Not too late to write

JohnI have written out of necessity to pass my theological exams and in the course of pastoral work. I have also steadily kept journals since I was in National Service, after I became a Christian. These were mainly my devotional jottings, prayers, feelings, and sermon ideas. However in recent years, I have experienced an unrelenting consuming desire  to express myself through blogging. I now recognize it as a call to write, though at that time I merely viewed it as an act of faith and obedience to God’s prompting to enter blogosphere.

I wished I had started writing more seriously when I was younger but God knew better. I needed to live and serve and reflect. I needed to fumble and experience and grow. Furthermore, the writing passion in me could only be released and expressed through Web 2.0, a platform that is just five years old, and that makes publishing online so easily accessible to computer illiterates like me. So it wasn’t too late, but actually in good time, in His time.

Moses was  a senior citizen when the Lord told him, “Write down these words…..”(Exodus 34:27). It was not in the most ideal of times when the call to write came to Moses. He was under great stress. He was pastoring about two million grumbling Israelites in the desert. He had no time to spare. He was eighty years old.

My heart leapt when I saw that John of Patmos received the call to write at the tail end of a ripe old age. While he was in enforced silence and solitude in the island of Patmos, the Lord appeared to him and said, “Write on a scroll what you have seen…” (Revelations 1:11).

Its not too late to write. And write I will.

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Peter Loke

Peter LokeHis name was Peter Loke and I forgot his name. He greeted me by name as we stood in the Suntec covention hall elevator together with the guest workshop speaker on a wheel-chair. I was impressed he remembered my name, and I felt I had mattered to him.  I was embarassed and perturbed that I knew his name but my mental secretary could not retrieve the folder with his name in it. Granted he was an acquaintance I got to know in merely a few meetings a decade ago when he explained to me some of the Eagles ministry programs.  He was gentle, friendly, warm and clear in communication. I liked him and wondered why this nice guy wasn’t married then. I remembered having pulled his leg about this until one day he happily informed me he had tied the knot, and I went, Praise the Lord, that’s wonderful! So I kicked myself for not remembering his name and later during the leadership conference when I found out his name I was looking for an opportunity to say, Hey Peter Loke, so that he knows he is somebody to me, but it was not to be.  Now its really too late. This morning I saw three obituaries for Peter Loke and my heart dropped like a breakfast plate. Lord, he’s just about my age. Another one just after Anthony Yeo is one too much. I wish I had remembered his name. I wish I had time to say, Hey Peter Loke! I wish I had coffee with him. Now he has gone home.

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Premier League 09/10 predicitons

eplI don’t play football. I watch the occasional “big” matches, or watch the video clips of the goals that were scored. And I do like reading up news about football. Its a habit from the time I was in Secondary school. Reading the news from the sports page at the back to the headlines in the frontpage. Now the news are more up to date online. Since I started blogging, I have tried predicting every year but got it right only once. Forgot which year. But its very unpredictable the Premier league, more so with the rise of the Asian dragons and tigers and their bookies. Yes, of course there probably is some “betting” influence on the major games. I may sound cynical, but actually I am being very realistic about human greed. But before I ramble off on a tangent, here are my personal predictions based on gut feel:

Champions : CHELSEA: (they have the pace, muscle, experience and master tactician)

Runners up: LIVERPOOL, (bridesmaid again: they sold the chance to be champions for 30m pounds when they sold the lungs of the team)

3rd: MANCHESTER (without Ronaldo and Tevez)

4th: ARSENAL (without a “Viera-like enforcer” in the middle of the park)

What are yours?

Tonight the matches begin!

Note: Blogpastor is a fan of Arsenal and would have loved to play professionally for them this year as an enforcer but the coach only takes in kids under 25 years, and anyway my church would not consider this a proper sabbatical! 🙂

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Teaching and writing

Jesus writingThey say the early manuscripts do not carry this pericope but I am unreservedly captivated by it and more so last Sunday as I meditated on it and was struck by the timely insight that the gifts that God uses in my life were strongly figured and exemplified in Jesus’ ministry in this passage in the gospel of John chapter 8. You know the woman who was caught in adultery and the teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought her to Jesus as he was TEACHING, and asked him a trap question, ” What should be done with this woman. The Law stipulates that she should be stoned.” The word “teach” got underlined and highlighted as I notice that all throughout my life I have had a passion and anointing to explain and apply spiritual insights from God’s Word to people’s lives. And I have always had good feedback about the clarity and impact of what I teach. So over the years I have become convinced that this is the Lord’s spiritual gift woven into my life to build up the church.

Jesus not only taught by speaking. In this case, He demonstrated the forgiveness of the Kingdom through action, firstly by stooping down to write. Some said he wrote on the floor the ten commandments, as the Law made the accusers conscious of their sins and they left in shame one by one when Jesus said, “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”  I am Pentecostal, so I am biased to a Pentecostal twist as to what he wrote. I think he wrote on the ground the specific sins of each of the accusers with great accuracy and the Holy Spirit convicted each one of his sins. Anyway what struck me is that he WROTE. My dad did not encourage me much and tell me what I am good at, but I remember him saying that I can express myself well in writing and so it has been a strength I have been sort of conscious of though I have never intentionally developed it. However four years ago, a step of faith into blogosphere has helped me to see writing on the web as an extension of my ministry, a modern means of communication that surpasses books in its reach and impact, and one that is geared to the new generation of internet savvy young people. I have since begun to see writing as a gift of increased value, and which I need to develop deliberately and deploy faithfully. I am also mindful as I meditate on this passage that the first and only recorded incidence of Jesus writing was combined with his teaching ministry to eradicate shame, fear, and condemnation by a declaration of full and free forgiveness available in Him.

I was blessed by the meditation, as I have been focusing more and more as a leader seeking convergence, so that all my experiences, and training and skills, and my understanding of what God had been doing, and is currently doing in my life, is moving towards the sharp tip of the arrowhead hitting the purpose the Father had painted. Our giftedness and anointing always point to our destiny and purpose of being. I feel focused, enthused and confident.

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My wishes for Singapore

IMG_0086Since I started blogging I have posted my prayers for Singapore whenever the National Day approached. Over the years I have seen a change in the sentiments expressed in those prayers and wishes . This year I am more positive and upbeat than I have ever been about my country.

Part of it is because I realized I have been quite a complainer and grumbler about the Singapore government. I get upset mainly because of the uneven playing field every time election came round. Also because I had not seen enough being done for the poor and sick. Also because policies have been forced on us despite the strong feedback from the ground -case in point is the increase in the GST. However valid my unhappiness may have been, a harsh critical and complaining attitude was just not a gracious Christian response. So I have changed in this respect because of the Word.

Another reason is I have seen the government take some encouraging steps in the right direction and made some concessions. They are loosening up and allowing for more freedom of expression. They are doing more for the poor and needy. They are going to allow the opposition wards breathing space and upgrading of lifts. At last Potong Pasir and Hougang residents will get to savor some “just reward” for not wavering in voting in the opposition despite pressure not to do so.

Thirdly, when I see the generals killing the Buddhist monks in Myanmar; the reds and yellows in an unending tug of power in Thailand; and the unbelievable and incredible that is so characteristic of the frustrating circus called Malaysian politics, I find the stability and grinding sameness of Singapore politics a desirable opium. The latter two may look more like thriving democracies, but I still prefer the orderly and neat Singaporean version, or rather the Lee vision. Looks like I have shifted in my sentiments and have taken on a more tolerant stance towards the principalities and powers.

Anyway I wish for Singapore…..

More land (either by reclamation or rejoining the federation), so that it doesn’t get overcrowded. I am thanking God I probably won’t be around to see the population grow to 6 million. I am not xenophobic, but I like my space.

More compassion and care for the poor and needy, and also the senior citizens, since I am getting there too.

More sensitivity, humility and justice amongst all policymakers and those in authority.

A  less stressful life for all workers and students;  that they can slow down, breathe deeply, and enjoy the simple pleasures of family and life.

For greater tolerance of failure and celebration of perseverance, creativity, and risk taking.

Cheaper housing for young couples and families.

Less people emigrating to Australia.

I wish for Singapore to survive and indeed to thrive and keep surprising everyone.

Share with us your wishes and prayers for Singapore.

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