Monday, 30 November 2009

Up-2-Date [30-11-09]

Dense with magnificent truth
The age of the Spirit - Sacrament and mission
Third way preaching and education 2
Keeping the faith - online
Does God really want all people to be saved?
The Manhattan Declaration (John MacArthur)
Why I signed the Manhattan Declaration (Al Mohler)
What is gospel-centered ministry? (Part 1)
Why we miss opportunities
Five mistakes I made as a young leader - Part One

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Saturday, 28 November 2009

5 hard truths for church-planters

http://theresurgence.com/series/5-hard-truths-for-planters
Summarized from a series by Dustin Neeley on The Resurgence.


Truth 1: Be resilient
  • Recognizes that God commands it (2 Tim 4:5)
  • Learn to take a punch
  • Consider the examples of those who have gone before (Heb 11)
Truth 2: Be yourself

Unredemptive comparison is dangerous on several levels
  • It causes us to undervalue what God is doing
  • It opens the door for greater discouragement
  • It can lead us to have unrealistic expectations
  • It reveals our deeper idolatry
When you are tempted to compare yourself to someone else or their ministry
  • Praise God for what He is doing there
  • Allow it to expose your idolatry for what it is
  • Preach the gospel to yourself
Truth 3: Think hybrid
  • Read and listen widely
  • Befriend someone from another 'tribe'
  • Be humble and learn from others
Truth 4: Kill your stress
  • Live your Bible
  • Listen to your body
  • Listen to your wife and kids
  • Learn your limits
Truth 5: Lead your family well
  • The church can get another pastor, but your kids can't get another dad
  • The church can get another pastor, but your wife only has one husband - and she needs a good one
  • A day off is not just a good idea - it is essential

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

10 signs of a secure leader

http://www.perrynoble.com/2009/11/05/10-signs-of-a-secure-leader/
by Perry Noble (05 Nov 2009)

  1. Realizes he has nothing to prove!
  2. Works for the applause of heaven and not for the applause of men.
  3. Seeks God for direction instead of merely asking Him for permission.
  4. Doesn’t pretend that he has all the answers.
  5. Seeks to submit to the Spirit instead of constantly grieving Him.
  6. Understands that he will go insane if his goal is for everyone to understand him.
  7. Is willing to repent when he is wrong…and do whatever it takes to make things right.
  8. Puts personal preferences aside when making decisions that will impact the church.
  9. Has a sense of desperation for God…fully understanding the reality of John 15:5.
  10. Refuses to compromise the vision…even when it may be convenient to do so!
Bonus:  Doesn’t have the majority of comments on his own blog.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

A hyper-socialized generation

Wall Street Journal recently published an article, 'The Greatest Generation (of Networkers),' in which it relates a story of a 17-year-old high school student who was caught for sending text messages in class, and sent to the vice-principal's office. Whilst the student was being reprimanded, the VP noticed that his fingers moving on his lap - he was texting about being punished for texting.

The article goes on to portray contrasting opinions about hyper-socializing, its benefits and costs to schools and companies where students and workers spending time constantly on texting and social-network checking throughout the day. Those for hyper-socializing say that
This generation has a gift for multitasking, and because they've integrated technology into their lives, their ability to remain connected to each other will serve them and their employers well.
Others contend that
these hyper-socializers are serial time-wasters, that the bonds between them are shallow, and that their face-to-face interpersonal skills are poor.

A study is cited on how much time is wasted at work on personal socializing online, as well as another on the effects of Facebook, where psychology students found that
the more time young people spend on Facebook, the more likely they are to have lower grades and weaker study habits. Heavy Facebook users show signs of being more gregarious, but they are also more likely to be anxious, hostile or depressed. (Doctors, meanwhile, are now blaming addictions to "night texting" for disturbing the sleep patterns of teens.)
The article concludes by contending that it is no longer about attention span (what educators and employers focus and prize in the past), but rather, attention scope - being able to concentrate on many things at once.

(read more)

See related article
NewsNote: The hypersocialized generation (Al Mohler's response, 6 Nov 09)

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Saturday, 21 November 2009

To love Him is to know Him

I came across 2 articles recently on a similar topic. Challies writes here that if we want to grow deeper in our love for God, we need to grow deeper in our knowledge of Him. Though we do not need to understand everything about God to be His children, he contends that we can really only love God inasmuch as we know Him.

Stanley Wong writes here, examining whether we can really separate receiving Christ as our Saviour and as our Lord. He discusses Rom 12:9, noting that the Bible is precise in its use that we confess Jesus as 'Lord'. He contends that Jesus can only be our Saviour when we accept Him as our Lord, and that when we do so, we enter into sonship, not discipleship.

The lordship of Christ is foundational in Christian discipleship. Yet at the same time, our sanctification is a lifelong process and journey, anchored in our knowledge and intimacy of God.

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Sunday, 15 November 2009

Maranatha!

I once came across a youth along Orchard Road wearing a T-shirt, which said “Satan lives” on the front. I was surprised nonetheless at the blatant declaration and bold fashion statement made by this young person, whom I figured for an anti-Christian or a heavy metal rocker dude. As he walked past me, and I glanced back once more, I noticed with joy the words on the back of his T-shirt, “but Jesus reigns!” Wow! What a powerful statement! Satan lives, but Jesus reigns!

And that is precisely what we are assured of as we study the book of Revelation. Thankfully, it does not stop with the persecution of the saints, the outpouring of God's wrath on mankind, or the widespread deception and destruction by Satan. Instead, it ends with the imminent and glorious return of our King, the Lord Jesus Christ, to bring about salvation, judgment, the final defeat of Satan, and to establish His eternal reign in heaven and earth.

Maranatha is made of two Aramaic/Syrian words, maran'atha, meaning “our Lord comes.” It is found in 1 Cor 16:22. As we look at this week's passage on Revelation 19-20, the Scriptures announce the return of Jesus Christ in all His glory and majesty. The imagery portrayed speaks of His unsurpassed greatness, namely “Faithful and True,” “The Word of God,” “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Everyone, from the multitudes, to the elders, to the living creatures, cannot but bow in reverent awe and spontaneous praise, saying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns” (Rev 19:6).

Indeed, as we look at the world around, with disease, disaster, depression, and depravity, we might sometimes despair and feel as though Satan indeed is the prince of this world. Yet, God commends us to hope in the Lord, and to long for His coming, for when our King of kings returns, no forces of darkness will withstand His glorious might! There will be no more tears or death or mourning or crying or pain (Rev 21:4), and His kingdom will be firmly established forever. Come, O Lord! Maranatha!

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Up-2-Date [15-11-09]

How not to preach boring sermons
Social isolation and new technology
5 reasons missional churches don't go global
The organic nature of the church
Preaching as worship
Four types of theologians
Belong to become
Five questions that leaders should ask
Knowledge puffs up
Evangelism at the expense of discipleship
Riding the wave
2 essentials to a God-honouring pulpit ministry
Would the apostles endorse multi-site churches?
How not to preach boring sermons
Preaching vs. worship?
9 ways to know the gospel of Christ is true
What to do when you cannot die for Christ?
When you don't feel like it, take heart

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Saturday, 14 November 2009

God belongs in my city



The catalyst for the day was a dismayed youth pastor who asked some of his student leaders why Christians were publicly silent after atheists launched a citywide ad blitz claiming 1 million New Yorkers reject the existence of God. They responded as only youth can — by launching a movement.

Their response to his dismay was a viral blitz online asking area students to mobilize for prayer. They created a website and a Facebook group and a YouTube video, composed and recorded an anthem, designed a simple T-shirt, and began tweeting that "God Belongs in My City."

Finally, they organized a silent prayer walk. 1,500 people marched through the streets of Manhattan on Saturday, 14 November, from 96th Street in the North to Battery Park in the South, with T-shirts that proclaimed, "God Belongs in My City."

See related articles
The formula for greatness - Reporting from #GodBelongsInMyCity (Youth Specialties)
God belongs in my city (Coalition of Urban Youth Workers)
God belongs in my city (NYC) (Calvary Christian Fellowship)

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Song - All the earth by Parachute Band



1. Father, into Your courts will I enter
Maker of heaven and earth
I tremble in Your holy presence

2. Glory, glory in Your sanctuary
Splendor and majesty Lord
Before You
All life adores You

Chorus:
All the earth will declare that Your love is everywhere
The fields will exalt, seas will resound
See the trees' joyful cry
Praising You and so would I
A new song I'll sing
Lord I will glorify and bless Your holy name

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Friday, 13 November 2009

Sports mentoring & chaplaincy


Just completed Level I and II of the Sports Mentoring & Chaplaincy training. This is the second and final round of conducting this 4-day course, and is an initial prerequisite for serving as chaplains in the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Aug 2010. There will be a multi-faith Religious Services Centre (RSC) at the YOG Village, so around 30-40 chaplains, the bulk being Christian, would be required to serve the athletes, coaches, officials and YOG staff and volunteers before and during the Games.

We had the privilege of having world-class international sports chaplains involved at major sporting events (MSE) such as Olympics (Beijing, Sydney, Seoul), World Cup, Commonwealth Games, World Athletics Championships, etc. We had from UK, MUFC Chaplain and Director of SCORE, John Boyers; from USA, author of "Transforming Lives in Sport" and FCA Area Director, Roger Lipe; from Portugal, Director of MDI Portugal and of Programs for ISC, Armenio Anjos; and from Singapore, a Master Coach for Volleyball and peak performance trainer, Moses Lim.

See related articles
Singapore sport chaplain training (15 Jan 09)
Sport Chaplain / Sport Mentor blog (Roger Lipe)
Serving the People of Sport
Fellowship of Christian Athletes 

SCORE Chaplaincy
Sports Coalition Singapore
International Sports Coalition
The Goal
Nations of Coaches
Youth More Than Gold (YMTG)

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Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Ways to lose your influence in theology

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/11/seven-ways-to-lose-your-influence-in-theology/
by Michael Patton (10 Nov 2009)

  1. Be imbalanced
  2. Overstate your case
  3. Misrepresent your opponents
  4. Obscure the options
  5. Get defensive
  6. Lack of grace
  7. Be perpetually non-committal
  8. Define yourself by what you are against
  9. Label everyone

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Saturday, 7 November 2009

A call to spiritual formation

http://acalltospiritualformation.info/default.aspx
(San Antonio, 2009)


A community of like-minded believers have gathered and published a working document entitled "A Call to Spiritual Formation," and have been receiving signatories worldwide.

They define spiritual formation as
Christian spiritual formation is the process of being shaped by the Spirit into the likeness of Christ, filled with love for God and the world.

Summary of key points
  • God calls us all to become like Jesus.
  • As we are rooted in Jesus and in the kingdom he proclaims, we are progressively transformed.
  • Our engagement with God’s transforming grace is vital.
  • Spiritual formation happens in community.
  • Spiritual formation is, by its very nature, missional. 
  • We invite all people, everywhere, to embrace with us this calling to become like Jesus.
See related website
Metamorpha Blog - Spiritual formation in conversation

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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Living wide awake

Attended a talk by Erwin McManus, organised by Campus Crusade for Christ, held at The City Church. I must admit I did not have much prior knowledge or understanding of his background, save that I read his profile saying that he was into innovation, creativity and maximising individual or organisational potential.

I was pleasantly surprised by his sharing, and the journey he has taken in coming to Christ, pastoring Mosaic Church, and being involved in the top echelon of the world's top thinkers and innovators.

Quotes and notes
  • the church is for the world (pastor not paid to be a friend, counsellor, messiah)
  • church members who ask to be fed or discipled (we feed those who feed others)
  • healing comes through serving
  • focus on human creativity and uniqueness
  • unleashing God-given potential vs managing sin
  • involvement in TED (see previous post)
  • technology adoption lifecycle, focusing on top 15% (2.5% innovators, 13.5% early adopters)

Did some background research after the session. Seems Erwin is associated with the emerging church, and has had quite a lot of bad press. Still, there were interesting perspectives that he shared, which is worth considering and reflecting about.

See related articles
A Lot of People in Christ Lose Their Spiritual Instinct for What is Real and Authentic (Christian Research Net)
Finding God inside of yourself (Apprising Ministries)
Mosaic Of Pain
Examining the Emergent Church - Harsh Criticism Concerning Erwin McManus

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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED)

I chanced upon this website and movement from a fellow blogger's blogroll. It's really amazing, and worth checking out.

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader.

The annual conferences in Long Beach and Oxford bring together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).

On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free.

Check out Billy Graham sharing on technology and faith in 1998.

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