Happy New Year. Be blessed and be a blessing!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Hey all! It's the last Campus Alive meet of the year, and a truly eventful one. Our friends from KTT Fellowship will be here and it's going to be the last CA for many of our seniors (ACTP and ALM)...sobs!!! Pastor David of New Life will be speaking on that night on how we make our campus alive (no word pun intended...lol)! : )

But don't worry, CA's not going anywhere, because next next Thursday will be a farewell for the seniors. Location and time will be informed.

Happy Easter! Have a blessed day as we celebrate our risen Saviour Jesus and spread His love! See y'all!

- Larry : )

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hello again!

I say, the new blog's feeling lonely without much comments! :D And there's an article from a wonderful Samantha Sii about Easter too!

It would totally, and I mean it, totally awesome if you would link to the new blog, and yes, spread the word! (So that, you know, it would be like, totally widespread - more people can find it, etc?)

And yes, due to some misunderstanding or so, the latest report was posted up both places. But, do do do visit the new blog.

And that's all from me now. :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The day we broke the walls!

CA this week was quite a unique one. Those who came were greeted by an all-male ushering team. Some stopped in their tracks to stare. There was Ivan, Tze Jun and Graham. Next, the meeting of the night was started off with the two MCs, Esmond and Krystal. They forgot to introduce themselves at first, and only much later did they recall that not everyone might have remembered their names. It brought about much laughter and a renewed sense of fellowship among those who attended that night. A few announcements were made then, about the coming CG where it would be movie night. The movie, ‘End of the Spear’ was to be shown this coming CG.

The time was then passed to Samantha for the games. We played an interesting game of Tic-Tac-Toe and what made it more interesting is the fact that it was a battle of the sexes! With the boys lined up on one side and the girls on the other, Samantha called out numbers (the rows of the boys and the girls were numbered first) and the person whose number got called would run to save a strategic seat so that they could form a line of four in a row. What was the outcome of the game? Well, let’s just say that it proved why males engineer battles and are addicted to online strategy games.





After the games, it was then time to worship. Worship that night was done a little differently. It was led by Joy and only had Chewie and Larry as guitarists with no other instruments for the night. Joy had a brilliant idea of making it acoustic. Samantha and Katherine sang beautifully for back-up. The songs, Yesus Pokokku was sang with much animation and truly, it set the mood for the time of worship. The next few songs sang were Oh Happy Day, Lord of Lords, You’ll Come and Everything. It was a meaningful time of worship and was a good transition to the time for the speaker.

The speaker of the night was Brother Michael from the Fellowship of Evangelical Students, (FES). He is no stranger to those who have come for CA before. His message was on 'Prejudice'. He first began with asking us to get into groups of threes to discuss the things that we were prejudiced against, and the prejudices against ourselves we were most hurt at. Ee Heng mentioned that he had prejudices against people who were a head taller than he was. There was also prejudices against people who cannot speak English. And Cedric spoke up to mention that he was hurt mostly by prejudices against him unable to speak Chinese (so we shall avoid calling them bananas, yeah?). Brother Michael encouraged us to stop having prejudices against our brothers and sisters of different races here in Malaysia. He even elaborated on the parable of the good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37. He spoke on how we should not only be Christians Christian but to be Malaysian Christians, understanding of other people and their beliefs. We must not only do our duty to God, but do His pleasing work by helping those He has placed in our paths to help. This is so that we can reach out to them and not be complacent in our Christian lives. He then spoke on how to break the walls of prejudice.

“If we realize that all things given to us are from God, then we truly have nothing to lose as we break those walls and reach out.”

Such a sharing was thought-provoking, challenging, and refreshing. For at the end of the day, indeed all we have are two hands and a heart, to make a difference in our land and home.

Then it was time for refreshments which were prepared by Pei Ling and Maritha. It was a good time of fellowship and food, coupled with laughter and excitement that ended yet another wonderful meet.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Hey people, I'm very proud to say that the new blog is very much nearly done. Now, there's pretty limited stuff as there's not much to say just yet. But the latest report shall be posted there! Now, how awesome is that? :D I'm very very excited, aren't you? Many new things, so take your time and read them all!

The new blog address is this: http://www.campusalive.wordpress.com/

I know that we're able to transfer every material here to there but we'd like to keep it this way. :)

And yes, there are those who have questioned our decision to shift to Wordpress. I understand that Wordpress isn't as friendly as Blogger, and the background is rigid, and we can't have a chatbox, etc.

Let's just say that God wanted a change. I was in a worship session during ACTs, when I prayed to God about what to do should I lead IT Ministry. And I believe that God spoke to me throughout the worship session and sermon. That day, both Pat and I felt strongly that everything shared by the Pastor was so inter-related to CA. Seriously. It's an awesome sermon by Pastor Kenneth.

He gave me insights, gave me new challenges. :) And one of them insights was to have new pages with more details. I can't quite explain it, but it's already been done up in Wordpress. The function doesn't exist for Blogger, which is why is was tough.

I also understand that I haven't been doing a good job sprucing up the place, but I realize that God being the centre of it all is most important. That a new blog is necessary for a new revival, coinciding with our new ministry in CA, and other important new things coming up. A change is coming, and we're trying to keep up with the massive awesomeness God is bringing forward for us to take charge. :)

I hope I make sense. Please do visit the new blog and give it a shot. :)


Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Walls Between Us - Next CA!

CA is back! After a one week holiday for the most of us, we return with a topic which concerns all Malaysians. As a new generation it is time we unite in love and harmony, and that means breaking the walls that separate us racially. Come and bring your friends for a night that will refresh, renew, and change you! See you there!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Fire Within

With the advent of third week of March, our ministry had managed yet another Camps Alive which falled on 11 March 2009. In the evening, those who were in-charge of transportation waited at the bus stops located at Cendana, Cemara and Akasia hostels. I was to wait at Cendana hostel whereas the other friend, Jonathan Wong had been waiting at Cemara and Akasia hostel for quite a long time that evening. So, we gathered around at around 6.00p.m. and set off to church after that.

The Campus Alive started at 8.00p.m. after everyone had had their dinners. That night, the number of attendees was not as many as usual. The cause for that was due to the fact that the seniors had exams and the ADFP students had their tests that day. All of us knew that attendance didn’t really matter. Campus Alive would still went on regardless of the number of people, and time will come to prove that Jesus can provide the number. Before the Campus Alive was officially started, we had a praying session. It was initiated by Larry and ended by Samantha. Next, Campus Alive was made alive by our emcees of the day, Graham Lai from AUSMAT and Fabiolla Lea from ALM. This was then followed by an opening prayer, led by Graham Lai.

After that, we proceeded to our next event, the gaming session. The game master of the day was Joy. She had proposed to us a game by which we all were separated into two groups and lined up. So, the first person of each group would have to think of and create some random yet so-called exaggerated movements to be imitated by the next person lining up behind. The condition here was that no one was supposed to look forward by turning around from each other from the front to the back. Therefore, the imitation was relayed from the first person to the next one till the last person. The last person would then be invited to come to the front for the performance of 'relayed movements'. They were Jonathan Wong and Jonathan Chua. (Quote: “The battle of the Jons’ begins!” Joy) Well, as what we had seen, the movements were prodigiously distorted to an extent that they hardly showed any similarities with the original one, causing the people around laughing out their heads off! Next, the first people, namely Esmond, Joshua and Karen were also asked to perform the original version of movements that really showed a great difference.

The third event was the worshipping session, led by Larry. Larry himself was the guitarist and the vocal. The other members of the band comprised the drummer (Joshua), the keyboard player (Samantha) and two backup singers (Jonathan Chua and Hui Theng) So, Larry had brought to us a few worship songs, namely One Way, Praises (Everyone), For All You've Done, Amazed, Heart of Worship, Ku Mahu Cinta Yesus Selamanya. Certainly, it was clearly revealed that all people sang the worship songs with hearts for Jesus. The presence of His love has always been the avenue for us to love people and to be loved by people as well. The atmosphere was indeed teeming with all His love!

Then, this was followed by our next event, a speech by Elder Kien Yiak from Acts Church. He is truly a good and sophisticated speaker and all of us were greatly impressed by his talk. He preached to us about a lot of things in a humorous manner, and that was why the surrounding atmosphere was always full of laughter and cheering. In his preaching, we were told to behave in our real and sincere personality. We should act according to our characters and be debarred from becoming double-faced people. Besides that, he also told us that passion is all about giving, in accordance with what the bible has mentioned. He emphasized to us that Jesus Christ believes in us, and will always provide the clues and answers whenever we are confronted with problems. Therefore, faith is what we truly need and that is how we will be blessed. Apart from that, we were also being reminded that Jesus is able to give. If we can manage strong faith in Jesus, all our requests will be answered. He listens to our prayers and problems, and He does answer them. "God does answer us. He answers all our phone calls, SMS, and E-mails!!", he talked to us in a creative way.

It was really a long period of time before he finished his preaching. The talk was started at 9.00p.m. and ended at 10p.m. After that, there were announcements from the emcees, saying that there would be a prayer meeting in Cendana, Akasia and Cemara hostels at 8.00p.m. the next day. Also, a Post Mortem would also be held in Cemara's "Starbucks" on Friday.

Finally and practically, the Campus Alive was ended after the announcements, accompanied by the prayers led by Elder Kien Yiak. After that, we went to refreshment room for refreshment prepared by Amy while waiting for the transportation fetching us back to respective hostel. Usually, refreshment time is considered as the best time where the people can mix around and communicate with each others.

The report is done by Chong Tze Jun from ALM9.

The Fire Within

This flyer was awesomely done by Julius which was in colour but he deleted that soft copy from his computer. Give him a cheer anyways! :)

P/S: I'm sorry it's late and for being incompetent. ;__: I don't know why I can't seem to be able to handle this properly, but I'll promise I'll do better. Really. It's all my fault.

Friday, March 6, 2009

In Good Faith, We Come

It’s the third CA of the year. The ushers tonight include Qi Ying, Amy, Fabiolla, and Hui Ting. They welcomed us with grins on their faces and cheerful greetings of “welcome”s. The gathering kicked off with the jubilant shout of the emcees of the night, Boon Tung and Catherine. With their spontaneous speaking skills, the night was filled with laughters. After some greetings and shouts of “shalom”, an opening prayer was made, led by Boon Tung.

After the opening prayer is the game session. It’s a shoe game and the game master was Nicole. We were asked to form a circle. And next, we were asked to take off one of our shoe. We were then required to tap that one shoe on the floor according to a rhythm. After tapping according to the rhythms, we need to pass the shoe to the person next to us and the tapping and the passing of shoe continues until we were stopped. Then, we were asked to find the owner of the shoe which we got and asked five things about them. There was this funny situation where lots of the shoes end up at one place and some people don get any shoe at all. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves with the game.

Up next was the worship session, led by Chewie and Betty, with Joanne as the backup singer. A few songs of worships and praises were sung, accompanied by the lovely tunes played by the guitarist (Chewie), bassist(Daniel and Esmond), drummer(Anderson) and pianist(Theng Theng). We could definitely feel the presence of God and His love in our midst during the worship sessions.

Then it was the video-watching session. The video was made by Lisia, Charis and Samantha. The main focus of the video was to talk about missions in campus. We are invited to sign up for mission and spread the love of God to people around us.

And of course, there was also a talk. The speaker for that night was Audra Darshini from the Fellowship of Evangelical Students. The talk given was about missionaries in campus. First, a bible extract from Jeremiah 29:4-7 was read. From the bible extract, the speaker had outlined four main points which can be related to missionaries in campus.

Jeremiah 29:5-7- “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.

The speaker asked us to get involved in the missionaries and be concerned to the people who need our helps beside us. We are also called to start our mission in campus starting now. We should be Christian witness for people around us to spread the word of God and God’s love. Truly like what the speaker said, we might only have 2 years in our campus but we should make full use of the 2 years to be involved in missionaries because if we are to wait till after 2 years, it would be another 2 years in another campus and another 2 years in another place again.

As usual, after the talk, the emcees will give some announcements regarding the cell groups and post mortems. After that, Beatrice came up and invited us to join Ops Gegar, a conference with the theme “Kerinduanku Penglibatanmu”, which is going to be held on 7th of March.

Finally, CA ended with refreshments at the refreshment room. Refreshments was made by J-Cyn and Siaw Hui. It was hotdogs, and coco de nata drinks. While taking the refreshment, we had the opportunity to mix around with friends and do so chit-chatting. There is an atmosphere of friendship and God’s love. It had been a very meaningful gathering. We can be refreshed and gain new strength in God. So, brothers and sisters in Christ, we are all called to be a part in God’s mission to preach His good news and love to the people around us. In short, this CA had been a great success. Glory and praise the Lord!

P/S: Pictures coming soon. :)

P/P/S: This report was written by Peter. Much thanks and applause!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In Good Faith, We Come - 26 February 2009

Hey everyone, really sorry about the delay in putting up the flyer. Let's just leave it at me not being competent enough. :) CA is still going on this Thursday, please be there!

When You Fall In Love

CA started off with LOVE!! As cliché as it might sounds, love was definitely in the air on that fateful night. Without a doubt, God’s love was felt everywhere in the church compound and in fact, it is the only LOVE which matters most in our lives.

id="BLOGGER_PHOTO_ID_5306684491039475298" border="0" />

When first entering the room, ushers dressed adorably in either pink or red with white wings on their backs would throw confetti above our heads. Particularly cheeky guests had even more confetti thrown to their faces. The ushers for that night were Fabiolla, Esmond, Chee Huat, and Catherine.

We were all welcomed by the loveliest emcees of the night, Daniel and Winnie. With their quirk enthusiasm, everyone was humored by this lovely pair. Then, we heated up the environment with the worship session, led by Pei Ling and Zoe. The drummer was Dian Han, guitarist was Chewie, and bassist was Bryan. We were all captured by God’s faithfulness and love. The worship team was fabulous and of course, all the credits went to our Maker of heaven and earth.

Games session was next. Led by Miriam, we were divided in pairs and engrossed ourselves totally in this game called Marriage-Proposal-Divorce. When Miryam called out Marriage, the pair were supposed to hook arms together, as if going down the aisle together. And when she called out Propose, the guy was to kneel on one knee and take the hand of the girl as if to propose. And when Divorce was yelled out, the girl and guy was supposed to turn back to back with each other, and cross their arms, as if angry with each other.

A gift exchange took place after that. And each pair exchanged gifts with each other. Interesting gifts in particular was a honeydew, and a loaf of bread.

A sketch was performed after the games. Participated by Joy, Cedric, J-Cyn, Sze Yin and Samuel, it was a great reminder to us that God’s love is what matters the most in our lives. The basic plot of the sketch was a girl – portrayed by Joy who found her boyfriend (Cedric as ah Boy) with another girl, J-Cyn. She then goes home to find her parents fighting, Mummy being Sze Yin, and Daddy being Samuel. A particularly interesting line said by Samuel was, “I love you! (Pause) But I love your best friend too.”

Disappointed and hurt by her father’s infidelity, Joy then leaves home. She tears a red paper heart each time she is hurt by the people she loves, and indication of her own broken heart. She receives a birthday card, but doesn’t care anymore. “It doesn’t matter anymore,” Joy said. But in the card is a verse, John 3: 16 and she finds a huge white heart with the words, “Never have I abandoned you.” The lights dim. This is a sketch to show just how much God loves us still, even when we face our earthly troubles, He is always there was us.

A short testimonial by Nicole followed next. She quoted Romans 8 and her testimonial was a strong, powerful testimonial. Coming from a broken family, God’s love has sustained her and pulled her through all the difficult times. It really served as a reminder of how wonderful is our faithful God.

Romans 8: 38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As the CA was held in conjunction with Valentine’s Day, a short video entitled A Father’s love was aired.


For all that our Father has done for us, all that he asks is just a simple question, “Would you be my child?”

Touched by the video, we were then introduced to Pastor Ron from Newlife PJ. A man full of faith and good nature, he talked about how God’s love has changed him from the inside out. He agreed with the lot of us that finding a life partner is indeed important, but if we just let our hearts be filled with His love, God will let the right person come our way. He testified of how God has been good to provide him the greatest gift of His life-his wife.

Truly, if we love Him with all our hearts, He will give us the miracle of finding the other half who will complete our lives. By loving God, we give our whole heart to Him because He loved us first. He loves us by showing His ultimate gift of grace-Jesus Christ to die for us. He died so that we can have an abundant and fulfilling life which the world could not give. Many people in the world are crying out for something that will fill the holes in their hearts.

We need to love and be loved, as this is part of human nature. Too often this desire will keep us searching everywhere and get love from people whom we think will fill up the emptiness in our hearts. If you are still searching today, God is telling you to embrace His unconditional love, which will make you whole again. How should we respond to His love? Let us start serving out of love, as 1 Corinthians 13 reveals that love is the most important motivation in Christian living. Let us start loving our brothers and sisters, as Jesus loves them too.

CA ended with refreshments. Refreshments were prepared by Nicole, Samantha, Amy, Miryam and Theng Theng. Laughter and chatters echoed throughout the church compound on that day. In short, CA was a great success. Everyone joyfully went back with an extra portion of love in their heart, all thanks to our loving heavenly Father.

P/S: One of the interesting addition to CA that night was a Love Shout Out Board where anyone could write messages to whomeever they want to. :) More pictures shall be put up real soon. :)

P/P/S: This report was written by the ever lovely Sze Yin. :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009


Much apologies for not having the details of the last CA until now. We're trying to get the new blog up and running, and because there were tons of wonderful pictures for the last CA, we might put up the latest report in the new blog.

Much editing, and writing to do, and we're terribly sorry for the delay. :(

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

When You Fall In Love - 12 February 2009

Please Bring A Gift!
(need not be too costly,
something nice and simple)

This Thursday, Campus Alive is celebrating Valentine's Day! It's two days early, but it's the fun we have together that matters. And that will leave your Saturday free!

Please do come to be refreshed with God's word with our speaker, Pastor Ron from New Life PJ, after that wonderful one week holiday.

Don't forget the gift for exchange!! : )

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Faith, Our Vision

Dated 15th January 2009, a historical moment in New Life Restoration Centre with the presence of our beloved God, the new committee of Campus Alive 2009 have successfully organized the first CA meeting in the new year!

This year we have set a new vision and mission. The mission for our movement this year is to spread the good news until the end of the Earth and to have faith in God and with great love among each other in Christ.

There were a total number of 100 people present that night. We were very blessed, and had indeed, not worried about the number as we truly know that God will provide us with the people. The only thing that is obvious is the Atmosphere at that moment is packed with lots of people and of course, with many new faces! Praise the Lord!

Among the crowd, we had special guests too. Two of them were not from Malaysia, and they were Amy and Heaven from Korea. They had come to Malaysia to learn English for one month and I guess they are visiting around Malaysia too during their study period here.

Other special guests include the vibrant, and wonderful people from ACTS Church Subang Jaya! Not forgetting about our speaker: our speaker of the night is Brother David from ACTS Church Subang Jaya whom had been described as a charming and enthusiastic guy by Samantha!! :)

Concentrating on the humorous and nostalgic slide show.

Our very much loved Sam, and Steffie.

The night started rolling, literally with a slideshow of photos of the previous committee, along with pictures taken during many previous CA meetings last year. It had been done up by our nice and cute Masters of ceremony, Mr Samuel and Ms Steffie. Samuel started CA after that with a prayer. Steffie had even learned uttered ‘good evening’ in Korean to further welcome our Korean guests to CA.

This was then followed by the happy-go-lucky game master, Mr Graham from AUSMAT program leading and guiding the crowd through a game involving much animal antics. Everyone was separated according to their birthdays. So the crowd was separated into 4 groups with each group consisting of members who had their birthday on every three consecutive months starting from January. The game is simply about imitating animals. However, that was not it. The leader of each group had to start by imitating an elephant. The second person in that circle had to follow what the group leader had done, and subsequently imitating another animal of their own. And the third had to imitate both animals, and add their own as well. Thus some groups started with an elephant, then a dog, cat, and various other animals came into play. The game would continue until the last person imitated all the other animals correctly.

Darsh having fun imitating the elephant.

The winners of the game. I think. :P

The game ended in enjoyment and it was for certain that everyone had an enjoyable moment playing and cheering others along. After the happy moment together, it was the time to worship our beloved Father in the heaven. We sang four beautiful songs (Hari Ini, We Will Sing, I Am Free, and Amazing Love) and shouted to the Lord in our praises, committing ourselves fully to God in midst of worshipping our mighty Father. Larry lead the worship, with Anderson on drums, Esmond on bass, Chewie on the guitar, and Joanne, Sam, and Nicole as the backup singers.

Larry and Sam introduced the new mission and vision for the year. A new ministry that had been set up was then formally introduced to the CA crowd. A Missions Ministry is now part of CA, and anyone who is willing to serve can contact Larry or Sam. Li Sia, who leads this new ministry had spoken about it as well, during CA that night.

Samantha, explaining the mission and vision of the year Faith, and Love.
(More about this soon.)

That night we had invited ACTS Church Subang Jaya to deliver a wonderful speech about faith. It is indeed a wonderful and fruitful sharing to everyone by Bro. David. He told us about his wonderful story in his life, sharing his story about becoming a Christian 15 years ago. He originated from Penang and shared about his humble life there where he had to struggle hard to live. There were even a few moments in his life when he had thought of committing suicide to end his life as his didn’t really like what was given to him in his life during those days. He suffered from great tension since his young age till one day he came to Christ through a movie “The Story of Jesus”. He said that this movie had greatly inspired him to receive Christ and this was what that had brought such a big change in his life.

As for the students in INTEC UiTM, he convinced us by asking us to think about things positively. In the Malay language, the word “Shah Alam” came from the root word “shah” which means Sultan or king and another “alam” which means realm. In full, it means that Shah Alam is the land of the King or a kingdom and all those who live or rather students who are arranged to study in UiTM should be thankful to have been able to enrolled into such prestigious university in Malaysia. And if the students feel that Shah Alam is such a boring place, we should claim back this land, as the land of the King. Bro. David inspired us to make a change in this place. He told us that the students of INTEC must start doing something. And when we leave, we will not have regrets, and be able to say, “At least I have done something here.” He is indeed a very great speaker, having been thoroughly convincing and with his wide smile on the face, he created laughter among the youngsters.

Brother David inspiring us with what he had shared.

The talk ended in about one and half hour. It was then followed by a few announcements by the MCs who reminded us that cell group would commence as usual this Thursday. The former president of the CF of KDU, Brother Jason, too, shared a few words with us. He introduced us to a certain program organized named Malaysian Youth Prayer meeting which was first held in Kluang, Johor.

Finally, everyone broke up for refreshment and fellowship in the refreshment corner. Some mingled around, chatting together, and had enjoyable moments together in laughter and friendship. At the same time, what was happening in the Atmosphere is that some grouped together to pray for the AUSMAT seniors who are going to set flight to Australia and New Zealand very soon. I sincerely wish them all the best here and hope that they will have great moments with God there too! After that, it is the time for everyone to go back home. It was late when CA ended and the NLRC resumed back in its normal quietness, but indeed it is still burning hot in the Holy Spirit flame. Whatever, that ended the first CA of the year!! Yahoo!! Bravo to all the organizing committees!!

Last but not least, our next meeting will be on the 12th February 2009 which is two days before the well-known Valentine Day. In conjunction with the soon-to-come Valentine Day, the theme of the sharing of our next meeting will focus mainly on the contexts of LOVE. Either it is about a boy-girl relationship or it is about love from our heavenly Father, it is for you to find it up the next CA meeting!! See you!!

We are one in Christ.

Faith in God,
Julius Tan Jin Soon

p/s As Chinese new year is drawing near, I sincerely hope that everyone will have an enjoyable moment in the fun of the Lunar New Year! Enjoy yourselves and of course together with the presence of God! I hope that everyone will have a safe journey back to the hometown, including those Koreans who are going to depart back to their own country on the 31st of January 2009! All the best to all! Have a joyous Chinese New Year!! :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Faith, Our Vision - 15 January 2009

It has been a while since we have had a Campus Alive meeting, due to the holidays. I hope that all of you were still faithful to Him during the holidays and have made the holidays an enjoyable and fulfilling one. If not, it was still relaxing and refreshing, no?

Anyway, this will be the very first CA meet of the year. And we're all very very excited, whee! The theme for this meeting is, Faith. More about the vision and mission for this year, and all about the new commitee will be talked about later during the meeting. :)

Please be there!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Symbols for the New Year

Symbols carry with them very powerful meanings and imageries. They represent a group of ideas linked together in one visual or verbal representation. In fact, the word symbol is derived from the Greek words syn- meaning ‘together’ and ballein meaning ‘to throw’. So taken literally, to create a symbol is to throw a couple of ideas together into one representation.

As we use symbols describe things, we are invoking the ideas that have been associated with the symbol and connecting those ideas with the particular subject. Since this year is the year of the ox, perhaps I shall use the ox to illustrate an example. For instance, say I described someone as an ‘ox’. The ox becomes a symbol that calls forth several different ideas and places that person in possession of those qualities signified by the symbol. In this case, the symbol of the ox could carry the significance of strength, vitality, loyalty, devotion, etc, so to describe someone as an ox could ultimately mean that the person is strong, youthful, loyal, etc. In other words, the qualities that have been ascribed to the ox have now been ascribed to that person.

As we enter a new year, I would like to present two powerful symbols that I believe challenge us to live a life that is worthy of our calling – peace and resurrection.

Nowadays, we often hear the word ‘peace’ in the news, public discussions or even casual talk. But what do people really mean when they talk about ‘peace’? Often times, we discover that ‘peace’ in contemporary terms has been diluted to mean merely the absence of conflict, i.e. we’re cool as long as we don’t step on each others’ toes.

However, the Bible presents a whole radical idea of peace. The Hebrews would call peace shalom, while the Greeks eirene (for those who are interested, the name Irene actually comes from this word). I would particularly like to focus on the symbol of shalom. Throughout the Old Testament, we observe that God’s commandment to the Israelites place much emphasis on community living. In fact, when we examine the Torah, God instructs the Israelites to care for those living amongst them, look after the welfare of their neighbours (including foreigners), greet each other in love – or to summarise it all, to seek the shalom of the community. Hence, the symbol of shalom (or peace) brings together the idea of not only the absence of conflict, but also the obligation towards the health and life of the community.

Even today, we are not exempt from these commandments that God gave to the Israelites. As we become part of a community of believers, the New Israel, God expects us to go beyond peaceful coexistence or personal isolation from the life of the community. Rather, He calls us to contribute and be part of the heartbeat of the whole body of Christ. We are called to care for one another in love, to seek each other’s welfare and to greet one another with joy. In other words, peace (shalom) calls us out of our self-centred survival status to life-giving love-filled latitude as we gather together as one body to seek the face of God.

The second symbol I would like to point our attention towards is the resurrection. First of all, I would like to address the idea that ‘resurrection’ is an event that will happen ‘someday, somewhere’. I believe that this is an incorrect perception of the resurrection. In fact, I would go further to suggest that we already have the power of resurrection within us. It is merely a matter of tapping into that power.

Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that “those who are in Christ are a new creation”. In other words, those of us who believe in Christ and have received His Spirit are already a new creation. And as a new creation, we are now living in a whole different kind of power, i.e. the power of the resurrection. Paul tells us in Romans 8 that “if the spirit that raised Christ from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies”. The power of the resurrection is already accessible to us through the Spirit, right now, and not in another distant reality.

Then comes the question then, “But how does the power of the resurrection look like?” The same Greek word that is used for resurrection, egeiro, is also used in several ways in the New Testament. I would like to point out four of them, all found in the book of Matthew.
  1. To rise up and go – “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” (Mat 2:20)
  2. To rise up and stand – But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” He said. “Don’t be afraid.” (Mat 17:7)
  3. To rise up against – Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Mat 24:7)
  4. To raise up people – I tell you out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. (Mat 3:9)
Therefore, the symbol of the resurrection draws together these ideas. In my opinion, to stand in the power of the resurrection means to get up and go in faith as the Spirit leads. It means that we were once afraid of taking brave steps to uncharted territories, but now we have the faith to make choices that no one else has ever dreamed of.

To stand in the power of the resurrection means to rise up and stand for our faith. It means that we were once insecure about our own identity, our purpose, our calling, or even our life, but now we hold onto a new hope and a covenantal promise in God that far exceeds any other promises of the world.

To stand in the power of the resurrection means to rise up against the ways of the nations, and the status quo. It means that we once tried to impersonate and mimic the ways of the empires around us, wallowing in our self-preservation and survival games. But now, we have caught a glimpse of a new way of living that is not based on following social norms or trying to meet the human expectations, but that which is based upon faith, hope and love. And because we have witnessed that kind of life, we rise up now to fight against the influences of the world that will try and pull us back to our ways of living.

Finally, to stand in the power of resurrection means to raise up a new generation of people who too can embody this hope in their lives. It means that since we have experienced this freedom and life in the Spirit, we now pass on this freedom to the next generation so that they do not have to start from scratch and go through all the painstaking process of discovery that we have been through, but so that they can build upon the foundations that we have laid, just as we build upon the foundations that Christ has laid.

Indeed, there is nothing foreign about resurrection. Dare I say, as we engage with every single day of our lives, we make choices each day whether to follow the leading of the Spirit and to tap into the power of resurrection that comes through the Spirit. We make choices each day whether to go to new frontiers, to stand firm in our faith, to fight against the ways of the world or to raise up a new generation of Christians. And as we step out in faith to take up these challenges, we are living in the power of the resurrection of Christ.

So, brother and sisters, I exhort you then, continue to live in the power of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, making peace with all men. Have a blessed new year ahead! Shalom!