Sunday, July 31, 2016

I blank out on words far too often these days

My memory is getting from bad to worse. I don't think I had that much of a problem in expressing myself before but now words that I need get stuck at the tip of my tongue.

I wanted to tell a friend that the swipe keyboard feature is native to the Android phones but I went blank on the word "native".

I was saying a prayer this morning in church while I was worship leading and I said, "we offer to You God our whole selves, no exceptions," but I got stuck. I wanted to say "no exceptions" but I blanked out.  People may have thought that I paused for dramatic effect but in reality, I was frantically searching for that phrase in my head but it was nowhere to be found. 

What do you do when this happens?

Since I'm in the middle of a public prayer, I had no choice but to say something that means the same, even though it's not at all the same. 

It's frustrating. 


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Who am I that you would care for me?

Psalm 8 (NLT)
O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!
Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants
to tell of your strength,
silencing your enemies
and all who oppose you.
When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—
the moon and the stars you set in place—
what are mere mortals that you should think about them,
human beings that you should care for them?
Yet you made them only a little lower than God
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you made,
putting all things under their authority—
the flocks and the herds
and all the wild animals,
the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea,
and everything that swims the ocean currents.
O Lord, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!


Friday, July 29, 2016

Wish I never gave up on the cello

I was listening to some cello concertos today when I realized how much I missed playing the cello. I wished I never gave it up. 

Here was when I played in an orchestra. I can't remember the name of my fellow cellists except for Ming on the left. I also cannot remember my teacher's name, the gentleman seated in front. It was so, so long ago. 


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bible by Tecarta

Bible by Tecarta 

I downloaded Tecarta's bible app into my iPhone and iPad some months ago as I had then needed a different version from the ESV bible that I have been using. I used it most in the last three days during the CEP and KVBC conference and I love it. I like it much better than the Crossway ESV bible app. When you use it, you do not need to purchase any of the bible translations. You can "try" them and the app will stream the bible passages to your device as and when you need it.

But more importantly, I find the annotation and highlighting features very useful. I am able to highlight sections of a verse, words or phrases, and not just the whole verse like in the ESV app. The annotation of verses are simpler to use and it is separated from the inbuilt notepad, which I use for sermon notes, not tied to any verses like in the ESV app.

I have since decided to purchase the New Living Translation. I was contemplating buying the NIV Zondervan Study Bible but at USD23.99 and the fact that I don't seem to use it that much when I tried it for a limited period of three days during the conference, I don't think I shall spend the money. 

I give it a 5/5-star review. 


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Being an analogical stomach: CEP 2016 Day 3

From L-R: Ng Kam Weng, Chris Green, Andrew Reid, Tan Kay Hoe, Paul Barker, DA Carson, David Cook

It was a good closing to the three full days packed with the feeding of the Word of God. It was such a huge and massive intake of spiritual food that by the end of today, I was like a sponge that cannot take in anymore. And so, I chose not to attend KVBC in the evening and returned home after the CEP conference ended at 5:00pm. 

With the conference, my hope and desire is to relaunch myself back into the ministry of the Word. I love to learn and to teach. DA Carson commented that if he were to akin himself to a part of the body, he'd be a stomach. He takes in food, digests it and then distributes nutrients to the other parts of the body. I thought that was a brilliant analogy. I'd like to be a stomach too but in comparison to Carson, I'd be a teeny weeny one, but one that takes in, digest and distributes all the same. 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Run to him and keep running to him: CEP/KVBC 2016 Day 2

 Andrew Reid on "The Humiliated Head of a New Humanity" ~ Hebrews 2:5-18

Today is day two of the conference, and again, it was excellent. The exposition of Scripture and the teaching of the ways to read Scripture were so insightful and useful. It is not so relevant in quoting this and albeit not accurately, but I feel like being drunk in the Spirit with the filling and chewing of the Word for the whole day (Eph 5:18).

I was so exhausted by the time the CEP Preaching Conference Day Two came to a close. And I was telling my good friend that I am in a 75:25 situation, that is a small part of me wants to go home and go to bed. But we persevered on and it was a good decision.

I wish I was more alert in listening to Andrew Reid's exposition of Heb 2:5-18 during the night session but I still managed to get some very good insights from the passage - the type and anti type of the fallen humanity that is us and the perfect human in Christ.

My wow moment was when Reid said, "we share in the flesh and blood of the Savior" and I am now sure if he said the following or if it dawned on me that on top of that we are invited to partake of that perfect flesh and blood that is Christ.

And his closing is a reiteration of why I am in this conference in the first place - run to him and keep running to him.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Back to the School of Christ: CEP/KVBC 2016 Day 1

I attended the first day of the CEP Preaching Conference today followed by the KVBC in the evening. It was a long 16-hour day having left my house at 7 am and only arrived back home at 11pm. It was indeed strenuous but a most blessed day as well. 

The speakers we had were David Cook, Paul Barker, Andrew Reid and DA Carson. It felt so wonderful to be again soaked in the Word of God with good insights from these excellent speakers.

I must say I wasn't very sure why when I signed up for this. I had not been attending this conference since the last one I attended in year 2010. I just thought I should get back to it and without much of an after thought, I just went ahead to register and paid for it. 

It was only after this day one of the conference that I know that it was the Spirit who drew me to it. I needed it. Thank you Jesus. 

The best years of my life was when I was pursuing my theological studies, when I was happily wading and swimming deep in the word of God. Ever since I graduated in year 2011, I have not been steeping my life in his Word as much, and I miss it so much. 

And so this is really a back to the school of Christ for me. As a result of the day and night long conference, a yearning for the Word is again growing from the inside. And I look forward to the next two days and from there to more and more of Christ in my life. 


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Star Trek Beyond ★★★★★

My hubby and I watched Star Trek Beyond today. It was very good. I enjoyed it tremendously.

Unlike the Independence Day Resurgence, which I just realised I didn't even bothered to blog about, even though STB has about the same amount of action, aliens and explosions, it is a movie about the characters that IDR was not. It was fun watching the interplay and dynamics between them, like Spock and Bones, Scotty and Jaylah. You'd get caught into it through their banter and dialogue. 

And I really liked the Jaylah character. She has gumption. Her makeup is fantastic, kind of like Dark Maul but not evil. 

But watching Anton Yelchin as Chekov made me really sad. His scenes over the previous Star Trek movies were really good ones, as well as his other movies I have watched. May he rest in peace.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

How I regretfully got hooked into a Korean drama

I have never watched any Korean serial dramas before.

My niece was in our house last night waiting for her father to come pick her up. And while she waited, I let her choose what she'd like to watch on TV to pass the time. 

She chose The Heirs, a story about friendship, rivalries and love lives of a group of rich heirs as well as a few of the poorer sort. It's like Romeo and Juliet to a certain extent but with a much happier ending. 

What happened next was that we were both stuck to the couch for three whole hours watching three episodes before my brother finally arrived to get her.

And lo and behold, I got hooked. I know I will be wasting an additional 17 hours to complete the 20-episode long series. 

And I did.

I watched three or four more episodes more even though I told myself that I will not be watching it anymore. 

I ended up watching all of it, much to my dismay and regret. 

It was a total waste of time although I enjoyed it, you know, like eating the whole box of decadent chocolate in one sitting. It tasted awesome but you know you shouldn't have done it. 

And one thing I notice about this Korean drama, I'm not sure if it's the same with the others, it seems to stretch the dramatic scenes a bit too long. Something dramatic would happen and the characters would stare at each other or be frozen in that scene for at least ten or fifteen seconds. They might be doing that to intensify the drama but I find it doesn't make much sense. For two to three seconds yes, but any more than that, it's an overkill. 

But some of the characters did grow on me. Maybe that is why I got hooked. 

I better not try watching another Korean drama. 


Friday, July 22, 2016

I thank you Lord

Father, dear Father,

I am so grateful for everything that you have given me.
Thank you so much for the loved ones in my life,
For the many ways in which I am cared for and supported.
Thank you for the many ways I can serve and give to others. 
Thank you for the rich tapestry of colours in creation,
For the beauty which is all around me, 
For the skies and the ever changing cloud formations,
For the breathtaking sunsets and early morning mists. 
My heart is so grateful and brimming with thanks.
I could write a thousand books about your great goodness,
And still have many stories to tell.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
I thank you with everything I am.
All my being cries thank you Lord! 



Thursday, July 21, 2016

My iPhone is bricked

My iPhone 5 is stuck at the Apple logo forever. I've set it to the DFU mode to get it restored but I get an error message saying, "The iPhone software update server could not be contacted. You do not have permission to access the requested resource."

That's it. I have a brick in my hand. 


p/s 24 July 2016: I finally got it fixed. I tried using my home PC to get it restored. It did not read the phone at first but when it did, the restoration was completed without any error messages.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Putting type personality theory to work

Type Talk at Work, How the 16 Personality Types Determine Your Success on the Job
by Otto Kroeger, Janet Thuesen and Hile Rutledge

I have been busy preparing training slides on using the 16 personality types for self discovery but I felt that it was not complete without an application section. I am thankful I have this book and it's good that I thought about searching by stash for something I can use and I found it. 

The book is useful in that it does not only give good explanation on the 16 types to what they refer to as typewatching. They also provide a short cut to typewatching by using the four temperaments. And more importantly, it has sections on time management, conflict resolution, problem solving and stress management which I am including in my training session. 

It may turn out that I am very ambitious in the amount of material for a one-day training. But we'll see. 


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Plant killing zombies to take my mind off things

Would you believe I've played this game continuously and countless times for 6 years? I don't know how many rounds I've completed. Twenty or thirty maybe? And each time I finished a round, I'd happily start all over again using various strategies I have not tried before. 

Plants vs Zombies for iPhone 
Purchased on 12 Dec 2010 for $2.99

Plants vs Zombies HD for iPad 
Purchased on 17 May 2011 for $6.99

It's not entirely a brainless game but I've played it so many times, it's so easy but it takes my mind off things, which is what I needed today. 


Monday, July 18, 2016

Christ came down to death to bring us to life

Freedom in Christ (Mark 2:1-12)
Rev Noddy Sharma

I have not posted about the sermon on Sunday because I have been thinking about it and trying to figure some things out. The takeaway for me is that we don't deserve anything from God. The best thing that we have received from God is the gift of salvation through Jesus's death on the cross. That is indeed the ultimate gift and the only thing that matters. 

The speaker then said God does not owe us anything. We are the ones that are indebted to his act of love on the cross. 

I do agree with him. We cannot be conceited and live our lives as if God should and must answer our prayers because we have done for much for him. Not at all. We serve him because we love him, because he is the meaning and purpose of our lives, because he has bought us with the price of his blood. That's why we serve him and that's why we belong to him. 

But God did promise us an abundant life. I have heard a lot of people say that God has given us an abundant life and we need to live a life in abundance but do they know what it actually refers to?

This "abundant life" is only found in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." 

D.A. Carson says in his commentary that, "This is a proverbial way of insisting that there is only one means of receiving eternal life." Indeed, further on in John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

An abundant life does not mean that we will be prosperous and rich and filled in the material sense. But in context of the verse, we have an abundant life in Christ because life will be eternal and because we have God in it, we have Jesus and all his goodness in our lives. Now, that's abundance. 

I know this is quite basic when it comes to Christian living but with the spread of prosperity Gospel and liberal theology, we need to always remind ourselves that Jesus is all who matters. 

We don't deserve anything at all but God in his great mercy and love has given us life through Christ. We can never have life because we are headed down to death. All that we are reek of death. Christ has to come down to death and bring us with him to life. 


Saturday, July 16, 2016

We have hope

I had wanted to write about how dismal the world is as it goes worse and worse. Everyday is filled with news of death and destruction. I had some discouraging statistics on how terrorism has risen since the watershed moment of 9-11, but what we need instead is the reassurance of the sovereignty of our Lord God Almighty and the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
8 All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. - Matthew 24:6-8

4 "I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do.
5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! - Luke 12:4-5

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14

And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." - Mark 9:7

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 
55 "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" 
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. - 1 Corinthians 15:52-58


Friday, July 15, 2016

Writing and Thinking

Good writing is clear thinking made visible.
~ Bill Wheeler

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. 
~ Benjamin Franklin

Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought?
~ Joan Didion 

Writing is good, thinking is better. Cleverness is good, patience is better. 
~ Herman Hesse 

If you really want to know yourself, start by writing a book. 
~ Shereen El Feki

Wiring is the most fun you can have my yourself. 
~ Terry Pratchet 

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers. 
~ Isaac Asimov 


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A need for expository sermons


I have begun to listen to mp3 sermons by Dick Lucas again. He is still my favourite speaker. 

He is an Anglican evangelical cleric, best known for his long ministry at St Helen's Bishopsgate in London, England. He was the rector there from 1961 to 1998. He founded the Proclamation Trust in 1986 as a center to train men and women on reading and studying the bible contextually. Now in his 90s, he still has an active and influential ministry. He preaches and speaks at conferences and serves on the leadership team of the Cornhill Training Course. 

He preaches very good expository sermons giving you both the context of the passage and the bible as a whole. 

I just listened to part 1 of his sermon The Race set Before Us (2 Tim 4:1-8) and learnt that Onesiphorus is one rather special person. 

Lucas compared Paul being imprisoned in Rome to a pastor then being imprisoned in Iran. The pastor's friends who visited him in the Iranian prison went through invasive interrogation as to who they were and why they would want to visit the pastor in prison. They were asked who among their friends who have also converted to Christianity. There were soon released after being fingerprinted. Would you have the courage to visit this pastor in Iran? 

In the same way, Paul was imprisoned in Rome under Nero. Imagine what Onesiphorus would have gone through when he visited Paul in prison. Paul said this of him: "May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me earnestly and found me - may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day! - and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus. - 2 Timothy 1:16-18

I have new respect for this small but great person in the bible. We can learn many lessons just from him. 

I really miss listening to expository sermons. I plan to listen to more of these mp3 sermons in my commute. I have also just signed up to attend the Centre for Expository Preaching Conference 2016 to give myself a three-full-day dosage of it. As much as I am not a preacher, I am looking forward to it, as well as the Klang Valley Bible Conference 2016 in the evenings after the day conference. 


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I've just gone mad on books

I found a very useful website in The Vessel Project. It lists out Christian Kindle books that go on sale in Amazon. There is currently this list of academic and reference books that are up to 80% on sale. How could I not. And so I bought these. 

Now, I better read them and not buy just to keep. 


Monday, July 11, 2016

I am learning so much this year

I am finally reading this book. I think I bought it in year 2009 or 2010 but I never read it. Now that I want to delve more into the topic as per yesterday's blogpostit would be perfect timing. 

 Three Views of Creation and Evolution 
by Paul Nelson, Robert C. Newman and Howard J. Van Till

However, it is not a reading year for me. But as much as I need to buck up on my reading, I am still learning so much from so many other ways: videos, documentaries, articles, online lectures, even Facebook. 

And I inadvertently watched this TedX talk today which I found very relevant to the topic. 

The speaker raised the question when it comes to the academia, why are we still so conventional that we never changed the way we teach. We lectured back in the 15th century and we are still lecturing today in the 21st. And over the centuries, we keep fearing new ways, new "gadgets", new technology, fearing that students will become too dependent on slates vs. bark, on paper vs. slates, on store bought ink vs. self made ink, on smartphones vs. books. 

I have always felt it is right to embrace new ways of doing certain things, especially when it comes to learning. We are in the new age of interconnecting gadgets and from there, there is so much to learn.

Embrace it! Don't keep them away from your kids. Let them learn from using it. It opens up to them highways to so much learning and experience. 


Sunday, July 10, 2016

Debate: Is creation a viable model of origins? Ken Ham vs Bill Nye

My hubby was watching this on YouTube. I missed the first 30 minutes or so but ended up watching the whole thing - all two and a half hours of it. 

Debate: Is creation a viable model of origins?
Ken Ham vs Bill Nye

I'm not sure if I am a creationist. I used to be one until I found that it is possible for a Christian not to be and still be a Christian. I am not sure yet what they are called. Old earth creationists? Evolutionary creationists? Christian evolutionists? I really need to delve more into this topic. 

I like Ken Ham. He is an excellent apologist. Cool and composed, and his responses were brilliant. I admire how he responded to Bill Nye on whether he believes in the bible literary, using the "natural" argument, i.e. he reads history as history, poetry as poetry and apocalyptic writing as apocalyptic writing, as we all should whatever the material. 

I feel that Bill Nye kept repeating the same things over and over again though the whole two and a half hour long debate. I know I am biased, but I find that towards the end he was kind of losing it, grasping at straw men, bringing up arguments not at all related to the debate. 

And he just refused to call creationism as a biblical model. He kept referring to "Ken Ham's model and his followers". Well, he really need to just call a spade a spade. 

It's a long video but I'm glad I watched it. Would you?


Saturday, July 09, 2016

Being disciplined is hard for me

I have not been doing these two things that I should every day: devotion and gym. 

The thing is I strategize to do them together. I find that each of the activity discipline the other. The reason I can go 30 minutes on the stationary bike is because I want to finish reading a chapter in my devotion material. And the reason I can finish reading and meditating on the material is because I can't get off the bike. 

I used to be able to do this every week day because I need to drive my son to school anyway. I will be early and I might as well go to the gym. 

But now I have to use a different motivation. Maybe the morning traffic? Get out early before the congestion worsens.  

Let me try it out this month. At least I have a goal: do this every week day this month.


Friday, July 08, 2016

Thursday, July 07, 2016

I don't use moisturizers

I used to follow a daily regime of cleansing, toning and moisturizing my face but I found it so troublesome that I stopped doing it for many years now. I can't remember what made me stop. I think it was something I read that our faces do not need all that. All it needs is a gentle cleanser. 

I nearly went back to it a few days ago when I was at the store. I was looking at some facial products and the sales personnel lined up a whole line of their products from cleansers to serums to toners to day creams and night creams. And oh, don't forget the eye cream and eye serum. 

I resisted. I had wanted to get an eye cream and so I just bought that. I have been using the Cetaphil facial cleanser and it is a good product. So I'm sticking to it. I did purchase a bottle of Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion before and I will make sure I use it again on a daily basis.

That should suffice. 


Wednesday, July 06, 2016

My day on Trump and Milo

It is the first day of Hari Raya today and with the day off, I spent it with my parents, my son, my brother and sister-in-law and my niece in Mid-Valley having lunch. 

But mostly I have been at home catching up in YouTube on current affairs of the world especially on the upcoming 2016 American presidential election. 

I wasn't keeping up with it before and with little reference and information, I thought that the two candidates in Clinton and Trump were the worst that America could ever have. 

But now I think I may be wrong. Could Donald Trump be it? He just might. I have heard people referring to his anti-Semitic slurs, and him being a racist and so on and so forth but in his last few speeches recently which I have watched today, he was actually quite good. He is said to be more focused now and he is a very good speaker. 

Obviously it doesn't matter what I think, but I am keeping a closer watch on this from now on. 

What's amusing was that I wasn't surprised when I found out that Hillary is typed as an INTJ and I was just mulling about INTJs a few days ago. Then as I was googling on Trump's type, I made a quick guess and I got it spot on. He is an ESTP, which is so him - a risk taker, loves adventure and is logical and practical. 

On another note, I have also found out about this one personality whom I think I will also follow from now on: Milo Yiannopoulos. He is a gay and he a Catholic. And he certainly has strong opinions. But what interests me is that he is an excellent speaker and debater. I would like to listen to him logically work through questions and comments, and learn something from it. 


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Ipoh Road Yong Tau Fu

My colleague suggested that we go to Ipoh Road Yong Tau Fu for lunch today and I thought it was this one which I went to quite often when I was working in KPMG...


...only to find out that they have moved to the sixth floor in Cairnhill Hotel. 


The fruit rojak is still in the menu. It was my favorite. 


And the yummy yong tau fu.  


But I was most happy with my order of a coconut drink. 


Photo sources: OpenRicen3rrad's Gallery,  FoodSpotting

Monday, July 04, 2016

iPhone apps by their colours

I have so many iPhone apps that I once sorted them by colours because that was the easiest way to find them. I soon had too many to fit them in and went back to categories. 

But I am back to colours now, except for the first screen. And I'm very happy with it. Isn't pleasing to the eye? 

Anyway, I read an article somewhere that you can tell a person by the apps they use. Can you tell?


Sunday, July 03, 2016

The Madness of the Christian Faith

The Madness of the Christian Faith
by Pastor Samuel Nesan 

The sermon today was about the Christian faith that may seem foolish or insane to the world, but to us believers it is the most wonderful news and reality in our lives. 

We have the assurance of salvation, we have the groaning for eternity and the hope of God's judgment. These may not sound spectacular at all but with deeper thought, these are the very things that a person need. 


Saturday, July 02, 2016

Pie Jesu by Gabriel Fauré

I started a playlist in my Spotify account of sacred music and this is my all-time favourite: Gabriel Fauré's Pie Jesu. I couldn't find one with just a Pie Jesu that I like, so here's the video of it with Agnus Dei, also by the same brilliant composer. 


Friday, July 01, 2016

More durian dessert

My colleague and I were looking for this dessert shop called U Desserts when we were last in Butterworth but we couldn't find it. We presumed it was closed permanently. 

I inadvertently found the shop right where I live and it was already in operation for about one to two years! My son and I went there today and I had this: Aloe Vera and Pomela in Sago Durian Sweet Soup. 

It was very good. The durian "ice cream" like the one I had in JB is not like ice cream. It was like pure durian. I'm definitely going again.