Friday, February 29, 2008

TED 2008: How Good People Turn Evil, From Stanford to Abu Ghraib

A thought-provoking interview.

MONTEREY, California -- Psychologist Philip Zimbardo has seen good people turn evil, and he thinks he knows why.


He spoke with about what Abu Ghraib and his prison study can teach us about evil and why heroes are, by nature, social deviants.

Wired: Your work suggests that we all have the capacity for evil, and that it's simply environmental influences that tip the balance from good to bad. Doesn't that absolve people from taking responsibility for their choices?

Philip Zimbardo: No. People are always personally accountable for their behavior. If they kill, they are accountable. However, what I'm saying is that if the killing can be shown to be a product of the influence of a powerful situation within a powerful system, then it's as if they are experiencing diminished capacity and have lost their free will or their full reasoning capacity.

Situations can be sufficiently powerful to undercut empathy, altruism, morality and to get ordinary people, even good people, to be seduced into doing really bad things -- but only in that situation.

Understanding the reason for someone's behavior is not the same as excusing it. Understanding why somebody did something -- where that why has to do with situational influences -- leads to a totally different way of dealing with evil. It leads to developing prevention strategies to change those evil-generating situations, rather than the current strategy, which is to change the person.


Wired: You've said that the way to prevent evil actions is to teach the "banality of kindness" -- that is, to get society to exemplify ordinary people who engage in extraordinary moral actions. How do you do this?

Zimbardo: If you can agree on a certain number of things that are morally wrong, then one way to counteract them is by training kids. There are some programs, starting in the fifth grade, which get kids to think about the heroic mentality, the heroic imagination.

To be a hero you have to take action on behalf of someone else or some principle and you have to be deviant in your society, because the group is always saying don't do it; don't step out of line. If you're an accountant at Arthur Andersen, everyone who is doing the defrauding is telling you, "Hey, be one of the team."

Heroes have to always, at the heroic decisive moment, break from the crowd and do something different. But a heroic act involves a risk. If you're a whistle-blower you're going to get fired, you're not going to get promoted, you're going to get ostracized. And you have to say it doesn't matter.

Most heroes are more effective when they're social heroes rather than isolated heroes. A single person or even two can get dismissed by the system. But once you have three people, then it's the start of an opposition.

So what I'm trying to promote is not only the importance of each individual thinking "I'm a hero" and waiting for the right situation to come along in which I will act on behalf of some people or some principle, but also, "I'm going to learn the skills to influence other people to join me in that heroic action."

Just was so reminded of Psalm 1 and Proverbs, where it talks about training a child in the way he/she should go. And also Ecclesiastes that says, "Two are better than one... a cord of three strands is not easily broken." :D

And that's why I really believe in the importance and the value and potential in children's ministry. Because we don't just want to teach children to do good. We want to disciple them to BE good, to walk daily in the Word of God. So that they will rise up to be strong men and women of God who will take a stand together. That they will not be influenced by evil, but instead, to influence others to take a stand for God and the truth. So they may not lose their saltiness or hide their light for the Lord.

In short, men and women of God with real substance and strength of character for the last days who are willing to pay the full cost of discipleship. Not "tofu" Christians.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Why TV Sucks

Interesting reference to "Flowers for Algernon"... note the handwriting!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Isaiah 40:10-11
See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.

*pause* It's incredibly so touching. To feel a Mighty God marching down mountains of majesty, the ground resonating with every booming step of His. And hear the thunders rumble in fear, as the lighting genuflect at His feet. See the mountains throb with glee, spurting fire onto sky and sea. Smell the sweat of the seven seas as they twist, turn and flee - all before the coming of He.

And in the midst of all this trembling, groaning and quivering of creation itself... He sees a tiny trembling lamb in the middle of the valleys. And He stoops down to pick up this frail lamb, and He holds it close to His own heart.

Wow. With such a God like Him... =) how can you not love Him?

Everything That Has Breath [A Dance]

AWESOME! :D Psalm 150 in action!

This Is Not My Home

"I live here now. But this is not my home. How could it be?" spoke the elderly lady. "All over the world people got no home. Homeless people, refugees, paupers. We got no home. And when we do..."

This is a very beautiful video. And it left a lump in my throat. Watch and listen to this - once, and again. And I'm grateful to God that He gave me a home to be in - one on earth and one in heaven.


Currently am reading "Approval Addiction". I've been reading this book for a while already, but honestly, I really do recommend this book - especially for people who struggle with emotional stability and security. Really thank God for the author who wrote this book - it's very edifying!

Almost every chapter is packed full of biblical principles and very practical advice on how to overcome these struggles with insecurity. But not just that, what I read helped me understand better why I feel insecure.

Hee! I think God really may be answering my prayer for emotional maturity through this book - somehow every chapter helps me see the Bible with a better understanding... it's more than the author's good words - it's the Word that her words point to. And ultimately that is what really matters - putting the word into action.

On a deeper note, the past books that I've been reading: "How People Grow", "Boundaries" and "Approval Addiction" have helped me grow in a deeper understanding of the brokenness of people. And I realised that honestly, when Jesus sees broken people like you and me - He doesn't see us with angry blazing eyes, but rather, a heart overflowing with compassion. Because He knows that you and I are like sheep without a shepherd. Oh, how He longs to gather us and protect us, as a mother hen gathers its chicks under its wings! How He longs to lead us to rest in green pastures, beside the quiet waters, to restore our souls! And oh, how He longs to be our very God, and we, His very people, whom He loves!


Oh dear, I really want to type out everything I've learnt from this book, just to share with you, but I think I'll be flouting multiple copyright laws if I do that. *mutters to himself under his breath*

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Oh yes! Thanks so much Lord for this dear friend's SMS to me... it was a real surprise - totally out of the blue. But think it's very timely - especially the Bible verse that this friend messaged me:

Proverbs 27:19
As water reflects a face,
so a man's heart reflects the man.

It's especially encouraging because I believe it came as a reply to my prayer to God yesterday evening regarding some relationships that I've been working on to build.

And I think it came at the right timing, because my unit is moving to a new sub-district, with many new and unfamiliar faces. To be honest, I was praying and fasting last week, asking God for guidance where He wants me to go. It's very funny leh... the day before the announcement that my unit'd be moving to a new sub-d, I was telling God that wherever He'll call me to go, I'll go.

Was feeling a little worried, 'cos there's a lot of unfamiliar faces in the new sub-district. But again then, it only means one thing: that there's many more wonderful brothers and sisters to get to know! :D Amen and praise the Lord!

And wow, I do believe God did answer my personal prayer for guidance. I was thinking, does He want me to make my own choice here, or does He want me to wait upon Him for guidance? To answer my question, He encouraged me to seek Him for guidance, reminding me from Psalm 48:14: "For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end."

Through a series of events (esp some casual conversations with some brothers over the past few days), I think God's answer is increasingly clear here. :) Hee hee... and the interesting thing is, the sub-D I'm moving to is focusing on missions to Africa! Whee!

:D Hee... I'm thinking of signing up for the GoForth National Mission Conference soon... if you're interested in going too, let me know too - we could go together! I'm especially interested in the workshop about Social Enterprise... and Education... it's something that I feel a stirring in my heart for... to share and feed the next generation of children with the wonderfully and deliciously nutritious news of the Bread of Life - Jesus Christ! :D Yeah and Amen!
Just want to thank God for today :) And also for how He's been answering my prayers in very amazing ways.

Last week, I posted some prayer requests on Ps Jeff's blog. The first prayer was for me to grow in emotional stability. You know what? From last Wednesday, somehow God has been speaking to me through a Christian book I'm reading, a Bible verse: "and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one", and also prompting my heart to pray to Him daily to ask Him to grow me in emotional stability and security.

And the wonderful thing is, since that time, I find myself praying daily and constantly to God to help me guard my heart against negative thoughts and emotional insecurities. The miracle is, as one who is very prone to "approval addiction", other people's responses would affect me very much emotionally. But now they are affecting me less and less as I pray more and more to God.

I find that the peace of God that surpasseth all understanding is guarding my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus. Guard is the correct word here - the worries and anxiety of how people will see me - they do come, but now it's more like ... they are muffled now. Like how last time these negative thoughts and insecure ideas would bang so loudly on the doors of my mind that I would start panicking and be very affected. But now the "banging" is like them banging on increasingly stronger and thicker doors. Like trying to bang on solid oak doors - the thoughts are less and less overwhelming. And I have the quiet, gentle and assuring voice of the Holy Spirit reminding me that He who is in me is greater than the one who is in the world. That lends inner confidence to my soul.

Think that's a visual metaphor to describe how the healing of God is filling my mind even now. :) Hee hee! And as I abide in Him more and more, I find rest for my soul. No longer do I have to chase after people's approval - I've now found my place in His yoke, perfectly fitted and custom-moulded to what I am. "For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." And so I know that I can be all that God has made me to be, no matter how others will see me, no matter how imperfect I am - for every imperfection that is in me is yet another opportunity to showcase His perfection.

Thank You Daddy. It is indeed so sweet to see the salvation of the Lord being worked out in my life, and the lives of all who love You, who have been called according to Your purpose. In the beautiful name of Jesus, Amen.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

His Eye Is On The Mynah

Today on my way to church I saw a dead mynah on the ground. It lay on the grass, and it looked as if it had died about a day ago.

Tenderly textured in soft broken feathers. I wonder how it died. Was it knocked down by a car as it flew? How young was it? Or was it old?

I had a pet mynah before - about two years ago - ever since it was a baby chick. We helped train it to fly on its own. And interestingly enough, my maid said she saw this particular mynah hopping around - not flying - and approaching strangers, in a chirping noise, as though asking for food.

That sounded so much like our mynah. (I still miss it.) I wonder if that was our mynah now on the grass. Could it have been...?

Only God knows.

And at that point, it struck me that hundreds of mynahs fly and die in one day. And not one of them falls and lie on the grass without Him seeing.

And if I noticed the death of a little bird, how much more our heavenly Father notices our lives!
Matthew 10:29-31
29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
This reminds me of a very beautiful old song that I read about ten years ago, when I first became a Christian.

His Eye Is On The Sparrow
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me!


500GB for less than $200 - thank God!

Just want to share this testimony of what God has done for me today - feel very touched by His sheer kindness and the favour that He gave me:
  1. For the prayer that I prayed to God this morning - that if He doesn't mind, that He'll help me find this particular Seagate hard-disk model that has 500GB of space - for less than $200. 'Cos I need to backup a few computers at home... and also need the additional harddisk space for some upcoming ministry video production.
  2. Then I went to Sim Lim. Met Edmund there. We scouted around for The 500GB Hard Disk. To our surprise, seems like this model we wanted was so popular that the first few shops we went to had all the other models in this particular line of HDDs, except that one. "All sold out!"
  3. So prayed that we could find that model, 'cos Seagate's HDDs are really good in quality (5 years warranty ok!), and it's cheap (not more than $217).
  4. Eventually we found the hard-disk model. Price: $217.
  5. Searched again: $209.
  6. At that point, I said to Edmund: "I think can buy now..."
  7. Edmund: "No, let's keep looking around."
  8. Found this Maxtor hard-disk for $199. Wow! I remembered my prayer in the morning. But... still decided to look for the Seagate model some more.
  9. Finally we came to this shop at Level 5. "Best Bargain". I went in, took a look... and lo and behold, on the shelves were a few "FreeAgent 500GB" HDDs by Seagate... for the heaven-sent price of (drum-roll, followed by the clash of cymbals) one-hundred-and-ninety-EIGHT dollars. $198. I double-checked. Yup, in Singapore dollars!
  10. Gleefully hefted the Preciousss to the counter.
  11. Asked the cashier - "Does the price include GST?" He looked at me and said, "Including GST."
  12. Edmund said knowingly when he heard the price: "It's the lowest already. For this kind, can't go any lower."
Wow. Thank God so much. Thank God for Edmund. And thank God - so very touched that He cares even for something as minor and as tiny as buying something. Whatever we need, if we ask, He will provide! Amen! When Jesus came to show us what the Father really was like, one of the ways that He showed us was to point to how the Father so lavishly fed cheap sparrows and watered perishable flowers.

:D "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!"

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Vegetarian Presbyterians and Amen Street

Two taxi drivers on two different days:

Driver #1 drives past a church with a sign saying Presbyterian Church.
"How do you say that word... Presbiterian... you know, that word?"

"Pres-bit-ter-rian. You pronounce the 'y' as 'i'."

"Oh! Pres-bit-er-rian? That sounds a lot like 'vegetarian'! Hahaha!"

Driver #2, as I alight at Bible House, 7 Armenian Street, points to the signboard and says: "B-I-B-L-E... how you say it?"


He nods his head, and indicates the "Armenian Street". Making the sign of the cross, he queries: "Amen Street?"

"No, no, uncle... it's Armenian Street."

"Ah! Amen Street!"

"No lah uncle... Ah-Men-Nian... not Amen!"

"Amen Street! I see don't know how to pronounce!"

We break out into laughter.

A Bouquet of Thanksgiving!

Linguistic skills? Really meh? Thought my style is very plain words... just keep on using "hee" and "wow" and "thank God"... :P

But yeah, thank God for His grace... i do believe He has given me this strength in writing stories... 'cos i really loved to write stories back in primary school and kept on aceing my essays in writing competitions... and i always love to read a good story. =)

Hee! feel heartwarmed and encouraged by this friend's comment... whatever glory comes from this, it goes to You, Lord! Like how Corrie Ten Boom, whenever she received some praise for the day, she would, in a very childlike heart, kneel down at her bed, and lift these praises that she had received, to her Heavenly Daddy as though she were giving Him a bouquet of flowers: "This is for You, Lord!"

A Bouquet of Thanksgiving! Flowers of joy, of goodness, of peace, of love, of hope, of faith... there are so many flowers today that we can give God! What kind of flowers? As many as the flowers of the field, of the earth, of the galaxy! For each and every one of our lives are like flowers unto Him... tremulously frail, yet terribly sweet in His eyes.

"For all men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
The grass withers, and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever."

What do I have, that is not Yours? Or what can we give, that You have not given?
All we have are these lives, and that's what we give to You Lord.

Lord I offer my life to You
Everything I've been through
Use it for Your glory
Lord I offer my days to You
As a pleasing sacrifice...

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Little Girl Sings Indescribable

Oh my God... it's so beautiful, both the song lyrics and the little girl's simple and sweet melody!

Edited to add:
From Hong Teck's take on this video - felt it's so meaningful I want to share this with everyone who reads this:
What I like about this video is that, she’s 4 years old who sings like a 4 year old. A song that is not dumb down but to her ability and expressed like a child, not an adult.

There’s more to kid’s spirituality that mets the eye because we can unconsciously impose adult-like spirituality as standards for kids. While we like what we see in this one, this video shows us just a glimpse of kids spirituality.


Outwardly they may jump around and appear distracted, but kids has their way of expressing it. It may not be the way we expect them to. We have a lot to learn about our spirituality as children of God. Lessons in authenticity, trust and a soft heart.

Seriously, we really must never look down at the childlike faith and simple-hearted trust of a little child. God knows that we have so much to learn from them. Literally.

If we think them as just cute but not really much to learn from, we are not seeing them as the Lord Himself sees them. And that is not right. Because the Lord Himself admonished the disciples - including you and me:
"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Something that touched me a lot last time, was when I was helping out in HopeTots one Sunday. Pastor Ben happened to be passing through the room to attend to other duties. As he made his way through the flock of children, I saw him quietly laying a hand on each one of their heads and whispering a silent prayer for each one of them. And that little act felt so much like what Jesus Himself would do. :D

As I was reading 1 Samuel, I saw how Samuel grew up, a little boy as the Bible notes, ministering before the Lord in his little ephod. Yes, he WAS cute in his little linen tunic, but he was ministering before the Lord too. Never, never, never ever underestimate the power of God to use a little child to teach us "grown-ups". For we are really all children before God.

Children are truly a great blessing from God - not only for parents, but for all who will stop to look and learn. May we always learn to grow more childlike in heart as we grow older in body each day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Something funny that I read just now...

For the record, I did not create this topic. -- top

Nor did I. -- bottom

Don't look at me. -- middle

You guys are making my sides hurt. -- side

Let Me Pray With You…

Hi dear bros and sisters, Pastor Jeff is offering to pray for whatever prayer requests we have. Do drop a prayer need/request on his blog (anonymously if you want)!

During the worship services, it is difficult to have the time to pray for many of you. So what I want to do in this entry is to ask you to let me have your prayer requests and needs. I will set aside time on Wednesday (20 February) at around noon to pray with you.

If you are comfortable about it, you can make your prayer points as specific as possible and even leave me your actual name. If not, just leave your initials (real or otherwise in a not so obvious way).

Either you are from Singapore or anywhere in the universe, I will pray along with you.

Boasting about my weaknesses

After reading a post by another friend just now on standing firm, I realize that often, we're ashamed to boast of our weaknesses. Thank God for this friend - realised even though she struggles with emotional stability (like me), she still takes a childlike delight in learning from her emotional experiences! :) Very inspired by her childlike attitude of learning from others even when she's down. Thank God for you, sis, your actual sphere of influence extends far beyond what you think it is!

This point struck me again (as it has been appearing to me again and again and again for the past three or four days - I kid you not)...
Paul is another funny guy. Paul boasted about his weaknesses! The list is so long, I was very impressed. And the weirdness thing was that he did not complain about it or pity himself, like I would. I would go, "why am I so unlucky. why do bad things keep happening to me. God, what are you doing. Why didn't you prevent these bad things from happening?"

Wow! :) Boasting about my weaknesses... it does take humility to be willing to look like a fool so that Christ's power may be magnified.

It's like a little boy pushing an extremely rock... and his dad helps him carry it...

The proud little boy will say, "I did it all by myself!"

The humble little boy will say, "My Daddy helped me carry it! See how strong my Daddy is!" :)

Hee! Wouldn't it bring a smile to my Daddy's heart, just to hear these words?

Thank You Lord... for these few days of emotional consolidation. Oh God... I do want to grow more and more in the joy of Your salvation every day! :)

And now, Lord, let these words translate into good deeds that please You.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Lord, help me stay cool and not panicky, when things go wrong and my teammates want to know what happened - esp when there's a delay bcos of the machine problem.

Something I learnt from reflecting is that a simple case of explaining factually and objectively the problems will simply reassure and help my teammates understand. Stay calm, YA. Don't lose yer head... even tho IT's the most stressful profession haha. :P

Blog Post from Pastor PK of Hope London

I read this email (also as a blog post) from Pastor PK, who is pastor of our sister church, Hope London. (I've bolded the part that think is particularly relevant to us young working adults.)
The Archbishop Rowan Willaims, Head of the 80m Anglican Communion worldwide, provoked outrage when he suggested on February 7th that the adoption of elements of Islamic sharia law in Britain was "unavoidable". This underminded further his authority in trying to bring unity to the Communion which has been divided over the issue of homosexuality between the liberals and the conservatives in the Communion.

This also weakens the position of the state church which has been seen by the increasingly secular Britain as privileged yet irrelevant. By trying to extend religious rights that Christians enjoy to the Muslims, it actually upsets the secularists further. They are already calling for a smaller official role of the church in Britain. At present 25 bishops sit in the House of Lords.

I personally believe that Christians have to find their voice in society like anyone else, without any advantage over non-Christians. To demonstrate our faith and the greatness of our God, we have to reflect God's greatness in our lives. This means that Christians have to raise the bar in our performance in the classroom or in the workplace, wherever God puts us. There is a greater need for us to shine for Jesus in the world in order to attract people unto Him. Whilst the classroom continues to be a fertile ground for harvest, I believe that the marketplace is where the biggest battle for souls is fought. The challenge is immense; serving God, not money. The key is living out the Gospel with the help of God.

I count myself privileged to be playing this dual role of serving in the church and actively engaging people in the world (in the marketplace). Christians can no longer afford to be marginalised and silenced in the market place. Our voice should become louder and louder based on merits; and actions speak louder than words. When people in the world, who are seeking the truth, see Christians succeeding by living out Jesus' principles, they will be attracted to Jesus. The Word of God in [Prov 29:2] "When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice...." will come true. [read more...]
It gave me pause, 'cos given my natural personality, to be honest, I very much prefer to go along with the majority opinion... to lie low if there's public debate and battle among the Christians and the secularists ('cos I've been of the opinion that church and state should be separated.) 'Cos Jesus said to Caesar's representative, "My Kingdom is not of this world..."

But after reading this post, and thinking back to our Sub-D vision again, and remembering one bro's anger at how the (pathetic) movie "The Mist" portrayed Christianity in a very ridiculous and untrue light, think I understand better now. It's really about character in the marketplace... and godly character will bring about God's success God's way. Our role is simply to be ambassadors for Christ, in word and in deed; let His light shine off us, into the world around us.

Still thinking how I can apply this here in my own life.
Thank You also for KS who came for service today. :) And that he was really touched by the New Testament I gave him... esp since he doesn't have a Bible at home.

Thank You for sending him along... and for using someone like me.

Thank You for Your grace, testing me and putting me through moments of insecurity... knowing that You are training me to be more and more secure in You.

And thank You so much for Yanjie's looking-out for me. :D Felt very touched by his thoughtfulness... and I learnt a very practical thing about caring for your friends from his example that day. (And a deeper understanding of what caused me to make the decision to sulk in my insecurity, worrying frantically in my heart what others will think of me for "disappearing" even though I had told someone else in advance...) instead of deciding to have a Christlike attitude... ah! another time, the test will come again...

Thank You also for the sermon today - it was really very meaningful... the yoke... You are alongside me! :) that You pull the yoke together with me.

Thank You for the soccer match today, and how You helped me have the right spirit... for Jason's great spirit, that inspired me too to give my best... and I know that You see my heart, even though I lack skill.

Thank You esp for Huaqiang's helping me (tog with what You spoke to me in prayer a few days before) understand that my expectations regarding my CG have to be adjusted... about having new "wineskins" in the Adults ministry ...

And thank You for helping me understand today that even though the "wineskins" in Adults ministry is very different from the students ministry... the motivation behind the different approaches and structures is one and the same: Love God and love His people. =)

And thank You for putting thoughts of goodness into my mind, thoughts such that You enabled me to be happy once more, and to really have a good time with the other bros and sisters... and now, I find freedom to care much more for my CG... what a freedom it is, when you finally understand... it frees you to really give without any expectations of receiving in return... truly, Jesus, as You said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." AMEN! :D
Dear God, You really are very concerned about the world, and You really want the world to be blessed, especially in coming to know You, and Your one and only Son. Yet there are hearts that will not accept Your love or trust You or even hate and reject You.

And yet You send the rain upon both the righteous and the wicked, and even upon those who don't know You yet, you satisfy their desires with good things and fill their hearts with joy.

And for all those who desire to know who You truly are, regardless of race, language or religion... not what their cultures or religions have taught them... You have always promised that those who seek You with all their hearts will find You, and You WILL be found by them.

I'm so amazed at Your heartbeat for people... when You came down as a man, You didn't have to meet our physical needs, yet You came and turned water into wine... You healed the sick... You fed the multitudes... You came to give peace and healing to the mentally insane and spiritually tormented and the emotionally wrecked people... You came to teach us how life really works, about loving our neighbour as ourselves, be it friend or foe.

And You came to exercise justice for the downtrodden, the oppressed, the poor and the helpless. You are their Defender, and the Judge of all the earth.

I'm so amazed at Your sheer goodness and love for all peoples on the earth...

And just before You left this world to go back to the Father, You told us to spread the good news to all the peoples of the earth... to teach them to love You and love one another...

Dear Father, I pray in Jesus' name, please help me grow, that my love may increase in knowledge and depth of insight... a wiser love... a deeper understanding... that i can be good... and do good too, to bring glory and praise to You, Lord! :)

Mmm! People do want to help make this world a better place... but only You have the power to make the hearts of men a better place. And when the hearts of men are right, the world will become one heart brighter at a time... one less evil person, one more good person. =)

Thank You also for giving me this wonderful calling to minister to children, and the blessing of this job too as a software engineer. 'Cos through these skills and talents You have given me, I know that (maybe this is one way) I can help teach useful skills to children... to help train them in IT skills, which is now so important in any economy... and to tell them about the love of God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

To be used by God to help fill people's stomachs, minds and souls. =) Isn't it so exciting to think of what the Lord can do through you and me, each in his/her unique way, to make this world a better place? :)

In Jesus' most precious name, amen!

God's Eternal Ink and The Last Lecture

Read a transcript of Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture... here's a video of the Last Lecture with English/German subtitles.

Then read this poem from Shuyi's blog... it's a very thought-provoking and heart-stirring poem indeed!

Together, these two articles made me pause and think: How do we live a life that truly counts in God's eyes? And how will we know that we're on the right track?

Then to help myself answer these two questions... I'm thinking of what the Bible says about this...

Friday, February 15, 2008


Was walking home from work (yes, I'm that fortunate haha... XD thank God!) just now, and was reflecting on today's experiences. One of the experiences that I had today was that of reformatting a computer to ensure a stable installation of some complex software.

Then the word "old wineskins" came to mind. And some accompanying memories too. Think God is telling me that I need to let Him renew my mind, to be "made new in the attitude of my mind."

And I remember that I have certain mindsets that hold me back from being effective for God. From time to time I breakthrough, but slowly after that I slide back into my old ways. Like how a pristine computer, when you first get it, is so fast and so new. But as it accumulates more junk and software and spyware, etc... it becomes extremely slow and sometimes, even useless.

Thus! There comes the time when you simply must stop everything you're doing and strip the computer back to basics. Back to its original factory-fresh state. Unhindered, uncorrupted.

Reminds how back two years ago, God really helped me breakthrough in relationships. And He really saved me from a major lie in my mind that I'd been listening to - and how it was ruining my life. It was so wonderful - my CL and some of the brothers and sisters testified how different my spirit was.

And one of the sweetest and most amazing things was that He took away this continual sense of loneliness that'd been plaguing me for many years. He took it away so completely that I never even knew it was gone - that's the way Jesus can really satisfy your heart and mind so completely and fully that "the former things shall not be remembered, nor will they come to mind." (Isaiah 65:17b) And it's not merely metaphorical - God really was speaking literally when He said those wonderful words!

But as time passed by after that major breakthrough, I let my insecurities and the same old lies start creeping back in. And to be honest, the Enemy reminded me again and again of my old past, and I started getting very discouraged. (Forgive me, Pa, for allowing the devil to remind me again of my past... I should be reminding him of what You say about his future!)

But again, God is so faithful. He sent me people to remind me of the truth that has set me free. So I got up again. And so on and so forth. But right now, I see some things from the past being repeated again, and the old cold loneliness starting to creep in again. But thank God for His grace, reminding me to guard my heart here - because it is for freedom that Christ has set me free. So stand firm then and do not let myself be burdened again by a yoke of slavery!

So likewise, after reinstalling Windows, I also must reapply again the service packs - from service pack 1 to service pack 2 (and eventually to service pack 3). And reapply all the relevant updates.

Same goes for my walk with God. Even after being renewed, I need to sharpen again and refresh and renew my knowledge of God, renew my first love for Him, renew the truths and upgrade my spiritual "service packs" that help protect me from Satan's "viruses and spyware" that continually assault my mind. To double-check the "firewall" of God's Word, to make sure I haven't dropped my guard and accidentally allowed any "security breaches" that allow Satan's devastating deceptions to come in and destroy my mind.
Galatians 5:1
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Children of a Lesser God

Children of a Lesser God

For the offspring of a science deity, the legacy is more burden than blessing.

by Michele Zackheim

Cults of historians, scientists, and everyday people persist in idolizing Albert Einstein. For his family, though, the name Einstein has cast a long, complicated, and difficult shadow. Today the two living grandchildren and five living great-grandchildren are weary of being hounded by Einstein worshippers and weary of trying to live up to the unprecedented achievements of their ancestor. They struggle to live private lives, well distanced from his fame, and they have succeeded: The most notable aspect of the Einstein descendants is how nearly invisible they are.

Even in anonymity, though, there is no escaping the family legacy. Albert Einstein, a man of remarkable insights, was also a man of many serious flaws. His quixotic behavior and strained personal relationships loom menacingly over his descendants. Today the Einsteins are a fractured family. [read more...]

Very thought-provoking... a lot of people regard Einstein as a great, great man.... but in God's eyes, what does He consider as true greatness?

  1. Psalm 37:25
    I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

  2. Psalm 103:17
    But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children-

  3. Proverbs 13:22
    A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.

  4. Proverbs 20:7
    The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind when you die?

C.S. Lewis observed that in one of Shakespeare's plays, the main characters take up most of the plot, but their lines are rotten, filled with deceit, betrayal and murder. In comparison, there is a minor character with only one line - and he is an unnamed servant.

But what a line! When he witnesses the main characters mocking, shaming and ganging up upon his betrayed master, he will not stand for such injustice. He takes out his sword, jumps in to defend his lord, and is instantly stabbed to death. But that unnamed servant will forever stand out among his corrupt contemporaries for that one sole act of courage.

How it is with our own lives too. Our lives may be very ordinary and we may not be superheroes. Never mind. The true legacy of one's life is not what it has attained for itself, but rather, what it leaves behind in others.

As someone said, "One can tell the size of a ship by the kind of wake it leaves behind."

Valentine's Day Tips (Good for All-Year Round)

From Hong Teck's (aka Rags) blog:
Rags' Valentine's Day Tip #1: How To Maintain A Great Marriage
Rags' Valentine's Day Tip #2: How To Look For A Life Partner
Rags' Valentine's Day Tip #3: How To Love Yourself

Making Your Own Recovery CDs

Realized I had to make my own Lenovo Thinkpad Recovery CDs... because now this laptop doesn't come with one! (So silly of Lenovo.)

But anyway... if you have an Lenovo/IBM Thinkpad, do create your own recovery CDs asap.

Happy Feb 14th! :)

What, you thought I was going to say "Valentine's Day" or "Friendship Day"?


But thank God for friends indeed. :)

Had a good time catching up with one of my coursemates from NUS. Actually, it's very interesting - we are both hearing-impaired.

Something that struck me: it's very fascinating watching how he interacts with me, because it feels like I'm seeing an external version of myself interacting with me. External in the sense of personality and social skills. Which is a invaluable learning experience.

Oh yes. I was also inspired by the reflective contemplative of The Naked Soul's blog that I came across from Andrew's blog. (it really is a very enriching and thought-provoking blog), it made me think about today. Today. What did I learn from today? And what can I learn from my experiences? How can I know God better today, using the Bible as my lens to see the world around me?

Think I'd starting doing that back a few years ago, but I've slacked in my reflecting and thinking deeper till then. To learn to see God in more and more things of my life.

A Heart That Sees. :) So nice. Like how Proverbs tells us to learn from nature, from people, from incidents, even from ruins, etc.

So Lord, help me see how Today, Feb 14th, is the day that You have made. And let me rejoice and be glad in it. Through the grace and wisdom of Christ, I pray amen.


As I sat in the park, praying silently with eyes open, I saw a pair of old lovebirds strolling around. How sweet. Valentine's Day, and their romance is still new.

And as I sat at the cafe with my friend, chatting, I observed many tender young couples strolling around with pretty flowers. The sweet aroma of young love.

But how many of these young couples grow to be old couples? Will they be like the pretty flowers that last only a few days, or will they be like the strong trees that endure as long as life itself?


After I finished praying in the park, I walked to the train station. And was thinking, even though I'm single, I'm very grateful to God for the friends He has given me. Thankful especially for the blessings of Peter and Kin Wee who "accompanied" me on MSN through the week. Just really blessed by their company.

And I was thinking, isn't the friendship of God even better than these? We say, what a friend we have in Jesus... so have we really accepted the friendship of God that He extended through Jesus, his Son?

Have we today felt the comfort of His presence? The delight of talking with Him through prayer? The renewed assurance and living hope that He gives us daily?

He does, He does. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; for as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

But there's another side to this coin... are we His friends? It is possible for a friendship to be non-mutual... after all, you and I can share experiences where you felt very close to that person, but the person didn't feel close to you.

Truth is, Jesus Himself said, "You are my friends if you do what I command." (emphasis mine) I can't find a way around this statement of His - He puts it so bluntly. Jesus isn't a people-pleaser - He is Lord after all - and He knows it perfectly well.

9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. 11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17This is my command: Love each other.

But why does He want us to show our love to Him through obeying His commands? Doesn't that sound like... a servant rather than a friend?

Hmm. I think the Lord wants to show us a deeper insight into what real and true friendship is. Friendship is more than feeling loved. Friendship with God means we have to love those whom He loves. I read from John Ortberg's Love Beyond Reason, that in Greco-Roman times, if one claimed to be a friend of someone, then he was expected to be a friend of his friend's friends and an enemy of his friend's enemies. So same with our friendship with God.

And friendship involves openness. One very good measure of friendship is how open we are to one another.

Friendship with God. What an awesome thing if He said that we are His friends indeed! :) We can count on God, but will He be able to count on you and me to be obedient and loyal to Him? It is possible to be a close friend of the King of Kings... even though we are still subject to His authority, we'll be able to relate to one another as friends. Like how Abraham interceded with God over Sodom and Gomorrah... "haggling" might be a better way to put it. :)

Friendship with God. It's a mind-blowing thing indeed! :)

May you have a happy Friendship Day each day of your life!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Reading my study Bible now. Argh! I just remembered... I missed the registration deadline for Old Testament Survey Bible sem. Maybe I should give it a shot anyway. Paiseh. :P

Reflecting on my character and heart responses using Saul's life as a mirror. Two things that caught my eye... how Saul responded proudly and acted "spiritually" in the midst of his successes. And how he responded emotionally when told by Samuel that God would take his kingdom away from him. His insecurity exploded to the surface, and he blubbered like a little boy, (literally) grabbing at Samuel's robe as he walked away.

Oh my God. I realised that my heart's natural response, if God were to rebuke me like this... I will respond in the same way like Saul. Not like Eli the high priest, who, when the young Samuel had to tell him the bad news that God would punish his family line for his failure to stop his corrupt sons from exploiting the people... he humbly replied, "He is the LORD, let Him do what is good in his eyes."

Wow. Eli's flawed but noble heart. (Though at the end of his life, my study Bible comments that Eli may have become too fixed on the ark of God, a religious symbol representing God's presence, rather than on the actual presence of God.)

And. Samuel's classic rebuttal to Saul's increasingly lame excuses:
"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams."

When I thought about this verse, and what does it reflect on my life... think the Lord is telling me that He may be happy when I serve in, say, a major event or do some really impressive multimedia to serve the church...

But you know what makes Him REALLY happy? Delighted?

It's when I choose to control my temper at home... it's when I choose to have a cheerful, uncomplaining heart to help my mum at home with the computer instead of grumbling in my heart when she calls me for the umpteenth time. It's when I choose to obey His word to take captive my thoughts... to think true, noble and lovely thoughts towards those around me instead of being judgemental...

It's when i decide to delight in His words...

It's not how much time I spend praying... but my heart's attitude when I pray. Do I eagerly await to listen to His voice, to wait for His reply - or His commands, whatever it may be?

*still thinking*

oh! :P i keep forgetting. looking through my study Bible notes... "Was Samuel saying that sacrifice is unimportant? No, he was urging Saul to look at his reasons for making the sacrifice rather than at the sacrifice itself."

Ah. My heart's motives. Pray to God to give me the right motives.

You Can't Delegate Hope.

Extracted from John Ortberg on Hope Management
Optimism is the one responsibility no leader should delegate.

The church is in the hope business. We of all people ought to be known most for our hope; because our hope is founded on something deeper than human ability or wishful thinking. Martin Luther King was fond of citing Reinhold Niebuhr's distinction between hope and optimism. Optimism believes in progress; that circumstances will get better. Hope, however, is is built on the conviction that another reality, another Kingdom, already exists. And so hope endures when hype fades.

And yet, even ministry can be hope-draining. Churches can become places of cynicism, resistance, and pessimism. Spiritual resistance, my own sinfulness, and the sheer gravitational pull of the status quo can drain away the power to dream. Both hope and pessimism are deeply contagious. And no one is more infectious than a leader.

For this reason I've realized that I must learn the art of hope management. I must learn about the activities and practices and people who build hope, as well as the activities and practices and people who drain hope.

When I looked back at my old journals it came as a surprise to me how often they were simply chronicles of failure. I would write down how I felt inadequate as a pastor, incompetent as a dad, and not-all-that-great as a Christian in general. These weren't so much confessions with absolution and forgiveness; they were vague general expressions of discouragement that left me more discouraged. They were the opposite of what David did when he "encouraged himself in the Lord." I was "discouraging myself in the Lord."

So now I try to steward my hope; not by avoiding thinking about my sin, but trying to confess it, learn from it, and live in the reality of newness and grace. I have identified people in my life who breathe energy and hope into me, and I try to get large doses of time with them—especially on Mondays.

Psychologist Martin Seligman, though not religious himself, notes that not only does faith produce hopeful people, but more robust faith produces more robust hope. For all the great hopers are mystics. And long before FDR said we have nothing to fear but fear itself, a great hoper known as Julian of Norwich sang her song from the depths of the Black Plague-infested fourteenth century:

But all shall be well,
And all shall be well,
And all manner of things shall be well…
He did not say, "You shall know no storms, no travails, no disease,"
He said, "You shall not be overcome."

You can't delegate hope.

Thank God for this timely, beautiful article. :) Oh... *strokes chin* Hope! Is that why God sent me to this wonderful church called Hope?

I think God has a far better sense of humour than I give Him credit for!

And confidence that arises from hope, which in turn arises from faith in God. As I shared last time, confidence is the outwards expression of my faith in a great God.

And hope is the God-given anchor for our souls, one that keeps us steady in the stormy seas of life. Or as the older Malays would like to say, "Friend, jangan tension lah... relac! Don't be scared lah... Maintain balan! Ah... that's the spirit!" :)

I think I need to grow in hope. So! :) A Heart of Hope it is.

Edited to add:
Oh! Hmm... "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for."

And St. Paul wrote: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love..."

Hope. Why does hope make it into the top three Christian virtues? It suggests that hope is distinct from faith, and yet not separate.

Think all these three virtues are interlinked... seems like a trinity of sorts! :)

From Merriam-Webster:
intransitive verb
1: to cherish a desire with anticipation
2 (archaic) : trust
transitive verb
1: to desire with expectation of obtainment
2: to expect with confidence : trust

1 a: allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty
b(1): fidelity to one's promises
(2): sincerity of intentions

2 a(1): belief and trust in and loyalty to God
(2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion

b(1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof
(2): complete trust
3: something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

1 Cor 13:13 (Amplified Bible)
And so faith, hope, love abide [faith--conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

INFP Personal Growth

Thank God for His help with today's debugging session. :) Thank God today was a very smooth and relaxed day. And thank God for the good quiet time today... how I need His presence in my heart every moment.

Anyway! I was musing about that INFP personality thingy, and decided to find out more...

INFP Personal Growth
This part caught my eye:

INFPs who have developed their Extraverted iNtuition to the extent that they can perceive the world about them objectively and quickly will find that they enjoy these very special gifts:

  • They will have a great deal of insight into people's characters. They will quickly and thoroughly understand where a person is coming from by assessing their motives and feelings. These well-developed INFP individuals make outstanding psychologists (such as Isabel Briggs Myers herself) and counselors. They might also be great fiction writers, because they're able to develop very complex, real characters.
  • They will quickly understand different situations, and quickly grasp new concepts. They will find that they're able to do anything that they put their mind to, although they may not find it personally satisfying. Things may seem to come easily to these INFPs. Although they're able to conquer many different kinds of tasks and situations, these INFPs will be happiest doing something that seems truly important to them. Although they may find that they can achieve the "mainstream" type of success with relative ease, they are not likely to find happiness along that path, unless they are living their lives with authenticity and depth.
  • The INFP who augments their strong, internal value system (Introverted Feeling) with a well-developed intuitive way of perceiving the world (Extraverted iNtuition) can be a powerful force for social change. Their intense values and strong empathy for the underprivileged, combined with a reliable and deeply insightful understanding of the world that we live in, creates an individual with the power to make a difference (such as Mother Teresa - an INFP).
Pondered a while about it, and realized that God has been sending me brothers who have pushed me to be more objective in my judgements. And that people have been helping me train myself to be more aware of my surroundings. In other words, to train me to be more objective and quick in my perception of my situations.

Actually, to be honest, I'm quite weak in this area - so I think I'm falling short of God's potential for me here. Oh! You know, Shuyi is someone I look up to as a role model - think we both have very similar personalities - but she looks much, much more outward beyond her own world, which shows in the way she writes on her blog.

As compared to mine.

Which goes on to my weaknesses. Ah. I'll just copy wholesale. (The problem areas below, wah. All of them fit me to a T!)

Potential Problem Areas

With any gift of strength, there is an associated weakness. Without "bad", there would be no "good". Without "difficult", there would be no "easy". We value our strengths, but we often curse and ignore our weaknesses. To grow as a person and get what we want out of life, we must not only capitalize upon our strengths, but also face our weaknesses and deal with them. That means taking a hard look at our personality type's potential problem areas.

INFPs are rare, intelligent, creative beings with many special gifts. I would like for the INFP to keep in mind some of the many positive things associated with being an INFP as they read some of this more negative material. Also remember that the weaknesses associated with being an INFP are natural to your type. Although it may be depressing to read about your type's weaknesses, please remember that we offer this information to enact positive change. We want people to grow into their own potential, and to live happy and successful lives.

Most of the weaker characteristics that are found in INFPs are due to their dominant Feeling function overshadowing the rest of their personality. When the dominant function of Introverted Feeling overshadows everything else, the INFP can't use Extraverted iNtuition to take in information in a truly objective fashion. In such cases, an INFP may show some or all of the following weaknesses in varying degrees:

  • May be extremely sensitive to any kind of criticism
  • May perceive criticism where none was intended
  • May have skewed or unrealistic ideas about reality
  • May be unable to acknowledge or hear anything that goes against their personal ideas and opinions
  • May blame their problems on other people, seeing themselves as victims who are treated unfairly
  • May have great anger, and show this anger with rash outpourings of bad temper
  • May be unaware of appropriate social behavior
  • May be oblivious to their personal appearance, or to appropriate dress
  • May come across as eccentric, or perhaps even generally strange to others, without being aware of it
  • May be unable to see or understand anyone else's point of view
  • May value their own opinions and feelings far above others
  • May be unaware of how their behavior affects others
  • May be oblivious to other people's need
  • May feel overwhelmed with tension and stress when someone expresses disagreement with the INFP, or disapproval of the INFP
  • May develop strong judgments that are difficult to unseed against people who they perceive have been oppressive or suppressive to them
  • Under great stress, may obsess about details that are unimportant to the big picture of things
  • Under stress, may obsessively brood over a problem repeatedly
  • May have unreasonable expectations of others
  • May have difficulty maintaining close relationships, due to unreasonable expectations

Explanation of Problems

Nearly all of the problematic characteristics described above can be attributed in various degrees to the common INFP problem of only taking in data that justifies their personal opinions. INFPs are usually very intense and sensitive people, and feel seriously threatened by criticism. They are likely to treat any point of view other than their own as criticism of their own perspective. If the INFP does not learn how to deal with this perceived criticism, the INFP will begin to shut out the incoming information that causes them pain. This is a natural survivalistic technique for the INFP personality. The main driver to the INFP personality is Introverted Feeling, whose purpose is to maintain and honor an intensely personal system of values and morals. If an INFP's personal value system is threatened by external influences, the INFP shuts out the threatening data in order to preserve and honor their value system. This is totally natural, and works well to protect the individual psyche from getting hurt. However, the INFP who exercises this type of self-protection regularly will become more and more unaware of other people's perspectives, and thus more and more isolated from a real understanding of the world that they live in. They will always find justification for their own inappropriate behaviors, and will always find fault with the external world for problems that they have in their lives. It will be difficult for them to maintain close personal relationships because they will have unreasonable expectations, and will be unable to accept blame.

Its not an uncommon tendency for the INFP to look to the external world primarily for information that will support their ideas and values. However, if this tendency is given free reign, the resulting INFP personality is too self-centered to be happy or successful. Since the INFP's dominant function to their personality is Introverted Feeling, they must balance this with an auxiliary Extraverted iNtuitive function. The INFP takes in information via Extraverted iNtuition. This is also the INFP's primary way of dealing with the external world. If the INFP uses Extraverted iNtuition only to serve the purposes of Introverted Feeling, then the INFP is not using Extraversion effectively at all. As a result, the INFP does not take in enough information about the external world to have a good sense of what's going on. They see nothing but their own perspective, and deal with the world only so far as they need to in order to support their perspective. These individuals usually come across as selfish and unrealistic. Depending on how serious the problem is, they may appear to be anything from "a bit eccentric" to "way out there". Many times other people are unable to understand or relate to these people.

Hee. To summarise: Ultra self-absorbed, ultra selective-hearing. Listening only to what I want to hear. That was how one of my friends described me last time as - and even as a Christian, one of my leaders rebuked me for this attitude.

I remember my unhappiest times in my life were when I was very self-absorbed.

But how true... it's what Jesus said: If I want to save my own life, I'll lose it. But if I'm willing to deny myself the right to feel the way I want to feel... I'll find real life. To deny myself the right to dwell in my own world. Then I'll find there's a bigger world out there that He is calling me to impact.

Mm! Here's the best part then.


To grow as an individual, the INFP needs to focus on opening their perspective to include a more accurate picture of what is really going on in the world. In order to be in a position in which the INFP is able to perceive and consider data that is foreign to their internal value system, the INFP needs to know that its value system is not threatened by the new information. The INFP must consciously tell himself/herself that an opinion that does not concede with their own is not an indictment of their entire character.

The INFP who is concerned with personal growth will pay close attention to their motivation for taking in information. Do they take in information to better understand a situation or concept? Or, do they take in information to support a personal idea or cause? At the moment when something is perceived, is the INFP concerned with twisting that perception to fit in with their personal values? Or is she/he concerned with absorbing the information objectively? To achieve a better understanding of the external world, the INFP should try to perceive information objectively, before fitting it into their value system. They should consciously be aware of their tendency to discard anything that doesn't agree with their values, and work towards lessening this tendency. They should try to see situations from other people's perspectives, without making personal judgments about the situations or the other people's perspectives. In general, they should work on exercising their iNtuition in a truly Extraverted sense. In other words, they should use iNtuition to take in information about the world around them for the sake of understanding the world, rather than take in information to support their own conclusions. The INFP who successfully perceives things objectively may be quite a powerful force for positive change.

Hee! Lord, help me grow thus. To look not only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others. Help me see the world as You really see it... and give me a deeper love for the world as You so loved the world that You gave Your one and only Son to rescue us from our sins.

There's so many people out there who need help... am I listening to Your call and responding? I think I have to hurry up and grow!

Just Be Available

He sat there broodingly by himself, his back to the wall.

We called him to come and join us, but wordlessly, he shook his head.

I looked at him, from where I was with the other children, and he looked back at me. So I went over and sat down next with him.

I asked him, "How was your Chinese New Year?"

He said, "Oh, I was tired."

(Tired? A five-year old boy is tired? But I was quite impressed - he seemed very mature for his age. He spoke more like an eight-year old.)

"Tired? How come? Did you go visiting a lot of places?"

"Oh, I was doing housework."

(Housework? A five-year old boy doing housework? Suddenly his age seemed to jump ten years. Housework...)

"Housework? Wow... what kind of housework did you do?"

"Oh, I washed the car..."

(Car? Dear God. Is it just me, or does this boy have a driver's licence already? Maybe he's got his own company already... a five-year old towkay (rich man). Not bad... not bad at all.)

"Car? WOW..."

"I helped my daddy to wash the car. Me and my brother. Splish-splash!"

He stood up and dramatically brandished an imaginary sponge, and started splashing an imaginary bucket of water onto his imaginary car, with imaginary soap flying all around.

"Sploosh!" he exclaimed.

"Wow! Tell me more..."

Hadn't seen him so animated in a long while. :)

Later, after the children's Sunday school class ended, Yung came over and said, "Thanks Yeu Ann! Nathan was so quiet before you went over to talk to him. But after you went over to talk to him, he started coming over and joinin the other kids! Sorry I couldn't take care of him - I really had to take care of the other kids. But thanks so much Yeu Ann."

Wow. Thank You Lord! I was so surprised, and also very blessed by her feedback. 'Cos that day, I was so tired that I really had to sneak off to a tiny corner (literally) to take a nap. Best 20-min nap I ever had - it felt like an hour's worth of sleep. And I thought I hadn't done anything much to help out in the children's class today except talk and sleep. :P

But it turns out... hee. God is so good indeed. Even lazy bums like me, He can still use. :) The only thing that He requires is a willing heart and an available attitude.

I wonder what would have happened that day if I had decided to sleep in instead of dragging my tired body to serve in Sunday school class that day.

Perhaps the Lord today is sweeping his eyes to and fro. He could be looking for anyone below - it doesn't matter who - He just wants to know: are you available to come work in My vineyard today?

Are you tired? Doesn't matter. Just come make yourselves available.
Are you busy? Just come anyway.
Are you hungry? Drop your Big Mac, you big glutton - I've got big work for you to do. :)

If I hadn't been there that day, I would have missed one more chance to impact a child for the Kingdom of God - for eternity, in fact.

So I learnt today, after reflecting, that sometimes I fret so much about being unable to do this or that for Him (or for myself). That discouragement makes me sometimes afraid and unwilling to take the necessary actions (e.g. get out of bed, make that phone call, make preparations, etc.). But that only makes me sink further into fear. And sometimes I end up not being where He wants me to be that day.

Don't be afraid anymore. Don't let your fears stop you from responding to His call, even if it means getting out of the boat - literally.

Just be where He wants you to be that day - just as you are.
Just be available for Him to use.
Just be willing today.
Just be there.
Just be.
Just be His.

"Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart..."

Christians Wrong About Heaven, Says Bishop

Wonderfully provocative title! But it really is a very, very good article. :) Do read it!
During my QT today, I was reading 1 Samuel 9-11, the part where God told Samuel to anoint Saul son of Kish to be the first king of Israel.

And I think God spoke to me quite a few things from there... there's a lot of good things to learn from King-to-be Saul, even though in later years he fell away from God and from his calling as king.

One question that came to mind as I read was this:
If God knew that Saul was going to fall away from Him, why did God still choose Saul to be king, and even to the point where He knew he would be grieved that He had made Saul king?

To put it another way: What was the reason(s) God chose Saul to be king? What did God see in Saul?

As I read on, this dialogue between Saul and his servant as they were looking for his dad's lost donkeys caught my eye:
4. So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and through the area around Shalisha, but they did not find them. They went on into the district of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. Then he passed through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find them.

5. When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, "Come, let's go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us."

6. But the servant replied, "Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let's go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take."

7. Saul said to his servant, "If we go, what can we give the man? The food in our sacks is gone. We have no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have?"

8. The servant answered him again. "Look," he said, "I have a quarter of a shekel of silver. I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us what way to take."

9. (Formerly in Israel, if a man went to inquire of God, he would say, "Come, let us go to the seer," because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.)

10. "Good," Saul said to his servant. "Come, let's go." So they set out for the town where the man of God was.

Realised how thoughtful Saul was, thinking about how his dad might feel. I don't even think half of the time how my mum might feel about me coming back late! And also his thinking about what gift to give the man of God.

So learnt from Saul's example about being thoughtful and considerate of others' feelings. A principle that I keep on forgetting many times. :( But observing Shawn today while having dinner with him... I realise this is one great strength of him. Sensitive, helpful and considerate. Hah, I'm pretty sure there's quite a few sisters in church who consider him a gentleman. :)

And also learnt how helpful the servant of Saul was. Saying "Look...", which means he was pointing out helpful things that he saw. And also resourceful, ready with things like silver. (Imagine. Being ready with solutions and suggestions at the tip of one's finger... what a great asset this servant would be if he were in the marketplace.) So learnt from this servant a very practical example how to be an effective supporter to my superiors and leaders, both in work and in ministry.

Ah. If you were to look at their Myer-Briggs personalities... haha, I think Saul could be an Introverted Intuition type, whereas his servant might be the Sensing/Perceiving type. Something like that. :)

There's more. Sitting in the park while having my quiet time with God... it's been a long time since I just spent time alone with Him. (Apart from the part where I was really startled by two schoolgirls tapping my shoulder, peddling ice-cream. Ice-cream in the park at 10 pm? Whoa. It's a good thing they went as a pair.)

Hee. It's a wonderful time to spend time alone with God, just looking up into the big blue night sky, to see the stars that He sprinkled over the creation of the universe, and to feel the gentle breeze. The gentle breeze of Jesus. :) And the trees and grass and flowers... :D "All things bright and beautiful..."

And while sitting still before God, He reminded me that I was worried and anxious about many things, but only one thing is needed. Hee. That tied in together with the SMS I got... that I shouldn't be so overly concerned with being "socially aware" that I forget to look to Jesus as the Prime Reason. Actually, my heart was really like Martha's - in the midst of wanting to get my "house" in perfect order for Jesus, I became so irritated that I started judging my bros and sisters for not helping me more, and asking Him, "Lord, don't You care that I'm like this? Ask this/that person to be more understanding/ help me more etc..."

At the Home of Martha and Mary
38. As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.
39. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said.
40. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
41. "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things,
42. but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

And You patiently told me, "Yeu Ann, Yeu Ann... you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed."

Oh... one more thing. Was reflecting on my heart's condition recently. Think I've been proud again - to be precise, more proud than usual. 'Cos I hadn't been looking to God for strength, and looking to my own efforts instead. And other incidents. Subtly thinking myself better, more spiritual than some other brother/sister. And also not being teachable - rather, becoming emotional and defensive in spirit whenever I get feedback. Subtle bits of pride here and there. Like ugly thorns creeping out of the ground. Like how King Saul let his feelings of inferiority keep hindering him, his fear of what his men would think of him, and even his feelings of jealousy...

But thank God for His kindness. After reading my Bible and praying over the passage that I'd read, just had this impression that He wants to draw my heart's attention to this area of my life. To be truly sweet-spirited once again, to humbly accept the fact that I sin, and joyfully accept correction and feedback with a grateful heart. Not to worry about how I look like in others' eyes, but to care solely about how do I look before a holy God. And even that... I still have to go back to the Cross.

At the cross I bow my knee,
Where Your blood was shed for me,
There’s no greater love than this.
You have overcome the grave,
Your glory fills the highest place,
What can separate me now?

Maybe it really is good that I'm not what I want to be. Looking at the entire scope of things - I'm starting to think this is the best place for me, where I am right now positionally. Not so much in terms of character, for You are always calling us towards Christlikeness - no less!

But in terms of life station, in terms of ministry role, in terms of personality - perhaps this is really the place that You've called me to. To teach me humility. To let me taste daily of Your sweet grace and mercy every day. To remind me that it's not who I am or what I can do that matters in Your eyes, but the heart behind it all. And maybe... most humbling of all... to remind me that I live, love and serve solely at Your pleasure, by Your pleasure and for Your pleasure. If nobody on earth, but You, and I bring You pleasure by just believing in Your Son Jesus... oh my God, how can this be?
John 6:28-29
Then they asked him, "What must we do to do the works God requires?"
Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

*scratches head* I don't get it. Your grace is too deep for me to understand in this lifetime.

And you've blessed me with a wonderful church, a church for all its small flaws, is still brilliantly beautiful in Your eyes. Because the people here do love Your Word. They show unconditional love and grace, especially to a sinner like me. And were it not for the church, I still would be the same old Yeu Ann ten years ago. Yes, it really is not comfortable at times, but tough love is still love by another name. :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

"Father, i pray that you see yeuann's heart. Lord, help him to find peace and contentment, and draw strength from You, Lord. we know that Your desire is not that he becomes "socially aware" but that he becomes a true disciple, and someone who loves you and loves people. With all that said, Lord, help him in this area that he might faithfully strive for excellence in his "social awareness". Bless his relationship with his CG too. Amen. :)"

Thanks so much to this very dear friend who sent me this long SMS during work today. Especially during work! :D And it comforted and helped me look up to draw strength from God again - it was really as though it was a draught of clean, cold water on a sweaty blazing-hot day. And it comforts me a lot, because it reminds me that in the final analysis, God really looks at the heart, not the outwards appearance. As long as I faithfully strive for excellence... be it in "social awareness", or in serving God, or in loving people... God is able to add on to me as I do my part.
Ah. Paiseh. I should be counting my blessings again. That's what HQ reminded me.

Thank God for Sharon, who has been a very good friend to me in CG. I really have to be a more faithful friend to her. And can learn so much from her life and her example.

Not to be inward-looking again (as I am so prone to being), but to remember, "Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many."

"Something that's of worth, that will bless Your heart."

And not to compare myself with others... but to follow their examples as they follow Christ's example.

Still growing, still going on.

Even this blog. Shouldn't be an emo ranting, but to be more encouraging instead.

:) and You heard me.

I just woke up. Very surprised again - it was a twelve-hour nap. I've never slept so early before. Maybe it was a supernatural rest from God.

And to my surprise again, Edmund sent me this SMS last night. It read:
"Come to me, all you are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light." matt 11:28-33. Hey Yeu An, hope that you are able to rest and recharge as you continue to seek God.

Felt incredibly touched by this message - because this Bible verse that he sent me was so timely. I think God Himself sent this SMS through Edmund. It's so timely. Because I was so weary and burdened.

And Jesus told me to come to Him, and He will give me rest. To be honest, one fear I had was other people saying that this is just self-pity that I'm dwelling in... I guess to a certain extent it's true, but ... yah, it is a great comfort to know that when Jesus Himself tells you that He understands... you know that He does understand. That your pain, your tiredness, your exhaustion is very real, and you really need rest deep within.


It's a strange thing - this unusually long nap, Edmund's SMS and the sudden verse that I heard whispered to me when I woke up just now.
Psalms 42:8
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me-- a prayer to the God of my life.

I don't think there's a very hard, firm, logical explanation for all this... but I know with all my heart that God was watching over me as I slept last night. Like how a mother sings a lullaby over her tired baby, so my Father was singing His song over me as I slept.

Oh! :) Back to the SMS again.

"take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart"

and this verse from the SMS... felt Jesus was speaking to me clearly here. That He wants me to TAKE HIS YOKE upon me, and learn from him, how He would respond if He were in my skin, in my shoes.

Yah. Take His yoke upon me... that is, submit to His Lordship. And i realised that my heart had been unwilling to submit fully to His will, that i wanted everything to be smooth-going, that i wanted to be liked by everyone, to be perfect in my own eyes. But He corrected me through this word of His.

After all, as Christians, aren't our lives meant to bring glory to God and to enjoy Him forever?

And yet... He spoke so gently to me. Ooh. Now here's a real gentleman for you - Jesus Christ. :) hee. it touches me very much that He is gentle and humble in heart.


i really felt His gentleness today. :) and just feel so AWED in the light of His intense humility. the Humble God... who could have ever thought of such a concept? when mankind did believe in a God... they always thought of an almighty God before whom no one or nothing can ever stand.

But a humble God? Kneeling down to wash our feet?


It's a strange thing, this experiencing God today. I really felt totally unspiritual, totally broken-down. Felt horrible, pathetic and down in the dust - as a matter of fact, felt like mud.

Yet, strangely there, it wasn't in my glories that I found Him again, but rather, it was He who found me in the dust. And He gently knelt down and helped me up again. It's strange... I guess it's my own mindset. Somehow I found Jesus (or accurately, HE found me) in the midst of my brokenness.


"and you will find rest for your souls."

He knows.

"For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."