Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Cry of Children and Youth

Just came back from Sunday School training organized by my homechurch. The trainers are from Scripture Union Singapore. They are amazing people with great passion for the work of God in young people's lives. We had fun and learned a lot. I'm grateful that I was there. It was such an encouragement for me to press on in the ministry to young people.

And it's a song that one of the trainer introduced to us.

I can't wait to listen to more children singing this song earnestly from their heart. I think one of the joy of ministering to young people is when I will know that 10, 20, 30 years from now they still love God and serve God faithfully.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Voicing God's Psalms: A Festival of Psalms

In TTC chapel today, we were having a festival of psalms. It is mentioned in the booklet that the order of worship is based on the book "Voicing God's Psalms" by Calvin Seerveld, Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Aesthetics at the Institute of Christian Studies, Toronta, Ontario Canada (Used by permission.)
More information from the booklet:
In his book, Seerveld arranged his translations of the Psalms into nine themes: Torah, Melchizedek, enemies, repentance and forgiveness, wrestling with the LORD, comfort, trusting God, God-promises and hallelujah. The book contains thirty seven psalms from the book of Psalms and several psalmic passages from the Old and New Testaments.
     In his introduction, Calvin Seerveld wrote: "God's psalms contained the Older First Testament, as well as the "psalms" in the Second Newer Testament, are meant to be heard. For God's psalms to be heard, somebody must read them. To learn to read the biblical book of Psalms, one does well to realize and not a simple prose series of human declarations. The biblical psalms have the LORD God talking through the embattled confessions of children adopted by God who are in the grip of God's Spirit. Yet, in the psalms, God is also talking live to anybody today, worldwide, who will listen."
     The order of worship follows the nine themes featuring one or two of the psalm under each heading. It is hoped that from  this worship experience the faithful will be inspired to revisit the psalms and use them creatively in worship.

TORAH (God's Law)
"We are cradeled as human creatures in God's fantastic and ordered world"
Psalm 8
Psalm 8 celebrates the amazing LORD God whose creatures, like the starts and prowling animals, are astonishing wonders. And God makes us small humans to be lords over all these creatures.

"Our daily life happens amid a rough tumble of public historical struggles in from of God's face."
Psalm 2
Psalm 2 confronts us with the historical reality of power politics. Yet the LORD God laughs at every Nebuchadnezzar and Herod who vaunts his cruel domination. The LORD promises that those whom God anoints will be safe from the Evil principalities which beset us. Whoever follows the Anointed Messiah, the Christ, will find shelter.

"Entreating God for help against implacable enemies can teach us to voice unashamed expectation of rescue"
Psalm 22
Psalm 22 contains the anguished cry Christ quote on the cross: "My God, O my God, why have you left me in the lurch? You cared for me as a baby and have always saved my forebears. Lowering evil persons are set to make mincemeat of me - I'm scared to death! Hurry up! Help me!" and the last paragraph of Psalm 22 - which Christ also know ended the psalm - thanks the LORD for coming through with rescue: so I'll praise the LORD right here among the congregated faithful!

"Nothing frees us up like coming clean before God about our sin. Brutally honest prayer to the LORD, admitting guilt and nakedly beseeching forgiveness, brings merciful relief."
Psalm 51
Psalm 51 has not a single word of excuse, because David was caught by God red-handed in adultery and murder. "Iam a pervert!"cries the sinner. :But do not take your Holy Spirit away from me! O God, wash me until I become whiter than snow. Save me from myself! Do not reject my chastened heart yielded up to you as an offering." A later coda incorporates this personal confession of sin into a liturgical worship setting for rebuilding the city of God.
Kyrie Eleison

Psalm 130
Psalm 130 cries out to the LORD from the depth of despair: If you, O God, kept track of guilty wrongdoings, who could ever withstand such judgment! But the LORD God sets people free and wipes out transgressions! Anticipate that merciful, saving Word of the LORD they way a night watchman waits for the light in the morning.

"When a person has to hang tough for the long haul, direct intimate talk with God can revive the zest of being hopeful and the thirst for the LORD's coming."
Psalm 139
Psalm 139 is a most intense expression of intimacy and love about how utterly and unfathomably the LORD God knows me, my habits and quirks, even my provisional thoughts, my every day from the womb to the grave. There is nowhere and no time I am not held safe in God's embrace. So let me curse those who hate you, LORD, utters the psalmist. But make certain, O God, that I myself am pure at heart and hold me with your hand on the way of everlasting life.

"The comfort God gives for our down times is ongoing and lasts forever"
Psalm 90
Psalm 90 recognizes that our 70 or 80 years of many troubles and occasional joys flash by like just yesterday to God. But you, my LORD, says the psalmist, have always been the place where we can feel at home. So, gentle us with the smile of laughter, LORD God.

"Trusting the LORD to carry us through difficulties leads to our being surprised by receiving more than we need, so we want to dance at the surplus of God's grace."
Psalm 62
Psalm 62 teaches that only God is the Rock to which one can run for refuge. Aggressive deception, accumulation of goods, importance gained by violence all bring agitated insecurity. Only near God can a person find the stillness of peace.

In God alone my soul can find rest and peace, 
in God my peace and joy
Only in God my soul can find its rest,
find its rest and peace

"The LORD God's promises of deliverance from evil and the rule of shalom coming are freely offered to all who hear the Word to be daily obedient like God's servant the sun."
Psalm 34
The thematic development of Psalm 34 moves from praise for God's deliverance to wisdom instruction in "the fear of the LORD." The person who sings this psalm commits to praising the LORD and calls all people to do the same, for God delivers and protects those who fear the LORD. "Taste and see," exhorts the psalmist, that this is so. Instruction in "the fear of the LORD" points to seeking God's peace and keetping the tongue from evil.

PS: I actually prefer this video. But they don't allow me to embed here. Check it out! It's my favourite song of today :)

"Happy hours are good times to praise Yahweh in the company of the faithful"
Psalm 103
Psalm 103 celebrates richly the tender, forbearing mercies of the LORD who does not deal with us according to our sins. As far as East is from West, so far God removes from us our dirty deeds. The LORD knows we are feeble earthlings, but remains faithful to generations of those who remember to do God's will. Along with all the angels, let all of me too praise the LORD!
Bless the LORD, O my soul 
and all that is within me
Praise and bless the LORD,
O my soul,
Bless God's Holy name
Music by: Timothy Kimbrough

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Blessings of Teen Ministry

The church assigned me to be in charge of Teen Ministry which targets secondary school students. Our initial move is to start a Teen Service, which is scheduled every Sunday at 11am (concurrent with the Main Service II). Since April, I always attend the Main Service I (9-10.30am), followed by supervising the Teen Service. I am involved in this ministry in several ways: taking attendance and reporting it to the Worship Service Division, leading worship, supervising music rehearsals, arranging ministry schedule (WL, musicians, ushers), and updating prayer requests (Teen Ministry supervisors try to pray for the teens regularly).

It has been five months since we started our Teen Service. Thank God the ministry is growing in quality and quantity. When I sit down and prepare for this reflection, I was once again amazed by how God works in my life through this Teen Ministry. I was involved in this ministry with the expectation of being able to change people’s lives, but I came to realize now that I have also changed. As the ministry grows, all the people involved also grow: the teens and all supervisors, including me. Here how I have grown:

·   Grow in knowledge

“… Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (I Peter 3:15)

Some of the teens are trying hard to find answers to their questions about God. They would ask me questions like, “If God is good, how come there is suffering and natural disasters?,” “The Bible was written by human, how can we be sure of its validity as the source of truth, as Word of God?,” etc. They told me that they got this kind of questions from their non-believer friends and they couldn’t provide answers.

            When they came to me for the first time with these questions, I also sometimes could not answer it.  Then I became keener in reading on those topics. I would go to book store to buy books and other types of resources to be able to answer them in a way that is easily understood. I think I am now more prepared to give reasons to my faith, not just to the teens, but to everyone who would ask me, and I must thank the teens. It is because of them, their questions, that I was encouraged to be better equipped.

·    Grow in patience

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph 4:1-3)

Teens are still teens. A few of them still sometimes skip church or arrived in church very late with “unacceptable” excuses like: “I slept very late and I found it difficult to get up in the morning”, “I had CCA and after that went out with my friends yesterday. I feel very tired so I don’t go to church.” I honestly sometimes was irked with these kinds of answers. I felt like sarcastically answered them, “Use your alarm”, “Ask you friend to wake you up,”, “Don’t stay up until late”, “The service is at 11! It’s not THAT early”. But, of course, I restrained myself from saying that. I would normally tell them to learn from the mistake and not to repeat it later. But sometimes they just don’t learn their lesson and they will do it again next time.

            I once thought of offering a morning call, but I buried that idea. I do not want to nag at them all the times as I believe it will not be effective. I decided to be patience with them because I realize that spiritual growth does not come in an instant. It must come from their understanding of the importance of worship and on how eager they are willing to grow in their relationship with God. And who can help with this matter? The Holy Spirit. I decided to pray more that God will bring them to His presence. So every Sunday morning on the way to church in the bus I always pray for each of them a simple prayer to God, “God, please get them up early in the morning and draw them to worship you today.”

·    Grow in willingness to serve

One thing that impressed and encouraged me a lot is their willingness to serve the LORD. Many of them are really talented and quite experienced in worship leading or serving as musician. Quite often when I assigned one person to become musician for the following Teen Service, another person would come to me and ask me to include him/her to be additional musician. So, instead of having one, we have two musicians. Or when I assigned someone to be worship leader but he can’t make it the following week, it is easy to find a replacement. They accepted this responsibility with excitement. I was encouraged to know that they long to serve God, and it prompted me to look at myself. Am I that excited in accepting a ministry? Not really. I think I still need to learn from them on this matter. I thank God for making them a reminder to me.

What would I do differently?

-T - The tough questions they asked me was expressed only when I was talking one-to-one with them or in a very small group. They do not really have the courage to ask question in front of everyone. So I think it is important to hang out with them more often or form a small group for those who are interested to pursue this matter further.

- People who serve in performance-based ministry (such as WL, musicians, multimedia) could  get easily fall into the “pride” trap. They want others to see them instead of God. I will need to remind them the danger of pride, the importance of humility, and the need to constantly checking their motivation in serving God. Is it because they want to show their abilities? Or is it an act of gratitude that God has given them those abilities?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Colour of Language

When I learn languages I like, I will have very colourful notes :) I developed this habit since I was in secondary school (junior high school) as at that time I realised that I'm a visual person.  My brain works better when I see colours in my books or notes.

I dare to say that  my English notes are the most colourful  among my friends in junior and senior high school. Unfortunately, my Bahasa Indonesia notes is not that colourful. Hehe... (read carefully above, I told you that it is only for the languages that I like :p )

Here is one proof. Below is picture taken from my Japanese notes (I studied Japanese in 2008 for one year). It's colourful, and you can see pictures also! The sensei (teacher) showed us a lot of cute pictures that helps me to understand better! :) I still keep my Japanese notes hoping that one day I can brush up on my Japanese. Maybe after I finish Hebrew and Greek? :p

So why did I suddenly I bring this up? Because I just finished my two-weeks mid-semester break, and during the break I tried to come up with summary notes for Hebrew and Greek. I spent a few days doing it. Once I started, sometimes I couldn't stop because I really enjoy doing it! Here's the result.
Greek summary

 Hebrew summary

I hope this colourful summary can help me in my study :)

By the way, the point that I would like to make here is that it is very helpful for us to know what type of learner we are: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. If you have not found out what type of learner you are, it is never too late. Just google "learning style VARK model" and you will get lots of information about it :) VARK model is not the only model. You can try other models, too! :)

Happy learning!  \ ^o^ /

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Angklung @ TTC Cultural Night 2011

What a lovely poster right? Very colourful and ethnic. I love it. 
It's the poster for TTC Cultural Night 2011.
Cultural Night is an annual event at TTC. On this day, students from many countries cook their traditional food and perform something that introduces a glimpse of their countries. 
This year we, Indonesian students, decided to play angklung, an Indonesian traditional musical instrument originated from Sundanese tribe in Java. We played two songs: one Indonesian song titled "Ampar Ampar Pisang" from Kalimantan and a hymn, "Amazing Grace". You can check the video below.

The response from the school was great and we were offered to play angklung again during TTC Thanksgiving Dinner in October.  
I'm happy because we can both promote Indonesian culture and praising God with our traditional instrument :)

Behold the Lamb (Communion Hymn)

Today is Holy Communion in TTC Chapel. During holy communion two of my classmates sang "Behold the Lamb". It's the first time I heard this song and I think both the lyrics and the tune are so beautiful.

Behold the Lamb who bears our sins away,
Slain for us: and we remember
The promise made that all who come in faith
Find forgiveness at the cross.

So we share in this Bread of life,
And we drink of His sacrifice,
As a sign of our bonds of peace
Around the table of the King.

The body of our Savior, Jesus Christ,
Torn for you: eat and remember
The wounds that heal, the death that brings us life,
Paid the price to make us one.

The blood that cleanses every stain of sin,
Shed for you: drink and remember
He drained death's cup that all may enter in
To receive the life of God.

And so with thankfulness and faith
We rise to respond: and to remember.
Our call to follow in the steps of Christ
As His body here on earth.

As we share in His suffering,
We proclaim: Christ will come again!
And we'll join in the feast of heaven
Around the table of the King.

Keith, Getty, Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright 2007 Thankyou Music

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Be Still for the Presence of the Lord

This is the song that I most remember from the Day of Prayer.

Be still for the presence of the Lord
The holy one is here
Come bow before him now
With reverence and fear
In him no sin is found
We stand on holy ground
Be still for the presence of the Lord
The holy one is here

Be still for the glory of the Lord
Is shining all around
He burns with holy fire
With splendour he is crowned
How awesome is the sight
Our radiant king of light
Be still for the glory of the Lord
Is shining all around

Be still for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place
He comes to cleanse and heal
To minister his grace
No work to hard for him
In faith receive from him
Be still for the power of the Lord
Is moving in this place

Monday, August 22, 2011

TTC Day of Prayer 2011

Good things are meant to be shared.

This time I would like to share with you the sermon by one of the professors in TTC for our annual Day of Prayer.
I'm glad to find out in that they post the sermon on TTC Website. I would encourage ALL of you to take time to read it. It is truly a sermon not to be missed! I do hope it will contribute to growth in your prayer life, just as it has done to me. You can find the sermon here.

Another thing is I really like the poster. It is simple. And the strength is its simplicity. And it's also brilliant. It is TTC logo and the "ren" (Chinese word for "person"/"people") consists of The Lord's Prayer in Greek, Latin, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, English, and Bahasa. I personally request the designer to provide me soft copy. Here it is.

Ok, now let the picture not distract you from the sermon. Click the link to the sermon NOW! :D

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Compliment & Criticism

Compliment & criticism...

Both are dangerous. 
Compliment can make us steal God's glory. ("Yes, I am good!")
Criticism can discourage us to the point that we went down to bitterness or make us quit. ("I can't stand it!")
So... Be aware of both! 

But both can also be good.
Compliment can give you opportunity to testify of God's goodness. ("It is not me, but God" - must say it with both  our mouth and our heart, beware of hypocrisy!)
Criticism, if they are constructive ones, can actually lead to awareness of our weaknesses, motivate us to improve and make us be more depending of God.
So... Embrace both! :)

Why am I suddenly thinking about compliments? Because lately I have been showered with lots of compliments. A good subject rep, a good testimony, good teen ministry, good this, good that. Sometimes I feel so tired. Why? Because everytime people compliment me, I need to take time to check myself whether I'm giving the glory back to God or not. 

Of course I can't blame others for giving me compliments. I believe they have good intention, which is to encourage me to keep doing good work. But how I process compliments and how they affected me also get me to think that I should also be careful in receiving compliments and in giving compliments to others because compliments can destroy a person instead of building them.

And why am I suddenly thinking about criticism? Because lately me and my friends have been giving a lot of criticism to others, especially pastors and lecturers. This pastor can't preach well. That pastor is very weak in pastoral care. This lecturer don't know what he is talking about. 
And it hit me. I realise one day I will stand on the pulpit preaching and many people will comment on my sermon. Or maybe one day I will stand in front of the class teaching and my students will talk about how they are disappointed with how I teach or my incapabilities to teach. 

Am I afraid? I don't think I should. I know it will be tough, but hopefully, by God's grace, I can ignore "bad" criticism and embrace "good" one. I've seen people doing that. Nothing is impossible with God.
Will I keep criticising others? Yes. But with caution. I will try to give "good" criticism (feedback). And I will   find balance between criticising (giving feedback to others) and criticising myself.

God, help me.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More Thanksgiving


I received the above software a few days ago. It is a testimony of how God provides for me. I did not spend any single cents to purchase it. Since early this semester I was thinking that I would need to buy it because it is such a great investment. Throughout the semester God provides for me through some friends who gave me love gifts.

I received my education report. I was surprised because my grade for the 2nd semester is above what I targeted.
Old Testament II              A-
New Testament II            A-
Church History Survey II  A
World Religion (Isl.)         A-
Theology II                      A-

I can continue my scholarship because my average grade fulfilled what is required by my sponsor :)
I'm thankful to God for providing me scholarship! The cost of studying in Singapore is quite high. I am reminded of it as I received a copy of bill from the school a few days ago.

Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Testimony/Thanksgiving-Based Evening Vesper

Today I have the privilege to lead TTC evening vesper/prayer for the second time. The first time I did it was on March and it was my favourite "sytle", meditative (based on Lectio Divina). Today is my second favourite style, the testimony-thanksgiving based style. The Scripture Reading assigned to me was Matthew 6:1-4. 

What did I do?
1. Read Matthew 6:1-4.
2. Pray and ponder.
3. Take one point of message.
4. Contextualise it for TTC students and testimony/thanksgiving-based "style" of evening vesper.
5. Write my testimony/thanksgiving
6. Ask the chaplain for feedback
7. Edit, edit, and edit
8. Practice reading it
9. Pray, pray, pray

The testimony is not intended to be a sermon, and I did not open any other book/commentaries/software except my NRSV Bible. And here is my testimony/thanksgiving:

"It is natural for humans to demand signs. We are created with senses: to see, to hear, to smell, to savor, and to touch. We also naturally feel excited with something extraordinary.

I am no exception. During my one year plus studying in TTC, I always yearn for inspiring moments. I feel so excited and grateful when the lecturer says something that is relevant to my life or when they share their wonderful life experiences. I am grateful when the speakers in the chapel share something that touches my heart. I thank God for moments when I read textbook and feel that God really speaks to me personally through what I read. I am touched when my friend takes time to come to me and ask me how I am doing. I am happy when TTC won the trophy of Intercollege Games Day and I got treated at Subway (meaning that I have a valid reason to skip dining hall meal).

Those moments are special. Those moments makes me feel good. Those moments make me shout in my heart, “Wow, thank you, Lord. You are awesome! I know that you are with me!”

But, the reality is, I don’t always have that inspiring moments. Most of my days in TTC are routine and mundane: weekly reading assignments & Bible quizzes, eating dining hall food, doing my cluster cleaning, classes, chapels, evening vespers, class groups and family group.

But today’s Bible reading reminds that God does not work through extraordinary things only. It means he works and speaks to me through ordinary and mundane stuffs in my life. It is my incapability to grasp it. I am just not sensitive enough to see His presence in those mundane stuffs.

When I ponder about it, God shed some light to me on how he works through ordinary things. And just as I thank God for the extraordinary thing, I also want to thank God for the ordinary thing. I took time to come up with a list of thanksgiving for ordinary activities and for people who do "mundane" things. I will read to you my thanksgiving list:

Lord, thank you for the ordinary mundane things that you give me to do (reading, going to chapel, attending family group) because these things are forming me spiritually, although I might not appreciate how important these things are now.

Lord, I thank you for administration and finance staffs in TTC. They have been working so hard in arranging the classes, issuing my transcripts, liaising directly with my sponsor so I don’t have to be worried about paying the tuition fee, organizing allowance for my international friends. I believe there are many other things they do that I do not know, so I thank you for them.

I thank you, Lord, for cooking staffs in dining hall and cafeteria. Every morning they wake up as early as 5am to cook for me so I can eat on time and be physically prepared for every activity that I have each day. Because of them I do not need to spend time planning what to eat or spend time to go out to eat.

Lord, thank you for the cleaners. They keep TTC toilet clean.

Lord, I also thank you for the housekeeping staff, who makes sure the aircons are working, fix our toilet pipe, fix our doors, change our light bulbs, provide cleaning tools, and do many other things for us.
Thank you, Lord, for those people who are doing mundane stuff that we sometimes don’t even realize. I know that you also work in our life through them."

The evening vesper was only 15 minutes long. After the evening vesper ended, a senior came to me, shook my hands, thank me, and told me, "I was just complaint about mundane stuffs yesterday, and what you share is a great reminder to me." 
I was stunned. A coincidence? Looks like, but of course it's not! I believe it is God speaking to my senior through me, an ordinary person. 

Some last points:
1. Thanking God for routine and mundane stuffs is not a one-time thing. It is a very difficult habit to cultivate. It is a lifetime learning. This week is just another point of time where I was reminded again by God about it.
2. I think I'm addicted to leading evening vesper :) I still have two other "style" to try, liturgical and contemporary. But I don't think I will be given a chance to lead evening vespers again. Guess it's time to pass the baton to the juniors.
3. Everyone can give testimony and be used by God to be a blessing! All we need to do is read the Scripture silently and prayerfully.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Second Half of 2011

I'm so miss my blog :)

TTC Life
New semester has started for 2 weeks. This semester I take 5 module: Interpretation to Biblical Introduction (IBI), The Book of Job, Greek, Pastoral Care, and Hebrew.
1. IBI for me is very important. Why? Because it's been the regulation of my home church that if someone is to preach a sermon in the fellowship or worship service/chapel, he/she must have taken Hermeneutics (interpretation) and Homiletics (preaching). One thing I like most from IBI is the power point presentation shown by the lecturer. It is the most systematically and wonderfully crafted ppt presentation I have ever seen in my whole life. Honestly, I'm amazed. I'm a visual person. A good power point presentation definitely helps me in learning faster :) Beside that I really like it when he starts every session with a thoughtful, reflective, and relevant sharing of the Word of God :)
2. The Book of Job module is special. It's an intensive course held 3 times a week from 11 July to 11 August and it is taught by Prof. S., a visiting professor from Princeton Theological Seminary, USA. An inspiring man who is greatly passionate about Old Testament and its literature. In class he is teaching in English, but he would hold a Hebrew Bible with him all the time. I never see him with his English Bible :p Prof. S is a nice person. There was once I was in the faculty office compound and was talking to a lady who takes the same module, Prof. S came to us, chat with us while doing some photocopy works, and suddenly looked at his watch and said, "Well, I think it's time for coffee. Shall we go to the cafeteria?". He treated us coffee and we were having a get-to-know-each-other session. He told me that it is love at the first sight with Old Testament. He was in the "Introduction to the Old Testament" class. The professor that taught him was awesome and since first day he just loved it and very excited about OT.
3. Greek. Finally! A Biblical language! I've been waiting for it and very excited about the idea of studying the Bible in its original language. For me, if I can read the Bible in its original language, it is like understanding God's Word in a much wider and deeper perspective. I'm just too excited! :) It's been two weeks now. Honestly I think it's difficult. Hehe... But I will definitely press on!
4. Pastoral Care. I took it because it is a core module. That's all. Nothing very excited about it. I don't dislike it, but I also definitely not excited about it. Our lecturer is a Christian mental health professional who happened to take Theology in his college time. Hmm...
5. Hebrew. Another Biblical language! :D But we haven't started yet because Hebrew will start after The Book of Job module ends. I'm so so so excited! I was told that the language will be very foreign to us. And Prof S also always encourages us in Job class to take Hebrew. Hebrew is, as I quoted him, "a very beautiful language". I'm becoming more excited to study Hebrew because of Job class. The Book of Job is a Hebrew poetry. Studying Job without a knowledge of Hebrew is like studying an English poetry without knowing English. Many times when I sat in Job class I would say to myself, "I wish I knew Hebrew". What a pain!

IEC Singapore
- Thankful to God for R, a deacon from Bandung whom God sent to study in SBC now. A great musician and youth worker. Now hopefully I can concentrate in Teen Ministry :)
- Thankful to God for Teen Ministry. The passion to serve and the longing to bring new friends are there. It's a good sign. God sent more and more teens for us to serve and pastor. My senior pastor, elders, fellow teen-workers, and friends have been very supportive all the way. Even the youths have been very supportive. Like what happened today.
     Today, J, a youth (girl) from Bandung, is coming to Singapore for holiday. J is quite known in our church community as she usually does a duo performance with K, another youth who is our church member. They would upload their video on Youtube. That's how we know them. J&K planned to perform in the Main Service only. But... they (and 3 other friends) surprised us by also performing at the Teen Service.Our Main Service is held at the same time with our teen service. I was, of course, thinking that they had to choose whether to perform in Main Service or Teen Service, and if they planned to perform in Teen Service, they would have let me know first. Since they didn't say anything, I took it that they would only perform in the Main Service. But... they took time to perform in Teen Service! I was surprised. After their performance in Teen Service they literally had to rush to the Main Service which was held upstairs. The song they sang and the determination of 5 very talented young people to proclaim God with their God-given talent that really touched me. I can see that the teens were so inspired! :) Anyway, I recorded their performance and has been playing the song again and again on my way back in TTC. I was almost in tears... :)
This is the song they sang, but today's performance has more people and better improvisation :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

TTC Retreat 2011 Day 2

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow...

All your ways are good
All your ways are sure
I will trust in you alone
Higher than my side
High above my life
I will trust in you alone

Where you go, I'll go
Where you stay, I'll stay
When you move, I'll move
I will follow you
Who you love, I'll love
How you serve I'll serve
If this life I lose, I will follow you
I will follow you

Light unto the world
Light unto my life
I will live for you alone
You're the one I seek
Knowing I will find
All I need in you alone, in you alone

In you there's life everlasting
In you there's freedom for my soul
In you there joy, unending joy
and I will follow

TTC Retreat 2011 Day 1

I, the Lord of sea and sky,
I have heard My people cry.
All who dwell in dark and sin,
My hand will save.
I who made the stars of night,
I will make their darkness bright.
Who will bear My light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

I, the Lord of wind and flame,
I will tend the poor and lame.
I will set a feast for them,
My hand will save
Finest bread I will provide,
Till their hearts be satisfied.
I will give My life to them,
Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night.
I will go Lord, if You lead me.
I will hold Your people in my heart.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Prayer in Teen Ministry

It's another reflection done as a requirement for Field Education.
4.1 Reflect on event or encounter described

Background information: Our church started Teen Sunday Service since 3 Apr and it is for secondary 1 to secondary 4 students. Before Teen Sunday Service started, sec 1 & 2 students were in Sunday School and sec 3&4 students were in Sunday Service. Three people are in-charge of Teen Ministry: one as advisor (Mr. Pet, a father of two teens) and two as coordinators (Fen and me).

Reflection: In our church monthly meeting on (Sunday, 10 Apr), my senior pastor advised all advisor and coordinators of Teen Ministry to come out with a list of names of all the teens and to pray for them regularly. We think it is a great idea and we decided to pray for them every day. I am in charge of sending Mr. Pet and Fen the prayer lists every morning through emails. We currently have 16 names in our list, so we would pray for 2-3 of them each day from Monday to Saturday, while every Sunday morning we would pray especially for Teen Sunday Service.

This idea of praying for them (and for us coordinators) every day turns out to be very enriching and beneficial because:

It cultivates a heart of gratitude
When I send e-mail to Mr. Pet and Fen, I would include a word of thanksgiving. There are many things to be thankful for: for newcomers (we started with 11 people and now we have 16), for the better fellowship among them and between us and them, for every opportunity to share to them, for the gifts that God gave them and their enthusiasm to use them in ministry, and for many other things. Sometimes Mr. Pet and Fen would also reply with their words of thanksgiving.

It cultivates a heart of dependence to God
Prayers truly humble us. We are made realized that it is God who starts and who nurtures. We are just tools in His hands. Before we started Teen Sunday Service, one of my classmate shared to me about her youth ministry experience in other church. There was once when she lead worship, none of the youth sang or responded to what she said or asked. As a result of hearing that story, I always ask Mr. Pet and Fen to pray in our preparation of Teen Sunday Service and to pray for the teens so that they would gladly sing for the Lord and eagerly listen to Word of God. We humans definitely have lots of limitations. Our words alone will not be able to drive them to worship God. It is the Holy Spirit. Thank God in every Service most of them sings and listens carefully to the sermon, some of them even take note.

 It cultivates a heart of caring
When we started to pray for them every day, we would start to think what to pray for them. This encourages us to approach them every Sunday to talk to them, asking them about school life or family (in Singapore or Indonesia). Sometimes we would call/sms/send message through Facebook to follow-up with them during weekdays.
In conclusion, prayers grow my relationship with God and with others (Mr. Pet, Fen, the teens)

4.2 What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?
No regrets in starting this daily prayer list. We have been given an exhortation to pray without ceasing, and yes, we would surely do.

P.U.S.H! Pray Until Something Happen

Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Church History Experience

I'd like to share my testimony that I read to the class yesterday, at the last lesson of one-year of Church History Survey. It is a respond to Dr. L's (the lecturer) e-mail invitation to the class. Let me quote his invitation email: 
" At our final lesson next week, I intend to give some time for you to share about how our Church History course (both Parts I and II) has impacted you (if at all): Was there something you have learnt which changed your point of view, the way you live, or the way you carry out your ministry? Through your sharing, I hope that we can see some concrete examples of how what happens in the classroom or in our own reading can come to life. I also hope that these examples will also serve as guides for the rest of us as we try to make the transition from the classroom to the "practical" business of living and doing ministry." 
So here it is:

A Testimony of My Experience as Student of Church History Class
Trinity Theological College 2010/2011

Dedicated to Dr. LTH, Lecturer of Church History Survey at TTC

The early experience of Church History was quite unpleasant as I saw it more on memorizing names, places, and facts. I found it very difficult to follow Sunquist's book. I would fall asleep every time I read it.

Pressure heightened when I had to face reality… the first test. How to do well in test if I don’t read the book?

God is good, He gave me gradual encouragement. The starting point of my "awakening" is when we started discussion on martyrdom, especially when we discussed the primary source reading on Martyrdom in Lyon.  In addition to that, Dr. Leow’s family group presented about martyrdom in one of the Friday chapel.  Then, I started to realize that Church History is not only about memorizing facts, but to learn from the people or events that happened.

By knowing the life and death of those martyrs really strengthen my faith. They are heroes of faith and I can learn from them about defending Christ until death. It is not something that is impossible. Many people in the past have gone through it. Well, I don’t know about my future, where I will go. I might be in Indonesia, in a place where persecution does happen and the threat of suffering of death can be real. And learning from martyrs really gives me strength and hope to face even the most fearsome situation.

Secondly, the first semester’s assignment which we were asked to write an imaginary letter to one of the church fathers. I wrote to St. Benedict of Nursia, the founder of Western Christian monasticism. I felt that it is quite relevant for me as a hostelite in TTC. I titled my paper “Spirituality in Community”. The idea of spirituality and community always interest me, and here as a hostelite in TTC I have a combination of both. To make it short, I would say that this paper make me realize that me and XJ, as Community Living Committee, must work closely and hand-in hand with EY and SK as Spiritual Formation Committee, to integrate spirituality into the community. There are some forms of communal worship or activities that can really contribute to TTC student’s spiritual & community life altogether.

Church History also makes me realize that God’s design is way better than human design. One example is Dr. L’s lecture and the reading about John Calvin’s life in Gonzales’ book. When we talk about John Calvin, he is always associated with one place named Geneva.  Interestingly, he never intends to stay in Geneva. He thought that his gifts were those of scholar and author, not pastor or leader. He decided to settle in Strasbourg, but the direct route to Strasbourg at that time was closed by military operation, and Calvin had to make a detour through Geneva. Calvin arrived at Geneva with the intention of stopping there for no more than a day. But Farel, a missionary, told Calvin that his presence in Geneva is needed. Calvin was not convinced by Farel and explained that he has planned to go for studies. In the end Farel challenged Calvin with a threat: “May God condemn the calm you seek for study, if before such a great need you withdraw, and refuse your help.” Calvin mentioned that those words shocked and broke him, and he desisted from the journey he had begun, and thus began his career as the reformer of Geneva.

Truly, God’s design is better than human’s plan. Some of us plan to study further, some others plan to teach, some others to pastor in one particular country or church, or to be a missionary. Yes, we can plan our future, but we are not supposed to hold on tight on it. By reading these biographies, I was reminded to keep in tune with God. I was also encouraged to know that even what God plans might not be the same with what I want, but His plan is definitely greater and better, and I need to learn to obey whatever He wants me to do and just to trust Him that He provided what best.

The last but not least, I learned about the utmost importance of mission. I learned about it especially from the readings and group papers about the Church History in Asia. All churches in Asia were started by missionaries from Europe or America. The fact that we stand here today as believers is prove of God’s work through those missionaries’ dedication. Thank God for them.

In my church, we have several young people that decided to give their life to God to be missionaries. I really thank God for them. I think it is also my duty to assist them, nurturing their faith and keep them in their commitment to follow God’s calling to be missionaries. It is definitely not easy to follow God. Living in the world (particularly in Singapore) where people admire wealth, fame, power, can discourage them to follow God’s calling.

What can I do to encourage them should they discouraged? I can share with them about the church history in Asia (Vietnam, Korea, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, China, etc). From the group who presented about Lun Bawang people, we see the growth of the tribe into one of the biggest denomination in Malaysia, SIB. My group’s paper is on church history in Korea. We see how today Korea is the country with the biggest number of missionaries sending.

By telling those stories, I want to let them know that we are here today because of the work of missionaries that was willing to leave everything and go to share the Gospel in places that they never know before. I hope these facts will help them to see the great impact of missions on one person, one group of people, one nation, one continent, and on the world as a whole. We see today that the centre of Christianity is somewhat shift to the south, one of them is Asia. Christianity grows so fast in Asia, and it all started with mission work.

To end my testimony, I would like to thank God for all this inspiration through Church History class, and to Dr. L who has taught Church History in a way that make it become meaningful. Thank you.

NB: I enjoyed my Church History class. Now I might not remember the names, places, years, and events, but the spiritual lesson I learnt from the class will always be in my heart, living in me while I'm serving God. 
I'd like to thank once again to Dr. L who has given the opportunities to share. It's been great to be taught by him :)

Proclaiming God's Glory through Reality Show

I just read an inspiring article from Christianity Today. It's about a guy named Matt Elrod. He is one of the contestants at the reality show "Survivor" (still on air now) and he is an outspoken Christian. He mentioned that he was in the show to proclaim God's glory. At first, I could not believe, that's why I was drawn to read the article. I was so curious.
I never watched Survivor before, but from the ads of the show I can see that there's a lot of sin (lie, talk bad about others, backstabbing, vulgarities) involved. It is interesting to follow Matt's journey on the show and how it have turned out. Click the link, read the article, and be inspired :)
'It's a Hard Place to Be'
'Survivor' Update: Hat Tip to the Almighty

Monday, April 25, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Come and See (Good Friday Reflection)

It is also timely that in my OT lesson we studied the book of Job last week. Let me quote what the textbook has to say about relation between Job and Jesus:
- The early Christian community saw the connection between Job and Jesus, so it was a common practice to read the book of Job during Passion week.
- The New Testament brings us the a deeper understanding of God's dealings with suffering. In Jesus Christ he reveals his love towards his sinful creatures by sending his Son to die on the cross. Jesus Christ is the true innocent sufferer, the only one completely without sin. He voluntarily (as opposed to Job) submits himself to suffering for the benefit of sinful men and women... Jesus' death on the cross did not bring suffering to an end. Indeed, Christians are characterized by their sharing in the sufferings of the Lord. To say that Christians are removed from evil and pain of the present world on the basis of the conversion is a perversion of the gospel... Thus the book of Job retains its power for contemporary Christian. It can now, however, be properly read only in the light of the suffering of the totally innocent sufferer, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Today is the first day my home church starts Teens Ministry/Sunday Service (for Secondary 1 to Secondary 4 students). We have been praying for it as we long to see them growing spiritually since their young age and we would like them to be strong in Christ in the midst of challenges they face while studying here.
Here I just wanna share (meaning: copy & paste. hehe..) my reflection. This reflection is a requirement of the Field Education Placement (which I do in my home church). I decided to put it in as it is related to Teen Ministry that we just started. Enjoy reading!

1.    Write a brief description of an important, difficult, or rewarding event or personal encounter:
During one of the preparation meetings to start Teens Ministry, when we are trying to find out what are teens struggle with nowadays, Mr. PJ (a father of 2 teens) shared the concern of her daughter (YJ) who is studying in one of the public secondary school in Singapore. When the daughter went to Malaysia for a competition, she shared a room with another student. There’s one occasion where after YJ prayed, the roommate asked her whether she is a Christian. YJ answered yes. Then the roommate started to ask questions about Christian faith, such as why she believes in Jesus, who is Jesus, why she believes that Jesus is Lord, why she believes in what the Bible says. YJ couldn’t answer some of the questions and when she went home, he started to ask the same questions to her dad, Mr. PJ. During the meeting, we conclude that we would later have some sessions on apologetics with the teens.

Reflect on event or encounter described:
Mr. PJ’s sharing reminded me of the most common issues faced by some Indonesian Christian students who study in public secondary school here. Before they came to Singapore, most of them studied in Christian school, so generally their friends are all Christians. In Indonesia, it is compulsory for all citizens to subscribe to any of the official religion, so generally people believe in God, evil, heaven and hell. It is a different case for them in Singapore, particularly in public schools.  There are very few Christians. Almost all of their friends are either from other religion or atheists, free thinkers, and skeptics. Some of their friends do not believe that God exists and some others just do not care about faith or any spiritual matter.
            I was then remembered that last semester I shared about this issue with an Indonesian Ph.D. candidate in TTC who is a father of two teens studying in a public school. His teen children had the same issue and he recommended them some books to read. A couple of days later, I went to a Christian bookstore. I bought “The Case for Christ (Youth Edition)” and “The Case for Faith (Student Edition)” by Lee Strobel. I read it myself and after that I gave those books to Mr. PJ with the hope of helping his teen daughter to respond to questions on Christian faith or how to defend it.

What would you do differently if you could do it all over again?
During my reflection for this particular question, I realized that my previous reflection and my respond to the situation were, in a sense, not so theological or spiritual. I had this notion that defending Christian faith is all about successfully answering all the questions that people ask.
            I was reminded to my own experience in dealing with my skeptic elder brother. During his teenage years, he stopped going to church. From 2000 (my conversion) to 2006  I would try to talk to him to believe in Jesus. In 2006 I came to Singapore to work and, being far from him made me realized that I couldn’t do anything much. I realized that all I had done before was more relying on my wisdom and my words, not God’s power. Since I was in Singapore, I started to pray a lot for him, pray that God’s power through the Holy Spirit would open his eyes to the truth (1 Cor 2:4-5, 10-11). Praise the Lord, he finally received Christ in 2009 when his boss shared the gospel to him.
            So, what would I do differently? In this case, what will I do next? I will emphasize to the teens that besides reading books and answering to their friends’ questions, they must pray for their friends, because it is God who changes heart, not our words. Besides praying, it is also important to live a Christlike life. People see our lives. Though we can successfully answer their questions about Christian faith, they won’t be convinced if we do not live it.

*Response from Field Education Coordinator at TTC (and definitely food for thought and for follow up):
Are there '2nd generation Christian' born-again? Have they experienced Christ's salvation and cleansing? That is, have they experienced God in a real way for them to testify Christ?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Inter-College Games Day 2011

Last Friday (4 March) was one of the most anticipated day for me... It's the first Inter-College Games Day in my life! :) 
Inter-College Games Day is an annual event where some seminaries in Singapore come together for worship, fellowship, games, and competition. This year we have 6 colleges taking part (TTC, SBC, EAST, TCABTSBGST ). There are three games competed: Faculty Challenge, 7-a-side soccer, and captain ball.

As part of TTC Community Living Committee, I was automatically part of the committee for the Games Day. It was great to be involved in the preparation. I got to know new friends from other colleges. And it is also interesting to see how the six colleges work together to make this event successful.

Last Friday started with Church History class in the morning. Half of the class wore the legendary red TTC T-shirts. We were totally in games day and holiday mood (as we will have 2-weeks mid-semester break starting 7 March). After class, me and a couple of TTC friends went to the venue of the event, Highpoint. When we got there, some friends from BTS, with their light blue polo, were preparing the flea market (where we collect unused things from all students and sell it for $2). I helped preparing the flea market. Some guys was painting the line on the soccer fields and prepared the canned drinks.

More and more people coming. EAST wore green shirts, SBC black, while TCA has the same colour with TTC (ugh!). They started to shop at the flea market. Suddenly, it started to rain. We covered all items sold at the flea market and ran to find shelter. 

I was quite worried at that time as the rains poured more heavily. But my friends kept telling me not to worry as the rain would eventually stop. They know I have been praying hard especially for the weather. If it had been raining the whole evening, we would have cancelled all the games. I kept praying in my heart that the rain would stop.

Praise the Lord the rain began to subside. All of us were instructed to get into the worship hall where we held the worship (initially planned to be at the basketball court). During worship, the rain stopped... and the games began!

First, the most exciting games of all, the Faculty Challenge. We would get to see our Principals and lecturers played some games. I'm so glad to see all faculties tried their best to win the challenge.

(left to right: church history, Prof. of systematic theology, Dean of Studies/Prof. of NT, hermeneutics, worship and liturgy )

faculty in action *so proud of them!*

Faculty Challenge was followed by fellowship games where all students from different colleges merged and divided into 15 teams. The purpose is to encourage inter-colleges friendship.

After fellowship games, 7-a-side soccer and captain ball competition started!

I was in the captain ball team as a substitute, so I will tell the stories more in a captain ball player's point of view.
First, TTC vs BTS. TTC didn't get any difficulty to win over BTS. At the first half of the game, TTC lead with 16-0. I played the second-half and during that time we were asked to slow down and practice our pass instead. I remember an exchange student from Yale told us during the half-game break, "Hey, guys! Relax! Slow down! Let us show that TTC has grace." We, who initially very determined to get more score, agreed with him. We were supposed to have fun and friendship, not to destroy the other school's spirit.

Second, TTC vs EAST. They were tough. They have a good defender/jumper, a very tall Caucasian man (one of the faculty). But in the end we won.

Third game, TTC vs TCA, red vs red. To differentiate, TTC players wore blue lanyards. It was quite a harsh game, I must say. TCA was very very driven to win. In the previous game, they lost to SBC (and it was also a very high-tension game). Both TTC and TCA argued a lot with the referee. Actually from days before the game we were warned not to do three things: swearing, fighting, arguing with the referee; but the third seemed inevitable. Some TCA players seemed quite pissed off. Thank God nothing bad happened... and we once again won.

Fourth (and last) game, TTC vs SBC, the most waited game, fighting the champion. According to our seniors, last year's final between TTC and SBC ended up bitter due to the referee's not counting our scores. This year we came back to claim our victory. Everyone was on fire!
The match was tense. In the first half, the jumper from SBC accidentally hit our catcher's face many times and it culminated with him hit our catcher right in the eyes. Our catcher looked pissed off. We thought he would refuse to continue with the game. We kept on cheering for him and some of our friends tried to calm him down. Thank God he eventually calmed down and went on with the game. First half was quite balance. Both sides would score here and there.
The second half was quite smooth. It is obvious that we scored more than SBC. TTC cheering team was getting louder and louder while SBC was getting softer. When the whistle was blown, we shout in joy! TTC captain ball team won the first place!

After the euphoria, we moved on to cheer the soccer team, so did SBC. TTC soccer team was fighting SBC in the last match of the day. The first half ended up 1-0 for SBC. But the soccer team refused to give in, they fought hard until the end. The cheering team, the eight player, was so motivated in their task. We cheered  louder and louder *poor throat... working so hard* 
And it's just happened. Our team scored a goal! The match ended as a draw. 1-1.

After calculating the total points from the three competition, TTC came out as the champion! Surprisingly, SBC came third and EAST came out as runner up. I think EAST has been preparing very hard for this year's games day and SBC was quite nervous to defend their championship.

 The unbeatable captain ball team

We are the champion!

Some committee members (3 TTC, 2 BTS, and 1 SBC students) stayed late to settle financial matters . After we finish, four of us (3 TTC and 1 SBC student) had dinner at Adam Rd Food Centre (near SBC). We dropped by SBC to send our friend and drop some items, then we went home to our lovely college. It's a very tiring but sweet day :)

As to why the captain ball team was strong. It's because they have been practising hard for the whole year every Wednesday evening *which I never be able to join as I usually go for prayer meeting*. In the past month before games day, they practised twice a week. I myself had 3 practise session with the rest of the team. Having been playing together for one year, they grew up loving the game. They totally had fun. Through the discipline of practise, they also got to understand each other's style of playing, strength, and weaknesses. Each of them would cover for other's weaknesses. Beautiful, isn't it?
Discipline. Love. Fun. Teamwork.