Monday, March 26, 2018

Timothy, the Helpers Must Know The Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 3:9-10)


"[Deacons] must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons"
(1 Timothy 3:9-10, NIV)

"The deep truths of the faith" also translated as "the mystery of the faith" (NKJV). There is no doubt, I believe, that this refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the gospel of salvation and grace – and all the doctrine it involves. A "mystery" in the New Testament is not something "mysterious" in today's sense of the word. Not like a mystery novel. A Bible "mystery" is something that was not previously revealed by God but has now been revealed in His own due time through His Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!

Paul, in Ephesians 6:19, wrote about the Gospel as revealed-mystery: "Pray also for me… so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel…" I don't want to be too technical here, but the fact that the defining article ("the") is before the word "faith" shows that Paul is referring to the great body of Christian doctrine. It is the same faith "once for all entrusted to the saints" of which Jude speaks (Jude 3). Thus, deacons/helpers are to consider that their faith has been committed to them as a sacred trust; and they must "keep hold" of it "with a clear conscience." In the Book of Acts you can see that both Stephen and Philip who were first deacons (Acts 6:2-4) are also great students of the Scripture, who "hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience" (Stephen, read Acts 6:8-7:60; Philip, read Acts 8:4-8:40).

Then, the helpers "must first be tested." Like the leader/overseer, the helpers were not to be put into office immediately following their conversions. How many immature churches have suffered by assigning new converts in a place of leadership simply because the individuals may have been well-known, good in public speaking, had the money or for something other than spiritual maturity? Thus, they "must first be tested." How? This doesn't mean some sort of formal examination or trial or sent them first to seminary but simply that they have been Christians for some time and that they have had long enough to demonstrate before other Christians – at church and home, inside church and outside – that they meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:8 and 3:12. "If there is nothing against them, let them serve."

Dear helper, do you know the Faith – the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the whole counsel of God? Do you take hold of it as dear to your heart? Believing, walking and doing the Faith with clear conscious? Can you pass the test of verse 8 and 12?  If your answer is "Yes" to all of these questions, by the power of the Holy Spirit – serve!

"To serve God, to love God, to enjoy God,
is the sweetest freedom in the world" (Thomas F. Wilson)
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.


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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Timothy, The Helpers Are to Held A High Standard (1 Timothy 3:8)


"Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere,
not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain
"
(1 Timothy 3:8, NIV)

Deacon means "one who serves." I like to call deacons as "helpers" for the overseer, the same way the Holy Spirit is the Helper (John 14:26, not lower in position and power but different office) for the Lord Jesus Christ. The helpers was first created in Acts 6 when the apostles asked for seven men "who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom" to be selected to provide for "daily distribution of food" to the widows in order that the apostles would give their "attention to prayer and the ministry of the word" (read Acts 6:1-7). This is the right kind of church organization! The bishop or elder or the leader is to focus primarily on the study, preaching and teaching of the Word of God and prayer. Others are to be selected to care and help for mundane (but also important) matters that must be done.

The deacons or helpers are those who would serve in the work of the church and so these standards apply to all of them (1 Timothy 3:8-12). First, the helpers "are to be men worthy of respect" and "sincere" or as The Message puts it more plainly, they are to be "serious, not deceitful." This does not mean a false religiosity and poker-faced, but rather men who are served in all seriousness. Far from serving out of obligations, they ought to be joyful and sincere. And since their responsibilities require them to minister to those in need and therefore often involved in visitation among church members, it is important that they keep their character (not gossipers or rumor-mongers) and attitude (serving rather than bossing) in check. In this way, they are "worthy of respect"!

Like the leader, the helpers must also "not indulging in much wine." Although the wine was used as a common drink by the people in the Bible times, this historical truth cannot be used as justification for drinking today. A drunkard church helper is always bringing a bad image for the God that he is serving. In my culture, the Iban-culture, alcohol is the single greatest problem! Although there is no explicit prohibition of drinking wine or some sort of alcoholic drinks in the Bible, it did warn us about drunkenness and "indulging in much wine." To this issue, Paul elsewhere warned believers: "It is better NOT to eat meat [offer to idols] or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall" (Romans 14:21). Unbelievers expect Christians to show good examples.

One of the differences between the leader and the helpers is that the leader gets his financial need mostly from those he serves, the church (see Galatians 6:6) but the helpers are on their own. The helpers (all!) are subject to the same temptation concerning money as the leader – perhaps even more since they will be in the business world from day to day. Thus, the helpers are commanded to "not pursuing dishonest gain." The helpers also must be above reproach in money matters.

Dear helper, are you up to the standards above?
If yes, well done, good and faithful servant!
If not, ask God to show you in which area you should repent of.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Timothy, (More Than Ever) Leader Need to Be Mature and Have A Good Reputation

Supposed to be Timothy's picture.

"[An overseer] must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap"
(1 Timothy 3:6-7, NIV)

Leader Must Be Matured. "Not be a recent convert" also refers to "not a novice" (literally means "newly planted" like a tree) and The Message translated it straight to the point, "not be a new believer." Timothy himself was not ordained to the ministry immediately after he became a believer. It was not until Paul's second missionary journey that he passed again through Timothy's hometown and laid his hands upon him for service. Until Timothy proved worthy (Acts 16:2, Philippians 2:22). The main reason for this is that he not "become conceited" or "puffed up with pride" like the devil who "fall under the same judgment." Life Application Study Bible comment on verse 6: "New faith needs time to mature. Nee believers should have a place of service but they should not be put into leadership positions until they are firmly grounded in their faith, with a solid Christian lifestyle and a knowledge of the Word of God." A new believer that is not firmly grounded in the faith is easily trapped into the sin of pride. The devil was condemned for the sin of pride (see Isaiah 14:12-15). Beware, be matured!

Leader Must Have A Good Reputation. Popularity doesn’t count. Reputation means what others believe or think about him. Thomas Paine once said, "Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us." A leader must not only be right with God (godly character) but also "have a good reputation" in the eyes of men. How many shameful stories we read in the news of religious leaders who have been dishonest, fall into sex scandals, hoarding people's money, etc. The cause of Christ has suffered immeasurable damage because of such things. Of course, there will be false accusations, all kinds of lies and misrepresentations may be fired by evil men against the man of God who faithfully proclaims the Word of God, but always be careful "not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap." Be sure that the Gospel is the offense, not us. 

God doesn’t look for a perfect and popular leader,
He desires a leader who is mature and has a good reputation.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Monday, March 19, 2018

Where Is God When It Hurts? (1977, 1990) by Phillip Yancey


Where Is God When It Hurts? (1977, 1990) by Phillip Yancey

When my friend, Aderus Helen, died on 28th February 2018 due to lung cancer, I was devastated. I know him since he was a student and were there with him in and out of the hospital. The night after he died, I wrote this on my Facebook post [now already deactivated]:

"Knowing him first at TCS CF, I'm a staff and he was a student. Naturally, he was a quiet person, but when we became a friend I considered him as talkative. To shut him down, sometimes I challenged him with hard questions. During studies and after, he was very active in the ministry. Sometimes he joined me and Peter to camps and trips. And then, to cut the story short, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. It ended up with painful chemo and imputation of his right leg. I was there when he received his artificial leg. We who know him will no doubt recognize his amazing faith, this is his obvious gift (1 Corinthians 13:9). He was a simple preacher, ordinary, in fact, but an amazing encourager and motivator. His stories and experiences inspired his hearers... Growth!

"...Years later, he has to be admitted again. Cancer cells recurrence again. On hospital bed again. Lung cancer. Fluid-filled his lungs. He still can smile, talk and have a set of wish-list-after-discharged (he wanted badly to watch Black Panther!). His faith never wavers. When I and Steven came to visit, our topic was not about mortality but Monopoly.  But once in a while, he inserted faith-statement: ‘I'm ready to be with my Father.' He doesn't want to bring his laptop because he said, ‘I want to read the Bible' during his time in the hospital. Once I asked him, had he thought about getting married, he replied, ‘There is one girl who takes an interest in me... But I have to reject her, for her own good, because I don't want her to feel sad after I'm gone.' Wise but sad.

"When it was just both of us, we played chess. I never pretended to be a looser, I tried hard to defeat him, but he was so good with chess that he wins every time! After a week, he transferred to Radiotherapy building. It was hot there, so I bought him a fan. One night his nose was bleeding. Then the next day his back hurt, so he couldn't really sit properly. The next day he was in a very painful state. His stomach hurt, probably gastric. A few days later, he was using oxygen cylinder by his side. The night before he couldn't breathe properly. Many times, I told him to tell others that he is in the hospital, but he refused. Sad faces, unnecessary words and healing prayers (in front of him) are not helpful. He did tell his pastor, some other Christian leaders, and friends. Basically, he wanted to be unnoticed. We respect that. But the immediate implication of that is loneliness (his mother only came after he changed wad).

"One day he texted me, ‘When are coming to visit me in this filthy place?' Jokingly, I replied, ‘Tonight, this filthy man will visit his site!' There was this moment when I and Steven came, and about to open Monopoly games cards, he said, ‘Tonight I can't, maybe tomorrow after I'm getting better.' After few days, he was not getting better. He speaks less, he kept himself awake but once in awhile his eyes will close, and I saw his sad face. Before I went to KL, my last meeting with him was on Monday morning with Ibi. ‘Next week I come back,' I said, ‘we go watch Black Panther.' He knew that I knew that it was impossible. ‘I'm going back to Sibu tomorrow if the doctor allows me,' was his last words. We went back, he sleeps.

"This morning, I (and some others who frequently visited him) received a painful news. Everyone shocked. I'm speechless... From beginning to his end... I suspect his faith waver a little bit, but I know, sure as I'm alive today, that his hope was unshakeable. Here is a man who faced death once, used all his energy and passion to preached Jesus his Saviour until he faced another battle, facing death again, but now forever alive in the Saviour! As for all of us, we are alive, but are we really living? Don't waste your life! Aderus is our example of faith, hope, and love. I'm sad, but at the same time - rejoices!"

So you know, I asked God the exact question: Where is God when it hurts? This book (and my other meetings with colleagues) helped me during those dark moments. I underlined and meditate on this book, struggle with every statement, rejoice with every pearl of wisdom, and checked all the Scripture quotes which slowly restored my faith. Although most of my questions are remain unanswered, I gain trust in the goodness of God. "Everyone will face a crisis of doubt in his entire Christian life," Bishop Hwa Yung once told me. Yancey words resonate with me when he wrote at the conclusion of this book: "My anger about pain has melted mostly for one reason: I have come to know God. He has given me joy and love and happiness and goodness. They have come in unexpected flashes, in the midst of my confused, imperfect world, but they have been enough to convince me that my God is worthy of trust. Knowing him is worth all enduring."

[P.s: This is not a book review after all. I just want to say that this book helped me in my struggles. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.]


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Timothy, A Church Leader Must Know How to Manage His Own Family


"[An overseer] must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?)"
(1 Timothy 3:4-5, NIV)

I recently watched Billy Graham's Funeral on Youtube and I was touched by many wonderful testimonies about the man of God. Though as I read his book Just As I Am, he was far from being a perfect father (he became an absent husband and father during his crusade rallies), his life both in the ministry and home is very encouraging. Franklin Graham, who delivered the main funeral message, said, "The Billy Graham that the world saw on television, the Billy Graham that the world saw in the big stadiums, was the same Billy Graham that we saw at home. There weren't two Billy Grahams. He loved his family. He stood by us. He comforted us." Anne Graham Lotz also testified, "My Father's legacy is one that encompasses the world… and engulfs my own life.  When I think of him, I don't think of Billy Graham, the public figure.  I think of my Daddy."

As Christian leader, no matter how busy he is, no matter how much ministry he needs to do, he "must manage his own family well." If he has children, he should take great care of them. Pastor's kids (PKs), for example, are faced with problems other children do not face and more. Though most PKs become rebellious due to the pressure and the expectation from others and self, their fathers have much to do with the kind of sons and daughters they will be. Do they see one man in the pulpit and another type of man at home? A leader must be led by God's authority and good examples that his children will want to know their father's Lord and Saviour. In this way, the "children [will] obey him with proper respect." Franklin Graham respects his father because he sees that: "There weren't two Billy Grahams."

Married Christian leader "must manage his own family well." His wife and children are to be in submission (Ephesians 5:22) and obedience (Ephesians 6:1) to him, not because he is "the boss," but because the Bible teaches God has placed him at the head of the home and holds him responsible for it. "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church…" (Ephesians 5:25) and "Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). Simply put, Paul says if a leader has failed at home, he cannot possibly succeed in directing the church. So the question that he puts is both for self-examine and for qualification: If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?

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Timothy, These Are the Indispensable Characters of A Leader


"Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money"
(1 Timothy 3:1-3,
NIV)

The most important character for very Christian is holiness. But for Timothy or Church's leaders, God's Word lays down some special standards for those who are in leadership positions. These characters are very important and indispensable for Christian leaders. "Overseer" also means "bishop" or "elder" (emphasizing spiritual maturity) mentioned in the New Testament are the same office and also apply to the pastor. When I read 1 Timothy 3:1-3, the word "above reproach" or "blameless" make me want to quit the ministry. But the word "he desires a noble task" is an encouragement to stay. Dear leaders, you must be:

#1 Above Reproach. No more quitting! Good news, Paul was not talking about sinless-perfection. It simply and plainly means that a leader who led others spiritually must be blameless. There is to be nothing in his life toward which anyone – believers and unbelievers alike – can point an accusing finger against him (of course there will be lies, rumours, and gossips). In Greek, the word means "to take hold of." Thus, there is to be nothing that anyone can take hold of to accuse the man of God that would keep him from leading others spiritually.

#2 The Husband of But One Wife. There are few interpretations of this one. As for me, I understand it as being a one-woman man, have been married only once (unless his wife is dead, in which case the Scripture permit him to remarriage), and he should not be a divorced man. Why? Because verse 4-5 only make sense when I interpreted it that way. How about young and unmarried man? I have no clear Scriptural support but I believe that as long as he is "not a recent convert" (v.6) and have all the characters but single, he is qualified to be a leader in the church. Paul, who wrote this letter was not married.

#3 Temperate. This word also translated as "vigilant." It carries the idea of sound judgment. This can refer to everything from a sound judgment in his personal discipline to sound judgment in doctrinal matters.

#4 Self-Controlled. Or "sober" which refer to "sober-minded." Now, this doesn't mean he must not have a sense of humor. Being humorous is one way for leaders to gain trust and build a relationship. But what Paul would mean, I believe, was to remind leaders that the business of God has called to "overseer" is the most important and serious business in the world. Therefore, this duty requires men who are self-control, sober and serious about it.

#5 Respectable. Most English Bibles translated this word as "well-order" or something about "of good behavior." This is not only referred to the order of the Word that he preaches but to his whole manner of life. As a leader, he needs this! His duties will be so many and responsibilities so great (and he will meet lots of people with many personalities and problems too) that if his life is not ordered he will accomplish nothing. An unrespectable leader will only taint the Name of God he preached.

#6 Hospitable. This characteristic is not only very important for a leader, it should always characterize the Lord's people. In the New Testament, the Greek word literally means “love of strangers.” Hospitality is a virtue that is both commanded and commended throughout the Bible.

#7 Able to Teach. In Christian leadership: Not all teachers should be leaders, but all leaders (pastors) should be teachers. In Ephesians 4:11, pastor and teacher is refer as one ministry. If he is to be a leader he had to be able to teach God's Word.

#8 Not Given to Drunkenness. In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul shows that "the acts of the sinful nature" include "drunkenness" together with "idolatry" and "witchcraft." No self-controlled and respectable leader is also a drunkard!

#9 Not Violent But Gentle. To be violent is to be out of control. A leader not only need to be self-control, he needs to be controlled by the Spirit of God. When the Spirit-controlled him, he will be gentle (not soft) and kind toward others. A leader who is gentle can win others back to Christ. "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently" (Galatians 6:1). A violent leader will only chase people away from Christ.

#10 Not Quarrelsome. A godly leader will never promote quarrels or foolish arguments. Whether he teach, preach or led others, he should listen to people's questions and complaints respectfully while avoiding foolish debates. Paul reminded this warning again in his second letter: "[The Lord's servant] must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful" (1 Timothy 2:24).

#11 Not A Lover of Money. This warning (4th "not") is so much needed today as it was during Timothy's time. Today it is very easy for the man of God to let economic pressures so preoccupy his thinking that money has a more important place in his life than it ought to have. One of the signs of the end time is people will be "lovers of money" (2 Timothy 3:2). To false teachers and leaders, Paul warned again: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people [leaders who "want to get rich", v.9], eager for money, have wandered from their faith…" (1 Timothy 6:10). If Christian apologetics can become quarrelsome, Christian leaders can be trapped into prosperity ‘false' gospel. On the other hand, churches should do their best in meeting the leader’s need so that these pressures will not cause him to stumble and even possibly denied his faith and calling.

I like how Eugene Peterson paraphrase these verses in The Message: "If anyone wants to provide leadership in the church, good! But there are preconditions: A leader must be well-thought-of, committed to his wife, cool and collected, accessible, and hospitable. He must know what he's talking about, not be overfond of wine, not pushy but gentle, not thin-skinned, not money hunger." So, as a leader, do you have all of the characteristics above? Or, when you choose leaders, do you take all of the above into considerations?

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Billy Graham on Who Is An Evangelist


Currently, I'm reading an autobiography by late Billy Graham, Just As I Am (1997). In his preface of this book, he writes about what it means by evangelist and I like to quote at length here:

"The word evangelist comes from a Greek word meaning ‘one who announces Good News.' Its verb form occurs over fifty times in the Greek New Testament. An evangelist, then, is like a newscaster on television or a journalist writing for a newspaper or magazine – except that the evangelist's mission is to tell the good news of the Gospel (The word gospel actually means ‘Good News').

"In the Bible, an evangelist is a person sent by God to announce the Gospel, the Good News; he or she has a spiritual gift that never been withdrawn from the Church. Methods differ, but the central truth remains: an evangelist is a person who has been called and specially equipped by God to declare the Good News to those who have not yet accepted it, with the goal of challenging them to turn to Christ in repentance and faith and to follow Him in obedience to His will. The evangelist is not called to do everything in the church or in the world that God wants to be done. On the contrary, the calling of the evangelist is very specific.

"Nor is the evangelist free to change the message, any more than a newscaster is free to change the news. The main thrust of our message is centered in Christ and what He has done for us by His death and resurrection, and the need for us to respond by committing our lives to Him. It is the message that Christ came to forgive us and give us new life and hope as we turn to Him."

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Friday, March 16, 2018

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You (10th Anniversary Edition)


If you ask 10 of your respected leaders to recommend 5 books on leadership, I suspect 1 of John Maxwell's books will be on their lists. Of those books, most people will cite The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership as his best work (It's certainly his most well-known). I've read the book once, taking notes and I listened to an audiobook at least twice per year. This good!

In this book, Maxwell dictates the 21 "laws" (not "principles") a leader must follow to get others to follow the leader. "He who thinks he leads," said the author, "but has no followers, is only taking a walk." Using numerous examples drawn from a variety of people from Mother Teresa to the founders of McDonald's, Maxwell shows how people have either used the laws successfully or ignored the laws and failed. Most of the laws are obvious, for example, #14 The Law of Buy-In states that people buy into the leader and only then do they buy into the vision. That makes sense and has a practical application in the real world (example, how we vote leaders).

Some readers have dismissed the book because the laws are easy to understand. These critics miss two significant points: #1 This book codifies and reinforces our thinking. For example, Law #17 The Law of Priorities, cautions against equating activity with achievement. Maxwell points out that we must constantly review our priorities to make sure that we are "steering the ship in the right direction" (this include Law #4 The Law of Navigation). Far beyond leaving it there and stating only the obvious, Maxwell adds that we must always evaluate our priorities with the 80/20 rule in mind. Focus 80 percent of your time on the 20 percent of your priorities that will provide the largest return. He notes that the rule applies equally to developing strategic sales accounts as does it in developing people; #2 This book is a reminder that leadership is a daily commitment. As Maxwell notes in Law #3 The Law of Process, leadership is a process that "develops daily, not in a day." Reading Maxwell's book reinforces what many of us already know about leadership and reminds us to put those theories into practice every day.

Many books on leadership are long on theory but don't help the reader understand how to put the theory into practice. Maxwell does not fall into that trap. At the end of every chapter, he lists three activities we can do to apply the law to our lives. But the truth is Maxwell himself admits that not every leader will have a proficiency in all 21 Laws. Leaders are learners. The author notes that leadership skills can and should be improved through practice. Remember this: "Everything falls and rises on leadership." So, learn!

Here is the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership list, and the tagline for each of the laws:

  1. The Law of the Lid: Leadership Ability Determines a Person's Level of Effectiveness
  2. The Law of Influence: The True Measure of Leadership Is Influence – Nothing More Nothing Less
  3. The Law of Process: Leadership Develops Daily, Not in a Day
  4. The Law of Navigation: Anyone Can Steer the Ship, but It Takes a Leader to Chart the Course
  5. The Law of Addition: Leaders Add Value by Serving Others
  6. The Law of Solid Ground: Trust Is the Foundation of Leadership
  7. The Law of Respect: People Naturally Follow Leaders Stronger Than Themselves
  8. The Law of Intuition: Leaders Evaluate Everything with a Leadership Bias
  9. The Law of Magnetism: Who You Are Is Who You Attract
  10. The Law of Connection: Leaders Touch a Heart Before Ask for a Hand
  11. The Law of Inner Circle: A Leader's Potential Is Determined by Those Closest to Him
  12. The Law of Empowerment: Only Secure Leaders Give Powers to Others
  13. The Law of the Picture: People Do What People See
  14. The Law of Buy-In: People Buy into the Leader, Then the Vision
  15. The Law of Victory: Leaders Find a Way for the Team to Win
  16. The Law of the Big Mo: Momentum Is a Leader's Best Friend
  17. The Law of Priorities: Leaders Understand That Activity Is Not Necessarily Accomplishment
  18. The Law of Sacrifice: A Leader Must Give Up to Go Up
  19. The Law of Timing: When to Lead Is As Important As What to Do and Where to Go
  20. The Law of Explosive Growth: To Add Growth, Lead Followers – To Multiply Lead Leaders
  21. The Law of Legacy: A Leader's Lasting Value Is Measured by Succession

[Leader is Influencer and a Reader: My Top 15 Book on Leadership Lists, CLICK HERE]


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Monday, March 12, 2018

Help Child Deal with Divorce #10 Annabel, Be Happy, Have Fun and Enjoy Life (End)



Dear Annabel,

            You asked uncle, ‘It is okay to still laugh and have fun?’ Well of course! :) My prayer and wish are for you to be cheerful again. Divorce is not the end of your life, it’s just the beginning of a new and different chapter. Laughter and fun are great stress relievers and having fun with your friends can help you deal with what’s going on. Don’t feel guilty if you are having a good time even when your parents are not. Being miserable will not make it any easier for you or for them. Someone once said: “Some people think that it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go.”

            Right now, you might still be in shock and you’re not as happy as you want to. But like what uncle already told you in the past, it won’t always be this way. As time goes by you will find it easier to accept your parents’ divorce and the changes it brings. You may even discover some unexpected positives. I discovered that my parents are happier after the divorce. I get along better with both of my parents when they separated with each other.

I know this might sound weird but coping with divorce can also bring out your strength and maturity. You will become more responsible, independent and thoughtful. I know you will because I see great potentials in you to make a different in other’s lives. You also will become better problem-solvers, better listeners (you can empathize other better) and even better friends. You will be amazed that you can make it through this difficult situation successfully. So be patient. Let others support you and enjoy the good things in life. Be courageous. Be compassionate. Be dependence on God.

Listen… uncle and your aunty are here for you. We always support you. You’re our daughter. I pray you the absolute best as you go through this tough time. You’re not alone. I foresee that you will look back and say, “Wow! That was tough, but I did it. Praise God!”

Laugh more,
Angelus

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Help Child Deal with Divorce #9 Annabel, the Lord Make His Face Shine on You



Dear Annabel,

            Divorce is often compared to death because the grief is similar to what one feels when someone has died. But of course, that statement is over rated. One thing is sure though, it’s okay for you to cry… Crying, as you know, is a natural way to deal with losses. And divorce – the ending of your family as you know it – is a huge loss.

            Cry, I and your aunty are here for you. Crying is not a form of weakness. If you think crying is not cool, then think again. Crying helps you express your emotions and acts as a release valve to let go of the awful sadness and pain that builds up inside you. You will almost always feel better after you have cried. In John 11:35, when our Lord Jesus felt sad about the death of his friend Lazarus, he “wept.” Even Jesus shed tears when He feels sad and angry. Ah, I know, Bel, you may prefer to be alone when you cry… you may feel embarrassed… but don’t be ashamed to cry in front of us or your parents and friends. If they really care about you, it’s a great way to let them know that you need support.

            You will feel better, I promise. It might not happen tomorrow or next week or even next month, but eventually you will become comfortable with your new life as a person with divorced parents. Going through a divorce is like experiencing a bad weather. First you notice black clouds, then the sky gets darker and darker… then rain and strong wind. You’re frightened, and you feel like the whole world is coming apart. Then guess what? Everything will change! The clouds will disappear, the wind dies down, the sky bright and the sun shines again. No matter how bad the storm is, the sun will always shine after it is gone. You’ll be fine. In fact, you’ll be stronger!

Dear child, this is my prayer to you:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace” (Numbers 26:24-26)

love,
Angelus

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Help Child Deal with Divorce #8 Annabel, the Pain Can Be Eased by Sharing


Dear Annabel,

            I can understand how you feel, the pain seems to won't go away. The pain from a divorce is not like the pain you get from hitting your thumb with a hammer. The pain from a sore thumb can be treated with ice, some medicine or over time, it will heal. The pain from divorce can't be treated with a medicine or ice, but it can be eased a lot by talking, sharing and converse about it. Bel, if you keep your feelings to yourself it only makes the pain harder to take, and talking about it makes it easier to deal with. I'm glad you share with uncle and aunty about this, but we're not always there for you physically. We can only do so much. Of course, we want to be there for you but it would be good if you can share with someone that is close to you.

            You can talk to friends, family members, school counselors, your pastor and even your parents. Your mom and dad might be very busy now with their own pain that they forget to ask you about yours. That's okay, you can share with them later. And talk to God, pray to Him. Pour out your heart to Him. He will listen to you. "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:7-11). You're God's child, ask and tell Him!

            Do you know any Christian adults or friends that may have experienced the same thing as you do? A woman counselor is good. Ask your parents to arrange for an appointment with a counselor (or if you're okay, I can arrange it for you). Counselor knows exactly what you are going through and they can give you the tools you need to deal with your pain.

 See you next week!
Angelus


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Help Child Deal with Divorce #7 Annabel, You're Not the Reason They Are Spliting


Dear Annabel,

            Don't freak out, stay calm, my child. You're not the cause of your parents' divorce. If you think the divorce happened because of something you did or didn't do, don't believe it. That's nonsense. Your behavior or attitude has nothing to do with their splitting up. You may make them angry sometimes (like I was to my parents), but never the reason for their unhappy marriage.

            Bel, your parents decided to split up because of their relationship with each other, not because of their relationship with you. If your parents seem inattentive, mean or uncaring at this moment, you might feel they're blaming you for the split. I understand how that feel. As you know by now (because I keep repeating it), divorce is not easy for anyone in the family. Your dad and mom going through a break up that often causes them to be extremely stressful. And stress may cause them to act differently and sometimes rather strange. Deep down in their hearts, they still love you. They just being distracted. So don't take it personally.

            Uncle noticed that sometimes I said things I don't mean in the heat of the moment. How during a flight I blurted out that I hate someone without really mean it. Well, Annabel, sometime your parents may say things they don't meanwhile they are going through a divorce. During one of these bad moments, they might say something very hurtful. I hope not... but if this happens, don't believe it! Wait until everyone settles down and calm, then you can talk and ask them about it, okay?

  Love,
Angelus

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Help Child Deal with Divorce #6 Annabel, Helps Your Parents to Understand You


Dear Annabel,

Your mom and dad can get really angry with each other during a divorce. It's pretty normal for them to argue, and it's pretty normal for you to want to stop them. I used to think that way too, I want my parents to stop arguing with one another. But there is one thing that you need to understand: We cannot work things out for them. They need to do it for themselves. Your parents need to resolve their own problems. You have the right to feel sad, to be angry, even cry. After all said and done, at the end of the day, you have to stay calm. And as you already know, it's not always easy to do…

            Your parents are there to help you, but during a divorce, they might be stressed, angry, sad, confused, frustrated and depressed. Their judgment clouded and sometimes they're so caught up in their own issues that they forget about you. Not that they stop loving you, they're just distracted. And you know what Annabel, they might need your help instead. It's perfectly fine to try to help them get through this difficult time. Although you can't possibly make them feel better (you might feeling pretty bad yourself), you can try to empathize. I have reminded your dad that he must be empathizing to you too. To understand you. In the same way, you need to try to understand both of your parents.

            For them to understand you, you need to communicate and to be honest about how you are feeling and let them know in a calm way what you need. Like uncle said, they don't really know how you feel unless you tell them. If they know, they, on the other hand, can help you feel safe and loved. In this way, you help them to understand you.

   See you soon,
Angelus


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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Help Child Deal with Divorce #5 Annabel, You're Loved Regardless


Dear Annabel,

Divorce means the end of a marriage. It doesn't mean that your parents will stop loving you and go off and find a new child to take your place. Your parents were in love when they got married – Annabel, you were born out of that love! You're loved! Divorce happens because parents stop loving each other, not because they stop loving you.

You might be very sad when you heard the news about your parents' decision. But know this: You're loved! Your parents love you and we love you very much, your aunty and I. In fact, your parents probably need your love as they go through this tough period of their relationship. I've met your father last week. He told me how much he loves you. You know, during their break up, they were stressed and they might be too distracted to reassure you as much as you need.

Tomorrow you're going to meet your mother… if you're unsure about her love for you, tell her how you feel. Tell your father too. Sometimes adults don't show so much, but truly in the case of your parents, they love you very much. You're loved!

  God bless you,
 Angelus


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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Help Child Deal with Divorce #4 Annabel, Nobody Can Make Anybody Love Anybody Else


Dear Annabel,

This is going to sound really awful, but it isn't much you can do to stop your parents from getting a divorce. You have tried, uncle knows about it, to get your parents to love each other again. But the truth is, my dear, nobody can make anybody love anybody else. You don’t have to play-cupid, it is a mythology. I don't want to be sound harsh, you know that your parents have made a decision and it's something you will not able to change no matter how hard you try.

Do you know? Many children who are going through a divorce dream that their parents will get back together – but that very seldom happens. Your parents have made what they believe is the best decision, and by the time they tell you their decision, they've thought about it a lot and have pretty much made up their minds. We who witnessed your parents making decision know that it was a tough decision for them both.

 So, Bel, rather than putting your energy into trying to get your parents to stay together, put your energy into helping yourself stay strong. There is a blessing in this mess. Remember that you once told uncle that you want to make a difference? Well, if you face this difficult moment with a brave heart and faith in God, our Saviour, you someday can help those who will face the issue of divorce like you. You can be their mentor and teacher! :)

Love,
Angelus


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Monday, March 5, 2018

Help Child Deal with Divorce #3 Annabel, Sometime Divorce Is the Best Option


Dear Annabel,

    Divorce is probably one of the hardest things your parents will face in their lives. This might seem confusing to you because, after all, they are the ones who decided to get divorced. If you ask me, why are they doing it? My answer would be: I couldn’t know exactly.

    All I know is, Bel, they are unhappy with each other. Unhappy parents create unhappy homes. I believe that your family has a better chance of happiness if the two of them live apart. I know that no matter how hard they tried to make the marriage work (I was consulting your father at that time), they just don’t feel they can.

            Divorce is a tough decision. Your parents probably know that you want them to stay together, and they might feel terribly guilty about it… but feeling guilty is no reason to stay married. I know that they don’t want this to happen either, they were thinking about you too – you must know that! – but sometimes in marriage, divorce is unavoidable. It shouldn’t be the first choice, nor the second, nor is the third but in the case of your parents, divorced the best option.

I and your aunt will meet you soon, then we can talk about this matter in detail. Meanwhile, take care and focus on your study and keep your faith in Christ. Pray, He understands.

        Love,
Angelus

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