16
Feb
17

feelings

There are rare days when I find myself feeling deeply, for no clear reason. There are no major issues or problems, no particular matters I am struggling with. And yet I have moments of strange, deep emotions. If they were joyful, then probably they would be of no worry or concern to me. But just as often they are of more maudlin or melancholic in nature.

But as I walk through the foggy minutes and sometimes hours of inexplicable emotions, I’ve come to realize that perhaps there isn’t anything particularly strange about these moments. That these episodes are okay. Yeah, I suppose Mr. Fil-Chi gets #feels moments that arise out of nowhere. Moments of deep, moving emotion, and not just during socially acceptable instances such as weddings (where this hasn’t happened for me), but even the most mundane of things such as a simple car ride.

And I have come to accept and understand that it is fine to feel deeply. If the Lord God, incarnate in flesh, can weep and feel deeply for many things, so can I. Many of the significant figures of the bible and history have been shown to experience an entire breadth of emotions, ranging from joy to sorrow.

I don’t know sometimes what purpose being able to feel and express all these emotions will have. No doubt there are beneficial things to it, of course. But I haven’t quite gotten to that point yet where I can clearly declare and acknowledge them. Perhaps in time, as God provides through experiences and wisdom, I shall appreciate it better.

For now though, sure, I’d like to get to know myself better.

12
Feb
17

a good discipler (CCF IDC 2017 Plenary 01)

#ccfidc2017

#ccfidc2017

Jumping back into my #noteposts, I decided to start with one of the major events I attended earlier this year – the CCF Intentional Discipleship Conference 2017. Kicking off CCF’s Leadership conference in 2017 was Sam Chand. A returning speaker to CCF’s annual conference, Sam tackles the idea of being a discipler or one who disciples others with a brief story of how his father came to Christ. His dad became a Christian on the street, watching two women sing and testify about God. He found himself instantly anointed as a pastor of a small church, which by God’s grace multiplied. Sam also was pulled into the service of the church in a rather abrupt way. However, he states that his biggest regret was that although he was discipled, he was not taught how to be a discipler.

Sam goes from here to an example of Jesus Christ – in Luke 6:12-13 we read that after praying on the mountain all night, Christ chose 12 whom He named the Apostles. We know that the 12 would be instrumental in testifying about Jesus. It would not be a leap of thought to think that from Day One, Jesus knew the kind of people He wanted to take point after His roughly 3.5 years on Earth. But what qualities were these? Sam gives us some ideas to consider and which he calls STAFF Qualities.

  1. Strong – This means the kind of people who are thick-skinned, who can handle correction and instruction. A strong heart and confidence in who they are in the Lord is needed. A person in a leadership position needs this to be able to grow and to bear the criticism that will come their way.
  2. Teachable – A teachable spirit is also desired. Someone who can place themselves in a learning perspective is invaluable. This is because if we are learning all the time, we are growing all the time. If we stop growing, we become the ceiling that limits those under us.
  3. Attentive – People who learn quickly, who pay attention so that when they are learning, it is effective and do not require many repetitions.
  4. Firm – The quality of being able to stand firm and not be blown about by the manipulations of people. These are people who know where they need to go, who know their calling. They are well-grounded and do not allow passive-aggressive people to deter them.
  5. Faithful – These are people who know whom to trust and be faithful to. They are clear with whom they will support or follow in life. This can be a subordinates (being faithful leaders to those under us) or authority figures (bosses, pastors, etc.).
Sam Chand @ CCF Intentional Discipleship Conference 2017. Picture by Derrick Ian Lim

Sam Chand @ CCF Intentional Discipleship Conference 2017. (Picture by Derrick Ian Lim)

As an exercise, we were asked to pick which of the five qualities was a weakness for us – and why? We were asked to visualize and commit it to God to help us improve, by the power of the Spirit. Of the five, I know most of them are a weakness for me, which probably shows my current lack of leadership qualities! But I believe I have, by God’s grace, been making some improvement with the above definitions of being Strong and Teachable. Being Attentive and Firm, probably, are still much less developed – as evidenced by my still fairly frequent mistakes when doing tasks or chores for my mom (for example) and my tendency to have my opinion swayed by others.

Chand wrapped up his talk by pointing out some of the apostles and how their unique qualities were used:

  • Matthew was written with an attention to detail and genealogy that spoke to the Jews and with the orientation of an accountant.
  • Peter was known to be rather crude and brash, but Christ entrusted much to him, and he proved an effective and outspoken proponent in the days of the early church.
  • John the Beloved was the one whom Christ entrusted the care of his earthly mother.
  • Thomas, who is often known as the “doubter”, proved to be the one who spread the gospel to the furthest reaches of the earth – seeding the Word of God in far-off India.

Christ chose His apostles well and deployed them where their gifts worked, teaching them and modeling a life which they could then pass on to others. By the power of the Spirit, they spread the good news of Christ, which continues to be passed along up to this day. While this is surely due to the eternal and undying Will of God, there are key learnings that we can certainly use here in our own churches and organizations. With wisdom and intentionality, much can be achieved with the people that God places into our lives.

08
Feb
17

an encouraging prayer

Prayer is not a very foreign concept for most people. People may have very different understandings of it and a wide variety of feelings about it, but it is something familiar to a great many. In the society I come from, in particular, prayer could be said to be common and widespread. Regardless what religion one is in this country, prayer is known. Even atheists and agnostics may not particularly spurn the prayer of others, at least if it’s well-meaning and of the more gracious sort.

It is often said, “Pray for me bro/sis”, when we are in times of difficulty. Prayer can soothe and encourage us. It shows the one who is being prayed for that the person cares for them to share their thoughts and intent for their well-being, offering it to the Lord. It shows a person that the one praying may genuinely care for them or wish them the best. It is an opportunity to show one’s heart and reach out to another, an act of love and intentionality.

As I read through John 17, some thoughts popped into my head. Christians (of all sorts) in particular are fond of asking others to pray for them. Intercessory prayer. This is practiced by all the “types” of Christianity in the country, from the institutionalized prayers of the Roman Catholics to the more spontaneous and individual prayers of other denominations. But looking directly at the bible, I find myself reminded that it is easy to forget that the ultimate intercessor of any believer of Christianity is Jesus Christ, Himself.

John 17 shows us that Christ prayed about God’s plan for His life, just like many of us do. It shows that Christ prayed for those close to him, His 12 apostles and all those who believed Him in the days of old. And it also shows us that Christ prayed for me – for all of us today – who believe in His name and the testimonies of those who call him Lord and Savior. He does not pass it on to anyone else. He takes it upon Himself to show His personal love and attention for me, and each and every one of His faithful, done in perfect humility and purpose.

Truly, it is an encouraging and empowering thing to know that He, to whom all authority on this earth has been given, loves us and prays for us.

06
Feb
17

sin, life, love

I frequently get caught in with a particular thought – that desire gives rise to sin. And sin, when full-grown, gives birth to death. Often, I stumble in the kind of life I know I should be living. Often, I know my feet tracking dirt, the sensation that the chains of the grave are still binding my life.

Often, I forget that the love of God has awakened me from all things – from sin, from death. When I remember this, I remember that His love never runs out on me. And it is the kind of love that not only has forgiven me all things in grace but the kind of love that lifts me up in so many ways.

It is a love that disciplines me and encourages me. A love that provides hope alongside a firm guiding hand. A love that cares more for maturity than for comfort. It is the kind of love that pushes me ahead when I want to settle, that grows me beyond what I am at ease accomplishing.

It calls me to care, to live, and to think in ways I would never want to or be able to on my own. It is the kind of love that can change a life – that can turn one away from sin to love as well. This is God’s love and this is the life He calls me to walk – stumbling, slipping, until by His grace I may get my footing to run the race He calls me to run.

It is a love that one day, I know and hope, can help me say I have run the race, and run it well.

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08
Jan
17

psalmic vi

My soul longs to walk in the cool of night and meet You in the peace of darkness

To look out upon the moonlight on the grass fields and hear the rush of water swept aside

 

There is peace in a song of silence, speaking unbound hymns of the heart

A melody cast out into the shadows, formed of feelings remit to Thee

 

01
Jan
17

Turning from 2016 to 2017

Going into 2016, I remember having a plan. I was deliberate, organized, and had goals lined up for what I was going to do and achieve that year. Now on the surface, this sounds like a good idea – and certainly having goals and plans are not a bad thing at all. As they often say, failing to plan is planning to fail. But the problem I didn’t foresee was that I was making all these plans and forgetting (as I often do) a more fundamental part of what got me to that significantly more purposeful level of life. I forgot to leave room for the Lord’s sovereignty in my plans and to give Him the override codes to whatever it was that I wanted to do.

As 2016 ended, I achieved practically none of these things.

With a certain point of view, one might say I had wasted much of the year. But the feeling of a long plateau this year had taught me what I really want to keep – a clear and close relationship with God. While this is nothing new, the one thread that I consistently felt was that I was dissatisfied with the richness and depth of my time with the Lord. Except for a brief period in the middle of the year, this relative distance – a feeling of knowing His presence was nearby but not something I was able to communicate with, was perplexing and saddening. It was as if I was feeling a sense of warmth through numbed fingers. There, but not quite experiencing the fullness of it.

It was enough for me to muddle my way through the year. Despite the odd state, God blessed me with what I consider a productive year at work and a lot of memorable experiences (vacations, etc.) which I’m sure I’ll appreciate more as time goes on and things sink in. Going into 2017, I think I’ll have some simpler and more fundamental goals with regards to my life – to continue to find my whole identity in Christ and to find my joy and pleasure in the knowledge of my God.

Farewell 2016, 2017 is here. Thanks for the bit of clarity that the year has brought me, in the relative quietness of the year. I look forward to simply having more experiences and memories with You, Lord.

28
Nov
16

B1G 12: Commit

B1G12: Commit

B1G12: Commit

Every year for the past few years, I’ve been attending the CCF B1G Singles Discipleship Conference. Funny enough, every year I go into it troubled or struggling with my heart and mind. I question my ability to serve. I question my motivations. I question my purity and spiritual qualifications. I question whether or not I have a good enough testimony to be there. And every year the Lord simply takes whatever I have and uses it. This year was no different from the rest.

I could say I approached B1G12 with decidedly less enthusiasm, emotional involvement, and excitement than previous years. I felt less attached and less connected to the ministry as a whole, which was a reflection on my own lowered connection to Christ. It was a mirror of my entire year thus far, a general ebb from the Lord. I had been struggling with a lot of things in my head. I had questioned why I couldn’t overcome some habitual sins and behaviors and why wasn’t I living a victorious life.

W20161126_190125ith all of this bubbling below the surface, I find it providential that God nudged me into volunteering as a full-time volunteer in Logistics. Although I had helped out in what has become a ‘usual’ capacity for Marketing, what the Lord used to teach me this year was my work in Logistics. I have never been a particularly fit person. But there is an almost cleansing simplicity to be found in doing this kind of work. You see the literal work of your hands help to build something which serves people. And in this, the Lord humbled me.

Surrender, He spoke. I had to let go of all the complicated things that were bothering me in my head. When you are there, you simply move and look for things to do to help people. We lifted when we needed to lift. And we did a lot of lifting. It was funny because God also lifted my focus out of myself and back towards Him. It was not complicated at all. I didn’t need to worry about qualifications, just to seek Him to best of my abilities. He knew I wouldn’t be a man of exceptional and speckless character – but what He wants are people who are willing to serve, people who would obey as best as they could His direction.

I have rarely felt as worn out as I have. And perhaps I didn’t experience quite that setting aflame as I wished. But I suppose that isn’t what I needed. What I needed was to realize that God is really always there with me. I had simply been crowding His presence out with all the complications I had built up in my own heart and mind, squeezing out the joy of simple communion with He who has called me Friend. There was no difference in how God viewed be when I first began to really surrender to Him and in how I was doing it now. I was loved, I was given grace, and I am still and will always be treasured in a myriad number of ways.A Light in the Dark

I did not need to borrow worries – I just had to do my walk with Him, one step at a time, and He would be there for each step. That was His commitment to me. And that is my desire to commit to Him. All glory and praise to Christ.