Passive Christianity Is Dead Christianity

What do you want? What do you desire? What is your ambition?

Do you really want to know? Look at your behavior. You do what you want.

This is a devastatingly simple psychology of motivation. But it’s what the Bible teaches:

James: Faith without works is dead. Don’t tell me you have faith if the way you live doesn’t back up what you say. (James 2:17–18)

John: Love without deeds is dead. Don’t tell me you love if the way you live doesn’t back up what you say. (1 John 3:17–18)

Paul: Grace without holiness is dead. Don’t tell me you revel in God’s grace if the way you live doesn’t back up what you say. (Romans 6:12–14)

Jesus: Discipleship without obedience is dead. Don’t tell me I’m your Lord if the way you live doesn’t back up what you say. (Matthew 7:21)


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Lost Ox

Deuteronomy 22:1

If you see your neighbor’s ox or sheep or goat wandering away, don’t ignore your responsibility. Take it back to its owner.

Seems like a perfectly normal bible verse. Or even a religious ‘moral’. Being charitable and helpful is just a noble thing. But what caught my attention is ‘Don’t ignore your responsibility’.

In other versions ‘Don’t ignore it’ and ‘Don’t hide yourself’.

That’s a lot more than just being helpful isn’t it? We’ve heard of the slogan ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. But we haven’t heard ‘Upon seeing a need, comes great responsibility’.

Don’t ignore someone in need. Don’t hide yourself.

You may be the only person at that time who could help in that way. You may be the only person who saw or will ever see that specific need.

Help. Care. Act. It is our responsibility.

Lovers Are Losers

I Corinthians 13:1-7,13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

I hope some of you are going “Huh? What?” to those verses up there. That’s probably because of the Old English from the King James Version of the bible. This is a famous chapter about Love.

Lots and lots of marriage ceremonies use these words. But wait a minute. You don’t see the word ‘Love’ even once? Shame on you.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with “Love is patient and is kind; love does not envy. Love does not brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, does not seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” So on and so forth. That sounds really good. Righteous, even. But for me, in context of how we use the word ‘LOVE’ today, people don’t get the gravity of what those words actually say.

These days, we use ‘love’ to explain a lovey dovey happy feeling inside that is an outcome rather than a cause. An Outcome!? A Feeling!? Shame on you again. People (old people especially) that have been through tough times know that love is not backing out of a relationship even when outcome or feeling says differently. It could be any love relationship; spouse, family, friends, car, house, or even for your country. It means Choosing and Standing Firm. Choice is not an outcome, choice happens right at the beginning before any action or word can even start.

But I’m sure you’re still wondering, why did I share that verse in King James Version? I’m sure you can see, the difference is the word Charity. Have you ever heard that ‘God Is Charity’? No? Me neither.

Think about this, as I said earlier, these days love is a feeling. Charity, however, is action, not a feeling. These days charity means giving to the poor. It also means losing something for someone else. A LOSS! The moment we hear the word charity, we cringe inside. Why? Because it is in our culture to ‘look out for number one’, me. Ouch. We’re just more used to saying “I’m already running low this month” rather than “I can skip one lunch so that you can have one”.

Think about this. In your mind, I’m sure you have two very different definitions of Love and Charity. List them down. Could be feeling, action, point of view, outcome, choice, giving, how much of giving, when, who, what, how low one stoops, how much patience needed, yada yada yada… I dunno how you want to compare those two words. Anyway! Now comparatively, answer me this “God is -”?

Some of you can say that charity is a quality that comes out of love and all that, which is totally true. But people like the word love and not the word charity! You know, I do see God more as an actions kind of guy.  Not only that, He can be angry, sad, happy, proud, or ashamed of me, but He will still work miracles around me and through me. He still makes sure I’m well and healthy and clothes me and feeds me and allows me to have friends and family. Even when He knows I’m disobeying Him, or when I’m an idiot, or when I’m even trying to run away from Him. What is that? Is that a strong feeling towards me? Or a choice: That I’m His son no matter what.

This is a good reminder for me that love is not a feeling but an action. And it’s not even an action based on an outcome. Love is just an action because of choice: A responsibility. An oath. A sacrifice. A LOSS! A devotion. A hope. Despite everything or anything that has happened or might happen. Wow. “I love you” is now “I choose you” and not “I feel for you,” or “I prefer you the most”. A union in marriage with this kind of love sounds very powerful to me. Same as in family and in friendship.

If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. 

Love is patient and is kind; love does not envy. Love does not brag, is not proud, doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, does not seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails… But now faith, hope, and love remain-these three. The greatest of these is love.

That sounds pretty different now doesn’t it?

Love Is Rare

But it shouldn’t be.


Have you noticed that love is rare in your life? Don’t blame the people close to you. You’re the problem. You need to start changing the way you view people and act toward people. End of story. Love is a choice. Love is action. Take action. Don’t let love be rare.

You’re the problem.

I’m the problem.

Do something about it. Love freely.


I’ve always thought myself as a compassionate person. I have a heart easily broken when I get to know people and find out what they’re struggling with. My natural instinct is to ask, what can I do? Every time I’ve gone to the villages of interior Sabah, my heart breaks. My view of life changes. I imagine what I can do to help. I pray for them when I remember them. I am a compassionate guy.

Or so I thought. Psalm 35: 13 gives a glimpse of how much David cared for his friends. But when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth; I humbled my soul with fastings; and my prayer returned into my own bosom. This reminds me of all the times I have forgotten to pray for a friend who asked me to remember him/her in prayer. Because David changed his life to mourning to mourn for his friends. I don’t change my life just for a friend. Even when I’m heartbroken, I do not open my wallet and give money. ‘Logic’ overtakes me. Or, I just don’t have that love that we can see David has. Compassion is a trait birthed from love.

Compassion is not a feeling when you wanna cry for someone. Compassion is not imagining yourself in someones shoes. Compassion is a sorrow birthed from love.

God felt this compassion for you. For me. The helpless state we were born in, and delved in deeper as we lived. The trap. The pit. The hopelessness. There’s nothing we can do to free ourselves. God had compassion because He loves us. He WANTS to save us from that pit. With true love and true compassion comes action. Even the most difficult action is worth it. Because that is love. Because that is compassion. Because that is God.

He loves me

He loves you. He saved you.

Bribing As Motivation 101

For those of you close minded people, I’d like to say one thing. Bribing works wonders! It’s true. If it’s not true, why would it be so popular? We know it’s true because we see it. It’s a quick way to get wanted results. That’s a good deal right? Speed + results! And if you’re good enough, you can hide your tracks. Problem with this: conscience.


So before i talk about anything, let’s google-define the word ‘bribe’: to persuade (someone) to act in one’s favor, typically illegally or dishonestly, by a gift of money or other inducement. Ah ok. So key words here are dishonest and illegal. So is ‘bribing’ your kids to study bad? No, because according to this, it’s not a bribe. Illegal bribes are easy to spot. They’re bribes in situations where bribing isn’t allowed by the law. Dishonest bribes are a bit harder to spot. Because of the unspoken rules. Generally, if there’s a queue to a counter, it’s understood that latecomers have to insert themselves in queue at the back of the line. We all understand that that’s fair. But maybe Mr. Aaron decides since there isn’t any law here that says to line up, I’ll just ask a favor (with the motivation of money) of the counter attendant to deal with me first. I am in a rush too. We all know that cutting line is bad, but mostly because it slows our queue. But it is still a dishonest gain right? Because according to the ethical scale embedded inside us, everyone has to have an equal opportunity. If a line is served according to how much money you can pump into bribing, then it’ll be rich first, and poor last (if ever). For me, a bribe is when it negatively effects other people. Which is the main reason why corporate laws on integrity are of big importance. Here are my thoughts, I think a bribe is a form of motivation. A bribe can be both positive motivation (reward) and negative motivation (threat/punishment). And they’re bad because they either break rules, or are against our conscience. But, is bribing a sin?

What does the bible say about bribing. Let me be honest, I was very confused/intrigued by what the God has to say about bribing. They seem to contradict. And the word of God CANNOT contradict, or else it isn’t God’s word. Proverbs 15:27 Greed brings grief to the whole family, but those who hate bribes will live. And Proverbs 17:8 A bribe is like a lucky charm; whoever gives one will prosper! Seems like on one hand, bribing is bad, on another bribing is good. I think we forget to think that bribing is an act. It doesn’t reveal the nature of the heart. To assure you, the evil nature of greed is addressed in the bible. Deuteronomy 16:19 You must never twist justice or show partiality. Never accept a bribe, for bribes blind the eyes of the wise and corrupt the decisions of the godly. Exodus 23:8 “Take no bribes, for a bribe makes you ignore something that you clearly see. A bribe makes even a righteous person twist the truth. Proverbs 17:23 The wicked take secret bribes to pervert the course of justice. But the bible is also saying that bribing can be used for good. Proverbs 18:16 Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people! Proverbs 21:14 A secret gift calms anger; a bribe under the table pacifies fury. So let’s get practical and REALLY ask, can bribing really be used for good?

Like I said, bribing is an act. It’s not an attitude. God will judge the attitude and intention of the heart. We can bribe to send an innocent person to jail. And we can pay a bribe to release a wrongly accused. We can contract a killer to kill our boss. And we can ‘contract’ an authority to see that a missionary’s visa is approved. Honestly, I hate bribes. I’m against it, but if my daughter was kidnapped and they asked for money, I’d be more than willing to participate in that bribe to keep my daughter safe. And I doubt I’ll feel bad. I think I’ll have peace in my conscience about the bribe. My sin would probably not be that I participated in a bribe, but that I have hate against the kidnappers. I know this sounds pretty unchristiany, but bribes is not a sin. Especially not if you’re the victim of the injustice. However, if you’re the one who’s asking for money to act unjustly, then the problem is greed. Then it’s a sin. If it’s an ‘opportunity’, well, you’ll have to look at the intention of your heart of why you’re agreeing. Guess what, I think Jesus would have participated in a bribe if he needed to.

Did Jesus do anything wrong during his time on earth? Contrary to popular belief, YES he did. It was so controversial, that moral codes and ethics were questioned. Tradition in a traditionally strong culture was shaken. People hated Jesus because of the rules he’s broken. Yet he dared to call himself King. Yet he dared to say that he’s the fulfillment of the word (wooooots). E.g. Luke 6:6-9 On another Sabbath day, a man with a deformed right hand was in the synagogue while Jesus was teaching. The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely. If he healed the man’s hand, they planned to accuse him of working on the Sabbath. But Jesus knew their thoughts. He said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.”So the man came forward. Then Jesus said to his critics, “I have a question for you. Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” So in the Torah (Jewish book of Law given by God) it was God’s law that the Sabbath day is made for rest. No work is to be done on that day. So the Jews started to make weird rules based on this Sabbath law. Eg. like you can’t walk past your neighbors house because walking is a lot of work. But Jesus came to earth to explain that the law is not a list of do’s and don’ts. The law is for the alignment heart and attitude, and for the growth of character.

Excerpted from Jesus’ sermon on the mount (Matt 5): … You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell…  You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So Jesus came to earth to explain that it’s not the action that breaks God’s law (and His heart). No, it’s our hearts and our attitude and our character that breaks the Law. If I was paying a ‘gift’ to be released from jail early, whether I sin or not will depend on why. Is it because I don’t want to face the consequences of my actions? Is it because I don’t want my family and friends to know what I did? Or is it because I felt that I’ve been wrongly accused and I don’t think that’s where God wants me to be at that moment? Ask yourself what is the intention of acting the briber or agreeing to be bribed? Greed? Fame? Compassion? Love? Shame? Pride? Laziness? When asking yourself, our conscience will come into play and help us. And the Holy Spirit works with and guides our conscience. With choosing the right action, will come peace and joy. Acting against it will result in uneasiness and fear. Yeah. I agree that these are such subjective emotions to be using to weigh our action. But with practice, we’ll be able to make decisions as close to what is righteous as possible. Sure, we’ll never be perfect, but we can always try, right?

I guess my conclusion can be this, the problem is not so much the act of bribing, but the attitude and intention of the heart. The Church tends to get very traditionalized that the act of worship becomes the focus of christian lives and teachings. That’s very Pharisaical isn’t it? Jesus said their clean acts are just an outward show. What’s more important is the internal attitude and character. Clean the inside and the outside will be clean as well.





Yes I do have a Big GOD!

You know, I was feeling encouraged by this phrase. It’s a catchy phrase. Pretty popular now. Going around. If you’re a christian, or a facebook-, twitter-, tumblr-, instagram-, or any social platform -user, you’ve probably have heard of this phrase too.

But while I was showering, a thought came to my mind: How biblical is this ‘proverb‘?

I’ve given it some thought. Tried to think of biblical examples or verses that could help me out. Here are my thoughts.

1. Do I have a big God? All scripture and stories tend to point in that direction very specifically. So, yes, affirmative, absolutely.

2. Can I tell my problem that I have a big God? Yes, I think so. I kind of have two point of views in this. FIRSTLY, yes, we SHOULD tell our problems that we have a great God. For me personally, it increases my faith to do so. We can learn from David. Goliath was taunting David saying stuff like “you’re a nerd” and “I’ll stuff you down the toilet in 5 minutes” (1 Samuel 17). But David told his Huge Ginormous Problem and Enemies that “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” So this was big talk back in the day. What a daring thing to say from David, a little shepherd boy, to the enemy, all trained-to-kill soldiers. Well, we need to learn to be daring. So yes, Big talk boasting our God is actually good. BUT, here’s my SECOND thought: “Tell your problem you have a big God” makes God sound like a tool. Like a handy Solve-It-All. We’re so used to being fed and people taking care of our problems, that we don’t see the need to take our own action. You know, neither David nor Moses nor Abraham nor Paul nor anyone who were really spiritually mature just told their problem off and expected God to do the work. Could you say Job just sat around discussing his problems with his friends and scratching his itch with a stick? “Did he do anything? Yet God blessed him.” Yes, I think he DID do something. He had faith. And he stood his ground and told his friends that God is good and everything happens for a reason. You need lots of guts to say something that will make you look like a total idiot in front of your friends. And God appreciated that, and blessed Job. Little David told his enemies he had a supreme God, then he acted on his faith, and Sling-Bang-Boom (this is an awesome song btw. I loved this song while growing up. Still do). So we not only have to tell our problems we have a great God, we also gotta do something about it. God is not your nanny whose job is to clean up your soiled diapers.

3. Now last but not least. Where in the bible does it say not to tell God we have big problems? Well, I see the opposite a lot. Did you know, that all the people in the bible, ALL of them (even Jesus), were like us? Human. Problematic. Weak. And like us, they cried out to God. They told God they couldn’t take it any longer. They complained to God. Did God know we (and they) had problems? Yes. Did God know it was coming? Yes. Did we need to inform Him, saying “Hey God, just in case You didn’t see me down here, but I’m in a bit of a rough”? NO, He knows all things! But He WANTS us to come to Him. To cry aloud. To weep. To despair. To be crushed in our spirit. To be totally open and honest. To repent. He wants us to come to Him, longing for comfort. He’s the big father. And He’s never too busy for us. And He wants us to commune with Him. To have a relationship. And the most vital thing in a relationship is communication. Tell God. Sometimes we may feel like we’d be ridiculed by God. We may feel like telling God will look like this: Hey God. And He’d say yeah? Oh I got His attention, you think you can help me? God’d be like what about? And we’d say well my daddy and mommy are fighting again, and I feel like it’s my fault. And God’d be like *snickers* pfft come on. Your problem is like ten billion times smaller than mine. Grow up. And then we hear the disconnected dial tone. God is not like that. He LONGS, yes, let me repeat, LONGS for intimacy with us. He wants to be your daddy. And a real daddy is one who can listen to us and be totally honest with us, and one who we can be totally honest to too. Even with the itsy-bitsy issues. Right? So, yes, I’m pretty sure that God wants us to tell Him our problems. Even how big our problem is. In fact, I’ve noticed how lots of really good conversations with Him come out of this topic.

Anyways, as a conclusion, I’d say this ‘proverb’ Don’t tell God you have a big problem. Tell your problem you have a big God is a bust. It’s not very biblical. Sure, it makes us want to thank God for being there for us. But we don’t grow up in our character and maturity (because we may expect God to solve our impossible situation), and we don’t grow closer to God because we may not feel the need to cry out to Him.


Food for thought.


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