Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yeah... News is out...

So yes, the news is out by now, and there's no reason why I shouldn't blog about it... But still, reality seems to sink in slowly...

I mean... I still can't get to grips with it... It's unthinkable...

But yes, I'm gonna be a father.

Which brings me to the question, 'Will I be a good one?'

But I guess if you look at it from a biblical point of view, you can only do that much. Who your child grows up to be does not solely depend on how you brought him up to be. However well your child's upbringing can be, you'd still find that your child might grow up and lick the computer screen somehow, out of no good reason at all.

But yeah, if you would understand that it is God who gives life, and it is God who gives us children, then it would be right to say that the child will be born into my family, and there is only 1 thing I can do, which is to bring him up in a godly way, and pray that God will convict his heart to serve Him all the days of the his/her life.

So, in the end, the summary should be that a good father is a praying father?

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's True...

The thing that I said I will have to wait until it's confirmed to tell you guys is true!!


But I'm still not telling...


BTW, the line in Tawau is really bad lah...

For the past 2 days, I can't really log on to the net... Sien...

And Nat, I'm fine... ahahahah...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's been almost 1 week...

It's almost been one week since I've come to this little town. It's still slightly bigger then some duty-free island out there somewhere, but it's small enough to call it small. So yeah... Last night, I successfully out-maneuvered dinner. I had junk food instead, and this morning, I feel slightly thinner. Maybe it's just an optic illusion, but it's all good.

Oh, I just bought a cheap basketball so that I can at least jump a bit, stretch a bit, and exercise a bit during the evenings. I need it. This town seems to be feeding its people with carbs and more carbs only. It's virtually impossible to go on a low-carb diet. So I guess if you can't beat them, join them... And then exercise later. Hah!

I was awakened by some shocking news this morning, but it's not confirmed yet, so I'll have to wait and see before I tell you what it is. Heh...

Things seem to be starting to run in full-swing but then again, there's only so much you can do. I've been asked to do a few things this morning, and most of it has been done, except for the thing that requires internet connection, which I don't know why, I can only access blogspot. I can't log on to the gov website from which I'm supposed to download stuff from, and I can't log on to the star... hhhmmm...

I wonder if it's any use if we WiFi'ed the school... since internet is always down anyway...

Monday, September 22, 2008


Dinners in Tawau are a real hassle. I've ran out of ideas as of where to eat. And besides, I need a diet, so I'm trying to skip dinner. However, I ended up eating junk food instead. This place is so peaceful that literally, there's nothing to do besides eat. The only places to go in Tawau are Milimewa, Servey... need I say more?

So yeah... It's either you go to the hypermarts and look at the never changing stock available on the shelves or you go to an eatery, whereby, if you do not eat, why even bother... Or you stay at home and do nothing. So... someone help me choose, please...???

Besides that, the people here are nice (so far) still no chicken rice lunches offered to me yet, so I guess I'm still safe... Oh, if you're wondering what chicken rice has to do with me, ask Ka Seng; Apparently, he was invited to go lunch one day by some aunty after service. And he almost sold his soul for that meal... So yeah... that's the chicken rice story ina nutshell.

I just got myself involved in leading a youth cell, one filled with bananas, which are my specialty, and I will be playing in the worship team sooner than I think I would. So, yeah... feels like chocolate.

That's all for today I guess. Normal not-so-intellectual discourse will resume as soon as I get bored with posting about the boring-ness of this place... heh...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lagging Jet Lag??

Suddenly, out of no where, I feel like my body begs for me to rest. I wonder if it's a lagging jet lag or is my body telling me that it's been more than 6 days since I took a break. You see, my normal day offs are on Wednesdays, and this Wednesday, I started working and from the moment I stepped into the office, I had so much to do.

So I guess it's a bit of both eh? I was probably running on adrenaline until it settled in today and yesterday that I needed rest.

But, yeah... Tawau so far has been good to me, just that I can't seem to find a decent place to eat. Everything seems geared towards the mornings only. Dinners are a horror movie. I keep on passing by restaurants that are empty. I guess everyone eats dinner at home and only come out for big occasions.

The only good food I had so far was this morning, at this shabby pasar looking row. I plan to go back there soon i guess. Hopefully I can wake up tomorrow morning for it. As of why I am online at this ungodly hour, it's because I had a nap at 7pm just now and I've come back to an empty room. So this is a random act of posting...

So I joined the worship team... hehe... well, not sure what I'll be doing yet, but I've availed myself. Been practising and just trying to keep my guitar skills from deteriorating but whatever I've grown accustomed to singing are not what's on the menu here. I wonder if I can change that...

Besides that, there's not much to say about Tawau I guess. And I do miss FCC a lot, not as much as I miss my wife, but there is a certain element of emptiness maybe due to the lack of responsibility anymore. Heh. Danny must be cursing his socks off...

I guess what I'll miss the most are the friends whom I left behind. Those who have served with me, those whom I have grown to care about, those whom I have seen them from the moment they touched down in Klang Valley until now, I guess I miss the fellowship, the genuinity of it all, the lack of pretense... I hope I can bring a few values from the share groups to Tawau, but of course, anything of this sort might come as a total surprise to the locals, so I'd have to be patient.

As of now, my mission is to settle in, join a cell group, and pray for the best. The news is, that the building might not be ready until late Nov, expecting it to spill over to December. So I guess I'll have to take these few months slowly as it comes, and get ready for the real setting up over Christmas. I hope everything runs well so that the school can be fully functional in January.

I guess this would be the second low-key Christmas for me.

So, yeah...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 2... ???

Day 2

Only today I realise that out of my frentic packing and moving, I have forgotten my most important piece of equipment. I have unknowingly not used my Bible for such a long time that I somehow forgotten that it exists. Since I got my min, I've been using the online Bible for all my things that the physical Bible was left aside. And now, I suddenly realise that I am not that online anymore.

Well, the 2nd day of Tawau was as bearable as the 1st day. Time moves so slowly. Today was my first day of work and work I did! I got together 3 people to do the school logo design for me, I did the write-up for the school brochure, and I went to the computer shop to get a deal finalised. I even had time to chat with my friends while doing some filing, considered on whether we should go for a copier/scanner/printer/fax versus a 4-in-1, and I sat in for the Sunday Morning Worship Team Practice.

And guess what, I have to go through 3 months probation! hehehe... At first I thought it wasn't THAT necessary, but then, after sitting through the practice, I think 3 months is not enough! I was totally lost in a sense I couldn't even comprehend what they were doing. The team has been playing together for so long that everything happens without much signalling, the singers all sang in parts, the musicians know exactly what to do, and most important point of all, I don't know the songs!

So, yeah... It's about 3 months worth of hiding in my room and practising whatever I see in the practise.

Until then, it's more filing for tomorrow.

Well, at least where my office is, the internet is good.

But there's no line in my room...

p/s: It's day 3 when I am posting day 2's post... Ah, what can I say, I'm loving it... We have 2 routers at the office, and somehow... somehow...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 1 in Tawau, Sabah

The not-so-hometown...

It's only in times where you can't do much in a little town that you tend to seek to think about something. Anything. In the big city, life is so fast paced that most of the time, people tend to forget to think. That's what they call the rat race.

But I have come to this small town in the nether regions of Sabah to do the will of the One who sent me. I wonder why He wants me here.

Anyhow, at this time, back where I come from, we would still be chasing after something, whether be it a tv series, taking a bath, or just coming back from having dinner.

Here, I arrived at 3pm just now, and by 7.30pm, I've already driven across town and back, ventured into all the major roads, found dinner on my own at a place that a friend brought me there once, bought the stuff that I needed to survive, parked my car, and walked about the town area.

It does seem to have an effect on the human psyche to adapt to this reverse culture. I came from a culture similar to this, and when I went to the big city to study, I adapted, and now, I have to re-adapt to what I have grown out of. Actually, that is the most difficult part.

And oh, Tawau is filled with round-abouts.

p/s: I would like to thank all those who have helped me out in settling in, especially in KK where I spent the night.

Oh... I touched down in KK, spent the night there, drove back to Sandakan (6hours) spent the night there, and had a haircut, then drove to Tawau (5hours).

Arrived in St.Patrick's Church compound at exactly 3pm.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Embrace what you have been given

The reason why I wrote all the things below are simple and straight forward. I want all of us to learn how important it is to understand your church throughout. I have met a few people out there who come from the church that broke off from us, and this guy seemingly doesn't know that much about what he was getting himself into. He tried to 'introduce' us to his wonderful pastor saying that he is this and that, but we already know him and his church inside-out. And I can testify, that I knew more about his pastor and church than he did.

So, the point that I am making today is that I want us all to come to learn, embrace and own this church which you have grown from the previous person you are to who you are today. I want us all to understand why our leadership makes the decisions they make sometimes, and why some of these problems you see in church are not, and cannot be solved. I am not saying that we have the right to do things this way just because we were hurt at one point in time, but some consideration would be much appreciated.

We have gone through much as a church, starting from a single Cell Group of about 7 committed members to a church of 450 worshippers weekly. We have grown from a death, a rebirth of sorts, and now some parts of this body still aches from the past hurts. For those who have not gone through what the members since 2001 has gone through, be thankful, but also I want us all to know that this church is not built on anything else but Christ. It is only through God that we can come to Him, and it is only through God that we can withstand such trials and tribulations.

Therefore, as my parting gift to the church that has seen me grow up from a teenager to the person I am today, I have given you a glimpse of who you are. Who we are today is a result of what we have gone through in the past, and this is our past. For the lives that I have come to influence, I hope that I have made an impact that will last long, and at the same time, set you on course for better things ahead. For those whom I have hurt, I am gravely sorry. For those whom I have not been able to reach out to, I am slightly regretful. For those whom I have not spent enough time with, I have tried, believe me, I have tried. For those whom I am leaving behind, remember to grow.

And as a last note, I urge all to remain faithful to The LORD, serving Him in whatever capacity that you can, and imitate me as I imitate Christ. I have not been perfect, but I try to be good enough. Push your boundaries and serve Him more and more. Do not let go of discipline, commitment and faithfulness.

You will face challenges of all sorts in the future, and your faith will be tested. But I urge you all to remain faithful even to the point of death. Only when you have sacrificed much that you may see what I have seen, and I hope that some day, I will be able to read about someone else's struggles in FCC that are greater than mine, and most importantly, more victorious than mine.

Until then, I shall be posting from St. Patrick's Tawau.

SaDdNesZ.jc's last post from Faith Christian Centre - No.19, Jalan PJS11/1, Bandar Sunway.

Friday, September 05, 2008

And then I worked in Church

So after a while of taking the reins of a sturdy organisation, I felt the pinch of God to serve Him full-time in church. The burden was just too heavy to ignore. I saw the needs of the church, and I think God has really put me here at this time for His purpose.

At first I held on to a prophecy that I had upon my life that I will become an entrepreneur and start something that will be used to advance God's kingdom. I struggled for about 2-3 months before I really made the step of faith. I still kind of hold on to that today, but with less importance.

It seems that in every juncture of my life, God has tried to give me a chance to serve Him full-time, but all of those times before this, I had said 'No'. I had always found joy in serving. That's why I have never stopped, even when I changed town and church for 2 times within 2 years. I served when I was in my hometown church, I served as soon as I settled down in KK for my Degree Foundation, I served as soon as I arrived in FCC. I guess I had the heart, and God knew it.

So I asked my pastor what should I do with this burden that God has put in my heart? The minds says no, but the heart felt right.

I have bought a car so that I can travel faster from work to ministry, and I just bought a house so that I could get married with my girlfriend, who is my wife now. I had so many burdens on me that to any self loving mind, it will be virtually impossible to survive on the salary scale that a full-time staff of the church would get. But I did get through. I struggled with my debts a lot, but only after so many things and so many years, I finally seemed to have navigated through just fine. The apartment is rented out now, my finances a lot more stable than before, and just by getting rid of the burden from the apartment, I can breathe easy now.

Back to full-time;

After my struggle in getting to grips with God's economy, I took up the challenge and courage to work in church. The initial deal with my pastor was 2 years. 2 years to try out if I really had a heart to be a pastor or, dare I say, a priest. And in these 2 years (almost), I have learned how to be compassionate, how to have a shepherd's heart.

And in these 2 years, I have seen the most dramatic change ever in the history of this church. We have not only regained strength, but we are on the offensive. We decided to move forcefully through the change of a system. Everyone who has been to a charismatic church would know that churches run on this system called the Cell Group system. We evolved away from that during these 2 years. We took a bold step and tried to deal with some major problems that we were facing in the running of the Cell Group system.

We wanted authenticity; we wanted to build a family; we wanted to build a church that is so strong in its pursuit of friendship that we decided to do away with the seemingly more programme based Cell Group System. We took away the rigidity of the 5Ws.

We also moved into our new building that we bought during these 2 years. It was a challenge indeed. The renovation, the loose ends at the old premises, my marriage, the big move, all came together at about the same time. I had a stretch of about 6 months without decent rest.

We moved from our last piece of rented property to our own building for Chrsitmas 2007. We cramped up 100++ people into a hall that could sit less than that amount for about 3 months. Every week we had to struggle and sometimes even had to hope that there will be absentees. What a way to run a church.

We had to cramp in the small hall because our main hall wasn't ready yet. We had not the time nor the money to do anything at that point in time. We needed about RM600k just for renovation itself and we could not muster enough financial power to do anything with the ability that we had. But God delivered. He gave us all we need. He even provided us with an in-house Interior Designer who was on site everyday. Me and him, we tackled everything that needed to be tackled. It was crazy. Literally crazy.

Once we thought that we could take our sweet time in making an impressive building renovation, the Big Boss suddenly gave us an impossible task; to do up the place in about 6 weeks. So we did everything in about 6 weeks. We laid out the cables, we put up the ceiling, we tiled the place, we rebuilt the toilets, we installed all the lights and air-conditioning, we did up the sound system, the projectors, the walls, the stage, stage lights, platforms, roof leaks solved, the gate, the whole works. Everything in 6 weeks. It must have took 4 project managers to see through this kind of task normally, but we only had 2 people; 1 totally inexperienced, the other had seen a few smaller projects. By the grace of God we got everything done up and the Big Boss came over on the 9th of March 2008 to consecrate this place. Spiritually set this place apart forever.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Then I led the Worship Team

2006 was the year of struggle for me.

The church broke-through on its journey to picking itself up again. The original Worship Team Leader had left for the newly formed church about 2 years now, and the team is picking itself up again. The older members who stayed back have now been on over-time too much. A few small hurts here and there culminated into them dropping out one by one. First, our faithful sound-man started to pull away. Then, the drummer got into a relationship with the keyboardist, who left to NZ to further her studies, but she never came back, ending the relationship with the drummer. He couldn't take it and wanted to be left alone for a while, and in the end, never came back too.

The other leaders were sent to theological studies as most of the worship team leaders responded to full-time calling before or after they were made team leader. I too was like that. I led the team for a couple of months before I joined the full-time team.

In the end, 2 years after the break-off, the old regime has successfully faded away. Some of them are still in church, but not taking an active role anymore, some have totally drifted away slowly. There were only a handful of those who stayed who are still serving until today. I am one of them, and those who stayed back are my contemporaries. But only a handful survived until today. The original 'first-team' when I arrived has moved to the newly formed church and we were left to rebuild from scratch.

It took the 3 leaders before me sweat and blood to pave the way for me. Principles were upheld at the cost of a few misunderstandings, tempers flared because of inexperienced leadership, team talks were often and always ended in tears for a few people, but we made it through. We managed to re-build a team of worship musicians who were adamant in growing both musically and spiritually. I came into possession of a team that had talent, and I needed only to help them focus, and that is actually all I did.

I did that for about 2 years now, and God has called me once again to something else.

At last, I led worship...

After waiting another 2 years or so, I led worship for the first time in FCC. Amidst the slump and the degradation of the church, our mother church decided that all future pastors to the church be sent to full-time theological studies in order that everyone who is given responsibility has been given proper grounding before-hand. That is why for the first 2 years after the break, we had no resident pastor. The staff team was required to hold the fort both in Administration and also in Pastoral ministry. The pastor who was sent to lead this church is now sent to study and only comes back during the weekends to preach.

During these 2 years, the leadership of the church suffered, and during these 2 years, we were all about adapting, not changing for the better. And adapt we did. The cells were made to run without much direction from the pastor, but everyone was committed. Those who stayed back during the aftermath were significantly more sturdy than any other. I tell you the truth. Any church member who can survive a break-off is so strong that the fella can, in the future, withstand almost anything.

So I had to focus on leading a cell without much direction from the top. Back then, Cell Supervisors took charge of all things. House blessings, counselling, stuff. We worked like mad during those days, especially those who just graduated and found their first jobs. The struggle was real, but our power and strength were not. It was supernatural in fact.

So it was only after the break-off that I started to move into a more leadership role. And only after my Cell Group settled down, meaning from 15 people dropping to a constant 5 people, sometimes 4, that the worship team started to regain its strength.

To tell you the truth, I was so disappointed in how the worship team ended up that I just forgot about leading worship altogether. I was resolved into playing the guitar for the rest of my life. Until one day, the team leader approached me and asked me to try and lead worship. For real, I had already lost it. I had no passion for music anymore. I just wanted to serve, as a guitarist.

But after a while, the initial calling came back to me and I remembered that I must also move on. That God did not give me this voice to keep quite. That I need to only avail myself for His service, and He will see me through.

So I led worship for the first time in FCC after about 4 years being here. It could've been 1 year, but God had other plans.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

And I led a Cell Group

The year was 2001 March/April-

Since most of the leadership went off to this newly formed church with the newly gone pastor, there was almost nothing left of the church. Those who stayed back were the ones who weren't that close to the pastor who left, and that means, secondary leadership in management terms.

Thus, I was called in to take the reins of a sinking ship. The leadership of so many of our Cell Groups had left, and brought their closest friends with them that we had to start over from nothing. Members were dropping like flies. Collateral damage, as it were.

New leadership started to emerge, but not without a price. There were some members who were so used to the leadership of the previous pastor that they too left after a while. So the church suffered 2 waves of negative growth. The first wave left together with the pastor, and there was a second wave that left after a few months. Some dropped by the way-side and were hurt by this dip in the church, some grew stronger, but some never came back to any church at all.

It was one of the darkest moments in our church life.

From 140 worshipers weekly, we dropped to about 60 per week. Cell Groups had to be merged in order to stay alive. Leaders were pushed up into the spotlight without much experience, and we gained our experience along the way, making mistakes that ultimately hurt ourselves and the people whom we cared for.

I had the unfortunate experience of 'loving' a cell member too much. She had been going out with a non-Christian at that time and I didn't have the tact to counsel her nor to talk to her. I only knew how to tell her what is wrong and right. And she proved to be my ultimate failure. She left the church, the cell and until today, I still look back with regret. I lost her because I was just too controlling. Although I did grow and learn from that experience, but there was a casualty. It still makes me sad that I did not shepherd her in a way that she could be won back. She became a person who would walk to church on a Sunday morning without complain, to a person who refused to come to church even if fetched. And I became a failure in showing love and compassion.

It was only after about 5 years after the first wave that we picked up ourselves as a church and regained our strength, becoming who were are today. Some of us still live under the trauma of the split, some still have not come back entirely; they are in church, but they are not the leader that they are supposed to be. Some have gave it their all, and maybe now, feeling the effects of burn-out.

(to be continued...)

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