Monday, August 30, 2010

Why This Waste?

Yesterday, Pastor Prince announced the result of our Miracle Seed Sunday - $21.1 million sowed with attendance of 22, 272. The free local tabloid, mypaper, has reported on this today and compared the amount with the $10 million raised for the President's Challenge last year.

As usual , there will be critics who question the sanity and morality of New Creation Church members who collectively gave such a huge amount at such short notice (one week) for the one-north project. One facebook acquaintance of mine called our giving "a kind of self-centredness" and asked "what must have been on the givers' minds?".

I wonder what is on the critics' minds? I'm guessing that they are probably thinking the same thing which Jesus' disciples did two thousand years ago:

Matthew 26: 6-9
6While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.  8When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. 9"This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

Why this waste? The mypaper writer implied as much when she compared our miracle seed collected with the President's Challenge collection. Is it a waste?

Jesus himself answered his own disciples:
"Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Did Jesus sound heartless to you? Does Jesus not care for the poor? Of course not! What Jesus is saying is that there is always time and opportunity to help the poor but there is only a window of opportunity to do something special for Jesus. Jesus said the woman poured the perfume on him to prepare him for burial. Did the woman know it? No, she did not but she listened to her heart and worshiped Jesus by anointing him with very expensive (worth a year's wages) perfume.

After Jesus was crucified and buried, three women bought spices and went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body but what they found was an empty tomb (Mark 16). They were too late. They had missed the window of opportunity. Only the woman who poured the perfume on Jesus before his arrest and subsequent crucifixion enjoyed that privilege, and in the process, she is remembered forever, whenever the gospel is preached throughout the world.

Is the one-north project on the same level as what the woman did for Jesus? I don't know, probably not but I do know that it represents a window of opportunity for us, New Creation Church members, to do our part in building a house of God. I believe that this house which we build will be a beacon of light attracting people from all walks of life to come out of darkness and into the light of Christ.

It is our privilege to give during this window of opportunity. Once the one-north project is completed, the window is closed; it will be too late for you to play a part, just like the three women who faced the empty tomb.

42 comments:

gweek said...

I didn't know that New Creation Church was preparing for another burial of a Messiah.

Jeremy said...

ditto above.

Stanley Wong said...

NCC is preparing for even greater trumpeting of the Messiah's finished work on the Cross.

gweek said...

New Creation needs all that money to trumpet better? Learn from the early churches: they did more with much less. Building funds you will always have with you; give to the poor.

Stanley Wong said...

"The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me." (Mark 14:7)

Sze Zeng said...

Hi friend,

I am encouraged to see the concerted effort of NCC to build a place to accommodate the congregation.

Instead of choosing one over the other (the poor vs church building), perhaps NCC can do both. I have faith that NCC as a church can do many great things for the Lord.

If NCC can raise so much fund overnight, then my hope is to see the same congregation to extend this same spirit to contribute as a congregation for other causes that benefit the society and the wider Christian community at large. To reiterate, I believe NCC can do it :)

I hope to see NCC grow through the new building. And through the growth, I hope also to see NCC to do more to reach out to the masses in evangelism as well as social work.

So you and the rest of NCC members must remember to extend God's grace to the congregation to the wider society that is in need and the wider Christian community at large.

Jesus acknowledged the poor will always with us. And he also commend those who follow him to look into the needs of others:

"Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." - Mark 10.21

Apostle Paul, in his letter 2 Corinthians, saw that the grace of God extends also to our desire and willingness to help others that are in need.

"...brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability."

The Macedonians were already poor, yet they still want to contribute to the others in need "even beyond their ability."

Then apostle Paul continued to suggest to the Corinthians that each Christian congregation should help one another that are in need:

"Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality, as it is written: "He who gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have too little."

So NCC is blessed by God's grace in their vision for a new building. And God's grace is much wider than appropriate worship venue. It includes as much the desire and willingness to help the society and the wider congregation even if it means beyond our capability at times, as apostle Paul has written.

Blessings.

Sze Zeng said...

Sorry that I left out the chapter for apostle Paul's letter. Those passages that I cited are from 2 Corinthians 8.

Sze Zeng said...

Sorry that I left out the chapter for apostle Paul's letter. Those passages that I cited are from 2 Corinthians 8.

miak said...

there is too a window of opportunity to save lives of those affected by floods in Pakistan. Shelter, clean water, sanitation, and essential supplies are needed to prevent even more loss of lives from the aftermath of the floods. Logically speaking, that would be the thing to do, won't it? How much more valuable is a human than a church building?

gweek said...

Stanley, I don't understand your use of Mark 14:7. The verse itself specifies the historical uniqueness of God's presence: "The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me." Are you saying that Jesus = church, ie. that you worship the church as God? Even if so, here's another pitfall: Jesus points to a time when we will still have the poor but NOT him. We still have the church, don't we? So how does this verse help to make your point?

Kenneth said...

Stanley: Sorry to burst your bubble. You're not building the House of God. You're building the House of Mammon. It's a shopping centre, right?

eekpil said...

For those who are interested:

NCC has been reaching out to the community and giving to the poor: http://www.newcreation.org.sg/church-life/community-service/2010/

http://www.newcreation.org.sg/church-life/community-support/

NCC has also been doing missionary work:
http://www.newcreation.org.sg/church-life/missions-trips/2010/

eekpil said...

Lavishing on my loved ones does not stop me from giving to and caring for the poor and needy, does it?

Every Christmas, I would spent hundreds of dollars buying Christian gifts for my nephew and nieces and my friends. Would I then be judged as a selfish and wasteful person who does not care for the poor and needy?

Beloved Princess said...

Hi Stanley

I was at a small gathering with some NCCs sisters last Saturday and was touched by the testimonies I heard. I wished I had more seed to give because whatever I could give cannot even compare to the gift of Jesus.

"Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You and of Your own we have given You." (1 Chronicles 29)

I loved and was moved by the song that Adeline sung before service yesterday. Yes, people do not know how much it cost us, that oil in the alabaster box. But Jesus knows. Who are we to give to God? But He accepts our offering as worship. He accepts us.

SHALOM
Zoe

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Kenneth,
one-north is an integrated hub, which will be divided into two zones — a Civic and Cultural Zone owned by NCC thru Rock Productions, and a Retail and Entertainment Zone owned by Capitaland.

The Civic and Cultural Zone, will house a 5,000-seat state-of-the-art auditorium, multi-purpose hall, outdoor amphitheatre and special function room.

If NCC really wants to build a House of Mammon, it would have been more profitable for us to own the Retail and Entertainment Zone (which includes the basement carpark) rather than the Civic and Cultural Zone.

Currently, New Creation Church is using the Rock Auditorium at Suntec City Mall and other meeting/function venues for our meetings. We have been looking for a larger venue as our congregration has been growing larger, and the new auditorium at the Integrated Hub @ one-north will be ideal for our needs. We will be the anchor tenant for the Civic and Cultural Zone’s suite of venues for our church meetings every Sunday, and possibly, on one weekday night.

(source: http://www.newcreation.org.sg/one-north/introduction)

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Sze Zeng,
I am hoping for exactly the same thing i.e. after our one-north project is paid up, we can have a Miracle Seed Sunday dedicated to charity.

Meanwhile, as eekpil has pointed out, NCC is still contributing to charity and missions work albeit on a smaller scale.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Gwee,
The verse does prove one thing, doesn't it? The poor was there during Jesus' time, the poor is still here with us during our time now.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi miak,
NCC is presently trying to secure a relatively permanent venue to house the congregation, and its members are contributing to this cause.

There are always disasters happening all over the world. Besides Pakistan, China also has its own flood disaster. Why should NCC be obligated to contribute relief to all disasters?

The Singapore government has billions of dollars in its reserves, how much has the Singapore govt donated? Why don't you pester the govt to give more to Pakistan?

Fyi, in the past, NCC had contributed to the Sichuan Earthquake Relief as well as during the asian tsunami disaster.

gweek said...

I think you're taking the wrong lesson out of this. The point is, under usual circumstances, it is entirely right and urgent to help the poor. Jesus's own ministry gave the poor, the sick, and the oppressed special attention. He even began his time by proclaiming: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour." (Luke 4:18-19)

But jesus's own death -- God's death -- was a unique moment in human history. the use of expensive perfume signals the great value of jesus's impending sacrifice to redeem men from something far greater than earthy poverty: all OUR spiritual poverty. so far from saying that we don't have to bother about poverty since the poor is always with us, Jesus's words should really challenge us as follows: NOW that he is no longer on earth, NOW is the proper time we should help the poor as much as we can.

Stephanie said...

Hi All,

As Stanley and the Church emphasize, you do not know what is coming in this new building that Lord commissioned NCC to build.

Pastor Prince revealed in 2007, when shutting down the bible study that something greater is coming. Lord let him peeped a bit of the Glory Light that was so strong that Pastor Prince was afraid that if he saw the full opened door, the Light will be too strong for him to take it.

Yes, you don't know why Lord commissioned NCC to build. When His Glory is revealed, when you finally justified you want to be part of this, the window will be long shut.

Those who don't is like Judas, saying the money should go for the poor, the needed, but wonder how many of them actually did it themselves, Judas din.

When the Glory of Jesus is fully revealed, those who then want to be part of his plan, will be like those woman that come after the burial. Their heart is keen, but due to din sit at the foot of Jesus, they did not get the info and had come at the wrong time.

Who do you want to be? Mary or the other women that came at the wrong time? Argue all you want, when the truth is shown, you want the window space to open for you but it's gone. Those that obey will be greatly blessed, just like Mary. Who do you want to be?

Time will tells, by then, argue all you want, but it's too LATE!

Shalom!

gweek said...

Woah. So is this how New Creation get its money? Proclaim in absolute prophetic terms with no room for questions, pressure people by calling those who don't believe or agree Judases, and use Jesus's name in all manners that can push people in a desired direction? VERY scary. Who do I want to be? A thinking Christian, one who loves God also with his mind.

Kenneth said...

@Stanley:
One hub, two zones, but still one House of Mammon.

And oh, you guys are plonking so much money into this building to own it, and then you still have to pay rent to be an anchor tenant? Are you guys sure you're getting a good deal?

Liu said...

Stan

I told you right? You talk $$$$$ sure hear a lot of barkings.

You last 2 posts hardly drew any comments, but when you talk about so much $$$$$, sure cannot tahan one.

Last 2 days I brought my son go prawning, 6hrs $60, caught 13 prawns. The catch was miserable, but we had plenty of fun. Then I remembered the poor lady whom my wife gave $5 for her packet of tissue. Then I asked myself, "Why such waste? $60 can buy her 20 meals!" I should also forget about iPhone and iPad, just get a $0 2 year plan package, as long as the phone has basic functions, so that I don't waste $$$$$ can help the poor. BUT wait, I am not too sure if these noble people who speaketh so noblely owns an iPhone? Maybe they were one the first to Q for it.... Why such waste??? These money should be given to the poor ....

So bros & sisters, don't waste time explaining. Don't waste the breathe God gave you. It's like play music to the cows or sometimes we also say some people "Ivory can never grow out of a dog's mouth."

Shalom Shalom
William

Stephanie said...

Hi Gweek,

Do you know Jesus loves you so much that He went to the cross for you? He cleanse you so clean that the blood of Jesus allows Holy Spirit to lives in you forever!

It's all about His unconditional love for you and He wants you to know that no matter what, He loves you very much.

This Benjamin Generation, abba is opening my blessing arms to bless many. Seeding is my way of opening the heart of my children to receive my blessings.

I know you are in your lack and you wanted me to bless you richly. Abba could only bless you if you let the love of Jesus gets into your heart.

You have waited for many years and you are wondering where have I gone. Abba will greatly bless you if you go find out how much I have love you. Glory Glory!

Do not prosecute those that love me much and are willing to believe me and tithe to my kingdom. My Son, Jesus Christ, 2nd coming is near.

Do not miss the movement of God through your bitterness. Cast it to me and come close to me so that I could bless you out of your debts. Glory Glory! Amen Amen!

MyExceedinglyGreatReward said...
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MyExceedinglyGreatReward said...
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MyExceedinglyGreatReward said...

Gwee,

Perhaps some (rhetorical) questions will illustrate the point I want to make:

Would you consider buying a 1 carat diamond ring for your wife wasteful?

Would you consider giving a generous gift to a close friend, or a sibling, or your parents, wasteful?

Then would you consider pooling together a tidy sum of money with a large group of friends to throw a huge party and to buy an expensive present for a very very special someone, who honestly means everything to you (and who loves you more than you can imagine), wasteful? And do you think that special someone upon receiving the love gifts would scold and accuse everyone for doing something so stupid and wasteful for him? Or would he rejoice in accepting as they rejoice in giving? Would you?

I think you get the point.

All these giving are expressions of love from real people to real people.

They aren't self-centred, nor misguided nor greedy, nor stupid, nor wasteful acts. To outsiders who do not love and therefore not understand, it might seem so, but it's still not. It's wrong to imply that someone is being wasteful for lavishing gifts on someone they honestly love, be it a stranger, a good friend, a parent, a brother or sister, or Jesus.

gweek said...

MyExceedinglyGreatReward:

Nice move turning this into a us-them, insider-outsider issue! It appears that your assumption is similar to Stephanie's: ie. if one is from New Creation, one MUST agree with this mega-money-raising project.

Stephanie goes to the extent of saying that, if one doesn't agree, one is a Judas. For you, if one gives much, one is like a loving husband. Together, you make a stick-and-carrot argument. Stephanie doesn't allow for someone to disagree and yet be a faithful disciple of Jesus. You don't allow for someone to NOT buy diamonds and still be a good husband.

Meanwhile, Joseph Prince was supposed to have said it didn't matter if someone wouldn't give. Yet, the ground sentiments seem rather to be pushing a quasi-dogmatic point. So which is it? It sounds like, while your Big Man may say one thing, there is much internal pressuring and arm-twisting going around. Perhaps someone or some agency other than an auditor should look into this and see how wide, and high up, this goes.

Stephanie said...

Hi Gweek,

It is not about man.

It is the love of the Father God and Lord Jesus. When you realised how good He is to you, like I realised how good He is to me. My heart totally opened to Him.

So far, Daddy God has been taking good care of me and make sure I walk into victorious life no matter what situation I faced.

With such a loving God, how not to reciprocate His love for me?

It is when I know I receive much, I can return to Him what He had blessed me.

The sound of this tithing speaks for itself. We all in NCC received much from His Great Love, not just spiritual love, but monetary and emotional love, all areas of love.

Therefore, we can afford to tithe to Him what He prospers us for His purpose. It's not about us, but about Him who prospers us. Glory Glory! Amen Amen!

Liu said...

Gweek

u kept talking about auditing, someone should look into this, someone should look into that, AS IF your life is fully accounted for?

I BET my last $ (wait, think I better give to church than WASTE my last $) that your wife (if you are married) or your teachers or your pastor or your cell group leader or your friends or your seniors or your mum (surely have) must have repeated umpteem times to you since you are a kid, "gweek, you should look into this, you should look into that. why like this huh? someone (your boss, your wife, you doctors) should look into this & that, why you so like that huh?"

Wah, waste breathe man. Should save my breathe, why such waste.

Buay tahan, (see i not noble, that's y i need Jesus, else xiao liao u know, especially with people like you.)
William

Sevene said...

Gweek

when you see your neighbour buy new car, will you ask him why he spend so much money on the car?? If you see him giving money to his wife, do you ask him why he give so much money to his wife...??would you ever question your neighbour/stranger about the way they handle their money??

Similiarly I don't understand why some people are questioning what we wanna do with our own money...

For people like that I only have one word for them
>>> busybody

punggol prawning said...
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MyExceedinglyGreatReward said...
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lipkee said...

@kenneth,

It is your prerogative to call the place a house of mammon.

As for me and my household, we choose to call it an iconic building that Singaporeans can be proud of, a top-notch facility for civic and cultural events, a beautiful venue where God's people will congregate to glorify Jesus.

By the way, Rock Productions is fully owned by NCC. So, contrary to what you think, it is not a bad deal for NCC to pay rent to Rock Productions. Whatever Rock Productions earns, after deducting off the relevant taxes, will flow back to NCC.

Peace. :)

MyExceedinglyGreatReward said...

Come on Gwee. I have absolutely zero interest in making this into an "us-them" argument or some other retarded agenda as you claim.

All I've implied is that accusing people of wasting money on gifts for their loved ones is wrong. After all, how can an "outsider" (or third-party if that sounds better to you) judge the worth? Are you (or me) the giver?

You don't seem to understand how people giving to the one-north project can be an expression of love for Jesus so I'm trying to illustrate this for you. Now there might be some that give with wrong motives but we're not discussing them.

And of course even if we don't splurge on expensive gifts for the wife or girlfriend or friends or relatives, it's obviously not proof that we love them any less for that matter. (I'm suppose I'm kind of like that actually.) That's common sense. And there are many other ways to express affection as well. So please don't say that I'm accusing anyone, the least being myself, of not being a good husband or wife or friend or whatever if they don't give expensive gifts. That's just nonsense. But it's still nice to be able to do these things for your loved ones...

To borrow someone else's words: You don't have to but you get to.

Hope this strikes a chord.

Sevene said...

Actually nobody cares abt how much you give.. Nobody to account to.. Nobody check.. Nobody sees if u give or how much you give.. All of us who gave, gave out of our hearts to God.. It's between you and God thing..
I don't know about you gweek.. Maybe you don't tithe, it's okay not to tithe if you don't have a revelation. Similarly don't give if u don't have a revelation.

As for us, a church Venue that is big enough to hold all of us..where we ncc goers can gather and feed on the word is important.. Maybe u don't go to chuch tts why u consider
this a waste.. This will be a place where Jesus people can come and worship Him and where many prebeliever wil come to know Jesus!!

What is most important to you?

allysark said...

i serve as an usher in NCC and i can assure you that the church does not pressure it's members to give. last sunday, we (the ushers) were specificcally told NOT to give out the special "miracle seed" envelopes to congregation throughout the service as we do not want anyone to feel pressured to give. if anyone wants it they'll have to either ask for it from the ushers or take them off the counter themselves.

Stephanie said...

Oh I see, no wonder I saw the usher holding on to the Miracle Seed envelops but not giving out. :P

Sze Zeng said...

Hi allysark,

I applaud NCC's strict practice of not pressuring the congregation to give. Keep that out :)

gweek said...

And yet.

Stephanie said...

Hi Gweek,

Jesus loves you, walk closely to him and let Him bless you and you will understand why we willingly and gladly tithe to Abba Father new kingdom.

No point look from outside and wonder..get to know Jesus and receive His Love and you will discover what a wonderful God He is.

Blessed!

Josephine said...

Hi Stanley,

This is some 5 years late, but just want to say "Thanks" for your post which very much put the whole thing into perspective.

Looking forward to more updates.

Blessings.