Monday, June 16, 2008

Magic Post 127

Yes, this is the magic post.

It's the landmark post.

It's the post that says:

I have moved to Wordpress.

Whoa. Wait. What?

I have indeed moved over to Wordpress, just because it allows me to organise my page better, looks very nice, is equally easy to use, has cooler widgets on it, gives me more options when writing and has an integrated statistical service. All in all, it gives me what I want.

So here is the page:


P.S. I don't think I'll be shutting down this page for another half a year to a year or so. I'm testing to see whether Google is (understandably) biased towards Blogger.

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Wow. This is amazingly anti-climatic.

So the 5 papers were pretty good. Not sure how well I did overall, but I was pretty happy. One or two mess-ups here and there, but I figured I did the best I could at the moment.

I'm currently sleep-deprived. I slept 6-7 hours the first night - micro - was too excited! It rapidly disintegrated after that. Namely 5 hours the next night - history. 4 the night after - macro. 3 before the politics paper. Oh. And 4-5 yesterday. Today was the math paper.

But yeah. I've finished my first year of uni. Time really does fly.

Now to figure out what to do next week...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You'll never believe this...

You can see me on one of the brief video clips Passion filmed in London!

Yeah. A big black blob.


But seriously, if there were more pixels, and a bit more light, you could make me out clearly.

In case you're wondering what videos, check out their MySpace page.

Facing the stage, I'm on the far right of the first tier. I'm on the corner nearest to the bathroom (that lit up green sign on the right wall). Well technically Cheryl's on that corner, but I'm just one to the left. And in case you're wondering which videos, the first is O Praise Him, taken from the left side of the stage. And the second is How Great is Our God, taken from somewhere behind me. I'm one of those big black blobs, somewhere in that indistinguishable mass of darkness. I was trying to work out which pair of hands, or hand I was, but it's a bit hard with that many up in the air. You can also barely make out my general position from Blessed Be Your Name. Heh.

OK. Back to revision now...

Friday, June 06, 2008

Passion London

I'm still feeling the WOWness from last night.

So in the end it was 3000 students in the Hammersmith Apollo for one loud night of worship. Here are several thoughts about the event in no order whatsoever:

He is here.
Our God is a God who saves.
Your grace is enough.
It's rising up all around, it's the anthem of the Lord's renown.
David Crowder has life-size tattoos of Chris and Matt on each shoulder.
Sing Sing Sing.
You alone can lift us from the grave.
Mighty to save.
Shine your light.
Yes, Lord!
Fruitcakes and ice-cream.
Blank blank.
If we're out of our mind, it's for God's sake.
God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Christ's love compels us.
David Crowder*Band! :)
Here is our King
There is no one like You
How could You be so good to me
You are my JOY
Exuberant violin.
After all our hands have wrought He forgives
Banjo - Instrument of the future!
I saw the light.
O praise Him.
Manila! Manila! Manila!
Greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city.
How great is our God!

It was an amazing night of worship. Crazy powerful. And loud. I lost my voice. In hindsight, a bit unwise to blast it all out at Sing Sing Sing, which was only the 4th (or 5th) song of the night. But we were seated near the front, far right. And that was where the bass speakers were located. So you couldn't help but sing a bit louder, just so you could hear yourself and be sure that there was still something coming out of your open mouth.

Louie has a gift for inspiring people to live for Jesus. And he told Ashley's story at the end of his talk. I never knew the depth of it aside from one or two blog posts, but hearing the whole story for the first time left me in tears. Literally. Especially the fact that I already knew the ending just made it all the more poignant.

Matt Redman's new song is still replaying itself over and over in my head.

And my voice recovered in time for the David Crowder end to the night. Ah. What joy!

You can probably catch the podcast in a day or two. Don't miss it! :D
Oh. And I suppose a comparison with Passion 2007 in Atlanta would be nice to add. They were two totally different events really, and I enjoyed both for different reasons. So it'll be like comparing apples with oranges. But I'll try.

Passion 2007 was a turning point in my walk with Jesus. It's been a long time since Passion 2007 and God has taught me a lot since then, so to use C.S. Lewis' idea, it's not that Jesus has grown, but it is we who grow and we see Him as bigger and bigger. In that sense, Passion London was just massive!

Passion London, First Thoughts

Wow. This was an amazing night. Will need time to process (and to wait for Louie's official count of students and things like that.)

I'll just end this post by posting up the chorus and bridge from Matt Redman's new song. Simply amazing.

1st Chorus:

You alone can rescue
You alone can save
You alone can lift us from the grave
You came down to find us - led us out of death
To You alone belongs the highest praise

2nd Chorus:

Now we are more than conquerers through your deathless love
And nothing Lord will have a hold on us
You’re the saving promise - You will never fail
To You alone belongs the highest praise


We lift up our eyes, we lift up our eyes, You are the giver of life

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Empty Cross

So I lied. The next post wasn't on the Supremacy of God. It's in the works, by which I mean, not quite started, by which I mean it'll come out when it's ready. But this one has been churning in my heart for days.

The Purpose-Driven Life is an extremely popular book. There are some nuggets of truth in there. But I had my reservations about it when I first read it. Why? Because it appeared to be a book that some people treasured more than the Bible.

In my opinion, it does more harm than good. The misuse of Scripture is deceiving. And what's worse is that there's no mention of the cross. Of its necessity. That Jesus had to die to take away our sin. There is no gospel without Christ crucified. The Bible calls it the stumbling block. And for good reason. It is weakness and foolishness to those who do not understand it. But it is the power and wisdom of God for those who are saved.

Christian book marketing is becoming viral nowadays. There's Bruce Wilkinson's the Prayer of Jabez - another terrible book, and there's Joel Osteen's - Your Best Life Now - probably the worst of the lot. In Rick Warren's defense, he does not commit the errors of these two books - that of a prosperity, health and wealth movement - I won't call it Gospel, because it is in no way good news.

But he still omits the cross. Whether this is a worse offense than misusing Scripture, I will not be able to say. But if at any time I ever present the gospel to anyone and leave out the cross, feel free to admonish me.

I heard this rhetorical question once. "Would a book titled the Cross-Driven Life sell as well?"

I know it's rhetorical, but the answer must still be said. No.

I am trying to bring across the central importance of the cross to the gospel. Without it, we are still sinners, and we have no claims to the promises of God. And I'm trying to highlight how culture, and what's worse, those purporting to be Christian culture, are beginning to twist or omit it. Be wary when you read books on 'Christian Living' - I am not sure what the category specifically entails, but it seems to classify those books which addresses the question of how the Christian life should look like - and there is no mention of the cross. And be especially wary when you read books that talk about Evangelism and the Gospel, and there is no mention of the cross.

I've written on how the cross is omitted today. I'll move on to address how it is twisted.

I'm sure many of the people reading this would have remembered watching the Passion of the Christ. Now, while I do not seek to downplay the physical suffering of Jesus, the film is disappointing on three aspects. The first is that it is extra-biblical. People always wonder why they never read some of the scenes in the Bible. They are in fact the writings of a Catholic nun, Anne Emmerich. So be wary of taking the film as truth. The second is somewhat related to the first. I am unhappy at how it 'plays up' the physical suffering of Jesus. The reason for this is its Catholic roots, and their focus on the 'Passion' or Sufferings of Christ. The third is that it 'plays up' the role of Mary - again another Catholic thing.

Being in danger of turning this into a Catholic-bashing post, I want to first add that I do not agree with the main doctrines of the Catholic Church, or at least the beliefs which they appear to hold fast to today. That being said, like many other denominations, just because one's church is labeled Catholic does not mean you hold to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. There are definitely those that have remained faithful to the Bible and to the Gospel.

It is the second point I want to expound on. I have heard many stories of people being moved to tears by the movie. I have also heard many stories of people being horrified by the sheer brutality of the movie. I myself was a bit shocked and horrified and a bit wet around the eyes, but I was not a big fan of the movie. There was something wrong with it.

I identified why properly sometime last week. While we should never dismiss the physical sufferings of Christ, it is the spiritual suffering he went through that is of greater weight. On Good Friday, we remember not the Passion of Jesus Christ in its physical sense, but in its spiritual sense, in the separation he endured from the Father that our sins might be paid for. For while Jesus was human, I do not see his physical suffering to be of the import as portrayed in this Catholic film, given that he had shown tremendous control over his body when he was tempted by Satan in the desert. In this time, he had sustain himself with the Word of God. At Calvary, I believed He lost the same sort of comfort: "My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?"

The Bible does point to the sufferings of Christ as important. Hebrews 2:18 tells us: "For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." Hebrews 4:15-16 says that "we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

But I want to point out the reason why our symbol is an EMPTY cross. Not the crucifix of the Catholic church. For while Christ suffered and died for us in order to pay the price for our sin by the shedding his blood, and while his sufferings gives us the assurance that he is able to help us, it would have been in vain if he had not risen. His resurrection is the Father's stamp of approval on the work of His Son.

This is why we have the empty cross. It is proof that Jesus has triumphed over sin and death, and that His promises are true. That whoever knows Him will have eternal life. We do not celebrate the suffering man on the cross. We celebrate the empty cross.

So the next time you see the cross, remind yourself of these two glorious facts. The first fact is that it is a reality. There is a cross. It was necessary to pay the price for our sin. There is no gospel when there is no cross. The second fact is that it is empty. The price for our sin was indeed paid for, and we have the assurance of a living hope. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus - He is Lord over all, even death.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Attributes of God: My Perception + Additional Note

My readership numbers have been unusually constantly high for the past 2 weeks. It's either my stat counter is broken, or this fact is true, or I should consider moving to Wordpress like everyone seems to be doing nowadays.

That was the additional note. Strangely enough, it came at the start because it came most recent to me. The last shall be first, no?

This is the disclaimer:

In my recent spate of posts on the attributes of God, I write as if intently gazing out one of the many windows of my small abode at the infinite world that lies beyond, and mulling over that which my eye perceives, limited as it is by the finite horizon and more significantly, that tint which stains all my windows, the stain of sin. Yet there is a sheen on my windows. It is the characteristic polish of the inerrant truth of Scripture, graciously applied by the Spirit. And never forget that cross-shaped frame that looms large over the windows - for every so often, a whiff of the outside air, fresh and warm, laden with all sorts of wondrous and exciting scents, filters in through the seams of that glorious frame!

Or explaining my allegory above:

I do have a tendency towards romanticising my writings. It is not a bad tendency as such; but it is one that easily leads to pride. But as it is, as long as I keep that in mind, it is rather fun to write in an uncharacteristic manner! And I believe this is my cleverest one so far.

If you wish to be spared the following process, skip on to the next section.
The abode represents me and the world in which I live in. Not the world around me per se, but the components that make ME. My thoughts, my experiences, my feelings, my environment, my relationships and that sense of irrationality that seems common to all men (and women). Though in retrospect, perhaps it is not a sense of irrationality, but rationality that conflicts with the irrationality of our rebellion. A common grace if you will. But I digress.

The world beyond represents God. Not that He can be conformed to any man-made image, and it would be heretical to do so, but my metaphor as it is will be imperfect and as long as I point out this fundamental flaw, it is alright to proceed.

Then note the dichotomy of small abode and infinite world.

My perception of God is limited as it is by what He allows me to perceive, thus the 'finite horizon'. Yet I would have no right perception of God at all, for my windows are all stained dark with the reality of sin. In our sin, we believe that if there lies a world beyond our abode, it is a world of our own making. And of course some believe there doesn't lie one beyond.

Yet in His graciousness, God sends His Son Jesus Christ to take on our sin, and so reconcile us back to God. And thus it is the cross that is the frame of any knowledge I will have of God. It is the image that looms largest. It is through this that I can know God as He truly is. Not just know about Him, but experience Him - that breath of fresh and warm air. And it is the Spirit that guides us into all truth, truth as was, and is, because the word of God is living and active as God Himself is, expressed in the Scriptures - the specific revelation of God.

So the tint remains, for while we are here, our flesh and the Spirit constantly wage war against each other. And while we remain here on this earth, we only perceive God partially, as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 - refer back to the post that sparked this off for a slight elaboration of this point. But it is brightly the Spirit and Scripture, and as such I can now look out and see the world beyond.

And yes, the point of windows is not to look at the windows, but to look at what lies beyond the windows. In a sense, this image echoes a quote I read about, not journeying past the cross, but going deeper into the cross. In the same manner, the more intently we gaze out, the more deeply we go into the cross. Also, on another point, I am looking out through one window. There are many windows, and there are many perceptions of God - same God I must stress, just as you wouldn't assume to be looking out on Earth through one window, and out on Mars through the next - in His complexity and incomprehensible infinitude.

As I elaborate, I realise that I could extend this allegory much further. I could be having a meal with Jesus. The Spirit could be the one actively cleaning out this house of mine - not as a slave, but as a friend. But I'll probably hit a lot of issues, so I'd just stop here.

Finally, one day, the door of my abode will open, and I'll walk out into the world beyond. (Although again the allegory breaks down in that I don't become one with the world, but rather I walk into the presence of the world, and then substituting world with God, even though I technically should avoid that sort of muddling.)
Simply put, I don't write with any claims to being an authority on this subject. I don't consider my treatment of this topic as complete, in two senses of the word. First in that it is the final say on the matter. And second in that it is the whole truth. It is neither whole, nor final, but I do want to say that as best as I have tried, I have stuck to the truth as is revealed by God through the Bible and the guidance of the Spirit. Also, bear in mind that my interpretation is that of a layman, and not of a dedicated scholar.

I think that was all I had to say. What an amazingly long post!

Next up: The Supremacy of God.

When I have time.

That is to say, when I have time to write.

Not when I have time for it to matter to me.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Attributes of God: The Solitariness of God

I was listening to the song "God of This City" from the most recent Passion release - great song by the way - and there was a line that resounded deep within my heart:

There is no one like our God.

I would love to throw biblical text after biblical text, psalm after psalm, that screams this very fact. Romans 11:33-38; 1 Timothy 1;17, 6:15-16; Isaiah 40:25 are all but a taste of this amazing truth.

Who is as loving? Who is as gracious? Who is as merciful? Who is as powerful? Who is as holy? Who is as faithful? Who is as sovereign? Who is as wise? Who is as patient?

I could rattle off all the attributes of God, and realise that nothing compares to our God.

And might I stress, 'our God'. Who is this God? This is the God who made the heavens and the earth, and all that is in it. The God who created man and women, in His own image, and gave them breath and life, and commanded them to subdue the earth. The God who easily crushes His enemies. The God who patiently bore with a corrupt Israel, who time and time again turned from Him.

The God who so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. The God who made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. The God who continues to graciously give us all that we need, sustaining us in our time of need. The God who lifts up the broken. The God who restores strength to the weary. And the God who will one day judge the living and the dead, and raise His redeemed people up to heaven where they will be forever satisfied in His presence.

The solitariness of our God is a funny thing. It evokes reverence for certain, and I might add a fearful reverence. But there's a kind of fear that creates both apprehension and comfort. And a kind of fear that induces terror in the very fibre of a man's soul. The first kind of fear belongs to His chosen people, the ones He has delivered out of the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of the Son He loves. It is a fear that makes us wary of approaching the glorious God, yet it is also a fear that assures us that if He is for us, who can be against us?

The second kind of fear belongs to those who remain condemned for their continued rebellion. It is the sort of fear that strips a man of his defenses, a fear so penetrating and chilling that he can but fall to his knees and beg for undeserved mercy.

But as of now, the first kind of fear only exists. The second sort we will see when Jesus returns.

And so it is a wondrous sort of fear. A fear that trembles before the magnificence of a God, who has no equal, yet steadies us with the warm reassurance of the gracious love of God, expressed through His Son Jesus Christ. Fear becomes mingled with profound gratitude. We never lose this sense of transcendence, nor should we, but there is an indescribable feeling that comes from the immanence of God. That God would draw close to us is incomprehensible, yet true. And our hearts expand as we are filled with the reality of His being, and we overflow with genuine joy and heartfelt thanksgiving.

There is no one like our God.