Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack.
Thank God for Peter listening to my worries and struggle... after I finished sharing, he asked simply:

"Do you tag your spirituality to your performance? This is what I've observed in you: Your security seems to be tied to how well you perform in ministry, in work..."

Then he deadpanned in his classic style: "
You want to be Mr. Popular? Singapore Idol."


More somberly, I have a tendency to want to be popular (due to my past background), so need to be very aware of this. I'm like Starscream... :P

Anyway, he shared this with me (Peter, not Starscream) more on MSN:
yEEah!!! managed to backup my sms to my pc says:
God gave us a unique set of talents and abilites
so understand ur strength n uniqueness
tryin to compare n trying to be somebody else only makes u forget ur uniqueness n strength
but of course this shld not be an excuse against where u can grow n improve in
just a disclaimer ha

u dun ask a melee hero to do a range hero thing
it pointless u try to ask Skeleton King to shoot aeros like Bone fletcher
Sharing this, 'cos hope it helps anyone else too! :)

Thanks so much Peter. Very helped and encouraged by what you shared with me again. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Met up with Huanyan today. Really thank God for answering my prayers... it was a very refreshing and encouraging time. Deeply blessed by HY... :D

We shared testimonies about our friends we're reaching out to, and 'tips' for encouraging our CGs to share their own testimonies, and he gave me good advice for quite a few things. :D

And hee, a question that was lingering in the back of my mind, and that I shared with him today, was: Once you've experienced a breakthrough - is it permanent, or is it only temporary?

And after we discussed, it's really like a battle, especially in the spiritual sense - you may win a breakthrough in a particular area, but you have to hold the breakthrough and not be lazy... more than that, God wants us not only to stay in that position we broke through, but to move on and reclaim more areas, be it in our lives, or in relationships, or in spiritual warfare, in evangelism, etc etc. "For the kingdom of God is forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it."

And it's so important not to be complacent in our growth, in what we have already attained... we need to move on to better and newer things that God is calling us onwards!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Blessed Christmas!

I got this sweet SMS from one of my old friends whom I messaged to wish Merry Christmas... he was my first sheep back when I was in Adults (had reached out to him during NS times) before I moved on to NUS ministry...
"Morn yew ann! Wana thank u for always rem me. Though i may be a missing sheep among ur herd, but i always keep in mind u as mi shepherd, n i still have faith n believe in Him. Thank u for ur past guidance n patience..."
Whee! :D Thank You so much dear Lord... that SMS came in as a totally unexpected blessing... esp the part in bold. It encourages me to keep on sowing and sharing the gospel with others, 'cos that's really the greatest gift you can give others for Christmas - the good news about a Saviour born 2000 years ago: Christ the Lord!

And also got a bookmark from Peter. It touched me very much. :D Thank You so much Father for these little drops of sweet grace this Christmas.

Hee, thanks for HQ's reminding me: "Be thankful for what you [already] have." Must remember to count my blessings! :)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Finger on the Pulse

Thank God! He helped me find an answer to one of my most urgent questions this morning. My question was: "What makes the difference between Christians like Alan and Andrew, my own shepherd, people like Hanhui, who live powerful and impactful lives as role models... and what hinder other Christians, like me, from living lives as impactful and influential lives for Him?"

I mean, I'm trying to put my finger on the pulse here.

Is the employee working in an isolated back office of a large corporation any less loved by God than a big and successful entrepreneur with many awards to his name?

Is the Christian who appears in the newspaper having done some admirable things any more loved than the Christian who works faithfully for years in some remote community unrecognized, known only by the people he/she works with?

It can't be so. The Bible doesn't seem to say that. Jesus promised a life full and abundant to everyone who believes in Him.

What is the secret to a life full and abundant, really? If the Lord said that He has come that we "may have life, and have it to the full", then why is it that so many of us Christians still feel so small and unfruitful for Him?

In short, how do we go about living the full and abundant life in Christ?

Then, as I was doing my work just now, I saw my copy of "Every Day with Jesus" (got it for free from Festival of Praise this year), and somehow decided to flip it open.

And these words spoke clearly to my heart, which I think is God's way of answering my question regarding His Word:
Something more than physical nourishment is needed if we are to - really live. We require also the spiritual sustenance that is to be found in the words that come from the mouth of God. 'Our souls... are word-shaped.'.. [O]ur relationships to others (and also to ourselves) are shaped by some 'word' or other, some idea or philosophy of what it means to be a person. From the moment we begin our education a variety of 'words' are pumped into us about who we are and how to find our identity in this world, and whatever 'word' we accept, that becomes the moulding influence which determines how we view ourselves and others.

So often it is the 'word' of men, not the Word of God, that is taken to heart by us, and that then becomes the power that shapes our thinking about life and other things. The shape our souls take is determined largely by what 'word' we accept and assimilate. If God's Word does not have pride of place in our souls, then quite simply, our souls will not develop or function in the way they were designed.

Think God helped me see that the biggest difference between these two groups of Christians is that the former have decided to take to heart the Word of God. Whereas the latter take to heart their own understanding, and to a certain extent, others' understanding.

While the understanding of others, especially older and more mature Christians, is one way of God's speaking truth to us, sometimes I think we may not be able to understand fully the truths that they're saying. So we need to learn to see everything from God's perspective. Oh! Actually the leaders have been trying so hard to help us learn from God's perspective... but slow-witted me, I keep on forgetting that basic elementary truth.

And so, I think I get it today. To begin knowing our live's destinies, visions and purpose, we need to begin here. Here, with God's Word in our hearts, His rhematic revelation gradually unfolding in our lives day by day.
2 Corinthians 3:18
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
Anyway, here's what I originally intended to share on this blog before I saw Andrew's latest posting and excitedly scribbled off a post...

I was contemplating while bathing just now. Was telling God how inadequate I STILL am feeling. Especially with my difficulty in interacting in group settings of more than 4 people who are not in close physical proximity (because of my hearing impairment). (Thanks HQ for observing this.)

It's a physical/physiological limitation, to be sure, besides other factors... but sometimes I feel really discouraged. So was "spamming" God about this, complaining to Him again. But I confessed to Him that I think I'm reliving some of my old fears, and dwelling again on the past...

And after I stepped out of the bath, and was drying myself... I suddenly looked at myself in the mirror and told myself fiercely, "Yeu Ann, forgetting what lies behind, let's press on to take hold of that which Christ has called you to. Don't let your weaknesses hold you back; rather, live your strengths for Jesus Himself."

And right after that, this verse popped into my mind:
Judges 6:14
The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have[...] Am I not sending you?"

I remember Pastor Simon Eng preaching on this verse during 2003's A Courageous Church church camp.

Thank You dear Holy Spirit. I just feel so strengthened by this rhema word. :)

Surrendered Unto God :) And the Fruits that Follow

Whee~! :D Just read this post: Super-encouraging!

An Interview with MDIS Horizon

To be honest, when I read that post, the first thought that came into my mind was: I'm not Andrew, I'm not as driven as this bro, I'm so phlegmatic, and I don't really have a dream to start a business (and I don't even think that I'm called to be an entrepreneur...), and I'm so inadequate... does God really want me to be so driven?

But as I pondered on that, I randomly clicked on another part of his blog, and read this:
The aim of this blog is to set you thinking; that living a life with and in God is just as relevant, possible and if not more exciting to have in our contemporary day-to-day life. Hopefully it empowers you too to live a full life that you meant to have with God.

Hee! That part really encouraged me. And I'm thinking here... I may not be Andrew. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and I know that His grace to me has not been without effect! :)

Something that I learn from Andrew's life through the comments left on his blog - is that it's not because of natural talent or sheer willpower that kept him going on... but it's simply because of his life that chose to be surrendered unto God. :)

The most important thing here is not so much of achieving many and/or dramatic things for Him, even though these can be used to win credibility and be a good testimony in His eyes... the most important thing is a life fully thrown and surrendered into His hands, in response to His call: "Who will go for us? And whom shall I send?" - "Here am I - send me!"

Oh! I am suddenly struck by this realization that Isaiah's reply, "SEND ME!", was AFTER he realised his sheer uncleanness and unholiness... and AFTER the angel assured him that his sin has been forgiven by God...

It was not BEFORE, but AFTER, that he was enabled to respond to the call!

And with that realization, I really want to throw myself fully into His eternal hands... chasing not the approval of men, but the approval of the Lord Himself!

So help me Lord, this is really an uphill task, knowing full well that I am a super-lazy person... but, Lord, here I am, send me! Please! In Jesus' most amazing name, amen! :D And thank You so much dear Father for lives like Andrew's that help us look up to YOU, to see just how Great Is Our God... Amen! :D

Friday, December 21, 2007

Was reading Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" that Hanes lent me at the middle of this year. Think it's a must-read for anyone who wants to win friends. :)

He has a very astute observation of human nature, coupled with extensive readings and research.

His first 2 principles:
1. Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.

So decided to start small. Bought a farewell gift for my maid - a box of really good-looking chocolates. She was very touched. Have bought one for my new maid too - but *shhh* planning to give her for Christmas. ;)

As Carnegie humorously quoted, "He who understands this principle [of appreciating]... even the undertaker will be sorry when he dies."

Realised that appreciating people is so important. Actually, I enjoy affirming others, but sincere heartfelt appreciation is not easy. It takes hard work - you have to NOTICE in order to appreciate. Otherwise you'll only be mouthing empty words - like inflated dollars due to overprinting. Recognised that I'm guilty of overusing nice-sounding words sometimes - mainly due to insecurity, subtly wanting ppl to reciprociate in kind.

But was trying to see it better from a Biblical viewpoint. Then realised that Dale Carnegie's advice can be expressed more simply as this: People crave for grace.

Sinners, even the greedy tax collectors and the immoral prostitutes, were so drawn to Jesus. Why? Perhaps it's because they knew that this holy man was different from the religious teachers and lawyers of the day. He actually saw the good in them. He saw them as men and women, not labelling them. Though He also spoke the truth to them, "Go and sin no more," He yet did it in such a way that people didn't feel condemned. "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

Then it makes me think. We appreciate people, who are made in God's own image - wouldn't He be pleased with appreciation of He Himself? And yet He's so selfless that He asks, "Do you love Me? Then love my people."

(Christmas) Past, Present and Future

Inspired by Kim Chun's example, I was enumerating a list of ppl I want to build/strengthen relationships with for next year. And as I was listing out, it just struck me that the groups of friends I want to build relationships with can be categorised into: Friends from the Past, Friends of the Present, and Friends Yet to Come. (Gosh! it sounds so much like Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"... so title-y)

But despite the funny titles, it's a thought-provoking observation. It's about maintaining friendships with people who are still in the NUS ministry, those in my current CG and those whom I haven't really gotten to know that well yet.

And frankly, I do have criteria in choosing whom I want to build friendships with. Yet at the same time, I have to be open to God's guidance and intervention, 'cos in the end, for all our efforts, friendship is ultimately an act of grace, a GIFT that CANNOT be earned. It can only be received, treasured, nurtured and appreciated.

That's the strange paradox of friendship. Sometimes it seems that those whom I least expected to build friendships with, are now some of my closest friends, and those whom I tried so hard, didn't respond. Can anyone identify with me on this? ;)

And yet, I found out that if you don't put in the effort to build friendships, to be more outwards-looking, you'll never reap anything. For it's in the course of trying to build friendships that ... you become the very friend that you want to become.

So one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2008 is to grow to be more sociable. I know I tend to lose contact with those friends whom I've not seen physically... for me, the old adage is true: "Out of sight, out of mind." It's a weird (and sad) thing - I treasure relationships a lot, but I am too slow to keep in touch with them, PROCRASTINATING. So I have to work extra hard to treasure and steward these friendships, which are gifts from God. Hmm!

Here We Don’t Go A’ Caroling Anymore

Just read this post on an ex-caroller... hilarious! And suddenly I remember talking with someone from the NUS group just now telling me that tomorrow they're going to practise Christmas carols tomorrow morning.

*sudden rush of wistful nostalgia*

GOSH. THOSE WERE INDEED THE DAYS BACK IN UNI LIFE... *sigh* so sweet the memories of preparing for Christmas. Can't forget especially Dec 2005 and 2006... preparing for the Christmas skit in 2005, and doing the Christmas MM in 2006.

And through it all, I remember this beautiful old Christmas song:
Christmas isn't Christmas
Till it happens in your heart
Somewhere deep within you
Is where Christmas really starts...

So give your heart to Jesus
You'll discover when you do
That it's Christmas,
Really Christmas for you...

Hee hee! :)

Incidentally, I love listening to Christmas carols. They have always warmed my heart, and I remember listening to church carollers sing the beloved carols with my family back in the 80s and early 90s at Lucky Plaza. They really sang very well (thank God...) and they would distribute gospel tracts too. Those gospel tracts planted a seed in my heart over the years. :)

But personally, I like listening to Christmas carols sung by a group choir much more than those sung by an individual. Somehow, listening to Corinne May's rendition of "Joy to the World", no matter how sweet she sounds, really can't compare to even the simplest rendition of a choir singing the same song... it's just so much the collective and united joy that the choir expresses at the birth of the Saviour, Jesus Christ!

After all, the first ever Christmas song was sung not by one angel, but by a HUGE chorus of excited angels...
Luke 2:13-14
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:
Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him.

Oops, nothing against Corinne May - I love to listen to her songs, but honestly, there's really a wonderful (and mysterious) joy that a choir can express that one person alone can't do.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Something very interesting that happened to me yesterday:

I was trying out a game demo on the Xbox 360 yesterday at Bishan Junction 8, when all of a sudden, a tiny hand put itself onto the game controller.

I looked down, and saw a very small boy (he was only up to the height of my waist). The little tyke said, "I wan' to plaaaaay!" And he tried to take over the controller.

So I bent down, and gently but firmly told him, "Ah, you wait your turn first... You must ask people for permission first."

And the little tyke said, "I wan' to plaaaaay!"

Then his mum came along, wondering what her son was doing. She looked a sweet woman, so I casually told her what had happened.

"Oh! Boy, wait your turn first."

"I wan' to plaaaaay!"

"Kor-kor is playing, don't disturb him."

"I wan' to plaaaaay!"

(I'm starting to sense a pattern here...)

But anyway, told him that he has to wait his turn first. So I continued playing the game. The little boy went and grabbed the other controller and fiddled around with it. Nothing too bad; it was a one-player game.

Then poof! Suddenly, I saw the Xbox logo pop up, and the mum exclaiming, "Boy! Don't anyhow touch here touch there!"

Stunned, I looked at the mum, wondering what the boy had done. Seems that the kid had spammed the controls, till he hit the reset button.

"See lah! Spoil the computer..."

I looked at the screen, and gosh, there was a white screen saying something about the CD being incompatible... a white screen of death if there ever was one.

"Yah, boy, your mummy's right... you spoiled the computer."

So felt I had to talk to him, not because of the game, but 'cos this is an attitude problem... told him that he has to be patient, and ask people first.

"But I wan to play."

Explained further to him that he has to be considerate... (I was starting to wonder if he knew any other English sentences.) Then asked him to apologise.

Explained to the mum that I work as a childcare teacher (technically it's correct 'cos I help out as a HopeTots teacher). She looked quite impressed. Haha! So the mum told her son, "Say sorry to Kor-kor."

The little one looked at me and simply sucked his finger. His middle finger. Now I don't think he really meant to show me the finger, but just found it so funny. XD

But still, must be firm with him. 'Cos at this age, children have to learn appropriate boundaries or they'll REALLY suffer in life later.

The boy still kept on sucking his finger.

Gosh. Was starting to worry about germs already.

"Don't suck your finger leh."

*suck suck*

"Got germs..."


Anyway, I noticed that the boy wasn't making eye contact. It's a clear sign that the kid isn't listening to you, for one reason or another.

To cut a long story short, the boy's dad came along, and also tried to persuade him to apologise to me. But didn't succeed in the end.

Think his parents are very nice. But perhaps they're too nice with their boy. Found out from his mum that he's 4 years old.

That incident made me think about the difficulty of parenting, especially in training a child to be a mature and responsible adult. Was reflecting: "Train a child in the way [the LORD wants him to] go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Fatherhood is an awesome calling. It's really challenging discipling children. Not disciplining, but discipling.

Thinking how I can train my children next time... I can take the initiative to teach my children to practice care and consideration for others. But also knowing how hard it can be to get a child to listen to you, I think I won't force the kid to say sorry. But I can discipline the kid to make a choice - free will here: "Either you say sorry for what you did just now, or you can choose not to watch TV for a whole day. Your choice!"

That way the kid can learn to make his/her own decisions. And frankly, it's less tiring on the parents too. But thank God, He's the best father around. :D

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hee, thank You so much dear Lord for opening my eyes to see others' needs... i just prayed this prayer below, and a few mins later, i learnt that some of my colleagues are going to another site to work, but they don't have a canteen there.

so suddenly had this thot: why not buy some food for them?

felt v paiseh, 'cos thot it might seem strange, but remembered this verse from the Bible, "the fruit of the Spirit is... goodness..."

so ran up to the canteen to buy some more substantial food (not cooked lah), and then gave them. my colleagues were surprised, tho in a nice way, and hee, thank God, my proj manager saw, and he was v appreciative.

so felt v shy but happy inside, 'cos i know i'm doing this because of You. "in the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

Counting on Our Toes

Been thinking about my recent experiences (ok, over the past 2 years). Think as I realised more truths about myself, esp the dark side of me... when I realised the truths, I was set free in more and more areas. But I also realised I felt increasing resentment towards my parents for not having taught me well or equipped me with the necessary tools... in fact, some of their teachings were so off. But hmm... think it's also been learning to increase in grace as well. Grace to forgive those who didn't realise my ignorance and condemned me as a result of that, instead of building me up. (oops sounds awfully like a victim mentality... but honestly, think i've learnt to take responsibility for my own life here, with God's grace and help.)

Then it strikes me... "For the law was given thru Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."

The law shows me where I fall short - it was necessary for me to realise the truths about myself... but good though the law was, it was not able to help me - instead i felt even more condemned and farther away from God.

"But where sin increased, grace increased all the more." Grace is the lifeline in the stormy seas, grace is the safety-net across the abyss, grace is the foundation that enables us to be built up in the truth. Grace is the support on which the vine can climb up on in order to bear much fruit.

Pondering further, think one effect of experiencing grace is that it brings about healing that sin wrought in me. And it helps me begin to see the good in others as well. And as I become more grateful because of the grace shown me... i become more grateful to my parents as well, for all their love, in spite of their imperfections, and to realise that it was really not easy for them to raise me up, yet they persevered.

And so i learn to count my blessings, like a little child learning to count on his fingers and, if he experiences a breakthrough beyond his ten fingers... even his toes. :)

May we learn to count on our toes more often. :)

How to create stories in ten minutes or less

Thought this is very interesting! :) and helpful too... do read it!

Excerpt from the blog:
Think of something that happened to you recently and then use the following five questions to help you create the story. I shall use my story as an example.

1. What happened?
An auntie tried to hit on me in the train.

2. Who was involved?
Auntie and myself.

3. How can people connect or relate to this story?
We all take trains and have encounters of strangers trying to start a conversation with us.

4. What is funny?
Her opening line: Wah! Apple computer wor… and before I could acknowledge her, she reached out and started touching my laptop.

I knew her entire family history within five stops. And I suspect the rest of the passengers too coz she was speaking very loud.

And why does people with bad breath love to tell you secrets???!!!

The passengers were enjoying the entire drama between the auntie and me.

The best part of the conversation was in this line: Aiyah.. I have to alight at the next stop already… And in my head, I went Wooooooohooooooo!!!

5. What are the lessons or messages?
We find it weird to strike a conversation with some stranger but that should not be the case. In fact, the weird part is we find it weird.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thank You so much dear Father for Your mercy indeed... after thinking about what Peter shared with me about the possibility of unforgiveness and bitterness in my heart that is hindering me from experiencing God's presence... I thought about it, and realised there's at least one person whom I still harbor a lot of resentment... and I prayed about it... realised it was a wrestling of my will versus His. Realised that even though the hurts are real, and the resentment is very valid indeed, I just felt this urging in my heart that I need to forgive him, because he really didn't know what he was doing.

So I made the decision to forgive him from my heart, even though I couldn't really understand everything, and whoa, the moment I prayed that prayer in my heart to ask God to help me forgive him, even though he may still continue to hurt me, these words came into my mind immediately:

Luke 6:37-38
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.
Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

These words came with this sense of forgiveness... it's a strange but sweet feeling - you feel His grace once again pouring into your heart, a grace that enables you to love, heal and forgive. A grace that is strong, filled with strength and peace. A grace greater than our sins. HALLELUJAH! :D

As I read these words again, I think the Holy Spirit wants to help me understand that the Christian heart is called to move from unforgiveness, judgemental spirit, a condemning heart... to a spirit of grace, a spirit that gives freely as it has received.

And hee, hallelujah, somehow my spirit feels revived again, like the sweet rains of spring, pitter-pattering down on my dry heart. It really feels like that! :D Hee! :D Thank You so much dear Lord... and thank You especially for a dear friend's sweet and timely encouragement today:"Jesus... is the rain that falls on our heart when we are dry."

And as I read Psalm 66 (I finally moved on from Psalms 62 and 63 haha...),
"For you, O God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on your backs.
You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance."

I learnt that often God allows us to go through times of dryness and difficulties... because they are times of testing and of refining. Though these are times of burdens and of being stuck in a rut as in prison, and though we feel like we are going through hell and high water...

... because when He is done testing and refining us, He will bring us into a place of abundance, into heaven and sweet waters.

It's like my software testing work. Something I learnt from my software testing work recently is that testing is NOT an easy job. Testing is often mundane, and requires patience and perseverance, not only for the one being tested, but also for the tester. The tester has to be very detailed, and often it requires doing what seems like meaningless repetitive tests (like, for e.g. how I have to keep on opening and closing a particular form about 10 to 20 times to see if it will crash... it is mind-numbing indeed).

Actually, these seemingly meaningless repeated tests are one of the most powerful tests in our software testing arsenal. They are called "stress tests", and they really aim to push the program to its limits. Through all these repeated testings, you find increasingly subtle bugs that are very subtle indeed, but if not caught, will crash the ENTIRE system and possibly cascade the damage to other applications.

Like how, if a person has a very subtle character flaw, he/she may perform well in a leadership capacity, but under sustained stress in during a very difficult time... he/she may turn away from God totally in the end. Better a poor, humble and broken spirit that is faithful to God to the very end, for that is what ultimately counts in His eyes - a spirit that loves Him to the very end.

Thank God so much for His touch, His love... there's still a lot of cleaning up to be done, but thank God so much indeed... these words really speak to me:

"If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!
" :D

Whee! my sentiments exactly! :D

Thank God indeed so much... think through this experience, I have learnt a teeny-weeny little bit more of what His grace really tastes like. Grace... what a sweet sound! Hope I've passed this test here... uh-oh, I remember Peter's words that I'll be tested repeatedly again and again. Never mind, keep on going, YA! Jesus is not done with you yet! But praise Him anyway, for He is good, and His love endures forever! Amen and amen! :D


Spoke with Peter about my current period of dryness. Peter thought for a while, and then asked me, "What caused your dryness?"

Gee. I thought about it, with his help, and think perhaps it's because of some bitterness I have towards someone who's not repentant of what he's doing. Thank God for Peter's encouragement - forgiveness is not always a one-time-off event... it sometimes is a process, where you need to continually forgive even as you're being hurt.

And Jesus' words come to my mind. He prayed, even as Roman soldiers were nailing him unjustly to the cross, while the hostile crowd was jeering Him: "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."

Little is Much in God's Hands

Listened to today's sermon by Ps Jeff. It was a very touching sermon, 'cos it answered exactly a nagging fear in my heart the past one or two weeks. I think I identify most with Philips... but Lord, give me the childlike faith of the unnamed boy!

"Take my five loaves and two fishes
Do with it as You will..."

So touching. Thank God for Corinne May's song. :)

Thank God also for Peter's encouragement when I shared with him about my observation that a very few people have a wide social circle and can impact them all deeply, but the majority of us can have either a wide social circle and impact a lot of people to a small extent, or a narrow social circle, and impact them deeper.

Shared with him that I think I'm one of those with a narrow social circle.

Then Peter said, "You could impact a Paul."


"Remember Barnabas, who discipled Paul when he was a young Christian? After Barnabas discipled Paul, Paul went on to make a super-impact for Christ."

"Oh! That's really very encouraging! Thanks a lot bro... it encourages me very much, to know that what I'm doing for the Lord is not in vain."

We also discussed how we can expand our social circle to get to know more people. Shared with him that I've been thinking about joining a public speaking course next year.
"Be thankful for what you have." :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Just read Shuyi's post, and for some inexplicable reason, felt very... oxygenated (hee hee!) when i read it. always love the air of sweetness that is in her entries - not a saccharine sweetness, but a true refreshing childlikeness of the soul... that is so important to working adults.

I don't know how to express all the things that have been in me, recently... in fact, when i pray, i really have to lean on this verse: "In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."

Thank You so much dear Lord for Your groans together with us. I'm so touched by Your realness, by Your heart... I feel like a shadow, next to the real thing... You know, something through these days of work, work and work that fly past like fleeting shadows, is that it helps me realise just how real You are.

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end

Again, it feels wintry in my soul. I was lying on my bed just now, looking up at the ceiling... (I remember how I also used to do the same when I wasn't a Christian then, and just whispering, "God, if You're real, show Yourself to me," one Christmas night.) So many sad thoughts, just find it hard to smile. Especially when fellowship is just once a week...

I also have been wondering why I keep blogging melancholic thoughts in my blog. (Like... now? Hohoho) There are so many thankful and sweet moments that have happened in the past few weeks... like just a few days ago, during CG, how You enabled me to share a very refreshing sharing during Holy Communion...

I remember! It was so funny... 'cos I had initially sent to Huaqiang a totally different plan... but when the actual time came, I just sensed strongly that what I had planned wouldn't be... right for that particular moment. So decided to obey that prompting, and just shared impromptu, personally, from the heart about how simple Holy Communion is. It was funny, but memorable, and when I asked HQ how was the sharing, he said it was very good! So amazed at being able to experience Your prompting... it makes me smile a little more.

Oh God! i long for days of past, when life was easier in a way, that we could meet up more often and encourage one another in fellowship at HQ. And i'm glad that i made the constant decision to spend time at HQ, with the other bros and sisters, to bless, pray for and encourage. Knowing full well that my grades would take a hit, but in the end, I see how You have blessed me with an excellent and stable job that amazingly, someone of my uni grades shouldn't be able to get. How true once again... that when we choose to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness, all the things that we need are also given unto us as well.

I also have been thinking a lot about things as well. Sometimes I feel a lot of constant discouragement about what I am NOT right now. And feel the worries about imagined comments from certain people that I have to improve myself... etc etc. (I'm getting defensive here :P) True, yes... but in the end, I have to remember, I'm living for His approval, not the approval of men. And besides, these certain people themselves are ... to be frank... lacking in certain areas of their own lives, and they aren't growing, thriving, yet imposing their own expectations on others. It just leaves a sour taste in your heart after you interact with them. And I know I'm not alone in this, 'cos a few other bros and sisters have echoed the same thing.

Sigh. Feel like a soldier once again in the trenches... and how alone one can feel at times. But I'm encouraged and touched by Your words that gently carry me on eagles' wings (Exodus 19:4) through the desert. Life in Adults is strange, to be sure... people speak of adjusting expectations... but there is always the risk that you cut out good longings. I have noticed how reactionary this can be - for you risk throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Rather, we shouldn't cut off our longing for human relationships, for we were made for relationships. But rather, we need to adjust our expectations to take greater ownership of our own lives, to take initiative to meet up with others, to fellowship with them... 'cos I don't want to be become inwards-looking again.

Sigh. Oh God, be with us when we are alone. Now I lean back, and ponder. There are so many people I want to build relationships with, and God, You know how I have nothing much in the way of building relationships but sheer perseverance. You know how little I am, and how it fills me with sadness many times. But I'm grateful to You that You've given me the gift of sincerity, which helps a lot when I do my best to build relationships... I build relationships to win people to You... and knowing that as I do, I have to keep on dying to myself, because it doesn't go naturally with me.

Sigh. Lord, still so many things, and why am I still feeling so low? Help me look up to You from my lowness of spirit, Daddy. And renew in me a sweet childlike spirit once again. Renew my heart, so that I am truly living for You, Jesus...

And gee. Could You help me write more joyful entries in this blog next time, so that it can refresh the hearts of others more when they read it? Don't want them to feel so... like, melancholic, when they read it. :P

Sometimes I think we focus too much on being strategic, being intentional, when we write... I can't write like Andrew does, being insightful and so on... I can't write analytically like Edwin does... I can't write as inspirationally as Ellson or Huanyan do. But one thing I ask: Help me write with more songs of joy to You, Lord. As Huanyan shared with me last time, "You know, I think one of the best ways you can bless people is with a heart of joy." :)

Hee! yah, I'm reminded again last time how this dear friend of mine shared with me what influenced him to become a Christian - he said it was my heart of joy as a Christian that touched him a lot.

oh dear. need a breakthrough... :P

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Thank God, feel more satisfied in my soul now. :)

Read this verse: "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it." Think this is God's reply to my prayer just now...

before that, i was bombarding Him with questions abt whether i'm in the right place that He wants me to be in...

and whether i'm doing what He wants me to do, and just sharing with Him so many things on my heart. am i living this life the way He wants me to live? just feel so aware of my mortality, and wanting to live a life worthy of His calling. and the dreams that i believe He's given me... He knows how slow and phlegmatic i can be, yet i think i'm on the path He's chosen for me... but i seem to be going so slowly, so was wondering whether He wants me to go faster, or to wait first. just felt such a deep itch in my heart to just do something! be it share the gospel or do something creative...

But think God patiently reminded me that He's already given me a hope and a calling... and beside, He's already assigned to me some duties and tasks that i have to complete first before i can move on. like... preparing storytelling for sunday school class tomorrow. to motivate my team. to take greater ownership.

He reminded me that i've already made some very good plans... plans that have encouraged the hearts of a few bros and sisters... but i have not gone abt implementing them yet. and i think one reason i've been feeling drier in spirit and increasingly dissatisfied in my heart is because i've not been focusing on what i'm SUPPOSED to do NOW.

"be faithful with small things, and you'll be entrusted with more." so i'm reminded again... oh how many times You have reminded me, but i have failed. but thank You for being so incredibly patient with a lazy b******* like me...

hee. ok, YA, move move move! "commit your plans to the LORD, and whatever you do will succeed." prov 16:3...


Toying with the idea of writing a Facebook app...

Hmm! Looks like an interesting idea... but I wonder what kind of software would be useful?

How to write a FaceBook Application in 10 minutes

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One Man Can Make A Difference

Today I happened to come upon this book at Times Bookshop, "The Tipping Point". Curious, I started reading it. Its basic premise is how just one or a few tiny, tiny factors can trigger off an epidemic, be it an infection, or an unforgettable ad slogan, or an "earworm".

I learnt that as a general principle, 80% of the spreading is done by 20% of the spreaders... they are the classic 'super-spreaders'. And read the fascinating tale of Paul Revere's famous night attempt warn his local town militia in the face of the impending British invasion.

Paul Revere, as every American schoolkid will know, in the span of two hours, managed to pass on the news, "The British are coming!", starting off a wildfire of news-networking by other minutemen on their own horses, which ended up spreading across half the known American countryside in one night... and, like they say, the rest is history.

I was thinking of Saint Paul too, who was definitely a 'super-spreader' when it came to the good news too. As he wrote to the Romans, "So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known..."

But there is a dark side to all this 'super-spreading'. For instance, there was this French air-steward, in the 1980s or 1990s, who had 2,500 sexual partners in North America alone... and he was infected with AIDS.

So what did all these 'super-spreaders' have in common? They had a certain charisma, and LOTS of connections.

That was a very thought-provoking concept, and I started thinking about it. Tried writing out my thoughts on the handphone, but... the handphone software died halfway through, taking my long essay along with it.

I should have saved it. Aww...

More seriously, it made me think about how to enhance my sub-district's vision more effectively. There's one aspect of it that aims to influence decision-makers. Often, we think of decision-makers as being those in the policy-making departments - read: the civil service, or as Colin Goh quipped, the Civil Surfers. ;)

But that isn't necessarily so. Opinion-setters (a term used in media studies) are those who have INFLUENCE on those around them, especially in terms of thoughts, values and beliefs - and they need not be in positions of power. Who are the opinion-setters of today? People like Mr Lee Kin Mun of "Mr Brown" fame, Colin Goh, Gurmit Singh, Oprah Winfrey, etc. People like Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, etc. People like your parents, your teachers... you and me.

But some are definitely more influential than others. These are the key people who, if they are won to Christ, can really bless and touch millions of lives for the better. And the surprising thing is, they don't need to be the outgoing sanguine kind of personality. What matters is how many people they know, how many people they are influencing in terms of opinions and ideas.

And even policy-makers are in the end compelled to listen to the opinion-setters, as PM Lee alluded to in his closing remarks on the S377A debate some time ago this year.

But it isn't enough to just win opinion-setters and decision-makers. We, we ordinary people, are ourselves called to become opinion-setters and decision-makers. Even ordinary fishermen can become world-changers. As a certain Carpenter told them one fine day, "Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

So feel more focused now. Think I understand the purpose of our sub-district vision more clearly now: to be more effective in our outreach by 1. becoming more influential and 2. winning the more influential.

Of course, God's hand is essential in this area: Paul was certainly a influential person, but before he became a Christian, he was zealously persecuting Christians and influencing others to do the same. Only God could save him... and he did.

So in the end... we have the best person with us even as we do our best to influence others to Christ: none other than Jesus Christ Himself! It is really good to know that He is with us always, to the very end of the age.

Questions for the day:
1. What is it about me that attract others to Christ?
2. What is it about me that do not attract others to Christ?
3. With what natural attractions/skills can I use to increase my sphere of influence? (e.g. good looks, brains, etc.)
4. How can these natural attractions be used to help bring people near enough for them to become influenced by Jesus? [the key thing is that Jesus Christ is NOT a concept, nor is He an idea. He is a LIVING Person, for Christ's sake! (pun intended!)]
5. Who are the people in my current sphere of influence?
6. Why are they in my current sphere of influence?
7. Why exactly do I want to influence others for God?
8. Where exactly is God participating in my sphere of influence?
9. Am I being an Optimus Prime or a Megatron? i.e. am I influencing others for good or for bad?
10. What are some misconceptions that hinder me from becoming a saltier and brighter influencer?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Still thinking about Ps Jo's sermon, and these words I read from a brother's blog:
"As most of us develop our Christianity along the lines of our nature and not along the lines of God’s nature, therefore we need to be watchful not to follow the drum beat of our culture about the goodness of personal wealth and material prosperity.

Instead, we need to be rooted in His word and advocate a theology of stewardship which puts other people’s necessities before our own luxuries. We also need to simplify our lifestyles and get a clear grasp on God’s priorities including His special concern for the poor and destitute of the world.

Even if we aim to succeed in the marketplace, it should be aligned with a motivation of wanting to be an influence to others for God, and not for worldy wealth."

Timely reminder to me...

Do not just aim to be an influence in the workplace... rather, aim to influence others BECAUSE of CHRIST, BY CHRIST, and FOR CHRIST.

Yeu Ann, don't forget WHY you are in this particular time and place... and check if this is God's will for you. If yes, stay. If not, then obey God and move on... no matter how pleasant the current land you are on.

Be an Abraham, not a Lot.
What have I sold myself to, Lord?
What have I sold myself to, Lord?
To naysayers, those dreaded dreamslayers
Against whom we have no chance of a prayer?

Have I willingly
clipped off my own wings?
Were those turgid wings meant
To be like those of drones?
Were I meant to be born again,
Born again into a world of slavery?
Have I misunderstood
What life really is
Or have I stood up
Stood up for something stronger
Stronger than a stale tale?

And if we Your children are like arrows
In the hands of a sharp archer
Why then do we still quiver
In our safe little quiver?

"Is it not time that, in loving,
we freed ourselves from the loved one, and, quivering, endured:
as the arrow endures the string to become,
in the gathering out-leap,
something more than itself? For staying is nowhere"
- Rainer Maria Rilke-The First Elegy -


a kernel

of wheat




ground and

it remains only a seed."

Comfort Taxi Fares Getting Less Comfortable

Taxi fares to rise up to 49% from Dec 17 with Comfort's 'overhaul'

While reading this article, first thing I thought about was, "Oh no! How will we afford this? What about the poorer people?"

And when I saw this: "But the distance rate and waiting time will also be adjusted to 'more accurately reflect the cost of travel', it added. So instead of upping fares by 10 cents for each set distance or waiitng time, this will soon go up by 20 cents each time."

But come to think of it, this price hike does seem much-needed and is timely actually. (I also pay the same fares ok...) I especially agree with the doubling of the waiting/distance rate.

'Cos I was chatting with a taxi driver a week ago (he took me from Pasir Laba in the west to Pasir Ris in the east - it was the longest taxi ride of my life), and he told me he doesn't like traffic jams or long journeys.

"But why? I thought long journeys mean more money for you?"

"That's what you think... Actually, for us, it means time wasted. Remember, we still need to pay the high upkeep on our cab rentals. If I hadn't taken you on such a long journey, I could have made two more trips..." And pointing to the traffic jam in front of us, he motioned, "And especially traffic jams. Traffic jams are a major source of loss for us traffic drivers."

"Orh... I see! So that means BOTH the taxi driver and the passenger don't like traffic jams... so the driver has an incentive to finish the journey faster..."

"Yes, you got it."

He paused. "Nowah-days... taxi rentals... haiz."

Which brings me to my next point: The real problem is not in the taxi fare increases - it's LONG overdue, c'mon... taxi drivers are not exactly earning "peanuts" ;)... so this low-to-middle income group should benefit in theory.

THE REAL PROBLEM is, will cab rental rates increase? That will make life harder for the taxi-drivers and their families.

I hope the taxi companies (especially ComfortDelgro) do not use the increased fare rates to justify increasing rental rates too. That would be so unjust. They could consider cost-cutting measures instead... like using more fuel-efficient vehicles or hybrids ... and just wondering, does the average person actually prefer to take a Mercedes cab?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Whee! There's so many things that I want to write down today... thank God for His answering my prayer for an MC today... I needed it because I have a bad backache (maybe it's a strain, I'm not sure, but it hurt bad enough that I kept tossing and turning last night till I slept on the floor instead)...

But, I'm really very thankful to God for the word that He spoke to me today when I was reading Romans 10: "As the Scriptures say: 'Anyone who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.'"

It came as a reply to my prayer to God how I was feeling very ashamed of myself over all the past failures that I'd committed against Him, and my fears that I wouldn't have any second chance... I know I know the doctrine of redemption, propitation and forgiveness... but sometimes the bandwidth between the mind and the heart is a bit laggy at times.

Not just so, the next verses really renewed my spirits again: "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Hee! This verse reminded me of God's nature, that He is indeed a generous God - He richly blesses all who call on Him... it's regardless of what I am... as long as I call on Him in truth, He hears.

And at this point, I'm refreshed again of being reminded again why I do what I do... not because I should, even though that is good, but simply because I am so grateful to my Saviour. :D

How can we forget what You've done for us, Lord? :D

So this afternoon, I was just contemplating, thinking about things. And I was also reading the book "Social Intelligence" - after finishing my "Boundaries" book. Oh! I should read the book together with God... it's so much more fun that way! :D

Oh yes! I think God put some flashbacks of some things that happened, to clarify His direction for me even more clearly:

We were worshipping God yesterday during service, and I, on the spur of the moment, decided to share my idea about opening up a cafe with God. And as I waited, I just get this quiet impression that He said, "Don't. I have better plans for you than that."

And hee, thank God so much for the time with Weizhu last Saturday, when we did the script + storyboard for some children's story-telling event... thank God that the new storyline is so much better!


Perhaps here, it seems clearer and clearer that His calling for me is NOT in business (which my CALIPER test profile shows pretty well), but rather, He's calling me to tell stories. But hmm!

I'm stuck here. Since it seems clear to me that He's calling me into the area of storytelling... hmm... Lord, where to from here?

We Are Singaporeans!

Gosh! When I saw these photos, it made me see my fellow Singaporeans (and even those who aren't, but are serving the country all the same) in a brand-new light... wow! so proud of them! :D Amayzing! [more photos!...]

The Work of the Father

Thank You Lord for Ps Jo's sermon today. It was one of the most beautiful sermons I have ever heard in my whole life. (To be honest, I really love to listen to Ps Jo's sermons... they are very rich, deep and beautiful - you can simply sense how Ps Jo has a very simple childlike faith in God - but a faith that is not simpleminded, but one that is rich. I hope I can share like him one day!)

So today I responded to today's altar call - for preaching the gospel more and more: "I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling."

So I think You are telling me that You know I WILL feel very weak and fearful when reaching out to my colleagues, but You want to point me to the next verse, "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."

And sometimes, I think we are too focused on trying to breakthrough in our own personal areas. While not wrong in themselves, such an excessive focus may make us inwards-looking. We are not called to be well-developed, self-made individuals - on the contrary, we are called to something even better than that:

"to preach good news to the poor...
to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

If we do not have a heart for the world, for the lost, then we are NOT doing the work of the Father, no matter how successful we are in the eyes of the world. We work hard because we want to be a godly testimony in our colleagues' eyes. The moment we focus on the gifts and forget the Calling, we are on a slippery road to apostasy.

I was meeting up with a sister who does investment-related work today, to ask her about investing, and to my surprise, instead of launching into a catalogue of investment tools, she simply asked me, "Why do you want to invest?"


"Money is simply a tool to an end. What is that end?"

"Oh... hmm... etc etc."

But that struck me a lot, as she explained to me - it's not enough to just invest (esp if it's because "everyone else" is doing it)... we must invest towards a purpose.

Then it strikes me: I want to throw off every attitude that hinders, so that I can do the work of the Father. Oh Father, give me courage and boldness... to demonstrate Your power! I pray! In Jesus' name, amen!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Osteoporosis 'link to depression'

Depression may increase the risk of the bone disorder osteoporosis in premenopausal women, a study suggests.

A US study found 17% of depressed women but just 2% of those not depressed, had thinner bone in a part of the hip.

It found depressed women had overactive immune systems, making too many chemicals that promote inflammation including one that promotes bone loss.

The Archives of Internal Medicine study compared 89 depressed women with 44 non-depressed women, all aged 21 to 45.[read more...]

I was reading this article, when I saw the above picture of a bone wasted away by osteoporosis, and suddenly, I was reminded of Proverbs
Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Personally, I don't think God is trying to command those who have depression to 'snap' out of it - on the contrary, the Bible says that "the LORD is close to the broken-hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

But was thinking about this verse, and I think He wants to exhort the reader who reads this verse to understand the importance of a joyful spirit, a cheerful heart... and to understand the urgency of ministering and healing those who are crushed in spirit.

(I don't think it's merely a broken spirit... rather, a crushed spirit is very, very dangerous, both to the soul and the body.)

Friday, December 7, 2007

If Steve Jobs Were a Weapons Designer...

Study Shows Why the Flu Likes Winter

Researchers in New York believe they have solved one of the great mysteries of the flu: Why does the infection spread primarily in the winter months?

The answer, they say, has to do with the virus itself. It is more stable and stays in the air longer when air is cold and dry, the exact conditions for much of the flu season. [read more...]

Aah... *sniff* Anyone interested in a sauna?

Export-reliant Asia not immune to a US recession: Morgan Stanley

Gee... Morgan Stanley's pronouncement seems dire... A few of us were talking about what could happen to Singapore and the rest of Asia if the USA economy really did a downturn.

'Upskirt' filming cases on the rise

Ladies, be careful! Esp when you see a guy with a camera phone behind you on the escalator... [read more...]

Asperger’s Syndrome Gets a Very Public Face

Very inspiring!

Heather Kuzmich has the neurological disorder known as Asperger’s syndrome. She is socially awkward, has trouble making eye contact and is sometimes the target of her roommates’ jokes.

But what makes the 21-year-old Ms. Kuzmich different from others with Asperger’s is that for the past 11 weeks, her struggle to cope with her disability has played out on national television.

She is one of 13 young women selected by the supermodel Tyra Banks to compete on the popular reality television show “America’s Next Top Model.” The addition of Heather Kuzmich to an otherwise superficial show has given millions of viewers an unusual and compelling glimpse into the little-understood world of Asperger’s. [read more...]

Pastors Under Probe for Lavish Lifestyles

Saw this post on Andrew's blog, and felt saddened by these reports. Was reminded of what the Bible in 1 and 2 Timothy said, that anyone aspiring to be an overseer must be beyond reproach and blameless. It's important not only to not commit any evil, but to avoid every appearance of evil.

I'm really proud of my pastors in Hope, how they chose to sacrifice and set an example for the church in giving to the (thank God it's over haha) building fund... and how they wisely delegated this task to responsible members of the congregation...

And was very inspired actually when i saw Pastor Ben eating cheap chicken rice last time when he was taking a lunch break... hee, it's the very small things that really counts.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Song of a Man Once Again

Just was spending some contemplative time thinking about the Boundaries book I was reading, and about some things in life, and relationships, and purpose and destiny...

Just feel so thankful we can carry everything to the Father in prayer. :D And to be honest, found myself singing this song that I composed on the spot...

Wow! It's so fun to write new songs to God... in Isaac Watt's immortal words, to "prepare new honors for His name, and songs before unknown."

Song of a Man Once Again
Lord I feel like a man once again
When I'm in Your strong presence
For You are the Very Son of Man
The Son of the Very Living God

And I dwell in Your presence
And my soul shall not worry
For I know my heart is enabled
Yet once again and again
And I know Lord how my heart does fail
And I know Lord how my words cannot say
But Faithful and True You are to those
Who love You once again and again

So I'll stand here in Your presence and peace
Granted by Your grace, in Your truth and might
That we can become the man who walks right
To stand and fight, fight the good fight

Oh this poor man called, and the Lord heard him
And He saved him from all his troubles
The angel of the Lord encamps around those
Who fear Him and He delivers them
Oh taste and see that the Lord is good
Blessed is the man who finds refuge in Him
Fear the Lord all ye his saints and
Those who fear Him, shall lack nothing
The lions grow weak, and they go hungry
But those who seek, who seek the Lord
Shall lack no good things, no good things!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

This is a really fantastic website for all ye creative folks...

Found this! The Directors' Bureau: Special Projects - The Idea Generator

Edward de Bono would have heartily approved of this concept.

Some fantastic ideas that it suggested:

now that's a truly great idea... :D

hmm. maybe that's a great idea... if you just went for a liposuction op and forgot to buy some XS pants AND knickers. :P

i believe they call it a tent. XD

hand crafted
hmm.......... hmm........ next!

hand crafted
i'm starting to sense a pattern here.

okok! "HAL, get to the point..."

amayzing! i want one for my Sims.

huh? sounds like a bottle of champagne, up-size.

sounds very Web 2.0 :)

wow! :D will changi terminal 3 have this???

and the list goes on...

Thanksgivings - "More Than That!"

Thank God so much for the past few days, and esp how He answered my prayers.

Thank God so much for the good time running with my colleague Alex, and more than that, how he managed to find me in that vast crowd... 'cos was praying specifically, asking God to help me find Alex and run together with him the entire 10 km... AND to be able to keep up with him! And everything turned out even better than i expected! :D and got to know Alex's friend too... it was a really good time chatting with these two guys, very blessed by them honestly. :D

thank God also managed to meet Peter, HQ, Sarah, Solongo together with Alex. :D great time of chatting too.

thank God also for today, for the timely call to Weizhu. Wanted to call him for dinner, and it turns out that he's at home resting because he's sick. So visited him tog with HC and we had a good time of dinner and fellowship. :D

more than that, i was approached by a credit-card salesman, and the offer looked quite good, actually, so sat down to read through the terms and conditions. then the salesman started chatting more about himself (not his goods), and i was blessed by his sincerity - which i think is rather rare nowadays... turns out he's studying part-time in SIM. anyway, he asked me where i was going after this, and i told him that i was going to visit a friend who was sick, and dabao-ing dinner for him.

the salesguy said thoughtfully, "wow. such friends are very rare nowadays."

so i sensed an opportunity to drop a hint... "yah. thank God indeed..."

and the guy nodded and replied, "yes, thank God for such friends."

ah! he could be a fellow Christian. in these days of secularised smooth and shallow talk, such conversations seem, to me, like the innocently-drawn fish symbol by persecuted christians of roman times.

so that was today, and not to mention the friendly taxi-driver who shared with me a very interesting history from the army days of the 70s', when gangsters still ruled singapore during the post-Japanese occupation period. of how everyone in a platoon could belong to secret societies, and why that platoon sergeant, even tho the army training was tougher then, didn't dare mess with his recruits even tho the sergeant himself was from a gang...

... because all his recruits could belong to ten other gangs.

so one gangster sergeant versus ten gangs of ten gangster recruits - the odds would be literally a hundred to one.

so i guess that was army welfare for '70s soldiers. :P


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Church Prayer Meeting - and thank God!

Thank God so much for the church prayer meeting today at Marine Parade Touch Community Centre.

I was very drained from work when I came, but thank God He is so good, I became very refreshed. And just really want to thank my Daddy in heaven, that He spoke to me many things... Psalm 63 for example:

1 O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.

3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.

4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

And God reminded me of being thankful. Something that I've neglected over the months, actually... and as we sang during P&W, I gradually remembered that He has done so many small but sweet things for me. E.g. like how He miraculously kept my expensive glasses safe when they fell off into the river at the waterfall resort. And that my software component has been working very well without crashing the past few days... which is esp impt, since it's a critical component in the project.

So many little blessings that I didn't see... and the very fact that I could go for the entire ministry retreat as well!

And I also want to thank God for some of the prayers that were prayed for me - especially the prophetic prayers regarding my current career. Felt very touched when Jinghe and Wenjiang prayed for me, because even tho I didn't know what exactly to pray for even though I felt very inadequate in my work and workplace, but God showed Wenjiang what to pray for, and gave me a word of prophetic encouragement through Jinghe. Oh, how reassuring, how encouraging, is my Saviour's word for me! :D

Really, really, really thank God so much for His agenda. I also responded to the prayer response to take up the call and challenge to serve as a leader in ministry (HopeKids ministry for me), and to serve as a tentmaker next time. I'm not sure where He'll lead me, but like Abraham who obeyed and left his home even though he didn't know where exactly God was calling him... I want to step out with a renewed faith and confidence in Him.

Thank God indeed! He really is King over everything in life, the universe and the spiritual realms too! :D

Friday, November 30, 2007

Of Death and Dreams - A Life Well-Lived for the Lord

Huaqiang and I were talking over supper, when the conversation moved to the death of a sister's friend, and to our own friends' deaths.

And we were reminded of how short life really is.

And I remember reading the article recently about the 5 Singaporean dragon-boat racers who drowned. And highlighted in red above two photos were, in a way, epitaphs of two different persons' lives.

One's epitaph was: "I am a leader and I hope to set a positive example for young people to have the courage to achieve their dreams."

And the other was by a grieving father: "Without a word, he just left."

I'm not judging between the two lives, just by these epitaphs... but these two lines struck me especially, since it was on the day I came back from the HopeKids DreamsRetreat. Strangely timely...

And as I think about it now, what really counts as a life worthy of the Lord's calling then?

  • Is it the relationships that you have built over the years?
  • Is it the accomplishments and achievements that you have done?
  • Is it the number of people you brought to the Lord and discipled them?
  • Is it the quality of the work that you did and your testimony as a worker?
  • Is it the number of poor people that you fed and cared for?
  • Is it the transformative impact you had on society?

For a phlegmatic like me, I'd think that the first question deserves a yes, and let's chuck all our medals and trophies into the trashcan since "he who dies with the most toys still dies".

But thinking further, I think it's not as simple as that. Looking through the Bible, I realise that God looks at every inch and aspect of our lives, and He has made very clear what His standards for a life well-lived are.

A good character in God's eyes and faithfulness with what He has entrusted to me are what truly counts at the end of time. I can't separate the two from each other - they are faith and deeds going together hand-in-hand.

For instance, the more I work, the more I realise (rather belatedly) the importance of being a good and effective worker - not because I want to impress my boss, but because my attitude at work speaks much louder for my God than my words can do.

And thinking deeper, perhaps an even more concise way of evaluating the worth of a life lived is to simply see whether one lived for himself or for others - even to the point of laying down one's life to save others.

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many."

We All Can Play A Part. But Will You Play?

I was reading Andrew's blog, and was very blessed by his short but sweet posts, when I stumbled upon Zachary's blog from a link on Andrew's blog: Don't Get Lost in the Process

And I'm so awed by Zach's depth of insight and analysis in many small things.

And I'm reminded of Hong Teck's meditative contemplations and Pastor Jeff's inspiring words.

And ... I wonder, asking myself, who am I compared to these men of God? I've already been feeling so inadequate in the past week.

But this quote from one of Zachary's posts encouraged me very much - and I pray that it encourages you too:
Because we are imperfect, we have infinite number of weaknesses; you will never finish solving all the problems. Because God is perfect, He has infinite strengths; you will never finish counting all his blessings. So quit counting your problems. They are infinite as long as you are on Earth.
The day you have no more problems, you are in heaven.
The day you have no more blessings, you are in hell.

And here, I remember that Hong Teck shared during the recent HopeKids Leaders Retreat about his own struggles with his inadequacies when he was serving as a care-leader with co-leaders who were more skillful and powerful than him, and how discouraged he was by a well-intentioned "encouragement" during that time, telling him "not to lead by fear, but by love." He was discouraged at that time, because he already knew that, and here he shared frankly, that even though now, that advice is very good for him, back then, what he would have appreciated more would be some encouragement in helping remind him of the strengths he already had - e.g. his patience and caringness, rather than his timidity and shyness.

I was, and am, especially inspired by Hong Teck's testimony... personally, I think he has been one of the more influential persons in my life in terms of the way he lives. Because think he has a similar personality to mine, with some similar weaknesses... and his life is a wonderful story of God's transforming grace. So I look up to him as one of my key role models, in teaching me to grow as a leader, and in future, if it's God's will, as a good father - sorry! make that the best father (to quote HT) "in Singapore, JB and some even say Batam!" :)

Dear friend! Now is the Christmas season... will you take the time to help someone understand a little more about the Greatest Gift of All given 2000 years ago? Thank God for June reaching out to her colleagues (as she shared during unit 242)... that inspires me very much too. :)

So never mind how weak we are - only let us live up to what we have already attained. And let us keep pressing on every day to God's prize for each one of us in heaven. Let's remember why the Church is still here on earth - to finish what the Son of Man started: to seek and save the lost. And let us remember that Jesus is with us all the way!

Looking forwards to posting even more positive posts!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Processing 1.0 (BETA)

Oh, btw i've been thinking of trying out this language i saw... apparently it combines the best of both worlds - programming and artistic creativity. 'cos it's always been one of my dreams to create beautiful artwork with computers, but... you know lah, programming very tough :P

but hopefully this one works out! (oh dear, i sound like i'm dating a programming language. so lame!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

i'm here now at my computer, after an okay's day worth of work.

felt inadequate over many things, but went for a short walk and prayed. and i think God encouraged me with Psalm 73 and this verse: "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."

need that Divine encouragement, bcos i was thinking about the hopekids retreat that i went to over the past few days. very encouraged and inspired by the lessons that hong teck taught us, even tho, to be honest, as i shared with hong teck, it wasn't easy there since i was the only guy besides another bro (and he had to leave one day earlier).

it wasn't easy, becos there are very few male volunteers in hopekids, and i have a dream. i dream of seeing strong and biblical young men and women of God rising up from this ministry. hee hee... perhaps it's inspired greatly in part by my own sunday school experience... i was the odd kid out, the Difficult One, the Problem Kid, in my sunday school class. and as a result, i didn't like church (to put it kindly).

but Jesus is so good. He helped me see who He really is, and what His Church is really meant to be all along. and i have fond memories of some Christians who shared or imparted to me, as i grew up...

little seeds planted into a child's soul, that God grew in His perfect timing.

hee hee! :D so now, this sunday school dropout is now a sunday school teacher. isn't God so COOL?

which brings me next to Boundaries, the book that Peter gave me for my birthday. it's one of the best books that i've ever read in my whole life (and i don't use that term lightly), 'cos it helped me understand why i behave the way that i do right now, and how to grow, etc etc...

sorry, if this post's hard to read. just in a melancholic-contemplative mood right now... but God help me!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

GCF: Thanksgiving Prayer

Thank God for childlike prayers! :D

My family traditionally begins the evening meal with a prayer of
thanks. When they were old enough, we began letting our children say
the meal prayer. Of course at first they would ask for a pony, a new
bike, etc. They soon learned the more important things which should
be included in the prayer.

At Thanksgiving we had the whole family over. My nine year old wanted
to say the prayer. It went like this:

"Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for the turkey, the rolls, the mashed
potatoes, the red jiggly stuff, and the bread stuff even though I
don't like it. We ask that You not let us choke on this food."

(Most of us nearly choked just trying not to laugh!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Got back from OT at 11 pm. (whoa.) Thank God for Sharon and Peter's prayers for me today :) Sweet drops of grace like manna from heaven... Sharon called me up first to ask me about something, then she offered to pray for me. Peter called me up to see how I was doing in the office... and both of them prayed for me over the phone. :D very blessed by these dear friends...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wisdom, Knowledge, Service: Take Your Place in the Kingdom of God

T.M. Moore

“Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?” (2 Chronicles 1:10)

Nurturing and advancing a biblical worldview requires a great many things, but none more than the two things Solomon sought from the Lord—wisdom and knowledge. David’s son inherited a huge worldview challenge—to rule Israel so that the goodness of God would flourish among His people in every area of life and every city of the land. Who, he wondered aloud to God, was sufficient for such a task? Who is sufficient for ruling even his own life according to the broad demands and exceeding great and precious promises of the revelation of God?

As Solomon felt helpless before the calling God had set for him, so we all must feel at times as we contemplate the calling to nurture and advance the biblical worldview within our own spheres of influence. We shall need much wisdom and knowledge from the Lord if we are to know success in this effort. Solomon can help us in learning to acquire and use these precious commodities, for unless we understand the distinct nature of wisdom and knowledge, how they are to be gained, and to what ends we must put them, we may not expect the Lord to bless our pursuit of them, nor our efforts in biblical worldview living.

Knowledge: The Prerequisite of Wisdom

What’s the difference between wisdom and knowledge? Clearly, the two are intimately related. In fact, it is impossible to separate them. One cannot be said truly to know something until the wisdom that knowledge engenders begins to be in evidence. Nor can one practice wisdom without the requisite knowledge and information that requires. There is an ineradicable overlap between knowledge and wisdom, and this, at the very least, demands that we not separate the two, or try to gain the one without the other, but that, like Solomon, we seek the two of them as part and parcel of one another and together integral to fulfilling our worldview calling. But first we must make sure we understand what we’re seeking.

Let’s begin with knowledge. The nature of knowledge would seem to be fairly straightforward: knowledge is what someone knows. But that’s not entirely true, and concerning this we may make three observations. First, the very idea of knowledge assumes that things have an identity by which they can be known. That is, we assume, in presuming to know something, that it already exists as something possessing a distinct identity which, to know, is to acquire knowledge of the thing. Nothing is a simply neutral thing. Everything has an identity, and this is especially so when we consider that everything that is has its origins in the mind of God, who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. Things are what God says they are. Solomon understood this and, in the Book of Ecclesiastes, he distinguished between knowing things apart from God—which he referred to by the phrase, “under the sun”—and knowing things according to God—which Solomon meant by the phrase, “under the heavens.”

To know something according to its merely temporal and material existence—“under the sun”—is vanity and feeding on the wind. Trying to know things apart from God, Solomon insisted to his son, does not result in true knowledge at all, but merely half-truth, disappointment, and frustration. To know something truly, Solomon explained, you must see it according to the divine perspective, from God’s point of view, as He, the Maker and Sustainer of all things, intends it should be known.

So, in the first place, to know anything truly we must establish some link, some identity, between the thing we are seeking to know and the God who made and sustains it. Only from His point of view will we be able to approach true knowledge of anything. Information gained about anything apart from God may be true, at least to an extent, but this will be in spite of the perspective of the knower rather than because of it. Further, such knowledge of anything runs the distinct danger of being misunderstood and put to uses for which God never intended the thing.

Second, Solomon tells us that we must be prepared, in our search for true knowledge, to be content with only partial knowledge. We cannot, he insisted (Ecclesiastes 3:11), know anything exhaustively or completely. We cannot see things with the perfect mind of God, but only with a reflection of that mind, a mind informed by the worldview of Scripture and the counsel of the Spirit of God. Paul says we see things in this life darkly, as in a mirror; full, complete, and entirely true knowledge must wait for the day when we are glorified in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 13:12).

This does not mean that we can’t truly know. We can, but only in degrees of truthfulness and completeness. So we must always be seeking to “upgrade” our knowledge of anything, and be open to other perspectives, insights, and ways of thinking about familiar knowledge of anything and everything, if only to offer a critique of those views when compared with our Biblical perspective.

However—and this is the third point, already mentioned—even though we cannot know exhaustively, we can know truly, as Solomon indicates throughout Ecclesiastes. The knowledge we gain concerning anything whatsoever will be true to the extent we are able to establish the link between that thing and the design of God to glorify Himself in all the things He has made. Moreover, the true knowledge we have of anything can always be improved; therefore, we should be always involved in seeking more and better knowledge of everything, always, of course, from the perspective of “under the heavens.”

This, in fact, is what Solomon sought to do. Having prayed for knowledge, and been assured by God that he would possess it, Solomon set out to acquire knowledge, as he says in Ecclesiastes 1:13, by applying himself diligently to the task of seeking and searching out by wisdom all things that are and are done “under the heavens.” He set a course of study for himself, in other words, devoting himself to the investigation of God’s Law, keen observations on the creation, on culture matters, and on the ways of human conscience and conduct. All the observations he made and studies he pursued he referred to God’s self-revelation in Scripture, in order to gain the divine perspective on such things.

The Book of Proverbs is a wonderful collection of just a small portion of the true knowledge Solomon gained through his labors. True knowledge, knowledge that is becoming more and more complete, doesn’t come easily. Solomon said that God has made this a “difficult task” and has appointed it to us so that we might fulfill the purposes of His Kingdom (Ecclesiastes 1:13).

Wisdom: The Fruit of Knowledge

This brings us to wisdom, which is the fruit of true knowledge. Solomon said he tested all his studies and observations “by wisdom” (Ecclesiastes 1:13). That is, he would only allow himself to conclude that he had learned something—that he had come to true knowledge of anything—when it led to wisdom in his life. Wisdom, or “skill in living,” relates to following the spiritual and moral code of God, increasing in love for Him and for our neighbor, and seeking to do all things in such a way as to bring honor and glory to God. We can know that we know something truly when it leads us to greater love for God and neighbor, and when, by the use of that knowledge, we bring honor to God. This is wisdom, as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes make abundantly clear. In order to gain wisdom we must pursue knowledge. But we can only be sure that we have come to know something truly, albeit incompletely, when what we know produces wisdom in our lives. Knowledge is the prerequisite of wisdom; wisdom is the fruit of true knowledge.

But both wisdom and knowledge come from the Lord. Both begin in the fear of God (Proverbs 1:7; Psalm 111:10); without fear of God—that reverent awe and respect that lead to love and obedience—we can’t hope to increase in knowledge and wisdom. And both come from the Lord, who gives them, as with Solomon, in response to our prayers. So that unless our quest for knowledge and wisdom is suffused with prayer, bathed with prayer, pursued and reviewed in prayer, we cannot hope to gain these precious commodities with anything more than a mere modicum of success.

Knowledge, Wisdom, and Service

But we should also note that Solomon’s desire for knowledge and wisdom was entirely selfless. He sought neither fame nor wealth by becoming knowledgeable and wise; rather, he sought the ability to judge the people of Israel well, according to the Law and promises of God. He sought the progress of God’s rule among His people and before the eyes of all the nations. Solomon understood that knowledge is not an end in itself, nor is wisdom. Rather, these good gifts of God, these essential components for biblical worldview living, are to be received from God for the purpose of serving others. If we seek them for any other end—to impress others, or gain some personal advantage—we forfeit the richer blessings God might otherwise bestow. All our studies and all the practical ways we seek to become wise must be to the end of serving others as God Himself would do were He among us as King. In fact, He is King, not among us, but rather, over us, and He accomplishes His holy, righteous, and good rule (Romans 7:12), a rule of righteousness, peace, and joy in His Spirit (Romans 14:17), through faithful servants, like Solomon, who seek from Him knowledge and wisdom to serve others in love.

All of which is to say that biblical worldview requires the kind of knowledge that comes from earnest, devoted study, together with the wisdom that proves that knowledge out in love for God and men. These we must earn in the study and on our knees, pleading with God for the gifts He alone can give. And biblical worldview proves the truth of the knowledge it claims in the wisdom for loving well that knowledge engenders.

So as we take up the further study of biblical worldview, let us never lose sight of these five things: First, such study is difficult and time-consuming. It pleases God that it should be so; nothing easily gained is worth much anyway. Second, such knowledge is only true to the extent that it finds its identity in the eternal purposes and plan of God. Third, all the knowledge we gain in all our study is only ever partly true; our knowledge is always incomplete and can always be improved. Thus, we must commit to lives of perpetual study and review if we would improve the knowledge God grants us. Forth, such knowledge proves its truthfulness in wise and loving worship and service. And, finally, without prayer we shall not be able to acquire the knowledge and wisdom we seek for biblical worldview living.

There will always be more to know and more wisdom to gain for worshiping God and loving others. The challenge to us is to make the time for study and prayer, so that we, like Solomon, might be used in service to others, for the greater glory of God.

For Reflection

How are you presently pursuing growing in knowledge and wisdom? Is your prayer life sufficient to ensure that you will always increase in these commodities?

Monday, November 19, 2007

GFA Seeks Prayer for Victims of Bangladesh Cyclone

GFA Seeks Prayer for Victims of Bangladesh Cyclone
Nov. 18, 2007

Dear Yeo,

The people of Bangladesh--including hundreds of our believers there--have been dealt another devastating blow and desperately need our prayers to sustain them.

Still recovering from the worst floods to hit their South Asian country in 30 years, Bangladesh was devastated by Cyclone Sidr on Thursday, leaving more than 2,000 people dead at last count. In some areas, 95 percent of the rice crop was destroyed. And for these simple farmers, that means they are literally penniless and without hope for the future.

That's why our GFA native missionaries are already on the scene, ministering to the victims and bringing them the hope found only in Jesus.

But even as our missionaries, pastors and Compassion Services volunteers are moving to bring help to the victims, they have reported that in one district, more than 100 homes of GFA-related church families have been destroyed by the Category 4 storm--the most destructive to hit Bangladesh in a decade.

"Many people are thought to have been killed when trees fell on their houses," reported one GFA observer.

I am asking that pastors around the world bring this situation to the attention of their church members on Sunday morning, and that all Christians will join me in praying that God's grace will be poured out on those who have lost so much.

I also ask that you please pray with me about how God would use you to bring relief to the victims. Any gift you can send today will make a difference!

Please also remember our church members who are suffering as a result of this storm, and those who are working around the clock to bring relief in Christ's name to the victims.

Thank you for standing with us as we minister to those whose lives have been so devastated. Click here to make a gift to help the victims of this storm.

Please pray with me that God will use this situation to bring many into His kingdom of grace and love.

Yours for the lost of Asia,

K.P. Yohannan
Founder & President

P.S. So that you can continue to pray with us, we will be bringing you updates on this situation in the coming days on


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Sunday, November 18, 2007

A pattern that I observed in myself today

While reading the Boundaries book, and understanding better what causes certain behavioural patterns in us, I had two similar experiences, with the same pattern.

Basically, when it's with someone - who for one reason or another I feel nervous - i find it hard to make small chat with. He/she'll ask me, "How's your day?" or something like that. Then I'll reply - but nervous. Then after that.... hmm. I know the pattern, but don't know how to describe it properly.

But anyway, why do I do that?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Today met up with Huaqiang and Stanli. Had a good chat with them... :)

Thank God for today. HQ shared with me today about examining my heart's motives behind what I do... and how that advice came in useful after that, 'cos I did something later that day... I was doing something that seemed ok, but after that, just felt that something wasn't right... so asked God to help me check my heart. Lo and behold... I realised that I was putting myself in a not-so-good situation, but had been justifying it to myself, rationalising it. Jeremiah 17:9-10 comes to mind...

Tears are the meltwaters of an icy soul.

Just finished worshipping the Lord just now... it's been such a long time since I last had a good quality time with Jesus. :D

To be honest, my heart was starting to feel tired and dry again (we all do...), especially after a slowly mounting workload. But thank God so much for His faithfulness, even when I don't seek Him many, many times... He still graciously calls me back to Him.

And somehow, all the songs that I came across in my (borrowed) songbook, were especially meaningful. :) As I played the second-last song, which goes like this,
"It's so good oh Father God
To be back in Your presence..."
, tears started welling up in my eyes.

And it struck me that I haven't been this close with God for a long, long time. Close, in the emotional sense - for we are to love Him with all our souls (emotions) too. And at that moment, this phrase came into my mind: "Tears are the meltwaters of an icy soul."

It just strikes me as meaningful, because all so often we retreat, we withdraw away from the warmth of His love, the steadfast fire of His truth, and into our own little worlds, the winter of discontent sets in, and our souls grow colder and colder. Our souls become like the winter of Narnia, before Aslan stepped in.

But! when we draw back to Jesus, who "is the radiance of God's glory...the exact representation of his being", He melts the icy coldness in our timid souls. And as I think about this... it's like... a glacier melting, and a mighty river of courage begins to flow.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come...