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

Reverence

On the priests’ garments:

On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the LORD, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.

(Exodus 28:33-35)

In regards to the last part in verse 35, the ESV Study Bible provides this explanation:

Every aspect of the tabernacle service involves intentional actions on the part of the priests and the people that are meant to teach Israel that the Lord is holy.

I have been rather bothered by our seeming lack of reverence for God. To give some examples, it’s reflected in how each of us regard lateness to service, how we treat holy communion, or how we joke about God/Jesus in our conversations.

Perhaps some feel that the expectation are unfair and – I don’t know – unnecessary. But these things do bother me quite a bit, especially of late. While I’m learning to love the church and the flaws within it (which are present in all churches and understandably so, because of our imperfections), I also come to realise the importance of discipling the next generation well.

A culture is set when one does it and influence others to do the same, and they in turn influence more to do the same. Discipling matters because what we choose to let go/turn a blind eye to today, when instead we ought to teach, will impact the future generations that come after this current generation whom we have the responsibility to disciple. Discipling is not just the role of leaders and mentors, but of everyone who’s more mindful of certain aspects than others do. I do believe that each of us has something to teach in that way – there’s something that we get that others haven’t noticed, and vice versa. There’s so much value if we would seize opportunities to disciple.

I admire Yi Hui for that. We were having lunch after our cajon class one Saturday afternoon, when she explained to us why she insists on certain principles and is mindful of helping the next generation to be aware of them. Some of the youths are afraid of her because of how firm she can be, yet she perseveres in doing so because she sees the value of discipling the next generation well.

Yes, God loves us, we have His grace and forgiveness, and you know what, that conversation was meant as a joke. But in approaching a holy God, the One who is above all and yet loves us all, I believe we can afford to be more reverent in the way we regard Him. If we can pay due respect to our teachers, superiors, the president and whoever whom we have a high regard for, God certainly deserves our respect even more so.

I take pride in being in a church that strives to be excellent in the things we do for God. The spirit of excellence comes up in our discussion rather often. These are ways in which we worship God. We can strive to be excellent in our attitudes towards our holy God as well, and let our reverence be a pleasing worship unto Him.

Reverence

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

Broken

It was a few weeks ago during service that I felt God speaking to me about this. For weeks, my prayer was that He would mend me and make me whole again. To restore me so that I can be a vessel that contains and overflows with His love so that I can look to others and serve them. When I’m well again.

During the time of worship in that service though, I saw a heart that’s cracked. It’s as though the heart was a jar, and the water in it kept leaking out through the cracks.

Perhaps, this is a different kind of ministry. Not one that you charge ahead with full strength and overflowing with excitement, but if I be willing, God can minister to others through my brokenness. God’s Love can reach others as they seep out through these cracks. To minister through empathy.

It’s not that being whole or being broken is good or not. The point is really, whether I’m in mountains high or valleys low, as long as I am willing, God can minister. As long as I am willing to go when He calls me to.

Broken

Daniel 6

On and off, boss would talk to me about client management tactics. These two days, it went a little to colleague relations tactics. It’s about playing politics – not in the way that the word ‘politics’ remind us of backstabbing but to gain favour.

To play around with words to play around those minds. That’s what I used to do, and I’m not proud of how I used to execute that. There came a point in my life that I prayed that I will use the wisdom that God has given me for His glory, rather than to achieve my own selfish ambitions.

Work, has been challenging certain principles I’ve always held. It’s not just about making a decision as to whether to retain certain principles or not, but sometimes work even makes me doubt myself and question if it’s just me being naive and idealistic. Sincerity, genuineness, credibility – do these even exist in the marketplace? I was just speaking with Reb last Wednesday, and we both agreed that this world is just… ugly.

As I read Daniel 6 tonight, I saw how Daniel led his life. So blameless that his adversaries could not bring a charge against him (Dan 6:4). When persecuted, he continued to seek and trust in God, as always (Dan 6:10). And the fact that it’s an “as always” thing reminds me that he could live his life this way because of the foundation that his faith was built on – he sought God everyday. That was the reason why he could stand before his adversaries and why he could choose to remain standing for God.

I realised this is relevant to this new stage of life I’m in. May I choose to keep God’s principles in my workplace and may the way I live glorify God. May the successes that come into my hands point others to God, showing them that keeping to God’s principles is the way to go in life.

Daniel 6

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

Stage Figures

Having dinner at the backstage. Heard voices coming out from the room as well, and I thought wahh not bad the voice, shall find out who it is when practice starts. Then W walked out and saw me, exited. Then popped head back in…

W: Hi, sorry you are…?
Me: (gives name)
W: Oh what do you do?
Me: Erm, guitar. But training now.
W: You mean shadowing someone?
Me: Yeah, shadowing Dennis.
W: By the way, I am W.
Me: Yeah I know haha

Was just waiting for the moment that he tries to intro himself, cos HAHA  most people would know a stage figure please. Thought would be funny if he (or any other stage figure) introduces himself haha. Probably made it awkward for him with my response but HAHA hi, we know who you are! 

Interacting with stage figures is kinda unbelievable sometimes, but also erm… like, do I pretend I don’t know you or what? Lol

But yeah, guess that explains the nice voice haha

Stage Figures