The Offer Still Stands 2

Fall 2010, after a two-day training conference weekend at the beautiful Mount Evelyn, everyone had packed bags after the morning session, cleaned cabins, and getting ready for a camp lunch before heading home. Talks from the conference were always refreshing, and training seminars were quite usual.

“I found that “Into the harvest” training was quite helpful, I should try some of those strategies in my daily evangelism more.”
“Me, either. I have a non-Christian friend from my class, we’ve hangout a lot, but I was never brave enough to share my faith with her.”

“You will never know what God will do in that person’s life… You should give a go I suppose.”

“So true. By the way, do you know what’s for lunch? There are a lot of people here, but I can’t see any food.”

“I don’t know. Usually camps do BBQ for the last lunch. But I still can’t smell anything so far!”

After a 20 minutes wait, everyone was wondering what lunch would be. Then the dinning room open, one leader walked out said: welcome to the special lunch, please be silent while you are walking in

After I walked in, I saw ten leaders had already sat at ten different tables to wait for us. I quickly glanced tables. There was nothing I can find apart from two jars of water wih eight glasses of water stacked on the side; eight plates stacked, with cutleries on the side; one sharp knife; one block of cheddar cheese; one block of blue cheese; butter; peanut butter; two loaves of Turkish bread; two apples, one green and one red; one block of milk chocolate—uncut in the package; and some grapes. “So…. Was that a Masterchef challenge?” Everyone just looked at each other, shocked!

“Good afternoon everyone, you are attending a Christian training conference here, and our program hasn’t finished yet. So welcome to the last session.” One of the conference organisers stood up, and started speaking. “Welcome to the quiet lunch. Have a look at your table, we have provided food for your lunch already. ”
“Let me explain to you how this lunch works”, Adam kept speaking, “during this lunch, you should still quiet. You cannot serve food to yourself, and only to others at your table. And the last rule is that you must not use any body languages to point out any food you like to have or not. So let me say the Grace and we can get started!”   

The Offer Still Stands 1

when I first told my friends that I was going to write a book on death, it means that I was stupid enough to lead a conversation to an end. “So what’s the point of talking about death anyway, young man?” I am sure you will have the same sort of questions like this in your mind. “So what are you going to write again? I am sorry I didn’t catch what you’ve said clearly.” Reactions from my friends didn’t surprise me much, because death is actually the most distanced thing from our daily life, not too many of us would have experienced death in order to discuss about the topic without being dead. And dead people don’t give us news updates after they passed away. Really there is Nothing we can pass on the the next generation who will die. 

As Christians, we probably have heard about life and resurrections being preached at churches every Sunday. But there is something has been hidden in sermons, and death is one of them. Not because pastors don’t want to talk about death, but they know what we don’t want to hear about it. So “Happy sermons” are just right for us at churches. But the Bible has been filled with big amount of bad news really. Still feeling too far away from talking about death? 

If big deaths are too far to get out awareness, what about little death – a universal theme we actually experience everyday? The little death but no less than the big death? In this book project, the main passage was taken from Matthew 14:22-33 “Jesus walked on water” to share some thoughts on trials in our walks with the Lord with young Christians, and to help us to understand facts of little death we have experienced daily so we can have communion with Christ.

1. This Crisis Grows

This chapter opens a theme of the book called “the little death”, a universal theme we actually experience everyday, the little death but no less than the big death. How people deal with this growing crisis is not just a strategic problem solving issue, it is actually a serious about rooting in Christ.

2. The heart of the matter

The heart of the matter appears when we don’t understand our “daily bread” isn’t coming from this world but God himself. In reality, achievements from studies and work could win us a lot of applause, and putting God on hold. When trails attacked our self-glorified heart, we were swallowed by death.

3. Taking the first step

This is my approach to the heart of the matter through which is through “repentance started from me.” Without facing God with humbleness, love, unworthiness and his highness, our prayer is meaningless, even during trials, if we want to walk on water like Jesus, we’d better get out of our boats first.

4. Fear not, He is near

Going through trials, we need courage from other Christians; it is different from asking someone to keep faith. If we call the little death as a new adventure, this was how Peter walked on water. This revelation Jesus revealed that every step we’ve walked in trials, God is near.

5. Your side or His side

The doubt issue is a trusting God issue, and we fell into these moments when trials turn us into a directionless corner. Rather than asking God to come to us, we should keep listening and walking with the Lord, as he didn’t just ask us to stand on water. 

6. His timing is always right

Our Christian walks with God are difficult; the Lord’s timing for trials has a purpose for our spiritual growth. From the start to the end, it signified the little death. When we thought death was the end, it is actually just a journey of resurrection from death.

7. When we forget, we go under 

Quite often, we have treated God as a genie in trials. Reminding ourselves being servants of the Lord in this world is critical, self-glorified with will power make us to forget relying on God. Only if we build a solid foundation in Christ, when life gets tougher, we may stand still.

8. Little Faith, Big Fear

In this nation, we are advanced to operate everything in a fast paste, not much of getting things done, but gaining time to move from one event to the next. However, the reality is that when we fast forward God’s plan, things become harder, and we totally ignored his existence and creations.

9. Courage starts with little Faith

Courage is a key element for people who are going through little deaths. It is different from keeping faith to God, but recognise and believe God is carrying us in this journey. As Christians, we shall bring courage to those who are walking through the little death; with every step, God is watching.

10. Only Grace

When we thought we were on the right track, the Lord changed our plans. It is not about the Lord stopped us from doing something we thought were important, but to recognised that the Lord is the real provider to us, not ourselves. Only Grace through the lord can bring us comforts.

11. Life isn’t about waves, but Jesus

So often our focus points were waves when we got crushed down from different aspects of life. Then we started complaining about them and being agressive about losing hopes. But life is about Jesus, to fear Him with a humble heart, like Peter cris out to the Lord for help.
12. In between sowing and harvest

Like Peter walkd on water with doubts and sins, the grace of God is always greater. God will not give less than what we deserved, also not to give us what we deserved from our sins, and God will provide more than what we expected at the end of each trial. 

Tears down

The presentation day was the biggest day of my project. At the beginning of the preparation, I was nervous, especially when you have someone you are not comfortable with presenting at the same time… That was Satan’s trap, everyday I woke, he always tried to make me worry that person might did better than me. But the fact, deep inside my heart was telling me “it doesn’t matter if he is good or bad, you are on yours, focus on your stuff only, that’s all you need. And do it for the Lord.”

And my preparation went well through. On the presentation day, the Lord blessed me again, by sending a lot of people to support me. Almost the whole students went to my presentation, and helping me carrying models. Much more than I expected. (I never thought I would get that much supports from people be honest, and I thought I would just get it done. Quietly.) indeed the Lord was with me. Even my speech went smooth in a calming way as well. And I finally got a glimpse of the meaning of “doing for the Lord”. And the Lord loves me so much. I think this is how the trial finishes with little death, always something better than you can expected or thinking of.

Certainly when I was sitting in the train, thinking of these things, tears suddenly drop, it ended well, and lots good lessons learned. But still I love you Lord.

Dying Trust (a letter from myself)

I feel like writing something tonight, things had been stored inside of my heart for very long time now. To write a letter to myself is the best way of being honest to The Lord and myself.

From time to time, since I became a Christian, I have been gone through so many dying moments. Dying I mean mostly little death, but no less than a big death. From failure to failure, I did feel sad sometime, and sometimes even hated myself for doing such things or that. But does that change a thing? Not really! What I get out of it really was to ask myself if I ever trusted God who gives me strength?

That’s my problem, I was impatient, and I couldn’t wait til things happen the way I wanted, then I strew up things at the end. Why? Because I trusted myself instead of The Lord we talked about most of the time. At this moment, there is a voice in me telling me, Ben you really to give up everything and follow me, everything I mean everything, not to keep some parts of it for personal leisure. That’s hard. Really hard… I mean sometimes I do things just to make myself to look better in front of others, then I wasn’t doing it for The Lord. I totally ignored the purposes of living is to serve The Lord. Not to bring glory to myself, but to The Lord. Be honest, I am not good at this, and when I was writing these things, I realised how much I need The Lord, not to make me success, but for me to walk with Him by giving away everything I got which making me glorify myself.

I feel bad that in the past couple days, for the purpose of my self ambitions, I altered some data although there is a voice inside of me telling not to do it. I still did it, and I against The Lord, and harmed his love for me.

So I want to say a little prayer for myself to The Lord that to forgive me, and to change me, to help me understand more about doing things for the purpose of The Lord but not for any other purpose, and I will try my best to do it for The Lord. I don’t want to hide anything from myself to The Lord any more, wrong doing was wrong, no excuse. And I also pray that you will put more trials on me to grow me and help me to walk with you better.

A journey with a U in it

It has been a long journey in the last two or three months. All the stressful levels came into my project. But I certainly can yes without the help of God, nothing can be done. When I was in trouble, you always send people to help me, and get things done. Your grace will never stop.

It is nearly finishing soon. Too many people I should put a note on “Thank you.” To my parents, without your years of support, I will head nowhere, I love you all. And to people who prayed for me, help me, just way too many… too many.. I love you all, too. Heart melting moments.

deleted, and delete more…

Recently I downloaded lots apps on my iPad, which allowed me to catch up some tv shows. And I ended up doing nothing by just watching shows. So yesterday, I decided to delete those programs in order to get out of it. And I got some work done today. I guess sometimes we do need to cut off things, and move on, and keep focusing on things which we need to do.

#0 first of all, pray about it is very important, you can’t do this without God’s help.

#1 If your electronic devices make you distracting from what you should be doing, just switch them off, then you may get back on truck. Let you yes be yes, and no be no.

#2 Not everyone will respond “yes” to what you are after, so if there is a no, you know you need to move on. And do not wonder why. (sort of wasting time if you do)

#3 always be thankful, when we think about at the end of the day, there are a lot things we should be thankful for the day, or yesterday, days ago, or the day we were born, or even before then. It does helping us not to complain about things around us. Always be positive.


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.