Virgin- it's interesting how our brain connect a certain term with a specific interpretation, eventhough there are more than one interpretation of the word. I checked on "Virgin" today at dictionary.com and confirmed that virgin could mean 1) first, 2) not experienced, or not exposed to, among other meaning
Today I want to talk about my "First time " experience. I always have mixed feelings about my "first- time". My first time riding on a bicycle, my first public speaking competition In primary school, my first singing competition, my first piano exam, my first vocal presentation at the end of my vocal course. Those nerve-wracking first time moments. Mixed-feelings because on one hand it was nerve-wracking, on the other, the joy for the outcome were just so overwhelming. My knees were shaking when I spoke to hundreds of people in the assembly hall during those primary school days. My palm was sweating and my fingers were trembling during those piano exams. But I kinda like those feelings, because those feelings are a good sign to me anyway. Each time I am nervous, I pray a lot, and I rely on God to give me strength and boldness, and it's humbling. The outcome were always good. Like we all say, it's always a win-win situation being the child of God. First, I praise God when I score well or won prized, Second, I still praise God when I don't because I experienced His presence and his love during those times. I am never alone. God's presence is precious. So , no matter what, I learn to rely and depend on God.
Whatever events or circumstances that befall me, they are windows for me to catch a glimpse of God's love and provision for me. – Yeah, I like that, that's from my sermon yesterday.
So today I want to share my joy with you. I am just overwhelmed with the blessing from God, in Jesus Christ. I delivered my first, ever, long-awaited sermon yesterday in London Chinese Alliance Church, Harrow, West London in English. It's like a dream come true and it's the perfect timing.
Two reasons , 1) It's perfect timing because a pastor friend of mine from Southampton, who is now in Penang, has kindly given me the custody of his library, commentaries from Genesis to Revelation. Imagine, all 66 books in the bible, and he has at least 2-3 commentaries for each book, on top of other spiritual books. They are all sitting in my study room. Such a blessing.
2) I finished 10 weeks course from my pastor in church on "how to preach" . Soon after I finished those 10 weeks, I was invited.
So my Saturday was nerve-wracking day. Sat in front of my laptop, trying to write up my sermon and practised it. Slept late on Saturday. Woke up early on Sunday , quickly prepared all my points into Powerpoint. Very unsure that I would be able to remember 7 pages of A4 sermon. Prayed super hard. No printer at home, so couldn't print my sermon, so quickly made notes from my sermon.
11.30 am: Service started with singing songs to God and worshipping Him. Heart was beating very loudly as I could "hear " it. Prayed non-stop.
Finally, the moment has arrived. Stood before the congregation, God is gentle, he gave me a small one to start with, about 35 people. Did an ice-breaker question, and introduction about "memory of a fish-3 seconds memory" which introduced the title of my sermon "Remember This" from Deuteronomy 8:1-11.
Main message: Remember God in hard times in the past, V 2-5, Do not forget God in good times in the future, v6-11. Remember defined as obedience and not just mental process..
My introduction sounds like this:
My friends who have known me for years know that I have a memory of a fish, in other words, three seconds memory. Not a very good compliment huh? Okay, I admit, I am better with faces than names. Trust me, it’s not nice to forget. I have occasion where people come to me , greet me with my name and have conversation with me while my brain is busy churning out what is her name, where I’ve met this person.. etc…
Knowing my weakness, one of many, I have memory aids, things that remind me lest I forget. I always carry pen and paper with me. I have a diary, note I did not say PDA. I think writing is faster and much more reliable because I may forget to charge my PDA you see. I always carry a camera with me. I have this obsession of capturing all those moments so that , when I am old, I can sit on a rocking chair and flip through all my diaries, all my photos to help me remember those “good old days”, history that is uniquely mine! Memory is important.
->To know a friend is to share a history with them. More importantly, to remember the history that you share, to remember that she prefers beef steak than tuna and other details about your friend. You remember your friends because you love them.
è God loves us, much more than we can ever imagine with our finite mind. He is calling us today, to remember him, and not to forget him in all circumstances of our lives. The Scripture says again and again “Do not forget Your God, Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
->To remember is a key theme throughout Deuteronomy and central in our passage this morning.
Subpoints: Who the Israelites are: unfaithful, ungrateful, forgetful, always complaining and grumbled, and put God to test.. (meaning asking someone to prove that they will do what they say)
Who God is and What He has done: v1: Faithful, covenant keeping God, inspite of those unfaithful Israelites,
V2-4: A god who humbles, who provides all our needs, who teaches us to depend on Him
V5: A God who discipline is a Father who loves
Challenges were along those lines : we need regular memory aid to remind us of who we are, (fish, easy to forget), Who God is (faithful even when we forgot him) and what He has done for us, What will God find when He looks into our hearts in difficult times? Will find us grumble and complaining and betraying God in hard times? Or Will we still trust in Him that He never fails to love us and forsake us, even more so in adversity. In good times, when it's smooth-sailing, do we become ungrateful and Proud? A Pride that ignore the history we had with God?
All in all, it flowed much better than my rehearsal. After that few minutes, I was more settled and I was no longer nervous. I began to have dialogue with the audience.
I am in Cloud 9, still am. Just so overwhelmed by Joy, the kinda joy when you are loved.. the Kinda joy when you are pampered!!!!
I was invited to go back again to speak.! Such a great encouragement for a first-timer. A lot of blessings for me who don't deserve this. God blessed me with supportive brothers and sisters and a mum who prayed for me, searched for commentaries for me from KL, pointers from pastor friends, to make sure I stay faithful to the text, a supportive husband who pray with me and for me and share my joy and passion, minister who is willing to give me the opportunity for me to learn and preach.
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
Yesterday was a very special day for me.
The day when my dream come true.
The day when I get a foretaste of a fulfilment and satisfaction that can only be found in GOD's
a glimpse of the Joy when God's passion becomes my passion.
"You have made known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasure at your right hand"Psalm 16:11