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Showing posts from July, 2008

It was meant to be

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I came to the office today and saw a package on my table. With this silly grin in my face, much like that of a small kid on Christmas day, I tore it open. I was in such glee that my colleagues became so amused and curious as to what I got in the mail. I showed it to them, complete with that wide grin to boot. They instead gave me quizzical looks. Click here to see what I received. What made it more special other than the fact that this book is out of print, that it is the standard treatise on the subject, and that it is selling for ₤104 in Amazon.co.uk (I got it for so much cheaper, secondhand from abe.com ), the delivery of the book was date marked on my birthday, 22nd July. It was meant to be – after all, who am I but a chiastic-freak. pearlie

A Thousand Words #71

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pearlie Photo (c) 2003 Doug Brown

Life

Life is cluttered Busy and sputtered Lest I'm alert I'll be guttered All rights reserved (c) 2008 Pearlie Ng pearlie

Take heart and persevere

I pondered a bit about eternal life today. I again found myself musing how much I look forward to being in heaven in the presence of God, though now (hopefully, for very good reasons God willing) is not the time. Inasmuch as it is inconsequential, I have yet to decide on my stand about our condition after death. I am at the moment taking a closer stand toward soul sleep . I am thinking if I were to die, I may go into a soul sleep awaiting the final judgement, and then heaven. There will still a wait, even though I would most probably not feel it. However, as much as it would be wonderful to be right there in God’s presence, there is still much to experience in this temporary world that God has placed us in, in preparation for the season that is to come, the consummation of life everlasting. With that, I would like to take a brighter view of life as we have it now. In the now and not yet of the eternal life that Christ has accomplished for us, there is still much to learn in the

Fasting: what matters in context

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The last I mentioned the fasting I am observing was about a couple of weeks ago after which I had not talked much about it. I was sent a link about fasting a few days before the fast proper. I went there for a spell but stop short of reading more than 2 or 3 pages, or spend more than 2 minutes on it. I suddenly felt a bit stressed and wondered if I should be worried about the fast. I had felt relaxed about it and I was prepared to take on the 40-day fast quite in stride. I aim to spend my days more in touch with God. But after that website, I begin to wonder if I need to be more solemn about it. Do I? One thing I can recall from the website was not to announce the fast to the whole wide world or they’d think I am out of my mind. I am not sure if that is so. But what I do encounter in my context may be slightly different. I am fasting meat and comfort food. When I order food in eating places, I ask for the vegetarian version. Each time that happened, I seriously think I sound lik

Boys Brigade 3rd KL's Enrollment Ceremony

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Calvin attended his first BB Enrollment Service and Awards Day where he received his first button, though the careless one lost it. Ah well, he is usually the blur one too, like the mommy. From the photo, you'll see he has not gotten his uniform yet, which I hope he will get a set soon. They have apparently ran out of them for the time being. This is also my first of such a uniformed group event and I must say it is very impressive. Many awards were given out and it really reflect the discipline the boys have in their pursuit of improvement and betterment of selves. Kudos to all of them. pearlie Photo (c) 2008 Pearlie Ng

The Corinth that Paul Saw: Week 1

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Our church has invited Kar Yong to teach us about the background and the impact of the city on the Corinthian letters. It was a tiring day but it was indeed fruitful. Our usual bible study class more than double up to 20. For a start to the sessions, we took on the background and history of Paul with an overview of his life and missionary journeys, and particularly briefly on Athens and then Corinth. What caught my attention was the number of temples uncovered in the ruins of ancient Corinth - at least 34. At first I thought, "Well, 43 isn't that many. We have loads of them here in our city too." But then I asked about the size of the city. It was 500m from end to end - I could not comprehend a city so small. And 34 temples in such a small area? We will be having this for 4 more weeks and I certainly look forward to them, as we get on to why Paul wrote what he wrote to the people in Corinth. Our homework is to read 1&2 Corinthians in one sitting - something I ho

Eli, good but weak

I was listening to Dick Lucas on 1 Samuel 3 when he mentioned about Eli, the High Priest during that time when young Samuel was dedicated to the LORD. I have never thought much about Eli before, more attention was given obviously to Samuel but Lucas brought up a very important lesson from Eli - he was a very good man but he was very weak and the results were destructive. After calling young Samuel three times, which by the way is usually where we take as the entire reading of the passage in Scriptures and draw the concluding lesson on hearing the voice of God without hearing out what God has to say to Samuel, which again by the way was why God called him in the first place, and three times. God said to Samuel, "Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever

It's off! And I have failed.

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Book frenzy!!! At the rate I am going, the "book-fast" is officially off. Period. And I admit, both Kar Yong and Melissa is right - me on a book-fast? For 6 months? Unbelievable. The other times I bought books during the "fast" was for TEE assignment purposes but this time, all I did was just to take a walk during lunch and the damage was done. MPH was almost having a "warehouse" sale and I walked into it. This was the result, but I must tell you, RM258 for 12 books is not too bad, quite a bit of money still but not too bad for 12 books. First for the boys: The Night Sky: Discovering the Universe from Alpha Centauri to Quasars , Giles Sparrow, 2006 (rated 5 stars in Amazon.com) - RM20, hardcover Space Missions: From Spunik to Spaceshipone: the History of Space Flight , Jim Winchester, 2006 (rated 5 stars in Amazon.com) - RM20, hardcover Big Numbers: A Mind Expanding trip to infinity and back, John and Mary, 2004 - RM15 The Artist and the Ma

Happy Olday to Me

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I had an excellent day today. But before I go on (and on) about it, first a song for me: Happy Olday to me Happy Olday to me Today I am older Happy Olday to me Wuu-aahhhhhhhhh! I wanted to take the day off today to spend it on nice things but one of our clients had to spring a Remuneration Board Committee meeting on us. We got prepared and attended the meeting scheduled at 9am. We waited and only got called in at about 10.30, and the meeting lasted till about 12 noon. It dragged on but it was a good meeting. We are all happy in the end. There is still a bit more work but we are all happy about it. I thank God. So I took the half day off. Photo (c) 2007 M i E To start it off, I received a birthday treat from a few in our team and they brought me to Chilli's in Suria KLCC. Well, inline with the 40-day fast initiated by NECF, I started to fast today on meat and comfort food (sweet desserts and any food I consider the comfort-kind). I ordered a caesar salad and a mushroom soup. The

Back to the Psalter

I am back onto my long overdue (my own deadlines at least) assignments on Psalm 19 and the structure of the Psalter. I am running out of time and running out of breath. I am being too ambitious this year with a desire to take 8 modules. I have already dropped "Introduction to the New Testament" (a core that is illusive to me, I can't seem to catch it over the past few years, including this year) and I am planning to drop "Leadership Development" (though I wish I could do this as it will help me with my Youth Work and even at work). Including these 2 assignments on Psalms I now have 5 pending, 1 from "Justification in the Pauline Corpus" and 2 from "Christian Theology 2". I hope to take up "Teaching & Preaching the Parables" of Jesus in September, "Methodism" in October, and "History & Theology of the Exile" in November. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. pearlie

The Challenge of Difficult Passages

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It is a very interesting day today but for some reasons, I cannot disclose it. Just take it that God does have a sense of humour, a big one and a dry one at that. What was exciting though was the Take up the Challenge session we had during the Youth bible study in the afternoon. I challenged them to take on 2 difficult, really difficult passages from the Gospel of Mark. Mark 7:26-30 The Syrophoenician Woman & Mark 11:12-14 The Cursing of the Fig Tree I broke them into 4 groups of 5 each. Got them to read each one of the 2 passages, and the verses surrounding it for context. Their challenge was to ask 20 questions and if they can, to interpret the passages as well. But time ticked on, and so I gave them a discount – 10 questions would be good enough. The purpose of the exercise was to get them to think and think actively about the passages, to have them realise that we must ponder and agonise over God’s word and the outcome will be awesome. The results? An intriguing and

Nothing

There are certain rare days where you really, honestly did nothing. I had such a day today. And it was good. pearlie

A Thousand Words #70

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pearlie Photo (c) 2004 Chris Eyles

Pearlie's Threes!

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Things always pile up all at the same time for me, almost always! With the usual Friday Bible Study on John 3, I am also worship leading this Sunday with band practice on Saturday. Time has also arrived for Youth Bible Study for the month of July on Sunday afternoon. I will have a lot to do this few days until Sunday - prepare for John 3; figure what to do with the Gospel of Mark and prepare for it; think about worship songs, prepare them and go for band practice. This time I think I will challenge the youth to interpret a couple of difficult passages in the Gospel of Mark. I already have 2 in mind - do you have any I can consider? pearlie Photo (c) 2005 Cristina Romano

Murphies' Threes?

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Things always happen in threes? Everything that could go wrong would go wrong? Well, almost. Firstly, my car battery went dead last night. We decided to leave the car in my parents' house, and they would help get it fixed up today while I attend to getting Calvin to school and myself to work, with SH's car as he flies to Penang in the morning. Secondly, while my dad was recharging the battery to get the car started to get it to the workshop, the autolock went berserk and locked itself with the keys still in the car. I had to leave office to get home to get the spare key - the car was precariously parked almost in the middle of a quite busy road. Thirdly, I found the spare key, got the keys out and got the car to the workshop. We all then proceeded to have lunch together in a nearby restaurant. Right after we ordered the food, my mom gave an exclamation - she left the fire on at the stove before we left. I drove her back to get it turned off, hoping the broth hadn't

Keep on playing in muck and grime?

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Luscious, though intimidating Foolish, yet engaging Ingenious, but silly Hard, even arduous Risky, whilst demanding Involving, then nosediving, should I then Keep on playing in muck and grime? All rights reserve © 2008 Pearlie Ng pearlie Photo © 2008 Craig Jewell

Quiet time? Noisy time?

I realised this morning my lack of prayer and time with God for the past week. Of late it dawned on me that I am beginning to take a different stance in life - I have given up compartmentalising my life bifurcatedly: one spiritual and the other secular per se, as in quiet time, prayer life, church life vs. work, leisure, chores. I have begun to take life as a whole - my all as an act of worship to my God. As such, everything I do, I do it unto Him - which means I have to be extra careful about what I do, say or think. Is this right? I mean I no longer purposefully have "quiet time". Every moment of my life is "quiet time". I remember back in the younger days, we tend to be quite dichotomised in our way of life and thinking:- "How's your spiritual life?" - as opposed to "secular life"? "Have you been having your quiet time?" - are the other times "noisy time"? "Have you been witnessing?" - as opposed to the o

40-days Prayer and Fasting

Pastor Chris spoke about fasting today to prepare us for the nationwide 40-days Prayer and Fasting event. He said that fasting was not a commandment back in the Old Testament days, was it? The prayer and fasting event is launched by NECF every year and this time I am planning to observe, God willing: a partial fast of meat and comfort food in the form of desserts, sweet stuff and sweet drinks including coffee and tea. I hope I can manage. It will begin on July 22 up to Aug 30. pearlie

Jet lagged?

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My flight home from Mumbai last night was at 11.45pm local time. Arrival in Kuala Lumpur was 7.45am this morning Malaysian time. I could not believe I was jet lagged flying back from India but jet-lagged I was. I was down and out to the max. pearlie Photo © 2008 Georgios M. W.

TTT at Mumbai: Day 5
Whizzing about in an auto-rickshaw

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We will be flying back home today and we only had about an hour or so for a quick shopping spree in town. I did not manage to get much but at least I got to ride in an auto-rickshaw. Check out more photos here . pearlie Photo © 2008 Pearlie Ng

TTT at Mumbai: Day 4

I shan't whine and so I shan't blog today. Click here for the pictures of the day: Round and about the hotel pearlie

TTT at Mumbai: Day 3
A side dish for some chewing

Training today was slightly on the boring side, as they rehashed what I have been doing for the past 2-3 years, but just because I was the only one that was not new to this, it has to go on as planned, which is why I tend to multi-task in situations like this. Much has been talked about at Kar Yong's with regards to pastors and full-time-workers (FTW) take home salaries. During the training session, the mention of per-diem for staff from more developed countries who are seconded to less developed countries made me think about ways that can help alleviate some of pastors and FTWs financial worries. What comes out of my ruminations remains to be seen. Check this out and tell me what you think - note the date of publication and I was told nothing much has changed since then as far as pastors and FTWs' salaries are concerned. Click here for the pictures of the day: Mumbai - as I saw it from a bus. pearlie

TTT at Mumbai: Day 2
ORID and Hand Gestures

One of the other things we learnt about being a good presenter is to start with a good impact statement. What I can say of them are basically excellent introductions that are short and impactful, and that is one difficult thing to do! But if mastered, they are attention grabbers. This reminds me of what Joanna, my vocal teacher and friend, used to tell us - take care how you begin a song, if it is poorly begun, you would have lost your audience. We then moved from being good presenters to being good facilitators. We were given a few pointers to use when facilitating session, using the ORID model: Objective - what were the initial thoughts, what happened, just get the facts from the participants, etc. Reflective - how did you feel, what made you say that, what were the benefits, how can parallels be drawn, etc. Interpretive - what does all this mean, what conclusions can you draw, etc. Decisional - what decisions can we make, what is the action plan, etc. I was called up first

TTT at Mumbai: Day 1
4-Mat Learner's Model

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I did not expect much out of the training here in Mumbai. (By the way, TTT stands for Train-the-Trainer.) But what I went through today was quite spectacular. I have learnt how to be a presenter, albeit conciously or unconciously, almost all my life, since I grew up in the church environment. But what I learnt today about being a good presenter were really good learning and reminders. One the things I find quite brilliant is the 4-Mat learning model. It basically divides preferences of learners into 4 categories - the Why Learners , What Learners , How Learners and the What-if Learners . I see myself as a Why and a What Learner . My left side of the brain with the Attend and the right side with the Imagine - I think, since this picture here shows that there is more than what was being introduced during the training session. I believe that all quadrants are important. As much as I learn best in the why and what , I also need to know the how and what-if . But what I can gath

On the way to Mumbai

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I had nothing much to blog about today and I was reminded of this picture I found at Kansas Bob’s – brilliant! I was in fact on flight to Mumbai today and not being a traveler myself, I did not know how the inflight entertainment really worked and thought that the one show I got to was the only one I could watch - 21 . It was not a bad one and now that I checked TomatoMeter.com, it is a 2008 release, which scored 28% from Top Critics but 76% by the TomatoMeter community. I wonder again what the Top Critics were thinking about. Synopsis from imdb.com Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is a shy, brilliant M.I.T. student who needing to pay school tuition finds the answers in the cards. He is recruited to join a group of the schools most gifted students that heads to Vegas every weekend armed with fake identities and the know-how to turn the odds at blackjack in their favor. With unorthodox math professor and stats genius Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) leading the way, they've cracked the

A great day out

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I will be flying off to Mumbai, India tomorrow night for a 5-day Train-the-Trainer session. So what Calvin and I did today was to spend the day together - he skipped Boys Brigade (BB) and I brought him out for the day. For a start, we went to one of the places I go to when he is at BB - D'lish in Bangsar Shopping Village. Being a gastronomic enthusiast, he is always so sad that I get to go to "nice" places for food when he is at BB. He is now slightly happier. In the evening, we went to the park. It was a nice time together but soon the lingering migraine that started in the morning became almost full blown, but there was no stopping. I had to also go to the nearby mall to grab some medication and toiletries for the trip, get some cash exchanged into Indian rupees, borrow a travelling bag from my brother, and get some work completed before I head off. I am going to miss home and I have not even packed. pearlie Photos © 2008 Pearlie Ng

What is in my courtyard?

We finished John 2 today for bible study: the passage on Jesus' cleansing of the temple. What we learnt from this lesson is to always ask the condition of our "courtyards". Is it crowded with albeit necessary things but in the wrong places? It is so full of things that they have crowded out God? Have we made excuses to allow things in the "grey area" into our lives? Another lesson someone highlighted - are we bold enough to do the right thing when it is called for? Do we rebuke when we should? Do we stand up for the right when we should? This is very delicate - we think about the feelings of others, about being "tolerant" (whatever that means nowadays). Someone said we should not be too rigid. But someone else gave an example that some churches purposefully set their air-conditioner at full blast during service so that women who come dressed in spaghetti straps will either cover themselves with shawls or don a sweater or jacket. So where do we draw th

Death is sure to be. But after that?

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I have been thinking off and on about death lately. I am not sure if it is just me, but this year seem to have more deaths. My strands of thought are two: (1) Our conjecture about afterlife as God's people differ through the ages, from Sheol, to paradise, to cloudy heaven with angels and harps, to a renewed earth, to a new earth, to whatever next. What makes us think we are right? Does it matter? (2) Even though we are not sure but we are sure about a definite place. We are firm about the hope. We are definite about the eternal life. I always wonder about non-believers, how can one live without that hope? How do they live with the believe that life is just here on earth and all I am doing now is all there is? I find that so hopeless and meaningless it disturbs me tremendously. God offers life, we need to make a decision to receive it, and it is ours, but it is not without cost. Note: Picture was taken during a visit to Labuan last year. I have posted them before ... but looking

What? Book fast?
Meltdown!

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I am too depressed. I am going to the bookstore. I cannot guarantee that I will behave. pearlie Photo © 2008 Pearlie Ng Update: Meltdown! Alister McGrath (ed.), The Christian Theological Reader , (Blackwell, 2006) Book Description This bestselling volume is now available in a fully updated and expanded 3rd edition, bringing together 361 readings drawn from 233 different sources, and charting the 2,000 years of Christian history. Each reading illustrates a key doctrine, point of view, intellectual development, or theological landmark Exceptionally user-friendly: every reading is accompanied by its own introduction, commentary, and study questions Features increased coverage of Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and women writers, and includes important sources from patristic, medieval, reformation, and modern periods A new section provides a bird's-eye view of the historical development of Christian theology, allowing users to locate a reading against its historical context Additio