Thursday, May 21, 2009

SP and BOD divides Church further – Part 3


Issue 12 : BOD Minutes of Meetings & Missions Dept Minutes
Concerns Raiseda) The current practice in CC allows for tampering and is a ‘civil offence’.
b) SP has tampered with the minutes.
c) These minutes are deliberately made to appear unanimous as objections and abstentions are not recorded.
Opinions Formed
a) Main CC accounts & Missions accounts data are shredded immediately after each BOD meeting.
b) All minutes are removed after the BOD/MC meeting, locked up and then shredded after a year.
c) Deacons have no access to these minutes.
d) Abstentions & objections are deliberately not recorded in the minutes as per the Robert’s rules.
e) Deacon Bernadette informed the BOD that the minutes written by her were altered without her knowledge.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)a) Confidential handouts (bearing in mind the sometimes sensitive nature of church/gospel work) are collected and shredded so that no confidential docs are left lying around and all Deacons are aware of this.
b) Handouts which are not confidential in nature are not shredded.
c) The Deacons themselves shred (a) and Dr Lum himself has done so many times.
d) The Deacons’ personal notes made on separate books are taken back by them.
e) Each Deacon’s minutes are destroyed after a year.
f) The official copy signed off by the Secretary is kept in the Church office. The Deacon can access these any time.
g) The initialing of every page including attachments of the official minutes by the Secretary were undertaken some years ago.
h) Bernadette denies Dr Lum’s allegation about minutes being altered without her knowledge and the current Deacons do not recall her having made such an allegation.
i) Lawrence Mak’s statement April 2009.
“Minutes of the previous meeting are always (sic) out to the deacons prior to the next meeting with ample time for review. Each deacon will review the minutes prior to the next meeting and during the meeting correction, if any, will be agreed by consensus of the BOD before being minuted by the secretary. I hope this will clear the air about the process and integrity of the BOD meeting minutes.”
j) Unanimous Decisions.1) Issues are fully debated if there are any differing opinions.
2) Decisions made by the BOD are on a consensus basis.
3) Most decisions require either a simple or a two-thirds majority of the Deacons present.
4) Unanimity is only required for one specific item concerning membership.
k) Missions Minutes.1) A copy of the past Missions Minutes are given to each Committee member at least 1 week before the next meeting.
2) These Minutes are viewed and confirmed at the next meeting.
3) These Minutes are verified and signed by the Missions Director and Missions Secretary.
4) The official minutes are kept in the Missions Department office and the Missions Director and committee members have access to these at any time.
5) Each MC member has their respective file copy which is kept in the Missions Department office and shredded after 1 year.

CT CommentsWe reiterate below what Dr Lum actually said followed by our remarks in italics:
a) Dr Lum: Board minutes are taken back after each meeting and none of the deacons are allowed to keep the minutes. The BOD confirms this fact.b) Dr Lum: The minutes are locked up by the church and destroyed (shredded) after one year. The BOD confirms this fact.c) Dr Lum: Deacons have no access to their own copy of the minutes after one year. True because it had been destroyed after one year.d) Dr Lum: The Secretary mentioned at one instance that the minutes appeared to have been altered and SP admitted that he had altered it. The Secretary denies this allegation so it is Dr Lum’s word against her word. SP has kept silent.e) Dr Lum: The deacons can express their opinions but SP’s views generally supercedes those of the deacons. The BOD did not confirm if this statement about SP is true or false. They side-step the issue by repeating what Dr Lum said, which is that they are free to express their opinions.f) Dr Lum: Abstentions and objections to certain proposals are not recorded so it appears that the board decisions are unanimous.
The BOD did not clarify if this allegation is true or false. But they made seemingly contradictory statements. They said “Decisions made by the BOD are on a consensus basis.” And in the same breath, they said “Most decisions require either a simple or a two-thirds majority of the Deacons present.”

Issue 12a : Senior Pastor’s views supersede the BOD’s – Issue regarding Freemason.
Concern Raiseda) SP’s views generally supersede those of the BOD.
Opinions Formed
a) Therefore the Deacons usually keep silent during BOD meeting.
b) When Dr Lum queried about the CCC Architect being a Freemason and distribute material thereto, SP was furious and none of the then Deacons except Lawrence Mak spoke up.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)a) The BOD has total freedom to express their views in the BOD meetings.
b) Decisions in the BOD are made based on the consensus of the Deacons present.
c) An agenda for the BOD meeting is distributed at least 1 week ahead of time to enable the Deacons to prepare.
d) Deacons can add items to the agenda by giving prior notice.
e) Deacons are NOT allowed to introduce new items on the day of the meeting itself as it would be disruptive and unfair to the rest at the meeting.
f) Dr Lum raised a new item at the meeting and distributed material in relation to the topic.
g) The Chairman of the BOD reminded Dr Lum of the order of BOD meetings.
h) All Deacons’ ideas are taken into consideration and discussed at the BOD meeting.
Sometimes the final decision made on these ideas bear no resemblance at all to the original idea put forward as it has been modified, re-shaped etc until it becomes one that the BOD feels is the best one to adopt for Calvary Church.

CT Comments
As mentioned earlier, Dr Lum had said that the deacons can express their opinions but SP’s views generally supercedes those of the deacons. The BOD again did not confirm if this allegation about SP is true or false but they reiterated that decisions made by the BOD are on a consensus basis. They went on to explain that Dr Lum’s raising of the Ken Yeang freemason issue vis-à-vis the Calvary Convention Centre (CCC) at a Board Meeting was rejected because it was not on the Agenda and no prior notice was given by Dr Lum to discuss the matter. This sounds similar to the BOD’s constant rejection of concerned members’ Proposed Resolutions put forward for the last 2 EGMs (despite sufficient prior notice given). Todate, there also has been no response on the 7 Resolutions submitted by concerned members for the forthcoming AGM on 19 June.

Issue 13 : Alliance Bank Loan for CCC
Concern RaisedThe legality of the BOD’s decision to take the loan.
Opinions Formed
CC’s members must approve of the loan since CC’s assets legally belong to the members.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)a) In the AGM held on 21 March 2003, the membership gave its approval to ratify the amendment to Article IV (4) of the By-Laws to read as follows:
‘purchase of any immovable property requires the specific approval (a simple majority vote) of the members at a General Meeting. The Board of Deacons may borrow money to finance the purchase or development of immovable property of the Church on such terms as it deems expedient. The Board of Deacons may also lease-out or mortgage any immovable property if the Church as it deems expedient’.
b) The purchase of the land for CC was presented to the church members for approval at an EGM on 24 January 2003.
c) A RM10 million term loan was obtained from Alliance Bank to part finance the purchase of the land. In the loan agreement, Alliance Bank asked for a first right of refusal for any future financing that may be required for the construction phase.
d) As there was an anticipated shortfall in the finances for the construction, an application to Alliance Bank was made for a bridging finance for the construction of the CCC.
e) Alliance Bank approved a bridging finance of RM35 million. This will be in 2 tranches comprising of a term loan and an overdraft.
f) The BOD had ensured that CC has the cashflow to sustain paying the instalments for the RM35 million loan.

CT Comments
There is no doubt that the BOD is empowered to borrow money to fund the construction of the CCC. Dr Lum did not say that it was illegal to borrow. His contention was that since all church assets belong to the members, the BOD must not act independently on the decision to take the loan from the bank as the decision is crucial and has legal implications. His opinion is that the BOD should seek the approval of the congregation for the loan.

We are unable to confirm but it is believed that the RM35 million loan from the bank is secured by the CCC land as well as certain properties in DH where our main church is located. If this is true, then there is a real risk that if the church is unable to service the loan, the bank can and will foreclose on our DH properties to recover their money. This will be the easiest route for the bank as attempting to sell the CCC will not be easy or impossible, if it is uncompleted. If such an event occurs, we could lose everything. Every Calvarite should be concerned about this. With the dwindling number of worshippers and inadvertently, the amount of offerings, the Church will be hard pressed to service the loan.

Another matter to think about is that the RM35 million loan plus our existing cash in hand is insufficient to complete the building of CCC which means that we may end up with an abandoned project and a host of legal suits.

Issue 14 : Rule XIV (Interpretation of Rules and By-Laws) of Calvary Church Constitution

Concerns Raised
a) That the powers vested in the BOD are absolute.
b) What was the original intention of SP and BOD in having this provision?
Opinions Formeda) Rule XIV of CC’s Constitution must be revoked with immediate effect because it excludes the members from ‘Church Governance’ and this is suspect and theologically imbalanced.
b) Any rule that fails to incorporate the BODY OF CHRST (the CHURCH MEMBERS) in the decisions of the Church is suspect and NOT OF GOD. Theologically, the BODY OF CHRIST MINISTRY is of utmost significance.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a) The CC Constitution is in the AOG format and therefore is not unique to only CC.
b) The CC Constitution has been in existence for so many years. It would not be right to demand for any Rule for that matter to be unilaterally revoked without a proper due diligence been carried out.
c) Dr Lum has only brought up this issue in his resignation letter and never at any of the BOD meetings.

CT Comments
The BOD’s justification that our Constitution is in line with AG’s format and has been in existence for many years is just a lame excuse. We need to change with the times and if there are any parts of the Constitution which is autocratic or no longer relevant, it ought to be brought to the members at a general meeting to be amended. This particular section has been used by the BOD to arbitrary reject the Resolutions submitted by concerned members for the last 2 EGMs. In both instances, it was a clear abuse of power by the BOD using this section. This Rule XIV must be revoked or at least amended to prevent abuse by the BOD.

Issue 15 : Nomination Committee (NC)

Concerns Raised

a) That the nomination process is not independent.
b) SP often interferes with the nomination process.
c) SP imposes his choice upon the Nomination Committee members.
d) The propriety of Edward Rajasingam’s appointment as Deacon.
Opinions Formed
a) SP often interferes with the nomination process.
b) SP imposes his choices upon the NC members but makes it look like the NC made their own choices.
c) The propriety of current deacon, Edward Rajasingam’s and past deacon Katherine Lee’s nomination.
d) Edward ought to therefore resign.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a) The existing nomination process is stringent and has many safeguards – refer to Flow Chart for the steps.
b) SP himself is bound by these safeguards and adheres to the same.
c) The nomination documents on Edward and Katherine show Dr Lum’s concerns to be baseless.

CT CommentsThe BOD’s presentation of the nomination process and the flow chart does not negate the fact that SP as the chairman has a strong influence on the short-listing of candidates for deaconship.
Many who have served on the nomination committee can vouch that SP arbitrarily disqualifies some of the nominees based on his “personal” knowledge of those nominees. He will say things like “This person has personal problems (or similar remarks) so he is not suitable”. He does not provide any evidence or any basis for his “personal” knowledge.

We do not have any knowledge about Katherine’s nomination or “non-nomination” but we understand that Edward was initially not nominated by any of the nomination committee members before he first became a deacon. His name was suggested by SP and out of respect or courtesy, the committee then accepted Edward as a candidate. Of course, it naturally follows that the committee members’ signatures of endorsement of Edward will then be on the nomination forms. Bro Hong Meng, who sat on the nomination committee for that particular year, will be able to testify to that. If you have read the comments in earlier blogs, you would have also read testimonies of those who have served on the nomination committees and witnessed the interference of SP in the nomination process.

Issue 16 : Appointment of Sr. Pastor
Concern Raised
a) Is Prince Guneratnam’s position as SP of CC valid?
b) Has Rule XI of the CC been contravened?
Opinions Formed
a) Rule XI of the CC has been contravened since there has been no ratification of his re-appointment.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a) Prince Guneratnam was appointed as SP of CC in 1972, even before the Constitution was drawn up.
b) The position of the SP can only fall vacant in specific circumstances (refer to Rule XI (1).
c) The removal of the SP under the CC is strictly governed by the provisions of the Constitution.
- Resignation
- Not re-elected by members if presented for re-election at the request of the BOD.
- Removal or disqualification.
d) As the staff grew, a handbook was necessary c.1992.
e) The retirement age of 60 applies to Pastors meaning associate Pastors.
f) SP does not automatically retire at 60, as evinced by a BOD resolution of 2/10/04 clarifying that the CC’s staff handbook does not apply to the positions of Senior Pastor and Sister Petrina.

CT CommentsThe BOD is right that under the Constitution which was established during SP’s tenure, that unless SP resigns or dies, he can only be removed or disqualified under certain circumstances and with a two-thirds majority vote of the Voting members present at a General Meeting convened for that purpose. SP has made it such that it is virtually impossible to remove him. This is the biggest flaw in our Constitution and this needs to be reviewed.

The BOD further clarified that the retirement age of 60 stated in the Staff Handbook does not apply to SP and his wife (apparently as evinced by a BOD resolution in 2004) but applies only to Pastors meaning associate Pastors. There is nowhere in the Handbook that says ‘Pastors’ mean ‘associate Pastors’.

In Section 2: Staff Classification, it is clear that Senior Pastor is the head (and obviously part) of the pastoral and ministerial team which comprises Senior Associate Pastors, Associate Pastors, Assistant Pastors and Ministerial Staff.

In Section 18: Sabbatical Leave, it is clearly stated that Senior Pastor is entitled to 9 months Sabbatical leave for every 6 years of service. Why would the Staff Handbook specify benefits for the Senior Pastor if he is not governed by the Handbook?
How can the BOD argue that SP and his wife are not subject to the Staff Handbook but at the same time, they enjoy the benefits provided therein like Sabbatical leave, annual leave, 13th month stipend etc?

On another note, we cannot accept that SP and his wife who are both past the retirement age of 60, can still insist on staying on and earn the same remuneration (perhaps more?) when they require another long serving church ministerial staff, who wanted to work past her retirement age, to accept a much reduced salary as a condition to continue working. Thankfully, that staff was smart enough to leave and today, she is happily working for another Christian organization.

Issue 17 : Sr. Pastor’s Retirement

Concern Raised
The welfare of the CC congregation.
Opinions Formed
a) SP & BOD must resign en bloc.
b) The CC leadership is responsible for the state that CC is in now.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a) The BOD’s position is that SP did not take any money from the Church that should compel him to return the same and this evidenced by the various independent reports – lawyer, forensic accountant and the internal auditors.
b) The Associate & Assistants Pastors as well as the entire BOD unwaveringly stand by SP.
c) It is the members’ right to vote the BOD and not an individual’s call for the entire BOD to resign.

CT Comments
We cannot comment and do not know if SP took any money from the Church but it has been proven that SP had caused or allowed RM1.9 million to be transferred from the Church Missions Fund to his personal ministry, CIM between 2002 and 2007 without the knowledge of the members. After much pressure from the concerned members and closure of CIM’s bank account following its de-registration by NECF, SP was ‘compelled’ to return the balance RM1.1 million back to Church.

On the call by Dr Lum for the BOD to resign, the BOD must accept that it is not just an individual’s call for the entire BOD to resign. It is the call of many members for the entire BOD to resign.

CT's Concluding Statement.

Looks like we have a God who still sits on the throne above every single person and is above every situation. While the pastors & BOD are now busy meeting with members in small groups behind closed doors, our God Almighty declares His Sovereignty over ALL right out in the open for all to see and be amazed and encouraged. While the pastors & BOD are spending so much time speaking for so many hours almost nightly, trying to justify the actions of the one man they so pledge to be loyal to, our Everlasting God effortlessly, paints a single Rainbow across the sky, to declare His magnificence and power over all.

We thank God for this testimony we received which we now include here as the Conclusion to the 3 part report of the special small group meetings which the church leadership has and is still planning to conduct till the coming AGM.

Karen’s Testimony
In the midst of all these confusion, with no one really having the true picture of what is happening in Calvary Church, the Church members are seemingly plunged into a deep valley. What more with members being called up for these “small group meetings” to listen and are expected to absorb all the explanations in 3 hours and walk out with their doubts all cleared up.

The TTG brothers and sisters met last night (Tuesday) for a time of discussion on the next course of action and to pray for God’s leading and direction. For once, the group
was faced with confusion. We were confused not because we have mixed up facts but were confused because we cannot understand the minds of our BOD. On one hand, they quote the Church Constitution to support their actions yet on the other hand, they seem to be blatantly ignoring the Members’ Constitutional rights. I believe CT will elaborate more on this later.

We left last night’s meeting with a heavy heart and we were encouraged to seek the Lord ourselves for specific directions as to the next course of action for the coming AGM. We have done what we possibly can do as a group and we have tried to initiate meetings with the BOD for an amicable closure to this whole saga but we have not made any head-way with our Church leadership. So the question we have in mind now is, “What else can we do?”

Our God is really GOOD. When we do not know what to do, we go home, have a good night’s sleep and wait for God to show the way. I did not expect an answer so soon from God. There’s a saying, “A picture speaks a thousand words” and once again, our God painted His answer in a beautiful rainbow in the sky.

When we are caught in a “valley” situation, God sends a rainbow to remind us that HIS PROMISES are there in the “valley” for us.

This morning (Wed) while driving my children to school, I had the privilege of seeing the rainbow from the NKVE Toll gate right to the Klang / Ipoh split road. My personal interpretation of this is that God is telling us, He was with us from the start and He will guide us and show us the way, even when we come to a junction and are faced with a decision to turn left or turn right. In times like this, we need to be still and know that He is God and follow His Word – The Bible which contains all His Promises.

May you after reading this be blessed and encouraged by God and then move on to stand on His Promises.

Latest testimony added on 30 May 2009.
A sister while driving home after work was pondering over the rainbow photos and the Lord impressed on her to read the following Bible verses. She shared that God reminded her not to look for answers from "the left or right," which will lead us somewhere but may not be where God want us to be. Instead we are to look to the rainbow which is representative of God's promises, which will lead us to where God wants us to be. She shared this with us and after reading her testimony, we were very blessed by it and we hope that you too will be blessed and encouraged by the following Bible verses. (Read her e-mail to us in the Comments below posted by Calvary Today @ May 30, 2009 9:19 AM, the 47th Comment)

Proverbs 4:20-27 (The Message)"Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice. Keep my message in plain view at all times. Concentrate! Learn it by heart! Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they're bursting with health.

Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that's where life starts. Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you.

Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust."
Deuteronomy 5:32-33 (NIV)“So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.”
Joshua 1:7 (NIV)“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.”

Monday, May 11, 2009

SP and BOD Divides Church Further – Part I and 2

It is really baffling why our Board of Deacons (BOD) and Senior Pastor (SP) are bent on causing further confusion and division in our embattled church.

As a few readers have pointed out, Calvary is behaving more like a political party than a church, having “ceramahs” for selected members to win votes for the forthcoming AGM.

Since last Thursday, the BOD and pastors have called Life Group leaders and other Ministries’ leaders to DH for small group briefings. Each group is said to be not more than 20 people. The presenters/speakers are the pastors, deacons and selected leaders.

There is only 1 agenda and that is to share and explain the issues mentioned by Dr Lum in his private resignation letter to SP. The said letter of resignation as a deacon was written by Dr Lum to SP, with copies extended to the deacons. Most of the issues in the said resignation letter (as revealed now by the deacons and pastors) are the same as the ones published in the CT interview with Dr Lum (read “Interview with Dr Lum Part 1 and II” found in Blog Archive, December 2008). However, the deacons and pastors at last Thursday and Saturday briefings have also brought out a few other issues which were contained in Dr Lum’s letter but not highlighted in the CT interview.

Coming to the briefings, the format of the presentation is as follows. 3 pre-selected individuals will each present a batch of issues raised by Dr Lum. He/She will then elaborate on the “Concerns Raised” and “Opinions Formed” in respect of each of the issues and then explain the “Church Perspective” on those issues.

The “Opinions Formed” are opinions which Dr Lum’s statements had presumably caused to be raised. In other words, when you read Dr Lum’s statements, these are the opinions you will form. This is controversial because Dr Lum, in highlighting the issues may not necessarily have intended to imply anything or create any opinion other than to voice his concerns. As you read the later part of this post, you will be able to put this in perspective.

The “Church Perspective” is basically the BOD’s explanation and justification of the issues raised. A couple of the justification or explanation actually contradict the findings of the auditors, Bro Tam and Bro Chow which were presented to members at the last EGM on 4th April 2009.

At these small group briefings, the pastors and deacons also emphasized more than once that they are fully standing behind SP and that they have full trust in his leadership.

Looking at the readers’ comments coming in to CT, there appears to be some confusion as to who were called and who will be called. Although sources have informed us that only Life Group leaders and other Ministries’ leaders are called to attend these briefings, some members believe that voting members are also being invited. Adding to the confusion, at least 1 member has commented that his wife was invited but he was left out. The latest news is that members are now being called to attend the briefings over the next few days.

From the above and if you read on, we can clearly see that the BOD and SP are still at their old game of twisting facts and side-stepping the real issues. After the theatrical act of SP seeking forgiveness IF he has done wrong or hurt anyone at the Putra Stadium, we thought that, he and the BOD would have become wiser and be truly humble, loving and open. Apparently, they have not changed but instead are more adamant on having things done their way.

The only concrete change that we have noticed is that SP has re-designated himself as Senior Executive Pastor. This was announced in the latest Calvary News. Time and again, SP has insisted that we are a church and therefore, we should not follow the world system and now he changes his title to follow the world. Just what is wrong with a simple “Senior Pastor” title? We hope that his self re-designation does not come with a salary raise. It will be a scandal then. (For consistency and to avoid confusion, we will continue to use the acronym “SP”)

Back to the matter at hand, it was so clear at the recent EGM that if Dr Lum’s issues were to be discussed, the members would want him to be present to tell his side of the story. Ignoring that, the BOD and pastors have now instead, organized these small group briefings to give their own explanation of the issues without any opportunity for Dr Lum to defend himself. This is obviously the BOD and SP’s desperate attempt to “divide and conquer” the hearts and minds of the members. Such an action will only cause more confusion and even more disunity in the Church.

The whole exercise is pure propaganda with the sole aim to win the votes of the leaders and members at the coming AGM on 19 June. But we believe the members are now wiser and will not be fooled anymore.

For the benefit of those who are not invited and may not be invited for the briefings, we set out below a summary of the briefing notes and what was presented to the attendees.

Please note that the Concern Raised, Opinions Formed and Church Perspective are taken almost word for word from the briefing notes, presentation by the various Church leaders and reconfirmed by us listening to the audio recordings of a few sessions.


Issue 1 : Witch Hunting and Pulpit Bashing
1a. Witch Hunting (Issue not raised by Dr Lum in CT interview)

Concern Raised
SP was vindictive and ordered that leaders supporting the TTG meetings be removed from serving in the church immediately after the AGM.
Opinions Formed
a. SP is revengeful, merciless and has no love.
b. The Pastors who carried out the witch-hunt were following orders from SP.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a. The church conducts an annual review of leaders including communion servers.
b. Pursuant to the review which ended the week after the 2008 AGM in March, some leaders were not reappointed and interpreted it as a punitive action.
c. In previous years, the annual reviews were done at the end of each year but however, in 2008, the reviews were completed only after the AGM.
d. It was a matter of bad timing and misunderstood as a witch-hunt.
e. The pastors also acted on their own accord.

CT Comments
Although the church may argue that it was bad timing and not a witch-hunt, the fact remains that out of the 19 leaders who were relieved of their duties, 12 were known TTG core members and supporters. A few of the remaining 7 stood up to vote for transparency at the AGM which probably led to their sacking. The church claims that a few were relieved because they wanted to step down but no one has been able to verify this. As to the statement that the pastors acted on their own accord, any Calvarite who has been long enough in our church can tell you that none of our pastors would dare to act on their own accord. SP’s dictatorial leadership style is well known among the members and staff alike.

1b. Pulpit bashing

Concern Raised
SP’s conduct while preaching is un-Christian like, injecting personal remarks to hurt and divide the congregation.
Opinions Formed
SP misused the pulpit to rebuke TTG supporters, inciting hatred and disunity in church and preach partial truth teachings.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a. The pulpit ministry is always conducted with reverence and respect. There is clear understanding that is it not be used to hit out at anyone or to promote any personal causes.
b. The understanding of sermons preached and any remarks made from the pulpit must take into account the content, intent and context of the entire message.
c. Each of the expression used were made with the intent of promoting spiritual growth of the whole congregation.
d. Pas Dag Mills has preached the same message at many places (are you a snake or a sheep?)
e. Calvary do not tell visiting speakers what to preach. Each speaker prepares their own sermon and message independently.
f. Visiting Pas Peter Mortlock was never briefed about the situation in church during his visit. (take another bus).
Pastoral Response
The Bible clearly promotes wholesomeness and Christ-likeness and the manner it does so includes loving rebuke and correction when needed.

CT Comments
The church perspective is persuasive but we cannot fathom how asking members to “jump into the lake” or “take another bus (meaning to leave Calvary and join another church)” can promote spiritual growth in the church. If our pastors and SP think these caustic remarks are “loving rebuke”, then we better send them all back to Bible College. For our 2 pastors who have not gone through formal bible school training, it will be a good start for them.

Issue 2 : Gym Fees

Concern Raised
The concerns are that it was an abuse of privileges and breach of trust and that SP lied to the BOD about the club membership as a promise to him.
Opinions Formed
a. SP splurges on fitness membership using the church’s money without proper authorization.
b. SP lied that this has been promised to him.
c. None of the deacons can verify that an approval was given.
d. BOD pays RM15,000-00 but cannot pay more than RM250.00 for Adeline Koh.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a. SP did not lie about the approval.
b. On Nov 23, 1994, in lieu of a stipend increase, the BOD approved a sum of RM13,000-00 for him to spend as he chooses. The only deacons who were present at that time were Patrick Wong and Philip Tan.
c. No conditions were attached. He may even withdraw this in cash.
d. In May 2005, SP exercised this option when he joined the gym for a life time membership.
e. Actual amount paid for the membership was RM7,946.

CT Comments
If indeed the BOD minutes of Nov 23, 1994 are true and not tampered with, which we cannot verify, it is still strange that the current BOD would deem that approval as valid as only 2 deacons were present to approve the RM13,000 entitlement in lieu of stipend increase. Should not a stipend increase of the SP be approved by the whole BOD? Even if everything is in order, is it not inappropriate for SP to claim his entitlement 10-11 years later? How can we be sure that this amount has not been utilized already by him sometime between 1994 to 2005? Would anyone wait that long to claim his entitlement and it is amazing that SP can still remember this “promise” after a decade. Can we assume that BOD had wanted to give SP a RM1,000 increment in 1994? If so, what would his increment be like this year? How can we be sure that during the 10-11 years, the BOD did not reward SP with a bigger increment as compensation because he has not claimed the RM13,000 entitlement?

Issue 3 : Prayer Meeting (Issue not raised by Dr Lum in CT interview)

Concern Raised
Dr. Lum was totally excluded from leading prayer during Friday prayer meetings in the past 7 years.
Opinions Formed
SP shows favoritism and Dr. Lum is sidelined because of his constant opposing opinions.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a. Pas SK recalls that on at least 4 occasions, Dr. Lum has led in prayer at Friday prayer meetings.
b. There were also times when Dr. Lum turned down requests to pray due to his schedule.
c. Associate Pastors takes turn to plan the Friday prayer meetings and each decides whom to ask to lead in prayer. SP plays no part in the decision.

CT Comments
This matter was NOT brought out by Dr Lum in his interview and we are of the opinion that this is too petty to be highlighted by the BOD as a major issue. It is probably a strategy by the BOD to distract members from the real issues affecting and hurting our church. The BOD wants the members to believe that Dr. Lum has brought up petty issues because he was hurt personally. It is also quite remarkable that Pas SK can recall that Dr. Lum prayed 4 times in the 7 years.

Issue 4 : Church Membership

Concern Raised
The church is misleading the public into believing we are a 10,000 plus member strong church.
Opinions Formed
a. That CC does not have 10,200 members as per our church website and newspaper reporting.
b. The Church is boasting erroneously.
c. This should be brought up to the AG ethics committee.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a. Calvary website says Calvary and its outreaches minister to 10,200 people.
b. There has never been a claim that we have 10,200 members.
c. The BOD members do not recall SP denying that “we have less than 10,000 worshippers.”
d. The 10,200 is derived from:

3,612 - Calvary Church & satellites
2,878 - Local outreaches
3,680 - Overseas outreaches
10,170 - Total (rounded up to 10,200)

CT Comments
We are just dumbfounded that our BOD and SP are still insisting that Calvary and its outreaches minister to 10,200 people! Any of you who have visited our outreaches will know that in some outreaches, the attendance can be as low as 4-5 persons. How the BOD can come up with such ridiculous figures is beyond understanding! It is highly probable that they have included outreaches which have gone independent decades ago like Glad Tidings, and churches which Calvary has given some financial support in the past.

Financial support cannot equate to ministering when computing such numbers. If that is so, any church giving RM100 to Yoido Full Gospel Church can claim to be ministering to more than a million people.

The BOD should give a breakdown of the above numbers with a full name list of the local and overseas outreaches which are fully supported and “owned” or “overseen” by Calvary, and their weekly attendance numbers, together with the numbers from the main church and satellites.

In one of the briefings, a deacon maintained that they did not simply inflate the figures. To this statement, we would like to highlight that in an AG news article dated 19 Nov 1999, it is stated that our church has a weekly attendance of more than 4,000.
In a write-up on SP in Rev David Cho’s web journal in early 2000 or so, it is stated that our church has 7,000 members (

In Nov/Dec 2002 Calvary News, it is stated that Calvary ministers to more than 7,000 people.

On our church website less than a year ago, it was stated that Calvary ministers to more than 8,400 people (CT has a printout of the webpage in our file showing this number).

The current church website states that Calvary ministers to more than 10,200 people

It is about time our BOD and SP stop misleading the public and the world Christian community and publish actual numbers of worshippers that we currently have, which should be in the range of 2,300-2,600 (and slowly dropping!).

Issue 5 : Sr. Pastor’s Children’s salary

Concern Raised
Opinions Formed
a. SP promotes and increases salary of his children by himself and HR deacon.
b. No other deacon knows about these evaluations.
c. There are no proper evaluations for SP’s family members.
d. The appraisal forms are not divulged to the other deacons.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a. All staff in church undergo the same annual appraisal process.
b. Annual appraisal consists of 3 steps:-
- Department Head conducts Staff Appraisal
- Review by Senior Pastor.
- SP & HR Deacon finalises the appraisal & ratings
c. BOD decides on each year's increment scale for each performance rating
d. SP & HR Deacon recommends their increments/promotions to the BOD for approval.
e. BOD agreed on 30 Nov 2002 that only certain deacons (presumably HR Deacon and Treasurer) will have access to stipend information of individual staff.
d. The SP’s children are not exempted from this process.
e. The appraisal of SP’s children are discussed by HR Deacon with SP.

Auditors’ Findings
1. Earlier practice – all salaries were made known to the BOD.
2. On 30 November 2002, the BOD decided that they be shown summary of increment percentages and appraisal review results and only the HR Deacon & Treasurer know salaries of all staff.
3. Board set the increment ranges for the different levels.
4. Present HR Deacon has reverted to previous practice of providing details to the Board.
5. Now, HR Deacon reviews and validates the performance appraisals and ratings, particularly for family members.

CT Comments
The above explanation does not dismiss the fact that since SP’s children are department heads, SP himself does the appraisal. After that, he discusses and finalises the appraisal with the HR Deacon and presumably, both of them recommend their increments and/or promotions to the BOD for approval as should be the procedure. But the BOD only sees the summary of increment percentages and not the actual increment amount or salary. Only the HR Deacon and Treasurer knows the salaries of all staff.

The conflict of interest in the appraisal and increment/promotion process in respect of SP's children cannot be denied. The BOD's explanation confirms exactly the truth of what Dr Lum has said.

Part 2.

Issue 6 : Adeline Koh

Concerns Raised
a) Whilst serving as our outreach pastor, she only received RM250 per month.
b) She was forced to live in a store room because of this.
c) Church is flouting labor laws.
d) Insinuation that whoever determined her salary is unkind.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a) Adeline was not our outreach pastor at the material time. Neither was she employed by the church.
b) She was a full time BCM student – fully sponsored by Missions for 1 year.
c) She participates in “weekend ministries” as part of her practicals – meaning she serves during weekends only at Bandar Baru Ampang.
d) Sponsored BCM students given an honorarium to assist with their meals and travel.
e) She was given RM250 per month and was given the use of a church van.
f) Adeline graduated in December 2008 (after Dr Lum’s letter).
g) She finished her course in July. Pending graduation she continued with weekend ministries.
h) Her honorarium continued despite the fact she was no longer a student.
i) She stayed at the outreach without obtaining prior clearance from Missions.
j) When this was known and out of concern for her safety, she was advised to find alternative accommodation.
k) However, she requested that she be permitted to stay until she could come up with a suitable alternative.
l) She applied for and was accepted as a full time Missions outreach worker commencing 15 February 2009.

CT Comments
The clarifications by the Church raises more questions. Are our BOD and pastors saying that because Adeline was a full time BCM student and not an outreach pastor and was not employed by our church at the material time, it is justified to take advantage of her? Bear in mind, she was responsible for the outreach and ministers there. It is unbelievable that our BOD and pastors can proudly say that after she finished her course and was no longer a student, her RM250 honorarium continued. What planet are they living on? So long as Adeline continues to serve as the outreach pastor, whether official recognized or not, she should be paid. And with only RM250 allowance per month, it is not surprising that she was forced to be a “squatter” in the store room.
The presenter showed photographs of the room where Adeline stayed and said that it was not a store room (but it was used as a store!). From the layout of the room, location of the bed and calculation of the floor tiles, the room size is about 13 feet by 7 feet. The end portion of the room, behind a curtain was used as a store. Because the room is elongated and with the window ledge indenting inwards, there was no space for a small wardrobe or desk, just enough for a single bed and walking room.

Issue 7 : Airfare for Azalea & Shawn Wong

Concerns Raised
a) Church funds utilized for private use.
b) Funds were used to benefit those in positions of influence i.e. SP and a sitting deacon.
c) An example of how SP abused his power.
d) Airfares were sourced from Missions Funds, it therefore was not used for Missions purposes.
e) Only SP knew of this practice. It was kept secret from all other staff.
f) Decision makers made decisions in their own favour.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a) Missions has a budget for “personnel”.
- Full time church staff can be allowed educational related assistance for themselves or their children.
- Intended as an encouragement to full-time staff, in view of their faithfulness in ministry.
b) This one-time financial assistance is by way of scholarships and/or travel sponsorship.
c) Azalea (Pas Chris Lee’s daughter) and Shawn (Pas Shereen Wong’s son) both children of full time pastoral staff were provided assistance.
d) Others have similarly received such encouragement. For e.g. Roy Selvaratnam (Lydia Selvaratnam’s son) and Valerie Ong (Pas Timothy’s daughter).
e) Decision was entirely a Missions initiative. BOD was not involved in the decision.
f) For the case of Azalea, SP informed BOD since Azalea is his grand daughter.

CT Comments
It is true that the Missions/Faith Promise Budget has an allocation categorized as “Personnel” but we are confident that all members had believed that this was to cover salaries of outreach pastors and to support missionaries. Who would have thought that our SP and Missions Director could be so sly to hide these frivolous claims under this category? These expenses obviously has nothing to do with missions and clearly an abuse of position and power by SP and the Missions Director. It was not clarified if Pas Shereen was already employed as an Assistant Pastor at the time when her son was given this sponsorship but we know for sure her husband is our deacon Patrick Wong. As to Lydia Selvaratnam, as far as we know, she worked for a short while as the church receptionist.

Pas Steven clarified that the sponsorships are not a staff benefit and not provided in the Staff Handbook and are given on case to case basis. Since there were no proper approved guidelines and the “benefits” were only given to SP, an Associate Pastor, an Assistant Pastor and a receptionist, it would appear these payments and sponsorship were arbitrary decisions by SP and the Missions Director. Our view is that if the above persons cannot afford to send their children overseas for studies, then they should send them to local universities, just like what 90% of our congregation do. It is unethical and morally wrong to use money from Missions Fund, which is contributed by the members for the purpose of saving souls, to send pastors' and staff's children overseas.

Not surprisingly and very conveniently, the BOD and pastors left out the findings of the auditors that SP’s children’s education fees, books and airfares to the US, were also partially paid by the church.

Issue 8 : BOD Church-Wide Announcements (Issue not raised by Dr Lum in CT interview)

Concerns Raised
a) That BOD was forced to make a public announcement by SP.
b) That the findings were falsely stated because the forensic accountant and independent lawyer had not completed their assignments at that time.
c) Announcement was divisive.
d) Announcement ought not to have been made.
e) Allegations were not malicious.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a) The BOD has never been forced into any decisions by the SP. The BOD unanimously refutes any allegations that they were coerced into making the announcement.
b) In view of all the allegations circulating at that time, the BOD had to come up with an interim position stating the status of the investigations thus far and promising a full report at the appropriate time.
c) The specific words used by the BOD was “thus far” meaning that fact-finding into other issues were still ongoing.
d) The BOD agrees, in hindsight, that the announcement could have been phrased better.
e) The fact remains that the forensic accountant and independent lawyer have since found no wrongdoing whatsoever. This shows the allegations were unfounded.

CT Comments
This issue was not raised by Dr Lum in the CT interview because he felt it was too petty to harp on this matter. For reasons best known to the BOD, they have included this in their presentation.

The BOD may be adamant that the findings of the forensic accountant and lawyer proved that the allegations were unfounded but the fact remains that the forensic accountant was asked to “bark at the wrong tree”. They were asked to look into the accounts of CIM but no one made any issue about the CIM accounts. The issue was on the inappropriate and illegal transfer of funds from the Missions Fund to CIM which has been proven to have taken place. The lawyer, KK Wong had clearly stated that his findings was based purely on the documents given to him by the church. Was he given the true and correct and all related documents? We guess the members will never know.

Issue 9 : USD10,000 - Gift to Dr. Guynes

Concerns Raised
a) This is not an issue of “quantum but about of processes”.
b) Amount decided upon unilaterally by SP. Amount given by SP to Dr. Guynes from church funds without approval or discussion with deacons.
c) “after the event” request put to the BOD by SP that the gift be ratified by the BOD.
d) This amount is large. USD10,000, since his personal expenses were also covered. Eg airfare and accommodation.
e) The payment was an inducement to Guynes for chairing the meeting.
f) It was a waste of church funds as the EGM was unnecessary.
g) Ancillary issue: When asked by Dr. Lum on 13 August 2008 (2 days before EGM) as to who was going to chair the EGM. SP said “not confirmed”. SP was alleged to have lied.
h) Lee Tuck Heng’s advice that CIM & EM accounts be released to the members prior to the EGM was ignored.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
The actual process & chronology:
1) The EGM was convened to address issues of concern. An independent chairman was required as it was inappropriate for SP to chair the meeting.
2) As at 13 Aug 2008, it was still “not confirmed” as to who would chair the EGM. There were 2 possibilities, Rev Ong Sek Liang (AG General Superintendent) and Dr. Guynes.
3) Dr Guynes (Honorary Pastor) reached KL on 14 Aug 2008. Met with a working team of deacons on to find out what was expected of the chair at the coming EGM.
4) Only after being fully appraised of his role, did he accept and confirm that he would chair the EGM. This was 14 Aug 2008.
5) After he had left that meeting, that SP suggested that a love gift be given to him. The deacons present were in agreement as the love gift would help to defray his airfare and nursing care for Sis. Guynes.
6) This suggestion was then ratified at the immediate next full Board meeting on 20 September 2008, following the EGM.
7) Dr. Guynes paid for his own airfare.
8) Bro Tuck Heng had in fact suggested non-consolidation of the accounts (presented as stand-alone) aids clarity and understanding. He did not give any advice to the effect that CIM accounts should be released.

CT Comments
It is obvious that Dr Guynes had been asked to fly here from USA way before 13 August. Otherwise, it will not be possible for him to be here to meet the deacons on 14 August as the flight from USA takes between 15 to 24 hours depending on the connections. It is truly inconceivable that he would leave his sick wife alone in USA, take the long flight here, not certain if he needs to chair the EGM at all and knowing very well that he had to take an immediate flight back home to attend to his wife who was very ill at the time. On top of the uncertainty, he had to fork out a few thousand USD to fly here for a chit chat, while his wife would need lots of money for medical expenses. SP and the BOD must take Calvarites for fools to believe that it was not pre-planned for Dr Guynes to chair the EGM.

That aside, we cannot understand why Rev Ong Sek Liang was not chosen to chair the EGM. He would have done it for free.

Finally, what has Bro Lee Tuck Heng’s advice on CIM and Extended Ministries got to do with this issue of love gift to Dr Guynes? We certainly have a confused bunch of deacons and pastors. Anyway, while on this note, the members are aware that Bro Tuck Heng did not give any advice on CIM accounts because at the last AGM, the issue raised was on the Extended Ministries accounts. By the way, the Treasurer promised to release the Extended Ministries' accounts to the members by mid 2008 and today, we are all still waiting.

Issue 10 : Phil Stevenson

Concerns Raised
a) We openly misled him that he money collected was for him personally.
b) Amount collected was never given to Phil.
c) Youth Pastor at that time deceived the donors.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a) All youth camps are funded by a Calvary Youth budget.
b) Before the camp, Youth Pastor’s requested Missions to sponsor Phil’s travel expenses. The understanding was that in return for full sponsorship, any amounts collected in offerings will be handed over to Missions.
c) The term “love offering” was not used when the offering was collected.
d) Phil was traveling during a peak period, so his air fare was more expensive than expected and much more than the budgeted amount.
e) Phil’s meals and accommodation were fully covered.
f) Only RM1,858-93 was collected.
g) It was given over to Missions. Missions paid him the full travel fare of RM4,242-00 even though he also ministered at another church.

CT Comments
The above explanation by the BOD and pastors are irrelevant and side-stepping the real issue. The issue here is that the offering collected was not given to Pas Phil.

Pas Steven, at the recent EGM, also clarified that he did not use the word “love offering” when the offering was collected. However, the youth and even Pas Phil himself got the impression that the offering will be given to him. Either Pas Steven is right OR everyone else present at the camp is wrong. We will leave it to the members to decide.

Issue 11 : Non Declaration of Gifts

Concerns Raised
a) SP receives monetary gifts whilst on ministry which gifts are not declared to the Board.
b) Inconsistent application of the rule when SP is compared to all other pastors.
c) SP not accountable to the Board.
d) SP concealed and kept for himself the monies gifted to the church through him.
Church Perspective (BOD’s Perspective)
a) There is an existing process for recording gifts received.
b) All pastors, including SP adheres to the process.
c) Auditors have confirmed that all gifts received by the pastors including SP are recorded.
d) In SP’s case, if whilst on overseas assignments monies are received, these amounts are to set-off against expenses incurred.

CT Comments
The auditors DID NOT say that all gifts received by SP are recorded and that SP adheres to the process for recording gifts. We rewound and listened to the EGM recording several times to confirm this. The above statements at the briefings were outright lies by the BOD.

There were 5 occasions where SP received the reimbursement of airfares from other churches and these were returned to CIM to offset the airfares paid in advance. There were no declaration of love gifts received by SP. This confirms what Dr Lum has said.

(Part 3 is in the next posting.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Call For Prayer On May 13

Latest Testimony on 13/5/09.

Prayer Changes Things

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God says, “ If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Many were at DUMC last night for an Inter-Church and Inter-Denomination Prayer Gathering for our nation. It was so encouraging to hear that Senior Pastors, Pastors and Church Leaders from various churches from around KL & PJ went for a Prayer Walk along the streets of KL & PJ yesterday (13/5/09), even under the very hot sun.

After a time of worship and a short sharing by Rev Mark Geppert who is known to have done a Prayer Walk for our nation from JB to KB, 8 distinguished Pastors from different denominations, were called upon to lead in prayer for different areas for our nation.

It was most encouraging to see the AG Superintendant, Rev Ong Sek Liang, praying for the Churches, Pastors and Church Workers in Malaysia. Bishop Ng from the Anglican Church and also the Head of the Christian Federation of Malaysia, closed the meeting with a prayer of blessing for those present and for the nation.

Although our Church did not participate in the prayer event, it was encouraging to see a number of Calvarites at the meeting.

Today (14/5/09), is the dawn of a new generation (in Biblical perspective) for Christians in Malaysia. We can expect God to bless us as a nation and as individuals. Let us all be encouraged, be blessed and choose to be the salt and the light for God in Malaysia.

Jeremiah 33 : 2 - 3
"This is what the Lord says, He who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it - the Lord is His name :'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."

Jeremiah 29 : 11 - 14, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you."



This coming May 13 marks the 40th anniversary of the darkest hour in the history of our nation of Malaysia.

May 13, 1969 was the day when hundreds of peace-loving Malaysians of various races went berserk and slaughtered one another in a racial unrest never seen before in our land. No Malaysian of whichever race, colour or creed could have imagined that our long harmonious and peaceful co-existence could be shattered in a matter of hours.

But the senseless killings did happen, innocent blood was shed. It did have an impact on the people and on the nation. The course of history did change.

The May 13 incident led to the changing of the guard. The then first Prime Minister wept before the nation, took responsibility (though no fault of his) and stepped down. Tun Abdul Razak took over as the second Prime Minister.

The aftermath of the racial riots witnessed the gradual rebuilding of trust among the races and we thank God that peace among the races has generally reigned since then. The country has developed much in the last 40 years but not without our share of political and economic turmoil, social problems and occasional racial tensions (thankfully non-violent) interspersed throughout the period.

Could our nation have done better if there had not been a May 13 incident? Many Malaysians including Christians think so. Many believe that the shedding of innocent blood in the May 13 incident has in some ways hindered the blessings of God on our land.

This year, we also witnessed another changing of guard. The recent resignation of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to give way to Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak to become the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia is no co-incidence. Datuk Seri Najib is the son of Tun Abdul Razak and is the second generation leader. It is also not a co-incidence that immediately after assuming the premiership, Datuk Seri Najib introduced his vision of 1Malaysia, a nation with one identity and with equal opportunities for all Malaysians. This may just be the dawn of a new era for our nation.

In biblical perspective, 40 years is one generation. This coming May 13 completes 40 years since the May 13 incident in 1969.

The number 40 holds great significance throughout the Bible. Below are some of the major events in the Bible:-

When God wanted to cleanse the world with the Great Flood and start over, He caused rain to fall for 40 days and 40 nights. (Gen 7:12)

Noah waited another 40 days after it rained before he opened a window in the Ark. (Gen 8:6)

Moses lived among the Egyptians until age 40 before he fled to Midian. He spent 40 years living as a shepherd in Midian before God called him to save the Israelites from slavery. (Acts 7:23, Acts 7:30)

Moses was on the mountain for 40 days with God (Twice). (Exo 24:18, Exo 34:28-29, Deu 10:10)

The 12 spies took 40 days to search out the Promised Land and bring back fruit. (Num 13:25)

The Israelites wandered for 40 years in the wilderness before they reached the Promised Land. (Deu 8:2) (Exo 16:35) (Num 14:33-34)

Goliath came for 40 days before being killed by David. (1 Sam 17:16)

Elijah, strengthened by one ‘angelic’ meal, travelled 40 days and 40 nights to reach Mount Horeb where he met the Lord. (1 Kings 19:8)

Through Jonah, God gave the City of Nineveh 40 days to repent before God will destroy the city. The people repented in those 40 days and God spared the city. (Jonah 3:4 and 10)

Several kings and leaders in the Bible ruled for 40 years like Saul (Acts 13:21), David (2 Sam 5:4), Soloman (1 Kings 11:42), Joash (2 Kings 12:1), Eli (1 Sam 4:18)

The Israelites were delivered into the hands of the Philistines for 40 years when they did evil in the eyes of the Lord (Judges 13:1)

The maximum number of stripes or lashes allowed for whipping punishment under the Mosaic law is 40. (Deu 25:1-3)

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness before beginning His ministry. (Mat 3:17, Mat 4:1-2)

Jesus was seen on the earth for 40 days after His resurrection before He ascended to heaven. (Acts 1:3 NIV)

Whether it is days or years, the number 40 in the Bible always relates to a period of testing, trial, probation, chastisement or judgment and consistently ends with a period of restoration, renewal or revival.

Therefore with Datuk Seri Najib helming the nation as the new Prime Minister just before the 40th anniversary of the May 13 incident, we can believe and trust God that there will be coming a period of restoration and renewal for our land. For the Church of Jesus Christ in Malaysia, we can trust God for a fresh revival to sweep across this nation.

But merely believing and trusting God for good things to come is not enough. We need to go back to the Bible to see what He requires of us before He opens the window of heaven and pour forth His blessings.

In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God says, “ If my people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we need to do these 3 things first:-

1. Humble ourselves before God.
2. Pray for God’s forgiveness for our sins and the sins of our nation, and the killings of our fellow Malaysians by our own people 40 years ago.
3. Turn from our wicked ways.

In line with the call by several local churches for a time of prayer on May 13, we, the concerned members (or TTG group, if you want to call us that), wish to encourage all Calvarites and all Christians in Malaysia to set aside May 13, as a special day of prayer and fasting to intercede for our nation of Malaysia. Let us join our hands and hearts in one accord to ask God :

1. For His forgiveness and to heal our land,
2. For His richest blessings on our nation,
3. For His wisdom and guidance on all our ministers and leaders,
4. For justice, fairness, transparency, accountability, integrity and morality to be upheld,
5. For freedom of worship to be preserved,
6. For peace and harmony to prevail in this nation,
7. For a great mighty wind of revival to sweep across this land.

We also encourage fellow brothers and sisters-in Christ overseas who are reading this, to remember us (and our nation of Malaysia) in your time of prayer and devotion. Certainly, we are all one Body in Christ and together, we will see a great miracle for God has something good in store for us in the coming days and in the history of this nation.

So let us set aside some time daily for the next 2 weeks to pray for our land and make a special effort to fast and pray on this coming May 13.

Prayer changes things.

God Bless.