What's on Your Mind? An idle mind is a devil's playground.
Cristina Dy Editor-in-chief
Rhea Bless O. Lerado Rosalind Ngo-Li Sheree Go Editors
Johnson Li Art Editor
Marybelle Talania Layout Artist
Rev. Alexander Hsu Uy Ptr. Philemon Tie Ptr. Joselito Chua Spiritual Columnists Cover Design: Patrick Tan Model: Rachel Ruth Ching CCOWEspondence is a magazine published semi-annually by CCOWEF Young Professionals Philippines (CYP). This publication is distributed for free to Filipino-Chinese churches nationwide. If you would like to extend financial assistance to help in the production and distribution of CCOWEspondence, it will be greatly appreciated. You can send cash or check made payable to: CCOWEF Philippines Metrobank-Sta. Cruz Branch S/A NO. 025-3-02550155-2 Note: Views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent those of CCOWEF Philippines or CYP. Authors are responsible for their own opinions and articles. For comments and suggestions write to us at 3rd Floor Manhattan Bldg., 920 Banawe St., Quezon City 1115 Telefax: 576-0724; 577-4030 Visit us on CCOWEspondence facebook page http://issuu.com/ccowespondence
The first time I heard this statement, I sensed an alarm bell rung through my being. It was both a warning bell and a wake-up call. Foremost, I am guilty of daydreaming, which in my case, I recognize as unhealthy, unprofitable, and clearly a distraction from the task at hand. Secondly, an idle mind implies an unguarded, if not unrestrained, thought life. It reminds me that it's not enough that I filter out any ungodly thinking, but I also need to consciously feed my mind with the right thoughts. According to John Maxwell's book 'Think on These Things', our thoughts are greatly influenced by the environment we live in, how we spend our free time, and by the people we associate. This means we need to be intentional in our choice of activities and associations, for they shape our beliefs and our thoughts. It's either we subject our thoughts to the control of the Holy Spirit, or we allow worldly influences or the enemy to take control of our mind. Our mind is a powerful tool. And we only know too well the results when power is unutilized, unrestrained, or misapplied. In this issue, I invite all of us to take a conscious examination of our thought life, for many thoughts cross our mind in a day, consciously or subconsciously. 'See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil', but what about Think no evil? How are we keeping our minds pure and honourable before our God? Rev. Dr. Leung Wai Man shares practical ways on how to keep our thoughts in check. Positive Thinking is another popular concept that attracts both believers and unbelievers alike. Is this principle found in the bible? What are the benefits and dangers of practicing this? Dr. Hannah Ong Haskell expounds the answers to these questions. We are also grateful for the opportunity to have CCCOWE's General Secretary Rev. Josiah Ting impart his testimony to us, and how focusing on God's character and sovereignty guided and strengthened him as he responded to God's calling and faced major decisions in his life. On a lighter note, Johnson Li and wife Rosalind Li reveal the quirky differences of the male and female minds as they tell their own story, and how as a couple they learn to live 'peaceably' together despite their differences. Finally, we hope you'll find helpful tips from our articles on developing a healthy mind and nurturing a positive attitude. It is my prayer that after reading through this issue, we will be more conscious of the quality of our thought life and desire for a Spiritcontrolled mind. May we always dwell on what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, what is admirable, what is excellent or praiseworthy! (Philippians 4:8)
PURITY OF THOUGHTS By Rev. Dr. Leung Wai Man (United Bethel Church)
e all love to watch movies, especially when they are true-to-life stories; but how would you like to have all your thoughts flash on a screen one day for public viewing? One of my teachers once told me, “we are not who we think we are, but we are what we think.”
What do they gain from it? Obviously, they are collecting pictures for their fantasy. A survey shows that 59% of the adults in the United States consider “enjoying sexual thoughts or fantasies about someone” to be acceptable (www.barna.org). What does the Bible say? Jesus said, “...I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery.
Further, we can hide our thoughts from others but God knows our thoughts. And so we need to be careful and aware of the things that linger in our minds, not just because God knows them but because they determine our character and even our destiny.
What to do with our impure thoughts?
Jesus said, “What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'” (Mark 7:20-23)
3. It is more than just the thoughts. The bottom line is how they affect our heart. In the Bible, the heart speaks of our emotion, our desire, and our will. An impure heart corrupts the mind, which produces impure imagination, feelings, words and actions. When they take over our being, they form habits that eventually decide our characters.
Cease the impure thought immediately. In 2 Corinthians 10:5, Paul says, “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Once you know that what you are thinking is not right or impure, stop the thought right away. Confess and ask God to show you His will in that particular area of your life. Bind the evil thought and spirit that may be projecting the thought (Matthew 6:13). Conquer it with pure thoughts. Phil 4:8-9, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” God promises to guard your hearts with His presence and peace.
Practical ways to keep our thoughts pure and honorable On the other hand, a pure heart is not a perfect heart; but a forgiven heart. It is a heart that has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus. It is a heart that yearns and seeks to please his Lord – i.e., that reflects the glory of Christ Jesus. In the New Testament, the Greek word for “purity” is hagnotes, which means “uprightness of life, it refers to moral purity in II Cor.6:6” (Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p.19). Honestly, our ability to imagine or to create thoughts in our mind is a powerful gift from God. Imagination by itself is not evil. By definition, it is a collection of focused thoughts that creates a reality in our minds. Since we are created in God's image, we human beings are given the ability to create things in our imagination. Without imagination, we would miss out a lot of wonderful things in lives. But because we are living in a corrupt, sinful world, we are more often than not influenced by the things we see in the media – i.e., the television and the movies or by what we see and hear at home, in school, or in our society. Once we continue to dwell on them, impure thoughts progress to “malicious (evil) thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malace, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly”. Some people can even fantasize about having a sexual relationship with a person in an advertisement, a magazine, a pocket book, or on the internet. In a highly stressful society like that of Hong Kong, one social problem reported recently is about males (including teens and seniors) using their cellphone to video the legs of ladies in subway stations. Now why would people do that?
1. Stay away, as far away as you can, from things that will trigger impure thoughts (2 Tim 2:22-23). 2. Stay close to God. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col. 3:16a) 3. Stay alert to what you are exposed to – what we see and listen to (Philippians 4:8-9). 4. Stay committed to your family and do not look at anything evil (Psalm 101:2-3). 5. Stay close to godly friends, because they encourage and affirm us with godly values (Proverb 17:17a). 6. Stay balance in your work and leisure. Have you been to the Underground River in Palawan? There you see the crystal pillars, the stalactites. Marvelous! They are basically formed over years by the constant dripping of water. Rainwater sips through the soil dripping down the ceiling of the cave forming different shapes of crystal-like cones. A similar process is going on in each of our heart. Every thought that sips into our soul makes its deposit, producing the pillars that form our word, our action, and ultimately our character. How is your thought life? Romans 12:2 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Positive Thinking: Myth, New Age, or Truth? Positive thinking is one of the most popular concepts promoted and embraced by Christians and non-Christians today. But what exactly is the underlying principle behind this thinking? Is there a scientific explanation to this? Does it really work? And is it biblical? Dr. Hannah Ong Haskell, a counselor and a teacher, explains to us the different views and the biblical perspective on this subject. Q. We hear a lot of talk these days about “Positive Thinking.” What do you, as a Christian counselor, think about “Positive Thinking?” Is it helpful? Is it biblical? A. “Positive thinking” is an expression that can be used to mean several very different things. What might be called “positive thinking” falls into at least three categories: 1. Wishful thinking that is based on fantasies. Many celebrities and some Bible teachers believe and teach this kind of “Positive Thinking.” Secular versions include “The Law of Attraction” and “The Secret.” Christian versions include the “positive confession” and “Word of Faith” movements. 2. Truthful or realistic thinking that is based on accurately perceiving reality. In counseling, we call this cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT. 3. Truthful or biblical thinking that is based on Scripture. The first of those three kinds of “Positive Thinking” is harmful. The latter two are helpful; in fact, they are indispensable keys to mental health and spiritual growth. Q. Some of our readers may not be familiar with “The Law of Attraction” and “The Secret.” Tell us a bit about them. A. I too have to check out theopedia. Let me summarize what I found. “The Secret” is a simple New-Age notion that is the subject of a recent book and DVD. Popular American talk-show hosts (like Oprah) helped make the book and the DVD wildly successful by featuring it on their programs. The secret is “The Law of Attraction.” “The Law of Attraction” asserts that what you think creates what you feel, and these feelings flow from your body as magnetic energy waves over vast distances, which then cause the universe around you to vibrate at the same energy level as your feelings. If your feelings are negative, negative experiences will inevitably flow right back, and of course the opposite is true too. Positive feelings elicit positive experiences“Like attracts like”. According to this notion, our thoughts send out magnetic signal that draws the
parallel back to you. And they claim it always works; it works every time, with every person. And so if you can only alter your thoughts, and therefore your feelings, you can actually cause the universe around you to vibrate at a positive energy level and the desires of your heart will come to be realized! All you have to do is Ask — Believe — Receive. You just have to visualize what you want, feel good about it, and then ask the universe (and ask once only, oh ye of little faith) — and whatever you can imagine can be yours. So just think what experience, product, or person you like or want to have and simply place your order with the universe. Basically, we can create our universe the way we want it. Q. And those Christian versions of Positive Thinking: “positive confession” and the “Word of Faith” teachers. Tell us about those. A. Again, because I'm not a follower or student of this teaching, I have to check theopedia.com. The Word of Faith movement or word-faith theology developed in the latter half of the 20th century. It was promulgated, for the most part, by tele-evangelists. But its beginnings can be traced back to an early twentieth century evangelical pastor, E.W. Kenyon (1867-1948), who preached that God would award financial and other gifts if the faithful would ask. Kenyon coined the phrase, "What I confess, I possess." Kenneth E. Haginis, often referred to as the father of the modern Word of Faith movement, used a four-part formula he claimed to have received from Jesus: "Say it; do it; receive it; tell it.” Q. So the “Law of Attraction” and “The Secret” are rooted in the New Age movement, while the “positive confession” and “Word of Faith” ideas are taught by Christian leaders. But you are suggesting that they have a lot in common? A. Yes, they are different versions of essentially the same point of view. The “Law of Attraction” and “The Secret” are New Age versions of the concept, and the “positive confession” and “the word of faith” movements are Christian versions of essentially the same idea. The New Age versions of such ideas refer to moving “the universe” to get what we want, while the Christian versions talk about our being gods, or about moving God to get what we want. But the ideas are the same; only the vocabulary is different.
Q. And neither the secular nor the Christian version is helpful? A. Right. Neither is helpful in the long run. We cannot think or speak things into existence; we cannot shape the universe with our thoughts or words. Only the Creator, the God of the Bible, can do that. We are not God or gods. The idea that reality conforms to our thoughts or words is simply not true. Worse yet, it is blasphemous. Now being motivated by positive thoughts or ideas may promote healthy optimism that can motivate people toward diligence and purposeful efforts. All that can help people succeed. But in the long run, to build one's life on false premises is to set oneself up for a fall. That was the point of Jesus' parable about taking care to build one's house on a firm foundation rather than on sand! Q. Why are these ideas so popular, if they are harmful? They seem to have captured the imagination of so many people, both believers and unbelievers! A. All of us want favorable things to happen to us; we all want to be happy. And we think that health and wealth will make us happy. Anyone who manages to convince us that he or she can provide us the secret to obtaining what we long for is likely to become popular. Joel Osteen must be the most popular motivational and inspirational speaker today. Every Sunday, 40,000 people fill a Houston, Texas football stadium to hear him speak. And several million viewers in more than 100 nations around the world listen to him through broadcast media every week. What makes Osteen so popular? To listen to him is to be captivated by his confident assertions that God wants you to have it all. Wishful thinking has always been popular. The prophet Jeremiah could tell you all about that! When the kingdom of Judah was under the threat of being annihilated by pagan super-power Babylon, when fear and tension cast a pall over the nation, the king of Judah and his people were desperate for some good news to hang on to. So many prophets claiming to be sent by God gave the king and his people what they longed for. They predicted peace and prosperity. That message of hope (howbeit false) was popular. But Jeremiah decried their lies. Jeremiah alone predicted starvation and a massacre. His message was rejected, and he was bitterly hated. He was thrown into a cistern, left to starve and die. It was no wonder. Most of us would rather listen to soft lies than hard truths. Q. So tell us about the kind of positive thinking that is helpful. A. Having a positive outlook or attitude in life, as long as that positive outlook is based on reality, has powerful
positive effects. Any medical doctor will tell you that many physical illnesses are rooted in unhealthy thought patterns such as anxious thoughts, suspicion, envy, fear or anger. And psychosomatic health problems are not fake; they are very real. While such problems are rooted in our mind (our thoughts and, even more importantly, our feelings), the physical problems they cause are very real. Anxiety, fear, anger, and other negative emotions are heavy burdens to bear, sapping our energy. Being at peace with ourselves and with others, on the other hand, sets us free, providing us energy: mental energy, emotional energy, and even physical energy, to pursue whatever it is we want to pursue in life. “A cheerful heart is good medicine,” says Proverbs. Does a positive outlook and attitude guarantee us success? No. But a person who is at peace with himself or herself and with others is a person who is resilient. “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again,” says Proverbs 24:16. Positive thinking that is based on Scripture is particularly helpful. It gives rise to godly optimism. The dictionary defines optimism as “expecting a favorable outcome” and “the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.” That sort of optimism is in line with what the Bible has to say about ultimate outcomes. A confidence that God's omnipotence and His goodness will prevail in the end is good because it is true. That sort of optimism or positive thinking can enhance and promote our physical and mental health. Optimism that is based on the truth of Scripture about God's nature and character is conducive to our spiritual, mental, and physical health. Q.How do we cultivate the healthy sort of positive thinking? A. Before I provide some suggestions on how to cultivate healthy positive thinking, let me put those suggestions in context by sharing some thoughts on how human beings function, why we think the way we do, what motivates us. Our Creator designed us to be thinking creatures. God has created us with a capacity to understand and to plan, to create and to recreate, to change our circumstances in order to make our lives more comfortable or convenient. We long to alleviate both physical and emotional pain. And when it comes to pain, emotional pain or suffering can even be more unbearable than physical pain. The strategies we devise to ease our pain may, in fact, be harmful to our body and soul, but our desire to find relief is so strong that we don't think clearly about the long-term consequences of the choices we are making. There is a host of ways in which we harm ourselves in the long run in exchange for immediate escape from emotional pain. Such unhealthy or problematic lifestyle choices include:
l l l
Abusing alcohol or drugs to numb our pain Avoiding unpleasant tasks by procrastinating Acting impulsively rather than enduring the pain of delayed gratification Not taking time to work through relational problems because to do so is an arduous and time consuming exercise Staying overly busy (to avoid the fear of being alone).
We think our survival depends on being happy and comfortable, so we make choices that make us happy in the short run, without thinking through the long-term consequences. Our thinking is often short-sighted. When it comes to understanding how people function, we must keep in mind that we are not just thinking beings, we are also feeling beings. In fact, we have very strong feelings long before we can think. Newborn babies are not great thinkers, but they have very strong feelings! And while what we think and what we believe about ourselves, about others, about the world, and about God certainly does have influence in the way we feel, the converse is equally true: the way we feel influences the way we think. In fact, our feelings probably have a stronger hold on us than do our thoughts. And how we feel more powerfully influences what we think than what we think shapes the way we feel. People who grow up in abusive homes, for example, usually grow up feeling unwanted, unlovable, and unworthy. By the time they start school, not only do they feel negative about themselves, they also think negatively about themselves. Telling them to “think positive” and “think big,” telling them they are wonderful and they can be whatever they want to be, is not going to work. We cannot simply shut down our emotions. Our heart shouts at us more loudly than our mind. Only as we experience being loved, accepted, forgiven, and affirmed – in relationships with people who really care for us – do we come to believe that we are lovable and valuable. Such people help us work through the pain in our past, the pain of rejection, or abuse, or neglect. Philippians 4:8 describes the way God would have us think: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Note the balance in that passage. We are encouraged to think positively, to reflect on things that are lovely, excellent, praiseworthy. But we are not to run from reality, even painful realities. The very first category we are exhorted to think about is “whatever is true!” Many of the things that are true in our past and in our present are ugly and painful. We are not to overlook them. We are to concern ourselves, not just with whether we are thinking positively versus negatively, but, first and
foremost, whether we are embracing truth and living out the truth. And the painful reality is that many negative things are part of what's true. We must embrace both biblical truth revealed in Scripture and personal truth, that is honestly acknowledging the whole of our life experience, even its painful aspects. Biblical truth includes both the truth about God's nature and character, and the truth about our position in Christ, that in Him we have peace with God. Personal truth includes the fact that we have been disappointed and hurt as we have not been loved the ways we long to be loved, and that we have hurt others by failing to love them well. Embracing the truth is not a matter of thinking positively but of aligning our thoughts with what is true. Achieving maturity is not a matter of being optimistic or pessimistic, but of learning to live with the tension of embracing God's grace and truth while struggling with issues that arise from the pain of being hurt, being unloved, and from not loving well. Life is unfair and difficult, and it will remain unfair and difficult regardless of our positive thinking. “Positive thinking” can be a way of avoiding reality, in order to protect ourselves from the pain of facing painful realities. But the sort of “positive thinking” that avoids, denies, ignores, or suppresses the truth is harmful. Instead, we are to seek out wise people, safe people, people who incarnate God's grace, who can journey with us as we face those painful truths and work through them. There is no quick, easy, foolproof formula when it comes to cultivating healthy positive thinking. But I'll conclude with a few ideas that might be of help: l
Meditate on Scripture. Focus on passages that describe how God feels about His children and how He relates to us – His grace, His love, His, acceptance, His forgiveness, His generosity, His empowerment.
Spend time with men and women whose world view, values, and attitudes reflect our Heavenly Father's grace. We all need people who model God's grace. The story of Jacob seeing God's grace reflected in the face of his wronged-but-forgiving brother Esau is a very beautiful example. “To see your face is like seeing the face of God,” said Jacob, “now that you have received me favorably” (Gen. 33:10). Such people are not easy to find, seek them out!
It is hard to break the habits of many years. Look for a counselor who models God's grace and who challenges faulty thinking.
Dr. Hannah Ong Haskell is a graduate of Biblical Seminary of the Philippines, Western Seminary, and Asia Graduate School of Theology. She is on staff with the Navigators and adjunct faculty at Alliance Graduate School in Quezon City since 2005.
My Journey to Positivity By: Katherine Rose Chua
very morning since 2008, I take a deep breath, face the mirror, and repeat to myself,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” You see, I've been suffering from insecurity and anxiety since I was in college. I may not look like it, but it was there – it felt like a dark cloud hovering over me. And it was this verse, Philippians 4:13, which gave me hope and the will to stay strong, positive, and say 'Yes' to life.
2. Take a Long Term View of Life Often, the weight of a million little things in our everyday life can bear a heavy burden on us. And we get stressed, fatigued, and tired. But always remember that, “This too shall pass.” Problems may not be solved instantly, today, or tomorrow, but these problems will not last forever. And we have an Almighty Father who is always there for us in our times of need. “
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares Since then, I have been interested the Lord, “plans to prosper you and in the connectivity of my thoughts, not to harm you, plans to give you emotions, and actions. Our hope and a future.” thoughts translated to words can lead to actions that become habits When we accept and expect that life which mould our character and is a roller coaster ride, and finally, shape our destiny. That is remember that God is always by our why I've been learning ways to help side during the ride, it is easier to be people nurture a positive frame of still even in the midst of hard times. mind and attitude. There are four God is our rock and our shield. ways that I find helpful so far: 3. Keep Things in Perspective 1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
I remember back in 2008, it took a lot for me to be aware of my negative thoughts, and recognize that it is just my anxiety that is conjuring up these negative scenarios in my mind. And it took a lot of conscious effort, I admit, before I managed to develop awareness and replace my negative thinking with positive ones. Psalm 27:1 (NIV) “The Lord is my Psalm 107:1 (NIV) “Give thanks to light and my salvation— whom the Lord, for He is good, His love shall I fear? endures forever.” The Lord is the stronghold of my So often, people are unhappy life— of whom shall I be afraid?” because of worrying, wanting c o n t r o l , h o l d i n g g r u d g e s , Sometimes, fear paralyzes us into comparing to other people. It can be not taking that job opportunity, or very easy and addicting to indulge in that career shift, or even saying hi to self-pity, blame, and anger but that cute guy or girl that we like appreciating what we have will help –because we are afraid to fail, afraid us stay positive even during to look bad in front of our friends, afraid to let go of our daily routine. challenging times. Chances are, the worst scenarios In 2008, I started writing in a journal five things I am thankful for each night before I sleep. Only five things – and these can be as simple as getting to eat my favourite ube flavored ice cream during the day or can be as meaningful as seeing my relatives accept Christ.
conjured up in our minds won't happen in reality. 4.
Reach out in Kindness
Finally, reaching out to others with generosity and expressions of kindness can make people happier. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a University of California psychology professor, conducted a research to see whether a person can derive happiness from acts of kindness. In her experiment, she had participants engage in acts of kindness over a 10-week period. Throughout the ten weeks, Lyubomirsky discovered that the amount of happiness derived from kindness activities depends on both frequency and variety. Performing the same act over and over again can cause the initial boost in happiness to taper out, but if the participants perform different acts of kindness over time, their happiness stays elevated. This study, even though is considered preliminary, indicates that being kind is a good way to maximize happiness. So if you want to try doing good deeds to test this hypothesis, these are some deeds you can do without taking too much of your time: surprise workmates or classmates with treats, pay for a stranger's meal, help a neighbor carry heavy groceries, and finally, seize the moment – if you find yourself in a situation where you can help someone out, take it! John 15:12 NIV “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” It takes very little to help someone with just few minutes or few pesos, we can impact and make a big difference in someone else's life. So let's reach out with kindness.
From the Desk of CCCOWE's General Secretary:
God is good. God is faithful. God is in control. Interviewed and written by Rhea Bless Ong Lerado (Glory Evangelical Church) Born in Sarawak, Malaysia, Rev. Dr. Joshua Ting was born to an atheist family with five siblings. When he was 11 years old, he accepted Christ. He responded to God's calling when he was 13 years old and went to Singapore Bible College (SBC) when he was 18. He married Daisy right after graduating from the seminary in 1982 and they are blessed with three children – Titus, Ainos and Polus. After SBC, he went to Brunei to serve at a Chinese church for eight years. By God's grace, the church grew from more than 70 people to almost 400. In 1990, he left for the United States to study for six years. He then left again and came back to SBC where he taught in the Chinese department and also served as the dean of students for the whole college. After three and a half years, God brought him and his family back to the United States where he served in the Mandarin Baptist Church for the next 11 years.
life is not to serve one church but to serve churches as a whole. And though he was quite convinced that this is God's plan for him, he held back. Even if he knew that God wanted him to leave the pastoral ministry, he held on to it for another 3 years for at that time his two younger children were still attending college. But in 2009 he was convinced that he needed to leave the pastoral ministry. It was at this time that he was being considered to be the senior pastor's successor of one of the largest Chinese churches in the US with close to 1,800 members. Despite the prestigious position, God let him know that he still needed to leave. Not knowing where he and his family were heading but since this was what God wanted him to do; he resigned in June 2009 and left the church in April 2010. “God is good. And because of that in whatever we do, He would always see things would come up His way and not our way.”
God's Redirection In 2006, God showed Rev. Ting that His desire for his
It was at this point that I asked Rev. Ting how he dealt with major and life changing decisions when he didn't
Rev. Josiah Ting, in cap and jacket, together with CCOWEF Young Professionals' Interim Committee.
know what God has in store for him. His replies were nuggets of wisdom which would serve us well when at a crossroad and when we need to take that leap of faith. “Life is filled with uncertainties and choices. Making decisions like moving from one place to another with children or entering a new territory of ministry requires a lot of courage. It is a process of striving with yourself and growing as a believer for Christ and a leader for God's ministry. Change itself requires a lot of challenges. It might be something I am not comfortable with or something I am not confident in but after facing all these, I have to be true to myself and ask if this is what God wants for me. It is a process of continuous dependence on Him, to be certain that this is the way He wants my life to be, and to submit to his sovereignty every time I make a decision. It is learning the lesson of trust and obey. The crucial part of decision making is having that peace that transcends understanding. And this is what I have been experiencing for the past 37 years by totally relying on Him, and with it experiencing His faithfulness and provision.” On May 2010, Rev. Ting and his wife relocated to Pennsylvania and he served as Director of Ministries for the Ambassadors for Christ. After 1.5 years, God brought him and his wife to Hong Kong to serve as CCCOWE's General Secretary. “God is faithful. Whatever He desires for my life, He would see to it that it will happen because He is faithful. My conviction in life as a believer and as a leader is I need to focus on what God desires for me to do for His glory. And if I do the things that He wants me to do, then I will be able to experience His faithfulness and things will be completed according to His time and will.” Rev. Ting pointed out that spirituality is not a static thing, it is something ongoing. On a daily basis, we spend time in solitude with Him through meditation, prayer and reflection. We always live in God's presence as we fulfill our obligations in whatever areas we are in. There will be moments when we exhibit stronger feelings with what is happening in our lives but it is also our ongoing relationship with Christ that will help pull us through when we are presented with trials and challenges, to continue to have joy and peace daily. However, when we do not live closely with God, then challenging times will be that period when we are brought closer to Him. “God is in control. Whatever happens in my life has a purpose. Things may not be going the way I want it to be, but because God is in control I have that peace in mind. Because God is in control, I have that hope in mind.”
The Call to Discipleship and Global Mission As CCCOWE's General Secretary, Rev. Ting's primary responsibility is to collaborate with Chinese churches to be united in one accord and to engage in global mission through the 72 CCCOWE District Committees. In the next five to ten years, his prayer is for Chinese churches and believers worldwide to participate in the "Vision 2020: Discipleship-Driven Cross-Cultural Mission" Movement. Rev. Ting would like to challenge the Chinese churches to focus on discipleship and the unreached people group. When we take an honest stock of the Chinese churches, there is a lack of consistency between what we know and what we live out. According to Rev. Ting, though we may have the number, the people and the buildings, there is a lack of impact for Christ in the community. There is no real transformation. Discipleship is in itself a lifestyle and not a curriculum. The challenge is for everyone to leave their comfort zones and take hold of the opportunity to make disciples. I asked Rev. Ting if the Lord changed his thinking with his current role in CCCOWE. He replied there are two things. First, he initially thought that Chinese churches are quite healthy because we have the largest population in the world. But the more he traveled and observed, he has to face the fact that Chinese churches are lacking in several things – generally speaking, weak in certain areas and there is a need for God's grace to fulfill the Great Commission. We are in desperate need of Him as a Chinese church. We are no better than the other. The first thing he learned is that we are not that strong as we seem to be and we need God's grace in order for Him to use us to reach this world. Second, God changed his perception of the Chinese church as a whole. At first glance, because of CCCOWE he thought that we are doing well especially when it comes to worldwide networking, that we stick together. However, he realized that in many areas there is still a certain kind of self-absorption, a selfcenteredness, and a territorial kind of mentality that exists. With his visits to other countries, he observed that we are not that together – churches compete with each other, unable to share resources together and unable to work together for global mission. Let's all go back to the basics, continually deny ourselves and take up the cross. When my interview with Rev. Ting ended, I went away thinking that I still have a long way to go in terms of taking that leap of faith. Similarly, the Chinese churches still have a long journey ahead. As we steadily move forward, I do hope that we continually keep in mind that indeed God is good, God is faithful and He is in control.
“Our Tale of Two Brains” By Johnson A. Li and Rosalind Ngo Li (United Bethel Church)
I have known a woman for 11 years now. She was my first and only girlfriend, an active Christian, reads books, intellectual, competes in toastmasters, and my chat-buddy. We are married for almost 9 years now with two daughters of 6 and 3 years old. We do things together like watch movies, go shopping, work on personal ministries, play with kids, and share ideas too. We are partners in deeds and in crimes, so to speak. But sometimes, she still surprises me! ON MATTERS OF FLOWER-GIVING I am a practical person. I would rather buy her bags, shirts, or shoes --- anything that will last longer than those flowers that she wants. But she still wants them! At least, I gave in to her when I sent her flowers during our 1st Valentines as a couple (she was still in Cebu and I was here in Manila), another one during our wedding in Cebu th (not counting her bridal bouquet), and the latest one was during our 5 wedding anniversary which I bought by accident. Got a deal I couldn't resist! ;-) ON MATTERS OF BRINGING UP THE KIDS She buys books for the kids as if the textbooks are not enough. And I would buy toys and chocolates for them! I want the kids to enjoy candies and chocolates as all the kids in the world do. But here she comes with her moving speech on how kids should preserve their teeth by refraining from eating lots of sweets and chocolates. My kids sometimes end up not eating those goodies. Too bad for them, good for me! I usually end up eating their chocolates, and I enjoy every minute of it. LET'S TALK IT OVER When I'm driving and concentrating on manoeuvring through the vehicle congestion, she wants to talk. She has this habit of asking about anything and everything under the sun. One time, she even asked me why the movie we watched ended up with that title. But as I was driving, I cannot give her my full attention. Honestly, I don't care why a movie ended titled that way. The end of the movies is just that -- “The End”. MY NOTHING BOX… There are times when I pull out my nothing box. This is a time when I just want to do nothing, say nothing, and think nothing. I would spend it watching TV or a video. This is an important time for me to recharge and rest my brain. Then here she comes asking me questions that need deep thinking. When she does that, my nothing box becomes something box. And, you might say, my peace and quiet is over. CONCLUSION As I write this article, I remember the “Tale of two brains” by Mark Gungor in youtube. He explained how men and women are created with different thought processes. As husband and wife, we compromise. Sometimes I give in, and sometimes she also gives in. We are Christians and civilized people. There are principles to guide us settle the differences in life and family. There is also a need for forgiveness and understanding towards each other. As Mars is different from Venus, so is a man different from a woman, but both are in the Solar system created by the same God.
I once watched a seminar video entitled “A Tale of Two Brains”. According to the speaker, a man's brain is made up of many boxes. He has a box for the car, a box for work, a box for EVERYTHING. And each of these boxes doesn't touch each other. A woman's brain, on the other hand, is made up of a ball of wires with each connected to the other. This means that whatever topic the woman talks about, she can connect it to EVERYTHING in life. ON MATTERS OF FLOWER-GIVING Ask any wife if they like to receive flowers from the spouses? The answer is a big YES! I don't know what it is with flowers that makes one feel so romantic when they receive them. My husband knows how much I want to receive flowers during Valentine's Day and Anniversaries. That's why whenever the dates to these special occasions draw near, I would let him hear how much I would love to receive a bouquet of red roses or will I be surprised with one this year. As usual, it fell on deaf ears. He would tease me with a blank look and say, “Again, what did you say?” It's just that my husband believes that flowers are a waste on money as they would just wither and die. He prefers to spend on things that last. Plastic flowers, anyone??? ON MATTERS OF BRINGING UP THE KIDS When I have the chance to go out with my kids, I would buy them some books and educational stuffs. But my husband would spoil them and buy all the things that (in my opinion) are not good for the kids like chocolates, sweets and toys. I would rather spend on things that are intellectually beneficial to them but he would always tell me to let the kids enjoy their childhood. No wonder why he is my kids' favourite… ON MATTERS OF DEALING WITH PROBLEMS When I am stressed or have problems, I have to let it out. I have to talk about it. It's like I have to exorcize myself of it. If I don't, I will literally burst! We, women, have that need to get it off our chest. But men do things differently. When my husband is stressed or have problems, he would be silent and ponder the problem in silence. ON MATTERS OF LOVE I am a hopeless romantic even if I'm already married, even at my age now (not that I'm ancient). I can still vividly recall how I prepared for my budgeted wedding. I looked into every minute detail like church decorations, arrangement of the tables in the reception venue, church and dinner programs, the design of the wedding gown, motif of the wedding, the make-up artist, florist, guest list, etc. I wanted so much to have a fairytale wedding. And all my husband wanted was … a wedding. Period. CONCLUSION People believe that a man and woman have to be so similar to avoid any conflicts when they get married; that as long as they think in the same way or do the same things, they are bound for a “perfect” marriage. But imagine what life would be like if both the husband and the wife are too much alike. It's like you are married to yourself! Well, that's creepy! My husband and I may have a lot of differences to mention but our differences kind of balance things. Sometimes we even argue on certain issues and traditions. But just like pieces in a puzzle, he is the piece that completes the beautiful picture of my life, our family. Differences between husband and wife will always be there because that's how God created man and woman to be--- different yet complimenting each other. What matters most in a marriage is that one should have a wide understanding, a wider patience, the widest room for forgiveness, a lot of love and, most importantly, a lot of God.
How to Develop a Healthy Mind: Another Self-help Tip? By Sheree Go (Davao Evangelical Church) Self-help books are one of the top in the list of books bought these days. Self-help tips are one of the top searched sites in the internet. What is the reason why self-help tools are something people seek these days? With a lot of people going through depression, feeling invaluable, having problems with family members, having no direction of one's future, many turn to self-help tools to seek a right view of life, starting with one's mind. In the Philippines alone, mental health has become the top third problem. According to World Health Organization, most mental disorders begin before the age of 14. Around the world, about 20% of children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems. About 800,000 people commit suicide every year with more than half of them between ages 15 to 44. One of the common reasons for this is depression. If one has a healthy mind, then he has a better chance of coping and overcoming life's challenges. But are self-help books and self-help sites helpful in developing a healthy mind? Recently, hosts of a program entitled “Pursuit of Happiness” – people who encourage others to think positively and never give up on their problems – eventually ended their lives together. These two life coaches who encourage others to design the lives they've always wanted using one's inner strength and to never give up, suddenly gave up because of depression. This incident brings people to another crossroad. If people, who claimed to have known much with regards to having a healthy mind and life, eventually couldn't take their own advice and took their own lives, how then could an ordinary person be able to cope with life's problems and stay sane? While looking for answers to this, I've read a lot of tips which claim to be helpful to having a healthy mind. The list includes: ·
Get plenty of mental exercise. This includes solving math problems, crossword puzzle, playing scrabble, reading books and articles; anything you can do just to push your mind to think.
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Get physical exercise. According to an article in National Times Magazine, a healthy mind and healthy body are fundamentally linked. A physically unhealthy person will most probably have an unhealthy mindset. Get healthy foods. In line with physical exercise, it is also important to eat healthy foods to be physically fit. Do some meditation to reduce stress. Do some mind relaxation activities like yoga, Pilates, massage, etc. Do not smoke, drink or take illegal drugs. They are only temporary stress relievers, and their components can cause you to feel more depressed once sober. Get enough sleep. Sleep is a way to cope up with stress. It relaxes both your body and your mind.
Looking into this list, I don't think there is anything wrong in them. But it's not complete. It lacks one thing. And that one thing is what keeps people a step away from having a truly healthy mind. A truly healthy mind is beyond just being physically and mentally healthy; it involves one's spiritual health as well. To have a healthy mind is to have a hopeful mind - a hope that is rooted in the person and promises of our Lord Jesus Christ who is Sovereign, True, Faithful, and Eternal. This kind of hope leads to a purposeful life. Jesus said in His word, “I come so that they can have life, and have life to the full.” To have a healthy mind is to have peace of mind. People took their lives because they cannot see any hope in their future, and they do not have peace in their hearts. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” People who have the peace of Jesus can have a healthy perspective, knowing that in the midst of their problems, God is always there, and trusting His promise in Romans 8:28, “…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Have you done all the self-help tips and still think that there is something wrong or missing in your life? Turn to Him who can give you life to the full; to Him who can give you the peace that the world cannot give. Jesus is THE answer.
Global Day of Prayer by Allen Bruce Uy Glory Evangelical Church Global Day of Prayer is a movement to call Christians from all nations to unite in repentance and prayer; to work together as God's servants and intercessors for the blessing and healing of the nations. This is based on the verse found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “ If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Around 300 Filipino-Chinese Christians from Metro Manila and nearby provinces attended the Global Day of Prayer held last May 19, 2013 afternoon at United Evangelical Church of the Philippines. That whole afternoon was filled with worship, repentance, messages by Rev. Tie Eng Han & Rev. Nono Badoy, and prayers for our nation, the churches, Israel, the world's political & economic situation, world missions, etc. This is the second time that Chinese Christian Churches participated in the global day of prayer movement. Rev. Wilson Gonzales of UECP serves as the over-all coordinator. CCOWEF Young Pro Ministry together with pastors and leaders from different Chinese Christian Churches were involved in the planning, coordinating and mobilization of the gathering. Let us continue to pray with one voice, for the healing of our land, its people and the nations. Pray globally. Gather locally!
SAFE Ministry - God's Love on Bloodlines By: Jacelie King, UEC Gensan Did you know that on any given day, more than 2,000 blood units are transfused to patients in the Philippines? Did you know that in low income countries such as ours, up to 65% of transfusions are for children under the age of 5? Did you know that a single unit of donated blood can save up to three lives? And did you know that World Blood Donor Day is celebrated every year on June 14? The need for blood is great. According to the Mayo Clinic, on the average, a hip replacement uses one unit of blood, a cardiac bypass two units, a heart transplant two units and a liver transplant six units. In the Philippines, most blood transfusion is used to manage pregnancy-related complications and severe childhood anemia. It is also used in blood replacement during massive trauma and therapy for solid and hematological malignancies. Many patients, especially in developing countries, do not have timely access to safe blood. To raise awareness of the importance of blood donation in saving lives and improving health, the World Health Organization celebrates World Blood Donor Day on June 14, with this year marking its 10th year anniversary. Locally, the Philippine Red Cross has been actively providing services on blood collection to nonpaid volunteers. These voluntary blood donors are the safest source of blood products; hence it is important for us to realize that we have a major role to play in saving lives. On the 115th Independence Day of the Philippines, June 12, 2013, CCOWEF YP Safe Ministry in partnership with the Philippine Red Cross Blood Services hosted a blood drive at the CCOWE Philippines Office in Banawe. The activity started at 9am and ended at 4pm with 50 prospective blood donors. The volunteers were first asked to fill up a registration form. Their weight, blood pressure and hemoglobin level were taken next. Interview questions were then administered. Once approved, each volunteer was brought to a cot bed for the extraction which lasted about 20-30 minutes for each donor. Refreshments were then served after. CCOWEF YP Safe Ministry would like to thank all the brave hearts who willingly donated their blood on Independence Day. No fear of blood or of needles deterred them from sharing God's love through blood lines. We would like you to know that we have collected 28 bags of fresh whole blood during the activity and that meant 84 lives have been saved! The blood drive is part of a project which is to build up a blood donor network across the country to help connect people in need to those who are willing to donate. Sources: WHO, Philippine Red Cross, Mayo Clinic website