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Crazy rich Christians

“Crazy Rich Asians,” a Warner Brothers adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s best-selling novel has taken the world by storm since its premiere in mid-August. In 3 weeks, the film has become the most successful Hollywood studio romantic comedy in nearly a decade at the U.S. box office, topping the charts for the third weekend in a row, already raking in an estimated total of USD 1 million. Amidst its many themes are the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous in Asia, the importance of traditional family values, pedigree, connections and being part of the “in” crowd. One major theme is that of “inheritance” (or “old money”), in which the male protagonist is essentially modern day royalty, primed from a young age to take over his father’s legacy – his business, possessions, and family name. Watching and reading interviews done with the author, it is apparent that much of his novels were based on personal experience as well.

Tugging at the heart of the movie is the need to be known. As one writer* puts it, “The premise of the movie is precisely that the glamorous, quantifiable, visible nature of one’s life is what determines a person’s worth.” In Singapore, we typically consider the people that have the “5 Cs” (cash, credit card, country club, car, and condominium) to be blessed. For many, young and old, isn’t this the age-old struggle and yearning towards fame and fortune, focusing our lives, time and efforts on appearance, affluence, accolades and achievements?

The Bible tells us in Eph. 1.3-8,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ … In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us.

Lest we forget, when we became Christians, God lavished on us the extravagant riches of His grace, and blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. What are these spiritual blessings? Firstly, He has redeemed us and forgiven our sins (by His death on the cross). Secondly, God has adopted us as His children. Thirdly, we have the Holy Spirit indwelling us as a seal and deposit. And lastly, we have a promised eternal inheritance in heaven awaiting us.

Do we count it our riches to be known by the King of heaven, our Father God, and have been brought into His family as His children and co-heirs with His Son, Jesus Christ? When we recognise whose family we belong to, perhaps we’ll really start living as children of the One who owns everything in heaven and on earth. We have in our possession as believers the fullness of God’s power and provision for everything we need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3-4). In Him we find all identity, security and significance to live the craziest and richest lives possible. That is true privilege. We are crazy rich Christians.

*adapted from here.


I believe … in the Church

Recently at church camp, the speaker mentioned about the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of A.D. 381 in his discussion about the mission of the church, where it states, “I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” Traditionally, these have come to be known as the Four Marks or Attributes of the Church. As we explore the Book of Acts, particularly the life of the early church, it is worth considering what each of these attributes mean for us and the church.

Firstly, “one” suggests a sense of oneness in the body, the Church, through what Christians have in common. The song “People of the Lord” which begins, “There is one body” (from Eph. 4:5-6) reminds us of the unity we are to preserve as we proclaim His praises, for the sake of Christ. Are we as churches guilty of building up our own little kingdoms, instead of building up the kingdom of God? Is our love marked by unity, so that others see us as disciples of Christ, bearing His image and reflecting His character and glory in our lives and ministries?
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Today marks exactly 10 years in total that, by God’s grace and enabling, I have served the Lord in full-time ministry. The journey began earlier though, since May 2003, when I first started out as a ministry staff in my home church. In the span of the past 15 years, apart from the 10 years in ministry (including close to 6 years as a pastor), I have also studied for 3 years and graduated from bible college, gotten married and became a parent of 4 children, and served mainly in missions, youth & young adults, and Christian education in both church and parachurch environments. Looking back, it sometimes feels like a lifetime since it all started, but it also seems as though time has flew by quickly. Here are some reflections and lessons learnt along the way.
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This is love

As we commemorate Father’s Day today, and as we give thanks and remember our earthly fathers, at the same time I pray that we would reflect on our relationship with our Heavenly Father, particularly His great love for us. 1 John 4:10 tells us,

This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

As much as we might know of God’s love in His Word, at times our own positive or negative experiences of love from or with our earthly fathers could possibly affect our view or experience of God’s love. Jesus exhorts us, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35).
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… discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come … Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.
1 Timothy 4.7-8, 12
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