Campus Alive

September 27, 2009

When We Struggle…

Filed under: Message,Sharing — campusalive @ 10:12 pm

A few days ago I was watching “Fireproof”, a movie about a man who struggles to save a burning marriage and discovers God’s love along the way (You all should go and get the movie!). There was a scene that struck me so much, as a guy, that it has changed my perspective of the very issue of pornography. I’m here to give a fresh insight, which I hope may help you.

In this scene, the main character is sitting at his desktop computer. His wife is away at work and not due to come home yet. He’s surfing some websites for vacations and boats, planning a getaway for the two of them I suppose, when suddenly a pop-up appears of a girl’s face and in large red letters, “Wanna See Me?” Our main character stares at it for a few seconds (relating here?), then looks away, then looks back, then looks at his wife’s photo next to the computer, then looks back AGAIN. He gets up, walks away, then turns around again. And looks at the icon. Should he click it? Then, with an exasperated sigh, he declares, “WHY IS THIS SO HARD?”

Indeed, why is it so hard, guys? I have to admit, that I myself struggled terribly with it before. And who doesn’t, when so much of our lives are filled with that three-letter word? Music, media, even our jokes are based on such a topic. Now, I’m sure you all have heard that we’re too abstain from sex before marriage, not to go beyond first base in our relationships, etc. But why do so many people fail? Why do even Christians fail?

For one thing, being a Christian doesn’t make you immune from temptations. In fact, sometimes more temptations come your way when the evil one wants to bring you down. So what is our solution? Here’s what happens in the movie.

In the next scene, the man is carrying his desktop and monitor out to the backyard. He sets it on a rubbish bin, and then, with a baseball bat, smashes his computer apart (much to the awestruck expressions of his neighbor).

Sometimes we have to root the problem out. Delete all those internet bookmarks, torrents, files and folders; whatever that you always go back to when you’re tempted or weak or bored. Get rid of them. But that’s not enough.

The third scene shows his wife coming back from work. She notices the computer is missing. But what is in its place? There is a vase of flowers and a card, saying “I love you more” alongside her picture (he didn’t smash that one up, if you’re wondering).

“I LOVE YOU MORE”. Guys, here’s what I got from the movie. Think of your future wife. Pornography is unrealistic and overblown. The more of it you get, the more dull you become. Are you going to compromise your future with her? Many years down the road, I want to tell my wife, that I left pornography a long time ago, because I want to love her so much more, and wouldn’t want anything to stand in between us. It’s a long way to marriage, but the promise starts now. I pray you’ll do the same.

Thoughts to Ponder:

Do we love God more, or pornography? Is it worth the few hours of viewing, and the few moments of pleasure, to do something that makes him angry and sad at us? Remember that He is a holy God, a God who doesn’t condone sin. In all of this, we really need His grace, because without it, we’re all fallen. It is by grace that we gain victory, because of what Jesus did when He bore our sins and made us righteous before God. Inside, we’re fighting a war.

But God sees you and me, as his children, and as it says in:

1 Corinthians 10:13 “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so you can endure.”

Further reading: Romans 7, 8

Intercessory Prayer

Filed under: Challenge,Message,Please Note,Sharing — campusalive @ 11:43 am

I do implore you to take some time to read this blog post. If you find it too troublesome, scroll until you reach the heading, The Challenge. Read that at least. :) This post is all about prayer, and if you’d like to find out more about prayer, you can check out the blog post about a CG session we did on prayer and read the brief notes and bible verses. Or you could ask any CA leader to help you out. :) Oh, and you could also comment on prayers that has changed your life. Sam has placed a wonderful comment on reaching out. Read that too. :D

We Begin With The Story

Have you ever felt that compelling urge to pray for someone? Have you ever felt the Holy Spirit tug at you gently, to go and just pray for that someone, who could be your father, mother, sister, brother, classmate, friend.

It’s a strange thing to do sometimes, when you don’t usually pray. Or when your own situation seems bleak, and you don’t want to pray for someone else. God help me first, you think. But God calls, and you listen and you answer.

Recently, I felt convicted by God to just pick up the phone and call someone, asking them, “Do you want me to pray for you?” It doesn’t matter if their problems are small or big, I just sat there, opening God’s work and knowing that although I do not know what to say, God will give me the words (Matthew 10: 19b – 20) and He will work in His way.

I nearly cried when the conversation ended, because though the words were simple, “For He is faithful, even when we are faithless. Though we stray, God, lead us back on the road to you. God, thank you. Help us.” It was powerful. It felt as though God had his hand on my back even as I spoke the words. It was at a time when even I felt low, but praying for that other someone, made me feel even more alive in Christ.

That even in my own troubles, I know that God works. He moves. There are times when prayer so powerful not only changes us, but it changes situation.

And this is where I begin talking about Intercessory Prayer.

What Is Intercessory Prayer

It’s when you begin to start praying for someone else’s needs. It’s a prayer for others. It is a prayer with the real intent for God to step in their lives and work in their lives. It is with the trust that God will act, even if its not in the manner or timing that we seek and expect. God wants us to ask, even urgently. It is casting our weakness before God’s strength, and (at its best) having a bit of God’s passion burn in us.

The Biblical Foundation of Intercessory Prayer

The Biblical basis for the New Testament believer’s ministry of intercessory prayer is our calling as priests unto God. The Word of God declares that we are a holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), and a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:5).

The background for understanding this calling to priestly intercession is found in the Old Testament example of the Levitical priesthood. The priest’s responsibility was to stand before and between. He stood before God to minister to Him with sacrifices and offerings. The priests also stood between a righteous God and sinful man bringing them together at the place of the blood sacrifice.

Hebrews 7:11-19 explains the difference between the Old and New Testament ministries of the priest. The Old Testament Levitical priesthood was passed on from generation to generation through the descendants of the tribe of Levi. “The Melchizedek priesthood” spoken of in this passage, is the “new order” of spiritual priests of whom the Lord Jesus is the High Priest. It is passed on to us through His blood and our spiritual birth as new creatures in Christ.

Where To Go Now?

The biblical reference above is taken from a website. If you’d like to read more about Intercessory Prayer, this place is good to go. I’d like to emphasize on what’s said there as well. It doesn’t matter how well you phrase your words. It doesn’t matter if you’re more comfortable in another tongue. When you pray with all your heart, and allow the Holy Spirit to just speak on your behalf, when you earnestly seek the Lord as you pray, you’ll know that it’s just an amazing experience of experiencing His love all over again.

It is best to always be aware that you never really pray alone. For when the honest love in you for other people causes you to ask God to act to strengthen, heal, defend, change, or bless them, there is someone else praying with you: the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is leading you to pray.

The Challenge

And right now, I’d like to put this challenge up for you to step forward and be part of God’s work in this world.

Why don’t you just take that small time at night, after praying for yourself, or even in the morning, to seek Him. Earnestly ask God to lead you to that one person whom He wants you to touch. It could be someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. It could be a close friend of yours.

And listen to what He says. Perhaps you should give a call, or even just a simple sms. Your simple gesture can mean a whole lot when God’s guiding you every step of the way.

Take up that phone, and reach out to someone through prayer today.

P/S: I usually say to my non-believer friends, “I know this could be awkward, but I’d really like to pray for you. Are you willing to listen to me pray for you?” And when they say “Yes,” I know great things will happen in God’s timing.

On Another Note

I think that it is also true that when we pray for someone, it may not be what the situation calls for. For instance, you might be praying to lift a burden, but the Lord might be using the burden to prepare them to do something for God.

Then again, your prayer might be what God wants to happen. Thus, we are to pray listening for the Spirit, and pray that God’s will be done.

None of us are fully aligned with God’s purposes. There will always be a difference between the two. It’s okay to ask for what you want from the situation; that’s a part of being honest with God. You can pray that your request somehow be found in the divine purposes, and pray for doorways to a better way if it can’t be.

God may have other plans, and your part is to trust that God’s plans will be best.

God, in giving us all free will, said to us: “Your will be done.” Some of us turn back to him and say: “My will is that your will be done.” That is obedience to the first and greatest commandment. Then, when we do that, he turns to us and says: “And now, your will be done.” And then he writes the story of our lives with the pen strokes of our own free choices.

~ Peter Kreeft

August 25, 2009

Question!

Filed under: Sharing — campusalive @ 6:04 pm

Hey everyone! I do hope you’re enjoying a one week break!

Now here’s the question, have you been keeping up with your quiet time with God?

It’s a thought to ponder as you answer another! How’s your holiday been? And what have you been up to? Resting well at home after a grueling week of tests? More tests to come? Gasp! Or just going around and meeting old friends eventhough H1N1’s death toll is on the rise?

Do share with us what you’ve done, or things you’ve learned, even during this one week. :)

June 9, 2009

The Miracle Zone Experience…a mission trip to Indonesia

Filed under: Sharing — campusalive @ 12:30 pm

We had just endured a 12-journey, over endless potholes, bumps, hills and valleys that had left a layer of dust on our faces, numb behinds, backaches and headaches in the sweltering May heat. It was a welcome sight, then, when we finally entered the half-completed entry gates. We were in Manggala, Indonesia, now part of the new Malawi province. As our bus faithfully rumbled alone, we caught the first glimpse of the landscape around the place, and we were astounded. Hills and valleys surrounded us, as we were located on the high spot of the area. My only reaction was to say, Lord your creation is so beautiful. And that’s when we spotted the sign by the side of the road.

Beware! You are entering a miracle zone.

We had arrived in Living Waters Village, a place of second chances, hope and miracles for God’s beloved children.

If you’ve never heard of the place, it’s a 200-hectare sanctuary for Indonesian children who have been orphaned, abused, or come from poor backgrounds. It started when God called a man, Pastor Ronny and his family to reach out to the tribes in Indonesia. What began as one house and not more than 50 kids more than a decade ago; has now evolved to a village-like area of hostels, planned schools, radio station, airstrip, praise and worship centre, and many more. Pastor Ronny is preparing for what God had told him; that 2500 kids would soon worship Him in the place.

The children get there in many ways; some of which are even tragic. Some children were abandoned and found. Some were brought there by their parents or village people. These people are willing to travel for days just to get to the place. Upon arrival, the children are immediately assimilated into the group. What amazed us, was the transformation of the children’s lives. When we got there, we could not tell that these children were from such terrible backgrounds, for indeed, quoting Pastor Ronny, “It is the work of the Holy Spirit in these children”. Of course, Pastor Ronny is like a father to them, reprimanding them verbally for their mistakes and constantly advising them during mealtimes; but in all things, these children are changed and healed through their encounters with God.

We arrived on Saturday evening, and were due to experience God in a big way the next morning. Before the morning service, we assembled for prayer. That was a moment to be remembered. For when the children opened their lips to pray, their hearts cried out to God in a way that ripped through our very souls. Many of us from the mission team could not hold back our tears. God’s presence was overwhelming in the place. Were their prayers elaborate? No! It was simply sincere before the Lord. The children were able to pray aloud and worship openly; and many of them were just 5 or 6 years old. Indeed, it is true, “blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours”. All that these kids have in their lives are blessings from God, and with such thankful hearts they have experienced God in such a way that many of us in the city don’t.

You may be wondering what sort of missions we did there. Well, in Living Waters, missionaries serve and bless others mostly through work and helping. Every morning and afternoon, the guys did physical work under the sun. As I mentioned earlier, there are plans for so many buildings and facilities. The areas that we covered were laying pipes for water in the stream, construction site work, brick making, and a bit of gardening. Do the kids work? Yes, those who are new don’t go to school for a year, so their daily duty is in the vegetable farm, construction, cleaning and so on. It’s really pretty much like a whole community doing work together. The women in the team spent time teaching the kids English, colouring, Mandarin and one sister even taught piano and singing. The kids enjoyed it thoroughly. In fact, all the kids actually needed was someone to spend time with them.

Brick-making

This is where I learnt something. I was intending to go and teach guitar, which I did, but only to a few, because they were already so talented! Most of them had developed a good ear, which surprised me, and needed only to understand the theory of playing. Half of my guitar notes were useless the moment I went there. I was also pleased to see that a Singapore church group had donated an almost complete set of guitars, piano and equipment for worship. The children were very grateful.

Another aspect was the food. Mealtimes were the best moments of the day, and I never knew that just eating rice and vegetables could taste so good. Indeed, the Indonesians are master chefs. Missionaries are supposed to eat together, but by the second day I found myself with the kids at mealtimes. It was indeed a joy to share their food and talk, and interact and learn and also bless them. Before every meal, there would be Bible reading. For dinner, Pastor Ronny would give a short devotion. All the kids would obediently listen and learn.

Sometimes we as Christians are too afraid to ‘over-spiritualize’. We say short prayers before meals, zoom through our day, work and come home and that’s it. Do we spend time investing God’s word into our children and family? I like the way Pastor Ronny briefs the children every morning before work. He says, do this work for the Lord, because this is our ministry. And indeed, even the trash-collectors considered their work as a way of serving God. Can we see our studies and careers in God’s light? I’m sure we can.

Discipline was an essential part of life there. Devotion began at 5.45, and by 5 the children had got up to bathe. No one was late for anything, except occasionally us missionaries! And of course, Pastor Ronny was always the earliest. He is a man of prayer, because one day I asked him what time he got up for his own personal moment with God. “Oh, today was 4.30, but yesterday I started praying at 2.30”. Prayer, an essential part of God’s work. The more we work for Him, the substantial Indonesian and was able to relate to them because I was an Iban. I felt that one week wasn’t enough, that in this sort of mission work, it is a lifelong investment.

There was Joni, a young boy of 12, small sized yet with eyes that shone with hope. He followed me around when I was done with work, learnt guitar from me, and asked me many questions about my life here. He had an older brother that lived at the river in Living Waters village, taking care of the sand pump. He was happy, he said, to live there.

There was Joja, who’s 18 this year, and headed for his last years in school. He intends to be an English teacher. Life in school has taught him substantial English, a hope for a better life for his peers and the importance of education.

There was Lia, a cute girl of 12, Iban-Chinese by parentage. She was talkative, eager to mix with us missionaries, eager to know about our lives. Then there was Sudi, an Indonesian girl with dimples and a lovely voice. She dutifully carried an exercise book around so that she could learn English words from us.

These are precious lives. And the stories are endless. I can only fit four here. But each child has a story to tell, has a hope that he or she carries, and has a love for Jesus. I was overwhelmed.                                                                

LESSONS LEARNT

  1. 1. God loves everyone, therefore everyone deserves the best.

Many of us are guilty of segregating, of being bitter towards people who aren’t like us, of forgetting that God equally loves each soul. Pastor Ronny built houses for his construction workers, of brick and stone, tiles, equipped with proper facilities. How many contractors in Malaysia treat their foreign workers as such? The children sleep on the same pillows as the missionaries, using pillow covers that he brought from Australia. They wear only first hand clothes and good quality second hand clothes. In fact, there is a policy of discouraging donation of second hand clothes. The kids deserve the best. The question for each of us here; do we treat our Indonesian maids with respect at home? Do they eat at our table, just as the kids of Living Waters ate with us there?

  1. 2. Fast and Pray – so very important!

Pastor Ronny does so when faced with a tough decision. In fact, all of his plans were of God’s. The Praise and Worship Centre was realised out of a vision given from God when he climbed a hill one day. Such intimacy with the Father demands a level of commitment to spend time with Him. If we are to see revival come to INTEC and see our friends get saved, we need to pray hard! For with God, nothing is impossible!

  1. 3. People, Wake Up!

We all are faced with this very crucial question. Why is it that we need to go out of our lives in the city, to leave behind our careers and handphones and emails to go to a place where God is there in His greatness and love, experience it, and feel all fired up? Could it be, that in our lives we have been so distracted that we forget how meaningful Jesus is to us? Is it so, that in our lives we have become so blinded by the comforts of technology and wealth and meaningless conversation that we have neglected our true faith? Or even sadder, why is it that so many people are unwilling to go out?

I don’t share this blindly. Joja, the boy I mentioned above, once asked me when I’d be back. Immediately my own mind flew to my family commitments, my studies, my friends in Kuching, church activities, and I replied, “I don’t know really.” It’s a safe answer, fine. But his reply impacted me. “Tidak apa. Mungkin kamu sibuk di sana ya?” (Maybe you are busy there in the city?)

I’m saddened to say this, but many youth, even Christians have been weakened by the world. More youth doubt God, doubting who He is, and what He has done or CAN do in their lives. Many years ago, I myself was complacent once. It took a personal experience and losing something so valuable in my life for me to realise God was there for me.

After seeing lives transformed in Living Waters Village, I believe that all believers are in constant need of heart, passion and power. Hearts that are willing to seek Him. Passion for the lost. Power to change the lives of the lost, hurt and broken.

Where We Go From Here

Since January, we’ve been talking about revival in INTEC. Touching lives. Reaching out. If there’s one thing I learned from Pastor Ronny and his team, it is boldness. He’s been to jail. His whole family was in danger of a villager mob once. He’s operating in the world’s largest population of Muslims! People, don’t see you something? God is real. And nothing can stand in His way. This is a call for us, that in our lives we need to stop fearing, we need to stop saying that we’re weak, because when we are with Jesus and Jesus with us, none can separate us from His love (that’s a verse, by the way).

As we enter a new semester, let’s strive to make Jesus known. There are people who need His love. It’s a pity when we become complacent and forget to share something so precious inside of us. We’re all in this together, guys and girls!

Living Waters Village is always in constant need of spiritual and physical blessings. Let’s pray for Pastor Ronny and family, the few missionary couples who are also serving there, many of whom gave up their lives to come over, and also for the kids, that they may grow in faith and influence the world’s largest Muslim populated country. We are praying over the possibility of organising a CA mission trip if anyone is interested to go to Living Waters. Possible dates are end year 2009, or mid-year 2010.

Physical needs are finances (but Pastor Ronny encourages people to go, not just give), expertise like doctors, engineers, dentists and so forth to help out in building the place. Maybe even a missionary pilot in the future, when the airstrip is completed! The possibilities of serving are endless there.

Many people think that, well, if God doesn’t call me to go, I stay. I beg to digress. Jesus commanded that we go into the world and make disciples. In Isaiah 58, we are exhorted to help the needy and poor. It’s a duty of every Christian to pay the debt of love that we have. We’ve been given this love so great, and it is time to give back and bless others who need it. God bless you.

(If you are interested in going, helping, contributing in any way, please contact me at larryen90@yahoo.com so I can get in touch with Ps. Ronny) Written by: Larry, ALM 9

April 15, 2009

Risen from the Dead!

Filed under: Message,Sharing — campusalive @ 7:08 pm
Tags:

The pain was unbearable as the hammer fell upon the iron nail that pierced by right hand. I couldn’t look. I screamed. It was beyond comprehension. I was angry at the world, angry at myself, angry at Ezer, who hung on the other side of the man in the middle. The man in the middle. I’d heard of him before. Jesus of Nazereth, that’s what they called him. Who was he again? I couldn’t remember through my pain and fatigue. His face had been so disfigured after the beating the Roman soldiers, his body covered in his blood; and here I was, with a few bruises on my body. A crown of thorns bit into his head, motionless, even as they slapped him.

Someone grabbed my two legs. I struggled. “Stop moving, you brute!” shouted the soldier, raising his whip. I wouldn’t make it through this one. One huge nail hung over my face, the taunting image of the soldier as he mouthed the words, “This goes through both your legs”.

I closed my eyes and prayed that this would stop. Prayed. Ah, many years ago, I’d been pious. I’d tried my hand at religion. I’d tried following the laws. Then came the injustice. The pain caused upon my family, and me. Mother used to tell me that the Romans would do this to those who disobeyed the highest laws. She’d warned me to stop my ways. No one could control them. They had taken over our country. We’d have to serve them. God’s punishment upon us, declared Grandma Eva, for the sins of our forefathers. I refused to heed, nor obey authority. I was an angry young man who had seen my beloved Rachel taken away by the local governor to be his wife. All for what? Ten years of assured wealth for her parents and family and relatives! Those greedy people.

“AHHHH!!!!!!” Pain ripped through my legs as the nail went it. I closed my eyes. The sun still shone through. It was hot. The stones crackled beneath the feet of the soldiers. I could hear Ezer chuckling as he hung far to my right. “The pain only gets worse, Eli. These bastards are really out to kill us,” he shouted. Was that encouragement? Or taunting?

To my right, I heard the commotion of voices, the shifting of stones, the rising dust, as the soldiers began raising the cross bearing the man Jesus. I heard a groan. Gasps emerged from the crowd of people gathered. I could see a young man, his eyes teary as he looked up at Jesus. He clutched the arm of an older woman, who must have been his mother. No, no, how could it be, for my mother refused to acknowledge me anymore. I was alone, and the only man I knew was hanging with me for our robbery crimes. How did it come to this?

I opened my eyes, and found them blurry. Suddenly I felt tired. Tired. Unable to hang. Unable to go on. “Please…” I whispered. No one could hear. Suddenly, the wood beneath me moved. They were hoisting me. The pain returned, in such a large magnitude that I began to struggle to regain a painless position. But the nails went in and out of my body. Nothing could remove them. With every inch of hoisting, I cried, I prayed to a God I never knew, I whimpered, I regretted every single evil I’d done, every murder, every extortation, every assault. Anything to get me off.

They say the hours pass, and you get too numb to think of the pain. The blood runs dry, and you drift off into death. What lay beyond death? For a man like me, I knew that whatever lay beyond such a realm was more punishment. I was, after all, a thief. Nothing like the religious teachers who stood below, hurling insults at Jesus.

“You say you are the Son of God! Save yourself, just like you saved others!”

Through the blurness, I could see Jerusalem, the holy city, the almost noon sun. I saw the silhouette of the birds that flew overhead. I saw the people, small creatures in my eyes, going about their activities. Suddenly, we heard Jesus speak.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…”

I turned and looked at Ezer incredulously. Ezer laughed painfully. His chest heaved as he struggled to compensate the pain. “You rea-lly…think you’re the Saviour eh?” he chortled, looking at Jesus. “Well if you are, save yourself and get us down while you’re at it! This thing is freaking painful! Prove youself, man!”
Suddenly I knew Jesus. Our eyes met for a split second before he looked away. Don’t be afraid of what lays beyond…for you are loved. I turned and watched his mother as she tore her outer robe in anguish. I’d heard of his miracles, his healings, his willingness to touch lepers. I’d seen the way people had loved and hated him. No, something was different about him.

“Ezer, this man is sharing our sentence, yet he’s done nothing wrong! Don’t you fear God? We deserved this, he didn’t.” Ezer laughed again, scoffing at my words. “You fool! We’re all going to hell, and this man can do nothing to save us. So just accept it!”

Silently, I pondered the reality of hell. I guessed he was right. I was receiving my due punishment. The gates of hell stood just hours away from my soul. Yet what had the voice in my heart spoken? Love? I was loved? How could anyone love me? This man knew nothing about me.

“Jesus?” I sputtered between the blood in my mouth. “Remember me, when you enter into your Kingdom.” I couldn’t do anything else, but believe, for if he really was the man he claimed to be, maybe, just maybe, I’d be in a better place. “Eli,” Jesus started. How did he know my name?

“I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

His words took a while to set in my heart full of a broken past. Then, as the first sun ray hits earth after long nights, sudden warmth filled my heart. I smiled inside. Something had assured me beyond reason, that my destination had been secured.

The sun left us moments after that. The sky grew dark. I drifted in between consciousness and unconsciousness. Somewhere, in that river of darkness, in the blur of time, in the regret and hope intertwined, in his words and my assurance of a home I was finally coming to, I left. I left the stones, the lashes of whips, the cross, the life I’d led, the pain, the tears, the anger, the confusion, the pride, the lust, the loved ones, the victims of my hands.

And there it was, just moments after what seemed like a blink of time beyond my last human breath. A white light, and there He was, gleaming in His nature, a smile so wonderful it penetrated my battered soul, and he held me, hand in hand, as he led me home.

This isn’t an exact story, since I made up the names of the characters. But everything else is accurate, based on Luke 23:26-43, the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. I just felt that a story could be written from the angle of the thief hanging on Jesus’ side, of how he found forgiveness at the cross, at his final moments of death. Of course, we don’t need to wait for our dying moments to seek assurance, but it’s never too late. Happy Easter, everyone!

3 days later.
“Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here. He is risen from the dead!”

Note: This story was extracted from Larry’s blog. If you’d like to see the original post, or ask the writer anything, click this. :)

April 10, 2009

Easter and Fasting.

Filed under: Message,Sharing — campusalive @ 7:41 am
Tags: ,

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMING EASTER CELEBRATION, believers all around the world have already begun to fast in various ways. Why do Christians fast and what is the significance of fasting before Easter?

Historically, fasting before Easter has been practiced since the 4th Century. This period of fast is also called Lent and is observed for 40 days. However, different Christian denominations fast in different ways. Protestants fast for approximately 7 weeks until Easter on Sunday, when they will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Roman Catholics also fast in a similar way, but their fast officially stops at sundown on Holy Thursday. However, not all Christians fast before Easter, as some Protestants do not practice fasting before Easter.

Fasting is not an obligation for every believer. Normally, we fast for the following reasons.

Repentance and turning back to God
1 Samuel 7: 6 recorded the act of fasting by all Israel to show their repentance to God in Mizpah, where the Prophet Samuel interceded for Israel.


Obedience to God’s commands
Isaiah 58:6 recorded what Prophet Isaiah said about fasting as an act of obeying God and living godly lives for Him.



Asking God for a change

The bible reveals King David’s plea for God to spare his son from death by fasting in 1 Sam 12:22-23.

Phills Verse

As part of mourning
Nehemiah 1:4 tells us about prophet Nehemiah fasting to mourn for the destruction of Jerusalem.

To prepare ourselves when temptations come
Fasting helps believers get ready when temptations come our way. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert before being tempted by the Devil, as recorded in Luke 4.

Sunset


Why fast before Easter?

Easter is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s only son who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead after three days. As believers, His resurrection is the mark of our victory over sin and death. Fasting before Easter can be interpreted in many ways. Some scholars believe it has to do with what Jesus said in Matthew 9: 15
Jesus answered: “How can the guest of the bridegroom mourn when He is still with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away, then they will mourn and fast.”

In this verse, the guest refers to Jesus’s disciples and the bridegroom refers to Jesus. Jesus who foreknew His death believes that there is no need for His disciples to fast until He returns to the Father. Until then, His disciples should rejoice since Jesus is still on earth with them. Hence, it is believed that Christians fast since that day to commerate Jesus’s death and resurrection.

While fasting before Easter is more like a custom that has been practiced since decades ago, I believe there are meanings and truths to fasting before Easter, which is the revelation of the Holy Spirit who still speaks, even today.

I believe that fasting before Easter is an act of thanksgiving to God for what He has done for us. Psalms 136 is a beautiful psalm which highlights the psalmist’s thanksgiving and praise for God. The phrase “His love endures forever” is highlighted 25 times after each verse of thanksgiving. Clearly, the greatest thing you and I have to thank God for is indeed, His love, which makes all the difference in the world today.

easter

With His great love, came Amazing grace and forgiveness, who shook the core of hearts as He left His heavenly glories and gave all He could give-His life so that we might have abundant life in Him, in addition to everlasting life.

John 10:10 The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy but I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.

I also believe that fasting before Easter is a symbol of yielding to God’s works and believing for a radical change in which we hope for. If we are facing a circumstance today, in which we need a change, whether it might be sickness, financial needs, broken relationships, or anything which might haunt us for a long time, we just need to remember that He died so that we can be victorious over these circumstances by GRACE as Isaiah as prophesied in Luke 3:18-19, that essentially He came to “heal the broken hearted and set the captives free”. Hence, fasting at this moment is timely as we remember what God has already done for us on the cross and claim those promises for our lives.

This coming Easter, whether you are fasting or not, He sees you and knows your needs. The blessings of the Good News of Jesus Christ is right here for you to claim, when you invite Him to be your personal Lord and Saviour.

In a world where people are dying to search for genuine LOVE, HOPE and a someone to have FAITH in, or an ultimate purpose to live for, He is the answer, and the Only Person who can fill the longing and seeking.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Happy Easter, Everybody.



This was written by Samantha Sii.

April 4, 2009

Update!

Filed under: CA Updates,Sharing — campusalive @ 2:12 pm

Hey people, I’m very proud to say that the new blog is very much nearly done. Now, there’s pretty limited stuff as there’s not much to say just yet. But the latest report shall be posted there! Now, how awesome is that? :D I’m very very excited, aren’t you? Many new things, so take your time and read them all!

The new blog address is this: http://www.campusalive.wordpress.com/

I know that we’re able to transfer every material here to there but we’d like to keep it this way. :)

And yes, there are those who have questioned our decision to shift to WordPress. I understand that WordPress isn’t as friendly as Blogger, and the background is rigid, and we can’t have a chatbox, etc.

Let’s just say that God wanted a change. I was in a worship session during ACTs, when I prayed to God about what to do should I lead IT Ministry. And I believe that God spoke to me throughout the worship session and sermon. That day, both Pat and I felt strongly that everything shared by the Pastor was so inter-related to CA. Seriously. It’s an awesome sermon by Pastor Kenneth.

He gave me insights, gave me new challenges. :) And one of them insights was to have new pages with more details. I can’t quite explain it, but it’s already been done up in WordPress. The function doesn’t exist for Blogger, which is why is was tough.

I also understand that I haven’t been doing a good job sprucing up the place, but I realize that God being the centre of it all is most important. That a new blog is necessary for a new revival, coinciding with our new ministry in CA, and other important new things coming up. A change is coming, and we’re trying to keep up with the massive awesomeness God is bringing forward for us to take charge. :)

I hope I make sense. Please do visit the new blog and give it a shot. :)

Nic.

November 4, 2008

Is Gossiping A Sin?

Filed under: Sharing — campusalive @ 11:39 pm

This is an interesting excerpt I got from “Doubt”, a play by John Patrick Shanley.

A woman was gossiping with a friend about a man she hardly knew – I know none of you have ever done this – and that night she had a dream. A great hand appeared over her and pointed down at her. She was immediately seized with an overwhelming sense of guilt. The next day she went to confession. She got the old parish priest, Father O’Rouke, and she told him the whole thing, “Is gossiping a sin?” she asked the old man. “Was that the Hand of God Almighty pointing a finger at me? Should I be asking your absolution? Father, tell me, have I done something wrong?” (Irish brogue) “Yes!” Father O’Rouke answered her. “Yes, you ignorant, badly brought-up female! You have borne false witness against your neighbor, you have plated fast and loose with his reputation, and you should be heartily ashamed!” So the woman said she was sorry and asked for forgiveness. “Not so fast!” says O’Rouke. “I want you to go home, take a pillow up on your roof, cut it open with a knife, and return here to me!” So she went home, took the pillow off her bed, a knife from the drawer, went up the fire escapte to the roof, and stabbed the pillow. Then she went back to the old priest as instructed. “Did you gut the pillow with the knife?” he says. “Yes, Father.” “And what was the result?” “Feathers,” she said. “Feathers”? he repeated. “Feathers everywhere, Father!” “Now I want you to go back and gather up every last feather that flew out on the wind!” “Well,” she says, “it can’t be done. I don’t know where they went. The wind took them all over.” “And that,” said Father O’Rouke, “is a gossip!” In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, Amen.

It is clear from the play that it is very much influenced by the Catholicism (the practice of confession and the end prayer). It’s a very interesting play, for those who are interested.

September 6, 2008

CA, I’m back!

Filed under: Sharing — campusalive @ 11:39 pm

Ask a JPA scholar who is studying abroad now what he or she misses most, the expected answers would be: Family members, food, shopping centre etc. Ask me, a JPA scholar who is studying abroad now and had been to CA before, my reply would surely include the 2 big capital letters: CA.

Since the day I departed Malaysia for my destination: Germany, CA has always been on my mind. Thoughts like: when can go back and visit CA again? How are the juniors now? What sort of ice-breakers will be held this time? will always appear on my mind whenever Thursday arrives. To satisfy my “hunger” for CA, visiting the CA blog has become a weekly habit for me. However, just by looking at reports and pictures doesn’t seem enough for me. I had to be there somehow. Thank God that He has listened to my prayers and after 9 months of separation, I’m back in Shah Alam again!

Besides visiting CA, one of my objectives of coming back to Malaysia was to spread the news about my church in Germany to the juniors and more or less help them in choosing their future universities by giving them advices. During the meeting with my fellow ALG juniors in KFC, I got the chance to meet CA “Papa” and “Mama” and other fellow committee members as well. It’s assuring to see that God has capable people like them to replace the departed Joash and gang.

After 9 months, CA did have some changes to it. From previous reports, I got to know that the NLRC building has undergone some renovation. However, I did not know that the hall has changed floor as well! The hall where we usually meet for CA meetings was actually on the 1st floor. Having that thought in mind, I opted to use the staircase to save the time waiting for the lift. To my surprise, first floor was totally empty! So I and Vincent walked up the stairs and look inside every door at each floor. Finally we managed to find CA on the 5th floor. Thank God for the opportunity to be able to do some exercise after dinner. =)

Besides having the chance to visit CA, Vincent and I were given the privilege to conduct the ice-breaking session as well. I have to admit that the game we thought of was not as interesting or fun as the previous games held last time. It’s not an easy task to think of a good game (try asking the usual conductors!). Anyway, through the games, the both of us received supports in many ways! Everyone cooperated well when I was trying to split the groups evenly. Eagerness is something not lacking in this bunch of juniors. Before I can finish stating all the instructions for the game, they already got started! Amazing! By the way, I also got to know how valuable a chocolate from Germany can be…

One of the things that I have missed the most in CA when I was in Germany was the praise and worship session. The word above (shirt worn by Yi En), if one can see clearly, is Passion. This is something that I never find lacking in each and every Praise session of CA. The worship leader, the background singers and the musicians never fails to create a wonderful atmosphere where one can fully focus on God by singing and praising Him. The scene where everyone sings at the top of their voices praising our Almighty God remains in my memory even until now. Kudos to the worship team once again for conducting the worship session so well.

The message for that evening served as a reminder for me as well. As a JPA scholar, the temptation of not coming back to our own country and work abroad can be irresistible at times. However, as our God is a covenant keeping God, we as Christians should also respect the contract or the bond between us and the government. In short, we should return home after finishing our studies. I guess this message couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. In this time where the stability of the nation is a big question mark, we as Christians should stand up and help out in making Malaysia a better place to live in, rather than just complaining about the government.

Time flies when one is enjoying every moment of it. Within a few hours’ time, my visit to CA has come to a close. To the juniors, I appreciate very much the time that we could spend together. Continue to serve God wherever you go. Life in overseas is not an easy one. This is the time when we need to depend on God the most. Never lose faith when hurdles come in your way, instead, pray and always give thanks to God. Cherish every moment where you can attend CA, I’m sure you will miss it when you are abroad. Thank you to the committee members of CA as well for the opportunity given to me and Vincent to conduct the games. I wanted to do something for CA since a long time ago. Last but not least, thank God for CA. Dear God, may You make CA a blessing to the students in INTEC. Amen!

Hmmm… when will be the next time I visit CA again? =)

In His service,
Daniel Tang
(Class of 2005-2007 ALG9 INTEC)

August 8, 2008

While God is preparing a place for you, He might just be preparing you for that place as well!

Filed under: Sharing,Testimony — campusalive @ 11:11 am

One of the very first questions that I used to ask God after being placed in Intec was, “ Lord, why Intec? Why here? Why here in this place when I’m faced with so much restrictions?” But God…He dint answer me… Or so I thought . Looking back, I really blame it on my impatience, because after awhile of not hearing anything, I stopped asking… I just went on with life-woke up early, went to school, did my homework, went for CA… It was all so routine and regimented! All because I never realised the true importance of knowing the purpose I was there, or why I was doing something…

Well, this is my story of how I’ve learnt how important it is that we, as children, prince and pricesses of the Most High know our purpose of us being here! Let’s look at a simple illustration—Imagine that you are on a mission trip, and you happen to not know what your mission is! Hehe… So take the ‘mission’ out of the ‘mission trip’ and all we get is- A Trip! A trip with no aim or purpose… It might me fun, might be exciting, but there are times when we’ll be faced with troubles, and setbacks, and with nothing to look ahead as our beacon of light ( since we had no aims) we start to complaint, we get upset and depressed, and the trip becomes tiring.

That’s what happened to me. Remember I couldn’t wait long enough for my answer? So I went on with life—my ‘trip’ in Intec. I did my best for my exams, was present for all my classes ( except the occasional moral classes), tried to adhere to their very cacat-ed dress codes, just did everything that I thought was necessary for me as a student. Yup, I had my own fair share of good times, as well as the bad. It’s easy to give thanks to God when things are going well, but when those horrible things came upon me, I began to blame God, I began to ask why those things were happening to me, I began justifying and reasoning with God. And day by day, I just kept all these within me, covered it up with other happier thoughts. Rather than looking at the big picture, I saw all of these as separate events , all because I never knew why God placed me in those situations…

Until the last day of school came. Everybody in college was dying just to get out to go to the movies, to just have fun and be free! But very funnily, instead of basking in that new found freedom, I felt this extremely deep burden to just go home…and pray. Pray about what, I dint know. And I was faced with a choice- Either I ignore this feeling and drown it down with movies, or I take this burden seriously and go before God, after all, our God is a God of choices! Thankfully I chose the second one =) And so there I was, kneeling down before God at my favourite corner of my bed, just being there in prayer… And so amazingly, and so very gently, God asked whether I would like to know why He put me through all these in Intec, why He sent me here. And then I suddenly remembered that question which I used to ask but was never patient enough to wait for the answer! And overwhelmed with a mixture of joy and anticipation, I tearily responded, “ Of course!”

And God graciously revealed it was all to bring me closer to Him!

As cliched and common as it may sound now, when God said this, it was as if my spirit was lifted up! And how true is it! I went through my first break up here in Intec, had loads of sad times, times of loneliness, yet it is also here that i had the best of memories. And God allowed all of these to happen with the sole purpose of bringing me closer to Him. And I knew, oh so clearly, that I left Intec so so much closer to God than when I first entered. Praise God!!

We might be in Intec for 3 months or 2 and a half years, but it really doesn’t matter, because God does everything for His purpose. If I had knew His purpose, I would have asked different questions, I would have reacted differently, and I could have done more with my life here in Intec…I’m learning =) hehe…

If you would allow me to quote from the book ‘The Purpose Driven Life’ by Rick Warren. “The purpose of our life is far greater than our own personal fulfillment, our peace of mind, or even our happiness. Its far greater than our family, our future career, or even our wildest dreams and ambition. If we want to know why we are placed on this planet, we must begin with God.”

And guys, we discover our identity and purpose through a relationship with Christ Jesus! Right now, I’m intent to ask God to reveal what His plans and purposes are for my life, even if I’m on holiday now! And trust me, He has been opening countless doors! Praise God =)

I hope that we all would come to know the divine purpose of us being here, and in the process, grow and mature in the image of Christ.

While God is preparing a place for you, He might just be preparing you for that place as well!

Ephesians 1:11-12
In Him we were also chosen, having been predentined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.

Eve.

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