Happy New Year. Be blessed and be a blessing!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Message For Christmas

It's Christmas season. Even google is celebrating it with new interface. The forum that I am managing is in Christmas mood too with all the Christmas avatars and signatures. My apologies for lack of Christmas spirit here in this blog. XD

Just want to share the following.

I love questions. So I'll ask questions.

Q: How are we supposed to celebrate Christmas?

Is Christmas all about decorating a fake tree, putting gifts (or boxes) under the tree, hanging socks around the house, cleaning up the chimney for santa to get in, or eating together as a family?

Or what about exchanging gifts? What gifts do we hope for? What gifts do we give away? For me, I never really received anything (as far as I can recall right now) and I never need one too. This year, I did receive an early gift from a friend of mine. So oh well, counted as blessing already.

To answer that question, why not we look at the celebration of the first ever Christmas, the day Christ was born?

According to the Bible, there are three wise men (Magi) who came all the way from Jerusalem. They stopped at King Herod's place and asked him,

"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2 NIV).


If you have not the slightest idea of how the Magi know about the star, you can trace back the bible to Old Testament book of Daniel and Micah:

"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

"Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (Daniel 9:24-27 NIV)

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times."(Micah 5:2 NIV)
If you were King Heord, what would you do? How would you feel even? Well, needless to say, King Heord felt threatened. He felt as if this new born kind would become his competitor and tried to eliminate Him.

Ok, say you were not King Herod who felt threatened by Christ. Say you were the Israelites who showed apathy towards God. We all know how the Israelites denied Christ and led their own Jewish way instead of admitting that Jesus was their Messiah. Why would these so-called people ignore their long-waited messiah? One theory explains that they responded with apathy because they had chosen to think that Jesus could no longer do anything for them. Therefore, by doing so, they had turned from seeing Jesus as their Messiah to seeing Him as their supplier.

To link it back to present day, how many of us here have this temptation in our heart that says, "I am the king of my life. I don't need another kind to rule over me"?

Let's narrow your life to this past one week. Who had been the king of your life for the past one week?

Have we trust Him enough? Why is it that even when we see Him as our God, we still let sin control our life? Why do we give the steering of our life to God only to find ourselves wrestle with Him to drive the path along our life?

Do we also merely see God as our supplier? Do we kick Him off our lives when we think that He cannot deliver us from any trouble?

Or

Do you have the COMPELLING desire to worship Him?

The Magi were happy to see baby Jesus, they bowed down and worshiped Him as their king.
"Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh" (Matthew 2:11 NIV)
The treasure-giving of the Magi marks a true believer's heart because they did not hold anything back from God.

After meeting Jesus, the Magi returned back to their country using another route after they were warned in a dream to not go back to Herod, as stated in Matthew 2:11,

"And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
" (Matthew 2:11 NIV)


One more question, did the Magi give their treasures to Jesus in order to love Him or did they give their treasures to God because they loved Him?

In life, love will almost definitely make you desire to give things away, but giving things away doesn't necessarily means you love someone.

The Magi went back to their country as changed men after meeting with the king. They did not go back the same before they met with Jesus Christ.

What about you?
How will you view Christmas this year? Will you come and remember Jesus and then return to your old person or will you let Christmas be a turning point your life and live a different, changed, godly life after experiencing and knowing Jesus's birth?

How will you see Jesus now?
As a competitor? Or as a supplier? Or as a king?

What about the best gifts we can offer to God for Christmas?
What about the gift of ourselves?


(Most of the post content are taken from the sermon "All This For A King" from Ps. Joshua Kang in Lakeview Church Northbrook on December 23, 2007 with further verses reference by me)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chain Email: Do You Believe In It?

Technology is inevitable. You will all agree with me.

Emails and sms become a big part of our daily life. I can testify to that ( having just checked all 4 email accounts for about the 16th time with Gmail topping the list with 10 times). One thing that caught my interest just right now is the issue of forwarded emails.

Forwarded emails get especially annoying when it is stupid. For example, I had been cursed to have bad luck for 8 years, asked to forward the email to all the people in my contact list or suffer from something, and so on. I think back then, before I moved to Gmail, I had more forwarded message than I have right now. Also for those forwarded emails that ask you to send it back to the sender, does it even matter? If I send XYZ back to John Doe, John Doe will have to send it back to me again. And then, I'll have to send it back to John again. When will it end?

I got sidetracked a bit there. >.< Well, let's go back to technology issue for now.

With technology, even Christianity advances. Nowadays, we see sms-chain link asking people to pray for item A, item B and so on. Not only that, we constantly receive encouraging forwarded emails containing inspiring stories (sometimes not-so inspiring) and other times, we are asked to forward email A, email B to everyone in our lists to help fund some insane operations.

Question: How much is it is true? How much of the forwarded email thing is true? Does Gmail pay 5cents for every forwarded email? Does AT&T care for a single mother in Malawi who needs money for her son's operation? How would you respond to those emails? How would you respond to those sms-es?

Do you pray for those prayer request sent through emails and sms? How much do you believe that those requests are actually true? More importantly, does it matter if they are false? What about forwarding emails to help Jane Doe with her operation? Do you actually do it? Do you believe in what you did or did you do it for fun?

I'm curious to know the people's respond on this topic. Share with me your thoughts.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Speeches and Variations

I think a lot and I listen a lot. I always see how people use their arms and body when they talk. I observe the movement of their eyes when they talk. I listen to the tones of the voice. Most importantly, I catch their favorite quotes/words easily.

This is something I found from my unusual habit of observing how people talk (and the words that they use).

Type 1
People who talk using abusing language all the time and are not ashamed to use it. In these people's speeches and talks, you will find a lot of f***, s***, and other forms of direct rough languages that normal people do not (normally) use.

Type 2
People who use variations to offensive languages. These people do not use "what the f***". Instead, you might hear them saying something like, "What the F". Or you might here this type of people using the word "B-S" when they are angry. Sometimes, they might say, "OMG" in replacement of "Oh My God" and other variations.

Question:
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2?

Answer:
There really is no difference.

In church, we might often hear the pastor saying, "Surrender your fear to God. Surrender your worries to God. Surrender your studies to God. ...." Even sometimes, without realizing it, we ourselves chant in our heart, "Lord, I surrender it to you." There is even a hymn called, "I Surrender All".

Taking back my observation to the context of discussion, what does it mean when we sing "I Surrender All" ? Does it mean I surrender my speech to God (by not using abusive language and do not defame His name) but I keep a portion of my thinking to myself (by still thinking about those offensive words in our mind)? Are we trying to justify our own variations of offensive language by using contractions to the words or by using a single substitution word to replace that offensive word? What use does it give us if we thinking of abusive language but try to cover it using some variations and modifications that can easily be uncovered? What benefit does it bring to us if we keep using very polite variations but we still think of those words in our head?

The next time you type "wtf" in your msn messenger, maybe you should think, "Am I surrendering my thoughts to God or am I trying to justify myself in front of God?"

The next time you say B-S to replace you-know-what, maybe you might want to consider not using it at all or just spit up the real words. There really isn't any different.

We are not perfect; we make mistakes all the time. We wrestle with God more often than we think we do. One thing we can control though, is our speech and our thoughts. No one forces you to spit up abusive words. No one will force you to think of those words except for yourself. You might say, "I'm sorry but I'm so used to it." That's not true. Old habits die hard, but they can die if you are determined to stop them from invading your everyday speech.

I leave you with a scripture from Matthew 15:11

"What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.' "



Thursday, December 6, 2007

Verse of the Day




I faced tough times in classes sometimes when people touch on bible passages. Critical discussion is crucial, but critical discussion that is biased is not fine. However, I never found enough courage to stand up for the gospel. No more. It's time to stand up for the truth.

Are you ashamed of the gospel today? Do you feel weird or even shy to tell people that you are a Christian? I hope that today, this verse will talk to you in a special way. God bless.

In His service,
Leen

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Final

How Great is Campus Alive

By Helen Pang

Coming to the end of CA, it was really hard for me to say goodbye to CA. Quite reluctant for CA has always been my source of motivation. Whenever I was troubled with disappointments, CA has always been there for me to comfort and console me. I am just a small potato, but deep within I was really grateful to have CA as my companion all this while. Glancing back the past memories with CA, many thoughts had flashed one by one in mind……
CA was something new and strange to me, when I first stepped in INTEC. I never knew what was cell group or Campus Alive. I was alone, alone in the midst of people I did not know. In fact, I did not enjoy myself in the first semester, which should be the honey moon for most of the students. It was a tough and challenging period for me. Maybe CA does not know that he has healed my deep wound, a bottomless cut that people never know. I took a long time to recover from the pain.

My heart was bleeding when I first knew my parents’ decision – to divorce. I could never believe that it
would happen to me. Flabbergasted yet disappointed, I had to receive this decision. I did not know how much tears I had for countless night. Deepest apologies I would like to express to Patricia and Shiau Hooi, my ex-room mates for my weird behaviour at this period. I wonder which child on this earth does not hope for a complete and happy family. Which child would like to see the separation of the parents? I wonder, why they have to be so cruel to me, especially I am in the transition period from secondary school to university level? No one is there to accompany me, but only CA. Because of this, I was interpreted as someone weird and unfriendly. It was indeed tougher when I kept everything to myself, not revealing single news to my friends about this. Maybe they ask why I was so foolish. As a child and a sister in the family, my thoughts were simple – to protect everyone in the family. Which child hopes to see their family’s members being insulted? As a result, I carried all the burdens myself, never knew how to resolve them. The consequence was rather disastrous; especially my performance in academic had gone downhill. People never understand why I was so hard-working all the while? I was not in reality, but just to keep myself busy and away from the negative thoughts, that always distracted me.

I never knew how great God’s love for me is. As the time passes, He has healed me, thoroughly and amazingly. I never knew how, but His methods were unpredictable. After much pain and isolation from friends, I saw his vision one day in my dream. Astoundingly, the dream is still fresh in mind, though I had the vision a year ago. I saw a superb and big church with a pool surrounded by flowers in the middle. Two beams of light were striking from the pool, if I am not mistaken; the colours were white and red. I saw people rising up from the pool, cleansed. The whole dream gave me a sense of forgiving, which is still very strong deep within me till today – Forgive. God is indeed amazing. I gained my encouragement to move on finally after the marvelous dream I had that night. Most importantly, it was CA who brought me out of my past, out of my black shadow.

I could never understand how deep God’s love for human being is. I could never imagine that I can be part of a new church, a place where I yearns to go every Sunday. My parents were against my decision to join a Christian church initially. Many conflicts were going on because of my firm stand to join the new church. God is indeed great when my mother finally joined the church last week and my brother starts learning drum in the church. He has given more than I expect when my mother starts reading bible every morning. As I was pondering, the song “How Great is Our God” was echoing in my ears…..

“How great is our God,
Sing with me, how great is our God…..”

I never want to blame anyone for the pain I have to undergo. In fact, I was grateful because through all the challenges, I am brought to Him. Most importantly, He taught me to appreciate, to love and to forgive people surrounding me. From a person who did not know how to pray to a person who can pray for others, I could never estimate how great the impact God has left in my life via CA. He also gave me a heart of compassion for people in need, especially homeless children and people who are always forgotten in the community. It was hard to walk out of this shadow, but with His guidance and love, I managed to do it. I really hope that one day I could have the opportunity to work in world humanitarian centre founded by Jimmy Chater to serve the people in need around the world. I believe that there are a lot of people outside who are much more unlucky than me. Above all these, I would like to express my utmost appreciation towards CA, for bringing such a marvelous change in my life. CA rocks!!! Most significantly, God is good, all the time.

My favourite bible verse to share with everyone from

Joshua 1:9:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blind Faith

People have a hard time of understanding faith. Blind faith, they call it. Some said, "I can't feel it. I can't see it." Question is, when did people start to look for proofs and evidences and stop trusting their instinct and heart feeling?

How does a mother bird know that the moment she shake loose the nest, her little birds won't just drop down from 500 feet and die? Instead she just knows that her little birds will learn how to fly. Why does that mother bird know? Is it because the statistic collected in the past 1 gazillion years shows that birds will learn how to fly when you shake loose the nest and let them fall? Or is it because the mother bird is such a good economist that she can count exactly when her little birds are ready to fly off? NO! It's faith.

When it comes to faith, I believe that no amount of statistics, and evidences can ever convince everyone that God does exist. We just have to trust Him and follow Him by faith; blind faith. While science demands proof and evidence that God exists, religion however demands blind faith. I'll give an illustration of blind faith and let's see whether or not blind faith is better off than proof and evidence.

Imagine yourself wearing a blindfold and being placed inside a giant maze. You cannot see anything and the only way for you to get out of the maze is through a headphone. The person who will be communicating with you(let's call him Simon) holds the map of the maze and a GPS, so he knows where exactly you are and how you should walk to get out of the maze. However, you do not know that Simon has a map and GPS system with him.

Since you are blind, when he says right, you go right. When he says left, you go left. When he says stop, you stop. You cannot question him because you are blindfolded and you have only him to cling on to. He's your only real chance of getting out of the maze alive. You just have to believe that he knows the way.

It is hard to trust someone when you can't see. It is definitely inconvenient and it can make you very nervous and insecure. However, you cannot just give up on Simon because he is the only person that you have.

Because you listen to him, you make it to exit of the maze. Congratulations.

Now, imagine yourself in this giant maze again. This time, without the blindfold. You still have Simon guiding you, except that this time you can see. What will happen to you?

I am very sure that most of us, if not all, will question Simon sooner or later.
"Are you sure this is the right way? Are you sure? I think THAT is the correct path. No no, this is taking me too long. The opening there is wider, it has to be that direction." blah blah blah

I am sure that when we can see, we will start to judge and see. We will start to question. We will demand proof and evidence that Simon is giving the right direction. We might doubt him because now, we do not have to rely on Simon 100% We have our EYES to seek for our own direction.

In the end, we might come out of the maze eventually after quarreling and arguing with Simon.
Some of us don't even make it out of the maze and just die there because we spent too much time arguing and doubting Simon who CLEARLY had the right map and knows what he was doing.

You might say this, "No, this will not happen to me. I'm sure that I will listen to Simon and follow his instruction."

O REALLY? Well, I don't think so. Human are rebellious. Eventually, you will think that you might be right and that Simon might be wrong. After all, you have no idea that he is holding a map. You might think that Simon is trying to play you around. Or maybe after some time, you figure that it is taking you too long to get out of the maze and you begin to feel furious. Then you start taking your own path(since you can see) and ignore Simon for good.

Thing is, the simple analogy I have just presented is exactly what I thought of when it comes to blind faith. Sometimes, we just have to follow God and have faith in Him. Because if we can "see" the proof and evidence, there will be no need for God be around. And get this too, life is like a giant maze. Sometimes we come to a dead end. However, if we just listen to God and walk His way, eventually, we will get out of the maze....safely. If we fight back, we might still get out of the maze but it will take us a long long time before we finally get out of the maze. More often than not, in our midst of ignoring God and His voices and directions, we might just die in the maze before we even get out of it.

Nonetheless, our God respects our freedom of choice. That's why He lifted the blindfold off our eyes EVEN THOUGH He knows that there will be a chance of us rebelling against Him.

Question:
Are we willing to ignore our sight and just listen to God's instruction or do we prefer to wander aimlessly in the maze of life hoping that we will find a way out eventually?

Saturday, November 3, 2007

CA report (Part 3 / 4)

Aufwiedersehen (Goodbye) Campus Alive~

Greetings to all! I’m Daniel from ALG batch 9. This is my first time writing a report on behalf of my fellow coursemates for CA, so I would like to apologize beforehand if my report is a little too long or boring. I’m sure many of you have seen me in CA without actually knowing my name. I don’t really blame them for that. Most of us rarely meet each other n even if we did hear of each other’s name, a busy schedule inside a space of 2 weeks would probably have done the job of “deleting” that particular person’s name. But I do felt silly n at the same time happy when on one occasion I had being addressed as “the Arsenal Guy” by a fellow junior. At least he remembered that I’ve wore an Arsenal jersey to CA before. Haha! Better than not knowing me at all la~~ :b

First and foremost, let me introduce ALG9 to all of u. ALG9 consists of only 8 chinese students (5 guys, 3 gals). Out of this 8 students only 6 ever attended CA. They r Qi Hao, Xiang Yu, Jing Xin, Kah Ho, Yen Zhao n me of cos. Sadly, only one out of the 6 attends CA on a regular basis n that’s me!! Haha, loyal leh~. The 6 of us were invited to CA around mid-2007 by our ALG junior, Helen. The first time I planted my step into the NLRC building, I felt strong sense of belonging. It seems that God had called me to come to this place 4 a purpose. Despite being a Christian, I have not attended any Christian fellowships here in INTEC. To be frank, I did knew that there were such meetings here in INTEC , however, due to busy schedules and never-ending homework n assignments, the thought of attending such meetings was quickly dispelled. Those days without CA were like a “drought” for me. Deep down inside me I felt thirsty n hungry spiritually. My heart longs for something but I could not figure out what it was. Little did I know that the answer lies in CA. My first experience at CA was totally awesome! During the worship session, I could not stop myself from clapping n singing with all my might to God. I could still remember the first song we sang that night which was “One way, Jesus”. During praise n worship I felt totally refreshed n renewed. I have not experience such a feeling for nearly 2 years! Perhaps I could be labeled as “the prodigal son” who returns home to the father. That feeling is so incredible that I could not sleep that night.

Having that wonderful first experience at CA, I found myself just could not say no to the 2nd, 3rd, 4th…. and so on CAs. Being one of the oldest in the congregation, I could not help it but to admire the zeal n passion the juniors have for God. The way they sing, they jump, they praise God is just totally amazing. Maybe I’m too old for that la.. haha. Despite being a year older than these juniors, I found myself perhaps 10 years younger than them spiritually. Joash, who is one of the most outstanding among all juniors, is a proof to my previous statement. To be frank, I have not seen someone who is so eager to serve God like him. Not only he leads the worship session but also plays the piano magnificently. To my surprise, he can preach like a pastor as well. Remember the parable of the Talents? I’m sure God has blessed Joash with at least 10 Talents and he had used them all for God! Another figure in CA who fascinates me a lot has to be Erin. From the way she leads worship sessions (she can memorize most songs without much effort) and pray, I’m sure that she has a really strong desire within her to praise God to the fullest.

Being in ALG offers us one privilege, if you could call that one. ALG is the only course in INTEC where seniors can meet not only their juniors but their super juniors who r 2 years younger as well. In a space of 2 years I have become one of the youngest to the oldest in INTEC. Watching these super juniors praising God makes me feel older (sigh… got white hair already!) “Only old people sits on the chairs, young people sit on the floor!”- one of Joash’s favorite sayings. But come to think of it, maybe I’m qualified enough to sit on the chair. Lol. Sadly, I do not have the chance to do so anymore as 25/10/07 was the last CA for me.

22/10 (Mon)- Rain, 23/10 (Tues)- Rain, 24/10 (Wed)- Rain, 25/10 (Thurs)- Sunny. If God intends to make our last CA a special one, certainly the weather can be the proof. The last CA of the year surely did live up to its name. To me, everything from start to end was simply new n different. The ice-breaker, conducted by Erica, can be said to be one of the best this year. Everyone enjoyed it. We had to dig deep into our wallets and bags to search for items like lip balms, 10 dollar note folded in a heart shape, baby photos, Giant’s receipt, earrings, asthma inhaler etc… I did not have any of those n was really surprised that people do have those stuffs with them. My group, screwdriver, won it in the end (Erica, where are our prizes??). After that we had our usual praise n worship session but surprise surprise… this time there were 5 singers on stage. The juniors have taken over from the super juniors in the worship team. Old faces, but youthful n vibrant as ever. Then there was a special performance from 4 beautiful gals n then a really funny video presentation. Pastor David then took the stage to present to us God’s word. The main theme was how to become a good servant to God. We must be FAT. Faithful, available and teachable. It certainly was a useful n inspiring message. Last but not least, we had our refreshments at 5th floor. Got sponge cake n orange juice I think. Those final hours in CA passed really fast n soon it was 11pm. Time to go. With one final glance at the NLRC building, I said a “Goodbye n Thank You CA” inside my heart. Farewells are indeed sad.

But there are many things I can be happy n thankful about. The passing of the baton from the juniors to the super juniors can be regarded as smooth. The super juniors did a great job in the past few CA meetings, conducting ice-breakers n praise sessions brilliantly like their seniors. I certainly do have the confidence in these super juniors that they can take CA to scale greater heights.

On behalf of all ALG seniors I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Helen, who first brought us to CA and then faithfully provide us transportation to n fro CA. A special thank as well to Cheng Ing, who did a great job as an usher, making us feel comfortable on our first visit to CA. Last but not least, to everyone who attended CA and by that, making CA a success. Life in Germany would surely be a new experience for us. Many trials and obstacles will stand in our way. For this I hope that everyone in CA will constantly keep us in your prayers.

My last words for my dear brothers n sisters in CA:

Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

May God bless you all always. CA rocks!

Daniel~

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Final CA report (Part 2 / 4)

the second post i purposely ask a junior to write about her viewpoint on the last CA

Waiting at Akasia bus stop, I felt a bit of difference in my heart… This is the last CA for the year 2007, last CA for the Ausmat’s seniors and ALG’s super seniors…


Starting with rounds of exciting ice breaking games… hmm… we were given a sticker with different colours which stick behind our ears and we were asked to pair up ourselves. We were then divided into groups by acting the action of an object according to the colour of the sticker that we saw behind on our partner’s ear…for instance, screw driver (Joash said our action looked like panggang satay, well, it’s true actually…), garden fountain, helicopter…… When the emcee stated an object, we had to find that thing and the group that found it and handed it the fastest to the emcee, will get the points… Well, I saw most of us are committing ourselves into it and having fun… when the emcee ask for two rubber bands, Amy just pulled away mine... Wow, I was stunted by her action… but never mind, at least I contributed something… At last, my group, the screw driver group won the game. Hmm… but miss emcee, where are the rewards that you promised?
Continue with the worship, though there were some technical problems in the beginning, but this would never put out the fire in the hearts of everyone of us… This was the first time I felt God is so near with us. He is always there, blessing CA, blessing all of us…

After the worship, there was an unforgettable performance that I really can’t take my eyes off of them… Erin, Grace, Shiau Hooi and Eunice when they were performing a dance…They look so pretty and attractive, I think most of the guys will agree with what I said, don’t you think so? What impressed me the most was the thirteen-minute slideshow by Jim. It’s really cool and an eye-opener… Who says seniors are bunch of nerds? They are smart, but not nerdy. They are nice, incredible and... funny, just like our Mr Joash… We will experience a lot of stress in our life… study, relationship, finance, but the most important is that we know how to de-stress…Wow, Joash’s high pitch of singing really impressed me… I never think of this way of de-stress before, will it work? Maybe we should try it… and Eileen with the green monster…Haha…CA had gone through a lot this year. Thanks for our seniors… and juniors too, for all of your commitment…

The FAT is good! Pastor David’s sermons will always inspire me.

Faithful
Available
Teachable

Faithful- We are given talents by God. Our talent can be anything, even though it’s insignificant, it may change the world. A smile can cheer up a frustrated person, silent can be the best support… but what is my talent? Can I use the talent given to serve God, to expand His kingdom, to change the world? Can I be trust?

14What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can this kind of faith save anyone? 15Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16and you say, ‘Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well” – but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do?
17So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless. (James 2:14-17)

This faithfulness should occur from the beginning until the end.

Available- We have to set priority and ready to sacrifice. Indeed, we have to sacrifice most of the time in order to achieve something. For example, in order to achieve my dreams to become a doctor, I have to sacrifice. I sacrifice my good and comfortable days with my family in Kuching, and come to INTEC where I have to be independent, I have to do all the houseworks myself. There will not be someone who will pull the blanket for me or take care of me when I am sick. I sacrifice my bedtime, my time for entertainments, just to study for my biology, theology and philosophy, and chemistry. But I always believe that sacrifices are needed in pursuing my dreams.

Teachable- We should be humble and teachable and ready listen to the others in order to improve ourselves. According to Pastor David, only the stupid people don’t want to learn. We should be humble to be taught. People often choose not to believe in novices. They will be doubt with the abilities of us, even though we do our very best to achieve what the others expect, we spend a lot of time to prepare for the tasks given to us. Although it’s hurt, but we should learn to forgive, understand, be calm and summit. We shouldn’t be discouraged, revolt, or let the negative feelings overcome us, instead, we should believe that God has His plan for us… We shouldn’t go round and round in the desert. We should learn to listen, to ask for help to get out of the isolated desert. Learn and improve yourself, be ready, be prepared for the opportunity that will be given by God in the future.

Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.
(1Timothy 4:12)

After listening to the sermon, a lot of inquiries began to appear in my mind… What is my talent? What can I do to change the world? What can I offer to God? Am I ready to sacrifice, to be taught and to improve myself? Will I also be like David in my time? These questions should always be remembered by us…

Separation is inevitable… After having some refreshments, Samuel was pushing us to go back to the hostels as it was quite late (what a shame!!!)… We had not enjoyed enough…..

As a junior, I must confess I don’t really know you all (Ausmat’s seniors and ALG super seniors ) well but in my opinion, I think you have contributed tremendously to CA and because of you all, I have the opportunity to witness the greatness of the God. Before I end my report, I really hope you continue to serve God, use your passion to influence all the non-believers because I believe in the end of the day, passion is still the single most essential aspect of a Christian.

It’s your burning passion that keeps CA running and I hope this spirit can be passed to the juniors, who are equally ready to serve, glorify and become the loyal servant of God.

Prepared by

ALM junior

Betty

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Report of Final CA of 2007 (Part 1 / 4)

ej, i noe u'll like this very much... 6 pages long of report... bryan, u rockzz!!

Every tale has an ending. Every journey has a finishing line. For us senior Ausmatians, our one and a half year journey in CA has come to an end on this memorable day. Yes, it’s the final CA meeting of the year, and also the final CA meeting for us senior Ausmatians. It’s a sad thing I know, but then, let’s not jump to the sad part just yet. Rather, let’s have a glimpse (or semi-analysis) of the various activities and presentations carried out in this last but no less exuberant and fantastic CA of the year. The theme chosen for this CA service was “The Heart of Servitude”.

As usual, we had our faithful drivers transporting all our fellow worshippers to New Life Restoration Centre. Credit goes to them for their hard work and dedication. (Not easy being a driver you know!). Upon arrival, everyone (well, almost everyone) had dinner and pre-service chit-chatting. The service kicked off at 8.00 p.m. (± 5 minutes) with a welcome speech and an opening prayer from our MC’s for today, Anderson and Melanie. To get the ball rolling, Erica then led in the games session.

The Groovy Games Session:

In today’s games session, Erica had everyone labelled with a coloured sticker. Each of the colours represented something. For example,
Blue = CD player
Yellow = Helicopter
Then also got Toaster, Screwdriver, etc.

Then, each brother and sister had to find a partner and remember their partner’s sticker colour but not tell his/her partner the colour. Everyone had to act out the object which his/her partner’s colour represented. Like you could spin yourself around if your partner’s colour represented a helicopter. Everyone had to find other people who were acting out similar actions and finally, everyone got into their respective groups.

Next is the crazy part of the game. The game went like this. Erica would name certain objects. The groups have to compete among themselves to produce the required objects to Erica, upon which they would receive points. For example, if Erica named “book” then the first group that presented her a book would get points. Sounds simple? Well, yeah…only that some of the objects she named are pretty uncommon and “interesting” like secondary school ID cards, or Giant Shah Alam receipts, or those papers you get when you test out perfume in supermarkets. But yet, some people still managed to produce these items. Amazing! It’s only after this game that I realised how much stuff people actually have on them! Lol.

In the end, the Screwdriver group won. (No fair…They were so close to Erica. Haha.) But anyway, the game was pretty fun, enjoyable and, in my opinion, an “eye opener” to remind people to clean up their wallets and purses. ^_^

Then, the ball was passed on to Erin and Calvin on the worship team.

The Powerful Praise and Worship

The worship team for tonight comprised of seniors, who all gave their best in this last CA of the year. The worship songs for tonight comprised of several songs, which were “Most High”, “Now that You’re Near”, “Potter’s Hand” and “Burning Heart”.

These songs were nicely picked by our song leaders Calvin and Erin to suit the theme of this CA.

“Most High” kicked off the face-paced rhythm of worship as servants of God by acknowledging God as being the Most High and worthy of all praises. And being servants of God, we want to “see His face” and “know His ways”. We want to “know His power” and sing “a new song of praise that He put in our mouths”.

The fast-paced worship was sustained by the next song “Now that you’re near”. After we have been transformed into servants of God, “everything’s so different”. “We are not the same” and “our lives are changed” as we grow more and more each day to love the LORD and want to serve Him freely.

The rhythm then shifted from vivace (fast and lively) to adagio (slow) with the next song “Potter’s Hand”. By being servants of God, we allow him to “take us”, “mould us”, “use us” and “fill us”. We allow Him complete control of our lives and allow Him to shape our service, just as a potter has control over the pot he creates. Yes, we want serve the Lord freely as we allow Him to “call us”, “guide us”, “lead us” and “walk beside us” in life of servanthood.

The final song for the night was “Burning Heart” which, in my opinion, was a really powerful song. Despite all the hard times we go through, we want the God to “give us a burning heart”. Here’s an excerpt of the song.

Lord, please give me a burning heart.
That will burn through every lie.
Burning with passion, soaking with love.
Pouring out truth that comes from above.

Lord, please give me a burning heart.
That will burn till I see you face to face.
Burning only for you and all that you love.
And my heart will be, my heart will be like yours.

Yes, we want the Lord to fill us with a burning passion to continue to serve Him not just halfway through but to the very end of time when we “will see Him face to face”. This was a medley with another part of the song. Again, this song is really powerful and evocative. The ending really ignited a strong desire in everyone to just want to serve Him.

I will always praise You
I will always glorify Your name
In every circumstance
To find a chance to thank You
I will always love You
I will always worship at Your feet
And I’ll obey You, Lord
I was made for You.

It was amazing to see everyone praising God will all their hearts, leaving behind their worries and troubles, coming so freely before Him and just want to give praises to Him. Towards the end of the worship, everyone remained in a prayerful state and surrendered all troubles, worries, fears unto His mighty hands. The praise and worship session ended with offerings being made and the last song being sang one last time.

Overall, the worship team really did a fantastic job. So did everyone who joined voices, minds and spirits in praising Him.

The Praiseworthy Presentations

After everyone had a great time worshipping God, the time had come to enjoy several performances dished up by several dedicated seniors. As the projector was initially not working, our beloved brother Anderson tried to entertain the crowd by cracking some jokes and trivia questions. Haha. Great effort on his behalf to get everyone in the mood for the presentations.

The first performance was a touching and inspiring dance by our beloved sisters Erin, Eunice, Grace and Shiau Hooi, who all “berpakat” to wear black. It was a great performance, reminding us about the Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for on the cross to save us from sin and to give us a new life.

The second was a video presentation composed by our brother Jim. It was an awesome 13-minute presentation depicting the wonderful journey of CA from the start of this year to the previous CA meeting. Truly, it brought back wonderful memories of the fun and laughter during pre-CA meetings, the actual services, or even when it’s just during the ordinary days. It’s nice to hear Joash’s singing to de-stress and to be reminded of Jeffrey’s crab-walking, or Eileen with her green octopus, Besides the fun and laughter, we were also reminded of the countless blessings CA has brought, the friendships that were forged and the opportunity to worship God together.

The two awesome performances were truly eye-candy and certainly got everyone excited.

The Message to the Multitude

Sadly, this meeting was coming to an end. But certainly not before a message from our all-time beloved pastor David Tham. As the theme of this CA was “The Heart of Servitude”, Pastor David started off explaining the differences between “serving” and “servant”, as written in Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. “Serving” alone means you get to choose who, when, where, how you want to serve. However, being a “servant” means surrendering completely to God and allowing Him to decide these questions for us, serving when we are CALLED to serve, not just when we FEEL like serving.

Then, the pastor describes three characteristics of being a servant, given the acronym “FAT”. Well, fat isn’t all too bad, according to pastor. After all, the Bible tells us that the FAT portions of calves were burnt as a sacrifice to God and it was a pleasing aroma to Him (Leviticus 3:16). J

F – The feature of faithfulness

Can we be trusted? Do people have faith in us? Are we there for people rain and shine? Will we work something given to us to the very end? These are some of the thought-provoking question regarding to the first attribute of being a servant. To delve further, pastor cited the parable of talents (Matthew 25: 14 – 30). Pastor David emphasised to be faithful with what we have, no matter how little. Then, we shall be the ‘good and faithful’ servant of the LORD. Everyone has AT LEAST ONE talent, even if it’s something seemingly small, like having a sweet smile or being an organised person. No matter how little or small the talent is, what matters is the faithfulness in serving to expand God’s kingdom. If we are faithful with little, we will also be faithful with much.

A – The attribute of availability

Availability does not mean serving full time but serving fully, maximising our time to serve. Serving the Lord will certainly cost us something be it time, money, life, etc. But we need to be reminded that EVERYTHING comes from God and it is only appropriate we use these resources not for our own selfish purposes but for God’s purposes. The sacrifices we make for God in serving Him will never be in vain because it is recorded in God’s book of deeds. Plus, serving becomes worship when done for the Lord. So the big question: What can we offer to serve God?

T – The trait of being teachable

In serving, we must always be teachable and this requires humility. In this, Pastor David pinpointed two major barriers associated with this. The first is the superiority complex, which means a person has a mindset that he is always right and he can ignore whatever comments or opinions of others. The second is the inferiority complex, in which a person has the mindset that he is inferior compared to others, and when he is commented or criticised, he will easily get discouraged and feel sidelined. The key to being a servant is that we must always be open to the opinions and corrections of others so that we can make improvements to our service.

After exploring the key characteristics of being a servant, Pastor David emphasised that the act of ministry is truly the act of serving and ministers are really just servants despite the fanciful calling. According to a certain principle which is described by the pastor (which I have forgotten the name), only 20% of people in a business company actually serve. However, this is not the case for the church. Every member of the church is called to be a minister.

In conclusion, we must be faithful about every area that we are called by God to serve in. We should also take time to contemplate our talents and use our God given talents to serve God.

The Timeless Moment of Prayer and Blessings

After the eye-opening speech from our beloved Pastor David, the time had come for prayers and blessings. The pastor prayed for everyone so that God may grant each and everyone one the heart of a servant. Next, he prayed for the Ausmat and ALG seniors who are leaving that they will keep on burning for Christ and become living testimonies to the people around them in our respective destinations.

The Replenishment of Refreshments or the Chore of Cleaning Up?

It’s sad fact, but the service has finally come to an end. Most people adjourned to the fifth floor for refreshments while some stayed back to help clean up. For me, it was the latter choice. I was not aware of the happenings on the fifth floor during this time since I spent my time downstairs, but I’m sure they were having lots of fun and laughter. After cleaning up, all of us downstairs joined hands in a circle of prayer to again pray for the Ausmat seniors who were leaving.

Well, after the prayer, I still had some time to check out how things were like upstairs. Sadly, the people were already leaving since it was getting late and people were rushing to get back before curfew. There was nothing left for me to eat as Leon greedily munched down the last piece of sponge cake upon arrival. Haha. But then, at least I still managed to have to 2 cups of juice.

Finally, the transport crew got everyone back to their respective hostels safe and sound.

Reflections on Relativity

After all has been said and done, it’s time to reflect on the countless blessings that CA has brought. For us Ausmatians, we have fought the fight, we have run the race and we have kept the faith. Now it’s time to pass on the baton to a new generation of juniors. We will always miss CA for the joy it has brought in our lives as we gathered together to serve God, for the numerous friendships forged along the way and for the wonderful family of God where we could lean on for comfort and encouragement.

For me personally, CA has been the place for me to get to really know God. Looking back, I realised that God called me out from the darkness into the light in this place known as Shah Alam. And I’ve found my first ever family in Christ in CA. The people there, through their countless sacrifices, and inspiring attitudes, have really been great encouragements for me as I grew in my faith towards God. For that, CA will always be a dear part of my life forever.

Although it’s a sad thing to leave CA, there are better things that God has in store for us in Australia or New Zealand. The journey ahead is far but God has great plans to prosper us. Though the roads may be rocky and winding with numerous obstacles in the way, God will give us the strength to finish the spiritual race that started when He first called us to Him. Along the way, we will surely encounter more people for us to inspire as well as more people who will inspire us, which will undoubtedly make our journey one that is filled with amazing possibilities. As C.S. Lewis puts it, “the end of a chapter in life is just the beginning of a new and more exciting chapter”. As this chapter of our spiritual journey closes, there will be even more exciting ones to come as we strive to grow more and more like Him.

No matter where we will be, our prayers will continue to be with CA. May it continue to be a beacon of light in the darkness of the sleepy place called Shah Alam and may it continue to touch and inspire many more people to come to the Almighty God. Amen.


In His service,

Brian Chee Nee Hou

The Road Not Taken

I hope I am not violating any copyright by copy/paste a popular poem here. =D Everyone knows this poem.

The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


I'm not sure how much you understand about this poem, but there is a story behind it. Robert Frost's father is an editor of a company and he wanted Frost to take his place. So, young Frost, between fulfilling his own desire and fulfilling his father's wish, had to choose. Between job security and uncertainty, he had to choose. That's what this poem is about. The last stanza, "I shall be telling this with a sigh..." implies a gloomy mood in Frost's writing. Maybe he regretted his decision. A more popular interpretation of that "sigh" was that he was upset that he didn't have the change to walk through the other path too.

It is hard to make a decision when you have two equally attractive choices to choose from. It is harder to make a decision when you have two unequal choices to choose from and yet, your heart inclines to the unpopular choice. Peer pressure conflicts with self-interest. Rationality vs Instinct. I myself was in a crossroad too not too long ago. I made a decision. I walk a path less traveled by. Faith will be my light upon the path. God will be the directing my ways through. One day, I might be telling the same story with a sigh too. Only God knows. He knows it all. My job is just to walk the path I have chosen and keep believing that God is carrying me through and cheering me to the finish line.


Walking,
Leen

P/S: This is the second time I use CA blog and treat it as my own. >__<

Friday, October 26, 2007

Photos of last CA of 2007

post some photos as foreshadows of the coming CA reports... keep your eyes open for them!! *hint Mr Anderson as the emcee (melanie not in photo)
Getting ready for CA...
We're suppose to hav it under the ear...
Some dudes obviously don understand the rules...
Calvin furiously searching his bag for the game...
Finally he got it... 5 tissue papers...
Some, on the other hand din had anything on them...

and then the worship begins...


Most grand worship session of the year... with 5 singers...


and the loud drummer is back again!!!

Sermon by Pastor David...


Listening attentively...

Praying for the ALG super seniors and Ausmat seniors...

Adik-adik, sila beratur untuk ambil gambar...
Finally they arrange themselves nicely...

We're so gonna miss u guys!!!

Lord please give us a burning heart...
Finally, just want to thank those who are giving to the Lord...
Living for Jesus
Pat

What CA is all about...

video

a special presentation by our very own jim gor gor...

Friday, October 12, 2007

From The Inside Out

"From the Inside Out" - Hillsong United (United We Stand)

A thousand times I've failed
Still Your mercy remains And should I stumble again
I'm caught in Your grace
Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing You praise
Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

In my heart and my soul
Lord I give You control
Consume me from the inside out
Lord let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love you from the inside out

Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out

Seriously God, let me praise you from the inside out, not from my success, not from my wealth. Let me love you just from my heart. When everything else fails, let me still continue loving You.

------
Wait, this is supposed to be a CA blog, not my blog. O__o Oops. =P It is still a wonderful song though.


Still loving Him,
Leen

Monday, October 8, 2007

Latest report on previous CA...

Once again on a normal Thursday evening, Campus Alive kicked in with awesome joy and fun. As usual, many faithful CA attendees plus some new faces came and filled the sanctuary. It was evident that all were anxiously anticipating something wonderful to happen that night. Our dear MC’s for this CA were ALG’s Timothy and Korean Amy!

This time, the CA service was conducted mainly by our faithful juniors. Surely their efforts, hard work and most of all their willing hearts to serve God had brought back tremendous blessings to us. The theme of this CA is “to give or to receive?” and through this theme, the juniors came out with a creative ‘game’ that portrayed the action of giving, and the joy it brings (sort of…=P). Each was asked earlier this week to purchase a gift ranging from RM 2 to 10, wrap it up nicely and bring it on Thursday for CA’s first ever gift exchange session as ice breakers and games. Before the session started, almost everyone out of curiosity glanced through the packages on each person’s hand. Some were big, some were small, some were nicely wrapped and yet some looked like packed ‘murtabaks’ and ‘roti-johns’. Worse still, some did not bother to even wrap their presents! To start off the gift exchange session, the people were divided into two large groups by numbering. This however caused much confusion to the point that the division was not symmetrical i.e. not balanced. This then propelled our coordinator Yen Mee to declare us ‘failures in Mathematics’ (shame to all of us scholars!!). As things got noisy and confusing, Samuel stepped in to help control the crowd and things slowly got under control. To cut the story short, the members of the first group were given two pieces of paper each where on one piece they were asked to write down their full name. After collecting the papers with the names, Yen Mee and Samuel distributed them to the second group, and members of the second group with the papers were asked to find the person stated on their respective paper. After finding their respective partner, each group of two were supposed to draw the face of their partner on the piece on paper they have on their hands and then exchange gifts. It was a time of tremendous fun and laughter as we discover and admire the drawing skills of our respective partner, and how we really look like physically in the eyes of others! About the gifts, well, some were disappointing, but as many would say, ‘it is the thought that counts!”.

Next on the line was of course worship, lead by ALG junior Mr. Anderson *feigns ‘The Matrix’ style* (hehe…). Worship was fantastic, as one of the worship coordinators, I am truly proud that the team worshiped God with all their hearts although some were in their midst of examination. Always being in the worship team, it is a great joy this time to take a break and join the others in awesome worship. Usually in the worship team, I would be more aware to judge on how well the music went, spotting mistakes and inaccuracies here and there. But when I am down there, these things does not seem to matter anymore, but only the sincere hearts of the people longing for the presence of our God is of top most priority. Kudos worship team! You did great! In addition, the songs chosen really reflected the proceeding message about giving to God very well. Songs like ‘Till I see you’, ‘I Stand’ and ‘This is my desire’ impacted many of us to willingly surrender our lives wholly to the Lord, as a ‘gift’, service and devotion. Halleluljah!

“I will live to love you, I will live to bring you praise, I will live a child in awe of you…”

“What could I say? What could I do? But offer this heart of God, completely unto you…”

“Lord I give you my heart, I give you my soul, I live for you alone!”

As worship was about to end, we stayed in a prayerful attitude and continued to worship God. We searched our hearts, surrendering all areas of our lives of Him. Then came an emotional time where some of us who have friends and family in sickness knelt down before the Lord in prayer. We surrendered those people we love who are sick into the loving hands of Jesus and prayed for them. Some poured out their hearts in tears, some laid hands on one another and some hugged with comfort and love. It was truly a time of comfort and assurance that God is in control in all situations of our lives. We then stand up in faith and continued to worship and participate in offering.

For the word of God, Pastor Joshua Lee Chin Ban of NLRC shared to us a short yet powerful and straightforward message about ‘The Art of Giving to the Lord’. He based his sermon on 1 Chronicles 29, about how King David though very old still generously gave unto the Lord to build God’s temple. Referring to the wonderful generosity of King David, pastor revealed to us that there is always great joy in giving, both to the giver and the given. We give to others because we want to bless others, and we give cheerfully to God because we LOVE the Lord. In his sermon, pastor gave us 8 points on giving unto the Lord. (1) Give joyfully and freely (2) God fills time and space (3) Everything is God’s (4) God is the Real King (5) God is Rich (6) God is Generous (7) A million reason to thank God (8) God gives us ability [to give].

Finally, refreshments on the fifth floor were on as usual! We had delicious ‘pau’s with different types of filling (no ‘char siew’ though…*sad*) accompanied by delicious mango juice and guess what, ICE CREAM! *fuiyoh* Thanks to aunty Phoebe! (I did not realize one of the flavors was DURIAN! Not until I smelled my breath!). As always, the room was filled with the loud chit-chatting fellowship of scholars. It was a little hectic though at the sink where everyone was queuing up, not for more food but to wash their cups! Praise God! Truly all of us had a great time of fellowship and sharing. Then came the siren by Joash (as always…), “REFRESHMENT OVER IN 5 MINUTES!!”, or “ALL CENDANA GUYS DOWN NOW! NOW!!” (over and over again…).

Well, though tired, CA has and will always be something to look forward to. Thank you so much to everyone who came! All glory to God! AMEN!!

GOD BLESS!

Prepared by fellow CA dude,

CALVIN LIM FUNG CHYE

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The greatest joy is in giving...

Sometimes pictures paints thousands of words... so read on... it's going to be a lot of words... its a story bout a bunch of ppl, who wanted to bless other ppl because they themselves hav been blessed so much til they overflowed...

The ice breakers ^^





The korean lecturer who so faithfully came for 2 weeks...

The juniors...

Worship was awesome!!! nuf said...

2 beautiful mcees... haha



The greatest joy is in giving...


all glory to God, the master story teller... and the Author of our live stories


*all pics are not photoshopped(coz i still dunno how... hehe) and all taken in the most natural and candid condition... haha

serving the One and Only
pat

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

13/9/07 CA report... finally out!!!! hooray!!!!

Campus Alive

As usual, every fortnight, NLRC (New Life Restoration Center) will be crowded with Intec students. Why? It ‘s because that all of them are excited, excited to have fun as well as fellowship with God and also, not forgetting, with each other. As a senior in CA, I had seen many things and yes CA had changed. So, I arrived at NLRC, the earliest (hehe). I drove there actually. The musicians were supposed to go there first but the funny thing was, someone had actually forgotten to pick a musician up. (hm…I wonder who? Hint hint…what a joke la..) Anyway, to be more exact, I was the second one to arrive after the music team. I felt nice because I actually brought two non-christian friends along. The best is still to come.

Like any other CA, people will arrive, and have their dinner first at the food court situated just beneath the church. Again, we enjoyed it. Although simple, it’s nice (well, that’s what I think la, my tongue has very simple taste wan. So, anything also I enjoy.) Okay, so I had my dinner, went upstairs to church, sat down, and waited for the rest to come. In the process, I get to see the musicians practicing their worship songs. “One-two-three... “, the band members and play in unison. So nice to hear . As one of the worship coordinators of CA, I felt that this band is the most well mixed band. Why did I say that? Ya, you have a Korean on the piano, a French on the bass, ALM and Ausmat on the vocals and ALG on the drums. Very colourful right? Yes, indeed.

As I waited for the meeting to start, I chatted a little to my non-christian friends that I brought along. Did you know that they did? They actually took out their physic book and study. Oh gosh…must they do that. Then, kiasu’ism seeps into me, I also took out book to study but it was long after that that the rest of the crowd actually came to fill the place. Ok, time to stop studying and look around.

The place starts to get noisier and noisier. Guys and girls, mixing together, chatting, talking, chatting some more, “Really? Serious? You sure or not? “ were heard. “ Hahaha, hehehe, hohoho(sounds like santa) “ also got. I went round taking pictures but unfortunately, my camera punya battery died after just a mere 4 pictures. Sad. Ok, the place is now very very noisy. I got more noisy as my other friends walked in. I wound actually call them out loud from the other end of the room. Sometimes, I will go “LEON!!!!” waving my hand frantically.

Then, the masters of ceremony called the meeting to order. They were Ausmat juniors(cheers, Hidup Ausmat!!). Two nice looking young ladies. ( I noticed that quite recently, the meeting will be conducted by two MCs, Hm…) After and short, simple but nice prayer, the meeting jump start with the usual ice breakers. Although Eujeen had gone to the “Land of the Free, home of the brave” (Amarika), Erica and Samuel did a good job maintaining the legacy of CA ice breakers. Although conducted differently, both are equally interesting and F.U.N. The games goes like this:

a.Form two circles.

b.One circle will be inside the other circle.

c.The inner circle face outwards, the outer circle face inwards.

d.So, people will be facing each other right? Good. The one that they face are their partners.

e. Music will be played, the outer circle turns clockwise, and the inner circle, anti-clockwise.

f.When the music stops, you are to find your partner. The last pair to find their partner will be hehe, “punished”.

Ok, you got the game right? It was fun. Everyone laughed like crazy. The punishment? Eat lemon. Sour and juicy lemon. There were a few that actually managed to eat two lemons. That is cool .

After the ice breaker, it was time for worship. Worship was led by non other than Eunice, supported by a strong band of junior musicians. I personally had a time of great time worshipping God. The better part, my non-christian friends were worshipping together with us too. I felt happy. My friend even jumped to one of the praise songs.

Then, it was Ps. David’s turn to share with us. He shared about faithfulness, loyalty. The example that constantly gave was about being committed to your partner, as in boyfriend-girlfriend, husband and wife relationship. One vivid line that is still stuck in my head is “once you found one, you have to shut your eyes to others” which is entirely true. Hear hear!! The message shared by pastor was very powerful. In relation to that, we must also be committed to God, be loyal and of course, faithful to Him. Why? Because He is also faithful to us . Amen to that.

After the alter call, the meeting proceeded with the farewell of a brother of ours. He is Gareth, from the French programme. Although his stay here with us was very and considerably short, we had fun having him around. He had also served in the music team, twice, playing the bass. I still remember that I have to communicate with him in mandarin. I guess you guys know that my mandarin is a little rusty, as I was given the title as ¾ banana. Anyway, though difficult, I still managed to get my message across to Him. Who needs language when we are speaking music? (hahaha)

The crowd adjourned to the fifth floor for ‘makan’. Refreshment was good. If my memory serves me correctly, we had cream puff. That’s my personal favourite. Sadly, I only get to eat one because I have no time left. I went up to the fifth floor, took 3 creampuffs( all three on a plate), and slowly, one by one, people start taking it, thinking that I was serving them. Not long later, I was asked by Amy( Korean Junior), to fetch her Korean lecturer home. Yes, the lecturer, Mr. Kim joined us for CA. He had fun (that’s what he told me lah). Then, I ended up with only one cream puff. Thank God I had a chance to try it. I guess God wants me to learn not to be greedy.

Okay, time to go back. Curfew by our hostels. Everybody said their last goodbyes to each other. The usual, everybody managed to squeeze themselves into various vehicles. Vroom!! and off everyone went. I, on the other hand, dropped the Korean lecturer back to Intekma, a hotel. We had a good conversation with each other. I understand him and he understands me as well. Before we said goodbye, he taught me how to wish goodnite in Korean. I was honoured because, when I informed the Korean Juniors about this, they told me that Mr. Kim haven taught them how to do so yet. Some privilege I had. It goes like this, an nyeong hi chung uu sae yo. It means goodnight in Korean.

I reached my hostel at 11.30pm. I was tired but satisfied with everything that had happened in CA and I’m looking forward to the next one. Thank you. Kam sa hab ni da. (Thank you in Korean).

In His service,

JiM

Campus Alive

Monday, September 24, 2007

Report From The States

Just a little bit of story-telling before the long-awaited CA report actually comes out.

Report from United States:

2 days before I boarded a plane to US, I received 400 dollars voucher. Unable to use them up, I thought of ways to exchange vouchers for cash instead. Pat was kind enough to exchange 50 dollars. Thanks, Pat!!! 350 left. What to do? I went to the bookstore to look for people who would be kind enough to exchange voucher for money. Not known to me, I bumped into the bookstore's manager and he gave me 350 dollars for all my vouchers. Wow, God was already helping me even before I reach the States.

2 days after I reached the States, I lost my passport. I was "smart" enough to leave my passport in the bank and I didn't realize anything wrong until 3 days later. Thank God, the bank was honest enough to keep my passport and return it to me when I went to the bank a couple of days later.

The day I checked in to my dorm, I received 12 packets of stuff from Pastor Ha (my former pastor back in hometown). Those stuff are essential stuff for me in order to let me survive my time here in Chicago. I got comforters, bedsheets, pillows, lamps, pens, radio, subwoofer, mugs, cups, plates, shampoo, hangers, other stationeries, files, blank DVDs, a camera (2-megapixel), bath robe, lots of winter clothing, winter boots, and a lot more. Wonderful. God kept giving me stuff that I had to share with my roommate because I just couldn't use them all.

The following week, I took my fitness test and swimming test. I passed both of them successfully. Praise be to God. He saw me through despite me being doubtful of myself.

This is the second week I am in the States. God has just been so faithful to me and has blessed me with so many things. School starts tomorrow, and again, I believe He will guide me through my studies in the States.

Yep, that's a summary of my United States report. God is good and I'll make sure I keep that in mind all the time.

Shivering in the windy weather,
Leen

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

CA Service: Self-Control & Faithfulness



When you try to hit a golf ball from its tee, it takes full concentration and self-control. You cannot be panic or nervous. You cannot think negatively and you certainly need to have a strong self-control over your own swing. Too hard a swing might just send the ball off the fairway to the bunker or the rough. Too light a swing might end up in a bogey or even a double bogey.

When the ball is in the air, there is only faith that is left in you. You have no choice but to have faith that the ball will drop in a strategic location for you next swing.

That's exactly why I used a golfer image as my main stock for this week's CA. The theme is "Self-Control and Faithfulness". Do come to CA if you are free on that night or you want to learn more about self-control and faithfulness. Mark down your calender for CA and remember the pick-up times for your pick-up point.

See you there!

Ciao.
Leen

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Chinese Whispers

A to B : Simon fell into the drain yesterday.
B to C : A told me that Simon fell into the river yesterday.
C to D : B told me that Simon's car fell into the river yesterday.
D to E : C told me that Simon's car fell into the lake the 2 days ago.

That's called Chinese Whispers phenomenon.
In this world where gossiping is a common thing, it is not surprising to find people misinterpreting messages and gossips. In the process, all these miscommunication and misinterpretation have done a lot of damages to other people's reputation, life, relationship, and many more.

I was taught in a camp that we can assume but we have to test out our assumption to make sure that it is true. A lot of people tend to jump to their conclusion once they assume something.

For example,
"Hey, I heard that Christian cheated in exam." A told B.
B jumped to conclusion and labeled the poor guy as someone bad because he never bothered to check out the truth from the person.

I had this experience in my own unique way today and for those who are hurt/disturbed, my sincere apologies to all of you.

This is how it goes:

I went to get a Hepatitis B(hep B) immunization jab this morning just to get myself immune to this disease. Immunization is basically a technique of inserting weaken bacteria?virus?(doctors, correct me) into a person's body. This act will then enable the body to recognize the weaken bad cells and to fight them off while they are still weak. So, for that short moment of time while you are being shot for an immunization shot, I take that it is safe to say that you HAVE the disease for a short while.

Excited about contracting hepatitis B (which is dumb), I texted a very good friend of mine to tell the "good" news that I had hep B(which was partially true due to the immunization). Of course, not knowing the full truth, my friend assumed that I had the disease and soon, it became known to others that I had hep B when in the real situation, I was given an immunization shot.

Not knowing of the damages done by my little joke, I went on my life as usual only to find my another good friend contacting me, and asking me about hep B. That was when I realized how serious the matter had become and how out of hand it had gone to.

It was a joke; but misinterpretation and miscommunication make it look serious and a joke is no longer a joke. Of course, I managed to clear everything up at the end but I did learn something.

Moral of the story:
You can assume, you can joke, you can listen to gossip. However, it is your responsibility to test out your assumption before you draw to your own conclusion.

I once played this chinese whispers game before. The instruction was easy enough: pass the message and the last person would report back the message. The team that got the most accurate message wins.

A told B, B told C...............so on....until finally, Z got a totally different message from what M got.

This was what the facilitator said,
"There is no rules saying that Z cannot ask A about the message. So why do you pass the message around without checking the truth? Z can just go ask A about the truth and settle with it."

Get the point?

Back to the story of Simon falling into the drain,
if E would have just asked A about the real truth, he wouldn't have gotten the twisted story and jumped to the wrong conclusion.

Same thing in our life, if we are not sure about the "truth", ASK.
If you THINK that someone is doing something wrong, go to the person, ask him/her about the real truth and sort things up. Do not go around punishing yourself and that someone by condemning/hating/cursing that someone. If you HEARD something bad about someone from others, same thing. You go to the "target"(even though it might be hard sometimes), and ask for the real truth. Do not jump to your own conclusion because it is not wise to do so.

And of course, when you joke, know your limits and try to think carefully what others might think about your joke. A joke can be harmful when it is not treated/responded well by the one(s) you played on. Remember the boy who call wolf? You can easily lose your credibility when you joke about something serious (like hep B >__<). At least, that is what I learned from this little chinese whispers experience I had today.

Well, it is my fault to joke about something that serious anyway. *knocks head*

Ciao.

Guilty as charged,
Leen

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just A Little Something For Independence Day

I think that by now, most of us must have known that the Taliban will be releasing all the remaining South Korean hostages in Afghanistan. In fact, they have released 12 out of 19 hostages. That of course is a good news for everyone, especially the people in Korean. While we rejoice and feel relieved over the release of the hostages, let us take a look at something else that is currently happening in New Orleans, US.

This whole news is taken from CNN News. If you hate the place you live in, give it another thought. ^____^ Sometimes we just need a reminder once in a while about how fortunate we are living in our country; that includes me. Leaving to US makes me think a lot more on this country. So, for this Independence Day, let's take a look at this news and be grateful that at least, we still have peace in our place.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- Father Bill Terry of St. Anna's Episcopal Church in New Orleans wants everyone to know what's happening in New Orleans: too many murders with too few people held accountable.

He keeps track of the slayings on what he calls the "murder board," a plastic board that hangs outside his church. He started listing murder victims earlier this year to humanize the headlines.

At first, the names were neatly typed by a printer. But as the killings continued at a rampant pace, he says, he resorted to adding victims' names by hand with permanent marker.

"Numbers are very easy to deal with emotionally. When it becomes a human being, then we start to personalize and it's harder to deal with. I want people to squirm. I want people to feel uncomfortable about the murders going on in the city," Father Bill told CNN.

In the first 29 days of this month alone, the city witnessed 27 killings, according to the New Orleans Police Department. So far in 2007, police say 137 people have been killed. That puts the city on pace for roughly 200 slayings this year.

Last year, New Orleans had 161 murders, which translates into a murder rate of roughly 70 homicides per 100,000 people, the highest in the country, according to FBI crime statistics and population data. Gary, Indiana, was the next most deadly city, with 48 murders per 100,000 people.

By comparison, New York City's murder rate in 2006 was 7.3 per 100,000 people, according to FBI statistics.

"You have these cities you assume to be violent, and New Orleans is two or three times worse," said Peter Scharf, director of the Center for Society, Law and Justice at the University of New Orleans.

Scharf said the widespread notion that Hurricane Katrina somehow caused the murder rate to spike in New Orleans is not the full story. "Before the hurricane, the murder rate was ascending. The wheels were coming off at that point," he said.

Like many cities across the United States, New Orleans' murder rate peaked in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It hit a low in 1999, but since then, the murder rate has more than doubled, according to Scharf.

Every week, Father Bill updates the "murder board": date, name, age, gender and manner of death. "Murder Victims, 2007," it says at the top, along with a quote from Psalm 46: "God is our hope and strength, a very present help in trouble."

The church sits in a neighborhood called Treme on the edge of the French Quarter; it's a highly visible location that is heavily trafficked by pedestrians and cars. Father Bill said the board makes a strong impression on those who pass by it.

"There's a moment of silence; there's a sense of awe; there's almost an epiphany experience for most people that see it. They look at the 'murder board' and you can see crystallizing ... the realization that these are human beings and that we are literally in a holocaust, we are slaughtering human beings. It's very transforming," he said.

Father Bill hopes his message reaches the city's leaders, too. Every Monday, Father Bill has red roses delivered to Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Chief Warren Riley -- a single rose for each death that weekend.

"He sends those roses I guess as a reminder," Riley said. "Certainly I can appreciate him doing that, but I'm more aware of our crime problem than anyone in the city."

Riley said he believes you can't police your way out of crime. The city's youth need to get out of the mindset that violence is the only way to solve a dispute, he said. Back in January, Nagin promised to make lowering the murder rate a top priority. In the face of ongoing violence, Nagin told CNN recently he is doing all he can.

"Everything is being done, from more resources, more dollars, more manpower, more police officers. We've got the federal government involved," he said.

Despite these efforts, violence in New Orleans shows no sign of slowing down. Scharf, the criminologist, believes city leaders should shoulder some blame for not stopping violent crimes.

"It's the capacity of the police and the district attorney and the courts. They are not in the mainstream of their professions. Even worse, they don't work together. They pee on each other's legs," he said.

Although the city has witnessed hundreds of murders over the two years since Katrina, the district attorney's office has won just three murder convictions since January of 2006. This is partly because murder convictions in New Orleans take two years on average, according to the DA's office.

"I am not going to take the blame for all the sins of the criminal justice system," District Attorney Eddie Jordan told CNN last month. "Certainly we have our shortcomings, but we're working on our shortcomings."

Before Father Bill became a minister, he worked in the insurance industry. But 10 years ago, he suffered an unbearable loss that forced him to take stock of his life. His 18-year-old daughter, Tonya, committed suicide. She had been diagnosed bipolar but was not taking medication. A neighbor called to tell him Tonya had shot herself.

"Because of the loss of my daughter, there is an affinity for loss, especially for younger people. As a parent, I grieve with parents who lost their children," he says.

One unanticipated outcome of the "murder board" is that Father Bill now finds himself counseling the parents of those who've been killed. One mother, he says, called him to thank him for remembering her son. She told him she thought nobody cared.

"This was a particularly humbling experience," he says. "For someone to trust you enough to say you remembered my son is daunting at the very least. ... It's by the grace of God that we just have conversation."

Father Bill doesn't have any faith the killing will end anytime soon. He is already making plans to hang another "murder board" next year.

Happy Independence Day.