Thursday, September 30, 2010

Eppur Si Muvoe

I think grateful simple-hearted receiving, at the bottom of it all, is the only proper response to grace. What else can we do? To be all pumped-up and hoity-toity about accepting from someone who clearly has what we do not have? To be all sophisticated?

I enjoy the time with my caregroup. Frankly it's really very simple, our preparations, but I think everyone is blessed, because we simply sit around and share about our week, sing songs, have Holy Communion and sermon discussion. And supper after that too! :)

Nothing sophisticated about it. Frankly, it's rather bare-bones - understandable, considering that we already put in so much time for the children's service. Yet, somehow, we gather together and break bread with glad and sincere hearts. :) We just come, just as we are. And somehow, everyone is ministered. :) We don't have to be what we are naturally not.

And somehow, the caregroup works despite our bare-bones approach. =) Eppur si muvoe. Thank God He reminded us of the simplicity of caregroups:
Matthew 18:20
"... For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
Of course, not to be simple-minded, but as we grow in wisdom and skills, we need to always stay simple-hearted.

And I think, to stay simple-hearted requires that we must never fall into the trap of being simple-minded. To be intentionally simple-hearted and simple-faithed.

"Eppur si muvoe." And yet He moves the earth.
For the first time in a long while, it's so nice to just sit and blog. =)

Thank God too for my boss. Tomorrow my colleagues'll be treating me to Republic of Steak! :D *proceeds to nom*

Anyway, my boss shared a lot of meaningful things with me over this year. She told me that it's no point just working hard for many years. It's also important to find your passion and work in it. =) Which is the key thing that she wants me to take away from this attachment. And for that I salute her and thank God for her kindness so much in wanting everyone who work under her to grow and be all they can be. :) Proverbs says: "A kind-hearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth." Amen. Yes, in the world of business, this verse is so true.


And it makes sense too. For when you find what you really love to do... when you discover your talents... then can we put them to work. Of course we must put them to work. There are too many of us who bury our talents in the ground and never bother to even put them to work. Shame.

Simple Magnamity

Now sitting in McDonalds. Celebrated the official end of my attachment with a Double McSpicy. =) Why? I think it's spurred by this thought that I had, that we can just celebrate God's goodness to us. And also Hong Teck's encouragement last time, when I was feeling stressed by the need to rush... to find a time to just take some time off and celebrate.

And as I thought about it, suddenly the song "Come On and Celebrate" came to mind.
Come on and celebrate
His gift of love, We will celebrate
The Son of God who loved us
And gave us life.

We’ll shout Your praises, O King,
You give us joy nothing else can bring,
We’ll give to You our offering
In celebration praise

Come on and celebrate, celebrate
Celebrate and sing;
Celebrate and sing to the King

Come on and celebrate, celebrate
Celebrate and sing;
Celebrate and sing to the King

It was such a sweet and simple song. And for just a slight moment, my winter lifted and spring came into my steps. I really felt like skipping. But well, guys usually don't skip. =) So I just settled for a sprightly spring in my steps as I stepped down the escalator. =)

Which brings to my mind simple-hearted gratitude. Are we thankful? Simplicity of heart means contentment of the soul. For that little moment in time, I renewed my thanksgiving to my dear heavenly Father, that I really just let go of whatever I desire and hold dear into His caring hands. And to just celebrate His gift of love.

Did you ever give someone a gift that you took a lot of time and effort to get and make, and when you gave it to the recipient, the person looked at it and the first words that he/she said were: "Wah, so heaty / so simple / so cheap / etc!"

Now compare it to another person who takes your gift / help / etc, and without any strings or conditions, gratefully accepts what you have. It's such a joy to see that person really appreciate what you have given to him/her, even though your gift is small. Because the person saw beyond the gift to the heart behind the gift.

That's something Peter taught and reminded me. In relationships, to always find something to genuinely appreciate in the other person. If the person is late, but took a cab to rush down, appreciate that. If the person tried to encourage you sincerely, but his well-intentioned encouragement fell flat or even worse, made you feel worse - appreciate the heart behind the well-meant encouragement. (I think it's ok to let the other person know that though you might not really find the encouragement itself very good, you do feel encouraged by the heart of the other person that he/she cares enough to encourage you in the first place as best as he/she knew how.)

I guess the whole point of what I'm reflecting is that ultimately, it's about being truly grateful. Grateful as in an unconditional, no-strings attached, genuine appreciation of what you have freely received. Like how Jesus appreciated the seeking heart of a short tax-collector, the faith of a desperate mother, the faith of an occupying Roman officer, the tears of a sinful woman... He genuinely appreciated and affirmed these people. Not just that... I noticed in the Bible that He would freely tell those who came to Him for healing and went away healed: "Your faith has healed you. (emphasis mine)"

And He told us that He will never forget the tiniest things that we do unto the least of His people. He will never forget. He will never ever forget. :')

Man. Surely this Jesus is the Son of God.

I wonder how many conditions do I set for God to meet before I will appreciate and celebrate His gift of love.

I wonder how many conditions and expectations do I consciously / unconsciously impose on others before I will appreciate and rejoice over others.

Do I make it easy and even enjoyable for others to bless me?

Do I make it easy and even enjoyable for God Himself to bless me?

Sometimes we get so sophisticated that we forget to just thank God. :)

Max Lucado wrote a beautiful story about a beggar boy he met. The beggar boy asked Lucado for some bread. Lucado did. The beggar boy took the bread... but before he ate, he looked up at Lucado with bright eyes and said gratefully: "Thank you, Sir." Lucado wrote then that he wanted to buy up all the bread in the shop to give it to that little boy on the spot.


Personally, I think about the service people we meet at the counter. The fruit-seller auntie. The kopitiam uncle. The guy who cleans the table. How often do we pause what we're doing and really say thank you to them personally? I know Weizhu sets a marvellous example for me in this everytime we eat together. And... hee, in my own workplace, there's a small fruit stall where I frequent. You know, I do my best to thank Auntie everytime she returns me the change. And I think she notices and appreciates it a lot. =)

How about you? How can you simplify your heart such that even a cup of cold water will bring a sweet, simple smile to your heart - and your face?


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Effect of Stillness

So often during times of solitude, I don't sense God speak. Nothing seems to happen. My mind always wanders. But as I've created space for solitude, I've discovered its real benefit is that during the day, my spiritual radar has gradually become more sensitive to the things of God. Even in the midst of a stressful, fast-paced day, I can detect the gentle impressions of the Holy Spirit. - D. L. Goetz

I find this so true! :)

De-Meifying My Dreams

Maybe one reason people don't bother to dream anymore is because when we start envisioning ourselves doing all these big and wonderful things for God, we may end up setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Especially the quieter and more shy and reserved ones. To even dare to dream these very things is in itself a very courageous act for them. They have dared to defy the labels that they might have received from others - well-intentioned or not. But when their dreams run up against their actual conditions and their weaknesses, it's like a fragile glass bubble running up against a stone-hard, rock-solid wall.

And they find themselves broken into littler shards. Yes, I spelled that "littler". You feel smaller than you did before you made that dream. You dared - and you lost. The courageous war-cry of Idealism was no match for the stark reality of No-man's land.

But perhaps God intended all this for good. That a dream - especially if given by God - requires the de-"me"ifyng of me. That I must die from the very dream that I dreamt into life. That He must increase, I must decrease. So what if the dream comes to pass, but I do not receive any accolades or recognition for pioneering? What if it comes to pass only after my lifetime?

John 4:34-38
"My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the reaper draws his wages, even now he harvests the crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. Thus the saying 'One sows and another reaps' is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor."

In the very same breath that Jesus told us to look at the harvest fields and see their potential… He tells us too that unseen, unknown, unpraised sowers planted the very harvests that we reapers today see.

Will you still dare to go? Will you still dare to dream? Will you still dare to hope?
Matthew 13:17
"For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."
But on the other side of eternity, we will wake up - and see that the very God-planted dreams that we had to die to in order to see them come pass according to God's plans, will form the very fabric of the new heavens and new earth. They will be as real as the stones under our feet - except they will be gold to our souls, not gravel into our soles.

So I'll do these God-planted dreams God's way, even if it means that I get de-glorified, de-admired, de-exalted. Not my will, but Yours be done. The way of the Cross. For You are God, and God alone, and You will not give Your glory to another.

John 12:20-28
20Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." 22Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.

23Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

27"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!"

When even the Greeks started seeking Jesus, His fame and name had started spreading internationally. And the disciples eagerly passed it on to one another, as they passed the news on to their Master. But in His trademark oblique manner, He simply acknowledged it… and starkly described the hour of glorification as a dreadful glory.

So shall I still dare to ask God to send me to fulfill His dreams, even if it means I die? Yes, by God's grace… as long as HE gets all the glory, people come to know Christ, and … never mind about me. If I live, I live to the Lord, and if I die, I die to the Lord. So whether I live or die, I belong to the Lord. And I know that He who sees that sparrow drop dead will also remember me. Maybe He'll remember me a littler more. =)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Purification of Passion and Purpose

Was praying in the St. Andrew's Cathedral grounds just now. Prayed in the Spirit. Wow. Thank God. Just spent some time in His presence and sharing with Him my memories, thoughts and feelings about the past year. And recounting His faithfulness through the whole attachment. How He miraculously led and gave... and just very happy and touched, yet also wistful and melancholic. About my character strengths... and my character weaknesses too. Especially the punctuality issue. As one of my colleagues said (as I remember hearing it): "Yeu Ann, if not for your constant lateness, you'd really be the ideal worker!" =) Haha. I think she thinks too highly of me hee even then. But yeah, my colleague said she'll be very sad to see me go. :) Touched.

Purified and refined. I think that's the best way to describe the entire thing.

But also thank God for the refreshing prayer. I felt my inner man renewed suddenly after I prayed and reflected. It just came. =) But that's how He comes, the Holy Spirit. He comes like the wind. We don't know which direction He comes from, but when He comes, you can tell.

And invigorated. For ministry especially. I think the past one year has been a very distracted one for me. =) But disappointments, like a splash of cold, clean water, can wake you up with a cold, clear clarity that rouses you from your stupor. Wake you up to what really matters - and what you've been called to do, but didn't fully give your heart to. =)

The harvest is here, the Kingdom is near. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. To the ends of the earth...

Purify my heart, Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.

Your Conditions Weaken Your Convictions

Learning to follow Jesus on HIS terms, not mine. Been thinking about things for quite a while. I realize I have some conditions that I still hold on to strongly. And these conditions weaken my convictions. But thank God so much for His mercy and grace. He brought me through things that I realized I have to surrender and let go, even if He had promised me. I have a feeling that things are not over yet, but... at this moment, I'm learning to just live in the present today, with my eyes set on eternity... but not to worry about tomorrow. Not easy, but the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. :)

Yup... Christ calls us to follow Him unconditionally. Not as in forced, but as in, "IF you really want to follow Me, you gotta put aside ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that will stop you from following Me wholeheartedly." Like how Abraham had to let go of his beloved son Isaac in his heart even though God Himself had promised Abraham very clearly that his descendants would come through Isaac.

How about you? What conditions are you imposing on the Lord before you will serve Him and follow Him totally without any second thoughts, any reservations, any hesitation? If we do not surrender everything to His utter Lordship, we CANNOT be His disciples. Not I say, but Christ Himself says. That includes our dearest loved ones too. If we love anything or anyone more than Christ... we shortchange ourselves, actually.

Because only after we surrender ourselves to God, we find that He is Love... and we are actually able to love our loved ones to a dimension never imagined before. We can love them in so many new ways e.g. praying for them, serving them, forgiving them, blessing them, God helping us provide for their needs...

Then we find that we had never really truly loved anyone in the past, because we did not know what love really is. Until we met Love Himself, that is.


So Jesus' words are so wise. If we surrender everything we held dear to Him... we find that we never really lost anything valuable actually. Only the dross has been removed; what was left has become purer and more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. We became like the caterpillar who surrendered himself to the cocoon...


Incidentally, this is a great post... Stop Showing God Your "But". =)

Beat It Flat Flat Down

God gave us varying talents, little talents doesnt define our  value perceived by Him. God is ingenious in His designs, trust Him. For all you know, that one and only talent might be the only talent you need to make the most impact or the impact He intended.

5 fish, 1 loave of bread.......

But of course, not using that as a excuse not to grow where it allows haha...

TAKE the fight to the lie that you're insignificant by comparison and beat it tog with God's truth and power. Beat it flat flat down.

Cheerios bro :)

Thanks dear bro for your inspirational encouragement! Amen!

Romans 16:20
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

I also remember how I got deceived by a Big Fat Lie back during my uni days that there was no more hope for me left to ever breakthrough in my relationships with others and in other areas too. But when Peter heard that, he told me that was a Big Fat Lie. I remember the effect that sentence had on me the very moment I heard that. It was really as though a light suddenly came on in the middle of my darkest moment. He told me that I'd tried so hard on my own to breakthrough - and failed. "So put your hope in GOD."


Wow. Thank God for His protecting me from these lies. I think we Westernized Christians may often forget the reality of spiritual warfare. We forget that there are very real spiritual battles and that lies are one of Satan's prime weapons. After all, he is called the Accuser and the father of lies! But praise God that the devil will be utterly destroyed at the final judgment! :D Hooray!

Lord, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from the evil one. In Jesus' holy name, amen!

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Next Step

Mm. On a gladder note, this Thursday, I will end this one-year attachment of exploration with a more specific understanding of my signature strengths and weaknesses. And oh yes, the specific career areas that I can go further into from here. Fruitful time of exploration, praise God. :)

I remember Peter telling me how God can send not only fellow Christians, but also non-Christians along, to help me in this journey of faith. My boss told me she's not interested in just getting me to get work done... she wants to develop everyone who comes into her company, to help them find their passions. Wow. :D God really provides.

Hee. I think I've found a passion that taps on my signature strengths. Why am I so particular about finding a job that taps on my signature strengths?

Two very simple reasons:

  1. I want to be faithful with the talents God has given me. Since I'm going to work one-third of my life, I want to bless the world using the talents God has given me, and not leave these talents buried in the ground.
  2. I want to be the best that I can be for God in my work. Not just mark time in my work and get tasks done. That's not good enough. Passion + talents + hard work = awesome work that glorifies God and awes kings.
Proverbs 22:29
"Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men."

So what shall I invest one-third of my life in? Always trying to cover up my weaknesses, or focus on maximising my strengths and only if my weaknesses hinder my strengths, work on them? (I mean personality and working weaknesses... not character flaws!)

(Of course, there's no substitute for good hard work. I find that the more I stay focused, the more creative ideas I get. :) Hee.)

But honestly, I really don't want to leave my talents buried in the ground, not bothering even to leave it with the bank. Lazy that I don't bother to spend any energy. Lazy that I don't want to leave the comfort of a safe and well-paying stable job - but one that doesn't allow you to use your God-given talents to the maximum.

Since we're going to work one-third of our lives, why can't we combine our work and calling together?

Hee. Personally, I don't really think this is "Generation Y" thinking per se. I think this is my attempt, as best as I know how and can do, to seek first His kingdom, in my work choices. I have only one life - and it's really short, seriously. So I want to make every shot count. Like a sniper. :)

Having said all that, there's some important considerations. If you have to support a family, about the issues with changing a job and all that. So... yup, I think it's better to find your niche before you get married.

Also, there's the issue if you want to be a missionary. You'll have to do all sorts of jobs I guess. I remember one brother - who's a trained engineer and worked in the banking industry as a manager, saying that he's willing to work as a toilet cleaner just to secure a visa in his missions field. That awed me a lot.


So yeah, to be focused, but also flexible and not obstinate in my career choices. Ha. Just thank God that I have bread-and-butter skills that can help me get through tough times. Anyway, the next few months, I'll write, God willing, a children's book and send for publication with Armour Publishing. And I'll try writing some text adventure game for the iPhone. And some children's Bible/discipleship interactive adventure stories for multimedia.

(And yeah, if it comes to the crunch, why, I'm willing to work as a toilet cleaner. My creativity can come in useful. Or farming? :) There's so much to be done in that area. But yeah, it's my slowness part that I have to speed up in. :\)

Then, next year, if God allows, hopefully my boss gets the funding for her e-learning project. Then I can get back to doing the e-learning project on a freelance basis for her - coordinating with the programmer. It's an advantage, this media + programming skills thingy. Thank God for a Comms and New Media degree.

After all that... I think if I haven't managed to establish myself in writing stories for children, then I'll try applying for research associate positions with NIE or NUS in pedadogical research projects using digital media. Inspired by MIT's Media Lab. :)

Film-making... I don't know. It seems like so much trouble and quite ex actually. Only on a volunteer basis, I think. But writing for books is way cheaper. Heh.

Missions-wise, I can finally have time to plan out the storytelling community work programme that I hope children's ministry can do. And train up in mime. It's a fantastic vehicle for communicating across cultural barriers and uses universal humour too. =) To also get a TOEFL certification too.

Hmm. Should be my plans for the next year. Proverbs 16:3

And oh yeah, step up my tuition fee loan repayment. It's a ball-and-chain around my feet! Yes, thank God Sibor's down to 0.5% this quarter, but still...

Will try to post a few of my personal reflections and thanksgivings after the entire attachment's over this Thursday. Ha... =) Also very thankful too that God used me to be a blessing to my colleagues... and to also share and pray for one of my ex-colleagues, who's a non-Christian. =) So... even there, God used me to plant seeds of love and grace and even the gospel there. Ha... could have done so much more, but thank God still so much that He chose to use someone as unworthy as me. Truly, we have this all-surpassing treasure in jars of clay...

Yup... exciting... =) give thanks to the Lord!

I Have A Destiny (by Mark Altrogge)
I have a destiny I know I shall fulfil
I have a destiny in that city on a hill
I have a destiny and it's not an empty wish
For I know I was born for such a time as this

Long before the ages You predestined me
To walk in all the works You have prepared for me
You've given me a part to play in history
To help prepare a bride for eternity

I did not choose You but You have chosenme
And appointed me for bearing fruit abundantly
I know You will complete the work begun in me
By the power of Your Spirit working mightily

© 1986 People of Destiny International/Word Music

Company of HopeKids

Just your usual HopeKids volunteers...:)

Hmm. Another wave of downness again. I messaged Hong Teck today asking him what value do I really add to the children's ministry. Ironic, considering that Sunday was a great sermon by HT, on impacting the children. But the same day, I felt so discouraged by some comparisons that I made that I momentarily felt tempted to give up on children's ministry.

Might be Satan and/or his minions trying to deceive and discourage me by going for my weak points. Ah, that's the devil for you - he never plays fair. A real devil, that Satan. But thank God that greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.


Well, HT reminded me not to compare myself. That's an effective tactic of the devil. And he reminded me of the impact that my little acts of service can make. Mmm! I mustn't forget God sees things differently. Like the sinful woman who washed Jesus' feet... the poor widow who gave two copper coins... unnoticed on earth, but celebrated in heaven.

That is the way of the Kingdom on earth - not with trumpets, but with a towel.


Ah. It's so hard to die to self. To be willing to be unnoticed. Yet that's the way of the Kingdom... Lord, help me be more and more the servant that You would have me be - willing to serve unnoticed, labouring for no one's affirmation but Yours and Yours alone.

Hmm... anyway, just being honest. Oh yes! I remember Pastor James Lim telling me prophetically back in beginning of 2008 that God has called me into children's ministry. I mustn't be disobedient to the calling that I have received. I think God made all these things so clear to me, because He knows me so well, that He knows that I will face discouragement in these particular areas. And that why He's prepared me in advance with these clear signs and encouragement.

Thank God for this company of heroes. Thank God for my fellow Hopekidders. :)

Impact Tomorrow's Generation Today!

Source: Disciples of All the Nations

Two strengths of the emerging generation:
  • Most cause-driven
  • Most missions-minded generation in history.

Do YOU want to be one of those who will invest in the next generation? Or will the next generation get hindered because we did not do our part to disciple them? The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today.

So sign up for HopeKids ministry today, and use your talents to make disciples of the next generation of men and women!
Matthew 19:14
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Matthew 10:42
And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."

(Open the form in a new window.)

Source: Digging The Word: Go And Make Disciples
Matthew 28:18-20
"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Friday, September 24, 2010

A realization just came to mind just now. I realize that if I stay focused and not distracted, actually I can do a whole lot more - without having to increase my speed! Hmm...

Gosh. Hong Teck's words come to mind: It's about staying focused. Not about trying to do so many things, but staying focused.

*nods* Thanks Lord. Umm. This one - it is about self-control then.

Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.

Forgive me Father, for I've sinned against You.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Reading about creativity (or the lack of it?) in Singapore. There's some arguments and so on about the educational system, etc. Of course, there's the need to define what's creativity in the first place, but I think I'll go by the layman's assumption that creativity is the ability to come up with original innovative ideas to solve problems, and/or create new works of art, things, etc.

You can be creative in pretty much any sector (creativity + IT = Apple e.g... or advertisments etc...).

Anyway, one argument that blames the 'we-ness' of Asian cultures as putting down the individuality... well, I find that argument a bit flawed, 'cos ... if you consider Japan for e.g., its society emphasizes so much on fitting into the norm.. but still, you can't beat the creativity of the Japanese for so many things - e.g. manga, manufacturing and the like.

Just think that it's more about the willingness to let people time and space to explore and suggest solutions.

Thinking about ministry in church... we too can be creative. I think, if you read the book of Acts, you find people serving in the church in so many ways - and making a big impact for God in their own spheres of influence.

And I also say this on a personal level, because I recently heard from a brother how he really wanted to belong in church, but because he felt left out... he is now not in any church. Which is a pity, because he really does have a great creative talent that could have extended the kingdom of God. I think we have to watch out that we don't shoehorn our sheep into certain structures of ministry, but teach them discipleship in the heart, and then after that, help them find the ways that God made them to serve in.

Not like... say, going through the 'normal' channels of being a CL, UL, SDL, etc. Or bringing in lots of people only. That's too narrow a definition of discipleship. We wrongly label the swimming pool as the ocean, and then wonder why people are so dissatisfied with the 'ocean' and leave for other shores. We, in Dorothy Sayer's words, very efficiently pare the claws of the Lion of Judah and certify Him as a safe lap-cat for pious old ladies.

But if we help them see the ocean of God's truth as it really is - to "have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God...."

It's about learning to become a disciple and "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."

Creativity. Not just, as Edward De Bono wisely says, doing things differently, but seeing how we can add value by doing it another way. And I think we can do our best to be creative - in ministry, in discipleship, in work, at home, etc. Creative even in seeking God. Like how Zaccheus the tax-collector wanted to see Jesus, but being shorter than the crowd, had to resort to creative means. (I think he was already 'creative' with the taxes that he collected from his own people... but this time he used his creativity for a better purpose.)  He climbed up a tree to look at Jesus... and the rest is history. :)

Incidentally, the Bible has many examples of ordinary people being creative for God. Bezalus the craftsman, Jacob the shepherd, Isaiah the prophet... Dorcas the seamstress... the brothers who lowered Paul in a basket from city walls... and oh yes, David the shepherd-boy who pwned Goliath with a stone... boomz headshot!!!epic!!1! =)

Yup... just a rambling thought =)

This news about DARPA (the same guys who brought us the Internet) researching into solar cells for military applications. Anyway, I normally don't post articles like this... but the comments I found so hilarious that thought you'd like to read these too!

Posted by: Woodwizard | 06/25/10 | 1:45 pm |
This is nothing new for the Army and Marines, I used solar panels to charge batteries for my laser beam range finder and night observation devices. Set on observation locations to hunt for bad guys and fire artillery…

Posted by: Woodwizard | 06/25/10 | 1:47 pm |
Oh, I used those solar panels in Vietnam…

Posted by: soybean | 06/25/10 | 4:51 pm |
Dude I totally used those things in the war of 1812.

Posted by: windexglow | 06/25/10 | 6:09 pm |
dude I totally used those to club a mate and bring her back to my cave
Feel inadequate again.

I know, some people will tell me that it's about positive thinking. ... I think this isn't really the case, because I do have a genuine problem - it is my slowness again.


What can I do about my slowness? Same old struggle. =)

But thank God, it's a different no-man's land as compared to my uni days, when I struggled so badly with relationships. Haha... I know God has helped me overcome those days, and brought me to a new place.

But yes, I need a healthy sense of inadequacy. One that doesn't make me look down at my own weaknesses, but look to the Rock that is higher than me. =)

"Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee."

Just a rambling thought. I don't think I quite like this idea about positive thinking. It doesn't come across to me as authentic. But I do believe I must always fix my eyes unto Jesus, no matter how I feel. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. Even when I feel lousy and defeated, I look at Jesus, my Commander, standing on the ridge waving His banner, rallying us onwards into the Valley of Death... for He has already descended into it, and come out the other end - alive forever and ever!. The Lord is my Banner. :)

Ok, maybe it IS positive thinking. Haha. But positive thinking that focuses on God, and the certainty of His promises. =) Haha. Feeling brighter now. =)

Lord, please help me be a better testimony, both in work and ministry. Not be so slow. But to, when tempted to be slow, to long to bring you "something that's of worth, that will bless Your heart."

Mm. Prayed just now. God, I really need Your help. Can't make it on my own.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another observation. This is a generalization, but I think it's reasonably accurate. (Correct me if I'm wrong!)

I realised that men, while they may also feel deeply, often have trouble describing how they feel. Women, on the other hand, can describe very well, they being more fluent with words.

But I think guys, once they can pinpoint and identify their feelings, are able to identify the cause of their feelings, because of their stronger systematic and analytic problem-solving skills. And once they identify the source and reason for their feelings, they are able to work on it very well, if they have help from a community.

I think... from my own experiences with the sisters I've listened to in the past, they need extra guidance to work toward identifying the cause(s) of their feelings.

Isn't it beautiful? That both genders can help one another grow in the depth and richness of their feelings in a more godly way.
It's quite fascinating, being a feeler AND a guy.

I was listening to a sister share her feelings the other day. I realized that while I could empathize with her, I also realized that solutions started popping up in my mind. I had to literally bite my tongue to stop myself from giving solutions, because I knew my friend needed a listening ear more than anything else at that moment.

Interesting how guys, when listening to gals, tend to go into problem-solving mode, even for emotions...

Hmm. Yes, I'm an emotional person. But you know, I realize I also enjoy analyzing my emotions to understand what caused it, and what effect it has. Strange that one can approach emotions in such an analytical manner.

Hmm. I guess it's like being an advance scout in the field of feelings. That I am one of the few who has learnt to accept his emotions, but yet understand why one feels that way, so that he can help others in turn understand likewise. Like how C.S. Lewis observed and penned down his feelings in a very real way even as he was blinded by grief over his wife's death. Not to judge people for their feelings, but to help them understand the root cause of their feelings so that they can work on the healing and if necessary, the confronting process. Sometimes people just need a good shoulder to cry on... sometimes they need to be told to get up and move on.

Like what Jesus did for Mary and Martha. =)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

On a more forward-looking note, I may be shepherding a Primary 3 kid soon. =) Suffice to say that it'll be a challenge to care for him, and also, his parents are not Christians. But thank God, the connection with the boy is there already. Please pray for me to have God-given wisdom, skill and for God's help to see kairos opportunities to connect with his parents even as I start taking another step to help mentor and disciple and hopefully bring the boy into a personal relationship with Christ soon. :) Thank God at least the boy's parents are a complete family who care for their children, and the father is the head of the household. =)

Looking fwd to this, God willing. To minister to the kids directly.

*pause* I remember I was a difficult kid back in Sunday school. :) Hee.

But God, in His infinite wisdom, chooses the most unlikely of people to accomplish His magnificent redemptive work in human history. Hallelujah.

Yay. Haha. Just a thought. Actually, you know, I think I feel strangely energized when I listen to others share their feelings and emotions with me. =) I think some people feel drained when they have to counsel. But I feel energized... Strange huh? =)
I saw brother Zachary's post just now. To be honest, after his past strongly-principled blog posts, I half-expected a post like that of Huanyan's... but his thoughtful and heartfelt musing took me completely by surprise.

And I was very touched. Zach in his inimitable style has condensed everything that I've taken five years of investigation and inquiry to figure out...
"I once had the pleasure of speaking with the groom before he was married. He shared with me that he believed that all it needs for a couple to work out is for both of them to love God, and love each other. His simplistic answer took me by surprise. What about compatibility? Complementary skills, vision and tons of other whatnot I argued. In his opinion, none of them mattered as long as the couple truly love one another and are committed and willing to work out whatever differences there might be."
All I want in my wife is for her to love God, love the church and love me – at the same intensity as I do.

It's a very compact statement, but I think it's profoundly meaningful.


I totally agree. =)

Ah. I think this pretty much puts my odyssey of inquiry to rest. :)

How surprising - and how timely. You know, I finally yesterday heard from the sister whom I had expressed my interest in. Her answer was in the negative. But I think through the waiting, God encouraged me. And whoa, someone just left an encouraging comment in my previous post. And more than that, God sent me a dear friend to encourage me last night - with the gift of encouragement no less. :)

It's really not about the manner in which we approach BGR. It's not even about having a whole bunch of principles per se. It's adding on complexity to an already complex situation. While I don't really have any BGR experience, I've been blessed to observe a lot of couples come together and grow in God no matter what background... as long as their hearts were set to honour God and one another.

And I've investigated the Bible for myself. It... really does boil down to just this: Love God totally and love one another as yourselves. While pondering over Zachary's post, I realized that we might, in our sincere and well-intentioned efforts to honour God by having principles and criteria, start losing focus of God's goal for creating marriage in the first place.

Marriage was meant to be a reflection of Christ's love for His Bride (the Church), and to reflect the Church's loving submission to her Husband (Christ). It shouldn't be seen only as a "ministry-tool" to advance the Kingdom of God. It's more than just companionship and living happily ever after. It's even more than a growth-device to help two souls learn to grow in love and unity. It's far more beautifully complex and mysterious than that. It is about the two becoming one.
Eph 5:31-33
As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Frankly, I think some subtle thoughts and heart attitudes (I speak from my own experiences) that can arise are:
i. I must meet these criteria in order for God to bless me with the sister I want.
ii. I want to do God's will and please Him. And having these criteria are a sign of my desire to please and honour God.
iii. If I do the right things, God will bless me in return and our marriage will get off on the right footing and we shall live happily ever after...
iv. I don't want to screw up my relationship and I really want it to go well. I know that God's way is the best, so therefore I'll do it His way.

I think (ii) is not wrong per se. And (iv) is prudent too. The heart is good. But... what is God's way, really? Ah. What is God's definition of "compatibility"? As far as I can tell, only in terms of commonness of love for God and love for others. And if there's conflict in life directions... then the wife has to submit to the husband's leading (as long as it's not against God's will).

I'll quote this again:
"I once had the pleasure of speaking with the groom before he was married. He shared with me that he believed that all it needs for a couple to work out is for both of them to love God, and love each other. His simplistic answer took me by surprise. What about compatibility? Complementary skills, vision and tons of other whatnot I argued. In his opinion, none of them mattered as long as the couple truly love one another and are committed and willing to work out whatever differences there might be."
All I want in my wife is for her to love God, love the church and love me – at the same intensity as I do.



I was sharing with God my frank disappointments for all the signs that were not what I had expected. Told Him that I had so earnestly sought Him for guidance, but He never seemed to answer me save for 'deceptive' signs.

Jer 15:18
"Why is my pain unending 
       and my wound grievous and incurable? 
       Will you be to me like a deceptive brook, 
       like a spring that fails?"

But I think the Spirit gently asked me: "What if I showed you these signs as a way of leading you through a roundabout way? Will you still trust my guidance even when it's not what it seems to be?

I led the Israelites through the burning desert for forty years before they could enter the promised land. But I also tested them in the desert, and they failed my tests, refusing to believe Me.

But, you, Abraham, will you trust me even when I lead you into the desert? Where the water is bitter and no food is to be found? I promised to guide you, but I never promised it was going to be easy. You should know my ways, how I dealt with Joseph in the land of slavery.

No, I even led my own dear Son into the desert to be tempted by Satan. I did not take the cup from him even when he prayed to me. And I did not rescue him from the cross, but forsook Him.

What do you think, Yeu Ann?"

Yes, Lord, I will trust in You
Even when the waters are bitter
For You are sweeter than the sweetest waters
O Good Shepherd

Yes Lord I will bless You
Even when there is no food to be found
For You are better than manna from heaven
O Bread of Life. 

Yes, though I walk thru the valley of the shadow of death
I shall fear no evil
For You are with me
Your rod and Your staff
They comfort me.

In Jesus' name, amen.

To Live is Christ, To Die is Gain

A sudden clarity of mind came to me. It's not enough for us to just wait on God to bring us the right one. We must also do our part to prepare ourselves - not only spiritually, but financially, socially and physically. Frankly I can't really see what the Scriptures say abt this, but it seems that a lot of us bros in the church have not been taught in a balanced way - to also prepare the other areas of our lives. Or is it the culture too, tt the women do not set their hearts on spiritual things too? Have I been focusing on the wrong things all along? Perhaps I'm too spiritually minded.

Perhaps it's both ways.

Whatever. I am an uncommon man and I serve an uncommon God. I must do his will, to live Christ even if it means I die.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Marthean Faith

I was just twiddling my thumbs after dinner, when I found myself starting to pray in the Spirit. So I decided to just go with the flow and was talking w God abt all the stuff I had to do.

Then I remembered Martha and Mary. Ah. Martha was worried and upset abt many things even when she was trying to prepare some food for the Lord, who had happened to drop by. :)

Yeah, a sweet reminder. And we talk abt a Martha attitude negatively, saying tt we shouldnt be like her. Frankly, i think if Jesus were to hear that, he would tick us off. For he loved Martha too.

For when Lazarus her brother died, Martha, it seems to me, was the more emotionally stable one. She was able to still talk w the Lord and express her honest confidence in Him, saying, "Lord, if you had been here, my bro would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."

And when the Lord challenged Martha to believe that He was the resurrection and the life, she replied in her classic direct, no-fuss manner: "Yes, Lord, I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

But Mary, in her brokenness, simply cried at the Lord's feet, possibly with a tinge of teary-eyed accusation mixed with blinding grief: "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." And she just left it at that and wept.

I wonder which one of the sister's responses would I imitate when grief and sorrow come my way? Would I simply tell God, "Lord, if You had done this, this horrible thing would have never happened." and leave it at that? Or would I continue to hope in God that yet even now He is able to do whatever He wants?

It's so fascinating, this study of two sisters and how the Lord engaged both of them according to their different personalities. Both were suffering the same kind of loss: the death of their dear brother; yet one He boldly stretched, the other He compassionately comforted. One He reminded her of the truth of God's Word, the other He just wept with.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Powerful (and Sudden) Word of Encouragement...

Isaiah 41:8-10
"But you, O Israel, my servant,
Jacob, whom I have chosen,
you descendants of Abraham my friend,

I took you from the ends of the earth,
from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, 'You are my servant';
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

God really, really encouraged me today (to my pleasant surprise) through sis Ziying during HopeKids leaders mtg, and thru the above verse yesterday. Wow. Felt I could cry, so timely was the encouragement. =)

Ziying suddenly encouraged me with something like this: "If God has called you to do something, He will add on to you as you do it. Yeu Ann, I believe God really want to encourage you: He has given you a talent in scriptwriting, so go and do it for Him. God will add on to you whatever you need, as you do it."

:D Thank You so much dear Father. You heard my cry for mercy and stooped down to help me up, when I silently prayed to You for help in doing more for You, especially in face of my weaknesses such as procrastination and slowness. It is really not by my might, nor by my power, but by Your Spirit, that I can do all things through You who gives me strength. I cannot overcome permanently this constant struggle against procrastination on my own, but with Your aid, I will ride upon the very waves that used to distress me. For we are MORE THAN conquerors through Him who loved us.

Ephesians 3:20-21! :D All glory to God in the church and in Christ Jesus, through all generations, both now and forever! Amen! :D

Monday, September 13, 2010

Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance condemns burning of Qur’an

September 9, 2010 


Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance condemns burning of Qur'an


The CEO and Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, has issued a statement unequivocally rejecting the burning of the Qur'an. 


The statement is in response to the plans of the Dove World Outreach Center, located in Gainesville, Florida, to burn copies of the Qur'an on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks this Saturday.


Dr Tunnicliffe says that the action represents a "grave misunderstanding" of the role of Christians in peace-building and goes against Scripture. He further warns that it will "hurt the feelings" of Muslims.


Dr Tunnicliffe has conveyed his feelings to the leader of the Dove World Outreach Center, Dr Terry Jones, in a conversation over the phone this week and has offered to meet with him and his congregation to discuss this volatile issue.


Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe's statement can be read in full here:


"The WEA, on behalf of its member churches, Christian organisations and bodies, strongly condemns the Dove World Outreach Center's plans to burn copies of the Qur'an. Such an act represents a grave misunderstanding of our role as Christians in building partnership and peace with our neighbors, may they be Muslims or adherents of other religions. 
"As Christians we are called to love our neighbors, do good to them and build bridges of understanding and respect and, by so doing, demonstrate the character of our faith.
"Nowhere in our Christian scripture, nor in our tradition or the writings of leading theologians past and present, will you find a command or recommendation to go against other religions by committing acts of protest or carrying out the destruction of their scripture. In this case, the burning of the Qur'an will hurt the feelings of believers of the Islamic faith.
"We must take a strong stand against such actions, and ask that the global community remains of sober mind by ignoring the call of an individual who is surely misled by emotions and misconceptions.
"It is in everyone's interest to remain calm and important that men and women of faith look to their scriptures for guidance in upholding good relations among people of all faiths so that we may live peacefully together today and long into the future."

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." ~ Jim Elliot

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Today was very interesting. Hong Teck had two very challenging topics to talk about: explaining what circumcision is about, and teaching the kids to wait for God's timing regarding BGR.

Fantastic, especially when you're considering that we're talking about primary kids. But actually, that could be a very appropriate time - the blessing of childhood innocence combined with godly guidance on the more adult things of life.

Like how I learnt about human reproduction in scientific terms from children's science books when I was a small kid. But even when I saw the anatomical drawings in bio textbooks, I had no idea what these drawings meant. :) Yeah, I asked my mum what's a p_ and v_ (I don't mind typing out the full terms, but the spammers will come like flies to this post!) when I was in Primary 3, as I had read about them in a children's science comic. My mum simply said, "I don't know." So I just shrugged my shoulders and didn't think about it then. Ah, childhood. =)

But yes. How do you teach children about circumcision and BGR in Sunday School? :) Very good topics that should be preached about... and very tough. LOL.

Hong Teck handled it very well. He asked the kids whether they knew what circumcision is. None of the kids knew (I think). So HT simply said, "Circumcision is when you cut off a portion of a part of your body that we don't want to talk about here. You know, your private part. For guys." The kids naturally giggled and said, "EEEEE!" :) HT went on to explain that in the Old Testament, this was a physical symbol of their purity before God. But now, today, our circumcision is in the heart, not the private part.

So I think kids can take the truth plainer and yet more innocently than we give them credit for. :)

About BGR, Hong Teck shared his own testimony about the blessing of waiting first to complete his studies before he got into a relationship. He said that he fell in love with a girl in his home country. The liking was mutual. But he decided not to commit there and then, because he had to go to Australia for further studies. And he said that it was good that he waited, otherwise he might have to endure heartaches which could affect his studies.

And when he was in Australia, he fell in love with another girl. (All the kids laughed when they heard that.) Again, HT decided not to pursue the relationship deeper, because he was still studying. And he said it was a good move, because he had to go to Singapore to work.

And in Singapore, that's where he met his future wife and is now a father of three wonderful kids. :)

Sweet, huh? So the teachers taught the kids the blessings of waiting for God's timing. And the week before, we had taught them about online safety.

So happy and glad to be part of this wonderful company of heroes!

Which brought me to another thought. Interestingly, last Friday, Huanyan wrote something on BGR as well. And a couple of days before, a dear bro asked me for advice regarding BGR. The bro had been quite frustrated by all the differing advice that he had gotten regarding BGR in church. Thing is, his CL wisely told him not to take all these advice literally, but to think through them first. So, being a godly bro who wants to honour God in his BGR search, he tried his best to stick to the "proper framework".

Well, all these things came at a very interesting time. :)

Incidentally, I understand that some people have felt that the old BGR framework of Hope was too restrictive. Mmm. I did think so too, but the new one is really more sensible (practically). But the basic principle has always been there: honouring Christ and making Him the Lord and Head of our relationships.

But I digress.

So initially, when I read Huanyan's post, I replied to him that I felt his points, while valid, were imbalanced. He replied back with some further explanations. Then after reading further on, I see that we're on the same page, actually: honouring God and seeking His will and timing.


You know, something I realised is that it's generally not so much about being in the right life-station, as having the right character and right timing. And I think timing differs from person to person... but first, the person should be walking right with God and men. And he/she should be emotionally, mentally and spiritually stable first. And... the other person should also be ready too, likewise. Even if you're ready... is the other person ready? If not, he/she may break your heart.

From personal experience, I was in a close relationship (not explicitly BGR, but ... to borrow a Facebook status, "It's complicated") when I was transiting from uni life to work. The friendship hit a bad bump, and some misunderstanding happened. It affected me in my work life for a long time. And I also had a colleague around the same time, who was in the middle of breaking up with his girlfriend of ten years. They were already engaged... so imagine the pain that he had to go through.

So whichever life-station you are at... if you and/or your partner are not ready in terms of character, man, you're in for a hard time. No use being financially independent and having accomplished all your dreams and being able to do a lot of things the world considers a man to be, if you do not have the heart and the skills to care for another person of the same gender as you, let alone the opposite gender.

Come to think of it, it's more essential that we prepare our sheep to be more mature and complete on the inside, and not only tell them to wait for graduation. So that whichever life station they may be at, they will always seek to honour God and one another above themselves, and to be complete in character first. Complete, not as in perfect, but as in having every aspect of a godly character covered.

I think the key focus that we should remember is just not about waiting to reach a certain life-station, but rather, striving to be mature and complete in Christ first and foremost, before you can be ready for a relationship. If you can't walk on your own, how do you expect to support and care for your future spouse?

(By mature and complete in Christ, I mean generally being able to take care of yourself in daily living and spiritual walk with God, not as in reaching a certain "leadership role".)

(But why then are we teaching children and youths to wait till they finish their studies? I think it's for the simple reason that, they really are not ready in terms of practically caring. But again, I believe it's on a person-by-person basis, depending on the person's maturity level.)

Anyway, after all this, I think my perspective overlaps with Huanyan's regarding BGR. I think my thoughts will focus more on the practical aspect... when you are ready, how can you go about asking?

I had the blessing of being able to discuss with not only my brothers, but also with some dear sisters too on this.

Various questions that me and another bro came up with:
"How do I tell a girl I like her?"
"When do I tell her?"
"How can I tell that God has brought us together - IF He has?"
"What is God's part, and my part, in bringing the relationship closer?"
"What criteria should I look for in a sister?"
"What should we do while waiting for the appropriate time?"

I'll present some of my research findings in the next few posts. In the meantime, please feel free to post your comments / thoughts / insights / protests / threats ... (ok, maybe not) in this blog! Till then, stay tuned and God bless! :)
A little thought struck me.

I've been wanting to write some books already, with Huanyan and some on my own too.

But I've been thinking, when, when, when?

But I saw what one bro has been doing on his blog. He's been writing apologetics posts from time to time and labelling them systematically. How appropriate - he's a professional mathematician. ;)

Which struck me. I reap what I sow. Sow a little each day, and you'll gain a harvest.

Of course, there sometimes is timing too. Mother Teresa wanted to write a book for a long time, but had no time. Until one day, she just got the inspiration, and sat down and finished writing an entire book in 4 or 5 days.

This is similiar to me: I'm more like a sailing ship than a steamer. I can trudge along, but the drudgery is painful. But when inspiration strikes, I must quickly capture the wind in my sails and make the most of every opportunity.


Well. I think I could start somewhere.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hmm. My maid reminded me that my father's getting old. And that she felt sad. Why? Maybe for the fact that my father's getting old... and for the fact that I lost my temper with my dad.

Her words made me think. I think God spoke to me through my maid.

And I realized that God doesn't get angry so much (does He even feel angry at all?) as He feels sad for me when I am bitter or lose my temper.

Eph 4:29-32
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you

It struck me as an epiphany... that God doesn't get angry so much as He grieves.

He gets angry at injustice, but He feels grief when humans bicker. Maybe He feels both. But to know that He actually feels sad... brings a whole new dimension to His holiness... and my obedience to Him.

Come to think of it... I didn't pay attention to that still small voice some time ago, that reminded me that my dad's getting older. Kindness and compassion to the one who gave me life. Surely that's not too much to ask of me - or of any decent human being, for that matter?
Saw this comment on FB by a sister just now:
When you aggravated at someone, try these helpful steps - pray for that person, think of something good in that person, and get to know that person. When u learb why they behave a certain way, you may find ur anggravation turning to compassion. James 1:19

deep sigh.

I know God is calling my attention to this. I think I'm aggravated at my dad, because I keep feeling and thinking that he has to be more responsible. Even my mum says so. In a way maybe I feel resentful towards him, because I think he has caused the family a lot of trouble by his irresponsibility and lack of prudence and thinking.

Yet he's a caring dad, fortunately. It could have been worse.

Perhaps I feel angry, because I have expectations of my dad, that he should serve as a better role model for me. He's my father after all. But somehow this thought came to mind: "You're the son, and you're the next man in the family. Shouldn't you then lead by example? After all, you're an adult already... and well, you're the next man in the family."

I guess so. Maybe it's a lingering sense of disappointment towards my dad, that he wasn't the best father that he could be. But hey, it could have been much, much worse.

And think about it. Do you have to lose your temper and become resentful in the first place? Your dad shows grace to you... what about you yourself?

After all, part of it is your own sense of resentment, that you feel he's being rude and inconsiderate. But that could just be his manner of speaking, not his intention.

And doesn't God look at the intention, rather than the manner, of speech?

Sigh. I just still feel so steamed.
What do you do when your dad is being very immature and irresponsible? I feel so angry, and I wonder what I should do next.

Should I try to correct him further? It's ... fruitless, frankly. And I know rationally-wise it doesn't make sense. It's not honouring him... it's not being sensible... it only creates heated arguments that benefit no one.

But I am so bloody angry.

I'm so sorry, God.
Frustrated with my dad.

He asked me to read some legal documents. I told him he has to read it himself - it's his stuff, not mine.

Why did I say that? I think partly because I felt he's fobbing his work off onto me... and refusing to be responsible for what he should do on his own.

Furious. Because he refuses to read the document properly. He just glances and then say it's nonsense. What the ... (expletive).

Got into a heated quarrel with him.

Just so angry with my dad for his irresponsibility and immaturity. :(

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"You have to allow your yes to be yes and then be disciplined to go fulfill your promises. Your shine and influence depends on your reputation as a promise keeper."

(Disclaimer: What I wrote below are my emotional thoughts. I find it helps me to pen down my thots, even the negative ones, so that I can take them captive more easily. It's a bit hard to take thoughts captives if you don't confess and lay them plainly out, I think. And i don't do positive-thinking-talk... I just do the Psalmist-talk. :) [Man, I love the Psalms. So real and raw... and having faith in God even when you've lost faith in yourself.])

Feel lousy because I know I've broken so many deadlines and promises. Slowness be damned.

This is why ministry only belongs to those who are faithful. To those who can meet deadlines.

I can't meet deadlines, therefore I shouldn't serve any more.

I know... this is ranting. I just ... am not good at meeting deadlines.

Think I have to find something else to do.

Hmm... does God use only people who are fast and efficient?


- no, rationally this doesn't make sense... but i am airing out my inner thoughts here. -


Lesson of the story?

I must learn to say no, and not take up any responsibilities. It's safer and less disappointing that way for everyone.
Feel so much pain when I read about couples in church getting divorced. I know of at least one sister in my church who got divorced... seems that her husband left her for another woman. Can't imagine the pain she had to go through. And yet she's still serving God faithfully and raising up her kids.

And I think of myself. What would I be like? Oh God, help me ever and always stay true to You and my future wife and never ever betray. Have mercy on my soul and help me flee like the wind, like Joseph, if and when I'm tempted to betray the covenant I would make before You.

The older I get, the more aware I become of all the sexual temptations that lie around... hiding in wait like enemy machine guns bearing down on hapless soldiers walking into an ambush. Or sometimes these temptations are so blatant. Just look at the ads in public now. No way I can tell my kids to cover their eyes... they'll just bump.

But in a crooked and depraved generation, thank God all is not lost. We can immunise our kids. We can't stop them from having to live in a world plagued by sin, but we can help strengthen their spiritual immune systems.

Hee. I was sharing with Yufen and Marcus some time back that after reading Proverbs so many times and looking at the world around me... Now I understand why the father kept warning his son (and a young son some more - probably only about 12 years old!) about the dangers of adultery.

Because adultery is such a terrible and destructive temptation that you HAVE to start immunising your kids against it from young. Just read Proverbs 2, 5, 6 and 7...


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Staggering in Slowness

Feel so horrible about my procrastination and slowness. This slowness of mine is hindering me from doing more for God. I know I can do more for Him... it's just that my time management is simply that of procrastination.

Yeah, some of you might tell me to just buck up and move on. Easy for you to say... I'll just copy and paste Leo Tolstoy's reply:
"If I know the way home and am walking along it drunkenly, is it any less the right way because I am staggering from side to side! If it is not the right way, then show me another way; but if I stagger and lose the way, you must help me, you must keep me on the true path, just as I am ready to support you. Do not mislead me, do not be glad that I have got lost, do not shout out joyfully:'Look at him! He said he was going home, but there he is crawling into a bog!' No, do not gloat, but give me your help and support." - Leo Tolstoy in a personal letter

Sorry, I know I sound frustrated. I ... am frustrated. "The good I want to do, I do not do..." Lord, help me overcome... and thank You that You still choose to use even someone as fallen as me, in spite of all my weaknesses, failures and sins. It is so You who live in me, and not I... but Christ. That the world can see whatever good I've done is not yeuann but Christ who lives in me.

But all the more, since Your Spirit lives in me... therefore I should work all the harder. Yet not I, but the grace of God...

1 Cor 15:10
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."

Oh God, help me not take Your grace for granted. Help me work with all my heart, though I am less than the least of all Your people. In Jesus' most lovely name I pray Amen.

Preaching Like a Prophet |

Preaching Like a Prophet
We dare not be silent about injustices, if only we can see them as God does.

"The prophets are filled with this stuff. No wonder those of us who preach often avoid them. Our listeners don't always like it. We don't like it. (Does anyone really want to encourage such prophet-like behavior in their congregation?)

We like happy books. In most of our churches, it is easier to preach comfort rather than judgment, mercy rather than justice, because by the standards of God's justice, who can ever measure up?

On the other hand, these passages are in the Bible. In fact, the prophets directly account for 250 of the 1,189 chapters in the Bible. Can you really be a biblical preacher and not address what the prophets have to say?

Why we must preach on justice
More than that, there is a reason why we need to preach on justice. There is a reason for the anger of the prophets, and why we need to submit ourselves to the discipline of regularly sitting under and preaching their words.

Imagine you're listening to someone sing. They are singing off-key, badly off-key, and they're singing loud. If you are musically insensitive—have a tin ear—it doesn't bother you much. If you are musically insensitive and the singer is your grandchild, it may actually make you very pleased.

But if you have perfect pitch—it's a different story. You know what the song could be, should be. You know how far it's off. You look at tin-ear grandma and wonder, How can she stand to listen to this?

This is painful. You're in agony.

We read the prophets and think: What's the big deal? What are they getting all heated up about?

To us, the world is not so bad. Most of us are pretty happy. Things are going okay—at least for me.

I know there's violence in the world. It's regrettable, but as long as it doesn't touch my life, I would prefer not to think much about it. Certainly that's not connected to my anger, self-centeredness, lack of love.

Cheating goes on every day in business. Somebody shades the truth a little for profit—that's just the way things are.

Some 8,000 children are born with or infected with HIV every day in sub-Saharan Africa, and it's now the leading cause of death.

A few miles away from my church, from any church, children are born in poverty, living in ghettos or slums; they will grow up without access to decent education, housing.

But they're not my children. Maybe their parents did something to deserve it. So what if in ancient Israel the poor often got the shaft? Where is it any different? Why go off the deep end?"

This article by John Ortberg really echoes the sentiment in my heart. To be honest, I often feel discontented with the way that we often "do church", because it seems so detached from what the Acts church is like. And I look at my own life, and ask God, what in Christ's name am I doing where I am?

(Just sharing my thoughts. BTW strongly encourage you to read John Ortberg's article in full - it's a well-balanced article that points out the need to be wise and check our motives when preaching about justice... to see that what we preach about is not from a spirit of anger, but a heart broken by the Holy Spirit. There's righteous anger... and then there's self-centred anger.)

To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. Often we talk about making church relevant. But frankly, it becomes irrelevant to the world if it does not see us doing all three. The church becomes toothless, a mere teddy bear if it does not hate injustices and fight against them; yet the church is not called to be a judge or God forbid - a punisher: it is called to minister mercy to one another and to the poor and helpless... the outcasts of society and a place of refuge for those weary of trying to be good but cannot. Yet it is not just an army, nor a hospital... it is also called to disciple all who come in to become more like Jesus... and yet to help the proud know that they are still not there in terms of Godliness... to help remind those who want to run off and do great things for God to walk WITH Him...

Wow. Sigh. I feel so deeply discontented. Yet it's not because I hate my church. NO! I love my church, and though not perfect it is... it is growing, by God's grace, and I am part of the church too. If I grow, the church grows. If the church grows, others grow, and so do I. But I feel deeply discontented in the sense that we really ought to lift up our eyes and see the world through the eyes of the Sovereign Lord.

To hear His heartbeat for the lost... for the hungry... for the sick and the oppressed... if we do not heed the call to DO justly, LOVE mercy and WALK humbly with our God, the church becomes irrelevant to God as a piece of filthy, buried, unwashed underwear. (Gross? Yes... just read the book of Jeremiah to understand how much God hates spiritual complacency and "we've-got-it-all-together-already-thank-you-very-much-God" pseudo-spirituality.) Shall we be like the rest of the world in aiming for financial independence, a happy and comfortable retirement, a "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die" mentality? To keep on acquiring goods and gadgets day in and out, just for the pleasure of playing with toys? A comfortable life, is that all we want?

Or shall we fix our eyes unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith? To follow Him who has no place to lay His head? To choose the way of the cross? To have a missions-mentality, a kingdom-minded mindset? To go and make disciples of all nations...
To DO justly, LOVE mercy and WALK humbly with our God?
Micah 6:6-8
6 With what shall I come before the LORD
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?

7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

8 He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Wordle of my Blog

Wow... came across this cool Wordle website where you can generate a "word cloud" of your blog or any other website...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Useful tactic for overcoming perfectionism and the consequent procrastination in writing a report / proposal / story, etc: Speak out the words in my mind for me to listen to and type.

I realize that I need to speak or even sing in order to focus clearly on what I want to write out.

Actually, this makes for clean, clear and compact writing. You won't be so inclined to write down a sentence that takes you 5 minutes just to finish speaking. It forces you to listen and get a feel for the rhythm and the diction of your prose. It makes your prose feel more like poetry. :)

Hmm. Not bad. That's one trouble with office life - you can't speak out loud in the office! But I can always say it much, much softer. :)