Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A History of Microsoft Windows - Halcyon Days!

So nostalgic... I remember installing Windows 3.0 back in 1993... and Windows 3.1, ah, honestly, it makes my heart tingle with nostalgia... =) and how I tried 'modding' my copy of Windows 3.1 a la Windows 95, simply because I couldn't wait for the real Windows 95 to come out sooner. ;) Those were the days!

gratefully shocked

Looking thru this entry - realised it's the same thing I wrote about a week or two ago. Hmm...


Feeling ... wordless. Not worthless, but wordless. Wordless, because the truth of my weakness and sin is so clear, there's no words to cover it up.

Same old argument with my mum - but this time i have a better understanding what led to it.

She was angry that i wasn't helping her with her work as much as she wants, and i was angry, because if she needs help, then she should say so lor!

But after the time with Peter, and what he told me, pointing out to me that I need to grow in being more sensitive to people's needs - I see the truth, that I was being very, very, very insensitive to her burden and tiredness, not bothering to look at her needs.

Some bros and sisters have said that I'm very sensitive to their needs. Peter told me that I'm very weak in understanding people's needs. What gives?

Think it's sensitivity to feelings, but I don't bother to apply it at home. The old adage "Charity begins at home" is so true. What's the point of being so caring in church if I'm not caring at home? The Kingdom of God doesn't only apply to church... it applies at HOME!

God, I'm incredibly bo-chup and insensitive and inconsiderate at home. Please help me change and grow in this area. Same old cycle again, because of this weakness. I must progress in this area - set a goal of anticipating my mum's needs esp her workload... and come back earlier to help her!

God, this is so ... tiring. Uphill climb.
But if I can't take care of my parents, how can I take care of my future family? And the Bible adds very clearly - if I can't take care of my own family, how can I take care of God's family, His church?

Sobering. But glad. Felt like I was splashed with cold water when I realised the truth - that's how I'm feeling now. Shocked, but gratefully shocked into soberness.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Top Seven Presentation Bloopers to Avoid

Came across a friend's blog (Eric Feng) - he's in the same batch as me, from School of Computing, NUS. Proud of him! =) Anyway, do check out this article, think it's very useful - you'd be an idiot not to read it. ;)

Top Seven Presentation Bloopers to Avoid

Hmm! I was very inspired by this friend's blog, and not just so, I'm very inspired by how he pursued his passion in public speaking, even though think he stumbled quite a bit at first when he first started out. But he was faithful with the small opportunities that he could use e.g. doing high-quality presentations during his modules, and then went on to bigger things.

Feel very encouraged, because think God has been very faithful and good to me too - I've a growing passion in media too. From observing him, realised that there are things from him that I can 'chope' and apply in my own work as I attempt to nurture and develop the passion that God has given me - not for my glory, but to bring glory to God and bless His big, big, big heart. =) And I'll feel His divine pleasure in my heart as I put this God-given passion to work. Was sharing with Hanesolo that I would like to be a director next time... =) with God all things are possible!

Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.
Proverbs 22:29

What is the work that you are skilled in today? Nurture your nature, and let it thrive and prosper!

Have you got a brook in your little heart

Was doing some reading up for inspiration for designing a Valentine's Day mug... and came across some very sweet poems. ;) So enjoy!

by Emily Dickinson

Have you got a brook in your little heart,
Where bashful flowers blow,
And blushing birds go down to drink,
And shadows tremble so?

And nobody knows, so still it flows,
That any brook is there;
And yet your little draught of life
Is daily drunken there.

Then look out for the little brook in March,
When the rivers overflow,
And the snows come hurrying from the hills,
And the bridges often go.

And later, in August it may be,
When the meadows parching lie,
Beware, lest this little brook of life
Some burning noon go dry!

Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer's Day?
by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Love is anterior to life
by Emily Dickinson
Love is anterior to life,
Posterior to death,
Initial of creation, and
The exponent of breath.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864
I could not drink it, Sweet,
Till You had tasted first,
Though cooler than the Water was
The Thoughtfulness of Thirst.

Ben Jonson (1573–1637) from "Song to Celia"
Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I'll not look for wine.
Thank God for today! :)

Accompanied Peter to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for his physio for his broken leg. And it was a God-given opportunity to learn more things. Thank God for his pushing me to think ahead and anticipate his needs, so that I can learn to meet others' needs better in future.

Realised that I've become more sensitive to people's feelings, but am still very weak in identifying with people's needs.

I did some things that bordered on the hilarious, like helping Peter climb down the stairs, holding one of his crutches so that he could hold the railing... and then when he'd just finished descending the steps, I absent-mindedly walked off with his precious crutch, leaving him to hop after me with his other crutch. Poor Peter... :P

Was initially quite upset again, when I realised this, 'cos very tired of this weakness. But Peter reminded me that since I had prayed to God to help me grow, God allowed this experience to happen, so that He can show me clearly my weaknesses in this area, so that I can learn from it. And besides, God's grace was clearly here - it was Peter, and not someone else less understanding or gracious, who noticed my lack of understanding his needs (especially since he had a broken leg), so since he's my mentor, he can feedback to me more clearly, especially since he knows me so well, including my weaknesses.

Yup, God is so good! :D

So, after that, we discussed, and he advised me to learn from others how they anticipate and meet others' needs - to observe. He also reminded me that God spoke to me through that experience, so that I can learn - it's just that I wasn't expecting Him to speak through that experience...

"Don't box God in - He can speak through many, many ways, not only those ways that you expect Him to speak."

And, do expect God to speak to you, but don't expect Him to speak to you through only a few "preset" ways.

'Cos God's ways are not like our ways, and His thoughts aren't like ours - his ways and thoughts are much higher than ours!

Asked him how to know whether God's speaking to me through a situation and how can I know that whether my interpretation of a situation is correct... Peter reminded me that the first basic principle for making sense of a situation to understand God's will is very simple - does my understanding contradict the Bible or not?

Yup... one thing for sure: we can know that in every situation, whether good or bad, joyful or tragic - in all things He really does work for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. =)


So my spirit was lifted up again after thinking through that. Realised that I still haven't responded in a mature way when I go through experiences that show my weaknesses... I need to remember that this is part of God's love - tough love - that He allows these experiences to show clearly what my weaknesses are.

I have some weaknesses that really, really bug me and others a lot - some are so ... irritating and I wish I didn't have them.

But I was reading through the teaching on self-acceptance in Christian Living 2, that actually, God's power can be shown all the more through our weaknesses, and His grace is sufficient for us.

Seriously, I have these weaknesses - so what? These weaknesses will take years, even my whole life, to overcome - so what?

Plan systematically, plan for progress, and set milestones in overcoming these problems, and PRAY to God to help me grow - keep praying, for He rewards those who earnestly seek Him! And He WILL provide powerfully for me in overcoming these weaknesses, so that through these weaknesses of mine, when I overcome them, everyone can see that it is not by my own strength alone, but it is CLEARLY with God's help that I have overcome! =D And so, His power will be made perfect in my weaknesses. For when I am weak, then I am strong. And all the glory goes to Jesus! =)

Had also a wonderful time with some of the bros and sisters today, jogging with them through Kent Ridge Park, very lovely place. =)

Then we ate dinner at Clementi. Marcus, Swee, Huanyan, Guanrui and I ate together, and hee, thank God for them, it was a great time with them. Haven't laughed so hard in ages... was dizzy with laughter. Oh God, Swee, HY and Ah Rui can come up with the craziest jokes... three really are better than one... And was also a very edifying time at the same time too... =)

But also a wonderful time learning to observe them, how they interact with each other. Realise there's a lot of things I can learn from my dear brothers, especially how they make conversation socially...

Realise I also still tend to stick to my old ways of interacting with others, but learnt a lot from watching how Marcus socialises with the others - can learn a LOT from this bro! 'cos think we have similar personalities, both of us being introverted, but Marcus is able to adapt so much better. Really need to learn from him more. =)

Yup, exciting times, these days, learning and learning... still so much to learn, a lifetime to learn, and learn some more! But what a joy it truly is to learn! :D Ask God to teach you, and He WILL teach you and lead you into all truth...

Thank God! :D

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Reflections on a Legacy

Was reading through the various affirmation letters that my dear bros and sisters, some bringing a huge smile to my heart, others more thought-provoking, yet others sobering.

It made me think about the end of my life, when I'll have to give a complete accounting to God for what I've done with what I have. It's that feeling when you complete a ministry, a phase of your life, and look back and wonder what kind of legacy you left behind - one built on gold, or one built on straw? One that will stand the test of fire, or one that will collapse and burn?

What kind of legacy will you leave behind with your life?

Hmm... had been praying that God will speak to me through these many letters, and think He impressed on my heart what I need to take note of:

  1. To grow in effectiveness in serving God and in discipling people

  2. To grow in wisdom in caring for others

  3. To grow in maturity of faith

1. Effectiveness in service and discipling - Many of the brothers and sisters commended me for my heart in serving God. While that's true, I realise that having a good heart is not necessarily equal to effective service - one that touches and impacts many lives.

Of course, it's much, much more important to have the right heart in serving God, but at the same time, we need to consider whether our acts of service have been effective in impacting people to experience God's love. While it's true that in heaven, we'll be commended by God for our faithfulness and purity of heart, one major reason that we serve God so hard here on earth is because we want to impact as many lives as we can for Christ. We are on a rescue mission. We want to save as many lives as we can. While one life is infinitely precious, many lives saved is even better.

It's like the doctor of a century ago, and the doctor of today. While a doctor in either age would be sincerely and wholeheartedly committed to saving lives, the doctor of today is doing better in a way, because he is more effective in saving lives due to more effective techniques and technologies.

2. Wisdom in caring - Quite a number of people have commented that I'm very sensitive to the needs of other people. One dear bro said that this sensitivity to others is a gift from God. Hee... Yah, it's definitely a gift from God, because by nature, I really am not a sensitive or caring person - without Christ, I'd be a heartless brute. Honestly. I'm so glad He's in my life, I'm so glad He came to save us.

However, I realise that this sensitivity doesn't necessarily translate into helping people feel cared for. Hee... guess this is like having sensitive radar that can detect hidden problems and needs in others, but even if you detect, you don't know how to handle these problems and needs well.

And that is what I want to grow in as well - wisdom to help people feel cared for.

Just like what Shirley shared with me so long ago from Philippians 1:
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

3. Maturity of faith - I chose to bold this, because one very wise sister wrote this to me: "I pray that you will mature in your faith..."

How true it is! Upon further thinking, I realised that while I have been serving hard and done my best in helping others feel cared for, one of the greatest hindrances in my being an effective discipler and influencer of others is the weakness and low maturity of my faith in God. When trials and tests come, I tend to feel very low and shaky in emotions and thoughts. A strong and mature Christian is one whose faith in God stands firm in the face of troubles and difficulties.

Really thank God for this word of wisdom, because I realise that this is one thing that is present in the lives of many of the more mature Christians: a strong mature faith in God that is able to stand steady and secure in the face of difficulties and testing.

2 Corinthians 13:5 says, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?"

And 1 Peter 1:7 says, "These [trials] have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."

And what Paul wrote to the Roman church helped me understand that our effective sphere of influence and service is linked to our measure of faith that we have:
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

So thank God for this truth - He helped me realise that I need to grow in my faith in God to face the more difficult challenges of the Adults ministry. Jinghe reminded me of this truth when we were chatting over dinner: "Adults ministry is a time when you'll really have to rely on God. It'll definitely help to build up your faith in Him."

I'm very encouraged and inspired by the lives of the mature bros and sisters in Christ. They don't let their difficulties and shortcomings pull them down. Instead, they choose to trust God's Word and stand upon the promises He has made.

So this shall be one of my New Year's resolutions that I am making: To grow in faith in God. It won't be easy, since James 1 tells me that if my faith is to be mature and complete, I must go through many testings and trials to prove it genuine. But I have faith in God that He is with me all the way, and I know that He will refine and purify my faith in Him. Forever God is faithful, forever God is strong! Forever God is with us, forever and ever! Amen! :D

Hee... so yup, these three things are what I aim to grow in spiritually this year, as I enter the Adults ministry.

However it's not only "I need to grow in this and that..." Some things to also thank God for, is that He's grown me in in the past 4.5 years, especially in growing in servanthood and humility. Really thank God for His grace to me, how He purified and refined me, pushing me to repent and grow in this area, to be more vulnerable and willing to accept correction and apply it to my life, even if it's painful. To learn to look outward, beyond my own little world, and look to the interests of others. And best of all, to learn to love God with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind and with all my strength. =)

So I guess the phase of the tertiary ministry has been something like graduating from the "Service" academy, where you learn to be a true servant to others. Hee, thank God for His patience with me, think I took a very long time to "graduate" from this "school"... 8 years liao.

But now it's time to move on to the "Discipleship" academy of life, where I learn to stand firm and not falter in my faith, to develop a deeper walk and faith in God - because when you walk right with God, inevitably, you become more and more like Christ, which will cause others to sit up and take notice of your life. It's exactly what Jesus said when he was asking his first disciples to follow him: "Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Amen! Yes, I want to follow Jesus, and to walk right with Him. Because in the Adults ministry, Rueyfong told me, you really need the opportunities, the "breaks", that only God can give. "Walk right with God, and He will walk right with you!"

Amen! :D

Can a lottery win make you happy?

I just read this article, and it made me think about what Ps Jeff preached about today, on what we do with our money...

Money is good... because with it, we can share with those who are in need... it's the LOVE of money that is a root of all kinds of evil! So true! When I read the article, the following quote struck me:

Despite stories about overnight millionaires going off the rails, money does not have the dramatic effect we might think.

"People are frightened it's going to change them as a person but in fact it's their lifestyle that alters. If they were a kind, warm-hearted person before, they will be after."

How true... it is a good thing to have plenty of money in our hands, and no money in our hearts! So that we can give generously to those in need! "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be..."

It struck me very strongly that the Kingdom of God needs money to help those in need... it's a very practical thing. So responded to the altar call to be a successful and influential money-earner for the Kingdom of God... do eagerly hope to support the church vision to build strong and biblical people to plant strong and biblical churches in Singapore and all over the world... and hopefully one day, also be able to go overseas and help support the other churches and their social work too! (Maybe South America...)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Finishing Well God's Way

Just read this beautiful article, and it inspired me to type a post using its title...

Just came back from the sub-D farewell for Winnie and me. Feel very, very, very loved. Thank you so much, dearest bros and sisters... it truly has been a great joy to serve God together with you all.

Think what I'll carry away with me from this old ministry into the new ministry is the precious memories and the very dear friendships formed, esp those with whom I have gone through thick and thin. Special thanks to Jan, Mich, YF, Flince, Huanyan, Swee Leong, Bowen, Guanrui, Hongtao... you all have been very dear and precious friends and co-workers together in this ministry, and I will miss you deeply! I remember especially the joys and the sorrows that we faced together - that is why I truly treasure these friendships very much. But, as this beautiful saying goes, "those who love God never meet for the last time". Amen? :)

Hee, really thank God for my dear brothers and sisters, some who have moved on already into the Adults ministry (I'm coming, I'm coming!)... over the past 4.5 years, many of them have sown seeds of love, grace and truth into my heart, and hee, like the pretty picture of the mustard plant that they drew, their seeds have made a lasting impact on my heart.

How true it is that one is able to reach his or her fullest potential only when he/she is in a community of caring and committed friends! Thank you for being a family to me! :D

I was thinking about what I shared with them... yes, it's really true that it doesn't matter very much how you started... what truly, truly counts is whether you finished the race of life well.

It's just like a marathon - God doesn't care how fast you run... But He cares that you are faithful to finish the race. And all those who are faithful to the very end will receive the crown of life that He has promised to those who love Him.

And I'm so grateful to God that He has allowed and helped me finish this lap of my life well. It was such a joy to see the close friendships that I've developed with the other brothers, especially those in the MACHO Turbo group! Thank God so much for all of you who shared or wrote or messaged your words of affirmation with me, and Eugene for his backrub, since he knows that touch is one of my love languages!

And finally, I do pray earnestly and eagerly in my heart that Winnie and I will have impacted you guys in the NUS ministry to love God more and love His people more. If we have impacted just even one teeny, tiny heart, and that heart responds to God, then we will know that all our labour in the Lord has not been in vain!

Dear friends, dear brothers and sisters, dear comrades in Christ, it really doesn't matter if you started well or not in the Marathon of Life - what truly, truly, truly matters in God's eyes is that you finish well - to cross that Great Finishing Line to Heaven and hear the beloved words that have been heard by all those who have loved God and their fellowmen to the end, across the ages, from the beginning of the world to the end of it: "Well done, good and faithful servant!"

So let's serve God and His people with all our passion and perseverance, no matter how mighty or mundane it may seem - let us fight the good fight, let us finish the race and let us keep the faith!

Amen! :D

Friday, January 26, 2007

Freedom for the Captives!!!

Hee, just really, really want to thank You Lord for the past few days...

Think Wednesday was an absolutely stunning day. We had follow-up with a dear bro, shared with him about the Holy Spirit, and somehow, God gave us a prophetic word of knowledge into this dear bro's situation... and when we shared that with him, think he was very surprised... but that really helped him to open up and share what was troubling him...

Felt so touched when he was crying and sharing, that I almost cried myself... it really strikes me how deep the love of God is... even in the midst of our lostness and confusion, He is never too far away... He hears even the faintest cry of the lost, and He steps across all heaven and earth to reach out to us...

After tt, Isaiah 61 came to my mind...
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners..."

Later on, I met Yuantao... was super-encouraged... we had a really wonderful time of fellowship. Something that he shared with me really really made me smile so much... he told me that God has been showing love to him in such caring ways... e.g. when his CG celebrated his bday on a particular day even tho it was earlier than his actual bday, his dad called him the next day, and told him that the prev day was his birthday according to the Lunar calendar!

And also, somehow, everytime Qiaoping was going to teach him about a particular topic, he would ask QP first on the very topic that she was about to share! Like, how he was thinking of being water-baptised and asked QP about it... and it turns out that she was about to teach him on that very same topic!

Praise God! :D

It's really such a huge, huge, huge joy to see what God can do in the lives of those who love Him... it's such a joy to see how God is liberating those who were held captive to their fears all their lives... how He is healing those who have been broken-hearted... what a wonderful Saviour we serve!!! :D

He is able, He is able
I know He is able
I know my God is able
To carry me through

He heals the broken-hearted
And sets the captives free
He makes the lame to walk again
And the blind to see

He came from a place of glory
To set the captives free
He gave His life in love for me
And caused my eyes to see...

Think this is something I learnt from Yuantao... to see God's deep, deep love and care in even in the very small things i experience everyday...

So other things i wanna thank Daddy for:
For the good time with Shawn today - hee, so glad to be able to help this dear bro today...

For the opportunity to be able to attend HopeKids leadership huddle... really want to capture the spirit of service from my team leaders who faithfully get up early on Sun mornings to take care of the children...

For the sweet time of fellowship with my very dear brothers yesterday and today... for the time with Huanyan celebrating his birthday... for the times with Guanrui and Hongtao and Jan...

For the ultra-romantic moment with my dear CG on top of Engine rooftop... the night sky was so incredibly beautiful... worshipping God together as the night breeze blows on us... is like feeling God's gentle presence upon us literally...

For Jodie's help in helping me copy a old project that we did together for one of our modules... it was a great time to reconnect and keep in touch with a dear friend...

For my dad and mum, especially for my dad's hugs... something I realise is that there are many, many men who would literally sell everything they owned just to be able to receive a father's love, let alone the numerous hugs I get so often. i am so incredibly blessed... even when i totally do not deserve such love!

For the opportunity to make a new friend today - think his name's Hanesolo, Ziwei's friend - at HQ... think he's quite talented in music and likes to read a lot... :)

For Zhiwei's msgs to me showing his care and concern... hee, really treasure this dear bro and friend...

Yup, yup... so many blessings when I count them... God indeed is good, even to the worst of sinners... that they may turn to Him and He will have mercy on them, to our God, for He will freely pardon... for His ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts!

I really love this Bible verse - especially since it's in the Old Testament where God is supposed to be super-fierce and zapping sinners with holy fire... (He can do that... but He really really is patient and gracious even with the hard-hearted and is super-quick to forgive if they will turn back to Him!)
Isaiah 55:6-9 (New International Version)

Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.

Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Walk On - The Spiritual Journey of U2

Read this from Weizhu's blog. Think it's very meaningful.

... I knew Bono is special and he's been doing many wonderful things in recent years, and was a Time magazine Person of the Year. But now I'm beginning to see where his passion stems from... [continue]

Focus, conviction

Think these are two things that God's impressing on my heart - that He really wants me to desire and grow in.

Thank God so much for His goodness =) think the cloud's clearing finally. =) hee hee...

Oh God, it's so good to come back into Your arms again after so long. =) How sweet Your love, Your Word, Your presence in my life is. Feel much more renewed and refreshed.

Something I learnt from Proverbs 1 today: That God wants me to acquire a DISCIPLINED and PRUDENT life.

And this good rebuke came to me:
Prov 1:22
"How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery,
and fools hate knowledge?"

Think God asked me to take a good look at my heart, and think about the many times I've insisted on living simple-minded ways, instead of living in the fullness of His grace and His truth.

[BTW "simple" here means one who doesn't have a sense of moral direction and is inclined to evil.]

Yup, thank God so much, need to keep this word in my heart. :)

Oh yah, focus - that's something I learnt from last year's Standard Chartered marathon, and what Yufen shared with me over a casual meetup yesterday and also what Peter told me a week ago. It's simply amazing what a person with focus can do, especially when he has God's help.

Just like a laser. One reason why a laser is so much more useful than a torchlight or even a billion-watt searchlight is that it has extreme precision, focus and purity (since it has only one wavelength). It may not be able to spread out much, but because of its sheer focus, it can be used for many, many things e.g. surgery in cutting, reading data, scanning barcodes, etc.

Isn't it like a person who is wholeheartedly pure and focused for God? He/she may not have a very wide sphere of influence, but those that he/she influences - oh boy, oh boy - what depth of influence! If you can impact one and only one person, impact that person to be a world-changer, who will go on to impact many, many, many, many, many, many, many other people!

Just like Father Abraham, father of many nations...
"By faith Abraham, even though he was past age - and Sarah herself was barren - was enabled to become a father because he considered Him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore." (Hebrews 11:11-12)

Perhaps an even better example would be Jesus Christ Himself. Napoleon is attributed to have said this in humble acknowledgement of the impact of Jesus Christ:
"I die before my time and my body shall be given back to the earth and devoured by worms. What an abysmal gulf between my deep miseries and the eternal Kingdom of Christ. I marvel that whereas the ambitious dreams of myself and of Alexander and of Caesar should have vanished into thin air, a Judean peasant-Jesus-should be able to stretch his hands across the centuries, and control the destinies of men and nations."

Hmm. Praying that God'll show me where to aim and focus upon. And purity and depth of conviction, I also want...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Inner Angst

Really feel like going somewhere far, far off, to a beautiful landscape, with a gentle breeze and hills and meadows and beautiful skies, cloud upon cloud.

So Happy! :)

Robert called me when I was sleeping.

Ok, in Robert's favour, I was still sleeping at 1 pm. :)

Thank God, he's going for a 2nd interview at Ministry of Home Affairs! Something to do with Civil Defence - fire safety policies.

But what touches and encourages me even more is his spirit, in wanting to take a break to build up his church ministry stronger first. To seek first God's Kingdom and the rest of what he needs will be given to him as well. :)

Jiayou bro! Proud of you!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Oh yes, met up with Weizhu and Huichun for lunch today. We ate delicious Western food at Far East Plaza. Such a joy catching up with such dear friends! :)

And later on my ushering team threw a surprise farewell time for Winnie and me, since both of us are moving on to Adults ministry on 4th Feb (it's confirmed now). Very touched by the time and effort that they put into doing the gifts and cards for us, and the words of affirmation too... thank you guys... you really have Gone the Extra Mile for us!
Learning experiences:
What God helped me be aware of today:
- my constant negative ranting and anxiety to others...
- my getting carried away when talking about myself

And what Peter told me over the phone after I shared with him my frustration at my self-centredness that I find it so hard to overcome:

"It's a process."

On talking about myself: "Don't get carried away."

Be sensitive: make sure the other person can understand what you are saying. Don't lapse into jargon.

Also be very careful about the motive behind using jargon.

You could be showing off how much you know.


Re: my disappointments with myself: his patient reminder: "Don't dwell on it. You only waste time, and it drains you."

He advised me to go back and read chapter 1 of "The Life You've Always Wanted" again.

Read it. And was encouraged. Re-read the part about humility. Realise that there's this pride in me again.

Wow, so thankful to Daddy that He pointed out these things to me. It's not easy to grow, but one of my greatest wishes this year is to grow more approachable. I guess at the heart of it all, is a desire to be liked and wanted by others. :) Hmm. Yeah, I guess there's this insecurity in me, but frankly, I don't care, because I do desire to build more close relationships with others.

Hmm. I guess, after reading the book, was reminded... God has already accepted me for who I am, and He'll help transform me as I continue to walk with Him daily - I am not alone in this struggle to grow. So hee, yes, I gladly admit that I am incorrigibly self-centred through and through... but now that I realise that God loves me so much that He died for me on the cross, it motivates me to want to die to my self-centred nature daily... even if it means wrestling with it all my life.

Think this verse speaks very sharply into my current heart condition:
"For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." (2 Cor 5:14-15)

Hmm. One reason I really hate this self-centered nature of mine is (ironically) for a self-centered reason - I want to build close relationships with people. And people don't like self-centred people. As Joyce pointed out, in the workplace, it's harder to love the self-centred people.

Haiz. I'm very sleepy now. Spent two hours thinking, and thinking about all these, trying to make sense of these experiences that I've been through, and erm, actually, I'm still quite blur. Sorry if it's a mish-mash, I bo-chup lah!

But shall close here with Proverbs 3:5-6: "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." :)

"We shall morph indeed": The Hope of Transformation

These words from a book I'm reading touched me a lot, because it really echoes exactly what I've been feeling in my heart recently.

I am disappointed with myself. I am disappointed not so much with particular things I have done as with aspects of who I have become. I have a nagging sense that all is not as it should be.


I am disappointed that I still love God so little and sin so much. I always had the idea as a child that adults were pretty much the people they wanted to be. Yet the truth is, I am embarrassingly sinful. I am capable of dismaying amounts of jealousy if someone succeeds more visibly than I do. I am disappointed at my capacity to be small and petty. I cannot pray for very long without my mind drifting into a fantasy of angry revenge over some past slight I thought I had long since forgiven or some grandiose fantasy of achievement. I can convince people I'm busy and productive and yet waste large amounts of time watching television.

These are just some of the disappointments. I have other ones, darker ones, that I'm not ready to commit to paper. The truth is, even to write these words is a little misleading, because it makes me sound more sensitive to my fallenness than I really am. Sometimes, although I am aware of how far I fall short, it doesn't even bother me very much. And I am disappointed at my lack of disappointment.

Where does this disappointment come from? A common answer in our day is that it is a lack of self-esteem, a failure to accept oneself. That may be part of the answer, but it is not the whole of it, not by a long shot. The older and wiser answer is that the feeling of disappointment is not the problem, but a reflection of a deeper problem - my failure to be the person God had in mind when he created me. It is the "pearly ache" in my heart to be at home with the Father.

Think these words are very relevant to me, because I've been disappointed with myself. I'm even disappointed with my disappointments - I know I shouldn't be so negative and moody, yet I still am moody. In fact, I'm moody about being moody. (Win already lor...)

But thank God! He's so sweet - as I re-read some chapters, I felt renewed again, reminded that I'm not alone. After calling Peter last night, and ranting to him about my struggles with the same old things, and just moaning to him in general, he patiently listened, and then replied:

"It's a process."

Reminding me of Philippians 3, "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal...", he gave me the analogy of a soccer player who misses a goal.

"Does he stay there on his knees, moaning? No, he gets up and tries again, and again, till the end of the match. And when the match's over, he goes for training if needed."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Today was a very interesting day. :)

I went down to have my photo taken for resumes. Think it didn't go very well - it's really hard to smile "naturally" in front of the camera. But thankful that I found the shop that Peter told me about. :)

Hmm. Still feeling quite mel and depressed even. I don't like those times when I do so.

But God is good, and His love endures forever! :) Amen!

Today subD meeting. We had restructuring. Hee, so the timing for my moving over to Adults ministry has changed to Feb. Quite disappointed when I heard it was going to be later. But then, why not? Praise God - in fact, originally, I wanted to stay back longer to serve as much as I can in the NUS ministry before I move on.

"Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess 5:16-18


Hmm. During the worship time, I think God impressed very strongly on my heart that I've been relying on my own strength too much, and not relying on His strength. No wonder I've been tired and weak on the inside. Confirmed by Jessie's prophecy. :) Thank You Jesus.

Then during Claramae's sharing, all three points spoke to me. It was from Romans 16, where Paul personally thanked many people by name who had served alongside him, even to the point of risking their lives for the Gospel.

1. Love God and men sacrificially.
2. Be diligent in serving God and men.
3. Remain steadfast in the Lord.

Something that she mentioned in particular struck me. What's my motivation for serving God, really? Is it because of Him, or is it because of the relationships that I have formed in the group?

And when my environment changes, will I still remain faithful to God?

It struck me that I've been serving partly because of relationships, that I want to serve others because I feel close to them.

But where is God in the equation, really? This ministry must be centred on God's truth, not humanistic thinking!


QP shared with me abt her major transitions. Very encouraged by how she made it through, serving God faithfully. I want to be like that too. :)

Hmm. i'm really dissatisfied with my life. I really want to have a greater heart for God. I want to hunger for the things of God even more! Thank God for my dear bros and sisters who set example for me in this area.

I really need Your strength and power and love...

"If we could see how much You're worth,
Your power, Your might, Your endless love,
Then surely we would never cease to praise..."

O God, hold me tight in Your arms.

Reminds me of what a poet living as a tramp wrote:
"O God, make small the old star-eaten blanket of the sky
That I may wrap it around me, and in comfort lie."

Yup, feeling challenged, but will joyfully rise up and face these challenges again, for I know Christ has forgiven me, and I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! aMeN!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Got to know a new brother in Christ today. Was reading some book on the bus, when all of a sudden, this guy next to me peers at one of my books, and asks me, "Can I take a look at your book?" (The book is "The Life You've Always Wanted".)

Turns out that this guy's a Christian too. :) Touched and encouraged by his eagerness in wanting to learn new things - he says that he's a new Christian.

"Oh I see! How long?"

"Three years."

(Three years? That's a rather long time!)

He says, "I'm still learning."

Wow. Touched by this brother's childlike humility and desire to learn - even to the point of asking a stranger to borrow a book to read! Need to learn from this brother's hunger to learn.

He asks, "Which church are you from?"

"Hope. You?"

"History Makers International."

"Oh I see..." (even though I haven't heard of that church before. Must be a recent one.)

Hmm! :)

Anyway, we chat a bit, and turns out he's 22 and entering Youth ministry. I ask him how's he feeling about it, and he says he's quite excited but scared by the challenges that he'll face in serving in this new ministry.


Both of us are fellow pilgrims, both entering new ministries, and both with expectant hearts, yet tentative feelings about this. Could this be a wonderful Divine "coincidence", to encourage one another? :)

His name's Nicholas. Prayed a prayer of blessing for him after I got off the bus. Not sure if we'll meet again in this lifetime, but it'll be good too! :) Hope that he'll continue serving God faithfully all the way.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hee, thankful to God for today. :)

Think over the past few days, He's been teaching me to learn to be more loving to my mum at home, and to break out of my selfish attitude at home, wanting to do my own things instead of helping my mum.

But, well, the past few days my mum needs my help a lot, and I've been very reluctant to help her, because I want to relax and do my own things.

But thank God, He rebuked and corrected me with many verses that came to mind, and sometimes I sense His Spirit prompting me not only just to wait for my mum to give me tasks to do, but to take the initiative to ask her.

Think it's not easy to do so at times, because it means denying myself the fun of playing computer games or reading or even blogging, but think thru these past few weeks, God has been opening my eyes to see and understand the heavy workload that my mum faces as a teacher, and helping me understand that since I'm skilled in IT stuff, all the more I have this obligation to help my mum, who really struggles with computers. Because He'll call me to account for what I've done with the skills and talents that He has given me.

Hmm... can also see how He is answering one of my prayers this year to grow in love for my family, especially my parents. I realise that loving them isn't always easy, and sometimes it requires me to make sacrifices and even go beyond my comfort zone, but it's really well-worth it. :) Because God so loved me that He sent His one and only Son to die for me and for my family too on the cross.

Hee, and another blessing that He's been giving me is that I'm learning to show more love through acts of service... 'cos my mum's love language (I think) is acts of service. And also to work with people of different personalities, 'cos she's a choleric kind of person... who likes to have things done quickly and efficiently. Thank God, over time I'm learning to love her more in these two ways (still have a lot to learn), because it's not about how I feel, but how she feels loved that matters.

Pastor PK's blog (Hope London)

Just got this URL from one of Ps PK's emails - very encouraged by his testimonies! :) Do take a look at this man of God's blo...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Christian Manhood: Gentleness Isn't Being the "Nice Guy"

Thank God for this article, think it's very timely, 'cos have been praying to God to help me grow in true gentleness :) Hee, a lot of things that I read seem very timely. Wonder why... hehe! ;)

Christian Manhood: Gentleness Isn't Being the "Nice Guy"
Paul Coughlin

When Christian men hear or read about the virtue of gentleness, they often substitute this virtue with the vice of niceness. This is especially the case for younger Christian men, and the results can be deadly when it comes to love, marriage and fatherhood.

What is niceness? Niceness in many ways is a perverted form of gentleness. What does true gentleness look like? Genuine gentleness brings needed force into a situation or relationship, but it is a force that is moderate and kind in its presentation. Gentleness is respectful, but respectful enough to be truthful and at the same time gracious.

Niceness is often disguised as gentleness, but you can see the difference if you look closely. Mere “niceness” brings no redemptive power to a matter at hand, whether with a spouse, co-worker, or obnoxious coach who belittles and exasperates a child. The apostle Paul admonishes fathers not to exasperate their children (Ephesians 6:4). Christian men who focus on niceness try hard to fulfill this requirement but in many situations fail since a father’s lack of power frustrates and angers his children. Nice Christian men also fail to stop other fathers from exasperating their children because correcting another, may seem, well, not very nice. Due in part to their spiritual training, nice Christian men often double-exasperate children.

In many ways, the unstated goal of niceness is to say or do something without saying or doing anything truly meaningful. It favors manners over truth. Niceness is the drowning of force, the unwilling to use any. It is the state of being that has been defined for ages as "weak."

The understanding that a gentle man still wields force - albeit moderately - and with it power, is an eye-opening revelation to many of the Christian men at my conferences. Their spiritual training has them believing that gentleness means using no force at all - like niceness. This revelation often propels them into a better, though uncharted, direction.

When Is It Okay to be Forceful?

Learning to use the appropriate amount of force in any given situation takes time and a cultivation of virtue. Yes, the moderate use of force for redemptive purposes is a virtue, but please understand that it can also be a vice. Some situations in life demand setting aside even gentleness, requiring more than moderate levels of force. For example, a police officer who only uses moderate force may be a dangerous imposter when greater force is necessary to ensure peace and protection. By the way, if you trace the origin of the word virtue, as Dr. Henry Cloud has in his beneficial work Integrity, you'll see that one of its meanings is "force." Virtue brings energy and force to a situation. Niceness refuses the task, usually because of fear of rejection.

A man’s need to cultivate virtue brings us to another point: If the goal of Christian life is to imitate Jesus, then it’s important we have an accurate picture of Jesus. It's important we knock down, whenever possible, the anti-biblical and false idol of Pleasant and Mild Jesus, who we foolishly try to emulate. True, Jesus was gentle. But he was not always gentle, thank God. Moderate force cannot save us from wickedness, evil, addictions, the devious plans of others, or our own convenient rationalizations that bring numbing comfort but not true security. Sometimes the best thing a good person, or God, can do for us is to give the gift of desperation--something gentleness is ill-equipped to perform and something niceness never does.

I receive many letters from wives of Christian Nice Guys, explaining how heroic they’ve behaved in order to help their husbands be more involved, connected, and protective of their families. Yet no change has occurred. Sometimes the gift of desperation is the only option that works.

When you think about the people who are only gentle (or worse nice) in your life, how much do you trust them? Be honest. We trust people who know how to wield force and power in appropriate measures. Someone who is always gentle doesn’t do this, and we know this truth in our gut: 24/7 gentle people are not trustworthy of the more precious portions of our lives. This is another reason why when we worship God that we thank Him for giving us a good Savior, not a 24/7 gentle one.

The Necessity for Boldness in Family Life

Many Christian men entrust their spiritual advice to a band of men who are gentle but who also do not possess boldness and courage. I did this for a long time, and the advice I received during pivotal times in my life was earnest but only partially true. When the pressure’s on, earnestness isn’t good enough, and is far from wise counsel.

Let's make it more personal and less theoretical. Many Christian Nice Guys had gentle fathers, which was a blessing in many ways and a cursing wound in other ways if this is all the power they were willing to wield. We needed them to produce more force than what they were willing to produce on our behalf, as well as for our moms and siblings. I say "willing" instead of "able" because I believe that every man possesses the ability to create more assertive and aggressive acts of force but that these abilities have been perverted or have obstacles in their way. When the men in our families failed to be more than gentle, we were far more vulnerable to attack, misunderstandings, and disillusion regarding authority since one of our most intimate experiences with authority let us down.

Men like novelists Tobias Wolff and Donald Miller show us the neutered life of those who grow up without a father’s power because they had no father. They contain gripping accounts of male drifting, fecklessness, even wanderlust. A lack of male power can be just as wounding to women and children as a perverted or overabundant use of power - a wounding that radical feminism promotes today.

When men receive clarity regarding the difference between gentleness and niceness, they see that God gives them permission to be more forceful than they currently realize. Depression often lifts. Hope fills dry souls and spirits are enlivened. But then a fundamental question must soon be answered: Will I wield it for selfish gain, or as a warrior of light? The answer reveals what we love, and where we store our treasure.

Some points that I learnt today

  1. Holy Living (God can use any kind of vessels - but He can't use dirty vessels),
  2. Facing Frustrations (i don't have thorns on my head, neither a spear in my side, nor wounds on my back - so what do i have to complain about? like how Peter shared abt the pain of his broken leg, he realised that it was nothing compared to Christ's excruciating pain on the cross.),
  3. Serving People (we need to help other grow before we ask them to start serving... to serve the under-served, the poor, the needy, the underclassed... hmm, personally I feel a burden for orphans and abused children in particular, feel really really really outraged whenever i read of such cases in the news... Lord, I want to be used by You here... to have a holy anger against injustice and oppression...really dunno how, but here I am, send me!) So inspired by Bono of U2 fame and Bill and Mel Gates who wisely use their foundation funds to make a difference... and countless others who do their part to make this place better - instead of just complaining about the state it is in... :P
  4. and Handling Resources so that we can successfully and effectively make the most of our lives to accomplish the above three points...

Also, how to be an encourager who helps pple grow (this was one of the points that made me tear, because really felt God's gracious affirmation and encouragement of me in this area... and also because He pointed out to me how I can grow in being a better "Barnabas"):
1. Listen to their story.
We need to DEVELOP pple before we can mobilize them... so important if we want to rally ppl to a cause... hmm... tink this is something I need to grow in more and more...

2. Look beyond their past to their potential.
When Barnabas met Saul, he saw beyond Saul's violent past - as a persecutor of Christians and one who was party to Stephen's murder... and how Barnabas discipled Saul till Saul became known as Paul the Apostle to the Gentiles... cool! :)

Hee, reminded of what Alan preached last time, that God actually thinks better of us than we think of ourselves...

3. Learn to expand their horizons.
Think God was reminding me that I need to help encourage and expand Zhiwei's horizons... this bro really has a very sweet and teachable spirit, so hee, really hope can help expand his horizons...

Reminded of how Alan discipled Zewei, to the point where Zewei wrote an essay for some very prestigious nationwide essay competition - and ZW was one of the top 50 entrants... imagine! Because Zewei's not one of the naturally arts student types or what... he's much more of the engineering types... yet he even went on to work at a high-level government workplace...

The Touch of God

This article touched my heart a lot, especially the words that I highlighted in bold. Really feel very encouraged, because, well, the words spoke exactly what I was thinking in my heart these few days. Hope it touches you too! :) And I remember what Ps Ben challenged us in a meeting today, to serve the under-served, the poor, the helpless - one of our focii for 2007.

The Touch of God
by Max Lucado

In Scripture the leper is symbolic of the ultimate outcast: infected by a condition he did not seek, rejected by those he knew, avoided by people he did not know, condemned to a future he could not bear. And in the memory of each outcast must have been the day he was forced to face the truth: life would never be the same.

The banishing of a leper seems harsh, unnecessary. The Ancient East hasn’t been the only culture to isolate their wounded, however. We may not build colonies or cover our mouths in their presence, but we certainly build walls and duck our eyes. And a person needn’t have leprosy to feel quarantined.

The divorced know this feeling. So do the handicapped. The unemployed have felt it, as have the less educated. Some shun unmarried moms. We keep our distance from the depressed and avoid the terminally ill. We have neighborhoods for immigrants, convalescent homes for the elderly, schools for the simple, centers for the addicted, and prisons for the criminals.

The rest simply try to get away from it all. Only God knows how many individuals are living quiet, lonely lives infected by their fear of rejection and their memories of the last time they tried. They choose not to be touched at all rather than risk being hurt again.

Some of you have the master touch of the Physician himself. You use your hands to pray over the sick and minister to the weak. If you aren’t touching them personally, your hands are writing letters, dialing phones, baking pies. You have learned the power of a touch.

But others of us tend to forget. Our hearts are good; it’s just that our memories are bad. We forget how significant one touch can be. We fear saying the wrong thing or using the wrong tone or acting the wrong way. So rather than do it incorrectly, we do nothing at all.

Aren’t we glad Jesus didn’t make the same mistake? If your fear of doing the wrong thing prevents you from doing anything, keep in mind the perspective of the lepers of the world. They aren’t picky. They aren’t finicky. They’re just lonely. They are yearning for a godly touch.

Jesus touched the untouchables of the world. Will you do the same?

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Apple Of Your Ear

The iPhone started out the way a lot of cool things do: as something completely different. A few years ago, Steve Jobs noticed how many development dollars were being spent--particularly in the greater Seattle metropolitan area--on what are called tablet PCs: flat portable computers that work with a touch screen instead of a mouse and keyboard. Jobs, being Jobs, was curious. He had some Apple engineers noodle around with a touch screen. When they showed him what they came up with, he got excited.

So excited he forgot all about tablet computers. He had bigger game to hunt. [continue...]

Was reading this article, when it struck me that this is one major niche that Singapore can excel in, in the global media industry.

Frankly, I don't think that games are necessarily the best way to go, even though Singapore will be pumping billions into R&D for interactive media.

It smells suspiciously like the same old "cannon fodder" tactics that Singapore's been using for the life science industry - throw in a whole bunch of students, pick out those who make it to PhD-level, and the rest who can't? Hmm... it's much harder for them to find a life-science related job, and honestly, even those who can make it to PhD level need to go overseas.

I'm not arguing with the virtues of this tactic - but I think it's a sheer waste of trained and qualified manpower. People spend 4 years studying life science stuff - and after that, then what? Perhaps if it's in a highly developed life science industry, then it's fine, no problem. But the problem is, we're still at the beginning.

Perhaps now would be a good time to break out those business strategy books - prime case being Sun Tzu's Art of War. I think he explained a simple concept of asymmetric warfare - in which a smaller power finds a way to exploit the weaknesses of a bigger power. So Singapore can also do it that way. Find the weaknesses present currently in the life science/media industries and exploit the niche offered.

Which is what Steve Jobs is precisely doing now in the heavily entrenched mobile phone market. Because he and his team have a decisive advantage in design quality.

The game is a little different this time. With the iPod, Jobs essentially created a whole new product category. The cell-phone turf is already held by entrenched armies of phonemakers and service providers. They may not be as hip or innovative as Apple, but they will shred one another for nickels, and there are a lot of nickels on the ground. One point of market share in the handset business is worth $1.4 billion. Motorola, having sold more than 50 million Razrs with not enough to show for it, will probably be reverse engineering the iPhone before it hits the stores. "We already have cell phones and smart phones, so the marketplace is already very competitive," says industry analyst Jeff Kagan. "We have not seen Apple compete in the insanely intense, competitive wireless marketplace."

But it wasn't just the money. Cell phones interested Jobs because even though they do all kinds of stuff--calling, text messaging, Web browsing, contact management, music playback, photos and video--they do it very badly, by forcing you to press lots of tiny buttons and navigate diverse heterogeneous interfaces and squint at a tiny screen. "Everybody hates their phone," Jobs says, "and that's not a good thing. And there's an opportunity there." To Jobs' perfectionist eyes, phones are broken. Jobs likes things that are broken. It means he can make something that isn't and sell it to you at a premium price.

Which goes on to my next point. Frankly, from what I've studied about the marketing structure of the games and film industry - the key to winning in the media industry is NOT so much about quality of products, but rather, the distribution networks.

How do you think Hollywood manages to churn out so much junk, and yet still dominate the global movie industry? Through the controlling of the distribution networks that ensure its products are the most visible ones, thus eclipsing the games/films of the local countries' media industries.

I guess you can use a war example, since war and business are closely related to one another in terms of strategies and tactics. During the American Civil War, the Northern Union forces were constantly and soundly walloped by the Southern Confederates who had more superior generals and fiercer soldiers. But eventually, the North won the war. Some reasons were due to the superior logistics and transportation networks of railroads, which enabled the North to supply fresh new troops and weapons and food to the frontline, and also, the more heavily industrialised North enabled the constant production of weapons and technologies.

So, I think Singapore can also aim for design qualities, especially in user interface designs, which is potentially a very wide and diverse field not only in the media industries, but in the other fields e.g. hardware and software industries.

Why is Apple able to do things most other companies can't? Partly by charging for it: the iPhone will cost $499 for a 4-GB model, $599 for 8-GB. And partly because unlike most companies, Apple does its own hardware, its own software and its own industrial design. When it all takes place under one roof, you get a kind of collaborative synergy that makes unusual things happen. (Vertical integration in practice here.)

Apple also places an unusual emphasis on interface design. It sweats the cosmetic details that don't seem very important until you really sweat them. "I actually have a photographer's loupe that I use to make sure every pixel is right," says Scott Forstall, Apple's vice president of Platform Experience. "We will argue over literally a single pixel." As a result, when you swipe your finger across the screen to unlock the iPhone, you're not just accessing a system of nested menus, you're entering a tiny universe in which data exist as bouncy, gemlike objects. You can actually pinch an image with two fingers and make it smaller. Because there's no mouse or keyboard, just that touch screen, there's a powerful illusion that you're physically handling data.

So I think this is where Singapore can really shine in if it invests its funding in the next few decades.

Simple Songs

something i realised today. :) that when you try your best to seek God, He will do His part to reach out to you too.

God is closer than we think. :)

why i say that? bcos was very tired today, yet i knew that i simply had to seek God today in His word. yet fell asleep (decided to) because I needed the sleep.

but i think He sees my heart. even when i'm sleeping during my QT instead of reading my bible.

and what father wouldn't want his child to fall asleep in his arms? :)

felt so loved even when i was sleeping. i don't know how, just felt loved. and i really do need His love very much.

then after that, found myself starting to sing some songs in my heart. haven't been singing songs to God for a long time actually. think that's a meter of sorts, whether songs flow freely from my heart to Him. to help me discern whether there's spiritual dryness in my life.

simple songs. but they mean everything in my heart to Jesus.

Serving God

And about serving God. Guanrui shared with me what he learnt about the attitudes in serving God.

Think it's very timely :) as i reflected, i realised that my heart's not pure in this area. it gets dirty every day when i want to serve Him. i sense subtle tugs, subtle thots in my heart, saying why not be this? why not be that? subtle desires. the thorns that choke the crops, like what we covered in luke 8 today with zhiwei.

but what YF also shared with him from Proverbs - "Above all else, guard your heart, for out of it flows the wellspring of life."

Amen. :)

Selfish Service

Sorry God, I need to pray to you. :) Felt ... initially ok, when I did my best to encourage a friend. But he just typed "hehe" at the end... so felt a bit discouraged actually.

Why do I feel discouraged, actually, when i try to encourage sometimes? i'm not sure... perhaps it's just a case of timing, or a case of trust - because i really do believe that God wanted me to share that particular verse n prophecy with him over msn...

And isn't it impt to serve God, no matter what the response? if my conscience is clear, n i have served God to the best of my ability, then it really doesn't matter how the bro responds.

for all i know, the bro may be very encouraged, but it's just not his style to say so.

i'm so amazed yet mortified. By His grace and by my sinfulness. His generosity, and my selfishness.

Random Thoughts and Thanks for Today

Hee, we celebrated Swee Leong's bday today :) we had a wonderful time.

Was thinking, quite afraid of the office politics to come in future. had a small foretaste of it even now, and doesn't feel pleasant.

Lord, mature me... and remind me of James 1... "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds..."

Had a good time of follow-up today. Was feeling very tired actually, and quite sian. So asked God to refresh me during the follow-up time. Wow, felt very refreshed by Flince, YF and Zhiwei. :) Tk You Lord...

Reflected again. Really want to grow in selflessness. V encouraged by SL's testimony hw God helped him grow in this area. :)

Oh yah. Thanks for the time wif Guanzhen today, we had a good time discussing apologetics questions and just sharing our lives. :)

Tml we're having sub-D chalet! :) Yufen said it's a "rugged chalet" ie. there's no beds there. Flince said even Pulau Tekong got beds. Haha... nah, really looking fwd to the time together! :D

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Textual Criticism, Darwinism and Narnia

Had the toughest debate ever with one of my friends on MSN. He's read thru theology books, and considers "Case for a Creator" and "Mere Christianity" "amateurish" readings. Hee, really humbled after talking with him on MSN. Even though he's from a Christian family, and read thru a whole bunch of theology stuff, he finds Judaism more plausible, and said that Christianity's basic premise is flawed, even throwing in concepts to support his argument e.g. textual criticism. Think he won this round, 1-0!

Wow. Humbled, because I realised that I really don't know that much - super rusty and super lacking. And i'm not as intellectually powerful as i thot I was. Just in time - because i'm meeting Guan Zhen tml to discuss apologetics ideas. Think God brought this guy in at a very timely moment, to humble me and to let me know that I really don't know as much as I thought I know.

So can really learn from my friend, how he reads a lot to find out more. But honestly, looking at the evidence and thinking about how to reply to his evidence, I need to remember that I was a skeptic before, and found it hard to believe in the existence of a God, for quite a few reasons - including bad experiences with the church before and unanswered prayers for the healing of my ears.

And the funny thing is, I was a firm believer in Darwinist evolution too, even when I became a Christian. Somehow, I read thru the Origin of Species (well, part of it), peered thru Dawkin's The Selfish Gene, enjoyed Asimov's books and so on... and yet I couldn't shake off the nagging thought that there simply must be someone, Someone greater out there.

And also, I had questions about the issue of different denominations, etc. and different beliefs even in supposedly the same faith - Christianity - as my friend asked me, "there are 36000 protestant denominations .. which one has the Holy Spirit?" not to mention the split between the Protestant and the Catholic churches... the religious wars that followed the split.

So, unanswered prayers, i didn't see God with my own eyes, a firm believer in evolution, bad experiences with church for many years, nagging questions about inconsistencies among the huge number of denominations in Christianity... when people asked me whether i'm a Christian or tried to share with me, I quickly evaded the topic...

Lord, how did I ever become a Christian?

Hmm... thinking about it... I think it's because, for all my doubts and fears and questions, i'm so glad that i decided to just stick on and have faith in this Jesus, whoever He was, that He is the Son of God. I didn't have all the answers, but if what the other Christians said was true, Christ can turn your life around.

And He did answer me. He told me the very reason why He didn't choose to show Himself visibly to me, thru a particular verse in the Bible. I experienced a strange and wonderful change in my heart and behaviour that couldn't be explained by my own human strength - i had failed so many times before. Coincidences started happening in my life at very timely moments (some of them are simply, simply too timely to be coincidences). And over time, I realised why the prayers for my hearing-impaired ears weren't answered as I would have wanted them to be... and the various "inconsistencies" that I was thinking about, as I read the Bible more, eventually resolved themselves.

There's many things yeah, but I think the ex-blind man said it so well: "Whether [this Jesus guy] is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!"

Oh! :) Reminded of one of my favourite Narnia stories. From Narnian Musings 14 - Burnt Marshwiggle, Craig S William comments:
In The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis comments on the enchanting hold that modernist thought has exercised over the Christian faith. Modernity promised that our technological and scientific expertise had the power to elevate and even 'save' human life. The modern movement sold itself as being free from emotional bias and influence. Facts were going to be the way of the future and with a scientific method that eliminated much of our subjective reasoning we were on our way to a bigger and better world. Our time, a postmodern time, is pointing out that, though there have been some remarkable technological advances the human condition is not largely improved. The argument could be made that we are further from the Enlightenment goals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, than when these 18th century values were raised up.

Lewis takes on the limits of rationality and addresses the problem in this the fourth book of Narnia. In a reasonable way, Lewis challenges a worldly orientation that would remove all signs of God in favor of reason.

Once Jill and Scrubb (Eustace's nickname) have been reunited and set on their task, they meet up with one of Lewis's most creative characters. They meet Puddleglum, the Marshwiggle. As his name would suggest, he is a bit more like Eyore than Tigger, a dour soul who sees the dark cloud before any silver lining. And as his species suggests, he has more amphibious qualities than human characteristics about him. Though as tall as a human, he's a cold-blooded type of creature. Puddleglum becomes the children's guide and companion as they seek to save the lost Prince Rilian. The Prince has been under the spell of the Emerald Witch who commands the realm of Underworld. There is no sun or stars or grass in this dark underground kingdom. The children and Puddleglum find the Prince, but also the Witch and fall under her enchantment as well.

In their struggle to keep from being totally bewitched, the companions try to describe where they are from, Overworld. It gives them hope to think of their homeland and it has some power to counteract the Witch's spell which is accompanied by a soft thrumming music with a warm fire and heavy sweet smelling incense.

The first thing the companions try to describe is the sun. The Witch asks that they tell her what they mean. The Prince responds that it is like the lamp that hangs from the ceiling, only much bigger and brighter. She asks the Prince what it is that the sun hangs from and the Prince has difficulty describing it. She concludes that they are like children having a go at make-believe. They have seen a lamp and now they are making up the idea of a bigger and better lamp and calling it the sun. In reality, she says, this is only a dream. (When you read Freud's The Future of an Illusion you get the same arguments!)

Next they mention the name of Aslan. This makes the Witch anxious but she continues her steady strumming and speaking. They tell her he is a lion. She asks them what a lion is. When they say, 'Have you ever seen a cat?' she once again suggests that they have made up the idea of a lion by imagining a bigger and better cat. Again, just wishful thinking.

After all this haggling the companions are nearly completely under her spell. They begin to agree that there is no Overworld - only the Witch's Underworld. Then Puddleglum does a brave thing. He rallies his nerve and awakens enough to go over and stamp out the fire with his webbed feet. In doing so three things happen:

1. The smell of burnt Marshwiggle begins to awaken everyone.

2. The Witch breaks off with her strumming and humming and screams.

3. The pain clears Puddleglum's mind most of all.

Then Puddleglum speaks.

"One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one…That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."

Enlightenment thinking and reasoning pressured the church into believing that the old categories weren't strong enough to hold out against all that humankind was learning. The new science was discovering things that the biblical witness couldn’t account for, and we needed to begin making our arguments to science. It is Leander Keck's line that I use for my own purposes here, that the church needed to make God palatable to the world. We began to play by the rules of the culture. The interesting thing is that if we play by the cultural rules of reason, then our results will be measured by those standards. God does not measure the way we do. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways," says the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)

When we decided we needed to be rationalistic in our proofs for God, we abandoned our main story. We began to give evidence to demand verdicts. We spoke of the faith as though it were something to be learned in law school or the science lab. We lost our way because we forgot our homeland. This is what our companions remember. And when Puddleglum suggests that their made up world beats the Witch's so called, real world, hands down, a cheer goes up. He's nailed it.

Christians have tried to make the Gospel of Jesus Christ palatable to the rules of human endeavor. Instead what we have needed to do is to live out the faith in profound ways. This is what Tod Bolsinger's book is about in some ways. The integrity of the faith is hard to come by. We recommend the faith to others because it is true. It is truly the best way to understand our existence and the existence of the universe. Modernity tries to get us to prove this in some scientific methodology of facts presented to be voted up or down. Our task is to try to live in to our story as best we can and present it as the one hopeful alternative. Post modernity is open to competing narratives of the way things are. Under modern rules we tried to trump science by appealing to scientific methods with faith facts. It was a doomed undertaking. The church under modern thought kept trying to make God palatable to modern tastes and thought processes. Post modernity at least has given everyone some breathing room. How has this happened? Well, the easiest way of seeing this is to say that the modern experiment hasn't delivered what was promised. Nor can it. This allows for all other stories to be heard on equal footing, including Christianity.

One thing that we must be careful of is not submitting to modern rules again. We cannot make the argument for the faith from a superior position, as though our facts are indisputable compared to others. We must adopt the posture of Jesus in addressing humanity. We come humbly are open and serving and dying. No high-handed manipulation. No oppressive authoritarianism. Simple service will do. It is the way of Jesus.

I'm reminded of "Pascal's wager" at this point. [My paraphrase] If I bet on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and am proved wrong, I lose nothing. But if I wager against it, and it is true, I am most to be pitied.

This is Puddleglum. He determines that even if his world is made-up it is better than any reality he has been shown by the Witch. The truth is he has a vision of reality that will punch holes in this illusion being offered.

May we all live as like Narnians as we can.
Anyway, thinking back to "adjusting my expectations". hmm... yeah, think that's what i'm intending to do abt the sisters in the new CG... to be honest, i wonder how'll it be. anyway i think it's better to go in with the attitude that i will have to learn more things and even unlearn certain things, in order to be more effective in the next phase. yep. putting away the old wineskins that served me so well, and start using the new wineskins. need to start learning asap and adapting quickly to the new terrain! :)

hmm. what other expectations and things that i'll have to 'unlearn' in the new phase of my life, not just ministry, but also work, family, etc? Finances are one of the first things that comes to my mind... sleep and physical health are another thing... because when you're 25 years old, that's the prime of your youth, your health... and the "graduate belly" will start appearing soon... :P

so many more things.... Lord, guide me safely thru this new phase even now... =) which I know You're doing, thru Your Bible! Thank You Jesus! :)
Oh yah, very thankful for today. :) Today went down to school to meet Hongtao for lunch. Was really good catching up with this very dear bro. :) We went to Biz Ad canteen to eat there - I've never tried the Western food (believe me!) until today. Whoa, the basil salmon pasta's really fresh and cheap! :)

Then gave the first multimedia training session to Zhenzhong and Ziwei. Hope they managed to follow what i was saying... :P But thankful for their willing hearts to learn! :D

Then had a good time catching up wif Siow Meng (he's gg off to Denmark for SEP in less than 2 wk's time). Was also gg back home wif Bo and Eugene. Great time of catching up too. :)

The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God

Walked to Junction 8. Bought "Case for a Creator" by Lee Strobel. Great book - I'm devouring it now. Didn't realise there were so many big-shot scientists who are award-winning experts in their respective fields and have thought through carefully and systematically the evidence for and against a Creator, and found that science and faith don't clash - a false dilemma painted by some atheist (especially in the Straits Times last Saturday...) - but science and faith complement one another well.
A thot just occurred to me (well, after much, much thinking in the shower...): I will really have a lot to learn in relating with the sisters - probably tat's y i'll be most likely moving over to Daisy's CG, with all her sisters. Lots to grow, in consideration, sensitivity and gentleness. And social maturity too.

Humbling, yeah, for a guy who takes pride in being able to 'click' and relate with sisters. Think i've learnt quite a bit over these few years, but realise there is still yet so much more. LOL. They say that men are from Mars, women from Venus... maybe there's more truth to this old adage than we may think. :)

Better the sober judgement now than the shocked realization later.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Groovy Gelato for $2 a cup!

Went with a friend last night, intending to go to the Starhub foodcourt for dinner. To our surprise, we found that it was replaced by some funky looking place that looked something like a cross between a dental clinic and a school. (Turns out it was some accountancy school.)

But! there was this even funkier stall that sold reasonably cheap coffee and tea and hot chocs... and best of all, delicious-looking gelato for $2 a cup! :)

Mmm... they have many flavours there. You simply must try the Chocolate Rocher (pronounced "Roh-cheh") flavour... the taste is really like the Ferrero Rocher chocs... with the rich texture of gelato! :) Tiramisu, chocolate, durian (D24 some more), etc. etc...

Strongly recommend you go there and get some. And dabao some for me too k? haha...
Tired, but thinking. :) Two things to jot down:

- the encouragement from God, that I need so much. Told Him I was feeling really really inadequate. Yet somehow have this unusually strong drive in me since the MACHO turbo stayover, to share and cast the uni vision to the younger bros and sisters as much as I can before i leave for the Adults ministry. Spurred on by robert's very timely lunch - which he initiated - on the very first day of the school sem.

so back to inadequacy. feel very very inadequate, Lord... esp when i'm like teaching them so many things and trying to impart spirit... i recognise my shortcomings and failings, including character failings... and i feel super unworthy to be Your servant... i'm only a member leh, and some of the younger bros and sisters are coreteam already...

yet i think while I was praying to You, You showed me Jeremiah 1 where jeremiah said to You, "Ah, Sovereign Lord, I don't know how to speak. I'm only a child."

And You told me thru that passage, "Don't say you're only a child. See, I have put my words in your mouth..."

But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you... Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Now, I have put my words in your mouth... See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant."

Think need to accept this passage from God's word by faith, because i really know that i'm not a good servant of God... yet felt very encouraged... need to stay close to God, to walk right with Him... hmm... think this last 3 weeks is gonna be a rush all the way to the end... just like how You empowered Elijah to outrun Ahab's chariot down the mountain slope...

and after tat, Elijah had a big-time depression. hmm. i think that i may face that too. but i have prayed to You for rest too, after i move over. MM training, encouraging, imparting, followingup... just doing whatever i can do to rally and inspire and stir up the troops, esp the brothers...

Oh God, be with me to the very end. Be with US to the very end. In Jesus' name, amen.

and guide me too... always.

- then something v small but precious that i learnt from a dear friend yesterday at HQ. saw her very tired and obviously stressed and emotional. she was writing a prayer on her notepad. realised that tho we've v similar personalities and she's v emotional and insecure by nature, something that she has that i need to learn from is a lot of inner strength, and that comes from her heart of faithful prayer, pouring out to God, even when she finds it hard to say out, using pen and paper. truly very inspired by this dear sister's example. can see how her heart grows and is full of love for others bcos she prays and prays constantly. very inspired by her heart for God! :D

sis, if you're reading this... just to say that you're being an inspiration to us, especially when you're feeling tired and down. :) for His power's made perfect in our weaknesses.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Reading a lot of books - The Art of Connecting with People

[Browse through this book]

Still got quite a bit more. Am reading a LOT of Christian books at the moment. Think it's a blessing that God gave me, the ability to digest huge chunks of readings quickly at one go, and still capture the gist of the readings, AND remember important words. :P

Hee, I think some people are jealous of me... ha, well, to be fair, I REALLY can't sing to save my life - somehow I can roughly recall a sound or a melody, but really can't recognise a song without hearing the words first. Unless it's the National Anthem... so see, God is fair after all. ;)

Hmm... back to the point. I think my reading diet's pretty unbalanced at the moment. Hee, need to read other books too... maybe I'll go back to the Central Library to look for that book, The Art of Connecting with People.

It's an excellent book - one of the best books that I've read last year. I first saw this book in SIM's Popular bookshop, and thought of reading it, so that I can learn better how to connect with people. Even though I only managed to read a few chapters before I had to return it, this is what I've learnt:

Do to others according to their druthers.

What that simply means is that every person is a unique culture unto himself/herself. The key to connecting with a person is to find his/her unique "wavelength" so that you can "sync" with that person. I was instantly reminded of what Weizhu commented last time that initially he didn't quite know what caused people to comment that he can click very well with a wide range of people. Until he thought about it, and realised that he naturally looks for common ground between him and the other person. I think the key word here is naturally. Because the art of connecting with people is a skill that can be learnt.

This book is great for you if you're the type who enjoys reading real-life stories - the writers have liberally sprinkled many case studies to show how different methods make or break a relationship.

So something that I picked up and have started applying into my relationships is to find out what his/her personality style is, his/her relational style is etc..., social style, dress sense, interests etc and try to match that "wavelength" as best as I can. (Well, for dress sense... I am a lazy bum, need to work harder on that!) It's hard work, seriously, and many times I don't do it, but think it's really very helpful. :)

Finally, there's this Bible verse that summarises up what the book teaches... it's found in the book of Philippians: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

What does it mean to "consider others better than yourselves"? The book advises having a genuine desire to want to learn from others. That really helps to warm up the person whom you want to build a r/p wif, simply because it really feels good to be asked to share more on what you're good at! :) And to "look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others", wow, a whole book could be written on the practical applications of this verse, which, well, I think this book has been written, and written very well. :)

So my recommendation - buy, beg or borrow this book - it'll help you a lot in building your relationships! :D

[Browse through this book]

Reading a lot of books - Essence of Love Vol. II

Inspired by Vincent's postings of his book reviews, and Alan's encouraging us to read as much as we can, think I'll post a few of my own. :)

Hee, actually, I've just finished this book, Essence of Love Vol. II, which you can get from Hope Resources. It's on struggles with sexual temptations and sins, and also, how to build healthy relationships with the opposite gender.

Some things that I learnt from this book:
1. Lust isn't just a male problem. Women also have. It's just that male lust is the desire to physically "have" a woman, which objectifies the woman, making her a mere "object" rather than a human being. And female lust is the emotional kind, one that seeks to seduce and manipulate a man to fulfill her emotional desires.

So it's not wrong to have a healthy attraction for the other gender - it's just that our God-given sexual desires can become corrupted and get out of hand, thereby ruining people's lives and even health.

2. Sexual addiction is a serious problem, not only because it's morally wrong, but also because it, like alcoholism or drug addiction, literally enslaves the addict, whereby the addict gets so hooked that he/she can't control his/her intake... it becomes the no. 1 obsession, destroying the person's worklife, relationships, normal physical health, etc.

3. Be aware of the subtle triggers that causes you to stumble into sexual addiction. Triggers need not only be external e.g. a sexually titillating picture, a subtle touch or sweet talk from a man, etc; they can also be internal e.g. loneliness, disappointment, etc.

Hmm... and for the exciting part ... haha... building healthy relationships with the other gender :)

Well, in a nutshell, the important thing is to treat the other gender as friends first and foremost. It's not a mere social courtesy thing - it helps to protect both sides emotionally, mentally and even physically.

And even if there's the "click" and chemistry between both sides, don't rush, take time to build up the friendship further. One piece of advice from this book struck me in particular: Our conversations - are they Christ-centred or needs-oriented?

I'm not saying that when the guy and girl meet up, they should talk about nothing but heaven and angels and God knows what else... haha... I think even God Himself would bend down and tell them, "Aiyah, don't be so 'spiritual' lah!!! I brought you two together..." ;D

But it's important to remember, especially for us Christians, to remember that at the end of it all, it's really about building up a strong and enduring friendship that will last for all of life. And in heaven, there's no such thing as marriage. Sounds bad at first, but think about it, in heaven, we shall know each other FULLY, even better than the closest husband and wife can do so on earth. There are things that'll blow our minds up there in heaven - it's just too wonderful to describe.

And after all, I read the testimonies of old, old couples... the thing they all have in common are that they are each other's best FRIENDS. :) Of course, it's not just about friendships, but also about taking care of one another, helping one another grow... come to think of that, isn't that what friendship is all about? :)

And the men should be the ones who take the initiative to build the relationships wif the women. It's really much, much better this way, and besides, (I think) most women naturally prefer the men to take the initiative to reach out to them. It feels nice too, you know. :) (I'm not a woman lah, but I think, having a mum and two sisters does help quite a bit haha) In context, it's not only about building relationships for marriage or what, but also friendships in general.

Think I'm very blessed to have close friends who happen to be sisters - they've encouraged me a lot, and having female friends benefit me in the sense that I can express myself the emotional side of me more often with them rather than with male friends. Thru them, I learn the importance of treasuring relationships and just spending time together talking and sharing.

But the good side of having male friends is that I can enjoy healthy debates, firm discussion, challenging one another to be more driven, etc... For instance, Robert, Huanyan and Ruey Fong are wonderful buddies to me, because I really feel very refreshed everytime they share enthusiastically about their visions and dreams... :D it's really a blessing to be their friend! :D

So we need to build healthy relationships with both genders in order to develop ourselves more holistically.