Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Remembering Dad (expanded)

Dad has been my marker for many aspects of my life. The age he got married. The age difference with his bride. When he had his first child. They all were guidelines as how my life should play out.

A quiet man whose world is filled primarily by books, he managed to influence both his sons and at least half of his grandchildren to be readers. The artist in him has at least produced a "creative nut" in each of the following generations.

But there a two images of dad that are firmly etched in my mind:
The first is that of him at the door of our old flat in Kampong Java, he had just return from Ceylon / Sri Lanka. with him at the threshold of the door was this large basket looking like it came from the cave of the 40 thieves. I was almost expecting a genie to come out of it. What excited me most was dad coming back from the trip.
The other time was dad coming into my room, drawing the curtains and saying that he was glad I didn't go for the interview that day because the job didn't suit me. That day I was to go for the 2nd interview for the sales position in a company that sells encyclopaedias. It was a great feeling that dad affirmed my decision as being the right one.

I have always said that dad raised us (my bro and I) using a long leash. Allowing us freedom and room to roam but pulling us in when we tried to go too far off.

It's a pity that I have two girls to raise. There's not a lot of "take-aways" I can use from my experience with dad. What I have is just bringing them to the library, book store and music shop. And of course there's Asterix. Now that's another dad story ....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Simple Life?

What constitutes a simple life or a life of simplicity?

The Simple life is :
No Cable TV ... Okay I can live with free-to-air... and DVDs
No Internet ... Errr maybe
No Computer Games ok
No Computer as in no PCs but a Mac's not a PC right?
No expensive hobby
No Starbucks ... what no Starbucks!! I need my coffee at least my neighbourhood kopi tiam.

But seriously, how can we live a simple life in the 21st Century? Cutting out expenses?

For one, life would be simpler if we were debt free and loan free. Although here in Singapore it kinda hard to be loan free and with that debt free. Most Singaporeans will have at least a housing loan if not also car loan - the two most expensive things in Singapore to own. And to some two of the most necessary things to have.

One can choose to be credit card free.

Life would be Simpler if there was less to worry about and paying the bills is the one BIG worry most have.

So a simple life would include (but noy only):
No loans
No credit cards therefore no debt. (Unless you pay up your credit card bill each time)
No cable tv
A vocation you love and enjoy doing
Income enough for the month ... argh!!

In the end a simple ife is not a list of things you have or don't have, but what you can do without?

That is to say is there a difference between leading a simple life and having a simple lifestyle? Can one's life be simple if one's lifestyle is inundated with complexities (usually those of the material kind)?

Simplify! I guess all I want is a roof over my head, food on the table and time for God, family and self. What that translates to in "real" terms I don't know.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reflecting the past 25 years Pt 2

After my last post I received an encouragement through a comment on facebook. At the same time the sermon on Sunday was faithfulness with a focus on Matthew 25 "Parable of the Talents."

The passage that got me was: "His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will ... Matt 25:23

It told me that fruitfulness mattered but not the size of the fruit. So all the small stuff from the years that passed. Jia You (加油).

I guess my rambling in the last post boils down to having anything visible (big) to show for the years I have spent in His service. I may not have much to show but I have used my talent however small that I know.

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Friday, January 1, 2010

A Reflection on the last 25 years

This year of 2010 will mark 25 years in full time ministry service for me. That's more than half my life. From 1985-2009!!! With the exception of one year (1991), it has been continuously serving the Lord first as a youth worker, then youth pastor, followed by a technical specialist.
Serving with fringe youth, secondary school students, in performing arts and support ministries.

As I reflect on this past, I wonder to myself: "What have I accomplished? What do I have to show for all this?" What have been my successes so far?

It seems that all I manage to accomplish (by the "normal" standards) is nothing:
  • There was a young man I led to Christ. He went full-time. I don't know where he is now.
  • There was smallband of youth in the performing arts. Don't know where they are now. Just know one of the girls is a teacher and with the GB.
  • There were two Thai girls who came to the Lord through an English camp I was involved with in Thailand.One was a daughter of an govt official then and the other from a working class family. I don't know where they are now.
  • There are the youth from my Sunday School. 
All small things nothing major or earth shaking. One would think that after 25 years of full-time ministry, I would be heading some organisation or something. Yet it is not so. I guess it a choice I made: "sweating" the small stuff. Not doing anything "big" but focusing on small groups and individuals. Hey it's not that I didn't or don't think "BIG" but rather that inside of me (and sometimes forgotten) I believe in "going BIG in a small way."

Sometimes I feel I have accomplished nothing. One day, someday, maybe all the small things will crawl out of the woodwork and the multitude of them will amaze me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone