Category Archives: Life Update

Updates on happenings in my life

An Update

Yet another update.

1. I am sick. AGAIN! Seriously, what is happening? In the space of 3 weeks too! Prayers for health much appreciated.

2. I am still rather busy. Second year economics is tiring…can’t wait for term to draw to a close (though that would mean formulating my Easter Revision schedule). Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy my course. It’s just tiring. Doesn’t seem to reinvigorate you the way reading theology does. Perhaps this is the curse of work we bear as a consequence of the Fall?

3. Speaking of theology, I have just expanded my library with a recent purchase of discounted books. The discounts were just too tempting! And I finally own a copy of Grudem’s Systematic Theology. Sweet! I hope to work through that this summer. I can’t wait to get started on the rest of them as well. However, studies and internship applications beckon first.

4. I will suspend my book blogging until the end of term. I have no time. I have seen the future (limited to two weeks at a time) and there is little hope of a comeback during term time.

5. I have blogging plans for the Easter holiday. I’ll either work through a series of topics related to Easter, or a book. We’ll see. And of course you know what people say: the best laid plans…

6. Thank you for the messages various people have sent me – you know who you are. On another note, only one person has sent me an email. (And the identity of said person is most unexpected. I think I nearly choked on my tea when I saw his name floating in my inbox. I’ll give you that much as a clue…) I wouldn’t mind more emails, if you can spare the time. Of course, I’ll be back in two weeks anyhow…

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An update (and a few requests for prayer)

1. I’m sick. Terribly sick. Not a fever or anything. The sore throat phase has also passed. This is the flu stage, where your nose is running all day, and you just feel really tired. Please pray for my health.

2. Work seems to be mounting. It’s not overbearing, but it does require much time and effort. So again, pray that I redeem my time wisely, and use it as productively as possible.

3. I will shift my book blogging to every two or three days. Two reasons. I need time to think and blog through each chapter. And it seems I have a bit much to say.

4. Please pray for a friend, an economist at my college. She’s on the verge of making a choice on who Jesus is to her. She finds Christianity a rational and reasonable faith. And it seems to her that there isnothing to lose; we give up much in following Christ, but we gain infinitely more – any economist could tell you that’s a trivial utility maximisation problem. Ask that God will give her that little push, that she might fall into His loving arms and never regret it, as I never will. It also explains why I haven’t had much time to blog lately, given I’ve been spending quite a lot of it talking with her, getting to know her better and sharing Jesus with her, which I’ve throughly enjoyed.

5. I’m a bit worried about what I’ll be doing in the summer. I have not received any offers so far. Perhaps the recession is biting a lot closer than I realised.  Perhaps I’ve been a bit picky. Perhaps I’ve made a few poor choices here and there. Perhaps I’m just not the type of person the companies to which I have applied are looking to hire. Though I trust that God is sovereign and wise and loving, and will work all things for my good, there remains that nagging worry at the back of my mind, that comes upon me unsuspectingly in my weaker moments. Do pray that I learn to rest more in the love of Christ. Which is probably why I picked the current book to blog through as well.

6. I miss my church back in KL. Please drop me a message on facebook, or preferably, please send me an email.

7. Finally, in all the sickness, busyness and worry of the past week and, likely, the weeks to come, pray that I’ll continue to abide in Christ. I would appreciate any form of encouragement.

A reflective pause.

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You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

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Ah. What a glorious sunrise. It certainly made me pause in my reading. Now it’s a bit too bright and I must close my curtains. But it’s a reminder of that glorious day when we shall be able to behold the light of the glory of God with our naked eyes.

Back to metrics reading 🙂

I am making everything new!

Revelation 21:5

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Some thoughts for the new year

As we usher in the new year today, I recalled setting myself 8 resolutions in 2008. Not everything went as well as I wished. This only serves to reflect  our faithlessness. Yet we have a faithful God, who says “I am making everything new!” And to this He adds, “These words are trustworthy and true.” It is a promise we can trust in for the new year. Don’t live in the guilt of the past, but turn to the one who makes everything new, who restores the soul, redeems our heart, renews our mind and our strength.

2008 was a blessed year. It is with much gratefulness that I look back on my first year at university. It has been the most fruitful time of my life, yet I’ve suffered my fair share of setbacks. As I look forward to the coming year, I only set myself 2 goals. To be diligent in meeting God in His word, and to fight with all my might in prayer. If 2008 has taught me one thing, it is that God’s people are most fruitful when they abide in Christ, and I am convinced that the only way to abide in Christ is to abide in His word, and in faithful prayer with Him. If we can get these two things right, many battles can be won for the cause of Christ.

Finally, I pray that this will be the attitude of my heart throughout the year:

The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.  – Job 1:21 (ESV)

Soli deo gloria!

Insomnia, caffeine or Heroes?

Strange. it’s 1:24 in the morning and I can’t fall asleep.

I figured I might as well get up and do some work.

It can’t be that cup of tea I drank 6 hours ago. I’m not really the sort of person to suffer from insomnia. And for once, I’m actually not consciously staying up to stream Heroes live. 

Well. Here’s a quick update of my life so that friends who I’ve not stayed in contact with can know what I’m up to.

1. I’ve hit a fresh batch of work, so it’s going to be a bit of a grind for the next few days.

2. It’s already week 6. I only have 2/3 weeks of term left. This term has gone by rather quick.

3. I still don’t understand a word of my calculus and probability/statistics lectures. Add this to my skipping of the macro and econometric lectures (the former lecturer is plain terrible, the latter lecturer is longwinded and confusing and has better class notes), and I’m only going to 3 lectures a week. Sometimes 2, as I occasionally skip Linear Algebra, which is easy enough to understand that the lecture is not fully necessary.

4. I am addicted to peanut butter. I’m not sure why. But I better try to reduce my intake. There’s a lot of sodium in there.

5. The weather’s been nice. Some cold spells here and there, but it’s been good. Well except for those rainy days. It’s probably rained a lot more this term than the whole of last year.

6. Google QWOP. Most addictive online game of the moment. Give it a shot if you have nothing better to do. My best was 41.6m. Then I gave up. Takes too much concentration.

7. Love student deals. You get lots of food for a good price. In this sense, I am very Asian.

8. Have not made much progress on reading. The Confessions of St. Augustine is not easy to read through. I was a bit too gung-ho getting a relatively unabridged version. It’s not the words that are difficult. It’s the grammar that’s confusing.

9. I love the Wii.

10. My friend has a 42-inch Samsung LCD(it could be plasma, but I’m pretty sure Samsung only manufactures LCDs) TV in his room. The sight of it is permanently burnt into my brain.

11. I finally figured out how to watch my 3pm kickoffs.

12. Cooking takes a considerable amount of time (not to mention the shopping trips). I am still surprised at how much time has elapsed whenever I finish cooking. And I think I’m a reasonably fast cook.

13. Red Alert 3 was an easy game. Brainlessly fun. Typical Command and Conquer. Would like to play Fallout 3, but have more important issues to attend to first.

14. I love cartoons. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I just love sitting down and watching an animated film. By the way, does anyone remember Titan A.E.? I think it’s an amazing film.

If you, the reader, know me personally, please leave me a comment to let me know how you are doing. Or Facebook me.

Fresher’s flu

Yes. I’m no longer a fresher but I have a terrible flu. This is somewhat incapacitating. It’s hard to think when you can barely breathe.

Give me a couple of days to recover before I resume writing.

An Update (13/10/08)

I’ve been back in the UK for roughly 2 weeks now. After such a long summer vacation, this has been a period of transition for me, adjusting to independent life, settling back into Cambridge and all its routines, working out how to manage my time wisely for the term, so much so that I’ve neglected some of my relationships back home. It doesn’t help when time zone differences prove inconvenient. Nevertheless, I apologise, and will really try getting into the flow of things yet again.

It’s been a good start to the term so far. Almost seems less hectic than the previous year…but it’s always calm before the storm. Anyways, with summer internship applications to work on, it’s a much appreciated situation.

I popped into Borders the other day just to look at some books, and wandered over to the religious section. The books on Christianity are quite a shocking selection, though perhaps this should be unsurprising. Christianity doesn’t sell. Worldly wisdom disguised as Christianity sells all too well though. However, there are a few gems. I’m happy that they still sell C.S. Lewis, and I also found a copy of the Confessions of St. Augustine. It was 6 quid. I bought it. 

It’s been a good read thus far. I’m really enjoying it. While it can be hard to follow the text at times, given that it’s an unabridged translation, there are moments where my heart expands and my feet just seem to leave the ground. The book is really a conversation Augustine has with God; it is an extended prayer. Yet what is striking about this extended prayer that makes mine pale in comparison is the profound depth of his affection for God. I’m just reaching the end of Book I, but I highly recommend it for devotional reading.

As for blogging, I have been on quite a hiatus. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been reading so much that I’ve not really had the time to sit down and think through things sufficiently. As such, I have had little to say. However, over the past few days, there have been various questions and topics that have captivate me, and I feel compel to pursue some of these ideas and lend expression to the. Therefore, here are a list of likely topics I’ll blog on in the future:

1. Do I have a favourite Gospel? This was somewhat sparked by the new sermon series John Piper has started on the book of John, and also a question that was asked during church lunch, that is, is there a gospel you would recommend to a non-Christian looking to get into the Bible?

2. Why do people leave the church? This question was sparked off by Shan Berg’s post on his blog. This question has reared its head many times in the past. I believe it is time for me to settle this issue as best as I can at the moment. I foresee this being a series of posts.

3. The decline of the importance of preaching. This is something that has increasingly convicted me over the past few months. Do people today have the wrong view of preaching? Why is there an increasing tendency to lean towards visual substitutes? What are the common fallacies of today’s preaching? This was sparked off by a question by a friend on how long I reckon sermons should be.

4. Are some books (in particular new ‘devotional’ books) too heavy on application but too light on theology? (I am altogether dismissing those that are too light on both. Although I do wish to address the question of whether there exists a place for these sort of books.) What is the problem with this? Should we be satisfied with such bite-sized nuggets? Can they be useful? Can they be harmful? Should we attempt harder but richer books? This was sparked off by my recent start on the Confessions of St. Augustine.  Also, I have a post in reserve on the importance of reading good books and why they are crucial to our theology (and also why theology is so important). I might incorporate the latter into the former.

5. How politically involved should Christians be? This is probably one of the toughest topics on my list, and I am slightly fearful of approaching it; it seems unworkable. But it is highly relevant, and I believe it is an issue that must be addressed, in light of the developments in Malaysia, and also the increasing politicisation of Christians in America.

6. What does the fear of the Lord truly mean? I’m currently working through the book of Proverbs, and am attempting to understand its main point. Its purpose is clearly stated at the start of the book – the proverbs are for attaining widsom and discipline, for understanding words of insight, for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, for giving knowledge and discretion to the young, and for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. There are two things that captivate me here. The first is that the purpose of the proverbs are for understanding parables. I wonder whether wisdom gained here will supplement the interpretation of Jesus’ parables. The second is verse 7, which says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools (or one who is morally deficient) despise wisdom and discipline. What does the fear of the Lord signify? For if it is the beginning of knowledge, and knowledge is good, and crucial to right living, then it seems a pressing matter to properly work out what it means for us to fear the Lord.

7. What is the gospel? This question has plagued me incessantly for many weeks. Christians are commanded to spread the gospel, but sometimes I wonder whether this is truly happening. Some claim to be spreading the gospel, but it often seems to me to be too diluted to still be considered good news! Some gospels are too imbalanced, stressing ‘positive’ things like love and acceptance, while glossing over ‘negative’ things like sin and repentance. I wonder how often we are guilty of this. What is the right balance? What is the gospel that we are to share? Personally, I’m tempted to hold this question off until I acquire certain books and read them.

8. What is the purpose of Jesus’ suffering? This question was sparked off by a recent decision by my CU to screen the Passion of the Christ as an evangelistic film. I personally think the film is theologically erroneous and is likely to bring more harm than good to our evangelistic efforts. For example, the account is primarily sourced from extrabiblical revelation, there is an abundance of Catholic theology in the form of Mariolatry and the continual suffering of Jesus in the sacraments – the sacrifice of the altar, and the visual caricaturing of Jesus as tall, slim and handsome and the subtle emotional deception of visual imagery is worrying. I really do believe it produces Catholics, not Christians. In any case, I started digging up some old articles I had read in regard to the movie, and in the process, this question sprung to the forefront of my mind. There seems to be a fixation with the suffering of Jesus in the Catholic faith (and thus the movie, which is described as an animated crucifix). This stands in stark contrast with the empty cross of the Protestants that symbolises the triumph of Jesus. I wish to explore whether there is anything wrong with such an emphasis, and believe the way to answer this is to turn to the Bible and analyse the context of Jesus’ sufferings within.

And that is as much as I can presently recall. 8 topics. I hope to make headway on them soon. As it stands though, the next three days will be rather busy, as I have to finish some supervision work, and attend two career events, leaving me with little spare time to blog.