Sunday, November 26, 2006

Hillsong United Worship Concert

My first proper rock concert.

Well except for that time I attended Singapore Metal Fest '05. But that's a metal gig. This is a rock concert - ear-shattering volume, screaming all over, jumping.

Prior to the start of the concert they played some videos of United overseas. At the slightest hint of action though, people would start screaming, which Bao and I found a little disturbing. But they played a pre-start video... something about the time has come... where worshippers will... worship as God intended... I forgot la. But the effect was amazing. The staging was also orchestrated very well. The lights swimming around, flashing, strobing, color change... And the volume was at that magical level where if you weren't part of the concert you would be plugging your ears in total agony, but if you were into the music, you would be going wild right about then. I tell you, the albums are so so soooooo watered down.

Interesting that the youth pastor did his whole sermon and altar call in the middle of the concert. And 55 souls got saved. Real cool. Although... we prepared for 200. Haha, so... but what the heck. 55 souls after an hour. Interesting indeed.

At one point I realized my folly of not bringing water into the show. And after singing (yelling) at the peak of my vocal level for so long, I was gasping for air and itching, literally, for water. And with none, I just looked up and said, 'I refuse to believe that praising You with all my effort will bring me a parched throat. Lord with my

After that we sang one more slow song, then the lights went down. We could barely see the singers taking drinks, then Joel Houston started strumming his acoustic (can't hear lor also dunno for what) and singing 'God above all the world in motion...'

We. Went. Wild.

After that we were more or less shouting the lyrics all the way. In some songs I was so wheezed out from jumping that I just gave up on singing.

Yet you know, after all that... When Bao commented that was a good concert, something suddenly jumped inside me, and I realised that after enjoying all that (and I don't just mean the music), I didn't walk out of The Rock feeling any different. It's sad, really sad. But well, that's that. Guess I'll just move on now.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Praise and Worship

On Friday, I prayed:

Father, we may never fully understand Your love for us. Yet Lord, show us that little bit that we do understand.

Today, as Pastor Lian preached, I slowly re-realized His love for me. I know His love, but today, I realized it again.

Pastor Lian shared this story in closing about this boy who was granted his wish for a bicycle for a birthday present, on condition that he be responsible for and take good care of it. After a whole day of cycling around the house, he left the bicycle outside and went in to collapse, happily exhausted, on his bed. When he woke up the next morning he found that during the night a storm had ripped through his area. His bicycle, left outside, was muddy all over, and a huge branch had fallen over it. Remembering his promise, he tried to clean off the mud as best as he could, then tried to lift the branch off the bicycle. But the branch was simply too heavy. Seeing his father returning in the distance, he pushed at the branch with all his might. The branch lifted, but because he couldn't sustain his energy, came crashing right back down again.

When the father approached, the boy broke into a flood of words, saying, 'Daddy daddy I'm so sorry daddy I promised I'd take care of the bike but I was too tired and I forgot daddy I tried to clean the mud off and used all my strength to try to push the branch off but it just wouldn't move daddy I'm so sorry.'

The father looked at the son, and said, 'No. You didn't use all your strength.' He then lifted the heavy branch away and pulled the bike from under it. 'Now,' the father said, 'you have used all your strength.'

As Christians we see our Father watching us in the distance, and we are so concerned with keeping promises and just being right with Him that we start using our own strength to try to conquer our adverse consequences, then start apologising to Him and saying, 'Sorry, I did everything I could, but I still failed you.' What our Father really wants us to see is that among other things, He is there for us to depend on Him to remove the troubles that are oppressing us, troubles that are laying on top of our spiritual fruits and hindering us from getting closer to the Lord. The Lord is my ally, and a powerful ally He is! The next time you wield your celestial Sword, are you using your own strength, or harnessing His power? The Lord has everything but put His strength and power at our disposal. Why aren't we using it?

I was touched by the love of God today, and I feel it's because after awhile into Praise and Worship I just decided to give my all to glorifying him through song. I think releasing your soul to Him, opening the doors in your heart, is important. People, and especially face-conscious Singaporeans, are afraid to open up because they think people beside them and around them will stare and either go siao, or begrudge you for being so onz. But listen. You are in church, where you are supposed to glorify our heavenly Father and come together to feast on His word. If anything, you're only doing the right thing by opening up to give Him the praise He deserves.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us not worry about trivial things such as this. For glorious is the Kingdom of God our Abba Father in heaven, and glory be to those who choose to abandon all cares and worries to give Him praise.

It's not a verse from the Bible, if there are any younger Christians reading. I'm just sounding Paul-ish. Haha~

Saturday, November 18, 2006


There are some things you just don't tell anybody, or just your bestest best friend.

Hello my bruddas and sistars in Christ, I'm back at it again. Going emo hoo0~!

Yesterday, Friday, I wanted some time alone with Padre Mio. There was an hour left to the start of class. But gee in SIM, there's hardly a place private enough. Maybe the 5th level space, but even I cross that part sometimes to get to the other side of the floor. And since I'd be closing my eyes for the most part, I really won't be amused to open my eyes to see 3 people gaping at me in fear.

And I'd be speaking in tongues too. Not funny.

So I did what I thought was the next best thing and immersed myself in worship songs. Got this playlist in my MP3, my only playlist - I normally navigate by albums - of slow worship songs. Complete, At the Cross, Awesome God, Deeper, I Will Run to You... classics la. And I was just... feeling shitty and blahhed out.

If you haven't already figured, blahhed out gains its root from blah, a common expression of teens nowadays expressing off-ness and down-ness.

I can't even explain properly. Blah...

ANYHOO! As I was doing that (immersing myself in worship, not blahhing), Maria came up to me and rattled my shoulders, because I didn't react when she said hi from across the room. Actually if I reacted to anyone outside of my range of touch, you should become an orator. You have a loud voice to have gotten past my noise-isolation earphones.

When Maria asked me how I was, I didn't even think about it. Everything just started tumbling out... How I thought I'd finally found footing on my relationship with God, that intimacy and joyful love that I so yearned for. How I found myself back at that dreaded place where it felt like God was nowhere to be found. How I'm thinking, half the time, how to get back, where I'm going wrong, and how it's not helping in the least. Even though I was struggling to put my troubles into words at times, I never did worry what Maria would think of me, how this would affect our friendship, does she really have to know this... What you might think are silly uncalled for questions and doubts but that's how I usually think.

Is this the meaning of kingdom friendships? Frankly, there're easily 5 people who, in all other aspects, qualify as a 'better friend' than Maria. I don't even really hang out with Maria and Lirong. And yet, there's something supernatural indeed when we converse with each other, an understanding that transcends familiarity. And I think that was because we got to know each other only because Lirong introduced us. And Lirong only did because the three of us attend New Creation. Even though we are by all means great friends now, with Maria edifying me and me occasionally doing the same for her, the basis of our friendship was our Father, and church. Maybe that was instrumental in our unique friendship. And I'm really grateful to Abba for that, and of course to Maria! If she hadn't bothered to ask, I wouldn't have bothered to talk. And the three of us during break later prayed for a cloak of protection around each of us, among other things. I didn't feel extra good after that, nor was I glowing in the Lord's love like I wanted to, but somewhere inside, I know it's not too far away.

O [the] depth of [the] riches of both [the] wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable [are] His judgments and unfathomable His ways! ------------------ Romans 11:33 (ALT)

Saturday, November 11, 2006


My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ,

I haven't been blogging here because I've not been experiencing the joy and peace of the Lord, at least not as much and constantly as I'd like.

I think I've just pulled myself out of a rather bad state. In the previous week or two I found myself unwillingly returned to my previous life, filled with doubt and depression. But before I go on, I believe two things that helped me out were 1) choosing to praise God even when I didn't feel like it. Second was the perseverance to just keep going at it, praise praise praise praise. Praising in advance greatly pleases the Lord because it displays great faith in Him handling your life, and the Lord will reward you with things to really praise about.

So thank God if I'm really out of this nonsense, but perhaps the devil is giving me a break, a fake sense of peace, to fool me into invigilance. Do pray for me. And pray for me to pray for myself. I always forget to do that.

Ok enough about me. Today's topic isn't much of a revelation, I don't think so, but just something that spoke to me while I was (finally) spending time in the Word and something that I just feel we could all use a reminder of - causing fellow Christians to stumble.

In 1Cor 8:11 NLT, Paul warns that 'because of your superior knowledge, a weak Christian, for whom Christ died, will be destroyed.' Very strong word, destroyed. v12 goes on to say we are 'sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong'. Now see, it's not what you believe in, it's what they believe in. This is discussed back in Romans 14:22 - '... If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.' In other words, going against one's conscience.

Just so you know, by main Bible is an NLT, so unless stated, all verses will be NLT. I say this now but my compassion for irregular readers will force me to put NLT again, in the future.

As much as I wish I could assume that readers of this blog will be mature enough, both worldly and spiritually, not to say 'I believe adultery is fine, so I'll do it then.', I'd rather not leave anything to chance. Rather, the Lord kindly corrected my assumptious thinking. These issues that seem to be causing confusion are that of changes in the transit from old to new covenant. Many truths we take for granted today (say grace and gobble) were radical back in Paul's days, and took time to be accepted, especially in light of the strict Jewish customs. There are some things expressly forbidden by God, however, and unfortunately for you my smart-alec friend, adultery is one of them.

I have, I think, I great modern example of this. I actually scheduled a blog post about my personal views on metal music, how I feel it is ok and not detrimental for Christians to listen to it as long as blahblahblahblah. Now this is also precisely the reason why I still have yet to publish the post. I still can't be absolutely sure that God is ok with metal music as long as he who listens knows where to draw the line(s). It's just that even as I listen to this form of music I still find myself getting closer to the Lord, so I thought there probably is something going on here that many aren't quite catching. Through writing that post, by experiencing difficulties in explaining it myself, I have come to realise that it is in fact a tricky issue to navigate. Certain truths I know I hold deep in my heart to guard me against the numerous bad effects of metal music, yet I have trouble articulating them. And even before I had read in 1Cor about stumbling a brother or sister, I knew that I absolutely could not publish an article that I was not satisfied with myself. Not even with people of the world, and definitely not with Christians. Because what they would see is basically 'It is ok to listen to metal because...' and then some half-past-six excuse of a reason. I don't want people to listen to metal because I, a Christian, say it's ok. Honestly you know, I study Persuasion now. If I actually bothered to I probably could assault you with so many hidden fallacies that you wouldn't even know that anything hit you. But what would result from that?

'Why do you listen to metal?'
'Renhao is a Christian. Renhao says it's ok. I am a Christian. I guess it's ok.'

Then you are doing something that you don't believe is right yourself. You are doing something I believe is right. I don't really wish to be responsible for that. Now listen, you may have the urge to want to try metal music, and yet you feel in your heart your inner self saying 'No no no no.' For goodness' sake listen to it. Stay far away from metal music. And don't come back until you are sure that you are sure it's ok. No, it's not a typo error. Same for anything else. Listen to your heart. If when you think about it your heart knots up, dismiss it. Because that indicates that your conscience does not accept it as kosher, so to speak. And if just because someone else say it's ok, you go against your conscience to engage in it, you are not honoring God. Your conscience is your guide to honoring God by doing what you know is right, and consequently going against that is simply dishonoring God.

Long-winded, ok. Paul says weak Christians, what we'd call baby Christians today. But I think you don't have to be a baby Christian to be missing out on certain liberating truths. Hey, we are in the age of re-discovering the Gospel. We are all king-priests, we can receive new truths, profound or otherwise, but nonetheless powerful I believe. God reveals such things to you so you can share it with others. But people are used to such-and-such, they've heard that message all their lives. And now you come along and tell them the exact opposite, and you expect them to believe?

Example: Paul felt liberated to eat anything he wished to eat as long as he thanked the Lord for the food. If another new Christian had seen that (because Paul in reality would never have eaten un-kosher food if there was a chance of a nonbeliever in say-grace-and-gobble being around), and went 'OMG PAUL THAT'S PORK STOP STOP!' Do you think if Paul, licking his fingers, turned and smiled and said, 'We are Christians now. It's ok.' Do you think the previously nonbelieving Christian would sit and eat with him? He'd probably get firewood to clobber Paul on the head to bring him back to his senses. And that was why Paul chose to refrain from eating as he pleased in the presence of baby Christians, and let them get the revelation themselves. Then they can all eat bak kwa together.


I think what is sadder than sinning as a Christian is sinning unconsciously as a Christian. I won't pretend that such a truth as keeping in mind not to stumble weaker Christians (I don't really like the word 'weaker', honestly) is easy to remember all the time. And really, until you learn to grasp the whole truth, how can you be fairly blamed for stumbling your fellow Christian? Yet it comes with the high price of sinning against Christ himself, something not all that easy to do given our 'clean-slate' status in Christ's righteousness.

Let us therefore keep an extra eye open. Be conscious of our actions. Consider your company - as a representative of the God you have entrusted your faith to, what should you refrain from doing in the presence of unbelievers? But even they are not as important as brothers and sisters in Christ. For unbelievers until they are saved are condemned to suffer the terrible fate of Hell. But Christians who go against what they believe to be right are committing a great sin that may well destroy them! And you, you will take the heat for having led them astray from their personal path of rightness with God.

And now, all that is left is for me to pray earnestly, that in time I will come to practise what I have preached. God bless.

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