Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Mikayla!!!

Mikayla Yee Rencai 余仁采:
Born, 21/12/2008, 11:22am
Daughter of proud parents Lemuel Yee and Melanie Lim

Yes, it has already been one year, one year since my trustee ol' XDA II died on me in the hospital (watch this space for more on my Pocket PC), one year since my wife was rushed to the emergency ward at 5am, one year since I my freedom was all but lost, one year since what I came to know as MY life was gone... and I have never been so proud and happy. I now live for someone else.

Yes, Mikayla turned a big 1 (one) on the 21st December 2008 (Sunday). It was quite low key as Canaan's Christmas Open House was on the very same day. So the church was busy with all things Christmas and open housey. Melanie was particularly upset about that. I guess it's a maternal thing, Melanie informed me that she was doing all the hard work while I just "enjoyed" the process. THAT, my (male) friends is like the ultimate female trump card, and our que to shaddup. Anyway, it was all out of our control, whining about it was not going to do anything. We spent the whole day at the open house, where Melanie won a coffee maker. Lunch was free for all and free for all. Many people came, including friends from other churches. But there was not dinner...

Yes, we went out dinner after that long day. But there was little fanfare. Uncle Elroi and aunty Anne (not to be mistaken with the pretzel making one); uncle Bob; aunties Sarah, Rachel, and uncle Irvin; and kai yeh Kok Leong were those in attendance. We ate at one of our favourite restaurants - D'Fortune in Menjalara. And called it a (birth)day.

Next year there will be a small "Mikayla" update section on this blog. The demand is just too great, already Mikayla's life is more interesting than mine! She lives and charmed life...

Daddy's Diva =)


Mikayla,

Mommy and daddy loves you so much. You are so cute, so beautiful. You are truly a "gift from God" to us and to our family. We pray that you will grow up to be God's gift to your church, and even to Malaysia and the rest of the world. Your kong kong has already mentioned (a.k.a. prophecied) that one of his grandchildren will be a pastor, would that be you? hmmm...

I am looking forward to the many many more experiences we will be having together.

I love you,
Daddy (mommy will have to get her own blog)
P/S: You're going to make daddy even more of a cry baby...

Tiramisu all for my baby... watch this space for the pix & vids of Mikayla vs. Tiramisu.


**some nostalgic moments:
January 2008: Gifts From God
September 2008: Mikayla's First Fever


First Days as our baby




First days in our now warmer and cozier home

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Break

This did NOT happen
Dear readers,

This blog will be frozen for the holidays. I'll be back next year when this blog turns 1. There is just too much happening in too short a time for me to keep up. I will not be giving up on the real world to spend time in the cyber world. I'll be livin' it up!

For those of you near and dear to me you will not be needing to come here as I will be seeing you sometime during the festive season. For those of you who are trying to keep track even during this time, please spend less time online, and more time with your family and friends. This is the season to love, and to be loved.

This DID happen... for you

Remember in all the shopping, gifts, and makan... JESUS!

Merry Christmas and a Happy 2009!

Yours truly,
Lemuel Yee

P/S: He did not just die for you, he ALSO overcame death... for you too

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All I Want For Christmas Is...

How many times have you received a gift and had this thought:

"Why not just give me the cash instead?" or "What am I supposed to do with this?" or "What a waste of money?"

Don't get me wrong I am not ungrateful, just being honest here. Don't lie to me, I know we have all had that experience. Then some of us hold onto the gift for another year or two and then "re-gift" it to another poor soul (or someone else who would actually appreciate it).

So far my philosophy for Christmas gifts is this: "if I wouldn't like to receive it, I won't give it". Maybe this might help some of you.

For me, the best thing to do is to give a "group gift", which means getting a few mutual friends (a term I learnt in Facebook) together and give something more significant. It will cost you the same, but the gift's value (not just monetarily) will grow exponentially. Although this would require some extra planning and organizing.

With Christmas looming and the prospect of having unwanted "surprises", I have created this "wish list" for those of you who genuinely love me but face the challenge of expressing your love through your Christmas giving. Hopefully this will make your Christmas shopping (for me) less stressful and more enjoyable (for you). Prices for the items on my wish list range from as low as RM2 to more over USD2,000. So go ahead, get a few guys together and do some planning/organizing!

Note:
* This is just a wish list, you know what wish means? Anyway, these days I'm dreaming big and I am not going to apologize about it. Hopefully they are God's dreams as well...
** This is not an exhaustive list, but a guide. I'm sure some of you have some great gift ideas for me, can't wait for Christmas...

Samsung Omnia

The all-in-one

Last Christmas, when Mikayla was born, for some unknown reason my pocket PC of almost 5 years died on me in the hospital. Since then I have been jumping from phone to phone, just borrowing people's cheap backup phones. I am currently using Osbourne's old and reliable Nokia.

The Omnia is really an all-in-one gadget. It has the usual Phone and PDA functions (i.e. calendar, to-do list, making and receiving phone calls, SMS, etc.). On top of the usual stuff this baby also has a built in GPS and AGPS, not to mention the HSPDA (3.5G) connectivity, also useful as a PDA and also as a thumb drive/external hard disk.

My life has really been a blur since my trusty O2 XDA II konged out. I feel a need to get my life back on track as I begin to build my ministry next year.

Mic Stand Pick Holder


The standard mic stand pick holder

I have a tendency to drop my picks when I play guitar, especially on fast songs (I think I just can't keep up with the tempo). Anyway apart from my efforts in practice, this item will come in helpful during those embarrassing times.

Similar but different

Outdoor Crocs (Red/Black)
With my faithful green pair of crocs wearing out, it is getting hazardous for me when it gets wet. Maybe I should just slip, fall, then sue Crocs for a new pair of Crocs?

My current Beach Croc is in the size of Men's 8-9. So might as well try the outdoor crocs this time around.

Red/Black colour is the best of the lot

A Taylor Guitar (814 or 914 series)

Not just another guitar, a Taylor 814... *drools*

Hope agianst all hope, but I just heard a message from a CD in Sarah Tan's car. The speaker excouraged us not to limit God. God has no limits, only we limit God by putting him into a box. So I decided to put this up as well. This is definitely out of the box.

As all of you would know guitars is a real passion of mine. I can't play it as well as I wished I could, so I resort to just loving the whole concept and idea of a guitar. This guitar would be more than a music instrument, it would be more a piece of art. I am currently tracking several auctions on Ebay. It is MUCH cheaper in US, since these babies are made in US. Currently the most attractive is this Taylor 2006 814ce Fall Limited Edition with sitka spruce top and Madagascar rosewood sides and back. Check this baby out! That's what I call a sexy back... yea...

The Madagascar Rosewood back



Sexy back... yea

Paul Gilbert Guitar Picks

Any color will do.

So far, I have found these to be the best picks. The size is right, the shape is right, the texture is right, the tone is right, even the colours are right. These are the only guitar picks I use, I exclusively use Paul Gilbert picks. I stumbled upon these picks one day when David Yeoh lent one of his picks to someone during worship practice, since then there was no turning back.

Recently I went to get myself a few more of these picks. I seldom lose my picks nowadays, unless I borrowed them to someone else, then they lose it for me. However these picks are currently dried up in Malaysia, all stocks are sold out, that is how popular these picks are. Anyway those still in my possesion are getting worn out. They are getting blunt on the tip from strumming, and getting holes on the sides from scrapping the strings. Time for a bunch of new ones. Think you can find some?


Clip On Guitar Tuner


This is the Intelli IMT-500, available at The Guitar Store.

There are many types of tuners out there, but the ones I am interested in are the clip on time. The clip on type don't require a guitar jack plugged in to them to start tuning. These also do not need silence while tuning because they are not reliant on the mic to pick up the guitar's pitch. These clip on are based on vibration that the guitar emits to determine the pitch of the guitar. These clip on type tuners are also generally smaller, for me, that's a plus.

This is how it is used.

Mikayla Harness

That's NOT Mikayla

With Mikayla turning 1 this Christmas season, she should very soon be running about. So as parents our job is to spoil her fun by putting her on a leash... A baby harness should allow both Melanie and I, and Mikayla some freedom and room. A simple one would be great. Not some "cute" bulky one.

Definitely not a fan of lugging more weight around.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Facebook

Yes, as some of you would already know, I have finally (this is like a keyword these recent months) fallen prey to the perils of Facebook. The last straw was when my father, of all people, not only invited me, but told me to get on Facebook. Like me he thought facebook was not "serious" enough, so I guess now we both just have to loosen up a bit. However as soon as we logged on we realized that many of the "serious" people were already actively participating in Facebook and the various groups. Anyway, I'm now in. Add me if you wish.

My father announces his Facebook presence on his site, as I am doing now.

I'm still a total Facebook noob. It'll take some time for me to settle into my Facebook. So far I have 175 "friends", I'm sure many are real "friends" however there are quite a number that I'm not sure if I have ever met them. Some seem to know who I am, while some others ask me the very same question that I want to ask them, but dare not lest I make a fool of my noob-Facebook-self... I end up with many "Who are you?" messages.

Facebook doesn't allow me to be married to a person who is NOT on Facebook. My wife had to register too.

Anyway, there I am in facebook, connecting with all my "friends" from all around the world. There already has been some old friends that I was able to reconnect with. Photos shared and "tagged" (whatever that means) in some others, while I joined some groups that seemed intersting to me (like a certain warehouse sales group). But at the end of the day, I think my blog will still be my main presence in cyber space.

Well... anyway, just so you know...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Worship List 081130

Prakash was scheduled as the worship leader this week, however since he swapped with David last Sunday he would be worship leading back to back. This Sunday was also a special week, there was going to be a shoot for a promotional video for the church. So I wanted to make sure that 1) the worship team did a good job and 2) I got my face on camera. So I got myself involved by arranging myself as co-worship leader. The shoot was really elaborate. Elroi (my brother did it) and it was not a home video thing. It was the full monty corporate video. I figured that the shoot would affect the worship time. I didn't worry so much that the people would be distracted by it, but kind of realized that this week the people would be more "ready" for church. And so it was that last Sunday that the atmosphere was really much better.

By Wednesday Prakash and I have already communicated and it already seemed like we were on the same track. By Thursday we have confirmed some songs and by Friday it was almost all set. Our direction was to get desperate for God, to have more of him in our lives and church. Below is Sunday's list:

  1. Cover The Earth (D)
  2. Friend of God (D)
  3. Breathe (A)
  4. Draw Me Close (A)
  5. Forever [by Hillsong, chorus only] (A)

That Sunday morning, some visitors walked into our church, they were with the speaker for the day. The speaker was Ronnie Tan. He is a Malaysian who is now pastoring in New Zealand, he brought along with him a group of young people. They were so full of energy and the worship team fed off their energy and enthusiasm. I believe many of our own church members too were infected by them. However we always knew it was going to be a great session that week. We had a time of prayer after the worship practice last week, we all put our instruments down and just gathered around for a short time of really worshipping God and prayer after that.

I informed the team that since we introduced the debriefing after our worship sessions our worship team has made giant strides, so we are now going to start a short "briefing session" after our practice time. We will use this briefing time to discuss about our dress code, the service, and any other nitty-gritty stuff that we have to settle before the worship session. We will start the briefing time with a short simple time of worshipping together as a team followed by a time of prayer. As it would happen, God really did hear the worship team's heart's cry. The service, from the worship to the preaching, was all great.

This week is definitely an up. Hope next week will be just as good, and even better.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My Commencement Ceremony


As many of you would have heard, I will be graduating this Tuesday (2nd December). It would be BCM's 47th graduation exercise, that is some tradition. Here I would like to extend my invitation to all of you who might be interested to participate in the exercise. Here are the details:


Date: 2nd December 2008 (Tuesday)

Time: 7:30pm (light refreshments served at 6:15-7:00pm)



Yup, that's me, more photo op on Tuesday night.

The theme "Finish Strong" is really meaningful to me. I don't believe it is a description of me currently, that I have already finished my theological studies in BCM, and that I am now finishing it strong. But it is a exhortation to the class of 2008 to continue to fight the good race so that we can truly finish well. Yes, it is the close of a chapter of my life, but as this chapter ends I am opened up to a whole new chapter, blank and ready for me to make history and make my life count. Some schools call it a commencement ceremony and it really is exactly that for me, the end of one thing and the beginning of another. I am dreaming big things but being very sensitive to God at this time to lead me to the next place that he wants to bring me to. I am raring to put my training into practice now.

I can't help it, I just feel thankful to all those who have poured into my life or stood by me all this while, so here I thank you all (again). If you are thinking of buying flowers for me, forget it. Don't waste your time and money... I prefer cash! Many of you realize I'm graduating and asked me why I didn't tell anyone. It's because I am not really interested in making it a big deal, more than anything it is just a sense of relieve. Even then many of you have told me that you will be adjusting your schedules and giving up your evening to be there for me, I appreciate that. Just come if you're interested, your presence alone more than what I expect. Again, please don't bother with the flowers.

If you guys want, we'll have dinner after the graduation, perhaps we can go for A&W, the one with the drive-in. That one has air-cond and is open 24 hours.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

...Finally

I seem to be getting a lot of email and messages with that word recently. So much so that I am compelled to make a response here. My dad even made a great big announcement on his website about this. "Why?" you may ask, what's all the fuss about?...

It is because of Melanie!

I am (finally) graduating from BCM after spending a good 5 years there doing my training for ministry. Many of you thought the Key Magazine Photo Session post was in fact the graduation itself, don't just look at the photos, at least read the title! Anyway what normally takes 3 years to finish went on for an extra 2 years, almost double the allocated time. So I guess it's only warranted that we all feel relieved, especially the lecturers and staff in BCM. My wife, who was one of those who were, understandably, extra relieved, sent out emails to everyone inviting them to my graduation ceremony (on December 2nd). I was also on her mailling list. So some of our close friends, and not so close friends as well, started replying the email. There was some congratulatory emails, but many were "sigh-of-relieve" emails. Melanie is just proud of me. I believe her pride is justified.

Anyway I don't blame you all for being relieved. It really is my fault.

Most of you know what happened during the last 5 years. But for some of you who might be wondering here's a very quick look back on the last 5 years of my (academic) life:

Year One: The Gung-Ho Year
My parents has just resigned as the pastor of Canaan Church and was due to be sent to the Philippines as missionaries. A new pastor took over my church. Church was different, with all the transitions taking place I was kind of dazed at it all.

I did great for my first couple of terms in BCM. However, being me I lost my focus and attention halfway through the year.

Everyone knows my passion for ministry, when I (finally) got myself into BCM I was mighty relieved myself. I was so crazy about ministry (but mostly I'm just "UN-crazy" about my studies) that I spent too much time "doing ministry" and totally forgot about my studies. Guess what... I flunked a whole lot during my first year, trust me when I say "a whole lot". This was the year that I took over the youth ministry and also organized the RE:tuned concert, which was a huge project for someone like me to be handling. I also got involved in organizing the CDFM's (Christian Dance Fellowship of Malaysia) week-long seminar. I got involved in a lot of things, outside of my studies.

Year Two: The oh-crap-what-have-I-got-myself-into year
Halfway through this year I began to realize that in this American system I cannot just pass my tests, course papers carried a whole lot of weight. By the time I start to realize that I will need to sync or swim, damage has already been done. RE:tuned was deemed a success, other churches were telling me to go at it again next year, I declined. I put many things aside and began to set my sights on my studies. Then came along another butterfly...

In February I proposed to my girlfriend of 6 years. I was irresistable, and she said "yes".

Year Three: When I Got Married
We planned to get married sometime during Valentine's Day this year, however, due to my horrid results I was placed under "academic probation", which meant that I was to stay in my school almost all the time except for "weekend ministry", which is the practical side of my theological training. Another record I broke, apart from being the first Alumni's child to be back in BCM was that I was the first student in the 40-plus years history of the school to actually fail the same subject twice. That subject was "Religion and Cults". Because of that, I was issued an ultimatum by the school: no more failling or my credits will all be forfeited, and I will have to start my studies from scratch.

Marriage plans although postponed still went on. Melanie and I got hitched on June 11th this year. We decided that since we got married I should take some time off from BCM to honeymoon a little. Took one term off before I eased myself back into BCM by doing part-time studies. As they say "a wedding lasts only a day, but a marriage lasts a lifetime". I don't think that spending this time building my marriage was time lost or wasted. I now enjoy my marriage and family with Melanie and Mikayla, who are the gems in my life. I love you both very much.

This was also the year that I got suspended from school for failling to do my "Christian Duty". Part of the practical side of the training, Christian Duty was to help develop our character and all that jazz, you know what I'm talking about. I was in charge of cleaning this classroom, normally Christian Duty should be done on Monday, which is kind of like our off-day, minus the Christian Duty. However since I was no longer staying in the BCM dorm as there was no more room in the couple's dorm for my wife and me, travelling all the way to BCM from Selayang just to perform my "Christian Duty" was really out of the way. I had classes on Tuesday, which was when I cleaned my classroom. However there was a night class in my class on Monday, so after a few dirty nights the lecturer made a complaint. I was called in for questioning. Situation was explained as it was but the committee mentioned that my mistake was not informing them that my Christian Duty would be done on Tuesday instead of the regular Monday. So BCM suspended me for a term. Later on, my church suspended me for another term as they said that they did not have a chance to "work on me".

Year Four: The Reluctant Part-Timer
The suspension killed any chance of me graduating this year. But by this time I had done most of my subjects. My studies were approximately 80% done. I am close to fulfilling all my credit hours, however I could not graduate this year because there were some compulsory subjects that I need to pass before I can graduate. I wanted to try to graduate this year, but sadly I was informed that some of my required subjects were not being offered this year. Since these were compulsory subjects, they were subjects that were important to the school, so they did not allow me to do these courses via correspondence. So I was "forced" to take my studies part-time as there were no other courses to take, can you believe that?

In a way I was also glad that I was "forced" to be a part-timer, since I cannot afford to fail ANY of my subjects or face a total meltdown in my life and studies.

Around the month of May I decided to opt for an internship with Faith Charismatic Center. I found that I have been in this church for too long, not only have I become complacent, but so also have the people around me. It was time for something new, something to jolt all of us (me and my church) out of our slumber. So I took up the offer from FCC for an internship. I committed the rest of the year to them. I really enjoyed my time in FCC. I was told to take charge of the worship ministry in that church and also had the very nice opportunity to partner with Joash in the youth ministry. I also had my first taste of preaching on a Sunday service. FCC offered to take me up on a more premanent basis. I brought the offer back to Canaan where they asked me not to take up the offer but return to Canaan where there will be "more opportunities" for me. Since my commitment was first to Canaan and being a man of my word, I rejected the very delicious offer and returned as instructed.

Year Five:
This would bring us to the current year and the reason for this post. This year, after completing my final 2 compulsory subjects in BCM. I will only graduate in December, but unofficially, my studies is done and dusted as of August this year. I was looking forward to getting a taste of full-time ministry. I was hoping that I would be given more to do as previously promised, however I am left feeling that I could do more, both as part of my training process as well as to fill up the time I have on my hands.
Now I am less than 1 month away from the day that I have been working towards for 5 years. It has not been a waste of time. My training had to be complete and thourough. Some of you would have personally heard from me of my struggles (in school, in ministry, and just basically in life as a whole), you would know that I have not taken the easy way out even though there were many chances to do so, and no one would have blamed me for it. But I stuck with it in the hope that it would make me a better minister, a better person. My family and close friends who have been rooting for me have got themselves way more than what they bargained for, standing by me for 5 years instead of the intended 3 years. I understand why you are all (finally) relieved. Here I want to take the opportunity to thank some of you who have stood by me through thick and thin.

Thank you... REALLY!
Words don't really do justice here, but from the bottom of my heart... Thank you!

Melanie and my parents are the ones who really felt the burden and carried it with me. Melanie worked while I studied, and they are just worried for me fulfilling my call. It's not a money thing, but it's a destiny thing.

My closest friends, namely, Ke Xin, Angela, Susie, and Joash (and few more I'm sure I missed). Who have lent me their strength in times when I was weakest. How they did it was merely by being there and being who they are.

Some of my Christian relatives that acknowledged God's call in my life and helped me to prove it to those who did not see it.

Even some of my non-Christian relatives like my in-laws who were so gracious and patient with me, I pray that one day you will come to know the amazing love and grace that we can all experience.

Some of you Canaan Church members and Christian friends who really did more than offer me moral support.

Of course not forgetting the lecturers and pastors who have shared their insights with me. And also my classmates who made it that much more interesting. As we step out in ministry, I know you are my network, you are my support, I pray that I can be the same for you. Big dreams, let them be God's dreams and let him bring them to fulfilment.

It is an understatement and cliche, but I really would not have made it. It's been a tough long journey and I am FINALLY done with it. Now I look forward to the ministry opportunities. I pray God will reignite that gung-ho spirit that I had when I first went to BCM, that I will leave BCM not just with a head full of knowledge but a heart full of FIRE!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just An Update...

Parents are back in town, but only for one week.

Dad is in Indonesia doing some accreditation for a school there. His new Toshiba Protege was left with me, there was some mix up when he bought it, there was supposed to be a 4gig RAM but there was only 2gigs. So he took my laptop and I was left with his. After testing out the Vista for almost a week I have decided to give Vista a great big two thumbs down. Always suspected it to be so, but finally using it I realized how slow the machine was even with 4gigs worth of RAM. Now I miss my laptop. The absence of my laptop is the reason for the silence in my blog. Don't have any of my stuff on this com.

That's dad. Mom however had the pleasure of staying back with Mikayla, thus freeing me up to catch up with some errands.

So top of the list was changing the brake pads for my Jaguh (should get some pix of my bike...). Riding a bike with barely any rear brakes was both a test of skill as well as (dumb) faith. With minimal rear brakes I managed to survive ferrying around Phinehas Mathius (a Pastors' Kid and fellow minister) when he visited KL last week. Also fetched Marcus back from church after he, very diligently, worked with Andrea Bong on a song that we will most likely sing this weekend - Cover The Earth. This is the first time that the brakes have really been working the way it should since I bought it about a year ago, so it was fun putting the brakes to work.

Also managed to do a fair bit of banking.

With Mikayla's grandparents watching her we were also able to have a nice dinner with some good friends in celebration of Ke Xin's birthday. Happy ??th Birthday Ke Xin!!! We were supposed to eat at this place in Solaris called "Garage" or something like that, however because it was Ke Xin's birthday the shop declared it as a holiday and they were not opened. Had to change plans, so we ate at the restaurant next door which were ignorant of what a big and important day it was. Ole Ole Bali's food was very nice, something different but with the large serving, we were all more than satisfied. Had a nice time catching up with each other since we are all getting caught up more and more with other stuff. What we used to have in common was church, but now some are in other churches and some others are caught up with work. I really hope and pray that I can do something to get them back to our very first common ground - church.

Next on the list is to tune the engine of my Juara (not to be mistaken with my Jaguh). The engine has been out of whack since some noob mechanic did the top overhaul. My timing belt gave way smack on the 120,000KM mark. I know timing belt is to be changed every 60,000KM, but I thought it coult wait a few hundred KMs more. Didn't know they engineered the belts with such precision. Can't bring it to just any mechanic as the Juara has a rather different engine and electronics. So have to bring it to the pros (and pay more). Rather get it done right once than to have to keep on bringing it back over and over again.

Apart from that I am also looking forward to catching a movie with Melanie sometime this week. We have not watched ANY movie since Kung Fu Panda, which, I believe, is almost 3 months ago.

Since my com is not around this will just be a simple update from me to break the silence in my blog.

For all of you out there who keeps up with my blog... I'm still alive.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Worship List 081102

So I'm here at the end of another, if not busy, eventful week. I had a wedding dinner to attend, my good friend David Lim was in town for a song writing competition, and yes, I worship led again. When I'm well prepared and have a clear idea where I am leading the church in worship, I really look forward to it. However this time I felt I was less prepared than I would like to be. There was just one up side for me, my guitar is back from the shop and all ready to be plugged in and to go live! So my baby was going to get her first chance at "singing" in front of my church.

Anyway I decided on the theme of God's glory, I wanted to lead the church into God's presence and have his glory revealed to us. So here's the song list:

  1. Glory by Hillsong United (E)
  2. Cover The Earth by Lakewood (A)
  3. Forever by Hillsong (D-A)
  4. One Thing Have I Desired unknown (A)
  5. Oh The Presence of Your Glory by Ron Kenolly (A-C)

At the end of everything I am thankful that God helped me do a reasonably good job. I think the worship was inspiring, but how it turned out just didn't satisfy me. I wanted more, I want excellence, I want to do my best, and nothing less, nothing less.

Everything went well, apart from one of our keyboard adaptors being out of commission, but minus one keyboard, the music was still quite good and tight, considering that we were doing a new song (Cover The Earth), and also a musically more technical song (Oh The Presence of Your Glory), the church still responded well to the songs. However I was just not satisfied, it feels like it just lacked a certain X factor. During our evaluation the team felt that the practice session was better than the actual worship time, we unanimously agreed.

It just keeps coming back to me... what was missing? There was just something missing and I cannot put my finger on it. I don't think the rest of the team is as bothered by it as I am. But I really want to identify it and make sure our worship team doesn't happen again. Maybe it's just me suffering from a heavy week.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Meet My Farida D52

Have you met? This is my Farida... Farida, meet the world...





I'm sure some of you have already met my baby (not Mikayla, neither is she Melanie), she is my other baby, and her name is Farida.

I bought this beautiful piece of guitar about 2 years ago from Pas. Julian Low, she should be about 3 years old now. Pas. Julian in turn bought her from the Guitar Store. Born in China the Farida D52 comes with a sitka spruce top with abalone shell soundhole inlays; South American mahogany sides and back with beautiful wood binding; 2-piece mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard adorned with mother of pearl (snowflakes and diamonds) inlays; nut and bridge made of whale bone; and chromed machine heads; finished off with matte/natural finish.

I have found my Farida D52 to be the benchmark for all other dreadnaughts to emulate. It is loud and boomy yet defined. The tone is very (did I say very? Yes, very, VERY) warm. To date I have not heard a guitar that gives a warmer tone. At the age of 4, she is just beginning to open up... gosh! Can't imagine when she opens up... When strummed it will easily engulf your cell group host's home, smaller halls will also be completely saturated with her sweet tones; when finger plucked it is just intimate and simply romantic. Perfect for times when you want to sing a simple song, as the voice of the guitar will shine through, just get your voice out of the guitar's way.

Recently I was considering selling this baby off for an upgrade. I was, and still is, looking for a Taylor (7, 8, or 9 series with Cindy in lays) or McPherson. I quickly realized my folly in wanting to trade her in for a "better" guitar during my trip down to Singapore. I was there for a holiday and also to hunt for a new guitar. After trying all the guitars that a Malaysian in Singapore could get his hands on, I realized that all dreadnaughts actually want to sound like MY dreadnaught! I quickly repented and decided that I was never going to part with my baby.

Sounds too good to be true? Check out this 5-star review on the Farida D52. I quote their bottomline, "For: Beautiful sounds, slim neck, great quality woods; Against: Nothing at all!" Believe it!

Click here to download the full review from Total Guitar Magazine

Note that my piece was specially selected and hand-carried by Guitar Store's guitar techs from the factory in China. Three of their technicians went over to check out the factory and guitars before bringing back these guitars. My piece was one of only six that were specially chosen to be brought back as samples. When it got back to Malaysia, Pas Julian immediately tried it out and immediately took the guitar home on credit term without second thoughts, it was that good. When I tried it out in Pas. Julian's house I wanted to immediately take it home as well, but he did not want to sell it then. However a few months later he made me an offer for the guitar and I pounced on it!

So since this guitar was going to be my legacy to Mikayla, I decided that I have to (finally) put in some electronics so that I can use it sometimes. For a long time I was considering the AER AK 15 plus pickup system. For the longest time this was the best choice because of 1) the non-invasive system that would not harm any part of my guitar, as no holes needed to be made to install this pickup, and 2) there are two sources, a standard piezo (under saddle pickup) as well as a mic. These two sources could be blended to create a different sound. Once I decided to put in the electronics I decided to give my friend Jon Koo a call for some consultation before taking action. He quickly pointed me to another similar very new system by Fishman - the Fishman Ellipse Matrix Blend. This system was available in JS Music, and the guitar tech there was highly recommended.

So last Friday I went over to JS Music to try out the system in view of installing it on my Farida. When I was there the guitar tech that I was consulting (Ng) realized that this was one of the first pieces of Faridas in Malaysia he immediately exclaimed that he was one of the guys that hand-carried it back from China. Small world. He was the guitar tech that was recommended by Jon Koo and some other guitarists that I know, he no longer works for the Guitar Store he now works for JS Music. I decided that it was fate that brought us all together so very quickly I decided on the Fishman system and I even got a special price for it. It would come up to RM900.00 (inclusive of installation).

As I type this my baby is in being fitted with her electronics. I'm so excited to get it back this Friday. I hope it is ready by then. I will be woship leading again this weekend (don't ask), and I am really looking forward to breaking in my Farida in with her brand new Matrix Ellipse Blend pickup system.

Check out my baby on some other sites:

Farida's Official Site
D52 on Farida's UK Site
Farida's YouTube Channel
The Guitar Store

** Watch this space, more pix of my Farida with the brand new Matrix Ellipse Blend coming up.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The First Shall Be The Last... and... The Last Shall Be First.

Just waiting here for my dinner that has been ordered from the restaurant in my condominium compound. Cantonese fried ala yin yang, and pineapple fried rice is on its way.

Melanie has a bad headache after coming back from what she calls "work", visiting bird park with her kindergarten. Elroi is also back from work and hungry, he's also waiting for dinner. Decided to surf a bit while waiting... you know... take my mind of the rumbly tumbly. So I stumbled into my parent's website and saw this...


Click on the screen shot to go to the site


I am the "last and final one"... *as if I needed to be reminded...

Anyway...

Maybe some of you readers might not know, but my parents are missionaries sent by the Assemblies of God of Malaysia. They are lecturing in Asia Pacific Theological Seminary in Baguio, Philippines. They have been in Philippines for almost 5 years now (I think).

Next year, I am proud to also announce in my own site now, that my father will be installed as the president of the seminary. I guess it's quite a big deal, but he's still my father. I'm starting to realize that he is going to be the president of the school that trains pastors and leaders for the entire region of Asia Pacific. I'm sure many back here in Malaysia (especially those from the Assemblies of God) are proud of him.

Melanie, Mikayla and I will try our best to be there around April/May to attend his installation as the president. I think my church might even try to plan a missions trip there that will coincide with his installation.

So if my dad becomes the president, my mom would be the first lady... so I guess that would make my family the "first family"

Does that make me "first young man" or "first son" or something like that?

First or Last?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Worship List 081018

Yes I worship led in church... again. Don't get me wrong I really enjoy it and I really want to do it well. So I take a long time preparing for each time. I worship led just two weeks ago because I swapped with David, this week I swapped with Prakash. Prakash was really working towards this session, I saw him practicing with Marcus and Melissa couple weeks in advance. But in his line of work, last minute stuff just jumps at him. Anyway he will be moving on to a new jon very soon, he is hopeful that in his new work he will be able to spend more time with some ministries in church.

So Prakash informed me on Tuesday, I think, that I will have to replace him. It was going to be a long weekend for me, I was going to be preaching in Bethany Chapel's Y:Fusion (the youth ministry) on Saturday as well. I want very much to do well for both tasks, so I had to really work hard at it. Some of you might have noticed I've not been on Garena (a gaming client where I play DotA online). Well, now you know why I have been MIA.

Practice was kind of sloppy, but at the end while praying for the next morning's service there was just a peace that came over me.

Here's the worship list:

  1. Hosanna (G)
  2. Better Than Life (G)
  3. Jesus Lover of My Soul (Chorus & bridge only) (G)
  4. Beautiful Saviour (A)
  5. One Thing Have I Desired (A)
The worship time was excellent. I have to find a way to quantify and publish it here along with my worship list. Will work on that and try to place a "score" on the worship time in the future. However for now, you will just have to take my word for it, the worship session was great. After the service some people approached me to ask me for the final song. Jason Ong, one of our stage hands/tech also just SMS-ed me asking for the song, but I think the song is so old that I can't find a single thing on the song. It's like the song doesn't exist. Now you're wondering where I got the song from, well, I learnt the song during my internship stint in FCC last year.

I have just received my USB audio interface from Ebay, so I guess I will make it my first project to make an attempt to record the beautiful song for some who are requesting for it. Don't expect it anytime soon though, I'm kind of a perfectionist and I have to learn how do a proper recording from nothing. Might need some help from my good friend Dr. David Lim here. I will post it up here when it's ready.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Key Magazine Photo Session

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a graduation photo shoot in BCM on the 22nd of September. I finally have the results of that shoot. Here are some of the pix from that day. Would have included more pix here but each pic is about 5mgbs, so uploading them was a real hassle.


Diploma in Theology

Class of 2008

Guess what... mortar board toss!


There are more pix but I'll probably have to resize them before uploading them. Anyway I will not publish them here now but leave some for the school magazine that will be published around the same time as the graduation. You can catch me in my gown on during BCM's Graduation Exercise on the 2nd of December.

I preached the second time in chapel last Wednesday (8th October), so now I am totally done and ready for my graduation. I preached on what I am going through during this point in my life... the main idea is to do things God's way, even when we don't understand the whole situation.

Yes... I am finally graduating... (that's my response to all of you who have been asking). Thank you for all your support (and patience) and THANK GOD!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Worship List 081206

Before I come to the list, I want to make mention of the worship team here...

I was supposed to lead the worship next Sunday. However David Yeoh, who was next week's worship leader, told me that he could not make it to practice this Saturday. I had to swap with him.

I was immediately put in a dilemma. This week is Hari Raya week, so many of our musicians were away for a holiday. All week I was trying to find the right time when all the musicians could come together for a practice. It was a tough time trying to synchronize all our calendars and find the right time to practice. Bearing in mind that I also did not want to deprive them of their holiday as they have worked hard for the worship ministry and deserved a holiday. I spent much of my week worrying about the practice and the worship time. We finally decided to practice on Saturday morning at 10:00AM instead of the usual 1:30PM. Suddenly all the musicians were available, even David made it to the practice! I was very encouraged by the commitment of this group of musicians. They really went out of their way to serve God in this area. In the midst of the confusion I forgot to inform Donny, our lead guitarist, that we have moved the practice time again this week. I had previously spoken to him about the change of practice time. I thought I informed him but I was making so many calls to so many people that I left him out.

Bobby (bassist), Irvin (sound tech), Marcus (keyboardist), Timothy (rhythm guitarist), and I (worship leader) arrived at church at 10:00AM. We all came in my van. We setup while waiting for the rest to arrive. By 10:20AM we gave Donny a call asking him how late he was going to be. It was then that we realized that there was a communication break down. He explained to us that he was not informed of the practice. I apologized for leaving him in the dark and told him that it's alright if he cannot make it since the songs are very simple, as I was anticipating that there would be very few people in church this holiday weekend. But Donny told us that he will come immediately if we could wait. We started our practice without Donny, he arrived only when we were doing our 4th song. That was approximately 12 minutes... Kelisa quite fast!

Practice went on very well, at the end of the practice we spent some time praying for the team, the worship time, and the church members. We did not do the usual "thank you for this practice... amen". We took our time this time. We were implementing the decision that we made based on the worship evaluation form from the last time I worship led. Practice was good.

After the practice we all went for a CS session. It was a good reward for our efforts. We had a great time killing each other, laughing our hearts out as we did it. Nice!

Here is the worship list:

  1. Beautiful One (D)
  2. We Wanna See Jesus Lifted High (G)
  3. It Is You (G)
  4. Heart Of Worship (G)
  5. I Love You Lord (G)

The worship time was very good. The musicians were really "into it", we could feel a different energy in the music. More importantly, the church was really "into it". It was a wonderful time of worship. At the end of the session during our briefing we asked each other what was the difference this week. I mentioned that it could probably be the break. The members might be more relaxed and responsive after having a holiday. However after reflecting the rest of the day on what we did different this week I came to a conclusion that although the holiday might have played a role, the bigger factor was more probably 1) the extended prayer time we had, and 2) the attitude and commitment of the musicians who went out of their way to make it to the practice this week. Not just Donny and David, but also Bobby, who just flew back in from Indonesia on Friday. Their commitment encourages me to continue to give my best to God in this ministry. Let us continue to encourage each other in this way. Thank you musicians, and bravo!

Religion and Cults: Chinese Deities & Ancestor Worship

Here are the two files that I promised to share with the rest of the students in the Religion and Cults class in my church:

*Click on the link to download:

"Malaysian Chinese Beliefs" by Lemuel Yee

"Ancestral Worship and Christianity" by Victor Lee


The Religion and Cults class was quite refreshing. Instead of the usual lecturing method, the class was split into groups and designated to research certain religions/cults. Then we were supposed to present it in our class. Since I took this course in BCM my group volunteered to be the first to go. I wish we could have had more time to prepare a better presentation. My group was designated to research on the Chinese Religions, which includes the 3 major religions: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Also included the various chinese deities, ancestral worship, religious practices, etc.

I made my presentation and informed the class that I am opened to questions, and that we would learn from each other. After my presentation a lively discussion ensued. Many of my classmates took part in the discussion, sharing their thoughts openly. In a flash one hour had already passed and time was up. I offered to make these two files available for those who are interested in studying the subject further. So here they are.

The first paper is my term paper for my Religion and Cults class in BCM. I chose to do this paper so that I could interact better with the Chinese people that I meet. Especially my relatives. So the paper is more focused on the local Chinese beliefs.

The second paper is from Victor Lee my classmate from BCM. His paper is on the topic of "Ancestral Worship and Christianity". Feel free to visit his blog as well, incidentally his blog is called "My Reflections". We had no idea our blogs had similar names until much later.

Feel free to comment on the papers or my group's presentation. There is much that we can learn from each other. We could continue with our discussion here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

1 Timothy 2:9-15

Now this blog was named "Reflections" as I wanted to do some "reflecting" here. Lately my reflections have been more on the "casual" side, unlike the posts this blog started off with. It is no easy work trying to dig deep into God's word and situations around us. However once in a while someone or something comes along and pushes you to do it.

So my friend Angela Yap, who recently went over to Oxford, England to complete her studies, emailed me and asked me about a certain passage in the Bible that she was reading. Angela mentioned that she was reading 1 Timothy. I believe the exact reference is 1 Timothy 2:9-15. This is what it says:

9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. 15 But women will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.

Read the rest of the passage here.

This view of a woman's role in the church is rather passive and male chauvinist. Is there such a thing as "equality of genders"? Can a woman teach or preach in church? Or is the role of women only to "make babies"? Or does the Bible view women as secondary to men? What is the Bible trying to teach us here? Does the church's practices reflect the principles taught in the Bible? Or are we conforming to worldly trends?

Before I go any further, let me hear your initial thoughts and responses to this question raised by Angela (who still doesn't have a blog yet). In the meantime I will be attempting to formulate a "proper" response. Hopefully we can have a meaningful discussion on this very interesting topic. Ultimately I hope that through this exercise we can provoke each other towards growth. As my newbie blogger uncle says in his blog: "iron sharpens iron".

Looking forward to hearing your comments.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

EduCare & WidowCare Fundraiser


As previously mentioned, here is the post on the Assemblies of God charity dinner.

I was contacted by the committee earlier in month to come give a testimony during the dinner about how EduCare has helped me. Rev. Jeremiah Kong who contacted me based on a list given to him did not realize that although I applied for the EduCare scholarship for my studies in BCM I did not get the scholarship. I informed Rev Jeremiah that I did not get the help, upon realizing that he apologized profusely. It really wasn't his fault but he felt so embarassed about it. I was already helping Shanti to find some PKs (pastors' kids) to give special numbers during the event, but I volunteered my help in any other way to Rev Jeremiah. He thanked me and apologized one last time before hanging up.

Few days later I got an email from Rev Jeremiah asking me to emcee the event. That was when I kinda regretted opening my big fat mouth. However I thought that if they felt I could contribute in this way I would give my time.

For those of you who are still blur let me inform you. Educare & WidowCare is a fund set up by the Assemblies of God of Malaysia to help our ministers. Many pastors who work in the outskirts do not "earn" enough from their job as a "minister" to support their families. So AG Malaysia wanted to help support some of our workers by helping them with their children's studies and also by taking care of some of the widows that are left behind. I understand that this might not add up for some of you. You might ask why God does not provide "properly" for these people who are working for him. I believe this would be one of the ways that God would use to provide for these servants. There is a general rule an there is always an exception to the rule. God works in different ways with different people.

Anyhow, I believe that Christians should be more sensitive. Keep your eyes opened, take good care of your shepherd so that they can minister effectively without external pressure or duress. Might discuss this more in another post.

Here are the event details:

Date: 22nd September 2008 (Monday)
Time: 7:30pm-10:00pm
Venue: Dewan Sivik, Petaling Jaya
Price: RM100.00 per seat
Estimated Attendance: 600 (60+ tables)
Guest of Honour: Yang Berhormat Teresa Kok

The event was to start at 7:30pm. I was asked to be there by 5:30pm. I met many who were part of the committee when I arrived. We were all there doing last minute preparations. I went over the script with Shanti my "co-host" and made some changes. Some of the people who were giving special presentations (including Juwita Suwito, also a PK) were also there setting up.

I soon realized that it will be an hour since the opening till diner will be served. Taking into account Malaysian's "flexi" time, it will be almost 9pm before anyone had anything to eat. That certainly worried me as I did not want to become the "hate figure" of the dinner. They will be seeing me coming up and making announcements but there will not be food. There would be many hungry (and angry people). I suggested to Shanti that it might be good to adjust the time so that there will be less hungry people. After some consultation, Shanti finally told me that the schedule will be adjusted as the guest of honour would also rather not give a speech to 600 hungry people.

Here's the itinerary for the dinner:

7:15 - Arrival of Guests
7:25 - Arrival of VIPs
7:30 - Opening Ceremony (Hip Hop Dance by Christian Dance Fellowship of Malaysia)
7:35 - Opening Address by hosts (Shanti & Lemuel)
7:40 - Opening Prayer by Rev Ronnie Chin
7:45 - Praise & Worship (Good Tidings, Shah Alam)
8:00 - Song Presentation: "I Surrender All" by Rev Sean Prasad
8:05 - Greetings by Rev Terrence Sinnadurai
8:10 - Speech by Rev Ong Sek Leang
8:15 - Speech by Guest of Honour (YB Teresa Kok)
8:20 - Dinner served
8:20 - Live Band Performance by X4JC
8:40 - Testimonies by
Rev Jeremiah Gan (his son recipient of EduCare fund)
Sis Sharon (recipient of EduCare fund)
Rev Ezra Muthu
9:00 - "My Love Gift" Pledge (Rev Terrence Sinnadurai)
9:10 - Table Lucky Draw
9:20 - Finale by Juwita Suwito

So that was the official plan. But when time came for YB Teresa Kok to give her speech she went on and on about her ISA detention. YB Teresa Kok who is the Member of the Selangor state Assembly for Kinrara, almost did not make it for the event due to her ISA detention. YB Edward Lee, Bukit Gasing State Assemblyman (who I just found out is my BCM classmate's father) was ready to stand in on her behalf. YB Teresa Kok, as we know was released and made it for the dinner. I do feel that it was not right for her to be held for such a long time for such menial issues. She spoke for about her ISA experience and how she felt God had helped her during her time in detention for about 25 minutes but only spoke about 3 minutes on the EduCare & WidowCare fund. The crowd sat and listened intently to her speech. In some ways she is like Malaysia's own Nelson Mandela, but of course Nelson Mandela is a whole other league. She did however pledge RM5,000 to the fund and applaud the efforts of the committee to take care of the pastors and their families.

So the schedule was screwed beyond recognition. Everything was pushed back, by the time we reached Juwita's part of the schedule there were few people left. Juwita was advised to do just one song, she decided to perform her song "Leading Change". Despite the 40-odd people left in the hall Juwita gave her best. It was like an intimate concert with her fans. Those who stayed behind had a chance to interact intimately with her while she sang. Those who stayed on screamed for more and Juwita duly obliged. By the end of it she sang 3 songs, everyone got into it. It was like a karaoke session with Juwita. I must say her attitude impresses me. She's such a pro, even with so few people she gave her 100% knowing that she was using her talents as God wanted her to.

So that was the EduCare and WidowCare Fundraiser. It is great that the Assemblies of God Malaysia is doing this for their credential members. We have to take care of our ministers. There were some Canaan Church people who were around, I caught a glimpse of Joshua taking some pix of the event. You can read his account of the event on his blog. The better pix here are from his flickr account, the sucky ones are from... "other people". I think I might have to get a camera of my own, can't trust anyone with their cameras. End up with no good pix, as you can see no picture of me hosting the dinner.

Anyway if you would like to contribute towards this fund, speak to your pastor. Or you could also visit the Assemblies of God Malaysia's website for more info.

For the more visually oriented:


Arrival of YB Teresa Kok

The VIP Table

Teresa Kok presenting gifts to some individuals and companies

Mikayla was not left out, she too will soon be a PK

Some PKs that were there. R-L: Shanti, Kenny, Reuben (I assume you know Melanie by now).

Juwita Suwito (center) with X4JC. Watch out for the release of X4JC's album at the end of the year

Mikayla and Shanti. Shanti was recently featured in a newpaper article.

My mother got in the action as well.

My mother wanted a picture with "someone famous"... I think she was talking about me.

Way better pictures from Joshua. Didn't find any of me though...


Friday, September 26, 2008

Congratulations!

Breaking News!

You have to see this! This took place in Faith Charismatic Center on the 20th of September 2008. A day that will go down in history. I got an SMS from one of the TOUCH members, don't know who as I lost all my contacts. Sometime during the following week I got this video from Joseph Teng... Anyway, here's what happened:




Congratulations Joash and May (and all parties who waited so patiently for this day to come, especially Pastor Luke)! Well done Joash and May, you guys finally made it after so many years! I am happy for all of you.

I pray you two will continue to be faithful and to keep up your testimony as the two of you become one couple. This is a start of a journey, a long way to go, but it's going to be one heck of a ride.

Let me know if you guys need any help for the big day.