What Can’t You Go Without?

Image credit: WorldNetworkofPrayer.com

Warning: This is a post for me and my Christian brothers and sisters. You may or may not understand parts of it if you have not yet surrendered your life to Christ.

Can you go a day without coffee? Can you go a day without tea? I know there was a time when I can’t. When not drinking a cup of tea seriously messed up my internal balance and I had to drink at least a cup or else I experienced the following:

Continue reading “What Can’t You Go Without?”

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Back in Hong Kong

Hello everyone! I am back in Hong Kong, so soon! I’m here for a 247Prayer conference and to get some time off from work. I don’t really want to go shopping. Anyone care to recommend some cool stuff to do? I’m hoping to check out some running trails (to make up for the fact that I’ll be missing a whole week’s worth of workouts). We’d love some food trip in Wan Chai area and something culturally enriching yet not costly to do. 🙂 Have you ever been to Hong Kong? Could you share with some of your escapades? Thanks! ❤

Stopping For the One

I was in a hurry to finish this book “The Reformer’s Pledge” but when I reached the chapter by Heidi Baker, “Stopping for the One,” I just had to pause somewhere between its first few pages.

There is something about an anointed book read at the right time. The words sink in and begin a flicker inside you that you cannot ignore. But when I reached this chapter, the words bounced against my heart instead, like waves against a wall. I wondered if there was something wrong with me. The things Heide was saying were so simple and familiar. She talked about how true compassion means to grab each and every opportunity to love, no matter how inconvenient and seemingly small, simple, insignificant.

On the contrary, my lack of love has made me  inclined to brush aside little opportunities to give that come along my way. I question the ability of small gifts to actually impact people’s lives. But I gradually realized that that this only shows that I’m not really  moved by compassion but by a desire for accomplishment. A loving heart would be eager to express love at every little opportunity. Until this point, I guess what I have is a very religious (mis)understanding of what love means.

There is a danger in sophisticated theology, the kind that keeps one behind a pair of spectacles that waits to critic little things that people moved by compassion do. There is a repulsive odor that comes out when our strict theological guideposts launch us to blabber mode and hinder us from soiling our hands with mud, failure and meekness.

Days after putting my reading on hold, I saw an elderly man limping with a stick to a Catholic church. I was was walking briskly to catch a ride going to work. He was walking slower than a turtle… obviously in pain. We were walking towards the same direction and long before I overtook him, I thought I should offer to pray for him. But I soon overtook him and he was behind me. So I walked and walked and walked and stopped. I turned around and saw him still barely able to lift one foot after another. He had to slide his shoes, literally two centimeters forward at a time. “Oh God, Holy Spirit, I don’t feel courageous but do give me the courage that I need before I reach this man as I now walk…one and two and three.” I swear I would have closed my eyes if I could do that without stumbling.

He had the most unusual response to my smiling offer for prayer. First reaction was an angry “No.” Hell no, I don’t need it. Or maybe “Hell no you might be a thief.” I could only guess. He could have said “Shooo..” That was how it felt. Then when I insisted that it’s for free and God can heal him, he said he’ll just pray in the church and he gave me a look that made me wanna laugh. It’s a “Hell you are spooky weird, lady” look. So I just said “God bless you and have a great day!” and that made him look happier. Then I was off to get that ride to the office, half happy and half disappointed that he had not said “Yes.” But what can I say, it really was too abrupt an offer at half past 6 am!

I am desperately displeased with the condition of my heart. I am not sad. I do not feel condemned. I know God loves me relentlessly but I am dissatisfied at how shallow and conditional my love is. I want people healed but I am not willing to pray for them!

I am on the next season of my life and one more time, I am looking for a job job, something with a pay that is not too embarrassingly low given my expensive university education yet hardly expert experience in my chosen field, because I have spent most of my years looking for old limping men who do not want prayer. I don’t know what that means but that’s just how it feels.

The world is not about to figure out who Jesus is on its own. But I am also not about to figure out what it means to not have something to spend because I had kept on hoping someone would just hire me to pray for people the whole day. Because truth be told, I am not as compassionate as I once thought I am. Maybe, I really cannot pray for people the whole day that’s why nobody has given me that job offer. Or maybe I really didn’t want to, that’s why I have not created such a job post.

I don’t know, Heidi, but I am hopeful that I would someday get this right, in hopes of more smiling old men rather that those that run away. In the mean time, I’m off to find an office to rush to every morning. And maybe there will be by the roadsides, a passersby awaiting some free prayer.

Night Time

One teenage girl asked for access to one of our facilities so she can pray. At this late hour, we usually do not allow it. But I knew how precious a moment such as this could be for a young lady yearning for a time with God. I subtly influenced our acting manager to concede to the request. She entered the room, was left there by our staff and minutes later was heard crying.

“She must have a huge problem,” one of our staff said. “Well, maybe. Or maybe she’s just ‘praying,'” I said.

Tonight, I’m reminded of those nights when I was in that young lady’s place… Well, it doesn’t matter if it’s a problem she’s “crying over” or if it’s her “intercession” for a burden that came from God. It is God’s wooing and our ‘responding’ and our weeping and our longing that changes atmospheres and changes lives. I remember the many times my life had been irrevocably altered because of nights like these — just me and God, meeting to change destinies.

Foretaste

We just ended a worship-prayer meeting time with two tenants. Most of them were absent. But it was an awesome time of just magnifying who God is. And we agreed to move the worship meeting to 6am Thursdays so that the rest of the members of our group can join. To make sure they are available to join.

I was so blessed to hear Nathan’s heart for unity amongst different churches, us being from different local churches with one heart – to see Jesus glorified in the dorm and in the campus. I was also blessed by his heart for worshipping God. Such a worshipper. One of those dudes who could stay in God’s presence for HOURS. Faith has the same heart for worship. Addicts, if you wish to call them that… I must say, God encouraged me big time by allowing me to hear their hearts and thoughts.

Years ago, I prayed so may words. In a span of several years, I prayed. Various prayers with various people. Sometimes alone. People came in and left. Seasons changed. I transitioned from full time work to full time unemployment to part time volunteer- part time freelancer to full time freelancer to employed again. My prayers transitioned from faith to faith to faith. But now, the prayers have turned into answers. To my surprise and to the a place that makes me wide-eyed. I prayed for this. Specifically, for this. I dreamed this, shed tears for this, travailed for this, stayed awake for this, twisted and turned in my bed for this. This, which I see now. No, not yet the fulfillment of my biggest dream, but the signs that precede it, the provision that leads to it, the posts that point to it.

When you see the specifics of words you’ve uttered walking right before your eyes, you know you’ve struck gold. You have prayed right because you have prayed the very heart of God and now you know you are unstoppable. With such a heart, you are unstoppable. Nothing can hinder you if God is for you. And yes, He is with us. And so we continue to press on. We go on. We keep doing what we know is right. And this time, we do them even with more exuberance in our spirits. We’ve tasted the surface. We know what’s underneath. We scrape off the layers that separate dream and reality. Heaven is for real. And dreams do come to knock at your door.

The word was holy holy holy… the earth is full of your glory. We sense the call to hunger. The call to glory. The call to be swept away. The image is a vast sky on a starry night, a raging torrent, an endless ocean and a rising flood. The God that calls us is a god of increase. A god who will show us His glory. And will fill us with it.

My our actions speak boldly of this passion. 247. worship. prayer. revival. reformation. On with the revolution.

Some Anti-Religious Realizations About Prayer

Now I’m starting to get it. It is the reason why I kept getting that nudge in my spirit to get out and preach Jesus every time prayer gets intense in our little meetings. But then I would always reason that “there’s a time for everything”… that “now, it’s time for prayer, and not evangelism” and so we must remain faithfully focused on intercession right there on our seats. But yes, I am saying that I am beginning to realize that I had been missing something. And that something is the same reason why there were worship times when I almost was convinced that we should go right out of the prayer room after our session and start looking for someone to pray for, or someone to lonely to talk to, or someone out there who is just waiting for God (or some miracle) to show up. Somewhere in the midst of an apathetic crowd of busy kids intent -or pretending to be intent- in their book reading, there is at least one (but I doubt if there is but one, I’ll bet there’s more) waiting to be seen, heard, felt, and then perhaps be saved, by a love message that will wash his or her empty insides with acceptance, healing and renewed purpose.

I think I am starting to get it. And I feel like I should begin shedding tears. I have become too religious. Too religious that I have placed ministry inside a box, and made the act of loving others fit inside a schedule. Since when has the ministry of caring for people become a task that we schedule within a 3-hour window only if our schedule would allow it?

I think of that “prayer evangelism” or “treasure hunt” activity that I had kept on postponing because we still could not make our prayer time more consistent. If we never find ourselves able to be more faithful in prayer, will we never find ourselves sharing the love of God? If our hearts burn with a desire to preach Jesus, must we put it off for the sake of finishing our one hour in the prayer set? And when we finally find ourselves disciplined, shall we go out and preach the Word out of an obligation that must soon take us to the next level, which is starting a church?


I hope I am getting this right, God.

I think that this is what you want:  That our prayer times will break out into preaching times where we begin to be the very answers to the cries we have been pounding on the doors of heaven. That from this God-yearning inside us, would explode in a matter of seconds (and not a year), a hunger for the lost and broken. That from a place of planning for a missions agenda whose explosion we expect to come some months from now, our feet would itch and our spiritual tummies grumble for an uprising that could not be contained one second more, and that could not wait another day or week because the heart of God is swelling within our chests.

It is a heart that erupts with an all-embracing love inclusion. (Everyone should be and is loved and no one is not included.) It’s message cannot afford to wait for next Sunday because a grief-stricken soul is at stake and the truth of a compassionate God is longing to be revealed as one who does not squeeze us in for counseling schedule in an almost full itinerary, but it is a heart that blasts silent love songs in our ears, at every moment! “I am embracing you now!” “I am sending one of my loves to embrace you now.”

Oh God, we are sorry for being too busy to embrace that one! Because we’re caught up with an agenda! You’re passion and exploding compassion is not confined to nitty-gritty well-crafted itineraries like ours! Your heart burns beyond our imagination. And so when we pray, you say “At last! I can speak!” But then we shut up the very fire that you cause to run through our veins by saying we are not ready to risk it for the sake of abandoned love.

THAT we would hear the voice of the Spirit saying to us, “Go! Go out because the answer to your prayer is right outside this door waiting for you to embrace him with my true love.” God, that we would pray boldness into our lives, rather than security. That we would pray abandon rather than recognition. That we would pray risk, influence and opportunity, rather than comfort, popularity or reward.

God, that we would GO. It has always been your heart for us to “go.” If not now, I am at a loss really what it is that we are still waiting for.

Love Wars

This reminds me of a spy movie. It’s the part wherein you, the normal civilian, suddenly becomes in possession of a sought after article. Just yesterday, you can come out of your front door anytime of the day. Now, you have to use the back door to escape the enemy lurking outside your house. Overnight you’ve turned from status quo into most wanted. You don’t know when it is that someone might fire a bullet targeted towards you. Before you could leave any building, you make sure you’re covered and safe.

What did you do to make you deserve so much attention? Or perhaps the right question would be: what are you capable of doing that made these people want to take you down?

I love peace. I don’t like fighting. Although I’m competitive, I’m peace loving. But I would not avoid a fight if shying away also meant compromising my principles. I will fight until all my strength is gone.

“Why am I here?” I’ve been asking God almost the whole day, “What in the world is going on?!” For perhaps the hundredth time now, I thought of resigning. I’ve been having these “episodes of contemplating resignation” since I entered my company almost a year ago. And no, I don’t hate my job nor am I having trouble getting along with my officemates. In fact, I feel so blessed and privileged to be in such a position of influence. But there are a few things that are making it so difficult to stay sane and sober in it.

First, I feel that 48 hours a week of work is draining the life out of me. I miss staring at the sky without time limit. I miss strumming my guitar until I run out of melodies. I miss poetry that wakes me up in the middle of the night to write it.

Second is, I always get sick nowadays since I started working! Sometimes I feel that not even much sleep can offset the emotional and mental tiredness that goes with this position. And I really think that I need to stay healthy and ALIVE if I were to fulfill my purpose in life, right?

And the hardest question for me today was: Do I really need to resign in order to get my “life” back? Or is there some other way?

I really just started with a dream and an open door. After four years of waiting, this was the door that God opened, my current job. Today, I felt like I am being vomited out of the company. The late work hours, the workaholic culture, the tolerance towards religiosity, the intimidation, the burden of intercession, the challenge of casting a new vision, the grueling task of coming against a culture… Many times, it feels like I will get swallowed alive and carried away by a tsunamis of tradition. And then at times, I’m swimming against the tide, I’m warring and making progress, trying my words against the mountain. And other times, just like the past few days, searching for a way out, hoping I could find a portion of the sea where there’s less religiosity to clash swords against.

Many times, I get disoriented. Is this still my battle or is it time to “pull out”?

But one thing I realized. The enemy sure is after me. I decreed that mountains will move and atmospheres will shift. I have determined to make it my non-negotioable to live under open heaven. Either the heavens shift or I go some place else where God is calling me. I cannot accept a scarcity of the presence of God. I would die. And perhaps, this is why the devil hated me.

Perhaps, I dreamed what meant the destruction of age old strongholds. I am fragile. I prefer a quiet life, but for sure, not a life without the overflow of the love of God. And so I woke up and all of a sudden, just because I love God and His presence more than anything, I must go to war. No not for a day. But who knows how long? Do they really tell you when a war would end?

So the culture here seems to be trying to take me down, that’s one way of looking at it. But what if, I’m the one who’s taking them down — with all the things that hinder love? Shaking it up!  Besides, what ‘s so scary about a quiet girl? Or maybe it’s because they know I won’t ever give up until them all exposed.

So what are you fighting for? Are you just like me? I admit I get scared at times. And at times, I just wanna go on vacation for a two whole weeks. But until God says war is over, this we must make sure: Your enemy is the one scared of you and not the other way around. Remember, why would he try to take you down if you’re not downright threatening his territory?