January 12, 2011

First…it’s been more than 1/2 a year now since I wrote anything on my blog. There’s really no reason except that there’s just no inspiration to write anything worth writing. I have been busy watching a lot of movies and TV series over the last 1/2 year. I enjoy this little entertainment of mine so much that I stop visiting my own blog and facebook. Tonight I thought it’s about time for me to get back into writing my thoughts and reflection again.

Let me make a disclaimer: I’m just recording my musings about my life, my faith, and my thoughts as I reflect on His Word, and walking out my daily life as an ordinary person. You don’t have to agree with my thoughts and neither do I need to apologize for thinking aloud!

Here goes my thought ……

I have been spending more and more time watching downloaded TV series. I have spent so much time just doing that I think I might have actually lost focus. I think I need to get back on track again. But how do I do that?

I know I have weekly devotion / cell group materials to write and to prepare, teaching materials for the EQUIP School, etc. etc. but it seems like I have not got much inspiration these couple of weeks. It’s a real madness. I love these assignments but I can’t seem to get it off the ground. Lord, help! One of my thoughts is that the ideas that I have, the subject matters that interest me the most, and the people that I thought should hear what I have to say or read what I have to write are not really interested in it. They either find the subject matter to be too deep (whatever that means) to handle or irrelevant or make any sense.

I was at a church member’s graduation dinner. He attended a seven months bible school class and this is his graduation. I have no real issue with much of what these people were teaching. I only get the feeling that while they meant it good to be more pragmatic in their teaching approach or should I say, learning the ropes of doing ministry, at the same time, they make disparaging remarks that their training is not about theology. The question is: what’s wrong with theology? What’s wrong with a clear understanding of God? Isn’t all learning and education that one has deals directly or indirectly with theology? Even the fact that they teach deliverance, the prophetic, and moving in the Spirit all must have a theological basic for it! If not, what are we learning or where does the source of the knowledge comes from? Sometimes, we never help people to come to grips with the truth of God’s Word – something that can be laid out clearly, systematically, and rationally. We teach, we regurgitate, and expect our students to just swallow it, believe it, and never question it. Many of these people could not even explain themselves clearly how they come to the conclusion of what they are teaching is the truth. They pick it up from someone who picks it up from others. Many of the teachings are so empirical, so sense oriented and experienced based, and so existential. Where is the rationale of it all?

Well – I am musing again. I find that there is such great lack of intellectual discourse in matters of grave importance concerning our faith. All we want to get across to people is “just believe me – I know it – don’t question it”. I think many Christians are so shallow in their understanding and knowledge of God’s Word even with a great repertoire of testimonies and great faith to stand upon.


May 25, 2010

I am really sorry for going off the radar for so long. Basically, I have nothing much to write about for the simple reason that I was lazy!!

Just a quick update: I spend 7 days in Yunnan Province, China. It’s my first trip to China. The Tibetan Plateau is awesome to view. I had the privilege to gaze at the magnificent snow mountains. In fact I spend two days up in Shangrila – 10000 feet above sea level (part of the Tibetan Range). I was with a media team exploring the possibility of putting up a tour package for tourism from Malaysia, Australia, and elsewhere. It was fun and exciting BUT I had two bad days of diarrhea.

Other than this China trip life is pretty much the same – nothing exciting back in Penang. I am in the midst of compiling all my sermon notes, teaching notes over the last 20 years. I told my son that the exercise is for posterity. He was wondering whether I am about to bequeath these notes to him. He kind of look blank probably because the notes just don’t mean much to him I think!

Well …that’s all for today!

Personal Assessment to the Challenge (Pt. 3)

March 15, 2010

Sorry once again for the long silence. I have been busy working on some projects. Well..this is the last part of the 3rd fault-line that I have been writing about ….The Real Challenge of Post-Modern Thinking. My next entry will be on the 4th fault-line: The Apparent Lack of Intellectual Defense of Faith. I hope my entries have provoked some thoughts, some responses – some hard thinking about how we would like the “outsider” to see us “insider.”

Youth Culture

What we need to reflect upon seriously is that the church is lacking in resolved to engage the youth in intellectual discourse on issues that confront them. And this can lead to diminishing credibility of the church’s voice even among her teenagers. Young people have a bend towards moral relativism. They acknowledged that as a Christian there is somewhat of a moral standard but at the same time many of them believe that truth is relative and what matters is what one strongly believes in. Such a relativistic view demands that Christian educators, youth pastors, and parents take a more serious view in helping them to grabble with the biblical view of objective truths. We need to engage them through the inquiries of their mind because they will question everything. They are sceptical.

Radical Discipleship

The gap between knowing the need for nurturing our young and the tenacity to model radical intentional discipleship is deep and wide. There is a demand of radical discipleship and Lordship of Christ placed in front of every parent and every church leader’s life. How we fare will determine how it will precipitate down to the rest of the believing community especially the young. We know that to be true but how to do it is something else altogether. We need some soul searching today. We need to be more than a pragmatic community of believers. We need to develop the habit of our mind and have a truly Christian mind in order to tackle the whole issue of nurturing and discipleship of the next generation. Their worldview is so tainted by the contemporary pop-culture that we need to go behind the veneer of it all and begin to remove piece by piece all the scaffolding of wrong assumptions, presuppositions, and ideas that are contrary to the biblical teachings that has being preserved and handed down through the centuries. We need to once again shape the biblical worldview into our young people but we must first be prepared ourselves to deal with our own personal worldview, subjecting it to the test of the biblical worldview. Are we having a proper biblical worldview about reality, about life, and about all of God’s social order for humanity, for example, the family institution, the state and law, the church, work, art and media?

Personal Assessment to the Challenge (Pt. 2)

February 27, 2010

Worldview Shift

There is a failure to recognise that a paradigm shift has taken place in our contemporary world. There is a failure to accept the emerging forces and trends affecting us and our lifestyles. There is a failure to see the surrounding postmodern culture that is shaping our values, and that these changing influences are leading to new trends. There are emerging forces and trends affecting us but especially to the young people. Families are changing, the increase and acceptance of divorce, the increase of cohabitation and out-of-wedlock births, the crisis of fatherlessness, the increase of mothers working outside the home, the decreasing amount of time parents are spending with their kids, and the rise of family violence are all contributing factors in putting a tremendous stress upon the next generation.[1]

Such a major shift is largely due to the failure of modernity. The emerging postmodern view is a reaction – a great mistrust for authority, and a great desire for freedom. My survey of our Christian teenagers showed that their mindset wants freedom whatever that is or means to them. They love being random – having undefined aims, unplanned thoughts or actions, and haphazard sort of activities. The prevailing postmodernism are slowly but surely shaping our teenager’s values.  The youth themselves are influenced by the surrounding culture – media, music, movies and the internet. Peer pressure keeps rising – fashion, appearance, status, etc. These changing influences eventually lead to new trends of which we are already witnessing today – no rules to sex, materialism, substance abuse, risk-taking behaviour, teenage violence, depression and suicide,[2] and smorgasbord spirituality. The definition of “smorgasbord spirituality” is this: interest on spiritual things is like going for a buffet, full of choices and options but all relative and experiential.

[1] Mueller, Walt, Youth Culture 101 (Zondervan, 2007), p. 39 – 52

[2] Ibid, pp. 53 – 60

Personal Assessment to the Challenge

February 22, 2010

As a Christian who holds to the biblical worldview, we understand that there is such a thing as universals as against particulars. We understand that God is and God reveals Himself to mankind. He is the transcendent God – sovereign in power yet he is at the same time immanent – a personal God who is very much involved with us intimately. Therefore, with such a view, we see that there are social spheres that God has set in motion in His creation order, for example, the family institution, the church, the state and law, economic, work and labour, and community. We see that God has set such design in perfect order and when man function within these spheres without violating God’s order he is safe, secure and will also prosper too.

The family is important in the spiritual formation of a child. Parental role is therefore imperative in the eventual moral, emotional, mental, and spiritual development of a child. The family institution is therefore a sacred form of community as taught in the Word of God. The church, being the extension of the family unit, and being the body of Christ does have a high calling and mandate to function within the social design and order as created by God. The church, therefore, is an institution that displays the manifold wisdom of God; establishing and upholding the truth of God against the deceptive and pernicious lies of the devil and the many vain philosophies that outflow from it. Post-modernity is more of a cultural shift and we do well to learn from it and contextualize accordingly in order to be relevant. But postmodernism, its philosophical ideology, may, to a large extent, be diametrically opposed to a biblical worldview.

There are at least three things that I observed in the churches that need a serious consideration and reflection if she intends to keep the next generation in the midst of the great challenges of postmodernism: (1) Recognizing a worldview shift in the contemporary world, (2) Engaging with the youth culture, and (3) Modelling radical discipleship.

The Effect of Postmodernism (Part 4)

February 19, 2010

Sorry for the long silence …. let me continue from where I have left off sometime back!!

Pluralistic, Diversity, and Tolerance

Postmodern thinking is more susceptible to emerging ideas minus orthodoxy, a higher degree of tolerance for new innovations, more open reception to current biblical hermeneutics and spiritual practices, and more diversity in celebrating different expressions of “doing church” rather than seeking unity in diversity. It is quite a task to educate the believers when they are bombarded with so much ideas of tolerance in a society that is pluralistic. It is important that we respect what people choose to believe in but another thing to relegate the practice of our faith so low and so inclusive in the name of tolerance. Unknowingly we produce disciples who were not able to defend their faith. And not only that, they are also not being able to live out their life of faith as taught by Christ. There is bound to be compromises because of pluralism and the high level of tolerance.

The other thing that outflow from tolerance is the fact that this openness to new innovations could be contrary to acceptable norms of the church. I want to be careful here because I am an advocate of new innovations in order to be relevant yet I believe there is a need to have a certain set of decorum and a holy respect for the house of God.

The Effect of Postmodernism (Part 3)

January 23, 2010


In postmodernism what comes across is that much of what we see in society is a social construct or that which is shaped by the culture around us. So there is no sacred cow as far as they are concern and if things does not work they tear it down, they deconstruct, and rebuild new edifice according to their choice and decision.

One other thing about emerging ideas is the open reception to new ways of interpreting the Word of God. Postmodernism deconstruct meanings in any text by their own reconstruction to give meaning to what they are feeling and sensing. Such way of thinking that is growing among the younger generation gives tremendous room for them to more readily accept differing interpretations to the Scriptures. In my recent survey it shows that young people have the tendencies to want to decide on their own – a freedom to choose and to express. These are the challenges within the church today. In a more subtle way, such an “easy” view of biblical hermeneutics and spiritual practices do precipitate to a theological understanding that is shallow, therefore, being in danger of religious syncretism. My concern among the people of God today is the shallow understanding of doctrines. In simple term, there is a lack of understanding of the Word of God.

Uses Feelings, Not Reasons

Postmodern people have a tendency to go for experience above reason. We can see that many people are into Reality Shows, into visual connection, media ads that appeal to the emotions, and the rise of new “family”[1] that many of their minds stay in vouch by suspending their rationality. Studies and research have shared light that modernity places a tremendous hope on humanities’ ability to know our world and reality through scientific investigation, observation, and technology without the transcendent, man being the measure of all things. That has failed this generation and brought about disillusionment. Though this generation wants to hold on to technology they are unwilling to trust everything to rationality. A high percentage of young people in our churches today wanted the freedom to question everything. They believe that doubt is part of the essential of faith. They also wanted to experience, to feel with their senses and as a result of reaction to modernity they have decided that they want the freedom to choose how they live their lives – their taste, their friends, their beliefs – without having to consult their parents unless they choose to.

And in the church today, with the emphasis of the encountering and empowering at altar calls above the intentional instruction of the Word of God line upon line and precepts upon precepts, we are actually playing to the gallery of post-modernity.

[1] This is not the traditional family structure that I am referring to but rather it is their friends, their peers apart from their biological family and relatives have become their new family.