self-righteous spirit. It can be judgmental instead of corrective when it is imitated in the flesh. But rightly used it is a great protection to God’s people - an “early warning” system for the church.

Be Blessed.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Life & Death

Dad passed away on 25th February 2012 at 9.17p.m after a brief illness. All of us are saddened of his passing away, but also very relieved that he no longer has to suffer. As I was reflecting on the event that took place in the last couple of days, I am reminded once again on the fragility of life. Ludwig B├╝chner puts in perspective when he said “Death is the surest calculation that can be made”.

Death - It is something that both intrigues the world, and scares the world. It is something that we are faced with every day, sometimes expectedly, and other times not. It is something that causes philosophers to sit and wonder, what really happens when someone dies. Is there a soul? Is there an afterlife? And if so, what is the afterlife like? Many aren't so sure, and the very thought of death brings a deep conviction, a fear of the unknown.

But for Christians, death is something else altogether. There is a hope, a life existing with God. As sad as death is for us on earth, and as much as we mourn and miss those who have passed; the truth is, death is only the end of our life on earth. We do not simply cease to exist, but rather we move on to live with God, in Heaven, for eternity. We move on to a place where we can truly glorify our Lord, a place that is free from pain and suffering.

As Christians, we should not be ignorant, as Paul says, regarding those who have passed away. Rather we should rejoice that they are with the Lord, in a place more peaceful and joyous than we can ever imagine. And for ourselves, when darkness seems to surround us, we should remember that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39), and that we have absolutely no reason to fear death (1 John 4:17).

Someone defined Christian life as, "A Christian's life is really nothing more than a bus ticket to Heaven... sure it may be a bumpy ride now and then, but the destination is worth the price paid." Do you have the bus ticket to heaven? It can only be obtained by inviting Jesus into your life.

I’ll miss Dad but we will see each other again. I know he is in a better place where there is no pain, no sorrow and no suffering.

Be Blessed.