Saturday, April 27, 2013

Does All Paths lead to the Same God? Learning from Michael Ramsden

All paths lead to God may seems a humble and inclusive idea. But such incidence as truth makes one as  the know all God. On closer examination, all religions on the surface appear to be same, 'make people good', but in details, they exclude the ideas of one another. If one digs deeper into the content of Christianity, one will find that Christ died for all. He teaches us to forgive and love our enemy. He reached out to the outcast and sinners. Christianity is very inclusive. Most religions are about man having the right thinking, experience/feeling and doing to gain salvation. Christianity is unique in that the Gospel is not about making bad man good but about making dead man alive, through Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected. Once we receive Jesus Christ to get a rebirth into a New Life in Christ. Reducing Christianity into a set ideas or feelings or behavior lifestyles as the criteria for salvation is distortion of the Gospel. But right behavior should come after one is saved by the grace and Holy Spirit of God.
The group discuss on the sermon by Michael Ramsden on "ONE GOD MANY PATHS" which can be found at the following url's:


The Discussion:

Other Key Points:
  • The claim that "There is no absolute and everything is relative" is itself an absolute claim.
  • Judge not of Mat 7:1 is not about not judging but about making a right judgement.
    see Christianity Rediscovered: Judging Rightly
  • 'Touch not God's Anointed' is a distortion of God's words used as threats by Church Leaders to shut-off opinions, advices, and criticisms against the leaders and to enforce submission. In the original context, it is about not to kill God's appointed leader or at least not to usurp God's appointed leader. It does not mean that the leaders are not mistakes free and cannot be corrected. In fact, the members has the responsibility to ensure their leaders not fall into sins. See Reflections from CHC Kong Hee Alleged Misuse of Funds.
Questions for Reflections and Some Partial Answers

Lim Liat (c) 27 Apr 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013

Priority of Life - Relating to God and Handling of Wealth According to the Wisest

The Prosperity Gospel preacher or followers should read this. Never try to make God our means for prosperity. Wealth itself is temporary and not trustworthy. Relate to God well with respect and obedience, repenting from evil and never try to manipulate God with our empty promises.
In Ecclesiastes 5, the wisest man, King Solomon, first began with how we should relate to God and then address the issue of wealth. God or Wealth is the typical struggle that man has. Solomon pointed out the problems of wealth, the corruption and evil caused, never-enough greed, worry of lost, lost it when you need it, and yet still not able to buy peace, health nor stop sufferings, and we are not able to bring them into our death. So he concluded that it is still best to appreciate and enjoy the goodness that God has given us in this short life.

Here is the mind-map for the study of Ecclesiastes 5:

  The take away is simple:

  1. Give thanks to God for the life, no matter how short, and joy that we are able to enjoy the fruits of our labor and the blessing of riches.
  2. We are not to trust wealth to give us satisfaction. It does not. Accumulating more will just cause us to want for more.  We will worry more about loosing it. It is not even permanent and just when we need it, it may have lost it all! It is the cause of much injustice and oppression. It does not buy peace, health, or even prevent sufferings and affliction.
  3. The best is still to acknowledge God and relate to Him well. We are to be sincere, respectful, attentive with listening and obedience, repent from any evil, and try not to manipulate God with our promises that we may not keep.
For posts on Prosperity Gospel, see:

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Meaning of Life from the Wisest, Richest and Most Powerful King

Learn the meaning of life from someone with the credentials to discuss it. He was the wisest, richest and most powerful. Find out for yourself the true meaning of life and your life calling especially now if you are young. Live life well to the fullest extend and regret not at the ending when it may be too late.
This is a Bible Study base on Ecclesiastes Chapter one to four. The author, called himself a preacher, can be easily identified as King Solomon, the wisest, richest and most powerful King at that time. This was his reflection of life after living through his great research study, large scale experiments and projects, and his enjoyment to the highest order. He had 700 official wives and 300 concubines (1King 11:1-3), likely the most beautiful women from many foreign countries. He was the king that built the temple of God. After all that, he said life is nothing but vanity. Why was that so? What is the true meaning of life?

Hence, I think it is the best book to read, especially for the youth, when life is just starting and they need to be sure of what to go for in life before it is over. Nevertheless, it is also suitable for anyone, with or without religion of any kind to read. Perhaps, it could be printed as an independent book, so that more people can read it.

When I first read it, I thought I was reading a Buddhist, Taoist or even an Atheist book. I have to check several times on the book cover to confirm that I was in fact reading the Bible.

Look at how it starts, chapter 1 verse 2:
  • [RSV] " Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. "
Or in some other translation:
  • [NLB] “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”
  • [NCV] The Teacher says, “Useless! Useless! Completely useless! Everything is useless.”
All is meaningless, emptiness, uselessness, vapor or breath shall be the conclusion if we only put our ourselves as the center and our life is just this earthly one of 70-120 years. All our pursuit, enjoyment, accumulations of wealth, wisdom and whatever will be left here when our life here is over. Empty handed we come and empty handed we leave. The world, the universe goes on in cycle with or without us.

However, if we can take a viewpoint that is higher, the Creator's view and a viewpoint that life is longer than this life (there is life after death), then we can see that natural ecosystem world is a wonderful creation that is filled with activities of beauty over the seasons that last forever. It is well designed and built. The journey of life is this world is connected and continued unto the life after death, to other people and generations after us and we are accountable to God eventually.

'Death is a great equalizer' as people say. But it is not very good news, as it equalizes all to zero, nothingness or emptiness.

'Death is the greatest invention of life', said Steve Jobs. It tells us clearly the priorities of things in our life.

But what difference does it make if our life is only this earthly one. We will not be aware of the great legacy, if any, that we left behind.

Life now on earth is only meaningful if our life can continue on after this one. Solomon, due to his Jewish religion background, said that, indeed, there is life after this one. In fact, there is a God that will hold us accountable to the life that we live here. But, this God is not the joy-killer God that we tend to think of, but rather a God that wants us to live this life richly to the full. John Piper said that "God Is Most Glorified in Us When We Are Most Satisfied in Him".
11:9 Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do. NLV.
12:1 Don’t let the excitement of youth cause you to forget your Creator. Honor him in your youth before you grow old...
Let's start then for a study in greater detail ....

The Details of Chapter 1 to 4
The following mind map captures the details of chapter 1 to 4.  The vanity issue is covered in greater depth in the following mind-map. Study this overview well first.
The Vanities Explained

Questions for Reflection:
  1. What is the conclusion that King Solomon draw after his extensive study and experience of life in this world?
  2. What are the reasons he gives for such a claim? List his experience and reasons.
  3. What did King Solomon say about God and in particular about God and man?
  4. With such a God, do you agree with Solomon's conclusions about life? What do you think life is about?
  5. Is there still a need for wisdom, co-operation when all is futility? Explain.
  6. What about the unfairness in this world? Should you do or ignore it?
  7. What do you know about the meaning and your calling of life from God? The calling contains multiple factors & roles over time.
  8. Review the factors of futility and see if you need to spend more or less time on effort on such pursuits in the light of your calling?
Some sample answers for your consideration:

For a longer exposition on Ecc 3:1-8, see Adding Biblical Wisdom to Bill & Steve Jobs' Wisdom for Success.

Lim Liat (c) 15 April 2013

Related Posts:

Friday, April 12, 2013

The True Church Community - Learning from Tim Keller

The True Church is a community of believers built on the love of God through Jesus Christ to spur and support one another to grow into maturity of Christ-likeness. Deviation from this basic objective of building up one another into empire building at the expense of the members of the community has caused many to leave the church organization. Yet, wanting to be spiritual without a community of love and support has cause many to shipwreck their faith. Here is how the Church Community should be..."inviting people into the community of Jesus and helping one another to grow into 'little' Christ." This is living out the true Gospel.
The group has a discussion based on Tim Keller's "Hope for the Church" sermon. First, it is good to study the bible reference of Heb 10:19-25 ourselves. Here is a mind-map for the verses.

The Summary of the Sermon:
Questions for Reflections

Please also read about Spiritual Gifts, Grace & Ministry - Learning from ... to discover your gifting to serve better in the community.

Lim Liat (C) 12 April 2013