Friday, September 28, 2007

"Here's my question to you, and this may hurt."

Am listening to Ravi Zacharia's audio clip, Why Don't I Feel My Faith, and this particular segment caught my ear - and made me stop. I was very reminded of what we shared about wanting to grow stronger in the Word, through growing in our knowledge and understanding of what the Bible says - and that memory came back the moment I heard this discourse from Ravi:

I ask you this: If you and I had the choice, wouldn't you and I have liked to be at the Mount of Transfiguration? That likeness, that brilliant transformation of our Lord, so that the human eye could not contain it... Moses and Elijah descending from the heavens and our Lord Himself so glorified, so radiant, so that Peter falls on his face and says, "Why don't we stay here?" There was possibly no more estatic moment in Sacred Writ outside of the Resurrection itself.

But listen to what Peter says. "We have the more sure word of prophecy." He goes to the Word as something stronger, and more certain.

Here's my question to you, and this may hurt. My wife and I have for years have had this habit of just going out every Saturday morning and enjoying a breakfast together. And I said to her today, "A lot has happened in my own life in the last few months that I am so grateful to God for. It has been the recovery of the early morning hours with God.

I know not everybody like the early morning hours, and I don't like them either. But let me tell you something: the surge of emotions is going to storm you everyday. Some disappointment, some hurt, some heartbreak, some conflict, some argument probably, some struggle - the only way I know how to face it is to prepare this heart first thing in the morning before you face the day and let His language come to your heart before you do anything else."

Thanksgivings! :D

Wow, thank God for today's unit 242. It was really really very heartwarming and refreshing. I was nursing a sneezy cold, and a mild sore throat, but really could sense Christ's presence nursing the hearts and minds of the bros and sisters in the fellowship today. Truly, where two or three are gathered in His name, there He is with us! :D

Today we had a bumper harvest of testimonies to share of what God has been doing in our lives... it's very encouraging, 'cos sharing testimonies strengthen our faith in God's love and power, and also not only encourages others, but also helps open our own eyes big big to what the Lord Jesus is doing in our very midst! :D

In particular I was super-encouraged by HQ's and Sharon's testimonies (not that I'm saying that the other testimonies are not encouraging... they are very encouraging too! but HQ and Sharon's testimonies are extra encouraging because these two friends are extra dear to me, we being in the same CG, and it's more... you feel can really identify and share in their joy.)

HQ shared an amazing testimony about how the Spirit prompted him one day to read AND highlight a particular Bible verse in his Bible, which he'd never underlined before. And some time later, some non-Christian friends were curious, and asked him about Christ and the Bible... and whoa, seems that one of his friends was so interested that he/she asked HQ to email

Sharon shared about how she made the decision to deny herself the right to rest at home, and to be comfortable... because she had to meet a friend of ours who she felt didn't like her. But turns out in the end she was very refreshed by the meet-up with our friend and she was really very blessed by the whole time - possibly even more than if she'd gone home to rest. This testimony really blessed my heart very much, 'cos I've been through a few situations like that, and I was feeling very scared too. So can really understand how Sharon felt. :)

So, realised that Sharon's response is reflective of a very mature attitude, and reflecting on myself, I realised that the dear Holy Spirit has been trying to get my attention regarding this issue of being willing to deny myself for the sake of Christ. Reflected also that this is an area that I think quite a few of us are starting to slip into, starting to subtle refuse to deny ourselves the right to remain in our comfort zones, to have a good rest, etc...

This is actually shortchanging ourselves, 'cos Jesus said that whoever tries to save his own life will lose it in the end, and he who loses his life for Him and the gospel will FIND it.

How true it is! We are so much like ignorant children playing in a tiny mud slum, refusing to get up and follow the grown-ups to the beach, more vast and beautiful than we can ever imagine. We lose out so much when we refuse to deny ourselves for the sake of Christ and His kingdom.

Much, much thinking to do here. And to study and understand the Word more, so that it can sink deeper from the head of my mind to the toes of my heart. :D

Oh yes, really thank God too for Alex my colleague too! Very blessed by the chat with him on the MRT - he's a super-nice guy. A real blessing from God. :D

And so happy for my mum too! :D She's being interviewed (via email) by the Prime Minister's Office regarding her teaching career... WHOA... Praise the Lord indeed! :D

And thank God also for my department's move to Bishan... while I was thanking God the day before for the move, which means that it's just walking distance from my home, think God impressed on me that one purpose for this move is so that I can spend more time with QN to have quiet time and Bible study and even worship Him together all before we start work.

Wow! It's very very very amazing how God can really bless the efforts of our hearts when we seek to obey His will! :D

But oh yes, something that Dehua pointed out during the sharing was that it's not about 'cheonging' ahead, but waiting for the Spirit to guide us, to tell us where to go. We need to go where HE wants us to go. To do as He wants us to do. To speak as He wants us to speak. So since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step, keep in step with the Spirit! :)

Yeah! :D Thank God so much... it's really really a great joy to see what the Lord has done for us... let us not be afraid nor ashamed to testify of all the wonders that the King of Kings has done for us!

I can see better days ahead
Our land will dance again
Because of you
Voices will be heard with shouts of joy!

You've done mighty things,
Let the nations sing!
You gave us love
You gave us love!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Trinity of Friendship

Met with a group of friends for dinner this week. Was looking forward to it, but felt disappointed for one of my friends in the end (tho the food was good). Because we were talking at such a superficial level - and our friendship has been quite a while already.

Felt sad for this friend, because he/she doesn't have very close relationships - something this friend has been struggling with for a long, long time. Sociable, yes, witty, yes, very conversational, yes. Socially adept, yes. But it's not easy to feel close to this person, because this person is someone who is very closed-up. And it's not so much of personality, but pride in this friend. And that is the worst thing of all. I still remember one incident where I was telling this friend I was feeling very down, and this friend responded with a subtle condescending smile. It left a sour taste in me.

But am I seeing this from a biased perspective? I think so... perhaps I should just angle around for another look. Upon further reflection, I guess these episodes of disappointment I had with this friend coloured my view of the gathering. But yeah, it does seem that there is so much more to friendships than just trite talk once in a while.

Trust, truth and trueness. The trinity of friendship.

That's why I'm so thankful for my caregroup. :) We have been meeting up on the phone every Wed and Friday to pray together for Alpha and for one another. I was commenting to Sharon that our CG identity may be known as the CG that prays together over the phone! :)
Very blur and tired today. Made a careless mistake - got a monitor scratched. Someone in my team said, "Can't you do even a simple thing like carrying a monitor?" I protested my innocence, thinking it was my colleague who may have done it instead. But decided to accept the blame.

That incident made me feel very frustrated with myself - even if I know that it's true. Asked God the same question again: "Lord, why am I like this?"

Frustrated, also because I know I was stuck in my contemplative mood again - which made it hard for me to focus on anything. That, and the constant moving in and out, and talking and so on.

To add to my frustration, when I was feeling stressed, I just took a quick break, spacing out and looking at the monitor. Then my team leader walked by, and seeing me spacing out, told me, "Hey! What're you doing? Work lah..."

GRRR. I was feeling really mad... to be honest, with God too, because I was finding it very hard to get out of this melancholic mood again.

Asking Him again, "Why did You create me like this..."

Oh dear... I still don't understand why I am like this - and I know it's not because of an attitude problem, but... really, a weakness in me.


Checking my heart, I think I'm blaming this and that... God Himself too... oh dear. Haven't the book of Numbers, in which the Israelites kept on grumbling, taught me anything? I carry a lot of subtle expectations in my heart.

But thankful for Weizhu's encouragement. :) Very thankful. It's the prayer that really helps a lot. Especially when you feel tired and sick, which makes it a vicious cycle - you find it hard to snap out of your mel mood, which in turn makes it harder to focus, and makes you even more mel.

Disappointed with myself in many things. Esp when I was comparing myself with my colleagues - wondering, "Lord, I feel so inadequate - they are so much more mature, relevant etc... who am I?"

But the day ended on a brighter note. One of my colleagues, who usually looks very dao, said a cheerful goodbye to me. At that point, I was reminded that in the end, no matter who I am, and how weak I am, God is able to give me favour. He is able to make others favourably disposed towards me, so that I can connect more with them - to impact and influence them for Christ. Nothing less than the love of Christ that compels me to shine for Him everywhere I go.

I do my best, and God takes care of the rest! :) Let's never forget His grace that is enough for you and me... because in the end, it is NEVER about you or me - it is ALWAYS about Him and His strength. The only thing that He really requires of you and me, when He calls you and me to do something for Him, is a heart of FAITH. "The righteous shall live by faith." And it is not so much of "we want to do something for Him". If we do want to do something for Him, let it simply be because we are GRATEFUL to Him.

In Christ alone I put my trust
And find my glory in the power of the cross
In ev'ry victory let it be said of me
My source of strength
My source of hope
Is Christ alone...

Like the prostitute who loved Jesus so much that she poured perfume on His holy feet and kissed them, washing His feet with her tears.

Like the corrupt tax collector who beat his chest in grief and shame, asking God to have mercy on him.

Like Zaccheus the rich and runty rascal, upon realising Jesus wanted to be his friend, instantly turned transparent, declared in public all his assets - and gave half his assets to the poor, and then some more.

Like the Ravi Zacharias audio clip that I was listening to, where he said that a lot of people enter ministry with a combination of their gift and their calling... and they forget their calling, and focus alone on their gift. Ravi said in his trademark booming voice that God doesn't need talented people - He wants obedient people.

And I am reminded that I need to PRAY to Him more, and more earnestly too. Oh dear.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Love Africa - what we saw

(To be done)

Megapoli of Grass and Constellations of Sand

I lay down on the beachy rock, and looked up at the shiny moon.
Stars twinkling shyly in the inky sky.
And the sun effervesced sweetly, bubbly-peachy-orangey-navy bluey hues.

Listening to the swishing of the swashing sea.
Ancient breakers genuflect in mirth.
Sandy dunes sing their throaty tunes,
Encore, encore, forevermore!

It's just so amazing. Being able to sit down and watch the stars that shine. And the waves upon the seas. You know, if you squint just hard enough, it seems like the breakers are bowing down onto the beach. And the dunes of the beach face heavenward in the moonlight, as a radiant choir singing a new song every minute.

I sat there for two whole hours, just watching and thinking about God. :) He's so bright and beautiful, so wise and wonderful.

Then walking back from work today. I passed by a field. And suddenly the blades of grass were transfigured into buildings.

If a blade of grass is a building,
And a flower a skyscraper,
Then what is a field actually like?

Just seemed to me that to God, every field is like a city... a megapolis of tiny creatures living and breathing, eating and dying, every new day.


Just so beautiful, everything God has made!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Social Adeptness

Had a dinner with Robert last Friday. Always thank God for this very dear brother, who never fails to warm the cockles of my heart. (haha... mushy, yeah? :))

So here I am with Robert in Azabu Sabo, the Japanese restaurant where he used to work before as a cook. We leaf through the menu, and Robert recommends the cold ramen with seafood and mayonnaise. :)

In a nutshell, we have a very good time sharing about social relevance... or as Bert puts it, "social adeptness", and he shares his struggles to be socially adept too - which really encourages me very much, because I know I'm not alone in this difficulty.

Personally, I think it's a real sap on one's confidence and courage, when he/she is told that there's something about him/her that is socially "very jarring" (I notice Bert likes to use this term a lot :)) - because we feel a lot of embarrassment.

Our first instinct is to hide and say, "It's not true! I'm not as bad as you say I am!" Probably because of pride, and also because our social behaviours are very closely interlinked with the culture that we have chosen to identify with. And culture is a very personal and intimate part of our own perceived identity, because we are very social creatures.

Perhaps giving cultural corrections to someone else is an area that require a high degree of sensitivity, tact and empathy, because one's own personal culture is a very personal part of us that we choose to make public. (Something like your (lack of) muscles when you decide to go to the beach in nothing but swimming trunks.)

So that's why Robert's sharing with me about his own struggles in social adeptness was very encouraging - firstly because I look up to him as someone who's able to socialize with a lot of people. And secondly, I don't feel so ashamed of my lack of maturity in this area.

But in the end, it's up to me to choose whether to accept or not to accept the correction. To choose to give up and run away, ignore or to accept the truth about myself and change accordingly. It's my own responsibility whether I want to listen, accept and grow in what is lacking. And God will not do that for me; no, He's given me the dignity of freedom and of responsibility to choose. But He promised help if I make the right choice. :)

"This is a problem that we face in the church. Church culture's very different from the outside world. Here, we're very accepting, and sometimes we don't feedback - because we love too much - on things that are socially jarring to us. Unless one of the leaders feedback to us. And have you noticed how in the church the brothers behave very affectionately towards one another, such as, putting one's arm onto another bro's shoulder and saying, 'Hey! Lemme pray for you', etc. etc.? If you do that in the workplace, people'll think you're a queer."

"Yah, I know what you mean."

"Weizhu and I agree you're a very sensitive brother, who's very caring and who can really sense others' feelings and discern when someone's spiritually down. But you need to carry this out of the church and into the working world."

"Gee... I wonder how."

"Think it's better put as 'social adeptness'. The ability to adapt to different cultures. People can be very selfish in the outside world."

I ponder for a long while, while Robert goes off to find his old colleagues and chat with them.

Even though Peter's already told me that it's ok to be quiet in social settings, I still have this nagging feeling that there must be something more to all this social relevance (darn that phrase - it's starting to have a jarring effect on my ears and tongue) than... just being myself, being quiet. If Jesus said that we will be fishers of men, then how in heaven's name does that happen?

"Sorry to take so long, I'm back."

"Hey Robert, I've two questions."


"First question: I'm very quiet in the workplace. Is that wrong? I don't know, because I really can be very quiet at times." And here, I look at him straight in the eyes. "How do I attract more people?"

He thinks for a few moments, and then says simply, "Build your credibility. Or 'street cred' in other words."

"And how do I go about doing that?"

"Well... If you're new in the workplace, don't take the initiative to say things. Wait for others first. Or you can just walk around at tea-time - I think it's a very good opportunity to make conversation, and start from there. And can bless them with little snacks. That's what I do. Sharing food really has a way of opening up hearts. And look at their hairstyles, for example. If everyone has neat, short hairstyles, and you're the only one who has long hair... of course, it depends on your workplace. And if you really don't know about a topic that others are talking about, don't try to bluff. Like 'Oh yes, oh yes! I know I know.' Then they ask you, 'How about you? What do you think of this/that?' And you go... " He shrugs in mock embarrassment.

I have an urge to grab a stone tablet and start chiselling down Robert's Three New Commandments. Words of wisdom!

"It's a learning process. You need to look around, see the culture... for me, I had to learn these the hard way.

And I want to learn these from you, so that I don't have do it the hard way. Muahaha!

He pauses, and then goes on: "And about being quiet, nothing wrong with that! It's quiet confidence that you need. That will attract people to you. You can be quiet and confident at the same time. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of hope..."

"...Of power, of love and self-discipline."

"There. You memorised the verse."

"Whoa. Thanks a lot bro. It's really very helpful. And now second question: How can I grow in quiet confidence?"

"QUIET confidence? You want to ask ME that question? Hahaha... there's those who are the ra-ra type... You should ask those people who show quiet confidence. Who do you think are the ones that you can ask?"

"Hmm... Zhenzhong from NUS... Yufen... Edwin, maybe, though he's more of quiet and nice... ok, I don't know who else. What about you?"

Guang Ann.
These are people who have that kind of quiet confidence.
These are the people you should ask, 'From where do you get your strength from?'"

With that, he puts his hands on the table and leans back. I look at him, and we both smile slightly - that kind of smile that goes together with deep thinking going on at the same time.

We look at each other again.

Then he laughs in surprise:
"Whoa! How did I say all these?! Must have been the Spirit speaking and not me ('cuz how in the world did I even manage to spout out all those 'words of wisdom'... haha)..."

Think it has been a very meaningful and good time with Bert. Like perfume that brings joy to the heart is the counsel of a good friend. :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

meeting an old friend for lunch this coming Sat...

[yeu@nn] "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" says:
sat lunch... sounds nice

[yeu@nn] "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" says:

[yeu@nn] "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" says:
die die must catch up wif u... it's been EONS

_‗˛̣,.-΅`'*•♪ )łц!ω•p ™ says:

[yeu@nn] "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" says:
the last time we met, dinosaurs were still roaming the earth

[yeu@nn] "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!" says:
such as milo dinosaurs

_‗˛̣,.-΅`'*•♪ )łц!ω•p ™ says:

_‗˛̣,.-΅`'*•♪ )łц!ω•p ™ says:

Wow! :) A Quiet Confidence!

Wow! Just really want to share a testimony about how God helped me make a breakthrough.

It's in the area of social adeptness... relevance, if you'd like to call it. :)

Went down to ST in Jurong for its 40th Anniversary Event. Prayed that God'll help me know more of my colleagues, since I didn't really know anyone there. (I was "arrowed" in other words! ;D)

Then met a new colleague, and bumped into two of my colleagues. Remembering Robert's advice about quiet confidence, and drawing encouragement from God's promise in 1 Timothy, where it says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."

And it's very encouraging indeed. I'm not sure how to describe the feeling, but think it's like... for the first time, people actually talk to you, and you can sense that you are "part of their clique"... and you're "one of us".

It's a joyful feeling - perhaps not so much of being accepted as part of a group, though that's a nice feeling - but rather, I see the power of God's Word to decisively, powerfully and visibly transform a really broken part of my life. Finally I see a breakthrough! This is so... unlike the old Yeu Ann whom I knew. :)

It's a very small thing, I do think, but praise Jesus! :D He is the God who makes you and me grow to completion!

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy!

I couldn't have ever done this alone on my own. Never. Because I tried on my own strength, and failed miserably.

But somehow Christ has made it such that the brothers and sisters in church are key strategic allied partners with Him in changing other people's lives. A long chain of brothers in the past 9 years, from Alan Tea to David Chan to Wenjiang to Chong Yeow to Hon Loong to Guoqiang to Weizhu to Peter, and many dear friends e.g. Robert, Kim Chun, Zewei, Shirley, Yufen, Sijia, Hanhui, Huaqiang, Sharon, Tianlong, Chi Yen, Shenteng and countless other people - they all played their God-given roles in planting a small seed here, a small seed there - be it a word of rebuke, a word of correction, a word of comfort, a word of encouragement, a word of hope...

And especially thank God for Robert's advice and the Bible verse that he shared with me on Friday night, which really, really helped me a lot. :D Thank God so much for you dear bro. :D

I've been a very long time growing in this area, but it has all been adding up. I know there will be so many more obstacles that lie ahead, but by the power of His Word, the power of His Spirit, and the power of His Church...
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

I'm very excited to grow in this area, because I really do want to grow to be what He destined me to be... and to grow in quiet confidence that bears testimony to God's power to give me a deep abiding strength... That I may attract other people... but not to myself, but towards Jesus Christ, the Light of the World!

Hee! :) there's more, there's so much more... but... it IS very encouraging! :D thank You Jesus!

And this verse is still as powerful to me as the day I first received Christ in 1997... "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation - the old has gone, the new has come!" 2 Corinthians 5:17


"No, I can promise you none of these things."

"Very well," said the other, as if changing his plan. "Will you believe in me?"

"In what sense?"

"Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?"

"Well, that is a plan. I am perfectly ready to consider it. Of course I should require some assurances... I should want a guarantee that you are taking me to a place where I shall find a wider sphere of usefulness - and scope for the talents that God has given me - and an atmosphere of free inquiry - in short, all that one means by civilisation and -er- the spiritual life."

"No," said the other. "I can promise you none of these things. No sphere of usefulness: you are not needed there at all. No scope for your talents: only forgiveness for having perverted them. No atmosphere of inquiry, for I will bring you to the land not of questions but of answers, and you shall see the face of God."

- The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis, pg 40.

From The Great Divorce, An Essay (Allen Adams):

I would recommend this book to those who were intelligent people with objections to the Christian faith due to a subjective moral position. Those who reject Christianity because they think it is too rigid are the most likely to get a lot out of the book. It is an intelligent book so those who don't have at least some basic understanding of philosophical concepts will not understand the book. For those who are philosophical and good thinkers this book will stimulate their imagination in many ways. It will challenge their presuppositions. It will stimulate their imaginations. It will give them a good understanding of the Christian position in a non threatening way.

Also I would recommend the book for the Christian who is struggling with subjectivism. Our culture has shoved this concept down our throats in recent times and I am sure many Christians struggle with these issues. If they are relatively intelligent people they will find the book very stimulating and it will help them to put all of these issues in perspective.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

7 ways to be excited about growing

Taken from Hong Teck's blog - it's very thought-provoking! Do read it...

7 ways to be excited about growing
September 21, 2007 @ 11:06 am

“How many of you are commited to grow?” A few hands go up. The rest have other things they are commited to… notably their jobs, their family, their mortgage, their ministry and their spouse. “Honestly, of you who are commited to grow, how many of you are excited about it?” Of the few hands up, only 1 or 2 remains. Reason could be while we are commited to grow, we do not take action to. When we don’t act upon our conviction and belief, we will get bore to death our dear precious life.

Here are a few suggestions how to be commited to grow and be excited about it.

1. Read a leadership book a month. Why leadership? Because whether we like it or not, we are leading others. Leading is influencing anyone whose path crossed yours. You can do it positively in a conscious way or negative unconsciously. Leadership books help us consciously and positively influence. Most other books leave us entertained and with good knowledge that can ‘puffed us up’ if we are not careful. Leadership skill is applicable to everyone from highest of employer to the lowest of employee.

2. Learn something everyday and log that insight. You are only excited about learning when it is concrete … so write it down, think about it, find ways to apply it. If you can’t tell yourself what you learned today, you aren’t going to be excited about learning and will one day (very soon I think) be not very committed to it.

3. Do, do, do! Don’t talk more than do! Doing is good for growth because we are human being and that just means we will DEFINITELY mess up. I’m 100% sure of that. But that mess or failure is our only opportunity to grow so we should commit to doing and hence risk failing. That’s the bottom line. So do to yourself a favour and work towards growth, gain and improvement in all areas of your life. And we are going to fail and that failure is exactly what we need to develop patience, perseverance, character and wealth of understanding. Show me a successful person and I’ll show you cases and cases of hardships and trials.

4. Pray and trust the one who created you! Don’t be a nut. Don’t succeed without God. Don’t minister, love and give by yourself. Know that you are an instrument of blessing. Know you have nothing you can do yourself! You are doing it because He loves you so much to bestow talents for you to. Expect that phrase ”Good and faithful servant” to be said to you when you die. Life and hardship become sweet. It’s not what you gain when you grow that is important, it is what you become (ie ‘faithful’) that is more valuable.

5. Don’t blame anyone. If you are not growing, don’t blame anyone. People are not for you to blame. They are for you to be good friends with. Blame yourself, that’s the best way to grow and an excellent way to get excited about growing.

6. Ask your spouse, am I a good husband/wife. Or ask your employee, am I a good employer …. or your boss, am I a good worker…or your friend, am I a good friend… They will most likely say no if you allow them to be honest and that is a sure way to get yourself genuinely excited about growing. Either that or it gets you agitated about that person….. which comes to my last suggestion…

7. Choose to be excited rather than agitated.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Whoa, thinking abt emails, and dissidents and underground church... of how the Christians in the underground churches hunger to meet up and fellowship in the love and truth of Christ...

We christians should comm with one another like that! in the battlefield of the hostile world... "as aliens and strangers in this world".
Love and honour,
Truth and beauty.


Let me look to You, O Jesus -
but will I dare to see Your face, O God?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Help me God not slack - it's not good for Your name's sake, not for my conscience... and not for productivity!

Esp with a deadline looming. :P

Note to self: Keep Ben updated on my own. Email him impromptu.
Dehua asked me today whether there was any verses that inspired me this morning.

Hmm. Don't think any sudden inspiration - rather, it's been a gradual inspiration, like e.g. reading the book of Acts. Hee. Maybe i'm not being sensitive enuff to His voice... :P paiseh!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hmm. Lord, thank You for pushing me to make decisions some more. First it was my shepherd, now it's my colleagues. Simple decisions like go with who for lunch.

Choose what to eat for lunch?
"Ok, YA, which one do you want? Chinese, Western or Japanese food?"
"Err... Western and Japanese."
"Aiyah! We ask you for one parameter, you give us two..."

"Er... then what do YOU guys want for lunch?"
"Doesn't matter lah! You choose!"

Oh my God... it sounds a lot like Peter prodding me to make my own decisions.

Then... "Hey, Hui Cong, Yeu Ann, you guys choose between yourselves who wants to go in the manager's car."

*stares at each other, with a common hesitancy*

(simultaneously, him to me and me to him:) "YOU choose."

He shrugs. "Scissors, paper, stone?"

"Ok... eh... winner gets to..."


Turns out I win, and I have to decide.

Boon Wee comes by. He holds up a gleaming coin with a glint in his eye.

"If you can't make up your mind..."

Toss. Hmm.

Toss, toss. Hmm.

In the end I decide to go with the manager.

God is putting more tests.

And wondering why I keep dithering when having to decide.

First I want to be nice, and i think that letting others decide is being nice. Hmm. Just how true is this assumption, actually?

Secondly. I realise I don't really know how to make a decision, as in that what are the factors that i need to consider for a given situation. Oops. Sounds like I'm lapsing into an "algorithm" again. :P Principles, not rules!

But... hmm! How ah?

Practice some more and make more mistakes... i guess others had the benefits of making these mistakes when they were kids, but for me, i have to learn them now. But thank God so much for His pointing out to me... hee hee! can really see how Daddy cares for me in EVERY aspect of my life, not just the "spiritual" things.
Came back from JUMP! conference and concert. Wow. Wonderful time. Shall blog about it more another time. Learnt a lot, and was renewed in my understanding and conviction about praise and worship. We MUST praise God! The Bible tells us, "Jesus U Must Praise!" = JUMP! :D

And think God has been impressing something strongly on my heart these past few days. About HopeKids ministry. Planning to email Hong Teck real soon.

And also had a good time (thank God for the day-off on Monday) with the bros and sisters at NUS HQ. Chatted with Huanyan. Very blessed.

Had lunch with Weizhu and Huichun - thank God so much for these dear friends! :D


Met Peter for shepherding - and to celebrate his birthday. A very simple celebration, but hee, it was a good time. And Peter shared some very encouraging testimony with me regarding his friend, whom I've met before. Whoa.

And also the burden that God has placed in his heart regarding the business sector that he's interested in, and that he's currently in now. Thank God for his imparting his convictions and values to me regarding being salt and light in his workplace - I'm also convicted too...

And House of Prayer - a great time of prophesying and praying for healing. And Peter's ankle got healed that very day! Glory to God! And so happy too! My friend's coming for Alpha - the team prayed for him and other friends... - wow, the power of prayer... as always!
Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever and ever!

So thankful to God for this House of Prayer ministry - really sense God's presence as we pray together in His name...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Now sitting here listening to Ps Prayuth preaching on a worship team.

Thinking about David whom I met on the MRT. when i found out he wasn't attending church, reflected... tt i'd had a self-righteous attitude - 'why aren't you gg to church?'... but God pointed out to me. repented... realised tt He wants me to have a heart to find out why he's not been gg to church...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hope 16th Anniversary! :D

Wow, it was a great time, the 16th Anniversary! Rousing praise and worship... and a very inspiring rallying call by Pastor PN, President of Hope of God International, to have Faith That Makes A Maximum Impact.

Not to mention Ps James' excited (and occasionally hilarious) Mandarin translations... Stanli was joking with me how Ps PN really wants to preach, 'cos he's preaching so fast that Ps James can't keep up with him...

But it's really so inspiring to see these two men of God declaring the wonders of God in different languages at the same time! :D

Personally, I was very excited by the call and challenge... knowing that God is with us... so I jotted down quickly some action points that I want to see HopeKids ministry grow in... and thought about my CG... and responded to the missions call. Think God may be showing me that He has a plan for me in Botswana... I'm not sure, but so far the door seems most open in that direction. Hee hee... well, I've responded, now just trust God for the rest!

And oh yes, we celebrated Peter's birthday after that... Peter was tremendously blessed! :D Thank You Jesus for my dear bros and sisters who really blessed his socks off!

Photos here...

The bicycle-powered supercomputer

From engadget:
In an attempt to illustrate the low power requirements of its latest Linux-based supercomputer, a company called SiCortex put together a demonstration showing the massive number-cruncher performing billions of calculations per-second while a team of between eight to ten bicyclists pedaled to keep it going...

To quote a wag: "Now that's what I call a lot of CPU cycles!"

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fresh earthquakes rock Indonesia

Read about the 4 earthquakes in Indonesia today (oh God, Indonesia really has been 'spammed' with earthquakes...).

  1. First thing came to my mind: Jesus told us in the Bible not to be alarmed when we hear of such things, because all these are the beginning of "birth pains" (whatever He meant by that)... these earthquakes were already predicted by Him 2000 years ago. Thank God the government's better-prepared this time around - they sounded a tsunami warning.

    I don't think we can blame God for all these earthquakes... He's given us advance warning - esp with Him sending us wise scientists telling us that we stay in an earthquake zone, so be alert and ready!

    Somehow, I think God has mercifully sent us scientists to act as modern-day 'prophets' to warn us of impending natural disasters e.g. global warming, earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, pandemics and the like... but we're still sitting on our butts in pride and complacency till disaster strikes.

  2. Second thing: just after reading about the earthquakes in the Straits Times' headlines, I saw that Singapore's building nice condos in AMK (I think).

    Just struck me as ironic - and not done in very good taste. Our neighbours are suffering from property damages in the millions, if not billions, and we're building expensive luxurious houses for ourselves?

    Gee... ok lah, Singapore has helped before. Still, shouldn't we do more to help our neighbours too?

The Church - What Nerve!

I came across this entry, "The Church, a ‘Nerve’ in the World". Really encourage everyone of us to read this and consider what's the true function of the church in the world today (as it was in the first century).

Personally, I've been thinking about how far should the church get involved in matters of the state. And, after reading Philips Yancey's musings on the dangers of involvement in the state by the church - and how the progress of the gospel was set back - I've been thinking about this question:

Just what exactly is the function of the Church in today's world then? And is the separation of church and state a good idea or not?

I've been reading the book of Acts, and something I learnt was that the state is separate from the church, and that seems to be the way God designed it. But the church, while separate, can both serve and be served by the state.

Like how Paul spoke to the Roman proconsul, to kings and governors in Judea, and to scholars and councils in Greece. And how the church in Antioch rallied to provide food for their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem when the Roman state couldn't provide for Jerusalem during a famine.

And how the Roman state gave legal rights to Paul, a Roman citizen, from unreasonable and unjust persecution (e.g. the proconsul Gallio's declaration of state neutrality in religious affairs, the Roman soldiers rescuing Paul when he was beaten up by a mob).

Thus, think the best analogy, by far, is that the Church is called to serve as the 'nerve' and conscience for the world.

Like how Martin King Luther rallied the churches, and even non-Christians, in the USA to speak out against racial segegration and injustice.

Like how Mother Teresa did for the poor in Calcutta what the government failed to do - care for the dying and give them love.

And the list goes on. When the state does not do its God-assigned duties of ensuring justice and fairness for its citizens, the church should speak up against such injustices. But the church is also called to submit to the state when the state is doing what is right in God's eyes. Because the state is also appointed by God Himself, as the book of Romans in the Bible says so.

But how can we speak up, unless we are aware of what is going on in the world?

To conclude, I'll quote this bro: "Ultimately, our purpose is that the world may be ‘awaken’ to God and be reconciled to Him."

From Andrew's blog:
Some time recently, I had a casual exchange with a friend over some Singapore’s socio-political issues.

Despite not coming to any common conclusion, but maybe one that was respectful of each other’s views. At least, the exchange helped to refine my motives and my reasoning towards such matters.

In general, I believe the majority of us take a passive or apathetic approach in regards to this. And not only do I think this is unhealthy for the future of our nation (from a human’s standpoint), but it is also not a correct approach to adopt from a biblical perspective.


For the reason that we (Christians), the Church, should not be confined by our four walls as we are in the world to serve as a ‘nerve’ to our society. Which means apart from Sundays, Mondays to Saturdays we are part of this world at our workplace, neighbourhood and family to be the “salt and light”.

And being a part in the world, the Church (not referring to the physical form/building) MUST BE in tune with the going-ons (which includes the likes of politics, socio-economic and international affairs which governs and influences our livelihood), the struggles, the needs and aspirations of the people around us, in order to love, reach and serve effectively for Jesus.

As the ‘nerve’, we serve by being the “voice of conscience”; to prick the conscience of our society by providing godly wisdom in a relevant manner that distinguishes the truth from the lies, and righteousness from evil.

Ultimately, our purpose is that the world may be ‘awaken’ to God and be reconciled to Him.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sub-D 242

We had sub-district 242 today. Alan shared two very inspirational and exciting points from Daniel 1. :D

Essentially, what we can learn from Daniel and his 3 friends' lives are how they successfully adapted to the pagan, immoral and dominant Babylonian culture - and yet remained faithful to God. Successful, yet faithful. Faithful, yet successful. So we Christians today can learn from the patterns of people successful by God's standards, both Jews and Christians, in the Bible.

Consider the impact of godly AND successful men in a nation - for example, did you know that the former head of the Singapore Government's civil service, a truly world-class administrative service, is a very staunch Christian? Mr Lim Siong Guan (hope I spelled his name correctly!) is that man. :) Whoa. So inspired when I heard that.

1. Daniel and his 3 friends knew where to draw the line.

Not when, but where. This requires that we are familiar with Scripture.

As an illustration, Alan asked us to define what aspects does a culture include, and drew up a list of these aspects:

He then drew a line.

That was a real eye-opener to me. He said, "The upper half, Daniel and his friends LEARNT, and learnt very well. But, the lower part, they refused to assimilate the Babylonian food into their systems."

The reason is because eating and drinking here, in our context today, refers to our meeting our most basic and primal human needs. Thus, the application for us Christians, in the context of the corporate world, is that we learn as much as we can, the culture of the corporate world, learn to speak its "languages" (i.e. the lingo and terms), and even willingly accept the names that the corporate world assigns to us with all their connotations [both positive and negative] (e.g. "trader", "engineer", "manager" and - gasp! - even "lawyer" and "insurance agent" :P), just like how Daniel and his friends willingly accepted their Babylonian names (which had references to pagan gods).

But! Like Daniel and co. who refused to defile themselves with the Babylonian food, we too must refuse to feed our primal appetites - e.g. lust, power, greed, corruption, dishonesty, envy, pride, sloth, superiority, insecurity. We need to draw the line, and feed our needs GOD'S WAY. And the world will be able to see the difference at the end of it all, when they compare the results of those who live by God's Way versus those who live by worldly ways.

The reason Daniel and his friends knew where to draw the line was because they were familiar with the Scriptures, and they also were confident in God's power.

A caveat here though. We are not talking about succeeding for success' sake. No, the reason we, as the people of God, want to succeed beyond the norm is because we want to glorify God in whatever we do. Doesn't matter whether we are serving big or serving small - what counts in God's eyes is that we serve to the very best - and beyond!

Cool! :D

2. My decisions change my destiny.

The thing is, some of us may groan, "Well, Daniel and his friends were well-built, handsome, talented... even the Bible says so mah! But we're not like that... and well-built? I was NEVER well-built in the first place!"

Personally, I am one of those people who say that. :P

But does our background and lack of talents really matter? There is a useful equation that shows what really counts: our decisions. Not our circumstances, but our decisions amidst these circumstances.

E + R = O

(Events + Response = Outcome)

Alan shared the example of a brother, A, one of our leaders in church. He had a very bad background, but he received Christ while in prison. After his release, he decided to study hard, and eventually became well-educated. He is now a voracious learner and reads many, many books in a year - and if I recall correctly, he's not a university graduate - yet he has probably read more books in a month than we university grads read in a year! As such, he is highly able to engage others on current affairs and the like.

So an action point that I was sharing with Seeto was that I want to read more books, especially those that are useful in our line of work. And oh yeah, Seeto asked me whether my company has a library. Hee hee! Thank God, yes, I think my company has a library... so I shall now seize the (God-given) opportunity to read as much as I can for Jesus! :D

Also, from point 1, I realised that I don't really know how to speak in the worldly "languages" very well. Perhaps it's simply my newness to the working world, but I want to learn more! At least want to thank God I know a bit of the "language" and "lingo" of the corporate IT world more e.g. UML, design patterns, SOA and the like. Because it's really important in the workplace where I work in.

But hee, also cannot be impatient. God spoke to some of us during our closing prayer that we are eager, but impatient, to grow. If Daniel and his 3 friends, brilliant though they were, took THREE years to learn the ways of the sophisicated Babylonian culture, then... how much longer we have to learn today's highly complex modern cultures!

But if God is for us, who can be against us?! :D
1. Daniel and his 3 friends knew where to draw the line.
2. My decisions change my destiny.

Yup! Just want to write all this down, because I really want to grow to be a value-added and useful member of the society God has place me in... so that I can bring glory to God and feel His pleasure in me as I work for Him! :D Yeah!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"Blessed are the geeks, for they shall inherit the earth!"

After some reflections this week:
1. Think I now get it about the importance of having emotions, but not being "emo". I mean, I understand it now in practice. There are consequences to being emotional - friendships can be seriously stumbled, if not ruined, because of emotions carelessly handled.

2. And also, home's also a place of ministry too. Not just in church or even in the workplace. Home's a place to serve too. :D Hee hee!

3. And that we are a sent people. We are sometimes so focused on our inadequacies, especially since we've been raised in a kind and gentle culture (especially in church) that we forget that Jesus deliberately sent us out as sheep among wolves.

And when we see the wolves, we start getting scared of our sheep culture - they have power, pay and prestige. But what is the Lord's command? "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16)

(And here's The Message translation)
"Stay alert. This is hazardous work I'm assigning you. You're going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don't call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove."

Therefore I shouldn't worry about my sheep status, but focus on training and growing in street-smartness together with sweeter and purer innocence.


4. And I've been learning two things about being street-smart:
A. Observing.
There's this guy who's a geek god in my office. He wears his pants without a belt and has very geekish glasses... and he's the life of the party! So much for the stereotype of the awkard geek... "Blessed are the geeks, for they shall inherit the earth." XD MUAHAHAHA...

From observing him, I realised that he has an excellent sense of social and cultural awareness. And I observed other geeks, and realised they are very socially-inept.

So what is the difference? One is outwards-looking and aware, the other is very self-absorbed and lost in his own world.

Conclusion: It's not so much of fashion or knowledge or lifestyle that makes a person able to connect well with others... it's simply a good sense of timing and being aware.

Whoa! I think I've finally understood The Key to connecting with others. Being observant of people's expressions, the situation, the atmosphere... what my bros and sisters have been helping me see more and more. Look not only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others.

B. Practising.
Have been practising... it's getting more and more fun, actually! :) Thank God... =)

Well, just some little jots for now. Enjoy, and drop a message if you've time!

Evan Almighty

Just came back from watching Evan Almighty with QN. Whoa, it was a very good show - I'm definitely going to recommend this as a video resource for the children's ministry. Family values, courage, and lots of silly slapstick comedy - our dear Antoine-Egoish reviewers in Life newspaper may not love it, but to borrow a wonderful phrase from Mr Gusteau in Ratatouille, "ANYONE can cook (a good story)!"

As Qiannuo and I walked out of the theatre, he said thoughtfully, "You know, it's a very good show. I especially like that part where God asks Evan, 'If you pray for courage, do you want to receive it?'"

"Oh! That's nice! But, err... why is it meaningful to you?"

"Because God was telling Evan that if you want to have courage, you need to have opportunities to exercise courage."

"Wow... I see what you mean! Yeah, I agree, it's very meaningful."

Think something I really treasure in Qiannuo is how he has very childlike and clear insights into various things. It's simple but not shallow. I really think he's a super-contemplative kind of person - and that's the way that God made him to be. He can make deep and strong observations that most of us wouldn't even give a second glance to.

Think I am learning more from his Bible reading than I am from my own... :P haha... need to practise asking more questions like how he asks me questions, so that I can learn from his observations too. Thank You Lord, for sending me a dear brother during this period.

And... I'm meeting Seeto tomorrow! We're from the same sub-district too... he's working in a company near the Techpoint building, so that means we can meet up for lunch. Hope to have more time to fellowship together... maybe we can have lunch-time fellowship soon (hopefully!).

Gee! Very exciting... one seed here, one seed there... and we see the Lord is building up an Acts community in our workplace sectors. To be honest, it's like what this pastor from Botswana shared about planting a community in Botswana: "It really is not easy, and you need a lot of determination and persistence."

Yes... I expect a lot of disappointments, to be honest, in the days to come, and setbacks. But every great struggle calls for great costs. But after reading of Paul's struggles and the Lord's provisions and protection in the book of Acts, I know two things for sure:


And first the suffering, then the glory! "Did not the Christ have to suffer all these things, and then enter into His glory?"

I don't expect a permanent community to be established. I don't think it's feasible. After all, every tree has a lifespan. But I really hope and pray to see this tiny little fellowship grow and give root to more communities and fellowships. Don't know how it will go, don't know what we can do, but do know that the Lord Jesus takes our five loaves and two fishes, and He uses them to feed the hungry multitudes. Yeah! :D *does the Evan Almighty Dance* XD

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Evan Almighty

Going off to watch Evan Almighty now with Qiannuo. :)
Just had QT with Qiannuo. Wow, very blessed by this dear bro's sharing of what he learnt, and his prayer for me. :) Thank You Lord!
Acts 21:
What I learnt:
Remember your brothers and sisters who have helped you along your journey, just like how Luke remembered the disciples who supported and accompanied Paul, whether brothers or sisters, young or old.

"The fellowship Paul enjoys at many stops on his journey illustrates Barclay's maxim "The man who is in the family of the Church has friends all over the world" (1976:154). For Paul "the church has become a countercultural, global network of communities caring for their own subversive missionaries who are now traveling to and fro throughout the Empire" (Willimon 1988:159).

As Paul said happened in every city, the Holy Spirit predicts his coming suffering. This time the disciples conclude that the prediction is not just a warning but actually a prohibition. So Luke expresses it: through the Spirit they urged (literally, "were repeatedly saying") Paul not to go on to Jerusalem (compare 20:23). Since the same Spirit has compelled Paul to go to Jerusalem (19:21; 20:22), we would be confronted with a contradiction if the prediction were actually a prohibition, but such need not be the case (see note). Paul, then, is not disobedient to the Spirit by disregarding the prohibition. As with all the Spirit's predictive warnings, it is intended simply to stiffen his determination as he once again realistically counts the cost (20:22-24).

Sometimes the counsel of friends, filtered through the grid of their fears and concerns for our safety, can be misguidance. Like Paul, we must determine to "do the right thing" even when outward circumstances and projected outcome do not appear to be stamped with the blessing of God.

As the whole church, including women and children, escorts the party to the port via the beach, they kneel in a solemn prayer of committal reminiscent of the leavetaking at Miletus (20:36-38). The bonds of Christian fellowship forged in this short week are strong, and they cannot but help give strength to the apostle as he continues down the road to certain suffering. We too should never miss an opportunity, by fellowship and prayer, to strengthen the determination of fellow Christians as they face hard tests."

Monday, September 10, 2007

A bro's advice:
approach my mum when she's in a better mood. "All women are like that..." - not to put my fellow sisters down, but yes, i think they really would prefer very much more to be approached at a better timing, etc.

Whereas for brothers, just getting down and talking directly is a pretty straightforward thing. I remember a MACHO Turbo gathering where we were discussing stuff, and I got angry and scolded some of them. Then one of the other bros was angry too. But after that, we sat down to discuss, and I'm pretty sure that that incident brought us closer together. (He shared that during the brothers' farewell gathering.)

Something that I realised is that women, in general, are really sensitive. Hmm. Lots more to learn.

You know, it seems that when you transit over into Adults ministry, somehow, the differences between the bros and sisters seem so much more pronounced. Maybe i'm just being blur and not observant, but it seemed to me that those days back in uni, when we encouraged the bros and sisters to gather together in worship, to mingle around more.

Perhaps one problem is that when we come into Adults, there is this underlying expectation and hope of finding your life partner. And I think the feeling is mutual on both sides. Suddenly, there is this increased air of self-consciousness...

But to be honest, I'm not sure how healthy this is. There is the family element too to consider - the fact that we are brothers and sisters in Christ.

Hmm! Just a pondering.

Oh! I should start writing some stories too. Ps Jeff wrote about the importance of telling stories, and I realised that stories can minister to the human heart like nothing else can...
Peter's reminder:
There is a time for everything.
Lord, help me grow in wisdom, efficiency and responsibility. In Jesus name amen.
Was reading Psalms 143 and 144 just now. Very touched. These 2 psalms encouraged me, and amazingly, they touched on the very two things that Peter was telling about: dwelling in melancholy and how army BMT would have been so helpful to me.

Shall just jot down these two passages!
"[The enemy] makes me dwell in darkness
like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed." (Psalm 143:3-4)

And Psalm 144:
Praise be to the LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me."

This passage really spoke to me, when I woke this morning, feeling depressed again. This time was different though, 'cos after Ps Jeff's sermon, I'm reminded that my faith must go beyond feelings.

Peter was telling me that army BMT would have been very useful in training me for real-life situations e.g. making decisions on the spot, etc., not dwelling in tiredness and so on. My thought was simply: "Eh. I no BMT, since I medically exempted mah."

But this verse just came into my mind even before I read Psalm 144: "He trains my hands for war..."

Not that God is a pro-war God - on the contrary - He's not too keen about war, but He can and will fight for His people if there is such a need.

So realised that God is training me up during this period to have the qualities of a good soldier. One who endures hardships well, is strong and effective even under extreme pressure, and who fears no one but God alone.

Wow. :) I'm encouraged. Yeah, just to share, recently, I had three opportunities to stand up for what God's Word said, instead of following the other person's pressure. Felt a bit unsure, but after I made my decision, just felt His peace and courage and conviction fill my heart. And wonderfully, He gave me a good idea - knowing myself, it has to be wisdom from God. :)

And am very uplifted by these two promises in the two Psalms:
"Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good Spirit
lead me on level ground."

and this one best! i believe it's a promise from God regarding my CG at this moment. :)
(Psalm 144:12-15)
"Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.
Our barns will be filled
with every kind of provision.
Our sheep will increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields;
our oxen will draw heavy loads.
There will be no breaching of walls,
no going into captivity,
no cry of distress in our streets.

Blessed are the people of whom this is true;
blessed are the people
whose God is the LORD.

Faith in Action - Grow No Faster Than Grace Allows

Had a very meaningful talk with Sharon today. :) And we were talking about HopeTots versus House of Prayer. About which one I want to commit to more. I'm thinking that God has called me to serve in HopeTots, yet I also really see the value of House of Prayer... especially intercessory.

And met with Peter today :) Reminded of the difference btwn reflecting, contemplating and dwelling.

Think often I do walk a thin line between reflecting (nourishing) and dwelling (dangerous). And after sorting through all my thoughts so far, hmm, think I'm going through a cycle again. But thank God for His grace, I'm going through the cycle a bit cleaner. Oops. I sound like I'm stuck in a washing machine. :P Haha! But why not - it's good to go for a nice clean bath once in a while. XD

Like, last time, back in the NUS ministry, when I was in my down times and sulky moods, I was like a black hole, sucking everything into utter oblivion. Now, I'm just the Milky Way. (sorry, think only astronauts/cosmonauts/taikonauts/peanuts will get the joke. :P)

The Milky Way? Hee, sounds nice - lots of bright stars... and a massive galactic core that sucks in everything into utter oblivion. :P

I hope to grow to become like a Chupa-Chup sweet next time round - I may still suck, but at least I'll be a sweeter sucker. XD

Hee. You know, I think I'm really not tt much of a naturally reflective person. More often than not I prefer to let things go easy, and like it when things go nice and easy. Challenges for me? Haha, let the other fellow have all the fun! :P

But thank God He loves me too much to leave me stuck in my Comfort-Able Zone. So Peter's been pushing me to make decisions and multi-task when under stress.

Oh yes. Something else that Peter told me. That I can't go on dwelling in tiredness. It also causes people to lose respect for me. How would they feel if they saw me wallowing in my tiredness? And how could I lead them then?

And I recalled a 'small' incident of last time, which turned out to have an effect on the person I was taking care of at that time.

I think i've been thinking all along that we should be transparent... yes, but the more important thing is not only being ourselves, but also we can be open with the fact that we're tired... but we MUSTN'T dwell and be self-absorbed in our tiredness.

CS Lewis, in his book, The Great Divorce, describes hell as a place where people are so caught up in their own self-absorbedness, pride and other sins, that even though their houses are at huge distances from one another, they keep building their houses farther and father apart.

And that's where the REAL pain of hell is - worse than a burning fire - is the utter loss of community, relationships and everything else dear to the heart.

Dwell in hell. Rings a bell.

Hmm. I still need to fight against my natural tendency to dwell.

Why the title, "Grow No Faster than Grace Allows"?

Bcos there are times when we feel depressed because we don't grow fast enough to meet our own expectations. And worse still if we try to grow by our own strength. It's like sitting in a taxi, and Jesus is the Driver. You keep anxiously telling the Driver to go "faster! faster!". But the Driver calmly drives on since He really knows the Way. :)

But of course, there is the other side of the equation. What about OUR part?

I was reading the Bible passage that Pastor Jeff covered today: James 2:14-17. Sense that he was very, very burdened to see us grow, especially the Adults, in living a REAL-world faith. We've been talking enough - now let's start walking - I think that's the message of the sermon.

Initially, I thought the passage was about meeting the physical needs of others, when I took a closer look, and realised that the Bible was talking about MUCH more than just meeting the physical needs of others. Then Ps Jeff's sermon became much clearer to me.

Copy-paste here:
"14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

That struck me. James was simply using the example about meeting physical needs as an illustration of bigger things.

So where does action and faith go hand in hand?

I think it simply means that as I seek to grow as a person... I must have faith that God WILL transform me into a new person.
But how do I express that faith? By walking out in faith and doing the very things that the new Yeu Ann will do. Becoming the new person even as I start acting upon the faith that God will make me into a new person. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation - the old has gone; the new has come!"

Yet if I try to do it on my own, with my own strength and effort, I will utterly fail.

Whoa. I think... I can't understand it fully. It's like how Peter walked on water towards Jesus.
You can try and try in your own strength till the cows swim home, but you'll never walk on water for more than a second.

But if Jesus says to you and me, "Come," you'll do what all surfers have longed to do since the beginning of time. :)

I can't fully understand the transforming power of God. And why He can work so fast, and why He chooses to work so slowly sometimes.
He changed some part of me instantaneously when I became a new Christian, yet in other areas He chose to let me fight and struggle on, crawling and plodding through the mud.

Robert was telling me how he was sharing his testimony with a non-believer last night, over a pint of beer. (Because the non-believer had asked Robert out of curiousity how did Robert come to know Christ.) Robert was joking about how powerful his testimony was... he must have been getting drunk by then. LOL!

Oh dear God! I don't understand so many things. In fact, it seems the more I walk with You, the more I know how little I really know! But please teach me anyway and help me pass Your tests for me. =)

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Anger Again - but be gentle!

After that, I had a difficult time with someone very rude. Felt very angry, and in the calmest tone that I could say, I told the person, "Please shut the crap up."

Then I recalled one of the brothers' past examples, who responded to someone else who was acting in a judgemental spirit, how he responded so gently and kindly. And realised that I was doing wrong by being rude back to the rude person.

So am reflecting on this. How can I respond when I'm faced with someone who behaves in a very obnoxious way? My natural instinct is to be rude back to the other person... but...

"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing...

Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened."

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil."

Lord, help me be a better testimony... to be gentler and more gracious next time! In Jesus' name, amen!

Jaben, the Tiny Headphone Shop

Had a good dinner and very heartwarming time with Weizhu. Went with him after that at about 930 pm to Jaben, a shop in The Adelphi, level 4. It's a very very interesting and unique audiophile shop. But it doesn't look like a shop at first glance... but there were a few guys of various ages there, all enthusing about audio stuff and that. And happily munching away on toasted bread with butter and Marmite. Delicious!

From their blog, quoted verbatim:

Jaben is a store in Singapore.

Jaben is in The Adelphi mall, next to the Supreme Court near the City Hall station.

Jaben sells lots of headphones.

There are 2 strange blokes and hundreds of teddy bears in Jaben.

Gosh, it's really such a nice cozy corner... think I'll jio the other bros and sisters along next time. =) And the headphones are totally fantastic. :D Not to mention the tasty toast, butter and mmmMarmite. :)

Friday, September 7, 2007

Drops of Grace

Growing Pains

Met up with a dear bro (Dehua) for dinner before HopeKids service today. :)

Thank God for him - he encouraged me with these two verses - I want to write them down before I forget:

1 Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

and Romans 13:8
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

Shared with him that I had told Huaqiang that I didn't want to go for CG for two weeks, 'cos felt tired and needed a personal retreat and was very, very discouraged about some situations. But after praying and fasting the next day after telling HQ, felt God's peace and encouragement come upon me, and how God has been encouraging me this week in so many little ways, and how He has been graciously granting me a rest, a lull during these times.

So Dehua helped me see that what I'm going through now is normal - it's growing pains. He shared with me that these difficult experiences are a testing and refining of my faith, so that it may be proved genuine in the end. And he shared with me that university life, it being so much easier, is like a training exercise for the Real Thing. Whereas working life... is like a "live-firing" exercise.

Felt very encouraged, especially when he helped me see it more clearly from God's perspective.

And hee, thank God so much, I realised that I'm really responding much more differently and more sweetly than I did last time, when I faced a very similar set of problems back in the NUS ministry a few years ago. Wow. God really is so faithful. Thank God so much for His transformative grace! I can see how He's changing my heart to respond more and more sweetly with each cycle of refining that He's putting me through.

And dear Father, please help me pass well and cleanly this test that You've been putting me through and through for so many years. Hee... :P so that we can move on to newer things! :)

And am encouraged further, because even though my heart is weak (which is one reason why God has given me a lull, a period of rest and encouragement, during this difficult time of transitioning), that God is able to use even the weak-hearted to do strong things. :D

And the mustard seed of faith, the little initiative that we put in... "I planted the seed, [someone else] watered it, but God made it grow."

So two important lessons that I learnt during this difficult time, which will help me grow, are:
1. Become more outward-looking
2. Appreciate all the little drops of grace that God sprinkles into my life each day.

And... the power verse that this bro shared with me:
Romans 13:8
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.

He shared with me that loving one another is an on-going debt. And this debt of love, no matter how much love we pour into one another's lives and hearts, can never be fully paid off in this life. It is a continuing debt, one which we have no means to pay on our own. But! we can ask our Daddy in heaven to finance this continuing debt, to give us the love that we need to pour into others' lives.

And what a wonderful debt it is! To keep loving one another, and knowing that it'll never be enough this side of heaven. :D

This verse opened up my eyes because all along I've been thinking subconciously that I have a quota of love to fill up for each person in my life, and if I've done this and that, said this and that, written this and that, for this or that person, then I've paid off my "dues" to that person in a way.

But God corrected me, and taught me that it's not like that. It's every day. Wow...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Emailed to me by a dear friend: (what a great encouragement!)
Yeu Ann's To Do List

#1. Get some rest. Go on a proper holiday in the weekend, just the better part of one day in a place where you'll be able to feel at peace and centred on God again. Bring your Bible and a journal or a guitar or just go there to be. Sing song of praise and worship to God. Remember God. Talk to Him. Smile at Him. Watch Him smile back.

#2. Write more emails! It's a great outlet for thoughts, and it helps to maintain friendships. Especially since you like blogging so much. Emails are blogs to a person :p Plus the blog responds. Think there's lots of you that blesses other people - bless them and let them bless you in return! It's nice to come home to a letter or even just a note.

(So if you get a personal email from me one of these days, now you know why! :))
#3. Exercise. Play basketball with the brothers and sisters on Friday. Go jogging at Bishan Park. Clears the mind and refreshes the body.

#4. Clean up your room or laptop. Parts #3 and #4 come from a teaching that Zewei gave around 2005 or 2006 - to make sure your mind and your body are in good shape, so that you can tackle whatever's going on in your spiritual life. Mind, body, soul.

#5. Draw! Because your drawings actually look like drawings, which is a great talent! Make something nice for your caregroup. Or for the HopeTot kids for Children's Day. (That's on Oct 1, Minchen's birthday!)
Hee, thank God so much for Qiannuo. We had our first ever Bible reading in the ST canteen today. :) it was short, but thank God so much for his sweet heart. His questions and heart of wanting to find out more about the Bible... really, I have so much to learn from QN, how he sees the funny side of things in the Bible too. XD

And oh, very heartened by his SMS today. "Tomorrow QT?"

Yes, see ya there, bro. :) Same time same place.

Just think this Bible passage describes you very well, bro:
"I thank my God every time I remember you... I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Thank You so much dear Lord. For today's retreat, when I fasted and prayed this morning and lunchtime. Felt so tired, but You refreshed me when I was weary. I fell asleep during lunchtime, but still had 15 minutes to pray. and what a difference it made.

And how You encouraged and advised and corrected me in various ways today. Like that Bible verse Prov 23:7 i saw not once, but TWICE. and the book I'm reading now: "Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them."

And esp for Peter. :) How he cheered me up during shepping today, when i was still feeling v mel (sorry shep to be so moody many times... but you have lifted up my spirit many, many times :))

And what he shared with me:
"How are you going to make sense of all these?"

And after thinking thru, wow, I realised... after 5 years liao of NUS life and this Adults CG... i noticed that all the CGs You've placed me in are the quiet kind. Difficult, even.

And with Peter's guidance, I realised that You have been putting me right smack into circumstances where I really have to learn to relate with people outside my relational zone. How, when I was in the NUS East unit, I kept longing to make a Journey To The West. ;) I sound so much like Sun Wukong haha.

What Peter learnt in his Team Captain Course: "Don't see problems as obstacles; see them as OPPORTUNITIES!"

And his encouragement too: That God really wants to PROSPER me in every area of my life, including my relationships. That's why He's been constantly putting me into situations where I really have to stretch myself out of my usual cultural and social zones. How He has placed me smack right into the middle of very 'cheena' brothers and sisters. Wow. Daddy is doing all this, because He has plans to PROSPER me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future.

Wow... after 5 long years, now I see the full story (i think!). Because I just happened to look at my Decus Caliper personality profile after shepping. By nature, my sociability index and ego strength (something like self-esteem) is very, very low. (Though God has been good to me nevertheless - He's given me a very high empathy index too. :)) So now I see how God has been stretching me all these years to become much more sociable than i would be. And how He used me to touch lives, even though I feel utterly unworthy and inadequate at times.

Lives like Ruey Fong. Hee. Can't stop thinking about this dear bro. :) But oh no. I've not been praying for him... :( Lord, take care of him over there and help him keep on growing in his walk with You! all the days of his life! In JEsus name amen! :)

That which I am not, He makes me have,
And that which I have, He makes me give.

Like how He gave me the gift of encouragement, even though by nature I'm someone so easily discouraged. God is so so so good indeed! :D Amen and hallelujah!

Hee. So in a nutshell... actually, it's not about being sociable really. It's simply about becoming more outward-looking. As Peter pointed out to me, I can be not even too inward-looking... I'm being OVERLY inwards-looking.

So Lord, help me grow up in being more outward-looking. That's one thing that I believe You really, really want to transform me in, to show Your glory! :D Because Your Word has already and clearly promised, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW creation - the old has gone, the new has come!"

And I mustn't ever forget that beautiful truth! Amen! :D

Monday, September 3, 2007

Hmm, didn't make it in time for the morning QT. Felt disappointed again because it'll be quite a while before I can meet up this friend. But no looking back. Just learn from this mistake and move on again.

So had morning QT on my own instead. It was like drinking fresh water - which I hadn't for a long time. :) Thank You Lord.......

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Wow... I'm so amazed again. God is chasing me again. I checked my email, and saw this newsletter... (it's a study of the New Testament in Greek.)

And the word "fellowship" struck me. What's the coincidence of having two separate articles on the net talk about the same thing as what you've been thinking about?

Coincidence? Maybe... not. :)

Anyway I've pasted it here... hope it helps you too? :P

MAKROTHUMIA* - patience, longsuffering, forbearance - Part 1

Makrothumia is used to express a slow human reaction toward another human being or of God waiting long to bring judgment against man. It is helpful for the understanding of makrothumia to consider it in contrast to hupomone, which means a remaining under or endurance in circumstances.

As we will establish in this study, makrothumia is a necessity in Christian fellowship, as well as in ministry. This is because successful fellowship and ministry among Christians happens only when human reactions are under control. People need the ministry of God's Spirit, not the human reaction and opinions of others. This necessary control is brought about by the presence and ministry of God's Spirit. Our study this week, from Galatians 5:22-23, will focus on the source that produces long-suffering in the life of the believer.

It must first be noted that makrothumia, longsuffering or slow in human reaction, is produced by God's Spirit alone. It is not an ability possessed by a human being, nor is it the result of human effort. A person can exercise discipline to control the flesh, but he/she cannot duplicate the control of his/her reactions toward other persons for the purposes of God.

Galatians 5:22-23

22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love (agape), joy, peace, longsuffering (makrothumia), kindness, goodness, faith,
23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Just as Agape is present in mature believers, so must Makrothumia be present because each is an integral, inseparable part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and each is a component of the other (Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Corinthians 13:4). The successful effect of God's Spirit on others, whether that be simply in fellowship or in ministry, is accomplished only through their presence within the believer.

(Somehow when I read the word "component", I was immediately reminded of how my software engineering projects must be integrated in order to function fully and effectively. No matter how much we try to minimise the coupling between subsystems and components, there must come a point where there has to be integration for the whole thing to work with synergy. Where the whole is greater than the sum of its part. So it is with the fruit of the Spirit and the fellowship of the Body of Christ, the Church.)

Whether we, as mature believers, are emotionally up or down, whether we are angry with another or indifferent, God's Spirit keeps our fleshly reactions under control, enabling His Spirit to flow in fellowship and ministry.

And then i think God is correcting me here: "Do not quench the Spirit."

From Xinying's blog. Wow, thank God, it's very timely. :D Both paragraphs spoke to me. God is pursuing me too! And I've a testimony to share too...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007
2:35 AM

never underestimate the workings of God. and never ever think that your actions don't matter.
twice in a month i've experienced what it means to be used by God as a direct vessel. twice in this month i've seen how God's hands move to shift things into position even before we pray about/for it.
how wondrous.
oh btw, i re-realised another thing today:)
God pursues.
be careful. hahaa. the more you run away, the more He pursues.

Remember the lunch-time fellowship at my workplace that I mentioned? Well, this dear bro messaged me while I was on the way back, suggesting that we meet up for quiet time to read the Bible together tomorrow morning before we start work. And he's not been reading his Bible for ages, until last week, when I - after being prompted while reading the book of Acts - decided to initiate the lunchtime fellowship. That was a long time since he picked up a Bible verse.

And to be honest, I didn't know what God was going to do with this. Fear and uncertainty. But wow... God again proves His faithfulness - He is more than able to push our dreams beyond their wildest limits - and break through!

And now he's initiating the Bible reading. Wow... very encouraging. Especially after I felt so weak and useless. Thank You Jesus. :D All glory goes to You... thank You for his good heart too, for You. And I really pray help both of us grow in maturity and understanding as we read Your Word more and more.

I'm not sure what's going to happen next from here. But I think I'll make the decision to trust You to provide as I take step by step. I really don't know what's going to happen next. Scared, but please hold my hand, Jesus - I feel like I'm walking on water I think. Anything, as long as it draws me (and others) closer to You. Amen.


Some of my friends said that movie was not bad, ok... etc. etc. But I think, to someone with an open heart, Ratatouille is really one of the best movies that you can watch in your life. It's a very inspiring and hope-full movie. :D E.g. "Not everyone can be a great artist. But a great artist can come from anywhere." And such a beautiful soundtrack too! :)

That's why I like the movie so much... I shall watch it again, and again... I want to buy the DVD! Maybe I can use this as a teaching tool for my children in HopeTots... it has so many powerful messages based on Biblical principles. :)

Teacher's Day Reflections - and Looking Ahead

Sep 1 will always be a very precious day in my life. 'Cos that's the day two years ago, when I chose to turn back to God in my heart and to really seek Him.

And while still feeling mel, I decided to flip through the pages of my blog, and while reading the blog, I realised something. All the blog entries before 1 Sep 2005(save one) were pretty shallow and... somehow, just very surface. Self-centred, and smallish in a way. But 1 Sep 2005 was a turning point in my life. When God spoke to me so clearly at the nadir of my Christian life: "You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart, and I will be found by you."

It was so precious to me, because at that point in my life, I felt so useless and felt my life had no impact on anyone (except negative impact), and was mired in pride and insecurity and so many fears.

Then after Sijia's correction... and that precious verse from the Bible... somehow, I saw the pattern in my blog start changing. Somehow it felt like watching a flower bloom. All the fears in my heart started melting away, and without my even knowing it, the shadow of loneliness that constantly plagued me for so many years melted away in the light of His loveliness.

And some months after that, Weizhu wrote me one of the most beautiful cards that I'd ever received in my life. He wrote, "You've changed. What a truly sweet spirit you have..."

But it was never me all along... it was Christ's love and grace in my life. Hee...

Yah... I've seen how He has changed my life over the past 2 years... made me humbler, more teachable, sweeter...

It was the Spirit and the Word that set me free.

What a precious reminder to me again, that Christ really works in our lives. And after the MACHO Turbo brothers' affirmation for Edwin and me, when we graduated, I was so touched to realise how God used me to touch and encourage the lives of the younger ones in the ministry. And to even impart to them some biblical values. But actually... hee... it was their humble hearts that are willing to learn in the first place. So in the end, it is all God's credit and theirs. :)

Still, on a more sober note, I noted some cycles in my life that, up to now, still haven't been overcome. I'm still stuck at the same levels in some things... ok, make that many, many things. Because when one walks with a Holy God more and more, the more and more he realises how unholy he really is. But that is part of our salvation - if we never realise that we need to be saved in the first place, then we'll never treasure our salvation at all.

So I realised how much my relationship with God deepened and grew.

I think it's a very timely reminder... now I'm going through a new phase of life, and I realise I'm going through some same struggles that I struggled with two or three years ago... and gee, I'm so glad that God is giving me the same tests again, with two years' worth of practice and humbling, so that I can finally pass the same tests that I failed so many times over. So that we can go on to bigger and better things that Daddy has in store for me. :)

In the end, it's like what Remy the rat, in the wonderful movie Ratatouille said: "We have to decide for ourselves what we are going to be..." In the same way, we have to decide for ourselves what we want to be in life, because of Jesus. We decide. God provides.

Because God's grace is really more than we can ever imagine... friends really do drop from heaven... miracles really do happen under our very noses... strength to face and confront our fears really does come upon us... love and grace to forgive the people who hurt us most... truth and wisdom to speak into others' lives when they need to hear...

To be honest, I think I've slacked in some aspects of my life. QT I do on the bus and train, half-nodding off... I get distracted by a lot of things... more and more temptations come up... disappointments within and disappointments without...

And think one of the things I've slacked in is humility. I need to be more eager to learn, to have a sweet spirit again, a humble heart to ask for correction and advice... not just from men, but from God too.

And wisdom and maturity. That is something I really need to grow in for the years ahead. "Wisdom is supreme..." as the Bible tells me:
Proverbs 4:7
Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

And wisdom comes to those who are discerning, to those who are humble, hungry for the truth.

So I think... from today onwards, starting from 2 Sep 2007, I really want a breakthrough in wisdom. And love. And... ah... so many things to grow in...

Oh! I think God just reassured me just now. "Don't panic! Keep your focus on Me... keep your desire for Me central. Put Me in the centre, and everything else will fit into place. Peace I leave with you! My peace I give you... I am with you always. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for I will be with you wherever you go." :)

Hee hee... thank You so much Jesus... "So take me as You find me / All my fears and failures..."

And... Jesus, I just want to say Happy Teacher's Day. :D Thank You for being my Lord and my Teacher all these years. :) Hee... think not many people have said this to you? :P But thank You for loving me so much that You would teach me,... yes, even me, the slowest learner of them all. Thank You Jesus... You truly are the best Teacher! :)

Saturday, September 1, 2007


CG today was about friendships. The 9 Ts of friendships. Shall put it up soon. Reminded again about need for transparency.

Then after that, talked with HQ along the way. Shared with him about my melancholy and disappointment. HQ encouraged me with this word: "Persist!" He also went through the same discouragements as me before. :) Very encouraged by his words. About changing. Changing - we make the decision, but God gives us the strength.

There are times we want to change, but we forget that ultimately it is God who must provide us with the means to change.

And there are times we are not willing to change. That's when we need a good godly scolding to whack us upside-down.

As HQ mentioned, (to paraphrase him - sorry if I remembered wrongly) it's good if there are areas that are beyond ourselves to change. That's where God can really show His power to change us.

Ultimately it's about our decision to change and it's about God's strength to change us. That's where it all lies. The decision to change, the willingness, the desire. God looks at my heart, whether I want to change or not. And even though the change may take years, He will give me the strength to change.

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation - the old has gone, the new has come!"

I was very encouraged by Calyn's sharing with me at HQ on Thursday about how she sees how God has been changing her in various ways. :)


After that, Shawn and I talked over the phone. Very funny... both of us have been feeling melancholic for the past week. :) So it was a good time of sharing.

Argh. My dad asked me to go all the way down to the 4th level of the carpark to fetch something for him. Felt very unwilling to do so - I scowled - but I know that Jesus would have me be a servant. Gee. Thinking now about it... but anyway initially I said no, but decided to go anyway since it's a good thing to do.

So prayed to God to give me the strength to go up and help my dad pick up his stuff, even though I felt very unwilling. Obedience... dying to my sinful nature. And it was a tiring journey. I think... He helped me put a little more of my selfish nature to death that night. Still, there's a lot more of the sinful me to put to death, that Christ may live in more of me.

And I realised how that blessed my dad... and I also saw the groceries that he had carried all the way from the carpark to home. And I realised that my dad hadn't asked me to help him carry all those heavy bags back home.

Then I realised...


I think it's pruning time for me. Prune away my selfish nature, prune away my pride, prune away my impatience... so that I can bear more of the fruit of the Spirit. "...patience, kindness, goodness... faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

There are three levels of the fruit of the Spirit. From the context of the letter to the Galatians Christians, in which this verse is found, I think Paul was talking about relationships between Christians.

And I observed that the situations in which the 9 parts of the fruit of the Spirit become increasingly harder.

"Love, joy, peace..."
Love one another - and that means really loving others as yourself, even those who are nice to you. Joy even when you feel sad with others. Peace, when you feel like arguing.

"...patience, kindness, goodness..."
Patience, when people start stepping on your toes and getting onto your nerves
Kindness, even to those who behave rudely towards you.
To respond with goodness, even when people are bad to you.

"Faithfulness, gentleness and self-control..."
When you really feel like giving up on the other person, faithfulness calls for persistence and staying true to the other one.
Gentleness goes even higher... even when you are treated harshly, you respond with a gentle spirit. (I find that very hard to do, to respond in a gentle spirit. So I have a long way to grow in this area.)

And self-control? :) Let's just say that the other guy gets to live another day. :P

Hee. Just some thoughts. Correct me if I'm wrong.