Monday, October 31, 2005

Great Sermons

Here are some sites where you can get good dosage of sermons:







Church: Times Square Church (New York, NY)
Preachers: David Wilkerson, Carter Conlon, Neil Rhodes
Website: http://timessquarechurch.org/sermons/






Church: Bethlehem Baptist Church (Minneapolis, MN)
Preacher: Rev John Piper
Website: http://www.biblicalpreaching.info/sermons.php?
preacher_search=2&customquery=search







Ministry: Ravi Zacharias International Ministry
Preacher: Ravi Zacharias
Website: http://rzim.org/radio/archives.php

Commitment

Rev John Kovilpillai told this story during his sermon yesterday.
A chicken and a pig one day was having a discussion, when the chicken said to the pig, "You know, every morning, when the farmer comes around the coop, I make sure that I've laid an egg so that he can collect it. For me, that's my commitment to the farmer." The pig then replied to the chicken saying, "That's not commitment, that's participation." "You want to know what's commitment? Commitment is making sure that the farmer can have bacon for breakfast."

I guess then it's true that it would be foolish of us to commit to things or people by having the thought that it wouldn't cost us anything. Commitment always, without fail, demands sacrifice. And most of the time, it would demand the sacrfice of our most prized possessions.

Are we willing to be commited now?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Sin

Sin, as defined by Susannah Wesley, mother to the founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley:

"Whatever that weakens your reasoning, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes away your relish for spiritual things. Anything that increases the authority and the power of the flesh."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Accomplishments...

In bout 2 months time, 2005 will come to a closing, and just like every year, humanity looks forward to the new year. Why look forward? Probably it's because of the stuff that has happened this year, that we'd rather not talk about, and hope for a new slate in the upcoming year. Soon, resolutions will be the talk of the town; bout the ones we fail to keep, and the ones that we wanna take on next year.

This year has been an 'interesting' year for humanity. The reason why I used the word 'interesting' because it's hard to put a negative or positive connotation to it. It's like there's been so many bad things that has happened, but we'd rather not think bout it, and just concentrate on what's good. For example, we started 2005 gloomy, because just a week earlier, the Tsunami in Acheh has claimed hundred of thousands of life, and I recalled at that time, we stuck like glue to the news counting the bodies. From then till now, I have trouble even remembering what were the major events that has happened, because there just seem to be so many. Sites like this might help us to remember, but the truth is, do we want to remember?

Sept 11, 2001 woke me up to the realities of life. I guess for me, before that fateful day, my perception was that the world was pretty much in peace. Yeah, it's true there were some wars going on here and there, but it's not like a BIG deal. Then, when the 2 towers came crashing down, war seems to be closer than ever to me. Until today, I've still not gotten out of this mentality; life is short. And since 9-11, it just seems to be like a downward spiral. The world's economy doesn't seem to be improving. Natural disasters seem to be increasing, not only in its rampantness, but in the number of lives it take each time it occurs. We're still talking about terrorism, and we still fear to go to certain places because of that.

David Wilkerson preached a sermon titled "A Christian's Response to Calamities" and when I thought about one of the points that he made, it made me think even deeper. He said that as the world tries to find a solution to bring resolve to all the things that are happening around the world; from natural disasters to fighting terrorism, they are leaving a rather important factor from the equation: "God". Pastor David pointed out that when all these calamities occur, they happen within the will of God. He said that God is trying to wake us up towards something, and if we fail to get the message, more will come.

For you non-Christians who read this, I know that your initial thought to this would be, isn't God cruel by killing so many people to just make a point? But honestly, I won't be responding to that question in this posting, maybe in the next one or so. However, my take on this is what we as Christians should be doing in respond to this? Pastor David has a few suggestions. Take time to listen to the sermon, it's worth your while. For me personally, it has dawned upon me the crucialness of the time that we live in. If we continue to live like we have 1000 years more, then we're seriously deceiving ourselves, and worse, the people around us.

What have I accomplished in 2005? Not much. But one thing I do know, I do not have to wait till 2006 to start anew. God promises a new annointing everyday. I'll start mine today. Who knows, I might just end up quitting tomorrow, however, this I'm certain, I can't do it without God's strength, and even if I fall, He's still with me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Funny...


Couldn't help laughing when I saw this... I guess it must be because it's Tuesday...

Monday, October 24, 2005

Get Rich or TRY DYING'

Sometime back, I recalled when listening over the radio, the DJ fouled up when he was presenting 50 cents' song titled "Get Rich or Die Tryin' " by saying "Get Rich or Try Dying". I laughed over that for a while, after so many months have passed, the thought came back and I now realized this is actually what Jesus calls us to do.

'Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.' - Matthew 16:24-27

Our mentality over the subject of death is so distorted nowadays, that most of us avoid talking about this subject altogether. And most of us fear death because we don't know what lies beyond death. Jesus said that those who die to self believing in Him, shall not need to fear physical death because He has delivered us from it; not from physical death, but from the 'sting' of death. And because of that, we rejoice!

That's why I love the symbolism that's behind baptism. When someone is immersed (literally, dunked) in water, that signifies death. And why this is important is because we need to die to ourselves. It is a known fact that a dead person can't do much. He can't do much good, nor can he sin either. And that's the good news; Christ has called us to die, so that in our deadness, He raises us up again with His Spirit now living in us. So, when a person is raised from the water, that signifies a new life in Christ, with the Spirit of Christ living in us, making us move and letting us have our being. Paul stated that salvation is not by works but by faith. Faith in what? Faith in the fact that we are sinful people, who when we accept Christ into our lives, took the call to die to ourselves, and thru the power of the cross, God raised us up with Christ. And because of this, we no longer struggle to do good works to earn salvation, but rather, by faith, we move in the Spirit to glorify His name.

Until we die to self, we can never be raised to life. We need to let go and just die to ourselves. And by dying means, we let go the things of the world, just like real dead people, who carries nothing with them to their graves. And when we realize this, it's only when then God can raise us from this death, just as He raised Christ from the grave.

"Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting. From the grave You've risen, victoriously" - lyrics from Marvellous Light by Charlie Hall


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Beyond Myself...

I wonder how much of life today has changed for the average person when compared with a person say 50 years ago. As Chinese, it is somewhat in our tradition that it is an obligation and also responsibility to take care of our parents when we're all grown up, and when they're old. This, and of course among many other 'unwritten codes'. But just like anywhere else in the world, the western culture has picked up it course and found its way even to Malaysia, where I am currently residing today.

In the states, if I was 27 years old and told people that I still lived my parents, most Americans would sorta look at me funny. But in Malaysia, to some extent, it is still common for an adult to live with his or her parents till he or her get married and move out. Of course, this trend is slowly changing. For example, an unmarried couple living together is not only frowned upon, but disallowed once upon time, but today, it is not only the norm, but encouraged by society so as to see whether the couple is compatible or not.

However, I'm not even planning to go into discussing ethics, because without a foundation, anything can be right when there's enough justification to go along with it, and so is when we call something wrong. And it's obvious today that anything can be right or wrong, so as long as we can prove it.

What I have on my heart, and what i wish to share thru this blog today is, how many of us live lives that are beyond ourselves? I mean, like when we make decisions in our lives, who are the people that we factor in? Do we only view from points which benefits ourselves, or do we put into account others?

Here's an example. Let's say you live in a village. And in this village, community is the way how things work. People tend to share and get involved with each other lives. So, lets say, you're a farmer, and you grow corn. And that's how it's been for generations. Your father grew corn, your grandfather grew corn, your great-grandfather... you get the point. And you have neighbours that grew other produce, like rice, fruits, chickens, cows, cats, err.. wait.. no cats.. i meant goats, sheeps and so on. And every once a week, you will gather in the middle of the village where an exchange would take place. You'd take your corn and exchange it for some rice and chickens. At the end of the day, everybody wins, and everybody's happy.

But one day, you decided to leave the corn farm to your brother, and set out to some distant land to get an education. And you of course, thru modern technology learn a great deal about how to grow many different things on the same land. Heck, by using hydroponic, you don't even need soil to grow vegetables anymore. After some years, you return back to your village, and decided to give this technology a go on the farm. Thru some tweaking and tuning, you perfected it and now you have fruits and vegetables of all sorts, growing them at a pace that's much faster than anyone else. And because most of these plants don't need much taking care of as they're all properly nourished, you found spare time to rare chickens, cows and so on.

Here's the 'dilemma' now. Suddenly, during the weekly exchange, your family stops coming. Why? Because you have all that you need. You don't need your neighbour's rice or chickens anymore. You're self-sufficient. And thru your technology, you've managed to produce more than you need to consume. Of course, it would only make sense for us then to open up a market to sell it, for thru these sale, you can use the profits to further improve your farm and so on.
What has happened to the village economics? Suddenly, the barter system would just disintegrate, and people no longer produce to exchange, but rather, to sell to one another.

Now I know that some of you still struggle to see what's wrong with this picture. The truth, there's nothing wrong. To some extent, it seems good that the economics of that village has 'modernized'. But I'm not trying to preach economics here. What I'm trying to point out was, when the decision to modernized the farm, and the consequences of it, may it be good, or bad, was the welfare of the village taken into account? Or when you decided to do it, you only cared about how you would benefit?

How many of us these days, still make decisions by taking into account on how others will be affected? Most of our attitudes these days is "everyone for their own". When we look at a road sweeper by the street, we are quick to dismiss him as uneducated, and probably he was once a lazy student in school. But maybe, he's story was slightly different. Maybe, he quit school at 8 to take care of his sick mother, while trying to protect her and himself from his drunken father. At 9, his mom died and his father found himself dead not too long after getting hit by a car when he was drunk walking. So, finding himself all alone, he survives by kind neighbours who gives him hand outs at first, but soon gets tired of his neediness. He goes from one place to another, trying to make sense of this life. He survives childhood, only to find himself an adult in a cruel world, and life, still ain't any easier. Without any education, he can barely read or write. Finally, he ends up as road sweeper, enough to earn him a day's meal, and probably, the booze which his father drank once. If he gets married, that's probably how his kid will end up. And at this stage, it would probably be better if he didn't.

Stories like this, are not uncommon. We hear it so many times that we don't even get moved by it anymore. And yet, this is the truth. The road sweeper, is still human. Anyone could have been him. You, me, anybody. And here we are on the other side of the fence, thanking God that we're not him. And I wonder, how many of us, even gives a care about him. Even if we've the ability to give him a chance to change, how many of us would take time to do it? This is because we are now in an era where everybody lives for their own. And what more if giving him a chance to change would mean a sacrifice on our part? I doubt we would even consider it...

How about it? Would you live a life that's beyond yourself? Or are you still so consumed with your own self and needs?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Be Fruitful?

I know that in Genesis 1:28, God said, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it", but I wonder if God meant to the extent that we have 16 children. Jim Bob Duggar, 40, his wife Michelle, 39, after delivering their 16th child, is already planning to have more. Now I know the saying that goes "The more the merrier" but I personally have my own limits. Definitely way way way before 10...


And here's the best part... Jim & Michelle decide to have all their kid's names to start with J!
1. Joshua, 17
2. John David, 15
3. Janna, 15
4. Jill, 14
5. Jessa, 12
6. Jinger, 11
7. Joseph, 10
8. Josiah, 9
9. Joy-Anna, 8
10. Jeremiah, 6
11. Jedidiah, 6
12. Jason, 5
13. James, 4
14. Justin, 2
15. Jackson Levi, 1
16. Johannah.

At least they can still use Jennifer, Jessica, Jesus, etc... :P

Read more!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Life is Short

In just the past two weeks, the news headlines were filled with stories that mimic watching re-runs on TV. Earthquakes and bombings, it feels like deja-vu where I struggle when conversing with others to specify which earthquake and which bombing.

In my one my entries not too long ago, I wrote about how last year's tsunami seemed so distant to us now, eventhough it only occured months ago. In a twinkling of the eye, some 230,000 people perished. Even today, the devestation that's caused by hurricane Katrina and Rita last month seemed to be overshadowed by the recent earthquake in Islamabad. The bombing in Bali? Well, it'll soon blowover when some other bombing happens elsewhere. And we will also pretty soon forget about the Avian Flu that's currently sweeping like wild fire in South Asia.

I guess it's a good thing then we can forget. Having all these events stored in our brains like how a hard disks does on a PC would definitely be hazardous to our health where I could imagine myself being ever so paranoid about everything. But I believe that it's gotten to the point where we even force ourselves to forget all these things. If we could, we'd rather not know about it. Death, for some, still seem so far because we're shielded by this false perception of security.

Last Friday night, as I was driving Szu Anne home, I had an interesting talk with her. We talked about how many of us take life for granted. Many of us live as though we still had 10,000 years to live. And for these people, it would then make sense to see why they're working so hard to build their wealth, status and even empire. Of course, there is this other extreme side where one live as though today was his last, and spend every breathing moment indulging him/herself in earthly pleasures, and not spending a moment at all to think of what tomorrow may bring.

Who's right, and who's wrong? Well, of course, both are wrong. This is because even in their different take on life, yet, they hold a common value: living for themselves. When life is all about me, myself and I, whether you go all out to maximize your enjoyment, or painfully plan how to enjoy it in the future, it's still boils down to the same thing: selfishness.

Jesus made it ever so clear in the gospel where he said "Everyone who saves his life will lose it, but those who lose it for my sake, will find it" and "What good shall it be for a man to gain the whole world, and yet, lose his soul?". If we could only pray and ask God to open up our eyes to see the glorious richess that He's prepared for us, we would abandon all that we have, and strive with all our hearts to prepare ourselves for this reward. And also, when our hearts are attuned with heart of God, where love overcomes everything else, including ourselves, we would want to bring as many people as we can with us, to the place where this heavenly bliss can never be described with earthly words, nor compared with anything that we can ever cook up for ourselves or find in this natural universe.

There are news articles that are saying that disasters on a global scale are increasing rapidly, where the number of death occured from one incident is steadily on the rise. I pray that our attitude when we read such articles may not be: "Thank God it didn't not happen here, or to me.." but rather, "Oh Lord, lead me to where you want me to go, and give me the strength to obey!"

Thru these disasters, God is letting us know that we need to wake up, that there is no "safe-haven" in this world. Our only refuge is Him. Our only hope is Him. May we not leave this truth, but cling onto it with all our hearts.

May God have mercy on us all.

Monday, October 10, 2005

My Lucky Pick for Lotto!

The Lottery industry in Malaysia turns out to be a million ringgit industry. Every week, thousands of people gather in shops that opens only twice a week, and spending millions of ringgit, in hope, to win the "Jackpot".

John Elderedge writes in his book "The Journey of Desire" that we hope for what we desire. It is apparent then what the majority of people that goes to these shops hope for: more money. And the reason why they feel that their actions are justified is because the stake is low, for each ticket cost somewhat about RM1.00 and above and the prize is millions of ringgit.

I wonder will these people be really happy if they win the Jackpot? There are already stories about the US' Powerball winners, whose overnight windfall has ended them up in poverty and bankruptcy.

Jesus made a simple statement, "What will it profit a man, if he were to gain the whole world, and yet, lose his soul?"

But the world goes on. Each of us rather look at the unattainable, hoping to acquire the very thing that might end up destroying us than looking at our own soul to realize that there's only one thing that can satisfy it.

So, for those of you who are needing a number to buy for this week, here's my lucky pick for you:


All the best! :P

Friday, October 07, 2005

Are you amazed?

"Lord, Your grace still amazes me. It does. Really. Thanks."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A fool? Not...

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep,
to gain what he cannot lose" - Jim Elliot

(Luke 16:9 - "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.")

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Smiling...

I was caught in a nasty jam on the way to work today. Since I didn't have anything to do but wait, I just naturally stared at the people in cars on the opposite side. Of all the drivers that passed, I think I noticed only 1 of them that smiled. The rest were pretty much emotionless. It's as though they are taking a drive to prison or something. Irrespective of the cars that they were in, whether it was a BMW or a Proton, all of them were just plain, sad.

However, most of us when arrive at work, we then will put our 'mask' to continue with our day. Many of us feel compelled to not show our true feelings to our colleagues, people that we spend most of the time with. I guess it is during the times when we are alone that we become our true selves. Sad people.

But are we really sad people? Do happy people smile when they're alone? Do we smile only in the presence of others? I know we can cry when we're alone, but can we laugh? Do we have a reason to?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A good day...

Here are some pics that I've taken during the Pet Fair at Mines Convention center. Interesting cats and dogs...
"Feed me... oh please... feed me... I'll do anything for food..."


I couldn't tell whether this was a dog or a freaking bear. Just look at the size of that thing....


Both the dog and owner are asleep. Yeap... that's a real dog alright...


Here's Marmaduke's and Scooby-Doo's cousin - The Great Dane...


Here's the cat section...


This kitty looks sad... and that's because it wants a home!!!


So does this one....


More kitties...


This is a Siberian Tiger.....'s distant cousin...


Puppies sleeping...

Rottweilers...


Out of place, but there were some iguanas too..


Here's the Mini convention....


And my favorite.. Beagles!

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The greatest thing you'll ever learn

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn,
is to love, and be loved in return" - Nat King Cole...