Saturday, March 22, 2008
Kemuliaan kepada Bapa,
kepada Roh Kudus,
seperti pada permulaan, sekarang, selalu,
dan sepanjang segala masa.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Perhentian #4: Yesus Berjumpa Dengan IbuNya
Perhentian #14: Jenazah Yesus dimakamkan
Friday, April 13, 2007
Dear Lord, my heart and life I yield,
Submissive to Thy will;
I only ask that I may have
Some troubled place to fill.
I do not yearn for world-wide fame.
But rather to exalt Thy name
I know Thou hast some special task
That Thou wouldst have me to do;
Speak now, My Lord, 'tis all I ask
And may I then be true
To all that Thou desirest of me:
Allow me, now, Thy will to see.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Television is my shepherd.
My spiritual growth shall want.
It maketh me to sit down and
nothing for it's name sake
Because it requireth all my spare time.
It keepeth me from doing my
duty as a Christian,
because it presenteth so many "good"
shows that I must see.
It restoreth my knowledge of the
things of the world and keepeth
me from study of God's word.
It leadeth me in the paths failing to attend
prayer meetings and
doing nothing for God's kingdom.
Yea though I live to be a hundred,
I shall keep viewing my TV
as long as it will work,
for it is my closest companion.
It sounds and pictures they comfort me.
It presenteth entertainment before me
and keepeth me from doing
important things with my family.
It fills my head with ideas which differ
from those in the Word of God.
Surely no good thing will come out of
my life because of so many wasted hours
and I shall dwells in my regrets and
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Pada masa itu, Roma bukan sahaja kuasa besar, tetapi jenayah dan kekejaman menular di kota tersebut. Keruntuhan akhlak dan moral seakan-akan sama dengan kota-kota Sodom dan Gomorrah. Kekejaman Maharaja Roma itu menjadi takutan dan sebutan oleh ramai orang. Inilah kota yang benar-benar Paulus ingin pergi untuk memberitakan Injil kerana beliau percaya Injil dapatmengembalikan keadilan dan moral di kota tersebut.
Kenapakah Paulus mempunyai keyakinan yang sungguh bahawa Injil dapat membuat perbezaan pada kota itu? Roma 1:16b mengatakan Paulus percaya Injil adalah kuasa Allah yang boleh menyelamatkan orang-orang yang percaya pada Yesus. Kuasa Injil Kristus mampu membuat perubahan dalam hati kita. Tiada kuasa yang lain yang dapat melebihi kuasa Injil. Dengan kuasa Injil inilah Tuhan menggunakannya untuk mengubah hati manusia. Paulus dalam pelayanannya mengatakan, "Senjata yang kami gunakan dalam perjuangan, bukannya senjata dunia ini, melainkan senjata yang diberikan oleh Allah. Dengan senjata itu kami boleh menghancurkan pertahanan musuh; kami menghapuskan perdebatan" (2 Korintus 10:4)
Tuhan menunjukkan kuasanya dalam Injil dalam perubahan hidup Paulus sendiri. Paulus sentiasa ingat bahawa pada masa lalu dia merupakan guru agama yang menganggap diri sendiri yang benar dan seorang penindas. Kita mungkin tidak percaya bahawa Paulus akan berubah atau sedar akan kesilapan yang beliau lakukan. Paulus pernah mengimbas kehidupan beliau sebelum menerima Yesus. Apabila Yesus menunjukkan dirinya pada Paulus, beliau jatuh di atas tanah, ketakutan dan berasa hairan. Sejak hari itu, kehidupan Paulus bertukar. Beliau bukan lagi mencabar kehebatan Injil malah menjadi Juara untuk Injil. Jelasnya dengan Injil, Paulus telah "menimbulkan kekacauan di serata tempat" (Kisah Para Rasul 17:60) . Injil mempunyai kuasa untuk menimbulkan "kekacauan" di dunia ini. Kekacauan ini adalah membuat perbezaan daripada yang tidak baik ke arah kebaikkan.
Paulus sedar bahawa kuasa yang mengubah kehidupannya itu dapat juga mengubah kehidupan mereka yang percaya mahupun orang Yahudi atau sebaliknya, yang berpendidikan atau sebaliknya, besar mahupun kecil. Kedegilan orang Yahudi dan kesombongan orang Yunani dapat dipecahkan dengan pedang tajam Injil. Dengan senjata inilah Paulus dengan beraninya pergi ke Roma. Paulus sedar Roma berada dalam pengaruh kuasa kejahatan. Roma berada dalam cengkaman si Iblis yang penuh dengan keangkuhan dan gejala maksiat. Akan tetapi kuasa Iblis tidak dapat melawan dengan kuasa Injil. Paulus sedar bahawa Tuhan boleh mengubah hati jahil manusia bila Injil diberitakan. Paulus tahu Tuhan boleh menyelamatkan setiap pendosa, membawa mereka dari hidup kegelapan kepada cahaya dan menyelamat mereka dari cengkaman kuasa Iblis. Paulus yakin melalui Injil, tiada perkara yang sukar atau mustahil bagi Tuhan.
Wahai sidang pembaca, adakah kita yakin dengan kuasa Injil? Adakah ayat-ayat Injil telah menyakinkan saudara dalam kuasa Ruh Kudus? Adakah Injil telah pecahkan hati kita yang keras itu? Injil mempunyai kuasa untuk menyelamat dalam Yesus Kristus! Walaupun hati kita penuh dengan dosa seperti kejahilan, kegelapan dan kekejaman, Injil dapat membersihkan hati kita dari semua dosa. Walaupun dosa mengeraskan hati seseorang, Tuhan sahajalah (melalui kuasa Injil) yang dapat mengubah hati seseorang itu. Tuhan pernah berjanji, "Aku akan memberi kamu hati dan fikiran yang baru. Aku akan menggantikan hati kamu yang keras dengan hati yang taat. Aku akan mencurahkan Roh-Ku ke dalam hati kamu agar kamu menurut hukum-Ku dan melaksanakan semua perintah yang telah Kuberikan kepada kamu. " (Yehezikel 36:26-27). Inilah janji Tuhan untuk kita yang percaya dengan apa yang Injil boleh lakukan untuk kita. Bolehkah kita benarkan cahaya Injil menyinar dalam kegelapan hati kita?
Monday, April 09, 2007
Artikel ini dalam bahasa Inggeris (tak sempat nak terjemahkan) ...
Should Christians Emigrate?
By Bishop Rev. Dr Hwa Yung
November-December 2006 Issue
HWA YUNG is Bishop of the Methodist Church in Malaysia. This article in its current form first appeared in the Kairos publication, "Emerging Church Issues" (October 2006). It is excerpted and updated by Kairos Research Centre from the original publication, "Christian Thinking on Emigration" published by Graduate Christian Fellowship in 1987.
According to the 2001 census, at least 35 percent of Malaysian immigrants to Australia were Christians. This is a highly disproportionate figure in view of the fact that Christians form only 9 percent of the Malaysian population.
This is, of course, part of the wider problem of the emigration of many skilled professionals from the Third World to the West. The resulting brain drain of some of the best and brightest, and the consequent damage to the economy and society, is a well-established fact.
The damage is also felt at the church level. Most of us can easily draw up a long list of people who were or could have been playing key roles in the Church in Malaysia, who have left the country over the last 30 years. For those who are seriously contemplating emigration, the issue is often a sensitive one.
At the same time, the issue is not a neutral issue but one that is at its very heart, moral. Therefore, despite its sensitivity, it needs to be discussed openly, objectively and frankly. What are the reasons why some Malaysians would consider emigrating?
The attraction of the West
The first reason is the general attraction of living in the more prosperous Western world, as all who have experienced living in the West would know. Higher standards of living, greater efficiency of the system, amenities of a wealthier society such as social security and better healthcare, and greater opportunities for jobs and children's education, are all part of the package that exerts an irresistible pull to the West.
Lack of professional fulfilment
Some who are highly intelligent and motivated find that there is no way to achieve professional fulfilment in Malaysia. Where can a theoretical chemist, a nuclear physicist, a brilliant pianist and the like, find a happy niche to pursue his or her career here?
Racial and religious factors
The National Economic Policy (NEP) has left many non-Bumiputras feeling that they do not belong in this country. The resurgence of Islam in the 1970s, and its continuation into the present, has aggravated this sense of alienation for those who are neither Bumiputras nor Muslims. "Why stay when we will always be treated as pendatangs and will never be allowed to fully claim our rights as citizens of the land?" so the argument goes.
Erosion of confidence
There has also been a growing loss of confidence in the ability and integrity of the government. The many financial scandals, rampant corruption at all levels of society and the government's seeming failure to deal with it, increase in money politics and the struggle for power that led to this, plus rising crime rate, cause many to fear for the future.
How Some Christians Justify Emigration
While the above factors may be good reasons that have led many to consider emigration, they may not be sufficient reasons in themselves. Many recognise that these reasons arise out of putting as our top priorities our own comfort, security, careers and families, something which, in the final analysis, is rather centred on oneself. Not all would agree with this but most Christians would. The result is that amongst those who have emigrated or who are considering emigration, there is often a feeling of guilt which they rationalise away with the following arguments:
"We can serve God anywhere!"
This is the most common argument put forward by those emigrating. On the surface, it seems a strong argument but problems appear upon closer examination. It depends on what we mean by "serve." In the general sense of "service," it is true that we can serve God anywhere. But in Scripture, "service" is linked to need and calling.
Consider the example of Paul. He was happily settled in Tarsus when Barnabas pulled him away to help meet the evangelistic and teaching needs of the church in Antioch (Acts 11:25–26). Later, when it became evident that there was a desperate need for workers to evangelise the wider Gentile Graeco-Roman world, Paul and Barnabas responded to that need (Acts 13:2–3).
However, the question of "need" in itself does not constitute the command to go. There has to be a "call" from God as both passages indicate. The truth is that there are always needs everywhere, but we cannot humanly respond to every need.
The Christian thereby functions on the basis of two principles: "Where or which are the greater needs?" and "Is God calling me to meet that particular need?"
Applying the first principle to the question of emigration, we immediately recognise that both spiritually and socio-economically, the needs are far greater in the Third World than in the West. As regards the second principle of "calling," I must confess that I know of very few people who justify their emigration in terms of God calling them to specific work abroad.
On the other hand, God in his sovereign wisdom caused us to be born in Malaysia, and surely it is because this is where God has called us to serve him. Recognition of this simple truth would mean that we stay unless he calls us out to another place, like Abraham, or to another area of service, like Paul.
The fact that emigration invariably means moving to greener pastures of the West and never to poorer and spiritually needier countries belies the argument that "we can serve God anywhere."
The Bible allows emigration
It is not certain what people mean when they claim that the Bible allows for emigration. While it is true that Abraham emigrated from Ur, it was in response to God's call (Genesis 11:2–12:1). It was not a case of moving from insecurity to greater security; rather it was exactly the opposite.
There is in fact a passage in Scriptures which specifically discourages 'emigration', if it may be put that way: Jeremiah 29:5–7. It was at a time after the Babylonians had deported a large number of Israelites as punishment for rebellion.
Many of the Israelite exiles in Babylon were unhappy in a foreign land where they had little citizenship rights, and would have emigrated back to Judah given the first chance.
But God asked them to "build houses…plant gardens…marry and have sons and daughters…seek the welfare of the city to which I carried you…pray to the Lord for it…"
Properly understood, this passage enshrines the fundamental principle, that we must learn to trust God's sovereignty in history, and where he has placed us, there we are to remain to pray for and seek the welfare of the land. If this were the case, then it would be most unwise to claim that "the Bible allows for emigration."
What about the prospects of persecution?
In the history of the church, emigration as a result of persecution has often appeared to be the proper course of action to take. But do these historical facts necessarily justify the emigration movement involving Malaysian Christians today?
One can hardly describe the present situation in terms of persecution. Despite certain restrictions by the government, freedom of religion is still enshrined in our nation's Constitution.
And we should certainly pray and work through all lawful means to help create a social climate in this nation so that the forces of extremism seeking to remove such constitutional safeguards would be held in check or removed altogether.
It has to be admitted that the pressure towards increased Islamisation will continue. Many are fearful and for some, the fear is too overwhelming for them to consider staying on.
Factors to be considered
A question of need
All of the above reasons are valid. But the question is whether they constitute a sufficient cause for leaving. I have suggested that they do not because from the Christian point of view, leaving for these reasons only solves the problems for myself, and perhaps, my family. It does not solve the problem for the nation, the Malaysian Church, and in particular, for those who are too poor and unqualified to have the means to leave.
It will mean that in the face of genuine spiritual and socio-economic needs, which are far greater than those in the West, we turn our backs and walk away like the priest and the Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan.
By leaving, we leave the country and the Malaysian church in a state of even greater need than before because often, it is precisely those who leave who have the training, resources and ability to alleviate the needs of the country and the Church. If this is so, then emigration cannot be a viable option for the Christian.
As for the question, "What about my children's future?" the answer is two-fold. First, those who can afford to emigrate usually are rich enough to give their children an overseas education anyway if necessary, and thereby to give them a sufficient start in adult life.
Secondly, and more pertinently, surely just as we are called to trust God for our own security, we are called to do the same for our children. We must dare to trust him and take seriously His Word, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things (all that we truly need) will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
God's sovereign wisdom and his calling for us
Christians must learn to believe that God is all-wise and that He has a definite purpose for us in placing us in Malaysia in this day and age. It is our responsibility to seek His will concerning this purpose and ask Him for grace and strength to fulfil it. Thus, ultimately, the question is not whether to emigrate or not to emigrate. Rather, it is: What is God's will or calling for us, and what is our commitment to Him and His will?
The Christian life is built upon an eternal covenant between God and us, which involves God committing Himself to us, and we, in response to His initiative, grace and love, committing ourselves in return to Him. Many of us, however, seem not to have grasped this point, that the Christian life does involve a definite commitment to God and to His will for our lives.
We still think of Christianity in the way many non-Christians think of their religions. God is like Santa Claus, and if we are good, we can expect God to bless us with comfort, health and wealth. And we often forget what our commitment to Christ requires of us in terms of obedience, self-denial and sacrifice.
The outcome is that we often end up walking the path of least resistance in life, spiritually and emotionally, and many justify emigrating after praying, "If you give me the visa, I will take it that it is your will for me to go."
We forget that such oversimplistic approach to guidance will justify the emigration of almost all our Christian professionals. But is that God's call? I am not saying that God does not call some of us to emigrate. But such calling appears to be the exception rather than the rule.
Settling in the West is no final solution
Settling in the West does not necessarily provide an escape from all the problems we hope to leave behind. Which country is safe these days? Is racism in the United Kingdom or Australia less ugly than its counterpart here? How would you like your children ogling at nude bodies making love on the TV screen and growing up desensitised to sexual immorality?
In the light of these questions, we must ask: "Is the West safer and more secure than here?" Western civilisation is on the decline, and the influence of the Church in the West has also been marginalised in an increasingly pluralistic post-Christian society. The 'war on terror' has also made Western countries vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
As such, despite its superficial attractions, all is not well with the West. Those seriously contemplating emigration should first take a good look at where they are thinking of going. Otherwise, they may find themselves jumping out of the frying pan into the fire! The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith (Romans 1:16)
Most of the time, we allow the negative circumstances around us to determine the course of action we take in life. Often, we fail to begin with God, with who He is – the Lord of history – and of what He can do through His people who trust Him.
The gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation to those who believe, as Paul wrote. And this is not just in the narrow sense; God's salvation will necessarily have socio-economic and political implications for the nation as well.
We need to take our eyes off the negative circumstances around us and recognise that if this is where God has called us to be, then He will also make available to us His power, to proclaim His gospel of salvation, to build His church and to transform the society in which we live into something better. We need grace sufficient to grasp afresh such a vision of God.
If this is the vision that we need, what concrete shape will it take? Dr. Isabelo Magalit, a respected Christian leader in the Philippines once wrote an article entitled, "I have a dream."
In it, he spoke of seeing, coming out from the Christian student world of this present generation in East Asia, men and women who truly know God and His Word and whose lives are fully yielded to Him.
From amongst such men and women, he sees many going into full-time ministry as pastors, evangelists and theologians, labouring to build God's church in East Asia. Others amongst them would enter the professional fields such as law, business, engineering, politics and government, and journalism, and from within these professions exert a positive and powerful Christian influence in our society in Asia, and turn it towards a more righteous and just and godly direction.
Then he sees Christian homes springing up all over the region shining with the glory and beauty of the gospel in the dark world around them. Finally, he spoke of the pouring forth of the next wave of overseas missionaries from Asia into all the world. Towards the end of Dr. Magalit's paper, he said, "Share my dream. Take your place in it. Stand up and be counted for Jesus."
This is the sort of vision we all need to recapture today.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Malaikat itu berkata kepada wanita-wanita itu, "Janganlah takut! Aku tahu bahawa kamu mencari Yesus yang telah disalibkan itu. Dia tidak ada di sini. Dia sudah bangkit seperti yang dikatakan-Nya dahulu. Marilah lihat tempat jenazah Yesus diletakkan.
Ayat ini menjadi penghibur dan pengharapan bagi mereka yang telah mati dalam Kristus bahawa satu hari nanti mereka akan dibangkitkan sepertiNya. Kristus sebagai hasil pertama (buah sulung) menjamin bahawa kebangkitan tubuh ini akan dimiliki oleh mereka yang percaya. Lebih dari itu, kebangkitan Kristus menjaminkan dan memberikan kita keyakinan bahawa kuasa maut - musuh terakhir kita telah dihapuskan.
Maut bukan perkara terakhir bagi anak-anak Allah. Maut perkara yang ditakuti ataupun kegelapan. Bila mereka yang percaya mati atau maut, dia bagaikan tidur dengan nyenyaknya. Yesus berkata, "Sebab Aku hidup, Kau akan hidup juga" (Yahya 14:19).
Pada pagi ini di Stadium Hoki di bukit Jalil, Gereja Calvary mengadakan pujian Hari Easter pada pukul 6:30 pagi. Mong Ern, John Chung dan saya sempat bersembahyang dengan para jemaah lain yang datang pada pagi ini untuk memuji kebangkitan Tuhan kita.Di tempat letak kereta, walaupun langit masih belum cerah lagi, banyak orang datang ke stadium tersebut. Kedengaran lagu-lagu pujian yang mempelawa kami masuk ke stadium itu.
Kebaktian mengucapkan, "Selamat Hari Easter"
Yesus Bangkit! Dia memang sudah bangkit. Amin