Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Like That Buff Guy

I just couldn't resist not documenting tonight's incident. I was at this prayer meeting and as it was adjourned, Few of us gathered at the back. Teng, Jon, Joel, Rachel and her friend Daniel. Jon, Teng Joel and I were smacking each other's chest when Rachel and her friend, Daniel came into the picture. Then Daniel said 

"Hey, you remind me of Philip, that Tibetan missionary"
I was caught off guard "Wait, you mean to say I look like Philip? Why?"  
"That musculature, wide pumped chest, the height and the ponytail. It all seemed so much like Philip"
Already flying around cloud 9 "Serious? My small group members always deny me this pleasure"
"I mean yeah, you've got the shoulders and all buffed up"
"Why, thank you so much!"

I just stood there beaming away. I just thought to myself. "Man, I can die smiling."
Then Teng smacked me on the chest again and flashed me a grin. 


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Examination


I really don't want to blow this out of proportion. Everybody seems to think I'm lying or at my best innocence, being too exaggerated. Some exams just make or break the entire year of studying.
I wished I am spared of this examination. But then again, it is absolutely necessary for my future legal practice. Without which, I will not be accepted into the Malaysian Bar.

I have many items on my plate.
  • My small group.
  • My house of which I'm the head tenant
  • My family
  • My college ministry
  • My classes and examination
It doesn't help that everybody expects me to commit to their agenda. Well, most claim that they are God's agenda. While that may be true, I'm at loss when it comes to where I'd park my examination.

I seem to get the impression that everybody thinks my examination is but a triffle.
Alex, why aren't you coming to the meeting?
Can't you even handle this right?
Alex, you must do Word
Alex its your responsibility.
If you don't do it, it will die out.
Alex, its up to you, I'm just following.
You just lack management skills.

I beg to differ. Do they know what is at stake? If I flunk and have to repeat another year, would they be at any loss? Would they be affected? They have everything to gain, and I, everything to lose.

I could only arrive at one conclusion. Negative. But arriving at a conclusion doesn't change anything. It doesn't negate the fact that I need to shoulder these still.

Then I wake up to realise if I don't start fighting for my exams, nobody would. As this premise dawns on me, I decided. I must fight hard.


Casting Pearls Before Swines


How low must I descend just so others may comprehend?
Is it just because the subject matter is incomprehensible?
Is it because the audience is incapable of comprehension?

Why do I feel like I'm casting pearls before swines?



Gross-est Experience

I've had my share of grossest experience, though not by my own freewill.
Eversince I moved away from home and stay with stranger, I had...
  1. rid my toilet of slimy, gooey worn slippers and bucket grossly tucked away between the wall and the toilet bowl.
  2. scrubbed the toilet floor off its slimy feel. I dare not imagine what causes it to give off the slimy and slicky feel.
  3. plonked off the entire kitchen cabinet and rid it off 8 years of rubbish and rat droppings.
  4. cleaned rat piss and dropping off the kitchen floor
  5. threw off the 8-year old, never-cleaned before toilet rugs, only to uncover a rotten parquet floor.
The list can grow endless, and all of it with my bare hands. It was the ultimate grossity. The most recent encounter would be that of the rugs in front of the toilet.

I had one of 2 options. I can either threw all of it out, and get new ones, or clean the old ones and reuse them. I could be like my housemate. He is in the habit of throwing things which he could not bring himself to clean. Or something to the same effect. I have housemates who would layer one rug over the other when one becomes rather filthy. Of course, how they would justify it all, I have no idea.

I am in no position to discard things in ease. I am financially constrained, and hence I'm left with the only option to clean them. I'd rather not touch the rugs. If I can endure the rat piss and poo, I guess this would give you a gross [pun intended] insight into the filth of the rugs. I sent them to the laundry, and to my shock - it didn't look much different except it did smell a little better.

Lo and behold, I must after all, unleash the bare hands. And a-scrubbing away, I went! After 1.5 hours of wrestling with stubborn dirt, the rugs look like they are ready for use!

I learned much. That God is in the business of reusing. He would reach down and scrub away with His bare hands. Reusing what was deemed irreparable. That is the essence of salvation, to salvage what was once useless, and to make it useful again.

We must begin by exploring what "intolerance" means. Generally, we are intolerant against dirt. You and I won't use a piece of towel if we know that brown spot at some obscure corner of the towel is the stain from wiping our rear end.

How God works, is very much similar. God is equally intolerant towards uncleanliness. Evidenced throughout the Pentateuch are laws citing what practices amounts to uncleanliness and defilement. Should anyone be found unclean or defiled, he must be ostracised and kept away from the Tabernacle, lest he should be struck dead.

Leviticus 13 speaks of infectious skin diseases rendering one ceremonially unclean. This is just one of the many ways of getting yourself ceremoniously unclean.

In Exodus 19, we read of God's intolerance for uncleanliness. None must go near Mount Sinai while He descended on it.

So I can imagine you approaching me with soiled hands. And I will do everything in my capacity to keep you at an arm's length from me. Afterall, I don't want to have any of your by-product on me.

Our very fallen nature results in our uncleanliness. God being holy and pure, cannot be associated with such base objects like us.

If I return to our example, this is how it goes - You are stained with filth, and I can't go near you. But I love you so much, I can't bear to be far from you. Hence, I purchase some anti-bacterial solution so you can wash your hands, and we can now give each other that loving tight hug.

Jesus, with His blood, purchased man for God. It was a terrible price to pay so that man no longer need to live far from God. No other substance can unite both God and man. Sacrificial lambs and bulls all spilled their blood to provide temporary cleansing which is not efficacious, having lack permanence. It took Jesus' blood to once-and-for-all tear away the gap between God and man.

So when God had to come down in person, and deal with our cleanliness, it was the grossest act in whole History. When coming near God without sanctification and purification would warrant death, Jesus decided enough is enough, and he would personally come down to wash us clean so we may all be present before God.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Leader Installation

Today, I was installed as a leader of a group of a small group of people meeting at my house on a weekly basis. This is the place where we share our lives with one another and learn as a family, how to apply and what it takes to apply God's word in our everyday dealings.

This ceremony takes place during the church service and I was installed amongst 40 more newly appointed leaders of their respective small groups. Today was small group emphasis week. As such, much of the service was geared towards emphasizing the need to be connected to a small group. We wear same coloured tee shirts etc.

There was this moment when the preacher gave an impromptu contest on which small group leader is able to run to the microphone and scream out why their small group was so unique. Yours truly, an impulsive person by nature, went up and did all that funny gesture and then called on my small group to scream. Couldn't hear them.

Then it was installation proper. My name was called up, given an additional description "Alex Miles, a Law Graduate. He is still single, very much available and searching." I thought that was a very sweet gesture.

I walked up, and received the letter of appointment. I was expecting to hear my small group cheer for me. But I heard nothing.

Its probably no big a deal. That however, was not what my wicked heart was telling me. There was the Malaccan Trip, the moral support I received at small groups etc. I started to wonder if I really am leading people, or they just had to tag along. would they rather be elsewhere? Do they care? Would they drop by and ask me how I felt leading them all these while? Are they proud of me? Do they know its a heavy burden? Can I tell them that taking this leadership costs me a lot?

My heart is heavy. This might after all turn out to be a mistake. My small group leader. I wonder if I did him proud. I did ask him. But I realised, he might just say those words out of obligation.

The service came to an end when we stood up and in closing, interceded for our respective small groups. I told God my frustrations and felt really weak in the knees. After all, these feelings didn't beat at my shore tonight. The waves were pounding my shores since long ago.

Then the service came into a close. A stranger came up to me, and told me "I know you may not know me, but as we were praying just now, I just felt I needed to pray for you. I think God wants you to know that you don't have to worry about what your small group members think of you. God wants you to keep your focus on Him. He is going to make you a great small group leader. Don't let your members take you down. Just keep looking at Him..."

It doesn't stop here. I still wanted to know if my small group leader was proud of me. I felt very much abandoned by him. With him leaving the office, it was as if he walked out on me, still groping in the dark. He commented on this and that. My ice breakers, my style of leading worship, my word facilitation. And when he did say "You guys did a good job. I'm proud of you" I couldn't say I believed him. It felt like it was part of the job scope to dispense such statements. I asked him once more tonight over Facebook. "Are you proud of me?".

The answer came from Penang. "I'm proud of you, bro!"

The way God works? Mind-blowing.

Friday, 3 February 2012

The Few Uncles I Saw

Today as I was walking past a jewellery shop, I saw an old, tattered-clothed uncle stooping down. He opened the drain lid and I thought to myself, I must stay on longer to watch this. He reached out with his skeletal right hand, with skin hanging from his bones. What seemed to be a few seconds of rummaging, ended with him pulling out a ten-cent coin. I quickly ran to buy him a can of soda.

What has our world turned to?

I saw many downcast ageing old men seated at the bus terminal by their own. They neither seem to be waiting for some bus to take them to another state, nor were they waiting for their friends or relatives. And i thought to myself if they were really there just to pass time. That they would rather be there surrounded by people they don't know, than to stay at home [if they have one], or were they there because they think it bad to do nothing at home, and the very act of getting out of house to go somewhere is a consolation to ease their conscience of non-productivity.

Is this the end of manhood?

Monday, 16 January 2012

Old BItter


Its been too long since I last posted. I wished I wouldn't have to use this place to wash my dirty linen.

One day, I shall grow old. And when I do, I'd rather descend on my own volition instead of having to be called down. I recognise that in every man's life, he shall one day be crowned king over his own domain, and subsequently when his time passes, he would step aside for his successor, and be a sage, the advisor to the succeding king.

Today, I'm taking leadership over a certain domain. The preceding king crowned me. And thence starts the inglorious moments.
The previous batch of leadership is to move on. I feel sad for the fact that they've faithful served out of their time, energy and finances. I do not question their zeal. However, the current situation is such that they have outgrown from the ministry required of them, ie. no longer students, and hence, for lack of a better word, they are "phased-out".

I wish to honour them better. Ascribe great things to their credit, than to merely see them fade out to the background, leaving the scene as if nothing happened.

Nonetheless they remain as my advisors, and mentors, guiding me on matters coming my way. Today, after much deliberation with another core ministry member of mine, we decided to take the cell group for a vacation. And so I regurgitated what we discussed to Jay.

"We're planning to make a trip down this 6th and 7th of February"
"How do you plan to get there?"
"Veronica will be driving the van. However, there's an issue. Diana and Katherine will be at Seremban and they suggested that we pick them up from there..."
a short pause ensued

"...Of course, I didn't say a thing, not wanting to promise them yet..."
"You noticed that I just smiled? You will have to learn from a lot of mistakes on your own. Only then will it be fun. Otherwise it will just be me and Veronica directing you on this and that, then you'd feel as if you're being pulled around like a puppet on strings. If you don't encounter mistakes, then it wouldn't be fun isn't it?"
He sneered.

I wished he hadn't need to be this bitter. It very unbecoming of whoever he needs to be. I can't see why the logic in having to parent such an overgrown adolescent in the midst of his bitter immaturity. And I wonder if he's allergic to acting like his age.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Security




The thing about security is an elusive thing. You think you have it, but you actually don't. And sometimes when you feel like you don't have it, but unforeseen harsh circumstances actually proves otherwise.

I just got my results. LLB external program by the University of London is certainly not a fancy course to be reckoned with. It consumes your every physical, mental and emotional energy. I myself, am drained out like a bag of coconut shreddings off its cream.

I passed. Maybe not as good as others, but I passed. I thought I would fail. My take? I think I did not performed optimally. But I passed nonetheless with 3 credits. But the questions still lingers.
Do I have what it takes?
Am I smart?Am I the man I think I am ?
[Or do I just allow someone to emasculate me?]Do I impress people?
Do people value me?
Why do I require validation from the men around me?
Am I [dare I say...] good looking?
Do I have a good physique?
Can I play music well?
Am I atheletic enough?

I know these things just doesn't define me. I thought results defined me. Not so, until minutes after I received my results, my carnal me was twitching because some acquaintance knew how to do a handstand, and mind you, he's got great looks. So, here I am looking at tutorials on how to do a handstand.

I find myself like a moth flying around a burning candle. That tragic obsession with validation from others. It would destroy me. If i didn't pass this time around, I would have died! at least not literally. BUt i know I might just condemn myself into immediate stupidity. How do I begin?
It a journey again. discovering my worth, in Jesus and nothing else. At the end of the day, I know my security and identity doesn't flow from what I can do, or what I have done. Its who I am in Christ. And I am bringing that truth into my heart. Now.

"In Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, Who is the Head of all principality and power" Colossians 2:9,10
A valiant warrior. A king. Wonderfully and fearfully made. A royal priest. A son of the God, Most High.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Fighting



More than often we hear the preacher faithfully exhorting his congregation to resist and to combat corruption. We find ourselves passionately agreeing in prayer when the minister invites us to stand in the gap for our nation and ask Providence for a righteous government, one that is free of corruption, an epitome of integrity. We would even be able to relate to an incident where we break down and cry out to God to wipe out those corrupt serpents from the nation’s corridor of power. All is good.
But there comes a point of time where what we want, is really questioned. Well, at the very least, I was being questioned. Do I want a country stubbornly stained with corruption or do I want a nation of which I can stand up and say that I’m proud that its clean.
It all starts from us, really. I rear-ended a car recently. I was sad of course. In fact, sad is an understatement. I was utterly inwardly crushed. The girl [driver] was of course a temptation for me to announce its astudity. She didn’t know what to do. I had to offer my identification card number, my contact and everything necessary. She wanted me to assess the injury. I knew from there that she wasn’t really that ‘wise’. I consciously did not want to take advantage of her. I told her I’d get it to a mechanic and repair the damage. She said she’d contact me later.
She did, and she said the damage is RM500 which was a ridiculously large amount of money. I said fine, I’d pay but I can only do that by instalment. She refused and said that her mechanic could not accept it [she could have paid him first] and that she could not bring her car to my mechanic because she lived in mainland. I foresaw that she wanted to take advantage of me. In disappointment, I told her to make a police report.
I was told to tell my father to make a police report, stating that it was him who drove the car to avoid paying an extra of RM 400 on top of a RM 300 summon because I was below 21. So I obediently did. My father made a police report. The police didn’t believe it was him who drove it. He showed the report made by the girl. She stated that it was a male in his early 20s who drove it. It was clearly me.
All I wanted is to avoid paying an extra RM 400 to the insurance company. So I handed in my licence for the police’s documentation. To my horror, it was then I realised that my licence expired by a day. My father immediately jumped to his feet and made arrangements to treat the police. And the police on the other hand, while he had no choice but to issue a summon on two offences [causing an accident & driving with an expired licence], he promised to settle the payment for me in return of a special treat. I just stood back with disgust, filth, shame, guilt all scribbled on my face. I didn’t know that I would have allowed myself to degrade this low. What would my Liege think of my doing? How sure am I that He will approve of it? Or perhaps I should rephrase my rhetoric. How sure I am that He will disapprove of it? As surely as the sun that rises from the lofty mountains every morn.
While my head hung low, disappointed at how deceitful I became, this is what I understood from my situation, as illuminated by the Spirit. I did something wrong and therefore, I must own up to it. That is what it means to be a man. I must be responsible for my actions. And what about the fine I so much wanted to avoid? I am proud to say I am frugal when it comes spending. But it sure made me a different person. I tried so much to avoid paying extra. Could I have wanted to avoid paying more at any cost? Am I willing to pay the price; to deny my allegiance to Christ?



Today I withdrew RM 800 from my bank account. I’m going to pay my fine. I don’t feel good about losing so much cash especially when I am terribly short of them. But I know this, that God approves of what I am doing, and secondly, that my Father is rich beyond what I can ever imagine. As I obey and walk as a man of integrity, I know He’s going to bless me.
Today I felt a peace I have not felt for quite some time, especially during the nights , thinking if any of the planned deception should fail. I know I have lost a large sum of money, but I know I have gained a life. He’s proud of me. And that makes it all right.

Picture

How do you actually fake a photograph? They say a picture [or a photograph in this case] paints [captures] a thousand words [a thousand emotions]. So there it was a family portrait fest going about the church. It was family month, and one of the biggest highlights of the events orchestrated would be a family portrait session.

I had thoughts racing through my mind at the speed of sound, with the outstanding feature that it races around my head in a circular motion, making certain that I’d take notice of it. And I did. What if I asked my family to a session of family photography? What emotions would be captured by the lens? A lens so brutally demanding. Honesty is what it wants. How do you fake a smile?

I try not to judge. Really. But everytime I look at him, I hear ear-piercing screams of pain. I can smell the sickening scent of charred flesh. I smell blood. I smell anguish. I hear tears dropping.

Will my picture look like another perfect family portrait? Well, one thing can be certain; that no family is perfect. That, I can identify as the universal truth. But will I be able to have one family photo where I’d be able to tell that happiness and love really did saturate the air? I fear. I question. I yearn. I don’t know. I. Don’t. Want. To. Think. Further.

A picture so torn is not worth capturing in the first place. Time to heal the picture.