Liberated

I have just come back from a YAYP camp in Johor and this is by far the camp that has impacted me the most in recent years. What I wrote in the YAYP wall after the camp was a summary of my experiences.

I’m happy I actually made new friends at the retreat. So in a way that passing thot of ‘maybe I can get to know more people’ really came to pass! And in future I’ll be more intentional in knowing others, because the YAYP community really is so special and precious! There were so many moments I can remember and reflect on thru out this retreat.

This retreat is poignant because it was so unpretentious; it wasn’t living on a hype and didn’t try to anyway. We probably knew of that famine, that presencelessness of God in our daily lives as well, but to hear that in a corporate setting really rung a wake up call to everyone.

Day 1 was really as many around me felt, dry and uninspired. But Day 2 came, and I really heard the most powerful sermon in YAYP for me, and then followed the breaking of hardened hearts and of healing. We were suddenly all so vulnerable towards one another, those barriers that we carried week after week didn’t apply anymore. The old order of things have passed on. In our confessions and imperfections the presence of God was so real; that liberation was unmistakable. Day 3 came with a simple call to take the step towards God, and I personally did.

As individuals, as a cell, as a community of young people, we are Liberated, so we may worship Him… the words I won’t forget! So blessed to have come to the retreat, I didn’t expect anything, but I received everything! Amen.


And yeah, so in a way, I feel that this retreat is really different from the previous few ones, even better than the Grace retreat in some way, because this time around I feel more rested and able to take the message in, the people who are running the camp are people that we know, and the things that were taught were introspective and made me consider the things I have done in the past.

During the final day I stepped forward to the altar to respond to the message of the four lepers. I felt that I really need to be closer to God to hear His voice so that I can know His direction for me. I am back from Taiwan already, I am not exactly raring or sure in doing anything related to design as a ministry. I have scattered wishes and dreams like to take care of a bunch of young people again, to lead them, to be emotionally investing in another person’s life and to just be part of the ministry of a wider body again. But I am particularly sure of how I am supposed to move on from here.

I feel that first of all, I want to get back into the radar of The Lord. That decision wasn’t all that easy because to journey with The Lord means to experience all the highs and lows that come with it.

I was thinking that I want to meet my cell kids once more, just to catch up with them, to know what is going on in their lives, to make a mental note of them and to just be connected to them once more. I am not their current CM or their mentor anymore, but I want to be able to show them that I still care about their lives and issues, that while the visiting hours are over, the doctor is always in. Something like that.

And that seems like an okay direction to be heading to right now. It sure beats doing nothing. And I intend to start from the most difficult case. Someone whom I once mentored and was so close to, but even in this retreat I was not able to talk with. I feel that these barriers have to be removed. Roadblocks will have to CONTINUE to be liberated. The liberation is not an event, it is a process and that camp, is viewed most objectively when it was seen as a starting point for greater things and not as a destination unto itself. If relationships continue to be liberated, the devil will have lesser and lesser hold on us. This process has been birthed and is destined for continuity and I will begin with the the person who really made me feel like I have to do something about it. Even for myself I will do it. And then followed by everyone else in the cell, and the 1st cell. I will try to meet everyone eventually, then I will meet everyone collectively.

I may do design. I may not. But that is no longer the question. I WILL serve God, and I will through my ministry, be a mentoring influence on lives around me. This is what the YAYP retreat has accomplished in my heart, and henceforth will never be the same again. Amen.

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Is God Real?

During my NS days, I wrestled with God almost on a daily basis. I questioned Him, I took Him to my court, and I asked him why. Why I felt so powerless to do what I thought good christians could and should have done in the army — to be the salt and light for him, and at the same time, see my fellow brothers falling left right and centre, failing to meet that mark I thought I could look up to. I was also mentoring one of my precious cell kids then. “Who was I to him?” I often asked myself. Who am I to lead him when I was fallen myself? At the end of the day, I asked the Lord, are you real?

Many non Christians think that only they question the existence of the Jehovah God. In fact as a Christian for over 23 years, I can safely say that most of the questions come from Christians ourselves. And our God welcomes our questioning and doubts. It is through doubt that we seek, and the Lord will show Himself to those who earnestly seek Him.

Because if He was, then everything I did had immense meaning; if He wasn’t real, then I everything to be meaningless.

Then I heard something, and it was something I shared with my cell kid, and I believe he will remember it to this day. I told him, “Faith isn’t based on feeling”. Faith isn’t based on what you feel like. That is, just because you don’t feel God here, doesn’t diminish his existence in your life. Humans are material creatures; we have to feel the material sense of God to believe, but God is spirit, and to love and worship God is to do so in spirit and in truth.

Feelings are fleeing and can fluctuate from day to day. You can feel that you love that person to bits on one day, and the other you feel like smashing him apart. But that does not take away one bit your love for that person. When you love someone, you love the entirety of that person. When you trust in the Lord, that faith is independent whatever feeling you experience that very day, week, moment.

Faith in God is based on your knowledge of Him, your past experiences with Him, your relationship with Him. That way, even in the valley of the shadow of death, we can say we fear no evil, for He is with us. Anything less than faith will make us the most foolish of people; I believe that He is real because he brought me to Wee Kim Wee, brought me through 2 IPPT passes, brought me through arduous exams, brought me through all the seasons of life.

All of my life, in every season, you are still God. I have a reason to sing; I have a reason to worship.

packing time. and wishing. and goals.

I’ve packed around 75%. I’m almost done with what’s needed to be brought.

I’ve spent the past few days meeting people. My cell, my sec sch friends, my newly made IT Club junior. In a way, I ought to be ‘ready’ to go. But I guess on a personal level, you can never really be ‘ready’ to go. There will always be things on my mind. Things that I will, for a little while at least, leave behind. Many well wishes, many good byes.

But that is okay. I was never an adventurous person to begin with. To some extent I will definitely miss people here, but I know I will eventually come back to them in a matter of months. And moreover I will enjoy my time there. It will be okay.

Here I am. The weird thing about starting 2013 is that for once I didn’t actually write down my goals and plans for the year. I always remembered to do it at the start of the year, but this year I forgot. And procrastinated.

And as time would fly, it did. I promised myself I would at least write them down before I go. At least that will give some perspective and purpose to me being there. And also for this year 2013.

I started off the year with a worry that I brought over from 2012. I hadn’t passed my SBJ, and if I could not pass it before I fly on the 31st Jan, I will technically have to do RT when the whole exchange and trips are over. I was psychologically prepared for it, telling myself that if that had to happen, it had to happen. I will take the RT as a time to ramp my fitness for the next cycle. But it was still not a nice thing I felt like doing. It was 20 session, and it meant a wasted 2.4km (I really don’t like running in Maju, so I vow to do it once and only once a year).

So I prayed and trained. Only that unlike the previous year, I had no 3 months to pass it. I had effectively 6 weeks from my initial IPPT partial failure on the Dec 20. So I had to quickly pass it, even 216cm was good enough. And as I went back on the 10 of Jan, I managed 210cm. But I knew it was too early to give up; God could grant me a miracle anytime, I just needed to give myself the opportunity for God to do His miracle.

And a miracle He did. On the 22nd of January, 8 days before I would be flying, I went to Maju for a third time in this cycle. I jumped a 212cm, and another 212cm. 4 more cm to a pass. I really didn’t want to retake any more. I asked the PTI to reset for me, and then, I jumped.

216cm.

That is *exactly* the 2pt passing that I badly, dearly, needed.

Amazing. Isn’t God amazing? I give Him praise. SBJ has always been a tough one for me. I am confident for pull ups, sit ups, shuttle run, 2.4. it’s only SBJ that really made me worry. But the Lord has taken it away. In the nick of time, I have cleared my cycle 6 solid months before it closes, given me the assurance and the freedom to do what I want in Taiwan without worrying about coming back to do RT. And also, given me a full 9 month before my next cycle, which I will resolve to pass and clear it the week that new cycle opens.

Yup. It’s quite amazing. It is amazing because on my own, I have never managed more than 210cm. Mostly is 206cm. So, yes, it IS a miracle. Thank You.

Now, moving on to the goals for the year. 2013 came like a thief. One month has almost passed.

1. I want to maintain my fitness in Taiwan, constantly running to offset all those calories from the delicacies I will eat like everyday. And most importantly, to build up a good and effective SBJ training plan that I will alternative with my running. The idea is to keep on jumping so I will not be afraid of the SBJ any more. It will no longer hinder me. I hope to get my first 100bucks from SAF. This is my fitness goal for 2013.

2. Studies wise, I hope to, well, pass all the mods in Taiwan, and to enjoy every one of them. To make tonnes of awesome friends, and a few really close ones. When I come back, I hope to maintain the steady improvement in my grades. That’s all. And I have nothing much to motivate myself, so I hope to have some motivation then.

3. Relationally, I hope to end the year with someone I love.

4. Family wise, I hope that this distance will boost the closeness and help me to appreciate my parents more, and this family more. When I come back, things would only get better.

5. Spiritually, I know God is bringing me into a new season of encounter and direct connection with Him. Somehow Taiwan will bring me right into the throne room of God. I want to follow Jesus, to learn from Him, to listen to Him, and follow Him. As for ministry, I know God is leading me into a new area to serve. I’ll leave it to Him to decide. I know He is going to speak soon, and my ears are ready to hear from Him.

Also, I did have plans for what I wanted to achieve out of Taiwan 2013. But I cannot find it. Which is a good thing. So I can think about it now.

1. I want to come back a better designer. Whether or not I continue to serve in church in design is another story. But I know I want to come back inspired with no just layout ideas, but the intangible stuff. Like the mindset, the attitude, the feeling. The sensitivity, the appropriateness, the discernment, the morals and ethics. The awestruck goodness given by an awesome God. And that will happen when I get back to the basics, when I go with no preconception but to receive and process all there is to see. I will go bearing the words of Jony Ive and Phil Schiller in mind.

“In other to create something that’s genuinely new, you have to start again. And with great intent, you disconnect from the past. If you don’t change things, then that you can engineer is really incremental. But if you’re willing to change things, that opens up a whole new level of design.”

This will be my guiding ethos when I journey thru Taiwan, Hongkong, Japan.

2. I want to come back closer to God. I want to experience God in a breathtaking way. I am never a nature person, but who knows Taiwan will bring me to admire the beauty of His creation and lead me to quality time spent with the Lord, being with Him, reading His word, and communicating with Him in the midst of His own creation. And when I’m back, I will continue this journey with a heightened and closer sense of who God is in my life.

3. I want to come back a really better person. That I can get a perspective on things I would never have gotten back here in Singapore. That I can understand, finally, what goes on thru a Taiwanese’s mind and how the people in Taiwan live their lives on a daily basis. There are things I can learn and put to use. To value and appreciate on an intangible but powerful manner. I will come back a better person.

Yup. That is all. Thanksgiving for the first miracle of 2013. Goals and plans for the year. And what I hope to take back from Taiwan 2013.

To God be the Glory.

doing design work as a ministry (and / or) for money?

By now quite a few people in church would have heard of what I do. I was a little surprised because during the retreat there were people in church who knew me as ‘the one who designed the camp booklet’, or ‘the one who designed the mission magazine’. People whom I haven’t met before, but they somehow heard of me.

After doing work for church for a while now, I think it’s a good time to say some things that I’ve always wanted to say, but lacked the conviction or confidence to. But it’s time I make that stand clear to myself, and well as to anyone who is serving in this capacity.

Note that I said serving. But I am paid. How do you reconcile that?

Quite a few of people asked (and many more are probably thinking of it in their hearts): (1) Why the need to be paid? (2) Shouldn’t I do it as my ministry to God (meaning that I shouldn’t charge the church at all)?

The simplest answer is also the most honest one: I need to survive. I need the money for my livelihood. No doubt it’s not a lot, but that’s not a reason why designers who serve should be denied. It’s the reason why they *should* be paid.

Secondly, I *AM* doing my ministry. Where is my ministry?

My ministry is the difference between the value of my work and the price I charge. I am confident that of all the work I have done thus far since collecting my first design allowance, I have given more in value than I’ve received in legal tender.

It’s isn’t much easier to say this now, however, even with a certain level of recognition and repute. Because I am my greatest critique, and I do get quite demoralised when I do not seem to ‘give’ as much as I did in a previous issue, for example.

But when I realise that God looks at my heart and knows I’ve given my all for Him, that’s good enough. Who is my ministry for? It is towards people, to see people smile, to see people benefit very practically from my design work, but ultimately, ultimately, it is for God.

God is my judge for this ministry. Design is my ministry, and this ministry is for God, and rightly so. I am not at the position to say which ministry deserves payment. I’m also not going to argue how much an amount is right to pay a designer that’s serving in church. That’s not the point here. But I think this is one of the ways that a church blesses its people, and allows them to continue to serving in their greatest capacity.

10 things i wanna do before i die

Today I had a sudden thought flooding my mind. I felt that it is a miracle that I am alive today. Why do I say that? I could have died a few times already, if not for His intervention.

I could have died in the hospital in 2007 when dengue hit me and my platelet count hit a dangerously low level.

I could have died on the roads in 2008 when I fell down from my bicycle onto the road during a raining morning rush hour.

I could have died in 2009 when my armoured vehicle almost dashed right into a deep ravine twice my height.

Being humans we tend to think we should always be so lucky. Death is like a distant enemy, forever too far to give any regard. But truth is that life is not always certain. It’s rarely, if at all. We take our lives for granted. We think we owe ourselves a living.

Life is fragile. Perhaps it’s because of the game called Ghost Trick that I played, it made me realise that there are indeed many ways one’s live could end. And while it’s a game, it did teach me that life so important; with life we can do things that we might actually regret not doing (assuming we’re able to). At the least, for the xxx years that I am around, I want to know what I want to do, rather than just living life for the sake of it.

I believe that my life is sacred and God-given. There are things I want to do. Before I die.

1. I want to make my parents truly proud of me.

2. I want to master Japanese to speak it confidently.

3. I want to have been a DJ.

4. I want to fall into a deep relationship that will last for a long time.

5. I want to have brought people into God’s Kingdom.

6. I want to love and be loved in an unselfish way.

7. I want to graduate from my dream school.

8. I want to have impacted many, many people in my journey through life.

9. I want to have children (in the paternal sense of course).

10. (I will leave this to myself.)

There. My life is but a vapor in the wind. May I never see it for longer than I should. May I focus less on the temporal, and more on the eternal.

the past 21 days

Ever since I stepped out of army, I’ve never felt so tired and stressed out like the past 3 weeks were. I thought design + work + tuition was the ‘kind’ of life that I wanted to live so get my money, but now I can see that the combination is almost sending me to hell.

I’ve been so seriously caught up in my design project that I’ve skipped cell, church, friends, and even my KangXi. Work begins the moment I open my eyes and never stops still I plod dead on my bed. Harmful? I took an agonising 2 weeks to just recover from a little sorethroat and phlegm. That was how bad the busyness got to.

But that aside, there’re also happy things to talk about. I believe, as of now with fingers and toes tightly crossed, the GMP (Grace Mission Pointer) April Issue is completed and sent to print. It’s been such an amazing journey doing the publication for GM, and co-incedentally this April issue is also my anniversary issue working with Grace, my co-ordinator.

It’s been one hell of a year since I started on this journey. As I look back, I suddenly realise how far we’ve come. I dare say *this* is the issue we’ve been waiting for. The goals of readability, engagement and purpose will be fulfilled with this coming issue of GMP. Back then in Feb 2010 Grace and I sat down in the Macs downstairs and she held in her hand a piece of document penned by me, stating the problems GMP faced and how it can be improved.

But the first issue was vastly discouraging. Clearly I knew very little about InDesign, the design process, printing, and all the stuff. I’d never worked under a co-ordinator before, and I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t realise how precious was the hand extended to an amateur designer — the honor and privilege to do something that will be seen by 4,000 pairs of eyes and impact the people featured in them and all.

But one year on, so many things have become clearer. I’ve been thru the baptism of fire with all the possible hiccups and problems that could possible occur. Printing cannot print out. Font missing. File size not right. Color inaccurate. Not enough time. Poor communication. Stress. All these things are like chapters of a very important lesson I’ve learnt.

3 GMPs and 1 Annual report, I’ve grown much stronger in my expertise. I can weave InDesign almost as comfortably as I do with Photoshop — that’s 1 more skill in my arsenal. People often ask me if I study design, or which design school I come from. I take that as a compliment, but above all I’m grateful that I actually have something I can be proud of.

Okay, now that the ‘design phase’ is kind of over, I wanna document the major design changes that govern this issue (and the issues to come from now on).

I’ve always wanted a magazine layout for the publication because it brings missions down to a level everyone can approach. Rather than presenting pastors like some ultra-anointed people with super-christians that brave hell and high water for the gospel, I brought it down to what it’s supposed to be — normal people reaching out to normal people. Normal people who love God and are willing to be used in whatever their condition may be. There isn’t a need to puff up love. So with a magazine I hope I brought it down to the everybody.

The magazine layout could only realise now because previously I had neither time nor skills. Being stuck in camp meant I couldn’t do too much of playing around with InDesign. My skills weren’t up to scratch either. So I had to kind of live with the current layout, while keeping in mind the eventual goal to open up gmp2011 with a bang.

and bang indeed.

From 6 to 8 pages. A brand new dedicated chinese edition (not a lackluster ‘translation’). feature articles. stunning photographs from Flickr. Every page of the new gmp speaks of the dedication to make the gmp a worthy contender to the main church publication in every aspect, to elevate the idea of mission in my very church to the level it is intended to be.

the purposes are profound, but definitely achievable, but not without nights and nights of relentless hardwork, crazy-proofreading comparable to the annual report, and effort to search and incorporate layouts that can match the ones you see on the shelves.

gmp is still a work in progress, but it is my hope that i will continue to bring it to greater heights. i desire to see God glorified thru great design. not just for design sake but that the channel thru which it is brought to his people, can better reflect the greatness of the God they’re serving; and also the cause they’re all giving to.

I’m not able to show you the designs before the church publishes it, but once it’s released i’ll wanna discuss in detail my design decisions.

and apart from that i wanna say that it’s great to be less busy once more. to concentrate on the more important things in life than just work.

today i heard the sermon iTransit from ps calvin, and it cannot be more apt for me right now. to be honest im very vexed about school. there’res so many questions in my head that im asking all the time:

– will i have true friends, and will i be the true friend?

– will the gossip mill that sch is destroy me, or cause me to destroy others?

– can i handle the pressures of design, sch and tuition at the same time?

– do i really want to do journalism?

– will i do well for my studies?

– will hall life be okay?

– should i go for exchange? and what about my tuition cases if i decide to go?

and so on…

but today i learnt that i should above all else put my trust in God. my hope.

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

The above passage is a classic unto itself. there is nothing like it in the bible. it is the most encouraging passage i’ve come across, and nothing gives me strength is this passage gives me strength.

moving on, i know that new wine cannot be poured into old wineskins.

a new schooling life cannot be accomodated with old, negative, self-defeating mentalities.

i need a FRESH, NEW, SPIRIT-EMPOWERED sense of the Lord in my life. because come 1 aug, everything is NEW again. i start on a blank page with the power of God. I will stop dwelling in my past.

so, this is going to be something new i see.

🙂

saying NO

Recently I’ve been known as ‘Jeremiah the designer’ around church and among friends.

Honestly it feels good. I had always wanted to be good in something and be recognised for the work that I do. And now, after all the big and small projects I’ve done for R-AGE, Grace AOG and even YAYP now, I can only thank God for the opportunity to learn and practice on a scale that others have to fight for. Who can so easily reach a circulation of 4,000 just like that? Of course I do have a certain of expertise and experience built up over the years, but that will no discount God’s providence and grace for me to exercise this talent that God has given me.

But through all these things there’re times when people will approach me for design; more often than I would have preferred. They come from everywhere; R-AGE, YAYP, church, friends, and all with a genuine hope that I could help them.

How could I turn them down?

I think NO is a very difficult word to say. I mean, it’s actually easier to say YES and help them right? I don’t want them to feel that Jeremiah is very unhelpful. I also want to ‘serve’ God thru my designs too. But then I also have my priorities to consider, and in short I have no time or energy to expend on these projects too.

So most of the times when people ask me I:-

1. refer them to someone I think is willing and able to help

2. agree to help with a very clear and no-nonsense set of rules

3. say sorry that i am unavailable to help because of my commitments

Yeah.

I honestly don’t like no.3. But I have to do it sometimes. But recently for the YAYP project I adopted the no.2 approach. For the project I set them a black-off period, meaning by *this* date I will hand over the entire project to them in whatever state it is in, completed or otherwise. And thereby take no responsibility for its ability to reach completion.

It sounds harsh, but it’s necessary. Because I’d had too many cases when I keep doing revisions (on a daily, or even multiple in a day) and it eats up much, much more time than it is supposed to. In a design project the amendments are obviously inevitable and can be a pain in the rear, and I know it very well. But I’m not ready to reject all those design requests altogether just because they come accompanied with the incessant revisions and late nights.

So, I choose to help them partially. To do as much as I can. till the date I set. Then the show’s theirs.

Of course, if i’m paid it’s different. Since I accept the client’s money I accept the totality of the game, and I’ve to play by their rules. I’m being paid for the responsibility of having to bring the project to its very completion and delivery. I chose to accept payment. So I cannot blame anyone.

But if no money it’s involved I think it’s perfectly fair to state the rules that I want to play by. It’s a moat to protect my own interests.

I hope this will not be seen as selfishness.

One thing I hate, that is to have agreed and then have to say ‘sorry, I’m not able to do it anymore…’, because the trust placed in the other party would be affected. I’m a realist in this area and I’m terribly objective about every project even before it starts. Which is why I want people who requests help from me to be as objective too.

As much as I hate to admit, people who ask from me are not considered my clients. I help my friends out of goodwill, but I work for my clients on a professional level, so the expectations must be different. Neither of each are of a higher priority, but for myself I need to clear so I don’t feel guilty for not helping in areas I cannot.

Chase your dreams.

It’s quite rare that I write some ‘立志’ kind of post, but heck today’s the day I wanna be so encouraging.

Do you know that when I was in Primary school, I had dreamed to one day hold the mic and speak to Singapore? Back then I was inspired very much by 2 yes933 DJs 丁志勇 & 陳麗儀. Yeah, the year was 2000? When 林佩芬 and 蕭佳慧 were still in school, and all. Back then my Chinese sux ttm, and you could just ask any 6B people in Lianhua Pri to verify that.

But ever since I touched radio, or 933 to be exact, my Chinese did improve quite dramatically, till to this day I would say I’m reasonably fluent and confident to express myself, my thoughts and emotions in the medium. I used to, like many Singaporeans of my age, treat my mother tongue with outright disdain and to downplay its importance and eminence. But as I gradually did improve in the language, I began to appreciate what Chinese could offer as an added avenue of expression and thought, which, of course, would transpire into a whole new range of physical behaviour.

The purpose of radio, of yes933, served to expose me to Chinese (pop) culture and the way of thinking in the Chinese world. Songs, interviews, news, conversations, presentation styles and the like were better teachers that any Chinese textbook at that time. It’s honestly much easier to listen a song by Jay Chou or S.H.E than to trudge through a 300word story about ancient Chinese folklore.

So it was. Radio. It helped me, empowered me, and most significantly, made me want to become a DJ. It made me think that I wanted to go to a good secondary school, followed by a top JC, then to the mass comm school in NTU.

But life did happen. I went to a neighbourhood school, and then a neighborhood JC.

But God is good. I made the best of friends in Hillgrove till this day I can still call my very own. JJC thought me an important lesson about pride and humility I will never forget, and in the end, I still made it to the mass comm school in NTU.

We’re talking about detours here. They mean a change in transportation, not a change in destination. It cannot be more obvious that God wants to tell me, all these things, all the achievements I’ve reached and will reach in the future, is not by my own strength, but by His.

So, just as I believe God has brought me sovereignly to wkwsci, all the more I want to chase the dream I believe God has embedded in my heart. I do want to give back to the station that once gave me. I want to give to others what I have received back then. I know the route ahead is not easily. I know my chances are not high if I were to go for the competitions. For a crazy idea, I actually thought that God would lead me in comfortably by letting me walk into it.

If God has done the hard part of winning the victory for me, how difficult can it be for me to just claim it?

So with all my heard I believe that, yes, I will be the DJ that God wants me to be.

I will chase my dreams with all my heart, believing in every good thing God has in store for me.

Chase your dreams.

i really hope to improve

Just received another copy of the Grace Missions Pointer (GMP) Oct issue. And I realised that I wasn’t as excited as I ought to be. I’ll be honest. It’s because there are a few glaring mistakes that really, really should not even appear in there. Spelling mistakes. Misalignment of pictures. It really seems like shoddy work. But the more infuriating fact was that we, Grace Chung and I, put in a lot of effort into it. It’s like for every pound of effort you only get a few ounces of results. The exchange rate is that bad.

I think it’s like what they say, 台上十分鐘,台下十年功.

I look at the issue that I’ve designed, and what comes to mind instantly are the glaring errors. And all while I know that its too late to do anything about them. They’re a done deal. I can only say, “I’ll make the next one better.” It really felt like a slap on my face.

One of the biggest challenges to doing the GMP for this year was the lack of time. With army taking up almost all my weekdays I have only the weekends to rush out. We’ve already beefed up the frequency of communication, and it has seen some marked improvement, but it turns out that we need to beef it up so much more. Grace and I have to communicate much more frequently.

It doesn’t help that the submissions are always kept to the tail end of the month before we get into a frenzy and try to churn out linguistically inconsistent articles with photos that are of low resolution and send them to me, and I have to get as much info sorted out and then send it back to her, somewhat incomplete.

As a result even despite checking; a few big, big mistakes escaped my eye, and it went on the print.

It’s downright depressing, honestly. Especially when you see your name there, and are not sure if the work you’ve done will actually aid or harm your portfolio. I can only say, “I will improve on the next one”, with a great deal of helplessness because I know the rush is likely to resume.

One fortunate thing, however, is that army’s gonna be over soon, so I’ll have my weekdays to do what I couldn’t do. I believe this added expense of time will be extremely beneficial to the ‘big bang’ we’re gonna do for Grace Missions next year.

I also believe the last thing we need to do, is to immerse the entire project in PRAYER. I haven’t been making God the objective of my pursuits and this lack is so clearly evident in the exasperation I feel. We need to pray, pray and pray more. God is a God with boundless creativity and He will not disappoint us when we do His work.

Ultimately Grace Missions is about JESUS, about reaching the world for him, and GMP will be the perfect vessel to showcase the work of God through the nations that Grace Assembly is impacting.

GMP 2011 will not only be about readability and engagement, but even more about PURPOSE. GMP must be sure of why it exists, and that is to glorify God by being a steward of what He has done in the world.

Try we must, but evermore to pray and trust.

does God need Satan?

I just watched this movie called “Thank You For Smoking”, and it’s an interesting movie that I wasn’t really able to understand much, except for the point that if you have an argument, and you can argue it better for your side, technically you win.

This is also the essence of debating too. Given any motion, every debator has to stay true to their side of the house, regardless of whether they personally subscribe to the motion or not. This always leaves very interesting arguments whenever a controversial motion is released.

Take for instance, a few days back in church when my pastor said something like, if Satan actually repented. Then after service I learnt that it wouldn’t be possible for Satan to repent, simply because if Satan did, he wouldn’t be himself. This is based on the assumption that Satan is the epitome and totality of all evil.

And on the other end of the spectrum we have God.

Christians believe that God is good. What is good?

If God is entirely good, he wouldn’t have the ability to create something evil. Unless God is not entirely good, then He can create something evil. And logically speaking, the evil (Satan) wouldn’t be entirely evil as well.

That would mean that God and Satan technically cannot exist, since the good God and evil Satan as we know of are not who (or what) they are.

Now, the above statement sounds logical, but in actual fact, is insufficient.

The ‘Good’ of God is more accurately referred to as ‘neutral’. That doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a stake in right and wrong. In fact most people believe God is the reason why there’s a moral conduct in the first place. Without God it’s technically impossible to argue what is right or wrong, thanks to the endless subjectivity humans award themselves. We needed God to give us some housekeeping rules to fall back on.

But God Himself is more suitably neutral because he gets to choose which side to call ‘Right’. And to show (make visible) to us, he lets a villain called Satan exemplify what is evil. In this sense, God needed Satan to prove His goodness. Without the later, we will never know the goodness of God.

But is the opposite true?

The opposite which states that without God, we will never know the evil-ness of Satan. But that’s absurd, because God being the creator, can never come before his created being. This assertion doesn’t make sense, because it can never happen.

God, being God, should have always existed, and Satan, could never exist for as long as God did. As some point in time God created Satan. Good created Evil.

Or more accurately, the Neutral one took a side.

這就是我 me

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