Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas!

Random question: if you could choose anything as your Christmas present, what would you choose?

Then, compare your choice with the accomplished fact that God came to save the world through Christ. Now sit and watch how your regard for the sufficiency of Christ increase all the more. Great Christmas mind gymnastics eh? 

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(Extremely) last minute invitation for SSGC's Christmas Celebration to all! Event details can be found here. If by some miracle you read this before tomorrow and happen to be free, do come! We'd be pleased to have you. =) 

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Since Christmas is a time of giving, here's a little Christmas treat for all of you! It's the piece we did for carolling. Merry Christmas everyone! =)

It's the time of year again, the time of celebration!
A time for Christmas trees, a time for turkeys, and presents! 
With Santa Claus, and his trusty reindeer, 
And chestnuts roasting on an open fire, 
Christmas trees! And mistletoeeee (ewwww..) 
And mommy's special Christmas stew, 
Christmas is a time filled with so much fun, 
But let's not forget how it first begun.

I'm sure you've heard of the Christmas story,
The story of baby Jesus, and the virgin Mary,
Jesus- He was born on a Christmas night,
In the little town of Bethlehem, with no one in sight,
No trumpets, no fireworks, no lavish celebration,
No nothing- it was a seemingly normal occasion,
They spent the night in the stable of a stranger,
As little baby Jesus lay sleeping in a manger,
But he was a king alright!
The King! of the kingdom of light! 
But while royal babies enter the world with a BANG!
Our Lord Jesus entered the world with nothing in his hand. 
Instead, he was greeted by three wise men from the east,
But they were two years late at the very least,
For the past months, a special star lit up the night sky, 
It was the star of David, it shone from way up high,
The wise men followed the star wherever it went,
They followed it like a shadow, they would not relent,
Up and down and round and round, 
Over hills, valleys and rocky ground,
When the star went left (to the left, to the left),
When the star went right (to the right, to the right),
Through sun and rain and snow and hail,
They followed the star till they prevailed. 
"But tell me dear sirs, why are you following the star? 
Isn't it such a trouble to travel so far?"
My dear child, what a silly question, 
To meet the king of course, that's the reason,
We've been waiting so long for the star to appear,
But now all is made right, our King is here! 
And mind you, He is no ordinary King,
As a matter of fact, He's the King of Kings!
All hail King Jesus! 
He's going to save us!
He'll make right everything that is amiss,
He'll change hate to love, and war to peace,
He'll turn everyone to everyone's neighbour,
Misery and suffering will be forgotten forever,
Our tears- He'll replace them with laughter,
He alone is our happy every after. 

So folks, that's how Christmas really begun,
You see, Christmas isn't just about having fun,
Well, it's fun of course, but it's a whole lot more,
It's a story of how God saves a world rotten to it's core,
Jesus, He came with only one plea,
To gain pardon for you, and for me,
Emmanuel, He was God with us,
God come to men; God come to us.
Wonderful counsellor! 
The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, 
The Prince of Peace! 

The hope of the world upon the shoulders of a child, 
Because of that there's so much reason to smile,
Jesus- He's the reason for the season,
And that is why Christmas is a time for celebration.

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And this is how Christmas should sound like. =)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Been neglecting the usual read list and God knows how many gold nuggets I've missed. But here's the few that I came across (some of them from long ago) which I feel is worth sharing:

On fashion: Some people have commented that they don’t relate to the runways shots that I have posted on the blog during fashion week. They say they can’t afford the clothes or the looks don’t relate to their everyday lives. I understand these comments but I challenge you to try and look at these runway shots in a new way.. These suggestions of color can be used whether shopping Fendi, or Zara, or vintage.. All I’m saying is don’t let the lack of funds keep you from having fun with fashion.

If you want to make an impact, just be sincere (*note to self!*): Sarcasm is not an attitude, and it’s not a personality trait. It’s a style of rhetoric meant to be used occasionally to highlight a larger point. 

Women, stop submitting to men: Too often in our culture, women and girls are pressured to submit to men, as a category. This is the reason so many women, even feminist women, are consumed with what men, in general, think of them. This is the reason a woman’s value in our society, too often, is defined in terms of sexual attractiveness and availability. Is it any wonder that so many of our girls and women are destroyed by a predatory patriarchy that demeans the dignity and glory of what it means to be a woman? 

Worship and Performance: The only thing that separates a “worship band” from a “rock band” is the presence of lyrics on a projection screen behind the worship band. What’s really happening is a concert. A performance. But the presence of lyrics on a screen somehow makes it “worship.” If this sounds weird/confusing to you, that’s because it is weird and confusing to me as well. 

Getting enough sleep and staying in the ministry: I am emotionally less resilient when I lose sleep.. It is irrational that my future should look bleaker when I get four or five hours sleep several nights in a row. 

On tweeting: Two aims drive my writing of Tweets: One is theological and the other is aesthetic. I aim to say important theological things. And I aim to say them in a compelling way.. Tweets for me are a kind of poetry. I make no claim to be good at it. But that’s the way I think about it. I want it to sound and look good. I will never use 2 for to. Or Shd for should. Why? It’s not a telegram. It’s a poem. I love words. I rarely think of them as efficient, but as precious. God made them to carry the freight of truth and beauty. Nothing is more valuable than God’s truth and beauty. 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Had the kids over for barbeque and sleepover. Been a great year with em' and looking forward to another year. Amazing kids, each of them. Sure hope they'll grow up 'right' and that they'll find their path on the strait and narrow. On my part, I'm slowing seeing and understanding the importance of pastoral care- never been good at it, but I'm slowly learning. Been very blessed to have people around me who are such givers and it makes me wonder how and why such depth of love? 

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Anyone up for carolling? Will be doing rounds at em' churchie's homes next weekend with the youth- a good warm up if you're not quite into the Christmas spirit yet. We'll be doing choral speaking this year so it'll be tons of fun. 

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Managed to catch the Halfway Kings last weekend at their '2-year celebration of mutual tolerance' (which is a rather amusing way to say anniversary). They were recently appointed as Converse Ambassadors- which (I feel)  is exactly what they need for their publicity because in all honesty, I think they're pretty good. 

Here's a scooby snack for the ears:

Traveling Lines by Halfway Kings

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Rage rant (in relation to work..):

Bleep bleep bleep bleep bleep!! )=

G'day sabbath! been really swell meetin' you if only for a while. Take care for now, I hope to see you longer next week.

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Don't mind me. I just need an outlet.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Jesus and Satan were having an ongoing argument  about who was better on his computer. They had been going at it for days,  and God was tired of hearing all of the bickering. Finally God said, "Cool  it. I am going to set up a test that will run two hours and I will judge  who does the better job."

So down Satan and Jesus sat at the keyboards and typed away. They moused. They did spreadsheets. They wrote reports. They sent faxes. They sent e-mail.  They sent out e-mail with attachments. They downloaded.   They did some genealogy reports. They made cards. They  did every known job.

But ten minutes before their time was up, lightening  suddenly flashed across   the  sky, thunder rolled, the rain poured and, of  course, the electricity went   off. Satan stared at his blank screen and screamed every curse word known in the underworld. Jesus just sighed. The electricity finally flickered back on, and  each of them restarted their computers. Satan started searching frantically,  screaming, "It's gone!

It's all gone! I lost everything when the power  went out!" Meanwhile, Jesus quietly started printing out all of his files  from the past two hours.

Satan observed this and became irate. "Wait!   He cheated!  How did he do it?"

God shrugged and said, "Jesus saves."

My computer crashed- some funny vibrations causing the hard disk to scratch. It couldn't be fixed, only replaced. I had only partially backed up my files. Bummer. Lesson to all: back up your files. Immediately.

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Been looking at the bookshelf at home and realized that there's quite a good collection of books (most of them left behind by Markus). Realized that the books are severely underutilized so I made some time to sort the books out. So here's an addition to the blog: bookshed. Just a list of books for borrowing if anyone is interested. The link is also on the right of the page.

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Work is currently becoming more and more interesting. Currently assisting part-time on a project: the oil field is in Vietnam. I really thank God for such opportunity and if I do the job well, I'm hoping to get on the team full time. There's so much to be learnt! 

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Christmas is coming soon. Happy times of course, but there's quite a bit of work to be done for Christmas prep. Gotta learn how to juggle all these responsibilities whilst remaining fair to myself at the same time. So help me Lord!



Sunday, 16 October 2011

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

I don't get it Lord. I really don't get how You work.

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Went to the field right after work (where my I dropped my keys last night). I thought that I might stand a better chance finding it during the day but I didn't find it. I went home, but just before dinner my dad asked me to go look for it one last time. It was starting to get dark so we got into the car with our torch light(s) and head to the field. It was the third time returning to the scene of crime so I wasn't expecting much anymore, plus it's only keys and it was getting dark. There were some people finishing up their game of football. They must've saw our torchlights and realized we were searching for something and they holler to us: Looking for keys ahh? If you're wondering what gold sounds like, that was it.  

I don't understand. God seems to like to wait till all hope is lost to answer prayers. And how does this experience relate to everything else in life? 

Thy hand unloved its pleasure must restrain,
Nor spoil both gift and child by lavishing too soon. 

–George Macdonald


Pasar Seni, Kuala Lumpur 

I am lost, I am lost! and everything is a loss. But even if I haven't two nickels to rub together, I'd still be the richest pauper in the world- As many have learnt and taught: we don't realize that Christ is all we need until Christ is all we have.

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I just spent an hour searching for a needle in a haystack in the dark. It happens that the particular needle I'm looking for starts my car. I didn't find my needle but God still loves me. So I guess life isn't so bad after all.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Travel log- Cambodia pt 3


Not everyone I met in Cambodia was like Lou (from travel log pt 2) of course. A number of them are just plain ordinary. But sometimes it’s the ordinary ones that stay etched in your minds, mainly because they are always around- like the elderly lady that lives across from where you live (the one that you don’t actually know, but seem to be bumping into all the time). But we’ll save the celebration for the ordinary for another day- there are just too many weird people.

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It was in Phnom Penh that I met up with Ms. Starr. We got in touch through some mutual friend, and I wanted to drop by because I found her job rather interesting- a church worker. Now, when I first met her I thought to myself: whoa she’s quite a nut to be out here all alone. She must have an interesting story to tell, maybe a vision from God at the very least. So we had a good chat about life and the circumstances that led her to Cambodia (she’s not local). She told me these golden words: step by step. Then it dawned on me- her decision to head to Cambodia wasn’t based on a whim. It was carefully weighed and all possible outcomes were considered twice over. She counted the cost and decided that the price was right for the prize gained. It takes little to be mad without reason, but she- she wasn’t ignorant, not at all- she was mad, but with plenty reason. And all that madness leaked in the form of passion for the people around her. How does one not feel inspired? Deep inside, I think everyone yearns for a rational madness expressed in passion for something they desire/cherish. At that moment, I was jealous without a doubt. Jealous because I lacked that passionate madness that I wished so much for myself. Courage in the hands of rationality is a formidable weapon, as with a woman who’s given her life to God. Be inspired of course. Here are the words of Elliot who shared that same rational madness:

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

And that’s the maddest of the lot- Lou and Starr. Both mad in their own right, for different reasons altogether.

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I bumped into some other interesting characters, like the owner of the Blue Apsara bookstore. I didn’t get his name, but he was from Germany and he was selling some really cheap and good books. Most of his books were bookwrapped and two thoughts crossed my mind: his books weren’t selling and gathering dust, or that he must really love his books. It turns out it was neither. I bought a couple of books for about 5 USD each (which would’ve cost at least RM 50 at home) and headed back to my room. I unwrapped the books because I was really excited to read my newly purchased books and discovered that they were fakes- very well printed replicas of the original. I didn’t think it was lawful to sell cheap fakes, so I returned to the bookstore to take a photo of the bookstore and got myself another book. =)

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Whilst I was at the temples in Siem Reap, I met one of the temple wardens. I tried striking up a conversation just to be friendly. When I told him I was from Malaysia, he became really sad. I wondered why and he told me of his missing daughter who went to Malaysia to work. She’s been gone for two years and should be 19 this year. He fears that she’s been killed or kidnapped or made a sex slave. Her name is pronounced Hoe Nyat. It'll take a miracle, but if you come across her, please leave a message. I think you will make some people really happy.

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The final night in Siem Reap, I spent taking photographs. I was walking around in town when a lady approached me and asked if I was interested in fornication (not verbatim of course). I told her no and walked away and she gave me a playful punch on my arm (I later found out that she was a he from a bystander). I carried on walking in the town and I realized a motorcycle was following me. It was a teenager and he offered to bring me out for the night of my life- full body massages by beautiful Khmer women. I told him I just wanted to take photos and see the town but he was persistent and kept asking me: you don’t like women? How bout men?  You like men? Children? You like children? Sad that intimacy is now made a commodity that we trade around for money. There’s so much to be redeemed in relationships! That night, I gained much appreciation for purity and intimacy in relationships. 

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And that sums up my week in Cambodia. This on the other hand, is what I could listen to till the road leads me home. 

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Stuff that I came across recently:

God is waiting for you to despair- "Lord, I cannot love and I give up trying, but I count on thy perfect love. I cannot forgive, but I trust thee to forgive instead of me, and to do so henceforth in me."

When God's will isn't clear- "..conformity to the world or to Jesus is most clearly seen in the pattern of decisions we make over time."

The macho messiah- "Want to see what real masculinity looks like? Look to Christ. Real men pray. Real men weep. Real men love. Real men are bold, but real men are also broken."


Preaching Jesus from Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job- "I don’t think the wisdom literature is necessarily more difficult to interpret and preach than, say, 2 Samuel or 2 Peter; it is simply a less familiar genre.

The preeminence of Jesus is for everyday life-..it dawned on me that in the middle of such a mess is where I really live, and that Jesus wants it that way. This is where most everyone lives, and if the supremacy of Jesus doesn’t land on us here, in the mess of the everyday, then we’ll spend our days oblivious to its wonder.

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And here's something fun to watch.


But we don't actually need loudspeakers to say something nice.

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To all booklovers! THE BIG BAD WOLF SALE!! 75-95% off ALL books!! =)

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Travel log- Cambodia pt 2


..I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everyone goes ‘Awww!’. –Kerouac

It’s always the mad ones that catch my eye- it’s the certain state of being of these souls that seems rather divine; not holy, but divine. I happen to chance upon some of them whilst in Cambodia and listen to me when I say that Cambodia filled with em’ maddies. God bless their souls, they sure made my trip a whole lot more interesting.

It was in Siem Reap that I met one of the maddest of em’ all. It was about noon and I just got to my room and there she was, lying in a hammock along the shared corridor listening to some reggae music. I nodded a greet (to which she nodded in reply) and retreated to my room to unpack and to rest. When I was finally done some hours later, she was still there listening to her music in the hammock along the shared corridor. So I said hi and she said hi and told me that her name was Lou. Lou-- sounds like a sweet name and you’d half expect her to be ladylike, prim and proper and meek and mild. But she had a nose piercing across her nostrils and she had short braided brunette hair that was tied up with a rubber band. I was beginning to suspect that she was a hippie (which she was as I found out later) but she lacked the common headband that they usually wear and she wasn’t holding a bong. She told me she was form Germany and she’s been travelling for 3 years through Australia and South East Asia. She looked rather young so I asked her what her parents thought about her travelling like that. She saw right through the question and told me that she was 25. She skipped university after one semester because she felt that she didn’t like the way life was laid out before her. So she gathered her savings and bought a ticket to Australia.

I told her that I was from Malaysia and she told me that she spoke fluent Bahasa Melayu which was rather surprising. Her story was even more surprising: Apparently she decided to go to Malaysia after a friend told her about a mystical guy who lived in the jungles in KKB near the dam. So she and a bunch of other friends, all eleven of them decided to buy tickets to Malaysia and head to KKB. Then, discovering that they had no idea where to find this mystic of theirs, they decided to get some food at a stall by the roadside. At the stall, they asked some locals where to find Antaraz (that’s his name), and as fate would have it, the locals knew exactly where he could be found. So all the eleven of them hopped on to 4-WDs and they head of into the jungle. Antaraz our dear mystic, had no idea who they all were and was totally shocked to find eleven hippies wanting to see him. But he was totally accommodating and they lived with him for 5 months in a rumah panjang.

Now, it could’ve been that her story was a whole load of hogwash, but at that moment in time I was rather awed ‘coz she really could speak the language (perhaps better than some of us city kids do) and that sort of lends her story some credibility. Then we talked about life in general and a whole lot of other stuff. Our conversation was interspersed with her deciding to pick dirt from her toe nails with her fingers and I found that kinda cool ‘coz it seemed to me that she wasn’t the type that tried to impress (and she also didn’t shave her armpits which I couldn’t help noticing because she wore a spaghetti strap top and made huge arm movements. that being said, it’s only cool if you’re a hippie. if you’re not, women, please shave your pits). She was biking to Phnom Penh the next day and I thought it’d be nice to have evidence of my encounter with a hippie. But it was totally uncool to ask a hippie if they have facebook (I think that might almost equal blasphemy in their eyes) and I didn’t dare take her picture so this is all the evidence I have. And that sums up what might’ve been my first encounter with a hippie (not a bum, they’re a different species). Of course, it’s equally possible that she’s just a travelling story teller.

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And what do you do with stories like this?

People ask me why I enjoy traveling and I don’t have one single answer. It’s the enjoyment that comes from a little bit of everything I guess- the sights you see, the people you meet, the food you eat, the sounds you hear, and (sometimes) the lack of it. I’m pretty sure it is closely related to the way God created us humans to be stewards of this earth. But I think stewardship is more than just being a tourist.

I’d love to see the world and I have deep respect for people who are willing to bet their ranch to this end. But don’t be fooled (and I say this mainly as a reminder to myself), living life only for this would be tragic. Real tragic.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

A new voice

If you were given an option to change or not to change to world for the better, which would you choose?

When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

And if I put as much thought into speaking as I put into solving math, I’d wield the power to change the world, one word at a time.

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I’ve been tremendously blessed to have friends who are very encouraging and thoughtful- I owe it to them for being the person I am today, God knows it’s true. I thank God for all of them. I, I’ve slept and rose in settlings of silver, ate apples of gold like a king, tasted choice honey from the honeycomb, lavished with words that don’t even cost a thing. Economically absurd. I gotta pass it on.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

On Fellowship

Fellowship with em' family is so refreshing- spent the weekend with bros and sis' up in the mountains and it was bare mystical. Not in the zen mystics kinda way, but in the apostolic church kinda way. I thank God for ordaining that his body be encouraged through fellowship with other believers.

My faith, it seems to be a rather personal thing- not something that I share openly with others, even family. It's a pity that although I meet em' churchies every weekend I spend so little time dwelling on the things that mean quite a great deal to me. Uncle Langsir suggests that I be more intentional in having conversations about Christ. And who knows, others too might be just a tad shy. And you too, talk to me about Christ 'coz it takes two to tango.

Camerons

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Just been released and has been doing rounds in facebook- my favorite homeboys Decimal. They'll be opening for Jayesslee when they head up to Malaysia in October. Sure hope they'll make it big someday.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Who says fat people can't dance?

If you're willing to overlook the lack of cloth and excessive fat folds, tis' actually one amaaazing kid. As I observed, in 2 hours, the viewership rose from 19000 to 43000.



So.. dance lessons anyone? =D

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Alumni retreat tomorrow, wonder what's in store.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Travel log- Cambodia


Raya festivities over, people back at work and the slave machine resume its unforgiving reign of terror. Ah, life of a cog in the machine. I’m just glad to have had a good break, (albeit falling a little ill).

So, how was the trip you ask? Well, it was pleasant. Met some interesting people, saw some pretty sights, met some pretty people, saw some interesting sights. I’d say that the bulk of my experiences are a sum of the people I met and the sights I saw.

Spent three days in Phnom Penh. The city isn’t very impressive; a little backward in fact. Traffic lights are merely a display of colours as passing motorists zoom by, mocking its authority. The traffic comprises mainly of motorcycles (usually just called moto) and tuk-tuks. Pillions never wear helmets (of which I too am guilty of) and vehicle horns are used all the time, if not to warn other vehicles, to greet them. But it’s the things like these that tickle your sense of adventure. One of the best things about the traffic is that you get to act like it’s your grandfather’s road and noone’ll judge you. In fact, you’ll fit right in. (incidentally, I wonder what happened to your grandfather’s road anyway?)

From the map of Phnom Penh, it’s almost obvious that the layout of the streets were inherited from the French- the gridded map, long and wide boulevards and circuses. Nothing in comparison to Avenue Foch of course, but it’s still something worthy of taking note of. It’s definitely not something you expect to see in developing third world countries.

Visited tuol sleng and the killing fields. It’s rather sad. Had a chat with some locals and they were saying how a large part of a generation was wiped out when the Khmer Rouge (it means red Cambodians; rouge for red. Another legacy of the French) came into power. Most of the young adults grew up without the benefit of having parents- they had to figure it out themselves. Parental wisdom, something I (we) shouldn’t take for granted.

Most of the touristy spots are within the city; taking a long stroll was rather pleasant if not for the weather (being cheap helps me put up with minor inconveniences). The museums and palaces were alright. Things begin to get more interesting as evening approaches. The boulevards and the river bank are slowly filled with people; mainly taking strolls, playing jianzi, football, doing aerobics and dancing. Pretty remarkable. Not something you’d see in KL. I head back to the hostel. It’s getting dark and it’s a far walk. I pass by a few more dance groups. The music trails off into the night and they are still dancing. Men, women, children and grandparents, all of them dancing. Eager to live. It almost seems as if the nation were making up for the time they’ve lost during the darker days. I want to be dancing when I’m wrinkled and grey. First things first- I’ve got to learn to dance now.

Had four days to see Siem Reap. On the journey to Siem Reap the bus stopped for a break. That’s where I had my first taste of deep fried insects. 4000 riel for one can of fried insects. I asked if I could have 5 insects for 500 riel. She said no. We settled for half a can at 2000 riel. To be perfectly honest, the insects are actually quite manageable if you don’t look at it. Tastes kinda like ikan bilis but the big ones can be overly crunchy which is kinda disgusting 'coz it makes you aware of what you’re eating. Either way, I didn’t finish the insects- my conscience wouldn't allow it.

I bought a 3-day pass to see the temples. I tried to catch all 3 sunrises (to take photos) but it rained on one of the mornings and it was cloudy the other. There’s something about sunrises that I totally dig. Maybe it’s got to do with starting the day with God, maybe it’s just nice seeing the day in perspective. One thing for sure, every sunrise seems to remind me of the hymn ‘morning has broken’. At least I managed to catch one nice sunrise. Three days waking up early, forty minute bicycle ride to the temples with no promise of sunrise. Dedication to the craft- something I learnt from Alvin. Apart from the sunrise, the temples were brilliant. For the first half day at least. Then I began to understand what the lonely planet guide book meant when it says feeling ‘templed out’. Here are the places I feel deserve a special mention for being different from the other temples: Angkor Wat, Bayon and Ta Phrom.

The place I stayed at in Siem Reap was cheap, clean and neat. The guesthouse staff were courteous and helpful too. If you’re travelling cheap and you’re looking for a place to stay whilst in Siem Reap, try Garden Village guesthouse. They even have beds going for 1USD a night (just a mattress and a mosquito net by a terrace). I settled for a room in a rumah panjang for 3USD a night.

Took a break after the second day of temples and headed to Kompong Phluk- village on stilts. I had the impression that they’d allow us to go up and walk around in the houses but was severely disappointed. It was just a boat tour. But boat tours are kinda nice and comfortable in its own way.

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I’ll stop at the sights I saw. I’ll write on the people some other time. Enough rambling for a day, thanks for reading. Here’s something to listen to while your eyes rest.


Sunrise (over Angkor Wat). Don't think I'll ever get bored of it.

9-11

9-11. Ten years ago some terrible things happened.

Sometimes, calling on the Lord through tears may be painful. And how, how do we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? We sing the same psalm the sons of Korah did in Psalms 42. Put our hope in God, for we will yet praise Him as Saviour and God. He is mighty to save.



Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Do you not know?

Read this in the papers today:

“The mutant strain of the H5N1 which started in Cambodia can spread to Vietnam, and from there to Laos and China,” he said, adding that the mutated strain was rather dangerous because an infected person had only a 30% chance of survival.

According to the health wizards, I might’ve gotten myself acquainted with some badass mutant flu. Explains why I felt like a log over the weekend. And I hope I hadn’t spread it to nobody (met up with too many people over the weekend). I’m fine of course, but it’ll do my body some good to rest. And I need to let my toe heal too.

One day flesh will hang limp from my bones and the strength of youth will be gone. There’s a time to rest and a time to play and it takes a lil’ discipline not to get them mixed. I should learn to take my body seriously.

Spare 10 secs for prayer? Thanks =)

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Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you,
whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. -1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Sunday, 4 September 2011

post-trip blogpost

First things first:


(reblogged from alexlayman)

In response to a previous post I made. quality! haha..

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The trip was great to say the least- a much needed break. Feeling absolutely restless at work. Again I thank you all for the prayers. Spent much time thinking about God and life and how they ought to fit together. Managed to do quite a bit of photography too! Might write a lil' on the trip. (Can't promise anything tho, or I might end up breakin em')

I really thank God for such a wonderful trip.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Reached home safely. Appreciate all the prayers. It really makes a difference. =)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Will be in the land of the Khmers for a week starting tomorrow. Do keep me in prayer: that'd I'll be listening, and for safety too. =) Thanks, you're a star.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Paul


Skipping, jumping, dancing Paul,
Straddle swing and Swedish fall,
Flip flop, nimble hop,
Happy Paul, stops and drop,
Time to sleep,
Time to dream,
Time to slumber while the moon beams.

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Introducing the latest addition to the family- Paul the ukelele. Paul, because ukeleles sound playful and mischievous. =) Me and Paul wish you a good night.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

seven


"You can live on bland food so as to avoid an ulcer, drink no tea, coffee or other stimulants in the name of health, go to bed early, stay away from night life, avoid all controversial subjects so as never to give offense, mind your own business, avoid involvement in other people’s problems, spend money only on necessities and save all you can. You can still break your neck in the bath tub, and it will serve you right."-Eileen Guder

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The truth is, not everyone sees it this way tho I wish they would.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

fourteen


Today, exactly a year ago, I was on my way back from Ben Nevis. In this one year, I've realized how much I miss the road. In two weeks, we shall be meeting again and I'm wondering how much things have changed. Not the road- she remains the immortal friend she has always been to the traveller- but me. We'll have to see what happens. I hope we'll embrace each other as old friends; whose friendship has only been refined by the absence of each other. God speed.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Food tastes twice as good when you're fasting, so does music. Obviously not an intentional music fast, but I haven't been doing anything extra-musical recently apart from the worship sessions at (a brethren) church. I guess that's why the music sounded so good at IBA unplugged. It's so refreshing to see people enjoying their music and even more when the music is directed to God.

Ah, it's so entertaining to watch people who got their groove on; it really shows. And I envy them coz I rarely ever reach the stage where I'm totally into the music- I'm a little too rigid and a little too self conscious. Shame, coz people tend to play their best music when they're totally into it.

Here's the defending champs undecided with a cover of 'My Jesus, I love Thee' and an original 'Our King is here':



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And here's a youtube video which appeared on my fb newsfeed- two saxophonists who totally got it going. Too awesome.

Monday, 1 August 2011


Pimm's summer cocktail, as traditional as a cup of English tea.

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Found some whilst in Labuan for two rusty dimes (or equivalent). What a steal! Had some friends over and talked about life and it’s passing by. Heh, time sure flies.

Friday, 29 July 2011

In memory


"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count.
It's the life in your years."

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Even the superheroes of the faith retire. Here's to John Stott, whose life on earth was just a passing through. May his life inspire us on our journey.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Witnessed some equipment overhaul last week. I think I'm beginning to get a better picture of the amount of dough the oil and gas industry generates. That piece of metal that was overhauled, if it were sold, would feed a tiny country for half a year with some to spare.

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Rust- No respecter of price tag. A reminder that even the most costly treasures of this earth will fade away.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. - Matthew 6:19-21

“Gloriously wasteful, O my Lord, art thou!"

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Managed to sneak a sunrise photoshoot. Well worth losing sleep for. Funny that sunrises happen everyday, yet I never seem to notice it. Still He makes it rise and set everyday, each day as glorious as the day before. Indeed, gloriously wasteful.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Office squatting is for losers.

Tomorrow I shall wake up to the sound of lapping waves and swaying trees. This job is more unpredictable than I thought it would be. Oo, how exciting! =)

tho I suspect that eventually the unpredictable nature of the job will wear me out. Heh, I’ll worry about that when the time comes.

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And here's something every concert-goer should bear in mind. Wow, what dedication to his craft.

On BERSIH pt 2

The whole BERSIH thing is beginning to settle down, as with the emotions that go with it. For some at least. I’ve been trying hard to analyze how the BERSIH rally would’ve rated on God’s righteous scale. Personally, it appears to me as one of those things that could tip either way. I’m sure God isn’t that fickle tho.

Well, what is done is done; there’s no changing the fact that rally happened. But I seem to derive a certain pleasure from going through the technicalities of such events. Typical engineer. So, I sent out a short survey to a group of em’ churchies- only two short yes/no questions:

1. Was the rally the right thing to do?
2. Is it important to have a stand on BERSIH?

It’s annoying because like all surveys, they don’t give a conclusive answer. It was a useful exercise to stimulate discussion but it seems to create more questions than provide answers. Questions like: Is God exalted and glorified in the mass gathering of people in the streets against the orders of the governing authorities? Is championing human rights merely a smokescreen for a deeper idolism of searching for a King apart from God? How is the Christian call to go the extra mile played out in situations like this? Are we to turn the other cheek when one slaps us on the other side?

Tough questions and here’s the outcome of the short survey:

A number of them said yes- it was the right thing to do. And for the second question- no, having a stand on BERSIH isn’t as important as having a stand on what is right and what is wrong.

A minority felt that taking to the streets was wrong because Christians are called to imitate the humility of Christ- to rather be wronged, love our enemies and turn the other cheek if anyone slaps us.

The majority by far, refrained from commenting, possibly due to the lack of time and/or lack of interest. If the survey were a fair representation of what the Christians in Malaysia think about BERSIH, then voila! There you have it- the passionate, the critical and the silent majority.

But in the midst of the yes’s and no’s I’m sure there’s some answers that can be found. For example, what is my stand on BERSIH? I’ll be honest and say that I would’ve been there supporting the cause given the chance. But the answer to some questions are more tricky: Is it right? I’m not sure. I think it’s a fairly grey area (and I’m sure people might disagree with me)- It really depends how you answer the all the other questions. And depending on your answers to the other questions, you'll be hailed a hero of the nation, or branded a rebel with a cause. (the latter sounds waay cooler tho)

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It’s sad because the great battle plays out only in the head and over coffee tables but leaves the world as it is. And it’s sad because I’m actually quite happy to leave it that way. So, enough with all the commentating already! What are we going to do? What am I going to do? And you, what are you going to do?

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

On BERSIH

And gentlemen in Malaysia now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon BERSIH day.

A few more days to go. The concept of people gathering to demand for clean elections sounds compelling, noble and kinda righteous- most battles for justice do. Here's some advice I'd give to myself: be careful not to get swept away and jump on the bandwagon. Instead, know why you're going, then go.

Wish I could make it but my allegiance to the bro-code demands me to be in Singapore. On the other hand, I'll know how it feels to miss the moment when history is in the making. Oh, and here's a witty saying for the hoi polloi:

Ignorance is bliss, and sometimes irresponsible.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Fat people sweat a lot. The question is, how much can you sweat before it becomes hazardous for health?

It already is if you're sweating the small stuff.

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needing grace, needing to show grace and needing to lose weight.

Monday, 27 June 2011


con·sis·tent (adj) \kən-ˈsis-tənt\: marked by harmony, regularity, or steady continuity : free from variation or contradiction“

[Children] often say, “Do it again”; and the grown up person does it again till he is nearly dead. For grown up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps, God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes each daisy separately, but never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” -G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 26 June 2011


The world drinks to forget, we drink to remember.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

happy father's day!


Question: what do your love about your dad?

He's such an excellent provider. Not just in the monetary sense but also in terms of family administration.

He used to do the groceries (when we still cooked at home, we don't now since it's just not viable). He does the washing and sunning of clothes. He washes the porch. He pays the bills. He waters the plants. He takes the garbage out. He locks up at night. He feeds the fish. And when we still had Lucy (our dog), he used to feed her and take her for walks. He brings in the papers in the morning. He checks the car battery water at least once a fortnight and does the car maintenance. He gets people to repair equipment in the house that don't work. He sets up mousetraps in the house. He makes sure I don't stay up too late. He sends me to the LRT station almost every weekday morning. He brings along a bottle of water in the car makes sure I drink sufficient water.

He's not perfect (though I'm fairly sure he's among the best dads in the world =D), but he surely helps me understand the concept of 'providence'and subsequently what Jehovah Jireh means. I'm glad he's been such a wonderful portrayal of God as the provider to me. I know some aren't as fortunate as I am and some will always have struggle with the doubts wondering if God is able to provide. I'm really blessed not having to face that struggle because I have an earthly father who helps me understand.

"Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!- Matthew 7:9-11

Thursday, 16 June 2011

On reading..

I used to have a habit of writing down quotes and little phrases that capture my attention in a little book. I haven't touched that book in a while (I've turned digital), but those little scribbles didn't age as I have. Timeless. Such is wisdom and art.

There are 3 quotes I'd like to share. I wrote them on the first page of my little book as a preface- a reminder to myself against ignorance and against closed-loop thinking:

"The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." -Proverbs 12:15

"A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again." -Alexander Pope

"It is far from my intention to depreciate the value or deny the usefulness of books, without exception: a few well-chosen treatises, carefully perused and thoroughly digested, will deserve and reward our pains; but a multiplicity of reading is seldom attended with a good effect.

Besides the confusion it often brings upon the judgment and memory, it occasions a vast expense of time, indisposes for close thinking, and keeps us poor, in the midst of seeming plenty, by reducing us to live upon a foreign supply, instead of labouring to improve and increase the stock of our own reflections." -John Newton

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The third one is especially meaningful for me. I have a (horrible) tendency to read too much of other's people's thoughts on God at the expense of God's word. I don't discount the usefulness of other people's meditations but it's quite worrying that my concept of God has been hinging quite heavily on the authors that I read and less on His word. Dangerous stuff, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Lets do something about that shall we?

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Petronas to participate in Kazakh oil and gas project

"Malaysia's Petronas will participate in Kazakh oil and gas project in exchange for Kazakhstan's participation in Petronas projects in other parts of the world, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said during his first official visit to Astana today.."

Read the rest of the article here.

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Pinky, are you thinking what I'm thinking?! =)

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Chasing life by its tail

I could really get used to this life. Isn't that worrying?

"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased." -C.S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory

Making mud pies or holiday at the sea? It surely makes more sense to play by the sea, build sand castles, surf the waves, dive the reefs and watch beautiful sunsets. Yet isn't it so very familiar?- feeling terribly happy with a tray of mud pies waiting to be baked. Isn't that so very worrying? Oh, I need a breakthrough. Don't we all?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Smile, because God is soooo good! =)

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Ah, so many reasons to visit the states now..

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

On photography..


If a photographer really expects to produce great work, they must, just like musicians, be prepared to practice their craft every day. Every day. This does not mean one has to take pictures every day, but one must at least practice seeing every day.-David Bayles

Taken from Brook Jensen's things I've learnt about photography

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Makes so much sense- familiarity breeds contempt. I find it really hard to see the beauty in the things I see everyday. Perhaps that's why I have so few pictures of home and so many from everywhere not home. Gotta practice seeing; unfamiliarizing myself with the familiar and relearning the joy of discovery..

Thursday, 26 May 2011

logic ftw!

"Where I come from, magic and science are one and the same thing"- Thor

and this is how Norse mythology looks in practice? =)

Thursday, 19 May 2011


A little boy went to Sunday school, where he knew the sort of answers you’re supposed to give to questions. The teacher asked, “what is brown, furry, has a long tail, and stores up nuts for winter?”
“Well,” the boy muttered, “I guess the answer is Jesus, but it sure sounds like a squirrel to me.”

Taken from 'The life you've always wanted' by John Ortberg. Funny, but (sometimes) true. Gotta be careful what we're teaching the younger ones in church!

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On another note, I've finally found myself a little project(non-work related) to work on. Ah, the irony. As if work isn't enough.. Still, I'm very pleased =). Wondered why I didn't figure it out sooner.. Will post in due course (if I don't lose steam half way through!).

Monday, 16 May 2011

Musical chairs..

A song played in the throne room,
A sweet melody beyond compare.
It set our feet a dancin’
All of us without a care.

We sat to form a circle,
What an exciting and thrilling affair.
We were playing musical chairs in the throne room,
Yes, we were playing musical chairs.

One by one they were eliminated,
All were left but two.
The King, He stood before me,
Yet, I hadn’t the slightest clue.

The rule was simple and easy,
The game was its own prize.
The first to sit on the glorious throne,
Will own the throne for life.

The final round played out quickly,
We rushed toward the throne,
He was much too quick for me,
My chance at glory blown.

I looked up after my dismal attempt,
I recognized the King immediately.
It’s no wonder He won the final round,
In fact, He won it way too easily.

He’s a better ruler than I can ever be,
I shall never be in want.
I’m happy to take the second place,
As long as my King is number one.
He must be number one.
He is my number one.
My King- my number one!

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Inspired by I am Second. Do watch the short clip below! =) If you like it, there's many more at I am Second.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Rock of ages, cleft for me..


Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law's commands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

Monday, 9 May 2011

jeng jeng jeng..

So, what now?
beats me..

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There are (sometimes) fewer problems with the bigger struggles in life. It's the smaller ones that wears me out. But sometimes, they are also the ones that count the most.

Hi, my name is Jacob.
Dawn is here and
I can keep this up all day
Won't You bless me?

Oh, leave em' tendons of the hip socket alone..

post edit: came across this which made seems to make so much sense to me- victory over or struggling with?

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Friday, 6 May 2011

On sanctification..


Ah, I trust in Your sovereignty! I know you well enough!
And I thank You for giving me a weird sense of humour. =)

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Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,
Though often painful, it's part of His plan,
The Maker gathers broken pieces in His hand,
Restoring, renewing, oh yes, He can!
A once broken Humpty is made full again.

Sanctification, don't leave home without it. ;)

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

On music(als)

There’s something about songs from musicals that seems to inspire. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that songs from musicals are always in context with a story. Or perhaps it’s about the music arrangement/style of composition. I just wish musicals weren’t so expensive.

I hate it that my first proper musical was Les Miserables- I have a tendency to compare and Les Miserables is pretty hard to beat. But I’ve been listening to some other soundtracks (thank God for youtube) which I think are equally amazing. I wish I’ll have a chance to watch it proper someday:
Also came across a contemporary song that managed to capture the broadway feel, which I find really impressive.

Monday, 2 May 2011


A: pok pok pok..
B: pok pok pok pok..

HAHAHAA... apologies, inside joke but do join in if you speak fluent chicken..

Saturday, 30 April 2011


hahahaa.. I sent Desiring God a question a few weeks back: How does humour relate to the supremacy of Christ? I'm sure they get loads of questions, but I really really hope they'd answer this one. I would find it really interesting.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Post-Easter thoughts..

Had the pleasure of joining some of the ex-OCFers for easter at Adam Road Presbyterian Church. ARPC did a special skit on the prodigal son which reminded me of this one scene from Les Miserables where Valjean prays to God to save Marius. Heh, I believe that scripture is sufficient in its entirety to portray love, but this just captures it so well (a father's love for his prodigal son). =)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter!

Easter Sunday:

Ivan intended to share this video during service. It starts to get really interesting at 4:26 ish ;D


We ended up showing this one instead:


I like both, but I felt that the first one was perhaps ill-suited to the demographics of SS. haha. Still, both give much reason for praise!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Simply because..

God’s love is incomprehensible and unchangeable. For it was not after we were reconciled to him through the blood of his Son that he began to love us. Rather, he has loved us before the world was created, that we also might be his sons along with his only-begotten Son—before we became anything at all. -Augustine

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8

Somethings just don't make human sense. Such amazing love. Ever pondered why?:

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." -Isaiah 55:9

"I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion" -Romans 9:15

Sometimes the answer is 'simply because'. And that makes it all the more glorious.


Thank God it's (Good) Friday

You know the verse- for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish. It’s an amazing fact, yet I wonder why few people seem moved by it (unfortunately, I can say this from experience). Perhaps we’ve heard it once too many, but if that’s the case, we really ought to be careful not to slide down the slippery slope of apathy- apathy toward God.

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Consider what we gained, and what it cost:

Forgiveness means giving up the right to seek repayment from the one who harmed you. But it must be recognized that forgiveness is a form of voluntary suffering. What does that mean?

Think about how monetary debts work. If a friend breaks my lamp, and if the lamp costs fifty dollars to replace, then the act of lamp-breaking incurs a debt of fifty dollars. If I let him pay for and replace the lamp, I get my lamp back and he’s out fifty dollars. But if I forgive him for what he did, the debt does not somehow vanish into thin air. When I forgive him, I absorb the cost and payment for the lamp: either I will pay the fifty dollars to replace it or I will lose the lighting in that room. To forgive is to cancel a debt by paying it or absorbing it yourself. Someone always pays every debt.


And then consider this:

We strongly reject, therefore, every explanation of the death of Christ which does not have at its centre the principle of ‘satisfaction through substitution’, indeed divine self-satisfaction through divine self-substitution.

The cross was not:

a commercial bargain with the devil, let alone one which tricked and trapped him;
nor an exact equivalent, a quid pro quo to satisfy a code of honour or technical point of law;
nor a compulsory submission by God to some moral authority above him from which he could not otherwise escape;
nor a punishment of a meek Christ by a harsh and punitive Father;
nor a procurement of salvation by a loving Christ from a mean and reluctant Father;
nor an action of the Father which bypassed Christ as Mediator.

Instead, the righteous, loving Father humbled himself to become in and through his only Son flesh, sin and a curse for us, in order to redeem us without compromising his own character.

The theological words ‘satisfaction’ and ‘substitution’ need to be carefully defined and safeguarded, but they cannot in any circumstance be given up. The biblical gospel of atonement is of God satisfying himself by substituting himself for us.

- Excerpts from John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 159-160.

In other words: there is a debt that we can never pay. The debt isn’t cancelled by God. It is paid by God at a heavy price. He’s the only one who can. And He does it because he wants to. The question that comes to mind then is: why?

You know the verse. Let’s not be apathetic toward God as we celebrate Good Friday and Easter.