Saturday, September 10, 2011

My personal testimony Part 1 - Dedicated and Rededicated

Received a call from a Presbyterian church youth pastor. He came to visit FCC 3 weeks ago and I have shared my testimony to his group that day. He called me to ask me whether he can share my testimony, and I can write it to him. I said okay because if he feels that it can help his youth and edify his youth to serve the Lord, why not? As I was writing the testimony, I kinda being refreshed of what the Lord has done in my life. Indeed, he is a faithful God.I decided to share it in my blog here. I will divide it into few parts (I do not know how many parts are they :D). Here is the first part:

I accepted Christ as my personal Lord and saviour personally in 1998 when I started to join youth meeting in St. Patrick Church, Tawau. My faith in Christ grew since then as I continued to experience God’s grace in my life.
However, I have backslidden, ran away from God in 2001. Even though I was still gone to church that time, but my heart was away from God. I could not figure why my heart was not with God anymore, all I know is that this life is getting bored because it seems like a routine for me to go to church and cell group without any purpose. Perhaps one of the reasons is, I got tempted with what the world offers to me that time – cybercafé life, hanging around with friends, and all that can fulfill the desire of my flesh. I ran further from God when I leave my family in 2003 for business foundation study in Kota Kinabalu . It was my first time leaving my family. I thought I got the freedom I wanted when I stayed away from my family, but it wasn’t true. I filled my life with alcohol and wasting time around – hanging around with friends. Thank God that my study was not affected. Before I went to Inti Nilai for my degree, I have started a relationship with my course mate. We went to Inti Nilai together. Our relationship did not work out well. It started to break before the semester itself.
I felt so miserable, and I was depressed because she was my first love. But through this broken relationship, I have come back to God. I was invited to an Alpha Course during my third or fourth week there in Nilai. In fact, this person, Nickson, a fulltime staff in the church that I am currently serving, has been calling me even before I came to Nilai. It was their Holy Spirit weekend. I joined it, and God ministered me. I told Nickson what happened to my relationship, and he prayed for me. When he prayed for me, I felt so guilty because I have run away from God who is faithfully loves me all the time. God loves can really never fail us! There, I re-dedicated my life to God in May 2004.

Isaac

Friday, July 29, 2011

Congregational Singing

While I was doing my thesis - the last chapter which is on the practical aspects of Intergenerational Worship (IGW) - I was dealing on how praise and worship can be made as an intentional education and a time where all ages can experience faith together. I came across Martin Luther thoughts on Congregational Singing which is equivalent to our praise and worship today. He believes that through congregational singing, we are proclaiming the Word of God to the congregation. To him it is another form of preaching!

When I was doing this, I feel more and more worry on the way that our church handling Congregational Singing. I am more and more worry with the songs we sing every Sunday! I am more worry with the modern Christian songs that are available to us now. I was reflecting with some of the songs that we have sung recently. I might sound that I am criticizing songs, but I am just raising my concern here. Please don't get me wrong that I am attacking worship leaders here, I am certainly not (I am not defending here, but I just want to avoid some misunderstanding).

I concern with some of the modern songs which have a weak theological expression. I see more and more songs which only describe God as an active God and human has no responsibility. Only what God has done for us; His grace is enough for us. Songs that portrayed that we are an passive Christian. A lot of songs addressed to Christians felt needs - with music and lyrics. Many songs were written out of inspirations than inspirations plus real experience. Many songs were written just because we think how God looks like.

Shallow music form shallow people (Marva J. Dawn). Shallow theological expression form shallow christians! As a worship leader, we should be serious in choosing our songs that we are going to sing in church weekly. We need to discern they type of the songs that we are going to sing. We should not be moved by the tune of the music or the impressiveness of the lyrics. One thing extra that the worship leader need to concern today is the theological expression of the songs!

Isaac

Friday, July 1, 2011

'tis so sweet to trust in Jesus



When I was doing my devotion this morning (just now), this hymn came to my mind - 'tis so sweet to trust in Jesus. A lot of things happened to me since the beginning of the semester - family problem, financial, thesis, and the struggle of mind. All these are affecting my progress in thesis, my readings and assignments.

Of all these struggles, the Lord comforts me with His Word and this hymn. I learned one thing - TRUST in Jesus! By God's grace that we can trust Him more and more. This hymn was written out of struggle of Louisa Stead (click the name) who lost his husband who was trying to save a boy from drowning. Perhaps, it is not a coincidence that I led this hymn during the Anglican retreat.

Not all Christians can really trust in Jesus in times of difficulties. After all the things that had happened to composer; what has happened and still happening to me, how can a person really say that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him?" - Romans 8:28.

The ability to trust in Jesus is grace to us. The ability to trust in God who works for the good of those who love Him even in the time of difficulties is grace. Let's trust in Jesus, the precious Jesus; O for Grace to trust Him more.

  1. ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to take Him at His Word;
    Just to rest upon His promise,
    And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
    • Refrain:
      Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
      How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
      Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
      Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
  2. Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to trust His cleansing blood;
    And in simple faith to plunge me
    ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
  3. Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just from sin and self to cease;
    Just from Jesus simply taking
    Life and rest, and joy and peace.
  4. I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
    Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
    And I know that Thou art with me,
    Wilt be with me to the end.

Isaac

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Indeed no father will give a snake when the son asks for a fish; not the father will give a scorpion when the son asks for an egg. I'm talking about the earthly father here. Father's day reminds me how much my father has sacrificed for me; it reminds me how have I misunderstood my father for many years. Since 1998, due to the financial crisis, my father's business was affected and he has to stop it in 2001. In that period I thought my father did not love me anymore by the way he treated me - he is so cool to me and we hardly talk to each other. It wasn't like this before: my father and I were so closed. I remember in one of the period when our relationship is not that close, I used a toothpaste and wrote "Dad, I hate you!" on the mirror in our washroom. I am so regret for doing that when I got to know that I have misunderstood him. I felt so guilty every time I thought of it.

Half way of my tertiary education, I then realized that I have misunderstood my father. I realized how much my father has sacrificed for me to support me in my studies. He nearly lost all his properties in order to support me. He taught me a lot of this through what he has done to me. When I work as fulltime, I try my best to send money back home even though I have not enough. I did this is to show my father one thing, and for myself to learn two things. I want my father to know that even when I work as fulltime, I still can support the family. I just want my family to see the provision that God will give to us when we choose to obey. The two things that I learn is giving sacrificially because my father did that to me; secondly is to rely on the Lord's provision - He knows the needs of my family.

I cannot imagine more about my heavenly Father. Whenever I see my father, I am always being reminded of God the Father. Of course my relationship with my father now is getting better. I thank God for that. I also thank God that he continue to trust in the Lord in everything that he do.

May God continue to shower His blessings upon my family.

Friday, May 20, 2011

One more semester to go

One more semester to go to end my journey as a seminarian. It is tough. By God's grace and his strength, I've gone through this tough journey.

This semester is the toughest one to me. My spiritual life was so down and so dry. Relationship with God was cooled down. I've lost my first love feeling with God. I procrastinated and compromised a lot this semester. I find it very difficult to wake up early in the morning to do my devotion. It is not that I am legalistic with my life, but towards the end of the semester as I was doing my assignment, God reminded me that spiritual discipline will affect my spiritual life. I've totally lost the momentum in my life. I've lost the discipline in my life. Many things surrounding me reminds me and challenged me to be more discipline spiritually, but I ignored all that.

What have I learnt in this period of wilderness?

The most important thing is relationship with God. I these period, I hardly pray and read the bible. Until one point of life, I wonder what kind of relationship I have with God. I feel awkward when I want to talk to God back. Perhaps this was how the devil deceived me, or it is just my problem. Relationship with God which was affected, affects my relationship as well.

Another thing is that a person can be "unspiritual" and yet handle the word of God. This is what I have gone through this semester. But, there is such an emptiness with the results that you have. The Word is not the lively word anymore.

One theological question I have in mind since the beginning of the semester is, "Can a community affect a person spiritual life or worship?" Right now I am still searching for the answer. It really affect me a lot until the point that I won't partake in the Holy Communion with this community anymore.

Every experiences, God has something to tell me. Even though this journey is tough and lonely, I thank God that I am out of this wilderness. One thing I always fear just like David when he committed sin is that the Lord will cast me away from his presence and take away His Holy Spirit from me (Psalm 51:11).

May God continue guide me in this journey. One semester to go. May he grant me strength and wisdom.

So Help Me God
Isaac

Monday, April 25, 2011

They are human too

I was reading a friend's blog. She is a pastor's kid. To me she always looks so tough and strong and independent. I seldom read her blog, but that day I read her blog month by month. I seen the struggle that she had gone through. And all the things that she had gone through and is going now is just like any other people. Suddenly came to my mind is that, "Oh she is a human too". Just a phrase and my thoughts developed.

I see how high expectation it is to the pastor's children to behave within the expectation of the congregation where the congregation's children are not behaving the way they are expecting the pastor's children to behave. It makes the children not growing in a normal way, and always living in fear because every act they do will be penalize by people - they just could not grow up as children. It is no wonder not many pastor's children have the passion to serve as fulltime!

This kind of expectation same goes to the fulltime and to the pastor.

I think we should see each other as a human where we all live under the same grace from our Lord Jesus Christ! We go through the same pain and struggle. We call upon the same Lord in times of trouble. We belong to the same body of Christ every time we partake the Holy Communion.

Isaac

Monday, April 18, 2011

What would Jesus think?

Luke 24:44 44 Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

What do you think about this when Jesus read the book of the Law and saw that everything that was written is written about him?

Just a thought.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Fear of the Student

Do you know what is the fear of most of the students here? Yes! not being able to graduate from here and need to extend another semester of year here. Many reasons that will cause us not being able to graduate - not able to meet the requirements such as GPA is not met, or you failed certain subjects.

Sometimes I feel that as a student here, I need to please the lecturer (not all - majority to those "traditionalist"!) in order to pass my subject. Sometimes even though you disagree with their point of view, you will tend to put their view in the assignment so that you can get higher marks in order to pass your subject. In summary, you are being hypocrite!

I finally couldn't stand with this anymore. One day, in a discussion, I have reason to disagree with an author whom the lecturer respect or "admire". I voice it out, and directly I can see the changes of the face, and I got this comment that my argument is too general. I didn't fight back because I just want the lecturer know that not all of the author's points are correct - he is, too generalizing certain point and make his argument with an agenda behind.

If the student fail because they failed to please the lecturer, I think the lecturer themselves must reflect on it: whether they are showing off their knowledge that they are always correct or teaching us the essence of the Bible. Most lecturers here I think in my personal opinion have a presupposition upon the students (especially those who are young) that we as students lacked of experience of the things in this world without they realizing that we have lived in this world for 20 over years. They say we are naive, but I say they are naive with certain arguments too - their view on using technology in church and prosperity of the church!

This year I've been voicing out a lot of dissatisfaction of the school in handling certain issues. I've told myself actually not to voice out anything and be patient until I finish my study. But what is not right is not right and there is reason why God put the burden and let you see all these problems! You must act not waiting and pray for wisdom!

The fear that hinders the student to act is that we afraid to hurt the lecturers and in the end our marks in our subject will be affected! Marks affected, GPA affected; GPA affected, cannot graduate.

Isaac

Friday, April 8, 2011

Obediently Praying vs. Praying Obediently

In the midst of stress in doing my thesis. Along the journey, most of the lecturers will say just write something down, then you'll know where you are heading to. As I reflect back in the journey of doing my thesis, I read a lot, I research a lot; but I have not written anything yet.But I thank God that I'm now in my chapter 3 just because I wrote something. I was very ambitious last year to finish at least a chapter, but I failed because I kept on reading and researching but did not put anything down on paper.

Well, that is the introduction to what I want to share in this post. Sometimes our prayer life is liken to my thesis journey. Sometimes we keep on praying and keep on waiting for an answer. We do not realize that if we obediently follow, we will find the answer. Take answering the fulltime call for example. It is always a struggle to answer the call because it is really a cost to follow Jesus. Most of us including myself will have this reaction to pray but scare to make decision to answer call. If we keep on praying and do not answer the call we will not know whether we are call or not. Sometimes we just need to obediently follow and take the courage to answer the call.

Imagine if Joshua has no courage to lead the Israelites into the promise land, and did not obey the call that God asked Moses to pass down the leadership to him. I do not think that the Israelites will win all the battles that they have gone through. Of course one will say that if Joshua is not obey, God will call others to do his will, perhaps Caleb.

This reflection was inspired by the Bishop message in one of his sermons in FCC. He said one thing that captured me and it disturbs my mind. He said that sometimes we have to 'stop' praying and start to obey with action. By saying this, he did not mean to ask us stop praying.

This caused me to think further that OBEDIENT IS AN ACT OF PRAYING as well. It is an act of praying with faith that we might see the results that God has intended for us to see with this step of obedience.

Praying is just the most simplest answer a person could give when they are challenged. We won't move to another higher calling if we do not obey!

That is the difference between obediently praying and praying obediently. Where an adjectives is put can make such a huge difference to an action. Obediently praying is act of praying and obediently answer the call with faith. Praying obediently is just praying (hopefully with faith) without obediently act on it.

An example I can think of now is Abraham. When God commanded him to go to Canaan, he obediently praying. He packed up all his stuff and starts his journey. He does not know what is going to happen, but with faith he knows he will reach his destination as God has promised. Each of his steps to Canaan is a prayer of faith; each of his steps to Canaan is an act obedient in faith.

May the Lord bless us and guide us as we obediently praying in our lives. AMEN
Isaac

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Lord is my shepherd

Ok, I'm in the midst of ethics class now. Hmmm...sound not ethical. But the class starts with a reflection on Psalm 23 AGAIN!! This psalm has non-stop come to us at least for 5 times since last Friday.

hmmm.....what is the message for us?
Isaac

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why Should I Eat in Canteen Anymore?!

Picture paints thousand words. Let my word be few!

Food in canteen @ RM 4.50 - RM 5! This is dinner: 1 meat and 1 vege; lunch is 1 meat and 2 veges. Don't forget that we have to come and prepare the food and wash the dishes. Some more, whether you are eating in or not, that amount still be paid.

Food at Kampung Baru Rahang (5 mins drive) @ RM 3.50. Two meats (both also pork) and one vege. No washing dishes; no preparing food. You pay for the food you like to eat. If you do not eat, you do not need to pay.


What is more to say?
Isaac

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Weaker Brother??

I could never imagine that in seminary there will be weaker brother because I think we are mature enough to come into the seminary to be equipped. Someone told me that it is because we come to be equipped shows that we are weak. Now, you know what I mean as a weaker brother: doing something that will causes your neighbor to stumble. I think, if you are ready to come into seminary, you must be strong in your faith and confident with it already. But sadly, even playing cards, someone will think that it will stumble the students. Just because I am using cards which has Carlsberg, Sports Toto logo on it will cause them to stumble. This is just ridiculous, isn't it?

In words, people say please don't speak so harsh. I don't know when it happens that speaking the truth is treated as harsh. I really don't know how to speak politically correct words. And I do not know why people can mixed manners with politically correct words. Since when if you speak politically correct means that you have manners?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Backstabbing!


We had our Ash Wednesday yesterday. One of the sessions, each year has to share what are the things we need to repent in our lives, community, our country and the world. A particular year said that we need to repent of gossiping, talking about people from behind (in particular). Our year shared on the community living that we are reluctant in spirit to be part of the duty in our community. I was asked to share this to the community, in front of all students and the faculties. I asked the year representative is he sure that he wants me to share. In my heart, I am afraid to pour out all the negative emotions I have with this issue.

I shared. I've said something rather 'radical'. I shared what we shared. I shared what really happens in our community life among the students which most of them afraid to raise it up publicly. I shared that we are reluctant to do gardening, and we need to repent of it. I shared that we need to repent of ignoring our responsibilities in the dorm. I shared we need to repent of our selfishness in library. And I shared that we need to repent of our attitude in the canteen because of the under-cost food. We are grumbling about it. In the end of sharing, we are required to pray for repentance.

I shared publicly, "I am sorry; I need to confess and repent that I do not know how to pray for these items." I just say, "Lord, in your mercy." I was expecting they all to say, "hear our prayer," but it didn't happen. I do not know how to pray for these items because I am struggling with these issues, especially the under-cost food. My struggle is if I repent on behalf of the community, it means that we are not grateful with our food and we need to change our attitude in canteen. And it also means that the one who cook, the one who responsible in this area simply ignoring their responsibilities just by ACCUSING the student of not being grateful with what they have. We all know as students even some of the faculty where the problem is, but blames have to be upon our attitude!

That is why I am struggling. I do not want to use prayer to politicalize the issue. I am not being selfish here. I think the one who need to repent and change is not us as student.

The title of this blog is "backstabbing". My action in chapel has been a discussion in some of the Chinese Pastoral group. I knew this because the students told me. Some defended me. As far as I know, I do not know who back-stabbed me! I was quite angry and disappointed. One hand you pray "WE NEED TO REPENT FOR GOSSIPING AND TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE FROM BEHIND." Just in a short time, you talk about me from behind in your PASTORAL GROUP?! This is just simply HYPOCRITE! Are we all just coming our for the sake of sharing and to be POLITICALLY CORRECT in sharing and praying?


Have mercy upon me, Lord.
Isaac

Monday, March 7, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Love your enemy?

My dad's business was affected during the 1998/99 financial crisis. His business partner cheated his money, and he has to close down his business. My dad of course forced him to pay back the money that he owed to us. At one point we even called the police, but it didn't work. He said he will pay monthly to us. And that is how I can use the money more my tertiary education and completed my degree in finance.

Recently, his daughter added me in Facebook. At first I was suspicious who is this. Many people added me recently whom I do not know them. So famous..:D Anyway, I checked up her photos, and saw her brother who I used to hang out with. I recognized by then that the father is the one who has cheated us! 12 years time had passed. I saw that they are enjoying and my dad is struggling financially.

Mix feelings. Should I be hateful to them? Is their generation. But if not because of him, I might have the chance to go oversea to study. My extended family relationship would not be broken now! And I would not see how my dad being insulted by people especially my uncles! My mum wouldn't struggle to work daily until her health is affected. And my brothers will have the chance to continue their study too.

All these happen because the love of money! I thank God, it is through deepest struggle in my family that my dad accepted Christ and willingly allow my brother and I to serve fulltime, 66.7% of us.

I'm still struggle to love them. I actually has forgotten about it.

So Help Me God,
Isaac

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Altar Call?


I do not know what do you all think about when church has altar call after their preaching. To me, I am still struggle with it. Either we agree or not agree, each party will say that we limit the work of the Holy Spirit. While remaining in struggle and being in church that practice altar call, this my stand if they do so. By saying all these, I have not made my stand yet, but is just my stand because I am in church(es) which practices altar call.

Firstly, do not misused altar call when the preaching is not solid! Most of time from observation and to young preacher, and to preacher with charismatic influence, will tend to do altar call when their preaching is not solid; when they preached not systematically, and they feel that they have failed to deliver the message properly. Sometime you will notice the message is different than the altar call challenge! I'm standing in a position if I would practice altar call, we should not use it when we feel we fail to deliver the message, and try to use psychology to manipulate people. If you feel your sermon is lousy, don't do altar call for you are the one who need the Holy Spirit to minister.

Second, if I were to practice altar call, we must respect people who responded and come up to the front. Most of time we see that when there is an altar call, the worship team will make the music so loud and encourage those who standing and not responded to sing while people in front are being ministered. I think this is just all wrong! It is so hard to minister and pray for those who has accepted the challenge when the music is so loud. We have to yelled at their ear, and sometime we could not hear what is their needs. If you want to have an altar call, make the music soft so that people who have accepted the challenge will be ministered. Sometime, like the first point, music is purposefully made loud to manipulate people feeling that they feel is Holy Spirit prompting them.

These are my main two issue when people practicing altar call.

Isaac





Saturday, February 5, 2011

Boasting?

Philippians 3:4-7 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness, under the law blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

Hmm... I was thinking what is the difference when we share our testimony of following Christ with Paul's.

Isaac





Monday, January 24, 2011

Superb Jan 2011


Jan 2011 going to end in one week. I can say, I have a great and superb January except coming back to seminary to face my academic studies. It is superb month because I've experienced, and experiencing, and continue to experience answered prayers. I've shared some to the church how God has answered my prayers just in the first 2 weeks of January. It really increases my faith and my trust in the Lord that He is always there when I pray. Even simple prayer like looking for a nice parking I experienced it this month when I pray and trust in it!

Let me share one quote from Hudson Taylor that makes my year to be fruitful: God's works done in God's way will not lack God's supply
Picture taken in CEO center, Bangalore

Isaac

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Holding the right thing

I saw the "washing machine"

kaabooooo....

I'm back in STM and the so-called retreat has over. The semester will be starting tomorrow. Nervous! Thesis!

Just want to share some thoughts which is in my mind now. Yesterday, in a small group discussion, we were discussing things that we can give thanks for; so I shared that I give thanks because I'm alive today because 4 years ago I nearly drowned during a water rafting game. After sharing this, I kept on thinking back on the incident.

In 2007, I went for water rafting at Padas River during a staff retreat. Thank God that all of us were safe under His grace. We rented two boats and we were the only two boats that prayed before we started the game, and we were the only two boats that capsized! I sat in front of the boat, and we went into the "Washing-Machine" section. Once our boat hit on the water current, the impact was so great at the place where I was, so I flew few meters away from the boat, but because of the current which was so fast, I was pushed near-by the boat but that time I was in the river already. I went down to the water, I came up and saw the boat and I was supposedly to hold the rope at the side of the boat, but instead of holding it, I hold back my pedal!: I went down into the water and came up, the boat had gone far from me. I tried to yell for help, but the voice just couldn't come out from my throat! Cut the story short, I was saved.

In our lives, we sometimes hold the wrong thing to secure our lives. We thought that what we are holding now will secure us, but it is actually a burden in our lives that caused us into depression, stress and lost our focus in our lives and eventually find that life has no purpose. I was supposed to hold the rope, but I hold the pedal which could not save me from being drowned! Only the rope can. I missed the robe and I was saved because someone on the boat throws the robe back to me. The decision I have to make is to hold the robe so that I can be saved from drowning.

Today, for those of you who are reading this post, if you have missed the first rope, there is the second chance. The rope is from our Lord Jesus Christ. Now your decision is just to accept the rope and be saved for eternity!

Isaac

My personal thought on current church

# 还我教会  Personal reflection on church. (Posted 1 year ago) Matthew13.58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of f...