Exit Mediocrity

After my birthday this year, it finally dawned on me that I have barely a couple of years before hitting middle-aged.

My child and family is one of my key priorities. While work may be important to put food on the table, but it is secondary to these other priorities.

So what else gives meaning to a life of a Christian woman?

I chanced upon this video from Francis Chan, a Christian Evangelist and Author, which succinctly communicates an analogy that demonstrates my attitude towards a life of a Christian in general. Sharing these quotes from a 4 minute extract of his sermon,

“The Bible teaches that what I do during this little red part (ie. my life on earth) determines how I am going to exist for millions and millions and millions of years forever (eternity). So why would I spend this little red part trying to make myself as comfortable as possible, enjoying myself as much as I can. Paul (the Apostle) says I am going to live my life for this mission, I am going to spend my life, invest my life for this moment when I cross that finish line. See, I am going to forget about all these stuff I am going to enjoy, I am going to be a runner, just looking at that moment when I face God, because when I face Him (pointing to the red part), I don’t get this chance over again. We get one chance at this life on earth. And it can end at any second for any of us. We got one chance at this, and then it comes eternity.”  

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If a Christian thinks that by having a comfortable life, with a beautiful home, successful career, having to take vacations whenever and wherever, enjoying material wants and experiences without having to worry about finances, and having amassed enough money for retirement. While, possibly doing evangelism when it is convenient, is depiction of a successful Christian life…

Then, mediocrity will likely be the path he/she will take as a Christian.

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Here’s a good sermon to read from AW Tozer (1897 – 1963), could get offensive for some people, but it does put a mediocre Christian life into perspective;

‘Now, does that describe you? You’re a believer, you’re saved; you know that but you’re ordinary and have no outstanding abilities or qualities; not distinguished by spiritual superiority at all; just following the customary ways of the church. Now, I leave it you whether it describes you or not, but I have observed a lot and I do observe that as well as pray and I find that most Christians are mediocre. 

Now is thus the best Christ offers to us, my friends? Is this mediocre, undistinguished, half-way-up-the peak business, is this the best that the Lord offers? I do not think so; it’s our own fault…

When there’s a sermon preached or a book read the gist of which is ‘take thy cross and follow, go on unto perfection’ why, people begin to ask questions and bargain with God. They say, “What will it cost? What will it cost me to be that kind of Christian? What will it cost me in time? You know I don’t have much time. Will it cost me in money? You know I have a family. What will it cost me in labor? You know that I work hard. What will it cost me in relationships? I don’t want to give up my friends.” As soon as you hear a man, looking in the face of Jesus Christ and saying, “Master, I’d like to follow you all the way but it’s too costly.” You have a poor, mediocre wretch on your hands!”

It has been more than 50 years, but I don’t think much has changed in the Christian world. Mediocrity seems to be commonplace.

I am determined to leave this mediocrity in my Christian walk. But like what Tozer mentioned in his sermon, it does come with a cost, cost of not being convenient, uncomfortable, isn’t safe and often it isn’t that popular either.

So what’s in it for anyone to be a Christian?

The perception you will have, will be hardly anything, especially if you think this life on earth is all there is. If so, I sympathise with the state of how life is for most of us, no matter how much possessions we have, or how happy a family we have now, we are all stuck in a rut of mediocrity.

Instead of being stuck in this rut of life, you could be blazing a trail where no ruts will exist, a path that God has uniquely created for you. Only you are made and qualified for this unique purpose, and likely you are the only one who can fulfill it.

Do you know what is your purpose in life – a special assignment that is assigned to you by God? I am not surprised if 90% of people reading this, are still discovering answer to your purpose, even if you are a Christian.

So what will it take for you to break out of mediocrity and this rut of life? Isn’t it time to find out what’s the unique path in life that God has created for you to take?

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Incidentally, there will be a Christian apologetics conference held at Covenant EFC Woodlands on the 5-6 Dec 2014 on the topic of ‘What does it mean to be Human?’, one of the key speakers is Os Guinness, the author of ‘The Call’.

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‘The Call’ is a classic that centers on understanding what it means to be called by God.  Os throws out the modern notions of calling as merely fulfilling an obligation or living out an occupation. This is not a “how-to” book that will help readers find our true calling from God, but instead, a calling is an experience of understanding God’s purpose for life and living that life in the will and drive of Christ.  We are called “to be” more than we are called “to do.”  Our calling is about who we are, not about what we do. Although the ‘doing’ will flow out of a true understanding of who we are.  “The Call” gives a clear guide to understanding this call from God, and practical steps to living it out both in being and in doing.

Read about more on the book, ‘The Call’.

There will be special price discounts if the tickets of this conference are purchased before 1 Nov, at an early bird price of $50 per person. To read more about the speakers, and to find out more about the purchase of conference tickets here

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Not Just a Book on the Shelf + Giveaway!

How would you like reading 14 non-fiction books in 30 days?

Attempts like that should only be done when you are an ‘accomplished’ speed reader, or if you are really passionate about the subject matters discussed in these books.

Non-fiction books can seem dull for some, however, when the subject matters from these books are expounded from concepts from a book that I have great interest in, the Bible. I can tell you that these 14 books barely skim the surface of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that has been unearthed from the pages of the Bible.

The rule of thumb that I follow with reading from Christian books, is that anything that are found in the books with discrepancy to the Bible, I will ‘throw it out of the window’. The Bible is the only authoritative book concerning God and His decrees for mankind, and nothing needs to be added or taken away from its pages.

Here’s a useful link on How to Read and select a Christian book.

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My journey with the Bible, has gotten even more exciting since I started reading it 10 years ago, and I am still learning more and more from it everyday.

My experience with this book started out with fear and intimidation. It was just too many words written in old English that seemed too complex to comprehend, from the first time I held on to it. It progressed to a stage where I read it like a storybook. Then, I started learning how to use concordances, to understand the meaning of words in its context in Greek or Hebrew.

In these recent years, I am back to the basic, the simplest and more effective way to read the bible; with the help from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is probably the most neglected person of the Trinity, often he gets neglected and is not being expounded upon from the pulpits of churches. But he is just as important as God and Jesus Christ, read here for more on the Holy Spirit.

The Bible is more than just another book with lots of historical accounts (some might even say myths), others say that it is ‘magical’ and mysterious. Some believe that they will never understand the bible, so they will only read sections that have been spoken about in their church sermons, and will go with their Pastor’s or Preacher’s interpretation of the passages.

The Protestant Bible (note that the Protestant Bible and Catholic Bible are quite different from one another) contains sixty-six books, and it was written by some forty different authors over a 1600 year period in 3 different languages. The authors varied from kings to tentmakers and they were very varied culturally and geographically across different counties. The Bible is completely unified without internal contradictions with all the variables above, prove to the validity to what Bible says and could not have been simply thought out by men alone.

I have come to realise that one cannot grow or mature in their spiritual walk with God, unless they take this responsibility upon themselves to learn about their relationship with God, apart from just attending church services on Sundays. One needs to read the bible daily, pray (often not enough) and surround themselves with Christian literature.

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If you are a Christian and you are serious about building a strong spiritual walk with God, it’s time to start setting aside time to read the bible daily.

Start with a verse, then reading the verse in context of the sentence, then expound it to the full chapter where the verse is. When you are ready to for more, I would recommend reading all the 66 books in the bible at your own pace.

Here are some useful devotionals online that can help you get started with this daily devotional discipline,

- Crosswalk Devotionals

- Our Daily Bread

Before preparing to read the bible, here are some useful tips.

Diligence and Discipline are part and parcel of a serious Christian walk. So if you are a Christian, get out of your lethargy and be a profitable child of God!

 

Giveaway : I will be giving away 1 copy of the ‘The Word of Promise’ Audio Bible worth USD $39.99. It can be downloaded on an iPad, Google Devices or Android devices, so all you need to do is to leave your name and email address in a comment below and I will do a random pick for the giveaway winner. 

The Word of Promise Audio bible is a multi-voiced, scripted dramatization of the New King James Version (NKJV) and features a star-studded cast of over 600 actors, original music score composed and conducted by prolific Italian composer Stefano Mainetti.

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An update on the giveaway winner of a Christianbook.com USD$20 book e-voucher from the last post, 

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Congrats Ling Siew! I will be contacting you soon to send you the e-voucher.

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Feeding the Bookworm tendencies + Giveaway!

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It has been relatively quiet in this space as I have been reading ALOT. From the last blog post, I have read the most books I have ever read over a course of 1 month; a total 14 books, which works out to an average of 1 book in two days.

My preference is for Christian non-fiction literature as I am able to apply what I read and learn from these books to my daily life. If I am in the mood for fictional entertainment, I much prefer to watch movies than to read books.

Since I don’t have much shelf space at home, my option is to read e-books on my iPad and I found a good alternative to the Kindle app.

The Kindle app on Ipad isn’t available for users in Singapore, and this limitation can be easily workaround by creating an iTunes account setting the location to United States, however this same iTunes account will not be able to download paid apps from the US Apple App Store.

So I found the next best alternative, if you are into Christian literature and have an iPad, an iPhone or any Android device, download this e-book reader app, CBD Reader from App Store or Google Play Store.

I used to read these books from the tiny screen of my iPhone, and it was only recently that I finally convinced myself that I needed an iPad to save my eyesight.

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To date, I have bought like 31 e-books that can be read in this app over the course of the last 1.5 years. And one of the benefits of e-books have to be the size of each book and the sheer convenience of one device to store all the books. The other useful feature of the app is that the e-books can be read in both the phone or the handheld device, if both devices have the app installed.

Apart from Kyle’s games (which I have made sure that he limits to 30 on my iPad), these e-books on my 32GB iPad takes up the most space. But I am not complaining since I rather have 31 copies of ebooks stored in a device, than physical copies of these 31 books taking up space in my room.

Most of the titles that you have seen from brick and mortar Christian book stores, have their e-book versions that can be easily found on Christianbook.com. And the price of an e-book? About 40-50% off the price of a physical book.

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If you have bought physical books from local Christian bookstores, you will notice that the e-books from Christianbook.com have fairly good discounts off the retail price. An average price of a book will cost from SGD$22 onwards, so by purchasing e-books, there are direct savings.

Giveaway! – A $20 USD Giftcard from Christianbook.com which can be redeemable for any products sold on the site. With this gift card, you can get any 2 complimentary e-books from the web store.  Do leave your comment below if you wish to participate in this giveaway. 

 

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