Thursday, December 25, 2008

I will be trying out wordpress for now.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spectacular Somethings Part 2

I remember posting in October regarding a lament about my lack of experience in the tangible monetary provision of God, and I went on to say that this lack has been feeding me with doubts since this provision seems to be a normal experience among most servants of the Lord.

Wed night was quite something for me, after getting my much needed macbook (which I have been saving up for quite sometime), I practically drained my whole savings account. I saved up just enough money for the edu. priced macbook but the retail stores does not sell them with the edu. discounts. Jer managed to pull some strings with her ex boss and it became possible to get what I wanted at the price that I can afford. I really thank God for Jer, she has been such a blessing to me. She gave me a notebook sleeve when I could not afford one; after checking out the price, I found it to be rather ex...

Whats even more cool is this; during the service at night when it came the time for offering collection, I opened my wallet and realized that I was down to my last $10. I really wanted to give it all but the hesitation was real - it was my last $10. I put in only $2 (how faithless!) and after I did that Jeanie turned around and passed me an envelope saying that an anonymous person wanted me to pass me this - I opened it and there it was - a $50 note. I was like *eyes-wide-open-woah!*, its really something out of a standard testimony happening. And the coolness doesn't end here yet, over the next few days people have been coming forward to return me money - $5, $10, $2... Its such a miracle that all these happen at the same time and they became the money I did not know I had.

My mom also asked me to help her buy a wireless laptop mouse that she could use when she bring her lappie out. Well, if she doesn't then I get to use it!!! So its all cool now. I'm able to bring my work around, to be where I need to be and to do work there - something I would not be able to do last time and esp so now, since I would be moving around quite abit from now on. I guess this is a sobering reminder that God does not forget and desires to give us good gifts when he sees it fit to do so. Our part is to be faithful in doing the will of the Lord and not to worry about hindrances for He is faithful and He makes our paths straight.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rhema Conference

I really thank God for the chance to serve as a counselor (among other roles) during the span of Rhema Con. Guess it is like a testing ground for me to explain the gospel, to speak of complex terms and the reason for christian practices without the use of christian lingo. I guess the true goal of teaching is to make the lesson simple even when the truth/principle is complicated. And I'm glad to say that by the grace of God, I passed my own test.

It has become totally exciting to meet new believers who are also excited about their new found savior. The Gospel has never been so alive to me till I see it in their faces. And it is also exciting to witness how God can move through me; I guess my area of ministry would really be in preaching and teaching, just like what God said it would be, it is slowly becoming more and more real; to the extent that it becomes scary to see what He told me happening. God has showed and promised me many things, and some of the things are so big that I really just don't want to believe them when I look at my current self.

I guess I am at the stage where I can totally identify with people who share their testimonies about God's tangible provision and how this is the time where they need God more than ever. The greater the mountain means the greater the time spent in prayer seeking favor, wisdom and direction.

Change has started. I guess things would be very exciting from now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Most people think that birthdays and funerals are like poles apart but I starting to look at them thinking that they are the same - that they both celebrate the gift of life. Staring at a blank piece of canvas trying to convince myself that my relationship with my dad cannot be defined by pieces of design that I can do for him.

Its like a minefield of emotions and I think tripped them all today. Can't even type well nowadays. So be it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


So many things happened in a span of a few days, things that are not too nice to talk about openly. Now I can't wait for leader's retreat, just wanna go somewhere and just get away from my immediate environment for a few days.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Something New

This is rather unusual; its not really like me to be so focused on so many things, to be the driver of my own plans, to even plan things and to see that the plan itself comes to past. I know that these are the qualities I have been praying for, that these are qualities necessary to fill my future role in the kingdom of God according to His calling. But all these are coming so suddenly that I'm really afraid that they will go away as fast as they came judging that I'm primarily a sanguine by nature.

So may this be some sort of a new beginning. May I never be so busy that God becomes first priority only in theory but not practiced. May I never be too busy that I be blinded towards the people I love. May I, may I not forget who I was, my weaknesses and all and take this chance to set up barriers to guard them tight.

Lord, as I look at the plans I have for next year, they really do look so huge on my side of the plane but I know it is considered accomplished with you and I really do need you more than before. May you never fail to speak to me, and may I never fail to keep myself in check so that I would never fail to hear from you - that the most busy of time would find me seeking you all the more.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


This must be the lowest I ever felt in long time.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The every present moment

Jesus repeats himself five times here: "Don't worry." Don't worry about your life, for your heavenly Father knows what you need. Listen to the birds and consider how God cares for them. Look at the flowers and learn from their effortless beauty. Don't worry about wealth like the pagans do, for despite what the advertisers say, your life doesn't consist of your possessions. Don't fret about the past or obsess about the future over which you have no control, but rather learn to enjoy the every present moment.

Reading Matt 6:25-34 really struck a long-time cord within me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Psalm 23

The Lord is my teacher; He is all that I need.

He makes me rest to give me clarity; He leads me in my study.

He restores my confidence in Him; He guides me as His
presence is with me.

Even though faces of the lecturers keep appearing in my mind, I will fret not, for You are with me; Your love and faithfulness, they strengthen me.

You prepare a table before me with assignments that I need to complete, You anoint my brain with wisdom, my joy overflows.

Surely, goodness and love will follow me all the days in AGBC, and I will dwell in the library with the Lord forever.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Image of God

Another funeral. This makes the third one I attended this month. Many thoughts just popped in as I stayed overnight; the most impressive one should be when I sneaked a peek into the coffin when no one is around and there lay Auntie May. So yes we are created in the image of God and therefore this shapes the believer's value of humanity, but when do we begin to be "made in the image of God" and of course when do we cease to be an image of God? From dust we come, to dust we will eventually revert. Now this understanding bears a huge weight (and maybe even the definitive) on arguments about Abortion and Euthanasia where the believer talk about pro-life or pro-choice and defining death.

Was just talking to Ewen over msn about this issue and thought that next time I would want to preach at my parents funeral for I believe that its my parents' desire to see people come to know Christ as their personal savior. Like what Ewen said, me too can't believe how people can go to funerals and leave unfazed by the seemingly random unpredictability of what life is. And that only in Christ do we find the answer in the believer's assurance of destiny.

On hindsight, the last minute decisions to stay over at the void deck while pushing back doing my assignments... I kinda like the spontaneity of it all, if this is what God wants me to do as ministry, I really don't mind. Maybe its a package and this all comes with it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Spectacular Somethings

Often we read and hear from other people about their oh-so-many spectacular moments when God lead them towards something or in certain directions. It must be very odd of me but sometimes the more I listen to such amazing testimonies the more discouraged I feel. I keep wondering whats wrong with me, why am I not experiencing such things when I should, and it somehow leads me to think if I'm really doing what God wants me to do.

You see, many times when seeking direction, we tend to ask God to show us something spectacular. Like to show us a clear sign. I'm not to say God does not work in this way, in fact there are many testimonies stating that God does show himself in this manner. Its just that sometimes we wipe off the little somethings that God does and expect him to deliver the way we expected him to.

Sometimes I guess we should really take a step back and look at what God has done in our lives. When we do, we would notice those little somethings that God has provided in one way or another. Insignificant as what they may seem by themselves, but when combined, they are spectacular indications of God's presence in our lives and the direction he intends of us to pursue.

I guess most of us have figured that there is actually a span of time between that when we decide to obey the call of God and the actualization of that intention. And even after that, there is a even longer span of time at which God prepares us for whatever and wherever he wants us to be. Each step seem to demand more faith in the promises of God. Just when I thought that I have given enough of myself, God seem to seek more of me. As if dying to myself is not enough, he seem to want me D.E.A.D., the state of complete surrender. The deeper I walk down the path of surrender, the more I'm realized how faithless I am, and of course, the amount of things I keep holding on to, even when I say "Lord, all that I am, I lay them down before you."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Prayer Room

Back in school, the seemingly seldom used prayer room has got to be my favorite. It is just a small little room in a corner of the school and when you close the door and switch off the light no one can really tell if anyone is inside. Well that is really a good thing as privacy is really hard to come by for me. Hence I made a commitment to spend at least a half hour inside every time I have to stay in school for an extended amount of time.

I believe I have grown alot through the last three months however there is a significant area that has been leaving me puzzled so, it has been really weird. You see, I used to instinctive know where to go and what God wanted me to do but now God seems silent. I do not know if its a dry spell or something but what I do know is that God still does speak to me. Like I still know where and which area of ministry I should be getting into and he still reminds me every time I failed in a particular area, but those are nothing compared to what I can hear from God last time. It's as if God is teaching me a new way of listening to his voice as I hold on to what I know about his character.

Maybe this is what faith is as worded in James 1:17 - that we believe that God does not change like shifting shadows. God is like that light that doesn't create shadows because He is always at the zenith, never moving.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

When the winds blow.

Actually, the things we learnt, the things we thought we knew; they would only makes sense when tested by real circumstances. Without them, those knowledge only just scratches the surface of our heart and amounts to nothing much.

Maybe that's why God allows such defining things to happen and in doing so, mold us to become the character of our speech. So that, what we are, matches the God that we talk about. God has many unsuspecting ways to turn things around I guess, unsuspecting for us.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

12 Lotus

This is one of the few nights where I feel as if I'm drowning; swirling around within a myriad of thoughts, so many that it provides me with the impetus to record some of the more pertinent ones before they float away again into nothingness.

First: Experience + Experience = World-view

Decided to spend today with Jia Liang since he need not go back to his camp for this whole week. During lunch I popped the question that I have always forgot to ask. So we talked about his missionary calling and his plans based on such a calling. I'm so glad that his mind is being stirred, this is something the God has been putting in my heart for so long, glad that its finally out and gone/done.

Together we also watched 12 Lotus and Money No Enough 2 (finally!). 12 Lotus is a really good film but its not really mainstream so some people will not be to appreciate this melodrama that is in-your-face painful, as the fiction story it presents is very plausible. It's really different from Royston's previous 881. To me, its alot better although theres alot of differing opinions going around. Anyways creativity wise, films by Jack really pales in comparison to Royston's.

What really hits home (for me at least) is how strikingly real the direct effect of our negative past experience can have in our relation to others. Hence its easy to observe how our world-view is being shaped experience by experience. Like how we always go through life thinking that we know whats going on, but actually we really don't until we consciously decide to take a step back to really observe ourselves and our beliefs. I guess this film is good in a way that it forces me to take that backward step.

Artistically, this film gave me a more in-depth understanding about the symbolism of the colour, Pink. Coincidentally, this happens to be one of the colours I have chosen for Rhema Conference 08

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Growing old alone

Recently at school happened to be talking to someone in his (late?) forties and the conversation goes something like this:

Matt: so where will you be going after this?
Mr.x : maybe going to catch a movie.

Matt: oh! thats nice, with who?
Mr.x : go alone lar, i always go alone to the movies
Mr.x : at home also always alone so no difference.
Mr.x : my friends all married liao, not nice to disturb them.
Matt: er... thats true, *mumbles* and its sad (goes into deep thought)
Mr.x : so see you around bah.

This type of
loneliness kinda scares me now, can't imagine it becoming a norm for people. Is that the reason why single women in ministry and in seculars working environment can be so productive at work? Are they being busy in an effort to fight loneliness? If yes then its really sad. Sad truth.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


As much as people would say that change is constant, there is a part of me that seems strangely resistant to this change.

I still have an uncanny knack for the creative side of life.
My taste in music hasn't changed much.
I still feel 18.
I still have a largely seeking mind.
I still wished that I was smarter, more musically inclined, to be able to speak better...
My constant need for God grace.

I rarely do tests, but I thought this one is really accurate?... hhas

Your Brain's Pattern

Your mind is an incubator for good ideas, it just takes a while for them to develop.

But when you think of something, watch out!

Your thoughts tend to be huge, and they come on quickly - like an explosion.

You tend to be quiet around others, unless you're inspired by your next big idea.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


There are so many terms to call yourself, like for example if I told people that I would be studying philosophy or religions (which in some sense, I'm right by saying so) they would probably go "Ah, thats interesting." But if you tell people that you will be doing theology, you will get a long are-you-serious type stare assuming that they understand what you mean. Then after that you will see them asking the chain of why-what-when-how questions with them already having certain perceptional bias about such people even before they asked the questions. Then you will soon figure that there is one more pair of eyes watching your life waiting to fault you for flaws that are human, then they will prove to themselves, "see all Christians are like that."

Maybe this is too far fetched but its true to some extent, thou not all the time.
Anyways the point is that its really not very nice to answer questions people ask out of boredom. The army is full of this (maybe in taxi cabs too), people just like to ask where or what you would be doing after the 2year term. Every time I'm asked this I would feel so tempted to lie (or just not telling the full truth) just to get away with it because you just don't want to deal with their responses. Slowly you would try to lessen your guilt by reasoning that they wouldn't understand even if you told them. But you will still know deep down that you lied.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the dark side of me

There is this guy who is my mom's friend and one day he decided to declare an one-sided cold war due to some misunderstanding. There comes a time where we happened to meet and out of my sanguine disposition I practically pranced around him saying a big "Hello" to which he completely ignored. Fast tracking to the now, that guy and my mom have cleared the misunderstanding and are now starting to talk again. But the point remains, if we have issues with a particular someone why take it out against his/her son? Is it even objective anymore?

I guess the weightier issue has got to do with myself, why do I find it so hard to forgive the person? Okie, maybe its not a forgiveness issue but more of an acceptance issue. Why issit so hard for me to open up or talk to him again? This is not really the first time such rejection happened to me but the question is why do I react this way now?
I guess I would never see him in the same light again.

Maybe this is just one side of me that I really don't quite understand yet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Fresh Start

People often asked for the reason as to why I haven't blogged for such a long time. For convenience's sake I always told them that I lost my password, but this is just not true. The truth is that there were just so many things all happening at once that it became hard for me to put them all in words. So actually there are many times when I come in here trying to blog something but everything eventually got backspaced. So in time things get compounded, there were more and more things to blog about but nothing really came out and so after that I didn't even bother to log-in. I guess blogs are like kinda like Tamagotchis. They seem like alot of fun but then it becomes this thing that you have to keep feeding.

Anyways, recently I just got out of the army (so free-er perhaps), so I guess I should fire up this blog again. So hence this post.

ps: so how do i get the chat box working again? hmmmm.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Many of my peers are now away on mission trips. I don't know why but somehow praying for them really makes me feel lousy. Like why am I like stuck in army, in a stifling and at times, a killjoy environment. Why be there when I can do many things elsewhere.

I wonder where God is leading me to but I'm sure that he is preparing me for something. Blind following is exciting but I guess when there are no visible or tangible results, doubt will start to flow. Full time work + studies = no life.

Looking forward to the retreat. Like finally its almost here :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ear ache

Oh gosh I'm going crazy, this morning at 5am, I woke up to an ear ache so intense that it kept me from sleeping and got me rolling around on the living room sofa. Its kinda like someone is playing pinball in my head with the ear part being the area for bonus points. As I was rolling around and praying for the pain to stop. I kinda thought of something, when one part of the body is hurting, every other parts respond to it. Shouldn't this apply to the body of Christ too? Then I notice my prayer focus changing, I started praying for the church not to develop spiritual leprosy where when one part of the body is hurting, we don't feel the pain at all.

Of course, I prayed for mercy too. For God not to use such pain to speak to me, it really hurts lah! I'm now sick with a paper tomorrow and I'm fighting the urge to sleep or do stupid things like watching tv all day instead of studying. I took 3 days off from work to study, not to be sick. Argh gosh.

Anyways check out my new found friends on webcam :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not knowing

“If, when I was asleep I was a man dreaming I was a butterfly, how do I know when I am awake I am not a butterfly dreaming I am a man?” - Lao Tse

Besides the fact that butterflies do not dream like a human; or even dream at all, his point is clear, that we can never know for sure about anything. It means to the person that there is no God, or even if there is, we can never know.

Somehow now people actually pride themselves for not knowing. This new unknowingness has somehow became the new epitome of knowledge. It is the enlightenment to the understanding that many things we thought we know exists, never existed, cannot exist and cannot be known. This idea runs much contrary to the belief of the vast majority. This encapsulates what it means to be postmodern.

With what that is taught in schools, portrayed in modern art and films, it is clear that our culture is driving towards naturalistic assumptions. They tell us that mathematics is real; therefore, our brain is real. Food is real; therefore, our stomach is real. But the absolute moral order is not real. It is purely something created within and therefore it is not real. It does not and cannot exist.

Today, for the first time I was faced with such a weird question that suddenly makes so much sense. In this world, "How do I know I exist?"

The question without its background really sounds stupid but after much thought I realized that it is a no wonder why the 'smartest brains', people who know so much, can be so lost.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Exemplar Living

It was weird just thinking about it, its just interesting how God can speak to us even when we are not praying. Its like Him speaking to us albeit uninvited but its easy to figure that it is a good thing. I mean I really wonder how prayerfully changed we can be without God doing the initiating and starting the whole prayer engine system running. Anyways God spoke today and He asked me a pointed question in five words. “Are you still a leader?”

Ever since I entered the army I have been lead by people. Most of them are rather slack but there are also those people who abuse their power by making people scurry around so that they can look and feel good. They direct all faults at us and treat nsfs as expendable for their own promotion. They unconsciously taught me how the army works, that it is a wretched authoritarian system that I need to personally find loopholes to get around it. And lastly there are these few who really lead by example, they uphold the standard of discipline by being that standard themselves. They are the rare few who desire to affect change in the system as it is to what it would be. Most importantly, their presence gave me permission to do the same.

I'm on a driving course now. It has been really tough for me but I thank God that I got the chance to observe two of those people whom leadership I really respect. Being unconsciously trained by those despots in my previous camp, I made use of every opportunity to do what I want without being punished. I got my own ways of doing things that appeal to logic, people's kindness and grace. Those were fun, and so I thought, and I got things done the way people wanted it, in half the time, my way! I thought I was smart until God spoke to me and somehow brought me to observe the two officers going through the same course as me. They are working as man (not commanders), doing things and bringing things as commanded by the course instructor. I realized that certainly they are not dumb as to not understand the meaning of their rank, that they need not do the things they are doing if they do not want to. However there is no “air” around them as senior officers. Witnessing their humility was like receiving a smack in the face, a “kick in the teeth” by a being non other than God Himself.

Its so shameful that God needed to give me such a rude awakening to tell me that I am still a leader in church and that leadership is not really a given. Its is a lifestyle of example. So am I still a leader? So asked God. I really want to change. I feel so ashamed that I have fallen so far.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The fellowship of believers

Just now we had a short night chapel service in school; a 5 min worship session followed by a short 15min sermon by Peter Soh. The worship was just so wonderful. I guess I really missed the privileged experience of people praising God, worshipping and praying together with me. Such environment really spurs me on in my walk with God. I guess they also serve as a reminder that I am not the only one around chasing tight after God. Even though I do not know most of the people there, I feel that the worship had already bonded us together.

It's really been so long since I am able to go for a church service and I would say that I really miss it. I think what I really long for is a good time of fellowship. However the thing that satisfies me today is not the typical fellowship that we always talked about. Christian fellowship doesn't really happen unless God is the focus of a gathering of God's people. Biblical fellowship is really powerful as God really moves through the fellowship and uses them to encourage the individuals.

I really thank God. It's a small thing but I really feel that it's a great privileged to be able to be there :)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Cue the sun

I tried my best to fight this feeling of uselessness and I really wished I could do so much more. I'm so stuck in camp that I feel so useless in ministry and so distant from everyone. Can close friends become strangers? Oh Lord, sustain me.

If I find my way through the darkest of days,
Will I laugh about the things that kept me awake?
But if my greatest fear paints itself so crystal clear,
Will I run away or will I hide?

And if I don't come home tonight,
Just know I tried my best to fight.
Please don't think I plan to lose to the night.
And curse the moon so dull and bright,
My heavy soul can't stand the light.
It burns me straight to the bones, my bones.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Kept promises

I have always known that God has called me into ministry but many times just I don’t want to believe it because that path would require me to sacrifice my dreams and ambitions in unbelievable proportions. And because of that I really struggled for quite some time (I still am but in minor proportions) and managed to obey and submit. I have always known that God wants me to study during my time in army (and after that) in preparation for ministry later on.

So as an obedient worshiper I started to take on modules. Since then I have always been so surprised that my regimental duties NEVER fell on my class dates. To those who didn’t knew I just got posted out from my current base HQ office to some far ulu ammo depot due to fierce office politics. I was rather shocked and worried when I first got the news. In my mind, I questioned God about my calling; I questioned God about his promise. I wonder why he would put an end to things when things are going so well, according to his plan. I was so seriously stressed up that I can do nothing but worry.

To my utter surprise my new work place is even better than the previous! Apart from the obvious much less stressful environment, there is this policy in my new unit that encourages its personnel to study. So with that policy, they will definitely not place me on regimental duties on my class dates and on top of that, I’ll be able to leave camp one hour earlier than the usual.

As if that is not good enough, it was raining on the first time I left for my class from camp and so I was waiting for the bus. I realized that I was going to be late since I’m in a very ulu place and the bus is not coming. Then there was this contractor who was driving out from the camp. So in my mind I wished that he could give me a lift all the way to my desired destination. I figured that the chances were very slim but I gave it a try anyways. What can I say?! God is really good! By him fetching me all the way is really as if God is putting the icing on the cake. Oh wow!

I still think that God is really interesting and irritating all at the same time. It’s like a love-hate relationship. But I guess here, the loving bit clearly out weights the hate bit. So much so as to now, I willingly submit to his Lordship because I’m very sure that he is the faithful one, and he will keep his part of the ‘bargain’ and take care of me every step of the way.

The Bible says it so well with a succinct promise in Isaiah 26:3: "You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you". Many times the reason in which we are stressed is due to our lack of faith. We stress unnecessarily over the question of God’s providence when if we have enough faith in him, we need not. I believe that with faith, we can truly have like what Isaiah described as perfect peace.

Probably that’s the reason as to why we usually observe in people whom we deem as ‘full-of-faith’, this bubbly joy that transcends personality and we marvel at the way this joy makes them look so alive. That is because true joy comes from peace that flows from within. It’s only with faith can we begin to experience the peace that Isaiah speak of. And with that can we experience that true joy which is by no accident, one of the fruits of the spirit that Apostle Paul talks about.

When we are living in his will, we will experience surprising things at every turn. The many impossibles that He will make possible just simply because He wills it to be. And truly, just as how King David put it in Psalm 27 “The LORD is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?” If God is with us who can be against us!

So lets all believe that God really works for the good of those who believe in him, those whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in him. Let’s believe in it and live it out!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The solution out of a depression

Recently it seems like many people whom I talked to are going through a time of testing where faith is very much needed. I’m having mine too with real situations at work that seems to crush down; I come to question the sovereignty of God, the things that he promised me that he will bring it to pass. And many times I come to wonder about the greatness of the God I worship. It has become very intense recently especially when undesirable news come literally rushing one by one.

When I was praying I was reminded of so many instances in the bible. Like the prayer of King Jehoshaphat, in 2 Chronicles 20, in the form of 3 rhetorical questions, declaring in faith, the character of God in the face of a losing war. I was reminded of Job when his theology comes into question and when he realized that the good man doesn’t necessary get good things. When everything doesn’t seem fair to him, his solution is to worship God. I was then reminded of the prophet Habakkuk, that when Israel is in sin and that there is violence everywhere, he too questioned God about his holiness, divine justice and even the power of God. (Habakkuk 1:2-4) Even in his angst, he later got down in humility and engaged in God declaration worship.

Isn’t it true that when belief in God becomes difficult the tendency is to turn away from him? We try to solve things because the problem seems so huge and urgent that God really needs to take second place. It seems that God is telling us to take a look at everything from his perspective so that we will understand that God not only exist and that He will not only act but will also give us a new set of eyes to see everything and we will find out that God is complete control.

If somehow we can get the perspective of God, our problems become just finite problems.

The solution is really to worship God, to declare his praises, to declare his character to ourselves. And I remember the words of Chesterton, that “God is like the sun. You cannot look at it, but without it you cannot look at anything else.”

“Are you not,” “did you not,” “will you not,” these are the timely words of King Jehoshaphat that God used to remind me of himself, that he is the God of the present, the past and the future. Lord, don’t let me lose my sense of wonder and awe of you. Let me witness in the most practical of ways, how immeasurably big and all encompassing you are.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Good picture keeps attention

“Why do we keep looking at this picture as if we were expecting something to happen?” That is the question that we are forced to ask ourselves when we are looking at good pictures. Probably we might not really be expecting something, but while viewing we might just be reliving our memories with exclamations like, “Hey I thought I was wearing red that day.” and “No, I remember you carrying flowers.” and "Hey we used to do this!". The point is that good pictures, keeps attention and we expect good pictures to bring to mind something dear to us, something we feel for.

This year’s CNY is really an experience that I really want to give thanks for. To be honest, it’s really boring, and normative right from the reunion dinner. The only big difference is that this year’s reunion dinner is really that of a reunion as compared to last year’s big thing where both of my bros were arrested a day before the dinner. I believe that this CNY is a big reminder for me that family is of utmost importance and infinitely valued. A year ago, for my family this all would not be possible.

For my household, every CNY at least one family shot will be taken. And so I guess if we were to archive the pictures for every year, this year’s and the previous would be the one the raises the most questions. The questions of absence would certainly be a huge reminder for me as to how important my family is to me. During this year’s relative visitations, there were so many exclamations with the likes of “Where were you guys last year?!” and “How come this year got people compared to last year?” Encountering those, we just look to one another and smiled as we did not want to lie or tell the truth as my parents consider the truth embarrassing.

It’s just awesome to think of how such a small, normal thing in life can be such a big privilege to have.

I thank God for such experiences. Pictures of such
weighted memory most effectively stand as testaments as to how God has been faithful to undeserving people, tiding them through tough times.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Jargonized culture

After a long absence, I visited the youth service at Grace 1 today. I felt so weird in the youth service and I figured that it must due to the length of time being submerged in the culture of the youth centre kids.

As I observed the Christian/spiritual jargons that are flying around all over the place from the worship to the prayers, it causes me to wonder if the people really understood what they are saying. I seriously hope the leaders do because I know that alot of the youth don’t and most of them are just blindly following. I mean just look at the 'blank' look on their faces!

If I were one of the youth, I would be so lost and everything would seem more like a ritual. And I’ll most probably say this "I behave like this because the environment/everyone said so."

I believe that jargons when fully understood can be very powerful. However, jargons used when not understood, is just simply a waste of time. One ear in and the other ear, out.

I can only pray right? Yes I believe I can only do that now.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Does expectations really kill humility?

Last week was really horrible. I have been working overtime for the past five days and it really does stink to think that my bosses there are using us (NSF) for their promotions. And for that I have missed quite a number of important meetings. It’s like you worked so hard to go home at 5.30pm only to be told that it’s not enough and that you will need to work OT.

From this episode I believed that I have gained quite a number of things, the first was about expectations. I was taught not to get my hopes too high and not to expect too much. And I thought that they were very much right. Expectation does give one something to hope for and that hope will drive us through trying situations. However as much as hope is free I realized that we could just as easily be denied of the very thing we hoped for. Hope, when denied, pulls us pit down and makes us stay there. As such I figured that if we have no hope and no sense of personal rights, we might be happier people but albeit without motivation. Does expectations really kill humility? Anyhow it really does stink to be denied the things you thought you deserved.

The next thing I realized was how much I really missed God. For the past week my life is really dictated by my office. From morning till night I can be found busily working and only knocking off at around 10 plus 11pm, reaching home dead tired and waking up the next day at 6am for another day of busy work and OT. It’s been really tough on my devotional and prayer side. I guess it’s worse than BMT where at least there they let us off after 8pm (on most days) for us to do our own stuff.

On another note, I'm really glad that class has started and it is really a breather to be there. It really makes me remember how much I love theology. Now I’m dumped with so much reading to do before my next class. I think I’ll just read them when I’m doing guard duties. I guess those are the only valued times when I’m free to read. I really hope my boss will let me off to attend my next class and not do OT that night.


Sunrise to sunset
I will seek your face
Drawn by the Spirit
To the promise of Your grace

My heart has found in You
The hope that will abide
Here in Your presence
Forever satisfied

Take me deeper
Deeper in love with You
Jesus hold me close in Your embrace
Take me deeper
Deeper than I've ever been before
I just want to love you more and more
How I longed to be
Deeper in love

I was doing duty
on Friday night and for some reason, was left alone in my sentry post when a song played on the radio that made me remember the song above. Upon hearing that I turned off the radio to pray and worship. I'm glad that God met me there. I'm also glad that I was alone. Even though its only for a short while, I have reason to think that it was all planned.

I really thank God that in my busyness He hasn't forgotten me and so desires to win me back to himself.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wisdom of the old granny

Just now, my parents were talking to this old lady whom I think is from their cell or something along that line. I was happily playing my game (erm, refer to previous post) when I overheard some of the stuff which they talked about which stuck on me for quite abit. They are not new but I guess it’s just how some statements are more effective when said in mandarin.

On future and God: “You will only be willing to sacrifice yourself for Christ when He has shown himself real to you. It is the same for any noble endeavor; which is why people bound in passion of any kind can be so blind to everyone but not themselves.”

On praying prophetic prayers and claiming the promises of God: “You will dare to pray these types of prayers because God had worked this way for you. Hence faith grows as your experience with God grows; and your prayer life grows as your faith in God grows.”

On faith: “If you want to follow Jesus, follow him all the way.(yao geng ye shu ju gan gan geng)

I guess they are right. One who hesitates is a half hearted believer and is better off not believing. He wastes everybody’s time. No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.

After I finished digesting all those words I felt so lifted up in my spirit. And this reminds me of a conversation sometime back with my grandma’s friend. We were sharing (in mandarin) about serving God and told her about my full time(?) calling. Then came the following exchange.

(G) “Do you have a girlfriend?”
(M) “Nope.”
(G) “Why?”
(M) “Now so busy, want also no money.”
(G) “When it comes to God, money doesn’t matter.”

I always had a problem with faith and the future, and I believe that God is preparing me for that. The demand for complete commitment is still quite scary if you come to think about it. Anyhow, prior to this, I would never know that eavesdropping could be so refreshing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Testing waters

Recently I realized how much I’m unconsciously fond of ‘testing situations’ to confirm what I though was correct or wrong. I liked to think that I’m quite observant and because of that I tend to catch hints rather quickly. But somehow (and I believe it is out of a cautious attitude) I will always tend to seek confirmations for the things I’m already quite sure about.

It’s ‘sad’ to say that the same applies for my relationship with God now. Somehow I know what he wants me to do but I really do not want to do it. I guess I would be a very good example of a modern day Jonah. When I know what God wants me to do in a specific situation I would purposely do the opposite for two reasons. 1) Because I really want it my way. 2) Because I want to see what God would do.

If Samson is prevented from cutting his hair since young, mine would be a gaming console. I know this is weird but I know since long long ago that God don’t want me to go into gaming. This revelation is furiously backed up by my parents who know that when I immerse myself into a game it is very hard for me to get out of it. My attitude towards them will change and my already difficult-to-juggle priorities will be seriously messed up. I know that my self control in this area is bad.

The desire to play games largely increased ever since I entered army, and for me, it’s really bad. Whenever I get home from work I would be so spent and I figured that it would be reasonable to spend the night doing something that I enjoy doing. That thing which I really enjoyed doing is playing games. For me, it’s a big problem and I know God doesn’t like it because I got so many other things that I need to do.

Using Jonah as my parallel example, knowing that which God does not like, I decided to go against it, and of course, God did send ‘storms’ along the way. 1) My mom threw away the small television in my room. 2) Jia liang took back the PS2 I borrowed from him. 3) No money to buy a new television. 4) The PS2 I recently brought over from Darren (for a cheap $180) SPOILT before I can play it. It’s now in the shop for repair… and it has been already 1 week. 5) No money to pay for repair. So even if it is repaired I will need to wait till I have the money to take it back from the shop. It is very interesting to note that all these 5 pointers just form part of the entire picture.

The ‘storms’ or otherwise better known as ‘barriers’ really works like irritating alarm clocks notifying me of the things I already knew I should not be doing. Somehow I do not feel guilty. I’m still fighting against the situations to get things going my way. In a certain sense, I know that I’m asking for trouble but somehow I’m not afraid, yet. I guess this at least prove that I can still hear God. That’s a good point but sometimes when I know that I’m in the wrong, I would rather not hear God.

We would not fully know the power of temptation until we are tempted at our weakest point with little will to fight against it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Struggle and grace

I'm back. And I'm very much convinced that the longer I stay absent from blogging the more unmotivated I’ll feel from actually doing it. So much happened since July, the journey has been new and difficult but it has been good. My intense struggles prove that God very much exist and that He is doing a great work in my life, just like what He promised. As much as I hate the fact that I have to struggle to do things right, I am glad that they exist, for without which I wouldn’t be who I am now. Not saying that I’m perfect and without flaw but in every way the very opposite.

I figured that my struggles grow more intense the closer I am to God. I believe that my imperfections greatly amplify the perfection of God. Now I understand that when I’m weak, He is strong. If God is to be amplified then I guess I will need to know humility and be seen as weak for it is not me that trigged the struggle but rather it’s the Holy Spirit that is working in and through me. He who is righteous revealed my sinful nature. I am really disgusting. And I figured that the more disgusting I know myself to be, the more beautiful Christ will seems to be. And yes, He is the beautiful one, holy, righteous, cloaked in all His glory and majesty.

Despite of all these I’m rather surprised that God’s favor is still with me. Everyday I witness His favor showering upon me. And I know I don’t deserve all these things that put smiles on my face. Joy really kills pain. His grace has been more then sufficient for me. Not a day has passed without me acknowledging that. And for that, I’m very glad and I give thanks.

That ‘umbrella’ that He provides as shelter during times of temptation and persecution, I realized, is His grace. That ‘umbrella’ is something that we can never run away from. His grace is just there waiting for us even if we don’t desire or deserve. God’s love for us is something that should cause us to make pause.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Rights and leftovers – part 2

While bumming in my office and listening to conversations going around, I can’t help but notice that there is actually value in humility. If we were to approach everything in life as privileges rather than entitlements, we will live as happier people. I guess it’s alright to want something badly but I suppose that when we recognize the value of humility we would be able to accept unfavorable things and situations more readily instead of becoming bitter. When we can do that, favorable turnouts will become more like bonuses thus making the happy person happier.

In all our time we have been educated about human/social rights whereas part of it says that we have the basic human rights to live and from there we assume that the same applies to death as well. We actually think that we have the rights to choose to die when we want to and people call that ‘dying with dignity’. Depending on who owns us, it seems that the owner will decide our fate. If we own ourselves, then it seems logical that we have the rights to choose to die but if someone else other than ourselves own us, then it seems alright to conclude that we actually do not have any rights to our living and dying.

Now here’s the over arching assumption; with rights come power. Therefore the owner should have the power to control the process of life and death (i.e life to death, death to life, nothing to life aka creation), and therefore we can never own ourselves. Hence the concept of 'dying with dignity' is utter nonsense and the logical side to it is thus, only cosmetic.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Persecuting passively

What I read this morning shook me up - “Those who stand apathetically in the background of persecution, persecute by passivity.” Jesus said “If you are not for me, you are against me”. How can we be indifferent about certain issues and tell people that we believe in the doing or abstaining of them? Telling and living are the two different things that define our integrity.

As recorded in the Gospels, one of the most noted questions (in my opinion) Jesus have ever asked anyone is “Who do you say I am?” I really think that we should evaluate ourselves everyday by asking ourselves this very question. Our view of who Jesus is will determine our actions. The reverse is also true as well - our actions determine our beliefs. Our actions tell others what we believe in.

Day by day we should remind ourselves that we are going to die. Our condition is fatal, but it is not without hope. Let us cease not in telling people about the hope that we live for. Let us not sit on the fence and wait in hope for others to do so first. In Christ there is no such thing as ‘waiting’. If we are not for him, we are actually against him.

I guess this is a stark reminder for me today.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Rights and leftovers

Paul writing from Philippians 3:4-11

If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless. But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ (skip to verse 10) I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Somehow eversince army started I realized that I became increasingly easily angered. Especially when things do not go my way when it should and could have blatantly been. It really stings when I do not get what I’m entitled to get, like when it is ‘your rights’ to have it. It also really stings when I try with all my ability to be perfect, to control things and yet things still go wrong. And that’s where I realized that failure cost me much.

I guess more and more I’m beginning to kind of understand what it feels like to be in Job’s shoes. To know that I’m really not entitled to anything and that I really don’t have any rights to anything whatsoever. I guess God is really teaching me what it means to leave everything behind - ‘rights’ inclusive. My dreams and ambition seem so plain in the light of Christ. And now the big question is if I could gladly abandon them to follow Jesus. It’s easy to sing it off but painful to actualize.

I have decided, to follow Jesus
. ( x3 )
No turning back, no turning back.
The Cross before me, the world behind me.
( x3 )
No turning back, no turning back.

Thou none go with me, I still will follow. (
x3 )
No turning back, no turning back.

I tear whenever I sing this song because it reminds me of what I’m leaving behind.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I know everyone wants to believe in something but I wonder if everyone is perpetually questioning their belief system. For me, I want something that is secure and that never fails. It seems like forever since the last time I not questioned God about whether He will come through for me.

Lord you said in your word that blessed is the man who trusts in you. What is the meaning of blessedness? Will I ever live to understand it? Please don’t ever fail me. Hold me in your arms and never let me go. I am nothing without you. I still believe that you are a good God who gives good gifts to your servants to accomplish your will... I know you will.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Counting the cost

One thing that kept coming back to me during the past month is the realization of the cost of loving Jesus. Strangely we somehow need the opposites to help us understand what we thought we already knew. Being in an unconducive and hostile (and I dare say hostile) environment really sharpens and makes me stronger. Some people really hate me for being Christian, having Christian ethics, and sharing what Christ is really all about. I figured that the more committed you are to the cause of following Jesus; the more people will hate you for it.

It really takes so much to be a Christian. All the time you are tested in the most unimaginable way. Surprisingly I also realize that the more persecuted I am, the more beautiful Christ seems to me. Like what Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4; “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” God really is the one that sustains and keeps me sane. I thank God for the blessings and favor He has showered upon me as I follow Him with nothing more than just bare hands which are meant for holding onto him on dark grounds. After so much I realized that I still desire to follow Jesus. I thank God for the fellowship of believers. They are really God’s gift to me.

“Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me.”

After so long I realized that my prayer is still more or less the same.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Candle in the dark

Just came back from field camp, it was tiring and irritating but overall I guess it was much gained. Now I treasure so many things I used to take it for granted. I was taught so many lessons; one for example was that I would never know how bright a single candle light is without going to field camp. The light from a single candle is brighter and more durable than my torchlight! At that moment I feel encouragement from God as if he was saying “The darker the night the brighter the light.”

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

In a strange sense, the definitions I once knew have been further refined and defined. Continue to live your life as worship onto God and you will shine as bright as the candle in the dark directing people to your master :)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Pink ic

So I guess this is Goodbye :)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Paradox faith

I really thank God that He provided people to be signposts and directional signs; people who make me feel that this new phrase is not as new as it feels. It’s like experiencing something totally new but yet familiar. I came to figure that dependence on God is like driving with no steering wheel and still feeling safe because I know that someone bigger is in control. I believe that the God who created me will be the same God who will drive me to my destiny.

I guess faith is having the security to be insecure, to be able to believe without prior understanding. I may not be able to understand the logical outworking of God but now I understand one thing – that everybody experiences far more than he understands. It is the experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior.

It has been a good 10months and I have grown a lot. It’s kind of like a sabbatical and I’m very thankful for the chance to study and grow at my own pace. With the privilege of studying comes the ultimate test. I guess now its time to see what I am really made of. It will be a defining phrase.

However, this is one test I’m very afraid of failing.

*** If we talked or met up during the past month I’ll probably miss you.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Paper or people

“Do not try do take on a heavy load before your enlistment” - This is the lesson I just learnt. I suddenly have so many things that I want to do, like people that I want to meet, bulletin artwork to finish and on top of all that I have a very threatening paper dateline which so happens to fall on my enlistment date. I realized that I have so much that I want to do and this much time left. I don’t want to fail my paper and neither do I want to give up my last few drops for freedom to meet up with my friends.

I guess it really boils down to what is really important to me; in this case, paper or people? I guess I’ll be calling up the guys in AGBC tomorrow to ask them if I could change my credit module to audit and hopefully I can get some money refunded. I think it’s really sad to bum my very first attempt in theological studies. I mean who in my class would fail but me? And worst still, its failing by bailing out :(

I have really given up too many things while struggling for this stupid paper.
It's just sad that the things I have given up are irreversible. Among the many things I have given up the most important ones would be the East Asia mission trip and one of my closer friends - the atheist who taught me to reflect on my thinking. He just flew off to Taiwan looking for a job and I don't know if I will ever meet him again. It just pains me so much to think that I decided not to meet up with him because I have a ‘so important’ paper to finish. I really really hope that I will see him in heaven. Oh God! How can I be so blind as to reject the people you treasure for pieces of words on paper?

I guess it’s these types of constrains and limitations that really help us cherish time. To learn that good things don’t last forever and that you don’t have forever to spend your time.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Self reflection

I really think that there are two parts to 'loving your neighbor'; one is the 'giving love' and the other is the 'receiving love'. One can give love passionately and yet be passionately rejected. Can someone have so much passion that he or she becomes obnoxious in the eyes of everyone? I just met a reflection of myself just now and to think that I’m actually so repulsive and such a ‘pain in the neck’ for my leaders. I really thank God for opening my eyes to make me aware of myself. Sorry everyone, I sincerely thank you all for bearing with my shortcomings and being patient with me.

When revelation is not coupled with wisdom, truth becomes repulsive.

On a brighter note, Melvin, Natalie and Amanda wrote me a birthday poem on the bus and I think it’s interestingly funny!

Dear Matthew,

You are the cool
You don’t look like a fool
You are going army now
We’re getting you a cow
Amanda thinks this is lame
What to do, that’s your name
Do you like beetle bugs?
If you don’t, you are a slug
This is really so exciting
We wish you the best
Space is running out
Remember to get more rest.

(While you can)

Oh gosh…

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Free love

You know how time with important people is always so precious and beautiful? That person gave me her time and I decide to give her mine.

I read in a book (I think it’s called '360 leadership') that most people who worked in Microsoft for all their lives never get to meet Bill Gates. And all of them are eager to have a private coffee session with him for 45 minutes. Time with important people is always precious. It costs them something.

There is no such thing 'free love'. Love is the most costly thing in the world. God gave us his only son. Jesus gave his life for us to be able to stand righteous before God. In order for us to love, we will have to give our attention to that special someone and leave the others unattended to. The best thing about love is that it is freely given to us all. That is only possible for a God who is omnipresent. That love when freely given is considered unconditional.

When we freely receive something, it doesn't mean it’s free. I really thank God. He gave me His time. He hears me.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Self doubt

I wonder why we always emphasize on the spiritual need when the emotional need is just as important. When one of our needs is not fulfilled we will tend to use people (unconsciously) as means to meet that need. The needs are real and so should be our approach. The emotional need is not something that can be solved by a spiritual answer.

At the root of every wrong intention is a need not met. Wrong intentions can easily breed disharmony in the body of Christ. If we want to serve God effectively,
we will need to meet that need. We need to constantly question the reason as to why we feel the need to serve. Is it to satisfy our egos? Is it to make us feel important? Or is it out of the love for the people. Never serve and lead out of need.

When a particular area of need is not satisfied it will quickly become a stepping stone for the devil in our lives. I figured that however pure my intentions are, I will always be forced to question my unintended intentions. Whenever we are lacking in a particular emotional area, our credibility and authenticity of our actions can be easily doubted by people and by ourselves. Meaning there will always be a possibility that we are deluding ourselves with our ‘righteous motives’ when we serve. After all what makes us think that when we serve we are serving out of love and not out of a selfish reason?

Anyways this approach is unreasonably restrictive. If I have to construct an argument for everything I believe and upon which I act, I’ll believe little and act little. I do not want to doubt myself any longer. Lord, set me free to serve you.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

He remembers me

As my birthday and coming enlistment date draws near, I got down to planning a list of people that I really want to spend my (remaining) days with; people important to me; people whom I really treasure and are close to. As I plan my exclusive schedule and prepare the list of people, it suddenly occurred to me that actually I am not very close to my peers, I don’t really have many peers that I call close friends. I realized that I’m actually much closer to many of the youths and I desire to be with them much much more than with my peers.

With this thought I sudden found a reason as to probably why I seem to be much more effective in the youth ministry. Is my preference of time spent with the youth actually based on my lack of peer friends? Does this really mean that I love them then, or is my so called ‘love’ for them actually based on a very selfish reason? If that is so, then I guess it’s really sad and its time I consider about what I am doing.

As I dwell on what loneliness felt, I evaluated myself and question if I do have a character problem. Well, after all I felt that my situation doesn’t really seemed normal at all. I prayed and cried. Loneliness is a really painful feeling I guess. Even when one is surrounded by people loneliness is still very much felt. People only help to mask the pain I guess.

But last Saturday’s YA service was really memorable. The message by Pastor Kieran is really what I needed so much to hear. It’s almost like God speaking to me and that slot of the day meant especially for me. I guess it’s a way of how God shows me that He is the big guy up there who hears my cries. For the first time I really felt restored and vision refocused.

I guess the pastors in school are right, ministry is really lonely. There are so many things you can’t share with your members and so many things that you need to keep to yourself. There will be things that they can’t understand and might never be able to understand and relate to you. I realized that the more committed I am to my ministry, the lonelier I’ll will get. And when my ‘world’ becomes my ministry, I am actually inviting myself into a ‘lion’s den’ of loneliness.

A servant has no time off and is to serve the master 24/7. Although this reality really seems tiring and torturous I guess I am always reminded of one very fundamental thing; that He really does love his servants. I am really thankful that in the midst of my struggles that Yahweh remembers me; even though when I feel that I really don’t deserve to be remembered. Serving a kind master is always a joy and a privilege.

I really like it when poet George Herbert described prayer as "the soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage." and he goes on and concludes his grand description of prayer as "something understood." Really, Yahweh hears us, He understands us. He remembers me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The faith element

I spent my whole week at the teen games with these boys and I really love them. I really want to see them all saved.

I figured that the two words ‘Have Faith’ is actually very powerful. They can be used to the benefit of your belief and also for your non belief. Like for example as much as the Christian can have faith in God, the Christian can also choose to have faith in his doubts and skepticism, choosing not to let go. Faith leads us in the direction we want it to lead us into. Faith can be of use for God or against God. If we publicly proclaim that we have faith in Yahweh then we must be careful not to stand at the wrong side of our living faith.

This is sobering reminder that we can be so comfortable, confident and self sufficient that we can delude ourselves into thinking that we do not need God. When all is going well and comfortable, there exists a temptation to have too much faith in ourselves and to think that we do not need God.

It's really painful to see the way the youths worship God. I mean how can we actually sing ‘church on fire’ as if the church is really on fire? It’s so hypocritical to sing about what you do not believe and people display their faith in their unbelief in their attitude towards God. If one does not believe in the truth that they are singing about, the truth then becomes lies that people unconsciously sprout out from their mouths. In other words, if we do not sing the truth in faith, we sing lies.

Pray people pray. Pray for your ministry and your non Christian friends.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Grace - the meaning of forgiveness

The more we can understand how wretched we really are, the more we can understand the meaning and intensity of the word 'grace'. Love unconditioned was bestowed onto us to make us his children without our prior knowledge or consent. Just like we whom never got a chance to choose our parents, God willed us to be called his own. And to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

It’s as simple as that! Many times I guess I tired too hard to be a worthy son to my father in heaven. I really thought that the more I can bring before him the happier he would be and the worthier I would feel. And to worship I bring along my talents, gifting and voices all in hoping they would please God. But now my Lord tells me to simply come. Obedience is better then sacrifices, and my presence before him is much valued then what I can bring to him. Presence is valued much more than presentation. God being the giver of all gifts and talents need not us to please him using those.

Freedom from the hunt for individuality can only be found in Christ alone. When we know this truth, truly we are free. People can refine us, but only God can define us. Jesus didn’t defend himself when he was captured and/or scorned. His identity is not from the people but rather it is that from his heavenly father. His security of kingship identity is from a transcendental perspective and thus because his kingship is secured, he can freely be a servant to all Man.

As our focus is on God and son-ship identity secured we too are set free to serve. Christ’s claim of kingship rule is never geographical or political but more potently it is that of the heart. His rule in our hearts is a choiced decision, not a forced one. If that is Christ’s focus, we must amplify that.

Lord, as we look to you, bring us to a ‘place’ where we have got nothing to loose.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Never ceasing

As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. (1 Samuel 12:23)

Samuel was always concerned for the children of Israel. For Samuel, beside his primary ministry to Yahweh, his ministry focus is to the Israelites. He is to be a faithful mouth piece for the Lord delivering the Word of God to all Israel. Failing which, he regards as failing what he was called to do and thus sinned before Yahweh.

Now, there’s nothing particularly wrong about not praying, but as a leader am I being faithful to my calling and my responsibility? Will I able to say the same thing as Samuel did in the face of constant failure by children of Israel to recognize Yahweh’s sovereignty? Will I give up in the face of discouragement?

Like Samuel, our primary ministry is to Yahweh. And while our ministry focuses may defer, let us minister and grow before the Lord just like Samuel did for we are called to minister before the Lord first before we minister to his people. Far be it from me that I should minister to people with an empty cup. I have nothing to offer as such.

I shall not cease in praying for the ministry that I love.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Blunder after blunder

Art/design or theology/philosophy? Two different worlds with two different directions. Just finished my first Old Testament module exam and I think I blew it. Am I really made for this? What is ‘calling’ exactly? Am I really ‘called’ into this? How come I was so sure of what God wants me to do back then but now when I’m in it (and in my first blunder) my vision is blurred? Probably Pastor Ronald is right, it’s my first exam and I’ll sooner or later get the hang of it… I hope so too. But I'm think I’m just so lost now for now. Probably it’s back to art for the time being. I don’t know anymore.

“Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Server any ties but the ties that bind me to your service and to your heart.” – David Livingstone

Thursday, May 18, 2006

One hundred percent

There are some thing that just wouldn't do without the hundred percent, one of them is obedience. Its opposite is disobedience and disobedience is actually pride. Whatever percentage of our life that is not subjected to God is our percentage of pride. “Pride comes before a fall” ever thought how that phrase come about? As I study 1 Samuel, time and time again I am reminded about the consequence of not obeying. Intentional disobedience before God comes before a fall.

For the past few days the word obedience kept hitting me again and again like a ton of bricks. So what does it really means? What does 100% really means? In class we were asked that question and the lecturer demanded practical answers. I still remember some of it: One says that if you are a missionary or if you know you are called to be one, you will jolly well take your kids out of the Singapore education system. And for many times you may not even get to see your kids very often. Another gives the scenario of dropping your studies and do the things that you are told to or called to. Delayed obedience is disobedience and is pride.

Of all the practical examples, one principle in lies in common and it is the same way as God tested Abraham with the offering of his son, Isaac, who is his one son of which, his ‘world’ kind of revolves around. Let’s look at Apostle Peter, Jesus also asked him a defining question as recorded in John 21:15 “do you love me more then these?” Now Jesus is referring to the fishes that he just caught and thus Jesus is comparing Peter’s love for Him to Peter’s love for fishing. The same can be said about us. Are we willing to give up the important things that we hold on to so tightly and swap them with Jesus? Do we love Jesus more then ‘these’?

I know what it means, I know what I’m called to and I struggle with the thought of it. So for me, to acknowledge them is really very painful. I may be obeying but it is still very painful to see the things that I want so much float away. Its like when you realized that you can't have both worlds at the same time, it becomes like a so-near-yet-so-far kind of thing. Am I actually willing to give up my personal desires for the greater desire of God? What does it really means to take up my cross daily and follow Jesus? Without obedience, faith holds no ground.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

God from the Hebrew perspective

We know that the OT books were written in Hebrew and NT in Greek. The 4 Gospels are by basically recordings of Jesus' life and Jesus is a Hebrew, his words and teachings are mostly directed to the Hebrews. This makes the 4 Gospels very ‘Hebrew’ although written in Greek. Basically the Hebrews are circular in their thinking and Greeks, liner. We as Western Singaporeans are more to the Greek side. I have a more artistic mind and less of the logical hence tend to be more circular then liner. Probably this is the reason as to why I have no problem understanding OT theology and the 4 Gospels but struggle intensively when it comes to grasping the precepts of the NT books as most of them were written by Paul directed at the Greek/Roman world.

For the Greeks, every concept introduced needs to be backed with some sort of explanation (liner) but for the Hebrews not everything needs to be explained, but you need to note the author’s main point of the story. For the Hebrews, concepts are more fluid, more ‘out of the box’ whereas the Greeks like everything to be packaged ‘in a box’. So therefore when we read or study Hebrew text, if we read God with a Greek mindset, we are totally missing the author’s point and therefore, taking the text out of the context, misinterpreting what it was meant to be interpreted.
Let us now look at God in relation to evil as portrayed in the OT, with our minds tuned to the Hebrew mindset.

Surprisingly the word ‘Satan’ is used only 13 times in the whole OT. (and it bears no connotations with luck mind you!) It’s a Hebrew word which literally means ‘the accuser’ or ‘the adversary’. Meaning ‘The one who is against’. Yet the reason the word "Satan" is mentioned 13 times and 12 of it, in the book of Job (in conversations between God and Satan) is because in much of the OT, Yahweh is seen as the cause of evil as much as good.

There are many examples to show that this was no problem in the earlier period. Take Amos 3:6 for example. And in exodus we see Yahweh hardening the heart of pharaoh. In 1Samuel 1:3-8 we see Yahweh is the one that brings about the barrenness of Hannah. Here again and again we see Yahweh does both good and bad things. This God of seemingly ‘double standards’ persists even into the NT period until the time of clement of Rome in the 2nd century AD who says: "God has a right hand and a left hand and both of them bring about his will." In other words he is saying one bringing Good and the other bringing evil. Modern theologians (who are liner thinkers), as we know have trouble with talk like that.

So I being liner, tried to figure God out and I figured that God did not create evil but God created a definition of good that seems to include evil. Evil gains its definition from good and so does good gains its definition from evil. God is surely tolerating evil and it appears that beyond tolerating, God is even making use of it to define what is good and perfect. To the Hebrews, God is unquestionably sovereign. There was no concept of doubt in the Hebrew mindset. When there is a problem, their solution is worship. To them, it is all about Yahweh and his sovereignty. When there is no doubt, it tells Yahweh that He is sovereign. Probably that is the reason why the prophet Habakkuk starts his 3 chaptered book ‘singing the song of the atheist’, dealing with the problem of evil, but ended his book with worship. And with worship comes renewed strength.

To the Hebrews, Yahweh is the God with the power of reconciling opposites. Yahweh is the one who causes barrenness to bear ‘fruit’. Yahweh is the one who lead the oppressed into victory. Yahweh is the one who make the weak nation a conquering nation provided they pledge their allegiance to him. For examples see Abraham and Sarah, see the childless and therefore oppressed and despised Hannah, see the Israelites in their debilitated form devoid of iron weaponry technology against the ‘powerful’ Philistines as portrayed in 1Samuel. The only ‘weapon’ they had was Yahweh and surprisingly, they had victory every time except the times they disobeyed Yahweh. Hence the definition of Yahweh by Paul, as in Romans 4:17, “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” This is the foundational image of God for the Hebrews in the OT as well as for the Christians in both Paul and Jesus’ time. This is precisely the reason as to why G.K. Chesterton in his essay, ‘Introduction to the Book of Job’, writes that “The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”

This does not mean throwing logic out of the window either. I figured that general logic could best be divided into 3 categories, besides the logical and the illogical categories; there is a third, which is the ‘beyond’. Logic has its limits. It cannot guarantee wisdom. It cannot prove or disprove inspiration or love. It cannot replace the intuition gained through experience. Such are then placed in the third category. The Hebrews in their ‘simple’ mindset understood this. And beyond understanding, they arranged their life around their fundamental belief and hence it became culturally embedded.

I guess Rev.Houger said it right when he said “We think too much like the Greeks, we need to think more like the Hebrews.” If we want to understand God the way He was understood by the Hebrews, we better think and understand God and do apologetics in context. I guess this is what faith is all about - Understanding something of greater value through the initial lack of understanding.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Abide with me

You know like how we always pray for power to do all things? I came to realize that instead, I was given weakness of such titanic proportions so that I might feel the need of God. And now I really need God! Humility is really painful. The Chinese is really killing me. But there’s one thing that I can be assured of. Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. God's power is best expressed through my weakness. In my weakness, He is strong.

Only God alone knows how to humble a man without humiliating him and only God alone knows how to lift up a man without flattering him. What a mighty God we serve!

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
Earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

- Some verses from hymn "Abide with me" by Henry F. Lyte

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cultural Christianity

There is a certain way the gospel is heard when one’s stomach is empty and a very different way it is heard when people are satisfied. The gospel is first heard by people who were longing and thirsty, those who were poor and oppressed in one sense or another. They know their need and emptiness.

Religious education has for years given people answers to the questions they are not asking. The people accept the answers quickly and easily. And very often they spout the answers for the rest of their lives. For example, “God allow suffering to test us” and stuff like that. I call them canned answers. People apply the answers they learnt to questions without thinking as if they were as simple as some mix and match thing. People change but the answers (not implying content but method) do not and that is where the problem begin. Try saying that to someone who is going through intense grief, the answer, however true, will fall flat.

Such knowledge can pass away as quickly as it came because of the basic reason that we never thirsted for it in the first place. Until we make space inside, what comes is not an answer but an excuse not to face the question, an excuse to stop searching, to avoid the journey and sadly many people are no longer on that journey. We have easy Christian answers before we struggled with the questions.

If we wished to know more about the heart and mind of God, we will have to ask Him to allow us to feel what it means to be empty, to be abandoned and to be uncared for. We must go inside and find the rejected and fearful parts within each of us and try to live there if life has not placed us there yet. That should allow us a deeper communion with the oppressed of the world and at the same time a deeper understanding of the heart and mind of God. And most importantly His desire to reach out to them.

We have to face our fears and doubts. An awful lot of religion is an excuse for not facing our fears and doubts. True religion is not of denial but of transformation by God (Romans 4:17) “who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” God walks us into our fears, to feel them, to own them and to let them teach us.

God’s heart is love and His love is for the people, lets not give answers and quote scriptures as if the answers and scriptures are more important than the people.
Speaking of scriptures, nothing in the New Testament says that the primary authority is the scriptures themselves. Scriptural authority points itself to God. And since the scripture is the word of God for the people, then the direct authority of Godly/Christian living should be based on the word of God. This is the concept! When we make an idol of the book, when we make an end to the words themselves, we get into trouble. The point of scripture is to do the very thing that that writers of scripture did, that Moses and Abraham did, to go out on a journey and there meet the Lord. And then continually come back to the word of God for confirmation and consolation.

Jesus told his religious leaders that they “know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times (generation).” (Matthew 16:3 emphasis mine) What Jesus is saying is that if we are not a listening people, a discerning people, a humble and open people, we are not going to find much truth. We are simply going to have our scripture passages and instead of them being an avenue to God, the scripture themselves becomes a barrier.

God’s heart is love and His love is for the people, lets not give answers and quote scriptures as if the answers and scriptures are more important than the people.