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Emmanuel : God With Us

Part 1

We live in uncertain times. It seems that the world is heading into a greater time of instability than the current generation has experienced before. And it’s on that note, that so many felt that 2016 could not end sooner, in hopes that 2017 might bring better news and better days.
We hope that the weather gets better. We hope for happier times. We hope things improve. But hope, without action, can just be empty notions. You can hope to get a job, but you also have to put in work. You can hope to lose weight, but you have to put in the effort. The hope for the future, doesn’t just happen. It needs action.

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Strangers at a carousel

“It’s too heavy by 2kg,” he told her. “You can either pay £20 for another 10kg or you can repack your bag.” I thought she was going to break down in tears. But there was very little I could do as I watched her unpack her suitcase and try to figure out what stuff she would have to leave behind.

We all have baggage in our lives. Things that we carry with us – things we’ve picked up along the way, things we find unbearable to leave behind, things we like, things we need, even some things we hate but have become such a part of us it’s difficult to imagine life without it.

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Joshua 22

I’m sitting in a Starbucks in town, waiting for my appointment with Hsbc, typing up this post and reflecting on my message this past Sunday.

In Joshua 22, there’s an altar built by the people of Reuben and the people of Gad. They called the altar Witness, “For,” they said, “it is a witness between us that the LORD is God.” it was an altar symbolizing that even though the tribes were separated by the Jordan river, they hearts remained united in the worship of God.

And as I sit here in this Starbucks, looking out onto New Street, I can’t help but wonder what are the symbolic altars erected in the city of Birmingham and what do they stand for. I see streets lined with shops, full of signs saying Sale and Discount. I see the shop windows full of people who are supposedly beautiful looking making me feel severely underdressed. I see signs selling me beautiful holidays in exotic places – escape from the grey skies of central England. These altars declaring a hope of a better life if you spend more money. Altars promising rest and refreshment. Altars testifying to a (better) life.
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Joshua 21

Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.
-Joshua 21:45

There are times in our life, when we struggle to see what the future holds. When we worry whether the days ahead will be good or whether they will be bad. In fact, we discover how little we are able to actually predict the future. We have enough trouble predicting what the weather will be like. We can estimate, or we can hope, but we don’t know.
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Why I’m Quitting Facebook

DISCLAIMER #1 : So, i’m not saying this is a permanent decision. I may return to facebook one day. In fact, I can do that knowing that my details would not have been erased, because Facebook doesn’t actually “delete” your account. It just “deactivates” it, hoping you come crawling back one day.

DISCLAIMER #2: This is my decision. I’m neither saying you should or should not quit facebook yourself. I’m just saying why I’m going to deactivate my account. So if you decide to do the same, don’t blame me. 😛

Aafter much deliberation, I am going to deactivate my facebook account this Friday 28 May.

No, i’m not doing it because i want to have a Facebook free bank holiday weekend. I’m not doing it because i have an issue with their privacy policy. I’m not doing it because i don’t like Mark Zuckerberg and think he might be a seedy fellow. I’m also not quitting because i’m addicted to facebook. really.

So why am I quitting facebook?
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Joshua 1:9

Pastor Bert this past Sunday introduced the new BCEC theme for 2010, Joshua 1:9. In the beginning minutes of his sermon, he said:

We don’t live lives where we trust God. We live lives where we trust ourselves. Because we don’t live lives of risk. We live lives of shelter and safety… because we don’t realise we are in the midst of a war… in the midst of a spiritual war, where God has commanded us to go and be strong and courageous.

With that, my heart gave a resounding “Amen!”
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Exploring Community : Church

“It is not about building our own empire. It’s about taking the power of the Holy Spirit and living a life where we are witnesses in Judea, Samaria, to the ends of the earth.”

That line from Alex’s sermon stands out so clearly. I remember the first time I realised that church was not a singular unit in a moment of time, but rather a living body that transcended time, and drew it’s leadership and direction from Christ itself. It was at that moment where I realised that Jesus was not born during the Roman Empire — the Roman Empire was raised for the arrival of Christ. The coming of Christ is the singular point by which all of history is defined!

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Exploring Community : Active

So a year ago, I went out and bought WiiFit. Part of me believed that somehow by purchasing WiiFit, I’d become more proactive in exercising and keeping myself in shape. It was like how people get gym memberships hoping that the cost would somehow encourage them to have a more active lifestyle.

The thing about WiiFit is that it helps you set targets, and encourages you to meet them. In fact it keeps track on whether you are using it everyday. So if you missed a few days here and there, the little animated WiiFit board would say, “I’ve missed you,” or “Haven’t seen you in a few days.” A subtle guilt-ing to hopefully inspire you to inaction.
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Love Your Neighbour

This past Sunday we had the privilege of having the General Secretary of the Hong Kong Bible Society, Dr Mary Leung come and share with us.

Born in Hong Kong, educated in Canada with Master of Social Work degree, Dr. Leung was a professional Social Worker for over 2 decades in the area of psychiatric social work, counseling, family service and administration before joining HKBS as General Secretary since 2006.  She is a welcomed speaker in Hong Kong on family, parenting, depression, mental health/clear conscience, social concern and loving one’s neighbors etc. from a Biblical perspective so as to remind audience to read the Bible for themselves; make a habit of it and allow the Bible’s truth to transform lives.  She had also completed her Doctorate in Education in citizenship and moral education, from the University of Technology Sydney.

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The Lord Is Risen!

I turn 35 today. I like to describe it as halfway to 70. And while I was away at MEC, Phan discovered that she could buy jeans for me at Gap Kids.

So yesterday I was at Gap Kids buying jeans for myself. Apparently i’m a Husky 13. Turning 35 and buying jeans at Gap Kids is a rather humbling (though i used the word humiliating) experience. But as I was trying these jeans on, i kept asking myself, why should I be humiliated? I mean, i’m getting jeans for half-price, and they actually fit me, and i won’t be dragging my jeans through the rain anymore — but still part of me — my pride — refused to let go of the fact that I was shopping for men’s clothing in a boyswear department. (I bought them in the end. And yes, they fit.)

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Here Am I, Send Me

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

 

6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

 

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Isaiah 6:8

If we realise our place before God – the utter sinfulness of our heart – we would, as Bryan suggested, fall before him and cry out – Woe is me!

And if God were to cleanse that sin from us, purifying us from that unrighteousness, our natural response would be that of elation, submission, and obedience.

So if God then asked, “Who will tell people?” – we would jump at the chance, and say with jubilation, “Here I am, Send me.”

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