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.

Shelter | PART I

The story began in 2009, I spent the whole year finding churches which I can call home. But I couldn’t find the one I enjoy. Then I went on a mission trip to Kenya. March, 2010, after I came back to Melbourne from short term mission in Kenya, my heart got refreshed, and willing to have a new beginning in my life. I decided to find a church which I can call home. I knew how hard it was for me in the past one year, but I told myself to give another go! After Easter 2010, I asked people around about good churches to go. I heard from a mate of mine attending church somewhere in the city, I was interested in finding that one out.

Then I picked a Sunday while my mate was busy elsewhere to visit that city church. It’s a good way to check out a church if they are welcoming while you know nobody there. The sermon went quite well, and got lots young people in the congregation. But nobody talked to me at my first visit. Then I decided to give another go the week after.

The second time I went visit engage, the pastor who preached one sunday ago decided to resign, and I had no idea what was going on. All I heard that Sunday was about people’s plans on moving churches elsewhere. Suddenly I realised that this city church was on fire, and people were leaving! At that moment, my heart was telling me: Ben, you need to stay. This is the place I want you be, and called “home church”, even though it’s on fire! I still hadn’t knew anyone from that church yet, and I left straight after the service that evening.

It’s like drama you saw on TV, but it’s so real! So I went back to this chity church called engage@Scots the following Sunday. I sat at the middle pew, a guy from the back touched my shoulder and shake my hand. That made me feel quite welcoming, and he was the first person greeted me in this church. Later on, when he went to the front and starting talking, I recognised he was the Senior Minister of this church. When the Senior Minister explained what had happened regarding to last Sunday, and encouraging people to sign up on new roster, I said me to myself: I am going to take it slowly this time, give me three months before I can make any commitment. But my heart just said to me: “this is where I want you to get started with now! Get involved, Ben”! Then I passed my contact detail to the Senior Minister… then I made commitment to Engage@Scots without knowing the church, or listening to sermons from the minister.

Well, I just did it! And it has been 2 years now. In this series, I want to focus on how God changed me through Scots Church in the past two years rather than what I have done with Scots. Because without His Sovereign Grace, nothing can be done.

Life Illustration

This morning, I was sitting at the couch, something came into my mind.

It was an life illustration from my High School Chaplain Arthur Drummond. I never paid attentions to what he said during that time, but it finally made sense to me today.

Here is the illustration:

Have you ever bought food from Doughnut King? Have you notice the motto printed on the cup?

“Life is a hole, lot sweeter with Doughnut King.”

somehow, I agree with the spiritual sense of first half the sentence, and physical sense of the second half.

I remembered Arthur interpret this motto in a different way: “Life is a Doughnut, it has a hole in it.”

Life is a hole, just like the shape of a doughnut, no matter what icing you add on the top, it still has a hole in it. It’s like our human nature, we try to do good things, to satisfy ourselves with nice clothes, and jewelries, but what matters the most is our sinful nature, it is a hole we try to fill in between human and God. Human beings try to fill the hole with our own power/ways. But no matter what we do, the big hole still remains there. That’s why we need Jesus, Our God and Savior.

At the end of the service, I received a free doughnut from the Chaplain.
Obviously, once we understand the meaning of doughnut, life gets lot sweeter.