Have you ever gone traveling somewhere you’ve never been to at night?  As you approach the place you’re staying, you look around and really can’t see what’s out there.  The details of the scenery are lost because it’s just too dark.  But because it’s your first impression, it’s sort of imprinted in your mental memory of what that place is like.

But then the next day you get up and the sun’s out.  You look out the window and think, “So that’s what it looks like?”  You go out for a walk, and start really seeing the view and it’s enjoyable. [Side note:  I realise if you get dropped off next to a rubbish tip at night, when you look out the window the next morning, it won’t be very pleasant].  I’m making several assumptions about traveling to somewhere you’ve never been:

 

1)    You are choosing to go (i.e. you’re not blindfolded and “escorted” by 2 big fellas in suits on either side of you)
2)    The place you’re staying is probably a hotel or something of the likes
3)    You’re on holiday
4)    You picked this place after some research
5)    It looked nice (at least from the pictures you saw on the website…which is why you chose the place). Continue reading
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I recently heard a message from a good pastor friend of mine that brought a much-needed impact in my life recently.  I won’t tell you the whole thing because you can just go and watch the video sermon or listen to the audio.

I just wanted bring up an interesting concept he raised and 3 questions that, if you take seriously, will have immediate impact in your life.

A very interesting point he made had to do with the word “hearing” or “listening” and the contrast of what that word means in today’s society as compared to Jewish communities of the past.  In modern times, when you ask someone “did you hear?” or “did you listen?” to something, the responding expectation is this:

“yes, I heard it” means that you heard it.
“no, I didn’t hear it” means that you didn’t hear it. (amazing insight right?) Continue reading
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Finding money in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn since last winter
Watching a movie at the theatre 
Enjoying the ocean as you sit on your surfboard waiting for the next wave
A hug from your kids as soon as you walk through the door
Coming across things like this.  Or this.
Good food
A night out–just you and your spouse
Witnessing the finishing moments of a really close, competitive event…regardless of the competition(3:35 mark) Continue reading
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Allow me to first set the context:

These last two days have not been fun whatsoever.  It all started Monday night when a fever hit 38.9 deg C (about 102 degrees F) and my body felt like I was just hit by a Mack truck.  All night I couldn’t sleep because all I could see and think about were numbers and arrows (yeah bizarre!)

The very next day wasn’t much better as the fever never broke and the aches didn’t go away.  To add to the “stress” of recovery (thinking about all the emails I had to reply to, preparation for a sermon, general planning for the upcoming weeks), our children were a bit testy (our son was borderline sick) so the crying and occasional high-pitch screaming wasn’t what you would call “soothing”.  In all honesty, I don’t even know what was happening because I spent the whole day in the bedroom falling in and out of sleep.  But at times, there were moments where I felt like I had the better end of the deal—and remember, that’s coming from someone who just admitted having hallucinations of digits and arrows.

So how’s this a tribute to my best friend?  Continue reading

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The usual routine after I preach on a Saturday or Sunday service is to ask anyone who would like to receive prayer to come forward so I could pray for them.  Even though I am usually drained after preaching, the prayer-after-service ministry has been rewarding for me (as I hope it has been rewarding for those who I’ve had the privilege to pray for).  More than not, the people who come forward are at their rawest moment and therefore, their prayer requests usually most authentic.  The most difficult part however, is that the prayer requests are usually the most difficult to present to God—not difficult in actually asking, but difficult in pondering what God’s response might be.  The whys, how come, will He, will He not sort of mental questioning that happens as you pray for someone.  Many of the situations are hopeless at worst, improbable at best; at least in a worldly sense.  That’s why these situations are brought to God in prayers—all of them need perspective from a Godly sense. Continue reading

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The last time I made a blog entry was 8 days ago.  I don’t know much about blogging as this is fairly new to me, but the one thing I know is that the quickest way to kill a following is to wait too long in between entries.  In 8 days I may have possibly killed my following—all 7 of them.

In my defense, I’ve been sick, mentally and emotionally drained, and just flat out busy.  I’ve realized that in the past week, I’ve been in this “bubble” of activity where I have not been able to think about life and it’s complexities—I’ve just been living it.  Actually scratch that.  Life ought to be lived out.  What I’ve been doing is doing.  Doing a routine.  A HUGE difference. Continue reading

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Four words I often have to bite my lips to keep from saying are “I told you so.”  It rolls off the tongue so easily.  It seems so right when you say it, and seems so harmless.

Well probably not to the person you’re saying it to.

I few days ago I had blogged about accountability and the difficult of being the one holding someone accountable.  This is sort of an addendum to the “it stinks to hold others accountable because it requires you to be mature, but you still need to do it” argument.

In my last blog, I mentioned it was hard to hold someone accountable because at the end of the day, you risk being the “bad guy.”  Another risk however, is putting your opinion and advice out there only for it to be rejected; or the very least, taken lightly.  When that happens, you feel small and foolish because you’ve just pretty much been told, “thanks, but you don’t know what you’re talking about.”  Plainly put, when your accountability is chucked out the window (whether directly or indirectly), you’re pretty much told, “I think you’re wrong.” Continue reading

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I just about had the worst day today in ages.  I can’t think of the last time I’ve felt this bothered, angered, discouraged, unmotivated, disheartened (maybe the time that I crashed into the concrete base of a light pole in a high school parking lot, minutes before taking the SATs—the US national standardized exam determined my future..so they say).  Anyway, that day totally stunk and today was pretty close.  At least it felt like it.

There’s no need to get into details; no point in whinging about it on a blog where readers would be asking, “what’s this got to do with me?”  Besides, if I categorize today under “worst days”, and then describe it, surely I’d be criticized for it.  “That’s what you call a bad day?” “C’mon, man—man up!”  And rightly so.  I’ve been telling myself that all day.  It’s probably the main reason why I’ve been so bothered today—the fact that I’m so bothered today is a big reason why I am having a bad day. Continue reading

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As far back as I can remember, most of my experiences with girls usually ended in rejection.  Whether it was as a 7 year old when I was returned the teddy bear gift or when I was a teenager when the moment of truth came, where you unfold the tiny little note in the middle of class and the response says, “I just want to be friends.” (Not sure how it’s done today with the technology available now).

The point is my life long track record for getting girls to like me has been a pretty atrocious percentage.  I don’t even want to quantify it.  But it’s not the numbers I remember, it’s the horrible feeling of being said “no” to.  It’s the stomach-dropping sensation of putting yourself out there only to be told (not necessarily directly), “you’re just not good enough for me!”  For a long time, I feared that feeling—so glad that feeling no longer haunts me (at least not in the context of pursuing a romantic relationship).

Ironically though, as much as I hated being rejected, I’ve come to the conclusion that being the “rejecter” is worse.  Of the very very few women that actually gave me a chance, all (except one) of those relationships ended with me initiating the break up (the only exception comes from a relationship that never ended…we’re still happily steam rolling ahead).  In other words for about 2-3 times in my life, I had to be the “rejecter”; the one who uttered the words “Can we be friends?”

I know it’s odd, but to this day, I still think it’s worse to reject someone than to be rejected. Continue reading

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I’ve recently spent some of my personal time and reflections with the Lord reading through Leviticus.  Admittedly, part of the time was just skimming through the chapters.  Whenever I read it this book of the Bible, this is the usual pattern of mental thought:

Stage 1: “Ok!!!  Lock n’ load! Let’s get through it!”
Stage 2: “Wow, there’s some really unusual but interesting stuff here” (regulations on an assortment of topics most of which are not dinner meal conversations)
Stage 3: “What am I reading?  This is kind of boring…does this even matter today?”
Stage 4: “……………..” (because I’ve stopped reading it)
Stage 5 (days later): “Ok, lets finish this thing because I committed to it”
Stage 6: “What is God teaching me?”

 

I know it’s not the greatest model for others to follow (especially coming from a Pastor), but I’m being honest.

I woke up 5 am this morning and just simply could not go back to bed.  And for some reason, I had the readings of Leviticus in my head.  Pondering in bed for about an hour, I received some insightful reminders from the Lord. Continue reading

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