Category Archives: Top Ten & Other Lists
Be it ABC or 123, this is a consolidation of every single list that appears on this blog.
These observations are a little backdated (three months late), but these lessons are timeless and will be relevant in almost every season of my life.
In no order of importance, here are 20 (albeit cryptic) reflections from Eden’s five-day stay in Gleneagles Hospital in September 2014…
1. Family trumps everybody and is my greatest priority.
It was a no-brainer forfeiting my mission trip to be with Huiyi and Eden.
2. Don’t expect sheep to show concern for shepherds.
Pastoral care is freely dispensed by the pastor, but will hardly be reciprocated in equal measure.
3. Only my immediate family and I will be there for my immediate family and I.
Every hospitalised person can rely on only two groups of people — parents and grandparents.
4. The way I shepherd in a crisis is a reflection of the way I was shepherded in a crisis.
Where is my reference point? What is my yardstick? To lead by example, I must first be led by example.
5. Being wise is more important than being loving or sacrificial.
It is better for the main caregivers to take turns to get quality rest instead of staying vigil all the time.
6. The lesser I expect, the lesser I will be disappointed.
I realised that I have unspoken expectations and it’s toxic for me to hold on to these.
7. My single presence is more important than the sum total of my prayers.
Support is meant to be felt. Prayers are meant to be answered. Both require action.
8. Be kind and courteous to everyone because nobody knows what I am going through.
Nobody owes me a living so I learnt to be polite to everyone even when I was highly strung.
9. Don’t bother updating those who don’t bother to update themselves.
Those who really want to know will naturally contact me and that’s all the people I need to update.
10. My wife and baby’s comfort outweighs showing courtesy to visitors.
If Eden or Huiyi was resting when visitors came and wanted to say hello, too bad for my visitors.
11. I am not obligated to explain or respond to everything to and from everyone.
Strange and uncalled-for comments should be ignored and deemed as insensitive or immature.
12. Guard my emotions: the devil will exploit my vulnerability.
My security is found in who I am to God and not who I am to people.
13. People care more for my work than for my worth and my family’s welfare.
Well, I honestly didn’t really care about anything else regardless of how pressing they were.
14. Strangers and acquaintances can be more supportive than relatives and friends.
We experienced unexpected favour through our paediatrician, nurses and even security guards.
15. In distress, do not miss out on walking into divine appointments.
I took the opportunity to demonstrate God’s to the seven-year-old boy warded beside Eden.
16. No point asking for prayer if I don’t even pray myself.
Believing in God becomes authentic when I do much more than what I ask others to do on my behalf.
17. Always be patient with my wife and overlook any wrong choice of expression.
Huiyi is way more stressed and affected than me and the last thing on her mind is to offend me.
18. The only person I must practically serve and verbally encourage is my wife.
Tell Huiyi she’s doing a good job and prove that I’m right behind her in everything.
19. If I can’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to take care of anyone else.
Either I treat my splitting headache by going home to rest or I become Huiyi’s extra burden.
20. Considering others better than myself is viewing my contributions less than theirs.
Becoming the logistics guy was nothing compared to being a breastfeeding mother to a sick baby.
It has been over half a year since I last blogged. I had always wanted to resume writing regularly, not for public reading but personal rigour. However, it has become increasingly difficult with different commitments vying for my time and attention.
I certainly miss the catharsis of writing — where I can reflect, process and record my frank thoughts, raw feelings and divinely appointed experiences. Somehow, writing slows down my life and helps me to savour the moments.
So without much fanfare, I shall attempt to restart tonight. After all, there is no better time to write than now.
A few days ago, I stopped my car in the middle of Grange Road to attend to a motorist who was trapped underneath her own motorcycle.
I was about 300 metres away when I saw the toppled motorcycle. In those short seconds of approaching her location, I was certain that there must have been many other drivers who had driven past her earlier on, and pretended to be oblivious to her obvious distress.
True enough, at least another five vehicles had zoomed past her before I could turn on my hazard lights and stop my car just behind her motorbike. I literally parked in the centre of a three-lane road and a potential traffic congestion was the last thing on my mind.
I did what every normal person would do if he witnessed something abnormal on the road — help.
I never knew how heavy a motorcycle was until I assisted her; there was no way she could have lifted it up on her own.
She told me that a taxi driver had hit her and then sped away. Thankfully, she said she was not hurt and surprisingly, she was not upset at all. Maybe it was the adrenaline from her struggle, maybe she was at fault, or maybe she was just grateful to be alive.
As I raised her motorbike, I was joined by another man who did the same normal thing I did; he stopped his SUV and got out to help this woman in her late 40’s.
Once she was back on her feet and sat on her motorbike, she appreciated the both of us, assured us that she was fit enough to resume riding, and went on her way. I would probably never meet her again and chances are, even if I did, I would not recognise her.
The entire incident was over in less than a couple of minutes (and I was on my bluetooth headset with KY the whole time) but it got me thinking about what it meant to help others.
1. The right person to help is often the first person who helps.
2. The first person who helps naturally invites the second person to help.
3. Everyone needs help, but they may not be able or know how to tell you.
4. The best help you can offer could be as simple as a minute or two.
5. Helping others is an end in itself because it is not about you.
To facilitate my cafe-hunting adventures with the missus, I’ve consolidated the names and addresses of existing cafes in Singapore and created an easily-accessible directory of cafes in Singapore grouped by locality. So thanks to referencing excellent food websites like ladyironchef and burpple, I am able to share this categorised list with you. Do let me know if there are any cafes I should be including or excluding. Hope you find this helpful! (:
Holland Village/Buona Vista
- Jimmy Monkey Cafe @ 9 one-north Gateway #01-51 (one-north residences) | C/D/F/$6-$18/$5
- Revolution Coffee @ 21 Media Circle #01-03A | CD
- Artisan Boulangerie @ 9 North Buona Vista Drive #01-12 (The Metropolis)
- Jamaica Blue @ 1 Vista Exchange Green #01-32 (The Star Vista) | CDF
- 93°C Bean & Leaf @ 8 Lorong Mambong | CD
- MU Parlour @ 16A Lorong Mambong
- Craft Bakery & Cafe @ 24A Lorong Mambong | CDF
- Hatched @ 267 Holland Avenue | CDF
- d’ Good Cafe @ 273 Holland Avenue | CDF
- Foster English Rose Cafe @ 277 Holland Avenue | CDF
- Park Cafe Bar @ 281 Holland Avenue #01-01
- Shebrews Cafe @ 365 Commonwealth Avenue (Queenstown Community Centre)
- Artease @ 500 Dover Road (Singapore Polytechnic Teaching Block 19)
- Roadhouse @ 13 Dempsey Road #01-07
- Jones the Grocer @ 12 Dempsey Road | CDF
- PS Cafe @ 28B Harding Road
- The Dempsey Brasserie @ Blk 7 Dempsey Road #01-03
- The White Rabbit @ 39C Harding Road
- Barracks Cafe House Dempsey @ 8D Dempsey Road #01-01 to 06
- House Dempsey @ 8D Dempsey Road #01-01 to 06
- Food For Thought Cafe @ 1 Cluny Road #B1-00 (Singapore Botanic Gardens)
- Assembly Coffee @ 26 Evans Road (Evans Lodge)
- Hatched @ 26 Evans Road #01-06 (Evans Lodge)
- Nassim Hill Bakery & Bistro @ 56 Tanglin Road (Tanglin Post Office)
- Spruce @ 320 Tanglin Road (Phoenix Park)
- Relish @ 501 Bukit Timah Road #02-01 (Cluny Court)
- Simply Bread @ 501 Bukit Timah Road #02-01 (Cluny Court) | CF
- Choupinette @ 607 Bukit Timah Road #01-01
- The Missing Pan @ 619D Bukit Timah Road #01/02-01 (Coronation Plaza)
- The Living Cafe @ 779 Bukit Timah Road
- Little Diner @ 789 Bukit Timah Road
- Vicky’s Cakes & The Coffee Shack @ 833 Bukit Timah Road #01-07 (Royaville)
- Simply Bread @ 1 Fifth Avenue #01-03 (Guthrie House) | CF
- Baker & Cook @ 77 Hillcrest Road
- Dutch Colony Coffee Co @ 200 Turf Club Road Stall #67-68 (The Grandstand)
- Riders Cafe @ 51 Fairways Drive (Bukit Timah Saddle Club)
- Marmalade Pantry @ 55 Fairways Drive
Upper Bukit Timah/West
- Lynn’s Cake & Coffee @ 11 Eng Kong Terrace
- Necessary Provisions Cafe @ 21 Eng Kong Terrace
- Carpenter & Cook @ 19 Lorong Kilat #01-06
- Nook DIY House of Pancakes @ 21 Lorong Kilat #01-03
- Spruce @ 274 Upper Bukit Timah Road
- W.39 Bistro @ Jalan Mas Puteh
- Cupplets @ 535 Clementi Road (Ngee Ann Polytechnic Block 16)
- Paris Baguette Cafe @ 50 Jurong Gateway Road #02-20 (JEM)
- Humble Origins @ Kent Ridge Drive (NUS FASS, next to LT12)
- Artease @ 14 Nanyang Drive (NTU School of Humanities)
- The Orange Thimble @ 56 Eng Hoon Street #01-68
- Caffe Pralet @ 17 Eng Hoon Street #01-03/04 (Eng Hoon Mansions)
- Drips Bakery Cafe @ 82 Tiong Poh Road #01-05
- Flock Cafe @ 78 Moh Guan Terrace #01-25
- Forty Hands @ 78 Yong Siak Street #01-12
- Open Door Policy @ 19 Yong Siak Street
- PoTeaTo @ 78 Yong Siak Street
- Tiong Bahru Bakery @ 56 Eng Hoon Street #01-70
- The Dispensary @ 69 Tiong Bahru Road
- The Providore Warehouse @ 315 Outram Road 05-03 (Tan Boon Liat Building)
- Workshop @ 121 Bukit Merah Lane 1 #01-06
- Pan Delights @ 161 Bukit Merah Central, #01-3725
- The Bakery Chef @ 161 Bukit Merah Central #01-3711
- Butterscotch Cafe @ 164 Bukit Merah Central #01-3625
- Artisan Boulangerie @ 1 Kim Seng Promenade #01-23 (Great World City)
Everton Park/Kampong Bahru
- OKB @ 1 Kampong Bahru Rd
- Strangers’ Reunion @ 37 Kampong Bahru Road
- Highlander Coffee @ 49 Kampong Bahru Road
- Just Want Coffee @ 1 Everton Park
- Audacious Cakery @ 2 Everton Park #01-61
- Grin Affair @ 3 Everton Park #01-77A
- The Provision Shop @ 3 Everton Park #01-79
- Nylon Coffee Roasters @ 4 Everton Park #01-40
- Cozy Coffee Corner @ 4 Everton Park #01-50
- Mapleloft Cafe @ 101 Cantonment Road #01-02 (Tanjong Pagar Community Club)
- Oriole Coffee Roasters @ 10 Jiak Chuan Road
- The Reading Room @ 19 Bukit Pasoh Road
- Selfish Gene Cafe @ 40 Craig Road
- The Plain @ 50 Craig Road
- Department of Caffeine @ 15 Duxton Road
- Group Therapy Cafe @ 49 Duxton Road
- Flor Patisserie @ 2 Duxton Hill #01-01
- Bistro Soori @ 2 Teck Lim Road
- Glück Bistro Express @ 26 Teck Lim Road
- Antoniette @ 33 Erskine Road #01-02/03 (Scarlet Hotel)
- The Loft Cafe @ 268A South Bridge Road
- Coffee Tea & Company @ 133 New Bridge Road #B1-44 (Chinatown Point)
- RONIN @ 17 Hong Kong Street
- Cafe Gavroche @ 69 Tras Street
- Kiasu Espresso @ 100 Tras Street #01-03/04 (100 AM)
- Okada Coffee @ 100 Tras Street #03-23 (100 AM)
- Cake Spade @ 1 Tras Link #01-06 (Orchid Hotel)
- SPRMRKT @ 2 McCallum Street
- 6oz Espresso Bar @ 20 McCallum Street #01-K1 (Tokio Marine Centre)
- PS Cafe @ 45 Ann Siang Road #02-02
- Quarter to Three @ 88 Tanjong Pagar Road
- Drury Lane Cafe @ 94 Tanjong Pagar Road
- ReStore Cafe @ 124 Tanjong Pagar Road
- Artease @ 1 Tanjong Pagar Plaza #01-35
- Jamaica Blue @ 1 Raffles Place #01-62 (One Raffles Place Tower 2)
- Club Street Social @ 5 Gemmill Lane
- Shots Cafe @ 90 Club Street
- The Muffinry @ 112 Telok Ayer Street
- Sarnies Cafe @ 136 Telok Ayer Street
- Sophie Bakery @ 167 Telok Ayer Street
- Coffeesmith @ 62 Collyer Quay #02-11
- Jewel Coffee @ 1 Shenton Way #01-07
- 8 Stanley Street @ 8 Stanley Street
- Bar Bar Black Sheep @ 55 Boat Quay
- Artisan Boulangerie @ 12 Marina View #01-02 (Asia Square Tower 2)
- Artease @ 3 Phillip Street #01-01
- The Book Cafe @ 20 Martin Road #01-02 (Seng Kee Building)
- Baker & Cook @ 38A Martin Road #01-01
- Common Man Coffee Roasters @ 22 Martin Road #01-00
- Laurent’s Cafe & Chocolate Bar @ 80 Mohammad Sultan Road #01-11
- Kith Cafe @ 7 Rodyk Street #01-28
- Toby’s Estate @ 8 Rodyk Street #01-03/04
- eM by the River @ 1 Nanson Road #01-05 (The Gallery Hotel)
- Hummerstons @ 11 Unity Street #02-14 (Robertson Walk)
- The Fabulous Baker Boy @ 70 River Valley Road #01-15 (The Foothills)
- Five and Dime @ 297 River Valley Road
- Swirl Art Cafe @ 417 River Valley Road
- Croute @ 491 River Valley Road
- Epicurious Cafe @ 60 Robertson Quay #01-02
- Smitten Cafe @ 60 Robertson Quay #01-11
- Boomarang @ 60 Robertson Quay #01-15
- Anthesis @ 86 Robertson Quay #01-01
- The Merry Men @ 86 Robertson Quay #01-02
- Bar Bar Black Sheep @ 86 Robertson Quay #01-04
- Kith Cafe @ 31 Ocean Way Quayside Isle #01-08 (Sentosa Cove)
- Artisan Boulangerie @ 1 Harbourfront Walk #01-163/164 (Vivo City)
- Prive Bakery Cafe @ 2 Keppel Bay Vista Ground Floor (Keppel Bay Marina)
- The Marshmallow Tree @ 46 Telok Blangah Drive #01-85
- Eco Gourmet Cafe @ 30 Labrador Villa Road
- ROOM @ 460 Alexandra Road #01-18 (Alexandra Retail Centre)
- Wild Honey @ 6 Scotts Road Level 3 (Scotts Square)
- Antoniette @ 390 Orchard Road B1-08/09/10C (Palais Renaissance)
- PS Cafe @ 390 Orchard Road #02-09A (Palais Renaissance)
- Marmalade Pantry @ 2 Orchard Turn #03-22 (ION)
- Paris Baguette Cafe @ 435 Orchard Road #02-48/53 (Wisma Atria)
- Pique Nique @ 391A Orchard Road #B1-01 (Ngee Ann City)
- Marmalade Toast @ #02-11 391 Orchard Road (Ngee Ann City)
- The Providore @ 333A Orchard Road #02-05 (Mandarin Gallery)
- Antoniette @ 333A Orchard Road #02-33/34 (Mandarin Gallery)
- Wild Honey @ 333A Orchard Road #03-02 (Mandarin Gallery)
- Jones the Grocer @ 333A Orchard Road #04-21/23 (Mandarin Gallery)
- Artease @ 8 Grange Road #01-03 (Cathay Cineleisure Orchard)
- Oriole Cafe & Bar @ 96 Somerset Road #01-01 (Pan Pacific Serviced Suites)
- KPO Cafe & Bar @ 1 Killiney Road (Killney Post Office)
- Freshly Baked by Le Bijoux @ 57 Killiney Road
- Artisan Boulangerie @ 118 Killiney Road #01-01
- Myartspace Cafe @ 31 Orchard Road (Istana Park)
- Nana’s Green Tea @ 68 Orchard Road #03-80/81/82 (Plaza Singapura)
- Hoshino Coffee @ 68 Orchard Road #03-84 (Plaza Singapura)
- Createaf Waffles @ 2 Handy Road #01-02 (The Cathay)
- Kith Cafe @ 9 Penang Road #01-01E (Park Mall)
- Wild Rocket at Mount Emily @ 10A Upper Wilkie Road GF (Hangout @ Mount Emily)
City Hall/Bras Basah
- Fine Palate Cafe @ 51 Waterloo Street #01-04/05
- Food For Thought @ 8 Queen Street
- The Basement Cafe @ 80 Stamford Road #B1-62 (Singapore Management University)
- Food For Thought @ 93 Stamford Road #01-04/05 (National Museum)
- Tiong Bahru Bakery @ 252 North Bridge Road #B1-11/12 (Raffles City Shopping Centre)
- Commune Cafe & Bistro @ 9 Raffles Boulevard #02-50 (Millennia Walk)
- Patisserie G @ 9 Raffles Boulevard #01-40 (Millennia Walk)
- Tart Blanc @ 9 Raffles Boulevard #01-102 (Millennia Walk)
- Cups N Canvas @ 139 Selegie Road
- Strictly Pancakes @ 44A Prinsep Street
- Hungry Chimps @ 64A Prinsep Street #02-01
- Lowercase @ 1 McNally Street Block D #01-01
- Temporium @ 72-74 Dunlop Street
- Artichoke Cafe @ 161 Middle Road
- I Am @ 674 North Bridge Road #01-01
- Artistry @ 17 Jalan Pinang
- Espressolab @ 13 Bali Lane
- Maison Ikkoku @ 20 Kandahar Street (Heritage Centre)
- Dong Po Colonial Cafe @ 56 Kandahar Street
- Working Title @ 48 Arab Street
- CAD Cafe @ 23 Haji Lane
- Symmetry @ 9 Jalan Kubor #01-01
- La Marelle Cafe & Boutique @ 25A Baghdad Street
- A for Arbite @ 28 Aliwal Street #01-01 (Aliwal Arts Centre)
- EatPlayLove Cafe @ 28 Aliwal Street #01-07 (Aliwal Arts Centre)
- Tolido’s Espresso Nook @ 462 Crawford Lane
- The Coffee Shot @ 103 Lavender Street
- Butter Studio @ 147 Jalan Besar
- Suprette @ 383 Jalan Besar (Kam Leng Hotel)
- The Tiramisu Hero Cafe @ 121 Tyrwhitt Road
- Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar @ 150 Tyrwhitt Road
- Antoinette @ 30 Penhas Road
- The Bravery @ 66 Horne Road
- Windowsill in the Woods @ 78 Horne Road
- L’etoile Cafe @ 160 Owen Road
- Cakes Literally @ 138 Owen Road
- Jewel Cafe and Bar @ 129 Rangoon Road
- The Little Prince Cafe @ 62 Somme Road #01-03
- The Sweet Movement @ 62 Somme Road #01-01
- La Ristrettos @ 10 Sinaran Drive #08-37 (Novena Medical Centre)
- Wheeler’s Yard @ 28 Lorong Ampas
- Little Part 1 Cafe @ 15 Jasmine Road (Adelphi Park Estate)
- Wafflelicious @ 21 Upper Thomson Road
- Little Pancakes @ 200 Upper Thomson Road #01-04 (Thomson Imperial Court)
- Old School Delights @ 215M Upper Thompson Road
- Habitat Coffee @ 233 Upper Thomson Road
- Salted Caramel @ 246 Upper Thomson Road
- OZ Specialty Coffee @ 11 Sin Ming Road #01-13 (Thomson V Two)
- Fluffy White Cloud Dream Cafe @ 11 Sin Ming Road #01-19 (Thomson V Two)
- November 8 Cafe @ 11 Sin Ming Road #01-30 (Thomson V Two)
- Yahava Koffee @ 4 Jalan Gelenggang
- Cremier @ 128 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #01-835
- GRUB @ 510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 (Bishan Park)
- The Cornerstone @ 1380 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 (Bishan Park)
- Canopy Garden Dining & Bar @ 1382 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 (Bishan Park)
- Lola’s Cafe @ 5 Simon Road
- Arbite Cafe @ 66A Serangoon Garden Way
- Artease @ 261 Serangoon Central #01-29
- Ciel Patisserie @ 124 Hougang Avenue 1 #01-1444
- Chillax Massage Cafe @ 28 Maju Avenue Level 1
- Ice Edge Cafe @ 2 Kovan Road
- Hatter Street @ 212 Hougang Street 21 #01-333
- Rokeby Cafe @ 15-9 Jalan Riang
- Wimbly Lu @ 15-2 Jalan Riang
- The Coffee Daily @ 75 Brighton Crescent
- Sun Ray Cafe @ 79 Brighton Crescent
- Backstage Cafe @ 158 Kallang Way
- Maple & Market @ 34 Cassia Crescent #01-82
- Loysel’s Toy Cafe @ 66 Kampong Bugis #01-01 (Sam Tat Building)
- Brawn and Brains @ 100 Guillemard Road #01-07 (Singapore Badminton Hall)
- Cafe Melba @ 90 Goodman Road #01-56 (Block N @ Goodman Arts Centre)
- The Humble Loaf @ 865 Mountbatten Road #B1-92 (Katong Shopping Centre)
- Penny University @ 402 East Coast Road
- Oh Deli @ 421 East Coast Road
- British Hainan @ 75 Carpmael Road
- D’Zerts Cafe @ 30 Jalan Pari Burong (Simpang Bedok)
- To-gather Cafe @ 84 Bedok North Street 4 #01-27
- Milk and Honey Gelato @ 86 Bedok North Street 4 #01-179
- Sugarcraft Atelier @ 212 Changi Road
- Rice & Fries @ 484 Changi Road
- Doggiestyle Cafe @ 496 Changi Road
- Lots Gourmet @ 965A Upper Changi Road North
- The Bark Cafe @ 1000 Upper Changi Road North
- The Garden Slug @ 55 Lorong L Telok Kurau #01-59/61 (Bright Centre)
- 1TwentySix @ 902 East Coast Parkway Blk E #01-26 (Playground @ Big Splash)
- Chock Full Of Beans @ 4 Changi Village Road #01-2090
- Eggs & Berries @ 5 Changi Business Park Central 1#01-37/38 (Changi City Point)
- Table Manners @ 5 Changi Business Park Central 1 #01-68/69 (Changi City Point)
- The Coastal Settlement @ 200 Netheravon Road
Instead of lamenting over the Singapore haze situation and pouring out my woes on social media (which adds zero value to this pseudo national crisis IMHO), I found ten ways to be thankful for the wind beneath my wings…
- The last time Singapore had such unhealthy PSI readings was in October 2006 (I think). Let’s be thankful that we’ve enjoyed clear skies for nearly seven years!
- In moments like these, you should be pleased that you’re not in Sumatra or any of the northern Indonesian islands – it could be been far worse!
- Isn’t it good that at least Singapore has a tropical climate where rain could come anytime to wash the haze away? Places in summer now (especially desert places) won’t even smell precipitation for weeks!
- Let’s rejoice that that Singapore’s transportation system is nearly 100% air-conditioned; when I was a teenager, buses were ventilated by natural wind! And if you’re a car owner, be contented for your own set of wheels and instead of contending with the smoke while commuting – imagine those who are cycling!
- It’s a good sign that lesser people (especially teenagers) are on the streets because they’d rather be indoors, whether at home, in the office or in malls – out of the streets, out of trouble!
- Let’s be relieved that at least everyone in Singapore is united by the same public enemy – instead of population, politics or (gender) preference issues!
- Believe it or not, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness to us in the way that He led the Israelites through the wilderness in a pillar of cloud and fire – sounds like concentrated haze in a column to me!
- For all you photographers out there, let’s get trigger happy for this is the only time where you can capture pictures with a natural “smoke out” effect without using any filter!
- For those who aspire to be ninjas, this is your time to bring out your face masks and actually look socially acceptable – when else would you get away with it!?
- And finally, if this situations worsens, the government might start ordering people to stay indoors to avoid the haze – I can hear students and national servicemen cheering already!
I’m forcing myself to do this before I sleep so that I don’t sink into an unexplainable post-sermon depression; yes, once again I feel like I’ve preached the worst sermon of my life. And this is one of the lowest moments in my short journey as a preacher.
1. 322: our highest attendance for a combined youth service in a very long time. The GII Sanctuary was packed and buzzing with energy indeed.
2. 29: the highest number of newcomers for a youth service – proud of our youths who brought their friends and those who had the courage to invite.
3. 6: first-time salvations. And countless rededications. Without a doubt everything that happened tonight must be credited to God. All honour to Him alone.
4. Stella and Caleb: respectively, the brain behind the creative concept (we took a risk with this format of Easter) and the hands that helped the brain bring the plan come to life.
5. Swift: reading their praise reports on whatsapp and rejoicing with them for the success they experienced tonight with their region – something they really needed for all the hard work they’ve out in.
6. Worship: I could really sense the comforting presence of the Lord tonight and that the R-AGErs were so sincere in their response to God. Nell did a good job too – this young lady has a real anointing. One of those evenings where you wished you could linger a little longer.
7. Performers and crew: they just get younger and younger, don’t they? The average age of the youths serving and making a contribution across the board has lowered and their potential excites me. This X team was so committed and dedicated to their roles; they really pulled off something massive.
8. Soon Huat, his team of cleaners and the youths’ parents: for being so patient and understanding although we ended so late. My sincere apologies for that. I hope it doesn’t happen again.
9. Huiyi: who patiently and painstakingly encouraged, counselled and assured me from the moment I left the stage all the way until now. I cannot imagine sinking into this pit without her by my side. Thank you for praying for me and embracing me in my moment of weakness.
10. God: that He would even use a wretched, broken and untalented pastor like me to preach His Word, and was gracious enough to even send Yixian to encourage and pray for me – I didn’t deserve that. Father, I’m sorry for tonight. I’ll do better next time. Thank You for Your faithfulness and for showing up tonight – it would have been disastrous if You didn’t. All glory belongs to You.
It has been a humbling and forgettable night. In Jesus’ name, please take these negative thoughts and feelings away from me.
Okay, I need to sleep now.
I struggle to pray, not just today, but everyday.
It is impossible to stay on the path of holiness unless I have the enabling grace of God; and yet so often I depend on my strength to become strong in God – what a tragic paradox. Perhaps my carnality compels me to do that instinctively because I do not understand the grace of God intimately and experientially.
The psalmist beckons me to depend on God to:
- Give me life
- Teach me His statutes
- Make me understand
- Strengthen me
- Put false ways far from me
- Teach me His law
- Let me not be put to shame, and
- Enlarge my heart
Perhaps this is only possible if I:
- Tell Him my ways
- Meditate on His works
- Choose the way of faithfulness
- Set His rules before me
- Cling to His testimonies
- Run in the way of His commandments
Holy Spirit, please help me to quicken my spiritual senses; I need You to help me pray unceasingly. I desire to seek the Lord before I embark on every task so that I can regularly reorientate my focus. I boldly ask You to help me by reminding me, so that I may respond by remembering to pray, and eventually relying on You becomes a required routine of my life.
No Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? No problem. No Football Manager? No problem. No unedifying words? No problem. No air-conditioning? No problem. No meat, sugar, snacks and tidbits? No problem. But no morning coffee? Oh I felt its absence as early as the second hour into the lecture.
I have three lists: start doing, stop doing and still doing. It’s easy to stop, hard to start but hardest to be consistent.
I know it’s only the first day, but I’m ultra-Sanguine about what I want to achieve and I need the Lord to still my heart in pacing myself. Am I disappointed because I failed to do what I had set out to do today? Perhaps. But what I want to be disappointed about is that I didn’t, couldn’t and haven’t met Christ today. I am reminded that it’s not about accomplishments for Christ but about alignment to Christ.
God is faithful – what I had contemplated upon this past week was confirmed in the first lecture on spiritual direction; I am certain that my maiden Quadregesima will alter my spiritual life forever. I go to bed tonight with a plethora of expectations soaked in optimism but littered with potentially prideful intentions. Oh may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing unto You, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.
Jesus, I’m here to meet with You, won’t You come and meet with me? I want to taste a morsel of Paul’s experience when he said, “For me to live is Christ!” May You be centralised in my life all over again.
I am constantly amazed at how much the Holy Spirit is willing to teach me when my heart is open to God’s Word. In case you’re wondering, I do not use any devotional materials (since 2008 anyway). In my daily time with Jesus, I’m accompanied by an NLT Bible, a black Staedtler pen, a yellow Staedler highlight and a trusty ol’ journal. I use a variety of methods to get deeper into the Word: including mechanical breakdown, SOAP (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer), word studies and of course unstructured incoherent scribblings. And since these observations are birthed from my journalling, they obviously make more sense to me than you.
When you feed your roots, you grow your fruits. (:
7 Jan // Mark 4:1-20
My observation is that a farmer (aka preacher/teacher of the Word) has a seven-fold responsibility:
- Firstly, he must faithfully plant (seeds). If he doesn’t scatter them, there is zero chance of plants growing.
- He must pray that birds don’t prey on his efforts of scattering seeds and eat up those that fell on the footpath.
- He must (re)position the plants growing on rocky soil to fertile soil, so that their shallow roots will grow deep.
- He must purge out the thorns and weeds in his farm that prevent the plants from producing fruit.
- He must prune the plants that are not growing too well, and this painful process usually involves patiently taking one step back (but two steps forward later).
- He must persist with the plants that fell on fertile soil by cultivating the ground and not getting complacent.
- Finally, he must press (in) and entrust the growth of the plants to God, and patiently wait for them to produce fruit in season in multiple folds, and then be ready to harvest them.
Thankfully, these roles actually have many limitations. It teaches me to be rested in the Lord who grows people and not get restless in wanting to grow them by my (enthusiastic but unnecessary) over-exertions. When I am rooted and rested, my life will be radical (back to basics).
8 Jan // Mark 4:21-34
“Secret” is a neutral word. I’m inclined to link it our sense of security. And those with nasty secrets live in fear; either it haunts them from time to time, or the fear of it coming to light makes them live defensively.
“Exposure” too, is a neutral word. And those who live righteously have nothing to fear. On the contrary, the good things executed and the bad things endured in secret receive commendation and vindication respectively.
That’s why the ideal but toughest part of your life to surrender God and let Him dwell in is your heart. No one but the Holy Spirit knows what’s truly meditating in the deep recesses of your heart; after all, who can hide from God?
The call to live out the kingdom of God isn’t just an outward show for men but an inward submission to the Master. If you allow the Word of God to purge you and the Holy Spirit to purify you, “secrets” and “exposure” might just become your allies.
Lord, grow the Word planted in me in secret and at the right time by Your loving grace, have the Holy Spirit expose to me my known and unknown sins so that I may become more like Jesus. In my secret time alone with You, reveal to me Your kingdom and help me to pay close attention to what You are saying so that I will understand You and receive even more from You.
9 Jan // Mark 4:35-41
Of course Jesus knew what He was doing when He sailed out to sea with his disciples after dusk. Of course He was “sleeping” in the middle of a fierce storm. Of course He knew that His disciples were oh-so-full-of-faith after teaching about faith the entire day.
In the midst of a storm in your life, is your first response to Jesus about how bad your situation is and why He would let you to go through it?
But despite our immaturity, Jesus is still faithful; He first sorts out your storm, then He gently confronts you with two key questions: “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
In life’s struggles, let’s learn to have faith in Him who doesn’t just control the situations but personally leads us in and out of them. And let’s remember that He is more concerned about us knowing “Who is this man?” than simply delivering us from shipwrecks.
Don’t put your faith in the practice of faith, but in the person of Jesus.
10 Jan // Mark 5
To “Legion” who possessed the man, Jesus represented the end, but to the suffering man, Jesus represented the beginning.
Jairus and the bleeding woman shows us that knowing Jesus requires both faith and fear. Both Jairus and the woman fell at the feet of Jesus; one overcame his reputation, the other overcame her reservations. Would you overcome these to know Jesus?
The woman foreshadowed the positive kind of faith that Jairus should have – drawing us towards Jesus. But the people at Gerasenes who chased Jesus away featured a negative kind of fear that drives us away from Jesus – what a contrast!
To Jesus, having faith is everything. Maybe that’s why He chased away those who laughed at Him when He said Jairus’ daughter was asleep – not because He was embarrassed, but that He didn’t want these mockers to douse the faith of Jairus, his wife and His three disciples.
No wonder He said to Jairus (and perhaps to us all today), “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”
Our response to Jesus determines our knowledge of Him. Indeed, without faith, it is impossible to please God.
11 Jan // Mark 6:1-29
You can choose to be amazed by Jesus, or you can choose to amaze Him. If you want to amaze Him, start by scoffing Him, then by taking deep offence with Him. It’ll naturally lead you to a refusal to believe who He is and what He can do.
Holy Spirit, please guard my heart and mind against unbelief.
12 Jan // Psalm 42
Lord, make my heart how it used to be. In taking care of young people, enable me to love as a father could, intercede as a mother would and help as a brother should. For I desire to lead Your people to shout for joy and sing Your praise. May my hope in You alone anchor my soul in tumultuous days of disappointment.
13 Jan // Mark 6:30-42
Do I depend on the power of the Master or the proficiency of man when I preach God’s Word, pursue God’s ways and perform God’s will? It baffles me constantly that Jesus would choose to use human agency to showcase the Kingdom of God; that the power of Christ is made manifest through the potential of Christians. Technically, Jesus wasn’t the one who fed the 5,000. His disciples were the ones who brought that miracle to pass. Jesus could have asked the Father to rain manna from heaven to feed the masses, but He chose to involve His disciples in this logistically astonishing mission. What a blessing it is for us to be used by God to bring Him glory!