Sunday 31 May 2009

Power Plays

Matthew 4:1-11 "Then was Jesus let up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil..."

It was a power play; a stand off. It was a show down, but wasn't. The tempter came and threw all he had, but Jesus refused to be lured. He changed the terms of engagement. Rather than coming to fight in the devil's arena, He brought the fight back to His own camp. Back to His own terms.

What man, when challenged, doesn't rise to the challenge and fight back with all he's got? What man answers that with mere words?

But there isn't a need for that, if you know where your true value lies. You don't need to engage if you already know who the victor will be. Sometimes there is such a thing as pointless fighting.

Sunday 24 May 2009

plunge | fly

So it looks like this is it.
This is where I get off.
This is where I say that my senses have taken their leave.

And yet there is that strange exhilaration of a whole new adventure to begin!

It's like a plunge into the depths of the unknown, or taking a leap to fly.

Or maybe it's like Kirk and Sulu when they're falling without a parachute.
Beam me up in time.

Friday 22 May 2009

Of meekness

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Mark 5:5
Ps Lee Choo was preaching about meekness being strength under control, and it brought to mind a status I had posted up a few weeks before, which went something like, "but I thought I was stronger than this."

It's not that I'm weak. I'm far from weak.
I have strength, but it's a wild kind of strength. I have the kind of strength that holds me together until I break; which is a really silly sounding statement, but true enough. Thinking again, I may be too strong - which is why I need to be broken.

The thing about meekness (and I love this) is that it requires innate strength. You can't be meek if you're weak. It's no big deal giving in all the time if you don't have the strength to fight. True? Strength wields power and authority. Meekness, being strength under control, gives you a choice: to retaliate or to submit.

And therein lies the conundrum. Actually, it's not a conundrum, I've just always wanted to use that phrase. :D
If I was not so weak
If I was not so cold
If I was not so scared of being broken
Growing old
I would be...
[frail - jars of clay]
The problem really is that people are afraid of being broken. People - I - am afraid of being weak, or being seen to be weak. And that in itself is its own weakness. Because I refuse to lay down my 'rights' or I refuse to submit to discipline, I build up my own pitfalls. Sure enough, things seem to be going fine; it seems as if we're coping - until something snaps. Until the straw falls that breaks the camel's back.

That's the problem with unharnessed strength. It breaks at all the wrong places; it breaks when it matters the most.
It's just enough to be strong
In the broken places, in the broken places
It's just enough to be strong
Should the world rely on faith tonight
[faith enough - jars of clay]
Before you can have meekness, you must have brokenness, so Ps Lee Choo said, and it is that submission of all you are to discipline that allows you to harness your true inner strength and enhance it in ways that you've never thought possible. Sometimes it isn't the awesome things that you think you're going to achieve that makes the difference. Often enough, it's that quiet word of encouragement, or that silent vote of confidence to put the right person in the right place (although by all means, I should be the boss, or I want that post - and it degenerates into a political squable) that changes the whole atmosphere of the thing.

And maybe in the end, it all boils down again to choice; being big enough to choose the right thing over the selfish thing. Choosing to put yourself in a position where God can break you again (though really, what qualifications does he/she have?). Places where He can stretch you (Not again, I thought we were through with that!). Situations where you cannot run away.

It really isn't about blind obedience, or silently accepting the axe that falls. It's not even about having no opinion and therefore not caring what the outcome is. It's about knowing your strength and arguing with God all the way, but finally choosing His will over your own and in that way taking on His yoke, which is easy because it fits you to a T.

Because meekness is strength under control.

[major train of thought courtesy of Ps Lee Choo, SIB KL]
edit: see GCB's post. Mmm, yummy.

i think of odd things at odd times

Thought for the morning while anticipating breakfast:
Prayer without fasting is still prayer. Fasting without prayer is a diet.

Friday 8 May 2009

Worship Leaders / Coordinators - Worship @ 10 Days & GDOP

Dear Worship Pastor / Leader / Coordinator

The Global Day of Prayer is just around the corner. For the first time in Penang, we will be holding 10 Days of Prayer (May 21-30) building up to the GDOP on Pentecost Sunday (May 31). We are believing that as the Church unites in prayer and worship, we will see the heavens open and His Spirit poured out in a powerful way.

Here is what's going on. Please feel free to forward this email to your team.

Ten Days. One Event.

Penang Christian Centre
(Shalom Hall, Level 2)
1 Jalan Khaw Sim Bee

The Overview:

TEN DAYS of constant prayer. (10 hours for 10 days)  MAY 21 (Thu) - MAY 30 (Sat)
[Daily Schedule]
Noon-2pm: Harp & Bowl (Corporate Worship and Intercession)
2pm-4pm: Prayer Slot
4pm-5pm: Intercession Hour
5pm-7pm: Prayer Slot
7pm-10pm: Night Session with Harp & Bowl and Teaching

ONE EVENT. The Global Day Of Prayer. MAY 31 (Pentecost Sunday).
Venue: Shammah Hall, Level 3, PCC

I want to extend the invitation for you (and people on your team who would be interested) to participate in one or more of the following ways. This is open to your church's main worship team as well as the youth / young people's worship teams.

1. Be a part of the team that leads worship at the Night Sessions. We are hoping to assemble teams each night made up of people from different churches. We are looking for worship leaders, singers, musicians (keys, guitars - electric or acoustic, bass, drums, and also other instruments like the violin, saxophone, etc.), and intercessors. You don't have to commit to all the 10 days, you can come for 2 or 3 or more nights. Just let me know!
Send me an email <> with 1. the days you can come, 2. what role you can play (singer / musician - what instrument / leader, etc.) and 3. who else in your team can come

2. Come be a part of the Harp & Bowl Workshop on Saturday 23 May from 2pm-5pm that will focus on Harp & Bowl style worship (spontaneous worship that involves antiphonal singing and building on the prayers and intercessions being offered up). If you have wanted to step out in worship in a freer way, this is a great opportunity to equip yourself with the right tools! We are privileged to have April Lupo and Evan Olsen, full time worship leaders and intercessors with the International House of Prayer (IHOP)-Tallahassee: who will be joining us for the duration of the 10 days - leading, speaking, imparting - and will be leading the workshop as well. Depending on the number of teams interested, we may or may not have to limit the number of participants, so please have in mind a core group of your singers / musicians you would like to bring with you. We will also try and have the session be translated, if you can let us know ahead of time!
Send me an email <> to let me know if you are interested. 

Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have further questions!

Blessings on you and your ministry,
Josh for the PenHOP Team

Saturday 2 May 2009

chasing Aslan

So I picked up the Chronicles of Narnia again, and reread the whole set. (Don't talk to me about how I'm going to regret that, because I'm already stressed looking at the time I 'lost'.)
But the truth is, I was wondering - why do we intellectualise God so much? Why do we talk as if Theology is the only thing, Apologetics and the like are the best of all arguments, when the most basic ideas of all can be communicated in a mere story?
Like it or not, Lewis puts it the clearest when he states over and over again, that Aslan is not a tame lion. He doesn't come at your beck and call, but as and when he wishes to. And as Cor commented, he seems to be at the back of all stories.
Read into that what you will.

So further up and further in, to Narnia and the North!