Saturday, June 25, 2011

Most Important Words

Once again, let's recall those important words that help mend every strained relationship and put a smile upon the face of someone dear to you.

The six most important words
"I admit that I was wrong!"

The five most important words
"You did a great job."

The four most important words
"What do you think?"

The three most important words
"May I help?"

The two most important words
"Thank You!"

The most important word

The least important word

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just One

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.

One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.

One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.

One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal.

One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room.

One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.

One step must start each journey,
One word must start each prayer.

One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.

One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true.

One life can make the difference,

You see, IT'S UP TO YOU!
- Author Unknown

God's Beauty Tips

For attractive lips,
speak words of kindness.

For beautiful eyes,
look for the good in others.
To lose weight,
let go of stress, hatred, anger, discontentment, and the need to control others.

To improve your ears,
listen to the Word of God.
For poise,
walk with knowledge and self-esteem.

To strengthen your arms,
hug at least 3 people a day; touch someone with your love.
To strengthen your heart,
forgive yourself and others.

For the ultimate in business, casual or evening attire,
put on the robe of Christ; it fits like a glove but allows room for growth.
Best of all, it never goes out of style
and is appropriate for any occasion.

Doing these things on a daily basis will certainly make you a more beautiful person.

~Author Unknown

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Love Opens Doors

According to an article in Today in the Word, soon after Queen Victoria's marriage to Prince Albert, the couple had a quarrel, whereupon Prince Albert locked himself in his private apartment. Queen Victoria knocked furiously on his door.

"Who's there?" asked Albert.

"The Queen of England, and she demands to be admitted."

There was no response and the door remained locked. The queen knocked furiously again.

"Who's there?" asked Albert again. The queen's response was the same … as was Albert's.

After more furious knocking and no response came a quiet pause—and then a gentle tap.

"Who's there?" asked Albert once more.

"Your wife, Albert," the queen replied. Immediately the door was opened.

As the writer of this article pointed out, "Love opens doors."

Love the Opportunity

by Jim Rohn

Somebody said you have to love what you do, but that’s not necessarily true. What is true is that you have to love the opportunity. The opportunity to build life, future, health, success and fortune. Knocking on someone’s door or making that extra call may not be something you love to do, but you love the opportunity of what might be behind that door or call.

For example, a guy says, “I’m digging ditches. Should I love digging ditches?” The answer is, “No, you don’t have to love digging ditches, but if it is your first entry onto the ladder of success, you say, ‘I’m glad somebody gave me the opportunity to dig ditches and I’m going to do it so well, I won’t be here long.’”

You can be inspired by having found something; even though you are making mistakes in the beginning and even though it is a little distasteful taking on a new discipline that you haven’t learned before. You don’t have to love it, you just have to learn to appreciate where you live, appreciate opportunity and appreciate the person who brought you the good news—who found you.
Appreciate the person who believed in you before you believed in yourself, appreciate the person who said, “Hey, if I can do it, you can do it.”

If you will embrace the disciplines associated with the new opportunity you will soon find that your self-confidence starts to grow, that you go from being a skeptic to being a believer. And soon, when you go out person to person, talking to people, you will find it to be the most thrilling opportunity in the world. Every person you meet—what could it be? Unlimited! Maybe a friend for life. The next person could be an open door to retiring. The next person could be a colleague for years to come. It’s big-time stuff. And sometimes in the beginning when we are just getting started we don’t always see how big it is.

So, before you are tempted to give up or get discouraged, remember all success is based on long-term commitment, faith, discipline, attitude and a few stepping stones along the way. You might not like the stone you are on right now, but it’s sure to be one of the stones that lead to great opportunities in the future.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Night I Did Not Die

After a great Father's Day service and a good lunch with some friends, Grace and I were heading home. As we walked to the car, I turned to my wife and said, "I am not feeling too well". Grace looked a little worried as she took the wheel. While in the car, I was doubling up with a deep uneasy feeling in the pit of my tummy.

It must be something that I ate. I had cold sweats and my bones felt hollow. Grace knew that it was serious. We usually talk during our car journeys and if I were to become quiet, then something must be wrong.

Being a nutritionist and editor of a health magazine, she has a whole library of diseases and their accompanying symptoms. While I was in the midst of my physical misery, a running commentary of what might have caused my ailment was going on in the background.

"Could it be the cendol or the coconut milk? I think you are suffering from food intolerance. What about the red beans in the cendol, that may cause food allergy. Blah blah blah...."

I was not analyzing as much as agonizing. I had never felt this way before. So, at the back of my mind, I thought that that could be my last day on earth. Yes, it sounds morbid now but that thought actually ran through my mind. Of course, I did not tell Grace. She might be too shocked to drive or worse, she might just drive me to the hospital. 

Grace reached out with her left hand and placed it on my head. She began to command healing in the name of Jesus. That brought slight relief. After that she put her foot to the gas pedal to get me home fast. It was a relief when I hit the bed. The thought of seeing Jesus soon was still running inside. 

"If I were to die now, it would be fine. My theology was obviously intact. I felt no fear but even had a hint of elation. If that is the feeling of death then it should be quite all right. I will definitely miss my wife and a list of relatives and friends but if I have to go then I have to go!"

Grace interrupted my dying thought with a cup of Swedish Bitters and a mug of Ho Yan Hor herbal tea. My sense of humor kicked in - my darling wife was using the best of Europe with the best of the Asian world to revive me. 

Swedish Bitters is known as the elixir of good health and it supposedly can cure almost anything, especially stomach disorder. Ho Yan Hor herbal tea is even more potent in its curative ability. With 24 herbs, it is able to relieve 'heat, nausea, indigestion, waning appetite, hangovers, common flu, fever and most probably resurrect the dead.

The only problem was that these two life-reviving elixirs had really challenging taste. The Swedish Bitters shot fire up the nose and down the throat like a race car spinning out of control and crashing. The herbal tea tasted better because Grace had added dried plums into it. After making sure that I obediently consumed her prescription, she left me to my dying.

The tonic and tea did wonder instantly. They took away that nauseating feeling. My bones still ached and weariness was taking over fast. Within minutes, I fell into a deep sleep and slept for three hours before the gentle voice of my wife woke me up. 

I remember thinking, "Where am I? So, I am not dead yet."  

The bad feeling had gone even though I did not really feel on top of the world... but I was not dead.

Since I had given heaven a miss, I had to attend the Father's Day celebration dinner with my wife's family.

Albert Kang

What does the Bible say about Christian fathers?

The greatest commandment in Scripture is this: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5). Going back to verse 2, we read, “So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.” Following Deuteronomy 6:5, we read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (vv. 6-7).

Israelite history reveals that the father was to be diligent in instructing his children in the ways and words of the Lord for their own spiritual development and well-being. The father who was obedient to the commands of Scripture did just that. This brings us to Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” To “train” indicates the first instruction that a father and mother give to a child, i.e., his early education. The training is designed to make clear to children the manner of life they are intended for. To commence a child's early education in this way is of great importance.

Ephesians 6:4 is a summary of instructions to the father, stated in both a negative and positive way. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” The negative part of this verse indicates that a father is not to foster negativity in his children by severity, injustice, partiality, or unreasonable exercise of authority. Harsh, unreasonable conduct towards a child will only serve to nurture evil in the heart. The word “provoke” means “to irritate, exasperate, rub the wrong way, or incite.” This is done by a wrong spirit and wrong methods—severity, unreasonableness, sternness, harshness, cruel demands, needless restrictions, and selfish insistence upon dictatorial authority. Such provocation will produce adverse reactions, deadening children’s affection, reducing their desire for holiness, and making them feel that they cannot possibly please their parents. A wise parent seeks to make obedience desirable and attainable by love and gentleness.

The positive part of Ephesians 6:4 is expressed in a comprehensive direction—educate them, bring them up, develop their conduct in all of life by the instruction and admonition of the Lord. This is the whole process of educating and discipline. The word “admonition” carries the idea of reminding the child of faults (constructively) and duties (responsibilities).

The Christian father is really an instrument in God's hand. The whole process of instruction and discipline must be that which God commands and which He administers, so that His authority should be brought into constant and immediate contact with the mind, heart, and conscience of children. The human father should never present himself as the ultimate authority to determine truth and duty. It is only by making God the teacher and ruler on whose authority everything is done that the goals of education can best be attained.

Martin Luther said, “Keep an apple beside the rod to give the child when he does well.” Discipline must be exercised with watchful care and constant training with much prayer. Chastening, discipline, and counsel by the Word of God, giving both reproof and encouragement, is at the core of “admonition.” The instruction proceeds from the Lord, is learned in the school of Christian experience, and is administered by the parents—primarily the father, but also, under his direction, the mother. Christian discipline is needed to enable children to grow up with reverence for God, respect for parental authority, knowledge of Christian standards, and habits of self-control.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). A father’s first responsibility is to acquaint his children with Scripture. The means and methods that fathers may use to teach God's truth will vary. As the father is faithful in role modeling, what children learn about God will put them in good standing throughout their earthly lives, no matter what they do or where they go.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The 100/0 Principle

Recently, I preached about the 100/0 Principle advocated by Al Ritter. I did not just preached about it, I was applying it. Till, today, I am still struggling to die to myself and really give 100 percent to the people around me. Here is the excerpt from Al Ritter's 100/0 Principle.

What is the most effective way to create and sustain great relationships with others? It's The 100/0 Principle: You take full responsibility (the 100) for the relationship, expecting nothing (the 0) in return.

Implementing The 100/0 Principle is not natural for most of us. It takes real commitment to the relationship and a good dose of self-discipline to think, act and give 100 percent.

The 100/0 Principle applies to those people in your life where the relationships are too important to react automatically or judgmentally. Each of us must determine the relationships to which this principle should apply. For most of us, it applies to work associates, customers, suppliers, family and friends.

STEP 1 - Determine what you can do to make the relationship work...then do it. Demonstrate respect and kindness to the other person, whether he/she deserves it or not.

STEP 2 - Do not expect anything in return. Zero, zip, nada.

STEP 3 - Do not allow anything the other person says or does (no matter how annoying!) to affect you. In other words, don't take the bait.

STEP 4 - Be persistent with your graciousness and kindness. Often we give up too soon, especially when others don't respond in kind. Remember to expect nothing in return.

At times (usually few), the relationship can remain challenging, even toxic, despite your 100 percent commitment and self-discipline. When this occurs, you need to avoid being the "Knower" and shift to being the "Learner." Avoid Knower statements/ thoughts like "that won't work," "I'm right, you are wrong," "I know it and you don't," "I'll teach you," "that's just the way it is," "I need to tell you what I know," etc.

Instead use Learner statements/thoughts like "Let me find out what is going on and try to understand the situation," "I could be wrong," "I wonder if there is anything of value here," "I wonder if..." etc. In other words, as a Learner, be curious!

Principle Paradox

This may strike you as strange, but here's the paradox: When you take authentic responsibility for a relationship, more often than not the other person quickly chooses to take responsibility as well. Consequently, the 100/0 relationship quickly transforms into something approaching 100/100. When that occurs, true breakthroughs happen for the individuals involved, their teams, their organizations and their families.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Five Balls In Your Life

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit … and you’re keeping all of these in the air.

You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or evenshattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for Balance in your life.
Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.
Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.

Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each together.
Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be pave.

Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find time. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings!
Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.
Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured each step of the way.

By Brian G. Dyson, former President and CEO, Coca-Cola Enterprises during his speech at the Georgia Tech 172nd Commencement Address Sept. 6, 1996.
Quote is originally from the book: “Suzanne’s Diary to Nicholas” by James Patterson

Monday, June 13, 2011

Are You Having Fun Yet?

By Albert Kang
The Talibans must be the most miserable people on earth. They do not allow music, games or anything that are fun. Why? Because that would be 'unspiritual'. To them, having fun is similar to sinning.

The fact is that for many years, many Christians, especially the Fundamentalists, had almost similar views about fun as that of the Talibans. Doing anything enjoyable was to be suspected. Many in those dark days were not allowed to listen to radio because that was the evil device of the 'prince of the air'. When television came on the scene, some pretty holy preachers were lashing out at this as the new instrument of the devil. Going to a movie house is deemed as flirting with Satan himself.

Preacher after preacher hollered with sheer sincere passion, "Why should you be found in the place of the devil? Repent, if you have gone to the movie house!"

I remember when I attended the Jesus Film at Cathay Theater in Singapore, I felt sheepish. The 'guilt alarm bell' was going off big time. Then I saw the General Superintendent of our denomination and his family entering the cinema, my guilt raptured and gone to heaven by itself. If this big man could do it, then it should be all right for a small fry like me! God would not be mad with me because he will have to deal with the big man first. Whew!

However, after more than three decades, this old ghost of guilt continues to resurrect from its grave every time I enjoy myself. No, I do not show it but at the back of my mind, Mr. Guilt is eager to set up his shop. Its deadly whisper has to be suppressed by my 'enlightened' understanding of God's Word. Yes, Mr. Guilt has to shut up because It is all right to have fun and sin not.

Yesterday which is a Monday (day-off for most pastors) I spend hours playing internet games.One of the Facebook friends commented that it was the first time he saw me playing games online. The truth is that that was not the first time. I seldom play internet games because they are so time consuming. However, it is good to take a break and not feel guilty about it.

Like what the popular advice - take time to smell the roses - may I suggest to you, take time to take a break. Whether it is just playing computer games or go for a round of golf, it is good to take a break. One more thing, never feel guilty if you have to take that break. Why? Because if you don't, you might end up broken... which is far worse.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spock's 'V' sign has roots in faith

By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service
Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy, left) gives the Vulcan greeting on a "Star Trek" episode with Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley). PARAMOUNT TELEVISION

ROCKVILLE, Md. The V-shaped hand sign that made actor Leonard Nimoy famous as Mr. Spock may have seemed to be from a planet far away. But the "Star Trek" star says he created it from childhood memories of his Jewish family.

"I reached back to my early years as a child when I was sitting in a synagogue in Boston with my family at the High Holidays," he said recently at B'nai Israel Congregation here.

Before the sold-out audience in suburban Washington, the 80-year-old actor re-enacted the blessing Jewish leaders recited at that Orthodox service.

Prayer shawl over his head, he stuck out his hands in the shape of the sign he adapted for the TV show that ran for just three seasons in the 1960s but became a pop culture phenomenon.
As the show was in its second season in space, the final frontier, Nimoy told his director that natives on Spock's home planet of Vulcan should have a special greeting.

"Humans shake hands," Nimoy told him. "Asian people bow to each other. Military people salute each other. What do Vulcans do?"

When he saw the gesture as a child, he had made a point of learning how to do it himself.
"I didn't know if it would come in handy some day," he joked with his audience of 900, which included some die-hard "Star Trek" fans.

Nimoy said he later learned that it was the shape of the letter shin in the Hebrew alphabet, the first letter of "shalom," or "peace."

When it came time to film the gesture for the first time - boldly going where no television show had gone before - Nimoy's pointy-eared character had it a lot easier than the actress he greeted.
"She held her right hand in the shape with her left hand out of sight of the camera," he recalled. "When I raised mine, she was ready and she raised hers."

Nimoy said he could relate to the half-human/half-Vulcan Mr. Spock, who was treated as an outsider on board the USS Enterprise and on his home planet.

"I was the other in Boston," he said. "The Jews were a minority.... I knew what it was like to be the other in that culture and therefore I could bring that quality to the Spock character."

Nimoy said he's often been asked if he thought there was Judaism in the sci-fi series.

"I think that 'Star Trek' consistently shows certain Jewish values," he said, including valuing education, upholding the dignity of the individual and social justice.

But he said the greatest Jewish value the show depicted was the idea of "tikkun olam," or healing the world.

"That's what the mission of the ship is," he said of the Enterprise. "To get up there and solve problems and make things better.... Certainly that's a Jewish value."

Before his career took off, Nimoy got some advice from his father, who wasn't so sure his son's acting career would live long and prosper.

"He said, 'You should learn to play the accordion,"' Nimoy recalled of his dad, who worked as a barber. "You can play weddings, bar mitzvahs.... I didn't take his advice."

Read more:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Randy White, Eddie Long and Matthew 18

Last week, news stories about Randy White and Eddie Long had special meaning to me because there is a Matthew 18 story, which I have not revealed until now, where it says to go to your brother privately.
Bishop Eddie Long announced last week that he settled with four young men who accused him of having homosexual relations. Long had said he was innocent and would fight the allegations, but he settled for an undisclosed amount so "his ministry could go on." You can read more here.

The other news item was former Pastor Randy White who was picked up on driving under the influence in Tampa, Fla. You can read a secular report with the sad details.  Suffice it to say, at one time, Randy was one of the brightest young pastors whose vision to reach Tampa with innovative ministries brought him a lot of accolades from civic and religious leaders. We once featured him and his ex-wife, Paula, on the cover of Ministry Today. It's so sad because, for reasons we'll never know, White let all that influence and potential go down the drain.

What wasn’t known until now is that in the late 1990s, I called Randy and asked to meet with him privately to share a concern. We both drove to the small Disney town of Celebration, Fla., about halfway between where we each lived. Over lunch I told him I was concerned that his success seemed to be promoting pride and he should be careful lest he fall. He thanked me for caring enough to come to him. He responded humbly and said he'd take the warning. I felt I had done what God wanted me to do and forgot about it. 

In 2006, I heard rumors about Bishop Long allegedly being involved in homosexuality. Long had built a great church in Atlanta. We once featured him on the cover of Charisma and his influence went far beyond Atlanta. I had great respect for him and published one of his books.  

Since he was speaking at a large expo we were sponsoring a few weeks later, I felt I needed to talk to him. I tried repeatedly to make an appointment to warn him that there were rumors and to ask if they were true. He refused to talk to me and cancelled the speaking engagement. Saddened, I just quietly took his book out of print and withdrew any support we had given him.

Only God, those young men and Long know if the charges are true. If they are, I hope he's truly repented and will lead his congregation in righteousness and humility.  Thankfully, he continues to say homosexuality is wrong and he desires to serve the Lord.

White, on the other hand, seems to have left the ministry. The last I heard, he was involved in celebrity fundraising events for secular charities and turned over the pastorate of Without Walls International Church to Paula. I haven't talked to him in years so I don't know where he is spiritually. But getting a DUI is not a good sign. I pray he'll get help before it's too late.
Contrast that to two other ministers I was with in the past week. In my last Strang Report, I told about how Pastor Ron Phillips gave his testimony of receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and then ministered powerfully at Expolit, the leading Spanish book trade show in Miami. A few days later, I was in Cleveland, Tenn., to interview Perry Stone for an upcoming article in Charisma. Both men have built impressive ministries with national impact through television. But both have remained humble and free of even a hint of scandal.

Regardless of the details, the stories of White and Long have been an embarrassment to the body of Christ. Let's thank God that there are still ministries like Perry Stone and Ron Phillips. In the difficult times we live in, we need godly leaders to lead the church and to not give the enemy more opportunity to bring disrepute to the name of Jesus.