Saturday, 28 January 2012

"How Could You Do That?"

I've been thinking about the story of the two monks and the courtesan for quite a while. This one's for the legalistic-minded, modern day Pharisees.

One day, the two monks came to a side of a river and noticed a courtesan. As they got nearer they could see that she wanted to get across the river, but she couldn’t, she had no way of getting across the river without ruining her finery. The young monk is freaking out and inside his head he is saying “Oh my God, there is a courtesan, what do we do, what do we do?” We can’t touch her, what do we do?”

As he is doing this the old monk, without even breaking stride, scoops the woman up and carries her across the river, puts her down on the other side and carries on. The young monk keeps looking back over his shoulder, thinking to himself, “He touched that women, he touched her, what has he done, how could he have done that!”

He was driving himself crazy, until he couldn’t take it any longer and after about an hour he said to the older monk “What did you do, how could you do that?” The older monk says “What?” The young monk replies “You, how, you picked up that woman, you, you carried her across the river!” The old monk smiles and says “Oh are you still carrying her? I've put her down an hour ago”.

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Never Once Did I Ever Walk Alone

Standing at the edge of 2011, I remember the Hand that has held me and everything together, and I thought of this song.

Everytime I hear a great worship song from Matt Redman, I'll remember of God's faithfulness. Matt was from the same university as I am, and we've both come a long way. I still remember someone told me he could only lead our CU worship sessions with 3 chords. Now see how has has gone all over the world to bless many thousands of souls. His heart of worship has still remain although his tunes have gotten better and better. But if you're familiar with his older tunes, you'll know how he has made them fresh in new ways in his new songs. I like how he has remain authentic and true to his brand and style of music. His songs really bring my back all the way to the time how God dealt with me walking in the deserts...


Saturday, 22 October 2011

Ultimate Rest

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, O God of Jacob.
Look upon our shield, O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
the LORD bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.
O LORD Almighty,
blessed is the man who trusts in you. (Psalm 84).

One of my all-time favorite Psalms. Simply beautiful. I kinda miss the longing I used to have, like how I felt what the psalmist experienced. I envy the sparrows and the swallows who are free to be what they are.....

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Life Lessons From Observing Family, Little Children and Myself

I had a wonderful time catching with relatives back from Melbourne whom I haven't met for years. My wife especially had a great time with my cousin sister and her daughters. Family moments like these are priceless and precious.

I notice that after all these years, some things had never changed in my cousin, even after marrying and having kids. I still notice the "inferiority complex" that's so apparent in her. There wasn't a thing wrong about her: she's good-looking, tall, strong and a great mom. Most of all, she has the most pleasant personality and a warm heart. No thanks to all the upbringing conditioning.

Ever since she was a little girl, she was "slower" in learning, thinking and picking up languages than her peers, and especially compared to her bright and quick younger sister. She was often compared to her sister and was "judged" less intelligent and capable. And she fed on these remarks and grew accordingly. I believe this is the worst type of curse a child could inherit from its parents and family, more than cancer cells. She led her life fulfilling all those prophecies cast upon her...

Saturday, 21 May 2011

What Can I Give, What Can I Bring?

Maybe there is no better condition or state of the human heart to be in than a thankful heart. Even beyond happy or ecstatic, probably gratitude is a higher and better way to feel and live?

Just last night I was reminded of a song I first learned on the guitar when I was in the UK. And this song 'played' in me again and woke me up 5 something on a Saturday morning and compelled me to write this, when I should be enjoying my bed.

Long before Matt Redman was famous internationally as a song-writer/worship-leader with well-loved and widely-sung songs like Blessed Be Your Name, Better Is One Day and Heart Of Worship, there was another song...a song that was sung across the UK like a gust of fresh air in the worship scene in the mid 90s...a song I heard all the time in every water baptism service....a song sung by all denominations of churches....a song that is probably one of the best that ever came out from the UK worship scene. Because it's so raw, simple and heart-felt. It was Matt Redman's song of testimony, written from a thankful heart. If you know his life story, you'll understand. It's called I Will Offer Up My Life.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

The Other Side of the River

I was told last night from someone that she enjoys reading my blog and feed on it like food!

Well, this story is dedicated to her, as she's leaving home for "the other side".

You want more food, here's something to take away and chew on the road. My parting gift for you shall come in the form of a story....

Once there was a man leaving his village for the other side down the long river. The boat journey is slow and lengthy, so he struck a conversation with the boatman.  
He asked, "What are the people like at the far side of the river?"  
The boatman asked, "What are the people like on the side you came from?" 
The man replied, "Oh, they're mean, good for nothing, unfriendly and generally bad people. Some of the worst people I've ever met. I'm really very glad I'm leaving them for the far side!"  
The boatman paused and then said, "Oh, I wouldn't be so quick to celebrate if I were you. You'll find that the people on the far side are just about the same".

On another day, another man was also leaving from the same village for the other side of the river. He also struck up a conversation with the boatman.  
He asked, "What are the people like at the far side of the river?"  
The boatman asked in return, "What are the people like on the side you came from?"  
The man replied "Oh, they're so warm, nice, friendly and generally great people. Some of the best friends I've made. I'm gonna miss them so much, I may never meet such nice people anywhere else!" 
The boatman paused and then said with a smile, "Oh, I wouldn't worry much if I were you. You'll find that the people on the far side are just about the same".

Monday, 2 May 2011

Throw It All Away

During the late 90s, I came across an American Alternative Rock band Toad The Wet Sprocket which was around for not very long and was quickly disbanded, to my disappointment. I just loved their brilliant songs, with clever embedding elements of Buddhist philosophy and wisdom.

I haven't listen to their songs for ages but I don't know why, recently my mind suddenly recalled one of their songs Little Man Big Man, which I'd really liked. I just gave a listen to it again tonight.

I guess after a decade, my mind still hasn't come to terms with the questions in the song. What am I, really? Where is the beast lying? Is there a beast hiding?  

Another song I'd really love was Throw It All Away. Maybe it's time for me to throw away some stories I'd been sold, especially the ones I'd been telling to myself. I guess this is the end. Start over again.

Help me empty out this house
What I've gathered all these days
And thought I couldn't do without
And throw it all away 

Friday, 22 April 2011

That Terrible Voice

The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousands times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours....
Surely it's not difficult for Christians to recognize where the above quote came from. And surely you won't hear a sermon that contains anything close to that these days. Why? The pastor will be crucified by the congregation!

Jonathan Edwards, the great Puritan pastor-theologian wrote and preached the sermon Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God during the first Great Awakening, and this was considered the most well-known sermon in the history of America. This highly controversial sermon was considered offensive and certainly not for the faint-hearted. When it was first delivered in July 8, 1741, many who heard it trembled and cried for mercy. Some fainted. But multitudes ran to the front and were saved that famous day.

But what do the historians and the general Americans know about Edwards? The American textbook referred to him and the great revival in such a way: "The Great Awakening was a brief period of intense religious feeling in the 1730's and '40's which caused many churches to split."

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Power and Surrender (Daisy, Let it Go)

I've been wondering on God's power to act, pondering at surrounding events in the world we strive in. Does God know? Does He move? How long does He wait?

Instead of God coming through stormy clouds and lightning, I was reminded of this song Daisy.

Common Grace. Yeah, the kind of grace that's for everyone. Like the sun that rises on the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick, the famous and the unknowns. Like the rain that falls on the righteous and the wicked, the courageous and the cowards, the truth-lovers and the liars. All the same.

Common Grace. I still cannot understand it. Maybe it was not meant to be grasped, but to be let go. Release. There's power in surrender.

Common Grace. Can you believe it? As I'm writing this, the rains starts to fall. The easy rain still falls. But only for a little while more...then comes the Thunder.