Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Dear Prayer Partners,
(continue from the previous mail.)
1. After Wed night class in the Bible college, I went home to my parents’ place in PJ. In the middle of the night I woke up with tummy ache and started vomitting. I suspect I had a stomach flu.
2. I was purging and was completely knocked out! I had to cancel my breakfast and lunch appointments and rest at home. I struggled with the need to rest as there are people that I want to meet – but the Lord knew the needs of my body better. It was time to recuperate.
3. Towards Thurs evening, though significantly weak, I had to prepare to go and preach in an evening office service. The message went well as the Lord gave me strength to share His word. I shared that in the light of the political turmoils in the country, Jesus said blessed are those who are persecuted for His sake.
4. On Fri noon, I attended a private uni fellowship to observe the new generation. End of last year, I sensed the Lord saying to go back to do tertiary ministry, which I have neglected for some time. So now I am taking every opportunity I have to engage them.
5. Then I was off to a government uni to have Bible Study (BS) with some of the fellowship leaders. I still believe strongly in small group discipling and mentoring. I did this back in 1980’s and have continued to do so as I believe in the biblical mandate. Disciples are made, not borned.
6. After the 2 hours plus BS, I have to rush off to another appointment with one of the leaders from a local Chinese mainline church. I probably will be preaching in one of their meetings in Oct. Pray that as I start sowing among the Chinese-speaking, many will come to Jesus.
7. After the appointment, I was transferred to the person who was fetching me home. They were in someone’s house having a party to celebrate the mooncake festival. When most of them went out to the porch to play the lantern, I chatted with a girl who stayed back.
8. Within 10 minutes of the conversation, she started exhibiting signs that she was under spiritual attack. She is a new believer and was somewhat confused about Jesus and her old religion. In the midst of that confusion, one of her lecturers taught her to chant some mantras.
9. This aggravated the situation, and thus when I was conversing with her, she was like in some trance. Most unfortunately she was not ready to be delivered nor was the situation convenient. I could only give some advice to the leaders there.
10. The next day, Sat, I was preaching in a church where 90% of the members are ex-drug addicts, including the pastors and elders. It is a combination of 4 Christian drug rehab centers coming together to pioneer a church.
11. Many of them testify that they have been in and out of many rehabs, and yet could not be delivered. It was only when they turned to Jesus that they manage to remain clean and sober. Pray for the leaders as they continue to lovingly touch their community with the power of Jesus. http://www.kenosis.com.my
12. On Sun morn, I was preaching to a Malay-language church that was recently pioneered a few months ago. The Lord challenged many of them to live morally pure lives as they are confronted with numerous temptations.
13. They are living away from their families, in the heart of the modern Corinthian city, and have a propensity to indulge in such lifestyle. It is a young church without any theologically-trained pastors. Pray that they will grow and be matured in the Lord.
14. After lunch, I went off to preach in another Malay-language service in PJ. This congregation is slightly different from the morning congregation. The members are married and slightly older, and they are under the supervision of English-speaking pastors. I shared on the need to have divine perspective.
15. On Mon-Wed night, I was back teaching again on Christology. On Tues noon, I preached in the chapel service of the Bible college. They had about 70-80 pastors and trainee pastors. I shared on the importance of digging deep on their foundation, as they prepare themselves for long-term ministry.
16. I have shared all this to show how diverse ministry has become and the increased need to be adaptable to the various congregations. Pray for wisdom and the anointing of the HS to minister to each of them in their context.
Thank you for journeying with me.
When we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us and through our limitations, our ministry will be far more effective than if performed by some highly talented person who relies on himself and fails to depend on God. Lord, we rely on YOU, empower us with Your Spirit!
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Monday, September 29, 2008
Dear Prayer Partners,
1. TQ for keeping us in prayers during my last trip to Klang Valley (KV). http://global-south.blogspot.com/2008/09/he-is-lord-of-nations.html. The main assignment was to teach in one of the Bible Colleges there.
2. Allow me to take you on my journey. I left Spore on Friday morn and upon arrival at Berjaya Times Square, one of my ex-students whisked me off to do some reflexology. My first time – it was fun and painful!
3. Then it was a mad rush to a suburban church, north of KV as I was preaching that night. I had also invited another person to accompany me so that I can exposed him to other ministries. PTL, we reached the church (A) on time and I could preach the lifegiving Word.
4. On Sat morn, I accompanied the pastor as workers came to carpet the church floor. The pastor – whom I have mentored before in the past, 28 years ago – have just pioneered this church less than 3 months ago. So trying to encourage him in this new ministry.
5. On Sat night, I preached for the youth service in another nearby church (B), which is also under the same pastor’s care. PTL! The anointing of the HS was wonderfully strong during this service. It was like God showed up and many lives were being ministered.
6. The pastor was happy and immediately asked me to come and preach for their family camp at the end of Nov in Port Dickson. Thus I will be preaching for that camp. Pray?
7. Sun morning service (B), I preached on Paul’s desire and priestly duty to plant churches in areas where the gospel is not yet being proclaimed.
8. Sun night service (A), this service is the first official Mandarin service for them. It was a small turnout but there was a lot of fun. They “forced” me to preach in my broken Mandarin! They helped me read the Chinese text and supplied the words that I am not sure. They had fun at my expense!
9. But unknown to them that day (7th Sept) was my birthday (21st? ), and I felt it was the Lord’s way of challenging me to preach in Mandarin. I have been jokingly telling people that I will preach my first Mandarin sermon this year, but I had never planned for it – until that night.
10. All the months of attending Mandarin service and learning the language is now paying a bit of dividend. Nevertheless, I am not too hasty. I still have a long journey ahead. God willing, I hope to go to China next year. Pray?
11. Then from Mon-Wed nights, I was in the Bible College teaching on Christ and Salvation. I have 11 pastors and church leaders. A number of them are taking Systematic Theology for the first time in their lives – and thus overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge and the required depth of thinking.
12. But this course is extremely essential and I dare not dilute it, as they will be preaching to many people in the years to come. If they miss the deity and humanity of Christ, then their preaching is not based on solid foundation. We must proclaim Christ and Him resurected Him!
(I will continue on my Prayer Letter next few days so that you will not be bored reading such a long mail.)
TQ for your presence, prayers, and provisions. Jesus is God! Worship Him!
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008
July 5, 2004
By Glenn Ansley
ShipofFools.com, subtitled the Magazine of Christian Unrest, recently launched its latest project at ChurchofFools.com. This innovative virtual community is attracting much attention from both the media and the general public. Simon Jenkins, the head of Ship of Fools stated in a recent interview, “Not many churches have Satan hijacking the pulpit or over 8,000 visitors per day.”
Does Church of Fools hold up to the requirements of a New Testament church though? I am concerned that their attempt to become a genuine church will prevent a potentially constructive site from doing more good than harm. Church of Fools.com is no more a “church” than the already countless number of web sites offering open discussion on all things religious. By claming to be so, it misrepresents the true identity of a church with innovative technology that could be much more beneficial to Christianity as a virtual coffee shop.
Scripture has much to say about the character and structure of the bride of Christ. Church of Fools.com violates many of the foundational elements that Christ left behind as characteristic traits identifying His body of believers.
1 Tim 4:6 “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.”
A true church of Christ will be grounded in Scripture and teach Christ’s doctrine without apology. Although the Methodist Church of Great Britain sponsors Church of Fools.com, there is no statement of belief or doctrinal creed one must hold to be an active participant of the online church. The site attests to the Ecumenical decrees, yet they offer no guidance to what those may be. They openly invite individuals from all faiths to join them in worship and debate. While the true church is commanded to be open to all people and to refrain from prejudice or disrespect, it is not permitted to water down Christ’s doctrine in the hopes of bringing additional members inside its walls. Church of Fools.com has stated that their purpose is to reach those that wouldn’t regularly attend a church meeting, yet they provide no structure to point the people that come to the one true God.
Acts 2:42 “And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”
The early church met with likeminded believers to fellowship, encourage, and to instruct one another in the truths of their faith. This was important because their week was dedicated to encountering nonbelievers in the midst of their day-to-day routines. Anyone who visits Church of Fools.com for more than five minutes will quickly discover the all too familiar presence of endless argumentation, bickering, provoking, and name calling that prevail in religious chat rooms across the web. This behavior can be found in both the crypt and the sanctuary. It has escalated to such an extent that “wardens” are needed to “smite” those who behave inappropriately. Even with these Holy Ghost figures that see and hear all, conversation remains offensive and foul. This is a problem that the church admits to and seemingly accepts: “The church is partly intended for people on the edges (and beyond) of faith, so please be aware that the language and behavior in church is often colorful and occasionally offensive. Church of Fools is currently not suitable for children.” The true church of Christ gathers together to worship, encourage, and learn from one another; this includes the children!
Mat 18:15 “And if your brother sins go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother…”
And what would a true church be without the capacity to provide accountability and discipline for its members? Scripture makes it abundantly clear that both are needed in the community of believers. This becomes an obvious problem as members of the Church of Fools may visit under their own conditions. Upon arriving at the site, one is first given the option to enter the church as a “solid” (able to interact with others) or as an “observer” (invisible to everyone but himself.) Even if they wanted to, those who choose to enter as observers, have no opportunity to seek out questions or counsel with those around them. Furthermore, even the solids are anonymous when it comes to their true name, identity, or beliefs. The accountability and discipline Christ commands His true church to uphold is (in all senses of the phrase) “virtually impossible.” If one is uncomfortable with what another person is saying, all he must do is turn off his computer. No questions, no excuses, no further contact. It’s safe, non-threatening, and ineffectual. Church of Fools.com holds no means of conducting biblical accountability or discipline with those who enter its “walls.”
As far as online chat rooms go, Church of Fools is innovative and extremely successful. I enjoyed creating my own character, exploring the different areas, and intermingling with others. If one wishes to evaluate the idea of a church however, one will find that Church of Fools leaves much to be desired. By labeling this project a “church,” it gives countless individuals a deepening misconception of what it means to be involved in a community of believers. Because Scripture has set forth such specific purposes for what church meetings should entail, Church of Fools will continue to do more harm than good as long as they package their community as a “church.”
A convert is “stuck” between the pressure from an Islamic government, Islamic society, and a weak church
by Ethan Cole, Christian Post
Posted: Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 11:46 (BST)
Egypt’s most well-known convert to Christianity is still hiding a year after he filed the landmark case to become the first Egyptian Muslim to sue the government for rejecting his application to officially change his religion.
Mohammed Ahmed Hegazy, 25, had lost his case in January when an Egyptian judge ruled that a Muslim who converted to Christianity cannot legally change his religious status.
Now, eight months after his case was closed and a year after he filed the case, Hegazy is still hiding out of fear for his life.
Since January 29 when the court ruled against him, Hegazy, his wife and baby daughter have had to move five times, according to the persecution watchdog agency, Compass Direct News.
“The verdict for my case was discriminatory [on the part] of the judge,” Hegazy told Compass in an interview last month. The judge had based his decision on Islamic law that says someone can convert “up”, or to more recent religions, such as from Judaism and Christianity to Islam, but not vice versa.
But even after the media stopped reporting on his case, Hegazy said he still remains a target – as all converts do – of Islamic militants.
During the trial, Hegazy’s face was splattered across TV channels and newspapers, making him easy to recognize to any extremists.
“The most difficult thing for me is that the lives of my wife and daughter are in danger all the time,” Hegazy said.
He recalled last October that a friend had called and said one of his lawyers had given authorities his address and he should quickly move.
Hegazy and his family moved immediately and within a day the fundamentalists came to attack them. The extremists camped around his former house for several days and set fire to the apartment next door to his, killing the female resident inside.
The female neighbour was his wife’s best friend who had helped them during their difficult time in hiding.
“The church denied that she was killed, and it was never reported publicly,” he said.
Hegazy dreams that he and his family can leave the country someday, but they do not have passports. Obtaining passports would require them to go back to their hometowns where Hegazy says they will be killed as soon as they arrive.
“Even if it’s not family, others will do it, so I can’t take that risk,” he said.
A convert is “stuck” between the pressure from an Islamic government, Islamic society, and a weak church, Hegazy said.
He does not think his case alone can be resolved, but thinks a change is possible if Egyptian converts overseas and in Egypt filed a joint case.
Human rights groups also need to push harder for convert cases, he said.
Egypt has the largest Christian population in the Middle East, which makes up about 10 per cent of the country’s population.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The spiritually sensitive are going to experience revelation knowledge of those who are dying of spiritual malnutrition and disease.
by Steve Hill
Something powerful is on the horizon. The Lhttp://global-south.blogspot.com/ord is equipping His church for the greatest outpouring the world has ever seen. We must do everything possible to prepare our hearts and to train others for this soul-saving revival. We also must be willing to be used by the Lord in new, unfamiliar ways.
A fresh evangelistic anointing is about to rest upon true believers. Fear will give way to Holy Ghost-boldness as the Spirit of God directs His people into uncharted spiritual territory. The thirsty masses are about to be handed an unsolicited cup of cool water that will change them for eternity.
In a recent interview with a major news organization I was asked if the evangelical church should be responsible for solving the world's starvation and disease epidemic. Though I don't believe the answer lies solely with the church (it's a little more complex than that), I do believe that we are mandated to feed, clothe and help the poor. If we don't, then according to the Word of God, our religion is lifeless.
However, we can't ignore those who are starving for fresh bread and fresh water from heaven. Their deep hunger pains can only be satisfied as we offer more of God's presence, power and prophetic insight.
We can do this by allowing the Lord to show up in our church services and home groups without restraint and by showing the hungry and thirsty multitudes that God wants to meet their needs. He can save, He can heal, He can deliver—and we can prove it.
The world is craving a touch from the Creator. We must provide the atmosphere and the opportunity for miracles to take place.
I believe God is going to empower us by sending a new wave of revelation as a foundation for operating in the prophetic. The Lord is going to take the anointing we enjoy inside the sanctuary to those who need it most—outside in the marketplace! Our cup is running over and we're about to offer it to strangers.
In the months and years ahead God's people are going to become acutely aware of the spiritually malnourished around them. He will reveal to us the depth of their cravings as if we were watching a documentary on starvation.
The spiritually sensitive are going to experience revelation knowledge of those who are dying of spiritual malnutrition and disease. Vivid images of their desperate plight will be dropped into our spirits. This will take place in schools, shopping malls, the local grocery store—anywhere we find the spiritually destitute.
Without warning, the Lord will use His obedient followers to delve into the very core of the lives of strangers. Hidden secrets will be revealed to the believer, and out of a heart of compassion, he or she will share them with the lost to prove that Jesus Christ is alive. These words will be so direct and precise that conversions will take place.
My favorite prophetic words have always been those that are given outside the church walls. These are the divine appointments that reach into the lives of people who often know nothing of biblical principles and doctrine. All they know is that some brave heart just read their mail.
Such precious, God-ordained meetings will become more commonplace in the days to come. God wants our words, anointed of the Holy Ghost, to penetrate their darkness of doubt and fear. These words, fitly spoken, will literally shock the unbeliever into reality.
Ask God, this year, to give you words in season for the unconverted. That cup of cold water and taste of fresh bread could be the beginning of the end of spiritual world hunger.
Dear Prayer Partners,
1. Thank you for your indispensable support and intercessions. I left for Klang Valley and upon arrival preached for the National Uni of Malaysia (UKM) Christian fellowship.
2. It brought back memories as I was involved with them since 1988 when some of my East M’sian tribal students became leaders and committee members in the fellowship. It was encouraging to see another new generation taking the baton.
3. After preaching and the mandatory drinking (“mamak” sessions) with the students, I returned to the city for supper! I was advising an emerging elder-leader on how to manage a new church and the leadership requirements.
4. The next day rushed off to the airport to fly off to Sibu, Sarawak . At night, as my host was involved, I joined in the last session of the 40 days of purpose-driven life campaign, conducted by the Chinese Methodist church.
5. The next day, headed to the campsite and preached for the Curtin Uni students who arrived from Miri, a 7 hours bus journey. It consisted of mainland Chinese students, Nigerians, Zimbabwean, West M’sians Chinese and Indian, tribals, half-Italian, and Bruneian.
6. The camp theme was God’s promises – based on Noah’s life. I believe the Lord chall eng ed many of them to believe in God’s unfailing faithfulness. On the return trip to Miri, we saw two beautiful rainbows, a reminder of God’s promises to Noah.
7. After a night in Miri, I flew off to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah . One of the ex-student on holiday took me to Manukan Island , a beautiful beach with many coral fishes. It was part of the Amazing Race USA . But we got sunburned!
8. The next two days was catching up with various people and ex-students whom I have not seen for some years. Also ministered in a family meeting where the Lord touched their lives and chall eng ed them to return to Him.
9. Then I flew back to Miri to preach in a family camp for a Baptist church there. The camp theme was Families on a Mission . A number of them were working in oil and gas related companies as well as Curtin Uni. One of the lecturer brought 10 mainland Chinese students, most of them non-believers.
10. The Lord was gracious and touched many of the parents’ heart through the preaching of His Word and through the altar call times. There were some deliverances from demonic oppressions.
11. The China students who were atheists, were touched by the Lord for the first time in their lives. They never had hands laid on them and felt the power of God. You should have seen their faces when the anointing of the Holy Spirit hit them!
12. It was the last day and I quickly left for the airport to fly back to JB, and to meet with another pastor to discuss the program of his camp. I am preaching again in Miri in Dec on Love, Sex, and Dating. (I am Dr. Love?!)
13. Now I am busy preparing to leave this Friday to Klang Valley for 2 weeks to teach in a Bible School there. http://www.bcm.org.my/ Pray for the Lord’s anointing as I teach the pastors and leaders on the Deity of Christ and His salvation.
14. Pray for Jessie and Anastasia. When I told Ana today that Daddy is going away, she replied in surprise, “Again?!” It was so heartbreaking to see her sad 2 year 8 months old face.
Thank you for your presence, prayers, and provisions. Jesus is Alive! Worship Him!
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Monday, September 22, 2008
Posted: Monday, September 22, 2008, 12:29 (BST)
The church is facing a crisis of leadership and we need to act – that was the challenge facing 60 leading evangelicals at the Evangelical Alliance council this week.
The council responded by endorsing a set of potential initiatives to mentor young leaders and use new media to inspire them into deeper theological engagement.
Key thinkers on leadership appealed to the council last Wednesday and Thursday to address the problem of an aging church leadership, being depleted through factors including exhaustion and depression, and a lack of younger leaders to replace those who are leaving or retiring.
Pete Greig, International Director of 24/7 Prayer, preached on excellence in leadership, using the example of Moses and Joshua. He said leaders need to aim not to simply to replicate themselves but instead to encourage their replacement to have the same spirit but in their own style.
“We need a new generation of leaders, not to replace anything that has been done by the last generation, but to entrepreneurially think of new ways of taking the timeless gospel of Jesus and making it relevant,” he said.
Internationally acclaimed author, speaker and futurologist Tom Sine warned the council that we are facing an “incredible shrinking western church” in which only 17 percent of members are predicted to be aged between 20 and 44 by 2025. Mr Sine explored ways forward based on his research from his book The New Conspirators.
“We’re struggling with diminishing resources, but I think there’s tremendous potential in young people,” he said, adding that the church needs to take young people more seriously and listen to them.
“We need to re-imagine succession that welcomes the imagination of a new generation.”
Richard Tiplady, British Director of European Christian Mission and an expert in leadership in a postmodern context, told the council good leadership succession can be like an Olympic relay race.
“Winning is all about the handover,” he said.
“One of the primary responsibilities of leaders is to grow new leaders. If you’re not doing that, you’re not being strategic.”
And Ruth Valerio, manager of A Rocha’s Living Lightly 24:1, speaking on Passing the Baton, identified a problem of several churches doing the same job in the same area, and all needing resources.
“I wonder, quite bluntly, whether some of our institutions and organisations are going to need to die in order to accommodate this new situation,” she said.
“I think some of these churches should die and come together and we can use our money, we can use our dwindling resources so much more effectively. Then, maybe, we can use some of that money to help people who are in need instead of propping up our churches.”
Krish Kandiah, the Alliance’s Executive Director of Churches in Mission, drafted a set of potential initiatives for the Alliance to address the issue, based on recommendations from the council.
These included facilitating mentoring programmes across denominational and cultural boundaries and making greater use of new media to encourage deeper theological engagement for leaders.
Dr Kandiah said: “The Alliance is uniquely placed to help catalyse leadership development across the denominations. We are already involved in this through resources like Slipstream, which networks younger leaders together across the country – engaging with thinkers as diverse as David Jackman from the Proclamation Trust to Brian McLaren and Shane Claiborne.
“There was a real sense of unity among the gathered MPs, denominational leaders, pastors and agency directors on the need to work together to support both current leaders and raise up the next generation.”
Friday, September 19, 2008
By SEAH CHIANG NEE
Saturday September 20, 2008
The turmoil is hitting Singapore like a tonne of bricks at a time when the financial centre is already in the midst of an economic slowdown and super-high inflation.
MY PARENTS have been affected by my failure - my heavy losses in the stock market during the past year. Every night I am having nightmares,” one trader recently wrote.
His S$30,000 (RM72,700) savings meant to be a deposit for a flat evaporated during the downturn, particularly in recent weeks when shares went into a tailspin.
Anxious crowd: Policyholders gathering at an AIA branch in Singapore on Thursday to check on their policies after hearing news that AIA’s US parent company AIG was facing bankruptcy. — AFP
“My loss is beyond my means, it is very painful and I don’t know what my future is,” said the lower-middle -class bachelor.
“I had to strive to rebuild my life or else I would have committed suicide.”
He is one of a growing number of people here who are hard hit by the current US banking meltdown, which has reached Singapore.
At the same time, hundreds of anxious insurance holders have been flocking to the head-office of .
They wanted to cancel their policies, even if it meant losing in investment and coverage. That the US government is providing US$85bil (RM295bil) bailout to AIG did not stop the crowd.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore has appealed for calm among holders of its two million policies.
It also acted to protect customers of another US institution, Lehman Brothers, which declared bankruptcy by curtailing its operations here. It cannot remit funds to third parties without approval.
These days being a world banking hub is beginning to look like a great idea turned sour for Singapore, particularly its investment in foreign banks, as the citizens are finding out.
The US meltdown is hitting this financial centre like a tonne of bricks at a time when it is already in the midst of an economic slowdown and super-high inflation.
To be sure, the years of excesses of Wall Street have not been allowed to intrude into the financial district in Shenton Way, which remains tightly-regulated. The impact, however, is touching the lives of many people.
“The trouble is it’s all imported; no Singaporean bank is a casualty,” said an official.
Some Singaporeans are, of course, hit worse than others, but collectively the damage is far more serious here than in other cities in the region.
Ironically, it is due to success in becoming a wealthy financial centre.
The world’s top banks and brokerages have set up their regional offices here. Now their future remains under a cloud.
And when world banking is in turmoil, Singapore’s economy is shaken up.
This sector will go through a general lull, if not decline, which will result in an exodus of foreign executives.
Lehman Brothers’ operations in Singapore came to a halt on Monday, a day after it went into bankruptcy. The jobs of its 270 staff members may disappear.
This, and the bailout of AIG and other large US corporations, are sending shock waves throughout the financial industry.
The many professionals in Singapore €“ foreigners and Singaporeans €“ are deeply concerned about their jobs.
“It’s quite worrying,” one executive told a TV reporter.
“We don’t know who will be the next target.”
Any exodus of these highly-paid executives will aggravate an already poor property market, especially in office and residential rentals.
It may retard Singapore’s growth as a banking hub, at least until stability returns.
During the past 10 years, it has made financial services one of its four strategic pillars for growth.
Many of its global investments are in Western and Asian banks, which have set up operations here.
In addition, tens of billions of Temasek Holdings and GIC (Government Investment Corporation) money have gone into these investments.
They couldn’t have been worse timed. Their values have been decimated.
For Mr and Mrs Singapore, these are worrying times as the economic downturn begins to bite.
The worst appears to be the stock market, where many Singaporeans are invested. The index shares have fallen by 30% in the past year, but many other shares are down by as much as 50% to 60%.
Some life savings have been wiped out. Tens of thousands are groaning under the weight of large losses.
Other recent headlines, which are dealing fresh blows to Singaporeans, included the following:
> Government data confirms that high inflation is eating into wage gains; average real earnings have fallen by 4% between April and June;
> Private home sales slumped 81% in August compared to a year ago, dropping from 1,723 to 320 units (partly affected by the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival);
> Retail sales fell for the first time in four months as car sales slumped (by 8%) and consumers bought fewer luxury goods, mobile phones and computers; and
> Despite the price of oil falling by a third, the government controversially raised buses and train fares by four cents (10 sen), adding to the high inflation.
The US crisis may trigger off a global recession, including Singapore.
However, the city has a protective shield: its large reserves of US$300bil (RM1tril) built up over the years and sound economic fundamentals.
If not for these, Singapore could be overwhelmed.
But the ordinary people are a different story. With their real salaries down, they are vulnerable to any sustained unemployment and the relentless price increases.
With half an eye on the 2011 election, the government is taking precautions. It will change the laws to allow it to dip into investment returns of the country’s reserves to offset rising costs of public services.
It’s seen as a positive move, but also one that serves as a warning that life can get worse for the people.
August 25, 2008
I was in the San Francisco airport on my way to Singapore and Indonesia when the news of Todd Bentley's separation from his wife became public on August 12. When I arrived back home last week, I found that Doris had received and replied to around 1,700 emails and the stack of correspondence on my desk was unbelievable. It took me the rest of the week to catch up!
During the week I was gone, a major watershed occurred regarding the Lakeland situation as most of you would know. We are now on a new playing field. Lakeland Outpouring I, in which Todd Bentley was the main figure, is now history. Lakeland Outpouring II, in which Stephen Strader of Ignited Church is the main figure, has begun. The Outpouring started in a local church, went to a tent, and now is back in the local church. My suggestion is that we no longer use the term "Lakeland Outpouring" but rather distinguish between Lakeland I and Lakeland II because they are very different.
Let me talk a bit about the present, then revisit the past, then project the future.
It will sound surprising to some, but Lakeland II in Ignited Church, which you will remember was the original host church, is going very well. The big crowds and GOD TV, of course, are gone. Ignited Church seats around 700 in the main sanctuary and Stephen Strader reports that on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings they have to use their overflow room. It is comfortably filled on week nights. The morning training sessions continue with a couple hundred every day, and teams continue to move daily into the streets of Lakeland spreading the gospel. Percentage-wise the dramatic miracles and healings occur nightly with probably a higher percentage of salvations on a daily basis. Support from local pastors is improving considerably. The most interesting report is that every night some 30 percent are first-time attenders, meaning that people are still coming to Lakeland from the outside to experience Outpouring II. A lady from our church with a severe chronic back problem went to Ignited Church and came home healed! Such a thing does not usually happen when a public figure suddenly goes down the tubes, so we need to take our hats off to the apostolic gifts and role that Stephen Strader is demonstrating for us.
Speaking of the public figure going down the tubes, Todd Bentley now carries the label of a liar and a deceiver. I'm sorry to mention it, but I felt personally deceived in the same way when Ted Haggard's sin was exposed and he was immediately removed from ministry. In the Lakeland I case, I am elated at the way things are turning out. The Revival Alliance with whom Todd was aligned on June 23 has kicked into action with a vengeance. Ché Ahn and Bill Johnson, like me, were overseas when things broke, but John Arnott stepped up to the plate and moved in apostolically. It has since become clear that Todd's Fresh Fire Board could not have handled the situation, Stephen Strader and Ignited Church could not, nor could any of his other close friends. Only the Revival Alliance could. I am delighted that they are not buying into typical charismatic soft morality, also called "greasy grace" or "don't touch God's anointed" or "mercy must triumph over judgment," phrases that have been used on other similar occasions as convenient religious cop-out excuses. They're proceeding in love, but it is tough love!
Since this is an update, I will share some of what I know about what is happening with Bentley, but not all because some things need more verification and it is up to discernment of Revival Alliance what and when this will be revealed. Suffice it to say that there is more than I am going to mention. First of all, Todd has been removed from public ministry until further notice. He has resigned from the ministry he founded, Fresh Fire, so he is no longer a part of that board. It has become clear that he indulged in periodic drunkenness. He has no intention at the moment of reconciling with Shonna, nor does she with him. Their marriage has been torn for years by his emotional attachment with at least one other female whose physical contact went beyond hugging and kissing and holding hands. Enough said-maybe more details will be revealed later-but it was clearly immoral. All of this was skillfully concealed by lying and by swearing close associates who had observed his behavior to secrecy. Stephen Strader, for example, knew nothing of this before June 23. Apparently some of his board members did, but they did not have the ability to deal with it.
I hope this is the last time I will have to address the past. It is now history. But as history is written, I feel that I have some responsibility of helping to have history be written accurately, especially since I have turned out to be a lightening rod for a number of severe criticisms.
Most of you know this, but let me reiterate to keep it on record. Previous to around the middle of June, my interest in Lakeland was about a 2 on a scale of 1-10. Then I got a call from Stephen Strader, the host pastor who was a member of ICA, which I lead, with a passionate appeal for apostolic intervention because chaos and confusion had begin to invade the Outpouring I. Toward the end of the hour we were talking, I received one of my infrequent direct words from God: "Alignment!" Just one word, but I knew I had a divine command and responsibility.
Once I knew that God had assigned me to initiate some sort of apostolic intervention at Stephen's side, I began praying and consulting with close colleagues. In less than two days I discovered that Todd Bentley had no formal, established apostolic alignment. I asked God how I should proceed, especially since I had no inclination to attempt an apostle-evangelist approach and expect that Bentley would submit to or even listen to what I had to say if I made an appointment with him in Lakeland. I felt that proper apostolic protocol would be for me to deal with one or more peer-level apostles to whom Todd had aligned apostolically. Since as yet he had no such alignment, I began asking God how such an alignment might come about. He directed me to my close friend, Ché Ahn, who himself is apostolically aligned with me and who also had been close to Bentley for years. Ché agreed that the best apostolic protocol would be for Todd to align with the Revival Alliance if he were willing. Ché called him and Bentley agreed to submit publicly to the Revival Alliance.
At this point some disagreements arose. I have already mentioned that I was consulting with several apostolic colleagues whom I trusted and whom I know trusted me. It is very necessary for us to understand exactly what the disagreement was about. It was about the most appropriate apostolic protocol for the occasion. After prayerfully listening to the different points of view with careful consideration of what was being said, the decision had to be mine. I believe that God's word to me about "Alignment!" had to be directional. I concluded that the best protocol was to do the alignment first, then deal with the issues that had been raised. My other friends disagreed and urged me to deal with Todd's problems first then do the alignment. I respected their point of view and I was very sorry that I had to follow God's leading for me personally instead of taking their advice. It was not a comfortable decision.
Now let me address what was behind much of their disagreement with my apostolic protocol. They were concerned that if I appeared on the platform with GOD TV, many viewers would interpret it as my personal endorsement of everything that was going on in Lakeland I, and since they were so closely associated with me, they would be implicated as well. This was a legitimate concern, and one I seriously wrestled with as I made my decision. If I went to Lakeland and presided over the alignment, some might well take it as an endorsement. It was a risk, I knew. Let me say personally that all my life I have been a risk-taker instead of a play-it-safe person, and I have taken many hits for it. As an example going to the jungles of Bolivia as a career field missionary when I was 25 with my wife and a one-year-old baby girl was a serious risk. Both that daughter and another who was born in the jungle without medical attention came close to losing their lives during those five years. And we were criticized for our decision to take the risk by many, including parents!
Closer to the Lakeland I situation, I have a private list of no fewer than 18 high-profile Christian leaders starting from the 1970s until Bentley for whom I took risks. For each one of them I took serious criticisms and in some cases personal hits even much more serious than I have received in this current case because I endorsed or partnered with or provided alignment for them. Some were typified as "crazy!" However, I can pretty much discern winners, although not always. My track record for the 18 is 72% emerged as real winners (you would know most of them), 17% ended up losers (including Bentley), and 11% indecisive. I'm sorry for the losers, but they prove I am not perfect. The point I am making is that I am no stranger to taking risks and living with the fallout.
One fallout from Lakeland I is that several have resigned from ICA and other organizations that I lead because they no longer want to be identified with me. Others are still upset. Still, believe it or not, I think that everyone involved is still my friend. We just disagree.
I want it understood that I did not go to Lakeland on June 23 for Todd Bentley. I had never met him personally. I had no knowledge of and little interest in his ministry. I went because I received an apostolic plea to help bring order to the confusion and chaos that was sweeping through the body of Christ worldwide because of the television. I went strictly for the body of Christ at the invitation of the host pastor of the Outpouring I.
The final question is: Was it successful? Looking back, I praise God for using me and others to help bring order to confusion, which is one of the chief biblical tasks of an apostle. Stephen Strader, who has been keeping records, affirms that the evil that the prince of the power of the air had been subtly introducing into the Outpouring I started to be exposed and unraveled the day after the alignment, June 24! Spiritually, this is very understandable. Just about every leader I knew had discerned that Lakeland I was a mixture of the godly and the ungodly. We were praying in one accord that the evil would be separated from the good. My take is that God had decided to answer these prayers and in order to facilitate His process, He assigned me and the Revival Alliance leaders and others who were with us to align Todd Bentley apostolically for the first time in his life. When we did this publicly, spiritual transactions took place in the invisible world that would not allow the enemy to maintain the veil of secrecy he had carefully placed over the Outpouring. The evil was exposed, Revival Alliance had the authority to deal with it, and the net result is that order is replacing chaos in the body of Christ.
In my section above on "The Present" I gave you some details. Believe me, they are only the tip of the iceberg as I just learned from a new phone call even as I was writing this paper. The proper apostolic structure, happily, is in place at the time of crisis!
It is now important to recognize that from now on we have a different playing field. Two separate things are going on. (1) The Revival Alliance is dealing with Todd Bentley and the fallout from his sin that has been and continues to be exposed. (2) I have told you previously about a group of 11 apostles that I have formed into the Lakeland Outpouring Apostolic Team. We no longer need to deal with Lakeland I and Bentley as such. However, we have a list of 24 serious issues that have emerged from that unpleasant experience which need to be thoroughly discussed with the conclusions circulated in the body of Christ. If you have seen Dutch Sheets' recent "A Statement and Appeal Regarding Lakeland" you will get a glimpse of some of the things that we agree need to become standard operational beliefs and practices, particularly in our charismatically-inclined evangelical segment of the church.
It will take time, but our Apostolic Team will get to work on the 24 issues after some of this present dust settles, and we will be back to you!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
21 August 2008
Dear Prayer Partners,
1. Just a quick note to request for your valuable prayers and intercessions. I am leaving to
2. The next day, I will be flying to Sibu,
3. Thereafter, I will be flying to Kota Kinabalu,
4. Then I will be flying to Miri to preach in another camp. This time for a family church camp. Pray that they will be chall
5. Pray that the Lord will grant me His empowerment and sustaining power as I travel and minister to the various groups. There are so much needs but we must keep our eyes on Jesus, for only He alone can minister to all of them.
6. Also pray for Jessie and Ana while I am away that they will experience the sweet presence of the Lord. Pray for divine blessings and covering even as we all seek the
May His name be glorified forevermore!
P/S: U can sms/call me at +60173509175 while I am in