Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Last Week Or So

Well, it turns out that the headaches on Saturday morning were the start of a week of sinus backflows and all. It was quite terrible; I'm seldom sick. Even had to take an MC on Tuesday. Goodness.

Now I think I'm quite alright. Have started exercising again. Finally. Being sick is a good reminder of how much I love to exercise. Sometimes there is pain in exercising. There is the painful discipline of tossing and turning in bed at 0620 HRS before finally deciding to wake up for a run or some weights. (In army my OC once had this painful idea of waking the commanders up at 0515 HRS for a run every morning before the men fell in at 0545. "Five one five" as we used to call it... crazy stuff. It would still go on even if we slept as late as one in the morning. Mercifully it died out and every one of us was wise enough not to mention it ever again). But the pain of falling sick and the helplessness it brings is far worse. Looking out of the bus window and watching people run in the morning sun really made me want to get well and run and all as soon as possible.

The highlights of last week were three rather disappointing matches on Friday night. We watched them from Jeshua's house. Then after that we played Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Played as Ironman mostly, if not Captain America. Jesh and Enos alternated between Spiderman and Wolverine. Though I thought Wolverine very much suited Jeshua C T Chong. Caught some sleep before heading out to Novena area for dinner with ODAC friends. I haven't met them for quite a while and it turned out to be better than I expected. Had some good catching up with some people I used to be quite close to.

Of course I've been continuing to work. Here's a picture of my office. I'm in a glassed-up area better known to others on the floor as the yu gang or aquarium. Quite a small fish in the aquarium. But been rather happy swimming around these last couple of days. When you're a small fish, no one takes much notice of you. You get to swim into all the tiny corners that the big fish don't get to swim into. There's also a lot more space to move around. Big fish don't have much of a choice.

Well, I have slightly less than a month before I end my stint here. It is still so apparent to me how kind God has been to me by providing me with this job. Many benefits as well as a wonderful exposure to working life in a bank.

Have also been going out with friends. Here's a shot taken while waiting at a bus stop near church. Was going to go with Jon Lim and Enos to army market to buy some stuff for Jon and to hang out over sugar cane and tang yuan or balls of glutinous rice in soup.

Thought the sky was really nice that day. Enos was like "bah... nice meh?" and Jon Lim was like "take picture, take picture!"

Besides catching up and hanging out with people, and of course working, there are two other things I've been doing. Firstly, the NS Book Project, for which there are many new developments, pleasant surprises, frustrations and all- which really makes me surrender so much more to God in prayer. Secondly, the Crusade Camp. I finally got down to improving on the devotions. Was a little bit of a bugbear to me last week cuz I was sick and unable to really think well enough to edit it.

Will close for now with a thought.

I was doing my QT just now. And complaining to God about people who so irritate and frustrate me. The thing about these people is that they get so close to me when they need me. And yet when I ask things from them, they do not make themselves available to help. They always have a ready reason as to why they aren't available. For the sake of friendship and courtesy I do not really have much to say. In other words, they seek me out only when they need me and push me aside when they don't.

And then God spoke to me through an instant thought. "Aren't you sometimes like that too?"

And yes, regretfully, that is sometimes true of me. Sometimes I just push God aside when I don't really seem to need Him that much. How much more upset must He feel than I.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another Week's Over

Alright. Another week's over.

Woke up on Saturday morning at 0640 HRS. Thought I'd go for a swim, so planned to eat an early breakfast and swim at eight plus. Ended up having a headache. So went back to bed and slept through most of the morning.

Then spent most of the evening and afternoon working on Crusade Freshman Orientation Camp devotionals. I'm looking forward to this camp. It's rather special because it's centred on the concept of rest and re-direction. Most camps head for other more exciting-sounding themes. But I guess this is what many of us really need?

I think it's what we need in ministry too. So many of us are so tired... Sometimes we get so proficient at our tasks that we start to use our own strength. Then we start to get tired because we're relying on our own strength. Through all this we might still meet with a few successes and get praised by others. But sometimes in ministry the point comes when we realise quite late that we are not operating out of an overflow and an anointing, but out of human strength. Strength which is ebbing away and turning into tiredness, because our own strength should never have been relied on in the first place. The time comes for rest. For even though we can operate in the spiritual at times, we are still natural mortal beings. Our God-given bodies bear very human capacities. We can't ignore the signs of tiredness and fatigue that set in. These natural indicators are as God-created and God-intended as is any other bible verse or passage. This moment demands a decision. A decision to stop there and listen and rest. Or continue in tiredness till we're utterly broken. Even then there is mercy and restoration. But it is always better to stop and rest before reaching the breaking point.

I think I've got a little bit of flu. But I really DON'T want to take an MC. Last night couldn't really sleep. (And here I go talking about rest eh. Yeah, I WILL sleep earlier tonight).

(Then again, each time I feel like complaining I remember my NS days. I could be falling sick. And yet I'd know that the next day I'd have to resume my duties no matter what. Taking Att C- or sick leave was quite taboo in my coy. Any commander who did that would be treated quite differently from the rest- that was the reality. To continue with my work then- even whilst falling ill, would be better than becoming an outcast of sorts).

(Or each time I board an air-conditioned bus to work and I feel kinda sian that it's yet another workday- I remember that in my unit days, I could be in an air-conditioned bus in all my military gear, travelling to some jungle and getting ready for a three or four day field camp. How thankful I should be that God has provided me a job with an air-conditioned office at the other end of the journey! For what else can be the reward of hardship? It is the bitter memory of adversity that brings sweetness to more pleasant times. Yet so many of us forget to savour this sweetness brought about by the memory of past bitterness).


Quite enjoyed myself with my class today during the outing. Really thank God for this class. Every year I'm blessed by my class in some way or other.

Been thinking about what to major in and also what exchanges to embark on in future.

That's all for now... Sleeping soon.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

How much would you give for a book?

This is William Tyndale. He lived in the early 16th century, in England. He was said to be so fluent in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Spanish, French, Italian, English and German that if he spoke in any one of them, it seemed as though it were his native tongue.

At twelve, he enrolled in Oxford. At twenty one he received his Masters.

There was just one problem with this remarkable man. He believed in the translation of the Latin bible into English. He believed that it would be impossible for God's word to reach the people if all the land had were Latin bibles.

It is said that a clergyman once said to Tyndale: “We are better to be without God’s laws than the Pope’s”. Tyndale's reply was reportedly: “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!”

For this conviction he was later burned at the stake.

His legacy? The Tyndale bible made up about ninety percent of the King James Version about a hundred years later.

The thought that entered my mind when I read this today was, "How much would I give for a book?" (Of course, I'm not expecting our book to be as great as the Bible itself).

Late night meetings with Jesh and Caleb (often starting at around 12 midnight with some sharing and prayer and ending at close to 4 a.m.- before work for me the next day) and all this appealing to people is often tiring. I think we've gone through quite a few tough moments and discouragements in these initial stages already. But so far, God has brought us through. And it's encouraging to think of all His providence.

How much would I give for the NS Book Project?

I would give in proportion to the legacy I hope it to have and the impact I pray it makes.

The reason I say "in proportion" is that God is the one who multiplies it. I can't give the full amount. But I can give "in proportion". I can give with quality and faithfulness. And I can let God bless all that I give.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Five Shots and Five Trains of Thought

My third desk.

It's my third because they've been shifting me around in the office. Right now I'm at my fourth space.

One thing I liked about the space in the photo is the mirror at the top left hand corner of the screen. Gives me the ability to see who's behind me, watching what I do when I need to... multi-task. Quite a few of the office staff have it. Think it was a free gift of some sort.

The work I'm doing right now is potentially debilitating on my mind. When I first started I got so excited about learning all the investment terms. What was the difference between say, equities, bonds, structured notes... etc. How is the structure of a bank like... (and some other stuff which I don't think wise for me to mention). I also was quite interested to understand what this office's culture was like. So I tried spending some time with the perm staff. Didn't quite enjoy talking to some of them. I guess when you're the smallest fry at the table in terms of seniority, you just listen. And you don't have much to say when it comes down to office politics and all.

In the end, I decided to hang out with the other contract staff instead. More things to talk about. Healthier conversations too. No backstabbing and much less lewd talk.

I also began to be less interested in all those banking terms. Work started to settle into some sort of routine. Kept doing the same things again and again.

Began to realise that often when the mind is kinda empty, we can use the time to think about rather useless, mundane stuff. Or, each of us can "sing and make music in your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19).

This last week was good in that way. Going down to PPTTC and CAC every night left me thinking about God and hungering for more of God in the day.

I went down to church on Tuesday night. The original intention was to discuss the NS Book Project with Samson and Caleb. In the end I ended up having a rather good time during the body ministry part. I did receive some things from God. Much needed, but ambiguous still. But I guess the good that comes out of that is that it kinda makes us need to wait on God. After that I had a good time going out with the speakers Daniel and Janice for supper. Been so long since I last saw them. The last time was in 2008, during Glenn and Luzanne's wedding, if I recall correctly...

I ended travelling down to Creative Arts Camp every day since Tuesday.

Here's a shot I took in the evening on a bus a couple of weeks back. The sun was shining in straight.

Yes, I ended up travelling down to CAC every night. I'm not sure why, since I'd already decided to more or less stay away from all these things for a little while. I guess it's this hunger and longing for God? I wanted more. I still want more after having received.

All I can say is that I've really enjoyed all the times of fellowship in the night with all my CM friends. It's been so good and such a blessing to talk to so many people. Physically tiring, yes. But it's been wonderful, nontheless.

Travelling. Most of my friends will be going up for the Annual Bible Camp. I'm staying behind. Got work and all. It was my decision. Won't say I regret it, but I feel a tinge of longing for more of God when I see my friends all about to go. Oh well.

One of the things I was reminded of during camp was 2 Timothy 4:2. Preach the word. Be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction. I'm reminded of this verse especially because of the phrasing "out of season".

It's been quite obvious to me that right now I'm out of season. I'm on the bench, not the field. (Who benched me is another issue, because this is one coach I can't be angry at for long).

But I guess there're quite a few things I've gotta learn at this stage in my walk with God. Slowly learning them.

A sugarcane drink. I think it's about 1 litre. Had it at Chomp Chomp.

This season has also been a fairly good time of meeting up with many friends. Dinner, sleepovers, fellowship, rest.

Through this all, I need to remember to let God be God and let man be man. In other words, I fully trust God in everything. Man will fail me ever so often, and I shouldn't hold it against any of them.

This season has had its fair share of disappointments with people and various issues. One thing I'm learning is that many things are not for us to handle. In particular, many people are not for us to concern ourselves over and worry about.

Some people just disappoint you again and again and again. My personal view is that it often reaches a point in time where you've got to seriously consider. Do you continue being the person's friend? Can you take being disappointed again? Is the potential hurt worth it? Can you handle it? There've been times when the answer for me has been no. Sometimes though, it's a yes.

I did not write that on the tree.

Snapped this at the Botanical Gardens. Went there last Saturday for a recce of the place for the stuff Ivy, Enos and Charis are planning for Children's Day.

The thought? I'm just so blessed to be serving with children. One thing God reminded me of during camp was that one of the blessings He's given to me are my CM kids. It's just so wonderful spending time with them.

This NS Book Project. As far as I'm concerned, I'm prepared to dig in for the long haul. I'm still excited and passionate about it. We're still working on it.

I've learnt so much already. Spoken to so many more people. I'm not very sure where this will all go. But ultimately, I need to remember that neither my sense of success nor value in the eyes of God hinges on this project. The same goes for every single project and endeavour we embark on for God.

No, for my self-worth and success and value in the sight of God rest elsewhere. It rests on whether I'm obedient to God. It rests on whether I'm availing myself to His service. It rests on how much I let Him take control.

Pray pray pray.

Learning so much patience through this. Learning to be obedient to God and be humble to receive human opinion. Learning, learning. Slowly improving on all these weaknesses.