Saturday, March 31, 2007

Very Encouraging!

Read this post on Leanne's blog and am very inspired! :D

"I enjoyed the part where we had 20min outreach challenge after the faith teaching by Jasmine. All of us were so excited! I paired up with Nehemiah and rushed to S11 and centrepoint for invitation to our Pre-easter svc. As we were running towards the Mac, we saw 3 girls about to go toilet and 1 of the girls actually decided to wait for their friends. We quickly grab hold of the girl and start introducing ourselves and her friends who were about to enter the toilet saw us. They were curious about our approach and we got them to join us in the conversation. After introduction and sharing, we realised that they were from different schools- 1 from nyp and 2 from ITE dover and Bishan! We chatted for a while and found out that one of them had been to church and read bible too but yet a Christian. We exchanged contact numbers and went on with our invitation. we manage to have 5 contacts within 20mins challenge! Behind the numbers are the people who yet heard of gospel, thus sowing is the immediate action to be taken."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

For those born in the 70s and 80s

Saw this list on a sister's blog:

1. You grew up watching He-man, Sheila, Thundercat, MASK, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, My Little Pony, Smurfs, Carebears, Captain Planet etc etc. And of course, not forgetting, Night Rider, MacGyver, Airwolf etc. For those born later than that, too bad they missed this Golden Age. MacGyver was and is still THE BEST!

2. You grew up brushing your teeth with a mug in Primary school during recess time. You will squat by a drain with all your classmates beside you, and brush your teeth with a coloured mug.The teachers said you must brush each side 10 times too.

3. You watch a very popular Malay dubbed Japanese drama on RTM1 about schoolgirls who possess powerful skills in volleyball called Meoro Attack.

(YA: In fact, if you know what RTM1 is... haha, it doesn't matter what show you watched - you're still a child of the EIGHTIES!!! muahahaha)

4. Movie tickets used to cost only $3.50. And kacang putih rocks!

5. You longed to buy tibits called Kaka (20 cents per pack), and Ding Dang (50 cents per box), that had a toy in it and it changes every week not forgetting the 15 cents animal crackers and the ring pop, where the lollipop is the diamond on the ring.

6. Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Three Investigators, Famous Five and Secret Seven are probably the thickest story books you ever thought you have read. And of course, not forgetting Sweet Valley Twins, Fear Street etc. The Three Investigators was my favourite then.

7. Your English workbooks was made of some damn poor quality paper that was smooth and yellow.

(Ooh that brings back so many memories... NESPE and Nimmy, anyone remember them? ;))

8. Waterbottles were slinged around your neck and a must everywhere you go.

9. Teng-teng, five stones, chapteh, hentam bola and zero point were all the rage with the girls and boys too...

10. We wear BM2000, BATA, or Pallas shoes.

11. The worksheets were made of brown rough paper of poor quality.

12. There would be spelling tests and mental sums to do almost everyday.

13. Your friends considered you lucky and rich if your parents gave you $3 or more for pocket money everyday.

14. Collecting and battling erasers was a pastime for boys.

15. Autograph books were loaded with "Best Wishes", "Forget Me Not", and small poems like "Roses are red, violets are blue. Sugar is sweet but not as sweet as you".

16. There were at least 40 people in one class.

17. Large, colourful schoolbags were carried.

18. Everyone was talking about the most admirable 'xiao hua' and 'xiao chao'.

19. Worst day of the week is the day you were assigned to do the duty roster.

20. You received a packet of tit-bits every Children's Day.

21. You'll make Happy Teacher's Day card for your favourite teacher every Teacher's Day.

My addition:
22. You get this kind of list and - *gasp* - you can actually identify with every one of these! :P

Train Yourself To Be Godly - Speak the Truth in Love

Just want to jot this down before I forget:

In the last unit 242, Dehua shared with us the importance of speaking the TRUTH to one another in love. He shared from 1 Tim 4.

And something that struck me a lot was that speaking the truth in love into others' lives is a way of training ourselves to be godly. Why? Because, in order to speak the truth, you need to find out what is the truth first! So pushing yourself to speak the truth into others' lives also helps you grow in the truth too.

The Next Big Thing, and then Some More.

I just read this article, "The next big thing: global degrees", in today's Straits Times, and when I read it, started feeling rather envious... ok, awfully envious, of those who have the opportunity and money to do so.

My Questions
Started comparing myself with them, and asking God whether it was a good idea to have stayed all 4 years in NUS, in Singapore. After all, wouldn't it be a good thing to have gained experience working in other countries? Or at the least, having the name of a prestigious overseas college listed on your academic record? And not just so, wouldn't these experiences make me able to connect more with other globe-trotters?

Felt so insecure. And not just in the worldly sense, but also as a Christian - felt that I'm not being a good testimony, not being credible in reaching out to the more high-flyer achievers of the world. If we university graduates are the top ten percent of the world's population, then I'm pretty much around the bottom of the top ten percent. (Irony upon irony...)

But God is so wise.

His Answer
Sensed that He was patiently listening to my insecure griping, and then asked me simply: "For what reason do you want all these achievements for, actually?"

Oh. Hmm.

Examined my heart, with His help, and He revealed to me that it's because deep down, I want these achievements to boost my self-esteem. It's not for wanting to be a credible spiritual testimony even.

And even if I had all these achievements, then what? Then this Bible verse came to mind (which pretty much answered all my questions to Him):
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Then this thought came to mind:
"You don't need to be a high-flyer to win the high-flyers for Me. Come, follow Me, and I'll make you a fisher of men. And haven't I already brought high-flyers your way, and you have impacted their lives for Me? :)"

w00t! That was so encouraging... and touching. :) Thank You Jesus for Your encouragement...

And something else that I realised when trying to make sense of my experiences, why I didn't do this or that, and how it came to be that I chose to stay in Singapore out of my own free will... frankly, I think this already was the best possible path, out of all possible paths, that God had planned for me (even though humanly speaking, it doesn't seem the best). 'Cos He knew that I had a lot of serious issues in my life that needed to be fixed first, before He could send me out. E.g. pride, insecurity, selfishness, social skills and so on. And hee, I think... maybe, if I could live my life all over again, perhaps... this would be the path I'd choose again.

"He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake." How true it is. It was never so much for my own sake, but for His name's sake. Because the sooner I learn to die to myself is the sooner I learn to live.

Bigger and Bigger
After reflecting further, I think He's so cool. :) Because actually, by nature, I'm really a comfort-zone person. I love to stay in Singapore, and dislike going into new situations, and that includes overseas.

But thank God so much for this wonderful church that He's put me in... over time, after being soaked in the Great Commission (GC) and how our church really tries its best to personalise Christ's GC, I'm starting to capture the value of going overseas, to learn new cultures, new ways of life... and I find myself becoming increasingly inspired to step out of my comfort zone, to get out of the boat.

E.g. dreaming of setting up a company for a social entrepreneurship project - these two are so new to me! And capturing the vision to be salt and light in the media industry for Christ... because of that, I'm spurred on to one day go overseas to learn new skills and meet new people in the media industry... perhaps one day I shall shake hands with the "kings and governors" of the media world... to be a witness of Christ before them...

Just Dreams
All these are just dreams at the moment... but I realise that these dreams get bigger and bigger as the days go by. Then I wonder why it is so. Then I realise that as I grow older in Christ, He becomes bigger to me. And as He becomes bigger to me, so do my dreams for Him become bigger. For our God is an AWESOME GOD!

"Now to Him who is able to do far beyond all that we can ever ask or even dare to dream of... to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen!"

"Let us dare to dream such big dreams for God, that without God, they will utterly fail." Amen and hallelujah! :D

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ask Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor - Homosexuality and Christianity

I was browsing through a series of questions at the BBC website that some people asked the Catholic Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor recently.

It struck me that the top comments were all on the issue of how the Church perceives homosexuality, and a few on them on the issue of social justice and poverty. E.g.:

"Given that Jesus preached tolerance and love to all, how are you able to justify your stance re wishing the Catholic church should be given a legal dispensation to discriminate against homosexuals, specifically in relation to the adoption issue, and are you able to clarify which of Jesus's teachings (not anything from the old testament) suggested this discrimination would be ok."


I believe that we are born gay. My God, i would only wish that I had not been. The pain, the terror, the rejection by my peers - it has been terrible. This has all been fuelled by the Church. My best friend killed himself by jumping off a bridge because he could not find comfort in the church.

Come on, say something about this.

Thank you."

"My question for the Cardinal is; why does the Catholic Church (one of the richest organisations in the world) does not contribute its vast wealth to allieviate the suffering of African Catholics effected by the Aids epidemic throught the African Continent. Also why does the Church not redistribute it's wealth to believers who suffer through poverty, starvation and lack of irrigation/waste disposal. The Catholic Church could pay for this many times over, why doesn't it?"

Do you believe it may be time for the Church to rethink it's stance on contraception given factors including Aids, overpopulation,venereal disease,and the increasing abandonment of unwanted children, many of these things are occur due to rape and incest, should there be exceptions in your opinion because of these circumstances?
Are gay people not deserving of the basic human rights and protections given to all other citizens? Does your God not love all equally?
Thank you."

After reading through these questions, I think they're very real questions that deserve good answers. Especially the part about homosexuality, where a lot of people have been arguing back and forth.

Hmm. So to be honest, I realised that I'm not very clear on exactly what the Bible does say about it, but I do want to find out more on what the Bible says about that.

From what I understand so far, yes, homosexuality clearly is a sin, but just as importantly, people who commit acts of homosexuality are just as precious in God's eyes as any others - no difference here.

I think this isn't an easy question to answer, partly because of the possibility that some people do have homosexual tendencies even from birth. And the reality is, some people struggle so much with these temptations, that they either choose to leave God, or they abandon hope and commit suicide, or they choose the belief that homosexuality is acceptable in God's eyes.

On a personal note, I do have a few friends who are gay, and honestly, I'm quite fine with them as my friends. Though I don't support their decision to be gay, I support them as my friends. I mean, we're all sinners - it's just that some of us have accepted God's forgiveness, while others still haven't yet.

Perhaps one reason that homosexuality is such an emotional issue for many people is because it is about sexuality, and sexuality is an essential core component of who we are as human beings, especially the emotional aspect.

So one thing that I don't know very much about is why do some people choose homosexuality?

Hmm. After reading this PBS article on two Christian leaders debating about homosexuality, it seems to be that we tend to label a sinner in terms of the sins that he/she has committed. If a man commits sodomy, we label him a homosexual. If a woman goes on a serial rampage, we brand her a mass murder. If a man rules injustly and oppresses the poor, we call him a despot.

I'm not sure if this is a sound way of seeing people. Maybe it could be better. Or maybe it's true, but not exactly how God sees them.

Of course, there are certain roles and responsibilities that a person is accountable for - and he/she will be judged more strictly according to what he/she has been given. Hence, if a child-care teacher abuses the children under his/her care, or a king oppresses the poor, a judge accepts bribes, a statesman inciting genocide, or a pastor teach false teachings to his flock, God will come down extremely hard on these people. Maybe that is why we are so dismayed when we hear about church leaders sinning. What a heavy responsibility lies with them!

But, back to the point about us labelling people according to their sins. I was thinking, "How would Jesus see them?" And I think He would see them this way:
Luke 7
36Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."

40Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.

41"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"

43Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.

44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

48Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

49The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"

50Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

The first few times I read this passage, this thought immediately came to my mind: "What kind of sins did the woman commit?" But I think Luke simply wrote that she lived a sinful life. She could have been a lesbian, she could have been a prostitute, she could have been a husband-poisoner, a thief, a swindler, or all of the above, and then some more. So I responded in my heart the same way as the religious Pharisee did: "She is a sinner."

But in Jesus' eyes, she simply had lived a sinful life, no more, no less. And His holy response to the Pharisee was this: "Do you see this woman?"

And I think our Lord cut to the quick of the matter. God, when He sees us, He doesn't see us as sinners. Rather, He sees us as MEN and WOMEN who have sinned and fall short of the full humanity that He intended us to have.

So there's an inherent danger in labelling people as homosexuals and thus. Because, to that extent, we dehumanify them, castigating them and making them out to be mere animals, whereas we of Homo sapiens sapiens proudly walk the face of the earth.

Sobering... because I think it is possible that every man and woman could have the potential to commit homosexual acts (Romans 1 states that clearly) - I mean, after reading about ex-Pastor Ted Haggard's acts... and he a married man... and he had opposed homosexuality some more! Gosh, no wonder the Bible tells us to take the plank out of our own eyes before we try to take the speck of sawdust out of our brother's eyes.

Hmm. So from what I understand so far about what the Bible says, yes, homosexuality is a sin, but we should not ostracise them, but neither should those who want be right with God condone the act of homosexuality, because it is a sexual sin. (And from what I understand, homosexuality arises from the heart attitude of lust.)

But also, as a sobering fact, we forgiven sinners must also realise that we ourselves have the potential to do such things (I'm not talking only about homosexuality, but also things like theft, deception, adultery, murder and the like). "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."

Hmm. Yup, some thoughts about it... I could be wrong in my understanding. Feel free to correct me if you think I'm wrong. Hee, think this is a potentially controversial topic, ha, but yup, want to seek the truth, to understand what the Bible says about all these things.

(Oh just to add: I'm straight. So don't worry yeah... :P)

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Mature Dialogue on Maturity - at least that's what I'd like to think ;)

Asked Peter and Sharon what's maturity like:

"I think it's consistency, conviction and character.
Wow, that's a very big word! Why don't you go ask Peter more about it?


ha..that's a big word u ask me
how u see the world from God's perspective
depth of understanding of God's principles
just some of things that come into my mind

sound thinking

legalist application of WOG VS understanding the God's true


think sound thinking is very impt

understanding is emphasis in proverbs

can read psalm 32:9 also mentioned shortly about it

understanding involves understanding God's word..too

yah i think i'm weak in understanding God's Word...

well..see the benefits of it...and u will want to do it

i do it because i want to be sound

see God soundly

sound understanding helps us in being firm

if not some smooth talking ppl can easily shake us

tink i get it... understanding involves seeing the HEART, the REASON behind why we do the things we do... why God's Word's say this or tt...

rem..WOG is one of God's armor
eph 6

seriously..sound mindeness is even useful when u're sowing

it helps to add that bit of help

unsound thinking opens way for lies to come in

when u least expect

and remember sound thinking is thinking based on God's


Godly wisdom

*sitting back*


well..go plough thru proverbs haha


growing in maturity really, i have so much to learn...

oh i am learning too

just have to start somewhere that's all after u see the value

so i think one value of maturity is that it'll enable us to

have a sound mind...
for a sound mind'll protect us from lies tt creep in
is my understanding correct?

yeah..and much more..
i learn n see the value even more as days goes by

in's an ongoing thing

it is not e=mc2

chew on it slowly...


and constantly

Sunday, March 25, 2007

"One does not simply walk into Mortor...""Mordor. With a 'D'."

Hilarious... I simply LOVE the facial expressions. ;)

What Happened to Judas?

I read this article, "What Happened to Judas?", just now, and it was very thought-provoking. And as I read through the three questions that the writer wrote, I asked myself these three questions, and realised that there are still some things in my life that could make me turn bitter against God, and betray Jesus.

It's a very sobering article, and I think it's a very good one. Personally, I was thinking about today's 242. Dehua commended me for being very enthusiastic in serving the Lord, and in loving His people. To be honest, yeah, I feel very encouraged when he said that. But I have to think of it with sober judgement - and on the way back home, I think God reminded me of this verse in Proverbs: "The furnace for gold, and the crucible for silver, but man is tested by the praise that he receives." Or as WZ would say, "Don't swell." Hee...

So when I went back home, thought about it, and remembered that it's only, and only, by the grace of God that I can be enthusiastic for God.

I knelt down and really thanked Him for today, because I remember very clearly back in the NUS ministry, there was this long, long period of time from 2004 to 2005 where I had lost my passion and first love for God, that my CL was so concerned that he took me aside, and asked me, "Previously you were so on fire for God... now what has happened to you?"

Galatians 4:14-15a
"Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. What has happened to all your joy?"

So today was a sobering time, especially after reading this article. Thought about it, and reflected that I could be so enthusiastic for God, but in the end I could be the one who betrays Him. Sobering, isn't it? I'm not saying it as a negative thing... I'm just being realistic.

And I think it is good to acknowledge and accept that fact, that at one time or another in our lives, we WILL betray Jesus, despite our swearing never to betray Him. Peter said to Jesus. I think what matters in the end is our response to Him after that. Will we respond like Peter, or respond like Judas? Or like how John came back to be with Jesus at the cross after deserting Him initially?

"I will lay down my life for Thy sake." Peter's declaration was honest but ignorant. "Jesus answered him... The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice." This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself, of what he was capable. Natural devotion may be all very well to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His fascination, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will always deny Jesus somewhere or other.
Oswald Chambers

For maybe it's when we know that we WILL fall, and cry out to Him to help us, that He immediately catches us by our hand, and say, "Here I am."

"Watch and pray, so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." He knows us far better than we ourselves do.

So here's a condensed version of the article:
About his suicide, very little needs to be said. The Bible tells us that "he went away and hanged himself." It is the final act of a man who could not live with himself and the memory of what he had done. In the ultimate irony on this tragic day, Judas died before Jesus did.

The Way It Was
But it was not always that way. If we go to the beginning, we find a remarkable series of facts about Judas:

* He was personally chosen to be an apostle by Jesus Christ.
* He forsook all to follow the Lord.
* He spent 3 1/2 years traveling the length and breadth of Israel with Christ.
* He saw all the miracles of Christ in person.
* He heard Christ give all his famous discourses.
* He watched as Christ healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out demons.
* He, along with the other apostles, was sent out to preach the gospel.
* He was one of the leaders of the apostolic band.
* No one ever suspected him of treason.

In terms of experience, whatever you can say about James, Peter and John, you can say also about Judas. Everywhere they went, he also went. He was right there, always by the side of Jesus. He heard it all, saw it all, experienced it all. However you explain his defection, you cannot say he was less experienced than the other apostles.

If anything, he was one of the leaders. After all, the other apostles chose him to handle the money. You don’t pick a man whose loyalty you suspect to handle your money. That’s crazy. You pick your best man, your most trustworthy man, the one man you know you can count on. That’s why they picked Judas.

The most interesting part of this story is that the other apostles apparently saw only the positive side of Judas. It wasn’t until they looked back after the fact that they could see the negatives. Before his betrayal of Jesus, he looked as good as any of the rest, and in fact he probably looked better than most. In that light, let us note it for the record one more time: No one suspected Judas. No one.

Three Questions For Us
As we think about the strange, sad story of Judas, several questions rise to the surface. These are questions not about Judas but about you and me. They ask us to consider how much of Judas lives inside each of us today. And before we consider these questions, consider this: The more religious you are, the more likely you are to do what Judas did...

Question 1: How Has God Disappointed You?
f there is any way to understand Judas, it is at the point of personal disappointment. Perhaps he truly believed that Jesus had let him down and in his own twisted way felt justified in his act of treachery. But is that so much different from the way we feel when we think God has let us down?

Let us face the fact that God often fails to live up to our expectations. Sometimes he simply doesn’t do what we think he ought to do. We have certain standards for the God of the universe—and he doesn’t always meet them. Judas couldn’t live with disappointment so he betrayed the Lord. What about you?

Question 2: What Would You Trade For Jesus?
One of the ironic parts of this story is that Judas didn’t get much for his money. In those days, 30 pieces of silver was the price of a slave—about $20. Judas went to hell and the cost of his ticket was 30 pieces of silver.

* What would you trade for Jesus?
* Would you betray him for money?
* Would you betray him for a better job?
* Would you betray him to keep the job you have?
* Would you betray him to save your own skin?
* Would you betray him to get a better grade in school?
* Would you betray him for a date to the prom?
* Would you betray him for a new contract?
* Would you betray him for a million dollars?
* Would you betray him to find a husband or a wife?
* Would you betray him because he didn’t live up to your expectations?
* Would you betray him because you thought he let you down?
* Would you betray him if you thought you could win the favor of important people?

The story of Judas asks us to probe at the level of our personal motivation. Why do you serve the Lord anyway? How much is the Son of God worth to you?

Question 3: Are You a Second Judas?
It can happen to any of us. Judas kissed the door of heaven but went to hell. Jesus picked him as an apostle but he went to hell. He lived with Jesus for three years and still went to hell. He watched Jesus walk on the water and still went to hell. He listened to the Sermon on the Mount and still went to hell. He ate with Jesus, talked with Jesus, walked with Jesus, and listened to Jesus day after day, month after month, year after year. He knew Jesus as well as one has ever known Jesus and still he went to hell.

And remember this. None of the disciples suspected him. That’s why he was chosen to be the treasurer. They trusted him to keep their money. Even at the Last Supper, when Jesus identified Judas publicly, they still couldn’t figure it out.


After all, if one can be an apostle of Christ and still be lost, what about you and what about me? Perhaps we may conclude the matter this way. One apostle was lost, that none should presume. Eleven were saved, that none should despair. In the end, most of us who call ourselves Christians will search our hearts and conclude that Yes, although we fail him in many ways, we do love Jesus and claim him as our Savior. That is as it should be. The story of Judas is in the Bible for many reasons, not the least of which is that before we take anything for granted, we at least ask the question the other apostles asked that fateful night: "Lord, is it I?"


Mmm... so realised I have some past disappointments with God - e.g. my not getting an NUS undergrad scholarship... (that time, I was disappointed with Him - had asked Him to help me with the interview, but I became very nervous through that time.)... that time due to some miscommunications, my team almost missed a critical project deadline and we all scored miserably for that module (I got a D+).

But I think, in the end, after looking back, I have decided to trust His promise that in all things, He works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. :) And perhaps, maybe, in the future, I'll be so glad that I didn't get any Honours degree despite my best efforts. Perhaps it's because God knows me better than I do... that getting a Hons degree might make me complacent, both physically and spiritually, causing me to trust in myself to succeed in life, rather than to lean on Him for His help. :) Think that's one way how I can choose to see how God is working for my good.

Hee! Sorry, so long... still have so much more to write, e.g. how God is showing me recently the past week that I must not be afraid to speak the truth in love, and some miracles and testimonies of His wonderful providence. But think shall share more next time, if we can meet up face to face. :)

Think it's a spiritual season of summer now... activities are starting to buzz up, and I'm feeling excited about the many things that are to be done. But hee, I know there'll come a time soon when I start feeling mellow and moody. Oh well, it'll be my spiritual "autumn", and after that, the winter... and then, spring again! :D Praise Him every season of the soul!

Praise You in the morning
Praise You in the evening
Praise You when I'm young and when I'm old

Praise You when I'm laughing
Praise You when I'm grieving
Praise You every season of the soul

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

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Shawshank Redemption

Remember that film in 1994? I didn't (couldn't anyway) watch it... but I love the way the title sounds, and heard it has one of the best endings in film history, so I did the next best thing: read the script.

It's really touching, especially how the two inmates, Red and Andy, make friends, and inspiring how Andy refuses to give up hope even in the dark dungeons of Shawshank Prison, even after going through shame and pain - and touches many lives through his determination.

In fact, despite the film's portrayal of various "Christian" hypocrites, e.g. a "Christian" warden who abuses the prisoners while taking care not to use the Lord's name in vain, some film critics have criticised the film as a Christian parable in disguise. Just find it ironic... but also very meaningful too. :)

"Let me justify the Pain from God's Sword..."

I read these words from a sister's blog just now as I was chatting wif YF... they're a very timely correction to my fear of speaking difficult truths into the younger believers' lives...

"Let me justify the Pain from God's Sword... it is better compared to Pain for eternity.

I sometimes hesitate to share the gospel because i feel that people cannot take it. The same challenge is posed to me: let them suffer the pain of such a black and white message and let them make a choice, or let them suffer for eternity? let me endure the sharp pain for preaching such a message in this life, or pained when i meet God for caring too much for my face, my life, than to care for the soul of others?"

(Hee, think HY will know what I mean... :P)

Met up with TH today. It was really good catching up with this old, dear friend of mine... and I also prayed for the opportunity to invite him for this Sunday's Alpha session (and that he'll be willing to come...)

And whoa, things happened exactly as I prayed... he asked me about how things are going on for me in church, and what am I doing in church ministry so far...

And yes, thank God for his willingness to come down and take a look... I'm encouraged by his willingness to learn and investigate new things...

The problem is, he's very busy with his studies, so he says that he can't make it for the next 2 sessions...

(Oh dear... I didn't pray that he'll COME... I simply prayed that he'll be WILLING to come. Me and my lack of faith!)

(Think TH's fine with me writing this... haha, TH, if you happen to be reading this... God's thinking of you even as you read this! ;))

Friday, March 23, 2007

TIME - The Case for Teaching The Bible

Miss Kendrick came ready, with props. The day's topic was the Gospel of Matthew. "You can divide all the Beatitudes into two parts," Jennifer Kendrick explained to her teenage audience. "The 'Blessed are the whatevers,' like 'the meek,' and then the reward they will get. So I've made some puzzle pieces here." She passed out construction-paper sheets, each bearing either the name of a virtuous group or its reward, in black marker. "And you've got to find the person who has the other half. What's the first one in the Bible?"

"The poor in spirit," mumbled a crew-cut boy.

"O.K. What goes with the poor in spirit?"

A girl in the front of the room replied, reading from her sheet, "For they will see God."

"Nope," chirped Kendrick. "O.K., find the person that matches yours. I'll take the roll."

By which she meant an official attendance roll. Because the day was Thursday, not Sunday. And the location was not Oakwood Baptist Church, a mile down Texas State Highway 46, but New Braunfels High School, a public school that began offering a Bible-literacy class last fall. The class has its share of conservative Christians. Front-row center sat Rachel Williams, 18, whose mother does teach Sunday school at Oakwood. But not 20 ft. away sat a blond atheist who asked that her name not be used because she hasn't outed herself to her parents. Why take a Bible class? I asked her. "Some of my friends are Christian," she said, shrugging, "and they would argue about, like, whether you can be a Christian and believe in evolution, and I'm like, Okaaaay ... clueless." Williams signed up for a similar reason. "If somebody is going to carry on a sophisticated conversation with me, I would rather know what they're talking about than look like a moron or fight my way through it," she says. The class has "gotten a lot of positive feedback," she adds. "It's going to really rise in popularity."

Read this article, and think it's very interesting. :)

To be honest, initially, I was happy to see that some Americans are thinking of introducing Bible studies into classes. But then I was thinking... if they're teaching the Bible from a secular viewpoint, will it help change people's mindsets for the better? And if it doesn't, wouldn't people be able to manipulate Scripture for their own purposes? I mean, there are people who have used Scripture as a justification for slavery back during the 19th century, and not forgetting the Crusades.

But then, I realise, part of the problem is that they haven't read very much of the Bible, and what they've learnt is often out of context. E.g. when some people use the Old Testament injunction, "Thou shalt pay an eye for an eye...", they forget Christ's injunction, "But I say to you... turn your other cheek..."

In addition, even from a cultural and historical viewpoint, the Bible has been such an integral aspect of major works of literature, and famous American people e.g. Abraham Lincoln and Martin King Luther were influenced greatly by it. After all, the Bible is indeed one of the most beautiful works of literature in history. Just read the poem of Job... Kafka really can't match that! And who can forget Martin King Luther's powerful rebuke to the injustices of his time, "Till justice rolls on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!"? He took them from the prophet Amos.

And also, it's not about Christians alone... the Old Testament is the sacred Scripture of the Jews too, and one of the holy books of the Muslims. Since Scripture is such a central tenet of three major religions, it is important that adherents for each religion should at the very least know what the Bible says. Not just know about, but know.

But What About Freedom of Choice?
But one may argue that there is freedom of choice involved. What, hypothetically, if it was compulsory for me to read the Buddhist Sutras, or the Koran, or Mao's Red Book, in class?

Then I think it's important to consider that there is indeed enrichment, much enrichment, to be gained from being taught books on other beliefs as well, if not for your own belief's sake, then at least for others' belief's sake.

I remember reading Greek mythology back in primary school, and while that makes me no more a believer in Zeus than I believe the earth is flat, I think my mind has been enriched by learning how the ordinary Greeks saw life, and how they perceived their gods as distant and inapproachable. Even for a Christian, you can get to appreciate just how dramatic it would be for a Greek to believe in "the Logos who became flesh".

And anyway, I think the Bible itself says more than once that it's a good thing to be aware of other religions and to speak respectfully of their religions even though we may not agree. Like how Paul went around in Athens looking at the inscriptions to the Greek idols, so that he could understand the Athenians' mindsets better. And how Peter told the Christians to speak with gentleness and respect, and Paul agreeing too, saying that all our conversations should be full of grace.

I guess this analysis is far from complete, but yeah, in the end, I think it's really worthwhile to teach the Bible, even if it's from a secular viewpoint. After all, the Bible describes itself as "sharper than a double-edged sword", so if one is going to try using a sword... he needs to know what a sword looks and feels like first, especially if it's a super-sharp one. :)


Hmm, I remember Singapore, at one time, had religious education as part of its criteria. I wonder why they took it off the syllabus... Maybe I should find out more about this.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Err... Remind Me Again, Just What is So Good About The "Good News" After All?

What makes the good news so good?


Hope that one's life can really change for the better. Hope that there really is forgiveness for that dark unforgotten sin you've always kept hidden away from everyone else. Hope that you're not treading on the wrong path of life - the endless corporate ladder, etc., or that you're wasting your life on the wrong things.

And the good news is very fun and delightful too. :) For instance, discovering that you can do things that you'd never imagine you could do, not in this life, ever. But God is the God of impossible things.

"With man, this is impossible, but not with God - with God, all things are possible."

E.g. The lame WALK. The blind SEE. The deaf HEAR. The mute SHOUT. And I think, personally, something very sweet about those words that Jesus spoke to John the Baptist is that the impossible things that people could do were specific to their conditions. I mean, there are lame people who can see, and blind people who can speak.

I'm focusing on the experiential aspect of the good news here, because, well, the good news really is good news. :) Think one key reason why I sometimes feel obliged to share the good news is because we ourselves haven't realised just how GOOD the good news is. :)

Think then, what makes the good news so good is that, for those who have reached the end of the rope, exhausted every possible effort and finally found themselves helpless to help themselves out of the deep shit (yes, that word) that they're in... that is when they finally look up, and find the hand of Jesus extended to them, waiting for them to let Him pull them up from the quicksand they're in.

"Come unto me, all ye who are burdened, and I will give you rest."

Because I was lying on my bed, musing about past things that I'd wished I'd done but never did. Past regrets. But I realised that it's already over, and God wants me to look ahead and move on. Because He has better things in store for me.

E.g. the vocation that God has been impressing increasingly strongly on my heart over the past few years, and one especially wonderful "coincidence" that happened all because of a toothache... which I believe further serves to confirm that this path I'm starting on now is part of God's clear calling on my life.

That, and other "coincidences" - some very precisely timed, others more of gradually coming to pass, that I really believe that all these serve to make His calling increasingly clearer to my life. E.g. finding out about a social entrepreneurship forum just in time, which I'm also becoming increasingly interested in (for a higher purpose)...

When I see how all these things have been happening, I feel really so awed that God would bother to think about someone so small like me, and actually include me into His plans to make this world a better place. :)

So I'll dwell not on my glory or shame
But now I'll seek out His very name.
For now I know I'm no longer the same
But now I'll live out His very fame.

"You're the One Who made the heavens
You're the One Who shaped the earth
You're the One Who formed my heart
Long before my birth

I believe You'll always lead me
All my days have been ordained
All Your thoughts toward me are holy
Full of love and grace..."


Monday, March 19, 2007


Think God impressed on me these particular verses during my QT after I told Him about some problems recently:

Proverbs 24:10
If you falter in times of trouble,
how small is your strength!

Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

If you say, "But we knew nothing about this,"
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?

I think He's telling me not to falter so easily, but to get up and move on, because this is a rescue mission I'm on. So don't give up doing what is good... don't give up sharing the good news of God's grace and truth! Because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes! Amen! :) For our God is an awesome God!
Robert called me just now to ask about my tooth after reading my blog. Blessed! :D Haha... so this is what civil servants do in their free time... no lah just kidding. :P

Are You Tone-Deaf?

Hey! This is cool... came across this site...

This test is self-explanatory. BTW it also tests your aural memory... which I'm terrible in. :P Even after 10+ years of listening to the National Anthem, I still can't sing it properly to save my life. :P Nvm...

On this test, I scored 66.7% Correct, which means that I'm slightly below normal perception, but above low-normal perception. :)

Cool. Which means that my hearing-impairment doesn't really have anything that much to do with my sense of music... just that it's harder to tell the difference without hearing aids.

Ah. But I'm below the average of 73.9% out of 60,000+ participants. :P Hah... well I don't care. :)

And after that, I tried out this test to see if I can distinguish between two tones.

According to this test, my pitch perception's pretty good - at 500 Hz I can reliably differentiate two tones 1.65 Hz apart. :) wow! Thank God for that...

And for the final treat:
Are You Rhythm-Deaf?
(aka the "It's not my fault I can't dance - it's my cerebellum!" test)
This is the most interesting test... according to the site:
Recent research has emerged suggesting that rhythm perception and pitch perception deficits may be linked. Since it has long been known that people with poor rhythm perception abilities are often poor dancers, I though it would be interesting to make a test that would give an objective measure of rhythm perception.

In other words, you can find out if you're a potential candidate for "So You Think You Can Dance?" or a William-Hung wannabe. :P

I scored 68%. Cool! Above normal. William Hung, eat your heart out, man. :P

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Less Burdened

Oh. But thank God for precious things like these... while absent-mindedly browsing some quotes on the net, I came across this quote by Saint Augustine, a hedonist-turned-Christian, and it encouraged me very much:

I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are wise and very beautiful; but I have never read in either of them: "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden."
Saint Augustine

Oh! I also want to share something that made me smile very much today.

I was videoing for HopeKids today, and there was this little girl with long lovely locks who saw me filming, and she asked me boldly, "Can I try too?"

Wow! "Ask and ye shall receive..."

So I let her try... and she really loved it! Wouldn't let go of the camera - I had to cajole her to let go. Then she ran eagerly over to me, and rested her head on my shoulder, peering curiously at what I was filming.

So sweet! One day if I have a daughter, it'll be nice to have one like her. :)

Learnt something in my observations:

In the Father's eyes
We all
whether young or old,
are simply so young before Him.

And touched by her boldness.
Reminded of Jesus' bold words
That this is the type
of bold faith
That boldly pleases
A bold God.


I'm feeling burdened.

Funny in a way, because I was feeling very grateful to God during worship today. But think something that He reminded me of was His faithfulness to me... there will be times I really hunger for His touch, and receive freely from Him, and there will be times I barely think of Him, and receive nothing much from Him.

But through all these times, I remember that the Lord has been my Shepherd, and how He brought me back to Him. This song from HopeKids service today spoke to me a lot:

All along You were besides me
Even when I couldn’t tell
Through the years
You showed me more of You


Hmm. Burdened, that I need to mature in more aspects of my life. It's not pleasant to discipline myself, but I know I need to push myself in every aspect of my life. I slept very late last night because I decided to play another round of computer games, and when HQ heard about it, he said I need to exercise more self-control.

Self-control? Hmm... haven't I heard that somewhere?

Hmm. And that's the problem. I should be mature enough to exercise self-control in something as small as this. Because it's the small things that make or break a life.

Song of Solomon 2:15
Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.

Sad. Not because I didn't exercise self-control, but because I know I disappointed God. Don't want to make Him sad... for He bought me with His very own blood to save my life.

1 Peter 1:18-19
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

(Nothing wrong with playing computer games to relax - it's just whether I want to devote my entire life to trival pursuits or to eternal rewards.)

Want to push myself more because of God's love for me. He loves me so much... I don't want to short-change Him!

Feeling burdened too, because of someone very dear to me. Can't say much here, but felt helpless, even though I think God has assured me that He'll take care of the matter. Helpless, because I'm looking for the best way, and fearful of what's going to happen next to this person.

And I ask Him for a solution, a way, an insight... and God seems quiet on this matter.

Psalm 22:2
"O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent."

At least I'm not alone... there are other friends who are going through very similar situations as me. Thank God for that. :) Really.

And thank You, Lord, that the Bible is so real on issues like this. I recalled Paul's exasperated exclamation when he wrote to the Corinthian church:
2 Corinthians 11:28-29
"Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?"

Yes, I do feel weak, and I do inwardly burn. Oh God. How ah? Give me love, strength, wisdom, joy and peace I pray. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rooting Out (and Rooting For) Root Canals

Thank God for dentists. I think dentists are some of the most wonderful people to have walked the face of the earth since the beginning of mankind. They are the salt of the earth, God's gift to humanity, the creme de la creme, the pillars and foundations of society...

Oooh, blissful relief... never was anaesthesia such ambrosia. :D

Haha... actually, it was quite good, the root canal. I just have to erase the memory of medieval-looking instruments (ok, I exaggerated. they're quite designer-looking) scraping against my teeth (the feeling is so... you know that feeling you get when you hear metal scrape against metal?).

What's a root canal btw? Wikipedia has the answer... (just google lah!)

But apart from that, it was a very fascinating session. What the dentist did was to first find which tooth had the decay. This is A Very Important Question. She felt my chin and neck, and found that the infection had spread to the surrounding area of my gum, and there was an abscess in the gum. Yes, it was pretty bad.

So she began the root canal treatment. Thank God that the needle (it was pretty big actually) wasn't painful at all. Really. It did take a few minutes for the anaesthesia to fully activate though.

Then the dentist pulled out my metal filling. THAT was a jarring shock. One moment she's tugging at your filling... the next moment you feel a giant metallic 'pop' resonating in your skull.

Then she began the drilling. It was so cool actually. The drill is not what I imagined it to be... I had imagined the dental drill as something akin to a Bosch and Decker electric drill, you know, the kind that contractors simply LOVE to turn on at 9 am in the morning, when you're trying to catch some precious sleep after an all-nighter.

It was actually quite quiet, and painless in a way. Saw my tooth enamel being vapourised into fine powder. After she did that, she squirted some more anaesthetic into my tooth, after seeing me starting to wince a bit.

Wincing is a crucial aspect of effective interpersonal communication between your dentist and you. Because he can't understand Polish, German, Hokkien, Cantonese and Swahili, which I somehow miraculously acquire the ability to speak all in one breath.

"Does it hurt?"


"Ok, it hurts."

Then, the feeling became stranger. Felt a warm feeling spreading through the left side of my neck. Seems that the nerve from my decayed tooth also runs through my neck.

Then after that, the dentist used some fine wires to scrape and clean the inside of my decayed tooth out. It felt quite good actually, especially when she cleaned out the abscess underneath my molar. An achingly good kind of sensation - something like a massage of sorts. Weird, huh?

Then she filled it up and sealed it.

I would like to say that the pain went away instantly, but that didn't really happen. It still ached, because of the infection, not just inside the tooth, but also in the surrounding areas - I guess the jawbone and the gums were affectecd.

But thank God so much for antibiotics. I've taken four of the pills today, and the symptoms are reversing. Originally, it was painful tenderness, but now it's just an irritating "itchy" feeling inside my gums, and I think in the next few days, the pain should go completely away once I'm done with the antibiotics. :)

And oh yeah, want to thank God for some things too that happened. Turns out that hte root canal treatment was a whole lot cheaper than was actually listed. $115 instead of $250. Wow! Thank God... :D

And I also got to meet this lady from Lions Befrienders at the dental clinic. It's some community service organization mentioned in the Singapore21 report. She said to me that she was looking high and low for the past one year for a multimedia developer for a volunteer project... I'm still thinking whether to take up this volunteer project.

Yup, that's the account of my root canal. It was a good learning experience, and really want to thank God for His grace to me...

A Tooth (Truth) to Chew On

My tooth filling wasn't enough. Apparently, the dentine's now gotten infected. But really thank God that though it was aching when I fell asleep... at least, I could FALL ASLEEP. :) Sleep, the best anesthetic. ;)

But woke up at 7 am with a flaring toothache. So, after repeated calls to the NUH Dental Centre, I'm going down now.

Read this verse just now as I was waiting on the phone, 'cos I wanted God to speak to me through this experience. Was surprised to find this verse, but think it's something to chew upon. :)
Proverbs 25:19
Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.

Thinking of my bad tooth, and Peter's lame leg, think it gives me a very sensory experience into what it's really like to have to rely on an unfaithful person in times of trouble.

You need the tooth, but for all practical purposes, trying to chew using a bad molar is a dicey proposition at best. And it's painful. No, not painful. It's P-A-I-N-F-U-L. But bo pian lah, no choice.

Then it makes me think about how does it feel to the other person if I'm being irresponsible or unfaithful, making promises that I never keep?

Oh! Here's a more contemporary version of Proverbs 25:19:
"Trusting a double-crosser when you're in trouble
is like biting down on an abscessed tooth."

Cool... hmm... was thinking what this verse means, and why this verse is in the Bible, and how can I apply it into my life?

Think the most straightforward understanding of this verse is that:

1. It HURTS when someone you trust betrays or deceives you, especially if you were looking to that guy to help you out.

2. Sometimes when you're in trouble, you're tempted to trust a double-crosser... be exceedingly careful. Trust at your own risk. Achtung! Minefield. Live firing area, etc.

I guess it's a gray area here - I think God's Word cautions me that I trust the double-crosser to help me out at my own risk. Yes, you can chew using a badly-infected tooth, but you better be very, very careful when you do so.

Practical advice for office politics, I think! Wow, God's Word has advice even for the "gray areas" of life's "gray days". Isn't God cool? :) w00t!

An Apology for Apologetics

Found this article, An Apology for Apologetics, just now. Thank God for it - it came at a very timely moment. Truly, I know that my God has not left us alone, for He is with us. :) Emmanuel! (God with us!)

There are several vital tasks left for apologetics to perform.

(1) Pre-evangelism. In defining the essence of saving faith the Reformers distinguished among three elements: (a) content of data of faith (notitia); (b) objective truth of the content (assensus); (c) personal trust or reliance on the truth (fiducia). The third, fiducia, can only be wrought by the operation of the Holy Spirit via regeneration. The first two are assisted by apologetics. The heart cannot trust what the mind does not affirm. There can be assent (assensus) without trust (fiducia) but not trust (fiducia) without assent (assensus).

(2) Restrain evil. Calvin argued that one value of apologetics was to “stop the mouths of the obstreperous.” Here apologetics, though not able to convert the infidel, can restrain the unbeliever from unbridled assault against the faith.

(3) Support believers. Converted Christians can become so easily intimidated by intellectual critique that they lose their boldness to proclaim the Gospel. They are also vulnerable to being assailed by doubts.

(4) Commonplace benefits. There is benefit to culture derived when Christianity enjoys a status of intellectual credibility. When the faith is relegated to a reservation of personal religion or piety based solely on sentiment, it has difficulty informing the institutions that shape culture. Where Christian truth is established with credibility, it has a salutary effect on culture.

The apologetic task is difficult, complex, and never-ending. Yet it is the mandate of God to us. The responsibility is ours; its success is God’s.

'Cos YF, Flince and I were discussing about this earlier on. We had a pretty difficult time today, but I'm so thankful to God that such times draw us closer together as friends - more than that - comrades in Christ, if you could put it that way. :) (no, i'm not communist lah...)

I'm really touched that one of us skipped a test to be with him. Though obviously it's not recommended, i was really struck by the heart here, esp since we saw the urgency of the situation. My friend, Jesus'll never ever forget what you did for this bro that day... "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it unto Me."

Zhiwei gave me a hug. Really thank God for him. :)

Something I realised is that I think I know a lot about something, so I don't bother to learn and read up about it, until the test comes, and I find I lack knowledge. :( Realised that this is a trait of me that applies to many, many areas of my life. Thankfully, by God's grace, I respond and start brushing up and learning. But... I think I need to repent in this area of my life -
"We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.
The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
But the man who loves God is known by God."
1 Cor 8:1-3

It's pruning time. God's with us - He's pruning us. :)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Inner Life Of A Cell (HQ)

This is a really good animation of a white blood cell... so beautiful, it's almost like those are living sentient alien beings within a cell of a sentient being... God really created us wonderfully! :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hallelujah! :D I've finally implemented a good-looking portfolio... thank You so much Lord, for teaching me new things and strengthening me through these nights...

A reflection on these past experiences:
When God seems silent, even as you struggle along, and you look up to Him pleading for help...

Remember this, YA, that Jesus, our Emmanuel, is with you, even when He seems silent to your struggles. :) It could be that His very presence is His very answer to your struggles.

He never promised a life free of problems.
But He did promise to be with us always.

"I have learnt to be contented, whatever the situation, whether living in plenty or living in want... I can do all things through Him who gives me strength."

Amen. :) Thank You Daddy.

More reflections...
I think God humbled me through this time. I was so confident of my own talents and strength, that I swaggered into this project with self-confidence... only to get trashed by Flash.

When I saw all these talented designers on the net, and realised that my stuff really cannot compare to theirs, felt very dismayed and discouraged.

But thank God, that He humbles the proud... I think He spoke to me through my shepherd (who had suggested that I look at the samples of others' works) and Ziwei's feedback on my design. Think He impressed on my heart that I should be humble and learn from the more talented people rather than moan about my lack of talents and skills.

Wow. What a time of learning it was... I learnt (and re-learnt) a lot of important principles e.g. typography, principles of interactive design, colour theory, etc...

Wow... Think Proverbs can apply to my experience... "The mocker seeks for wisdom, but finds none. But knowledge comes easily to the discerning." I was subtly putting others' designs down in my heart, but God corrected me... and taught me to be humble and be willing to watch and learn from them.

Thank You Daddy! :)

Free Singnet wireless!

Didn't realise (probably because I wasn't paying attention to the ads...) that Singnet has been offering free wireless access till 31 Dec 2009! :) That means I'll be able to access the Net from my laptop... thank God! :)

Check out Singnet's free wireless access!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Pursuit of Joyfulness :)

James 1:2-8 (NLT)
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Wow, I think God is reminding me of this truth again. I've been struggling with my portfolio, and the perfectionist edge in me is really steaming ahead full-time. Feeling quite stressed, because I know I have to send out more resumes.

Was asking God how come it seems that He's not giving me design ideas for the portfolio, and whether it's a wise idea to do this portfolio in the first place.

Think (I could be wrong here) He says it's ok, go ahead with the portfolio: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men..."

But as to why He hasn't given me any really concrete ideas so far... I think, looking back at these experiences, maybe He's pushing me to think on my own, to build up my skills here. To develop perseverance in this area, even when the creative juices run dry. Because when I do research and read up on the other designers' ideas, I can learn from them, and that, I think, is what He has in mind - He wants me to learn from others, so that I will not become proud in my own strength, but to have this attitude of wanting to learn more from others.

I was very inspired after watching "Pursuit of Happyness". Watching the father struggle on to achieve his dream job (to get them out of poverty, I was very touched that he chose not to give up on his son, but took care of his son, telling him not to give up on his dream, even if his own father told him to do so.

I just wish they spent more time on the father-son aspect too. :)

So, and thinking about one sister (Emma) who's doing her best to finish her Masters amidst tiredness and physical stress, she still joyfully looks up to Jesus through it all. :) Wow! am inspired by her too.

So yup, let's keep going on for Jesus, because He never gave us on us... and let's DREAM SOMETHING WORTHY for God! And do it, no matter how difficult it is, or even if we can't finish it! Because Jesus never gave up the battle to save our souls... till that very moment on the cross, when He said, "It is completed."

Amen! :)

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Simpsonzu

Ohayo! Simpsons come to Japan!
And oh yes, the children. :) Hee... Really love them, I do! God knows I have done so little... but want to push on even more to give my best to take care of them.

Oh yes, want to thank God for this too: while we were doing colouring for the Bible verse Matthew 19:14, I took the opportunity to go the extra mile and ask the children about what they thought about the verse, and how do they know that Jesus loves them. :) Some of the answers were sweet, others surprising. But one of them struck me a lot:

"He answers my prayers."

Wow... out from the mouth of babes... yah! Jesus loves me, this I know...

And that is why I so love to work in HopeTots. :)

*sigh* I really miss my children. :)
Was reading Leanne's blog (do read it, it's very uplifting!), and one thing that I'm very inspired by is to see how she follows Christ, even though things are difficult for her.

Life doesn't seems to be smooth these few months, facing all sorts of difficulties.. last night a brother from RP asked me how many problems will I face per day? I couldn't count, I just know that God knows it well.. my attitude and character was greatly moulded... realise that sometimes I really take things for granted... it's only when I am about to lose it then I start to regret..

It has been 25 years of marriage but 8 years without communicating though living under the same roof.. and now going to come to an end soon.. witnessing my parents going through rough patch in their marriage and now going to put an end.. emotions welled up within.. I always thought there would be a way out.. however seems like I have to accept the fact and adjust my life.. and the role I play at home.. I start to miss the person who has always been protecting us and being a cheerleader in our life.. I start to miss the person who make effort to provide for our needs.. It is time to adjust my expectation too...

I realised something change within my heart through such circumstances, I start to be more expressive in showing my love and concern to my siblings more. Our relationship had also improved greatly. I wonder is it too late.. its only when I realise that I am about to lose one family member from the picture.. certain thoughts just straightened out..

I know that everything is still within God's control.. without Him, I really think that I would have taken alternative path.. It is him who gives me hope and peace.. It is Him who gives me the strength and comfort.. I thank God that He provides me spiritual family and friends too.. that I could open up and share my life.

When I read that entry, I reflected, and realised that I've not been giving thanks to God very much. Oh dear. But actually, why not? :) I think one thing that hinders me from giving thanks to God is because I forget to step one step back and think about how God has been so good to me. And also because I fear that the thing I'm giving thanks for is simply a positive self-encouragement 'pep-talk' aka the NLP-style of "You Can Do It!" And also because sometimes I feel that I shouldn't be feeling so good about myself, or the good things that have been given to me...

But that's not biblical! Because Jesus tells us that he's come to give us life to the max! The devil wants us to be in depression, joylessness and despair - which will only lead to a vicious cycle of despair.

It's true that we should mourn over our sins, but you know what? We should mourn over the fact that our sins hurt God and people, but rejoice in the fact that God hasn't left us alone in our sins, but come to save us, to help us become the people that He wants us to be. :) And That Is A Very Good Reason To Rejoice! :D

Hee hee! And honestly, it's not wrong to think about how good God has been to me :) Oh yah! That reminds me. I was talking with this dear brother in Christ - he's a godly man, working as a magazine salesman in NUS Science Canteen - if you've seen a bespectacled Indian man about 30-ish or 40-ish sitting around at the magazine booth, that's bro Isaac.

I'm very struck by his thankfulness and pure faith in God - he served as a missions trip leader, and also is saving up for a Bible College education. Whoa. One thing that he told me last time was that it's very important to remember that God has been good to me. :) Simple words, but the way he said it, it's very profound. :) Wise words of wisdom.

So haha, a step back...

I can see how God has been working to shape me and prepare me the past few months... I think He's been showing me how my natural inconsideration turns others off, and He's not left me alone - because this inconsiderate attitude of mine is something that's very deeply ingrained in me for many years, so it's very hard for me to change on my own - but given me wonderful brothers esp Weizhu and Peter who have been helping correct me and help me practise thinking about others.

And I'm so glad, because I can see how I've been changing in this attitude at home. You know, recently, my parents got a dog. And the first day it was at home, it poo-pooed and urinated on the floor. *gasp* it was smmmmelly. But I helped to clean up the mess... and believe you me, that was something I would have never done before I became a Christian. :) And I'm so glad that I can be a good testimony for Christ at home, 'cos my mum was so pleased, saying that I'm very helpful. To which I said, "Thank GOD for that! :)"

Not that I'm trying to show off, but this is something that Christ has really changed in my life over the years.

And also so glad for the community of brothers who have been giving me great advice about my job search e.g. Wenjiang, Robert, Peter, Weizhu... I think I really don't treasure these brothers enough. Really thanks so much friends for your help... =D

And thank God also for the fellowship. God knows that I really treasure fellowship a lot. Hee, think I experience God strongly through the love of others. I remember Jan and Weizhu one time going all the way to help me get my laptop even without me asking them... to be honest, i don't usually feel very touched by acts of service, but this one... wow, it was so touching that I almost wept.

I remember also how Jan and a sister and me, we went to buy sandwiches and drinks (actually it was Jan's and the sister's idea) for Huili and another friend since they hadn't eaten anything the whole day... HL was so touched that she cried. :)

To be honest, sometimes I work so hard to serve, and I sit back at the end of the day, wondering if it was all worth it. Then I remember this verse: "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain."

For instance, recently I found out that a dear friend of mine had kept a copy of an affirmation that I had written for him/her about half a year ago. I was so touched, because it was titled "Affirmation For When I Am Down" and actually, I had felt very discouraged after writing that affirmation to that friend, because I didn't receive any words of thanks from that person.

But when I saw that my friend had kept my copy, and titled it "For When I am Down", whoa, I felt so encouraged, because I knew now that that affirmation letter which I had laboured over, was not in vain after all. :) It did its work after all...

And hee, was very pleasantly surprised to find that this friend had also kept a copy of some blog postings that I'd posted... :D

Praise God for His Word, for His faithfulness! So something I learnt from that experience was that if you don't receive recognition or thanks, even from other bros and sisters, for serving them, God may be using your labour to make an impact in their lives that you can't imagine. You may or may not know just how much impact you've really made in this life, but by the grace of God, you'll find out when you meet Jesus. :) "What we do in this life echoes in eternity." "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me."

Yup, just like what Qiaoping said, "Jesus will never forget what we have done." AMEN!

And also thank God for Zhiwei, YF and Flince too. :) Must really count my blessings for this very dear brother, ZW, for his friendship and patience with me even when I make mistakes. And also for YF - her wisdom is really a blessing... because I really don't know very much at times how to help Zhiwei experience God better, but YF accurately pinpoints the problems and the better perspectives. Thank God also for Flince, who has been a faithful comrade, and how he shares... you know, one thing that I've seen in his life is how he has grown in emphathy and understanding for others, and in meeting up and fellowshipping with others (something he readily admits that doesn't come naturally to him). It's really a joy to see how he has been growing more and more... oh yes, especially in taking initiative haha... fellow phlegmatics unite!

And also for Shawn. :) Besides Peter and HQ, I'm closer to this bro. Very blessed by how he can look out for the interests of others, and also his thoughtfulness and readiness to help meet the needs of others.

Hah, feel so much more joyful after typing all these thanksgiving. Really must practise more of God's Word - there is so much joy when you do what He says, because His words really are the way that life works best! :D

What does it mean to Look Up To God?

Was sitting at my desk, and just pondering, after looking through some uplifting posts by some bros and sisters. Then this question came to mind - probably inspired in part by Ps Jeff's latest post.

I think, often, when you are feeling quite discouraged, one reason is because you tend to look inside yourself, and you find nothing much.

Just like what I heard in the quote during the sermon msg on Sunday, by Corrie Ten Boom, a wonderful sister from Holland who survived a Nazi concentration camp (she's in heaven now):
"If you look at the world, you'll be distressed.
If you look within, you'll be depressed.
If you look at Christ, you'll be at rest."

Ah, I remember Shuyi also msgd me the above quote too. Very meaningful. Thanks a doz for your faithful encouragement, sis!

Hee! I realise something about the beauty of everyone. I'm so inspired when I think of my Jesus.

He really is the most wonderful person in the whole wide world. And though I haven't seen Him, I do love Him, and I'm filled with a joy that you can't measure enough, because I know that He's not only looking down at me from heaven... more than that, He's together with me even now as I type this blog.

Jesus gives me warmth, in the winter's cold
He gives me light, in the night's darkness
He cheers me on, when I am straggling so
He saves my soul, when I am getting lost
He encourages me, when I am no longer bold
He leads me on, when I am defeated
He rallys my soul.


I'm not ashamed of my Lord Jesus. Even when I feel discouraged because I feel so unworthy at times, and when I'm trying to push myself on in being more disciplined (and fail), and when I don't get any replies for my job resumes, I know that He really is so good, and He cares for me. If He feeds the mynahs, the ravens and the sparrows, I know He will feed me too.

It was never about me or my own strength at all. It's ALL about Him, His goodness that overrides my badness; it's about His power made perfect in my weakness. That is what the Church is about, this is what living the transformed life is all about.

Somehow, and I'm speaking experientially, in the most practical aspect of the word, whenever I feel discouraged, I think of my Jesus, and I look up to Him, to His promise that He will be with us always, to the very end of the age... then I get my strength anew. :)

Ah, feel more encouraged now. =) C'mon YA, get up and move on!

a very long letter to God

Writing this down, because want to remember this time: :) Don't feel obliged to read it - it's just for myself.

Dear Lord,

Really thanks so much for the wonderful time together just now. :) And for diagnosing so precisely why I was feeling so... sian and down and insecure in my heart today.

Because You know that I'm feeling very weak inside. Weak in taking care of the brother I'm helping take care of, weak in wisdom - why do I do so many stupid things?, weak in strength - in obeying You Lord. weak in faith, weak in love, weak in war, weak in work, weak in play, weak in character, weak in hope, weak in Your Word.

I admire those whose faith are strong in God, and exude this inner strength, this joy and peace that radiates from their countenances. I envy those who have much wisdom and are mature in everything they do.

Ironic! Even in my desire to be good, I end up envying and comparing myself with others, taking pride in my own strength, and not looking up to You.

Met You just now in prayer. How I miss those precious times. But looking out into the night sky, I remember that I just felt so helpless, so limited in my strength, even though I've heard today's sermon on You being our Commander. But I felt more like a crazy lamb than a ... charging ram. :)

But I'm so grateful to You God, for just accepting me the way I am. "Be still, and know that I am God." That was the verse that came to my mind as I looked out into the night sky, and remembered those days of love as we sat together, You and me. And I really hungered for those days.

So just sat, and was still in Your presence. And I really felt Your presence so gentle... I know, I'm ashamed of myself, I'm thinking of myself so much like a lamb, instead of being "more than a conqueror". I'm ashamed of my phlegmatic part of me, that I'd rather wait for others to lead instead of me - and for a good reason too!

I know that I'm not the strongest person around - on the contrary, I see myself, and I think others do see me as weak and helpless. I am the least of the people, the least of the earth, the lowliest of the scum, among those condemned to die in the arena.

"Up to this moment, we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world." 1 Cor 4:13b

Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that You are able to guard what I have entrusted to You for that day.

Because what Ps Jeff mentioned in today's sermon: that we Christians will ALWAYS be in the minority, but one thing for sure, even though we are in the minority, we can impact the world exceedingly. 'Cos we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. As long as there is light in a dark place, there is hope. As long as there is salt in the meat, there is flavour and freshness.

And I so do want to believe with all my heart this promise of God, that He will give us the strength and victory needed.

I'm eagerly looking to You, Lord, to increase my faith, to mature it into all its fullness. I want to learn from Guanrui's example, how he childlikely claims the promises of God in the Bible, that we are to be the head, not the tail, to shine for Jesus in whatever we do. "Now I am Jacob". That was what he messaged some of us. That simple childlike heart that accepts the full truth of our new life in Christ, whereas I stutter and stumble, afraid to tell people that I am Abraham, because I fear what they may say in return.

Oh God. I AM Abraham - he who lied and covered up to save his own skin.

But I AM Abraham - father of faith, father of many nations. I am what I am, not because I made myself the way I am, but because YOU chose me, and gave me this name. "By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect."

Help me remember to always stay on the right path, Lord Jesus. Not to veer towards self-confidence, nor to lean towards self-pity, but to have God-confidence, just like what Philippians says: "...being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion till the day of Christ Jesus."

And another thing, Lord. I was thinking again and again about the people back in the NUS ministry. But I realise I'm still not fully established in the Adults ministry. I think I'm still taking time, but thank You Lord for Your grace to me, that I'm growing closer and closer to my dear CG, with HQ, with Shawn, Peter, Sarah, Sharon and in due time the others too.

Oh God. Give me faith, and give me strength.

I whisper to You, when I am so exhausted even while taking care of the children running to and fro, "Lord, give me strength."

I whisper to You, when I am about to fall asleep listening to the sermon, "Lord, give me strength."

I whisper to You, when I feel weak, helpless and inadequate in ministering to others, in blessing others, in serving them... "Lord, give me strength."

I whisper to You, when I'm beset by my sinful nature and am going to be overrun by feelings of anger, jealousy, envy, insecurity, lust, greed, slot... and that old archnemesis, pride:

"Lord, give me strength."

And when I look back at today, I'm so amazed how You sustained me through the day, giving me the capacity to love the children dearly, even when I'm so tired, and to pray for them... to bless the dear bros and sisters, to show me grace when I fail them... when I'm feeling insecure, You have lifted me up emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

You really bless all those who take refuge in You. And You hear the tiniest cry of the heart, just like what David wrote in Psalm 18:

"In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From His temple He heard my voice;
my cry came before Him, into His ears."

Wow, I imagine David floating in the midst of a stormy, raging ocean, barely hanging on to a piece of driftwood - "the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me", and in the raging roaring thunderstorm, his faint, distant cry for help barely came into the LORD's ears... so tiny, that even a dropping pin would have been a nuclear explosion compared to his plaintive little bleat.

But what happened? The Lord Almighty responded, and He thundered, smoke coming out of His nostrils, angry at the evil forces assailing his sheep. He storms, He will not be quiet, till justice is done on the earth, and righteousness and peace prevails in His name.

"O God of Power and Righteousness
O God of Power and Righteousness
O God of Power and Righteousness!
And ev'ry foe will tremble at Your name
And ev'ry foe will tremble at Your name
And ev'ry foe will tremble at Your name!"

He parted the heavens and the earth, and like the Riders of the Rohirrm, He leads the cavalry charge, mounted on His white steed, sword raised, overrunning and trampling the dark demonic forces of evil, "till ev'ry foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed."


Hee, thanks for listening to all these long, long musings, Lord. :) Yup, please help me grow in listening more to Your voice.

Oh yeah. Something that struck me was that I think You've been speaking clearly to me, but Your voice very soft. On hindsight, when I look back, I realise You were speaking to me all along regarding some issues or answers or things, but I didn't stop to listen more closely, and drowned out Your good voice with my own understanding and reasonings.

And well, my reasonings turned out to be wrong, and Your voice turns out to be right.


And thank You Lord for this passage, I shall remember and treasure it always. And I shall claim Your promise of strength contained in this passage:

"As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD is flawless.
He is a shield
for all who take refuge in him.

For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength
and makes my way perfect.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
You give me your shield of victory,
and your right hand sustains me;
you stoop down to make me great.
You broaden the path beneath me,
so that my ankles do not turn."

Hmm. Very sleepy now. :) But thanks a dozen, dear Jesus. Really pray that You help me grow and mature in my faith and strength in You. In Your mighty name, I pray amen.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Was searching together with Daisy for Alan's birthday album. Found this quote - even it's not very appropriate for the album, I find it very meaningful. :)

He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.
Bessie Stanley

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Just came back from Sports Day with the bros and sisters. Whoa, great time, despite the fact that the Blue Team got trashed by the Red Team (with two goals from our Man-of-the-Match, Marcus Tan, and an unfortunate own goal from Kangwei :P). Haha...

The "Candle in the Wind" game was really interesting, but became very messy, because the candles, well, kept on blowing out in the wind.

Must really thank God for the good weather - it was great! :)

And also thank God for the good time getting to know Terence the HK-Canadian guy and Rayson, Joyce's friend from SIM. We had a very good dinner (and very full too!) tog at VivoCity foodcourt.

Really treasure the times of fellowship, no matter how short it may be. And just want to thank God, I'm getting closer and closer to my new CG - really thank God for the dear bros and sisters there.

And oh yeah, Rayson's really into media too. w00t! looking forwards to seeing his portfolio. Next week Shawn, Ray and me are intending to go and watch the war movie, "300". Heard that 300's a great film (if you don't mind the violence).

(Numerically-wise... three Singaporeans watching three hundred Greeks fighting a million-plus Persians. Isn't technology interesting? :P)

Boast in the Lord!

Oh, since I was so encouraged by Calyn's post, I just really want to share a testimony of God's goodness... especially since after today's wonderful prayer meeting, where I was so inspired by the lyrics of "I Will Boast".

Paul Baloche
I Will Boast (full lyrics)
Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom
Or the strong man boast in his strength
Let not the rich man boast in his riches
But let the humble come and give thanks
To the One who made us, the One who saved us

I will boast in the Lord my God
I will boast in the One Who's worthy
I will boast in the Lord my God
I will boast in the One Who's worthy, He's worthy

Really felt very strengthed and renewed in my heart after worshipping the Lord, for I could sense His presence strongly in the midst of all the people. It's not just a good feeling; it is a biblical truth, because the Lord Jesus Himself said in Matthew 18:20: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

So it's a renewing process of some basic truths that I've learnt a long time ago: Relying on Jesus, for even the smallest things.

For instance, I was trying to do my design portfolio for the past 2 days. Was slaving over the portfolio yesterday, and when I stepped back to take a look, I just felt it wasn't very good. Ziwei also commented that the design could be much better.

So was praying, and telling God about this. Then He reminded me that ALL the best design works that I've ever done were when I turned to Him in prayer and asked Him for ideas and inspiration. And when I didn't rely on Him, trying to do it by my own strength and 'talent', my works all became quite average.

Hee. So the testimony is that I want to thank Him for the fresh idea that He gave me after I repented and prayed to Him.

Hee! And when I implemented the idea that came into my mind as I was praying, Ziwei came by and saw it, and said it looks much nicer now! :D Since Ziwei's a real gifted artist, that's really quite the compliment. Thanks a doz for your encouraging words, sis. =)

Oh yeah. Jits prayed for me earlier regarding the portfolio too. Another idea had come into my mind. It's a very nice idea. I still haven't implemented it yet though. But I do think that if I implement it, it'll really enhance the portfolio. :) Thanks a doz too for your prayer sis!

Reminds me of what Qiaoping had also prayed for me last year regarding another arts assignment. And also, at that time, a great idea came into my head when she prayed for me... and I implemented it, and hee, it's one of my most creative and best works so far - the lecturer was impressed! :)

God's the most creative person in the whole universe - so why shouldn't we ask Him for ideas? As a wise professor once said, "God creates. Man imitates."

Just like what Jesus Himself said twice, in John 14 and 15:
John 14:
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."

John 15:
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

Yup... let's really look to Jesus in everything that we do, so that He can pour out His power into our lives, that we may live powerful lives for Him in EVERYTHING we say and do! :)