Category Archives: In Your Face
Being authentic is one of my codes of conduct; I don’t want to be perfect, I just want to be real.
The difference between Lent and a full-on 40-day fast is that one is a journey while the other is a discipline.
One of the things I set out to do in my first Lent is to celebrate on Sundays and special occasions. And it’s been a while since I looked forward to Sunday as much as I have. It was like a much-needed pit-stop to celebrate the journey so far (however short) and to remind myself of the blessings that I’ve always enjoyed and taken for granted.
For starters, I drank my usual cup of Nespresso coffee in the morning. Then for lunch, I ordered a ribeye steak ‘xtra cut at Aston’s and even drank teh peng jia C to my heart’s content. And for dinner, I tucked into Mummy’s homemade chicken rice, helped myself to a serving of young coconut juice and before the night is over, I’m sure I’ll be gobbling down some honey mangoes.
There’s something beautiful about delayed gratification, especially in this microwave generation where everything is instant.
I also took the opportunity to log in to Facebook and Instagram and realised that there’s really nothing important that I’ve missed, despite the 100+ notifications that were beckoning my attention. Lull time (periods of inactivity where nothing happens) is better utilised when you sieve out the distractions.
But the most beautiful thing about today was the spiritual conversation that I had with Mummy in the late afternoon. She asked me all kinds of questions that young believers would ask. It felt like the Holy Spirit triggered her curiosity to learn about the things of her faith. I was energised by our interaction together and for the first time in her life, she actually said she would consider going to cell (to ask all these questions); she finally saw that there was another purpose for cell besides just sharing about her problems (which she is extremely reluctant to). Perhaps Apokalupto finally took place in her spiritual life. I am thankful. May God continue to fuel this spiritual hunger she has.
As I gave thanks for our 元宵 dinner just now, I felt an intimate connection with God; it wasn’t just customary, but heartfelt.
With that I greatly anticipate the week ahead.
Ordering Dark Soy Bean Curd at Thai Express and watching my wife dive into her Seafood Sukiyaki Vermicelli Soup must have been the lowest point of my Pescatarian diet decision in my Lenten journey thus far.
But it made me give thanks for the food in a new perspective – that is, to remember Christ before I partake in dinner.
From my understanding of Lent, it’s up to me to set the rules. And each luxury I abstain from is meant to remind me of Jesus. It’s working so far, I must confess. And man, I kid you not about the energy levels – I’ve never felt so physically exhausted (and it’s not even the peak month of December). I’ve slept earlier and enough but I still feel fatigued.
I am really not used to going through my day with such low energy levels… So I’m hoping this will be worth the effort.
As I delivered the sermon today on the importance of prayer and how that involves God in our everyday efforts to be a witness, I am reminded that Lent is a spiritual journey; the physicality of it should point me towards my spiritual pilgrimage.
I’m not sure if prayer can change God’s mind considering that He already knows all things (like what Lent would do to me) but I do know that (the) prayer (of a righteous man) can accomplish much. May prayer change me and cause me to know the heart of God.
Open my spiritual eyes to see Your will for my life in this season, O Lord.
Ask any serious Christian out there and he’ll tell you he’s hoping for a revival in his life, family, church and workplace.
I try to be a Christian who’s serious about pursuing Christ. After all, I need to be considering what I do for a living. (I can’t help but hear “Don’t let your uniform stick to you” from Tahan ringing in my ears…) It’s not easy though – I’ve been praying for a revival to happen in my church and youth group ever since I joined the church in 1999. I believe generations after and before have as well. I have tried every method I know how: fasting, praying, leading worship, reading the Word, preaching my heart out, organising massive events, discipling young leaders, sitting at the feet of spiritual giants…
And yet… There is no revival – not in the way that I imagine, at least.
I was semi-distracted for the revival meeting tonight, where Ps Philip Lyn spoke at. I’ve listened to his sermons, I’ve read about him and I even share the same mentor as him… Well, I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more Word-based teaching tonight, but I did catch his heart… And I thought what he shared made a lot of sense.
According to him, revival is made up of three components:
- Repentance through the blood of Jesus
- (Power and) authority that’s being released, and
- The unknown factor, which is the grace of God
I will use that thought process in the remaining 37 days of my Quadregesima. I’m game for anything that may work; I’m really desperate to meet Christ. I mean, I’m so desperate I’ve even called spiritual retreat centres to ask if I could check myself in. But it’s been difficult to find God – my energy levels are significantly lower, my workload is relentless and I have basic functional responsibilities just like everyone else does. (I have though in the last three days, quickened my spirit to be mindful of what I say…)
O God, highlight all the areas in my life that I need to repent, help me to release Your authority in every domain of my life and please let me walk in the path of Your divine grace…
If the height of revival is hidden in the heart for revival, then please position my heart in a place for revival!
It’s not too far-fetched an idea to suggest that my Quadregesima is best experienced only if I am unemployed.
But alas, I’m not.
With responsibilities, obligations and duties demanding my time, it becomes increasingly challenging to spend time with God and even more so to think about Christ at all times. Something has to go. Something has to give in. I need discipline.
And as I had expected it, I gave in to something I wanted to give up – entertainment. It sounds trivial but I couldn’t resist reading the Naruto manga today. Ha-HA! The new release was out yesterday and my futile resistance lasted all of 24 hours until Keith Yeo mentioned it over a chat. Okay, I’m a drama king, but hey, at least I’m honest. Well, next week I will pass the test.
Without social media vying for my attention, I find myself with more time at hand to pursue what’s more worthy of my time. However, without coffee, I find myself fighting to stay awake and alert. In times like these, I keep challenging myself to depend on God’s strength to be strong in God, but that’s easier to say than do.
And as I’m keeping off all kinds of sugared drinks (only water and green tea), anything naturally sweet becomes something I look forward to – be it cereal with milk in the morning or a late night honey mango. Now if only I pine for Christ like the way I pine for pleasure in my taste buds…
On a separate note, I cannot imagine mentoring others without the help of the Holy Spirit. May I continue to depend on Him for knowledge and wisdom as I invest into people’s lives – I desire to say the right thing, at the right time, in the right way.
Argh, I’m incredibly restless and impatient. I want to see results now. But I need to be still first. This is an incoherent entry.
In the same breath of the excellent play I watched tonight, called “Tahan” (thanks Stella Cheung, for blessing me), I’ll sign off with…
Also known as Lent.
(Latin for quadrāgēsima, or the fortieth.)
In my pilgrimage as a believer, this will be my most serious observance and longest period of a spiritual discipline thus far — though prayer, fasting, penitence, repentance, almsgiving, and self-denial — to imitate the example of Christ.
Starting today and ending on Easter Sunday.
I will have limited access to just about anything that might prevent me from being in the presence of God.
Lent has historically been seen as a time of serious self-denial. In denying ourselves we are able to catch a glimpse of the cosmic self-denial made by the second person of the Trinity for the salvation of mankind… …[T]he 40 day period has been influential in the lives of countless saints to redirect our affections toward our Savior. Lent predates every denomination. In whatever way your local church celebrates Lent; let this season break you, wound you, destroy you, and humble you so Jesus can be the center of your life and not you. — Tim Kimberley
Can’t wait to meet and hear from You, Lord. I need Your help through this.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 5:3
I have mixed feelings about tonight’s prayer meeting.
Please do not misunderstand me; I sincerely believe that every prayer offered in those 60 minutes was uttered with the right intentions – to honour God, to spur each other on in the faith and to intercede for Grace AG.
But honestly, amidst the spiritual euphoria that was brewing in the room, typical of any church activity after a spirit-rousing church camp, I believe with all my heart that the way to sustain your post-retreat afterglow is tell yourself that you CANNOT do it on your own. That was what the Lord impressed upon my heart halfway through J333.
So young people (and adults alike), before you go around thinking you can spread the fire to those who didn’t go for the retreat, consider this instead: the way to prevent spiritual arrogance and complacency, and to promote spiritual growth and maturity, is to advance with humility on bended knees.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” — Psalm 51:17
The truth is, we can’t do it on our own. At least, that’s what I’ve learnt after 15 years of attending Grace Retreats. And quite frankly, I’m predicting the same eventual deflated outcome for you if you are intending to depend on your own efforts.
Therefore, I submit to you my honest thoughts. Serve other people and consider their needs before yours, ask the Holy Spirit to empower you, and be humble and the Lord will lift you up.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” — James 4:7-10
Off the top of my head and in no order of importance…
1. Being secure helps you to stay humble. You’d be slow to anger and quick to apologise because you won’t feel like it’s a dent on your ego. And you won’t mind people thinking you’re in the wrong or having a wrong impression of you.
2. Being secure helps you to discover who you are. Coming to terms with your flaws and weaknesses is a painful thing, but when you’re not ashamed of your shortcomings, admitting it allows you to grow into your own skin.
3. Being secure helps you to be yourself. I think it’s tiring being someone else. Confidence is being comfortable with who you are and being acutely aware of your strengths; people don’t grow in their weaknesses, but in their strengths.
4. Being secure helps you to grow. One defining mark of a leader is about teachability. I always pray that I’d grow in my potential. I don’t want to fulfill all my potential and realise that there’s nothing left to grow in.
5. Being secure helps you to serve others. The world tells you that serving is for subordinates, but the Bible tells you that the top of the food chain must serve those who receive the least honour. Security breeds service.
6. Being secure helps you to trust God. There is no better test of faith than to place your trust in God to answer prayers than in your own ability to get things done. This is only possible when you recognise that God can do more than you can.
7. Being secure helps you to forgive. No one has the power to from getting or watching someone else get hurt, but everyone has the power to forgive. Forgiveness must always be exercised in the perspective of what Christ has already done for us.
8. Being secure helps you to have fun. Let your hair down and paint the town red! It’s no fun being around someone who doesn’t know how to have fun or make a fool of themselves (in the right place and time, and for the right reasons).
9. Being secure helps you to groom other people. The job of my generation is to help the next generation surpass us in everything. Secure leaders don’t hoard but invest themselves into people generously and willingly.
10. Being secure helps you to look toward eternity. God doesn’t call us to be successful, but to be faithful. In light of forever-ness, I am glad I only need to be accountable for what I am given to steward.
Being secure means that you can truly live like you have nothing to prove, nothing to lose and nothing to hide. So be secure in the Lord today – freedom beckons!