Wednesday, February 17, 2016

How are you?

It's been a while! :D
Writing again today just to check whether this blog is still working. :p
Since I graduated from TTC I have been in full-time ministry. As the congregation I am currently serving are using Bahasa Indonesia, I do most writings in Bahasa.
I'm afraid my English is becoming rusty :(

I have been hearing positive feedback about my sermons, so I was thinking of sharing all my sermons online. Then... I was reminded that I have a blog! So here I am... checking whether this blog is still usable. And it is!
But I won't be posting my sermons here. They are in Bahasa, while I want to keep this blog in English.
So... I will just put one of the assignments from my Preaching class.
The instruction was to come out with a 4-minute devotional.
So I imagined myself delivering this devotional to secondary school students in Christian schools during their morning devotion time :)
Please share this if you think that any secondary school students will be blessed by this! :)

I grew up as an obese child. When I was in secondary school, I reached 75 kg. It was painful to grow u

p as an obese kid. I remember when I was 6 years old, my brother’s friend came to my brother and asked him, “Where is your sister? I want to see.” My brother then pointed at me. His friend suddenly shouted, “Wow, your sister looks like sh*t!”
Or when my mom fetched me at school, on the way home she would say things like, “Look at your friends. They are slim, very pretty. Don’t you want to be like them?”
All these things really hurt my self-esteem. I grew up to be a very shy person.

Until I reached my teenage year, I met this one youth pastor. Knowing my issue, he always reminded me of this sentence in 1 Samuel 16 verse 7 “For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."

This youth pastor asked me to always remember this verse when I felt dissatisfied with how I look. He told me that God examines my heart, not my appearance. It is my heart that matters. When my heart is directed towards God, when I obey God, God is delighted. And that is what really matters in life. “Be like David”, he said, “a person that is after God’s own heart.”

Times when I looked at the mirror can be very tricky. A lot of thought can come to my mind. “Eugh, look at that fat.” “Why do I have to have flat nose?” Or “Why is my hair so thin?”

Then I would be alerted and started to remind myself, “Ita, stop it! Stop! God doesn’t look at those things. God looks at your heart!”

After that I would try hard to shift my focus. Instead of complaining about how I look, I tried to do other things like: listening to my favorite hymn, or remembering some people in prayer. Those 5-10 minutes spent listening to hymn or praying is more worth it than spending it in front of the mirror complaining about how I look. It helps my mind and my heart to focus back on God.

It is very difficult for us to be fully satisfied with how we look. We are prone to think: “My skin is very dark!” or “I hate being short” or “My face got a lot of pimples!” or “I don’t like my hair!”

Then, friends, you are not alone. We are in this journey together. A journey where we need to keep reminding ourselves that God sees our heart much more than our appearance.

So, instead of spending hours lamenting on how we look, we can use those times to do better things that would delight God more, like thinking about our friends who might need help or prayer support and start praying for them, or listen to our favorite Christian band, or read good books. I believe that God will be satisfied when we do those things.

Looking back, I remember that we sometimes joke with this youth pastor about him gaining weight and getting bald. I realized that my youth pastor must have been encouraged by 1 Sam 16 verse 7 and therefore encouraged me with this truth. I, today, would like to do the same thing. I would like to remind you once again, that “…man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” Amen.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Disney's Frozen "Let It Go" Sequence Performed by Idina Menzel

For me this is by far the best scene in the history of Disney. So magical and enchanting! What a feast to my eyes, my ears, and my heart to watch this in big screen. Awesome job, Disney! Eagerly waiting for your next move :)

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation, and it looks like I'm the Queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in; Heaven knows I've tried

Don't let them in, don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel, don't let them know
Well now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can't hold me back any more
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

I don't care
What they're going to say
Let the storm rage on, the cold never bothered me anyway

It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all
t's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I'm free

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You'll never see me cry
Here I stand
And here I stay
Let the storm rage on

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I'm never going back,
The past is in the past

Let it go, let it go
When I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand in the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Entering Full-Time Ministry

A little updates of my life.
I officially entered full-time ministry in June! :) It's been almost three months now. 
I have a lot of things to talk about.

My room
First, I'm currently staying in a parsonage with my senior pastor and his wife. I have my own room. It's my bedroom-cum-office (yes, we do not have an office).

I love the room! It's so comfortable! (which makes it somewhat non-conducive to work. Haha)

Morning routine 
Me, the senior pastor, and his wife have a morning routine. Each of us will wake up before 7am and have our morning devotion, then at 7 we will gather in the living room to share what we have been reflected on and updates on church ministry, prayer requests, even on each other lives. The time for sharing then followed by the time for praying. We pray for all things that we can remember of. After praying, we would have breakfast together.
     I love this morning routine. I think as Christians there is nothing that can bond us more compared to a fellowship in sharing God's Word, praying, and having meal together. And it really boosts our teamwork as partners in ministry :)

I'm grateful for many opportunities given to me to deliver sermon. I would preach in the main service once a month and in the teens service once or twice a month.
     I enjoy preaching. I enjoy sermon preparation: reading and reflecting on the text, looking for illustrations, observing the world and the lives of people, and making the text relevant for the lives of people today. I am still very nervous before delivering my sermon, but there is always an immense joy after I finished preaching. I appreciate the varieties of comments provided by people. Most of them are encouragements like, "Good message!" (I think for this they should thank the Bible, not me. hehe..), "Concise and clear!", (I think it's because of my introverted nature, I don't really like to talk a lot in public. And this is how I was trained in Trinity Theological College Singapore).  I also receive constructive feedback like "You talk too fast" (Yup, a tendency as a visual person), "You need to improve your tone, practice your consonant, use your eyes to speak, repeat your ideas, have a more relaxed introduction, clearer and more actual application." Those are feedbacks that I appreciate very much. They have made me a better preacher.

Well... overall I'm still adapting with my new life. It is super-flexible (I have no office hours), so I need to discipline myself. Lord, help me!

Theological Reflection on the Use of Social Media in Teens Ministry

Here is another reflection, initially written as a requirement for my Field Education Placement. The title above explains it all. Hope it helps those who are in the similar ministry.
A little bit of context: I'm doing ministry among Indonesian students (age 14-19) resides in Singapore. And I wrote this reflection on April 2013.

Write a brief description of an important, difficult, rewarding or unique event or personal encounter.
Since this teen ministry started, I have been using more variety of social media. First, the teen ministry started a Facebook group. Later, I activated my Twitter account. Then, one of my co-worker initiated a Whatsapp group. 

Then reflect on the event or encounter described 
My theological understanding has become a solid foundation that encourages me to pursue relationship with others in the language most understandable to them. Our God is Trinity, and relationship in love is God’s character. God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit have co-existed with one another in love since eternity. God wants a relationship with sinful human, so God reveals Himself and saves mankind through the incarnation of the Son. God became human. God uses the culture and the language of mankind so that we may know Him. Furthermore, as Christians we are called as people of God, a community. 
Ministry is about relationship with God and with one another in a community. And building a community needs communication. There are means of communication. The reason that I try to keep up with the latest social media development is because I want to build relationship, to communicate with the teens. I realized that phone call or sending short-message-service (sms) is no longer effective in reaching them, because to receive a call and reply to an sms the teens need to spend money top up, which most of them cannot afford. While social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Whatsapp are free because the school and hostels provides free wi-fi. Another reason is that phone call, for teens in this era, has been perceived more or less as quite intrusive. They do not call unless there is something very serious (usually negative) or very urgent to talk about. 
       There are many other varieties of social media now, but I found that Facebook group, Twitter, and Whatsapp group are the better ways to communicate with teens as a community. It is the most used media by the teens I our church to express themselves and communicate with each other. However, Facebook nowadays are becoming less popular among teens. They respond more when I message them through Twitter. But the most effective way of communicating now is through Whatsapp. Whatsapp group make it very easy to share prayer requests, bible verses, quotes, pictures, articles to read, links to video, and other resources. We send birthday wishes, congratulates each other for our achievements, invites each other to our important events (eg. concerts). I see discipleship as journeying with them. In Jesus’ time, disciples travel together with their teacher. They observe the whole life of their teacher. They shares lives with each other.

Having thought about your reflection, what would you do differently if you could do it all over again?
I need to constantly remind myself that social media cannot replace face-to-face encounter, so I still need to make efforts to see them and talk to them in person. I also need to be aware of the temptation, and therefore to restraint myself, of indulging in social media – being too obsessed with wanting to know how they are doing every day (updates). It can really absorb my time. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Songs from Good Friday Musical

African-American spirit in today's Good Friday! :D

Keep your lamps trimmed and burning (3x)
The time is drawing nigh

Children don’t get weary (3x)
Till your work is done

Christian journey soon be over (3x)
The time is drawing nigh

Everytime I feel the spirit                              
Moving in my heart, I will pray                   
Everytime I feel the spirit                              
Moving in my heart, I will pray

On the mountain my Lord spoke
Out his mouth came fire and smoke
Down in the valley on my knees
Asked my Lord have mercy please

Jerdon river, chilly and cold
Chills the body not the soul
All around me looked so fine
Asked my Lord if all was mine

Ain’t but one train on this track
Runs to heaven and right back
St. Peter waitin’ at the gate
Said come on sinner, don’t be late

With my love and my sadness I come before You Lord
My heart’s in a thousand pieces Maybe even more

Yet I trust in this moment You’re with me somehow
And You’ve always been faithful So Lord even now

When all that I can sing Is a broken Hallelujah
When my only offering Is shattered praise

Still a song of adoration Will rise up from this ruin
I will worship You and give You thanks
Even when my only praise Is a broken Hallelujah

Oh Father, You have given Much more than I deserve
And I have felt Your hand of blessing On me at every turn

How could I doubt Your goodness Your wisdom, Your grace
So Lord hear my heart In this painful place

When all that I can sing Is a broken Hallelujah
When my only offering Is shattered praise

Still a song of adoration Will rise up from this ruin
I will worship You and give You thanks
               Even when my only praise Is a broken Hallelujah

In de mornin’ when I rise (3x) Give me Jesus
Give me Jesus (2x) You may have all this worl’ Give me Jesus
Just about de break of day (3x) Give me Jesus
Oh, when I come to die (3x) Give me Jesus

We shall walk through the valley in peace (2x)
For Jesus Himself will be our leader
We shall walk through the valley in peace

We will meet our loved ones there (2x)
For Jesus Himself will be our leader
We shall walk through the valley in peace

There will be no trials there (2x)
For Jesus Himself will be our leader
We shall walk through the valley in peace

We shall walk in peace

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Birthday in Holy Week 2013

I think I love my birth date, 28 March, because it usually falls on Holy Week. I did not observe Holy Week until I was studying in TTC. Here, during Holy Week we would have chapel services from Monday to Thursday and we are encouraged to meditate more.
And the past three days (Monday until Wednesday) have been awesome. I feel blessed by the songs we sang in chapel and the sermon preached. I would take note on the sermon, went back to my room, copy my note to computer and take time to reflect. It's deep and profound. The preacher talked about the "Tears of Peter" when Peter disowned Jesus for three times and how it can happen to us who are VERY COMMITTED Christians, but... in the end there is always an opportunity for reconciliation. On Tuesday he preached about the "Anatomy of Bertrayal" of Judas and how Judas' initial enchantment of Jesus as Messiah turned to be gradual disappointment when Judas saw Jesus not being the "liberationist" as he expected. And we all know that Judas' ending was a sad ending. On Wednesday, in a sermon titled "A Thief in Paradise" he preached about the request of the thief, who was crucified next to Jesus.

Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
(Luke 23:42)

And today is quite special because it is Maundy Thursday. In Maundy Thursday we usually have foot-washing ceremony and stripping of the altar. Foot-washing ceremony reminds us of Jesus who washed His disciples' feet. Imagine, a teacher who washed his students' feet. What a profound symbol of humility, servanthood, sacrifice, and love! And stripping of the altar symbolizes Jesus that was stripped of his dignity at his crucifixion. Those ceremonies are meaningful and they never fail to touch my heart.

Another thing, today we have Holy Communion. And during Holy Communion the ordained minister, who is also one of my lecturer, after he handed me the wafer he laid his hands on my head and said, "... and blessing on your birthday". Wow, I really did not expect that! I knew that he realised today is my birthday, but I just did not expect that. Very touching. A special blessing by an ordained pastor on my birthday!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Teens Ministry (Feb '13)

Where am I now?

I thank God for my Field Education Placement Coordinator (FEPC). Since our church started this ministry to Indonesian secondary school and Junior College (JC) students in Singapore, my FEPC has been with me, monitoring the development of this ministry from a distance. As student, I am asked to submit reflection papers twice a year. My FEPC will the return the reflection paper with useful critiques, comments, and questions, those  that prompted me to evaluate further what I have been doing and what I should do next.

End of last year, she suggested me to start training some of them to be leaders. I pondered on her advise and came to agree with her. There are a couple of reasons. First, this ministry has been going on for 1.5 years. We have had more people and several potential leaders now. Secondly, I'm graduating this May and not sure what will happen to me. There's possibility that I will go back to Bandung. It's high time to pass the baton!

So now, I'm trying to equip two volunteers and eleven students to be leaders. I have been enjoying the process: looking up some resources (books, websites, articles), meeting with them and mentoring them in a small group or one-on-one, delegates LOTS and LOTS of responsibility to them (which is the best part! Haha...). 

I want them to stop needing me. Hopefully that is the case, especially when the time comes for me to leave Singapore.