Tuesday, March 31, 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?


Monday, March 30, 2009

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 progression, all three has to be done, and there is a lot of work to do, wherever we are: to teach, to evangelise and to heal. People need to know about the LORD, they need to be brought to believe in him and they need to be healed from their sickness, physical, spiritual or emotional.

But even if the importance begins with teaching, then evangelising and then healing, it would in practical start with healing, then evangelising and then completed with teaching. The passage above served as the precursor to Jesus' teaching in his Sermon on the Mount, that is, when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them. (Matthew 5:1-2).

There must be teaching; which in turn, brings me to something I just discovered.

There is this particular church that wanted to start some small groups, which was good. The church was growing in number and there is a need to connect the people with one another and smaller group meetings should be the way. However, the church has decided that it will be officially announced that the groups shall not be bible study groups, because they believe that if they are, it will “scare” the people away from attending the small groups. They will instead be sermon-based.

The result?: the attendance of the groups were in fact, pretty good.

I am not saying that there are no teaching in these groups, but what does it say about Christians and the church in our days? Afraid to study? Unwilling to spend time and effort in digging into the Word? Still too baby and so only milk is requested and only milk is given? And where is the root of it all, the church or the people? I sadly wonder.


p/s by the way, for those who were following my story on our hamsters, it turned out that we bought a pregnant hamster! We now have 8 babies in tow. For note, their birthdays were on 29th March 2009.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

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 and exhort, but in the end of it all, there must be hope.

I agree with him on the message of hope. As one worships in a faith community, one also yearns for life and yearns for God. And hope is the Lord’s to give and He will give hope. But I am not sure about not preaching theology.

To me, right theology should drive our lives, right theology should shape our talk and right theology should pace our walk. I would however, have to agree that if theology is all we are, with no compassion, no love, and no hope, we are nothing. After all … If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor 13:1)

Preaching is a message of love and a message of hope. And indeed Rev Vincent does preach hope in our church. We are usually left with a message that encourages us in our walk with our Lord. Yes, as a result of his messages, we do acknowledge our weaknesses and confess our sins, but we are then given a sense of hope in the Lord -- For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

I am so grateful to You, O Lord, that You are a God of love, and a God of hope. In our fleeting lives, that is all that we can hang on to. Amen.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

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' mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime." Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. Next to the Joseph narrative, this was one of my favourite passages in the Old Testament. As I was reading it today, I wondered how Daniel would have felt as he was thrown into the lion's den. The interesting thing was that in the entire narrative, nothing was mentioned about Daniel's experience or emotions in the den. The focus of the entire passage was on the king, how regretful he was in making that decree and how worried he was over Daniel, who was albeit commended for this trust in God. What then was the intent of the passage? I found in John Goldingay's commentary on Daniel (WBC, 2002) this structure of Daniel 6 that may shed some light: 1–3 introduction: Daniel’s success    4–10 Darius signs an injunction but Daniel takes his stand.       11–15 Daniel’s colleagues plan his death.          16–18 Darius hopes for his deliverance.          19–23 Darius witnesses his deliverance.       24 Daniel’s colleagues meet with their death.    25–27 Darius signs a decree and takes his stand. 28 conclusion: Daniel’s success (I have not been talking about chiasm for a long time now, and it is time I do!) From the structure, we see the crux in Darius hoping for deliverance and Darius witnessing the deliverance. As he said to Daniel, "Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you," he soon witnessed the amazing work of the power and grace of God. In a sense, we can see that regardless of how Daniel would have felt and experienced in the ordeal, the more important thing is that God's glory was revealed. It is not that Daniel was not important. He was and God delivered him because of his trust in Him but what is more crucial is the witness that Daniel carried for God. In the same way, in our own lives, we must be mindful of that when we suffer. It is not that we are not important, we are very precious in God's sight. But there is a bigger picture than our suffering. What is more crucial is the witness and testimony that we show forth to the people around us - that even when we are suffering, God is gracious and merciful to see us through. We must see to it that through us, His love and glory will be evident to all. We must realise that even when we are surrounded by hungry lions, it is not about us, it is about God. pearlie

Friday, March 27, 2009

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.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

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

Source: http://www.braingle.com/

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

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?


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Results: The Malaysian Church Survey 2009

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?


Monday, March 23, 2009

A Thousand Words #95
Psalm 131

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.

Photo (c) 2009 Melodi T

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Memorising Scripture

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.

Photo (c) 2007 Julia Freeman-Woolpert

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Ofio and Hammie

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. Remember to add tubes or other add-ons to the cage to make a hamster feel happy.

Hamsters like to sleep in shredded newspaper. Make sure you change the hamster’s food and water daily to make sure they don’t get ill. When you bring your new pet home, leave it there for 1-2 days to make it comfortable to its surroundings.

Hamsters like treats such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Peanut butter has a very strong smell and will attract hamsters from far. Hamsters also have a good sense of smell. Do not blow on to hamsters as they hate it and may bite you. Hamsters may also bite you if they feel angry or lonely. Hamsters are very playful and it is advised to get some toys for them.

So he got his hamsters today. He named them Ofio and Hammie.

Ofio is the one on the left, and Hammie is on the right. Ofio is the boy and Hammie the girl.

These rodents are hyper-active. We can't get them to calm down enough to get a better shot. This is the best shot so far of Hammie and we never got Ofio steady enough to take any shots.

Calvin is very happy.


Friday, March 20, 2009

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?


Thursday, March 19, 2009

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.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Finally, it's www.pearliegates.com.


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!


Saturday, March 14, 2009

God is our Hope

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 praise You yet more and more.

Psalm 130:5-6
I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait,
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.

Photo (c) 2007 Magda Zych

Friday, March 13, 2009

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 important things to do and that we pray on-the-go anyway.

As much as what John said in 6:60, "On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" he also said this is 8:43, "Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word."

So be warned.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

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 Lord!". In that sense, what Don Moen meant by "Hallelujah to the Lamb" could be "Praise the Lord, praise to the Lamb".

What do you think?

I am still not sure and I alarmingly found myself saying "Christian nowadays" two paragraphs ago. Am I conveniently explaining it away with the "oh, now we do it this way" approach? I had people explaining away theologically incorrect songs that I tried pointing out to them and I do not want to do the same without thinking it through more seriously.

I think I think too much, I think.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The path of trouble is the way home

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.

Photo (c) 2009 Ron Jeffreys

Monday, March 09, 2009

Cheese Frenzy

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.


Sunday, March 08, 2009


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 lesson is the fact that God had taken the time after the 6 days of creation to enjoy his work and we, the creatures of his creation, are to join him in that celebration, to celebrate life, to worship Him as the creator and to rest in his presence. It is not the legalistic, thou shall not work law but a putting aside of the stuff that constrain us everyday and spend the time with Him, in Him, for Him.


Saturday, March 07, 2009

A Fabulous Day Trip

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 highest temperature in this pool was about 43 degrees Celcius. It was so comfortable I could dip here for hours on end. Ahhhhh ...

This is the hottest spot set up for visitors for boiling eggs. The guide that took us here told us beforehand that we will be provided eggs. But he had the eggs all boiled and ready to eat while we are dipping in the other pool. What a bummer -- the fun of course is to do it ourselves! But I came prepared, with a steel wire basket with a handle, about 10 eggs, plastic bowls, spoons, soya sauce and pepper!

The sign says 1/4 boil, 2 min; 1/2 boil, 3 min; 3/4 boil, 4 min; hard boiled, 6-7 min. I had mine half boiled. It was the yummiest half boiled egg I have ever eaten in my life. The water was steeped in minerals and the eggs, I was told, would absorbed some of it, which gives it a saltish taste. The eggs were extremely hot to handle.

This pool just next to the egg boiling one had a temperature that ranges from 42 to 50 degrees Celcius. We dipped our feet in here and you'll see scores of people walking around with red feet! It was absolutely hot. I could not even dip my feet into certain hot spots.

After Sungai Klah, it took us a one-hour ride to get to our lunch spot. I was famished by then. But the wait was absolutely worth it.

We came here for the famous dai tou har - literally big headed prawns.

Let's dig in!

The journey was quite long and the place was quite far into the village. At first we were commenting that we will never come back here again on our own because it will be too much of a hassle. But after savouring the food, we are definitely coming back!

We were given some lotus pods. We break the pod, get the seeds, remove the skin covering the seeds and eat it. They were sweet and yummy!

I was roaming around the shops there. Anyone want some brushes to clean the floors at home?

The village: Tanjung Tualang.
The restaurant was the second from left.

Too busy shopping.

On our way to the waterfall, we passed by Kellie's Castle. We did not go in, but hung around for some pictures. It was a love story how the castle was built - read it here.

We were at another village as we were about to reach the waterfall.

We are finally going to this waterfall, which we now know its name: Lata Kinjang Waterfall. All these years, whenever we travel up north, we will see this scene from the highway, and finally we will see it for ourselves up close.

It was absolute gorgeous. We climbed quite high to come to this spot, and if you notice a suspension bridge in the picture, we made it there too and it was fun for me, to the panic and dismay of the others, when I started skipping and swaying as I went along the bridge!

Here's to a fabulous day out! (I must remind you that this trip was suppose to be for the senior folks but we younger and not-so-young had to make the effort to at least go further up to see the waterfall a little closer.)

By the time we got back to church, it was way past 9pm. We were all thoroughly exhausted ... but we thank God for a great day of sharing, bonding and having fun together.

Soli Deo Gloria.

Photo (c) 2009 Pearlie Ng

Friday, March 06, 2009

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 there were "interpretation mistakes" in the Feb. 16 decree that led to the confusion.

"'Allah' cannot be used for other religions except Islam because it might confuse Muslims. This is the ministry's stand and it hasn't changed," the official, who declined to be named citing protocol, told The Associated Press.

The official said the ministry was likely to issue a new decree to annul the old one and effectively re-impose the ban.

The dispute has become symbolic of increasing religious tensions in Malaysia, where 60 percent of the 27 million people are Muslim Malays. A third of the population is ethnic Chinese and Indian, and many of them practice Christianity.

Malaysia's minorities have often complained that their constitutional right to practice their religions freely has come under threat from the Malay Muslim-dominated government. They cite destruction of Hindu temples and conversion disputes as examples. The government denies any discrimination.

The Herald, the Roman Catholic Church's main newspaper in the country, had filed a legal suit to challenge the government ban on non-Muslims using the word.

The Herald argued that the Arabic word is a common reference for God that predates Islam and has been used for centuries as a translation in Malay.

Rev. Lawrence Andrew, the editor of the Herald, said Sunday the publication had not been notified of the government's change in policy.

"Unfortunately the apparent relief that we imagined we were able to enjoy has been short-lived," he said.

Allah. Dieu. El. Eli. Elohim. God. Gott.Shen. Theos.  Can anyone claim sole ownership to a word? Or even a name? What about the name Yahweh?

Some may not think it matters. But think about it, what if you have always called your God, "God" and suddenly you can't anymore?  What are you going to do? What if you have always been importing bibles with the use of "God" but you can't anymore?

Back in mid 2008, when the issue was first brought up, the Sikhs also use the word "Allah" on "numerous occasions" in the Sikh holy book, Guru Granth Sahib. They joined the legal battle with the Christians over the ban of the word.  But there is no news now with regards to their use of the word.  Is the ban only resinstated for Christian publications?


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

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.


Tuesday, March 03, 2009

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!


Monday, March 02, 2009


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!


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Our Church's Reading Programme

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 as well!