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Showing posts from February, 2009

No Books? Mana boleh?*

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I was commenting in Kar Yong's blog in his post, Books...books...books... , that in my case it will be "no books...no books...no books". Well, talk about speaking too soon. I was in Pustaka SUFES this morning to pick up some books for the church library. I went there gritting my teeth as I enter the bookstore that I won't get any books for myself. I did not grit hard enough. The only consolation -- or not -- is that I came away with two not-so-Kar-Yong-serious books. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth Prayers of Walter Brueggemann I bought it because I was captivated by his poetrical prayers, like this one: Retext us. We confess you to be text-maker, text-giver, text-worker, and we find ourselves addressed by your giving, making, working. So now we bid you, re-text us by your spirit. (for copyright purpose, I will not reproduce the entire prayer here.) The second book? Well, it is kind of a secret I cannot disclose here. And if you are one who can't live witho

The Jesus-Jews Dialogue (John 8:12ff)

We discussed in our bible study group today John 8:12 and following. We read the passage till the end but managed to discuss it only until v.30. We find it amazing that the conversation between Jesus and the Jews started well, many believed in him but as the dialogue wore on, the more Jesus told them about himself, the more disbelieving they became and finally the dialogue closed with the Jews picking up stones to throw at him. Has it happened to us before? Or has it happened to our friends or family, particularly those who were born in the faith? As we know more and more about God, more about who He is and what He requires of us, does it drive us away or does it pull us closer and closer to God in worship and obedience? Or do we in fact, stay where we are, in apathy? pearlie

Survey: the Church Scene

I am in the process of running a simple survey on churches’ practice and participation in the basic elements of Christianity: the Lord’s Supper, prayer meeting, bible study and the usage of hymns and hymnals. I have so far collated data for 17 churches in Malaysia. Would you be able to help as well by answering the following questions? You can send the information to ngpearlie at yahoo dot com. 1) Tradition: (Methodist, Pentescostal, Presbyterian, Anglican, etc) 2) Church: (will not be disclosed; required to prevent multiple counting) 3) Average total number of people attending Sunday service(s): If you have more than one service, please provide the total average, i.e. add up all the average number of worshippers of all services, regardless of language of the services. 4) When is Lord's Supper held: 5) Number of prayer meetings held in a week: 6) Attendance of all the prayer meetings added up together: 7) Number of adult bible study sessions held in a week: 8) Attendanc

Movie: Quiz Show

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I was down and out today and spent almost the entire day asleep at home, but I managed to catch this interesting movie on the TV: Quiz Show (1994). It is a reenactment of television quiz show scandals of the 1950s, where the quizzes were rigged. The fallout guy was a college professor, Charles Van Doren, whose career was devastated as a result. He was slowly drawn into the hole little by little and was soon given the answers to the questions. He began justifying his actions, and before he knows it, it was too late to back out. It made me wonder how would I behave had I been in the same situation? And how many times have I justified and rationalised my wrongdoings? pearlie

The joy of the Lord is your strength

Melissa sent me an mp3 lecture on "Liturgy, Worship and the Ordering of Affections" by Gordon T. Smith . I like his tone of lecture as well as the form and style of language but more than that, he spoke about something that I find close to my heart at the moment - the joy of doing anything at all. He said joy is the tonality of Christianity. He quoted Alexander Schmemman, "I think God will forgive everthing except lack of joy." He believes that, "Spiritual formation must necessarily include the ordering of the deep loves, desires and longings of the Christian." I find lately that I am been in circumstances where negative emotions were rife wherever I was. There is such a great need for us to order our emotions and desires to serve the Lord in whatever we do -- be it in the church or in our vocation, in the study of Scripture or the practice of the disciplines -- to do it all with joy in the Lord. Our faces and our eyes mirror our state of emotion in al

I am going bonkers

I am really going bonkers. I am working on a paper on Methodism, on the topic of Entire Sanctification. I am okay with the discussion of the doctrine as well as Wesley's methods in promoting it, i.e through prayer, searching of Scripture and observing the Lord's supper. But what about "their relevance and practicality in any attempt to revitalise the life of the Church today"? How should I answer it without sounding "duh!" as in, we have to prayer more, read the Scripture more and observe the Lord's Supper more. Help! pearlie

Gone in Three Generations

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Isn't this amazing! Addison was giving us some quick lessons on the drums in church this afternoon when Aunt Rowena stepped up and without any hesitation, took the drum sticks and had her turn. She is 78. And with that, it brings back to me Rev Vincent Lau's sermon this morning - there would be three generations between Addison and Aunt Rowena. Rev Lau's admonishment to us this morning was to pass on the legacy of our commitment to God down the future generations, in the faithful teaching of the Word, in living out our lives in testimony of our faith in God and in strengthening our commitment to the Lord in our very own lives. We are to guard the Gospel, to be ready for spiritual warfare that is there whether we like or not and not to be complacent, apathetic or lazy, all ready to settle down in comfort while there is still so much to do in nurturing and discipling. Let us not be like the Israelites in Judges 2:6-12: When Joshua dismissed the people, the people of Is

Calvin's Birthday Party

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Calvin celebrated his birthday with his friends and cousins today. (Back L-R) Ryan, Sean, Julian, Gaston, Benjamin (Front L-R) Chloe, Rachel, Chloe, Calvin, Marc, Brian, Amanda It was a Gadgeteer Party and I baked him a Nintendo DS Cake - some of the kids that came earlier helped decorate it. That was suppose to be Roadcrosser - Calvin's penguin in Club Penguin. Happy Birthday! He was then suppose to cut the cake, right? No, he stabbed his penguin. Ahhhhhh!!! Playtime! We all had fun but this mommy is extremely exhausted! pearlie Photos (c) 2009 Pearlie Ng

Happy 11th Birthday!

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It is Calvin's birthday today! Doesn't he look happy. His father was occupied and so I brought him for a special dinner - his all-time favourite: escargots. This round, baked in mozzarella cheese, which was absolutely yummy. Here he was waiting for dinner to be served, playing with his birthday present, a Nintendo DS Lite. We will be having a party tomorrow to celebrate his birthday with his close friends and cousins. He is happy. pearlie

Prayer

Prayer makes the darken'd cloud withdraw; Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw; Gives exercise to faith and love; Brings every blessing from above. ~ C.H. Spurgeon pearlie

A Thousand Words #91

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pearlie Photo (c) 2008 Benjamin Earwicker

Have I been murmuring against the LORD?

I realised I have been murmuring and complaining and grumbling. I need to stop that live this life that God placed me in. O God have mercy on me. Numbers 13:25-14:45 (ESV) At the end of forty days they returned from spying out the land. And they came to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the people of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh. They brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, "We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. However, the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. And besides, we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the Negeb. The Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the hill country. And the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and along the Jordan." But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "Let us go up at once an

Obituary

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My second uncle passed away on Saturday, the wake service was held yesterday night and the funeral service this morning. He was 97. He was a faithful believer in the Lord, honouring the Lord in all that he did, including the keeping of his "Sabbath" holy. Before he retired, he ran a business selling noodles. He used to open 7 days a week but was soon convicted that he should keep Sunday a rest day to honour the Lord, regardless of how much business he'd have to forgo being closed on busy Sundays. He honoured God and God is with him. pearlie Photo (c) 2009 Pearlie Ng

A Prayer from Psalm 139

It has been a long week for me but the good Lord has spoken to me through Psalm 139. He has indeed hem me in, behind and before, and lay His hand upon me . I respond to Him with these few last verse of the psalm. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Amen. pearlie

A Sikh Wedding

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I attended a colleague's wedding wedding today - a Sikh wedding. It was the most colourful event I have ever been to. Getting the groom ready. We were served breakfast. Hear ye, hear ye. Here comes the bride. The bride being led in by her brother. The bride and her proud mom, or was it her sister? The seating in the Sikh temple was segregated into the women and the men, which became a photographer's delight. Just look at the colours! The group of women seated around me were so elegant and beautiful. I was snapping away much to their and my delight. And this is my most favourite shot of the lot! At the end of the wedding ceremony, blessings were given out when I caught this shot. I was packing up my gears by the time lunch was served, but not until I get a shot of this girl seated just across me. pearlie Photos (c) 2009 Pearlie Ng

What a day!
And it is not over yet

Today is one of the most interesting day of my life - eventful but tiring, and it is not even over yet, as I will soon be preparing to dress up in a saree and head off to my colleague's wedding dinner and party. First, the things that went wrong.  It started this morning when I got stuck in a traffic jam at 8.30am on my way to work and it was a literal standstill.  I soon found out that the Le Tour De Langkawi cycling competition was to flag off at a place very near my office at 9am.  The roads were therefore closed and not being informed about it, we were all stuck.  When I got to the office finally at almost 11.00am, I realised that in the hush and hurry of the morning, I left my season parking ticket at home, and so I had to park in a paid area.  Then we were off to a client's place for a meeting, which was two hour's away only to find out that we missed the meeting because it was brought forward to the morning without our knowledge. It was frustrating. Now the interes

A doubting session

I had a doubting session today that I had to come face to face with God. And what came to mind was God counting Abraham’s faith as righteousness. (I have reproduced the passage here from ESV, with the all the verse-numbers removed – see if you find it a better read.) Genesis 15 (ESV) After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?" And Abram said, "Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir." And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: "This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."

In a different culture

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I had some time to spare today before Grace Notes rehearsal at 7.30pm and so I thought I'd pay a visit to a saree store. My colleague will be getting married this weekend and it would be nice and different, for me, to turn up in a saree, except that I do not have one nor have I worn one before. So off to the store I went and I had such a great time, albeit alone. The store was full of saree cloths for sale as well as ready made Indian and Punjabi suits. I walked back and forth the shop many times looking at the various designs. The storekeeper brought out so many for me to view that if I did not stop him, he could have brought down the entire store. I finally settled on this one. I love the colour combination of light green and navy blue, and especially the flower and scroll design. We live in a multi-faceted country with various beliefs and customs that it is a challenge I find sometimes to live a faithful Christian life whilst still maintaining good relations with friends of

Paul Washer on Prayer

I was at Faith by Hearing and downloaded Paul Washer's sermon on Prayer . According to Todd from Faith by Hearing, "Paul Washer’s message on prayer is one of the best, and most convicting and re-orienting, that I’ve ever heard." I have been searching about what I deem the mystery of prayer for awhile now and I looked forward to hearing what Washer has to say. Todd further commented that, "One always comes to the question, 'Why did Jesus pray if he was God?' The answer we usually get is that Jesus needed to pray because he needed to depend upon God in his humanity, and because he had so much to accomplish. Rubbish, according to Washer. Jesus prayed because he loved to be in communion with God the Father. Need didn’t drive him to prayer, love did. We are commanded to the same love, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart…' " This was enough to get me interested. But upon hearing Washer, I am not so sure now - I have many questions, as usua

Faithfulness

Rev Dr Chew spoke in our church yesterday from Hebrews 3:1-19 on Christ’s faithfulness and our faithfulness. He placed the passage into context as follows: Heb 1:1-14 The Deity of Christ – God’s self revelation prophesied in the past now revealed in Jesus Heb 2:1-4 First warning to be faithful to Christ as the Son of God Heb 2:5-18 The Humanity and Suffering of Jesus – God’s High Priest atoning for us Heb 3:1-19 Second warning to be faithful to Christ as the Suffering Son of God Faithfulness is rather cheap these days. One can change his faithfulness and loyalty quite easily as long as the price is right. We need to guard our hearts against unfaithfulness. We need to be faithful Christians, carrying the following marks that exuberate from the inside to the outside: 1. Live joyfully in Christ – celebrating life by faith through faithful worship 2. Pursue diligently intimacy with Christ – living life by grace through the faithful study of Scripture 3. Witness Christ obedient

Growing in abundance!

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I posted on 18 August 08 that I bought an aloe vera plant. I don't have a green thumb but I wanted to try growing it anyway. I took this picture when we first got it. Look at it now! Had I not taken the pictures, I wouldnt' have realised how much it has grown. In comparison to our relationship with God, I wonder how can we measure how much we have grown? pearlie

Zeitgeist #2

I would like to take this time to take a snapshot of my bloggerland's zeitgeist - the interesting, the moving and one utterly frustrating. Potential Knows No Boundaries First and foremost, DugALug is back with a post 2 years after his last annoucement of sabbatical on Feb 14, 2007. He shares his wife's article which was written for a book titled "Children Have Strokes Too!". It is a story about their daughter, Elizabeth whose potential truly knows no boundaries. The Four Kataks in the Silver State This is the frustrating one - Reb posted about the current political turmoil in our country. One of our Malaysian state had its rug pulled out from under them, where four assemblymen from the Perakian government defected to Barisan Nasional and tipped the balance of power. The sultan of the state has, in the people's opinion unwisely decided for transfer of power rather than calling for snap elections. The Sunday School Answer is Still the Best One BK 's po

Theological Candyland

You might have noticed I have just added a list on the right panel - Theological Candyland - a term I borrowed from Faith by Hearing , where I have been updating my collection of audio mp3s. I am currently listening to Gordon D. Fee's Reading and Studying the Bible for Life . There are just so much resources out there - we just need to know where to find the good ones. I have listed several sites that provide excellent resources in expository preaching, sermons and theology & biblical studies. Hope you will find gems as well and make full use of them to strengthen your foundation and relationship with the LORD. Blessings! pearlie

Afflicted but not crushed

I picked up 2 Cor 4 as my reading this morning. This passage is popular, particularly with verses like “ we are afflicted … but not crushed … struck down but not destroyed ” and “ so we do not lose heart, though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day ”. But as I sentence-diagram it, in my own minimal standards of diagramming anyway, I saw a more complete message: the reason for Christian affliction is the ministry of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In not compartmentalising our lives, and in line with what Wesley taught, that we are fully and wholly a Christian, there is no one who is “almost a Christian”, we live our lives in all that we do, for the sake of Christ. In all that we do, we live to show and tell His word and His truth to the people around us. We need to live our lives right in Christ. As such, our lives will cause us great strife. It will be like we are being given over to death (v.11). I summarise the chapter as follows: v.1 We

I have gone bonkers

I should have known what I am getting myself into when I bought the DSLR but I am having fun learning the more technical stuff as well. Actually I wouldn’t have minded just taking shots without digging into it and get it somehow through trial and error. But it would be hard to follow a conversation if I find myself in the midst of photography aficionados, which I did. So I got down to it and started reading. And what do you know, I learnt quite a bit. I got a better idea what an aperture is and for the first time understood why is there a reverse ratio. I found out what APS-Cs are in comparison with full frame digital SLRs. I figured out the connection between focal length and crop factor or the focal length multiplier. But what really appealed to me was the topic of composition: stuff like the Rule of Thirds, the Rules of Odds, the Rule of Space and the Golden Ratio. Had I time travel back a few years ago and read what I have just written, I would have thought I have gone bonker

Cast your burden on the LORD
and he will sustain you ...

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... he will never permit the righteous to be moved. I have already broken my so-called resolution to read/study the minor prophets every day. I should have stuck to my guns like I had all these years and not made any. But I am trying to read a psalm a day. The psalm that accompanied me today was Psalm 55. Psalm 55 (ESV) To the Choirmasters: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David. 1 Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy! 2 Attend to me, and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and I moan, 3 because of the noise of the enemy, because of the oppression of the wicked. For they drop trouble upon me, and in anger they bear a grudge against me. 4 My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5 Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. 6 And I say, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; 7 yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness

The mind in the day and the mind in the night

I seem to think differently in the night and in the day. Most of the times, I overturn in the day the decisions I made during long sleepless nights. pearlie

A cryptic psalm

I wanted to read a psalm today and the number 39 just popped into my head. I played along and I read it but ended up puzzled. Psalm 39 was one of the most cryptic psalm I have read and reading it again and again trying to make some sense out of it did not help. Isn't it quite like life we have here? Try as we might to make some sense out of the madness we are in, we ended up even more perplexed. Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight; Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah. ~ Psalm 39:5 Turn Your gaze away from me, that I may smile again Before I depart and am no more. ~ Psalm 39:13 pearlie