Thursday, May 28, 2009

Winter created a seismic shift in mission strategy

Prominent Missiologist Dr. Ralph Winter Passes

Thursday, May 21, 2009

By Mark Ellis
Senior Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (ANS) -- One of the most significant missiological thinkers of the twentieth century, Dr. Ralph Winter, passed away last night at his home in Pasadena. He was 84.

Dr. Winter founded the U.S. Center for World Mission (USCWM) in 1976 and the William Carey International University a year later. His 1974 address to the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization created a seismic shift in mission strategy, with his call to evangelize people groups outside the focus of established mission efforts.

Family members and staff gathered at Dr. Winter’s bedside last night. “It was a bitter-sweet time, with three of his four daughters and Barb around the bed, singing to him,” said Greg Parsons, general director at the USCWM. As the word spread, more of his staff arrived to share stories and sing hymns.

“As they rolled his earthly tent in front of us out to the waiting car I came to these familiar verses,” said Parsons, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death is your sting?"

Peter Wagner has noted that “history will record Winter as one of the half-dozen men who did most to affect world evangelism in the 20th century.”

Memorial services are tentatively set for June 27th

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


DMin Module

November 16-20, 2009

Singapore Bible College
Lecturer: Danny Goh, PhD
Course Description

The work of Christian ministry has many emotional hazards. These would be examined as they pertain to a pastor’s emotional health. This course is designed to assist pastors (missionaries and other full-time workers) in identifying these psycho-emotional issues as well as the areas of potential weakness, temptation and vulnerability, and to provide resources for dealing with these concerns and issues.

Attention would be given to aspects of the minister’s personal and family life, role expectations and conflicts, anger and depression, guilt and shame, stress and burnout, self-esteem and sexuality. The minister is encouraged to exercise self-care as a means of building his/her resources and reserves, and to learn to set “margins” and boundaries so that he/she can survive and thrive for the long haul in the ministry.

Course Requirements

1. Readings. Students are required to read the standard 3000-page DMin course requirement from the Bibliography. The books in bold are required reading; however, if you have read them already you are allowed to “skip” them but must report that you have read them before. These will not count for the 3000-page requirement. Proceed to read the other books. Specify the books you have read (and the number of pages in each book). Submit a record for all the books read on a one-page paper. Due: Jan 31, 2010. [10%]

2. Reflection Papers. Write a 5-7 page reflection paper each on the following books: (a) The Art of Pastoring by David Hansen, (b) Going the Distance by Peter Brain, and (c) The Soul of Leadership by Ruth Barton. Due: Jan 31, 2010

Note: These papers are meant to be personal reflections and constructive critiques rather than a summary of the book. [10% each]

3. A Research Paper: Write a research paper on one of the following topics: Dealing with … (a) Depression, (b) Anger, (c) Guilt and Shame, (d) Anxiety, (e) Loneliness, (f) Sexual Issues, (g) Low Self-Esteem, (h) Codependency or (i) Stress and Burnout. (15-20 pages). Due: Feb 15, 2010. Note: Gear the paper to a pastoral, psycho-emotional and personal angle. [30%]

4. A Personal Paper on “My Path for Personal Growth and Ministry.” This paper ought to be drawn from personality assessments (TJTA, MBTI, DISC, etc.) that you may have done as well as from the lecture notes. You should also integrate your personal findings from the book, The Dark Side of Leadership by Gary McIntosh. In this paper you are to give an honest and realistic appraisal of yourself (personality) with its strengths and weaknesses, potentials and vulnerabilities, and chart a path or course of action to harness your potentials and passions as well as how to overcome your “dark sides” (weaknesses and vulnerabilities). (12-15 pages). Due: Feb 15, 2010. [30%]

Note: As this is a highly personal paper, it will be kept confidential.


1. Anderson, Fil. 2004. Running on empty. Waterbrook Press.

2. Anderson, Ray. 2001. The shape of practical theology. IVP.

3. Barna, George. 1993. Today’s pastors. Regal Books

4. Barton, Ruth. 2008. Strengthening the soul of your leadership. IVP.

5. Brain, Peter. 2004. Going the distance. Matthias Media.

6. Galli Richard, Galli Mark, & Ortberg John. 1994. Dangers, toils & snares. Multomah.

7. Galloway, John. 2003. Ministry loves company. WJK Press.

8. Greenfield, Guy. 2001. The wounded minister. Baker Books.

9. Hansen, David. 1994. The art of pastoring: Ministry without all the answers. IVP.

10. Kouzes, James, & Posner, Barry. 2002. Leadership: The challenge. Jossey-Bass.

11. Lamb, Jonathon. 2006. Integrity: Leading with God watching. IVP

12. Lee, Cameron, & Balswick, Jack. 1989. Life in the glasshouse. Zondervan.

13. London, HB, & Wiseman, Neil. 1993. Pastors at risk. Victor Books.

14. McBurney, Louis. 1986. Counselling Christian workers. Word Books.

15. McIntosh, Gary, & Rima, Samuel. 1997. Overcoming the dark side of leadership. Baker

16. Merrill, Dean. 1985. Clergy couples in crisis. Word Books

17. Nouwen, Henri. 1989. In the name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian leadership. Crossroad.

18. Peterson, Eugene. 1987. Working the angles: The shape of pastoral integrity. Eerdsman.

19. Peterson, Eugene, & Dawn, Marva. 1999. The unnecessary pastor: Eerdsman.

20. Prior, Kenneth. 1990. Perils of leadership. IVP.

21. Rima, Samuel. 2000. Leading from the inside out: The art of self-leadership. Baker.

22. Sciacca, Fran. 1992. Wounded saints. Baker.

23. Shelley, Marshall. 1988. The healthy, hectic home. Word Books.

24. Svenson, Richard, 1992. Margins. NavPress

25. Svenson, Richard, 1998. The overload syndrome. NavPress

26. Ulstein, Stefan.1993. Pastors [off the record]. IVP

27. Wilson, Todd, & Hoffman, Brad. 2007. Preventing ministry failure. IVP

The Emotional Health of a Pastor
November 16-20, 2009

1. Ministry Demands & Hazards

1. Why is ministry so tough today?

2. The unique crises of the ministry
3. Problems arising from the nature of the ministry
4. Problems arising from the personality of the pastor

2. Roles & Expectations: Pressures & Conflicts

3. Honesty, Authenticity & Integrity

4. Theory & Theology of Emotions

5. The Pastor & Stress/Burnout

6. The Pastor & Depression

7. The Pastor & Anger

8. The Pastor & Assertiveness

9. The Pastor & Guilt/Shame

10. The Pastor & Loneliness

11. The Pastor & His/Her Sexuality

12. The Pastor & His/Her Marriage/Family

13. The Pastor & His/Her Spirituality

14. The Pastor & Self-Care

15. Other Concerns & Issues

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The underpayments were “staggering” and “defied belief”

I wonder how many fulltime church workers, pastors, missionaries, evangelists are underpaid and defy human decency. I wonder is there a court that will address the
blatant exploitation that we full time pastors and gospel ministers have been going through! Lord, be merciful to us!

Malaysian chef underpaid, restaurant owner fined

Published: Thursday May 14, 2009 MYT 12:24:00 PM
Updated: Thursday May 14, 2009 MYT 12:34:06 PM

MELBOURNE: A restaurant owner who brought a Malaysian to work as a chef here and paid him less than A$10,000 over 18 months has been fined A$180,000.

Businessman Hong Poh Meng and his company, Penang Kayu Nasi Kander Ltd, which traded as Kayu@Boxhill, admitted breaching 11 work place laws, including underpaying a full-time cook A$76,000, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reports.

Two 19-year-old casual waitresses were underpaid A$4,876 and A$899 respectively.

Hong was fined A$25,000 and the company was penalised A$158,400 in the Melbourne magistrate’s court yesterday for the breaches, which occurred between 2005 and 2007.

Workplace Ombudsman executive director Michael Campbell said Hong admitted bringing the Malaysian national to Melbourne and then paying him just A$9,650 for 18 months’ work in his restaurant.

“This was less than 12% of the minimum amount the man was entitled to receive. This sort of blatant exploitation is completely unacceptable,” Campbell said in a statement.

AAP said the company repaid the cook A$10,600 and the two waitresses a combined amount of A$805 after the Workplace Ombudsman began investigating the case in 2007.

But Magistrate Kate Hawkins ordered the company to pay the chef A$65,341 in outstanding wages and another A$4,128 and A$841 to the waitresses.

She said the cook was subjected to a “pattern of exploitation” and was particularly vulnerable because of his immigration status. The underpayments were “staggering” and “defied belief”, Hawkins said. -- BERNAMA

Monday, May 11, 2009

DMIN: Ministry Related Research and Writing

Ministry Related Research and Writing
by Dr Ng Han Lim

Biographical Sketch:

Dr Ng Han Lim earned his D. Min. and M. Div. degrees from Singapore Bible College and his M. Th. degree from Trinity Theological College. Prior to theological education, he studied for a B. Sc. Hons in Systems Engineering from the Loughborough University of Technology. Having served eight years in church teaching and preaching, he is an adjunct lecturer with Singapore Bible College, majoring in Biblical studies, literary criticism and he teaches Hermeneutics, the narrative books and Old Testament. He also serves in missions with Biblical Education by Extension as curriculum writer and facilitator. Prior to full-time training and ministry from 1990, Dr Ng was CEO of an American multinational corporation in the electronics and computer industry. Married to Catherine, the Ngs have three grown children, Timothy (26), Matthew (24) and Sarah (18).

Required Reading

Adler, Mortimer J. How to Read a Book: the Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading. New York: Simon and Shuster, 1967.

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory C. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. 2nd ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Noebel, David A. The Battle for Truth. Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2001.

Ryken, Leland. How to Read the Bible as Literature...and Get More Out of it. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984.

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

Vyhmeister, Nancy Jean. Your Indispensable Guide to Quality Research Papers for Students of Religion and Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.

Wolcott, Harry F. Writing Up Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications, 1990.

Required reading includes a DMin and a PhD dissertation of the student's choice. If possible, choose those that are closest to the student's area of interest/ministry and to the student's own anticipated research/dissertation. For a PhD dissertation to read, choose those that are of a more practical nature, such as by Dr John Yuen and Dr Calvin Chong (in the SBC library).

Pre-Course Assignment

Summarise ONE dissertation you have read in the following subheadings in Powerpoint for class presentation:

1. An Introduction to the Dissertation (include title, author and brief description)

2. Thesis Statement (determine this and express it within a few succinct sentences)

3. Methodology Employed in the Dissertation

4. Major Arguments Advanced in the Dissertation

5. My Critique of the Dissertation (eg. flaws in form, style, structure, grammar, clarity, logic etc.)

6. Insights (what I have learned of Dissertation research writing through this exercise)

7. Conclusion

The summary should be sufficient to give an idea what the dissertation is about to those who have not read it. Students should come to the seminar prepared to discuss and present their findings for 30 min. in Powerpoint. A further 15 min. will be for questions and answers. The student should be able to give a reasonable defense on behalf of the dissertation. Presentations will be assessed.

4th Dmin Module


18 – 22 May 2009

Ministry Related Research


Dr Ng Han Lim


AV Centre
inside SBC Library 2nd level

Time Table

8.00 -10.00am Session One

10.00 -10.30am Break*

10.30 -12.30pm Session Two

12.30 -2.00pm Lunch

2.00 -3.30pm Session Three

3.30 -4.00pm Break*

4.00 -5.30pm Session Four

5.30pm End

* Refreshments will be served at Block One Conference Room

Sunday, May 10, 2009


An old kampung imam had a teenage son, and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young men his age, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.

One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects.

1. The Holy Book.

2. A fifty ringgit note.

3. A bottle of whiskey.

4. And a Playboy magazine.

'I'll just hide behind the door," the old imam said to himself.

"When he comes home from school today, I'll see which object he picks up."

"If it's the holy book, he's going to be an imam like me, and what a blessing that would be!"

"If he picks up the fifty ringgit note, he's going to be a business man, and that would be okay, too."

"But if he picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunken bum, and God, what a shame that would be."

"And worst of all if he picks up that magazine he's going to be a skirt-chasing womanizer."

The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's foot-steps as he entered the house whistling and heading for his room..

The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table.

With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them.

Finally, he picked up the Holy Book and placed it under his arm. He picked up the fifty ringgit note and dropped into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink, while he admired the magazine's centerfold.

"God have mercy," the old imam disgustedly whispered.

"He's gonna run for Majlis Tertinggi UMNO."

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ministry life

6 May 2009

Dear Prayer Partner,


1. TQ for your prayers and support during the past few weeks! It was a hectic 2-3 weeks. I arrived in Klang Valley (KV) on late Friday nite, and on Sat morn had Bible Study with some uni students. I am still discipling them through the Gospel of Matthew. Pray for their spiritual growth.


2. Then I had to rush off to officiate and bless a wedding. It was a nice cozy cross-cultural wedding. The groom was a caucasian British and the beaming bride is a Malaysian chinese. The groom and his 3 best men (all caucasians from Australia and UK) wore traditional Chinese kungfu silky costume – and I was in the western coat and tie! Talking about reversal of culture!


3. Sunday, I preached in 3 Easter evangelistic services (8.30am, 10.30am, 5pm) – about how Jesus came and overcame the power of death. When I gave the altar call, several people raised their hands to recommit their lives to Christ. Its always a joy to see people come to submit to the kingship of Jesus over their lives.


4. After the last service and dinner, I was off to counsel a family. By the time, I reached home it was close to midnight. On Mon morn, I was giving Bible Study to uni students on mission history to challenge them to consider God’s heartbeat. Pray that they will have catch the vision for mission! Then it was back to Singapore.


5. Thur nite, I flew to Kuching, Sarawak from Changi. I had my Sarawak laksa that night itself! Then everyday was packed with activities and services. Fri nite, was the beginning of a 4-nights seminar on spiritual leadership in an SIB church.

6. Sat morn, preached in a students’ camp, around 25 students, that was held in a Baptist church. The presence of God was so real among the tribal students as they were hungry for Him. For the first time in their lives, many of them had an encounter with the Holy Spirit. I wish I can teach them more! The need is tremendous, for they are the next generation – but they do not know God nor His Word!

7. Sat nite, it was back to teaching the spiritual leadership seminar. Though they lack exposure and need to be taught more, they were open to receive the Word. Sun morn, preached in the same Baptist church, but more adults, and challenged them about learning the Word.

8. In the church, I got acquainted with a missionary family from Argentina who had learned the Malay language and now translating the Bible into the Bidayuh language. They had been in Sarawak for more than 7 years. Talk about cross-cultural mission!


9. Mon-Fri (9am-4pm), I lectured on the theology of Ezra-Nehemiah based on the Abrahamic Covenant. The class had about 12 Malay-speaking pastors and leaders. PTL. Many of them mentioned that they were blessed by the teaching as it was something fresh and different. Pray that they will be effective pastors for their churches.


10. Mid week, on Wed nite, I preached in a school fellowship, just outskirt of Kuching. I preached in a camp there in 2004. This service they had about 350 students. I preached a simple salvation message and then prayed for the exam students. Many of them had a touch from the Lord.

11. Fri nite, leadership seminar. Sat morn, service with the church uni students and single working adults. Again, the urgent sense that they need to grow in the Lord. Sat nite, concluded the leadership seminar. I need to spend more time and effort to develop more spiritual leadership materials for the Malay-speaking world. Pray for me! (and if u have any materials – English or BM/Indonesia – please email to me or make a copy for me!)

12. Sun morn, preached in the SIB church, and amazingly the power of the Holy Spirit hit them. Many of them had an encounter with the Holy Spirit as they allowed Him to minister to their hearts. Many of them need restoration and the life-changing Word. Pray for me for greater empowering of the Holy Spirit.

13. After a quick drink, I was up again to preach in the adolescence service. I was encouraging them not to be unequally yoke with a life partner who don’t love the Lord. Many of them need to control their emotions and passions.


14. Sun nite, I flew to Kota Kinabalu (KK), Sabah. I arrived midnite and was met by two ex-students who took the effort to pick me. While waiting for the car, someone tapped my shoulder from the back. He is one of the church leaders that I had preached for in KL and he informed me that he was back for a funeral.

15. I also knew the deceased – who passed away that Sunday afternoon – as he is one of my ex-students father. He was also an active church leader. As it happens, I was already scheduled to be in the neighboring town, so I quickly made arrangements to pay a visit.


16. Mon morn, we traveled to Keningau, which is about 2 hours drive from KK. We went to Keningau to meet an ex-student whom I had not met for 22 years! I reconnected through her younger sister who took leave and showed us the direction to the house.

17. She mentioned how she almost converted to another religion when she was studying in West Malaysia. But the Lord preserved her faith and how my visits to her school during the 1980s in Kedah encouraged her. She has since married and become a school teacher. TQ for your support during those years that enabled me to travel to take care of such students so that they did not leave the faith.

17. Tue morn, we visited another ex-student who is also a school teacher. As I listened and observed the students in his school, my heart is burdened for them. If I thought the young people in Kuching needed the Word of God, the young people in Sabah needed it more! They do not have school fellowships. Pray that the Lord will grant us ideas, contacts, and finances on how to reach out to them.


18. Then we headed to Tenom to visit the bereaved family. Unknown to us, they were waiting for me to conduct a short service for them. Apparently about 20 over people have been waiting for us for several hours. I shared a short message and the Lord just moved and touched them.

19. We headed back to KK via Sipitang as I wanted to visit another ex-student who had married a pastor and were serving there. I had not seen them for close to 4 years and wanted to encourage them in the ministry.

20. On the way back to KK, we received an sms that a group of church people are waiting in KK for me to preach and minister to them. It was totally unplanned but I was prepared to minister. We reached KK around 10pm and started the service. The Lord did not disappoint them as He touched them.

21. Then we went for a midnite supper. After supper, because they had requested, I went to pray for a family at around 2am. I am ever conscious that people are hungry for the Lord’s blessings in their lives – and I must be ever ready to be a channel to minister – even at 2-3 am!

22. Pray for me as I allow the anointing of God to flow through me to minister to many individuals. I need to stay focus to teach the Word and minister as many lives are being impacted. I need your prayers and support as I sense the breakthroughs in ministry.

God bless.

This does not mean that I agree with every local church teaching

"Local Churches" Movement Reassessed

InfoTwo notable critics have changed their minds on the controversial "local churches" movement that follow the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute, and Gretchen Passantino Coburn, director of Answers in Action, each published their new support in a November booklet by the Defense and Confirmation Project, founded to rebut criticism of Nee and Lee. Hanegraaff says the local churches fit neither the theological or sociological definition of cultic activity. (CRI published critiques in the 1970s that influenced other watchdog groups.) Passantino Coburn, who coauthored The New Cults with Walter Martin, writes passionately and personally about the reassessment. "The local churches are a legitimate, theologically orthodox, spiritually faithful involvement by means of which you offspring can develop genuine Christian commitment and maturity." Fuller Theological Seminary has issued a new statement saying its faculty and administration "unreservedly recommend that all Christian believers likewise extend to them the right hand of fellowship." Watchman Nee founded the movement in China in the 1920s which subsequently spread to the West. After Nee died in 1972, Lee became the group's most prominent teacher. The local churches claim more than 30,000 U.S. adherents and over 800,000 in China. Two of the group's traits immediately strike many evangelicals as strange—first, churches affiliated with this movement take no name except a geographical marker, such as "the local church in Chicago." Second, the group has no authority structure. Passantino Coburn says the group's remaining critics should engage in deeper research. She adds, "This does not mean that I agree with every local church teaching, nor does it mean that I do theology like the local churches. But it does mean that I can more fully understand and appreciate that theology, and can be confident that while different, it is not heretical."

Christianity Today 01/26/2009

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Target: 10,000

16 June 2004

Dear Prayer Partners,

1. Thank you for keeping us in prayer! We need it!

2. During my trip to Bandung in March, I sensed the need to increase more prayer partners. Presently, in our mailing list, we have about 600 individuals.

3. But like any other normal mailing list, I estimate may be only about 100 individuals are actually praying for us. Others would just read it for information and encouragement – and that’s very normal.

4. I sense the need to increase it to 10,000 prayer partners. I know that this would not happen overnight but it is a target that I would like to work towards. And the reality is that out of 10,000, may be about 1,500 individuals would actually pray.

5. There are so much things happening in our lives and ministries that I sense an urgency to be immersed and flooded in intercessory prayer. The experts on intercession will tell us that whenever God is about to birth something new, there is always an accompanied increase prayer activities.

6. I’ve been sensing that God wants to enlarge and birth new ministries in the coming months and years. THIS IS A CRUCIAL TIME TO INCUBATE IT IN PRAYER. Only God can establish and make these ministries fruitful.

7. Hence I aspire to recruit more prayer partners who would cover us in prayer. Without a stronger prayer support, it would be harder to breakthrough among the various people groups that we are reaching out to.

8. I wish some of the believers would realise that they are combating for peoples’ spiritual destinies – and that they would not be so complacent. The sacrifices that we made on their behalf should not be in vain – but they would quickly rise up and fulfil their potential in the Lord, instead of always giving lame excuses why their careers, families, holidays are far more important than the kingdom of God.

9. You can help us by regularly praying for us. Please email us to tell us – it does not have to be long. Just one line – “I hear you” or something like that. That would be an encouragement to us – especially those who never or seldom write to us.

10. In addition, you can forward the emails of friends who may be interested in such ministries. We will include them in our prayer list. You can also “adopt” us to be prayed for in your fellowships, cell groups, churches and others.

Thank you for praying for us. May the Lord’s will be done in His time, in His way, in His power, and through His channels.

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Love Affairs

25 Aug 2004

1. I just came back from Kuching, Sarawak, preaching in a camp there. About 45 students came. Thanks to your intercessions and the Lord's awesomeness, about 10 accepted the Lord and about 35 were filled with the HS. Your prayers and support do have an impact!

2. Each time when I am in East Malaysia (EM), I will always remember how 26 years ago I first came into contact with them. And this love affair with them has continued up till today. Hey, I even married one of them (FYI, Jessie was born in Sarawak and at 7 years old onwards she moved over to Spore).

3. This Kuching camp was organized by Donald and Retty. They generously opened up their newly completed double storey, corner lot house to be used as the campsite. They had to rush to get the house ready for camp, and as usual the Lord came through and helped them.

4. And beside them, Asan and wife, Eraou and wife came to help to lead in songs, teach in workshops, pray for the students and did whatever that was needed to be done.

5. I rejoice to see the seeds that was being sown 20 years ago, when I first started ministering to them, has now taken root and growing and bearing fruit for the kindgom of God. I rejoice at the harvest of souls that we are now reaping. Previously it was tough, but now after paying the price for pioneering the work, it has become much easier.

6. And we continue to sow into the lives of the younger generation by teaching them the Word and mentoring them – in hope that they too will bear fruits for Jesus in the future. I am waiting for the day when the younger generation start reaching out to others and possibly organizing their own camps.

7. Many of you have stood by us and believed in this vision and supported us financially, despite the fact that there were so much uncertainties. And in so many ways you were the unsung hero in this ministry – and for that we thank you. You too share an inheritance among them.

8. And now as we actively sow among the Unreached People Group (UPG) – who has far more uncertainties and much slower rate of response – we thank you for your faithful prayers and constant support in advance.

9. It is my prayer that as I keep sowing among the UPG, God will allow me to reap a bountiful harvest among them (Rom 1:13), just as He has permitted me to reap a harvest among the tribes of EM. The work among the UPG is also one of my major love affairs in mission work for God.

10. It is my vision to see dozens, if not hundreds, of house churches springing up from among them. Hey, we may even have camps for them, just like what we have done for the EM. However I recognize different groups requires different strategy to reach out to them.

11. At present, we only have one small budding house church to talk about. And yet individuals who has been full-time at this work for the past 20 years, has yet to be able to start even one. For that I thank God for the privilege to be able to experience this firstfruits. Pray for more house churches to come! and believe me, it can only come through intercessions.

Thank you for praying! Thank you for your support! May Jesus be continually lifted up for then He will draw all men to Himself.

Balance between stable growth and loosening up on controls

Asia’s kung fu star puts foot in mouth
Saturday May 2, 2009

Jackie Chan’s assertion that the Chinese need to be controlled has not gone down well in this city state whose people want more freedom.

ASIA’S popular kung fu star Jackie Chan has touched on one of Singapore’s – and Asia’s – current pressing debates when he said in China: “I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not. We Chinese need to be controlled (or else) we’ll just do what we want.”

In his easy-talking manner, the Hong Kong star said that the Chinese people have to be controlled or society would be “chaotic”, like in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and Singapore, too, had it not been the strict laws.

“When you reach Singapore, you must obey its laws, if you are caught littering, you will go to jail right away,” Jackie Chan said.

Yes, people had a habit of sticking chewing gum on tables and chairs until the authorities banned it (the ban has since been partially lifted).

Why? The actor, who has made 100 movies, said this was because Singaporeans did not have a sense of self-respect, and were not as orderly as Japanese and Americans, Shin Min quoted him as saying.

His allegations about Chinese needing control were largely about lifestyles, but also intruded into politics, which has been turned into Asia’s political freedom issue.

The people in Taiwan and Hong Kong, who dislike the idea of control, are reacting more strongly than those in Singapore and China.

China’s revolution was only 30 years old, Jackie Chan said, so he was unsure if freedom would be a good thing for it.

He went on: “I’m really confused now. If you’re too free, you’re like the way Hong Kong is now. It’s very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic.”

Some, however, feel that the audience, which included many Beijing officials and business leaders, might have been a large factor in his staunch defence of authoritarian rule.

His speech is likely to go down well, not only with China’s leaders, but also with Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

A permanent resident here since 1998, Jackie Chan has long been an admirer of Singapore’s disciplined development, and Lee’s role in it.

His affinity with the city came in several ways. Only recently, he donated his prized collection of seven antique wooden Chinese houses amassed over 20 years to Singapore – instead of to Hong Kong as originally planned.

It could become a tourist attraction, to showcase the culture and skills of China’s past.

Earlier, he had paid S$11mil (RM$26mil) to buy Singapore’s historic Jinriksha Station (built: 1903) that was once the central depot for rickshaw pullers. He owns several ex-pensive condos in central Singapore.

What Jackie Chan said in China recently reflects what Lee had often said, that “too much” democracy and individual rights would destabilise social order.

This view is, however, not shared by many younger Singaporeans, who want to see an end to controls. Jackie Chan’s speeches have revived a hot “democracy-versus-control” debate in Singa-pore.

This explains why they set off so much hostility here. A few youths even called for a boycott of his films.

“The people’s self respect will not increase under a regime of controls,” said a Jackie Chan critic.

Some questioned whether Jackie Chan was planning a political role after his retirement from movies. “He is not a political figure, so why these political comments?” a lady asked.

Not all were critical. The older, conservative elements say his observations are a necessary reminder of what life really is about.

Actually his opinion is nothing that has not been said by many people before, but in more refined language.

What he says, more bluntly than others, is that Chinese people are not civic-conscious and Singapore is not yet a civil society where people behave well without the threat of punishment.

The Jackie Chan saga comes at a time when Singapore is striving to find a balance between stable growth and loosening up on controls to satisfy the people.

A solution is critical because of another reason. Too many controls could stifle plans to produce a new generation of creative workers for the next leap.

Do Singaporeans really lack self-respect? Some Singaporeans think Jackie Chan exaggerated; a better term is “lack of self-pride” – or even national identity – that society regularly discusses within itself.

Jackie Chan was, however, partially right in one sense. Singapore’s character building is relatively poor. Social development has lagged far behind economic progress.

People who were raised in this rich business hub, often dubbed Singapore Inc, are still pondering about their national identity and who they really are.

Many youngsters have grown up as good students and professionals, but without love of country – or respect for each other. Their emigration rate is high – and rising.

The bonding has been further weakened by a large influx of foreigners, most of them to make money before leaving.

Singapore has not got a whole lot of history, unlike bigger, older civilisations with their centuries of achievements and shared disasters.

There are few heroes to emulate or world achievements to augment the people’s self-respect or pride.

The wave of the future for this rapidly transforming society is unlikely to be the control advocated by Jackie Chan. It lies in the continuing relaxation of regulations, including political controls, and collective education to inculcate self-discipline.

At any rate, the world has had a chance to enjoy Jackie Chan’s unique films because of his upbringing in “chaotic” Hong Kong and America.

Singapore, for one, will be happy to have a little of that chaos, if it can produce people like him in any field.

The talent of Jackie Chan, if he were born, educated and working in regulated Singapore, would have been lost to the world.