Tuesday, October 09, 2012

09-10-12 (Tuesday) "It's not about being green."

I've been rather passionate about living an energy-efficient, low-carbon life for a long time now. I turn off the shower as I shampoo myself; turn off the tap when soaping my dishes; use the sun to dry my clothes instead of using the dryers if there's enough sunlight; turn off my laptop after use, never leaving it on overnight... Many have even got the chance to be annoyed by my pestering to cut down on water and electricity wastage.

Our pastor, Dom preached on the Apostle's Creed last week at church, touching on the third line:
I believe in God,
the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.

On applying that to our lives, Dom mentioned that we should take good care of the things that God has blessed us with around us. The resources He has given us in this world. The beauty of creation around. The very air we breath. "It's not about being green," he said. "It's about being good stewards of what God has given us."

I had a short discussion with some friends a day later, finding out that the main thing they got out of that application point was "It's not about being green."

I didn't like the sound of that.

Just recently as well, I've been reading John Piper's ebook entitled "Preparing for Marriage", where John talks about how the ultimate reason for anything and everything is for God's glory. Our material body, the material world, marriage, singlehood. Everything. John also poses a challenge to ponder upon. How are WE glorifying God in all that we have and do? He also calls us to be good stewards of whatever God has given us and whatever situation He has placed us in. God is ultimate reality. Everything else is secondary.

So I'd like to respond.

If we take the stance that "this world is temporary, that everything will pass away, so why bother protecting it so well?", how does that glorify God?

When others see how we, as Christians, don't bother trying to use only what we need, that we care only about "it's so convenient that way!", how does that glorify God?

If we let the saying go that "being green is such a western culture" and continue living as the non-western (eastern?) way, doesn't that mean we're just the same as anyone else? How does that glorify God? Does our faith change our lives at all?

John Piper writes in the book under the heading The Material World - for the Glory of God:
"God made bodies and material things because when they are rightly seen and rightly used, God's glory is more fully known and displayed."

Our material world was made to shout of God's glory. Our bodies were made for that too.
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
~ Luke 19:40 

No need to get started on the extremes of environmentalism. I'm just talking about the very basics of minimising waste.

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
~ Colossians 1:16

Its not about being green.

Its about being good stewards of God's gifts.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

09-08-12 (Thursday) “A Nation’s Unity”

I used to wonder why we keep talking about this love for our country. Cinta akan negara. Tanah tumpah darahku. All those stuff. Why do we sing our national anthem? We all just joked about it and made fun of our country in school as we read about the stories of this guy seeing a deer next to a river and “Samson-esque” stories. No feel leh…

Then, I went to Singapore to study. All these MTL and bilingualism stuff that they promote made me rethink my comments in the past about learning 3 different languages being silly. I started to appreciate it more.

Not long later… Australia. I start seeing the stark differences in culture. The difference mindsets on the concept of “respect”. The social “norms” that are taboos back home, e.g Smiling and saying “G’day!” to any adik, abang, cik and atuk you come across as you walk about. (Many more that needn’t be brought up.)

Suddenly, I’ve started to love my country more. There are so many things that we, as Malaysians, can lay claim to!
Best food in the world (Really, Singapore? Haha. Okla. Comparable la, ok?)
General public is AT LEAST bilingual.
A few week’s worth of public holidays EVERY year.
Uh… The rest is better left not said. Heehee…

It wasn’t because of the many stories in our Sejarah textbook.

It wasn’t the Kelas Sivik that happened in KN (or something like that. Didn’t go through it so dunno)

It wasn’t any of the fancy slogans or catchphrases.

It wasn’t even the random “bonuses” we get as GE gets closer.

More recently, it has probably been brought to everyone’s attention on the Internet how one person managed to unite the whole of Malaysia together. He wasn’t even trying to do it, even! He pushed himself to do his best to recover from his ankle injury, made it onto the long-awaited venue after 4 years, carrying the hope of the 27 million people in his home nation. He pushed his arch-rival to the very last point but unfortunately couldn’t lay his hand on victory. In the midst of his pain and disappointment, he tweeted, “I’m sorry.”

However, all the videos, pictures and other forms of tribute flying around the net showed how his apology was ill-placed. He had won every Malaysian heart, even winning some over from neighbouring countries!

This was one of the really rare moments that united Malaysians together. It was a thing of beauty. I imagined how every Malaysian glued to Astro/Foxtel/StarHub/NBC/BBC, holding their breath as each rally was played out. All shared in his pain as his opponent raced around the stadium while he slumped into a lump of dejection. Tears were definitely shed all around the globe as their national hero bared his emotions.

Yet, it was this sad moment that united Malaysians.

Dato’ Lee Chong Wei. Wira Malaysia.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

17-06-12 (Sunday) “If the Modern Church were to be compared to someone in the Bible…”

… Would we be more similar to Jesus? Or to the Pharisees...?

Jesus attracted those who were rejected and broken, who felt out of place while the Pharisees were all for the elites, the knowledgeable and the successful.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

29-05-12 (Tuesday) “Awaiting the Glory”

I sat there waiting for the first few “segments” to pass. I know her. Yes. Okay. Another 20 more until this group is over. Come on now… Its probably gonna be another half an hour before it reaches the row in front of me…

I recall how it was like in secondary school during prize presentation day. I was told about the awards. My name was in the book, under the “Academic Excellence Award”. I had worked hard (its a relative term) for it the whole year. This was the moment of glory that made it worth it. This short moment.

“Joseph Ting Kee Lung”…

I made my up the steps, tossed my hair back, pushed my chest out and strode across the stage, hoping that my nervousness would not show. The eyes of many on me for that fleeting moment. I could feel their pupils tracking me. Glory.

I recount the feeling of anticipation of that glory. I kinda had an idea of how it would feel like. I knew it would be such a good feeling to be on that stage, claiming what I had earned. I would think about it throughout the day, even on the weeks leading up to it.

I share this as I think about my struggle to apply that to the second coming of Christ. It will be a moment of glory for those who believe in Him. In God’s saving grace through Jesus’ death on the cross. We are co-heirs together with Christ. We will reign together with Him. We will be brought back in complete union to God. The struggles and the achievements of this world will fade in comparison to that.

… But why do I not look forward to it as I should be…?

Why does it seem so distant? Why is it not a motivation for life? Every day is a day closer to His coming!

As A.W. Tozer says in “Why We Are Lukewarm About Christ’s Return”, life on earth is way too good. We have gotten used to and enjoy the piling up of the gold and silver on this earth that the paths of gold in heaven don’t seem much better.

I personally find it hard to “look forward” to the second coming because I feel like I haven’t actually lived life fully yet. I haven’t gotten married, haven’t travelled to certain parts of the world, haven’t had kids to play with and nurture, haven’t had a promotion… Heck, I haven’t even graduated!!

Its tough to think that life is complete in Christ when my perception of “the fullness of life” involves a house where kids run around and knock into things and break and need replacing (the things, not the kids). I seek God’s help in changing me in this area.

What about you? How do you view Jesus’ second coming? It will be glorious for believers. It will be just like that first award you got in your childhood.

Except that it was all because of grace.


p.s. In fact, all those awards were because of God’s grace to us too!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

23-05-12 (Wednesday) “Aussie slang to Manglish translation”

For those who come Down Under and find all these weird terms confusing. Here’s an equivalent of what we’d say/do in Malaysia.

“G’day mate” = “Eh! Hello!!”

“What’s happening?” = “Wassup, man?”

“What’s news?” = “Wassup, man?”

“How’re ya going?” = “Wassup, man?” (Alternatively, if you happened to be talking about travelling or going somewhere, it might be about how you’re gonna travel there. Or it could be about how you are recently. Serious.)

“How are ya?” = *Ignores and walks past*/Refer to previous 3 items

“Are you KIDDING ME?” = “Wah! You SURE or not??!”

“No way!!” (pronounced "Noh-wuu wa-yee”) = “Nolah! Cannot be la!!”

“Winner!”/ “Champion!” = “Very good! Good job!”

“Cheers” = “Tankew”

“Doll” (e.g. “Would you pass me the chips, please, doll?”) = “Ah Boy/Ah Girl”

IMG_6196That’s all i can think of for now. :D

Friday, April 20, 2012

20-04-12 (Friday) “Wrong place, yo”

I recall how people have used this line for Christians a lot:

“You’re going to church only to check out the hot chicks/dudes there, aren’t you?”

… Well, at least they have the impression that all Christians are hot/good-looking…

I just gotta say how wrong this mentality is. ESPECIALLY among the Christians. If you’re coming to church, or any other Christian gathering/fellowship for the primary purpose of hooking up with someone… You’re going to the wrong place, yo.

On the other hand… If you’re going to church to look for LOVE… Well, you chose the right place to be!

You know why?

Cos’ you’re gonna find the ultimate Lover there. God himself. The Love that sacrificed His Son for you. The Love that is willing to forgive your sins, past, present and future. The Love that can accept your inadequacies and insecurities, because He made you and you are made complete in Christ. The Love that surpasses knowledge that I can’t even explain it to do it justice.

I just gotta say how much I dislike the idea of people going for Christian conferences, conventions and camps just to meet the one – mainly cos’ I’m guilty of it myself. Yeah, you’ll probably meet THE MOST God-fearing, God-loving people you’ve ever met while you’re there but that should be something like an “additional benefit” that comes from these things. The greatest gain should be that of discovering more and more of God for yourself!


Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. ~ John 15:13

I’m glad that many get it right in this respect. :)

p.s I know I’m not the best person to be saying these things… That’s why I’m only posting it here. Hehe. :P

Sunday, January 08, 2012

08-01-12 (Sunday) “The ‘N’ Word”

It has been brought to a whole new level in this day and age.

We blog, penning down our thoughts and daily activities.
We record videos of our performance, a walk down the street with live commentary, sitting in front of the computer with live commentary, our singing, our pets, our backyard.
We can make reviews about the restaurant down the road, the eastern coast of the United States, the newest Nook tablet.
We make sure others know our English is better by correcting every grammatical mistake we see online.
We update our status, let the whole world know what we’re doing, how we’re feeling.
We post comments equating up to essays within a week.
We post photos of where we went last Saturday, thinking others will find it interesting.
We check-in to every single place we went.
We tweet.

IMG_2574One smile-ey dog

I think it has even become a common answer to say, “Why do I have to care what they think? As long as I’m right with God, then its fine.” When we consider some of the things we do in front of others. I mean, it does sound natural. It doesn’t sound exactly wrong, does it? My actions shouldn’t bother others. And if it does… Then they should stop being busybodies.

But the fact is that its involuntary, most of the time. I don’t wanna hear what others say about my friend but they’re talking right next to me. I don’t wanna be distracted by how you both behave as a couple but you’re sitting right in front of me. I don’t wanna be bothered by what you do on your phone/tablet but you keep tapping away on it the whole time. The very same goes to myself as well in what I wear and do. I have to be conscious of what might be drawing attention away from God and to me, ESPECIALLY when I’m serving.

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
~ Phil 2:3,4

Its a constant struggle for me to put this into practice. How do I even begin to consider others better than myself when everything that the Internet lets me do is telling me that “Its all about you. Everyone cares about what you do. Everyone wants to know.”? I’m sure people in the past had different struggles with this but I think with our generation, everyone CAN make themselves a star, or at least… Make themselves FEEL like they’re a star… Such a dangerous snare to fall into. And such difficulty to get out of it.


Thankfully, the Bible doesn’t just leave us at that.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.
~ Hebrews 4:15

Its always a lot easier to catch something when we have a role model to look up to, to imitate. And that model is none other than Jesus Christ himself.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!
~ Phil 2:6-8

I think I’m pretty good with my achievements and talents, garnered and groomed over my short life. But to be GOD?!?!? And to not even consider it?!? Try THAT!


Are your actions edifying others? Or are they just to bring attention and glory to yourself?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

3-1-12 (Tuesday) “This is for God”

Praise the LORD, O my soul,
O LORD my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendour and majesty.

God, I can’t even begin to articulate Your greatness, Your splendour in all the earth, Your majesty that makes all things bow down before You in worship.


He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.

We try to make new things every day, every way to make life easy for ourselves but You are the one who made everything in the first place.

You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains,


We take years and years and to build up a dam to control a little bit of water and yet

at your rebuke the waters fled,
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
they went down into the valleys,
to the place you assigned for them.


He makes grass grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate –
bringing forth food from the earth:

You are the one who breathes life into everything around. Everything that chirps, barks, moos, rustles, crawls, swims, shuffles… EVERYTHING! There is no end to Your creativity!


The moon mark off the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down.

The lions roar for their prey
and seek their food from God.

You provide for the beasts of the earth. What more us? I am eternally grateful in having You that provides for all my needs, I need not fear. I need not worry. I need not be anxious. Because You are faithful. Your love endures forever. My joy and my satisfaction is in You. You are the ultimate satisfaction. Not other people. Not material goods. Not achievements. You.

How many are your works, O LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.

Billions upon billions of creatures. Each different from any other. How mindblowing is that?!

I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the LORD.


Because You deserve it. And even more than I can offer. What is my praise worth? It came from You to begin with. I only return to You what is rightfully Yours. Its not much but its what I can offer. God, You be glorified.