Time to slow down 2

As the previous article says, if we fast forward our life to get an end result, we certainly will miss out lots good things along the way. And sometimes, we realised God changed our plan from our busyness whatever our plans were. We might thought that as a curse for some reason we don’t succeed from our work. And the truth is, we won’t succeed from our work. If you think that’s just a little punishment from God, you probably would like to reconsider that.

In Jeremiah 29, The Lord commanded the exiles to build house and live in them, get married and having babies at the same place for 70 years. Would you think if The Lord asked you to stay at one Place for 70 years is a punishment? But The Lord’s intention is to ask the exiles to slow down, and start from doing something basic, take time to enjoy the creation The Lord made it, and mostly to take time to know God.

So The Lord is actually saying, “hey buddy, I will give you plenty of time to know me, maybe a whole life time? 70 years!!!” So slow down. In 29:11-14, The Lord made his intention clear:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares The Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares The Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile. “

Let’s slow down and consider the purpose of the task we are doing, to get to know Him better through the progress rather than skipping steps. Recently, I bought a ice cream maker, and it makes tasty ice cream unless I follow the steps. Of course it starts with something basic like stirring eggs with sugars. I enjoyed the whole progress of making ice cream. But the ice cream is still rocking hard compare to what we get from the supermarket. Then I did the research why mine was hard, but commercial ones were soft, and I found some suggested solutions to improve for the next time. However, the point I want to make was, if I skipped some steps of making ice cream, firstly I wouldn’t know if I can still make the final product? And secondly, if things went wrong, I would have no clue which step I did wrong. Or I fast forward to the last step, which was eating ice cream… I wouldn’t know how and what ice cream was made of?

To seek God with our full heart is like learning making ice cream, it takes time. And we need to start with very basic things, to slow down, to appreciate His creation for us, to understand his plans for us. God is not looking for how much great things you have done on the earth, but simply our heart with full submission to Him.

Time to slow down 1

Caught a train with a friend together from Melbourne to Geelong. Somehow the train went on the wrong track after departed from Southern Cross station. I didn’t actually realise that, because I was quite tired Sunday afternoon usually. But my mate (I coincidently met him on the train) pointed out to me:” hey Ben, it’s Kensington station, we are on the way to Bendigo.” And an announcement from the speaker confirmed afterwards that the train went on the wrong track, and it’s returning back to Southern Cross to depart again.

So basically, our train to Geelong was 15 minutes behind schedule due to a short potential Bendigo trip. And once the train got on the right track, we waited for about another 5 mins before New Port Station due to some track work maintenance there. So we missed out the scheduled bus home, and planning on a different one. Due to AFL game dismiss, the main road was block for people to walk through, so we eventually missed out another bus home.

But the afternoon wasn’t bad at all, or I can say it’s one of the best I ever had. Indeed when things didn’t run as us scheduled, we became frustrated. But I am not kidding. Somehow, it makes me think about sometimes we focused too much on our own schedules, but the one Lord wants us to enjoy. It might take longer time, but he certainly wants us to enjoy the time. And when we run things under our own schedule, we forgot about the. Lord’s purposes for us. Myself for example, when I studied at the University of Melbourne, God made me through from one degree to Architecture, and got all the course plans worked out by the supervisor. But I didn’t follow that plan, all I did was to fast track the course, did more summer course to finish my course. Did I succeed on that? Not really. Although I did well for my summer subjects, I still failed one of the subjects during the normal semester.

When I sat on the train, it makes me thinking that God is in control of everything, and why I didn’t follow what he prepared for me? We want to get things done within our own schedule, or even fast tracking, but what can we do now? Sitting on the train and just waiting, or to enjoy every moment I suppose to?

Also I want to make a point that sometimes when I fast tracked things and to get them done, I did that for the purpose of ourselves, for our own wills, so we can get on to the next event quickly. As an oversea student, I don’t think God helped me change the course from Engineering to Architecture for the purpose of receiving Premium Residency in Australia, but to apply these skills to bring glory to God, to serve him better through our local communities and jobs. I admit that I did fast tracked things to get things done for my own purposes, rather to serve The Lord within his timing, because His timing is always right for me, and for you, too. If we forgot about Lord while fast tracking things, why not slow done and enjoy things The Lord already prepared for us?

P.S. It was a great time to spend on this journey with my mate. Of course we had extra time on chatting things which we don’t normally get.

A Little Thank You

Remembered a conversation I had with a man two years ago, after sharing my life stories, he said to me: “Ben, cherish everything you have been given by God!” Life is not about complaining, it is about praising everything God did in my life. Truly I have lots things to thank for. 

To my family, for raising me, and keep supporting me through this long journey, even though I went on many wrong paths with lots failures, you still support and encourage me to put me back on the right track. I know how hard this road is, and will be in the future, but I won’t give up. 

To my Scottish mentors, thank you for guiding me and encouraging me on trying new things, and no more baby feeding on me. Still remembered the first time I worked as an associate in the office, the very first day, how nervous I was, I just couldn’t believe everything I learned in school turns into real practices. And it was the first time by myself on doing real projects. 

To my dear brothers, you know who you are, thanks for every prayer you did for me, and keeping me accountable in my life. I want to tell you something: every little message you texted me, or left for me means a lot to me. Thank you for every chapter of my life. 

What Men are Really Like?

When God made Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, he gave different responsibility to MAN and WOMAN.

Man is the spiritual leader of the family, and woman is the spiritual helper to the man. When those two come together, it becomes one flesh. However, it seems doesn’t work like this way in the modern world. Many women prefer to take over the power of man in the society, and in the family because of their social positions. You might be heard of this a lot: woman has hold the highest position of the household to maintain her security of marriage. But does it really work like this way?

Don’t give me wrong, women are quite significant in our society, and I am not saying MAN should rule the family like a King. There is compromise in between man and woman in one family.

Ok, let’s make this more clear by asking this question: In the Garden of Eden, Eve took first fruit from the tree, but why Adam was the first human recognised as sinner by God? You know why? Because God said to Adam, he commanded Adam to do work in the garden (Gen 2:15), its your responsibility to look after her, and making sure not to eat the fruit which I commanded you. (Gen 3:17) But what did Adam do instead? He mucked around, played with birds and flowers.

That makes me think about marriage, when God created Adam as MAN, he wants Adam to be the spiritual leader to the woman, to enjoy the happiness of life. When we choose partners for our marriage, do we consider that? Maybe a man married a woman which high social power, who is going to lead the family? If the man is a person who really loves God, and serve his wife like serving Christ, then yes the should. He will understand the responsibility of being a REAL MAN, solemnly resolve before God to take full responsibility for himself, his wife, and his children.  Man’s role to protect the family, love the family, serve them, and teach them the Word of God as the spiritual leader of the home. Take them to church every sunday, to worship with other believers. It never worked another way around, why? Because God made it this way. Man must be the spiritual leader of the family.

However, what if the man does not really love God, then who should lead the family? My answer is still the MAN. And there will be lots struggles in the marriage when it goes. A Man can pretend he loves God during the relationship, but if he does not have the heart to love Christ, the wife won’t receive his love. Why did that happened? When the man does not have the heart to love Christ, how can two life directions become one flesh? Maybe a “sorry, I thought its gotta work, at least we tried” is the only excuse to the ending. If you are a girl, do you want something like that? Or keep trying very hard to make the marriage work as wife’s contribution.

If you are a mature Christian and dating a sort of Christian (or non-Christian), do you feel guilty of telling your friends in the first place? Or tell them not to tell others… if that’s the case, you really should reconsider the relationship. Shouldn’t be starting a relationship an exciting thing to share? Also, it’s danger after getting married, although you two in love so deep, but one is deciding not to go along to church on Sundays, and the other  one just had to follow the partner’s decision to make the marriage last. Or too hard to last, then divorce comes along.

Let’s Climb Up the Mountain

A recent short break in Canberra made me thinking about many things.

Me and my mate spent lots time on walking, and climbing the mountain. It’s the journey for me reflect how my Christian Life going.

That was one afternoon, after we did lots walking (well, I think it’s a lot, cos I am not fit!) down the National Nature Reserve, my mate suggested to me that we had one spare hour which we can do one more hiking track. At that moment, I kinda like to say NO, but I wasn’t sure. I knew its gotta be nice views up there, but I was tired, keep trying just didn’t work for me. That really made me thinking about my personal Christian Life as well. Sometimes, I know something is gotta be bad for me, but “just a bite won’t get me hurt”…then I went for a second bite, third one… then asking God for forgiveness, then bite again.

Anyway, I said YES, on one hand, I don’t like to put my mate down, on the other hand, I also wanna give a go this time. That walking track wasn’t hard, but still got the slopes. (Another option is to drive up to the top on a sandy road.) I had a break in between, but went up the top, and enjoyed the view even more than I expected.

The point is, you might get to the same view at the end, but different experience of your journey. Sometimes, we know the view is gotta be nice the end, even the Bible say so in Revelation, but we chose the fast track to get there. Or just being lazy for not even to give a try. When I reflected my journey back in days, I regretted something I didn’t do in the past. I could do a 7am Men’s Discipleship Group weekly at my church when I was in Melbourne, but I chose to sleep in for whatever excuses.

Especially as a Man, apart from building up your healthy body, what about the spiritual part? When you meet someone early in the morning for prayer, do you really want to pray together or just don’t want to put your prayer partner down? Do the hard thing, is not about getting more rewards from God at the end, we all know its done by Grace through Christ, but definitely something you will cherish about in your Pilgrim’s Progress. So would you climb up your mountain?

a wee piece of thinking (to the boys)

We all like good stuffs in our life. A nice phone, nice car, a nice holiday house… but what if something hurtful? Ah..no please!

Looking back 10 years ago, if you liked a particular song, you would buy the entire album from the artist just for this one particular song, although you didn’t like rest of the album.

Nowadays, things changed, if you like a particular song, you can just jump up on iTunes, click the “buy” button, then you will get the song without considering buying the whole album, and regardless how much effort the artist worked on making the entire album. (I am sure they worked very hard on their music!)

The point I wanna get to is:people prefer to receive what sounds nice to them in life, but most of the time ignoring the truth part. If an album  represents “truth” in our life, the song you liked the most was a good part you wanna hear (buy), the rest of the “truth” just been thrown away, not recognised, or avoided.

But sometimes, what you received from others might sound good, but it might not be the truth at all. Just look around the false religions people followed, the idol they worshiped, drinking at night clubs… does such things really solve their life problem? Or they are just avoiding the part of life which they don’t want to go deal with?

So do we have to deal with the sad part of our life? if so, how can we do it? The fact is when we face bad news from others about ourselves, most of the time we reacted very emotionally, and hitting them back harshly without thinking through. Most of the time, you will say: “why do I need you to tell me to do such things? That’s who I am, if you don’t like it, go away. I will do it in my way…Don’t block the path of my life.”

Let’s change the angle to see problems, say, same bad news you received from your friend about something you need to work on, you received from your doctor, will you give thanksgiving to the doctor instead of beating him harshly? Or would you rather prefer to ask your doctor to lie to you, and say something nice to you which makes you happy for a wee moment? You would like to hear the truth, right? Why? Because its good for improving your health, then what about your spiritual health?

As a Christian, I used to read the good part of Bible only, and pondering on the nice passages which can encourage me through the rest of my life. Unfortunately, this didn’t work for my life, it won’t work for your life, too. There are so many bad news in the Bible which we need to take on (read Jeremiah to find out more!) and apply into our life. If you are a new Christian, I just wanna say “mate, your honeymoon gotta be finished very soon, get ready for yourself!”

Living in a big share house community (like I did before with boys), you will find lots challenges around. People might come to you, and telling you the truth which you don’t wanna hear, but please consider it’s good for your spiritual health.

Shelter | PART II

2010 was a predominant year of my Christian life. God put lots trails on me to trust Him.
In June, 2010, I had kidney infections, went to emergency twice. I was physically sick that time, but I attended Scots every Sunday night as I was running the power points for the service.
I asked God: why do you want to me to attend Scots? And why do you want me to serve at 5PM congregation while I was sick? It’s also too far for me to travel! This wasn’t a big deal for me. You would have no idea how painful my kidney hurts! But no matter how many times I asked God, he always gave me the same answer “Be Patient, Ben”!
Be honest, I regretted once. I questioned myself why I travel so far to come to this church, the Sunday attendance was just about 20 people. How much fellowship will I get? But I already signed up for this, what I gotta do… I was struggling in such things like that. But, trust me, I had great time involving in church ministry, even though I never thought I would do so. I had great fellowship with 5PM church members. I thought my peaceful life will start from there…
About two months after attending Scots, I had a random chat with minister about my faith. He asked me if I have been baptised? You might think this was what a pastor do. However, his words did opened my mind to think about Baptism. Because I never thought of being baptised, it isn’t a requirement to Heaven. Somehow I did see the importance of Baptism later on. (see The Story of My Life Tab)
Later on in October, I experienced tough time before my Baptism. There were some share house issues happened to me which stressed me out. I tried hard to fix things, and improve myself, somehow, no matter how hard I tried, things just got worse and worse. I started praying, and seeking help from Ministers of Scots Church. You know how hard these things were while preparing final exams at the same time.
During that one month before Baptism, I read all Apostle Paul’s letters, and praying everyday. I had no idea what’s the next step for me? I remembered the Senior Minister say to me once in his office: “Ben, do you want me to talk to your housemates?” I said: “No” to that. Then we prayed together. Somehow, since that day, my housemate became quiet, and another one had vocal problem who couldn’t even speak. I didn’t feel stressed during my exam time at all. God answered my prayer graciously.
Within God’s providence and timing, later on I found a new place to stay.