Thursday, October 28, 2010


Four years ago, a man named Ian Murphy was in a car accident. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for a substantial period of time. During the last four years, his family, his church and his girlfriend stood by his side, constantly keeping him in prayer and supporting him.

They never lost their faith and they never lost hope.

And they never stopped praising God.

It's crazy isn't it? When earthquakes happen, when random terrible things happen, usually the first thing people do is start blaming God.But not these people.

They have a faith in God's sovereignty, His eternal plan that is amazing and humbling.

Ian married his girlfriend Larissa this year. In the last four years, they have done more to display the self sacrificial love of Christ than I ever thought was humanly possible. It's so crazy and beautiful all at the same time and I'm so glad they decided to share their story online. Their blog is here. The main authors of the blog used to be Ian's father, Steve and Larissa. But last year, Steve passed away of cancer so it's mainly Larissa blogging now.

Larissa wrote this -

"Our every hope for marriage rests on what Christ has done. We are both entering this marriage with extreme weaknesses, difficulties and challenges that most marriages never experience. But we have hope. We have hope because the gospel affects everything about our lives. And we have everything we need for life and godliness through Christ. Our affection for each other and therefore our marriage cannot thrive outside of the gospel. So we are hoping and trying to enter into this knowing that we stand on nothing else other than Christ. We are so weak but we have a great God, who works way beyond what we can understand."

I went through a discontented funk in the last couple of days and felt so .. aggrieved about some stuff. But reading this made me realize - this is what the christian faith is about. That even in the midst of grief, you rejoice in the Lord and give thanks for His compassion and love. That it has been given to you to know Him and be adopted as sons. That you really and truly have been given new hearts that seek to obey and glorify Him.

So I'm writing this down as a reminder to myself. There is so much in my life to be thankful for - so much that I don't deserve. There is also such a long way to go in my walk with Christ, so much growing in humbleness, love, repentance and joy. But like them, my hope for salvation rests in Christ and the gospel.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Optimistic Little Poem

Now and then it happens

that somebody shouts for help

and somebody jumps in at once

and absolutely gratis.

Here in the thick of the grossest capitalism

round the corner comes the shining fire brigade

and extinguishes, or suddenly

there's silver in the beggar's hat.

Mornings the streets are full

of people hurrying here and there without

daggers in their hands, quite equably

after milk or radishes.

As though in a time of deepest peace.

A splendid sight.

By Hans Magnus Enzensberger (b. 1929)

Originally in German, translated by David Constantine.


I was reading a collection of poems published on the London Underground while on the MRT (so very appropos!) when I came across this little gem.

This is a little poem; it's not one of those epic, take on life/death/ancient mariners and albatrosses type :) But I like the little poems - they're so good when you need some laughter and whimsy.Looked through photos from my recent trips and I'm thankful for so much grace - good times with friends, music and so much good food. Counting blessings is a good indoor pastime when the haze strikes :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Following the pattern of sound words

There is a trend in many large churches for the congregation to be split and organized according to generation/age lines. So the young adult/university age people get cordoned off into one cell group (or set of cell groups), young working adults into another and so on.

This works out in terms of fellowship; it stands to reason that most people would have an easier time connecting with people their own age and given the similar life circumstances (hey, have you ever seen NS men get together and complain about NS?), they get to share their difficulties/travails with people who'd understand.

It's a reasonably good system, particularly for smaller congregations. But for large churches (loosely defined here as churches with a membership of 600 and up) and mega churches ( membership of 1000 and up) this system is potentially problematic when it comes to the issue of christian guidance and discipleship.

I'll put it bluntly. A lot of young Christians or young people seeking to find out more about Christianity are liable (in large churches especially) to get stuck in a group of people their age who're probably nice to hang out with but are similarly situated and have no real answers for their questions.

(Yes there are exceptions but I'm not talking about the exceptions.)

My point is this, as God’s people, we need to lean on those who’ve gone before us. (This post is inspired Keith and Kristin Getty's post so the link to their post is on the line above as it was taken from their post)

On their post, they also wrote:-

“One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving towards all he has made. My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord. Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.” Psalm 145:4, 13, 21

"When I read this passage, I’m reminded that the praises and testimonies of one generation are to echo into the next. All ages serve and worship the same God, gather under the same gospel and add to the collective song that praises the faithfulness of God as each generation shares in his promises to us. We are part of something timeless, and the exercise of stretching our vision beyond ourselves leads us further down the road to an eternal perspective on all of life and our very reason for being."

When Moses wrote Deuteronomy, he spent so much time exhorting the Israelites to keep on telling their children about the wonders that God had done for them, how He had brought them out of Egypt, across the Red Sea and the desert. He reminded them over and over again to tell the succeeding generations who had not witnessed these wonders for themselves.

Christianity is, at the core, a historic faith. God chose to work through human history, the history of the people of Israel and so much of the bible is concerned with historical narrative, with the trials and travails of the people of Israel as they blundered about, got some stuff right, got a lot of other stuff wrong and somehow found themselves kicked out of their own kingdom. This history, when read together with the decretive/teaching sections of the bible, is meant to give us a holistic picture of who God is and how He has worked through His people.

I believe that this should be reflected in the church. That one generation of christians, who have gone before us in the faith should commend God's works to the next, telling of God's faithfulness, compassion and mercy. When we segregate ourselves into groups that have mainly teens or people in the same age group and fail to make essential connections with the older (and more rooted) members of church, we miss out on discipleship and teaching. Ideally, all older persons in the church should function as role models and mentors, modelling for us the Christian walk in growing sanctification and holiness.

Back to my example of people stuck in a group of people their own age - the thing is, it's fun and it draws a crowd. People like to fit in and have friends to kick back with - but is it all that church (or a christian fellowship) is supposed to be? Is it biblical?

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season;reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
(2 Timothy 4:1 - Paul's last letter to Timothy)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Nicene Creed

After I looked up the Apostles' Creed, I came across the Nicene Creed and did a really quick 2 minute comparison of the two.

They match each other point for point except that the Nicene has a great deal more detail about the nature and sovereignty of God and of the person and works of Christ. It emphasized, in short, the Holy Trinity of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit and took pains to add that Christ is a'being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made;".

Both creeds are among the oldest declarations of the essentials of the Christian faith; the Nicene dates back to the First Council of Nicaea (AD 325) and revised in the First Council of Constantinople (AD 381). This was before the split between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox church - and obviously well before the rise of Protestant Christianity in the 1600s.

The difference in emphasis was apparently due to the fact that the Nicene Creed was written as a response to the rise of Arianism - the belief that Christ was a created being and thus not fully God.

In liturgical churches, the Apostles creed and/or the Nicene creed is recited as part of the service every Sunday. My own church is Baptist, a non credal denomination, and reciting it has never been part of my regular church going experience. The Scots Church service that I visited two weeks ago, is apparently Presbyterian, a liturgical denomination that does make the recital of the creeds part of their regular service.

I'd love to do classes on church history, latin and the historical rise of Christianity. But this is such a bad time to pick up anything. Exams coming up! Everything else will have to wait til after they're over.


Traditional Wording
I believe in one God,
the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the only begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds,
God of God, Light of Light,
very God of very God,
begotten, not made,
being of one substance with the Father;
by whom all things were made;
who for us men and for our salvation
came down from heaven,
and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost
of the Virgin Mary,
and was made man;
and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered and was buried;
and the third day he rose again
according to the Scriptures,
and ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of the Father;
and he shall come again, with glory,
to judge both the quick and the dead;
whose kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and Giver of Life,
who proceedeth from the Father [and the Son];
who with the Father and the Son together
is worshipped and glorified;
who spake by the Prophets.
And I believe one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church;
I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
and I look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. AMEN.


Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum, et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri; per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines et propter nostram salutem descendit de caelis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine, et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus et sepultus est, et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas, et ascendit in caelum, sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.

Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre (Filioque) procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et expecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Grace and peace be with you

Giving thanks for ... the night and the music.gelati. a trip filled with much love and friendship. Mr Grey's company.

the girl, the girl who died? it's terrible to put this in writing but.

the girl was the same age as the sister, had gone to all the same schools.

and but for the grace, the everlasting grace of God....

she could have been anyone of us.


there are so many distractions. food, shopping, moving countries, academic interests, music, art - we pretend that some of it is more important, more weighty than the others. but all the same, so much of it coming at us and then we forget.

the things that really matter. the things that have eternal weight, eternal consequences.

MFE quote:

the most important question in our lives isn't about who we're going to marry, where we'll work, what we'll do in the next five, ten, fifteen years.

it's this: on that great and final day, when He comes to judge the living and the dead, to separate the goats from the sheep - where will you stand?

who will we follow?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Apostles' Creed

Visited the Scots Church in Melbourne when I was there and was struck by their recital of the Apostle's Creed and that the entire congregation could, with one voice, stand up and recite together, the Lord's Prayer (KJV version too!). Why have so many churches stopped reciting it? This creed is so short but contains almost all the essentials about the Christian faith.

Who are you? What do you believe in?


I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.



In Latin

Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem caeli et terrae,
et in Iesum Christum, Filium Eius unicum, Dominum nostrum,
qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine,
passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus,
descendit ad ínferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis,
ascendit ad caelos, sedet ad dexteram Patris omnipotentis,
inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum,
sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem,
remissionem peccatorum,
carnis resurrectionem,
vitam aeternam.

Friday, October 1, 2010

from more to more

STRONG Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.

Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou:
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.

We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

But vaster. We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.

Forgive what seemed my sin in me;
What seemed my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.

Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.

Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.

-- Tennyson



The Soul. Seek out reality, leave things that seem.
The Heart. What, be a singer born and lack a theme?
The Soul. Isaiah's coal, what more can man desire?
The Heart. Struck dumb in the simplicity of fire!
The Soul. Look on that fire, salvation walks within.
The Heart. What theme had Homer but original sin?

-- Yeats


Reading through bits of Tennyson's In Memoriam now. Some really beautiful verses but some parts, trite as trite could be.

Yeats is an old love. I read and was taken by "An Irish Airman foresees his death" before I knew who Yeats was or that he was a famous poet. The best way to encounter beautiful writing, really. To just bump into it on the street or in some out of the way bookstore and have the whole world just shift, sideways and inside outside in.