Imitation of Christ & Living Out Christ

We are all called to be Christ's clone in the world Rom 8:29. We are to imitate Christ. But we all know that Christ's model is of the highest standard and we have trouble imitating it. There are many who shy away from admitting they are Christians in front of others because they know that even non-believers has some high expectation of Christians. There are some who decline leadership because they don't think they can live up to the standards required of leadership.

In my own experience, when being reminded of the need to correct some bad behavior, or to start some new pr0ject, I told God that it was very hard of me. I argued that it is the way I was built. I am strong in there and weak in here. Can you, God, let it go ? But God reminded me that it was not a good accuse. He understands our weaknesses and hence has given us Jesus Christ in Us (CIU) Col 1:27. We have --- 2Co 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." And ---2Co 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Our imitation of Christ is only possible when we draw from the Grace that is in Christ in us. We need to live out the Christ in us. It is impossible to live to Christ's standard by our own effort.


Bible for Business" Seminar#3

We had a wonderful discussion in "Bible for Business Seminar#3" yesterday night. We use "Breadtalk" as illustration of a mission statement showing how mission statement influence the way do our business. Most of the materials covered were given in BJ#2 Have A Mission Statement. We encouraged all to review their mission statement using the following guidelines:
  1. Inspiring ?
  2. Long Term Value and Worth - treasures of the heart.
  3. Singleness in Purpose
  4. Action Verbs: GO, Become, Be .....
  5. The Scope, the How and the What of resources.
  6. Targeted & Concise & Easily Understood & communicated.
Sometimes, we may need look at what is not to help us clarify our mission statement.

As our resources are limited. We stress on removing waste. Waste are those those activities that do not contribute to the accomplishment of your mission. We should channel those resources into activities that do support the mission. There is the need to prioritize our activities and use of resources. A participant shared that we should follow the Holy Spirit one step at a time.

The next seminar is on 8 Jan 2008 8pm at Church. It will be "Discovering your Calling and setting your personal Mission statement". See you there.

The participants, about 17, gave the seminar an overall rating of 90%. Some feedbacks were:

What they Liked Best:
  1. Discovering your caling for God in having/forming a mission and praying for a vision-looking forward to understand that for our busines. All explaned is valuable and helpful
  2. The fact that all bases are covered starting with the foundations of understanding who God made you to be and how to articulate it through having a personal and business mission statement. Looking forward to covering "vision" segement. Thanks again.
  3. BZ mission + vision must tough life, relationship + network(value)
  4. "Mission statement - why it is so important & crucial
  5. Asking the right questions."
  6. Perspective of mission
  7. How to define your mission and vision. Showing example how corporation work
  8. The Q&A session. Inspired me to think deeper into the topic of discussion.
  1. more image or illustrations linked to the topics
  2. advertise this seminar to greater group of audience
  3. try not to rush the topic too fast
On Speaker
  1. very knowledgeable, full of passion
  2. bring Holy Spirit in to the subject. E.g. How Holy Spirit can help in the achievement of your mission


Giving & Receiving in Christmas

Christmas is about the greatest gift of God, His Son, Jesus Christ, to man.
It is the greatest from God's viewpoint - His only Son given to die and to pay for man's sin.
It is the greatest from man's viewpoint - Man can now live forever with God.

We catch the spirit of the loving God - giving of Himself.
We say the spirit of Christmas is about giving.

However, now that God, in His love, has given us the best and greatest gift, it is more important for us to receive His gift of love.

A gift of love not received is a great pain to the giver. The greater the love and the gift, the greater the pain that rejection causes. Don't reject this love from God. Receive His gift of Jesus Christ.

I prayed that in this Christmas, many will truly receive the Gift of Jesus Christ from God and be born anew into a new joyful relationship with God the Father. The very wish of God the Father is for us to receive His Son, the Gift.

Let us learn to receive the gifts of love from those who dearly love us this Christmas.
Christmas is more than just giving but also properly receiving the gifts of love, especially, the receiving the greatest Gift of all from God our heavenly Father.


Culturally Savvy & Connectedness

It is always nice to know that your thought and ideas are shared by some people with greater influence, such as authors or famous preachers.

The idea is that for the Gospel to be preached more effectively, we need to understand and appreciate the culture into which it is shared. See the mission and vision statement of my church, Petra Church. In the past, when the gospel was brought from the West into the East, they tend to impose their western cultures and practices into the Eastern population that they were reaching. They condemned the spiritually neutral traditions and practices as demonic and insisted on removing them. (Of course, there were also many eastern practices that were and are demonic. Such traditions and practices need to be stopped.) It ended with creating a Christians subculture and Christianity being branded as Western Religion with the implication that it is not acceptable and should be rejected by the people. Whereas in actual historical fact, the origin of the Christian faith comes from the east and the teachings and practices of Christianity and the Jews are very much like the Chinese. The other religions had done a much better job for integrating the local cultures into their religion. We need to be wise to differentiate the spiritual and spiritually neutral content of the cultures and traditions first before we blatantly proclaim they are demonic. We need to appreciate and connect to the cultures so that the impact of the Gospel can be more effective.

The author is Dick Staub and his book is The Culturally Savvy Christian: A Manifesto for Deepening Faith and Enriching Popular Culture in an Age of Christianity-Lite
While the book is more relevant to the US society, the key points are applicable to those of us in the East. We must always make sure the church stay connected and relevant to the people of different cultures, by race, by age-group, by life-styles, by professions, etc, that we are reaching. One message that touched me most is "Be an artist who is deeply Christian, not a Christian artist. C S Lewis quipped that we don't need Christian writers, we need great writers who are Christian. Instead of creating a separation, we need to connect to influence them and to be adopted.

To influence others come with understanding and appreciating them first. Habit#3, of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is seek first to understand and then be understood. If I don't think you understood me, my feelings, thoughts and need, I don't think I can accept or trust your advice. This is precisely what Paul is sharing in
  • 1Co 9:20-23 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; (21) To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. (22) To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. (23) And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
To connect, we may run the risks of becoming like them. v21 stressed that we are to maintain our special identity (under the law to Christ), that we may give the light and salt of the gospel.

Let begins by understanding another culture first and then bring our gospel to them.


Freedom - it is without limits?

Is freedom really without limits?

The levels of Freedom are:
  1. Freedom from Bondage
  2. Freedom of choice of action
  3. Freedom to choice of not to act
Level 1 Freedom from Bondage
This level 1 freedom is easier to understand. We are freed from bondage of sin, sickness, bad habits, bad temper, demonic harassment and other. Another word for it is "Deliverance". This is a key essence of the gospel.
  • (Luk 4:18) "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed
Even nature needs to be freed from the law of entropy ....
  • (Rom 8:21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
Level 2 Freedom of choice of action
Since we are set freed, we have the ability to choose our actions. However, are there no limits to our freedom. The following verses tell us that our freedom is in Christ Jesus.
  • (Gal 2:4) And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage
  • (Gal 5:1) Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
If freedom is in Jesus Christ, then outside of Christ, there is no freedom. There is therefore a limit to our freedom. If we try to use our freedom outside of Christ, we will get back into bondage and be enslaved by sin or the devil.

With freedom then comes the responsibility and accountability for our actions. While we are free to act, we have to be responsible and be accountable to the consequences that our action bring.

Even just considering ourselves, our bodies have limitations. There are only so much activity, we could do without harming our bodies. There are natural laws controlling this universe. Try defying the law of gravity without aids and the consequence is death - complete lost of freedom in that law defying act.

Level 3 Freedom of Choice of No Action

Most people stressed on freedom to act. But one of the choice of action is not to take action at all. This is clearly highlighted in 1 Cor 8 about eating food offered to idols. While we are free to eat, we choose not to, for the love of our brother.
  • (1Co 8:13) Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
For people who stress on freedom to do anything, how about stressing on freedom to love.
  • (Gal 5:13) For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
Freedom to love bonds us! There are many actions we would not do because of love. Of course, there are much much more actions that we could do to express our love to others.

As we are not alone but vitally linked to one another, we freedom has limits that we choose to adhere to, because of love and relationship for one another. In this light, freedom without limits and consideration for self and others could be called "destruction".


Know Do Gap

Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The word "know" in the greek is ginosko G1097.

According to the appendix of the Companion Bible

  • ginosko = to know (by experience, or effort);.....
Freedom comes from not just knowing the Truth but by doing the Truth and then experience it.
Knowledge without doing is insufficient.

If we just gain knowledge by reading, hearing or watching videos or TVs, without any intention of doing it, then we are just entertaining ourselves. The purpose of learning is to have a change in our mindset, attitude and our behaviour. True learning occurs when there is behavioural changes.

I would like to recommend these two books that address the "Know Do Gap" very well.
They are:
The first book the authors give eight guidelines for action (rephased by me. Read original book for original wording):
  1. Know Why before How to have the motivation and learning effectiveness to put into practice. Chinese says 活用 - ability to apply it with wisdom and flexibility.
  2. True Knowing Comes from Doing and Teaching Others How.
  3. Planning without Actions is useless. Decision to act is not good enough. Must have follow-up to ensure execution.
  4. Must allow for failure and learning from them because doing is not without Mistakes.
  5. Fear prevent us to learn new things and try new things. So we must remove them.
  6. Internal Competition is not a good way to encourage progress in general (see the book for specific instances that it is ok).
  7. Must Measure the important matters else we don't know the progress and correction.
  8. Leaders have the influence on actions by the resources allocated.

The second book is a much shorter and easier to read. It highlights the need to read again and again, spaced repetitions to absorb the content. We should learn less but with more depth, especially putting them into practice. We should read with open possibility mind and believe we can do it (see Rule#5). We should put them into practice by having a follow-up plan with structure, support and accountability (see Rule#7 & 8). The author also support Rule#2 - sharing and teaching others as closure to knowledge well learned.

So, if you are not experiencing the freedom you are promised, it is very likely that you have not put the knowlege into actions yet. Habits, in thought and behaviour, are difficult to change. Habits are formed through repetitions and hence to change them need repetitions too. Don't give up... do it again and again until success.


Christian Transformation & Growth -The Unified Model

Our life today is affected by our past experiences especially the emotional wounds. Hence, there is a need to investigate the past and obtain closure. Such practices are known as inner healing. Recently, with the development of Positive Psychology, there is shifting in trend from fixing problems into growing your strengths for excellence. We present here the unified model ... under the general practice of living and following the Holy Spirit, we discover and develop our strength to glorify God. We also, when guided by the Holy Spirit, dig back into our past to face our hurts and get the needed healing.

After we have been saved, we begin the journey of growth and transformation, to becoming more and more like Christ (Rom 8:29). In the process of growth, we don't rely on our own ability but depend on the new identity and the Christ within (Col 1:27, 2Co 4:7). We are to live out our salvation (Phi 2:12b).

When we are saved, it is our spirit that is born anew (The Tripartite Man). Our soul and body remain the same. God did not remove our past but just change our spiritual identity. Our new identity is strong enough to face up the hurts of the past and overcome the challenges ahead. We are complete in Christ Col 2:10. Christ has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness 2 Pet 1:3. We just need to feed and let the new identity grows up and lead our soul and body. In this growth process, we are to learn how to use the power of God within to overcome our past and live up to the new image of Christ (See Christ within and Glory without in How to be King).

Two Forces at Work

There are two forces at work as shown in the diagram below:

1. One is the resistance to stop our growth.
  • Our sins and past hurts in our Souls would like to drag us down
    • Our past unsettled sin, disobedience. Sins that we face up with confessed and repented will not bind us. While God forgives all our sins, past, present, and even future through Christ Jesus' full payment on the Cross two thousand years ago, we have to face up with our sins to break free from them. 
    • Soul Hurts: refer to emotional wounds, rejections, abuses that we suffered in the past. Some of the hurts we retain as bitterness and hatred. Others were stored in our subconscious and raised up now and then to trouble us.
    • Ungodly Beliefs (or Wrong Belief about the Truth) such as thinking of God not as a loving Father but as a fearful, judgmental and vengeful God really to catch and punish sins. Performance for acceptance and love is also a big lie that binds us in insecurity. See Journey of Life - Victory or Defeat.
    • Generation Curse. The curse of ancestor sins not dealt with. 
    • Mental Illness.
  • Devil's resistance.
    The devil will like to harass us and resist our growth. The devil will 
    • do it directly or 
    • uses others and (e.g. Using Peter in 16:23 to stop Jesus to go the cross)
    • even circumstances
2. The Other is the Forward Moving Power.
  • New Identity of Godly character, righteousness. Talents are given by God. The key is focused on the Holy Spirit, the strength and talents that God has given, and managing the weaknesses. Good habits formation and character development take time. Hope, focus on the future good, the prize, forgetting the past, as Paul exhorted us in Php 3:12-14.
  • Holy Spirit & Christ within, spiritual gifts, guidance, motivation.
These two, unloading and run forward, is given by Paul in Heb 12:1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
    An expanded version is shown below:
      Strategies for Growth

      The strategies for our growth are based on 2 verses in the Bible.

      1. To grow, we could get rid of the load of past sins and past emotional baggage.

      This is done through inner healing methods like TPM (Theophostic Prayer Ministry), Dr. Grant Mullen "Emotionally Free", and where the Bible and Holy Spirit is involved in facing the hurts, the lies, the forgiveness, and the healing with the love of God (Rom 8:2)
      This 1st strategy only returns a person to normal. It is not enough for excellent and victorious living. We need to apply the 2nd strategy.

      2. To move towards our Unique Calling and the Vision that God has set for us.

      We must discover for ourselves, our unique calling from God. Our unique calling is related to the talents or giftings that God has so created us. On top of these talents, we acquire skills and knowledge that result in strengths for achieving high performance. We also rely on the Spiritual Gifts(1Cor 12) that God has given to each of us. We live and walk by the Spirit, Gal 5:18, 22-25. (* thanks to Desmond for pointing out this error, change to Gal from Rom in the original posting).

      The various growth models are shown in the diagram below:
      1. For John's Model of "Child-Adult-Father" see Bible Study 1 John Chapter 2 The Stages of Spiritual Growth.
      2. See also  Five Habits for Effective Christian Living
      3. For the Six Stage Spiritual Growth Model see Stages of Faith: A Map for the Spiritual Journey(the linked file no longer exists), can refer to this   or this


      Bible for Business" Seminar#2

      We just conducted the 2nd session of "Bible for Business" Seminar in our Petra Church.
      It will be done on every 2nd Wed of the month. The next one is on 12 Dec. Hope to see you there.

      We covered the The Golden Rule for personal & business success and go into the introduction for mission, vision and values by speaking on the The Temptations of Jesus where we understand the pressures to cause us to doubt our identity, disrupt our vision/destination and detour us from the right paths.

      I pointed out a new book "How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything...in Business" by Dov Seidman that told us the business world has changed, due to globalisation and digital technology, from what to how, from war to collaboration, from can to should etc. The principles taught in the book is very similar to the Bible principles we had covered in Business by Jesus postings. You can get more details about the book from the howmatter website. The
      The Journey to How download gives you a picture of the change.


      The Temptations of Jesus

      The Temptations of Jesus
      Your identity is given by God and there is no need to prove to anyone at all. Surely it needs not be proven by external means. Does your parents need to prove to you or vice versa? Secondly, God has created the laws, spiritual and natural, for us to follow and not for us to violate for what we deems good. Lastly, there should not other gods than God. Never place wealth or glory above God and try to use God to gain them.
      Luke 4:1-13 and Mat 4:1-10. The order of temptations is different in the two records.
      Luke has it as 1-if Son then rock to bread, 2-worship-me for earthly glory&power, 3-If Son then throw yourself down

      Matthew has it as 1-if Son then rock to bread, 2-if Son then throw yourself down, 3-worship-me for earthly glory & power. We will follow the Matthew's order.

      1. His Identity
      • Our identity determines who we are, how we think, what we value, what we do and what we become - our destination.
      • Our identity need not and cannot be validated by a third party. Do not let others or external things define who you are. If so, we will come under control of another and loose our own identity. e.g. most people derive their identity from their job. If you ask them who they are, they will reply, "I am a teacher, or an engineer or a businessman". It is no wonder that when they loose their job, they are lost and depressed. Legalism, following the letters without the spirit, is a form of control and abuse.
      • Hence, we can see Jesus need not prove to Satan or anyone about his identity. His identity is defined by God. He know where comes from and where He is going. Satan typical temptation is to cast doubt ... Are your sure ? Do it to prove it....
      • Satan challenged Jesus twice to prove His identity - 1st one is physical, stone to bread, appealed to Jesus' physical hunger need. Jesus show him that man is more than just physical ... man is spiritual and spiritual food is of greater importance. While bread is what Jesus need at this moment and it is legitimate and good for Jesus to have bread but 'doing the Right thing' at the right time in the right situation is more important than doing the good thing’.
      • For many of us, Satan through people around us, our parents, friends, bosses etc, through abuse, rejections, or shame tactics (some supposedly for our good), to tell us that we are defective, useless and weak. Our identify should be defined by God and not by others, or circumstances. Such lies about our identity should be corrected).
      • Joel Osteen had a good message on this. See Joel Osteen - Message #462 - "Don't Let People Label You
        2. Trustworthiness of God & Presumptuous Living
        • The 2nd temptation on identity was spiritual since the physical one did not work. First one challenges our identity. Second one challenges His beliefs in the Bible and the trustworthiness of God. This resembles Eve' temptation "Did God said?" with "Didn't God say?".
        • Satan quoted from the Bible to challenge Jesus (in answer to Jesus quoting the Bible to answer him. Just plainly quoting the bible is of no use. We must understand the Bible correctly so that Satan cannot use the Bible to mislead us). But the principle remained the same, man should follow God and not challenge God. Jesus has no need to prove to the devil of who he is. God has no need to prove to us that He is God. It is for us to know Him. God has revealed Himself to man in the creation and given us His word through the Bible and His Son Jesus.
        • Secondly, There is no need for Jesus to prove God's promises either. He knows and His will is to do the Father's will. If there be the need, the protection show show up. e.g. a very similar thing happened here ....
        • Luk 4:29-30 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. (30) But passing through their midst, he went away.
        • This temptation has a further meaning - presumptuous living or life style. We have the promises in the Bible, but it does not mean we can take life for granted and live life carelessly or dangerously, testing the promises of God. God promises us good health and healing. But that does not mean we can live unhealthy lifestyles - drinking, taking drug, no rest, taking junk foods, etc....
        3. The Journey to Destination - A De Tour or Short Cut
        • When the devil fails in the 1st Identity challenge (he fails to get us to question who we are), he will tempt us to move away from the path that God want us to take.
        • Here, Satan want Jesus to take the short-cut to glory ... the instant gratification. It is let's make a deal now. Why go through the long and suffering process ? Do it, the shorter way to your destination.
        • There is no short-cut to maturity. It is paved with little steps of experience and learning and sometime overcoming large steps of tragedies, hurts, persecutions and betrayals.
        Some felt that the temptations of Jesus is similar to the temptations of Eve: 1st appeal to the flesh (Gen 3:6 good for food); 2nd pleasant to the eyes and 3rd make one wise like God and corresponding to 1 John 2:6 of lust of the flesh, eyes and pride of life(the glory).

        In summary. we must know and be sure of our identity and then of destination and then the journey of living life rightly, not seems good to us, to reach the destination and calling of God. There is only one way to live, the right way defined by the Bible. While there are many good and legitimate ways, appealing to the flesh, the mind, the pride of glory and power, there is only one Right way - Choose right, not just what seems to be good.

        This posting is influenced by the message of A R Bernard(highly recommended - He called it the cycle of temptations: identity -> destination -> lifestyle. Devil would want you to question your identity, misled your destination(short cut to false glory), get you to live in careless lifestyle(do the stun and let God protects you).) and some Bible Commentaries.

        Update 16 Nov 2014
        Ps Oh Peng Kee gave us a good message on worship and preached about the Temptations of Jesus too. There are some additional new lights received besides those described above. Rock is meant for building and not for eating. Bread is meant for eating. Turning rock into bread is like violating the original purpose of things by using God's authority and power. It is a clear case of abuse of one's power and authority. Jesus will never do that - to abuse or misuse His authority or power.  Jumping from the steeple and expecting angels to save them is also violating the law of gravity created by God. It is like an encouragement to violate God's laws! Ps Oh's summary of the temptations are:

        1. Worship of God is not about satisfying our own desires.
        2. Worship of God is not to test God for our own purpose.
        3. Worship of God is not having other gods besides Him.

        The Watering Down of God's Word in Translations

        In my bible study this morning, I was reading 1 Cor. 'to be' in italics caught my attention. Let's consider 1 Cor 1:2 in the various translations:

        • (KJV) Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

        In the KJV version, 'to be' is kept in italics form to remind readers that the words are not there in the original Greek. However, in other modern translations like ESV, GW etc, the to be are not italicised and the reader cannot tell them apart anymore.

        In the NASB translation, the 'to be' is not there. See
        • (NASB) To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
        The Fuss on 'to be'
        You may be wondering what is the fuss about the 'to be'. To me, 'to be' and 'are' are worlds apart. 'to be' is not yet and is the process to become, whereas, are is already there. Let's read some more translations, those without the 'to be',...
        • (ALT) To the assembly [or, church, and throughout epistle] of God, the one being in Corinth, to the ones having been sanctified [or, made holy] in Christ Jesus, called holy ones [or, saints, and throughout epistle], with all the ones calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, both theirs and ours:
        • (BBE) To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been made holy in Christ Jesus, saints by the selection of God, with all those who in every place give honour to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:
        • (MSG) I send this letter to you in God's church at Corinth, Christians cleaned up by Jesus and set apart for a God-filled life. I include in my greeting all who call out to Jesus, wherever they live. He's their Master as well as ours!
        • (Murdock) to the church of God which is at Corinth, to the [people] called and sanctified, who are sanctified in Jesus Messiah; and to all them, in every place, who invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Messiah, their and our [Lord]:
        The above cited translations show that we are, not to become, set apart, selected and sanctified and called holy ones. We already are saints and not to become saints. We live out our sainthood in this world as the testimony for the Christ within us. We are not to struggle by our own effort to become. To put in another way, we are victorious already. We are not fighting to win a war. We are already the victor proclaiming our victory and recovering the land lost. See "Be-Do-Have" of Grace Based Doctrine

        This post is not to tell you which translated versions of the Bible are better. Some translations are better for certain verses. This post is to encourage us to read the Word with greater care and to use as many translations as possible to fully understand the Word.


        Platinum Rule - Loves as Jesus - NT Extends OT

        In our home group meeting last Friday (26 Oct 2007), there was discussion about the people who were given visions of hell saw people suffering there as a result of not-forgiving others. Mat 6:15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Someone commented that if one does not forgive, he cannot taste the forgiveness of God and may still leave in defeat even though saved.
        The verse is before Christ's cross (ie. OT way). After the cross, the verse in the NT is forgiving comes from new character of God.
        • Col 3:13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
        • Eph 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
        On Sunday, Ps JK preached on "Forgiveness". He cited the golden rule
        • Mat 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
        The golden rule was actually the summary of the Laws & Prophets. ( I usually add a qualification of cultural sensitivity where the way to express love differs culturally - giving of roast pig is a Chinese way of showing honor and appreciation but could be insulting to other cultures and religions.). In the NT, we should forgive as Jesus forgave us ... or do as Jesus do, love as Jesus loves, or more precisely, love as and with Jesus' love. He called it the Platinum Rule - Love as Jesus.

        In a message that I preached last year (30 Apr 2006) on "The New Commandment",
        • 1John 3:23 And this is his commandment,
        • (1) That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and
        • (2) love one another, as He gave us commandment.
        The Love-God of the OT becomes "Believing in His Son Jesus Christ"
        The Love others as yourself becomes "Love one another as Jesus with His Love"

        By believing in Jesus, we are rebirthed with His New Life and we are filled with His Character and Love. With His love in us, we are then able to love others and to forgive others.

        Someone mentioned that loving others as yourself is not trustworthy enough ( How do I know whether you love yourself or not? and what you like may not be what I like...). It is better to love as Jesus loves and with His love in us.

        While we are on the subject on forgiveness, we need to clarify and get rid of some misunderstanding about forgiveness.
        1. Forgiveness is about the hurt, the debt and not the debtor.
        2. You can forgive the debt by yourself alone . You do not need the corresponding action of the offender.
        3. You can only be freed by forgiving... otherwise , you are bond by bitterness (that the offender may not even be aware of ). It is all about you. You grow by forgiving.
        4. You should not and never wait for the offender to make the restitution or apology. He may not know. He may not be able. He may be gone (death, or un-contactable). He may not even care.
        5. Forgiveness is not Reconciliation. Reconciliation is a relationship and needs the offender to admit or clarify. You can forgive and need NOT has or want to has relationship with him. Relationship depends on the other party as well. Rom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
        6. Forgive does not meant you trust. The forgiven person needs to earn your trust again if he has betrayed your trust before.
        7. Consider your future, do you want to be trapped ?
        8. Consider the forgiveness that you have received from others and from Jesus Christ.


        BJ#11a Attention to Details - 6 Sigma Life

        Many people has the misunderstanding that importance is dependent on size; only big things matters; small things are insignificant can be ignored or poorly done. They are confused about strategies and the execution. Strategy is about doing the right things to achieve the vision and mission of an organization. Execution is about doing the right strategies rightly. We must do both well, namely, formulating the right strategies and execute them correctly. The 1st phase is about innovations and designs for differentiation and the 2nd phase is about careful execution according to plan. (Let me at this stage also point out quickly that execution to plan does not mean don't change the plan when situations changes. Execution according to plan include monitoring against planned targets and seeking causes for variation from plan. If variation is not as per expected (6 sigma) , we need to fix the systems and/or change the plan. In fact, it is in this close monitoring of variation that we can detect changes in environment).

        Attention to the details (and its variation) is the key to execution. The Bible teaches us that.
        • Luke 16:10 "One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
        Ability to handle large things is dependent on the ability to handle small things first. The one who is negligent (defective effort, processes, or products) in small, will also be negligent in big items. The "Chaos Theory" teaches us about the 'butterfly effect' - a butterfly flagging its wings in Singapore can cause a Tornado in New York; a small variation in some parameters' value can cause big fluctuations over time. This verse can be called the "Chaos Theory" of the Bible.

        The subsequent verses repeated the same key theme "little thing affects the outcome" -
        • Luk 16:11 If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?
        If you cannot handle small amount of value, you cannot be entrusted with high value things. See why some persons are missed out in promotion ? See why some contract proposals are lost ?

        Let me take a detour here to talk about "unrighteous wealth". There are people who cited this verse (and similar ones) to say that money is evil. This is not true. Money is amoral. Paul explained it well in 1Ti 6:10 'For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils'. It is the love of money, making it the idol to pursue, that is evil. This is the same meaning that Jesus stressed in this context that you cannot serve Money and God. "Unrighteous wealth" is used, in context, in comparison to the true riches. In comparison to true riches, money becomes unrighteous, false or counterfeit riches. A better translation for 'unrighteous money' is 'money-the counterfeit riches'. This is similar to the "hate your parents" in Luk 14:26. By loving Jesus more relative to our parents, we will appear to hate them. This teaching is not about hating our parents, because everywhere else in the Bible, we are taught to honor our parents. It is about loving Jesus more.

        If we are unable to handle something of lesser value, money - false riches, we cannot be promoted to handle the true riches. Stating in reverse, if we want to handle things of higher value, we must begin now to handle things of lower value faithfully. Greatness begins with faithful handling of little things.

        Let's look at another bible verse....
        • Mat 14:20 And they all ate and were satisfied.
          And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over.
        The left overs are waste (not needed anymore; they all ate enough already). Most people would leave them there. Ever visit the site after a big celebration, e.g. Christmas Celebration in Orchard Road? New Year Celebration ?).

        Jesus' work did not stop at feeding the 5 thousands. The 'wastes' were collected into 12 baskets full. There are a few lessons and principles there:
        1. Collect the waste (recycle), keep the place clean. No need extra labor to clean them up after they leave.
        2. Don't waste the food/materials. The by-product of re-cycling is cleanliness.
        3. Accumulation of 'little' of many people makes 12 baskets full of good food.
          Don't belittle little things. It could have great impact.
        4. Principle of God's Kingdom: There is no waste in God's Kingdom. By implication, everything in your life, including your failures, crisis, disappointments, sorrows are for your growth and benefits. There is no regrets in God's kingdom. Trust God's with your failures, learn from them and see you can work with God to convert them into greater blessings. The steps to success are labeled 'failures of all kinds'.
        Branding and Quality are all related to the attention to the details and the precisions.

        Anything worth doing is worth doing well. We do all to the glory of God. START NOW in paying attention to little things and being faithful to little thing (arriving on time, submitting the reports, an extra smile, a little more effort .....)


        "Bible for Business" Seminar#1

        We just conducted the 1st session of "Bible for Business" Seminar in our Petra Church.
        It will be done on every 2nd Wed of the month. The next one is on 14 Nov. Hope to see you there.

        We spoke on the topics to be covered in "Business by Jesus". The topics are united in the Corporate Performance Management(CPM) framework. CPM is the unified methodology for strategy design & execution for creating and sustaining high corporate performance and value. See the diagram below:

        A key focus of the talk is on roles of Kings & Priests and Business, see Secular vs Spiritual Jobs.
        A good illustration on Business Mission came out of the discussion.
        Consider the job of a teacher.

        1. Business for Mission.
        The Teacher work hard in his/her job to earn a salary. He/she give tithes and offerings to church and other mission work that share the gospel. Her priority is to earn money by teaching to give to church and mission. Money for mission is more important than the teaching. She will do very little witnessing herself as that job is to be done by the missionaries. Teaching is subordinated to earning. Would the teaching be his/her satisfaction ? Would he/she strive to be the best teacher?

        2. Business and Mission.
        The Teacher will do teaching to earn money for mission work and at the same time do mission-type work like running Cell-group, Bible Study Group, Alpha Group etc. When there is a conflict of time and resources, there is a struggle to decide to give to teaching or to mission.

        3. Business as Mission.
        The teaching itself is the mission. Teaching is the worship to God. He/she will model Christ in his/her teaching. He will love and teach and develop his students and use every opportunity to live out and to share the gospel to the students and their parents.

        Living out Godly standards and practices in our business is testifying for Christ. The way we run our business, our staff, our suppliers, our customers and our owners are should reflect our believes and our Lord Jesus Christ. The people see Christ through us.

        We discussed that sometime 'firing' a under performing staff, after setting expectations, giving opportunities for training and trying out again, is a loving thing to do for him. Not 'firing' him and keeping him in his under-performing jobs is not good for him and his colleagues. The loving thing to do is to help discover his strengths, look for other job openings, and give a good retrenchment benefits to tie over the time without job and so forth. (This discussion exclude the situations of criminal offenses and breaking Company regulations). One of the participant shared the experience of letting his average performing staff to keep her job until she find a new job that suit her strengths and interests.


        Secular vs Spiritual Jobs

        I don't know when this started - calling jobs as secular vs working full time in church as pastors as spiritual. During 'revival meetings', the preacher will call people to the front to get them to commit to their 'callings' from God. These callings generally implied a call into the full-time ministry work, especially missionary works. Have you ever heard of a calling into "Business" or "Movie" vocation?

        These narrow-minded thinking (God's calling means full-time mission work and only mission work is spiritual work; implying all other works are secular and not spiritual) result in much harm to the church and its effectiveness. For a church to be more effective and to have a greater impact, we have to break free from such narrow mindedness and biases. We are called to preach the gospel in the vocations that God has called us to be. In each of our vocations, there are many people that the pastors and preachers will not be able to reach. We are the ones anointed by God to reach the ones God put in our vocations.

        We can see some improvements in preachers who preach the "Kings and Priests" calling of
        • Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen
        • Rev 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
        However, they still suffer from dividing the calling into two vocations - some are called to be Kings and some are called to be Priests. They said Priests are to give the visions and Kings are to give the provisions. Implying businesses exist to give money to the church to execute the visions. I have a problem with this narrow-mindedness. Providing provisions for the church by the businesses is just too narrow again. I have no issue if a business is for the vision of Christ - i.e. pro the vision and not just provisions.

        The business itself has the vision to touch lives for Christ (the great commission) in ways that provide employment, products and services and the development of the nations they are in. They have great influence in showing how businesses should be run and how people should be treated. They show how 'Bible' should be lived.

        I prefer the ways Ken Eldred addressed this issue of Business and Missions in his book "God is at Work". The relationships can be expressed three ways:
        1. Business for Missions - the typical view
        2. Business and Missions - the improved view
        3. Business as Missions - the enlightened and correct view
        Putting Business as second fiddle to the mission and not seeing the business is the mission has caused the church miss out many businesses that are used by the enemy. e.g. the media and performing arts, technology etc.

        The gateways to a city are:

        A: Arts and Entertainment
        B: Business and Economics
        C: Church and Religions
        D: meDia and Distribution
        E: Education
        F: Family
        G: Government

        Let's not divided the gospels into compartments and keep people out. The message of the gospel should be the foundation and embedded in and show out in all the business and vocations that God has called and given us the abilities and strength to succeed in.

        1Co 10:31b whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

        Updated 25 Oct 2011 Lim Liat (C)

        "Be-Do-Have" of Grace Based Doctrine

        In the coaching and motivation world, there are lots of talk about the two different strategies of "Have Do Be" and "Be Do Have".

        Have-Do-Be is you must have resources first, say, money to pay for school fee in an Accounting course, then you do by studying and passing the exam, then you 'Be'come a qualified Accountant. You need to have money to buy a ticket to a movie, do the seeing the movie, and then be happy.

        Be-Do-Have is you act from identity of being first. Start with a "I'm successful" mentality, then act as if (if you can't fully believe, believe anyway), so you see opportunities where others miss them, you work harder when others give up, and you have successes. It is not what you have but what you are that determine the outcome. Take away the wealth from a successful person and he will get the wealth back again.

        Be-Do-Have is like seeing the vision, working out the plan to achieve, doing and executing the plan and then having the vision realized for others to see. Accomplishments - the haves, begin with a vision.

        In Christianity, the Be is a simple reception of Jesus as our Savior and Lord and then you are rebirthed from sinner to a Child of God having God's kind of Eternal Life. With the new identity, we just follow the Bible and the Holy Spirit and we will have the fruit of the Holy Spirit(Gal 5:22-23) of love, joy, peace and abundant life (John 10:10).

        Be-Do-Have is the working out of the Christ with in us. Phil 2:12. It is the Good Work (Eph 2:10) of Salvation (Eph 2:8-9).

        The traditional teaching of the Christ is trapped in the "Saved Sinner" concept of false humility and the practice of "Have-Do-Be" of trying to be holy..... have sin -> get rid of sin -> be holy! ?

        Christ has died to pay for all our sins. Christ is resurrected to give us New Identity. Let us humbly (not by our effort) receive this wonderful new identity of Godliness and Righteousness and proceed to do the work that result in Glory for God through us. We are more than conquerors (Rom 8:37) and we are overcomer (1Jn5:5) .

        You are not blessed because you are healed. You are healed because you are blessed. Similarly, you are not blessed because you are rich, but, you are rich because you are blessed. You 'are' first before you become. You are born a human being and you grow from a baby to become a man.

        Start with these mentality.


        Changing Behaviour (3) - Changing Mindset

        Continuing from Changing Behavior (2) - Causes,

        Here are 11 ways to change our mindset (thinking).

        #1 Create & Shared a Viable Vision
        A study on Philippians of Paul's ability to have joy even in prison discover the following keys:
        a. Mission
        • Php 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
        • Php 1:27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ
        • Php 1:25 shine a light in the world1:29 suffer for His sake
        b. Love
        • Php 4:6-7. Pray and Receive.
        c. Victory
        • Phi 1:6 he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
        • 2Co 2:14 always leads us in triumph
        d. Run towards the Goal
        • Php 3:13-14 ...But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

        #2 Reason with Facts & Seeing Realities
        An example in bringing unity in Corinthians.
        • 1Co 1:12 What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ." 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

        #3 Give Feedback - Consequences of the Behavior
        • e.g. Some bosses like to use "scolding" to get the right behavior from their staff. If only someone gives the feedback that it did not get desire result but actually created anger, defensiveness, depression, fear and eventually poor performance, they would use other means.

          #4 Trust - I believe in You.
          • 1Co 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus
          • Phm 1:4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers
          • Col 1:3 We always thank God, ..., when we pray for you
          • Php 1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you
          • Eph 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks... in my prayers,

          #5 Establish Urgency or Forced by a Crisis
          Real World Crisis or Simulated Crisis
          Example: Conversion of Paul
          • Act 9:4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"

          #6 Form Partnership
          • you need enough "power" to change
          • Act 13:46 And Paul and Barnabas
          • Act 15:40 but Paul chose Silas
          • Col 1:1 Paul & Timothy
          • 1Th 1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy
          • 1Co 1:1 Paul, ...and our brother Sosthenes,

          #7 Remove Obstacles & Provide Resources
          Reduce the obstacles to desire to change, or provide enough resources to overcome the hurdle.

          #8 Create Short-Term Wins
          Break a giant leap into smaller steps, climbing one step at a time

          #9 Celebrate Success
          Keep motivated with celebration and rewards.
          Minds can be changed when sufficient rewards (or punishments) are invoked.

          #10 Consolidate & Continue
          build momentum with the many, small victories, and continue on this path, stay the course,

          #11 Make it a Habit - Procedure & Practice
          • Find out the factors for success
          • Write it Down and Make it a Practice.
          • Share it will Others - Within the Corporate

          To make a good idea into a good habit:

          e.g. to listen more and talk less.
          1. Convert to a Goal and state the benefits.
            e.g. To listen rightly so that there is no misunderstanding.
          2. Make it a task that can be acted upon.
            e.g. I will listen and not interrupt the speaker.
          3. Have a measure and set a target.
            e.g. # of interruptions per day. Target is 0.
          4. Write an affirmation and repeat it frequently.
            e.g. I listen intently and don't interrupt.
          5. Act on it periodically - best daily, weekly, monthly.
            e.g. At end of each conversation, reflect on the interruptions made.
          6. Review it as frequently.
            e.g. At end of the day, review the accomplishments and see any correction needed.
          7. Get someone to monitor, support and hold us accountable as per review.
            e.g. That someone calls us daily to ask about our progress.
          8. A habit is formed after 21 repeated attempts.
          9. Share the experience and benefits with others.


            Changing Behavior (2) - Causes

            Continuing from Changing Behavior (1) Mine

            Depending on our personality types, some like changes while some like stability. Some are unhappy with the status quo and want changes. Some are happy with what they are and have and fight changes. But growth involves change. The greatest enemy of excellence is good or more specifically 'good enough already'.

            Our change in behavior can be caused by external forces and events or internally by our change of mind of change of heart. See the diagram below:

            The typical way of changing behavior is the application of external force or rewards. That is the easiest to start and with some persistent monitoring and application of restrain, we can force a trained-behavior. A popular illustration is the training of an elephant. When young, the elephant's foot is tied to a big tree trunk. It learned quickly that when its foot is tied, there is no way it can break free from it. As it grows older a chain tied to a stick is enough to keep the elephant at fixed location. The elephant mindset is trained or brain-washed. Similar thing happened to the Jewish Slaves in Egypt in Moses time. You can get them out of Egypt and you cannot get the Slaves Mentality out of them. Application of such restrain created personality type that is passive, withdrawn and depressed.

            Often, with teenagers, with much exposures to outside world, unlike the elephants, they can behave well when staying at home with their parents (where the parents can keep an eye on them) they behave well. But when they go overseas for study, they break free and do things that could upset their parents. Forced behavior without a true change internally is not lasting. When the force is removed, the old behavior comes back.

            The better ways to change is internal changes - change in MIND and change in Heart.

            A change in heart or identity begins with knowing and receiving Jesus Christ .... a rebirth experience. Once rebirth with a new identity, we have a different desire and motivation. With proper study of the Word and communication with the Holy Spirit, we have new values and transformed mind. Because we are made up of different personalities, what touches our hearts could be very different for different people. Jesus treated people according to their made-ups and have different ways of touching the innermost hearts. We should do the same.

            We shall cover the change of mind in the next posting Changing Behavior (3) - Changing Mindset


            Changing Behaviour (1) Mine

            Growth is change. Victorious living is about growth and is about change. We should take a positive view of change, no matter how bad the circumstances look, that change is the opportunity for me to grow.

            We begin this series of changing behavior by looking at changing ourselves first. In the subsequent post, we will discuss how we can help others change for the better.

            The attached picture show us why we make certain choices and why we behave in a certain way. What we are now, success or failure (note#3 in the map below), is the result of our behavior (#2) as the consequence of the choice(#1) we made. What we are now is the sum total of the choices we made in the past. If we want to change, it begins with changing our choices.

            Man is a tripartite being of spirit, soul(mind, will & emotion) and body. We need to understand our behavior and decision making through these 3 components. 
            • An opportunity in the Environment triggers us to make a choice.
            • Our choice is influenced by our emotion, knowledge & experience, our perception of the opportunity and our evaluation algorithm.
              • Knowledge: Guard our Mind. We should filter the information coming into our mind Mark 2:24.
              • Values and beliefs we hold in our heart (spirit): Guard our Heart. Remember that Christ is in us. We have the treasure in the earthen vessel. We should talk and think according to this truth .... positive attitude and positive self-talk. Let our heart be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit Prov 20:27.
            • One key point to note in decision making is our "emotional stress" distorts our thinking , or the evaluation algorithm. Under stressful conditions, we often make the wrong decisions. We should delay our decision making in most situations (except the life threatening emergencies) and let the peace in our heart be the guide.

              (ALT) Col 3:15 And let the peace of God be exercising control in your* hearts...

            Our action will change when our mindset is changed. Our action will change we our heart is changed. Our heart is changed by receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord.

            Next: Christianity Rediscovered: Changing Behavior (2) - Causes


            BJ#10a Golden Rule of Service

            In BJ#1 The Golden Rule for Business Success We have Mat 6:33 as the Golden Rule of Business. The next golden rule, for serving our customers, is the Golden Rule of Service
            • Mt 7:12 "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
            There are two key points to this rule.

            Firstly, the obvious one, it is about understanding their needs and then creating products and services that meet their needs - i.e. delivering the value that customers want.

            Secondly, by taking a perspective of time , it is about continually create new value for our customers. This is to be done through dedication, passion and innovativeness.

            "Industrial Clock-speed" by
            Charles H. Fine and "Living on the Fault Line" by Geoffrey A. Moore teach us that the competitive advantage created by a once great innovation is not sustainable in the long run. In the long run, the competitors and other industry factors will catch-up and commoditize the innovation. A continuous innovative culture must be fostered for the long term success of a company.

            - - - o o o - - -
            BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|-- BJ#11 Process & Execution


            Christianity is as Simple as 123

            This is what I learned from studying The Letter to the Colossians.

            Christianity is as Simple as 123 and living the victorious Christian life should be as easy as 123. The truth and the method are obvious. We need to know the Truth and then follow it through. For many of us, the Know and Do seems to be a big gap. Let talk about the simple truth first.

            The Simple Truth of 123.
            1. Jesus Christ is the Greatest.
            2. You have Christ in You.
            3. Just live OUT the Christ in us.
            1-Jesus Christ is the Greatest
            1. Jesus is God.
              He makes God visible so that we can know and relate to God. Col 1:15a
              God Himself was pleased to live fully in His Son Col 1:19
            2. He is the source - everything was created by Him. Col 1:16
            3. He is the purpose - everything was made for Him. Col 1:16b
            4. He is the energy that unite all - everything IS held together by Him Col 1:17
            5. He is above all things. Col 1:18c
            6. He is the Head of His body - the Church Col 1:18
            7. He brings Man back to God through His sacrifice on the cross Col 1:20
            8. He is the Key to God's mystery Col 2:2d. All wisdom and Knowledge are in Him Col 2:3
            9. He conquered all other powers and make a show of them Col 2:15
            10. He is all and in all Col 3:1b
            11. He is seated at the right hand of God. Col 3:1c
            2-We have Christ in Us & That's is sufficient

            The greatest mystery and wonder of all time that is now revealed is "Christ the Greatest dwells in Christians." Col 1:27c "Christ lives in you". Because we have the greatest in us, we are complete in Christ - Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.

            How can we have Christ in us ?
            1. Firstly, it is Christ who make the way possible by His death on the Cross of us. Col 1:20-22.
            2. Secondly, it is us, who receive Him into our lives by our faith in Him Col 1:23, Col 2:6.
            We don't need anything else.

            We just receive Christ by faith and we need not do anything else. False teachings and religions err in one main thing - we can save our selves by doing good work or we can make ourselves acceptable to God by doing good things. Christians cults say that Jesus' cross was not complete and you have to complete it by doing some good work. The religious teachings may sound wise but they come from the powers of this world and is of no use Col 2:8. Man's own definitions of good works (not God's, since man don't know God) are typical of 3 types (Col 2:
            1. Observance of rituals - days. Col 2:16
            2. Asceticism - abstinence of foods, enjoyments and other self-denial. Col 2:21-22
            3. Mysticism- special 'visions', deep knowledge, worship of angels. Col 2:18
            But these things have appearance of wisdom but no use in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Col 2:23. 1 Tim 4:1-6 makes it even clearer by saying these are the doctrines of devils.

            3-Live OUT the Christ within

            Because of the New Man in us (Col 3:10,12), we have a New heart of peace of God, of thankfulness, and wisdom (3:15). Our mind needs to be renewed in with the Knowledge of Christ (i.e. read the Bible) and hen it will result in a changed in outward behaviour. The outward behavior is the fruit of inward changes. An outward act of kindness can be put on show for a short time and for people to see. But an inward change, a new heart, of kindness, will put on acts of kindness all the time, any time, whether people are seeing or not. Col 3:12-14 reads like Gal 5:22-23, mercies, kindness, humbleness, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing, and a special stress of "Love" Col 3:14. The putting off of badness, Col 3:5-8, is again, like Gal 5:19-21, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness (which is idolatry), anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy words and Lies.

            Back to the Know - Do Gap.
            How can we address the big problem and struggle of Knowing what to do and yet not able to do it? This is the same story of Paul in Rom 7, especially 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. He provided the answer in 7:25 Through Jesus our Lord. We have the struggle because we are not acting from our inward beings. As mentioned earlier, putting on an act can be done by us for a short-time on occasions because they take great effort. It would be easy if it comes naturally. The old man of the flesh is not able but now we are the new man of the spirit.

            The only answer to close the Know-Do gap is to feed the new inner man through the Word and Spirit of God by renewal of the mind and thereby causing a lasting change in external behavior. These inward changes comes by Col 3:15-16 let the peace of God rule in our hearts (someone interprets this as letting peace be the judge of what is right or wrong), be thankful, let the Word of Christ dwell richly in all wisdom, and through fellowship (teaching, admonishing one another, in psalms, hymns, songs), and worshiping of God. Whatever we say or do, we do all in and by Christ as our thanks to the Father Col 3:18, 3:23.

            The best practice for various roles of husbands & wives, parents & children, bosses & employees are given in Col 3: 18-4:1.

            Our witnessing to pre-believers are to be
            1. walk in wisdom &
            2. speech with grace and salt to provide the answers to all queries and
            3. to redeem the time.


            BJ#15 Competitors

            Does the Bible famous "Love your enemies" (Mat 5:44,Luke 6:27,35) apply to business? The answer seems to be a resounding yes. Grouping of competitors in a particular location seem to be a powerful drawing force e.g. Sim Lim Square, Funan Building for the IT people. We have associations of various professional and interest groups to speak as a force, to unify practices, to establish common interfaces etc. All these co-operative works of competitors together create productivity not only for themselves but also for the society as a whole. They key is to work together and yet create your niche of value-add to serve your customers.

            Another main reason is that we really don't know who are our competitors in this fast changing world. Your staff may start a new company to compete with you. Your customers may decide to take thing in-house instead of buying from you. With so much merges going on, your competitors may become your associate. e.g. Peoplesoft and Oracle used to be competitors in application software business until Oracle bought them. Peoplesoft itself has earlier bought over his competitor JD Edwards.

            What could stand the change of times and events is the unchanging principles of God. We are to love our enemies (competitors). But we are not to go to the other extreme of being cheated. Mt 10:16 tells us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. "The Arts of War" tells us that "war is the last and worse course of action".

            Finally, we can differentiate the person and his acts. We are to love the person and to hate his evil acts. In summary, we need not be afraid of our competitors. We can work with them on certain areas, compete with them on others areas and we are to create our new blue ocean of market place. At all times, we keep our integrity with biblical based business practices.

            May God bless your business as your try to run your business based on His Words.

            (this series of articles on Business by Jesus is just the beginning of a compiling of Biblical Principles for Business. It is a framework where future contents can be easily added and shared. There are much to be discovered from the Bible for business.)

            ---updated 18 Jan 2008----
            I was re-reading Edwards Deming' The New Economics 2nd ed. On page 56, it says that a system includes competitors. Competitors can work together to expand the pie of the market rather than just fight over market share. Competitors can focus together on how to improve the value, products or services to the customers such as lower costs or environmental protection. The automobiles industry could focus on producing a safer, more fuel efficient and 'greener' cars. Toyota is talking about sustainable mobility and sharing its technology in hybrid cars with others. It is a good example.

            See also Bible for Business Seminar#14 Competitors & Summary
            - - - o o o - - -
            BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|--

            BJ#14 Learning & Growth - Organization & Culture

            There are four key aspects we want to discuss further in Organization and Culture.

            1. Communication
            Most common error in corporate performance is lack of communication, resulting in misunderstanding and subsequent internal in-fighting, unintentional conflicts, duplicated and wasted resources and so forth. Without clear and constant communication, mission, visions, values and strategies cannot be shared.

            In the Parable of the Sower (Mk 4:3-20), Jesus shared that there were 4 types of listeners, despite all your good effort in trying to communicate and motivate (it is the same Word that is shared to the 4 types of listeners) with four very different outcomes.

            1. Paths - Indifferent and Disengaged Staff. They are not interested in doing or improving things. May be they are victims of many initiatives and frequent changes in strategies that they don't see the good results of anything 'new' initiatives. They are the depressed and given-up staff. If not motivated and changed, they may degrade to be actively disengaged staff that will sabotage the work of others. Their bad attitudes and behaviour may spread and caused others to follow suit. The answer is to change them or get rid of them.
            2. Rocks - Head Only Listeners. They are excited quickly and rush to implement. They are easily discouraged and give up especially when they do not see short term results. Very often, their failures are due to misunderstanding, lack of preparation and unrealistic expectations.
            3. Thorns - Own Agendas. They have different agendas than the corporates. They will do only those corporate objectives that agree with their goals.
            4. Soils - Heart, Head, Hand & Habits. The 4 Hs are the terms used in "Lead like Jesus" for ease of remembering . These people not only understand with their minds, but have taken them into their hearts. They are committed to achieving the success and will execute them (Hands). Long term practice makes them good habits that are done without extra supervision. They produce the fruits.
            The key then is to keep and to develop Type-4 Staff; renew the mindset of Type 3, motivate the Type 2 and may be get rid of Type 1 after giving them 2nd chance. Selecting the right staff, identifying their talents, putting them in the right fitting jobs, developing their strength (with the right managers and mentors) may be a good way to develop type 4 staff. "Discipling like Jesus" is a good way to follow.

            Type 4 4H staff , or Actively Engaged Staff, are so important for the success of corporate that we find in Num 11:17 that God took the spirit of Moses and put upon the other leaders so that all can share in the same vision and carry the burdens together.

            2. Leadership
            Leadership is a subject that is extensively covered in business and biblical literatures. I just want to highlight the following key points:
            • Servant Leadership : Mt 20:26, Mk 9:35-37, Mk 10:43-45 the Greatest Serve. Leadership is not measured by the number of people serving you but by the number of people you serve and influence for the corporate and their good. Leaders are to be role models. Leaders lead from the front. They do first - showing others how to do. Then they teach others and watch while others do. Finally, they delegate them to do.
            • The Heart is more important than the rules. Mt 5:20-22. Go after the heart and just the head even though you reach the heart through the head and hands (examplified living)
            • Pursue of Excellence - Better than the Common Norm Mat 5:43-48 Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven.
            3. Team Work & Alignment
            • Team Work is a synergy of differences and not of the same. Accept another's differences . Rom 14:1, 15:7.
            • It is a Body of many and different parts working together. Each part doing its parts contributing to the well-being of the corporate. Rom 12:4-21. Difference in functions but all equal in value. Rewards are to be distributed according to the performance and value delivered.
            • Unity and Love for One-another is a distinguish attribute of Christians (John 13:35). Divided we fall , United we stand Mark 3:24-26. We are all ONE is Christ and in the Father John 17:21. Organization and its staff should be similar.
            • Segment into Groups for greater effectiveness Mark 6:39-40.
            • Be objective in your judgment. Don't fix people. Mat 7:1-5
            4. Taking a Break
            • Mark 6:31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

              We need to take regular breaks from our routines of business to rest and reflect. To take stock of life and re-plan.
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            BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|--BJ#15 Competitors

            BJ#13 Learning & Growth - Technology

            In TRIZ (Russian for Theory of Inventive Problem Solving), a problem solving method that is gaining popularity among the major corporates and is rated as one of the best Innovative Thinking methods, there is a principle called "Principle of Idealilty".

            • Ideality = Benefits / (Harms + Costs)
            An Ideal system is one that gives all the benefits without any harmful effects and without costs. In other words, an ideal technological system does not exist as a physical entity but fully performs the required function.

            There is another principle in TRIZ, which is relate to the environment (see BVITS for an easier and wider scoped Innovation Method). The solution to a problem can usually be found in the environment. We are know that to get rid of the durian taste and smell on our hands or mouths, we use the water that runs through the durian crust. To get rid of the flies coming to our exposed foods, we use water stored in transparent plastic bags. See photo below.

            What have all these to do with Business and Jesus ?
            The answer is that Jesus used the environment to arrive at the ideal Public Address system when he preached to the crowds on mountains or from boats. Without the modern day PA systems, how could Jesus preached to five thousands men (if we count the women and children, we could get 20,000 people) on the miracle of 5 loaves and 2 fish and to four thousands people on another 7 loaves and a few fish food-multiplying miracle. With an Ideality Principle system, we get the effects (PA) without the costs (no equipments to carry, no power needed, no wires to run etc).

            This is not to say that we don't want to use technology. On the contrary, we want to use the best and continually improve to come out with better ones, for our business and to use them share the Good News. Having the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16 and Christ In You Col 1:27), we can be creative and innovative in our work and life.
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            BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|--BJ#14 Learning & Growth - Organization & Culture


            BJ#12 Learning & Growth - Strategic Job Roles

            After you have picked the customers you want to serve, designed the processes that will deliver the maximum impact on the customers, you now need to define the scope of work for the staff to do. This scope of work is known as "Strategic Job Roles" or "Strategic Job families". The person doing this job must have the necessary skills i.e. competence at the job. In a small start-up, a person may need to multi-task and have to do multiple "Strategic Jobs". For a large company, there could be many people doing the same "Strategic Job". For an existing company, there may need to be a re-assignment of job duties so that people are taking up strategy jobs and leaving the non-strategy jobs ( they can be outsourced too.).

            Examples in Church Organization
            Eph 5:11-12 shows us that the Church has the Five-Fold ministries (Strategic Job Roles) of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. In Rom 12:6-13 and 1 Cor 12:28, we find other job roles. e.g. healers, miracle workers, helpers/ Servers, organizers /ruler/managers, giver, exhorter (coaches?), and those that Sheweth-mercy.

            All working together in unity as members of the body of Christ to build each other up into maturity and fullness in Christ. Eph 4:13.

            In the OT, we can find the proper organization of processes and distribution of Job Roles(Tasks) towards accomplishing the worship of God and life in God. In the Book of Numbers we have Distribution of Tasks and The Levi Groups, Processes, Distribution of Work from Moses to 70 Elders 11:6, Trumpets and Signals - Command Control Communications for Orderly Movement

            Competence & Training
            As a company, you need to develop your staff. But you need to develop your staff according to your strategies and the derived "Strategic Job Roles or Job Families". Your staff must have the right competence level to perform the tasks either through training or self-learning.
            • Integrity or Trust = honesty + ability
            Integrity is more than just being honest. It must have the ability or competence to deliver the promised. It is only in meeting the expectation that trust can be earned.

            A common misunderstanding about training is to treat it as a rewards. Staff are sent for training because of some good performance. This creates two problems with training. Firstly, if training is a rewards, then I do not need to learn well. Secondly, the staff is likely to be sent to a training that has nothing to do with his job. It is not unusual to hear people attending training saying "I am not sure why I am sent to this training". Mat 7:6 shows us that your good intentions may not be appreciated. We have the following 2 principles for training.
            1. Training should be planned according to the Strategies of the Company
            2. Staff attending the training should be briefed properly on the purposes and expectations of the training.
            Teaching Methods
            1. Teaching by Engaging Full Channels
              Everyone has their own learning styles. Some prefers listening to lectures while others prefer reading. Some learn better through pictures. Some prefer watching a movie. We have the 5 senses - hear, see, feel/touch, taste and smell and one more, motion or learning by play-acting. See Maximize Learning Channels how Jesus instituted Baptism and the Holy Communion as wonderful object lessons for us to remember the teachings well.

            2. Teaching by Story-Telling
              Jesus frequently taught the people through parables - ie.. stories. A story facilitates a return to the basics of human connection, inspiration and common purpose. The power of a story to breakdown fences and get conviction can be seen in the story told by Prophet Nathan to King David to get David convicted of his act of murder. (2 Sam 12:1-7)
            Watch out for False Prophets (Mat 7:15-20). "by their fruits ye shall know them" teaches us to select our Trainers, Consultants or Mentors carefully. Ask for references and see their works and not just hear their speeches and their brochures.

            Our Attitudes towards Training & Learning
            There is a famous saying - "You can bring the horse to the water but you cannot force the horse to drink". We can send our staff for training but we cannot be sure he can learned. The word "Training" put the responsibility of gaining-skill unto the trainers. Some organization prefer to use the word "Learning" to highlight the responsibility of gaining-skill is with the staff - the learner. We could say that Company provide Training and Development opportunities and we the staff must do the learning - acquiring of skills and knowledge. The important guides for learning are:
            1. Learning is a never ending process. If we don't learn, we don't grow. By staying still, we would be left behind. We should always stay up-to-date.
            2. There is no short-cut to life. Mat 7:13-14 read the Message Bible version.
            3. By tutoring others we also learned. Mat 7:12.
            4. Have courage, confidence and ask, seek, explore and you shall surely find. Mat 7:7-8
            5. Going for Excellence - Beyond Normal Expectation. Mat 5:3-12 The Beatitudes.
            Your may want to compare it with the teaching from the Ancient Chinese on learning. See Mind Value: What Ancient Chinese Can Teach Us about Learning

            Succession Planning and Coaching
            One major success factor of Jesus' Ministry is "Disciplining" - Creating your own clones that they will also make their clones. Mark 3:14-15, Mark 6:7-13 contains the methods Jesus used to train up his 12 disciples. It is teaching, practical practices and feedback. Luke 10:1-17 show Jesus picked 70 disciples and send them out and review their experience.

            Matching of Personal & Corporate Goals
            The corporate objectives are successively cascaded downwards from unit to department to teams to individuals. Individual must align their own personal goals with the corporate goals. Any mis-alignment will result in poor performance and dissatisfaction.

            See also Bible for Business Seminar#13 Learning & Growth
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            BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|-- BJ#13 Learning & Growth - Technology


            BJ#11 Process & Execution

            Talking is Just the Start - Need to Do it
            Most people have the understanding that talking is enough. Issues are raised in meeting and ended when the meeting ends. There is no follow-up work. They, even CEOs, may feel that their job is to raise the issue and others are to do the work. Knowing the issue and do nothing about it is like building on the sands Mt 7:24-27 ... the rain descended, the floods came,.... great was its fall. Business Magazine surveys show that <10% style="font-weight: bold;">Doing is About Process
            We need to design and align the Processes that deliver the maximum impact on our chosen customers. In the Strategy Map driven Balanced Scorecard We have set-up measures and targets for the Internal Process Strategic Objectives (SO). If we have SO and there is no process, we need to design one. If there is a process, but the SO target is not achieved, then we need to change the process to one that can achieve the target.

            Just Do it
            Once we have designed the Process, then we must boldly do it accordingly. Go the customers and deliver your product & services - Mark 1:39 Jesus went to their meeting places to preach and cast out demons. Do not worry Mat 6:34 (this verse does not tell us not to plan, just not to worry but trust God). Do those thongs under your control, leave the growing or changes to God.
            • Mark 4:26-29 (KJV) ... a man should cast seed into the ground; [27] And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. [28] For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. [29] But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
            Operation Excellence
            Almost all companies' strategies include the Operation Excellence theme. It involves principles taught by Jesus.
            1. Proper Use of Things.
              Mark 2:21 ...is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick?
            2. Watchout for the Multiplier Effects - Both ways - For Good or Bad
              Mark 4:30-32 (KJV) [31] It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: [32] But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
            3. Sharing of Best Practices
              Mark 5:19 (KJV) Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
            4. Internalize the Practice, not just for show (or to pass ISO certification)
              Seeing the practice as a guide for efficiency and effectiveness and not as a necessary evils improve the performance in the long run. Following them not just to the letters of the laws but in the spirit is key for productivity.
              • Fasting Mat 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
              • Giving Mat 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
              • Praying Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

            5. The Template - Get them Aligned towards Types of Customers Served.
              Typical company processes have the following and we need to have processes designed for them. The key is not just the processes but the design must be aligned to deliver the impact on the customers. For example, a company trying to build intimate key customer relationship must have its processes tuned to deliver that intimate relationship of trust, flexibility, innovation etc. It cannot be supported by a process that produce goods and services for the general customers. e.g. Dell's processes for the retail customers cannot be used to support IBM's key intimate customers.

              The Value Chain:
              Supply (SCM) -> Production -> Distribute -> Customer (CRM)
              ...............\---- Corp Perf Mgt (EIS, ESS, CPM) --/

              For Customer Relationship Management (CRM), the selection, acquiring, retention and growth.

              There is need for Innovation and also to be aware of the Government and other Regulatory controls. There is a need for Risk Management through out the engagement process from Customers to the Suppliers.

            6. Innovation
              This area is the greatest needs for any company to days. With globalization and Internet, many barriers are broken. Breaking free from commoditized world and markets by creating your own new differentiated market needs innovations. Innovations is more than just technology breakthrough. It could be in processes, services, and business models. There are many companies selling breads but Breadtalk seems to out shine and out run others. Old Chang Kee used to be just a small shop selling Curry Puff but is now an internationally business.

              Innovation relates to creativity. Most people were taught that Creativity means Breaking Rules. That is not a correct wording. Breaking Rules should be changed to "Breaking man made traditions, prejudices, biases, lies and deception" and "Knowing the Real Truth".

              • John 8:32 ... know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
                Lie is an untruth or deception that we thought is the truth and that binds us.

              Creativity is not limited by lack resources. Everyone can do more when given more. The larger companies you are competing with have more resources to outdo you. It takes creativity to do more with less. Please read my BVITS for systematic break through innovations and my blog on thinking to become more innovative.

            7. Follow Deming - Blame the System not the Trained People

              If a process does not deliver the targets, change the process and not blame the people, especially when they have be trained do the job accordingly. Please read the writings of E W Deming. The key thoughts are:

              • All measure has a value and a variation. Take actions only when they are out of control limits. Don't jump on variation within the limits.
              • Don't fire the people when the system is at faults
            See also Bible for Business Seminar#12 Processes
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            BJ#0 Business According to Jesus TOC --|--BJ#12 Learning & Growth - Strategic Job Roles