Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Afterthoughts.

I've been set thinking by my discipler's words.

In the youth ministry. Which is sought more, the presence of God or the presence of man?

You see, if the presence of God is sought more, then why does youth attendance shoot up when a mere man, prophetic though he may be, speak? Isn't that an indirect insult to God? Then you come for the man and his ministry, and not so much because you want to seek God?

And what about those who say they seek a word about the future? If God wants to tell His child about the future, must He do it through a prophet? He may and can. But I'm just saying that the motive behind some of us coming for prophetic meetings is entirely wrong. The motive should be to wait on God and seek Him. Not to satisfy our itchng ears. If we continue down this path (and yeah, agreed, this might be a slippery-slope fallacy), there is a real danger of the situation in 2 Timothy 4:3- The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear.

You see, there's a difference between going to a prophetic sermon to hear the word of God and going to a prophetic sermon to seek a prophecy. If we go about seeking prophecies, there's a real danger that we lose sight of the true and living God. Yes, prophecy is important. But Psalm 64:10 says to Be still and know that I am God. Indeed, be reassured by the words already spoken. Do not seek further reassurance from a prophecy. That would mean to have a lack of faith in God's word, wouldn't that? But when God chooses to encourage through a prophecy, He will. There is no need to seek a prophetic word. But there is a pressing need to seek His face.

Furthermore, should we not trust in the promises already spoken instead of looking for God to tell us something we want to hear? Isn't Psalm 32:6 Therefore let everyone who is godly come and pray to you while you may be found, surely when the mighty waters rise they shall not reach him.) more than enough?

Sometimes we want to hear the voice of God so desperately that we seek men instead of God Himself. But there really is no need for that. Jeremiah 29:13-14-you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you declares the Lord Almighty...

Ah, where are the prophetic ministers in our midst? But then a counter-question. Is there a lack of prophets or a perception that we do not have prophets? And the latter because we don't really trust non-established prophets, so much so that we don't even recognize they are prophets.

A last question. Would there be a personal bias and preference in most of us as to who gives the prophecy? Are not prophecies all from God and the choice of servants to deliver the word inconsequential?

Consider this.

"Yesterday, Rev. Rusty Russell spoke a word of prophecy to me. He told me that..."

"Yesterday, this Sec. 1 guy came up to me and told me that God was saying..."

Have we put our trust in the prophet or in God Most High?

Friday, August 18, 2006

A lesson from Asa

Yesterday night I was real frustrated bout coming prelims and A's. Everything's crashing in. And I still ain't prepared. C maths lecture yesterday. I didn't really understand all the integration they were going through.

Lecturer: "This is simple hor. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, then you're in trouble"

I don't understand what she's talking about. I'm in trouble.

Lecturer: "Don't understand? Go home and understand."

I'm amused. But my C maths teacher isn't going to be amused if she finds out how little PaperI stuff I understand. She won't find out though. Well, at least not until prelims, if I haven't got it figured out by then.

After dinner last night, went out with a 1 hour walk. As I told Jing Jie today, it was simply me walking with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Just kept walking. Didn't need to talk. I was telling God:"Lord... aiyah, let's just walk lah." And so we walked. Walked for 20 mins.

Sat down outside and talked with God for like 20 mins. Surrendered my A's and everything else to the Lord. Asked God to give me the grades good enough to get into where He wants me to. And that's enough.

Then went home.

Today morn had cell. Was strange. Really dry. 4 of us J2 guys only. KC, Jie Hau, OneBigDonkey and me.

Afternoon's meeting was slightly better. Besides the fish pond next to office. Was quite nice to have Nellyn over. Aga and Chinyi came too. Open-eyed prayer. Had a long conversation with the guys after the J1s left.

Just now as I was praying, I read bout King Asa in the bible. 2 Chronicles 14-16, I believe. And I was just thanking God for all the grace given to me throughout the whole of this year. The turning point was last year's children and youth camps, really. Changed my life. Started out this year to work hard on my studies, to really honour the Lord. (Bearing in mind that I can't earn the grace God gives. It's GIVEN.) The start of this year was frustrating. School min and ODAC and studies. But the Lord brought me through all of that. School min and studies were particularly successful. ODAC was mentally and emotionally tough for me. But I still got through it.

And then came to a point mid-year where before and after Rinjani I didn't really get much studying done. My ankles still recovering after Rinjani too. And then came my awful Mids results. D E F C6. And then school min started to slow down. Had to spend much time on prayer and fasting on that. Then came a phase where I stayed up late (till 2a.m.) or woke up early (2a.m. to 5a.m.) to study for God, using the World-Cup skills I've acquired. Some mornings I relied on Red Bull, which wasn't really good.

And then the point where I obeyed God, went to the seminar with Pam and then kena fever. And then this week, where I almost got sore throat again, if not for a total of 6 Garlic pills, 3 Vitamin B, 4 Vitamin C which I gulped down within 2 days.

Thing is, just as Asa was given success in his early days against the Cushites, I was given success early this year. And now my King Baasha of Israel is here to attack me. My A's. I resolve not to take out the gold and silver articles from the temple (my time with my Lord Jesus, school ministry time, YPM time, encouraging my dear bros and sis, praying and interceeding time, fasting time) and find my own way to tackle A's. Asa allied himself with King Ben-Haded of Aram, and for that God was angry. Asa got what he wanted, but in the process, He did not honour God.

And that is precisely where I need to learn a lesson. I must rely on God to see me through my A's. I write this here, right now.

By myself, there is no way I can get my A's right. There's so much to study for History, I've never gotten anything above a D for my major exams. I haven't touched econs for more than a month. I've never scored above a D for my major exams. My C maths is in tatters and I don't know how to do a great amount of pure maths. Promos and mids I got straight Fs.

Lord, I cry out to you. I ask that you bring me through. If I get through all this, it's really by your grace. I acknowledge that right now.

And now that that has been said, I simply rest in His presence and rely on Him. I'll study, sure. But it'll be God seeing me through. I say now that if I'm to get any good results, it's because the Lord has helped me, not by my own effort.

Ta.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Might have been wrong

Might have been working too hard to earn righteousness.

Was listening to this sermon by Sarah Allis Young, from the church Pam brought me to 3 Fridays back. (The lady's a Chinese American. God really changed her life. She used to be in homosexuality... etc. God brought her out of it and now she's a leader. Recently been told by God that'd there'd be a revival in UC Berkely, her alma mater).

I might have been missing the point. This year I set my heart down to honouring the Lord. And it was good. Really grew closer to God. But then again, I might have been so hard on myself that I've forgotten the most important part. That I don't have to earn righteousness or purity or peace or God's love. It's given. No amount of fasting or praying or studying the word will give it to me.

In fact, if I do those things and depend on that stuff, I may even be drawing away from the Lord. I need to spend my days with God not because I want His annointing or touch or power. But simply this. Because I love Him.

And I'm a son of the Most High. Romans 8:15. For ye have not received a spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received a spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, "Abba Father".

Need to stop living in any kind of fear and operate totally on grace.

Just to share, 2 things that I've prayed so often that it's become and understanding between the Lord and I.

1)Lord, I don't need others to think I'm super holy. Because I know how much I've sinned and how much I'm forgiven. If anything, let them see your grace in a forgiven man. I don't need people to have a perception of me being super holy.

2)Lord, I don't need to pretend to be holy before you. You know just how holy I am. You know where I've gone wrong lately. And I rely on you for that holiness.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Thanks.

Thank you Caleb for being a great bro in Christ. Great talking to you. Still don't know your birthday date. Or your favourite colour. blah blah. To heck with that stuff. Not important. Both of us don't care bout it anyway. Keep running for God. Really encouraged by how you've grown.

Thank you Kwan Chin for sticking by me today even though I was so sian*. Thank you for praying with me. Think you did a great job sharing Christ with that aunty. Jesus smiles, I'm sure.

Thank you Mei Yan for continually organizing the programme and coming early for Friday morning cell meetings. Greatly encouraged everytime I see you come. (P.S. your blog is taking a lloooooooooooong time to load)

Thank you Jing Jie for talking cock with me again, as usual. All the best brown cow. God is with you. Never forget that.

Thank you Jie Hau for always sharing insight with me. Rest well. Stay strong. God will provide.

Wan Lin ah, long time haven't talked with you already leh. Thank you for the joy and enthusiasm you bring to the group. And that joy and enthusiasm the way you bring it hasn't been around for sometime.

I miss Jing Jie and Jie Hau and Wan Lin in the group. Today we missed Agapera and Jonathan Pang and Ching Yi. Only Joseph, Kwan Chin and I. Yi Hui and Zhi Wei came in the morn. Where are you guys??

Hmmm. The army enlists 2 more soldiers for the Lord... 12 strong now. What will become of this particular unit I'm not entirely sure. I don't need to know either. I just thank God that He's been so gracious. The 6 of us have had some amazing times in God's presence. Some wonderful times of fellowship and strengthening. Many days of laughter, joy and also a common frustration when we feel we're hitting a blank wall together. Lord, thank you for this 5 bros and sistas you've given me.

Whether God chooses to restructure this unit, disband this unit if it so be His will, I do not know. I just pray that His will be done. And if it so be in accordance with His will, the J1s will really grow in this group and proclaim God's name together. That they'll pick up where we left off and continue the hard work in this school.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Your hands are a bit loose...

Ah the continuing saga.

Went to orthopaedic surgeon yesterday. Wait was ok. 45 minutes? Read my bible as I waited. One thing that struck me was when Moses was told by God to go tell Pharaoh to free the Hebrews. Funny thing was, Pharaoh originally made things worse for Moses. Made Hebrews make bricks without straws. Worst thing was, God had never told Moses this would have happened.

Now if I was Moses, I'd be really angry at God, that God would let me get humiliated before the Pharaoh. And I'd probably start to ask God to do things MY way. Like ask for another staff from God. One that could change into a PYTHON and eat up the idiotic Pharaoh in front of his court. Or ask God to strike the Pharaoh with lifelong piles. Or ask God to afflict the Egyptians with chronic diarrhoea for the rest of their lives so their slave drivers couldn't lift a finger and the Hebrews could slack around and laugh.

But then again, if Moses had, he wouldn't have been going according to God's purpose. The key to fulfilling God's purpose is total obedience and surrender, as God is showing me these days. Not even commitment. That requires me to operate for God. Surrender is above that. It's asking God will to be done and moving on God's mercy and providence.

And so the orthopaedic surgeon... he started rotating my left ankle a few dozen times.

Rotate rotate rotate

"Pain a not?"

"Not pain"

Rotate rotate rotate rotate rub rub

"Pain?"

"Not pain"

Jab jab jab

"Pain?"

"No"

"Pain?"

"Not pain"

Change ankle.

"Pain a not?"

"No."

"No."

"No."

"Not pain."

"I can't find anything wrong with your ankle leh... they seem quite firm to me"

Then this junior doctor calls in a senior doctor. Sits there and works on the com as the senior doc does his stuff. First thing he says when he reads the report of the A&E doc.

"Wah, you climbed a volcano in Indonesia ah?" starting to get excited.

"er. Yeah"

"Merapi ah?" eyes wide with glee (I don't know how else to put the emotion)

"No"

"Oh, so it's not active?" calmer now. Less excited.

"Well, it is"

"Huh, it is ah? Then might as well just go and climb Merapi right? That would be more exciting. All the lava coming out. Correct?"

I'm really amused.

And so senior doc checks my ankles. Then he bends my fingers, my hands.

"Hmmm. You have muscle laxity."

"Which means?"

"Your ligaments are lax. Some people are born that way"

"Is it because I do a lot of stretching?"

"No, you're born that way."

"Is it ok?"

"Yeah, you're born that way."

"So there's no problem?"

"Well, some people just have more lax ligaments. They're born that way you know. You're the second one I've examined today."

"Oh so no problem"

"No, you can run, you can do NS, it's perfectly alright. Some people are just born that way."

Finds nothing wrong with ankles. Recommends physio.

"There's no muscle tear?"

"Well, there doesn't appear to be one. Unless you want an MRI? We could do one for you, you know? Just that it'll cost S$900 for each foot"

turns to junior doc. "Write down that I've examined patient, no sign of muscle tear. Perfectly stable. Patient very concerned, wants MRI."

"Er, I think it's ok lah, no problem"

"Well, if you want it we can do it for you, you know."

"It's ok."

"Well, if you really want we could do a check for you right now, you know. We can do it."

"No, it's ok."

Then he gives some instructions to junior doc. Senior doc leaves the room. Junior doc turns to me.

"Hmmm. What did he (senior doc) say huh?"

.
.
.

And then I leave the hospital, thanking God that all's well. Cost S$20.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

.

Saturday. Mom and Dad went with me to the A&E department to check my ankles. (A&E's really the sneaky way to go, since there's a subsidized rate. About S$70. The school brought Jian Hao to MOUNT ALVERNIA Hospital to fix his fractured wrist a week or so back. That cost a whopping S$200 plus)

The A&E doctor felt my ankles. Felt the ligaments' strength by pulling them a bit.

"Hmmm, this one is a bit loose, you know".

Puts down that ankle, lifts the other ankle and feels it.

"This one also a bit loose"

Tai Yong. Mouth open.

And so I'll be down. No running, no jumping. Walk slowly as an added precaution. Finally got round to packing my school bag to make it slightly lighter. Took out a few kg worth of notes that I've been storing up. Some since January.

Can swim though. Yet another thing to thank God.

Romans 8:28 still stands though. All things still work together for the good of those who love God. I have no idea whether this'll have any implication for NS. But just you wait, this double ankle sprain will work to my good, I know.

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Completed most of my History Research Assignment today. Took me most of the day. School was rather short today. Don't know if I can catch up on all that C maths. Thick-skinned Tai Yong isn't really affected by all the prodding of teachers to do work. He'll do them as he sees fit. (whether or not that's a good thing... it's a double-edged thing actually). Means that he'll save himself from getting stressed out. Also means he'll sometimes get far behind in work.
School ministry. Praying for God to teach us what to do. Truly, we've lost our axhead in this ministry. We've lost our focus. The thing isn't so much about renewal of members or expansion. It's about focusing on God, guys. It's about letting God do everything. Just as Paul put it in 1 Corinthians (3 I think) He who sows and he who waters is not anything, only God,who makes the plant grow.
These past 2 days of partial fasts have brought me closer to God. Spent lots of time praying and reading the bible.
Mr Larry Lee said in school today that "feeling" is not something that can prove God exists. It's illogical to say that God exists because one "feels" that. And guess what, I totally agree. Yes, I do believe that I feel God in my everyday life. But God has proven to me beyond reasonable doubt that He exists. And not just through failings.
How can somebody come up to me and pray for me in the name of Jesus, and tell me exactly what's going on in my life and that God still loves me? And that more than once. How can I sometimes go up to someone and pray for him or her and know something in his or her life that I really didn't know and pray in the name of Jesus that God helps the person in that area. Why is it that sometimes that person can be reduced to tears- tears of being touched in the heart by an awesome God- by the very mention of such things?
And that's only in my own life. I once witnessed Pastor Rusty Russell tell Rebeccah Ng to pray for my friend James Ow Yong. Told her to pray for a pain in his leg (the hamstring I think). And then that pain went away immediately. Woah.
Perhaps then you might ask why God didn't heal my ankles? It's beyond me. I prayed. But look, if He's God, He can say yes or no and still remain God right?
And I haven't even begun to mention the countless changed lives I see around me. Of drug addicts turned pastors. Of angry people turning to a loving God.
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And so tomorrow I'll be skipping PE. Our goalie Jian Hao's down. Now Qi Xiang's goalie (one who makes beautiful saves too). I'm down. Welyon just recovered from in-grown toe nail. Oh well.
Hmmm. Wonder what a certain teacher will say when he sees both my ankles sprained during PE tomorrow. Not that he can do anything much against me though. Heh heh.