Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Midweek Meditation: The Gospel Prayer (Phase 4 of 4)

Phase 4: Praying for God's glory
Continuing with Pastor and author J.D. Greear's teaching on the Gospel Prayer, this week is Phase 4.
  • "As I pray, I'll measure Your compassion by the cross and Your power by the resurrection."

    PRAY: As I pray, I will measure your compassion by the cross and your power by the resurrection. What will I attempt for God as I view the world through the lens of his compassion (as measured in the cross) and his power to save (as measured by the resurrection)?
This prayer shows us how we are saved in Christ, as Jesus at the cross saved us from our sins. At the resurrection, we dwell in eternal hope that what Jesus had promised, he had accomplished fully and completely.


Monday, January 25, 2016

BookPastor >> "Character Formation in Online Education" (Joanne Jung)

This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on October 31st, 2015.


TITLE: Character Formation in Online Education: A Guide for Instructors, Administrators, and Accrediting Agencies
AUTHOR: Joanne J. Jung
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2015, (144 pages).

Is it really possible to have Christian Formation happening in online education? If it is, how do we go about doing that? With firm conviction, author Joanne Jung believes it is entirely possible and doable. Jung teaches at Biola University as an Associate Professor in the Biblical and Theological Studies department. With a PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary, she is particularly interested into spiritual formation and Puritan piety. Through this book, she extends this interest into the online arena. Other than the usual "face to face is better" argument, Jung puts forth other compelling arguments for an online involvement.
  • It allows students who needed time to process to come back to the teacher with questions. Students need not be restricted during the limited class time.
  • It increases participation level above the typical 15%
  • It gives teachers an additional resource for teaching, to use online resources to teach and to maximize face to face opportunities for teacher-student interactions
  • It enables students to get to know their teachers beyond the classroom setting.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Midweek Meditation: The Gospel Prayer (Phase 3 of 4)

Phase 3: Asking for God to Bless Others
Continuing with Pastor and author J.D. Greear's teaching on the Gospel Prayer, this week is Phase 3.
  • "As You have been to me, so I will be to others."

    PRAY: As you have been to me, so I will be to others. What I have, I have because Christ gave up everything for me. He was rich and for my sake became poor. We who live by his death should therefore no longer live for ourselves, but should lay down our lives and resources for others as he laid down his for us.
This prayer reminds us that prayer is stretches beyond the individual, to incorporate a heart-felt concern for the things that God cares deeply about. It helps us remember that as we take care of the things that matter to God, we also trust that God will take care of the things that matter to us.


Monday, January 18, 2016

My Son's Commissioning (17 Jan 2016)

Yesterday was a proud moment for my wife and I. My son commissioned as an officer after 38 grueling weeks of training, both locally and overseas. He has done well and yesterday, he was commissioned among 582 officer cadets (OCTs). Among them are 454 (army), 66 (navy), and 62 (air force). Below are some video clips of the happy occasion.

A) Excited parents waiting from as early as 3pm. Parade starts at 1741 hours.

B) The contingent marches singing the OCS song.

C) My son is among the five carrying the parade colours. He is behind the one carrying the Singapore flag.

D) Singapore President doing the review of the contingents

E) Religious leaders from different faiths praying for the about to be commissioned officers

F) The Commissioning Moment (After the reciting of the SAF Creed)

G) Slow Marching Out by the Newly Commissioned Officers (99/15 cohort)

H) Parents Fixing the Epaulette. We got lost in the crowd and couldn't find him. Thankfully....

I) Finally .. . .. ..  (If you are interested, here's the officer's creed)

J) Proud Moment for Us

All smiles around.

Congratulations Aaron! We're so proud of you.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Midweek Meditation: The Gospel Prayer (Phase 2 of 4)

Phase 2: Seeking God is Joy Itself
Continuing with Pastor and author J.D. Greear's teaching on the Gospel Prayer, this week is Phase 2.
  • "Your Presence and approval are all I need for everlasting joy."

    PRAY: You are all I need for everlasting joy. In Christ I have all I need for a life of joy and purpose. I don’t need the praise of men or the accumulation of riches or anything else. So, in Christ, I can give up all that I have, because in Christ I have all that I need."
This prayer reminds us that prayer is a relationship that seeks after God's joy, God's approval, and God's presence.


Monday, January 11, 2016

BookPastor >> "Anything" (Jennie Allen)

This review was first published at Panorama of a Book Saint on August 12th, 2015.


TITLE: Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Soul
AUTHOR: Jennie Allen
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2015, (240 pages).

We are all familiar with prayers and prayer requests. Church leaders often ask members what they can pray for. Members in various stations of need will share about their particular situations of how God can help them. As a Christian community, it is common to minister to one another regularly in care and in prayer for their particular needs in mind. We pray earnestly, faithfully, and in Jesus' Name. We pray and ask that God's will be done. What if we pray about something that is not specifically about what we or our loved ones want, but about "anything" that God wants? Scary isn't it? This is the key premise of this book, to learn to pray God's will be done above all of our needs. Putting it another way, we ask for God's will be done regardless of our specific needs. It is a holy surrender. This is the kind of prayer that the author seeks to teach.

Jennie Allen is author, speaker, retreat leader, and an inspirational teacher passionate about sharing God with believers especially women. She is convinced that the way to freedom in God is total surrender. She holds a Masters in Biblical Studies from Dallas Theological Seminary and lives with her husband and four children in Texas.

Friday, January 08, 2016

"What Grace is Mine" (Keith and Kristyn Getty)

This is a powerful rendition of "What Grace is Mine." It is a great reminder of those who have committed ourselves to following Jesus, that our lives are not our own. Sung by Kristyn Getty in the Keith and Kristyn team, it is my favourite.

What grace is mine
That He who dwells in endless light
Called through the night
To find my distant soul
And from His scars
Poured mercy that would plead for me
That I might live, and in His name be known

So I will go wherever He is calling me
I lose my life to find my life in Him
I give my all to gain the hope that never dies
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him
What grace is mine

To know His breath alive in me
Beneath His wings
My waking soul may soar
All fear can flee for death dark night is overcome
My Saviour lives and reigns forever more
So I will go wherever He is calling me

I lose my life to find my life in Him
I give my all to gain a hope that never dies
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him
I bow my heart, take up my cross and follow Him


Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Midweek Meditation: The Gospel Prayer (Phase 1 of 4)

Phase 1: God's Love Is Unconditional
Pastor and author J.D. Greear teaches in his book about the Gospel Prayer. Starting this week and for the following three weeks, I will share one phase each, that we may learn to pray them regularly. Here's the first.
  • "In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more; nothing I have done that makes You love me less."

    PRAY: In Christ, there is nothing I can do that would make You love me more; nothing I have done that makes you love me less.
     In the gospel, I receive full access to God and all of his blessings as a free, unmerited gift earned by Christ for me.
This prayer reminds us that our starting point is God's love for us that is unconditional and unchanging. Pray in such a way that it is no longer the gifts or the answers that we seek, but the heart of Jesus. Seek the Giver more than the gifts.


Monday, January 04, 2016

BookPastor: "The NIV Serendipity Bible For Study Groups" (Serendipity House)

TITLE: The NIV Serendipity Bible for Study Groups: Contains the Complete New International Version Text
CONTRIBUTORS: Community of believers gathered by the Serendipity House organization
PUBLISHER: Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988, (1646 pages).

Have you ever read your Bible and found yourself stuck on how to study the Bible? Do you depend mostly on your teaching leader or Bible study teacher to prepare all the questions? What if you can find a Bible with questions already prepared on the side columns? What if study questions can help you facilitate the Bible study so that you can build on it with your own? What if this set of helps can be extended not only for the passage you are interested to study, but also for the whole Bible?

Way back in 1978, a group of believers had a dream to design a Bible just for study groups. With the actual text, they put together resources to help believers to be like the Bereans, to study the Bible together in search of truth that has been revealed. The result is this Bible study resource that contains over 20000 questions to draw in believers' excitement and to send out passionate disciples.

Three categories are offered. The first is OPEN where questions were used to open up discussion. Often, study groups will take a while to warm up. Some would use icebreakers or opening salvos to launch a lively discussion. As a Bible study leader, I appreciate this because it gives me a fresh way to prepare the group. In fact, I find the pressure to simply put something on the page lifted. It allows me to put in my own thoughts and formulate my own questions. At the least, if I could not put anything in due to tiredness or lack of inspiration, I know I have something to fall back to. The second is DIG for a deeper understanding of the contexts, the content, and the contrasts with life both then and now. Learning requires deep reverence as well as respect for the text we hold. At the same time, we can pepper the texts with questions and be open to the way the Holy Spirit uses the texts to question us. The third is REFLECT and to see how we can apply the Word into our lives. Instead of asking about what the Bible means, this third category helps us ask how the Word applies to us.

The system is not exactly Inductive Bible Study method, but it serves a useful guide to doing Bible study together as groups. What's more, this Bible study resource has been put together by many community leaders across many nations. It's quite an amazing feat for Serendipity House to provide such a useful guide. Of course, with the Internet nowadays, we can get all kinds of information. The problem with this is not about information but about what kind of information we can discern correctly. It can often become a hit and miss effort. Worse, it can be the introduction of false theologies that even the most well-intentioned leader can make a mistake too. That is one reason why this resource can be most helpful. At least there is a consistency in format. There is assurance of credible writers all committed to the same cause. There is a unity of the body of Christ.

If you are thinking of a good Bible study, perhaps, for a lack of informed choices, you may just want to pick this up.


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