Making God Famous!

...wait.

12/13/2009

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It is truly by the grace of God that our whole family had the privillage to visit Melbourne again after just 2 years. (Perhaps I will get a chance to blog about that at another time). We flew AirAsia, and on our final leg from KL to Penang a few things happened. Amongst them was the delay of our flight. We had been waiting in the airport for many hours already because of the transit and when we finally wanted to check in, we were taken aback that the flight was not listed. Did I see the details correctly? Well, after some enquiry I was told that the flight had been reschedule 35mins later then what we expected...so, wait. After what seemed to be a long 35mins, we finally got in to the waiting lounge. And not long after we found our seats to rest, an announcement came over the PA to say that the flight has been delayed. No time for departure given. Just an estimate time that the plane will arrive at the ariport. So, according to my calculationa, we had to wait another hour or so.
Finally, when the plane arrived and we were allowed to board, everyone was excited. The flight attendant directed us to board using the back door and when we got up onto the plane, we found out that we were seated at the very last row. Not a bad thing at all, as it would mean that we will be the first to get out. The flight was very short considering the waiting that we had already gone through the whole day. And when the plane finally stopped we were excited to be the first ones out. Got our things from the overhead compartment and stood in line waiting for the doors to be opened.
After a few minutes of waiting, the cabin crew said, "Sorry, only one door. Everyone has to exit at the front." Wah! Wait some more! That seemed to be the word from the Lord for the trip as we encounted God then, just standing and waiting to get out of the plane. This is a season of waiting....
Another reminder was the word at the end of Matthew chapter 19, that the first will be last and the last will be first. We may have been waiting, and waiting, and waiting, but in due time it will be our season to be launched out to the front again. So, be still and wait when it is time to wait. Wait... and watch, wait... and listen.
 
 
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In the last 5 years or so I have beenvisiting Kota Kinabalu at least once a year and during each visit, I have been trying to arrange to climb Mount Kinabalu. However, each time the venue seemed to be fully booked. The opening came last week when I was in KK for the Unleashed! Sports Convention. Finally,  an opportunity to climb the highest mountain in the region. 
Well, I honestly did not know what to expect at all. Talk to 10 people about the climb and you will have 10 different stories as to the experience and intensity of the climb. So, I just took it easy. With my sports background I did not think it would be too difficult although I expected it to be challenging. However, there was one thing that I was a little fearful of - altitude sickness! This was something that we can not prepare for and there is nothing that you can do about it if it hits you. Other than that, everything was cool.
So, on the first day of the climb, we decided to take it easy as much as we can. I must say that it was not as simple as it was portrayed but we managed. "The second day is the killer" is the general concensus of the people that we talked to. Reaching Laban Rata was a relief and to be able to rest and prepare for the next day was most welcoming. However, it was at Laban Rata that my head started spinning a little. The air was thin and altitude sickness seemed to be creaping in. Eat enough, and rest well for the next day was the plan. And that was what we did.
Waking up early the next morning and getting ready for the real climb was exciting. We had already walked 6km and another 2.7km should be something that we could endure. However, that 2.7km seemed more challenging than expected. Starting the journey at 2.30am did not help the situation as it was cold and the air was thin. Throughout the climb I was panting for lack of oxygen. My brains seem to be constantly telling my body to shut down and go to sleep. Many times I caught myself dozing off for a split second before jumping up and reminding myself  to keep going. Physically I was alright but it was the lack of oxygen that took a toll on me. This was something that I could not prepare for no matter what I did.
Looking back two things come to mind. Firstly, the grace and protection of God. He was with me all the time throughout the climb. Many times when I felt like falling asleep, I believe that it was God who kept me awake and kept me from rolling off the mountain because of my slumber. He is there to sustain us even when we don't realise it.
More importantly, the climb taught me that there are some things that we can prepare for and others that we just need to embrace and trust God to take us through. There was nothing I could have done to prepare me for the altitude sickness. Somethings in life will hit us and there is nothing that we can do to prepare for it. In fact, when it comes we will just have to take it by the horns. It is then that we know that we are not able and we need to trust God fully to see us through. The climb in our lives will be challenging, it will be filled with surprises, and there will even be things that we will not be prepared for. We just need to trust in God at all times throughout the climb.
Where are we in the climb of our lives? How much do we depend on the Maker?
Yes, we made it to the top! The view - a sight to behold. The glory and splendour of completing the climb. The reward - not something physical (except for the certificate) but one that will be embeded in our memories, emotions, and even our spirit. Thus, the rewards when we finish the climb of our lives will be undescribeable! Let us let go and let God take control and do His thing in our lives.
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Taking a rest at the summit of Mt Kinabalu.
 
 
Just over two months ago (11th July) the young adults of the church decided to go off the Pantai Keracut for an outdoor camp. It was a great plan - Doing something that we don't usually get to do, being able to get together, as well as get to know one another in the midst of adventure. Loving adventure, and wanting to gel with the young adults, I decided to go along with them together with my 3 daughters. Read more about it in the church website.

One of the things that we did not expect, or rather did not really appreciate was the rain. It rained on and off the whole day. And because of the heavy rain, most of the tents that we brought were wet as they were of low quality and we did not have a proper flysheets. However, I had managed to salvage my tent and kept it dry the whole day.

Just before we ended for the night, it started to drizzle a little and as the other tents were all wet to the core, the young adults had no choice but to sleep in the shelter nearly. I however, had a dry tent and since the weekend was to be one of adventure, I just could not pass having to sleep in the tent with the 3 kids. So that was what we did, but I also knew that if it started to rain heavily again in the middle of the night, we would be stuck in the tent and would not be able to get to the shelter without firstly getting all wet. And rain it did!

As it rained, the water eventually trickled into the tent from one end and continued to do so. Not only did it rain, it was "pouring cats and dogs" as some would say. Knowing that if the rain did not slow down or stop, we would all be totally wet. And I did not want to have to deal with 3 wet and sleepy girls. The obvious thing to do was to PRAY!

The obvious was to pray that the rain would stop. As the rain continued to pour, I prayed that the Lord would send a miracle by stopping the heavy rain. In the midst of intense pray for the rain to stop so as we do not get wet, God gave me a vision.  He asked me in the vision very clearly, "Do you want a miracle or do you want me to stop the rain?" I thought, "Isn't that the same thing?" It was then that I realised that I had wanted God to do things my way, and then said, "I want a miracle!"

The rain never stopped until the sun rose. Infact, it continued to rain heavily but a miracle happened. We never got wet! We slept through and stayed dry. I don't understand how except that a miracle happened. Sometimes we think that there is only one way that God can and will work. That night, He showed me that His ways are higher than ours, and that a miracle may not necessarily mean what we perceive it to be. He showed me that we need to surrender our ways and thoughts to Him. God works wonders, and we need to trust Him. We need to stop telling Him what to do, and allow Him to  to do his thing.
 
 

Jesus told a parable of a man who had two sons of which his younger son took his inheritance before the appointed time and squandered it off in wild living (Luke 15:11-32). The story goes on to say that after this son had lost all his money, he ended up as a hired hand feeding pigs. He even longed to eat the pods that the pigs fed on. That was how bad his situation was.

One day he came to his senses, realising that his father's servants were even in a better position that he is in and that they were better fed. Thus, he decided to go back to his father. His decision was that he was not worthy anymore to be called a son and that his father should make him a slave.

However, while he was still a long way off, the father saw him and ran to him. Even before the son could say anything, the father threw his arms around him and kissed him. And while the son was trying to tell the father that he should no longer qualify to be known as a son but as a slave, a ring was put on his finger, sandals were placed on his feet, and one of the best robes in the home graced him. Besides that, preparations were being made for an immediate feast.

While this young man who had sinned wanted to come back to his father's house as a slave, the compassion of the father immediately saw his repentance and reinstated him back as son.

His elder brother however, also had issues of his own. He was upset with his father for throwing a party for his brother who had squandered off his inheritance. He would not go in to join the party!

Once again we see the compassion of the father, going out to his elder son. It says that the father "went out and pleaded with him". The older brother was upset because he felt that he was "slaving" all those years for the father and had not gotten anything. And the reply of the compassionate father to his son was, "you are always with me, and everything I have is yours".

The elder brother too had a slave mentality even though he was in his father's house. Once again, the father's answer tells us that he had already given the son everything to enjoy. His elder son just did not see his position as a son to enjoy everything the father has.

Do we have the mentality of a slave or a son? A son has a relationship with the father. A son enjoys the inheritance of the father. And a son definately has the authority that is bestowed by the father.

God is our Heavenly Father, but are we His son?

 
 
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 There is a phrase that says, "if you want to fly like eagles, don't hang around turkeys". Recently I was reading a book by Michael Catt entitled "Prepare for Rain". Michael Catt is the senior pastor of Sherwood Baprist Church and that church was empowered to produce movies which included one entitled Facing the Giants.

This book tells of how God uses ordinary prople in the church for extraordinary tasks. It also challenges us to take whatever God has given us, to think big and impact prople for eternity. There is a section in the book where the author says that we should "never let losers tell us how to win". That immediately brought my mind to the phrase about eagles and turkeys.

So very often we are reminded of the fact that we need to surround ourselves with Godly people, people who would spur us on and cheer us to the finish line no matter how we run. But the fact is that we take so little time to develop those friendships that will count for eternity. So often we fail to hang around eagles and winners.

Are there eagles and winners that surround us? Are there Godly people that will be able to spur us on. People that we can rely on at any time to grow us and help us reach the full potential that God has planted within us?

Its time to soar!

 
 

So very often when we go to our local hawker stalls and order a plate of delicious Char Koay Teow I see a person setting aside the 2 or maybe 3 precious prawns to the side of the plate. "I'm saving the best for last" is often the reply when i ask why a person does that.

Just like 2 or 3 measly prawns being set apart so that a person can feel good, savouring and letting its taste and aroma linger in the mouth; there is also a purpose that we are set apart by God. God sets us apart for a holy purpose. It is more that just a feel good thing. He actually has high calling and purpose for all of us. And He does it for His pleasure.

Do we know why we are being set apart? Saul and Barnabas were set apart for the purpose of the work of the ministry (Acts13:2-3). And they heard the voice of the Holy Spirit calling them to be set apart when they were in the midst of worship and fasting.

If we are uncertain of the purpose to what we are set apart by God for, then perhaps we should enter into a greater encounter with Him. This encounter often comes in the midst of worship and prayer.

I am challenged to encounter God more. I am challenged to discover in greater depth the purposes of God in my life. I am being Set Apart!

 
 

Once again, I will miss my birthday at home and with family. This time round I am still in Korea with the National Floorball Team participating in the Asia Pacific Floorball Championships. As I become older, birthdays seem to be less important and there seems to be less emphasis on how elaborate it should be. Keeping it simple is the way to do it.
The guys from the floorball team decided to give me a surprise celebration as they all knocked on the hotel room door just before midnight. Surprised? Not really...but it was really nice of them. They claimed that they bought the most expensive cake in their life (five figure), so i must be really privillaged! :)

Birthdays, no matter how simple or elaborate it may be is significant. It marks a specific time in history that a seed was planted into this world to grow, become, and do great things. So as I spend my birthday and a couple more days here in Korea, I as myself if I have grown, become, and am I doing great things for God? I enter another significant year. This is the year of possibilities!


The most expensive cake ever?! Very nice...and yummy! :)

 

Reduced?

03/23/2009

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Today the National Floorball Team arrived in Korea for the Asia Pacific Floorball Championships (APAC). The team started initial preparations in the 3rd quarter of 2008 and we were planning to take only 15-18 players this time as opposed to a large team of about 20 in the past years. By January, the team was named and there were 15 on the list. The other 3 who qualified could not make it. However last month another 2 key players pulled out and there was 13 of us left. At that point, my role as coach also had to switch a little in that I would still be coach by took on an additional role as a "spare" player if anything were to happen. And "anything" did happen! Just 2 days before our travel date, I get news that another 2 will not be able to make it! That leaves 2 lines (10 players) and one keeper including me. That means no spares, no back up players. What is happening?

This reminded me of Gideon when God reduced his team from 32,000 men to a mere 300 (Judges 7) when they faced the Midianites and defeated them. How do you draw strength in times when the odds are against you? The National Floorball Team will have to do just that. We will have to search within to look for inner strength, mental strength, and most of all to draw strength from the Almighty. Gideon won the battle with trumpets and torches in empty jars. How will we win the battles in our lives when we seem to be "reduced"? It is only by the grace and strength of the Almighty God!

 
 

Just a week after the arrival of the Silver Ark, we decided to dedicate this gift that God had given to us back to Him. The van is only a tool that is given to our care and we are to use it to make Him famous.
Amazingly, we had a guest speaker in our church that Sunday in the perosn of Pr. Victor Wong. So obviously, we took the opportunity to invite him to perfrom the "dedication ceremony".
Well, that wasn't the amazing thing...the amazing thing is that we also have another vehicle in the family - a Produa Kancil that was given to Selina some time ago. Fact is, this Kancil at its birth was also dedicated by Pr. Victor Wong years before it became ours to possess.
Now, we have two vehicles given to us; and both dedicated to the Lord by the same person. There must be some significance in that! :)

 
 

Two days ago, the reality of answered prayer came as God blessed us with a new van! For many years our family has been praying for a new car as ours was getting very old and was beginning to give problems more frequently. Last December, I had an accident and the old car was sold of as it was not worth repairing. So, for two months it was back to basics and I was on the motobike for most of the time. God knows our needs! Last week he sent someone to offer me a van! Wow! and just after one week, we drove off with it.
The kids are obviously excited as it has been a squeeze for the whole family in a Kancil. What shall we call this van? (They give names to almost everything) How about "the ark"? The van can take a capacity of 8 persons and there were 8 in the ark when the flood came...hmm...that was the conversation when the excited kids were on the way to pick up the van. Conclusion? We did not have any...but yesterday, I heard them calling our new transport the Silver Ark! :)
All glory goes to God for his outpouring of grace and providence!