Wednesday, December 26, 2007

We cannot let other religions use it

The word ‘Allah’ can only be used in the context of Islam and not any other religion, said Deputy Internal Security Minister Johari Baharum.

Asked why a new condition will be imposed on Catholic weekly newspaper Herald when its annual publishing permit is next renewed, the deputy minister said this is to prevent confusion.

“Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’. It’s a Muslim word, you see. It’s from (the Arabic (language). We cannot let other religions use it because it will confuse people,” he said when contacted today.

“We cannot allow this use of ‘Allah’ in non-Muslim publications, nobody except Muslims. The word ‘Allah’ is published by the Catholics. It’s not right.”

The Herald, the organ of the Catholic Church in Malaysia, had been facing problems in renewing its publishing permit allegedly because of the word ‘Allah’ was used in referring to ‘God’ in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The ministry has also allegedly told the publisher to remove the entire Bahasa Malaysia section or the permit will not be renewed when it expires in two weeks.

The Herald, which is published in four languages - English, Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil - has a circulation of 12,000.

Johari noted that other publications, such as Buddhist magazines, do not use the word ‘Allah’ when referring to God.

“The Herald can use other words but not ‘Allah’. That will confuse people,” he claimed.

Basis of decision

He said the decision was made based on a report submitted by the publications department of the ministry.

“Previously no one knew (about this). I made the decision based on a report submitted to me that was prepared by an officer,” he explained.

However, when asked why the Herald is being told to remove its Bahasa Malaysia section altogether - rather than demanding the weekly not to use the word ‘Allah’ - Johari was unable to comment.

“I’m not sure about this, I have to check again. As far as I know, they used the word ‘Allah’ and we cannot allow that,” he reiterated.

He further pointed out that the word ‘Allah’ cannot be printed on T-shirts or other garments and those who have done so have been warned by his ministry.

The use of ‘Allah’ outside of Islam has stirred controversy in Malaysia previously. Four years ago, the Bible in the Iban language was banned because it translated the word ‘God’ as Allah Taala, which resembles Islam’s name for God.

The ban was, however, lifted after protests from the Christian community.

All that is haram (forbidden)

An interesting article from Raja Petra on several issues, including the banning of the use of the word Allah for non-Muslims.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

The word 'haram' is very effective because Malays are constantly bombarded with the words 'haram' (forbidden) and 'halal' (kosher) from the day they are born. Malays grow up questioning everything 'haram' and 'halal' because they have been indoctrinated and conditioned to do so. This is within the Malay psyche and culture.

Interest is haram, so you must borrow money from an 'Islamic' bank, not from a 'kafir' (infidel) bank. Okay, the Islamic bank charges you a fixed 'profit' rate of, say, 10% per annum. Interest may actually be lower than that, so your borrowing cost from a 'kafir' bank can actually be lower than that from an 'Islamic' bank. But the 'kafir' bank charges you interest, which is haram, while an 'Islamic' bank charges you 'profit'. So this is not haram even though it may be higher.

Can you see how the choice of a word determines whether you get to go to heaven or hell even though the act may be the same? Killing for the sake of profit ensures you hell while killing for the sake of religion ensures you heaven. Committing suicide because of desperation ensures you hell while committing suicide because of religion ensures you heaven. You need to play with words to ensure that you get rewarded with heaven and to ensure you avoid getting sent to hell. Unfortunately, swine that is slaughtered the proper Islamic way is still haram in spite of the method used in killing the animal complies to the Islamic shariah.

So, the choice of a word is extremely important and therefore using the word 'haram' after the word 'perhimpunan' gives Malays the feeling that anyone who indulges in any gathering or assembly of more than four people, and in the same process does not have a police permit, is committing a very serious crime. Okay, you may say that the government is pulling the wool over the eyes of the Malays and are taking them for suckers by calling gatherings or rallies 'perhimpunan haram'. Well, if the government can also pull the wool over God's eyes and take Him for a sucker by replacing the word 'interest' with the word 'profit' and then call the entire usury system 'Bank Islam', then I suppose bluffing the Malays is small potatoes by comparison.

Another word that has been declared haram is the word 'Allah'. It is of course not made haram for Muslims. Only non-Muslims may not use that word. But this is only in Malaysia. It makes one wonder whether Malaysia has filed a copyright for the exclusive use of the word just like how Harley Davidson has patented the sound of their exhaust. That's right, Harley Davidson has sole use of the sound that is emitted from the exhaust pipes of its motorcycles and the Japanese, Germans, Italians, etc., may not build motorcycles that produce the same sound as the Harley Davidson motorcycle. That is like Britney Spears patenting the sound of her fart. Can you imagine no one being allowed to release a fart that sounds like hers?

Allah is in fact the Arabic word for 'God'. It is said that the term is most likely derived from a condensation of the Arabic article 'al' (the) and 'ilah' (deity or god). So Allah would mean 'the (or 'sole') God' (the one and only God, so to speak). There is another theory that traces the etymology of the word to the Aramaic Alaha, and Aramaic was the language that Jesus Christ used.

No doubt, while the term is commonly used by Muslims as a reference to God, it is also used by Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, in reference to 'God'. Therefore, Arabs of the Jewish and Christian faiths also refer to God as 'Allah'.

During pre-Islamic times, the pagan Arabs also referred to their creator-god or their supreme deity (number one God) as Allah. So the word 'Allah' is not quite an Islamic word for God. It was also a pre-Islamic word for God, although the Arabs then believed in 360 different Gods. Allah, in pre-Islamic times, was not the sole divinity. He had associates and companions plus sons and daughters. There was also a kind of kinship between Allah and the jinn. But Allah was the boss of all Gods to the Arabs then.

So, gatherings and rallies are haram. Now, the use of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims is also haram. Gatherings and rallies are of course not haram according to Prophet Muhammad's Islam. It is only haram according to Hadhari's Islam. And the use of the word 'Allah' is not haram according to the Prophet's Islam. It is only haram according to Hadhari's Islam.

Click here for the rest of the article

Sunday, December 23, 2007

How many people die everyday?

The answer varies, but the most common answer is 146,000 people around the world die within 24 hours. Roughly 100 people die every minute.

Click on this cool site to see the world clock running.

How many of these 146,000 people who die daily, enter into eternity with the knowledge of Christ?

We need to rise up and proclaim the message of hope before its too late.

This Christmas season is a great time to proclaim Christ, the Savior who willingly and lovingly die for each of us!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This is dedicated to all who believe in the American version of the “prosperity gospel”.

Excerpt From Jim Bakker's Autobiographical Book

About the time of my parole hearing (1993), I completed my study of all the words of Jesus in the New Testament. To my surprise, after months of studying Jesus, I concluded that He did not have one good thing to say about money. Most of Jesus' statements about riches, wealth, and material gain were in a negative context. Even "The Prodigal Son," one of my favorite stories told by Jesus, took on new meaning as I read it again for the first time with an overview of Scripture in mind. I quickly noticed that the story began with the younger brother saying to the father, "Give me! Give me my part of the inheritance" (Luke 15:12). He didn't even say, "Please give me." He simply demanded. Before long, that young man landed in the pigpen. I began to see that the fastest way to the pigpen begins with "Give me" ... and the fastest route to the "big pen," the federal penitentiary, often begins with the same phrase, "Give me!"

I was amazed at this "new" revelation, but beyond that, I was deeply concerned. As the true impact of Jesus' words regarding money impacted my heart and mind, I became physically nauseated. I was wrong. I was wrong! Wrong in my lifestyle, certainly, but even more fundamentally, wong in my understanding of the Bible's true message. Not only was I wrong, but I was teaching the opposite of what Jesus had said. That is what broke my heart; when I came to the awareness that I had actually been contradicting Christ, I was horrified.

For years I had embraced and espoused a gospel that some skeptics had branded a "prosperity gospel." I didn't mind the label; on the contrary, I was proud of it. "You're absolutely right!" I'd say to critics and friends alike. "I preach it and live it! I believe in a God who wants to bless His people. Look at all the rich saints in the Old Testament. And the New Testament clearly say that above all, God wants us to prosper even as our souls prosper. If your soul is prospering, you should be prospering materially as well!"

I even got to the point where I was teaching people at PTL. "Don't pray, 'God, Your will be done,' when you're praying for health or wealth. You already know it is God's will for you to have those things! To ask God to confirm His will when He has already told you what His will is in a matter is an insult to God. It is as though you don't really trust Him or believe that He is as good as His Word. Instead of praying 'Thy will be done' when you want a new car, just claim it. Pray specifically and tell God what kind you want. Be sure to specify which options and what color you want too."

Such arrogance! Such foolishness! Such sin! The Bible says we are not to presume upon God, but we should say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that" (James 4:15).

I may not always have been so blatant about it, but I often preached a prosperity message at Heritage USA and on our PTL television programs. But when I began to study the Scriptures in depth while in prison, something I am embarassed and ashamed to admit that I rarely took time to do during the hectic years of constant building and ministering at PTL, I was very distressed at what I discovered. I realized that for years I helped propagate an impostor, not a true gospel, but another gospel - a gospel that stated "God wants you to be rich!" Christians should have the best because we are children of God, "King's Kids," as I often put it. And shouldn't the King's kids have the best this world had to offer?

The more I studied the Bible, however, I had to admit that the prosperity message did not line up with the tenor of Scripture. My heart was crushed to think that I led so many people astray. I was appalled that I could have been so wrong, and I was deeply grateful that God had not struck me dead as a false prophet!

How could I have taught and even written books on the subject of "how to get rich" when Jesus spoke so clearly about the dangers of earthly riches? One of the statements of Jesus that kept echoing in my head and heart was in the parable of the sower, where Jesus said that "the cares of this world, the deceitulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful" (Mark 4:19). The deceitfulness of riches. The more I thought about it, the more I had to admit that I had fallen into that snare. I had allowed the quest for material possessions and the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts for other things to choke the Word of God in my own life and in the lives of my family members and coworkers. As PTL grew larger and our ministry more widespread, I had a financial tiger by the tail, and just coming up with enough money to meet the daily budgets dominated my thoughts and my time.

In prison, I decided to dig into the Scriptures further to see what else Jesus had to say about money. I noticed that He said,

Do not store up for yourself treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:19-21 NIV)

Another Scripture that seared into my heart was Matthew 6:24, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot sere both God and Money" (NIV). In that same passage, I discovered that God's priorities were much different from what mine had been.

To read more, please click here.

12 Days of Theology

by Rob Bowman

On the first day of Theology my professor gave to me atonement on an old tree.

On the second day of Theology my professor gave to me two Testaments and atonement on an old tree.

On the third day of Theology my professor gave to me three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the fourth day of Theology my professor gave to me four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the fifth day of Theology my professor gave to me five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the sixth day of Theology my professor gave to me six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the seventh day of Theology my professor gave to me seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the eighth day of Theology my professor gave to me eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the ninth day of Theology my professor gave to me nine fruits of the Spirit, eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the tenth day of Theology my professor gave to me ten Commandments, nine fruits of the Spirit, eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the eleventh day of Theology my professor gave to me eleven apostles on Easter, ten Commandments, nine fruits of the Spirit, eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

On the twelfth day of Theology my professor gave to me twelve tribes of Israel, eleven apostles on Easter, ten Commandments, nine fruits of the Spirit, eight persons on the ark, seven churches in Asia, six days of creation, five points of Calvinism! Four Gospel books, three divine persons, two Testaments, and atonement on an old tree.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Thinking For A Change

I will be teaching on Developing Leadership in July 2008 in Penang. So came across Maxwell 's book which is related on this topic.

Thinking For A Change by John C. Maxwell is any easy, but thought provoking read. Thinking For A Change is broken down into two major sections.

The first section explores the premise that if you change your thinking you change your life.

The second section of the book offers up eleven thinking skills and concrete ways to start applying these thinking skills.

So the second section of the book contains the tools to change your thinking so you can change your life.

The eleven thinking skills Thinking For A Change offers are as follows:

1. Acquire the wisdom of big-picture thinking - does my thinking extend beyond me and my world
2. Unleash the potential of focused thinking - concentrate to find clarity on the real issues
3. Discover the joy of creative thinking - get out of the box and find break through thinking
4. Recognize the importance of realistic thinking - does my thinking have a solid mental foundation
5. Release the power of strategic thinking - is my thinking leading to plans for today that help me reach my potential tomorrow
6. Feel the energy of possibility thinking - possibility thinking can help you find solutions to even the difficult problems
7. Embrace the lessons of reflective thinking - am I revisiting the past to gain understanding and learn from what happened
8. Question the acceptance of popular thinking - am I rejecting the limitations of common thinking
9. Encourage the participation of shared thinking - am I engaging others to expand and sharpen my thinking
10. Experience the satisfaction of unselfish thinking - am I considering others and their needs
11. Enjoy the return of bottom-line thinking - am I staying focused on results


Christian Studies Program



Christian Study

No. of Credits



5 Jan, Jan 19, 16 Feb, 1 Mar

Introduction to Counseling


Mrs Marsha Lawson

Fairview, Ampang – 3rd Sat

MBC Office – Other Sat

23 Feb

Spiritual Formation

Dr Sunny Tan

5 Apr, 19 Apr, 3 May, 12 May

Christian Ethics


Dr Sunny Tan & team

Fairview, Ampang – 3rd Sat

MBC Office – Other Sat

2 Aug, 16 Aug, 30 Aug

Church History II


Dr Mark Terry

PJ First Baptist

6 Sept, 20 Sept

11 Oct, 25 Oct

Teaching Skills


Mrs Rosalind Tan

To be confirmed

Monday, December 17, 2007

Refusing to Denounce!

Came across this sad story in church history. I wonder why we fight and kill over the most insignificant thing. Why don't we concentrate on making disciples of Christ, who will love Him supremely and preach His life-transforming Word? Why must we argue over insignificant matters, that has no direct bearing on the kingdom of God? Is the church sacraments so sacred that we must kill someone over it? Is the church programs so all-consuming that all other spiritual matters be stopped, so that we are to give preference to it? Lord, help us! May we never repeat such silly mistakes again!

In England during the 1500s, and especially during the reign of Queen Mary, the Christian Church came under terrible persecution. Many Christians including clergy were excommunicated or executed for refusing to denounce their beliefs and adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church. One of those who suffered for his faith was Thomas Hawkes.

Thomas Hawkes was born in Essex, England and later entered into the service of the Lord of Oxford. Upon the death of Edward VI, rather than change his religious beliefs to that of Queen Mary's, Hawkes left his service and returned home. After returning home Hawkes' wife gave birth to a son. Hawkes refused to have the boy baptized according to Catholic tradition and was reported to the Earl of Oxford. He was sent by the earl to Bishop Bonner of London where he answered to the charge of contempt of the sacraments.

Hawkes and Bonner argued over several practices of the Catholic Church. Other Catholic Church
officials were summoned to help persuade Hawkes to change his beliefs, but Hawkes stood firm and would not recant. On February 9, 1555 he was condemned as a heretic and stayed in prison until June 10.

Days before Hawkes was to be burned at the stake he agreed with his friends that he would lift his hands over his head if the pain was tolerable and his mind was at peace. When he was engulfed in flames and most people thought him to be dead, Hawkes suddenly raised his burning hands above his head and clapped three times. Those who understood this gesture broke into shouts of praise and applause as Thomas Hawkes sank into the fire and died.

The Training Ground of God

Psalms 144:1

Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.

David was a man skilled in war. From his days as a shepherd boy to the days of serving in Saul's army to leading his own army, David learned to be a skillful warrior. How does one become a skillful warrior?

The only way one can become a skillful warrior is to be trained and placed in the middle of the battle. It is only when we are placed in the furnace of battle that we truly learn to fight the real battles. Practice doesn't make you battle ready. War games won't prepare you for facing your real enemy in the battlefield. The stark reality of being in the midst of the battle makes us effective warriors.

Simply reading your Bible will not make you a warrior for the Kingdom. Knowledge without experience is mere folly. Only when you are placed in situations where there is nothing or no one who can save you but God will you learn the lessons of warrior faith. This is the training ground of God, which will make you into a soldier for Christ in the marketplace. Consider it to be suicidal faith - faith that says I want to be dead to anything that keeps me from fulfilling God's purposes for my life. It is when your efforts can do nothing to change your circumstance and you are at the mercy of God. These are the real training grounds of God. Do not shrink back from the battle that God may be leading you to today. It may be a training ground that is necessary for the calling He has on your life.

If you can trust Him in these times, you'll know that you have gained a faith that will move mountains and will sustain you in the most difficult of circumstances. "Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle."

December 17, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Say no to being a guarantor, even for family members

In my counseling lecture to pastors, I told them never be guarantors for any of their church members or family members. This NST report provides further reinforcement to that advice.

17 December, 2007

IT may not be a nice thing to say, but Insolvency Department officers have this advice for everyone. Do not be a guarantor, even if it is for members of your own family. Bankrupt guarantors come in all shapes and sizes - from as young as 18 to as old as 70 - and the Insolvency Department has seen them all.

One young man became a bankrupt at the age of 18 - because he acted as guarantor for his father's loan. It took him many years to get out of bankruptcy.

"It happens quite often, though not always at such a young age," said Insolvency Department director of Bankruptcy Division Lailawati Husain.

"Sometimes, parents put their children as directors of their company. The children act as corporate guarantors for loans taken by the company. And then, the company folds."

Children, she says, are not the only corporate guarantor victims. Some retired civil servants are invited to be on the board of directors of a company and given fat salaries. In return, they have to be corporate guarantors for the company's loans.

When the company is unable to settle the loan, the retired civil servant is left holding the baby.

"Some of them say they are only the guarantor, or they are only members of the board. But we don't really look at the reason why they took out the loan. Once you have been declared a bankrupt, we have to administer you," said Lailawati.

Some women have also had to swallow the bitter pill of bearing the burden of their husband's failed ventures. "Wives act as guarantors for their husbands, or they provide property as security for their husband's loan.

"When the husband can't pay, the creditors go after the wife - or seize her property," said Lailawati.

Some women have had the misfortune of being made bankrupt after their husbands have moved on to other relationships, leaving their wives or ex-wives with literally nothing but debts.

More Grace!

14 Dec 2007

Dear Prayer Partners,

1. Thank you for keeping us in prayer! As mentioned in the previous prayer letter, I was the camp speaker for a local Kuala Lumpur (KL) university fellowship.

2. I shared about the grace of God and how it impacts our lives. I took the opportunity to correct some popular but imbalance teachings, and taught about biblical grace and responsible grace living. I believed the Spirit ministered to many lives through His life-changing Word.

3. Continue to pray that these young undergraduates will get into the Word and become the next generation of spiritual leaders for the kingdom of God. Pray they will wisely and boldly proclaim the exclusive grace of Christ in a multi-religious, multi-cultural and pluralistic society.

4. Pray for me as I consider how to minister to them NOW, especially when I observe a number of them have a strong passion for the Lord. RAISE THEM UP TO BE YOUR SERVANTS, LORD!

5. After the camp, I took the opportunity to visit and preach in a number of smaller and out of the city churches. I took the opportunity to pray with and encourage these faithful pastors, who are truly the unsung heroes of the kingdom. As Nehemiah prayed, remember them with favor, Lord (5:19).

6. Interestingly, the Lord opened up doors to preach in English-speaking, Malay-speaking and Chinese-speaking congregations. There were no problems with the English- and Malay language services. But I needed help with the Chinese language services!

7. Pray for me as I continue to struggle to pick up Mandarin, even as the Lord seems to be sending more of such individuals along my path. I would love to have a harvest among them and present them before the Lord (Rom 1:13; 15:16).

8. Pray for me as I seek the Lord’s mind about making regular trips back to Klang Valley. I need His wisdom, assurance, and empowerment as I consider Jessie’s and Anastasia’s needs, and my doctorate studies.

9. Another thing that I observed is that many churches are into church building funds to the point that they don’t have time to do personal follow up and discipling. The old disease of trying to mass produce disciples has infected the thinking of many church leaders. It would take them a couple more decades before they realized the weakness of this method, and revert to the biblical method. Indeed disciple making is a lost art.

Every believer in Jesus Christ deserves the opportunity of personal nurture and development.
But all too often the opportunity isn't there. We neglect the young Christian in our whirl of programs, church services and fellowship groups. And we neglect to raise up workers and leaders who can disciple young believers into mature and fruitful Christians.

10. Pray for me to have greater spiritual authority, greater financial breakthroughs, and greater ministry effectiveness. There is so much to be done – I need to stay focus and worship Jesus and draw divine strength and guidance from Him. I need more grace and favor!

In case I can’t send out another mail, here’s wishing you and your loved ones



P/S: I can be contacted on

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Friday, December 14, 2007

My heart is broken today for people that lost their lives

Church Gunman ID'd as Cops Probe Shooting Link

Five People, Including Gunman at One Location, Reported Dead in Two Weekend Shootings

Dec. 10, 2007 —

The gunman who killed two teenage sisters Sunday inside a Colorado Springs church has been identified as Matthew Murray, ABC News has confirmed.

Authorities have not said whether Murray, a 24-year-old from Englewood, Colo., who was killed by a security guard at the New Life Church after he fatally shot two teenage sisters, was also responsible for the shooting rampage at a youth missionary in the Denver suburb of Arvada, about 70 miles from Colorado Springs.

Earlier today, Colorado Springs police announced that Stephanie Works, 18, and Rachael Works, 16, were killed Sunday morning after services at New Life Church. Their father, David Works, 51, suffered two gunshot wounds to the stomach and groin and is listed in fair condition.

Judy Purcell, 40, was shot in the right shoulder, and Larry Bourbannais, 59, was shot in the left forearm. Both were treated and released from an area hospital.

Rev. Brady Boyd of the New Life Church said in a news conference this morning that the gunman was not a member of the church.

"It was just absolutely random. It was a tragedy. He simply showed up on our property yesterday with a gun intent to harm people and that's what he did," Boyd said.

Twelve hours earlier, two people were killed at Youth With a Mission missionary center in the Denver suburb of Arvada, which is about 70 miles from Colorado Springs.

New Life Church leaders beefed up security after hearing about the shootings in Arvada. Boyd called the plainclothes security guard a "hero."

"There could have been a great loss of life yesterday," Boyd said. "She probably saved over 100 lives. She rushed toward the attacker and took him down in the hallway."

Shootings Probably Linked, Say Police

Police searched a home in Englewood, Colo., early this morning, trying to determine whether the two separate shootings in Colorado churches this weekend are related.

Police said they believed the shootings were probably linked, though there is currently no evidence to prove that.

"Given the circumstances, I think it is a good possibility that the two are linked," Arvada Deputy Police Chief Gary Creagor told The Associated Press early today, "but we have to prove that they are."

At the Youth With a Mission center, terror struck just after midnight Sunday. The young missionary students were wrapping up a Christmas party when a man came to a side door, asking to stay the night.

After his request was denied, the young man opened fire with a handgun, killing 25-year-old Tiffany Johnson, from Duluth, Minn., who answered the door, said the Rev. Peter Warren, the director of Youth With a Mission.

"She was just a wonderful young lady," Warren said of Johnson. "She had big dimples. Everyone loved her."

Phil Crouse, a 22-year-old from Alaska, was also killed. Warren said Crouse was "quiet but pleasant" and a "really hard worker."

Dan Griebenow, 24, and Charles Blanch, 22, staff members at the center, were wounded.

"All of these guys are so tight, so close," Warren said. "It just makes it all the more painful."

Police arrived minutes later, but it was too late. The gunman, reportedly a white man in his 20s dressed in black, was already gone.

'Positive I Was Going to Be Next'

About 12 hours later and 70 miles away, services were letting out at the 10,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, when Murray opened fire in the parking lot.

Witnesses said the gunman was dressed in black, wore combat boots and carried an automatic assault rifle.

Jesse Gingrich was in her car in the church parking lot Sunday morning when she saw the gunman open fire.

"The man pulled out a huge rifle and my first thought was, that can't be a real gun," Gingrich told "Good Morning America." "It was so surreal to me at the time."

Gingrich said the gunman was right next to her car and began shooting at a van in a spot diagonal to hers.

"I ducked down in my car. & I couldn't find my car keys," Gingrich said. "I was absolutely positive I was going to be next."

New Life is one of the largest churches in the country and no stranger to controversy. The church's founder, Ted Haggard, was fired last year after a male prostitute accused him of paying for sex and crystal meth.

Haggard and the New Life Church had links to Youth With a Mission. The two groups worked together on a controversial missionary program that focused on converting people in Muslim countries to Christianity.

About 7,000 people were on the church campus at the time of the shooting, said Boyd.

"What happened today was a real tragedy and as a pastor, my heart is broken today for people that lost their lives," Boyd said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Evil forces take advantage of people who already have existing conditions

When Columbine Violence Comes to Church

As we mourn the victims of Sunday’s tragedy in Colorado, I hope we can also offer some answers to today’s troubled youth.

Tiffany Johnson. Phillip Crouse. Stephanie Works. Rachael Works. Please take a moment to remember these four remarkable young people who died this past weekend at the hands of a troubled young man who claimed to hate Christians.

It’s difficult to make any sense of the violence that occurred last Sunday in Colorado. Matthew Murray, 24, shot and killed Johnson and Crouse, two Youth With a Mission (YWAM) trainees, at their base near Denver. He then drove 70 miles to New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., and killed the two Works sisters, who were 18 and 16.

Johnson, 26, and Crouse, 24, were just beginning vibrant outreach ministries. At their funeral on Wednesday, 2,000 mourners learned that Johnson, a pretty blond with dimples, had planned to participate in a missionary venture to Japan in the fall. Her uncle Rick Ronchak said her only hope “was to change the world by loving other people.”

After Murray left the carnage at the YWAM base, he drove to New Life Church and pulled into its huge parking lot. The 11 a.m. service had already been dismissed and most of the 7,000 worshipers in attendance had left. After Murray shot Stephanie and Rachael Works, he entered the church lobby and began shooting wildly while people ducked for cover.

Los Angeles pastor Jack Hayford, head of the Foursquare denomination, had preached the sermon at New Life that day and was in a second-story office at the time bullets started flying. He and the rest of the congregants were unhurt because security guard Jeanne Assam fired shots that stopped Murray. Police later said Murray shot himself.

If you are like me, you’re struggling with this. It’s bad enough when a mentally unstable person attacks shoppers in a mall. But now the violence has come to church—and it’s killing our kids. Why is this happening?

When reporters asked New Life Church’s pastor, Brady Boyd, how he viewed the situation, he offered this insight: “If you read the Bible, there are angelic and demonic forces at work on the earth today. But I also think that many times, those evil forces take advantage of people who already have existing conditions.”

Police and family members have confirmed that Murray wrestled with personal demons. Although he was raised in a Christian home, he rebelled against faith after being expelled from the YWAM program. Shy and lonely, he reportedly dabbled in the occult, heard voices in his head and listened to the dark lyrics of Marilyn Manson, Linkin Park and Swedish metal bands.

Investigators say that Murray posted rantings on the Internet under such names as “Dyingchild-65.” He even warned readers that he was planning to carry out personal revenge on Christians he felt had hurt him. On one post, he pledged to “make a stand for the weak and defenseless … this is for all the young people caught in the Nightmare of Christianity.”
“This is YOUR Columbine,” he added.

In case you haven’t noticed, Columbine-style violence has increased dramatically this year:

* In February, Bosnian immigrant Sulejmen Talovic, 18, walked into a shopping mall in Salt Lake City and shot and killed five people. He and his mother had fled the civil conflict in his homeland in 1998, and investigators said he probably suffered from memories of war violence.

* In April a shy 23-year-old Korean student named Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and wounded many more on the Virginia Tech University campus in Blacksburg Va., before he shot himself. He was lonely, delusional and unable to speak in most social settings.

* Earlier this month, Robert Hawkins, 19, entered a department store in Omaha, Neb., and killed eight people before turning his SKS assault rifle on himself. Police later reported that he was depressed and had “issues with his stepmother.” In notes found later, he talked about being “a piece of s--- all my life.”

Thanks to rampant divorce and family dysfunction—and a culture that does not value unborn life—many young people today feel lost and vulnerable. They find it impossible to connect in healthy relationships. Many of them fight depression. Some of them vent their anger on their MySpace sites or numb their pain with drugs, sex or even vampirism.

And a few of them—like Talovic, Cho, Hawkins and Murray—eventually snap. Their fantasies go beyond suicide. They want to take as many people as possible with them.

It’s obvious from this week’s events that today’s young people have been marked by God to be a missionary generation. But the devil wants to stop them—and he has his guns loaded.
I hope that these killings will jolt the church into action. Youth ministry in the 21st century involves so much more than campfires, volleyball and Bible pep talks. The shots fired in Colorado should remind us that we are engaged in a spiritual battle that we can’t ignore.

J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. A memorial fund has been set up for the four victims of last weekend’s violence. To help the families of Tiffany Johnson and Phillip Crouse, go to To help the families of Stephanie Works and Rachael Works, go to

Christmas version of 1 Corinthians 13

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals
and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
but do not show love to my family,
I'm just another cook.

If I work at a soup kitchen
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir's cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home
that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way,
but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return;
but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things
endures all things.
Love never fails.

Video games will break,
pearl necklaces will be lost,
golf clubs will rust;

But giving the gift of love will endure.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

All of Life as Worship

By John Piper November 30, 1997

So our spiritual worship is to come to God each day and say: "O God, there is nothing that I want more than to approve what is most worthy, and value what is most valuable, and treasure what is most precious and admire what is most beautiful and hate what is most evil and abhor what is most ugly. I reckon myself dead to all that is unspiritual and worldly and deadening to my soul. Renew me, O my God. Awaken spiritual capacities of right assessment."

And then we say, "And take me, body and soul, and make me the instrument of your glory in the world. Let the renewal you are working from within show on the outside. This is my spiritual worship. To show the world that you are my all-satisfying treasure."

There it is. Now we are back at the beginning. The essence of worship is a being satisfied in God and cherishing of Christ as gain. Romans 12:1-2 are not saying anything different. This is what it means to have a renewed mind. The renewed mind perceives and approves and treasures and cherishes the will of God (and thus transforms all of life), because it first and foremost perceives, and approves and treasures and cherishes God.

And doing the will of God is the outshining of God in his glory. "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good deeds and give glory to your father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). All of life is the outshining of what you truly value and cherish and treasure. Therefore all of life is worship. Either of God, or something else.

Therefore be transformed in the renewal of your mind. Cherish God in all his works and all his ways. Reckon the old mind dead and offer yourself to God as a living sacrifice that he may put you on display by the outshining of his worth and his value in your life. Worship him with your life.


21 Nov 2007

Dear Praying Partners,

1. Thank you for keeping us in prayers! I was sick for more than a week, but still had to preach as I had agreed earlier! PTL! I am almost completely recovered, which is great as I am running off this week to preach in camp.

2. Pray for me as I travel to Tapah, Perak to preach in a university student camp. Pray for mercy journey and good health. The organizers are putting me into a tent and sleeping on the ground! Feast of booths?

3. Pray that the HS will minister to them and challenge them to worship, love and serve the Lord. Pray that they will be challenged to cultivate a deeper walk with Jesus, for indeed He is the only way.

4. After the camp, I will be preaching in some churches and fellowships, and giving Bible studies. I do hope to catch up with some of you in Klang Valley.

5. Yesterday, Jessie (my beloved wife) had her Oral Defense for her PhD thesis. PTL! They have approved it. She will do some minor revisions, and submit it by Jan 08. She will then officially receive her scroll in July 08.

6. Thank you for all your prayers! After 6 long years – with an unplanned pregnancy & nurturing an active child – she has managed to finish it! It’s an early birthday gift for her (actual is 28th Nov). Thank you for all your encouragements.

7. And now, its’ my turn to suffer! I just finished attending the one-week lecture for the 2nd module of my Doctorate in Ministry (DMin) program.,en/ I will have another 5 more lecture modules in the next 3 years (twice a year) before writing the thesis.

8. I anticipate the soonest I can complete the DMin is by 2010! I probably will have to take some time off from my travels, if I want to finish on time. In looking back, I should have completed this 10 years ago! But regrettably due to the lack of finances, exposure, and opportunity, I embarked on this journey late.

9. Hence, I am trying to encourage (and harass!) as many young working adults as I can, to get them started on their theological education so that they can be better equipped to serve the Lord.

10. Its such a shame (and waste) that many of them do not start, or if they do start, do not complete it. Hence, I am trying to mobilize whoever wherever I go, as I observe the frightening trend of Biblical literacy literally going to the litter! Pray for me as I endeavor to activate them.

May the sovereign God finds delight in our worship of Him!

That’s all for now!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Living in Community

While researching for materials on worship, I came across this statements. I think it is extremely relevant for us to consider the truths in these statements. Unfortunately I lost the link, but its from The Prague Christian Fellowship newsletter, Sept 2005.

“I see less and less room in the New Testament for any kind of faith outside of community.

The individualism of our culture is so alien.

We're realizing we are on a journey together and we need to be working though this together.

It's about us and Christ, not me and Christ.

It's not me and my relationship with Him.

It's not about my salvation, it's about the salvation of the world and our part in that.

We're trying to work out what that means.

How does community serve all our relationships with Christ and his mission?

How can we better help one another in that?”