Thursday, September 19, 2013

17/09/2013

Was on the bus towards the city today and whilst passing through Riccarton Avenue and looking outwards towards the blossoms and the Avon River I cannot help but smile because of the shear peace and beauty this amazing place has to offer.  Which reminds me, 6 years back before coming to Christchurch, the imaginary picture I had was strikingly similar to the Avon River, the Weeping Willows on its banks, and also the yellow Daffodils, the river mill and wooden rest benches, the birds that enjoy the whole lot, and the golden sun that complements everything.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Dry Wood Burning

Dedicated to my Grandma, who passed away just at 85 years old.  01/06/1929 - 03/06/2013. 



As the aroma of dry wood burning
Brought a memory to mind
The stone fireplace of my Grans’ making
In a village back in time
I remember, the rhythm waves of the weeds
And the smooth stones embedded in sand
The gradual dense forest
And the euphony of their chiming band
Fireflies at a certain night
With shy emergence from the dimming sky
That once in fullness spur a glorious sight
Of star spangled majesty up high
Glimmering curtains under the morning light
And crowing roosters as dawn draws nigh
The Mountain ridge in the distance far
And the glistening sea waters nearby
I remember these things
From the aroma of dry wood burning
The memory of peace and quiet
The memory of my heart’s longing

-19/05/2013-

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Life is real

One evening after strolling in the mall, I was at the bus stop waiting to catch a ride back to campus.  As I waited I saw not too far away in the dimness of the evening, a man with a handicapped right leg, pushing a trolley filled with an assortment of things ranging from a broken desk lamp to metal hangers and a torn suitcase.   The casual wind brought on an unnerving stench that undoubtedly came from the man, whom on him was a damp brownish jacket and a baggy long pants ripped all over the leggings.

As he approached the bus stop his trolley slipped over the curb and some of his things fell to the road.  He gave a loud grunt, cursed and started to pick his things up.  Amongst the cursing he also talked to Jesus, in a way somewhat quite unexpected.  He said to Jesus, “Oh Jesus you know how to f*ck me, you really f*cked me well.  What a f*cked life I have!”

As I listened to his cursing, I froze.  Here I am, a believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of His unconditional love and grace for every living person on Earth, through Him where life in abundance and freedom from sin, bondage and sorrow is found, and I froze.   I thought to myself in that 2 minutes I had while waiting for my ride back, what am I supposed to do?  How am I supposed to help this man, as a Christian and as a person?

Was I angry at what he said about Jesus?  Oh no, definitely not.  Rather it was the sudden wave of sadness firstly at how much hurdle life has thrown at him to bring him to this state, and secondly at my own inaction and lack of courage to take the next bus and share the hope I have in Christ with him, the Joy he can have and the freedom he can claim in the name of Jesus.

I got on the bus after 2 minutes, glancing back at him through the window and all I could really do as I sat down was to pray for him.

Was my prayer void?  Was it a weak and pathetic make-up to what I should have done?  I don’t know.  But I know that God hears and sees the heart of those who seek Him.

That man’s life was just as real as my life, there is nothing fake about it whatsoever.  People go through stuff, real stuff, and sometimes you will be amazed at how much we actually don’t know.  We assume too much and care too less.  We just need to open our eyes more often, take a look at our surroundings, and take notice of it.  I pray the next time I see that man I will buck up some courage and strike a short conversation with him for starters, and say one or two encouraging phrases of truth.

"Do not judge the person to your left and your right. Sometimes life throws a quite a hurdle and they are just doing the best they can."


Calvin

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Next Chapter

"Look forward, for there lies your Adventure" 

A new chapter begins.  After spending eight months at my beloved home, I am finally ready about to return to Christchurch to pursue my PhD.

Eight months.  Overall, plenty of regrets, however balanced with plenty of no-regrets.  During those busy times scampering through my undergraduate studies, I wanted to do many things, many non-academic things that is.  The obvious excuse for not being able to do them is of course my studies.  Ironically, when the time came when time is plenty and bountiful, the longing to do them was never as strong as then.  Funny things we humans are.  Thus the regrets, mainly for not efficiently utilizing my never to come again long holiday.

Major no-regrets:

1) Agape Easter Musical - conducted the choir
2) Agape Choir
3) Agape Music Ministry
4) Seremban Young Adult Cell group
5) Helping out in church office and church related stuff
6) Hiking trips
7) Reading - Harry Potter Series in just 3 weeks, and The Hobbit in time for the movie end of this year
8) Television. Finished watching LOST - a GREAT series!  Re-watched Star Trek Voyager.  Watched Star Trek The Next Generation, halfway through Star Trek Deep Space Nine.  Watched plenty of interesting documentaries.
9) Practice piano - finally can play Chopin Ballade in G minor with more ease and confidence
10) NZ graduation trip and meeting ups with friends

Major regrets:

1) Didn't attend Wednesday prayer meetings at church
2) Didn't attend Agape Chinese service
3) Didn't join the youth meetings - could have been a good mentor to the youths - secondary school and college students.
4) Didn't get a part time job - wanted to be a substitute teacher but somehow didn't work out.
5) Didn't read as much as I wanted to.  There are many books I wanted to read but somehow just couldn't focus.  I'm a bad reader.
6) Didn't to go Kuantan :(.  No 'luck'.
7) Didn't read up much on my PhD project... :s (should have, but somehow didn't want to do anything academic...).
8) Didn't finish up my gardening project.
9) Didn't work out more.

I'm sure there should be more items on the major regrets list.  But putting them on is just going to make me feel worse than I already am.

Hope this PhD is not going to kill me...

:s


Monday, May 7, 2012

I love to read, but not too much

I love to read, but not too much.  Last novel I read affected me for about a week.  Am I that sentimental?  What is this sorcery in my life that makes me so different that most males of the world?  What do masculinity and manhood really mean in the end? 

I feel more than I can bear.  My strength is my weakness. Ugh.

I guess that makes John 11:35 one of the most relatable verses in the bible to me.  "Jesus wept." John 11:35. 

The compassion of Jesus.  This I know has and will continue to affect me for eternity, in a wonderful way, of course. :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

More than just a death

It was Good Friday yesterday, and my home church (Agape Gospel Assembly) presented their first of three nights of their Easter Musical entitled 'Who Is This Man?', adapted from an Easter Musical entitled 'More Than Just A Man' created by Chris Machen, Kim Messer and Richard Kingsmore.

During the crucifixion scene of the musical, I was reminded of a sharing my mother gave me regarding the significance of Good Friday, and the importance of remembering the death of Christ on the cross for my sins, for your sins, for our sins on this special day.  In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asked his disciples "Who do you say I am?", to which Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God".  Indeed Peter got that important detail right, however the true understanding of Jesus being the Christ, the Messiah, might not have been entirely clear to him.  After asking the question, Jesus from that time on "began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." (Matthew 16:21).  "Peter took him (Jesus) aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!".  Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:22-23).

I guess if I were Peter at that time, I would have probably said/thought the same thing as he did.  How could our Messiah, our long awaited Saviour, our King, be a weakling and be caused to suffer and be killed in the hands of our elders, priests and teachers?  That doesn't make sense, and is utterly inconceivable and illogical!  However Jesus said that Peter was having a mind not in the things of God, but the things of men.  In Peter's mind, a suffering and ultimately dead king would, in logic, serve no good purpose for the Israelites.  Little did he understood then that Jesus, as the Son of God in the form of man, was born to die so that through his death the souls of men are redeemed.  Yes, death was necessary.  But what struck me most is the difficulty of that death.  All of us will inevitably face physical death, and death, if you think about it, has its level of difficulty (to the person facing it).  In today's society, the death penalty is made quick and painless (at least in most places), but the same is not true for the time when Jesus was facing his death.  Jesus' death was one that is full of agony, mockery and shame.  As a famous song goes, "Down the Via Dolorosa, called the way of suffering...".  The full blast of his crucifixion was held back until he was severly flogged and whipped, and on top of that he was mocked and striped while the Roman soldiers made fun of his supposed royalty and kingship.  Why all of this?  Yes, Jesus was the perfect, sinless Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice for the sins of mankind.  But why make the sacrifice in such brutality?  The cost of salvation was not as cheap as a stab of a knife like most sacrificial lambs made as offerings, but as expensive as everything that Jesus had gone through.  It was a costly death.  Necessary?  Very much, so that his grace may never, ever be taken for granted.  Jesus rebuked Peter when he said "Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you!", and even compared Peter's rebuke as a temptation from Satan himself.  Yes, death was necessary, and along with it, grave suffering. 

It is true to say, "Jesus died and rose again", but truer still to say, "Jesus suffered and died, and rose again".  Let us always remember that. 

In the musical, the theme song was "More Than Just A Man", which tells of Jesus being more than just a man, but the Chirst, the Son of God.  While watching the crucifixion scene and inspired by the song, I thought, Jesus is "more than just a man", who died "more than just a death; more that just an ordinary death".

More than just a death
Jesus endured 'till last breath
He suffered agony, mock and shame
For our sins, he willingly came


Good Friday and Happy Easter!


Calvin
    

Friday, March 30, 2012

Up the snowy mountains

Up the snowy mountains we go
where sun is gold and wind is cold
no trees can grow as soil is stone
"yet life's abundant there", so we're told

Up the snowy mountains we climb
the road is full of danger prime
steep with rocks and roots of old
"watch! mind your steps", so we're told

Up the snowy mountains we hitch
over the bushline we now reach
what a majestic scene our eyes behold
"watch out, there's more!", so we're told

Up the snowy mountains we creep
on boulders and ice and trails of snow
with icepicks and crampons and ropes that "keep
us from dropping dead", they warned us so

Up the snowy mountains we accend
the summit in sight, an uplifting scent
with thinning breaths in the piercing cold
we push our limits to reach our goal

Up the snowy mountains we braved
gazing on the summit the beauty we craved
though how tired and worn our muscles were
we feel more alive than ever, this we were sure

Up the snowy mountains we yearn
despite their challenge and danger song
because we know how deep it burns
to be truly alive, for this we long

Friday, March 23, 2012

Reminiscence

Wow.

In the midst of dusting off the inch-thick dust that had settled on this blog after some noticable neglect, I found myself pouring over my own blog posts from years ago, amazed at the wealth of experiences I had penned down into words. From 2007 before beginning my journey to New Zealand, up to now after I have completed my undergraduate studies, the amount of life stories on this blog needless to say is mind-opening for me, at least, despite them originating from my own life. The number of posts have been dwindling, suffice to say, due to the popularity and present-focused-easy-to-update-and-maintain feature of Facebook! Oh well, however lovely Facebook is, a blog has its own magic of presenting to readers the heart of a blogger's life experiences, and the principles that can be learned from them. Knowing this I hope I will be able to at least maintain this blog to bring forward experiential highlights of my life's journey.

Every life is a story, and from my story so far I learn that every life goes through good and difficult times, and everyone needs compassion and love, hope and grace, mercy and forgiveness, encouragement and motivation, friendship and trust, passion and desire, comfort and consolation, joy and belonging. Not one life is not in need of these things, and if only we can understand that, we realise that we are not so different after all to those around us. We experience life together, and we are under life's own set of rules, so therefore do not come so quickly to judge a person, but understand first the common need of humanity.

"Everyone needs compassion, love that is never failing, let mercy fall on me; Everyone needs forgiveness, the kindness of a Saviour, the Hope of nations." -- Might to Save, Hillsong.


Calvin

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A life fulfilled

A life fulfilled
comes easily not
if life is greed
a brimming gold pot
Neither is life
satisfied with joy
when Sir Tall Poppy
rule without coy

When it comes
to life and living
People so much matter
in them place our sowing
Oh, the times of banter
with friends and family
and of sorrowful tears
with arms on shoulders
We grow and learn
much more from these
About life's cistern
of old forgotten magic

Cast love, the everlasting spell
and witness moments historic
of imperious curses fell
Oh, the joy of living a life
fulfilled, and the free gift to all
to forever dwell


Calvin

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Show Me Your Glory

Yesterday at my home church (Agape Gospel Assembly) in Seremban, Malaysia, one of the songs we sang during worship is "Show Me Your Glory" by Kim Walker Smith, Jesus Culture, inspired (as deduced from the lyrics) by Moses' request to God to show him His Glory (Exodus 33:18).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckwEZsglLLU


First part of the song goes:

I see the cloud, I step in.

I want to see Your glory as Moses did.

Flashes of light and rolls of thunder,

I'm not afraid

I'm not afraid

Show me Your glory, show me Your glory

Show me Your glory, show me Your glory


At the chorus, as we sang the words "Show me Your glory", I found myself struggling to understand what they actually mean. What is the Glory of God? How is it shown to mankind? How do these words apply to my life? At nearly the end of worship, Pastor Benjamin came up and briefly addressed the same question I was asking. He related the Glory of God to Jesus' first recorded miracle of turning water into wine, which marked the beginning of all the miracles Jesus performed while on Earth. The miracle of water turned into wine, as explained by Pastor Benjamin is an example of the Glory of God displayed, of God's power to do things beyond our wildest imagination. This got me thinking. What sort of things are beyond my wildest imagination? Well, however wild and incredible the things I can imagine, it has got to be beyond that!

I guess this naturally led me to reflect upon the greatest work that Jesus had done while on Earth compared to all the other miracles He performed. The unconditional love God has for us that led Him to leave His throne in Heaven, to become man in the form of Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins, through grace fullfiling both mercy and justice, thus in doing so gave mankind hope and assurance of life with Him for eternity. Yes, I thought, this must be what the Glory of God means, at least a huge part of it. And it happened to be something beyond my wildest imagination! Who would have ever thought or expected or imagined that God, in his glorious majesty and power, would come down to Earth as a mere man, born through virgin birth to a poor family, without any significance in society etc, almost everything against what mankind sees in the world as power and wealth, to be the Messiah, the long awaited saviour? In fact, I would personally imagine that Jesus is not as good looking a man as depicted in many of the classical paintings we see. So that when significant people during Jesus' time hear and see Jesus teach, they would dismiss him without second thought just by looking at Jesus' outward appearance. All of this is amazing truth, an awesome display of the Glory of our God. Yet, the words "Show Me Your Glory" seem to mean so much more.

All of us have our own testimonies, of how God saw us through in our lives. A difficult truth to acknowledge, at least for me sometimes, is that all testimonies must be preceeded by a test, as shared by Pastor Phillip Deas, the speaker yesterday. As difficult as it is to go through life with all its storms bellowing, most of the truths of God's character and promises are only strongly rooted in my heart after a certain test, trial, or crisis, both big and small. It is something like knowing for sure, without a hint of doubt, that an orange is sweet/sour/bland only after tasting it for ourselves. God uses our crisis to reveal His glory. I always believe we have a choice in every crisis, to either trust and depend on Him or trust and depend on our own strength and worldly resources. And when we decide to do the former, with humble hearts acknowledging our weakness and His strength, our spiritual eyes open and we begin to see things from His perspective, we begin to see His glory, we begin to truly see God. In John 11 (the death of Lazarus), the same passage of scripture used by Pastor Phillip in his sermon (which was somewhat quite related to this post. Summary: In our Mess, God has a Message, that reveal to us our Mission), Jesus said to Martha after He asked the tomb stone to be removed, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" (John 11:40). Mary and Martha and their fellow villagers were having a crisis with the death of Lazarus, and through this crisis, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead thus displayed His glory.

I guess the questions I asked about "Show Me Your Glory" all come down to our personal encounters with God, not so much on the supernatural display of power or those along that line, but those of revelations that convict the heart, so powerfully that it transforms lives. And like it or not these encounters occur during our trials, storms of life, crisis, etc when we humble ourselves and put our trust in Him. "No pain, no gain". That is why sometimes I find it difficult to sing this song, or pray the prayer "Show Me Your Glory", because I am afraid of all the upcoming storms/crisis in life that I will inevitably face. It is easy to say "surrender all, and put your trust in the LORD" when everything is smooth sailing, but when the storm hits, will I be the first to run away and hide? But having been shown God's glory many times before throughout my life in times of crisis, I learned to put my trust in God, to be faithful (as Pastor Lawrence Khoo mentioned a few weeks ago), pressing/struggling on knowing that God is good, that He is faithful, that His promises are Yes and Amen.

With this in mind, I absolutely love it when the song goes:


I'm not afraid (of my problems, my mess, my pain, etc...)

I'm not afarid (of my trials and tribulations, my crisis, my difficulties, etc...)

Show me Your glory, show me Your glory

Show me Your glory, show me Your glory

What a wonderful song!

Here is a sermon I found online from which I gathered most of my thoughts (perhaps it presents them much more eloquently!).

http://www.keepbelieving.com/sermon/2004-03-08-Show-Me-Your-Glory/


Calvin

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I, me, and myself no more

People are often too unhappy and dissatisfied because of their own selfish nature. For them it is always about I, me, and myself.

If only people can stop asking questions like, "Why I do not have this?" "Why can't I be like him/her?" "Why am I so poor?" "Why I...this that?" "Why me...?", and have a change of heart and mind, and know that God's grace is always sufficient for us! What awesome JOY will we experience as God's children to know that in all things, good and bad, easy and difficult, He is always looking out for us, working for our good! Oh friends, it is never about us anyway but always about Him!

The JOY of the LORD is my strength, how true is that when we turn our eyes upon Jesus, away from ourselves and our circumstances, and be assured that God is in control of all things!

Live life full of His JOY! There is nothing in this earthly world that can come near to offer you this JOY!

=D

Calvin

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big difference!

There is a big difference between what is a sin and what is wrong.

Don't ever, ever judge other people. It is NOT your right, and you do not have the ability nor the authority to do so.


Calvin

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Don't be fooled!

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy" John 10:10.

Sigh. Some people really need to open their eyes to see how much the thief is stealing from them at this very moment.

Open your own eyes instead of trying to open others'. You have already lost SO much, stop letting yourself being robbed unnecessarily!


Calvin

Friday, May 20, 2011

Trapped

One thing became another and another and God knows what this has now become.

There is no where to hide. Everyone and everything is a spy.

Whatever I do and say, will be observed and brought to reason.

What have I done to receive such responsibility? I am not responsible for such things and never I should ever be.

It is as though I have lost my freedom to be and to feel.

Trapped.

Only time will reveal my escape.


Calvin

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Birthday wishes

It was my 23rd birthday yesterday (15/05/2011), and I was somehow given a privilege to make three wishes. The first one on Friday night, the second on Saturday night, and the third one on Sunday, the birthday night itself.

Despite the rumour that I used up all three wishes for 1) Big bulky biceps, 2) Muscular chest and 3) juicy six-pack abs, which is not entirely true (or false - you can argue either way...), the truth is I couldn't think of anything to wish for. I already have so much that many don't, and somehow and somewhere in my being, asking for more doesn't do my conscience any good. But still, the Bible says, 'ask and you shall receive', or 'you do not have, because you do not ask', or the verse about asking, seeking and knocking, and many more. Thus, what went through my mind and heart in the end during those wishing moments, is in one point of view a very selfish wish, but in another perspective, the best thing I could ever wish for.

"All I desire is You, LORD". Because "there is no higher calling, no greater honour than to bow and kneel before Your throne"

The prayer of Jabez: "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil" 2 Chronicles 4:9-10.

The selfish part is thinking in this manner: With God, my cup will always be full and overflowing. His Joy is my strength through thick and thin. His everlasting love inspires me to go the distance. I can rest assure that my whole future is in His hands. I do not need to worry at all about money and wealth, because God's grace is more than enough for me. etc.

The 'best thing I could ever wish for part' is simply knowing with conviction and humility that without God I am nothing. Take God away from all the above, and you will see that without God I am really nothing.

This song by Richard Gomez goes:

"O Lord, my God,

All I desire is You.

More precious than silver,

more costly than gold.

No riches of the earth compares to You.

What can this world offer when all I desire is You?"

You see friends, when God blesses, he blesses you with the best. And by 'best' I mean literally the BEST. People usually do not understand and know what actually is the BEST for their lifes, but God does, and believe me you will not be dissapointed! =D


CALVIN