Saturday, April 23, 2005

When You Thought It Wouldn't Happen To You...

I realise that whenever I think of something that doesn't happen to me, it happens! The Murphy's Law at work. Here are some examples...

  • My mom was admitted to hospital long time ago, and I wondered to myself, "Hmmm, what does it feel like to be living in a hospital?" Before you knew it, I was admitted for 8 days for an injury I sustained on my back.
  • I wouldn't fall in love again! .... and I did.
  • I wouldn't fall out of love anymore! ... and I did.
  • I was thinking to myself the other day, how come my housemate is so prone to car accidents while it doesn't happen to me often. On that very day, I banged into someone's car.
  • "It's been a long time since I've been sick!", you've guessed it! I'm having flu and sore throat right now. :(
  • "I wonder if this only happens to me?" ... still waiting for you to comment! *wink*

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Unity in Serving God's House...

I was so blessed last night by Pr. Foo's sermon that I would like to share it with you. I flew back from Singapore last evening and arrived at the airport around 6.30pm. By the time I passed the customs, it was already 7pm. I had to rush to church for our monthly Music & Worship Ministry Nite where we congregate together as a corporate body of worshippers to worship the Almighty. Pr. Foo started off by asking us what make us want to join the Worship Ministry. And what was the role that we play in the Worship Ministry? I thought that I it felt good worshipping the Lord and that the Lord sure feels good when we worship Him. When Pr. Foo asked about the role that we play, my mind was thinking along the lines about the worship team being able to see the glory of God's presence being magnified in His people. To my amazement, that was what Pr. Foo started the sermon with!

The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the Lord was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.
- 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 (NIV)
We dream to see the day where we would experience the glory of God filling the church. So strong that "priests" could not perform their service, the worship leader unable to sing another chorus, the guitarist unable to strum another chord, the pastor unable to preach another word. The presence of the Lord is so strong that you just can't help but stand in awe and worship Him. I long to see that day. How about you? In Tommy Tenney's book God Chasers, he started the chapter with a description of what happened on one fine Sunday where the Lord visited them. The word "glory" in Hebrew, is kabowd (HT3519), which means, glorious, abundance, splendour and reverence. When the glory of God is so strong that it weighs on you. It sits on you until you can't do anything. Some might think that this is too far away given the situation of your church or it could be based on some circumstances within your church but that dream is not far beyond reach. What does it take for us to be carriers of God's presence? We need to first be facilitators of the presence of God in His house. Smith Wigglesworth, a great author, when approached by a man who told him, "Sir, you convict me of sin". The glory of God is so strong that it can convict people. In verse 13, it says that, "The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the Lord". In one voice they came together to give praise. Unity is where the presence of the Lord resides. Only in agreement and unity that we as worshippers can come together to experience the glory of God. In Matthew 18:19-20, it says, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them. " When there is unity, that is where the Father is. In the Chinese bible, it says, "having same heart and same mind." I thought that it is very accurate. How then can we be carriers of God's presence? Here are the 3 steps that Pr. Foo preached. 1) Agreement in spirit What is your vision that you have in leading people into worship? Pr. Foo started by asking us questions about why we worship, what is our role as a worship team. Like it or not, we are in the frontline ministry. People look at us as though they are looking at a goldfish in an aquarium. We are all goldfishes! People look at us when we worship. People look at us when we are not serving as well! So as a team, we should have a common vision to flow as a team. Learning to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and where the Holy Spirit is leading us. We might be the most talented singer on stage but we must learn to be submissive, learn to obey, learn to flow with the worship leader whom the Lord has anointed. We need to have a singleness of heart to obey the prompting and leading of the Holy Spirit. In Romans 15:6, "Then we'll be a choir, not our voices only, but our very lives singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the God and Father of our Master Jesus!" Eugene Peterson emphasizes the principle of having singleness of heart, when we as a choir which signifies that we need to be in unity, and singing in harmony in a stunning anthem to the Lord. Wow! And just as it is in 2 Chronicles 5:13, "The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to God orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to God". Eugene Peterson highlights that we are like an orchestra, a choir playing together. That is singleness of heart! 2) Let go of our own agenda "This is as practical as we can get!", says Pr. Foo. We need to work through our issues together. A very common issue that almost every church face is between the Music Ministry Team and the Audio Visual Crew. We can never agree! You are playing too loud! When we want to see God at work, we need to be moving in one voice, in unity, moving together as team. In Philippians 2:21 it says, " For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ". We have to put our differences aside and focus on working together, ushering in the presence of God. As far as worship is concern, it is not just the worship team. Everyone from the usher to the worship team to the preacher, we are all goldfishes! Everyone of us (the team) builds the worship experience for the people. In 1 Corinthians 10:24 it says, "Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others." We have to learn to help one another, extend our hand and our time in serving one another. When we set aside our agenda, we begin to define the way God defines. 3) Serving one another Serving one another has to go beyond what we do as a team. It's about our lives! Brining unity to the team is about serving one another. It's about our lives! It goes beyond our duties. From just serving with one another over the weekend but we must learn to bear each other's burden. We have to learn to invest our time and energy into peoples lives outside our ministry time. We need to learn to consider one another, stir one another and challenge one another. If something is wrong with your brother or sister, have courage to confront him or her. We need to have unity in serving God's house. Galatians 6:2, " Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. " and Hebrews 10:4, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Let us learn to carry one another's burden and spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Only then can we be united in oneness and have a singleness of heart to usher in glory of God's presence. In conclusion, let us walk together in unity, spurring one another and having the right spirit so that we can one day feel the weight of the Lord on us, on our cell groups and on our church. That we might fall down in awe of the Lord's presence. Let's press on... together!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Bringing Someone Along On Your Journey...

It's been over two years now, and I think it's time to share a little about my MAG (Mentoring and Accountability Group). I remember my manager telling me, "Ian, always remember, whatever you learn, always pass it down, this way, it becomes a learning cycle." And that was the birth of our MAG. We meet fornightly around PJ for breakfast. What do we do? We EAT! Yup, we have great fellowship together, sourcing for places around PJ for great food. But above all else, we are students of life. Learning from one another, encouraging one another as we move towards our final destination. What is success when you don't bring someone along on your journey as you try to achieve it? I think it's so important that we bring someone along on our journey. If we are having fun, wouldn't it be nice to have someone to share it with? If you are successful, wouldn't you want someone to celebrate with you? I'm so proud of each and everyone of them. Because they are learning to grow in conduct, character and attitude. Learning to be modest in their speech but exceeds in their actions. Humble, teachable and grounded firm like a rock. I hope that whatever time I have with them, it would be a time where I'm able to impact them as much as I can. That I'll be able to impart life into them. How about you? Are you bringing someone along on your journey to success? Image hosted by Photobucket.com Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Monday, April 11, 2005

The Okonomiyaki Experience...

Our worship team had a gathering at one of our singer's house. Gilbert and Yukiko graciously offered to open their house for us that night. We had Okonomiyaki which is sort of a Japanese pancake or somewhat like a murtabak. It's made mostly of cabbage and flour and some meat. And it tastes delicious! We had a great time over at Gilbert and Yuki's. Gave Evelyn a surprise belated birthday as well. What was great was that... I've became a certified chef overnight! Yup, I was busy cooking Okonomiyaki for everyone. Well, what's a good meal without an ingredient called fun so I made some of my own innovations...

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The heart shaped Okonomiyaki

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The finised product, Star-shaped Okonomiyaki for Dennis

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The Chef

It's great fun being able to bond with your team members. So if Ian can cook, so can you!

Friday, April 08, 2005

When I Was Little...

Many were blessed with my sharing during our 3-day fast and prayer. I thought it would be a good idea to post it here as well.

When I was little, my father runs a large snooker business. In his own words, he said that he has easily spent 20 years of his life concentrated within a span of under 10 years…working. He would usually leave the house early, rush home for dinner before he scurries off to work again till wee hours in the morning. Dinner time is probably the only time he gets to spend with me and that would be the time where he fulfils his duty as a father, making sure the house is in perfect harmony, scolds or punishes me when I did something wrong that day. My punishment was to stand by the corner of the house where I'd be left crying for the night. As a young man, growing up, I never had enough time to spend with my father. When my mother was led to Christ, my father had only one comment to make, "You can bring my daughters to church but not my son," since it's the male's obligation and responsibility to carry the family's name and reputation. Please do not get me wrong, as my father is humble, modest in speech but exceeds in his actions, a gentle person by nature. His infectious smile would leave no one standing and his charisma alone would make you want to know him more. Things started to take a turn when my father accepted Christ. He was the last one in the family to accept Christ. He now serves the Lord in a local church, training leaders and positively impacting the lives around him. As my father grew in maturity in the Lord, I see a growth in our relationship as well. We spend a lot of quality time together, exploring Ipoh’s fantabulous food, shopping for computer gadgetry as it was my main interest at that time, bonding with each other on father-and-son trips, lost in engaging and meaningful conversations, always focusing on the Lord and making His imprint our expression. Henri Nouwen wrote, “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advise, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. A person who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a person who cares.” That person is my father. If there is something left to be said about my father, it would be that he loves me unconditionally, embraces my dreams and desires, embodies my values and supports me during trying times. How could I but only to cherish this relationship with my father? I would not exchange it for anything in the world. He is the greatest hero in my life. Now, we do not spend as much time together as we hope we could but whatever chance that we might have, we spend it as though there's no tomorrow…

Friday, April 01, 2005


When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advise, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares. - Henri Nouwen