Monday, December 26, 2011

SIB Likas (E) - Christmas weekend - 24-25.12.2011

Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year 2012!

It was great that the New Fellowship Hall was completed in time for Christmas, and for ushering in the New Year 2012.

Our student friends from SIB Alive presented a Christmas medley in the New Hall.

Young Christians and pre-Christians from Malaysia and China.

Backed by an international team of musicians.

After that, we were entertained with an action-packed movie clip produced by the church media team. I could imagine the amount of sweat and labour put into the production... the actors, costumes, shooting angles and motions, lightings, sound tracks, editing... everything done to excellence. I salute you guys. More to come?

Then auntie Janny shared her story of surviving breast cancer, and the miracles she experienced along the way... such as having an Oncologist right in our church, and the government employing a Cardio-thoracic Surgeon in KK. Many times, we see illnesses break even strong people. Not very often do we see people emerging even stronger from a horrible illness. My mentor Steven Wu also had a close brush with death while battling NPC. Today he goes around telling everybody how he was transformed from a church leader near despair, into a spokesperson who could not stop talking about the power of God.

This year we had an invited preacher who flew in all the way from Delhi... Dr. P.G. Vargis, the founder of the Indian Evangelical Team. Despite his busy schedule, he HAD to come... coz our pastor has the same name as his wife, and therefore commanded the same 'fear & obedience'... hehehe.

The evening before, Dr. Vargis had a session with church members. He was a very good story teller and actor (I think dancer as well). He shared with us stories about his missionary work in India, how he walked in unwavering faith, and experienced the realness of God first-hand.
  • Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What He did in the New Testament days, he can still do today.
  • pray for your own train to come back. Don't just harap Dr. Vargis, or your pastor to pray for your train.
  • 'I will keep praying and keep coming back to check my blood, until I get my miracle'... and he got cured of chronic diabetes in 5 days.
  • he prayed for his mentally-retarded little girl to be accepted into a regular school. She did. She finished 49th out of 50 pupils in the first year, and kept getting better and better. Today she is married and doing a PhD in the USA, to be conferred 'Dr.' Annie Vargis soon.
  • what gift did you bring for God this year? He does not need your money, or little presents. Did you win any soul for Him?
  • don't think that evangelising in India is easy... preachers and believers get ostracised, tortured, even killed. But we still baptised 600 people in a day! How did we do it? We never stop telling people about Jesus.

On Christmas day, Dr. Vargis chose not to preach on Jesus' birth... coz everybody else would be talking about it, and Jesus was definitely not born on a cold winter night. He talked about the story in John 21 (google it) about the risen Jesus appearing to his fishermen disciples.
  • John 21:4 Why did the disciples not recognise Jesus? Because they have been at sea (the turbulent world out there) for too long.
  • John 21:6 They were still casting nets the usual way, but got a bountiful harvest this time... what made the difference? Before that they were labouring in their own strength, this time they laboured in obedience to Jesus.
  • John 21:7 Why did Peter acted so kiasu? Because he was a Singaporean. Hahaha... no la. He wanted to be first to meet Jesus. He had only Jesus in his mind... the other disciples were still thinking about their catch, the boat etc.
  • John 21:9 Why did Jesus prepare a coal fire? Because he knew the fishermen would be shivering on return from sea at dawn. Jesus knows our basic needs, and he knows how to provide for them. Read 'basic needs', not luxurious fancies.
  • Do not be nÄ“pios (little children) that keep running back to your pastor to change your soiled nappies... (rhymes well isn't it). Grow up, folks.

At lunch time, Dr. Vargis came over to lay hands on Izac, and prayed that he will be 'smart, talk, and run, just like my daughter'.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

SIB Skyline - The Prodigal Father - 23.12.2011

I was so glad to be able to attend the last show of the Christmas Musical held in SIB Skyline. Words got around that the musical was soooo good, that the final night was a sold-out. Many thanks to MikeChen for the last-minute ticket.

Passionate, energetic, dazzling, extravagant... this musical first-timer was truly impressed! A wonderful fusion of the best of vocal prowess, theatrical drama, clever interplay of lights and sounds, and stunning graphics.

It was told that once upon a time, somewhere in the jungles of Borneo lived a father with his two sons. Older brother was the honest and industrious kampung guy, and younger brother was the tech-savvy free spirit who longed for the lights of the city.

Younger brother got to know a city girl via Facebook. (Lesson 1: make sure your kampung got line, and get a MacBook). City girl invited younger brother to leave the kampung and promised to show him the city. (Lesson 2: don't chat too much with girls on FB). He left home as the family was organising his birthday dinner party. Dad was heartbroken, and left the party immediately to look for his son. Elder brother was wallet-broken and lost face... and that made him really mad... and he sang 'What About Me, It Is Not Fair' in anger.

Younger brother enjoyed dancing around with his city girl friends, not realising that they were prancing on him. (Lesson 3: be careful of city girls). Soon he got into deeper s*it, and became a drug pusher.

In the mean time, dad ALMOST found younger brother in the bar he used to hang out. Elder brother tagged along, and for a while he set his eyes on the pretty sweeties and almost got swayed (Lesson 4: looks can be deceiving). His father's love for younger brother touched him, and he regained focus.

Unfortunately, the long arm of the law got to younger brother first. He was sentenced to death.

Dad offered to take his son's place in exchange for his life. And amazingly, the judge said OK. And so the story ended with younger brother being freed from the punishment of his sin, because his dad paid the cost with his life. Quite similar to the story in the Bible... you got freed because Jesus paid with His life.

And the best artist of the night was... (drumroll...) Dr. Philip Lyn. Man... he could effortlessly rattle off in flawless English, with flowing sentences, perfect tone and stirring emotions... all done in-promptu. Wow! Indeed they saved the best for last.

The team members came back on stage to acknowledge the applause.

I was too tired post-call to stay on to chat. As I was leaving, there was music in the air as a group of carollers sang beneath a tall Christmas tree. What a double treat!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

SIB Likas (E) - New Fellowship Hall 18.12.2011

The New Fellowship Hall was unveiled to the church today. We had our inaugural Sunday Service there, sort of a dry run to prepare for the big thing next week... Christmas!

The place was just... WOW! The solemn earth tones, the gentle lightings, the classy light holders... balanced by the groovy black & orange colour seatings... beautiful. The hall acoustics was pretty good... and will just get better with more fine-tuning.

The seats were so comfortable, Izac was impressed.

Things got even better with Huan preaching an aptly message on 'Transitions', sporting a fluorescent-green tie.

As Didi said... the church is very excited about the year ahead, and the many potentials that the NFH holds. Unfortunately, I have moved on by then.

SIB Alive - Christmas Celebration 17.12.2011

Somebody came up with a wonderful idea of having a Christmas Celebration for our student friends and their friends... and it happened.

The SIB Alive centre was nicely decorated by the students themselves. Many thanks to uncle Say Hoe for bringing their Christmas tree from home.

Joyce getting to know the newcomers.

It's fun to hang out with friends.

The kids were having fun too.

Bright red caps to liven up the event.

It was so great to see the student centre filled. May God consider us worthy to bring more pre-Christians into our midst in 2012.

Jovial Wei Kiat was the emcee for the night. 

An event by the students, for the students. Joe, our in-house-trained guitarist led the worship along with Li Yen, Shu Wei and Xiang Yee.

Students from China and Malaysia.

Well done, good and faithful servants.

Daren shared a meaningful message on Jesus being the true friend... complete with wacky props such as an injection needle and a dog leash. Then Wei Kiat played a video clip that he made, showcasing the activities that we had in SIB Alive over the years.

The night continued with games and laughter, but I had to leave early.

I believe the Christmas Celebration will leave a deep impression in the hearts of all who came. As it was written in the good Book... the word that was preached will not return empty, but will achieve the purpose for which it was sent.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Goodbye, Logos Hope

Yesterday, a team from the ship came to our church. There was a ship-pastor (who claimed to have flowing black hair once upon a time) from Singapore, and crew members from Hong Kong, Australia and South Africa. And they sang for us '... with Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm, smile at the storm...' I wished. They reminded us... folks, it's the LAST DAY of the Logos Hope on Malaysian waters!

Must go la like that. Who knows, can grab some stock clearance sales.

I spotted familiar faces. He succeeded in resisting the temptation to buy more books... what a feat!

True to the Malaysian spirit, the last-minute crowd was huge!

Actually, I went there to attend an event.

The Next Step... 'a program for people who are interested in knowing more about the Logos Hope ministry and how to get involved in other parts of the world. Find out what your Next Step could be'. And it's FREE... yet only a handful attended. Free things no good, good things no free? Hmm...

They started with a short play.
Girl in front: 'Who will free me from my chains? ... urrgghh... #@!&%... '
Girl at the back: '... what? who's calling? God? Louder please, I can't hear you! Line no good la...'
Guy at the back: '... ok God, loud and clear here... you want her to go rite, not me rite? I am busy la, I can't go... don't send me... send her'
The play was silent, so I added the script.

Then they showed a video about Operation Mobilisation's origins, vision, progress, and achievements. The ship ministry is only a part of OM, and they are running many other projects around the globe... even in Malaysia!

The handsome emcee invited three crew members (a Singaporean, a Paraquay-ean, and an American) to share about their respective journey with the cruise. There was a Q&A... I asked the magic question... who gave you guys money to spend for two years on the ship ah... ($ drop from the sky meh)?

Sigh, if I had been younger, I would have gone travelling with this international cruise. That would be just soooOOO... awesome!

Hmm... OM, at most I can do is volunteer myself to be a government-sponsored missionary doctor into the interiors of Borneo (sounds exotic isn't it)... and you guys don't even have to pay me a single sen. How about that... can I sign up?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

SIB Likas (E) - Appreciation Dinner 10.12.2011

The church had a simple dinner last night. Simple but extraordinary. All the diners had to wear a corsage before they were allowed to eat.

We came, we ate, then we talked business.

Cell group leaders shared their ups and downs for the past one year. It's good time for reflection as 2011 comes to a close.

Gosh, it sure wasn't easy being CG leaders. They had to accommodate people with all kinds of temperaments... and see CG members leave due to disagreements... and the pain of being criticised despite giving their best. It was a time for healing of wounds, and perhaps scars. Luckily, Pr Jerry and Lily brought a generous dose of home-remedy to sooth aching hearts... and muscles.
  • being a leader is a privilege... you are given the opportunity to experience extraordinary growth
  • the higher you go, the more you will kena. Jesus kena a lot, do you expect anything less?
  • nobody is perfect... you and I are work in progress
  • do not just see the speck in your brother's eye and yet overlook the log that is in your own eyes
  • whether big group or small group, growing group or shrinking group, every cell group that perseveres is a success
  • when you take a step back and look again, you will see that there are many good things sprouting out from that seemingly mess...there are new leaders being primed, growth in CG numbers, people getting excited to attend CGs, people getting baptised, members contributing to ministries... $$$ to build the new hall...
  • don't just focus on the pests... look at the fruits too, and celebrate!
  • there are wheat and weeds in the church... don't simply pluck out the weeds, or you may uproot the wheat accidentally... leave it to the harvester's timing
  • when you impact your CG member well, you are in fact impacting the marketplace thru his/her sphere of influence... and that blesses the community
  • if you want to retire, don't complain when God takes back the talents he gave you
  • if you hentam Pr Jerry, he can hentam you back kau-kau, and you can never get back at him... but God has taught him to exercise control over that skill
Tommy gave a useful handle to enter 2012... take initiative, open your mouth, and see God work it out.

It's Christmas season

When can I play with a real snow man?

Guess what I was carrying in those bags.... hint: Christmas gift from grandma.