Sunday, January 15, 2006

MOVING TO MULTIPLY

Decided to move to multiply ...

http://paulmagic.multiply.com

Only thing that is functioning there though is the blog part ... :-) Slowly lah. see you there...

Monday, January 09, 2006

I keep getting invites to multiply ...

I keep getting invites to multiply, a new(?) multi-purpose blog site(?) Have no idea how to describe it. All started bcause of Miss "moonstarlady" - somehow had to sign up to view or something like that on here blog / web page. At least that's what I thought so ... Anyway, with another 2 invites to link with some people and then ... I find msyelf on my multiply home page with some comment about being able to import my blogger blogs. Tried it and wow ... in a few seconds, DONE .... pictures and all.

Impressive!! here's my alternate site ... (will try and figure otu the deatures one day ... not on my high priority list lah! Maybe when I get a digital camera (yes, I know ... I have been saying that for more than 2 years now ... but "it's not on my priority list!" hahahaha, you shoudl have seen that coming!
http://paulmagic.multiply.com/

Busy weekend ... but fruitful

Had a busy but frutiful weekend. Started Sat with the early morning BTCP class - pleased that 12 turned up at 7 AM! Had fun teaching and I look foward to the subsequent classes.

Rest of Saturday was some paper work and then YF's openning day. A bit scary toknow that with combined college class for 2006, Elaine and I have 16-18 regular youth for our class. Had difficulty just trying to keep up with just my 6 regulars in 2005. Wanted to spend mroe time with each as individuals but schedule jsut so crazy.... Now with almost triple the number? And with Elaine also so busy with her OM work.... Ah ... 2006 the year of more grace needed!

Sunday was nice too - had creche duty so missed the sermon (no! no! that's not wat emant when I wrote that Sunday was nice! hahahaha) Had the chance to chat with some people and catch up while upstairs and a good long deep conversation with someone I have not had the chance to talk to for a long time. In case you are wondering, creche duty is basically babysitting and sicen some other people (not on duty ...ahem!) came upstairs, they kind of kept an eye on the rowdy ones, with a couple of maids upstairs (whom I requested just make sure no kid is allowed to go downstairs ...). As one mother said, duty nowadays is more of just keeping some kids from hurting one another. The boys, especially get pretty rowdy. For me, it is just keeping the volume down and chatting with some of them.

Then rushed off with JJ for Bandar Sungai Long Sunday School. Louisa will be unavailable for a few weeks due to the festive seaosn and holiday sales. Work calls - poor thing! Speaking of Louisa, I think it is time I bought a pair of jeans (haven't worn a pairs for ... 5 years or more? ever since i outgrew my jeans size ... got fat lah! and became too holy ... used for over 10 years so there were small holes forming at strategic places . hahahaha at least my jeans never hung low and showed off my briefs ... weird fashion sense if you ask me!) Must ask her if she can get one for me at a good price ... she kows these kind of things well :-)

Sunday School was fun. Colin and I played the piano and guitar respectively - over kill actually for me to play the guitar but then again .. with all the high tech stuff in SSGC, nice to be unplugged and play ... tough part is not "bluffing the chords" but bluffing the chords when you don't know the tune of the song! hahahaha Nice to know that Colin will be as regular as can be (except when his job takes him outstation) so that covers the need for a versatile musician.

Games was fun. before the meeting, (JJ and I were really early to set up), we had to babysit a few new kids ... after 30 minutes of rowdiness, we actually had alot of fun doing a jig saw puzzle!
Anway it was nice seeing JJ at work and of all the games, I loved the indoor volleyball best. One of my all time favourite games. Thanks SJGC youth for introducing this game to me so many years ago! But it took me almost 20 minutes (I think) to blow up my beach ball. Whew! Great quality ball but so hard to blow up. :-) Catching up with Colin too was nice (smart guys like me get lots of lifts so i don't have to drive if I don't have to!:- )

So, what's so great about BSL ministry? It's hard work no doubt but it's less sophiscated and in between, there is so much more relaxed time to get to know each other. Not sure if most people will understand this! :-(

Will I be there long term? I know, so many have been asking , and don't believe me when I say NO ... especially with A. Molly's quip of Pastor Long for Bandar Sungai Long. Answer is NO! I have a clear language problem - no speaketh the Mandarin. I can only do occasional backup to help those committed to the work. So, read my lips! NO! (Hmmm... maybe not the best way to put it after Pres. Bush's famous "Read my lips. No new taxes ?... hahahaha)

p/s sleep pattern still messed up! *sigh*

Thursday, January 05, 2006

84 year old learns how to use e-mail for the 1st time

Had an interesting afternoon. After my men's seniors citizens Bible class, I took Uncle Lim Hong home as he requested some help with his e-mailing. Amazing! He got a PC from his children for Christmas and is working on his e-mailing skills! He's 84!! This is one thing I love about hanging out with some of these seniors - their zest for life and willingness to learn new things. But I don't think much of his using hotmail. A measly 2 MB of space and I found out that new account holders of hotmail accounts are not allowed by Microsoft to download their mail directly to their outlook express. Why the limitation? So, next week I will send him a gmail invite, go over to his place and set up a gmail account for him.
He has so many children, granchildren and great-grand children to keep in tocuh with.

And ... guess who came along with me when I went over to work on his e-mail skills. Uncle Kian Kee, (whom I have given the nickname Sgt. Lim, but that's another story ... ) who is 85! Next week, we will take a little time after class to re-introduce him to the world of computers and www. He picked up the concepts fast.

When I get old, I want to be constantly growing and learningnew things! Like I like to tell my seniors in class - there are two kinds of old men I know. The first kind consists of fussy old men who are so stuck into their routines, and stubborn in their old familair ways that life becomes a burden. They don't like new things, and never have any fun. Life is negative and filled with worries, so they are miserable most of the time. And then ... there is the second kind. Old men who despite their getting weak, and many ailments, live full lives because they want to bless others, learn new things, and have a sense of adventure. They are willing to try new things and learn new things. They are a joy to be around!

I am glad to say, most of the senior men I know who are in this weekly class are of the second category. My weekly exhortation is to use their midns and keep active so they remain fresh and strong in body, mind and soul.

84 year old Lim Hong actually regularly still goes backpacking (budget holidays) around Asia, especially China! And the Sergeant? He has a "wicked" and witty sense of humour! :-)

p/s I fell asleep from 5.30-6.30 PM ... so it might be another late night and / or early morning ... but then again I have lots to do, so not a big problem, is it?

Sleep therapy

As I was workin on my last blog posting, an e-mail arrived from an e-mail list and the title caught my immediate attention. It was "Sleep Therapy". Caught my attention because I have been having sleep issues for quite a few months now and have been discussing this with a few people.

Slept late again last night - 1.00 AM and woke up at 5.30 AM wide awake! No big deal, you might say but ... tat's nto me - I am not a morning person. And yesterday, between 5.30 - 6.30 PM I was falling asleep and wanted to take a nap BUT forced msyelf not to, so I would be nice and tired and have a good night's sleep. Happens very often of late and my eyes get tired. It's not so bad if I am "prodcutive" but sometimes it is a restless kind of awakeness.
What is interesting is that my mother has been complaining about the same problem. She could not sleep till 2 Am last night and she is up as usual at 6 AM as she leaves for work early - normally 7.15 AM. And then this article that seems to indicate it is a common problem.

Oh, you can read the article at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2006/001/2.07.html

Is the modern urban lifestyle going to be that of "chronically sleep deprived" people? I want OUT!! Maybe I should also get the opinions of 2 good friends who might have alot more insight. One's a psychiatrist, and the other a neruologist.

In the meantime, it is today's goal for me to sleep early tonight and drink less before I sleep (so I don't get up to go to the bathroom and find I can't go back to sleep ... hahahaha).

Have a blessed day!

Fun with skype

Recently discovered "skype". Of course I knew about it some time back but was never reallty interested till a new friend showed me how easy it was to use (it being free and all was a definite plus). It was nice to use the beta video version.

Convinced, I downloaded the software and even bought a webcam (RM 55) and was set up in under 5 minutes (to communicate with those who use the beta video version).

Did some searching and tried calling up Carolynn (a youth from my church studying in the USA ... and to my surprise, she answered. It was nice to hear her voice and ... double bonus, her sister Adeline was visiting her ... Wow, was the audio clear.

Then I tried another name and yup, it was Z's skype account. She had no mike but hey, the online chat while doing other stuff was was pretty good fun. Brings me back to my early ICQ days. well, almost ... Some have asked me why I don't use msn messenger? ... Don't know really ... guess I just don't want to get sucked into the cyber world. Already, when I am home, I seem to have the "need" to check my e-mail at least once in the morning when I wake up and and before I sleep. Don't need such "addictions" in my life. :-)

Anyway, the skype url if you want to check it out ...
http://www.skype.com/helloagain.html

and my skype contact is paulandjenniferlong (yeah, highly unoriginal but it's a pretty contact name, right? :-)

p/s Don't expect me to be online that much ... so if you are far away and abroad and want to chat, better e-mail me and set up a time.

And I also discovered that a webcam can also take videos and pictures. For pictures, it also makes one look a lot fatter. lol! And there I was just 45 minutes before taking this photo proudly announcing that I have lost 2 kg. hahahaha ... And the sily look must be due to sleep deprivation, among other things, which is the subject for another quick post before I log off and get to the office.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

some photos of church anniversary and Cambodia

From Chun Keat's camera ... some of my church's anniversary photos ... thanks, Keat ... (note the spelling of the signage done by the venue people ...)

. My wife ...
Elders and deacons eld by Mr. Ang Chui Pek cutting the cake.


Some team members from the Nov 05 trip ... Robert, Ivy and Joe ...


No explanation needed for this, right?


Some of the local guys learning how to make fried popiah from Ivy.



Thursday, December 29, 2005

Mid-course correction - some thoughts on chapter 2

This book is proving to be pretty interesting. The author, Gordon MacDonald, in his discussion of "mid-course corrections" classifies four different types of people. (his classifications, my re-interpretation?) Oh, and the context is on becoming Christians .... (followers of Christ)

1. The spectators. These tend to remain anonymous, and tend to be fickle (the kind that tends to follow the crowd)

2. The seekers. These have a deepening understanding that something more is needed. They watch, reflect, listen, ask questions etc.

3. The followers. The "greatest"(?) of all mid-course corrections. The major corssing of the line from unbeleif to faith in God. This involves discipleship and growth.

4. The Kingdom Builders. Oooh ... I like this very much! This is so lacking in the church! This is when we come to the realization that we are "saved" not to be kings and have our needs met BUT to be servants and meet needs for the glory of God.

"They come to the insight that their faith must radiate, in both humility and vital optimism, Christlike character, familylike commitment to a spiritua community, and servantlike activity in the world. Not all who calls himself a follower, ever fully discerns this." p.30

What the world (and church first of all) needs is more kingdom builders. Too often, faith / belief in Jesus is wrongly seen and limited as just a personal thing between God and self. That's not the way it is meant to be.

So, I guess the question is which category of people do each of us come under and what mid-course correction is need for more of us to move into the kingdom builder category?

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Oh, I got a Christmas card yesterday from someone who said he liked my blog and enjoyed it very much. Thank you, kind sir! I am encouraged. Found it humorous it seems, so I am not sure if that is necessarily a compliment! hahahaha! Why not drop a line on the blog and encourage me further?





Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mid-course correction - some thougths

One of the books I currently read before I sleep is "mid-course correction: by Gordon MacDonald. (I am the kind who reads a few books at a time - when one gets heavy or boring, I put it down and pick up another ... and hopefully in a few months, I finish them all and remember what I read).

Anyway ... some interesting thoughts from the author (chapter 1)...

Three occasions that trigger what he calls "dark forrest" moments (the terrifying feelings of being lost, helplessnss, exhaustion, desperate situations ...) which hopefully helps trigger mid-course corrections. If this makes no sense, then I suppose it is easier to say "mid life crisis" or severe disequlibrium that hopefully brings one to a greater understanding of one's direction in life and a new equilbrium.

Anyway ... (I do ramble don't I? :-) ) using his headings ... in my own words ... They resonate with me because I have experienced all three.

1. Disintegration. This is where life just falls apart and hope is lost. What can go wrong all seems happens at the same time - life is just not worth living.

2. Disappointment (personal disappointment). Hard to explain but it's like being in a rut, and the feeling (or loss of feeling) of being let down.

3. Positive Dissatisfaction. It's waking up to the realization that there's more to life. I can do better, I can offer more, I can be more. The status quo just doesn't satisfy anymore. I need to, I want to ... GROW!

What's important I suppose is doing something postive about these drak forrest experiences / occasions ... and I don't think it's just my twice annual mid life crisis! :-)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Some Christmas and BBQ reflections

Though Christmas is just over by a few hours and I want to wish everyone a blessed Christmas (12 days, so not that late? :-)) and New Year!

Christmas season has been busy. My mother's Christmas eve BBQ went well despite the rain. Hasn't rained at any of her BBQs for 5 or 6 years. Sign from God that the "honeymoon" is over? It has been a family and friends inside story that it never rains at my mother's BBQs - even if it does, the rain is very short and just cools down the place .We like to say thatGod has been spoiling us by giving us unprecedented good weather as it becoems a topic of conversation each time among guests and a chance for us to share of God's goodness) . Anyway, as we still had place to sit and eat and BBQ, the rain wasn't a problem.

Though it is often a tiring affair - start the fire at 4 PM and BBQ till 8.30 PM, it was enjoyable as it is nice to get the chance to do a BBQ for some of my mother's best friends and colleagues,most of whom are non-Christian. (Work starts the day before with cleaning the house, porch, etc ... of course my mother and wife have a lot more to do but that is another story :-) )

I might get some stones thrown at me for this but I have always found it more pleasant to BBQ for my mum's non-Christrian friends than her church friends. The former are always appreciative and friendly and helpful (for e.g. they help to wash up, clear the dishes etc) while the majority of the latter, the Christians eat and run off.

Some even, in the beginning (a few years ago) who did not know I was the hostess son were actually rude and bossy. I just smiled and silently "accomodated" and had to do my best not to burst out in laughter when later on, one of my mother's church friends asked some of these rude people whether they had been introduced to Betty's (my mother) son, the pastor. Hahahaha! Especially for some Christians, the title pastor is pretty BIG. The look of horror and sheer embarrasement of those people to find out that the "hired hand" they were rude to was not only their hostess son but a pastor is something I don;t think I will ever forget. There's a sermon illustration in this that's "dying to be told". Hahahaha (Nah, I forgive them, so don't worry - and I think that experience would have helped them be more polite to hired help in the future)

There's another BBQ coming up for my mother's ushering team and leaders of the various ushering groups so there will be a few new faces. Hope they will be wiser and better behaved!

Anyway the Christmas eve BBQ was good and I even had the chance to do a bit of close up magic (which was fun) as my long lost assistant cook Juen was able to make it, so I had a break from the grill. It was a good opportunity to also give half a bag of balloons and a book to the kids of one of mum's old friends (who is always so kind to us) - I have been doing balloons for them for 2 years (they come over a few times a year for BBQs) and they learn balloon sculpting fast and this time we are "close" enough for them to feel okay to accept these things from me and "agree" to take over next year so I don't have to do balloon sculpting for ther kids anymore. (They speak Chinese and you know me ... banana so communication has normally been difficult)

And one of the boys of another friend has been learnig magic of late and pretty crazy about it, so it was nice to sit with him, teach him a few tricks and give him a clasic book on magic. It feels good to be able to give more this Christmas.

New milestone for me - first time I used magic in an official Sunday sermon - Christmas Day service no less. It was to illustrate my message and I had a lot of good feedback and ... a friend is giving me RM 200 as a Christmas gift to help me with my magical props. Unexpected Christmas bonus!

The afternoon outreach meeting at Bandar Sungai Long went well too - had a great time with the children doing ballons, my gospel magic show and after meeting fun which ended up as an unrehearsed balloon fight (balloon swords and huge bunches of balloons). I think have own over more people of the use magic for teaching.

Exhausting day I must say as I am dead tired but cannot sleep and looks like I am coming down with the flu. Just so much on my mind as I reflect and pray about 2005 and wonder what God has in store for me and my family in 2006.

Once again, have a blessed Christmas and New Year!