A New Season of My Life

Haven’t been updated of what is going on with my life? Fret not!!! I’ve returned with an awesome new look for this long abandoned blog (not abandoned, just having a long sabbathical, that’s all). I’ve been extremely busy for the past year (yes, that’s how long this blog was on hold) rushing and doing lots of personal and church stuff. I’ve made a resolution to update this blog at least ONCE a week (If I don’t, just bug me). And the coolest news is…

I’ve finally graduated (and I’m single)!!! I’m officially a professional Graphic Designer (still single)!!! Currently, I am working in Limkokwing (my university) as a lecturer. It really is an answer from God for me to work there. I’ve been praying and asking God for directions before I even graduated whether He wants me to work outside for Graphic Design agencies, continue to stay in Limkokwing or to work on the company I’ve started (Testify Designs) with Bernard some time ago. I got a job offer as a web designer for the CCC (Centre of Content Creation) for Limkokwing and I was quite happy at first. Little did I know, it was a dead end job where I’m basically stuck in a cubicle with no one to talk to for nine hours a day. It wasn’t what I wanted at all. My colleagues were fine but I felt that my circle of influence would be so small. So I kept praying and asking God for more opportunities within the campus. Lo, and behold, I got another job offer from my previous lecturer. It was a lecturing position which I think would be a great door of opportunity to impact and influence the students in the campus. The problem is this. I don’t know if my current boss will let me transfer to the faculty department or I’ll be stuck there designing endless websites. But I went with courage to tell him anyway of my situation (of course, I prayed before doing so) and he said he was fine with it! So I can finally move on and be a lecturer!

But then again, I was torn between choosing faculties because if I taught the lower semesters (foundation), I’d be teaching the same thing for four times a week and every semester it’s the same thing. I’ll die of boredom if I did just that. And since foundation students are newbies, you don’t learn anything at all from them BUT also because they are fresh and uncorrupted yet by the Limkokwing culture, they are a perfect bunch to reach out to. On the other hand, if I taught the higher semesters I get to learn from them as well because it involves a lot of industrial based projects as I facilitate and assist them with their assignments but I’ll be extremely busy with the tight schedules and deadlines (not to mention office politics). I wanted time to focus on the establishment of my own company as well. So, I prayed again. I asked God to intervene in my decision making process. I remember talking to Pastor Tim and he asked which one would I want to do and I answered “Both.” Well, God is good. In the end, that’s exactly what He gave me! He gave me BOTH semesters! I got to teach two classes of higher semester students, one class for lower semester students, a higher pay (woohoo!!!) and a lecturing position which I wanted badly! Praise God! Phew!!!

Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

I guess when we do what God wants us to do, things will turn out just fine (and I dare say better). If God is on our side, who or what can be against us? I’m saying this humbly because I am nothing. But the one backing me up, God, is really in control of everything. All we need is just faith like a mustard seed and an ounce of obedience and God will do the rest.

Are you making decisions and plans for your future? Remember, we MAY make plans, but it is God who DETERMINES our steps. Besides, He knows what’s best for us, so why carry the burdensome load? It’s time to say, “Let go” and “Let God.”

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The Hillsong Experience

The Hillsong conference was an awesome one. It definitely inspired me to stretch myself even more to be a kingdom-minded person and to grow deeper and crazier in love with Jesus. I’m so blessed by the conference and I really want to thank the church and the leaders for allowing me to be part of the team in the conference and for blessing me so tremendously. You guys rock!!! For those who’ve never been to the Hillsong Conference, start saving and planning now. The experience definitely changed my life, and I’m sure it will do the same to yours too.

Day 1 – The Arrival (Hello Cool Air)

After eight hours of plane ride, which we had to eat at the most ridiculous hours (we took the night flight), I finally felt the cool winter air of Sydney as we stepped out of the airport. A few minutes ago, Lisa excitedly remarked, “We’re in Sydney already!” when we were still in the arrival halls. Surprisingly, I wasn’t too excited, I don’t know why. Probably because I was tired or probably I was too looking forward to the conference itself.

We checked in to our hostel YHA soon after, did our own things and all of a sudden, it’s dinner time already. Typical Malaysians =). Jill’s friend came by and brought us around George St and we ended up in a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. I love food in Australia, it’s MY portion!!! Unlike Malaysia, I don’t need second servings there. (well, it’s quite expensive after the conversion anyway)

Day 2 – The First Encounter (Jaw Dropping Eye Opener)

Woke up early and went for breakfast with Kevin. He was obviously craving for Hungry Jack’s (known as Burger King in Malaysia). I cannot believe people actually walk there. They walk. And walk. And walk. What’s wrong with you people?! Take trains! Take buses! They’re there for a purpose you know?! So, there I was with Kevin ‘indulging’ the walking experience, passing blocks after blocks, streets after streets, just for breakfast. (by now, you should’ve known that I’m not a walker, I’m a modern bum who makes full use of vehicles)

We went back to the hostel after our breakfast to meet up with the others just to know that they want Hungry Jack’s for lunch… Walk… Again…

It was only in the trains where I could actually rest my poor legs. But the luxury was soon over when we reached the Olympic Park, the place where the conference is held. It’s a HUGE place. So while I’m narrating, and I suddenly change the venue, it means I walked. A LOT.

So, we waited outside as PC went in to register for all of us and it’s only normal of us to start taking endless pictures of ourselves.

After all the registration and admin stuff, we were finally ready to go in to the stadium. Remember when I said I wasn’t too excited when we first reached Sydney? Obviously, that changed as I stepped into the Olympic sized stadium, filled with 40,000 people from all nations and ethnics. It was a breathtaking atmosphere and it’s just amazing how He gathers His children in one place for His glory and pleasure.

The first session’s speaker was Rick Warren, the author of the Purpose Driven Life and you could really see why. His message was just purpose FULL. =) This session really spoke to me as the message centers around Exodus 3 when Moses encountered God and He asked Moses, “What is in your hands?” Obviously, Moses was holding his shepherd staff but that staff was everything that’s important to Moses. The staff represented Moses’ identity (a shepherd), his income (as that’s the tool used to shepherd his flock) and his influence (to move sheep from place to place).

The question is, what is in our hands? What has God placed in our hands? What are we doing with what we’ve been given? Are we accepting God’s agenda and using what we have in our hands to accomplish it? God’s agenda is the Kingdom, and the Kingdom of God is where Jesus is King. Have we been advancing His Kingdom, telling others of Jesus’ love for the them?

One of the things he has in his hands as the author of the best selling book is finance. He shared about his own personal journey of trusting God with His finance. When he and his wife got married, they increased their tithes by 1% every year. And now, they’re doing reverse tithe. What on earth is a reverse tithe, you ask? =) Well, he’s doing it backwards now, giving 90% to God and keeping only 10% for themselves. My jaw dropped as I heard that. That’s a big step of faith. And it inspired me to train myself to do so too.

It might sound intimidating but God is on our side. And as God could turn a dead piece of wood (Moses’ staff) to a living snake, so can He change what is in our hands (which sometimes seem insignificant) and use it to do mighty things.

We had Alvin Slaughter singing and he has an amazing voice. Simply amazing.

As for the night session, Matthew Barnett spoke about being the best we can. Don’t wait for perfection, use what you’ve got now to make a difference. Don’t be someone else, be the best YOU you can be! He’s an amazing man of God as he started a church when he was 21 and now his church (the Dream Center) is known as ‘The Church that Never Sleeps’ ministering to the prostitutes, drug addicts and gangsters in the mean streets of Los Angeles.

Day 3 – The 2nd Day of the Conference (Heart Pumping Excitement)

It’s Rick Warren again, and this time he’s basically summarising his book in an hour’s time! Cool. So, he shared about the five purposes we’re here on Earth. I liked the illustration where he said, “Our lives are a preparation for eternity. Think of it as a warm up or a rehearsal for the big show.” Basically, our short lives on this Earth is just to prepare us for eternity! Life here is not all that there is! There’s a bigger show after this, eternity in heaven (or hell)!!! And yet, many people fail during this rehearsal. They get distracted by the things of the world, money, lust, power, greed and they miss the whole point of life. Are you doing well in this rehearsal? Are you going to miss the big show? =)

– We were created to worship God, for His pleasure (Rev 4:11b, Psalm 149:4). God enjoys watching us being ourselves! And He wasn’t lonely, but He created us so that He could love us and in turn love Him back! (Eph 1:4)

– We were created to have fellowship with His family (1 Tim 3:15) We can never grow without the local church. It’s about ‘one another.’ Can you ever say to someone, “I like you, but I don’t like your body.” The same way, you can’t say, “Jesus I love you, but I don’t like your body (the church)” Either way, we’d better get used to the church, because that’s what heaven is going to be! Family!!!

– We were created to become more like Christ through discipleship (Romans 8:29). We are to follow God’s image through God. Not become God, but godly. It’s through the Holy Spirit we become more like Christ and the way the Spirit does it is exactly the opposite way. To love the unlovables. To find joy in moments of grief. To make peace in chaos. To be patient in waiting.

– We were created to serve God through our ministry (Eph 2:10). God gave us spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality and experiences to serve Him and one another. It was never meant to be used to serve ourselves only.

– We were created to speak about Christ through evangelism (2 Corinthians 5:18). We must care about what God cares most, His lost children. A church that does not grow or share the gospel is basically saying to the world, “You can go to hell.” Wow…

After the main session, we have elective sessions and it’s divided according to what we chose when we registered. I chose the Creative Design elective which was under the Worship and Creative Arts stream. And during the electives we had Darlene Zschech to speak for a while and then Bill Hybels took over the pulpit.

Today, Delirious led worship and it was awesome. Well, not everyone could be used to the music as it’s really typically UK music. Think of worshipping God with music like Coldplay. =) However, he really has a gift in leading the congregation to an intimate time of worship with God and seeing 40,000 people holding hands and jumping all across the stadium was… indescribable.

After the electives, Frank Damazio basically shared about keeping the momentum in our Great Commission and not being lukewarm. And Rick Godwin talked about us being the salt and the light of the world (Matt 5:13).

– Salt is used to preserve and fight decay. We need to create a culture about Jesus (hope, love, peace etc) in the midst of a death culture. Are we being the preservatives of godly values in a world of immoral standards? Or are we conforming to the immoral patterns of the world?

– Salt is used to give taste. It’s purpose is to lose its taste for something of greater glory. Our lives are meant to be used for God’s glory, which is greater than ours. It’s meant to be used to show the people around us how great is the God that we serve.

– Salt is used as salary it was high in value. Jesus promised we’ll be the head and not the tail. Are we being sought after everywhere because of our influence in Christ? Are we living in the spirit of excellence and enlarging our territories for Him? Or are we complacent with our lives now and stay indifferent, lukewarm and careless?

– Salt causes thirst. A thirst for God. Salt is contagious, it causes everything around it to be salty. Are we making a salt outbreak?

Day 4 – The 3rd Day of the Conference (Blistering Leg Pain)

Brian Houston shared about living a life that’s called to serve His purpose. Many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 22:14). Live like the few, don’t just be saved, be called. Darlene Zschech shared about what’s our ‘because’ factor in our lives. What drives us to do things and live our lives? Money? Comfort? Pleasure? Or the Gospel?

Next, Jentezen Franklin confronted us of the ‘Measuring Tape’ mentality because we always limit God with our unbelieving and faithless minds. If God is involved in something, it’s immeasurable (Zech 2). Our God is a God of maximum, don’t depend on our own successes or failures but by faith in God.

I had an experience of hearing Israel Houghton and New Breed live for the first time. Man, I wish I could sing like him! It’s very black style though but it was awesome!!!

Later at night, Jentzen shared about standing in the middle ground, to stand in the gap (Exo 25:21-22). Just as the Cherubims were looking at God’s mercy seat, we ought to look at each other with God’s mercy, not judgement. We may not see eye to eye, but we have to stay as one in the Spirit. Jesus affirmed the middle ground when He said, “When two or three are gathered in My name, I will be with them…”

Day 5 – The 4th Day of the Conference (Total Body Pain)

In the morning, Bil Hybels shared about the need of having a holy discontentment (Exodus 2:11). God sees the heart, frustration and emotions of Moses and chose him to set his people free because it wrecks both their hearts. When Popeye the Sailorman gets angry, he says, “That’s all I can stands! I can’t stands no more!” What gives us a Popeye moment? What can’t we stand?

As I thought about it for a while, I realized I cannot stand immorality. It just makes me angry, really angry. When i see immoral designs (I’m a Graphic Designer), I burst with anger and resolve to influence the media with godly standards and vaues. When I hear people swear (Christians especially), I’d rebuke them. There was once when I was in a cyber cafe and the people were swearing and shouting while playing games, I really felt like vomitting, literally. I guess that’s how God has so tremendously changed my life when immorality was part of my vocabulary in life. Now, I can’t even stand it anymore. Ask yourself, what can’t you stand?

Feed your holy discontentment, expose yourself to the seriousness of the problem. Go for missions, hospital visitations, see the suffering, etc. Those carrying the banner of Christ should dispense hope when it seems like, “It can’t end like this!”

Next, is my personal favourite speaker, Louie Giglio!!! His message spoke to me most. He spoke about the greatness of that name, the great “I AM.” (Psalm 46:10) says “Be still, and know that I AM God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Being still doesn’t mean being lazy but to know and realize that there’s a God behind everything and He will still be exalted no matter what.

When God was sending Moses to deliver His people, Moses was so caught up with himself saying, “I can’t”, “I’m not”, “I’m…” It was never about “I.” God said “I AM sending you”, “I AM going to do it” and “You just go”. It’s not about us. It’s God who is doing the work and all we have to do is just go. And the good news is, the great “I AM” never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow!!!

So many times, I shrink back saying, “I am not able”, “I don’t have the skills to do so”, “I’m afraid.” And the reality just hit me during this sermon. It was NEVER about me. It’s about God. It’s about Him working in me and through me. It is ultimately Him who’s doing the work. He is able when I’m not. He is powerful when I’m not. He makes the impossible possible. I realized it was really stupid of me to not see that earlier and miss out on so many of the amazing plans He has in store for me. Thank God, because He’s the great “I AM.”

Charlotte Scanlon Gambill shared about the need to love Ishmaels in our midst. We always thought Isaac was the promised one and Ishmael was an accident. But God doesn’t make mistakes. Ishmael wasn’t accepted because there was an Isaac, a loved, promised one. We should learn to love the unlovables, the unaccepted, the unwanted, the Ishmaels.

Day 6 – The Last Day of the Conference (Body System Failure)

Lastly, Reinhard Bonnke, the amazing evangelist shared about the blood of Christ. A simple message, but it was a powerful one. We are redeemed and cleansed from all sins by the blood of Christ (1 Pet 1:18, 1 John 1:7). Why is the blood shed so important? It proves the relations of a son and a father and who was Jesus’ father? God!

He shared about his experience with an atheist who asked, “Why is the world worse today if Jesus blood is so powerful?” Reinhard answered, “There’s soap in this world and there still people who are dirty!” Soap doesn’t clean automatically, you need to reach out and apply it! It is the same with Jesus blood, you need to reach out and apply it into our lives!

Leviticus 8:22 also says we are marked by Christ’s blood. He cleanses us from the inside and then marks us externally so that the world will know we belong to Him! We are His property and God looks after His property!

I’m seriously impacted by his passion and desire to reach lost souls. Everytime he has a rally in Africa, at least a million souls are saved…. Millions. And his dream is to reach 100 million souls. Now, that really made me think of my journey of evangelism. How about you?

The Hillsong Conference ended with a worship party and also an anointing service. Sigh, I wish it could be longer as I was really so filled with God’s Word and it’s just waiting to manifest and burst forth with fruits. Amen!!!

Finally, a day to sleep late and rest. For the past 5 days we had to wake up at 7am and sleep at 1am. Talk about fatigue! Anyways, we went around Sydney today via the ferries. So we visited different places like the Opera House (from a distance), Lunacy Park and Darling Harbour. As you can see from my facial expressions in the pictures, I am very tired, and cold, and hungry.

But I must include this here, a personal recommendations. At night, we went to a food outlet called Subway in Darling Harbour and I ordered a set of Fish and Chips. To my pleasant surprise, it was humongous!!! The portion was so big that you can’t even close the take away box!!! And it was awesome!!! Hallelujah!!! =) So if you do happen to stop by Darling Harbour, and you’re a big eater, make sure you visit this big eater’s paradise!!!

It was also my first time trying the gelatin ice cream today as I was sick and I really needed some vitamin c. I tried the ‘forest berries’ or something like that and it was really sour! It did me good… for a while… The rest of the team have been indulging themselves in Gelatissimo a lot for the past few days. They purposely walked a relatively far distance just for the ice cream. Unbelievable, the things man do for food…

Day 8 – The Rocks and Opera House (Snapshot Frenzy)

Basically, we went to the flea market today called Paddy’s. Everything was cheap! Well, at least comparatively in Australia. I bought a lot of stuff but it was mainly for other people. I didn’t really buy much for myself from this trip, guess God is working in my heart to be generous!!! =)

We headed to The Rocks, the first settlement in Australia, supposedly a historical place, like Malacca. It wasn’t that historical though, was quite modern. However, we did saw a really old toilet stall (in the pics). It was this green stall in the middle of the street and in it there’s two urinaries!!! Cool!!!

I just love travelling with Kevin. He’s really a vain person’s dream come true. He keeps taking pictures for me all the time. “Stand here”, “Do this”, and he’ll happily snap a pic of me. I really don’t mind him practicing his overwhelming photography skills on me. I’ll gladly model for him. Or anyone else. =)

As we were on the way to the Opera House, we came across a Mexican Armada, a navy ship. Apparently, it was only stopping here for a few days and they were actually welcoming people on board for a tour. Being tourists, who can resist a free tour? I wanted to take pictures with the sailors but they were too busy attending to their duties. I remember a day later as I was eating with Lisa, we bumped into some of the sailors and Lisa was particularly happy to see one handsome sailor, who was greeting us when we boarded the ship. She was like, “Ya, ya, handsome right?! Hee hee!!!” Okay…

After the short tour on the ship, we went to the Opera House. Nothing much to see there as you can’t enter the Opera House. So we went into the lounge area and I went on ahead with my usual ritual there in Australia. Grabbing postcards!!! It’s nice and it’s free!!! In the end, I have a big box full of postcards, brochures and books gotten free from Australia. Well, I am a designer, you know…

Finally, Elizabeth is joining us today as she has been going around with her Australian friends after the conference. So we decided to go to Bondi Beach today as there’s really nothing much left for us in Central Sydney itself. It’s a nice place, where you can actually see people wearing only swimsuits in the middle of the cold winter breeze. Thick skin (or fat) I guess…

We went around exploring and I went with the right person. Kevin. Yup, the vain person’s dream come true. So, I have a lot of pictures of me at Bondi Beach!!! I didn’t really want to post too much of those as it might take up all my blog’s space then.

Have I mentioned that all the time PC has been craving for these pork ribs found at Bondi. She kept talking about them and we finally ended up in that place for dinner. It’s called Hurricane’s and it was quite famous as it was full house right after we got there. We ordered the ribs and they were quite good, slightly burned though. You can see the satisfaction on PC’s face as she sucks and chews the ribs.

I just don’t understand people who do not love animals. They’re just weird (If you don’t love animals too, yes, you’re weird). Everyone refused to visit the wildlife park especially Charlene who was dead determined to not go. So, it ended up only with me and Lisa going to Blacktown for the wildlife experience.

As we reached Featherdale Wildlife Park, I saw for the first time a joey (baby kangaroo). It was so cute I could gobble it up. And I saw the dream pet of my life there, a wombat. It’s just so terribly cute!!! If you know me, you’d realise that I love dogs and pigs (“zhu kiu” in hakka, haha). And a wombat is really a combination of these two, it’s no wonder I love it so much!!! Me and Lisa were feeding this particular kangaroo and this silly kangaroo was actually feeding on the ice cream cone and not the food.

We saw and touched really interesting animals there like the blue tongued lizard thing, kookaburas, owls, etc. We even saw something so rare there, albino kangaroos!!! They were white from top to bottom. Oh and the koalas!!! If only I brought a bigger bagpack…

Well, everything that has a beginning has an ending. We had to go back to where we came from today, hot Malaysia and I think I’m gonna miss the cold atmosphere in Sydney. And I was right…