Sunday, March 26, 2017

CCF: So That You May Know The Mission

Image courtesy of LDS.org
Preaching by: Pastor Jose Philip

Have you ever wondered why no matter how much you accomplished or how much you have you still want more? John Chapter 4 reveals to us how our hearts are wired and how only God can satisfy us.

“It’s strange to be known so universally and yet be so lonely.” — Albert Einstein

“Sometimes I think the only people who stay with me and listen to me are the people I pay.” —Marilyn Monroe

John 4 accounts the longest private conversation between Jesus and another person recorded in the Gospel. Why would Jesus spend so much time with this unnamed woman of questionable character? What does he wants us to learn from this passage?

John tells us that as Jesus performs miracles, his popularity grew and because of this He left Judea and went back to Galilee where He need to pass by Samaria. At the town of Sychar, Jesus met the Samaritan woman and spoke to her.

The God of the Bible is the God who meets us where we are, as we are so that He can take us from where we are to where we should be. No other religion in the world demonstrate this kind of love.

The Samaritan woman was desperate for she came to draw water in the afternoon trying to avoid people because of her reputation. She was also surprised and suspicious to find Jesus speaking to her. As Jesus tells her about the Living water, she was quick to ask for the water so she won’t get thirsty and need to draw water anymore.

“Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.’” — John 4:13-15

Very often we undermine what God is telling us because we come to Him in desperation and suspicion. Often times our relationship with God is transactional - Just do this for me Lord; Please settle this problem. Then if things does not happen our way, we get disappointed. We get disappointed with the God of our expectations and not with the God of the Scripture. We get disappointed because God becomes less of someone to us and more of something to us.

In verse 21, the woman was frustrated trying to drift away the conversation with Jesus from her real issues. Our desperation can lead us to God but often times we hear from God what we wanted to hear from Him. Desperation can cloud our eyes, because confronting our failures and problem is difficult.

The people in the town was surprised on how Jesus treated the Samaritan woman. While He knew everything about the woman yet He did not condemn her and even offered her the Living water. Similarly, Jesus invested in your life for your own sake. Jesus came while you are sinner. Jesus loves you in spite of your shortcomings.

The Samaritan woman came as a desperate woman, surprised by a stranger, stayed as a frustrated woman, taught by a Prophet and find herself liberated by the Messiah.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come The old has gone, the new is here!” — 2 Corinthians 5:17

If you find yourself frustrated and helpless, cease striving and come to Jesus. Your heart will never be satisfied by what you do. Why are you striving and working for that which will perish?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. — Matthew 11:28
You will not find your mission until you have been found by the Messiah.

Transcribed by:


Friday, March 10, 2017

Music: For Good

One great collaboration between two powerful belters and musical icons Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth. Definitely one of my favourite track from the award-winning Broadway and West End musical - The untold story of the Witches of Oz - Wicked. In fact if I will to make a song cover(hahaha feeling) this will definite be on top of my list, I just need to find someone who can sing Elphaba's line or solo might also work for me(lol).

Okay back to reality, here's a treat from the original cast members of Wicked. 


"For Good"


[Elphaba:]
I'm limited.
Just look at me.
I'm limited.
And just look at you.
You can do all I couldn't do.
Glinda...
So now it's up to you,
For both of us.
Now it's up to you.


[Glinda:]
I've heard it said,
That people come into our lives
For a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led to those
Who help us most to grow if we let them.
And we help them in return.
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you.


Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes the sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you.
I have been changed for good.


[Elphaba:]
It well may be
That we will never meet again
In this lifetime.
So, let me say before we part:
So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you.
You'll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart.
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have rewritten mine
By being my friend.


Like a ship blown from its mooring
By a wind off the sea.
Like a seed dropped by a sky bird
In a distant wood.
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you...


[Glinda:]
Because I knew you...


[Both:]
I have been changed for good.


[Elphaba:]
And just to clear the air
I ask forgiveness
For the things I've done,
You blame me for.


[Glinda:]
But then I guess,
We know there's blame to share.


[Both:]
And none of it seems to matter anymore.
Like a comet pulled from orbit
(like a ship blown from its mooring)
As it passes the sun.
(by a wind off the sea)
Like a stream that meets a boulder
(like a seed dropped by a bird)
Halfway through the wood.
(in the wood)
Who can say if I've been changed for the better.
I do believe I have been changed for the better.


[Glinda:]
And because I knew you...


[Elphaba:]
Because I knew you...


[Both:]
Because I knew you
I have been changed...
For good.

Credits to youtube channel owner.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Wicked in Singapore

The award-winning Broadway and West End musical "Wicked" graced us last year showing at Mastercard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands Singapore.


***

Wicked has captivated 50 million theatregoers of all ages(including us) and is already one of Broadway and the West Ends's most celebrated and successful musicals of all time.

Wicked also was a winner of 100 international awards including three Tony Awards on Broadway and two Olivier Awards in London's West. Wicked's spectacular stage musical features astounding technical wizardry, stunning costumes and show-stopping songs by the three-time Academy Award winner Stephen Schwartz. [Excerpts from Wicked brochure]

The awards alone qualifies this musical as a must-see show and also one of the reason why I am writing a throwback post for this world class musical. Blog-worthy.

Though we did not brave to take photos during the shows(as it is prohibited), we had our fare share of snaps before the show started. Pardon my rugged clothing as I was suppose to go for a badminton game after the show so didn't bother to dress up 😏 which I later regretted after seeing ladies in their fancy dresses, like its not everyday you get to watch Wicked right? (Next time Girlie!)

The experience was pure euphoria -- from the talented performers, to original songs, to enchanting production and parade of costumes. Best treat you can give to your ears and eyes. Wicked revolves in the theme of finding one's individuality, standing for what you believe and unfolding friendships.

Jacqueline Hughes (Elphaba's) stint of "Defying Gravity" was a front runner act which shows a lot of emotions and chills. Carly Andersen (Galinda I meant Glinda's) "Popular" is a new favourite from added in my playlist. But if there's one track I looked forward to, that is Elphaba's and Glinda's duet "For Good" their farewell piece to each other. The song highlighted friendship, forgiveness and how their lives were changed because of each other. I have to close my eyes to enjoy and savour the live performance that very moment, as if the world stopped for a second. It was surreal feeling to hear one of your favourite song sang live in front of you. Bradley Jaden (Fiyero's) "Dancing Through Life" sticks to my head for some time and so added it in my LSS list.


It was indeed a wicked experience altogether.
Thank you Wicked The Musical for making us a part of this bewitching vocal production.



Sunday, February 26, 2017

Weighlifting Fairy OST

With my growing fondness to Korean novela and their music, I have added new tracks to my running playlist. Yey! The songs "From Now On" and "For Some Reason These Days" were from the original soundtrack of Korean romantic-comedy drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Book-Joo

I don't know about you but listening to this music will surely keep you heart upbeat and your feet in brisk running pace, pushing you to run few distance more till you reach your distance goal. 😆💪😀 





Credits to the youtube channel owner of both songs. Thanks for sharing this two cheerful tracks, now I have something to look forward in my running workout.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hedonic Threadmill

Came across "Hedonic Threadmill" while listening to one of the Sunday messages from Christ Commission Fellowship(CCF) which I also posted in my previous blog. For those who are going through quarter-life or mid-life crisis or any random time in your life where you felt you are in burning pursuit of the true meaning of happiness, you would definitely bump into this term.

According to Wikipedia, Hedonic threadmill also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

Investopedia defines "Hedonic Threadmill" as the following:

The tendency of a person to remain at a relatively stable level of happiness despite a change in fortune or the achievement of major goals. According to the hedonic treadmill, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness.

On the negative flip, suppose something tragic happen to you like denied promotion, an accident or bankruptcy, initially you might feel depressed but slowly as time progress you'll adjust to your circumstances. Soon you'll learn to find happiness in other things, because humans are adaptable beings.

On the positive note, this means after getting that promotion you worked hard on or being married to the love of your life, for sometime you'll be leaving your dreams in cloud nine, but after sometime happiness declines. You'll then think to be really happy in your married life you need to have kids, buy house of your own and so on. And the list will continue to grow. So in order for a person to maintain the same level of fulfilment, he needs to acquire more than what he acquired before. This sounds miserable to me because it will be a never ending pursuit to happiness.

HappierHuman.com tries to explain the power and problem of adaptation. The author Amit Amin provides evidences how adaptation can stop giving human happiness. Here's some of it:

Beauty
While its true that being physically attractive increases self-esteem and opportunities in life, it's not enough to sustain satisfaction. Being attractive may lead to higher expectation in terms of friends and partner. But success in relationships has no direct correlation to physical attributes but more in character and behaviour. Oftentimes less attractive people can be more grateful.

Money
We desire money not for the sake of having money but for what money can give us. Yes money cannot buy happiness but it can buy things to make us happy. But the more money we get from our jobs, the more things we need to sacrifice like time with family, more stress and the like. Also wealth can be inversely proportional to appreciation. The more wealthy a person becomes, his appreciation to simple things decreases. They would require bigger houses, more stylish cars, fancy restaurants for dinners, more expensive shoes and bags, more lavish trips etc.

Sunshine
Humidity after a clear day is correlated with reduced vigor and happiness. Sunshine after a cloudy day is correlated with increased mood. But sunshine after sunshine is correlated with nothing. When we experience sunshine most of the time, eventually we tend to take if for granted.

Marriage + Children
Studies suggests that having children increases meaning and purpose in life which could be the reason why people choose to get married and have kids. But this is not a one-size-fits-all, for others they can find meaning in life through their career, helping others, raising advocacy and awareness etc. We just need to strike a balance on each other's choices in life and there is nothing wrong whichever side you opt to belong. As not all married people are happy, just like not all singles are miserable.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Michael Ramsden: Jesus Satisfies

What does it mean to truly live?
How do we measure what it means to be happy, fulfilled or satisfied in this world?
Why is it that as we see wealth going up in a nation, reported level of happiness goes down?

With all these questions unanswered, often we fill our lives with all kinds of distractions to distract ourselves from the problem of our own emptiness. So we are looking to be entertained through television, drinking, partying or anything that can momentarily hold our attention because something within us seems to be missing.

The Bible tries to answer this through the book of Luke 12:13-21 - The Parable of the Rich Fool. In the story the younger brother wanted Jesus to divide the estate. Why? Same reason why we want money, because of the things it can buy and the satisfaction it can bring to us.

There are so many things we try to bring into our lives to make us happy. We consume, buy, build things hoping to feel fulfilled.

In verse Luke 12:15 and Isaiah 55, God is not questioning our desires for fulfilment and satisfaction, He is questioning where you can find it. Life does not consist in the abundance of possession. For even if you have more than enough, your wealth will not give you life.

What are the things that you are pursuing?
Where is your energy, creativity, money, labor, gold going?
More importantly, does it satisfy?
Christ came into this world, He alone can meet the deepest desires of our heart. 
He alone can satisfy us. 

For full message, you can visit Christ Commission Fellowship youtube channel via this link.

Transcribed by:

Basic Korean I Learned from Watching Korean Drama Part II

Still cannot get over Korean drama so last week I found myself marathoning sports drama Weightlifting Fairy Kim Book Joo, inspired by the Olympic gold medalist Jang Mi-ran.

Its quite fascinating to watch the lives of athletes - their discipline in training, commitment to their sport, frustrations and at the same time how they have fun.

While I enjoy seeing this cheerful and entertaining KDrama, I also learned new words and phrases I could add to my Korean vocabulary:

Mister - Adjusshi
Uncle - Samchon
Sorry - Mi Ahn hae / Mianhaeyo
Awesome - Dae bak
Hello(on the phone) - Yeoboseyo
Really? - Jinjja?
That's right / Absolutely - Georeomyo
I miss you - Bugoshipuh / Bugoshipuhyo (formal)
Are you okay? - Gwenchanah? / Gwenchanahyo? (formal)
Don't go - Gajima
I'm hungry - Baegopayo
Let's eat - Bap mukja
It's delicious! - Massh iss uh yo!
Please - Joo Sae Yo / Sae Yo (formal)
It's delicious - Mah Sit Sso Yo
Long time no see - Olen-maniya
Nice to meet you - Mannaseo bangapseumnida