Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ibrahim Ali ... Malaysian politics at its best

An example of  Malaysian politics at its "best" (please note the sarcasm). What I find sad is that this is not even an example of the the worse kind of political rantings. It's sadly quite normal and what's depressing is that no action will be taken against such people.

Going to switch on "moderate" post feature

*Sigh* I am going to switch on the blogger "moderate" post feature as getting comments three times in Chinese from someone I don't know is irritating me ...

Have some people really got nothing better to do?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Allan Yong's vent acts for Haggai

Accidentally came across this youtube video of Allan Yong. Been a while since I have seen him use this kind of dummy. Nice ....

I am more used to seeing him with his more basic puppets like this.

Restless leg syndrome ramblings

Not been blogging much as I have just been too busy and too tired. "Busy" I can handle pretty decently. Kind of get used to juggling and learning how to better manage time and resources. But it's the tiredness that is slowly getting to me.

A big source of the problem for me is that my restless leg syndrome problem has been rather severe for the past few weeks. It is quite "maddening" NOT to try and relax so I can sleep. For a number of nights I have had to exhaust myself before I can fall asleep. And unfortunately I can't sleep in late so I have been getting up very tired.

But the good news is that the biopsy of my polyps shows that my stomach and intestines are clear! :-)

Tiredness obviously affects productivity so it is a bit harder to cope with busyness especially when there are a couple of "crisis" situations thrown into the mix.

But at the same time I find a lot of strength in 2 Corinthians 12:9. The context may be different but the reality of grace is very real.

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Okay back to work on my Easter message, then off for some visitation.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ramblings on "Why I don't tweet"

Nice article on "Why I don't tweet" by Skye Jethani

Some months ago I sat down for breakfast with Ed Stetzer while we were both in Phoenix for a conference. Afterwards Ed “tweeted” about our meal together and commented that for some inexplicable reason “Skye isn’t on Twitter.” He gave me some playful grief about it on our drive to the conference, and since then others have asked why I don’t Tweet as well. So I decided it was time to finally show my cards.


First of all, I don’t believe Twitter is evil, wrong, or in any way immoral. And I’m not condemning my many friends who love to Tweet. But it’s not for me. Here are the top 10 reasons why I don’t use Twitter (not that there’s anything wrong with it).

My life really isn’t that interesting (and in most cases, neither is yours). Unless you are “The Most Interesting Man in the World” from the Dos Equis commercials, I really don’t care what you’re doing at any particular moment. Let’s be honest, most of life is mundane, ordinary, and routine. I’d rather keep the veil of mystery over my life so that outsiders can construct a far more fascinating picture of my existence with their imaginations.

I don’t like the taste of my own foot. Twitter enables otherwise intelligent people to communicate really foolish things to far too many people much too rapidly. In other words, it’s very easy to Tweet and regret. The first thought that comes to my mind is rarely the thought I want others to see. What can I say? I’m still a Christian under construction.

You cannot delete a Tweet. Last year ABC News anchor Terry Moran posted this Tweet: “Pres. Obama just called Kanye West a ‘jackass’ for his outburst at VMAs when Taylor Swift won. Now THAT’S presidential.” Moran deleted the Tweet almost immediately when we discovered the President’s comment was intended to be off-the-record. It was too late. Thousands of people had already copied the post. ABC News has issued apologies and statements about the mishap. Twittering can take a moment, but the regret can last a lifetime.

For the rest of the article, click HERE

Off the top of my head I have a few more personal reasons to add ...

1. I blog and I think that is more than enough on my part to share my thoughts publicly.

2. I have enough trouble already blocking dozens of facebook applications and invitations and use facebook sparingly. There is to me already too much trivial junk on facebook that are time wasters. *I have my own personal "guidelines" on how I use facebook so I am the boss and not the application!

3. I think I can spend my valuable time a lot better than learn to "tweet" (okay the author did mention this so it is an overlap but it does show I agree very strongly) and get sucked in by yet another "in thing". So many have died obscure deaths (or will soon die) that I can't even remember their names now, and I am glad I never used them....

4. I think that it is twitter and facebook as well is generally actually pretty superficial in terms of real communication and is actually in a real way rather impersonal. "Cyber community" is to me an oxymoron as most often, there is no real depth in communication and care.

5. I am not a bird! :-)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Home made Beef noodles

My latest foray into my culinary world. My beef noodles.... Simple and easy to make and for me a beef lover, simply delicious :-)

I made the stock a few months ago and froze it. Also froze a lot of the the meat (home made corned beef). Then yesterday, Jennifer took it out, I put it in a pot, added water (as it was super thick stock), threw in some cabbage and when the mix started boiling, tossed in the frozen beef to thaw it, then removed it. I let the soup simmer for a while, then got out some rice noodles (bee hoon), placed it in some hot water, drained the water and all ready to eat.

Guess the presentation needs some work but for me, it's the taste that matters :-)

Garden ramblings

It looks like a busy week again. Looks like I will be busy every night ... except Sunday night. Plus side is more visitation planned ... :-) Looking forward to having dinner tonight with a new family that has joined our church. Appreciate very much their dinner invitation.

Anyway thought I'd post up some photos updates of my garden.

First is a photo of my "serai" (lemon grass) plants. From one small stalk, I have separated the plant into three bunches. I transplanted two bunches near the side of my house and left a huge third bunch in my "sand pit".

Second is a photo of my Feijoa tree. Not yet two years old too and while both trees are still very small, both are starting to fruit. Way faster than it is supposed to fruit so I am very happy especially since after one year the trees looked as if they have not grown at all. I would attribute its good health to daily watering and regular fertilizing etc. Now that I am seeing the "fruits", I am glad I put in the hard work.

Third and fourth photos are of my chilly plants. These were given to me by a church member and I replanted them and one (the tiny one) has been bearing loads of chillies. I should have taken a picture of them when they chillies were red but I was too eager and plucked them very quickly :-) But you can see the green chillies quite clearly.

The fifth photo is that of my strawberry plant. Still going strong after I transplanted it a month ago. Season long finished but strangely, a flower has emerged (can't be seen in the picture though). I am curious to see whether a tiny strawberry might start growing in a few weeks. Am hoping the plant will spread naturally over winter if escapes the frost. The potted plant is my Basil which has been flowering for months. Decided to leave it in the pot.

Also planted last month some flowers in the front. Rather late but I thought why not try some flowers. They are growing well and I hope in a few weeks to see some colourful flowers blooming.

My garden (esp the lawn) is still pretty messy but I think I am slowly getting there. Lots of work to do but taking it slow and steady,. Just glad the flax plants have been finally removed and am getting my very tall and scary "Christmas" pine tree removed today. It's the one in the background of my Feijoa photo.

My Macadamia plant is growing well too. Who knows, I might get some early fruit next year. Fingers crossed!

I am now also mowing my own lawn (given up on my boys :-)) and after trying out petrol and electric mowers, have bought a push mower (totally manual). Not actually recommended but I decided it would be less hassle and would provide me with helpful exercise. First time using it last week ... and it went decently well. I think together with my line trimmer and weed killer, I am slowly getting into the Kiwi gardening spirit.

Okay back to work ...

Jesus’ triumphant yet sad entry

Just posted up this week's Pastor's Notes. To read, click HERE

Monday, March 22, 2010

How I wish this was about Malaysia

Nice inspiring story reprinted on the Malaysia Today news portal. How I wish this was about Malaysia even though technically the vast majority of non "Malays" cannot be considered immigrants as many of us have been in Malaysia for many generations - myself personally a 3rd generation and my sons 4th generation Malaysians.

Sad about the "brain drain" due to a lack of appreciation and highly limited opportunities ... I like it here in NZ as though the latest reports show that generally Asian immigrants are not as well accepted yet and are not assimilating well, this is not the case for me and my family. We are thriving here....

America’s Real Dream Team

When you mix all of these energetic, high-aspiring people with a democratic system and free markets, magic happens. If we hope to keep that magic, we need immigration reform that guarantees that we will always attract and retain, in an orderly fashion, the world’s first-round aspirational and intellectual draft choices.

By Thomas L. Friedman (The New York Times)

Went to a big Washington dinner last week. You know the kind: Large hall; black ties; long dresses. But this was no ordinary dinner. There were 40 guests of honor. So here’s my Sunday news quiz: I’ll give you the names of most of the honorees, and you tell me what dinner I was at. Ready?

Linda Zhou, Alice Wei Zhao, Lori Ying, Angela Yu-Yun Yeung, Lynnelle Lin Ye, Kevin Young Xu, Benjamin Chang Sun, Jane Yoonhae Suh, Katheryn Cheng Shi, Sunanda Sharma, Sarine Gayaneh Shahmirian, Arjun Ranganath Puranik, Raman Venkat Nelakant, Akhil Mathew, Paul Masih Das, David Chienyun Liu, Elisa Bisi Lin, Yifan Li, Lanair Amaad Lett, Ruoyi Jiang, Otana Agape Jakpor, Peter Danming Hu, Yale Wang Fan, Yuval Yaacov Calev, Levent Alpoge, John Vincenzo Capodilupo and Namrata Anand.

No, sorry, it was not a dinner of the China-India Friendship League. Give up?

O.K. All these kids are American high school students. They were the majority of the 40 finalists in the 2010 Intel Science Talent Search, which, through a national contest, identifies and honors the top math and science high school students in America, based on their solutions to scientific problems. The awards dinner was Tuesday, and, as you can see from the above list, most finalists hailed from immigrant families, largely from Asia.

Indeed, if you need any more convincing about the virtues of immigration, just come to the Intel science finals. I am a pro-immigration fanatic. I think keeping a constant flow of legal immigrants into our country — whether they wear blue collars or lab coats — is the key to keeping us ahead of China. Because when you mix all of these energetic, high-aspiring people with a democratic system and free markets, magic happens. If we hope to keep that magic, we need immigration reform that guarantees that we will always attract and retain, in an orderly fashion, the world’s first-round aspirational and intellectual draft choices.

This isn’t complicated. In today’s wired world, the most important economic competition is no longer between countries or companies. The most important economic competition is actually between you and your own imagination. Because what your kids imagine, they can now act on farther, faster, cheaper than ever before — as individuals. Today, just about everything is becoming a commodity, except imagination, except the ability to spark new ideas.

If I just have the spark of an idea now, I can get a designer in Taiwan to design it. I can get a factory in China to produce a prototype. I can get a factory in Vietnam to mass manufacture it. I can use to handle fulfillment. I can use to find someone to do my logo and manage by backroom. And I can do all this at incredibly low prices. The one thing that is not a commodity and never will be is that spark of an idea. And this Intel dinner was all about our best sparklers.

Before the dinner started, each contestant stood by a storyboard explaining their specific project. Namrata Anand, a 17-year-old from the Harker School in California, patiently explained to me her research, which used spectral analysis and other data to expose information about the chemical enrichment history of “Andromeda Galaxy.” I did not understand a word she said, but I sure caught the gleam in her eye.

My favorite chat, though, was with Amanda Alonzo, a 30-year-old biology teacher at Lynbrook High School in San Jose, Calif. She had taught two of the finalists. When I asked her the secret, she said it was the resources provided by her school, extremely “supportive parents” and a grant from Intel that let her spend part of each day inspiring and preparing students to enter this contest. Then she told me this: Local San Jose realtors are running ads in newspapers in China and India telling potential immigrants to “buy a home” in her Lynbrook school district because it produced “two Intel science winners.”

Seriously, ESPN or MTV should broadcast the Intel finals live. All of the 40 finalist are introduced, with little stories about their lives and aspirations. Then the winners of the nine best projects are announced. And finally, with great drama, the overall winner of the $100,000 award for the best project of the 40 is identified. This year it was Erika Alden DeBenedictis of New Mexico for developing a software navigation system that would enable spacecraft to more efficiently “travel through the solar system.” After her name was called, she was swarmed by her fellow competitor-geeks.

Gotta say, it was the most inspiring evening I’ve had in D.C. in 20 years. It left me thinking, “If we can just get a few things right — immigration, education standards, bandwidth, fiscal policy — maybe we’ll be O.K.” It left me feeling that maybe Alice Wei Zhao of North High School in Sheboygan, Wis., chosen by her fellow finalists to be their spokeswoman, was right when she told the audience: “Don’t sweat about the problems our generation will have to deal with. Believe me, our future is in good hands.”

As long as we don’t shut our doors.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Allah Word: The Bare Historical Facts Presented (Ng Kam Weng)

Thank you Dr. Ng KW yet again!

Allah Word: The Bare Historical Facts Presented

By nkw

Allah Word: Facts and Time-line

“Why do you want to fight the Malaysian government over the use of the word Allah?” This question crops up now and then in our discussion groups.

The inquirer may be well intentioned, but he is obviously ill-informed. The best answer to this question is to present the facts of history which show clearly that it is not the Malaysian Church that wants to fight the government; it is rather the case of the government pushing the Church with one demand after another until the Church’s back is pressed against the wall. The Church has no option but to appeal to the Court to seek redress and justice.
I refer to the recently document (Allah-word & the Alkitab: Fact Sheet), just released by the Christian Federation Malaysia (CFM) on 15 March 2010 - documenting how the government has been unrelenting in its harassment of the Church for the last 30 years.

To read the rest of the article, click HERE

Not Breaking the Bruised Reeds (Henri Nouwen)

Not Breaking the Bruised Reeds

Some of us tend to do away with things that are slightly damaged. Instead of repairing them we say: "Well, I don't have time to fix it, I might as well throw it in the garbage can and buy a new one." Often we also treat people this way. We say: "Well, he has a problem with drinking; well, she is quite depressed; well, they have mismanaged their business...we'd better not take the risk of working with them." When we dismiss people out of hand because of their apparent woundedness, we stunt their lives by ignoring their gifts, which are often buried in their wounds.

We all are bruised reeds, whether our bruises are visible or not. The compassionate life is the life in which we believe that strength is hidden in weakness and that true community is a fellowship of the weak.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Catch up ramblings - mid March 2010

Have not been blogging for a while as just too swamped with work and some personal matters.

Got bad news from Wei Hong on my birthday - Dr. Cheah Wing Yin's accident. Am glad that he is recovering and I trust that no more specific news updates is good news. I wonder why though the driver who hit him was not arrested for crashing into someone in the emergency lane. ...

Ministry has been super busy and I am glad the next few weeks looks to be more relaxed so I can catch up on my visitation. Extra busyness is due to a couple of emergencies and a lot of unexpected new work. A lot is related to the coming Cambodian mission trip. I will now be doing 8 hours of special classes with the young adults taking a year off for Bible cum ministry cum practical training. The difficulty is always in trying to make sure I find the right balance between using simple English and yet not over simplify the subject matter. Notes are always difficult to prepare for such projects especially for the subject matter I will be tackling ...

My Magic show on Saturday really "bombed" - I was really tired and my mind went "blank" a few times and I was fumbling with some simple stuff. Only good thing is that I have more experience so I can cover up pretty decently. Must have been my worse show ever! *sigh* No proper "mic-ing" added to the problem which made it hard to throw my voice as the hall had very poor acoustics. But many children and parents came up to me to show their appreciation so I guess it was okay ...

Bought a lawn mower last week and after 10 minutes, it stopped working (ex-demo model). Returned it and decided to buy a "push mower" - manual - no motor! It wasn't recommended (not the model - it's a good one) because it is hard work! But I figured that t was way cheaper than the good petrol ones or the recommended cool electric battery powered one AND it would force me to do more exercise. I need to exercise more and this will be a helpful push.

I only restart preaching on Palm Sunday so that is a good thing in terms of work load. I have taken over official leadership of a struggling Home Group but have also officially left my current Home Group. I am looking forward to helping my new group re-establish itself and grow.

Have a networking meeting tomorrow and am having fun (with just a tad of stress) making a display board (pictures of activities etc) as well as some informational leaflets.

Last night was a good break - went to a magic lecture. Very enjoyable as this lecturer focuses on restaurant magic and has 19 years of experience under his belt so his brand of magic is very visual and fun.

Friday I go for my gastroscopy and colonoscopy procedures. Not looking forward to that! :-(

Help in believing God's promises in tough situations (Pastor's Notes)

Just posted up my Pastor's Notes. To read, click HERE

Friday, March 12, 2010

Listening as Spiritual Hospitality (Henri Nouwen) - a quick reflection and rambling

I feel so tired today ... yesterday's flu / allergy (or whatever it was) with its sneezing bouts and runny nose really drained me. God is good though as I recovered enough to attend my Home group meeting and then only "crashed" when I got home.

I have so much to do today and I kept thinking I need to start the day being quiet and try and be still and listen to God first. So this quote from Henri Nouwen (at the end of this post) was especially helpful ... a reminder that in my busy-ness with so much to do, I need to remember to take time to really listen ... not just to God but to others and not just rush to complete my many tasks. Important as my tasks may be (and yes, some of them really are :-)), learning to better listen will keep my feet on the ground and remind me that ministry should be first people oriented not task oriented. Though of course often the two go together ...

The importance of listening also came home strongly to me yesterday and today. I called a very prominent Christian organization to arrange collection of our left over bric a brac (good stuff) from our recent Gala and while explaining to someone on the phone who I was and the situation (pastor, church and the why we had these items etc) I heard a lady in the background comment in a loud and irritated voice say, "We don't want their left over junk!" He tried to explain something to him (it was muffled as I think he had the sense to cover the phone) but there were some loud angry words ... Then someone told me over the phone that their store was very full (overflowing?) etc. I asked if they could put me in touch with another store (same organization) and the voice said, "No. All are full and they have no need of things." Blatant lie obviously ....

This morning I got a call from another charitable organization (non Christian) whom I had contacted the day before and who actually recommended that I call this Christian organization. He asked me if I called them and I said yes. Then he laughed and said, "They told you they were full, right?" I said "yes" and he said, They're lying. They do need stuff." And he proceeded to tell me that he called them to let them now that I would be calling and the person in charge (same lady) told him that I had already called and that she did not want my "left over junk!"

I had a nice chat with me and he promised to come over and collect what he could. And this even though his organization did not primarily deal with some of the items - they dealt mostly with used clothes and they just collected the other things listed to help others. In my conversation, I decided to try and explain the context again and I found it was not needed as he was listening and understood I was not giving him junk. In fact, he understood (and I reiterated) that if any items were unsuitable for his use, he was not obliged to take them as I would find others willing to take the items. I do know of a place from a church member - a thrift shop for example but our idea was to give them away to these organizations as proceeds go to charity.

What I think is most disappointing is that our church (and myself personally) help this Christian organization every year in their fund raising. I have personally walked many hours in the hot sun to help. I may sound petty but this year when they ask for my help, I am going to give the person in charge an earful - not so much for not listening properly but telling me blatant lies! I might even want to reconsider supporting this organization if they do not address such issues. Shameful!

Listening as Spiritual Hospitality

To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept.

Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

So only 214 got straight As and not 7,987?

Report from the STAR

SPM: 214 students scored above 90% for all subjects

PUTRAJAYA: In the 2009 SPM results announced Thursday, 7,987 students obtained all As in the subjects they took, said Education director-general Datuk Dr Ahamad Sipon.

He said that under the new scoring system introduced for the 2009 examinations, 214 of the those students who scored all As scored above 90% (A+) in all their subjects.

So this means only 214 got straight As and not 7,987?

If 90% is an A+? What exactly is the percentage that qualifies for an A grade? And what about A-? And what does a student need to get a B?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Return of the Prodigal Son (pastor's notes)

Just posted up my Pastor's Notes. To view, click HERE

What is not stated there is that the idea of just showing a picture of a painting came from Henri Nouwen's book "The Return of the Prodigal Son"

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pathways, KCC Gala 2010 and other ramblings

Been a while since I blogged. Usual reason ... :-) But time to quickly post up some pictures of last Saturday's KCC Gala - especially since I have a headache analyzing and commenting on my church intern's assignment on Galatians. It's an additional role have taken on this year - to be the supervisor for one of my young adults who has enrolled in a Bible training institution called Pathways.

BTW I am not saying it was a bad assignment! :-) Just that it has been a long time since I did any academic work so I am finding it hard to think in terms of assignment requirements. Doing assignments in the past tended at times to give me "headaches" and it is worse when I examine other people's assignments due in part to my "perfectionist" tendencies. Nothing is ever totally satisfactory to me. Can always do better ... yada yada yada. But the main difficulty is finding the balance between giving helpful advice that allows someone to develop as God has intended her to be and unintentionally imposing my preference / style of doing things on someone (and with it unneeded pressure and false and unhelpful expectations) *sigh*

Thank God she is patient with me :-) Had a good 2nd meeting with her earlier today....

I realize that it still takes so much effort (even till today) for me to decide that I have finished preparing a sermon and not look at it again till Saturday night or even early Sunday morning so I do not end up making more and more revisions and end up with over revisions :-) !

Anyway, from the supervisors' handbook - this is my "three in one" role.

Academic Supervisor

An Academic Supervisor is defined as the person who oversees the intern with regards to ensuring they comply with the academic requirements of Pathways College for the intern’s supervised internship experience.

Spiritual Mentor

A Spiritual Mentor is defined as the person who engages regularly with the intern to nurture their spiritual growth, stability and preparation/equipping for ministry.

Local Supervisor

A Local Supervisor is defined as the person who relates to / oversees the intern on a day by day basis and who is closely involved with the intern and their particular area of ministry.

It should be noted that although these 3 areas above are distinct, they may, in a number of cases, be appropriately undertaken by the same person.

Expectations of Supervisors

Fortnightly Supervision Meetings

We recommend meeting at least fortnightly for approximately 90 minutes in a formal session. The session should be utilised to assist the intern in personal and professional growth.

Each session should have a main focus (e.g. reporting a critical ministry incident or evaluating progress toward a particular goal), but it will also contain other aspects of an effective supervision relationship. Some ingredients that may be utilised in the supervision session are:

 Active listening

 Planning strategy for a ministry objective

 Ministry skill training (you can get another skilled person involved)

 Discussion of character issues

 Evaluating conflict situations

 Sharing of personal prayer requests

 Celebration of "victories" experienced by the intern

 Use of effective questions to draw out personal concerns/needs

 Mutual encouragement for spiritual growth

 Confronting in love in areas needing growth

 Explanation of the "why" of a particular ministry action

What does a Supervision Meeting look like?

Setting up your meeting structure with the internship student could be done this way:

 A Pre-meeting brief - where the Supervisor and the intern review past meetings and their ministry area, and set goals and agenda items for the upcoming meeting.

 At the meeting, get re-acquainted; set out agenda of both parties; look at ministry events through verbal or written feedback. Review the quality of performance so far. Always keep in mind the feelings experienced during tasks. Offer constructive feedback, reflection, alternatives, highlights and lowlights of work, dialogue, and alternative perspectives. Confrontation should be caring, reasonable, and immediate. Do not put off times of conflict. Be careful of avoidance and defensive mechanisms used by interns. Therefore, prepare for reactions and plan your follow-up possibilities. Look for other teaching devices to accomplish the same corrective goal. Examine future tasks. These meetings are for the intern’s development. Task related discussions are better handled at staff meetings. Make notes on what you have discussed.

 Post-meeting is a time to reflect and make notes (record facts and feelings, make future plans). The intern writes up the meeting in a supervision journal and keeps a log of the dates and times of the meetings.

Discussion Topics for Supervision Meeting

Here are some pointers as to what to discuss in your meetings. It is not expected that you will discuss or cover all these pointers at every meeting, although each should be addressed at some time:

 The particular theme focused on this semester (Vision/goals, ministry planning, ministry effectiveness)

 Connection of theoretical learning and approved practice (ministry situations)

 Ministry outcomes

 Self-perception of ministry

 Ministry ability and effectiveness

 Handling of new ministry situations

 Development of leadership skills

 Relationships with colleagues and supervisors

 Growth in interpersonal skills

 Spiritual development

 The intern’s assignments, assigned tasks and performance (planning, goal-setting, scheduling, securing resources, analysing, interpreting, and evaluating) and how these relate to ministry.

 Progress on assignments – are they keeping up to date, are their achieving the grades they had hoped to, are there any challenges to their completing required tasks/assignments?

 Seek to find ways that studies can be meaningful by using new learning in ministry situations. 2 Tim 3:16 says that ‘all Scripture is useful’. In what way can you help the intern to see this in their internship studies?

Scary list isn't it?

Anyway, the Gala went well. We raised over $2,000 (not sure of the exact figure but it will be less after deducting GST) and met many people. I am truly encouraged by the fact that more than 3/4 of the church were involved! And the children in particular were amazing - a lot of hard work in making and running the games stalls. The food was incredible - in terms of quality, taste and variety. I took loads of photos of the food :-) Since I blogged a little on this already in my Pastors' Notes devotion, I will not comment further ...

A little on the sample photos - we had live music ... BTW, that's Steven on the drums.
Many came early before the start time - that was the early crowd starting. We had whole row of stalls.
Bric a brac sale of pre-loved items was popular.
Picture of the children setting up their game stalls (under supervision of the SS teachers)
One of the earliest food items that sold out quickly was the satay. mmmm.... delicious
Tau foo fah and the various nyonya kuihs sold out fast too!
A great thirst quencher by the youth - watermelon pieces with ice cream of chocolate served in a natural watermelon bowl. Just two of many people enjoying this thirst quencher!
And the main Gala banner ...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ramblings on my last hour - is this a picture of the modern life?

I have a lot of "nervous" energy today .... multi-tasking with a messier desk than usual. Hence my posting frequently today ...

"Ramblings on my last hour" ... heh, realized that almost sounds as if I am going to die! :-(

In the last hour ... I realized I have been checking mail (e-mail and snail mail) and replying e-mails, chatting online (gmail chat), checking the local papers ... looking for an advert related to a church activity, updating / syncing my itouch, making and receiving phone calls (mobile and land line), sms-ing, scratching myself (LOL - literally as I have loads of insect bites that is driving me crazy ... seems they are mostly grass flea bites and mosquito bites - a result of my gardening), making posters (for Saturday's church gala), snacking on my lunch (a ham and egg sandwich and a pear), scanning the online news portals ... BTW a nice Nutgraph article by Deborah Loh entitled WHO SPEAKS FOR ISLAM. (Hmm... I wonder if she is related to Rev LSC?) ...

... And jotting notes on 4 different projects as thoughts come to mind .... and fooling around with my blog (yeah, typing this out, then stopping to do something else. then coming back ....). I think the modern life is way too "hectic"? Not even sure which word to use to describe what I am thinking (or trying to think). Just so distracting? But yet with modern technology, a lot gets done.

So is this a typical picture of the modern life? And is this a good thing? *shiver* I have mixed feelings. Perhaps it is time to block some time off to "re-center" again ... :-) And time to borrow and read a few comics? But not in the next few days ....

The 4 projects? One is related to theology (a difficult question to answer), one to magic (next week's show), another to long term sermon preparation (never ending task ...) and the last "my to do lists" (yes plural ... for the next few days, next week and beyond ...).

I am just surprised that I am not listening to a podcast or music. Interestingly (for me) unlike most young people, I would find that distracting. Yet another sign though that I am definitely no longer young. *heavy sigh* :-)

Early reflections on the KCC Gala (Pastor's Notes)

Just posted up my Pastors' Notes. To read, click HERE.

Lighter side ... How to tell if you need to be institutionalized

Thought this was funny! The story is in the first person BUT it wasn't me! :-) Just telling it as I originally got it!

During a visit to the retirement home, I asked the director, "How do you determine whether or not a person should be institutionalized?"

"Well," said the Director, "We fill up a bathtub, and then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," I said. "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the spoon or the teacup."

"No," said the Director. "A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?"

Politically incorrect but religiously correct?

Politically incorrect but religiously correct?

Interesting article and I think one not to be taken lightly

UK Muslim Leader: Islam Not a Religion of Peace

By Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Terrorism Analyst

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration has released a review of its strategy in the war on terrorism. The report failed to even mention the word "Islam."

CBN News traveled to London to talk with Anjem Choudary, a leading Muslim radical who says Islamic teachings are what shaped his pro-jihad message.

Although both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have declared that Islam is a religion of peace, Choudary begs to differ.

A Religion of Peace?

"You can't say that Islam is a religion of peace," Choudary told CBN News. "Because Islam does not mean peace. Islam means submission. So the Muslim is one who submits. There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam."

Choudary is the leader of Islam4UK, a group recently banned in Britain under the country's counter-terrorism laws. He wants Islamic Sharia law to rule the United Kingdom and is working to make that dream a reality.

While Islamic radicals in the United States usually prefer to speak in more moderate tones while in public, masking their true agenda, Choudary has no such inhibitions.

He has praised the 9/11 hijackers and has called for the execution of Pope Benedict. He also stirred controversy recently when video emerged of him converting a 10-year-old British boy to Islam.

Openly Praising Jihad

Choudary told CBN News his group is a "non-violent political and ideological movement" that resides in the UK under "a covenant of security."

Yet he openly praises violent jihad.

"The Koran is full of, you know, jihad is the most talked about duty in the Koran other than tawhid -- belief," he said. "Nothing else is mentioned more than the topic of fighting."

Several former members of Choudary's group have been arrested on terrorism charges.

"A very significant amount of former al-Muhajiroun people were involved in terrorist plots against this country," London-based terrorism expert Peter Neumann said. "A number of people have actually gone to Afghanistan, joined the Taliban and died fighting for the Taliban."

Choudary refuses to condemn acts of terror including 9/11 and the July 7, 2005 London bombings, which killed 52 people.

Islam More than Religion

CBN News asked Choudary for his thoughts on the 7/7 bombings on London's transport system, and whether he condemned them.

"For the people who carried it out, it was legitimate," he replied. "If you look at the will of the 7/7 bombers Mohammed Siddique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer, they would be justified. And there are many verses from the Koran and many statements to say that's the Islamic argument. And that is a difficult Islamic argument to refute. And there are many scholars who support that argument as well."

Choudary says his group is merely following core Islamic teachings and that Islam is much more than a religion.

"This particular belief is more than just a religion," he declared. "It is not just a spiritual belief. It is, in fact, an ideology which you believe in and you struggle for and you are willing even to die for, because you believe in that: That is your whole life."

Choudary seems to relish being called Great Britain's "most hated man" and pledges to continue his rallies calling for the overthrow of the British system.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

You are not alone

Suddenly felt the desire to listen to a Michael Jackson song ... :-)
Just love the way he sings the chorus!

Everyday I sit and ask myself
How did love slip away
Something whispers in my ear and says
That you are not alone
For I am here with you
Though you're far away
I am here to stay

But you are not alone
For I am here with you
Though we're far apart
You're always in my heart
But you are not alone

Yes, please raise the driving age!

Woohooo. Just finished my Sunday sermon! And happy with it too! :-) Ok ... more youth news.
I think this is long overdue! I refused to allow my son permission to sit for his Driver's license till he was 17. He has since passed and my not allowing him to drive before he was 16 (learner's permit) has I believe resulted in my having a peace of mind when he drives as I had a year of him practicing driving with me in the front passenger seat!
If someone is not considered matured enough to work or vote, how can you let them drive!?! 17 would be a better age to get a learner's permit but 16 is a good start.

And yes, please ... zero tolerance on alcohol limits. I think it is ridiculous that many NZers are proud of their binge drinking "culture" and lax attitude towards alcohol consumption!

I am still amazed though that here a person can still drive without car insurance!

Ok the Herald Report ...

New Zealand's minimum driving age is likely to rise by one year to 16 under a Government road safety strategy to be unveiled tomorrow.

The restricted driving test will also be toughened, to encourage youngsters to spend more time practising under supervision before going solo.

And all drivers aged under 20 face a zero alcohol limit, but with some leniency for those found with just tiny traces in their blood.

But the Government has put off a decision on the adult alcohol limit.

New Zealand youngsters are 60 per cent more likely than their Australian counterparts to die in crashes - a comparison seen by Transport Minister Steven Joyce as "a sad indictment."

They suffer an average of about 21 deaths a year for every 100,000 in their age group, compared with Australia's rate of 13.

A decision in principle by the Government to raise the driving age by one year represents a compromise, given greater apparent public support for lifting it to 17.

That, and imposing a zero blood alcohol limit for certain categories of drivers, shared second place in the preferences of more than 1200 people who responded to a public invitation to rank 61 ideas for improving safety.

Compulsory third party vehicle insurance proved the most popular idea, but the Government believes high existing coverage - of more than 92 per cent of the national fleet - means it is unlikely that added gains would outweigh hefty administration costs.

The widow of a man killed by a 15-year-old driver said last night that increasing the education and supervision given to young drivers was just as important as increasing their age.

Kathy Condon's husband, Graham, a Christchurch City councillor and Paralympian, died when a teenager failed to take a corner and crashed into his cycle in September 2007.

The girl was in breach of her restricted licence by carrying four other passengers at the time.

Mrs Condon said she remained convinced that distraction in the car caused the girl to crash.

She said she and her husband had not let their two children learn to drive until they were older than 16, because they felt 15 was too young.

Mrs Condon said she would like to see the legal driving age pushed up to 17 but if it was raised to 16, that was "certainly an improvement on 15".

For the rest of the report, click HERE

Here's a really funny joke related to this blog topic) that I got in the mail today ...

This young man was elated when he turned eighteen in a state where curfew is 11:00 p.m. for anyone under seventeen years of age.

He told his Dad how happy he was that now he could stay out until 3:00 a.m. if he wanted.

"Yes you can stay out as late as you want, but the car is under seventeen and it has to be in the garage by eleven." His father said.

And more news on NZ driving laws...

The Government is considering lowering the alcohol limit for adult drivers as part of a range of measures announced today to make roads safer.

Young drivers, drunk drivers and motorcyclists are also targeted in the new Transport Ministry 10-year road safety strategy Safer Journeysreleased by Transport Minister Steven Joyce this morning.

Mr Joyce also indicated that the give-way rules, which he described as "confusing", could be changed to bring New Zealand into line with the rest of the world.

In brief, the Government is considering:

* Changing the give-way rules
* Lowering the alcohol limit from 80mg/100ml bloodto 50mg/100ml
* A zero blood alcohol limit for recidivist drink drivers
* A zero blood alcohol limit for those aged under 20
* Compulsory alcohol interlocks
* Reviewing traffic offences and penalties for drink drivers
* Raising the driving age to 16
* Making young drivers undergo 120 hours supervised driving
* A power to weight ratio for young drivers and novice motorcyclists
* Requiring licensing of mopeds
* Measures to improve motorcycle rider training
* A classification system for the roading network

For the whole report, click HERE