Thursday 21 November 2013


Charisma and character are important qualities in an outstanding leader. Which is more important?


Charisma is a wonderful quality that leaders should have. Those with charisma have what it takes to inspire and influence others.

However, charisma should not be a substitute for character. The danger of charismawhether it is personal magnetism or the capacity to perform miracles—arises when it is used as a cover-up for truth or character flaws. *

Did Jesus have much charisma? The prophet Isaiah described Jesus as having “no form or majesty that we should look at Him and no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isaiah 53:2b). Whatever charisma Jesus had was his ability to draw great crowds through his miracles rather than external appearance.

Charisma may take us places but it takes character to keep us there or prevent us from falling. When we attain fame, fortune and power, will we be able to hold on to the values we once cherished as dear?

The danger of charisma without character becomes clear when we consider the fact that prominent leaders, miracle workers and TV evangelists have fallen into disrepute due to gold, glory and girls. **

How challenging it is to hold on to our values once we have attained successwhether it’s within or outside the church. Indeed, it is difficult to be modern-day Josephs.

However, it does not mean that charisma is unimportant. Leaders with good character who already wield considerable influence over others will be able to go even further if they had charisma as well. It’s sad that some leaders with impeccable characterand doctrine correct to the dotare spiritually as dry as the bones in the valley in Ezekiel’s vision.

Finally, what do you think is the true measure of a Christian leader?  Is it based on his eloquence, public image or popularity as judged by the number of followers and ‘likes’ he gets on social media? Does it rest on how much anointing or power he has? Or how many spectacular miraculous feats he can perform? Are there not other important considerations such as character, intimacy with God, obedience, self-denial and faithfulness? The foregoing does not imply that charisma and spiritual gifts are unimportant. The moral of the story is that we must not put the cart before the horse.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
(Matthew 7: 21-23).

Those who think that they are perpetually in God’s good books just because they have been used by God to perform extraordinary miracles would need to sit up, pause and reflect.

If you put me in a spot and make me choose one or the other, I would prefer ‘character’ over ‘charisma’.


Disclaimer: This article does not to refer to any particular church denomination. Praise God, there are many church leaders who have both charisma and character, no matter which church they come from. Conversely, anyonefrom whichever churchcan fall into sin and disrepute (1 Corinthians 10:12, Jeremiah 17:9).

The charisma in the article above is meant to refer to the following:

The term charisma has two senses: (1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, (2) a divinely conferred power or talent (Source: Wikipedia).

According to the Free Online Dictionary, charisma is defined as:
(a) A rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm.  
(b) Personal magnetism or charm.
(c) An extraordinary power, such as the ability to perform miracles, granted by the Holy Spirit.

  *  Definition of cover-up:  a planned effort to hide a dishonest, immoral, or illegal act or situation.



Character, a person’s moral or ethical strength, is undeniably more important than reputation, which is what others think of a person. But does it mean that reputation is unimportant?


As leaders are the key people who make or break an organisation, they certainly deserve our respect and support. But we should not “idolise” them to the extent we think they can do no wrong even in the face of glaring evidence to the contrary. Like all men, they too are weak and fallible.


The temptations that await those who seemingly have it all

Why it’s easy to be mesmerised by charisma that we fail to distinguish between form and substance

Monday 18 November 2013


It’s great to experience God’s unmerited favour. But we must not stop there. There are other ways to gain His favour.

As believers, have we come to a point in our faith walk when we say to ourselves, “Thank you God for taking me as I am,” and then happily go on our way? After all, as some teachers say, believers always enjoy God’s unmerited favour—grace beyond measure—whatever we do or don't do. 

If that is so, do we need to improve ourselves in areas such as self-discipline and character? **  

Is there a need to strive for excellence? Does it mean we just relax and enjoy His unmerited favour as “our plane has already been set on autopilot”?

While it is true that God shows us unmerited favour, we should not dismiss the importance of personal responsibility in our lives.


Though we don’t earn a place in heaven though good works (Ephesians 2:8-9), what we do with our lives after conversion matters a lot. How we live out our lives determines whether we receive God’s special favour or not.

Here are some instances when we touch God’s heart and gain His “merited favour”.

“Jesus says, Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him”’(John 14:21).
It is clear that, when we obey God, we experience His love and special favour. How wonderful it is when God manifests Himself to us—when His reality leaves little or no room for doubt.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6).
When we thirst for God as much as a deer pants for streams of water (Psalm 42:1), we will experience an infilling that will quench our heart’s deepest desires.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

A broken and contrite heart is one with deep remorse for sin and a genuine desire to turn away from sin and follow God’s ways. It sees the wrongdoing as a violation of God’s law (Psalm 51:4) and does not try to rationalise it away. It recognises the fact that God knows our true motives and intents. He knows everything, including how sincere we are about change (Psalm 51:6).

A broken, contrite heart and true repentance enable us to continue enjoying God’s unbroken fellowship and favour in our lives. More on true repentance:

“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8).

The prayers of saints that ascend to heaven are collected in bowls. Obviously, if we pray a lot, our bowls will be full and may even overflow. Thus, when we pray, it is credited to our account in heaven.

Similarly, Cornelius, the Roman centurion, who feared God, gave alms and prayed constantly, received God’s special favour. He and his household were saved after Peter preached the Good News to them.

It is clear that everyone who gets to heaven will get different measures of rewards according to their good works.

"Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds” (Revelation 22:12).

“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Good works won’t save us but they determine the quantum of our rewards in the hereafter.



We can choose to know Him from afar or know Him intimately (James 4:8).

Many among the crowd who trailed Jesus did so because they wanted blessings and healing. But the disciples were different in that they received special favour. Apart from enjoying the close company and guidance of the Master, they had the privilege of knowing the full meaning behind the parables.

Of the twelve disciples, only threePeter, James and Johnwere chosen to catch a glimpse of glory when Jesus was transfigured. And of the three, only John had the privilege to lie close to Jesus’ breast. Peter and James may have excelled in many other qualities compared to John. But the latter excelled in love and intimacy with the Master.

We can be like Moses who knew God’s ways; or we can be like the Israelites who knew God’s acts (Exodus 33:13, Psalm 103: 7).

Are we easily satisfied? Or spiritual hunger impels us to want more?

Well, we all have a choice. Are we merely satisfied with His unmerited favour alone? Or we think there is something much more that God has in store for us. And that can only be attained when we die to self, seek to know His ways and strive for excellence (John 12:24, Philippians 3:10, 13-14).

When we make the effort, we gain God’s special favournot by default but by merit.

As believers, we have to play our part. Work out our salvation with fear and trembling. And then God will work out His will in our lives (Philippians 2:12-13, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

**      It does not mean we can really change ourselves for the better. It’s the Word which transforms us; it’s Holy Spirit who changes us (Romans 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 3:18).


How do we measure progress in our spiritual journey? Have we lived up to our full potential?
In our eagerness to perform, have we lost out in that which is most essential?

Thursday 14 November 2013


False grace was exposed in a video in which Dr Michael Brown was being interviewed by Sid Roth. It's a clear, compelling, well-balanced, Word-based presentation.

Brown deftly fielded questions on grace-related issues submitted by various Christians to Roth's TV show.  

He was in his element as he demolishedone by one, using the whole counsel of God’s Wordthe various premises held by those who overemphasise grace. 

Topics covered in this video include:








I believe this is a must-watch video for all Christians.

Please share with your friends the link to this article:

Believing in a message of false grace gives a false sense of security. Indeed, deception coupled with ‘itching ears (2 Timothy 4:3) will spell doom for many.

Didn’t Jesus warn that “the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matthew 7:13)?  

Didn’t Jesus warn that “not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21)?

The doctrine of false grace is part of the overall cloud of deception that comes upon believers in these tumultuous end times.  *


We should be wise up by preparing ourselves against deception. Jesus warns that deception is a prominent feature during the end times (The Olivet Discourse).

“For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many” (Matthew 24:5). “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

Childlike faith is commendable. But there are dangers when we are trustful and naïve like a child.

Satan is like a roaring lion who seeks to devour the weak and unwary (1 Peter 5:8). Believers have to be wisein fact, extremely vigilant and discerningif they want to stand up against deception in these last days.

Error is so skilled at imitating truth that the two are often being mistaken for each other. And even the electsupposedly mature leaderscan be deceived. If leaders are deceived, don’t you think the flock will fare even worse?

That is why it is so important to go back to basics. Be like the Bereans:

“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” ( Acts 17:11).

By equipping ourselves with a sound knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, taking into consideration the whole counsel of God, we will not be easily deceived by false teachings.

Jesus said, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples” (John 8:31). But how are we to obey Him unless we earnestly study His Word and have a firm grasp of it? Therefore we need to be diligent to present ourselves approved to God, as workers who do not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

It is imperative for leaders to confront false teachings during these perilous end times. If they can identify with Paul the seriousness of the task they have been entrusted with—to feed the flock with solid teaching from the whole of God’s Word (Acts 20:27) as well as to correct and rebuke heresy (2 Timothy 4:2)—then people will not be so easily led astray from the faith.

"Faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy."  – A. W. Tozer, theologian

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” – Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher

Dr Michael Brown wrote in “Charisma News” on “Confronting the Error of Hyper-Grace”:  

Brown was previously featured in this blog:
Grace: Can we have too much of a good thing?








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Monday 11 November 2013


Having tension headache? Work pressure and too much time spent glued to the screen? Well, there’s nothing to fear. 

Just pop two tablets of PANADOL or TYLENOL. But do we know that, in excess, such a popular drug can be toxic to the liver and may even kill?

Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is a popular OTC medicine for fever, headaches, period pain, minor aches and pain. Also known as Panadol, Tylenol which are its proprietary (brand) names.

Recently its maximum daily adult dosage has been reduced from 8 tabs (4000mg) to 6 tabs (3000mg) because of the danger of toxicity.

Accidental overdose can happen as many flu drugs also contain Paracetamol as an ingredient. So if one takes Paracetamol for pain and fever and also a flu drug (with Paracetamol), overdose may occur.

The dose matters so much when we take medicine. Even something good, like Paracetamol, may be dangerous when taken in excess.


An analogy exists in the spiritual realm. Grace is something good but when it is being overemphasised, it may be dangerous for our spiritual well-being.

Being sinners, we all need grace. In fact, lots of grace. No right thinking believer questions the need for gracebefore or after conversion. 

And what's positive about a teaching which emphasises grace is that it has welcomed with open arms many sinners into church. These people would often be alienated and judged as “spiritual misfits” by a legalistic church.

But harbouring an image of God that is agreeable and attractive—that He is always gracious, loving, mercifulhas its dangers.

A wrong picture of God may have deadly consequences. Thinking erroneously that He is always meek and mild may prove disastrous when we’re confronted by God the judge at the end of our life journey or when Christ returns (Hebrews 9:27, 1 Peter 4:7, 17).

Overemphasis on grace leads to the following assumptions.  Do check out for yourselves whether the following premises in red are valid:

  • Once we are saved, we will remain saved (OSAS, once saved always saved, eternal security).

  • There is no need to confess sin as we merely need to rest in the imputed righteousness of Christ.

  • We can afford to banish sin consciousness from our lives as the sin issue is a    thing of the past, being settled once and for all when we believed in Jesus.

"Faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy."  – A. W. Tozer

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” – Soren Kierkegaard, philosopher