Thursday, May 11, 2006

Taking the Plunge

“Work in Church?” My ex-colleague exclaimed and creased her eyebrow. “What is there to do?” It’s sad that some people still think that the church is only a building where you go and pray now and then. Nothing else. I could not even begin to explain the extend of what I would be doing by going full-time into the church.

However, the thought of going full time had never even occurred to me before last year. It was never part of my five-year or even ten-year plan. And I normally prefer sticking to plans, by the way. But the thought popped into my head while I was sitting at the DUMC conference 2005, literally out of the blue. It really bothered me a couple of weeks back then as I struggled with the idea, but I finally decided that even so, it wasn’t time. With that firm decision, I left it aside and never thought of it again until a few months back.

I was on track with my five-year plan when the thought interrupted me again. And for some bizarre reason, Pastor Sally had the same thought. So it began to cause me to confront the issue at hand. Being a natural thinker and worry-wart, I argued with myself and God a lot. I thought about finances, celibacy, fears of failure and not being able to meet expectation. I told God I was not worthy, I’m not an early riser and had a hundred reasons and excuses lined up. It is possible that I might just have covered all the angles. I also wanted a more vivid sign like a prophetic word, a dream, or something like that. I wanted my fleece wet and the floor dry in the morning. But God gave me none and I was on the verge of insanity.

I shared in my cell group (Bukit Kaya Youth Cell) that I have finally understood why. You see, God knows each of us so well that He knows what we need and how we need it. Jesus never healed any two blind men the same way. He knew exactly how to suite us. It was an issue of faith. It’s hard for me to go where I cannot see, do what I don’t understand. And though God has graciously unfolded small bits of His plans in my life to me, I still needed to learn to take a leap of faith some times.

I’m not saying that I am now a person full of faith. But I’m more willing to put my total trust in Him, believing that He has my whole life in His hands. And no matter what I decide or do, as long as I am following Him, He will steer me. This time, I’m taking the scariest advice I have ever received. I’m taking the plunge.

In the past one month alone I had gotten all the possible responses to my decision. Ranging from “Finally!” to “Are you crazy?” Perhaps I am crazy. According to my cousin, Andrew, that would mean that I am a charismatic, radical and zealous youth. I sure hope so.

The above article was suppose to be printed in this month's issue of Agapeline (my church's triannual newsletter). But due to space limitation I have voluntarily pulled it out and shelved it for the next issue. I officially started in 2nd May 2006.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


"A rotten apple if you throw it away you'll have nothing. But if you cut away the bad part, it is still good."

That was one of the object lessons taught in the movie 'I Not Stupid 2'. A singaporean production in mostly mandarin, the movie seeks to teach its society some lessons in life that will move anyone to tears. I never thought that the movie was the least good when I first heard bout it. But after watching it I realised I should not have judge a book by it's cover. The movie hit on many issues close to home. At the end of the movie, the narrator concluded, and I summarize:

When we were young, our parents praised an encourage us, pick us up when we fall. Somewhere along life, it turned to scoldings and insults. When did the praises stop? And slowly we begin to shut ourselves out. We need to find that key that brings out the best in people and focus on it. Give people a second chance and believe in them. Why can't we learn to praise each other and encourage each other onwards? Everyone needs to be praised.

In the same retrospect, I have learnt as a youth leader to be generous with praises. People thrive with support and love. There's always something good about a person that we can focus on. And if we find that one thing and give it our 100% we will be amazed at the results. One of the teachers in the Singaporean movie talked about finding the key to a person. Focus on the strengths not the weaknesses. In our culture, it seems, only one thing is considered good. Studies and the cliche careers that follow. But people are not produced in a factory. God made us all different. We need to find that thing we are good at. And then believe that about others.

In another movie - Korean drama series actually - called '1 percent of anything', we find that although sometimes things seems almost impossible, we should not throw it away so soon. Although it was more of a romantic series of impossible love come true after many obstacles, I still learnt that sometimes that 1% is enough to put our hope in. As the drama spins the tale of impossible love and how through trying times people persevere and makes it in the end, I wonder how true it is of Christians in life. Whether our in our own faith or towards the people around us. So easily we give up and loose faith. It takes some faith. If only we learn to bring out the best in each other. This Korean drama begun with the girl saying there'd only be one percent chance that the guy could change for the good. Fortunately she was willing to believe and miracles happened. Isn't that we need? Someone to believe in us. Someone who loves us. Someone who sees worth in us. Shouldn't that then be what we should do to others as well?

Life offers many lessons. Let's learn them and become better - in our own life and in our relationship with others.