2011-05-28

Coaching & Encouragement to Sustain the Climb

Be committed to spend the time needed for the Climb. Focus on Strength and not just Weakness. Enlist others, especially their loved ones. Do body, mind and heart Operations. Go - It is rewarding intrinsically and extrinsically.
Continuing with my last post Giving Hope - The Trigger for Change, change begins at the moment of decision but it is a process too.

Change is of two major kinds: Strength & Weakness
  1. freed from past bondage of addiction or other bad habits.
  2. development and acquiring of new skills and capability to do more.
In the case of freedom from bondage, for some people,  the change takes place instantaneously and sustain it ever since. There is some how a natural dislike for the smoke and cigarettes or the alcohol they used to crave for. For many others, during times of temptation and weakness, they may fall back to their past addiction.

For those acquiring new skills, the challenge of learning and training and the lack of apparent progress will discourage them and they would want to give up.

Focus on Strength.
Let me stress that to build champion, we must focus on the development of your strengths and manage your weaknesses. If we just focus on fixing weaknesses, even if we succeed, we are just a mediocre average, not a champion. Health is a necessary but insufficient condition for Olympic Champions. Champions are strength based. See The mentality & danger of TQM.

Success in the development of strength will also help in overcoming some of your weaknesses because you are energized when you put your strength to use and you feel better about yourself and creating less likelihood to go back to past bad habits.

Nevertheless, for some, extra help may be needed over a longer period of time. AA 12 Steps are applicable for helping people to change. The principles are the acceptance of problem, getting outside( God, loved ones, fellow addicts) to help and encouragement and helping others over long period of time.

Get A Coaching Team
Usually, one person will do. For more difficult cases, getting more people to help will be better. Husband and wife form a good coaching. The key related members of the one being coached are also very important.

Man are made of body, mind and heart (spirit). Coaching must include
  1. For the Body: practice of skills, 
  2. For the Mind: acquiring new knowledge and wisdom
  3. For the Heart: encouragement and motivation of the heart and development of attitudes of a champion (recall the vision and identity of the last post).
Commitment of Time
In the starting stage, more time and effort must be committed. As the progress is made, less and less time is needed. But always be available for consulting and help.

It is Rewarding

Helping other to be a champion is a very tough process. Nevertheless it is a rewarding one. There are professional in this area known as Executive Coaches and they made good money. For even for us who work out of our calling, seeing the improvement, seeing the smile on their face, the restored family relationships, the pride of their accomplishments are more than enough to get you to continue in this hard but rewarding work of helping others to be champions.

May God give your wisdom and strength and bless your work of helping others.

The Series of 4 Posts in Helping Others to Be Champions are:
See also: Handling Repentance - Finishing Discipling Well

2011-05-27

Giving Hope - The Trigger for Change

This is the third post in the series of "Helping Others to Change to become Champions". We started with "ACCEPTANCE" in So Powerful & Yet So Easy - Changing by Accepting. It is followed with "AWARENESS" in Creating Awareness For Change - Must do it Rightly. 

We shall cover "HOPE" in this post. Hope is more than just a wish. A true hope should at least have the following parts:
  1. A Meaningful Vision of he/she can become.
  2. An Assurance of help and the road map.
  3. A faith that he/she can do it.
1. A Meaningful Vision

Gen_17:5  No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 

Gen_32:28  Then he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob (the Deceiver), but Israel (the Prince of God), for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."
 
Mat_5:14  "You are the light of the world.

There must a reason for our existence and our continuation in life. A powerful reason is that we are loved and loved for being who we are without needing any performance on our part. But strangely, a person who is loved much want to give much! (Luke 7:47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.) No one want to live on others charity and be a burden to others. But most need help to find out what good they can contribute.

This is against conventional wisdom of 'performance comes before appreciation'. Conventional wisdom is about have-do-be. Godly wisdom is about be-do-have; identity first leading to work and to possession of good work. (See "Be-Do-Have" of Grace Based Doctrine).

We must follow our acceptance with a discovery and painting of his/her identity and the working out of the identity to become a mature person of accomplishments.

It takes wisdom and effort to jointly discover what he or she truly is. What is he/her gifting and uniqueness.

A a typical counseling session, we need to understand the present problems, bring a closure to the past hurts, and spend more time on painting a better future. The past could not be changed. The future is decided by the present decisions. Spending more time painting the future creates the motivation when we give the assurance that such future is possible.


2. An Assurance of help and the road map
Joh_16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Mat 4:19  And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
Future is uncertain and scary especially to someone who are depressed or lost his job for some time or loved ones. A good vision can only be motivating if he/she can believe it is within his/her reach.

We must give the assurance of our help and also to help work out the road map to achieve the vision. The road map need not be detailed. Only the few steps of actions to take. If a step is too big, break it down into smaller steps.

Finally, must get agreement on just the next step to take and the assistance you will give to help he/she take the step. We must be careful not to over-help that create a dependency. Helping is not doing the thing that he/she need to do. From I do & you follow to You do & I watch and eventually without my watching at all. We are getting into the process already.

3. A faith that he/she can do it
Real change takes place when he/she has a faith that he/she can do it. The previous two steps are to lead to this faith and belief that he/she can become the person he/she wish to be.  It is now no longer a wish but a hope of possibility and all it takes is to step out.

Next Post: Coaching & Encouragement to Sustain the Climb

Creating Awareness For Change - Must do it Rightly or else!

In my previous post So Powerful & Yet So Easy - Changing by Accepting, we stressed on the need for ourselves to change first before we can even attempt to change other. We can begin by acceptance - accepting the person in spite of his bad behavior.

Zacchaeus was well aware what was right and wrong. All he needed was love and acceptance to give him the reason to change. Insecure people reject others first just in case they got rejected later. Jesus extended the invitation to him and he immediately put the wrong right.

Often, there are cases that the person is not aware of his problem. He does not know why others are rejecting him. He has been brought up to do things that ways, ways that irritate others. He is trapped in a lie that binds him.

Let's take the most common form of a wrong belief - money is everything. Money represents security, enjoyment, power, influence and acceptance. Hence, many people try all means to get it and to hoard it for themselves. Some sacrifice their health and some even violate the laws and lost their freedom. We have the famous story written by Charles Dickens on "The Christmas Carol".  The main character Scrooge stands for 'the miser'.  It is commonly recognized that the story tells us about love and generosity and it transformed the Christmas celebration then.

But to me, the book also teaches us about how to change a person.

(1)Start with Acceptance to Gain Trust.
It begins with acceptance first as we covered in the previous post. The ghost that first came to visit Scrooge was his old partner, some one that has his trust. Any other person/ghost would not be able to gain the trust of Scrooge and for him to belief that it would be for his good.

(2) Create Awareness in 3 Steps
  1. Recall the Past - the goodness and joy and the what could have been if only.
  2. Reveal the Present - show the bigger world of others. How they could have joy in midst of needs.
  3. Forecast the Future - show the consequences of the future if there be no change.

    (It is a common mistakes of parents - we force our children to do them our ways without telling them why. As a child grows older, we should not make the decision for the child but just to walk-through with child and show him the future consequences of his various choices and let him decide for himself)
(3) Call for A Change
It is not too late. There is hope for a change.  Scrooge was so happy to discover that he has a 2nd chance. He is not dead yet. He immediately proceed to change his life. Giving hope is a big key for change. We cannot go back to change the past but we can change the future by making change now. We will talk about giving hope in the next post.

The most challenging story in the Bible about creating awareness is story of Nathan and David. It is trying to tell the King that he has been wrong and he needed to change without loosing one's life.

King David committed grave sins of having adultery with Bathsheba and the murdering of her loyal husband. Who dare to confront the King and point out his sins? Even so, will the King repent or will he argue that he had the right to do as he pleased. Nathan instead told the King a story of rich man taking away and killing the lamb of a poor farmer to feed his friend. Nathan asked David what should be done to the rich man? Then he pointed out that David was the rich-man. This led David to discover for himself his horrible deeds (2Sa 12:1-7). Nathan employed  Strategy#26 指桑骂槐 Point at Mulberry but scold the Sophora Tree of the 36 Strategies ( See 36 Strategies and the Bible).
 
It calls for wisdom to tell stories like the Christmas Carol and Nathan's lamb that speaks to the mind and heart of the person and trigger a revelation of his misdeed and generate a change of heart.

A good principle is showing the truth in love. Eph 4:15
John 8:32 ...you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

See Freedom, Truth, Power - Getting the Priority Right 

May God gives you the wisdom that you need. If not done well, instead of a conversion, we may end up with a broken friendship and hardened heart instead.

Next Post: Giving Hope - The Trigger for Change

Related: Changing Behavior (1) Mine

2011-05-26

So Powerful & Yet So Easy - Changing by Accepting

'Changing others' behavior' is a common need. As parents, we want our children to be better. As bosses, we want our staff to be better. As employees, we want to have better bosses.

The traditional or common teaching on changing others come this 3 steps format:
  1. Tell him - you must do this and not do that.
  2. Threaten him - If step 1 fails to work. Follow with this step 2. You better change or else ....
  3. Punish him. You ask for it ...
Most people will testify that the above 3 steps do not always work. Forcing people to change by fear and punishment requires 2 painful tasks - constant monitoring of behavior to check violation and then execution of the punishment. Elsewhere, we discussed that ruling with fear gets the minimum standard, just passing, type of performance. No one will want to try to do more because mistake could be made chances of incurring the wrath is high.

We need to have a different model for changing behavior. The basic principle begins we ourselves. We must change the way we treat the other if we want to see changes in others.

Or simply put,
  • "Changing Others Starts with Changing Ourselves First". Or
  • "We change first to change others"
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.”  -- Gandhi

    The Story of Zacchaeus Luke 19:1-10.

    Please click to above link to read the short story.

    Jesus only said "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today."

    And Zacchaeus declared in public (the hearer will make sure Zacchaeus do as he claims) "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold."

    The change in Zacchaeus most amazing and drastic
    1. giving away half of his goods (He is a rich man to start with v2)
    2. admission of guilt and restitution, 400% instead of 120% as required in Num 5:7.
    What is the key that trigger Zacchaeus' transformation?

    I think the key is acceptance.

    Acceptance into the inner group; in this case, Jesus' group. All of us has the need for being accepted into a group that we want to join.

    Zacchaeus had heard of Jesus, his teaching and works of miracles. Will such a Rabbi accept him? He was working for Romans (the enemy) as Chief  tax-collector v2 and rejected by his people as a sinner v7.

    Jesus did not 'tell' or point out any of his sins.
    Jesus accepted him before any of Zacchaeus' confession of sins.
    He admitted his sins and promised to make 4 times the amount of restitution.
    In this case, we find:
    Acceptance brings Transformation!
    Acceptance of the person establishes the starting ground for change. Most often, they know the right and wrong and they will change.

    Even if they don't. There is a common ground to engage and create the awareness for change. This will be the next post on "Changing Others".

    Acceptance of a person is not condoning his bad behavior. It is the signal that he as person is worthy of love. His bad life-style can change later. The love is unconditional to be true love. Conditional love is not love but a business transaction of earning it by good behavior. Jesus Christ saved us while we were yet sinners. A person is greater than his bad behavior. A realization of being unconditionally loved does not lead to greater freedom to sin more but strangely, it brings conviction and staying away from sins. A purified soul is now more sensitive to the dirt and stink of sins!

    Show to our children and staff that we accept them first, in spite of, the failures. Then we can truly help them in the change for the better.

    Zacchaeus' change was so immediate and wonderful. We thank God that such changes are common. Yet, there are other people that are touched differently.

    Stay tuned for more on "Changing Others".

    Need to clarify that "Changing Others" is not about changing others to suit us but to help them to become the very best they could be rather than be trapped in pains or rejections or depression.
    A better title suggested by Guan Hock Teo is "Helping Others in their darkest hour"

    Next: Creating Awareness For Change - Must do it Rightly...

    2011-05-23

    Blessings of God based on Deu 28 is Not Good Enough

    Deu 28 is usually cited as the great blessings and curses for the obeying and disobeying of God's commandments.

    It serves as a very detail and graphical presentation of Jesus' Mat 6:33 Seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and all these things will be added to you.

    This is shown in the mind map below:



    It is also a expanded version of 3John 1:2 May your soul prosper first and then all prosperity in all aspects and good health will come upon you. 

    However, upon closer look, at just Deu 28, it seems way too narrow and did no justice to Jesus' saying of Kingdom of God. Due 28 is very much a Prosperity Gospel ignoring some other very important aspect of the Kingdom of God.

    Paul corrected it in Rom 14:17 and tells us that the Kingdom of God is not just food and drink, but rather, and more importantly it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is firstly a intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and His presence where His rules are established and working resulting in righteousness, peace and joy.

    Here are more references for your study.


    Related: The Righteous - Wisdom from Proverbs

    2011-05-20

    Freedom, Truth, Power - Getting the Order Right

    What is more powerful than freedom?
    What is more valuable than freedom?

    Freedom is not without restriction.
    Most western societies put Freedom as priority#1. Restriction, being perceived as restriction of freedom, becomes a bad thing. Freedom become to be defined as without restrictions. But such saying are actually propaganda devoid of truth. As an illustration, why should a fish live only in water? What a restriction! Fish should be allowed to live any where they like. They should live on land and even on air. So some wise guy liberated the fish from its water and put it on land. The very of liberation for the fish ends in killing the fish. What applies to the fish, applies to us, as a living species. Try defying the law of gravity and taking a jump from a top building will ends in instant death. Yet, but understanding the dynamics of flow, we can construction planes that defy gravity without endangering our lives.

    Freedom is better defined as Power to continue to act willingly
    It may be better to defined Freedom as the Power to act and to continue to act without being forced to. So we are free to jump from tall buildings. But such an act result in the consequence of death. There is a bigger force at work than our freedom. If we follow the law of gravity, we can continue to live long and be able to act. Such a law that governs our living could be generally known as the truth. Acts of freedom that defy the truth ends in death and destruction. So we can say that: Truth is more Powerful than Freedom

    Knowing the Truth is the Source of Freedom
    Jesus told us in John 8:32 ...you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free." It is not just the truth, but our knowing of the truth that set us free. Many people are enslaved by their beliefs, or more accurately, by their wrong beliefs. If we believe we are losers, we will not make any effort to learn and to try resulting in the fulfilling and strengthening of our belief. But knowing the truth that failure happens to everyone and we can learn and grow like others break us free to try and succeed. The laws of success are given to us. James in
    Jas 2:12 calls the commandments as the Laws of Liberty - following them preserves our freedom.


    Restriction Now Gives Us Greater Freedom Later

    Consider a pianist who practices long hours everyday. He gives up a lot of freedom to do other things. But as he masters the skill he gets better and better in doing and expressing what his heart feels through the music. We learn and work so that we are able to do more things. So we can summarize as follows:

    By Practicing the Truth, we get the ability and the power to greater freedom.
    We have the formula:

    Freedom = Knowing and Walking in the Truth

    Freedom is a function of truth. Truth is more important than freedom. Knowing and Walking in the truth gives you sustainable and growth in freedom!

    We Give up Freedom for Love!
    Yet, there is a surprising thing with human being. Human beings enter into a marriage relationship. It means the giving up of one's freedom in exchange of
    a love relationship. We value the companionship and sharing more important than our freedom to do our own things. In surrendering our freedom, we gain love and start another journey of life together. Then we restrict ourselves even further to have children. But if you change the definition of freedom from less-restriction to power to do more, then we can see the logic of getting marry and having a family. It enables us to experience more and do more.

    The ultimate love is shown by Jesus Christ who gave up himself to redeem us so that we can have relationship with Him. An exchange that frees us from bondage to sin and empower to live the new life to the full - not following a set of death laws but intimate relationship with a loving Personality.

    Conclusions:
    1. Freedom is not about less restriction but about power to do more.
    2. Truth gives the power to be free. Knowing and Walking in the Truth empowers us to have greater freedom.
    3. Love is even more valuable, satisfying and empowering than Freedom.
    Related posts on Freedom:
    1. Freedom - From "Freedom From" to "Freedom For" & In
    2. Freedom - it is without limits?
    3. Freedom and Its Myth of More Freedom is Better

    2011-05-16

    Building Great Church and Business According to the Letter to Titus

    1&2 Timothy and Titus are known as the pastoral epistles. They were letters written by Paul to his proteges Timothy and Titus telling them how to build and run churches that last the test of times.

    Innovative Thinking teaches me to look at the same from a different point of view. I will look at the passage from a Business and Management  angle. After all, building church is like building a business and vice versa.

    Perhaps you may want to read whole book of Titus in one go now (it is a very short letter) and then come back here.

    The Mission & Vision Statement
    1. The offer is to let the whole world know about the grace of God (2:11) which is giving us eternal life through Jesus Christ our Savior (2:13) and 
    2. For the Believers that their hearts may embrace the true faith, their minds filled with the knowledge of truth so that their behavior show forth godliness thereby giving glory to God and attracting others to join. (1:1)
    In short, the value proposition is eternal life and godly living now.

    Growth Strategies
    1. Expand to various towns (1:5)
    2. Appoint Elders (Chairman of Board, i.e. leaders ) (1:5)
    3. Put in Order (1:5) - orderliness ensures scalability and allow rapid expansion.
      Orderliness comes from everyone embracing and practicing the sound doctrine. All the small details are to be taken of.
      As we shall see later, Paul gives detailed instructions for selection and practices of various types of staff from top (Elders) to bottom (Slaves or Servants).
    4. Teach Sound Doctrine (2:1)
    5. Walk the Sound Doctrine (2:7)
    6. Get rid of the violators( rebuke 1:13, silence 1:11, out 3:10).
    Sound Doctrine - The Core Business Ideology
    The thing that make this business a business, this church a church of Jesus Christ, lies in its ideology - the mission, vision, values, and core practices and competences or strengths that make the business unique and keep it working over time. Understanding the WHYs and the WHATs that identify are more important that the HOWs. The WHYs and WHATs unite the people and the HOWs can change with time to achieve the WHYs and WHATs.

    Most church leaders and business people tend to get stuck with the HOWs and quarrel over how things must be done in their ways. The are many ways to accomplish an objective. We have to move with time and employ the better technology to accomplish our objectives. We don't have to stick to the past ways of doing things. Paul stressed much on the WHAT's and the WHY's and leave out the HOW's for us to fill in. But unfortunately, we tend to read in the HOW's and stick to them even though they are outdated. We are to teach and to train our people on the sound doctrine. But the methods of training is up to us. We may use the traditional class-room lecturing way, or we may use the internet online computer assisted ways to learn at your own time, or a hybrid or other combinations. With the availability of Smart-phone, a useful training device could be an app for the phone. The key is to get people trained and practice them.

    The Sound Doctrine of Grace

    I. The Benefits and Outcome of Grace:
    1. Grace has appeared 2:11. It is available NOW.
    2. offer SALVATION for ALL people. 2:11
    3. Renounce Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts 2:12
    4. Our past old life is foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to lusts,  malice, envy, hated and hating others. 3:3
    5. Live Self-controlled, Upright and Godly Lives NOW 2:12
    6. Zealous for Good Works. 2:14
    7. Wait Expectantly for the Blessed HOPE - Appearing of Jesus Christ 2:14
    II. The Reasons why the above is POSSIBLE:
    1. Jesus Christ died to Redeem us from all lawlessness and purify us for HIS OWN people (rebirthed, new creation) 2:14 by the washing, regeneration, renewal of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ 3:5-6
    2. We are saved by God's own goodness, loving kindness. 3:4
    3. Our salvation is not of righteous work done by us (we did not work to get it) but purely by God's mercy. 3:5
    4. We are justified by His grace to be heirs of eternal life 3:7
    5. This is trust worthy and true 3:8.
    The Job of the Founders or Chairman or CEO - Walk the Talk
    1. Execute the above strategies.
    2. Teach Sound Doctrine (with all authority 2:1. Let no one disregard you 2:15. Insist 3:8).
      1. Declare 2:15
      2. Exhort 2:15
        • observe the actual behavior of people and encourage them or if they are wrong then ...
      3. Rebuke 2:15
        • show them where they have err and show them the right ways ...
      4. Remind 3:1 
        • repeat in multiple channels of communications and in different presentation in pictures, symbols, taglines, etc.
      5. Avoid the following 3:9
        1. foolish controversies
        2. genealogies
        3. dissensions
        4. quarrels about the law
        5. for they are unprofitable & worthless.
    3. Live out Sound Doctrine. 2:7-8
      1. a model of good works in all respects
      2. show integrity & dignity
      3. sound speech that cannot be condemned
      4. so that the opponent may be put to shame & having nothing evil to say about us.
    Staff Selection and the Roles

    See the table below.

    We can equate:
    1. Elders to Executive Chairman and Board Members.
    2. Overseers to CxOs.
    3. Older Men or Women as Senior Executives
    4. Younger Women or Men as Junior or Young Executives 
    5. Slaves as the Front Line or Factory Floor or Office Operators, Tellers etc.

    All Staff Are To
    1. Submissive To Rulers & Authorities i.e. obey Government & Laws 3:1
    2. Obedient to one another 3:1
    3. Good Excellent Fruitful Work 3:1,8,14
    4. Help cases of urgent need 3:14
    5. Profitable for people 3:8
    6. Gentle & Courteous 3:2
    7. Speak Evil Of No One 3:2
    8. Avoid quarreling 3:2
    Identifying the Destroyers in our Midst
    Church generally welcome people to join. Applicants apply jobs in our company. They come with different background and intentions. The ensure the sound doctrine are taught and practiced, we must be vigilant and guard against those who are here to destroy our ideology.

    We can identify them by their words and works:
    1. Lazy gluttons - don't work but want pay. 1:12
    2. Evil beasts - to discourage, sabotage 1:12
    3. Insubordinate - 1:12
    4. Empty talkers
      1.     Profess To Know God
      2.     But They Deny Him By Their Works.
      3.     They Are Detestable Disobedient Unfit For Any Good Work.
    5. Deceivers 1:10, Liars
    6. Unsound doctrines
      1. Legalism: Especially Those Of The Circumcision Party. 1:10
      2. Devoting Themselves To Jewish Myths 1:14
      3. Commands Of People and not of truth 1:14
    7. Stirs up division 3:10
    Discipline for Such Destroyers
    1. Rebuke them sharply 1:13
    2. Silence them 1:11 else they pollute the whole culture and making mockery of those who follow the sound doctrines of right behavior.
      1. because they are upsetting whole families,
      2. teaching for shameful gain and 
      3. wrong doctrine
    3. Out with them after 2 warnings 3:10-11
    Conclusions

    To build lasting businesses, we need to know our ideology - what is our mission, vision, values and core practices. We must build a culture that sustain and propagate those ideology from top to bottom, from old to new staff. This is done from the top by the top teaching and modelling the ideology. There must also be disciplinary actions put in place to kick out the violators. The attitude towards excellent, growth and good work must be there but growth must be built on the foundation of the sound ideology.

    This teaching is actually validated by research work documented and promoted by the famous book "Build to Last" by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. Check it up and be surprised.

    2011-05-09

    Government and the Bible

    In Could be Evil is NOT Evil I encourages Christians to participate in Politics and Business so as to have the right values and practices of the Bible adopted and preserved in them for the greater benefits of the people. Believers are not called to withdrawn from the society because of the sins and evil within. Rather, they are called to go in to shine the light and bring in the salt of the goodness of God. The seven major areas of society are easily summarized in the first seven alphabets - A for Arts, B for Business, C for Church or Religions, D for Media & Distribution, E for Education, F for Family and G for Government or Politics.  Believers should take the lead and be the thought leaders in all areas of life.

    In this post, we discuss Government from the Biblical Point of View. The main text about government is given is Rom 13:1-7 and Ps 72. Nehemiah is a good book for the model governor. There are other texts that we shall refer to later as well.

    1. Government is Established by God (Rom 13:1-7)
    The highest authority is God. God installed or gave approval to the establishment of government for the good of the people.

    The Bible does not dictate what is the right form of government. be it theocracy as in the time of the Judges, or autocratic with Kings, or democracy (after the NT period). God gives men the wisdom and the rights to manage their own affairs. He give guidance and hold all accountable at the day of judgment.

    2. We are to Obey those in Authorities

    The Bible only tells us to obey those in authorities(within this set of God's disclosed commandments) irrespective of how they got into power.  Jesus gave us the examples for paying taxes Mat 22:15-22, decisions of Pilate Joh 19 and the High Priests and Sanhedrin even calling for His crucification. 

    3. No Endorsement for Any Particular Form of Government
    There are some who think that God's preference is for theocracy with a appointed Prophet acting as Judge. That was just the starting system. It was not a fool proof system as the stories in the book of Judges shows us. When the Judge failed to seek God, the whole system collapsed.

    Neither does the latest democratic system means it is the best. It should be seen as of the many systems to help develop and run a country for the benefits of the people. To me, democracy ensures the peaceful transfer of power from one the people dislike to one they like. It is a check and balance system that does not ensure good leadership. It is also the rule of majority and could neglect the interests of the minority (which could be as high as 49.9999%). It encourages short term popular thinking rather than long term. It could not prevent the present government to sacrifice the resources of the future generations (not represented) for the consumption of the present. Good leadership development come from the other systems (Education, Family, Church/Religions, Business .. the 7-mountain).

    4. We are to Rule Nations One Day with Christ
    Christ will one day be the eternal King (Is 9:6-7, Rev 17-20) and will appoint us to rule with Him. Rev 1:6, 2:26-27, 20:4. We will one day be the government even if we miss it in this world!

    5. Principles of Governing from Moses & Jethro (Exo 18:19-22)

    The model of government as shown in Exo 18:19-22 can be summarized as follows:

    1. Leadership that Seek God. Exo 18:19.
    2. Give the Laws and Statues of God. Exo 18:20
    3. Communicate and Train the Leaders of Groups
    4. Select and Appoint Leaders of Groups.
      1. Top down exo 18:21 using the following criteria:
        1. from all the people - independent of races and other relationships
        2. men who fear God
        3. who are trustworthy and
        4. hate a bribe 
      2. Bottom-up as in Act 6:3 pick out from among you
        1. men of good repute
        2. full of the spirit (correspond to fear God of Exodus)
        3. full of wisdom (c.f. trustworthy = honest + capability)
        4. to serve the table = management & allocation of resources
        5. the Twelve Apostles, the leaders, will seek God through prayers, ministry of the Words.
    5. In Groups of 10's, 50's, 100's, 1000's.
    6. Empower them to judge small matter i.e. set the power of their limits.
    7. Passing Upwards - Greater matter that are beyond them should be handed upwards for decisions.
    6. Functions of Government - Create Peace, Prosperity and Long Life for All

    The key functions of Government is to create peace, prosperity and long life for all the people under their charge. See Ps 72.
    1. Peace - Laws & Order with Righteousness. Ps 72:2,7, iTi 2:2.
      They are to rule justly, discern good and evil, punish evil doers, get rid of bullies, and violence. (Rom 13:4, 1Pe 2:14, Ps 72:4,14).
    2. Prosperity Ps 72:3, 6, 15-16 and care for the needy Ps 72:13, Jer 22:16) and minimize the taxes Neh 5:15.
    3. Long Life Ps 72:15. Health and Education (see wisdom below).
    In order to do the above function well, the Government must have Wisdom and Knowledge. 2Chr 1:10-11 tells us Solomon asked for wisdom and knowledge and God give him that and with it comes possessions, wealth, honor,  the life of those who hate you, and long life.

    In Ancient Chinese Classics, we can find 8 functions/ministries of the Government: 《周书·洪范》三, 八政 8 Ministries:
      一曰食 food, agriculture, production and distribution of food
      二曰货 things or commodities or trades
      三曰祀 worship, ie. rules of conduct,  laws and order
      四曰司空 minister of works and of infrastructure
      五曰司徒 education
      六曰司寇 crimes control
      七曰宾 foreign affairs
      八曰师 army

    7 Good Citizens DO:
    1. Respect & honor     Rom. 13:7
    2. Obey     - Rom 13:1; Titus 3:1; I Pet. 2:13
    3. Pay taxes     Lk. 20:25; Rom. 13:6,7
    4. Pray for government     - I Tim. 2:2
    5. Stand against evil.
    6. Set Righteous Standards - Thy will be done on earth as it is in heave
    7. Good to Serve in public office & in military
    8. Disobey Only if laws are contrary to the Bible
         1. Not mere personal disagreement with ideology or policies
         2. Biblical examples
              a. Daniel - prayer - Dan. 6
              b. Peter - preaching - Acts 5:27-30
              c. Paul - Acts 16:35-40; Acts 17:7
    8 What is the Christians' Good Life?
    1. freedom to worship God and relationship with God
    2. in peace and righteousness - safety, harmony, family relationships
    3. abundance & long life - good health
    4. education - wisdom & knowledge to create wealth and promote harmony
    5. caring for the needy and defending their rights.

    Could be Evil is NOT Evil

    Crude Thinking Misled - Don't be in politics because politics is dirty.

    I did not know how come I have the strange and wrong idea that since politics(defined as participation in the activities of forming a government to run the town, city, or country) is dirty therefore good Christians should not be involved in politics.  On the surface, this logic look right. We are taught that we are to abstain from all forms of evil (1 Thes 5:22). Hence, if something is dirty/evil, we should not participate in it.

    Refinement Clarifies - Could be vs It is

    But we must examine the details. Break into parts, politics and dirty.

    Is politics evil or politics could be evil?

    Is government evil or government could be evil?

    We find that government, politics, businesses are meant for good. But some how in such systems, there are evil people who enter it to misuse it to create evil in it. Such is the job of the devil - enter any good system, exploit the loop holes, and create evil with it, and then keep the good people from eliminating the created evil.

    Could be evil (used by evil for evil) is very different from it is evil.

    Stealing and murdering are evil per se and we should abstain from them.
    But politics and government, economic and business systems are for good. They could be misused for evil. It is not them that are wrong but the people that misuse and abuse them that are evil. Such evil people should be taken out and not the system. Hence, we can say that

    The Systems are and meant for good but are not perfect with loopholes for being misuse and abuse by evil people.

    Some systems are better than others in the sense of less loopholes for abuse, more tolerances for errors, or more responsive to changes but not over-responsive to create instability, more transparent, more accountable and counter-balancing and so forth.

    Withdrawal Encourages Evil

    If Christians withdrawn from being in politics then we could not ensure that the government practices the righteous teachings of the Bible.

    Withdrawal will result in evil taking over.

    May God give us wisdom to design better and better system for good.

    Nevertheless, with the presence of sin in men, and evil of the devil, any system will be subjected to abuse for evil. But don't blame the system and withdrawn from it.

    The economic, the social, the political systems are designed for good but not perfect to prevent evil. There are some subsystems or schemes within that are designed for evil and for cheating like gambling,  ponzi scheme which we must watch out for. The banking system in not evil per se but could be abuse. They could be improved.


    Join in the system to put it right and cast out the evil within.

    2011-05-07

    We Think with Our Hearts First then Our Minds

    Most of us think that we think with our minds.

    So in many of our discussions with friends, we are very puzzled why the other party does not see the obvious logic and reasoning of our point of view. The feeling is actually mutual. The other party is also very upset that we don't see it from their point of view. To a person who believes in some conspiracy story, any fact presented is just another evidence in support of the conspiracy story. To a person whose mind is made up, any event shall be interpreted according to the already made up mindset. A mind that is made up is actually a strong belief hold deeply and dearly in the heart.

    We actually don't reason with our minds but with our hearts first. 

    We see and interpret things according to our strongly held beliefs in our heart.  To have a meaningful discussion and a discovery of insights, we need to have a heart that is at rest or at peace. One without any motives, desires, angers or fear. This was highlighted as Righteous and Fair Heart 正心 in the "Doctrine of The Great Learning".

    Paul, in his letter to Timothy in 1 Tim 1, gave him instructions about how to prevent false doctrines:
    1Ti 1:3  ... I urged you to stay in Ephesus so that
      you could instruct certain people to stop teaching false doctrine
    1Ti 1:4  and occupying themselves with myths and endless genealogies. These things promote controversies rather than God's ongoing purpose, which involves faith.

    1Ti 1:5  The goal of this instruction is
        love that flows from
        a pure heart, from
        a clear conscience, and from
        a sincere faith.

    1Ti 1:6  Some people have left these qualities behind and have turned to fruitless discussion.
    1Ti 1:7  They want to be teachers of the law, yet they do not understand either what they are talking about or the things about which they speak so confidently.
    ....
    1Ti 1:18-19  Timothy, my child, I am giving you this instruction ...
     so that by following them you may continue to
     fight the good fight with faith and a good conscience.
     By ignoring their consciences, some people have destroyed their faith like a wrecked ship.
    We can see from above that false doctrine comes from ignoring, leaving the "love coming from a pure heart, clear/good conscience, sincere faith". Conscience and faith are repeated twice.

    Love, conscience, faith, pure heart are of the heart and not of the mind. This teaching is similar to the Ancient Chinese use of "Righteous, Fair Heart".

    Paul repeated this teaching in another form in Titus 1:5 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.

    The way see and reason things actually starts from our hearts
    1. our strongly held beliefs (others will call them prejudices and biases), 
    2. states of heart - bitter, anger, worry, fear, lusts, desires and motives.
    When our hearts are not at rest (in peace), we will distort the things we see and hear. We will project our own biases into the things that are not there. We will come out with our own distorted conspiracy theories of all kinds. We will also strongly defend such distortions.

    With a distorted heart, we come out with distorted doctrines to gain support to justified our distortion and to calm our conscience! Hurt people hurt people. Insecured people are controlling and manipulative people. They are also proud and cannot admit mistake or say sorry. They are the blamer and the attacker. Check our hearts and learn how to love them. May God give us the grace, the strength and wisdom to spread His love.

    Lessons for Us:
    1. We reasons first with hearts not our mind. So we must check our hearts. Are our hearts at peace? Is our conscience clear? Is our faith right, sincere? Are there motives that we are not aware of? Are there worries and fear? 
    2. Find out the hearts of the other person as well. But we might do it with love and grace. Begins with love and care and find out the deeper issues that he/she is concern about. What are their dreams or pains if they care to share.
    3. Stay on the facts and try not to over read between the lines. Don't label or brand. A lot of things could be due to misunderstanding and hence must have clarity. Apply the BVITS operators to give a fair view. Look for the context/environment where this happen, where are the boundaries, divide the issues to get clearer details, see it over scope and time, what will the extremes look like, are the roles clear - who is outsourced, who is insourced, what it will look like if we mess it up, how it looks when inverted, etc.
    4. Withdraw from discussion when we ourselves loose our peace. We can come back next time after have gained back our pure heart.
    5. There is no need for winning argument. What we want is a changed heart and that rarely take place over one dialogue and will never take place over a agitated heart.
    6. Guard Our hearts in at all times. Prov 4:25 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life..
    7. We think and reason with our hearts first - try to speak to the heart first and then the cold mind logic. Package logic with sweet coating to ease the heart. Use heart-centric logic. Convert "I'm blind please help" to "It is a beautiful day and I can't see it" - See The Power of Word.