Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Project Report #34 - A Simple Plan

Hey people, hope you’ve all had a great week so far. It has been a very eventful week for me, we had Rev Kumar to speak in our church last weekend, it was a very powerful time. He spoke on the 3 Ds of Success – Desire, Discipline & Dedication. To just briefly summarize the entire message, every dream or vision must begin with a desire, in the Bible it says that God will grant to us the desires of hearts, it did not say that God will grant to us our heart’s desires. So in other words, the desires of our hearts are God given. Get it? It was such a fresh revelation to me personally.

Then to carry out that desire, we need to be discipline to maintain the pace to head towards our dream or vision. Discipline will keep us going, but Dedication is what brings us further. Discipline will only bring us to the level expected, but dedication will bring us to supersede the expectation. However, dedication cannot be activated without first having the discipline, and discipline cannot be activate without first having the desire. So cool right?

Other things that happened in past week is that Carol injured her spine to the extent of not being able to walk or sit up straight for short periods of time. It was probably aggravated during the days where she needed to finish her final thesis, the chair she sat on for long hours didn’t give her good back support, which result to her having backaches every other day at the time. It just took one dance practice to trigger a chain effect that caused her back to sprain. Plus she had an accidental slip when she went shopping and fell on the floor, which probably made it worse – this I only got to know last night. The doctor diagnosed her condition as Acute Spinal Sprain. But really praise God that her condition is much better now, at least she can move more now compare to a few days back. Do continue to pray for her that God will bring about complete healing to her spine.

A team of us went up to Ipoh last Saturday to minister in a ministry called Song at YMCA building. We really had a fantastic time there, Calvin spoke a good message on Talents, encouraging the young people there to really put effort in developing and using their talents faithfully for God’s glory. Other than ministry, the food was fantastic too =) We went to the new Foo San dim sum restaurant and had a good feasting session there. Again, we saw Phebe Ting there, haha! Second time we caught her in Ipoh. She was there for makan session after doing a camp in Cameron Highlands. It was really nice to see her again, we are all so proud that she’s still so fervent and faithful in her ministry to God.

Speaking of faithfulness, it is so vital for us to remain faithful in whatever we’re given at this current point of our life. A few weeks back, Ps Victor Wong came to our church and gave a word to people saying that some of us are getting restless with the positions we’re currently in, be it in ministry or in our careers, everything seems like it’s static and going nowhere, but God is asking us to remain faithful in it because He is working something in us even in these mundane times. Stay in the small pot for because God is still grooming and preparing us, when the time comes, God will move us to bigger pot. We just have to remain faithful in our small pots for now, that’s our responsibility, whereas promotion is God’s responsibility.

When I was reading a Daily Devotion posted by Rev Kong Hee about God Uses Faithful People, the story of Gideon really stuck me hard. Upon further studies, I found that many principals that we could learn from Gideon even before he was called by God to do great exploits. A brief explanation on the situation during Gideon’s time, in Judges 6:1-10, because of the disobedience of the people towards God, there was great oppression on Israel. Every time their crops were ready for harvesting, the enemies will swarm them over locusts and take everything away. Nothing was spared, event all their livestock were either taken away of killed. It’s like one of those moments in our lives that we wonder “where is God?”

Then in Judges 6:11, God sent an angel to meet with Gideon while he was threshing wheat in winepress. If this statement doesn’t seem weird to you, let me further explain, pay attention to the words ‘threshing wheat’ and ‘winepress’.

Threshing Wheat – To beat the harvested wheat so that the wheat grain would be separated from its chaff. This is normally done on an spinning horizontal cylinder-like device to collect the wheat grains. Here is a picture, adopted from website, of how wheat threshing activity looks like.
Winepress - A wine press is a device used to extract the juice from crushed grapes during wine making. Here’s how a winepress looks like, image adopted from website.
Just by looking at the images of the how the two activities are done, it’s so obvious that it is not right, unnatural, senseless or even stupid to thresh wheat in a winepress or crush grapes on a wheat threshing device! Yet, Gideon had to do this ‘stupid’ senseless act in order to hide from the enemy so that he and his family could have food to survive. No one would suspect that he’s threshing wheat in the winepress because it doesn’t make sense to do so. During the oppression, Gideon didn’t have the luxury to thresh a whole lot of wheat at one time, he probably had to do it little by little to avoid being detected. He didn’t have to just do it once, he probably had to do it faithfully a few times a day, single every day.

This ‘stupid’ act in our today’s terms, if we refer to what we have today, is like mixing our bread flour in a juicer machine! Isn’t that senseless and downright STUPID?! I found this very amusing when the Holy Spirit revealed it to me, yet it stuck my heart to its very core. Would I be found faithful if I am called to do something diligently without complain, even if it seems stupid and senseless to others around me? Something that others view as valueless and insignificant, would I still be found passionately working at it? You see, Gideon had to do this, not only just for his own survival, but also for his family. This speaks to me personally that I have to be faithful in the mundane, boring tasks given to me not just for my benefit, but the benefit of my family, which is the church!

Many times, big things come crumbling down because small things were not handled or executed well. If your little toe’s bone is broken, did you know that your entire body’s balance while standing up is affected? So we have to be faithful with the little things, even the stupid things that others look down on, in order to keep the church going. Rev Kong Hee said that when the angel of the Lord appeared before Gideon, the angel found him being faithfully threshing wheat in the wine-press. When God appears before us, will He find us being faithful with even the smallest task given to us?

In the bible it says that for those who are faithful with the little, much will be given (Matthew 25:21) God found Gideon faithful, that's was why He could trust him with the great things that was about to happen. Gideon rose up to be a great man in battle, he defeated the enemies that were oppressing the people of Israel (Judges 7:22-25). He was used by God to deliver and bring salvation to an entire nation, such was the great exploit that God has enabled Gideon to do. When we’re faithful with the little, God can even trust us with the revival of our nation! Imagine that!

So in conclusion, I have to speak even to myself, that we have to remain faithful in our current positions even though it may be small and insignificant, be it in church, in our companies, or even in our families and among our friends. What we do and who we are now may seem insignificant to many, but if we’re found faithful in God’s eyes, He can use us in things far greater than what we can even imagine. There are days where I feel like what I’m doing is not much appreciated and sometimes even unnoticed. But I have to constantly remind myself that above everything, I am ultimately serving God in all I do and I know He notices me. Did you think that Gideon had in mind that he was gonna be used by God, to deliver an entire nation from the oppression of one of the greatest armies of the world, while he was threshing wheat in the winepress? I highly doubt so, he just faithfully did what he needed to do, even when no one else notices.

Hope you guys are blessed by this short sharing. This is something I hope that will open up your hearts and challenge you to be faithful at a greater level as it did to me. This short passage of scripture in Judges 6 has really spurred me on to serve in my church, company and family more diligently.

PROJECT REPORT~! Nothing much has happened to my car lately. I drove if up to Ipoh last week and noticed a lot of heads turning. They probably wondering why they haven’t seen this car around although it is a Perak number plate, or maybe they’re just thinking who is this Ah-Beng driving this Ah-Beng car? HAHA! Anyway, when I got home from Ipoh, I found that my break fluids are leaking a bit from one of the brake caliper pistons. Will have to send it in for repairs hopefully this weekend. I did however made a new personal top speed with my car on the way back from Ipoh. How fast? Hmmm… I won’t announce it on the this blog ;P But just for the record, there were no other cars on the highway that time and I was actually just following behind a BMW 5 Series when I realized how fast I was going, haha!

That’s about it from me today, hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. Do pop by Harvest Generation Church tonight, we’ll be having Ps Frankie Khoo, a powerful prophet of God, to speak in our special service. We’re really expecting a wonderful time tonight. Take care people! God Bless!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Project Report #33 - Nothing But The Truth

Hey people, it really has been awhile since I've last made an entry. Lately, I've caught up with a lot work in my company and church as well. It has been really physically, mentally and spiritually tiring but every effort has been worth it.

As some you know, I've been switched to a different market vertical in my company, it involves the automotive industry, something most of you would say that it suits me really well. Yes, I'm enjoying it but it's HARD work. On average, I now have to stay in the office for about 12 hours a day. It's a price I have to pay but I believe that God will never lead me where His grace cannot keep me.

My church just started a new cell group in IMU and I was given the huge privilege to head it up. God has really brought great people to join my cell group, most of them are really young in their faith but undoubtedly on fire for God. Many people may think, how can this 'Aaron' dude lead a cell group with his capability? Believe me, I myself don't think I'm capable as well, but when God calls, I just obey. I may not be capable on my own, but if I choose to partner with the Holy Spirit, I know His Zoe life will enable me to do all things.

After 2 months of leading this cell group, I've really learned to depend upon the Holy Spirit at a greater level. Many areas of my life have been challenged and I see myself learning to love people more. In fact, the cell group has been a blessing to me so much more than what I've contributed to them. One important lesson I've learned about discipleship is that if you're not willing to lay your life down for your disciples, you have not really discipled anyone. To lay down our life for something is not just dying for something, it's about giving all you have, giving the best you can give, even dying to you own preferences and self desires for the cause.

Yes, we lay down our lives for Christ, but laying down our lives for Jesus means to lay down our lives for what He layed down His life for, The Church! And the church is made out of people, so we to be a true follower of Christ, we have to lay down our lives to build people. One cannot say he loves God if he does not love what God loves. I am truely humbled by this opportunity given to me to lead and disciple future doctors that will make a difference in our nation and beyond.

A few outstanding people I see in mycell group are people like Rafaella, Amanda, Kelvin Khoo and Jim, these are the ones I'm really proud of because they have improved so much compared to when they first joined our church. Although sometimes they can be very innocently naive, but their passion to know and serve God is incredible. They're now the pioneering batch of our church's hip-hop dance ministry under Carol's leadership. Too bad I'm not gifted in dancing, I can only wobble around, haha! Check out their video dance video in HCA on Facebook Groups named Harvest Generation.

I just came back from India 2 weeks ago, had an extrodinary time there ministering, getting to know the people there and, of course, eating tonnes of delicious authentic Indian food! Me and Chris were there to facilitate Pastor Ryan who really preached his heart out at the youth camp we were invited to. You can check out the pictures and videos of our trip on my Facebook. I manage to buy myself a nice grey-ish silver coat which looks almost exactly like what Adam Lambert wears. It was dirt cheap! Plus it was tailor made to fit me exactly. I even managed to buy Carol a full leather jacket meant for export to Madrid, Spain for a mind- blowing price! It is a little too big for her but I'll send it for alteration in Bangsar.

Besides shopping and eating, we got a tour around Chennai. It's a beautiful city, very much busier than Kuala Lumpur. We were hosted by Rev. Kumar, his wife Sister Jesse, and the Harvest Apostolic Ministry leaders. Few people I'd like to commend during my stay in Chennais are Francise - a fatastic cook, he served us extensively, even to the extent of making sure our coffee is exactly to our liking; Ammi - he's been tirelessly chauffeuring us to and from the camp site to Rev. Kumar's house, he even took us on a tour of House of Hope, a shelter home for Tsunami victims and orphans, through this work anchored by both him and wife with, these children have been given hope to excel in the future, the kids all aspire to be doctors, teachers and engineers; Pastor Virmal - he has served us to a point where even our used tissues and food wrappers he will take from us by hand just we don't have to find the rubbish bin ouselves, he even braved many traffics jams to pick and send us to the airport. These 3 men of God, though leaders and pastors of the church, went all the way to serve us like we're kings, and obviously we're not. When complimented them, they acknowledged that they caught all this from Rev. Kumar and Sister Jesse, I was like WOW! What discipleship these people have! What great humility these people have, such respect for their pastor.

Through my trip in Chennai, the Holy Spirit has really convicted my heart on the topic of discipleship. I come to realise that the true mark of successful discipleship is when the disciple loves everything the discipler loves and hates everything the discipler hates. This is so evident throughout the Bible and even in today's time. Unity of the heart and spirit is mandatory for discipleship to take place.

Let’s take an example in the Old Testament, two men name Elijah and Elisha in the book of 2 Kings 2:1-12. Their hearts and spirits were so knitted together that Elisha refused to leave Elijah’s side until the very end when Elijah was taken away by the Lord. Throughout Elisha’s journey with Elijah discipling him, Elisha desired earnestly everything the Elijah had. This is not in a covetousness sense, but it was out of great reverence towards the qualities if Elijah’s life. Covetousness always results in one party gaining from another’s loss. Example when I covet your wife, I want to take your wife for my own and as a result, you have to lose your wife for my gain. But desiring something in a reverence sense comes from great admiration, respect and desire to apply the qualities of one’s life to his own, no one loses anything.

In 2 Kings 2:9, Elisha desired to inherit the anointing of Elijah, not just at the same level, but a double portion of it. Pay attention to the word ‘Inherit’; as describe by the Wiki Dictionary ‘Inherit: To take possession of a right; To receive property by legal succession; To receive a characteristic from one's ancestors by genetic transmission. So to inherit means to desire the right to own what the ‘person passing it down to you’ owns, in this sense. If you study the life of Elijah, the anointing of the Holy Spirit was ALL that he had throughout his life! So when Elisha asked for the inheritance of Elijah anointing, he was actually asking Elijah to give him all he had! Elisha saw the power of God’s anointing in Elijah life; a nation changed, people healed, signs and miracles took place, Elisha wanted all of that but at a greater level.

Another example in the bible would be Jesus himself. In John 14:15, 14:21, Jesus says that whoever that loves Him must follow his commandments. In John 15:9, Jesus says that the father loves Him and in John 14:30, Jesus says that He must do exactly what the Father has commanded Him to do. So because Jesus loves the Father so intensely, everything the Father desires becomes His desires too, even to the point of sacrificing His own life. Being a disciple, one must put away self-preference in order to grow. Jesus Himself had to put away His self-preference in order for a greater work to be done (Matthew 26:38). Does this mean we must give up our will to our discipler? No, it’s not a matter of giving up, but it’s a matter of surrendering. To surrender your will, in this sense, means to trust your well-being to the person God has placed over your life.

Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:14-17 and 1 Corinthians 11:1 urged the people to imitate him. To imitate is to be-like or even copy everything. Why would Paul be so confident that people imitating him will be able to grow in their stature? If you study the word carefully, Paul says “…just as I also imitate Christ” means that he is asking the people to take all the good qualities of his life and apply it to their own. Since everything that is good comes from God (James 1:17), what Paul imitates from Christ is definitely good!

So when we talk about discipleship, it definitely has to begin with a relationship. Some people actually misquote the Bible by saying the disciples didn’t know Jesus. I tell you now, people knew Jesus and were amazed by Him even before the first four disciples was called (Luke 2:41-51, Luke 4:16). Jesus was well known in the synagogue, He did many signs and wonders, He even healed Peter’s mother-in-law before Peter decided to follow Him. So doesn’t this prove that the disciples already knew and respected Jesus before they followed Him?

Discipleship is not just about any kind of relationship, but it is a relationship that bonds to the very core of both the discipler and the disciple’s life. Let’s take City Harvest Church, Singapore for example. I’m so amazed at the level of discipleship the leaders have. You’ll notice that every level of leadership, from the highest to the lowest, every single person is united together in spirit and heart. When 2 people are united together in spirit and heart, they are bound to look like each other in the physical as well! Why? Because the disciple will naturally love everything the disciple loves.

Take Rev Kong Hee and his group of leaders under him, everything that Rev Kong Hee loves, they love as well, not just in terms of fashion, but also their passion for they things of God. When you go to City Harvest Church, you all the leaders dressing the same way, talking the same, having the same passion for God, preaching the same way, worshiping the same way and so on and so forth. Is it wrong? Definitely not! Their physical expression is a reflection of their inner unity!

The Holy Spirit really convicted my heart in the area of giving up self preference. If I were to be disciple by someone, I have to love everything that person loves and hate everything that person hates. I cannot choose what good qualities I want from to take from my discipler and leave out what I prefer not to take. To be a true disciple, I must desire every quality that God has given to my disciple, just like how Elisha desired what Elijah had, just like how Jesus himself made the Father’s desires His own desires, just like how Paul encourages his people to desire what he has, just like how City Harvest Church leaders desire what Rev Kong Hee has…

Discipleship requires the disciple to be totally sold-out for the cause he is discipled for. Discipleship is powerful, even satan knows it. Take the infamous Al-Qaeda group from example, these people were discipled to an extent of committing suicide and mass murders for the cause they believe in. They are totally sold-out for the cause their leader believes in, but sadly the great passion in them is all for the wrong cause. Discipleship can make or break an entire generation, that is why is so important for us to be discipled in the church.

We as Christians are not called to just make known the Gospel to everyone around world, making God known to the world is what we’re currently doing very well, but we have a deeper calling to disciple others as well. Matthew 28:18-20, we all know this scripture really well, but we must realize that only through discipleship can we lead people to be baptized and to observe all things that Jesus have commanded us. Why do I say that? Because when we love God fervently, we will definitely desire to please and obey God fervently, and that desire will become your disciple’s desire as well. Don’t just stop at being preachers of the Word, but be disciplers of man as well, and it all must begin with us being first discipled…

I hope this sharing will bless your hearts and inspire you to be discipled to disciple others… I’m so glad my pastor, Pastor Ryan Foo, and my church, Harvest Generation Church, holds on firmly to the principle of discipleship… ‘Discipled to Make Disciples...’

PROJECT UPDATES! Much has been done to my car in the past months. I’ve upgrade my brakes from a normal 2-pot caliper to a now super strong grip RX7 FC3S 4-pot caliper brakes in the front! I’ve tested it on the highway and it works really well in high-speed braking, just don’t tell Carol I tested my car on the highway again ;P For those who are interested in upgrading their brakes, I can tell you now that it is A LOT OF WORK required. The cost is also quite significant, but it’s worth every penny. Now my braking is more efficient and stable.

I’ve also gotten my front and rear absorbers modified and serviced for better traction and I’ve enforced my chassis with custom anti-roll bars and 4-point strut bars from Ultra Racing for better handling. Now cornering is more stable and driving on highways feels so much better. I have not done any modification to increase my engine output yet besides putting in a management system and changing to 450cc injectors, may be by next year I can plan out serious modifications, but of course only if I have the spare cash because now I’m actually starting to do a bit of finance planning for my wedding =))

That’s all I have for you today, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this entry as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Take care, people! And God Bless!