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Thursday, June 29, 2006

The Selfish Giant

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Loving musicals since little, I've always wanted another excuse to go watch and experience the wonderful sights and sounds of theatrical performances. Having a child is one. And I am still waiting.

We will be moving into our new place soon, we were watching our budget from renovations down to design. Good budgeting however does not mean that things should look oh-so-shabby or that a riot of colours can reign as they like. We spent quite abit of effort to make sure of that.That day our new neighbour's little boy came over to have a look at our half-done up house. He looked every way like an inquisitive and restless 5 year old, and may I add, has an air of nothing-gets-in-my-way else I will knock-it-down look. I was trying to look fearless, half trying to befriend my new friend and half wishing he would go home quickly! Half obliging a smile, the little boy pounced on my new sofa just when I turned the corner. My heart skipped a beat. Our sofa cushion, made of fabric sat on a strong teak wood looked steady as ever. I glanced over and saw a piece of plastic sheet still intact, it not only protected the pale coloured fabric inside but also my frail heart. I grasp that moment to console myself, but wondered how long that plastic would be there. It really wasn't any solution.

Back in my old house, everything looked worn and familiar. I only started to notice a half-painted pipe the other day in the washroom and it was a sheepish job at that. I wondered why I haven't seen it before having lived there for at least 6 years now. I thought to myself, my old neighbouhood had consist of grown-ups, well mannered professionals, the youngest were teenagers, and you can tell they were a product of good family upbringing. We exchange polite "hi's" and "how's your day" without delving too much into personal space. It looked like a peaceful and harmonious neighbourhood. What a shame, I thought to myself, I would have allowed any kids to come in and pounce around. Pity no kids were around.
Actually, that really wasn't a problem.

"He saw a most wonderful sight. Through a little hole in the wall the children had crept in, and they were sitting in the branches of the trees. In every tree that he could see there was a little child. And the trees were so glad to have the children back again that they had covered themselves with blossoms, and were waving their arms gently above the children's heads. The birds were flying about and twittering with delight, and the flowers were looking up through the green grass and laughing. It was a lovely scene, only in one corner it was still winter."

And so the selfish Giant realise his wintery heart and was no longer selfish . As a result his garden now experiences Spring! And even if the plastic sheet on the sofa sheet were to come off in time and little hand prints are found on them, may it be unto my new family and I that we will always beckon people with welcoming hearts, for all folks big or small, clean or unclean, polite or impolite, and always have an open door to make friends for Christ.

~ The End ~

The Selfish Giant presented by Singapore Repertory Theatre - The Little Company, will be screened from 5-30 Jul 2006 @ DBS Arts Centre - Home of SRT

The Selfish Giant is a beautifully adaptation of the much-loved story by Oscar Wilde.
Famous for his adult plays (The Importance of being Ernest, An Ideal Husband) Oscar Wilde was also a poet, dreamer and above all, a storyteller. Initially written by Wilde for his own children, this enchanting story with songs promises both adult and children a delightful time at the theatre.
In this play, love conquers all and melts the cold heart of an unjust giant, who finally repents after discovering the joy of loving others.
A play for 3 - 8 years old. (and adults!)
Tickets are available at all SISTIC outlets or 63485555.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Your response

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We just had our “Friendship” camp. I was thinking through randomly why making friends is now a challenge. Two things came up strongest. 1) Lack of giving of oneself 2) lack of grace in allowing offences to pass

Rarely would I use the word ‘mistreated’. Instead, I am more familiar however with experiences like hurt, unfair, injustice etc.

I was a witness to an argument that happened on a bus between a middle-aged man and a little boy’s parents. The middle-aged men retaliated to a playful kick by a toddler with an angry stomp on the floor board, missing the boy and the mother’s leg by inches. Words were exchanged, tempers flared and an all out egos war took place. The middle-aged men argued that the parents failing to correct the son was at fault and insulted their lack of parental guidance. The parents kept going on how wrong a grown-up was to retaliate to a mere toddler's kick.

While I watch, I slowly felt a sense of injustice arising. I felt angry to some extend seeing hints of bullying occurring from one side so much I wanted to step forth to protect. You see, God puts in our hearts a sense of right & wrong and as Christians, while it was made for the good of the Kingdom, we sometimes abuse it for our own. Things gets out of control when we assume the God role and fail to play our roles right.

I remembered one of my leaders who because of one of her member’s encounter in an unpleasant situation began screaming at me in public and commanded to see me at another place. I was first shocked at the haughtiness of an attitude and then contempt. All respect for her drained out of me and all I had for her was that she was a fluke. Shortly, in the two weeks that followed, there was peace-making attempts and apologies were exchanged. But I still never really recovered my respect for her.

In another encounter, a leader rained harsh words on me and removed me from a teaching session suddenly. During a peace-making session, threats came. Reeling from the impact of the words made this cut so deep and so seared, I conclude that this is another hypocrite who is all show and no depth.

Another leader picked up an offence and refused for us to join her small group. Ouch! Talk about rejections.

Mistreated? Well it could be a stretch to say that. But hurt, rejected? Yes definitely.
For those married, the pain can be even greater seeing your spouse hurt or rejected yet knowing that you can’t take things into your own hands. He chose not to share the details of his encounter but to go into the bedroom and lay it all out before God. I admire his self-control. Many times I am tempted to try to dig out everything and uncover the ‘culprits’. Despite my natural instinct to stick out for him I was quietly inspired by his strong desire to obey God no matter what it takes. I decided to tag along.

David always has a ready word of wisdom on his lips. “Be above reproach. Two wrongs do not make one right. Do not take things into own hands.”

Recently while trying to sell off my existing house, an agent who promised all good things upfront failed to deliver. We lost a good 3months of wait with all other opportunity cost plus, my mom got all worked up. On the night of peace talk, David was the mediator. There were no fancy legworks, legal jargons nor preachy God stuff. In the face of false accusations, David spoke steadily, calmly with huge dose of grace and friendliness. What I saw awed me. If there was an altar call to repent of seeking revenge, that would be me. The God sized spirit in him won my family over in doing things God way.

That day I truly began my search for the right respond when we are wronged, hurt, rejected or mistreated. This book was the start of God’s answered prayer.
I was reminded of King David who said these very profound words, “I will not touch God’s anointed.”

It was not so much who hurt us, more than whom we trust. In my very contempt of the authorities God placed over me, I abused what God puts in my heart and felt as if I own the right to administrate justice. During the special ministry night of Friendship camp, I knew I might have some left over areas for God to work in but didn’t know exactly which areas. So I said a simple prayer and left it as that. In God’s time, I want to be able to go to the leaders to tell them what I saw God put in them. I want also to seek for their forgiveness.

People of God, be encouraged!
Proverbs 24:29
“Do not say, ‘I will do to him just as he has done to me; I (the Lord) will render to the man according to his work”

Proverbs 20:22
“Do not say, ‘I will recompense evil’; wait for the Lord, and he will save you”

Proverbs 25:21-22
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head and the Lord will reward you
[the idea is that an act of kindness to your enemy may cause him or her to feel ashamed. This is just one way to overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:20)]

You can find all of John Bevere's book @

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The fallen bread

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Few weeks ago, during the time of the Lord's supper during a church service, I looked over and saw David holding a cup with a thoroughly soaked piece of bread in the cup. Very quickly, I looked at him and assume his itchy fingers had a part to play in this embarassing predicament he got himself into. I immediately shot a question to him to him quietly but not so gently "Why did you do that?". To which he replied. "I figured no one will pick this cup on the communion tray as the bread had fallen into the cup, and soaked. So I pick this instead." Looking at the cup with the fallen bread in it, I realised that the lesson of the fallen bread is for me and not David. So quick to pass judgement, I reacted only to what my sinful eyes see. David's act of kindness, no matter how small and unseen by others, bears the true mark of sacrificial servanthood. It was a significant encounter for me and God. I repented.