Saturday, 31 October 2009

Up-2-Date [31-10-09]

More underage teens in S'pore see casual sex as acceptable
Most improbable dialogue
Chuck Swindoll wary of 'corporatization' of church
"Ripped from the headlines" sermon illustrations
Chuck Swindoll's 10 ministry lessons and 8 bonus nuggets
What is Scripture? Theological giants weigh in
Working in and on your youth ministry
One of the most important principles in reading the Bible
Why our hearts are restless till they find their hope in God
How to identify a reliable preacher
New book - Proclaiming a cross-centered theology
Westminster Shorter Catechism
Reaching the next generation
In defense of virtual church
Should Christians say that their aim is to convert others?
Body and soul (and spirit?)
Book review - SimChurch
4 simple hallmarks of good exposition
A new model merges pastoral care and social action
Uncommunicated expectations - A major source of church conflict
Time to separate church and sports?
Can we separate Lord from Saviour?
Faith and church size

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Preaching notes

Josh Harris did a preaching notes series sometime end of last year, highlighting a variety of preachers and their preaching manuscripts with their personal handwritten notes. A great resource and look into today's pastor-preachers and how they prepare their sermons, as well as communicate using their manuscripts. The audio sermons are included in each link as well.

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Thursday, 29 October 2009

Blogging pastors in Singapore

Attempting to start a evolving list here of pastors in Singapore that actively blog. Do share with me your favourites and/or links I've missed out or am just not aware of. Hopefully we can begin seeing a local pastors' blogging community thriving soon!

Chua Seng Lee - Give me this mountain
Daniel Chua @ The City Church
David Burke @ Orchard Road Presbyterian Church  
Kenny Chee @ World Revival Prayer Fellowship - Blogpastor
Kong Hee @ City Harvest Church
Lawrence Khong @ Faith Community Baptist Church
Monte Lee Rice - pentechorus
Tim Gibson @ Church of Singapore (Bukit Timah) - Eternity Talk
Tony Siew @ Trinity Theological College - Revelation is Real
Wilson Tan @ Jubilee Church - The Inklings' Cafe
Wong Siow Hwee @ Jubilee Church - latria

Blogpastor keeps a running list of pastors, preachers and professors, based locally, across the Causeway, and abroad. His would be more comprehensive.

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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Killing vision in your church
by Perry Noble (28 Oct 2009)

  1. Pray really small prayers…seriously, don’t ask God for ANYTHING big.  He DID put an interstate highway through a sea, demolished the walls of Jericho and brought the dead back to life…but I’m sure He doesn’t do things like that anymore!  :-)
  2. Celebrate the past WAY more than you anticipate the future, thus becoming a museum and not a movement!
  3. Allow those who have never actually done anything for Jesus dictate to you what they believe you can and can’t do for Him!
  4. Listen and repond to every critic.
  5. Wait until everything makes perfect sense before you make a decision.
  6. Spend more time on blogs than you do in your Bible.
  7. Become more agenda driven than GOSPEL driven!
  8. Actually believe that EVERYONE must be 100% happy with every detail.
  9. Vote!
  10. Become angry/jealous over what God is doing at other places and become hyper focused on all of their problems, thus overlooking your own!

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Thinktime @ Dome, Dempsey

This is the 3rd time I've come back to my new-found hangout for thinktime*, and the first time armed with my journal, a book to read and my trusty laptop for live-blogging via free wi-fi. It's a cosy little nook called Dempsey Hill, tucked away opposite Botanic Gardens, behind St. George's Church @ Minden Rd. There are a wide assortment of quaint, gourmet and signature shops, ranging from furniture to art to groceries to restaurants. The one I frequent is Dome, where you can have a choice of set lunches/dinners, salad, cakes, pastries, ice blends, or just a cup of tea/coffee. And of course, free wi-fi! Had myself a pot of Earl Grey tea, and spent the afternoon catching up on my reading and some light blogging. It also helps that I'm on leave these 2 weeks, as I'm forcing myself to clear my annual leave (almost 3 weeks worth left!).

*Thinktime = extended, uninterrupted time to think, reflect and journal critically and strategically.

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Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Make it free

See related article
Improving online effectiveness by removing all barriers to accessing and sharing content (Matt Perman)

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Monday, 26 October 2009

Doing public theology in Singapore

SBC Ichthus Research Centre organised its latest seminar today entitled "Doing Public Theology in Singapore," presented by Dr Kwa Kiem Kiok.

After a brief introduction of public theology, Dr Kwa explored the religious and public scene in Singapore, and the need for Christians to have a theology of engagement, before proposing a theological framework for engagement based on the parables on the kingdom of God. She also went on to discuss doing public theology and posed 3 strategic questions (derived from game theory) to consider in engagement.

Notable quotes from her paper:
Public theology, broadly defined, is theology that is practiced, exercised and done outside the church.
Public theology is a highly contextualized theology because how Christians and the church engage depends on that context.
And we do need to engage because there is a public dimension to Christian life.
What is needed is to be wise about the forums where we share those views and the language we use.
Christians should engage where ever they can and to all peoples they can, regardless of the perceived outcomes.
Local churches, small groups and Christians should be much more aware of the public dimension of the Christian faith, seek to live that out, and engage in the public square.
When Christians consider the task of engagement, they need to be wise about with whom they are engaging, and the agendas and tactics of other parties in the public square.
3 strategic questions (derived from game theory - a game has players and strategies and moves which will result in winning the game):
  1. Which games shall we engage in?
  2. What does it take to win the game?
  3. With whom are we engaging?
See related article
Religion and politics (Blogpastor, 23 Aug 09)

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Saturday, 24 October 2009

Theological education

Alex Tang recently blogged his reflections on theological education in Singapore and Malaysia.

  1. Are learning ancient languages useful for pastors?
  2. Are our pastors adequately equipped for ministry?
  3. Does theological education form or deform spiritual formation?

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Friday, 23 October 2009

Christianity and the secular sphere in Asia

Attended a public talk today by Dr Mathew Mathews, a NUS sociology professor on the topic "Christianity and the secular sphere in Asia".

He started by examining secularization, which he observes, has brought about a decline in power, popularity and prestige of religion, as well as modernization, which has resulted in the public and private sphere becoming increasingly separated. He then went on to touch on the rationale for secularization, the rise and response of conservatism, conservatives and political action, and the cultural cosmopolitan reaction.

What I found most noteworthy was his conclusion on what the church can champion (both for and against), making reference to David H. Lumsdaine's Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Asia.
  • contributing to democracy
  • championing causes
  • dialoguing with other faiths
  • providing platforms for democratic leadership
  • helping the poor and marginalized
See related article
AWARE's hostile takeover (Shouck, 13 Apr 09)

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Thursday, 22 October 2009

When atheists believe
The confounding attraction of the Christian worldview.
by Chuck Colson (CT, 22 Oct 2009)

In recent years Great Britain's chief export to the U.S. has been a payload of books by atheist authors such as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins and literary critic Christopher Hitchens. They contend that faith is irrational in the face of modern science. Other prominent British atheists seem to be having second thoughts. Is there some revival sweeping England? No; they are examining the rationality of Christianity, the very beliefs Dawkins and others are so profitably engaging, but are coming to opposite conclusions.

Well-known scholar Antony Flew was the first, saying he had to go "where the evidence [led]." Evolutionary theory, he concluded, has no reasonable explanation for the origin of life. When I met with Flew in Oxford, he told me that while he had not come to believe in the biblical God, he had concluded that atheism is not logically sustainable.

More recently, A. N. Wilson, once thought to be the next C. S. Lewis who then renounced his faith and spent years mocking Christianity, returned to faith. The reason, he said in an interview with New Statesman, was that atheists "are missing out on some very basic experiences of life." Listening to Bach and reading the works of religious authors, he realized that their worldview or "perception of life was deeper, wiser, and more rounded than my own."

(read more)

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Saturday, 17 October 2009

Types of church staff

Sometime back, Perry Noble posted an entry entitled "Four Types of Staff Members". It reminded me of a breakfast chat I had with one of my mentors and previous church pastor along the same issues, as I was praying through serving in my church.

He shared that there are 4 types of staff:
  • Dysfunctional
  • Developmental
  • Deployable
  • Dynamic
He also reminded me of what we focus on developing in ourselves:
  • Status (no)
  • Stature (no)
  • Substance (yes)
Lastly, he challenged me to live a life and serve in ministry with a sense of:
  • Destiny
  • Desperation
  • Distinctiveness
Thank you, Ps Tony, for your timely and lasting words of wisdom.

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Thursday, 15 October 2009

Up-2-Date [15-10-09]

A tale of two atheists
Developing a youth ministry plan
Characteristics of a "church on mission"
Christians in a digital age
Three perspectives within evangelicalism
Keller @ Willow Creek
30 years ago today - How God called John Piper to become a pastor
Trends in missions today
Shepherd lessons
Youth pastor 3.0
Spirit led & Spirit empowered youth ministry
Expand your reading using a class syllabus
Book review - Parable of the ten virgins (Thomas Shepard)

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'Twitter Bible' converts Scripture into mini messages
by Michelle Vu (CP, 15 Oct 2009)

Recently, I posted an article about presenting the gospel on Twitter. Now, there even is a Twitter Bible in German that will be released this week at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

(read more)

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Monday, 12 October 2009

Professor claims God is not Creator according to Genesis
by Darrell Bock (Bock's Blog, 12 Oct 2009)

Bock interacts with an article published by Telegraph UK, in which Prof. Ellen van Wolde, an OT author and scholar from Radboud University, claims that God is not Creator, according to Genesis.

Bock concludes
Why is this important? Well, because it is God as creator of heaven and earth and of us  that makes us accountable to Him and responsible as stewards for the creation He placed us in. There is an effort today--whether by denying God or by distancing Him from Creation--to reduce the significance of our relationship to God and our obligation to Him. One need only look at Paul's speech on Mars Hill in Acts 17:16ff. to see that the idea of God as Creator serves as one of the fundamental theological roots for an appeal for people to know their God. So although news is out that God should not be seen biblically as the Creator, one only can embrace that view by ignoring many biblical texts.
(read more)

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Determine your ministry age
by Jimmy Long (Leadership, 12 Oct 2009)

An interesting online quiz that you can take to determine your ministry age, which might not represent your birth age, nor your years of ministry experience. The subtitle reads, "Do your assumptions about leadership reflect the values of your generation?" Long goes on to explain, "This tool is intended to foster dialogue between older and younger leaders about their divergent views and contribute to greater understanding between the generations."

(read more)

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Today's pastors need encouragement
by Blogpastor (12 Oct 2009)

A timely reminder by Blogpastor on the much needed practice of encouragement, especially to our pastors and leaders in ministry.

(read more)

Posted this comment on his entry:

I agree with you whole-heartedly, and yet this is generally so lacking in local churches. I like the reasons by Mike Griffin, it’s so true of the perspectives and mindsets of the average lay church member.

The challenge is, what if the pastor really requires or hopes for encouragement, how does he communicate this with his congregation, without coming across as demanding, finger-pointing, or holier-than-thou?

One approach I take is to lead by example, namely being to my leaders the encourager, the pray-er (person who prays for them), the affirmer, the champion (singing their praises and making them look good to others, especially when they’ve served well), the advocate, the sounding board, the emergency button, the non-judgmental, the friend, etc. As more and more of this saturates our ministry, I see it becoming more mutual, as in them also taking the initiative to pray for and ask how they can pray for me, and also see the necessity and blessing of encouraging me as their pastor. Such a joy!

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Saturday, 10 October 2009

Being a servant leader

Scott Sterner quotes Jerram Barrs from his book The Heart of Evangelism, about the litmus test for pastors.
I regularly tell our seminary students that if I happen to visit the church in which one of them serves, I will not ask first, “Is this man a good preacher?” Rather, first of all I will ask the secretaries, office staff, janitors, and cleaners what it is like to work for this pastor. I will ask, “What kind of man is he? Is he a servant? Is he demanding and harsh, or his he patient, kind, and forbearing as a man in authority?” One of our graduates may preach great sermons, but if he is a pain to work for, then you know he will cause major problems in any congregation. Leaders in the church are required by Scripture to set an example in the areas of love, kindness, gentleness, patience, and forbearance before they are appointed to preach, teach, and rule. If we obediently require these attitudes and character traits of our leaders, what will our “new community” look like?
(read more)

What a high order, and lofty expectation, and yet also such a timely reminder, a sobering reality, that who we are speaks as loudly, if not more, than what we say. May we seek to follow Christ's example and footsteps in humility and servanthood.

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Friday, 9 October 2009

Lifetime leadership lessons
by Drew Dyck (Out of Ur, 09 Oct 2009)

Drew Dyck reported on Chuck Swindoll speaking on 10 things he learnt during nearly 50 years of leadership as he received a Lifetime Achievement Aware at Catalyst 09.
  1. It’s lonely to lead. Leadership involves tough decisions. The tougher the decision, the lonelier it is.
  2. It’s dangerous to succeed. I’m most concerned for those who aren’t even 30 and are very gifted and successful. Sometimes God uses someone right out of youth, but usually he uses leaders who have been crushed
  3. It’s hardest at home. No one ever told me this in Seminary.
  4. It’s essential to be real. If there’s one realm where phoniness is common, it’s among leaders. Stay real.
  5. It’s painful to obey. The Lord will direct you to do some things that won’t be your choice. Invariably you will give up what you want to do for the cross.
  6. Brokenness and failure are necessary.
  7. Attititude is more important than actions. Your family may not have told you: some of you are hard to be around. A bad attitude overshadows good actions.
  8. Integrity eclipse image. Today we highlight image. But it’s what you’re doing behind the scenes.
  9. God's way is better than my way.
  10. Christlikeness begins and ends with humility.
Which do you resonate the most with, and what would you add as an 11th?

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Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Youth More Than Gold (YMTG)

Attended the inaugural Youth More Than Gold (YMTG) networking meeting, organised by EFOS and Ignite Alliance. About 150-200 pastors and leaders came together @ Bartley Christian Church to hear from the YMTG committee and partnering organisations about the Christian initiatives happening next year in conjunction with our once-in-a-lifetime Youth Olympic Games (YOG) from 14-26 Aug 2010.

How can Christians and churches get involved?
  • Volunteers (5,000 needed with 40+ jobs to choose from)
  • Chaplains (to be involved in the Inter-Religious centre @ Olympic village)
  • Home-stay hosts (to host families of athletes before and during YOG)
  • YMTG events next year (Teen Games, Ignite Conference, GoFest, Carnivals, Grand Finale @ Ngee Ann City, Orchard)
  • Prayer
  • Giving generously
More information at their official website or subscribe to their Facebook page.

See related articles
SYOG ministry launched (CP, 8 Oct 09)
Touch the world, serve our nation, raise our youth! (SCEM)

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Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The indispensable church

Chuck Warnock writes about the need for the church to be indispensable to the community.

He advocates
  1. Sunday morning worship isn’t the most important thing we should be doing.
  2. Missional isn’t missional until people outside the church notice.
  3. The unchurched will tell us how we can be indispensable to them.
I want our church to become indispensable to our community.  I want us to touch more lives during the week than we have bodies in the pews on Sunday.  I want people to ask us to stay in business because we’ve made a difference in their lives.
What do you think? Is your church indispensable in your community?  Would anyone notice if your congregation folded?  What are you doing to become indispensable to the people around you?
(read more)

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Saturday, 3 October 2009

Gospel Rap

Check out gospel rap artist, Shai Linne's acappella rap.

See related article
Interview with Shai Linne and Voice on Christian Rap (Gospel Coalition, 01 Oct 09)

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Friday, 2 October 2009

Mega-God and mega-churches

Stanley Wong recently blogged about God being a mega-God, how our lack of faith sometimes limits our view of who God is or what God can do in our situation. He was also responding to comments on his previous entry about his reference to Ps William Lee from Bartley Christian Church's comments in an article about their recently completed new church building.

Here are the articles mentioned.

Mega-God (Logical Christian, 02 Oct 09)
Church building project - A different approach (Logical Christian, 16 Jul 09)
$16m miraculously collected for church building (CP, 15 Jul 09)

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