A New Gospel? Part 3

In Part 1 of this series, A New Gospel, I made the observation that there are 2 parts of the life of Jesus that are most emphasized – His Birth and His Death.

Consequently, the 2 most popular celebrations of the church are Christmas and Easter.

You might not have picked it up but there is a mismatch in the above statements.

Easter is not the celebration of the death of Jesus. It’s the celebration of His resurrection.

I remember when I was young, my father used to say, Good Friday should be celebrated more than Easter as the death of Jesus holds more significance than His resurrection.

Really?

Again, I want to suggest that this conclusion may be a result of reading the Bible through hand-me-down glasses.

Sure, His death is truly significant.

But, lots of good people have died in history. So-called prophets, messiahs and other enlightened human beings.

What sets Jesus apart is His resurrection.

His resurrection is the game-changer.

Anybody could have died and their life turned into a legend that spawns a religion.

But when somebody rises up from the dead and is seen by many witnesses, you have to pay attention.

Jesus accomplished something when He died. But what He was trying to accomplish was not completed until He resurrected.

Therefore, I want to suggest that we correctly celebrate Easter as a glorious reminder of the hope that we have in a resurrected Christ who is today victorious over sin and death and is ruling over all.

But don’t take my word for it.

Read the Gospels. Listen to the message of Jesus. Hear His words. See His life. Look at the epistles through this lens.

And get ready to be inspired by a powerful vision of what the resurrected Christ means today!

A New Gospel? Part 2

In the first part of this series, A New Gospel, I suggested that we tend to interpret the message and purpose of Jesus through the epistles, the letters of the New Testament.

Why is this so?

Probably because the letters are more doctrinal and explanatory in nature. They seem to explain things more since they were written to different churches and individuals.

On the other hand, the Gospels seem to be just full of stories.

So, what happens is that, we end up interpreting the Gospels through the Epistles instead of the Epistles through the Gospels.

Or, as some have put it, we end up interpreting Jesus through Paul rather than Paul through Jesus.

Isn’t it strange that we should elevate Paul above Jesus? Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?

And this is why we end up missing out on a huge part of the purpose and message of Jesus.

If you still find it hard to accept what I’m highlighting here, let me give you one example.

Hilssong Word NLT Magazine Bible

Hillsong London has produced a marvelous magazine-style NLT Bible called Word. You can purchase it with free shipping here.

This Bible is arranged into 4 themes as explained in their introduction:

Hilsong Word NLT Book Order

The first 4 books you will read in this Bible to understand “What God has done, how and why?” are epistles! And guess which is the first epistle?

Romans!

At least Mark goes in there at the end.

You might think that this is not really a big deal.

Trust me, it is.

After reading the Gospels over and over again last year, now, when I read the epistles, I see things which I never saw before.

Ask my wife how many times I’ve said to her in the past few months, “Oh my goodness! This epistle doesn’t say what we always thought it said!“.

Again, I encourage you to find this treasure I mentioned in Part 1 of this series.

You will also be saying “OH MY GOODNESS!“.

Part 3 here

How To Spot A Scam

Barely 3 days after I posted the blog Do You Want To Get Rich Quick?, the latest Get-Rich-Quick scheme appears on my Facebook timeline.

A few years ago, a friend told me about this “Gold Investment” company which guarantees a 30% p.a. return. Straightaway, I said, it’s a scam.

As expected, I got the defensive response.

I discovered quite a few friends were into this “investment scheme”. One friend even told me that it has to be legitimate because he was introduced by a university professor who sits on the Board of the company. Surely, a university professor can be trusted?

I have learnt that when it comes to money, nobody can be trusted! Not even your mother!

Fast forward a few years and the company gets shut down by Bank Negara and many who donated their life savings are now still suffering.

Well, today,  I discovered a new “gold trading investment” opportunity.

Not offering 30% guaranteed return.

Wait for it.

Guaranteeing 120% p.a. return. Wow!

Not only that, you get 10% for introducing new suckers, I mean, investors. And not only that, you get additional bonuses based on the balancing of a binary MLM structure 10 levels deep.

Wow! So many bonuses!!!!! Quick invest!

Listen. One of the easiest ways to spot a scam is this rule:

If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true!

As a general rule, run away from anybody who guarantees you 30% or more consistent return on an investment.

Nobody on planet earth can give that kind of guarantee.

Even the richest, most respected, most revered investor, Warren Buffet, cannot give you that kind of guarantee.

Do you know that in the past 30 years, Warren Buffet has only achieved an 18% annualized return on his investments? (source)

Warren Buffet? One of the richest men in the world. Only 18%?

Someone should ask him to put his money into this new gold investment scheme.

If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true!

Remember this.

Nobody can stop you from investing into a scam. But if you introduce others to do so, you are responsible.

Don’t be a fool.

Bandung, Indonesia: Lawangwangi Creative Space

I love Bandung!

This is my 3rd trip to Bandung and I must say it is still one of my favorite places in South East Asia.

This time round our friend, Chriz Theo, recommended a place up in Dago called Lawangwangi. It is now my favorite place in Bandung!

Lawangwangi Creative Space

You can see from the featured picture above that the gate itself is an optical illusion. Lawangwangi is an art gallery and lounge.

This is one of the cool outdoor art installations.

Lawangwangi Art Installation

The lounge is on the top floor of the building and it’s a really classy space filled with art installations.

Lawangwangi Cafe

The best part is the deck that extends outside of the lounge.

Lawangwangi Deck

From here, you get a beautiful view of the Dago hills and the city of Bandung. This pic is taken from the end of the deck.

Perfect View from Lawangwangi

I could stay here all day. We really enjoyed watching the sun set over Bandung. Click on the pic to see the whole 200 degrees panoramic view!

200 Degree View from Lawangwangi

If you are ever in Bandung, make sure you check out this place. I’m not sure how good the food is but the arty farty vibe and the view is worth it!

You can get more details from their official FB page: https://www.facebook.com/LawangwangiCreativespace

The gate and the lounge photos above are taken from the official Lawangwangi FB page.

A New Gospel? Part 1

I’ve been on an interesting journey in the past 1 year.

I’ve been asking more questions than I normally do and I’ve been constantly surprised by many of the answers I’m discovering.

One of the questions I’ve been asking is, “Why did Jesus come? What was His message?“. Ok, that’s actually 2 questions. But they are related.

I know what you are thinking. “Huh? That’s a no-brainer. Jesus came to die for our sins so that we can go to heaven.

Really?

Let me ask you a question. Which part of the Bible do we normally go to find the answer to this question?

Most Christians would answer, “The Epistles”. Yes, the letters in the New Testament. Specifically, Romans.

Hang on.

Shouldn’t we find out the purpose and message of Jesus from Jesus Himself?

Guess what I discovered.

The church generally only focuses on 2 parts of Jesus life. His birth and His death.

Guess which days you see the most people in church? You got it. Christmas and Easter.

Hang on.

What happened to everything in between the birth and death of Jesus?

I came to the realization that all this while I’ve been missing something really huge. It’s always been there but I never saw it because I was filtering everything through glasses I’ve been given to wear.

So, for the most part of 2013, I did my best to take off those glasses and listen to the words, ministry and life of Jesus afresh again. I tried my best to experience Jesus as though I had just met Him for the first time.

I went through the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John over and over and over again. Not just picking a few verses here and there. But going through each book from start to end. Taking in as big chunks as I could.

I listened more than I read.

And I was shocked!

It was almost as though I discovered a New Gospel! Well, not really. But a much fuller, richer, deeper, transformational, compelling Gospel!

It’s like what Jesus said in Matthew 13:44,

God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.

I found treasure!

And I would like to invite you to find it too.

If it is at all possible, put aside all your preconceptions of why you think Jesus came. Take off the glasses you’ve been wearing all these years and try to see Him with fresh eyes.

Start with the book of Mark. Read it through 2-3 times. Then do the same with Matthew and Luke. Then John.

No time to read? Invest in an audio bible. Listen to it every day as much as you can.

It is my prayer that you too would find this treasure hidden in the field. A treasure so great, you would sell all to buy the field!

Part 2 here

Cafe David Is Back!

The original Cafe David blog was started in 2005! Wow! Seriously? Has it been that long?

It eventually spun off 2 books on relationships.

With the advent of Twitter and Facebook, blogging was no longer as popular as before.

So why am I blogging again? Because I have a lot of things to discuss with you!

The original intent of Cafe David was an online space where we could all hang out and talk about everything under the sun. We had some pretty good conversations then.

This is my hope for Cafe David in 2014 and beyond: to spark off some meaningful conversations about life, love, faith and everything else!

Come back and visit often!

Serving Coffee For The Soul