Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 3 New Year Resolutions 2011

Research for New Year Resolutions Statistics has shown that:

  •  63% of people are still keeping their resolutions after the first two months.
  • 67% of people actually make 3 or more resolutions.
  • The top resolutions usually involve promises to exercise more (37%), increasing the time devoted to study or work (23%), losing weight, stop smoking or drinking (alcohol and/or coffee), and eat healthier.
  • People make more resolutions to start a new habit (84%), than to break an old one (16%).
  • 65% of people made their resolutions between the 28th of December and New Year's Day. The rest usually take up until the end of January.
  • Of those who successfully achieved their top resolution, 40% of them did so on the first attempt. The rest made multiple tries, with 17% finally succeeding after more than six attempts.
(Source: Google. Confirm by: Experiences. Outcome: Laugh)

You open your calendar for December 2010 and realized that it will come to an end soon. Then you received a sms and when you open the inbox it said, 'See you next year!' You laugh, grin and smile back at the device as if the device was a being. Then, you replied, 'Its 2 days before New Year, you silly~". He thinks you don't get the joke. You think you get it, but not so until he started asking, ‘What are your resolutions next year?’ 'I don't know.’ Then a killer question slashed like lightning of thunder from Zeus's throne beginning with 'Did you....
Did you manage to reach you last year resolutions?

That was the mark of the end of texting communication.
This year I want to share with you all about a noble goals and I believe that both you and I MUST (not should) attain to achieve. These are the goals that we need to work out together with much prayer and anticipations. It's a universal goal (and some may not agree). It's a spiritual goal, a long journey. It's a goal worth struggle for, worth invests on for and it's the choice of a life time. Here are 3 goals that we MUST do together:

1. Knowing God (Who He is)
'For a long time J.I. Packer's Knowing God was a foundational text... while still popular, Packer's book has been somewhat displaced in recent years by Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God. The titles reflect this shift from knowing to experiencing. In a postmodern world, emotions are the final judge of what makes something good, true and right', writes Walt Mueller. By really knowing Him, we can have an unshakable faith that no matter what happen or feeeeeeeeeeeling we get, we know that there's God in Heaven. Faith is not measure by emotion.

Duration: Starting now until eternity.
How: Read and study the Bible (and understand it), have a conversation with Him frequently- pray, share with one another about your 'finding' and do an intellectuals studies (history) and ask questions.

2. Having a personal relationship with God.
Knowing is not enough. I know who is Barack Obama and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak but I have no personal relationship with them. The author of The Jesus who never Lived, H. Wayne House writes this in his preface, "My desire is that the... reader will receive knowledge of the real Jesus amid the current contention that there are a number of equally legitimate understandings of Jesus."

Duration: Starting now until the end of this earthly life. (From there He will decide either to continue it or not.)
How: Have a conversation with Him frequently - pray. Dedicate or rededicate your life to Him. Answer this question: "Am I worship the Real God?"

[If you have goals to break or stop bad habits like I do, this is good news for us. Once first 2 goals above are increasingly made into realizations, these bad habits will decrease and soon stop (but not instantly).]

3. Live an authentic Life
By authentic I means is 'not false, copied or imitation' but a real and genuine one. Not being someone you're not nor have a double life. Have an authentic faith. "What you see is what you got" principle.

Duration: This year, next year and forever.
How: Accomplish the first 2 goals and you'll know how.

Include this 3 in your other goals for next year. Write it down. Adjust the 'how'. We do it together; you and me. When someone asks, "Did you manage to reach you last year resolutions?”
You can proudly say now, "Not all. But this I will do; Knowing God, to have a personal relationship with Him and to live an authentic life... How about you?"

Oh may I add something interesting on the statistics above;
You are 10 times more likely to attain your goal, rather than people who don't explicitly make goals.
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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Week 25: Victory - Winning the Game of Life

[27th December 2010, 11.45am]

            Yesterday was a history, a great one, AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 at Stadium Nasional Bukit Jalil, a match that I will never forget; Malaysia vs. Indonesia. As soon as I arrived at Bukit Jalil rapid KL station, I saw a color of passion- yellow and blue. I went alone (I couldn't find anyone who have an interest in football here) and I 'summoned' all my relationship skills. This was the moment where I applied all the books that I read about winning with people. 
            It all come into fruition when I'm standing with thousands of fan, hundreds of 'fanatics', few become literally my friend and 2 Indonesians I managed to say 'hi' and words of compliments for their national teams. The match start at 8pm but we all already filled-up the grand stadium since 5.30pm. It was an historical moment. It's what every football fan can dream of- to be there.
            While everyone was holding flags and banners, I'm holding a paper and pen. Azrul, who was sitting next to me, wondering why and what did I wrote. I didn't tell him because he didn't ask. This is what I write (added later);

4 Essential lessons to Win the Game of Life

1) Training. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.
            All of the players who competes in this match, has goes into hours of training, hundred of friendly matches, through the rain and heat of the sun. In our life, training is essential. To be a good writer, football player, a great teacher, doctor, student, businessman, architect, carpenter etc. you need training to prepare yourself for the challenge ahead. Train yourself to become skillful in what you do. Don't settle for moderate, be the best according to your setting values. If you're a Christian, you must train and equip yourself with 'the whole armor of God' (Ephesians 6).You must!

2) Integrity. Don't live a double life.
            In football, acting to fall in front of penalty area will cause him a red card. There's no warning or whatsoever, red card and you're out! 'Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not.’ said Oprah Winfrey. Integrity means wholeness. Are your life is real? Is who you are now the same as you're out there? This is for all of us, King Solomon advised, 'The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.'

3) Self-Control. Think of long-term results.
            Some of Malaysians fan, I observed, have a prejudice against Indonesians. During the match, some displayed a rude hand sign; shout 'Pergi balik lah oi!' (Go back home!) toward Indonesians fan. Prejudice (and all the anger words) appears when we're under pressure- out of self-control. It is impossible as long we're in this world to eliminate prejudices. But do not make that as an excuse to do it so, we need to control it. You'll be amazed when you choose to be self-control. You'll build more friends instead of enemies.

4) Time. Life is short, live for God.
            There are only 90 minutes and maybe 10 - 15 minutes of additional time in a single match. For this 1st half final match, both team need to score as much goal as possible. It is very important for our team Malaysia, especially, to win this game and accumulate points before going for 2nd half final in Jakarta, Indonesia. 90 minutes... Just 90 minutes and the game are over.
            How old are you now? How much years, months, days, hours or seconds left? Do you know that we are made for eternity? What's next after this? John the apostle wrote this in the Bible, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God (Jesus Christ) that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13) Did I offend your 'faith'? If I did, I just want you to know that... I too have a short life here on earth. Life is short, live for God.

I'm not sure when the game was finished. I was busy shouting and give a high 5 with my fellow Malaysian fans. Final results on the scoreboard make my RM30 ticket worth nothing compare to my experience and this lessons that I've learned. You should bring paper and pen sometimes... to a football match.

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Small Hero with a Big Heart

I was sitting in a mall, particularly inside McD's restaurant. Place: Secret. Time: Noon. Weather: In a mall, I can't see the sun. I didn't buy any McD's products, I just need a sit, a place where I can see people and observe them. But I did bring a Starbuck's coffee with me and I placed it somewhere between burger boxes and McD's plastic bag. 2 observations I want to share today.

            There was a man, physically small coming out from a books shop. At first, I thought that he was a circus clown but there was no paint on his face. He works there. In a short term judgment states, I asked a cynical question: "Why the manager hired him? Can he find someone that is more 'able' to do this job?" I confess that I'm thinking wrongly toward him. But you see, he was in charged to carry out big boxes from the storeroom. There was a big one. Almost as big as his body. What should I do? Laugh or help him? I made a decision... I sip of coffee. From a distance, I can see that he was able to do it. This is his pride, I don't want to under estimate him by my sympathy. He's small, yet he's able, he can do it and indeed, he's in-charge!
            Another observation I saw was an amazing one. An old lady was walking through the books shop. Obviously she was looking for something. 'A book! Of course,' my mind said to my soul trying to be smart. For about 10 to 15 minutes later, she came out and I saw her carrying a small book. That was it? A small book! So I sip the last drops of coffee and went forward to the shop and really want to found out what kind of book she brought. It was a classic book. Among all the books that was displayed, she choose the classic, best-selling, and not to forget- small. Yes, precious books almost always writing in short and full of wisdom.

            Are you feeling small today, physically small? And you said, 'This is why nobody likes me! This is why I can't do this and that! This is why I should quit and dreaming of being the best!' Take heart my friend, you maybe small, but you're able! You can be self-pity or you can use every strength and talent that you have to make it happen. The 'boxes' maybe big and heavy, but you heart is big and our God is Strong!
            Are you feeling small today, mentally small? And you said, 'I can't do this... I'm from a poor family... I'm a loser... I'm too young or too old...' Straight up! Get your thinking right! Your values are not depending on your background, it depend of how you see yourself. Your value is not for men to rate; your value is priceless, purchased by the Blood on the Cross. The Mirror said you're flesh and blood, the Lord said, 'You're my precious child". 'Classic' statements? Yes! Simple and 'short'? Yes! Full of 'Wisdom'? Absolutely yes!

            Small as he is, he has a brave heart like a lion. He shows honor, courage and royalty. He is the smallest hero in the Land of Narnia. He fights for freedom, battles with bigger creatures and loses his tail 'the honor and glory of a mouse'. Because of this, Aslan restored his dignity.
            With his small row boat, he paddles off in a different direction, and disappears... Reepicheep, made a decision of a life time, small hero with a big heart finally living his dream, it's finally come true. He reaches to Aslan's Country. 

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Look into my World and Speak up!

"How can you call this place earth? For me it's a big battle field, sometimes there are no guns, but too often I am killed... not by bullets but ignorance, by hatred discrimination, racism, inhumanity, pride..." (Poem by Susan Loone on the mind of refugees)

            In celebrating this Christmas, we enjoy having fun with friends and family. There's no wrong of being fun, enjoy and be merry. For whatever reason, Christians ought to be the happiest person in the world, for we celebrate the born of a Savior. But there are people who may not feel the same. Keep celebrating but be prayerful. Well, let me be clear of the motive of this note; this is for ALL. This is for those who possess a heart, lung and mouth. This is for a breathing human being. This is for those who care... care enough to lay an ear for the blind, care enough to dirt their hands for the poor, care enough to invest coins and papers called 'money' for the beggar. This is for those who have voice to speak up for the dumb... for the silenced voices.

            Let me skipped the history, dates and statistics. This is a brief testimony from domestic workers who worked in Malaysia with a dream in their mind for a better future, both for self-improvement and mostly for their unselfish reason; for the well being of their family. These testimonies are taken from Tenaganita, The Migrant Voices book, a women and migrant workers organization. Below is the introduction from Dr. Irene Fernandez, the director of Tenaganita;

"Malaysia's economic bloom and its growth to a newly industrialized nation has been brought about and sustained through the work and sweat of migrant workers... Thus, as a nation, we continue to rely on migrant workers to keep our economy going strong."

These are my summaries;

            Mohammad Faruk's testimony, 25, from Chartaki Nama Para Village, Kishor Gong in Bangladesh. He shared that he had work for 5 years at Cheras, Selangor. He gets less salary than the amount written in the contract. No double payment for working on Sunday. No annual leave. Work 12 hours per day. 3 months before his working permit expired, the company terminated him without his wages. Reported to the Bangladesh High Commission but no respond, 'Even if they listen, they would say that nothing could be done,' he said. When he went to address the Malaysian authorities, there was no respond either.
            He continued, 'If we go out, the police torture us... Are we not human beings, just because we are poor? Don't we all have the right to live in peace?’ In another chapter he said, 'Are we going to die this way? Though we look healthy physically but mentally we are so sick, it's unbearable.' [P.s: This is a mental torture- painful than any physical torture.]

            Niraj Bhattarai's testimony, 25, from Dharan, Sunsari in Nepal. He was detained in the KLIA jail for 10 days while waiting for his employers to come to take him. 'How many days do we have to wait without eating?’ he said. In regarding to their terrible living conditions, he shared, '10 people would sleep in one small cramped room. Man will not die by working but man will die without eating... The employer can have one nice corner for a doghouse for his dog, but where are the facilities for us foreign workers?’ 'Our value is less than a machine', he stated as he explaining on one particular case where his Nepalese friend lost two of his fingers during operating a machine. No insurance and security.        
            They were robbed. Employer keeps their passport. The employers also don't renew their workers’ work permit on time. It is not guaranteed that the workers will get their salary on time. What worst, is that the police ask for money more than RM100 if they don't have original passports, they only have photocopy.

            Mohammad Riaz, 27, from Kotkashi Village in Hafizabad, Pakistan. Live in the containers. 50 of them had to cram in one container. Treated like animals. For Syed Mehram Hussain & 11 others, they worked for 2 years without wages.
            I could go on but you're busy. You're running out of time. American Idols to catch up. Busy voting for ‘who's the next top super model’. Update with the latest gossips. And I'm wasting your time. [Well, this is good bye... Good Bye.] For those who stay, I don't have any words to say but a humble reminder to motivate you to be the voice… the voice, not just for refugees- but for all those who are in needs. 'Speak up!’ said King Lemuel's mother, 'Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy.' (Proverb 31:8,9)
Speak up! Speak up! Speak up!
[It's not all, but it's a good start.]
 Merry Christmas!
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Monday, December 20, 2010

A simple Prayer for this Christmas (Part 2 End)

'I need a good news', so prayed. A good one because it's raining and my shoes is wet. Before I went to office, I checked out my pocket, struggling searching for copper coins in my fit jean. I should buy another jean. 'Aha!!!’ my inner most being scream, exactly RM1.50 for me to brought a newspaper.

The first page was the beginning of what I called, "Soul Torture Marathon". Tenang's Sulaiman laid to rest. (In English, simply mean- he died) Elements of fraud in Sime Darby Berhad. Jealous lover stabs pregnant teen. North Korea threatens nuclear war. Screws and nails lying in the middle of Lebuh Sungai Pinang Road. And the only good news is; Pizza Hut now have cheesy to the max, 6 cheeses on top and even more cheese in the crust!

Have you heard William Hung sing 'She bangs' song over the radio? If you're not a fan like me, you'll find out that it is better to listen to him than to read this news. Drug dealer jumps to his death during police raid. Man stabs lover 19 times; teen loses her baby (repeated). Riot in Parliaments, Anwar and the gang. Ex-judge sentenced for seven corruption charges.

After I'd been ‘showered’ by this news, I innocently turn on the TV. for more news. For the first 20 minutes just like a deja vu, the news repeated over and over again. What worst was that it kept on adding news that I missed the whole week! No wonder that most people who spent their time watching TV., listening to radio, read newspaper(?) and surfing internet in the range of 8-10 hours per day (I'm talking about excessive behavior) are mostly negative person. That day, 18th December 2010, right until 10pm- I'm in negative mode... seriously, I am.

Before the night was over, I went for s-p-i-r-i-t-u-a-l moment, so I thought it would be good to neutralize the words and negative images in my mind with the words of hope in the Bible. I turned to The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 1, everyone’s favorite chapter on genealogy of Jesus, your favorite right?

The genealogy starts with Abraham to David, David to Jehoiachin and Jehoiachin to Joseph. There are 14 cool names and I wonder if I could pronoun it correctly. What's amazing about this is that; names in the genealogy are made up of a bunch of 'mistakes' people. Let me explain:

Abraham, who lied to the King of Egypt that Sarah was his sister, '... because of you they will let me live and treat me well.' (Gen. 12:13)

Jacob, Abraham's grandson, he cheated his older twin brother, Esau and lied toward his blind father, Isaac. Plus, he ‘accidentally’ was having sex with his daughter-in-law. (Gen. 27, 29)

Tamar*, a widow who tricked his father-in-law, Jacob, into thinking she was a hooker; she had sex with him and got pregnant.

Rehab*, a hooker who ran her business out of Jericho…

Ruth*, a foreigner.

David, who have an affair with Uriah's wife, Bathsheba and soon became pregnant and bore Solomon.

In Matthew 1:16, the genealogy stop at one man, a perfect one, 'Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who was called Christ.' Period. Instead of bringing peace to me, the lists rather confusing... so I asked, "What do you want to tell me Mr. Matthew?"

'There's hope', I hear a whisper. Hope for the future. Hope for us;
  • We always break our promises, but God will never do it. If He said, He has a plan; He really has a Plan to save us.
  • Our destiny does not determine by our family background, it’s determined by our faith in Jesus Christ.
  • What seems impossible for us is possible for Him. The Word became human being and, full of Grace and Truth, lived among us.
  • And finally, what seems bad news (and confusing...) in the world today, we have HOPE that someday... the Good News will last forever.
That night, my prayer is fulfilled; I received the Good News. Zzz... Tonight, it’s yours.
For part 1: A 'taste' of Christmas
P.s: * is taken from Stephen M. Miller's book, The Jesus of the Bible.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week 24: Focus - on What is Important

"Seeing water as closer when you're thirsty might make it a little more likely you'll try to go get it." (Emily Balcetis)
People see desirable objects as physically closer than less desirable ones, according to a study in the January issue of Psychological Science. (I can get this magazine for RM9.90 at AmCorp Mall, Petaling Jaya). When psychologists Emily Balcetis of New York University and David Dunning of Cornell University asked people to estimate how far away a bottle of water was, those who were thirsty guessed it was closer than non-thirsty people did even thought the distance was the same.

            Focus is amazing. Focus changes your perception. Usually, how you feel about things, and the meaning of a particular experience, is all dependent upon your focus. Anthony Robbins, author of Awaken the Giant Within gives the illustration well, 'Suppose you went to a party with your camera, and you sat in one corner, focused on a group of people who were arguing. How would that party be represented? It would be pictured as unpleasant, frustrating party where no one had a good time and everyone is fighting... But what if you focus on another... where people were laughing and telling jokes and having a great time? It would be shown to have been the best party of all.' [I may not agree with everything he said in this book.]

            There was one time after a seminar someone came to me, a girl, so I asked, 'what do you learned from this?’ She replied without blinking her eyes said, 'I don't know. I just looked at your handsome face all day long~'. Just kidding! But isn't it true? For example in relationship, when your partner trying to explain on how he/she feel about the relationship, you may focus on self. 'He doesn’t want to listen to me.' 'He hurts me'. 'How about me?' Me! Me! Me! In the end, it doesn't matter how others feel anymore- it's all about you. This is when the famous whining ever quote, 'I don't get it! I've done everything and still he/she left me!'

            Another example of misapplication of focus is this; focus on what God can do for me instead of how He wants to use me as His Servant. This normally happen during prayer. We often (I'm included) pray, 'Dear God... I want you to do this and that... I don't want this.... err... I want it to be like this... and God... do it now.... Amen.' When our focus is limited toward ‘me’, even God can be our servant.

  Have a focus life. Eliminate focusing your energy on yourself all the time, worries, and unnecessary things. Try to minimize what you focus on; doing too many things always keeps you from doing your best. John L. Mason said, 'Being a disciple of Christ requires focus. When you walk in focus, you'll become passionate about your dream; you'll find it expressed everywhere- you can almost smell it.' "So what should I focus on?” you may ask.
I will answer, 'Focus on what is important. What is it? It's up for you to decide.'

            When a Samaritan village refuses to receive Jesus, He went to another village. Along the way, He said to would-be-followers, 'Follow me.' But that man said, 'Sir, first let me go back and bury my father.' Another man said, 'I will follow you, sir; but first let me go and say good-bye to my family.' Jesus said to him, 'Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.' So much for a motivation, huh? But that's the way it should be, as a genuine Christian- focus on Jesus and never looking back.

Am I dedicated to removing distractions and what doesn't matter so that I can concentrate with clarity on the real issue?
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

A 'taste' of Christmas night. (Part 1)

Raymond sms'ed me: ‘Are we going to Cameron tomorrow?’
‘No, Jimmy is canceled. It would be such a waste if I booked the room for just two of us.’ I don’t know about Raymond, but for sure, I was very disappointed. For a week, 7 days, 168 hours, I imagine the cold of the day and quiet place such as Highland Christian Centre, Cameron Highland. This is a perfect place for retreat! (At least for me) Now the trip is cancel!

So how?’ Raymond replied me back within 57 seconds, ‘What’s your plan?’ he asked me which I assumed that we must have a plan- planned! After 4 – 5 smses bombarded to each other, we come to the conclusion: We will go to Genting Highland instead!

This is the plan…’ I said to Raymond. ‘I checked the room and there’s no available. We go there on the evening and stay up until the next morning, deal?’
Ok’, he replied.
With uncertainty and zero programs, we are heading to the highland the next evening. Thought we have no program, there’s no worries ever appear on our face. First, this is not the first time we go somewhere without plan and second, we just want to get out from the city. Once we reached there, we’re innocently excited and enjoy the night we have.

            To cut the not so long story short, the moment of ‘peak’ program finally happened. Red-eyes, restless night and cold windy weather; good ingredients for sleeping potion. Before my mind could ever freeze, I decided to check one more time if there was any room for us to stay overnight. A sweet and friendly receptionist replied with a solid, ‘No’. Then she continued, ‘… I’m sorry.’ In the end, we spent the night with just a few minutes of sleeping. Right before we took the bus to go back home, I remember asking Raymond this question: “What have we learned?” We both smile, a blur one and leave the place at once.
          At this writing, I ponder on the question seriously; “What have I learned? It is something to do with the Christmas?” I asked skeptically… No… oh ya, yes! Yes! Yes!
I refer back to the Christmas story when Mary, Joseph and baby boy Jesus looking around for a place to rest and end up in the non-luxury, quite dirty place and of course, smelly place to live- the manger. Sometime, I wonder if the writer really wants to tell the world that Jesus is the King of Kings, why he doesn’t say that Jesus was born in the palace or 5 stars hotel. This is the real humility!

  I’m sure just like me and Raymond froze in the cold night and with no room, Joseph and his family must be felt the same way. For us, at least we can go to the building to get some heat, but for Joseph’s family, they have no room but a humble manger and extremely cold in the desert weather night of Arab city in Israel.
What have I learned? I learned a Christmas story. Somehow, we had ‘taste’ a bit of experience of Luke 2 in the Bible. Then I remember what Max Lucado writes,

If our greatest need had been information,
God would have sent us an educator.
If our greatest need had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.
If our greatest need had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.
But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.

For Part 2: Simple Prayer for this Christmas click the title.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Building a Bridge by our common Similarity

"... I believe it is important for the citizens of this country to realize that tolerance of other religions goes beyond mere coexistence. It also means engaging with one another... building a permanent bridge of cooperation through mutual participation. I come here not just as the Prime Minister of the host country, but as a Muslim who wants to initiate a dialogue with his Christian friends. So that we are able to talk in a world in this seems increasingly difficult to do so."

            Above are a brief quote from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's speech (Well, of course when he was our Prime Minister) for the Commission of Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches, Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur, 3rd August 2004. What I want to highlight here in his speech is this: "Building a permanent bridge of cooperation through mutual participation." Let me summaries it this way, 'Building a Bridge'.

Now we all know that there's a tension between religions in this country. Okay come on, let's be real, this is not a secret no more. Talks on peace seem to be useless if we're trying to center the main point is unity in religious. It's not just useless but dangerous. We may tolerate one another but for how long? So, to building relationship through religions in this country or any part of the world is not very relevant, at least in my opinion. All we have to do is to recall back our history to learn that this is such a bad idea. Further more, it may break us more than unite us together. So... How?

  The most basic factor for building relationship is this - find our similarity that we agree on and work on it. In his remarkable book, Winning with People, John C. Maxwell writes about the 100 Percent Principle: "Find the 1 percent we agree on and give it 100 percent of our effort." So what is our common similarity? During Chawkat Moucarry visits to Malaysia, 19th August 2010, in one of the local church here in Petaling Jaya, he said;
"We are one in humanity. All human beings have been created the same way by the same God. One Creator. We're God's special and privileged creatures. We are all brothers and sisters in humanity, and we all belong to the same human family. We have the same dignity and human rights and duties."

            Didn't you find that this is true? That we're all are human beings, created the same way, brothers and sisters in humanity? Belong to the same human family? We have dignity and human rights? This is what we should focus on! Build the bridge on our similarity, that is- our humanity.
            See the other person who maybe difference in color, religious background, physical appearances; handicap or normal, or nationality with a new perspective in mind. See one another as human beings who have the same needs and dignity. When Jesus met the Samaritan woman (John 4), Roman officers (John 4), tax collector (Luke 19), the Greeks (John 12), the blinds and the lepers, he welcome them as a human being who were in needs.

Haris Ibrahim, the founder of 'Saya anak bangsa Malaysia' said in one of his talks that I had a privilege to be there, shared about what he filled up on a form when he wants to renew his gun license. He said, "On the paper, I write…
Name: Haris Ibrahim,
Adress: [his own address],
Sex: [Something...]
Race: Human Race!!!"  

Yes, from now on, in your conscious mind, a new perspective to live by, your race is no more- malay, chinese, indian or dan lain-lain (others), your race is HUMAN RACE! Lets Building a Bridge toward one another by our common similarity -Humanity. Peace be with Malaysia! Best Blogger Tips

Monday, December 13, 2010

Changed Lives (1 Peter 4:3-4)

"You have spent enough time in the past doing what the heathen like to do. Your lives were spent indecency, lust, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and the disgusting worship of idols." (1 Peter 4:3)

            Living in the Iban culture, there's something that had had passed to our blood throughout generations: the art of drunkenness! As a curious kid, peer pressure and non-family support, it is 'normal' for me and my friends to consume alcohol. Have you heard the words, 'Just a little bit its okay', 'As long as I'm not making any trouble', 'Just for fun' and the famous line for Christians (I wonder if they read it and understand it firsthand or not?)- 'Jesus drink wine too!'?*** Well, I used all the lines above when someone advice me to stop drinking alcohol. For a while it was practical to say so... but not until times reveals it weaknesses.

            From a teaspoon to a small cup of alcohol, it kept on advancing to a large cup, a jug and then a bottle. Then from a bottle it starts to evolved much faster than the theory of Evolution... many bottles. Zig Ziglar said, 'All bad habits start slowly and gradually and before you know you have the habit, the habit has you.' From a casual drinker, I'd become a full-time drinker. This is the confession of Alcoholic 'taster'.

            It took time to break this habit and there's no easy way. As much as I want to share with you all how I break this bad habit, I don't have enough space to write. If I write it all, you probably fall asleep on your keyboard. Harold Sala advices, "The motivation to overcome any dependency must be stronger than the force of the addiction." So I want to share the bottom-line of it all... to break any bad habits: Ask God for help, He is stronger than the force of addiction.

            Deep down inside the heart of alcoholics out there is that they’re aware of their bad habit, they want to change but the only problem is that- they don't know how. Ask God for help. Billy Graham writes, "Why does the Bible so clearly denounce drunkenness?  Because it is an enemy of human life. Anything that has is against a person's welfare, God is against." When God said, 'Do not...’ it always for our own good. His goodness and holiness doesn't change even if we choose not to follow His words. He wants us to change because it hurt Him, when it hurt you.

            When I asked Jesus for help, he sent me people, resources and guidance for me to get rid of the addiction. It took time, energy and much pain to break the habit but just like gold is refine by fire, the outcome is worth to boast. If I were to summaries of what Jesus can do in your life, it is this: Changed Lives. He never promises that following Him would be all honey and no bees, but He did promise that 'I will be with you always, to the end of the age'.

What are the bad habits that you have now? Do you want to put an end to it? Do you believe that God can changed lives especially you? Would you let Him 'operate' your heart and endure the pain for awhile to gain your eternal life forever? Ask God for help.

If someday (I know it will soon) you're free from this bad habits, you'll find that the Word of God is true... do not be surprise when some of your friends might disbelief and may insult you in the public just because you're a change person. Risk it, u-turn to God's way and do not u-turn from it anymore.

Continue from the verse above. "And now the heathen are surprised when you do not join them in the same wild and reckless living, and so they insult you." (1 Peter 4:4)
*** If the last excuse ever bothering you all this while, please drop me an e-mail for clarify. 
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Week 23: Determination - 'I have a Dream!"

People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in." (Rosa Parks)
      On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks, age 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. She took a seat in the 'white' section of a city bus and refused the driver's order to move to the 'black' section. She said, "The driver wanted us to stand up, the four of us. We didn't move at the beginning, but he says, 'Let me have these seats.' And the other three people moved, but I didn't." Because of this protest, she was arrested and the subsequent bus boycott lasted for 381 days.

      Spark by this matter, Martin Luther King Jr., pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, leading a civil rights movement at which result to his arrestment. While in jail, he wrote a 9,000 word statement about racial prejudice. In the book You can be a World Changer by Honors Books publisher wrote, 'He was active in urging blacks to 'protest courageously, and yet with dignity and love''. Because of this non-violence protest, in 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Bill, 'which opened public facilities to black people and desegregated public accommodations'.

Wikipedia reported about his death: [At 6:01 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, 1968, while he was standing on the motel's second floor balcony, King was struck by a single .30 bullet fired from a Remington 760 Gamemaster. The bullet travelled through the right side of his neck, smashing his throat and down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder.]

In his famous 'I have a Dream' speech, a called for racial equality and an end to discrimination on 28th August 1963, key excerpts that I remember most is this:
He said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character... Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."

What is your dream? Does your dream include others? Will others get the benefits from it? Does your dream include God? Is it God's will? If it does, the Good News is... you will achieve it. Understand that God can do the impossible and He is able! Having said that let me remind you- In every noble act, there's a risk to take. For King, he risk his life; for Dr. Thomas Chung, he gave up his comforts life; for Mother Teresa, she choose to live among the poorest of the poor; and for some people that I know well, they choose to buried their academic Degree, Master and even PhD to minister for Christ’s sake.

What is your dream? Do you prepare to sacrifice what you cannot keep, to have what you can?
"All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible." (T.E. Lawrence) 
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Stop! We protest against Rape, Violent & Child Abuse.

On June 2010, Chin Hock Nam, 54, taxi driver, was jailed for 14 years and was ordered to be whipped 5 times for raping, attempting to rape and molesting seven underage girls. M. Mageswari, a reporter of the Star newspaper writes Chin got to know the victims through social networking websites and later took them for a ride before sexually attacking them. What enraged my nerve system is when he made a comment; 'We knew each other, it is no ordinary case'.

            15 years ago on 4th July 1995, Ishak Shaari, a religious teacher was charged with raping the girl, who was then 14 years and 5 months old, at a school counseling room. While at Ottawa, Archbishop Kenneth William Storheim, 64, the head of the Canadian diocese of the Orthodox Church in America has been charged with two counts of sexual assault.

  There are many cases of rape and abuse against woman and child (even against man) that doesn't come out from newspaper or get any attention from media. It could be because it was silently closed case or there's nobody cares! "Who care? It doesn't happen to me, to my friends or my family, why should I care?" is the normal respond. The words might not be exactly the same, but the attitude and action does show it. Though nobody like to admit that we don't care enough, it is quite obvious when we choose to be silent and having a 'lukewarm' respond toward this issue. There are even some people that I know responded very negatively saying, "This is normal. We must get use to this kind of news." You fool! Are you going to make a change or just saying nothing, living out your own world???
            Examples above, is not for me to attack against the Chinese, Malay, or any other races in Malaysia. It is also not my agenda to point out those religious leaders and taxi drivers are the people who need to be blame for all of this. Nor that my point is to blame people- my point is to encourage us to stop blaming, pointing fingers etc. but to start a revolution by voicing out our concerns that we are against the act of rape, violent and child abuse! We hate sin not the sinners!

            There are some (or maybe many) disagreements between religious that we should avoid talking about in the blog, facebook, or twitters. But I urge all the people who are reading this note, to consider our common similarity as a human being, that is- we are care. We are capable to hurt each other and we know that well, but we are also capable to love with respect and doing well to one another. It's a matter of choice... choose to love one another.
            Raise up your voice now! Do you care about the increase of rape, violent and child abuse cases here in Malaysia specifically and the world generally? If you do, then stand up, raise your shoulder, put the armor of love and respect and shout your voice out!

"Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy." (Proverbs 31:8-9) In this context, the Poor is the one who is depressed in mind and the Needy are the one who in the sense of want (especially feeling).

Dear Lord, send people to be the voices and speak up for the helpless...
Dear Lord, send me. Amen.

P.s: Stop! We protest against rape, violence & child abuse.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

If we have to choose: Peace or money?

It was around 5.30pm that I went to a bookstore - yesterday evening. Almost always when I go to a bookstore, I would buy a book or two. In this case, I brought one particular book by Robert E. Fisher, Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak. I knew what I want to buy, but I intentionally delay the time just to browse out some other interesting newly arrived books. (For a purpose of 'booking' and free reading) When I'm done doing my business, I went to the counter to pay for the book.

"That's it? Just one book?” he said to me.
[I don't know either that's was another words for, 'Is that all??? You been here for almost an hour and buy just one book???' but I doubt he would say that because I'm sort of regular customer and free reading is what I do part-time there.] 

"Yes, that's all.” I replied. "Thank you", as I continued the transaction with a smile on my oily face.
Before he could name the price, I interrupted his routine ask-for-price tagline...

"Uh... Sorry... I don't have enough money. Can I come back in 10 minutes?” I said pretending checking my money in the bag which I already knew that my money is not enough as my memory flash back in front of that counter within millisecond.
"Okay.", he said.

As I came back, something happen to him, I don't know what exactly it is… He breathes in soo deep and he breathe the air out with a very frustration vocals... saying;
"Richard, peace is very important, ho?"
"Money or peace? I think peace is very important, ho?"

I was speechless, not because of the quality of his questions but because it was very sudden for me. So I applied what the book title said; Quick to listen, slow to Speak. Initially, my mission is to pay for the book and go, but suddenly it turned out to be a counseling session. He kept on saying and asking me questions,
"Money or peace, I think peace is important, ho, Richard? What do you think?"

[Approximately 15 minutes later]
I asked, "Are you okay with your work? Yes, peace is important, money come later."
"Ya ya I'm okay.” he replied. "Ya peace is important... Even Jesus said peace is important." (I think he forget which verse said this)
"He said, "My peace I give to you. (John 14:27)", I tried to correct his words with no offend.
"Which verse is it?” he asked.
"Book of John... I'm not sure which verse...” I answered with realizations that I'm not good either in memorizing numbers. His face turned from anxiety to productivity. He hurried scan my book and end up the transaction. From the counter to the main door he never stops thanks me, "Thank you, thank you, Richard" (x 5).

            Along my way back, I'm still wondering what was going on. I observed that he's a busy man, loaded with works and less enjoyment with his vocation. These are the conditions that can happen to us anytime when we are too busy doing out works. When we are too busy to meet our needs of living, we didn't realize that the Peace of God is not with us. He recognized that the peace of God is very important thus he need the Word of God to remind him about the Peace that Jesus had offer for those who are weary with heavy burdens.
            Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you." (John 14:27) In this context, it is refer to the salvation of Christ's redemptive work. It also means total well-being and inner rest of spirit, in fellowship with God. Are you longing for oneness, peace, quietness, and rest for your soul?
Both are important. We need money, don’t deny it. But if you have to choose between money and peace… always choose Peace of God. Best Blogger Tips

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week 22: Calling - Hello, can you hear me?

"Calling is God's personal invitation for me to work on His agenda, using the talents I have been given in ways that are eternally significant." - Stephen R. Graves.
  When I asked someone, what is God calling you to do? Almost always I receives an answered, "I don't know", "Not sure" "I don't think it is matter for me" etc. If I were to ask you the same question, what will be your answer? If your answer is the same as above, 'I don't know', I just want to tell you that you're not alone. To be 'called' you have to know God and listen when He talks. I love this, "Calling is being released to be exactly who I am supposed to be, to do precisely what I am supposed to do for God, an assignment with eternal worth."
Everyone is interested in knowing what they are supposed to be doing. So, the question is, how do I know God is calling me to do?

Three Channels for God's Call*
1. By name
When God calls by name, it is very difficult to ignore. It might be calling by name if you hear God speak or God's speaking is confirmed by other means. It's probably not calling by name if... what I have heard God speak before turns out not to be so OR I can't clearly identify the time or place of communication. If I think God has called me by name and I cannot recall the time or place, then I probably was not called as I thought I was.
When God is calling us directly by name, there is no doubt about who we are listening to.

2. By placing a desire in my heart.
If a desire is from God, its sense of urgency will be persistent and enduring. God equips whom He calls and calls whom He equips. It is probably not calling by desire if... I am completely unequipped to get the job done or I quit when I encounter significant hurdlers. Personally I know friends who have desire about this and that, thought it was their calling but in the end they fall down broken with frustrations. Remember this friend; it might be calling by desire if the sense of urgency is persistent and relatively longstanding.

3. By arranging a clear path.
A man plans his steps, but God directs his path. God has placed us in space and time and 'determined the times set for [us] and the exact places where [we] should live.' (Acts 17:26) Be patient with God's timing pays off. Sometimes friend, the question is not which path, but whether I step out  when the path is clear.

What is your calling? Did you hear Him calling you by name? By desire? By a path? Are you going to answer that? Are you willing to step out and answer it?

'His call is a call worth taking, worth listening to, and worth following up on. Trust me, He has your number and has been trying to reach you for some time. It's just up to you to pick up the phone.'
What is your calling? Ring… Ring… Ring, pick up the phone.
*Taken from book Life@Work: Marketplace Success for People of Faith by John C. Maxwell, Stephen R. Graves and Thomas G. Addington. Above are my summary of their chapter on Calling. Best Blogger Tips

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