Archive for July 2012

The Ink Room Duty 28, July 2012

Another great duty time with team A.
By right, I was supposed to be serving on Friday with my very own team B.
Yet, it was not possible due to work. Hence, I served full duty with team A.

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Somehow, their refreshment is better than team B’s. Hmm, maybe team B prefers heavy meal to snacks?

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It was Emerge weekend! Time for youth to show case their talents! Am proud of them!
They can really sing, dance and they have heart for the community!

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We celebrated birthday of 4 members! Happy birthday Jun Bing, Stanford, Janet and Anzoe!

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Dinner at Marina Square after duty!
Very nice and cheap food.
Do look forward to the next news on duty time, ok?

Standing on the Shoulder of God + Albert Einstein’s Quote

A song sung during church service keeps ringing in my head.
This song itself was inspired by Pastor Kong’s personal devotion.
When the investigation began 2 years ago, Pastor Kong went through such a deep depression.
This is one of the verses which reflected much of his heart cry.

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
-Psalm 61:2-

Yes, he felt so overwhelmed by the stress.
So, he cried out to God to bring his faith to higher rock, higher than his circumstance.

I feel overwhelmed. Really overwhelmed with my research work.
Somehow, the experimental results can be so unpredictable. Also, I am kinda running out of time.
I feel the Lord speaking to me through this song to keep believing in Him.
Here is part of the lyrics which touches me the most as it represents my cry for help:

When I’m overwhelmed
Your love reaches me

Give me hope to stand
Bring me to the highest Rock

Beneath my feet was once a valley
But now I stand
On the shoulders of my God

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“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
-Albert Einstein-

Firstly, I am aware Albert Einstein is not a Christian.
He believed in “god”, but not God of the Bible.
Still, I find his statement pretty interesting.

Pastor Kong once mentioned, “I don’t believe in co-incidence. I believe in God-incidence.”
To me, it is not mere coincidence. It is more like a miracle.
I can say this because I have been moving from one coincidence to another coincidence.
I remember when I was studying for exams, somehow the material I studied came out as exam questions.
When I joined in competition in high school days, somehow God showed me many unique ways to come out as a champion.
But more importantly as I do research now, I need a lot of luck, a lot of miracles.
Things can frequently go wrong in the lab: imperfect sample, machine faulty or insufficient technical skills.
But somehow, I was able to pick up important details in the midst of anxiety and worry.

Coincidence? Maybe no.
It is a miracle, a God-incidence.

Hope + Birthday Celebration

A wonderful CG meeting last night.
Somehow, I felt the Lord telling me to trust Him more.
My current circumstance is very difficult.
Yet, in all these, it all boils down to hope.
Hope in God’s goodness and faithfulness.

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I shall keep my hope strong in Him.
(thanks Vampire Wars Zynga for the picture!)

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We celebrated a member’s birthday too.
Happy birthday, Joanna!
May the Lord grant you all your birthday wishes!

Posted July 27, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Photo of the Day, Thought

Pastor Kong and His Integrity

Pastor Kong has released a statement on the church website.
In short, he emphasized that he had maintained his integrity and he is confident of his vindication.
You can read his statement on the church news paper here:

http://www.citynews.sg/2012/07/kong-hee-i-am-confident-i-will-be-vindicated/

To me, I am not really surprised by this statement as this is the fourth time I heard it.
The investigation itself began in mid-2010. Pastor Kong was assisted by a team of lawyers.
In around November-December 2010, Pastor Kong made an announcement during the church service.
Basically, according to his lawyers, Pastor Kong did not receive any personal gain from church fund.
It was my first time.
The second was from Pastor Aries. He stated that the church had not lost any money.
Not 24 million, not even 50 million. Furthermore, he stated that Pastor Kong had not got any personal gain.
The third one was during a sermon by Pastor Kong. Again,  he stressed that he did maintain his integrity.

Some people say “innocent until proven guilty”. Some say “In Singapore, it is guilty until proven innocent”.
I choose the former. Yes, I believe in Pastor Kong’s integrity.

Pastor Kong also looks forward to the day when he can explain the fact and circumstance to the court.
Indeed, there is always side story to an apparent fact.
COD has announced the story from their side.
I am looking forward to hearing Pastor Kong’s story.
A clear example from the Old Testament: I may accidentally kill someone but that does not make me a murderer. I simply need to run to the city of refuge and stay there until the death of the high priest.

Some accused Pastor Kong of using church money to buy  a house at Sentosa Cove.
Firstly, I do not know for sure whether he really does have a house there.
Secondly, even if he does, I don’t think he used church money to buy it.
After all, he has a retail business and he is often invited to be a speaker.
Furthermore, whenever the bookstore produces his sermon, the bookstore always gives him the royalty.

Some accused City Harvest members as having a blind faith.
That is, they blindly follow Pastor Kong.
Blind faith is defined as having faith without evidence.
I wonder if they ever realize that their accusation can backfire at them.
That is, there is possibility that they blindly believe CHC members as blind followers.
No clear evidence as of now for both sides, I should say, since the verdict is not out.

The Lord will vindicate Pastor Kong.
Truly, his vindication will come from the LORD Himself, as written in Isaiah 54:17.

 

Summer Research Presentation 25, July, 2012

The juniors worked has very hard in the past 10 weeks.
This summer research (even though there is no summer in Singapore) will give them 4 credits and a grade toward graduation.
But most importantly, they have earned some research experience to help them in their final year project.

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Me with the juniors. Yesterday they presented their work in a poster session.
Professors then went around and asked plenty questions.
The students’ job was to defend their work from any “attack” from the professors.

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But more importantly for me…. free food!!
Somehow, there were plenty extra food in the end of the session.
Not surprisingly, I smuggled some of them into my lab. Free dinner!

Posted July 25, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Food, NTU Stuff

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Pastor A. R. Bernard’s Sermon 21, July, 2012

The Bible speaks about great tribulation and tribulation. Both are different terms.
Great tribulation speaks of persecution which will happen just before Lord Jesus’ second coming.
One sign before great tribulation comes is the return of the Jews to Israel.
Tribulation speaks of difficulty which everyone experiences, both Christians and non-Christians alike.
Since Christians live by godly value, the pressure they experience is more intense than what non-Christians experience.

John 13-16
Lord Jesus first demonstrated servanthood to His apostles.
He then taught them then He is the way, how to pray in His name, how to bear fruit in longevity and about the Holy Spirit.
Just before His prayer, He prepared them to face a reality: they would experience tribulation.
The same thing applies to us: we will experience tribulation too. God never exempts Christians from it.
Tribulation comes in different forms: physical, mental, social, economical and even spiritual.
Lord Jesus has overcome the world. How does Him overcoming the world help us in overcoming tribulation?

God has prepared 5 support systems for Christians to ensure they are victorious against pressure:
1.) Lord Jesus understands what we go through and offers help to us (Heb 2:18 and 4:15)
2.) God makes sure our problem does not exceed our capability. He provides the way so we can endure it (1 Cor 10:13)
3.) Our faith makes us victorious (1 John 5:4)
4.) Lord Jesus always intercedes for us (Heb 7:25)
5.) Even the Holy Spirit intercedes for us too (Rm 8:26)

Sometimes, our groaning is so deep that we can’t even utter any words.
This is when the Holy Spirit takes that groaning and transforms it into a prayer.

What then should be our attitude as we handle difficulty? (Rm 12:12)
– Rejoice in hope. God won’t put us to shame.
– Patient in tribulation. God is working something great even though we do not know now.
– Keep praying.

A very good sermon, isn’t it?
If you missed the service, you can listen to his sermon here:
http://theinkroom.com.sg/index.php/sermons/fresh-word/fresh-word-how-jesus-helps-us-to-overcome-the-world.html?___SID=U

Posted July 24, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Sermon

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City Harvest Co-Owning Suntec: On Building a Famous, Magnificent and Glorious House of God

Pastor Aries announced last Saturday and Sunday that CHC has acquired, as of now, 39.2% of stake in Suntec Convention Center.
The church then erupted in joy. Building Fund program in the last 2 years was successful.
The remaining 60.8% of stake belongs to Suntec Harmony Pte Ltd.
With this, CHC has become a co-owner of Suntec Convention Center. The church is on the right way to achieving S$310 million project.
Needless to say, the media has reported this and many people criticized CHC.
Again, this post is to address the argument from the critics.

There is nothing new under the sun, King Solomon once taught.
Indeed, there is nothing new.
When Pastor Kong first announced the move to Suntec 2 years back, already many critics raised their opinion.
In particular, they requested Pastor Kong to announce the stake of CHC in Suntec even though Non-Disclosure Agreement disallowed him.
Now, 2 years have passed and Pastor Aries mentioned the stake. Yet, they still criticized on other aspects.

The reason on CHC moving to Suntec is pretty simple.
The church congregation becomes bigger while there are not many places which can accommodate the growing number.
Hence, CHC needs a bigger place.
With increase in rental fee and cost of shifting from one place to another, the logical solution is that CHC should own the building, somehow.
Decentralized church venues may not be a good solution due to logistics.

Pastor Kong has addressed most of their argument in his blog:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/kong-hee/new-building/342920593696
As for Suntec itself, CHC news paper has reported it:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/kong-hee/chcs-new-home-suntec-convention-centre/361867588696

The most popular argument against CHC Building Fund is that the money should be used to bless the poor and not to build building.
However, CHC has done numerous humanitarian works even before the period of Building Fund.
In fact, with CHC co-owning Suntec, CHC will be able to cut down cost on rental and shifting, making its humanitarian work even more effective.

Sometime back, I was involved in a discussion with a Christian regarding Building Fund.
It is quite lengthy but hopefully you like it.

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“By quoting 1 Chr 22:5, pastor seems to be invoking an Old Testament mindset where God literally dwelt in the Temple of Jerusalem and it was necessarily to therefore beautify it and adorn it with all sorts of precious materials. In the New Testament however, we see a shift away from the Temple and into the people.

The Church is no longer a building; it is the Body of Christ, made manifest in Christians. We are the church of the Living God, and He dwells in us. Should we therefore focus on constructing a magnificent building when what we should be doing is to build people? Are we stuck in an Old Covenant mindset of “building God a great house” when in fact God’s presence is no longer restricted to a physical temple?

I would challenge any believer to quote me a New Testament verse where Jesus would justify building a glorious building for the Kingdom. If Jesus isn’t placing much emphasis on a physical structure, why should we? Let us glorify God in our good deeds, rather than magnificent monument that will fade to dust in time.”

Jefri’s response:

Indeed, New Testament (NT) does not talk often about physical church building and it emphasizes more toward the people. Also, indeed Lord Jesus is not placing much emphasis on physical structure. However, He never stops/forbids us from doing so either. “Lord Jesus does not emphasize on physical building” is not necessarily equal to “Building Fund should not be done”. After all, there is nothing wrong in building God a big church building. In fact, building a big church building for God benefits our spiritual life (more explanation below).

There are two main characters associated with building the Temple of God in the Old Testament (OT): David and Solomon. The purpose of building the Temple was not mainly to restrict/contain God’s presence, as King Solomon himself acknowledged (2 Chr 6:18, NKJV). The main purpose was to honor/glorify the name of LORD, as King David stated (1 Chr 29:16, NLT). With this purpose in hand, King David earlier had stated that the Temple had to be magnificent (1 Chr 22:5, NKJV). So, the bottom line of the story is that we can glorify God through physical building.

Why should the church be big and magnificent? Pastor Kong preached on it before (I can’t remember which weekend, unfortunately). Roughly, the sermon was like this: Should the Prime Minister stay in an old, rundown 1+1 HDB flat? Obviously, no. The Prime Minister deserves a place much better than that. A place of resident represents the dignity of the one who stays in it. Since God has the highest dignity, won’t it be more honoring the King of kings and the Lord of lords if we build Him a big and magnificent and iconic church? (Please note that my emphasis is on the dignity of resident, not on the presence of the resident).

Having said that, I don’t deny that indeed there are small churches in poor villages. Can the church members still glorify God through the building? Yes, they can. Although they may not have the finance, at least they should ensure that the church building is clean.

We can imagine one day 10 years later: a non-believer sees our iconic building. He/she will definitely be amazed on how God prospers us, how God helps us to be creative and be generous people. Clearly, this is a good testimony to the world out there.

Since NT emphasizes on people, Building Fund is a good way to build spiritual life. As we build God’s house, He will build our house (2 Sam 7:11, NLT). Although King David was only planning to build the Temple, the LORD already promised to him that He would build his house. This promise was fulfilled in Lord Jesus, the Son of David. And, it is still true for us today. We have been hearing testimony almost every week on how lives are restored, marriages strengthened, faith increased, and family salvation in the Building Fund season.

To me, Building Fund is a kind of spiritual exercise like fasting. When I fast, I feel hungry and I have no strength. I then lean on God’s strength. Similarly, as I give to Building Fund, I learn to lean on God’s provision, not on bank account or investment.

Indeed, any building can fade away in time. However, what God requires is our obedience. According to Pastor Kong himself, this church building is the vision God puts in his heart (by the way, I personally trust Pastor Kong. Whether or not the vision is really from God, it is beyond the scope of this blog since it is not possible to prove or disprove it here). Hence, we simply obey the Lord when we build Him a house. What kind of church is it? It should be centralized (decentralized has many drawbacks), big (to accommodate the number of people), and magnificent (for the glory of God). There is possibility that this magnificent building will fade away in time. However, it is beyond our control; it is then in God’s control.

Posted July 23, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Thought

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