Tag Archives: teen relationships


6 Jul

The Summary of Sermon by Ps. Djohan Handojo at Bethany International Sevice on Sunday, 2 July 2017.


Pastor Djohan recently attended a conference at Wittenburg in Germany where the Reformation started by Martin Luther. 

The conference discussed how to bring the Gospel for every person and challenges in sharing it. The gospel brings freedom and transforms life. 

In sharing the gospel today, we faced several challenges :-

 1. Ideology 

People do not believe in God. 40% of the people in the Western world become atheist. They do not find God important in their lives.
2. Secularism  

People look into the world and there is less emphasis of God in the society. In South East Asia, many people still have strong faith in God. We still find Christian schools, many Church services in the malls and hotels.

3. Moral 

Today sexual disorder is considered normal and acceptable especially in the western world. The government in America and other western countries legalized the same-sex marriage. Even the schools are teaching it and educate the right to develop love and feelings beyond the gender which is gender disorientation.

James 1: 2-3) The world is constantly under temptation by the devil. Only the kingdom of God is unshakeable. 

We are dealing with self centeredness. People have the tendency to become self centered. Some of us struggle with sin but Jesus is waiting for us to come back when we have gone astray in the world. 
(2 Corinthians 5: 17-18) We are the new creation in Christ. It is important for us to walk in Christ every day. God will see us in a different way, God will see Christ who has redeemed us and see us as a new man or new woman in Christ.

When we are still living in the old self, the devil can attack us. When we live as a new man in Christ, the
devil cannot attack us. However, we can live a victorious life because God is in us.

(1 Corinthians 6 : 2 – 3)  For us as believers, one day, we will reign and rule with Jesus. We will judge the world and the fallen angels. 

Now, the Holy Spirit is in the world but one day the Holy Spirit will be taken away from the world. The world will turn into chaos.
(John 6:54- 55) Whoever eat of my flesh and drink of my blood remains in me, have the salvation and eternal life.



24 Jan


We have all heard stories about the difficulties of communicating with teens. Attempting to converse with teens today may involve asking them to stop texting long enough for you to finish a sentence. You’ve seen them, teens carrying around their cell phones as an extension of their bodies. As a parent, you may also have to compete with an iPod as you attempt to carry on a conversation with your teen through earplugs while the volume on his or her favorite song drowns out your voice. If you don’t have these problems in your home then consider yourself fortunate.

I regularly see these problems in my office as a psychotherapist providing therapy for children and teens, as well as adults. As I walk out to the lobby to greet my clients and their parents, I often observe teens sitting near their parents but with little interaction going on between them. The teens typically are texting on their cell phones or listening to music on one of many devices – complete with earplugs. When I have seen parents attempting to talk to their children, it usually entails the parent raising their voice to be heard over the music or a parent talking to their child while they are still texting.

At one point in my career, I was contracted to provide therapy to teens in middle and high schools. Teachers were constantly complaining to the administration that some of their students were texting during class. As a therapist, at times, I had to ask these same students to put away their cell phone or music device so that we could have a session. Some teens would even maintain that they could hear me through their earplugs and insist on keeping them on. Other teens were so adept at texting that they would attempt to text under their jackets without even looking at their phones. While they may have mastered the technique of typing blindly on a cell phone keyboard with only the use of their thumbs, they had not mastered the art of effective face-to-face communication.

Many of my sessions with parents of teens concentrate on what to do when their teen has exhibited an inappropriate behavior. We discuss the use of giving reasonable consequences for these behaviors. Consequences usually involve taking away something of value to the teen in order to ensure future compliance. Also, giving a consequence helps teens learn that parents set the rules that they must follow.

Parents instinctively recognize that cell phones and iPods are the “most valuable” assets that a teen possesses and suggest taking away these devices as a viable consequence. At the same time, parents will also report that taking away these objects can send their child into a tail spin resulting in depression and possible threats of suicide, temper tantrums, yelling or other destructive behaviors.

As a clinician, this has opened my eyes to the seriousness of the issue facing parents today. Almost all teens have a cell phone that allows them to “interact” while allowing them never to speak to that person face-to-face if they so choose. This includes interactions within their own family and beyond. Many teens’ “relationships” today are being formed through short sentences that can be easily texted without any physical or emotional attachment required. In other words, these so-called relationships are shallow at best. Lacking is the face-to-face interaction with its emotional and physical cues that enable a person to really get to know another person on a deep human level.

If teens have no time to develop a relationship on a deep personal level, then how will we ever teach our children how to communicate and experience the most important relationship: a relationship with God? If our teens never stop long enough to focus their attention and speak to the can’t text? It will be difficult at best.

Christian parents are entrusted with teaching their child about God by modeling good Christian values through their own behaviors as godly parents. If children don’t notice a parent’s behaviour because they are too occupied with texting or listening to music then they may not see God in their lives and may not discover the value of developing a relationship with God.

Limiting the use of cell phones and other devices may be met with resistane from your teen at first but in the long run it will help you to bring your family together and to speak to him or her about God. Start by spending time talking with your teen about his or her day. This will help you to become more involved in your teen’s life and in what concerns him or her. You will not only be showing them that you are always there for them but you can begin teaching them that God is always there to listen, as well. You will become a prominent and trusted figure in your teen’s life and not just another voice shouting to be heard over the music or an interference with texting.


Family with new home


19 Dec


It’s not uncommon for Christian singles to feel depressed during the holiday season. If we’re not half of a couple, we can find Christmas just another hard time to get through.

As someone who has been a Christian single more than 40 years, I eventually learned that beating the holiday blues is a matter of focus. When we get our focus off ourselves and on to other things, it can make Christmas time enjoyable again.

Being Single at Christmas Can Help You Focus on Others

If we’re honest, we singles would admit we can be morbidly self-centered. We’re a family of one, and our mind is usually fixated on how that one is doing, moment by moment. Everything gets viewed through the narrow lens of “I”.

Yes, it would be great if people constantly showered us with love and attention during the holidays, but let’s get real. Our married friends have their spouse to think about, often children, and they have family and other friends, too.

It may be a cliché to say that the way to happiness is to make others happy, but it’s also true. Paul quoted Jesus Christ as saying, “’It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35, NIV)

We’ve been conditioned to associate giving with presents, but one of the most valuable gifts we can give someone is our time and our ability to listen. Loneliness strikes everyone. Just spending time with a friend or relative over lunch or a cup of coffee can do both of us a world of good. To show someone you care about them and to say it is a priceless way of focusing on others.

Of course there are toy drives, and charities always need volunteers. These are the kinds of others-focused activities that make you happy because you’re making someone else happy. We are the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, even in small things.

Being Single at Christmas Can Help You Focus on the Future

Christian singles who are not paired up during Christmas may reminisce about past relationships, beating ourselves up for mistakes we made. Let me tell you that regret is Satan’s way of using your past to spoil your present.

As children of God, our past sins are forgiven: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25, NIV). If God has forgotten our sins, so should we.

The “If only…” game is a waste of time. There is no guarantee that a past relationship might have ended in happily-ever-after. Maybe it would have ended in misery, and that’s why God lovingly plucked you out of it.

We singles can’t live in the past. The adventure lies ahead. We don’t know what God has planned for us in the rest of this life, but we do know what to expect in the next life, and it’s good. In fact, it’s incredible.

By taking our focus off the past and putting it on the hope of tomorrow and what’s to come, we have much to look forward to. When you serve a loving God, life can change for the better in an instant. Christian singles live a story with a guaranteed happy ending.

Being Single at Christmas Can Help You Focus on God

When we’re caught up in shopping and parties and decorations, even Christian singles can lose sight that this whole thing is about Jesus Christ.

That baby in the manger is the gift of a lifetime—an eternal lifetime. We will never receive anything more valuable than him. He is the love we have always chased after, the understanding we so desperately need, and the forgiveness we’d be lost without.

Jesus makes it possible for single people to get through life, not just at Christmas, but all year ‘round. He gives us meaning when we have none. Jesus gives us a purpose that rises above the pettiness of this world.

Being single at Christmas often means pain, but Jesus is there to wipe away our tears. At this time of year, he is as close as we need him to be. When we feel sad, Jesus is our hope.

When we focus on Jesus Christ, we find our bearings again. If you can grasp that Jesus, out of pure love, sacrificed himself for you, that truth will carry you through Christmas and far beyond.




18 Nov


“For this day You’ve made, Your amazing grace, Lord I lift my praise”

That’s about the longest title for a very short testimony.

Thank-you Lord for family and friends who (in work-crazy Singapore) took the time to stop and share the precious once-in-a-lifetime day of a young couple. As Pastor Djohan blessed the newlyweds, the love and good wishes of those present was almost palpable. Rocky and Maria had the blessing of family and good friends but especially of the family in Christ and for that I give thanks to the Lord.

I experienced the meaning of that being “a day that the Lord had made and we rejoiced and were glad”. It was wonderful to have 150 people at the Holy Matrimony and twice that number at the lunch. I promised everyone I would not cry at the wedding. The only time a tear wobbled I had 5 tissues handed to me ! I suspect my sons didn’t believe that I would hold out. But I did cry later….filled to overflowing with thanksgiving to the Lord for His goodness.

The title says it all. Thank-You Lord Jesus!

Ps Gerardine



22 Oct


My two-year old grandson has a fascination for shoes. He loves to discard his own and don his father’s size twelve army boots. He proudly parades about the house and squeals, “Just like Daddy!”

His father remarked one day, “I guess I better be careful where I take those boots!”

Whether what is before them is pleasing to God or not, children will mirror what they see. Like parrots, they repeat every word they hear even though the meanings may be beyond their comprehension. When our children were younger, my husband, Steve, and I belonged to a community theater organization. While giving our three-year old a bath, I was surprised to hear him reciting every word from The Wizard of Oz, the play our group was currently rehearsing. He spoke every line exactly as the actors portrayed the characters down to the screeching laugh of the Wicked Witch from the West (me!).

My husband Steve has always been sensitive to the reality that parents are unwitting models. During the early days of parenting, he wanted to be sure the children ate their vegetables. No matter what was served he took a hefty helping and relished in the delicacy. He was so convincing even I believed that spinach was his favorite food. I faithfully served him the leafy green delight every week for the next five years until he gained the courage to clue me in on his act.

Parents lead by example and a child’s moral legacy will be influenced more by what the parent does and speaks than any other influence. Human services counselors call this “parent modeling.” As a social worker, I tried to help parents understand this concept. One beleaguered dad asked for help in teaching his son not to swear at school. I explained that parents best teach their children proper language by speaking properly themselves. I counseled him that children invariably copy what they see their parents do and what they hear their parents say. The dad lifted his hands up in the air as if in defeat. “I’m in trouble. I don’t want my kids to be anything like me!”

Most parents don’t want their children to imitate their negative habits, but many are unwilling to change their own behaviors to provide an example for the child to follow. When the child begins emulating the undesired traits, the parent becomes angry with the child who only wants to be “just like dear old dad!”

Darryl obtained custody of his teenage daughter after the child’s mother was found to be a neglectful parent. Although he had little contact with the girl over the years, he agreed to have her move in with him rather than be turned over to the foster care system. He called me nearly daily to complain that his daughter was mouthy, disrespectful, and disobedient. During a home visit while Darryl vociferously berated his offspring, I quietly observed this dad while he pounded the countertop and bellowed his displeasure in colorful language. After he had a chance to vent for a few minutes, I looked him squarely in the eye and reminded him, “Well, Darryl. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Does it?”

Darryl began to realize that his daughter, who loved him very much, was mimicking his behavior. As he learned to quiet his temper and demonstrate a respect for others, his daughter’s behaviors improved. He modeled the type of behavior he desired his daughter to follow.

While still in high school, our daughter took modeling lessons from a professional modeling agency. For six months we made the hour trek to Ottawa where she learned the grueling runway walk. The model’s walk is achieved by protruding the abdomen forward while forcing the head and torso slightly behind. Mastery is dependent upon absolute attention and focus while training the muscles to sustain an unnatural body position. The model keeps her eyes fixed forward, looking neither to the right nor to the left. Parents need that same attentiveness

If we want to know what we look like or what we sound like, we need only listen to our small children at play. They mimic our actions and speech more expertly than the greatest stage actors. What do our children hear? Do they hear praise or gossip? Do they hear singing or screaming? Do they hear prayers or curses? Do they hear whining or confidence? What do they see? Do they see self-control or anger? Do they see faith in action or anxious wanderings? Do they see generosity toward others or miserliness?

Just as God wants His children to model their behavior according to His holiness, parents have a responsibility to encourage right behavior in their children through example. God speaks to us and deals with us in the same manner he wants us to deal with our own children. He has given us His son as an example and His Holy Spirit to help remind us when we need a little nudge in the right direction. Our Christian walk becomes perfected as we keep our attention focused on Christ. Because we love Him, we want to be more like Him. We want to trudge along wearing His boots. By daily Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship with like minded believers, we will become more and more like our Father. And as we grow closer to God, our earthly walk will be more in tune with what we hope our children will pattern.

Our walk will testify to what we believe. Our speech will reflect what is in our hearts. The choice of what image we project to our children is up to us. We can be certain that our little mimics will want to grow up just like us.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalms 139:23-24 NIV).

Source :www.crosswalk.com


19 Oct

Is Interracial Dating Biblical? By Kelli Mahoney, About.com Guide

Question: Is Interracial Dating Biblical?

Unfortunately prejudice and racism is still a worldwide issue. In countries that have a variety of races in its population the question of whether or not interracial dating is an acceptable practice for Christians is appropriate. In order to answer the question we need to take a close look at God’s Word.


What About the Old Testament?

Some people use scripture in the Old Testament to try and prohibit interracial dating and marriage. They take scripture verses like Deuteronomy 7:3 (“Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons,” (NIV)) and claim that the scripture means that people of different races should not date or marry. Yet we need to remember that this scripture was written at a different time, and Hebrews were warned against marrying gentiles more out of keeping believers from marrying unbelievers rather than race. For instance, Solomon was not just judged for marrying women of foreign countries, but actually women of different faiths who worshipped false gods. Actually, there were instances where those from different races were allowed to convert to Judaism and marry Hebrews. Ruth and Rahab were both examples of women who converted to Judaism and married men of a different race.

But Paul Said…

What about people being unequally yoked? In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (NIV). While some people try and use this scripture to discourage interracial dating, it is not talking about the color of our skin at all. In fact, it is only discussing the idea that believers should not be dating or married to unbelievers.

God Loves Us All

God created us all, and that includes the color of our skin. In the Book of Genesis we learn that God created all things, including Adam and Eve, who gave birth to all the nations. He then made a covenant with Abraham that, through him, all the nations would be blessed. Then people waited for the coming of the messiah, Jesus Christ, to be a light to all people – Jews and Gentiles alike. In the New Testament Jesus breaks down boundaries. There is no difference between Jew or Gentile, just believers and non-believers. It is a problem for the apostles early on, because they do not understand that even Gentiles could be accepted into the body of Christ without first converting to Judaism.

Acts 10:28 – “He said to them: ‘You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean.’” (NIV)

So, Is It Biblical?

As you can see, the Bible does not have any prohibition in dating someone of another race. While culture may be more prohibitive of interracial dating and marriage, God accepts all people no matter who they are. God’s Word tells us that dating should be based more on beliefs than on races, and that people need to be equally yoked to one another rather than share a skin color.

Top 8 Ways for Christian Teens to Avoid and Overcome Temptation

By Kelli Mahoney, About.com Guide

Christian teens face temptation every day, and not everyone is prepared to overcome those temptations. At some point most people are faced with the desire to submit to sin, whether it is gluttony, sex, gossip, cheating, and more. Sometimes those temptations are minor, so they are pretty easy to overcome, but other times the desire seems too great.

Remember, though, that temptation is not the sin, even Jesus was tempted. We only sin when we give into the temptation. Here are some things you can do to help you avoid and overcome temptations:

1. Identify Temptations

Everyone is a little different, so it is important to know what temptations are difficult for you to overcome. Some people may find that gossip is more alluring than sex. Others may find that even holding a date’s hand is too much of a temptation. When you know what tempts you the most you can be proactive about handling that temptation.

2. Pray About the Temptation

Most Christian teens know the temptations that are difficult to overcome. For instance, if you find gossip a great temptation then pray every night for the strength to overcome the gossip. Ask God to provide you with the strength to walk away from the gossip and to know what information is gossip and what is real information.

3. Avoid the Temptation

When we know what temptations are being the most difficult, we can prepare ourselves for those situations. In some cases we can even avoid the temptation itself. For instance, if premarital sex is a temptation, then you can avoid being in situations where you might find yourself giving into that desire. If you are prone to cheating, then you may want to position yourself during a test so that you cannot see the paper of the person next to you.

4. Use Your Bible for Inspiration

The Bible is there to offer Christian teens advice and guidance, so why not use it? Scripture verses like 1 Corinthians 10:13, “You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptation” (CEV), can help inspire you in moments of temptation. Try to look up what the Bible says on your areas of temptation for inspiration and guidance.

5. Use the Buddy System

Do you have a friend or leader that you can trust to guide you in facing your temptations? Sometimes it helps to have someone else you can talk to about your issues or even brainstorm ways you can avoid temptation. You may even ask to meet regularly with your friend to hold you accountable.

6. Use Positive Language

What does positive language have to do with avoiding temptation? It actually has more to do with overcoming temptation. You need to believe God can help you overcome the desire to sin in order to actually overcome it. Avoid saying things like, “It’s too hard,” or “I’ll never be able to do this.” Remember, God can move mountains. Try changing how you approach the situation and say, “God can help me overcome this,” or “It’s not too hard for God.”

7. Give Yourself Alternatives

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Bible states that God can show you how to escape from your temptation. Allow yourself to see that escape. If you know your temptations, know how you can overcome. Give yourself alternatives. For instance, if you are tempted to lie to protect another person’s feelings, try considering other ways to word the truth so it doesn’t sound so harsh. If people around you are getting into drugs, try making new friends. Alternatives aren’t always easy, but they can be the path God creates for you to avoid and overcome temptation.

8. It’s Not the End of the World

While avoiding temptation makes life a lot easier, it can be discouraging when we do give into that sin. We all make mistakes. That is why God offers us forgiveness. While you should not sin knowing that you can be forgiven, you should know that God’s grace is available. So add 1 John 1:8-9, “If we say that we have not sinned, we are fooling ourselves, and the truth isn’t in our hearts. But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away,” (CEV) to that list so you know that God will always be there ready to catch you when you fall.



16 Oct

Tips for Christian Dating


There is all kinds of advice out there about dating today, but a lot of it is about dating in the world rather than Christian dating. Christians need to have a different attitude toward dating. However, even among Christians there are differences as to whether you should or should not date. The choice is up to your and your parents, but Christian teens should still know God’s perspective on dating.

Non-Christians have a different perspective on dating. You see the magazines, TV shows, and movies that tell you how you’re young, and you should date a lot of people before you get married. You see certain “role models” jumping from one dating relationship to another.

Yet God has more in store for you than just jumping from one relationship to another. He is clear on whom you should date and why you should date. When it comes to Christian dating, you live according to a different standard – God’s. Yet it’s not just about following the rules. There are some solid reasons why God asks us to live a certain way, and dating is no different.

Why Should Christian Teens Date (Or Not Date)?

While most people have differing opinions about dating, it is one area of the Bible where there is not a lot of information. However, Christian teens can get some idea of God’s expectations from certain scripture verses:

Genesis 2:24: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (NIV)

Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV)

1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (NIV)

These three scriptures give insight into the Christian dating life. We need to realize that God means for us to meet the ONE person that we are meant to marry. According to Genesis, a man will leave home to marry one women to become one flesh. You do not need to date a lot of people – just the right one.

Also, Christian teens need to guard their hearts. The word “love” is thrown around with little thought. Yet, we often live for love. We live for God’s love first and foremost, but we also live for the love of others. While there are many definitions of love, 1Corinthians tells us how God defines love.

It is love that should drive Christian teens to date, but it should not be the shallow version of love. When you date it should be taken seriously. You should know the person you are dating and know their beliefs.

You should check your potential boyfriend against the values listed in 1 Corinthians. Ask yourself if the two of you are patient and kind to one another. Are you envious of one another? Do you boast about one another or to each other? Go through the characteristics to measure your relationship.

Only Date Believers

God is pretty picky on this one, and the Bible makes this issue very clear.

Deuteronomy 7:3: “Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons” (NIV)

2Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?” (NIV)

The Bible seriously warns us about dating non-Christians. While you may not be looking at marrying anyone at the moment, it should always be in the back of your head. Why get involved emotionally with someone that you should not marry? This does not mean you cannot be friends with that person, but you should not date them.

This also means that you should avoid “missionary dating,” which is dating a non-believer in the hopes that you can convert him or her. Your intentions may be noble, but the relationships rarely work out. Some Christians have even gotten married to non-believers, hoping that they can convert their spouse, but often the relationships end up in disaster.

On the other hand, some Christian teens believe that interracial dating is inappropriate due to the scriptures that tells Christians to avoid being yoked to non-Christians. However, there is actually nothing in the Bible that prohibits dating people of other races. The Bible places more emphasis on Christians dating other Christians. It is culture and society that place an emphasis on race.

So make sure you are only dating those who share your beliefs. Otherwise you may find that your relationship is a struggle rather than a joy.

Be careful of recreational dating, where you date for the sake of dating. God calls us to love one another, but the scripture is clear that He asks us to be careful. While love is a beautiful thing, the breaking off of relationships is hard. There is a reason they call it a “broken heart.” God understands the power in love and the damage a broken heart can do. This is why it is important for Christian teens to really pray, know their hearts, and listen to God when they decide to date.