Four masters at Kung Fu Inn

with ps Thomas, Tammy, Mary

Four masters at Kung Fu Inn

It was beginning to be an annual affair. Tammy Tang would treat us to lunch and we would update each other on what’s been The restauranat at Temple Streethappening in our lives. So there we were, the four of us who served and shared our lives together in WRPF church. Tammy brought us to an interesting kung fu-themed Chinese restaurant along Temple Street in Chinatown. Pardon my ignorance of  the restaurant’s signboard, so I shall just call it Kung Fu Inn. That’s because every table had a plaque on the wall with the name of an ancient kung fu sect. There’s the Shaolin, the Wudang, the beggars sect, with the famous gourd and fan hanging on the wall. We sat at the table with a sword on the wall. Without asking permission, we took the sword from off the wall and its scabbard, and posed with it for fun. It was the real thing, heavy but not sharp.

Chili fish baptized in oil, braised duck, and frog legs

Food for pugilists

Innovative bak changWe enjoyed the food (concocted to improve kung fu capacities) that Tammy ordered: braised duck cooked and stuffed with rice wine residue(for internal strength), frogs’ legs (helps us jump over walls in one leap), some wild vegetables(gives us aggression), fish slices baptized in chili oil (to help us withstand critcisms), and glutinous rice balls with meat and egg fillings (helps us to throw deadly darts accurately). Amidst light banter and ribbing we reminisced between sips of Chinese tea. After the meal, I felt I could have taken on Jet Li and Jackie Chan together, no sweat. We topped up the experience with some famous Chinatown cool-down iced desserts just a minute’s walk away.

Sword wielding modern pugilist, Tammy Tang

Tammy Tang: radio evangelistTammy Tang

Tammy Tang has been writing and telling stories on FEBA radio as a volunteer. Besides that she has been preaching in Teochew or Hokkien on radio. She enjoys what she does and I admire her command of Chinese culture and dialects. She speaks Mandarin, Hokkien, Teochew, and her native dialect, Cantonese. She was a staunch Buddhist and read literally scores on religious books until she came to Christ in a life transforming way. She graduated from her theological studies and served the church for several years. The Lord has used her and is still using her in His kingdom’s work. To listen to the broadcast of this radio evangelist go HERE and click on these program dates 2012-02-06 am [ 28:11 ] and 2012-02-02 pm [ 29:53 ].

Because the pastor said so

Ben drew a deep breath and closed his bank account. All that he had saved for the past decade of working in the premier Administrative Service is now in this cheque that he would put in the offering bags on Sunday. He had been saving to invest in a private property he had been assiduously evaluating. Now he wrote the church’s name on the cheque. There was hesitation, but once he put pen to paper it was quickly over.

He was not the only one. Many in his cell group from the church had already done the same thing over the last few months. In fact he was his usual cautious reluctant self – turning things over in his head till his mind was exhausted and drew a blank. It was not just a matter of copying others in the cell group, or the many other cell groups. The whole church had been feverish about being ready for this greatly anticipated event the pastor had spoken about. Now he has decided to dive in too with the rest of his friends.

The pastor’s words had reverberated in the corridors of churches in Singapore. As the messages were being broadcasted in other countries in the region as well, there had been a groundswell of hostile reactions in Facebook. Many heads of denominations and pastors have taken to pulpits and pen to write against the pastor’s prediction. “Heresy!” they declared. “Dangerous doctrine!” they shouted.

Ben, 34, had heard from colleagues about how other churches had raised the alarm about his pastor’s prediction. This must be how the early Christians felt when opposition battered them, he thought, shaking his head. The pastor had said it, with scriptural backing, scholarly argument and numerical precision too, and that was convincing enough for him. Like him, many in the mega-church, cannot accept what the critics have said, for their lives had changed and became better and happier as a result of being part of the church.

On August 4th, he was among the first to go to the top of the Marina Bay Sands to get a better view. All the earth will see and know, the pastor had said. It would be a spectacle that cannot be ignored by the world’s media.

Ben had not married, not even fallen in love once. He had wanted to travel more, especially to visit the Holy Land, but was too busy to have done so. He hadn’t even had a chance to vote once! Though he was high up there in the civil service, he had not even attended a National Day Parade in his life. As the elevator shot up, regret bit him as he thought of all the things he wished he had done.

He also wondered, How would his meeting with the Lord be? What would he hear the Lord say? He had mixed feelings about meeting the Lord in the air, but the pastor said it would happen on 4th of August, and he had done all he could to prepare for this day.

Because the pastor had said so.

Christmas refrain: Do not be afraid

On my knees I went. Lord, I am anxious about the days ahead. I like being real with God….and getting emotional with God, as I taught the congregation yesterday. And I told him about the two assignments I had to write by Sunday, 20 November. The meetings I had. The sermon I had to prepare. The appointments I had. One assignment had been outlined but not yet written. The other had only been thought about. Such murky “thought about” is like some unseen hungry monster in some dark corner of the room, usually under the bed. If only I had an outline I would feel more at ease. As I waited in silence, his whisper gave me assurance. Trust him to work it out. Trust him to work it out.

These several weeks I have been meditating on the birth narratives of Christ. Appropriately so as the Christmas season approaches. The Incarnation stuns me afresh. God took on human flesh. He who is Spirit is now adorned with flesh, glorified, scarred flesh. He did not tear it off after his ascension like some used dirtied clothing, but left it on himself like his favourite suit. Rightly so, as He wants to be appropriately dressed since He has invited us to the Trinitarian dance.

But of more immediate usefulness are those angelic refrain, Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. Do not be afraid. To Zechariah. To Mary. To Joseph. To the shepherds. To me too. To me too. As it turned out I was able to rejoice at doing all that needed to be done, including additions like a funeral, and all with poise and a remarkable flow of energy, and ahead of schedule too.