Thursday, January 31, 2019

The Case for the Psalms: Why They Are Essential (2013) by N.T. Wright, Book for Sale

One of the world's most trusted Bible scholars, N. T. Wright turns his attention to the central collection of prayers that Jesus and Paul knew best: the book of Psalms. Wright points out that the Psalms have served as the central prayer and hymnbook for the church since its beginning—until now. In The Case for the Psalms, Wright calls us to return to the Psalms as a steady, vital component of healthy Christian living.

Reading, studying, and praying the Psalms is God's means for teaching us what it means to be human: how to express our emotions and yearnings, how to reconcile our anger and our compassion, how to see our story in light of God's sweeping narrative of salvation. Wright provides the tools for understanding and incorporating these crucial verses into our own lives. His conclusion is simple: all Christians need to read, pray, sing, and live the Psalms.

After I read this book and read the Psalms in The Message paraphrased-Bible, I get more of it. Simple writing but profound insights. To own this copy - original price around RM50+ - simply comment to my Facebook’s post [CLICK HERE], "Psalms" and I'll contact you personally.

Religion/ Biblical Studies/ Wisdom Literature
Used, Wrapped beautifully

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From Ruth to Rich: What Are You Praying For? Do Something!

As I read late Billy Graham’s Just As I Am (1997) autobiography, I’m encouraged by his wife, Ruth Bell, for her life, support, and works in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ministry. About Ruth, Billy writes, “God gave Ruth many, many gifts, one of which was writing.” I agree. In this series, I try to imagine (one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind) what would Ruth Bell says to encourage young man like me – and perhaps, you. I hope you enjoy it!

My dearest son, Richard,

            There are times, I have found when praying is not enough. God says as it were, “What are praying for? Do something!” Moses, hotly pursued by Pharaoh, cried out to God, who replied, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children n of Israel to go forward” (Exodus 14:15). And, after Israel’s ignominious defeat at Ai, the desperate Joshua prostrated himself in prayer before the Lord, only to hear Him say, “Get up! Why do you lie on your face this way? Israel has sinned…” (Joshua 7:10-11).

If your heart is listening as you pray, you will from time to time hear, “What are you praying for? Do something!” And you will know what it is you must do. There will be a wrong to put right, a sin to confess, a letter to write, a friend to visit or a parent to talk to. C.S. Lewis suggested that as we pray, Christ stands beside us changing us. “You may realize that,” he wrote, “instead of saying your prayers, you ought to be downstairs writing a letter, or helping your wife wash-up. Well, go and do it.” And again, “I am often, I believe, praying for others when I should be doing things for them. It’s so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see him.

And so it is with us, with you, my son. You must quick to pray and just as quick to obey!

With love,
Ruth Bell Graham
(1920 – 2007)


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Wednesday, January 30, 2019

From Ruth to Rich: You Are Not Depressed, You're Just Plain Tired

As I read late Billy Graham’s Just As I Am (1997) autobiography, I’m encouraged by his wife, Ruth Bell, for her life, support, and works in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ministry. About Ruth, Billy writes, “God gave Ruth many, many gifts, one of which was writing.” I agree. In this series, I try to imagine (one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind) what would Ruth Bell says to encourage young man like me – and perhaps, you. I hope you enjoy it!

My son, Richard,

            You are not depressed, you’re just plain tired. Discouragement is the devil’s calling card, and he tries to discourage us by making us think that our frustration or irritability is a result of some spiritual fault. But you may be just plain tired… Do you remember the prophet Elijah? At one point he was so tired that he wanted to give up. He told God that he just couldn’t go on. God didn’t lecture Elijah on his faults and failures, causing him to be more discouraged than he was. No, God sent an angel to awaken Elijah and give him something to eat and drink. Then Elijah lay down and slept again.

            When you are worn out or exhausted, or at the end of your physical resources, Satan tries to persuade you that you have a spiritual problem… in reality, perhaps, your problem may be a physical one. And maybe, like Elijah, my son, you need to get some rest.

The Lord gives you rest,
Ruth Bell Graham
(1920 – 2007)


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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Success… Or Your Money Back (2012) by Shed Simove, Book Review

Success… Or Your Money Back (2012) by Shed Simove

I like his British accent, I dislike his attires. I love his creativity and ideas, I hate that he also smart and wealthy. I thank God that I can beat his handsomeness but I regret that I didn’t read this book before I start my blog(s) or some other projects that I’ve left behind. If only I read this manual for success (and awesome ideas) earlier, then probably I wouldn’t give up too soon. Mind you, this book isn't 'a unique success manual', I have heard or read most of the information and input in other self-help and business books before. What makes this book awesome is the personal touch, vulnerability and Shed’s (it’s short for ‘Sheridan’) sense of humor and ingenuity throughout these pages. I don’t feel like I’m merely reading a book, I feel like Shed is coaching me personally. “In this book,” Shed, a modern day entrepreneur genius, speaker and author, writes, “my aim is to remind you how amazing your brain is and to get you both excited and inspired about what it can do, by sharing powerful secrets that’ll hopefully dispel any doubts you may have about yourself (because we all have many) and by delivering solid techniques for achieving anything you desire.” Bold proposition… and it’s possible.

Sheridan ‘Shed’ Simove, the Ideas Man’s author, not just talk the talk but also walk the walk. He had done some amazing things that can be label as innovative, sometimes weird and ‘success’ failure. He creates a range of novelty products which have sold over one and a half million units worldwide. He was renowned as a TV producer (Big Brother, The Big Breakfast, Space Cadets) and had produced a ground-breaking documentary that involved him going undercover as a 16-year-old schoolboy when he was 30 (This end up with disaster, a scandal which he explained in one of the chapters in the book). At the peak of his creativity, he also launches his own currency – the EGO (banknote and probably, coming soon, coin!). He also made publishing history by becoming the first person ever to get a totally blank book into the top 50 of Amazon’s bestseller chart for his book What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex. Believe it or not, this book contains 200 completely blank pages! It also achieved a Guinness World Records for Most Pages In Published Book. If you think that that is unbelievable, then you should know that he also created a dating App called Shinder that matches women with the same single man – himself. “I thought, if you can’t beat them, maybe create your own competition where you’re the only person in the competition, therefore, you will then by a de facto win,” he said during an interview about this App. Always with the sense of humor. To know more about Shed, go to

Okay, about the book. This useful, entertaining and interesting book is divided into 30 chapters that outline Shed’s secrets to getting anything you desire. These secrets are practical and easy to execute techniques. If you’re “someone who wants to make things happen” and “someone who searches for information about how to make things happen” then this book is for you and “these two facts about you mean that you’ve got all the necessary skills for success in any field you want: namely, you’ve got both the desire to succeed and also the intelligence to search for ways to make that success come to life.” I thought I can just read this book in one sitting but in the end, I did not because right after I read about 2-3 chapters, I take time to write down ideas and sometimes I take one day off just to think of Shed’s insights. Among my favourite chapters are: Secret #2 The Four Words You Must Get Used to; Secret #10 Failing Upwards or Please, Please Fail; Secret #12 ‘Negnets’ and How to Avoid Them; Secret #17 The 33% Rule; Secret #18 Treat Your Life Like an Experiment; Secret #21 The Drunk Life; and Secret #29 The Chunking Method. I like one reviewer, Mrs. D, writes on which resonate with my heart: “Why don't they teach this stuff in schools?” Yes, why?


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Sunday, January 27, 2019

From Ruth to Rich: Churches Need to Deal with Sin Compassionately and Wisely

As I read late Billy Graham’s Just As I Am (1997) autobiography, I’m encouraged by his wife, Ruth Bell, for her life, support, and works in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ministry. About Ruth, Billy writes, “God gave Ruth many, many gifts, one of which was writing.” I agree. In this series, I try to imagine (one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind) what would Ruth Bell says to encourage young man like me – and perhaps, you. I hope you enjoy it!

Dear Richard, my son,

My pet rabbit died abruptly (as pet rabbits have a way of doing). As a forlorn 8-year-old, in China, I buried him in our yard, lovingly digging a hole and covering him. Every day I dug him up to see how he was getting along. The last time I saw him he was green.

While I was growing up in China, someone in our greater mission family sinned, and I remember how quickly, quietly and effectively that situation was dealt with. Then the principle of “love covers” was applied. Not, like my pet rabbit, dug up again. And through the years in our own family, situations on occasion had to be faced, dealt with and buried. Churches need to deal the same way, wisely and compassionately with sin, and then love covers: “[Now] instead you should rather forgive and comfort him. This will keep him from being overwhelmed by excessive grief to the point of despair” (2 Corinthians 2:7).

However, my son, in those situations where some heresy, cult or con game operates under the name of Christianity, they need to be exposed so as to warn others and dealt openly! That is something different. But for those believers in God’s family, sins need to be dealt with promptly, compassionately, privately. Then silence, under the principle of “love covers.” Confront sin, yes, but also demonstrating God’s grace and mercy to our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Do you understand this? I hope you do…

With love,
Ruth Bell Graham
(1920 – 2007)

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From Ruth to Rich: Be In Shape Spiritually and... Travel Light

As I read late Billy Graham’s Just As I Am (1997) autobiography, I’m encouraged by his wife, Ruth Bell, for her life, support, and works in the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ministry. About Ruth, Billy writes, “God gave Ruth many, many gifts, one of which was writing.” I agree. In this series, I try to imagine (one of God’s greatest gifts to humankind) what would Ruth Bell says to encourage young man like me – and perhaps, you. I hope you enjoy it!

Dear Richard,

            The Christian life is like climbing a mountain. For some people the climb is a gently sloping ascent; for other people, the climb is like attacking the north face of the Eiger (mountain). Christina Rossetti wrote:
Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.”

Whether your climb is easy or difficult, you need to be in shape spiritually and to travel light. To be in shape spiritually, you need spiritual nourishment and exercise. You need to spend less time reading about the Bible and spend more time studying the Bible. Then you need to apply what you learn – carefully and vigorously – to your life, to live out daily what you have taken in.

To travel light, you need to lighten your loads. Some of us may need to trim off excess weight. Others of us have too many social involvements and too many meetings to attend (Remember the caution: “Beware of the barrenness of a busy life”). But for you, do whatever it takes, my son… travel light. When the disciples were sent out two by two, they traveled light – “without purse, bag or sandals” (Luke 22:35).

Time change, situations vary, and God’s orders to His followers are individualized. But the need and the message continue the same – and the goal. It’s up to you to be in shape and to travel light.

With love, my son,
Ruth Bell Graham
(1920 – 2007)

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Friday, January 25, 2019

There Is a Free or Less Expensive Education...

Education supposes to free us not enslaving us. No wonder after graduated (or finished schooling) many people link pain with education instead of pleasure. This is not supposed to happen! Learning supposes to be fun and exciting, not chaining you with loans here and there. There are lots of free or less expensive ways of learning that doesn't enslave you, for example, BOOKS! Don't stop learning, read books and sure enough, it will link you with pleasure. This is the kind of self-education that will free you!

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3 Ways to Be Different (Today)

You want to be different? Sameness is okay, even necessary, but if there is too much sameness with other people, then you are somewhat... a boring person. Here are three (3) ways to be different (I think la):

#1 Read Books. Although there are a lot of people like to go to bookstores or even buy books (maybe holding a book make them feel smart), actually, not many people really read a book nowadays. While people holding phones, you hold a book... how cool is that?

#2 Be a Doer. While many people 'wish' or 'dream' to be this and that, share quotes or philosophies or success articles, most don't really practice what they preach or teach. If you be a doer, you can get more things done!

#3 Say 'Thank You.' This is maybe just me, but I feel that this generation doesn't really know how to say 'Thank you.' Young and old people alike (maybe less for older people). If you have a good meal, say thank you. If someone fetches you to church, say thank you. If someone compliments you for a job well done, say thank you. Have this gratitude attitude, and you'll be one of the kind.


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What's Your Bible Reading Plan this Year (2019)?

Every year I follow my own advice and challenge myself to read the entire Bible in one year… although I need extra one month to finish it. The Message is one of the best paraphrase Bibles out there and I recommend it for daily reading. What's your Bible reading plan this year? May I suggest you to request for my eBook Eat this Book, there is a 1-Year Reading Plan inside and how to read it.

P.s: Always [try your best] to follow your own advice.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

#AskAngelus_3: Dalam Banyak-Banyak Cabang Teologi, Mana Satu Yang Paling Dekat Untuk Kamu Percaya?

Pak Johanes Gilbert #AskAngelus:
“Dalam banyak-banyak cabang teologi seperti Baptist teologi, Reformed teologi, Karismatik teologi, dan sebagainya, mana satu yang paling dekat untuk kamu percaya?”

[Nota: Pak Gilbert bertanya bukan untuk menguji saya atau kerana dia tidak tahu tentang hal-hal teologi (dia seorang yang berpengetahuan luas dalam bidang ini), tetapi dia bertanya untuk mengetahui pendapat saya.]

Biar saya mula dengan asas. Menurut mendiang R.C. Sproul di dalam buku yang singkat dan padat yang bertajuk The Truth of the Cross, dia berkata ada tiga (3) jenis asas theologi menurut sejarah gereja: 1) Agustinianisme, 2) Semi-Pelagianisme, dan 3) Pelagianisme. Secara ringkas, Agustinianisme, kepercayaan mengikut doktrin Augustine, percaya bahawa keselamatan hanya datang daripada kasih kurnia Allah sahaja. Semi-Pelagianisme pula percaya bahawa keselamatan adalah hasil kerjasama diantara kehendak manusia dan kasih kurnia Allah. Manakala Pelagianisme, kepercayaan yang dikatakan (ada yang berpendapat bahawa para pengikut yang mengubahsuai kepercayaan ini) mengikut doktrin Pelagius, percaya bahawa keselamatan tidak memerlukan kasih kurnia Allah untuk terjadi. “Secara amnya,” kata R.C. Sproul, “setiap gereja percaya salah satu daripada tiga kategori ini.

Saya percaya bahawa setiap cabang teologi yang kamu nyatakan di dalam soalan kamu itu samada dalam kategori Agustinianisme atau Semi-Pelagianisme. Yang paling tidak Alkitabiah ialah Pelagianisme, ini saya sangat yakin salah! Tetapi diantara Agustinianisme, Semi-Pelagianisme dan yang sewaktu dengannya, mana satu yang saya pecaya? Atau, soalan yang masih hebat didebatkan dikalangan ahli-ahli theologi sehingga sekarang, adakah kamu seorang Calvinis atau Arminian? Jawapan yang paling ‘rohani’ ialah, “Saya pengikut Kristus.” Ini jawapan yang tepat dan harus dijadikan peringatan kepada kita semua bahawa walauapapun cabang teologi yang kamu percaya, ingat, kita harus mengikut Yesus Kristus bukan doktrin. Tetapi jawapan yang paling tepat bagi saya ialah, “Saya berpegang kepada doktrin Calvinis, tetapi saya hidup seperti Arminian.” Contohnya dari segi keselamatan, saya percaya 100% bahawa hanya melalui kasih kurnia Allah sahaja yang dapat menyelamatkan saya (Calvinis). Tetapi dari segi iman, secara logic, saya harus percaya bahawa saya menerima keselamatan daripadanya secara sukarela (Arminian). Hadiah diberikan kepada saya (Calvinis), tetapi saya harus bertindak dengan menerimanya (Arminian). Menurut pemerhatian saya, semua orang yang mengakui bahawa mereka seorang Calvanis, dari segi cara hidup sebenarnya berkelakuan seperti seorang Arminian.  

Untuk menjawab soalan di atas, jawapan saya ialah (sekali lagi): “Saya berpegang kepada doktrin Calvinis, tetapi saya hidup seperti Arminian. Dan dari segi intelektual, saya lebih dekat kepada Reformed theologi tetapi dari segi praktikal, saya lebih cenderung kepada Karismatik thelogi (nota tambahan).” Bagi saya, tidak ada satu cabang teologi atau doktrin yang lebih tepat daripada satu sama lain. Setiapnya ada kelebihan dan ada kekurangan. Jika kamu mengkaji Alkitab secara keseluruhan tanpa (atau dengan mengurangkan prejudis) sudut pandangan mana-mana teologi atau doktrin, kamu akan mendapati bahawa tidak ada satu konsep atau prinsip yang sama untuk setiap situasi atau keadaan kecuali tentang keperibadian Allah. Saya tidak menghalang sesiapa untuk belajar tentang Teologi atau Doktrin Kristian kerana ianya sangat penting bagi setiap orang Kristian. Lebih baik menjadi pengikut Kristus yang berpengetahuan daripada menjadi pengikut yang bodoh-sombong. Tetapi kita harus ingat, bukan teologi atau doktrin yang akan menentukan hubungan kita dengan Kristus, yang penting atau terlebih dahulu ialah kamu harus mempunyai hubungan peribadi dengan TUHAN.


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Monday, January 21, 2019

Entrepreneur for the Rest of Us (2015) by Paul B. Brown, Book Review

Entrepreneur for the Rest of Us: How to Create Innovation and Opportunity Everywhere (2015)
by Paul B. Brown

I was looking for a book on entrepreneurship/business at the library last week and my criteria were: 1) Less than 200 pages [because I need to bring it during my travel, travel light]; 2) Hardcover [tough for my traveling bag]; 3) Easy-to-read [thus the subtitle]; and recently published [2015 is quite recent] – and so, I choose this one! Surprisingly, I enjoy reading Paul Brown’s book and I have about a dozen ideas taken from this book ready for actions. I read on average one book per week and sometimes readers like me can get caught in the trap of consistently reading and never taking action on anything they read. I must make sure that if I found good ideas from a book, I will take notes (and write a review) and if it is applicable, I will test the wisdom and take actions accordingly.

Entrepreneur for the Rest of Us is really… for the rest of us. If you want to improve your company or if you’re working for a growing company or if you own a start-up or (like me) you are thinking about going out on your own, then this book is suitable for you. For about 30 years, Paul Brown has been studying and writing about entrepreneurs, and he said that the most important is “to study how the most successful entrepreneurs think.” What do they have in common? Brown listed 6 of them. They… #1 Figure out what they really want to do, they get a firm handle on what they want to create; #2 Take a small step toward that goal; #3 Pause after taking that small step to see what they have learned; #4 Build off that learning and take another small step; #5 Pause after taking that step; and #6 Build off what they learned from taking that second step and take another small step. Brown reduced the process into this formula: Act – Learn – Build – Repeat. “Successful entrepreneurs don’t spend a lot of time planning or playing ‘what if’ games,” write the author, “They start (with a small step) and see how the world responds.” There are three benefits if we follow these steps: 1) You can get started right away; 2) You don’t need a lot of resources, and 3) You can respond quickly to market needs. I like what I’m reading!

This book is divided into 9 chapters and end with an afterward. For each chapter, there is three points summary (but I shorten it here), except for chapter 1:

Chapter 2: How the Best Entrepreneurs Think. “Don’t reinvent the proverbial wheel. You don’t need to learn everything the hard way. Serial entrepreneurs… have a proven approach to creating innovation and opportunity. The approach that has worked for them will work for you.” “Despite the myths, the best entrepreneurs take small steps.” “The formula the best entrepreneurs follow is: Act. Learn. Build. Repeat.”

Chapter 3: Always Start with a Market Need (And Not the Great Idea).Always, always, always start by solving a market need instead of coming up with a wonderful idea.” “Make sure the need is real and big enough…” “Get underway quickly. Don’t wait to perfect your product or service.”

Chapter 4: The Secret of Marketing? Compete Differently. At the highest level, marketing is remarkably simple: you figure out who you want to sell to, and then you determine how you are going to get those people to buy.” “Listen, listen, and listen some more.” “Costumer is not a ‘nice to have.’ It must be an essential part of your business strategy.”

Chapter 5: Don’t Sell Out to Become Rich. “Focus on making customers happy. If you do, the money will follow.” “Prove it to yourself. [Study the rich and] you will inevitably find that becoming rich was never a motivating force for them.” “Don’t wait until you have a lot of money in hand before you start something new.”

Chapter 6: You Need Less Money Than You Think. “You are going to need substantially less money than you think you get underway if you do things correctly.” “Spending less allows you to experiment more.”

Chapter 7: Building the Team. “Hire before you have to.” “Hire better than you have to.” “Delegate before you have to.”

Chapter 8: How the Most Successful People Turn Obstacles into Assets.If you faced with a pleasant surprise, simply proceed down the path you were heading…” “If you encounter an unwanted surprise, treat it as a gift…” “Attitude is key. If you assume that everything, even the unexpected, is a gift, it will be.”

Chapter 9: Getting Motivated and Staying Motivated for the Long Haul.When it comes to obstacles, your attitude and mindset are probably the most important things.” When times get tough, focusing on your end goal can help keep you going.” “Keep things as simple as you can.”

Afterward: Being an Entrepreneur Is Less Scary Than You Think. “Breaking your ideas for something new into extremely small steps diminishes the risk and thus (hopefully) the fear as well. It also gives you early confirmation that you are on to something, or it could reveal that you need to do more work.”

This formula: Act – Learn – Build – Repeat, is memorable and I’m practicing it now for my personal project and the other project with my friend lately. I do feel like I’m an entrepreneur now. Indeed this book is “for the rest of us” and I enjoy reading it!


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Making the Very Best of What Small Talent or Skill(s) that You Have

I believe that anyone – and that mean you and me – can make it BIG. As I read about successful people (Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, etc), not just those who make it financially but also spiritually (J.I. Packer, C.H. Spurgeon, Martin Luther, etc), to learn from them and work out how they made things happen, it became more and more obvious that every single person I studied was pretty much a doer and not just a dream – they try things. No magical power or secret plan – they try things. It’s not about knowledge, or to make it more accurate, it’s not just about knowledge (maybe with the exception of Leonardo da Vinci). No matter how much or little knowledge someone has, none of us will ever make it unless we GIVE SOMETHING A GO.

Most people who are deemed successful are simply making the very best of what small talent or skills they have. They have simply taken steps to maximize a tiny amount of potential (see my previous post) by constantly honing and perfecting one specific area of their talent or skill until it grew. Then, they always surround themselves with good books and/or people who can help them to exploit that talent or skill. Robert Collier once said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Mark Twain put it another way: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Or as I always say, the philosophy of my blog:

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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Pemimpin CF #7 Seorang Yang Mempunyai Pengawalan Diri Yang Baik

Seperti yang saya sudah pernah katakan, Christian Fellowship (CF) berbeza dengan kelab-kelab yang lain - ia unik. CF yang baik dan seimbang selalunya terdiri daripada pelbagai denominasi gereja, pelbagai kaum, tempat asal, perangai dan cara berfikir. Kesaksian CF untuk Kristus ialah kesatuan dalam kepelbagaian. Oleh itu, memang tidak boleh dielakan bila para pemimpin CF berbeza pendapat dan terjadinya konflik. Perkara ini PASTI berlalu, BUKAN adakah ia akan terjadi atau tidak. Jadi, sangat penting untuk seseorang pemimpin mempunyai pengawalan diri (atau kawalan kendiri) yang baik terutamanya dari segi emosi kemarahan.

Adakah kamu pandai mengawal emosi? Bila ada orang - terutamanya dikalangan AJK atau sepelayanan - berkata sesuatu yang menyakitkan hati kamu, adakah kamu cepat melenting? Bagi saya, itu sebenarnya membuktikan bahawa seseorang itu lemah dari segi kepimpinan (saya faham kerana saya dulu sebenarnya seorang yang cepat marah. Malah sekarang saya masih lagi belajar mengawalnya). Kamu kena faham: Jika kamu digelar sebagai pemimpin, kamu secara automatik akan didedahkan dengan kritikan dan konflik. Kenapa? Kerana para pemimpin lebih mudah dilihat dan dinilai berbanding dengan orang lain. Oleh itu, adalah sangat penting bagi kamu untuk mengawal emosi dan tidak membiarkan kemarahan mengganggu rasionaliti kamu.

Amsal 16:32 berfirman, "Orang yang lambat marah [atau sabar] lebih baik daripada orang yang perkasa; menguasai diri lebih baik daripada menguasai bala tentera." Dengan erti kata lain, kamu mungkin seorang yang perkasa dan menguasai bala tentera tetapi tidak semestinya seorang pemimpin. Seorang pemimpin harus pandai "menguasai diri" dan "lambat marah" [atau penyabar]. Sedang para pemimpin CF lain berdebat tentang suatu hal yang sebenarnya berpunca daripada perselisihan faham, Vicky sentiasa tenang. Apabila ada yang meninggikan suara, Vicky, seorang yang berbadan tegap, masih boleh lagi mengawal emosi dia dan berfikiran rasional. Mungkin sebab itu, apabila dia bersuara, ramai yang menghormati dia. Rasa hormat ialah salah satu kesan yang positif jika seseorang pemimpin itu pandai mengawal dirinya.

Biar saya tanya kamu, adakah kamu sanggup dipimpin oleh orang yang tidak stabil emosinya? Pasti tidak... Kamu akan lari walaupun kamu hanya melihat bayang-bayang dia! Dalam Galatia 5:23, salah satu buah Roh Kudus ialah "pengawalan diri." Adakah kamu memiliki buah Roh ini?

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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

#AskAngelus_2: Bagaimana Cara Untuk Menerangkan Konsep Triniti dalam Ajaran Kristian?

Patricia Peter #AskAngelus:
“Bagaimana cara untuk menerangkan konsep triniti dalam ajaran Kristian?”

Soalan yang lazim yang akan ditanyakan oleh orang bukan Kristian, khususnya ahli-ahli pendakwah yang beragama Islam (bukan semua, tetapi segelintir orang yang rasa ala-ala para pengikut Zakir Naik) apabila berdebat tentang doktrin-doktrin agama, ialah tentang isu triniti. Soalan ini bagus malah sangat membantu dan patut ditanya asalkan tidak ada unsur membuli (pembuli agama selalunya akan menyasarkan orang yang lemah), menyesatkan (berputar-belit, tidak rational) dan sombong (bila dijawab mereka tidak mahu mendengar, hanya mahu menguji. Mereka sahaja yang betul). Elakkan menjawab dan dimanipulasikan orang-orang seperti itu. Tutup telinga, dengar khutbah Ravi Zacharia atau mendiang Nabeel Qureshi lebih baik! Firdaus, kawan Muslim saya di kampus dulu pernah berkata, “Iboh dilayan orang kedak ya Chard. Mun mok mendakwah sekalipun iboh la sampei menyoalkan agama orang lain. Masing-masing kita ada agama sendirik… Lain la mun orang ya sikda agama.” Setuju!

Tetapi untuk pengetahuan kamu sendiri, untuk menyiapkan diri kamu, dan untuk meningkatkan keyakinan iman kamu, disini saya sediakan beberapa fakta dan cara yang ringkat (dan sangat asas) untuk kamu memahami lebih lagi tentang konsep triniti. Ia juga boleh digunakan sebagai respon kamu apabila ditanya:

#1 Pada pendapat saya, ada tiga (3) fakta yang harus kamu sedar terlebih dahulu: 1) Ayat ‘triniti’ tidak ada di dalam Alkitab. Triniti ialah “sebuah konsep” yang digunakan untuk menjelaskan kebenaran tentang keperibadian TUHAN (nanti saya akan jelaskan dengan lebih lanjut lagi); 2) Tidak ada orang di dunia ini yang boleh menjelaskan konsep triniti 100%!; dan 3) Alkitab ialah asas kepada kepercayaan kita tentang konsep triniti. Jika kamu tidak percaya kepada Alkitab, maka konsep triniti sudah tidak penting lagi. Tetapi jika kamu percaya dengan Alkitab, maka konsep triniti sangat penting bagi kamu memahami keperibadian TUHAN dengan lebih menyeluruh lagi.

#2 Apakah definasi “triniti” dalam kepercayaan orang Kristian? Apabila saya menerangkan ia kepada para pelajar saya, saya akan berkata: “Kamu semua ialah para pelajar di universiti. Universiti ialah gabungan diantara ayat ‘unity’ iaitu kesatuan dan ayat ‘diversity’ iaitu kepelbagaian. Jadi, adakah universiti itu satu atau dua?” Jadi, Allah Triniti (tri = tiga, niti = unity) boleh dilihat sebagai TUHAN itu satu (kesatuan) tetapi ada tiga keperibadian (kepelbagaian). TUHAN tidak boleh ada dua atau tiga, mesti SATU. Tetapi pada masa yang sama, Dia boleh memiliki keperibadian yang berbeza. Contoh, saya ialah seorang manusia (satu), tetapi bagi ibu, saya ialah anak dia; bagi protégé saya, saya ialah bapa rohani dia; bagi teman wanita saya, saya ialah kekasih dia. Adakah saya tiga orang? Tidak, satu! Triniti dalam kepercayaan orang Kristian yang Alkitabiah ialah: TUHAN itu SATU [100%] tetapi mempunyai tiga keperibadian yang berbeza Allah Bapa [100%], Allah Anak [100%], dan Roh Kudus [100%]!

"Trinity Knot"
#3 Banyak ilustrasi yang digunakan untuk menerangkan konsep triniti, tetapi setiap ilustrasi itu tidak akan 100% mencapai maksud yang sebenar kerana konsep triniti ini agak kompleks bagi minda manusia (sebab itu saya golongkan ia sebagai “konsep” dan awal tadi saya sudah menjelaskan bahawa “Tidak ada orang di dunia ini yang boleh menjelaskan konsep triniti 100%!”). Saya bahagikan ilustrasi triniti yang lazim digunakan pada masakini kepada 3 tahap: a) Lemah, b) Boleh Tahan, dan c) Bagus. Contoh-contoh tahap ilustrasi a) Lemah: Telur [kulit, kuning, putih telur], H20 [keadaan cecair, wap, pejal], dan Kopi 3-dalam-1 [gula, krimer, kopi]. Contoh-contoh ilustrasi b) Boleh Tahan pula ialah (1 x 1 x 1 = 1) dan (manusia = tubuh, jiwa, roh). Dan ilustrasi yang paling c) Bagus pada pendapat saya ialah “trinity knot” [lihat gambar rajah] dan cahaya. Cahaya, menurut quantum physic, pada masa yang sama ialah partikel dan gelombang. Ia dipanggil sebagai Gelombang-Partikel Dualitas Cahaya. Penjelasannya agak kompleks… tetapi biar saya simpulkan disini: Jika kamu ingin memahami dan menjelaskan konsep triniti melalui ilustrasi-ilustrasi di atas, kamu akan lebih keliru jika kamu tidak memulakannya melalui Alkitab (Ingat apa yang saya tulis dari awal tadi? (“Alkitab ialah asas kepada kepercayaan kita tentang konsep triniti”).

#4 Jadi, bagaimana kamu mahu memahami dan menerangkan konsep triniti dengan lebih baik lagi? Ambik kertas atau nota telefon kamu dan tulis ayat ini (ini paling penting): Jangan mulakan dengan menjelaskan apa itu triniti, mulakan dengan melihat apa kata Alkitab tentang TUHAN! (baca ini kekurang-kurangnya tiga kali lagi). Alkitab terdiri daripada dua bahagian: Perjanjian Lama dan Perjanjian Baru. Apa kata Alkitab tentang keperibadian TUHAN? Lihat jadual di bawah:

Secara ringkas, apa yang saya tulis ialah:

Perjanjian Lama (PL)
Perjanjian Baru (PB)
TUHAN itu Satu (Ulangan 6:4; Yesaya 43:10-11; Mazmur 86:10)
TUHAN itu Satu (Markus 12:29; Galatia 3:20; Yakobus 2:19)

Allah Bapa. Ini sangat ketara di dalam PL.
Allah Bapa. Ini juga sangat ketara di dalam PB.
Malaikat TUHAN. Secara umumnya, apabila PL menulis tentang malaikai, ia merujuk kepada malaikai iaitu ciptaan Allah. Tetapi ada masanya kita akan membaca tentang ‘Malaikat TUHAN’ yang mempunyai ciri-ciri keilahian. Contoh, Abraham tunduk menyembah-Nya apabila melihat malaikat TUHAN datang ke tempatnya dan Dia bercakap tidak seperti seorang utusan tetapi seperti TUHAN sendiri (baca Kejadian 16:9, 13. Lihat juga Yosua 5:14-15). Malaikat yang sebenar tidak akan membiarkan dirinya disembah (lihat Wayhu 22:8-9).
Yesus Kristus, Anak Allah. Dia dipanggil sebagai “Tuhan” (Markus 1:3), “Tuhan atas hari Sabat” (Markus 2:28), mengakui “Aku ialah Aku”, mengampuni dosa orang, Paulus memanggil Yesus sebagai “Tuhan” (Filipi 2:10-11) dan sebagainya. Yesus, sebagai manusia dilihat seperti meyembah Allah dan berdoa kepada-Nya… jadi, bagaimana ini boleh terjadi? Untuk ini, sila rujuk:

Roh TUHAN atau Roh Allah. Di dalam PL, kita melihat Roh Allah memberi kekuatan (1 Samuel 10:10), berfirman seperti Allah (2 Samuel 23:2-3), Iya kadang-kadang disamakan dengan ‘TUHAN’ (Yesaya 48:16), dan Iya juga ada semasa penciptaan (Ayub 33:4). Roh Allah mempunyai ciri-ciri keilahian tetapi pada masa yang sama berbeza dengan Allah Bapa.
Roh Kudus. Di dalam PB, kita melihat bahawa Roh Kudus juga dipanggil dan bersifat seperti memiliki peribadi (1 Tesalonika 5:19), Roh juga memberi kuasa, berfirman seperti Allah dan firman-Nya sama seperti iya datang daripada TUHAN sendiri (baca Kisah Para Rasul).

Letak ke tepi konsep triniti seketika… Lihat semula gambar dan jadual di atas. Isunya ialah: Bagaimana kita boleh menjelaskan bahawa di dalam Alkitab memang terang-terang TUHAN itu dikatakan adalah SATU, tetapi pada masa yang sama, Malaikat TUHAN (merujuk kepada jadual di atas) dan Roh Allah dalam Perjanjian Lama, dan Yesus Kristus dan Roh Kudus di dalam Perjanjian Baru juga mempunyai ciri-ciri keilahian seperti TUHAN yang satu? Ketiga-tiga peribadi itu ada di dalam PL, ketiga-tiga peribadi itu ada di dalam PB, tetapi kedua-dua bahagian Alkitab – PL dan PB – juga menyatakan bahawa TUHAN itu satu? Penyelesaiannya? Konsep triniti! Ia digunakan untuk menyatakan bahawa – selepas menyelidiki Firman Allah – TUHAN itu satu tetapi mempunyai tiga peribadi!

#5 Kenapa konsep triniti ini sangat penting? Kerana dua (2) sebab utama:

a) “Allah itu kasih (1 Yohanes 4:8). Kasih hanya bermakna apabila kasih itu diluahkan/diberikan/dikongsikan kepada lebih daripada satu peribadi. Bapa mengasihi Anak, Anak mengasihi Bapa – itu kasih. Dan oleh kerana Allah itu kasih, Dia juga boleh mengongsikannya dengan kita. TUHAN tidak menciptakan kita supaya Dia beroleh kasih daripada kita, Dia menciptakan kita supaya kasih-Nya – seperti kasih-Nya kepada Anak-Nya – juga menjadi milik kita! Wow!

b) Kita anak-anak Allah! Bapa kita disyurga, Anak-Nya bersama kita (Emmanuel), dan Roh Kudus di tinggal di dalam kita. Bukankah itu sangat indah???!

Apabila kamu berhadapan dengan soalan tentang triniti, buat tiga (3) perkara ini:

1) Jangan sesekali mula dengan menerangkan maksud dan konsep triniti secara terus. Jika tidak ada masa, jawab, “Saya tidak tahu bagaimana untuk menerangkannya.” Tetapi jika ada masa (jika dia iklas bertanya juga), tunjukkan dia semua rujukkan tentang Bapa, Anak dan Roh Kudus di dalam Alkitab dan kemudian buat kesimpulan dari sana. Alkitab dulu, barulah konsep triniti.

2) Rujuk orang itu untuk membaca artikel blog ini dan kemudian berbincang.

3) Jika kamu betul-betul tidak tahu bagaimana untuk menerangkannya… jika kamu cuba berkali-kali tetapi masih tidak dapat… Jadi, kamu harus berdoa begini: “Bapa, saya akan berusaha untuk cuba belajar lagi tetapi walauapapun, saya tetap akan mengabdikan iman saya kepada Anak-Mu, Tuhan Yesus Kristus. Keselamatan saya tidak bergantung kepada doktrin triniti tetapi ia berdasarkan kebenaran Firman-Mu, darah Yesus dan kuasa Roh Kudus. Amen.


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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

#AskAngelus_1: In the Ministry, What Inspires You to Keep Going?

Prescilla Edward #AskAngelus:
“As a leader and in the ministry, what inspires you to keep going?”

At first, I thought this is actually two questions. But I then realized that it’s not. If you’re in the ministry, you are a leader. All ministers are leaders in the sense that all of us actually leading people. Either we lead people positively or negatively, effectively or destructively, that’s another story. So, what inspired me to keep going?

Before I answer this question, let me share briefly the reality of serving in the ministry particularly in the student ministry of where I’m serving now: Once in a while I asked myself, “Why should I bother about other people’s faith? Why bother about their spiritual beings?” There was a time when I stand my ground because something is not right, I was rejected. I invested time, money and energy for some individuals, but they didn’t change. I prayed for miracles but sometimes it gets worst. There were a few incidents where my own friends and fellow ministers that I trust backstabbed me. Many times I’m tempted to quit. I wanted to quit. But I didn’t because…

#1 I’m Sure of God’s Calling in My Life. Before I join the ministry, I wasn’t so sure if the urge to go for full-time was originated from my own desire or was it God who is the One drawing me in that direction. To cut the story short, it was confirmed that God really called me to the ministry. He spoke to me through the Scripture, my mentors, friends, strangers, turned of events in my life and giving peace to my heart and mind. To keep going, you got to know God’s calling.

#2 Results or Fruits of the Ministry. Someone once said to me, “Ministry isn’t one mountaintop experience after another. There are plenty of valleys and uphill climbs that we struggle to overcome” and that is true! As I already shared earlier, there were some dark moments when I wanted to quit. But sometimes we tend to forget that there are so many answered prayer, so many faithful friends beside us, and there are changed lives among the people that we ministered. What keeps me going thus far is because I’ve seen many positive and encouraging results – fruits – of God’s power in students’ lives. The fruit becomes sweeter when they tell you personally how your ministry had impacted them!

#3 Scatter the Seeds. Because of the assurance from #1 and the results of #2, although I know that dark night of the soul will visit me again in the future, by God’s grace, power and faith the future outcome will be greater! Just scatter the seeds, be faithful – having joy and personal growth along the way – and let God do the rest. Let Him prosper the seeds. And watch. To keep going, you need to sometime take a rest after you scatter the seeds all day long.

#4 Continuous Learning. Sometime people give up in the ministry too soon because they stop growing (and/or they’re not sure of #1). I never stop learning thus I never stop growing thus I always keep going. I don’t limit myself to only doing student ministry… oh, let me correct that… I don’t limit myself in doing the student ministry. I mentoring them one-on-one and also online. I inspired them through Bible Studies and talks but also through written words (such as this blog) and social media. The most important and indispensable tool in the ministry is the Bible, do you know how rich the Word of God is? Don’t just preach it… write about it, do beautiful arts, create wonderful graphics, compose songs, craft poets – don’t be boring! If you continue learning, you’ll never stop growing, you won’t be boring – you’ll keep going.

[P.s: My Grammarly is not functioning well... I'm sure there are a lot of writing errors. I'm sorry in advance.] 

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