Life Journal

If you're interested in reading my reflections on the Life Journal Bible readings, check out Ian's Life Journal blog.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

10th year anniversary

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001.
A little over 10 years ago, I helped with Joshua Chin and Amy Liew's wedding. 10 years ago, they invited me to their place for dinner "in appreciation for the help".

Chew Juliane was also there. I assumed that she also had helped with the wedding.

She hadn't.

It was a set-up :-)

But half way through the dinner, my dad called, saying "Turn on CNN!" It was September 11, 2001.

We spent the night without any thought of romance... the dinner turned into a prayer meeting. We stayed up watching the news. The next day, online looking at the news.

However, God still put us together again 30 September 2001 and we've been married since 21 June 2003 (on Joshua Chin's birthday! :-)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Joni & Hannah with "kor kor" Simon Lim

Simon is the son of our wonderful babysitter, Rebecca. Obviously Joni & Hannah really like "kor kor" Simon. ("Kor kor" is Cantonese for "big brother".)

These photos were taken at the August Children's Church at Community Baptist Church, Puchong.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Photo video of our Singapore trip.

My friend Lim Chee Peng made this photo video collage of our Singapore trip.

If you're on an Android phone or other smartphone, click on this link instead to use the YouTube app to view the video.

Monday, 23 May 2011

IOI Mall on Fire!

I had to go to the dentist (my sister Diane Chai) this morning and so was driving past IOI Mall around 9am and it was on fire! I could see the flames shooting out the roof and the fire engine was there shooting water at the flames. By the time I found a place to park that didn't obstruct the traffic and got my camera out, however, the fire was already under control, and a few minutes later, they started letting the shopkeepers back into the building.

Joni & the A&W bear

We were at A&W recently and someone had a birthday party and hired the A&W Bear, so Joni took the opportunity to get a photo with him.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

How to use free software to make an SVCD

I have always used Sonic, a piece of software that came with my old laptop, to make SVCDs (Super Video CDs, which can be played on DVD players), but I just figured out a way to make SVCDs using free software on a Windows machine, so I thought I'd share the information here, since I didn't see any web page that put all of this information in one place.

You need 2 pieces of software -- eRightSoft Super to convert the video into VCD format, and CDR Tools Front End to take those video files and package them into a VCD.

After you install SUPER, select "SVCD Std. Compliant (MPG)" in the "1. Select the Output Container" section. Then drag and drop your movies into the area that says "DROP A VALID MULTIMEDIA FILE HERE". Then click on the "Encode (Active Files)" button. Now wait for it convert the videos into the proper format. (It could take a while.)

After that, run cdrtools Frontend and select "(S)VideoCD" from the tabs at the top of the screen, and drag and drop the videos you made in the earlier section into the main window. Then insert an empty CD into your CD writer and click "Start". Wait for it to finish.

Then you're done! You can now eject the SVCD and play it in a DVD player!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Grand Mother's Day

We all went to my mother's house on the eve of Mother's Day. Joni & Hannah (with a little help from mummy and daddy) made grandma a big Mother's Day card.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Joni loves books

Even though she doesn't read yet, Joni loves to look at books. Hopefully, she'll also be a reader once she learns to read.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Joni & Hannah with tiaras

They were just so cute tonight, I had to take this photo.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Hot Babe!

Little Hannah, who hasn't even turned 2 yet, eats mutton rendang! Her big sister Joni (31/2 won't touch anything even mildly pedas1 but she seems to have her mother's taste buds! (Juliane loves Indian food.)

1. "Pedas" is the Malay word for "hot" as in chili. Since English uses the same word to describe two different phenomena, we decided to borrow the Malay word in our family usage so as not to confuse the kids when we talk about hot food.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Christian shows for kids

Last Sunday in Sunday school I realized that most of my friends are not aware of the various Christian TV and radio programmes for children that you can get over the Internet, so I'm listing a few here:

  • JellyTelly -- produced by Phil Visher, the man behind VeggieTales, this website with videos and games is suitable for kids as young as 3 on up to primary school. I recently had fun printing out and cutting out the popsicle stick theatre puppets for the story of Esther for Joni. Now that they've joined hands with Focus on the Family, it also has the Adventures in Odyssey cartoons as well.
  • Adventures in Odyssey -- this radio programme is suitable for kids in primary school on up to adults like me! Yes, I very much enjoy listening to this radio programme even as an adult.
  • Down Gilead Lane -- another radio programme suitable for kids in primary school on up. 
  • -- an interactive website for kids made by CBH Ministries, who also made Down Gilead Lane. I haven't actually played with this site much myself, but I have had good experience with CBH Ministries. I heard about this through the Down Gilead Lane programme.
If you have other good suggestions to add, feel free to mention them in the comment section.

    Sunday, 20 February 2011

    And now for something completely different: Holy Communion

    Normally, this blog is all about my kids, but this time, an old friend of mine asked me:
    Would you be able to tell me with the holy communion is it like the Catholic said as transubstantiation of the body of Christ or it is a symbol of the body of christ, I mean the cup and the wine. Is it that we are actually eating and drinking His flesh and blood which seems a bit disturbing.

    The way I was taught was it is a symbolic act, but if you can give me some or your point of view?
    So, since I took the trouble to explain to her my view, I thought I might as well share it here with whoever is interested. ジ

    There are two major views within Christianity: the sacramental Protestant churches, the Orthodox Churches, and the Catholic Church all consider the body and blood of Jesus to be in some manner present in the bread and wine, while the Anabaptist churches (i.e. Baptists and most Evangelical and Charismatic churches) consider it to be purely symbolic and done only in remembrance of Christ.

    There are 4 passages in the Bible which describe this incident:
    • Matthew 26:26-29: 26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.
      27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
    • Mark 14:22-25: 22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
    • 23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. 25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
    • Luke 22:14-23:14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
      17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
      19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
      20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
      23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.
    • 1 Corinthians 11:23-32: 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
      26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.  
      27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
    As you can see, from the 4 passages, only two say "do this in remembrance of Me" while all four emphasize that it is really His body and blood. The 1 Corinthians passage really drives it home: "For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep." (Sleep is a euphemism for death.) If it were purely symbolic, why would Paul have stated it like that?

    There is also John 6:41-70, which foreshadows it:
    41 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
    43 Jesus therefore answered and said to them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father. 47 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
    52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”
    53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”
    59 These things He said in the synagogue as He taught in Capernaum.  
    60 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?”
    61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who would betray Him. 65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.”
    66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more67 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
    68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
    70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?” 71 He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for it was he who would betray Him, being one of the twelve.
    When many people stopped following Jesus because of the teaching "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him", Jesus didn't quickly call them back and say "Wait, it's only symbolic!" He allowed them to leave because they couldn't abide by the idea that we would eat His flesh and drink His blood!

    The Anabaptist view came about only in the 16th century, when, in an effort to correct the abuses of the then corrupt Catholic church, they threw out a lot of things that had been practiced by Christians since the time of the apostles, including baby baptism and a sacramental view of Holy Communion. All other churches, except those Protestant churches influenced by Anabaptist ideas, reject the purely symbolic interpretation, though most churches do not go and make such definitive detailed statements about transubstantiation like the Catholic church does. (Note: the Catholic church went through a major cleanup after the Reformation and so the modern-day Catholic church, especially in their official teaching, is much better than it was during the time of the Reformation, though, being a large organization, of course there are still parts that are messed up, just as with many Protestant churches.)

    In fact, the only people who called themselves Christian in the first centuries who rejected the sacramental view of Holy Communion were the Gnostics. The Gnostics believed that all matter was evil and only spirit was good, so they rejected the concept that Jesus is fully God and fully man. Hence, they rejected the sacramental nature of Holy Communion because the bread and wine are matter and not spirit. We don't accept any of the other Gnostic ideas, and in fact the Apostle Paul wrote against it in 1 Timothy 6:20 , "O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen." The word "knowledge" is "gnosis" -- which is what the Gnostics claimed to have -- they claimed to have "secret knowledge" from Jesus not known by the church at large. But the real Christians have always affirmed that the true Gospel was taught openly by the Church from the very beginning.

    So why is it that the symbolic view is so common around Christians today?

    The Anabaptist-inspired churches, i.e. most modern Evangelical churches, have been the most faithful in keeping Jesus' Great Commission in the 20th and 21st century, and so they have done the most evangelism in the last 150 years or so. So, that's why Anabaptist ideas regarding Holy Communion, although not supported by the Bible nor by the practice of Christians from the beginning until the 16th Century, have become so prominent that a large percentage of Christians think that it is the correct way.

    I myself started with the symbolic view but later, as I studied the issue myself, have changed my mind and now embrace the sacramental view.

    So, I now believe that the Body and Blood of Jesus is in some mystical way present in the bread and wine of communion. However, in what precise manner, I am not sure, and it doesn't bother me that I don't understand the details, because I know that God is so much transcendentally beyond what we are, so it's not surprising that there're aspects of Him that we cannot fully grasp, just like we don't fully grasp the Trinity.

    However, I still belong to a church that subscribes to the symbolic view -- Community Baptist Church -- because I also understand that this issue is a secondary matter. The primary matter is the Gospel, and it is not helpful to break fellowship with Christians who believe different things about secondary issues. God gives grace and all of us have things that are not right. Nobody's perfect.

    So, if you disagree with my view, that's fine, I'm not going to hit you over the head with a Bible about it! ジ

    Tuesday, 25 January 2011

    Kids in caps

    I had gotten off work and picked up the girls from daycare, and decided to stop and buy burgers for dinner from a roadside Ramli Burger stall. The girls started posing in the caps that I had in the car; they were so cute, I just had to take some photos!

    Joni's hiding under the cap.

    "Ooo, look what chi-chi Joni is doing!"

    "Here's looking at you, daddy!"