Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year's Resolutions

In all the busyness of the end of year I managed to go to Belgrave Heights Convention this afternoon. In the meeting we were asked these questions today:
  • What resolutions do you carry?
  • How are those resolutions impacting your life?
  • What secret legacy do you hope to leave for future generations?

Amongst many things, one of my major new year's resolutions this year is this:

To be a better person on December 31, 2006, than I am today through prayer, Bible reading, and service to God and people. I feel that the world moves at a faster pace now, but some things should never change.

I think I'll spend some time in the next few days drafting out more new year's resolutions. So what are your resolutions this year?

Friday, December 30, 2005

Loneliness And Solitude

Although I miss my mum very much, I actually quite enjoy being alone at home. I was discussing solitude and loneliness with a friend today. We discussed that while there is some similarity between solitude and loneliness, and it is true that the two at times do converge, but the experiences are very different.

The word alone occurs frequently in the Bible, but only in very few cases can it be equated with loneliness. Jesus said, "You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for My Father is with Me" (Jn. 16:32). Loneliness is the result of the absence of personal intimacy or meaningful activity. Solitude is not being in the company of others.

The followings are some differences between loneliness and solitude:
  • Loneliness is a negative experience, while solitude is often positive and renewing.
  • Loneliness brings a feeling of desolation and depression that can be destructive. Solitude can generate a sense of solitariness that is both creative and motivating.
  • Loneliness is involuntary, unwanted. Solitude is voluntary and deliberately chosen.

God said: "It is not good for the man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18). But there are times when the heart craves solitude. Following His claim that isolation was not good for Adam, God created "a helper suitable for him." We were created social beings, capable of loving and having relationships with both God and our fellow men and women. Our full creative purpose can never be realized by itself, only in association with other people.

Being alone involves only physical separation, but being lonely includes both spiritual and psychological isolation. It produces a solitude of heart, the feeling of being cut off from others whom we should like to have as friends. A certain degree of solitude--being alone with one's thoughts--is a normal state. It is essential to the cultivation of the inner life. We all experience times when it becomes essential to have time alone. Without this time, the spiritual life will lack depth and freshness. In such a period of solitude we will find a welcome alternative to the race of busy life.

We need to be alone to discover and confront our real selves. A time of solitude can often lead to invaluable reflection, self-analysis and a fresh outlook on life. That's why I enjoy posting on blog so much, as it provides an opporunity for me to slow down, reflect and have solitude.

What about you?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia Posted by Picasa

Last night I watched the "The Chronicles of Narnia" with some friends. It was a magnificent and well-produced film based on C.S. Lewis' book "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe." C.S. Lewis created a land of magic and wonder called Narnia, and since then many readers (and now many who have seen and will see this movie) have discovered / will discover the wondrous world that exists beyond the back of the wardrobe. It's about the story of four siblings - Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. They find their way through an old wardrobe into the world of Narnia. There, they unite with Aslan ('the Lion King') to fight the White Witch and save Narnia from perpetual darkness.

I really like the film, and can identify with all four children at various times:
  • Peter - is afraid even though he has got what it takes to be the King - an honour given by Aslan.
  • Susan - is cautious, doubtful and boring at times.
  • Edmund - is disobedient, pretentious and proud.
  • Lucy - with child-like faith, shares her spiritual experiences with others, is loving and compassionate.

The symbolic meanings in the book / film touch me a lot: Aslan's sacrificial love, the simple but powerful faith of Lucy, the power of the sword (sword of the Spirit), and the fact that once a king always a king (child of God) etc.

In His books, C.S. Lewis argued that humans long "to see with other eyes, to imagine with other imaginations, to feel with other hearts, as well as with our own." We were made for awe. Unfortunately, the modern privileging of scientific fact as the "only" reliable type of truth often tries to push aside the competing truth claims of intuition and revelation. The longing for transcendence -- the desire of human nature to move beyond that nature into something beyond - will not be denied.

Some of my reflections from this film:

First, audience response suggests that most people want to believe in a world like Narnia -- they just lack the eyes to see the similarities between that world and our own. For example, the thought that someone might love them enough to die for them is the basis of many appealing and timeless romances -- how much better to discover that Someone already actually has.

Second, like Lucy, the believability of our story often rests on our credibility as tellers. We can only tell the story well only if we are passionately committed to it. Not everyone who loves Narnia will want Jesus -- but the connection some people may feel with Narnia may make it easier to introduce Jesus, and the fictional account of Aslan might (paradoxically) make discussions of Christ’s work to save us seem more present and real. Let the book, or the movie, do its work -- drawing people in and making them feel and think. Afterward the opportunity might arise to introduce your own story.

Yes my own story is a personal, gripping tale filled with temptations, evil deeds, a Suffering Savior and Triumphant Lord. It is a story in which I am a participant, fighting my own daily 'battles' while being transformed into the image of Christ. It will someday end with the final victory of good over evil.

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Merry Christmas

Rachel and I in Royal Botanical Garden in Melbourne. Posted by Picasa

Had a wonderful Christmas. My good friend Rachel gave her heart to Jesus on Christmas Day, and that was the best Christmas gift I got. Really there is nothing more joyful than seeing a new life in Christ. And it was a divine appointment that we met at the Open Stage during the he/she/it Fringe Festival season at Melbourne University, where I was one of the crew for he/she/it, while Rachel was a student there. Since then God has drawn us close together. His fingerprints have been on both of our lives. Praise the Lord!

On Christmas night, I enjoyed hosting the Christmas dinner for brothers and sisters in Christ (those whose families are overseas) in my apartment. It was fun to spend time with them eating, chatting, singing and seeing the Christmas lighting show down the road. I had lots of fun and meaningful sharing with them. My cooking was not particularly good, but happy that I was able to serve them. If you want to share our joy, you can have a look at the photos here.

Friday, December 23, 2005

A Strange Way To Save The World

Got this from a colleague of World Team International . It was written as a dramatic reading for the Christmas program at a church this weekend. It's meaningful and thought provoking. Enjoy....

The Christmas story is a parade of paradox: a King born in a stable…royal messengers sent to lowly shepherds…the plan of salvation for all people entrusted to a powerless conquered nation.

It’s not how we would have done it, it’s not the story we would have written. Ordinary people asked to carry out a plan meant to impact the whole world! In fact, most of us would say it was a plan destined to fail, a strange way to save the world! And the parade of paradox marches on.

Let’s pause to consider the creator of this plan. He is an artist. He is the Creator God. Just like any artist He left his own personal imprint, a small reflection of Himself in all that He created. And He took great delight in all that He made.

When this Creator God crafted the earth, He left His creative imprint on all that He made. He weaved an intricate and awe inspiring tapestry of color and culture. When we look at our world – at all peoples present here – we see the imprint of The Artist represented in each people group on earth.

The brilliance and radiance of His created color can be seen in African dress and dance, His profound philosophy and wisdom are pursued by the Chinese, His passion for music, dance and romance we see celebrated in Latin America, Our Creator’s inspired ability toward art and poetry we find embraced in Europe, and His love of freedom and grace we experience here in North America. We all bear the imprint of The Artist….This Creator God . . . the Same One …Who came… to us…the Creator joins the creation . . . as a helpless infant in a stable. And the parade marches on.

When the angels announced the birth of our Creator – they announced it as Good News for “All people.” The prophet Isaiah announced that He would be a “light for the Gentiles, that [He] may bring…salvation to the ends of the earth."

We, His people, have experienced intimacy with this Creator. His plan that none of us would have dreamed could succeed has done just that. The wisdom of God is foolishness to men! He is doing what He said He would! The Creator became part of the creation to live a life that could not be ignored; to share a message that grabs the imagination; to pay a price that is unthinkable. And the parade marches on.

His brilliance. His radiance. His color. His romance. His philosophy. His wisdom. His music. His art. His love. His sacrifice. His IMPRINT on the creation. The brilliant tapestry of His handiwork – the delight of His artistry! He has communicated Himself to us… so that we can communicate Who He is to all people.

For God so loved the world, that He sent His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. He came to save the world. When God touched the earth – he touched ALL people.

That is a parade of paradox. That is a strange way to save the World…using a small baby and ordinary people like me and you. In His cosmic creativity He birthed the message of salvation two thousand years ago that is changing lives and transforming cultures still today. His parade of paradox marches on!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Chalk Circle

Winston Churchill said, "No act of mankind is 'history' until celebrated by artists and writers." I really like this quote.

Today I caught up with my artist friends Beverly and Diana in Southbank again (remember them? refer to Chalk Circle Arts and Pavement Arts in my neighbourhood ) . It was such a lovely day, and we had a drink together in the nearby cafe. As usual, it was fantastic catching up and chatting with them. They are great company, lovely and talented. To my delight, Bev gave me one of her prints as a Christmas gift. That made me a happy chappy hehe. I also spent a couple of hours with them by playing an African instrument (it was from another artist in the area who is Bev's friend) and singing Christmas songs while they were painting. It was fun, and I felt pleased to be able to spend time, befriend and connect with them. It was such a joy and privilege to be part of the chalk circle today.

Lord - You love Bev and Diana so much, and me too =) Please bless them, amen!

Please see below for more of their arts, and go to the CHALK CIRCLE website. They are great! Enjoy.....

Bev and Diana Painting Away In SouthgatePosted by Picasa

Having Fun with Bev on the pavement Posted by Picasa

"The Christmas Present From Bev - The Print" Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Salt Of The Earth

In my previously post Salt, Light and City On The Hill, I wrote that salt conjures up the concept of social action, and being Christ to those in need. I thought more about it these last few days, and God reminded me again that we have a mission, a ministry, a task to perform. As Christians we are not to live for ourselves alone, because the gifts (as Christmas is drawing near, we ought to think of the first and ultimate gift that God gave us - Jesus Christ our Lord) we have received from God are for the sake of others. The gifts and blessings are not only for our personal enjoyment.

As well as giving taste to food, salt is a useful perservative. One way in which we will act as 'salt of the earth' will be by our witness and commitment to all that brings healing, justice and hope, in the midst of so much that is corrupt and decaying. But we can only be salt for a corrupt and decaying world if we really are in the world, engagin it at all levels and in all places.

In much of our contemporary church (probably including my own), the salt seems to be in a jar with the lid screwed on tightly. One of the great challenges facing us is to get the lid off and to let our saltiness be known. Just as the salt that is to be mixed with the world must be truly salty, the disciples who engage the world must reflect, with faithfulness and integrity, the qualities and character of Jesus.

Oh Father God, help me to truly be the salt of the earth, reflecting and embodying the likeness of the Lord, and not just plastic replica. In Jesus Name, amen!

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Life Of Purpose

The quality of a life of purpose is measured not by the number of tasks accomplished, but with whom they were accomplished and the learning and connection that went on in the process.

What do you think of this quote? Do you agree?

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Christmas is a time of bright lights, Christmas trees, decorations, shopping and gifts. A time when people think mainly of things they want. But really, there can be no Christmas without Christ. Below are of some words that represent the Christmas meaning using the acronym CHRISTMAS.

C -Christ
God gave the first Christmas present, and said "you shall call his name Jesus"

H – Heart
Christmas should be a heart affair. God gave from his heart -he gave the best he had - his only Son. We must believe and receive Jesus into our heart. God says "My son, give me your heart" (your whole life). (Proverbs 23:26)

R -Ruler
The Jewish people expected an earthly ruler to come and save them, but Jesus didn't set up a kingdom on this earth to rule over. Instead, He wants to rule in our hearts. One day, when Jesus comes again, He will come as ruler. The Bible says Jesus will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords and that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:10-11) We don't need to wait until then. Let us allow Him to be our ruler right now!

I- Inn
There was no room at the inn for Mary (and Jesus!). I am sure the innkeeper didn't realise who he was turning away. Many today are like that innkeeper. Jesus is knocking at the door of our life. Will you turn Him away, saying there is no room?

S- Star
A star led the wise men to Jesus. Today we have the Holy Spirit to lead us closer to Jesus. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to fill our life so that we will know more about Jesus.

T – Tree
We decorate and hang gifts on trees at Christmas. God hung his gift on a tree - the cross. But many of those looking on didn't admire God’s gift; instead they mocked and laughed at Him. And yet He prayed, "Father, forgive them,for they don't know what they are doing".

M- Manger
Jesus left His home in heaven. What a contrast between the glory of heavenand a manger -an animal's feed box. How Jesus humbled himself and was prepared to give up everything! He didn't come as a master, but as a servant. Those of us who want to follow Him are told, "Let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ... who took upon Him the form of a servant..." (Philipians2:5-9)

A -Angel
The angels came with glad tidings of great joy. They told the shepherds where and how to find Jesus. Today we have this ministry -to share the good news about Jesus, and we must tell people where and how to find Jesus.

S -Saviour
The real reason Jesus came to this earth was to be our Saviour. Explain why Jesus had to die, to take the punishment that we deserve for our sins.

Meanwhile, I know everyone is busy at this time of year, no matter which hemisphere you live in. But I hope you'll also take/make the time for silence, reflection, and rejoicing in the Saviour's birth. I know of so many people who are going through hard times just now--some are life and death situations, others are grieving, anxious, sad or alone. My prayer is that whether this is one of your best or worst Christmases on the outside, nothing will keep it from being one of the most meaningful on the inside. God Bless you as you celebrate this Christmas!

O Come, Let Us Adore Him...and let us truly give our hearts to Jesus in this Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2005

World Team Australia Website

After some training on the Mambo Content Management System, I have finally started on the challenging yet wonderful journey of managing and updating the World Team Australia website. You know I can really sense God's presence as I go around adding information to the site. You are all welcome to read the website (still at its early stage of development) at

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Salt, Light And City On A Hill

A friend and I were chatting, and we talked about the three pictures that Jesus used to capture the main ways Christians ought to live in this world:
  1. SALT: that conjures up the concept of Social Action. As we become a part of the real world and relate to those in need we are salt to those around us. Let us never give up on feeding the poor, visiting the sick and imprisoned, clothing the naked, and providing drink to the thirsty. When we do that, we do it for Christ Himself.
  2. LIGHT: that creates images of causing darkness to flee and truth to be highlighted. As we share the good news of the gospel of Jesus, we are indeed light to the world. You don't have to curse the darkness as a Christian. No. Just shine the light. Darkness disappears of its own accord! Share the truth and love of Christ, and fulfil that great commission!
  3. A CITY ON A HILL: this reminds me of community and the visual impact true discipleship brings to the world. You can not hide loving community between believers who live differently to the rest of the world around us.

I reckon all three are vital to a full expression of our faith. Jesus gave all three images in Matthew 5:13-16. Lord, help us to take on board all three to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world and a city set on a hill.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Participating With God In Mission

I am one of many who always grapple with issues related to mission. I often reflect on how finding key words greatly assists in articulating the subtle, and not so subtle, issues involved in understanding how God might have us engage with the world for His purpose.

Two key words I learned from my lecturer at Bible College are futurum and adventus. Futurum defines how God works out His purposes in and through the everyday events of life. It is mission that occurs through the ordinary and the routine acts people - both local church members and organisational structures. Adventus, however, involves those specific times when God intervenes directly and dramatically (Exodus 3, Isaiah 6 and Acts 2). It is mission that occurs through the extraordinary and unforseen interventions of God.

In our mission activities we must learn to faithfully serve God in the ordinary and routine activities that He has called us to do. But let us also be those who long for, and anticipate, the unexpected in-breaking activity of God. Mission must include both these aspects - God's extraordinary work and the everyday instrumentality of people and their organisations.

So which out of the two do you think is more important in your spiritual life?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Things That Stick With Us

You know, there are certain things that stick with us, the shapes of our eyes, a culture that once was and will never be again, defining an age, our upbringing, background and history, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, windows 98, feminism, the World history, and of course our personal acheivements, life's highs and lows, disappointments and frustrations also stick with us.

Today, I received an invitation from Melbourne Pastors Network to pray every Friday for Jesus to reveal Himself to Muslims in Australia with a focus on their key leaders. The followings are the invite, and I am committed to be involved in this prayer network as I know the impact of this will stick with me for all eternity. I'd like to encourage you to join this if you feel led. Here it is....

Join 1,000,000 Christians every Friday in prayer for:

1. Holy Spirit revelation and blessing to the Muslim community in Australia. That they might sense love and not fear from the Christian community.Especially for the MUSLIM LEADERS who attended the Prime Minister’s Summit in August. (See list: month pray for IKTIMAL HAGE-ALI , who is the Deputy Chair of the NSW Youth Advisory Council. She was appointed to the council by the NSW Government.

2. Compassion and wisdom for Parliamentary leaders in their relationship to the Muslim community and for those who work with them.

3. The protection and strengthening of our Christian heritage .

RACIAL & RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE ACT - GOVERNMENT REVIEWSome church leaders and some other faiths recently met with members of the Dept of Premier and Cabinet and the Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs to hear the government's views on the act. Despite previous appeals against most of the act by churches, the amendments raised by the government were basically to provide stricter penalties. The church representatives were able to present a detailed submission and justification for major changes or a complete removal of religious aspects of the Act.
Please pray for this on-going negotiation which will have great implications for the Church in Victoria.See:

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Word Of GOD For the World Of SPORT

Regardless of whether or not you are a sports fan, it will have been hard to miss the news that Melbourne, Australia is preparing to host the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Over the next few months, thousands of athletes, spectators and visitors will begin pouring into Melbourne in readiness for the 'kick-off' in March.

As a person living in the neighbourhood of all the happenings during the time of Commonwealth Games, I have a very strong burden to reach out to the community with the message of the gospel. I am hoping to be involved in community celebrations when the Queens baton comes through my town, invite people to come and watch the games in my home as a community, pray for the games, for the chaplains and outreach teams, perhaps organise a festival through my own faith community and World Team, or be involved in exisiting activities organised by Quest, Bible Society, Fushion, and other churches in the city. I really want to bless the ground in Melbourne by prayer walks with other intercessors as well.

The Motto for the Games is "United for the moment". It's such a great motto isn't it? I pray that churches, Christian and mission organisations can truly unit together in developing appropriate and sensitive outreach programs and relationship building activities that are in line with the community celebrations and spirit of the games.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Stir Your World

Today I received a letter from Tim Costello (CEO of World Vision Australia) letting me know what they've done with the money I raised for the 40 hour famine back in August. Here it is:
  • help the people of Mozambique and Tanzania with seeds, training in modern farming techniques and access to clean water all year round so families can grow their own food, have a more nutritious diet and be less vulnerable to disease and drought.
  • provide assistance to families living in poor countries that are hurt by emergencies with food and medical supplies and support the Global Rapid Response Team who get to emergencies around the world within 12-24 hours.

Thank you to those of you who sponsored my famine (which I reported previously in my blog here, here and here). Re-reading these past posts made me realise once again how gracious and merciful our dear Lord is =)

To my surprise, I received World Vision's 40 Famine Award - Apple iPod mini music player, which was given to the top 25 money-raisers in Australia. And the interesting thing was, it got to me a day before my birthday. And THAT was the best birthday present! I am VERY's not because I won an award. It's because many kids were helped as a result of the money raised. I'm really humbled by this great experience from God. It's certainly greater to give than to receive.

I encourage you to STIR your world!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

My Inner Journey

I liked (and still do) the feeling of being used by the Lord. I thrive positive feedback. But when I get criticism, even when it is constructive, I find it hard to swallow. I praise the Lord for this brother in Christ's criticisms this week. Even though I was very hurt by them, and I cried over them and my heart almost broke, I was able to come out of the situation and reconciliation knowing more about myself, my weaknesses and mistakes. And I know (and love) the Lord and my friend more as a result of it. Truly I am thankful for that!

I was walking along Southgate. I realized that I was really grateful for my God, my family, friends and for life. I missed and cared for a lot of people, yet at times that could really give people pressure (especially because I tend to be over enthusiastic /zealous about things of God). I mumbled a prayer, "Lord, thank you for accepting me and loving me unconditionally. Thank you for helping me to accept myself too, even my medical condition, my mood swings, my past traumas and failures. Father God, please change me, mould me and make me, to be your servant. You are the potter, and I am the clay. Help me not to be someone who only enjoys positive comments, but someone who welcomes constructive criticisms with open arms. It's my desire to glorify You, serve You, please You and enjoy You! Help me to hear Your voice my Lord."

John Eldredge wrote, "In order to take a man / woman (may I add) into his /her wound, so that he / she can heal it and begin the release of the true self, God will thwart the false self. He will take away all that you've leaned upon to bring you life." He continues, "This is the critical moment in a man's life, when all he has counted on comes crashing down." Eldredge described perfectly what was happening to me.

I give thanks to my Father in Heaven with all my heart. He loves me no matter what, even when He disciplines me! (Hebrews 12:11)

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Acceptance Poem

Life is a roller coaster. One day you think you're coping with life, then you hit a wave and you go down and come up again. The pain is there and you feel it ... and there is no escape, except in Jesus Christ, who is truly my hiding place.

I went through some 'ups and downs' this past week. Ups came from the love, friendship, encouragement, affirmation and gifts that many of my friends and family (locally and globally) gave me for my birthday these past few days. The down side started off by an unexpected email from a long-time-no-see brother in Christ, whom I led to the Lord about three years ago now. His emails outlined criticism and things that he didn't like about my personalities. Seriously, that really got me off guard! After reading his emails a few times, I couldn't help weeping for a while. Mind you I haven't cried for a long time. Then I started worrying about my medical condition. Am I seeing another episode / warning sign coming up again? I am thankful that we were able to reconcile through prayer and conversation through emails. And we forgave each other. That was such a wonderful feeling. Through it all, I praise the Lord for all these encounters. Romans 8:28 always applies =)

I have written a poem in my personal journal regarding my heart's journey. Hope to share it with you all:

I have learnt a lot from the past week.
I have learnt not to be so weak.
I have learnt to be strong and fight.
Fight for the skills to think right.
Nothing can ever be that bad.
It's okay to be sad.
I know that life is precious.
It should be highly cherished.
We should embrace it.
Although sometimes you feel that you hate yourself.
Deep within, you really love yourself.
Even if you reach over that emotional wall.
It still can be hard, no one said it would be easy.
It takes time to heal those wounds even if they make you feel queasy.
Love yourself first before loving another.
Above all that do not forget no other.
Accept yourself for who you are.
You are what you are.
No one can change that.
And that's a fact.
I was given a bookmark for my birthday,
which says:God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.
Courage to change the things I can.
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Life is full of challenges and I can accept that.
Sometimes I succeed for that I take off my hat.
Sometimes I fail but life's like that.
It's okay to be me.
Even though at times I feel I am not one, I am not two, but three.
I accept the feelings I have and the problems I face.
I am learning quickly how to rely on Jesus to give me his grace.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Emptiness & Meaning Of Life

On Sunday in CCBC Dr Kit Ho (a lecturer from China Mission Training Centre) shared about the meaning of life according to Ecclesiastes. He talked about what "Emptiness" means -
  1. Emptiness is not a lament of the depressed
  2. Emptiness because there is nothing at the end
  3. Emptiness is a description of the virtual reality

The author of Ecclesiastes said that life is meaningless. Dr Ho said life is just like bubbles (virtual reality). He urged us to:

  • Put our life in God's hands
  • Enjoy our life with simple joy and gratitude
  • Help others (Happiness is helping others)

What do you reckon?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

My Seven Secrets

In response to two of my blog buddies Kel and Keasty's tag, I'm going to give the shortened version of the sacred 'sevens' we are:

  1. One thing that attracts me to my husband: well, i can't tell you, cos i don't have one.
  2. One thing to do before I die: promote Christ's cause by mobilizing a generation into mission, and to declare the Godly truth about life to the world through creative arts.
  3. One thing I cannot do: roll my tongue (arggg....i tried many times in vain!)
  4. One thing I say most often: that's cool!
  5. One book I love: The Guardians of the Great Commission by Ruth Tucker
  6. One movie I would watch over and over again: A Beautiful Mind
  7. One blog buddy I would like to tag: Rodney from the Journey (but all of you are welcome too).

Thank You

I mentioned in my previous post "Thoughts in anticipation of Christmas" that I plan to thank those people in my life who have given me the gifts of their time, and of their friendship, and of their love this past year, which are some of the greatest gifts of all.

So now I'd like to formally thank all of you blogosphere mates, readers and commenters who have been such an encouragement and blessing to me this year. Your gifts of time, friendship and love are much appreciated. So often when I am feeling a little 'blue' (you know what I mean), your personal emails, comments and prayers have sustained me and cheered me up.


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Prayer Over The City Of Melbourne In Rialto

View from Observation Deck in Rialto Posted by Picasa

This morning I took part in an hour of Prayer & Worship at the Observation Deck at the Rialto Tower with the Transforming Melbourne Pastors Network, which aims to see Church impact Melbourne as a United Missionary Movement through the unity and prayer of churches of all denominations. I was so blessed by that one hour.
The focus today was to pray specifically for "QUEST", which is the combined churches Commonwealth Games outreach. I was very touched by the amount of commitment and work already put into place for this. The time of prayer with other intercessors this morning from different churches all around Melbourne was such an encouragement and blessing to me personally. And prayer walk initiatives in my own neighbourhood eg: Federation Square, MCG, Rod Laver Arena, Botanical Gardens, Queensbridge Square (which is just outside where I live), Exhibition Centre, Telstra Dome, Swanston Street, Docklands are well underway. I am so going to take part in them. And I encourage you all to join me too. For more information please don’t hesitate to contact me, or Quest direct. Their website is:

I heard that last year more than 60 people, from Australia and other countries, both young and old, travelled to Greece to run Awakening festivals at the time of the Olympics. The connections made with local people and the thousands visiting for the Games resulted in a newly emerging work in Greece where the church once again found a place in the community.

I am so convinced that the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne is another opportunity in a series of strategic moments. The Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March 2006 offers the opportunity for the people of God to find their way back to the centre of their local community and culture, their proximity space. There are going to be over 70 nations represented here during the Games. If you are in Melbourne, I’d really like to encourage you to take part in this mission outreach. If you are outside of Melbourne, your prayers for the this lovely city before and during the Commonwealth games would be much appreciated.

Dear Lord, we delight to do You will! Father, we pray for unity! We pray that your Church in Melbourne would shine like the dawning of a new day! We ask that your Church be a witness during the Commonwealth games. May your Church see this opportunity as a time to fulfil your great Commission to "Go" into our world, and make disciples of all nations! Jesus make us One! One in heart! One in Mission! May the world see Your Church in loving action...Together, we pray for your Church to have eyes to see this divine appointment you have graciously given. Together, we declare this time as a time of Harvest! In Jesus' Precious Name we pray, Amen.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Thoughts In Anticipation Of Christmas

Tonight I did some soul searching in anticipation of Christmas. I reflected on last year around the same time. I was depressed! And I was sad. I missed my dad who had gone on. And I thought about good friends and relationships that were no more. There was also disappointment in myself and in the choices that I had made.

This year things are different. There is a happiness in my heart towards the celebration of my Lord's birth. I plan to thank those people in my life who have given me the gifts of their time, and of their friendship, and of their love this past year, which are some of the greatest gifts of all.

The sights and sounds of the festive season are starting to emerge day by day. I believe the buying of gifts, decorating for the season, visiting family and friends, and helping those in need can be events through which people are open to encounter Christ anew. I think these expressions of anticipation and preparation for Christmas are important.

The use of Christmas lights can be a great sign of anticipation of the Light of Christ that was manifest in the world that 'first Christmas'. We as disciples of Jesus have a great gift to give a society of consumers: a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, and sharing the love of God. We also have a chance to let Christ to become more present in our own hearts, homes and community in this blessed season. After all, Jesus is the reason for the season. And He is the meaning of Christmas.

So what are your thoughts in anticipation of Christmas?

Nyugen's Hanging

I received an email from some friends today, who said that they had given the Singapore owned Optus the flick in light of Van Nyugen's hanging. Nguyen claimed he was trafficking heroin to help pay off legal fees incurred by his twin brother Khoa. According to the news, the Prime Minister John Howard said he hoped the strongest message from the death would be to convince other young Australians not to get involved in drug offences in Asia.

I felt a deep sadness and distress when I saw Nguyen's mum on TV, after she had seen her son for the last time a few days ago, having held his hands. Today was a tragic and miserable day for Australia and the world, yet seriously I feel very ambivalent about it. I agree that the anti-drugs message and the anti-capital punishment measure are both important issues. The Australian government called Singapore's plan to hang Nyugen "barbaric". Many think it's a needless death, but don't we all need to be responsible for what we do? I am puzzled!

What do you think? Should Nyugen have been hanged or not?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Missional Model

I had some friends over for dinner tonight, and we had a great discussion about the ministry of Jesus, and how we could learn from Him. We talked about the Missional Model, which is one that focuses on the principles that Jesus taught His disciples. Jesus led His disciples by example in living out the Kingdom of God by being a servant to all He met. His servant leadership was sensitive to the people He came to serve, but was not dictated to by popular trends (and how often we do that in our ministry!). He listened to those on the periphery and the marginalised (tax collectors, foreigners and sinners etc.) and encountered them with the gospel. He saw their needs and responded in kindness. Through His ministry Jesus presented the gospel in a living and tangible way.

This is so important!I reckon the gospel 'bridge' must be two ways - not a monologue, not a debate or an argument, but through interaction, connection and dialogue - building relationships by listening and serving. The Bible is full of stores of God connecting and interacting with people. We need to re-tell the stories of this relationship and interation. The Trinity is a great example of community, interaction, and relationship. To be effective in sharing the good news of Jesus with friends who don't know the Lord, the Missional team must become a living, breathing gospel by being present within the community that they are called to, embodying / witnessing Jesus Christ (if necessary use words!) through faith and love in the power of the Holy Spirit to bring transformation and hope.

What do you think of this Missional model?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Jehovah Witnesses

During the New Zealand trip, apart from sharing in the New Plymouth church, I also caught up with a relative (my sister-in-law's sister) who is attending JW's meetings regularly. Although she's not a 'full-pledged' Jehovah's Witness member yet, she's quite into the beliefs and doctrine of JW's.

I chatted with Sarah and discussed the Bible with her for a while, then I realised that it's important not to bombard her with so many facts, figures, quotes, and bible verses in rapid-fire succession. Cult member aside, the ordinary person can absorb only so much new information at one time. Especially is this true when the data appears not to fit in with, or even to contradict, other data already stored in the brain. This process cannot be rushed. God reminded me that even though a dry plot of land may be dying of thirst, a sudden heavy downpour does more harm than good. To relieve the drought, gentle rain is needed, even just a sprinkle at first, repeated often and over a long period of time.

I am actually very glad to see that Sarah is really sincere about wanting to know God and to do his will. And I trust that she's in the Lord's hands. I will just have to keep praying for her, caring for her, and repeatedly share with her about the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Back To Melbourne

I just came back to Melbourne from New Zealand this afternoon, and have been sleeping till just now. Had a wonderful weekend over there. It was such a blessing and encouragement to share the Word of God with the brothers and sisters in Christ in New Plymouth. I could really sense the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding me. Praise the Lord for this awesome opportunity. I was really touched when I saw people raised up their hands to commit to the Great Commission. May God be glorified through His people!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Away In New Zealand

I'll be away in New Zealand from Thursday 24th to Tuesday 29th, to visit friends as well as represent World Team. On Sunday the 27th, I'll be sharing at the All Nations Foursquare Gospel Church of New Plymouth about the work of World Team, and will preach on the Great Commission. I pray for 'God orchestrated' moments and for His peace and wisdom as I go before the microphone, and to get to know the church in New Plymouth.

When I come back to Melbourne after the New Zealand trip, I'll be facilitating some upcoming events at CCBC, like '12 days of Christmas' message with the kids and the Christmas Worship Celebration storytelling / drama presentation. I will also plan for next year's events, and organise a Christmas party for friends who don't have family here at my place. Also, there will be a ministry school at CCBC during summer for all leaders of our church. I am really looking forward to that!

On top of these, there will be a World Team Training Camp coming up in late February. This training is for those that are interested in going for short term mission trips, Apprenticeship Programs as well as those that are considering long term mission with World Team. The contents will be mainly cross-cultural life and work. I will help to facilitate the training with my Director and other teammates.

A busy few months coming up.....

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Pavement Art In Southbank

Pavement Art Posted by Picasa

I was very happy to spend some time with Diana, the artist who drew this picture on the pavement. Life on the street, and drawing can be fun, but at the same time, can be tough and competitive too. Unfortunately when you live the life of a busker you need to go busking for many long hours to make ends meet. May God bless her and many other artists in the area.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Remember The Titans

I watched the movie "Remember The Titans" the other night with my friends at my place. It's a Jerry Bruckheimer Production. The synopsis goes like this:

"Academy Award winner Denzel Washington (The Hurricane), gives a victorious performance in this stirring and uplifting film. Based on a real-life drama, REMEMBER THE TITANS is a rousing celebration of how a town torn apart by resentment, friction and mistruct bomes together in a triumphant harmony. After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by Herman Boone, tough, opinionated and as different from the beloved Yoast as he could be. How these two men overcome their differences, and turn a group of hostile young men into champions, plays out in a remarkable and triumphant story full of soul and spirit. You and your family will never forget the Titans."

This is a powerful and well written story. Although I don't know anything about American football, I enjoyed the movie very much.The tagline "before they could win they had to become one" is so true. Unity is so important in any teamwork. The lives of the two coaches Herman Boone and Bill Yoast in the film are inspiring. They do their best with their heart for their work, and that had such a great impact to the team.

The blacks and whites work hard to overcome differences and become a winning team. The Titans teaches the people in the town community how to come together as one, despite their differences. The idea of winning together for a common goal reminds me of the essential core value of teamwork in World Team.

Teamwork – together we accomplish what none of us could do alone. Ministry is best done in teams. If we try to do all alone what is better done as a team effort, the effort will be limited. With all of us pitching in and pulling in the same direction toward a goal, we reap huge dividends from our individual investments. “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Cor 12:18)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Making The Right Choices Through DVD

My Papa (Professor Basil Brown) gave us a DVD in his sermon today in CCBC's connect worship, which is very inspiring. Below is a summary of it.

Making The Right Choices (Matthew 4:1-11)

D - Decision needed
  • Jesus facing his mission: food; a sign from heaven; world dominion; short cuts to glory
  • Our challanges and decision: Compulsion of colleagues; inward pressures; demands of “love”

V - Vigilance required

  • Jesus knew the presence and power of Satan
  • Our struggle is not with flesh and blood (Eph 6).
  • The devil is the prince of this age, eager to trap you.

D - Direction accepted

  • Choice is directed by what we want to achieve.
  • Jesus is directed by God’s will, and so must we.
  • His Will is found in the Scripture.
  • Our weapon against Satan is the Word of the Spirit – the Word of God.
  • How well do you know and use Scripture?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Journey To the Margins (2)

Andrea from Adventures of an Ordinary Christian sent me a comment in my previous post and asked me how I knew God gave me new eyes to see, and how God revealed Himself to me. Well I think these questions deserve a post to answer them.

I believe that God reveals Himself to us through His Word, His Spirit, people and even through circumstances etc. I agree that God makes known to us His will readily if we respond to Him with obedience, and when we seek Him with all our hearts.

Since I started studying at Bible College, God has been teaching me a lot about the Incarnation - one of the chief reasons why Jesus became human was so that he might display what God is like in terms human beings could comprehend. I have had lots of reflection through my studies, reading, ministry and discussion with other Christians about these theological concepts and ideas.

Indeed many missionaries worked hard to practise incarnation, contextualisation, and discipleship as they follow God's will in their lives. I always ask this question: how am I to be engaging in the culture around me? As I walk around my neighbourhood, I see a number of artists busking as they entertain, draw, perform in the public place not knowing how much they would get as a result of their work. I've been moved to pray for them for a while now, yet recently I sensed that the Holy Spirit wanted me to get to know them, and to share God's love with them. I was grappling with issues of contextualisation! I am committed to contextualising the good news of Jesus in this environment. This, I feel, is part of loving the Lord with our total personalities, and our neighbours as ourselves (the Great Commandment).

God is the Ultimate Artist. After all, He is the Creator of the whole Universe. And we are made in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), so when people create (draw, compose, sing, perform), they are actually reflecting God.
Hence God has revealed Himself to me through these artists very vividly. I can see God in these people. More and more as I get to befriend and spend time with these artists, God has truly given me new “eyes to see, and ears to hear”. I see their emotions, their hearts and passions, and I understand their hurts, their needs and their lives through listening to them. Although they are seen to be the centre of our culture (since arts is prominent in Melbourne), they are actually the marginalised as not many people understand them. The Lord also has given me a heart to love these artists, and I look forward to sharing the gospel with them, just as a begger telling another begger where to find food.

Friday, November 18, 2005

The Journey To the Margins

Melbourne is a city with concentration of the values and ideas which our society and culture embodies and embraces. A question that keeps coming to my mind recently is 'where are the central spaces, and where are the marginal spaces in our city?' The notion of 'centres' and 'margins' is really worth exploring and considering I reckon. Out of that questions comes an extremely important question, 'where is God?'

The past few weeks saw me spending time on my days-off with some artists (the centred and the marginalised) in my own locality (namely the neighborhood of Southbank and Southgate), chatting with them, having coffee with them, and getting to know them. This makes me ponder over the important concepts of incarnation, contextualisation, discipleship, engaging culture, and where God calls me to be and do. As I walk around my proximity space (using Michael Frost's term), I realise that God has indeed given me new “eyes to see, and ears to hear”. May the Lord help me not to only see and hear, but respond to what I see and hear in His love and wisdom.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

12 Days Of Christmas

In preparation of a children's Christmas presentation at CCBC on "12 Days of Christmas", I found myself drawn into the symbolism of it. The story behind is just so wonderful! It is really refreshing and constantly putting a smile on my face as I sing the song and reflect on the special spiritual meaning behind the gifts from 'my true love'. Pray that the kids will be inspired and blessed by it.

The symbolism of The Twelve Days of Christmas are as follows:

1 True Love refers to God, A Patridge in a Pear Tree refers to Jesus
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Love
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed

Which one do you like best?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Than Just Talk

Recently a returned missionary shared an experience that he had at a workshop on Christian spirituality in a church. In the workshop, all the right words were being used, but with real pain he said, "I had my hurts and needs, but no one seemed to be even aware of me, let alone my hurts and needs".

Words, especially pious words, can sometimes shield us from people and their needs. Like the first disciples, we have been challenged by Jesus' words. To rely on words alone would be like building a house on the bed of the Yarra River in Melbourne. Almost without warning the dry river bed can become a raging torrent and wash everything away.

It is faithful obedience to Jesus' teaching which provides the solid basis for the Christian life. Without that obedience fatal collapse will inevitably occur. Lord, please help me not to just use words, but help us to know your will and to do it with courage and faith.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Spirituality Tour

I've been thinking recently about everyday faith - especially faith in the places where we live, our neighbourhood, where we work and socialize. I think it is important for us to emphasis on our homes, proximity spaces, workplaces and the place that we socialize as being as much legitimate places where we know and experience God as the places that we gather for worship at church.

I really enjoyed Living Room tonight. One of our core community members shared the tour of his life and it was quality stuff. We bought dinner at one of his favourite places (a noodle bar close to where he lives), and then we had dinner in the footy club where he is part of, while chatting and looking at people playing footy.

Then we walked up the street to a pub he regularly visits with his footy mates. Then we jumped into his car and he took us on a tour of his life, including the primary school that he works in and the place where he plays touch footy. We also prayed for him, and the people in these places where he experiences and witnesses God.

We heard about his daily routine, the interesting stories about the students in the primary school (which is a very interesting school with children from various cultures and religions). He also told us things that he's passionate about, some of the history of his life, and a little about his family and friends. It was amazing where our conversation went as he shared his spirituality tour and as we asked questions of his life. We saw a different side of someone we have known for a number of months now - it was actually quite special.

Monday, November 14, 2005


Mark Sayers, an emerging missional church leader (Red Network) has written a bible study guide called "Ignition", and in it there was a topic of Incarnation. What he said really got me thinking:

“Jesus in order to complete his mission on earth chose to live amongst us. He lived the life of a human man in a particular time and place, he spoke particular languages and he lived in a particular culture. The gospel writers apart from his first and last few years see his life as so ordinary for that time and place that they do not even record it in any detail. When he begins to preach in his hometown people are shocked, and see him as only the carpenter’s son.”

Isn't it a radical concept? I grapple constantly with the idea and theological implication of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, which was the way Jesus went about his life, faith and mission. The question I keep asking is: how should that shape my approach in mission and ministry? What is God up to? And what should I be up to? And how should I live my life in a particular context / culture / sub-culture so that the gospel can be seen through me? Really challenging questions and thoughts!!

So what is your idea of Incarnation?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ken Duncan

Ken Duncan is my favourite Aussie photographer. You'll know why if you look at his work (and his website).
I got chatting with him in his gallery(which to me is really like a Sanctuary) during his book signing in Southgate. I was very inspired by what he had to say. He said that his own love for photography was kindled when he borrowed his dad's camera, and became very excited by the possibilities of photography as an art form. His idea of using photos to share 'the journey of life' is fantastic.

On his T-shirt that day (which is not clear from the photo that I posted in my previous entry), it said that 'life is an adventure, not a worry!' And I like that motto. To Ken, sharing 'the journey of life' has become his driving passion as a photographer, and it led to many adventures along the way. He said that the best way to learn to take photos is to actually take photos. And I want to do the same! I am going to commit to taking more photos from now on.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ken Duncan's Book Signing

Ken Duncan's book signing Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 11, 2005

The "M" Word

Speaking of the "m" words in my last post, another popular "m" word is money of course! I was chatting with a dear friend about money last night. This morning, God spoke to us through Matthew 6:19-24 through our devotion together. Matt 6:19-24 talks about storing up treasures (money) in heaven, which is the same as the importance of investing in eternal business.

In the book "The Kingdom and the World", Richard Appleby said the following:

A difficult problem that Christians consistently face is the temptation to put some trust in God and, because their faith is not as complete as it should be, also to rely on things of this world, such as money or possessions.

The detachment from wealth is a great goal to reach for. What do you reckon?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Meeka & I

Amongst many other blessings (like my mum and my mood hehe), another one of which is my world team mate meeka, she always puts a smile on my face and makes me laugh. We work so well together, and we balance each other, and we are both mission mobilizer! Hmmm.... all these m words.

Lord, thanks for this great reminder once again to count my blessings! Praise God for a great Focus Night and World Team End Of Year Party tonight!

(music please) give thanks with a grateful heart, give thanks to the holy one, give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ His son ....

Do you like our photo with the colourful background above? We do have a colourful and meaningful ministry together with World Team, despite constant difficulties and struggles. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

World Team End Of Year Party

You are invited to World Team Australia's End Of Year Party - Focus Mission Asia Night
6:45 pm to 7pm Start - Thursday 10th November


Chor Ing Ang and Kitty Cheng
(Central Asia with Uygur Focus)
Tomika Finch (Storytelling)

Brian Billing and Phil Barnden (Cambodia and Laos)
36 Barton St, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Australia
Venue of Hawthorn West Baptist Church
Free oriental finger food and drinks

You are very welcome to bring others along. We look forward to welcoming you along with others to encourage and to be encouraged in the Lord.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Moses' Life and Mine

I'll never forget the fear I felt while worrying that I was missing some important step in my search for a treatment to end my suffering. In hindsight, it is obvious that my loved one added months to my suffering due to his ignorance of not knowing the best approach to take, and the fear that others might find out. Fear is caused by ignorance (a lack of knowledge) about a subject. A better understanding of what you need to be doing, and not doing, will help one to overcome.

Ultimately my loved one abandoned me. It was then that I realised, when I asked God to use me as His instrument, all things that occurred, no matter how bad they turned out to be, were all permissible under His will. Jeremiah 10:13 declares : “I know, Oh LORD, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps”--- throughout the next four years I would come face to face with immense and untold suffering and pain way deep down inside my heart. It was all too much---so much to the point that it was just impossible to describe---I cannot even come to terms with myself since I never can understand why all this is happening to me. Nevertheless, I believe that God Himself is already working in me now, amidst all my suffering and life torn apart.

I give thanks to God because He has always been caring for me. No matter what my situation might be, His love remains. No one can measure how long or wide or high or deep His love is---such is the wonder of His unfailing love. Throughout the difficult times I came to understand how it felt to be despised and rejected, and I also recalled Jesus who also “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:3). I came to realise that Jesus left heaven and all glory behind Him and came to earth to suffer and to die for me on the cross. Although I was in great despair and without hope to the extent of giving up my faith and myself altogether, yet God Himself never leave me nor forsake me---He continues to lead me through, heals me and places together all the broken pieces that were once in my life and my heart. I am forever grateful for that!

Looking back, I came to realise that my life is a bit similar to that of Moses. This is because when I was young I spent much of my time growing up in a ‘well-off’ family, much loved and protected by those around me, very much like Moses’ growing up in Egypt’s palace. Then turmoil and chaos came into my life, which I found myself similar to that of Moses after he had to leave his life of luxury and had to flee into an unknown and uncertain realm that is the wilderness. Finally, Moses responded to God’s calling to lead His people out of Egypt, so now, like Moses, I have chosen to obey God’s calling and to be of service to Him. May the Lord continue to keep me in the centre of His will through His grace and power.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Jonathan And His Young Armor-Bearer

Susan from a Booklook wrote this very meaningful post about moving in the direction of our passion. She wrote:

Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, '… Perhaps the Lord will act on our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.' 'Do all that you have in mind' his armor-bearer said. 'Go ahead; I am with heart and soul'" 1 Samuel 14:6-7.

Jonathan's young armor-bearer encouraged Jonathan to do what God had put in his mind and what a great victory it was. How valuable it is to have those around us encouraging us to do those things that God has put in our hearts and minds. Jesus gave opportunities to uneducated fishermen, quick tempered brothers and a dodgy tax collector. Jesus also appointed Judas as treasurer even though it turned out that he was a thief. Perhaps Jesus was less worried about failure than we are. At Jesus' arrest when Peter cut off the ear of the high priest's servant, Jesus touched him and healed him (Luke 22:51). Jesus still has the power to fix and heal the mistakes we make.

Lord I am going to follow Jonathan's example, to take risks to move in the direction of the passion you have given me, and encourage others to do the same.

Thanks Susan for your sharing!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


Today was CCBC's 15th Church Anniversary. We had a great time celebrating it. Kanae and I really enjoyed serving in the drama today. Through the process of putting the drama together, I am reminded once again that it's not the results that are most important, but the lesson learned, lives touched and moments shared along the way. I am particularly grateful for getting to know Kanae, and sharing our hearts together for the passion of using drama to serve God.

Papa (Professor Basil Brown)'s preaching was fantastic! It was based on the Acts 2:41-47; 1 Peter 2:9,10 titled "The church as the family of God"

Matt 5:45: “Pray…That you may be children of your father who is in Heaven.”
Eph 3:14-15: “I bow my knee before the father, from whom the whole family in heaven and on earth is named.” The following are the 4 insightful points:

1. Membership in the family
It has no human source. It is from God – a new birth, and at the same time, adoption.

2. The family relationship
It is close; they share the same genes – LOVE.
The sick and trouble need prayer -- that is, actions reinforced by prayer.

3. The family members
All are different. So there is tension, which means energy and life.
Dealing with the problem member.

4. The nourishment of the family
You will find the family at the meal table
The Lord’s Table: It is not a new essential ritual. It is a meal – bread and wine. Feasting on the living Christ.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Open House

Today during my 'art date' I attended the Open House at both the Arts Centre and National Gallery of Victoria. It was a fantastic day of discovering the treasures and secrets of these two venues.

There was also a special collaborative work between Melbourne's leading art and cultural venues. Besides the Arts Centre and NGV, there were also Artplay, Australia Centre for the Moving Image, Immigration Museum, Melbourne Museum, State Library of Victoria, and the Ian Potter Centre.

Of special interests were the tour of the Arts Centre, especially the tour of the back stage of the Fairefax Studio, the wardrobe, the make-up room and all the other major theatres. It was such an enjoyable experience! The Australian Collection of art in the Ian Potter Centre has over 30,000 items and includes paintins, decortaive arts, photography, prints and drawings, sculpture, fashion and textiles and jewellery - a collection of great depth and complexity, which reflects the manyb histories of Australian art from the famous to the unfamiliar.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Be Thankful....

Tonight at CCBC, I had such an awesome time with Kanae, not only rehearsing for the drama which we will present on Sunday for CCBC's 15th Anniversary, but most importantly we had dinner, fellowship, sharing and prayed together. Moments of interaction and connection were so special! It was such God-ordained time, and I felt that the Holy Spirit was with us as we walked this journey together for the last few weeks preparing for this special occasion through the drama "count your blessings".

It's a fairly simple drama skit, yet it has reminded me to really give thanks to God for His wonderful blessing over the past 15 years in CCBC, and in particular letting me serve HIM in this family of God. At times I am guilty of complaining about things that don't go smoothly in ministry or whatever, yet I am reminded once again that God is in control of everything, and I am His co-worker. And I am forever grateful for that!

Be thankful that you don't already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?
Be thankful when you don't know something.
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.
Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.
Be thankful for your limitations.
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.
Be thankful for each new challenge.
Because it will build your strength and character.
Be thankful for your mistakes.
They will teach you valuable lessons.
Be thankful when you're tired and weary.
It means you've made a difference.
It's easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.
Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings."

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Chariots Of Fire

Tonight our LivingRoom group watched the film "Chariots of Fire" at Tim & Suse's place together. The film tells the true story of two UK track athletes, one a determined Jew, and the other a devout Christian who compete in the 1924 Olympics. Eric Liddell, a missionary in China, who runs because he believes it glorifies God (he said, "I believe God made me for a purpose in China, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.") . Harold Abrahams is a Jew who competes as a way of proving his worth, and he always wants to win (he said, "if I can't win, I won't race"). Both are driven by an inner fire, and yet respect their rivals. This film traces Eric and Harold's paths to the Paris games, where their motivation and character development are portrayed. Yes, it's important to know that Abrahams and Lidell win, but the real theme of the story is contained in what leads up to the races.

Chariots of fire highlights such commendable qualities as commitment, perseverance, and fraternity. The characters were believable. In fact, to a certain extent, I could see myself in (and identify myself with) both Eric and Harold (although I am not a sporty person, or a man for that matter). I appreciated this movie as it gave me a more understanding of human nature, and my own weeknesses and frailty. And the theme of using your gifts to glorify God even if other people around you don't want you to, was wonderful. It spoke to me as a Christian struggling to do what I believe God has led and gifted me to do, in my world. I was encouraged by Eric Liddell's faithfulness to his God, his family, his country, and his friends. And in the end he triumphs by tapping that reservoir of inner strength from God that sustains him.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Learn to dream as a Christian

Although I am enjoying working with World Team and CCBC, I miss studying at Tabor. I really do! Yesterday I received their yearly magazine "Tabor Life" and finished reading the whole thing in an hour.

An article that I particularly enjoyed reading in the magazine was one from the head of Mission Studeis Dr Les Henson entitled "Learn to dream as a Christian". Les shares that dreams play an important part in the lives of the Momina people (the people that he used to work with in West Papua), and how in that context it was important for Les to teach the elders of the indigenous church to screen and critique people's dreams to see if they were from God, and that everything, including dreams must be brought under Christ's lordship. An example that Les gave was about this insightful elder Daniel, who realised that one of the Momina believers' dreams were not from God, told the person to go away and learn to dream as a Christian.

Les wrote the following as the conclusion of his article, which really inspired me:

'Perhaps there is a lesson in all this for us busy Western Christians seeking genuine spirituality. Perhaps we too should learn to "dream as a Christian."'

I pray that the Lord will give us (me) the wisdom and strength to dream as a Christian, and to bring everything under His lordship.

Well the World Team Ringwood East office is only 5 minutes away from Tabor, so it's convenient for me to drop by every now and then to catch up with friends and faculty. I feel blessed by that! :-)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

How Do You Spell Faith?

It was Melbourne Cup public holiday today. While everyone in Melbourne was having a day off (well except some students who are facing exams), I was working flat out in the office preparing for the World Team End of Year Party coming up next Thursday, the play and the presentation. Through working on the presentation on some unreached people groups and reading about various stories, I was reminded again that many great people of God have one thing in common, and that is that they have tremendous faith, and they are willing to take risks for their Lord.

Kel over at the X facta posted a very meaningful entry called Water walking. She suggested that according to Simon Peter, faith was spelt as Risk as follows:

R relinquish your doubts
I increase your dependence on God
S step out of your comfort zone
K know the miracle will come

So do you spell faith as risk?

Monday, October 31, 2005

Calming The Storm

Calming The Storm Posted by Picasa

I am always amazed by the story of Jesus calming the storm. On Sunday my dear friend and coworker at CCBC Becky shared a meaningful message on Jesus calming the storm (according to Mark 4:35-41). I was interpreting it from Chinese into English for her, and was inspired by it.

In verse 39, when the storm was really heavy, the disciples asked Jesus for help. So He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. What amazes me is that the storm was completely calm, not gradually or slowly calm. It shows that when we are with the Lord, we are safe in spite of danger (v 37). Praise the Lord!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Spring Fling 2005

Apart from Melbourne Fringe Festival and Melbourne International Arts Festival, I recently also took part in Spring Fling 2005. Spring Fling is a lively and free community festival organised by North and West Melbourne Neighbourhood Centre, features a full day of fun and community displays, sites, and main stage entertainment. It was an enjoyable event. I can see the value of tapping into the community and doing outreach activities there. Also since CCBC is in North Melbourne, it really makes sense for us to walk common paths with the proximity space.

I love Melbourne, and all the festivals that go on here!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Noirstalgia - Losses in Life

On Saturday night I went to see my friend and one of my favourite aussie actors Damon Hunter 's performance in "The Meeting" at Chapel off Chapel. "The Meeting" is about three men, with seemingly nothing in common, arrange to meet every week. What brings them together is the common tragic secret of the loss of a child. The play is a distressing, yet touching storyabout losing hope, and then finding it again in the most unlikely place, which turns out to be a support group setting.

According to Damon, the script writer wrote the drama in order to 'exorcise his own demons', as the events that the play discusses are actually a combination of true events that happened to him personally. I reckon that must have had strong healing effect on him. One day I hope to write a play like that too, God willing!

"The Meeting" reminds me of the importance of support, listening and friendship, which are essential in any relationship. Losses in life are inevitable, whether it's the loss of a child, or a parent, or loved ones, or materials, or even a home or dignity (like those who suffered from natural disasters). Yet I believe that we can survive the losses, the pain and failures of life through having hope. The message of losing and finding hope in the play is really powerful. However, I am convicted that ultimate hope can only be found in the ONE who offers eternal hope, not in human beings.

Friday, October 28, 2005

A Prayer For Love

Great and loving God, I thank you that you have always loved me,
even when I ignore or reject your love. May you so fill me, that I
can love others as you have loved me, not worrying about
how that love will be received, but simply and boldly loving other
people. In Jesus Precious Name I pray, Amen.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Walking alone with the thoughts inside
Trying so desperate not to hide
To be myself has proved a danger
People treating me like a complete stranger
How much is the condition and how much is me?
I am not one nor two but living with three
The name's Esau look into it,then you'll understand me just a bit
So you'll hear from me once in a while, my words are for you please keep them on file

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


The followings are some of my definition of love:
  • Love does not envy!
  • Love does not get jealous when someone is better than you!
  • Love is being happy for other's achievements!
  • Love is letting others be the best they can be!
  • Love is not showing off your strengths!
  • Love is not egoistic and wanting others to praise you!
  • Love does not want to get compliments!
  • Love is meek and modest in spirit and behaviour!

What is love to you?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ken Duncan

photo by Kitty Posted by Picasa
Ken Duncan is my favourite Aussie photographer. His landscape photos are not only gorgeous, they have the ability to draw me closer to God. Ken claims that his gallery is not just a gallery, but a sanctuary, and I agree with him. Every time I go into his gallery in Southgate, I sense the presence of God through his photos and books. And it's amazing. Ken Duncan is having a book signing on 12 November. I am looking foward to that! If any of you are free that day, I'd love to meet you at Ken's gallery.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Wrap Party in QBH

Melb International Arts Fest Wrap Party

The Melbourne International Arts Festival came to an end on Sunday morning. The final event and wrap up party was on from 10 pm Saturday night to 4 am Sunday morning, and I got to join in for a few hours, and it was simply fantastic to meet and chat with some of the most creative and amazing artists (both performing to visual artists, to curators and organisers) from around the world. There were so many extraordinary connections happened during the Festival, I was so glad that I got to take part in some of those. The creative sparks in my heart are truly flying, and it leaves me feeling so joyful and alive :-)

As Ariane Mnouchkine herself said about the extra shows that were done: "It is very rare to see a government authority recognise the power of theatre and for us it is also very important that it happened in Australia. Of course it is our conviction that theatre and the impact of theatre is a political, educational and enlightening tool for a better world and a better humanity. To see a government recognise this is a cause of pride. As a company we are staggered and moved."

And may I add that as a fellow Melburnian I am also very touched and pleased to see that the government authority sees the importance of arts and theatre!

Wrap Party Performance

photo by kitty in QBH Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Travel Agency Posted by Picasa

Red Shoes And Good Friends

Once again, I was @ the red shoe delivery Travel Agency yesterday afternoon :-) (also see here, here , here and here. ) This was the third time I was there. It continued to sweep me and my friends away every time I went. It was also fun to see how the project had evolved, and to look at where Melburnians had been travelling to via the van. Posted by Picasa

I really admire and enjoy getting to know the Red Shoe Delivery Service artists KC, Molly and Cris. Their gifts and passion for what they do are so evident. I am sure they will go a long way, and I hope to be able to keep contact with them.