Thursday, December 29, 2005

Couldn't Help Noticing: A toilet for Christmas

“Just because something is sentimentalized does not mean that it is untrue—or even that we are wrong to layer it over with sentiment. The distaste for sentimentality begins as a rebellion against false feeling, but it finishes as a rebellion against all feeling. It starts as a plain-speaking person’s refusal to be deceived by a coat of paint, and it ends as a rude person’s refusal to use paint at all. It opens as a wise man’s ability to point out the fool’s gold, and it concludes as a fool’s inability to point out the real gold.”
Something that helped... =) May we not swing to the other extreme in response to the world's extreme(ly wrong) response to things at times.

Read more here...

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas

It's christmas again, with the festivities all around, the partying, the gatherings, the dinners (some with some pretty errr...'interesting' conversation topics as I found out for one), the gift givings, the drinkings and whatnot happening all around the world at this period of time.

Have received some gifts from people this time, some for fostering relationships on a business basis (*ah-hem*...), some out of politeness (which is nice also), and some out of genuine giving. It's nice to receive gifts and give, for some ;), but the present that I appreciate the most was still one that couldn't be seen, given sometime back...

Christmas: the holiday declared supposedly commemorating the birth of this particular man called Jesus Christ, whom came down as God incarnate. The "Joy to the World" that we all sing about isn't without reason, for what God had promised had come true with the coming of this child: the salvation (from this) that is available to us simply by acknowledging him as our Lord and trusting in his death and resurrection.

The best part of this gift is that it can be received by all, and doesn't necessarily need to be received only on Christmas (which is why we can "celebrate" Christmas technically throughout the year, and we should actually ;) ).

Have you received it yet?

Blessed Christmas to all~ =)

PS: If there's only one present I can receive every Christmas, can it be the obedience of faith of the people around me (my family, friends, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, etc)? That certainly would make me very very happy...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Narnia

Mrs. Beaver: You've been sneaking seconds haven't you.
Mr. Beaver: Well you never know if your next meal's going to be your last. Especially with your cooking.
Hahaha...one of the quotes I liked especially from Narnia, though for no reason in particular =D

Went to watch Narnia today with a few others, originally were supposed to watch with the SMUCF group, but ended up watching as a separate group, since there weren't enough tickets.

It's the second time I watched this show (the first time being when they screened the movie for Narnia on TV about 10 years back), and it's been a long time since I first (and last) read the entire chronicles of Narnia. I'd say it's a good representation of the book, and not too like Lord of the Rings (if you want something like LOTR, you'd probably won't be disappointed if you watched LOTR instead =D ).

Interesting to watch it again after such a long period of time, and to watch it with a (far) clearer understanding of the gospel. There're many parallels in the story as with the gospel itself, including of course the resurrection which is central in the Christian faith.

Seriously do hope (and pray) that this would get people to sit up and try to find out more, because it makes all the difference in this world, regarding WHY Christ had to come and die and resurrect...

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Link!

Just to share this link, hope to be able to encourage others along the way ;)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Structured random thoughts

I'm alive!

Know I haven't been posting of late since my exams ended, not because I've decided to abandon this blog (as if!) or anything, but simply because I've been too busy of late. Busy with "ministry": the retreat that we had, the weddingS that happened, the evangelistic christmas event, the carolling, and of course also the needed spending of time with someone precious along the way =) , etc.

Have just had my church youths' christmas evangelistic chalet over the weekend, with the turnout standing at around 30. Had a good time of playing and just spending time together, and I do hope that the people who went would be convicted by God's spirit about the real reason for the "season".

The sermon this morning came also as a very timely reminder...about the real basic need we all have, and my own shortcomings that show that need...may I be able to repent, and carry on fighting...

A lot more things to be done in the last two weeks of this year, and a lot more planning/thinking through to be done also. Which also means that my backlog of things that I wish to blog will only grow longer...

Have been hearing/reading some happenings regarding some dear friends of mine, I really do wish to be able to talk to some of them soon, and also encourage whoever I can, in the right direction of course.

If only...the holidays were longer, prob would be able to meet up with more of the pple that I'd wished I could...?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Open Source!

From Romans 12 - 13, part of our response to God's mercy shown to us is in obedience to (correctly functioning) authorities, which we do so also because of the return of Christ to judge (What will the verdict be for us, when we stand before the judgement seat? It's not only belonging to the realm of Christ made possible by his death and resurrection accepted by believing, but just as important is how we live our lives here on earth from that point onwards, whether we reflect that fact or not)

One implication is not having any software/songs that we don't rightfully own (if the RIAS/BSA has any right to prosecute us, we probably have stuff that should be removed), and not downloading any more of these without buying at least.

For those who want seriously want to stop using software that you don't own (unless you want to buy), here's a list of software alternatives that can be considered, since they're free to use (amongst other things that can be done based on the open source license).

As for OSes, I think can try Ubuntu amongst the 6523498 different useable linux distributions. If you want to install one, can ask TYC for help. =PPP

As for myself, "Operation Cleanup" is coming...

Carlsen and Janice's new place

Victor's Free Photo Gallery :: Carlsen and Janice's new place

Some of the pictures I took, with my (sub-standard) camera on my Nokia 3230. ;)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

3 more papers to go

Finally...the exams are about to be over~ ^^

But a lot more things to be done: doing up the BTPC website, prepping the 2 Tim talks for the retreat in the week after, and moving out of hall, etc.

Do pray for me, ok?

(Just some of the insanity that happened today: 20-pieces of nuggets with SIX kinds of sauces, but in the end stayed 'faithful' to the curry sauce, since it was the nicest anyway =P )

Friday, November 18, 2005

By Grace Alone

Ever tried answering this question? "I am saved because..."
What was your answer? What is our (personal) answer to that today?

Gotten from here: Stronger Church: Three Implications for Grace Alone! Today. Check out the pdf link for more details on what the sermon (preached from Eph 2:1-10) was about, a very good reminder that dead people (us all) can't save themselves; no, not even cling on to any life-buoy that's thrown to them.

Some of the implications (shown by contrary examples) are mentioned, am not saying that any group of people in particular are like that, but rather that in all our various circumstances, at different points of time, it certainly is also very possible for us (evangelical or not) to become like that. If it were ever to be so, let us remember God's grace, that it's only by this grace we can be saved, and not be conceited.

While evangelicals would certainly affirm the essential nature of Grace, sometimes our behavior betrays that we really don't practice what we say we believe. I shared three indicators of this kind of thing: (interested parties, should there be any, can read the entire sermon at http://www.faithcom.org/resources/textmessages/2005/051113pb.pdf, and also listen to it at http://www.faithcom.org/resources/default.htm.)


1. We show that we don't understand "grace alone" when we present salvation as something that is the result of what we do. We've developed our own vocabulary in relation to the Gospel that lacks biblical root. As a result, when we ask people how they know that they are saved, they are likely to respond with something that they did: "I prayed a prayer" or "I went forward in an evangelistic meeting" or "I turned my life over to Jesus," etc. Semantics? I don't think so. If it were just sematics, there wouldn't be so many people questioning their salvation because they aren't sure that they "really meant it" or "really understood it." Sadly, security for some is in their response.

2. We show that we don't understand "grace alone" when we depend on marketing, techniques, having the right tools, etc., to reach people and help them grow. Our pragmatic approaches to ministry may be popular, but faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. People are not saved because of our cleverness.

3. We show that we don't understand "grace alone" when we think that our access to God is based on how well we're performing.

Monday, November 14, 2005

180° about turn


Excerpt from "the holy book" (A Sinner's Guide to Holiness), page 31:

What is repentance?

{...} Repentance is not, at its core, simply a sense of sorrow--feeling sorry for something. Sorrow may accompany true repentance, but it is not the essence of it. A person may be genuinely repentant and yet not feel much sorrow at all, or indeed any deep emotion. On the other hand, it is possible to be full of sorrow and sadness, but not to have made a single step towards repentance. The person might simply feel sorrow over having been found out in a compromising situation!

Repentance must be understood, rather, as a complete change in direction. It is an about-face with regard to God, and with regard to the way we relate to him. In the past we may have ignored, disobeyed and even argued with God. Now, however, the repentant person has turned away from this behaviour and has decided to serve God in a way which is pleasing to him instead. {...}

Was listening to 'Get Ready For The Coming King' (Introducing Jesus, Term 3, 2005) earlier today, and PJ also talked about true repentance being a change in the way we live our lives, not just the emotions that may accompany the realisation as shown from the Word that we've been living out our lives against God, be it in a particular area or in many areas.

Having been "burned" many many times in my first two years of uni (2003-05), and almost every time Wee Seng opened the bible with us (Derrick, Shaun and myself), it was both a really depressing time of heavy-heartedness, but also a time of grim determination/decisions to live life the way God wants us to (with some progress, thanks be to God). I'm certainly thankful for the many chances to hear and to repent (although it didn't really feel good then). =)

(The problem did come also after that: the emotions did happen so often that for a while after that I was struggling with whether I was really repenting, when I didn't have the experience of being "killed".

Ah... maybe if I had heard or read this then, then I probably wouldn't have to go through that last part, but then again that's not what this post is about. =P )

Back to the topic, it certainly is a good reminder of what repentance is, and I hope (and pray) that I'll continue in true repentance, not just the emotions part only, as I continue to study the bible. Not only that, but also for the reader, that all may come to repentance, be it for the first time in your life, or for the 5928th time in your life here on earth as a Christian.

(Keblakang pu~~~seng!)

Saturday, November 12, 2005

IP over Avian Carriers

IP over Avian Carriers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For those who're just about to go mad from studying on IP networks, here's an "alternative implementation" of Internet Protocol to show/warn you how truly mad/bored people can get...

(Hail to the Crazy Computer Engineers!)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hell (Week)

Have been busy of late, trying to rush finish my revisions for my upcoming exams amongst other activities/commitments... of which the only thing I look forward to being relinquished of
are these exams*.

More studying to come...but yet...
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Anyways, as for the conclusion for the polls (okok, sorry for all the shredded towels), the points are simple:

- as with the curious/'skeptical'/sober/realistic nature of us here going to find out the truthfulness behind the claim of "Fire!", the claims of the bible (from which christianity came about) demand similar attention: of the origin, the source of the problem, the BIG problem, the only solution to it, the results of the solution, and the choice/response that's demanded.

- for those who're already out of the 'burning house', remember that the 'house' will not stay burning forever, and that the result will certainly not be pretty...do we see the importance of helping people out of it? Or do we simply can't care less as to what happens to everyone else?
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Heaven is real for sure, but upon realising the reality of hell (a partial glimpse of what it's like's in Romans 1 already, only that the real one is far worse), one can only be put back in place in viewing God as not just some lovey-dovey old man who rescues 'cute and loveable' humans, but someone who truly has every right (and power) to sentence us to that place, and in partially understanding the mercy that has been shown to some of us all so far.
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It's really sickening to see the kind of untruths that bog people down in their understanding as seen in many ways, and the only thing we can do is to continue to ask God to have mercy on them too, and continue to pass on the urgent message that everyone needs to hear.

(*: edited)

Monday, October 31, 2005

For The Love Of God - Oct 30

Just to share (this article), although most if not all of the readers here are not pastors, but nevertheless we're all still supposed to handle the word of God properly, and also have our priorities in the right place too. ;)

If you want to receive these yourself, the details to suscribe to it is in this page.
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2 Tim 2

ONE OF THE MANY PRACTICAL DECISIONS a busy pastor has to face is whether to engage some particular error that rears its head.

The factors that go into that sort of decision are many. How many people are actually being affected by it? Is it threatening to split the church, or it it the fixation of only one or two people? Is it about some relatively peripheral matter, or does it go to the heart of the Gospel? Is it something about which the Bible is really quite clear, or does it concern something on which the Bible does not pronounce anything very substantial? Moreover, even when the issue is clearly important, one must make sober decisions about how much time and energy you should devote to it. Too little, and many of your flock may be adversely affected; too much, and you are being drawn away from what should be the primary focus of your ministry; you will gradually get sucked into a sea so vast you will never again see the shore.

Over the years I have been invited to address any number of “problems” or “interpretations” that have lasted no more than a few months or a few years. It may be expedient to do the studying necessary to engage a few of them; anything more is a waste of time. Just a month or so before the “Heaven’s Gate” mass suicide, this cult sent me (and doubtless many others) one of their videos and a great deal of literature. I spent all of ten minutes scanning the literature to see where it was going. It was such unadulterated rubbish i filed it away, hoping I would never have to respond to this particular brand of nonsense. A few weeks later, most of the adherents were dead.

Two years ago a pastor phoned me and berated me because I had not yet responded with anything substantive to Michael Drosnin’s book, The Bible Code. Out of interest I had accumulated a fairly substantial file, but that was not enough for this pastor: he felt that the people in his church were terribly vulnerable, and he insisted that I spend some time working on it. I refused. Two months later I discovered that the person in his church most fixated by this problem was the pastor himself, who could not leave the subject alone.

What a welcome contrast, then, to hear Paul telling Timothy what to say to new generations of pastors: “Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen” (2 Timothy 2:14). Or again: “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels” (2:23). Answer when you must; never fixate on the peripheral; do not lose the focus on what is primary; do not be enticed into stupid arguments. The real issues are simply too important.


Copyright 2005 D.A. Carson

Friday, October 28, 2005

Powderful English

The two new words I learnt on Wednesday: Limerence(from Love, Sex and Marriage CDs) and transcendence (from Romans)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Skype Patches High-Risk Security Holes

Skype Patches High-Risk Security Holes

If you use Skype, would be good to take a look at it...

Will most probably be going on a hiatus for a while, after my conclusion to the 2 polls that have been done, due to my current timetabling for these few months. Do pray for me though, that I'll 'survive' this times.

Monday, October 24, 2005

...

More learning to be done, as usual...

Illusion

Check this out, pretty interesting... =)

(I'm quite bored now...)

Self-steering car

Self-steering car glides to showrooms - Sunday Times - Times Online

Self-steering cars, anyone?

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Gathering?


IMG_0916
Originally uploaded by gunblad3.
For the last bible study we had, instead of meeting in school, we went to Pastor Andrew's instead, to have the bible study, over a dinner of pizza.

Pretty much had a good time relaxing after the bible study: playing games and watching the first half of Kingdom of Heaven on DVD.

(Pity...we didn't get to eat the carrot cake that Cheryl (Pastor's wife) made this time...bleah.)

By the way, you can view the (few) pictures we took here.

(More thinking through/planning to be done with regards to these precious people...)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Indepth

sydneyanglicans.net - indepth

Sern Khoon has finally blogged an entry, indicating his continued existence on this planet... =D

Anyway, he highlighted this new resource page (called Indepth)from sydneyanglicans.net, where they host mp3 sermons from various churches/groups. The mp3 library is still being added to for these few days, so do take a look, or even better, download and listen =P

Anyways, the conclusion to the polls will be coming soon (accoding to my definition of 'soon'? Heh heh), so don't shred your towels as yet.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Love

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends." (1 Cor 13:4-8a, ESV)
What is love? Of course, we love to talk on the topic of love (no pun intended), and such a passage is more often than not used when thinking (dreamily) about the special someone in our life, or when at a marriage ceremony, the passage used during the short message is this one (and people think "booooorrrriinnnngg...haven't we heard about this a thousand times before?").

(No, I do not write this because of certain recent changes in my life, but please read on anyway, you might catch the reasons for this post. Moreover I might not write as frequently as before.)

In actual fact, if you read the letter more in it's entirety, you'd realise that this passage belongs to a larger section (1 Cor 12-14:25) where Paul is describing how different people should use their different gifts/abilities for the building up of the church (of believers) in love.

(Of course in understanding what Paul originally meant we can also see how it applies in the context of marriage, but it also only means that loving your spouse/family in marriage entails a lot more than just whispering sweet nothings in their ear, or opening the door for the lady, or sending her home everyday, or buying gifts for him/her, or the yearly celebration of the anniversary, etc. But that's a topic for another post, if written.)

This brings up certain implications on how we act towards other believers and non-believers (in love), to bring to them what is best for them:

- (v4) patient: Simply put, we don't expect results of our work in ministry immediately (which also makes sense since the christian's walk with God is a process, not a one-off thing)

- (v4) envy: The bible-study leader/pastor/sunday-school teacher simply is not holier than the one who washes up the dishes; neither is the musician or the guy manning the AVA console of a higher standing in the eyes of God than the guy who mans the church bookshop (which probably sometimes entails fending off kiasu people attempting to wring out a bargain of $0.10 off the Two Ways to Live tracts which costs less than a dollar anyway)

- (v4) boasting and arrogance: In the light of all gifts/abilities being given (not earned) by God (12:11,28) for the building up of the same church (12:12-13), there simply is no reason for such attitudes anymore.

- (v7-8) endures...forever: When the people don't seem to be thinking much, even though they can perfectly recap for you at the end of each lesson what the passages were talking about, when they don't seem to be responding to the Word of God with the response it warrants, when the ones you decide to encourage to live a godly life are exactly the ones who (literally) spit on your face and reject you time and again, when the doctrine you faithfully teach gets rejected by the church leadership (or the rest of the church/organisation you work for), when the opposition to the gospel and the christian gets so bad you wish that they'd just 'crucify' you and get it done and over with, when we so discouraged/tired out/disillusioned from all this, how long should we persevere to live a godly life, to edify other believers? Forever, till we die, for others' sakes.

There's plenty of ways we can see God's love: (Rom 2:3-5)in putting up with sin for the time being so that people can come to repentance rather than rest on their inexistent laurels and face the ultimate judgement; (Rom 5:6-8)shown ultimately, decisively and powerfully in the giving of his only Son to die for the very enemies he's angry with, (Rom 8:29-30)that those that belong to Him be glorified with his Son when Christ comes again, the good that is really nothing short of the best that we can get.

Ultimately, when we're tempted to judge others with our thoughts or even our speech and actions, let us be reminded that (Rom 3:9)we all came from the same plight (all equally UNloveable), only that some of us are saved earlier in time, and that it IS of the utmost importance that as many people hear the gospel as possible, so that they may come to a saving faith in the only solution provided by God himself. And in obeying the great commision given by God to us christians, the way we should be living it out is in love.

If you share the same faith please pray for me also, that I'll continue to love the others around me (be it in NTU, or in church, or family, or anywhere else), striving to help them understand what is christianity and to live it out, and not to be proud as I have the tendency to be, or to be discouraged and to give up as I may be tempted to time and again.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Poll #2

Since all of the replies to date were more or less choice 2 to that effect (thankfully no one chose number 3... unless no one got the joke?), we'll continue with that for the time being. ;)

Here goes~

Upon going to find out about the situation at hand, you realise that there's pretty much reason to believe that there is a fire: there's smoke coming out from the kitchen with a bright flickering orange light coming out from the door, and it gets strangely hot when you go near it. Walking near, you see your maid flailing her hands desperately as she tries to urge you out of the house (yes, the shout came from her). Neither you nor your maid has had any history to insanity, and there isn't any reason to go mad at this instant either.

Walking into the kitchen anyway, you see that most of the kitchen is already on fire, and some of your hairs already start to singe from the heat present.

The fire looks like it's gonna bring your house down any moment, and it's pretty much too late to try to extinguish it counting it's size. That is, if it's all real anyway.


How now, brown cow?

1) Run?
2) Pretend that you're hallucinating and pretend that you're dreaming or something.
3) Run!!
4) Reprimand your maid sternly and tell her not to try to slack off.
5) Just go back to what you were doing.

(PS: this is starting to sound like dungeons and dragons... -_-:: )

Sunday, October 09, 2005

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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Poll #1

One day (有一天?) whilst happily doing your own stuff in your house, and you hear a shout: "The house's on fire! Run!!"

What do you do?
1) Carry on with what you're doing, oblivious to it.
2) Try to find out whether the fire is real or not.
3) Ignore the warning, fire or not, since you're in the living room.
4) Run out of the house straight away anyway.

(PS: Pls comment leh!)

Friday, October 07, 2005

Crazy Computer Engineer

Crazy computer engineers get laughed at.

I got laughed at.

I'm now branded as a crazy computer engineer...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Panic? Stress?

There are times at which words cannot really describe the kind of stress you're gong through at the time...

...but they do exist at times.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

For The Love Of God (Oct 4)

Hope this helps those who read this, in understanding why being christian doesn't mean only being the 'holy' person who goes to church, or does 'christian' things, but rather one who lives out his salvation here on earth, who does not solely accept Christ as a saviour without also living under his lordship.
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Ephesians 4

ONE OF THE REMARKABLE FEATURES of Paul’s letters is that much space is devoted to teaching people how to live. Indeed, the Bible as a whole is interested in teaching us what to believe (because these things are true), and it is no less interested in teaching us faithful conduct. Nowhere is such balance more evident than in Paul’s letters.

The reason for this comprehensiveness lies in the nature of God. The God of the Bible, the God who is there (as Francis Schaeffer taught us to say), is God of everything. He is not the God of thoughts only, or of some spiritual or religious realm exclusively. He is God. As our Maker and providential Ruler, his interests and writ extend to every aspect of our being, beliefs, utterances, and conduct. Thus to preserve some horrible tension between our belief systems and our conduct is not only an invitation to schizophrenia, it is also an insult against God, a horrible rebellion no less ugly for being selective.

This means that our teaching and preaching must include not only truths to be believed, but also instruction on how to live. Entirely exemplary in this respect is the example of Paul in Ephesians 4:17 - 32. No one seriously doubts that this epistle contains rich doctrine. Here, however, we find Paul insisting that his readers “no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking” (4:17). He ties this “futility” to their ignorance of God on the one hand, and to their disgusting conduct on the other. “You, however, did not come to know Christ that way” (4:20). You were “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (4:24). That means “put [ting} off” the old self, and being “made new in the attitude of your minds” and “put {ting} on” the new self (4:22 - 24).

All of this could remain a little ethereal. Paul will not allow such an escape. The rest of the chapter is frank and practical. The conduct Paul expects includes truthful speech — “for we are all members of one body” (4:25), and a practical commitment to let no day end in anger, lest the devil be given a foothold (4:26 - 27). Converted thieves must steal no more. They must work, doing something useful, learning to be generous with what they earn (4:28). Our talk must not only eliminate what is blasphemous, vulgar, or “unwholesome,” but must learn to utter “what is helpful for building others up according to their needs” (4:29). Comprehensively: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (4:31 - 32).

Copyright 2005 D.A. Carson

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Fighting

Romans 6-7

Fighting means:
- going in the opposite direction from the opponent.
- not going with the opponent.

Fighting sin means:
- taking this struggle seriously.
- going all out to put it to death, now that it's power over us has been broken through Christ's death and resurrection.
- acknowledging sin, but only to deal with it, and not to carry on in the old ways any more.
- helping others to fight, knowing that christians are in the same situation here in this world.

We fight because:
- made righteous by God, in Christ, through faith, we now do not belong in the old world.
- we no longer are under sin's dominion any more.
- we belong to a new master, which is Christ, and it's only right to obey the new master.
- we now live in a tension between the two realms (Rom 5:12-21), as opposed to being originally helplessly stuck in the realm that results in death only.
- no longer under sin's power, but still in it's temporary sphere of influence, till we die or Christ comes to judge the world, whichever is sooner.

So...fight!

Optical Camouflage

Link: Optical Camouflage

What is Optical Camouflage?

Optical camouflage is a kind of active camouflage.


Is this kewl or what?! (Take a look at the videos in the page to see a demo of the system)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Ze' pot calling the kettle black

It's funny, how sometimes we think people are simply proud and rebellious in their thinking, but upon further self-examinng we see that we're not too different from them in that aspect either.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Liberation

Today at CG:

Finally...after a whole lot of agonising and excuses, have finally come to expose what should be exposed, and to humbly ask for help in the fight.

But that doesn't mean that it's over, but rather that the real fight's only just begun...

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Sit straight!


Upon buying a new laptop mouse today, I realised that there's a pretty big focus on ergonomics, one of the reasons being it reduces the occurrences of RSI (not CSI lah).

In an age where computers are used by almost everybody around at some point of time (or at all times), such things are worth taking note of (not excessively though) in the light of taking care of our bodies, to be a good steward of what's not ours to waste away.

Seating Ergonomics: A free guide to ergonomic seating
Some other things to take note for laptop users
Or alternatively you could Google using the keywords RSI or ergonomics.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Fight!

Rom 7:13-25
Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. [ESV]


Although one of the more confusing passages to run through in the course of studying Romans, but it was certainly heartening to hear that pastor, like the rest of us, like Paul, also have to struggle with sin whilst in this world, even though we're no longer under it's mastery and power. On the other hand at the same time, it's sad to realise that at some times I have compromised and simply given up fighting sin in some areas of my life....

Well, on being reminded of this again, it's no time to mope about the past but rather to look forward, pick up the rifle (not literally lah) again, and carry on with what's important: carrying on as a disciple of Christ, and to help others on their journey also. =)

(Who said that Christians never fight? Heh heh)

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Processor utilization = 100%

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*hung*

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

SUO: The aftermath


My face~~...my face~~~...it's crackinggggg~~~~ ouch.

Anyway, some pics taken by various pple from the SUO are up.
[Edit: ACH's pics are up also...finally =P ]

Sunday, September 18, 2005

SUO 来 SUO 去


Went for the SUO over the weekend as a participant with my friends from PLMC, and it surely was a new experience for me, for actually joining in a competition for ultimate frisbee as opposed to playing for fun only (although we sort of played for fun there also anyway lol), and also to see the tip of the iceberg in how many people actually play this game.

It was certainly nice to see a few of my friends around there also, and to have a short chat with one of them there. Also with more visitors joining in our team, we ended up with more peope, which meant that we didn't get ourselves tired out so fast as compared to the team without the additional people (like the PE teachers heh heh ;) )

At the end, it was a bit sad that we couldn't/didn't join the rest of the people there to get to know them better as friends too (a beer party/dinner probably isn't the best place to try to get to know people), but what disturbed me more was the kind of 'true colours' that showed in the duration of the games.

In the duration of the games, many heated words/espressions were exchanged (mainly in the form of shouting and screaming) amongst the team (including myself) probably due to the heat (stress) of the game, but most weren't really considerate of the person's plight that he/she probably was really tired, or just disorientated, and had been trying his/her best anyway...in the end, D blew his top at one more of such a comment being directed at him. In the end, things were patched up: an apology made in front of everybody, and just as quickly as it blew it disappeared from sight (or the minds seemingly) as if it never happened.....

I think BS (the one who apologised) was really brave then...but it also showed me how stubbornly proud I still am in wanting to save face in front of others there and then, for what I've transgressed against others was no different from what he did, only difference was that no one was visibly affected by it (nothing 'bad' came from it so to speak).

(It's one thing for a person to realise that he's proud, but it doesn't mean that he/she'll be humble for sure from then on.)

This may or may not be the best place to do so (or the best timing), but to those whom I've done wrong against in one way or another (including CL) during this weekend, I'm sorry.

Hope that I'll be able to change this, with God's help...but this one won't be easy for me personally.
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Whatever the case, I hope to be able to make good use of the precious little time I have with them on sunday evenings, whilst enjoying the ultimate frisbee games =P

(PS: for those who've read up till here and are still wondering how on earth does the subject title link to this post, you can stop now: there is no link)
(PPS: kena sunburn'ed from the weekend of sun, if you're wondering what (part of) my msn nick means)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

...

It's no joke when your parent's (chronically) in bad health, and is starting to become a bit on the old side, and is now planning to engage a lawyer to write a will and all...(even more for those who have relatives already on the deathbed)

For many people the natural response to it would be to stop looking at the temporal things of the short term (for a while) and start to see what should be done for the good of the long term: as chinese, probably some would think about respecting their parents (for many that would be the first time in a very long time) so as to not antagonise them, or worse to try to 'earn' a place into their wills, etc etc etc. Or for professing christians the thing they'd probably do is to try to 'talk-gospel' with them either by themselves or maybe (even better?) calling on the pastor (who seems holier) to come down to talk to them, maybe in the hope that they'd grab the seemingly last chance for the 'dying' to come to believe in Christ, or for some: so that their guilty consciences are appeased if they come to accept and believe before they go(or as seen in the flipside, the time of self-rebuke and guilt-striken uncertainty that comes if the person didn't accept in any sense/form before he/she left this world).

NOT that that's the reason to make us start to seriously consider what's REALLY important in the long run: that others be encouraged to continue in Christ, be it for the first time, or to carry on running the race. Why? For in further understanding of the bible as time goes by, it already shows that salvation IS the most important thing this fallen world needs, and a response to it simply is to acknowledge it's importance with what we do in our speech/actions/thoughts/lives, and not consider it only when we're about to lose something dear to us like a relationship(from death).

For those who already understand this, the challenge would be not to fall into the things 'they' do(para. 2) whilst keeping focused on these reasons. For those who have yet to come to understand one way or another(not to condemn, for in simply knowing or even understanding it doesn't make our standing before God any better), I urge you to find out and understand and test it against how we've been living our lives, and respond accordingly in your contexts...

Of course, I'll still continue to see how(and carry out the plans I've already made) can I encourage my mum (and my brother...) in godliness...
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But even with recognising God's sovereignty in everything, including when and how we go, all the 'simulations' that ran through my head(more like daydreams of what would it be like when THAT happens. Ok, I daydream at times.) all ended up with the same result(immense grief) and the future being uncertain.

But to us humans, the (near or far) future is uncertain anyway, and whether all this really happens, whether exactly as I imagined it to be or not is of no matter. The only certain thing that WILL happen in the future is the Judge's return to judge this earth, and the end of all things, and the beginning of the new world then. And that is the thing to keep focused on, as we live in this current world.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Keyboard clicks can lead to security hacks

Keyboard clicks can lead to security hacks | CNET News.com

An audio recording of an individual's typing can be transposed into a transcript of what was typed, according to University of California at Berkeley researchers. The technique works because each key makes a distinct sound when hit, and users, who typically type about 300 characters a minute, leave enough time between keystrokes for a computer to isolate the individual sounds.

Maybe they'll start banning all sound recording devices soon, heh heh heh.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A taste of heaven

Image(153)

Came back from the 3 day/2night retreat with my NTU group yesterday, and it was a good time of both getting to know one another better, to talk about things both regarding christianity and not, and also to teach them/learn together about the overview of the entire bible. Am really glad that the whole group went, even though none of the people outside of our group came and joined us in the end =( (except for Yifen who joined us for the last talk and dinner)

Personally, having to teach the thing meant that it also made us (TYC and I) understand this more, and also the fact that I had my first chance to give a few talks/workshops this time. Am glad that it didn't go way too awry and that they did manage to catch the geist and learn, although I do have room to improve on my presentation for sure.

Unlike my dog who has to stretch like mad to get a taste of the grape, we certainly are blessed in having the priviledge of building one another up whenever we meet, all by God's grace and not by our own merits.

(will post more pictures when I can in Flickr)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Random

The questions that rage on in my mind, all meet up with dead ends, not because there's no answer, but simply because I haven't come to realise yet.
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Seeing the effects of sin in people's lives from talking to various people, and the kind of 'needless' pain they undergo (if only...they had heard and understood the gospel...but that's up to God's sovereignty to reveal what to whom at which place in time) from nothing but lies...saddens me no end. But I'm not God, else I'd have done as I wished...

Looking at myself, seeing no difference between my past and the pagans that are around in this world...the punishment was justified, the salvation undeserved, but yet... and the only response I can have to this massive turning point in life (being transferred from the realm of death to another realm) is Gratitude, and living a new life in the light of this new status. =)

The new life, still hard to live in the continued presence of sin, although being no longer under it's dominion...still needs progress...as many old habits still need to be weeded out (no thanks to having loved lies, and still loving it sometimes, for the past dunno-how-many-years). Still fighting sin, but still sometimes getting tripped up.

But there's also cause for joy also, for the growth and potential in the youths that have the massive priviledge of hearing the bible taught faithfully at such a young age, and the fact that they're thinking also. Great opportunities to mature them(by God's grace, of course), and great opportunities for partnerships in the ministry. And also applies for the congregation as a whole too~

Looking at it all, the work continues(with God's help also; we only continue to encourage others with the gospel, both in understanding and it's outworkings in our lives) as we await the Perfected Kingdom to arrive fully, and one (tiny) part of it starts tomorrow: the retreat to Changi Aloha, where we'll (the NTU group) be doing GBP (not exactly the same material, but the same content). =)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

POTD 110905


Image(115)
Originally uploaded by gunblad3.
Blackie! Very old now, but still alive...

Friday, September 09, 2005

Three Faces of the Church

Taken from here(without permission =P ). I am a slow reader alright.

Good reminder on what we should aim to focus on as a whole, and a good start to thinking again about what we ourselves truly focus on as a church.

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Three Faces of the Church

Taking some license with Stephen Covey's best selling tome, "Seven Habits of Higly Effective People", here are three very different, but apt discriptions of church models that exist today. These lists are not exhaustive... and they were written with a broad brush strokes, intentionally, to include a wide variety of church "experiences" in each category. In fact, I would like to know what would your lists comprise of? Read Ephesians 4:11-16 to get a glimpse into the church that glorifies God.

Seven highly effective habits of the Contemporary Church that almost always guarantee church growth with very little spiritual impact:
1. Go political, not biblical
2. Go pragmatic, not theological
3. Go psychological, not discipleship
4. Go anthropocentric, not Christocentric
5. Go postmodern, not transcendent
6. Go “share your story”, not “all for His glory”
7. Go sickness, not sin; go disease not, disobedience

Seven highly effective habits of the Traditional Church that almost always guarantee church stagnation with very little spiritual impact:
1. Go traditional, not spiritual
2. Go legalistic, not grace
3. Go corporate, not community
4. Go “count converts”, not “make disciples”
5. Go pastoral/elder ruler, not shepherd/servant leader
6. Go more information, not Christlikeness
7. Go programs, not prayer

Seven highly effective habits of the Biblical Church that almost always guarantee God’s blessing and spiritual impact:
1. Go supremacy of God and His glory in worship
2. Go sola fide, sola scriptura, sola gratia, solus Christus, Soli Deo Gloria
3. Go The Great Commission and the Two Great Commandments
4. Go take care of the poor, the widow and the orphan
5. Go discipline of sin
6. Go pray without ceasing
7. Go equip the saints for the work of the ministry


Taken from Audience One.

Keyboards

Optimus keyboard
When this becomes available I'd certainy love to own one~~

Unless I intend to try to increase my typing speed (really?) with this instead.

And the best part? I use a laptop currently =D

Thursday, September 08, 2005

POTD 080905

Urban Cage

Living for others

It's hard to make the distinction:

When should we be tough?
When should we be soft?
When should we be forthcoming?
When should we be more discrete?
When should we point out errors?
When should we just hold back for the time being (and continue to pray)?

When all these should be decided upon(sometimes at that point in time), all for the sake of others.

Heard one answer to it: "We cross examine our motives, and see whether our motives are to tear them down instead, which is the opposite of what we aim to do." Possible at times, impossible in other situations, to be able to think so objectively on the run. (Thinking back about some past events, it looks like the action taken should've been different, and the outcome probably would've been different, but the thing here is not to wistfully hope to be able to change the past, but rather see what needs to be changed)

Another way is to observe those who're good models and see what's their motives for acting the way they do, deciding whether it's really an example to learn from that's the result of biblical understanding/conviction. And this one will take time, and (of course) the fact that there are godly people around whom we can observe.

But...so...when, should we be which?
(to be continued, hopefully not at another 3am)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Plucked from the jaws of Death


Do you remember the scene from Star Wars, near to the end of The Return Of The Jedi? The Millenium Falcon has just destroyed the main power reactor of the Death Star, and as the entire base starts to blow up, the Millenium Falcon starts to make it's desperate attempt at escaping the base along with another comrade and an enemy TIE fighter, lest they blow up along with the entire death star. In the course of escaping, the flames engulf and destroy the hapless TIE fighter and the allied fighter(was it an X-Wing?), and just as the flames start to engulf the Millenium Falcon itself and they look as if they're all about to be matyred, the ship shoots out of the Death Star, and the crew heaves a great sigh of relief. (Of course, the Death Star blows up, and the Rebel Alliance celebrates the end of the enemy along with their new found furry Ewok friends.)

Exactly the impression I got when I heard today's sermon on Romans 5:12-21. Having seen the bad news of God's anger on ALL men because of their unrighteousness(Rom 1:18-3:20), and the perfect solution solution given by God at the right time(Rom 3:21-26), and now one of aspects of this salvation, I can't help but heave a sigh of relief looking at the doom that we've left(Rom 5:12) and be thankful to the 'rescuer' that plucked us out from this doom into the promise(Rom 5:15-21).

All this, available to anyone who receives it simply by believing in what has been said in the bible, sometimes seems far too good to be true...but that's what grace is about, right? (God never owed us anything, let alone our salvation, but yet He gave his only son to do so.)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ga-brah

Led another BS today, and I think it was bad.

Not being able to manage group dynamics is one, although that is not that important, except for helping the rest to be able to concentrate without distraction.

But the real prob comes when you end up confusing people along the way, and the thing is not explained clearly. Then the point of the study probably is defeated altogether already, isn't it not?

Not that it's the first time that this has happened, but (in a way) thankfully it doesn't always happen all the time.

A whole lot to be worked on regarding this...a whole lot.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Carrot cake

Had a treat awaiting us when we went to Wai's place for cell group: the carrot cake made by Pastor Andrew's wife, Cheryl.

Trust me, it was NICE~~ =)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Relief

=) =) =)

Thankfully the 'damage' done wasn't so great, but I still will have to be careful in the way I treat others, and that will still be hard...

So much for 'being a gentleman', according to what I learnt in JC.

But still, thank God for making me realise it, even though it's a hell of a painful process.

=) =) =)

How to be in a large group

The continuation article from the article on how to be in a small group. And yes, I didn't write this either ;) Although not as 'powerful' as the other, but nevertheless still gives some very good pointers on thinking through about loving others, in a large group setting. Hope this article will help you (whoever reads this) too.

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The very topic of church raises an interesting conundrum. Why do we call our small groups 'Bible study groups' or 'cell groups', and our larger meetings 'church'? Is there a fundamental difference between them?

It's hard to imagine the authors of the New Testament thinking so. According to their writings, 'church' was a word which simply meant 'getting together', and there were on size restrictions on what constituted a 'getting together'. All you needed were some people in the same place at the same time meeting in the name of Christ. As Jesus said, "Where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them" (Matthew 18:20).

In terms of what these 'get togethers' were for, they would have put it something like this: "We get together (i.e. have church) for mutual encouragement, to build the church, to spur on another on to love and good deeds. The idea is for each member to contribute to the common good, according to the gifts God has given" (cf. 1 Cor 12-14; Heb 10:24-25).

In other words, the meetings we have in small and large groups have a great deal in common, especially in terms of their basic purpose. The main differences between them are pragmatic. In the small group, it is easier to relate informally, to talk at length about particular issues, to answer individual questions and so on. In the large group, there are efficiencies of scale such that a suitably gifted Teacher can effectively teach a large group of people. Of course, we ourselves will be encouraged and taught and stimulated to love, and we need this to keep going in the Christian life. In particular, we need the regular instruction, correction, rebuke and exhortation that comes from someone teaching us the Bible. The large group also helps keep the whole group of people together, rather than the small groups each splintering off into independent units.

Much of what we said in our last article ('How to be in a small group') also applies to the larger group that we normally call 'church'--perhaps it would be better to refer to them as small church and large church. As with the 'small church', the overall goal of the larger gathering is mutual encouragement and edification; and the responsibility of each member is to contribute whatever they can for the good of others. In fact, it's worth repeating the key sentence in our first article--that the primary reason we go to 'church' is "to give us an opportunity to love and encourage other people in Christ. It's not about Me; it's about Them. And it's about Them because of Christ." Even so, this is not really our focus in going to church. The encouragement or teaching we receive is not really our concern. That is for others to worry about. Our purpose is to focus on others, and on what we can do for them.

This will work itself out in many ways, but here are six.

1. Turning up for others
When the kids are complaining, the body is weary, a leisurely morning in the bed beckons and the sermon series is on the significance of blood in Leviticus, then what person other than a stubborn religious zealot would go to church? Answer: the person who goes not for themselves but for others.

If our primary motivation for attending larger gatherings of our Christian brothers and sisters is to love and encourage them, then we will go to great lengths to turn up--at the very least because not turning up is such a discouragement. You can't love, care for and encourage other people if you're not there.

2. Sitting with others
Having other people as our focus when we go to church will influence our behavior in all sorts of minor ways. It will even change where we sit. Rather than treading the familiar route to 'our' pew, the one we sit in every week, with Bill and Freda on our left, and the Tans in front, we will think about where we might sit that would be most helpful--next to that person over there whom I don't recognize (and who is probably a visitor); or next to Mike Wilson whom I haven't seen in church for a while; or next to the Lims because I know they've been going through a really tough time with their daughter and I'd like to have a chat with them about it afterwards and pray with them.

3. Welcoming others
This is related to the last point. If our focus is on encouraging others, we will be on particular alert for those who are new in our midst. We will do whatever we can to make them feel at home in what might be a strange environment for them. We will sit next to them, explain what is going on if they look lost, share our Bible with them, introduce them to our friends afterwards. We might even invite them back to our place for lunch. If our focus is on helping this new person become a part of our church, then these sort of things are the least we can do.

4. Listening to others
There are two forms if listening that are powerfully encouraging to others.

One is listening to the sermon. An active, enthusiastic listener, who is obviously paying attention, thinking, and perhaps taking notes, is a great encouragement to any preacher. It spurs him on. It also encourages those sitting around you, just as our bored or distracted fidgeting will dampen their enthusiasm.

The other form of listening is our attentiveness to others after the formal part of the meeting. There is nothing more deeply encouraging than someone who simply listens, who is genuinely interested in what is happening in your life, who is ready to hear and only then to speak according to the need of the moment.

5. Talking to others
When we chat to others after our church meetings, what is it that makes it so hard to get past chit-chat and yesterday's cricket score? It doesn't seem right to have just been glorying the riches of God's Word, and then to find nothing to say about it to each other.

Often this is because we are just a little inhibited about starting up such a conversation. For the sake of others we need to learn to do so. Pick an aspect of the sermon you found particularly stimulating or challenging or even incomprehensible, and ask your friend about it. "I didn't know that the Jewish form of Jesus was 'Joshua'. What do you reckon that says about the Old Testament Joshua?"

6. Praying for others
Since God is the source of all encouragement and all hope, we will of course pray during our gatherings. We will give thanks for all his benefits and draw near to him in faith to make our various requests.

Prayer is one more area in which we can act for the sake of others. Even the hearty 'Amen' we say to each prayer is an encouragement to those around us. And there are plenty of other opportunities for prayer during our gatherings.

During the meeting we can pray for people we see around us, for any non-Christians present, for our Bible teacher as he speaks, for the congregation's responsiveness, and so on.

As we talk with others after church, opportunities should also arise to pray. Even a casual conversation about 'how your week was' will yield a number of things to pray or give thanks for. Don't be embarrassed--why should you be? Just pause then and there to pray together.

When we go to the large group we call 'church', we're not spectators. We're players. We go there for the sake of others, to lay down our lives for them as Christ laid down his for us. In the language of Romans 12, we go as living sacrifices, which is our spiritual worship.

writer | Tony Payne
Matthias Media 1998

Christ Hacks: Tips on walking with Christ from fellow Christians

Christ Hacks: Tips on walking with Christ from fellow Christians

A website worth checking up upon from time to time, it was started only recently =) Will be adding it into my list of links.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A recursive relation

Just a thought:

As part of our Christian walk, we meet fellow believers to encourage them in their Christian walk...

And that Christian walk also is encouraging others in their Christian walk...

So...We not only encourage others, we also encourage them to encourage others!! ;)

Lol...I'm not crapping here ok! In the field of ER diagramming, this is called a recursive relationship, because as we encourage others, others also encourage us. (ok, the last part was out of point)

Friday, August 26, 2005

How to be in a small group

I didn't write this article! But still worth sharing with you guys. A very 'powerful' article (I wonder why).

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Another year, another Bible study group. Time to sign up, turn up and get things rolling for another year. Ho hum.

Time also perhaps to ask some questions about your small group. Is it really making much of a difference in the lives of its members? Do you feel as if you just go along because that's what you're expected to do? Does the group have a clear purpose, or does it just exist because it has always existed?

More to the point, what part are you going to play in this year's group? What can you be doing to make the group a success? There are many books and guides and training materials for small group leaders (like Growth Groups from Matthias Media), but what about the humble group member? What can each of us be doing to make the most of out small groups?

Why go in the first place?
People go to small groups for all sorts of reasons to fulfil expectations, to make friends, to pursue romantic possibilities, to receive encouragement and counsel, to learn, and so on.

While most of these might be perfectly acceptable reasons to join a small group, the first and indispensable reason must be clear in our minds. Our primary reason for belonging to a small group is to give us an opportunity to love and encourage other people in Christ. It's not about Me; it's about Them. And it's about Them because of Christ.

This after all is what the Christian life is about. Our most basic principle is to love other people as Christ has loved us, to lay down our lives for them as Christ did for us. This applies as much to small groups as it does to marriages, families, workplaces, and larger Christian meetings. We go to small groups not primarily to have our needs met, but to meet the needs of others. Of course, we have needs too, and no doubt they will be met along the way--but we can let others worry about that. In fact, paradoxically, the more we focus on loving others, and doing whatever we can for them, the more encouragement and strength we find ourselves.

There are many ways we can love and encourage the other people in our groups. Here are five powerful ones (complete with alliterative titles).

1. The power of presence
This is the simplest and most obvious, but is no less powerful for being so. Just being there each week without fail is a powerful encouragement to the other members of the group. In making the group time a solid commitment, to be missed only in times of emergency, you send a very clear message to the other members: "Being with you matters very much to me. Unless something very important comes up, you can expect me. Encouraging you is a top priority."

Conversely, inconsistent attendance sends a somewhat less encouraging message: "I don't mind coming, but it's not that important. If I feel a bit tired or something else crops up, don't expect me. Being with you and encouraging you isn't really a very high priority for me."

Turning up regularly requires no extraordinary gifts or talent, but it is a powerful way of loving other people.

2. The power of preparation
Most small groups complete their evening's Bible study with a plaintive plea from the leader for people to read the passage and prepare for next week's study. The leader knows full well that most people won't, but there's no harm in trying!

However, preparing for the group time is another powerful way to love the members of the group. Of course, having read the passage, or done the homework, greatly increases the benefit you yourself receive from the discussion. More importantly, however, it equips you to encourage others by what you say. Rather than throwing in whatever occurs to you at the time, you have actually thought about the Bible passage and the issues that it raises. You are much better prepared to say things that stimulate and encourage and teach others if you have bothered to give it some thought beforehand.

3. The power of prayer
Paul's friend and fellow worker, Epaphras, would have made an ideal small group member. According to Paul, he was always "wrestling in prayer" for the Colossians, that they might "stand firm in all the will of God". Paul was able to vouch that in doing so, Epaphras was "working hard for you" (Col 4:12-13).

Praying for others is hard work, but real work. It is one of the most loving things we can do for our fellow group members, not only because it is through our prayers that God does his work in people's lives, but because it is such a quiet, inconspicuous form of ministry. Making a casserole for someone, by comparison, is much more satisfying--you see something very tangible for your efforts,and you have the pleasure of delivering it to the person and receiving their warm expressions of thanks. Prayer has none of these rewards. You do it for one reason only: that you care for that person and want what is best for them in Christ. And so you pray for them.

4. The power of personality
The alliteration may be starting to stretch a little thin here, but the point is solid enough that a powerful way of loving others in your small group is to be willing to share your own life and personality with them.

This is by no means an easy thing to do. Many of us would much rather keep quiet and not give too much away. However, by opening up and sharing our lives and thoughts and struggles and joys, we do others a great service. We not only show them that we have the very same struggles that they have (but thought they were along in suffering); we also encourage them to open up as well.

Of course, it is anything but loving to indiscriminately dump everything we are thinking or feeling onto the group. We need to heed the advice of Proverbs and think carefully before we speak; as well as the words of Ephesians 4: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen" (Eph 4:29).

5. The power of love
Whatever you do in the group--every word you say, every action--do it for the sake of others. Look for how you can support and help the leader. Look for ways to care for the members of the group--those who could really do with a phone call or visit; those who would benefit from having someone to pray or read the Bible with; those who need financial or other material help; those who just need a friend to have pizza and a video with.

Belonging to a small group can be a very demanding exercise. It can cost us our lives, because that is what it means to be a follower of Christ--to lay down our lives for the sake of others. If we grasp the possibilities, small groups represent an enormously fruitful opportunity for doing just that.

(Matthias Media 1998)

POTD 260805

Making full use of the umbrella...

...indoors. ;)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

POTD

Y'know, there's two types of boliao-ness: one being the type that takes photos of sheep shaking their head to the music.

The other being the type that takes photos of those who're taking photos of sheep shaking their head to the music.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Siao eh

Went running (for the first time in months) in school today, after the cell group, with Dong Wei. I never knew that I could run and talk and think at the same time without passing out.

The weirdest conversation topic went on during the run though: regarding the C++ program that he could compile but not run.

And you thought that "computer geeks" only chatted about computer stuffs whilst munching on junk food.

Final installment

The third post.....copied again without permission. =S
===========

Dating: Technique


All too soon, it was time to move indoors for a caffeine boost to tide us through the rest of the work day. Having looked at Target and Timing, we considered how one might start a dating relationship.

The right way to start a dating relationship is a just a subset of the right way to live life. The general principle is to love your neighbour, which includes the Target of your venture. Other-person-centredness is the command of God, the design within which we are to find happiness and the cornerstone of the community that Christ's blood enables us to live in.

One aspect of loving our neighbour is helping them live in a right relationship with God, under God's rule. This means aiding and encouraging them to faith and godliness rather than putting out stumbling blocks for them to trip over.

Right. So a walkthrough might go something like this:
So you see this girl. You're attracted to her. And it's difficult to be clearheaded about not rushing into asking her out on a date.

But remember the general principle. It is your responsibility to love her and care for her by going about it rationally and biblically, not in blind pagan lust.

Absolute Purity
First off, treat everyone with absolute purity (1 Timothy 5:2). The girls in church are not potentials. They are not wares in a shop for you to feast your eyes on and consider with intent to purchase. They are first and foremost your sisters and you are to think of them as such with pure love.

Friendship and Fellowship
Establish a friendship. Relate to her as you relate to any other sister. Afterall, she is not your potential girlfriend. She is a sister like all others. Encourage her to focus and depend on God like you would any other sister.

It is not true that a romantic, exclusive relationship will enable you to get to know her better. It may be more emotionally exciting but the emotional excitement merely blinds you to the illusion and infatuation of being too close too fast. Objectivity is required in making godly loving decisions and much can be known and deduced about her in group settings.

Remember that the point of friendship is not to acquire a girlfriend who will later become your wife. The point of companionship and fellowship in the body of Christ is to build each other up in love and good deeds, teaching and rebuking, encouraging and correcting each other so that we grow together in love for each other and knowledge of him.

If that is the point and the primary purpose for being in a group, then you should not flirt from DG to DG, bible study group to bible study group, social circle to social circle, looking for one where the pickings are good. That would be a disgusting display of self-centredness and mercenary lack of love for your church family and a glaring testimony of your idolatry of marriage.

If you are lonely, identity and comfort is to be found in God first, then in the family God gave you, the Christian community Christ died for.

[A word to the wise, said Cappucino Cad: flirting from flower-bed to flower-bed whiffs of desperation and alerts the lasses that you view them merely as objects of your lust. Even if the sweetest of them attempts to be understanding of your urgent need to find a wife, your actions bespeaks of your untrustworthiness and instability. Who is to say that your lust will stop once you find a wife? Perhaps you may be doing your rounds of the flower-beds again after a few years. Lust is not stopped by marriage, but by repenting of it.]

No Cleavage Please
As a brother to your sisters-in-Christ, you are not to show your cleavage to them. Girls are apparently wired different and common understanding has it that they are stimulated by emotional connection and by warm touch and are excited by being pursued. Doing or saying anything that stimulates them in that way would therefore be as vulgar a come-hither signal as having a bosomy girl rub her aforementioned bosom in your face, then say with great consternation when confronted,"But I was just being friendly!"

Late night talks and intimate sharing in the name of counselling and caring for one another must be done with wisdom. Singling one girl out of an entire group to talk with throughout an outing or constantly asking a girl out one-on-one is showing male cleavage.

Some guys try to limit the damage by alternating between warm closeness and cold distance. Unfortunately, that's apparently the equivalent of a girl flashing her boobs at you every once in a while.

Then there are other guys who attempt to do more gentle damage control by reminding the girl every now and then that they aren't interested in her in "that way" and implying that she is being ungodly and unreasonable in assuming that they were. I'd think that'd be the same as a girl baring loads of cleavage then accusing you of being ungodly and unreasonable by having a physical reaction.

Girls are wired differently and are stimulated by different things. The cause and effect may be illogical to you but that is how they function. The kind and loving thing to do is to take their differences into account when you interact with them and not continue doing whatever you want, however you want.

Not Even a Hint
Even if you are genuinely interested, avoid saying and doing things that express your feelings toward her. This includes flirting, dropping hints of the depth of your emotions, encouraging people to talk about you or treat you as a couple. [Friends, teasing a girl and a boy who are not dating about their suspected couplehood is very not helpful to everyone.]

Target and Timing zun
In time, if she proves to be a Target and the Timing is zun, then wait for what? Go and ask already lah! Wait someone take. Can kiasu a bit anot?!

What is this "scared spoil our friendship" business? If you both talk about it and she disagrees that this is the best way to go for both of you, then you are two mature people who can go on being friends without any awkwardness. She has to trust that that is the end of your venture for now and if she is squeamish about it thereafter, maybe she isn't the Target you thought she was, so your attempt was useful anyway.

If you're actually scared of being rejected, heart-broken and disappointed and having to leave that social circle. Then you'll have to consider why: have you made marriage your life goal so that any "defeat" makes you bitter and downcast? Has marriage become your idol? Then perhaps you are not ready for marriage. You should spend your time on God who matters more than any human can and should matter.

[We all agreed quite sian to flog dead horse but should say that conversely: married men and single girls, don't pressure the single guys lah. If the guy doesn't get off his butt, he's just not that interested lor. As The Marxx suggests, it could well be for ungodly reasons. I have never known a guy who didn't swing into serious action when he was really interested. But pressure a guy to go when he's not ready and it's tears and recriminations all around in the end.]

Successful Dating
If she agrees to start a dating relationship, what would you consider a successful one? Although dating is done with the intention of marriage and finding out if the other is suitable as a marriage partner, the success of a dating relationship should not be defined by whether or not there is a marriage proposal, a diamond engagement ring and a nice church wedding.

Possibly, a successful dating relationship is defined by how godly and loving your conduct was in the relationship and whether you ultimately made a wise, God-fearing decision about marriage.

In dating, as in every other aspect of your Christian life, do nothing out of selfish ambition, do nothing that follows the ways of this world. Instead, do everything according to God's grace, in holiness, always watching out for her and in your thoughts, motives, words and deeds, doing what is best for her godliness and growth.

That's a bit waffley. So loads of "courtship" books try to nail down specifics (a popular bugbear is sexual sin) by listing down regulations:
"Don't hold hands."
"Don't lie in bed together."
"Don't park your car in a secluded spot."
However, like the Colossians' "Do not taste!" "Do not touch!" rules (Colossians 2:20-23), these regulations have an appearance of wisdom, but lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

The problem lies not in our lack of willpower or slack discipline. The problem lies in our old sinful selves still insisting on following the ways of the world and our lusts of the flesh.

You don't need a list of "do's" and "don't's". Rather, set your heart and mind on things above. Put to death everything of the earthly nature and clothe yourself in virtue (Colossians 3:1-17). Waffley. But it's a holistic approach to life. In fact, it should be part and parcel of your life, not a list of rules and regulations.

Boon Yong once suggested that your conduct during dating should be such that if she gets married, but not to you, her future husband will be able to thank you in his wedding speech for taking care of her.

Target and/or Timing buay zun
If Target and/or Timing buay zun, then donch care lor.

You are complete in Christ as a single. You are as happy and satisfied as you can be. Marriage will not make you more complete nor happier nor more satisfied. Marriage is an unnecessary appendage to your wholeness, your fullness, your value and your contentment and joy. All that is already found in God. In any case, marriage is only temporary (it only lasts as long as you live in this life). Invest and store up on the eternal things!

Your view of love must not continue to be distorted by the world's view of romantic love. Finding romantic love is not your highest calling and snagging a girlfriend/wife cannot be your life's goal.

As with everything else, we understand love by looking at God. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). And God's ideal for love is not romantic/erotic love between sexual partners. Said Jesus:
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
True love for another person is the sacrificial love that is to be found between friends. So stop looking for love in the wrong places!

*******

Then we legged it back to the office double-time!

Friday, August 19, 2005

"The Son of God" is coming to Suntec City

It's known that in these last days (between the first coming of Jesus Christ 2000 yrs ago, and His coming again in glory), there'll emerge various false prophets (intentionally or not) and various false/half-true gospels, all of which are not a faithful representation of the gospel of Jesus Christ, if at all.

Even so, it was completely shocking to hear that a particular category of people (who claim to BE Jesus Christ themselves, but are definitely not from the things they say/do) still exists today, reading in a forwarded email about this guy.

This person (Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy) is coming to singapore, and no joking about it, he openly proclaims that he's the son of God in flesh in his website, with (implied new, other than what has been proclaimed in Jesus Christ) "divine revelations from the Father".

Be aware, and do be discerning in what you hear/read, even from this guy.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

For The Love Of God - Aug 18

Regarding Romans 8...

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR Christians to be “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37)? A considerable body of thought pictures a special group of illustrious Christians who “live above it all,” powerful in confronting temptation, victorious in their prayer lives, fruitful in their witness, mature and faithful in their relationships; And non of that is what the text says.

First, the “us” to whom the apostle refers includes all Christians. All Christians are the ones whom God has foreknown, “predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son,” called, justified, glorified (8:29 - 30). The people referred to are not the elite of the elect; they are ordinary Christians, all genuine Christians.

Second, the actual evidence that they are “more than conquerors” is that they persevere regardless of all opposition. That opposition may take the form of horrible persecution, of the kind that Scripture describes (8:35 - 38). It may be some other hardship, all the way to famine. The glories of life will not finally seduce them; the terrors of death will not finally sway them; neither the pressures of the present nor the frustrations of the future will destroy them (8:38). Neither human powers nor anything else in all creation, not even all the powers of hell unleashed, can “separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (8:39).

Third, as the last sentence already makes clear, that from which Christians cannot be finally separated is the “love of Christ” (8:35) or the love of God in Christ (8:39). At one level, of course, that is simply saying that no power can stop Christians from being Christians. That is why we are “more than conquerors.” But that point could have been made a lot of different ways. To make it this way, with an emphasis on the love of Christ as that from which we cannot be separated, reminds us of the sheer glory and pleasure that is ours, both now and in eternity, to be in such a relationship. We are not simply acquitted; we are loved. We are loved not simply by a peer, but by God himself. Not is this a reference to the general love that God has for his entire creation.

What is at stake here is that special love, that attaches to “all who have been called according to his purpose” (8:28).

Fourth, the guarantee that we shall prevail and persevere, and prove to be “more than conquerors” in this sense, is nothing other than the sovereign purposes of God (8:29 - 30), manifest in the death of his Son on our behalf (8:31 - 35). “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (8:32). No greater security is imaginable.


Copyright 2005 D.A. Carson