Friday, April 21, 2017

Jesus' Leadership #5 Willingness to Look Foolish


What do each of these characters have in common?
§  A deluded engineer
§  A magician
§  A waiter
§  A nudist
§  A beggar
§  A lunatic
§  A harem girl
§  An improper woman
§  A blasphemer
[Think about it for 15 seconds without scrolling down]

These were roles assumed or assigned to the following:
§  Noah (designed and built the ark in the middles of a desert)
§  Moses (turned water into blood)
§  Nehemiah (was cupbearer to a king)
§  Isaiah (went naked for three years)
§  Elijah (had to ask a widow for food)
§  King David (acted insane to escape his captors)
§  Queen Esther (made her way to the top of the king’s list)
§  Mary (conceived a child before proper marriage)
§  Jesus (claimed to be equal to God)

God had little use for people whose main concern is “What will the neighbours think?” Leaders must willing to sacrifice and take risks with their public image.

Jesus was willing to look foolish. And this was the key to his success as the leader. Coming into town on a donkey, having to fish to pay your taxes, and forgetting to bring extra wine during (probably one of his family’s) wedding party. Crying like a rejected lover, passing out invitations to a feast that largely go unanswered, having to stand on front porches and knock hardly sounds like a job description for a king. Before and at the Cross, Jesus being laughed and mocked at.

Godly leaders cannot be afraid to look foolish. We must keep to the plan that we vaguely sense but that only God can see.

Are you willing to look foolish as a leader?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
*Taken from Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership (1995) by Laurie Beth Jones without permission. I have added Bible verses, cut and modified some material for smooth, short and comprehensive reading.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Jesus' Leadership #4 Don't Waste Time Judge Others


Jesus saw judging others as major energy leak. He stated many times that he did not come to judge but that he came to help. He did not spend one minute on the demolition crew. He spent his energy on creation and restoration. Judging others was not his job. He said, “I do not judge you. Your own words judge you” (John 5:45). He knew our accountability. He trusted each of us with our choices [Jesus will come as the Judge. Yes, Jesus doesn’t say absolutely don’t judge, but to judge rightly. He rightly judged the teachers of the Law and Pharisees. Most of our judgement however, is wrong judgement: destructive and self-centred. Here we are talking about negative, wrong judgment].

Judgment halts progress. When we as leaders judge others, we inhibit our own forward motion. Also, when we judge others, we are not doing our job because we are not in sync with the energy that moves us forward. Sometimes we judge others in ways we are unaware of, such as looking to see where they are in the race.

Jesus said to Peter, “What business is it of yours what I say to John?” (see John 21:21-22). Keep your eyes on your own forward motion.

He judged no one because he knew the final count was not in yet. Even the thief nailed on the cross beside him made it into Paradise because, with his dying breath, he acknowledged and saw the truth. Jesus said, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (see Luke 23:40-43). Jesus did not waste his time or energy judging others.

What kinds of things can you do to support instead of judge?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
*Taken from Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership (1995) by Laurie Beth Jones without permission. I have added Bible verses, cut and modified some material for smooth, short and comprehensive reading.


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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Jesus' Leadership #3 Sense of Ownership


Ownership is an interesting and elusive concept because it implies a permanent state of possession. Yet all things, even life itself, are only on loan to us. Author and management consultant Ken Blanchard says that visionary leaders are those who view life’s resources as being on loan to them, while more limited thinkers are still in an acquisition mode.

I wonder if God whispered, “The entire world is yours” to Jesus as he sent him into the world. Jesus clearly demonstrated a sense of ownership of all things. Whether the need was a donkey to carry him into town, an upper room to pray in, wine for a wedding, or even coins to pay Caesar’s tax, Jesus did not consider himself as a beggar king. He used his divine sense of ownership to create the goods he needed when he needed them. And many times what he needed was delivered through the generosity and willingness of those he served.

In the Garden of Eden God told Adam and Eve, “I give you all this. Take care of it” (Genesis 1:26). He told Abraham the same thing, “All of this land is yours” (Genesis 13:17). Jesus described himself in one parable as the ‘Husbandman’ who had been sent to take care of the vineyard. He looked at the world and the people in it as his responsibility, his inheritance, and his heritage. The whole universe was his and he knew it. Perhaps that is one reason why the people called him “King” (besides he deserved it). It was the way he looked at the world and carried himself in it.

Jesus said, “All that the Father has is mine” (John 17:10). Every galaxy, every new born sheep, every fish leaping into the net, all that the Father had was his, and he knew it. He “owned it.”

If only each of us – Christ’s disciples – could get a good look at the heavenly “deed” written in our name. If only we could study it and know our inheritance by heart, we would walk on this planet a different way. With more gentleness, perhaps, and more certainty and power. In order to own a gift you must first receive it. Jesus had power because he “owned” it.

Do you have the mind-set and attitude of ownership?
In Christ, how can you use it for the greater good? With authority and humility?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Jesus' leadership #2 Always In A State of Celebrations


Perhaps Jesus loved celebrations so much because he was born at a party. I believe any event that has heavenly light show, people bearing gifts from distant places, and a host of angels singing and giving directions is a celebration of major proportions. It must have made an impact on him.

One of his first miracles was to turn water into wine (not vinegar). As his fame and popularity grew, he was constantly invited to dinner at Nicodemus’s or Peter’s or rich young people’s houses. The night before he was arrested, he gathered his disciples together to sing songs and dine.

When crowds came, Jesus was adamant that nobody leave with an empty stomach. He always managed to locate food for them. He turned one boy’s lunch into food for thousands. He told stories of a king who arranged a banquet and then got angry and disappointed when nobody came. He spoke of a father throwing a lavish party to celebrate a wayward son’s return. When Jesus returned from the dead, he prepared a fish barbecue on the shore – sort of a “team picnic.”

He came from a very happy place, and he knew he was returning to a very happy place. When he said, “Wherever two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:19-20), perhaps he saw a party coming on. Indeed, his invitations read “I go prepare a place [setting] for you” (John 14:2). I think he is telling us to lighten up. “Why do you worry so?” he would ask. “Don’t you see the flowers… how beautiful they are? Do you think your Father is going to let you wear less than these?

A 10 years old once asked Beth Jones if she knew what Jesus’ first words were after he came out of the tomb. “No,” she replied. “What were they?” He spread his arms, jumped forward with a grin, and said, “Ta-dah!” Jesus was constantly in a state of celebration.

Do you celebrate only the big things?
What are some small things to celebrate?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

*Taken from Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership (1995) by Laurie Beth Jones without permission. I have added Bible verses, cut and modified some material for smooth, short and comprehensive reading.


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Jesus' Leadership #1 Do the Difficult Things


One definition of a professional is a person who does things even when she or he does not feel like doing them (probably similar to ‘integrity’). In other words, a professional is not blown about the winds of the moment. Professionals stay focused on the successful accomplishment of their mission, and do the difficult things.

Many charismatic and popular leaders get into trouble when they cease doing the difficult things in order to win approval or be liked. Politicians who depend on opinion polls to determine their actions do not last very long as leaders. Unfortunately, if you run your management program based on opinion polls or popularity contests, you will not last long as a leader. “The tendency of the masses is toward mediocrity,” said Aldous Huxley, and opinion polls are very poor source of vision. Failing to do the difficult thing eventually will get you in trouble… Doing the difficult things means not letting public opinion sway you from what your heart, gut, instinct or the Spirit is telling you.

Peter tried to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem. He sensed danger there, and he was right. However, Jesus knew it was part of a larger Plan. So, he “set his face towards Jerusalem” (Isaiah 50:7) even knowing the consequences.

Perhaps the true mark of a leader is that she or he is willing to stand alone. It must have been difficult for Jesus to say no to people. the whole essence of his being seemed to say yes. But he did say no. he said no to the ambitious young man who wanted to follow him. He said no to his mother when she was trying to interrupt his teaching. He said no to Judas about turning to politics. He said no to temptation in the wilderness. He said no, at times, to himself: “No, I will not run from this, I will drink the cup that is placed before me” (see John 18:11).

Leaders must have not only vision and communication skills but also tremendous personal resolve. While leaders attract followers, at any moment they must be able to walk away from them, lest they become followers themselves. Jesus did the difficult things.

Are you willing to do them,
even if it means standing alone?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.


*Taken from Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership (1995) by Laurie Beth Jones without permission. I have added Bible verses, cut and modified some material for smooth, short and comprehensive reading.
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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Simple Book Review: "Sherlock: Permainan Agung" (2010)


Sherlock: Permainan Agung (2010)
diterbitkan oleh Kadokawa Gempak Starz Sdn Bhd

Ini ialah komik Sherlock dalam bahasa Malaysia (mereka tulis 'Bahasa Melayu', salah tu) yang diadaptasi dari manga Jepun. Semuanya ada tiga buku yang saya lihat dijual di kedai-kedai buku tempatan setakat ini. Kalau kamu pernah menonton BBC Sherlock Series, kamu pasti pernah melihat "The Great Games" season 1 episode 3. Jadi, bila saya membaca komik ini, saya dapat membanyakkan cabaran, emosi dan konflik. Best! Sherlock Holmes, John Watson dan... Jim Moriarty

Banyak dialog yang saya suka dalam komik ini, tapi yang paling saya suka ialah bila Dr. Watson hairan kenapa Sherlock tidak tahu tentang hal heliosentrik:

Sherlock: Itu lagilah. Langsung tak penting pun.
Watson: Tak penting? Itu ilmu sekolah rendah. Macam manalah kau boleh tak tau?
Sherlock: Kalau tau pun otak aku dah hampuskan data itu.
Watson: Hampuskan?
Sherlock: Dengar baik-baik. Otak ni cakera keras aku. Aku cuma simpan maklumat berguna je dalam ni. Korang selalu simpan benda tak berguna dalam kepala. Sebab tulah tak dapat fikirkan perkara penting.

Wow!
Beli ja buku ni, harga Rm11.00 lebih murah dari rokok Dunhill :p


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Simple Book Review: "Select Sermons of George Whitefield" (1958)


Select Sermons of George Whitefield (first published 1958) 
by The Banner of Truth Trust

I borrowed this book after church last week, and I finished reading it in one sitting (maybe not all, I skipped two sermon chapters). Today’s sermon at Methodist Trinity Church Kuching and Whitefield’s sermon texts complimenting one another. It was about why and how Jesus died for us and changed people’s lives, including George Whitefield’s life, an English Anglican cleric who was one of the founders of Methodism and the evangelical movement. I loves this book because the foreword is written by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, short account of Whitefield’s life by J. C. Ryle, and summary of Whitefield’s doctrine by R. Elliot.

Lloyd-Jones writes, “Of all the men of the 18th century who God raised up to do that marvellous work called ‘the Evangelical Awakening,’ none was more remarkable than George Whitefield… [He] was not only the greatest preacher and orator of the 18th century, he was also one of its most saintly characters, if not the saintliest of all.” I personally think Charles Spurgeon is the greatest among all the preachers after the apostles’ era. But nevertheless, George Whitefield is also great in his time [I suggests you listen to John Piper’s 2009 sermon on the life and ministry of Whitefield entitled I Will Not Be a Velvet-Mouthed Preacher! at www.desiringgod.org if you cannot find this book]

I like how Ryle describes Whitefield’s success in ministry: “He wrote no book for the million, of world-wide fame, like Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. He headed no crusade against an apostate Church with a nation at his back, and princes on his side, like Martin Luther. He founded no religious denomination, which pinned its faith on his writings and carefully embalmed his best acts and words, like John Wesley. There are Lutherans and Wesleyans in the present day, but there are no Whitefieldites. No! The great evangelist of last century was a simple, guileless man, who lived for one thing only, and that was to preach Christ.” Wow!

As for his doctrines, R. Elliot, listed out 5 George’s most crucial doctrines, namely:
#1 Original Sin,
#2 The New Birth;
#3 Justification by Faith in Christ;
#4 The Final Perseverance of the Saints;
#5 Eternal and Unconditional Election.

If you like Martyn Lloyn-Jones or even Charles H. Spurgeon, this book will make you happy, dear theological geek! After you hear many modern-day sermons with shallow theological stuffs, if you read Whitefield’s sermons, I bet you will breathe fresh air!


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Simple Book Review: "The Leadership of Muhammad" (2010)


The Leadership of Muhammad (2010) by John Adair

I found this book very impressive, and concise. John Adair, one of the world’s leading authorities on leadership and leadership development, did a really good job in collating some of the most important points about leadership and using the Islamic prophet as a fine example. It was really interesting reading the stories of Muhammad and highlighting all the positive leadership aspects, even more so was the fact that things that applied thousands of years ago still apply today.

A lot of the points made in the book are things that all of us know and should be acting upon, however it's always good to remind yourself of these things so take it as a refresher, if anything. This book is divided into 8 chapters: #1 In the Black Tents of Bani Sa’d; #2 The Shepherd; #3 Caravan Leader; #4 Dwellers of the Desert; #5 Muhammad ‘the Trustworthy One’; #6 Sharing in Hardship; #7 Humility; and #8 From Past to Presence.

My favourite is chapter #7 on Humility. Here are 6 quotes that I would like to share:

1)    Humility at its simplest is knowing that you are not God
2)    Being humble as a leader is essentially about not being arrogant
3)    Humility is just as much the opposite of self-abasement as it is of self-exaltation
4)    Do not pursue a matter of which you are ignorant
5)    Let nothing prevent you from changing you previous decision if after consideration you feel that the previous decision was incorrect
6)    The crown of a good disposition is humility

[Note: I respect Muhammad but I don’t recognize him as prophet. I think he was a barbaric leader. Nevertheless, since John Adair only taking the positive sides of Muhammad – of course there were some negative sides about him that I refused to tolerate – this book as a whole is beneficial]


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Simple Book Review: "Mentaliti Jamban" (2016)


Mentaliti Jamban (2016) oleh Khairul Abdullah

Wow! Tajuk buku yang provocative, kulit buku yang luar biasa, tajuk bab yang kurang menyenangkan, dan isi yang lucu, informative, membuat kita berfikir, tersindir, menyesalkan dan banyak nasihat yang menjadikan kita lebih baik – jika diambil peduli. Khairul bekerja sebagai pereka grafik dan laman web (freelance) yang pernah bekerja di luar negara – paling lama di Jerman, Jepun, London dan sebagainya – yang sekarang menetap di Malaysia. “Abang dah tengok macam-macam ragam orang di dunia,” tulis Khairul, “Abang dah pernah pergi ke banyak bandar utama di dunia dik, yang abang malas nak sebut… Apa yang buat mereka maju? Apa yang buat mereka hebat dari segi kehidupan? Mentaliti dik, mentaliti.”

Negara kita nampaknya macam hampir maju, tapi kebanyakan kita masih mempunyai mentaliti jamban! Jangan marah dik, sebab itu kenyataan.” Mula-mula saya rasa kenyataan ini sangat keras, tapi selepas membaca buku ini (lebih-lebih lagi dengan tajuk-tajuk seperti bab 2 “Tahi”, bab 13 “Kereta Besar, Badan Besar, tapi Sayang Otaknya Kecil,” bab 15 “Janji Melayu, Cina, dan India, Semua Sama Sahaja!”, bab 20 “Serban Tinggi, Jubah Labuh, dan Seluar Jean” dan bab 30 “Buang Dalam Jamban”) – saya setuju sangat-sangat! Memang rata-rata mentaliti kita ni mentaliti jamban! Mindset kita kena berubah.

Khairul menyentuh tentang sikap kita orang Malaysia yang tidak peduli dengan orang lain. “Jangan ada sifat pentingkan diri sendiri dalam setiap kita yang bernama insan atau yang menjadi hamba kepada Maha Pencipta.” Kita membuang sampah sesuka hati, kita jarang berkata ‘terima kasih’ kepada orang yang sudah menolong kita atau kepada pelanggan kita, kita selalu lari tajuk bila memberi komen atau respon di laman sosial, tandas awam dan rumah sangat kotor, memandu tanpa mempedulikan orang lain, beragama tetapi bersikap taik, tidak beri signal ketika membelok, parking di garisan kuning, double parking dan di tempat OKU, dan sebagainya. Saya paling rasa bersalah bila dia berkata tentang masa and temujanji. “Jawapan ‘on the way’ adalah jawapan standard atau klise orang kita bila lambat.” Ouch! Ada juga sisa-sisa mentaliti jamban dalam sikap saya sendiri…

Walaupun penulis lebih merujuk kepada mereka yang beragama Islam, kita yang bukan Islam ini juga sama bila dia menulis, “Orang Islam menuntut supaya menjaga kebersihan. Tapi kenapa kita di tanah Melayu, sebuah negara yang didiami oleh majority manusia yang beragama Islam ni tandasnya kotor? Kenapa longkangnya kotor dan busuk? Kenapa air sungai keruh dan penuh dengan sampah sarap?” Itu baru bercakap pasal kebersihan, bagaimana pula dengan isu-isu yang lain? Pendek kata, Khairul menulis, “Apabila agama diambil sebahagian dan ditinggalkan sebahagian, dia jadi tak peduli fasal orang lain. Dia seorang saja nak masuk syurga. Dia jaga hubungan dia dengan Tuhan sahaja, hubungan dengan orang lain dan dengan alam sekeliling dia tak jaga.” Ouch!

Saya sarankan orang Malaysia untuk membeli (atau pinjam) dan membaca buku ini. Saya baca, saya fikir diri saya sendiri, saya perhati sekeliling, saya renung apa yang saya pernah dengar dan lihat, memang, memang kita masih lagi ada mentaliti jamban! Mari kita berubah okay? J

[P.s: Kamu boleh beli buku ini di kedai-kedai buku seperti Popular, Smart, dan MPH pada harga yang berpatutan, RM28.00. Antara banyak-banyak buku terbitan Komrad Buku, buku ini yang paling berbaloi untuk dibeli]


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Simple Book Review: "TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking" (2016)


TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking (2016)
by Chris Anderson

If you want to improve your public speaking, I highly recommend this book. This is the only public speaking guide you ever need today! I love to watch TED talks on YouTube, at least once per week. I learned so much. TED is a short form for Technology, Entertainment and Design. At first TED began as an annual conference, but in recent years it has expanded to cover any topic of public interest. I like TED’s mission very much: To nurture the spread of powerful ideas or simply put “ideas worth spreading.” 

Chris Anderson, head of TED, believe that as “ants shape each other’s behaviour by exchanging chemicals, we do it by standing in front of each other, peering into each other’s eyes, waving our hands and emitting strange sounds from our mouths.” Public speaking if done right, it can “electrify a room and transform an audience’s worldview.” Thus, a great talk is its freshness. “Your only real job in giving a talk is to have something valuable to say, and to say it authentically in your own unique way.” Yes, but how? Well, this book will tell you how. If you’re a student or your work require you to do public speaking and presentations, then, behold, buy or borrow this book [Carmine Gallo also have written a book on public speaking in 2014 entitled Talk Like TED. You may want to buy this book if you can’t find Anderson’s]

At TED, speakers are require to present their ideas – experiences or achievements, talents or skills, studies or researches, innovations or inventions – in 18 minutes. For some people, 18 mins is like 18 hours, but for most people that have great ideas, 18 mins is too short. Chris writes “you will only cover as much ground as you can dive into in sufficient depth to be compelling.” In this book, Chris carefully guide readers to create talk that can transform people’s worldview, unlocking empathy, stirring excitement, sharing knowledge and insights and promoting a shared dream. And hopefully in 18 mins for a lifetime impact. Here are the contents of this book:

Prologue: The New Age of Fire

Foundation
#1 Presentation Literacy: The Skill You Can Build
#2 Idea Building: The Gift in Every Great Talk
#3 Common Traps: Four Talk Styles to Avoid
#4 The Throughline: What’s Your Point?

Talk Tools
#5 Connection: Get Personal
#6 Narration: The Irresistible Allure of Stories
#7 Explanation: How to Explain Tough Concepts
#8 Persuasion: Reason Can Change Minds Forever
#9 Revelation: Take My Breath Away!

Preparation Process
#10 Visuals: Those Slides Hurt!
#11 Scripting: To Memorize or Not to Memorize?
#12 Run-Throughs: Wait, I Need to Rehearse?
#13 Open and Close: What Kind of Impression Would You Like to Make?

On Stage
#14 Wardrobe: What Should I Wear?
#15 Mental Prep: How Do I Control My Nerves?
#16 Setup: Lectern, Confidence Monitor, Note Cards, or (Gulp) Nothing?
#17 Voice and Presence: Give Your Words the Life They Deserve
#18 Format Innovation: The Promise (and Peril) of Full-Spectrum Talks

Reflection
#19 Talk Renaissance: The Interconnectedness of Knowledge
#20 Why This Matters: The Interconnectedness of People
#21 Your Turn: The Philosopher’s Secret

Borrow mine if you want… :)

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.


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Simple Book Review: "The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do" (2009)


The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do (2nd Edition 2009)
by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller

This book is simple but highly profound, just like Ken Blanchard's other books. The main concept of this book is this: To lead is to serve. The Secret give the leadership lessons thru story-telling that focused on one character name Debbie Brewster. Let me summaries the 5 leadership principles here:

Principle #1 Vision: See the Future. To envision and communicate a compelling picture of a preferred future. "Leadership always begins with a picture of a preferred future."

Principle #2 People: Engage and Develop Others. To recruit and select the right people for the right job while creating an environment where people wholeheartedly invest themselves in achieving the vision. "Helping people grow pays huge dividends."

Principle #3 Improvement: Reinvent Continuously. To possess a never-ending focus on improvement. "Progress is impossible without change."

Principle #4 Success: Value Results and Relationships. To generate positive, measurable results and cultivate great relationships with those you lead. "Ultimate success always includes both people and performance."

Principle #5 Credibility: Embody the Values. To live in a fashion consistent with your stated values. "More of leadership is caught rather than taught. In other words, people watch the leader and learn from his or her example."

And here is the Ultimate Question:
AM I A SERVING LEADER OR A SELF-SERVING LEADER?


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Simple Book Review: "The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need" (2008)


The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need (2008)
by Daniel H. Pink (art by Rob Ten Pas)

Brilliant. Ingenious. Unique. This book is one of the first business books in Japanese comic format known as manga. Daniel Pink is well-known for his book A Whole New Mind come together with Rob, comic artist, to produce this fun-story-telling and wise-advice on career secrets.

The main character in this story is Johnny Bunko. He’s like many people today. He did what everybody – parents, teachers, counsellors – told him to do. But now, he stuck at a dead-end job. He realizes that his plan for the future won’t be like what he imagine… But one bizarre night, Johnny meets Diana, the unlikeliest career advisor he’s ever seen. Together with his friends Diana reveals to him the six essential lessons for thriving in the world of work (I’ll share lengthy quotes for each lessons okay):

#1 There is No Plan

“It’s nice to believe that you can map out every step ahead of time and end up where you want. But that’s a fantasy. The world changes 10 years from now, your job might be in India. Your industry might not even exist. And you’ll change, too. You might discover a hidden talent… The most successful people – not all of the time, but most of the time – make decisions for fundamental reasons. They take a job or join a company because it will let them do interesting work in a cool place – even if they don’t know exactly where it will lead.”

#2 Think Strengths, Not Weaknesses

“Marin Seligman and Markus Buckingham… their research has found that the key to success is to steer around your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. Successful people don’t try too hard to improve what they’re bad at. They capitalize on what they’re good at… What are your strength? What do you do consistently well? What gives you energy rather than drains it? What sorts of activities create “flow” for you? [Flow = the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity].”

#3 It’s Not About You

“It’s not about you. It’s about your costumer. It’s about your client. Use your strengths, yes, but remember… you’re here to serve not to self-actualize… Of course you matter. But the most successful people improve their own lives by improving others’ lives. They help their customer solve its problem… The most valuable people in any job bring out the best in others. They make their boss look good. They help their teammates succeed. So pull your head out of your… ego!”

#4 Persistence Trumps Talent

“The people who achieve the most are often the ones who stick with it when others don’t… Two questions: First, what do musicians and athletes do that others don’t?... They show up. They practice and practice and practice some more. That’s why they do so well in whatever career they choose… What’s the most powerful force in the universe?... Compound interest!... It builds on itself, over time… A little bit improves performance, which encourages great persistence, which improves performance even more. And on and on it goes…. The more you persist, the more likely you are to succeed.”

#5 Make Excellent Mistakes

“Too many people spend their time avoiding mistakes. They’re so concerned about being wrong, about messing up, that they never try anything… which means they never do anything. Their focus is avoiding failure. But that’s actually a crummy way to achieve success. The most successful people make spectacular mistakes – huge, honking screw-ups! Why? They’re trying to do something big. But each time they make a mistake, they get a little better and move a little closer to excellence.”

#6 Leave an Imprint

“You’re young now. But when you get older and look back at your life, you’ll ask yourself a whole bunch of questions. Did I make a difference? Did I contribute something? Did my being here matter? Did I do something that… left an imprint?... The trouble is, many people get towards the end of their lives and don’t like their answers. And by then it’s almost too late… I am asking you to think about your purpose… to recognize that your life isn’t infinite, and that you should use your limited time here to do something that matters… truly successful people deploy them in the service of something larger than themselves…”

Excellent reading!


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Friday, April 14, 2017

Simple Book Review: "Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination" (2015)


Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
(first edition, April 2015) by J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling is internationally known as the author of the bestselling Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy and some other novels. This book (or should I call it notes?) was a compilation of Rowling’s commencement address at Harvard University at 2011. You can find her speech at YouTube too.

This book is only 70 pages, about half of it are illustration pictures and you can finish reading this book in 10-15 mins. I once saw at MPH that this book price about RM40+ (What?!!). Publisher probably sale her name or maybe because of the royalty will be channel to charity. Understandable. It should cost cheaper. Btw, I brought this one for RM10 only!

When giving the address, Rowling speak to the graduating class about two topics that are very close to her heart: #1 The benefits of failure, and #2 The important of imagination. Having the courage to fail, she said, “is as vital to a good life as any conventional measure of success”; and imagining ourselves into the place of another – particularly someone less fortunate than ourselves – is “a uniquely human quality to be nurtured at all cost.”

What does it mean to live a good life? Rowling explained it very well. This is a good book, but if possible, don’t buy it. Just go to YouTube and type J. K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement and/or go to TED Talk for JK Rowling: The Fringe Benefits of Failure.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.


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Simple Book Review: "Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived" (2011)


Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (2011)
by Robert H. Bell Jr. Trust

Rob Bell, author, speaker and former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church is a controversial figure. He ignited many evangelical fundamentalists (maybe you!) when he questioned traditional theological constructs surrounding heaven and hell. I like to read controversial books from controversial authors such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Eugene Peterson, Brian McLare, etc. I’m agree 100% what they said and taught, but I would like to explore possibilities. I, too, like to question ‘standard’ Christian doctrines and theology.

Bell writes this book for two reasons #1 For those who have problem with “some version of the Jesus story” that cause them to “would never be a part of” it; and #2 For those who have “big questions about topics like God and Jesus and salvation and judgment and heaven and hell.” “I believe the discussion itself is divine,” Bell reasoned, “Abraham does his best to bargain with God, most of the book of Job consists of arguments by Job and his friends about the deepest questions of human suffering, God is practically on trial in the poems of Lamentations, and Jesus responds to almost every question he’s asked with… a question.

Rob Bell first questioned about what we mean by “be saved” or “born again”, our ideas of heaven (not ‘somewhere’ there, but ‘here’ and ‘now’) and meaning of ‘eternal life’ and  ‘forever’ in the Bible. Then he discussed about hell by giving examples of church websites that declare that ultimately billions of people will spend eternity apart from God while others will be with God in heaven forever. “Is history tragic?” ask Bell, “Have billions of people been created only to spend eternity in conscious punishment and torment, suffering infinitely for the finite sins they committed in the few years they spent on earth?” Big question.

I like this one: “Many have heard the gospel framed in terms of rescue. God has to punish sinners, because God is holy, but Jesus has paid the price for our sin, and so we can have eternal life. However true or untrue that is technically or theologically, what it can do is subtly teach people that Jesus rescues us from God… Let’s be very clear, then: we do not need to be rescued from God. God is the one who rescues us from death, sin and destruction. God is the rescuer” (read again this last sentence). Simply put, in this book, Rob believes in the end God does get what He wants [to saved everyone, the world], that Good News is better told than just going to heaven or suffer in hell, and that loves finally wins.

Three things that I doubt Rob in this book, maybe I put it in three questions: #1 You talk about love and a bit of justice here and there, what about God’s holiness and God’s wrath mention in the Bible?; #2 I still don’t get the real picture of what heaven and hell is supposed to be like, what do you mean by “heaven and hell, here, now, around us, upon us, within us”?; and #3 Rob, why Jesus have to die on the cross? What He had accomplished?

I simply love his examples, nontechnical language, and many Bible quotations to support his statements (no matter how true or untrue, in context or out of context). This book make me think of my own theology and how I live my Christian life now. Book that make you think is simply a good book!

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Small-Group Teacher Don't Teach Merely Deep Theological Truth, but Use Stories (Visuals and Illustrations)


Many people are visual learners. Mental pictures always help to focus a message and make it easier to remember. Be practical in your teaching and use illustrations people can readily understand.

Jesus constantly used parables or story illustrations that conveyed a spiritual meaning when He taught. “All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them” (Matthew 13:34). Jesus knew that spiritual things are often not tangible until we “see” a natural illustration that points us to the spiritual implication. Jesus used mental pictures of a sower sowing seeds or a lost sheep or a hidden treasure. These pictures helped the people understand what He was saying. A good teacher will use stories describing current events or famous people to relate a spiritual concept to the people he is teaching.

I once read Charles H. Spurgeon’s sermons, the prince of preachers of the late 1800s. I was amazed that two-thirds of the content of his sermons were illustrations. This preacher, who led millions of people to his Lord Jesus, knew the importance of using stories and illustrations to help people understand spiritual concepts.

Some of the greatest illustrations you can give as teacher are those of your own life. When I teach on salvation from the Scripture, after I expound the Word and use character examples, as for practical application I give my own testimony. When I teach on singleness, I use examples from my own life. When I teach on forgiveness, I shared about my struggles. People love stories! Deep theological talks are beneficial, but stories are more useful, it help them to remember spiritual truth better.


THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Saturday, April 8, 2017

An Effective Small-Group Teacher Loves People and Teach the Word (Not Your Opinion!)


To be an effective Bible teacher, you must have a genuine love for the people you teach. Love and service to people overflow out of your love for Jesus that floods your heart with caring and compassion for others. As you teach, the warmth of your unique God-given personality will flow out to the group. If God calls you to teach in small group Bible Study, you will simply be sharing the Word that you have learned and prayed over. You also will be sharing your life and the truth that God has imparted to you with others. You are being obedient to help others know Him better through His Word.

Someone once said that opinions are like the nose on your face; everyone has one! A teacher needs to teach the Word, not merely ideas and opinions. The fact is, our opinion will never change anyone’s life; only the Word of God changes lives. Teachers need to “Preach the word!” (See 2 Timothy 4:2). God’s Word stands up by itself. It is powerful. Remember, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).

Prayer is also very important. When teaching is bathed in prayer, it becomes a part of our lives so that we can impart it to others. As we teach the Bible, people came under intense conviction. Prayer will prepare people’s heart to receive the teaching we give so they can be changed and become more like Jesus. That’s the goal! When we have spent time praying, we will find that people will be drawn to us as teachers, because the favour of God will be on us. Expect the Lord to place His favour on us as we teach His Word.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Small-Group Leader Must Know How to Maintain Order During Bible Study


Keep the Bible Study moving and alive. Whoever has been given responsibility for a particular part of the meeting must be enthusiastic about his part or the meeting will falter and be of no benefit. People will be bored (If you have genuinely try your best and be enthusiastic about it and some people are still bored, then it’s their problem not yours).

Note: Delegate as much responsibility as you can to others, but remember that you are still responsible for the order and the spiritual health of what happens in a Bible Study.

If there are those who constantly interrupt, they should be gently confronted with the truth that they need to consider others as more important than themselves (see Philippians 2:3). In 1 Corinthians 14:26, Apostle Paul tells us, “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.”

If you feel that your study are getting out of hand because one person monopolizes the time, you may need to encourage that person who is overly verbal to allow others time to share. Ask him or her to stick to a time limit. If, however, someone takes the study off the topic, you can tactfully say that you will be happy to talk privately about it after the study. This way you are honouring him or her as a person, and you can keep the meeting from becoming boring for the rest of the people.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.



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Friday, April 7, 2017

Small-Group Leader Must Know How to Maintain Order during Bible Study


Keep the Bible Study moving and alive. Whoever has been given responsibility for a particular part of the meeting must be enthusiastic about his part or the meeting will falter and be of no benefit. People will be bored (If you have genuinely try your best and be enthusiastic about it and some people are still bored, then it’s their problem not yours).

Note: Delegate as much responsibility as you can to others, but remember that you are still responsible for the order and the spiritual health of what happens in a Bible Study.

If there are those who constantly interrupt, they should be gently confronted with the truth that they need to consider others as more important than themselves (see Philippians 2:3). In 1 Corinthians 14:26, Apostle Paul tells us, “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.”

If you feel that your study are getting out of hand because one person monopolizes the time, you may need to encourage that person who is overly verbal to allow others time to share. Ask him or her to stick to a time limit. If, however, someone takes the study off the topic, you can tactfully say that you will be happy to talk privately about it after the study. This way you are honouring him or her as a person, and you can keep the meeting from becoming boring for the rest of the people.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.


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