Think

Easter – the great 50 days

Easter – the great 50 days

Apr 2017    

Easter Day is the opening day of this season which spans a period of eight Sundays, or 50 days to be exact. Endorsed by the late second- and early third-century Latin theologian Tertullian, the 50 days of the Easter season is a period of great joy and gladness, for the…

Discipleship and the spiritual disciplines

Discipleship and the spiritual disciplines

Mar 2017    

The practice of discipleship is well-known among Christians. There are books describing it and materials to help us. But a key question is this: Is our practice of discipleship just technique or does it really help us become disciples? The Greek for “disciple” means “learner”, persons who discipline their life…

Beware the barriers we put up

Beware the barriers we put up

Feb 2017      I have a friend whom I have not seen for more than 40 years. I am not sure whether I could recognise him if I met him today. Mr Viggo Sogaard spent many years as a missionary in Thailand before pursuing his Masters at Wheaton College and doctorate at Fuller...
Rights, right and righteousness

Rights, right and righteousness

Dec 2016     God has given us a capacity and yearning to live beyond ourselves, an innate desire to do good by our conscience: where our actions, decisions, words and expressions are guided by our framework of values, beliefs and moral expectations. This framework could be based on religious beliefs, cultural heritage, family...
Are you a disciple?

Are you a disciple?

Nov 2016     For the longest time, many of us have functioned with a two-tier understanding of the Christian faith. We have been told that there were two types of Christians. If you accepted Christ as your Saviour, you were saved. You had Christ in your life. You would go to heaven when...
Can our church save Hou Ann from the poverty trap?

Can our church save Hou Ann from the poverty trap?

Oct 2016     Hou Ann attends Sunday School. He has been coming to church since he and his sibling were referred to the church for help. His karung-guni father has struggled to take care of him and his younger brother. There is no mother at home; she left even before divorcing his father. I mention Hou...
Where are our young people?

Where are our young people?

Sep 2016     At family devotion, my 13-year-old son quipped: “The good should go to heaven and the bad, hell.” “Son, who are ‘the good’? Who decides who is good? What is the yardstick for goodness so I know for sure that I am good?” I replied. So continued our discussion which pointed...
Person-centred care and the Christian

Person-centred care and the Christian

Aug 2016     Person-centred care, or PCC, is a catchphrase familiar to the healthcare industry. It is also an adage the Singapore Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA) uses as the basis of their advocacy work on behalf of people living with dementia. The ADA explains that PCC captures a way of thinking and doing...
When facing new movements

When facing new movements

Jul 2016     The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is one of the most important contributions of Methodism to theological thinking. Although John Wesley did not systemise it, it was attributed to his genius. For centuries, Scripture was mainly interpreted through the eyes of tradition in the early Church. This kept the Church from making progress...
Rethinking missions

Rethinking missions

May 2016     What comes to your mind when you hear the word “mission”? Going to exotic places, climbing mountains and crossing treacherous rivers, walking through the jungles and experiencing exotic aromas in distant lands, or going to a continent where elephants and giraffe roam the roads? We grew up with the mission...
Who are the Liberals?

Who are the Liberals?

Apr 2016     "Don’t touch that book, it was written by a liberal theologian!” To label someone a “liberal” is often to sound a death knell — we should not touch his books, attend his talks or come anywhere within 100 kilometres of him. But what does it mean to call someone a...
God’s servants in pain

God’s servants in pain

Mar 2016     Pain is no stranger to us. All of us have known some kind of pain – from skinned knees to broken hearts and dreams in smithereens. Along the road of life, we are bound to experience loss, injustice, illness or injury. The way out is the way through. There is...
Good conversations

Good conversations

Feb 2016     Every day I exchange text messages on various platforms; about a third of my friends on Facebook may “like” a post I put up, and I would “like” their postings. Every day there will be communications for various purposes – I could be teaching in class, then a quick exchange...
Time to think about Time

Time to think about Time

Jan 2016     Most of us make new resolutions at the beginning of each New Year. The idea is to put the disappointments and failures of the past year behind in the hope that the year ahead will be better. However, I have found meditating on Psalm 90 to be a more meaningful...
The Christmas Story and Christian Outreach

The Christmas Story and Christian Outreach

Dec 2015     Over the years we have witnessed relentless attempts, both blatant and subtle, to change the Christmas story for a revisionist world bent on taking political-correctness to the extreme. Despite such attempts, faithful Christians following the teachings of the church know that Christmas is about God reaching out in love to the...
Whole Life: Discipleship for the family

Whole Life: Discipleship for the family

Nov 2015     “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.” Deuteronomy 6:5-6 The Great Commandment is based on Deuteronomy 6 in the context of the family. God uses...
The emotional problem of evil

The emotional problem of evil

Oct 2015     “Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” cries the psalmist (Psalm 10:1, NIV 2011). Do these words echo how you are feeling? God does not discourage us from voicing such cries to him; in fact, He inspired it in His Word.  ...
Thinking about same-sex marriage

Thinking about same-sex marriage

Sep 2015     “Same-sex marriage legalised across US” headlined The Straits Times on 27 June 2015.   My two older Primary school-going children have started to read the newspapers. Minutes later, out popped a question: “So, why is it not okay, Mum?” I was surprised at how the question was worded.   A...
Singles and sexuality

Singles and sexuality

Aug 2015     Today, Christians are expected to remain sexually continent for a longer period of time than any generation that has preceded us. People are not married during the years when hormones are hardest to control.   Christians are taught to abstain from sex till marriage. So courting couples kiss all over but...
Growing old, ageing well

Growing old, ageing well

Nov 2014     Kwa Kiem Kiok is a local preacher at Trinity Methodist Church, and teaches missions-related subjects at East Asia School of Theology. She and her husband, a Trinity Annual Conference pastor, enjoy walking in the outdoors. We can always greet each day with child-like joy in the gifts it brings and maintain...
Sexuality: Our divine nature

Sexuality: Our divine nature

Oct 2014     God has given us a deep desire for intimacy. This desire for sexual intimacy points to a greater reality – our desire for oneness and intimacy with God. Arecent ministers’ event on same-sex attraction (SSA) called us to address sexuality even as we address sexual issues such as SSA. What...
Offer the hope of Jubilee

Offer the hope of Jubilee

Sep 2014     Jubilee, among other things, is about new beginnings: economic, emotional and spiritual freedom; extraordinary generosity; social holiness and justice. God's promised presence and power are inseparable from this purpose. What this offers to the weak and vulnerable in society is hope. Hope underpins the spirit and values of Jubilee. They...
Suicide: a sin or an illness?

Suicide: a sin or an illness?

Aug 2014     While most people who have a mental illness are not suicidal, studies have shown that as high as 90 per cent of those who died by suicide suffered from one or more mental illnesses at the time of their death. “Is suicide a sin, and if so, is it pardonable?”...
God is good?

God is good?

Jul 2014     We must fall in line with God’s understanding of goodness, and not the other way around. When we meet someone we have not seen in a long time, we might ask, “How have you been?” We sometimes hear the response, “I’m fine. God has been good.” By this, we often...
Why we love superheroes

Why we love superheroes

Jun 2014     Captain America and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 hit our cinema screens most recently.  Last year, The Wolverine and Thor thrilled audiences. Superheroes represent the idealised virtues that we want in ourselves, our spouses, or our leaders. More than that, they represent the overcoming of weaknesses by virtues of selflessness, commitment...
The cross by the wayside

The cross by the wayside

May 2014     “Think of the way he persevered against such opposition from sinners and then you will not lose heart and come to grief.” Hebrews 12:3, New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) With the recent visit by the Chinese President Xi JinPing to Paris, the French media was quick to point out the dissonance...
An inextricable link: Faith in God and that ‘theology stuff’

An inextricable link: Faith in God and that ‘theology stuff’

Apr 2014     Let us not draw any more false distinctions between “having faith in God” and “getting involved in the theology stuff”. The two belong together in a healthy Christian life. May we not put asunder what God has joined together. Once at a dedication service for some undergraduates who were going on...
Trophy Kids

Trophy Kids

Mar 2014     Rooting our children in Christ, growing them in the faith and giving them wings to go where God wills – these must form our primary education to our children. We run a real risk of inadvertently breeding a generation of “trophy kids”. These are children who see themselves as so...
Womanhood: A balancing act?

Womanhood: A balancing act?

Feb 2014     ... But many find themselves now having to balance a “double shift” of work and home duties. On one hand, they are expected to fulfil their traditional roles. On the other, at least in Singapore, they are to be part of the workforce and contribute to nation-building. Women in our...
Are common market practices becoming the norm?

Are common market practices becoming the norm?

Jan 2014     ... I suggest that we at least do what common market practices inherently try to get us not to do – to think and take moral responsibility for our decisions however uncomfortable it may feel. Common market practices are those practices that are accepted as normal and are generally useful to...

R e f l e c t i o n s on a train

Dec 2013     ... there is no “quick and efficient” way to walk with another person through the vicissitudes of life. Afew months ago, I attended a conference in Port Dickson and asked the organisers to help me arrange my return journey. They suggested I take the train from Seremban; a journey scheduled...
Virtues, not values

Virtues, not values

Nov 2013     Character formation is an essential part of a person’s education. Virtues like being trustworthy, upright, altruistic, just, peaceable, filial and loving are what any country, and church, would be proud to see in young people. This is perhaps why our government, as part of a continued wish to develop people...
The mission field  IN OUR BACKYARD

The mission field IN OUR BACKYARD

Oct 2013     As various committees and boards meet to evaluate, plan and budget for 2014, it appears that invariably a large portion of the mission budget now includes a significant portion set aside for short-term mission trips. With budget air travel, and the attendant connectivity of the World Wide Web, there are...

The Right to Die?

Sep 2013     Dixie Wong was just 24 when she was diagnosed with leukaemia. Now after a decade of agonising treatment with no improvement in sight but just constant decline in her physical condition, she came to this conclusion: “I’m sick and tired of the treatment because it is clearly not helping. The side...
Shoring up marriages

Shoring up marriages

Aug 2013     MARRIAGES AND RELATIONSHIPS are under siege today. Factors that contribute to divorces include neglect of the family, physical and emotional absence, adultery, selfish pursuits, financial tensions and a range of other behaviours. Christian couples and families are not immune and Christian counsellors and pastors share that they are now seeing...
An underlying intolerance

An underlying intolerance

Jul 2013     DIALOGUE BETWEEN the Methodists and Roman Catholics has been going on for many years at the international level. When Pope Francis was elected as spiritual leader for the estimated 1.2 billion Catholics, it was indeed heartening to learn of the warm greetings and congratulations conveyed by the World Methodist Council...
Growing scourge of modern-day slavery

Growing scourge of modern-day slavery

Jun 2013     IT’S BEEN ABOUT 150 YEARS since most countries banned slavery, but millions of men, women and children are still enslaved today. They are the victims of human traffickers who “acquire and trade” in individuals through coercion, abduction, deception, and abuse of power to provide forced labour or service. In 2009,...
Me and my possessions

Me and my possessions

May 2013     THE FRENCH PHILOSOPHER DESCARTES said: “I think, therefore I am.” For many Singaporeans, though, the saying “I have, therefore I am” is perhaps more accurate. Many of us, consciously or unconsciously, measure our success and worth by what we have: our homes, our cars, our investment portfolio, our fashionable clothes,...
A weekly day off is a biblical mandate

A weekly day off is a biblical mandate

Apr 2013     IT HAS BEEN ALMOST four months since the ruling of a weekly day off for Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) took effect on January 1, 2013, after the Government passed this mandate in March last year. To recap: This ruling applies only to FDWs – or “home helpers” as I like...
 
 

REACH OUT

Fuzzy therapy that works

Fuzzy therapy that works

Apr 2017    

Every second Saturday of the month, the residents of the Methodist Welfare Services (MWS) Bethany Methodist Nursing Home (BMNH) eagerly await the arrival of visitors of the furry kind. They are the friendly canines from Therapy Dogs Singapore (TDS), a non¬-profit voluntary welfare group which has been making monthly visits…

The rainbow connection – nurturing Laotian children

The rainbow connection – nurturing Laotian children

Apr 2017    

  Twelve years ago, it was a glorious rainbow that sealed God’s call to Lesley and Kok Liang Yeow to live and serve in Vientiane, Laos. In faith, they started a centre for teaching the English language to adults. Twelve years ago, it was a glorious rainbow that sealed God’s…