A friend (Evon) requested me to post something about "miracles" and I felt that it is good since Christmas has just passed a few days ago and New Year is about to come. Probably a good way to welcome 2008 is to write something about miracles.
Some people believe that miracles only happen to those who believe them. Maybe and maybe not.
Probably one of the most famous quotes on miracles is once said by C.S Lewis, a great author (wrote the Chronicles of Narnia)...."Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see."
I once learned this while improving on my English....
"If you look out of your window and into the world, you will see that everywhere is a story and miracles are happening everyday if you keep your mind wide open."
It may be a devastating year for some of us. It could be that everything is going to the wrong side for some of us at the moment. It might never be easy to let go off certain things in our lives and as 2008 arrive, we are afraid of yet another year of "disaster". But let us not just look at our story so personally that we neglected other stories that are link to ours.
Miracles are not something that wait to happen but a collection of hardwork and perseverance.
If miracles don't seem to be happening in your life, think again about what is expected of that miracles in you. So much more is about what I want....so much more is there than the successful story seen in the world.
Has miracle gone missing?? Write a story today...write your story today and you will learn to see miracles in small letters...
A different story from time to time...a process of growth...
story of friendship...
of love and hope...
I posted some of the photos I took before with my friends and families. I looked back and see how that change have took place. At one point of time, that change stopped taking place as I settled down and being comfortable at things...
Probably I was more comfortable at just sticking to the status quo....(taking these line from HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL) yet I know that it is not me. I am growing up, becoming a man....(hopefully a good man) and trying to make sense of my life.
At the end of this Christmas, I knew that this is the start of something new and something that is going to continue on...
This Christmas makes me realize something and I constantly ask myself this question..."what kind of story that I am telling the world today?"
What kind of stories are you telling?
What a Christmas...a reflection of the year...quiet, simple, and shining little here and there...
you went for todays sermon ah? the answer should be there. thats what i feel. its peter goh that preached. eugene's father. if you din go then try asking him for his sermon notes.
To be honest I did not ask for the sermon notes. Well, I did not ask for the sermon notes. I am not sure if it is a positive or negative statement yet I just wanted to say a simple thank you for that comment as it really help me to put aside my "bias" opinion about church sermons. It is a struggle all the more when one already have a set of perspectives which is firm and solid.
I cannot say I am truly honest in my seeking with some questions and answers formed at the back of my head yet I believe it is a genuine effort and continuous seeking in those questions that I asked.
I am not sure if some Christians would agreed with my agreement to the "Santa Claus" promotion as I felt it is what include even non-Christians into this celebration. In no way that I am saying "Santa Claus is coming to town" is something real or not....what I am saying is the heart of that image...an image of love and giving...the very heart of the faith of Christianity...hope and salvation for the poor, for the children who do not have enough to eat...who do not have the chance to receive a present from their parents....
Hope and Salvation extend further and beyond the question of Heaven and Hell....and let this Christmas be one that we truly embrace, by allowing that spirit of love and generosity flow towards people around us. People different from us, be it from perspective or culture or even religion.
I just want to put a short message here to my family and friends....(names are not mentioned....it seems to take the rest of the blog if I were to name them)...you guys have been special to me, though some of us might have different views....I just want to say that this journey would not have been so meaningful without any of you. Some of us might have even uttered words that hurt one another yet I pray that through this Christmas, our bonds will be closer. It is definitely not a one time thing and that's it. I believe it is a continuous love and learning everyday...wishing you a MERRY CHRISTMAS here...lots of love, KIANHIN
Get your own Poll!
"How true will this Christmas be to you?"
As Christmas approach nearly closer everyday, I almost find myself questioning the meaning behind this beautiful celebration. Looking back at how Christmas has been for me throughout the last few years, I believe it is more important to come to see how far I have fallen from what I believe that the spirit of Christmas should be.
Forgiveness....how has this look like for some of us? It is always easy to put the blame on others for the struggles that we have to go through yet it is almost certain that we are only running away from admitting that a big part of us is a "mess up" as well. Some friendship might need to be start renewed....some relationship in the family that might seem to be running on low gear need some effort from us once again. It is not about being "superman" in everything that we do but it is about the willingness to be part of the lives of those who can no longer look to us eye to eye anymore.
I am a Christian and yet I know that there is much to learn from the non-Christians. If Christmas is another celebration that is to distinguish the "Christian" and "non-Christian" community once again, I believe we have failed to capture that heart of Jesus.
I thank God for "SANTA CLAUS" for it is a story about giving and it involves people from every races and beliefs.
Again, this journey has not come to an end...so much more that is needed to be understood...what about your Christmas reflection?
Hopefully your reflection would give me a better insight so that this Christmas would be a celebration of love indeed.
The Catholic Church hunted down and killed heretics including the Templars therefore the Templars must have been heretics.
While this seems a simple conclusion, there were other factors involved. Philip the Fair, who was behind the Pope's charge of heresy against the Templars in 1307, didn't believe they were heretics, he just saw it as a way to dissolve the order. His reasons for targeting the Templars were money and power. He thought the Templars had treasure and he was afraid of their power to put a trained army in the field against him should they want his throne. He had reason to worry. With the Templars finally getting kicked out of their last strongholds in the Holy Land by the Moslems, it's possible that they were looking around for a new place to call home. Their activities in Southern France may have been a clue that they were planning on taking the Languedoc as their new home base. If this was true then there's no telling where the Templars intended to go from there. Maybe they did have their eyes on Philip's throne. After all, the Templars had seen first hand what happened to kingdoms that refused to be part of greater France. Hadn't the Cathars in the south been massacred in the 1200's and with the same charge of heresy? If the Templars were planning on starting their own kingdom then they had to know that the king in Paris wouldn't just stand by and watch such a thing happen.
That the Cathars actually were heretics didn't matter to Philip. The Cathars had been wiped out therefore the Templars could be wiped out too. At first there seems to be no comparison here. The Cathars were just folks where the Templars were experienced fighting men. However, there were plenty of Cathar knights who died in the massacres and how many Templars could there be? Maybe he could catch them with their pants down. Call it a Holy Crusade, get the Pope's backing and keep the plan a secret until the last minute. What did he have to lose? When the Templars were actually taken into custody and tortured all sorts of bizarre confessions came from them. Philip must've smacked his lips with delight at being justified in calling them heretics. Here were his enemies admitting that they worshipped bearded heads. The confessions also served to turn the general population against the Templars thus insuring they would never again have the awe and reputation they had once enjoyed.
What of the confessions wrenched from tortured Templars? They worshipped bearded heads named Baphomet? If someone had hot irons to your limbs, you'd scream out whatever your tormentor wanted to hear too. It's possible that Philip knew about the head and had his torturers ask that particular question on purpose. Yet, this doesn't entirely explain why several of the confessions had similar themes. While it's possible that these Templars were just parroting things they'd heard while in the order, or misunderstanding some ceremonies that they saw, there was the whole trampling on the cross thing that still can't be explained. What were these knights up to behind the closed doors of their commanderies?
History records that people really didn't care. The Templar's day was over. There were wars, famines and plagues on the way and these were more important problems then a bunch of arrogant knights and their cross stamping. It's only centuries later that people began to wonder and they had different reasons for their curiosity. The Freemasons wanted to establish a pedigree that included the Templars. Other esoteric groups also wanted to claim them. After all, these knights were brave and powerful and died martyrs. They were so mysterious that almost any claim could be made about them and not a one could be disproved entirely. Today writers have linked the Templars with the Shroud of Turin, the Holy Grail and even the Ark of the Covenant.
But, were they heretics? They had secret meetings, they apparently had a ceremony that included defiling the cross and they came in contact with many heresies of their day. Yet, they were men after the same things that men have always been after: power. Possibly they saw heresy as a way to bind them all together with a common belief. Maybe by bucking the established church they thought they could replace it with one where they were the power. This is pretty gutsy when you consider that they owed their existence and allegiance to the Pope. In the end they lost their gamble and disappeared from the world stage, but we still remember and are fascinated by them.
Maybe they won a victory after all.
credited to: http://www.templarhistory.com/
Following the victory of the First Crusade a group of knights, led by Hugues de Payens, offered themselves to the Patriarch of Jerusalem as a military force.
This proposed military force had the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims who were en route to the Holy Land In the year 1118 AD King Baldwin II granted the Templars quarters on the Temple Mount.
For the first nine years of their existence, the order consisted of nine knights. Speculations of treasure hunting aside, one of the reasons for the limited number of members may have been the reluctance to take Templar vows. Chastity, poverty and obedience were hardly a lifestyle greatly sought after.
In the year 1127 the Cistercian abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux, wrote a rule of order for the Templars that was based on his own Cistercian order's rule of conduct. Additionally, Bernard did a great deal to promote the Templars.
Perhaps Bernard's greatest contribution to the order was a letter that he wrote to Hugues de Payens, entitled De laude novae militae (In praise of the new knighthood.)
This letter swept throughout Christendom with the result being that many men, of noble birth, joined the ranks of the Templar Order. Those who were unable to join often gifted the Templars with land and other valuables.
While it is true that the Templars were not permitted, by their rule, to own much of anything personally, there was no such restriction on the order as a whole. As such the gifts of land were accepted and put to immediate use by the order.
From humble beginnings of poverty in 1118, when the order relied on alms from traveling pilgrims, the Order quickly grew to have the backing of the Holy See and the collective European monarchies.
In the process, the order became wealthy. Aside form the gifts showered upon them, they were experts in commerce and free from the taxation and tithes imposed on other orders.
However, in less than two centuries, the Templars would meet their demise perhaps because of their wealth or fear of their seemingly limitless powers. It is generally agreed that Philip IV was envious of the Templar's wealth and sought to secure it for himself.
Regardless of the motivation, the order was taken down at the hands of Pope Clement V and the King of France in 1307.
On October 13, 1307 Philip had the Templars arrested on grounds of heresy; since this was the only charge that would allow the seizing of their money and assets.
The Templars were tortured and confessions were given. These confessions included:
* Trampling and spitting on the cross
* Homosexuality and Sodomy
* Worshipping of an idol named Baphomet
Philip was successful in ridding the Templars of their power and wealth and urged all fellow Christian leaders to do the same thing.
On March 19th, 1314 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake.
De Molay is said to have cursed King Philip and Pope Clement as he burned, asking both men to join him in death within a year.
Whether the story is an apocryphal legend or a matter of historical fact depends largely on one's point of view.
However, Pope Clement V died only one month later and Philip IV seven months after that.
credited to: http://www.templarhistory.com/
Well, for the team that is not good enough for the title...
- Men are NOT mind readers.
- Learn to work the toilet seat. You're a big girl. If it's up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
- Sunday sports It's like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
- Crying is blackmail.
Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!
- Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
- Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That's what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
- Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.
- If you think you're fat, you probably are. Don't ask us.
- If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
- You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
- Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
- Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
- ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not A color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
- If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
- If we ask what is wrong and you say "nothing," we will act like nothing is wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle
let the COFFEE rules!!
Each man gives a story
So the first man replies: "Well, for a while I've suspected my wife has been cheating on me, so today I came home early to try to catch her red-handed. As I came into my 25th floor apartment, I could tell something was wrong, but all my searching around didn't reveal where this other guy could have been hiding. Finally, I went out to the balcony, and sure enough, there was this man hanging off the railing, 25 floors above ground! By now I was really mad, so I started beating on him and kicking him, but wouldn't you know it, he wouldn't fall off. So finally I went back into my apartment and got a hammer and starting hammering on his fingers. Of course, he couldn't stand that for long, so he let go and fell -- but even after 25 stories, he fell into the bushes, stunned but okay. I couldn't stand it anymore, so I ran into the kitchen, grabbed the fridge and threw it over the edge where it landed on him, killing him instantly. But all the stress and anger got to me, and I had a heart attack and died there on the balcony."
"That sounds like a pretty bad day to me," said Peter, and let the man in.
The second man comes up and Peter explains to him about heaven being full, and again asks for his story.
"It's been a very strange day. You see, I live on the 26th floor of my apartment building, and every morning I do my exercises out on my balcony. Well, this morning I must have slipped or something, because I fell over the edge. But I got lucky, and caught the railing of the balcony on the floor below me. I knew I couldn't hang on for very long, when suddenly this man burst out onto the balcony. I thought for sure I was saved, when he started beating on me and kicking me. I held on the best I could until he ran into the apartment and grabbed a hammer and started pounding on my hands. Finally I just let go, but again I got lucky and fell into the bushes below, stunned but all right. Just when I was thinking I was going to be okay, this refrigerator comes falling out of the sky and crushes me instantly, and now I'm here."
Once again, Peter had to concede that that sounded like a pretty horrible death.
The third man came to the front of the line, and again Peter explained that heaven was full and asked for his story.
"Picture this," says the third man, "I'm hiding inside a refrigerator..."
Or was it weeks or months?
When was it again?
The last time I cried and cursed the situation?
the whole world fallen apart...
Was it me who chose to ignore the people in the street?
the suffering of others that went unheard...
is that lonely pal waiting for a touch of love...
what IS it that I mean when I said love?
Could I been too busy to feel that warmth again?
is a hug too hard for me to give...
Everything seems so messy...
REligion falls apart,
Not the politics...nor the social elite...
what is there now?
it could be something left...
a matter of CHOICE perHaps,
fear seems to collapse
when that choice is made in the heart
to stand for what is right and true.
To stand for justice
and for LOVE...
it is not about being a hero anymore...
not about me....not about you...
but about a community of people
an inclusive community...
where people of different race would come together
not about dominance,
Nothing to do with conversion...
but everything to do with learning,
A process of growth together.
Is this just a DREAM??
war has yet to stop...it will not if none of us care
Was it a picture of victory or defeat?
Does it matter any more?
Maybe it is not about "successful story" anymore...
Maybe and just maybe
I continue to HOPE ON...
I just read an interesting poem about making a difference....
One grain does not make a mountain,
There would be no land.
If each drop of water were to say:
One drop does not make an ocean,
There would be no sea.
If each note of music were to say:
Each note does not make a symphony,
There would be no melody.
If each word were to say:
One word does not make a library,
There would be no book.
If each brick were to say:
One brick does not make a wall,
There would be no house.
If each seed were to say:
One seed does not make a field,
There would be no harvest.
If each of us were to say:
One person does not make the difference,
There would never be love and peace on earth.
You and I do make the difference,
Begin today and make the difference.
As I read through this poem, I'm motivated to make it something practical in my life about making a difference. I used to be excited and motivated to share the "gospel" and make more Christians. I am not saying that it is something wrong but I felt that I could have spend more time doing things that make more sense to people around my life. I was just chatting with Siew Wei and was talking about what to do during this Christmas.
For me, it was a special year because it is the first time in my life since I became a Christian that I am not part of any activities in the church and yet I felt that making a difference is becoming more relevant in my life.
To make a difference is not to do something big, but it is something simple and I suggest the best way to start is from home.
If you're not part of any organization, any church...just look around you. Probably someone in your house needed some attention. It doesn't take much but to make a difference, it needs to start from the heart.
Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.
That was in one of the Youth Camp I attended. Yet as time passed, things seem to be a lil unsettled here and there. I felt what some author puts it "some missing puzzle".
It was then that I experienced more setback...some friends "dump" me in some ways and to be honest there were times that I asked what is it that I'm doing...am I falling away from the TRUTH??
I thank God that throughout the process of deconstruction and disillusion (my friend always use this word to describe this process, so I'm just gonna copy it here...LOL!), there were friends, more than friends probably...brothers and sisters who are there and assured me. People like Addie, Liang Hin and Samuel definitely are part of the community who constantly remind me of that "first love". I guess along the way, God never really left me alone...new friends come along and that is when I really see hope here and there, and it was during these period that I realized it is not about big events, or big programmes...but it's about the little love everyday consistently.
I remembered having a conversation with Evon and she was telling me that life is in a mess and I really agreed with her that life is indeed a mess but it was only through this mess that we realized that "Hey! I can't live on my own...no one can...everyone needs somebody and I wanna be that somebody to someone."
Christmas is coming...a season of hope and love I guess even to the non-Christians. And to a great extend I'm beginning to love Santa Clause cause he's really the guy that makes it possible for the non-Christians to be part of this celebration.
I learned that the minor roles are important, probably far more important than leading a discussion of a Bible lesson and even more wonderful than street feeding cause it's not just about having an activity but it is about being an angel to someone in little ways everyday.
I was having a great time with my brother this weekend and honestly I felt that I've neglected my family in some ways while trying to be a hero to somebody. Now that I looked back, I felt that while doing good to others sometimes I've failed the closest people to me. I believe that there is a season for everything and guess it's a season where I really need to come face to face with the "unsuccessful story" of mine.
Guess the minor roles have been left behind too often that the story never seems to be complete. Hopefully some of us will realized that and be part of the little communities here and there, making a difference in a simple and yet meaningful way.
I guess to be sincere in loving and seeking the "greater being" on Earth, it requires that little simple heart as a child and yet to say it is simple seem to be ignorant of the reality in life. So probably author Brian McLaren put it better than many of us...we probably need to be at the far side of simplicity and yet not being complex.
Am I making sense here?
I guess this journey is just started...and btw, Christmas coming...let's start loving the people around us especially those closest to our heart. God bless!!
Anyway I decided it's time to just post new stuff into a new blog. Haha!
My Form 6 journey has come to an end eventually and it's probably the start of something new for me and many of my friends. To be honest, I'm not sure what's next but I knew there is a dream in a young teenage boy back in 2001, who decided to make a difference in this world, to bring a hope to some in little ways. That lil boy's dream has not fade away though many things have changed. Life is no longer about being in church, leading a worship band, teaching a lesson....it is also not just about studying but it's a new phase in life.
There were times that this lil boy...oops...not a lil boy anymore...this young man who looked into the mirror and wonder if he were still the same person he used to be.
Some people thought of him as lost while some believed it's only a phase of reflection.
He knew the old story has come to an end....a new one has to be started somewhere and sometime around and that sometime around is now.
Let the new thing start....this could be the start of something new...something beautiful....