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Wednesday, July 8th 2009

12:37 AM

More hidden sides of Singapore

The Singapore Bible College itself is run as if they are still in the 1940s. They are so old fashioned in so many ways. A Mat Salleh lecturer once made a joke in class: "the dress code for the students in this college is Victorian" and he broke out laughing.

Management of the college is very much influenced by the Lee Kuan Yew's style authoritarian - I talk you listen.

There are no grievances procedures for the students. Thus students are expected not to dispute the decisions of the management and being a bible college, they of course do not think it is biblical to sue the college.

Read the rest of the letter here: More hidden sides of Singapore

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Tuesday, July 7th 2009

3:59 PM

Jesus versus Terminator

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Friday, June 19th 2009

7:33 AM

The Simpsons - Homer Evolution

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Tuesday, June 16th 2009

1:04 AM

Jesus and Me

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Sunday, June 14th 2009

8:56 PM

Grace saves while law hunts down

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Monday, June 8th 2009

2:13 AM

The Apostle Paul: "Rejected"


To: Rev. Saul Paul
First Christian Church
Antioch, Syria

Dear Mr. Paul:

I have your application for missionary appointment before me, and will be as frank as possible concerning your qualifications as a foreign missionary. We have to be very careful in choosing our missionaries, and our Missions Board has reviewed your case thoroughly. We have decided that it would be unwise to send you to the foreign field for the following reasons:

  1. It has come to our attention that you are doing secular work on the side. We do not feel that making tents and full time ministry go together very well. [1Th 2:9] It seems that you do not have enough experience in trusting the Lord for your income. You should make up your mind whether you want to preach or continue your profession.

  2. Your previous actions have been very rash and unseemly for a minister. We learned that in a public meeting you opposed Dr. Simon Peter, an esteemed minister with a high reputation. [Ga 2:11-14] We also hear that you refused to compromise with other ministers such that a special council meeting had to be called in Jerusalem to prevent a serious split in the churches. [Ac 15:1-30] We frown on putting ideology before people. For your own good, I am enclosing a copy of Daius' Carnegus book on "How to Win Jews and Influence Greeks." [Ga 1:10, 1Th 2:4-6]

  3. You have conflicted with mature Jewish brethren in nearly every city you have visited who simply want to encourage the converted Pagans to be properly circumcised. Mr. Paul, you must know that these men are our most learned sages with a deep sense of the roots and history of our faith. As well, and more importantly, these men control the synagogues you could be ministering in if you would simply tone down your dialog into a more friendly and respectful exchange. [Gal 5:2-12]

  4. In checking back, we discovered your Christian education consisted of a three year course in Arabia. [Ga 1:15-20] We find that the Arabian school has not been approved by our accreditation board.

  5. Further, you admit to being an unskilled public speaker. [2Co 10:10, 11:6] Paul, surely you must know that people expect fine elocution from men of God, and that as a denomination we stand for the highest levels of excellence in the pulpit. Yet instead of going to much-needed oratory classes you spend your time making tents instead. From your correspondence, you also appear to be spending a considerable amount of time writing letters to insignificant little "churches" that meet in homes. [Ac 28:3-6] Honestly now; do you really think that such misguided activities are what will lead to your success in the world of religion? We strongly suggest that you put down your tools and set aside your pen, and instead practice hand gestures, facial expressions, and voice modulation in front of a mirror for several hours a day until you come up to par.

  6. It has come to the attention also that you often emphasize "the power of God" and "the gifts of the Spirit." [1Co 2:3-5, 12:1-7] Also that you speak in tongues a great deal. [1Co 14:18] Surely you realize that such as this only drives off the better class of people, and attracts only the riff-raff. It would be better to tone down those more sensational forms of worship. You sound as though you are "off the deep end." [1Co 3:18]

  7. It has been proven to our satisfaction that you had hands laid on you at Antioch with prophecy going forth, [Ac 13:1-3] with none of the Apostles or Headquarters brethren present to conduct this ordination service in the prescribed manner.

  8. We see here that you have a jail record in several places. [2Co 11:23-27] If this is true, it puts you in a bad light, for our denomination has always stood for a high standard of civic responsibility. I fear it would damage our reputation to have someone representing us that had served time in jails and prisons. Frankly, Mr. Paul, we seriously doubt you could have been innocent and the judge wrong in so many cases. It just doesn't look right.

  9. It seems that you are a troublemaker, Mr. Paul. Several business men of Ephesus have written us that you were the cause of severe loss of business to them and even stirred mob violence. You must learn to cultivate the friendship and influence of men such as these. [Ac 16:16-22]

  10. We also have some details of a shameful "over the wall in a basket" episode at Damascus, [2Co 11:30-33] plus a stoning at Lystra, and several other violent actions taken against your ministry. [2Ti 3:11] Haven't you ever suspected that conciliatory behavior and gentler words might gain you more friends?

  11. We have learned through channels that following some trouble with a preacher on the island of Cyprus, you began to allow yourself to be known by the Gentile pronunciation of your name rather than the proper Hebrew. [Ac 13:4-11] Yet another conflict, and then a name change. This does not seem to us to be conduct becoming to the ministry.

  12. You admitted in your application that in the past you neglected such needy fields as Bithynia, just because "the Spirit didn't lead that way," and that you undertook a hazardous journey on the strength of a dream you had at Troas. [Ac 16:6-10] Mr. Paul, surely you don't expect us to go along with such flimsy and fantastic excuses for your seemingly purposeless wanderings.

  13. Many times you did not stay long enough, in our opinion, to get a church properly established. You left your converts many times without even a pastor to guide them, and without setting the church in order in some good hierarchical denomination. [Ts 1:5]

  14. We hear also from Troas that you preach too long, one sermon lasting almost twenty-four hours, even to the extent that a young man fell asleep and was seriously injured. [Ac 20:7-12] We understand that you claim to have restored his life and raised him from the dead by falling on him and embracing him. What nonsense! We need practical men in the ministry, Mr. Paul, not high strung emotional radicals. Our advice is for you to shorten your sermons considerably. We find that about twenty minutes is the longest a minister can hold the attention of his audience these days. Our motto is "Stand up, speak up, and shut up."

  15. It is reported from your home church that you could not get along with your fellow ministers; that John Mark--a commendable young man and nephew of one of our highest leaders--had to leave your party in the middle of a journey; and that you had a sharp quarrel with gentle, good natured Barnabas. [Ac 15:36-40] Now these men are well thought of in Jerusalem and we wonder why you are always having trouble with your fellow workers?

  16. We have notarized affidavits from four very popular and influential preachers: Diotrephes, Demas, Hymenaeus, and Alexander; to the effect that it is impossible for them to cooperate with either you or your program. [1Ti 1:20]

  17. From what we hear, you seem to think that you have some direct sanction from on-high, boasting about your revelations and that God has chosen you to reveal some "Mystery". [Ep 3:3-4] Can't you realize that any truth that is to be revealed would come through Headquarters to the recognized, established brethren, and that after it had been checked by our Procedure and Doctrine Committee that we would distribute it on to the field workers?

  18. Finally, we hear that you claim to be an Apostle. We know nothing of this being passed upon by the proper authoritative channels and wonder how you could back that claim up, when the last Apostle was voted into office right here in Jerusalem. [Ac 1:26] Now that our denomination is firmly established, why do you imagine there would be any need for God to continue the Apostolic gifting?

As you see, Mr. Paul, we feel definitely after close scrutiny of your case, that you are undoubtedly the most unqualified applicant we have ever seen, and my advice for you is to find a church where you can work in harmony, and use your past education as perhaps a Sunday School teacher.

I hope I have prevented you from making a terrible mistake in your life.

Most sincerely yours,

J. Flavios Fluphehead, SECY

Based on Bill Britton's classic; modified and expanded by Dean VanDruff.

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Thursday, May 28th 2009

6:56 AM

The Christian ambush: a true story

I was once suckered into a captive audience situation. In high school I was a music lover. That’s an understatement. I suppose that’s what made me vulnerable. A girl I liked invited me to a “concert” at her church. “What kind of concert?” I asked. “I don’t know really,” she lied, “just a live band. They’re supposed to be really good.” But her lie was justifiable, her youth pastor had explained on Sunday (a friend later informed me), because the teenagers in the high schools did’t realize the precariousness of their eternal fate. When an immortal soul is at stake, sometimes you have to do or say what’s necessary to get them to church, he said.

How dumb am I? Of course it was a rat trap, and I was the rat. Things went badly for me fast. Just in case you’re wondering why I didn’t just walk out; I hadn’t driven myself, being only 15 years old. They’d picked me up, and it was a longish drive in the rain at night. I wasn't going to call my mommy to rescue me. There you have it. They were my ride, and unless I wanted to be soaked to the bone and freezing, I was stuck.

Well, first of all the band stank. And the songs stank. I was just sitting there minding my own business when the critical moment came. I didn’t see the ambush coming. The lead singer asked everyone who was “saved” to stand up. Suddenly I had a choice to make. I felt the pressure build around me. It was in the air. I had to choose. I could stand up and avoid the humiliation that was about to be unleashed upon the poor seated “unsaved” kids, or I could risk staying seated and hope for the best. Well, the best was not to happen for me that night. I should have run to the bathroom and hid in a stall until it was over, but that option didn’t occur to my 15-year-old stupid self because my folks “raised me up” not to be rude. (Never mind the rudeness that was about to be inflicted on me!)

From my seat I looked around, and as far as I could see, I was the only one seated. I felt like a toadstool in a giant redwood forest. I sat there wondering how any of these teenagers could possibly think they knew what “saved” meant. I wondered how many of them stood up to avoid being singled out. I remember actually praying to God to help me be brave in the face of the pressure that was about to be applied to my boneheaded remaining-seated concert-going self.

“We’re going to pray now for those who are seated that they might know the Lord and accept Jesus into their hearts to make him the Lord of their lives and be born again,” the lead singer said (or something to that effect). He prayed for a long while. Yes, he started with threats of hell. There were lots of amens and teary hallelujahs from my “friends” in the immediate vicinity. But wait, there’s more.

They asked my friends for my name. The singer began praying into the microphone for “Bert’s” eternal soul. They first subjected me to entrapment, and now I was betrayed by my buddies. (But it was entrapment and betrayal for a “noble cause,” they certainly rationalized.) At least I found out at that moment that there were others seated like me. My name was not the only name called. I had partners in crime somewhere else in the forest of standing, praying, weeping “Christians.” I felt a little better knowing I wasn’t alone.

Why didn’t I just stand up? I seriously considered it but decided against it. It wasn’t that I considered my self “unsaved.” I didn’t. It was just that I resented their presumption that I was unsaved (simply because I was from another denomination I suppose). I resented their assumption about my status before God. I resented their covert conniving to lure me in and “fix” me. I resented the absurd assertion that just standing up at their church somehow magically made you saved. So I sat while the lead singer prayed for my salvation. But that’s not all.

After a very long prayer supported with tears and whispers of “Yes Lord,” the singer instructed everyone to lay hands on those seated as he prayed. The first hand put on my head made me really angry. They had shanghaied me and now they were violating my personal space. I didn’t give anyone permission to touch me. But they got away with it because, I presumed, there were only two ways I could have stopped them from touching me at that point. I could physically protest in some way, push their hands away, but I worried that would draw even more unwanted attention. Or I could stand up and “get saved!” But I didn’t do either. I folded. At least a dozen hands touched my shoulders and head, and I just sat there humiliated. Surely I was the victim of the longest "mercy molesting" in the history of Christendom.

My “friends” didn’t talk to me on the way home. They were punishing me for something, I guess. I wondered if the silent treatment was a planned response designed to shame recalcitrant heathens who refuse to knuckle under to pressure. I couldn’t believe the hostile atmosphere in that car. No one said a word the entire way home. But I was glad in a way. I had nothing to say to them -- nothing nice anyway. They dropped me off in cold silence. Maybe they took it personally, like I had held out on them so as to embarrass them in front of their church friends and youth pastor. Perhaps I robbed them of bragging rights: “We saved Bert Gary! Can you believe it? Bert Gary! It’s a miracle!” I really don’t know. But one thing was certain. They judged me as hopelessly hell-bound and never spoke to me again

Bert Gary

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Sunday, May 17th 2009

4:50 PM

The Wilderness

Many feel that a lack of trusted leadership to relate to, a lack of any community or movement to identify with, a lack of miracle in provision or healing would be evidence of their being in a wilderness.  

The children of Israel had an anointed, powerful leader and they were still in the wilderness.  They were part of a great movement and still in the wilderness.  They lived by supernatural provision and miracle but were still in the wilderness.

Star leadership, miracles and multitudes are not proof that you are in the promised land.  
They may be  proof that you are still in the wilderness of immaturity and codependency.

Jesus went into the wilderness alone to fast and pray.  Maybe the true purpose of the wilderness is to wean us from our addiction to the approval of others, our addiction to the sensational, our addiction to equating numbers with success?  Maybe the true purpose is for us to connect with Jesus alone?  To settle our needs in God so that we can freely give to others?

When the children of Israel reached the promised land they dispersed to their own portion and each had to begin to take responsibility for their own lives, to manage their own affairs and to provide for themselves.  They could no longer live by Moses and miracle.  

You may feel alone and isolated...
That may be your promised land...
That may be the place you fully engage with Jesus.
Although it may feel like a wilderness, it is not only a good place.
It is the best of places!

Steve & Marilyn Hill

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Monday, May 11th 2009

9:14 PM

Funny IC Ads

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Wednesday, April 22nd 2009

8:58 AM

Simple Gatherings in Singapore

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