Thursday, December 28, 2006

405 at Urbana 06

It's Wed at St Louis. At 9 am we load our exhibition gear in the cold mid-west weather onto our passenger van at the Marriott Airport. We stop to grab a quick breakfast at a fastfood place (Jack in the box). Then we're off to downtown and see the landmark 'Gate to the West'. Its just next to where we going - America's Center convention hall. We eventually locate the exhibitors' unloading bay. This place is totally huge. We wander across 18 monstrously huge aisles. We find booth 405.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Our Last Week

The days are short and they are cold. When we got here it was quite hot but not anymore. We are adjusting to the climate. Then Deb said on Wednesday, "I'm beginning to get used to people here." I felt the same way too but this is our last week here. Here's the story of the final week.

Dinah and I wanted to go for a jog on Sat but it rained. This is the second time we have seen rain. It hardly rains here. Jason and Emmy came to take the twins to a birthday party for one of the church kids. Dinah and I speak with Dee from Seattle. Once Jason and Emmy brought the kids back, we had dinner out. It rained again.

Dinah preached at the pre-Christmas service. After service, I met with the church admin team leaders as Dinah conducted a training for service leaders. Then we met Chai and Crystal as usual. We led the DMM and at 8:45 pm we left for a quiet family dinner.

Mon started with a conference call with Dave Tucker from Michigan. We're doing a seminar together in Urbana '06. Then there was a call with David from Chicago. Next was time with Angela (Hope Irvine), Betty, Lee and Cynthia (all from LA) at Camarillo city out in Ventura county. This is north of LA county. We had a great time despite the 10 degree temperature. Later I had a conference call with Elaine from Singapore. But I had to pump the washroom later. Well this is something I won't miss.

Tue was another fun day. We drove 2 hours to San Diego. All of us enjoyed SeaWorld though San Diego seemed colder than LA. We hope to come again in future.

I had to rework my Urbana '06 seminar on Wed. Though it's been 5 weeks but four people in a studio is not conducive. Dan was playing his cello, Deb was reading whilst Dinah and I are working on our notebooks. Also this getting dark early, the dryness and the cold does require getting used to. Night time was our farewell dinner at Lee's place. The steam boat was nice. The church leaders gave very moving testimonies even about the twins. We've made some good friends out here.

Thur was the day Dinah and the twins hoped to fly back to join Christmas services in Singapore. Their wait listed seats just did not materialise into firm seats. We are thankful for confirmed seats on Christmas day itself. Today the twins were in a local school at Fullerton city. Lin got her principal and administrator to okay this. She said this has never been done before. Dinah and I could wrap up some work. There was corporate prayer then I had a conference call with our Urbana '06 team.

The twins were in school on Fri too. They were nervous yesterday but they were just fine today. For us there was follow up from last night's conference call. Then we spent time with the student leaders - Derek (from Singapore), Pao and Cynthia. Later we started preparing for Christmas eve service this Sunday.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hang of Things

It's been 4 weeks. We're beginning to get the hang of things. We're beginning to understand the road systems better. I'm getting lost less. I'm beginning to like not perspiring much. Here's an account of week four.

Sat was LA church leaders retreat. It was a day of dicussions on 2007 ministry. It was quite fun. Before we left, Jason and Emmy gave us home cooked food. Back at the studio we enjoyed their delicious cooking. Later William called from Vancouver. The rest of the evening was spent preparing for tomorrow.

Dinah led the Sunday service well before I preached. Next Dinah conducted a workshop for couples as I met with the kids ministry leaders. Suddenly Dan came running with a bleeding nose and we had forgotten to bring his nasal medication from Singapore. Thankfully the bleeding stopped after a while. Following was a session with Chai and Crystal before the church leadership meeting. We came out at 8:30 pm and Crystal has a warm dinner dinner prepared. So we ate together before leaving.

Mon started with Dan unwell. We prayed for him and decided to spend time at the nearby Knotts Berry Farm rather than going to San Diego.

Dan's temperature got higher on Tue. We had to cancel our appointment with a senior pastor of a local church here. We drove out to get porridge. Later Chris Ward called from Seattle. At night the kids joined Dinah as she taught the women's group while I taught the men's group.

Dan was better on Wed but I got a sore throat. The day started with a conference call with Peter and Linda from Leithbridge, Canada. Then JR called from Seattle as the twins enjoyed a DVD movie. At night we spent time with Hadi and Maria at their place till late.

We were meant to leave LA on Thur. Our leaders have asked us to extend. First Lee accompanied us to extend the car rental. The journey took 1 hour. The new company offered the exact same car - Chevy Malibu. We had lunch afterwards. After lunch the short journey back took a whole hour. We were exhausted but needed to go to care group in North Hills. On the way the GPS insisted we take a ramp onto a highway that was closed. It kept making us turn back to the same ramp. This 90 min journey made us very late. Eleven persons waited for us (if you don't count a bunch of toddlers and infants).

We had Friday to ourselves because Nancy couldn't make it. We drove out and had Carl's Junior burgers for the first time. Later we spent time with Jason and Emmy. We're beginning to feel that we're more oriented after 4 weeks here.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Rush Hour

We've been here 3 weeks. More meet-ups and conference calls are still being added. The tough part isn't the discussions, planning, ministering or counselling. It's the commuting. LA traffic drains you. It ravenously consumes time each day. Here is the story of week 3.

We spent Sat with Annie before meeting Chai and Crystal. Then we go to their place to meet with the Unit Leaders. Then driving back I turn into the oncoming traffic (the first time). Praise God there were no cars coming behind me when I backed out.

The next day Dinah and I met Ronald, a member from Singapore church. After service Dinah and I did workshops for the parents and the worship team respectively. This was followed by the Care Leaders meeting. Later Dinah and I helped the leadership team. All this time Deb practices at the church piano. Finally we enjoy dinner with Cynthia. As we return we try out the replacement GPS. This one uses "yards" just when we were getting used to the previous one which spoke in terms of "feet".

On Mon we go off to Legoland. This resort is more for younger kids. At least the drive there was scenic.

Tue starts with a conference call with JR from Seattle. Next we meet with the Vineyard International missions director. In the evening Dan and I go to the men's group as (Deb and) Dinah teaches at the women's group.

On Wed, Vern calls from Seattle. We try to cook but our stove doesn't heat properly. Next we drive to Irvine to meet with an executive from Assembly of God South Cal. We drive again to meet Jason and Emmy Betts and then we join their care group.

We get stuck 1 hour in rush hour on Thur. Never go on freeways from 7-9 am! We are late for Sam and Sung. Later it was good to speak with Dee from Seattle. Next we drove almost 1 hour to the west side of LA to meet James and Christine. Then we drive to Irvine and got stuck in trafic for 2 hours. Never travel on the freeways between 5-7 pm! We spent some time with Al and Doreen.

Fri sees us have a quiet breakfast. Next we get the maintenance guy to replace the stove. Later Lee brought us shopping for gifts. Tonight is the first night that we are in. We recover from weeks of driving up and down this huge metropolis. Tomorrow marks 3 weeks of serving here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Still Adjusting

We've been here for two weeks. We're still adjusting to the size of this place. Metropolitan LA has 10 million people and California state has 36 million. There's just so much commuting here. We're adjusting to the meal portions and the cost of living here. Our skin is adjusting to the dryness. Ministry is picking up though. We're adjusting to the church. It's different in a smaller church. I'm also adjusting to pumping washrooms.

Here's an account of our week two. Dinah awoke on Sat dreaming about Singapore. Probably homesick? Bible Conference resumed in the morning of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. In between sessions I caught up with James Loke, Nancy from Thai care group and the youth members. The guys won the team building games. After the conference the GPS malfunctioned on the way back. We figured out the freeways but got lost on the roads nearer Arcadia. We finally get home and we pray for Dinah who is feeling sick from our late nights.

Sunday was cold. Dinah travelled with the twins to preach in Hope Irvine church. It was great to see a Latino convert in LA church. It was great to lunch with Hadi, Maria and their son Joshua. They are old friends from Solo, Indonesia. The rest of today was spent with university leaders, followed by the church leaders preparing for 2007 ministry.

This week, the church here blessed us with a two-day Disney passes. Needless to say, the twins enjoyed themselves at "The Happiest Place On Earth" - the tagline of Disneyland.

We met with more Hope LA church leaders one-on-one. We also spoke with external leaders. We spoke with the Cal state churchplanting leader for the Southern Baptists and met with an associate professor from Fuller Seminary.

Dinah and I joined the Thai care group on Thu morn. We also visited a church in LA city with Chai.

Friday evening, I preached at the students service as Dinah joined the young adult care group. When we got back, the toilet bowl is stuck again. It's back to more pumping.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanks for Praying

We've just spent a week in LA. We arrived last Saturday, 18th Nov. The night before the flight Dinah slept only 1 hour due to packing. I slept a lot thanks to medication. Altogether we had 6 check-in luggages. Dinah and I slept quite a bit on the plane.

Chai and Cynthia picked us up at LAX. We rented a car and went off together with Chai's car. I drove on the left side for the first time with Cynthia beside. We made it to Acardia (city). This is in greater LA (metropolitan LA). On the way we saw that LA smog. We checked in to the studio apartment and slept at 10 pm after unpacking and takeaway dinner.

Thanks for praying. The throat infection and blocked nose that started on Wed night was virtually gone when I got up. There was more Sun drama. We awoke to a choked toilet bowl and there was no maintenance guy on duty. We asked front office for another studio but they asked us to move then but we had to go. In the morn I preached my first ever Thanksgiving Sunday sermon. There was ham and turkey Thanksgiving lunch followed by the Care Leaders meeting. Next Dinah and I met the pastor and wife followed by church leaders meeting. The twins enjoyed their books during these times. At 7:30 pm we left for dinner with Sam and Sung before coming back to pack and move to another studio. Lee and Cynthia was so kind to come help. At 12am as we were about to sleep, the toilet bowl here also flooded. I used the pump and finally went to bed at 3 am.

The four of us woke up late on Mon. It was a combination of jetlag, the full Sunday and just general exhaustion. The first thing was to get the maintenance guy to fix the toilet. Cynthia offered to come help with grocery shopping and to rent a cello for Dan. At night we answered e-mails and had Skype conversations to tie up this weekend's LA Bible Conference.

Tuesday was our off day spent at Universal Studios. Just before we left, I realised the digicam was in Singapore. We got a use-and-throw camera. After all this was the twin's first time here. They wanted to go for themed rides (roller coaster) but Dinah and I said "Woah". We settled for shows and tours instead. We had a good time. Today we also experienced the infamous LA traffic.

On Wednesday we used the coin-operated washing machine and dryer. Our first appointment was with Betty. She showed us nearby shopping and dining places. We went to her place as she insisted to loan us her printer. After saying thanks we took the long drive to Irvine (city) to meet Albert, Doreen and family. Pre-holiday traffic isn't fun. People here sure spend a lot of time commuting. But we did get to taste a 25 pound turkey. The twins enjoyed playing with Al's younger kids. This was our first Thanksgiving experience.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. Chai and the boys visited in the morning with pastry. They are thoughtful. Then David called from Chicago and we had a good chat. Dinah and I spent this holiday afternoon preparing for the weekend Bible conference and preaching. Most places were closed. We found a place for a quiet dinner before meeting James and Christine. Cynthia offered to take the twins to check out Christmas lights. Like the last few nights, it took some time in bed before we actually slept. Our bodies are still adjusting.

I drove in circles on Friday before meeting Andrew. Then our next appointment with the college leaders was postponed. It worked out well as I revamp tonight's lesson. The twins were out with Cynthia for a movie. In the evening we joined all these folks who signed up for Bible Conference on Thanksgiving weekend. It was good to see Terry who's on transit to Singapore. Later on our way home, Daniel asked me why this church has so many meetings. Perhaps this has something to do with having Singapore guest speakers here?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Teaming with Strangers

Monday, 23rd October marks our second-ever Team Leaders Gathering. Our theme is Team Building.

We will start with the premise that positive team experiences are not common. There are many kinds of challenges to volunteer team building. There is mangled communication, duplication of effort, missed opportunities and even finger pointing. Volunteers lack availability, are free at different times or their coaches don’t release them. Volunteers who have availability may not serve with excellence. Some send substitutes, come late for duty or leave early from meetings. They feel your thing takes them away from their ‘real ministry’.

Then we serve across the church with people from various services, people-groups and life stations. This is lateral rather than vertical ministry. We touched on 'Lateral Leadership' at our first-ever Team Leaders Gathering on 14th March this year. Here's a photo of that event.

How do we team with lateral volunteers? It's almost like teaming with strangers. It's much easier to work alone. It's more straightforward to serve in a homogeneous grouping. But God in His wisdom puts us in diverse teams to accomplish the Great Commission. No more lone rangers!

So what can you expect tomorrow night? You can look forward to positive interaction. Because you need contact with peers to generate synergy and share encouragement. Isolation slows momentum.

You can look forward to a team building message by me. There will also be a slide show, a team quiz and a surprise element. It's going to be the eve of a holiday so I sure hope it's going to be a lot of fun. Till then...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Happy Anniversary Part II

Here are more posts on our 15th anniversary celebrations...

i'm so excited for hope church singapore fifteenth anniversary !
i'm really praying hard that my group & i have visitors ! lets not waste such a great opportunity to invite & through this event , i dare say that there's alot of lives that God gonna touch & changed . if you wanna see your family & friend's life being transformed , invite them ! i'm praying for visitors ! GOD SEE MY HEART ! =D you know who i wanna see coming , i shan't announce here =D

happy 15th birthday hope singapore!!
i totally love you, my dear church. the place where i grew the most, who i met amazing people.

i thank God for everyone who is involved in transforming and impacting lives.
i salute you, the servants of God :)

what a busy anniversary week! choir practices nearly everyday till late and coping with my never ending cough. (it's healed today, praise God!)

expo service was great. i enjoyed praising and worshipping the Lord on stage with all who love praising and worshipping Him again and again. you can feel a surge of joy overflowing in and through you.

it was a great exposure and experience. standing in front of 3,600 people, playing a part in everything.

it was wow-ed. and i definitely love the lightbulbs history maker!! :))

i wana affirm people who spent their sleepless night for the lightbulbs. it's gorgeous even though some technical faults. God saw your hearts & diligence! thank God for all your willingness.

His Spirit in me: a life transforming story
Yesterday saw the 15th anniversary of HOPE Church Singapore, since its inception in 1991, with just 5 members in the midst. Since then, the church has grown in membership and strength to a number of nearly 3000, planted numerous churches all over the world, changed tonnes of lives, one of those changed life is me. It's hard to imagine: a church that started when I was primary one, when I did not think that I would become a religious person or at least convert myself into another religion, and now I'm serving in that church.

It's really hard to imagine though, think only God can see that at the time when I was running around, running my own life, running my own business, thinking that I run the world. It used to be a time of perceived fulfillments and purposes, when I thought that my purposes in life seems to be .... I dun know what. I thought it may be the things which I want to do in life, that is the purpose of my life. I looked around, looked at all the girls, thinking maybe one of these girls is the purpose of my life. There was a lot of times when I thought I know how to live life to the full... yeah right. What a lot of people, or even myself did not know is that many times when I was alone, my heart was desolate, I didn't know what I was doing, though I thought I knew. And I was still running around. I didn't believe that any god can do anything, in the first place, there was a lot of doubts here and there. How do you know the thing that you are worshipping is really there, is really real? I tried to make sense of the rituals we have at home, till I was tired of it, but I did not realise. I tried to keep faith in the Bugis Guan Yin temple, but heck, why do I have to travel so far everytime I wanna pray to a goddess or whatever statue? I wanted to go to China, to Pu Tuo Island just south of Shanghai, but heck, why do people have to travel all the way there to pray?

Then along came the tertiary ministry of HOPE Church Singapore. Along came a bunch of people... who were organising a matriculation event for uni freshmen. To make the long story short (for those who are interested, you can browse through my 240 plus previous posts to get a better idea of what happened), this bunch of people eventually became the core of my spiritual family in HOPE Church Singapore. They brought me to come to know God. And after me, I began to see a new bunch of new believers together with me as well, such as Calyn, Kaili, HongTao, Yishyan, Zhenzhu, Yuan Tao, John, Jiahao, Xingchong, Yanteng, seeing them growing together, as I grow along with God. Today, I have grown to be a stronger believer in HOPE, taking care of Yuan Tao together with Qiaoping and Shuyi. I read the blogs of my brothers and sisters and I must say that I was very encouraged by God's power in their lives. Behind every faces in the ministry is a story of their own lifes, tells the story of God in their lifes. People may not see, people may not even wanna care, but behind each and every smiles is a story of how God transforms lifes to the better. The glares of all these eyes tell the story of this HOPE Church, tell the story of how people in this family struggled and pulled through till this day.

I thank God for these people in my life. I thank God for Claramae and Robert and Qiaoping for making the effort to bring me to know God, though ironically two of them were not around on that fateful day. I thank God for the caregroup, past and present for the wonderful few months I have had and for the wonderful months and years ahead. I thank God for Benaiah, my shepherd for his willingness to take care of me. I thank God for what You have done in my life, and other people's life. I thank God for Jesus. I thank God for the HOPE movement. Amen.

Hope Church Singapore 15th Anniversary Celebration at Singapore Expo Hall 2, 16th September 2006
From a group of 5 young people, a church called Hope of God Singapore was thus born in 1991. 15 years later, now known as Hope Church Singapore, we are a vibrant church of 3,000 over history makers committed to fulfilling the Great Commission in their lifetime by building strong and biblical people to plant strong and biblical churches in Singapore and all over the world !

It has been a long time...
It has been a long time since I last wrote on my blog. Since I started work, life has been quite intense. I am currently going through a sharp learning curve in my work. Yesterday is Hope Church Singapore's 15th anniversary. Work and choir practices took up a large portion of my time last week and I was glad that the celebration service ended. We had a great celebration at Singapore Expo. I was part of the 100-people choir. I enjoyed the moment on stage. To see all on the floor worshipping God brought great joy to my heart that all the hard work was worthwhile.

I was reminded of these verses from 2 Cor. 4:16-18 recently.
"Therefore we don't lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light & momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

I thank God for what He has done in my life all these years. There are many more great years ahead ;-)

History Maker
it was a leisure sunday. It kinda feels wierd that there's no regular sun service to attend coz. Sun has always been Church Day for me. So, spend some time with my family and we went to JB in the afternoon.

Sat was Church 15th Anniversary Celebrations. It was great to be able to be involved in choir and at the same time, got to know more people. As in most events, the most memorable time is usually the preparation time while the most satisfying time is when you see the end result (that is .. the actual day). That's when u know that all the hard work pays off.

It has been fun with all the choir people from various congregations coming together week after week for practices. The laughters from all the warm-up sessions, learning of the actions etc. Hope we will have more opportunities to perform together.

Church Anniversary Celebration
how nice if we have 50,000 people coming for our service. Can u imagine the number of people that will come to know Christ? Wow .. that will be tremendous.

I've invited afew friends to come, including mom. Mabel say she'll ask MJ. Hopefully they can all make it coz. that will mean alot to me. It's not that i want them to come and see me sing but hopefully, they will be touched by God through the service.
enjoyed all the practices so far and it's great to see everyone from various congregations coming together. I particularly like the young ones from the youth service. They are so cute and adorable.One of them actually looks like my cousin. Alot of time & effort has been put in by various groups and ministries. From musicians to the dancers, MM team etc. And not forgetting from our choir side, there's HJ, Rachael etc who led us week after week. And now, there's Tricia who's busy with our costumes.

Anyway, hope that Cheryl (Ng), my dear friend & shepherd will be able to come too. She's actually on maternity leave but mentioned last week that she may be able to come. That will be great.

Talk abt it, i've not passed the gift to the newly promoted parents. Anyway, i hve plans to visit her this sun. So maybe on sun then.

After this busy period of practice for church anniversary, i wonder what's next in the pipeline? Christmas sevice prep? Anyway not sure abt others but for me, i've always been use to being busy. Usually feels weird when the momentum slows down. It feels as if something is amiss…

Yesterday's 15th Anniversary for Hope Singapore.
Simply wonderful :) Reminded me the power and impact of individual life's story... eveyone has a story to tell and that story can change another person if we want... everyone will have trials of their own and how they overcome it. Not one on earth has no trials. Even the rich, they do. Today God reminded me again the power of everyone's story... to touch, to restore, to empower, to add courage and hope...

Happy 15th anniversary ! Hope Church Singapore!!
history makers celebrated with a bang at expo! love the praise n worship songs and everyone dressed to their best! enjoyed the celebration loads and it continued with the coach to town...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Happy Anniversary

We celebrated our 15th Church Anniversary yesterday. It was an occasion that left me humbled, proud, happy & wet-eyed all at the same time. There was a spontaneous outburst of joy throughout at Hall 2. This morning I bumped into three members who were still in high spirits. I wished them a 'Happy Anniversary' and was curious about how other members felt about our birthday party. So I did a simple google search and found a few posts.

Here is what I found and by no means is this comprehensive. Remember that I read the articles about our anniversary and not their entire blogs so I'm unable to endorse all articles in these blogs. I must warn you that what you are about to read contains (unedited) standard English, short form, sms language and Singlish. But it is heartfelt though. Also, this listing is in no particular order.

This Is My Life
Our church Hope Church Singapore will be celebrating our 15th anniversary this Saturday. I was gutted that I wouldn't be able to attend as I would be on duty at the IMF and World Bank meetings. Still, as we stand on the threshold of a 15-year milestone, I think it's a good time to take stock of my life since I took the epoch-making (haha!) step to become what I would previously term "a certified nutcase" - becoming a Christian...

yest was my church's 15th anniversary... thank God for blessing Hope Singapore for the past 15 years n i know He'll continue to bless us for the next 15, 30 or even 100 years! Lord, i pray tt U'll continue to grow us n add to our numbers!

yest was really veri special n memorable... my 1st time experiencing such a big church gathering at expo n watching thousands of pple ard me praising n worshipping God... 1st time singing Mandarin P&W song... 1st time listening to an English sermon being translated into Mandarin... 1st time seeing Joyce dance! she danced veri well even though she fell... no worries sis, u did a great job!

after the whole thing i was telling huijun tt having such a big event is ok if it's done once a year... if every sat is lidat i can't take it cos listening to both English n Mandarin during service abit messy n i couldn't really concentrate...

but overall it was really great! Pastor Jeff was veri enthu n Pastor Ben delivered a veri powerful sermon... deco did a veri good job in lighting up the words "History Maker" n filling up the whole place wif balloons... veri pretty! the singers n dancers n musicians performed veri well! the videos were done veri well! even the goodie bag is veri cute... i feel veri glad to haf come to noe Christ thru Hope! :)

A Few Good Men and the rest is History
Makers' was the theme of the 15th Anniversary of Hope Church. A few good men, fresh grads from the land of Oz, returned to Singapore with a vision to plant a church.

This week end, 15 years later, we witnessed how that celebration had to take place in the Expo, because our own sanctuary can not hold the complete congregation in one single service.

It reminds me again of how simple the Great Commission is, when only we would obey and trust God for the outcome and it only needs : ... a few good men (and women) who are willing to fulfill what is closest to God's heart.

History Makers...
Among the 3,000 men congregation, was also the youngest attendant at less than one month! Zoe enjoyed her first time at a church celebration. Even the loud worship music did not bother her. She was either amuzingly moving in her prem, sleeping or being fed by mum in the hall.

After the service we joined our ex care group for a great tasting Vietnamese dinner. At the end, Zoe became a bit impatient, her face turned red and that was the signal for dad to take her out for a diaper change. She was so kind to us to let us enjoy the dinner in length that immediately after the change, her face kept red as now was the sign for mum to feed her again. Actually, quite easy those infants: sleep, feed, cry and then there are two options: either she is hungry or needs a clean up!

Hope Church Singapore 15th Anniversary
It was a great celebration! =)) God will definitely move in greater greater ways in the world! So great until it's unbelievably believable.

Sidenote: wah! EXPO so big! need to take alot of time to run from one end to another, because there are so many things happening at the same time, then you can't even hear each other on the fone and everybody would be too busy to notice their hp buzzing with msgs. whoo~ me exercised ALOT today, now so suan, next time must remeber to do warm ups before decor. Other than that, now both my toes are blistered. *pain* and i've got one finger blistered too, and my fingers all got tiny tiny skin tearing out...again *pain*. Further, thank God for the decor team and all other willing volunteers, you guys really have a super servanthood spirit. All the volunteers (sun-tanning, balloon tieing, cutting, wrapping packing etc.), must have been taxing for you all- but we made it! and we've done to our best. yipee =))

on the big dae of anniversary..
went to expo at 1030 liddat den did the balloons decoration for the path way n stairs sits... we use helium to blow balloons.. hmmm as wad i've saw n done on tt dae, i can sae tt the balloons is definitely more den 3hundreds in total.. isnt is great to see the holy place be filled up wif balloons deco to lighten up the atmosphere? i think is real cool!!!!! wheeeee.. i love it.. alot of deco ppl came to do the balloons.. veri veri soon after tt, the door was open for the time tunnel.. . hmm.. i din get the chance to walk in it.. nvm la.. is still good serving!!! =D after the tunnel, was the celebation!! the dance came 1st n worship, praise, video, n so on n so on..!! pastor Ben preached.. it was wonderful.. is abt generation to generation.. din take photos on tt dae big BUT the pictures of winning the whole world is all in my MIND N HEART!! amen.. it is reali reali a veri amazing n WONDERFUL dae praising God in the anniversary dae of Hope Church Singapore!!

Church Anniversary
Yes... Thoroughly enjoyed the celebration!! Love the stage decor, love the 100-men choir, love the sight of "rally" that is really happening in Hope Church Singapore!!!

It is such rare occassion where the whole church gathers!!!

Hope Church (S) anniversary
Yesterday my church celebrated their 15th anniversary at Singapore Expo, Hall 2. I reached there around 1020am in the morning, because need to help up in the decor, but Joe said enough people already and if i went to help, i will smell smelly. In the end, I did full time usher the whole day. :)

16 September 06
I just came back from Singapore Expo hall2. Its really a long trip there. First I started from boon lay mrt after work then to expo then from expo to yew tee. It's really great to see all the people there giving their time to Jesus though! The dancers practiced hard at the foyer, the 100 people choir were there, many many were there for the deco & time tunnel and I was moved at the many people willing to do the minor jobs such as preparing goodie bag & bulletins etc. Awesome bunch of people!

Spent some time interceding for anniversary tmr. The place is rather huge, it after the event was over. One thing I prayed just now is that 15 years is not the end & we're not celebrating because we just hit 15 a rounder no, but since its rounder let's make it a better year to start off totally anew. It's a brand new beginning. A beginning for the next 15 years, a beginning to grow from glory to glory.

happy birthday to u,
happy birthday to you,
happy birthday to HOPE singapore,

okok..tell you about wad happened today..its my church 15th anniversary!! ya..then as everyone knows (or be told now), i reaccepted christ 3 weeks ago..ya.. then i wan to bring ppl in ma.. i juz go in church, I FELT HIS GREATNESS! I FELT HIS MIRACLES! I FELT HIS GRACE!!!! HALLELUYAH~!papa rocks...he rocks the whole world..yes..he's the world..amen? AMEN!!

ya..then today i brought nigel wid mi!!! (actually its him and barry ders..but his father dun let..rarhrarh.. *oOps*) ya..then at first i met him at je..then all my fwens dere..he was like asking,"eh, y all ppl so warm der?" then i said,"sure lah..our church is like a big big big big FAMILY with PAPA!!!" ..yeah..i felt that he was feeling quite good about this..

then on the way he was very warmly welcomed by us..yeah..he felt good. THEN!!THE EVENT STARTED!!! first nigel was feeling bored.. and when i asked him to convert, he was like i dun wan..yeah..dun force him rite..GOD PLS SHOW HIM UR MIRACLES!yeah..but after tt he started asking things about christ, i was elated to answer his questions la..THX GOD FOR LETTING MI BRING NIGEL IN!! then at the last part of it, there was a part when new believers who wan to accept christ to go in front of the stage to accept christ..i asked him. he said he duno..i guess he wasn't prepared. yeah..then i asked god, "pls let nigel accept u!" then god said "the time has yet to come, but it will come in due time."

Saturday, 16 September 2006
Woa...I've actually never experienced this Hope Church Singapore 15th anniversary. Pastors from Hope churches came to Singapore Expo to celebrate this anniversary. Hope church started since 1991, and started with only 5 people. Visit this blog, he is one of them who build up the church from 5 people to churches all over the world:

Hope Church is now all over the world, including Singapore, Thailand, Africa, Europe...

ahwell. expo hall 3 ((:

haha i like the anniversary booklet! :D there's this strap i like to wear around my neck, and i don't care that it makes me look like a retard. i like the bag too. no matter how many times we changed seats, i always ended up with black. x)

anniversary celebration was great today, i don't really know how to describe/ explain it. although it was cold haha.

happy birthday hope church singapore! HISTORY MAKERS

Sunday, September 17, 2006
.... -Next I would like to talk about deco =] on fri and sat, we were rushing for deco like siao and all the deco ppl will say AMEN! really very busy + tired, however it was great to do something in Gods house =] we really enjoyed ourselves and I’m sure everyone become closer too =] really want to thank God for my deco leader MS Faith Yiyo (nickname: starfish) without her is like without a guide in deco thanks for her that make the anniversary a successful one for deco and the rest of the deco group like the adult and tertiary ppl without them the tunnel will be just a empty one = beco I saw the before and after tunnel =] DECO PPL you all rock =]

-now let’s talk about my HOPE CHURCH anniversary celebration=] it was so cool =] my first time going to expo =] going to hall2 from MRT it was really a long trip becoz hall6 is the nearest to the MRT and hall 2 is furthers I love to see the place where it’s filled with ppl becoz you can see how God has worked in this church =] like wow so many ppl and I got to know when our church started too. It was on Feb 17 1991 =] not only that all the leaders were dressed up, they are so beautiful =] really esp my idol, PS Dinah she looks gorgeous =] from now to the next 15 years I want to see how God moves in this church =] Happy Birthday HOPE CHURCH SINGAPORE =]

Friday, August 25, 2006

Writer Fatigue?

My last post was towards the end of June. That means its been 2 months that I've not updated my blog. Well I did find two unfinished articles in July that I started on. Can almost hear someone referring to my sermon on procrastination or that sermon about not finishing what you start. I 'hate' it when they use my preaching against me.

The last post also means that its been 1 year that I've been blogging. Hong Teck initiated the idea and he helped me get started. Thanks buddy. On average I may have managed 3 posts per month. That probably means almost 40 articles so far.

Do I attribute my non-writing over these two months to increasing workload? Is it due to the fact that it is hard to churn out good articles week after week? The most likely diagnosis is writer fatigue.

Here's what I mean. Cara, my colleague just commented last week on the sheer number of forewords I need to write. And that's just the forewords. You don't want to know about the other things.

Do let me recover from this bout of writer fatigue. This lull will allow me some time to ponder the focus of my blog. Do I write about my adventures or do I post articles? Till then...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lessons from holidays

We just came back from our holiday. This trip was special also because my brother was getting married. The lessons I learnt from this vacation can be spelt R-E-S-T.

Holidays have RHYTHM. There's a cycle to it. The work day before we go off and the first day we are back at work are often traumatic. Also after a holiday we can get back into the thick of action in an instant but it takes time to get into the holiday swing. Dinah and I couldn't sleep well the first three nights of the holiday.

Rhythm includes down times. On Monday we checked out of a chalet to wait for our taxi back to the city. We called the driver after waiting half-hour. He said to wait another hour. After another hour, we called but there was no signal. He finally arrived over 2 and half hours after the agreed time. He apologised but it was so hard to speak on the trip down. We got to my parent’s place at 3:30 pm for lunch. Later my brother drove us to the hotel. The system hung as we checked in. That day was unforgettable.

Holidays have ENJOYMENT. I enjoy our annual getaway because I look forward to catching up with family. My parents, my brothers and sister look forward to our annual pilgrimage. We enjoy each other's company much more than when we were kids.

Our twins look forward to seeing their cousins whom they meet once a year. They play so well together. Last year the twins joined this party of a friend of their cousin. This year we were back at about the same time so the twins were at the same birthday party as last year.

We also enjoy the company of my in-laws. My siblings have incredible spouses. May's husband, Johnson takes us for seafood each time we're back. Stan's wife, Anthea booked the chalets this time. She even packed groceries for the cabin. We are so happy because their first child arrives this September. We got them a nice stroller for their baby. We finally met Wendy, the latest addition to our family. Harry’s a fortunate guy.

The whole family enjoyed many extended dinners with home-cooked dishes and plenty of fresh fruits followed by wedding arrangements. I definitely had too many mangoes from my parent's garden. One night we had food tasting for the dishes before the wedding banquet. We enjoyed two seafood dinners. Dinah loved the baby lobsters. My sister brought us for local beef noodles. Dinah and I spent an evening with Stan, Anthea, May and Johnson as Harry met his in-laws with my parents. Most of our lunches were with my parents at their home. One exception was on Sunday when we lunched with old friends Chiew Bong and Dora.

Harry’s wedding banquet was very grand complete with live performers. I met once again with long lost cousins, relatives and friends. My old friend Martin came with his parents.

Holidays involve SLOWING. Modern living include overload, but we can't always live in overload. I need sanity breaks. Up in the highlands, both our phones had no signal. This was a good thing. We experienced unhurried reading. I prepared simple breakfasts.

In the day we explored nature trails. Deb picked acorns from oak trees and wild mangosteens from the cloud forest. We strolled around the cool and misty botanical garden.

At the cabin, we enjoyed devotion times by the verandah with the sounds of the running stream and birds chirping. Later at the hotel, we enjoyed devotions at the room balcony. The scenery of the blue sea, islands in the background and the landscaped pool by twilight was just majestic.

Holidays are also THERAPEUTIC. They soothe the soul. We savoured the weather at the National Park. I just love the view of Mt Kinabalu. This is the tallest in South East Asia at over 4,000 metres. I've been here several times and climbed the peak once but its Dinah and the kids' first time. (Here's a photo) The 2-storey chalet we had was well equipped. We drifted off to sleep to the sound of crickets accompanied by croaking.

We spent one night at Poring. It’s the first time for Dinah and the twins here. It’s a natural hot spring where the water is supposed to have cleansing properties. The Canopy Trail was a tough climb followed by three linked-bridges that joined very high trees in the rainforest. It was scary but Dan loved it. We trekked to a water fall where we sat around throwing smooth stones into the clear water.

In the city we made full use of the hotel's Olympic-size pool. It was a beautiful hotel. In the room, the kids challenged us in board games. It must have been therapeutic for the kids to beat us.

On the last day, we were sad to leave. We miss our family already. But we are thankful for the time we had and look forward to next year. We love our annual North Borneo escapes.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

2½ weeks

You would have noticed no recent postings. That's because we have been away. I'll write about the vacation soon. Let me start with the 2½ weeks before that.

One highlight is lunch with Steve and Judi Lane. They are a couple who has been with our Sunday service and small group for the last 3 months. This is a great English couple. Dinah and I enjoy a good time getting to know the Lanes before they return home. Another memorable lunch is with Jo who's back on vacation.

A second highlight is our family excursion across the causeway. We spend the day here as Dinah conducts a camp workshop. We mingle with people till late. Thanks to the slight jam as well we sleep very late that Sunday.

Then we have the guys from our Mandarin service at our home. Geno from Filipino service also joins in. In between all these happenings is the writing of position papers, forewords, preparations for leadership lessons, chapters for our all-new Team Ministry course, and planning for the North American pastors retreat and the convention after that.

The highlight for the twins must surely be 29th May, the first day of school holidays. Dinah and I get to catch the Over the Hedge animation movie with them. We also get to hang out with our neighbours. Simon gets to help us with this recalcitrant light bulb at our apartment. My wife gets the excitement of organising us for the family vacation...

Monday, June 05, 2006

A family divided

The school holidays are here. The first Friday (2nd Jun 2006) is our first-ever staff Family Day. Staff spouses and kids are all invited. Set in Sentosa, it is a bright hot day with no cloud cover.

Today sees a family divided. Dinah is in the yellow team, Dan is in red, Deb is in blue and I am in green. Since Thursday the Blue team has been declaring all over the office that they rule. Red team respond by declaring that red is the colour of victory. Yellow and Green teams exercise sober-mindedness and Spirit-controlled demeanour.

Family Day starts with team joke telling. Next is the guess this thing you-never-knew-about game. One particular revelation almost knocks us over. When we recover, it's time for morning tea. Then its team games. The first few are typical tele-match type games. But in the hot sun.

Then comes the water bomb game. Several start releasing bombs on their supervisors, colleagues and event organisers. For about 5 minutes all hell breaks loose. Somehow I manage to side step the aggressors. After the wet and wild episode comes the frog game. Teams are to grab a frog and have team members kiss it. One female colleague kisses a frog thrice. She seems disappointed it does not turn into a prince.

Somehow Wan Leng and Pastor Lawrence are not competitive and agressive as before. Have they mellowed? Well they are probably rebranding themselves. They have a successor. A normally gentle staff member turns totally competitive. Her gentleness is nowhere to be seen as she releases water bombs with a fury not seen before.

Its so good to see staff playing together and letting their hair down. In the end, green team wins by a very large margin. Overall team scores were 88, 65, 59 and 47. But we keep a magnaminous spirit. We remember we're Christians.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


I look forward to next weekend. It’s Pentecost Sunday.

This year is special. This is the centenary of the Azusa Street revival. This was a glorious outpouring of the Holy Spirit that began in Los Angeles, California in 1906. This outpouring rocked the world. Many call this the second Pentecost.

In the days of old, God poured out His Spirit on selected individuals for specific purposes. But God promised He will pour His Spirit on all His people. This is a prophecy of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost on every Christ follower. Just fifty days after the resurrection, God’s action through the Holy Spirit erupted on Pentecost. This is one of the most important spiritual experiences in the life of a Christ follower.

Scriptures tell us that the Christian today shall encounter the presence of the same Spirit who came with power at Pentecost and fanned the message of Christ into a flame. God not only wants us to have the Holy Spirit living inside of us, He wants to completely saturate, overflow and baptise us with His Spirit. Out of our innermost being will flow rivers of living water. Life giving! Endless! Pure! Our salvation and eternity doesn’t depend on us having the baptism in the Holy Spirit. But without it, it’s our big loss. We miss out on a dynamic, powerful Christian life!

Before I was baptised in the Spirit, I feared witnessing. But I desired the roaring fire of the full power of the Spirit instead of glowing embers. I longed to live this life. I am grateful to be taught the complete picture about the Holy Spirit from Scripture. When I got baptised in the Spirit, the words of a language I don't know came into my lips. Thank God for the release in prayer and the praise in tongues. I became bolder in witnessing.

Being baptised in the Spirit is to receive God's enpowerment to witness. It is a personal experience of the divine. Praying in tongues as enabled by the Spirit is the initial physical sign of being baptised in the Spirit. Baptism in the Spirit is a one time occurrence but being filled with the Spirit is not a one time experience. If you have been baptised in the Spirit but your relationship with God seems stagnant, ask God to give you a fresh filling of the Spirit. Be continuously filled with God’s Spirit.

If you haven’t been baptised, what does it take to experience the overflowing fullness of God? Jesus said just “Ask.” Believe God is going to do it. Believe you will receive it the moment leaders lay hands on you. Expect to speak in tongues. Receive this release in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit loves to come and take truth about Jesus and turn it into an experience of Jesus.

I encourage you to honour the Holy Spirit. Be hungry for more of Him. Pray for an outpouring of the Spirit. This is the key to an effective life. May Pentecost happen in your life and in your family.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

What a month

It's been four weeks since I last wrote about my world. Here is an update of what's been happening from 24 Apr to 21 May. In that month were two long weekends, our kids prepared for, sat for and ended their mid-year exams and much more.

There were celebrations. It was a joy to conduct Frank and Lyn's wedding. It was on the day of General Elections. We also celebrated the first milestone with our campaign team and had appreciation time with our Competency task force.

There were interactions. Dinah and I were glad to catch up with our friend Tonje from Norway. She was a church intern in 2000. It was good to catch up with old friends and meet new ones at the AGM of the Evangelical Fellowship of Singapore. It was good to meet up with family and young adult guy leaders at our place.

There was newness. I joined Mandarin service at the new venue which is normally a karaoke joint. A place where people slaughter songs is now a place where we offer songs to God. Then we organised a special event to prepare people for the Da Vinci Code movie. It was standing room only.

The highlight of the month was probably our first men's conference. The fact that the guys got together was already good. The all-male worship was powerful and the covenant was meaningful. The entire atmosphere was rich and very masculine. What a month.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Truth is stranger than fiction

Several staff and leaders have been getting prepared to respond to the upcoming Da Vinci Code (DVC) movie. Tze Wei and I spent Saturday finalising material for our Monday night seminar.

Movies have such a powerful influence on our society that many people's views of reality and morality are shaped largely through their entertainment choices. 'The Last Temptation of Christ' was a controversial movie. The DVC is more controversial. Many are getting ready to see this one.

The DVC is based on Dan Brown's best selling mystery novel. The novel is well-written. It's an entertaining, exciting and page-turning thriller. He crosses over into multiple genres - suspense, fiction and religious.

Although a work of fiction the book claims to be meticulously researched and goes to great lengths to give the impression that it is based on fact. It is not clear how many of the acknowledgements in the book are credible. For example, Project Gutenberg is an online library of public domain texts. It may mean no more than that he used their facilities and they did nothing special to assist his research. Then the hero in the novel is a 'renowned Harvard symbologist'. Harvard has no department of symbology.

The author also uses occult, feminist and Gnostic fantasy. Some titles in his bibliography represent New Age speculation that run counter to history. Historians and scholars do not take these works seriously. Yes he tries to use the reputation of brilliant men such Leonardo Da Vinci to help make its case that historic Christianity is a pack of falsehoods. Using a painting as a historical record?

Although unoriginal in its allegations, the story proves misguided theories don't fade away. It is imaginative fiction combining half-truths, distortions and historical inaccuracies. It misrepresents some currently popular but silly ideas of the life and teachings of Christ. It is ignorance at best and falsehood at worst. It's a grand conspiracy story. In the conspiracy is heresy. Heretical conspiracy disguised as a suspense novel.

Does anyone take these ideas seriously? Would anyone pay money to read this? About 40 million people around the world! Brown has a way of making the novel's theories about Christ and the early church seem credible. So why do people want to believe or are at least open to the bizarre claims?

Well the story appeals to modern secular sensibilities. It corresponds with what people want to believe. We desire a Jesus who is more like us. This is a world that rejects absolute truth and reconstructs truth.

Another well known feature of today's culture is that many can't tell fact from fiction. Some who believe in the speculative theories of the DVC will hold on to them whatever the evidence. Truth is stranger than fiction.

There is also a need to feed the public taste for conspiracy. I've read that the way to increase any blog readership is to be controversial. Conspiracy is always controversial.

It doesn't help that many Christians are not aware of the church's history. We need to learn our story.

Beneath the surface, our culture is fascinated with spiritual topics. From the 'Gospel of Judas' to DVC, our culture is responding to God-shaped vacuum in our hearts.

Nobody needs to burn books or do loud protests outside cinemas. (Negative publicity only helps the movie). This cinematic event is an exciting opportunity to clarify real history. Talk to people the truth of historic Christianity. Turn an anti-Christian story into an opportunity to some helpful conversations.

"Rather than protesting the DVC, why not invite people to read a better book - the Book that tells the dramatic story of God who sent His son, who lived a perfect life, died on the cross and who rose again to break a curse, not a code." Ed Stetzer

Here's the first step. Be equipped to know the truth so we can proclaim it clearly and graciously. Know the truth. That's why we're having tomorrow's seminar.

Second, don't be afraid to ask our friends, neighbours and co-workers, "Do you understand what you saw?" They might reply, "What does it all mean?" We need to be sensitive to such a question. Remember Philip asking the Ethiopian eunuch, "Do you understand what you are reading?" in Act 8:30.

A follow-up question we can ask: "Does the novel match up with the facts of history?" In asking, be humble and gentle in our life.

Finally, be confident in our faith and allow that confidence to overflow in genuine concern for those around us who may be struggling with spiritual decisions. I read a great opener: "Now that you've read the fiction, read the facts". II Timothy 4:2 encourages us to be ready to share our faith in season and out. Share and see some of our friends come to accept the truth of Christ.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

So when did I become a man?

This Friday is a public holiday and we are gearing up for our first men's conference. As I started developing conference lessons, I wondered when I became a man.

First I have a confession to make. I'm a man. No, that's not the confession. The confession is that I don't know when I became one.

I've been male since my mother's egg was fertilised. At birth I became a boy and that was affirmed frequently all the way through kindergarden. Bad boy. Good boy. Boys will be boys. What do you expect from a small-town boy?

So when did I become a man?

At age 10 I got kissed by a girl. She was a year older and she was my neighbour. Then I caught a crocodile when I was 11. I trapped it with chicken pieces in a large mouse trap with a knife. Our gardener and maid knew what I was doing and the risks involved, but let this 11-year-old kid go ahead and trusted me not to injure or kill myself. The next morning I was surprised that it worked. It was not a small reptile. Our gardener, my brother and I hung it so we could skin it from the underbelly. Mom cooked it with herbs. It tasted like kampong chicken. When it was all said and done, no one proclaimed me a newly made man.

Then I was sent to an overseas boarding school. This was a boys school. At ages 17 to 18, I played competitive rugby. If I had committed a crime then, I could have gone to jail since I was no longer a minor. In the eyes of law, I was an adult, yet I know I was still was very much a kid.

I got my drivers license when I turned 19, as many guys did. For some, this is the defining event. It wasn't for me, though there are aspects of that day that could be considered an initiation into manhood. My mom, my instructor and the entire system trusted me with the operation of a 1-ton piece of machinery that could go 200 km an hour. I could have done some serious damage but showed enough maturity to handle it. For the most part, I was careful. For all the stupid things I've done behind the wheel, I never did anything worse than knock into a trash can. But driving didn't make me a man and wasn't recognised as passage into manhood, despite the fact that I gained rights and responsibilities.

At some point, I became a man, without any clear indication it had happened. The obvious thought would be that since I was a boy all through school, the transformation took place in university. Or did I become a man when I first took a job, paid my own rent and put food on my own table. Was I a man then?

Society doesn't seem to notice the lack of transitions until we do something wrong that proves we aren't the men we should be. This will be the starting point of my discussion with the guys on Friday.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Highly-strung anybody?

My wife has reminded me on more than one occasion that my blog is titled 'Perspectives' but is mainly anecdotes. She know it's easier to write anecdotes since I already keep a journal. But she's right.

Just as well that I've been wondering if perhaps I'm highly-strung. Like sometimes I startle too easily. I can be overwhelmed by bright lights, strong smells, coarse fabrics, or sirens close by. Some days I can feel more highly-strung than usual, more likely to snap. If you are a laid back person, you may not relate to this.

Highly-strung people worry about details, can be emotional even nervous and often want to be in control. They tend to be on edge, over-sensitive, irritable and can jump at people. Many animals are highly strung too. They are easily excitable.

Here's a definition. Adj. 1. Being in a tense state, edgy, in suspense, jittery, jumpy, nervy, over-strung, restive, uptight, tense, in or of a state of physical or nervous tension.

Know any one like that? Sometimes I wonder if this the national psyche. We are often reminded in the media that we lack natural resources, that neighbours are catching up economically and that we must leap frog the region. This creates a siege mentality with paranoia all-round.

Dinah and I used to be involved in family ministry. I remember we got the moms to go out for ice cream while husbands stayed home with kids. There would always be one or two moms who kept calling every few minutes to ask how the kids were doing. I thought this was chronic. Then I saw them before school exams.

Many who commute on the MRT are typically highly-strung, stressed-out Singaporeans. Some think it's a duty to irritate them even more by walking really slowly, standing on the wrong side of the escalator and so on. However the wiser amongst us will not want to be snapped at.

How do we calm the highly-strung? If you exhibit some of these traits, how do you avoid going over the deep-end to become certifiably obsessive compulsive?

For starters I make it a point to avoid horror movies. It's not good for the nervy heart. Positive comedies and feel-good dramas are much more therapeutic.

Reframing is a useful technique. This is to think different. Like some who refer to their overstrung state as having 'a heightened sense of awareness'. This is so well put.

To reframe is important because, like it or not, there are bound to be things that annoy us to no end. Like I can get worked up when people stare at me in lifts, in restaurants or in public places. I've also read that fights have started from staring incidents. Lives have been lost. So I had to quickly learn to reframe.

Eventually I figured it out: "Perhaps I do have an interesting face. I must have presence. Maybe that's why heads turn every time I step onto the scene." It's probably true as well.

Life and ministry can get tense at times. Relax, chill out. I'm learning. Lying on the lounge with our twins is fun. So is listening to good music. Or a catch up with friends over coffee. Try it. You'll like it.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Down Under

It's Tue the 11th Apr. We do errands, swim and pack. Our new modem arrives on Wed. Tonight our family has dinner at the airport. On the flight to Down Under, the Aussie couple next to me is surprised they have the exact wedding date as me.

We arrive in Brisbane at 7:30 am Thur. Wilson pick us up for breakfast at the motel and we are off for meetings. The Vietnamese dinner is good. Otherwise it's a sleepy affair for me. My room mate is Prackich. It's the first time we're room mates.

The convention starts Friday night and ends late. Then I conduct a workshop on Sat and later there is a Multicultural night where we don national costumes.

Easter Sunday is eventful. It starts with breakfast with 7 Singaporeans from Hope Sydney. Later it's lunch with Alan and Jessie. Alan and I were both from St Andrew's boarding house. Jessie is Albert's sister. Later it's dinner with 12 young Africans from Zimbabwe, Malawi and Ethiopia. Then I give a missions presentation at the convention.

After the Convention ends on Monday, we spend 2 hours at Sunshine Coast. Here I catch up with Peter Truong. He was in our church during 1996. Next we are at the pastors dinner at an Aussie steak house. Tonight I bunk in a ministry house. Lead Tao, Han, Pei Xiong are from Singapore. They are an interesting and inquisitive bunch.

Tuesday is breakfast with with Han, Pei Xiong, Ming Hang (from Indonesia) and Sunny (from Macao). Later Ming Hang gives me a lift to the airport. It's good to get an empty row on the flight but it's a day flight. It's great to see Dinah and the twins at the airport.

Wed is when I finalise the leadership lesson. At night I teach 'Spearheading A Spiritual Revolution'. Thur is time at the lawyer's office. Fri is just tonnes of follow up matters. It rains on Fri so there is no swimming.

Sat is interesting. I call for taxi and the automated voice says one will arrive in 15-18 min. Normally it's 5-8 min. So I try to hail a taxi to no avail. The booked taxi arrives in 10 min. But the taxi driver takes a wrong turn. When we do get on the highway, it's congested. I'm praying I won't be late. We finally arrive and I do not ask for discount on the fare. He discounts $1 and I responded by asking him to keep the change. I go right in to preach at our student services.

The next day sees two more sermons on the greatest secret ever revealed to the minds of human beings. I have been touched by developing this message. Later we manage to swim in the evening. I haven't moved in the water for a long time.

Monday, April 10, 2006

A really big bed

Wed the 29th Mar is good. Our old friend joins care group again. At devotion time, the twins ask about Solomon with 700 wives and 300 concubines. They say he must have had a really big bed. I have never thought of his sleeping arrangements before.

Thu is breakfast with pastor friends. Later I reply a question on yoga. The rain means no evening swim. But the twins give us a special massage in their room. They call the place the Lee Twins Spa. Deb shows Dan the right moves. Dinah and I agree to bunk in their room tonight.

Fri is their school Founders Day holiday. Dinah and I are on leave today & tomorrow. We plan a seaside picnic but the forecast is for thunder storms. Instead we enjoy a leisurely breakfast followed by a swim. Next we renew passports before going to The Cathay Cineplex. This is the first week of its opening and we catch 'Ice Age II' here. We try the couples seats - meaning the arm rest can be raised.

Sat is when Dinah and I have a traditional breakfast. Then its errands and a special lunch. We go to Punggol Park for the first time but it rains. Just then my brother calls with really big news. Next Vivien bumps into us. Then Chien Meng, Choon Yam and the whole leadership team shows up. It's pouring leaders.

Sun lunch is with Pastor Richmond from Ghana and Sunny. Next is a roaring good time at the leadership rally. Then Dinah and I spend time with Quan, Imy and Sarah at the airport. Later we discover our home modem dies (so I will post when I get a chance).

Mon is full of surprises. We lunch with colleagues when they spring a surprise birthday gift. This is one month after my birthday. Three other colleagues join in this gift. Later I reply a question on New Age music. There is another surprise as the Filipino guys come to our home quite early for our appointment.

Tue is when we book airtickets to Sabah. Dinah files our tax returns before we swim. Wed is a long day like last week. It's a really wet day too. The day becomes longer as a tree falls on the highway. We are stuck for 30 mins in crawling traffic. Thur is meetings galore. It's raining meetings. The kids like the cookout of sandwich dinner.

Fri starts with a really big surprise. A long lost friend calls after getting our office number from the website. She came to church when there were 10 people in 1991. After 15 years comes this call. She said God spoke to her last night to call. She reminded me how I used to encourage her to know God. What a week.

Sat sees a pre-Easter preaching slot at the tertiary service. This is followed by 3 more sermons on Palm Sunday. Dinah convinces me to swim in between the morning and evening sermons. I go along and it turns out well in the end.

We spend time with counsellor and pastor friends on Mon morn. I spend the rest of preparing for the upcoming trip. Tonight there is more men mentoring.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Goggles isn't on my mind

Mon is the start of a new school term. It's traditional to be early for the first day. We follow tradition. Later five male youth leaders come over and we spend time together. They would have stayed all night.

It's Tue. We meet our neighbour on the way down and discover his son is unwell. So we get breakfast for their boy. Later Dinah and the kids take me to lunch. It's my belated birthday celebration. Next we drop by at the optometrist before swimming. Later we get dinner for our neighbour's child and we have an early night.

Wed night gets exciting. We've been in contact with an old friend for 3 months. We are so excited that our friend joins Lan Sim's care group. Thu starts with an online chat with Terry. Lunch is with Hong Teck. It's a strange evening. I plunge into the pool without goggles then have to pull myself out. The few onlookers around try not to look so shocked. There are many things in my mind and goggles isn't one of them.

Fri is the final day for weekend preparation. There's corporate prayer at night. Then it's all systems go. There are 3 sermons on Sat and 2 on Sun. Fuzhen's testimony is just awesome. Dinah and I are so happy to see our old friend at service. Later Dinah conducts a child dedication in the evening service. This is a fruitful weekend. We (me especially) wind down on Sunday evening.

Mon is when I start preparing for Easter. Somehow tonight's session with male leaders from Mandarin service is off. So I resume reading the pre-Easter materials. On Tue morn we catch up with another friend and listen to a sermon CD. Then the twins tell us Deb has been appointed as Health Ambassador for the class. They've got the right person - she loves her fruits. Somehow I suspect that this appointment signals the end of greasy meals for the family.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Two weeks away is a long time

Fri is time to finalise the Sunday message. Then I take a melatonin tablet but still can't sleep. So I wake up Sat feeling like a zombie but try to internalise sermon neverthless.

I awake Sunday having had good sleep. Two sermons later, I'm exhausted as the long trip take its toll. We still have a 4-hour membership class ahead. Whoaaa. As we we arrive and see the people (all 153 of them) Dinah and I do our best to serve.

Mon is a another furious day. Got to complete the Lateral Leadership lesson. Later five guys from tertiary ministry come over to spend time together. This starts Monday night men's mentoring.

Tuesday is errands day with haircut and grocery shopping. Thank God for Swee Ching who offer to take the twins out. She proposed the Asian Civilisations museum but they end up spending more time at the National Library. At night, Dinah and I join over 90 members to launch Team Ministry. Everyone is excited and it turns out to be a smashing success.

Wed is a long day as we follow-up matters from our trip and local matters. Two weeks away is a long time for stuff to pile up. An ulcer starts to appears. Thur is a more normal day except for lunch. Fenny get takeaway for herself, Dinah and I. She loves chilli and her beloved chilli expands my ulcer and upsets my tummy.

This week is school holidays. Dinah is preaching this weekend so I take Friday off to spend time with the twins. They both opt to hang out at home. Cartoons and ice cream is why. Dinner is at a great place in Defu Lane with the Ongs and Chongs for my belated birthday celebration.

Daisy is our good friend's sister. She takes the twins out for a movie on Sat. She's also their maths tutor. God provides all these great people who are a blessing. Then Sun, Dinah preaches so well. In between services Dinah and I bump into Sharon who's back on vacation. She and her husband now live in Toronto and have started a small group. We're so inspired to meet our people who are making a difference all over the world. Our church members are awesome and we're so proud of them.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

In the west coast

Wed and Thur (22-23 Feb) is hectic. I work on the team ministry lesson and membership class notes. There's packing and tying up loose ends. On Thur we check-in online for the first time. We feel the lack of sleep now. The flight to LA is half-full and it's nice to have a row to ourselves.

Church Camp near LA
We arrive on Thur night in winter. Pastor Chai greets us and puts us up in a motel. Here we notice that our well-used luggage cracks. It's served us well. The next day Chai and Crystal take us for breakfast. Here is a great couple. After catching up, he drives us to the camp site in a beautiful valley (Rancho Ybarra). Late that night Dinah and I take (very) winter-cold showers thanks to the non-working water heater.

On Sat, Dinah and I teach lessons and do workshops. Later the campers enjoy games as we prepare for night sessions. At night Derek shares his testimony. He came to Christ in Singapore. We continue to have very cold but very short showers late that night. (Here's a photo of one of our meals at camp)

On Sun, Dinah and I teach. There's lunch fellowship and long goodbyes. Next Chai checks us in the same motel. Then he brings us to the night leaders session at the church premise in East LA. That night we thank God for the warm shower.

On Mon (it's 27th Feb), Sam and Sung (and baby Grace) from the church spend some time with us. Later Cynthia joins us for lunch and take us gift-shopping. Next it's raining heavily as we have an extended dinner with Chai and Crystal. Dinah tries virgin pina colada. I discover that virgin here means without alcohol.

On Tue, we go with Lee to the William Carey missions library. Cynthia re-joins us for lunch. Then we pack before our final night session with LA leaders. It's another long night.

Leaders Retreat in Vancouver
On Wed, Betty drives us to the Long Beach airport. We fly Alaskan Air to Seattle. There we spend time with JR and Warinda. From Seattle Chris and Jeng drive us 3 hours to Vancouver. (Chris actually came to Christ in Singapore.)

It's our first time in Vancouver and the winter is not mild as in California. We're told the seafood here is fresh so we try fish and chips. The leadership retreat starts the moment we step into William and Lan's place. That night we sure sleep well.

On Thur, Marilyn does breakfast. Now she also came to Christ in Singapore. Dinah and I do several sessions. At evening they take us downtown and to Stanley Park for a view of the waterfront city before a sushi dinner. Here they spring a surprise birthday cake. My birthday is actually tomorrow. It's a nice gesture.

Pastors Retreat in Newport Beach
Lan isn't well. Neverthless William and Lan drive us to the Seattle airport on Fri morn. They tell us Vancouver is one of the most livable cities in the world. We arrive in LA and Chai brings us to the beach house. The rest of the North American pastors and wives arrive that evening. Here the wives decide to go out for dinner as the guys order pizza. Later they spring a surprise birthday cake. They get the date right.

Sat morn starts with testimonies before a lesson. After lunch we visit Balboa island and then we experience beach volleyball. My wife laughs as I almost put on my shorts. It's winter-cold at the beach. We discuss ministry matters all night as I try to ignore aches from volleyball.

Sun (5th Mar) morn starts with men and women sessions. Then we travel to the university community hall in University of California, Irvine. It's a long while since I have seen my wife prepare elements for the Lord's Supper. We have Sunday service. The church hosts a big lunch and even games. Then the ladies have a baby shower as the guys get the barbeque ready. Quan sure cooks awesome steaks. Later we enjoy extended worship and prophetic ministry.

Dinah and I take the Mon morning sessions. Then it's cleaning before we drive to Albert and Doreen's home. We dine together and complete our final discussion. Some leave as the rest have extended fellowship. JR is the last to fly home. Then it's a Mexican dinner with the Ngu family. After showers, Dinah and I talk with Albert and Doreen late into the night. David calls from Chicago.

David calls again on Tue. Then it's an extended lunch with Albert and Doreen. Afterwards Doreen and Dinah go grocery shopping as Al and I talk at home. Then we pack and join the care group at the Uni of California, Irvine. We gather in a class room. Afterwards Albert drives us to LAX to catch the late flight to Singapore. We spend Wednesday on the plane.

We arrive in Taipei at 6:30 am Thur and it's 17 degrees. We arrive in S'pore after noon. It's 34 degrees, 33 if there's wind but there isn't. We unpack in humid conditions. Later the kids get home (thanks to Simon) and we're re-united. It's been a memorable 2 weeks in the west coast of North America. We're glad to be home.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

1st Milestone

It has been a very full fortnight. Here's the story... After corporate worship at Mandarin service on 12th Feb, several of us visited the new premise at CineLeisure. It's a cool place.

Monday saw a very long campaign planning meeting at Wan Leng and Mabel's place till almost midnight. We were getting ready to celebrate the 1st campaign milestone this weekend.

Tuesday was Valentine's Day. I bought Dinah a special lunch. (Yes the twins got blessed as well.) Next I got her flowers which she really liked. Deb liked it too. The rest of the day was spent on campaign matters.

Wed to Fri were long days preparing for the 1st milestone and for our upcoming overseas trip.

Next I preached on breakthrough from I Chronicles 14:8-17 on Sat and Sunday. Das did a really good job with the deco. Many liked the opening when I broke through the screen. The choir did very well. Here's a photo from Junming.

Sun afternoon was hot. We celebrated with 106 people who got water baptised at Big Splash. A 56 year old man got baptised.

Mon was spent tying up various matters and making final preparations for the long trip ahead. We manage to rest and swim on Tue before campaign planning at night.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Flying carpet

Lunar New Year must be still on since Dinah is still feeding us Mandarin oranges every night. This is a fifteen day celebration. Here's the rest of the story.

The 5th day is a mixed day. It starts poorly as I slip and fall early in the morning. I step on the rug which moves so I fall as it moves. Deb says it's a flying carpet. This would have been so funny except that my elbow is swollen and my bum hurts. Have to walk slowly out to lunch as we celebrate Cara's birthday. It ends with an nice evening with Jo, Kris and Alesha over for dinner.

Weekend messages on 7th and 8th day is 'Sex and Spirituality'. Gained a lot from putting this message together. It's great to pray with eight people who give their lives to Christ. Then Maurice says I look like a hong bao in the red shirt. We cap the day with a yummy dinner at Jeff and Claud's place. The elbow and bum pain is almost gone.

Monday is the 9th day. Traffic on the roads is back to normal. Guess all businesses are up and running again. Tonight is visitation to Joel and Evelyn's for Breakthrough campaign planning. Tomorrow night we host our leaders and Delia for dinner. The kids are excited. Hope to squeeze in a leadership message in the midst of the festivities. (Here's some of our party guests)

We are going to visit old friends on Friday night. Sunday is going to be the fifteenth and last day of Lunar New Year celebration.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

It's a happy New Year

This is the time of Lunar New Year, which is celebrated for 15 days. This is a family affair and there's an almost total shutdown of schools and businesses for the first two days. You feel the shutdown much more than during Christmas. This time it's a long 4-day weekend, probably the longest of the year.

There was good build up. Monday was breakfast with 5 of our Christian counsellor and pastor friends. Tue and Wed was time on global ministry, with pastoral staff and with Pui See. Thur was spent drafting a position paper on 'Inter-Generational Curse'. Fri was corporate worship, the first time the weekend service was brought forward. Dinah's Lunar New Year message was 'A New Me for the New Year'.

The holidays begin Saturday. Ours start with shopping for seasonal fruits. Next is the 'Game of Life' in keeping our promise to the twins. Pat got this board game for the twins and also so that she could play it with them. We discover Dan is competitive, Deb is a kind player, Dinah is the most honest and I get fourth place. Our Lunar New Year celebration begins with an all-night reunion dinner with Dinah's side of the family.

We awaken on Sunday by the sounds of a lion troupe. Dinah dresses us in red to join our Mandarin worship service. James starts the sermon saying the first visitation is to our spiritual family on Sunday service. Indeed! The service has a great family atmosphere. Afterwards, we bump into an old school friend whom we're supposed to visit tomorrow. So we catch up at the mall. Then we get home and call my parents with New Year wishes. Our tradition on the first day of the Lunar New Year is a visitation to Dinah's mom. This visitation continues to dinner.

Our tradition for the second day is to visit my mom's aunt. But she moved to LA last July. Instead we enjoy a leisurely breakfast with New Year goodies. We all catch up with reading before lunch with our neighbours. Later they come over to our place for visitation. The weather is just great for an evening swim. Mon night is cartoons night for the kids as we do more reading.

Today is Tuesday. It's another leisurely breakfast with New Year goodies. The kids watch Justice League cartoons. Next we host lunch for my brother-in-law who turns 47 today. Then we help the kids with social studies research on continents, with Dinah reminding that we've churches in all the inhabited continents. The afternoon gets more interesting when we are riveted watching 'Hotel Rwanda'. It's truly moving and we totally recommend it.

This is how it tapers off... The kids just love the rare home-cooked meal. So the holiday ends with a simple home-cooked dinner as promised. We enjoy every bit of this meal time thanking God for time with family and friends. It's a happy New Year.

Friday, January 20, 2006

First Chill

Our first leaders huddle was on 11th Jan. (It was also Jeff and Claudia's wedding anniversary.) Being the first huddle of the year, we explored global missions. Our evening went very well. The next day was a breakfast meeting with four local pastor friends.

Friday was a real treat. Thuan Seng called and the break through news truly made my day. Can't wait to share this with the church. To top it off Kam did a great job at staff devotion. Liked what he said about 'praying the price'. Saturday was wedding celebrations for Soo Guan and Karen. Dinah and I are so glad for them. Sunday was the first team rally of 2006. We gave thanks for last quarter and had our first-ever fire drill. Then Dinah and I had afternoon tea with Julian and Serene. It's their wedding anniversary.

Monday was leaders' conference across the causeway. Enjoyed catching up with overseas pastor friends. But I awoke on Tues with my first chill of the year. It's my third time in this hotel and I get a cold each time I'm here. It's becoming a tradition! Why are Malaysian hotels so cold? Why am I so prone to cold hotels?

It was so nice of Denis to lend me his only jacket and Lean Choo who brought honey lemon drinks. Managed to contain the cold to preach on Thursday. I got home late Thurs just in time to kiss our twins good night. (Thursday was also Mike and Lean Choo's wedding anniversary.) Friday was back to office catching up with staff and various church matters.

Things are picking up fast in the first month of the year. Looks like it's going to be another fast paced ministry year in 2006.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Changing Seasons

A new year is upon us. The holiday season has passed.

We thoroughly enjoyed the holiday season. Over December, my wife and I spent over 2 weeks overseas. Our kids had a great time with Connie's family. We came back in time to preach the pre-Christmas sermon. We caught up with people and ministry then took some time off. We could finally explore some new places in Singapore with the twins. We also checked out the World of Narnia carnival - twice. We watched the movie 'Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. We caught up with our neighbours, with Li Chuang and Lisa. I even got a crown done for one of my molars.

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. The recent one was special. On Saturday, one couple friend of ours joined our Christmas Eve service for the first time. One of our kids' classmate also came with his parents to the Christmas Eve service. It was so great to see many people make first time commitments to Christ. After service, we had tea with our guests. To top it off, we had dinner with Dinah's side of the family. Our kids got gifts from their aunts and uncles, also from church friends and church staff. Like us, they love this time of the year.

Christmas day fell on a Sunday. Another of the kids' classmate came to Christmas service and he brought his sister. My wife and I were so proud of the twins. They have invited friends since Easter the previous year but no one came. We kept encouraging them and praying with them. We capped off Sunday celebration with extended lunch with Lindy, Emma, Ian, Charmaine, Wee Leng and Wan Phing. Later Dinah and I visited a couple who used to come to our church in the 90s.

One family tradition is log cake for breakfast. At year end we have different types of log cakes. Another one is year end reflection. Dinah and I review journals and note key lessons from the year that's passing. Then another tradition is to help my wife with spring cleaning, wrap school books and bags for the new school year.

We had a good time at staff thanksgiving on Friday. Fenny had an amazing Powerpoint presentation on the 2005 staff journey. The company was good. We spent the rest of the day shopping with Wee Leng and Wan Phing.

New Year day in 2006 was a Sunday. It was a wet day. I spoke on the first Sunday of the year. You could tell that people were still in the holiday mood. After evening service we joined Charmaine as she hosted a dinner party for church missionaries. This day marked the changing of the calendar.

Tuesday begins the new school year. There is a brand new regime with a later starting time which is great and new drop-off points and pick up points for the school kids. There are new schedules for Scouts and Brownies. This affects music lessons. Then Daniel got sick on the second day of school. Thank God for my wife and our assistant.

In the first work week of the new year, I'm working on the leadership lesson on 'Missions Strategic Coordinators', a vision message for the Team Rally and a Valentine message on 'Sex and Spirituality'. There is also the sermon for the upcoming overseas Leadership Conference too. There are the usual staff meetings for finalising and coordination of new projects and various staff and organisational matters.

On the second Sunday of 2006, I worshipped at Mandarin service. As is my practice here, I worshipped mostly in the spirit. James was preaching. I particularly enjoyed this statement he made: "When we go for holidays, we often come back tired. When you rest, don't forget everything. Get near God." This is so apt.

Just as I immerse into the new ministry year and begin to miss the year end holidays, tomorrow is a holiday 'Hari Raya Haji'. This is a good break. Perhaps we all love holidays because we do work hard so holidays provide much needed rest, recreation and fun. It'll probably be meaningless if we were to do it every day. Hope you had a memorable holiday and do have a great year in 2006.