LOAVES + FISHES
MICA (P) No: 104/03/2013

The Covenant Community Methodist Church Magazine

LET’s
SOAP

Make your
own Loav...
Join the Covenant Community Methodist Church group

sermon notes sharing updates photos reviews

So Rich a Crown
Discover ...
Mary Harrsch CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

CONTENTS
WELCOME TO
THE FAMILY
Pastor John Foo
and his family open
their lives to us.

NEW L...
Ask Abigail 39
Crafts for Kids (pull out)
Crumbs 48
Good Things 44
Kitchen 46
Manga Hero 27
Songs & Singers 23
Food for Th...
+

How did you both meet?
We met in the university. We
were studying the same course,
in the same year, and were both
in C...
(( We believe

that the children
must be given the
chance to own
their schoolwork
early in life.
This sense of
ownership c...
Over-Functioning
Parents…

My Confession
& Conversion
					By John Ng

ALL ILLUSTRATIONS: NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SINGAPORE

Yo...
(( ALL THE

HURRYING AND
SCURRYING MADE
US AS EXHAUSTED
AS SHE WAS. WHAT
WE HAD WAS A
KID WHO WAS
FRENZIED AND
DISORIENTED...
ALL ILLUSTRATIONS BY ABIGAIL GOH

FAMILY
BUILDING
BLOCKS
Tips for stronger families

						

16

© 2013. Reprinted with pe...
It Just Takes TimE

(( UNSTRUCTURED,

SPONTANEOUS
FAMILY TIME IS NOT
ONLY GOOD FOR
US AS FAMILIES,
IT IS COMPLETELY
NECESS...
ABIGAIL GOH

NEW LENSES FOR
THE MARKETPLACE
By MASON TAN
Mason is a Certified
Public Accountant who
became an entrepreneur...
HUBBLE

SOAP
The Divine Mentor
Review by Lee Yin Siau

GOD & SOAP
This picture is of the Soap Bubble Nebula, a planetary n...
SOAP
chadbrooksCC BY-NC-SA 2.0

JACQUELINE KHOO

EUGENE CHUANG

Mirroring God

S: “And gazing at him, all who sat
in the c...
MAKE YOUR OWN
LOAVES AND FISHES
MOBILE

What you need:
Scissors, ribbon, glue, hole puncher,
coloured pencils, vanguard sh...
Songs & Singers

TEARS IN HEAVEN
erik forsberg CC BY-NC 2.0

Eric Clapton

(( I had no

notion whO I
THOUGHT I WAS
TALKING...
Science & Faith
NEWTON BY WILLIAM BLAKE

DR ALISTAIR CHEW

30

John Hritz CC BY 2.0

A Meditation and Not an Apology for E...
Hoshea born the son of Nun (1 Chronicles
7:20,27) (Numbers 13:8). Moses renames
him (Numbers 13:16) ...

During the Exodus...
Chrass & Nepal Missions

Food for Thought

Kian Seng’s Thoughts
Eric says, “There’s no
need to keep the Sabbath, or to wor...
Chrass & Nepal Missions

Chrass & Nepal Missions

1st Trip: 26 to 30 June 2008

3rd Trip: 2 to 6 Dec 2009

CCMC’s journey ...
Chrass & Nepal Missions

(( WITH LCEC

LCEC Approval
CCMC’s Local Church
Executive Committee in
their meeting of 25, Janua...
Chrass & Nepal Missions
9th Trip: 4 to 9 April 2012

8th Trip:
14 to 19 December 2011
Building Planning Team
5 to 6 Sept 2...
W

MISSION TRIP TO NEPAL
25 Nov to 3 Dec 2012
BY Raymond Chow

WHAT IS MY PURPOSE?
By Ralph Lau

At the beginning, when th...
ABIGAIL GOH

Dear Abigail,

My Love Gift
to Chrass
Full Name: Mr/Mrs/Miss/Dr/Mdm
______________________________
Address: _...
Who’s

AFRAID
of a

Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

MARRIAGE
COURSE?

46

T

he Marriage Course that C...
tening’ exercise. It is a tool that
bridges ‘Deep Listening’ and the
‘Peacemaking Process’ which we
have been teaching in ...
Loaves+fishes jan march 2013
Loaves+fishes jan march 2013
Loaves+fishes jan march 2013
Loaves+fishes jan march 2013
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Loaves+fishes jan march 2013

  1. 1. LOAVES + FISHES MICA (P) No: 104/03/2013 The Covenant Community Methodist Church Magazine LET’s SOAP Make your own Loaves & Fishes mobile PASTOR JOHN’s FAMILY SHARES LIFE STORIES Busyness or Business A DAD’s GREAT EXPECTATIONS Why are we building a church in Phnom Penh? Try Mrs Ellice Handy’s Chicken ala King – good-old, tasty, comfort food.
  2. 2. Join the Covenant Community Methodist Church group sermon notes sharing updates photos reviews So Rich a Crown Discover the true meaning of Jesus’ life and sacrifice this Easter. Come, join us for a sequence of services during Holy Week as we reflect on God’s love, Jesus’ death, and the significance of His sacrifice – our salvation. Maundy Thursday Holy Communion Service 28 March, 8 pm, MGS Chapel From Gethsemane to Golgotha A Service of Reflection and Prayer 29 March, 8 pm, MGS Amphitheatre Easter Sunrise Service 31 March, 6.30 am, MGS Amphitheatre
  3. 3. Mary Harrsch CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 CONTENTS WELCOME TO THE FAMILY Pastor John Foo and his family open their lives to us. NEW LENSES FOR THE MARKETPLACE 5 LOAVES & 2 FISHES Corrinne May A little boy of thirteen was on his way to school He heard a crowd of people laughing and he went to take a look Thousands were listening to the stories of one man He spoke with such wisdom, even the kids could understand How to change your perspective at work. 18 The hours passed so quickly, the day turned to night Everyone was hungry but there was no food in sight The boy looked in his lunchbox at the little that he had He wasn’t sure what good it’d do, there were thousands to be fed But he saw the twinkling eyes of Jesus The kindness in His smile And the boy cried out With the trust of a child he said: “Take my five loaves and two fishes Do with it as you will I surrender Take my fears and my inhibitions All my burdens, my ambitions You can use it all to feed them all” I often think about that boy when I’m feeling small And I worry that the work I do means nothing at all But every single tear I cry is a diamond in His hands And every door that slams in my face, I will offer up in prayer 4 So I’ll give you every breath that I have Oh Lord, you can work miracles All that you need is my “Amen” So take my five loaves and two fishes Do with it as you will I surrender Take my fears and my inhibitions All my burdens, my ambitions You can use it all I hope it’s not too small MY CONFESSION & CONVERSION CHRASS AND NEPAL MISSIONS Developments & reports. 29 An over-functioning parent tells all. 10 I trust in you, I trust in you So take my five loaves and two fishes Do with it as you will I surrender Take my fears and my inhibitions All my burdens, my ambitions You can use it all No gift is too small GOD & SOAP Be refreshed daily by the Divine Mentor. 20 5
  4. 4. Ask Abigail 39 Crafts for Kids (pull out) Crumbs 48 Good Things 44 Kitchen 46 Manga Hero 27 Songs & Singers 23 Food for Thought 28 To the Point 9 FAMILY BUILDING BLOCKS Three tips to build stronger families. 14 Promptness Barometer SCIENCE & FAITH A meditation and not an apology for either. 24 6 When was the last time you were late for an appointment? Hopefully, the answer was ‘I can’t remember’. For those of us who are mentally blushing, here are three easy tips to keeping that next appointment: 1. Be unfashionable. ‘Fashionably late’ is the term coined for tardy celebrities. The lateness bug also seems to apply ubiquitously to Chinese wedding dinners. Unless you are a celebrity or heading for a Chinese wedding dinner, make a commitment to arrive slightly ahead for your appointments. Others will respect you for respecting their time. 2. Don’t be optimistic. Can you get from Point A to Point B in 10 minutes flat? Have you factored in the time walking to and from your car? How about traffic conditions? Is your private helicopter on standby? There is always an “ideal case” and then there is what happens most of the time. Plan for real world delays and give yourself time to spare to get to your next appointment. 3. Prepare to revive time. As ever-efficient people, arriving early for appointments sometimes makes us feel as if we created spots of ‘dead’ time. However, these pockets of time can be great for sneaking in some light reading, preparing yourself for the next activity or just spending some quiet time with God. Find creative ways to use these snippets of time and revive your ‘dead’ time. For best results, practise these tips regularly. You can do so every Sunday when coming to church. Get to church early and honour God with the time He has given you. Loaves + Fishes will be creating a ‘Promptness Barometer’ to reflect how we as a church are honouring God with our time. Look out for it in subsequent issues. Loaves + Fishes is published quarterly by Covenant Community Methodist Church Level 4, Methodist Girls’ School 11, Blackmore Drive Singapore 599986 Tel: 64669652 Fax: 64667470 E-mail: admin@ccmc.org.sg www.ccmc.org.sg MICA (P) No: 104/03/2013 Printed by Oxford Graphic Printers Pte Ltd EDITORIAL COMMITTEE 100% Please wait for the doors to open! 80% I think there are some seats up front. 60% Someone is in my regular seat. 40% Looks like the faithful remnant are here. 20% Am I at the right place? A ABUNDANT, SATISFYING, WONDERFUL! REGULARS Editor Rev John Benedict Foo Editorial Advisor Eddie Koh Managing Editor Goh Eck Kheng Members Chong Cheh Hoon Lester Ng Contributors Alistair Chew Calvin Chong Lee Yin Siau John Ng Mason Tan Yap Kian Seng ON THE COVER The Seow family: Jin Kiat and Jun with children, Noah and Esme. bundant, satisfying, wonderful! That’s the whole thrust of our newly revamped church magazine! Those familiar with our previous publication To The Point will immediately notice the completely refreshing way the articles have been laid out and presented herein. A season of change is dawning – a change which we believe God is bringing about to effect a closer alignment to His good and perfect will for our church. And what better way to herald that change than to introduce a brand new look to our church magazine. The new title Loaves + Fishes draws its inspiration from the biblical episode in the Gospel of John when the little boy gave of his five loaves and two fishes for Jesus to feed the hungry crowd of more than five thousand. (John 6:1-14) So here in this magazine and in the subsequent issues to come, we hope to be able to provide you with a diverse coverage of our wonderful church life and ministry that will satisfy you truly and abundantly. Just as the loaves and fishes in the gospel story of chapter 6 were supernaturally multiplied by God and used by our Lord Jesus to bless the thousands of people, it is our desire that God will use our church magazine to multiply His blessings in the lives of our members and their loved ones as well as their many friends. Our maiden issue is set to delight readers with an interesting spread of topics, with family life and parenting taking the spotlight this round. Our various church ministries and their respective programs will also be featured regularly so that readers will get to know what God is doing in our midst. It’s a wonderful way to testify of God’s goodness and blessings in our church as we capture in print His sovereign work in and through each of our members’ lives. May God bless your reading as He reveals to you a unique covenant community here in CCMC. Rev John Benedict Foo 7
  5. 5. + How did you both meet? We met in the university. We were studying the same course, in the same year, and were both in Campus Crusade for Christ as students. How did you know that it was time to get married? We are the serious sort of people who get into a relationship in order to get married! John had earlier decided that we’d work for two years and then get married. God paved the way after we made that commitment as He provided the finances, friends and family to help organise the wedding, and even a fully furnished first home. How do you as a couple continue to nurture your marriage and relationship? By praying for each other and openly talking about issues. By sharing responsibility for the children and the house. By being interested and actively involved in each other’s life and ministry. WELCOME TO THE FAMILY PASTOR JOHN AND HIS WIFE, GRACE, SHARE WITH US THEIR PERSPECTIVES ON BUILDING A FAMILY THAT HONOURS GOD TOGETHER. THEIR CHILDREN, FROM LEFT, ARE BENEDICT, ANGELINE, CELESTINE AND EVANGELINE. INTERVIEW BY GOH ECK KHENG 8 Please comment on how the quality of a couple’s married life affects their family life. Children have inbuilt antennas and will sense if parents are being genuine. Authenticity is important to young people. They don’t expect perfection and can handle it if they find both parents working on their marriage but they can’t handle it if any parent is evasive or puts up a front. That’s why we are very open with them regarding our struggles and difficulties, and we are also very open about our commitment to each other and to them. What are the constants in the different stages of raising children? Quality and quantity time with each child, and as a family as well. A listening ear for whenever they 9
  6. 6. (( We believe that the children must be given the chance to own their schoolwork early in life. This sense of ownership comes when they realise that their results are completely managed by their diligence and prayers. )) need it. Another constant is we get the “best news” about their day if we pick them up right after they end school! What is your approach to family discipline? We believe that what we do as individuals at home will affect the whole family. We also believe that boundaries set early in life give security to each member of the family and hence will not give rise to misunderstandings later. However, each member of the family is seen as having been created differently, and hence there is always room for discussion and negotiation! What is your approach to the education and school performance of your children? We believe that the children must be given the chance to own their schoolwork early in life. This sense of ownership comes when they realise that their results are completely managed by their diligence and prayers. Each child is different and is expected to employ different study and relaxation methods. They know we will support them not just when they receive academic commendations, but also in non-academic arenas. They also know that, as fulltime workers, our finances are limited, and that they will not get the slew of tuition their fellow classmates are able to get. Hence they know they will need God’s help and presence a whole lot more! 10 What are your precious family routines? Individual time with each child, birthday celebrations, spending time at the library, listening to audio books in the car and watching inspirational shows together. And we used to do quirky family devotions before they entered the youth ministry and did their own QTs. What are your interests and hobbies? We enjoy books. Grace likes long walks and John likes to keep fit. As mentioned earlier, we also like to watch shows that are familyoriented and inspirational in nature. Do you consciously encourage your children to be involved in church ministry? Being involved ourselves, we see plenty of opportunities in church for them, and will surface these to them for their consideration. Hence, our children have been involved in all aspects of church life and ministry since young, like distributing flyers for church events, singing in the children’s choir, leading worship, being church pianists, being in the flags and tambourine ministry, hospital visitations, attending wakes and funerals, and going on mission trips. How does Ps John manage church ministry and family commitments? Actually, both John and Grace do church ministry at full steam. John pastors and does all the stuff related to preaching, teaching and praying. Grace does the music, and everything else that she can do to support the ministry. We help our children to see that church ministry is our family commitment. They are very understanding and have even waited patiently outside counselling rooms or hospices, or inside the seminar rooms while waiting for us to wrap up. To them, John’s room in the church office is their favourite hangout place. They also know that they need to help one another out when we are tied up, which is extremely often. To The Point God is the object of our faith I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. 2 Tim 1:12 (NIV) The gospel of Jesus Christ is the basis of our faith Faith What is Faith? Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Heb 11:1 (NLT) For we walk by faith not sight. 2 Cor 5:7 (KJV) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thes 2:14 (NIV) Repentance and obedience to God’s word is an ACT OF FAITH For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God Eph 2:8 (NIV) Faith is not a feeling you work up to believe. Faith is a trust and assurance that comes from knowing God. The more intimate you are with God, the stronger your faith will be. God is the source of faith Faith from the Living Word Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. Rom 10:17 (NIV) Faith is a gift of the Spirit …to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 1 Cor 12:9 (NIV) Faith is the fruit of the Spirit But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Gal 5:22-33 (KJV) Faith is life-changing Faith and obedience Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. Rom 1:5 (NLT) Faith and purity Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb 10:22 (NASB) Faith expressed in love …faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Jas 2:17 (NIV) The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Gal 5:6b (NIV) A life of faith overcomes temptation In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Eph 6:16 (NLT) 11
  7. 7. Over-Functioning Parents… My Confession & Conversion By John Ng ALL ILLUSTRATIONS: NATIONAL ARCHIVES, SINGAPORE Your children are the greatest gift God will give to you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility He will place in your hands. Take time with them, teach them to have faith in God. Be a person in whom they can have faith. When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much. – Lisa Wingate 12 rime Minister Lee Hsien Loong calls us kan cheong (overanxious) parents. I was more than overanxious. I was truly a typical Singapore parent who was overcompensating, over-controlling, and over-functioning. Like many parents, I yearn for my children to be the best or be as perfect as they can. I will not spare any effort or resources to give them the best. My intentions were good but my methods oftentimes were the opposite. To be honest, my wife was less overbearing and less expecting of perfection compared to me. P Living my dream and feeding my ego can destroy the child’s passion I had always wanted to be a gymnast. But I did not and could not as my parents never had the luxury of sending me to any classes. To compensate, I relished watching gymnastics and gymnasts. I always admired the grace, agility and poise of a gymnast. I lived in the era of Nadia Comaneci, named one of the athletes of the century and the first gymnast who scored a perfect 10. She was the role model for my children. So from my first child onwards, I sent all of them to gymnastic lessons. I enrolled them from the age of 5 to do ‘play gymnastic’, slowly increasing the lessons from once to three lessons a week. It gave me self-gratifying joy to see them represent their schools and winning medals. All three of them did their school proud and won many medals during their stint doing gymnastics. Two of them even joined the Combined School squad, which was one step away from the Singapore National Team. Driven by my dream and ego, I fought my way to form a gymnastics Parent Support Group to ensure that my kids get the best support from their schools, as it was not recognized as a core school sport. I was so driven that nothing could stop me. Then my oldest daughter stopped because she had a back injury. There went dream No. 1. My son was the next one I expected to live up to my dream. However, after six years of pushing, cajoling and at times, dragging him to gymnastics practice, he was sick and tired of it, and angry. He was then training 4 hours a day, six days a week and his coaches saw great potential in him. I didn’t care about his gripes or frustrations. I felt he was not disciplined enough. He expressed unhappiness every time he went for practice. He told me that he hated gymnastics. I tried persuasion and incentives. It didn’t work. I then wield my absolute authority as a parent. As a twelveyear-old boy, he had no choice but to obey. Not satisfied with the school and association support in Singapore, I even ventured to send him to Australia to pursue my dream of having a world-class gymnast in my family. In other words, I was prepared to go all the way to fulfill my dream and boost my ego. Fortunately, after much discussion with some close friends, I realized that I was feeding my own ego, more than anything else. And I was sacrificing my son at the altar of my ego. My wonderful and sensitive wife finally persuaded me to give up my dream. It was extremely painful for me when I took my son out of gymnastic lessons. Then one day, my son finally found his ‘flow’ in guitar and music. It was a chance event. One Christmas, he asked me to buy him a guitar, which I did. He asked me to teach him to play. The only song I knew was, ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’. He took to guitar like a swan to the lake. As they say, the rest is history. He discovered his true passion and joy. He taught himself and learnt from the best guitarists and musicians: Stevie Ray Vaughn, BB King, Eric Clapton, Tommy Emmanuel, and Tuk & Patti. All from YouTube. We didn’t have to push him. Each day, he would practise his music with deep passion and incredible commitment. His zest for music led him to develop his own style of guitar playing, Funky Thumb Stuff (see on YouTube, www.shunng.com, and page 45 here). He composes his own songs and has an amazing, soulful voice. He discovered his bliss in using music to touch young people’s lives, to be more compassionate for the under-privileged. He has performed in several concerts to raise funds for worthy causes. Today he is studying in one of the top music schools in the world, the Berklee College of Music in Boston. C. JoyBell is right, “I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway… let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.” Lesson: Find your child’s dream and passion, not yours, and encourage it. The kiasu (fear of losing) syndrome can demoralize them. Being first time-parents, Alison and I wanted to make sure that our first child, Meixi, had all the education and exposure she could get. Besides gymnastics classes, after school and during the weekends, we would send her for art classes, ballet lessons, and Chinese enrichment classes. During school vacations, we 13
  8. 8. (( ALL THE HURRYING AND SCURRYING MADE US AS EXHAUSTED AS SHE WAS. WHAT WE HAD WAS A KID WHO WAS FRENZIED AND DISORIENTED. )) 14 ensured that she was ahead by sending her to leadership camps, science camps, and special mathematics camps. We even bought a piano just in case she was musically talented. Poor Meixi was a victim of our kiasu syndrome. Some things she enjoyed doing, others she was obviously bored with and had no interest in. I was trying to develop the ‘perfect’ kid. All the hurrying and scurrying made us as exhausted as she was. What we had was a kid who was frenzied and disoriented. At one point, she was hospitalized because she was overly stressed and was throwing up because she was over-functioning. It was a wake up call for us. I realized that being a kiasu parent was destroying my child’s emotional health as I pushed her to do things. She was unduly stretched and overly stressed. I was not sure if she enjoyed her childhood. (I loved my childhood.) We seldom enjoyed our parenting. We were overly stressed. Today, I have learnt not to push myself so hard by pushing my kids. Fortunately, we are grateful that despite our pushing and shoving, thank God, she turned out to be a wonderful daughter. When Meixi was eleven, one of the things we did well was to send her and her brother to experience the slums in Hyderabad in India. That’s when I discovered her true passion. It was indeed a life-changing experience for her as she learned compassion. Since then, every year, our family would go to Chiang Rai to help a group of Lahu hill tribe children and she has channeled her energy to that. Last year, she spent a year in Mexico to help educate the poorest kids there. She now has developed deep compassion for education reform, especially in the most marginalized communities. Bill Ayers’ wise axiom is, “Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.” Lesson: Flurry of activities and massive over-dose of classes produce over-stressed and emotionally unhealthy kids. Losing face can kill a parent-child relationship My youngest daughter, Meizhi, studied in Methodist Girls’ School. She was an average student. We had learnt our lessons from bringing up the two older ones and we didn’t want to push her too hard. Although there was occasional prodding, we largely left her to manage her own study schedule. When her PSLE (Primary School Leaving Exam, a national exam that grades all students in Singapore and determines her posting to secondary/high school) results came out, it was a ‘disaster’! That year, her school had decided to raise the bar and only accepted students of a standard score. She was one of twelve students who missed the cut. Being a few points short, she was sent to a ‘neighborhood’ school. We were devastated. We chided her daily for not studying hard enough. For one week, we were furious and expressed our disappointment in no uncertain terms. She was already feeling bad. I made her feel more guilty. Our relationship deteriorated. I felt I had lost ‘face’. How could we face our friends and inform them that she had now gone to some unknown neighborhood school? What kind of English would she learn? We were worried the environment would be bad for her polished English from mixing around with neighborhood kids. What about ‘gangsterism’ and ‘bad company’? And what about the anxiety over boy-girl relationships now that she was going to a co-ed school? We were gripped with unfounded fear. We went into a tailspin of what I would call ‘Imagination of The Worst Possible’. After one week of my unreasonable and ‘relationaldestructive’ behavior, I came to my senses and realised that I was more concerned about myself, my loss of ‘face’, than my daughter’s welfare, emotional health and most of all, our relationship. My wife was more sympathetic and reminded me that relationship was more important than results. I changed my perspective. I adopted a different posture. I recognized that the problem was with me and my ‘face-losing’ trauma. I apologized to my daughter. We became more supportive and encouraging. All my fears were proven wrong again. Going to the neighborhood school was one of the best things that happened to her and to us, as parents. Meizhi did extremely well in the school, academically, socially and artistically. Her leadership skills began to blossom as her school nominated her to emcee, a privilege normally given to senior students. For a Secondary One student to be the emcee was a rarity in any school. She mingled well and made good friends with boys and girls and developed incredible social skills. She took part in drama productions. She really matured! Today, she is a final year student at School of the Arts, pursuing her dream as a theatre major and completing her International Baccalaureate. Her self-confidence is up, her self-esteem strengthened and most of all, our parent-child relation is strong, even though we still have skirmishes and fights now and then. As Dorothy Schooling Parker says, “The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tyres.” Lesson: Relationships are more important than results. It is okay to make mistakes In my parenting experience, I have discovered that it is okay to make mistakes. It is most important to recover and is never too late to do so. I leave you with a beautiful poem for your reflection. Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the make upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness. For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He also loves the bow that is stable. ― Kahlil Gibran John Ng, Ph.D, is President of Meta Consulting, which provides consultation services to top international corporations like Singapore Airlines, American Standard, Linde, Bangkok Hospital. He also serves as Chair of Eagles Mediation and Counseling Centre and Eagles Communications Governance Board. He pioneered the mediation movement in Singapore and has trained mediators. His latest books, Smiling Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Dim Sum Leadership have won rave reviews. Please visit www.meta.com. sg for more information. 15
  9. 9. ALL ILLUSTRATIONS BY ABIGAIL GOH FAMILY BUILDING BLOCKS Tips for stronger families 16 © 2013. Reprinted with permission from Focus on the Family Singapore. For more resources on parenting and marriage, please visit us at www.family.org.sg. Celebrate your Family Identity My wife, Cathy, and I stared at each other in disbelief as our oldest daughter, Christy, told us she was moving to Julia’s house across the street because her mummy and daddy were nicer. We weren’t sure if we should laugh or cry — after all, Christy was only 6. My wife called Julia’s mother to tell her what was going on and that Christy was on her way over. A few hours later, Julia’s mum reminded Christy it was Monday night and that our family always went for frozen yogurt after dinner. It was a tradition my three girls looked forward to. To our delight, Christy called and asked if she could go. It was a joyous reunion! The weekly yogurt run was part of our family identity — part of what made us who we were. Even the neighbours knew our routine and sometimes shouted take away orders as we left the house. Our three daughters are now grown, but when our family gets together, we still make trips for frozen yoghurt. It’s one of those simple traditions that have kept our family bonds strong. Not surprisingly, a strong family identity also helps children develop a strong and healthy self-identity. Studies even show that kids who identify with their family’s values tend to be less promiscuous and face less risk of drug and alcohol abuse. How can you build a strong family identity? Your presence matters. Children regard your presence as a sign of care and connectedness. Families who eat meals together, play together and build traditions together thrive. Does (( CHILDREN REGARD YOUR PRESENCE AS A SIGN OF CARE AND CONNECTEDNESS. FAMILIES WHO EAT MEALS TOGETHER, PLAY TOGETHER AND BUILD TRADITIONS TOGETHER THRIVE. )) your family eat together at least four times a week? If so, there is a greater chance your kids will perform better in school and be less likely to exhibit negative behaviour. Although it may seem trite, a family that plays together stays together. One family I know has a table tennis tournament each week. The winner doesn’t have to do the dishes for a day. Our family had a “Fun Day” once a month. One of the girls picked an activity, and the rest of the family participated. Celebrate everything. Don’t miss a single chance to celebrate your family. You can celebrate rites of passage and other events such as sporting victories and graduations — from any age. On birthdays, we play a game called “Affirmation Bombardment”, in which each family member shares three words of encouragement for the birthday person. At some point, storms will come to every family. But when you proactively build a strong family identity, your family can withstand whatever winds and rains come your way. Adapted from Celebrating Your Family Identity by Jim Burns This article first appeared in the Parents Edition of the February, 2008 issue of Focus on the Family magazine. 17
  10. 10. It Just Takes TimE (( UNSTRUCTURED, SPONTANEOUS FAMILY TIME IS NOT ONLY GOOD FOR US AS FAMILIES, IT IS COMPLETELY NECESSARY.… AND NOT JUST QUALITY TIME, BUT GENEROUS QUANTITIES OF QUALITY TIME. )) 18 In our household, the half-hour before invited guests arrive for dinner requires a well-orchestrated set of manoeuvres. There is the setting of the table, stuff to be put away (or stashed out of sight!) and the obligatory once-over vacuuming. On one such occasion, I made the mistake of moving some cushions on our sofa just to see if the absent remote control might be hiding somewhere. Aghast, I couldn’t believe what I uncovered: Lego® pieces, coins, game pieces, crayons, a small, soft brown item, which I hoped was an M&M, numerous single socks, and what appeared to be an entire bowl of popcorn. As I turned off the vacuum in a huff, I had to pause for a few seconds and smile with satisfaction. Each item could be traced back to a family movie night, a full-contact wrestling match, a Sunday afternoon snooze, or one of many games nights when we finally agreed there was nothing of value on the TV. These were treasures of family time well spent. Turns out such unstructured, spontaneous family time is not only good for us as families, it is completely necessary. Indeed, John DeFrain and colleagues from the University of Nebraska have been studying what makes families strong for almost 30 years, and they consistently find that families who spend enjoyable time together consistently report more satisfaction with their family as a whole. And not just quality time, but generous quantities of quality time. One of their studies asked 1,500 schoolchildren, “What do you think makes a happy family?” The response was overwhelming: happy families just do things together and find enjoyment in just being together. I think we make the whole idea of family far too complicated. In uncertain economic times, maybe it’s good that we have to think twice before we book that expensive holiday or schedule ourselves to death. Instead, go grocery shopping together, put on your walking shoes and go for a hike, or just hang out with a good movie. It’s guaranteed to make your next half-hour tidy-up much more memorable! Adapted from Family: It just takes time… by Kelly Schwartz © 2009 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. Leave A Legacy The old, silver-haired man slowly stood and turned his back to the tombstone where he had been kneeling. Rising to stare his wife in the eyes, he wailed, “Tell me I’ve lived a good life.” These words come from the last scene of the blockbuster movie, Saving Private Ryan. The old man was reacting to a dying request made by a soldier assigned to rescue him. He was the sole survivor of five adult children. The war had taken the lives of his four brothers, and the war department was bent on not allowing the fifth son to fall victim. So the military sent a specially chosen group of men to the front lines to bring him out of harm’s way. The commander of the group, having been shot and knowing he wouldn’t make it, left a dying request for Private Ryan to see that he made his life count. Kneeling at the commander’s grave fifty years later, Private Ryan wanted someone to tell him that his life was worth the sacrifice those soldiers (( LEGACY OF COMPASSION, PERSEVERANCE, FORGIVENESS, PATIENCE AND LOVE SHOULD BE CAREFULLY CRAFTED AND THEN PURPOSEFULLY LIVED OUT AND PASSED ON. )) had made for him. Isn’t that the wish of almost everyone: that our lives count for the good of something or someone? It is a wonderful moment when a couple has a child. The heritage process begins immediately. But are you making today’s decisions with their impact on tomorrow in mind? When you’re arranging your priorities and forming your habits, do you think about your children, your grandchildren, about the kind of character they’ll remember about you and inherit from you? When you spend your money, or sport your fashion sense, or speak your piece, or spare your time, does it occur to you that you’re not just making a choice for yourself in the moment? But that you’re making a choice which impacts people who are following behind you? Most of us might equate a legacy with an inheritance of gifts of money or property and possessions. But legacy of compassion, perseverance, forgiveness, patience and love should be carefully crafted and then purposefully lived out and passed on as well. Children are being powerfully influenced today by various set of values that comes hurtling at them daily on full speed. Just consider the influence of TV, the movies, music and social media. Not all of it is good clean fun. But how do we come alongside our children to position ourselves to make a lasting impact? Children want unconditional love and a feeling of connection. Most children feel they must earn their parents’ love. We have a performance-based, meritocratic, fast-paced culture which has resulted in children feeling emotionally abandoned by adults. But children desperately want more time and better communication with their parents. Many parents think “quality time” is more important than quantity. But the reality is that children long for the quantity. Model appropriate behavior. Passing on a legacy requires transmitting consistent messages in words as well as in actions. Children don’t miss a thing. They observe and internalize. They are quick to pick up on inconsistencies between what they are being told and what they are seeing. The best way to influence children is to be a great role model. When we fail, we fail. We need not be afraid. Admit it, ask for forgiveness and move on. Seize the teachable moments, listen aggressively, and communicate effectively High up on the list of children’s frustrations with parents and adults is the fact that they just don’t seem to listen. Sometimes, as adults, we underestimate a child’s thought process ability or wisdom. Rather than nag, preach, tell or scold, parents can use everyday life experiences or examples to speak life lessons. It requires wisdom and discernment to identify and use these teachable moments. Expect nothing in return. Words like “KPI,” “value-add,” “return on investment” are common lingo Singaporeans are too familiar with. We adults are so bottom-line oriented that if there isn’t a quick return, or appear large enough, we begin to question the value of what we’re putting into the cause. Yet the ultimate goal of legacy building is the opposite of self-interest. If children think we’re more interested in our own glory than in them as human beings, they will end up declining our offers of guidance. It is important that we focus on the child and not just the end results. Adapted from Extending Your Heritage. Copyright © 2000 J. Otis Ledbetter and Randy Scott and The Resolution for Women. Copyright © 2011 Kendrick Bros. 19
  11. 11. ABIGAIL GOH NEW LENSES FOR THE MARKETPLACE By MASON TAN Mason is a Certified Public Accountant who became an entrepreneur in 2003. Currently a Venture Capitalist, he is learning to walk as a disciple in church, at home and in the marketplace. He and his family attend CCMC. 20 Do you often find yourself juggling multiple balls in the air at the same time? In today’s fast-paced society, we have all become accustomed to playing different roles simultaneously. At one moment, we could be running an office meeting and at the very next moment, we could be on the phone with our children listening to their problems. Multi-tasking has become an essential skill in today’s society and is almost a requirement to balance the hectic demands of work with quality time for family and friends. Putting on a New Set of Lenses As a Christian, managing the challenges of life is not only about the ability to multi-task but also very much a journey of faith. While becoming a Christian does not automatically generate a wellspring of faith in a person in order to cope with every storm life sends their way, it is a first step in a long and joyful journey. Just as every journey involves a conscious effort to reach a destination, I have learnt that the journey of faith also involves making a conscious effort to put ‘Christ-lenses’ on in place of ‘world-lenses’. In doing so, life’s challenges become opportunities for new lessons to be learnt; lessons that are stepping-stones in the journey toward greater faith and trust in Christ. ‘World-lenses’ are easy to put on. Those of us in the marketplace probably do so everyday. We use them to make the judgments and decisions at the workplace. On the other hand, ‘Christ-lenses’ are more challenging to wear. But with them, we get to see things as Jesus would and to answer the question, “What would He do if He were in a similar situation?” Very often, the answers to life’s questions may be quite different depending on whether you are wearing ‘world-lenses’ or ‘Christ-lenses’. Personally, I have found it very challenging to put on ‘Christ-lenses’ everyday. This involves me surrendering my heart to His healing and moulding in order to live in His presence daily. I am glad to say that after struggling with this for a period of time, it has led me to draw closer to God and to gain a deeper experience of His inner peace. Setting a Firm Foundation In 2012, I had the privilege of attending the Global Leadership Summit in Singapore. This annual event is organised by Chicago’s Willow Creek Community Church when speakers from different walks of life – politics, education, business – shared candidly about their personal journeys with God. Interestingly, as the speakers shared about their experiences in the marketplace, it became clear how it was possible to be successful – whether as a business executive and a top leadership coach – and still live out biblical values. The various speakers shared how God’s hand had been intimately working in each of their lives, and how God’s Word was the foundation that had shaped their actions. I discovered that the start to being equipped with “Christ-lenses” is to feed on the Bible. As we do so, we can learn to share with other Christians who are also in the marketplace. In this, we will find encouragement and be able to learn from each other how biblical values can be applied to the marketplace. Negotiating the Non-Negotiables In business, everything is negotiable. But have you thought about what is non-negotiable to you? One major commodity we should be conscious of is time. Each of us has only 24 hours a day, 168 hours a week and 365 days a year. This is regardless of our age, status in life or profession. The question we have to constantly ask ourselves is, “Are we utilising our time to the fullest?” Whatever choice we make with our time cannot be taken back, and each choice comes with a price. Within the constraints of 168 hours a week, I have learned to allocate my activities into non-negotiable and negotiable time. For me, non-negotiable time includes time spent at His feet, engaging in discipleship and bible study activities, and family time. After deducting the non-negotiable time, whatever time I have left over is for ‘negotiable activities’. By determining my non-negotiable time upfront, this allows me to be more Christ-focused in my negotiable activities and brings me a step closer to putting on ‘Christ-lenses’. Convene an AGM Another Christian-themed seminar in Singapore that caters to marketplace believers is the Half-Time Summit. This ministry has helped me to sharpen my focus on the talents and calling that God has for me. It provides practical tools and self-assessment tests for Christians to identify and develop a deeper understanding of their God-given spiritual gifts and talents. In business-speak, these gifts are analogous to a company’s assets. Just as how a company has a Board of Directors which holds it accountable to how its assets are being utilised, as individual Christians, we too can set up our own Personal Board of Directors to guide us on how we are utilising our spiritual gifts and ‘life strategies’. The Personal Board of Directors should consist of people whom you respect, have the time to mentor you, and whom you trust enough to share your life plan with. You can convene them as frequently or infrequently as you like, perhaps once a year or once a quarter. With a Personal Board of Directors, you get a trusted sounding board that can help you live your life with accountability and stay on track to God’s calling for you. Joy for the Journey As Christians in the marketplace, we are constantly being buffeted by worldly influences and temptations from all directions. By taking small steps everyday to put on our ‘Christ-lenses’, we can stand firm on our values and focus on what is right as we embark on this joyful journey of life and faith. 21
  12. 12. HUBBLE SOAP The Divine Mentor Review by Lee Yin Siau GOD & SOAP This picture is of the Soap Bubble Nebula, a planetary nebula in a northern constellation lying on the plane of the 22 Milky Way. The bubble-shaped nebula was discovered by amateur astronomer Dave Jurasevich on 19 June 2007. The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro will bless you in your daily walk with the Lord as you learn from Cordeiro how to spend time with our Savior through the study of The Word. His simple but powerful style of writing makes this an easy read. Cordeiro encourages us to take the good and the bad men and women in the Bible as our mentors who will instruct, coach, remind and sometimes reprimand us just as a good coach will instruct his players. By studying the Bible consistently and knowing the characters in the Bible intimately, we will be mentored by the best, learning what made them successful, and avoiding the downfalls or mistakes they made. Cordeiro recommends that we study God’s Scripture consistently through a self-feeding habit of daily devotions and journaling. SOAP, which stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer, requires about 40 minutes a day (20 minutes for reading the scripture and 20 minutes for journaling) alone with God so that we can hear Him speak to us and capture the wisdom of the ages. As we draw God’s thoughts from the Scriptures, He speaks His words directly into our understanding and breathes His life into our hearts. Just as we can’t have one large meal and expect that one meal to last us through the week, similarly, we can’t just go to church and listen to pastor’s sermon once a week and expect exponential spiritual growth. Growing deep in Christ requires the spiritual discipline of self-feeding through daily devotions. God is more concerned about our transformation than our accumulation of information. He offers the Holy Spirit to mentor us from the inspired Word any time we are interested. As we become consistent in our daily devotions, our words and behaviour will become more like His words and behaviour and we will slowly be transformed into spokespersons for God. God promises specifically to bless the readers of the Bible. When God had completed His book, He spoke the following words through His servant John in Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Let’s claim that promise. A number of CCMC folk, including the youth in OC, have been using SOAP since late last year. The following are some of their SOAP sharings. + JUSTIN TAN Returning to the Norm S: “These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily disciple. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” Col 2:23 “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Col 3:17 O: In all we do, we must strive to be better and to grow in the Lord. While the rules of the past may keep us disciplined, they do not help us to be pure and Christ-like, which is our goal. I’m reminded that Christianity is not a religion governed by rules but a relationship we develop - a relationship between a Father and His children, a Teacher and His disciples. And it is because of this relationship that we desire to obey Him and become more like Him. A: We should stop giving in to worldly pressures, thinking we are fine just because everyone else seems to be doing worse. Instead, we should aim to return to normalcy with God, where our actions are for His eyes only, being accountable to Him alone. P: Dear Lord, please help me to not just be content with being a Christian and serving in church, but help me strive to seek a blameless and pure life, where I can continually walk closer to you, be more like you and be a living testimony for you. 23
  13. 13. SOAP chadbrooksCC BY-NC-SA 2.0 JACQUELINE KHOO EUGENE CHUANG Mirroring God S: “And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel” Acts 6:15 MASON TAN God is Holy S: Make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it as on a seal : Holy to the Lord (Ex28:36). They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God (Exodus 29:46). O: Understand divine holiness is a mystery. The more we understand, the more we realize we don’t know. God is everything we can think of. In this passage, God taught us how to treat Him, which is a form of love. A: We have to walk closely with God in order to understand Him better and experience His holiness. If we don’t spend enough time in His presence through His word and prayers, we will drift away. P: Thank you Lord for Your willingness to accept each of us as Your child. Your holiness is beyond description yet You choose to love me. I pray You will find joy in our worship to You, for we are hungry to know more of You. I pray this in Jesus name. 24 Working like the Boss S: “Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.” Ex 11:10 O: Do we reflect the countenance of the Lord in all that we do? Do we stand firm for Him and not waver, amidst falsehood, accusations and in trials? Do we take the easy way out or are we like Stephen trusting in the Lord at all times? A: To always look to God. P: Lord help me not to waver, help me to know you deeply, love your word and live my life for you. EDDIE KOH Prepared for Service S: “You are to clothe them - your brother Aaron and his sons with him - and anoint them and ordain them and set them apart as holy, so that they may minister as my priests. Ex: 29: 41 O: God called Aaron and his sons into His service for an assignment that was so important that God Himself directed how they were to be washed, clothed, anointed, forgiven, fed and dedicated. A: We are also called to be a holy priesthood. When God calls, we will also, like Aaron and his sons, be prepared by God for His important assignment. We will be washed by His blood, anointed by the Spirit, fed by His Word and be led by the Spirit. Are we prepared to respond when God calls? P: Lord when You call, I will say, ”Here I am Lord.” Prepare me to serve You and Your people O: Exodus is full of miracles. From the Ten Plagues of Egypt to the parting of the Red Sea and the Pillar of Fire, we can infer one thing; God does work in glitzy ways. God wanted the Israelites to appreciate His active involvement in their escape from Egypt. He also desired for the Egyptians to fear Him, resulting in them being favorably disposed toward their slaves, allowing them to plunder Egypt before departing. From the surface, it would appear that His purpose was to show a glimpse of His power to both Israelites and Egyptians. But why was there a need to harden Pharaoh’s heart? A BOY SHARES HIS FOOD John 6:1-14 tells about the boy who gave his five loaves and two fishes to Jesus who used it to feed five thousand men. You can make a mobile of loaves and fishes to remember this miracle. A: I believe God was simply facilitating a process that Pharaoh himself already initiated. After all, the Bible also repeatedly states that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. This shows that God works in subtle ways as well. He might already be functioning quietly in our lives; actively moulding the hearts of the people we interact with, helping us achieve favorable results. Imagine God simply sweeping aside a banana peel that you might not have noticed in your path, to protect you from minor mishaps. Though subtle, it is still God’s miraculous intervention in your life. P: Lord Jesus, I yearn for You to work in my life in glitzy ways too - to experience Your spectacular miracles. But I thank you for actively working behind the scenes and providing for me. 25
  14. 14. MAKE YOUR OWN LOAVES AND FISHES MOBILE What you need: Scissors, ribbon, glue, hole puncher, coloured pencils, vanguard sheet What to do: 1. Colour both sides of the loaves and fishes. 2. Cut out the loaves and fishes and punch holes on them. 3. Cut a 60 x 20 mm piece of vanguard sheet and write “God Provides’ on it. Glue the width ends of the sheet together, words facing outside, to form a ring. 4. Punch seven holes evenly spaced out on one edge of the vanguard ring and four holes evenly spaced on the other edge. 5. Tie the loaves and fishes with varying lengths of ribbon to the seven holes of the ring. 6. Tie equal lengths of ribbons to the four holes to hang your mobile. 26 27
  15. 15. Songs & Singers TEARS IN HEAVEN erik forsberg CC BY-NC 2.0 Eric Clapton (( I had no notion whO I THOUGHT I WAS TALKING TO, I JUST KNEW THAT I HAD COME TO THE END OF MY TETHER. )) 28 On 20 March 1991, Eric Clapton’s four-year-old son Conor fell from the 53rd-floor window of his mother’s friend’s New York City apartment. “There was a moment when I did lose faith,” admitted Clapton. He questioned: What they teach us in church and what religion talks about was a reality? Whether we just become energy, what is it all about? So I mean, it was a question, you know, will I see you again? Still, he mustered enough strength to talk about “handing your will over to the care of God” in his Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. A woman went up to him after the meeting and said, ‘You’ve just taken away my last excuse to have a drink. I’ve always had this little corner of my mind which held the excuse, that if anything were to happen to my kids, then I’d be justified in getting drunk. You’ve shown me that’s not true.’ He was suddenly aware that there was a way to turn tragedy into something positive and said, ‘If I can go through this and stay sober, then anyone can.’ From that moment he realised that there was no better way of honouring the memory of his son. When Clapton and Will Jennings were engaged to wrote a song for the movie Rush, Clapton said, ‘I want to write a song about my boy.’ He wrote the first verse and wanted Jennings to write the rest, but was told that the song was so personal that he should write all the verses. Clapton demurred, so Jennings completed the song. Of this, Jennings once said, ‘This is a song so personal and so sad that it is unique in my experience of writing songs.’ On his part, Clapton stated, “I almost subconsciously used music for myself as a healing agent, and lo and behold, it worked... I have got a great deal of happiness and a great deal of healing from music.’ A live performance of ‘Tears in Heaven’ is on Clapton’s 1992 Unplugged album. It topped charts and garnered nine Grammy Awards. Clapton worked to raise public awareness for childproofing windows and staircases. A 2008 article in Christiany Today states that Clapton never set himself up as a model Christian. Indeed he had many battles with drugs and alcoholism but overcame the addictions. He had a ‘Road to Damascus’ experience in 1969. After a performance, two young Christians went to Clapton’s dressing room probably drawn by his rendition of ‘Presence of the Lord,’ the showstopper of the concert. The two asked Clapton to pray with them. As they knelt, he saw “a blinding light” and sensed God’s presence. In his autobiography, Clapton elaborated on the beginnings of his prayer life in 1987 at a rehab treatment center when he hit rock-bottom. “I was in complete despair,” Clapton wrote. “In the privacy of my room, I begged for help. I had no notion who I thought I was talking to, I just knew that I had come to the end of my tether… and, getting down on my knees, I surrendered. Within a few days I realized that… I had found a place to turn to, a place I’d always known was there but never really wanted, or needed, to believe in. From that day until this, I have never failed to pray in the morning, on my knees, asking for help, and at night, to express gratitude for my life and, most of all, for my sobriety. I choose to kneel because I feel I need to humble myself when I pray, and with my ego, this is the most I can do. If you are asking why I do all this, I will tell you… because it works, as simple as that.” || GOH ECK KHENG 29 29
  16. 16. Science & Faith NEWTON BY WILLIAM BLAKE DR ALISTAIR CHEW 30 John Hritz CC BY 2.0 A Meditation and Not an Apology for Either W e try to walk by faith and not by sight; yet sometimes we fail, and that might be because we know neither faith nor sight. But I get ahead of myself; my father taught me to begin at the beginning and that is where I shall begin. I begin by paying tribute to a lady who served the Methodist Church well as Christian Ministry staff for well over 30 years, Miss Grace Kwee. It was she who made me roleplay a Buddhist during a Christian Fellowship session when I was a student at Barker Road many many years ago; it was she again who made me teach the students who wanted to know more about the Christian faith, when I was a science teacher at ACS(I), during Religious Emphasis Weeks over several years. Those were formative experiences in a way: they informed my ideas on faith, belief, science and conscience. What is shared here owes much to people like my father and Miss Kwee, and many students I’ve spoken to over the years. This is a hard piece to write because the meanings of faith and science have become totally different over time. Thus, I must inflict more beginnings on you, and hope you will stay till the end. Faith, from Latin fides, used to mean ‘loyalty towards a person, based on responsibility or duty’ — it slowly became a legal term, and it was only in the 14th century that it began to mean ‘what is held true because of religion’. Belief, on the other hand, used to mean ‘loving trust in God’; from the 16th century, it became ‘the state of thinking something to be true’. Science, however, is a much older word. It is descended from the Greek skhizein, which means ‘to divide or split’ (as in ‘schizophrenia’ — a divided mind). In its later form, the Latin scientia, it meant ‘knowledge’ — implicitly obtained by making distinctions, by breaking things apart (Greek analüsis), by correctly dividing and parsing what is already known. When we are ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ (2 Tim. 2:15, KJV), we are applying a science to our doctrine, the science of hermeneutics. It’s clear that there was a time, perhaps relatively recently, that faith (holding things to be true without requiring exhaustive evidence) and science (applying careful analysis to what is presented as evidence) were still allies in the battle for truth. Indeed, we owe much of our modern science to the hakims of the Dar el-Islam, who believed that Allah made the world intelligible to humans and thus made it our duty to know God through the world; it was they who invented the extensive use of the empirical and experimental method in the period 1000-1250 AD or so. The Greeks, Indians and Chinese never quite got modern science off the ground because they were missing a coherent approach: empiricism, extensive experimentation, and the dominant faith that the world had indeed a Grand Design crafted by one Designer. The Christians caught on around 1100-1500. Sure, Charlemagne asked the abbeys in 797 to build schools for the neighbourhood children. But it wasn’t until 1088 that the world’s first university, at Bologna, was established. And the Christians were fighting each other and everyone else part of the time. But they learnt much through trade with other cultures, as ideas and material passed westward along the curve of the Indian Ocean and into the Mediterranean. Scholasticism was born in that period, and before anyone knew 31
  17. 17. Hoshea born the son of Nun (1 Chronicles 7:20,27) (Numbers 13:8). Moses renames him (Numbers 13:16) ... During the Exodus, he becomes Moses’ military commander (Exodus 17:8-16). GILLIAN GOH JOSHUA (( He had never shied away from science, nor from faith. but faith always came first, and taught him how to deal with science. )) 32 it the Italian city-states were starting a Renaissance. To the people of those times, a theological debate was public entertainment, a great show that was at least on par with the unveiling of a new Michelangelo work. Science was all about revealing the work of God’s hands; art was all about paying tribute to the beauty of such works. In 1517, Martin Luther submitted his 95 Theses and gave the power-mad princes of Europe an opportunity to break with Mother Church and the Holy Roman Empire. The madness ended in 1648, with the Treaty of Westphalia and the establishment of modern secular European states. And then came the Enlightenment and the work of many great scholars, including Baruch ‘God is impersonal and evil doesn’t exist’ Spinoza (1632-1677) and Isaac ‘God made a beautiful machine and man’s fall ruined it’ Newton (1642-1727). Why the history lesson? It’s simple: man has always had faith, and man has always had science. But the faith of man is flawed, and so is his science. When we have silly beliefs like ‘the existence of God can be proven by science’, we understand neither God nor science. God is not to be put to the test, and if not, then how can science ‘prove’ Him? And modern science, which admits to nothing supernatural, cannot ever confess to God’s existence. Perhaps the best way to be ‘scientific’ and live with a good conscience is to assert that science cannot in the end contradict the truth. What of faith, then? The faith we confess, if we are to be true to it, asserts that our God is beyond science and philosophy. He has made man upright, but we have gone in search of many schemes (Ecclesiastes 7:29). We are not called to use science or endless philosophical disputes to defend our faith, but to be ready to testify that we believe and will be witnesses to that faith in the way we behave towards others. This is a common theme in many of Paul’s epistles. I will not end at the end, because there is no end. But I shall end at an end. My late grandfather died of cancer in 1994. He was a medical doctor, and ever curious about the things of science and faith. As we mourned our loss, I had a quiet moment in his study. Apart from his rows of Bibles annotated in a painstaking and very spidery hand, he had also been reading a book on cloning and the ethical issues related to it. He had never shied away from science, nor from faith. But faith always came first, and taught him how to deal with science. Dr Alistair Chew is an education consultant and researcher, specialising in multi-disciplinary curriculum design, development and deployment. He has been Dean of Sciences at a local independent school as well as a lay preacher at Bethesda (Frankel Estate) Church. His current field of research includes the globalization of education and Singapore’s educational history. Manga by GILLIAN GOH Moses makes Joshua leader of Israel (Deuteronomy 31:23). Joshua explores the Promised Land with 11 others (Numbers 13:16-17). Only he and Caleb says ‘Let’s claim it!’ Joshua parts the River Jordan and the Israelites cross over (Joshua 3:15-17). SPLASH ROAR ROAR SPLASH He takes Jericho God’s way (Joshua 11:18-23, 12:24). ASH CR And in disobeying God is defeated at Ai (Joshua 7:1-26). OT BLO O BL OT Joshua conquers the Promised Land and divides it among the 12 tribes of Israel according to God’s instructions. (Joshua 11:23)
  18. 18. Chrass & Nepal Missions Food for Thought Kian Seng’s Thoughts Eric says, “There’s no need to keep the Sabbath, or to worship God on Sundays. I worship God every day! Why make only 1 day holy? I make everyday holy!” How will you respond to Eric? -------------------What if one day, you are told you do not have to run anymore. You do not have to be so busy anymore. You do not need to compete so hard anymore. How will you feel? A) Relieved and Happy? B) Confused? C) Suspicious? D) Sad? E) Lost? -------------------Reading the Bible. There is a difference between reading to accumulate information vs reading with a readiness to obey. 34 + Where is your Citizenship? BY CALVIN CHONG Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven… Phil. 3:19b-20a Life in the 21st century straddles geographic and digital spaces. Sociologists who first introduced the terms “first, second, and third places” (physical homes, workplaces, and shared community spaces) now talk about their digital equivalents. Whether we like it or not, we live in a moment in history where both physical and cyber existence are accepted expressions and extensions of everyday life. Within these two arenas, social behaviour is learned, values and identities shaped, and active citizenship encouraged. As we bury ourselves in the affairs of the physical and digital realms, we do well not to forget our citizenship in a third domain – heaven! While he was on earth, Paul reminded the Christians in Philippi that beyond their earthly citizenship, they also had a citizenship in heaven. To be granted citizenship in heaven is to be given a privilege with responsibilities. It is first an invitation to have intimate fellowship with the Creator of Heaven and earth. But it is also an invitation to live life as though the concerns and commands of the King mattered. Conversely, the invitation is also to reject and oppose earthly-minded habits, behaviour, and lifestyles which distract from and compete with the purposes of our King. As life traverses the porous boundaries separating geographic and digital spaces, red flags are continually raised signaling the dire need for Christians to develop a greater consciousness of their identity as citizens of heaven. If, as one writer put it, “citizenship defines a person’s ethical behaviour and true allegiance”, how seriously do we take our citizenship in heaven? How well do our actions, behaviour, thinking in physical and digital spaces reflect our true allegiances and affections? THE CHRASS JOURNEY BY Alvin Andrean Suzanna Lee Lee Ming Ying Yeo Hwee Lan BACKGROUND The Methodist Missions Society (MMS) is the mission agency of the Methodist Church in Singapore. As of date, it has established indigenous churches, preaching points and other ministries in many countries in South and East Asia. In Cambodia, the MMS ministries include 12 churches, one of which is the Chrass Methodist Church; the COSI Children’s Village, a home for young orphans and disadvantaged children; the COSY Hostel, a hostel for grades 10-12 students; the Emmaus Women’s Centre, a training centre for women aged 16 to 25; the Methodist School of Cambodia, a full school from kindergarten to grade 12; and the Methodist Hostel, a hostel for college and university students. CCMC, as a member of the Methodist Church in Singapore, had in the past been showing its support for MMS by sponsoring up to 12 students of the Methodist School of Cambodia under the MMS Student Sponsorship Scheme through its CK4CK (Covenant Kids for Cambodian Kids) project. It was with the aim of furthering our support of MMS work that CCMC decided to embark on mission trips to Cambodia. 35
  19. 19. Chrass & Nepal Missions Chrass & Nepal Missions 1st Trip: 26 to 30 June 2008 3rd Trip: 2 to 6 Dec 2009 CCMC’s journey with Chrass Methodist Church began when a team comprising Yeo Hwee Lan, Adeline Ee, Seow Jin Kiat and Jun Chan, went to Phnom Penh to visit the 12 students that CCMC was sponsoring and to explore possible mission opportunities for CCMC in Cambodia. Besides visiting MMS ministries, the team also visited Chrass MC, a fledgling church located in a village about 5 km north west of Phnom Penh. Back in Singapore, the team formed a Cambodia Sub-Committee to assess and follow up on its findings, including the possibility of partnership with Chrass MC. The team returned to Phnom Penh with 19 members: Yeo Hwee Lan, Mark Chim, Esther Lim, Hannie Wong, Adeline Ee, Koh Kee Ang, Yeo Poh Hong, Wee Ghim Choo, Suzanna Lee, Angelia Poon, April Lee, Alvin Chang, Claris Mok, Zoey Giam, Rachel Giam, Ryan Wong and Jil Ong. The objectives of the trip were to continue efforts in supporting MMS in Phnom Penh, especially in Chrass MC, and to increase mission awareness in CCMC. With more members on board, the team was able to conduct more activities for both Chrass MC and the Methodist School. The team painted the inside and outside of the church building, conducted English classes for the children, visited some church members’ homes, and held a Christmas party for some 130 children. A puppet show was performed by the younger team members, games were played, a gospel message was delivered by Hwee Lan, and a nativity play was presented by the entire team. A small library was set up with books donated by CCMC members. Rev Philip Lim informed the team that MMS was considering getting a permanent home for Chrass MC, and invited CCMC to consider partnering MMS in building this new home. 2nd Trip: 18 to 22 March 2009 A follow-up trip was made to gather more information and to assess if such a partnership would be feasible. The team of seven (Yeo Hwee Lan, Desmond Ee, Adeline Ee, Mark Chim, Esther Lim, Hannie Wong and Shawn Tan) held discussions with MMS Country Coordinator for Cambodia Rev Philip Lim, a MMS missionary Vimala Devi, a teacher in the Methodist School of Cambodia Samneang, and Pastor Rath Phirun of Chrass MC. The team learnt that Chrass MC had started 36 Church Leaders’ Trip: 30 July to 1 Aug 2010 In response to the proposal submitted by the CCMC Missions - Cambodia SubCommittee for partnership with MMS for Chrass Methodist Church, a trip was made by Pastor Peter Wong, Eddie Koh as LCEC Chair, Michelle Chian (Mission Committee) and Yeo Hwee Lan (Lay Ministry Staff) to gain a better understanding of the mission, vision and needs of Chrass MC, and the scope of collaboration with MMS Cambodia. A proposal was presented to LCEC for consideration after the trip. 4th Trip: 17 to 21 June 2010 about 5 years before and comprised about 30 adults and 30-40 children. The church occupied a rented single-storey two-room building of about 40 sq m which doubled up as the residence of Pastor Phirun, his wife and four children. It was located in an area designated as New Phnom Penh, with much potential for growth. There was a general consensus among the team members that CCMC could indeed play a greater role in helping this fledgling church to attain its potential. This trip was organised mainly for the youths in OC (One Community). The eight youths were Sean Wee, Kakit Foong, Brian Wong, Tan Chung Hong, Foo Yihui, Chrystal Lee, Andrea Lim and Alvin Andrean, accompanied by four adults: Yeo Hwee Lan, Daren Lee, Hannie Hay and Suzanna Lee. Besides giving the youths mission exposure, the trip also aimed to establish a closer relationship between CCMC and Chrass MC. It was certainly an eye-opening experience for the youths as they conducted English lessons for the children of Chrass MC through songs, games, stories and craftwork. Through these activities and through the prayer walk to the church members’ homes, our youths endeared themselves to the Chrass folk and children. The team learned from Pastor Phirun that he had started a Bible study class for seven youths on Saturday afternoons. The team also met with two MMS missionaries who gave a better understanding on the structure of Cambodia MMS and their working relationship with the local pastors. Pastor Phirun MOU Signed 21 Nov 2010 A MOU was made between CCMC and MMS, for a period of 5 years. Its main points were: • The vision of the Partner Church (CCMC) is to help Chrass Methodist Church grow through ministry partnerships like mission trips, Christian education, training and financial support. • The vision of MMS, through cooperation and collaboration with the Partner Church, is to help Chrass MC become a financially self-supporting, disciple-making and multiplying local church. • CCMC agrees to support the ministry by sending mission teams, by providing annual financial support for Chrass MC’s maintenance (pastor’s salary, social & welfare fund, rental, etc) and by supporting the project of building a permanent home for Chrass MC. 37
  20. 20. Chrass & Nepal Missions (( WITH LCEC LCEC Approval CCMC’s Local Church Executive Committee in their meeting of 25, January 2011, approved raising funds to purchase land for Chrass MC. 5th Trip: 15 to 20 Dec 2010 This mission team comprised eight adults: Yeo Hwee Lan, Daren Lee, Hannie Hay, Suzanna Lee, Adeline Ee, Mark Chim, Jason Tan and Elin Er, and nine youths namely, Kakit Foong, Tan Chung Hong, Foo Yihui, Chrystal Lee, Tan Jiaqi, Keith Ho, Shaun Tan, Andrea Lim and Alvin Andrean. The team’s main focus was on education and outreach, especially among the youths and children of Chrass MC. With this aim in mind, the team members performed a number of gospel skits and organised 38 38 an outing for the Chrass youths. The outing was to a water park located some distance away from Phnom Penh where the team witnessed the water baptism of five Chrass MC members. The team also staged a nativity play during a Sunday worship service. Five core members of the team discussed the future plans of the church with Pastor Phirun. It was learnt that the Youth Bible Study Group had increased from 7 to 12 members, and that Pastor Phirun was teaching the adults to hold small fellowship groups in their homes for church members and neighbours. The church’s weekly programme was as follows: • Thursday: small group meeting and house visitation • Saturday: Sunday school for children and youth bible study • Sunday: church service • Monday to Friday afternoons: English enrichment program Besides the on-going Bible study group, Pastor Phirun hoped to hold a youth camp in 2011 and requested that the team help him run it. APPROVAL, CCMC AND MMS IDENTIFIED A PLOT OF LAND AND PURCHASED IT TO BUILD A PERMANeNT PLACE OF WORSHIP FOR CHRASS MC. )) 7th Trip: 29 Aug to 6 Sep 2011 This trip had three teams. Youth Camp Team 29 Aug to 4 Sept 2011 March to May 2011 CCMC with MMS proceeded to purchase the identified plot of land. The total cost was US$80,310 (land cost of US$74.460 plus legal fee of US$5,830). The land title deed was held by Penh Holding Co, the company established by MMS to hold all in-country assets. Ground Breaking Team 3 to 4 Sept 2011 6th Trip: 25 to 28 March 2011 The team consisted of the Cambodia Sub-Committee, comprising Hwee Lan, Hannie, Esther, Adeline and Alvin, together with Lena Quek, the architect for the building project. The team’s primary task was to scout the campsite for a Youth Camp, to plan its program together with Pastor Phirun and work out the logistics. On arrival, the team discovered that Chrass MC had moved to a small 2-storey house across the Adults: Yeo Hwee Lan, Mark Chim, Angelia Poon and Adeline Ee. Youths: Alvin Andrean, Keith Ho and Cassandra Yeap 26 youths from Chrass MC, inluding about 8 new comers who were friends of the Chrass youths and leaders attended the youth camp together with two youth leaders and Pastor Phirun. The campsite was the Emmaus Women Centre. road from its previous building which had been sold by its owner. The team met with Rev Philip Lim to follow up on the land and building project and was informed that the land identified would cost US$74,460, not including transfer fees and other government and legal costs. The team visited Preak Tual MC, which was built by Barker Road Methodist Church, to gather ideas. Pastor Peter, Robert Chew, Eddie Koh, Desmond Ee, Tan Chee Seong and Finnie Tan. The ground breaking ceremony was held on 4 September 2011. Pastor Peter conducted the service with Pastor Phirun with 30 Chrass MC members and youths as well as our Youth Camp Team in attendance. The ceremony was followed by a lunch fellowship. It was a joyous occasion as we committed the land and the future church building to God and to His glory. Prayers were said with our Cambodian brothers and sisters in Christ that they would remain faithful and strong in the Lord. 39
  21. 21. Chrass & Nepal Missions 9th Trip: 4 to 9 April 2012 8th Trip: 14 to 19 December 2011 Building Planning Team 5 to 6 Sept 2011 Robert Chew (volunteer overseeing the project), Yeo Hwee Lan and Desmond Ee. God’s timing allowed the Building Planning Team to attend the ground breaking. A preliminary discussion on the building plan was held with the MMS missionary, contractors and Pastor Phirun. The largest team of 21, including 11 first-timers comprised Yeo Hwee Lan, Hannie Hay, Jason Tan, Lawrence Sew, Elsie Low, Adeline Ee, Tan Bee Cher, Regina Wong and 13 Youths: Alvin Andrean, Anton Chan, Larisa Cheng, Ernest Chuang, Eugene Chuang, Foo Yi Hui, Keith Ho, Magdalene Lee, Rachel Tan, Ryan Wong, Tan Chung Hong, Tan Jing Min and Zoey Giam. Although primarily a mission exposure trip, the team held evangelistic programs for the children and the youths, and conducted a Christmas service for the adults. About 130 children and 40 youths attended the evangelistic programs where the team shared the gospel through songs, dance, drama and testimonies. The team had the privilege of witnessing the baptism of seven youths from Chrass Church during an outing at the water park. (( THE CHRASS YOUTH ORGANISED AN EVANGELISTIC OUTING TO SHARE CHRIST WITH THEIR FRIENDS. )) 10th Trip: 4 to 9 Sep 2012 Seven of the 11 on this mission exposure trip were first-timers. The team comprised Yeo Hwee Lan, Chung Kong Mun, Mark Chim, Adeline Ee, Tim Tan, Lee Ming Ying, Luke Tan, Sim Mui Ping, Raymond Chow, Joycelyn Chow and Lisa Lee. The team conducted an art & craft session with the children, ran a Good Friday movie program, visited some Chrass MC members, and hosted a river cruise for 18 members, and adult and youth leaders. By then, Chrass MC had moved to a wooden stilt house further away from the main road. This team comprised veteran trippers: Yeo Hwee Lan, Mark Chim, Angelia Poon, Lawrence Sew, Jason Tan and Hannie Hay. The youths were Alvin Andrean, Kakit Foong, Luke Tan and Cassandra Yeap. The objective was to run a youth camp to: • challenge the Chrass youths to do outreach and evangelism, and be committed members of Chrass MC. • train the youths in personal evangelism, leadership skills and team work. • build bonds with the youths and church members. 19 youths from Chrass MC (aged 12 to 22 years), two youths from another church invited by Pastor Phirun, three assistants to help run the program and translation, and Pastor Phirun attended the camp. As a follow-up to the training program, the youths organized an evangelistic outing to the zoo at Takmao Mountain for their friends. The youths led in worship, games, drama and testimony sharing. They then broke into groups to share the gospel using the evangelistic tools they had learnt from the camp. In total, 25 youths heard the gospel, 13 indicated that they prayed to receive Christ, while 8 indicated their interest to know more about the Christian faith. 8 Sep to end Dec 2011 11th Trip: 22 to 28 Nov 2012 A Chrass Building Committee was formed to look into the structure, design and tender for the contractors. The tender was called in mid-November and eight contractors responded, of which six returned tender documents by the December deadline. 40 Jan to March 2012 Three contractors were shortlisted and the Building Committee comprising Eddie Koh, Robert Chew, Edward Chye, Lena Quek and Oh Ming Choo conducted the tender interview. After much prayer and negotiation, the Committee awarded the contract to Venture Company with the contract sum of USD$330,000. The contract was signed on 2 April (dated 21 March as the official contract agreement date) between Penh Holding Company (under MMS) and Venture Company. Hwee Lan was assigned by CCMC to be in Phnom Penh for a year to help in the Chrass Church ministry, to coordinate the building project.and to be the liaison person for CCMC for the building project. Primarily a mission exposure trip for 4 families from the Blest West Small Group, the team comprised Suzanna Lee, Adeline Ee; Kenneth, Joanna, Kimberley and Timothy Foo; Tim Tan and Lee Ming Ying; Nick, Shirley, Deborah and Hannah Au-Yong; and Roger and Corine Heng. 10 were first timers. The team visited the Methodist School of Cambodia, distributed clothes to village children at COSI, visited the hostel run by Aldersgate MC, did art & craft with the Chrass MC Learning Centre children, shared testimonies at the Chrass Youth Fellowship and organised a Christmas party for church members. Summary of Church Building Fund 1) Total Land Cost: US$ 80,310 (Fully paid up) 2) Total Construction costs US$ 330,000 +10%= US$363,000 (approx S$446,490) Amount raised through fund-raising events (excluding funds raised by CK4CK) S$284,424.67cts Shortfall S$162,065.33cts 41
  22. 22. W MISSION TRIP TO NEPAL 25 Nov to 3 Dec 2012 BY Raymond Chow WHAT IS MY PURPOSE? By Ralph Lau At the beginning, when the idea to join the mission trip to Nepal was brought up by my family members, I was hesitant to go. I have never been on a mission trip before and I definitely did not hear God’s calling. I am a banker by profession and I always thought that people with practical skills, e.g. medical doctors or civil engineers, are the ones whom God uses on mission trips. Well, that’s not the case. God is truly amazing and showed me how He used me, a common and ordinary person with no obvious skills. Dr Chung Kong Mun, our team leader, encouraged the team to keep a personal journal of the mission trip. I would like to share one of my entries: First day of dental camp ends. My added value today is not visible. I know that I have a purpose, but what is my purpose? On my third day back to the office in Singapore, I bumped into a colleague whom I’ve hardly spoken to before. From a simple question “How are you?”, I shared for 20 minutes what I have experienced and witnessed during the mission trip. I have since shared my testimony with many other colleagues and friends, too. I strongly believe that the sharing and testimony to friends, colleagues and whoever asks me about my “last holiday” is the purpose God has given to me. As Gopal Sebastian, missionary in Nepal, said, “The mission to share God’s Word starts right at our doorstep at home.” 42 hen I flew off from Singapore on 24 November to Kathmandu, Nepal, together with my family and 6 other mission trippers, I was excited and at the same time did not really know what to expect as it was my first shortterm mission trip to Nepal. In my heart, I was praying that God would speak and reveal His plans for us at Nepal. On the very day that we touched down in Kathmandu, we went to Sophia Home, shortly after we deposited our luggage at Bethel Guest House. We met Grace, the houseparent in charge and about 30 young girls who were residents of the home. They were there to receive dental treatment . Although all of them came from unfortunate background, they all impressed me with their good behaviour and love for the Lord. Their ages ranges from 3-18. They were warm, friendly and spontaneous albeit a little shy. When I led them into singing praises to God, I was totally thrilled as they sang with much zeal and gusto. It’s the best voices of praise I have ever heard. The home also treated us to a sumptuous traditional Nepalese meal. I also tasted their local milk tea which was smooth and nice. I was impressed by their hospitality. Though they have little, yet they gave so much from their heart. I was blessed. We spent two days at Ilam at the Victory Church doing dental camp and sharing the gospel to the local villagers together with the local pastors, leaders and youths. About 50 villagers turned up each day and all had the opportunity to hear the gospel and being prayed for. I was particularly impressed by the zeal and passion showed by the youth church members. They sang and they shared so naturally and fervently. I understand from Pastor Chandra of Victory Church that he sent out teams of 10 youths to the villagers to share the gospel every week. (( I HAD LEARNT THAT WHAT IS IMPORTANT IN A CHURCH IS NOT THE SIZE OR ALL THE WONDERFUL FACILITIES BUT THE FAITH, LOVE AND ZEAL OF THE MEMBERS. )) The church was about 50 strong and they were already doing church planting at far away places from their church. One lesson I had learnt is that what is important in a church is not the size or all the wonderful facilities but the faith, love and zeal of the members. The church was actually a simple structure of bamboo and mud. Yet, it really shines out ever so brightly for the Lord in the midst of a dark and idol-worshipping village. They were truly the light of the world for their community. We also spent one day at Jappa doing dental camp and sharing the gospel at the Mahimit Church. About 60 villagers received dental treatment as well as heard the gospel. I was really being touched and challenged once again to be a bold witness for God. I wanted to be an active witness for the Lord once again in obeying the great commission by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19,20). I asked Pastor Chandra and Pastor Gopal to pray for me to have the zeal and boldness to share the gospel once again. I also made a covenant with Pastor Chandra and Pastor Gopal to pray for each other and our churches. I will continue to pray for more churches in Nepal to be planted and established. For me and my family ( I went with my wife and 2 teenage children), this has been a spiritually inspiring and fulfilling trip and we intend to go back Nepal again especially the area of Ilam to support the church planting effort there. Chrass & Nepal Missions (( I WAS REALLY BEING TOUCHED AND CHALLENGED ONCE AGAIN TO BE A BOLD WITNESS FOR GOD. )) 43
  23. 23. ABIGAIL GOH Dear Abigail, My Love Gift to Chrass Full Name: Mr/Mrs/Miss/Dr/Mdm ______________________________ Address: _______________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ ALTHOUGH THE CHRASS CHURCH BUILDING IS DUE TO BE COMPLETED and handed over IN March 2013, CCMC’s journey with Chrass has barely begun. Will you join us on this journey to help Chrass grow in its faith, its strength and its numbers, that it may attain full maturity in Christ? You can do so in many ways: 1) by praying for the church, its pastor and members, and their spiritual growth and witness in the neighbourhood of Chrass village and beyond. Phone Number/s: _______________ ______________________________ Amount: Cheque $* ______________________________ Signature: ______________________________ *Please make a crossed cheque payable to Covenant Community Methodist Church and mail the cheque together with this form to the church office: Level 4, Methodist Girls’ School, 11 Blackmore Drive, Singapore 599986 44 2) by joining us on our mission trips to Cambodia . 3) by donating money (see left) . ASK ABIGAIL I’m peeved with the young lady who sits in the row ahead of me in church. She’s always on her iPhone during the sermon. It’s totally distracting, extremely annoying and utterly disrespectful to God. The incessant pings from the stream of SMS notifications and the swiping of finger across the screen for FB updates totally drive me nuts – especially when I am trying to tune in to God. How do I communicate my displeasure without coming across as judgemental and angry? And please don’t tell me to change seats. I have been sitting in this same spot for the last ten years and I will do anything to defend my right. Yours truly, Ann Oyed Dear Ann Oyed I appreciate your wanting to take a firm bottom line from your seat about this. Most young adults thrive only when they are tethered to their mobile devices. This strong urge to be connected is fashioned by the need to be the ‘first-in-the-know’ from news and updates. They like the sensory overload and prefer to multi-task. Just like you need quiet, they need all the stimuli to think! Yet, the Bible says, “Be Still and Know that I am God…”. This is lost in translation in the iFashionista culture where noise rules over spiritual serenity and where the iGods beckons over the Covenantal God who calls us into His presence. So you have a point that that lass could do with a gentle nudge about church etiquette. I suggest fighting fire with fire. Show her that one can be tuned in to God without being tuned out. Share your sermon notes tapped into your device electronically with her. Speedily research that obscure Biblical reference with the Google search engine. Why stop at that? Procure the latest Bible application by download and challenge her to a swipe out. It’s better than swiping one pointing finger at her with the other while making tsk tsk sounds. Connectedly yours, Abigail on What’s App Dear Abigail, My pre-school son has been asking me to sing a song from Sunday kindy worship about love and ‘that’s the bird and the bee’. I wonder what they are teaching in Sunday School! Concerned Mummy Dear Concerned Mummy, Let not your heart be troubled. The song your son wants you to sing has the lyric: God loves you and God loves me and that’s the way it should be. Busy Abigail Dear Abigail, Is SOAP biblical? Camay Lim Dear Camay Lim, Yes, there are many references to soap in the Bible. For example, Jer 2:22 - For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God. And of course you will recall Bath-she-bar. Abigail White as Snow 45
  24. 24. Who’s AFRAID of a Rev. Xanatos Satanicos Bombasticos CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 MARRIAGE COURSE? 46 T he Marriage Course that CCMC is using was developed by Nicky and Sila Lee who wrote The Marriage Book and The Parenting Book. The British couple have been married for over thirty years, and have four children. Nick and Sila are on the staff at the Anglican Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London – the church that started the Alpha course. They started The Marriage Course in 1996, and the courses continue to spread with thousands being run around the world. They have spoken to numerous couples on the subject of marriage, and The Marriage Book has sold over 52,000 copies since it was published in 2000. The Marriage Course is presented via DVD talks featuring Nicky and Sila. The talks are interspersed with film clips of couples sharing about their marriage experiences, and street interviews with people from around the world. The course will help couples discover practical tools to enrich marriages. Learn how to understand each other’s needs, communicate more effectively, grow closer through resolving conflict, heal the ways you’ve hurt each other, recognise how your upbringing affects your relationship, improve relationships with parents and in-laws, develop greater sexual intimacy, and discover each other’s love languages and much, much more! The course has seven sessions. Each session begins with a dinner at which you can either choose to sit with other couples attending the course or sit alone with your spouse. However, the seating arrangement for the course proper is tables for two spaced apart for privacy. There is no place for sharing among couples. The course is focussed for each couple to talk and discuss the points raised in the DVD just with each other. The seven topics for the sessions are: Building Strong Foundations The Art of Communication Resolving Conflict The Power of Forgiveness The Impact of Family – Past and Present Good Sex Love in Action The CCMC Marriage Course, organised by the Family Life Ministry, runs once a week for seven weeks, includes dinner and a night snack. Watch out for the next one in about August and September and go for it! YEAP SOON LEONG & WENDY YEAP Married for 25 years What did you learn about marriage from the course? YSL - There’s always something new to learn about your partner, no matter how long you’ve been married. WY - It is good to regularly take stock of your marriage. Yours and your spouse’s perspectives change so subtly that you may not even be completely aware of the changes. What did you learn from the course that has helped you relate better to your spouse? YSL - Nothing new. We had covered pretty much everything in the church’s pre-marital and marriage enrichment courses. WY – I liked the ‘Effective Lis47
  25. 25. tening’ exercise. It is a tool that bridges ‘Deep Listening’ and the ‘Peacemaking Process’ which we have been teaching in our church’s pre-marital course. It allows the person with an area of concern to be heard and understood without being judged. There is a common perception that marriage courses are only for couples who have problems in their relationship. Do you agree after attending the Marriage Course? YSL - There are no problem-free marriages, so it is true in a sense. There’s always room for improvement, no matter the length of the marriage. Attending courses such as the Marriage Course can help any marriage, so long as both partners attend with the common goal of wanting to work at their marriage. Even if only one spouse is motivated, who knows? That spouse’s positive action may in time have an impact on the other spouse. WY - Marriage courses are generally for marriages that do not have serious issues. For those marriages with a lot of baggage, a marriage counselor would be more helpful. Why would you recommend the course to other couples? YSL - Because of its content and format. The content covers all the essential areas of marriage in a practical way, with sharing from real couples and humor. The format of a dinner date with one’s spouse is refreshingly different. Having all the sharing done strictly between husband and wife and not requiring any public sharing makes the course non-threatening and a lot more palatable to couples and spouses who are averse to public sharing. WY - A definite yes! because it will strengthen the marital relationship. 48 RAYMOND CHOW & JOYCELYN CHOW Married for 18 years What did you learn about marriage from the course? RC - That we cannot take our marriage for granted. It needs to be constantly nourished and we can and must continue to grow and strengthen the marriage relationship. We cannot afford to be complacent because it can get ‘stale and dry’ if no effort is being put in. And also, the relationship can be easily crowded out by a hundred and one distractions of daily life. JC - We need to spend time alone with our spouse no matter how many years we have been married. What did you learn from the course that has helped you relate better to your spouse? RC - The most important thing I learnt is how to communicate with my wife by listening better and being more sensitive to her needs. Also, both quality and quantity time spent with our spouses are equally important and we need to intentionally set aside time for it and give it priority. Just like a plant requires nourishing, a marriage requires nourishing as well. JC - Chatting with my spouse. Sometimes after many years together, we tend to talk only about serious matters. This course taught me to chat with Raymond on many other things, some of them may sound nonsensical; but we were having a fun time. There is a common perception that marriage courses are only for couples who have problems in their relationship. Do you agree after attending the Marriage Course? RC - I totally disagree with it and it is a myth. Marriage courses are not meant to heal marriages but to enrich marriages. There is still so much to learn about having a good marriage as it is a life-long learning journey. Also, we need such courses to rejuvenate our marriages. Nowadays, there are so many threats and external forces that put pressure on marriages. So, all the more, we need to have such courses to help us face up to all these challenges and come out on top of it. JC - I believe that marriage is a work in progress and not a finished product. It needs to be worked on all the time and such courses provide opportunities for us to rediscover the sparks of love and to narrow the gaps of misunderstandings. Why would you recommend the course to other couples? RC - I like it because it is very systematic and the materials used are really relevant. I like especially the speakers. Though they were video-taped, I still found them very engaging and I did not feel detached at all. Also, the fact that there are so many other couples going through the course at the same time gives you the added motivation. We can also learn from other couples who provide good role models – as the Bible says ‘iron sharpens iron’. I believe we can learn a lot from each other too. The (( THERE IS STILL SO MUCH TO LEARN ABOUT HAVING A GOOD MARRIAGE AS IT IS A LIFELONG LEARNING JOURNEY. )) course was also very well organised by members of our church’s Family Life Ministry. They were warm and caring and the food and venue were excellent too. It was a really good use of time for our marriage and relationship. JC - I liked the way the course was carried out. Much effort was spent to ensure the couples were relaxed and were able to focus on each other. The pace was good and the course material is based on God’s principles. I benefitted much from the course and believe other couples will find the same. SEOW JIN KIAT & JUN SEOW Married for 5 years What did you learn about marriage from the course? A strong and loving marriage cannot be left to chance. It requires commitment to make it a priority and regular time together as a couple needs to be intentionally planned and protected. What did you learn from the course that has helped you relate better to your spouse? The ability to make a list of common habits to avoid in order to become a more effective listener. Common sense is so uncommon! There is a common perception that marriage courses are only for couples who have problems in their relationship. Do you agree after attending the Marriage Course? Absolutely not. Attending the marriage course is just part of a lifelong commitment to keep working and investing in a marriage Would you recommend the course to other couples? Yea! STEPHEN YEUNG & SHERLYN WONG Married for 20 years What did you learn about marriage from the course? SY - That marriage is a continuous work in progress. SW - Communication is key. What did you learn from the course that has helped you relate better to your spouse? SY - To listen and make time for your spouse. SW - Spending quality time together. There is a common perception that marriage courses are only for couples who have problems in their relationship. Do you agree after attending the Marriage Course? No. Marriage courses should be seen as enrichment courses, not unlike the self-improvement books or courses we take. Why would you recommend the course to other couples? The course work is light and provides a regular schedule to spend time with your spouse. It also provides a neutral platform to discuss sensitive issues. For example, it would be rather abrupt to tell your spouse what you like and dislike about the things done or not done for you but is par for the course as part of the course work. Another plus point is that communication is only between spouses, with no group sharing or discussions at all. 49

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