Saturday, November 26, 2011

Term's Ended

So my school term has finally ended. It's been rough in weird ways.

I had an ankle over-pronation. So can't run the Stan chart marathon. Nobody wants to take my place for free though haha.

Not being able to exercise and getting sick so many times this semester- that's something that I had not dealt with for some time. Ever since army I'd been rather strong, so this semester has been trying in that way. Kinda like I had quite some frustration with school work but no physical outlet to vent it on.

My trip to Israel has been approved. So, God-willing I'll be able to go. I'm rather aware that it may or may not materialise, because of the volatility of the region. Those are risks that I accepted when I put down Israel as my first choice and I will live with the consequences, and on a prayer.

Some things that happened this Semester



I had quite a lot of projects. This one is from a Human Capital Management Module. I learnt a lot from that course. This semester has been one in which there were many JIT projects- Just In Time delivery. So we worked late into the night the night before the presentations to get things done. Very crazy and scary in a way- on retrospect, because when you're in the midst of it you're too tired to be scared. But I guess that sometimes that's just how the group dynamics is, and sometimes the presentations can turn out to be rather unexpectedly good?

I felt that this semester, I had quite a lot of favour from fellow students and lecturers and help from God in many ways. I felt that I did well in many of the classes. But one thing I just need to keep remembering over and over again is 1 Corinthians 4:7 which says, "For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you had not?"

Any blessing I ever have is from God. God gives and God can take away as well and I would do very well to remember that. God had taken a lot of this success away from me when I was in my NSF years. I can see how He moulded me. Now, I am increasing in success in ministry and in my studies again. Tomorrow God might choose to take it all away. Will I be able to handle it? Can we handle God's discipline?

Or when we are blessed, can we handle the blessing? So often I come close to forgetting that all I have is given me by my God. One thing I really believe is that since I belong to God, and all of me is God's, then it follows that all I have- my finances, my time, my relationships. All these belong to God. Yes, I still have a long way to go in so many areas, but God changes me in His time.

fo

Okay, we're setting up Alpha Course at SMU. This is something I'm really looking forward to, but won't be able to attend the whole thing cuz God-willing I'll be over in Israel. I've really enjoyed myself planning stuff with the Alpha Core Team this semester and I really thank God for all of them. It's been a joy serving with them. And since the team is half made up of my university seniors, I think I will be missing them very soon.


This is how I looked like in the Crusade room one day. Probably before or after a presentation, a FT lesson (Finishing Touch- a module to do with interview skills/ resume skills etc.), or some company talk. This semester I've been growing fat. But I guess that I need to stop chasing perfection in life, but chase what God wants for me. Because those two are not necessarily the same thing.


Took a course called Facilitation and Counselling in SMU. One of the coolest courses around. It's pass/ fail, but you really learn a lot of things and you do so really for the joy of learning (which is something sorely lacking from the education system given that much of the studying done today is coupled with the chasing after of grades). In fact, I was doing a presentation in class one day, and I met my co-presenter like at the start of the class. I was asking around for so-and-so and it was really quite hilarious. Like, "Hi, I'm Tai Yong, nice to meet you. We're presenting together in a few minutes time".



Okay, this was my group from Campus Crusade Freshmen Orientation Camp, before sem started. The irony is that not many freshmen come anyway. I guess there are just too many camps to go to. The good thing about this camp is that it's really very relaxing, though.

On a side note, I always thought that the name Campus Crusade for Christ is rather offensive. Always wondered why Bill Bright chose that name. It carries very negative connotations, especially to Muslim friends, I feel. I mean, how would we feel if there was a Campus Jihad for Allah? Something to think about. Just like how the original meaning of Jihad was supposed to be positive but was tainted by extremists and fundamentalist terror groups, the original meaning of Crusade is positive, but was tainted by various misdeeds done by the Crusaders of the past.

But oh well, as it is, what to do for now? Heard they're changing the name to "Cru". And I don't know how that's any better. Cuz people will just ask "what's the meaning of Cru?" and then here we go again...

Two and a half months before Israel

This is a period of my life I won't have again. There are so many things I want to do. A few include completing some Research Assistant work for Pol Science, learning Hebrew, preparing for Israel, handing over my kids to the youth ministry, spending some time with old friends before flying off, trying somehow to find a way to exercise, playing the guitar a bit, going to a couple of camps... etc.

I am loathe to waste my time on stuff like computer games. Yet sometimes it's so attractive and addictive man. Have deleted them all from my com for now, and hopefully I'll be able to fill my time with meaningful stuff.

And oh yes, have been learning and trying how to cook. Something I really enjoyed in this period of time that I was not able to exercise. Cooking was some kind of outlet for frustration, since I couldn't run.

Okay time to turn in for bed already. Tomorrow (rather, later today) my class teachers and I will be doing Open Sunday for two sessions. Looking forward. Topic is on hearing God's voice.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just thinking

Just thinking, I haven't really been posting much on this blog lately.

Partly because I've been spending more time on Facebook.

Just wondering when I go over to Israel... should I keep people posted via Facebook or via this blog?

This semester has been good. Full of lessons from God. Full of humbling experiences in which I am shown how much I need to rely on God rather than my own strength.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Start of School

Well, a rather slow start to school.

Had a night class yesterday. 7 to 10p.m. Thought it awesome. Today was Finishing Touch. Quite good. Have yet to buy any textbooks. Maybe tomorrow. Have yet to do any work. Maybe Thursday.

Read Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos. Excellent book. Gets one thinking. Really does.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Night time ramblings

Sunday

And so it was a rather eventful day on Sunday.

Woke up feeling that I didn't want to go to church but anyway I went. And Joel and Chris came down for a while for lunch.

And then went to play soccer with the guys and was supposed to watch Captain America, but it was too late. At 10p.m. all that was left was this show called Twisted and it was something we didn't want to catch.

So had supper with Enos and Jeremy Leong. And at Cafe Cartel it's 50% off after 9p.m. for snacks and desserts, so eh, actually quite good leh, plus free flow of bread and water.

My NS Days: Stories of God's Faithfulness in the Army

Yes, so that's the full title of the book that we settled on in the end. Am still awaiting news from the church regarding the NS book. We started somewhere last February, so it's come a long way. If I had known it would have taken so long, I might have had second thoughts about starting. But on retrospect, I'm glad we did.

The Possibility of Change

Today I wondered; would it be an idea to go to a different church for a change, a different ministry perhaps. Just something different. Perhaps after I do I might appreciate what I presently have better (if only for that reason). Honestly, I don't really rule that out. It's really quite possible what. I've been in this church all my life. I've been in this ministry close to five years.

There are two ways to go about it. One is to do some long soul-searching yadda yadda which I've always done and probably will do. Two is to well, just change like that, snap. Well there's a three, to explore.

Of course years back I might never have taken such views, but now, it's enticing. Of course, things may not be better elsewhere blah blah blah. Yeah probably heard it all.

The most important thing of course is what God would will. Which brings me to a slightly interesting question.

Does God have an opinion?

Does God have an opinion on every single thing? Could it be possible sometimes that it makes no difference to God what we choose?

For example, does it make a difference to God whether I have an apple after my lunch or a pear? Does it make a difference to God whether I choose to carry a brown sling bag to school or a grey backpack? The most mundane choices in life. Does it matter to God if I decide to eat my fries first or my burger?

It would then occur to one that it is possible that with the freedom of choice we are entitled to, there are many things in which it really probably would not make a difference to God what we choose.

Would God happen to have an opinion on what church I go to? And then oh-of-course that's different, there's such a big impact on life, church affects so many things in a person. Quote scripture Hebrews: Not give up habit of meeting together, I point out that it doesn't say "church"... dum dum dum.

Like can I have something different.

The Israelites asked for a change, promptly got quail and were made to loathe it and become sick of it.

I'm like having a debate with myself hor.

That's all for now.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Wandaro

It's just one of those nights where I'm pondering my purpose in life. I've been reading a couple of good books this season. There's Living Water by Brother Yun, there's Fire on the Mountains, about the beginning of the Ethiopian church, an old book. There's the Elijah Task, which is another rather ancient book. Also thumbing through an abridged version of Matthew Henry's commentary on the four gospels, LKY's Hard Truths and some travel books on Israel.

One of the most inspiring stories I've read is from Fire on the Mountains. It is of a man named Wandaro: " Wandaro was living proof of the wisdom of God. Men would have passed him by, for he had none of the outward marks of leadership." Wandaro accepted Christ circa 1930s. In matters of literacy, and grasping of an Ethiopian alphabet, he seemed utterly unable to comprehend. Often, the missionary, Mrs. Lewis, would notice him, head bowed in prayer, asking the Lord for help to learn just one more letter. He did learn to read fairly well, though never fluently.

Wandaro

After the missionaries had been driven out of Ethiopia by the Italian authorities, Wandaro was persecuted with the rest of the Wallamo (a tribal area in Ethiopia) church. He was singled out for fiercer persecution. He was whipped publicly, almost to the point of death.


Wandaro with his children



"Then with hands tied behind his back, Wandaro was driven... back into the town. There, before anyone else could intefere, Dogesa (a local chief intent on breaking Wandaro's spirit) grabbed Wandaro by the beard. He shook Wandaro's head with violent rage, pulling some of his beard out by the roots and leaving his face torn and bleeding.

"Now, will you give up the white man's God? Now will you give up your faith?"

"No!" gasped Wandaro, "No, never! No! Why should I give up my faith?"

Again he was beaten. Watching helplessly, Wandaro's friends hid their faces and his companions cried.

Between the lashings Wandaro managed to say to his friends, "Christ was buried right in the ground, ground like we stand upon. (Tai Yong's note... wasn't Christ buried in a tomb carved out of rock? But okay, pedantic corrections aside)... Why are you afraid? I am not afraid. Why should you weep? I am here."

"Who has taught you to be so strong?" Dogesa was still angry but puzzled.

"The missionaries taught me!" Wandaro replied clearly and strongly.

"The missionaries have gone," cried Dogesa. "Why trouble now? They aren't here to help you and strengthen you."

"That's very true, but the God who sent them is still here. It is not the missionaries I am serving. It is God whom I am serving. God is the One who has saved me. It is God who planned my salvation. It is He who is with me right here. It is He who now strengthens me. It is not the white man. It is not the missionary."

Furiously Dogesa ordered Wandaro taken back to the market to be beaten again. This time five men were ordered to beat him in turn while he lay flat on the ground. They started about three in the afternoon. As one man tired another took the whip. When darkness came they were still whipping at intervals.

... and the various floggings and physical punishments continue in the book. Wandaro is imprisoned for a full year, released and sought for to be imprisoned yet again.

Eventually, Wandaro went into hiding.

"Even in hiding, his deep and abiding faith was like a rock upholding those who had found Christ through his testimony. Hundreds of his neighbors and countrymen looked to him as their leader and guide. Possessing few of the more easily recognizable characteristics of leadership, the beauty of Wandaro's life is the unanswerable proof that God "hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are not despised, hath God chosen, yea and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:" In Wandaro, God had a man, all of him, nothing held back, totally available, obedient. "

We often say things or present ourselves in such a way that people will have good impressions of us. The knowing smile and the subtle hint of intellectual superiority. The intentionally accidental slips of tongue or "by the way"s that reveal to others our impressive human credentials. The modest "oh it's really nothing" and for Christians, the "all glory to God" thrown in for good measure. Really, who are we deceiving? So many times we are not really interested in giving glory to God. We are interested in giving glory to ourselves. God is brought into the picture as a side story. A side character that shows how humble and modest we are to give credit to another while we are so great.

In Wandaro, God had a man, all of him, nothing held back, totally available, obedient. This is the line that really made me sit up. It touched me deeply. God is not interested in our human credentials. He is hardly impressed by the things we have done or what our human potential can accomplish. The only credentials He desires: Is this a man/woman, who is given to God? All of him/her? Nothing held back? Totally available? Obedient?

I'm trained in SMU, a school where the holy resume and sacred self-presentation are highly stressed. This is so important in the workplace. But God's eyes pierce through the human frailty of a beautiful facade. They make me feel almost uncomfortable as they search my inner being and my very thoughts and attitudes. Am I given to God? All of me? Nothing held back? Totally available? Obedient?

When I see people succeeding in the corporate world; this person or that person getting a coveted scholarship or position, what is my first thought? Is it a thought of jealousy or pride? Is it feelings of less self-worth? It is often when such thoughts come that the Holy Spirit reminds me, perhaps just like how God spoke to the prophet Samuel, that "God does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance. God looks at the heart".

All of me? Nothing held back? Totally available? Obedient?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Work today

Work these 2 days have been very tiring in a whole new way. Handed my job over and now dealing with people issues, resistance to change, unhappiness... etc. Well, not the first time I've had to go through that. Also a few other issues with NSmen, with ministry-related issues, with walk-related issues.

Makes life easier that I have a very caring boss at work. I'm learning a lot from her.

Nonetheless, work is still tiring. A new job scope for the next few weeks means I have to start all over again.

Will I miss work once I'm done? I really don't know.

Today, I actually utilised a half hour of my lunch break. We normally eat in-house here and I've never really taken much of a lunch break before. So today I walked around the estate a bit (till I found the part which had the most wind) and spent that half hour talking to God Most High. And it really helped me so, so much.

Phone broke down. Started breaking down last night. The call button, disconnect call button, cancel button and options button broke down two at a time, then one at a time. So I now have a new $0 phone with a renewed plan. So much for my plan to "drag" my current phone's lifespan till year's end.

My brilliant plan to wear my shoes till year's end, on the other hand, is on track. Well, halfway there at least. They spoilt and I glued them back. Has lasted longer than I had expected.

Have not attained full recovery of health. Foot still a bit pain. Think it could have been a contusion. Either that or an impact injury. Walking long distances still hurts. But it's getting better slowly. Hope I'll be up and literally running next week?

Dear God

Dear God,

I can't stand ungrateful, self-righteous and argumentative people. I hate it when you've done so much to help them and then they turn around and scold you, sometimes behind your back. They seem to have forgotten virtually everything you have done for them. But they're still quite nice to everyone else. I also do not like unforgiving people who use unkind words on others, who bear bitterness in their hearts and deep resentment in their actions.

How God, do you even put up with me?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Psalm 118:8

It is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in people.- Psalm 118:8, NLT.

Ultimately man will be man and God will be God. So let man be man and God, God. So often we expect of others and ourselves more than what can be expected of a human being. We ask ourselves why this person or that person has failed us time and time again. We ask ourselves why we fail time and time again. We get disappointed, frustrated, agitated.

But man will be man. And John 15:5 says "I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing." NOTHING! Apart from Him I can do NOTHING. Apart from God, man can do NOTHING. You see, God has terribly low expectations of what we can do without Him. Perhaps we should begin to share that same expectation.

And what can we do with Christ in us? Oh I tell you, His word says we can do EVERYTHING. For John 14:12 says "I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father". And Matthew 19:26 says that with God ALL things are possible.

Man is mortal. Man dies. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But God will not fail and has never failed. Often, we expect so little of God. I say that because we turn to Him last in our desperate situations, as if He were a last resort. See, we can never expect too much from God, only too little. If anything, we can expect wrongly of God- and that happens when we cry out for great things to be done our way. It does not matter if those great things are to be done in His name. As long as we want it our way, there is no reason for God to grant that request.

But God does great things His way. At our place of surrender, when we discover our limitations and the severe futility of trusting in man, we learn the greatness and omnipotence of the Most High.

And so I find myself being brought back to that place of surrender. The place of Bohpianic submission and humbling.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Running.

I most want to run when I can't run. I most want to run NOW.

What do I run for? I run because I like how it makes me feel. I run becomes it gives me a certain sense of freedom. I run because it's me. I run at my own pace. I don't run too fast and there are so many people better than I am.

I want to go Stan Chart 2011. Perhaps I shall try to train hard for it this time. Perhaps. But then. I gotta get well first.

I am not making too much sense.... blame it on the medication.

Two days at home

So I got sick somewhere between Thurs night and Friday morning. Perhaps I got sick before that already. I never really know these days. And on Friday I had green mucus and phlegm. (Sounds like Green Eggs and Ham right?) So I went to work, handed some stuff over and came home.

Saturday and Sunday I was home. I don't like being sick. I even missed CM. And felt quite bad about it really. Having to hand over stuff so last minute. And having to not see my kids there.

Internship has been going good. Been able to facilitate a relatively smooth handover of some of my duties to an incoming personnel.

Many things on my mind recently. Of life, NS Book Project, work at internship, ministry, work at internship, people, work at internship. extra taskings in Crusade. Really kinda tiring. Good to take a break by being sick, actually. Makes me think that a good leader must make sure that systems are set in place to run without him or her. Systems must not be built around people. Good leaders leave a legacy. They leave a functioning machinery able to work years after them.

These last two days have been weird. Taking this anti-running nose medicine. And that makes me drowsy. Plus I've got this weird twitching thing in my right triceps. It's like a muscle there keeps twitching. Wonder whether it's got anything to do with medicine or that I'm just so concerned with so many things.

I wonder whether this had to do with a certain prayer a few days before that went, "Lord, I really need a break man..." Is there an undo function to prayers?

So I'm going back for reservist soon. And I started to call up my men to find out more about their lives and how they are doing. Well, we'll see how it goes.

Closing thought for the day. Isn't it such a "dangerous" prayer when we ask God to teach us obedience, faithfulness, humbleness and trust? Throughout history and through the bible. Such lessons most often come through adversity. Yet when all pain has borne its fruit I think it should be worth it.

Tired from medication. Right triceps twitching. I suppose it's trying to tell me that it needs a workout desperately because I haven't exercised much for weeks and I feel quite awful and lousy and sorry about myself today. Haha. What a wallowing-in-self-pity-no-pride comment.

Good night all. May there be no people making noise and drinking alcohol in the nearby void deck tonight. They make it so much harder for me to sleep.

I blame this weird doesn't-sound-like-my-normal-blogging post on my medication. I blame everything on my medication.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Internship and other updates

Internship is going along fine. Though some days I feel really drained at the end. I get back home about 8 or 9 plus and I don't have much strength left to do other stuff. But still, I really thank God.

Am very much looking forward to Crusade camp.

Also just had a very good chat with one of the guys from my NS unit. Very encouraging chat. My first in-camp is coming soon. And I really thank God for it. I've called up most of my men and started chatting with them and finding out how all of them are doing before the in-camp. I could have just smsed them, but this time I want to do it differently. I really want to be the kind of inspirational, God-fearing and strong leader that I think I often wasn't for most of my NS.

When I left my unit two years back during ORD, I could not wait to get out through the gates and head home. Over the last two years, God has been working in my life over many different issues. I want to overcome my reservist days in full surrender to God. That being said, I understand that it may not be as easy as I'd expect. But here we go.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Long run today. :)

:) Am very happy cuz I completed a long run today. I think it was between 18 to 20 klick. Ran from my workplace in Bedok near Jeshua's place out the park connector to Changi area, Tanah Merah MRT down to Bedok, Kembangan, Eunos MRT and then turned right towards Ubi, Defu and Hougang.

Kinda slow though.

I doubt I will repeat this run anytime soon. One of the smellier runs I've been on. Fresh air only at the start when you can sniff the sea breeze. Then it's quite a bit of exhaust. At Defu I got to smell all the factory fumes again. Yikes.

Just thought that I really really like running. Though I'm not a really good runner. I'm not a talented runner. I'm just a disciplined, happy runner. Heh. But oh well I still enjoy it man.

Sundown marathon beckons.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vesak Day

Okay it's a holiday.

Past four weeks or so have been very busy at internship. Quite a lot to learn- it's been an exponential learning curve. But I'm quite happy here for now.

I've been wondering what I'll do for the rest of the hols. Especially after internship has ended. The NS book project is in its final stages. I really hope to finish it during this break.

This morning I just put in my application for exchange, with Israel as my first choice. I've been praying about it for a darn long time. Since somewhere last year I believe. We shall see how it goes.

I decided not to start with the YA cell anytime soon. Just too much stuff to do. I even stopped BSF because I felt I was being loaded with too much stuff. Last year around March I was quite burnt out from too much stuff in CM. I even grew tired of attending church camps. I don't want to become like that again if I can help it.

Today I went for a run. I think it was somewhere between 8 to 10 km. I don't know why I've fallen sick like four times this year already- which is a lot for me. I don't often fall sick. So I haven't been able to run much this year. Sundown is on the Saturday night after next. Hopefully I'll be fit enough to enjoy most of it. I do hope that the quality of this year's Sundown is better than the last. I didn't go last year but the papers were filled with complaints about it.

At least one thing I'm looking forward to this holiday is the Crusade camp. 25 to 27 July.

Before that there's reservist though. I was feeling a little bit apprehensive about it. But after working here in my internship place I kind of feel that God is preparing me for that. Life in my internship can potentially get quite tiring some days. And sometimes the pressure mounts for my job cuz any mistake I make can be translated into mistakes by the kitchen staff and drivers and dissatisfied hotels. I sort of expect reservist to be less stressful than internship. Haha. We shall see. I've forgotten a great deal of army stuff, having had no revision for more than 2 years.

Okay, I know this post has no focus at all. I'm just offloading a whole bunch of updates.

This semester I did very well for my studies. And I'm just so amazed. I thank God and give Him all the glory. One firm belief I now have is that life in uni is not about my GPA or grades. It's not about building up a solid resume. It's about serving God. And I want that to be my focus for the next half of my uni life.

Moment of the week. Old testament review of just last Sunday.

Me: "Name Abraham's sons"

One of my kids: "Errr err... James! John! Steven!"

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Updates

Okay. One moment I was so concerned about an internship and now I am up to my neck in one. Thank God that my kor gave me a good lead. I've been interning there for two weeks now. It's in the F&B industry. The back-end. Does pastries and kueh for five and six star hotels. I'm quite enjoying it. But there's so much to do.

My average OT is 2 to 3 hours. I guess it's partly because there's really a lot to do and partly because I want to make sure I'm doing a darn good job.

My life these couple of days is really like the military again. Like wake up at 5:30 a.m. to work out and run (there's Sundown in less than a month and I am hardly ready!). Then leave for work by 7:30a.m. Then work work work till about 7p.m. Come home at about 8 to 9p.m. Then 1.5 hours of time to spare. Sleep at 10:30p.m. and start all over again.

My job now is really interesting. Getting to see lots of workings in an SME. Got to be very street-smart cuz there are many dishonest parties out there. Also I'm often in the middle of long exchanges between my bosses, the kitchen staff, the clients and the suppliers. Heh. Reminds me of Porter's Five.

Friday, April 15, 2011

He Never Sleeps

It was a normal day in the life of the infantry. The sun was up and it was about noon time. We'd cleared most of the stuff we'd planned to do in the morning. So there we were in the urban training facility in our combat gear, taking a well-earned rest.

One of my Christian friends lent me his MP3 player and I started to search for Christian songs. And this is the song I played. I almost cried when I heard it because it reminded me that God was still watching over my every activity back then in the army.





How does this song apply to me now? It reminds me that God is Lord of everything, just as how Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!". I got yet another rejection for internship earlier this morning. Would really have liked that job. But then I began to think and medidate on God's word. And truly, it's during times like this when one begins to trust in the Lord. We are tested on whether we really believe in Romans 8:28. That all things will work for our good.

I should receive news for another internship result by today. Realistically speaking I don't think I have that one either. But 1 Peter 5:7 says to cast all my anxiety on Him because He cares for me. I teach my children in CM such stuff. Now's the time for me to practice what I preach.

On School

Today I finished my second-last paper in school. It's been a tremendously satisfying semester. Even though it's not been very easy, but I have enjoyed every subject I took this sem. Also made a couple more friends here and there.

There's still a reply for internship that I'm waiting for. I went for two interviews this Tuesday. One has four candidates and the other three. Not sure if I can get any of those though.

I guess that it's also been an emotionally complicated semester. Lots of stuff.

Other thing is that I realised that I need to overcome my fears and worries regarding NS. Even though it's two years back and God has brought me through all that. Yet sometimes I still kinda dread going back for reservist. Once in a long while I still have dreams regarding my NS days.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sitrep

Exams next week. Been some week. Back to studying tomorrow. Had a good day talking with Trent, Jing Yang, Jeremy. I'm kinda frustrated and I really want to let it out by exercising. But I don't think I'll be able to do it for a while. I kinda fell sick again last week.

Friday, April 08, 2011

A Long Day and a Wake

This is about yesterday. I suppose that the setting for this entry is the 39th Psalm. Everyone seems to love the 139th Psalm. Verse 14 is especially encouraging: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Well the 139th Psalm has a lesser known, less popular cousin called the 39th Psalm.

"Show me, O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days;

let me know how fleeting is my life.

You have made my days a mere handbreath;

the span of my years is as nothing before you.

Each man's life is but a breath.

Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro:

He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth,

not knowing who will get it.

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you."

- Psalm 39:4-7

Yesterday was quite productive. I like productive days. I managed to work out in the morning (after finally forcing myself back into a routine of sleeping before 12a.m.). Did some light upper body and then went for a short run. Then I went to school to carry out some interview for a module I'm taking. That was followed by a lesson. From about 4 plus p.m. till 9 plus p.m. I was at one of my kid's mom's wake. She passed on due to cancer.



It kinda reminded me of last year. Around February to March, I was at the wake for another kid's dad, who died in a car accident. I had two trains of thought going on last night. Firstly, I was so blessed by the life of this kid's mom. So many people stood up to give eulogies telling of how they'd been blessed by her life and character. Prior to the service I was sitting there with my kid doing homework. (He was doing some English assignment and I was trying to revise Marketing 101). We ended up playing the tap tap revolution game on an Iphone. And I noticed that he still seemed rather joyful. In fact, throughout these last couple of months of lessons, I'd never noticed anything amiss about him. I would never have suspected that his family was going through all this.

Secondly, I was thinking about the 39th Psalm. When I shared with some Crusade friends that it says "Show me O Lord, my life's end", they were like "REALLY? Does the bible really say that?" And y'know what, last night I wondered about my life's end. I wondered, what will people have to say about me after I die. The ancients in the bible. They were always very concerned about their legacies. It was always a great thing to be told by God that they would be "made into a nation". I would like to think I'm roughly a third or a quarter through my life. And that too depends on how many more years the good Lord provides me. What am I doing with my life? I mean, yeah, I'm studying and that's good, but would I be focusing too much more on transient things than on eternal things? So yesterday was a long day and I still felt tired today. But at least I got to do a lot of thinking. I think I got a bit wiser.

Reading my journal... And How We See People Just two nights back I was reading my journal. I've been writing in it intermittently for the last two years (before that, since sec.2- but I wrote quite regularly back then). And I saw some entries as far back as 2009, the year I ORDed. I realised that there have been some big changes in the way I think, act and see things.

In Organisational Behaviour, we often learn about things such as Implicit Person Theory, incremental and entity theorists. In other words, people often come to a general conclusion about someone quickly. And we are often very self-assured that we are right. How often have you heard someone declare that, "This person is very stubborn/nice/impulsive/kind. I know because I have worked with him/her before on such and such a project." We often put people in a certain mould. I have put others in moulds before and have had the same done to me. We all have. But we often forget that there are two things that often render our views only partially correct. There's context and there's time. People behave differently in differenct contexts. If you were to ask my army colleagues how I was back then you'd probably hear some stuff like I was a disciplinarian, I was rigid, by the book... etc. You'd probably also hear a couple of nasty stories about me being selfish/nasty/indifferent/distant. Perhaps you might get to hear one or two nice things about me... just perhaps. That was me in the army context.

Then there is time. People really do change over time. There could be third factor. The third factor is God. Because of God's work in our lives, we often change a whole lot over time as we surrender to God. The way we react and think change a lot as God changes us. So I guess the point here is that we have to be careful not to have a single, non-malleable opinion of people. They do change. For better or for worse.

NS Book Project I realised that every time I mention the project to a contributor/ editing team member, the comment is always the same. It is, "it's been taking quite long ah". I got that comment from a contributor at the wake yesterday as well. So yes, it's been almost a year and two months. Yes, we're still working on it. I really wish it could be faster than this. But the good thing is that as this project has dragged on, I think we've grown wiser and more experienced in life. And I think we're a whole lot more mature in thinking than if we were to have pushed it out last year. I only hope that it'll be out this year.

Hopefully before my summer break ends. Hopefully. Faith, hope and love. But the greatest is love.

Monday, March 28, 2011

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Birthday Notes

Last Friday was my birthday.

I don't really bother that much about birthdays.

Played around with my Facebook birthday date, just so to see what happened. True enough, all those "Happy Birthday"s didn't come in, until after a birthday card application spoiled the whole social experiment.

But I thought I'd do something I hadn't done for some time and went for a substantial morning run. Roughly 8 klicks.

Then it was off to school for lessons. Stayed in school till about 11p.m. plus doing CAT.

Saturday was record-setting. Started doing CAT slightly after 9a.m. Found myself still debugging stuff at about 1a.m. on a beautiful Sunday morning. Slept at about 2a.m. Then went to church, unexpectedly had to do the lesson (but yet, enjoyed it thoroughly because God provided the message), settled some NS Book stuff. Then I found out that a friend's grandma had died on my birthday. Went down to view the body, talk and all. Then, in a very tired state, got home and promptly resumed CAT at about 7p.m. Finished at about 11p.m.

Monday was the CAT presentation and I was so tired and full of headaches.

So I went home.

Today is a Tuesday and I am very busy with Pol Sc stuff.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Woke up by Accident

Well, it's 6:40a.m. as I type this. Worked till about 12:30a.m. on the CAT project this morning. Was supposed to sleep till about 8:30a.m. (y'know, sorta reward myself with good rest). But I have woken up by accident (needed to pee) and then decided to check my com for some file transfer stuff I'm doing (to pre-empt com crashing- don't want to lose all the work done this sem).

I've been very productive these past few days. Really thank God for that. Oh yeah, and went for Street E on Tuesday. I actually don't go for such stuff. It's like I feel that the best way is with people you already know- and somehow it feels more correct cuz you really have to be living out the right type of life... etc. But anyway, I'd been asking God what He wants of me in my time here. He didn't tell me to go for Street E but I just volunteered for it anyway. There's this thing that some other Crusaders have been talking about. They call it prophetic evangelism. Something like you pray for God to show you a picture of who you should be sharing with and then you write it down and then you go around to find that person... My skeptical mind is bashing up the idea but somehow it sounds interesting... Perhaps one day should try.

Okay since I'm up I suppose I'll do my morning stuff (sit on the throne, read papers etc. ). And then maybe some early QT. And after that maybe I'll get back into my bed. Got a lesson at 12p.m. but if the weather clears up, I might be able to fit in a run and some sort of a workout. (Very happy that I managed to start exercising a bit on Monday and Tuesday!)

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sick again...

I'm sick again. I do not like to be sick. I detest the fact that I cannot exercise. I do not like to see myself becoming fat all over again.

It is only when adversity or any ill-event occurs that we are filled with wonderment that we were not any more thankful in the past. In a way, it's good that I've been sick for about a week. There is so much to thank God for because I have had so many months without falling sick.

So today I was in church only for CM. Cuz it was my lesson and I didn't think it fair to get someone else to teach at the last minute. Lesson was okay lah... didn't go too well by my expectations though. Was supposed to go some place for a friend's birthday party but had to rest at home. Spent some time reading Pilgrim's Progress. The archaic English is at times tiresome. There are occasional gems for me. But I just want to finish what I began. Almost there.

Mid-terms are over and there are now a whole lot of projects to do. But then again... only four weeks before the end of the term. Well, I've got to find some internship too. But we'll see how I guess. Haven't been successful yet.

My dear NS Book Project is still in the works. It has been in the works for an extremely long time. It's like an airplane design that has already materialised, except that it's in the hangar awaiting its pilot testing. Now if we can just get it to take off for its pilot testing.

Hmph. I'm staring at the dumbells across from me in the living room. Miss them. Exercise, when I am sick, seems so pleasant and nice. It's kind of like my de-stress zone. I'm not super fit, but I love it. I'd like to play more soccer if I could too. But can't really find people I guess. Tertiary education already. No longer like primary or secondary school days when soccer buddies were just a phone call away.

Perhaps being sick forces me to learn to rest. I've watched more TV this week than any other week for a long time... Something I haven't done since perhaps JC or before. But of course it's not something I want to do long term. Not productive. Perhaps something like playing the guitar more would be a worthy alternative...

Okay. Back to school tomorrow.

Al iz well- From "3 Idiots".

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lasagne

Here's my first attempt at lasagne. And I think it went pretty well. But I got the top wrong though. The top layer of flour became hard. But thank God everything beneath turned out okay. Had Jeremy and Caleb over last night for a sleepover.

Then we watched "Three Idiots", a Bollywood show. And it was an awesome show. Like, really really really good. I was so impressed.



Okay there's the lasagne.



There're the two guinea pigs. The third one took the picture.

This week I tried to rest a bit. Last Sunday was Young Adults games day. Then Monday was DG day out. So I got a little bit of exercise. Quite enjoyed myself. Tuesday- Project. Wednesday- Study. Thursday- Projects. Friday- ENOUGH OF ALL THAT- Took a break. Today- Break. Tomorrow- Sabbath.

So for this season I've been trying to take a break and rest in God. Most of the time I've failed terribly. But yesterday afternoon and today were good at least. So that's a start.

School is such a mad rush these days. Especially since I have CAT. I never actually thought it would happen to me... but I feel that I'm not having the same amount of passion for God's word these days. It's almost like Egypt's famine. That right now the food supply of scripture I'm relying on is all that I've stored up in the past. I've not been memorising much new scripture lately. I'm like being sustained by all the past memory work.

Not been exercising as much as I'd like to lately. Hmmm. Should try harder perhaps.

Going to church tml. Looking forward.

Here's an extract from Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress:

"... Nay, stay, said the Interpreter, till I have showed thee a little more, and after that thou shalt go thy way. So he took him by the hand again, and led him into a very dark room, where there sat a man in an iron cage.

Now the man, to look on, seemed very sad: he sat with his eyes looking down to the ground, his hands folded together, and he sighed as if he would break his heart. Then said Christian, What means this? At which the Interpreter bid him talk with the man.

Then said Christian to the man, What art thou? The man answered, I am what I was not once.

Christian. What was thou once?

Man. The man said, I was once a fair and flourishing professor, both in mine own eyes and also in the eyes of others. I was once, as I thought, fair for the Celestial City, and had even joy at the thoughts that I should get thither. (Luke viii. 13.)

Christian. Well, but what art thou now?

Man. I am now a man of despair, and am shut up in it, as in this iron cage. I cannot get out; oh , now I cannot!

Christian. But how camest thou into this condition?

Man. I left off to watch and be sober; I laid reins upon the neck of my lusts; I sinned against the light of the World and the goodness of God. I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone; I tempted the devil, and he is come to me; I have provoked God to anger, and He has left me. I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.

Then said Christian to the Interpreter, But are there no hopes for such a man as this? Ask him, said the Interpreter.

Christian. Then said Christian, Is there no hope, but you must be kept in the iron cage of despair?

Man. No, none at all.

Christian. Why, the Son of the Blessed is very pitiful.

Man. I have crucified Him to myself afresh. I have despised His person; I have despised His righteousness; I have counted His blood an unholy thing; I have done despite to the Spirit of grace (Luke xix. 14; Heb. vi. 4-6; x. 28,29): therefore, I have shut myself out of all the promises, and there now remains to me nothing but threatenings, dreadful threatenings, fearful threatenings of certain judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour me as an adversary.

Christian. For what did you bring yourself into this condition?

Man. For the lusts, pleasures, and profits of this world; in the enjoyment of which I did then promise myself much delight: but now every one of those things also bite me, and gnaw me like a burning worm.

Christian. But canst thou not now repent and turn?

Man. God hath denied me repentance. His Word gives me no encouragement to believe; yea, He himself hath shut me up in this iron cage: nor can all men in the world let me out. O eternity! eternity! how shall I grapple with the misery that I must meet with in eternity?..."

Don't we often find our own cage and shut ourselves in?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Reason

The reason I haven't been posting much is that it would sound too depressing. But things are getting better, so hope to post more uplifting stuff soon.

Last couple of weeks, I had lots of exams and all. But been through most of them. I guess that one thing I really want to do in the coming week is to spend some quality time with God.

CM was very enjoyable for me today.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Suck it in and grin

There's this thing about being a guy. I know that guys always think that girls are vain. That they care so much about how they look. And yet guys are vain in their own way. Guys are meant to be tough. To look strong. To show neither fear nor trepidation in the face of danger.

The same goes for now. I feel that in many ways I am sucking it all in and grinning. Yesterday I studied pretty much the whole day. Was doing CAT (That's Computer as an Analysis Tool) yesterday, as well as some Managerial Decision Making and Marketing assignments and readings. Started at about 10a.m. Tried to catch a nap at 5p.m. but they started to do some drilling work just outside my house and I couldn't sleep. And then late at night, not being able to sleep on my bed, I realised that I'd burnt out.

It does help to remember the things that God has brought me through in the armed forces. There were quite a few times this week that I told God, "Lord, I really can't take this anymore". Then I remembered a certain navigation exercise overseas that I thought I couldn't go on anymore but we just kept pushing on and on. There was more than one Christian in the group and we kept praying and praying for God to help. I remember what God has brought me through and realise that I CAN go on. With prayer, discipline and determination.

So how? Suck it in and grin. The grin must stay there but somehow the inside will change. Either that or everything will collapse. Everything will not collapse so keep grinning.

How do I feel now? Alone. Should attempt a morning run tomorrow. One, two, three of my toenails are dead or dying though. So might have to tape them up. Yes, perhaps that makes me sound tough. Suck it in and grin. The outside, tough as steel, indifferent and not the least concerned about the world. The inside, numb.

When the going gets tough, as they say, slow down but keep going. I know I am alone but it is okay because I know God has not abandoned me. Loneliness is an old friend. Though I do not always enjoy its accompaniment, I have grown to understand that it makes me stronger.

In other thoughts I started reading John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Process today. It has proved to be a good read so far. Somehow it helps me to relax.

There has been some talk recently as to how ministry workers should be careful in their conduct, that they not stumble other people. It is true that we are not to stumble other people. Yet I cannot help but wonder at the superficiality of such a measure. For isn't it true that we are somehow hiding something when we say that we cannot fully express ourselves in order not to stumble our sheep?

It is weird sometimes how as Christians when everything is wrong, we just throw in Christian-sounding words and then not do anything about matters.

But as I have always believed, when burn out comes, take a break. Something must give. And let that be me giving myself rest. If not, something else will give.

Think I've said enough.

I wrote in my diary last night that I feel like punching something up. Today I laughed at myself because I know that it was pretty silly statement. I can't fight. Can't even throw a proper punch, I gotta admit. The last time I punched something... when I was in primary or secondary school I tried punching the wall and regretted it for about a week.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

They're Sec 1s Already



I miss them all. Of course, there are a couple more not in the picture.



I was concerned that the guys would not like the colour scheme of these boxes so I spent quite a while deliberating on whether to buy them. I let the guys choose first (most of my class consisted of girls). In the end one of the guys picked pink. -_-




The significance? Salt and light of the earth, as per Matthew 5:13-16. Coffee beans- cuz if you put an egg, a carrot, and coffee beans in boiling water, after some time you'll find that the egg becomes hard, the carrot becomes soft and the coffee bean remains quite the same. And what's more, it changes its whole environment with its flavour. An old story.

Got the boxes at Tecman, the plastic from SKP, the light bulbs after a hunt at the electric stalls near Heartland Mall and the Coffee Beans after walking through the Kovan Wet Market. I had to buy at least 100g of coffee beans, so if anybody wants the rest... let me know. I sorta figured out the little plastic bag looks best with only 7 beans. Anymore and it looks too packed together.

So tomorrow I get to have a day of orientation with my new class of Primary 6s. Here we go all over again. How do I say it? I miss my Sec 1s. And yet when I look at my new class, I feel glad. It is a positive type of deja vu, if there was one. It starts all over again. Same yet different.

What does God have in store this year?

School started last Monday. Quite a hectic first week. Many thoughts.