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05 May 2014 @ 12:45 am

Went into church feeling defeated today.
Because I completely wasted my long weekend watching a drama series (seriously...), am behind revision, was too distracted and unable to do work over the weekend, didn't complete my half of the AGM minutes, and simply couldn't wake up earlier to do a little work, or even try to be on time for church.
It was a lousy feeling.

Prayed against it.

The Father works through brokenness - His own (on the cross), and our's - the sin, failings and struggles we face in this earthly body. He is working, renewing, and creating a new and beautiful thing.
And I found myself tearing as the kids in Joyful Voices sang He's Still Working on Me.

He's still working on me
To make me what I need to be
It took him just a week to make the moon and stars
The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars
How loving and patient He must be
'Cause He's still workin' on me

There really ought to be a sign upon my heart
Don't judge him yet, there's an unfinished part
But I'll be better just according to His plan
Fashioned by the Master's loving hands

Thank You for the work that You have done, and are still doing :)) Help me to struggle powerfully, and be transformed into Your likeness (2 Cor3:18) as I abide in You.

"And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him"
Colossians 1:21-22

21 April 2014 @ 11:30 pm
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
John 10:28-30

Seeing dad stand before the church yesterday as he got installed as a deacon made me so happy, and proud. Daddy may not be perfect, and there are things that I wish he would do/wouldn't do, but the fact that I'm his daughter remains; and that he loves us, and really does try his best in being a father to us. It is awkward when he always ends his texts with "love dad", but at the same time, it brings a strange sense of comfort and warmth. And slight guilt for being a daughter that is barely at home :(

But I digress. I guess they are right in saying that fathers will always be their daughters' superhero. That was how I felt yesterday. So glad and proud that dad is stepping up to serve in church in such a capacity - it is indeed a (spiritual) milestone in our family. Thank God for His work and transformation in our family in recent years. Greater things are yet to come, and I believe that He is still on the move ;)

Funny how dad and I throw each other horrified expressions jokingly when we talk about him serving as a deacon. We laugh, but we know that it's a big thing - a heavy responsibility that we're talking about. But here's to journeying together as a family, with God as the ultimate head of our household :)

Happy Easter, indeed.
19 April 2014 @ 11:34 pm
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25

Things that make me smile:
1. When I have a good conversation with a kiddo. (A hug’s a bonus heehee)
2. When we have honest conversations, even if it means pointing out the double-standards we have in ministry.
3. Good supper at Bedok 85 ;)
4. A nice long hot shower after a long day under the sun
5. When I have a spontaneous 1.5hr long heart to heart talk with mum, and she (actually) listens. And also shares (about things I never knew).
18 April 2014 @ 01:25 am
John 12:43 (for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God...) was a poignant reminder about what I dislike, and am scared of in myself. Pride and the desire to be acknowledged and recognised (that hey, I might actually be good at something).
It scares me. And cripples me at the same time.

And also that biting sense of inadequacy as I struggle with myself and sin. Who am I, and what do I have to offer to the Lord? Sermon this evening reminded me of that - that all I have to offer to Christ is but filthy rags (We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. Isaiah 64:6). So much for thinking that I have very much to give and offer. But here's the beautiful part. It's not always about me, but about Christ and what He has done.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
rand the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:5-6

But He has washed away all the sin, guilt and shame.

Nothing I have to offer or bring before You, except these filthy rags. Nothing I can boast in; simply to the rugged cross I cling.
What can I give, what can I bring? What song can, and shall I sing all of my days?
But that You are my only boast.

That I may live each day in light of Your grace and mercy.
To follow and obey. 
17 April 2014 @ 12:17 am
Here's what He said.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
John 12:24-26

But God, I am so hesitant. So afraid, and inadequate.
What, and why?
But then again, You have shown that this door is... if anything, open.
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07 April 2014 @ 10:06 pm

"So how, Leong?"
"I really don’t know. I really don’t know where God is leading me to next (academic) year."

There’s the 12000-word honour thesis to write. (Finally) being back in ministry in church again. The possibility of moving back home after staying on campus for the past 3 years. And reconsidering if it is time for me to let go of campus ministry… or to rise up to the call and need.
I wish I’ve a ready answer. Or if I had a pillar of fire and cloud. It’s a big question mark. And it unsettles me deeply (yes, ocd alarm bells are ringing).

But He spoke. He reminded me that He’s the good shepherd.

The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
John 10:2b-4

Maybe it isn’t so much that God has been silent. Rather, in the noise of this world, my inability to be still at His feet and my failure to seek Him and love Him wholeheartedly, I have failed to listen out for and recognise His voice.
Yet over and above my failures, I am reminded of who He is; who Jesus, the good shepherd is.

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
John 10:10b-11

The good shepherd who goes before His sheep, and keeps watch over and protects His sheep. So too does Jesus stands watch over His people, and me (and you). Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

I think the prayer which today’s (cefc) devotional ends with sums it up very nicely and aptly. Thank You Jesus :)

Good Shepherd, You laid down Your life for Your own. Through this sacrifice Your body and blood were changed into our spiritual food to nourish us whom You have redeemed. You have called me by my name and shown me the way I am to follow despite my own insecurities and uncertainties. Lord, I cannot see ahead. But You can. Let me therefore lay down my life and every worldly pride, possession, pleasure and purpose for the sake of Your name and those whom You desire to bring into Your fold.
In Your name I ask, Amen
25 March 2014 @ 01:20 pm
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
Colossians 1:28-29

The above verse spoke to me almost a year ago, during Good Friday's sermon.

The context then: Ministry for the academic year in vcf was drawing to a close, and the past year was one marked with great struggles and on many instances, discouragement and disappointment. Char and I were wondering what we could do with the time we had left.

Later that night, the above 2 verses came to mind again. It was a frustrating and discouraging night at the plh easter retreat, which I was helping out in, along with some other tchers. 3 years since we graduated from youth ministry, and we saw for ourselves how things in ministry have changed. Once a highlight (read: staying overnight in church!), the number of youth who attended the retreat were few, and the number who stayed over... were even fewer. Might have been the organising committee themselves only. It was... sad, to say the very least. Maybe especially so for me because plh has (and always will) be a big part of my heart, having come to grow in faith there, and served in ministry for 3 out of my 6 years there. (On a side note: It was particularly frustrating then because it wasn't my season to serve in youth ministry, as much as it remains close to my heart). But then again, that same frustration we all felt that night was reminiscent of the THROW-ICE-AT-WALL helplessness I felt about youth ministry some years ago when I was heading the youth committee. Crazy times when we literally cried while serving in ministry (no thanks to burn out and stress).

Then throw in Paul's burden to 'present everyone mature in Christ', 'struggling with all his energy' for this purpose.
What a sharp difference from the huge sigh T and I let out at the end of our conversation post-retreat.
The depth of love and concern that Paul has for his ministry is always... mindblowing. That desire and willingness he has to struggle for the sake of the people under this care, in order to present them perfect and mature in Christ, is encouraging, and I guess puts in perspective why we struggle and work hard in ministry.

Today, almost a year later, things have changed... yet remained the same.

It is a privilege and blessing to be back in plh serving as a mentor, albeit as a very new and young one (apparently the plan is to disguise me as a youth sometimes). It hasn't been as easy as I thought... But things are exciting. E passed me Ps Edmund Chan's Mentoring Paradigms (hey, answered unspoken prayer!), and it has been a pretty good read so far. Looking forward to training (hahaha) in May.
Sat in for my first mentor's meeting yesterday. I guess it is safe to say that although it has been 5 years since I last sat in one (back then in my capacity as youth committee chair), things... are largely the same. 3 hour long meetings, interrupted with laughter and "THE hand". But at the heart of it all, a desire to see ministry and the youths grow.
Although hearing from Y (the current youth committee chair) was a little worrying. I have seen too many youth committees burn out (mine including, sigh), and I definitely do not wish to see that stupid cycle repeat itself all over again. Although it was so encouraging to hear the big plans they have, and the change they're trying to push.

So I guess, here we stand, breaking the trend and pushing new boundaries, or remaining comfortable in the status quo. We were made for more. Here's to labouring hard, with the power that comes from Him.

And it's the time of the year when succession plans and preparation for next academic year's ministry go into full swing. Am currently in a state of _______ and confusion as with 2 years ago. I guess it kindof makes me appreciative of the fact that going on exchange last sem made decisions and seeking God's plans so much easier and clearer. Although in retrospect, so many things and relationships have changed as a result of my absence/departure. I am not sure if it's worth it. But in the fullness of His time, it will all make sense.

I digress. Was talking with D about what lies ahead for me in the coming academic year - specifically about staying on in CAPT, and ministry in VCF and church. In the course of our conversation, I was reminded of the conviction which I came back home with earlier this year (that which He spoke in the quiet streets of New York) - that this is my season to be back home in church. D and I are quite similar personality-wise (which makes talking to him very enjoyable), and he said this "You're the sentimental type, right? That's why you find letting go of ministry so hard." I guess he hit the nail on the head. I should go figure out of it's really my call in this season. And let go. Rather than fighting so hard to "finish well" on my own terms. Maybe it's just this heart's prideful desire to end off my time in nus/vcf with a big bang.
20 March 2014 @ 10:33 pm

Sabino Canyon, Tuscon, Arizona

Days spent traveling, chasing geography in the sun and snapping away on my camera.
I felt alive.
I hope you are well.
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09 March 2014 @ 04:27 pm
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5

Green Lake Park, Seattle

Yesterday, it clicked.
No more hiding in the shadows; it is time to start walking in, and shining forth His light!

Last week was by far, the best week I've had since I came back. It wasn't easy, having to face up to myself and to you; but then again, grace is so real and gripping. In focusing on Jesus, and not on the winds or water below my feet, I (finally) saw beyond myself and found back who I am in Him.
Oh Lord, may You continue to take this brokenness aside, and use me for Your glory :)

Dear J, thank you. We may never find back that depth of friendship which we once shared, but I thank God for reconciliation, and for this new start. It is good to have you back.
05 March 2014 @ 08:32 pm

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them — yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.

1 Corinthians 15:9-10

Grace. Grace that makes me what I am. Grace that takes out the 'me' in my working hard. Grace that is with me (even with my crazy to-do lists and deadlines, service in ministries and random things).

I am but a speck in the universe. Who am I? Who are we that You should even care?
I can't help but ravel at the depths of love, care and attention You have poured forth even before I was born (go read Psalm 139). Funny, the thoughts I get when swimming; in the quiet of the pool.

But we are a people of grace.
Even when grace works in ways that we cannot understand, we learn to walk by faith, trusting in His goodness and faithfulness.
And how does that look like?
I caught a glimpse of it from an old lady selling tissue paper by the mrt station. She was reading her bible, while seated next to a bag of tissues that had sign saying "Jesus loves you".
She smiled and said "Thank you", but not without ending her sentence with "God bless you."