Sunday, November 30, 2014

Every Journey Begins with a First Step


Do you want more time but don’t know where to begin to achieve your God-given dream in life? Make an effort to rise earlier! Or if you’re like me – late riser, early morning sleeper – make an effort to intentionally set aside extra time before you sleep! This one step can add one or two hours to your productive day and years to your life. Take on something you have been meaning to do – writing, reading, inventing, creating, etc. – and do it in your spare time. Would you like to be an expert on some subject? Everyday study or practise for a half hour and you can become an authority person on the subject. If not, at least you’ll become better and more ready for God to use. That’s all it takes. It’s so simple. It escapes the majority of people who keep chanting, ‘Someday I would like to…’; ‘One day I must… but I never seem to have the time.’

Just because you never started the work, practise, play or study that really interests you is no reason why you can’t start right now. Time doesn’t count us out. We only imagine it right now. It’s never too late to begin. Time is impersonal. It is the same every moment. It imposes no limitations upon us. Our only limitations are self-imposed. All you have to do is to caught God’s vision for your life and begin the journey with a first step. What God have spoken to you lately in the Scripture by the Holy Spirit and through godly people that you trust the most? What keep running through your mind and moving your heart passionately? What is your talent, your joyful labour, your heart desire that can bless others if you do it? Do it! Every journey begins with a first step.

Admittedly, it is difficult in this frenzied modern world to avoid being caught up in a sense of urgency and hurry. We can often stuck in the pressure by throwing our minds and hearts into neutral and coasting here and there to the land of nowhere day by day. Don’t do it! Do this: take on something you have been meaning to do – that God-given dream in your life – and study or practise it in your intentional-set-aside time. Trust God, be diligent. Rely on Him, work hard. By God’s grace and acting faith. Are you ready for a new journey in your life? Begins with a first step. God be with you.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Friday, November 21, 2014

Melihat Keperibadian Nehemia: Menjadi Jawapan kepada Doa

Nehemia memeriksa reruntuhan tembok Yerusalem (Bab 2)
Apabila aku mendengar [tentang keadaan Yerusalem], aku duduk dan menangis.
Selama beberapa hari aku meratap dan tidak makan apa-apa.
Aku berdoa kepada Allah, ‘Ya TUHAN Allah penguasa di syurga!...
(Nehemia 1:4-5, BM).

Ada seorang pendeta berkata bahawa doa ialah bukan keinginan kita terjadi sama seperti di syurga tetapi doa ialah membawa keinginan TUHAN terjadi di bumi. Walau bagaimanapun, untuk keinginan TUHAN terjadi di bumi, Dia memerlukan orang yang sanggup digunakan-Nya. Firman Allah dalam Efesus 3:20 berkata: “Dengan kuasa Allah yang bekerja dalam diri kita, Allah dapat melakukan perkara yang jauh lebih banyak daripada yang kita minta atau fikirkan” (BM). Jika TUHAN ingin menjawab doa kita, Dia akan bermula dengan kita yang berdoa doa itu dahulu! Dia akan “bekerja dalam diri kita” dan melalui kita supaya kita dapat melihat bahawa doa itu akan terjawab. Seperti rakan sepelayanan saya, Peter Paris, sering berkata kepada kami semua, “Jadilah jawapan kepada doa kamu sendiri.

Contohnya, apabila Nehemia berdoa, beban dia terhadap umat Israel dan Yerusalem menjadi semakin berat and visi dia untuk melihat sesuatu perkara harus dilakukan menjadi semakin jelas. Doa yang benar akan menyeimbangkan hati, perasaan dan pemikiran kita supaya tindakkan kita tidak akan menjadi terburu-buru sehinggakan kita bertindak terlalu kehadapan dari Allah dan menyebabkan keadaan menjadi semakin teruk. Apabila kita berdoa, TUHAN Allah akan menyatakan perkara yang kita perlu lakukan, bila untuk melakukannya, dan bagaimana untuk melakukannya – dan semua ini sangat penting sekiranya kita ingin bertindak mengikut kehendak-Nya.

Jika kita membaca buku Nehemia, kita akan mendapati bahawa Nehemia dengan sukarela pergi ke Yerusalem untuk menyelia dan mengetuai rancangan untuk membaiki tembok kotanya semula. Nehemia tidak berdoa supaya TUHAN menghantar orang lain. Dia juga tidak bersungut-sungut dan mengatakan bahawa dia tidak cukup bersedia untuk melakukan tugas itu. Dia, seperti nabi Yesaya, hanya berkata, “Inilah aku. Utuslah aku!” Dia tahu bahawa dia sebagai “pengurus minuman raja” (1:11) harus berhadapan dengan raja Artahsasta dan meminta kebenaran untuk pergi ke Yerusalem. Kita harus sedar bahawa permintaan seperti ini adalah sesuatu yang sangat berisiko. Ini ialah raja Persia! Apa yang akan terjadi sekiranya Nehemia datang pada hari yang tidak sesuai, semasa raja sedang bersedih atau marah tentang sesuatu hal? Apa saja yang mungkin terjadi, kita tahu bahawa Nehemia sedang menghadapi percubaan dalam iman dia. Ini yang Nehemia sedar, bahawa TUHAN yang bersamanya itu hebat dan Dia akan menjadikan usaha dia berhasil!

Nehemia, “pengurus minuman raja,” akan terpaksa melepaskan keselesaannya di istana dan berhadapan dengan bahaya dan cabaran hidup di Yerusalem yang hancur itu. Kemewahan akan digantikan dengan reruntuhan, dan pangkat yang tinggi akan digantikan dengan tentangan, cemuhan dan hasutan. Nehemia yang dulunya makan di meja bersama raja Persia dan kerabat diraja, sekarang akan terpaksa menyediakan makanan kepada rakyat yang makan bersamanya. Dia telah meninggalkan segala yang baik di istana, dan sekarang menjadi petugas di tembok yang runtuh… melakukan pekerjaan yang seakan-akan sangat mustahil untuk dilakukan! Semua ini ialah risiko yang Nehemia harus tempuhi jika dia ingin bertindak untuk menjadi jawapan kepada doannya.

Bagi TUHAN, tiada yang mustahil bagi-Nya. Akhirnya Nehemia dan umat Israel berjaya melakukan tugas mereka! Hanya dalam masa 52 hari, tembok Yerusalem siap, pintu-pintu gerbang telah dipasang, dan umat Israel bersukacita! Semuanya bermula dari seorang pendoa – Nehemia – yang peduli tentang umat and kota TUHAN dan sanggup menjadi jawapan kepada doanya sendiri. Alkitab penuh dengan orang-orang seperti Nehemia; Abraham peduli dan pergi menyelamatkan Lot di kota Sodom (Kejadian 18-19). Nabi Musa peduli dan membawa umat Israel keluar dari Babilonia. Raja Daud peduli dan memenangkan semula kerajaan Israel kepada TUHAN Allah. Ratu Ester peduli dan sanggup menggadaikan nyawanya untuk menyelamatkan umat Israel daripada dibunuh beramai-ramai. Rasul Paulus peduli dan membawa Berita Baik tentang Yesus ke seluruh kerajaan Roma. Tuhan Yesus sendiri peduli dan sanggup mati di kayu salib bagi menyelamatkan orang berdosa untuk kembali kepada-Nya.

Tahukah kamu? TUHAN Allah masih lagi mencari orang seperti Nehemia. Seorang yang peduli untuk mengetahui perkara yang berlaku disekeliling mereka. Seorang yang sanggup menangis untuk menyatakan pemintaannya kepada TUHAN. Seorang yang berdoa untuk mencari kehendak Allah dan bantuan-Nya. Dan seorang yang sukarela untuk menjadi jawapan kepada doanya sendiri. Seorang yang sentiasa bersedia untuk berkata kepada TUHAN dengan kerendahan hati, “Inilah aku. Utuslah aku!Adakah orang itu kamu? Jadilah jawapan kepada doa. TUHAN menyertai kamu. Amin.


THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Marriage is More Important than Love

Remember Futurama? Funny movie :) 
Elton Trueblood writes, “It may seem a gratuitous paradox, but the truth is that marriage is more important than love. Marriage is more important than love because it is the normal situation out of which true and abiding love arises. The popular notion, much encouraged by light friction and the motion picture, is that love is primary, marriage being a dull anti-climax. But this is vast error.

Real love hardly exists outside marriage. How could it? Real love is a slow growth coming from unity of life and purpose. Love is a product. It is a thing to be created by mutual service and sacrifice. Normally this service and sacrifice can exist only between married people and only if the bond is accepted as a permanent one.

Love outside of marriage or before marriage is largely romantic fiction. Before marriage there is a certain amount of passion and the mutual attraction which is the possibility of love. This is a good starting point, but it would be a very weak conclusion. The Hollywood mentality is in error because it supposes that this weak thing is love and that it is of primary worth.”
[Quote from Elton Trueblood’s Foundations for Reconstruction (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1946, 76]

Either you agree of this or not,
It comes from a person who know quite lots about marriage and love.
Something to think about.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Dark Shadow" Ministry: A Curse can become a Blessing


It’s amazing how something seen initially as a curse can become a blessing. Alcoholism, when accepted, becomes a source of well-being and inspiration. Cancer, when accepted, brings the key to a spiritual search that leads to Christ and inner peace. HIV, when accepted, can be the beginning of a healthy lifestyle, an awareness of being human and a new creation in Christ, and the opportunity to serve in a unique way the needs of others.

I beginning to meet people and read more and more about the importance of the ‘dark shadow’ in people’s lives – the hurtful experience in our lives – the ‘dark shadow’ that few people are willing to talk about. It is in our ‘dark shadow’, I believe, that disease (I have few friends with HIV/AIDS in mind as I write this) has a special place because it gets mingled with fear and strength, shame and hope, rejection and love. If we are able to confront our disease and speak about all the feelings that surround it and seek Christ in it, then we become aware of who we are in a most special way. God in Christ loves you and me. It’s cliché but true: disease presents challenges that lead to growth.

Friends, to face and live with a disease on a daily basis, inviting it to be the source of dependence on God’s grace and use that opportunity to serve others, and making it a friend, is a unique life experience. I don’t have a serious ‘dark shadow’ in my life, but I observed that those who face lives with a disease in a way that is glorifying God have a blessed life indeed. Isaac Tan, founder of Crisis Home, a non-profit ministry caring for people living with HIV/AID, have many great stories to tell. Stories about how the ‘dark shadow’ can become a living hope, well of inspiration and create awareness in people’s lives. Most teachers, have at some time been forced to confront their ‘dark shadow’ and we all are the beneficiaries. I’m one of the benefactors. I’m not sure what I’m getting at as I write this… but thank you. Thank you for those who stay strong living in their ‘dark shadow’ and making the Light known in your ministry. Thank you for your unique ministry.  

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Monday, November 17, 2014

Jesus Touches Someone with HIV/AIDS

Pic: From the internet
Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. ‘Lord,’ the man said, ‘if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.’ Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be healed!’ And instantly the leprosy disappeared” (Matthew 8:1-3, NLT).

Maybe you have had read this story before. Maybe too familiar that you might lost it’s significant. I do, from time to time. It sounds like a very ordinary story – until you understand what Jesus has done. First, what does leprosy look like? We know that it’s a dreaded skin decease but only few of us have really met a “leper.” Greek-geek students probably have studied the word intensively and preachers might preached it many times before but still don’t know how to relate to it today. I’ve never seen lepers around Kuching area frequently. The word “leprosy” has become hijacked by religious haze that we hardly have a proper reaction to it other than, “Kesian nyer orang ini” (“Pity him”). That’s all.

Secondly, what are the Jewish attitude toward those infected with leprosy during Jesus’ time? Well, based on the Old Testament, particularly in Leviticus 13:45-46, those who suffer leprosy “must tear their clothing and leave their hair uncombed. They must cover their mouth and call out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as the serious decease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp.” Anyone who come in contact with the leper physically will be considered as unclean. To make the case worst, anyone who get within a stone’s throw from the leper was to jeopardize their own righteousness, holiness and reputation.

But like I said earlier on, most of us never really have met a leper before. So, how can we “experience” this story? Try this: substitute “leprosy” with AIDS. At least, we have seen them on TV or read about AIDS in newspaper and radio programmes. Think of public attitude – your attitude – toward AIDS patients. Those bursting cloud of stigmas, ocean of intolerance and desert of unending prejudices toward people with AIDS. I even heard some people are afraid to go to their dentist or donating blood or shaking hand with patients for fear of catching AIDS somehow. Afraid that they will become “unclean”, don’t want to risk their own self-righteousness, and fear of what people will think and say. Ignorance and even religious-conformity have shut our eyes, ears and hearts from knowing the truth about AIDS. Last stages of AIDS – emaciated body, nearly bald, wheezing, face ravaged by ulcers – maybe similar with leprosy. But unlike leprosy, AIDS decease cannot be transmit through touching, breathing and sharing of food.

Lord,” said the man. He comes near Jesus but not too near, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” What does Jesus do? Running away? Stoned the man? Avoided the man because his righteousness and reputation were at stake here? No. Jesus reached and touches him. Jesus reached the man with leprosy (we now imagine “the man with AIDS”) and – touches him! Mind you, Jesus don’t need to touches him in order to heal him, Jesus can just say the word and he will be healed. Yet, Jesus touches him. Why? Because this is the one thing the man needs – a human touch. No one has touched him for a very looooooong time but Jesus did! This is true for all people that we ought to helps – the needy, the poor, the orphanage, the widow, the sick, the old folks, the AIDS patients – they are starving more for human touch than their need for our money, food, program and prayers. Jesus now was considered as “unclean” but he doesn’t care. He care more about touching people’s lives. Jesus is God entering human’s life and get involves. Jesus Emmanuel, God with us. We gives a human touch and through us Jesus gives divine touch in their lives.

There is no other man like him, follow his examples and get involve in people’s lives.
There is no God so kind and loving like him, worship him alone.
Jesus, I love you. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Advice for My Younger Self a.k.a. Richard Jr.


Don’t let your parents down.
They brought you up.
Be humble enough to obey.
You might give orders someday.
Choose companions with care.
You become what they are.
Guard your thoughts.
What you think, you are.
Choose only a date who
would make a good mate.
Be master of your habits,
or they will master you.
Don’t be a showoff when you drive.
Drive with safety and arrive.
Don’t let the crowd pressure you.
Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.
Study the Word and love Christ,
Seek Him while you’re young, yes, you will have Life.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Have You Considered the Smartness of Jesus?


Jesus is smart. Have you heard anybody says that they want to be smart like Jesus? Or people adore him because he is smart? Or have you listen to a sermon entitled ‘The Smartness of Jesus’? Holy, yes. Glorious, yes. Loving, yes. Smart? Well... I adore Jesus more since the day I discover that he is smart. I want to be like Jesus. Jesus, I pray.

Before Jesus sends his twelve apostles out for mission trip, he instructed them, “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16, NLT). Wolves, sheep, snakes and doves. “Wolves” sound very dangerous. “As sheep” is quite offensive but we get used to it already. “As doves” is rather lovely and sweet. I like. “As snake”, well, did Jesus really said that? Snake reminds me of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. That deceitful creature. It is like saying, ‘Richard, in this very dangerous world, as my disciple you must be holy as the Spirit and be as cunning as Satan.’ Be as shrewd as snakes!

In other word, Jesus is asking us to be smart and cunning. I love this. When I read the Gospel stories, I can’t help but stand amaze at his wisdom and smartness. For example, when the Pharisees wanted to trick him by asking, “Now tell us what do you think about this: is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” If Jesus says yes then he will be accuse as Roman supporter and the people will surely going to protest against him for that. If Jesus says no then the Pharisees will say that Jesus is teaching people to go against the Roman. How to solve this wicked-tricky question? Easy. Jesus asked them to show a coin and they showed a Roman coin. He then asked again, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”Caesar’s,” they replied. “Well then, give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God” (Matthew 22:15-22). Brilliant! Jesus was not only smart but he managed bring God-consciousness into the minds of the Pharisees.

Another example, Jesus’ authority was challenged. The religious leaders demanded, “By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?” “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” Jesus replied. “Did John’s authority to baptize come from heaven, or was it merely human?” They talked it over among themselves. “If we say it was from heaven, he will ask us why we didn’t believe John. But if we say it was merely human, we’ll be mobbed because the people believe John was a prophet.” So they finally replied, “We don’t know.” And Jesus responded, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things.” (Matthew 21:23-27). Brilliant! Jesus was cunning as snake! Very smart!

One more example, a woman caught in adultery. The enemies asked Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. The Law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” Again, this is a trick question. If Jesus says stone her, then Jesus’ credibility as Messiah or Saviour of the world is at stake. If Jesus says don’t stone her, then Jesus will be accused of the Law-breaker. Jesus pause for a while, stood up straight and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (John 8:1-11). People were condemned by their own sins and the woman went back home with the assurance of forgiveness. Jesus is smart? Yes, yes, yes!

Jesus is holy and glorious and loving – and smart.
I adore you more Jesus.
Be as shrewd as snakes!” Amen.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Merlin Mann's Advice for Me on Blogging (New Bloggers take Notes)


Merlin Mann is the editor and primary contributor for 43 Folders, a small family of websites about personal productivity, “life hacks” and simple ways to make your life a little better. I love to watch and listen to his witty talks on YouTube. In Brian Bailey’s book The Blogging Church (John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 2007) here Merlin gives some encouragement words for bloggers, especially new bloggers, to keep on writing, to “just get fingers in motion, and fear not the crappy first draft.” He writes,

“The most exciting and difficult time for a new blogger is the barn-raising period after the new blog is launched and the daily dash for new and interesting content begins. As perhaps thousands of ostensible bloggers discover – sometimes as early as their site’s inaugural week – this can be surprisingly hard work.
            It’s hard not simply for the obvious reasons – that regularly scheduled writing (or photography, or even linking) takes time, preparation, and care. You may also have days where you have nothing to say and are tempted to meta-whine about how you have nothing to say. You may find yourself padding pages with the results of online personality tests or the latest funny-once meme du jour. Resist this with extreme prejudice.
            Remember that your blog is only incidentally a publishing system or a public website. At its heart, your blog represents the evolving expression of your most passionately held ideas. It’s a conversation you’re holding up with the world and with yourself – a place where you can watch your own thoughts take different shapes and occasionally surprise you with where they end up.
            By focusing on the themes that interest and inspire you most (to the exclusion of topics that are simply fashionable or widely held), your creativity will be re-stoked and your writing will become a more accurate artifact of the way your mind and your heart want to operate. Accept that the process of writing is also the process of thinking and of realizing what really matters to you.
            A lot of people say writer’s block is your brain’s way of letting you know it needs the help of your hand – so just get fingers in motion, and fear not the crappy first draft. Bad days pass, and as long as you’re writing as honestly and with as much focus as you can muster, the process will seem less foreign and painful every day.”

As a blogger myself, I know that encouragements above are true.
I hope this words will encourage you to start blogging (or to write blog again)

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Gary Lamb's Advice for Me on Blogging

"Make sure you have thick skin" just like elephant. 
Gary Lamb is the founder and lead pastor of Ridge Stone Church in Canton, Georgia. The church started in 2004 and is known for its creativity and emphasis on those who don’t normally attend church. In Brian Bailey’s book The Blogging Church (John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 2007), Gary shares three advice that are very helpful for us to remember as we write blog:

“Blogging has become a huge part of my life in a very short time. I can’t put a price on the friendships and networks that I have formed through blogging. This sounds funny, but my church wouldn’t be what it is today without these relationships.
            I have three pieces of advice. First, be aware that the written word shows no emotions. People many times can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic, funny, or whatever other emotion you are trying to portray. I have offended many people without ever meaning to when what I wrote was read differently than what I meant.
            Second, make sure you have thick skin. Anyone can read what you write. Unfortunately, that includes critics who want nothing more than to destroy and tear down the work God has called you to do.
            Finally, remember that the people in your church are reading your blog, not just other pastors (Richard: I also must remember that students are reading my blog). They are reading between the lines, trying to figure out who you are and what you are talking about. Sometimes, they misread things and think they know the ‘inside scoop.’ This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something to always remember as you blog.”

First, be aware that the written word shows no emotions
Second, make sure you have thick skin
Lastly, remember that people do read your blog
I hope this words will encourage you to start blogging (or to write blog again)
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kebebasan Yesus yang Harus Kita Miliki

Mungkin Yesus tidak setampan ini. Gambar dari filem Son of God (2014)
Sebagai manusia, Yesus ialah seorang yang sangat bebas. Pada masa Perjanjian Baru, dia dikelilingi oleh pelbagai cubaan untuk menurut segala keinginan and pandangan masyarakat tetapi tidak, dia mengikut caranya sendiri, dia membuat keputusan sendiri dan dia melakukan segala sesuatu dengan bebas. Itu apa yang saya tahu sebelum saya mendalami diri Yesus dengan lebih dekat lagi melalui pengajian Alkitab. Kemudian barulah saya sedar bahawa rahsia kebebasan Yesus terdapat ditempat lain, tidak terletak kepada agama dan pandangan masyarakat, tetapi – di dalam hati Bapa. Dia bebas kerana dia hanya melayan keinginan Bapa dan mementingkan pandangan Bapa lebih daripada segalanya.

Yesus tidak tertekan untuk mengikut-ikut pemikiran orang lain dan tidak bingung untuk sentiasa mengejar budaya masyarakat disekelilingnya. Jika pada hari ini ramai orang dewasa risau memikirkan tentang bagaimana untuk memiliki sebuah rumah untuk hidup bahagia bersama keluarga, pengikut Yesus (seperti Yesus sendiri) harus dahulu sibuk mengutamakan “Pemerintahan Allah dan melakukan kehendak-Nya” (Matius 6:33, BM).
Jika pada hari ini ramai orang sibuk menjaga penampiran luaran, pergi ke gym untuk membesar-besarkan otot, berpakaian seperti artis-artis antarabangsa, mendandan rambut seperti K-pop, bekerja siang malam hanya untuk memiliki kereta impian dan sanggup mengabaikan tanggungjawab di rumah supaya dapat mengikut-ikut trend terkini dunia; pengikut Yesus (seperti Yesus sendiri) tidak harus seperti itu, mereka berpegang kepada ayat Roma 12:2, “Janganlah ikut kebiasaan dunia, tetapi biarlah Allah membaharui cara kamu berfikir, sehingga kamu dapat mengetahui kehendak Allah – iaitu apa yang baik dan yang menyenangkan hari-Nya, serta yang sempurna.”

Mari kita kembali semula kepada Yesus. Yesus ialah kasih yang hidup. Apabila kita melihat Yesus bekerja atau melakukan sesuatu, kita melihat Allah bekerja dan melakukan sesuatu. Dia bebas kerana apa yang dia lakukan dan katakan datang dari dalam hati Allah Bapa. Yesus sentiasa bercakap benar walaupun kebenaran akan menyinggung perasaan ahli-ahli agama. Dia sentiasa menunjukkan kasih dan belas kasihan kepada orang berdosa dan yang dihina masyarakat walaupun tindakkannya mengundang kontroversi dalam masyarakat. Dia sentiasa mengutamakan kebajikan dan keperluan orang lain walaupun tindakkan dia kadang-kadang bertentangan dengan ajaran semasa (Yesus menyembuhkan orang pada hari Sabat). Yesus bebas kerana dia memiliki hati Bapa. Yesus boleh saya ibaratkan seperti biskut coklat Kit Kat, patah saja dimana-mana bahagian, pasti kita akan mendapat inti yang sama. Sikap, pemikiran dan hati Yesus sentiasa sama, perbuatan dan kata-katanya tidak pernah bertentangan. Yesus bebas.

Yesus bebas. Kita juga harus bebas. Ini tidak bermaksud kita harus melanggar setiap peraturan-peraturan yang ada atau menjadi tidak relevan tentang hal-hal semasa. Yesus bertindak bukan semata-mata untuk menjadikan diri dia berbeza, tetapi dia bertindak kerana dia mengutamakan Bapa lebih dari segalanya. Kita tidak harus menggunakan kebebasan dengan membuta tuli tanpa berfikir. Kebebasan yang saya maksudkan disini ialah (seperti Yesus) kebebasan daripada tekanan dan cubaan untuk menurut segala keinginan and pandangan masyarakat disekeliling kita. Saya merasakan bahawa kamu dan saya amat-amat memerlukan kebebasan yang Yesus miliki ini. Tidak perlu lagi kita menayangkan gambar-gambar seksi atau bertubuh sasa atau berkongsi gambar makanan-makanan yang kita makan setiap hari atau mengejar trend-trend terbaru masa kini atau sentiasa menulis sesuatu setiap jam untuk mengumpul “like” atau mengambil perhatian orang lain atau untuk menunjukkan bahawa kita tidak ketinggalan. Kita harus bebas daripada pandangan orang lain. Kita harus mengikut Yesus – bebas – kerana dia memiliki hati Bapa.


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Kathy Sierra's Advice for Me on Blogging


Kathy Sierra is the creator of the best-selling tech book series from O’Reilly, Head First. She’s worked as a game developer and interaction designer, and was a master trainer for Sun Microsystems. In Brian Bailey’s book The Blogging Church (John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 2007), Kathy shares her wisdoms on blogging that encourage me to think through about how to give value to my blog readers and I hope it will do the same to you too:

“Before I hit the Publish button on a blog post, I always ask myself the same question: ‘How does this help the reader?’ If the answer isn’t immediate, or it’s just too weak, I think very carefully about whether I should post it. This one simple rule, I believe, is the reason our blog went from having a single reader to more than ten thousands readers each day within its first year.
            My co-authors and I never forget that our readers are just as overwhelmed by information overload as we are. Our readers’ time and attention is a precious gift, and we try to respect that by offering something in return – something helpful and inspirational. Something to help them learn and grow, delivered with passion and energy. There are a million things they could do with the time they spend on our blog, and we are always grateful they chose to spend those moments with us.
            So, the one thing I believe is the most important in creating a blog that engages and helps readers is simply this: when you write, do not focus on what readers will think of YOU or your church. Care only about how readers feel about THEMSELVES, as a result of their interaction with your message.
            I don’t believe that ‘if you write it, they will come.’ But I do believe what ‘if you put your readers first, they will learn and grow.’ And every day, I feel so fortunate to have the chance, thanks to blogs, to help make that happen.”

Wow, isn’t these words are witty and inspiring?
I hope this words will encourage to you to start blogging (or to write blog again)
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jesus Healed and Turned a Demon-Possessed Man into a Good News' Reporter (A Reflection on Mark 5:1-20)

Art of Brian Yi, muddypainting.blogspot.com
Jesus is more passionate and alive than a poster man on our bedroom wall. He is more dynamic and charismatic than our modern image of him hanging on the cross with a painful expression. Jesus is more than a nice-always-smile gentleman and definitely more than a soft spoken positive-thinking preacher. He speaks with authority. He have power over disease. He had mightily displayed his influence over nature – wind and waves. Here in Mark 5:1-20, we will also discover that he is dominance even over evil spirits.

When Jesus and his disciples arrived “on the other side of Lake Galilee, in territory of Gerasa” (Mark 5:1), a man who came out of the burial caves welcomed him. The man was little more than a vicious animal when he first saw Jesus. The man was demon-possessed. Have you seen one? I do. Those who were possessed by evil spirits look very scary. Their eyes red and fierce like tiger. Hands and feet sometime bend like crawling animals. And their skin-colour turned to dark pale. “He was some distance away when he saw Jesus; so he ran, fell on his knees before him, and screamed in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Son of the Most High God! What do you want with me? For God’s sake, I beg you, don’t punish me!’” (Mark 5:6-8, GNB). Scary demon-possessed man was fear of God-anointed man. Surely, Jesus is more to be fear than a demon-possessed man!

Many great events happened after that: evil spirits kept begging Jesus, then by Jesus’ command they went out of the man and entered a large herd of pigs, the pigs rushed down the side of the cliff into the lake and drowned, people of Gerasa were afraid of Jesus and what he had done to the man and the pigs. “So they asked Jesus to leave their territory” (Mark 5:17). However, the healed man wants to stay with Jesus. He wants to be in the team. “Let me go with you!” (5:18) he begged Jesus. What would Jesus do? Well, Jesus would do what he always does best – making mind-blowing decision and saying surprise statement. Jesus rejected the man résumé and give him an assignment instead: “Go back home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how kind he has been to you” (Mark 5:19). Jesus healed and turned a demon-possessed man into a Good News’ reporter! The man went through many towns and reported what Jesus had done for him. As a result "All who heard it were amazed" (Mark 5:20)

What the healed man or (let me put it in today’s context) the new believer’s first responsibility as a Christian? What is the effect of receiving God’s grace in our life? Jesus commands, “Go back home to your family…It is to share this new life in Jesus with those who knew you best. The place to start witnessing is where you live; your family, your friends, your neighbours. Christian witnessing is to start at home and then work outward from there. Jesus also commands, “…tell them how much the Lord has done for you and how kind he has been to you.” Jesus didn’t ask you to prepare a batch of evangelistic sermons, memorize 7 spiritual principles or mark all the salvation verses in your Bible with red highlighter (although all of these are good ideas). Rather, Jesus wants you to tell others about your own experience with God. What Jesus has done for you and what Jesus has meant in your life. This is the Good News

Jesus is dominance, have authority over evil spirits – over all.
Jesus therefore can healed and turned demon-possessed men into Good News’ reporters
And as reporters of God’s goodness, we are to share Christ with those whom we see every day. And our greatest message is about our personal experiences of Christ’s love
and power at work in our life. You’re God’s reporters! 
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Monday, November 10, 2014

Kem Meyer's Advice for Me on Blogging


As communications director for Granger Community Church, Kem Meyer spends her time finding creative ways to clear the clutter that keeps people from engaging. She’s not afraid to break marketing rules and change how people think the “church” is supposed to interact with the world. In Brian Bailey’s book The Blogging Church (John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 2007), Kem writes about blogging that encourage me so much – especially in the area of what to write –  and I hope it will have the same positive effect on you too:

“What is the thing you are most passionate about? The situation you can’t walk by without doing something about it? The subject matter you can’t seem to get enough of? The thoughts filling your mind that keep you up at night and wake you up in the morning? The thing you are most knowledgeable about, have the most experience with, or the most discontent? What solicits your heightened opinion, frustration and joy? What problem are you seeking the solution for? The spot you keep going back to again and again through every season?

Blog about that.

If you do, your content will be authentic, emotional, purpose-driven, and engaging. Posts will be natural, unmanufactured, original, and inspired. Your blogging will be a spontaneous extension of your life. It won’t ever be a chore. Readers know where to find you and you will engage their interest. The hardest thing for you will be knowing how and where to stop once you start. Avoid clichés and soapbox at all costs to remain trustworthy. If you ramble, you will be your only audience and the significance will be lost.”

I hope this words will encourage to you to start blogging now (or to write blog again)
Let’s blog for the Glory of God. Amen.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Guy Kawasaki's Advice for Me on Blogging


Guy Kawasaki is a managing director of Garage Technology Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm, and the author of eight books. Previously, he was a Mac Evangelist at Apply Computer, where he was one of the individuals responsible for the success of the Macintosh computer. In Brian Bailey’s book The Blogging Church (John Wiley & Sons, Inc: 2007), Guy writes about blogging that encourage me so much and I hope it will do the same to you too:

“I know a fair amount about evangelism and a little bit about blogging, so I’ve combined the two in order to provide some insights into the evangelism of a blog.
My suggestion is that you think of your blog as a ‘product.’ A good analogy is the difference between diary and a book. When you write a diary, it contains your spontaneous thoughts and feelings. You have no plans for others to read it. By contrast, if you write a book, from day one you should be thinking about spreading the word about it. If you want to evangelize your blog, then think ‘book’, not ‘diary’, and market it like crazy.
As you develop your blog, make sure you acknowledge and respond to people who comment. Only good things can happen when you read all the comments on your blog and respond to them. If people feel like they are part of your blog’s community, they will tell more people to read your blog. Also, if you are providing value in your blog, don’t hesitate to ask for your readers to help spread the word. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Finally, be bold. If you can’t speak your mind on your own blog, you might as well give up and stay on the porch.”

Yes, I hope this words will encourage to you to start blogging (or to write blog again)
Much better, write and share for the glory of God!
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Kuchingnites, You Can Make a Difference this Christmas: Give Gifts to the Needy


God has given us two hands – one with which to receive and the other with which to give. What if this Christmas instead of waiting for people to give you gifts, why don’t you give? What if you take initiative and start giving with what you already have instead of making excuses and delay your action? What if you be the change rather than asking for things to change and be the worship song that you sing and be the answer to your prayer to make a different in someone else’s life? What if – regardless of your race and religion – you embrace the spirit of Christmas that is the spirit of giving for the good of your community? What if your gift can make those who are less fortunate smile this Christmas, would you like to do that?

Here is (one of) your opportunity to do so. BB Love Box, a community project by the Boys’ Brigade (BB) in Malaysia (2nd Kuching Company) is organizing a project that is design to collect and distribute gifts to the less fortunate people during Christmas Season, irrespective of their races and religions. BB mission is to share LOVE and JOY with the needy. The Boys are passionate to promote the spirit of CARING and SHARING among the people of Kuching. The recipients are identified with the help of welfare and social organizations/groups, religious and voluntary bodies. It consists of children (from infant to 17 years old), families and elderly folks from various villages around Kuching area, old folk’s homes and ophanages.*

There are three categories of recipients in this project:
1)    Children. Their wish list range from toys, school stationary, school bag, exercise books, colouring books and story books.
2)    Elderly folks. Biscuits (in tin), beverage (min. 500g/ in packet or tin), milk powder and bath towel.
3)    Families. Rice (10kg), canned food (halal) and instant noodle.

WHEN, WHERE and HOW can you fulfil the recipients’ wishes?
BB Love Box gifts collection booth and wish trees will be set up from 1st November to 7th December 2014, 10.00am to 8.00pm at Crown Square and Plaza Merdeka, Kuching. Go there and pick up a Wish List (or more) with the recipient’s name and wish item from the wish trees provided. Shop for the gift stated in the list(s) that you choose. Then, wrap and return the gift(s) to the booth where you pick up that list(s) together with the Wish List(s) securely attached to it. Easy, right? You can do this.

What are you waiting Kuchingnites? Come and fill BB Love Box booth with gifts, joy and love! John Bunyan writes, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who cannot pay you back.” Calvin Coolidge once said, “No person was ever honoured for what he received. Honour is the reward of what one gives.” “We make a living by what we get,” remind Winston Churchill, “but we make a life by what we give.” Kuchingnites, we can give without loving, but we cannot love without giving. Blessed are those who give with love! Amen.

Imagine the children’s smiles
Picture the elder’s gladness
Don’t you want to see a family having a dinner together this Christmas?
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Confessions of a Racist Christian


Few years ago I was riding a taxi from Kuala Lumpur to Petaling Jaya. While in the car, when a traffic light changed to red, the driver was forced to stop immediately. It was a shocked to me. Three gangster-like Indians men were crossing the street and were stunned by the driver’s quick braking. They shouted at my Malay taxi driver outside the window. They banged on the taxi’s hood. They kicked the wheels. Not so hard, but they kicked it anyway.

At that moment, the Malay taxi driver blamed the Indians for crossing to soon. The Indians were pissed off and said something not nice. Both parties says racist statements. Me? Inside I was afraid. Angry too. Shamed. And I thought racist thoughts. Everyone were racist that day, the only difference was – I didn’t say it, I thought of it. I’m a racist too. It all happened in a few minutes. I asked myself, where did those thoughts come from? Life. My life. Growing up in Malaysia (the reality is) I was surrounded by racism. My generation is the most racist generation in the history of Malaysia.

I have a friend who refused to eat at Mamak stall because the owners were Indian. Some even dislike going to Chinese shops because the Chinese, they said, are very stingy with food ingredients. The Malays act superior than other races. The indigenous people group was said to be the most proud and stubborn people. Racist. When I was a kid, I don’t know much. Now I know better – I grew up with racism. I carry my emotional baggage with me, and it is terrifyingly easy for me to walk from the light back into the shadow. I need help, God-size help to rescue me from my build-in racism.

Jesus come into my life. He is my God, Lord and Saviour. I come to him first before I confess to you here, Jesus help me from my racism. He saved me from becoming a full-time racist believer. I’m in the process of his discipleship. Not perfect but daily renewed by his grace. In the Scripture, for example John 4:3-9, Jesus interacted with the Samaritan woman (in his culture, the Jews despite Samaritans). Jesus, a rabbi, talked to a woman (in his culture, a rabbi would never ever speak to a Samaritan woman or any other woman in fact, in public). Jesus had a conversation with a sexually loose woman (in his culture, the saints have nothing to do with the sinners). Jesus break the barrier of racism, prejudice and discrimination. Throughout the Scripture Jesus’ attitude and teachings, mind and Spirit helps me to break my walls of racism in me with other races. In Jesus, I’m able to find reconciliation, forgiveness, love and tolerance with one another. In Jesus, I have victory over racism! He is still working in me.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Family is Forever


A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it
(George Moore)

We choose friends based on similarities – we have similar tastes and we like similar things – but we don’t have a luxury of choosing our families. We go for interviews to get a job at work, but we can’t go for interview to be a mother or father or brother or sister to fill the family unit. Friends is a choice, family is what we’re given. And just as we must make the most out of all other things God gives us – our time, physical body, personality, thinking, feeling, experience, our soul – we must make the most out of the family we’ve received.

Before there were pastors, small groups, counsellors, therapists, doctors, there were moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and grandparents. Our family is the only connection we have to our heritage. Honestly, we can end up a friendship or a partnership and replace it with a new one, but we can’t replace our family. (Most of) our family members knows us like no one else does. My mother know my personality, my brother learned that I love movies, and my late father know I loves to read. More than that, they know most of my true personality, my inner identity and authentic behaviour at home. Our family are part of our life’s story. They raised us and they grow together with us. That relationship – family – will never ends. Family is forever.

For all sorts of reasons – both valid and not – people sometimes choose to end relationships. I know this is true especially among young people. I work in student ministry now and I walk together with student-friends for almost 4 years since. I listened to their struggles in relationship (and not to forget my own experiences). You! I’m sure you’ve had family members do or say offensive things to you, and if a friend or colleague or employee or boy/girlfriend acted the way the family member did, you most probably would ended the relationship. But because it was family, you instead invested more – more love, more forgiveness, more patient, more understanding. Because it was family, and because Christ is in you, you choose to let it go, Christ then empowered you, heal the hurt, and move forward.

I thank my Lord Jesus Christ whenever he strengthen me and my family to choose to let things go and move forward on many occasions with one another. Many times I fought, rebelled and talked offensively to my mother and exchanged hurting words and face expressions with my brother, but it doesn’t take a long time for us to get together, eat dinner and chat again. Family conflicts is never beyond repair. As long as there is family, there is love and grace. Family is forever. My God value family more than anything else. After all, God the Father love the Son, and the Son loves us his children and abide in them in the Holy Spirit and God forever want to be with us in his home. Like Father, like Son; like God, we value family and relationship above all. Family is forever.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

What If I Tell You that Jesus Loves to Smile


Henry Ward Beecher writes, “Nothing on earth can smile but man. Gems may flash reflected light, but what is a diamond flash compared with an eye-flash and a mind-flash? A smile is a light in the window of the face by which the heart signifies it is at home and waiting.” Yes, a smile can add a great deal to one’s soul, feeling and mind. Plus, a smile can make people happy, which in turn makes you happy. It’s a win-win situation. Try it.

Let me ask you, if you could do something that would make others happy, and it would cost you neither money nor your life, would you do it? If that same thing also make you happy, would you do it? If it will brighten your day and the days of people around you and there is almost zero risk involves, would you do it? What is this precious thing? A smile. Yes, a smile. Sad faces evoked more sad faces, but a smiling faces evoked smiles and joyful hearts. Try it.

I love to read the Gospel stories and imagine Jesus. Jesus is God and man. If I see Jesus, I see God in actions. I think Jesus must have been a warm man on occasion because the children loved him (Matthew 19:13-15). Children are never attracted to bad-mood, always serious people, but the children must have loved the sparkle in Jesus' eyes, his warm open smile, and yes, his contagious laugh. Children loved to be with him, even trying to find ways to get to him in the midst of the crowds. Jesus was a busy man but who thought Jesus had more important things to do than hold a child on his lap – laugh and smile. Jesus even recorded as saying, "Let the children come to me, and don't hinder them" (Matthew 14:19). God smile? Of course, “The one who rules in heaven laughs” (Psalms 2:4). Try it.

Christians have more reasons to smile than anyone else.
Life is hard, God is good – therefore, smile.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

TUHAN Menggerakkan Hati Umat-Nya: Perubahan Rohani vs. Tindakkan Praktikal (Refleksi tentang Kitab Ezra 1:5-11)


“[Tiap-tiap] orang yang telah digerakkan hatinya oleh Allah, bersiap-siap untuk pulang ke Yerusalem dan membina semula Rumah TUHAN. Semua jiran mereka turut membantu dengan memberikan barangan yang diperlukan: perkakas perak, emas, bekalan untuk perjalanan, binatang untuk mengangkut barangan, harta benda yang lain, serta persembahan untuk Rumah TUHAN. Raja Kores mengembalikan semua mangkuk dan cawan yang dahulunya dipakai di Rumah TUHAN di Yerusalem… Kemudian Mitredat, ketua perbendaharaan kerajaan membuat senarai perkakas itu bagi Sesbazar, gabenor negeri Yehuda… Kesemua barang itu ini dibawa oleh Sesbazar dari Babilonia ke Yerusalem, bersama dengan orang buangan yang lain” (Ezra 1:5-11, BM).

Untuk memahami latar belakang Firman ini, baca Ezra 1:1-5 (atau KLIK DI SINI). Sesbazar telah dilantik sebagai gabenor pertama negeri Yehuda oleh Raja Kores untuk memimpin orang bangsa Yehuda kembali ke Yerusalem. Sesbazar ialah orang yang bertanggungjawab untuk membawa perkakas-perkakas milik Rumah TUHAN ke tempat asalnya dan dia “meletakkan asas Rumah TUHAN” (Ezra 5:16) di Yerusalem. Hanya kemudian barulah Ezra (penulis kitab ini) dan orang Yehuda yang lain datang untuk menyambung kerja, membaik pulih dan membina semula Rumah TUHAN.

Bayangkan bagaimana mereka bersiap untuk pergi. “Tiap-tiap orang yang telah digerakkan hatinya oleh Allah” bersiap untuk melakukan tugasan yang diberi, mengalami pengalaman atau situasi yang baru dan bersedia untuk kembali ke Yerusalem. Wang, harta benda yang berharga dan binatang-binatang periharaan adalah sama pentingnya dengan persiapan hati untuk mentaati panggilan dan Firman TUHAN. Dia telah “menggerakkan hati raja” (Ezra 1:1), dan tidak mustahil Dia juga akan menggerakkan hati umat-Nya. Dia melakukan inisiatif. Tetapi harus diketahui juga bahawa setiap umat-Nya mempunyai tanggungjawab dan memainkan peranan tertentu dalam membina semula Rumah TUHAN di Yerusalem. Ada diantara mereka memberi bantuan bagi tujuan pembinaan dan ada juga yang membantu sanak saudara dan jiran-jiran yang ingin kembali semula.

Satu perkara yang saya pelajari melalui Firman ini ialah, untuk melakukan pekerjaan TUHAN, adalah penting bagi kita untuk memastikan bahawa secara rohani kita didorong oleh TUHAN, dan secara praktikal, kita harus dilengkapi untuk melakukannya. Apabila TUHAN telah “menggerakkan hati” umat-Nya untuk melakukan sesuatu, ianya akan bermula dari pemikiran, hati dan roh kita dan ia juga akan melibatkan masa, tenaga, kebolehan dan harta (atau wang). Ianya melibatkan kerohanian diri kita dan juga tindakkan luaran secara praktikal. Iman dan perbuatan. Tidak seperti kita menonton perlawanan bola sepak di stadium dimana hanya 22 pemain akan berusaha keras untuk menjaringkan gol sementara beribu-ribu penonton di stadium hanya duduk dan berdiri memberi nasihat, menjerit dan mengkritik sahaja; kita yang percaya kepada TUHAN Allah harus melibatkan diri secara praktikal dan juga secara rohani untuk membangunkan Kerajaan Allah (“Rumah TUHAN”) di dalam komuniti, masyarakat dan negara kita.

Ingat: Kebangkitan rohani yang benar akan disertakan dengan tindakkan praktikal.
Apabila TUHAN “menggerakkan hati” kita, berdoalah dan lakukan sesuatu.
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Jesus, Don't You Care? (A Reflection on Mark 4:35-41)


On the evening of that same day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’ So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them. Other boats were there too” (Mark 4:35-36, GNB).

Tired. Late evening. It had been a busy day of ministry. Jesus, a man as he can be, was exhausted from a strenuous day of teaching, so he suggested to his disciples that they cross over “to the other side of the lake” to a quieter side of Galilea for a rest. When I read these verses again (and again) I rest assure that this man Jesus is the Lord that I can approach, know, love, trust, and adore. He is humanity in the truest form. Therefore, I can approach, know and love him deeply. He is also divinity in the truest form. Therefore, I can trust and adore him forevermore. When I read this story further, I’m amazed by him…

Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves begin to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow. The disciples woke him up and said, ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?’” (Mark 4:37-38).

A carpenter was sleeping, but experienced fishermen was panicking. They were so afraid. Surely Peter and John would know how to troubleshoot during storms… they don’t. But wait, isn’t this storm was difference? Perhaps an earthquake-like storms. Nevertheless, a strong wind blew up, waves spill over into the boat, the boat was about to sink, the disciples panic – and Jesus slept on undisturbed! Why? The simplest answer is that he must be very tired. He was not pretending to sleep or pretentious-intentionally want to test his disciples (as many popular interpretation suggests), he displayed his genuine fatigue and weariness. Jesus is so human. Thus, the disciples have to “woke him up” and asked a very faith-less (but valid) question to Jesus: “Don’t you care?” Ah, this is our favourite question when we are facing the storm of our lives. “Don’t you care, Jesus?

For you and me who have known Jesus, who worship him consciously almost every Sunday, who read and study His Book, who love to go to concerts, who lavishly displayed our Christianity brands on social medias, who never experience extreme hunger and poverty, ask this question – “Don’t you care, Jesus?” Definitely we have an issue of faith. “Do you still have no faith?” Jesus asked. At some point in our lives (maybe today?), as Christ followers, we all must learn to say honestly and reverently, “Jesus, my life is in your hands.” That is one of the truths Jesus wanted us to learn from the storm incident. Nothing that happens to you and me, including accidents and death, is a surprised to Jesus. He cares. He knows what life holds for all of us, including its length and challenges. We need not fear the storm. Jesus is in the boat with us. “Other boats were there too” but they don’t have Jesus. Look…

Jesus stood up and commanded the wind, ‘Be quiet!’ and he said to the waves, ‘Be still!’ The wind died down, and there was a great calm. Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Why are you frightened? Do you still have no faith?’ But they were terribly afraid and begin to say to one another. ‘Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” (Mark 4:39-41).

We have read Jesus’ humanity in action (his need for rest and sleep) now we sees his divine power in action. Just like talking to pets – dogs and cats – Jesus simply commanded the storm to “Quiet! Be still!” Fascinating, the storm needed to be rebuked. The wind and waves obeyed him immediately. And then Jesus asked one obvious question “Why are you frightened?” (of course they were afraid Lord) and another question in regard to the issue of their life “Do you still have no faith?” Are you afraid to die? I do. Jesus wasn’t angry with the disciples for their panic in the storm, and God’s isn’t angry with us for shrinking back at the thought of our personal storm in life – but Jesus wants us to grow in our measure of trust in Him. As we learn to be fearless and trust His cares for us, our fear becomes less and less. Are you afraid to die? Don’t be. If you really want to be afraid, afraid of this: the person of Jesus. Before, the disciples were “afraid” in fear of the storm but now it doesn’t matter anymore, they were “afraid” in fear-reverence, high-respect of the Jesus in front of them. They were amazed by his power and learning more about Jesus. The Jesus whom they can trust. The no ordinary Jesus. No wonder they asked, “Who is this man? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Awesome God!

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Monday, November 3, 2014

Making a Wise Comparison


Many of our feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction have their roots in how we compare ourselves to others. When we compare ourselves to those who have more, we feel bad. When I compare my educational level (I’m a diploma holder only) with others who studied for degree and master, I will feel bad. When I compare my income with my friends who work in the government, I feel sad. When I compare my English with magazine and website editors in my church, I feel down.

But when we compare ourselves to those who have less, we feel grateful. When I compare my breakfast with the hungry, I feel blessed. When I compare of me having a home and personal bedroom with homeless strangers at Kuching Waterfront, I’m very thankful. When I compare my Biblical knowledge with those who are well-educated at theological school, I guess I’m proud of myself.

Mind you, both feeling and thinking are dangerous because we try to compare ourselves with the more and the less, rather than making a wiser comparison. The truth is we have exactly the same life either way, our feeling and thinking about our life can be difference tremendously based on who we compare ourselves with. May I advise? Compare yourself with those examples that are meaningful but that make you feel comfortable with who you are and what you have. Find your own personal heroes.

Yes, God want us to imitate His faithful servants in the Scripture when the writer of Hebrews writes, “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” (Hebrews 13:7). Yes, compare our lives with their faithful lives and consider (think of) their way of life. But God doesn’t say for us to be like them. The healthiest comparison that God offers is this: Compare yourself with Jesus, not others. Focus on Jesus when you’re tempted to compare yourself with others. In Jesus, our comparison is more meaningful. We still can be who we are with greater thanksgiving, humility and contentment. Choose your comparisons wisely.

THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP. 
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