Chua Wee Hianhas been contributing “Quotes “ to our website for more than two years. We have known him since Malaysia days 50 years ago since he was the General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in 1972. He is also the founding pastor of Emmanuel Church, Westminster, London. God has used him to equip and empower many leaders for His kingdom. His is a noted international Bible expositor and author and travels to different countries to inspire future generations. He and his wife King Ling have three sons who together with their wives and children are fully committed to sharing God’s Word and love in the market place and local church.
Starting from 2017 we are posting not only his quotes but his commentary and thoughts on different issues.
The first 40 days of Trump’s presidency have stirred fierce controversy on divisive issues. It is so easy for us Christians to side him on his immigration and travel bans against people he believed are a threat to the security and well being of USA. Already anti-Muslim rhetoric with its equally angry response and anti-semitism attacks have reared their ugly heads and voices.
What should be our biblical (not racial/cultural/religious) response?
If these were to persist, we are heading for a period of violence.
It is therefore, refreshing to read the writings of Lord Dr Jonathan Sacks. former Chief Rabbi, UK. I was held spell bound by his book Not in God’s Name.
For all who minister in a multi-religious nation, this is a must read book. To whet your appetite, I have included a few quotes from this volume and from some of his other titles. CWH
The test of faith is whether I can make space for difference. Can I recognize God’s image in someone who is not in my image, whose language, faith, ideal, are different from mine? If I cannot, then I have made God in my image instead of allowing him to remake me in his.”
“The idols of today are unmistakable – self-esteem without achievement, sex without consequences, wealth without responsibility, pleasure without struggle and experience without commitment.”
The contemporary West is the most individualistic era of all time. Its central values are in ethics, autonomy; in politics, individual rights; in culture, postmodernism; and in religion, ‘spirituality’. Its idol is the self, its icon the ‘selfie’, and its operating systems the free market and the post-ideological, managerial liberal democratic state. In place of national identities we have global cosmopolitanism. In place of communities we have flash-mobs. We are no longer pilgrims but tourists. We no longer know who we are or why.”
What the secularists forgot is that Homo sapiens is the meaning-seeking animal. If there is one thing the great institutions of the modern world do not do, it is to provide meaning. Science tells us how but not why. Technology gives us power but cannot guide us as to how to use that power. The market gives us choices but leaves us uninstructed as to how to make those choices. The liberal democratic state gives us freedom to live as we choose but on principle refuses to guide us as to how to choose.”
Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love and practised cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. When this happens, God speaks, sometimes in a still, small voice almost inaudible beneath the clamour of those claiming to speak on his behalf. What he says at such times is: Not in My Name.”
When Jacob was chosen, Esau was not rejected. God does not reject. “Though my mother and father might abandon me, the Lord will take me in” (Psalms 27:10). Choosiness means two things: intimacy and responsibility. God holds us close and makes special demands on us. Beyond that, God is the God of all mankind – the Author of all, who cares for all.”
“To be a leader, you do not need a crown or robes of office. All you need to do is to write your chapter in the story, do deeds that heal some of the pain of this world, and act so that others become a little better for having known you. Live so that, through you, our ancient covenant with God is renewed in the only way that matters: in life. Moses’ last testament to us at the very end of his days, when his mind might so easily have turned to death, was: choose life.”
“As part of the logic of human sociality, the internal cohesion of a group is in direct proportion to the degree of threat it perceives from the outside. It follows that anyone who wants to unite a nation, especially one that has been deeply fractured, must demonise an adversary or, if necessary, invent an enemy. For the Turks it was the Armenians. For the Serbs it was the Muslims. For Stalin it was the bourgeoisie or the counter-revolutionaries. For Pol Pot it was the capitalists and intellectuals. For Hitler it was Christian Europe’s eternal Other, the Jews.”
“the Internet has a disinhibition effect: you can be ruder to someone electronically than you would be in a face-to-face encounter, since the exchange has been depersonalised. Read any Comments section on the Web, and you will see what this means: the replacement of reason by anger, and argument by vilification. Civility is dying, and when it dies, civilisation itself is in danger.”
In 2015 & 2016, Jackie Pullinger invited me to speak twice in Hong Kong – once at a large rally and the other in her church housed in a warehouse. On each occasion, she would look me in the eye and with a smile asked, “Are you preaching in Hebrew or in Greek?”
It sounded like a crazy question as the majority of hearers were Cantonese speaking. But she had a point. Knowing that I have been educated in the West and speaking mainly to “Western-oriented” audiences, my approach would be Greek. I might spout learned propositional truths. That would lose me my audience. My reply was “Mainly Hebrew with a little Greek.” Audiences in Africa, Asia and Latin America respond better to stories. Stories abound in the narratives of the Old Testament and the Gospels
Recently, after preaching in Malaysia, a man in his sixties blurted, “I heard you preaching 50 years ago and I still recall your humorous stories on…”
My first reaction (which I kept to myself) was “What! Have you forgotten those great theological truths I expounded in your student Fellowship?”
After many years of preaching, I rejoice when folks refer to me as a “story teller”.
That tells me that truth is getting into their hearts.
I have therefore included quotes from Tell to Win by Peter Guber, former CEO of Sony and Columbia films. For him and for us, stories forge a cutting age in the message we seek to broadcast.
« Stories are the common currency of humanity
« Story telling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
« In a time of information overload, people do not need more information. They want a story they can relate to.
« We (story tellers) restore order with imagination. We instil hope again and again.
Tell me the facts, and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”
Think about the great leaders.
Think about Nelson Mandela.
Think about all the people we know are very successful in business, religion, politics.
What are they?
They tell powerful stories. They move people to action by aiming at their heart.
When Nelson Mandela met with leading business men and decision makers in California to invite them to invest in the new South Africa, he did not quote statistics or gave economic prognosis, he told a story and that moved these powerful Americans to support him.
Here’s his story :
“In my 27th year in jail, a guard I had come to know well whispered to me that I was soon to be released.” Mandela said he could see the jailer was excited for him. The man considered that was a moment for jubilation, but Mandela himself had a different reaction. “I was sad for the man I had frequently talked. He didn’t understand that my spirit and beliefs had never been locked in this prison. My body could be contained but the stories of my dream could, He did not understand that the only prison that takes away a man’s freedom is one that does not allow a man to dream.”