Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Day of School

Will break for June hols after today. My school's having tomorrow off to celebrate some sporting achievement. So yeah, thank God for a rather eventful school term. Some work and all.

Next week will be an SU camp. Yeah, am looking forward to it, but am just slightly at a loss as to how things will run in such a camp. But will be missing PPTTC though.

I guess teaching has been a rather good transition in between army life and uni life. At least I've been involved in some form of academia. Essays and all. Also fun to interact with all my juniors.

My approach to teaching also changed a lot this time. I did minimal discipline. Tried to be as diplomatic as possible. No point really, those who really want to learn will still learn and those who really don't want to learn can't be forced. So might as well concentrate all energies on those who want to learn, instead of trying to get those uninterested ones interested.

Similarly, my behaviour in the staff room was also very different this time. Talked a lot less, maintained a low profile. Sort of like the grey man in the background. Interestingly, people talk a lot more around me. So I'm aware of a lot more office politics, you could say.

Only have one other old boy teaching on relief pay right now. Graduated the same year, but wasn't very close to me back then. So yeah, for work these few months I've been rather quiet in regards to my colleagues.

Sometimes have conversations with the teachers who taught me about the old days. (5 years ago?). Kinda miss some of those days where I had so many fun times with my secondary school mates. These are the guys throughout my student life who I really still do identify with. Not so for my JC friends. One reason being most of us were from the junior school. So for some of them I knew them for 10 years. We could be frank and really ourselves, since there wasn't much to hide after knowing each other for so long. All our idiosyncrasies were well known to each other.

Still easy to talk with my old friends when I meet them. Well, most of them.

Don't quite know what to expect for university though. Not really many close friends joining the university. What I don't want to be is the brooding fellow in the background this time. Hopefully will be able to make a couple of close friends in uni. At least will have people to hang around with.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Things I've been doing lately

1. Straightening out my walk

2. Preparing for the SU camp I'm attending
3. Rounding up this semester in school. Giving out and going through papers with my students

4. Continuing driving lessons. Prayer-fully I pass the first time round. That'll be 23rd June, so please do keep me in prayer.

5. Exercising!

6. Reading a book by Bill Bright

Guess that I won't be running Stan Chart this year after all. Was kind of wanting to run. But then it clashes with Childrens' Camp. That's the main thing. I don't want to leave my kids on the 3rd day of the camp. And besides that, I have learnt a couple of lessons from camps past.

Well, BSF was good last night. The main points for me were:

-Fallen nature: In our fallen nature, we often do not want to wait, we want some physical thing, or some spiritual revelation, or word from God. Perhaps a miracle or a sign from above. However, before the Israelites turned away from God in spectacularly rebellious fashion (golden calf), they had seen numerous signs and wonders. Even that did not stop them from turning away from God. That is, we do not base our trust in God on signs and wonders.

-A weak leader gives in to pressure of the people. (Then again, I guess in modern times, this requires much wisdom and tact).

-Even our work for God can become idolatory.

-Idolatory does not have to be a full-sized replacement of God

-Godly leaders are developed by God through time spent alone with Him, and many challenges (man, this keeps coming up for me lor.)



Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Milestones

There are 2 songs that are milestones for me.

One is "You are my All in All" and the other is "I will have no other god before you". These 2 songs often bring me back to a camp in Pri 2, 13 years ago. That was St Margaret's school. The year-end childrens' camp. I still keep the camp book. Theme was Kings. Of course, of the more exciting things I can remember, I have a most interesting memory of Jeshua being punished and made to run around in the night by Uncle Aaron because he wasn't sleeping, and coming back to the dorm hot and sweaty.

Most importantly, it was the place where I can remember that I really met God.

13 years. Wow. That's so long ago.

Of course many other songs are milestones. But these 2 songs, they're the first milestones.

Sometimes when I sing those songs, the memories of the annointing of the Holy Spirit come strongly back to me. After so many years, it is still one of my most joyful memories.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This weekend- Hammock Night 3

I thought I'd blog about this weekend.

Mind now is very crowded with a lot of stuff. Marking in school and all. Some issues with people. Some issues with my walk. Am thinking that I have not been spending enough quality time with God these last few days. And even when I wake up in the mornings I feel quite tired. 3 John 2 alludes to what I believe is a fact. That if our soul doeth well, everything else will do well.

I think that the recurring question in my life has been how far I've been willing to go to make my soul well. There are a few central issues that need to stay resolved. It's very much like the tabernacle that we've been studying at BSF, and incidentally, in CM for the Pri 6 classes. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 speaks of our body being bought at a price, a temple of the Holy Spirit. And so we are living, walking, breathing tabernacles.

Of course as we all know, the old tabernacle was a symbol of things to come. I was thinking of going into details regarding the arrangement of the tabernacle etc etc photos and all, but am yawn* tired already.

Okay, what're the central issues? Keeping the lampstand burning, keeping the showbread changed, keeping the incense burning. These are things that must keep happening.

Figuratively, have I been keeping these things burning? Have I been faithful in trimming my lamps? (even as a famous new testament parable alludes to the keeping of lamps filled with oil by young ladies waiting for the bridegroom as an example of faithfulness.)

Have I been faithful in incense? Prayer? The incense back then was made out of ingredients, the work of a perfumer. Anyone who manufactured the same type of incense for self-enjoyment would be put to death. Indeed prayer is one of a kind. Its purpose is for God alone and its distinct qualities irreplaceable in the eyes of God.

Have I been keeping communion with God as represented by the showbread? Not communion as in the sacrament, but as in the walk with God.

I figure that I have grown to need to spend quite a bit of time with God to truly be at peace with everything. I suppose that would be good. It's just that after walking closely with God, everything else seems mediocre. Nothing can satisfy.


My trusty parallel bible

Alright, I shall talk about what is probably more interesting to most people.

Hammock night 3

Last Friday. We camped in a shelter, in case it rained. Well, I did pray that it'd rain a lot in the afternoon and nothing in the night. That actually happened, but anyway we slept overnight in a shelter.


I have learnt that to steam pao in field cooking, the alternative is to cover them with a wet cloth, if not they'll just go dry. Like my er, toasted pao?


Toasting.


That's me frying sausages for the carbonara spaghetti later. We later realised that we had too much carbonara pasta. Cuz I had enough for 2 batches. And Lowell cooked a different version of the same thing. So we were all very full.


Cooking and all


Lowell's other "dish". Tuna and biscuits.


Me, still frying the sausages


There they are.


Caleb still eating.


And well, yeah.


Someone moving the pot away while I was taking the picture


Third dish of the night, my creation. Lots of cheese. Which we all realised was too filling. Which made this hammock night a bit different. It's supposed to be moderately filling food flowing throughout the night and early morning. But oh well.


Ah yes. Us on our mat.


So well, Aaron, Jing Yang, Tiew dropped by to visit Lowell, Caleb, James and I. That's a blur picture of Aaron and Caleb.


Caleb cooking vegetables while James sleeps


James cooking. The black hammock on the ground qualifies this as a hammock night. Haha.


Lowell sleeping. Awww, so cute



Cooking.

Alright. Don't have that many pictures to boast as the last time. We broke camp early at about 4a.m. to sleep over at Caleb's place. Why exactly I can't quite remember... Caleb had to go to church early or something. I zonk-ed out for the last 2 dishes.


Below is a picture of the steamboat I went for with Tiew, Jacelyn, Jing Yang, Zhang Pei. 15 bucks for 3 hours. Unlimited canned drinks. So yeah, I thought we ate our money's worth.


Near the end of our meal.
Well, tomorrow I will hopefully finish almost all my marking.
Haven't been exercising much lately, regretfully so. Seem to have a lot to do. Then again I truly wonder, how much confidence do I have in the flesh as compared to my God? If I were one day to lose much of my bodily self. If I were to become quite unsightly. Would I still have full confidence in the indwelling Christ? To what extent am I truly able to trust in He who is in me? To what extent do I trust in the strength of "me"? How much further will He go to make my strength into weakness and my weakness into His strength?
Very soon I enter the phase of university life. I pray and hope that I stay close to my Lord. And to what I have been called to. May I not walk off the narrow trail. May I not give up.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Research

Was doing some research for my History classes today. And came across a rather ridiculous website. It portrays the Japanese occupation forces as being kind and compassionate. It gives "credible" evidence for its views.
To all those interested in the subject, it's worth a look, and a raised eyebrow/chuckle.


An excerpt:

"The commander of the Japanese troops in the Nanking operation was Iwane Matsui. According to his attendant Mr. Okada, during the battle, a baby's cry was heard from a site of fire. Commander Matsui ordered Okada to go find the baby. Matsui took the baby up in his arms, gave a bath and milk to nourish the baby.

When entering Nanking, Okada was holding the baby on his back.

In Japanese history, there is no culture of slaughtering citizens during war. But it is rather a tradition in Chinese culture, for in Chinese chronicles are many reports about slaughtering citizens who live inside castle walls. But the Japanese citizens live outside castle walls, and only the Samurai soldiers fought against each other. Slaughtering citizens was not Japanese culture, but Chinese.

(You can see more corroborating photos that the "Nanking Massacre" was a fabrication ..."
I quote, "Japanese soldiers playing with Chinese children (1937). The Japanese troops had a good relationship with Chinese civilians"
It is very interesting how people can twist history around. And then again thinking carefully, from a purely objective point of view. How do we even know the history we learn today is correct? For example, were any of us really there when say, WWII occured? How would any of us truly know something happened? Based on the availibility of facts, oral accounts, work of historians...etc. Which might or might not be reliable, and might or might not be twisted out of context.
So, thought of the day: While we decry unreliable historians, consider this possibility- How do we really know what we learn is true? Chew on it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Continued musings

Been thinking of this going up the mountain alone thing more today. It's not exactly fun all the time. Sometimes I wish to be around more people.

Following and obeying God can be hard at times. It is fraught with pain, pitfalls, and precautions that many do not need to go through. And yet it leads to great joy and more fulfillment than all else in this world. People have said that the only thing harder than following God is NOT following God. And I think that to be quite true.

Not following God.

For those of us who already know God. It's very much like Jonah, isn't it? Very much like knowing the pain of following God, but that it is very much better to serve Him than not to. And in full view of God's eyes, runing away from Him. In full knowledge of the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent nature of God, Jonah ran away. Jonah was most definitely a prophet, not some random man who received a word from God. For 2 Kings 14:25 says "...in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher."

We may safely assume that Jonah quite thoroughly understood the qualities and nature of our God.

Still Jonah ran. And yet even as the Psalmist says in the 139th Psalm "where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?" (verse 7), he managed to put no distance between the Almighty and himself.

Similarly, Adam after his fall hid from God. Even though he might have better known that no man could hide from God.

The committing of sin often leads down 2 paths.

We look at Isaiah 30:15,

"... In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none it."

And there we have it. Repentance and rest, quietness and trust. The resultant salvation and strength.
Or, none of it. For those who have enjoyed closeness to God, a mind stubbornly shut against the most obvious fact that there is no running or hiding from God.
And so here I stand. At the junction that many of us have stood. Where it breaks of down a narrow trail down one side. And a highway on the other. Is there any further question as to which path I must choose?
So Lord, grant me your peace as I trudge along. May I "go forth in joy and be led forth in peace". May the "mountains and hills burst into song" before me.
Down the narrow trail. Repentance and rest, quietness and trust.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Something Learnt Last Night

Principle 3

God reveals Himself most for those who are willing and who obediently go up the mountain alone. (In reference to Moses often ascending the mountain alone to speak with God)

"Sometimes God wants us to work alone with Him, that we may trust Him and not other people. However, this is hard and it takes courage."
Mount Sinai, or to be more exact, what is today thought to be Mount Sinai. 2285m high. Which is not very high actually. But going up alone?
These were the conditions:
"On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trupet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain..." Exocus 19:16-20

"Do we do what we do out of love and obedience for God? Or do we do it for friends? What could God be asking you to do alone today?"
Imagine the approximately 2 million strong Israelite nation camping here, while 1X Moses goes up alone.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Been thinking again


I've been thinking a fair bit these days. Been praying a fair bit too. It seems to me that the good Lord tends to answer my prayers to "make me the person You want me to be" very well lately. Lots of emotional issues, lots of learning and growing in character. Lots of trials. Pit falls and all. And yet, growth.

Been continuing my reading. Think I average at least 3 books a month. Quite a lot of info from there.

Well, life in Childrens' Ministry. Let's just say I saw many things coming? I guess the deeper we go into any ministry, the more vulnerable we make ourselves. The more emotions we invest. So many people issues. And sometimes when you spend so much time with a kid he or she can really say something that feels like a knife thrust. But oh well. Just got to let such stuff go.

One lesson I learnt is not to let the behaviour of man, or misbehaviour, rather, influence the truth of a loving, great, holy, faultless God. Man can fail us. But God never will.

I went to Scripture Union training the last 2 days. Was superb. Had fun and all. But more importantly, I received some things from God.

Some days I really wish I could post more stuff on this blog. More personal stuff. But oh well, that would not be very right would it?

A few questions that I'm thinking about too. My Pri 6s. How do I get them to do their QT, how do I get them to grow in the fear of the Lord? I need to pray so much for them man. And on the practical side, well... ah, so much other "non-postable" stuff.

Okay, looks like some pictures are in! Many thanks to our beloved Angela Kirk!

But before that, just thought I'd take the time to show 2 pictures.


Enlistment day. My kor in the background

ORD parade day. With my kor again.
How much God has brought me through! I have so, so much to be thankful for.

Okay, the pictures from the May Day outing with the Sec 1s.

Ice skating at Kallang. A rather good experience. Well, the jeans I tore are jeans that I've been wearing since Pri 5! Arrgh. Oh well, I guess you could say that it would have happened sooner or later anyway. So why not in style eh... Haha.




The motion blur




Can see me right? Apparently I looked kinda serious skating. Hmmm. Perhaps I look too serious many times. I have figured out that if I don't smile, I look too serious, too severe I guess. Which is both advantageous and detrimental.





Right, this was the buffet. Basically, the above picture shows the table which more or less made the money worth...






And the table which had low eating stamina. Hmph. (Aiya, mostly ladies what, what to expect?)







And so we ate.






And ate.
Towards the last half hour
Us: “情问我们叫的水饺为什么还没来呢?”
Waiter:“对不起,我们只剩下五六粒了”
Us:“那就五六粒咯”
And asked for lots of meat dumplings. That was really shiok. Until at the very end they told us that they had 5 to 6 dumplings left in the whole restaurant. (Well, Lowell, Caleb and I are quite convinced to this day that it wasn't quite true).
That sounded like a really funny excuse to chase us away I guess.
Anyway we were like "okay lor, so... give us the 5-6 dumplings lor!"

And then they took out 5 dumplings and gave us. Quite impossible for a buffet restaurant to be left with only 5 dumplings lah, I guess, considering that they were chasing us out since they needed a lot more space for an arriving crowd.
Hmm. I realised that this post sounds so colloquial. Perhaps I should go back to reading a few classic or expository books where the English is more complex. Then perhaps... ah then again.
Well, till our dearest Jeshua is back, not many people to discuss all this chim* stuff with. All the best bro. Get yourself a blog lah.
I suggest, as written on Caleb's tag board, you name it... Okay, shan't post that suggested name here. Hmmm yeah one more thing, it seems that Stanchart might clash with Childrens' Camp leh. So please help pray that the dates will work out in His timing. Think will prob still run even if it clashes, but aiya, not very good, know what I mean? To lose a whole day with the kids is not a thought either of us take kindly to eh?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Things I'm looking forward to

Looking forward to Scripture Union training this Fri, Sat. And a sleepover.

Looking forward to the next 2 weeks where the students have exams, and I don't have to teach!

Had a rather good time at BSF yesterday. Enjoying the material. Wondering when SMU starts whether I'll have enough time to go through all the stuff.

Wondering how I'll take to SMU though. Praying on this too.

Been working out again today and yesterday. Yay.

Been thinking of how much I need to learn to keep a tight rein over my tongue. I realised that it is getting increasingly important for me, that I watch what I say or what I type... etc. Even in private conversations with trusted people.

Wondering how to get my kids interested in the word of God, in their own QT? Am praying for more wisdom on this. And for God to move on this. And also increasingly realise that it's so important to lovingly discipline my kids. Not to be afraid to scold when I have to. And also to push them in terms of responsiveness.

Friday, May 01, 2009

May Day

Well, yesterday was work again. Gladly, the last day for this week.

Well, went out for another run, did some weights. Really thankful to God that my archilles tendons were quite okay already. Healed! Happy that I'm back to exercising. Need to prioritise and make sure that my 1st priority is God though. And also to watch myself, that my confidence comes not from physical exercise, but from putting it in God. Y'know, Jeremiah 17:7-8, " Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and who's trust is the Lord..."

Well, was waiting for Jeshua for lunch. And due to ahem unforseen circumstances, which perhaps on retrospect I should have foreseen , we started dinner very late.

So did about 2 hours of reading and bible study while waiting. Was quite good. The book about Bringing children to Christ. Really opened up my mind to this whole new aspect of children in the eyes of God.

So talked late into the night with Jeshua.

And slept late too.

This morning didn't really feel like waking up on time, even though I knew it was going to be a rather leisurely day. But still got up anyway.

Went on an outing with the Sec. 1 batch. Did a little bit of bowling... not too bad lah. Then went ice skating. No experience blading or skating whatsoever. So the first hour was really trial and error. Fell down so many times. Bruises and all. Tore my pants too. Haha. So wore shorts inside and carried on. Second hour was quite enjoyable. More or less there already. Don't think I've had quite so many blisters since army days.

Then went for dinner.

Enjoyed my day with all the guys and girls. Just spending time with them makes me happy I guess. Or spending time with most children.

Came home.

Man I'm tired. But it's tired from doing much fun stuff.

2 questions.

What manner of man am I?

Where is my walk with God going?

Also been wondering whether it'd be a good idea to put up more pictures etc here on my blog. Looks kinda plain I guess.

Hmm, once alert red comes, I hear school will stop. Oh well... as God wills.