Friday, June 29, 2007

Multiple Passions, Single Destiny

I'm now sitting here in my office. Just finished some programming stuff. It's cool, and I've been learning new software engineering principles as I go along - great for ministry next time if I have to write software or websites for ministry next time.

Which goes on to the next point:
I was talking with Hong Teck last Sunday over coffee, and he was telling me that we should aim to grow in every area of our lives, be it work, family, hobbies, passions, interests, knowledge, skills, etc. In some areas we grow faster, other areas we grow slower, but in everything, just keep growing, whether fast or slow!

And something that HT told me impressed me a lot. You know how you may have multiple passions - e.g. you enjoy playing board games, drawing, writing essays, and maybe even more esoteric interests e.g. studying spiders or sculptures?

Pursue and develop these passions, for God can use these passions next time - combined even! - if He gives you a ministry to do. Like how in HopeKids, I enjoy very disparate activities e.g. programming, designing, videography, reading, writing stories, interacting with kids, etc. And the wonderful surprise is that all these skills are needed in HopeKids - simultaneously! 'Cos we're using the Internet to reach out to the younger generation.

To be honest, I was skeptical initially about the effectiveness of the Net on children, thinking it's a fad thing. But HT told me that our website for children get quite a good number of hits from children under 12. I was surprised but encouraged to hear that fact. So we were thinking about practical steps to start up our own media channel for children that we could use.

Though right now, we don't have enough time, manpower or resources - we simply don't have the numbers at this moment - what we can do is comb for good quality children's media to put on the children's website.

It's a slow but exciting journey from here. And with Peter's advice about being faithful, taking ownership of what God has entrusted to me, here's really hoping and praying that God will help me spearhead a charge to touch and connect with a new generation of children. That in the end, they may hear the story of Jesus in a fresh, new and creative way. =)

When you Love Someone who Doesn't Love Christ

Just felt this article's very meaningful. Now thinking about those loved ones of mine who don't love Him... yet. :)

When you Love Someone who Doesn't Love Christ
John Shore
I've recently received a few emails from fellow Christians asking about how they should best handle people in their lives whom they love, but who don't love Christ. A son whose father isn't saved; a man whose wife wants no part of his newfound faith, a woman whose faith strains her relationship with her beloved friend. Like that.

All Christians have in their lives people to whom they are close, but who don't share their faith. I was certainly in that situation after I got Instantly Saved; the Lord did not at the same time sweep my wife off her feet. (She was, in fact, away on a business trip at the time. If you'd like, you can read about that whole incident in Saved in a Supply Closet. I'm So Sure.)
Click Here

So, for what it's worth, here's my advice on What To Do With the Nonbelievers In Your Life:

There are three components involved in any relationship you have with another person: You, the other person, and the relationship that exists between the two of you. That's all of it, right there: That's the whole Relationship Combo. Nothing in a relationship exists outside those three elements. You handle each of those three things correctly, and everything about that relationship goes well.

So the question is, what attitude -- what guiding principle, what constantly motivating emotional truth -- should you take care to bring to each of those three dimensions in your relationship with a nonbeliever in your life?

About yourself, be humble.

Toward the other person, be loving.

Toward the relationship that exists between the two of you, be patient.

Humility, love and patience. There is no mountain those three can't move.

Humility: You must keep your awareness of this quality at the fore of your consciousness whenever you're dealing with a nonbeliever in your life. If you fail to do so, you will become strident in your attitude toward them: You will (however subtly) begin preaching to them, lecturing them, telling them what, how, and who they should be. That's not the sort of oil that keeps a relationship running smoothly. We all know we must be humble before God. Let us also not forget to be humble before the people in our lives--each of whom is, after all, an example of God's greatest creation, and made in His image. Remember: You didn't deserve to be saved. Being chosen by God isn't anything to be proud of; it's something to be grateful for. Humble up.

Love: As God loves us, we must love others. Of course that can be difficult--look at what it cost Christ to be unconditionally and absolutely loving towards all of us. If our Lord can suffer that, we can suffer whatever psychological or emotional pain it causes us to remain loving towards any person in our life--and especially toward any nonbeliever, for whom we can trust God has a special interest. God counts on us to love others, to be his loving agents on earth. Simply love the nonbeliever in your life. Christ will take it from there.

Patience: This is God's world, not ours. We keep time; we have watches and calendars and clocks and so on. God sits at the heart of eternity. I think it's safe to say he's not wearing a wristwatch. When it comes to the relationship between you and a nonbeliever--and especially with a nonbeliever to whom you're necessarily close--be patient. Wait. Never stop waiting. Have no agenda. Let God's will, in God's time, shape the relationship between you and the other person. When you're involved in a relationship with a nonbeliever, you are involved in one of the most important, precious dynamics given to any believer. Don't try to take the wheel of that relationship; don't start driving it in the way you think best. Give God the wheel. All you have to do with your nonbeliever is climb into the backseat with them--and then, side by side, the two of you can just enjoy the ride.

Cheque payments: Banks owe duty of care

Came across this posting - just simply felt it's a good letter. Made me Very Curious about the big banks' attitudes toward customer service here today.

Cheque payments: Banks owe duty of care
I CANNOT accept the suggestion by Ms Tan Saw Bin ('Banks can help minimise charity fraud'; ST, June 26) that banks offer an additional service, for a fee, to monitor 'unusually large payments to third parties'.

As an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (UK), I maintain that such duties, let alone service, already exist as part of the bank-customer relationship. This is because, when handling customers' monies, the bank acts as custodian, trustee and agent for the customer. It is not merely a cashier who pays, or receives, without inquiry. The bank's duty of care and diligence is very extensive and covers not only withdrawal of funds but also deposits.

Indeed, a bank may decline to accept a cheque deposit if its queries are not answered satisfactorily, even when the cheque is technically in order. In many fraud cases, banks have been held negligent for collecting, more so for paying, cheques without inquiry.

In the latest case of staff embezzlement at St John's Home, the onus is on the two banks to prove that they were not negligent when paying the forged cheques. Even if it turns out that the cheques were skilfully forged, it does not extinguish the banks' culpability. A bank is negligent if it relies merely on a technicality to justify paying a forged cheque.

We are talking about a sum of four million dollars withdrawn from two banks within a five-month period. This works out to $400,000 being withdrawn each month from either bank. The size, and perhaps frequency, of the withdrawal alone is large enough to warrant special attention.

To prove that they were not negligent, the two banks would have to show, among other things, that they did ask for a copy of the customer's board resolution or minutes of committee members' meeting to establish bona fides. This can even be done after making the first few cheque payments when a telltale pattern emerged or suspicion was aroused.

If indeed the cheques were forged the withdrawals are unauthorised. And, as forged signatures means no signature, the banks' payments could be ultra vires their mandate. They can be held accountable to their customer for the loss.

Tan Yip Meng

Thursday, June 28, 2007


"Tiuw! DadaddadatatataTATAAAA... Traans.forr.mahs! "

More than meets the eye
Robots in Disguise

Eeeeks! The 80s' child in me jumps for joy! XD

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Thank God, just had a very good chat with my colleague. Turns out that he's interested in helping others, maybe as a counsellor or occupational therapist, in future, to make a difference in the lives of others. :) Hee, really enjoy listening to him. :)

New Testament Church Life

I was reading Acts 2 and just felt very stirred inside. Think it's very timely, especially when I'll be having my first House of Prayer meeting (thanks Sharon!) with some other bros and sisters in NG14 this coming Sunday. How we really need to desire the power of the Holy Spirit. Think very often we are too small-minded and too inward-looking, hoping to do great things for God, etc. But we mustn't forget that while we desire to do great things for God, we need God's help and power too! Otherwise it would be, in CS Lewis' words (in another context), "like sending a ten-year old to fight a tank."

But yes! It really is so exciting... in the past few days, when I was down with the flu, it was hard for me to pray in the Spirit, and the outcome of the day was very... unmiraculous, ordinary, so-so. But compared to other days, when I chose to pray fervently and boldly in the Spirit, believing in Him who is greater than all things - gosh! little wonders here and there start popping up. :)

Bros, sisters! Do you desire to achieve greater partnership with God? Then pray in His Holy Spirit. :)

J. A. Bengel, the great Pietist commentator on the Bible, concluded his comments on Acts this way: "Thou hast, O church, thy form [pattern]. It is thine to preserve it, and guard thy trust" (Bengel 1860:1:925). We must do this by examining Luke's portrait of a Spirit-filled community.

Four Commitments (2:42)

The outpouring of the Spirit produced not just momentary enthusiasm but four continuing commitments: to learn, to care, to fellowship and to worship. The apostles' teaching probably included an account of Jesus' life and ministry, his ethical and practical teachings, warnings about persecution and false teaching, and the christocentric Old Testament hermeneutic. But at its center was the gospel message. And so today, to devote oneself to the apostles' teaching means evangelism as well as edification (4:2; 5:42; 15:35).

The apostles' fellowship and breaking of bread was a sharing of possessions to meet needs and of lives in common meals (2:44-46). What an inviting way of life for our day, when "loneliness drives people into one place, but that does not mean that they are together, really" (Ogilvie 1983:74).

Finally, Luke portrays prayer as integral to the church's life (compare 4:24; 6:4; 12:5; 13:3; 20:36). It is the essential link between Jesus and his people as they carry out his kingdom work under his guidance and by his strength (4:29-30; 6:6; 8:15; 14:23; 28:8). The reputation of the vital, growing Korean church as a praying church shows that the maxim is indeed true: "the vitality of the church was a measure of the reality of their prayers" (Williams 1985:39).Impact: Fear (2:43)

The conviction of sin that followed Peter's Spirit-filled preaching (2:37) was not momentary panic but a continuing uneasiness among those who had not yet received the word. The many wonders and miraculous signs done by God through the apostles served only to intensify this conviction. Whether the "signs and wonders" element be taken as normative for today (Wimber 1986:21) or as simply the authentication of a fresh stage of revelation (Stott 1974:13), clearly Luke is certain that the church's presence will have an impact on society.A Caring, Joyful, Transparent Fellowship (2:44-47)

In expression of their Spirit-inspired togetherness, the believers pooled their resources. Individuals voluntarily sold property and goods, contributed the proceeds to a fund from which any Christian (and possibly non-Christians as well) could receive help, as he or she might have need. What a standard for today's church! Indeed, "what we do or do not do with our material possessions is an indicator of the Spirit's presence or absence" (Krodel 1986:95).

The community lived out its commitment to the apostles' teaching by gathering each day in the temple courts to hear instruction. They probably met in Solomon's colonnade, at the eastern end of the court of the Gentiles (5:12; compare 5:20-21, 42, and Jesus' practice--Lk 20:1; 21:37). In the temple they also fulfilled their commitment to prayer as they engaged in corporate worship.

Daily the community broke bread together in homes--sharing a meal, beginning it with the bread and ending it with the cup of the Lord's Supper (Lk 22:19-20; 24:35; Acts 20:7, 11). With constant intimacy, exultant joy and transparency of relationship they enjoyed the graces of Messiah's salvation in a true anticipation of his banquet in the kingdom (Lk 22:30; compare Acts 16:34). It was a gracious witness to the people (laos), "Israel as the elect nation to whom the message of salvation is initially directed" (Longenecker 1981:291).

Today growing churches manifest the same "metachurch" pattern: celebration, joining in large gatherings for worship and instruction, and cell group, meeting in home groups for fellowship and nurture.Impact: Church Growth (2:47)

Every day the Lord Jesus by his Spirit saved some, incorporating them into their number. God's plan is for churches to grow. The challenge for us is, "Will we meet the Scriptural conditions for growth: a dedication to be a learning, caring, fellowshipping, worshipping church?" Will we meet the one essential condition? "As empowering follows petition, so evangelism and Christian unity or community follow Pentecost. The empowering, moreover, is repeatable. So pray!" (Talbert 1984:17).

Monday, June 25, 2007

Let Love and Faithfulness Never Leave You...

Then... for myself... think something I captured from shepherding yesterday was the principle of faithfulness. Actually I'd never liked the word 'faithfulness' very much before, 'cos it brought to my mind a tired list of things to do - chop chop, run here run there, meet one deadline here, one deadline there... and i always thought that faithfulness was something that task-oriented people are better at.

Ha, yet another case when Yeu Ann tries to use his "wisdom" instead of actually understanding God's Word regarding faithfulness. Realised that I didn't have a clear understanding of faithfulness.

In essence, faithfulness is at heart an attitude actually... not a list of things to do... (and the phlegmatic in me breathes a sigh of relief. :) ) It's being responsible and taking ownership of whatever God or people has entrusted me with.

I like that word. Taking ownership. It means that you won't say, "It's none of my business." Like how the good shepherd takes ownership of his sheep, and the best sign of his faithfulness is that he lays his life on the line for the sheep. But the hired hand says, "Not my business to die for these stupid sheep!" when he sees a hungry lion or wolf coming.

So I was thinking how can I apply this principle of faithfulness...
Realised that back in Army, I had a 'bo-chup' mentality - whatever I don't like to do, I bo-chup lah! Chase me and I'll (probably) do it - but don't expect me to take the initiative. Gee. No wonder my section I/C kept on scolding me day after day. :P

But now, hee, I realise that one expression of faithfulness is having a heart of wanting to give my best in whatever I have been entrusted with, and if possible, go the extra mile. So I think one way I can apply it at work is to remember by heart the responsibilities I've been entrusted with, and also the responsibilities I've been entrusted with in ministry.

And ... my personal stuff and belongings. I think it's time for me to start seeing them as wonderful responsibilities that enable me to achieve and do much more for God and for others... e.g. the laptop that I have...

Responsibility. It's like gold - heavy but precious. And more dependable in value than paper money whose value fluctuate with the inflation rate.

Edited to add:
I just googled 'faithful'. Loyal, sure, something you can depend on, steadfast. You know you can count on a faithful person to get something done!

Dear Lord, I really want to grow in faithfulness today. Thank You for being so patient with me, through all those years when I disappointed so many people... but even now Your grace is still there for me today. Help me be the trustworthy man of God that You want me to be, the faithful brother, the faithful friend, the faithful husband, the faithful father, the faithful soldier... faithful even unto the point of death. :) In Jesus' name, amen! :)

False Humility Stops New Leaders Rising Up

Was very inspired by Hong Teck's talk at the HopeKids volunteers' hangout - something that struck me was that one reason why people don't want to rise up as leaders and be confident before others is because they're afraid to be thought of as proud.

So while they may appear as being very humble, gentle and demure before others, in actual fact, they're not.

HT said that the fact is, in ministry, if you want to serve in a greater capacity, you will definitely feel uncomfortable. But being willing to serve despite the discomfort, that others may benefit, that is true humility.

Think God has been challenging me to start preparing myself to serve in a greater capacity and to take care of people in a greater capacity too. And honestly, I'm damn scared. Afraid of failure, feel inadequate (and that's putting it mildly), and I've a really poor track record of faithfulness. Also because don't know how to teach the word well. Tried before, and gosh, my follow-uppee had no idea at all what I was sharing. Pengz. Haha... I can't forget the look of complete confusion on his face - was so funny actually... (now that I think of it) :P But sad thing yeah, he left already. So felt sad and discouraged for quite a while.

But thank God for my shep who has been spurring me on to grow further... He was telling me, "Next time, when you lead people..." Gee. Not "if", but "when"... I felt encouraged because I think he believes in me.

But oh yeah. He would put his hand on my shoulder and remind me: "Yeu Ann, God has never stopped believing in you."


And was further encouraged by HT's words that he really believes in leadership without a title. No point having a title and not being able to lead. (And don't we all know "leaders" who are leaders in name but not in heart or skill?) As Hanhui put it so simply before: "Leadership is influence."

Leaders without a title, I think, are some of the best servants... because they assume the responsibilities of leadership without the privileges that come along with a title.

And something else. Leaders, in the end, simply lead. They simply show the way to go. They may be less skilled than their followers, but if they know the best way to go, I'll gladly follow them! :) (Like Zhuge Liang... I guess he couldn't even lift up one of Guan Yu's war swords, but, because of his intellect and clear sense of direction, he decisively won many a battle.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Is there a shortage of school teachers?

Read this forum posting, and it made me pause for a while.

MY SON, who is a Primary 3 pupil, is going through a tough time, with his teachers changing every single term, so much so that it is like a revolving door.

He had a Chinese teacher who taught for two terms and is now going for training at the National Institute of Education (NIE), so he will have a new NIE-trained teacher for Term 3.

He had a new English teacher in Term 2, and now we are expecting a 'new' teacher for Term 3.

Why is there such a high turnover?

I raised my concern over the lack of continuity with the school, and the explanation given was that there is a shortage of teachers.

I strongly support the theory that higher pay will attract better-qualified people. May I ask what the Ministry of Education (MOE) is doing about attracting top people for the very important job of cultivating our future generations?

I understand that the economy is doing very well and people are less inclined to join the teaching profession. What is MOE doing to retain teachers and not lose the potentially good ones to the better-paying private sector?

My two children have had very good teachers. If only we could keep them...

Jenny Sim Siew Hwa (Mdm)

And here's a comment by one of the readers:

I don't think the school management will cry if teachers leave the service.

I remember meeting and chatting with this former full time teacher, when she was still my neighbour. She has move out since then.

When I met her, she was crying. Seeing that, I asked her what happened, and she told me that it is a practice for the principal and school management in every school to give 5% of their teachers a 'D' grade for their performance ranking at the end of every year. Once a teacher gets that D, his/her promotion prospects( ie whether promotion to a higher appointment or just grade level promotion) is practically hindered for years.

She got that 'D' despite what she did, and she finally resigned. The response from her principal was something like this: "If not happy with your grade, resign lor. MOE will always send someone to fill up the vacancy here."

The truth is, most school managements and principals of govt schs could care less about teachers resigning. They know that they do not have to worry, as hiring teachers is MOE's problem. All schools have to do is to sit tight and wait for MOE to 'feed' them with teachers.
Posted by: weehing69 at Thu Jun 21 21:57:25 SGT 2007

Oh my... is that actually true? If it's so, then it's... terrible in a way... but again then, the first one to present his case seems right, till someone else challenges him. :) So lemme know if this is true... esp all ye teachers out there! (I can't ask my mum yet - she's away in M'sia for a staff retreat.)

And gives me a deeper appreciation for my mum, and fellow bros and sisters who are working as teachers! Thank God for all my teachers, esp those who worked very hard... :)

So what do you teachers think? True or not?

Edited to add:
Saw a teacher's comment:

Default Yesterday, 02:08 PM

I am a teacher - it's tough being a teacher, especially in Singapore. I am impressed with the playwright's academic results - but he wasn't trained as a teacher, and is not an "overqualified teacher". Who is an "overqualified teacher", pray tell? Who is an "overqualified" lawyer, doctor, accountant, engineer or politician for instance?

It's not just about the salary, I don't think local school teachers get paid all that badly. It's a lot to do with the job, its scope, how much pleasure one derives from doing it, recognition, and more intangible things like that. If I'd wanted to be paid all that well, I would never have quit being a lawyer. I enjoyed doing legal work, I also enjoy teaching. They are different, but salary was only one consideration, and definitely not the most important in the overall scheme of things.

The Singapore bureaucracy remains thick, even as the civil service has just edged out its Canadian counterpart in being a good service provider. We need more than scholars to man some of the top positions. We need mavericks, perhaps. We need people who tout critical AND CREATIVE thinking skills!

Hear, hear! Back to the good ol' days when the teacher was really The Teacher, and ruled the class with a (stainless) steel ruler...

Ok, maybe that's not such good ol' days. ;) But seriously... I do agree with the part about the bureaucracy... but think that's the very nature of government... its role is, after all, to govern, and to govern well means putting in restrictions, permissions and promotions as needed. But gosh, it's not easy to govern 4 million people. :P Think we gotta pray for the Education Minister, tt God'll give him the necessary wisdom and strength to do what is best for the next generation of students. :)

1 Timothy 2:1-4
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Chasing After Power - "I Can Control My World"

This is a super-long article that I read just now... but think it's real good. :) It begins with a long story that's very realistic. Made me take a hard look at myself... because, even in the 3rd week of work, I'm already starting to have temptations to take advantage of certain things at work, and I can see how the temptation to start backstabbing others begins so subtly - "I deserve this and that... I'm better than my teammate..." Trying to look better than my team-mates.

But gee, thank God for His Word that rebukes even the tiniest evil thought in my heart... "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble..." "Those who exalt themselves will be humbled..." "Love your neighbour as yourself..." "Love does no harm to its neighbour..."

Actually, not really surprised to see that this kind of evil thought can take root so easily in my heart... think last time I would have been appalled by the potential for evil in my heart, but now thank God so much for the wonderful truth that "there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." As someone put it so beautifully, "even our deepest tears of repentance have to be washed clean by the blood of the Lamb."

:) thank God that we are powerless, that we might not be devoured by power. and thank God that He alone is truly powerful, for only He can truly control power.

Anyway, here's a condensed version:

But even when we spend lots of energy wresting control from chaos, God will not let us achieve what would block us from himself. He actively orchestrates life so that we are continually presented with minor and major disruptions—and reminded that we are not in control.


Our usual strategy for dealing with the mess of life is to seek control over it. We try to gain power in the world in order to have an effective platform to manage our existence.

Power makes us think of politicians and bankers, and most of us don’t have that kind of clout. But power comes in gradations. We may experience the struggle for power in the family as we try to keep our kids in line or our parents from interfering. We may seek power in our community by doing volunteer work at the hospital or by running for a local office. We may seek power in our work by climbing up the corporate ladder, trying to become the boss so we can tell others what to do rather than have others
tell us what to do.

Power—whether it is the power of status, abilities, career, position—ought to make us feel more in control. But we have seen that it doesn’t. We can never tame life. As the Teacher woefully observes, “What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted” (1:15 NIV).

The enigma is that it is God who has done the twisting and produced the lack: “Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.” (7:13-14).

So power does not bring control, and when we realize that, we are disappointed. We begin to feel that life has no meaning. We lose our vitality. The result is that we often give up any healthy attempts at control. We live halfhearted, passionless lives, letting events rule us, rather than the reverse.

Are these the only two options? Do we have to choose between a lifestyle of desperate grasping for control or a listless surrender to the mess?

Abraham: Receiving the Blessing

Let’s return to Abraham for a moment. We have already seen him struggle with doubt in his relationship with God. We have seen him grasp at the promises that were at the center of his life and try inappropriately to take matters into his own hands.

But something happened to Abraham along the way, something that moved him from the struggle of earthly existence (under the sun) to a fear of God (above the sun). The change didn’t happen overnight. Isaac’s long-awaited birth was surely an influence, as was God’s grace in overcoming many obstacles throughout Abraham’s life. But by Genesis 22, which tells the story of the “sacrifice” of Isaac, the change in Abraham was clear.

After the promised heir was born, God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable, take this son and sacrifice him on Mount Moriah. We don’t know what Abraham thought of these orders; he might have been angry, confused and afraid, but we do see his actions: obedience. He took Isaac to the mountain and surely would have followed through on God’s instructions if God had not intervened and provided a substitute sacrifice.

Abraham had moved from an attitude of anxious chasing to one of divine dependence. He no longer tried to live life according to his own strength. Instead, recognizing his weakness, Abraham grew dependent on God. He found meaning and peace not by chasing after power, but by surrendering and trusting God.

Notice that the book of Ecclesiastes has the same message. The Teacher frets about the lack of control over his life. He cannot learn from the past; he does not know how to act in the present; he is frightfully ignorant of the future and paralyzed with fear.

The second unnamed wise man at the end, though, suggests the proper antidote. Don’t fear your ignorance and lack of control, he tells his son; rather, “fear God.” Submit your weakness and worries to the One who is truly in control, your heavenly Father.

Christ: Power Through Submission

We often lose sight of Christ’s agony as he faced the cross. We often assume he faced his death with courage from the very start. But just before his arrest, he described the state of his soul as “crushed with grief to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). The Gospel of Luke describes Christ’s mental state as “in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood” (Luke 22:44).

Christ asked fervently for the cup of suffering to be taken away from him. He really didn’t want to go to the cross. But while Christ was tempted, he never rebelled against his Father’s will. Rather, he submitted to him by saying, “If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done” (Matthew 26:42 NIV).

God’s will took Jesus to the cross, a place of torture, shame and death. But it was the only way to the resurrection, an event of glory, victory and life.

Jesus is the One who shows us the paradoxical route to meaning in a chaotic and hostile world. It’s the paradox of the gospel: Strength is found in weakness. Control is found in dependency. Power is found in surrender.

A Purposeful Life Above the Sun

From above the sun, we conclude that life under the sun was not intended to run smoothly. The road of life is bumpy and filled with obstacles—for everyone. This is the legacy of the Fall (Genesis 3). Life on earth is untamable. No human can control it.

And yet it is precisely in the untamable twists and turns that we actually meet God. We find ourselves compelled to surrender to his wisdom not when we feel strong and in control but when life careens off its expected course and we know we can’t do anything about it. In these moments we are reminded that we have no control over our world. What we can control, however, is our willingness to seek God in the midst of seeming chaos.

When we are alert to God’s working in our life, we can see how intrusions that overwhelm us, even those that are apparently evil, are his way of moving us toward something good. Surrender in this context is not an act of cowardice but an expectation that Romans 8:28 is true, that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Once we adjust our eyes to see God in the midst of the apparent chaos, we can affirm that, although life is not tamable, it is purposeful—if we surrender to God’s control and power. Surrendering doesn’t mean that we spend less energy, but it does mean that we spend less nervous energy. We can live with a confidence that does not presume on our ability to rope life in but rather grounds itself in the strength and power of the One who made us.

How Do We Chase After Power?

1. Over what parts of your life do you feel you have control? Where do you
wish you had more?
2. What do you have to sacrifice to keep order in your life? Time? Relationships? Leisure?
3. What emotions do you experience when you feel that something is beyond your power?
4. Does the “power of God” have any practical value in your daily life? Describe where you see his power and how it affects your power.
5. How do you and your family plan your day, your month, your life?
6. What does it mean to you to surrender your life to God? What does that
surrender mean for your planning?
7. Does the realization that life is ultimately untamable ever cause you to
8. What verses from Scripture give you hope in the midst of panic or helplessness?

Think Of His Love...

Today was a good day, thank God... my job's really quite enjoyable (apart from the occasional debugging session), and thank God for His help, have been building closer relationships with my colleagues. =) Patience does work wonders... God is wise indeed!

Like how Peter's msg put it so memorably: "Situations are not always flavourable one. Trust God." :) (Memorable spelling! haha)

But yeah, taking a step back further, I was reminded (or refreshed?) of something while pondering about John 21 that I read today. Somehow (perhaps it's the Holy Spirit's help?), I was reminded that there's really more to the Christian life than just asking God for His blessings and receiving them. It's about His love behind the blessings that He gives us. And if we remember His love behind all these blessings, we'll be able to prevail through the drier periods. And even when we find it hard to remember His love, His Word will always remind us of how much He loves us.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

Psalm 36:7-10
How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.

Think maybe I should get that book, "Love Beyond Reason", again... maybe I can lend it to another bro too... think it would encourage him a lot =)

Hope and pray that my heart will be like what this verse says:
1 Pet 1:8-9
"Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls"

Thank You so much, dear Father, for loving me so much, and blessing me with so many blessings, both in big and small ways... even though I fail to thank You for 99% of all these blessings You have given me. Please forgive me for my ungrateful heart, and renew in me a thankful heart for Your love towards me. In Jesus' most precious name amen.

princes and paupers
sons and daughters
kneel at the throne of grace
losers and winners
saints and sinners
one day will see his face

and we'll all bow down
Kings will surrender their crowns
and worship Jesus
He is the Love of God

summer and winter
the mountains and the rivers
whisper the Savior's name
awesome and Holy
a friend to the lonely
forever His love will reign

and we'll all bow down
Kings will surrender their crowns
and worship Jesus
for He is the love, unfailing love
He is the Love of God

SAF truck OK for cargo but not safe for troops

Thot this was very interesting... 'cos here's a civilian pointing out some serious design flaws to the SAF. Wonder how the men in green are gg to respond. :) But seriously, methinks Mr Alfred has raised some very good points.

I REFER to the news article on the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) providing more protection for the canvas covered five tonne trucks ('Increased protection for troops'; ST, May 21). The level of protection is supposedly for low-intensity conflicts. From the picture in the article, it appears armoured plates are attached to the sides of the truck.
The low-intensity conflicts the SAF is thinking of must be against an opposition armed with sticks and stones. That is the only way troops in that armoured truck can survive.

If the truck encounters an improvised explosive device (IED), the consequences will not be good. Generally, an IED blast is not focused and vents upwards.

In the case of the armoured truck, the armoured side walls and wooden plank floor will channel force upwards through where the troops are. The armoured plates now become a liability. If that is not lethal enough, the two spare tyres carried below the truck bed will come crashing through like a battering ram.

Now in the case of a pressure plate landmine, with the truck travelling forward, the explosive force will direct the front tyres, axle and other related automotive parts upwards. All this shrapnel will go into the front cabin with relative ease.

The firing ports are usually overrated and a grenade hazard. A system like a remotely operated machine gun will be safer, for example, a common remotely operated weapon station (Crows). Last but not least, it needs an additional protective sheet to trigger the fuses of rocket-propelled grenades.

If Singapore Technologies can design a armoured personnel carrier like the Bionix, it should not be a stretch to design a vehicle with more protection. After all, the principles of these vehicles are fairly simple: no load above the wheels, smooth and V-shaped hull for the bottom of the truck, and civilian automotive transmission.

The five-tonne trucks should carry cargo, not troops.

Alfred Loo Swee Kian

Monday, June 18, 2007

Hee just want to thank God for just now. Was taking time to pray in the Spirit, and just trying my best to 'connect' with God... and tho it was difficult at first, just felt God's encouragement on me to keep on seeking Him. =)

Then as I went back to the office, somehow was reminded to listen to Him... so remained quiet as best as I could... and hee, thank God, He really spoke to me very quickly! He reminded me to trust in Him no matter what the circumstances, and to be still and know that He is God - He will provide the opportunities for me to build deeper relationships for Christ in the church and the workplace. Just wait for His timing... He will bring the right people in the right time and place!

Dear friends, just really want to encourage you to keep praying in the Spirit, to set your heart on seeking Him every moment, no matter how short the time is... "pray continually", and "pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of requests" - how much more explicit can this Biblical command not get?

Edited to add:
Wow, thank God! My team leader asked me just now how my church camp went. :) we had a good lil' chat. :) Think that's a principle i can learn from him... remember the little things about others and ask them how their stuff is.

Still growing... Dad isn't finished with me yet! :)

Edited again to add:
Wow, just now got a chance to get to know my colleague more... hee, the wonder of a packet of dried mangoes from Malacca... :) but really thank God for His help, 'cos otherwise couldn't have gotten to listen to him share more... =) he's a very nice guy, and is interested in learning more about financial stuff... hee, thank God I read BusinessWeek on a regular basis.
Hmm. Very tired now. And actually, the camp time was a stressful time for me, especially when trying to support Huaqiang and Sharon in helping take care of the CG. Felt super-inadequate, and very frustrated with my weaknesses. And to be honest, very drained and discouraged at the end of the camp. But thank God so much for Peter. Really encouraged by his listening ear and encouragement and wise advice. One piece of advice, among the various pieces of advice that he gave me, was that "men will fail me, but God never will." :) And also, he reminded me of one of the sermons that Ps Jeff shared today (paraphrased): "When you're going through a valley experience, God has put you there for a purpose - to share with your fellow valley-dwellers!"

And also, "God has never stopped believing in you." (Couldn't help but tear when I heard those words... I know that God is assuring me that He will not leave me or forsake me, even though the road now is harder, the valley deeper this time round. Now I see how important that period of darkness in the uni ministry was in training my spiritual growth and closeness to God... and how God delivered me, blessed me so abundantly after that period of sadness, and wow, chose to use me to touch many people's lives there, especially through encouraging and guiding them.

Hee. Think it's in difficult and dry times like these that I have to purposely recall and recount the blessings that God has done for me before. Because, from what I understand from Psalm 84:5-7, as we pass through the Valley of Weeping (or is it Dryness?), we make the valley a place of springs, and God will also supply the autumn rains to water the dry valley.

Psalm 84:5-7 (NIV)
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.
The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem.

I remember something that HQ told me when I just entered the Adults ministry... he told me that he heard a lot of good things about me back from the uni ministry (think part of the good things was how I supported and encouraged my leaders and fellow members)... so was very touched by that affirmation. Now I think that piece of affirmation was there, with the help of this Bible passage, to exhort me that just as I have done my part to help water the dry part of the Uni ministry that I walked through... now likewise God wants me to do my part again to help water the dry part of the Adults ministry that I am now walking through. But I'm not alone in this... because my other brothers and sisters are also being used by God to make a difference too in their sections that God has assigned them! :) Together we can do it, for God is with us! :D

Oh! Read Ps Jeff's blog post, "Dying to Self", and this bible commentary on Psalm 84... thinking about it... yes, God wants me to die to myself indeed.

From Ps Jeff's blog post:
For the past few days, the whole idea of dying to oneself in order to produce more for God has been ringing loudly in my heart.

Jesus talked about himself in John’s gospel. He was talking about his death and how it would bring blessing and salvation to the entire human kind.

John 12:24
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.


The seed has a layer of husk that seeks to protect itself. However, unless the husk is broken, it cannot produce many more seeds.

The husk can be liken to our own rights, our own desires and our own preferences. These are not necessarily bad things. In fact, they can be very good things. Like the husk to the seed, these can be things that seek to safe guard our own interest and well being.

But often times, we need to learn to surrender our rights, preferences and desires before God in order to do more for God. The root issue is trust. Do we really trust that God can and will take better care of us than we are able to do so for ourselves? Can we really entrust our all to God? Is he really completely faithful and trustworthy? Can I really take His words as it is?

These are some soul searching questions that you and I need to have answers for ourselves. May we all become better imitators of the one whose name we bear!

From "The Valley of Baca" (condensed):
I. The BLESSING that David pronounces upon the man whose strength is in God. "Blessed is the man whose strength is in you." But where shall we find that man? Where are we to look for him? In what corner does he dwell? I am bold to say, that no man ever had his strength in God until he had lost all his own.

Two distinct things must therefore meet in my heart, under the Spirit's secret operations, before I can come in for any share of this blessing. I must, first, by a work of grace upon my soul be weakened; as we read, "He weakened my strength in the way." "He brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help." I must be weakened by being experimentally taught that all my natural strength in divine things is but impotency and helplessness. And how can I learn this, but through a series of trials?

But there is another requisite. It is not sufficient for me to know my poverty, my ruin, my wretchedness; I must have something more than this revealed in my heart. I must have another lesson unfolded to my soul by the power of God the Spirit. I must learn this sacred truth, "I have laid help upon One that is mighty." I must be taught to say, "God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." I must know what the Lord Jesus so sweetly unfolded to the Apostle Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9.)

Have you found out these two things in your heart? How many years have some here made a profession, have come to hear the truth preached, have approved of the testimony of God's servants, and have read the writings of gracious men! But have you learned these two lessons yet? first, creature weakness, helplessness, and hopelessness; to sink down into your miserable self; to be filled with confusion; to have nothing in yourselves but rags and ruin? And then, has the Spirit opened up, brought down into your heart, and unfolded to your soul that precious Mediator between God and man, "the Hope of Israel," the blessed Jesus, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, that on him you may lean, in him you may trust, and upon whom you may rely to bring you safely through all? If you have learned experimentally in your conscience those two lessons—creature weakness and Creator might—the helplessness of man and the power of God—then you come in for the blessing, "Blessed is the man whose strength is in you."

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Blessed Birthdays, Shuyi + Guoxiong! :)

My First Adults Camp!

Just came back from my first ever Adults church camp. Was joking with Alan about the camp having "adult content"... 'cos it's full of adults! :P

Impartations from the Camp
Think one of the most important things that I captured from the camp - if I forget everything else - is that the Word of God is ESSENTIAL to living a thriving Christian life in the long haul, over the next 40 years or if Jesus returns again before that. :)

One of the teachings that really impressed a lot of us was the one on different spiritual pathways - how we experience God in various ways e.g. relational, intellectual, contemplative, activistic, creation, serving or worship. We were talking about that a lot, and it was a good time of discovering more about one another as a community. (My pathway's the contemplative type - I really experience God very strongly through contemplating on God's Word and times of solitude in prayer. But I also feel closer to God through relationships, worship and sometimes, when I see beautiful skies and open spaces.) A note though: These pathways are meant to help us draw closer to the God of the Bible, not a different god of our imagination... so if I contemplate, it should be on God's Word, not my own ideas and reasoning, which can be different from Scripture.

And also, we did a character study on Daniel in the Old Testament, who was not only a prophet, but also a prime minister through four ungodly kingdoms - and yet shone and excelled through all these kingdoms. It was a very, very inspiring teaching, and made me feel very eager to go back to my workplace, and make sure I do my very best for Christ in whatever I do, whether it be work or ministry or family. Because we Christians, even though we are definitely a minority, must be salt and light in the workplace, and we must claim God's promise that He will make us the head and not the tail in the workplace... to influence managers and leaders... the people of God must arise and shine for Him wherever they are, and wisdom and tact to handle ethically compromising situations... so that the Gospel of God can be shown to be real and powerful!

So much more, but was very inspired and encouraged to impact my workplace for Christ! :) Hee... oh yeah, want to add, when I responded to the altar call, God spoke a prophecy to me... that I need to grow in a deeper relationship with Him, so that He can use me even more... think it's v timely because have been feeling a bit far from him lately. Can sense the difference in me, sadly. :( But was uplifted when I reflected about it, 'cos realised that God has promised to use me, when I draw nearer to Him. How exciting! :D Hee... can't wait to draw nearer and nearer to Him!

Also, Ps Simon Eng told us, during the "Twin Towers of Our Calling" teaching, that we need to pray in the Spirit more and longer, because praying in the Spirit has very real and tangible effect on us. For He has been given unto us, so that we may be empowered to preach the Gospel powerfully and effectively! Amen!

And yeah, it was a good time of fellowship with my CG, esp Huaqiang and Shawn (my "roomie", as Samantha puts it). And a very memorable experience about the bathtub that I helped to fill up for Shawn... and that almost turned Shawn into "bak kut teh". :P But really blessed by Shawn. Think he's someone who has really great potential to be a powerful and effective leader for God if he's discipled well. =)

And renewed and reminded by God on the basics. Really, really renewed. Especially to have a soft and tender heart towards God's Word. Too much to write at the moment. But suffice to say that God has heard my prayers and He answered me wisely, through prophecies and the teachings.

And got to know Jiansheng, one of the new bros, more - really thank God for him. He's a very cool, yet approachable dude. :) And very encouraged by his eager heart to learn more of God's Word. Praise God! :D

Ps Jeff puts it succintly (and he really brought down the roof when he acted as Cinderella... )
The camp was really fun and refreshing. I acted as Cinderella. The Mafia beat the School-Uniformed Kids and the Pirates! Shrek and The Incredibles were at the camp too...

We also got to hear teaching from the Word of God from Pastor Simon Eng (one of our International Elders), Pastor LO and yours truly.

There was truly a great balance of fun, laughter, spiritual refreshment and biblical impartation.

Truly amazing how some of the Adults groups are SUPER-creative... seriously, think the tertiary people can take a page or two from the working adults' book of creative ideas! :D

And Sharon and the rest of the drama team really did great great skits... their skits were very well-done! :D Sharon shared with me that they really couldnt' have done it without God's help. Amen! Clearly the anointing of the Holy Spirit was upon them!

And was talking with Kangwei, asking him for advice... wow, the advice that he gave was very sound, and I realised that KW is someone who has a deep and mature knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures. Very inspired by his life... wow, really have so much to learn from him! :D

So praise God for all His faithfulness, not just during the church camp, but also before and even on the way back after the camp. Am reminded of this song that we sang during camp:

"All majesty, to the God of all creation!
All majesty, God of all generations!
This anthem we sing, to the God of all nations!
All majesty, we sing..."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Blessings! :)

Blessed by one of my colleagues today. Was just a simple friendly welcome, but gee, it's heartwarming! :) Tk God.

And even more so, that I can take leave for church camp tml! :D

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!

And oh yes... I've gained 1.5 kgs... must been all that eating the food in the pantry and the free-flow hot chocolate dispenser. ST feeds its employees well haha... :D

Monday, June 11, 2007

I've Been Thinking...

You know, I think actually, the kind of job that might suit me best is that of a journalist.

You know why? Because I was doing this online career-cum-personality profiling test just now, and some of the questions made me sit back and think deeper about what I really am.

And hee, I think, putting all the pieces together after looking back at my life, e.g. my personality, natural talents and thinking style and past experiences and even personal vision and dreams...

I realised that the following strengths, skills and interests that I have all seem to point towards a career in journalism:
- I'm naturally curious and love to investigate new things... to probe deeper and find out just exactly what people are feeling and why they think the way they do. (Sometimes I go too far, as some of my friends can tell you!)
- I love to read the news, and find out what's going on in the outside world. I have a strong sense of social justice and feel indignant whenever I see injustices being done.
- I did very well for my General Paper, and have consistently done much, much better for my essays than for my programming assignments.
- But that's not to say that my programming experiences have gone down the loo - continuous sessions (we're talking 72 hours in a row) at the keyboard have served to develop a patient mental endurance that is invaluable in stressful and tight deadlines.
- I find it so much more enjoyable to work with words rather than numbers.
- I love to blog. (600+ posts and counting).
- I love to listen to people sharing their stories. Nothing touches me more than a powerful story.
- People have consistently pointed out to me that one of my greatest strengths is sincerity, which hee, yah thank God for that... and actually, I think this sincerity has saved my backside on more than one occasion. Like what HY said before, that when it comes to knowing me, the proverb "Don't judge a book by its cover" is so true.
- And I realise that I really enjoy going for job interviews - not so much the job itself, but the sense of satisfaction in being able to get the interviewer to start sharing more about himself and about his company with me. (I count it a personal victory when I can get the interviewer to talk more about himself than he can get me to talk about myself! *hahahaha* XD)
- And how God faithfully answered my response during the church camp's altar call for people to influence the media industry for Christ.
- And so on.

Wow! Hee... but the main problem with choosing a job in journalism is mainly because of stress, tight deadlines and *ahem* rather low pay. Maybe that's why God blessed me with this software engineer job... so that I can get the necessary moolah for the time being to support myself and my family for the next few years or so. And to save up too.

It's been a circuitous route. But a very wonderfully circuitous route. Kinda like going around and around the mountains and valleys to reach point X, whereas a simple highway would've sufficed. But the view that you experience while on the mountain of the Lord is something that no man-made road can ever offer.

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will."
Martin Luther King

Calling the RI Batch of 1997! Reunion X 2007

Event Sign-up :: Reunion X 2007
Start: 23 Jun 2007 - 6:45pm
End: 23 Jun 2007 - 11:59pm
Timezone: Etc/GMT+8
Venue: RI Boarding Dining Hall in Bishan
Investment: S$20 per head

[More details here]

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's Never About You or Me... It's All About HIM Through You and me!

Today brought Shunrong along with me to help out in HopeTots. Haha, thank God, we were really very blessed by this dear bro's eager and willing spirit to learn and serve. And more than that, it's a great encouragement having a fellow like-minded co-worker in the same ministry and calling as you. Really a great, great encouragement, 'cos I had felt rather alone in this calling to minister to the children, 'cos can't really find any other like-minded bro/sis ready or willing to serve together in the same ministry as me... until today. :D Praise God for His timely provision and faithfulness! :D

Then Ps Jeff preached a very stirring sermon. It was on The Destiny of the Church. From Micah 5:7-9. Divine Blessing and Divine Justice. And Ps Jeff told us that God is going to raise some people to influence the various sectors and industries in the world.

One thing that Ps Jeff said really struck me - "It was never about you all along. It's all about what GOD can do through you!" It was a great encouragement because, as I shared with Peter and Huaqiang, I had been having repeated attacks of constant feelings of inadequacies, feelings that I'm not good or able enough to be used by God. All these feelings in the past one week. Really very sapping. But God is ever so faithful and true! :D "When I was in great need, He saved me."

So I responded during the altar call to let God use whoever He wants to influence. Felt really shy, but was emboldened by faith to raise my hand to respond. And funnily enough, the moment I raised my hand, and when Ps Jeff started praying for those who responded, I felt an unusual powerful feeling rushing into me. Quite startling, 'cos I'm not the kind who usually go for dramatic physical encounters - I tend to be quite sceptical about them to be honest. But this experience, I believe, God allowed this to happen, to encourage me that He is tangibly with me. But more importantly, I need to have faith in God's promises, whether I feel it or not.

So hee, thank God, feel very encouraged by that, 'cos really dunno how I am going to be a positive influence in my workplace and/or nation. But in the end, it's all up to God to decide how He wants to use me - it's just a simple matter of surrendering myself to Him and walking in the light of His many promises in the Bible. :)

For the Lord is looking for the man and woman who will dare to claim His superlative promise fully through obedient faith! And we ought to take His promises just as they are written, without a single trace of doubt, no matter how superlatively they are written. Because our God is a SUPERLATIVE God!

And oh yes, my dear shep shared a wonderful testimony with me how God used him to invite a colleague... even though he had no idea how to transit into spiritual conversation, God gave him an opportunity at the last possible moment, and his colleague started asking him questions about church... so, tada, he managed to invite his colleague for the commencement and Alpha sessions! All in a row! Praise God!

So in the end, it is never about you or me, but rather, what GOD can do through you and me! :D Amen!

Little Lamb

Love this poem!

Little Lamb
William Blake

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb.
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

True Community: We Are Leaky Vessels Leaking Unto Others

Wow, feel very uplifted and supported. God did hear my prayer for help... and He answered it in so many ways! But just that I was too blur to see, until I reflected just now on today.

For example, Huaqiang messaged me a few very gentle encouragement messages (much more gentle than I deserve actually!), and Jitsy messaged to ask whether I'm ok. (Thanks, bro sis! Really appreciate it so much - I'm storing them in my hp!)

And Weizhu called me all of a sudden, out of the blue, like a flash of lightning, in all serendipity, today while I was at my desk. He called to see how I am (after reading my blog). Touched... think that's something very endearing about WZ... and something that I realise that is really part of what makes Weizhu the Wei that he is. (Sorry bro, couldn't resist that pun! :P)

And Ellson just happened to drop a message on gmail asking me how's work. Not sure if he read my blog... if he didn't, wow, that's really a clear sign that God sent him along... and even if he did, cool, God musta led him to read my blog. Haha... Either way, God is good! :)

Peijing came over to say hi to me when my department was having a fire-drill today. Actually I saw her first, but felt quite paiseh to say hi to her even though we're both from the same unit. Somehow, it feels quite different when you meet each other in church, and when you're at work. But thank God for her, she saw me and came over to say hi and chat with me. Hee. It's really quite a blessing having a fellow Hope member working in the same workplace as you. Hope we can meet up for lunch real soon! :D Reminds me of what Alan shared with us about the SubD vision - to build Acts communities in all sectors and industries. Amen!

And if Seeto joins the same department as PJ and me, then w00t, we'll be able to form a "care-corner!" Feeling very eager about this, but hee, from experience back in Army, it'll definitely have to start out from very small. But again then, the Kingdom of God is a mustard seed that starts small, but grows and grows and grows. And that's all that really matters. If Jesus is with us, then nothing can be against us! :D Amen!

Kangwei and I went to Junction 8 in the evening. He wanted to buy a belt from Goldlion. Was simple chop-chop business. Then we came to that Christian T-shirt stall in J8 that sells, well, T-shirts with Christian messages emblazoned on them. Like, y'know, imported from America, dude. Very hip. So hip they make your hips hop! :P Found a very cool T-shirt that said, "D.A.D.: 'As for me and my household, we'll serve the LORD.'" Think I'll buy that T-shirt for my dad. Maybe I'll buy one for myself too and wear to HopeTots next time!

(And oh, saw the same kind of T-shirt that Joyce has: "Some Day My Prince Will Come..." I guess that's the stall you bought your T-shirt from yeah? (: )

So just leaning back and thinking about today. Today I interacted with a lot of people, esp brothers and sisters in Christ (including my manager). And I was reminded of something... very comforting and refreshing truth actually. God has made each one of us unique. Yes, it's a very simple truth, but actually the implications of that truth are profound.

"If Nobody is Perfect, then I am Nobody!" ;)

Because I tend to keep comparing myself to others, what they have in quality/skill/character that I do not have. Thus, I feel very unhappy if I can't meet up to my own internal expectations - which is to be Mr. Perfect - "Beyond Godlike!!" (Ah, pride again!)

I wanna be StormAssassin...

However, I am reminded that this is actually God's work of grace in my life - to humble me and remind me that I'm simply a spiritual orphan, saved by grace, and definitely not by what I can do. Therefore, I just have to accept the fact that I'm not strong in certain areas of my life, and others will always be stronger than me.

Think this paragraph from someone's blog really helped knock some timely much-needed sense into my head:
Someone I am still amazed at for their wisdom, said to me some time ago, "When you're concerned with one broken part, you don't realise how well and functional the other parts are." The thing about this someone is that they don't spend the entire day sitting around and thinking about life, yet when a situation arises in which they are moved to speak, they speak God's words of healing and hope; out of their own experience, and out of the love that God has given them. God's love through His people.

Which brings us to the next section...

We Are Leaky Vessels Leaking Christ's Aroma of Love, Healing and Hope

And that is precisely why God put other people into my life - because each of us has strengths, giftings and talents that no one else can match - they help to support and strength you and me where we are weak. This, dear friend, is what true community is all about - Ephesians 4:16 "From [Christ] the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." We interlink and help our fellow brothers and sisters succeed in all aspects of their lives, be it in career, family, social skills, mental, emotional, relational, etc.

So I need to always remember to JOYFULLY receive this grace humbly into my life, and to really appreciate the blessing of everyone whom I come across... because every one who belongs to Christ is a beautifully leaky vessel dripping the sweet honey aroma of God's delightful grace into the lives of every one around them. :D Yum-yum!

Thank You, dear Father, for all my dear brothers and sisters in this wonderful family! Thank You Lord for humbling me, teaching me that I do not live unto myself alone, but unto You, and Your Body, which is the Church. Thank You for meeting my needs and supporting me where I am lacking in, through the providential fellowship that You bless me in all the little things of life TODAY. Thank You for giving me the daily bread of fellowship. I just want to thank You Father. In Jesus' most wonderful name, amen!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Wow, thank God... you remember my boss, whom my colleague was praising (even when the boss was not around)? (Yeah, it's not the norm for the staff to speak so well of their bosses...) Just found out that he's a Christian! Wow... what a wonderful testimony in the workplace - a boss so good that his staff (even those who aren't Christian) speak well of him behind his back. Amazing... really amazing. Really want to learn more from my boss in time to come. :D He's from FCBC by the way. =D

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 :D

What a friend we have in Jesus!

Just want to thank God for this morning. :) Beautiful golden sunshine. And also how He lifted up my spirits today.

'Cos feeling very tired, with negative thoughts coming in constantly. As usual, had a very hard time controlling my thoughts - tired and exhausted and feeling useless, unloved and unappreciated.

Realised that this was discouragement - and unfortunately, it's one of Satan's most effective and powerful weapons. It's just so subtle, the way discouragement deliciously draws you into the miry pit of despair. Even people with the gift of encouragement can be discouraged!

But praise God for His grace to me. After msging HQ to keep me in prayer, somehow Psalm 22 came to mind. And as I sang it, the words really ministered to me - somehow the psalm really spoke for me the words that I wanted to say, but didn't know how to say.

"My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night and am not silent."

Thus, was reminded again that Jesus is truly my dearest Friend. The way that He understands the deepest needs, hurts and pains of our hearts. And how He accepts me, even when I'm at my lowest and ugliest. And He is willing to listen to our feelings and thoughts in such a way that you feel even more loved and understood like never before.

Hee. And I remember, He really understand exactly how I feel. Because those words from Psalm 22 that I wrote just now were the same words that He cried out in utter agony when He was on the cross.

What a friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit
O what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer...

Dear friend, are you feeling weak today? Feeling useless? or... really ARE useless? :) Fear not... Jesus is our best Friend, and as we pray to Him, and allow His love to fill our hearts through His Holy Spirit, He will turn Useless into Useful... He will bring beauty from our pain. "Beauty that made, This heart adore You..."

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Edited to add: Hee, a dear friend msged me just now, right after I posted this entry. Praise God for His faithfulness... feel very encouraged by the message.

Oh HQ asked me what my negative thoughts are like normally. Hmm. That's a good question... need to grow!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Woof. Feel like a dog.

Hmm. Woof. Feel like a dog. Feel, frankly, really useless even in encouraging people and caring for others. All I have is doggone perseverance, but sometimes I just feel that I'm tanking through - stepping on a thousand toes. Sure, God does help me succeed in the end, but surely, there's a better way to care for others.

But reminded of the prophecy yesterday during sub-D, where the Canaanite woman's attitude in seeking Jesus was, "Yes Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall off the children's table". Am I willing to accept the fact that I am like a dog before God's eyes, just like the Canaanite woman? And Jesus' response is, "You have great faith! Your request is granted."

Still, feel like a dog right now. Woof. So dogmatic of me. And it doesn't help that I'm feeling dog-tired, with increasing work dogging me. :P

a talk just now

"Perhaps all I need is a simple listening ear."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

'Field Sense' - Ever wondered what makes C. Ronaldo THE Player? :)

In the otherwise unremarkable 1984 National Hockey League game between the Edmonton Oilers and the Minnesota North Stars, there are five seconds that Peter Vint will watch over and over. The star of this sequence is Wayne Gretzky, widely considered the greatest hockey player of all time. In the footage, Gretzky, barreling down the ice at full speed, draws the attention of two defenders. As they converge on what everyone assumes will be a shot on goal, Gretzky abruptly fires the puck backward, without looking, to a teammate racing up the opposite wing. The pass is timed so perfectly that the receiver doesn't even break stride.

"In any sport, you come across these players," Vint says. "They're not always the most physically talented, but they're by far the best. The way they see things that nobody else sees — it can seem almost supernatural. But I'm a scientist, so I want to know how the magic works." [continue]

Emissions Accomplished!

Tongue-in-cheek cartoon on the USA's reluctance to cut CO2 emissions... man, they just won't leave poor Bush alone, will they? :P

Kids Say the Darndest Things - Broken Bone

(Got this from the Good Clean Fun mailing list.)

While leading a tour of kindergarten students through our hospital, I
overheard a conversation between one little girl and an x-ray technician.

"Have you ever broken a bone?" he asked.

"Yes," the girl replied.

"Really? Which bone did you break?"

"My sister's arm."

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Six Ways to Make People Like You

Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 2: Smile.
Principle 3: Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
Principle 6: Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.

These two principles in bold caught my attention especially. Think they're very true... of course, there's the risk of making them into rules to follow, and if you kept on smiling even when the time's not right, or you kept parroting the person's name after every line, yah, I think it's very strange. =)

But well, Proverbs again says about the power of smiling... "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news brings health to the bones." :)

And I was very struck by the importance of remembering names... realised how touched I am when others call my name - can't help but feel happy for a moment when someone calls my name - especially if it's not to hunt me down :P

But even if I were being scolded, somehow, it feels that the other person is being more caring when he/she calls me by name... I remember there was this secondary school teacher who, when he was about to scold me (which was very often, unfortunately), would bellow my name in full: "Yeo-Yeu-Ann!" and proceed to lecture me. But yeah, he's a Christian, and deep down, I was touched by his sincere efforts to correct me. =)

And hasn't your own heart skipped with pleasure suddenly when you hear one of your friends calling your own name? :) That made me think about the nature of God's heartbeat for us... He loves you and me so much that He even calls us by name! John 10:3b "He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out..."

One of my dear friends, in particular, I realise, is really strong in this area. This friend is very shy, but people are naturally attracted to this friend. So I was wondering why, and what is this "X-factor" that I can learn from this friend?

Think it's how this friend calls us by name, and even though it's a very small thing, this friend will remember and appreciate very deeply the little things about other people. Thus, I'm very encouraged every time I see this friend's life, because our personalities are very similar - which means that connecting to people is nothing much to do with personality, but a skill that can be learnt and acquired! :D And even more than that is that we have God's promise that He will help us be transformed in loving people.

But to put it all into perspective, it's not that important to make people like me, really. As Jesus put it, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets." And if even a perfect man could be crucified, then what does it imply for the rest of us?

The main reason I see the importance of connecting with others is simply because each one of us has a need for community. If we don't find it in the Church, then we'll look for it somewhere else - and that will be to our loss, like a man dying of thirst drinking contaminated water. "See how they loved one another!" That was what was said of the Early Church... will they say this about the Today Church? The answer lies in you and me today.

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Just to pen down some thoughts and comments.
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
Principle 1: Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
Think this principle can be more precisely stated from Ephesians 4:29:
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)

"Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." (NLT)

I've realised in the past few weeks that one major fault in me is that I tend to be too subjective in my appreciation many times, thus coming across as gushy. Yes, it's very sincere, no doubt, but more often than not, it doesn't go down well with others.

So I think one way I can grow in the way that I affirm others is by being more objective in stating my affirmations. Because even when I affirm, saying how much I appreciate, the problem with this kind of appreciation is that ultimately it is still self-centred - based on how the other person makes ME feel.

Thus, affirmation/appreciation that is effective and useful for building others up is specific and emphasises on the other person's character/spirit/skill... anything that helps BUILD the other person up! :) That's the key word: BUILD! Not make the person feel good and leave it at that... but BUILD him/her up!

And that's why criticism is dangerous... it tears down the person's spirit. It's like using explosives to tear down a bad house with the person still inside. And even if you got the person out first before tearing down the bad house... where would the person stay after that? Even a bad house is better than no house at all. Thus we need to help build up a good house for the person to stay in after that!

Melancholic and choleric people are especially prone to this danger of speaking words that tear down others. Thus we need extra grace in this area, and God will give us, His children who are weaker in this area, more grace and space to grow - just as it says, "But where sin increased, grace increased all the more..." (Romans 5:20-21)

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.
The Bible abound with wise words on the importance of encouragement, and especially speaking words of appreciation. Mother Teresa once said that the greatest famine in the land is not that of food, but of love. Even in the most developed and well-fed cities, millions go to bed feeling unloved and unwanted. That is the true famine in our land, and that is why she chose to serve the 'poorest of the poor', and that is what sets her apart among the many charities and other well-intentioned volunteer organizations that we see in today's world.

Personally, I think it's REALLY false humility to feel embarrassed and reject affirmation. Admit it, isn't it true for you and me? :) When someone affirms us for a job well-done, and we know that we really did a job well-done, we Christians tend to do the following:

1. "Oh no, it's really nothing much. I didn't do a good job."
2. Wince outwardly. And let the other person see how much his/her sincere affirmation puts you off. That should pretty much solve the problem of getting any more affirmations. :)
3. Glow inwardlys, thinking how humble you are for wincing and refusing to accept praise.

Friend, you would have really missed a great opportunity to give all the glory to God. Because Jesus Himself said, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise Your Father in heaven."

Why not just say "thank you" and bless the other person back? Be like Jesus who would affirm those who came back to praise Him for what He did for them, saying, "Go, your faith has healed you..." Let other people see the light that is in you, till they ask why you are so different in a good way from those around you. =D

Perhaps we could follow Corrie ten Boom's childlike example... whenever people affirmed her, at the end of the day, she, an old woman, would kneel before her Father in heaven, holding out these praises that were given her that day, like a little girl giving her Daddy a bouquet of flowers, saying to Him, "Thank You Lord - these praises are for You!"

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Think it can be summed up simply in three words: "Pull, don't push." If you want to lead a string, how do you do it? Push it or pull it? Think this principle can be seen very clearly in the Bible, especially in Jesus' life, where He calls people to come FOLLOW Him.

Personally, think I'm not quite there at that stage where I can pull many people - in fact I don't think I'm influential as a person at all. But I do believe that God has a wonderful calling for each and everyone of us, and He calls you and me to come follow Him. And when we choose to follow Him, our lives can't but help shine with joy, and when we're shining His light in the darkness, the moths will come sooner or later.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Am reading this book by Dale Carnegie that Hanes lent me a month ago, and gosh, it's really good. =) It was a real eye-opener, and think it's very timely, because I've been praying to God to help me be a better salt and light in the office... =) So just really want to share these principles with you...

In addition, these principles helped me understand better why Jesus was such a powerful and winsome leader, that even the police sent to arrest him were awed, saying that "no one ever spoke like this man did". And even the pagan Roman army officer was stunned when he saw how Jesus died, saying, "Surely this man was a son of God!" And both good and bad people were attracted to Jesus, wanting to invite him to join them for dinner... cool! :) Whether Ah Beng or Ah Long or CEO or King or a an Einstein or a Napoleon or a Teresa, Jesus somehow awed them over... Wow, really have so much (as always!) to learn from Jesus Himself. :)

So here goes:
Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
Principle 1: Don't criticize, condemn or complain.
Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.
Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People Like You
Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 2: Smile.
Principle 3: Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
Principle 6: Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely.

Monday, June 4, 2007


Just sense very strongly tt Daddy's impressing on my heart about being consecrated to Him in recent days, through a prophetic prayer during last unit meeting, during the Missions Conference, through reading a book that Huaqiang/Sarah lent me, through some wonderful and disappointing experiences very recently... I think through all these, He wants me to be consecrated to Him, so tt He can send me out for missions. "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." (Joshua 3:5)

Just find my heart desiring more and more to be fully consecrated to Him, and I'm really praying to Him to consecrate, to set me apart for missions - even if it means a lifetime of singlehood. Just find singlehood becoming more and more appealing - esp after Jianming's testimony today. Wow... this really has to be the the power of the Holy Spirit to transform my heart's innermost desires. :D

So I responded to the altar call today during Missions Service to be one of those who are sent out for missions. And this verse came to mind - though I'm not sure whether it was the Holy Spirit, or my own thought - “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

Initially, I thought this verse was saying that the "few" of us who responded to the altar call are those who are chosen... A subtle but proud thought, I think. But after checking two Bible commentaries to understand this verse better, realised that in context, this verse actually speaks more abt repentance... so yeah, after reflection, think God is saying that though He calls many of us, only a few of us actually make it... even though I respond, will I be willing to give my all to Him? So many of us say, "I will go", but we do not in the end. Yet others say, "I will not go,"... but in the end they decide to obey the Lord and go after all.

So yeah, realised tt it is a very hard decision to make, to decide to set apart my entire life for God's purpose, to be willing to stay single for the rest of my life, so tt i can devote myself fully to His calling... felt was going to weep actually, a difficult decision to make - not easy for me... but these words that I read encouraged me very much: "No one who trusts in Me will be desolate." AMEN!

And I know it's really the best decision after all... because he who wants to save his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for Jesus and the gospel will find it. :)

Friday, June 1, 2007

My First Day At (Full-Time) Work

Now sitting here typing on a borrowed laptop - they say I'm going to get my own laptop to use in about a week's time. w00t! :)

Just really want to thank God for a great day today so far. Think God has answered my prayers, and is answering my prayers gradually, according to His perfect plan and timing. Quite an interesting and diverse bunch of guys - yes, it's swarming with guys all over in this office. Seriously, it's 95% guys in the office and 5% ladies - the realities of being a software engineer. And it felt like my NS days all over again, when I recognised the familiar "RESTRICTED" headers and footnotes. That, and did I mention the guys?

Not to say that it's a monastery over here - my software team leader is getting married next year, and the guy next to my cubicle is a father - a very friendly guy too.

Very interesting... oh yeah, I was reading a Christian book while waiting for the laptop to come too, and my team leader came along, and saw me reading it, so he asked me whether I was a Christian. Told him yes, and he asked me which church I come from. So I wondered whether he was a Christian too, but he said no. But I guess, from his question, that he must have been invited to church before. Anyway, he told me that some of the people behind my back are Christians too. Wow. That's good...

Ah. My team leader told me that our boss REALLY is a good boss - patient and very nice (and he wasn't joking or being sarcastic - he really was sincere). That sounds really good. Thank God! :D

Still taking time to adjust... it's pretty cold in here. But quite cool, just came back from a long lunch.

Dear Lord, help me be a blessing and good support and encourager to my teammates in time to come. And please help me learn the ropes of my project quickly, to pick up the skills and give me wisdom, innovation and perseverance to shine for You in this workplace. To bring You all the glory, both now and forever. In Jesus' most precious name, amen!

Fasting = One Happy Meal!

Wow, thank God for just now... i feel so much more refreshed, both in body and spirit, after fasting for dinner just now. :D 'cos have been feeling very down the past few days and more prone to negative thoughts, etc.

Was fasting too, 'cos want to prepare myself for my new job tml at Singapore Technologies. Something that struck me when I attended the Missions Conference was that EVERY Christian is called to be a GLOBAL Christian. It all starts from the attitude, the willingness to allow God to use you.

"Not called," you say?
"Not heard the call," I should think instead.

But as Pastor Sandy Lam shared, actually, God doesn't even have to use her... He can use anyone else instead!

Actually He doesn't even have to use humans - He's used a donkey before too! (Remember in the book of Numbers, Balaam's donkey that talked? See, God thought of Shrek first ok... [And I find that God has an incredible tongue-in-cheek humour... the donkey was telling Balaam something like this: "Look here, am I normally in the habit of talking to you?"])

So have been praying to prepare myself for tomorrow... and I feel so much more excited by the possibilities that lie ahead, and at the same time, so much more peaceful, because I know that God has heard my prayers, by faith! :) In a way, it's God's training me for missions in the future... :D Hallelujah!