Sunday, November 30, 2008


One of the most underestimated attributes of God is His capacity to forgive.
"The Forgiveness of God", Pastor Jeff

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

How deep the Father's love for us, how vast beyond all measure
That he should give his only son, to make a wretch his treasure
How great the pain of searing loss, the Father turned his face away
As wounds which mar the chosen one, bring many sons to glory

Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon his shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held him there until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life; I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything: no gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ; his death and resurrection
Why should I gain from his reward? I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart: his wounds have paid my ransom

Written by Stuart Townend
© 1995 Kingsway's Thankyou Music
CCLI #1596342
Album: I Could Sing of Your Love Forever 2

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Wow, thank God. CG was really wonderful yesterday - could see the Lord's presence was there (as He promised, "Where two or three are gathered in My name, there I am with them."). :)

Mei Xian joined us (she's one of the youngest CG members - both in terms of spiritual and physical) haha. We had a whale of a time - Sharon suddenly got the inspiration to teach her aikido on the spot. Yesh. I took videos of the whole thing - so funny hahaha.

But thank God! It really cracked us up haha.

Then worship. Simple but the presence of the Lord is here. And that's the most important thing in life, the universe and everything else.

Read a chapter that HQ passed us. Wow. Powerful.

Then after tt was sharing from the chapter. It was a real time. And wow, so thankful. The sense of realness and fellowship.

You know, I really believe God's igniting a new burst of fire into our CG. And He's gonna do something sweet and wonderful in the days to come. Hallelujah! Revival's on the way - and a Revolution's in the air!


Friday, November 28, 2008

How You Can Make the World a Better Place

Shuyi's post on the Mumbai terrorist attacks made me think. Think God is reminding me that I mustn't be so engrossed up in my own little world and affairs. Not to be inwards-looking. Then was also thinking about Billy Graham's life example. How he reaches out to those around him.

It's not true that the more spiritual a Christian becomes, the less involved he becomes in earthly affairs.

The truth is, when we see how big God's heartbeat is for a world that has left Him, we can't but help be compelled to step out of our own comfort zones. To minister beyond ourselves. Like how Jesus did.

We become more motivated in reading up about world events and home affairs. To learn to see today's events from the perspective of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Doctrinal theology becoming incarnate, in us. Having a heart of anguish for injustices wreaked and the oppression of the poor. Intensely interceding and pleading for our nations. Patiently peacemaking in our spheres of influence.

To pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done - on earth as it is in heaven."

Oh dear. Such a heart-ache within me. This is so utterly wrong, the terrorist acts! They have slain their own countrymen in cold blood. Yet they are just men, like you and me.

Lord, please, please help the authorities in India there succeed in putting down the evil terrorists! Yet Father, forgive the terrorists, for they do not know what they are doing! Oh God, guide and help the authorities capture the ringleaders, that these atrocities can be ended immediately! Exercise Your righteousness, justice and mercy on behalf of the victims and their families! In Jesus' most righteous name, amen.

Just want to share this passage with you that I'm currently reading from the biography of Billy Graham:
"I am an old man," [Winston] Churchill said several times during the conversation [with Billy Graham], "without any hope for the world. What hope do you have, young man?" Churchill pointed to the newspapers lying on the table and remarked that they were filled with reports of things that he said rarely happened when he was young: murders, rapes, and other major crimes. [...]

Graham, evangelist to the core, could not pass up an opportunity to share the gospel with the Western world's most famous leader. "Are you without hope for your own soul's salvation?" Graham asked, perhaps surprising himself with his boldness.

"Frankly, I think about that a great deal," replied Churchill.

"Mr. Prime Minister, I am filled with hope," Graham said exuberantly.

Producing his pocket New Testament, Graham then went through various verses pointing to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Churchill listened attentively. Then, exactly forty minutes after the meeting was scheduled to end, Churchill indicated that it was time to bring things to a close. Getting up, he shuffled toward the door, concluding his own melancholy reflections with the pronouncement, "I do not see much hope for the future unless it is the hope you are talking about, young man. We must have a return to God."

"Billy Graham: His Life and Influence", pg. 92-93

Hmm. Think one of the first and most important steps we can take towards becoming men and women of God who will make the world a better place, is to start praying for the world. To talk with Him about the news that we read or watch every day. To ask Him what He thinks and feel about these things that happen. To ask Him to increase our love for the peoples of the world. To help us see beyond our routine everyday lives of work and play. To see the world events of today through Christ's eyes. To hear through His ears. To feel with His hands. To walk with His feet.

To be His instruments of peace to a world lost in tension and turmoil, chaos and spoils.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Consecration's Fire, V

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love

Take my lips and let them speak
Of Thy gospel of everlasting peace
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee

Consecration's Fire, IV

I've written so much in the past three posts. Because this fire is burning deeper within my heart. Somehow I do feel that God really is calling me to trust Him to attempt something greater for His glory.

So, inspired by Billy Graham's example and heart of wanting to do something great for God, I went to the park today, and found a stone bench. Kneeling down by the side of the bench, I prayed to God. I told Him that I'm choosing to be consecrated unto Him. Really, really long to be His instrument for a noble purpose.

Hee. Just prayed, and ... no glow of light bathed me or any dove landed on my head or whatever else. :P So just struggled some more in prayer. Spammed God, telling Him, "Take take take it all."

Then after some more minutes, I prayed, asking God to tell me what exactly is the work He's calling me to do?

Still no reply.

So I took out my Bible and continued from where I left off. Psalm 66. As I read through each verse carefully, Psalm 66:5 suddenly caught my eyes.

"Come and see what God has done; how awesome His works in man's behalf!"

I thought, "How awesome his works in man's behalf... What are the works he has done in man's behalf? Not on man's behalf, but in man's behalf..."

Then this question came to mind: When was the last time we asked others to come and see what are the works He has done for our sake? Not just Christians, but for the whole world?

And thoughts of Mother Teresa comforting the poor. The peacemakers reconciling warring nations. The countless Christians who have done their God-ordained parts to be Christ's hands and feet to a world that is hurting.

How awesome His works in man's behalf!

Just felt that this is a rhema word from God to my prayer just now. Hee hee! Prayed some more, and think God showed me that this is the work that He has planned for me to do. It is a big, big, big dream. But with God's help, I'm planning already to put into action.

Wonder what'll happen next? It won't be easy, but I have faith in God. Anything lah, as long as I can finish the work He's given me to do on earth. Amen!

Consecration's Fire, III

"The world has yet to see what God can do with and through and in a man who is fully consecrated to Him."
Henry Varley

Consecration's Fire, II

After quite a few posts about this... I think the reason I feel this unease about relevance is partly because I see how some Christians are getting involved in politics, entertainment and so on.

But examples like the South Korean president, who is a Christian, being protested against by Buddhist monks for what looks like discrimination, Mr George W. Bush, and so on - all these make me think. The necessity of competence in work too.

Plus the fact that sometimes we really do want to reach out more to our colleagues / coursemates but wonder how to balance the time spent.

So far... what I've gathered from all this is that:

1. We should always aim to do our best for the Lord, in whatever we do. Everything we do, we do it for His glory. Even if we fail, we fail in a way that shows Christlikeness.

2. Just because God can use the weak to shame the strong, doesn't mean that we should just stop growing. To what extent should we aim to improve ourselves and grow?

I think it's like a athlete training under a coach. The athlete, if he really wants to win the prize of his life, needs to take the initiative to train himself at every opportunity possible. Not to be passive, just waiting for the next official training session.

But he also needs to seek the overall guidance and direction of the coach. If the coach suggests training, say, the upper legs, then the athlete would do well to focus on the upper legs. Or the coach can see how the overall training is going, and give feedback on whether you are going well or to stop completely and take a good rest.

In short, it's a partnership. God and you, fellow workers. Wow.

3. But the most important thing, I think, is that we must, first and foremost, choose to be fully consecrated to God. To purposely set ourselves apart for His use. To be totally His.

Because if we seek to be excellent in commerce, in church, in campus, etc., but our relationship with God is not strong, then we are like houses built on sand. Never mind how much potential or talent or strengths or skills we have - if it is of mere men, it will ultimately not last.

But if we choose to set our hearts upon Jesus first and foremost, to surrender all our weaknesses and brokenness at the foot of the old rugged cross... then no matter how old or young you are, no matter who you are or what you've done, be you a scholar or a school-dropout, a CEO or a cleaner, a scion or a slave...

God is able to do so much with anyone who is utterly consecrated unto Him.
"Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

Ultimately, it is a heart set on fire for God that makes people sit up and pay attention.
When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.
Acts 4:13

And that's the key thing.

One major reason the Church has become irrelevant in quite a few parts of the world, is because people have lost their passion and zeal for the truth. They sing Jesus is alive, but they live as though He was very dead.

If Christ truly is risen, then why aren't we dancing for joy in the first row every time we sing, "He is risen"? Why do we choose not to be radical in living and loving totally? Why do we compartmentalize God into a 30-minutes "quiet time", forgetting about Him the rest of the day?

Excellence in the marketplace alone is not enough; we need to be totally sold out to Jesus. Because He really is God.

Christmas is coming. The greatest gift of all came down two thousand years ago. How many friends do you want to tell this year? One? Two? Or shall we go out and invite as many as we can, day after day, year after year, till none are left?

Gandhi was once asked, "Mr. Ghandi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?"

He replied, "Oh, I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."

Something else I thought about was that being passionate for God doesn't mean that we automatically become culturally irrelevant. Otherwise why would so many people flock to hear Jesus? Jesus really is the most relevant and loveliest person who ever walked the face of the earth. Charles Templeton, an avowed ex-Christian, once burst into tears, sobbing, "I... miss... him!..."

The problem is that we haven't let God's Word transform every aspect of our lives, including work. If we really applied God's Word zealously in every area of our lives... imagine the impact and influence that we could have as ambassadors of Christ!

Just some thoughts here.

Consecration's Fire

He fingered the keyboard tensely, lost in thought. Many days had passed. Days of sitting quietly in front of the computer, while listening to the rushing torrent outside. December weather arriving in November.

"Cultural Mandate". "Relevance".

These words rolled back and forth wordlessly, like the door in his room that swung on its hinges to and fro.

To and fro. To and fro. To and fro.

He glanced at his desk. Billy Graham's determined countenance looked up heavenward from a paperback. "Billy Graham: His Life And Influence", the dog-eared cover whispered back to him.

Deeper and deeper into thought, he went to some blogs, and re-read their entries on relevance. And he thought about Eric Liddell, William Carey, Billy Graham... and his own brothers and sisters' life examples.

* thinking for about one hour already *

The Three Tenets of Writing

The secret to being a good writer:
Write about your audience.

The secret to being a successful writer:
Write for your audience.

The secret to being an impactful writer:
Write with your audience.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Be a seed, not a weed.
Be His.
One cannot make an impact for God by just being relevant.
Relevance must come after consecration.
Put the cart after the horse, please!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yesterday I got to make a new friend - Alex - during a Nurture programme meeting. He's a bro from the tertiary ministry (SIM), and he came to know Christ in March this year. As I was supposed to meet up with Jiaxiang after the meeting, and he didn't have anything on, we just went to MacDonalds' and chatted. Wow! Turns out he has this amazing ability to 'click' with children - he's a part-time camp instructor who has worked with over 500 campers - from primary school level to corporate clients. Super-outgoing. Haha.

Formerly, he was a Buddhist, but after being outreached to by the bros and sisters, and attending an ACTSperience camp, he came to know Christ. :)

He shared excitedly with me about his plans, while touring Europe with his family after his graduation next year, to visit as many Hope churches in Europe as possible. Because he wants to see and learn as much as he can, about how different Hope churches share and implement the same vision.

Wow. My heart is really filled with warmth and joy to see this young brother in Christ, though mature in the ways of the world, yet young and childlike with his baby steps in Christ. I think what strikes me as significant about his heart and spirit is not that he's very passionate per se, for there's quite a number of young Christians who are passionate about their newfound faith.

But what warms my heart is that I sense he has seen the value behind what being a Christian is really about. He's well-versed in the ways of the world, but he sees that Jesus Christ is really the one Way to live for.

And once you've seen the light, that Jesus really is the One Way, the One Truth, the One Life worth living for - then no matter if you're a baby convert one day old, or a hundred-years old disciple, you won't see life in the same way anymore. The upside-down will finally be turned upside-up.

Jesus I'm living life for You
And my world will never be the same again
My God, I'll only ever give my all
Take take take it all!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Reflective Ramblings

Just a quick thanksgiving for today!

Was sharing with a friend over MSN just now:
tk God
i attended an old friend's wedding in the morning
then went off for NURTURE programme - a comcare programme working with kids
then helped a bro with some website tt we're setting up for a missions team in south america
then went for CG where we had a sumptous pasta dinner followed by planning for our Christmas outreach

Met Kin Wee at Chi Yen's wedding, and we talked about our dreams of becoming writers. We are both very excited about this idea. I suggested to him that perhaps we could set up a "Writers' Circle".

Thank God for the quiet time yesterday. Finally had a long personal retreat to be alone and still in His presence. And just felt my heart so touched by His holy presence. It was very hard for me to get up on my own - I procrastinated and delayed going before Him, listening to the temptations to just skip my appointment with God on Friday night. But in the end, I decided to just go and seek God, no matter how I felt.

And those dark, shadowy feelings I had that night
Fled away when I came into His holy light.

And the time later, when God allowed something to happen to me again that brought afresh an old hurt. But with some reflection, He helped me pinpoint more accurately how this particular hurt affects certain ways that I tend to perceive others. To forgive, and let go of my rights. And what a transforming freedom, the joy of giving grace to others.

I just sense a sweet and bright wind of freedom filling the air.
John 8:36
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

God really is calling me to something wonderful indeed - I know not what exactly at this moment, but as His consuming fire consumes more of my heart, I find myself moved and compelled and inspired to start planning, start moving, start working and start initiating and so on. So unlike my natural lazy self.

But it really doesn't matter who I am or even what I can do. He delights to let His light shine through the cracks and weaknesses of our lives, that all men may see that it is not I, but Christ who works in and through me. God chooses those whom He wants to choose. No more, no less.
"You 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."

Hmm. Thank God for Michael's prophecy last Sunday. To not let my emotions override my confessions of faith in God's Word. Haha! Just really want to share that encouraged by this prophecy, and inspired by the many examples of the brothers and sisters I see around me, I've been praying and asking God to help me speak bold words of faith. By words of faith, I'm not really talking about claiming God's promises for healing or miracles, etc.

What I mean is... when times are hard, do we speak: "Aiyah! Times are tough... will I keep my job?" Or do we say instead, "Work's tough, but I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!"

Or we can say, "Yes, I'm tired - but the joy of the Lord is my strength! Woohoo!"
Or we can say, "I'm sick, but He is my strength when I am weak!"
Or we can say, "I'm finding it hard to stay awake during my quiet time, but He rewards those who earnestly seek Him!"
Or we can say, "Ministry is hard, but I will let nothing move me! Because I know that my labour in the Lord is not in vain!"

And so on. The principle is to look up to Jesus. Like what Qiaoping advised me last time: "It's ok to be real, but keep your focus on Jesus." Amen!

Haha! So yup, it's a change in my mindset... I've been very encouraged by many dear brothers and sisters who have encouraged me by their confessions of faith - and they have very diverse personalities, so it's not a personality thing at all: e.g. Shunrong, Yufen, Shuyi, Tianlong, Clarence, Tracy, Calyn, Guanrui and the list goes on.

Ok! Tired. But He grants sleep to those He loves! Amen!
As for the promised analysis of:
"One question, therefore, is: How do we balance between being culturally relevant but being doctrinally pure? Blending in with our culture, but not bending our values?

How do we make an impact in this society and our generation for Christ?"

I've been thinking about that. But not enough time to write... gotta rest for a HopeKids skit tml!
trust in the Lord w all ur heart
and praise the Lord w all ur soul
and study for the Lord w all ur mind
and work for the Lord w all ur strength!

A life that made a difference

This week I read a book by a Japanese wartime hero Mamuro Shinozaki.

He was working in Singapore before the Japanese occupation. The ruling British police suspected him to be a spy for the Japanese and put him into jail without trial. He was in prison for a few years before the Japanese arrived.

When the Japanese occupied Singapore, he was released and given a role in the welfare department in the government. The Japanese see the Chinese and Eurasion people as threat to their rule and treat them as enemies so much so there were much brutality and mistreatment of them during the occupation. Shinozaki didn’t approve of such treatment of people. In his time in the government, he freely gave out good citizen passes to everyone who ask of him. These passes ensures its holder protection by and from the Japanese Military Government. It didn’t matter to him who asked for these passes as he gave freely because of his greater value of mercy. He gave out thousands of such passes and saved the lives of that number of people. The act didn’t really go well with his Japanese comrades.

He set up organisations to try and get prominent Chinese and Eurasian leaders to sit in their offices. The idea is that if these organisations are official setups of the Japanese government, they becomes a safe haven for its members. During that time, a lot of these prominent leaders were caught, jailed and put on trial for very severe sentences. He successfully set up the infamous ‘Overseas Chinese Assocation’ and save many lives eg. Dr. Lim Boon Keng and many others. This was a risky move that didn’t put him in good books of others.

At the end of the war, when the Japanese surrendered and the British returned, many top officials in the japanese regime was put into prison and charged with war crimes. Shinozaki was one of them. However it wasn’t long until people came to testify for him and recognised all his good work during the war. He was set free and even given honor and work with the government. It didn’t matter that people said he was a traitor and a spineless man, he did the right thing. He honored lives of people and stood by grace and mercy more than his job and duty. He returned to Japan and recently came back to visit Singapore a great hero.

Shinozaki showed us what ‘mercy’ and ‘grace’ look like in times of adversity. Even at the cost of popularity and his own neck, he helped those who are helpless and show us an example of someone who gives mercy easily.

His life made a difference to thousands. What about ours?

(From "A life that made a difference" by Hong Teck)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sing His song, sing it along
Sing it since the day you were born
Sing your song, bring it along
Sing it whether you laugh or mourn
Sing it till you are long gone


I was talking with a friend a few days ago, and she told me that she was thinking of going for the Asia Conference by City Harvest Church that's currently being held. She was quite interested, but for one of the speakers, she wasn't keen to attend.
"Benny Hinn? Wow! That's nice... you know, I received Christ at one of his rallies back in secondary school."

"Actually, I don't think I may go for his session... because I've heard that he's currently under investigation..."

"Huh? Oh man... Is that true?"
We went on to other topics, and had a great time of sharing.

But as I was checking the schedule to see who was speaking for tomorrow's night conference (it's Pastor Kong Hee by the way), I saw Benny Hinn's profile.

Curious, I decided to Google for his name: "Benny Hinn"

Was quite surprised by the proportion of negative web-pages that I saw.

For a comparison (ok, it's not very scientific... just a rough measure), I googled "Billy Graham" and "Joyce Meyers". Whoa. Billy Graham - it's really hard to find anything bad about this dear brother, and for Joyce Meyers, a few negatively worded webpages here and there, but generally, ok.

Now I'm not saying that googling is a reliable measure of a person's character - there's something called libel and web-vigilantes... but when the vast majority of both Christian and secular media portray a person in a very negative light, perhaps it's time to pause and consider the feedback from all these witnesses.

To minimize any bias, I mostly ignored the negatively-worded webpages and looked for the official websites, and the positively-worded ones.

However, they are few in numbers, and rather sketchy in details, unfortunately.

Anyway, you can easily repeat my research methodology: "Benny Hinn"

Positive article:
Negative article:
Cautious article:

Now, the reason I'm writing this is NOT to attack a fellow Christian. I mean, I came to Christ through a rally of his, and for that I'm eternally grateful that he said those words, "You never know what may happen tomorrow!" Those words were the ones that made me decide to stop procrastinating and ask Jesus into my heart that night.

However, it's the creeping in of the prosperity gospel teachings that I feel very concerned about. And I think it won't be very helpful for the organizers of the Asia Conference to have a speaker of highly questionable credibility who is being put under investigation.

At the least, the Bible instructs us to avoid every appearance of evil. And given the questionable doctrinal basis of prosperity gospel teachings, is it wise to associate with proponents of the prosperity gospel teachings?

On a deeper level, I've been talking with some brothers and sisters from the tertiary ministry this year. And I was stunned to hear one of the careleaders ask me whether the canon of the Bible is reliable and trustworthy. Wanted to tell him, "Alamak! This is basic foundational doctrines... go for a Bible class ASAP!" Haha... but thank God he was sincere and very hungry to learn, asking me question after question, 'cos I'd just attended a Bible class. Thank God for his eager and teachable spirit!

Also, a dear friend shared with me some months ago about her dilemma whether to be more involved in ministry or spend more time in extra-curricular activities in school. She told me that the younger students have been saying that it would be better to focus on doing well in school and in ECAs than fellowship so much. Thus, she was trying to reconcile the dilemma here - how do you reach out to all the people in school, yet also minister to those in the church? There is a need to be balanced - we can't just do "holy-huddling", right?

A very good question, and I didn't know how to answer her. (I'm still thinking about it up to now...)

One question, therefore, is: How do we balance between being culturally relevant but being doctrinally pure? Blending in with our culture, but not bending our values?

Or to put it another way: How do we make an impact in this society and our generation for Christ?

I believe a lot of sincere Christians will really want to know how.

And for that, it's the next post.

Doing Your Dream

How about me? One of my dreams is to be a public speaker, to speak to as many people as I can about God, and to encourage others. Another dream I have is to be a film director, to make short videos that would be like short stories, on the level of Ray Bradbury and so on. Yet another dream I have is to become a writer, to write stories to speak to the hearts of children. The purpose behind all these dreams, is that I may be able to tell His story to the nations, to tell them about the love of Jesus Christ.

To run a ministry to train people to become better encouragers. To preach the gospel to all the children of the world. To set up an orphanage / charity for orphans...
We’ve a story to tell to the nations,
That shall turn their hearts to the right,
A story of truth and mercy,
A story of peace and light,
A story of peace and light.

For the darkness shall turn to dawning,
And the dawning to noonday bright;
And Christ’s great kingdom shall come on earth,
The kingdom of love and light.

We’ve a Savior to show to the nations,
Who the path of sorrow has trod,
That all of the world’s great peoples
Might come to the truth of God,
Might come to the truth of God.

What steps have I taken? Hmm. I've started on a short story, but that's nothing compared to what one brother (let's call him KW) who has finished an entire novella in his free time. 90 pages! Gosh. That's awesomely wonderful! Short stories... they are harder to write, but I know that with God's help it can be done. Because my generation, and the next generation are short-attention-span people.

Don't be discouraged, dear friends, if you feel that you don't have enough time! Every little moment can be used... Abraham Lincoln used his spare time to study law, and he became a lawyer, which would open the way for him to enter politics. And the rest, they say, is history: "Now he belongs to the ages."

But using our spare time well require that we take a critical stock-check of where our time goes to, and what hinder us from engaging that spare time for God.

More importantly, if we really want to dream, then we must first listen to what GOD is dreaming. It is so easy to be running here and there, thinking we are doing His will, when what is happening is that we are only burning ourselves out.

Moses knew that the Lord had chosen him to lead his people out of slavery, but he took things into his own hands and murdered an Egyptian. It was only after 40 more years, taking care of sheep in the desert, that God finally called him to go.

God will send you and me to where HE wants us to go. He highlights the cause at hand, and calls for volunteers. "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"

So let's dream our dreams, and align them with the Lord's vision for the world. To see how our little commissions fit into His Great Commission.
"Only one life, and soon it will pass;
only what's done for Christ will last."

Amen? :D Let's encourage one another to live lives worthy of His calling today!

Daring To Dream

"The SOLD Project is a grassroots organization dedicated to inspiring and empowering individuals to stop child prostitution before it begins."

So goes the blog. And I was so, so terribly inspired by Drew Persons' words:
A couple of months ago, a representative from Rotary International approached us with an invitation to participate in their UN Youth Day, held in New York City at the United Nations building. This annual event was created to inspire high school students to make positive changes in the world by connecting them with proactive organizations (like SOLD) that they can partner with and support.

I flew to New York earlier on this month and made a presentation about SOLD's education scholarship program on November 8th to an audience of 700 people. After I spoke, I was approached by many young people in the metropolitan area, all of whom were interested in joining The SOLD Project.

Overall, the trip was a huge success. Being invited to talk about ANYTHING at the United Nations when your non profit has only been around for a year is pretty incredible.

On a more personal note, the trip was significant for me because my #1 life goal, my loftiest dream, the most unreachable and unlikely honor I could think of, was to speak at the UN. It encapsulates everything that I stand for in terms of foreign diplomacy and effectively making changes. I still can not believe that SOLD made it possible.

So don't EVER tell yourself that the #1 thing on your "things to do before you die" list is unattainable . I crossed mine off on the evening of September 8th and I'm only 22.

Hong Teck's camp about dreaming big for God comes back to mind again. And I know a dear friend who shared with me her dream to work at the United Nations one day, and she's started taking the first step towards that by learning French. And there's this bro who wants to be a writer for God. He's just finished a 90-pages novella in his free time. And another dear sister who did a project to raise funds for less-privileged children in China this year.
The problem is not that we think our dreams are too big for God.
The problem is that we think our God is too small for our dreams.

What are you dreaming for God today?

"Beautiful": A Music Video for Deaf People

D-PAN Presents Christina Aguliera's "Beautiful" performed in American Sign Language (ASL).

This is a really very beautiful video. It's extremely well-done... you MUST watch it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Elegies of November
I once fell in love with a butterfly
Whose wings were as blue as heaven's sky
I gave her the nectar my heart had made
By the gliss of the gentle glade
But away on giggles of sunlight did she fly.

Fly, little butterflies, out to sea!
Fly, be all that you can be!
Some fly light like a laugh of glee
Some fly soft like a long low sigh
But all to the haven where each would be:
(Adapted from Lepidoptera Symbology)

You are a smile, sweet and simple
Won't you let me be your dimples?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finished an Assignment!

Did you know that for just one verse in the Bible, you can easily find at least one or two pages' worth of commentary and analysis? And that's for a short, short book like 2 John or Philemon.

Finally managed to finish my Bible study assignment! Thank God. It was a pretty gruelling assignment - despite my best efforts, I needed about three working days to finish it. (And I'm woefully overdue - that's about 9% shorn off already...)

But I really want to thank God for this experience. It has helped me grow in wonder and admiration for the beauty, depth, riches, wisdom and power of the Word of God!

I've read the book of Philemon about five or six times already over the course of my ten years as a Christian, but I hadn't gone in-depth through the book.

However, when I finally dredged through the short letter... I was stunned. For just the first three verses, there were commentaries that went on for at least one or two pages.

Philemon 1-3:
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother,

To Philemon our dear friend and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Short and sweet, huh? :)

Well, here's just one commentary's worth of analysis on the above verses:
The significance of epistolary greetings goes beyond identifying author and audience; it is more than saying hello. The author's salutation, however conventional and formal, specifies the nature of the relationship between author and audience and even draws lines around the conversation being carried on by the letter in hand. Meanings are more readily and rightly determined in terms of this "rhetorical relationship" formulated by the letter's opening words. Thus, Philemon and the others mentioned in verse 2 hear the following request for Onesimus's restoration in terms of Paul, whose importance (and therefore the legitimacy of his appeal) is made clear by his opening self-introduction: the author is a prisoner of Christ Jesus. It is a claim so important to Paul's purpose that he repeats it thrice in the body of this very short letter (vv. 9, 13, 23).

Paul's first audience is also made clear by his greeting. His address establishes an intimacy, even solidarity, with his readers--they are "dear brothers and sisters" and "coworkers and soldiers"--that can only increase the impact of his request and enhance the prospect of its compliance. And while it is true that Paul's salutation, found in verse 3, is rather conventional, it does present his essential understanding of what it means to belong to the church. He writes for the true Israel of God--an inclusive community called out of the world by the preaching of the gospel in order to bear witness to God's salvation within the world order (see commentary on Col 1:2). That is, the readers of Paul's letter must finally understand his subsequent request for Onesimus's restoration to reflect what it means to be the church and to do as the church ought.The Author (1:1)

Paul's introduction of himself is both similar and dissimilar to his Colossians greeting (Col 1:1-2). As before, he refers to Timothy as his cowriter (in some sense) and calls him brother (see commentary on Col 1:1). Unlike Colossians, where Paul cites his apostolic credentials to give his subsequent polemic greater legitimacy, he refers to himself here as a prisoner of Christ Jesus, thus introducing immediately an important motif for the rest of his letter (see introduction). Certainly, Paul intends to convey more than his historical situation (contra O'Brien 1983:271); in fact, he is not first of all a prisoner of Rome but a prisoner of Christ Jesus. His appellation interprets his literal imprisonment as a worshipful act--an act of devotion to Christ, of obedience to his calling. Paul does not appeal to his apostolic office (see vv. 8-10), not because it might offend his readership, close friends all (contra Melick 1991:348), but because the personal costs exacted by his imprisonment "allow him to speak to the community with greater authority" (Lohse 1971:189).

The use of prisoner without the article is unusual and may suggest that Paul uses it as part of his proper name, which regularly is given without an article (Harris 1991:244). Since added names suggest the nature of a person's calling (Jesus is "Savior," Peter is "Rock"), Paul may well identify himself as Christ's prisoner to indicate the very substance of his missionary task and its costs. Further, he may be implying that the costliness of Christian ministry is the result of the revolutionary content of his message, thereby preparing Philemon for the revolutionary character of Paul's request of him. Paul's message bears witness to a new social order, and for that reason he finds himself in jail. This prepares us, then, for a radical word concerning the relations between a Roman slave and his owner.

While Paul's imprisonment represents his missionary identity, it is Jesus for whom Paul is imprisoned. The response Paul strongly desires from Philemon springs from his orientation toward discipleship: because of Christ Jesus, Philemon should respond favorably toward Onesimus, even though it may be costly and at odds with the surrounding social order.The Audience (1: 1-2)

As the first person mentioned, Philemon is Paul's principal addressee. J. Knox contended that Paul's principal addressee is rather Archippus; his opinion, however, has not been accepted by scholars (see introduction; also see O'Brien 1983:266). Perhaps Philemon is named first because he is the patron of the household church that meets in his home and not because Paul's request will be directed primarily to him. Yet Paul's affectionate greeting of him as dear friend and fellow worker suggests a more significant intent. Actually, "dear friend" translates a single word, agapetos, "beloved one." Elsewhere in his writings Paul uses this as a term of affection for believers (Rom 1:7) and congregations (Phil 2:12). Paul further refers to Philemon as a fellow worker, which identifies him as one among others (see v. 24) who worked with Paul in the Gentile mission.

In his epistolary greetings, Paul's view of his addressees largely determines what is said to them and how they are treated. Paul views Philemon as a trusted and dear colleague and treats him as a peer and friend. Precisely this same attitude undergirds Paul's request that Philemon view the slave Onesimus as a brother and partner in faith.

Certainly, however, Philemon is not Paul's only addressee. Two other names are mentioned, Apphia our sister and Archippus, along with the church that meets in [Philemon's] home. The exact identities of Apphia and Archippus are unknown. Most scholars speculate that Apphia is Philemon's wife; her name is Phrygian, she is a Christian sister, known to Paul, and Paul places her name alongside Philemon's in the address (Lightfoot 1876:306-8). Probably this Archippus is the one mentioned in Colossians 4:17, where Paul's cryptic exhortation suggests that he has fallen prey to the Colossian "philosophy" (see commentary on Col 4:17). The reference to him here as a fellow soldier tells a different story. According to O'Brien, the term Paul uses to address Archippus designates him as one who has "played an important part in assisting Paul in his missionary labors, and has faithfully stood at his side through persecution and trial--perhaps even imprisonment" (O'Brien 1983:273).

Paul's reference to the household church is important for two reasons. In the rhetorical pattern of this letter, Paul's opening address establishes an important contrast between a secular household, where slaves are an underclass and often exploited, and the Christian household or church, where slaves are loved and treated as equal partners in the faith. Also, Paul's reference to a household church reminds the contemporary reader that believers first met in private homes rather than in buildings in the public square. We should not suppose that living rooms are somehow better places to worship God than downtown sanctuaries. I am reminded of John's great vision of the New Jerusalem, in which he noted that he saw no temple during his tour of the city because "God and the Lamb are its temple" (Rev 21:22). Worship is not determined by places or buildings but by the spiritual vitality of the relationships between a people, God and the Lamb. In fact, Paul's reference to Philemon's house church may well indicate that Christianity was still an unofficial, underground religious movement in Colosse, or that it was such a new work that a social structure had not yet been fashioned. Nevertheless, Paul addresses his readers as the church, composed of people whom God has called out of the world for salvation.The Greeting (1:3)

Paul's conventional greeting finally comes in verse 3, and as usual contains both the traditional Greek salutation, grace (charis), and the traditional Jewish salutation, peace (eirene shalom). The theological point Paul's greeting makes is that for him the church of God includes every believer, whether Jew or Greek (see commentary on Col 1:2). In Philemon Paul adds the phrase and the Lord Jesus Christ (which many ancient manuscripts add to Colossians 1:2 as well) to indicate that the congregation receives its salvation-creating grace and its experience of "peace with God" from God through Christ (see Rom 5:1-11).

OMG. This isn't a little oasis. This is a vast ocean.

As I continued to research and study more, I learned to firstly feel the emotional tone of the letter. You'd really enjoy reading Philemon. It's a very personal letter, and you can't but help feel moved when you read it.

So I learned that God's Word is not meant to be dry. It can be very personal and relational. And through such letters like these, we see how we can relate and care and speak to one another.

Haha. Lots more to share, but am very tired now. Zzz. Good night and God bless!

Monday, November 17, 2008

God Is Just So Gorgeously Good

Wow. Must blog this down too before I forget.

Peter Truong, an evangelist with the gifts of healing, prophecy and evangelism from one of the Hope churches (I think it's Hope Bangkok?) came to our HopeKids meeting today to minister and encourage the HopeKids team.

Wow. He shared about how a Sunday school teacher faithfully outreached to him week after week until he finally came to Sunday school. And what he prayed in his first prayer: "God, I pray that all the people in hospitals will get well." And years later, he's now involved in a healing ministry. Whoa. God really is ginormously good!


Then, he and Hong Teck had a special time of prayer and prophesying for us. Wow. I came in after a quick interruption, and saw them praying already. So as I joined in the praying, I thought to God, "Dear God, how I really would like a prophecy for myself too... it'd be real nice if they prayed for me..."

And you know what? Right after the two of them finished prophesying for the sister they were praying for, Hong Teck - who was just in front of me, turned around and asked me, "Can we pray for you next?"

Wow! Hee... thank God for His sweetness! Hearing even the unspoken wishes of my heart... He's so good!

Edited: I got this written copy from Soo Feng, who was there, being our "scribe" to record down the prophecies... (thanks, sis! :))
Peter Truong’s session with Hopekids Core Team
Date: 16 Nov 2008
Time: 2pm
Venue: Asia Room, Nexus

Word for Yeu Ann:

From Peter Truong:
  • God will use you as a man after God’s heart

  • You are a man who desires to please God

  • Continue to serve Him – you will have big impact

  • Avail yourself

  • God has more in store for you as you are faithful in the small things

  • Do not despise the small beginnings

  • God will train and equip you. Keep close to God

From Hong Teck:
  • Continue to look to him.

  • God has a great purpose for you.

  • Do not look at your shortfalls, your handicaps – look for God’s purpose

  • Your story will be an encouragement to many

  • What you have is good – continue to persevere and hold on to it.

  • You will be like a small seed which grows into a big tree

  • Don’t depend on yourself

  • Take one step forward each day

WOW, WOW and WOW some more. God really really really is so incredibly and amazingly and exceedingly kind, gracious and merciful to such an unworthy sinner like me... Who am I, and what am I, that He should even consider choosing someone like me, less than the least of all God's people? I am less than nothing, but Jesus... He really is my everything - and even more than that!

Touched. God Is Just So Gorgeously Good. :D

God Is Just So Ginormously Great

Today, I bumped into Claudia (Ps Jeff's wife) at the lift before service today. She said, "Yeu Ann, I think you'll really love today's sermon!"

"Oh! That's great! ... but how come leh? What's it about?"

"Hee hee! Why don't you go and listen to it yourself?"

Gosh. The sermon was like a physics lecture. A university physics lecture. A university physics lecture for PhD students. Incidentally, the pastor's also working as a research scientist in Defence and Science Technology Organization in Australia. Cool, eh? :D

About how cosmic background temperatures due to Big-Bang inflation as according to the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite readings and how the experimental data fits the predicted theoretical models so precisely and accurately that it is a very powerful piece of evidence for the creation of the universe, thereby allowing for minute quantum fluctuations in the fabric of space-time that would serve as 'seeds' for the billions upon billions of galaxies which in turn contain billions and billions of stars which can be millions and millionsoflightyearsapart... letmecatchmybreathwhileyoukeelover... And this was just the first ten or fifteen minutes for the first point of the sermon.

Wow... I asked Sharon who was tilting her head back and forth blankly. "Psst! Hey sis, this lectu... sermon's really GREAT! How're you finding it?" She simply shook her head sideways and moaned, "I. Don't. Understand..."

So amazing! Seeing all this data brought tears to my eyes. Not because of boredom, or information overload, but because I saw how great our God truly is. The universe is so HUGE that my mind simply cannot comprehend the vastness of it all. I really, really, really must bow down and genuflect before God - He alone is the one true God, and there is none other!

And even the word 'vastness' sounds so small.

Awe-struck. God Is Just So Ginormously Great. :D

Friday, November 14, 2008

Platform 6

This movie, with its locked camera style, is basically the reproduction of a dream one of us had early one morning in 2006. It has been said that "Life is a stage." In this story, a railway platform becomes the stage for every significant event in a man's life. However, the purpose of being on the railway platform is lost to the main character...

I caught this short clip during GoForth earlier this year. It's dreamily moving and strangely surrealistic. Very thought-provoking too. Fantastic local talent we have here. Watch it now.

Focused Fire

How is 0.005 greater than 100?

When it is a 5 milliwatts laser focusing all its power onto a tiny dot, as compared to a 100 watts bulb scattering all its power all over the room.

The answer is focus.

Reading the blogs of some brothers and sisters made me think about the power of their lives. Personally, I feel that the most encouraging and effective lives are those who have chosen to be fully focused on their walk with the Lord. They have an influence around them that money, skills, connections or talents cannot buy. You can sense clearly that they live for an audience of One. Dedication, commitment, passion, integrity, righteousness are their hallmarks.

They are like the magnifying glass. By itself cannot set anything on fire. But when it magnifies the Sun, and focuses the Sun's light fully, it becomes capable of setting entire forests ablaze, no matter how big or small it is.

So when we magnify the Son in our own lives, and focus His light more and more in every word and deed, He is able to effectively use us to spark off a wonderful fire to warm many a cold heart.

"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." - Paul

Be fully His!
One more thing he shared with me: "We _all_ are very far away from God."

Volunteer Yourself

"Nothing is stronger than the heart of a volunteer."

Yanjie shared this with me as we were catching up at Huaqiang and Sarah's wedding rehearsal today. Wow. Simple but terribly profound. We were talking about ministry, and about how to help rally the other brothers in our units.

(Always so refreshed by Yanjie, in spirit and in soul. Thank God for you, dear bro! =))

Because a volunteer has genuine passion. And that passion will empower him/her to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that must be overcome. It is like petrol in a car. It may have the finest engine, but if it has no petrol, it cannot work. You can push a car that has run out of petrol, but that is not how a car was meant to operate.

It's like, nobody asked you to do it, but you volunteered. You volunteered, for you saw the priceless pearl hidden in the midst of the mud and mire. You knew that what you did would be echoed in eternity, with the angels and saints around the throne. It was worth selling everything you had just to touch that thing you knew God had called you to do.

And that is why someone with a volunteer's heart can have the strength to run the gauntlet, and carry on even in face of the most daunting challenges. Blood, sweat and tears. Thought it takes years. To spend - even though it be blood to spend, and spare not. “In battle it is not syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles to their post in the third hour of the bombardment.” What will keep us to our posts, then?

If we truly want to leave an extraordinary legacy then, to inspire others to live even more fully for Christ... then let us hurl all our heart and soul into whatever He has commanded us to do, and to be.

Talking on the same topic of passion:
I’ve yet to hear anyone come up to me and say that unbridled enthusiasm and unabashed passion failed to make an impact in their ministry. I’ve yet to hear that people don’t feel the difference when they see genuine and sincere effort. I’ve yet to hear anyone tell me that God didn’t deliver when His people went all out for His cause.

Until and unless I’ve been proven wrong in this, you can call me boring, obstinate or even stuck in the past. But I’m going to be a seed-sowing fool, because I know that God isn’t half as pleased at the cleverness of my plans, as compared to the works of my hands.

Be totally His.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chronicles of Ecuador

Shenteng's and Peiru's website... wow, very encouraged to hear what they're doing over there in Ecuador! :D
How loving am I as a person, as a Christian?

Was reading 1 Cor 13, and the entire chapter seems to be whispering to me. Perhaps it's because of the past few days of thinking. "If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." Felt it spoke to me, because (from what I perceive of myself - I could be very well wrong) I think I've given as best as I can to those around me, and pushed myself to serve God as hard as I can... even almost to the point of burning out at times...

But if I have not love, I gain nothing. How much am I loving others, actually?

Iterating over verses 4-7, it's a terribly clear mirror unto my soul. Ah. The perfect standard of God. Missing the mark. But God is good, He will help me grow more and more in His love!

Yah, I agree with Paul. This is indeed the most excellent way to minister to those around me: Love.

Action point: To grow in patience and kindness. Not to be rude, not to be self-seeking. Nor to be easily angered. Keeping no record of wrongs. To always protect, always trusts, always hopes, always persevere. Yup. :)

Ah. The Word of God is a mirror, and also a projector. To show me what I am like right now, and to project what I am called to be.

Thank You ... Papa.

The Secret Garden: On Friendship

Almost the next moment a wonderful thing happened. She heard a soft little rushing flight through the air—and it was the bird with the red breast flying to them, and he actually alighted on the big clod of earth quite near to the gardener's foot.

"Here he is," chuckled the old man, and then he spoke to the bird as if he were speaking to a child.

"Where has tha' been, tha' cheeky little beggar?" he said. "I've not seen thee before to-day. Has tha' begun tha' courtin' this early in th' season? Tha'rt too forrad."

The bird put his tiny head on one side and looked up at him with his soft bright eye which was like a black dewdrop. He seemed quite familiar and not the least afraid. He hopped about and pecked the earth briskly, looking for seeds and insects. It actually gave Mary a queer feeling in her heart, because he was so pretty and cheerful and seemed so like a person. He had a tiny plump body and a delicate beak, and slender delicate legs.

"Will he always come when you call him?" she asked almost in a whisper.

"Aye, that he will. I've knowed him ever since he was a fledgling. He come out of th' nest in th' other garden an' when first he flew over th'[Pg 49] wall he was too weak to fly back for a few days an' we got friendly. When he went over th' wall again th' rest of th' brood was gone an' he was lonely an' he come back to me."

"What kind of a bird is he?" Mary asked.

"Doesn't tha' know? He's a robin redbreast an' they're th' friendliest, curiousest birds alive. They're almost as friendly as dogs—if you know how to get on with 'em. Watch him peckin' about there an' lookin' round at us now an' again. He knows we're talkin' about him."

It was the queerest thing in the world to see the old fellow. He looked at the plump little scarlet-waistcoated bird as if he were both proud and fond of him.

"He's a conceited one," he chuckled. "He likes to hear folk talk about him. An' curious—bless me, there never was his like for curiosity an' meddlin'. He's always comin' to see what I'm plantin'. He knows all th' things Mester Craven never troubles hissel' to find out. He's th' head gardener, he is."

The robin hopped about busily pecking the soil and now and then stopped and looked at them a little. Mary thought his black dewdrop eyes gazed at her with great curiosity. It really seemed as if he were finding out all about her. The queer feeling in her heart increased.[Pg 50]

"Where did the rest of the brood fly to?" she asked.

"There's no knowin'. The old ones turn 'em out o' their nest an' make 'em fly an' they're scattered before you know it. This one was a knowin' one an' he knew he was lonely."

Mistress Mary went a step nearer to the robin and looked at him very hard.

"I'm lonely," she said.

She had not known before that this was one of the things which made her feel sour and cross. She seemed to find it out when the robin looked at her and she looked at the robin.

The old gardener pushed his cap back on his bald head and stared at her a minute.

"Art tha' th' little wench from India?" he asked.

Mary nodded.

"Then no wonder tha'rt lonely. Tha'lt be lonelier before tha's done," he said.

He began to dig again, driving his spade deep into the rich black garden soil while the robin hopped about very busily employed.

"What is your name?" Mary inquired.

He stood up to answer her.

"Ben Weatherstaff," he answered, and then he added with a surly chuckle, "I'm lonely mysel'[Pg 51] except when he's with me," and he jerked his thumb toward the robin. "He's th' only friend I've got."

"I have no friends at all," said Mary. "I never had. My Ayah didn't like me and I never played with any one."

It is a Yorkshire habit to say what you think with blunt frankness, and old Ben Weatherstaff was a Yorkshire moor man.

"Tha' an' me are a good bit alike," he said. "We was wove out of th' same cloth. We're neither of us good lookin' an' we're both of us as sour as we look. We've got the same nasty tempers, both of us, I'll warrant."

This was plain speaking, and Mary Lennox had never heard the truth about herself in her life. Native servants always salaamed and submitted to you, whatever you did. She had never thought much about her looks, but she wondered if she was as unattractive as Ben Weatherstaff and she also wondered if she looked as sour as he had looked before the robin came. She actually began to wonder also if she was "nasty tempered." She felt uncomfortable.

Suddenly a clear rippling little sound broke out near her and she turned round. She was standing a few feet from a young apple-tree and the robin [Pg 52]had flown on to one of its branches and had burst out into a scrap of a song. Ben Weatherstaff laughed outright.

"What did he do that for?" asked Mary.

"He's made up his mind to make friends with thee," replied Ben. "Dang me if he hasn't took a fancy to thee."

"To me?" said Mary, and she moved toward the little tree softly and looked up.

"Would you make friends with me?" she said to the robin just as if she was speaking to a person. "Would you?" And she did not say it either in her hard little voice or in her imperious Indian voice, but in a tone so soft and eager and coaxing that Ben Weatherstaff was as surprised as she had been when she heard him whistle.

"Why," he cried out, "tha' said that as nice an' human as if tha' was a real child instead of a sharp old woman. Tha' said it almost like Dickon talks to his wild things on th' moor."

(pp. 48-52)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To daily choose to live by God's priorities, and not the priorities of the world, nor the deceptions of my heart.

Conviction. =)


Slightly adapted from Zachary's post:
Youths have the hearts to change the world.
Adults have the hands to change the world.

Youths have the will to change the world.
Adults have the power to change the world.

The good thing is that no one is incapable.
The sad thing is most faith-filled youths evolve into “realistic” adults.
The tricky thing is figuring out how to have child-like adults.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wow. It's been a really wonderful week last week. Just want to share some thanksgiving points about what the Lord has been doing in my life recently...

1. Work
Thank God so much for His intense grace and mercy - He really blessed me in the appraisal. As I was sharing with Joyce last week, God showed me so much kindness... He granted me favour with my RO, who affirmed me for the work and video that I did for the company. Praise and glory to the Lord indeed! Hee. In fact, my RO wrote in his report that I am an asset to the company and that I have integrity and commitment (two of my company's core values)... in fact, he really wanted to recommend me for promotion (but he couldn't due to HR policy that I have to work for a min. period first). Wow... actually, I'm sharing this not because I'm good or capable (God knows I'm far, far, far from all these...) but I'm really so happy that I can promote the name of Christ. I don't want my name to be promoted... No! I want to promote the Name of Jesus Christ alone! I want His name to be exalted above all blessing and praise! Yes and amen!

Wow. This is truly, truly and wonderfully God's grace to me indeed... It's been more than a year since I started working, and it's been an up-and-down experience. Sometimes it felt like a roller-coaster, other times it felt more like scaling a mountain and then descending a valley. But through it all, I saw how God was leading me and guiding me. It's so true what Psalm 23 describes... not just God's goodness, but also God's presence. And it's that precious Presence that I really treasure so much, and that I desperately need so much.

2. Relational
And the day of my birthday, I was praying to my Daddy in heaven, just sharing with Him my thoughts and reflections... when He pointed out to me that people see me as too emotional sometimes. He said that it is not because I actually am, but because they don't understand the reason why I'm being so open, so they won't know where I'm actually coming from. Father told me that He knows that I see the importance of being real and open with people... but I need to do it with a healthy dose of wisdom and to the right people, otherwise, they'll misunderstand and even reject me.

I was very surprised by this revelation, and I talked with my shepherd about this on the phone. He said that's true. He explained to me that we are to be real - but with a healthy dose of wisdom. Otherwise if we choose to be open with the wrong kind of people (even in church), then they may misunderstand and hurt us... just like throwing pearls to pigs.

Initially, I felt embarrassed, but after introspecting, I realise that just as others misunderstood me many times when I chose to be real, I now see that it is so important not to pass judgement on a person alone by his/her behaviour... because most of the time - despite what we think - we really don't know what underlies the reason for his/her behaviour. We may not fully know... but we can seek to understand more, with God's love and grace. Man looks at the outwards appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

And I realised that I also misunderstand and judge others too. Gosh, the plank in my eye is BIG. So I need to take out the plank in my own eye so that I can show much more grace and mercy to others, just as God has shown me grace and mercy. Amen! :)

Thank God for Peter, who helped me analyze and understand... that some of the experiences and disappointments are actually not my fault... I just have to persevere and endure through them. In his birthday card to me, one thing that he described me as was:
"Amazing: Well, you really amazes me, after all your disappointments and difficulties of various kinds, you juz keep going. Really hats off. This is one area i see God really working strongly in your life. HE makes you amazing."
:) Yah, thank God truly. Not I, but Christ, who lives in me! :)

3. Emotional
Then, thinking about it... emotional stability. You know, I think God really is answering my prayer to grow in emotional stability. Actually, a few weeks ago, I got scolded by my team leader. Part of what he said was very true, while the rest was due to some misunderstanding and miscommunication. But wow, really amazing how God transformed my emotional response. I went to the toilet to pray, and asked God to give me humility, wisdom and also, grace and mercy... and am really thankful to God too that my team leader cared enough to type such a long email. It's very rare to have good colleagues like my team leader.

So after praying, I talked with my team leader on the phone. And I was very surprised to see how the Spirit enabled me to respond with maturity and grace. Able to calmly listen and take in what he was feeding back to me... this kind of transformation is so different from last time, even a year ago. And at the end of all the feedback, I actually thanked him for scolding me, telling him I really appreciate it. Gosh. Haha... but it is really so beautifully true that if we are in Christ, we are a new creation - the old has gone; the new has come! Amen! :)

Also, God has been showing me so many areas of my life, and helping me understand the fears and expectations that I have... and not just that, He showed me how deceptive these fears are, and that as a child of God, I have the power to love, heal and forgive... to become more and more like His dear Son. And also how deceptive my insecurities are... often I feel or think people are like this and that... but the truth is actually that they were not this or that... Wow. "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." AMEN!

And something amazing yesterday! I responded to the altar call about making God's priorities my priorities... and Chee Hau was there. He prayed for me, and then he sensed that God wanted to tell me that my heart is still holding on to some bitterness and past hurts... so Chee Hau led me through a special prayer. At first, I thought, "Huh? Past hurts? I don't think so leh..." and also felt, Not again God... is there something wrong with me?

But as I prayed the prayer, as Chee Hau prayed, "Lord, I let go of the hurts in my heart..."... I prayed, "Lord, I let go of the hurts...", at that very moment, tears came to my eyes, and there really was a sense of something deeply hurt deep within. Perhaps it felt like a thick scab being peeled off an old wound. I was surprised, because I couldn't recall any specific hurts.

But, later on, after the team rally, Huaqiang told me that he was praying for me a few days before. And the Lord had impressed on him that I have some old hurts in my heart - and He showed HQ the specific area where the hurts were related to. HQ was very surprised at the impression, and he was not sure whether it really was from the Lord or not, so he just told me.

Whoa. I told him, "Bro, this is exactly the same thing that Chee Hau prayed for me today! wow... God must really really love me... He sent me not one, but TWO godly brothers to pinpoint this hurt..." HQ was amazed haha... and he told me the specific area. And then while he was telling me what the specific area was, suddenly, flashbacks came clearly - old recurring dreams that I have from time to time about this hurt... it was so like a movie haha.

So am so deeply amazed by God's great love for me... He truly has come to heal the brokenhearted, and set the captives free! HALLELUJAH! Sing praises to our God, sing praises to Him! He heals the broken-hearted, binding up their wounds... it is good to bless His holy name!

So am praying, asking God to show me more about this hurt... I think He will show me gradually more and more. And not just so, I think even this hurt is going to form part of His perfect plans... knowing about about this hurt will make me an even more effective minister to others who have likewise been wounded... there is no better healer than a wounded healer. And Jesus Christ is our Wounded Healer - "...and by His wounds we are healed."

Oh gosh. Recalling all this... my heart is so immensely grateful to Jesus. I mean, I can't stop tearing as I write this (and I'm typing this in a public place... paiseh!). His love is intensely so deep, so wide, so long and so high... Such love as this! my God! how can this possibly be! and yet... it is Love Himself that I now see.

Haha. Very exciting. Just sense that God is going to really mature me this year and help me really grow and breakthrough in emotional stability. My most earnest and eager hope is to let others see how God's power is made perfect in my weaknesses - especially in this area of emotional maturity, so that everyone may see that Jesus Christ is real, and HE lives in me. Not I, but Christ!

"For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The live I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me!"

4. Ministry
Anyway, also want to share how God's been really fuelling me up to serve Him with excellence in ministry... Last week, Hong Teck assigned me to do acting for the HopeKids appetizer skit (it's something to catch the attention of the kids when the service starts)... I was supposed to be a CEO, and then a superhero. Haha. So I decided to dress up for the skit. Actually, felt very paiseh, 'cos having to prepare a very cheesy superhero "costume" in front of all the kids (i made a home-made mask and wore a red shirt as a cape... even thought of wearing red underwear on the outside of my pants... but decided it's a bit much). As I got ready to go down on Sunday morning, I exclaimed to God, "Lord, this is going to be really paiseh... hahah! It's really so not me... but Lord! The only reason I'm going to all this extent in dressing up and rehearsing and looking like an idiot in front of all the kids, is because I want to have a spirit of excellence... Lord, I'm doing all this - because of You Jesus!"

Haha! How the skit went... I just did my best, and thank God, think it was all right. :) The kids definitely remembered my acting as the CEO... because I used REAL $50 notes as a prop. LOL. That's how to catch the attention of today's children... hahaha... (haiz). :P

5. Outreach
Last week, Peter Truong (a pastor from Hope Bangkok) came by to minister to us. From what I know, he has the gift of healing. So HQ messaged me yesterday, asking whether I have any friends who I'd like to invite for the healing session, so that they can have an opportunity to witness God's power.

Wasn't sure who among my friends would be interested, and to be honest, I'd attended quite a number of healing rallies before, both when I wasn't a Christian yet and even after that. And since my hearing hasn't been restored yet, gosh, to be honest, there's this dose of uncertainty... what if I go down to be prayed for, then my friend sees me not fully healed yet... then how??? :P

But decided, well, I trust God to heal me completely in His time, and in any case, if the Lord doesn't heal me today, I can explain to my friend all the same. The more important healing that God wants to accomplish in every one of us is the healing of the soul, the mind and the emotions. 'Cos this body will one day die and be turned back into dust... but the soul will last for all eternity, with a brand-new body to boot! :) (Of course, I absolutely believe in miracles - the Resurrection is the greatest of them all, and I've witnessed God working wonderful miracles happen with my own eyes and ears, both to me and to other brothers and sisters, so many times that I know there is a God who is not only real, but POWERFUL! Yes and Amen!)

So, anyway, I prayed, asking God to help me invite, and did my best to invite, but my friends couldn't make it. Then... the night before the combined CG (with the healing session), a long-lost contact suddenly MSNed me out of the blue! He asked me whether I'd like to go cycling with him. Was very puzzled, because I was wondering how come he suddenly so friendly. So I replied, "Hmm... you're not gonna sell me insurance ha? LOL..." He said, "No, I'm not one of those superficial friends who do that kind of thing... just want to go cycling..."

Chatted with him some more and found out that his health hasn't been good for the past TWO years, especially his insomnia. Whoa! So invited him for the healing session, and he came down! :) And after Sijia and I prayed for him, the next day, he messaged the two of us saying:
Hey juz 2 let u know i did sleep better last nite, not sure if it's due 2 e session.. Will monitor e situation :)
So I asked him how long he managed to sleep. He said that the previous few days he had been sleeping 3 hours, but yesterday he managed to sleep 5 hours. Amazing. Must be the power of God at work.

Haha... praying for him to be touched by God's love and grace and truth... =)

Ok! Very long haha. But God is good, all the time! All the time, God is good! :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Nurture Programme Week 1

Some of the volunteers and children in the Hope Centre-Redhill CDC Nurture Programme.

Blow Wind Blow!

Yours truly...

Jiadai and her sock-puppet

Arts & Crafts



Now in Orchard Emerald Burger King trying to get started on my Bible study assignment. Gosh! BK's playing Yesterday Once More by the Carpenters. :)
When I was young
I'd listen to the radio
Waitin' for my favorite songs
When they played I'd sing along
It made me smile.

Those were such happy times
And not so long ago
How I wondered where they'd gone
But they're back again
Just like a long lost friend
All the songs I loved so well.

Every Sha-la-la-la
Every Wo-o-wo-o
Still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling
That they're startin' to sing's
So fine.
Old songs are so sweet. Timeless. =) My mum sometimes sing this song, and I sit to listen to her sing a generation ago.

Make a Local Backup Of Your Gmail Account

Web-based e-mail services like Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Windows Live Mail are great for their access-anywhere capabilities.

The ease and simplicity of checking your mail in a browser have caused many of us to ditch the desktop client in favor of a web-based interface. It's one less application to have running and, in case of Google's Gmail, the search capabilities and conversation threading blow desktop apps out of the water.

However, using a service like Gmail means you don't have a local backup of your e-mail like you would get if you were using a desktop client. Naturally, that doesn't mean you can't store backups of your e-mail on your local machine. It requires a bit of work to set up, but once you do, you'll be able to enjoy the goodness of Gmail's web interface worry-free.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kenya declares holiday for Obama

Was really amused, in a way, to see how Kenya has been celebrating Obama's victory. To the Kenyans, and especially the Luo tribe (which is the biggest tribe in Kenya), they feel that Obama's one of theirs.

But the thing is, Obama's Kenya dad only saw his son once or twice after he was born, and Obama was raised up in the USA and Indonesia (4 years of school) for his whole life. I guess, in a way, the Indonesians played a bigger role in shaping Obama's life than the Kenyans did. :P

Anyway, I was very amused to read about how jubilant the Kenyans were. The question is, why so jubilant? Well, one reason is, of course, Obama does have Kenyan ancestry. But... another reason is because they're hoping for freebies and handouts since they feel that they now have someone on their side in the highest office in the USA.

And for Kenya, a place where connections still matter a great deal, what greater joy than having the ultimate connection in having "one of your own" as President of the USA?

Hmm. Something similar to how Sim Wong Hoo had to fly over to the USA to start his Creative business there. And then only after he succeeded there, then did we start saying that he's our son of Singapore, etc. etc.

Wow. Just a thought...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

God's just gonna do something REALLY amazing tonight. I can feel it. :) (He's already done something very incredibly exciting last night... yahoo!) Oh... I really hope it comes to pass! :)

My Appraisal

He paused for a while. Putting his laptop aside, my reporting officer looked at me, and said,
"Consider Obama. His childhood... how he was so ordinary, and how he grew up in this place and that, went through many challenges to where he is now. Who'd have imagined that he'd become the President of the United States one day?"
And he smiled and said, "You may be stronger than you think you are."

Thank You, dear Father. :) For Your constantly believing in me, and never giving up on me. Thank You for being my Shepherd and my God. Help me do You proud, for as long as I live. In Jesus' name, amen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

She Walks In Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes:

Thus mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,

Had half impaired the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress,

Or softly lightens o'er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express

How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788 – 1824)

The photo was taken from a photo contest... I just felt the picture fits in so well with the poem! :)

Yes, We Can!

Obama's really inspiring. He's worked hard, and even planned hard in advance. One reason Obama'll make a great leader - not only in words, but also in deeds - is due to his meticulous style of planning. And not just that, he also is able to stay calm and focused in the heat of a crisis.

Yet, one of the best things is that he has echoed the cries and the courage of the hearts of a people.

Shuyi wrote:
He gave to a tired and discouraged nation, words of hope to lift them up to face the challenges ahead. No, the situation hasn't changed. 2 ongoing wars. The worst financial crisis in a century. But what has changed is the people's heart, hearts that rally together, desiring change and a better life for themselves, their children and the world.

So something I learnt from her post is that we need to encourage one another on. Especially in down times. (Isn't that what encouragement is for? :)) The situation will still be the same, but our hearts, for the better, must change - and be changed.

When times are bad and everyone is down, then let's lead in speaking words of hope and encouragement. For that could be yet the finest hour. :) Like how the apostle Paul stood up and encouraged his shipmates in the midst of the storm. Like how, if our caregroups or our work teams are in a very desperate situation - let's take the initiative to speak words of confidence and hope to encourage others in their darkest hour.

And we do have the confidence to back up our words of confidence, because we have God, who is more sure than finest gold, with us. He specializes in turning our darkest hour into His finest hour.
OBAMA: This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing:

Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons - because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America - the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.

And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

AUDIENCE: Yes we can.

OBAMA: America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves - if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

(From "Text of Democrat Barack Obama's speech in Chicago after winning the presidential election", The Straits Times 5 Nov 2008.)