Thursday, April 29, 2010

hmm. interesting. the video above ... these words came to me as i was still feeling upset with God. "God moves in a mysterious way."

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

Yah. This song is also very meaningful, because of the background of the writer who wrote this. William Cowper (1731–1800). He often struggled with doubt and depression, and even went insane for a while. But God really protected him, even when he tried to end his own life. And in the midst of his depression, he looked up to God and wrote this song as a song of faith. And now he sings with the angels and saints around the throne.

Far from dishonouring God... his weakness only served to bring more glory to God and add beauty and power and depth to his song. And now this song is being sung by God-alone-knows how many saints in the past two centuries.

Please Lord

Shout it aloud, do not hold back
Raise your voice like a trumpet
Declare to my people their rebellion
and to the house of Jacob their sins

Jesus my life is a mess
Please Lord You were right all along
Won't You come and pull me from this clay
And plant in my mouth a brand new song

You who commanded the dry bones
Please enflesh this poor ghoul
Oh Jesus, the Word become flesh
I plead with You, restore my soul

O futile efforts and cursed despair
Jesus deliver me from the clay of Flanders
And plant this bruised reed in the valley of Jezreel
Far, far away from sunless fields of slander

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
And will raise up the age-old foundations
You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Shield of Faith

Just to jot down a quick note of thanksgiving: Thank God, I think my depression's gone already since yesterday. Praise God for the good time of solitude and fellowship on Sunday, just resting and for the prayers and encouragements of my dear brothers.

Hee. =D

Psalm 138
1 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart;
before the "gods" I will sing your praise.

2 I will bow down toward your holy temple
and will praise your name
for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word
. - ooh I rmb tt verse ministered to me back in 2005.

3 When I called, you answered me;
you made me bold and stouthearted.

4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD,
when they hear the words of your mouth.

5 May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.

6 Though the LORD is on high, he looks upon the lowly,
but the proud he knows from afar.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes,
with your right hand you save me.

8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love, O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.

You know, I think I do get certain periods of feeling very downcast and depressed even. But thank God, I think with the hope that God has given me, He has helped me go through these periods of downness more and more victoriously.

I feel very encouraged, because during this episode, God encouraged me with the classic verse from Eph 6: "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." I realise that during these periods when everything just seems so bleak and hopeless, actually, these negative discouragements, temptations and feelings of hopelessness are flaming arrows - made worse by the fact that yes, all these accusations do have a grain of truth to them - be they my mistakes, failures, past sins and so on. The tiny grain of fact being used as the warhead for the entire arrow to make one hell of a weapon. And Satan, sadistic old devil that he is, isn't content to have just an arrow. No, he has to go set it on fire, with his malicious accusations and fiery-tongued mockery and scorching condemnations. Yep, Satan doesn't fight fair. (Well, what do you expect from the father of all lies... the tempter and accuser of God's people.)

So yes, the shield of faith. You ever watched those war movies where the soldiers close ranks and hoist up their shields? Braveheart, Troy, 300, Gladiator... sometimes you can't do much except just take cover and endure the barrage. But we could learn from the Spartans - laughing even as they close ranks in close comradeship and waiting for the barrage of arrows to end.

But as I reflected on Eph 6, I also realised that I need to take the opportunity to fight back with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. So I have to not only survive the flaming barrage, but also advance swiftly after the barrage and close in for hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, fighting back with the word of God. And with God's power, the enemy will quickly rout. Like bronze swords versus iron swords - no contest. Or maybe more like bronze swords versus a light-saber. Ahhh. That's more like it! :)

Incidentally Roman military tactics are really very interesting to read. I wonder why gangsters in gang-fights never bother to use proper shield+parang tactics... :P

So yup! Thank God for his restoring to me the joy of His salvation. I hope it doesn't come back again, but if/when it does, I will continue to focus on the goodness of God... and continue to remain in the fellowship of my brothers, and continue to pray and read the Bible, and read more encouraging Christian books. Live a life of faith, hope and love! And keep marching on... my life's work is yet to be done.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I struggle a lot with concentration in work. But I found out what helps me 'get in the zone'. Once I get into the zone I can keep going on and on. Hmm. Have a couple of ideas.

#1. Have a bigger monitor.
I'm a very visual person. So am distracted by 'noisy' visual surroundings.

#2. Have a custom user account for each project. That way I can have programs and all the work stuff all laid out on the desktop. No need to do stupid clicking around.

Stay focused, YA. You need more self-discipline!

Monday, April 26, 2010

You know, there was this course that I took back in NUS. I think that was one of the best modules that I ever took in all my 4.5 years in uni. It was called, "Thinking, Reasoning and Inquiry". (Think I told u abt it before.) anyway, the gist of it is that there're different ways of thinking and reasoning. It was fascinating - one moment the lecturer would be giving us a science problem to analyze, the next moment, asking us to evaluate the style of a poem. And we even had to derive Copernicus' theory for ourselves... no easy task actually. And oh yes, debates about how one can use thinking and reasoning to evaluate different religions - and can thinking and faith come together?

So I learnt what works for a logical mathematical axiom cannot work for analyzing a poem. And vice-versa. But... there's one important key principle behind every sphere of thinking and reasoning: whatever mode of reasoning you use, it should be self-consistent within its own sphere.

So one thing I realised about thinking is that true, like what you said, there's a lot of different ways to think. And... I think we can learn more to relax and enjoy the beauty of diverse styles of thinking. And also to see the Big Picture.

Rock, Paper, Scissors...

Sometimes All You Need Is Space - Lots of Space.

I guess, sometimes life can be like riding a bike along a vast landscape. Sometimes - or often - we experience journeys that are so beyond us, that it's not us riding the bike; it's the bike taking us for a ride. We can try to be safe, and go for all the careful tracks... and go slowly... and that is the right (and sane) thing for a beginner.

But for the mature, skilled experienced cyclists, all the discipline and training that they've put in has resulted in a whole new level of utter freedom. The freedom to go beyond the boundaries, the safe zones - because their bodies have now acquired the strength to be free.

And that's how our lives are meant to be ultimately lived. No longer bound by the rigid safe frameworks that did help to keep us safe from the law of gravity - but with a corresponding restriction; but now bound by a greater framework - the framework of God's creation, and grander laws of nature that supersede earth's surly bonds.

And that's the whole point.

Life wasn't meant to be lived softly on tip-toe. Not when the God who made the mountains invites us to tell them to hurl themselves into the sea. Not when He told us that the mountains will shout for joy and the hills skip like lambs. Not when He told us to go forth into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Not when He said that the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, as surely as the waters cover the seas. Not when He promised a new heaven and a new earth... a new mountain. Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of the Living God.

Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad!
Let the seas resound with a mighty roar!
Let the trees of the forest clap their hands!
Let the earth be filled with the glory of the Lord.

Today, Jon and I took time to just worship God, to put into practice what we learnt from Ps Denis' sermon on worship yesterday. We were at the garden at St. Andrew's Cathedral, and we took a songbook, and chose some songs. And as we sang, the clouds gathered together and the wind started blowing stronger. And the clouds were our audience, as we sang our hearts out to our Creator. We did look a bit silly, we two men, standing and singing in the face of a looming storm while everyone else was scurrying around like frightened mice to find cover. But who cares? We knew that God did care. So here we were, a modern-day Paul and Silas duet, praising God in the face of the storm. And it was awesome, seeing the praises of our Saviour rising to open skies.

See the praises of our Saviour
Rise to open skies
With the dawning of redemption
Your glory will arise

For You alone are worthy
Here in Zion you are praised
Our Lord and King forever
You will reign

Yes, we sang praises to Him, to Him who rides the ancient skies above. And when the thunder rolled, Jon quipped, "They're applauding for us." Haha. Perhaps it's really so! :D

Yes! Lived in crazy freedom, living life to the full, and experiencing God's pleasure upon you all the way. Oh listen! Can you hear the mountains sing for joy? :) Sometimes all you need is space to be what God wants you to be - lots of space. May you too find the space one of these days to go crazy and worship God with every inch of your body and soul. =D
Maybe I need to be wiser about this. :\ *shrugs* I guess it hurts when you try to be a friend, but you get misunderstood because of your well-intentioned sincerity. Oh God. Why do You allow me to make mistakes? :\ But I guess I'll just keep moving on. Father, I pray, defend me against those who would condemn me, and justify me I pray. For You are my Righteous Judge, my Strong Tower. Mock those who would mock me, and be my shield.

But... I remember You praying for those who crucified You. And Stephen's prayer for those who were stoning him to death. I see my heart is so far from Yours. Please help me... respond like You did I pray.

And in any case... I do remember You have justified me quite a few times already, and spoken to those brothers and sisters who had sinned against me, and even rebuked one or two of them. Yet... help me remember not to rejoice when my enemy falls.
Proverbs 24
17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,
18 or the LORD will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from him.

19 Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of the wicked,
20 for the evil man has no future hope,
and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.
Sigh. I guess I'm still not well. Fretting and all that.

"Call Me Ishmael."

No, I haven't changed my baptism name. It's the opening line from Moby Dick. But there's a deeper meaning to this. Sitting back... I'm reminded to be thankful for what God has indeed blessed me with.

For the prophecies during the service today. Ironically, HopeKids service today was about praising God even when we don't feel like it. And... I really didn't feel like it. But I went down for my own adults service, since I had acted in the children's skit earlier, telling the children that we should (should as in "You should taste this - you'll love it!") praise God even when we don't feel like it... have to lah. I didn't want to be a hypocrite... children are very fast to observe discrepancies.

Not in a super-sian spirit... but I did go with expectancy, because I remembered this verse about David getting up to worship the Lord right after his baby son had died, despite all his pleading and prayer. And thank God so much... He really rewards those who earnestly seek Him. He is faithful and true!

The two prophecies were about faith, and about those worrying and feeling low. I was so touched that God would speak to me in such a real way... nothing less than a service-level prophecy to minister to me. Ishmael. God hears. And the service was my Beer Lahai Roi. The well of the Living One who sees me.

:) And Peter's SMS. It's so about faith. Keep walking on.

Faith. Faith. Faith. The righteous shall live by faith.

And thank God too for Spencer and Jonathan. How can I forget? :P Very blessed by Jon. The quiet but thoughtful and sweet acts of kindness that he did for me. And his willing spirit and commitment to being discipled and growing. I'm so glad that he has been growing in learning to love others more, and start putting God's Word into practice. Spiritual growth. God makes Jon grow, in His own timing. Someone planted the seed, I watered it, but God made it grow.

Spencer, also for his heart of care and concern too. Oh, he's been Samwise Gamgee to me a lot of times. Truly a Godsend. =)

Faith. =) The past week has been tough. But we shall speak words of faith anyway.

I can't do anything to stop the flaming arrows coming, but I can raise up the shield of faith to stop and extinguish them. But I guess one cannot always stay there on the receiving end. One has to also purposely take out the sword of the Spirit and keep advancing onto the enemy.

You know, let's keep speaking words of faith. I have had my discouragements and loss of hope before. But thank God for His encouragement and pulling me up again by my hand. Through this time, I see the presence of God even more clearly.

Through this week, I can see that God has been showing me clearly through various incidents and signs and Bible passages the word: "faith". And also, "worship". I think the two are interlinked together. Thank God so much for Peter, Kin Wee and Weizhu who really encouraged me through this time of depression. Thank God for Peter's caring and encouraging SMS especially.

*pause* The surprising thing is, a lot of those brothers and sisters whom you thought would at least care to ask, turned out to be as reliable as a broken tooth - and those you didn't even think of asking for help - let alone those who aren't Christians... God used them to help and minister to you in your time of need. "The first shall be last, and the last shall be first." Classic case of the Good Samaritan as compared to the "holy" priest and the Levite?

To be honest, I am tempted to feel upset and bitter even, and say "what's the point of being a friend to those who are supposed to be your friends, but aren't?" But I'm reminded of Paul's attitude here. 2 Tim 4:16 "At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them."

Just some thoughts.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where's God in My Loneliness?

It was one month to the day after my six-month-old daughter, Hope, had died of a rare metabolic disorder. Heading out alone on a business trip, I thought getting away and being busy might actually alleviate my grief. But instead, sadness traveled with me. That night in my hotel room, I desperately wanted someone to remember Hope with me.

I did what most people do when they feel lonely—I reached out to find someone to help make my loneliness go away. I punched my way through the numbers programmed on my cell phone, but no one answered. I didn't know how to connect with God in a way that would soothe my loneliness, so I finally cried myself to sleep.

Throughout the Old Testament, God promises Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and the Israelites he will be with them. He told Joshua, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" (Joshua 1:5). While I've believed these promises are for me too, sometimes when I've read them, I've thought, Well, I was hoping for something better than that. God's presence seemed more like the consolation prize than the reward.

But when my friend Angela lost her husband, she told me, "It took me two years after Wes died before I was willing to say to Jesus, in the loneliness of my bed, 'I need you to make your presence known to me, to satisfy me.'" She admitted it was awkward to wait in silence for him, but it's been worth overcoming the awkwardness for her to experience God's friendship.

The trouble is, I'm rarely quiet or patient enough to wait for God to meet me. Perhaps what's more deeply true is that I really didn't fully believe being alone with Jesus—even when I'm lonely—would satisfy me.
Thank God for this article. I was feeling lonely recently. Thinking about it, I really miss my times with God. Even though I know very well the blessings and have experienced God so real, that He took away my loneliness last time... now, I guess, I feel lonely again during this season. But to be honest, I just sit down and read, and surf the net, and chat - and keep checking my email for a word, a whisper of human contact. Ennui + longing.

A dear friend and I were talking earlier on MSN today. We both have a clear calling from God - my friend of ministering to the poor and broken-hearted... mine of ministering to the children of the world. And even though what we are doing is very meaningful work... we both are getting tired and feeling a bit lost at times. And I think we both long for companions to join us in the works that the Father has given to us. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. But pity the man who is all alone!"

I know we are made for community. And God made us that way. And in fact, He WANTS us to be in community. That He wants, in fact, prefers to minister to us through people (since we are made in His image). But sometimes community just isn't there. Or could it be that God sometimes lead us into circumstances where we must first experience the loneliness of the desert - and the temptations of the evil one - even though we have the leading of the Holy Spirit?
The very thought of living in the land of milk and honey without God's presence among them brought Moses to his knees: "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here" (Exodus 33: 15).

To Moses, experiencing the felt presence of God was more important than anything. Seeing his example, I've started looking for ways to live like I really value God's presence. So I occasionally turn off the radio in my car and think about him or I turn off the television in my house to cut down on the world's noise. When I'm willing to wait for him to make himself known to me, I offer more than just lip service to what's truly important.


I remember. Ps Jeff last time talked about 'Starbuckings with God'. :) Having coffee time with Dad. Talking to Him, telling Him about everything.
What I wanted in the hotel room that lonely night was to hear the voice of someone who really knew my sad circumstances. But who could know more about me than God? If I want to hear his voice, I have to open up his Word in a spirit of quiet humility and expectation, and wait for him to speak to me.
Come to think of it... I haven't gone to any park in the past few months to meet God personally. Just Jesus and me, sitting under a coconut tree. 我跟耶稣在椰子下... =D
Sometimes I'm lonely because I'm waiting for someone else to make the first move. But when it comes to God, he's already made the first move. God doesn't want to love me from a distance; he invites me to draw near. James 4:8 says, "Draw close to God and God will draw close to you" (NLT). But there's only one reason we can draw close to God himself in the midst of our loneliness—because Jesus willingly experienced the ultimate loneliness in our place.

I think the whole article is so beautiful and edifying. Do read it...

Old Casio Handheld Games!

Gosh! Casio predicted the battle between Osama and Bush more than a decade ago...

Always wanted to buy this... could never quite figure out what I was supposed to be shooting at tho.

Another classic.

My first game in Pri 1 or 2. It crashed-landed into the toilet bowl... when I was playing it and had to pee half-way. :\ No survivors were found in the crash wreckage.

For more, just visit the Handheld Games Museum. :D

True Measure, True Pleasure

Heng: as i was praying, remembered a testimony that my CL shared

you know Dr William Tan?

me: the wheelchair guy?

Heng: yeah!
10:53 AM
who runs marathons

me: wat abt him?

Heng: here goes

1. He's Christian
10:54 AM
2. He contracted polio at 2, lost the use of his legs since then

My CL knows him personally, acquainted
10:55 AM
so one day he went and asked Dr Tan, "do you ever pray to be healed?"

Dr Tan said that in the past, in his youth, he would always pray to be healed
10:56 AM
but he was never healed

and he was disappointed, and angry with God

one day, God spoke to him through a verse
10:58 AM
me: bro i gtg now

so sorry

but type out the rest for me n email me?: )

IF u have tim


Heng: i'll leave you the verse

Psalm 147:10-11
10:59 AM
Dr Tan's life changed forever after that verse

he stopped praying for healing

cya bro
Thanks so much dear Weizhu for sharing with me this verse.
Psalm 147:10-11 (New International Version)
10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the legs of a man;
11 the LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Learning To Work

Learning to work for the Lord.
Learning to work with the Lord.
Learning to work like the Lord.


From: CTPL Feedback <>
Date: Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Our ref:2010/04/6184

Dear Mr Yeo

I refer to your feedback on 19 April 2010 regarding your unpleasant encounter with the driver of the above-mentioned taxi.

First of all, I would like to extend my deepest apologies to you for this unpleasant incident.

Road safety and courtesy is an important corporate value which our taxi drivers have been consistently reminded to observe. For this case, we have looked into the driver's attitude and warned him to be mindful of road safety. He was further reminded on the severe consequences faced if found guilty of any undesirable driving behaviours.

We value feedback from members of the public such as yourself which will help us in our continuous efforts to improve our service and safety standards.

Once again, we apologise for the incident.

Yours sincerely
Jean Ho

Customer Service Officer
Customer Service Centre
ComfortDelGro - Taxi Business
CS Hotline: 6552 4525

Fwd: Complaint about reckless driving of SHB4680G on 18 Apr 2010

From: Yeo YA
Date: Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 12:49 PM
Subject: Complaint about reckless driving of SHB4680G on 18 Apr 2010

Dear Citycab,

I wish to lodge a complaint about the reckless driving of one taxi-driver.

1. At 0040h, 18 Apr Sunday, I was walking back home. Just as I was crossing the junction of Bishan St 22 and Bishan Road, a yellow Citycab Taxi came zooming around the junction at about 20km/hr (estimated).

2. It  stopped only when I yelled and gave a palms-up sign to the driver to stop. It was only about 3 to 5 metres away when it stopped just in time. As far as I could make out, the taxi driver simply shook his head to say sorry, but didn't do or say anything else.

3. I was wearing a red-and-white striped polo tee, so I don't think I was very difficult to see, even at night, and I was crossing the green man.

4. Could you kindly let the taxi driver know that he needs to be more careful? Especially when he ZOOMED around the junction?

5. His license plate number is SHB4680G. 

6. Hope to hear from you soon.

Thanks and best regards,
Yeo Yeu Ann

The Name of the LORD

I think God whispered to me something very powerful just now. That He is training me to seek Him first and foremost, even in the midst of my loneliest and neediest moments. He is who He is. To seek Him, above, first and foremost.

I think I need a refresher and reminder of what it means to seek Him anew. =) And oh thank God He knows what I need, even before I know what I need.

"I AM who I AM."


You know, something very surprising. I believe God heard my prayer earlier. =) And strangely all the Youtube songs that I was listening, all talk about the name of God.

"Your name is a strong and mighty tower..."
"Sing to the LORD; praise His name"...
Then I saw Bowen and Joyce talking about God's name in a Buzz conversation.
Then I watched U2's song "Yahweh."

Take these shoes
Click clacking down some dead end street
Take these shoes
And make them fit
Take this shirt
Polyester white trash made in nowhere
Take this shirt
And make it clean, clean
Take this soul
Stranded in some skin and bones
Take this soul
And make it sing

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don't make a fist no
Take this mouth
So quick to critisize
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, Yahweh
Still I'm waiting for the dawn

Still waiting for the dawn, the sun is coming up
The sun is coming up on the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean
His love is like a drop in the ocean

Yahweh, Yahweh
Always pain before a child is born
Yahweh, tell me now
Why the dark before the dawn?

Take this city
A city should be shining on a hill
Take this city
If it be your will
What no man can own, no man can take
Take this heart
Take this heart
Take this heart
And make it brave

Then I checked out a Youtube video recommended by Joyce explaining the meaning of the name Yahweh:


What could God be whispering to me at this moment then? I think He wants to remind me of Who He is. What His name really means. And that I can take comfort in His name. Yahweh. And of course, Jesus, the name of His Son.

I think He is reminding me, among other things, to keep seeking Him, no matter where I am. He is who He is, and because of His faithfulness and eternal constancy, we can take refuge in Him, in His name. To meditate on His name, and the meaning of His name -
the name that is above every name,
that at the name of JESUS
every knee shall bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD,
to the glory of God the Father! Amen.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Billows of Smoke

Eruption: A dark cloud of ash and steam hangs over the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland after it erupted for the second time in less than one month. Read more...
Act 2
17" 'In the last days, God says,[...]
19I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.'
"Massive ash cloud shuts down Europe's skies." A sign of the times?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Song of the Spirit

was on the train just now. suddenly felt so overwhelmed by the stress and fears. worried abt a friend's potential response just now... and tml... got to face a whole bunch of kids again.

i started imagining the worst-case scenarios... abt kids being bo-chup and all that... running around and whacking one another... the noise...

i suddenly felt so overwhelmed that there on the MRT, i just squeezed my eyes as tightly as i could. looked down, so that no one else cld see. and tears welled up in my eyes.

yes. all those fears and worries came crashing over me like a sudden freak wave. sudden bursts of emotions spurt up at intervals, like angry lava spouting from a magma pool.

but this passage that i read comforts me.
Psalm 42
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
yes, dear Father. let Your song be with me through the night - a prayer to the God of my life.

as i looked for the passage "Deep calls to deep", I came across this comforting article. Hope n pray that it encourages you too as it did for me:
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls;
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The LORD will command His love in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.
(Psalm 42:7-8)
“Deep calls unto deep.” Christians use this phrase most often to refer to a deep, personal experience of the Lord ministering to them—from the depths of God’s heart to the depths of their own. Indeed, it is a profound thing.

But the psalmwriter here was using it in a different way. He was going through very difficult circumstances, sorrow and affliction were pounding him relentlessly, and he was overwhelmed by the weight of it all. All he could hear was the roaring waters of trouble. But at his core, he realized that God had something much better for him. Though disoriented by his situation, he addressed it in faith. His refrain was:
Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
(Psalm 42:5, 11; Psalm 43:5)
So how did the “deep calls unto deep” of verse 7 transform into the positive and moving expression it is today. Perhaps it is because of the testimony of verse 8:
The LORD will command His love in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.
This is the centerpiece of the psalm. Even in the midst of the worst trouble, those who are in covenant with God have a source that will not only comfort them and get them through the time of distress, but will cause them to overcome and rejoice. God’s love, provision and protection will be made manifest to them in the broad daylight, where everybody can see it. In the night, there will be no terror, no worry, no sorrow—only a song hope.

Deep calls unto deep. Outwardly, the depth of misery and pain weighed heavily upon him. But there is a depth that is greater and much more powerful, powerful enough to overwhelm sorrow and affliction and carry them far away. It is the depth of God’s love, the revelation of His heart. This is the will of God being made known on our behalf, and it is always for the working of our good.

There is also the depth of God’s song stirring inside us, the song of His Spirit always encouraging us, renewing our hope and rekindling our faith. This love and this song come from the heart of God and penetrate to the depths of our own hearts, bringing forth prayers of faith, hope and love. So the psalmwriter speaks to his inner man and instructs himself:
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help* of my countenance and my God.
It is as T. S. Elliot said at the end of his Four Quartets, in the poem, “Little Giddings”:
And all shall be well
And all manner of things shall be well.
Faithpoint: Do not be overwhelmed by the depths of sorrow and circumstance. Set your expectation on God and He will deliver you completely. Let the depth of His love overwhelm the depths of your heart and fill you with songs of rejoicing and praise. The peace of God that passes all understanding will flood you, and all shall be well.

[* The Hebrew word used for “help” here is yeshuah, the word for salvation. Used as a name, it is Yeshua, rendered in English as Jesus.]
Hee. Hope this blesses you just like how it blessed me :)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Suicide Myths

I came across this from Xinying's blog. Hmm. Gosh. Because one of my friends has said something that borders on this, actually. Concerned. I need to be extra watchful for him/her. Please pray.

Suicide Myths by Kevin Caruso

Suicide Myth
People who talk about suicide are just trying to get attention.

Suicide Fact
People who die by suicide usually talk about it first. They are in pain and oftentimes reach out for help because they do not know what to do and have lost hope. Always take talk about suicide seriously. Always.
Suicide Myth
People who talk about wanting to die by suicide do not try to kill themselves.

Suicide Fact
People who talk about wanting to die by suicide oftentimes kill themselves.

Suicide Myth
Suicide always occurs without any warning signs.

Suicide Fact
There are almost always warning signs.

Suicide Myth
Once people decide to die by suicide, there is nothing you can do to stop them.

Suicide Fact
Suicide can be prevented. Most people who are suicidal do not want to die; they just want to stop their pain.

Suicide Myth
Suicide only strikes people of a certain gender, race, financial status, age, etc.

Suicide Fact
Suicide can strike anyone.

Suicide Myth
People who attempt suicide and survive will not attempt suicide again.

Suicide Fact
People who attempt suicide and survive will oftentimes make additional attempts.

Suicide Myth
People who attempt suicide are crazy.

Suicide Fact
No, no, no. They are in pain, and probably have a chemical imbalance in their brain. Anyone could attempt suicide.

Suicide Myth
People who attempt suicide are weak.

Suicide Fact
No, no, no. They are in pain and probably have a chemical imbalance in their brain. Many people who are very "strong" die by suicide.

Suicide Myth
People who talk about suicide are trying to manipulate others.

Suicide Fact
No. People who talk about suicide are in pain and need help. And telling them that they "just want something" or "are trying to manipulate" is both insensitive and ignorant. People often talk about suicide before dying by suicide. Always take talk about suicide seriously. Always.

Suicide Myth
When people become suicidal, they will always be suicidal.

Suicide Fact
Most people are suicidal for a limited period of time. However, suicidal feelings can recur.

Suicide Myth
People who are suicidal definitely want to die.

Suicide Fact
The vast majority of people who are suicidal do not want to die. They are in pain, and they want to stop the pain.

Suicide Myth
You should never ask people who are suicidal person if they are thinking about suicide or if they have thought about a method, because just talking about it will give them the idea.

Suicide Fact
Asking people if they are thinking about suicide does not give them the idea for suicide. And it is important to talk about suicide with people who are suicidal because you will learn more about their mindset and intentions, and allow them to diffuse some of the tension that is causing their suicidal feelings.

Suicide Myth
When people who are suicidal feel better, they are no longer suicidal.

Suicide Fact
Sometimes suicidal people feel better because they have decided to die by suicide, and may feel a sense of relief that the pain will soon be over.

Suicide Myth
Young people never think about suicide, they have their entire life ahead of them.

Suicide Fact
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24. Sometimes children under 10 die by suicide.

Suicide Myth
There is little correlation between alcohol or drug abuse and suicide.

Suicide Fact
Oftentimes people who die by suicide are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Suicide Myth
People who are suicidal do not seek help.

Suicide Fact
Many people who are suicidal reach out for help.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rolling Up My Sleeves

Right. There's so many ways to interpret something. And I can't make sense of all these inputs, even after much analysis. But I think if what I think is what I think it might be, well, just clarify and clear up this mess. :\ Time to get it done and over with. Time to end this limbo... God willing.

Bruce Lee vs Ironman!

This is FANTASTIC stop-motion animation... and enjoy the ending! :D
I like lomos. The lomo philosophy emphasises capturing what captures ur fantasy. It follows in the steps of the Impressionists. I guess lomography's also very appealing to the youths in the sense that it emphasises on carefree-ness, and the just-capture-it... the ephemeralness and sublimeness of everyday mundanity being captured in sweet exuberant colours.

In that sense, I guess it's the response of the Epicureans, the Impressionists and Surrealists, to the Stoics, the Modernists, the Minimalists... and the beat goes on.

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
- Robert Herrick

I learnt that poem from watching Dead Poets' Society.
John 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 gentlemen, 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. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe.

Carpe diem. Seize the day boys. Make your lives extraordinary.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Seeing "If Only" Now - And Being Able To Do Something About It

Came across this thought-provoking article by Jim Martin...
1. I wish I had not wasted energy wanting to become important and instead choosing to focus on my significance in Christ. When I first became a minister, I noticed that some ministers seemed to be more important than others. (Yes, I know they are not. I'm just telling you that is the way it felt.) I would hear certain ministers talk about the larger public gatherings in which they spoke. I noticed that people referred to some ministers and how they had "preached in some of our most influential churches." So for awhile, I wanted to be important. No, I would have never admitted this nor did I see the conflict between this desire and simply being a "servant.") Eventually, I realized that such a longing appealed to my flesh more than it did my desire to become Christ-like.

2. I wish I had wasted less time thinking "if only" and more time really being present in the moment. This was true especially during my early adult years. At times, I found it difficult to really enjoy and experience the present, because I was thinking, "If only."

"If I could just get that Doctor of Ministry degree."

"If I could just move to a better church."

"If I could just teach part-time."

"If I could just be at a church that had better worship experiences, better elders, better staff, better location, etc."

Consequently, with this mindset, it was almost impossible for me to enjoy the moment.

3. I wish I had known how little I really knew about life (and ministry) and how much I needed to learn. Rookie preachers are a lot like some rookie husbands/wives and rookie parents. We can be so overconfident and not have a clue as to how much we still have to learn. Some new parents read one book or take a class at church and think they now know how to rear a child. In fact, one mother even said, "I've recently read a very helpful book and that is all I need. I won't be making the same mistakes that others have made." Her children were all under the age of 8. Hmmm.

Ministers can have this same kind of overconfidence. If I could do it over, I would be more intentional about learning from several different people. I wish I had really opened up my life to a few who were wise, who had good marriages, and who were godly. Now I did have very good teachers and mentors. Yet, I wish that I had known just how helpful it could be to surround myself with a few people who had permission to speak words into my life. At times I needed lots of affirmation. However, there were also times when I needed guidance and even correction.

4. I wish I had wasted less time listening to fearful and anxious people and more time listening to Jesus. Fearful and anxious people often live with the illusion that it is possible to somehow be a church that is pain free. Fearful and anxious people are all for moving ahead with a kingdom agenda, they just don't want to upset anyone in the process. Consequently, when leaders gather who are fearful and anxious, they spend little or no time talking about the victories of the previous Sunday morning assembly. Instead, they focus on who was pleased or not pleased. When parents are fearful and anxious, the often will do anything to make their children "happy." When men and women live in a state of fear and anxiety, joy is absent.

5. I wish I had spent less time trying to get my needs met through others and more time valuing the relationships I did have. One of the big issues through much of my early years in particular was wanting to feel valued by those who were in my life. Not a bad desire. Right? Yet, I think this became so important to me that stayed in constant frustration and discontent. I wanted this from my parents. I wanted this from my family. I wanted this from groups of elders who I worked with. In my adolescence, I felt a void in this area of my life. Consequently, as a young husband, father, minister, I was responding to this emptiness.

As a result, I probably put too much pressure on my immediate family to help me feel valued. I was overly sensitive to certain remarks that I should have ignored. I suspect this accounts for the frustration that I have sometimes felt with the church. I eventually began to realize that I was wanting something that I may never get. Either I could live in constant frustration or I could adjust my expectations to something that were more realistic.

Wow. I tried to post a comment to this post on his blog, but the server blocked my entry, saying that I come from a suspect proxy server. :\ so I'll post my comment here:
As a young man myself, your sharing was very good food for thought. Some of what you shared are just what I have experienced - especially #1 and #2. #2 is especially relevant, because I'm having a fruitful period of ministry right now, but I have this niggling personal wish: "If only..." and that does make me more emotional than necessary. =)

Thank God for your wise, heartfelt and gracious sharing, brother! :D God bless you...

Spring of the Soul

Climbed Bukit Timah Hill with Kin Wee today. It was a sweet and meaningful time of fellowship, and we prayed together... and waited upon God for a major decision that Kin Wee needed to make. Thank God for the joy of being able to prophesy and receive counsel from the Lord for Kin Wee.

Yesterday I started the first day of intensive discipleship for Jon since he's on a one-month break. We'll be meeting on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings to have quiet time together - to pray and read Bible together. Praise God for Jon's willing and responsive heart. I truly thank God for a patient and humble sheep like him... =D

Also had the opportunity to bless a CG bro and I sensed God using me to speak a word of prophetic insight to this dear bro. And this dear bro msged me in the night and thanked me for the word... that he realised what God was doing in his life.

Also blessed to fellowship with a CG sister. We had a good time of catching up and sharing ideas during lunch-time.

Wrote a long letter to a dear ministry co-worker to speak to him regarding his discipleship... and he was very touched by the letter I sent him. And he responded in a very immediate way.

Looking at all these, I feel very touched, because I know that the past one month has been spring for my soul. There are so many promises and fresh starts and new beginnings. So I must make the most of this season, to run like the wind, with God's Spirit fresh and alive in my heart every day. And thank God so much for His giving me the gift of prophecy. It really is a joy to be able to speak words of encouragement, comforting and even correction... the heart being that God has graciously used my poor stumbling and inadequate words to draw people closer to Him. So must keep on praying.

Can really sense God's Spirit moving...

Also, I've told Huaqiang and Peter my proposed date of moving over to HopeKids CG finally. It's exciting... but I will so miss my CG.

However, there are things that threaten to hinder me from giving my all. I think God has been impressing strongly on my heart the need to be more self-disciplined. Thank God He is also helping me and working in my heart even as He is convicting me. Thank God for the sanctifying work of his Holy Spirit! :D

Anyway, we had a great game on Sunday. Played Shadow Hunters, which Jinghe bought. Someone screwed up the shuffling during the last game, tho... which led us to think that there were 2 Hunters and 2 Shadows... but it turned out that there were THREE Shadows and 1 Hunter. Poor Qixiong (the sole Hunter) was almost on the verge of yelling out, "Where is my ally?!" But haha we told him hey look on the bright side... he actually managed to defeat all three Shadows, "against all odds!"

Haha... =)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Our Local Heroes of the Faith

While reading Romans just now, I had this idea. We are inspired by D.L. Moody, Eric Liddel, Jim Elliot, Mother Teresa, William Carey, Watchman Nee and so on.

I wonder, who are the heroes of the faith here in Singapore's history whom we can learn from and be inspired? I don't just mean today... I mean in the past... the 'ang moh' brothers / sisters who came here to serve... and the local people who rose up to lead...

This is a project I think I will keep in mind... but think I gotta find someone to partner with to do this. Write a book, compile it and ask the National Council of Churches of Singapore for their feedback... =) Ooh. Big-time project... would need to go around and interview. But I think I'd love that. Plow through the historical archives... interview ppl...

Maybe make it a documentary? Or a book? Or both?

Think it's worth a try... think I'll try it after my internship.

feelings and truth

From Joyce's blog:
“My feelings are not God. God is God. My feelings do not define truth. God’s word defines truth. My feelings are echoes and responses to what my mind perceives. And sometimes—many times—my feelings are out of sync with the truth. When that happens—and it happens every day in some measure—I try not to bend the truth to justify my imperfect feelings, but rather, I plead with God: Purify my perceptions of your truth and transform my feelings so that they are in sync with the truth.
That’s the way I live my life every day. I hope you are with me in that battle.”
- John Piper, Finally Alive, pages 165-166

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Sex Cafe |

The Sex Cafe |

Felt very burdened when I read this article. :\ I know that in Asia, God knows how many horrors like this happen too. Even Singapore isn't immune - although I think it is much less so. Still... i just felt my heart ache so much. :'| Yes, dear Lord, how can we play our part? We got to pray against this evil darkness tt still enshrouds so many people. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

That's why I really don't think You intended for us to just be prosperous, make money and have a comfortable retirement. Not when so many people are out there suffering in darkness... so many people in slavery - God, damn it! Feel intense anger at all this injustice... please show me Father, how can we be Your arms, feet, hands and legs to crush the enemy and set the captives free? Break my heart for what breaks Yours. Everything we have, let it be for Your kingdom's cause... as we walk from earth into eternity.
Isaiah 58]
6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness [a] will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

I know this kind of horror goes on in Cambodia. I know that this horror goes on in so many countries. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.So yup. Let that be my holy war cry. Count me in, Father, and prepare your servant to wage war against the satanic forces of darkness.

Thank God for Ps Ben who preached the Micah series about the need for the church to obey God and fight for social justice. No empty religion here... but a fighting faith.
Isaiah 61
1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn...
Yes. I don't want to be just singing songs on Sunday. That is karaoke religion. I want to do God's will, even if it means dying in the course of battle. I want to sing Your war songs, Lord. For You are a mighty warrior, Lord!
Amos 5
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

Grr. Just feel so intense. Yup. But thankful that You are already preparing me for such a time like this. So please keep it burning deeper within my heart, dear Father, by the purity of Your name, the passion of Your Son, and the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus' name, amen.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hmm I guess I'm not good at writing these kinds of evaluative posts.

Christianity + Easy = Cheesy

From Huanyan's blog... good food for thought.
I seriously hope that this provides us some food for thought on how to make godly decision. Have the brother prayed about the situation and choices? He offered us three choices but perhaps that also limited God's ability to work in him and limited his capability to explore more choices. Does that sound familiar?

Thinking about it, I have had brothers and sisters who basically say, when I share about God's guidance in my career path, that they're happy that I'm achieving what I want to do. It gives me pause. Because I know they have missed the most important point of my testimony - that it is not about my dreams, but about me waiting on God to show me what He wants. And God is the Superstar of the whole story.

I think it is a dreadful state of affairs when we water down our faith, and ignore the part about surrendering your all to Jesus and denying yourselves, taking up your crosses daily and following Him... into something that is damn cheesy - a 'Christianity' that talks about "Oh, I'm so glad you've achieved what you want to achieve." Where is the living God of Israel in the whole damned picture? It combines a mild-gentle "Jesus" sentiment with vague humanistic sentiments. And it makes for a damned boring Christianity. In Dorothy Sayer's words:
"This is the dogma we find so dull—this terrifying drama of which God is the victim and the hero. If this is dull, then what, in Heaven's name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused him of being a bore—on the contrary, they thought him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him 'meek and mild,' and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies."

In fact, that is one major reason for Christianity today becoming increasingly irrelevant to today's generation - and tomorrow's. The great German theologian and pastor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, saw this happen with dismay most of his fellow Christians in Germany compromise their faith with the Nazi regime... how Christianity became a mere religion, a very useful accessory to the Final Solution. Ditto for Rwanda in 1994...

Think about it. If we compromise our faith with little compromises today and conveniently water down commitment to God a little here, a little there... we are only a few steps away from being very useful accessories to the next Holocaust / genocide. When the salt loses its saltiness, it is no longer fit for anything, but to be thrown out onto the shit pile. Actually, not even for the shit pile. :)
Jesus: "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out. "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Do we desire to seek God for His perfect will? Or do we just want Him to bless our wills?
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'
- C. S. Lewis

Christianity + Easy = Cheesy. I want Christianity, not Cheesy. How about you? :)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

"What Keeps That Fire Burning?"

Today I went to The New Charis Missions, they have a new place near YCK/Jalan Kayu. It was nice. A big nice quaint bangalow that houses abt 50+ of ex-offenders/drug abusers in transition. I was updated that they currently also go to schs to run programmes with at risk youths. So so so encouraged to hear that. What better people to share perspectives with these youths then these band of brothers who are currently leading such changed and inspiring lives? Don shared with me that it is tiring to run all these programmes, but it is that calling that fuels him, and he is happy. :) It is a happy happy atmosphere in that place.

With that ofcos....makes me think abt that little spark of fire in me, and what ignites that spark. It must not just be a spark that is ignited by excitement. It must be a burning fire that continues to burn after that spark of inspiration dies and monotony sneaks in.

Pastor Kai talked abt Eric Liddell in his sermon on Sun. This is a guy who eventually went to China to be a missionary, but before that, he won olympic medals for running. His sis couldn't understand why he was an atheletic since he had a missions calling. Eric Liddell says - "I run for the glory of God". Earlier I had blogged before this quote by him, "When I run, I feel His pleasure."

Even the most godly things we do, if not for God's glory, is nothing.
Even the most mundane thing we do, if for God's glory, means something - that yieldedness of all our activities and our whole life unto Him.

Maybe sometimes for seasons, we have to step back, away from what are the most "godly" tasks, and it seems like a roundabout way away from our calling. But...we need to figure out why we want to step back or should we persevere on? [read more]

Creative Ministry Manifesto in Progress

I've been thinking. And writing down plans for the drama team. But more than that, I'll be writing down the vision and direction for the drama team... actually, it shouldn't be thought of as the drama team, because that will only restrict its fullest capacity. Like what it says in Isaiah about enlarging our tents and not holding back. That also means being deliberate and intentional with the names we choose, both for ourselves and for our team.

So we're the Creative Team. We are to set the standard in excellence for the rest of the HopeKids ministry in terms of creativity, passion and vision. We are the Rangers, the Creative Commandos of Children's Ministry. We lead the way in researching, innovating, pioneering and experimenting (R-I-P-E) crazy ideas for the Kingdom of God - to bless and impact the next generation of children.

We don't stick to tried-and-tested means only. We perceive and envision upcoming trends, and move in response to new changes. We mix and match, knick and knack, fuse and freeze, amp and damp current ideas to come up with new angles. We catch the next generation by surprise, not the other way around. We aim to tantalize, maximize, surprise, enterprise and delight.

To present the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ to the next generation. To boldly go where no adult has gone before.

Everyone Needs Compassion

I met someone today over lunch. To be honest, I didn't have very good vibes about him/her from the beginning. Why? I wasn't sure, but I've learnt to listen to my intuition and take extra caution... especially when I've prayed and the Holy Spirit seems to be telling me to be careful.

So anyway, over lunch, I got to listen to him share, and it was a nice chat. And interestingly, the conversation turned towards our dreams and even about his being rejected by a girl he liked. Then, he invited me to join him in his online marketing work.


just a bit mel. thinking about it. i want to be sweet again. haha. hmm. "in humility consider others better than yourselves."

yet... "only let us live up to wat we have alr attained."

think it's such a hard thing to be humble. esp when you wonder abt having to be firm... yet also drawing the line at false humility... you don't want to be smarmy, yet you really want to have a genuinely sweet spirit. yet you also need to be firm and stand your ground sometimes, and reject some advice that is not sound...

is humility found in taking advice?
is humility lowering yourself?
or is it considering others better than yourselves?

Sometimes i'm confused as where to draw the line. or am i trying to be humble bcos i think ppl will like it? (oh i confess i do...) yet.. in a way it's a better kind than thinking tt ppl's praises don't even matter... tt you are above their praises.

ah. then that's pride alr. but if one thinks himself so highly... and thank God tt he's not like tt...

humility is such a hard thing to pursue. pride is so insidious.

sometimes you have to be confident for the sake of your team, for you are the only one who knows wat needs to be done. yet others give feedback, and sometimes u wonder whether u're right in telling them that their advice isn't suitable for this particular situation. Or am i missing something out here?

God, have mercy on me a sinner.

The Discipline of Celebration

Treated my drama team to a great steamboat buffet dinner yesterday. Really felt a lot of joy in blessing them - truly, like our Lord Jesus himself said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

But as we celebrated, one dear bro was still thinking (and maybe worrying) about some ministry stuff. He asked me about the ministry stuff, but I told him not to think about ministry at this time but to have fun with the rest. So he put the ministry question aside, and joined in the celebration.

Think we emphasise a lot on working hard and being serious and disciplined in our ministry and work. But are we also serious and disciplined about celebration and rejoicing in the Lord? John Ortberg wrote in his book "The Life You've Always Wanted", that celebration of life and all good things must also be a serious discipline, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. In fact it is an explicit command found in the Bible. "Do not grieve, for this day is sacred to the LORD your God... the joy of the Lord is your strength." There is a time to weep and mourn... and there is a time to celebrate and dance.

Sometimes it's so easy to get caught up in evangelistic outreaches and so on about Easter and Christmas, that we forget the primary responses of the disciples, the shepherds and the (pagan) wise men. They came, they saw - and they rejoiced and worshipped the Lord.

True discipline is more than just doing the right things; it is doing the right things at the right times.

Yes, let's be equally disciplined in rejoicing and celebrating God's goodness every day. Amen!
The Night Before
Blog — by Rags @ April 7, 2010 11:20 pm

I was reading my old journals and blogs. I realise I used to have a lot of things to say about things than I have now. I thought about why that is so and concluded maybe its because I realise that the more I’m in ministry, the less I know about life, God and leadership.

Now this is not a low esteem, pity party and bash myself type of thing but just a day before my retreat, I truly think there’s more in what we do that is beyond our understanding.

Its not that I’m discouraged, its just that I’ve aged. I’ve become lesser knowing and though it’s been uncomfortable in the beginning, I know that by becoming lesser knowing, I might just be better at being. [read more...]
Very meaningful...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I have no mouth, and I must scream.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

#271. Being afraid to use our gifts.

I used to use my words to interact with girls online. I used to post funny things, or insightful things in hopes that my approval addiction would get fed in some way. I even started sending out long, bibly emails to friends from church in hopes that they would tell me how holy I was. I misappropriated my greatest gift in a selfish desire to feed my massive ego and numb my wounds.
WHOA. This bro is saying exactly what has been on my mind for a long time.

After a while, I realized what I was doing and decided to never do that again. The easiest way was to simply stop writing. The way I could control it without turning to God was to quit writing. I might have scribbled in a journal, but the swirling and twisting storm of words that seethed inside remained silent. My gift was stolen. There were too many thorn bushes planted by my one talent. I didn’t want to be anywhere near it.

This bro describes exactly what I have been thinking of, and struggling sometimes. Oftentimes I feel insecure about blogging, especially when I read the blogs of other Christians who write. I envy their heartfeltedness, their linguistic skills, their storytelling and so on.

They hold bouquets in their arms, while I look at the little stalk within my hand.

And I feel jealous. And a bit sad, even. Doubtful whether I actually have any talent for writing. Especially when you see 0 comments in your blog, and wonder what's the use of writing anything. :)

But I take heart from Hong Teck's blog... even though his blog has mostly zero comments, it's not a matter of how popular his blog is, but I know he blogs because he believes what he has is from God, and therefore is important enough to be shared, no matter how small he may feel at the moment. And God is using him to touch people like me - even if it weren't immediate, it grew over time as I saw how his words and actions weave in and out to form a beautiful life tapestry.

The Hong Teck Tapestry™. Lovingly hand-made by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

So when I see lives like his, speaking up to help others look out, and speaking out to help others look up, I hear the Holy Spirit gently encouraging me to use the gift that He has given me to bring glory to Him.

Not for my glory, or for others' praises, but for His pleasure.

But how can I then use and develop this writing gift He's given me? Personally, I wish I could write more beautiful stories, like that one I wrote about the little African girl wearing an orange polka-dotted scarf, whom I met on top of a hill in Kenya. But I think one restriction that hinders my writing is that I tend to be so much more introspective, and not looking around for stories to tell.

Hmm... I don't know. My writing style, when I set out to write this blog, was more of recording His footprints in my life. And to my surprise, I saw how He more than left footprints in my life... He actually offered me His hand, saying to me in my darkest moment of despair (in 2005), speaking to me these immortal words, written by Francis Thompson:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come !"
Halts by me that footfall :
Is my gloom, after all,
Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly ?
"Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
I am He Whom thou seekest!

:) Hmm. I enjoy reading other people recall their stories and memories, things that they did and so on.

Maybe this should be a new milestone for my blog, especially now that I'm in children's ministry. Every Sunday there are stories to be read in the faces of children - if only we have time to stop and listen to them share.

So well, here goes. God help me be a storyteller, not only to the next generation, but for the next generation to my own generation... help me not be afraid to use these wonderful gifts You have graciously bequeathed to me. In Jesus' name, amen.

A Caffeinated Christian's Prayer

Hallo God. It's me here again. It's amazing how many people are 'vampires', like me. I missed the last bus home, and had enough of feeding taxi uncles' families for a month, so I figured that I'd camp over at City Hall Starbucks again. =)

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want
He gives me a seat in Starbucks
He leads me to a quiet corner
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for His name's sake

Even though I work through the valley of the shadow of deadlines
I will fear no evil
For You are with me
Your rod and your staff
They comfort me

You prepare a table for me
In the presence of noisy people
You anoint my head with ideas
My mug overflows.

Surely goodness and love will follow me
All the days of my life
And I will dwell in the cafe of the Lord forever. :D

(I love my pun about 'mug'... it's another term for 'head'. :D)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Old Wineskins, New Wineskins

Honestly, the past few weeks have been really stressful. And straining. I guess I'm a walking Young's modulus. :P (See, stress and strain do keep you Young. Har-har.) 

God has been very kind to me. Received what was a near-nuke at work last week, but I know God was there with me. Even though I'm still very much in molding and training, and feel very stretched because of my inexperience with multi-tasking, I can see the gracious hand of God upon me, protecting me.

Still, things feel very tight. Was telling my shepherd, and then my sheep, that work really feels like a Tower Defence game. Once you clear one wave, you've only a short time to "reload and resupply" before the next wave comes along. And oh, the exciting 'boss' characters to handle. Haha.

Thank God for the Easter skit. It was great. Never imagine that we'd actually see this kind of stuff come to life - people dressing up in chicken suits (literally) and singing and dancing and running all over the place. And the skit really was very fun.

Still, can see how much we have to grow in terms of wineskins. I have a burden to see the children's drama ministry grow and expand... and work together with the other ministries. It's not about doing my own ministry well... no, not if we pray "THY kingdom come, THY will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Nope... it's about working together with other ministries to support and to be supported by them. Synergy, in other words. Body of Christ, interconnected. Think that's something that God impressed on my heart as we were worshipping Him during Easter service. Seeing that huge multitude worshipping Him with one voice. And reminded how we are all so different, but we form one body.

Have another burden too. Long to see more ethnic groups in our church. Want to see my church become a mini-Singapore (in the sense of ethnic diversity). I was at Yishun the other day. And something that brought joy to my heart was seeing all the different ethnic and cultures all waiting for the same bus. We are like that on our journey in life, as a nation. Different walks, but same journey. Isn't that comforting?

Maybe that's why I felt so strangely strange when I was in Hong Kong. I didn't like the mono-culture thing in Hong Kong... even though technically I look similar to them... well, my mum is Cantonese, so she fit right in there. Maybe it's because of my Peranakan roots. My dad's ancestors were in Singapore long before I was born. Peranakan and so on. So I guess being multi-cultural is literally part of my cultural heritage.

I guess, in fact, that dream is expressed in a particular Bible verse, which God put my heart back in 2002. "After this, I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language. ... and they cried out with a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb.'"

So beautiful. *pause* Just some thots.


Anyway, yah, have some idea of where the drama team needs to build on from here. Thank God for the clear vision and direction that He's brought us to. We reached a new level of excellence in the children's ministry... Misha sang very beautifully during the skit.

Recognized points for improvement. Need to have at least 3 weeks to prepare for the skit. Which means that I have to plan out way in advance already. Rehearsals, rehearsals, rehearsals.

I need to find a music manager, a MM manager, a props manager, a costumes manager, a lightings manager, a director and a scriptwriting manager.

And about props... you know how we spend a lot of time on cutting things out, right? Well, I found on Instructables how to make a CNC milling machine for very cheap-cheap prices... imagine the huge savings on manpower and improvements on speeds and quality if we can construct a CNC machine to generate props on the fly! Think that's the spirit that I learnt from Shunrong - since we're short on manpower, let's find a way to use technology to maximise the limited manpower we have. Be better stewards of the resources God has given us. =D

Hmm. The bigger vision from here is to take drama to the streets! =D Children's drama, where we put wonderful children's plays... sorta like CS Lewis' Narnia. And missions of mercy - go and do drama for old folks... do drama for children's cancer... do drama for overseas missions... to orphanages and so on.

And who knows? Even combine with other churches (not only the Hope churches) but other churches in Singapore... and even other countries... lift high the name of Jesus! till we have plays for every nation, every tribe, every people, every tongue... proclaiming the goodness of God!

Imagine. Just imagine. Think of Handel's The Messiah. It's regarded as one of the greatest works of art in human history. Isn't it fascinating how some of the most powerful and moving art in human history are those that aim to give glory to God?

But here we are, on more prosaic ground. Need new wineskins... and to take off my sandals and listen to God.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Upcoming Tips for Children's Ministry

Thank God for Hong Teck for encouraging me to write these tips down as a series of blog posts... and even to publish them as books next time... =D

Well, here's an outline of my upcoming series for tips on builing an effective children's ministry.

3 Tips for Introverts in Children's Ministry
3. It's ok...
2. It's better...
1. It's the best!

10 tips for Children's Drama Ministry
10. Think like your audience
9. Always be more visual than aural.
7. Song and Dance!
6. Use lighting well
5. Be Professional.
4. You're leading a rag-tag army of volunteers
3. Keep innovating
2. Be confident
1. Trust God's power