Thoughts at the moment

Just came out from music practice. Love the sound of the guitar plucking alongside the piano. So… soothing. Still thinking about it.

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Why am I serving? I lost that passion in playing the guitar some time ago. Not good in music either – though by God’s grace, increasingly confident and less insecure.

Would it be good that I’m not playing because I love music? Would that help me draw a clearer line between serving and merely playing a song? Would that help keep me focused on loving the people that I’m serving because I will keep on giving my time only because the northeast centre needs musicians who are willing to travel? Would one less acoustic guitarist make a difference though lol but I guess, this shouldn’t matter in whether I continue to give.

Reminder for every single time I serve in the kids’ ministry: Give with the best that I can offer regardless of whether they can hear the difference or whether they even care or not. Because, I am serving the living God, the King of kings. This is a sufficient reason for me to give my best offering. Instrument, skills, and heart wise.

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The other day, the best friend at work was just telling me about his photography course. I was quite amused by how he got increasingly excited and started entertaining the thought of us starting a photography business and then tell our boss, “We’re done with taking photos of the birds here.” Seems like someone found his passion.

Thoughts at the moment

Nothing is Impossible

Packed week. Before Tuesday morning came, my plan went like this: Take half day on Wednesday, go home practise for Northeast HopeKids’ Easter service, and then worship practice on Thursday evening. But on that Tuesday morning, I heard about what happened with Jolynn’s dad and I scrambled to rearrange my schedule because I had wanted to make it for her dad’s wake. In the end, I only managed to squeeze in less than an hour on Wednesday afternoon to listen to the songs and scribbled my notes for 1 song. Reached home at about 11pm last night and went to bed after showering, because I woke up at 5.15am in the morning and I knew I should sleep.

Didn’t have time to settle down and worship God even as I prepared for the worship service. I’ve never liked rushing through my preparation because that makes me feel as if I’m just going through a motion (i.e. play for service because I’m rostered) rather than preparing my heart to serve God and His precious little children. So I felt bad before practice this evening and apologised to God for my lack of preparation – to the extent that not only did I not find time to prepare my heart, I didn’t even practise through the other 2 songs. I turned up at practice just having listened to the songs over and over again at work, with some scribbled notes here and there.

So yes, at the start of worship practice, I was just trying to translate everything to my hands to play. Thank God that He has given me the ability to see chords and play right away and the recently added ability to pick up songs much faster than before, so I managed to catch up with the rest. But of course, that meant that I was just preoccupied with trying to get techniques right. It’s just… bad stewardship.

We had moved on from the first song to Nothing is Impossible, the second song. We were trying to figure out the details, who should play what, and kept replaying parts of the song as usual.

When we had to refine the chorus, I felt like God suddenly caught my attention. There was like a “Hey, did you realise what song you’re playing? Nothing is Impossible. Do you remember I showed you the same thing on the fridge that morning?” kind of moment.
Was slightly amused when I realised what He did there. It’s like I listened to the song yesterday, kept the song on repeat the whole day today and played through it a few times and didn’t even realise what I was playing for the week. It just felt as if God waved His arms to make me realise it’s not by chance I’m serving this Sunday and playing this song. And I JUST realised how timely this is because this will be the final week they do this song because they are on the final part – sermon titled Victory – for the current series (they do the same set of songs every week they are on the same series). In fact, JL was just sharing with us that Grace didn’t think it would be good to do this song again this week because the kids didn’t quite respond to it (maybe cos it’s a new song), but JL (aka worship leader for this week) decided to try it again anyway. So. Timely. (And this story just became unexpectedly long-winded; had meant to keep it short but ‘JUST’ realisations are cool.)

At that point of realisation, we were rehearsing through these lines:

Through You, I can do anything
I can do all things

Funny ah, God. I know You told me that the other day, but I really have no strength to do it anymore.

‘Cause it’s You who give me strength
Nothing is impossible

Okay. What else could I say to that right? Just, worship.

Thoughts?

Since last week’s prayer meet, I’ve been consciously making effort to not keep up with that “0% possibility” thing though that did help me to move on. Because it seems like He didn’t like the idea of it. Yet at the same, I wouldn’t do anything nor even want to think about it, because I’ve tried what I needed to and I’m done trying. I don’t know what’s going on now, I don’t know what needs to be done now, so I decided I’m just not going to do anything. No time to meet anyone else this month, and I want the next month to myself, so well. No strength till He convinces me otherwise, anyway.

My response tonight, well, I get it. Alright, I believe. Nothing is impossible with You. I get it. But I really don’t know what to do about the situation. You do it.

Nothing is Impossible

Audience of One

What I can learn being an acoustic guitarist is that really, I’m playing for God. The other day during practice, one of the vocalists couldn’t hear me so he was wondering if I was plugged him. He was very perplexed about that, so I just explained and kept assuring him that it’s normal for the acoustic guitar to be covered up. 

I give what I have to play, not because people will come up to me and say how well I’ve done, but that this is an offering unto God.

Yesterday during service, a thought came to me – why do I still keep on going in this faith when I’m so tired? Why don’t I take a break? For God. Because I fear that if I stop, it won’t be as easy to return. And I hope that this be my true reason rather than because I’m fearful of how people look at me. Because if I’m doing these for God, I will never ever leave Him. Because He is faithful, because He is constant, because He is mine always and forever.

Audience of One

Give

​”It’s supposed to cost you something… When you love someone, you give something of yourself; that costs something.”

This part of my friend’s wedding exhortation left a deep impression in me. Love costs us something.

It’s been months since I last shared with my (ex-)LG that I want to love the people whom I’m serving. If I didn’t remember wrongly, that was some time in April. I said I didn’t want to just be bothered with what’s in my hands, but I want to be concerned about what people need. 

It just occurred to me that serving is just like cooking. A chef who has the diners in mind would tailor his food to their preferences. Think about it, the same dish with the same name can taste so differently in different cultural contexts because diners look for different tastes that they are used to. Sometimes it’s not so much about authenticity (as in retaining the roots and exact same taste of a dish) that makes a dish good, or shall I say it’s not even about the cook, but it’s about how the dish appeals to the diner. 

This was what I saw when I was at the worship gathering earlier on as Derek shared his appreciation for some people on the team. He shared about how these servants gave. They gave in a way that had people in their minds, being so ready to re-design their service in ways that would better bless people, especially those who are different. In my opinion, they gave in a way that cost them much time, effort and perhaps other things? I asked myself then, am I willing to give this way? I.e. am I willing to love this way?

What I see in myself is that when I give, I tend to look at my own hands first. I step back because it’s just too much hassle and inconvenience on my end. I feel tired, I give up. 

Well, there are times that I give at the expense of myself, yes. That’s when I love my friends. But I guess the same struggle to love the masses remains. I’m not putting up a fight on whether I ought to be loving them, but I ask God to teach me what it means to love them. I’ll still give yes, but I desire to love so that as I give, I’ll be like the chef who cooks with those I love in mind. To bless them in ways that truly bless them rather than in ways that I’m used to doing things.

Give

The feeling you get when you try so hard at something and finally see the fruits of it. I may not be naturally talented, but learning techniques on the guitar is still one of the things that’s possible as long as I put my mind to it.

Thankful for tonight

Had quite a busy day actually. Woke up at 6am to prepare for worship practice and in the end, I only managed to practise two songs before I left the house. Was unexpectedly busy at work today as well – okay not busy, but just had things here and there and before I knew it, it was time to knock off. I didn’t even have time to feel tired from getting only 5.5 hours of sleep from the previous night. Rushed off from OT to church after that so that I could make use of the remaining 1 hour to practise as many songs as possible. I was really unprepared for tonight’s practice. Tired too.

As we were about to start the worship practice proper, I asked of a few things from God. I asked to be refreshed, in ways that allows me to worship God, in ways that allows me to take my mind off things that I need not be thinking about, in ways that would allow me to walk out of the practice feeling thankful that I was there. Just like how I encountered God the very first time I served in a band, I wanted to encounter God in a similarly refreshing way too. No idea how I was to play the songs when I didn’t have time to prepare for them too, so I gave that over to Him as well.

My first thanksgiving for the night would be that Dennis was actually there. He just found out on his own today that I was playing for service this week as well and so he made the trip down to disciple me. I think I usually feel really helpless during practices because I don’t know what I’m doing and whether I should be doing something else, so yes thank God he was there. It really made me feel a lot more certain about what I was doing, because I could ask him what I didn’t know, and because he would give me feedback after listening to what I just played. Thankful for such guidance, really.

What was awkward though, was when Yvonne told him about the fan club that Cass came up with. Cass started a Dennis fan club because I shared with her how he’s been making tutorial videos to teach me. Point is, Cass was the one who started the fan club and pulled me in. So when Yvonne saw him sitting beside me before practice started today, she laughed and then told him about the fan club. Man, that felt kinda awkward >.< As much as I’m really thankful to have a shifu like him and I really think he’s excellent in his craft, it still felt a little awkward to have to express that in front of him, through Yvonne.

Anyway, second thanksgiving of the night is that I really felt refreshed after the whole practice. Or maybe, I should say, I’m thankful for how smoothly everything turned out, or at least much better than what I had imagined it to be. I had imagined myself to be so very stuck and clueless to even how the dynamics were supposed to be, but it turned out pretty well. Managed to learn certain parts on the spot from Dennis and executed them, which I think is quite a miracle. Usually, I would need some time practising on my own before I pick up something new.

So yes, practice turned out unusually peaceful for me. At the same time, I felt like I could worship as well, rather than just caring about technicalities only. Left the hall feeling really refreshed, like I was distracted from my tiredness, like I could go on worshiping for another hour or so.

Last but not least, definitely, was a good time catching up with Janice on the way home. Haven’t talked to her properly since the exams period I think. Talked to her about doctrinal issues, my mini #achievementunlocked moment at work today, her ministry, etc. Train reached my destination a little too quickly today. I like this feeling though, because time flies whenever we are having fun, isn’t it? Had a good time with her :)

For the last time, uni service would be on level 8. For the last time, I’ll be with them as part of the uni congregation. For the last time, I’ll be serving on the stage on level 8, in a uni service. When I thought about these at the end of practice today, I felt privileged to be able to serve on this coming Saturday. As I recount, this stage has been a place where I’ve struggled much with God, grown out of my insecurities and perhaps in other aspects of my character, experienced love and support from the team and friends because they knew my struggles. It’s my privilege to be able to play in this last uni service on level 8. Thank You, God.

Continue reading “Thankful for tonight”

Thankful for tonight

Struggle

Finally getting a taste at how serving while working is like this week. It is really, very, tiring. Tiring not because of the practice, but tired from work (more like being sleep-deprived rather than work itself). This in turn leads to me feeling like dropping onto my bed the moment I get home and practising for a long time has been a struggle.

I hope that I will never come to this point of saying that I’m too busy at work to serve God in any ways. There are many things in this new journey that I’m keeping myself from, so as to not set a precedence and let myself get used to compromising on my beliefs.

Fears in my heart that I might drop out of this faith journey, but hoping too, that I will keep on trying. For one, God is real and I want to respond to what He says, even when sometimes I don’t feel like it.

(And talking about that, this week I’ve been telling Him to let me just hide in a corner for a while and not call me out to love. Tired :( But God, please remember to get me out of this little corner so that I’ll never forget that I don’t belong here.)

One last thing: Thank God for Dennis, such that I don’t feel helpless haha he did a video (again) and this time round totally going the YouTube tutorial style. Told him that it’s Dennis to the rescue again hahaha. Thankful for such a brother-in-Christ who is always so willing to help me out and he does it effectively.

Struggle