Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Work and All

Been rather busy working these last few days.

Also been doing as much as I can with my holidays. Trying to read up more on stuff I should be reading up on... etc

Very grateful to have some good colleagues who actually explain stuff to me. It's amazing how people who are so into their work can forget that newcomers actually need to pick up stuff. For the drivers, imagine going into a manual car on your first lesson. And then the instructor tells you. "This is the steering wheel, this is the accelerator and clutch and brake. Okay. Now drive."

So you manage to figure out to release the handbrake and step on the accelerator. Engine splutters.

"You need to get to the biting point first."

"Err... so what exactly is the biting point..."

That's kinda how I felt when one of my colleagues tried to explain stuff to me today. Using all the cheem language. Didn't help at all.

Thought of the day is about security and fulfillment.

We often ask God for security in our lives. We ask for fulfillment. In our minds we might picture something like a stable job and perhaps a fulfilling and meaningful work experience. Or perhaps we might want security in terms of friends and fulfillment in terms of being able to watch people grow.

All these aren't wrong by themselves. But really. True security and fulfillment. That begins and ends with a relationship with God doesn't it? I find my security in God. I find my fulfillment with God. Take away everything and I still have my security and fulfillment. Give me everything and I am not a mite richer, for God should be my everything.

I say should be, because I have yet to reach that. Today, I was kinda affected when I realised that one of my module's component grades didn't seem to be too good. So it really made me feel down for a while. In the end I mailed the prof and it turns out that it's not really a problem. Thank God. But then again, perhaps, if I really were to trust God as my everything, all this news should not even faze me.

So much more space to grow in terms of Christ-likeness.

NS Book Project

Has been gathering some steam over the last few weeks. Just seems that many people want to write and are agreeable. Just that they need countless reminders and pushing. So perhaps 10 reminders generate about 1 account. Draining at times. But really, it is kinda hard to keep reminding individuals repeatedly to hand us their accounts of NS. There're only a few of us compiling, compared to a potential pool of a few hundred (if we do get up to that much). Uses up a lot of time that could be spent elsewhere e.g. to figure out publishing... etc.

Then again, doing stuff for Children's Ministry under Aunty Cindy taught me quite a few things. That people are like that lah. What to do? I can get angry or I can just keep reminding them and keep pushing. Anger would be a waste of time. Hardly productive. Discouragement would be a waste of thinking space. This is natural stuff. It happens when there's nothing at stake for people. No money, no nothing. Makes no difference if the same goes for the one leading the project. Sometimes, they can't be bothered and you can't be angry. So you've got to tell your ego to take a holiday and keep working at it.

But ultimately, God sees it all. And that alone gives the whole matter a purpose.

That being said, there are some days that I do feel down trying to get this project done. Some days that I just seem to ask God. "Eh Lord, your project leh. For you one. It's not like we're earning any money from this at all. In fact, if anything, we are prepared to spend. Why don't you just make it easier and like y'know, inspire people to write and send stuff to me fast?"

Just remembering Nehemiah and the building of the wall. Few rewards, many discouragement. Lasting results.

Also remembered that if truly, this was God's project, as I claim it to be, then I need not fret. I do my part, and the rest I trust in God to provide. I don't need to worry about God's job.

And, quite a bit of good has come out of this project thus far. Talking with more people. Seeing various perspectives of God in NS. Remembering for myself some of the days that God brought me through. Yes, it's been rather rewarding. I do hope that this book touches people. Both those who've been through NS experiences, and those who'll never go through them. I am still excited about this and looking forward to it. Just need quite a bit of help. I don't need sympathy and agreement. I don't need yes in principle. I need action.

And face it. Perhaps I need to pray more.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Past Week

It's been an eventful past week. Went out a couple of times. Went out with my LTB mates. Went out for Jon Lim's sending off. Swam once. Ran a few times. Met up with some friends... and so on.

Was activated last minute to join my kor's AdRace team. It's in the novice category. Bout 30 klicks. With running, swimming, cycling, skating, archery, vertical marathon. Sounds siong hor... Actually it was rather relaxed due to a bottleneck at the swimming station.

Jia Hao, Sarah Wong, myself, Kor

And here's Joshua with us at the start line. He's giving the victory sign cuz he managed to chao keng... Nawww... kidding... he was really sick.

After vertical marathon.

Start work tomorrow. And really want to thank God for the job. I know it's all God's providence.

That's all for now.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Short Note

It’s been an interesting few weeks. The old school army mentality is that you have to break down and tear up a person before building him back up as a soldier. Ecclesiastes 3:3 speaks of a time to tear down and a time to build. I guess that it’s kinda happening to me right now.

Time to think about future prospects. Time to think about what to major in. Time to consider what to do with my life this summer. Time to find a job. Get some income.
Exercise exercise exercise.

As it is, exams are over. I want to do so many things all at the same time.

There is, however, quite a bit that I’m not intending to do. Especially in regards to camps and all. Heh, is it okay to be tired of even Christian camps? I think it is. Because there is a difference between ministry and God. We worship God and serve the ministry. Not the other way round. Often get that one wrong eh.


What is your measure of success? What is your measure of a successful Christian? A man or woman with many followers perhaps? A brilliant vocalist or musician? A Sunday School teacher whose kids adore him or her? Perhaps it is the person who memorises the most scripture, knows the most about the bible, speaks what sounds to be the most profound biblical truth. Or maybe for the more contemporary, Charismatic Christian denominations, it is the person who lifts up hands more during services. It is who sings louder, or displays more emotion or expressions when worshipping God. Perhaps it is he or she who kneels down the most in service.

I’m just thinking again. How shallow so many of us, myself included are, in forming an impression of people. We look to dress and appearance. We look to outer beauty and confidence. Poise and swagger. We look to influence. How many people listen to a certain somebody. We look to numbers in the ministry. Whose ministry is having the biggest growth in numbers. Who holds sway on decisions.

1 Samuel 16:7 says that the Lord did not consider Jesse’s sons for their appearance or their height. “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

God was not admonishing none other than Samuel. In modern times, we’d have called him a kingmaker. He anointed two kings. Both which were used in their own ways to forward Israel’s national interests greatly.

What admonishment does God hold for me today? What admonishment does God hold for us? Are we looking at the correct things, really? Or can the correct things to look at be seen through human eyes? Have we looked at people through human eyes just as Samuel did? Or perhaps (I wonder which is more severe in repercussions) we've looked at ourselves through human eyes.

I was thinking in the past few weeks how I’ve begun to grow tired of Christianity. Then I began to think that I’ve not really grown tired of it... I don’t quite like many aspects of it at all! The artificiality of so many things and the pointless struggles. And then, it’s come to this point... where I’m beginning to understand that perhaps those understandings of Christianity aren’t too right at all in the first place. I’ve had much head knowledge. Known much stuff. But I guess that I still have a long way to go in understanding many of the most simple biblical truths. And perhaps I need to get back into that stuff.

Stuff like for example, how to love God. Or how to love thy neighbour. Or how to slow down and wait up on God like Mary did. Or how to tell others about God.

I guess one of the things that is lacking is this understanding... and much more, this life’s demonstration of what it means to be truly successful in the eyes of God.

I once heard someone teaching. And that person was saying something like, “You know, words like sanctification, pre-tribulation, the eternity of salvation. These are words that you’ll learn to pick up as you grow more spiritually mature.”

I was thinking then. How totally, completely untrue. Saying things like that does not make us spiritually mature. James 3:13. “Who is wise and understanding amongst you? Let him show it by his good life. By deeds done in the humility that come from wisdom.”

And that’s it. Wisdom and understanding shown from humility. A standard that I’ve yet to fully live up to.

Wisdom and understanding shown in humility. And where is success shown?

I look to Christ. Stand with me and look. Just look at Jesus Christ Himself.

Now while He was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs He was doing and believed in His name. But Jesus would not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for He knew what was in a man.”- John 2:23-25

After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make Him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by Himself –John 6:14-15

On hearing it, many of His disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? ...” From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him.” John 6:60, 61, 66

There we have it. Jesus did not entrust Himself to man. More specifically, He did not entrust Himself to the favour of men. He knew what was in a man. He knew that man looked at outward signs of success. They looked at his ministry. They saw the signs, they saw the results and the numbers. That was not what He was about. That was not what His success was about.

Some wanted Him as king. Probably to overthrow the Roman empire. But He was already king. He didn’t need them to make Him king. He didn’t want them to make Him king. That was not what being the Messiah was about.

Can you imagine the lure? The power? If I was in His shoes I might have convinced myself to think that I should become king of the people so I could reach out to more of them. But that was not on the mind of Christ.

He had godly success in mind.

So much so that He still taught hard teachings and had people leave Him in flocks.
The success of Christ’s earthly mission was not on a throne with countless adoring crowds and professing individuals declaring His praise. It was not in the partitioned middle of a crowd shouting hosanna and laying down palm branches. It was on a cross. Naked, despised, afflicted.

Godly success does not equate to human approval. It does not equate to the things we often want or desire. Chasing an earthly definition of success, even within the confines of a church or ministry will cause our Christian walk to stumble, lose grip and fall off. It does not make much of a difference even if we baptise such success with hearty doses of “how God has blessed” or “we trust God for” or “this success is from God”.

That I would do well to remember. And practice.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Exams almost over...

Exams are almost over. Not too much left...

Last week I got sick on Thursday, I guess in large part to a midnight rendezvous on Wednesday night. Travelled to NTU to celebrate a birthday. Was kinda sick already and initially didn't want to go. But after returning home at 0430 hours on Thursday... It was the brick (sic) that broke the camel's back.

There are a lot of things that I've been considering lately.

In chasing God, can we over-chase? A rhetorical question. The answer is undoubtedly yes. Perhaps sometimes we chase so hard that we run ahead. We run the race without looking back, and that is good. But sometimes we run ahead of God. And perhaps we keep up our quick pace, straining forward but wondering why we've lost sight of God.

As it is, feel kinda apathetic and lost with life lately. And snappy. Like, growl, bite. Bares fangs. ROAR.

I guess got quite a bit of stuff that I'd like to do this summer. On my list right now. Learn some financial stuff, whip myself into shape (due to falling sick and studying, this is the first time since perhaps Decemeber last year that I've not exercised for a full seven days in a row), sleepovers, hammock nights, think seriously bout what to major in, find a job, swim, run, perhaps learn to skate, perhaps improve on guitar skills, perhaps brush up on cooking skills... Lots of possibilities. Oh, and the NS book project.

Yet, it is painfully apparent that fulfilment will not come by these things. And that I would need to take into very serious consideration.

What happens when we try to live out the expectations of ourselves and of people? What happens when we try to fill shoes that aren't assigned by God? What happens when a whole Christian community eggs one on to do stuff, believing in you, encouraging you? And yet, there is no assurance from God? As it is, I'm rather jaded with the whole matter. Kinda tired with Christian camps and all that stuff. After years of that I feel that if I were to go much further into it the way I'm doing, there might be an artificiality and stiffness and too much reliance on one's own strengths and too much expectation to meet. So I stop dead in my tracks and kinda realise that that's not a good option either.

Man, I got some thinking and praying to do in earnest this summer, don't I?

As it is, I wryly note that the state I'm in has constructive dimensions to it. When you fall down into the dirt sometimes, you remember how it feels. You become less judgemental and you think twice before saying anything sanctimonious (heh, borrow your wording hor Enos) and holier-than-thou. It is sickening at times to think of how I've probably been prone to that many times. Well, I guess that any well-intended detached advice becomes irritating to my ears now... and that is good, since I'll be less prone to well-intended detached advising myself.

Snap. Growl. ROAARRR.

Back to the valley.

The brooding dragon lies in his cave, growing fat. One day he'll get back to all that dragon-y stuff. Duh duh duh. But today? Ah... zzzZZZ.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Happy Day

Had a happy Sunday.

Just simple stuff, really, hanging out in church with Jesh and Enos. Then after that going to witness baptism. Followed by a recce trip to the Botanical Gardens. Haha. Jesh and I went by bus. We actually caught up with Joseph's car! The roads there are real confusing I guess. So Jesh and I were heading in the right general direction down the wrong bend. That's when we saw Tiew's car passing us by. So we thought we were down the right way. A couple of minutes later the same car drove out. Dead end. Haha.

So spent the late afternoon till evening walking through the Botanical Gardens with Jesh, Enos, Ivy, Charis, Tiew. Quite reminiscent of army times, all the greenery. Not studying or thinking bout stuff at the Gardens really got me relaxed, so I guess that was awesome. After that had dinner at Cathay. Aaron Lim joined us.

This week will be my study break. Next week will be my exam week. Guess will just have to do my best and the rest is not in my hands already.

This summer I still haven't found a job. Guess I'll also want to spend some time chilling, doing a couple of sleepovers, hammock nights. And also want to think and pray more bout the future. What to major in, look into what type of internships to pursue in the future, look at possible areas to go for foreign exchange... etc etc.

What is the proper work or study / life / ministry balance to strike?

And of course there'll be the NS Book Project, which I'm really looking forward to starting proper. Got lots of promises. But still waiting for a lot of the proper written drafts to come in.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. -Isaiah 26:3