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Moving On…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 8, 2011 by billymlam

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world issues night

Posted in Uncategorized on November 6, 2010 by billymlam

thanks to everyone who came tonight to our world issues night.  we hope it was eye-opening!

if you have any questions or comments, please post them here.

* * * * *

for those who missed it, we had three talks about three current world issues: sustainability; poverty, drugs and prostitution; and abortion.

sustainability



creation care is a massively complex subject and it’s impossible to sum it up in 7 minutes. nevertheless, we got into small groups to talk about how we could help ensure that the way we live honours and cares for the visual revelation of God. recycling and carpooling seem to be some pretty common ideas between groups.  pingaling threw up an interesting comment about our consumerist lifestyle – why do we hoard so much gadgetry and materialistic things?!

if you guys want to, the Uniting Church has a Green Church Site – check it out if you want to find out more!

poverty, prostitution and drugs

we were confronted with the reality that poverty, prostitution and drugs are REAL issues, happening even in our own backyard in brissie.  we watched the video testimony of the founder of Hope Foundation, a ministry reaching out to the hurting people of this nation.  it was a REALLY powerful story of God’s grace and redemption.

abortion

in our final talk, we were confronted with the reality of abortion.  we addressed arguments that are frequently presented by pro-choice groups.

Abort73 is an excellent resource on this topic.  Check it out if you want some further reading!

called to make a difference

it’s been a confronting night.

the easiest (and worst) thing would be to feel bad… and do nothing about it.

we have been entrusted with this knowledge and insight for a reason.  it’s not about knowing more religion and rules (don’t do this.. don’t do that…) … but may all that we do bring honour and glory of God.

i pray that we won’t be apathetic … but that we’ll seek to help bring about change in this world.

letter in a box

Posted in Uncategorized on August 18, 2010 by billymlam

Hands

Posted in Uncategorized on May 18, 2010 by billymlam

YFers – here’s a bulletin article which appeared at church last Sunday.  Just thought I’d repost it here for those who missed out.

Take a moment and have a look at your own hands. Whether rough or gentle, calloused or delicate, our hands – just as the rest of our bodies – were created to bring God glory. They are instruments of worship.

You may wonder why some people choose to lift their hands while singing to God.  Throughout the Bible, many references call on God’s people to outwardly express their praise, repentance, humility and dependance through lifting their hands. It is never rebuked by God, but is instead commended as an action. Here’s just a few:

» Psalm 28:2 – Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.

» Psalm 63:4 – So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.

» Psalm 119:48 – I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes.

» Psalm 134:2 – Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!

» Psalm 141:2 – Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!

» Lamentations 3:41 – Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven…

Clapping is another outward expression by which we can praise God:

» Psalm 47:1 – Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

» Psalm 98:8 – Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together

This is definitely not a requirement for you to lift your hands or clap while you sing. Rather, it’s an encouragement for you to freely express your love for God in any way the Spirit compels you to. Our body language allows us to express praise and exhortation. If you feel the call or desire to do so, then go for it – whether it means standing, sitting, clapping, closing your eyes, lifting your hands, getting on your knees, even dancing.

At the end of the day, worship is ultimately to God and for God. As you focus on Him, dignity and pride pale into insignificance – just have a look at how King David let go of his dignity and danced before God with all his might in the joyous scenes in 2 Samuel 6!

It also gives cause for us to carefully consider what we do with our hands, for though it was made for worship, in rebellion we have often used it for sin. We need to plead with God and ask that He’ll grant us renewal and forgiveness.

May we freely worship Him from the very cores of our being.

Repost: Pebbles

Posted in Pebbles on May 16, 2010 by billymlam
It’s been a year since we’ve had time to make Pebbles, the YF magazine.  I thought that some of you new YF guys/girls may want to check it out!

PEBBLES

Access the full PDF here … but be patient – it’s a big PDF (maybe 3MB) so takes a while to load.  While it’s loading sometimes your screen looks frozen – wait for it!

ecological footprint

Posted in Reflections, sustainability on September 26, 2009 by billymlam

i know you’re probably thinking “another greenie rant?!?” … but bear with me for a minute.

most of the time when i talk to people about sustainability they turn and start pointing things out that i do wrong.  usually this has to do with obvious and car-related, eg.. “you drive a turbo” or “your family drives separate cars to church” or whatever.  and it’s true – my lifestyle is shocking and i won’t hide from it.  i do like driving, i like buying gadgets, i love pearl milk teas and i even enjoy eating sharks fin soup.  i just did another ecological footprint quiz and it says my lifestyle needs 7.8 planet earths to support it (my first said something like 4.6 – it really varies according to the calculator you use – but that’s still bad).  isn’t that ridiculous?

i think most of us YFers have come from a culture that is very consumerist and convenient – take as examples how we want to be up to date with the latest tech, and how we want to have the convenience of using and chucking disposable stuff.  thing is – we don’t need to be commune-living vego hippies (not that there’s anything wrong with them at all) to make a difference. being sustainable doesn’t mean having a bland and boring life.

firstly though, why should we care?  i think the answer is twofold…

  • the idea of stewardship – we know that God created man as having dominion over the earth (see Genesis 1:28).  what matters, then, is what our interpretation of stewardship or dominion is.  it obviously doesn’t mean that we can use everything irresponsibility.  it ALSO doesn’t mean that humans have the same worth as a horse or a starfish or an insect.
    i am not saying that it’s definite sin to live the way we do.  instead, i’m suggesting that it’s our responsibility as Christians to make sure we care of everything that God has created and put us in charge of. what’s your take on it?
  • the idea of social justice – i think we would all agree that Jesus has called us to love everyone, including (or especially) the oppressed and those less fortunate than us.  the consequences of our way of life are ultimately going to affect people.  some island nations will cease to exist in the next 50 years or so.  millions are predicted to become “climate change refugees”.  isn’t that scary? shouldn’t we care?

don’t get me wrong – our priority as Christians, and the Church, is to reach people. but i hope you’re convinced that we can’t be ignorant about God’s creation.  it’s my hope that sustainability becomes an opportunity for the Church to show people that we really do care about them.

so what can we do? i’ve been trying to think of easy first steps that are appealing to us asians (ie saves us money haha).  being a super wasteful consumer myself i will be trying to put these into practice as well…

  • try to drive less and carpool more – this sounds so simple, but i have been able to halve my driving distances in the past year or so 🙂 although my car is a valuable ministry tool so i’m gonna prioritise that and use it as much as i need to
  • say no to plastic – it might involve some washing up after trig/supe/party/church.  or maybe sharing a meal between two at a restaurant so you don’t need a takeaway box…
  • bring a water bottle – QUT z block level 9 has a filtered chilled water tap that doesn’t taste like it’s got 50 years old water pipes. find somewhere like that.
  • fit water efficient showerheads – if you haven’t done so, do it – and save yourself big money (cost ~$100 and save $1800 over its lifetime – more if water prices go up, which they undoubtedly will)
  • try to buy local produce – i know this is hard, because we love our asian snacks, drinks and icecreams.  but when it comes to fruit and vege, just get stuff that’s in season 🙂
  • try to buy natural products – especially when it comes to detergents and whatnot… so many chemicals… why?
  • get a compost bin – i am going to give this a try and let you guys know how it goes

and if you can afford to…

  • switch to green power – costs a little bit extra, but coal power is ridiculously polluting, inefficient and needs crazy amounts of water – which takes lots of electricity to pump and treat – it’s a vicious cycle
  • if you’re ever thinking of building anything, build green – yes i’m an architecture student, and i know green buildings cost 2% more to build on average but their lifetime savings are SO much more.  i will be trying to compile figures to show the church when i finally get my new design proposal done, so let me know if you want me to keep you in the loop.

finally,  just want to leave you with a picture of the maldives… which may not be here by the end of this century

maldives_cocopalm_beach_01

missions night @ YF

Posted in Events on July 15, 2009 by billymlam

earlier this month we held a missions/evangelism workshop at YF with pastor steve nation 🙂
for those who missed out, here are my notes from the night…

  • What is my spending on missions vs on worldly things >> what does this reveal in terms of the things that are important to my heart?
  • Sacrifices for the sake of the lost
  • John 4:35 – see the harvest!

Missions – from Genesis to Revelations

  • Catching, keeping, obeying God’s vision of missions

Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church… worship is.  Missions is a temporary necessity.  Worship abides forever – John Piper

  • Genesis 1-12 … Ch 10/11 – People spread out, huge separation between man and God.  Perfect world made imperfect
  • Genesis 12:1-3 … Abrahamic promise – blessed to be a a blessing; people of God made their way to Egypt after 400 years – God speaks at Exodus 19
  • Exodus 19:5-6 … At Sinai, about to give 10 commandments.  If people obey God they will be priests – mediator between God and people in the world.  Purpose of Israel to be mediators of God’s love
  • Deuteronomy 4:5-8 … Purpose of the law is to help people live well, so that other nations will notice and desire what Israel has.
  • 1 Kings 10 (950BC) … King Solomon in promised land; Queen of Sheba praised God because of his wisdom (v6, v9) – peak of the kingdom in OT; the promise of God to Abraham was in effect
  • Ezekiel 5:11-12 (570BC) … Israel didn’t keep their side of covenant; defiled God’s temple; God’s people no longer a light to the world

YOU CAN’T SEPARATE MISSIONS FROM SOUND DOCTRINE.

  • Isaiah 49:6 … Exiled – called to be light to all nations, not just Israel
  • Jonah 3:1-10 … Message of mercy to a disgusting people, which explains Jonah’s reaction.  Shows God’s amazing grace which sometimes gets up our nose…
  • Matthew 9:36-38 … So many people who NEED the love of God… People are harassed and helpless, in need of a Shepherd.  “Go and pray for more people to go!”
  • John 20:21 … Who will go?  Father sent Jesus to win salvation … we are ALL missionaries
  • Luke 24:45-49 … Jesus speaks to followers – open their eyes to scripture (OT) … OT leading up to the work of Christ… in v47, God wanted as much for the gospel to go to the ends of the earth as he wanted Jesus to die to make salvation possible
  • Acts 13:1-4 … Holy Spirit sends off missionaries – the church prays to send people out.  DON’T GO ALONE… we’re not individuals!
  • Romans 10:14-15 … People can’t hear unless they hear…
  • 1 Peter 2:9 … Spoken to church, reminds of Exodus (holy people, royal priesthood) … proclaim the excellencies of God!  Do I dig Jesus?  Am I stoked in my salvation? … Read Mark and be excited!
  • Revelations 7:9 … Glimpse of Heaven
  • Phillipians 2:9-11 … God desires to be known by all people, and all he does moves towards that goal.
  • Missions is an aspect of the nature of the church, not an activity.