Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Timothy, Hear this Doxology! (1 Timothy 1:17)


To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God,
be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
(1 Timothy 1:17, ESV)

I never knew this word before – doxology. Simply, it mean “an expression of praise to God.” As I read through 1 Timothy 1, it’s not surprise that the apostle Paul, who recognizes the grace and mercy of God in his own life, would conclude his testimony with a doxology praising the God who did it all. Paul calls God “the King of the ages” which literally described God as the eternal King. He is unaffected by time and is the King ALWAYS. Paul also refers the Lord Jesus as King, “King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). In the time of Paul and Timothy, most early Christians were persecuted because they won’t acknowledge the Roman emperor as divine and they paid for their lives believing and praising God as the only King that they will worship! Describing God as “the King of the ages” represents Him as higher than all authorises or other gods of the Roman and pagans world (Paul was writing this letter to Timothy who served in the city of Ephesus in which emperor worship took place).

God is also “immortal,” meaning He does not die, ALWAYS is. He is “invisible” as the Spirit (read John 1:18 which also refers to Jesus) and He is “the only God” (read Exodus 20:1-4 and Deuteronomy 6:4-5). With all of these wonderful descriptions about God, I join Paul in giving “honour and glory” to Him my King! The closing phrase “forever and ever” is also translated as “to the ages of ages” and this compliments God as “King of the ages,” the Triune God. Wow! The word “amen,” meaning “so be it” or “Yeszzza!” concludes the doxology very well. This is how Eugene Peterson paraphrased Paul’s doxology and as you read this – on laptop, tab or smartphone – read it aloud (it’s okay if people think you’re crazy) as you give praise to the King:

“Deep honour and bright glory
to the King of All Time –
One God, Immortal, Invisible,
ever and always. Oh, yes!”
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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Book Review: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls (2015) by Lynn Weingarten


Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls (2015) by Lynn Weingarten

The synopsis goes like this: They say Delia burned herself to death in her father’s shed. They sat it was suicide. But June doesn’t believe it. June and Delia used to be best friends in that way that comes before everyone else – before guys, before family. It was like being in love, except more. They had an infinite number of secrets, tying them together like thin silk cords. “Secrets tie you together”, Delia often say to June.

But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia and June’s boyfriend, Ryan, were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. An in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this – things would never be the same again. Now Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth… which is far more complicated that she ever could have imagined… That’s it, as for the rest of the story, read this book… or… maybe you should consider first…

Suicide, pressure, broken family, relationship issues, BGR and sexually confused are popular themes nowadays. Have you watched or read Gone Girl? A bit of that element though. How about 13 Reasons Why book or series? Sort of like that but a bit less. Besides Nicholas Spark’s novels I seldom read on romance and much less about suicide (oh I love mystery and action novels). Why I picked up this book? I’m not sure. Storyline perhaps. Nice book cover, of course. Or I’m just curious about girl-and-girl relationship. Maybe all of the above. I like this book because of its twisted plot and intense in almost all pages. This book kept me guessing (though all of my predictions are almost right) and somewhat shocking conclusion (but not surprise). What I don’t like is… well, this book can be shorter, contain lots of vulgar language and this lesbian-best-friend-ism (spoiler!) make me uncomfortable…

But then again, maybe an uncomfortable book is good something :)

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Bila Paulus Bertemu Yesus #5 Satu Istilah Yang Paling Indah Di Dalam Alkitab


Apabila mendengar kata-kata ini, mereka tersangat sakit hati dan berang terhadap Stefanus… Mereka nyerat dia ke luar kota lalu merejamnya. Orang yang menyaksikan segalanya itu meletakkan jubah mereka di kaki seorang muda bernama Saul
(Kisah Para Rasul 7:54, 58,
AVB)

Ya, Saul (atau Paulus) berada di sana ketika Stefanus berucap dan kemudian direjam dengan batu. Bila Firman menulis, “[mereka] meletakkan jubah mereka di kaki… Saul”, ini bermaksud mereka menghormati dan meminta izin kepada Saul untuk merejam Stefanus. Meminta izin kepada seseorang bermaksud seseorang itu berpengaruh dan mempunyai kuasa untuk mengarahkan sesuatu tindakkan. Bila kita memahami maksud “meletakkan jubah”, kita mendapat suatu gambaran yang lebih lagi tentang sikap dan fikiran Saul sebelum dia mengenali Yesus sebagai Tuhan dan Juruselamat.

Saul sangat bekenan dengan izin yang diberikannya kepada musuh Stefanus. Mereka pula suka untuk melakukannya. Saya membayangkan bagaimana Saul tersenyum atau bersukacita bila setiap kali batu yang dilemparkan kepada Stefanus mengenainya. Bagaimana pula reaksi TUHAN bila melihat semua ini (7:55)? Boleh kamu bayangkan betapa hancur hati Yesus melihat Stefanus yang benar itu direjam dengan kejam? Dan betapa penuh belas kasihan dan harapan Dia melihat Saul yang penuh dengan dosa itu?

Stefanus mengikut Dia tetapi Saul menentang Dia. Seorang dilumuri darah; seorang lagi dipenuhi dengan kegelapan. Seorang tidak boleh menyelamatkan diri dia daripada pihak musuh; seorang lagi tidak dapat menyelamatkan diri daripada dosa terhadap Allah. Seorang mati secara fisikal tetapi hidup dalam Roh; seorang lagi hidup secara fisikal tetapi mati dalam roh. Seorang dikasihi oleh Tuhan Jesus dan seorang lagi – sama – Tuhan Jesus tetap mengasihi dia. Apakah istilah yang diberikan di dalam Alkitab tentang kasih Allah seperti ini? Kasih kurnia, kasih kurnia Allah!

Saul yang kemudiannya dipanggil Paulus menulis:
Tuhan kita melimpahkan kasih kurnia-Nya kepadaku,
dengan iman dan kasih dalam Kristus Yesus” (1 Timotius 1:14)
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Review: The Heart of Leadership (2013) by Mark Miller


The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow (2013)
by Mark Miller

This book is very enlightening and entertaining business fable (story with lessons). It’s about a young and ambitious man named Blake Brown who desperately wanted promotion but doesn’t have despite his outstanding individual performance. His boss Samantha keeps on telling him that “leaders are different.” In his confusion and frustration, Blake turns to his former mentor, Debbie Brewster, for advice but instead she sends him on a quest to meet five leaders, each of whom hold “a piece of the puzzle he’s trying to solve.” Are you the type of leader people want to follow? You and I can be – this book will show us what sets great leaders apart from all the rest.

Leaders are different”. That wasn’t a new idea for me, but I’m grateful that Mark Miller keeps reminding and emphasizing that. And to be different, I have to have leadership character. “As important as the skills are,” he writes, “lack of skills is not what derails most leaders; skill are too easy to learn. If you want to predict people’s ultimate success as leaders, evaluate not their skills but their leadership character.” Without leadership character no one cares about our skills. That’s true! Here are 5 core traits that together constitute leadership character as Blake learned these from his interviews with great leaders, they represent the HEART of leadership (I add questions for each point instead of nugget of truths found in the book so that you’ll read it for yourself):

#1 Hunger for Wisdom

You need to think of your quest for wisdom as a hunger that will never be satiated.” Good questions to ask myself: Do I see my personal development as one of my highest priorities? Is my calendar reflects the high priority I place on the pursuit of wisdom? Am I invest time on a regular basis with people who help me grow?

#2 Expect the Best

The future has not yet been written – it is written by leaders.” When difficulties arise, am I remain optimist? Am my ‘expect the best’ outlook impacts all areas of my life? Do I consistently demonstrate an ‘expect the best’ attitude? Am I able to grasp reality and still maintain my optimism?

#3 Accept Responsibility

The best leaders don’t blame others. They own their actions and their outcomes.” Am I accept responsibility for my effort and outcomes? Am I willingly accept responsibility for the work of those I lead? When outcomes are not good, am I look to my role in the situation first? And when outcomes are good, am I quick to give praise to others?

#4 Respond with Courage

Leaders usually don’t wait – they initiate.” “Your missed opportunities are often no big deal in isolation. They are, however, cumulative.” Am I willing to make tough decisions? Can people count on me to do the right thing even when it won’t be popular? Is my first instinct when faced with a challenge or opportunity is to act?

#5 Think Others First

The servant leader constantly works to help others win.” “SERVE = See the Future, Engage and Develop Others, Reinvent Continuously, Value Results and Relationships, and Embody the Values.” Do I consider the needs and desires of others before my own? Am I constantly look for ways to add value to others? During my daily activities, do I often find myself serving others? Am I a serving leader?

When I read this book, I no longer thinking of Blake, the main character, but I see myself on the quest of learning and improving my leadership character. His journey of discovery became mine. In the final note, “the heart of leadership is a matter of the heart.” And so as I finished reading this book, I prayed, ‘Lord, only you can change my heart, change it Lord so that I may lead with the HEART of leadership. Amen.’

Seriously, read and apply the principles in this book!
[only RM17.90 at Xcessbook, AmCorp Mall, Petaling Jaya]

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Book Review: Gospel-Centered Teaching: Showing Christ in All the Scripture (2013)


Gospel-Centered Teaching: 
Showing Christ in All the Scripture (2013) 
by Trevin Wax


I bought this valuable book from the Hill Book Fair for only RM3. It is a short little book and easy to read but worth all the effort. Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, has written easy-to-understand guide to what it means to be focused on Christ in our teaching. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3 that Jesus is the foundation of the church and we must take care how we build upon this foundation. As Bible teacher, I’m concerned that every sharing and Bible Study must be founded in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that it’s Jesus who changes lives, and the goal of our Bible Study is to continually reintroduce people to him.

I was challenged when I read the first chapter when the author writes that the biggest problem with Christians today is Biblical literacy. “It’s an epidemic,” he said. I understand this issue very well. He also points out another issue, namely, that we have “a closed-off group of biblical junkies who view Bible Study as their ‘fix’ for the week.” And sometime we can have “people who can win a game of Bible trivia, but who don’t look very much like Jesus.” We want to ‘go deeper’ we said but that also is not the answer, for the demons “got their theology down (James 2), but are devils still.” The question is not so much of “What’s missing?” (though methods and problem solving are important) but rather the question is – “Who’s missing?” The answer, of course, is Jesus. When we ask the right question, “Who’s missing?” from our sharing/teaching, we’ll embark on a quest to find Jesus in all the Scripture.

As I prepare Bible studies in the future (and you too), I ought to ask myself these 3 questions by Travin Wax: #1 How does this topic or passage fit into the Big Story of Scripture?; #2 What is distinctively Christian about the way I am addressing this topic or passage?; and #3 How does this truth equip God’s church to live on mission? If I can answer these questions rightly, I can be sure that I’m teaching a Gospel-centered teaching and Christ-focused Bible Study. I recommend this book to every preacher, small group leader, Sunday school facilitator and Bible Study teacher. This book is an excellent guide for us to understand how to teach the Bible with Christ as our focus, the gospel as our centre and the entire Bible as one big story about Jesus.

This book is divided into 5 chapters:
  1. Something’s Missing
  2. Back to Basics
  3. Connect the Dots and Tell the Story
  4. Ground Your Application in the Gospel
  5. Overflow with Passion for God’s Mission


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Book Review: Messy: How To Be Creative and Resilient in A Tidy-Minded World (2016)


Messy: How To Be Creative and Resilient in A Tidy-Minded World (2016) 
by Tim Harford

My office table is always messy. Unclean cup, big volume books, empty bottle, crumpled paper, sugar container and – as I write this – there is a mysterious liquid soap on my table! There is a well-valued idiom: “cleanliness is next to godliness.” I agree. I make sure my clothes that I wear are clean. I wrapped my books so that it will not get wet or dirt. I will not wear socks more than 3 days. But as for my office table, notebook, calendar and file documents, messy is the right word to describe it. When I read that Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, two of my heroes, both had messy workspaces, I’m glad. Einstein famously pointing out that, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Good question.

I bought this book Messy at BookXcess Amcorp Mall, Petaling Jaya for only RM19.90 (MPH bookstore will cost you RM79.90). I love the cover design and any book with a word ‘creativity’ in it attract my attention. Tim Harford writing this book to celebrate the benefits that messiness has in our lives. Drawing from research in neuroscience, psychology and social science, Tim shows that “if you want to be creative and resilient, you need a little more disorder in your world.” What make this book interesting (though I think it can be shorter) is that it is very convincing because there are lot of real life examples, as well as scientific information on why it's true. Tim encourages messiness because it can lead us to productivity and creative thinking. “We are often succumb to the temptation of a tidy-minded approach,” writes Tim, “went we would be better served by embracing a degree of mess.” 

The author organized his book into nine categories: Creativity, Collaboration, Workplaces, Improvisation, Winning, Incentives, Automation, Resilience, and Life. Tim Harford writes, “Often we are so seduced by the blandishments of tidiness that we fail to appreciate the virtues of the messy - the untidy, unquantified, uncoordinated, improvised, imperfect, incoherent, crude, cluttered, random, ambiguous, vague, difficult, diverse or even dirty. The scripted speech misreads the energy of the room; the careful commander is disorientated by a more impetuous opponent; the writer is serendipitously inspired by a random distraction; the quantified targets create perverse incentives; the workers in the tidy office feel helpless and demotivated; a disruptive outsider aggravates the team but brings a fresh new insight. The worker with the messy inbox ultimately gets more done; we find a soulmate when we ignore the website questionnaires; the kids running loose in the wasteland not only have fun and learn more skills, but also - counter-intuitively - have fewer accidents.” 

Life is a beautiful mess. 
You can make it more beautiful by embracing its. 
If you don’t, you’ll mess it up J


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Book Review: The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream (1993) by Paulo Coelho


The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream (1993) 
by Paulo Coelho

Anthony Robbins, one of my favourite speakers and authors, writes, “A remarkable tale about the most magical of all journeys: the quest to fulfil one’s destiny. I recommend The Alchemist to anyone who is passionately committed to claiming the life of their dreams – today.” Agree! I simply love this novel, a fable Co
elho said, about following your dreams or Personal Legends. A poetic book. You may or may not agree with Coelho’s philosophy but it is nonetheless “a tale that comforts our hearts as much as our souls.” As Christ follower, Coelho’s theology (or should I say, spirituality?) – though he is a Brazilian Catholic – shouldn’t be taken seriously or at least questionable. New age beliefs and syncretism (especially the mix of Christianity and Islam beliefs) are obvious in his writings. Once I identified that, I can read this book with excitement and caution. 

The Alchemist is centred on Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, who has a dream about finding treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. An old man claiming to be a mysterious king by the name of Melchizedek advise him to pursue it, “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation and when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” With hope, dream and courage of an adventurer, Santiago sells his sheep and travels to Tangier in Africa. Along the way, he faced troubles and helps, doubts and reassurances, delays and encouragements, failures and successes, mysteries and love. He also encountered with a 200-year-old alchemist who can read the Emerald Tablet, who own the Elixir of Life that can cure any kind of decease and the Philosophy’s Stone that can turn any material into gold. The alchemist guide and lead Santiago in his journey and so he finally can understand and see the Soul of the World and know how to read omens. As I read this book, it’s not so much about ‘Can Santiago finds his treasure?’ but ‘Where his treasure really is?’ It’s about the journey, learning experience and self-realisation. 

To achieve or to have the courage to confront our own dreams, Paulo Coelho in the introduction said there are four main obstacles: First, “we are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible”; Secondly, “if we have the courage to disinter dream, we are then faced by the second obstacle: love… we know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream”; Thirdly, “once we have accepted that love is a stimulus, we come up against the third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path”; and finally,the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives… this is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here.” 

Read this book! Steal it if you must 
J


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Book Review: The Message of Ruth (1983) by David Atkinson


The Message of Ruth (1983) by David Atkinson

We had just finished studying the Book of Ruth last week. It was an exciting journey of exploration and learning experience. I only used this commentary as supplementary for my own discovery of the Word. Like I said over and over again: The Bible Speaks Today commentary series is the best! 

The book of Ruth is a tale of charm and delight. Goethe cal
led it "the loveliest complete work on a small scale, handed down to us as an ethical treatise and an idyll." Another writes, "No poet in the world has written a more beautiful short story." The book tells about very ordinary people facing very ordinary events. 

We meet Naomi, who underwent hardship in famine and bereavement but eventually won peace and security. We meet Ruth, a young foreign woman from Moab who attached herself to her mother-in-law, Naomi, and to Naomi's God. And we meet Boaz, who by marrying Ruth fitted into God's purpose's for history.

Both King David and King Jesus are numbered among their descendants. Theologically the story of Ruth is a story about God's providence. This David Atkinson demonstrates clearly in his passage-by-passage exposition. What a book! 



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Book Review: The Giver (1993) by Lois Lowry


The Giver (1993) by Lois Lowry

Wow! Emotional, adventurous and a richly provocative novel I ever read since I read Paulo Choelo's The Alchemist. Thought-provoking and very imaginative storyline. Novel like this remind me of how wonderful and joyful it is to read 
book.

Jonah, the main character in this book, lives in the 'perfect' world. Everything is under control and orderly systematic. There
 is no war, no fear, no lies, no pain, and sadness. There is no future, no room to be rude, no differences (except for their assignments) and obedience to the Rules. Free food, safe place, the Sameness. Everything is predetermined and everyone is assigned a role in the Community. Perfect.


When Jonas turns twelve, age of adulthood, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver by the Community Elders. The Giver is an honourable job and also the most difficult one. The Giver alone holds the memories of true pain, true happiness, and the pleasure of life. In short, The Giver alone have all the memories of the world. From here, Jonas went into adventure of his lifetime, of realisations and the meaning of life, real life. 

This book is a wow!

[P.s: 20 years later, there is a movie The Giver (2014) based on the novel. Both book and movie are very good. Well of course, there are differences between the original and the interpretation of it. The book require additional imaginations; while the movie put us into people's imaginations of it. Both are good. Book is better, you know...]


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Book Review: Head In the Cloud (2016)


Head In the Cloud:
Why Knowing Things Still Matters When Facts Are So Easy to Look Up
(2016)
by William Poundstone

It took one month for me to finished reading this book. Draggy a bit but still very interesting, at time funny and mind-opening. If you like to read Malcolm Galdwell's books, you gonna like this one. A bit repetitive too but the basic premise stands: Knowledge and the ability to acquire knowledge is valuable. I don’t know what else I should write. I think I understand a great deal about this book when I watched YouTube presentations by Poundstone on Google talk and interviews than reading it. Maybe I shouldn’t buy this book and only watch interviews instead…

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Book Review: Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn (2015)


Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn:
Life's Greatest Lessons Are Gained from Our Losses
(2015)
by John C. Maxwell

When I first became trainee as Assistant Manager at GSC Times Square, KL few years ago, I knew that I don't have experience as a leader at workplace. At school, yes; campus, oh yeah; workplace, not so much (part-time doesn't count). One of books on leadership that was very helpful for me during that challenging time is John C. Maxwell's Ultimate Leadership (2007), a 544 pages book! I underlines, highlighted and taking notes. Bulky book, a bible on leadership (second on the list is Gene Wilkes's Jesus on Leadership). Any books by John C. Maxwell will never fail you, this I'm quite sure. Without exception, Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Learn is one of the best. Want to know what this book is all about? Read the title and subtitles below - and you'll know what it is all about:

Chapter #1 When You're Losing, Everything Hurts
#2 Humility: The Spirit of Learning
#3 Reality: The Foundation of Learning
#4 Responsibility: The First Step of Learning
#5 Improvement: The Focus of Learning
#6 Hope: The Motivation of Learning
#7 Teachability: The Pathway of Learning
#8 Adversity: The Catalyst for Learning
#9 Problems: Opportunities for Learning
#10 Bad Experiences: The Perspective for Learning
#11 Change: The Price of Learning
#12 Maturity: The Value of Learning
#13 Winning Isn't Everything, But Learning Is

Good book! :)


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Book Review: Journey of Grace and Growth: Essays in Honour of Koichi Ohtawa (2017)


Journey of Grace and Growth:
Essays in Honour of Koichi Ohtawa
(2017)
by Fellowship of Evangelical Students, Singapore

This book is a collection of writings by various FES staff leaders from all over East Asia. It is published in honour of Koichi Ohtawa (or Ohtawa-san), former FES Regional Secretary of East Asia and now as spiritual director. Last April 2017 marked his 75th birthday and this book is his gift - actually all the writer's appreciations for his gifts in the ministry - for many years investing his life in students, graduates and staffworkers. He never failed "to teach and inspire [us] on the essential issues in discipleship and spirituality."

I'm not claiming to know Ohtawa-san intimately, but I have met him personally. He is a gentle man in his manners but quite firm in his voice; he is a humble and free spirited man but a man of discipline indeed; he is a good listener but slow to speak... when he speaks, he speaks wisdoms.

Next month, FES Malaysia staff will go for silent retreat and I'm excited to meet Ohtawa-san and his wife, Shioko again. May God raises more men and women of God like Ohtawa-san who know the Way and lead us to this "journey of grace and growth."

Thank you to all the writers for your helpful essays and to FES Singapore for taking the initiative to published this book and for giving us for free during IFES East Asia Regional Conference (EARC) 2017 at South Korea

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Should I Review? God's Outlaw, A Life of William Tyndale (1976)


God's Outlaw: Living in Poverty and Constant Fear for His Life
William Tyndale Changed the Course of History
(1976)
by Brian H. Edward

The best (but old) book about the life of William Tyndale, English reformer, first scholar and translator who translated Greek New Testament to English Language and die for it. Read it during my personal retreat.

Should I review this book?


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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Bila Paulus Bertemu Yesus #4 "Jauhkan Hamba-Mu daripada Dosa yang Sengaja"


Jauhkan hamba-Mu daripada dosa yang sengaja;
jangan sampai aku dikuasainya.
Supaya aku bebas daripada kesalahan,
bersih daripada keingkaran yang berat
(Mazmur 19:13, AVB)

Kebanyakan orang Farisi dan mereka yang berkedudukan dikalangan orang Saduki yang pernah bersemuka dengan Tuhan Yesus berkemungkinan besar merupakan para guru Paulus (atau Saul, namanya sebelum dia berubah) dan rakan-rakan semuridnya. Istilah Farisi bermaksud, secara ringkas, mereka yang ‘dipisahkan’ atau ‘diasingkan’ untuk menguduskan diri dan devosi kepada Allah. Tetapi pada masa Perjanjian Baru, iaitu pada masa Yesus, istilah Farisi lebih merujuk kepada mereka yang munafik dan hipokrit dalam hal agama dan kepimpinan.

Matius 23 merupakan bab dimana Yesus mengecam orang Farisi, orang Saduki dan para ahli Taurat. Bila Yesus berfirman kepada orang ramai tentang mereka, kemungkinan Paulus ada dikalangan orang Farisi. Sebagai contoh, Yesus berkata bahawa mereka meletakkan beban agama kepada orang tetapi mereka tidak mahu menolong (ayat 4); mereka melakukan hal agama supaya dilihat oleh orang ramai (ayat 5); mereka suka dilayani dan dianggap penting (ayat 6); dan mereka bukan hanya tidak akan memasuki Kerajaan Syurga tetapi mereka juga akan menghalang orang lain daripada masuk.

Adakah ciri-ciri orang munafik dan hipokrit dalam Matius 23 ada pada kamu dan saya? Baca Matius 23. Umat Allah tidak perlu takut untuk memeriksa motif dan kelakuan berdasarkan Firman Allah. Pengikut Kristus harus berani mengambil risiko dan bertindak untuk bertanya kepada TUHAN supaya memeriksa hati, fikiran dan sikap kita. Minta Allah menunjukkan kepada kita kelemahan yang harus kita perbaiki dan dosa yang perlu kita bertaubat. Dengan cara ini, TUHAN boleh memberkati, menguatkan dan menyembuhkan kita. Daripada orang ‘farisi’ kita menjadi pengikut Kristus yang sebenar.

Semoga segala yang kututurkan
dengan lidah dan kurenungkan
dalam hati diterima oleh-Mu,
Ya TUHAN, Batu Pejalku dan Penebusku
(Mazmur 19:14)
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Monday, November 13, 2017

Jesus, Mesiah Orang Israel tang Indu Orang Siria Bisi Bepengarap ti Besai ka Iya (Mark 7:24-30)


Udah nya Jesus angkat lalu mansang ngagai sabengkah endor ti semak nengeri Tire. Iya belalai, tama ngagai sabuah rumah, enggai ka orang nemu iya bisi dia. Tang Iya enda ulih ngelalai ka diri. Siko indai orang ti bisi anak indu kena rasok antu, nemu Jesus bisi dia. Iya datai ngagai Jesus lalu nyungkor ka diri di kaki iya. Indu nya orang bansa bukai, iya ada di Penisia, dalam menoa Siria. Iya minta Jesus muru antu ari anak indu iya
(Mark 7:24-26, Berita Manah Ka Rebak Diatu)

Jesus baru badu bejako enggau sida bala Parisi pasal “ajar aki ini sida” (7:2). Sida enda nerima jako ajar Jesus, nya alai Iya bepindah ngagai menoa orang kapir, menua ukai orang Judah. Dia siko indu bansa ari Siria datai ngagai Jesus lalu kran minta tulong Jesus muru antu ari anak indu iya. Tang saut Jesus, “Awak ka kita meri anak mit makai dulu. Enda patut kitai ngambi pemakai anak mit lalu meri iya ngagai ukoi” (7:27). Tu mina jako sempama, tang nama kabuah Jesus dipeda kitai nulak ka pinta indu nya enggau jako ti kasar?

Kitai enda tau enda mereti, Jesus semina ngena jako orang Israel ti ngumbai sida bansa bukai baka “ukoi” (orang Judah meda dirik sida baka “anak mit”. Tu pemikir ti jai ti salah ari orang Israel). Orang Israel pechaya Allah Taala deka ngirum ke Mesiah (tauka Kristus) ngagai sida nitih ja jako Jesus, “Aku semina di-asoh ngiga raban bedus orang Israel ti lenyau” (Matthew 15:24). Tang nya enda bemaksud Jesus enda kasih ka orang bansa bukai. Iya datai ngagai orang Israel labah sida tu bansa ti dipilih Allah Taala. Ngagai bansa Israel dulu baru nya bansa lain. Kitai patut mereti iya nya Jesus enda ba Israel aja tang “ngagai nengeri bukai mega, laban nya kebuah Allah Taala ngasoh [Iya] datai” (Luke 4:43). Jesus datai dulu ka orang Israel tang Iya deka mati ka dosa semoa mensia. Iya deka nyadi Pengelepas semoa mensia! “Bejalai kita ngagai serata dunya lalu tusoi Berita Manah ngagai semoa mensia,” ko Jesus di ujong injil Mark (16:15).

Indu nya mereti ka jako Jesus tang iya amat liat ati bepengarap besai. “Ko indu nya nyaut iya, ‘Nya amat, tuan. Tang ukoi ti di baroh mija mega makai teda pemakai ti enda abis dempa anak mit!’ Nya alai ko Jesus bejako enggau iya, ‘Kategal saut nuan baka nya, nuan tau pulai ke rumah. Antu udah pansut ari anak nuan!” (Mark 7:28-29). Indu nya enda malu dikumbai “ukoi”; iya nadai sekali-kali putus ati; iya kran minta enggau pengeliat ati. Laban iya kasih ngagai anak iya ngau pechaya bendar ngagai Jesus, iya “pulai ka rumah lalu nemu anak iya gali ba penindok. Antu amat udah pansut ari iya” (7:30). Matthew 15:28 bisi nambah ka jako Jesus, “Nuan tu indu ti besai pengarap!” Kati ko indu ari bansa kapir, bansa Siria bisi pengarap besai ngagai Jesus, Mesiah orang Israel? Amai besai pengarap iya! Kitai mega – orang Iban – bansa bukai. Bisi kitai pengarap baka indu nya?

O Tuhan Jesus, aku meri trima kasih ngagai Nuan laban nuan udah nyadi Pengelepas aku.
Aku minta ka pengarap aku ka Nuan sama sabaka indu ti dalam Mark 7 tu.
Nuan meh Tuhan aku, Nuan meh Mesiah (Kristus) aku, Nuan meh ti bekuasa dalam pengidup aku.
Aku minta Nuan meri pengarap aku besai agi.
Amen
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Timothy, the Depth of My Sin Only Demonstrate the Depth of God’s Perfect Patience (1 Timothy 1:16)


The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life
(1 Timothy 1:15-16,
ESV)

Paul, who confessed to be Public Sinner Number One (see previous post), says he now has become the first and foremost demonstration of God’s perfect patience. God waited and waited while Paul was blaspheming and persecuting (read 1 Timothy 1:13). The depth of Paul’s sin only demonstrated the depth of God’s perfect patience. God was holding back His righteous acts against Paul’s sin for a very long time in order that he might be saved.

If God’s perfect patience applied to Paul and his day, how much more does it apply for this past 2,000 years of world history and especially to the world today in which we live. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of sin. I’m fed up of it as I face it day by day in my own life. I wish the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil will go away! Moreover, I’m sick and tired of sins that I see around me that laughs at God, no fear and respect for God, and ignorance of God’s grace and perfect patience in this world. If a mortal man like me feel like this, I wonder how a holy God must feel who sees sin infinite times over with His all-seeing and all-knowing attributes. Surely, most surely God must be a God of grace, mercy and perfect patience! He is! But why?

The reason for God’s perfect patience is that “an example” might be given for “those who were to believe in him for eternal life” in this age of grace. Paul is saying that God’s grace in saving him was an example for every believer like you and me. This example is big enough to include any one no matter what the nature of his or her sin or how great it might be. This week I had a privilege of dealing with a college student who honestly thought he was too great a sinner to be saved by Christ. So I showed him 1 Timothy 1:12-17 and explained that Paul was the Public Sinner Number One and yet God shows His grace and mercy and saved him (and I gave my own testimony). Nobody need to fear that God wouldn’t receive him or her – only repent and believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

God “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish,
but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Bila Paulus Bertemu Yesus #3 Allah Mempunyai Rancangan Bagi Orang Yang Mengasihi-Nya


[Kamu] mestilah terus berpegang kepada segala yang telah kamu pelajari dan yakini,
kerana kamu tahu daripada siapa segalanya telah kamu pelajari
(2 Timotius 3:14, AVB)

Salah satu konsep yang indah dalam Firman Allah ialah Dia mempunyai rancangan yang istimewa dalam hidup kita, jika kita mengasihi Dia. Dalam Galatia 1:15, Paulus menulis bahawa Allah “telah mengasingkanku daripada rahim ibuku dan memanggilku melalui kasih kurnia-Nya.” Ya, Tuhan ada rancangan-Nya dalam kehidupan Paulus. Tiada apa dalam kehidupan Paulus – samada sebelum atau selepas dia menjadi pengikut Kristus – yang sia-sia. Semasa dia masih muda, dia menjadi murid kepada guru Gamaliel (Kisah Para Rasul 5:34-39), cucu kepada Hillel, antara guru Taurat Musa yang paling terkenal dalam sejarah orang Yahudi.

Semua pendidikan dan latihan Paulus dibawah Gamaliel, masa yang digunakan untuk mengkaji Alkitab dan Hukum Taurat, segala pengetahuan tentang adat nenek moyang orang Yahudi, semuanya merupakan sebahagian daripada rancangan Allah dalam kehidupan Paulus. Tuhan dengan kebijiksanaan-Nya telah menyediakan minda Paulus dengan Hukum Taurat dan telah meletakkan kasih kurnia-Nya dalam hatinya. Dengan ini, Paulus boleh bersaksi bahawa bukan Hukum Taurat yang boleh menyelamatkan kita tetapi hanya dengan darah Yesus Kristus, iman melalui kasih-kurnia-Nya. Bila Paulus bertemu dengan Tuhan Yesus segala-galanya telah berubah.  

Allah telah mendahului setiap kehidupan kita yang percaya dan mengasihi-Nya. Dia telah menyediakan kita sebelum kita lahir ke dunia. Dia ada rancangan yang indah dalam setiap kehidupan kita. “Kerana kita ini buatan-Nya, dicipta dalam Kristus Yesus untuk melakukan perbuatan baik, yang telah disediakan terdahulu oleh Allah untuk kita lakukan” (Efesus 2:10).


THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Bila Paulus Bertemu Yesus #2 Mengikat Firman Allah Sebagai Tanda Peringatan


Ikatkanlah semua [Firman Allah] sebagai tanda peringatan pada tangan dan dahimu
(Ulangan 6:8,
AVB)

Pada usia 13 tahun, Paulus (atau Saul) sudah dianggap sebagai seorang dewasa yang harus hidup menurut Hukum Taurat dan dia bertanggungjawab untuk melakukan kewajibannya sebagai orang Yahudi yang sudah matang. Dia pada usia ini akan menggunakan suatu alat yang dinamakan tefillin sebagai alat untuk berdoa pada setiap pagi. Alat ini terdiri daripada dua kotak hitam kecil yang mengandungi beberapa petikkan ayat dari Kitab Taurat yang diikat dengan menggunakan tali kulit (lihat gambar di atas). Paulus akan mengenakan satu kotak di bahagian lengan kiri dekat dengan hatinya dan tali kulit akan dililit sebanyak tujuh kali. Kotak yang satu lagi akan diikat di kepala dibahagian tengah dahinya.

Kenapa ia diletakkan di lengan kirinya? Kerana bagi orang Yahudi, tangan kiri merupakan bahagian yang lemah. Kenapa pula ia diletakkan di dahi? Kerana kepala yang memimpin setiap bahagian tubuh kita. Orang Yahudi mengenakan Firman Allah pada bahagian yang paling lemah (tangan kiri) dan yang paling penting (bahagian kepala). Ia menjadi simbol yang menguatkan (yang lemah) dan memimpin (fikir, hati dan perbuatan). Sejak berusia 13 tahun, orang lelaki Yahudi akan bangun setiap pagi diingatakan atau disedarkan bahawa mereka ialah milik TUHAN, umat Allah. Hukum Taurat menjadi Hukum Kehidupan mereka.

Kita tidak perlu mengikuti cara orang Yahudi – malah setelah Paulus menerima Tuhan Yesus Kristus sebagai Juruselamat dan Penggenap Hukum Taurat, Paulus tidak lagi menjadi hamba hukum dan tradisi Yahudi – tetapi prinsip rohaninya harus kita ikuti. Kita harus mengabdikan diri kita kepada Allah dengan membiarkan Roh Kudus meletakkan Firman-Nya di dalam hati, fikiran dan tubuh kita. Biar Firman Allah ditanam dan bertumbuh di dalam hati kita; biar ia mempengaruhi pemikiran kita; dan biar ia memimpin kelakukan dan sikap kita.

Firman-Mu lampu bagi kakiku dan cahaya bagi jalanku.
Aku telah bersumpah dan menegaskan, bahawa aku akan mematuhi
hukum-hukum-Mu yang benar” (Mazmur 119:105-106)

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Bila Paulus Bertemu Yesus #1 Kerana Bagiku, Hidup ialah Kristus

Baca tentang perubahan hidup Paulus bila dia bertemu dengan Yesus
dan Yesus memanggil dia dalam Kisah Para Rasul bab 9

Saul bertanya, ‘Siapakah Engkau, Tuan?’ Jawab-Nya, ‘Akulah Yesus yang kauaniaya’
(Kisah Para Rasul 9:5-6,
AVB)

Lama selepas Tuhan Yesus mengubah perjalanan Paulus (Saul) di Damsyik dari memburu orang Kristian kepada pertaubatannya menjadi Kristian, kesaksian dia tetap sama – tidak pernah berubah. Sesuatu yang dramatik yang berlaku kepada seorang pemberontak yang akhirnya menjadi pengikut Kristus yang setia dan berpengaruh.

Saya berdoa supaya Tuhan yang sama yang mengubah Paulus juga akan mengubah kita ketika kita membaca Firman Allah dan membiarkan Roh Kudus-Nya bekerja di dalam hidup kita. Penulisan Paulus di dalam Alkitab Perjanjian Baru banyak mengubah diri saya sendiri. Saya telah menerima banyak cabaran dan galakkan daripada Tuhan Yesus melalui rasul Paulus. “Aku ingin mengenali Yesus dan kuasa kebangkitan-Nya” (Filipi 3:10) telah menjadi matlamat hidup saya. “Kerana bagiku, hidup ialah Kristus, dan mati ialah keuntungan” (Filipi 1:21) pula telah menjadi harapan peribadi saya. Paulus telah menjadi mentor yang membawa saya kepada Yesus Kristus, Tuhan saya.

Bila kita sanggup dan benar-benar percaya “kerana bagiku, hidup ialah Kristus,” bila kita betul-betul mengaminkan Firman ini, maka, kehidupan kita tidak akan menjadi sama lagi, kita akan memperoleh kehidupan yang penuh dan bermakna. Hidup ini untuk dan bagi Kristus, jika kita mati dalam iman kepada-Nya, ia ialah keuntungan! Amin!

Tetapi aku sekali-kali tidak mahu bermegah dengan apa pun
kecuali salib Tuhan kita Yesus Kristus
yang melalui-Nya dunia telah disalib kepadaku
dan aku juga kepada dunia
” (Galatia 6:14)
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.


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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Timothy, I'm A Public Sinner Number One (1 Timothy 1:15)




The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15, ESV)

Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof – Public Sinner Number One” (The Message)

Verse 15 is one of the best-known verses in the New Testament and clearly declares the purpose of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world as well as the humility of Paul. This verse should be preach during Christmas! Paul stresses the pre-existence of the Saviour – “Christ Jesus came into the world.” This was the expression that Jesus used of Himself: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13); “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). This was also a favourite expression of the apostle John in speaking of the entrance of Jesus into the world: “He came to his own…” (John 1:11, read the John 1:1-18). The main purpose of why Jesus, the Son of God came – the one that overrides all the others in the Bible put together – the reason why we need Him is: “to save sinners.” Who are the sinners? Not just Paul, but all of us, for “all have sinned” (read Romans 3:23). Nobody is exception, all of us need Jesus because all of us sinners. No matter how good one may appear in the eyes of men, by God’s standard of perfection, “the whole world may be held accountable to God” (Romans 3:19).

See Paul’s humility as he compare himself by Jesus’ standard of holiness and perfection, Paul said, “I am the foremost,” the chief sinners or “Public Sinner Number One.” Before a holy God, the great apostle Paul sees his sinfulness. Paul, I think, could not forget the days when he was a “blasphemer, persecutor and insolent opponent” (1 Timothy 1:13) against Jesus and the believers. The realization of the magnitude of his sin caused him to see himself as the worst, rotten sinner that God ever saved or would save. When I read this, I say to myself, “This is truly the cry of a repentant heart.

Few years ago, I sat in the audience during a preaching service in a youth camp by an ‘anointed’ preacher. The verses that he quotes was powerful (of course, God’s Word is powerful regardless the preacher) and after he preached with little offense to sin or the sinner, he invited people to come to the front to make a decision. He prayed loud and clear: “O God, bless all these wonderful people who come to you tonight.” It wasn’t wrong per se, but to me, when I read the Scripture (when I witnessed my own conversion and other’s) whenever a repentant-sinner comes to Jesus Christ, he or she won’t see himself as a ‘wonderful’ person! They will stand like the apostle Paul before Christ as the “Public Sinner Number One” and cries like the humble tax collector in Luke 18, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (v.13). This I perceives as the evidence of a revival, a heart awakened to Christ by the Holy Spirit. Only when we have this awareness or realization of genuine repentance, then God will fill you and me with joy indescribable! This is wonderful indeed.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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