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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Testimony On Not Being Single (Anymore)

I am not single anymore.

Not the married-I'm-not-single-anymore kind of "not single anymore".

But the I've-got-a-girlfriend kind of "not single anymore".

Her name's Sheena, and she really is quite nice.

And she's lovely.

And she doesn't bite.

And she'd have words to say about this.

But I love her to bits.

Oh, and it's her birthday today.

Thank you for being a reflection of God's love for me. You raise me up to be able to love Him more. Blessed birthday.

Really, God has so many surprises in store for us, there's no way we can even begin to fathom the very beginnings of the love that He has for us.

There was no way either of us saw this coming.

For me, this really is testimony to the unrivalled, wonderful plan that He has for each and everyone of us.

Which He wishes to unfold unto us, if we but let Him.

But so often we shrink back at the slightest challenge, and for most of us, that is the perception we will lose control of the way things go.

That not being in control, things will not work out well for us at all.
"At once [Jesus] spoke to them, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Peter said to Him in reply, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come."
Jesus had called Peter to boldly go where no man had gone before.

Where no man would have dared to go without fear of ridicule.

Where even the bravest would fear to tread.

It would have been one of the greater miracles the world had ever seen.

A miracle which suspended the laws of physics.

A miracle which would have been Peter's claim to (good) fame, etched in the Holy Book for eternity.

And Peter had said yes.

He would boldly go.
"Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and beginning to sink, he cried out, "Lord, save me!"
Poof.

In a flash, the hero became the damsel in distress.

In a flash, "the rock" began to sink.
"Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
**********
How so often are we like Peter, saying yes to God, but falling short in trust?

He constantly challenges and reminds, time and time again, to let go, and let Him.

And for our sake, we can but try.
"God created man in His image; in the divine image He created him; male and female He created them...and He found it very good."

"The man said: "This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called 'woman', for out of 'her man' this one has been taken.""
And he found it very good as well.
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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Testimony On Being (Still) Single

Yes. Believe it or not, I am still single. As handsome and attractive and sexy as I am, I am still single (ladies, take note!). Is it a curse? Yes and no.

Curse in the sense that I lack companionship. Curse in the sense that I lack someone to hold and to put my arm around while watching Transformers. Curse in the sense that some rascal people in shopping malls just have to flaunt their relationships in front of me and choose to walk by me with their arms around each other, especially when I'm standing alone (not that they intend to, I'm sure. It probably just seems that way).

Or do they...?

But one Reason alone more than makes up for all these curses of being single – God.

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! Plans to give you a future full of hope.”
-- Jeremiah 29:11

The main reason why I'm still single now is that I believe God has not yet thought that I should go into a relationship. While it is quite painful at times, especially when I see couples walking together and holding hands, and Anne Yong getting married, and I look on my left/right and I see...

**a crow flies past, "Aak...aak...aak."**

...there is a much deeper joy in knowing that God has a much greater plan for me (who knows, maybe even priesthood?) than being in a relationship at this point in time.

But of course, this doesn't mean that I don't struggle with singlehood. In fact, I struggle with it A Lot. Like a generous portion of single guys, I struggle with loneliness, I struggle with lust, I struggle with pornography, I struggle to control my eyes when a sexily-dressed woman passes by, and I definitely don't have Jesus' ability to quote off-hand from Scriptures when faced with temptation*. I continuously fall when tempted. But I am continuously trying to offer all of these struggles up to Him, praying for the grace and strength to live out according to His plan for me, and I must say, He has indeed provided for me in my time of need.

*Matthew 4:1-11

I remember I used to mourn that I didn't have a girlfriend. There was a time when I was about 14 or 15, I used to have this really huge crush on a girl in my class (and I obviously didn't dare to convey that piece of information to her). Then came the end of the year, where we had about two months of holidays and I went to Australia with my family to stay with my aunty for about a month. And as my brother may be able to testify, almost every single day of that month, I would turn on the song “Faye Wong – Eyes On Me” for hours at a time, thinking about her and singing along, wishing that over the distance, she would hear me singing this song for her; wishing that over the mountains and the seas, her river would run with love for me, and she would open up her heart, and let me set her free.

Well, there went a month of my life just like that, for as it turns out, she already had a boyfriend.

Now, being more mature emotionally and spiritually, I offer up all my relationships to God, asking Him to bless them, and if it is His will, He would let “things” come to pass in His own time. I believe He has indeed blessed me abundantly since I started to offer up my relationships to Him. I used to wish a lot for girls in my life, and now - rather evidently - girls have just been coming non-stop in droves. Of course, that's not the reason why we should offer up our relationships to God la, but I'm just trying to illustrate a point: God always gives the best to those who leave the choice with Him.

There was also a time, about a year ago, when I was just thinking about whether I had given myself fully to God, and I realised I was holding on tightly to one thing: sex. Not that I was already having sex at that time, but rather, I was terrified at the thought of joining the priesthood, which would mean No Sex Forever! And I realised that with all my singing in praise and worship that “I will offer up my life in spirit and truth”, and “all that I am, all that I have, I lay them down before You, O Lord”, I wasn't offering up my life in truth entirely, and I wasn't really laying down all that I am and all that I have before God when I wasn't giving Him full control over my life, which included full control over my vocation. So with this in mind, so happened there was a vocation camp coming up not too long from then. Trying to give up that part of me, I signed up for it. It was a very difficult thing for me to do; I didn't know if anyone I knew was going; I didn't know whether I would come back from the camp a priest-in-training, or castrated or who knows what. But I'll tell you this, on the day the camp was supposed to begin, right when I drove into SFX Church to meet with the other participants before departing, a deep sense of peace washed all over me. Not that I knew my destiny was to be a priest, but rather, it was as if God was telling me,

Well done, My son. NOW you can really say you have offered up your life to Me.”
And that day, I think I really felt the meaning of Jesus' words in John 14:27, where He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you.

That's basically the point of my sharing, really. It's simply an awesome thing when you offer up to God every aspect of your life, especially the most difficult ones, which for me is a desire for an earthly relationship. Because He alone knows what is best for us. He alone sees the big picture. And while I can just jump into a relationship, solve all my pains and be joyful, I believe it cannot be compared to the joy of living according to God's plan and being blessed by Him (either in singlehood or in a relationship) for, how can God bless something which He doesn't endorse? =)

Again, this is not a vocation story - I'm not sharing about how I'm now about to enter the priesthood, or that I'm going to be single for the rest of my life. Neither am I saying that being in a relationship is bad. Rather, this sharing is about how awesome it is when we leave the choice up to God. I'm not saying that life for me has become a box of chocolates and a cup of tea; in fact, it has got a lot harder. But let me say that it's all truly worth it indeed.

I'd just like to end with what I think is a pretty ironic thing. How many of us know the song Truly Madly Deeply by Savage Garden? It's been one of my favourites for the longest time (and still is), but for those who don't know, it's a song that goes “I'll be your dream, I'll be your wish, I'll be your fantasy”, and with diabetes-inducing lyrics like those and “I want to bathe with you in the sea”, you can tell it's about a guy/girl declaring his/her love for another. But only recently, within all these mushy lyrics, something jumped out at me. In the midst of all the earthly declarations of love in the song, there's a line in there that sounds like God speaking: “all that you need will surely come”. And I was like hmmmmm, how strange it is that within such an earthly song, there can be such a powerful divine message? So for those of us who like me are desperate for a relationship, I believe God is speaking that to us today,

All that you need will surely come...and not only all that you need, but so much more that I want to give you, if you but trust in Me."
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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Fan Into Flame Conference 2006

27 June 2006
5:30am - Alarm rings.
6:30am - Wake up. Mutter mutter.
6:35am - Plonk self on toilet bowl. No luck - too early for such activities. Mutter mutter.
7:00am - Leave to pick Adrian Ng from SS12 house. Flight was at 9:50am, but Adrian wanted to be early. Mutter mutter.
7:15am - Head for Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) for the first time. Ever.
7:50am - Arrive at LCCT. Early we were. Wait for check-in counter to open at 8:30am. Mutter mutter.
8.35am - Check-in. Head for breakfast at cafe.
8.40am - Get fleeced by said cafe. Mutter mutter.
9.15am - Head for departure hall.
9.25am - Announcement. Start lining up.











Golly, where IS everyone?











Oh.


9:45am - Board AirAsia Flight AK307. Find seats.
9:50am - Spot perfect Engrish!











Understooded!


11:30am - Arrive at Kuching International Airport (KIA).

11:50am - Received by tag team duo of Julius and his mum. Head for a short tour of Kuching town before heading back to Julius' place for lunch.











Kuching International Airport.











St. Joseph's Cathedral.











Seminary chapel.

1:30pm - Arrive at Julius' place. Meet Marikar, Tina, Alice and Nica of the Elim community who are bunking in his house. Very sweet bunch of girls/ladies. Manage to find out their real ages - Am Very Surprised. Tuck into lunch.











L-R: Julius, Tina, Adrian, Alice, Aaron, Marikar.












L-R: Julius, Eyette, Nica, Aaron.


2:30pm - Head for Bread Of Life (BOL) Covenant Community centre to unpack, rest, and wash up.











Bread Of Life Covenant Community centr
e. "Near RH Plaza, Taman BDC, above Green Gallery, next to Expert Food Court..."

2:50pm - Enter centre to find that we guys would be sleeping in the chapel, on mattresses on the floor. Bum around.

3:30pm - Sleep.
5:30pm - Wake. Lumber over to bathroom to shower. Adrian proclaims arrival of KA Youth at the centre whilst in the shower. Mutter mutter. Meet Gifford (reunited after decades of not seeing each other), Christobel, and Shireen. After I've come out from the shower, that is. Fully-clothed.
6:00pm - Head for Fan Into Flame Welcoming Dinner.











Catholic Church near BOL centre.












Blur sunset in Kuching.


6:30pm - Arrive at hotel for dinner.











Adrian and I clearly under-dressed for the occasion. In between us, Uncle Peter Lau, Julius' dad. On the right, line of welcoming dancers.


7:10pm - Praise and worship. First time experiencing charismatic praise and worship at a buffet-dinner in a hotel. Interesting experience.

7:25pm - Wait for queue at buffet-line to dwindle.
7:40pm - Queue at buffet-line dwindles.
7:45pm - Head to collect dinner. Eat.
8:15pm - Speeches and performances.
9:50pm - Meet a few others from the Elim community.











L-R: Christobel, Kiddo, Shireen.











L-R: Aaron, Anton, Jef.


10:15pm - Head back to BOL centre. Bum around.

11:00pm - Head downstairs to Expert Food Court. Tried Kolo Mee and the Five-Layered Tea. Kolo Mee was about average, probably wasn't the best place to try it. Five-Layered Tea tasted like cendol. Me like Five-Layered Tea.
11:30pm - Head back to BOL centre. Bum around.
1:00-sumthing am - Sleep.

Evening came, and morning came. The first day.
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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Message From Lorenzo "Kiddo" Cosio

of the Elim Community in Manila, Philippines.

**********

GenRev in Malaysia

The lights went out and the people went wild. It was time for GenRev Live in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. Over a thousand people had come to spend the night in crazy worship. The comedic intro video played on the two large screens on either side of the stage, much to the delight of the now restless crowd of young people. The action was about to begin and they could feel it. We, the team waited in the wings for the time to get out on stage. We could feel it. It was in the air. God was moving.

Behind the Scenes
The past week found a team from Elim in Kuching, Sarawak (the biggest state in Malaysia, if I'm not mistaken) for the Fan Into Flame Conference and Concerts. The conference went great, with many leaders and members of communities from all across Malaysia in attendance. Throughout the sessions, God was manifesting Himself in a special way, revealing Himself powerfully.

There were two concerts scheduled during our trip, one of which was GenRev Live. And so we found ourselves backstage, feeling the electricity in the atmosphere, ready to get out onto the stage and give our all to God. We had prepared, practiced and prayed up for the past few months. We had come a long way and were at the moment of reckoning.

So we got out on stage...

The music played...

And the place blew up in praise.

It was insane.

People were singing their heads off and dancing like crazy in worship. Leading the people in worship, I didn't know if I should laugh out loud or cry because it was that awesome. So I did a lot of both - laughed and cried - as everyone rocked out. God is awesome, and He was there in power.

The Youth of the Nation
The Malaysian youth are amazing people. Even while preparing for the conference and concerts, I could sense how much God wanted to do through the youth of that country. A deep love for them had already been welling up in my heart as we prepared for the trip, and it just came forth during those days of the conference. I could just look at their faces and feel the potential, have a little taste of the vastness of what God could do through them. It was is if God was saying, "Hey, Kiddo, get a good long look at these people. I'm gonna use them to change the face of the earth."

And that's biblical. Jesus said that He would send His spirit and we would be His witnesses to the World, we would stand for Him, we would do the great things He did - and far greater, as well. And Psalm 104:3 says, "When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth." God is going to use people - us, young people included - to change the face of the earth, by the way we live, because we are filled with His Spirit.

I guess that's what I saw happening in Malaysia the past week. I saw it as such a privilege and honor to share the company of the youth in that part of the world. Young people, taking a stand for God, choosing to live for Him above all, giving their lives to Him in worship, and being filled with the Spirit. Spirit-filledness is world changing.

Thank You
To the Malaysian youth (and yeah, even the older people), thank you for being a light to me. I know that our team went to your country with the hopes of sharing something with you; but I feel like we received so much more than we could have ever imagined. This little essay doesn't do justice to the impact you have had on my life (and I'm sure I speak for many in the GenRev Team as well).

Thank you for the love and warmth, for the hospitality and for being so generous. Thank you for being yourselves, because it was such a blessing to be with you. I believe that there are so many great things God has in store for you, and your country, and us and our country as well. So, together let's stand for Jesus and change the world!
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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Community: Part 2.

Up to this point in time, I have had nothing but great comments about community; about being in one, about how important it is to belong to one, about how grateful I am to be in the one that I am in now.

Then I get this:












- which is perfectly fine by itself -

On my face.












By the very same community that I hold in such high regard.

Click here to view the full sequence of event(s).

p.s. - I am NOT smiling; it is only an illusion.

Only an illusion.

O n l y a n i l l u s i o n.
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Friday, March 31, 2006

My Child...












You may not know me,
but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up.
Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered.
Matthew 10:29-31

For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Acts 17:28
I chose you when I planned creation. Jeremiah 1:4-5
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Ephesians 1:11-12
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born.
Psalm 71:6

I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father.
1 John 3:1

I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love.
Jeremiah 31:3

My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.
Psalm 34:18

As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18-19

His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is...will you be my child? John 1:12-13

I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32

Love,
Dad
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