Volume. XXI, No. 30
Sunday, 21 January 2007

From the pastors heart: Want-more Culture

Mike Moffatf defines money as “a good that acts as a medium of exchange in transactions. Classically it is said that money acts as a unit of account, a store of value, and a medium of exchange. Most authors find that the first two are nonessential properties that follow from the third. In fact, other goods are often better than money at being intertemporal stores of value, since most monies degrade in value over time through inflation or the overthrow of governments.So money isn't just pieces of paper. It's a medium of exchange that facilitates trade. It is the thing that gives us potential access to what we want.  Therefore, the love of money is not just a love of possessions but reflections of our values. It means that the ways of accumulating and spending our wealth show our true values. It must be what Jesus meant when He said in Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 
According to statistics, more Australians are building bigger homes today than they used to. The average size of new houses in the 1950s was only half the size of new houses today. More and more people are building houses they cannot afford. Thus, the average mortgage for new homebuyers has gone up dramatically, somewhere close to 70 percent in recent years. It is more than amusing to know that the average number of people in each household has been shrinking. Bigger homes and more spaces mean more furniture and home decorations. Even redundant rooms have to be filled with furniture, carpets, and curtains. It all requires more income and more work. During the 1960s and 1970s, futurists predicted that people would work less and enjoy more leisure through economic growth and technological improvement. I wonder how many of us can agree to such predictions today. What economists and futurists failed to see was that no matter how much money people have, they feel they need more. 
Whenever I have to buy computers, I am in a dilemma. Do I want high speed? Yes. Do I want this and that function in my computer? Yes. However, what I should ask is whether I need them. Honestly speaking, I am not sure how much I can use my computers. It may be less than 10 percent of the capabilities of my computers. Then same thing happens when we buy coffee makers, refrigerators, kitchen stoves, barbeque grills, or TVs. We are willing to pay a lot of more money for a machine, which has only marginally better performance. Quite often, higher prices are interpreted as much higher quality, and by getting more expensive machines customers feel that they have a higher social status. 
Many of advertisers use techniques that make us feel deprived. They make us feel vulnerable and discontent in some ways. They make us feel bad so that we want to get their products in order to feel good. Whenever I read a line that says something like “Don’t like your body? But this weight loss plan,” I feel tempted to do something to follow that advice. I could have gone out to walk, run, or do some exercises, but instead I like to go to that weight loss plan. In the same manner, the advertisers make us feel deprived or discontent. Watch carefully how cosmetics are advertised. Sometimes I feel that they are forcing us to think that only the youthful looks matter. Therefore, having wrinkles is not good. If facial skin is not smooth enough like some of those Hollywood stars, we feel that we are terribly inferior. The advertisers make us complain about the size of our homes, appliances, bath tubs, or about curtain materials and cars.
Our generation has more than any other generations. All we hear from advertisements tell us that we will be happier if we have more. But, interestingly, in this affluent society, we find more people who are depressed and suffer with anxieties. Quite surprisingly, even children influence their parents for buying things. One data shows that 67 percent of parents’ car purchases are influenced by their children. The marketers are targeting children. Nancy Shalek said, “Advertising at its best is making people feel that, without their product, you’re a loser. Kids are very sensitive to that. If you tell them to buy something, they are resistant. But if you tell them they’ll be a dork if they don’t, you’ve got their attention. You open up emotional vulnerabilities, and its easy to do with kids because they’re the most vulnerable” (cited in G. Ruskin, “Why They Whine: How Corporations Prey on Our children,” Mothering, issue 97, 1999, 42). 
Clive Hamilton and Richard Dennis said, “Sixty-two percent of Australians believe they cannot afford to buy everything they really need . . . When we consider that Australia is one of the world’s richest countries . . . it is remarkable that so many people feel their incomes are inadequate. It is even more remarkable that almost half (46 percent) of the richest 20 percent of households in Australia-the richest people in one of the world’s richest countries-say that they cannot afford to buy everything they really need” (Affluenza, 59). However, “when we plot measures of life satisfaction against income levels, life satisfaction increases with GDP per person up to about US$10000 and then flattens out. Similarly, in rich countries increases in material standards of living are not associated with increases in life satisfaction” (Ibid., 64).
The reason that we are working more today than before and that we are trying to become rich is to get some security in life. We do not want to live under financial pressures and stresses. We do not want to have constant worries, anxieties, and burdens about money. Thus, we choose to work more for more income. Over the years, I believe most of us (if not all of us) have experienced the growth of income. Then, my question is whether we are less preoccupied with money today than before. Or if we are more preoccupied with money. 
The love of money is the root of all evils. As long as we are the lovers of money, we cannot walk in the Spirit. It is simply because we cannot serve God and mammon together. Then, how can we enjoy the blessings of God, while we are faithful to Him? 1 Corinthians 10:31 must be a good guideline: Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” Earn the money in such a way that we may glorify the Lord. We should not take unrighteous income. At the same time, use the money in God honoring ways. For example, 1 John 3:17 says, “But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” Luke 8:3, “And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.” Galatians 6:6, “Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” Philippians 4:15, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.” May the Lord bless us richly and give us wisdom to know how to use His blessing for His glory!
Your Pastor

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Shorter Catechism Question 80: What is required in the tenth commandment? The tenth commandment requireth full contentment with our own condition, with a right and charitable frame of spirit toward our neighbour, and all that is his.
Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev David Koo, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros S Dhamarlingam, Makoto Kobayashi, Raphael Ng’s father, & Winston Selvanayagam; Sisters Sheila George, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Aranka Rejtoe (Hampstead), Chrisanthi Selvanayagam, Juanita Tong, Susan Veradi, & Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law; Auntie Oei & others in affliction. "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).
Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions - FEBC graduates serving the LORD in villages; Bro Paul Sokha Sun & Ministry (Battambang); b) Laos Missions - Bro S Dhamarlingam; c) Pastors & believers in India & Pakistan; Ps Ki - Ministry in India; d) Sketch n’ Tell Ministry - Bro H S Lim; e) Journey Mercies - Ps Ki; Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo & family, Auntie Oei (Adl); Elder Michael & Sis Alice Lee & family (Kuching/S’pore); Bros Paul Chung (Adl), Tae Yul Lee & family (Adl/Syd); John Wong (Adl/HK); Sis Gillian Ong (Adl); & others travelling during the summer vacation; f) God’s guidance - those in authority in Australia; g) Hopefuls & worshippers overseas & interstate; h) Needs - of our church.
Praise and Thank God for – a) AFG Seminar; BSAG, Joy & Maranatha Neighbourhood Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; YAF Prayer & Bible Study; b) Journey mercies - Ps Ki (S’pore/Kerala); Dn David & Sis Giok Yeo & family, Auntie Oei (Perth);Bros Paul Chung (Korea) & John Wong (Adl/HK); Sisters Mariam Atijatuporn (Udon Thani), Amanda Fu (Adl), Samantha Foo (Auckland), Josephine Lee (HK), Lydia Tan & family (Thailand); & all those travelling during the summer vacation; c) Much needed rain - over last few days; d) Street Evangelism in Singapore by YAFers from BPCWA, Ebenezer & Hope B-P Churches yesterday afternoon.
Deepest sympathy & God’s comfort - Bro Terence & Sis Evelyn Lee on the home-going of their brother-in-law.
Congratulations & God’s blessings - Bro Tae Yul Lee & his wife (Korea) on their wedding yesterday.
Flowers’ Roster: Still many spaces to be filled. Please serve the LORD by adding your names on the roster.



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