Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Control, change or get out

There will be instances in your life where an adult throws a 2-year-old worthy of a temper tantrum. You will never see where it came from and you would not know how to react.

The advise given if you are not in a governing position is to just leave him be. For me, in recognising that it happens to certain individuals, I will deliberately choose to walk away.

But if I am in a governing position, I will definitely take the advice given here.
Control, change or get out.

Photo: Dave Dyet, 2004

Monday, April 28, 2014

Celebrity Types

Click to enlarge (source: The Washington Post)

I was doing some research on MBTI case studies and found this very interesting celebrity types disc. I was trying to figure out my new colleagues' types and the descriptions, though short, are absolutely accurate and candid.

And I really like the description of the differences between the dichotomies, especially between J and P. I shall use these from now on:

To increase energy, those who...
- turn to others are an E (Extroversion)
- turn inward are an I (Introversion)

Those who take in information in a...
- creative way are an N (Intuition)
- pragmatic way are an S (Sensing)

When making decisions, those who...
- seek harmony are an F (Feeling)
- seek objective truth are a T (Thinking)

Those who prefer to...
- get closure and act are a J (Judging)
- stay open and adapt are a P (Perceiving)


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Built for God's Glory

We had a church building dedication today and Pastor Marvin's sermon was on 1 Chronicles 22, entitled Built for God's Glory.

What I remember from the sermon are (now, I had better get back into the habit of taking sermon notes!) these three points:

(1) Every building has a purpose
The construction of a building always comes with a purpose. The temple of Jerusalem built by King Solomon was obviously for God's glory, to be used by the people to worship God. So must the buildings that we have now.

(2) God is the sole benefactor
Even though a building is made possible by many hands, it is God who makes it possible. Even though Solomon built the temple, it was David who came up with the plans and the materials, and ultimately it was God who directs it. We have had so many blessings pouring in from so many people - in time, labour and resources - but only God made it possible.

(3) Constructing only during peace time
God did not allow David to build the temple. David's time was the time of blood and war. The building of the temple has to be in time of peace. And this I found interesting: Solomon comes from the Hebrew name שְׁלֹמֹה (Shelomoh), which is derived from the Hebrew word שָׁלוֹם (shalom) that means "peace". We have had conflicts and problems before but now in a time of peace, God has blessed us with a new building.

And for that we praise God. To him alone be the glory. Amen.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Kobo vs. Marvin

I have been posting reviews on Kobo vs. Kindle, but in actual fact, both handle different kinds of ebook formats, epub and mobi respectively. Ergo, might not be too useful of a comparison.

My ebooks are usually in epub format and Kobo is really getting on my nerves. The most important thing in an ebook reader is its performance, not the frills, which Kobo thrives in. But when it comes to performance, it has deteriorated.

Sometimes the page doesn't turn and the app appears to have crashed. I will need to restart the app. Sometimes when I finish a chapter and want to move on to the next, it goes backward one chapter instead. All this disrupt the reading flow. Moreover, when I select text either to have it defined, to add notes or to email it as a quote, I usually have to wait at least 5 seconds before I can do anything.

This won't do - the reading experience is very important and Kobo does not cut it anymore. So I went looking for a substitute and found Marvin.

If I can be in love with an app, this is it. It is absolutely gorgeous, and I can have so many format options with the iPad app, including selecting a two-column portrait format. This makes reading in a bigger screen much, much easier.

It can also email selection of text to my Evernote account. The other beauty of it is that I can synchronise the books I am reading between my iPhone and iPad via my Dropbox account.

There are many more other features I am looking forward to discovering. I now need to find a way to read Kobo-bought books in Marvin. Here's a great review of the app.

The only weird thing for me about this app though is that it has the same name as my current pastor, and I read almost everyday. He is thus being thought of everyday.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Toxic People

I find it very difficult to be in the presence of toxic people. And since the way I deal with things sometimes is to intellectualise it, I checked out quotations about them, but I find the quotes not very kind.

These are the better sounding ones (source:

People appear like angels until you hear them speak. You must not rush to judge people by the colour of their cloaks, but by the content of their words.
~ Israelmore Ayivor

Someone who smiles too much with you can sometimes frown too much with you at your back.
~ Michael Bassey Johnson

The biggest distraction in life to one's focus is often near locus standing people saying all hocus-pocus.
~ Anuj Somany

I try my best to keep an arm's length with toxic people, and whenever I can, to walk out of the room, trying hard not to roll my eyes. But that is when they are bitching about other people and I happen to be in the periphery.

When I am in the thick of it however, it will be extremely hard to manage and it will definitely stress me out, especially when I cannot "leave".

I am more in the "periphery" sense of it now. And I did managed to extricate myself from a toxic relationship some years back.

So I suppose I need to be thankful it is now the former and not the latter. Only that I really need to stop rolling my eyes.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mieng Kham

We decided to go for Thai food today for lunch and my lunch mates ordered something that is entirely new to me - mieng kham.

Checking it up in Wikipedia, mieng kham can be interpreted as meaning "eating many things in one bite". This is from miang means "food wrapped in leaves" and kham means "a bite".

The dish was served with roasted coconut shavings, ginger, shallots, bird's eye chilli, lime with its peel (which was surprising for me), dried shrimps and roasted peanuts, topped with a yummy sweet sauce, all wrapped in a betel leave.

I first tried it without the bird's eye chilli, thinking I may not be able to withstand it. But I gathered up some courage and tried it with, it tastes really, really good. Which I found surprising, since it did not look so appetizing on first look.

But I think I am hooked.

Photo: Pearlie Ng, 2014

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A sucker for fonts

I am a sucker for fonts and I once collected over a thousand different kinds.

We know that Microsoft replaced its Times New Roman default font to Calibri in its Office 2007 for Word. The same with the default Arial in PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook and WordPad. Since the change, I am not sure if I like it - sometimes I do, sometime I don't.

I was working on a document form at work today and it began to irk me. It just does not look right.

Over the years, in the organisations I have worked in, the official fonts for serif and san-serif were usually Times New Roman and Arial respectively. I don't mind Times New Roman but began to hate Arial. It looks too plain and crass.

So if I compare between the more usual available fonts - so that documents sent out to the others will look the same as I prepared them - which will I use?
Arial: The fox jumps over the lazy dog
Calibri: The fox jumps over the lazy dog
Verdana: The fox jumps over the lazy dog
Tahoma: The fox jumps over the lazy dog
Georgia: The fox jumps over the lazy dog
Cambria: The fox jumps over the lazy dog
Times New Roman: The fox jumps over the lazy dog
I prefer serif over san-serif anytime and my all-time favourite font is Georgia. The new Microsoft serif font Cambria isn't too bad either.

But instances where I need to use a san-serif font, I'll just stick to the default, i.e. Calibri. And looking at the ones above, there isn't much of a choice.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Ci sin zi zyu - a crazy spider

I have been introduced to, a language learning community social website, by Ee-Tan, a friend who is an avid Italian language learner.

I am thinking it might be more successful learning Mandarin in a social network. I have just started and I'd have to see if it can be sustainable for me. Most of my attempts using various tools have not had much lasting power on me.

I also came across this interesting bit in CNN today:
Try saying "ci sin zi zyu di zi zyu si ci zyu zi syu zi." The Cantonese tongue twister means "a crazy spider's spider web sticks on a tree branch." The four zi in the sentence all share the same tone but have two different meanings.
Took me awhile to figure it out, tone wise, (since the romanized words are not entirely accurate) and now I can actually say it quite quickly.

My first ever Chinese, or most precisely Cantonese, tongue twister.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

One of the best apologetics sermon on the resurrection of Christ

We had one of the best apologetics sermon I've ever heard on the resurrection of Christ by Pastor Marvin Wong. Here is the mp3 link.

But if I were to name one, two things...from the sermon today, they are:

(1) Pastor Marvin said that every sermon in the book of Acts is about the resurrection of Jesus. I shall take his word for it, and will take notice from now on as I read the book of Acts.

(2) The resurrection is the linchpin to the gospel of salvation. In the same way a prisoner who has not been released is one who has not fully paid his price of his crime, a Jesus who has not risen, a Jesus who is still dead, will not have fully paid for the price of sin of humankind, for the wages of sin is death. But the good news of Easter is that He is risen! He is risen indeed! The price of sin is fully paid in Christ Jesus and through Him and in Him, we can have life, and life to the fullest.

My friend Heng Yew made this floral arrangement in his church, "to the letter" of the gospel - we have the good news of the empty tomb. We proclaim a risen Saviour.

Happy Easter everyone! May you also believe in the empty tomb and the risen Lord and have life to the everlasting. Amen.

Photo: Liew Heng Yew, 2014

Saturday, April 19, 2014

It is finished!

Jesus' "τετέλεσται" (tetelestai), "it is finished!" (John 19:30) was the meditation of our Good Friday service yesterday.

I had song practice this morning for Easter tomorrow. During the opening prayer of the practice session, I thought I heard the person praying "it was finished" referring to the finished work of Christ. I may have misheard it but it has again reminded me of the Greek word I learnt some years ago, were the tense is of utmost importance, in that we say "It is finished" and not otherwise.

I shall quote from William D. Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek, Zondervan, 1993, p.218:

It is often the very first and the very last thing we say that is the most important, or the statement that is the most memorable. First impressions and last impressions are the lasting impressions. The same is true for Jesus. The first statement we hear him say is that he should be in his Father's house (Luke 2:49). Even at the age of twelve, he was aware of his divine lineage.

And as he hung on the cross, having lived a sinless life, having paid the penalty for your sins and mine, Jesus uttered his last words before dying. Tετέλεσται. "It is finished" (John 19:30). This one word summary of Jesus' life and death is perhaps the single most important statement in all of Scripture. The word means "to complete," "to bring to perfection." Jesus has fully done the work God the Father sent him to do. Paul spends Romans 5 discussing this very fact, that our salvation is sure because Christ's death totally defeated the effects of Adam's sin, completely.

But the tense of the verb, the "perfect" tense, bring out even more of what Jesus was saying. The [Greek] perfect describes an action that was fully completed and has present-day consequences. Jesus could have used the aorist, ἐτέλησεν [etelesen], and simply said, "The work is done." But there is more, there is hope for you and for me. Because Jesus fully completed his task, the ongoing effects are that you and I are offered the free gift of salvation so that we can be with him forever. Praise the Lord. Tετέλεσται. (Emphasis mine.)


Friday, April 18, 2014

Our First Passover Meal

Our CG leader and host, Chor Hon and May Foong, invited us to their home this evening for a Passover or Seder meal, on Good Friday today. For most of us, including the host, it is our first.

The table is prepared.

Our meal is simple. Since it is difficult for us to replicate it exactly, our host did a great job in preparing it as close as they can. We had unleavened bread in the form of biscuits, raw parsley in salted water, fruit and nut mix, roasted lamb and hard boiled eggs.

We had the privilege to share this special wine in the meal: Cana, Wedding Wine of the Holy Land.

We take our seats. We perform a reading of the Passover meal and Scripture passages, and partake the meal together.

May Foong lights the candles and prays:
Blessed art thou, O Lord God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments and hast commanded us to kindle the festival lights. Blessed art Thou, O Lord God, King of the universe, who hast kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this season. May our home be consecrated O God, by the light of Thy countenance shining upon us in the blessing and bringing us peace.

Chor Hon introduced the meal:
What is the passover meal?
A Jewish celebration of freedom from the oppression of slavery in Egypt. The story of escape from bondage.
The Good Friday celebration: a Christian celebration. Remember we were captive to death from sin, an eternal separation and condemnation from God. Yet we have been set free by the precious blood of Jesus.
At the ancient Passover meal, the son asked the father four traditional questions about the Passover. It is to carry on a discussion about the symbolic foods.
In more recent times the same four questions have been asked at the
Seder. The questions we ask tonight are similar but have been adapted to bring to mind the relationships between the Old and the New Testament.

Alvin: Let us eat this unleavened bread.
Matthew: Why are we eating unleavened bread?
Alvin: Leaven which represents yeast symbolizes the sin in us. This sin makes us puffed up inside and turn us away from God. Take the "s" and "n" . See the big "I"? We need to be rid of the sin inside us.

Cheng Han: Observe the holes in this bread.
Tim: Why are there holes in the bread?
Cheng Han: These holes symbolizes the thorns that pierced Christ's brow and the nails that pierced His Hands. It was for us He did it. Jesus is the Bread of Life and as we partake of His Bread, He will abide together with us.

Pearlie: Let us eat this parsley dipped in salt water.
Jun Ming: Why are we eating this parsley in salt?
Pearlie: Like the bitterness of the Israelites' life under cruel slavery in Egypt, we remember the bitterness of our lives under the ugly bondage to sin. We remember how we cry because life is bitter without a relationship with God.

Miranda: Let us eat this sweet sticky raisin nut mix, the Horoseth.
Rachel: Why are we eating this sweet pleasant dessert?
Miranda: Life is bitter sweet; the smell and pleasant taste of the Horoseth impresses upon us that, no matter how bitter and dark the present appears, we should hopefully look forward to better days. Now we have hope. Now we wipe away our tears, for we have new life in Christ.

Ee-Tan: Let us eat this lamb.
Kaylene: Why are we eating this lamb?
Ee-Tan: On the Passover night in Egypt, death was forced to pass over the door posts of the houses who were marked with the blood of lambs . The sons of Isrealites were spared but the Egyptian sons died.
As Jesus hung on the cross, His blood has forced God's judgement to pass over us. Jesus Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, was killed and His death was a sacrifice to pay for the punishment for our sins . For without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.

Peih Venh: Let us eat this boiled egg.
Carolyn: Why are we eating this egg?
Peih Venh: The egg, a symbol of mourning (as eggs are the first thing served to mourners after a funeral), the Jews mourn over the destruction of the Temple. Yet through Jesus, a new temple is in each of our hearts instead to worship God.

Chor Hon: Let us drink this cup of wine.
Matthew: Why are we drinking this cup of wine?
Chor Hon: So that we remember three things:
a) This is the cup of the new covenant. "This is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day," says the LORD. "I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people" (Jer 31:33).
b) It is the cup of praise: we praise God here on earth and we look forward to drink this together in Heaven.
c) It is the cup to remind us that others are looking for the Saviour. We need to share this cup with those who thirst for the living waters of Christ but have not found it yet.

May Foong: Why are we reclining and drinking?
Richard: Tonight we remember that we are no longer slaves, but children of the very King of Kings. Freemen, royalty, reclined while eating. So, as Jesus who reclined at the Last Supper, we too lean back this night, for we are free to come before God who is upon the Throne.

We close with a reading together of Psalm 118.

Fellowshipping in the Seder meal - it was a truly blessed time of sharing the grace and goodness of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ His Son with the presence of the Holy Spirit. We remembered the work of Christ through the partaking of foods and meeting together as the body of Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. (2 Cor 1:3-5)

Photos: Pearlie Ng, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Gallup Five Strengths

I took the Gallup StrengthsFinder assessment today and these are my five strengths:


I am not sure if I totally agree though. I am a very introspective person and I am quite self-aware. So I am surprised at Connectedness and Input. I am definitely a Intellection or Thinking person and a Learner as well, and I agree on Empathy.

Reading on what Connectedness is, it doesn't quite strike it with me. Connectedness people are those who "have faith in the links between all things. They believe there are few coincidences and that almost every event has a reason."

Let me take a closer look:

No, it does not do anything for me.

Let's try again from the report I received after the assessment:

This is better, though I don't enter contests for fun but I do spend time with friends. This sounds like my Intuitive function, based on Jung's personality theory, but I am not sure if I really believe so strongly that "things are linked together for a purpose that may or may not be revealed to me".

I am not sure, and what more, it is my number one strength. Do I not know myself? What I will do now is to think and contemplate on it. Maybe this is one part of me that I have not yet discover. I shall see.

I am also not sure about Input. This may be right but I have not thought of myself in that way. This is what the book has to say, followed by the report:

Alright, even though the book's description does not do much for me, the report does resonate with me. It's just that I never thought of this as my strength. I collect books, printed and electronic. I collect articles that interest me, I've hundreds now in my Pocket app. I intermittently collect quotations. I used to collect recipe books, and box-files and box-files of loose recipes. I collect movies and serials. I collect iPhone/iPad apps. I collect music scores. I collect notebooks, empty and still brand new, because I just love them. I used to collect mugs until I ran out of space. Oh, no...I am bordering on being a hoarder! Okay, okay...I am an Input person. The trick now is to build on it and make something good out of it.

Going through the other strengths, I think Adaptability may be more of what I am than Connectedness is. Here's what the book says about Adaptability:

This is so me. Can I have this one instead?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Being "on the other side"

I attended a training workshop today, held in a golf and country resort near the city and it was a nice getaway.

But I must say that I have not attended so much training in such a short period of time before. I've started in this new company for only two months and I have already attended about 8 days of workshops and training sessions, not counting orientation or on-boarding sessions.

Coming from HR consulting to HR operations, it is interesting to be "on the other side". I now get a much better perspective on my work, being able to contribute more meaningful to the organisation, with the opportunity to implement and follow through.

What is interesting is also the part where three of my friends, who don't know each other, all told me today that they have been offered a new job. And what more, two of them attended interviews with different companies on the same day, and two of them are leaving consulting for operations work. I wish them the very best, for work fulfillment, job satisfaction and opportunity to engage in their work, company and team.

And what more, I also found out today that two of my ex-colleagues from different companies, who does not know each other, now work in the same group of companies where I am now. This is on top of the fact that my staff and I were with the same company before but both at different periods of time, so we weren't colleagues so to speak, though his wife and I were colleagues in yet another different company.

Freaky, eh?

Photo: Pearlie Ng, 2014

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nothing beats a cup of tea

I am a tea-person. I like coffee but nothing beats a cup of hot fragrant tea - whether it is a cup of black tea for the purists or a cup of infusion for the not-so-serious.

I have yet to get serious though. I had wanted to get a nice Chinese tea set and Pu-Erh tea discs but I didn't know where to start.

Or how about the most expensive tea in the world, the Da Hong Pao (literally Big Red Robe)? I obviously won't be able to savor it being priced at USD23,000 for 20 grams! Not even in my dreams.

So I am still taking it easy with the convenient tea bags from the wide varieties from Twinnings, Marks & Spencer, Dilmah and Montea (a local Malaysian brand of chinese teas). My current favourites are the Darjeeling, Peppermint, Lady Grey, Chamomile, Genmai-Cha, Xiang Pian and Pu-Erh.

So here am I in the office with a mini kettle, my tin-box of assorted loose tea bags and boxes of tea. It is an everyday affair now - steeping and sipping tea while busy with work. It almost feel like sitting by the seaside with a tall glass of iced lemon tea, and a good book.


Photo source: Red Luxury

Monday, April 14, 2014

More on Christ in the Passover

Noel sent an email to his friends with regards to his thoughts on the sermon I blogged about yesterday. He touched on important points I missed. I have gotten his permission to post it here:

I found myself unexpectedly in Pantai Baptist Church this Sunday.

The Palm Sunday sermon was given by a Dr Richard Harvey, Jewish by birth and a former believer in Judaism who became a Christian and lives in England.

He spoke of his conversion and his missionary activities among the Jews, but the highlight of his presentation was his clear exposition of how the various elements in the Passover celebration point to Christ. He even brought several of this elements with him to the service. I learnt a number of things.

One of these elements, the roasted egg, symbolises the destruction of the temple in AD 70.

Another element, the horse radish root, symbolises the emotional trauma/bitterness of Jewish sufferring. The expression "root of bitterness" in Heb 12:15 is probably influenced by this Passover connection.

Parsley (hyssop) symbolises Jewish tears shed.

The roasted shank bone, another important element, symbolises the Jews who were saved from 10th plague as described in Exodus.

The importance of unleavened bread and the removal of any leaven from Jewish homes during Passover lies behind 1 Cor 5:7 (clean out the old leaven...because Christ our Passover has also been sacrificed).

As we focus on the cross where Jesus died in our place, may our love for him who is the first born of all creation and the perfect image of the invisible God who is our heavenly Father, grow more and more as our insight and wonder deepens.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Christ in the Passover

We were in for a real treat today. We had Dr Richard Harvey as our speaker. He is a Jew who believes in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was with us today and shared with us a delightful message of Christ in the Passover.

He introduced to us the Passover meal that is observed by Jews every year during the Festival of the Unleavened Bread. He showed us the items involved in the meal: the hyssop or parsley leaves in salty water, bitter herbs, the Haggadah, etc. but what intrigued me most were the matzah tosh and the afikomen, and the four cups of the Passover. I never knew about them and I am amazed at their significance in light of Jesus.

A Matzah Tosh

A Matzah Tosh's Three Pockets

The matzah tosh is a bag with three parallel pockets to place the matzah or unleavened bread in. The matzah from the middle pocket will be taken out, broken and wrapped in a cloth and subsequently hidden. That is the afikomen. It will be brought back at the end of the meal to be distributed and eaten as the final morsel.

The afikomen wrapped in cloth

Dr Harvey said that this is significant because the three pockets could very well signify the Triune God. The bread taken from the middle pocket (of the Son) will be broken (will die), hidden (buried) and brought back (resurrected) to be given to be eaten (partaken). He said that during Jesus and the disciples' Last Supper, it was the afikomen that was broken and distributed, "take, eat, this is my body" (Matt 26:26b, ESV).

The Four Wine Cups

The four cups, they commemorate the deliverance of Jews from the Egyptians in the time of Moses. They consist of the Cup of Sanctification, Cup of Deliverance, Cup of Redemption and Cup of Praise.

Dr Harvey said that it was the third cup that Jesus passed around to the disciples, "drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins" (Matt 26:28, ESV)

After which, when it came to the fourth cup, the Cup of Praise or Restoration, Dr Harvey believed that Jesus and the disciples did not drink from it because Jesus said, "I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom" (Matt 26:29, NIV).

I was quite amazed. But I began to also wonder where and when did the matzah tosh, afikomen and the four cups come about. As far as I can remember, they are not mentioned in the bible, not in Old Testament and definitely not in the New.

Noel, who happened--or divinely arranged--to attend the same service today, asked me the same question, if these items were mentioned in Scripture.

I said and he agreed: if they were mentioned in the bible, Christian scholars would have already picked it up and we would have already known about it. These items and what they stand for are significant. So my take is that the bible as we have it, is sufficient by God's design for our understanding, for the Gentiles. For the Jews on the other hand, they have their practices since the OT days, which were, and are, special for them, since the gospel is after all, first for them.

The Jews have indeed, a richer and fuller background and history of the salvation and deliverance of the Messiah. It is my prayer that they will come to find Jesus as their long awaited Saviour.

As for me, I am blessed with a deeper understanding of Jesus' Last Passover, and the significance of what he said to the disciples, and of what he says to me.

I eat of the bread of life, broken, hidden and brought back. I drink of the Cup of Redemption, being redeemed back into his fold. And I look forward to drink of the Cup of Praise, Restoration and Joy with Jesus when I am finally in the Father's kingdom. Amen.

(Here's the link to the sermon: Christ in the Passover).


Photo sources:
1. Chow Ee-Tan, 2014
2. "Little Flock" Messianic Fellowship
4. Amy Letinsky
5. superhoop @Flickr

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Seventy times seven

I don't like conflict. Not sure if anyone does. I certainly don't, but I have learnt to handle it as best as I could. I would usually take a step back and not react, though I can implode when it becomes too personal for me.

So my next step will be to forgive. It is not easy but it is a decision I will make. I may not feel like it but since feelings has nothing to do with it and God has commanded me to forgive, so I shall.

Forgetting it though will be another matter. I have blogged about it before (here and here.) And reading back, I begin to wonder if I have even matured in this or have I regressed.

I suppose I have seventy time seven more times to forgive this individual, and to grow more into maturity in Christ.


Friday, April 11, 2014

My first circuit training

This is how I feel now after a circuit training with my gym instructor this afternoon. Thankfully it is a Friday, workday is half over and the weekend is merely hours away.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Work on the strengths, stop harping on the weaknesses

I attended a useful breakfast talk this morning presented by several consultants from different firms, two of whom were from Gallup. I have heard about Gallup Polls but I found out today that they do offer other services including those related to people performance.

Here was where I was introduced to the Clifton Strength Finders. I am a fan of personality theories. And even though they don't use the word "personality" but "talents" and "strengths", it's close.

I was quite captivated by it, and felt that it may be something more simple to implement company wide compared with MBTI and DISC.

I did a brief research on it and ended up buying a copy of Tom Rath's Strengthsfinder 2.0. By the way, he is Ronald O. Clifton's grandson.

Strengthsfinder 2.0
by Tom Rath, 2007

This book was the #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller and was listed as the top worldwide business bestseller by The Economist in 2011.

I have not started on the book, but I am thinking if I am caught up in all but a hype. I hope not. I really hope it is what it claims itself to be. I shall see.


Wednesday, April 09, 2014

In all things, give thanks

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess 5:18, ESV)

I do not find it easy to be thankful. It is difficult to be thankful in hard times and I feel guilty to be thankful in good times. Therefore, it is a comfort to read here in 1 Thessalonians that we are to give thanks in all circumstances, good and bad.

If we look at the original Greek, ἐν παντὶ εὐχαριστεῖτε· τοῦτο γὰρ θέλημα θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ εἰς ὑμᾶς, it literally means "in everything be giving thanks, for this is the will of Christ Jesus concerning you".

The verse begins with "in everything", followed by an imperative "give thanks". This accentuates the command in that first it focuses us on all of our happenings, nothing gets put aside, it is in all things that we must give thanks to God.

Therefore, in my good times, it is really the blessing that God pours on me and in my bad times, he is still with me, sustaining me through it all as I grow and mature in him.

And for that, I am thankful, that I can be thankful in all circumstances, because it is all in God's grand plan of salvation and sanctification.


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Why do we work?

Why do we work? I believe when God created man, he created him to work and to enjoy work. Except that because man wanted (and still wants) to be king and lord of his own life, man rejected God and as a result, work is now a curse.

What do you want out of your career, your job?

I simply want to enjoy it. To create something that will contribute to the organisation that I work for. I security is important but it means nothing if I don't enjoy what I do.

Back to the question: why do we work?

I believe we are made to be productive and creative. That is how we are made. Until and unless we find something productive to do, we will amble along in life with no purpose or fulfillment. And that is bad.

I had a good day at work today, enjoying what I did and created. And I am thankful.

I am learning to live a thankful life no matter what's on my plate, whatever goes my way. I won't say it will not be difficult but I know God is good, no matter what the circumstance.


Monday, April 07, 2014

The Beauty and Melody of the Cantonese Language

I am Cantonese by descent but I only speak a very basic and vernacular version of the dialect. But when I was having lunch with a colleague today, I was in deep waters. She was using Chinese idioms in our course of conversation. I had to stop her many times to have her repeat what she said for me to figure out and understand what she was saying.

She on the other hand, found me absolutely amusing.

Here are some of what she said, those I remember.

This is common to us: 隔墙有耳 (gak chiong yau yee) - the walls have ears.

We then proceed to talk about life experiences, on how we all experience the same heartaches, difficulties and pain and off she uttered out: 天下鸟鸦一样黑 (tin ha oo nga yat yiong hak) - crows in the skies and on earth are all black.

Then our conversation turned to our families and she has another one: 家家有本難念的经 (ga ga yau boon lan lin dik geng) - every family owns a scripture that is difficult to read.

My life is enriched, albeit slightly, with the beauty of the language and melody of the dialect. How I love it when I hear people speaking formal Cantonese.


Saturday, April 05, 2014

My Song is Love Unknown (John Ireland)

I was in worship practice this morning and I fell in love with this song that is new to me.

I found the music score as well - and found that the timing is quite interesting. It does not even have a time signature. But I think most sing to a strict 4/4 timing now. I simply love John Ireland's music here and how he captured the emotion of the words with perfect notes.

My Song is Love Unknown
by Samuel Crossman, 1664

My song is love unknown,
My Saviour’s love to me;
Love to the loveless shown,
That they might lovely be.
O who am I, that for my sake
My Lord should take frail flesh and die?

He came from His blest throne
Salvation to bestow;
But men made strange, and none
The longed-for Christ would know:
But O! my Friend, my Friend indeed,
Who at my need His life did spend.

Sometimes they strew His way,
And His sweet praises sing;
Resounding all the day
Hosannas to their King:
Then “Crucify!” is all their breath,
And for His death they thirst and cry.

Why, what hath my Lord done?
What makes this rage and spite?
He made the lame to run,
He gave the blind their sight,
Sweet injuries! Yet they at these
Themselves displease, and ’gainst Him rise.

They rise and needs will have
My dear Lord made away;
A murderer they save,
The Prince of life they slay,
Yet cheerful He to suffering goes,
That He His foes from thence might free.

Here might I stay and sing,
No story so divine;
Never was love, dear King!
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my Friend, in Whose sweet praise
I all my days could gladly spend.


Friday, April 04, 2014

Personal Renewal Checklists

In the training session I was attending today, the facilitator gave us several checklists for renewal in our states of physical, mental, spiritual and socio-emotional.

All my checklists look fine, except I don't agree on the spiritual one. Is that how those in the world see spirituality?

Physical Renewal

Mental Renewal

Spiritual Renewal

Socio-Emotional Renewal


Thursday, April 03, 2014

Seek first...

Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
~ Matt 6:33


Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Set our eyes on Jesus

These two verses in Hebrews are one of the most favourite passages of the saints: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb 12:1-2, ESV)

Kent Hughes in his Preaching the Word commentary of the book of Hebrews used quite an interesting example to show what it means to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”

It is a one-mile race that happened on August 7, 1954 during the British Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada – regarded as the greatest mile-run match-ups that ever took place. It was between Roger Bannister and John Landy who were the only two sub-four-minute milers in the world. At the final lap, in peak condition, they were even and Landy was leading the race. Landy began running faster and Bannister increased his pace as well. Then came the famous moment – what is replayed thousands of times – the last stride before the home stretch. Landy had a fatal lapse of concentration. He could not see Bannister. He looked back, Bannister launched his attack and he lost his lead. Bannister won the “miracle mile” that day by five yards. (Kent Hughes, Hebrews Vol. 2, Preaching the Word, Crossway, 1993, p.167).

From the note accompanying the YouTube clip above, Landy actually said, "When Lot's wife looked back she was turned into a pillar of salt. When I looked back, I was turned into a pillar of bronze!"

Hughes reminds us of a very important lesson: we need to be careful not to even begin to take our eyes off Christ to fix them on the hardship challenging us. Paul in the subsequent verses exhorted us that it is God who disciplines us, only because he loves us, because he is our Father and we his children.

Another lesson that is so important is this: “We cannot be profoundly influenced (or encouraged) by that which we do not know…Knowing God’s Word is essential for spiritual survival…we must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away”


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Reputation of Christians

I must confess one thing: I have been somewhat, though not entirely, bought into the zeitgeist of our current thought, in that being a Christian is not cool. Or to put it bluntly, it's lame.

It is in most of current media and arts - in music, in documentaries, in TV, in the theaters, in the cinema.

Christians are mostly portrayed as crazy and unreal people. We are usually stereotyped as false and too good to be true, with this raptured look of otherworldliness that puts people on the edge.

Don't get me wrong. I am proud to belong in the body of Christ. I boast of the cross of Christ that only through Jesus's sacrifice of body and blood, I am justified and saved in him. I belong to Jesus.

Just that sometimes I do think about what the world think about us and how they see us: as goody two shoes, weak, uncool, illogical as opposed to the empirical. I am not referring to the apologetics side of it and our testimonial of reasonable faith. I'm all for that. I'm referring rather to our reputation as Christians.

Truth is, we are not being treated seriously. We have a message of eternal importance, but we are being put aside as deluded.

Paul in 1 Cor 4:9-10 may have said that they are fools for Christ in the context of being suffering fools for the sake of the churches, that through their witness and living out of Christ, it will bring life and wisdom to the believers.

We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! ~ 1 Cor 4:9-10 (NIV)

In the same way, we too are fools for Christ for the sake of other believers. And also in the hope that the saving love of Christ will reach the unbelievers especially in their times of dire need, in times when all they have left to consider is a "fool's" message - the good news of Jesus who gave us all the simplest, yet most profound gift of all: life, and life to the fullest.