Extracted from Wikipedia:
Adiposis dolorosa, also known as Dercum’s disease (and which is different from Ander’s disease in which painful or painless fatty growths that do not resolve with weight loss), is a rare disease characterized by multiple painful lipomas that arise in adult life… …It also occurs in men and women of all ages. The fatty tumors are most often located on the trunk and limbs with sparing of the face and hands. It was first formally described by Francis Xavier Dercum in 1888.
A disease accompanied by painful localized fatty swellings and by various nerve lesions… …Dercum’s disease is a rare disorder in which there are fatty deposits which apply pressure to the nerves, resulting in weakness and pain. Various areas of the body may swell for no apparent reason. The swelling may disappear without treatment, leaving hardened tissue or pendulous skin folds.
Read more here.
That’s the most current (and I think most accurate) diagnosis of my condition. I’ve already scheduled a surgery on 9th March to remove all the lumps (approximately 20+) on my body; it will be the first time that I’d be under general anesthetic. I could have gone for the operation before Chinese New Year but I didn’t want to fly to Sri Lanka risking infection with open wounds. If you are reading this blog, please pray that:
- Every lump to be identified and completely removed.
- No recurrence or regrowth.
- Root of the problem be eradicated.
- Insurance to cover 100% of medical and hospitalisation expenses (about S$3,000).
- No side or post-surgery effects.
- Surgeon to have skillful hands so that I won’t be left with unsightly scars.
- Peace of mind and trust in my Jehovah Rapha.
While you’re at it, do pray for the REAL team too. We are heading to Tanjung Pinang in Pulau Bintan (Indonesia) from 23-25 January. Our ministry includes preaching, sharing testimonies, conducting children’s church and youth programmes, giving English tuition, visiting homes as well as presenting a special item. RL and I will be leading a team of nine boys and six girls. Prayer pointers include:
- God’s anointing to accomplish His work for His glory alone.
- Good health and quick recovery for those who become unwell.
- Journey mercies in sea and road travels.
- Wisdom to do what’s right and appropriate.
- Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.
- Flexibility when programmes change.
- Favour of the locals.
Thank you for praying. Have a good weekend.
leaving a legacy.
For this blog, I refrain from narrative writing, but I want to testify of God’s goodness, so here it is.
This afternoon, just before my champs headed for lunch, I taught them Steve Green’s “Find Us Faithful”. For some reason, I was impressed to do this last night when I was seeking God for them. As it turned out, this simple one-song singspiration unexpectedly evolved into a powerful time of ministry. As the tears streamed, hearts responded, eyes turned, emotions stirred, hands raised and commitments evoked, I’d like to believe that God was doing a work of renewal and refreshing in their perhaps jaded journey.
I prayed over them and challenged them to remember why they have decided to be a part of REAL. And as I prayed, I was convinced that we cannot and will not be able to accomplish the upcoming work and undergo the remaining training by our own strength and motivation. We have to and must turn to God, for it is His grace that would see us through and His power that would be perfected in our weakness. I felt so much passion dripping in my prayer and God’s anointing really moved me to tears.
In a week, three would depart from this group and in a month, I’d graduate the remaining 12. (I anticipate it to be a bittersweet sentimental moment.) I reminded them again that the success of REAL is not about what happens or is completed in these two months but about who they will turn out to be in the years to come. What is the legacy that they desire to leave behind for future REAL participants and the current and next generation of young people? What is the legacy that you want to leave behind for others who would come behind you?
So before the REAL team writes their own song, I hereby declare this timeless classic to be REAL programme’s official theme song. The ministry in L4R7 was undoubtedly the highlight of today. God’s presence was so strong in the room; I believe we were standing on holy ground.
Find Us Faithful
by Steve Green
We’re pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us, let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
if it was up to us, we’d already be struck dead.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
I’m confident that almost every believer is familiar with this verse; it’s like our perpetual get-out-of-jail-free ticket and our permanent licence to do (pretty much) whatever we want and get away with it. Of course, if you are a mature believer, you’ll slowly realise that God’s grace should empower us not to sin some more, but to sin no more; the grace of God should empower us to do what the truth demands. I think I’ve mentioned that somewhere in one of my earlier entries.
Now, the question that I’d ask is, “Who or what is God faithful and just to?” That was what I posed to my REAL champs this afternoon, at the aftermath of their Old Testament Overview, where they learnt that the overarching theme of Exodus is the faithfulness of God by His demonstration of fulfilling what He has promised (i.e. Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt).
A knee-jerk response to the above-mentioned question would be He is faithful and just to me or He is faithful and just to my repentance. Think about it for a little bit longer. Do you really think that God’s forgiveness and cleansing was based on you or to your repenting efforts? If it was so, you’d be already be struck dead! I’m inclined to think that if God was really just to us (i.e. as a judge would demonstrate justice in a court), we’d get the death sentence ten times over simply for being unable to meet the requirements of His laws; after all, it is stated that the wages of sin is death (ref. Romans 6:23).
Thankfully for us, God is just to Jesus Christ, not us. That’s the reason why God has forgiven our sins and has cleansed us from all unrighteousness! By taking the fall for us, Christ presents us righteous before God. I’m convinced that we are absolutely too sinful and unholy to be in the presence of a holy God but we are allowed access because when God views us, He sees the atoning sacrifice of Christ and not our sin. By the sheer unchangeability of what Christ has already done for us on the cross, we can therefore approach God with confidence, knowing that we’ll be forgiven and cleansed every single time. God is faithful to what Christ did in our place.
We’ll never be able to fulfil our side of the promise, unlike Christ who has already fulfilled His and therefore, permits us to have communion with God. Now, that’s what I call a demonstration of a promise! I gave God the glory as I saw the REAL kids nod their heads away as they learn a new truth and it is my prayer that you will be liberated as you discover a new way to apply this familiar scripture into your life.
“Leadership is a process of influence. Anytime you seek to influence the thinking, behaviour, or development of people in their personal or professional lives, you are taking on the role of a leader.” (Blanchard & Hodges)
Of the countless number of leaders who have influenced me in my decade of development as a leader, the two men with the greatest influence in my life at this point in time would undoubtedly be RY and PL. While RY has sharpened me in ministerial skills and PL in my relational skills, I cannot quite compartmentalise their influence in my life because they have taught me so many invaluable life skills in both arenas.
I am quietly confident enough to believe that God has used me well over the last decade as an influence with a good number of (young) people; I say this adorning a hat of privilege, not pride. I’ve had opportunities to take up leadership positions wherever I’ve gone and it has certainly aided my personal character development. Now I am given the privilege to have direct influence over the REAL kids, the leadership core of the G2 Youth Community as well as the youths that I personally mentor.
A jump in thought here, but the question then is, “Am I seeking to serve or to be served?” As far as I know, my leaders have always served me and to the best of my ability to be honest, I’d also like to think that I’ve been serving those under my leadership. After all, I always believe that there’s almost nothing for me to gain or lose when I lead people; it’s always for their own good, not mine. Thankfully, this leadership ethos that I have adopted over the years is consistent with the leadership model that I will now actively adopt – the one of Jesus Christ.
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
Regardless of whether I serve in the ministry or marketplace arena, taking on the leadership legacy left behind by Jesus is never going to be an easy call. In a society where the outspoken ones are apparently deemed as the “best” leaders, the meekness of Jesus greatly opposes our educated mindset. It is especially prevalent for me because I fall into the category of a vocal leader who is always seen and heard. Hence I have much to learn before the promise of an inheritance of the earth is given to me (ref. Matthew 5:5).
I must condition myself to learn the power of listening intently, keeping silence and withholding opinion. This year, it is my earnest prayer that God will raise my leadership effectiveness and influence to a whole new level for His sole glory. The leadership style of Jesus focuses a lot on the workings of the insides instead of the works on the outsides. I desire to develop to be and to lead like Jesus, not just to do what Jesus did or would do.
In conclusion, I aspire to consider this thought in all my dealings with people and situations: WWJB – Who Would Jesus Be?
built for ministry.
I’ve been tremendously busy (an understatement) leading the REAL programme and playing the role of G2 youth community overseer (amongst other 6 other roles) but I’ve never felt more fulfilled in my working life than now. I consider it a wonderful privilege to be able to marry work and ministry into the same hours. I’m basically doing for a living what I’ve always loved and getting remunerated for it.
Each time I see a young person take positive steps towards becoming more Godly, each time I witness a young person change for the better, I thank God that He’s doing His work through me. It’s an amazing feeling to wake up each day knowing that you may have an opportunity to impact the life of a young person under your shepherding. These experiences cannot be purchased with money or substituted by material gains. Besides, God has more than provided for me in the last few months. Of course I could always have a little more but I am more than contented with what I have.
On a daily basis, I look forward to meet my beloved REAL 2010 super kids and on a weekly basis I look forward to meeting my RLs and CMs. It’s time to buckle down to seeking God and interceding seriously for these precious ones. I thank God for how my sheep have responded to me so far – open, honest and teachable – and I truly believe that that’s God’s grace and favour upon me.
I’ve been telling HY of late that I’m more and more convinced that I’m designed and built for ministry. I thank and praise God for allowing me to be a part of what He’s doing in the lives of the young people under my care.
I will try to update more regularly. Please bear with this period of inactivity. Thank you.
P/S REAL Super Kids – As promised, I’ve updated my links so you can find the links to your fellow super kids there.
the first rewards of full-time.
REAL Lock-in Camp 2010 will go down as one of the biggest highlights and achievements of my 12 years of serving God in Grace Assembly of God.
I am reminded of the changing power of God’s presence, the massive potential of young people, the victorious satisfaction of a breakthrough, the immense delight of obeying the Holy Spirit’s guidance and amongst many others, just witnessing how these 15 young souls are surrendering themselves to Jesus. WOW!!!
Now, this is what I came into full-time ministry for. I love you all, I’m so proud of each and everyone of you, I believe so much in you all and I can’t wait to invest even more of myself in every one of you. The next two months, we’ll go into Holy Spirit overdrive.
(Okay, I know this post is kinda like a outburst of emotions and very unlike the typical way I write on this blog, but hey, it’s something worth shouting out loud for. God did such a miraculous work of restoration during the camp that I just HAVE to testify of it! More to come in later days. For now, I need to break the non-writing inertia.)
I just ended a Skype interview with DL and it brings me to the mid-point of 15 one-hour interviews with the potential REAL candidates. One question asked during the session was, “Are you currently struggling with any addictions or sins?”
Through the interview sessions, everyone shared about different sins and struggles and it got me thinking about why we actually choose to sin. (Being caught in a bondage is different in that you actually do not realise that you’re in sin.) More often than not, sin is a choice. It was a choice for Eve, Adam, Cain, David, everyone else in between, and us, of course.
I’ve sinned plenty in my life, some with more dire consequences than others. Some sin hurt me, some hurt others but all sin hurts God. I believe that we sin because we seek its apparent fleshly pleasures which brings apparent (and short-lived) gratification to our carnal self.
Hence, I conclude that we choose to sin because we do not believe that the pleasures of God are better than the pleasures of our flesh. Our innate hedonistic nature prevents us from being contented and our ‘human’ nature drives us to seek satisfaction in physical/worldly pleasures.
That epiphany isn’t the scary bit. What frightens me more is that by choosing to derive pleasure from sin, we are indirectly mocking God – that He’s not good and/or able enough to satisfy our hearts’ desire. The next scary bit is – what then does our heart desire? More often than not, if we are honest with ourselves, we’ll actually realise that we prefer the pleasures of sin to the pleasures of God.
Oh God, how we need Your holiness to sanctify us!
How we need Your grace and mercy to overcome sin!
How we need Your love and forgiveness to cleanse us of all unrighteousness!