Wednesday, August 5, 2009

FGC Sunday (2nd August): My Father Preaches For the First Time

It was bound to happen sooner or later. It happened last weekend and it was interesting. My father came back to sort out some family matters and is also on his way to Korea for more ministry. Arrived on Saturday morning and as we talked on the one-hour drive back to Selayang I asked if he or my mother would like to preach in my church. For a while my father and mother had a toss-a-coin situation on who would preach. But I guess my father cannot resist the offer.

It was mid-term break so many of the MMU students were back in their hometowns. The remnants were pleasantly surprised that we had a guest speaker. One of my leaders (Melisa Ann) was also visiting family in Penang that particular week, so I did not get the exact number of people in attendance. But I think that for the first time in over a month, our attendance dropped below 40. I believe there were about 35 members last Sunday.

Even though many were missing from church, we still had our usual quota of guests. Fonie's two sisters were in town visiting. I guess it was visit-your-family week at FGC. There were also other guests that week. I feel that the church is still not ready for new members, we are still in an "incubation" period. But as I pray and meditate, it is becoming clearer what I believe is God's will for the church. Keep praying with me that the leadership of the church will be able to be sensitive to God's voice. Soon we will have to come out of our comfortable incubation mode and begin to move forward.

My father spoke about Abraham and the altars he built from various passages in Genesis. Rev. Yee Tham Wan reminded all of us that we need to continue to push ourselves in our journey with God. No matter who we are we still had room to grow.

It was also communion week so it was also a first as I served Holy Communion to my parents. I am still kind of in a daze and disbelief as I thank God for his grace, that he would use me to pastor a church. I will have to continue to grow in boldness and confidence as I minister but still keep that sense of reverant fear and priviledge for being granted such a great responsibility. At the moment it is still a shoe too big for my feet, however I want to push myself more and more to make sure I grow, and consequently because of my growth the church will grow as well.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Shekinah Community Center Sunday (July 26th): Prophetic Conference, Ipoh

So I went missing for the whole of last week. I was attending a prophetic conference in Shekinah Community Center (SCC), Ipoh, a.k.a. the mothership. SCC is my church's mother church.

I was initially quite reluctant to go, firstly, Ipoh was supposed to be a small town, what could Ipoh offer that I couldn't already get in KL? Then there was also my thing about the "prophetic". Many times I just substitute prophetic with pathetic, it really didn't help when I was trying to pay attention during the conference, everytime the speaker said "prophetic", my mind automatically switches it to "pathetic". It was really funny, to me, only. A real inside joke.

So I mentally prepared myself for a week of boredom. I was prepared to fast internet, stay indoors if there weren't any place to go, and bear a week of pathetic conference. I gave up on my "P" night on Monday and left before I could catch up with anyone, I only met Ke Xin when she came earlier to twist perm my hair, but you would have already had your share of that story by now. I left my wife, daughter, friends, and internet at home and headed due north for Ipoh.

Drive alone was nice, quite therapeutic and cleansing in a way. Music blasted from my aunty's new speakers as I drove her car. I arrived slightly late and had to find the church. For a brief moment I thought my GPS got me to the wrong place, but a brief call to Pas. Henry confirmed I was in the right area. The place was littered with pubs, cafes, cyber cafes, hawkers, and even discos (some dodgier than others). During the duration of my stay I have cristened that area where SCC was located as "Sodom and Gomorrah". I figured this shouldn't be as bad as I have initially prepared for. Worse come to worse I could camp it out in the cyber cafe.

Conference already started and the prophet-speaker already has begun the seminar. I see two familiar faces, Pas. Sam (from Baguio Philippines), and Pas. D'ton (from Bangkok, Thailand). I met them earlier in the week for a dinner on the day of their arrival, I also previously met them during my trip to Bangkok. We were going to be roomies throughout this conference.

The conference was great, for me I was reminded that I need to sharpen my spiritual gifts and not just rely on physical ministry. Many of the supernatural things can't be explained or understood so I just have to trust God when it comes to those things.

During the conference the speaker prayed for the manifestation of "golden glory" and true enough gold dust started appearing on people. Pas. Nagu, being Indian (dark skinned) was the most obvious of all, his face and hands was sparkly from the gold dust.

It is interesting why God would do something like this. I guess he's God and he's just showing off. It's just fantastic when God decides to show off a little... fantabulous!

There were also people who were healed, especially those with backaches due to uneven legs. We (the participants) would pray for the legs to be lengthened and true enough legs were lengthened. Then back problems just went away, it was a miracle. Of course there was also prophecies that were made.

The conferences were held during the night so days were free. So we had time to do some shopping. I spent most of the day with the foreign pastors. Being the local, I showed them around and basically played their host. If gained nothing else from this trip, the friendship built would be well worth the effort.

During one of the days, Pas. Henry brought us all up to Cameron Highlands for a cup of tea. The foreign pastors were also here for a meeting with the various national youth directors. Vietnam and Cambodia could not make it, but Philippines and Thailand was present, and guess who represented Malaysia?

Meeting lasted about 15 minutes, and time to travel to Cameron Highlands from Ipoh is just over 1 hour. Then the rest of the time we had tea and goofed off.

Other days I spent getting to know the people of SCC as well as getting to know the area around the church. Of course the eating was one of the highlights, for me it's the fellowship around the table.

I was supposed to head back straight after the final session late Saturday night, but I finally decided after much deliberation that I would attend the worship service in SCC. It was great getting to see how things are done in the main church. I was introduced to the church, and as expected, people were fascinated at me. I know I'm not the stereotype pastor, in fact, I'm quite the opposite. My newly permed hair got even more stares. But I am happy that people don't immediately recognize me as a "pastor". I'm just a normal guy that loves Jesus and want to serve him. I do the work of a pastor, but I don't want the "stigma" that comes with being a pastor. Christians and non-believers alike often act differently (and many times weird) when they realize you're a "pastor". Pastors are just people like you and me trying to make the most out of our lives. Anyway I was introduced to SCC.

After Sunday service I had the privilege of having lunch at Howard Leow's house. Howard studies Artificial Intelligence in KL and attends our church whenever he's around. He was going to hitch a ride from me back to KL so his mother invited me over to have lunch at their home. It was a great experience for me. They were real village folks and I had an authentic Hakka meal that is rare in KL, even though I myself am a Hakka. I had the chance to embaress myself with my horrible Hakka.

I left Ipoh with a very different perception of the place then when I first came. Ipoh is ready for harvest. So many young people so near the church there, SCC needs a youth worker badly. SCC is right at the heart of the hotspot, less than 100 meters away young people meet up to eat, play, and party. Someone just needs to invite them to come eat, play, and party in the church! God please send more workers, workers who can understand and meet the needs of these young people in Ipoh! I desperately want to go back to Ipoh, but next time I want to bring a small team along with me and try to make a difference there. It will also be good bonding time for me and my small team of ministers. For now I consider this more of a recon trip. People in Ipoh get ready, I'm coming back for you soon...

I arrived in KL at 4:30pm, just in time for futsal. Perfect way to cap off this fantastic week.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I came to my blog this morning and this was what I saw...

10,051 visitors and counting!

Never thought it would get this far. I hope this site has been helpful to some of you. I know my church members read me to keep updated on what's going on in my life as well as in the church. Especially those who missed service, you know who you are. Hopefully I will be able to find more time to write. I've been told that I need to read and write more, so far I've been reading but not writing. So hopefully after a while I'll be able to write more significant stuff.

Remember it all began here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Twist 'n Perm

If you're a guy and have not tried a perm before, try this!

Since last monday when I posted a facebook status saying that I will be perming my hair, messages have been coming in left, right, and center for pictures. MSN, Skype, Facebook, Gmail, even on my phone. So I figured I'd milk this for all it's worth...

For those of you who are here for the first time: a big welcome to you!

According to my personal stylist Ke Xin a.k.a. Cassandra Lioe, this is the "twist perm". Sounds groovy doesn't it? Apart from me, Ke Xin is also the hair stylist and make up artist for many other celebrities like Sarimah Ibrahim, Hannah Tan, Amber Chia, etc. However I am her main endorsee, she thinks I am young, hip, and trendy enough, and am the best candidate to represent her work. She does all my hair for free and I am a walking testament to her genius. She does take some bookings but mostly concentrates on bigger projects like weddings, magazine shoots, TV commercials, etc. You would have to be someone special to be part of her elite clientele. Here I’d like to thank her for all her hard work, she always says to me that “if you don’t look good, I don’t look good”. And so I always look good for her sake.

Without further delay, here's what you have been waiting for:

Front profile

Side profile

*Flash... so you can see the texture

A mane to tame

Tied up for that "cleaner" look

So what do you think?

Monday, July 13, 2009

FGC Sunday (July 12th): Catching Waves

Sunday's Stats:

This week there were no extra guests from other churches. However I encouraged the church to take a look around and see that our church is filling up. Albeit only after 10:20 (our service starts at 10am). But it is encouraging to see that we are already moving forward. The official count was 46 people in attendance. I told them that I count people because people count. That said, I believe that it is the people and NOT the numbers. I will always build lives and not numbers because lives gives give birth to lives and numbers just give birth to numbers. Numbers will only be used as an indication of our health. Lives are our passion, the more we get the happier we'll be.

Melissa Ng & the worship team

Sunday's Message:

Pas. Henry our senior pastor was around. Second week of the month is his week, he preaches. He spoke of prayer from Luke 18, from the parable of the persistent widow and the unfair judge. It was a timely reminder for us to keep praying for our church and me, the pastor. Even before I passed the mic to him, I encouraged the church to pray with me for the church. I told them that we don't want God to bless what we are doing, but I asked that they pray we may be sensitive to what God is doing, so that our church can join in God's work, not the other way around.

Pas. Henry doing his thing

So even as we are moving forward let's keep praying as a church that we will be able to see the spiritual waves that are coming our way and catch them.

No free lunch? Think again, every Sunday only at FGC

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

FGC Sunday (July 5th): High Score!

I guess to help me keep this blog more updated I would do a weekly reflection of the Sunday I had. It would include a short section on the events that happened in church along with some numbers and more. There will also be a section on what I felt God was saying to the church that week. I guess if I was preaching I will provide the sermon points, otherwise I'll just share what I felt God was saying to me or to the church. So here's the first of many more to come.

Sunday Stats: MMU Week

Last week was a great week for FGC, we had an attendance of over 55. That would be our highest attendance since I began my ministry in this church. There were about 15 MMU students who turned up for service because they used our church premise the day before for their CF Committee Leadership training. They spent the whole day in the church and subsequently spent the night at the church as well. I had a chance to catch up with them after worship practice. I had dinner with them and got to know some of them. However my name-nesia issue still plagues me, hopefully when I meet them again I will remember their names.

Claustrophobic, let's grow out of this place!

It was good to see the church hall almost full, it was a good foretaste of what will come. Even without the 12-15 MMU CF committee members, we still had about 40 in attendance, which is still on the high side. We just got to keep doing what we are doing. As we are now stablizing, next up will be growth. We just have to wait for God's wave, and when he sends that wave let's make sure we're watching and ready to catch that wave and ride it for all its worth. Surf's up!

Holy Communion Sunday

Sunday's Sermon: Facing The Fire

Peer pressure is not just a youth's problem, anyone with peers can feel the heat. Here is a lesson how 3 friends faced the fire and did not get fried.

1. Surround myself with support (verse 16)
What support do you have?
What kind of support do you give?
Be a positive peer pressure.

2. Set my trust in God (verse 17)
God values trust and obedience above understanding and intelligence.
Teachers, parents, pastors fail, only God never fails.

3. Stick to what's right (verse 18)
Do you know what's right?
Do you have what it takes to stick to it?

Thanks Joshua for helping with the camera and LCD.

So what did God say to you last week? If God challenged you, and if you feel comfortable, share with me your thoughts here.

Friday, June 19, 2009

What Is Church?

It's been sometime since my last update. I normally try to update at least once a week but I couldn't help it as ministry in church is starting to pick up. It's not so much "doing" now, but a lot of reflecting, how ironic.

One of those main things messing with my mind and contributing to some amount of insomnia is the question of "What is Church?" and "How do we express church?" Tried posting that question to facebook-ers but the answers were generic and nothing new. I'm not saying we need to give a new answer for the sake of giving a new answer, but how can we better do this thing we call "church"? This can't be all that the church could be. Frankly sometimes church bores me to bits. I want to do so much more, I want the church to be so much more.

I might be coming across as being disillusioned or angry at "church", but that is not true. At this point in my ministry I am considering what kind of identity I want my church to develop. Every church has a certain "identity". Mention some church names and you have a mental picture. It might be a picture of the pastor, or the picture of the building, or the picture of some of the people, or a picture of some of the ministries of the church. So what kind of image do I want to project to people when I say FGC (or Foursquare Gospel Church). I have posed the question to some of the church members as this is as much their church as it is my church. What is most important to God? What should the church value most? What should the "perfect" FGC member be like?

The answer would differ one person to another. I guess we are all throwing our answers into the pot, but as the pastor I cannot let the situation where too many chefs spoil the soup happen. What is there left to do but to turn to God in prayer and seek his will in this area. Pray with me church, that his will be done in our lives.

Monday, June 8, 2009

First Things First:

... getting the first things right

As our church begins our journey together we need to have a common understanding. Some common values and principles. Last week I felt the time was right to share a message about some of the most important things to Christians.

I spoke on the most basic Christian disciplines. These were the "first things". Here are the first things:

First Hour of the Day: Spending time with God
Psalm 133 - Dwell/live in God's presence; recharge; drink of the living water.

First Day of the Week: Keeping your sabbath holy
Exodus 20:8-11 - The 4th commandment; rest and worship.
Hebrews 10:24-25 - Good habit; meet more (i.e. cell group)

First Fruits of your Labour: Paying your tithes
Malachi 3:9-12 - Keyword "paying"; don't rob God; privilege & responsibility.

First Love of your Life: Sharing your love with everyone
Matthew 28:16-20 - We God's authority and presence
Revelations 2:4 - God our first love; don't grow cold.

These four things are so important in a Christian's life, even non-believers know Christians as people who observe these practices. However we should not do it just because the preacher says so, above all we must do it because we love God and want to please him. God is looking at our heart. Don't patronise God, give him what he deserves.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Keep Learning to Keep Leading

By Dr John C. Maxwell

Kurt, a salesman I had just met, and I were having breakfast at the Holiday Inn in Lancaster, Ohio. He leaned forward and asked me a question that would change the way I lived and led.

“John, what is your plan for personal growth?”

I was stumped. I didn’t have a plan for personal growth. At the time, I didn’t know that I needed one!
Not wanting to look bad, I began telling Kurt all about my work sched­ule. For fifteen minutes I tried to convince him (and myself) that working hard was helping me to grow and reach my potential. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to happen? You work hard, you climb the ladder, and someday you “make it”?

My futile attempt to impress Kurt was like a plane circling an airport, waiting for clearance to land. Round and round it went until I finally ran out of gas.

“You don’t have a personal plan for growth, do you?”
“No,” I finally admitted. “I guess I don’t.”
The next thing he said was life changing.
“You know, John, people don’t grow automatically,” Kurt explained. “To grow, you have to be intentional.”

That conversation took place in 1973, though it’s as clear to me as if it happened last week. It spurred me to action. I immediately adopted a plan for growth in my life. And every year, since then, I have recommitted myself to strategic, intentional growth.

For decades at conferences I’ve talked to people about the issue of per­sonal growth. Sometimes I’ve been criticized for it. I remember a person coming up to me on one occasion and saving,

"I don’t like your plan for personal growth.”
“That’s okay,” I replied. “What’s your plan?”
“I don’t have one,” he said.
“Well, I like mine better!”

I suspect he believed that the only reason I talked about my growth plan was to sell books. What he didn’t know was that I started talking about having a personal growth plan long before I ever had a book or tape to sell. I know that people don’t reach their potential on accident. The secret to suc­cess can be found in people’s daily agendas. If they do something intentional to grow every day, they move closer to reaching their potential. If they don’t, their potential slowly slips away over the course of their lifetime.

If you want to be a good leader, you’ve got to be a good learner. I wrote my book Today Matters to try to help people with this idea. In the chapter “Defining Moments Define Your Leadership,” I shared the “Daily Dozen” that I use for personal growth. It might serve you well as a personal growth track to run on. If not, find another one. The main thing is, if you don’t have a plan for personal growth, then don’t expect to grow!

How Will You Grow?

As you seek to learn and grow as a leader, let me give you some advice about how to approach the process. After more than three decades of dedi­cated, continual effort to learn and grow, I offer the following suggestions:

1. Invest in Yourself First
Most leaders want to grow their business or organization. What is the one thing—more than any other—that will determine the growth of that organization? The growth of the people in the organization. And what determines the people’s growth of the leader! As long as peo­ple are following you, they will be able to go only as far as you go. If you’re not growing, they won’t be growing—either that or they will leave and go somewhere else where they can grow.

As a young leader, I spent what felt like a lot of money on books and conferences. My wife, Margaret, and I found this very difficult because we were on a very limited income. We often delayed other important expendi­tures so that we could invest in ourselves. Though it was difficult, those early investments have com­pounded, and over the years they have given me a great return by improving my leadership.

Investing in yourself first may look selfish to some of the people around you. They may even criticize you for it. But if they do, they don’t really’ understand how growth works. When airline flight attendants explaining emergency proce­dures tell passengers to put their own oxygen mask on first before putting masks on their children, is that instruction selfish? Of course not! The chil­dren’s safety and well-being is dependent upon their parent being able to help them. As a leader, you are responsible for your people. They are depend­ing on you! If you’re in no shape to lead well, where does that leave them?

If you look around, you can see a pattern at work in every area of life. Employees get better after their supervisor does. Kids get better after their parents do. Students get better after their teachers do. Customers get better after the salespeople do. Likewise, followers get better after their leaders do. It is a universal principle. President Harry Truman said, “You cannot lead others until you first lead yourself.” That is possible only if you invest in yourself first.

2. Be a Continual Learner
When a leader reaches a desired position or level of training, there is a temptation to slack off. That is a dangerous place to be. Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, says, “The moment you stop learning is the moments you stop leading.” If you want to lead, you have to learn. If you want to continue to lead, you must continue to learn. This will guarantee that you will be hungry for ever greater accomplishments. And it will help you to maintain credibility with your followers.

One of the most influential people in the golf world for many years was Harvey Penick. The author of the best-selling Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime of Golf taught pro players such as Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Kathy Wentworth, Sandra Palmer, and Mickey Wright how to improve their games. When Crenshaw won the Masters in 1995, he broke down and cried afterward because Penick, his lifelong mentor, had recently passed away.

You may be surprised to learn that Penick was largely self-taught. For decades he carried around a little red book in which he jotted down notes and observations to help him improve their game. He was a continual learner. And every time he got better, so did the people he taught. Ironically, Penick never intended to publish his notes. He simply planned to hand the book down to his son. But people convinced him to publish all the lessons he had learned over the years. As a result, people are still learning from him and benefiting from his wisdom.

In my book Winning with People, I write about the Learning Principle, which says, “Every Person We Meet Has Potential to Teach Us Something.” Maintaining an attitude of teachability is essential for being a continual learner. Contrary to popular belief, the greatest obstacle to discovery isn’t igno­rance or lack of intelligence. It’s the illusion of knowledge. One of the great dangers of life is believing that you have arrived. If that happens to you, you’re done growing.

Successful people don’t see learning or achievement as a fixed destina­tion to head for, and, having arrived, to settle into—completed and fin­ished. Not once have I heard someone who was a continual learner talk about looking forward to coming to the end of life’s challenges. They con­tinue to exhibit an excitement, a curiosity, or a sense of wonder. One of their most engaging characteristics is their infectious desire to keep moving into the future, generating new challenges, and living with a sense that there is more to learn and accomplish. They understand that you can’t conquer the world by staying in a safe harbor.

What kind of attitude do you have when it comes to learning? I’ve observed that people fall into one of these categories. They live in one of three zones:

  • The Challenge Zone: “I attempt to do what I haven’t done before.”
  • The Comfort Zone: “I do what I already know I can do.”
  • The Coasting Zone: “I don’t even do what I’ve done before.”

Everyone starts out in the challenge zone. As small babies, we have to learn to eat, talk. and walk. Then we go to school and keep learning. But there comes a time in every person’s life when they no longer have to keep trying new things. This is a pivotal time. For some people it occurs pretty early in life. For others, it comes after they achieve some degree of suc­cess. That’s when they decide which zone they will live in: the challenge zone, where they will continue to try new things, explore—and some times fail; the comfort zone, where they no longer take risks; or the coast­ing zone, where they don’t even try anymore. It’s a sad day when a person chooses to leave the challenge zone and stop growing. As Philips Brooks, the minister who spoke at Abraham Lincoln’s funeral, asserted, “Sad is the day for any man when he becomes absolutely satisfied with the life he is living, the thoughts that he is thinking and the deeds that he is doing; when there ceases to be forever beating at the doors of his soul a desire to do something larger which he seeks and knows he was meant and intended to do.”

There is no substitute for continual learning. Over the years I hate developed a highly disciplined growth regimen:

  • I read daily to grow in my personal life.
  • I listen daily to broaden my perspective.
  • I think daily to apply what I learn.
  • I file daily to preserve what I learn.

I try to embrace the advice of German philosopher Goethe, who said, “Never let a day pass without looking at some perfect work of art, hearing some great piece of music and reading, in part, some great book.”

Adopting this kind of regimen required me to change my mind-set. During the first few years I was in leadership, I wanted to be “Mr. Answer Man”—the expert others could come to for answers. After my conversation with Kurt in 1973, I wanted to become “Mr. Open Man”— someone with a teachable attitude who desired to grow every day. My desire is to keep growing and learning until the day I die, not only for my own benefit, but for the benefit of others. I can never afford to forget what President John E Kennedy said: “Leadership and learning are indispensable of each other.”

3. Create a Growth Environment for the People You Lead
Soon after I dedicated myself to being a granting person, I came to the realization that most working environments are not conducive to growth. Many of my friends did not want to keep growing. In their minds, they had paid their dues by attending and graduating from college. As far as they were concerned, they knew enough. They were done. In many ways, they were like the little girl who thought that she had exhausted mathematics when she had learned the twelve times table. When her grandfather said with a twinkle in his eye, “What’s thirteen times thirteen?” she scoffed, ‘Don’t be silly, Grandpa, there’s no such thing.”

The average person will try to pull down anyone around him who it working to rise above average. The road to success is uphill all the way, and most people are not willing to pay the price. Many people would rather deal with old problems than find new solutions. To be a lifelong learner, I had to get out of a stagnant environment and distance myself from people who had no desire to grow. I sought out places where growth was valued and people were growing. It helped me to change and grow—especially in the beginning of my journey.

If you are investing in yourself and have adopted the attitude of a continual learner, you may think you’ve done all you need to do in the area of personal growth. But as a leader, you have one more responsibility. You need to create a positive growth environment for the people you lead. If you don’t, the people in your organization who want to grow will find it difficult to do so, and they will eventually seek out other opportunities.

What cities a growth environment look like? I believe it has ten characteristics. It is a place where the following things occur:

• Other’s are ahead of you.
• You are continually challenged.
• Your focus is forward.
• The atmosphere is affirming.
• You are often out of your comfort zone.
• You wake up excited.
• Failure is not your enemy.
• Others are growing.
• People desire change.
• Growth is modeled and expected.

If you can create a growth environment, not only will the people in your organization grow and improve, but people with great potential will knock down your doors to become part of your team! It will transform your organization.

The People Difference

Walt Disney remarked, “I am a part of all that I have met” Whether you are trying to cross over into the ranks of continual learners or you are try­ing to build an organization that possesses a growth environment, the secret to success can be found in the people who surround you. People’s attitudes and actions rub off on one another.

My father loves to tell the story of the man who tried to enter his mule in the Kentucky Derby He was immediately rejected and rebuked.

“Your mule has no chance of winning a race against thoroughbreds.” the race organizers chided.
“I know,” the man replied, “but I thought the associations would do him some good.”

Being around people who are better than we are has a tendency to make us stretch and improve ourselves. That is not always comfortable, but it is always profitable. It’s said that whenever the great poet Emerson saw the great essayist Thoreau, they would ask each other: “What has become clearer to you since last we met?” Each wanted to know what the other was learn­ing. Great people desire to bring out the greatness in others. Small people will try to put the same limits on you that they have put on themselves.

I have Kurt to thank for helping me understand the value of growth so early in my career. Within a year of my conversation with him, I could tell that I was learning, growing, and changing. It’s said that the Tartar tribes of Central Asia used to have a curse that they would use on their enemies. They didn’t tell them to get lost or to drop dead. Instead they would say, “May you stay in one place forever.” What a horrible thought! Can you imagine? I can’t.

Application Exercises
1. Do you have destination disease? If you think you have arrived (or can someday arrive) by achieving a certain position, acquiring a particular degree or credential, or earning a certain level of income, then you are in danger of finding yourself in either the comfort or coasting zone. What are you doing to guard against that? Make sure that your long-term personal goals are growth oriented instead of destination oriented.

2. What is your plan? Let me be the Kurt in your life by asking the question. “What is your plan for personal growth?” Working hard and putting in long hours does not ensure growth. Neither does promotion. What will you do this week, this month, and this year to actively grow. I would recommend that you read a minimum of one growth-oriented book a month and listen to a minimum of one growth-oriented CD or tape a month. In addition, schedule yourself for an annual conference or growth-oriented retreat.

3. Are you creating a growth environment? If you possess any kind of lead­ership position, you are responsible for creating a growth environment for the people who work for you. Use the guidelines from the chapter to start creating one. Remember, a growth environment is one in which

Check list:

  • Others are ahead of them (this means you are growing).
  • They are continually challenged.
  • The focus is forward (on the future, not past mistakes).
  • The atmosphere is affirming.
  • They are often out of their comfort zone (but not their strength zone).
  • They wake up excited (they are excited about coming to work).
  • Failure is not their enemy (they are allowed to take risks).
  • Others are growing (you must place a high value on growth for everyone).
  • People desire change.
  • Growth is modeled and expected (by you and others).

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The View From Behind The Mic Stand

So my good friend Joash, who was one of those who insisted I start a blog, has recently been blogging much less actively. So something that happened almost a month ago is only showing up on his blog today. Mind you this was the person who once preferred to stay back and blog while I wanted to go out for a walk, or anything else for that matter, since we were in Baguio. I felt like anything is better than just staying inside. Anyway we finally got him out by baiting him with food!

I felt I should highlight his recent post here so that some of you guys can read his account of what happened in my church on Mothers' Day. Click on the picture or check out Joash Chan's link on my blog.

Joash and Ken, you guys did a great job. I'm sure my guitar had a part to play in that. We'll have you guys back again next time if you're up for it.

As for our worship team, we're off on our way and in the right direction. I predict that in about 3 months we will be seeing marked improvements in the worship team. But worship is not just about the worship team and the music, as a church we need to constantly learn to express ourselves better in our worship to God. Looking forward to better days as God brings us on this adventure of getting to know him better.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Paraders of the Lost Ark

I preached in church last week, but because of the internet outage, my meeting with Tim Hughes on Tuesday night, Phinehas Mathius' visit from Taiping, and a few other things that happened I have not been able to update the blog.

Last week we were supposed to have a worship team meeting in the afternoon after lunch. It was also in line with our current theme of legacy. I spoke about worship in church. I used the incident from 1 Chronicles 13 to learn a few lessons on how our church should or should not worship.

The background to the incident in 1 Chronicles 13 can be found in 1 Samuel 4-7:

1 Samuel 4 - Ichabod Incident
1 Samuel 5 - The Lost Ark in Philistine
1 Samuel 6 - Lost Ark Found
1 Samuel 7 - The Ark in Kiriath Jearim

The message was basically split into two parts: what we should do in worship, what we should NOT do in worship. Lessons learnt were not only applicable to worship, but also applicable to our ministry and life. Here are the main points of the sermon:

1. Everybody's Way (1 Chronicles 13:1-4)
2. Other People's Way (1 Chronicles 13:7-8)
3. Frivolous Way (1 Chronicles 9-12)
4. God's Prescribed Way (1 Chronicles 15)

As we go about in life let's not do things "Everybody's Way" to please everybody. We should also avoid doing things "Other People's Way", just because other people are doing is not a reason for us to copy, especially in terms of music in the context of worship. The "Frivolous Way" also does not please God, we must also use our brains as we worship, worship must be thoughtful. Instead of these "ways", we must actively seek God and do his ministry his way.

As our worship team and church is now just taking off with a fresh start, let's make sure our foundation is strong. Let's really work on the fundamentals so that in the long run we will not limit our growth. The longer we go on the more obvious it is if our foundation is strong or weak. Let's get it right right from the start. It is an exciting time for many of us as we experience a fresh start. This is our chance to get it right again, this is the chance NOT to make the same mistakes again, this is what it means to have a fresh start!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Falling In Love With Jesus by Jonathan Butler

Beautiful song. Check out other songs by Jonathan Butler, I previously made another post on his song "We Need You Lord", just use the "Search This Blog" widget on the right side.

Falling in love with Jesus
Falling in love with Jesus
Falling in love with Jesus
Falling in love with Jesus
Was the best thing I ever, ever done

In His arms I feel protected
In His arms never disconnected
In HIs arms I feel protected
There's no place I'd rather rather be


Friday, May 15, 2009

Mikayla Asks For A Drink

This is a video of Mikayla when she just turned one. We taught her some sign language and by that time she knew how to sign for milk. However, we did not teach her how to sign for water. Watch as she improvises.

When she finally gets what she wants she enjoys her well earned drink. Smart girl!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mothers' Day

Kinda late now I know, but I have always maintained that this blog lives for my life and not my life living for my blog. So if there is "living" to do, I'll do that first, my online life takes a backseat to my real life. In case you didn't know, I have a life.

As (almost) all other church, we had a good Mothers' Day celebration. I managed to put together a very nice gift package for the moms in FGC. I'm proud of it and won't mind getting something like that for fathers' day next month, the free movie passes take the cake (*hint hint*). Apart form that there was also a cosmetic voucher from
MakeUup. My friend will be bringing some products to FGC one of these weeks and you can all check it out then. Otherwise, check out the site and make your order there. I also want to thank Jackie for her help in getting very nice freebies from Giant/Guardian. The moms were all buzzing about how nice the gifts were.

Pastor Nellie Chan spoke very motherly about mothers and children, and even as a father I felt that I had to apply what was preached to my life. I have to learn to enjoy Mikayla more now. Joash who came along initially as his mom’s driver for the day worship led. Ken Chung came along with him to play the keyboards. Both of them have been inactive in their own worship ministries but they too enjoyed ministering that morning. It was a good time of worship, Joash, Ken Chung and the rest of our worship team did a good job. I hope the atmosphere of worship in our church will continue to build up momentum. I’m looking forward to more vibrant worship sessions. Coming Sunday we will be having a worship team meeting to meet and just discuss briefly about the ministry.

After the service I spent some time jamming with Jay Sern and Jee Hor, and when they left I experienced my first time alone in the church. It felt weird being in my own church and feeling kinda off. Anyway I did some stuff, tidied up and left to spend some time with my mother in-law. I had my lunch at church so I missed the Vietnamese lunch with the family but I was there for cake at sister in-law's place.

When we got home the house phone rang, normally only a few people call our house phone: the bank (or sales people from the bank), various other sales people, my Aunty Kim Mooi’s family (who lives nearby), or my parents calling from Baguio. It was my parents.

This year I decided to do something for my mom even though she’s in Philippines. Previous years we occasionally bought her something, but this year I decided to call up my good friend Brian Lopez in Baguio and ask him to help me buy some flowers for my mom. That was what happened and I heard from my father that my mom was moved to tears because of the flowers. The grandmother (and grandfather) then spent close to an hour, maybe more than that on Skype talking to Mikayla, Melanie, me, and Elroi.

After the Skype session, since it was mothers’ day, I went to make dinner while Melanie went outside to play water with Mikayla. Mikayla really enjoys it. As I was preparing dinner the house phone rang again, this time it was Aunty Kim Mooi, she asked us over to her house for Bah Kut Teh. We packed some of our half cooked stuff and walked over to her house for their mothers’ day dinner. So that was mothers’ day all day.

Here are some sights and sounds of our mothers’ day…

Joash worship leading, I was playing lead guitar which is a first for FGC

Joash using my beautiful guitar, that's why he did such a good job

Worshipping through our giving as well

The kids wishing the moms

Guest speaker: Nellie Chan

Pas. Nellie spoke of how mothers build their children's lives

I heard what was spoken and decided that I too had to put to practice what was preached

The lunch I didn't have, but I'm glad to be able to spend time with the church members

Mikayla unwinding by reading a good book

Mikayla getting wet and dirty before her shower

Ready, aim, fire!
Here's the video of the kids' mothers' day greeting. Could not get camera turned on in time for Nicole and Jonas, but I did get Brighton. I'm waiting for the day when Mikayla I can see Mikayla doing something like this, she's so cute, she'll melt my heart. Yes, I'm biased, But Mikayla is the cutest!

Here is an interesting video I found on Youtube, I would like to dedicate this to my mother, Mikayla's mother, my mother in-law, my step mother in-law, and all the other "mothers" that God has placed in my life... God bless you all.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Faith Fighters Revisited

Faith Fighter

Click here to play this game

This will knock your socks off, literally! I tried all the characters (a.k.a. gods). The secret boss character is so IMBA!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Big Heavy Balls & Creepy Communal Shoes

So I found out that FGC (which is in USJ) is relatively near to Multimedia University in Cyberjaya. Explains why there were so many former and current MMU students in our church. I always thought Cyberjaya, Putra Heights, yes, even USJ were in a land far far away. Now that I have started to travel more to church and cell groups these places seem to be getting nearer. I guess a lot of it is psychological, the rest of it is just about having a good old fashion... GPS!

Since many of the students are away from home, they would need to find a church to belong to for the duration of the studies here. So to welcome them and show our love we decided to take them for some kind of outing. Being busy students they are only free when they come to church, and since our church provided lunch every week, and dinner was too far away from lunch, we thought of doing an activity together. We decided the best thing for us is to bowl it out.

Bowling day came and there was quite a buzz. It's good to see that the church program is actually relevant to them. The youth that normally meet on Sunday afternoon joined in on the fun. Service was great, then after lunch the MMU students had their usual jamming session. Some of them coming from bigger churches are glad that our church instruments were available to anyone who wanted to jam. I was able to join them last week and show that I can hang with them, in a musical sense. Lucky for me they played songs that I already practiced, otherwise they might discover my noobness, and thus reject me as a noob.

After our jamming session we all hopped on our wheels and rolled on over to The Summit down the road. We all gathered at the bowling alley, and got ourselves organized into four teams on four lanes. Then the trash talk started. It goes without saying that my team that was made up of Deric, Wei Hann, and Bryan ultimately won. I currently hold the highest score in a game when I scored 121 in my first game. However, as usual, I totally sucked at my second game, scoring under 100 points even, but let's not go there...

At the end of the first round, Deric who was my team mate and main contender for best bowler award, realized that there was a dark horse right over our shoulders. Charis, of all people, was right on our heels! Of all the big chunky guys there, throwing their 12, 13, 14 pound balls down the lane, it was Charis' taichi like style of just releasing her 9 (or 10, can't remember) pound ball that took the spoils of the day. After combining total scored of both games, Charis had the highest score. I think she finally beat me by a mere 10 points.

The second round was really unlucky for me, I just could not close my frames. Out of ten frames I scored 9 in SEVEN frames!!! Two other frames were marginally less than 9, and the final frame I finally scored a spare, but alas, the mojo came back too late. Lady Luck was really not on my side.

Here I must reiterate that bowling is, in fact, a team sport, ultimately our team won. That's all that counts really. Deric and I was busy coaching Wei Hann and Bryan that we lost our focus. In the end our strategy went exactly as we planned. By the second game, both Bryan and Wei Hann showed dramatic improvements and more than made up my low score. We were a tight team, we played for each other. Whenever we missed we felt as though we let our team down, that was the kind of camaraderie that we are talking about. That's when all the drama happened. We cheered each other on unlike the teams that were indifferent. We wore our hearts on our sleeves and played with all our livers. We were also the only team to have laid hands on our balls before we started our game, so we dedicate our win to God's glory... amen!

Everyone had a great time, especially since the whole thing was free! Everything is more fun when it is free. The church was very generous and paid for everyone's bowling. I think we should do this more in the future. We all had a chance to talk to each other, even though it was mostly trash talk, we all felt we knew got to know each other better through the trash talking. We should also do this so that we can prove that Charis just had a fluke day. It was really unfair as she was worship leading that week and God liked her worship leading so God was quite biased that day.

In the aftermath of throwing big heavy balls and smelly shoes worn by too many creepy feet (*shudders at the thought of creepy feet), I am filled with excitment, yes excitment, at the prospect of our church being able to do a work in reaching out to the college students. I hope that they will be able to grow in FGC and by the time they finish their studies in MMU (or whatever other college) we will send them home stronger in their faith than they have ever been. God help FGC make a difference.