personal

After All This Time? Always.

I love this quote. It is from The Deathly Hallows – one of the many Harry Potter books. This 2 lines are beautiful. Go read it yourself to full understand the meaning of it.

As I recollect all my thoughts after the celebrations of our 20th anniversary in HOGC, I thought this was the perfect quote to describe how I feel. “After all this time? Always”

After all these years of building the church, serving God, seeing friends come and go… I have come to ask myself this question too. After the highs of the celebration dies down, the ‘wooohooos’, the multiple photos (READ: eh, later take photo ah! oh my gosh, we need a photo!) moments, I come home to solidify and really ask myself this question. After all this time?

And I have come to an answer, just like how Professor Snape said, “Always”.

I made a promise with Julius on our wedding day with this quote. This lasts for eternity. And today, I make a promise to God, with this quote too. That to build the house of God – Always. The 2 biggest pre-made decisions in my life.

This 20th anniversary reminds me of the goodness of God in HOGC’s history but also reminds me of how God has been so good to me. Just like in a church, we have our ups and downs, it is unrealistic to say that we have not gone through some tough times, we have BUT God has come through for us. As I thought back, I have been through some tough times too.. but God was and is still faithful to me.

I remember the times where I make so many mistakes and had areas of my life to work on. You see christianity is about our character to be more like Christ. We are not perfect, we have areas to work and grow in. Despite that, my Pastors and leaders always allowed me to grow as they kept me close. I could still grow in this area as I continued to serve with the team. I was still loved when I was struggling. They always made it clear that it is our character that matters the most and they want us to grow in that. Sometimes, people don’t see that. People don’t tell the other part of the story – this is the other part. That at the end of the day, the person that has to grow/change is US. It is our character. That is the most important, far more important than the “title/position” we hold in church. Even the bible says so in 1 Samuel 16:7, “… man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart.” This verse really put things into perspective for me as I worked on growing.

So, after all this time do I give back and build the church? Always. Why should I not? Why would I not? God, pastors and my leaders took me in in my weaknesses, trained and believed in me when I had nothing, so why would I not do that? I would like to think that while I have areas in my life to work on and grow (I am not perfect!), yet because I have grown, I can give back more. Because I have broke through in certain areas, now I can do more. Time won’t change my decision. Feelings won’t change my decision. Always – is the only way for me. As Pastor How once shared with us and again last weekend, “Don’t just give God your weaknesses, give Him your strength” I guess, I am once again reminded of my decision. It is time to give Him my strength.

Another year has passed in building HOGC. This is my 17th year in church! What an honour to be found in His house. It is my privilege that God has placed me in the earlier years of the church to see His hand and to have played a part in building it. Time has passed but the heart has not. Our SPs and Pastors’ hearts for the people has grown to be even bigger as the church grows bigger. Time has made things bigger and better but the presence of God is still evident.

So, after all this time? Always.

church, personal

LOG TWO – #20annivibes

You know I’m back like I never left…

Ok, I say that each time I am back… and I will attempt to be more regular because it is good. Good reminder to self and honestly it is quite therapeutic luh.

After a good dinner with some friends.. (Good dinner = nice food, conversations that leave you feeling inspired to do something) I had many thoughts through the night and even till today. Hence, my reappearance on my blog.

Time truly flies and it is my church 20th anniversary soon. It means a lot to me. Let me attempt to structure my thoughts in a coherent manner. Fun Fact: I first learnt how to structure my thoughts in a meeting with Pastor Lia. She noticed that whenever I shared, I went all over the place (my brain works like a spider-web, you know, just splat!) and it was very hard for people to fully understand me. After I shared, she always summarised it so people could understand.. However, more than that, she taught me how to improve. She told me to read newspaper and after each article, think in my head what are the main points. If I could do that, then I would improve in my sharing because I would be trained to be more structured! Now, I am so thankful for it because I have learnt how to be a good communicator. So to all the people in work or I have met in my studying days and said I can communicate well, the truth is I was not born with it, I was trained in it.

Anyway, here’s 2 simple reasons 20th Anniversary means so much to me!

1. Grateful for the past, EXCITED for the future

The past few years growing up in HOGC has been something I am extremely grateful for. I have grown not just in my skills but in my character. I never felt judged by my Pastors or leaders but rather always believed in and encouraged. Have I made mistakes? Honestly, so many that I am a little embarrassed to say.. but I never felt like my Pastors or leaders do not love me or have given up on me. 1 incident that is forever etched on my heart is how Pastor replied my email at 4.23am encouraging me and telling me to keep growing. That day, I was feeling extremely sorry for a mistake I had made and emailed to apologised and also purposed in my heart to grow. I had affected people and naturally, I thought, “die, how could I do this… this time die already…” Instead of condemning me, Pastor encouraged me and point me towards God and to keep growing. Fast forward many years later, Pastors are STILL THE SAME. They are always found encouraging people through meeting them (ask the SCHK people!) and encouraging them.

The past was great, but we cannot look at our past and harp on it. We must look towards the future! The future is AMAZING. We can do more, we can build more, we can give more, we can do anything more TOGETHER! So with a grateful heart, I find myself asking, how can I give back to the place that has built me? How can I continue to give God my best?

2. Honouring Heroes in our midst

It is so important to honour people who have sacrificed and given their best, be in the best or worst circumstances. They are people whom we can look up to and learn from, regardless of age or how long they have been church. They remind me that maturity truly does not come with age, but with the acceptance of responsibility. They give God their best no matter what. These people are why HOGC is strong. These people remind me why I should do the same. These people show me that if they can do it, so can I. These people are amazing.

The bible says, we should emulate our leaders as they emulate Christ. We have the best role models (in my opinion) – we have our SPs, our Pastors, our leaders in front of us. Are we brain washed? Obviously not. I have made my own choice. How? Simply by following the word of God. I read the bible and observe their lives. They are the people who live according to what the bible has called us to do. So… I just need to follow. Following doesn’t mean following their dressing, their bags, the way walk etc. That is just outward actions. That doesn’t make sense. I mean, I never felt like I cannot wear my neon bright pink dress/shirt/bag because my pastors and leaders don’t. I wear/carry them OFTEN. Haha. (Cheers to neon colours!) I follow the principles, the way they love God/others, the way their inspire others etc..

By doing so, I find that I have grown. I have grown as a leader, I have grown as a better team player, I have grown to be better as a person, as a christian. I am not a perfect person, but I am better than I was last year. That to me, means I should continue emulating my leaders as they emulate Christ.

It is ONE MORE WEEK TILL OUR 20th ANNIVERSARY! Cannot wait to celebrate with old and new friends. Cannot wait to celebrate with family. ❤

church, personal, Uncategorized

it’s been a long time, hello there!

It has been a long time,  hello there!

In the past few months, the most common question that I have to answer is:

“so, how is married life?”

Initially and perhaps instinctively, the answer is always ‘good!’ and silence follows. I couldn’t elaborate further because I didn’t know what to say. I know it was good, but I just did not know how to describe it. Hence, finally, after some time, (ok, maybe after a year of being married) I decided to pen it down somewhere. That way, I have a more complete answer, but also at the same time (largely in fact) for myself. To always remind myself of this great and godly man I married (whom at this present moment, is directly in front of me, totally oblivious about me writing about us)

So, here’s are my thoughts… on why/how married life is good/great/a blast!

Firstly, we are the best #TEAM. I looked beside me and I see my best friend, laughing at my (horrible) jokes, telling me how his day went (although most of the time I know since we worked in the same company) and sharing all our inner thoughts – both good and bad. I distinctively remember one night, when both of us were so troubled by something that happened in the day. We were so troubled that we couldn’t sleep. So that night, we knew what we needed to do. We sat and prayed. we lifted our troubles to God and poured out our hearts. It reminded me of not only what God could do (He really came through for us – that’s another story altogether) but it also reminded me of how two people can put a thousand to flight. Together, we were so much stronger, so much more faith-filled.

Secondly, we inspire each other. We all know that life brings us to the mountain top and to the valleys. More often than not, we take turns being at the valley. When that happens, there is another person to pull you up. To remind you that there is something bigger than your problems. To not be self-centred and just think about you and your problems. To be bigger, to dream much more, to go somewhere further, to have a little faith. To have that person is God’s blessing. Having a godly partner does that for you. He is like the friends of the paralytic man who brought him to Jesus for a miracle – just that he is all 4 rolled into 1.

Thirdly, marriage made us less self-centred. Dating and marriage is way different. You learn to cope with each other quirks and habits in a much larger scale. For me, I have to coil all my cables because he cannot take it (ok, sometimes, i don’t do it and he just ends up doing it. HAHA). For him, he has to pack everything into nice neat boxes because I cannot take it if it is not packed nicely. That’s just one of the many things we have learnt to deal with each other. The selfish person would expect the other person to change. But the truth is, we, ourselves need to change. We have to be the right partner before we can find the right partner. (quote: Pastor How from Learning & Choosing to be the Right Life Partner) So, we learn to be less self centred. What can I do to make the marriage better? What can I do to help him grow? If we learn to think for each other more and less about ourselves, I find that we argue lesser and love more.

There’s so much more, but I think for me, these are the 3 main benefits! Perhaps we never really know a 100% that he is the ‘right one’ or if there is someone out there thats the ‘right one’. BUT I am 100% of one thing. I have chosen him and he has chosen me. So for better for worse, HE IS THE RIGHT ONE. WE MAKE IT WORK.

Love you to the moon and back, J. ❤

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to do or not to do?

Life is often faced with many decisions. We need to decide on so many issues – big or small and sometimes we meet some cross roads where we wonder to ourselves how do I make the decisions. You try asking around so many people, but yet at the end of the day, you still ask yourself: to do or not to do?

Recently I have been having toying with a particular idea and I was really uncertain about it due to some reasons. However, last weekend, I learnt how to make decisions.

Logic is good, but not entirely accurate. Emotions is good, but we all know how volatile that can be. Money is good, but it isn’t everything. We need to make decisions based on our FAITH.

Unknowingly, fear crept into my heart I when I was trying to make that decisions, fear creeps in so subtly that sometimes we don’t even realized it is coming for us. It makes us go the ‘safe way’ all the time, deceiving us into thinking that is the right choice when we are meant form something bigger and greater. So, don’t be fearful! Be faithful! Go forth and dream big! After all, I thought to myself, what do I have to lose?

Exactly. Nothing.

‘Why sit here and die?’ These words from the sermon spoke straight into my heart that day. Fear should not be allowed to kill dreams and hope. Faith should come in instead and make the unseen possible, the impossible possible. Im not going to be a sitting duck, I am going to make faith filled decisions even if it scares me to death. As how John Wimber puts it so perfectly…image

I am scared to death, just like I was a new christian all over again, but I’ll go with you.

You are the pearl of great price. I am not crazy, I am just faith filled.

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LOVE

Heart-Love-Sky-Hands-Silhouette__1920x1200

LOVE. A beautiful word. More often than not, misused and misrepresented.

Last Saturday, while attempting to explain what is a diary entry, my students as me, ever so innocently (and ever curious to know)…

student A: “Are you married yet, Ms Sam?”

student B: “No, you already call her Ms Sam, how can she be married? You know married, we have to call her Mrs Sam!”

student C: “means she is not married? Why Ms Sam, why?”

student B: “maybe she hasn’t found someone to love, need time you know…”

I laughed to myself as they are always trying to guess and find out. However, since we have that little time in class to talk about other things, I decided to ask them what their view on love is. Many seem to associate the word ‘LOVE’ as an emotion.

Love isn’t just an emotion. It encompasses more than that. It is a decision. It is to give.

Love pushes you to give. You cannot help it. You just do it.

While many try to find the perfect love/the one/the soul mate, I know that we must first be filled with love. If we are not filled with love, then how can we give? how can we make a decision that requires us to be selfless? It is impossible. I tried that… All I had in return was a monster growing inside that wanted more. More of everything… When the ‘more’ becomes overwhelming, that’s when it all stops. Suddenly, your world comes crushing down, you are again at the start where you once thought you were going somewhere. The vicious cycle starts again.

Right at that bottom of the circle, I found my first love.

Was it an emotion? Yes.

Did it last? No.

It grew from an emotion, to a decision, to a conviction.

My first love anchored in me a love so deep, it never runs dry.

My first love brought me out of darkness and into the light.

My first love taught me to understand,

My first love gave me mercy and grace.

My first love empowered me to learn how to give.

My first love sacrificed his all for me.

My first love – Jesus.

So I have learnt… LOVE is not an emotion. LOVE is a decision to give. He was willing to give His all for me.

It took a while in the past to understand that LOVE ain’t merely an emotion, but I’m glad that sitting in years of preaching in Heart of God Church as taught me well. Thankful that I belong to a great church who has such powerful, impactful, life-changing sermons. Learning from my Pastors and seeing how they live their lives, inspires me to be just like that. They LOVE God, LOVE people, LOVE life. A life that’s worth living for. That’s for another entry, another time.. Haha.

I think that in that 15mins of talking about love, the students understood that LOVE is something so much more. At least, one of them could come up and tell me… “you know Ms Sam, I think I need to love more. I’m always thinking about myself.”

As I prepare for the crazy crazy June holidays, I remind myself that tomorrow, LOVE (give) a little more!

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littlest moments

moreton_fig_tree

True to the title of my wordpress, it is midnight… or past midnight… Like I have mentioned, a picture speaks a thousand words. So here in a single picture, captures my thoughts for the night. Talk about summary writing eh? I would have scored the best.. as long as I have google. I can’t draw for nuts.

Anyway, back to the main point… (I always get distracted.. sigh.. need to fix that… here it goes again…)

I have always believed that we should be doers of the word of God and not just hearers. After listening to 2 parts of the fig tree by my Pastors, I decided to act on it. This morning I (by some miracle, moved my butt out of bed), managed to find time to do so! Boy! Am I glad I did!

Tuesdays are generally busy at work. Teach, attempt to clear as much marking as possible, prep for the new cycle of classes and before you know it 930pm hits. Remembering how Pastor How shared that we shouldn’t tell God how big our problem is but how BIG our God is! I spent time under my fig tree doing just that. I thanked God for many things in my life.. Family, Church, His goodness, work, colleagues, my bed (yes, it is that important: think about the day when YOU HAVE NO BED OK!) and the list goes on… My heart began to fill up slowly but surely. I cannot begin to fully explain the joy that filled my heart, but I was just so thankful that immediately my day started to feel less rigorous. Perhaps it is when you begin to count your blessings that life begins to turn back and smile at you. I know it is a simple act, but sometimes it is those simple moments in life that catch you and turn your day around. Here I am, still smiling to myself about how I started my day right.

It is quite interesting to see that isn’t it? Those small simple moments that you have with God are not only precious but they change you in little ways that you least expect it. I guess that’s why spending time under the fig tree is crucial. It is not even important, it is crucial. It literally changes your life.

Never underestimate the time spent under the fig tree. When you step in to meet God, He comes and meet you too.