Sunday, December 31, 2006

Shout To The North

This old song came to mind... it's very encouraging, and stirring too! Feels like a soccer anthem, to be honest... :D yeah! Jesus is our No. 1 - because He's a goalkeeper - Jesus Saves! (And He's never lost a single goal...ever! Peter Schmeichel, eat your heart out... and Barthez, repent!!! haha... ;D)

Men of faith rise up and sing
Of the Great and Glorious King
You are strong when you feel weak
In your brokenness complete...

Shout to the North and the South
Sing to the East and the West
Jesus is saviour to all
Lord of heaven and earth...

Rise up women of the truth
Stand and sing to broken hearts
Who can know the healing power
Of our awesome King of love...

Written by Martin Smith ©1995 Curious? Music UK


Wow, after the revelation in reading Mark 2:21-22, I feel so encouraged! :D
Thank You Jesus!
Just feel spiritually invigorated, and encouraged...
feel the fire of faith rising up in my heart again...
esp for the children's ministry! :D

Wow... how I need that! because I have become so tired in taking care of the children, that I forgot what stirred me on to join HopeKids... but thanks be to God, He reminded me again!

Wow... God's timing is so fantastic! :D


O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His love endures forever!

New Wineskins!

You know, I think God just spoke to me just now!

I was reading my Bible, when I read these verses from Mark 2:
"No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins."

Somehow these words really captured my attention. I felt this prompting in my heart to think further on these words...

Something I realised is that there is nothing bad with those old wineskins. But these old wineskins are not useful or effective for storing new wine. Old wine belongs to old wineskins, and hee, doesn't old wine taste better than new wine? :)

But if you want to have more wine, you obviously need new wine! And how are you going to store new wine? Why, new wineskins of course. :)

Think the old wineskins mean the old ways of thinking and serving and how I see and do and understand things in the old uni ministry. But now that I'll be going over to the new Adults ministry, and a new phase of life, I realise that God wants to tell me that there are some old wineskins I'm still holding onto, trying to shoehorn new experiences into old wineskins.

In fact, I have already been doing that in the NUS ministry, and that caused me a lot of discomfort and struggle during those times, when I was having my old ways of thinking. But really thank God for Weizhu and Peter who helped me change my mindset in many ways. :D

But not just so, this doesn't only apply to ministry-wise. I think God wants to tell me that, for a very long time, I've been holding on to some old, old mindsets and perceptions of myself that He wanted me to throw away a looooong, looooong time ago.

(And they're starting to smell a bit too. :P)

Just like what 1 Cor 13:11 says,
"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me."

OMG. This is a revelation, an eye-opener. Why didn't I see this truth earlier?

I jotted down some "old wineskins" in my life.
1. The way that I see myself.
2. The way that I relate with people, including my crushes. :) old, old stuff indeed.
3. The way how I perceive God.
4. The way I perceive others.
5. The way I show love.
6. The way I serve.
7. The way I handle my emotions, especially when fearful and insecure.

I think God wants me very much to really be joyful in this last few weeks of uni ministry. And to be equally joyful in the next ministry. To push on to the very max, joyfully giving my very all to Jesus.

I'm also reminded of what one of the Adults CLs had shared with me some months ago. She shared with me that being willing to change mindsets when we enter the Adults ministry is very important, 'cos there have been members, and even leaders, who couldn't take the transition, because they were unable to adapt successfully.

What works in today's phase of life may not necessarily work for tomorrow's phase.

I think He is telling me even now, encouraging me not to dwell in melancholy, but to entrust all my old wineskins into His hands, and prepare the new wineskins for the fresh new wine He'll be pouring into my life very soon.

Wow! :D Thank God, so refreshed and encouraged by this verse... felt my spirit, after many days of tiredness and melancholy, very lifted up by this word from God! :D

Praise God! He is so so so good! :D
Praise Him Praise Him
Praise Him Praise Him
Praise Him in everything!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Of Human Resolutions and Divine Resolve - Hope and Focus

Hmm... oh yah. The sermon itself spoke to me too. It was "A New You", from Ephesians 2:19-22. Jasmine shared 3 main points:
1. A new family
2. A new foundation
3. A new focus

Think the 2nd point really spoke to me. I learnt something new: Evaluating my day with God - did I learn to love God more? Learn something new about Him? And have I loved my neighbour more?

Else the day would have been a failure. But thank God, with Christ, we can always start afresh each new day! It's never too late! =)

And the part about security - this sentence struck me:
"But when we understand God's unfailing love, we would be the most secure people on earth."

Hmm... so a new start... I'm thinking. What are some things that I want to grow in in the next year?

Definitely, one thing would be growing less inwards-looking, more outwards-looking. And upwards-looking too. :)

To shepherd two sheep. It's been an old, old resolution for many years already, and hee, God has been faithful, I'm now following up on a younger brother. Very touched by His grace to me. His love never fails.

To train up my 2 chosen MM successors in NUS ministry by February.

To bring one working adult friend into the Adults ministry by June. (by faith!)

To find a job in the media sector by February... then perhaps end December find a job in SPH or MediaCorp...

To finish reading the Old Testament by end 2007.

Actually, come to think of it, a lot of these resolutions are things that we intend to DO.

But just how many of these resolutions aim to BE?

Perhaps the problem with our resolutions, especially for us Christians, is not that we do not dream enough resolutions.

The problem is that we do not dream resolutions BIG enough.

Dare to dream such big dreams for God, that without God, they will utterly fail.

I'm not thinking of resolutions that aim to take over the world or something like that. I'm thinking of resolutions that aim for something deeper - a transformation of the soul.

To be like that kernel of wheat that falls to the ground and dies. When it dies, it produces many seeds. Or to be a fisher of men.

I'm thinking again... what framework could I use for my resolutions this coming year?

Think what Jasmine shared about the 2 greatest commandments in the Bible, it struck me a lot:
"Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

And love your neighbour as yourself.

Think I'll rewrite my resolutions then.

1. Loving God with all my heart:
I want to love God deeper, to be more open with Him in my prayers. To turn to Him more often, especially in my times of discouragement and melancholy.

2. Loving God with all my soul:
I resolve to sing at least one thanksgiving song to Him each morning in prayer... just to thank Him for who He is.

Especially to grow in the attitude of joy - something that I really, really want to grow in.

3. Loving God with all my mind:
To practise combatting the insecure and negative thoughts that keep coming into my mind with the Word of God. One way: Pray to God daily to help me grow in this area. I don't really know any other ways, except studying. But I found that prayer is the most powerful way to grow, besides the Bible.

To trust God to provide for all my needs, because I keep on committing the sin of worry. That includes my job search, my future life partner, my ministry, etc... to remember constantly, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness...

4. Loving God with all my strength:
Ah... this one ah... first thing that comes to my mind is jogging.

I can jog. Just that it's really not something that I'm inclined to do. :)

Another thing... I'm thinking again. Strength - I think one thing that needs a lot of strength is endurance, self-control and patience.

Emotional strength - the patience to wait out an emotionally trying time... to wait upon Him for His promises... when I'm tempted to argue with someone or flare up.

Endurance and self-control - times when I feel like sleeping a bit more, feel like being selfish, taking that extra piece for myself.

Emotional strength and self-control - Lord, there's really two things I want to grow in this year - these are the two things.

Oh yes... the word "hope" comes to my mind.

Hebrews 6:17-19
17Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.
18God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.
19We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

And "focus". Wow. I think His Spirit is right here with me, and He's gently nudging me, like, oei, Yeu Ann, don't forget these very two things that I want you to know and take notice of...

5. Loving my neighbour as myself.

I'm getting quite tired here, so I'll put this off for later. :)
Came back from service and a good dinner with my dear CG. Actually, was supposed to usher today, but was sick, and feeling tired and weak, and Jiadai noticed, and thank God for her caringness, :) hee, I got excused.

Was originally thinking whether I should do duty anyway, 'cos it's about being committed to ministry, but think this verse assured me that it's ok, it's really my heart that counts - "For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not what one does not have." And besides, I'll be helping out with HopeKids tomorrow, and I need the energy for taking care of the children tml. :) God knows that I really need the energy... haha....

Anyway, thanks a lot to my dear bros and sisters for their care and concern - pple like Bo, Guanrui, Zhiwei and Flince and YF and quite a few others who asked me how I was (after listening to me coughing my lungs out during service). It's a very small thing, but touches me a lot! :)

Another thing to really thank God for, was when I went off to the loo, Bowen helped to write out my sermon notes for me while I was absent. Very, very touched! Thank you so much bro!

Hee... yes, this is something that I've noticed in the bros who came over from the NS group this year... I'm very struck by their love and unity - even after going to different ministries e.g. NUS, NTU or even overseas... they still keep in touch and serve one another in big and small ways e.g. get extra green tea for one another... rest assured, brothers, while you go about loving one another, though you may not know it, others are watching your lives - and they can see Christ's love made very real in you guys!

Today's sermon and praise encouraged me a lot. I'm not feeling well physically, and that old feeling of insecurity's coming back in waves, but thank God so much, think He's allowing me to go through my "approval addiction" cold-turkey...

While I was worshipping God during the worship, and having quite a lot of worries on my mind, this phrase came to my mind: "The Crucified Life."

Asked Him to explain to me what this meant. Think He impressed on me that all these worries I'm having are part of learning to die to my old self, when I feel the insecurities pop up in my mind, I need to push on, to deny myself and even when I face rejection - something I fear a lot, actually - as long as my conscience's clear, and I've done my best - just keep going on because of Jesus. There's quite a lot of things I have to learn to put to death daily, and honestly, I'm finding out that it really isn't easy.

It may be one thing to love those who hate you, but what do you do if that person is a Christian? For a long time, I struggled with a lot of feelings about that. But I think over time, through the Bible, and the advice of my CL, I've become increasingly more secure and stable in my heart. I believe Daddy is putting me through all these tests in order to mould me to become more like Christ's response.

Hee... thank God, I think I made a breakthrough in this area today. Just something small that, between me and Daddy, only He knows. But I know that no breakthrough is too small for Him to take joy in!

Some Quickie Reflections About Myself

Just read Huanyan's latest post. Think it's very inspiring. And also read Hong Teck's email to us about making purposeful New Year's resolutions. Think the spirit that I caught from Hong Teck's email is that it's not so much the making of New Year's resolutions that counts rather than the spirit of being purposeful.

Like Jesus said, "The kingdom of heaven is forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it." If we want to advance together with the kingdom of heaven, we gotta push forward purposefully and forcefully.

I was playing this war-game where a tank was rolling forward (and destroying everything in its way), and the infantry came storming forcefully besides the tank. Think it's a visual metaphor for how we likewise should have this same attitude of forcefully pushing forward. Especially us men.

Personally, I realised something about myself - though it's an old realisation, so it's more of a reminder. I'm too laid-back, preferring others to take the initiative and pull me along. Unless I get frustrated, in which case I get up and start moving on.

Truth is, it's not comfortable for me to push out of my comfort zone, 'cos I like stable and safe situations. If things don't change, great! If things change... can lah... but rather not, if I can.

Enough of my pontifications - let's get something done, and push forward purposefully for Christ!

But I need to keep well this in mind what Peter told me at the beginning of 2006: "I do all these things... because of Jesus."

Or else I'd have pushed forward and laboured in vain.
"Unless the Lord builds the house,
its builders labour in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
its watchmen stand guard in vain.

In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat,
for He grants sleep to those He love."

Perhaps this could be my verse for the next year?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Went shopping with my dad yesterday. :) He had some free vouchers - wow! praise God, very timely, 'cos I need to buy stuff for working life. Hee... bought two bags and a nice belt (Pierre Cardin :)). Touched by my dad accompanying me, even though he was very tired, he didn't complain, but even paid the surplus for me... very touched by his love for me!

Hmm... today... was a beautiful day. :D The sun finally came out. You never really quite appreciate something until you miss it for a long time. (Which, in my case - or Singapore's case - was many days.)

So beautiful... was walking through the small park next to NUS MacDonald's when I saw the sun peeking through the trees and the dragonflies flying back and forth, and the beautiful flowers... I couldn't help but sing this very old song:

All things bright and beautiful
All creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful
The Lord God made them all

Hmm... just msged my CG whether they wanted to go out watch the fireworks at Marina Bay. Actually, feel quite shy to ask them. Dunno why - I'd really rather wait for others to ask me, than take the initiative to invite. But inspired by one bro who shared during CG, that he chose to see the brothers and sisters in church as friends, not just "church friends".

Realised that even after many years, I still tend to compartmentalize. But I know He's been changing my perspectives gradually over the years. God's very patient with me. :)

Well, see how it turns out... if not, I'll take it as a sign from God that I should spend this time catching up with a dear old friend of mine. Even though he seems far from believing in God, let alone becoming a Christian, I just want to thank God for his friendship - think it's really a blessing and a privilege to have him as a friend.

Or if he can't, well, I'll take it as a sign from God then that I should spend the time with my parents. :) Hee hee... but seriously, I think He wants me to spend the time with my family - I just feel this prompting in my heart...

Oops, I feel like Gideon, testing God to see what's His will... :P

Last CG of the Year

Had CG in LT32 (or was it LT33?) with my dear CG. Simple, but meaningful - Flince and Hongtao got us to close our eyes... and stick out our "non-muscle" hands (that means non-dominant lah...)...

Then they slathered glue on the guys' hands, and TOMATO/CHILLI SAUCE on the girls' hands!


Then Yufen began her sharing from Isaiah 43:18-19:
18"Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.

Thank God for that verse - it spoke to me in a very timely way. 'Cos the past few days I've become increasingly melancholic and dwelling on past things.

But what YF shared was that if we keep on looking back at the past, we are going to miss what God is doing now.

It's like a man looking backwards while trying to walk forwards. Sooner or later he's going to dent his head against a lamppost.

Also Matthew 9:16-17 talks about the need to have a forward-looking attitude - "new wine into new wineskins", not old wineskins - our old mindsets.

Think it's very timely, 'cos I'm going over to Adults anytime next month (as I've been mentioning many times already).

So YF shared with us the importance of taking stock of our lives, with God's help. We should talk with God... and not only that, after talking/babbling/ranting, we should let God reply... listen to Him! :)

She asked us to take some time to reflect and think about what we have grown in and learnt from this year. The purpose of reflecting being NOT to dwell on the past, but to fish out lessons from our experiences, so that we can apply them for the present and future experiences.

And lastly, she shared with us that we need to start looking ahead and clarify our purpose, as v19a says.
"See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?"

Questions such as what do we hope to see ourselves grow in in the next year? And how about our CG as a whole? It's not YF's CG... it's OUR CG.

:) Very meaningful... even tho I'll be gg over to a different CG, hee, doesn't mean that I can "throw away" this teaching... 'cos this understanding is equally useful in the new CG that I'll be moving on to. Shared with Claramae some time ago about what God had impressed on me, the importance of having faith and a forward-looking attitude in the new ministry.

Hee... anyway, I love my CG very much. For all its flaws and weaknesses e.g. a lot of us are phlegmatics or borderline phlegs (like me), we tend to wait for each other to take the initiative, there's this sweetness in the CG that simply can't be matched, heh! It's hard to get us to share, but once we start sharing, think the sharing's very real, honest and heartfelt. =)

After the sharing, we all got to wash our hands. Oh yeah, the sisters are really wicked. They will show you their DIRTY hands... and after that, while your back's turned, they'll SLAP you on your back... with their other not-so-dirty hand. Scared me a lot, they did... haha!

Anyway, we brothers shook our tomato-soggy hands... not like the sisters! haha... hurray for the M.A.C.H.O. brothers!

Anyway, quite a bit more to write, but thank God for this dear CG... I'm so proud of them! Guess the feeling of missing them will start sinking in sooner or later, but for now, I'll just enjoy their company till the day I cross over. :)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Liberalism and neurology | Free to choose?

Found this article. Think I'll post a response to this article soon.

Dec 19th 2006
From The Economist print edition
Modern neuroscience is eroding the idea of free will

IN THE late 1990s a previously blameless American began collecting child pornography and propositioning children. On the day before he was due to be sentenced to prison for his crimes, he had his brain scanned. He had a tumour. When it had been removed, his paedophilic tendencies went away. When it started growing back, they returned. When the regrowth was removed, they vanished again. Who then was the child abuser?

His case dramatically illustrates the challenge that modern neuroscience is beginning to pose to the idea of free will. The instinct of the reasonable observer is that organic changes of this sort somehow absolve the sufferer of the responsibility that would accrue to a child abuser whose paedophilia was congenital. But why? The chances are that the latter tendency is just as traceable to brain mechanics as the former; it is merely that no one has yet looked. Scientists have looked at anger and violence, though, and discovered genetic variations, expressed as concentrations of a particular messenger molecule in the brain, that are both congenital and predisposing to a violent temper. Where is free will in this case?

Free will is one of the trickiest concepts in philosophy, but also one of the most important. Without it, the idea of responsibility for one's actions flies out of the window, along with much of the glue that holds a free society (and even an unfree one) together. If businessmen were no longer responsible for their contracts, criminals no longer responsible for their crimes and parents no longer responsible for their children, even though contract, crime and conception were “freely” entered into, then social relations would be very different.
We, the willing

For millennia the question of free will was the province of philosophers and theologians, but it actually turns on how the brain works. Only in the past decade and a half, however, has it been possible to watch the living human brain in action in a way that begins to show in detail what happens while it is happening (see survey). This ability is doing more than merely adding to science's knowledge of the brain's mechanism. It is also emphasising to a wider public that the brain really is a just mechanism, rather than a magician's box that is somehow outside the normal laws of cause and effect.

Science is not yet threatening free will's existence: for the moment there seems little prospect of anybody being able to answer definitively the question of whether it really exists or not. But science will shrink the space in which free will can operate by slowly exposing the mechanism of decision making.

At that point, the old French proverb “to understand all is to forgive all” will start to have a new resonance, though forgiveness may not always be the consequence. Indeed, that may already be happening. At the moment, the criminal law—in the West, at least—is based on the idea that the criminal exercised a choice: no choice, no criminal. The British government, though, is seeking to change the law in order to lock up people with personality disorders that are thought to make them likely to commit crimes, before any crime is committed.
The coming battle

Such disorders are serious pathologies. But the National DNA Database being built up by the British government (which includes material from many innocent people), would already allow the identification of those with milder predispositions to anger and violence. How soon before those people are subject to special surveillance? And if the state chose to carry out such surveillance, recognising that the people in question may pose particular risks merely because of their biology, it could hardly then argue that they were wholly responsible for any crime that they did go on to commit.

Nor is it only the criminal law where free will matters. Markets also depend on the idea that personal choice is free choice. Mostly, that is not a problem. Even if choice is guided by unconscious instinct, that instinct will usually have been honed by natural selection to do the right thing. But not always. Fatty, sugary foods subvert evolved instincts, as do addictive drugs such as nicotine, alcohol and cocaine. Pornography does as well. Liberals say that individuals should be free to consume these, or not. Erode free will, and you erode that argument.

In fact, you begin to erode all freedom. Without a belief in free will, an ideology of freedom is bizarre. Though it will not happen quickly, shrinking the space in which free will can operate could have some uncomfortable repercussions.

Seasons of the Soul

Hee... another reflection is also that resting is a much-needed phase. There are seasons in our walk with Jesus. Spring, summer, autumn and winter. Right now it feels like a winter in my soul, when everything seems cold. dark and gray. It's not one of my favourite seasons, hee.

After the intense ministry and outreach season recently, partly because of the ministry workload, and my own melancholy and physical tiredness and discouragement, I found it very hard to pray. Just reading the Bible, difficult already. And felt my insecurity coming back on again in heavy blasts. When fellowshipping is a chore and a struggle too.

So was trying to pray and sense God's presence. Quite hard, the past few days. But thank God so much, He exists and rewards those who earnestly seek Him. So gradually felt His presence fill and warm my heart again, especially today, this morning, like the gentle warmth of sunshine on a frosty winter morning.

The thing is, this didn't happen overnight... it took quite a while. Think it's like the aftermath of a marathon - after giving your all, you feel ultra-drained, and for the next few days, you're walking like an arthritic penguin. (right, HY? ;)) But hee, as Robert advised me, keep on walking, even during these times, and you'll recover faster.

So, haha, yeah, want to encourage all my dear brothers and sisters out there to keep on walking with God, especially after this intense ministry season, because He is the one who will restore your soul and make you new! :)

Hee... thank God for cold, rainy days of the soul... such days make you treasure the warmth of the Son like never before.

That, and a blessedly hot cup of Swiss Miss hot chocolate. :)

With mmm-marshmallows!

Song of Solomon 2:11-13
11For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

12The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.


Water from a Deeper Well: Spiritual Poverty

Spiritual poverty is experiencing the reality of our condition.

Been reading this stirring book, "How People Grow", by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. It's one of the best books that I've read this year - it was, I think, a God-sent instrument in helping transform my life to a deeper extent of humility and sweetness of spirit. :)

Hee, though actually very pleasantly surprised to see that quite a lot of things that my shepherd had shared with me before were in this book - I think God was confirming what my shepherd had so wisely inputted into my life the year before.

So, this particular chapter from the abovementioned book struck me deeply today, as I was reading it on the bus. It stirred in me old memories of last year, when I was really broken-hearted - and how I experienced God so powerfully through that time. How He brought me to my knees, and crawling to Him, I found mercy, grace, peace and joy like never before.

It especially touched me today, because I was feeling quite distant this week from God, trying to get back in touch with Him. Think He reminded me to have a broken spirit once again, to move back to my first love - Jesus Christ.

Felt encouraged after reading it, because it brought me back to the basics again. =) Hee, that I'm not alone. There's a lot to write in here, but in essence, realising that I'm a broken sinner, makes me crawl back to Jesus, and I find that I'm closer to Him like never before. :)

Hee... strangely, in the midst of my melancholy, I find Him deeper and closer like never before. When I seek Him with all my heart in prayer so stumbling and childishly, even on the bus, I find a supernatural peace fill my heart, and I just find His joy and peace filling up my heart again. Wow! :)

It's through this time of uncertainty and fear and nostalgia and loneliness - I had a weird dream just now during a night nap - that I find Him even closer, and I am much strengthened in my heart because of Him.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

So think another reminder is that He wants to be welcomed into every area of my life, even the messed-up ones. I think I've been holding back from Him in some areas of my life, not yielding fully to His guidance, not telling Him about these, nor being open to His correction in these areas.

How I long for a broken heart, for "the LORD is close to the broken-hearted, and save those who are crushed in spirit!"

And He restores my soul. :) Hee... and I'm looking forwards to sharing more testimonies of His breakthroughs in my life... God is simply so good! :D aMeN!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Really want to thank God so much. =) For my final semester results, I did quite well for my grades. Got an A-, a B, a B+ and 2Cs. Hee, feel very grateful to God for the results, because even on the day before, I had an unpleasant dream in which I got lousy grades, and for some mysterious, unexplained reasons, unable to graduate this sem!

What a horrible dream. :P

Haha... hmm... think feel very contented with these grades, because I know I did my very best this semester. Very thankful to God that I got a C for my games module, because, honestly, it was horribly hard. :)

But think the more wonderful thing is that I have a group of brothers whom I can share with... was very touched when Huanyan offered to pray for me before I checked my results through SMS. Felt much more comforted and God graciously reminded me that He knows the plans that He has for me... plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future. Amen!

Think God has been incredibly good to me all these years. :) Despite my lazy attitude many times, He, solely because of His grace, allowed me to pass all my modules (except one, but that was ungraded...). And this really is the best course for me to take - another blessing that I need to count.

Felt very contented in my heart... surprisingly, because I didn't get honours after all. But think it's very true, what the Bible says, that He enables us to be contented with whatever we receive, whether plenty or not, because He has promised His abundant provisions to every one of us who trusts in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ. :) Yay!

And think Huanyan's prayer for me helped a lot too. Reminded of what the Bible says about not being anxious about anything, but in everything we should pray to God... and His peace that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus! :D

Thank God... now here's on to the next phase of my life... onwards for His Kingdom!

A Stronger Heart

Came back from MACHO Turbo outing, a brothers' discipleship group. :) Benaiah taught us about the importance of having a strong heart for God.

Six qualities that we need to check our hearts regularly:
1. Maintaining a pure heart.
2. A contrite heart.
3. A heart that fears God (as in a healthy sense of awe).
4. A heart of faithfulness.
5. A heart of obedience.
6. A heart that seeks and loves God.

3 application points that we can apply: to Yield, to Cleanse and to Guard our hearts.

I think this teaching came in at a very timely moment. Because what Benaiah shared struck me: if our hearts for God are weak, even though we may have the sincere desire to want to do great things for God, we will not be able to sustain the pace.

A weak heart is one that is easily discouraged. It doesn't matter how strong we appear on the outside - the real test comes when we are put under the test - will we stand, or will we flee?

So it struck me that I have a weak heart. As Proverbs aptly puts it:
Proverbs 24:10
If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!

Hmm. Reflecting back on these 4.5 years, I think one thing that I need to grow in is a stronger heart. And I'm glad that God has preserved me through all these times when I faltered, and that's because He's so gracious to me. But yeah, the working world's coming, and I know that I have a weak heart, and I'm afraid that I may not be able to stand up under the pressure. The temptations to compromise my faith and integrity will be very strong. So I think God brought me to this MACHO Turbo gathering at the perfect time and place, and taught me through Benaiah this teaching.

So that He can point out to me that my heart is still weak, and more encouragingly, how to strengthen my heart to be ready for the much harder times that are to come.

Thank You, Daddy. :) Please help me grow in a stronger heart for You in the next few months. In Jesus' name, amen!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tortured For a Faith He Did Not Possess

I just read this from it's really very touching and encouraging. Made me think about a certain area of my own life too... do take a look at this!

Tortured For a Faith He Did Not Possess

The Nature of Spiritual Warfare

Thinking about this again.

I know what I need to do, and even what to think when I feel down and discouraged.

But I think I realised something just now. I realise that even though I know a lot of verses, the confusion that I feel inside my mind is due in a large part my forgetting important verses of Scriptures that I can quote to defend myself against temptations and spiritual attacks on my mind.

Jerry Bridges, in his book "The Pursuit of Holiness", describes Satan as a guerilla foe. Even though he is a defeated foe due to Christ's victory on the cross, he still keeps on striking, ambushing, deceiving and discouraging us, especially when we are weak or unaware.

So it's important, very important, to train ourselves to be able to exercise the right verses against each attack - something that Zewei taught us a few years ago, to constantly memorise and effectively deploy the Word of God against the flaming arrows of the evil one.

Alan, in his teaching about making sense of our experiences, taught us that it is important not only to see what we can learn from an experience, but to also see what Bible verses is appropriate for that experience, and what these verses tell us to do and think.

And that's something I want to make as a New Year's resolution: to train myself effectively to counter my negative thoughts and emotions with the word of God. Amen!


Oh, thank God. :) He helped remind me that the discouragement I was feeling could be one of Satan's attempts to distract me again. And that accusing voice I hear is NOT the voice of the Holy Ghost... it's Satan, the Accuser, who stands day and night accusing the saints of God.

Revelation 12:10-11
10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Christ.
For the accuser of our brothers,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
11They overcame him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;

they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death.

It's true - I'm far from perfect. I have so many things in my life that needs to be forgiven. But I do have the blood of Christ, shed for me on the cross, and I have the word of my testimony of what He has done for me - and I shall not love my life so much as to shrink from death. =)

Yes, Satan, you may come against me with those accusations of yours, but, just as the Word of God says, I come against you in the name and blood of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who loves me and has set me free!

12Therefore rejoice, you heavens
and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
because he knows that his time is short."
Just feeling sad again. Partly because of the rain, and it's so gray.

And I keep wondering, have I cared for others enough?

I'm so sorry Jesus.

But I do need to remember that I have no standards left to speak of, but Christ's standards alone.

Just feel so gray and useless at times.

No cannot! Must keep my eyes on Jesus! :)
Haha... now that sharing's over, I'll just write down that some of us went over to Ziwei's house today for Christmas dinner. Wonderful! And we got to play with her kitten. And the movie Cats and Dogs was great fun to watch. (Not forgetting one particular sister who kept adding in special sound effects during the action sequences...)

And Robert and KC dropped by, with Absolut Mandarin vodka, and Qiaoping bought a bottle of Merlot wine. Sweet! We had a good time sipping wine and vodka - did you know that one of the sisters' faces turns really RED when she drinks wine? We took photos of her... eh, don't worry sis, no matter what colour you are, we still love you! ;D

Thank God for Ziwei and to her parents too, for their hospitality and cooking - it was really delicious! =) And to all who were there - thank God for you guys, it really was a great and memorable time!

Merry Christmas, and to all a good night!
Just finished praying to Daddy just now. Wow... so refreshed, how I really, really needed that time of prayer.
As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

Actually, spent a long time just thinking and reflecting. But very touched, because I sensed that God was just waiting patiently, listening, waiting for me to think things through and process them.

I apologised to Him, saying sorry for being so quiet. But I think He said it's ok, don't worry. "Be still and know that I am God." And I remembered, after reading Shuyi's latest blog entry, that He accepts my melancholic nature, and even though the phlegmatic side of me means that I tend to take a very long time to start sharing my thoughts freely with Him, He still waits there patiently.

In fact, I think He actually enjoys my company! :)

One thing that was weighing quite a bit on my mind was the question whether I had done enough for Him in this NUS ministry. "God knows that I have done so little for Him." I was thinking about whether I had helped make people feel cared for, loved, etc... in part, due to the fact that I only got a very few Christmas cards this year from my bros and sisters.

So I thought about it, wondering if I had to work harder next time, and was I being an effective servant of Christ? Jesus knows I have so many weaknesses, especially in building close friendships... so felt guilty and down about that. And did I make any impact on the lives of those around me this semester? An aching, unanswered question.

But memories of Yufen's conversation with me at S11 where she had encouraged me about my value in God's eyes, regardless of titles or roles or number of sheep, came back to mind. And Jesus Himself reminded me from the passage about Him being the vine, and I'm just a branch - He is the One who impacts people through me. I'm NOT the one who impact people - HE is the one who will do the impacting.

Just like a sword can't cut through anything on its own, neither can I do so. But a sword, even a poor broken one, in the hand of a great swordmaster, is a lethal and mighty weapon, capable of scything through entire ranks and battles.

And I'm so thankful that I have done my best, by the grace of God, and poured myself out like a drink offering. I've really spilled every inch of my energy and heart into serving God in this ministry, and I know that He will reward me for whatever good I have done, by His mercy and grace.

And I know that all this, including my redemption and that precious day when I decided to turn back to Him, is all because of Him. I now know I REALLY cannot do anything good or effective apart from Him at all, not the least jot, not the tiniest iota. But when I remain in Him, spending time with Him in prayer, seeking His very face, His heart, and loving Him and meditating on His precious words...

Somehow, somehow, mysteriously, wonderfully, I find that He moves me like a chess piece, He moves and compels my spirit and heart... He fills me with His love... I really cannot do anything apart from Him, but in Him I can do EVERYTHING!

To be honest, I find it difficult still to draw near to Him at times, especially when I'm hungry for human company, for fellowship, and doing my work... I find that I keep going astray.

And oh yeah, I don't like the fact that I'm still so introspective and self-centred. I know that this blog of mine has a lot of my own ramblings and thoughts, and I wish I was more outwards-looking. But I have faith that I will not remain the same in this area all my life - as I pray to God regarding this area of my life, He will transform me more and more.

Because I've just finished reading Matthew 26-28, and I'm so awestruck by Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection - and His Great Commission... and His assurance that "And surely I am with you always, to the end of the age." Wow...

So in conclusion, I feel really revitalised and renewed in heart and mind. How precious is God's Word! How wonderful His Spirit! How sweet the sound of His grace to me! :) I think He's renewing and giving me fresh hope and faith to face towards the unknown future, and making my heart fill up again with His love that I so desperately need. =)

Yup, yup!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Wow, thank God for today. :D It was a wonderful time celebrating Flince's bday and the carolling session. Think Huanyan's written a tome on it in his blog entry, so shan't write more on it. Hee hee... so I'll carry on from that point where quite a number of us went home.

Initially wanted to go watch movie with Bo, Swee and the other bros and sisters. But decided I needed to rest earlier and save money too - I've been burning money this month more than the whole of Singapore does during the Hungry Ghost Festival.

And also thought of spending the time with God as well - it's Jesus' birthday today mah... and also I really needed to spend some close time with Him - the past 2 weeks have been a whirlwind for me, MM and all that... was feeling very dry spiritually, and I sensed that I was becoming very self-centred in my attitude, especially today.

And I know that I really need to go back to Jesus when that happens...

But when I was on my way back, I felt really disappointed, starting to regret not going with the brothers and sisters who stayed back to watch a movie.

And when I walked back home, I felt really lonely. Was thinking that this is my last Christmas wif the NUS bros and sisters... and probably the last time I can spend such a late night like this with them. And when I reached home, nobody was at home. My parents and sister were out.

Felt that chill of loneliness fill my heart again - something that I'd not felt since the start of this year.

Took my Bible and tried reading the Christmas story, but the carols that we had sung kept echoing in my head and I felt even lonelier, because carols are best sung in a group setting...

So closed the Bible and shared with God my sadness and disappointment.

Then was thinking whether to call Huanyan to chat with him. Thought about it - I mean, shouldn't we draw strength from God when we feel lonely? But also remembered what one of my old sheps and CLs had told me before, that God created other people to help meet our need for company too.

So msged Huanyan that I was feeling lonely at home and wanted someone to chat with. Thank God he was on his way home, so called him.

Then HY said that Robert was with him, and passed the phone over to Robert.

Robert, wow, thank God for him so much, blessed me a lot with his cheery words of encouragement, and what he told me really struck me a lot.

He said that I made the right decision to go back earlier, because we older people (haha...) need to rest, seriously, and besides, Christmas ultimately is all about Jesus - the very thing that had been in my thoughts before I called Huanyan! - so why not take time to go back earlier and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas?

And also, the carnal self of ours wants to stay out late, watch movies, booze, etc... he had just drunk a whole lot of alcohol that night and that was killing his throat - thirsty! So we need to strike a balance, draw the line.

Felt very encouraged when he told me all that, because I realised that I had made a good decision after all to go back earlier - even though I had earlier felt that it was a stupid mistake to go back home.

So something very wonderful today was that I learnt from this experience that sometimes when I make the right choice, a good decision, with all the right reasons and motives... it can actually feel like a bad decision!

I realised that our hearts are REALLY REALLY REALLY deceitful beyond all understanding. I had felt so guilty, and yet God saw my heart to want to honour Him, and He was pleased... Wah, I really must learn to walk by the Spirit and not lean on my feelings, but rely on the Word of God as the true navigational instrument for my life!

And also, I realised that I had fallen into the classic trap of worrying about the temporal future - which was over something so small, and frankly, inconsequential - as compared to having an eternal viewpoint, that my life was never my own to begin with - it's all about living to EXTEND HIS KINGDOM!

This verse had also come to my mind: "If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow Me..."

That verse impressed itself very strongly into my heart.

So I think God impressed on my heart after that conversation - really thanks so much, HY and Robert... thank God for wonderful spiritual buddies like you! - that for all my failures today, self-centred attitude, etc... I had passed one of His tests of discipleship... to make the decision to honour Him with my finances and my health...

And Ps Jeff's msg during the Christmas service also spoke to me about giving our own lives to Jesus as a gift, just as He gave His life for us as a gift... I responded during the altar call, and I realised that He was already answering my prayer today!

Whoa... so glad I can give Jesus a gift after all this Christmas... the gift of my own decision to go back and spend quality time with Him! Hee hee... felt so much joy fill my heart after I realised that truth... and I think I felt Him smile in my heart.

And I also realised that God had given me many opportunities to pray or bless some people on the way home - e.g. seeing YF sharing wif XL on the MRT home, think the Spirit reminded me to support them in prayer, encourage a dear brother to share his testimony with a younger brother, chat with Wenjuan and enjoy her company, chat with Benny...

And I got to chat with my aunt who called at 2.20 am from the USA! You know, she was trying so hard to contact my dad, but didn't manage to do so - and was going to stop calling that day... if I wasn't at home earlier, God knows what could have happened... she mentioned to me that my speech had improved a lot... I think it's in terms of tone and pronunciation... so I took the opportunity to say "thank God for that..." (said it quite a few times hee hee... because I know my aunt's not really committed as a Christian... hope this sows a few seeds in her heart...)

And she reminded me to visit my old principal from the special school for the hearing-impaired that I went to many years ago... wow... what she told me was that this principal had put in so much effort to take care of me... so I should visit her soon... esp since she's now very old and can't walk. So I told her I'll visit Sister Anne this week.

Hmm... All these were things that I wouldn't be able to do if I had chosen to watch the movie. It's not wrong... i think both choices were quite good in themselves... but I chose the better one - because I wanted to honour God... and found it very tough to do so... because it meant dying to my own carnal desires to want to enjoy myself instead of spending desperately needed time with God...

And yet He chose to minister to me, despite my reluctance, and looking-back attitude.

Wow... why did He do that? I don't know... yet He still loves me so much... I realise that He is training me up to be a disciple of His... not just a believer... and I have so much to learn in following the way of the Master, Jesus Christ.

I'm getting more eager to go over to the Adults ministry as the days go by. I think this eagerness is not from myself - it's due to God's grace. Because from what I can see so far, the bros and sisters in the Adults ministry are very eager to be disciples of Christ who live a real-world faith. I think I failed as a disciple of Christ in the tertiary ministry, but like Jesus reinstating Peter as a disciple after Peter had denied Him THREE times, I think He's graciously picking me up again and calling me to follow Him and be His disciple.

True discipleship... it is never easy. But the rewards of following Him are worth all eternity.

Merry Christmas, dear friends, and may the joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts this wonderful season, and even if you don't have a personal relationship with God yet, may the peace of God begin to touch your hearts during this season - "and on earth peace to men on whom His favour rest..." May the Lord's favour be upon you this wonderful season!

He gave the greatest Gift of all when He gave Jesus
He sent the greatest Gift of love wrapped in His Son.
He brought us hope when we had nothing left to hope for
Redemption's story had begun

He gave the greatest Gift of all when He gave Jesus
He sent the greatest Gift of love wrapped in His Son.
He brought us hope when we had nothing left to hope for
At last the long awaited promise,
The Gift the world was waiting for had come!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Some reflections about the Christmas multimedia (MM)

During the altar call during the Christmas service, think the Holy Spirit impressed on my heart this sentence: "Doing this MM thing was never about me all along. It was for all those people who need Christ."

It struck me that what truly matters in His eyes is that He can use the MM to touch and soften the hearts of the people. And that is the true usefulness of whatever service we do for Jesus. If we serve, and people affirm us, but the Kingdom of God is not advanced in any way, then our ministry, no matter how beautiful-looking, is a complete and utter failure in His eyes. It will just be a ministry of straw.

Thank You so much for reminding and correcting me today, dear Lord. Not my kingdom, but YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN! AMEN!

Hee hee... I'm also so grateful to God that He has graciously allowed me, despite all my imperfections and flaws and pride, to share in the joy of this harvest. Something that struck me was that my name appears in the church bulletin as one of those who helped in the harvest, no matter how much work I did, or how little, for that matter.

And I was reminded of Jesus' parable of the workers in the vineyard. Whether we are the first-hour workers, or the last-hour workers, God can choose to reward us in ways that we can't imagine - unless we have this attitude of "what's in this for me?"


On a lighter note, it's really been a great joy being able to help out in this MM production. Think it's my last time being able to help out as a student volunteer - and we all know that students are VERY free during the holidays. :)

But not only that - I really really really thank God for the blessing of being able to work closer with the people who serve full-time on the church staff. It was an eye-opening experience, being able to see for myself first-hand what serving God full-time is like, and struck by their readiness and willingness and dedication to serving God full-time.

And when I'm talking about full-time, I mean full-time.

E.g. Steven Yeoh answering late-night calls and scheduling MM bookings, Simon staying back in Nexus Auditorium till 1 or 2 am just to wait for those staying back to finish their own ministry stuff in the auditorium, Kin Wee staying overnight in the MM control room to work on the sound editing and video production and Desmond staying back in Nexus late at night even though he's got a young son to take care of.

It's also been a great experience seeing how their different personalities - e.g. Steven's very meticulous and systematic, Kin Wee's very phlegmatic (in a good sense), with a very good-natured and patient disposition even under high stress and not-so-punctual volunteers (like me :P) and Simon's constantly hilarious jokes and cheerful spirit - for instance, when he saw Adam's and God's hands touching each other at the end of the video - supposed to be a very heartwarming and majestic ending, he joked that this is so much like the Nokia logo that appears on his handphone...

"You know what??? We can play the Nokia ringtone at the end of the video, and say, 'Proudly sponsored by Nokia'!!!"

I also got to learn a lot from these men of God how they faithfully use their different talents and strengths to serve God - e.g. Kin Wee, in order to keep himself fit as a dance trainer and one of the dancers for the Christmas service, does morning stretchings (and we're talking leg splits here).

I'm also very struck by the youthful vibrancy and spirit of these four servants of God - Steven, Kin Wee, Desmond and Simon. As a student for many years, I had always seen the bros and sisters in the Adult ministries as not very enthu compared to the youth or tertiary... but after working in such close quarters with them, I realise that even though they're older than us in age, and some are married (and one of them , they have this very youthful, positive and enthusiastic spirit in them that actually make them so much more energetic than some people much younger than them!

What a wonderful testimony to the power of God in their lives! They are living examples of what it means to be servants of God:

Isaiah 40
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

And also another thing that I learnt was that God is an EXCELLENT and SYSTEMATIC and DETAILED Craftsman. After listening to Genesis 1 again and again while doing the video-editing (I have never listened to a Bible passage so many times in one day before), I gradually realised that there is so many practical things that we can learn and apply from Genesis 1 and 2 - e.g. how systematic God is.

But I think one of the best things that I learnt from meditating on Gen 1 is WHY God created the world in 6 days. I mean, He could have just simply said everything on the 1st day. :) But why didn't He?

I think the reason He chose to spread out the work over 6 days is because, unlike so many of us in this multitasking generation, He chose to concentrate on one task each day, thereby putting His heart fully into whatever He did.

What a magnificent contrast to the half-hearted and hasty work that we so often produce in our lives!

And I realised that God really poured His love so fully into each and every act of Creation that He did. This was no job for Him - this was His very own work of art, something beautiful, something majestic... that would show His very own glory and goodness.

Somehow, I think this entire MM editing experience has been a truly wonderful, and I pray, a transformative experience for me, in realising the heart of God in how He works. I do eagerly hope that these experiences I've learnt, God will help me carry over and apply in the Adults ministry, so that I can "do [my] best to present [myself] to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

Amen! :)
Quite tired today, but was very thankful after today's Christmas service. Really very thankful to God that the MM went well, and special thanks to my dear bros and sisters who affirmed me... feel very loved! :)

And thank God so much for Zhiwei, who blessed YF, Flince and me with a wonderful, wonderful carved wooden discs bearing our Chinese names. It's REALLY so very nice... ha, pity I don't have a camera on hand with me to take a photo of it.

Felt so touched that Zhiwei would labour so long to make these kind of gifts for us... Something that he said struck me a lot. He said, "I'm glad you like it very much. If you like it, that's an added bonus."

Wow... in a simple, off-the-cuff statement, I was reminded that in the end, it's the heart of wanting to give that really counts in Jesus' eyes. Better the poor widow who gave to God out of her poverty, than the rich men who gave out of their plenty.

Frankly, I'm not a good giver. I just don't find it natural to give, but something that the Bible encourages me is that God prefers a cheerful heart that gives cheerfully to a grudging heart that gives grudgingly. Give as much as your heart prompts you to give, and God, who loves a cheerful giver, will make all His grace abound to you! :D

Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Bus guide is poorly designed. Make it more user-friendly"

Thank God, my letter to the Straits Times forum got posted online! :) Was inspired both by a jialat experience on Tuesday when I checked my bus guide to see what times the NightRider service arrives.

Didn't see the important info that said that the NR buses come ONLY on Fridays, Sats and eves of Public Holidays, bcos the words were printed in tiny, tiny letters.

I'm normally a meticulous person, but frankly, even I missed out on that info. So wrote an email to the ST Forum, inspired in part by Shuyi's own forum posting. (Proud of ya, sis!)

(It does give you a rush, seeing your name up there on the ST Forum... hee hee...)

Like how the ST Forum Editor managed to condense my 'loh-soh' email.

Original email:

Better page design and typography sorely needed for Transitlink Guide

As a freelance designer with experience in information design, I have observed to my dismay that, currently, the TransitLink Guide makes use of a lot of tiny narrow letters densely packed together in a linear

Furthermore, essential key information, e.g. days of service and bus-timings, are not well-structured and not sufficiently visual enough for a quick glance. You have to carefully scrutinize the information, and even then, you may not be clear. I believe there are many fellow commuters who can understand what I am saying.

Such poor design of the bus schedules can cause those with poorer eyesight (e.g. senior citizens) or reading in poor lighting conditions to misunderstand or miss out on critical information, e.g. the NightRider services only come on Fridays, Saturdays and eves of Public Holidays, but this important information is not immediately obvious at first glance.

Thus, I strongly suggest that the design of the Guide can be much improved by using a better design e.g. using a table of days and highlighting in bright colours only those days that the bus will arrive. I think this kind of simple redesigning will not take up too much page space or cost too much to amend, and will go a long way in
further enhancing the quality and usability of a very useful Guide.

If the designer of the TransitLink Guide is not yet sufficiently convinced, may I suggest that he/she tries using his/her own copy on a dark and stormy night at 11.30 pm with terrible street-lighting while trying to look out for the bus at the same time?

And this is the edited one that came out:

Dec 21, 2006
Bus guide is poorly designed. Make it more user-friendly

As a freelance designer with experience in information design, I have observed to my dismay that the TransitLink Guide makes use of a lot of tiny letters densely packed together in a linear list.

Essential information such as days of service and bus arrival/departure times are not well-structured and are hard to read at a quick glance.

You have to scrutinise the information carefully and even then, you may not be clear about the information.

I believe many commuters know what I am saying.

Such a poor design of the bus schedules can cause those with poor eyesight (eg. senior citizens) or those reading them in poor lighting conditions, to misunderstand or miss out critical information.

For example, the NightRider services are available only on Fridays, Saturdays and the eve of public holidays, but this important information is not immediately obvious at first glance.

I suggest that the design of the guide be improved, eg. by using a table and highlighting in bright colours only the days that the bus operates.

This kind of simple redesigning will not take up space or cost too much to amend, and it will go a long way to further enhancing the quality of what's a very useful guide.

If the designer of the TransitLink Guide is not convinced, he should try using it on a dark night in a place with bad street-lighting while looking out for the bus to come at the same time.

Yeo Yeu Ann

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Introspective Inquiry Into Intra-personal Indicators

Aha... Alliteration Again! Amazing! Awesome! Awestruck! Aw...ful? Alas... Always Alliterating Acronymically and Anagramically, Antonymical Aspects Agressively Analyzing Articles.


Ok, I'm in one of my crazy moods again. Haha! :)

Actually, was thinking with regards to what my natural personality is. I do realise the distinctions between my perceived self, my natural self and my public self.

Public self, well, I'm aware (or more aware now) of the image that I present, and was reflecting on what makes me present such a self. In short, it's insecurity, thinking that I have to do something to make others accept me, and as a result of that belief, I keep cracking jokes and doing stupid things so that others will laugh.

Thank God for that awareness - this knowledge helps me break this habit of trying to be what I'm not, or rather, what God didn't intend me to be. :)

So in reflection, knowing your personality only goes so far. Yes, you'll know why you act the way you act. But having the power to change not only the way you act, but your inner attitudes, can only come from the power of the Holy Spirit. I mean, I know that I tend to be a very insecure person, but that knowledge alone can't enable me to break my habits of seeking after people's approval.

Like how a drowning man KNOWS that he's going to drown, but he's helpless to save himself. (I mean, you think he wants to stay there drowning?)

Romans 3:20
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Romans 7:21-25
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Romans 8:1-3a
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.

But I know now that Christ came to set me free from what I myself could not do.


So hee, that was one of the thoughts that I thought I thought today.

*Caution: Cold Zone Coming Up!*
Thought for Today:
I thought a thought, but the thought I thought I thought wasn't the thought that I thought I'd thought. If the thought that I thought I thought had been the thought that I thought I thought, then I needn't have thought the thought that I thought I thought.

Have fun parsing THAT sentence! ;) You get a sparse parsely if you can parse it sparsely. (Oh my. That was a bit sparse stick.)


*End Cold Zone!*

Anyway, the second thought of the day was that actually, my natural self might actually be a MelPhleg (combination of Melancholic and Phlegmatic). Quite surprising initially, but when you think about it, actually, the observations that I've made of myself does seem to indicate that being phlegmatic is actually more dominant in me than the sanguine aspect.

Because if you consider the characteristics of a pure-C type (Logical Thinker) to a C-S type (Precisionist/Perfectionist), I'm much, much closer to a Precisionist. I really enjoy pixel-perfect precision when it comes to doing web designing, and yes, feel uneasy when forced to decide anything quickly, as my bros and sisters can tell you. :) And yes, I do my best to avoid conflicts. And I really enjoy the company of people, but prefer having only a few close friends. And yes, I do have a high tendency to procrastinate.

That's why I like neatness, but frankly, I very rarely get around to tidying up my room, because I'm simply too lazy to do so.

And actually, I realise that in high-pressure situations, my tendency to panic might be more of something that I expect myself to do. Actually, I don't like it when people panic or lose their heads. Cynthia said that I'm very cool-minded, comforting her when she was feeling very panicky. Surprised... but perhaps it's true after all? And actually, on further reflection, my "panicking" can actually be more of an expression of frustration with either myself or a fellow phlegmatic. (Sorry, Wei... :P)

And my predilection to starting at the last minute before an assignment, and frankly, not feeling very panicky - in fact I think I should be more stressed about my work at times. Hmm...

And if you were to put me to the Myers-Brigg test, I think I would be described as an intuitive thinker. Think that's true, because I keep using the word, "Think", so often in what I say or write. :) Feeler ah... well, that's the mel part of me.

Quite a surprising realization, because all this while I've thought of myself as being sanguine, or at the least, having a sanguine aspect to me. But experience shows that I definitely am not a sanguine, and I have more of the characteristics, besides a mel personality, of a phlegmatic one too.

Upon further introspection, I think that belief was, in a large extent, due to my insecurity and the mistaken belief that if I want people to like me, I have to make them laugh. (At this moment, I remember Wenjiang sharing about this experience too when he was my shepherd many years ago. Wow... now then I understand what he meant.)

And if it really turns out I do have the strengths (and weaknesses) of a phlegmatic too, what does that mean for me?

In one aspect, nothing that much really... knowing my real personality isn't, like, going to shake the heavens and the earth...

But! On the other aspect, it's a REAL eye-opener. It's like, all along I thought I was this kind of person, and tried to be this kind of person, and failed miserably, wondering why I can't be this kind of person...

And then realising that God has actually made me totally different from what I thought I was all my whole life.

And with that realisation comes a whole new sense of freedom - the joyous freedom to be really what God has made me to be, and not what I think others want me to be. (And sometimes what I think is not what others are actually thinking.)

And perhaps, best of all, there is this hope that we can discover who we TRULY are, and what we were MADE FOR, and what we CAN BE, in Christ Jesus!

Life with Jesus is so exciting... sometimes you get hit with a major epiphany out of the blue, and your life is never the same again, because of that sudden realization... could be one of those "stars" that God has graciously put in your life to draw you to set out and seek the Baby of Bethlehem, just like the Wise Men of the east did 2000 years ago.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Just finished reading a book that Daisy lent me. It's called "What You Do Best in the Body of Christ". Very interesting and helpful.

Some things I captured:
1. Attitude of Servility versus Serving

2. Spiritual gifts alone doesn't make for effective ministry - love is needed as well. Like having two wings for an airplane - you need both wings to fly.
See 1 Corinthians 13. Very very very important!!!

3. Passion + Personal Style + Spiritual Gifts.
For me:
Passion: Media + Children
Personal Style: People/Unstructured (Actually, I'm fine with either people or tasks, though I prefer interacting with people to a smaller extent.)
Spiritual Gifts: Encouragement (confirmed) + Prophecy (possible)
= direction of God's purpose for my life.

4. Some spiritual gifts can work well in combinations and there are different combinations e.g. encouragement + mercy + hospitality has a different impact from encouragement + prophecy.

5. Personal reflections on my serving in HopeKids - I enjoy it a lot, but don't really have the taste to keep doing the MM, yet really can't be the "rah-rah" type for the children. I'm much more comfortable listening to the children share their lives with me, and encouraging them, and exploring together with them their potential talents and skills. Think I do much better in small groups of children (3 to 4 children), than larger groups (say 20 kids). I struggle to enforce discipline on a larger scale, but can correct a child on a one-to-one basis (and I love it!).

Still thinking... one thing that I've been getting increasingly stressed about is how to take care of the children, keep them disciplined, etc. Maybe I'm worrying too much, and sometimes I think I should just cast my cares to the wind... oh... why not cast them onto Jesus instead? :)

To just enjoy the children's presence, and let the little ones minister to me in their own unique God-given way.

Matthew 19:14-15
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these." When he had placed his hands on them,he went on from there.

I'm thinking about this too... think this verse is telling me that sometimes the best way to bless them is just hold them and pray for them. That's why the parents brought their children to Jesus, that He might put His hands on them and pray for them.

And that is something I really really really love to do. Imagine... each one of them brimming with promise and potentiality... a precious gift from God.

Hmm, so need God's help to renew this burden and love for the children, because I'm feeling awfully tired and drained now actually. Yup, thank God for His Word and this book, think it's very timely - helped me draw back to the heart of serving Him... it's all because of Jesus' love to me. He died on the cross - for my sins, and not just my sins - the sins of the whole world.

Dear Lord, please help me go beyond myself to have a heart for You, for Your people, to serve them as You would have me serve. In Jesus' name amen.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

DISC Test Results

Took the DISC test today.

For more info, can take a look at

Dominance: People who score high in the intensity of the 'D' styles factor are very active in dealing with problems and challenges, while low D scores are people who want to do more research before committing to a decision. High "D" people are described as demanding, forceful, egocentric, strong willed, driving, determined, ambitious, aggressive, and pioneering. Low D scores describe those who are conservative, low keyed, cooperative, calculating, undemanding, cautious, mild, agreeable, modest and peaceful.

Influence: People with High I scores influence others through talking and activity and tend to be emotional. They are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. Those with Low I scores influence more by data and facts, and not with feelings. They are described as reflective, factual, calculating, skeptical, logical, suspicious, matter of fact, pessimistic, and critical.

Steadiness: People with High S styles scores want a steady pace, security, and don't like sudden change. Low S intensity scores are those who like change and variety. High S persons are calm, relaxed, patient, possessive, predictable, deliberate, stable, consistent, and tend to be unemotional and poker faced. People with Low S scores are described as restless, demonstrative, impatient, eager, or even impulsive.

Conscientiousness: Persons with High C styles adhere to rules, regulations, and structure. They like to do quality work and do it right the first time. High C people are careful, cautious, exacting, neat, systematic, diplomatic, accurate, tactful. Those with Low C scores challenge the rules and want independence and are described as self-willed, stubborn, opinionated, unsystematic, arbitrary, and careless with details.

Alan and Zewei helped analyze and explain the results. Was very surprised by my results (though it confirmed what I had been suspecting):

BTW this was done in a ministry context, to see how I tend to relate with people.

For my private self - according to the DISC philosophy, how I respond under stress is a very good measure of what my REAL self is:
The Conscientiousness (aka "Melancholic") component is very high relative to the other three. Cool... According to the overview, my general characteristics are that I'm accurate/analytical, conscientious/careful, fact-finder/precise and have high standards/systematic.

But some of my possible weaknesses are that I need clear-cut boundaries for actions/relationships, tend to get bogged down in details and prefer not to verbalize feelings. Think it's very true of me... I struggle to express verbally how I feel, but thank God for Peter, Hanhui and Ruey Fong who helped me with this area of my life.

And my greatest fear is criticism. I'm very sensitive to feedback. There's two ways to see this: Sensitive as in taking feedback very seriously - that can mean that your feedback will be seriously considered. But also, I tend to take feedback a bit too personally too, because to me, my work represents who I am, rather than what I do. True true...

Public self - the self that I project outwards to others (i.e. the self that I THINK people expect of me or that I think is needed for a particular context.)
Surprisingly, my results showed that the I part was VERY high - in fact, above the I component of my perceived self. That means I'm deliberately pushing myself to be the "horseface", the loud and chatty one, even above what I think I am, and definitely not what my real self is. :)

Hmm... not that I'm being hypocritical... I just do it to meet a perceived need in the CG, and also because I believe that being people-oriented is something that's very important in life and especially in the church. Whether this understanding's correct or not, well... lemme think about that now. :)

Alan explained something very important to me at this point. Even though a high I component shows that a person can be very people-oriented, being people-oriented is NOT the same as being relationship-oriented. Got difference here!

The lightbulb went on in my head when I heard that. 'Cos I've been mixing up the two concepts.

Quite interesting... and oh yes! I downplayed my natural C component a LOT in my public self. Zewei suggested that this could be because the CG ministry I'm in at the moment may need more of the I aspect and less of the C aspect - perhaps because other C-type people are filling that role already. But my high C component would suggest that I actually prefer to do roles like multimedia (yes, I like it a lot... hee...).

Oh, at this point, I also realise that C-type people like me prefer accuracy so much to a point that we prioritise perfection over deadlines.

And that I have various other traits of the other 3 aspects (D,I,S) in my private self too - albeit much lower than the C aspect. So that's why, even in doing work, I like to have someone together with me (S aspect), and why I can talk a lot when I'm with a friend (I aspect) and attempts too much at once (D aspect).

Finally, my perceived self - the self-image, self-identity:
This is very interesting... hee hee... according to the pattern style described by my perceived self, due to my high I and C components, I'm an Assessor.

According to the book that I got, an Assessor is one who reveals value in others. An Assessor is observant of details as well as the unique value of people. They combine a concern for particulars with an awareness and appreciation for the people needed to accomplish tasks; this lends to the development of open channels of communication. They will frequently express an enthusiasm and optimism for accomplishing tasks, as well as being an encouraging influence to those around them. These are traits they derive from the "I" influence of the character. However, their enthusiasm will be based upon a thorough assessment of the factors required to achieve the goal, and their encouragement will be directed to the accomplishment of the task at hand. Assessors are typically excellent judges of character, and will easily trust those who meet their standards.

Assessors can be counted on to do a good job, to value their associates and to pay attention to details. They have a tendency to be competitive with themselves; they push themselves to do better in order to avoid any rejection or criticism. People who have this style often have a unique teaching gift.

And oh, some famous people who have this style are Charles Darwin and Bill Gates! Cool! :D

Hmm... surprised and impressed at how perceptive the designers of the tests are... for me, it's very accurate - maybe because melancholics like me tend to reflect on ourselves a lot.

Oh, and given my high C-type results for my private self, that MIGHT put me in the realms of the Logical Thinkers, together with people like Albert Einstein. One key characteristic of them is that they tend to make decisions slowly, based on facts and logic, not emotion, asking "how" and "why" questions. Hee hee... think this is very true of me...

Think there's still some more that I left out... but in any case, it's been a wonderful time finding out more about what God has made me to be.

You know, it struck me that even though the "I" aspect of me is not naturally high, a lot of people have confirmed over the years that they feel very encouraged when I encourage them, even non-verbally through my actions and so on. Wow... thank God so much for this gift! :D Think then, this is a very strong indicator that my ability is encourage is DEFINITELY NOT a natural gift, but a supernatural one, given by the Holy Spirit. Whee! Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

Hee hee... thank God so much... He is so cool! :D Yup... excited to see how I can contribute next time to my new CG in future... and in my workplace too! To shine for Jesus! :D To be His salt and light! Onwards for Jesus! aMeN!
Just came back from the Makan Bus outing. Whee! :D Really thank God for all the bros and sisters who put their hearts into making this event a success... very pleasantly surprised too, at how Swee Leong's testimony made it so easy to slide into a spiritual conversation with one of the visitors... wow, really thank God, praying that this new friend will come to really taste and see that the Lord is GOOD! Maybe not now, but I have faith that God can use whatever we've shared to plant a little seed more into his heart... :D

Really thank God also for how He answered our prayers yesterday... because we had only one visitor from our CG, despite our invitations... but at the last minute, we had another friend coming, thanks to Eugene... wow... God really is faithful! :D Yup, really a joy getting to know these friends better... hee hee...

Such a sweet time too, under the stars at Esplanade. Praise God that He kept the weather beautiful the entire night... no rain... thanks to Him who rules the skies above! :D

Yup... Christmas' coming... feeling more and more excited... though my friend didn't come today, seeing how God brought another visitor to come... this encourages me that with God, all things are possible! Amen! So will earnestly fast and pray that my friends can come for the Christmas service as I invite them!

Some thoughts about Christmas... what gift can we give Him for His birthday this year?

(Think it's quite funny in a way, celebrating the birthday of God... yet it's amazingly true, that He who is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End, who was before Time began, should have a birthday... but wow, yes, He really knows how a human feels - including a birthday celebration!)

Pastor Jeff's sermon today made me think. He said (paraphrasing him), "We can bring Him a gift too, a gift even more precious than gold or incense... we can bring him the gift of our lives!"

Because I've been thinking about my life recently this week. I noticed how some brothers and sisters, even the very much younger ones, have a faith stronger and steadier than mine, and they really inspire me by their lives. Their lives speak to me very strongly this verse:

1 Timothy 4:12
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

To be honest, I'm tempted to start comparing myself with them, which is the start of pride. But it's true that there is so much that I can learn from them. And I've been looking at those who are not growing much, and those who have started growing more and more. So I was thinking, the question really could be: What makes people grow?

I think there are many, many things that can help people grow, including making sense of their experiences and learning from them... reading the Bible regularly... fellowship...

But I think, from what I've observed, the most critical and powerful factor that causes people to grow is simply a childlike heart to believe and act on what God's Word says. Very powerful, very simple!

In addition, those who grow really fast are those who have committed themselves wholeheartedly to living every aspect of their lives God's way. So much goodness flowing out of their lives... to be honest, it makes me envious!

But let it be a good kind of envy... to desire a deeper relationship with God, like they have! I think there's a fine line between desiring the things that spring out of a relationship with God e.g. maturity, joy, love, peace, etc., and desiring a deeper relationship with God Himself. It's all so easy to confuse the gifts for the Giver Himself.

It's like what Weizhu told me before: "Keep your desire for God central."

So what about the point about making a gift of my own life? Well, it's a personal heartfelt stirring, but somehow my heart reached a conclusion after all this thinking and everything. I think Jesus spoke to me during the worship today with a vision...

This vision was of me laying down all my fears, my failures, mistakes and sins at the foot of the cross, and after doing so, Jesus came up from behind me, put His hand on my shoulder and nodding to me, beckoned me to get up and follow Him.

And I got up, left everything that I ever had at the foot of the cross and turned around to walk with Him.

Somehow, through that vision, I felt that Jesus was telling me that the rest of my life can be a fresh new start for me from today onwards. Just lay everything of myself at the foot of the cross, and get up a new man, and follow Him wherever He may go. I just feel this conviction increasing and increasing in my heart, and somehow, I think He was telling me that I have not fully surrendered all the desires of my heart to Him. And that includes my crushes too. :) And that includes my future. And that includes my past. I keep holding on to my past, not wanting to let go.

Swee Leong's testimony also stirred my heart, especially the part when he said that he has a new purpose in life. And that struck me, because I think He convicted me that, after all these years, I've still not surrendered every aspect of my life to Him yet.

So I made a commitment to Him today, stopping at the void deck to pray. I prayed my decision to Jesus, to love Him with all my heart and soul and mind and strength from today onwards. It's just a personal decision on my part.

And I found myself singing, "I have decided to follow Jesus... No turning back... no turning back..." Seriously, I think this song in my heart was inspired by the Holy Spirit... so touched!

Just feel a deeper peace within my heart now. Somehow I have this assurance that Jesus will help me follow Him as we walk together. I know He will help me make Him the centre of my life in all that I say, all that I do. Because He has already promised this in His Word. Amen!

Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, would die for me
Amazing love, I know it's true
And in all that I do
I honour You...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Reflection - making sense of an experience

Was reflecting just now, taking a stock-check of my life. Realised that somehow my heart has become increasingly distant from God this semester, wanting to do its own things its own way - focusing on the forms of things, rather than the heart of it all, which is because of Jesus.

I think it's because this semester, I've been spending less and less time seeking Him, and when I do seek Him, often, it's like, I'm sitting down, just thinking about my own agendas and desires, wishes, fantasies etc, and my Lord is just sitting there, patiently waiting for me to stop talking to myself and start talking to Him.

Plus, I think I'm becoming increasingly slack, not wanting to push myself on harder to exercise self-control and restraint in the things that I already know I should be mature in. E.g. the way I handle crushes, the way I handle my negative feelings, my emotions. I'm like that marathon runner, who upon experience the first aches, starts walking. He never really stretches himself to the fullest limit, and so, never really grows as a result.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

I feel lousy again, because I realise that I've let myself get hoodwinked again by Satan, succumbing to temptation and insecurity and fear. What I mean is that there's this particular weakness of mine that has been with me all these years, and the thing is, every time I go through this test, I keep failing and failing. 8 years of failing... I'm amazed at His incredible patience with me!

Realised in my reflection that I've not done anything to learn from my mistakes so that I can take evasive actions - e.g. immediately accounting to my shepherd and closer brothers and sisters whom I can trust to keep me accountable. (Something like, a soldier being aware of a potential ambush or trap, taking cover immediately when he recognizes one.)

Ok, I guess I have done that in a small way, but still, I'm not living up to what I've already attained then.

Actually, yeah, thinking about insecurity, I got whammed by it again. Really feel very tempted to do something that's stupid, and insecurity makes me do very strange things. I recognise that I'm not alone - in Joyce Meyer's book, "Approval Addiction", she lists out various examples of the strange things people do when they are insecure. It's that grip of "cold turkey", when it comes to approval addiction, and God have mercy on me, it's a nasty feeling - it overwhelms you and short-circuits your rational and emotional thinking. But I need to remember well the Christian's Declaration of Freedom:

Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.


Thankful to God for His help. I was praying, asking Him to forgive me and set me free from this insecurity bondage that makes me think and therefore do such stupid and strange things, and somehow, I had this assurance that things will turn out well, because He is with me. That's all. It's His presence that really, really, really, really, really, really, really matters. I know I stand forgiven by His blood, and I stand up again by His mercy, and I stand a free man by His grace!

And this verse calmed my heart and mind:
Proverbs 3:16
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

And then it struck me. That was the verse that a brother had prophesised over me before I went into the NUS ministry, accompanied by a specific vision of me being surrounded by many trees, and lost and confused.

I think that verse was really meant to carry me through this time in NUS, and more clearly so, a weapon against the insecurity that Satan would try to tempt and attack me with. Wow. "Full circle", what Robert said last time before he moved on to Adults ministry - that came to my mind. And so, in the last weeks of the NUS ministry, I realise that God had equipped me with a powerful counter and precise antidote to my insecurity:

TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL YOUR HEART (note, it didn't say mind... because I think insecurity attacks the mind) AND LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING; IN ALL YOUR WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM (this will keep me safe from going off the good path) AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR PATHS STRAIGHT (what a wonderful promise!).

It's a painful learning experience, but thank God, I think it's really worth it, just in time for the next phase of my life. Onwards for Jesus Christ!