Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Shack

"...sequestering his emotions securely in the padlocked basement of his own heart." - Young

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Psalm 34

"Fear the Lord, you his saints,

for those who fear him lack nothing.

The lions may grow weak and hungry,

but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing." - v.9,10

It's funny how much I think I don't have at times, and then, at others I forget about what I lack at all. What do I lack?

In a material sense, I want a dog, I want a manlier car, I could always do with more clothes, maybe a huge plasma TV for my soccer matches.

In a spiritual sense, I need to be able to hear from God more clearly. I need direction to where God wants me to be. I need intimacy with him and with my friends. I need wisdom in my actions. I need a heart of humility. I need to be filled with his love so that I can love. I need his strength to overcome my sin. I need him to renew my purpose for living.

I like how David draws a contrast between mighty lions and those who seek the Lord. No doubt the sheer power and tenacity of lions could ensure them a stack of Angus steaks. But whilst their strength is merely of a finite measure, the Lord’s strength is infinite.

So how do I fear you, God?

“Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.” (vv. 11-14)

Keeping my tongue under a leash is something I really struggle with. Please help me with that. The words of my mouth are but expressions of my heart. Lord, consecrate my mouth. Make it meek and pure so that no evil may stem from it. Help me to flee from words of malice, envy, aggression, and indignation. Let my mouth speak only words of love and encouragement.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I just want you, Jesus


More than a nice melody,
More than the sweetest of word's,
This is love i have found,
and with this love i am found.

I just want you Jesus, I just want you my lord,
I just want you Jesus, I just want you.

Never could I comprehend,
The love you so freely give,
Never could I be with you,
But your love covers all of my sin.

I just want you Jesus,
I just want you my lord,
I just want you Jesus I just want you.

There is no greater love than yours,
Nothing else could ever compare,
And even if I search all the world
I will never find a love like yours, God.

I just want you Jesus,
I just want you my Lord,
I just want you Jesus,
I just want you,
Jesus!
I attended the PS Mighty Men Conference over the weekend. Amidst all the hyped up praise songs, this one really stood out. I love it.

I love you, Lord. Thanks for loving me so much and for being so good to me.

Help me not to chase after anything else but you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dizwanger

I found a Dizwanger one day,
Looking intently into the vast blue sky.
Her search was for the One,
The only Apple of her eye.

I found a Dizwanger one day,
Staring across the deep blue sea.
I saw her smile and laugh,
And I wondered if it could be.

Predictability is a Dizwanger's unnature,
And Mystery is her crown of gold.
I long to understand it,
But I doubt my heart's bold.

The journey's long,
I've picked up a knock or two.
But what's victory without hurt?
And what's love in the absence of sacrifice?

I found a Dizwanger one day,
Resting on my side.
I wish it was forever,
Fall asleep in her eyes.

Isaac
5.10.09

Life's been hard, but God's been great over the last few months.

Praise the Lord! :)

Jesus, I'm tired of walking alone
I can't hold this world up on my own
I'm a man in need of the cross.
Each time I see a running stream
So satisfying it may seem
But my soul; it's thirsting for more!

More of you, Lord Jesus
More, more of you, My Lord

I want to sing to you intimately
I want to hear you say, that you love me
I want to know you more than a friend
I want to feel the scars in your hands

Isaac
4.10.09

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Wild At Heart

Normal Template

“The wisdom’s in the trees

Not the glass windows.”

Train rides are pretty darn boring. So here’s another blog post to make my time a little more productive. I wonder what everyone else is thinking/doing in this metal box with wheels. I see some people reading the MX (I believe people only read that paper just to amuse themselves with ridiculously stupid facts), some people are just looking around, staring out the window at the chilly darkness outside. Some people are reading books.

Talking about reading books. I’ve just started to re-read “Wild At Heart” by John Eldredge. Despite reading it before, I’m able to more fully appreciate and understand his concepts. The book’s basically about the innate nature that God created in man – a Wild Heart – and how that’s been corrupted/tamed by social pressures and expectations.

When God created man and woman “in his image”, he didn’t create us to look physically like him; that’s just absurd. He created within us a innate nature; a heart that reflects the very nature of God! There are striking differences in the natures of both man and woman; so isn’t that contradictory? That’s the beauty of it! God’s mighty and aggressive, yet loving and gentle.

What’re the innate yearnings in your heart?

Eldredge’s convinced God’s placed a “wild heart” in every man that craves for 3 things:

  1. A battle to fight
  2. An adventure to live
  3. A beauty to rescue

How true.. Somewhere in scripture it says:

“The Lord is a Warrior. The Lord is his name.”

I remember pretending to fight imaginary ninjas along the corridors of my old house. Punch, Dodge, Kick, Smackdown!

Just some random thoughts on a train..

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Love

Love is so complex that all of creation is baffled by it. Man tries to put a finger on it, but it’s erratic and unfathomable nature engulfs it whole. Love’s too big to be subject to man’s comprehension, too small to be captured by a mortal’s grasp. If it were not so, Love would mean a bag of peanuts; a mere song sung for the sake of it’s own interest. Only it’s Creator shall wield it in the palm of his hands.

Love is powerful; it’s the substance that keeps the fabric of existence in place. It’s grasp so forceful that it held Christ on the cross. Yet it’s delicate and submissive like a master washing his servant’s feet.

I’ve been thinking recently and I’ve come to a conclusion that I really don’t have much love within me.

Love is asking: “How are you?” on a Monday morning.
The lack of love is asking: “How are you?” on a Wednesday afternoon.

Love is to prepare a nice hot cup of Chai Latte for a friend.
The lack of love is to prepare a nice hot cup of Chai Latte for a friend.

Love is praying for her no matter how heavy your eyelids may be at night.
The lack of love is praying for her no matter how tired you may be.

Love is looking at his faults and knowing that his heart’s purer than his actions.
The lack of love is looking at his faults and laying down judgment within.

Love is to be genuinely interested in his life.
The lack of love is to be interested in her life.

Love is the willingness to make a complete fool of yourself just to make her smile.
The lack of love is to make a complete fool of yourself to eventually get her fooled.

Just some thoughts on a train ride...

The Anthem

Worship was amazing last Friday night.
Hallelujah! You have won the victory.
Hallelujah! You have born it all for me.
Death could not hold you down
You are the risen King
Seated in majesty
You are the risen King

The anthem was sung with such passion and sincerity. It was the first time in a long time that I was encouraged and inspired by my fellow worshippers. My spirit was bursting with joy within me as I joined voices with my friends to proclaim the sovereignty of our risen Lord, Jesus Christ. I must confess that I wasn’t “spiritually right” with God last week, and I wasn’t in a position to lead worship on that Friday night. Praise be to God that my righteousness isn’t found in my own strength or merit, but in the death of my Saviour, Jesus Christ! So often the guilt of my sin weighs me down, and a spirit of unworthiness chains my mind. Fact is: I am unworthy; we all are. I am a sinful man covered by the blood of Christ. Now that’s reason to rejoice, that’s an overwhelming reason to be joyful!

Things that happened in the last month:

Crashed “Squeaky” into a pillar while reversing out of the Box Hill church office carpark. She had to undergo car surgery for 2 weeks. I’m delighted to have her back. Had to pay $950 for the repairs; that's a huge chunk of my $1000/season salary :(

I’ve been finding the work at the footy club rather repetitive and boring. It’s seriously quite draining and depressing having to sacrifice practically my entire Saturday. It’s taken a huge toll of my studies. I know that for sure.

FGA United’s first season in the Super 5’s league has finally ended. We came 3rd after losing the semi-final 2-1 to Hollywoods and defeating TTP the 3rd/4th playoff 6-3! I would’ve liked to come 1st, but I can’t deny that I’m happy with our achievements. The younger boys have really improved by heaps and bounds. Thanks for all the fun we had guys! It’s been a pleasure running circles around defences and getting run over by crazy bald headed aggros. I’ve seen determination and the willingness to head advice and learn. What more can I ask for?

Spent most of Sunday at the Melbourne Uni Open Day with Tim and Chris. We went around uni talking to random people informing them about our Christian group (Studentlife) and just chatting to them about what they thought about God. It took quite a great deal of courage to approach random pple and talk to them, but I think the 3 of us helped to build boldness in each other. I love the God-devoted servant hearts in these 2 blokes. They encourage me so much!

Went out with quite a few people last night to celebrate Josh’s 16th! I can’t believe he’s only 16 -.-“ I didn’t know what Sector 9 was about. When I got to Westfield, they told me that it was an alien movie -.-“” I started to grow a disgust against alien movies after watching Knowing and The War of the Worlds. I didn’t expect much from Sector 9, but it turned out to be a delightful mix of action, thriller, COMEDY, and Sci-fi. It was a very unique movie, so ridiculous at times that I couldn’t help but burst out in laughter. I rate it an 8/10. It’s got a amusement factor of 10 despite that rather mediocre storyline.

Box Hill. Time to get off the train!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Prac prac prac...

I just finished my most stressful prac exam by far. I wasn't confident at all walking into the exam room. But I walked out with a brimming with a smile of relief knowing the God had, without a doubt, pulled me out of this one.

My examiner, Kirsten (not her real name), was so lenient towards me! She was practically throwing marks at me. She kindly corrected my many mistakes and showered me with wave over wave of encouragement. When she showed me my score sheet at the end (she's not meant to do that), I was shocked when she gave me 9/9 for my exercise component! haha! My exercises were good, but my communication was jittery due to my lack of confidence. Nevertheless, she gave me awesome marks.

I never expected this.

Thank you, Kirsten.

Thank you, God! :)
I know that you'll never let me down if i put you first above ALL ELSE - exams, friends, wealth, health.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is Grass Really Green?

"The grass is always greener on the other side...
If only our eyes weren't so firmly fixed on the other side
We'd notice that there's actually grass on our side
Really?
Yes, lush green grass..."

It's been raining incessantly over the past few weeks and the blades of grass on my lawn are starting to surpass me in terms of height. I peered out the window during breakfast one morning and was amazed at the rich green colour of grass...

Grass has always been green.. so have the leaves on the trees.

I've just never been able to appreciate it. Colour.

I thank God for putting colour into this world - to make it bright and vibrant. Can you imagine a world without colour?! How dull and gloomy would it be?!

The Yee's dropped by my place last night while waiting for Dani to finish worship prac nearby. It's been a long time since I last had a proper chat to Elysia. I remember her begging me to tickle the soles of her feet. It's peculiar. She's gets a relaxing sensation instead of a ticklish one. Anyway, I was shocked when she said that she was in Year 5! I never noticed that there was a massive 9 year gap between us! haha! I just assumed that she was older cuz she used to have a maturity that was way beyond her years.

"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." - Colossians 4:6 NIV

Today's devotion was apt. I've been praying for Godly wisdom on how to respond to awkwardly satirical/insulting comments. I've been receiving a lot of that recently, and I'm sure a lot of people get it too. I've had conversations like these recently:

"I hate it when people talk about their religion and try to convert others. I respect that they have their own beliefs, but they should keep them to themselves."

"Are you a religious person?"

"So are you saying that I'm going to hell if I don't believe in Jesus?"

"You're stupid for wanting to go back to Singapore for National Service."

"You should just quit doing Physiotherapy if you don't like it."

Some of these comments are very hurting, especially when they come from friends that I care for. Nevertheless, Paul reminds us to be "full of GRACE" and to let our words be "seasoned with SALT" (that is, to be with purpose and meaning).

Frankly, it's difficult to respond with Grace in every situation and it takes a mountain of wisdom to be able to season our words with purpose and meaning. That's where humility comes in. I pray that God would grant me humility to consider everyone as more important than I, and for Godly wisdom/salt to season my words with.

I want to make a commitment to be careful with my words.

I've got a Physiotherapy paper to sit for at 2.15pm this arvo. I'm only half prepared for it.. but I'm just gonna entrust it to God. There's no use worrying about it now. I'm not happy with the effort that I put into this subject this semester.. and naturally, I'd want to make a commitment to do better next sem. But I shan't do that... it takes the meaning out of a "commitment". What I will do is to pray for God to grant me a genuine interest in this subject.. and to find joy in learning new concepts.

It's a cold day today. Hopefully it'll make the uncool people feel a little cooler, and blow humble chill on those who're obsessed with being hot.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Conclusion of the Matter

I've only made 8 posts in the last 6 months! That's just appallingly lazy. I stopped blogging because I thought there wasn't really much to blog about; and there were a lot more "interesting" and "meaningful" things to do than blogging. Nevertheless, I've been inspired by Jon to continue blogging. He seems to find a lot of encouragement from my previous blog posts; and I'm truly grateful that God can use the previous pages of my life story in such a fulfilling way.

I have a morbid feeling deep in my gut, almost a sense of fear, that the past few months in my life has been very uneventful, a complete waste of time. But I know that there ARE heaps of memories that I can thank God for everyday. I want to cherish these moments. I want to seal them away in a safe place where I can always find hope and encouragement through them in the future.

I came across a beautiful psalm yesterday:

"O Lord, you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely,
O Lord. You hem me in - behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me."

"Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths,
You are there.
If I rise on wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast."

"For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well."


"My frame was not hidden from you
When I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
You eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
Were written in your book
Before one of them came to be."

"Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting."

- Excerpts from Psalm 139

Wow! What a beautiful psalm! God knew our frame and the very nature of our souls before we were born. God has planned every day of our lives and has written them in his book!

This is reason to celebrate each day with everything that it entails - whether it be "eventful" or "boring". I will rejoice for this is the day that the Lord has made!

I was doing some last minute studying before, but I felt this sudden urge within me to stop and hop onto my email. There was an email of encouragement from Jon about being faithful with the talents that God has blessed us with. He's always sending these exhorting emails that never fail to inspire me. I'm grateful that God has entrusted Jon to me as a disciple, and I truly pray that God will continue to embolden his spirit and empower him with Godly strength.

I've gotta rush off to sit for my exam. But I was thinking about this today.. how I really detest studying. I believe it's a wrong attitude that has to be corrected. I pray that God will enable to me really enjoy and embrace learning about the interesting aspects of his creation.

God Bless! :)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Quotes...

Whenever I come across a good quote, I write it down on stickies in the hope that I'll do something useful with them some time in the future. I'm cleaning up my table now and I just thought I'd post them up online before I throw the stickies away.

-

" People can be loud, demanding, rude when they are in need but behind that wall of 'look' and 'manner' lie the unmistakably perfect masterpiece of the Creator - a human being with thoughts and feelings" - Mink

-

"After a while, I just don't care much if this church is Baptist or Pentecostal, for we all worship one God - that is Christ Jesus. I think our Lord is a very creative Person, and He wouldn't pick only one colour because it'd be a little too boring for Him." - Mink

-

"Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater. If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby. If you give her a house, she'll give you a home. If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal. If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart. She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her. So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit." - an email from Sha

-

"I don't think he likes me anymore... I mean, me and Jan!"
- Ann Lee Chin

-

"Yum! Andrea's birthday cake is so nice! It's better than Julia's!"
- Ann Lee Chin

*She didn't realise Julia was right beside her* -.-"

-

This week's been pretty easy-going.. not too stressed with work (although the exams are around the corner and I should really be getting stuck into my books). The most annoying part of my week is having to nurse my hip. I still don't know what it is.. probably a minor fracture.

Everyone seems to be getting injured. My mum decided to go play badminton with my Dad at Grace church last night. She hadn't played sport in a VERY LONG time and, hence, she was unfit. Not long after Sha and I came back from our soccer training session, we received a call from mum saying that she thinks that she might have torn her Achilles tendon -.-""

I assessed her when she got back and confirmed that she'd a complete rupture -.-" I felt really helpless as a Physio student because I couldn't do anything to treat her.

I've been procrastinating since 10am this morning.. I better get back to work.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nat!

Thank you, Lord for your Son.
Thank you for this day
And for all the ups and downs it brings
For the ups because they bring joy;
They give vibrancy and meaning to an otherwise dull life
For the downs because they help me see You clearly
They are the foundation for Hope
I cherish the times that I can rest in Your strength
It's through them that I get to know You better
It's in them that I feel... Strong.

19/5/09

The highlight of my weekend was receiving a letter from Nat! Frankly, I was quite disappointed with her first letter which I received 2 weeks ago because it was impersonal. This one, on the other hand, was real and sincere! She even drew pictures for each of us (Gab, Haney, Grace, and I). I'm gonna scan it and upload later on.

The lowlight would be getting injured during Sunday futsal. The opposition were agitated as we came from 2 goals down to leave them chasing us with 2 minutes to go at 5-3. Amidst all of that, some dude cleaned me up from behind after I took a shot. I lost my balance and landed abruptly on my behind (Dad reckons I should stop using the word "arse"). It's worse than I thought.. i think I might have done a hairline fracture to my hip joint. Pain shoots up my back whenever I try to run or squat. Oh well, looks like I'm out of action for 2 weeks.

I was pretty frustrated on the sidelines as I watched my futsal team bow out over penalties after a ridiculous 1-1 draw to Nigel's team -.-""" They weren't that good.. we were just disappointing..

Oh yes, I'll be going for a MRI brain scan today! Hope they don't find anything wrong with me!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Cold Autumn Morning

I like breathing out a mist with every breath. It gives expiration an interesting twist, and it reminds me that I’m still respiring. Breathing is such an automatic process; a life-giving necessity that we take for granted. How many times in our busy day do we actually get to give our autonomic system a break and take a voluntary breath?

I’m glad that I’ve stopped to take a breath this chilly morning. Winter’s just around the corner and it’s making its presence felt already. There’s a cold front beaming over Melbourne this entire week with heavy showers and an average daily temperature range of 5-13 degrees. COLD! Rain hammered down incessantly through the night and it has left almost everything wet – the grass on South lawn, that leaves of the trees, the roads, the signboards, the statue in front of Ballieu library, even the person walking past me; somehow all rubbed shoulders with the phenomenon of falling clouds we call “rain”.

I got to Melbourne Uni really early this morning and the libraries aren’t open till 8.30am so I thought I’d blog for a bit. It’s a hobby of mine that I’ve neglected for a significant while. It feels so peaceful seated on a ledge just in front of the Ballieu library just admiring the berth of the sun’s rays greeting the green grass with a warm hug. I envy the grass… wouldn’t it be cool to wake up to a warm hug each cold winter morning?

Life’s been a little puzzling to me over the last month or so. I’m beginning to catch a glimpse of what Solomon meant when he said that everything on earth is futile; a “chasing after the wind”. Sports – I love soccer but the joy and fulfillment that it brings only lasts for bouts of 90 minutes, and it’s severely limited in its magnitude. The same concept applies to music and movies. There’s definitely more to life than sports, music, and movies. There are parties happening every weekend – people drink, dance, and get wasted – a fun night where you don’t have to feel responsible for your actions; a night lost in the drug highs of alcohol. Is life only about time-fillers that bring temporary joy.

The only thing in life that seems to have value is relationship. Through the course of this week, I found myself thanking God for the friends He's given me and all the fun (although temporary) that we shared together.

I need a real meaning and purpose in my life. I want something, someone to live for...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Need You, Lord...

"I will lift up my eyes to the hills-
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth."
- Psalm 121: 1-2

I've been treading through a vast desert of spiritual dryness over the past few months. They're some of the most difficult times I've ever been through. Not long ago, I began to lose my passion and love for serving God. I admit to being extremely sloppy and unmotivated in serving Fungus - and i am sorry.

I've been feeling an unexpected sense of utter spiritual dryness. I seek God through his Word, prayer, and worship.. but I don't feel the sense of fulfillment that I had been receiving in the past. It's been very dejecting, and honestly, I've been lingering on the verge of depression.

I struggled intensely within my mind trying to rationalise why I wasn't "feeling" God; why I felt so distant from my friends; why I didn't feel comfortable with people, and why I felt so broken and left out of the world. I found myself getting increasingly susceptible to sin; I was giving in to lusts and I was seeking fulfillment in many other places. Guilt started to overwhelm me, and it compounded my separation from God.

While I was worshiping God on Easter Sunday morning, I was hit with an epiphany. I gained a new perspective of how innately sinful I am; of how unworthy I was to worship God; and yet He loves me. I reflected on my actions over the last few months, and I finally realised what God was teaching me.

I was oblivious to the fact that whilst I was seeking God, I was also seeking validation and fulfillment through my friendships, television, and soccer. Whenever I felt down, I would feel a deep craving to vent my bottled-up emotions on the soccer pitch. Whenever I was bored or depressed, I'd pop myself in front of the TV to watch movies or a soccer match. Whenever I needed encouragement, I would go on Facebook or Hotmail hoping to receive a comment or an email of exhortation. When I needed validation, I'd ask a few friends out for a coffee or a movie.

Although many of these things are perfectly fine, they only temporarily filled a void that only seemed to be getting deeper with each bout of false fulfillment.

I realised that through the last 4 years, I had subconsciously been seeking fulfillment in other relationships, be it with friends or sport, rather than in my relationship with God!

I'm still trying to find my feet on God's path for me, and I pray that He will renew my love for serving Him.

-

On a lighter note, Gab left for Singapore last night to begin his 2 year stint in the army. My bet is that he'll pick up a Singaporean girl and bring her back! :)
If you're reading this, I wish you a joyful time in the army.. remember to KEEP PRAYING... i'll be praying for you too, bro! :)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Report: Thailand Mission Trip

I wrote a report on our mission trip to Thailand for FGA's monthly magazine.

I thought I'd put it up:

“My expression towards the end of the trip was like the total opposite to my expression at the start of the trip... in the beginning I was like, all apathetic and stuff and towards the end I was like a hyperactive jihad man of hilarity and doom.” – Andrew Au

I have never seen a change in anyone that can match up to Andrew’s incredibly inspiring conversion from a nihistic pessimist chained down by many years of self-alienation and isolation into a wittingly hilarious man who has gained acceptance and a sense of belonging in Christ.
As the trip progressed, the group continually showed Andrew that he was valued and very well loved. Our numerous meaningful conversations allowed Andrew to open up and reveal the internal conflicts and struggles that he faced. He told us that it was a fear of rejection, coupled with his inability to trust others, which was the underlying reason for his self-alienation. I remember telling him that we chatted to him and prayed for him not because we had to, but because we genuinely love him. I could see that he did not believe me at the start, but our continual acts of love eventually convinced him. The love of Christ enabled him to “break free” from his shell of bondage and rediscover his exceedingly entertaining sense of humour.
Our mission trip to Thailand stands as a fervent testament of God’s faithfulness. His hand was with us from the beginning to the end of the trip; continually filling our hearts with courage and encouragement.

Our pioneering mission trip for Fungus consisted of a team of 7 lead by Quentin Loke. Despite the small size of the team, there was a contrasting array of different personalities in the persons of Gabriel Goh, Haney Kang, Grace Ling, Andrew Au, Brian, Quentin Loke, and Isaac. Some were very out-going and enthusiastic, whilst others preferred to keep to themselves. We had several training sessions and fundraisers prior to the trip. However, the stigma of formality and stark personality clashes were obstacles that restricted us from getting to know each other genuinely. Personally, I felt that it was going to be a difficult challenge to generate synergy within the group through deep friendships.

Against all my expectations, God filled our group with great joviality and unity. Everyone seemed genuinely interested in sharing their lives and struggles with the others; while the others seemed even more interested to listen. Our morning devotions were a particular highlight for me. Regardless of the topic, we could sense a strong presence of the Holy Spirit within our midst speaking to us. We would share with open hearts and in complete trust. I can still remember the powerful prayers that we prayed over one another – I felt encouraged and my spirit was joyful within me because of our love for one another demonstrated through fervent prayer.
God blessed our fellowship. Our trip to north-eastern Bangkok was a 10 hour van ride. During the ride, he filled our conversations with heart-wrenching humour. Andrew and Haney had deep philosophical discussions concerning ethics and food wastage that were simply hilarious. There was no end to the laughter and noise within the van.

Compassion runs projects in various towns in Thailand. Each project consists of a church, a multi-purpose area, and a canteen. The Compassion staff overseeing each project consist of a minimum of 1 pastor, 1 director, 2 child workers, 2 teachers, and a cook (food is essential!). We spent most of our time at project TH-422 in a town called “XXX” northeast of Bangkok. I can still remember the sheer excitement on the faces of the children upon our first arrival. There were two major highlights during my stay at TH-422.

Firstly, I got to meet my sponsor child, Nat. Gabriel, Grace, Haney and I decided to sponsor a child for $44/month a month prior to the mission trip. What I had regarded as a mere donation to a charitable foundation turned out to be a gift of love to someone I genuinely care for. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to meeting Nat, yet an overwhelming sense of excitement filled my heart when I first saw her. She was beautiful! She had silky brown hair, hazel eyes that emanated innocence, and a smile that made my heart go soft and feeble. We got to know her more of the span of two days. Our interaction was interesting because of the language barrier – she couldn’t understand English, while we were as good as deaf to her. We communicated through the use of verbal “noises”, facial gestures, hand signs, and pointing to objects. She loved taking pictures with our cameras – she made a significant contribution to the 3,500+ photos we captured on the trip collectively. I remember the joy on her face whenever we gave her a hug or performed a funny gesture. My heart was, in turn, filled with an inexpressible joy accompanied by a sense of complete fulfilment. By God’s grace, I had brought some joy into someone’s life!

We visited Nat’s home to get a first-hand experience of her lifestyle. Her father works as a janitor at the local school while her mum sells food by the roadside. They live with Nat’s grandmother at the moment, but they are in the process of saving up for a house of their own. It was comforting to know how our small contribution of $44/month helped give Nat an education and food for most of the week. However, our hearts were wrenched when we heard about the 3,000 baht (AUD 150) loan her mother had to take up to buy a rice-cooker, other essentials and contingency food for the family. We felt compelled to help, so we relieved them of their debt. In just two days, I developed a strong bond of love for Nat despite the fact that I wasn’t able to mutter a single comprehensible word to her. I think about her even till this day, and I still pray for her.

Sponsoring a child and visiting them makes a real difference in their life; it is by far, the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Being able to put a smile on a face that has been disfigured by poverty brings a transcendental joy and a fulfilment like no other. I urge you, as reflectors of Jesus’ love, to sponsor a child and make a difference in their life.

I developed an extreme admiration for the compassion staff (pastors, translators, child workers, cooks, etc.). I admired them because they had made a decision to sacrifice their lives to spend every day showing God’s love to children who so desperately need it. I envied them because they had such meaning and purpose in their lives. My admiration for them peaked into action. I want to spend every single day God grants me showing his love to others – there’s nothing more fulfilling than that! Each compassion staff had unknowingly inspired me through their selfless actions to live selflessly.

The second highlight of the trip was the way the Holy Spirit swept through the room as we worshipped and praised our Almighty God. We were to lead the youth group program on that Sunday – we had a skit prepared, a few worship songs in mind, and I was to deliver a message. To our folly, we were severely unprepared: we made significant amendments to the casting of our skit the night before; we were unsure of how we were to overcome the language barrier in worship; I changed my intended message entirely at 12am the night before as I felt lead by the Spirit. We were nervous out our skin as we gathered for devotions that Sunday morning. Significantly, Quentin shared about the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and acknowledging that we can’t do anything by our own efforts apart from Christ. I remember us praying fervently for the Spirit to empower us and to grant us faith that day.

When we got to the project (TH-422), we were still unprepared. We were still nervous. God was priming our hearts up for His grand entrance. Against the odds, we managed to pull off our skit in an understandable fashion, and I believe my message spoke to a few in the audience. But what I remember most is the worship. We were eager for the youths to worship in their tongue, but we didn’t know any Thai Christian songs! Minutes prior to the worship session, we recalled hearing their guitarist playing the tunes of “One Way” and “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord”. We decided to sing those songs. Worship started off on a slow pace but it grew into a blazing furnace (physically and spiritually!) within minutes. Quentin, Grace and I started jumping to the tune of “One way, Jesus” and a couple of the others followed. Grace then explained that we were jumping because we were excited about praising God, and that God would be pleased with us when He sees us worshipping him with such enthusiasm and passion. Once that said, the kids, aged 7-17, started jumping and praising God at the top of their lungs! They sang in Thai, while we sang in English. There was no stopping them. They held our hands and jumped with us, praising God amidst all their troubles. There was no stopping them; we repeated the songs over and over again until we were too tired to continue. The presence of the Holy Spirit was remarkably strong in that place. I know that hearts were convicted and lives were changed. God had raised the level of worship to whole new dimension. I can picture the day when “every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!”

The trip to Thailand was nothing short of life changing for me. I experienced what it truly means to find joy in the midst of tribulations, to worship God and rejoice in his sovereignty in the midst of real poverty. The significance of my problems paled in comparison to those experienced by these Thai children – I pray that my reaction to trials may be similar to theirs. Above all, this trip has given me a glimpse of what it truly means to be living each day for God; to show his love to anyone every day. I’m motivated to love my friends and my adversaries in sport, in university, in Fungus, in church, and at home. God has sparked a little flame within me; a desire to do some sort of mission work in the future. I know it’s more than a possibility. Lastly, I thank God for all the deep bonds of friendship that were woven tightly during the course of the trip. I know they will stand the test of time.

I strongly encourage you to take up the chance to go on a mission trip should the opportunity present itself.

Isaac
A Fool For Christ

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

09.03.09

I haven't haven't had to time to just relax and write my thoughts down. I came out of a difficult cardiorespiratory lecture. I was intending to do a little more catch up study so that I can finally get up to date; but I now find myself lounging in the Frank Tate. My mind feels utterly exhausted; like a race car after a continuous 48 hour race. It's been relentless from 8am this morning till now. I need a break.

My head feel sore from fatigue. I don't feel like blogging about anything that requires me to think. I'm going to write whatever comes to my mind.

I'm grateful for the peace that I can experience when I just sit back, relax, and close my eyes - not worrying about anything. No cystic fibrosis, no pleura, no ARDS, no pulsus paradoxus, nothing but silence.

I thank God for my friends. A whole heap of them are having their birthdays in March! We celebrated Gab's 18th last night. We had dinner at The Booth (like we used to in the past) last night. I'll never forget how we tied him to the basketball pole and creamed/vegemited/egged him all over. He was a helpless white platter of whipped cream stinking of Vegemite. We thought it was all over until Gab managed to rip the tape around his wrist to break free. All hell broke loose! He went around creaming/vegemiting the instigators with the cream/vegemite on his body. I had a taste of my own medicine too.. but I was glad to share in the mess. I hope you had a memorable night, Gab!

I've got my driving test booked in for tomorrow! I'm finally going to get my P's! (That's IF i pass). I can still remember getting driven by my dad and grand dad while I was young. I've always had this inate desire to take over the wheel - driving gives me a heightened sense of freedom. I can go anywhere I want without having to trouble my parents. I don't have to waste time waiting on the inefficient public transport system. Yep, Nicole's agreed to take me to Vic Roads for my driving test cuz my parents will be busy entertaining the Balmers (who've just arrived from America). She's such a helpful person. I'm gonna carve a medal out of pure gold for her for her 80th birthday.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thailand Mission Trip













This post is long overdue. I wanted to blog about it before Uni started, but i couldn't find a right time and the right frame of mind to write. After a hectic first week of Uni, I'm convinced that if I don't blog about my amazing trip to Thailand tonight, I'll probably not do it at all. Hence, I've put all my books aside tonight to reflect on my life-changing trip to Thailand.

Qynn lead a group of us - Gab, Grace, Andrew, Haney, Brian and myself - on a 12 day mission trip to the North-eastern part of Bangkok, Thailand. I don't intend to invent the cure to insomnia, so I'll just blog about the breathtaking significant highlights of my trip.

Grace's Miracle

We had done 2 months of fund raising and preparation for worship, skits, teaching, games, etc. We were set to leave for Thailand on the Tues 13th of Jan, only to be notified at the airport that it was impossible for Grace to fly with us on that day! All international flights require a minimum validity period of 6 months, but her Malaysian passport only had 3 months!

Our cheerful and expectant moods were absolutely CRUSHED. Our enthusiasm was replaced with uncertainty and panic in just an instant. It's amazing how quickly the tides can change. Grace was a VITAL of our team - she had done heaps of preparation for the skits, the games, and the worship sessions. We would have struggled greatly without her. Qynn spoke to the manager, made several phone calls to the embassy, etc. He was desperately trying all he could to get Grace on that flight - but God had other plans for her.

Reluctantly, we got on the plane to Thailand without Grace. The 7 hour flight was torturious for Qynn because he couldn't do anything except to pray and to trust God - we were all forced to have faith in God and to trust in his sovereignty. I learnt a lesson too: many times we SAY that we trust God, but immediately after saying so we strategise and act to solve the problem ourselves. I've got to learnt to REALLY place the situation in its ENTIRETY in God's hands; and just sit and wait on the Lord in silence.

"And God was faithful..." He allowed Grace to join us 3 days later on the Thursday; just in time for all the real action! It was great having her around, I personally got to know her a lot more. I find her to have an extremely helpful spirit, and a teachable heart. I couldn't imagine the trip without her.

Nat

The absolute highlight of my trip would definitely be getting to meet my sponsor kid, Nat. Gab, Grace, Haney, and myself donate $44/month to Compassion to provide for her education and some food. However, we didn't know her personally, and it felt like we were just donating to a generic charity.

Meeting Nat transformed my sympathetic "donation" of $11/month into a life-long commitment of true and genuine love. I still remember meeting Nat for the first time at project TH-422. That adorable 6 year old girl with light brown silky hair, eyes of perfect innocence, and a sweet smile that makes krispy kreme doughnuts taste bland.

Despite the language barrier, we had a lot of fun with Nat. We would communicate with her mainly through hand signs and facial expressions. She LOVED our cameras. She loved taking photos with us. She loved taking photos of herself too! That was really cute!

We visited her family at their home one evening. Her mum sells food by the road and her dad is a janitor at the local school. They're too poor to afford a house, so they currently live in a small room in her grandmum's house; and sometimes they stay in a provisional house provided by the school for her dad when he works late shifts. We feel compassionate and somber as we toured around her house. Her mum showed us 6 concrete pillars already erected in their backyard which were the foundations of their future house. They're currently trying to save up enough money to finance the materials and the construction. I was distressed when she told us that she had to take up a 3000 baht (~$150 AUD) loan to buy a rice cooker and food for the family. So the four of us (Gab, Grace, Haney, myself) decided to pay the debt off for them - just to relief them of the interest burden.

I remember taking her out to dinner twice. She'd always order the Thai fried rice - I think that's her favourite. She'd always get her food before me, and I would tease her by acting like I was hungry to see if she would offer me her food. haha! She just stare at me with innocence topped with a hint of cute annoyance. I remember feeding her with the "aeroplane routine". She absolutely loved that! I even got her to feed Gab with the "aeroplane". haha!
video
Nat's fortunate to have 4 sponsor parents because that meant that she was to receive presents from each of us! Gab bought her a special towel from Disneyland that expands when you soak it in water from the size no bigger than two 50 cent coins to a full-sized face towel. Nat was VERY excited about that! haha! It was probably her first time witnessing "magic". I remember her picking it up from the jug of water and walking off briskly without saying a word. We all looked to each other in shock at her poor mannerisms, only to realise that she was drying the towel in the sun! haha! I love that girl. She's got this shy attitude about her that really intrigues me. She's really shy initially and that makes it hard to win her trust. But she's just so adorable once she opens up to you.

Grace got her a recorder and Haney got her a barbie doll. I got her some crayons, coloured pencils, markers, and a drawing book - everything she needed to wield her creative prowess. Our hearts melted when she opened the drawing book immediately and started drawing a picture of us (she only drew Grace, really). She drew her red dress and the buttons on it without even taking a 2nd look at Grace!!! That's amazing! I couldn't have done that! haha! And she topped it off by writing: "Nat loves her (sponsor) dads and mums" in Thai. She stole my heart then, and it's been with her ever since. I love her. I think about her everyday. I pray for her everyday.

Andrew's Amazing Adjustment

Andrew's complete transformation is the most radical one I've witnessed. Prior to the trip, many would have labelled him as "anti-social" or "disinterested in socialising". I personally tried to chat to him in Fungus, but I found myself confronting a brick wall of single-word answers. Even during the bonding sessions prior to the trip, there was some obvious tension between Haney's enthusiastic fervour and Andrew's indignant attitude. I remember this convo:

Haney: So Andrew, have you got any prayer requests?

Andrew: No, my life is perfect.

Haney: Nor-ma-gi-le!!!!!!!!!

Through the trip, Andrew started to open up. He really is funny and talkative by nature, but several things have supressed that through all these years confining him to a hermit shell of alienation: Alienation to reprise the Fear of Rejection. There were many glimpses of his amazing hilarity (I LOVE his jokes!! And the way he gets on Haney's nerves all the time!!) and he started to open up to us in devotions. There was a point when he even agreed to do a mock-up serenade to Haney! He sang "Fall For You" by Secondhand Serenade for her with the most hilarious gestures! Unforrunately, the video's too huge to upload, but i'll see what I can do! :P

It was really encouraging to see him get involved in our activities with the kids, and to hear him pray with such sincerity. Nevertheless, he would always revert to his alienative self once in a while.

It was not until the 2nd last day when we were all having a real conversation that the real change happened. Andrew told us the reasons why he had been so "anti-social" in the past, and how he didn't see the value in developing our friendship when he's going to be in Adelaide for the next 5 years or so. I know it sounds pretty gay, but I told him that we weren't being friends just because we had to on this mission trip. We were friends that prayed for each other because we genuinely loved and cared for him. I don't think he believed me right away that night.. but I'm sure it simmered in because he was just a completely new person the next day! haha!

Qynn, Gab and I bought him a makeover at a high-class hair salon. Hence, his new hardcore hairstyle. That cost us 1300 baht! The most hilarious thing was when he wore the Mr. Jihad T-shirt that I bought him through the customs and onto the plane back to Australia!!! LOL!!!!!!! That was classic! He even wore it through the Aussie customs!

Andrew, you're a legend. Don't ever forget that, bro! :)


TO BE CONTINUED...

Kids at TH-422

Compassion plants one project in each poor region,I'll never forget the innocent faces of the kids at the project. They were so excited to see us when he got there.


Food!


Worship


Mink


Hilarity TV in the Van


Prayer: Adjustment of Faith


TH-421



Motivation

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

I need Strength..

It's been too long since I last blogged. I've been wanting to do a massive blog post about my mission trip to Thailand; but I've been too busy with packing my room and sorting other things out. Amidst all that, I think I'm going through a rather important time in my life right now where I'm evaluating where God's leading me this year and in the future.

I didn't want to blog, but I'm been inspired to do so by Jon's encouraging emails elaborating excerpts from my previous blog posts! I'm truly grateful for such a friend like Jon. He's overwhelmingly encouraging. He's the only person I know that would search the archives of my blog for inspiration and encouragement. Hence, I've decided to share what I wrote in my journal today. It's a rather long post about how God's spoke to me specifically today:

" Sha and I had our first driving lesson today. We got our instructor, Susanne, through a recommendation by the Hoe's. Susanne alerted me to all the knitty-gritty things that I negligently overlook when I drive casually - to the extent that I got nervous before every maneuver. Nevertheless, I started to get the hang of driving cautiously and getting into the habit of making pronounced headchecks and mirror checks. I finally learned the proper technique for the 3-point turn and the reverse parallel park. They're very simple low-speed maneuveres really.

My willingness to be completely detachd from Fungus/101, coupled with my immense apprehension about joining Vive; shaken together thoroughly; sprinkled with my enthusiastic eagerness about treading the unfamiliar and daunting grounds of University minitry through Studentlife; has been an overwhelming burden upon my weary heart, mind and soul.

Vive is the uni-group in my home church, Crossway Baptist. And I rightfully should be part of and serving in it. However, my apprehension is greatly due to the drastic culture difference between Vive and Fungus. Vive is a lemon cake sprinkled with sesame seeds; while Fungus is a tasty mudcake with the most stringent spray of icing. Obviously, they taste completely different: it would take a great deal of confidence, motivation, and perseverance to overcome the inertia of learning to love lemon cake.

Fungus, on the other hand, is a place I feel at home. I sincerely love the people in it. I grew up in Fungus. I am part of it. And it definitely possesses a significant portion of my being. People like Qynn, Chris, John, Gab, Shaun, Nick, Aud, Alv, Sonjia, Lashes, Ruth, Jon, Franny, Pete, Vernis and Nicole have had great influences on my life; they have no doubt helped to shape me into who I am this day. I am eternally grateful. I've been serving as a Fungus leader for a year now, and I'm loving it. I feel that God has primed me up by giving me an opportunity to be part of the core leadership so that I can contribute greatly to the growth of Fungus this year. However, my parents feel that the greater church, FGA, has got flawed biblical teachings and would prove an unsuitable church to be part of. Hence, they have warned me not to continue serving, or being part of, a ministry in FGA. My parents are great, God-fearing, bible-studying, people-loving, Jesus-following people whom I respect greatly. So I take their opinions with considerable importance. And frankly, that is a tough nut for me to swallow. I wouldn't even call it a nut, it's more like a massive durian with razor sharp stainless steel spikes. I know it's going to hurt if I swallow it; I might even bleed. I know I will bleed.

About Studentlife. During my short mission trip to Thailand, God convicted my heart about doing something that significantly changes LIVES with my life. I was inspired by Mink, Prue, Alexandra, and all the other Compassion staff (interpreters, child workers, teachers, cooks, pastors, etc.) They've committed their lives to serving Christ in their profession - and in some way to bring joy and hope into the lives of poverty-stricken children. They have seized a marvellous opportunity to show the unconditional and unfailing love of God to those who would listen! Seeing the overwhelming joy that permeats through the childrens' smiles and actions because of our acts of love, brings such joy and warmth to my innermost being. It makes me feel as though my life was well-spent; truly meaningful. What could be more rewarding than to spend everyday sharing and multiplying the love of Christ to poverty-stricken children who would ever so openly receive it?!

That has inspired me to share that same love, the Love of God, to people in uni. I remember seeing somewhat of a vision of a group of enthusiastic CHristians worshipping God on a stage right in the middle of South Lawn. And everyone who walked past glanced by in awe and amazement. There's nothing we can do to save souls; but I envisaged the Holy Spirit flowing ever so strongly in that place to touch and convict the deepest parts of everyone that looked on. So much so that they too would worship the Lord our God. I foresaw a new revolution - a love revolution totally devoted to Jesus Christ.

Honestly, I lack faith, although I do beleive that it is possible. Hence, my worry; my anxiety; my doubt.

As I worshipped God just then, he subtly put images into my mind about what he wanted me to do in each of these 3 ministries this year.

Vive was first. As I sang, the theme of me surrendering my life to the will of God came up over and over again. now I know that altohugh it makes no sense to learn to eat lemon cake, God is saying: "Trust in Me."

O Lord, would you please have your way in me. I humbly offer my life to you. Give me confidence and strength by the power of your Holy Spirit.

Studentlife was second. I began to think about gathering all the Christian friends I knew in Uni and uniting us all. God put names into my heart to invite to Studentlife's kick-off camp: Alv, Aud, Chris, NIgel, Ven, Tim, Nic, etc. I thank God for showing me the first stop to take in making a difference in Uni.

I pray, O Lord, that you'd continue to grant me wisdom and vision from your Holy Spirit.

I didn't expect it: Fungus was third! God caused me to think about the lack of passion in the leadership; and what I could offer to it. I thought about the opportunity I would have to further encourage people like Jon, Franny, Harold, Tony, etc. And even to mentor the Assistant Leaders like Shaun. I take this as a clear sign that I should remain serving in Fungus.

I'm glad that you answered when I sought you, Lord. Forgive me of my short-comings and grant me strength."


I'll blog about my trip to Thailand tmr should time permit! :)