Notes and Quotes April 2017

NOTES


Chua Wee Hian was the General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in 1972.  He is also the founding pastor of Emmanuel Church, Westminister, 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.

We are posting not only his quotes but his commentary and thoughts on different issues.

Thank You. When spoken or written, it spells joy and appreciation It holds a double blessing; it blesses both the giver and the receiver. According to Paul, Spirit-filled believers are thankful people (Eph.5:18,20;1Thes.5:18)

Yet “thank you” is often missing in our vocabulary. Why do we find it difficult to express thanks especially to others?

   Some years ago, we were supporting a close relative through Bible College. Each quarter, we remitted 20% of our salaries to him. For almost two years, we did not receive a single word of thanks from him. I decided to write him asking why he did not thank us for out gifts.

Back came his answer. “If I were to thank you both, you will not receive the Lord thanks and blessings”. A hyper-spiritual answer!

Thankfully, he changed his response when he read how Paul constantly thanked his readers and supporters for their financial backing.(Phil.1:3;4:10-14)

   When I was serving as General Secretary of IFES, I made “thank you” letters a priority. And I often added a personal hand-written note to express my personal appreciation. Sometimes I enquired about their well-being. Many continued to be generous supporters. Later, when I was the lead pastor of my church, I would acknowledge gifts with a “thank you” note.

Then some well-meaning Council members thought it was not a good idea for the pastor to know how much members have contributed. They suggested quarterly receipts. I acceded to their proposal. Surprisingly, our church income dropped by nearly 20%! Personal expression of gratitude goes a long way.

A few weeks ago, I was preaching on God’s view on money. I decided to hold a Q & A session.. A worship leader asked whether volunteers who took on a regular role of service in church should be financially remunerated. Brought up in the noble tradition of generous and unpaid lay volunteers, I was taken aback.

Instead of answering her question, I asked her why she raised it?

Her answer went somewhat like this. “We have to work hard ensuring that are in church on time and carefully rehearsing our songs. We are taken for granted. No one thanks or affirms us. It’s only once a year when thanks is expressed at the AGM to all who work hard through the year.” She therefore thought a financial remuneration will be a tangible form of acknowledgement. In vibrant congregations, I noted how pastors and elders would verbally thank helpers both up front and in private.

Whenever I preach, I have made it my practice to thank the worship and PA teams for their commitment and contribution. By saying “thank you” we promote team spirit and goodwill.

I am fully aware in some cultures e.g. Chinese- there is a subtle kind of reasoning. If you thank someone who is close to you or a regular at work/church, you put yourself under an obligation. If your boss praises you, he should give you a raise! Financially it may not be prudent for him to voice his commendation.

Some find find it awkward to thank parents or children verbally. Of course we treasure them, we appreciate their love and contributions. But we store our gratitude in our hearts. When my Mother was dying, I remembered thanking her for teaching me to pray, to write legibly and to enjoy reading. She was touched. I wished that I had expressed my thanks much earlier and more frequently. I have seen young preachers shedding a tear or two when I genuinely thanked them for the sermon. “Thank you” from seniors, can light up the day for many. Let’s be generous with our “thank you”. CWH

QUOTES


THANKFULNESS & GRATITUDE

It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.

Those blessings are the sweetest that are won with prayer and won with thanks.

Thomas Goodwin, Puritan divine (1600-1680)

O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.

William Shakespeare

Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put into words is all that is necessary.

Margaret Cousins

To be grateful is to recognise the love of God in everything he has given us. Every breath we draw is a gift of his love every moment of existence is grace. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and the praise of God’s goodness.

Thomas Merton

Thou hast given so much to me
Give one thing more – a grateful heart.
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days;
But such a heart, whose pulse may be Thy praise.

George Herbert, poet & hymn writer

George Herbert

HUMAN BEING OR HUMAN DOING?

We devote a lot of our energy to “becoming”. Some dedicate themselves to become successful, or becoming free, or popular, or thin – the list goes on and on. Scripture invites us to give up the obsession with becoming and work harder at “being” the unique creation of God by exploring the rich mystery that has been revealed in every life…. Many today think they can change their “being,” who they are, by changing what they do. Our society claims that if we want to be happy, we have to do something different. We are offered new products that will do it for us, new lovers to do it with, and new vocations to give us work to that will make us significant. Behind them all is the common lie that what we do creates who we are.
 

We begin to hear the lie at an early age. When you were a child and someone asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, you were not expected to say “Myself!” The answers we were trained to give were more like “fireman” “an astronaut” “a teacher” or “a doctor” – all things that people do. In truth, doing does not determine being; rather being determines doing. It is only after we have a firm understanding of who we are that we know what to do with life. pp.80,81.
 

In both the Old and New Testaments, mountains serve as settings for divine-human encounters. It only takes a few minutes on the top of a high mountain for one to know why God so frequently chose this setting. High peaks are barren, intimidating places. People don’t belong up there. There is nothing to protect them – no trees, no shelter, just the wind and the uncomfortable thin air. The mountain climber knows that if the weather changes suddenly, he or she is so exposed that death could come very quickly. To stand on the mountain top I to place ourselves in the hands of the forces and powers we cannot control or even resist. Centuries of religious experience have taught us that we are most capable of hearing God when we know how exposed we really are. That is why worship must have this sense of climbing a high mountain to stand before God, rising above the illusion of being in control of life. p.105

M.Craig Barnes. President, Princeton Theological Seminary Yearning

GRACE FOR THE DAY

In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another day just like today, and there will never be another just like it again. Today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all. (FB)

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you’ll reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too. (FB)

Frederick Buechner (FB)

PATH of METANOIA = REPENTANCE

Paranoia is a word that has entered the popular vocabulary. Literally, (although, of course, not technically) it means to be out of your mind. To be paranoid is to have lost your way, like Dante wandering in a land that is far from home. There is another word, which has not yet entered popular speech, for the turning of the mind to the lost home: metanoia.
 

“The path of metanoia is a way of glory which leads us home. Paranoia (to be out of your mind) is that process by which the mind is unhinged and the personality splintered and fragmented. Metanoia (to turn the mind, to be right in your mind), which is usually translated in the New Testament as repentance, means the restoration of mind, the coming together of the shattered fragments of the self. It means a turning to God as the source and the power of life.”

Alan Jones

MORE QUOTES to REFLECT and RELEASE

The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious

John Sculley, former CEO Pepsi Cola & Apple

A leader’s job is to look into the future and see the organisation, not as it is, but as it should be.

Jack Welch, General Motors

There is nothing like a dream to create the future. (LM) | The future has several names. For the weak, it is impossible; for the faint-hearted it is unknown; but for the valiant it is ideal. (LM)

Victor Hugo (Les Miserables) (LM)

We cannot re-write the past but we can write the future.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.

Kierkegaard (1813-55)

You have never tested God’s resources until you have attempted the impossible.

DECISION-MAKING:

Cowardice: Is it safe?
Consensus: Is it popular?
Conscience: Is it right?

Martin Luther King Jr.

STRANGE ODDS?

Here in Britain, the Lottery adverts tantalisingly shout out “It could be you!” The lottery has trapped half our population into dreaming dreams of untold happiness leading to endless frustrations. The dream rarely amounts more to anything more than a growing weekly expense. A BBC reporter astute observes: You can see in people in any Newsagent buying lottery tickets at odds of millions to one and thinking “it could be me”. Then they buy a packet of cigarettes with odds of about three to one – and thinking “it won’t be me”.

Mike Wakely, Generosity p.85

ORIGINAL QUOTE:

When a king dies, his power ends. When a prophet dies, his influence begins.

Adapted by Jonathan Sacks former Chief Rabbi

The tyrant dies, his rule ends. The martyr dies, his influence begins.

Kierkegaard.

AFFLICTION:

When I am in the cellar of affliction, I look for the Lord’s choicest wines. (SR) | Grace grows best in winter. (SR)

Samuel Rutherford (1600-61) (SR)

COMMITMENTS – FOUR TYPES

1. Cop-outs People who have no goals and do not commit

2. Hold-outs People who don’t know if they can reach their goals, and are afraid to commit.

3. Drop-outs People who start towards a goal but quit when the going’s tough.

4. All-outs People who set goals, commit to them and pay the price to reach them.

John Maxwell
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