Mind doodling

I love to doodle, and sometimes it comes out quite nice, to me at least.


It usually starts with nothing in mind. Sometimes, it could build into something that I can work on, sometimes not. Sometimes, it can even go quite massive. I find that I “doodle” with my mind as well, especially when I am driving alone. I begin talking to myself, and sometimes it builds to something that is surprisingly quite profound – to me at least.

I was mind-doodling this morning. I cannot remember what I started talking to myself about but halfway through I was trying to share my faith with someone who I imagined could not understand the concept of sin. (I know, I am a totally weird person!) The end result however, was not that I now have a new evangelism tool. I wish I did, but what I got was a good lesson.

I learnt that as far as Christianity is concerned, as a faith, its ultimate message is not about having a God to make me feel better when I am depressed, or about having a God to provide for me when I am in need, or about just having a God to believe in. God does provide for us and more but that is just not it. What is left after removing the peripherals is the fact that through Christ and only through Christ, we come back to being able to talk to God, to commune with Him, to be close to Him, to rest in His bosom.

What is at the heart of Christianity is reconciliation.

pearlie

When I am busy

In busy times like this
When I don’t have an inkling
Where my priority is heading
I can’t resist
To start worrying
What may have gone amiss

Yet I feel this peace
And I seem to be rejoicing
In all the busyness I am in
I cannot cease
To stop smiling
Only one reason: my Lord, my God, my King

All rights reserved © 2008 Pearlie Ng

Sermons on the go

With the recent discovery of the wealth of good mp3 sermons found online, I should now be able to spend my time commuting in busy Kuala Lumpur in a more worthwhile manner.

I have heard three so far. Ligon Duncan's "How to Listen to a Bad Sermon", which I thought was just excellent. Gordon Wenham's "Praying the Psalms" was just as superb to bring us back to the practice of praying the psalms - he gives theological and practical reasons for praying and using not only praise psalms but also lament and penitential psalms in public worship.

Today, I listened to John Piper's "Marriage: God's Showcase of Covenant Keeping Grace". It was very refreshing to hear a great sermon preached on the subject of marriage. He has approached it in a manner I have never ever encountered any preacher doing so. He based his sermon on Colossians 2:13-15, 3:12-19.

Colossians 2:13-15, 3:12-19
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him ...
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.

Piper sees marriage as the doing of God and the display of God. It is God who is the subject, the head, the leader, the initiator, the creator; not the husband, not the wife. In this sermon (there are several parts to the series found here in the Desiring God website) he sees marriage, as taught by Jesus and Paul, the model of Christ and the Church, and it needs a solid basis in grace.

In short, in a Christian marriage relationship, we should not so much look into the spouse in his or her weakness, which will surely show after years of being naked in body, soul and spirit together. Instead, we are to look at each other as forgiven and justified by faith in Christ. He or she is just as much forgiven as you are. So look at him how Christ looks at him; look at her how Christ looks at her - justified and forgiven - and receive each other in peace and love.

I find this message so utterly refreshing.

pearlie

A Thousand Words #57


I fell in love with this picture. Too adorable for words, and of course, the books! The "thousand words" are simply the fact that I have been spending most of my time at home doing my son's homework. Not directly doing it per se, but close.

pearlie
Photo © 2007 Steve Woods

Excel in the Grace of Giving


It is Pledge Sunday for us today and Pastor Chris spoke about giving from 2 Cor 8:7, an echo of what we were discussing two Fridays ago - more than an echo really. Pastor completed the lesson.

2 Cor 8:7
But just as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

We can only give if we have first received and the fact is, we have. God has given us the ultimate - His son. It is only when we know what it is to receive, do we know how to give. The Macedonian church in this context of the passage, did not consist of rich people. On the contrary. They were in severe trial and were in extreme poverty (v.2) and yet they gave beyond their ability.

We give because of the grace of God. It is because of His amazing grace that we give and because we give, more grace will be added, and because of more grace, the more we will give. The cycle continues.

And it is the giving of our all. Some Christians may psycho-analyse themselves out of giving. They justify themselves by convincing themselves that they are after all giving their time and efforts to the Lord in service - "it is not that I am not doing anything. I am! The time, the energy: that counts too." However, until and unless we can part with the most difficult to part, are we really independent of the things of the world and do we abide with God.

While in prayer, I continually meditated on the truth and an object came to mind. I find that we are like hoses - garden hoses, for that matter. The larger the radius of the hose, the more water can flow through. The smaller it is, less will flow through - well, common sense. In the same way, the larger the opening of our hoses, the more God will provide to flow through into His kingdom, so that His work will be done. But if the end of our hoses are so capillarically small (while the receiving end can be as huge as it can be to catch all the wealth that can be caught) and since only very little can flow out into His kingdom, He does not have to reserve much for this hose.

We can also use the analogy of a father and a son. If the son tells his father that he desires to be a doctor when he grows up, the father will have to supply enough for it to become a reality. In the same way, if the church desires to be alive in ministering to the unreached, in social services to the needy, in teaching and discipling, the Lord will have to provide because there is so much work to be done. Jehovah jireh, He will provide.

And if we do not open up our hoses, we will lose out in the participation of the work of the Kingdom. Yes, our needs will be provided, He is the provider after all, but that will be all, since He cannot use us as a channel for the work of His kingdom. He will look for those who are huge hoses so that He can put through more, whether by huge salary raises, bonuses, commissions, new business opportunities, rising stock prices or real estate, so that more can be channeled into His kingdom. That is after all where our treasures should be kept, not in the banks.

The Old Testament was about the law, the 10% and more. The New Testament is about the grace, by which we give and be added upon so that even more can be given.

Luke 12:33
Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

pearlie
Photo © 2007 John Marcotte

Bookamania #I have lost count

I shall have to finish the books I have bought recently before I go get any another. That will be exactly 12 books counting from October 2007, not including those in softcopy. In what ways possible, I have to drill that into my thick brain before I go spend more money on books I have no time to read. Too late ...


Charts of Apologetics and Christian Evidences by Dr. H. Wayne House, Joseph M. Holden (Zondervan, 2006)
This is one of those books you'll never get had you not picked up one of the same kind and then saw another one you think is much better. I got this one in place of the Holman Quicksource Guide to Christian Apologetics. While the guide book is colourful and full of photos and images, I felt that this chart resource might be more useful with salient information arranged in charts for easy reference. It summarises the related topics very well. The charts allows you to view it all in one page, in one glance.


Hear, My Son, Teaching and Learning in Proverbs 1-9 (New Studies in Biblical Theology) by Daniel J. Estes (IVP/Apollos, 2003)
I feel that I am not as exposed to the Old Testament as I am in the New and this one appeals to me. I like teaching, I like learning and I have a son to be responsible for to impart to him the Word of God. I am looking forward to reading this book. Hope it's good.


Original Sin, Illuminating the Riddle (New Studies in Biblical Theology) by Henri Blocher (IVP/Apollos, 2003)
A book that would be really useful had I got hold of it couple of months ago when I was tackling a paper. Nevertheless, I was still drawn to it when I saw it on the shelf. I do need some illumination on the riddle.


The Cross from a Distance, Atonement in Mark's Gospel (New Studies in Biblical Theology) by Peter Bolt (IVP/Apollos, 2004)
I did not want to get this when I was doing my paper on Mark because I was not tackling the subject of the cross. However, now that I am taking on the bible study classes with the youth in church, this has become a need-to-read book.


The Complete Polysyllabic Spree, The Diary of an Occasionally Exasperated but Ever Hopeful Reader by Nick Hornby (Penguin, 2007)
I have been looking for a book on books or on reading. I could not find The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop recommended by Alex Tang. I saw this instead. I first noticed its cover. The books, albeit just sketches, attracted me. I scanned read the first few pages and found it promising. Polysyllabic spree - there is a nice ring to this phrase. I would not however, be able to keep up with the author's rate of reading. He may call himself an "occasionally exasperated but ever hopeful reader" but for the purpose of this book-diary which spans from September 2003 to June 2006, he bought 3 to 9 or more books a month and read 3 to 8, not necessarily the same ones. It promises to be a really good read and I am looking forward to it - it will be my bedtime reading for the next few days or weeks.

"I would never attempt to dissuade anyone from reading a book. But please, if you're reading a book that's killing you, put it down and read something else, just as you would reach for the remote if you weren't enjoying a TV programme. Your failure to enjoy a highly rated novel doesn't mean you're dim ... All I know is that you can get very little from a book that is making you weep with the effort of reading it, and you'll learn nothing from it ... " (Hornby, p.6)

True, but shucks, I spent RM49.90 on it.

pearlie

The Man Rules?

I was at Milly's blog and read Journeyman's "The Man Rules". Those I have highlighted in bold I already knew - SH and I have been married 13 years. Those I italicised I disagree! The rest? Hmmm ...

These are our rules!
Please note.. these are all numbered "1" ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Sunday sports It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one: Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.
1. If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one
1. You can either ask us to do something, or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," We will act like nothing's wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don't want an answer to, Expect an answer you don't want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine... Really .
1. Don't ask us what we're thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as football or rugby.
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
1. Thank you for reading this.Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; But did you know men really don't mind that? It's like camping.

pearlie

At my fingertips!

Being several hundreds of kilometers away from home, in Melaka, I could not bring with me that many books - all I have now is my little ESV hardback bible, Francis Moloney's Mark: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist, and DA Carson's For the Love of God, Vol 1. There is only so much you can do with those 3 books.

I need to prepare for the bible study lesson this Friday evening on the topic of discipleship. I used BibleWorks7, did a word search on it and decided to use 2 Timothy 3:10-17. I used Libronix's Word Biblical Commentary: Pastoral Epistles by William D. Mounce and read up on its background, form, structure and comments.

Before I decided on getting the Word Biblical Commentary on CD-Rom, a good friend and coursemate of mine kept insisting that they just have to be in hardcopy book form. I agreed with him. But the idea of having all 58 volumes of commentaries in my notebook just sound too good to be true. I literally will have them all at my fingertips. I like the idea of carrying 58 huge tomes of commentaries everywhere I go with my computer.

Now that I am actually using them few hundreds kilometers away from home, I am one happy girl.

Of all the books in the bible not covered by this 58-volume series are Judges, Job 21ff, Acts and 1 Corinthians. On the NT commentaries covered in the series, DA Carson's take on them are listed below. Please take note that these are just excerpts: for the full survey, please refer to Carson's New Testament Commentary Survey, (Nottingham: Baker, 2007).

Matthew by Donald A. Hagner (2 vols) - cautious and understated on many points

Mark 1–8:26 by Robert A. Guelich - extraordinarily detailed

Mark 8:27–16:20 by Craig A. Evans - stronger on technical issues than on theology

Luke by John Nolland (3 vols) - Carson prefers Bock, Fitzmyer and Green

John (2nd Edition) by George R. Beasley-Murray - thin on the first 2/3 of the gospel, very rich on the passion narrative

Romans by James D. G. Dunn - more up-to-date bibliography and worthy of diligent study

2 Corinthians by Ralph P. Martin - has mastery of secondary literature, clarity of writing but speculative on many junctures

Galatians by Richard N. Longenecker - a substantial improvement over its predecessor in the series

Ephesians by Andrew T. Lincoln - excellent on many points, but on grounds of non-Pauline authorship

Philippians (Revised) by Gerald F. Hawthorne - accessible to students and pastors who have not kept up their Greek

Colossians, Philemon by Peter T. O'Brien - the best

1 & 2 Thessalonians by F. F. Bruce - accessible, thorough, detailed, valuable introductory remarks

Pastoral Epistles by William D. Mounce - more conservative than Marshall but not quite as penetrating

Hebrews by William L. Lane (2 vols) - good mix of technical comment and thoughtful theology

James by Ralph P. Martin - masterpiece of condensed writing, admirable summary of current status of scholarship on James, but some judgements requires some qualification

1 Peter by J. Ramsey Michaels - scarcely less important

Jude, 2 Peter by Richard J. Bauckham - the best

1, 2, 3 John by Stephen S. Smalley - good bibliography, good summarising and interacting with the positions of others

Revelation by David E. Aune (3 vols) - superb handling of Greek text at the level of grammar, prose accessible, arguments often elegant but not as good as Beale

pearlie
Source: D.A. Carson, New Testament Commentary Survey, (Nottingham: Baker, 2007)

Sweet sound of silence


I am enjoying facilitating the training session this round. I am surprised myself. The venue is excellent and conducive, the food is great by hotel and conference standard, the rooms are exceptionally comfortable and most of all, the trainees this time are a good group. Compared to previous sessions in the past few years, there is more synergy, more teamwork and there is this nicest sound to the ear, much, much more laughter.

While on a business trip, if I have the room all to myself, I have this thing about not switching on the television. I suppose after all the noise and chatter and talking and discussion, I want to enjoy the sweet sound of silence. I would have a nice hot shower, make a good cup of coffee, then another good cup of coffee, read a book, read the bible and go to sleep.

Now isn't that nice?

pearlie
Photo © 2006 Pearlie Ng

Abraham's Dilemma, God's Providence

It was an extremely long day today. I spent literally all the time I had on facilitating the training session for 20 participants, in giving lectures, facilitating discussions and moderating activities. I did not have much time for anything else. The session for the day started at 10:30am this morning and now at 11:30pm do it get to shut down my brain for the night. (I managed to log into my email and saw some comments posted here – just so you know, I’ve read them and will reply them but much later, when I can breathe again.)

The portion of Scripture for the day was from Genesis 22, on the offering of Isaac. I still have loads of questions concerning this passage but one thing that DA Carson brought up was something that I missed.

Gen 22:12, 14
He said, "Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." … So Abraham called the name of that place, "The LORD will provide"; as it is said to this day, "On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided."

When I read the few verses as laid out above, I never saw the Christological significance of it. While Abraham had not withheld his only son from God and God has not withheld his only Son from us for our salvation. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever would believe in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life. Abraham said the Lord will provide and indeed, He has in the form of His son on the cross.

pearlie

The Walls of Jericho

I am rarely more than 2 days late in my daily postings and so I thought I'd at least put in a short post here. (I will be in Melaka from Monday to facilitate a training for work that will last for 4 days.)

Pastor Chris spoke to us from the famous Jericho walls passage and while he was preaching on the walls that we have in our lives that we need to face, my thoughts fell more on the exegetical issues in this passage. The walls were only mentioned at the beginning and the end of the passage and almost the exact same words in the English translation. What does that tell us?

What I say about the passage is that, whatever it is we face, it is God who works. We only worship and obey.

pearlie

The Grace of Giving

We had a very interesting bible study last night on the subject of tithing and offering. Next to the topic of death, it is a subject rarely talked about in church, lest studied on. I was apprehensive having to lead the group but did my preparatory work as best as I could and went for it, and I must say I learnt a lot.

My reference was Larry Richards' New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), p.307-310.

We explored 3 questions:
1. Why should we give?
2. How much should we give?
3. What are the benefits of giving?

Answering the first and third question was rather straight forward. Why should we give? We give because we have the responsibility to share God's grace with others. It is our duty. We give because God's love compels us; because we love the Lord. We give because it benefits the body of Christ that we are a part of. We give so that the needs of the less fortunate are met and so there could be some level of equality in our midst. Paul in 2 Cor 8:13-15 says, "our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality. "

A more intense discussion ensued when we talk about how much should we give ... obviously. Are Christians required to give a tenth of all income to the local church? On top of that, a tenth of what - gross? net? How are believers to gauge how much to give?

To answer the questions, Richards has an excellent section on giving, where "both the OT and the NT help us resolve the confusion many feel about giving". I summarise him in the following:

Old Testament - Tithes
In the Old Testament, at first glance the concept of tithing seems simple. Ten percent of everything the land produced was to be set aside, to be used as God commanded to maintain the Levites, who were set apart to serve God, not being given a district when Israel possessed the Promised Land.

Lev 27:30-33
A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. If a man redeems any of his tithe, he must add a fifth of the value to it. The entire tithe of the herd and flock--every tenth animal that passes under the shepherd's rod--will be holy to the LORD. He must not pick out the good from the bad or make any substitution.

But most are not aware of another tithe, to be collected every third year for local distribution to the needy (Dt 14:27-29 and 26:12-15). It is likely therefore, that there were at least two tithes according to the Old Testament: the annual ten percent taken for the support of those who served the Lord, and the third-year tithe taken to sustain the widow and orphan.

Old Testament - Freewill offerings
Are we also aware that the OT reports giving that goes beyond the tithe, as expressed in the nedabah, or voluntary contribution. It is a giving that flows spontaneously, expressing devotion to the Lord, not a gift given out of a sense of duty, nor to win promised blessings. The voluntary contributions are most often associated with the construction of the tabernacle (Ex 36) or the temple (2 Ch 35; Ezr 1:4). Ps 119:108 speaks of prayer as a voluntary offering, and God is praised for his own generous voluntary offerings to man (Ps 68:9), even when his people have not been faithful to their covenant commitments (Hos 14:4).

The Context of Giving in the Old Testament
To understand giving as practiced in OT times, we need to be aware of the distinctives that the law established in that society. Giving had a unique purpose within that system. It supported those set aside to lead in worship. And it was one of several different social mechanisms designed to meet society's obligation to the poor and oppressed.

The Social Context in the New Testament
There are many obvious differences between OT and NT faith communities:



With such differences, the NT faith communities did not transfer the tithe in their era. There were no instruction in Acts or in the Epistles suggests that tithing is to be practiced by Christians. Instead, a new set of principles that reflect new theological and social realities is introduced

Richards gave an excellent piece on principles of cheerful giving:

"The NT presents the idea of systematic giving. Paul exhorts one church to give by setting aside weekly "a sum of money in keeping with . . . income" (1 Co 16:2). But how is that sum of money to be determined? Instead of suggesting the tithe as a measure, Paul (2 Cor 8 and 9) provides several principles for our guidance:

a. Giving is an expression of love. It is to be prompted by an inner concern for others that cannot be commanded but must be a free and spontaneous act (8:8).

b. Giving is to be a balanced response, measuring what a person has against the current needs of others (8:12-15).

c. Giving is an act of faith. It shows trust in God, who is "able to make all grace abound to you" (9:8). As we give generously, God will supply our needs and enable us to "be generous on every occasion" (9:11).

d. Giving has many benefits. It meets the needs of our brothers and sisters and stimulates praise to the Lord. It also stimulates prayer both for the giver and the receiver (9:11-14).

e. Giving follows the example of Jesus. "Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich" (8:9). Giving is an appropriate way to express our appreciation to God for his own indescribable gift (9:15).

These NT principles for cheerful giving call for serious consideration. We must measure our attitude toward material things, measure our own needs, and measure the needs of our brothers and sisters. In the process, we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Through this process that calls for the most responsible of behavior, we must each come to our own conclusion about how--and how much--God is leading us to give."

And he concludes:

"The OT pattern of giving was an integral part of the social system that was established in the Mosaic Law. It provided for the specific needs of persons within the nation Israel--needs for a central worship center, for a large company of persons set aside for religious service, and for the poor who were not fully cared for by other social mechanisms.

The early NT church existed in a different social context, and thus the principles regarding giving were suited to the new setting and new theological realities. Churches were responsible for the support of those set aside for full-time ministry and for those whose families could not meet basic needs. There were no buildings to maintain, as Christians simply met in house-churches. But collections were taken to aid fellow believers made destitute by natural disasters or economic conditions in other parts of the world. No set amount was required for giving, but individuals were taught to be aware of principles that should guide their giving and to be sensitive to others with needs.

Conditions are different today, as the church exists in institutionalized form and as all citizens are called on to contribute to the needs of the poor through government taxes. Yet the basic NT principles of giving must still be applied, for each person is responsible to use material possessions in ways that honor God. Today too we must remain sensitive to others and commit ourselves to giving generously for those needs we believe are closest to God's heart."

pearlie

Source: Larry Richards, New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991)

Zeitgeist #1

Some interesting stuff I came across today in my blogroll:

A New Meaning of Spyware
by Kansas Bob
Microsoft is developing Big Brother-style software capable of remotely monitoring a worker’s productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.

free pdf essays from lhbots
by anthony
T & T Clark (the publishers) has a blog and for this entry below, they are offering 8free pdf files of essays from a festschrift on philip davies (OT scholar at Sheffield). download them to read because we can never afford the price of this book! (amazon.com lists the price as a whopping 70 pounds!) keep an eye of their blog for future offerings.

Kairos Public Forum: Religious Liberty Under Threat
by Kar Yong
In light of recent events in the country, the public forum organised by Kairos Research Centre is timely and pertinent. Come and be informed ... Malaysian citizens – Malaysian Christians in particular – should be greatly disturbed by recent events that give alarming evidence of the erosion of religious liberty in the country.

Language, Power and the Malaysian Christian
by BK
... During my brief time struggling with the arcane subject of postcolonial studies at university, I was for the first time really asked to consider what it meant for me, a Malaysian Chinese, to speak, write, and think in English.

A Hot Cup of 1,3,7, Trimethylxanthine
by Alex Tang
... I suspect that there is a connection between the development of books and the widespread consumption of coffee.

I also found something interesting in Google:

GTrends
You can apparently compare the world's interest in any topics. Enter up to five topics and see how often they've been searched on Google over time, appeared in Google News stories, and in which geographic regions people have searched for them most.

pearlie

What is an ISBN?


I feel a bit silly because I just realised I did not know what ISBN stands for - though I have been using it often. Now I do, and more. I learnt why aNobii.com can indicate if an ISBN entered is valid. I found out about modular arithmetics.

pearlie

Let Him Lead

This is going to be
A difficult one to write
Still sorting out my thoughts
What’s disturbing me tonight

There are many things
I will never understand
I’ll never will, but still
They get the upper hand

I need to shake it off
Just give it all a rest
Back it comes to haunt me
This must be a test

It is not important
Trying to convince
My mind, my will, my intellect
They deserted me long since

My heart instead the culprit
Would not be comforted
It rages on with disapproval
My thoughts now a riot

I must come to understand
It is not I but God
No one else that matters
None other but my Lord

So don’t be downcast O my soul
He is the one you need
Other things are all futile
Release and let him lead

All rights reserved © 2008 Pearlie Ng

Consecration

It was quite an adventurous day today. To start with, Sunday service was longer than usual for the second week in a row - something to do with the new year and the change of the order of service? The sermon had been brought forward from the end of the service to the middle. It is done to accomodate the need for Pastor Chris to make his way to Grace Methodist in Cheras. He is pastoring two churches this year.

His sermon for the day is taken from Joshua 3:1-17. I am usually captured by passages from the Old Testament because I don't study them enough and thus I am not very familiar with them. This passage is about bringing the people of Israel to cross over the Jordan River. God is also establishing Joshua's position in the sight of the Israelites that Joshua is indeed chosen by God and will lead them as Moses did. God really takes care of everything from every angle.

Pastor emphasised on 3:5, Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you."

We too need to consecrate ourselves before the Lord and allow him to use us. Like Joshua, we need to hear and listen to God. We must then obey. It only when we are clean and set apart for him, are we able to hear, and when we hear, we must have faith. We then must obey and we will see God work.

However, I was also thinking about the act of consecration:

  • What is consecration?
  • Who does the consecration?
  • How are we consecrated?
  • How does consecration relate to justification and sanctification?
  • Who needs to be consecrated in the Old Testament?
  • Are there consecration performed in the New Testament?

This is a big topic. A bit too big for me to delve in now, not in just one night. The requirement for consecration or holiness is seen throughout the Old Testament, where the people of God is expected to ritually consecrate themselves in the presence of God. It is serious business. In Josh 3:5, "it is purification for battle, in accord with the law of Deut 23:15. When God leads his people into the land of the enemy, her camp must be purified." (Butler, 46)

In the New Testament, holiness is definitely still a requirement in God's presence. This requirement is however fulfilled in Christ our Lord, on the cross. We are justified by faith to be holy and presentable before God.

Romans 5:1-2
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

Romans 5:8-10
8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

But having being justified through Christ, even though we can now approach God with confidence because of Christ, there is still our part to play, that is to work out our salvation with fear and trembling: the process of sanctification. We need to be sanctified by the truth, the Word of God is truth, and through the Spirit of God.

The New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words summarises it very clearly:

The idea of holiness in both Testaments is one of consecration to God. In the OT, holiness involves keeping both cultic (ritual) and moral commandments. Places and things and even persons were set aside as sacred, to have no contact with the common or ordinary. But the OT consistently reminds us that the key to understanding holiness is found in the character of God. Holiness is expressed in his power and his own moral character. So true holiness in his people will necessarily have a strong moral component.

In the NT the cult of the OT is set aside. The emphasis in NT teaching about holiness is squarely on the moral. There is another shift in emphasis as well. The OT maintained strict separation between the holy and the profane. In the NT, holiness is true goodness woven through the lifestyle of the believer and expressed in every daily activity and in every relationship.

In the OT, God's people consecrated persons, places, and things solely for God's use. In the NT, God's Spirit himself acts in salvation to set us apart to God. In addition, the Holy Spirit continues to act in our lives to infuse us with Christ's own likeness and to enable us by his power to express Christlikeness in our daily lives. It is here that we find the true holiness of the NT: joyous commitment to God and to the truly good, expressed in everything we say and do. (Richards, 341)

I was also to start the youth on bible study today. I had prepared introductory materials on the bible, its character, formal structure and divine inspiration. I was initially told that the number of people I will be teaching will be in the 20s. However, I got more than I bargained for - the Trinity Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Malaysia, which is the "English-speaking conference" of the Methodist Church in Malaysia, has its youth discipleship camp for youth called the Jeremiah School attending our church service today and most of them stayed back for youth fellowship. With more than 40 people, I had to improvise. Nevertheless, it was a good time of learning.

I thank God for his leading and guidance - I never could have done it without God's grace and loving kindness, and I thank God for allowing me to serve him this way.

Soli deo gloria.

pearlie

Source:
Trent C. Butler, vol. 7, Word Biblical Commentary : Joshua, Word Biblical Commentary, (Dallas: Word, 2002): 46.
Lawrence O. Richards, New International Encyclopedia of Bible Words, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, 1991): 341.

Short of cleaning up

I had a full day today. I visited the family doctor to replenish my medications, I went to the post-office to pick up a letter that was undelivered because I was not home, I prepared for the youth's bible study that I am going to start tomorrow, I went to the bookstore to get some stationery supplies and a few books, watched some television, exercised on the stationary bike for 20 minutes and downloaded some mp3s. If I can also do some cleaning, and a little more reading on the youth bible study, the day would be almost perfect.

Melissa referred me to an excellent blog called Faith by Hearing that posts links to audio preaching and teaching. So far I have downloaded mp3s of Wayne Grudem, DA Carson, John Piper and I am looking forward to listen to this: "How to Listen to a Bad Sermon?" by Dr Ligon Duncan. The link at Faith by Hearing does not seem to work. Try getting it here. Since the only time I do get to listen to anything is when I am driving, I will be converting the mp3s into wave files and burn them into CDs. I also found this collection of audios from D.A. Carson, my favourite preacher and scholar. There is just so much resources at our fingertips now.

I don't watch television much but I found myself scanning the channels for something to watch. I landed on Discovery Home and Health's Downsize Me. It featured an 18 year old boy who eats so much carbohydrates in a day that he weighed 130kg. The programme was about how they got him to eat healthy and to exercise. After 6 weeks, he lost 12kg. While watching the show, I felt so guilty that I have been sedentary most of the time that I got onto the stationary bike and started on it. I would have to make myself do that everyday. That will require a whole lot of will power.


Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive by Jared Diamond
At the bookstore, I spotted this by Jared Diamond. SH had enjoyed his previous book, Guns, Germs and Steel tremendously and I think he will like this too. I was right.


Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
I wanted to try Terry Pratchett and his popular Discworld series. There were only a couple of titles available in the store. I chose this one, but after reading the first few pages, I have problems following the story. Looks like I need to read up some background data before getting back to it.


As for Calvin, I wanted him to improve his Malay Language and it seems one good way is to get him to read books in Malay. I am starting small, by getting him Malay comics. He now loves this series on Doraemon.

The day is about to come to a close but there is still much to do. I thank the Lord for the gift of this day. His goodness and blessings is beyond what I had expected. All praise and honour be to the Lord, God Almighty!

pearlie

Growing Toward Maturity


I have been missing Bible Study on Fridays for too long - what with all the Grace Notes rehearsals for Christmas, and the wedding of Chee Keat and Lee Mei - I called in to find out which lesson we are at so I could read up a bit before class but instead, Pastor Chris asked me to lead the study! Oh dear, I panicked a bit.

I had grumbled before about the bible study materials and this time it there was no exception. After reading up and preparing the study in the couple of hours I had, I sent Pastor a message to pre-warn him that I will be changing the setup of the study but sticking on to the passages and the topic of study: "Growing Toward Maturity".

Among the passages given by the study materials include:

Rather than strictly following the study material, I chose to just look at the verses alone and asking questions to encourage discussion and to probe the gist and the heart of the message, while focussing on the basis of our growth in God, God's expectations from us and His ultimate purpose for our lives.

The discussion was good, almost everybody participated. We talked about why do we need to grow at all, what do we need to do, what is the mark of a matured Christian and much more.

Pastor referred us to an excellent passage, which I don't seem to have encountered before (even though I have read the entire bible once!).

2 Peter 1:5-7
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

What a wonderful way to define and line up our growth toward maturity. The root of it all is faith, which produces goodness, then knowledge, then self-control, that will help us to persevere, leading us to godliness, brotherly kindness and the ultimate goal of it all godly love.

I drew the session to a close by asking:
What, in one sentence, is God's purpose for humankind?

What do you think? As for me, I find the answer in Isaiah 43:7, a memory verse of my younger days that I can still recite: "Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Our lives after all belong to him - that is first and foremost.

Whoever we are
Whatever we do
Wherever we are
However we live
We are created for His glory
So let us live
Aright

pearlie
Photo © 2008 Benjamin Earwicker

Pearlie's Top Ten

It would be too obvious to state that the internet keeps coming up with really good stuff. Or should I say that clever people keep coming up with clever stuff in the internet! I have been exploring much over time and these few I really can't do without. They are listed with no order of listing. They are all to me no.1 in their own right anyway.

1. Blogs
It goes without saying that Blogger is the best in terms of usability. But when it comes to looks and having the option to host different pages other than just one for posts, I'd say WordPress.com beats 'em all hands down. However, until and unless you become a paying customer, you really can't do anything at all to customise your blog. If Blogger would offer the page-option, it would be an all-round winner. When it comes to reading and keeping up with your blogger-world, Google Reader is really helpful. Gone are the days when I had to click and open up twenty over windows on my screen to see if there are any updates. Google Reader is now my blog inbox - not only I see everything in one window, I get to see who has or has not yet posted.

2. Words
I am always in search for words and meaning of words, which is why I find life easier with Dictionary.com. It comes complete with dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia. But what if I can't remember the word? I go to OneLook Reverse Dictionary. And when I need to know what a phrase mean, I check out The Phrase Finder. While there aren't any very comprehensive Malay dictionary out there, I find Kamus Online useful.

3. Books
For bibliophiles, you may already have an account in LibraryThing. But since it comes with a 200 titles limit or a fee, do check out aNobii. For a site that takes its name from Anobium Punctatum, the proper name for bookworms, it has to be good! It has most of the good features in LibraryThing. At present, it boasts more than 3.4 millions books and counting. When I started with my shelf mid of last year, I think it had only 200,000 books. (I have just encountered bookcrossing.com. It took me awhile to figure out what it is! Let me know how long it took you.)

4. Images
For the shutterbugs, stock.xchng is the place to be. Being an alternative for expensive stock photography, it is a place to get good quality images. It is a friendly community of photography addicts who generously offer their works to the public free of charge. Be mindful however, of its Terms of Use and Image License Agreement. The other one to look out for is of course flickr, but it depends what you are looking for as they serve different purposes.

5. Emails
I know we all would be so used to the email providers we have been using but if you are among the few who have not tried Gmail, you should. One of its best features, which I rave about is the organisation of emails threads into conversations. As long as the emails exchanged are under the same subject title, they are grouped into one in your Inbox. Now, you tell me that ain't neat.

6. Food
If you need any recipes, you must check out Allrecipes.com. It holds more than 40,000 recipes and the beauty of it is that it all consists of recipes that are created, tested, reviewed and approved by home cooks worldwide. And if you do not have the ingredient required and hope you have something that can act as a substitute without having to run to the store, The Cook's Thesaurus is the place to be.

7. Theology
ATLA Serials was and still is my life-and-blood line when it comes to my biblical and theological assignments and projects. It a pay-to-use-site though. The other place I check out once in awhile is The Text This Week. It lists out the available materials, links and resources for the week's lectionary, Scripture study and worship.

8. Work
Help is only a click away, though it does take more than that. MrExcel.com is where you find an excellent and friendly group of people who help each other in tackling the MS Excel application and they take the other MS applications on the side as well. When I run into dead ends using these applications at work, these nice folks are just a several hours, if not minutes, to answering my queries and requests. God bless them!

9. Fun
Facebook is where I go when I have time to spare so I can keep up with trivialities and play a game or two. Come on, no one is serious or expect to be serious in Facebook. Not when you can throw a cow at someone! Calvin on the other hand has a long list of game sites where I try to cut down the time he spends on them! I sneak in there once in a blue moon though: Club Penguin, Miniclip and Nitrome. A more educational one is Scratch - it is designed to help young people, age 8 and up, develop 21st century learning skills, particularly mathematical, computational ideas, and the process of design. And no, I did not forget YouTube.

10. Google
Google, the staple of internet life. What more can I say?

Do you have anything else good to recommend?

pearlie

Much ado about sleep


School for Calvin started on Monday and I am still adjusting to the new routine. We wake up at about 6am (I am a snoozer) and try to get out of the house latest by 6.45am to avoid the morning traffic gridlock at one of the worst areas in town - the Sunway LDP Toll. To save time and to avoid the traffic-jam, we have our breakfast out.

I am still working out the time Calvin and I need to get to sleep so that we can wake up at 6am fresh and ready to go. I thought Calvin would need 9 hours but a collegue had the opinion that for a 10-year old boy, he need only 7. I am not sure 7 is enough, so I am making sure he gets to sleep by 10 to get at least 8 hours of sleep. The thing is that there is just too much to do and to get ready to sleep earlier than 10.

As for me, I have been sleep very little when Calvin was on school holiday. I would sleep around 2am and wake up about 7-ish in the weekdays - getting about 5 hours of sleep each night. On Saturdays, I would sleep about the same time and wake up as late as 9 or 10. That will be about 7 to 8 hours.

During this past few days however, in order to get enough sleep so to speak, I have been getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night. What happened? I felt like a zombie in the office.

This brought me to ask - how much sleep do I really need?

Another colleague of mine said that it could be because it takes about a week to adjust the time of sleep. While that may be true, I think I may be sleeping too much. I wonder if it will be good if I sleep from 1 to 6am in the weekdays and then sleep all I want in the weekdays.

I found this helpful article: How Much Sleep Do You Really Need? A few interesting points:
  • Individual needs vary greatly. There are so-called short-sleepers and long-sleepers -- those who need as little as five and a half hours to as much as about nine and a half hours.
  • How much sleep you require depends on several factors including your inherited genetic need, sleep hygiene (those daily activities you control, from drinking coffee or alcohol to smoking and exercise), quality of sleep and your 24-hour daily cycle known as the circadian rhythm.
  • The age-old recommendation that we need a solid eight hours of sleep was obtained in a classic study based on the sleeping patterns of an individual in a controlled environment.
  • To find out how much sleep you need and if you have a sleep debt - do this simple test: Starting on a Sunday, do not drink alcohol or caffeine; go to sleep about the same time every night; and get an uninterrupted seven to eight hours of sleep for the next six nights. Then, on Saturday morning, sleep in. See how long your body will let you sleep. If you sleep longer than you did during the week -- then you have a sleep debt. So you should consider getting more sleep each night to replenish that sleep debt.
We'll see.

pearlie
Photo © 2007 Maxim Kourov

An organised mess

Kar Yong had been pretty quiet but he is back and thanks to him, I am in the midst of downloading Dr. Craig Blomberg's lectures on the New Testament, though I am wondering when I will ever get to hear them.

I am so busy I am almost drowning. With the opening of the year, Calvin is now in Primary 4 requiring more guidance in his homework, I am halfway through a project at work and about to start a new one, there are so many tests and requirements to fulfil at work at the start of a new year, I am trying to read countless number of articles on Logos and Christology (not to mention the books I have not touched) for my assignment, I will need to work on getting prepared for a training session happening 2 weeks from now, and on top of it, I have just accepted the request to lead the youth in my church in bible study starting this Sunday (but then again, I am the one who offered myself in the first place). Take deep breaths ...

In the midst of all these however, I hope to return to a more disciplined prayer life and daily bible reading, which I am doing with Calvin so that I get to read to him too.

Talking about prayer, something that is always a mystery to me, Chee Keat once asked me what I thought about praying aloud in church. He told me that he finds it hard and I had to agree with him. I find it just as hard as well. During prayer this past Sunday, we were requested to pray aloud. I did (though not too loud) but the moment I heard my neighbour uttering away aloud, my concentration was disrupted. I heard what she was praying about and I just can't continue praying myself. I tried not think about what she prayed but thought about it I did. So I stopped trying whatever I was trying and let the others pray instead.

Just how do they do it?

pearlie

A Prayer for Transformation

I pursue you, Jesus, so that I may be caught by you.
I press in so that I may know your heart.
I stay close so that I may be like you.
...Loving Lord, grant me:
......purity of heart,
.........humility of soul,
............integrity of life,
...............charity for all.
...........................Amen.

Richard Foster, Prayers from the Heart, (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1994), 36.

pearlie

You will find Him


It was an amazing New Year service today.

Pastor Chris’ sermon was simple: he reiterated the importance of being in the presence of God via Joshua 1:1-18. Nevertheless, the Spirit was moving strongly in our midst. The sermon may be simple but the message of the Lord was firm – He wants us to live our lives from the center of his presence.

Many people had responded to the calling of God to receive him and renew their lives in Christ. There was joy in our midst, there was love and there was trust as we opened up our lives to the church. A brother came up during testimony time and testified to the goodness of God, how he and his family had gone through the rock bottom and yet God is good, protected them and upheld them. In God’s perfect timing, when he gave up his dreams and stopped searching for fulfillment in his life: that is when God said, “you can only be found in Me, not in your dreams or in your hopes but in Mine. You will only be fulfilled in Me.”

Praise be to the Lord and glory be to His name!

The LORD will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you.
2 Chronicles 15:2 (NLT)

Let it be in our daily prayers that by the end of 2008, we have stayed with Him, we have sought Him, we have dreamt His dreams and we have been fulfilled in Him.

pearlie
Photo © 2008 Saeed Bin Rouf

Daily with M'Cheyne

I dare not come up with any New Year resolutions but there are a few things I hope to pick up this year. One of my 2008 goals is to read the bible everyday using the M'Cheyne schedule. I hope to complete reading the bible, the NT and Psalms twice through and the rest once, within these 2 years. I make it a point to read the bible with Calvin every night, using the New Living Translation (Tyndale, 1996), a version which gives me quite a fresh insight into the readings as well. Many a times, it's like I've never seen it this way before.

Since the start of the year, we have read until Genesis 4 and Matthew 4. Robert Murray M'Cheyne's reading schedule is quite unique. His arrangement of passages draws you to meditate on the richness of God's revelation. Over these 4 days, Calvin and I have been reading the creation (Gen 1) with the promise of the birth of the Messiah (Matt 1), the creation of man and woman (Gen 2) with God leading the movement of one man and one woman (Matt 2), the fall of man (Gen 3) with the warning hailed by John the Baptist and the presentation of Jesus during his baptism (Matt 3), murder and more murder (Gen 4) with the 3 temptations Jesus faced (Matt 4). It is quite amazing when we tie the OT and NT together: which they are anyway - both amazing and tied together.

pearlie
The online M'Cheyne interactive schedule is found here and the RSS feed link here.

Myth?

I "met" Tim last year when I was looking for commentaries on Galatians and sent him an email from LibraryThing.com. We sort of "met" again today and started discussing about church planting. He and his wife is planting a church in Clarksville, Tennessee. Check it out here.

He asked me if I have read anything before about how the Gospel functions as a myth or as a symbolic universe. I jumped at the reference of the Gospel as a myth. But before I went berating over it, I had to check the dictionary.

According to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University, 2004), other than it being "a widely held but false belief; a fictitious person or thing; an exaggerated and idealised concept of a person or thing," it also mean "a traditional story concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon and typically involving supernatural beings or events." Now, what a stark difference between the two possible meanings! One an absolutely false belief while the other is actually history.

If we take a look at Dictionary.com:
  • Random House Unabridged Dictionary (Random House, Inc. 2006) gives only the first meaning, i.e. false belief
  • American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) gives a wider definition, which I can't quite differentiate between false or history
  • Online Etymology Dictionary (Douglas Harper, 2001) states that the general sense of "untrue story, rumour" began as early as 1840
  • WordNet 3.0 (Princeton University, 2006) has it as "a traditional story accepted as history; serves to explain the world view of a people"
This is new to me. I have always taken it along the line of false belief. With such a difference in the array of definitions, when do you take it as a false story and when do you take it as a traditional story accepted as history? It is significant when we use it to talk about the Gospel.

pearlie

On Logos and on signs

I have decided on the 2 assignments for John, one on the background and meaning of Logos and how it contributes to the Johannine Christology and the second one on a short exegesis of John 4:43-54. The 2 passages, including John's prologue have been filling my mind for the past few weeks amidst the busyness of the year end.

A few questions on the John 4 passage:

  • Upon hearing that Jesus is near, a royal official rushed to him hoping to take him back to his home to heal his dying son. But Jesus told him, "Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, you will never believe" (4:48). Why? It is obvious that the man did not want to see any signs and wonders for the sake of the signs and wonders but only that his son will be healed, which will be his only reason for rushing over. So, why did Jesus say what he said?
  • There are three usages of the word believe. The first two before the miracle and the third after the miracle, when he found out what Jesus had accomplished. What are the differences between the usages?
  • John highlighted that this was the second sign, the first being the miracle at a wedding in Cana, after which he does not number them anymore. What are the significance of these 2 numbered signs?
On the prologue, I did not have the time to mull over it much and the question I have is concerning the assignment question itself, i.e. what does it mean by the contribution of Logos to John's Christology?

Anyway, my Christmas present to myself just arrived this morning - the Word Biblical Commentary on CD-Rom. I had felt quite anguished about it because Noel's copy arrived 2 weeks ago. I wonder why the vast difference in time of delivery when we aren't really that far apart in location. It will be an adventure to carry 58 volumes of OT and NT commentaries everywhere I go with my computer! If only my brain is that big.

pearlie

Lessons Learnt 2007

Alex listed out his lessons learnt in 2007. I wanted to follow his lead but after staring at the ceiling for awhile, I still can't quite come up with anything. No doubt, I have learnt so much but too much to put into a neat 1-2-3 list. I guess my mind isn't so as structured as Alex's.

But what I can do instead it this: since the main purpose of why I blog is to mull and ponder on the most significant event and lesson for the day, I shall highlight lessons learnt by the month.

January 2007
"I will be making some major changes in my life." I've learnt that it is important to just make the change and trust in God to lead the way. He is after all, good, to the full sense of the word.

February 2007
I've learnt that "... if we do not bring our family members, our friends, our churchmates, our neighbour, our colleagues or anyone in our community for frequent conversation, if we do not listen to their hearts, if we do not pay good attention to their needs, they will give up on us."

March 2007
I've learnt that "... our relationship with God and not just God and I, but God and us, God, you and I, we are the body of Christ. If all were a single member, where would the body be? (1 Co 12:19) ... I must not only be concerned about my relationship with God but our relationship with God. When one part of the body is hurting, we all hurt. When one part is faraway from God, we miss his fellowship."

April 2007
I've learnt that "As Jesus called out, 'Father, into your hands I commit my spirit', and breathed his last, may we too remembering what he has done, cry out to our Father God, 'into your hands I commit my spirit' and breathe our last in owning our lives, it is no longer ours but Christ's."

May 2007
I've learnt that "... such is the beauty of the bible. It speaks to us in its different forms - narratives, poetry, history, proverbs, songs, letters. It speaks to us no matter who we are or how old we are, wherever we are. God knows us well and what would work for us."

June 2007
I've learnt that " ... how can you not tell the good news of Christ?"

July 2007
On The Trinity College Choir - "Hearing their almost perfect voices, I even began to think that maybe I shouldn't sing anymore but on the other hand it does encourage me and gave me a feel of where I can be heading. Their vocals are so crisp clear. They sound like one voice. And all that almost effortlessly." I've learnt that I thought I can sing!

August 2007
"Here I was talking about evangelism and here he was, gone and unreached." I've learnt that there is never a bad time to share the good news of Christ.

September 2007
I've learnt that "Theological inquiry is important. Indeed, it is essential for a mature faith, a 'faith which seeks understanding.' But, as every theology student knows, it is deadly when it becomes a preoccupation that replaces active ministry. Even more deadly is that sense of theological correctness that leads to smugness about one's spiritual condition and becomes an excuse for complacency and inactivity. Deadliest of all is that theological controversy which substitutes the search for orthodoxy for service and mission. In all such cases, James—and Jesus—remind us that 'ye shall know them by their fruit.' Faith without works is dead." (Polhill)

October 2007
I've learnt that "it is not about us. It is Christ."

November 2007
"I was in book-heaven." I've learnt that there is never enough books.

December 2007
I've learnt that "God in his creative being designed us so differently. Our characters and behaviours are so different and that is what makes the body of Christ, and yet our judgemental characters shows out the most when the behaviour of others are so different from us. We may argue that their behaviours are wrong behaviours, but that does not justify our behaviour when we approach them in disdain and worse yet, be contemptous behind their backs. I am so guilty of this. God, please forgive and change me."

That's all ... what I have learnt in 2007. God is good. God have mercy on me.

And oh, by the way, with the New Year, I thought it would be nice to change my blogheader picture again and found the perfect one taken by Steve Woods. Thanks Steve!

pearlie