2 Corinthians – Section 2

ncN.T. Wright’s study guide continues with the text of 2 Cornithians 2:5-3:18. This sectioning off of Scripture is teaching me a highly valuable lesson: consider the more comprehensive thought streams in the text. To chop up the bible into exact chapters is becoming less and less helpful to me. I really appreciate, therefore, the initiative by the Biblica people in creating the Community Bible Experience program. The second study from N.T. Wright is entitled “The Letter and the Spirit”. Here are my thoughts from the study and the text.

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2 Corinthians – Section 1

c2N.T. Wright’s study guide is remarkably easy to understand and yet opens doors of deep thought. Section 1 is entitled “The God of all Comfort”. Clearly the first major theme Paul introduces is that of comfort. God is the God of all comfort. I’ve been thinking about that one word the past couple weeks–comfort. Comfort means “a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint; the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress.” Here are my thoughts on this first study guide and on 2 Corinthians 1:1-2:4. 

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How Great Leaders Inspire Action

i1Right now, I’m on the road. This summer I visited three different countries over the span of 6 weeks. It is tiring living out of a suitcase, but the good thing is that I have a lot of alone time. Travelling alone is a time of privilege to examine one’s life. If you have the financial means, I highly recommend it. Basically, I’ve been reading, thinking a lot and also spending a lot of my time watching TED talks. I wanted to share one in particular about leadership because Dr. Ben asked me to and because I feel like its message is applicable to anyone who wants to live a life that challenges the status quo. It is called “How great leaders inspire action” by Simon Sinek.

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Not Understanding Older Brother Sins

x-hot-sins-cold-sinsIs the older brother a “bad” sinner? For over two decades, whenever I studied the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:11-32), I fully understood and resonated with the (disgusting immoral) sins of the younger son: selfishness, greed, lust, licentiousness, promiscuity, spendthrift, disrespectful, inconsideration, fatalism, hedonism and the like. But with the older son, I might say or think, “Oh yeah, he’s a sinner too, but he doesn’t seem that bad. He’s kinda rude to his dad. He didn’t like his younger brother moving back home. At least he kept going to church (stayed at home with his father) and he didn’t sleep around with prostitutes (which is a big deal!).” I did not understand “older brother sins,” as I did “younger brother sins.” Last year I tried to address The Sins of Older Christians, i.e. ME! Continue reading →

My Dad

dadI am working on my sermon next Sun with the theme of Father for Father’s day. Then I began thinking about my dad.

Love. My dad died two decades ago in the mid-90s. My predominant memory of him is that he loved me dearly. When I was little boy he wrestled and bound me tightly so that I could not extricate myself from him. He released me only when I started crying loudly. He took me weekly to watch movies, especially Westerns. He bought me many toys. Once I wanted a whistle at a store. The seller would blow each whistle to test which whistle sounded the best and the loudest. But because he did this my dad ushered me away. He refused to buy me a whistle that someone else had put their unclean mouth to. This is a seemingly miniscule event. But somehow this is embedded in my memory as a story that my dad loves me and cares for me to the smallest detail. Continue reading →

Jesus is the Door

sToday I woke up with John 10 on my mind, and immediately I began thinking of my comments about being baptized by Pastor Wayne. When I re-read the comments on my book narratives, I realized there is something I need to expound on that I only touched on in my first book. In fact, this morning I feel strongly that I should make a public apology to all Christian pastors. In the past three years, I’ve met 9 ordained Christian pastors outside of ubf from various churches in person and spoken with them at length: Bryan, Wayne, Steve, Doug, Bill, Greg, George, John and David. I’ve also interacted with at least a dozen other pastors online in various forms. I feel compelled this morning to share some of what I’ve learned.

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How I Met God (My Mystical Conversion)

sIf God loves man, why does he command him not to eat the forbidden fruit? This is the story of my mystical conversion. In 1980 I left my homeland Malaysia and went to Chicago to do my residency in Internal Medicine. I met Dr. John Lee, a UBF missionary, at Cook County Hospital and he invited me to study Genesis. One night before going to bed, I was preparing Genesis Lesson 2, God Planted A Garden (Gen 2:4-25). One question asked, “If God loves man, why did he forbid him to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?”

What kind of a God is this?” This question made me very angry. I thought to myself, “God is setting the man up to fail! He put this tree right in the middle of the garden where he will always see it, and says, ‘You must not eat it!’ (Gen 2:9, 17) It’s like putting a stunningly attractive woman in the room with you and saying, ‘Don’t even look at her.’” [I was a non-Christian, single and very lonely at the time!] I was confused and confounded for half an hour by my table in my poorly lit doctor’s dormitory room.

God is God. Continue reading →

The Happiest Compliment I Ever Received

Rock,ruleI love my four kids. I love each of them. My sense of pride as their dad knows no limit. They are indeed God’s best gifts to me; they tangibly reveal the greatness of God’s love for me. But I freak out at PDAs! So I feel justified that I do not say “I love you,” because I’m an Asian dad!

The happiest and greatest compliment I ever received! After my oldest son, Sam, read my blog, How did you raise your kids as a pastor (The ABCs of godly parenting), he made this comment on Facebook:

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My Dilemma Between the Dichotomies

dilemmaThe saddest dichotomy that I have experienced in my 34 years of being a Christian (all in UBF) is between those who are strongly loyal UBF defenders and ex-UBFers who are vocally critical of their experience in UBF and after they left UBF. When I hear both sides as best I can, my glass-half-empty sentiment is “never the twain shall meet.” Of course, I am not denying that God can–and often does–do the impossible.

There are countless dichotomies in Christiandom. Continue reading →

Critique My Ephesians Sermon


Based on Ephesians 2:11-22

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians makes me feel like an ant. Here I am, walking around on the earth, dealing with the countless pressures of my everyday life. Projects at work that are running late. Debts that need to be paid. Things around the house that need to be fixed. Paying attention to how my wife and children are doing. Worries about our aging parents. Worries about this church, managing the building and wanting this congregation to prosper. I’m like an ant in  rainstorm, getting pelted with huge raindrops. My little ant-world is flooding; I’m up to my neck in water, and I’m about to get swept away. When I try to pray, the only words that come to mind are:

God, what am I supposed to do?

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