Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don't Leave God Out

Reading this post by Martin Smith of Delirious? just makes me feel that I'm having a conversation with a friend. For me, the core message is simply "DONT LEAVE GOD OUT!!". Well, maybe because this has been ringing in my head for the past few months, and the ringing is getting louder these days. 

Coming to a new church & taking on both music & youth ministries, I feel excited and nervous at the same time. It's exciting because I get to take everything that I've learnt over the past years and start afresh; nerve-wrecking, because in spite of all good intentions & careful planning, there's no way of assuring you won't get off on the wrong foot!! 

But I am thankful for God's assurances. As we dive into the deep end & commit ourselves to projects & people, I keep getting the feeling that I've made the right decision. I'm right where God wants me to be - now all I need to do is to get Him involved. In the midst of (too many) unknown factors, I have a firm belief that God is the one who has led me here. Now, I must get Him involved. Apart from Him, I am nothing - in fact, God must take center stage!! 

We can make our youth ministry attractive & cool & fashionable & awesome, but without Jesus being the center of attention, it's all for noughs. What's more relevant & necessary than the love of God & the words of eternal life? Offerings & excellence are great; yet God delights in hearts that are humble & broken before Him, with voices that say "God, without You, I am nothing; I don't ever want to leave You out".

My prayer is that God will rain down upon all I am and everything I do, washing away all trace of me and leaving behind only all of Him.

The video is Delirious' performance along with Hillsong Church Choir. Simply superb!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Case for Naive / Innocence

I wish we would let our guards down and learn to trust each other again; I wish we stop second-guessing people's intentions even before we get to know them. I wish we can accept & give kindness without hesitation or doubt.I wish we can share our honest feelings (positive or negative) without fear of being judged or rebuked.

I know that in present times, it's really dangerous to be innocent or naive. There have been stories after stories of evil revealing it's ugly head at the end of something that began with sincere, good intentions. Misplaced trust that leads to tragedy. Even places of supposed security & refuge aren't safe any longer

However, it's sad when we have to live in fear & worry like that. I've worried for friends who were overly naive with obvious dangers, but now my heart aches for them as they become cynical & doubtful towards people. I'm afraid that we often hide behind 'wisdom' in fear, & we forget to live with pure hearts. I think that it hinders us from doing good & receiving goodness.

I wish I can give compliments without people questioning if I have hidden motives or agendas. I feel like if I want to praise someone's beauty, I have to first say "I'm happily married & I'm not looking to get anything from you; I just hope to make you smile by telling you how beautiful you are"... Can't we just give compliments anymore?

Why must we first question each others' integrity? Why can't we take others' words at face value? The worst part is when we question someone's intention or integrity, we ask everyone else instead of immediately questioning the person in question. We would say "oh how can I trust that person's answer" and we use that excuse to spread unfounded doubts & cause others to also second-guess the individual in question.

I want to be able to impart wisdom or teach without having to tiptoe around people & guard their feelings. If both the teacher & the student are of a pure heart, there wouldn't be a problem where people get offended / hurt / wounded. When I first started off as youth leader, I had people older than me & I feared being their leader because I assumed that they will think of me as a small kid. 8 years on, one of them just told me that I'm one of the wisest people she knows. How much wasted precious time & troubles that could have been avoided had I learned to not assume people's thoughts?

In a nutshell, our first instinct is to not trust - be it due to wisdom / fear / judgement. I believe if we have a pure heart, our first instinct is to trust & rely on the Holy Spirit to give us wisdom when necessary.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Failures. God loves.

John 13:37 - 38
Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!"

Peter made a promise he couldn't keep. There was no doubting his love & devotion towards his master - he was sincere, but weak. And we are all no strangers to Peter's story here, aren't we? We, too, have made promises to God & have failed miserably at keeping them. In fact, I could make a list here & I'm certain that you could identify with at least 2 of them.

Maybe it was at youth camp, or at your church's watchnight service, where you made a decision to finish reading the bible next year; or did you make a determination to give 15 minutes of your day for quiet time / devotion, reading at least 1 chapter a day & to pray? We were sincere & truly desired to live our lives pleasing to Him, but then life happened & those promises were either forgotten or given up on. Sincere, but weak...

I want us to be reminded that in spite of our failures & weaknesses, Jesus still loves us.

1. He reminds us -
You'll be bumped out if you've made a powerful declaration of love only to be declared that you'll fail, just like what transpired between Peter & Jesus. But I want you to put yourselves in Jesus' shoes (or rather, as my youth member correctly points out, sandals). He was going to the cross, with the knowledge that one of his disciples will betray Him, another one will deny Him 3 times, & only one will be present as Jesus hangs upon the cross. It must have hurt like hell.

Yet in that moment, Jesus still cared for Peter. Basically He says this: "Peter, I know you're sincere. But let me tell you beforehand - you'll fail. It's alright. When the rooster crows, know that I am reminding you that you have failed & need to repent & turn back to Me." The gospel of Luke recorded Jesus saying more:

Luke 22:32
"But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

You can probably think of an example in your workplace, or maybe in church. Somebody always fails to do as he / she says, or keeps repeating the same mistake over & over again. Are you gonna trust that person again? Will you even bother saying anything at all? In spite of Peter's failures & in spite of Jesus' pain, He still entrusted Peter with great things.

2. He doesn't withold His blessings from us -
John 14 picks up right after Jesus predicts Peter's denial. Check it out:

John 14:1 - 3
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

There are so many beautiful things about this scripture. He comforts Peter & the disciples. He urges them not to rely on their own strength, but upon Himself. He promises them a place in the Father's house. In the Last Supper itself, we can find many valid reasons for Jesus to just forget about Peter & all the disciples. Yet He still loves them. He loved them till the very end (John 13:1).

Many says that John's gospel can be split into 2 halves, with the 2nd half beginning from John 13. That view makes sense to me, as John 13 begins with a declaration of Jesus' love towards His disciples - & that truth was beautifully expressed by the beach where Peter's restoration took place (chapter 21). Peter was fishing, something that Jesus called him OUT OF. So, basically, he had backslide. Yet Jesus was there, reaching out with hands of forgiveness - forgiveness that would empower Peter to later do great things.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that we will constantly fail in our attempts to do what God desires of us. Even if we manage, it's hardly ever 100%. Besides, everything good that we do, is because of God's grace, God's empowerment, God's guidance, God's provision anyways. Bottom line - it's not about us. It's not about us getting things right - it's about a journey of knowing a God who loves us unfailingly & unceasingly.

Our failures / sins should not be reason for us to fall into guilt & condemnation. Rather, our failures should serve as reminders of how much He loves us. Draw near to Him.

He loves us, oh how He loves us...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What a great honour it was to be invited to preach on Methodist Youth Fellowship Sunday. This is actually my first time attending a Youth Sunday. Hope that the youths & youth leaders were blessed (and that I get invited again). 

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Just look at the leaves on the trees. It has to be a Master's touch.
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Monday, July 12, 2010

26th & 27th June

What a significant weekend in our lives!! TOUCH were so kind to throw us this 'Joash & May Appreciation Night' that Saturday. It was a night full of fun & laughter, which for me was the best way to say goodbye. No tears, as we were there to celebrate our friendship & God's faithfulness in our lives; no tearful goodbyes, as we will continue to love & support one another - our lives will always be knitted together.

That night, I was really proud of TOUCH. The growth I saw in some of them - it was as though a year has passed. How comforting to know that a positive change had caused them to rise up & grow. Surprises came mostly from the girls - Rabeeka can finally sing & play guitar at the same time!! Loved that malay song the girls sang, very well done. Completely amazed by how Dawn, Joanna & Shekinah were willing to sing for us - touching indeed. The guys pulled out some stops as well - who knew Ken Chung would be my favourite MC!! And what about that epic Ultraman dance? Totally digged the straight faces!!

Of course we won't forget the notes & letters that individuals have written to us. I hope that when TOUCH invites us back for youth service, we'll be able to present to you all a scrapbook as well.

Then came Sunday, where Pastor David (my uncle) officially introduced us & welcomed us into New Life Restoration Centre, Shah Alam. Conversations in the past month had left me wishing that I've come several years earlier - so that we were integrated with these good people & know the works God has done among them. Stepping into Joash Tan's shoes is a daunting task indeed. I am way less awesome than he is (I'll never get near), but good thing the health of the youth ministry will very much dependant upon the awesomeness of Jesus.

I started work since July 1st, & everyday I'm completely relying on God's grace & guidance to be a blessing to the church. Would you please keep praying for us?

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

New Beginnings

Dear friends, I am pleased to be able to finally announce that I have entered into full time ministry with New Life Restoration Centre, Shah Alam.

Full time:
What a crazy & amazing journey it has been. Growing up as a PK, I've always been reluctant to work as a pastor or full time minister. Then came working life, which helped me discover that I really want to spend my life living out Galatians 5:6 - to express faith through love (sorry but I can't think of a simpler way to explain it). So I ventured into working freelance in the year 2007 to have more time for ministry. But that turned out to be a wild wild journey of self-discovery (I must have driven May crazy!!) that led me to this decision.

Leaving FCC:
It came pretty suddenly for the church, but May & I knew for quite a while that we had to move away from FCC in order for everybody involved to move forward. I had to move into another phase of my walk, and TOUCH had their road ahead of them too. I had to let go of a ministry I've come to be perhaps too familiar with; and TOUCH had to release me in order to begin fulfilling their God-given potentials & calling.

When my uncle enquired about my availability to serve in the church he founded, I just felt that God was opening this door for us. Moving to Kota Kemuning is a big adjustment for us, but the peace of God has been steadily with us. Officially, I start here on July 1st; but since mid May we've had opportunities to get to know many new friends. In a way, it felt like home right from the beginning - I have many relatives in this church, & it is in a children's camp organized by my uncle & aunty that I've became a Christian at the age of 7. =)

Okay that's all for now. I'll be blogging more of what transpired. But if you're anxious to know, let's just meet on facebook. Or at a coffee place - your treat =)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In the past 2 months, I've had the privilege of meeting 3 other Joashs. All of them showed amazing qualities & really likable personalities. I keep thinking about how I wish I was more like them. These other Joashs really inspire me to be a better person - a better Joash.

One of them is Joash Wee. I incidentally met him in Kuantan while on holiday. He was visiting relatives. And though we were only together for less than 5 minutes, I was sincerely drawn to him. Something about his charm & charisma, things I wish I had in reserves. Unfortunately, tragedy struck & he passed away - just mere 3 days after I've met him.

As news passed on via facebook, it turned out that some of my friends actually know this Joash personally. And I would like to say, to those whose lives have crossed paths with Joash Wee, that even in the short time I was with him, I was blessed. So I'm sure you all had great moments with him. He somehow inspired me to be better, and now even more so in his death.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I was thinking about the purpose of doing the things we do... youth service, cell groups, mentoring relationships... It's not to train another generation to run the youth group. Rather, our responsibility is to raise up people who love God & love people. The end goal, is that we will all be good & faithful servants, good stewards with the gifts & people that He has entrusted us with. And along the way, I believe we're suppose to really enjoy ourselves, don't ya think? =)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Double Rainbow

The promises of God are 'Yes' and 'Amen'.

Friday, April 23, 2010

And here's what my wife can do. Better than Subway sandwiches - way cheaper & you can enjoy the entire process.

I'm truly grateful for May. She's the one thing (apart from God) constant in this messy life of mine. I regret many decisions in my life, but she's one wise decision I can be proud of for life.
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Wednesday, April 07, 2010


Something beautiful that came about after a night of thunderstorm. My God can do that. He will do it for all those who believe in Him.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Brothers' & Sisters' Appreciation Day

What better way to show your appreciation towards someone than to make him / her laugh at your expense?

Flying Without Wings from Joash Chan on Vimeo.

More than 4 hours of recording, and about 13 hours of editing.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cameron Highlands

2 days 1 night is kinda short for a trip like this, but I'll take what I can get. And we were so fortunate that Lemuel, Melanie & Mikayla took us along for this (Osbourne caught up with us late at night). Everywhere we went & everything we did were so much more enjoyable with good company.

If it were up to me, I wouldn't have gone to places like strawberry farm or the butterfly park, but Mikayla made every moment precious & necessary. There are so many things I love there - the cool weather, the beautiful scenery, the fresh vegetables, the night market, strawberry ice creams... and did I mention the cool weather? Perfect for BBQ (which we did do on our first night).

Seriously, I wish I had more reason to stay in Cameron Highlands, or at least go there more often. Last year, Pastor Leong of Taman Lakeview was saying that he was going to retire, & I asked if I could take his place as caretaker of the campsite - and I wasn't joking. Perhaps if they could cut short the journey to an hour, or if I had a driver & a nice car, or a helicopter... Or if I had a job that requires me to be in Cameron Highlands half the time... It feels strange needing to be in KL.. Is this my comfort zone, or is this where I'm suppose to be?

Anyways, I do hope to be going up there again in June. Maybe stay up there for like 10 days or something. Nonetheless, I'm really grateful for this trip. It felt like a fulfillment of Psalm 37:4 - 'Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.' These few years, there's really nothing I could depend on except God. Circumstances came our way & forced it upon us, really. But we've experience the grace & the beauty of depending on God for everything. He has come through for us every time. And little by little, step by step, He is drawing us unto complete dependence upon Him.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Not too long now, I'll be away from all the city stress, escaping to Cameron Highlands. It'll be a short trip, but I'm looking forward to a great time of enjoying friends & the presence of God.

God, you really know the desires of our hearts...
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Friday, March 12, 2010

Was doing some experimenting with my video camera (preparing for Brothers' & Sisters' Day) when I stumbled upon photos taken from youth camp last year.

Ahh. Miss feeling the cool breeze & hot sun at the same time. Cameron Highlands is a really really nice place. In my ideal world, I would be living there, away with all the rush - working from home (must have internet!!), traveling down to KL on occasions for work & play. Of course my family & my close friends will be there as well, forming a community that just wants to enjoy each other & God's radiance.

 Here's a photo of me taking myself too seriously...

And then here's one where I just go wild. I wonder why I did that at all.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A job well done by Lee Ken Chung, stepping up to preach as we always knew he could. A humble but great man of God. Looking forward to hear more of his sermons & then some from Joseph Teng too. =)

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Photo taken at IKEA, as the TOUCH Core met up to plan for the year 2010. 
Conversations over coffee are deeply cherished indeed.
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Saturday, February 27, 2010

All my good videos

Here are videos that I've done & uploaded online. 

A documentary of the Johor floods of December 2006 & January 2007, taken in Batu Pahat.  2. Celebration of JoyYoung & Veron celebrates their 22nd wedding anniversary.  3. Mothers' Day VideoA video I made for my church's Mothers' Day event. 

  More to come....

Sunday, February 14, 2010

First Day of Chinese New Year 2010

Here's what I had for breakfast. And it was awesome as always!!

A new member of our family. Hope to have a couple more next year...

The master chef herself. We always love going to her house for food.

I really enjoy the company of my relatives. They are honest, sincere, kind, and generous all the time!!
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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

In Loving Memory of Uncle Peter Choy

I thank God & Uncle Peter that through his life & even in his death, I have been tremendously blessed.

I am grateful to have attended the wake services these past 3 days. I could only imagine how it feels to lose a father, & I was ready to mourn with them. Sure there was mourning, but there were much peace, love, joy, & comfort also. I'm amazed that in spite of their sorrow & pain, the Choy siblings were able to give joy by choosing to encourage & appreciate others instead. It's a great reflection & representation of the love of Jesus.

Jesus, after the Last Supper, spent much time & words to comfort the disciples. They were sad for Jesus was leaving them. And the one who was going to endure the most pain & suffering - was Jesus. Yet, in spite of that, He chose to encourage & comfort the very people who were going to abandon Him. Even on the cross, where physical suffering was at its peak, Jesus managed to attend to his mother's needs by asking John to take care of her.

The Choy siblings - Simon, Carina, Norman - reminded me of these acts of Jesus. My soul has been powerfully impacted. And for that I am forever grateful.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This is me I've been working on

Assembled a team of friends to play as my brother's wedding band. Yes, I will be playing my first live gig along with Andrew & John Chew, Ken Chung, and Samuel Young.

 This is me pretending to be John Mayer.

We've had 2 rehearsals thus far. I've really been slacking musically for many years now. 7 years ago, I was teaching Andrew to play the acoustic guitar and my skill level is still stuck there. I can still fake it behind an acoustic guitar, but now it seems appropriate that the student become the teacher. As for singing, even the drummer sings better than I do. I actually don't intend to be the main singer in my own band, but I do want to improve on my vocals.

Gotta go for classes...

Monday, January 11, 2010

A book?!

We were watching a DVD in church today. The speaker was talking about how we can save a lifetime of mistakes by learning from others' mistakes. He mentioned that he found a book written by a missionary, that records all the life lessons he had learned throughout his ministry. And this speaker shared that that book saved him 20 years of mistakes.

At that point, I was imagining myself writing down all my regrets & mistakes into a book. And when the time is right, I will pass it onto my children & they will avoid their old man's troubles. I was going to be a life-saver & will be forever appreciated.

What a dumb idea!! I immediately thought the next instants. I don't want to be the idiot who made so many mistakes that could fill into a book!! I certainly don't want my children to remember me for my mistakes!! I want my life to be a good example for them to follow - hence, I must learn from others' mistakes. Gotta dive into reading again.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

In the year 2010

I've been doing a whole lot of reflecting these past 3 months. My 25th birthday was the thing that propelled me into that danger zone. Yes, reflections are dangerous - most of the time you get depressed thinking about the past (unless your life is perfect). Then you have a 50 / 50 chance of coming out alive, or dead inside. Even then, how many would have the courage & determination to actually make changes - changes necessary for us to survive our next reflection.

25 is half way to 50. And halfway has kinda been the story of my life (so far). I've managed to trace it way back to my primary school years. I inherited my parents' gift in art, but I only went for a few drawing classes in school. That was my first drop-out, I guess - at the age of 9. Then there was sports. I represented my school in table tennis & badminton. I was good in basketball too. And even though my class lost in the finals, my teacher still recommended me to join a local basketball team - I turned that down. Eventually I quit badminton at 14, to focus on table tennis & 'bola baling'. But all that came to an end when I quit school at 16.

Picked by guitar when I was 12, and that's where my music journey began. But I never had the willpower to learn everything my brother was willing to teach - guitar, drums, keys. In Form 2, I started playing football with the neighborhood kids. But SPM, part-time jobs & college would severe me from playing football regularly - and with that, I lost my speed & dribbling skills. Studied business administration as I didn't know that my real passion was (still is) in mass communications, even that I only got a diploma to show for. In all these, I feel that I've failed my teachers.

I've never been one to have new year resolutions, but after all that reflection, I know I must plan for the year 2010. My only have one new year resolution: to focus on the things I believe I can improve & excel in, and let go of time-wasting activities. And here, I'm going to list down the things I want to focus on / achieve in the year 2010 - firstly to remind myself & allow others to remind me. Secondly, is because I know I cannot work alone in achieving these goals - I need my friends.

Here goes:
1. Drama / movie production - targeting the Easter & Christmas period.
2. Improve musically - mainly on vocals, guitar, & drums.
3. Improve in cinematography & pick up photography.

Trusting God all the way for peace, joy, strength, & love to live through the year.