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Monday, September 10, 2007

Reformation Reflections

Been a long time since anything happened here! This means that it's been a long time since we've encouraged one another over here :(

Thought I'll share one reflection on what we've learnt today at BASIC. We looked at the Reformation today and what it means for us today.

Through various scenes from the movie "Martin Luther" (a good movie!), we looked at how Martin Luther struggled personally with how to be right enough for righteous God, how he was never good enough, always too sinful for the angry and just God. He also struggled with the teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic church which had no basis in the Bible. His eventual conviction was that it is by faith alone in the authority of Scripture alone that salvation comes, not in Popes, relics, sacraments, bones of dead apostles. That was the seed of the Reformation.

One thing that struck me was the fact he struggled with the just and angry God, because that's so uncommon for us today. Today, we seem to have no problems understanding how God could love us. This is probably what we sound like:

"Why shouldn't God love us? We are not exactly that bad. The terrorist God hates maybe, but certainly not me. It is unthinkable that God could hate us. He's so loving, isn't He? How can he be loving to us if he is angry with us?"

Only the Bible gives both Luther and us the complete picture of God.

Luther, by God's grace, found the missing half of his picture in Romans 1:17:
"For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith, from first to last. For it is written: the righteous shall live by faith"
He can never be good enough for God. It is the just and angry God who is loving enough to send Jesus to die for him. It is faith in God's goodness, not his that saves. What freedom that gave him!

I wonder: What about us? What is our picture of God? Is it the Angry and Loving God of the Bible, or a distorted Lovey-Dovey half of Him?
Perhaps we need to serious question why we may feel remote with Luther's struggles. Is something missing?

Posted by Everbright at 12:19 AM

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Dao Gao

The Chinese worship song I learnt during my local mission trip. A very nice song on why we should pray.



祷告 因为我渺小
祷告 因为我知道
我需要 明瞭
你心意对我重要

祷告 已假装不了
祷告 因为你的爱
我需要 你关怀
我走过的你都明白

有些事我只想要对你说
因你比任何人都爱我
痛苦从眼中流下
我知道你为我擦

在早晨我也要来对你说
主耶稣今天我为你活
所需要的力量你天天赐给我
你恩典够我用

Posted by Patrick Song at 1:15 AM

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sunrise and Sunset... in the City of Corinth?

Thanks Patrick for sharing this! You don't have to wait too long for a reply, ha!

Adding to your reflections...

Our "fruitfulness" may more correlated to the state of our Quiet Times than we think (at least I know it's true for me!).

Because when we don't read the Bible, or read it without care, we are telling God that His words are not important to us. We are telling Him that what we hear and read in the papers (Financial Times?), magazines, on the Net (YouTube?) matter more to us.

Because when we don't pray, we depend entirely on ourselves, and none on Him. Our priority to our Quiet Time is us telling God that He is Lord, and we depend on Him.

By this, I don't mean that it's about a daily routine of reading a chapter of a book that happens to be called the "Holy Bible", and adopting a posture with your eyes closed, and muttering some words that starts with "Dear Heavenly Father". The state of our Quiet Time is more than about reading habits and reflective utterances. It challenges us about one question:

Who REALLY is Lord of your life?

That is the point of the parable of the Sower: where is the place of Jesus and His Words in your life? Are you listening? How's your Quiet Time showing that?

Perhaps we struggle to live the Christian lives that we should, because Jesus is not the Lord that He should be? Perhaps we give people a wrong view of Jesus, because that's our view of Jesus?

Put Him in the right place, and everything else will follow. Get Him wrong, and it really matters little even if you get everything else right, because it will all crumble on Judgment Day.
How do we do that? Read the Bible and pray that the Holy Spirit in us convicts us to listen and obey.

Can we do that? We can, but not on our own.
We need fellowship. I think that's why God didn't call individual persons, but one people into his kingdom, and why we are always described as a body. We are accountable to one another. So let's encourage one another to keep meeting up, and let's encourage one another in getting Jesus right in our lives, in view of Judgment Day (Hebrews 10:24-25)

So what's it got to do with Corinth leh?!
Hmm... Patrick, are you reading 1 Corinthians in preparation for what BASIC is going to do next? Asking because some of your reflections are exactly what we will come to learn about in 1 Corinthians!

Highly encourage us to start to read 1 Corinthians now to prepare for our upcoming studies. In Civil Service and Statutory Board lingo, "highly encourage" means COMPULSORY. The boss who says this is not me. It's the Minister of Reconciliation of Sinners to God.

Not to mention too that 1 Corinthians is such a relevant book for us (which is actually useless information, since every book of the Bible is relevant!). I think we will identify with the Corinthians a lot, and prayerfully, we will also identify Paul's concerns for the Corinthians and his advice/rebuke/exhortation to them (and by extension us) and obey them.

Posted by Everbright at 10:28 AM

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Sunrise to Sunset

Sunrise to Sunset
By Vernon C. Grounds

An insightful scholar by the name of A. J. Heschel recounts a story from his days as a student in Berlin. Although he was a devout man, he became so preoccupied by the glittering culture that one day he failed to pray at sunset, as his custom had been without fail. He admits, "The sun had gone down, evening had arrived.... I had forgotten God."

Heschel's omission may seem minor to us, but his zeal shows that he understands the importance of cultivating the spiritual life.

Jesus told a story of a sower, a seed and four kinds of soil (Matt. 13:1-9). The soil among the thorns represented those who permit the Word of God in their hearts to be choked by the cares and pleasures of the alluring world (v.7,22).

That's a dangerous possibility for anyone who thoughtlessly responds to God's Word. The world may induce a forgtfulness of spiritual reality and responsibility.

Prayerfully, let us strive to be like the one who "hears the Word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces" (v.23).

When the sun sets tonight, let it not be said that we have forgotten God.

My reflections
Please read the parable in Matthew 13.

Many of us have lives represented by soil with thorns. We can never bear much fruit for Him if this continues for us. Having goals and dreams is not against God, but they will be if our motivations and methods of achieving them make us no different from non-believers.

As the evangelistic event is approaching, it's important for us to remember that non-believers see how we live our lives more closely than we think. If our behaviour gives them the impression that we are non-believers, we have plenty to be ashamed of! When we work hard in our studies and jobs, help others who are struggling. Don't be selfish. Don't backstab others. Don't laugh it off and say that there's no other choice but to follow the crowd. Putting God first does not mean that we will end up getting the leftovers in this competitive society. Even if it is, we have much to gain in heaven.

We are not all created by Him to serve in full-time ministry, but we are all created to worship Him with our lives. I do not look forward to this day that anyone of us receives a feedback from our friends, "Oh, you are a Christian ah?"

"Non-believers will only want to find out more about God if they see successful Christians."
If God needs to use achievements of Christians to attract non-believers, as some may think, are we saying that non-believers' salvation are at our mercy? We are undermining God's power, authority and choice.

Watch out how we live. Do not stumble fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Do not give non-believers the wrong impression. I do not think anyone of you want to see your non-believer friends and loved ones go to hell.

I have to be harsh with my words this time. Waiting for replies from everyone.

Posted by Patrick Song at 2:25 PM

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Greetings from Norway

Hi hi
This should be my first post and I am realli excited
Have heard of all the changes going on in church
Just want to continue to encourage everyone
I think there are uncertainties and stuff
But i think we can continue to trust in HIM!



I will be back by 25th July
Hope to see everyone real soon!!

Anyway here's a pic of the church I visited in Norway

Posted by Kristy at 10:52 PM

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Monday, July 09, 2007

The state of my cactus


This was given by all of you on my performance (26/08/06) last year. It's still surviving well as of July. My neighbour's mini cactus long kicked the bucket. Easy to maintain and neglect. A gift that I can remember though. Thanks!

I will be involved in AJ Alumni Cultural Night come 18 August 2007. It's the 1st ever performance put up by the school alumni, with choir, guitar, dance, CO and Chinese Drama group being involved. Dance Alumni notably won an international award in a recent competition. There are many surprises in the way the show is presented and even with many groups being involved, the theatre element is heavy this time. Hint: No emcees in this performance. It will also be my last time performing for AJ CLDDS Alumni, at the stage where I made my theatre debut 5 years ago.

18 August 2007 (Sat)
3pm- matinee
7pm- performance
ticket: $10

Posted by Patrick Song at 11:11 PM

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Never regret a day in your life

I want to share the email I received:

One day I decided to quit... I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality... I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God. "God", I said. "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"

His answer surprised me...

"Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"

"Yes", I replied.

"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo. In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo," He said.

"In the third year, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. "I would not quit." He said. "Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant... But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive."

"I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle." He said to me. "Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots."

"I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you." "Don't compare yourself to others," He said, "The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet, they both make the forest beautiful."

"Your time will come", God said to me. "You will rise high!" "How high should I rise?" I asked.

"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return. "As high as it can?" I questioned.

"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can." I left the forest and brought back this story.

---

I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you. He will never give up on you. Never regret a day in your life.
Good days give you happiness; Bad days give you experiences; Both are essential to life.
Keep going... Happiness keeps You Sweet, Trials keep You Strong, Sorrows keep You Human, Failures keep You Humble, Success keeps You Glowing, but Only God keeps You Going!

Posted by Patrick Song at 11:29 PM

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