Monday, August 30, 2010

What on Earth is a Missional Church?

The word, "missional" has been in circulation within the ecclesiastical world for at least thirty years. However, the meaning of this word has been so diversified that for years that I hardly even consider using it. The churches that I pastor or advise are known more as 'Attractional' churches rather then 'Missional' churches.

From August 26 to 27, 2010 I attended the Missional Church Conference organized by NECF at Wisma Eagles, FGT, KL. Dr. Paul Alexander, the Principal of Mattersey Hall, UK, was the keynote speaker with the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Senator Datuk Seri Idris Jala as the guest speaker. The missionay theme was being expounded during those two days. There were workshops conducted by facilitators who were deemed to be missional in their ministry approach.

The term, "missional" is getting clearer to me... even as I now reflect on what I had learned during the conference. First and foremost, the missional theology is based upon the incarnating God who sent His Son to this world to save us. Thus a Missional Church is more than a sending church. It is a Sent Church and so it has to be distinguished from an Attractional Church. The latter has to do with attracting people to the church, making the church the focus of the mission. A missional approach makes the unsaved world as the focus.

Having said that, we must also note that a missional church is not to be confused with the emerging church. The emerging church movement seeks to contextualize its message to meet the needs of the postmodern world. Even though, the missional church does that, it is not a primary feature of its identity.

Neither is the missional church similar to Rick Warren's concept of the seeker-sensitive church. Warren's idea of church growth is still basically of the attractional model. There is nothing wrong with the attractional model but it is limited if it is the only evangelistic approach used by the church. The danger in a solely attractional approach is that the ministry depends very much on the clergy. Today, we can see that some churches are growing to a humongous size because of the attractive quality of their pastors and preachers. The personality-based church will easily fall apart once the 'star' is removed.

The missional church is also not a model merely advocating social justice. The pitfalls of the Liberation Theology of Latin America reveal the weakness of any extreme social movement. Engaging poverty and being the champion of the oppressed is only a portion of the missional approach. However, the part is not the whole and so this must never be confused with the full Gospel.

Mission is no longer a program of the Church but it is the Church itself. Based upon the understanding that we are the "Sent People", we do not just send a couple of missionaries to the mission fields but the whole church is being sent to the world. By having a paradigm shift in our missiology, our churches can be transformed into "incarnational" communities that model themselves after the incarnational mission of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The missional church goes to the world and does not expect the world to come to it. This is the distinction that makes the missional church different from the attractional church. However, being an attractional church pastor for many years and looking at many fast-growing attractional churches in Asia and around the world I do not believe that the attractional model has completely lost its effectiveness.

Instead of the 'either-or' approach, we should consider 'both-and' approach. The missional church can include the attractional approach too. This means that both laity and clergy are working hand-in-hand to reach out to the pre-Christian world. The missional-cum-attractional model is both a church-based mission and a believer-based mission. This means that the church provides the leadership, training and motivation for the believers to carry the mission of God to the Seven Mountains. Most believers do not go to the world by their own volition. They need leadership, direction and organization. The clergy provides these and monitor the development of every missional activity. This involves both Reaching Out and Going Out! Thus the Church does not only have a Mission but the Mission has the Church.

The next step for those of us who pastor attractional churches is to make the transition. The theology has to become practical.  It is a process that needs much prayers and planning. And that, I will definitely do - so as to bring the missional concept to the churches that I advise and help in pastoring.

Rev Albert Kang
Pastoral Advisor
High Praise Church

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Crappy Old Man

As I was searching through my writing resource files I came across the following item. It was sent to me quite some time ago as one those emails making the rounds. I don’t know why I saved it, but as I look at it now I seem to reflect on it more personally than I might have at first. I remember as my grandparents aged and as my mother reached the 100-year mark. I know of others who also found themselves in declining years with the declining abilities that come with the territory.

When I checked the story with Snopes, an Internet hoax tracker, I found it to be a well worn story with a number of different starting points, but not without a sense of authenticity. I decided that, for me, it didn’t make any difference where it came from. The story is worth repeating.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Tampa, Florida, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.One nurse took her copy to Missouri. The old man's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the St. Louis Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation (here) has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

What do you see nurses?......... What do you see? What are you thinking.......... when you're looking at me? A crabby old man......... not very wise,Uncertain of habit......... with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food......... and makes no reply. When you say in a loud voice......... 'I do wish you'd try! 'Who seems not to notice......... the things that you do. And forever is losing......... A sock or shoe?

Who, resisting or not......... lets you do as you will, With bathing and feeding......... The long day to fill? Is that what you're thinking?......... Is that what you see? Then open your eyes, nurse......... you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am......... As I sit here so still, As I do at your bidding......... as I eat at your will. I'm a small child of Ten......... with a father and mother, Brothers and sisters......... who love one another.

A young boy of Sixteen......... with wings on his feet. Dreaming that soon now......... a lover he'll meet. A groom soon at Twenty......... my heart gives a leap.Remembering, the vows......... that I promised to keep.

At Twenty-Five, now......... I have young of my own. Who need me to guide......... And a secure happy home. A man of Thirty......... My young now grown fast, Bound to each other......... With ties that should last.

At Forty, my young sons......... have grown and are gone, But my woman's beside me......... to see I don't mourn. At Fifty, once more,......... Babies play 'round my knee, Again, we know children......... My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me......... My wife is now dead. I look at the future......... I shudder with dread. For my young are all rearing......... young of their own. And I think of the years.......... And the love that I've known.

I'm now an old man......... and nature is cruel.'Tis jest to make old age......... look like a fool. The body, it crumbles......... grace and vigor, depart. There is now a stone......... where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass......... A young guy still dwells, And now and again......... my battered heart swells. I remember the joys......... I remember the pain. And I'm loving and living......... life over again.

I think of the years--all too few......... gone too fast. And accept the stark fact......... that nothing can last. So open your eyes, people......... open and see. Not a crabby old man.....Look closer....see......... ME!!
Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!

FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS POEM. The best and most beautiful things of this world can't be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart. God Bless. 

Dan Perin
Beaverton, Oregon
United States

The Red Marbles

Read this story. If you are like me, you will learn much from Mr. Miller.

I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.
I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.
'Hello Barry, how are you today?'
'H'lo , Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus' admirin' them peas. They sure look good.'
'They are good, Barry. How's your Ma?'
'Fine.. Gittin' stronger alla' time.'
'Good. Anything I can help you with?'
'No, Sir. Jus' admirin' them peas.'
'Would you like to take some home ?' asked Mr. Miller.
'No, Sir. Got nuthin' to pay for 'em with.'
'Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?'
'All I got's my prize marble here.'
'Is that right? Let me see it' said Mr. Miller.
'Here 'tis. She's a dandy.'
'I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red.
Do you have a red one like this at home ?' the store owner asked.
'Not zackley but almost.'
'Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble'. Mr. Miller told the boy.
'Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.'
Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me.. With a smile she said, 'There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn't like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.'
I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man.

A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.
Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had died.
They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.
Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts . . . all very professional looking. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband's casket.

Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her, and moved on to the casket.
Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband's bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket.
'Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim 'traded' them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size.....they came to pay their debt.'
'We've never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,' she confided, 'but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho.'
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
The Moral of this story: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds.

Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. May the Lord bless you as you live a life full of kind deeds.
    " one another; as I have loved you.... By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."    John 13:34-35

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Cambridge Seven

The Cambridge Seven
C.T. Studd, M. Beauchamp, S.P. Smith,
A.T. Polhill-Turner, D.E. Hoste, C.H. Polhill-Turner, W.W. Cassels
I have been preaching a sermon that uses the Cambridge Seven as models of faith. These men had served their generation and now it is our turn to serve ours. The bible is clear that God watches over lives that serve their generations. King David is a very good example:
For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. (Acts 13:36)
David served his generation and he was known as a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22). In the same verse, the bible says that 'he will do everything I want him to do'. Even David made a lot of mistakes, he was still an obedient servant of God.

Looking at the 1800s, little known stories of heroes of faith were being created by committed servants of God. In 1881, Harold Schofield who was a young missionary doctor, serving in the northern province of Shansi, China, was suffering from typhus. He was bed-ridden but that did not stop him from praying. He asked God for a replacement, knowing full well that he may not recover. He prayed that God will send graduates from England's top colleges to evangelize China. On August 1, 1883, Harold Schofield went home to be with the Lord. This dear brother was only 31 years old.

Did God answer his prayer? Yes, In February, 1885, Schofield's prayer was answered as seven Cambridge students volunteered to leave behind cosy lives of wealth and privilege to serve God in whatever way they were led. These men became known as THE CAMBRIDGE SEVEN. They were namely:
  1. Charles Thomas Studd
  2. Montagu Harry Proctor Beauchamp
  3. Stanley P. Smith
  4. Arthur T. Polhill-Turner
  5. Dixon Edward Hoste
  6. Cecil H. Polhill-Turner
  7. William Wharton Cassels
At the commissioning service of the Cambridge Seven, they said, "Pray that God may keep us faithful".

These seven inspired thousands of others to think seriously of missionary service. Included among the Cambridge Seven was C.T. Studd, captain of England and the finest cricketer of his day - if he could give all that up, then so could anyone! Many were inspired to serve God. In 1885, there were only 163 missionaries serving in China Inland Mission. By 1890, that number had doubled and by 1900, there were 800 active missionaries serving God in China through China Inland Mission. That represented one-third of the entire Protestant missionary force of those days.

Here are some details of what happened to the Cambridge Seven:

William Wharton Cassels (1858 - 1925)
William worked in China for 10 years and then returned to England in 1895 where he was consecrated as the new Bishop of a new diocese in Western China. He then returned to Western China — he ministered here until his death in 1925.

Stanley Peregrine Smith (1861 - 1931)
Stanley was sent to North China. Here he learned the Chinese language and soon became as fluent a preacher in Chinese as he was in English. He died in China on January 31, 1931.

Charles Thomas Studd (1860 - 1931)
A famous England cricketer - he was sent home because of ill health in 1894. Later he worked in India and Africa and was the founder of WEC. He died in 1931in Ibambi, Belgian Congo.

C. T. Studd was the one who penned this famous quote: "Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell". When he was old, some of his critics asked him to go home and retire. Studd refused, He said, "God has called me to go, and I will go. I will blaze the trail though my grave may only become a stepping stone that younger men may follow".

Cecil Polhill-Turner (1860 - 1938)
Cecil served God in North West China and also Tibet. He and his wife were nearly killed in 1892 in a riot. In 1900, his health failed and was sent home to England. He made seven prolonged missionary visits. In 1908 in Sunderland he became the leader of the Pentecostal Missionary Union and was greatly used in the formation of the Pentecostal Movement in Britain.

Arthur Polhill-Turner (1862 - 1935)
Arthur was ordained as a minister in 1888. He moved to the densely populated areas to reach as many people as he could. He remained in China throughout the uprisings against foreigners and did not leave there until 1928, when he retired and returned to England. He died in 1935.

Sir Montagu Harry Proctor Beauchamp (1860 - 1939)
In 1900 Montagu was evacuated from China because of the uprisings but returned again to China in 1902. He then returned again to England in 1911 and served as a chaplain with the British Army. His son became a second-generation missionary in China and in 1935 he went back to China; he died at his son's mission station in 1939

Dixon Hoste (1861 - 1946)
Dixon succeeded Hudson Taylor as the Director of the China Inland Mission and for thirty years, he led the Mission. He retired in 1935 but remained in China until 1945, when he was interned by the Japanese. He died in London, in May 1946 and was the last remaining member of the "The Cambridge Seven" to die.

Dixon said, "The man who does not learn to wait upon the Lord and have his thoughts molded by Him will never possess that steady purpose and calm trust, which is essential to the exercise of wise influence upon others, in times of crisis and difficulty."

These faithful men had served God for their generation. Their testimonies proved that when lives are fully committed to the Lord, they will create great impact upon their generation for the kingdom of God. May God raise up more faithful men and women to serve our generation.

For further reading, please check out these publications: The Cambridge Seven by J.C. Pollock; A Cambridge Movement by J.C. Pollock; C.T. Studd: Cricketer and Pioneer by Norman Grubb; Student Volunteer Movement (notes) by Charles Mott.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Manage Your Diabetes - Information About Metformin

The inevitable concern for people of my age is our health. Both my parents are diabetic and therefore, I become more susceptible to this disease. At this moment, my Singapore doctor has put me on Metformin. The following article is helpful for all those who are relying on Metformin to manage their diabetic condition:


Next to insulin, metformin is the world’s most commonly prescribed medication for diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes. The brochure that comes along with your medication, however, probably does not tell you everything you need to know.

Here is additional information for using metformin for it’s maximum effect:

1. The effects are greatest 2 to 3 hours after you take it. If you eat more carbohydrate at some meals than others, it makes sense to take your metformin just before your most carb-heavy meal of the day.

2. Take the same amount of metformin at the same time every day. If you forget a dose, don’t double up. This can cause your blood sugar levels to run too low.

3. Taking metformin at night can be helpful if you experience the dawn phenomenon… which is unusually high blood sugar levels due to a stress reaction in the hour or two before you wake up. Your kidneys will clear the drug out of your system at night, however, and you will be more likely to need to get up to pass urine.

4. The effects of this medication on your blood sugar levels build up over the course of about a week. If you stop taking it, it will be about a week before your blood sugar levels spike upward.

5. Extended release metformin (Glucophage XR) is taken in smaller doses than generic metformin. Sometimes diabetics who start a prescription for the same dosage of XR after taking generic metformin experience low blood sugars in the middle of the night.

And if you are just starting metformin, wait a week before deciding whether it’s working for you. The benefits of this medication usually kick in about the same time any short-term problem with stomach upset subsides:
  • it is a derivative of the French lilac, a traditional herbal remedy for diabetes in parts of Europe
  • it is usually the first drug of choice for many people with Type 2 diabetes, including children
  • works by reducing the liver’s normal production of glucose, which is approximately 1 or 2 grams a day in the majority of people. These effects usually bring about lower blood sugar levels
Metformin can also reduce:
  • triglyceride levels
  • the levels of other fats such as LDL (low density lipoprotein) or ‘bad’ cholesterol
  • the appetite in many people
Side effects such as:
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • stomach upset
  • diarrhea
usually lessen over a short period of time but if not, the dose can be lowered. When taken alone, metformin cannot cause hypoglycemia.

Monday, August 16, 2010

History Lesson From Kerteh

Talking to Bro Leong (center) with my father-in-law, Bro Ong
Talking to Brother Leong, a 75-year-old brother from Kerteh, was quite enlightening. His father had come from China to Kerteh before the Japanese invasion in 1941. As Kerteh is situated in North East of Peninsula Malaysia, it was among the first places to be occupied by the Japanese. According to the elderly brother, he and his family fled to the jungle. His father was on the black list of the Japanese as some people had pointed him out to be the sympathizer of the Communist fighters. .The Japanese had suffered quite a few casualties from the Communist resistance fighters and they were not too happy with Communist sympathizers.To be captured meant death.

Brother Leong said that day after day, the Japanese took helpless victims to be shot in very remote areas. One of them was the grandmother of Brother Kui Jee, one of the elders of the Church in Kerteh. When the Japanese fired their machine guns, the grandmother put her hand to her eyes and was shot only in the arm. The blood that covered her arm and face saved her life. She remained very still until the murdering team of Japanese executioners departed. She then got up and made her way to her village. Along the way, she was met by some villagers who helped her. She did survive her injury.

After the war, Brother Leong had to collect coconut husks to be burned as fuels. One day, he wandered deeper into the jungle and met with a gruesome sight. There were skulls and human bones every where. He had stumbled upon an execution site.It was recorded that more than 100,000 civilians were killed in all of Malaya during the war.

Another exciting episode of Brother Leong's life was during the Malayan Emergency. From 1948, the Communists of Malaya were waging a guerrilla warfare against the British rulers of Malaya. Many of these Communists were Chinese even though there were some Indians and Malays in their midst. At that time, Brother Leong was still a boy and he actually witnessed an execution conducted by the Communists. Apparently, in his area, there were two police detectives who were bullies. According to Brother Leong, these were the bad people. They made the lives of the people there very miserable.

The Communists captured these two 'bad' people and tied them up. One of the captured detectives was a Chinese while the other was a Malay. The villagers were invited to pass judgment on these police officers. When asked whether they should die, everybody just raised their hands and voice in agreement of the harsh sentence. Immediately, after that, the two condemned men were dragged to a open space and shot.

Throughout the emergency period which lasted up to 1960, Brother Leong and his family were not interned in any 'New Village". Millions of Chinese who lived near the forests were deported and interned in guarded camps known as "New Villages". This move by the British authority was very effective because it dried up the food supplies to the Communist fighters in the deep jungles. To prevent raw rice from being smuggled out of these camps, the British instituted communal kitchens in all these 'New Villagers. No villager was allowed to cook his or her own rice, Everybody had to receive their cooked rice rations from the communal kitchens. That new move literally helped win the war because the Communists in the jungle were being starved to death.

Bro Leong healed
Brother Leong had complained about his legs. They were weak and he had to hobble slowly with a bow-legged gait.On the Friday's night of 13th August 2010, he was divinely healed of his leg condition.During our healing evangelistic meeting, he was touched not only spiritually but physically. As a couple of brothers from the church laid their hands on him and commanded his legs to be healed, the miracle happened. The next thing was amazing. The elderly brother began to jump - that was something that he could not do before. Wow, what a wonderful God that we have. He touched this elderly brother and many others on that night. Praise the Lord.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Refiring And Not Retiring

A friend says that she is not retiring but re-tyring. Her life in the second-half is filled with more exciting contributions to the kingdom of God than her first half. Another friend says that he is re-firing and not retiring.,, and his life is also filled with much activities for the kingdom of God.

For years, I was worried about the big five O but now at 56, it isn't that bad. I am busier for the kingdom than when I was in my 40s. My preaching and training engagements are filling up my calendar. I suspect I am enjoying the best time of my life. 

One thing I realize is that I am a little more patient than before. Screaming kids used to irritate me but lately, some unruly kids were running at the front of the church while Pastor Alvin was preaching and... I was not even disturbed. Then there are the dogs and cats... every day, they poo a million times and I just clean a million times without even any sign of frustration. I am sweeping and mopping with a smile. Maybe I am getting senile or something.

Hopefully, with age, I am getting a little wiser. I have been doing a little intra-communication and realize that many things are not that important anymore. What car I drive and what house I live in do not matter any more. Whether I have money in the bank does not matter too. 

Other people's opinions also do not matter that much. Yes, now I have nothing to prove to anyone. What I have done, I have done! Success or failure does not seem to bother me that much now. Opinions are just opinions. 

Appearance also does not matter any more too. The other day my wife alerted me of some hairs sticking up like peacock tail on the back of my head. Guess what? I was not perturbed at all. Peacock tail or rooster tail... who is going to laugh at a man in his mid-fifties? Even if I were to crow in public, no one is going to bat an eyelid.

It is true that we are as old as we feel... so I admit that I really feel like I am only in my early 40s. The body may looked a little out of shape but the spirit is still dashing. There is still a lot of mileage left in this former black-belt holder. The most important thing for me now is to pound on the keys of my laptop and complete the three books in the pipeline. The other important thing is to impart as much information and knowledge about healing and church growth to the churches that are willing to learn. Apart from that, I want to make my wife happy so that her life will be wonderful too.

Mmmmm... I love my life!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thank God it's Friday!

Cell Meeting at Bandar Manjalara
Throughout the week, God is the primary part of my activities. Personally, I find that God's presence is always there - whether I am catching the news on TV or cleaning the dogs' poo poo. Trust me - God is interested in your every activity. His presence is not invasive but He is there! Whatever I may be doing, I can pause and just reach out to Him. There is nothing mysterious about this because God has created us to be connected with Him. So day in and day out, He mingles with us and makes Himself known in our events. Sunrise and sunset - then it's Friday again!

Thank God it's Friday! 

Why are most people happy about Fridays? Well, I believe it is because they can take a break on the weekends. Those who work a five-day week are the happiest of all. For us who are preachers, weekends mean work. Many pastors have meetings on Saturdays. Sundays are reserved for sermon deliveries, counselings and other ministry stuffs. However, there are lay people who work just as hard during the weekends. They are the ushers, greeters, worship leaders, musicians, backup singers, sound technicians, counselors and disciples doing all types of chores in church. We, pastors, get to rest on Mondays but these lay workers go right back to their jobs. To these dedicated servants of God, I salute you all for your faithfulness.

Some people have this strange idea that pastors and preachers only work on weekends. They believe that the clergy have it easy on the weekdays. They may have a point there. I do not know about other ministers but I better begin by evaluating my own weekday's schedule. Let me see if I can remember what I did for the last seven days.

Last Friday, I spent the morning conducting a two-hour training at Global Ministry Team in Cheras. The drive there from Bukit Rahman Putra took almost two hours. Grace was my driver and a real blessing. After the lunch with Sis Lilian and Bro Jason, I came back in a taxi to complete the PowerPoint slides for the Church Growth Seminar. The evening came quickly and without dinner, Grace and I drove to our Cell meeting at Bandar Manjalara. There I conducted a bible study from the Gospel of Mark.

Saturday was a whole-day affair - conducting Church Growth training at Diakona Church at Rawang. Monday to Wednesday were spent reading, researching, editing, writing and preparing sermon for Sunday. Managed to visit a doctor on Monday for some antibiotics for a claw-wound on my finger. Tabby Boy had accidentally clawed one of my left fingers and after a week, it had become infected.

Apart from taking care of pets, I had to take care of wife too. She was not feeling well and so needed a little tender loving care. Visited the in-laws and thankfully no outlaws to visit. Wrote blogs and checked emails took much of the time too. Spent a little time writing an email to my former boss to encourage her to buy organic yagons from my friend, Pastor Feztus. This Singaporean minister is helping the tribal farmers from Yunnan, China. Researched about how the truths of the Bible are hidden in the Chinese language. Mmmm... very interesting. Got started with 'Beyond Half Time' written by Bob Buford. Another mmmm... very interesting.

Thursday came with more works on the PowerPoint for Sunday's sermon. Pastor Sim came for our weekly meeting at 3 PM. Praise God for this brother - he really loves the Lord and His people. He wants souls to be saved and his church to grow... so badly that he is willing to do anything to make it work. Spent couple of hours evaluating the results of the Force Field Analysis and the day was pretty over. Then Mercy and Goodness vomited three piles of smelly stuffs. One in the master's bedroom and two in the living room. Must have eaten some really bad stuffs. No more junk foods for them! Paused and cleaned! Cleaned and paused to breathe... and mopped! The dogs were hanging their heads down and looking real guilty. But did not scold the dogs... maybe because I am a real civilized and converted guy. Assured Mercy and Goodness that it was okay with daddy... just don't do it too often.

Grace arrived home from work really late and off we went to enjoy Singapore Hokkien Mee and pork spare-part soup at Kepong. Realized that last night the space in my stomach had reduced in size. The tummy remained big but I just could not eat that much anymore. Found out that King's Confectionery offered 'buy one get one free' after 10 PM and so we bought enough pastries to share with Grace's parents and siblings.

It's almost noon and back to the bible and my sermon. Oh, got to do little studying on the Gospel of Mark too... so that I do not talk nonsense at cell meeting tonight. Ciao and God bless!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cleaning Poo Poo and Other Chores

Danny the New Puppy
This morning, my neighbour, Mrs. Wong asked how many times a day I wash the porch. Mmmm... I wash as often as the dogs poo. Since Mrs. Wong's question at 7 AM, I had washed the porch four times and it is not yet noon.

Cleaning dogs' poo poo is my job. Now with a new addition, the front porch is getting really messy. Apart from Goodness and Mercy, we now have an active Danny. This puppy is the one that Grace rescued about two months ago, on a rainy evening. Both its legs were broken. After being treated by Grace's sister, Dr. Pam, Danny is now staying with us while waiting to be adopted. 

Apart from cleaning poo poo, I had also mopped the house and fed three dogs, two cats and a solitary fish. I had also washed Danny's cage and rearranged the bookshelves. Working from home is really 'working'.

How many office workers are required to mop their office or clean pets' poo poo? And my dear wife still wonders what I do at home. Maybe I should just forget about the home office and go to my official office at Subang 2. At least there is a tea lady serving me freshly brewed coffee and also cleaning my office every day.

With three incomplete books, a couple of seminar notes and sermons to finish, I consider myself to be a very busy man. However, with a little careful planning, I can pace my works and still have time to accompany my sweetheart to shop and catch a movie. That is if I am not conducting Elijah Challenge Healing Trainings or Church Growth Seminars overseas or in other parts of Malaysia.

Grace often comes with me on such trips but her leaves have quickly been depleted. Soon, I will have to make mission trips without her... unless, she leaves her job and starts a business. Not too sure if that is a good idea but at least this serves as an option. Meanwhile, she has to keep her job as the Editor of 'Health Today'. Without her income, I will have no health today... I will most probably be malnourished or worse... dead.

The love offerings that I receive for my sermons and seminars are obviously not enough to take care of all our expenses. I have a joke about love offerings - there is always more love than offerings. However, to prevent any misunderstanding, I must say that this musing is not written with the intention of receiving more financial donations. Not at all... for God provides all our needs and we are thankful.

Three years ago, when my income dried up, the Lord opened the door for Grace to work as an Editor. She got the job without showing a single page of resume or any documents to the employer. Grace is a nutritionist by training and at that time, was only a part-time writer. She was never an editor but when God opened the door, no one could shut it. Today, under her editorship, the magazine has improved its circulation and readerships. As you can tell, I am very proud of my wife.

Apart from that, I must say that nothing can express my gratitude to my loving God.  He does work in mysterious ways and often in our day-to-day experiences. He never leaves us alone but weaves his plans into our insufficient ones. When one door closes He opens another one. The One who opened the Red Sea is the One who takes care of us now. We are blessed and forever grateful.

Monday, August 2, 2010

56 and Still Ticking

Ten years ago, my good friend, Bob, told me that he owned a piece of furniture and that it was an antique. When asked exactly how old that piece was, he said, "About 50 years old". So there you have it... anybody above fifty is an 'antique'. Next month, I will be officially 56. So I will be 6 years beyond 'antique'. How can that be? I still feel 26... well, more like 36. Yes, 36 is a good age to be in. Anyway, being an antique does not make me feel any more special or expensive.

Time flies? No, it does not fly but wooshes by. Why? Well, if it flies, you can still see it. When it wooshes by... man, it just disappears without you even catching a glimpse of it,

To prove that I am in the second-half of my life, I even bought a book, "Beyond Half-Time" written by Bob Buford. He is an author highly recommended by my good friend, Leroy, who just crossed the big 'five-O' mark.Apparently, this author published his first book, "Half-Time" (what else could it be?) in 1995. Obviously, I had no reason to even touch that book in 1995. I was only 41.

Now, at 55 plus, all Buford's books will make more sense. He suggests that in our second-half, we should move from 'success' to 'significance'. Well, for one thing, my tummy has complied with his suggestion and  has become significantly larger and rounder. I am keeping this round tummy because it gives my wife such a thrill watching it grows. Moreover, it's a great conversation piece.

"Hey, your tummy is growing bigger!"

"Yeah, I know."

"You should cut down on your food!"

"Yeah, I know."

"You don't want to look like a pregnant goose!"

"Yeah, I know."

You can tell how good Grace and I communicate. We do this so often that I can now do it even when I am napping. All men should learn this technique because it does not only slow their heartbeats but keeps the marriage alive. At least, your wife thinks it's alive, even though you're half-dead... what I mean is that you're napping.

My other good friend, Aaron, is a year younger than I am but he is still 25. Somehow, along life's journey, he has surrendered his mathematics to his Primary School's math teacher. So, he is 25 and I am coming to 56. Strange... for such a great age-gap, we have so much in common. Any way, I always have an affinity with younger generations.

I think I am going to take a nap now. Typing this blog makes me sleepy. Well, before my dream sequence begins, a word of advice ...if you are already in the second half, go and take a nap. If you are still in your first half, then please keeping working. Why are you reading this blog during working hours?