Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last Quiz in TTC

Every student needs to go thru it .. every student needs to feel its pressure and challenge of preparing and sitting for a quiz or exam. Last Thursday I had my final-final quiz as a student in TTC ... and hopefully in my lifetime .... I hate quiz and exams!

In TTC we had a few quiz and exams ... but the trick for me in selecting subjects in TTC is pick subject that does not have final exam as their criteria .. hahhaha .... such lazy student .... but what to do .... phobia of quiz and exam after the "attack" we got in our Church History many many rounds of quizzes .. NO joke ..... from not only knowing the key events in church history, the dates and names of important people, we have to be able to recall the location of the place in the map ... according to the date and key person! And ... oooo ... no forgetting the last Church History surprise quiz where we had to match the name of an important person verses his/her photo -- but the challenge is ... the photo that is give is one that is take when the person is an infant ... ok ok ... I know m exaggerating here .... but its like Mother Teresa's photo without her nun outfit and head gear or Martin Luther when he is slim looking ... :0 ..!!!

Last Thursday, I had my final quiz .. Ethics ... and God has indeed blessed me with a strategy of preparing and tackling exams -- a study group!!! So, for 3 nights, Tu, our official tutor, Ah Yi and Susanto (our new member) camped in Kome to rib apart Lovin to find key points and terms for the quiz ... Susanto came in the first day ... still overdose with his Abba and loves songs which was passed to him few days ago .... and I came in blur2 ... cos I have not read ....hehehehe ..

So, here we are .... studying hard for our quiz ..... and all of us thank God for His grace for us when we got our results last night ...:0

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Grad Mag

Final lap in TTC is tough .. real tough .. climbing the steep hill of deadlines and to manage our Graduation Magazine ... it's crazy ...people are busy studying and doing their papers like mad in the lib ... Pris and I (and a few members) absolutely devoted our time, energy and brains on magazine .... putting the entire magazine together ....

Pris is even worst because she has to manage those who are suppose to be "working out their parts" but have not .... and not .... till today, there are still important articles are not in .... the photos need to be re-taken because people who are not suppose to be in the picture is in .... having to manage the mess of the advertisement forms and entertain all sorts of calls from sponsors etc ....

Like the analogy of a body, each of us plays an important role and when one part of the body does not ... the entire body suffers and sometimes, another part of the body has to come in to shoulder the task or job of the failing organ ... like when one eye is lazy eye, the other eye needs to work extra hard to ensure visual seem is still good ....

Lord have mercy .. Lord have mercy .... ....... .... ( ... unspoken words ....) At the end of the day ... we want to do up a good magazine that captures our 3 years journey and recounting God's blessings and faithfulness in our journey here.

To my fellow team members ... especially Pris ... hang in there .. the Lord will see us thru ... though the road becomes even steeper .... the Lord will see us thru ..... at the end of the day, we will be accountable to God ....
Let our service be like a living sacrifice ..... an act of worship to Him!

p/s : this is in appreciation of what you are doing dear .... (:0) ... GB the hard labor of your hands

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Story of Flesh, Faith & Heart (Jer 17:5-10)

Middle of last nite, I suddenly remembered the cute little illustration that was preached by Pris in Homiletics class last sem on Jer 17:5-10. Last sem, in Homiletics 1 class, we are assigned to preach 10min homily and we "creatively" try different style and method of preaching .. and here is one post modern style done creatively with great sound and visual effects ....

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord. He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:5-10)


Once upon a time, there were three good Methodist friends, Flesh, Faith and Heart. They loved doing things together, including worshiping, eating, chit-chatting, studying and even drinking. Flesh, Faith and Heart had one thing in common. They had a mission to climb Mount Trinity.

“Wow, this looks like a really steep mountain!” said Faith. “People take at least three years to climb it!”

“Yes it is!” said Flesh. “We’ll need lots of strength to get up there, so I’ve brought with me red bull and lots of ‘bao’ from our cafeteria. Don’t worry, I’ll help you guys!”

“Ooh, I don’t see how difficult this could be. We’ll definitely reach the top in no time!” thought Heart, still feeling a bit doubtful of the climb.

The first half of the gradual climb upwards proved to be quite effortless to the three good friends and all three of them were beginning to look forward to reaching the top. In fact, they even had time to stop for a few house parties and drinks.

However, as they went along, to their surprise, the mountain took a sudden change in its gradient and became steeper.

“Oh dear! I know I’ve spent months training for this climb but I don’t know if I can make it all the way to the top!” (Faith)

“Hang in there Faith! Look at my muscles! I still have lots of strength to help you get up there. You can depend on me!” (Flesh)

“Thank you Flesh! You are a good friend! I knew I could rely on you!” (Faith)

“Hey guys, I think I’m tired. Could we rest for awhile? I’m starting to feel unsure if we can even make it all the way to the top….” (Heart)

“No, Heart, if we stop, we’ll find it hard to continue to the top. I believe we can do it! I trust in Flesh!” (Faith)

So the three friends trudged on, hoping to accomplish their mission up to Mount Trinity.

Suddenly, Flesh collapsed.

“Heerrr heeerrr, I can’t breathe! My chest feels tight!” (Flesh)

“Someone! Help!” (Heart, frantic)

“Look, Heart! I see an Old Man coming this way!” (Faith)

“Sir, could you help us? My friend Flesh is sick! I thought he was so strong! Looks like we can’t rely on him!” said Faith.

“Let me take a look,” said the Old Man. “Ahhh…Your friend looks fine physically but seems to be suffering from an asthmatic attack.” “Instead of always having coffee and American Club cheesecake, I’ll give him a few puffs of my Holy Word and he’ll be fine. However, he must watch not to rely too much on himself or he might need to apply for special leave. I think he should stay close to me.”

“Thank you so much sir! We were actually on our way to the top. Could you help guide us up instead?” (Faith)

“Sure, it would be my pleasure, but you’ve all got to follow me closely and do what I tell you. The next quarter o

f the journey will not be an easy one.” (Old Man)

“Yes we will!” said the three friends excitedly.

As they made their way upwards with the help of the Old Man, they were met with a number of obstacles like the garden of Ethics and all its reports; the poisonous readings tree and the heavy rain of Cs and Ds. But the wise Old Man brought them through each one of them, step by step.

Finally, on the last mile, Heart saw a sign which said “Short Cut, to the top” and nudged his friends to come take a look.

“No, Heart! Remember the Old Man said to follow whatever he said? We mustn’t stray away,” said Faith. “He has brought us so far, so we can trust him to bring us on the last mile!”

“Come on Faith, this short cut looks so much easier to go. I won’t deceive you!” said Heart. “Maybe, the Old Man forgot to tell us about it. We’ll definitely reach up there faster and still get to see the beautiful sight from

the top. Wanna give it a try?”

“I’m in!” said Flesh. “Heart is not deceitful. And besides, it’s more comfortable to climb upwards without having to stick so close to the Old Man.”

“Well, it’s quite tempting but I think…you should count me out. I’d rather trust the Old Man.” said Faith.

“Fine! We’ll see you up there first!” said Heart, excited to reach to the top first.

The sun was starting to set by the time Faith reached the top of the mountain with the Old Man. However, Flesh and Heart were no where in sight.

“They must have gotten hurt,” said the Old Man. “Going by the short cut without spending enough time with me may have felt easier and may get you to the top quickly. But one may end up in the rocky dry terrain of fear and thorny bushes of uncertainty before reaching. You were wise, Faith, to trust and stay close to me. For only I know the way and I knew that

you might be tempted to take a short cut like your friends.”

“Thank you so much for your help and guidance, sir. I really had an easy climb up even though it was the steepest and hardest of all.” (Faith)

So Faith spent the rest of the time, soaking up the breath-taking view on Mount Trinity, relieved that he had made the right choice to trust in the wise Old Man.

This little story is preached and shared by Priscilla

Saturday, March 27, 2010

An Attitude of Gratitute vs Complaining

Its always easier to complain and think about negative things about a person or situation rather than thinking of the positive or the good. A very interesting behavioral pattern I notice in my school is this - in our school, food and lodging comes in as a package for all who live in the single room hostel. This is rightfully so because we are not allowed to cook in the hostel.

Off course, one can imagine canteen food - to a certain extend, there is a standard menu that the operator will need to use as a guide ... and yes, I have to say that Uncle Liew's menu is too predictable sometimes -- BF (its fried bihun, mi or koey teow with scrambled egg and bread through I do recall Uncle Liew in my first year gave us the option of ta-bao or even one lo-mai-kai sometimes), Tuesday lunch - chicken rice, Thur is plain Teowchew porridge, Sat lunch - nasi lemak and the rest of the meals is two vegie and 1 meat though most of the time is chicken. So, there was complain - the food too oily, too salty, no taste .... not enough, dishes given too little, too spicy, not spicy ... everyday chicken - Indonesian chicken, Indian chicken, Malaysian chicken, Vietnamese chicken, Singaporean chicken ... in other words ... its chicken all the way ... watermelon everyday .... statements like -- too much of meat is not good for health ... then there is another group that says -- oo not enough meat ... give us mutton!!! and another ... i don't eat mutton or pork .... and so ................................ on ..........................

So, it was considered a successful complain for improvement and the rights of hostelites (interesting choice of thoughts and words for a group of people who are undergoing training to be "fulltimers" - as servants, laborers, ku-li in God's field) when in my final semester, the canteen operator was changed suddenly.

So, we now have a new canteen operator .... the operator has chains of outlets -- so, in that sense, he is able to cater better choice of menu. Now, we get a host of difference in the breakfast - bread and fried rice is the set menu but alternately, we have Singapore laksa (who will ever dream of having this as bf here!!), loh-mi (wow!!!), keoy teow teng with fishball, mi-rebus (can you beat that -- they even have Malay menu!!!) and off course sometimes porridge or fried noddle! I think that the BF is menu is fantastic! Then for lunch and dinner -- we will have the norm of 2 vegie and 1 meat and soup and 1 type of fruit. The amount of dish that is given to us -- I got to tell aunty many times --"gou lek"

But .... it is very surprising that the same song can be heard from the dining hall though (I personally think) there is much improvement done to the choice of menu as well as quantity and quality. First it was --- ooo they waste so much of money making the dining area beautiful when they could save the money to give us better food .... then the song begins -- ooo ... its too oily, too much msg, too salty, no taste, always chicken ....... and so on ....

The best part, now the song has a bridge : oooo .... why is the fruit cut and placed in the plastic bag .... its so not environmental friendly ... we must speak out ... save mother earth!!! faint!

It is indeed very wearisome and tiresome listening to the same song day in day out as I try to relax and enjoy my meal sometimes .... like what Proverbs say about nagging wives --- its really like a dripping umbrella .....

I keep wondering --- why is the same song being sung even after the change of operator? And I realize that it is actually in our sinful nature to have this nagging complaining spirit more than a thankful heart. I mean --- there are people who do not have money to pay for their food. And I see my brothers from the married quarters coming down to take meals from the hostelites who are not eating in for that day -- and never once they ever complain.They always take their bowls with food humbling walking off smiling because there is provision for the day.

Are we arrogant and "nasty" just because we are paying for the food? Must we assert our "request for improvement" in menus or quality of food according to our own selfish desires? Have we forgotten the fact that we are living in Singapore, among international students that sometimes what we 'request" may not be suitable for them? Or at the end of the "request" the operator may not be earning much? Have we become petty and demanding in the way we should be "served"? Have we forgotten that we are first and foremost selected and appointed to be here in TTC to be trained as servants, laborers and ki-li-s .... is this the right attitude? What type of testimony do we give to the operator and their staff? Do we bring shame to the name of Jesus, our Boss, the One who had selected and appointed us here?

I agree with Ron's statement of the sunset pix that I posted -- and I quote --- "it is a matter of perspective. it is either the imprisonment of the sun by the fence, or the beautiful sunset can never be imprisonment. =)." Its a matter of perspective how we view the three meals that is provided for us ..... it is God's provision for us ... we say grace and thanks before we eat .... what does it say about us when we just give thanks and the next moment we sing songs of complain and lament over the very same food we gave thanks for? Remember the brothers from the married quarters never complain when they get their meals .... what does that say about us ... that we have the rights to be assertive and ensure our views are heard because we paid (or our sponsor pay for our food)? Remember how was Jesus attitude when He took His final steps on earth? He never deserve the unfair treatment, injustice, the punishment ... yet He choose to walk this path because He wants to love us .... He choose because the souls of mankind matters to Him most at the end of the day .... where have we placed our perspectives?

Found this in the book I was reading : THANKS ---- and I hope I can remember to have a thankful and grateful attitude all the time :

T : telling God and others the difference they've made in our lives

H : humbly responding as if we do not deserve anything
"Those who are not grateful soon begin to complain of everything" - Thomas Merton

A : accepting our needs for others

N : not taking things for granted

K : killing our enemies and problems by adjusting our attitude

S : standing out in the crowd

Ten lepers were healed ... only one said return to say thank you ...

Do everything without complaining and arguing so that you may shine like stars (Phil 2:14-15)

Can people see the difference we make as we stand out in the crowd .... among the people that God has place in our lives and make a difference for our Master?

Can we change our attitude so that Christ can shine in us and through us ... Can we stand out in the crowd for Jesus, our Master and Boss?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Christ calls ....

"When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die"
Dietrich Bonhoef

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The result of sin : Watchman Nee

"God allows that soul to fall, to weaken, and even to sin, that he may understand whether or not any good resides in the flesh. This usually happens to the one who thinks he is progressing spiritually. The Lord tries him in order that he may know himself. It is altogether a most difficult lesson, and is not learned within one day or night. Only after many years does one gradually realize how untrustworthy is his flesh."

... Shaken, Quenched, Broken ...

Unshakable faith is faith that has been shaken ...
Unquenchable joy is joy that has been quenched ...
Unbreakable love is love that has been broken ....

AW Tozer

"God rarely uses a man greatly, until He hurts a man deeply"
AW Tozer

EM Bounds - Quote

"The Church is looking for better methods;
God is looking for better people. What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but people whom the Holy Spirit can use, people of prayer, people mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through people. He does not come in machinery, but on people. He does not anoint plans, but people -- people of prayer"

Broken In The Right Place - Alan E Nelson

While I was in the hairdresser this evening, I completed reading the book "Broken In The Right Place" by Alan E Nelson .... I was already half way and completed the book by the time the hairdresser finish her work on my hair ....

This is a very interesting book ... rather, it somehow suits my mode for now. Found a lot of meaningful and reflective nuggets and one of it is entitled The Mature Person - which is a result of brokenness - a tamed soul which is mature. Alan listed seven characters of a mature person which caused me to reflect on my own inner man.

A mature person will :

1) Keep loving when they do not receive love in return - can I love consistently? Broken people tend to be good lovers. They are slow to anger, quick to forgive, reticent to condemn and swift to affirm.

2) Able to maintain a positive joy flow during times of times of emotional recession. Joy during trials and temptations. They are emotionally consistent.

God is a great recycler. He takes the garbage that happens to us and makes something good out of it. The breaking process has a spiritual ecology. Problems are never wasted. Mature people who not rise and fall with their day-today emotions.

3) Live in holiness. E Stanley : "outer sins are only fruit - the unsurrendered self is the disease"

4) Not preoccupied with possessions or status. Brokenness reveals the true value of tangible things. A person rich in relation to the things he or she can live without.

5) Consistently service-oriented. Mature people are not driven to serve but they are called to serve.

6) Mature person learn from the past, live in the present but aim for the future. Immature people live in the past, complain about the present, and usually avoid the future. Mature people are perpetual learners. They are always growing. They press forward and progress-oriented. They use the past to provide wisdom for the future. They quit licking yesterdays wounds.

7) Humility - humility is one major result of breaking process.

Nelson made another thought provoking statement : most quarrels come from inner conflict, not external circumstances. And I think that if we look deeper .... into our soul .... there are any conflicts within us. Only when we can settle the raging storm within us with God, we can be at still and peace -- enter another milestone of maturity.

There is just so much of nuggets of gold in this book -- this is a book that I highly recommend!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Why Don't We Fear God?

Last Sun was my first time to preach in GCM service. The topic : fear of the Lord and indeed I had great fear of preaching because it has been 1.5years since I last preached in a service.

The main thing that stuck with me is - why we do we struggle so much to fear the Lord. As I reflect, these keep ringing in my ears : " .... I want to be the one in charge .... I want to be in control of things ... I want to do it my way .... I want to be god .. I want ... I want ... I want ... I want .... " ..... Lord, have mercy .... our human nature cries out to be in charge and in control of ourselves and of the things around us, the people around us .... the following is an edited abstract from the sermon -

"Deuteronomy 10 : 16 tells us that we are stiff necked people. Stiff necked is liken to unresponsive oxen or horse. Oxen and horses are stubborn, rebellious and inflexible. It will take a strong bridle to break a horse or oxen’s stubbornness. God calls us to circumcise our heart and do not be stiff neck anymore.

If physical circumcision is cutting away the flesh, spiritual circumcision of the heart then is a cutting away of the natural, sinful, Adamic nature we are born with. Uncircumcised heart is one that is closed towards God. It is rebellious, inflexible and stubborn heart, a heart that resists the work of God’s Spirit, dealing and discipline. Uncircumcised heart still wants to be king and god over his life and not allow God to be God. Uncircumcised heart cries out to be in charge and to be in control ......

In order to fear the Lord, we need to circumcise our heart - we need to cut away the flesh, the human nature that cries out to be in charge and to be in control .....

How then can we be have a circumcised heart and fear the Lord? Only and only by SURRENDERING, LETTING GO, to ALLOWING GOD TO BE GOD in our lives , to allow God to be the one in charge and in control of our lives ..... in other words .... to totally submit to live by the Spirit.

Paul says in Romans 8:5 that those who live according to sinful nature, which is by our flesh have our minds set on that nature desires but those who live in accordance to the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

What is the desire of your heart? To live a life by subject to the Spirit or to live a life controlled by your sinful nature? Or we get greedy and want the best of both worlds – to claim all the benefits of God’s promises and yet at the same time, enjoy our current world?

You know that no man can serve two masters. I have personally been challenged in this area 2 weeks ago ...... We will either hate one and love the other - confirmed by own life experience - God does not want a divided heart, divided spirit, divided soul .....

Fearing the Lord is the matter of your heart – what is the decision of your heart now?

To surrender and let go of your life, to allow God and His Spirit to take control of your heart, be in charge of your life, humbly go through a spiritual circumcision of your heart ....

OR to continue to live as you are …. You being the master of your life., be in control of your life and people in your life ..... you will remain in the same situation, stuck in the same staleness of life ..

If you want a change and breakthrough in your life, make this decision today ….. pray and ask God to circumcise your heart! Allow God to be God in your life. Allow Him to take charge and take over."

Remember, if He can control and ensure that the entire universe is running and working in order ... don't you think He is able to take control of your life well?