Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dead Poets' Society: Carpe Diem


INT. KEATING'S CLASSROOM - DAY

Students enter Keating's classroom, talking and acting up. Keating
glances out from his room off to one side.

KNOX
Hey Spaz, Spaz.

Spaz turns around in time to be hit by a ball of crumpled up paper
while Cameron smacks him on the shoulder.

CAMERON
Brain damage.

The students quickly quiet down as Keating emerges from the other room,
whistling the 1812 Overture. He walks up the length of the classroom and
out the door without a word. The students look around at one another,
uncertain of what to do. Keating pokes his head back in the doorway.

KEATING
Well come on.

He gestures them to follow and the students, after some hesitation, grab
their books and follow Keating out into the main entranceway.

INT. ENTRANCEWAY - DAY

Keating stands before the school's trophy cabinets and waits until all
the boys arrive.

KEATING
"Oh Captain, My Captain" who knows where
that comes from?

Todd looks up as if he knows the answer, but says nothing. Spaz blows his
nose a little too close to Meeks for his liking.

KEATING
Not a clue? It's from a poem by Walt
Whitman about Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Now in
this class you can call me Mr. Keating. Or,
if you're slightly more daring, Oh Captain,
My Captain.

The students laugh slightly.

KEATING
Now let me dispel a few rumors so they
don't fester into facts. Yes, I too
attended Hell-ton and survived. And no,
at that time I was not the mental giant
you see before you. I was the intellectual
equivalent of a ninety-eight pound
weakling. I would go to the beach and
people would kick copies of Byron in my
face.

The boys laugh once again, while Cameron, obviously trying to write all
this down, looks around confusedly. Keating looks down at papers in his
hand.

KEATING
Now, Mr… Pitts. That's a rather
unfortunate name. Mr. Pitts, where are
you?

Pitts raises his hand while everyone around him snickers.

KEATING
Mr. Pitts, would you open your hymnal to page 542 and read the first
stanza of the poem you find there?

PITTS
"To the virgins, to make much of time"?

KEATING
Yes, that's the one. Somewhat appropriate,
isn't it.

PITTS
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, old
time is still a flying, and this same
flower that smiles today, tomorrow will
be dying."

KEATING
Thank you Mr. Pitts. "Gather ye rosebuds
while ye may." The Latin term for that
sentiment is Carpe Diem. Now who knows
what that means?

Meeks immediately puts his hand up.

MEEKS
Carpe Diem. That's "seize the day."

KEATING
Very good, Mr.-

MEEKS
Meeks.

KEATING
Meeks. Another unusual name. Seize the
day. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.
Why does the writer use these lines?

CHARLIE
Because he's in a hurry.

KEATING
No, ding!

Keating slams his hand down on an imaginary buzzer.

KEATING
Thank you for playing anyway. Because we
are food for worms lads. Because, believe
it or not, each and every one of us in
this room is one day going to stop
breathing, turn cold, and die.

Keating turns towards the trophy cases, filled with trophies, footballs,
and team pictures.

KEATING
Now I would like you to step forward over
here and peruse some of the faces from
the past. You've walked past them many
times. I don't think you've really looked
at them.

The students slowly gather round the cases and Keating moves behind them.

KEATING
They're not that different from you, are
they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones,
just like you. Invincible, just like you
feel. The world is their oyster. They
believe they're destined for great things,
just like many of you. Their eyes are full
of hope, just like you. Did they wait until
it was too late to make from their lives
even one iota of what they were capable?
Because you see gentlmen, these boys are
now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen
real close, you can hear them whisper their
legacy to you. Go on, lean in.

The boys lean in and Keating hovers over Cameron's shoulder.

KEATING
(whispering in a gruff voice)
Carpe.

Cameron looks over his shoulder with an aggravated expression on his face.

KEATING
Hear it?
(whispering again)
Carpe. Carpe Diem. Seize the day boys,
make your lives extraordinary.

The boys stare at the faces in the cabinet in silence.

Becoming Convicted

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"

And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"


Has there been a time when you heard or saw something of God that made you realize that you fell really short of his perfect standards?

And felt a fire flicker within you? A fire that you felt wouldn't stop until it consumed you totally?

Recently, God spoke to me deeply about some key issues in my life via Ps Jeff's sermon on Sunday, Eugene's preaching about living the productive Christian life, some feedback at work, and reading Huanyan's blog about his thoughts on receiving a team ministry commendation.

So I was evaluating how my service in ministry, work and family has been. And I realised that I have not been putting in my best for the Lord in so many areas of my life.

Things like being late for HopeTots so many times, and so on. Not going the extra mile to serve others during work. Preferring to surf Facebook instead of spending time with my parents. All these things are actually indicative of my underlying attitudes towards serving God. It's so true what Ps Jeff said on Sunday: "God is not so concerned about the outward appearances, as He is concerned about the heart attitudes!"

I think that's why the passage in Isaiah 6 spoke to me a lot as I was reflecting and evaluating my life before God. When Isaiah saw the sheer height and exaltation of the Majestic God, and heard the thunderous voices of the seraphs crying "Holy, holy, holy", and felt the trembling of the holy place, and smelt the billowing smoke fill the temple... all his senses were overwhelmed, and more than that, Isaiah knew he was doomed and done for.

For when Isaiah saw God's standards of holiness, he knew he was totally ruined. Because he realised how badly he had failed God, and he knew that his lips had spoken hypocritical, religious words that he had never lived out. More than that, he probably had, as an aristocrat in King Uzziah's court, purposely used his brilliant oratory skills to put down a fellow nobleman, or to shoot off a repartee to skewer a political opponent.

So all these promptings from the Holy Spirit were like fire to my soul. Ah. But yeah, thank God for showing me what He really expects of me. To aim for nothing less than complete Christlikeness in all that I do on earth here.

Oswald Chambers puts it so well:
When I get into the presence of God, I do not realize that I am a sinner in an indefinite sense; I realize the concentration of sin in a particular feature of my life. A man will say easily - 'Oh, yes, I know I am a sinner'; but when he gets into the presence of God he cannot get off with that statement. The conviction is concentrated on - I am this, or that, or the other. This is always the sign that a man or woman is in the presence of God. There is never any vague sense of sin, but the concentration of sin in some personal particular. God begins by convicting us of the one thing fixed on in the mind that is prompted by His Spirit; if we will yield to His conviction on that point, He will lead us down to the great disposition of sin underneath. That is the way God always deals with us when we are consciously in His presence.

This experience of the concentration of sin is true in the greatest and the least of saints as well as in the greatest and the least of sinners. When a man is on the first rung of the ladder of experience, he may say - I do not know where I have gone wrong; but the Spirit of God will point out some particular definite thing. The effect of the vision of the holiness of the Lord on Isaiah was to bring home to him that he was a man of unclean lips. "And he laid it upon my mouth, and said Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." The cleansing fire had to be applied where the sin had been concentrated.


The good news is that once the tumour of my sin has been uncovered and laid bare, then upon it can the radiant fire of God truly be brought to bear, and then we can begin from there.

Dear Lord. I pray that this fire that You've started in my heart won't go out. Help me not quench this fire... help me grow to be the man that You want me to be... a man totally after Your own heart. Help me start becoming a true servant in Your name. In Jesus' most precious name, amen.
I just want to thank God for an absolutely sweet day today. :)

1. I woke up alive. That is something I'm really grateful to God for everyday. That is something I caught from my shepherd too. :) To be able to breathe cleanly, to be able to walk, to be able to smile, to be able to see...

Life's truly a gift from God. :)

2. The sun shone today. :) I love to see the sun shine. Liquid golden light cascading forth from heaven's dew-mottled brim.
Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.
Ecclesiastes 11:7
I think the sun is a flower
That blooms for just one hour

- Ray Bradbury


3. I got to go to work. Work is a blessing. I'm so glad that I can work, and not just work, but work for the Lord. :)

4. The soft sinking of my crinkled leather shoes into velvety-green grass and the graceful slant of slender trees.

5. That God answered my prayer today to bless my colleague... I had the opportunity to help my colleague do something small. It was very small, but I think it did help him quite a bit. And for that I'm really thankful to God.

6. For the great lunch with Hong Teck today. I'm very blessed by his coming all the way down from church office to meet me in Junction 8. It was a really great time talking with him - not only about the children's ministry, but also about warm, fatherly advice regarding BGR, among other things. :D Not to mention that he's one real cool guy. Haha!

7. For the opportunity to get to know a new colleague - it was his first day on the job. :) He's from India. About ten years older than me. Haha...

8. For the missions follow-up today. It was a very informative time... and of Q&A too. And for something radical that Richard Yeoh (I think that's his name) suggested - asking our bosses to send us on overseas postings on LOCAL salaries. "No need expat pay, Sir, local pay also can! Just send me!" It's a win-win situation, for both your boss and you! :) And also for the Kingdom of God, and for the country you're going to...

And also! I was trying to find my way to the High Street Centre, but got lost and wandered around the Treasury... then, just as I prayed asking God for directions to the place... I heard someone yelling my name. I turned around, and gosh! Leanne was there in a cab, and she asked me, "Are you going for the Missions follow-up event?"

"Oh yes! I am! You too?"

"Yes! Come on in!"

Woah. Woah. Absolutely woah. Praise the Lord indeed! "Before they call, I will answer..."

9. For the great, great time of supper with some of the bros and sisters. I was so encouraged to hear that my sheep has made a specific prayer request... I'm encouraged, because in a way, it is a sign of his faith in God, that he's willing to trust God to answer this particular prayer request. Thank God truly for the work He's been doing in my sheep's life, even as my sheep is learning to rely on Him more and more. =) I'm so proud of you, dear bro.

Of course, if God chooses not to say yes to this prayer request, don't be disappointed... God may have something even better in store for you. Just continue to trust God and humbly acknowledge Him in all your ways... =)

10. For the opportunity to bless a dear bro with a simple message just to say I'm thinking of him and wanna bless him.

That blessed him very much, and LOL, we ended up exchanging sweet messages... Paiseh. Very mushy. (No worries, I'm straight. Haha!)

It made me think. Usually, I tend to bless people in response to their having blessed me first. But why can't I be the one to bless first? On what basis do I bless others? On the basis of whether I feel good about them, that they've blessed me beforehand in one way or another?

Or shall I follow the Son of Man's example in taking the initiative to see the need... and sometimes, even if there's no need that I can see or meet, to Just Simply Bless the other person? Just bless the other person, because he/she is a child of God?

I realised that I have a very strong tendency in me that makes me expect the other person to always respond positively in the way that I want. It's actually a control tendency, to want things to happen my way. And if it doesn't turn out my way, I become disappointed and it shows. Thus, for some people, it affects them, leaving them feeling that they have to meet my expectations.

I think I just realised it clearly today after prayer and reflection. Ah. To pray for God's help in growing in this area. It's an ugly part of me, and I really need God's help to grow and mature in this area. But I take joy in His precious promise that He will prune and perfect me so that I may become even more fruitful. :) Amen!

Proverbs Are Proverbs

Proverbs 22:6 - Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Many Christian parents have claimed Proverbs 22:6 as a wonderful promise concerning their children--a promise that their sons and daughters would turn out to be model Christian young people. Some Christian parents, however, have been extremely disappointed and even bitter towards God when their kids have turned out to be anything but model Christians. Some rebellious "Christian" teenagers have even gotten themselves into big trouble. What happened, anyway? Is God not true to His Word? Does He make exceptions to His promises? Did the parents claim a promise that really isn't a promise? What is the biblical solution that will answer these upsetting questions? [read more...]

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I think I'm starting to get the hang of living a balanced life - one that has the right priorities in the right order. Realised that there's a lot of things that hinder me from serving God fully e.g. my melancholic nature that makes me sit up at nights and think for a long while, which results in me becoming very sleepy the next day.

Spurred in part by Eugene's sharing yesterday during Sub-D 242, about how to live a productive Christian life. To be the kind of person who bears much fruit.

It made me think. What are the things that God has called me to do, not only the big vision, but the small things as well? And what hinders me from finishing the work that He's called me to do?

Faithfulness in great things is built on the foundation of the very small things.

So I did something very small last night. I moved my computer chair to another room. I did it, because I was tired of being so tired because of my web-surfing at night. It's like that Silver Chair that bound Prince Caspian's son. =)

And it does make a difference. Now I retire to bed earlier, can spend more time with my parents, read the Bible more...

There's some things that have to be sacrificed inevitably. But the key thing is - which path will extend the Kingdom of God more - not only in ministry but also in work, in family, in discipleship, etc?

There is a proper time and procedure for everything.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just came back from dropping by my neighbour's place. Got some cookies for him... wished him and his family Happy Deepavali. And he invited me in for a chat... and a nice drink... and I got to know his son and his friend... both of them are the same age as me - and all of us are in the same kind of work (DSTA, DSO and ST)... and they're DOTA noobs. LOL. So they suggested that can meet up to play DOTA during the weekends...

Wow. Amazing. Thank God. Had just wanted to bless my neighbour. Totally didn't expect to get to make two new friends of the same age as me. =) God is good all the time! :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

One Sentence


One Sentence is about telling your story, briefly. Insignificant stories, everyday stories, or turning-point-in-your-life stories, boiled down to their bare essentials.

The Boy In The Striped Pajamas


You can also view some short clips from this movie.

Gosh. Really very heart-stirring. I really want to watch this film! But not sure when it'll be released to Singapore... I think I'll buy the DVD too! :D

Anyway, met Shuyi over lunch. We shared a bit about our career plans. I told her that I was thinking of the possibility of being a writer or a director one day... just feel a deeper stirring in my heart. Could this be the start of a holy "discontent"? :)

Sigh. I do want to make a difference in this world... to touch more people's hearts and minds... especially those of the children. For they are the hope of this world, the next generation to come.

Anyway, I've started penning down a short story. Just to try practising. Anyway it's great training for writing scripts for films too. :) Thank God for Weizhu, who's been so incredibly supportive... =) LOL. If you want to see the short story when I'm done, just leave a comment here and I'll send you a free copy. XD haha...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

But You Are A Chosen People

Came back from Combined CG. It was great! :) About reaching out to the lost. Renewed, refreshed. And I think the Spirit gently brought to mind some mindsets that I had formed over the past few years... sense His quiet prompting to remember that we ARE called to be different... different in a good way. :)
"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."

Michael shared a testimony from one of the sisters who said that she took the initiative to welcome visitors to our church.

For me, I've grown up in Hope - 'tis my 10th year plus now - and to be honest, for many years, we'd never really had people stepping in to visit our church... until we moved into Nexus. Of course, when I was in the ushering team, we were told that people actually did step in, inviting themselves in a way. But somehow the significance of that, though I understood mentally, didn't quite grip me... until today.

Hospitality. Maybe it might not be possible to do it during service... but how about the lift, when we all go up? Instead of staring blankly at the lift door (as is so wont in our socially-isolated Singaporean culture), why don't we be DIFFERENT? Why don't we warmly get to know one another... know other brothers and sisters in different caregroups and congregations?

Case in point: I got into the lift on Monday night, after my media course. Then I saw one of the Filipino leaders with some other sisters. Politely, I smiled to her... but she smiled so warmly back, that I couldn't help but smile bigger back. And she warmly chit-chatted with me. All in the space and time of a lift going down 5 floors.

Hee. :) Feel inspired to do likewise next time... ha, but let it be from a real and sincere heart. Not because I feel it's the spiritual or the "correct" thing to do... but because, really, Jesus loves that person so much... the least I can do is to welcome that person in His name. (Especially if it's a little child! =))

Well, more mindsets that I had... ha, tired now. Can't really think. But I remember what CN and Christine shared about organizing outreach events. To also enjoy it ourselves too. :)

******
Hmm. Oh yes. Thank God especially too for Bowen deciding having lunch with me even though he was very busy... I protested, but he said he wanted to have lunch with me anyway. And for Guan, blessing me so much with all her long, long sharings at the end of the day, when I went over to the NUS HQ. Deeply blessed by her friendship! :)

Oh, also thank God for Hong Teck. He messaged me out of the blue today to ask me for lunch. Very blessed by him too. It really brightened up the *ahem* less-than-exciting course (one of my coursemates said it made him very sleepy)...

Reflection. How grateful am I to God for all these people that He puts into my life day by day? 'Cos there really is no place like the Church, where you can find unconditional love and acceptance... it really is so true.

This is so meaningful to me, because I came from a background where I was rejected by many people in the Church as a young boy, a long time ago... even fighting in Sunday school... and got really turned off Christianity. And now I'm a Sunday school teacher. God has a sweet sense of humour. :D

Ha... It's stunningly marvellous. Christ uses a clearly defective Body - the Church - to express His perfect love.

The Church without Christ as the rightful Head has been guilty of supporting or even promoting some of the worst injustices and crimes in history... of cohabiting with philandering politicians, manipulative ministers, etc...

But the Church with Christ as the rightful Head has been guilty of some of the most beautiful acts of mercy and grace in history... fighting against slavery, against racial discrimination... caring for abandoned plague/leprosy/AIDS victims... visiting the prisoners in prisons... tending to the sick and helpless... welcoming the hungry stranger in... transforming the societies she is in - whether it be music or arts or literature or finance or education...

Ah. Christ really took a big risk when He chose you and me to be part of His Church. Let's not disappoint Him any more...

Ok! End me meandering thoughts here!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Work quality is really important. It does testify, both to Christians and non-Christians, how much I revere God with the work of my hands.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Leadership by Prayer


Funny! But felt it's very meaningful. Nate saw the huge challenges facing his team, and decided to take the initiative. He led his team in prayer, with raw honesty and guts. :)

How many times do we, when we see insurmountable challenges, try to lead, encourage or give pep talks that make us look to our own strengths?

Or do we take the initiative to humbly state our brokenness and lead our team in humble prayer, looking to God, who opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble?

Another lesson: Are we willing to try relying on God, even if we've never done so before? This isn't for non-believers only; this is for believers too. If we've never asked His help in our jobs, then we can start there. If not our studies, then start there. If not our relationships, then there. If not our own character struggles, then there.

'Cos wherever you go, He's been there from the start.
Did you ever talk to God above?
Tell Him that you need a friend to love.
Pray in Jesus' name believing that
God answers prayer

Have you told Him all your cares and woes?
Every tiny little fear He knows.
You can know He'll always hear and
He will answer prayer

You can whisper in a crowd to Him.
You can cry when you're alone to Him.
You don't have to pray out loud to Him.
He knows your thoughts

On a lofty mountain peak, He's there.
In a meadow by a stream, He's there.
Anywhere on earth you go
He's been there from the start

Find the answer in His Word; it's true.
You'll be strong because He walks with you.
By His faithfulness He'll change you too
God answers prayer

How Can I Keep From Singing... A Thanksgiving Testimony :)


Just really want to praise God for His goodness to me.

My team and I got a letter of commendation from a satisfied customer yesterday. Wow. Praise God indeed.

Was thinking about the journey in my work so far.

My job search - whether to choose a job that would confirmed entail working long long hours or to wait and trust God for a better job. And Peter and me praying, asking God for a word. And the word of the Lord was: "Those who honour Me will I honour." (1 Samuel) Both of us had this same verse come to our minds independently.

And that same night I walked back home, God showed me the exact salary that He was going to give me for the job-to-come. Was very surprised, 'cos the impression was clear.

And how the interview went so well, and God caused my interviewer to show favour to me. And it turns out that my hearing impairment played a big role in my landing this job. Wow. God really really works everything so intricately.

And how from the first few months I struggled to adapt to working life. And that time I was so afraid I'd lose my job - but God had mercy on me, hearing my cry for mercy. And how over time He showed me much grace and favour, blessing me with kind colleagues to help me grow.

And how He blessed me with the conversion of my contract job to a permanent job one year early - on the last day of the missions trip to Kenya. Wow.

And now, the letter of commendation.

Wow. I'm reminded that I'm ultimately working for the LORD, not for men. "Those who honour Me will I honour." Not one of the Lord's promises has failed, not a single one.

And now, I'm looking forward to the next phase... hopefully He'll send me to Botswana one day. But before that will be the period of moulding. And shaping. And pruning. And forging. :) To grow and bless the company too, as salt and light in the workplace. As a servant of Christ.

Was thinking also of the idea of starting a fellowship group in ST. But need to consult God and some bros/sisters first.

Yup, yup. See how things go. Trust in God, no matter what happens...

This song, which we sang (with much joy and gusto) in the prayer meeting... it really is a very apt song to describe my walk with the Lord in my job so far. :) Let this be a thanksgiving offering to Him! :D Praise the Lord indeed!
Chris Tomlin - How Can I Keep From Singing
From the album See the Morning

There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring

And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

Chorus:
How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives

And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give

Chorus:

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

Church Prayer Meet

Wow. Simply put: God was there! :)

Was very tired and not feeling well (sore throat), but remembered that God rewards those who earnestly seek Him. :) Prayed that He'd touch and renew me... and settle the insecurities and anxiety in my heart.

And thank God. While praying, I think He encouraged me with this verse from Hebrews: "By faith... [Moses] persevered, because he saw him who is invisible."

And the prophecy! "Focus on Jesus... not yourself!"

Trust God's Word more than my worries.

So I'm reminded and encouraged by God: Fix my eyes on Jesus himself. Don't let myself look to my own inadequacies and past failures and lack of skills. God looks not at the size of my problems but at the size of my faith in Him.

Very thankful to God. Really want to grow in living by God's Word more and more in every situation and circumstances. So need to train. Let the Word of Christ dwell richly in me! And obey! :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Old Tissue Auntie

The old auntie trembled waif-like, as thin as the pillar next to her. And her stiffly-loaded, anonymously-red polythene bags stood up better than she did. She would look around, from time to time, for any kind and benevolent soul.

And then she saw me. Waving to me, she signalled for my help. Gallantly, I trotted over. She broke out into a wide toothy grin, save for a couple of missing incisors.
"Oh thank you, thank you so much..." she gushed.

I glanced at her bags, which were standing stiffly at attention.

(Multiple layers of plastic bags? That's... strange. And where's the groceries/aluminium cans?)
"Ah... you want to help me?"

She deftly bent down and plucked a couple of well-hidden tissue packets out of one of the big bags.

Grinning even more toothily, she quickly moved in for the kill:
"You wan'too buy tissue paper?"

Four New Friends


Wouldn't you like them to be your colleagues too?


I'd been seeing these few familiar faces in the office next to ours. But I didn't know their names, not even that cheerful guy who kept greeting me with a friendly hi from time to time.

Then I read Calyn's post two days ago. She was thinking of stepping out of her comfort zone to talk to her lab mates. And I was inspired by her heart. It made me think.

So finally the next morning, I did something different. I thought I'd greet that Nice Cheerful Guy in the corner. Maybe chit-chat a bit, etc.

Then I stepped out and saw that nice cheerful guy frowning at his comp, looking decidedly engrossed in his work.

So I went to the loo and prayed in one of the cubicles. Prayed to God for help in stepping out of my comfort zone to get to know my colleagues, and for Him to bless them... and maybe, hopefully, bring a bit more cheer to those around me in the office. To be salt and light in that little cell that is misnamed an office.

Stepped back in, and said hi.

Well! My colleague grinned and seemed glad to be taking a break from his work. We chit-chatted a bit.

Then, another colleague - someone I didn't know - called out to me. She asked me whether I had a plug to lend her, for she needed a 2-pin adaptor. Oh! I did. Went back into my office and came back with the plug. She smiled, and sweetly said thanks so much.

And my other colleague started joking that I'd better keep an eye on that plug in case it disappeared. Haha!

Anyway, I got to know their names, and we chit-chatted even more. Chatted even more with another colleague (the Humble One I was writing about a few days ago). Actually, he was chatting and I was just listening.

Wow. God really is so good. I prayed to know one colleague better, but He helped me know THREE colleagues in one go. Amazing! Lord, bless them! :)



But that isn't the end of the story.

Yesterday, Christine (one of the colleagues) dropped by our office. She gave us two cans of soft drinks. Wow. My colleague and I were pleasantly surprised by her neighbourly gesture, 'cos it was the first time that the Other Office had made contact with Our Office. So we crossed over and my other colleagues got to know them more too. The atmosphere warmed up considerably that day.

And we got to know another colleague too, who wasn't around when I was talking with the other three colleagues.

And our colleagues got to see that half-consumed can of Kenyan coffee, which I had bought for my team. One of them asked me, "Where did you buy it?"
"Kenya."

"Wow. You went there for?"

"Oh! Hmmm (should I tell them missions trip?)... I went there on a missions trip."

"Oh I see..."

And we also found out that today was their last day in their office. They were moving out to another office.

******
Perhaps this is how the kingdom of God can come on earth as it is in heaven:
Just a little kind act or a little good word, or even a little prayer laid on their chairs when they're out for lunch - little nooks that open up just enough space for a little seed to fall into.

And to think this cascade of events all started with a testimony on Calyn's blog. Calyn's post encouraged me to step out and do something different for the kingdom of God that day. And I prayed a prayer, and that made a difference that day. And my colleagues suddenly warmed up to one another that day. And the timing was so on the dot that day. Another day, and they'd have gone, and we'd never have the chance to make four new friends that day. And now they know this day that I'm a Christian.

Whoa. And the message is? Jesus rocks for all days. Yesterday and today and forever and a day. :)

Question (& Answer)

“Scripture is clear that there is a basic starting point to the Christian faith: admitting that we need Jesus… Yet the point of the research I have presented is to clarify when the simple starting point becomes a substitute for Christian discipleship. Intentionally or not, we promote the idea to outsiders that being a Christ follower is primarily about the mere choice to convert. We do not portray it as an all-out, into-the-kingdom enlistment that dramatically influences all aspects of life. Perhaps you are thinking that you do describe it in these terms. Then why are so many millions of young people missing the point, failing to develop the basic elements of a biblical worldview?”
-UNchristian, David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons

“How do we not water down Christianity, yet make it simple and easy enough for everyone to accept Christ?”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Killing Cockroaches

What Floats Your Boat?



Remember, the Ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic built by professionals. ;)

Be Unstoppable



Did this video for HopeKids camp a few months ago. Really thank God for the following people (in alphabetical order): Guanzhen, Hong Teck, Jitsy, Kin Wee, Peter, Shunrong, Yufen. This video was impossible without your help AND encouragement.

Thank God also for Steven Yeoh, who upon seeing the video, SMSed me at once to give me feedback and affirmation. Was so pleasantly surprised to get his SMS. It touched me to see how eager this bro is to help raise up more ministers to advance the Kingdom of God through media. :D

It was my first time doing scriptwriting for an actual video production. Wah. It was Very Very Very Challenging. Haha. But in the end I loved it. (Loved it in the way that a mum loves her baby after giving birth for twelve excruciating hours.)

And really thank God for His grace through it all - Kin Wee, Shunrong and Peter were fantastic - they really hammed it up so well for the screen.

And for Guan and Jits who gave me very useful feedback on the script. :D Very blessed... and the kids were even more so, since the lame stuff was cut out. LOL.

Oh yes! One more thing: the video really helped to reinforce the lesson that was conducted during the HopeKids camp, and from the feedback that we got, the kids loved it! Hahaha... praise God! Mission accomplished.

Now there's two more videos to produce... one of them may be a long-term project, looking at the challenge of it. But it's exciting! :D

"Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God." - William Carey

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Diseased Comparison

C.S Lewis pointed something interesting about pride. When people take pride in something about themselves (may it be power, wealth, fame or things of the similar sort), the pride is never place in the thing itself. That is to mean that fundamentally, they are not proud of the power they hold per say. Then he goes on to talk about the idea that pride is actually place in the fact that they have MORE power then the others. So to say, pride is basically comparison. It will always be better, richer, more powerful, more beautiful etc. If the problem is purely material in nature so to speak, it would go away if we make both people equally filthy rich, both equally powerful. Hence pride is in fact a diseased sort of comparison, and this also explains the other sins such as envy and ingratitude.

So why did God places the idea of comparison into our finite grey matter? I cannot really come to a conclusive answer but I believed He placed a few hints here and there in my head. The idea of comparison originally conceived to help our limited minds to understand the concepts of God. [...] God uses these comparisons to hint us of his existences and the descriptions of His characteristics. Comparisons are correctly used when they are used to compare things of man with God, and if we were to use it to compare things of man with the things of other men, it's little wonder why we turned out like this.

Be careful of the comparisons.

(From R3)

I was thinking... pride is at the heart of it all, SELF-centred. It dethrones God from the centre of everything we do, even our morals and ethics. Even in our desire to grow, the trap of falling into pride is so easy. We think it our right not to fall into sin - and when we sin, we become angry, because we can't accept the fact that we are actually capable of sinning (oh the horror! I sinned!).

Just a thought...

Edited:
Actually, pride can be described more accurately as independence from God and others.

A Humble Colleague

Today, a new guy I'd not seen around my office before popped into the lab where I work. He was looking for my project lead. But since my project leader wasn't around, he talked with my tech lead instead.

And he asked question after question, as he was new to this line of work, having moved over from a different domain. What struck me was his eagerness to learn, despite his being older than either one of us, and seniority in rank.

After he'd finished his asking, he smiled and thanked us. And he said, "I'm sorry to take up your time... I really have a lot to learn from you guys." My tech lead quickly replied, "Hey don't be like that lah! We learn from one another."

But gosh! Maybe some might think it was just politeness on this guy's part, but I sensed he really was sincere and hungry to learn. More than that, his humility to learn and take the initiative to ask questions.

And he asked good and insightful questions too. Learnt a lot standing there listening to my tech lead's replies too.

I'm wondering if he's a Christian... hee.

So I reflected: How hungry am I to learn what will help me excel in the responsibilities God has assigned me? He who is faithful with little can be trusted with much. And vice-versa.

Personally, I want to learn more, not for the purpose of advancing my career, but because I want to excel as a steward of the job God has assigned me to do. This verse propels me on to want to grow and sharpen my skills more.

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

And attitude-wise, I've been working on my punctuality recently - no easy feat for a habitual latecomer like me - because I realise that subtly, this is not a good testimony in my colleagues' eyes. So I've been putting in extra effort to be on time, taking the taxi if necessary. I do this because I really want to honour God's name and to give the enemy no chance for slander. Of course, I slip from time to time... :P But as long as we fix our eyes on Jesus as the Reason behind everything we do, He gives us the strength to do ALL things. Amen!)

Let us aim daily to be excellent workmen and workwomen of God, who need not be ashamed when the day comes for us to give account for what we have done so far!

2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

But let's not merely grow in our skills, but let us grow in our hearts for people too. Let's ask God to help us go the extra mile in caring for our colleagues' needs, even those who are more challenging to love. Let's grow in character and attitude too - integrity, righteousness, meekness, humility, patience, gentleness, kindness, joy, peace, and so on... It's really exciting when we choose to live for God as our King in the workplace! :)

4 Parts of A Sheep

As shepherds we take care of different parts of our sheep

“Body” - We need to care physically/economically and promote fairness as much as possible.

“Heart“- We need kindness in our hearts for the person and express it appropriately.

“Mind“- We encourage personal development and use of their talents/giftings.

“Spirit“- We enhance the meaning of what they are doing in ministry by connectedness to God.

If we overemphasis one or compromise others, we shepherd in a lopsided matter.

The Lord requires us to worship Him with all 4 of these human parts. Not a single part can be neglected. That’ll make a difference whether our sheep skip, walk or drag their feet to serve.

(From 4 Parts of A Sheep, RagsStudio)

Monday, October 13, 2008

I think God has been speaking gently but persistently to me in my heart over the weekend.

Seems like He has been prompting me to get over my emotions and just move on. To do His will, no matter what.

Jesus' words in John 4 came to mind: "My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work. Do you not say, '4 months more and then the harvest? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for the harvest.'"

Again, it seems that so many circumstances, people, and of course, His words, have been stirring my heart.

Convicting me of the following areas:
-Need to be excellent in my ministry, serving God not because it's fun (even though it IS a lot of times!), but also when things are tough, because we're doing this for a Higher Calling.
-Need to discard my expectations of others, how they should respond to me... If Jesus Himself didn't come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many... then what excuse do I have?
-And even though there are many times I just want to meet up with people to RECEIVE from them, be it advice or comfort or encouragement, or just enjoy time together... I realised that I need to give back too. To refresh other people.
-To live for the approval of God, not my leaders or people around me. That means I have to be a man of the truth, by the truth and for the truth.
-To sleep more. At the right times. :)

Not that I've not done all these... but I need to persevere in these areas. Not to slide back to my old sinful natural tendencies (which happens daily, actually). But to continually put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. To live up to what I have already attained - and beyond. To beat my body and make it my slave.

I guess everything that God has been prompting me can be summed up in this central verse that is - how to say - keeps burning in my heart. Yes, a burning deep within:
"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

I don't know why, but it just keeps burning and burning my heart day after day. Hee. Thankful and grateful to God that I can experience Him, even in this way. It's a painful joy, but also a joyful pain. :)

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire."

So Saturday was a day of action for me. Doing some things that I'd been increasingly convicted to act upon, and also had a great time with Weizhu on Saturday. Not only receiving from him, but also giving back to him. And felt even more refreshed than if I'd only received from him. Whoa.

"Trillion is the new billion."

"Trillion is the new billion."

Joyce wrote a very thought-provoking post about the financial crisis, and how God must be our sure anchor in these times.

And I've been thinking about how easy it is to lose money just like that. Was talking with a brother today about his investments - he said he might have lost a really substantial amount of money (it's a five-figure sum).

And I've read the Straits Times today - they really devoted a lot of pages to the financial crisis. (Did anyone think of investing in Singapore Press Holdings? Apparently newspapers sell pretty well in these bad times... :))

One thing that struck me was how often financial crisis after crisis keep recurring. It only serves to reinforce how transient our wealth can be. But it's a great thing, because God purposely allows the markets to be shaken, to remind us from time to time that financial wealth is like the shifting sands. Billionaires become millionaires overnight, and millionaires become thousand-naires. And thousand-naires become hundred-naires. And so on.

But Jesus knows the vagaries of the markets better than Warren Buffett. Astutely, he points out the better deal: to invest in what yields eternal returns.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

Let's invest our money in what produce truly lasting returns. Let's be rich in good deeds and charity to the poor and needy. Let's use our worldly wealth to win friends, so that when it's gone, we'll be welcomed into eternal dwellings. :)

Let's be really smart investors.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Liting's Birthday Celebration at Settlers'



Liting's one of the newest sisters who joined our CG a few weeks ago. She crossed over from Tertiary side. :) 20 years young. Definitely the youngest in our CG, hands-down!

But really, we've been blessed by her heart for God, and her sweet appreciativeness of us... really warms our hearts!

Sis, may you continue to grow in grace and favour with God and men... may 1 Timothy 4:12 be a powerful living testimony in your life too!
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Serving Excellently Comes After Seeing Excellently

WZ and I also talked about those serving in the arts/media ministries. There's two kinds of people:
A. Those who serve, because they enjoy what they do.
B. Those who serve, because they realize their God-given skills and talents are meant to tangibly highlight God's glory and refresh/encourage others.

Nothing bad about those in (A), but we would do better to think about why we really are in ministry. Is it simply for our own enjoyment, or do we see the higher calling in what we do?


Art - a means to help people get touched by God personally


Even in the pastoral ministries... are we serving in CG because "my leader asked me to do this/that"? Or do we listen to the Lord's heartbeat when He said:
"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve..."
We will never reach true excellence in ministry until we have understood the power and purpose of the ministry we are in.
"Let choirs sing well, or not at all. Otherwise we merely confirm the majority in their conviction... that all this culture and religion (horrid words both) are essentially marginal, amateurish and rather effeminate activities."
C.S. Lewis

Shunrong really is one of my role models when it comes to serving in ministry - both in ushering ministry last time and now in children's ministry. His joyful spirit is very strong and contagious. And I realise it's because he really sees the Higher Cause for what he is doing. And he has faithfully encouraged and exhorted me time and time again to remember why we're in this ministry. Because we're doing this for GOD and for OTHERS.

That's why I really, really believe so much in the importance of children's ministry - not because it's a "cute" ministry or even that I enjoy working with children (I get very tired at times) - but because it's a ministry that can prepare and soften an entire generation to Christ - "to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."

Serving excellently comes after seeing excellently.
Met up with Weizhu today. He told me about some meeting where those who have the burden to serve the needy with funds/expertise for IT.

Whoa. Told him this is one of my dreams - to help them in this area. The "teach a man to fish" concept.

Planning to go down with him to the next meeting next week. :)

Eternally Expired


“All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.” - CS Lewis

Time is of the essence.

Myth: Everyone has an equal chance of becoming a Christ follower.

Reality: Based on extensive research on this topic, our data points out clearly that the faith trajectory of the vast majority of American is mapped out before they become adults, often before they even reach adolescence. In fact, for every one hundred people who are not born again by the time they reach age eighteen, only six of those individuals will commit their lives to Christ for the first time as an adult. Of course, we have to always assume the best about people’s spiritual potential. God can do anything in anyone’s life at any time, and he often does. But consider how likely it would be for you as an adult to be persuaded to convert to another religion right now. You have to admit, it would take a lot to change your views so dramatically.

Think of the implications of this. First, it underscores that Christians should prioritize the faith development of children, a unique time in human development when the vast majority of us “pick” a faith. Second, it implies that we must work hard to strengthen the often-tenuous faith of teenagers, because this is when their faith is gelling.

(From Why I Do What I Do, R3)

This struck home, because during CG on Friday, we all shared our conversion stories, of how we came to faith in Christ. HQ happened to ask at what age we came to Christ. Almost everyone, except HQ, had come to Christ at about 18 years or so. (HQ came to Christ during his first or second year in NTU.)

It struck me there and then how critical it is to touch as many young people as we can for Christ. And that's why my sub-district is aiming to reach those below 25.

Time is of the essence.

On another note, after attending the HopeKids Live service, I realised the importance HopeTots ministry plays in preparing the children for HopeKids. Because if they are not well-disciplined in the early stages of their lives (those below 6 years), then it becomes very much harder to train and disciple them as they go into primary school.

Even Al-Qaeda applies this concept so well - why else would they focus so heavily on using the Internet and schools to indoctrinate young boys?

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

Of Talents and Obedience

"God doesn't need talented people - He wants obedient people."
Ravi Zacharias

The Initiative Against Dreaming

"Arise, let us go hence." John 14:31
Dreaming about a thing in order to do it properly is right; but dreaming about it when we should be doing it is wrong. After Our Lord had said those wonderful things to His disciples, we might have expected that He would tell them to go away and meditate over them all; but Our Lord never allowed "mooning" [early 20th-century meaning]. When we are getting into contact with God in order to find out what He wants, dreaming is right; but when we are inclined to spend our time in dreaming over what we have been told to do, it is a bad thing and God's blessing is never on it. God's initiative is always in the nature of a stab against this kind of dreaming, the stab that bids us "neither sit nor stand but go."

If we are quietly waiting before God and He has said - "Come ye yourselves apart," then that is meditation before God in order to get at the line He wants; but always beware of giving over to mere dreaming when once God has spoken. Leave Him to be the source of all your dreams and joys and delights, and go out and obey what He has said. If you are in love, you do not sit down and dream about the one you love all the time, you go and do something for him; and that is what Jesus Christ expects us to do. Dreaming after God has spoken is an indication that we do not trust Him.

(From My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Of Myths and History

I follow the Alley Oop comic strip regularly, and this particular series caught my attention. Ah. Who'd imagine a cerebral apologetics session of the historical basis of mythology in a children's comic strip? ;)






Lord I love You yes I do
Lord I love you and you know it's true
Lord I love you yes I do
For the Bible says You are faithful and true

Lord You love me yes You do
Lord You love me so tender and true
Lord You love me yes You do
So won't You now come into my heart to rule?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Britons turn to God - online

LONDON - BRITONS fearful about the global financial crisis are turning to God - at least online, flocking in their thousands to a special prayer on the Church of England's website, the Church said on Thursday.
A new 'Prayer for the Current Financial Situation' has been viewed nearly 8,000 times since it was published online in September, increasing traffic to the 'prayers for today' section of the website by 28 per cent.

The number of people visiting a section offering debt advice - including a feature that helps visitors work out how the credit crunch will affect them - has also gone up by 71 per cent in the past few weeks, the Church said.

'I'm delighted the content is resonating with people, and there is something the church has to offer people,' said the Church of England's national steward John Preston, who wrote the debt advice.

'I think that people aren't necessarily going online to seek religion, but as they are browsing, their thoughts turn to it.

'We know that many people do pray, but things are made so accessible by having it online. Instead of having to go somewhere, and find something, we just provide some words that people can go through wherever they are.'

The prayer for the financial crisis notes that 'we live in disturbing days", with rising prices, increasing debts, job losses and collapsing banks, and calls on God to 'be a tower of strength amid the shifting sands'. -- AFP

Training Exercises for the Christian

1 Peter 1:13
Therefore
, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled;
set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.


Peter advised me to practice thinking ahead, running "training exercises" in my mind to anticipate my responses, feelings and reactions in conceivable situations. It's something that he does almost every day.

It's a great idea. And 1 Peter 1:13 came to mind - something that David, my first shepherd, had shared with me before.

And this visual simulation exercise, I'm to consider how I feel, and why I feel what I feel, and how I would respond naturally. So that I can be ready, more aware, of potential pitfalls. E.g. if I know I'm going to be in a situation where I'll naturally get angry, then the next time before I go into a potentially heated situation, I can run through the situation as it plays out in my imagination. To make it as realistic as possible.

And this exercise would also help me pray in advance. If I know that in this situation, despite all my best preparations... in which I'll definitely sin or get very affected or do something really stupid, then I can also pray to God, to ask Him for help with whatever I'm going to face.

And it's more purposeful this way. Because I would have prepared myself, and I'll be able to see clearly that what I'm about to go through is actually an opportunity from God to grow and pass the test.

Wow. Amazing. Never thought about it this way. But it IS a biblical thing, to be sure. To prepare my mind for action, be self-controlled, and set my hope fully on the grace to be given me when Jesus Christ is fully revealed. :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Focus This Way

This one's a very nice video. :)
There are a million things that fill our days, each one pulling our focus in a different direction and leaving us a little more overwhelmed.

Giving Without Expectations

Something sweet today. Was at work, and started thinking about life and so on. Then I remembered the Sermon on the Mount. It made me think. So took my Bible out and laid it besides me, as I did my work.

Things about loving your enemies, going the extra mile... and lending without expectations of getting things back.

Those words made me think. Because HQ had said something to me last night, that I hadn't really paid attention to at that time. He said that those people that I've given without expectations of getting anything back in return, their lives have been blessed by me. But for those whom I expect a lot... I have ended up becoming very disappointed by them when they don't show love to me in the way that I want.

But I think Jesus is teaching me to be more gracious. To learn to be less critical, not to judge, but to grow in appreciativeness of whatever He has given me through these friends that He's placed in my life.

Because I had dinner with Edmund today at Aston Express (in a kopitiam near AMK Jubilee)... and while we were chatting over a deeeelicious steak and BBQ chicken meal, I asked him how's his walk with God been.

He replied thoughtfully, "Good. I have been getting up and thanking God for each day. Even though I'm very tired because of my work, I remind myself that this day could be worse. God has given me life, so I should be thankful. And that I can look for opportunities to learn new things, be it in work or ministry or whatever."

Wow. I thought to myself, "Wow. God must really be speaking to me through Edmund. 'Cos HQ was telling me to not to think negatively, and to treasure whatever God has given me. And now, Edmund is talking about how he's been seeing every day as a gift from God, and despite the tough workload he has, he really sees opportunities to grow every day. This is a beautiful attitude. This is an optimistic spirit. A spirit of faith. I want to learn from this brother. He's a wise brother." Gosh. (Haha. I just realised that I thought all this in the space of a second or two.)

Giving thanks in all circumstances. Giving cheerfully without any expectations of getting anything back in return.

I thought these were just ... it's true... hyperbole.

It turns out that Jesus was right all along. These are principles that will really help me grow.

******
Something about emotions. Emotions are good, even the negative ones, if they help me draw closer to God. And they are bad, even if I'm feeling happy, top-of-the-world, if they draw me away from God.

I blog a lot, especially when I'm in a pensive mood, or even depressed. Partly because it's so cathartic. Partly because this is an open journal, and I'm writing this with the purpose of being open, to encourage fellow Christians who may be struggling with the same kind of issues. And also as a record of my walk with God so far.

But I was thinking. Am I thinking too much about my emotions? I should just put everything aside and just go to God in prayer. To ask Him to settle my heart and renew my mind and restore my soul. More than that, to grow my heart for Him and for people around me. To teach me, rebuke me, correct me and train me in righteousness.

Just thinking. Action+prayer points for me here... to grow in patience, emotional stability, gentleness, kindness, goodness.

Haha. I realise, the more I want to be like Christ, the more I see how I have fallen short. "For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God..."

But oh yes. Pride. I realised that I have a subtle pride in me that can't accept the fact that I am not as good as I would like to be. Do I have to feel useful for God to use me? It's my pride laid bare actually. Inwardly, secretly, subtly, poisonously, I enjoy the idea that I've something that makes me that little more special, better than those around me.

But on the other hand, this could be an innate longing in every human's heart, especially a man's heart, that he needs the assurance that he can actually contribute... "Longing just to bring, something that's of worth, that will bless Your heart".

I guess that's a man's deepest thirst. A thirst even deeper than a thirst for life. The thirst for meaning. The thirst to make something useful of his life. And this thirst is not necessarily a bad thing. As CS Lewis wrote, "Thirst was made for water; inquiry for truth." If it brings us closer to the truth, and to God himself...
"The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."


Ok. I've written enough. Going to pray and to sleep now. Haha. Tomorrow shall be a brand new day... a day of hope! Because God is already waiting there in the future. :) Thank God for God!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I met up with Huaqiang over dinner before WFL today. Had intended to catch up with him... but God, in all his love, intended more to happen.

HQ asked me how I was in CG. Because he had heard about what I asked my CG to pray for me about two weeks ago. *pause* I don't feel very comfortable right now to share deeper, but to put in a nutshell... I'm still feeling down. After so long.

Yes. I'm not as healthy as I'd like others to see me. And I'm still feeling a lot of downness. Fear and failures. Discouragement and hopelessness. I'm not accepting any comments for this post, because I know what I ought to do. But right now I'm still not strong enough to read any comments or advice at the moment. :) Sorry about it haha, but it's times like these I'm just grateful I can talk to God and to certain people. Like Peter for e.g.

Hmm.

I shared with HQ that I'm feeling disappointed because of my lack of growth... as the man that God wants me to be... and to be honest, I'm very envious of brothers and sisters who are so much more mature than me. I envy, yes, I do...

And taking a look at myself... it's ironic. Pride again, rearing its horrible head. Pride that can't accept the fact that I sin.

And discontentment. Instead of growing in gratefulness to God for the little things in life... I have been so unappreciative of people who love me. Even though sometimes people show me love in ways I don't recognise, it does NOT mean that they don't love me.

And God knows that I have said things that hurt some friends very deeply - saying that I don't feel loved by them, despite the fact that they did all they could to show me how much they love me.

*pause* And I remember now. A brother last time wrote to me on a blog entry that he didn't feel loved by me even though he knew that I've been doing my best to love him... he just didn't feel close to me anyway. My heart broke when I read what he had written. And to be frank... I think our friendship didn't quite reach the same level that it had been before.

So I guess that's how others feel towards me when I am ungrateful to them.

*sober pause*
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

And to be honest, one very recent example was when a certain friend tried to help me man a camera... but I was angry with him. Told him rudely... "Don't interfere!" I was upset with him, because I felt very insecure, thinking that he was treating me like a kid.

Of course, he was upset. He had loving intentions, and he showed his love in this way.

And friends who were less close would have been extremely put-off by what I said, and it's likely the friendship would have cooled down a lot after the words I said. But he graciously, kindly and lovingly told this to me a few weeks later. And now... I think I'm starting to realise that this is a friendship that I've been taking for granted. There are very, very few friendships that can stand this kind of stress.

Bro, you know... I think I can't think of a more faithful kind of friend like you. :) You are truly one of the most faithful friends that God can give anyone. :) Thank God truly for your strength of character.
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

5It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

6It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

And this passage describes you so well. You're the exact opposite of who I am. Thank you for believing in me, and encouraging me and exhorting me. I would not be ... even the person I am today, without your impact and influence on my life.

Thanks a lot dear bro. :)

So yah. I remember many years ago, I was telling Shirley about this problem... and she told me the same thing. At that time I didn't really want to listen... and now... hmm. I see the same pattern happening again. But thank God He helped me to see at last.

Ah. Have much to learn. There's a lot of dear friends who are so appreciative. I think I gotta learn more from them.

*******
But anyway. HQ reminded me to not to let myself dwell in negative thoughts again, for they aren't of God, but of Satan. Should I listen to the Father of all truth, or to the father of lies?

And 'tis so timely too... I met Ellson after WFL, and he showed me an article that he got in his email. This is part of the article:
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (6:10-11)

So often we are overcome with a feeling of powerlessness. Much of powerlessness -- not all -- comes from not using what God has provided. The command in verse 10 is "Be strong1 in the Lord and in his mighty2 power."3 Our problem is that we try to be strong in ourselves, and have not learned the secret of drawing our strength from God.

Paul was afflicted with some kind of disease, it appears from 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. What it was we do not know, though he called it "a thorn in my flesh" and recognized its source: "a messenger of Satan to torment me." Paul didn't sanctify his illness, even though God was using this evil thing, he asked for God to remove it. But God denied his request and instead told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." God used evil for good once again (Romans 8:28), so that Paul would remain humble and so that he would learn in his weakness to draw on God's strength. Paul learned to glory in it, "For when I am weak," he said, "then I am strong."

Deeply touched by HQ's and Ellson's prayers for me - both separately, yet they prayed the same prayer points for me.

God really loves me so much. Through these two dear brothers, these two great men of God. :)

And oh yes. When, after talking for so long, we were to go for the WFL lesson... I was still feeling too raw to go up for the lesson. So I told HQ I need to go somewhere else for a while, to think things over.

And HQ asked me, "Do you want me to accompany you?"

"Oh......... yes please."

And later on, God helped me see HQ through new eyes. Felt an increasing depth of appreciation for what he had done for me.

Perhaps God's starting another chapter in my heart's transformation. A heart of gratefulness.

I need to grow in gratefulness of heart. A grateful heart towards my parents. My friends. My colleagues. To God Himself. For all the things that He has given me. Love, life and liberty. Goodness, grace and greenery. Sweetness, songs and skies.

*pause*

********
And to remember that I reap what I sow. For all the hurtful words that I've sown, I reap distrust and pain.

But Ellson added: "And when you sow good seed, you reap a good harvest."

I guess it's going to be a long journey ahead. Still... I have a relationship with God Himself and I should be eternally grateful to Him for that! :)

Finally, to end off here... HQ said that he too went through the same kind of thing. That really encouraged me. He grew because he humbled himself and listened to the advice of some people who spoke into his life.

*thoughtful*

********
Thank God for Jon. :) He saw me milling around after WFL, and he came over. That was a very small thing, but I felt very, very touched. 'Cos it's a joy to know that your presence means something to someone else. :) So am learning, with God's help, to be more and more grateful for Jon's presence - not only as a sheep, but also as a friend and a bro in Christ. Haha... I know he's going to read this... well, here's a little passage to bless your heart bro! Philippians 1:3-8! :)

********
Haha. Yup. Sorry about the raw emotions here. But pray and hope it encourages anyone else too who might be struggling with certain weaknesses, disappointments, sins, etc... God is with you too, just as He is with me! :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Living For Eternity

Just came back from the video production course. 3rd week. =) Today Steven taught us about using lighting to achieve various moods in filming. So cool.

Then had a good - no, a most excellent supper - with Weizhu. It's such a joy to get to know him more and more, even though we've been friends for many years. Hee. I guess these are the friendships that really strengthen and renew your heart... little brooks of God's tangible expressions of love that you come across day by day.

*******
And, Priority Living. Wow. Thank God. I think God is really speaking to me, debriefing me even, for the new phase of ministry that is to lie ahead. Ever since I came back from the missions trip in August, I just sense God's calling is becoming even clearer and clearer... more and more tangible... every step I take... He is my light and my salvation indeed.

And I just feel so... grateful. Kindness of a Saviour. I mean... *gosh* ...

Sorry, just feel rather overwhelmed at this moment.

I mean, Ps Jeff's altar call after sermon... was for those who want to be touched by God... to be USED by God...

And the sermon itself. Priority Living. It's a series that I've been really looking forward to. Because so many things have happened that made me think even more about my life and my death.

Maybe it was the accident on the last day of the missions trip. That made me think deeper about how suddenly life can go just like that. And that life is a sheer gift from God. "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

Had also been reading Ecclesiastes. It made me think deeply about the result of a life lived for oneself... it's so true... you can be a believer in God, but if you don't live for Him... but choose to live like the rest of the world... you'll eventually find that everything you do is meaningless.
1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
2 "Meaningless! Meaningless!"
says the Teacher.
"Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless."

3 What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?


********
And the book of Ecclesiastes... one lesson that I took away was that no matter what work you do on earth... if it's for yourself... you are indeed a very miserable and pitiful man indeed.

Reading the books of Job and Ecc made me think deeply... one bro described Job as a book "full of complaining". In a way it's true... but it's one of the most powerful books I've read... Job's complaints are so real, so realistic, so full of emotion... and they ask one of the deepest and hardest to answer questions... "Why do good people suffer so badly?" and "If God is so good, why is there so much evil?" And why does God allow good people to suffer and bad people to go scot-free?

And I really really enjoyed reading the book. Wanted to read it over and over again. :) Hee. Oh man. I think this probably says quite a bit about what kind of person I am. :P

But yah. Reading Ecclesiastes, where Solomon had tried everything the world had to offer and groaned in the end, "Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!"

And contrast to Job... who lost all that he had, his children, and even his own health... and he didn't even have the comfort of knowing whether there was a life after death... but in the end he saw God... and in a way, I think God did hint to Job that one day, he would see his children in the life to come.

It's strange. Two men, both super-rich... one died rich, but said everything was meaningless... and found out the hard way that to fear God is to really live... but I sense a note of sadness in his final words... a note of failure and despair. And his son didn't do too well as the next king...

But Job died old and full of years after the terrible suffering he went through... at peace with God and with his family... and he grew in richness of character... of humility, generosity and forgiveness and so on... and most of all he now had experienced God first-hand...

*ponder*

Two men with very similar circumstances but very different outcomes... one chose faith in the world... and another chose faith in God.

*******

And reading the newspapers recently... about old people with dementia. To be honest, dementia's one of the diseases that I think I will really really really not want to get. Because you lose your mind... and worse still, it has a very disheartening effect on your loved ones.

And being an absent-minded and quite a slow-thinking fellow at times... I think I can understand a bit how the older people feel... that sense of frustration when they can't remember certain things.

But even if one day I do get it... I pray for mercy... I still want to love God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. If I forget everything else, even memories of my most loved ones... then I pray that I will never forget three things: God's great love for me on the Cross, the Word of God and the hope of the new life to come.

In short, faith (the Word), hope (eternity) and love (the Cross). :)

It's possible to remember the Word of God, even when all your mind is gone. It is possible. Because there was this grandfather who had a stroke that robbed him of all linguistic capability. He totally lost the ability to understand language, both spoken and written. But... he never forgot the Psalms, because over his life, he had memorised and meditated on the Psalms so long that even when his mind totally failed him, he could still recite them. And I think they were the only words that could speak to him when human words could no longer reach him. Wow....

AND I REALLY WANT THAT KIND OF MEMORY. To let more and more of His Word be so deeply inscribed into my heart that even if my mind was totally gone, eaten away by Alzhemier's or amnesia... I'd still remember His Word always, and forever! I may forget my own name... but let me never, ever forget the beautiful name of Jesus - the Name that is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth...

:)
********

Hee. Morbid yah? No lah. We're all going to die one day, so the question is, how will you live today?

So I want to spend my life on what really counts. What really matters. What will carry over into the life to come. I don't want to be a safe ship in harbour. Because that's not what a ship's meant for. To live is Christ, to die is gain. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. :)

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

Because eternal life doesn't start after death. It started from the day Christ came and gave me a brand-new life. And I don't want my dear Saviour to be ashamed of me on the day He returns. Yeah... :P

******

Oh other things being put together...
The book "When the Game is Over", the sermons, the Bible... various circumstances...
Hmm... all these seem to be pointing to one thing: Priority Living. To live fully for God.

I need to examine myself... to discard what hinders me from following God fully, and to consider carefully how I use my time and money for Him. To practise being more and more generous towards God and others.

Yup... yup... keep me in prayer yah? Tks! :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I think God may be showing me more and more clearly that there's going to be a new phase of ministry. And while reading the Bible during my past few weeks of quiet time... I feel a increasingly stronger prompting from God that He really is at work in my life. Such kindness to me... a sinner! But God is so kind. :D Kindness of a Saviour.

Just feel that November is going to be the start of a very radical and exciting time of my life. :D I just feel the winds of change starting to blow in the air. I smell the fresh rain coming.

I think God has been putting into my heart that He's going to use me to impact even more children in due time, and to bear even more fruit for Him in the media ministry. I feel an increasing fire in my heart... must be the fire of the Holy Spirit increasing...
Consuming Fire, fan into flames
A passion for Your name
Spirit of God, would You fall in this place
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way
With us

Come like a rushing wind
Clothe us with power from on high
Now set the captives free
Leave us abandoned to Your praise
Lord let Your glory fall
Lord let Your glory fall

And it's going to take a lot more sacrifice and dying to self... physical and mental tiredness... but October looks like a time of rest and renewal and studying the Bible, and plenty of time to just spend time seeking God. 'Cos work has been very much more relaxed... and will be relaxed till the end of this month. :D

Ha. Not sure what's going to happen next. But well, just keep on walking with Jesus...

Radical Love: Geylang

A dear friend wrote this... It left a lump in my throat as I read it. Instead of resting on a public holiday, this friend chose to minister to the prostitutes in Geylang. I'm... so... touched.

And I sensed God's love overflowing from this friend's sharing.
Although I had visited the clinic and knew the ministry there since abt 4 mths back, I had not mustered enough courage to "walk the streets" as they call it. To befriend, talk to and pray for the people.

The house church is located at Geylang Road, where they pray and meet daily. On Wednesdays, they have a worship time and then they walk the streets. After worshipping for abt an hr odd, we went to the street in 2 grps.

I went with a grp of about 8 to the "Indian" streets, unsure of what was to happen. We squeezed past crowds of migrant workers, walked past a street of gambling tables ( I swear I only saw those in HK TV dramas). Along the streets were rows of women standing/ sitting down. We came to a grp of ladies, and someone asked if they wanted prayer. They said yes, and another embraced one of them, and another held another's hand. And before long, we were all standing in the circle, in the middle of the dark dinky alley- Praying.

Jesus was there though. I felt like He was walking with us in the streets. He wasn't just there when we walked. He was there, walking with them daily.

I asked S if she wanted prayer. She hugged me and laid her head on my shoulders. I thought she didn't understand, and asked again. Again, she hugged me. I prayed for her- for healing, for God's love. And at the end of the prayer, I asked her to call to Jesus, to tell Jesus what is in her heart. Soon after she said she gotto go, as there was business coming. It stirred my heart with a mixture of feelings.

But I knew Jesus loved each one of these. The bible came alive as I read Isaiah that night when I got home- of healing broken hearts, of setting the captives free, of bringing light into the darkness. There it was, in the dark alleys, incarnate love. Jesus walked and fellowshipped with the tax collectors and the prostitutes on earth. Jesus came to die for these ones. God wants to redeem these lives, each woman created uniquely and beautifully in His image.

I have a feeling that this is how christianity is meant to be. Christianity, according to the bible, is radical.

Something I learnt from this: There are many, many people who are hungry for love... and God hears their hearts' cries. Let's be encouraged and allow the Lord to use you and me today... to minister to the least of these people... because Jesus said that whatever we did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of His, we ultimately did it for HIM.

Jesus will never ever forget what we have done for him, no matter how small it is. :)

Thank God for this dear friend, who is a wonderful radical of Christ. :) I wanna be radical for Him too. Because our God is a radical God!

$14 SteadyCam - "The Poor Man's Steadicam"


"Steadycams (or camera stabilizers) are attachments used to capture smooth looking video even when the camera and camera operator are in motion. The camera operator may walk (or even jog), move through tight hallways and doorways, and even climb up and down stairs without shaking the camera. Unfortunately, professional steadycams cost around $1500. Even the cheap 3rd party ones cost $600+. Not exactly a bargain considering many of us use cameras in that price range. So, I decided to make my own version. It turns out, it only costs $14. Not too bad. And I'll show you how to build your own right here (or you can buy a ready-to-use steadycam from me through this website [littlegreatideas.com]). Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker, a videographer, the family documentarian, or just want more utility out of your video camera, you'll appreciate a steadycam. [read more]