NEW YEAR’S EVOLUTION

By , December 28th, 2014 | Content, Creativity, Inspiration, Leadership | 0 Comments

Ok here goes the time of the year when a huge chunk of the human race would reach out to their imaginary “new year” with tons of list of to-do’s and what-nots. Most people would probably want to deal with their diet as a huge majority of my friends are. Some people would even go as far as wanting to spend less this coming year without even a concrete plan where to get all the money to spend in the first place.

New Year’s resolution is not a new concept for all of us – it is not even an evolving concept. It’s a list of “meant-to-be”, “should-have-been”, “if-only-I-could” & “this-time-I-will”. But the real issue is a big white elephant in the room that nobody dares admit its existence.

Consistency.

Of all living creatures, human beings are the least consistent of all. We change minds in a split second, we say I love you and goodbye almost at the same time; we buy new clothes and let it rot inside our expensive closets; we fear the unknown yet we are too adventurous to explore the dark side of life; we enjoy living and wished we could die in between coffee breaks; our commitment to our career choices are only as competent as our cellphone battery life; we love a certain genre of music but we let one sell-out song change our playlist. Need I say more?

So what moral capacity do we have as human beings to come up with a list of resolutions? – None.

A mosquito who devours blood regardless of the skin color of their prey has more focus than us humans. They are the closest I can think of who can muster a short list of to-dos.

I believe the best we can come up with at every turn of the year is some sort of an inner journey in discovering areas of our lives where we can evolve. I choose the word evolve since it is non-bias, it can pertain to a thief evolving into police officer-thief or a computer programmer evolving into an MLM aficionado. Anything – pick your choice, according to your niche.

I choose to evolve from a mere blogger who writes random stuff to a person who writes his thoughts. I choose to evolve from a filmmaker/storyteller to a lover who writes stories with the person I love. I choose to evolve from living for others preferences to living a life that I have, not what they want me to have, not what they thought I should have – but what I have. I choose to evolve from looking at God’s will based on a fabricated positivity preached by a huge conglomerate to objectively looking at how God sees me from the inside out – a sinner who consistently needs heavenly intervention. I choose to evolve from being a teacher to a friend. I choose to evolve from being a leader to leading lives. I choose to evolve from being comfortably locked in a church building to reaching out to the real people in need. I choose to evolve from spending time in life’s theories and just practically living in constant communion with reality.

I choose to evolve. Not to merely resolve.

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28Dec

WRAPPING UP THE YEAR: WHAT GOING SOLO HAS TAUGHT ME

By , December 19th, 2014 | Creativity, Inspiration, Leadership | 0 Comments

I have always believed that I am an entrepreneur by heart, I have always been on the forefront of starting something. It can be from the trivial fun to keep my peers alive or a few significant stuff to keep them live. But in both ways, there is always a part of me that says boring things are not really meant to bore you but instead, it provides a greater platform to shift your creativity in fifth gear. That’s high time to be creative – in a very boring environment.

Transition.

Earlier this year, I came to a cross road of choosing between staying in mediocrity (riding the comfortable merry-go-round in the ministry, working for a full month-end’s paycheque and watching movies once a week) AND stepping out of my comfort zone, doing what I am meant to do, what I believed I am called to do minus the unsolicited assumptions of my environment on where and how I should live my life. They had a good twenty years of my life to bring my passion to a halt. And I’m not giving them anything of it anymore.

The general consensus when I went solo was a resounding – “are you sure?”

In the most uncompromising way that I can, I just said “I’m not”

And that is what made me crack – what on earth am I sure about?

I have this almost suicidal tendency to pack my bags and go to some obscure village in a far away land and try to build my life from scratch. People who are really close to me knows ‘this’ tragic comic that’s been hiding in me all these years.

I think the very best thing that I did was to kneel down to the earth and ask the Earth Maker to give some sense to what I am supposed to do.

Three months, 10 clients and 18 projects after and getting back to teaching. If you will ask me if I’m sure of what I am doing – I still am not sure but it has pushed me to break the boundaries of my inner frustration, finding my long lost dream in the academe, collaborating with thought leaders of my generation, leading young people to live to their full potential, sharing my passion to a willing audience and at the end of it all. Making them all know that in all these endeavours – it all boils down to one thing.

Amen.

That is what being solo has taught me – to say Amen to Him who knows what matters most for me.

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19Dec

HOW CHRISTIANITY IS LOSING ITS GRIP ON SOCIAL RELEVANCE

By , October 12th, 2014 | Christianity, Inspiration, Leadership | 0 Comments

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” – James 1:27

It’s easier to say “The LORD will do great and mighty things” than “I am here, what can I do for you?”

Jesus Christ knew that this world needs a Savior, so as comfortable as He is in heaven, He stooped down to the level of the flesh keeping His divine nature with Him. And in this similar manner, more than a praying hand, the world needs a feeding hand. More than the lips that preach, the world needs ears that hear.

St. Francis of Assisi is known first as a Christian, but the history of the world in need refers more to his “acts” of kindness than the “wit” of his doctrines, and so is Mother Theresa. Martin Luther King Jr. is known first as a Christian, but the history of the world in need refers more to his “dream” of political and racial equality than the “solidity” of his doctrine. Jesus Christ is known first as the leader of Christianity, but the history of the world in need refers to Him as a carpenter who was born on a manger, feared and revered by kings, grew up and healed the sick, cast demons, feed the hungry, blessed the poor, loved children and a political activist who one day died for what He believed in then rose again on the third day sealing His claim that He is indeed the Savior.

How about us? will history talk about us as “church goers” more than “church builders”? Do we stop in inspiring people to have faith or do we keep on pressing forward in inspiring others that nations can and will change?

Yes, the great christian rebuttal is that “what matters most is that we are made for eternity and that we respond in worship to the One who owns eternity”. True, but I still believed that if the Man upstairs stopped short of saving us with the knowledge of being eternal creatures – alone, He should have pulled our earthly plug and just called us heavenward with a straight journey to join Him and his angels.

But He did not, ever wondered why?

This world in need needs to know that Christianity exist, not in the fragment of history, not inside the secure four walls of our church, not in our prayer closets. But that we exist to “live” out God’s fame more than “shout” it out. We exist to “touch” lives and not “analyse” them. We exist to introduce a Savior, not introduce ourselves in the pulpit.

The world in need ALREADY knows WHAT Christians are doing, BUT it would only matter if they will know WHY we are doing it.

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12Oct

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, NOT RESUMES

By , June 18th, 2014 | Christianity, Leadership | 0 Comments

Angela, a young accountant in her early 30’s has just arrived at church and it was her second Sunday since joining this small community of believers. She was so excited to meet new people, to hang out with new friends and basically to just feel she ‘belongs’.

Then a man built for a suitcase approached her and started a conversation with her when all of a sudden the topic turned to questions such as ‘so how long have you been in the leadership?’, ‘what other ministry have you been so effective in handling?’, ‘I’m sure someone your age already has a lot in her sleeves, so tell me which position you plan to handle here?’

Sounds familiar? Angela is a fictitious character, but her experience is definitely non-fiction for most churches.

Since when did our church become a jobstreet clone? Since when did we start to care more about what a person can do and what they did? Are we paying enough money to scrutinize these people?

We may be too ignorant about the fact that we are actually operating in this domain, it is a rare gem to see people serving at church who never made mention ‘who they are’ and ‘what are their assignments’

To be thankful for the privilege is way different than being vocal about how proud we are just because we are entitled.

Entitlement – the second most dangerous thing at church next to pride.

Why not build a good foundation of knowing other people over coffee? just old school basic ‘how have you been’ stuff. A simple pat on the shoulder, sometimes you just have to listen to stories of your brethren.

Majority of the people who felt alienated at churches are those who have been thrown off by canonical jargon that rarely inspires nor impact a person’s life.

Human beings need to speak in human language – basically why a God who speaks heavenly language went to earth to speak the human way. Don’t we find it strange that we – the saved ones, speak so heavenly in front of other human beings? And then we wonder why there are less friendships at church and more organizational issues to solve.

It’s ok to be sad I think, but to not do anything about it, to not speak about it, to not write your head off a blank document – that would be tragic.

God is not a headhunter so we need to stop building our resumes in our church and instead start building relationships.

Let’s be neighbors to our neighbors. We don’t always need to be the landlord.

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18Jun

THE RELEVANCE OF CHRIST’ INTIMACY: THE LOST AGENDA OF CHRISTIANITY

By , June 10th, 2014 | Christianity, Inspiration | 0 Comments

What draws us to pray? what draws us to a few hours of seclusion from the outside world? the outside world being anything that is beyond us, our spirit, our longing.

The most obvious respond to this in the modern day age is that there is an underlying need that needs to be filled.

A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands. My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.
Psalm 63:1-11

If we begin to list down these needs we can easily reflect the thought life of people who are supposed to be saved beyond the grave.

  1. Jobs
  2. Broken relationships
  3. Health
  4. Economy
  5. Government
  6. Church
  7. Family
  8. Friends

These are essential things, but these are not enough to define a believer’s journey.

The road traveled is never as important as where you are heading although it’s worth enjoying every step of the way. Because detours exist just because a destination is defined.

We don’t just walk – we are arriving to a certain place. Those are opposite compelling truth.

In the our scripture reference David started with the phrase
“earnestly I seek you; my should thirsts for your; my flesh faints for you”

how deep is this inner need?
“as in a dry and weary land where there is not water”

So how did he find satisfaction for this need?
“So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary”

He went to a sanctuary – this is a place where people worship and pray to God.. what did David do in the sanctuary? did he utter a list of needs that cause him to seek, thirst and faint for God?
“beholding your power and glory…”

This is where we discover that intimacy with God is David’s main agenda, not his politics, not his family, not his church, not even his own personal need.

“beholding your power and glory..”

King James Dictionary defined the word behold as
To fix the attention upon an object; to attend; to direct or fix the mind.

So what makes David realise the there is something bigger that his other needs in life?
“Because your steadfast life is better than life..”

That is the bigger picture of why we fast, why we pray…Because the steadfast love of the Lord – it is consistently better than life.

And to be JUST thankful for answered prayers based on our basic lists – is to miss the main agenda of why we draw near to God. It is to be halfway an exciting journey and say to ourselves, “I have arrived”. It is to prepare for a great banquet and fall asleep. It is to hear from a good friend, “I will stand by you until the end” and just see him go away after that.

The one thing that we all lack is mostly the one thing that we don’t look for.

It’s never wrong to pray for a list of “items”, that will always be a technicality that makes our passion tickle one notch higher that what we have before. Our dependency on God on these things is a given fact. We can never exist, we can never be anything at all if we don’t depend on Him at all.

But my encouragement to people who are in closer proximity to intercede in behalf of many people is that – may we kneel down and pray and cry, not so much of the existing needs but more to the church being intimate with her God more than ever before.

An individual’s intimacy with God can impact the people around him.

Imagine the impact of a church who can be real intimate with God. Why?

David closed with these phrase
“My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips.”

A satisfied soul can do wonders to this world more than the combined intelligence of many of us, it will lead us to step beyond our perceived “scope” of Christianity. It will make our Sunday services more of a celebration of a week of victorious life touching people around us and not a lament of the past week struggling to be someone significant in our work, school and our family.

May our intimacy with Christ be a consistent relevant agenda in our daily walk, we need to internally digest that before we were life group leaders, before we were leaders, before we were ministry heads – we were a brethren to another. We don’t list their names in a piece of paper – we touch their shoulder, we hold their hands. We don’t look at them from the pulpit – we sit with them and eat with them.

Before we were someone – we were no one. Our intimacy with God will make these things matter less, and we will be amazed how it will impact our life and everything that is beyond it.

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10Jun

THE VALUE OF CREATIVE FREEDOM

By , April 19th, 2014 | Christianity, Content, Creativity, Media | 0 Comments

After being involved in church-related creative work for more than a decade, down to my last few years of leading a small creative team. Including encounters with industry experts and opinion leaders through years of experimenting and learning, I have made the bold step of writing a White Paper on Quantifying the Identity of Creative People in the Church Context.

This is part 3 of my series;

Creative people need space to execute. This space does not necessarily depict an empty space rather it talks about entitlement, resource and recognition (of it’s existence and not as a reward).

A creative person’s worst nightmare is working with people who do not have any idea what they want. Creative people don’t float, they exist with a purpose and they are intentional in their work. Their humor and pro-activeness might say otherwise but they are deep thinking human beings with high regard to time – they respect time more than anything else for time is their only tool in creative execution.

In most organisations, they are treated as someone who can execute (because of their skill sets) at a specific moment in time that is defined by non creatives and other than this defined time – creatives are treated as some random human beings who work round the clock (sad but true).

If any organisation would understand how and why a creative works and thinks the way they do – then there is high probability that this organisation will be able to utilise their creative team.

For any leaders or governing bodies of any organisation – start giving your creative team a “playground” and you will be amazed at the results. It edifies the church in terms of the value of excellence and your brand of messaging will grow exponentially knowing that you have taken the bold step of moving away from your traditional messaging techniques.

Part 2:The Creative Think Tank
Part 1:Creativity as an Asset in Church Building

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19Apr

NOAH’S ART

By , April 6th, 2014 | Content, Media | 0 Comments

A Spectacle of wet ark, backlit giant rocks and Hermione minus her magic wand.

Although the artistic license might have been pushed too far, Noah is still a visual masterpiece that provides cinematic entertainment that is worth your buck. It brought me to the edge of my consciousness on how the story was told but knowing that Hollywood is nothing but an entertainment portal, we can’t expect any authenticity that is beyond skin deep. And I’m sure that a lot of Bible inspired movies will come out soon. Let’s hold our breath!

Verdict: The word of God stands firm and even the most creative mind – no matter how intentional it may be will fall short of creating the same impact as what the written truth has done by itself.

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6Apr

WHY BEING A LEADER DOES NOT NECESSARILY MAKE YOU A GOOD SPEAKER

By , April 5th, 2014 | Content, Creativity, Leadership | 0 Comments

We all saw it happen at least once, an auditorium packed with eager audience. Just wanting to make the most out of their time showing up to listen to some revered speaker. And then guess what? everyone was subjected to more than an hour listening to what could only equate to a simple phrase – “I’m so good you need to listen to every word I say”.

The birth and evolution of the internet has helped made people aware of better options to impact us better than with what we are usually being fed. Gone were the days that human beings are convinced just because “some leader said so” or “I heard it preached on the stage”. Nowadays people don’t just listen – they also think!

We all live to tell great stories at least once in our life but we also need to come into terms that no matter how good the story is, if the person telling a story is nothing but a “broadcaster” who delivers out of a written content, with words that are framed the “usual way” and enjoys standing in front of people more than keeping his audience awake –  we are better off reading a printed material than waste our time sitting in a room pretending that everything we are doing will make a lasting impact in our lives.

Speakers owe a lot to the listeners, our society needs great communicators who can deliver a point in the shortest period in respect to everyone’s precious time. We lack the will power to hold each other accountable when it comes to time. And the time to sit down and listen to someone speaking in front is very much an unwilling facade to boredom, we could have thought of something innovative instead of spending hours listening to someone who lost track of logic even though most of the time they sound like they are making sense – because what they are saying is new to the general audience.

But humanity should not lose hope, tradition will always be the easiest foe as long as the brilliant thinkers, the restless innovators and next generation leaders will refuse to sit out the day – and encourage the older generations to engage in a two-way compelling communication.

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5Apr

THE CREATIVE THINK-TANK

By , April 3rd, 2014 | Christianity, Creativity, Media | 0 Comments

After being involved in church-related creative work for more than a decade, down to my last few years of leading a small creative team. Including encounters with industry experts and opinion leaders through years of experimenting and learning, I have made the bold step of writing a White Paper on Quantifying the Identity of Creative People in the Church Context.

This is part 2 of my series;

THE CREATIVE THINK-TANK
QUANTIFYING THE IDENTITY OF CREATIVE PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH CONTEXT PART 2

The first thing that comes to mind for a typical church organisation is to treat the Creative Ministry as a technical go-to group for events and activities. There is nothing wrong with this except that it limits the full potential of the creative team to function beyond the level of technical execution.

If you would ask any creative person in the church let’s say for a simple event poster layout. The process he goes through in the eyes of a non-creative is as follows:

  1. He opens up a graphic editing software.
  2. He selects a random colour, starting from the brand colour of the church (most of the time it’s based on the church logo colour)
  3. He downloads a stock photo from the internet and selects a random font from his computer.
  4. He saves the design and goes on with his life.

But what actually happens in the mind of a creative every time he needs to “create” something as required by his leaders or the organisation

  1. He steps back and meditates on the concept based on the given theme.
  2. He comes up with several ways to deliver the message across by writing his thoughts in the perspective of a well-thought way of communicating.
  3. He looks for inspiration to help him in coming up with a compelling visual. A compelling visual is a piece of work that has depth in it’s message. A tangible way to describe this is; a creative always avoids literal translation of a theme. He uses white space (empty space) to convey a message.
  4. He starts doing the “technical” work.
  5. He finds a way to problem solve if a rework needs to be done.

The process mentioned above is not limited to design work only. Whatever is required of a creative individual goes through a lot of “thinking”, technical work is something that is only secondary in a great piece of creative work.

Read Part 1 here

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3Apr

CREATIVITY AS AN ASSET IN CHURCH BUILDING

By , April 1st, 2014 | Christianity, Creativity, Inspiration, Leadership, Media | 0 Comments

After being involved in church-related creative work for more than a decade, down to my last few years of leading a small creative team. Including encounters with industry experts and opinion leaders through years of experimenting and learning, I have made the bold step of writing a White Paper on Quantifying the Identity of Creative People in the Church Context.

This is part 1 of my series;

CREATIVITY AS AN ASSET IN CHURCH BUILDING
QUANTIFYING THE IDENTITY OF CREATIVE PEOPLE IN THE CHURCH CONTEXT PART 1

The modern church is more often than not faced with a dilemma in how we should share our message; “Should we stick to our traditional medium and maintain a ‘safe’ environment?” or “Should we keep up with the pace of technology and innovation while taking risks, experimenting with new ideas and taking bold steps that sometimes contradict our traditional thinking?”

First, let us define the word “traditional” as this tends to scare off stake holders and majority of the decision-making body in our church organisation. Because in any organisation, the first step to innovation is finding out which area of our operations need innovation?, which among our usual activities have been around for the last 10 years? do we have enough manpower to respond to the tedious challenge of innovation?

The word “traditional” can mean both extremes, it can be a safe place to stay in and it can also be the scariest place to leave behind. But one thing’s for sure, everything that is traditional lacks progress, growth and yes – creativity.

Read Part 2 here

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1Apr

WHY I WOULD STILL WATCH THE EPIC FILM NOAH

By , March 27th, 2014 | Content, Inspiration, Media | 0 Comments

I read an article on Washington Post saying that the ‘atheist’ director of the Russel Crowe flick brags that Noah is the least biblical film of the year. The general attitude of the crowd I belong to is to ‘boycott’ the film, as if it is a matter of not seeing the light of day when you do.

All of a sudden, the Christian population reacted in what seemed to be a mockery of their faith. And these are the same Christians you see lining up in a theater that features films that mock the human logic in general.

It is at the end of the day entertainment, but the bigger picture that we are caught up in is that we know the biblical truth on the story of Noah, and probably majority of the people who would watch it don’t.

Why can’t we see this as an opportunity to engage in a healthy discussion?

When you are with several people having a chat on a cafe, having a soft debate of principles about the movie. There has to be someone who can stand and share the truth.

I agree with Phil Cooke when he wrote that we tend to be hostile in areas where we can be the most useful among the called people of God.

I guess it’s the result of having a local mentality. We are who we are and you are who you are. If Jesus for once ever considered that thought during his earthly ministry, we will probably be still eating dirt in our comfort zones but lacking direction and purpose.

So yes, with or without popcorn I’ll make sure to see it in the first week of showing here in Singapore and be excited on how much information I can leverage on to actively participate and engage with at least the small circle of friends I have with me.

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27Mar