Saturday, December 24, 2011

101 things I am thankful about in 2011 (part two)

Okay here goes part two ...

31. Kelston Community Church

Detailing this will probably cover the rest of the 101 things .... so I won't. But I love this church and being her pastor. I am not saying it is easy (it is in no way a perfect church) but it is not too difficult as there is genuine support from the members of the church.

32-33. Elders. I have incredible church elders who though different in temperament and styles are a testament to Christian maturity and teamwork. I think the most important thing for me is not things like  "leadership skill" or "vision casting" but godliness and a pastoral heart. Our elders to me have this in abundance. It may seem rather cliche but I honestly do not know how I would manage without the three - Robert, Lye Chye and Max

34-38. Deacons. In a church where many are happy to serve but will not (for various reasons) take up official church leadership, agreeing to be a deacon is a big thing. And while I do not subscribe to the idea that deacons are "junior elders", it is a blessed thing to me that (IMHO) my church deacons have attributes of elders. Amazing bunch who work very hard and I do know how difficult it is for them to balance ministry and their other responsibilities. (Unlike popular misconceptions, working life in Auckland, NZ is not laid back - like other parts of the world, many people here also work long hours). I pray for them regularly as I know they do for me - Hock Fie, Elizabeth, Shereen, Jin. 

I hope that by end of 2012 more will join the team - hence my starting on a series from the Pastoral epistles. Going to be a tough series. Pray for me!

39. OK, so I "cheated" a little in my numbering :-). Here's a wonderful one - ministry allowance!  It is a wonderful thing to have a ministry allowance for my personal development.  Sure beats the days where I had to scrimp and save to buy books etc. While I did not use any this year to go for a pastor's retreat, I used all my allowance on books and other various resources. :-)

40. Cyber spiritual director - Alex Tang. Alex has been a good and generous friend and I am glad that last year I had the chance to actually meet him face to face in Auckland. I am still enjoying his last book he gave me (slow read) and by end of Jan 2012 I will post more about this book.

41-22. Cyber doctors. Wonderful that on FB I have access (well, at least just in a limited advisory way) so many people in the medical line. Hahaha. My former GP ("Dr. Siew") and dentist (Belinda") among them! Makes up a little that I can't visit them for my medical needs. But I must say it is a blessing that my NZ GP happens to be a former Malaysian and so it makes it very easy to talk with him.

Taken at their church office during a West Auckland pastors
fellowship meeting, which Derek organizes.
43. Mr. and Mrs. Jones. It has been good to get to know Derek and Judy Jones - pastors of the church across us that meets in a local High School. We are so different yet we share a growing bond. They are charismatics in a charismatic church and Samoans. But they have extended friendship and fellowship and I hope that in 2012 we can work more closely with each other.
I am the only Chinese / Asian in the group ... mostly Pacific Islanders but I feel right at home.

44. Food - old and new recipes. I am thankful I managed to create a few recipes that I and my boys (and others - depending on who!) find yum (Yum is a Kiwi phrase)
Learning to cook better has been for me a wonderful way to relax and create on the fly ...
My Hokkien mee is still popular. Added char kueh teow to the mix but I must say that this still needs work though my family has no complaints :-)
My lamb curry is still pretty good as is my version of beef rendang (ahem - all cooked without using ready made packet spices) and now I have added my version of fried chicken (which was a hit the last time I cooked it for a fellowship dinner).
My "Fah sang wu" has had mixed reviews as sometimes it comes out so well, and other times ... so so.
What has been fun however is my quick to cook soups - my pumpkin, kumara and potato soups has been a blessing, as is my two styles of tomato soup and my own lemon tom yam style soup
And ah ... my beef stew and seaweed salad (my mother's recipe and her Sabah seaweed)

OK, I won't "cheat" and count every recipe as one individual blessing, though I think that would be fair as honestly, it each evokes special memories.:-)

45. Thermo-mix. This present from my mum has been a blessing though of late I have not used it as much as I want to as I prefer cooking the old fashioned way (and it being summer, I can cook outside more often so the house doesn't smell!) But it was great for winter cooking and I know it will be in 2012

46. Kelston Community Trust. Becoming a trustee has been a  blessing as it has opened many doors to ministry opportunities and making friends. It has been very encouraging getting to know many of the trustees better especially some of the school heads. They are some of the most committed people I have ever had the privilege of getting to know. Makes me wonder how well Malaysian youth would fare if they had such teachers and headmasters!

47. My magic box / table. Expensive but it has been such a wonderful tool. My last two shows using it made my magic show so much easier to do and more "professional". Especially with the modifications done by Nilesh!

48. My house slippers. Even now (first month of summer) I use it. Somehow it helps prevent me suddenly sneezing which can actually set off a bout of hay fever. I get a new pair every year (very cheap)

The Littles saying their farewells before John
prayed for them. 
49-50. The Littles and John Cheah. Going to miss the Little family heaps now that they are moving to Taupo.  Blessings in so many ways - as individuals (the girls too) and as a family. But serving with them for almost 2 years has been very enriching especially this year when they stepped in and co-lead the youth group with John, freeing me from the concerns of youth ministry (of which I am way too out of date). Thank God for John who each year grows so much in his ministry and leadership. Knowing my temperament, I should be worrying about the state of the youth ministry (at such a crucial juncture too) with the Littles departure but there is this inner peace in God's grace and knowing John's leadership abilities and commitment to God and the youth. What a nice change to feel this way!:-)

51. Portable Induction cooker. What a joy to have this cooker so I can cook outside too. Heats us fast and it is so nice to have consistent decent heat when I cook. Saves me electricity too! I love having this cooker.

52. CHUCK! Crazy I know but this is the only TV show I actually record so I don't miss it and my wife and I can watch at leisure interuption. I think it has been the only TV show I actually follow (now that HOUSE is no longer airing). The show never fails to make me laugh - especially Chuck and Morgan's antics.

53. My radio / CD player. This one is very old and 11 Watt speakers (total). It has to be at least 20 years old as I remember having it when I lived in Kampar before Andrew was born. And it still works!! I use it practically every time I cook - whether to listen to the radio or a CD. It even has a cassette deck.

54. COAST Radio Station. Some find it strange that with Christian radio available I do not listen the the Christian channels. I love listening to Coast radio as it plays oldies! :-)

55. Podcasts / I-tunes U. Wish I had more time to listen to podcasts BUT every now and then when I have time and need a lift, some inspiration, perhaps a different or fresh perspective I got o my podcasts and listen to a sermon. I think my favourite for 2011 is still William Willimon. His style is so unlike mine and I would even say that I disagree with a lot his style of preaching (the way he words things etc and gasp even his exegesis?) BUT he makes me think (most of the time) and I like that.
I think podcasts has been a blessing to me as a solo pastor who still does not have a strong network of pastors I connect with on a deep level, hearing the thoughts of words from Christian leaders meets a real need.

56. Clean water. I kid you not. I love the fact that I can drink water from the tap! Of course I have a water filter, kindly installed FOC by a former elder, Albert. (Makes me thank God for him very often!) But when I read about the problems of fresh water around the world and water borne diseases, this is a huge blessing that I want to ensure I do not take for granted. Plus living in Malaysia where my mum has a commercial capacity water filter (used for swimming pools) to filter the water that comes from the pipes and a 2nd one to make sure the water is doubly fit for drinking .... Nuff said

57. My local library and comic books. I love the system here. I book what i want online and then I get an email when the books arrive (put on hold shelf for me) and then when I do my weekly post office run, I pick up the books. And the only books I borrow nowadays are comic books (ahem ... GRAPHIC NOVELS). Great way to relax.

58. My guitar. It is now pretty "banged up". Can no longer use a strap, the internal pick up has long been unusable. The bridge is cracked and will need changing one day soon. It is also a bit "warped"  But it is still giving me great times and sounds. Used it for caroling again this year and it brought back great memories of when I bought it and how I bought it. Interesting that mid 2011 I started playing it more often (I keep it in my office) - not just for home group meetings etc but for special items (never thought I would be doing this again) and for pleasure as well. Picking up playing a few songs and signing - oldies of course and it is relaxing.

59. New home group / church members.  It is exciting to meet and plan early this month for a new home group for 2012. Been praying about this most of 2011 and am so thankful the core is excited and ready. It will be exciting for me as the core will be our Pacific Islander families. And we have some dreams for Island style music .... and it is interesting that the name they chose is "Harmony". It is exciting to see the slow seed of integration of PI members with the church as a whole. Something most say will not work due to cultural differences but I believe otherwise.

60. Laidlaw College (formerly BCNZ). They have had two Auckland Church Leaders Days in 2011 and it is all FOC. Really appreciate the way they seek to bless church leaders and pastors. The day seminars have been eye openers and keeps me in touch with some of the wider issues facing the church in NZ. I am excited that the new principal has agreed to speak at our church next year. Each year I get some of their lecturers to come preach at our church and everyone of them have been a blessing

61. The Gans. In case they should read this, wont' say anything lest I embarrass them but what a family! Three generations of inspiring people whose service and friendship continues to bless me and the church

Ok, better stop now .... will continue another day. But hey, the list keeps flowing.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the mention, Paul. You are a blessing to me too :)