Saturday, April 25, 2009

Once Saved Always Saved?

So I initially started this blog as a place to reflect on some theological issues for my studies in BCM. Check out my first blog post if you're interested to know more about how and why this blog is here. It has been some time now since I made any "theological" posts. But last Thursday during the Kepong cell (which is somehow located in Kota Damansara), Joel, who was leading the cell, brought up this question:

"Once saved always saved?"

So here's a chance for us (the cell members and you, the reader) to interact more on that question without being worried about the time constraint and needing to give one minute answers...

Among some verses mentioned during our cell discussion was 1 John 1:9 as well as Philippians 2:12. I'm sure there are so many other verses that can be brought up, so as we discuss you can go ahead and back it up with your choice of verses.

On this issue some people propagate that we have to constantly confess our sins, lest we die with unconfessed sins and thus cause us to go to hell. People who believe this are clearly against the "once saved always saved" doctrine.

On the flip side of the coin, there are others who claim that after we have accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and saviour it doesn't matter what we do anymore, our ticket to heaven is bought and pain in full, so we can live our lives in whatever way we please. People who hold to this view is for the doctrine of "once saved always saved".

I do not think there is a clear cut answer. Theologians to this very day still debate on this matter, only when we get to heaven will we really know for sure if this doctrine is right or wrong, or if it is a tension or certain mixture of this two opposing ideas. But I believe God gave us a brain, and I think God would like for us to use it (otherwise he would have created us without a brain). I do not appreciate Christians who want to reject theology as irrelevant to Christian life. What we believe (or don't believe) will determine how we live our lives. Even the smallest things make a big difference on a long run. So let's try to dig in here so that we can live a more "Christian" life, so to speak.

Feel free to express, as we interact I hope we will be able to better understand God and soteriology (meaning the doctrine of Salvation... have to throw in the theological term there), and thus cause us to grow in our faith.

I will also put up the very first poll on this blog, and it's not about whether I should cut my hair and how it should look. So check it out and leave your mark there as well.

Looking forward to growing with you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

PowerShot SX110 IS

Some of you might have noticed an increase in pictures in my blog. This is because my parents gave me a superb digital camera for Christmas. The camera is too good for this site, if I really want to show of the quality of the shots I'll have to sign up for Flickr or Picasa of something else, but here this is all you get.

The camera is a cross between an actual SLR and a compact camera. But the camera has been set up so well that some pro photographers like Prakash, Kenneth Hiew, and Elroi (my brother), have been very impressed by it. They are particularly impressed by the macro shots, which is like a microscope I tell you! The camera has what I call a noob mode and also has manual mode where all there are enough settings for any pro to make a very decent shot. On top of that, it's all wrapped up in a reasonably small size (compared to DSLRs), it fits in the same pouch as Canon's compact models.

The zoom too is to boast about, 10X optical zoom. Not a fan of the image stabilizer though, it gets in my way more than it helps. The metering is also not helpful when I use the flash. That one will require a lot of guesswork and even more time with my camera to get familiarize and get that shot. But for now I still blame myself for being untrained with cameras, but I thank God (and my parents) for giving me this camera. It has allowed me to experiment and better understand what a camera is all about.

So if you all appreciate the new look of the blog (with way more pictures), you know where the pictures came from. For one, I know Melanie is enjoying taking pictures, and yes, even videos of Mikayla, and when Mikayla grows up, she will realize that she has lots of high quality shots to choose from for her wedding day slide show. I know, that's kind of far off, but parents are paranoid that way.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vital Statistics

Many people have been asking me about my new church. Many are asking where the church is so I guess the best thing is to put a map here on my blog. Along with it are more answers to many of the FAQs I've been getting. So check it out...

Church: Foursquare Gospel Church, USJ

Main Service: 10:00am (Sundays); free lunch, believe it!
Average attendance: about 40
Cell groups: 8:30pm USJ (Wednesday), Kepong (Thursday), Putra Heights (Friday)
Youth Service: 12:30pm (Sundays)
Address: 21-2, Jalan USJ 21/3, 47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.

View My Saved Places in a larger map

Pastor: Lemuel Yee
Demography: Made up of mostly young working adults, fresh grads, college students; and 3 or 4 families.
Denomination: The Foursquare Church (Pentecostal)
The Foursquare Church -
Foursquare Gospel Church of Malaysia -

Curious?: Drop by to find out more...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Scenes from Baguio

Here's more on my recent trip to Baguio. Yes, I know you all prefer pictures to words so here's a lot of pictures accompanied by just enough words for you to know what the pictures are about.

"Isdaan", meaning fish (pronounced as is-da-an), is a floating restaurant. It's a real tourist place so if any of you are planning to visit my parents in Baguio I'm quite certain you'll be recommended and/or brought to this place. Prices are kind of "touristy" as well, although it is worth the one-time experience.

Flying to Clark Field via AirAsia we left our home in Selayang at 4:30am, hitched a ride from our aunty Kim Mooi to Sentral Station, took a bus to LCCT, then went through the whole flying thing, then another 1 hour van ride before arriving at this oasis-like restaurant at about 1:30pm. The restaurant is along the route to Baguio. Here's a good place to take a lunch break.

Food is good, do not miss out on the liempo here. Liempo is marinated pork, much like char siew but juicier, sweeter, tastier, and way fatter. The barbecue (inihaw) stuff there is good, so go with those, but also look out for "black rice", which is rice cooked in squid ink.

Not just a lunch break, but also a photo break. After a good meal everyone's more willing to show that teeth are not just for chewing. Filipinos (a.k.a. Pinoys) love taking pictures, so at places of interests there are always scenes set up for photos.

Mikayla followed her grandparents over to Baguio about 10 days earlier, this was the first time Melanie and I are away from Mikayla for an extended period of time. Melanie misses her sorely while I thoroughly enjoyed my break. It was very much needed for both of us. When we got to Baguio a full 4 hours later, we find Mikayla sleeping, she has grown more hair. She still remembers us of course, but was kind of confused. She had that look of what-are-you-doing-here on her face. Melanie quickly rebonded with Mikayla while I was still trying to extend our break from each other.

This trip was about my father's inauguration. So after a full day of travelling the second day was all about the graduation and inauguration ceremony. There was quite a Malaysian contingent there. I guess it's safe to say that AG Malaysia is standing behind my father and mother. Rev. Ong Seck Leang, the general superintendent of Malaysia was there; Rev Chris Pak and Rev. Chin Keng Leong were representing the AG Malaysia's World Missions Department; Rev. Lim Yeu Chuen was there as part of the APTS board of directors representing Malaysia.

Apart from Malaysians there were AG leaders from all over Asia Pacific gathered on that mountain. All were there showing approval and support for my father's appointment. The graduation ceremony was first to go. Dr. Wonsuk Ma was the speaker, he spoke a message that I felt was prophetic. Then the inauguration commenced. The ceremonies were very solemn and "proper", but count on my dad to break the ice. He cracked everyone up with his comment about Academic Deans being likened to a terrorist.

Of course he got down to business announcing to everyone present his plans to occupy APTS, to make full use of the APTS facilities. That much I can remember, he did mention few other things but that was the main gist of it.

The faculty, staff, alumni, and board or APTS pledged their help and support to their new president. The president then pledged to do his best with God's help.

Of course being pentecostal there was prayer with the laying on of hands. Rev. Ong Seck Leang was there to lead the prayer of dedication for the new president and his wife (a.k.a. my parents).

And of course being Asians there was the makan time (a.k.a. kain time, the pinoy version of the same thing). There was time to meet and catch up with some people that we have met there in our past visits, those who were still there at least.

The AG World Mission Department chairperson (Rev Chris Pak) and WMD committee member (Rev. Chin Keng Leong) flew in on the same flight we did but were due to leave the next morning. It was in and out for them.

Next day we had the best burgers for lunch - Hotshots. Those who have been there will know what I'm talking about. The pizzas there are good as well, but for me, the burgers take the cake. By the way there is also a nice cake place there as well, but still, the burgers take the cake.

Seriously, next time I'm going to try to tapau these babies. But nothing beats eating them while they are hot off the grill (not boiler, not hot plate, GRILL, you can taste it!). Great burgers eaten outside in the mild mountain weather with such a beautiful backdrop makes it a perfect lunch. I'll be dreaming of it till I'm there again.

Yes, if you follow me there, I'll make sure we get us to the Filling Station then you can taste the burgers yourself and find out what the hype is about.

Day 4 started with a luxuriour brunch at The Manor. The exclusive resort is relatively cheap, but nothing beats staying on APTS. The view in APTS is just as good but is less crowded and even more exclusive.

Like other tourist locations there were also many photo ops at The Manor. This is the view from The Manor's observation deck.

Melanie never ceases to amaze me the way she sacrifices for Mikayla, seriously, she's making me look bad...

Well we have been to Baguio enough times to have seen all the sights. So most of our time was really spent shopping and just hanging out in places like the Filling Station. We also made sure we went to the local wet market and bought us a great stash of very fresh seafood. Yes, fresh seafood up in the mountains at prices you won't believe! Baguio is an hour away from the sea and we had oysters, muscles, clams, and prawns so fresh and big they beat KL's Japanese restaurants! All that at the price that is really just loose change! We were initially worried that the seafood were not fresh or clean and did not go all out, but after this experience, next time we have to go a bit further with the seafood.


It's been a little over a month since I joined Foursquare Gospel Church (FGC). I've been here since 1st March. I have been tying up a lot of loose ends from my previous time in Canaan as well as some personal plans that I have made. I had travelled to Philippines to cheer my father on as he was inaugurated as the first asian president of APTS. Managed to catch up with my family. Elroi and Ian works crazy hours and office is really their home, and my office is my home (I work from home). There was also a trip to Thailand that Pas. Henry asked me to join him, and before that was the AG Ministers' Retreat. Now I can finally say that they are all behind me and I am ready to kick into gear and get focused on FGC.

Good Friday was celebrated with a "Tabernacle Worship Concert". We had an extended worship time, mixed in with a little prayer time for our church, followed by a flash presentation entitled "He Chose The Nails", then another first - I served Holy Communion to the church. It was interesting to note that FGC uses cornflakes for the bread. Everything went well, although I wished I paid more attention in BCM! We also had a great feast after the Good Friday service. There were many newcomers (a.k.a. noobs) that day, some of which will turn up on Easter Sunday as well. Ke Xin, Keith, Susie, and Chris finally turned up at my church, it was their first time at my church. I hope they will be able to find a church that is suitable for them. If you guys are reading this post... Hurry up and settled down with a church, there is so much more that God has in stored for your lives!

I also had to attend my cousin's farewell dinner on Saturday. Keisha and Serenity will be leaving to New Zealand to live with their father. I was considering on skipping this one as I was really not feeling well, but I had promised aunty Tham Ping that I will be there and I also wanted to say good bye to my cousins. I did not have enough energy to spend more time with them, also I did not want them to get sick as well. I left the dinner early and spent the rest of the evening under covers and perfecting my Easter sermon as much as I can.

Easter morning dawned on me and I was feeling much better, although I was still not completely recovered I was well enough. All night I was claiming God's promise that by his stripes I am healed. I was happy that I am not bed ridden. I worked hard on my sermon and I really wanted to share it with my congregation. Before the service started I whacked some flu medicine and some PCM. I was hoping the drug will keep me stoned long enough to get me through the sermon.

Initially it seemed as though there would be quite a few people attending service. I still don't know what the regular attendance is, I just assumed that there would be about 25 people on a regular Sunday. However as the worship went on people started to come in. By the time I took the mic the church was quite filled up. I think there was about 35 people there. My estimation might still be way off as there would be some getting used to before I can make more precise estimates. Announcements were made and then I started my first sermon to my church. Here are the main points of the sermon:

Text: Luke 24:36-49
  1. Easter means Complete Peace (verse 36-38)
  2. Easter means Unbelievable Joy (verse 39-43)
  3. Easter means Eternal Hope (verse 44-45)
  4. Easter means a Powerful Witness (verse 46-49)

I'm sure I will be experiencing many other "firsts" here in FGC. I am relishing the challenge before me. Next week 19th of April, on Sunday, I will be having my first meeting with the church deacons. Looking forward working with the deacons and with God to grow his church.

This post is so scattered. The drugs running through my system has got me all messed up. Just felt that I need to make a new post to update everyone on what's going on. Need to sign off here and do something that requires less brain activity (like DotA).

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I Woke Up to...

...this view. This is from the balcony at my parent's apartment in APTS. Stunning.

The pictures really don't do justice, you got to see it for yourself.

It just makes me think about God and his beauty.

I also woke up to this (but this happened later in the afternoon):

Today at about 1pm, my father was inaugurated as the 9th president of APTS. He was also the first president from an Asian country. It's really a season of change, I really sense a difference in the spiritual climate. I want to discern and follow where God wants me to go and where he wants me to change.

Everyone's excited, everyone's proud. Pastors Ong Seck Leang, Chris Pak, Chin Keng Leong, and Lim Yeu Chuen and others flew all the way from Malasyia flew over to show their support.

The president was commissioned then he gives his inauguration speech.

Then the APTS board members prayed for him. Pas. Ong Seck Leang led the prayer of dedication for my parents.

Later that day, after all the fanfare of the inauguration and graduation ceremony, we hit the city. Tonight it was mostly makan time. We were "asian" enough to be able to try out all the local street stuff.

Of course there had to be balut! Bobby and Sarah you all didn't make it here because your parents didn't allow... this is what you're missing out on!

Balut is the egg of a duck which is almost matured. There are a few "grades", 14 day old, 21 day old, etc. I tried it before, didn't like the texture, but Elroi and Ian seemed to really enjoy it, I should have a go at it again soon.

Jackie who travelled with us almost threw up. She was all red-eyed and teared up and couldn't bear the sight. Melanie and Anne has yet to taste the whole thing, they just took a few nibbles. At the end I had a taste of the leftovers, the egg white part, but that wasn't nice. Got to get me the duck itself.

That's just a short update, we're on our way out for some sight seeing and hopefully a lot of shopping.