My books and Who I Am…

I have been going through my stack of books for the purpose of clearing them and giving them away (see below). I thought I’d do a short write-up of 10 of my favourite non-Christian books (as can be seen above) – and why I like them. I wouldn’t say these are my absolute top 10 of all time, but they are definitely some of my favourites. Actually, I’m going to add one more book that isn’t seen in the above picture so that makes 11.

1) Harvard and the Unabomber by Alston Chase: What a book to talk about! Haha! It’s only mentioned first coz it was first in the picture above as it was the tallest :) The unabomber (Ted Kaczynski) was a Harvard graduate turned American terrorist. I bought the book because I wanted to read a real life story of someone influenced by ideals similar to mine – ideals related to his negative assessment of modern society, not the terrorist part! I don’t necessarily agree with the conclusions of the author. Perhaps this Amazon reviewer put it best:

Alston wants to place a lot of the responsibility for the Kaczynski’s anger on the General Education curriculum then taught at Harvard. I thought it strange that the books and authors Chase mentions are books by my idols! But I draw very different lessons from the works of Dostoyevsky, Melville and Mumford than does Chase. There is a lot that can be said about the Gen Ed curriculum, but based on an intense personal experience with most of the writers mentioned here, I know them to embrace humanitarian ideals and to move beyond despair. To lay the causative influence of the Unabomber here is mistaken.

2) Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer: This book isn’t in the picture above because I lent it out to a friend about 8 years ago and it was never returned. Into The Wild is one of my all-time favourite books. I know there’s a movie on the book and I watched it, but I loved the book. The books is about Christopher Johnson McCandless who is very similar to Ted Kaczynski in his negative evaluation of modern society. I actually wrote at length on this website about Into The Wild. This book introduced me to Henry David Thoreau who has become one of my favourite authors. I think in the 300 or so books I’m giving away (see below) are about 5 different biographies on Thoreau.

3) Until Death Do Us Part by Ingrid Betancourt: This is an autobiography of Ingrid Betancourt’s “struggle to reclaim Colombia” which I read about 9 years ago. Colombia is one of my favourite countries and I spent about 4 months there studying Spanish. Latin America is definitely one of my favourite places to go to in the world. I actually completed a minor in Spanish and Latin American Studies. I think the thing that initially attracted me to Latin America was reading about the Catholics living out their Christian faith during the 70s and 80s, the Liberation Theology era. There are a lot of studies of great struggles in Latin America and movements and peoples that seek to stand up for the oppressed. A messy place and a messy history, but a rich and exciting history nevertheless.

4) Gaviotas – A Village To Reinvent The World: An amazing story of Colombian visionaries creating a sustainable village. It’s stories like these that make me fall in love with Latin America.

5) The Death of Ben Linder by Joan Kruckewitt: I just realized this is the third book related to South America! This book is a real life story of a North American in Sandinista Nacaragua. Very similar to Chris McCandless (see Into The Wild above) in that Ben lived out his beliefs and eventually died for it. Inspirational.

6) Living High & Letting Die by Peter Unger: I got to know this book through Peter Singer’s writings. I wrote about Peter Singer and Peter Unger here: Poverty and the Moral Responsibility of the Rich to the Poor. This is a philosophy book on ethics by Peter Unger who was inspired by Peter Singer’s writings on how we are responsible for letting the poor die. I’ve been very impacted by Peter Singer in this area and I’ve written a few articles on this site about this area. A synopsis of the book:

A small amount of money sent to a charity like UNICEF will ensure that fewer poor children will die. Yet even when aware of this most people send nothing. Peter Unger examines this all-too-common example of letting die, generating a bold and controversial look at moral assessment.

7) Riches For The Poor by Earl Shorris: A book about the amazing story of the Clemente Course created by Earl Shorris that sought to teach the humanities – art, logic, philosophy, poetry – to the poor so as to empower them to break the cycle of poverty.

8) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank: A seemingly simple yet profound book which I wrote more about here: Encountering Anne Frank and the Mask we all Wear. I was very moved by the book and included in the books I’m giving away are about 5 different biographies of Anne Frank.

9) Amusing Ourselves To Death by Neil Postman: A book that has had a great impact upon me. This was one of the first popular current affairs / sociological book about modern society that I read and it helped me understand how TV made people dumber :) I wrote more about this book here. I love Neil Postman’s writings and have probably read most or all his major books. Very good reading!

10) The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff: A book about a psychotherapist who spent 2.5 years in the South American jungle living with Stone Age Indians which “demolished her Western preconceptions of how we should live, and led her to a radically different view of what human nature really is.” An interesting book that will make us reflect on our modern society, its values and way of doing things.

11) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand: An amazing book. Others may love it for different reasons. For me, the book is about the heroic non-conformism of its protagonist Howard Roark. The theme of non-conformism is one of my favourite and Into The Wild and this book are strong in this area.

So there you go. Non-Christian books which have impacted me, whose values are very similar to mine. Social justice and non-conformism to modern society’s values are two very strong themes in the above books and in my life. The second is there, I think, partly because the first is compromised.

I definitely have a very strong progressive and liberal streak in me. This is tempered somewhat by my Christian beliefs. Probably very few of my Christian friends understand my strong passion for social justice (and the extent I would go or would like to go in living out my beliefs – hey, I admire people like Thoreau, McCandless, Linder, Betancourt and Roark, though admiration from afar is very different from truly living it out) but I generally make myself get along with the Christianity community for a greater cause and mission. I do truly believe that my God is a God of love and love for the poor, marginalized and oppressed of society. In that sense I do believe God is a God of social justice and in many ways (not in every way) the progressives and liberals are expressing the heart of God when they show empathy for the oppressed and give their lives to making a difference in the world.

Bye bye books…

The reason I was going through my books is that I’m moving out of the place I’m staying and have decided to give away most of my books I’ve bought over the past 17 years or so. Over the past 10 years, I’ve already left probably over 100 Christian books in a church and another 200 plus Christian books with a pastor friend of mine. I don’t expect to see them again even though they have not been technically given away! Then I also recently gave away over 200 Christian books to another church pastor to be donated to his Seminary in India. Those are all Christian books I don’t really need since my Christian journey has taken me to different traditions and many of the books aren’t books I’m interested in now – normal evangelical books, Reformed books, progressive Christianity and even charismatic and Pentecostal books. I do keep a collection of around 100 or so that have to do mostly with healing, prophecy and grace that I’ve bought in the past few years – and also some secular books related to the mind and self-development. I think this is the direction I’m moving towards and so I’m keeping them. And I’ve kind of mostly stopped buying physical books now if I can since I don’t want to be carrying them around – I am starting to purchase ebooks (PDF or Kindle). I definitely prefer reading a physical book but it’s much more convenient to be able to bring my whole book collection on my ipad! I still do purchase physical books when I can’t find them on Kindle or if they are not suited to reading on my ipad.

My reading of books coincided with the time I truly became a Christian at around 16 years old. And from that time (the last 16-17 years or so), I spent the first 6 years reading a lot of Christian books (mainly conservative Reformed books, but also eventually progressive Christian books), the following 6 years reading a lot of non-Christian, non-fiction books that related to my interest in politics, economics, development, Latin American studies, social justice, globalization, poverty, sociology, psychology, literature, philosophy, etc., maybe about 2-3 years reading English as a 2nd Language (ESL) and TESOL-related books (I am a certified ESL teacher and did my Masters in TESOL halfway) and the last few years reading Christian books related to healing, prophecy and grace.

So besides the Christian books I’ve already given away or I’m keeping, I’ve got maybe around 500 non-Christian books left that’s split up into about 300 non-fiction books and 200 ESL/TESOL-related books. I’m going to keep my ESL/TESOL-related books because I may continue to do something with them in the ESL and education industry. The 300 or so non-fiction books (including some fictional literature books), however, I’m gonna give away. I have a lot of really good books that I don’t want to give away, but I also know that I’m not going to read them in future. I thought of selling them away but I know I’ll get peanuts for them. Therefore I wrote to UWCSEA (United World College of Southeast Asia) – the international school based in Singapore – to ask them if they would like them for their library use and they were interested and I handed it over to them at the end of 2011. Many of my books are still almost brand new and I know UWC and its values and they are pretty much the same as mine. Social justice is important for them. For example, Nelson Mandela is their Honorary President. Through my time working on various development projects in Singapore, I got to know many UWC students. And so I know this is a school I would like to invest in to bless them.

Anyway, these 300 or so non-Christian (non-ESL/TESOL related) books have had a huge impact on me and my thinking. They are mainly of liberal politics values and that’s still who I am today. And that’s why in many areas I don’t fit easily into the Christian subculture which is generally (in American and also Singapore) more towards the political right. I’ve always felt a greater affinity with the non-Christian progressives (than with most Christians) because of their passion to stand up for and help the marginalized and oppressed, which I’ve never seen very strongly in Christianity. Although not the main priority in my life now, social justice is still something I’m very concerned about. I think my passion for healing stems in a way from my passion for social justice. My heart right now is to learn to see the Bible come alive in my life as it truly should (greater works – John 14:12), to know Him more, to demonstrate His love to the world through signs and wonders and to eventually disciple people in the developing world in the message of God’s grace and love and the supernatural.

The above review of the 10/11 books was written as a memory of all the non-Christian books that have impacted me and that I’m giving away. Goodbye my friends… May you impact other people to transform the world!

John G. Lake Ministries (JGLM) coming to Singapore

The Australian national co-ordinator of JGLM, Enzo De Vincentis, will be in Singapore (or around this area) from around 16 to 25th March 2012 or so. As my readers know, I’ve been hugely impacted by Curry Blake and JGLM and I’ve written a lot of blog posts on the teachings by Curry Blake (Overseer of the John G. Lake Ministries) and JGLM. It’s been 1.5 years since I first heard the 19 mp3 series Divine Healing Technician (DHT) by Curry Blake which transformed my thinking on (and practice of) healing and my life. I’m a huge believer of drawing from different people and not following just one and I’ve drawn from many other teachers / practitioners when it comes to healing – people like Joseph Prince, Roger Sapp, Andrew Wommack and Bill Johnson. But if I had to choose one message on healing, the choice would be easy. It would be by Curry Blake and JGLM. When it comes to healing, I do feel his message is the most biblical one. If you want to know why, you can read my previous posts like Why You Should Eat Your Curry (Blake) Before Paying The Bill (Johnson), Bruce Latshaw On Vineyard’s vs. John G. Lake’s Healing Model, Two ways to minister? – Part 1, Curry Blake of John G. Lake Ministries and Curry Blake’s Divine Healing Technician (DHT) training course – Part 1.

The reason why Curry’s and JGLM’s healing message has impacted me so much is because it’s different. I’ve been around charismatic circles for a while but I’ve never heard healing taught the way it’s taught by Curry. It’s radical. Most healing messages are NOT like what you’d hear from Curry. In fact, Curry destroys a lot of sacred cow teachings on healing or related to healing that is prevalent in charismatic Christianity and which has held a lot of us back from moving in the power of God. It’s Curry’s message which has challenged so many people to step out and practice healing. Curry is not a big name simply because a lot of people cannot accept the message he teaches and the way he destroys a lot of sacred cow beliefs. So he doesn’t move in the big name circuit like Bill Johnson (who, by the way, I love) but over the last few years he’s slowly built a following because of the impact the message has produced in people’s lives. One of the areas where his impact has been felt a lot is on Facebook where hundreds of people all over the world are connected because of their passion for healing which, for many, first began after having heard Curry.

Having said all that in praise of Curry Blake’s ministry, let me just say I’m not affiliated with his ministry in any way and I’m sure I don’t agree with everything that he teaches or says – I think if anyone agrees with everything that any other person teaches, it’s either because the person isn’t very smart or doesn’t have a mind of his own. I know some stuff I would say differently or even believe differently. But I love JGLM because I have not heard as biblical a message on healing (overall) as I have from there.

Anyway, I wrote all of the above because many have not heard of Curry. If you haven’t, you need to listen to his 19 mp3s on healing (see above). You may not agree with everything, but you’re guaranteed to be challenged to think more about what the Bible says about healing.

Hosting JGLM in Singapore

OK, anyway, the main point of this post: In March 2012, a group of Australians led by the Australian national co-ordinator of JGLM Australia will be coming to minister in Singapore. Because Curry or JGLM isn’t yet well-known here, I’m helping them to find ministry opportunities here. If your small group or your church is interested to find out more about hosting this group of people from JGLM Australia, let me know and I could put you in contact with them. The dates again are 16th to 25th March. I’m trying to arrange for a trip for them to Johor and Batam during that time. But Singapore comes first! They can do a 1-2 day healing conference. Regarding expenses, I probably can get some people to cover most, if not all, of the expenses, so this shouldn’t be a great concern. So you can contact me at jonathan at stillhaventfound.org to find out more and I’ll be glad to chat more and share with you more about Curry Blake and JGLM.

PS: We’ve decided to postpone the event to later this year – maybe June or later – so that this could be organized better!

Grace-Based Pastors Conference in India and Donating Grace-Based Books to a Seminary (and Pastors)

Grace-Based Pastors Conference in India

Hello guys, some members in my cell group are organizing a Pastor’s conference in India in February 2012. My cell group is made up of Christians from different Churches, though most or all of us have been impacted by the message of grace – and most attend New Creation. We are all just ordinary Christians who have been impacted by the revelation of grace and the love of God. We also believe the days of the “big men of God” – specially anointed and holy servants of God that Christians ought to look up to because they have something special that we don’t have – are dying and instead all the saints are called to do the work of the ministry. The grace message has often been accused of producing passive Christians and to a certain extent that has been true. However, for us as a cell, we don’t believe in being passive, but in demonstrating the love of God to this world in an active manner. The grace and love of God empowers us to live for Him and bless people and our heart is to go out into the world and make an impact on peoples’ lives. I think two ministries / churches that we really identify with in terms of getting that message and ministry balance is Andrew Wommack and Bill Johnson.

Therefore, though many of us in the cell are not pastors or big leaders in Churches (none of us are actually) – and we still face many challenges in our own lives and are definitely “not there” yet (as Andrew Wommack would say, “I haven’t arrived yet, but I’ve left”) -, we challenge ourselves to step out and share and minister.  So with this Pastor’s conference, we are collaborating with a good Indian pastor friend of ours who is doing a lot of good work in one part of India.

We are holding this conference in a Seminary and targeting over 100 pastors from all over India (though mainly the Southern part). The focus of the conference is going to be on the gospel of grace and the love of Daddy God. All of us are united on this, having had our lives transformed, and thus this is the message we want to share to impact the lives of many pastors and their congregation.

This is going to be an exciting conference. I’m in charge of the curriculum and making sure all the messages are in line and flow from one to another. About 8 people from my cell group are going and 5 of us are going to share about 8 messages in total. We’re going to share on interpreting and preaching the Bible from a New Covenant perspective, righteousness-consciousness, grace, Sonship, union (identification) in relation to overcoming sin and ministry and the practical message of Spirit, Soul and Body and living it out from our spirit. Some of our influences have been people like Pastor Joseph Prince, Andrew Wommack and Bill Johnson.

Three of the 8 of us are pretty new to sharing – two of us only shared our first message in 2011 and one I think hasn’t really shared before. Some may be thinking how we can organize a pastor’s conference when many of us are so inexperienced. Perhaps that’s so. But I hope we’re not going into India thinking that India is a developing country and Singapore is a developed country and therefore we can do this because we’re somehow superior to them and they would respect us because of the fact that we’re out of town and thus know more. Definitely not! I don’t think we presume to go there thinking that we’re somehow better or know better than them. Both sides will learn from one another. For us, we have a very personal message and revelation that we want to share – something that has transformed our lives and we believe will transform the lives of the pastors and their congregation. And we really believe in getting to know the pastors there and not acting like we’re some big shots from out of town. In fact, most pastors would be traveling from afar off and will be sleeping on mattresses  in the Seminary. Our cell group wanted to live with them rather than stay in a hotel – because we truly want to interact and get to know the people and we don’t see ourselves as different or on a higher level than them – but for some security and other reasons this could not be arranged.

Donating Grace-Based Books to the Seminary (and maybe the Pastors too?)

Anyway, so this is what’s happening in February 2012. Actually the main reason for this post is to appeal to people who want to contribute books to the Seminary there in India. The Seminary is new and so they have need for books. I’ve given about 100 or so of my Christian books to the Seminary. They are a portion of the books I’ve bought since 15 years ago. But most of them are not very grace-based. The reason why my cell group is very passionate about organizing this conference is because it’s about teaching and transforming the thinking and hearts of pastors. If the pastors catch the loving and gracious heart of Daddy God and the message of the New Covenant, they will share this message to their congregation. The potential for impact is thus enormous. And that’s why I also believe in investing in books for the Seminary students to read.

So for those who want to be part of donating grace-based books to the Seminary, you can donate through me through the Paypal button below. I will use the money to purchase a list of different grace-based books I know (I haven’t read all of them, but I know they are good). Below is my compilation of various life-transforming grace-based books which I will get with your donation – feel free to comment below and point out some books I’ve missed. And if you want to donate to purchase a specific book, then let me know too. For those in Singapore, you can contact me if you want to physically pass me one of your books. If there’s enough money, I’ll think of purchasing one good grace-based book to give also to the pastors at the conference (maybe 100+). That’s only if we have enough money because we want to be fair and give all of the pastors the book and not just some of them.

Donation amount


PS: There seems to be a problem with the donation amount. If it shows US$5 on the next screen, just change the QUANTITY to make it add up to the amount you want to donate.

1) Books by Bill Johnson of Bethel Church (I put Bill Johnson’s books first because for those who are wary of the grace message, he’s probably the least controversial, and most influential, leader of all names here. While his books don’t address the message of grace directly, I believe his theology and his books, like that of the Vineyard (at least in the past), ASSUMES the foundation of the message of the love and grace of God. He uses a different language and doesn’t get caught up in all the controversies, but he’s definitely grace-based in most senses and his Church even sells Pastor Joseph Prince’s books. I first heard of the message of the Father heart of God through Vineyard and the Toronto Blessing was mostly about that message, which to me is a message of grace using different terms)
2) Destined to Reign by Joseph Prince
3) Books by Andrew Wommack
4) Books by New Nature Publications
5) It is Finished by Nerida Walker (just got this book and it looks interesting)
6) Books by Elyse Fitzpatrick (Elyse is a good Reformed author. My background is in the Reformed tradition and even though I don’t agree with a lot of beliefs in that tradition now (and I think it’s too legalistic for me in general), one section of the Reformed tradition has a very strong “gospel-centered” focus which is very grace-based and which I think a lot of grace-based Christians can learn a lot from.
7) Books by Mark Hankins (good identity in Christ stuff)
8) Books by EW Kenyon (good identity in Christ stuff)

[I don’t have time to complete my list, but I will keep adding books when I have time and will continue to welcome donation for these books even after this upcoming trip because the team may plan to go there regularly in future and work with the Seminary and pastors there and the Singaporean pastor we work with goes there quite regularly]

2011 is finished!

It’s the end of the year again! This year, I’ve written very little – only 7 posts before this one. But there’s been a lot of stuff that’s been brewing in my mind that I will share a bit here, but will do so more hopefully next year in longer posts.

Street Healing in Singapore

I started to get serious about healing early 2010 after listening to Curry Blake’s Divine Healing Technican (DHT) course (go to my Healing Resources to get the course) – and having read Bill Johnson for a few years previously. Most of my posts have been about healing since then. A group of us Singaporeans passionate about healing soon got together (we’re now on the Singapore Healing Room Facebook Group) to meet from occasionally to regularly. We met pretty regularly the 2nd half of 2010 (up to weekly in some months) but slowed down starting from 2011. In April, we invited Roger Sapp to Singapore, Malaysia and Batam early this year. Before that in March, some of us attended Randy Clarks’ mini School of Healing and Impartation at Cornerstone Community Church. By the way, Randy Clark and Bill Johnson will be in Singapore for a full School of Healing and Impartation next March (2012) – find out details here at Kingdom Invasion and many of us are excitedly looking forward to it.

As mentioned here on a post Street Healing in Singapore, a group of South African youths came to Singapore to visit New Creation Church in January. We met up with them and also spent time doing a treasure hunt at night in Geylang. This led to contact with some migrant workers we prayed for who got healed there. They contacted me July this year to pray for their friend and we went to a square in Little India to pray for them and saw literally dozens of people flock to us for prayer for healing.  Since August, the group has met about 8 times from August to December to minister to these migrant workers in Little India and organized a BBQ for about 20-30 migrant workers on Deepavali. You can find out more about this ministry at Singapore Healing Forum.

In 2012, we’re planning to meet alternate weeks: one week to minister healing in Little India and the other at a member’s home to discuss healing, study the Bible on healing, pray for people’s healing and just grow in our ministry of healing. This group consist of Christians from various Churches and some of them are helping out in different “Healing Rooms” in Singapore. You are definitely welcome to join us.

I know at least two other groups who go to the streets of Singapore to minister healing and also prophesy. God is indeed doing something new these past few years and it’s wonderful to see the Church go out into the world and the streets to demonstrate the love of God as Jesus did.

Preaching and Teaching

I wrote last year that I hope to start preaching and teaching to young people this year. I specifically said “young people” because I’m not that old and I guess I feel more comfortable relating to young people and also because of my relative lack of experience. Well, I actually preached a total of 4 times this year – ranging from 10 minutes to about an hour to between 15 to 100+ people – but the crowd was a normal crowd, not specifically a younger crowd.

It was definitely a challenge for me to preach – but a challenge I gladly took because I love to challenge myself and I know this is something I want to do more of in future and something I do believe God has called me to. I prepared a lot and was definitely a bit nervous as anyone would be! But I do enjoy sharing what I’ve been learning – I have received a lot over the years throgh many people’s teaching and preaching and I want to give out through the same way. While I still have so much to learn in terms of how to preach and share, I am happy to have gotten started.

I know I have my own unique way of approaching preaching and teaching. My Christian journey has allowed me to appreciate very good solid theology because of my non-charismatic Reformed background. I’m also an Arts and Social Science graduate who loves to do research and understand different perspectives and who  has written lots of argumentative essays. In other words, I’m very left-brain dominant and a perfect candidate for membership in any non-charismatic church whose messages are comparatively more theoretical, intellectual and theological than sermons in charismatic churches. But I’m not like that.While I do find a lot of charismatic teaching and preaching too shallow for my liking, I also find a lot of non-charismatic and Reformed teachings too theoretical. So I’m very much in between, appreciating the strengths of the charismatic and non-charismatic worlds of Christianity. And I’ve been like that for 15 years and many times I’ve felt like a misfit where I am. But I’m already used to that.

While I can’t stand a lot of charismatic teaching and preaching, that’s not to say I don’t listen to them. I listen to all kinds of charismatic teachers and preachers (although I’m selective) because I think I can learn from everyone and everybody has different gifts. And I also don’t think the way I like to learn (as a left-brain dominant person) is a holistic way. We all need to be balanced in terms of functioning in the left and right brain. Because I’m left-brain dominant, I’ve been trying to be more open to functioning with my right-brain. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere (Hearing God’s Voice Again), I believe prophetic people and those who flow more in the Spirit tend to be right-brain dominant. And that’s why I want to be open to tap on the right-brain. Prophets and prophetic people, because of their inclination to being right-brain dominant, also tend to be really bad teachers and preachers. This is of course not always true – I think Kris Vallotton is a good preacher.

I’m also more postmodern (or maybe more accurately critical-realist) in outlook in that while I believe in absolute truth, I also believe we human beings interpret the Word through our own biased lenses. I don’t just accept anything taught by anyone (even my favourite preachers/teachers). I find many Christians (especially charismatics because of their bent to the anti-intellectual and anti-theoretical) too accepting of teachings they’re taught by their pastors or favourite teachers. Because of my background in Reformed theology and my reading of many different Christian traditions, I tend to be more critical and I would acknowledge different perspectives and views and the fact that I don’t know many things. God’s truth is absolute but our interpretation can easily be flawed. I find no place for a lot of dogmatism I see in the Church today, which to me has sparked the growth of the emerging Church movement and the anti-institutionalism of many modern Christian movements. However, in relation to preaching, while I understand a lot of it is our interpretation (and I don’t want to mistake my view of things for gospel truth), I know many times in teaching and preaching (especially) you sometimes have to speak in absolutes if not you don’t really get anywhere.

Anyway, out of all the ministers who have influenced me in recent years and who hold on to beliefs that are similar, I think Andrew Wommack is one of the best teachers of the Word. He’s charismatic (in beliefs), yet teaches in a very solid, logical and organized way that has benefited many people around the world. I think the organization of his teaching is one of his great strengths and the reason why so many have benefited from his ministry. I think Joseph Prince is one of the best preachers. His teaching is also very good, although many times it tends to be very disorganized. However, when he preaches a message that is more or less organized, he’s one of the best preachers in the world. Joseph Prince is probably more holistic in his balance of preaching/teaching skills, though I think Andrew Wommack is more holistic in his message (he touches on many important topics and not just focus on grace). By the way, I’m defining ‘teaching’ here as something that’s slightly more left-brain oriented that appeals more to the mind and logic and ‘preaching’ as slightly more right-brain oriented that appeals more to the emotions.

I’m still very new in teaching and preaching but I do want to improve. My strength is more on the teaching and left-brain organization and logic (as people can see from this blog and my writings) and I want to improve more on the right-brain aspects to sharing – appealing to emotions, using stories, being led by the Spirit, prophetic preaching, etc.

My heart has always been doing ministry full-time. And I do intend to move into that in future after prospering in my businesses. I don’t want to work for a Church or ministry and be beholden to the politics of institutional Christianity. I want the financial freedom to be able to minister where I feel God wants me to go – and to minister freely especially to the marginalized and the poor and disciple them in their identity in Christ. Now is the time of learning and applying what I’ve learned. The essential message that’s been brewing in my heart these few years is “identity in Christ”. Topics like grace, new creation, new covenant, finished work, sonship, Daddy’s love, etc., is all related to that. And this message of a new identity in Christ ought to be applied in all areas. I want to focus on the healing ministry in future. But right now, I want to apply that message in my life especially to prosperity and my businesses. Eventually I will do more preaching and teaching and I can’t wait for that to happen, but I’m enjoying my time right now too.

On Dr. James B. Richards

I’ve learned many things this year. I continue to encounter new ministers to learn from. Before 2011, the people who have had the biggest impact upon my theology and Christian life in recent years have been Joseph Prince, Bill Johnson, Curry Blake, Andrew Wommack, Roger Sapp and Dave Roberson. Probably the person who has had the biggest impact upon my Christian life and theology this year is Dr. James B. Richards of Impact Ministries. I’d seen his book Grace: The Power To Change around in various bookstores for a few years but never picked it up. I knew he was a grace-based preacher, but I thought he was probably like others and maybe didn’t add anything radically new to what I’ve already learned from others so I resisted getting into his teachings. Actually, right now, though I love his teachings, I still haven’t read that particular book. But I’ve read and listened to dozens of hours of his teachings and interviews and have gone through his Heart Physics program.

I think the first teaching of his I got into was his Anatomy of a Miracle which touches on Quantum Physics. I had been interested in Quantum Physics and its relation to faith and miracles and his book was all about that. I’ve become interested in recent years in the relationship between science and the Bible and Quantum Physics has a lot to say about this. So I read that and went on to his other materials. James Richards is definitely very different from many grace-based preachers. He has degrees in theology, human behaviour and medicine and thus he brings  different perspectives to things and that sets him apart. I’m someone who reads widely myself and thus I love it when people brings in the perspectives of other disciplines as I think it makes things more holistic and it gives us greater insight to the workings of the world and humans.

I do plan to write more fully (and also do an email interview) with James Richards in 2012 so I won’t write much here except to say that I think he’s brought in a missing piece to the faith message and that is the importance of meditation, which to him consist of physical relaxation and using of imagination. Anyway, I can’t say I agree with everything he advocates (I’m not sure yet) and some of his stuff is pretty controversial. But generally I like what he teaches and I think what he specializes in (his essential message is about the heart and the use of meditation to persuade one’s heart) is something that would really bless many Christians.

Other teachers

Having a similar message (on meditation and persuading the heart) to James Richards is Dave Martin. I’ve listened to a lot of his stuff and also do his meditations. I started to read the books of Jay Snell this year after having known of him for a while but not having the motivation to finish reading any of his books. I don’t know much about him but his first book on Abraham’s Blessings is a book to re-read and study. His other books are quite hard to follow. I’ve started to read E.W. Kenyon and listen to Charles Capps’ stuff. Both are from the faith tradition. I actually got more into Kenyon’s stuff after I read Donald Mann of Covenant Peace Ministries.

Donald Mann is one interesting guy. As James Richards majors on meditation (imagination) and really believes in that, Donald majors on meditation in the form of confession/affirmations and really believes in that too such that he advocates confessing Scriptures at least 2 hours a day. Like James, Donald also brings in the science of the mind. I got to know him recently and communicated a bit with him through email. I want to follow up with him to get to know him more and also read his 3 books which look really good. He’s been influenced by Curry Blake I believe and his books are full of mainly Scriptural confessions. All about good identity in Christ stuff. He also seems to have ministering healing working well in his life.

The Exchanged Life tradition

One Christian tradition that I found this year which is very grace-based is the Exchanged Life tradition. This tradition is all about union with Christ and is very grace-based. It is a pretty non-charismatic Christian tradition, but I’m interested to learn more from it because unlike the many grace teachers that’s been impacting the world recently, this is a tradition that’s been established longer and consist of non-charismatics – which generally means they handle the Word of God better. As a more established tradition/movement, there’s a lot to learn from them. For example, Steve McVey, who is a big name in the grace movement, I believe has benefited a lot from that tradition. I really like the writings of John Best of Abundant Living Resources. He’s written a lot of solid theological books that relate to many topics related to grace. While I do appreciate a lot of the new grace-based authors that having been writing good books, I’m a big believer in also drawing from the Christian tradition and understanding the perspectives of the past and building on them. To ignore how much we can learn from the past is being really stupid – because truly there’s nothing new under the sun. I learned a lot about grace from the Reformed and Lutheran tradition (there’s a lot of mixture there too) and also the Redemptive-Historical Biblical-Theology tradition. The important thing is to draw from as many people and be aware of the different arguments because all this has actually been around for a long time. There’s a lot of good stuff in the newer authors and preachers and they bring their unique gifts and interpretation of things. But it’s best to combine the new with the old – building on the foundation of the past, yet not letting it restrict you.