Posts

Showing posts from March, 2009

Whoever dies with the most toys wins

Someone shared a Casting Crown song with us during prayer meeting today, entitled “American Dream”. Odd though, since we are not Americans, but one line in the song I find most poignant: Whoever dies with the most toys wins. Isn’t it a starker but more contemporary and modern way to explain Matthew 6:19-21, “ Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ” We are in the pursuit of more and more, and more. This reminds me of what Esther just posted. In our wanting more and more, what have we done for the kingdom of God? “Whoever dies with the most toys wins.” Does this sound true to you personally in some way or the other? pearlie

Put off by the study of Scripture?

I was trying to read Matthew in one sitting today but I was not very serious about it. I read it in my cell phone, the KJV bible and fell asleep after being lulled by the king’s English! O forgive me, Lord. This section impressed on me though. Here it is, not in KJV but NASB: Matthew 4:23-25 Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people. The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. Jesus was very active in his ministry – he was teaching, evangelising and healing. I wonder if there is a progression of importance here – teaching, evangelising and healing. But whether or not there is a pro

Only preach hope

Rev Vincent Lau was our guest speaker today. He was with us this year for the 4th or 5th time already. But this round, he stayed back for quite a considerable length of time to chat with some of us. SH and I had the privilege of his attendance, and also his wife Jaycee. We spoke about a lot of things, but we soon found ourselves talking about preaching. I had commented that preaching is hard to do, that it is indeed a very pastoral thing. What he said in response I find very interesting but I am still mulling about it though. He said that he became a Christian at age 19, and began preaching when he was 21. When he started, he was preaching from life experience. But soon, he found himself in a seminary and from then on, he began to preach theology. He found that he “turned dry” in his preaching. There was no life. But after many years of doing it, he concluded on this one thing – that in preaching, the end of the message has to be hope. A preacher can, and in fact should, discipline a

Even when we suffer ...
it is not about us

Daniel 6:16-23 Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions' den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, "Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you." A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel. Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions' den. When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?" Then Daniel spoke to the king, "O king, live forever! "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' m

John 9:4-5

We began on John 9 today in bible study, a very interesting section on the Healing of the Man Born Blind. We read the entire chapter for context, and discussed it until verse 12. Verse 4 and 5 struck me: v.4 We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. * We = it is our work * must work = a command * works = there is much to do * of Him who sent Me = work that is of Christ, i.e. the Gospel * as long as it is day = while there is time * night is coming = there isn't much time left * no one can work = nothing you can do then v.5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world. There will be a time Christ will be the judge, but for now He is the light of the world, point others to Him, while there is still time. Time will soon run out and it will be too late and there is nothing we can do about it. We have work to do. pearlie

Brain Workout

My brain is a bit slow when I saw this brain teaser thingamajig in my google homepage today. I wanted to brush it off as my brain was cringing at the thought of a workout. But I hung on and before I knew it, I got it solved. Can you? It is quite brilliant. Each word from Group A can be paired with a different word from Group B, creating ten pairs. The pairings are all created using the same reasoning. What are the pairings? What is the link? Group A : come, dark, early, easy, in, left, slow, strikeout, tall, win Group B : eat, find, heavy, living, open, run, safe, soft, stop, wrong pearlie Source: http://www.braingle.com/

Proverbs in the NT

Someone sent me a proverbial saying. I checked for its meaning and realised that it is found in Matthew 7. Now I realised there are a whole lot of proverbs in the New Testament, aren't there? Where else other than in Matthew 7? pearlie

Results: The Malaysian Church Survey 2009

Image
Chee Ling joined me in the effort to collate more church data from our friends and acquaintances for use in our TEE assignment. The joint effort has paid off as we have further expanded the survey to cover 32 churches! It took about a month to get it all in – it included sending out many, many emails, printing hard copies that Chee Ling handed out, emails and calls to remind, more emails and calls to verify some of the data – it was hard work. A big thank you to those who have been so kind as to acquiesce to our request for information, your time and effort is much, much appreciated. I have reproduced the results here in PNG. Click to enlarge. I have been studying the results as I was collating the data. It is quite interesting. What can you conclude from the results; other than the fact that the larger the church the lesser the prayer meeting attendance and churches with a CG-format bible study has a higher bible study attendance? pearlie

A Thousand Words #95
Psalm 131

Image
Melissa sent me a blessing in the form of a psalm today. Thanks Melissa. Psalm 131 (NLT) A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. LORD, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don't concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother's milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD-- now and always. pearlie Photo (c) 2009 Melodi T

Memorising Scripture

Image
I find it hard to memorise Scripture. Most of the verses that I can recite now are the more “popular ones” and those I have committed to memory when I was a teenager. I wished I had memorised more then! The top few passages I can recite without any problems are John 1:1, 3:16, Phil 4:6-7 and Prov 3:5-6. I can most probably do Psalms 23 as well but not without some slight difficulty, and maybe Psalms 1 if I tried hard enough and squint my eyes to activate the brain juice a bit more. I need to do better. pearlie Photo (c) 2007 Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Ofio and Hammie

Image
Calvin had been urging us to get him a hamster for a pet for awhile now. SH and I aren't good with animals and we were more afraid for the animals than anything. But Calvin was persistent. So we asked him to do some research on hamsters and give us a report on it. And he wrote this: ________________________________ How to Care for Your Hamster by Calvin Tan Remember to choose the right hamster. Females are more aggressive than males. To care for your hamster you need to have a hamster wheel about 10” and a hamster ball as these are essential for your hamster’s exercise. You need a block of wood for it to chew on, preventing its teeth from getting long. Empty toilet paper rolls are also good. Hamsters like big cages. Make sure the cages are big and hard as the hamster can bite through them. A golden hamster will feel cramped in a 12” x 12” cage. Remember to clean the cages once a week. Keep the hamster’s cage in a high place if you have any cats as they might kill them. Remem

Challenging God

In our bible study today we continued with the rest of John 8, where the dialogue between the Jesus and the Jews climaxed to the point where Jesus revealed his divinity and the Jews began to stone Jesus. It is easy for us to berate the Jews but if we find ourselves in their shoes at that time, how would we have acted? Throughout the entire dialogue, we see Jesus welcoming their challenge. The more they challenged, the more Jesus revealed about the Father and his relationship with the Father. They challenged but they failed when they could not bear with the results of their challenges. In the same way, when we are confronted by the revelations of God, can we challenge it? And if we do, can we live up to the results of the challenge? pearlie

The book of Hebrews on faith

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for … And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him … These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect … Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. pearlie

A Thousand Words #94

Image
pearlie Photo (c) 2008 Andres Virviescas

Finally, it's www.pearliegates.com.

Finally. It is done and thanks to Bob who helped in resolving it, pearlie gates is now http://www.pearliegates.com/ . I have registered the URL address last year with a local vendor but could not get it to work. Countless tries and countless email communication with the vendor, including some requests for help with a friend's friend, but to no result. And so, I left it be. Thanks Bob! pearlie

Three Sermons

Been listening to several sermons today: The ABC of Godly living in an unholy world by David Monro Trials of Life by Stephen Um Trials by D.A. Carson pearlie

A Thousand Words #93

Image
pearlie Photo (c) 2008 gardnose

God is our Hope

Image
Psalm 31:24 Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD. Psalm 33:18-22 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness, To deliver their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You. Psalm 38:15 For I hope in You, O LORD; You will answer, O Lord my God. Psalm 39:7 And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You. Psalm 42:5 Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence. Psalm 62:5-6 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. Psalm 71:14 But as for me, I will hope continually, A nd will pra

Be warned

We did John 8:31 and following, in bible study today, and continued in our discussion on Jesus's dialogue with the Jews. Remember in 8:30, as Jesus was responding to the Jews in their questions and accusations, many came to believe in Him. But as the dialogue wore on, Jesus was soon telling them that because He spoke the truth, they do not believe in Him. Notice that in v.31, there is much more to do after believing in Him. One needs to hold on to his word, which will then make them real disciples. Are we doing the same? Abiding in His word (ESV), or continuing in His word (NASB), or holding on to His teaching (NIV), or remaining faithful to His teachings (NLT) is not to be taken lightly. Many a times we find ourselves explaining his teachings and commandments away. He calls us to love the unloved, and we reasoned ourselves out by admitting we are not capable, let the social workers do it. He calls us to pray faithfully, and we comfort ourselves that we have much more i

Hallelujah to the Lamb?

One of my friends said something yesterday that got me thinking, trying to figure it out, hard. It all started when some of us were talking about Don Moen's "Hallelujah to the Lamb" song. She quipped, "Oh! But that song is theologically incorrect. Don't sing it." "How so?" " 'Hallelujah' means 'Praise ye Yahweh' or 'Praise Yahweh, you people'. It makes no sense to ask people to praise God to the Lamb." I am still trying to figure it out. As much as she is right in the sense that the grammatical structure of the sentence does not work in the Hebrew sense of "Hallelujah", but I felt that it may not deserve a "theologically wrong" label. There are other songs that seriously deserve that label, no doubt about it, but not this song, I think. Reason being is because the "Hallelujah" expression is very much taken by Christians nowadays as an exclamation of praise, i.e, "Praise the L

Much thinking to do

These two things filled my mind: Reb's " Where is Malaysia Heading and What Must One Do " Daniel 6 pearlie

The path of trouble is the way home

Image
Spurgeon said in his March 10th evening meditation that, “The path of trouble is the way home.” This is a hard thing to swallow as I have been wishing life were easier, but who am I to complain. It will serve the Lord better if I were to channel my energy to helping the needy and praying for the mournful. O Lord, forgive me. pearlie Photo (c) 2009 Ron Jeffreys

Cheese Frenzy

Image
Calvin has this love for cheese it can get scary and well, expensive too! First, we were in Opus a few months ago ... ... and today in Alexis. pearlie

Rest

Rev Dr Chew spoke to us from Hebrews 4:1-13 today. With that I now realise how I have missed the context of Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. While we can read the verse and apply to our lives by knowing that God's word is indeed living and can cut through us exposing and teaching us, I admit I am surprise at its original context. Hebrews 4:1-11 talks about the Gospel that we have already received, making us the heir to the promise of entrance into God's rest. we are to be obedient in entering God's rest. Because through his word, he will speak to us - and the commandments that were once given to the Israelites on observing the Sabbath now confronts us with the same alternatives of rest and wrath (Lane, WBC, 2002). The focus of the passage is rest in God, not the Word of God. The lesso

A Fabulous Day Trip

Image
We looked forward to a great day today as we joined the Seniors Fellowship for a day trip up north to visit a hot spring, to savour a special lunch in Tanjung Tualang, visit a waterfall, and more food in Bidor. We woke up real early and headed to assemble in church for departure at 7 am. It was drizzling. We prayed and trusted in God that it will not rain today. It did not actually rain but it did drizzle on and off - to look into the bright side of it, it was a nice cool day with just a little sun. We did not expect such a luxurious bus! A double-decker to boot: the upper deck with rows of seats and the lower deck a den for playing games and chatting with one another. Here's to a great day! And off we go. The journey to Sungai Klah Hot Springs took us about 2 hours. Upon reaching, we paid for the entrance fee and immediately trudged on to the hot springs area, with Uncle Albert leading the way. There were 39 of us. Steaming hot! This is the hot spring pool. The highes

Ownership of a word?

Recently, the Malaysian government rescinded their decision for the use of the name " Allah " by Christian publications and reinstated the ban. Malaysia to restore 'Allah' ban for Christians By EILEEN NG, Associated Press Writer Eileen Ng, Associated Press Writer – Sun Mar 1, 4:19 am ET KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – The Malaysian government will issue a new decree restoring a ban on Christian publications using the word "Allah" to refer to God, officials said Sunday. Home Affairs Minister Syed Hamid Albar said a previous Feb. 16 decree that allowed Christian publications to use the word as long as they specified the material was not for Muslims was a mistake, the national Bernama news agency reported. The about-turn came after Islamic groups slammed the government and warned that even conditional use of the word by Christians would anger Muslims, who make up the country's majority. A senior ministry official confirmed Syed Hamid's comments, saying

A Thousand Words #92

Image
Oh, bummer ... pearlie Photo (c) 2008 Samuel Rosa

Be strong; fear not!

Isaiah 35:4-5 Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you." Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. pearlie

Survey: The Malaysian Church Scene (update)

I am going to publish the results here quite soon, albeit just 20 churches. But if you think you can help further by providing me with your information (I am going to limit it to Malaysian churches), please email me. The more data I have the more valid the survey results will be. Click here for the survey questions. A note of thanks here also to Doug , Susan and Milly , for providing me information as well. Thanks guys, but I hope you'll understand that since data is limited on the non-Malaysian front, I will not be including them in. Thank you! pearlie

Rejected!

I posted last Sunday about drum lessons - I only knew about it at the last minute and I suppose I did "crash" in for lessons. I was just told that they have places for only 4 students and I will have to wait the next round. I am okay about it; just that this will the second time that I am being "kicked out" of drum lessons. Many years ago, I actually had to apply via an application form for classes in a different church. I did - but received a rejection letter telling me that there was no place for me. I'm serious! No one came to talk to me, no one called me, just a letter, "there you go, you are not included". I was quite hurt then but now, nah, it's alright. I took it as God saying "no" because I seriously do not have time for anymore hobbies in my life! pearlie

Our Church's Reading Programme

Image
If you remember, I was asking for some book recommendations . We launched our church’s reading programme today and it was a great start! The book counter that we set up was busy, busy, busy and I thank the Lord for answering our prayers. The idea behind the reading programme is this: rather than having a static library that is only frequented, or rather “in-frequented” as it were, by 2 or 3 people, I thought up an idea to make the library more or less “mobile”, i.e. a number of books being read and circulated among church members. It involves the choosing of 4 books to read within the year, each to be finished in 2 months, with the first installment from April to May. After completing each book, you get hold of the other one you signed up for and pass on the one you’ve finished to next person in line. By the end of the year, if you have succeeded in the programme, you will be given your first book as a “you’ve done it!” award. We started well and I hope we will end it with a bang