Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Celebrating God’s gift

Easter Special
celebrating God’s gift

Story 1

It is hard for us to fathom what the depth of God’s love is like, but let me tell you a story about human love that just might get to it. A woman came to see a world-famous plastic surgeon named Dr. Maxwell Maltz. She came to see him about her husband. She told the doctor that her husband had been injured in a fire attempting to save his parents from a burning house. He could not get to them, and they were both killed. And his face was permanently burned and disfigured. He had given up on living and had gone into hiding. He would not let anybody see him—not even his wife.
Dr. Maltz told the wife not to worry. He said, “With the great advances in modern medicine, I am confident that I can restore his face.” She explained to the doctor that her husband would not let anyone help him because he believed that god had disfigured his face to punish him for not rescuing his parents. She then made a shocking request: she said, “Doctor, I want you to disfigure my face…so I can be like him. If I can share in his pain, then maybe—just maybe—he will let me back into his life. I love him so much, and I want to be with him; and if that’s what it takes, then that’s what I am willing to do.”

Now Dr. Maltz could not agree to do this, but he was moved so deeply by her determination and her love for her husband that he got her permission to talk to her husband one last time. He went to the man’s room and he knocked on the door, but there was no answer. He knew the man was inside, so he called loudly from the door, “I know you’re in there. I know you can hear me, so I have come to tell you that my name is Dr. Maxwell Maltz, and I am a plastic surgeon. And I want you to know that I can restore your face.” There was still no response. So he knocked again and cried even louder, “Please come out and let me restore your face.” But again there was no answer. Still speaking through the door, Dr. Maltz told the man what his wife was asking him to do, “She wants me to disfigure her face…to make her face like yours in hope that you will let her back into your life—that’s how much she loves you. That’s what she wants for you. Will you let me help you?”

There was a brief moment of silence; and then, ever so slowly, the doorknob began to turn. And the door was cracked open, and out of the darkness of the room, a disfigured man came out into the light for a new beginning and a new life. He was literally set free and brought out of his hiding and given a new start because of the depth of love of his wife. That is a dramatic expression of human love in a small way that describes God’s great love for us. We human beings have had the potential of our lives scarred and disfigured by our sin. Our relationship with God is broken and, no matter how hard we try, we cannot fix this on our own. We cannot forgive our own sin. We cannot heal the disfigurement of our soul and lives. We cannot mend the broken relationship we have with God and with others; but God has done this for us. He loves us so much that He was willing to become like us and suffer for us at the Cross.


Story 2

During the Vietnam War, a young graduate of the West Point Academy was sent to Vietnam to lead a group of new recruits into battle. He had done his job well. He had tried to protect his men from ambush and death; however, one night, he and his men were overrun by a battalion of the Viet Cong. He was able to get all but one of his men to safety. The one soldier that had been left behind was severely wounded, and from their trenches the young lieutenant and his men could hear his cries for help in the middle of the night. They all knew that venturing out to go get him in the middle of that no-man’s land would mean a vicious cross-fire from the enemy and almost certain death; but the groaning and cries of the wounded soldier continued through the night.

Eventually, the endurance of the young lieutenant wavered; and he crawled out of the safe place and began to make his way out to the dying man. He got to him safely and miraculously was able to bring him back. Just as he was pushing the wounded man down into the safety of the trench, a shot rang out, hit the lieutenant in the back, and he died. Greater love has no human being than this—that he would lay down his life for his friends.

Several months later, the rescued man returned to the United States; and when the parents of the dead hero heard that he was in their area, they planned to have him come to dinner. They wanted to know the young man whose life was spared at such a great personal expense to them. On the night of the dinner party, their guest arrived drunk—he was loud and boisterous and obscene. He told off-color jokes and showed no concern for his suffering hosts. The parents of the dead hero did the best that they could to make it worthwhile, but their efforts went unrewarded. And at the end of that awful visit, the obscene guest left; and as her husband closed the door, the mother of the hero collapsed in tears. She said, “And to think our precious son died for somebody like that!”

I want you to know how great God’s love is for you and me. Jesus died for a world full of “somebodies” like that—we dare not waste it. The life of Jesus was very precious, and He gave it for you and for me. Jesus was not crucified between two candlesticks on an altar in a worship center; no, the Cross was in the middle of the messiness of life. Jesus was crucified between two thieves in a garbage heap in the middle of hate and grief, disgust and failure, blood and discouragement. The Cross of Jesus still finds its greatest power when we bring it into the broken places in our lives. The Cross of Jesus still has its greatest effect when we allow it to come into the messiest place that we have and allow ourselves to experience the grace of God.


Where will you see Jesus this week? With you meet him in the hurts and frustrations of your friends? Will you meet him while forgiving a classmate or an enemy or somebody who has done you wrong? Will you meet him while looking into the eyes of a child who wants nothing more out of you than love and acceptance? Because God is with us and for us in Jesus, how can you be with and for other people where you live and study and play this week? I will tell you how…you can do it by coming to the Cross.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Compassion Of God

Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness; He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. Psalm 112:4

People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care. Consider the case of Jesus Christ. He was the most forceful and demanding teacher who ever lived. He was the one who taught that even one’s closest family members must give way to our absolute loyalty to Him, and that a true disciple must be willing to “bear his cross” for the Master (Matt. 10:34-39). In view of such rigorous requirements, how does one account for Jesus’ amazing popularity? There can be only one answer—compassion. It was Jesus’ tremendous compassion for people that made Him an extremely attractive person. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infi rmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (KJV).

Jesus doesn’t just feel sympathy for the broken, He empathizes with us. In Mark 1:40, a leper kneeled before Him and begged, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus, “moved with compassion,” responded, “I am willing; be cleansed.” What is amazing here is the fact that while Jesus could have just spoken a word of healing over the leper, He went one step further. He stretched out His hand to touch him (1:41). For a Jew to touch a leper was absolutely unthinkable. But such was Jesus’ compassion for the sick and rejected.

In another occasion, when Jesus heard the news that His cousin John the Baptist had been killed, He took His disciples apart into a remote area near Bethsaida. But the multitudes followed Him. When Jesus saw them tailing Him, He “was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd” (6:34). So Jesus began to teach them heavenly truths and feed them food. Think about it. The Lord set aside His own grief to minister to these people who so desperately needed direction in their lives!

“Does Jesus care, when my heart is pained, too deeply for mirth and song? When the burdens press and the cares distress, as the day grows weary and long?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes! He does!” When we are affl icted with disease and pain, He cares. When wegrieve the loss of dear ones, He cares. When we are confused, desperately needing leadership, He has compassion for us. When we are mistreated, He feels for us. When we dredge ourselves into the mire of sin, He grieves over that disaster. When, in hardness of heart, we even hatefully oppose Him, He continues to feel for us. No wonder the “goodness of God” leads us to repentance (Rom. 2:4)! May we all say, “I will show compassion to others, because my Jesus first showed compassion to me” (1 John 4:19p).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

NDP09 Theme Song - What do you see? (English)
Composition & Lyrics by Electrico

Verse 1: There’s a jewel on the ocean,
a gem upon the sea
Where the future is an open book
A land of destiny
We could set our sights into the wind and sail the seven seas
or climb the highest mountain top as long as we believe
What do you see? What do you see?

Chorus: See the moon and the stars, look how far we have come
Look around at our faces, they shine brightly in the sun
With our hopes and dreams, imagine what tomorrow it may bring
What do you see? What do you see?

Verse 2: Now the time has come to reach out,
To open up to see
That we stand together in this land
Cos we are family
As thoughts of reaching to the sky are carried on a dream
With hearts and minds united, our dreams we will achieve
What do you see? What do you see?

Chorus 2: See the moon and the stars, look how far we have come
Look around at our faces, they shine brightly in the sun
With our hopes and dreams, imagine what tomorrow it may bring
What do you see…

Bridge: What do you see when life makes you take on a mountain
You’ll see that nothing’s gonna stand in your way
Together we can share
The strength of a million
and the courage of a million more

Chorus End: See the moon and the stars, look how far we have come
Look around at our faces, they shine brightly in the sun
With our hopes and dreams, imagine what tomorrow it may bring
Cos the sky’s the only limit when you’re not afraid to dream
What do you see? What do you see..

Saturday, May 02, 2009

You Have Intrinsic Value

Romans 3:23-24: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.' (NIV)

We all long to have value, to feel worthy of love and respect. There are two kinds of value, however: 'intrinsic' and 'extrinsic' value. If we say something has 'intrinsic' value, we mean that it has value in and of itself - it is valuable simply because it is what it is. We find intrinsic value, for example, in things that are beautiful, costly or rare. A painting by Vincent Van Gogh has intrinsic value because it is a thing of rare artistic wonder. On the other hand, we say that a thing has 'extrinsic' value when it has value simply because it can perform a certain function. This kind of value is based on the performance of some task, or living up to some expectation. Extrinsic value is fickle: once a thing stops performing properly we discard it.

There are millions, even billions, of people in this world who feel that the only value they have is the extrinsic kind. If they stop 'doing the job', if their performance fails to match up, they think they'll be thrown onto the scrap heap. Human beings crave intrinsic value. We want to be loved and prized for who we are, not for what we can do. That's the good news of Christianity. It's not by our works that we're made right with God. He doesn't love us because we've earned it. His love, his acceptance, is based purely on his grace, his favour. We were fallen, yes, but we still worth dying for, simply because he chose to love us! You have intrinsic value, because God thinks so much of you – don't forget that.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that I do not earn my way to heaven. So, the pressure is off. You have done the hard work for me. Thank you that I have value because God loves me.'

"Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress."
Nicholas M. Butler, American Philosopher

Creating your ideal self and life is determined more by our self-concept than we realise. When you focus on understanding and developing a new and positive self-concept, you can firm up your God given destiny.

So how do we discover our self-concept?

Determine Your Direction
The first part of the self-concept is the "self-ideal." Your self-ideal largely determines the direction in which you are going with your life. It guides the growth and development of your character and personality. Your self-ideal is formed by a combination of all the qualities and attributes that belong to the people that you most admire. Your self-ideal is a description of the person you would very much like to be if you could embody the qualities you aspire to have.

Strive Toward Excellence
Throughout your life, you would have seen and read about qualities like courage, confidence, compassion, love, fortitude, perseverance, patience, forgiveness and integrity. Over time, these qualities have instilled in you an ideal to which you aspire. While you may not always live up to all of them, you will find yourself continually striving to be a better person in light of the qualities that you value. In fact, everything that you do on a day-to-day basis is affected by comparing your behaviour to these ideal qualities and how you subconsciously strive to be consistent with them.

Clarity is Essential
Successful men have very clear ideals for themselves and are very clear about being excellent in every part of their work and their personal lives. Unsuccessful men don't give the subject very much thought. One of the primary characteristics of successful men in life is that they have very clearly defined ideals and they are very aware of whether or not their current behaviours are consistent with their ideal behaviours.

Set Challenging Goals
Part of your ideals are your goals. As you set higher and more challenging goals, your self-ideal improves and crystallizes. When you set goals for the kind of person you want to be and the kind of life you want to live, your
self-ideal rises and becomes a greater guiding and motivating force in your life.

Your Future is Unlimited
Perhaps the most important thing for you to realize is that whatever greatness anyone else has achieved or become, you can do or become as well. Improvements in your self-ideal begin in your imagination, and in your imagination, there are no limits except the ones that you accept.

What is your ideal vision of the very best person you could possibly become? How would you behave each day if you were already that person? Asking yourself these questions and then living your life consistently with the answers is the first step to creating your ideal image.

Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action. Firstly, dream big. Set big, exciting, challenging goals and ideals for yourself in every part of your life. Allow yourself to imagine a wonderful life ahead.
Second, think about how you would act if you were an outstanding person in every way; then practice being this person. You'll immediately notice a difference in your behaviour and you will begin to shape the ideal you.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Season of Waiting...

The Season of Waiting
by Sherry Funk

If I were to make a list of my least favorite things to do, I'm pretty sure waiting would rank in the top five. There aren't many things I enjoy less than remaining in that agonizing place of staring my hopes and longings in the face and wondering how, and when, and if God will ever allow them to come true.

"Why doesn't anything just happen for me?" I often find myself grumbling, tired of waiting, tired of trying to hang onto hope as the months and years slip away and so many questions remain unanswered. I long for a breakthrough in a tedious career that does little to spark life in my heart. I struggle to find a meaningful purpose to center my life around. I wonder when God will finally bring the right man into my life to love and be loved by. I look inwardly at all the healing, growth, and freedom I've yet to experience and wish God operated on my timetable instead of his.

So many times I've begged God to finally reach down from heaven and move, speak, act, shine a light on my path. But so often when I go to him with my questions and restlessness, he doesn't reveal anything instantly. Yes, he brings hope, he renews my faith, and he gives me strength to keep going.

But in that gentle, quiet voice, he also speaks the words I've heard over and over again … my daughter, wait.

And so I do. And as the years pass by, I'm finally beginning to realize it's in these seasons of waiting and being still before God, pouring out my heart before him, that he does some of his greatest work. It's in the desert, the wilderness, the quietness that God can restore hope and vision and deepen my character. It's in waiting that I get to know God's heart more intimately and finally begin to realize he is my life.

Here are a few of the things I'm learning as I continue to walk through my own season of waiting.

Don't try to do life alone.

There was a time when I struggled through life on my own, too scared and stubborn to let anyone in. Although meaningful relationships were the one thing I longed for above anything else, I was terrified of being rejected. And so I became known as the girl who never admitted a need, never burdened anyone with my problems. If there were tears to be cried, I cried them behind closed doors. If there were hurts and fears to be dealt with, I waited until no one else was around. I was the one everyone came to with their problems, but rarely would I risk letting them see the wounds in my own heart.

Thankfully God didn't let me stay there, but it's been a long, slow, painful (and scary) journey to realize we were never meant to walk through life alone, and that God actually designed some of his most powerful work to happen in the context of community. If it's growth, freedom, maturity, wholeness, and restoration we're after—then people, the right people, are going to be one of the biggest tools God uses.

Every week now I meet with a small group of women from my church, and almost always I leave marveling at what God does as we get real with each other. Doubt, confusion, loneliness, questions, victory, heartache, joy, sickness, disappointment—every week we lay it all out in the open, we pray together, we remind each other of the truth, we call out gifts in each other we see God developing. And as we do, our confidence is restored that God is working.

I don't know how I lasted so long trying to do it on my own. But I see now that time spent waiting for God to shake things loose is never wasted if we're staying vitally connected with people who help us not to lose sight of who God is and what he's doing.

Look back at what God has done.
I've kept a regular journal since I was 12 years old, and every now and then when God feels silent and it seems like nothing is happening, I'll take out a volume or two of my messy scribbling and allow myself to be transported back over time. It's all in there—my awkward teenage years, college, settling into a career, the joys and heartaches of a few romantic relationships, traveling the world, finding my place in the Body of Christ, working at an orphanage in Africa, moving a few times, buying my first house, stepping out in faith. I read and laugh and shake my head, and somehow as I do, faith begins to seep back into my heart.

It's so easy to lose perspective in a long period of waiting, but looking back and seeing God's faithfulness gives me the courage I need to keep hanging on. If he's already brought me this far, why should I doubt that he'll keep leading me in the future? Why should I think he's not going to finish the work he started? I'm like the Israelites wandering around in the desert, so quickly forgetting how God led them out of Egypt and across the Red Sea, giving them manna to eat and water to drink and rescuing them from their enemies. But I don't want to lose sight of everything he's done, even though right now the next thing seems so far away.

Figure out what makes you come alive.
A few years ago I made a list of everything I want to do before I die—a list that ranges from sky-diving to writing a novel to adopting a baby from Africa to learning to drive a motorbike to going to a Broadway show in New York City. I looked at the list the other day and was pleasantly surprised at how many items I've already checked off. Just like reading my old journals, my list keeps me in touch with who I am at my core, my unique personality and interests, the passions that make me come alive, the fears and challenges I'd love to overcome.

I've come to realize that even in waiting and wondering, our hearts can be alive and growing. Every day we can pursue joy and growth and opportunities to really live. That's why I took a break from work today and went to play tennis with a friend, then had a picnic in the park and listened to the sounds of spring. That's why I often have my niece and nephew over for sleepovers where we watch cartoons and eat insane amounts of junk food and giggle late into the night. That's why I write and travel and have taken up re-finishing old pieces of furniture—because these things, in their own small way, make my heart come alive. And as long as there's life in my heart, I know I can keep waiting and trusting and hoping for the day when God will bring answers to the deeper questions I'm wrestling with.

Learn to rest.
"Cease striving and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10, NASB). I can't count how many times that verse has made me stop in my tracks and realize that all my hard work and all the self-help books in the world will never bring about the kind of lasting change I long to see in my life. And it takes God speaking those simple words for me to realize, again, that instead of laying out ten quick steps to becoming a godlier woman, instead of burdening me with more that I need to do, God is instead inviting me to rest. He's instead calling me into relationship with him, inviting me to get to know his heart and his character. He's instead speaking to me of his love, of his delight in me, of his desire to sit with me for awhile and talk.

I'm so good at letting the trap of busyness consume me, at working tirelessly at every area in my life that I'm not satisfied with. But it's only when I step back from all that hard work and finally rest that my thirsty soul is actually satisfied, and that peace and balance are restored to my striving, unrestful spirit.

"Cease striving and know that I am God." Okay, Jesus, I will.

Yes, the season of waiting is difficult. But our roots go down deep as we wait and trust and hope in God. So whether you're waiting for guidance in a major decision, or waiting for a broken heart to heal, or waiting for love, or waiting for a clear career path to unfold, know that Jesus longs to walk with you right here, right now.

"This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It's adventurously expectant, greeting God with a child-like 'What's next, Papa?'" (Romans 8, The Message)

Expectant. Hopeful. Confident. Now that's what I want to be known for in my season of waiting.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Long time no blog.. it's already APRIL 09!

Woah.. such long time no blog.. haha.. have been working for abt 2 mths now, things have been ok, now am being put to do night shift duty, which is fine (more free time) but also takes a toll on my sleeping habits. Haha. Anyway hopefully this will end soon, although some ppl might prefer this lol. Having a job also now entails having better time management, and learning to manage finances. It's really different when you earn yourself and when you are in control of your own finances. Have to start to save regularly and avoid overspending (although I might have already with only 2 mths pay) haha. Anyway this is really a learning curve and hopefully I will be able to hit my target savings in future!

Time sure flies, and its ald mid April 2009! Was recalling last yr what I was up to during these few mths.. and realised that students ald had their mid sem break and ocf easter camp over! I didn't even realise that as I was too engrossed settling down to my new job. Maybe the next time I blog it will ald be the end of the year! hhaaa who knows.. have been really lazy in blogging but I will still post something here smtimes nonetheless. Dun want my nice blog to go to waste.. ahaha.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sometimes life seems like words and music that can't be quite become a song.
So we cry inside, and we try it again and wonder what could be wrong.
But, when we turn to the Lord at the end of ourselves,
Like we've done a time or two before
We find His truth is the same, as it has always been
We'll never need more

It's not in trying but in trusting
It's not in running but in resting
It's not in wondering but in praying
that we find the strength of the Lord