I’ve moved!

23Aug12

Oh, if you haven’t got the notice, I now write in zachsiow.wordpress.com!

So re-link, re-subscribe, re-bookmark me on your browsers! 🙂

Thanks for being with me for the past 4 years here!

The new blog will be slightly different.
Hopefully I’ve acquired even more maturity, stature and interestingness.

Here are some memories we’ve made together,
along with the many faces of Zach Siow.

[unsystematically]

Thanks for the memories!

Stay tight!

zachsiow.wordpress.com

-zachsiow


rough rough rough.

3-4 months to STPM.

i’m turning into a ball of angst.

my sleep patterns- dreadful.

everything’s just appalling.

i gnash my teeth.

i scowl at everything.

it’s crazy!

i need to be in Joel’s van screaming to stupid screamos’ now.

%ÂŁ^*^&_”ÂŁ$%^&*!”@¬$*

I CAN’T FAIL THE WAY I DID BEFORE.

————-

checked out Harvest Generation @ Taipan Business Centre last week.

looks like a place i could cushion into.

will check out a few more.

-zachissoangry



notice the colour contrast between my thighs and calf!

i’ve only known the sport since the 2002 World Cup.
and instantly fell in love.

with the passion of the players and fans.

i remember hearing screams from all around the neighbourhood
whenever Brazil scored. everyone was watching the World Cup.

i used to want to become a footballer, too.
dad would send me to football clinics and coaching.

but i grew up to learn that it was impossible.
so i stopped training and picked up the guitar instead.

then i wanted to become a musician.
a singer, maybe.

but i learnt that the local music industry was barely thriving.

so i never went further.

i wanted to be many things,
i wanted to make movies, or become an actor.
or host my own TV show.

then i wanted to be a businessman,
then i wanted to be a dentist,
then i wanted to be a wall street junkie.

i wrote a novel, too.
now it’s a quarter done, and chucked in the nether parts
of the bookshelf.

i dreamed many dreams.
but each time i wake up from them, i choose to walk my old path.

people i know proved me wrong.
Jay Han, a Chinese boy is playing in the national football team.
Carlos is making it big at Nike.

i only knew Reuben Kang in taekwondo where he was really good at sparring.
now he’s a big name in media alongside Jin.

some of my peers are earning big bucks already with stock market
and own businesses and stuff.

some are doing damn well at studying.

i really want to make it big, too.
while many people are contented with a normal life,
RM 10-20k salary, working their way up.

i can’t imagine myself being there.

i was never trained for excellence.
i get to watch TV before completing my homework.
i get to quit when i wanted to.
i get to give excuses.
i get to get average results.

so at 19 years of age already now,  i’m aware of that.

now what.

-zachsiow



adapted from Marvin Williams ODJ.

One Sunday morning a pastor got up in the pulpit and apologised
for the plaster on his face.

He said, “I was thinking about my sermon while shaving, and I cut my face.”

Afterward he found a note in the collection plate,
“Next time, think about your face and cut the sermon.”

That critique of the pastor’s sermon may have been more painful than
the cut on his face.

Nobody likes to be criticised, but it is inevitable that we’ll receive some
disapproval in this life.

Here’s what the Bible says about how to deal with criticism:

Firstly realise that some criticism can be disregarded because a person’s
faithfulness will prove the harsh evaluation to be unfounded, and because
only God can judge a person’s heart [1 Cor 4:2-5].

Therefore, we don’t have to get upset or become defensive over what
others say about us.

Secondly deal with criticism by settling disputes.
This normally means that the offending ones will soften their posture [Prov 15:1]
and seek forgiveness [Matt 18:15]

This tends to diffuse the tension of the criticism.
Next, understand that integrity is the best defense against any criticism. [Dan 6:4]

Integrity doesn’t mean perfection, but it does mean wholeness
and consistency of character.

Thirdly accept some criticism as constructive.
Some criticism is designed to wound in order to change us for the better,
help us face reality and lead us to life.
[Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 10:17, 15:5, 27:6, 28:23]

It can be just what we need to grow.

As a follower of Jesus we’re called to a life of humility, peace and self-control.
Our response to criticism and feedback reveals how much
we’ve grown in Jesus’ wisdom.

Let’s give the Holy Spirit maximum space so He can help us respond to
criticism in a way that honours God.

Yesterday, my pastor’s wife bought me a drink [mocha frappe] and had a chat with
me over what I wrote about my church and the criticisms I expounded on.

From the viewpoint of a “felon”, I felt that it was good that she had
come to me personally to explain and answer all my doubts.

It makes things a whole lot more digestible and cooled off.

Things may not be all resolved, but at least we had agree to disagree
to certain issues.

And from there more things can be done to work on the main things.

On the side note, our beloved uncle Pres has left the church.
It is really a sad occasion to many.

He has been in church for more than 14 years now.
And his absence will be greatly felt.

He and his family is truly a role model to all of us in church.

I wonder.

-zachsiow


studied at my usual place today at Old Town Subang Avenue.

except today with Peanut,
who was instrumental in assisting me in chemistry.
toughest subject of the four!

he and I, we’ve been Batman and Robin in school since
Form Six commenced.

we had to cover each other’s back
because we quickly knew that it’s not all 2-dimensional anymore.

sometimes I have to watch what people say about him
behind his back, as he does mine.

people, blessed with complexity of mind.
ability to judge, reason, make tools, rationalise.

who to look out for, who’s the fox in sheep’s skin.

we’re all aware and conscious about these things.
but we were never really alarmed.

my classmates for example.
it’s not hard to tell who’s masquerading and who’s genuine.
everybody knows a facade when they see one.

but the thing is, we’ve all grown accustomed to live
with all the quacks and spurious.
to accept these facades as who they really are,
what they want us to think they are.

today Peanut and I were chatting about this.
suddenly I had the jitters.
I was suddenly scared at all the images of people in their
guises.

everyone for themselves.

 

but thank God for the few heroes who stick to being who they are.

who are genuine, bona fide people people.

aren’t afraid of being what they are.

i’m more comfortable talking to a genuinely evil person,
than to have to deal with make-up artists and houdinis.

you know you’re with genuine people when
you feel light and comfy around them.

and that you don’t have to constantly be on the look out
for imaginary thought bubbles on their heads to see
if the words are shadowed or not.

: )

the pictures were from Frontera @ Jaya One.
Felicia’s gig!

Emily Chan is really natural at the ukelele and acoustic guitar!
and Felicia Low, as usual with her graceful voice.

’twas genuinely one of the more enjoyable ones of the night!

yeah, these are genuine : )

-zachsiow


you have to understand, when people give genuine opinions.
when your people voice out.
when your people actually take time out to meet to discuss.
when your people take one Saturday out just to make a statement.

listen.

they care.

you can’t take it as a ridicule.
you can’t take it as an offense.
you can’t take it as people trying to knock you down.

there is a serious problem, if you think that way.
there is where the issue starts.

you can’t say “they say too much”.

everyone as citizens, as members of the church are entitled their opinion
towards the building of the community. towards the way things are run.

sure,
there may be really lousy opinions.
there may be misinterpretations.
there may be false accusations.

as leaders of the country, the church.
you must be able to take the good stuff out of it.
you have to be mature and professional about things like this.
no detail is too small to miss out on.

no rakyat, no church member is too insignificant to voice their opinions.

not shoot tear gas and let loose water cannons [literally and figuratively]
at everyone, indiscriminately.

sometimes, for the wrong reasons
leaders are quick to act out of their superiority.
with that comes ego, impulse, emotionally induced decisions.

and hurtful words.

standing at a distance, i parallel the current governing body of Malaysia.
and the church.

i see many similarities, not in deeds, but in the way things are run.
maybe it’s just the being of Malaysia.

what is a prime minister?

what is a pastor?

in Ephesians we see teachers and pastors were referred to as a single group.

but they are more than teachers.

in Acts we see Paul using the verb form of the word.
which is translated to as to feed, and to care for.
pastors feed, tend and protect the church.

elder, bishop, pastor.

these words describe a man who is older and experienced in the faith
a person who is a decision-maker, manager of church affairs, and leader
and one who maintains a careful watch for the
spiritual needs of all the members of the flock.

the country is in a rather volatile state now.
anything can happen.
leaders have to wade through this period of time with vindication.

likewise, the church is at an urgent state now to make big decisions.
decisions involving big sums of everything.

effort. spirit. money.

the wrong decision might prove to be costly.

to both the country and the church.

the best thing you can do now

is listen.

listen
to the sincere, because they want to help.
to the wise, because they know.
to the old, because they’ve seen it before.
to the loyal, because they care enough to stay.
to the young, because they will take your place.
to the perfectionists, they won’t allow mistakes.

and pray, pray, pray.
how can i emphasize this further?

the church lacks prayer.

corporate prayer feels like a sushi bar.
say these few words and end it with “amen”-next.

we don’t pray for ourselves enough. our own church.
we focus our energies in prayer to Myanmar, India, China, Sarawak.
when the very person next to us is hurting,
when the very people in the meeting are contemplating about a dismiss.

do we consult God enough?

no one can hide behind the many words and ‘flowery’ bible verses
to veneer that core factor in our lives.

because it shows by the fruits we bear.

yes it does.

guess who’s not attending our important meeting this weekend?

Matthew 6, Psalm 133.

-zachsiow


ham. chats. sunny side up.

Christian-y post, today.
oh yes, i’m gonna complain.
[you are now giving me that glazed, sardonic smile with a little squint]

and i know some people are gonna’ give me a big, sweeping bitter
comment about how i shouldn’t say these things.
about how i’m not being faithful… how i’m a bad church person…
how i do not respect certain people etc.
“Zach, i understand you, but do take down this blog post.”

READ EVERYTHING.

don’t get me wrong.
this is because i love the church so much,
with all my heart, soul, strength, sweat.

this is the church i spent 70% (if not more) of my youth thinking about.
this is where i spent 14 years worth of Sundays in.
this is the church that i have been given much,
and also gave much to.

i’m not gonna’ say much about my own spiritual walk,
just church, in general.

it’s Sunday morning,
over the past 10-13 years i would normally be in my Sunday best,
getting up early, giving myself a thorough shower, to be as clean as i can.
brush my teeth squeaky clean.

skip breakfast, because my teeth are so clean.
grab a bible, either one. both of which are given to me by the Phuas.
hop on the family car, and head over to church.

dad would ask the same question he asks every week.
“use Summit road better? or use the behind road(highway to SS19)?”

mum would start a prayer in the car,
for people to fill the building,
worship to be Spirit-led,
the speaker/pastor to be anointed his lips.

there would be a reserved car-park space for my dad, right in front.
as we prepare the refreshments for the people we love.
also, his legs are not functioning that well anymore.

service would go on as usual.

present day reflections:

today, i was gonna’ wear shorts
but i ran out of decent looking ones.
so at least i had jeans. but, with slippers.

and there is no reserve car park for dad anymore.

worship. announcements. Word. refreshments. lunch.

on better days,
we’d have good worship.
we used to have some simple, funny and hearty announcement skits by Sze Hsiung.

on better days,
we’d have a speaker speaking on interesting topics.

by interesting i mean, not reading the whole 36 verses of a chapter and
breaking it down into bits and pieces of history and background and
motives and literary use of language so that we gain more knowledge
about the people of those days, even how they dress.
[makes it hard for me to bring friends to listen to these]

like in a bible study.

and on better days,
we’d have visitors.
college students, foreigners, people looking for a place to go on Sunday.
i would put on my best smile, my firm and gripping handshake.
“i’m Zach.”

on better days,
we would spend only half and hour deciding on where to go for lunch.
and on better days,
lunch means 30 people in the same restaurant.
a feast.

present day reflections:

pretty much the same. except Sze Hsiung is in Tasmania, Australia.

on better days,
the youth would come up with something simply outrageous,
or we would do something simple to bless the people around.

i remember things like,
-making a video specially dedicated to the mothers,
featuring us, talking about how our mums are special to us.

-car wash to raise funds for the kids!

-praying OUT LOUD at dinner in a restaurant.

-distributing homemade cookies to the community.

-caroling, oh, caroling. and choir! i miss being in a church choir.

-playing music at a shopping mall for a fundraiser.

-Be|Loved youth camp meetings! oh the joy.

-youth band jamming on Saturdays.

-youth hangout at Uncle Teng’s.

-youth cook-out!

-basketball at TP.

-youth celebrations.

-6 a.m. prayers.

-praise and worship + prayer all through the night.

-making noise!

i also remember cell group being really awesome and spirit-filled.
and most importantly, fun!

i also remember how Saturday night dinners are always with the youth.

this is just a list i crop up from my memory.
amongst the other greats.

present day reflections:

we do nothing now. really.
even going out for dinner together is a big ask.

we had a connection.
with each other, with God, with the church.

when we were not just hungry, but hopeful, and faithful.
when we were well fed with manna.
and faith driven, to continue seeking.

when Lillian led worship, wow, when Lillian led worship.

when cell group was 30 strong.

present day reflections:

cell group is okay. but boring.
the younger cell?
i’m surprised some of them are even there.
smoke, drink, sex, filth.
we’re all a little lost.
God is the same.


i can safely say, now, that those days are gone.

it hurts me to say this, but
the church is now at an absolute crossroad.
and we are at our worst spell yet.

the vital signs are on red alert.

i’m not saying we didn’t have problems.
we have had tonnes of problems.

you might equate me to the Israelite.
for looking back at Egypt.

but no, i am not looking back at bondage.
i am looking back at the hope, the promise and the potential.

you can say we are still on our “40-year-desert-journey”.
but a journey to absolutely nowhere is also a journey.

this is a barren land at its driest.
a desert rat can only retain so much water for so long.
before it searches for other sources.

i salute a lot of CBC-ians for their kangaroo-rat ability.
holding on to the little water for so long.

but kangaroo rats have an extremely toxic piss.
as a result of the countless reabsorption going on in the long Loop of Henle.

we have 200+ members in CBC Subang.
i can only name you 5, at best 10 people that are actually
doing the works of God.

the rest, i have no guilt in saying this, are sleeping.
call me judgmental. call me harsh.

an uncle who has been here since forever rightly pointed out
“CBC Subang, the people are lazy, complacent, and comfortable.”
and gave himself a release predicate.

auntie Peggy and uncle Tat Yin. (spelling may be wrong)
true pioneers of the church.
during her time, church was church.

both the couple would be the earliest to be at the building.
[when church started at 9 a.m/earlier]
standing alongside enthusiastic ushers, greeting people sincerely.
home visitations were common, specially with new comers and the needy.
they really took good care of everyone in church.

church was alive. we had an “overflow room”
[that’s the reason why we have speakers in the foyer]
[there was also a TV. it was normally full]

some said she was too strict at times.
but at that time, it was necessary.

i’m starting to feel what she said wasn’t harsh at all.
when we took in our present pastor. that eventually led to her exit.
[along with many others]

she had foreseen all this.
and how much more hurtful was it for her to leave,
a church, a place that she had a hand in building.

if we plotted a graph,
x being the years, y being anything indicating fruitfulness.
it is a linear line with a negative gradient.
and the past 3 years would denote an obvious drop.

the bible says you will know them by their fruits.
are we a good tree?
are we bearing good fruits?

what have we come up with of late?

let me account.

-Chara Art School? A business, really?
Helping whom? We’re not allowed to say we’re a church?
Charging higher than market price, no proper syllabus?
No trained personnel? No evangelical purpose?

-mission trips- Myanmar, China, India.

-have Saturday service.
-end Saturday service.

-have faith.

-closing the doors past 10 a.m.
-NOT closing the doors past 10 a.m.

-talked about honouring God.

-i give the youth 3 months to burn out.

-introduced more new(Indonesian) songs.

-talked about respecting leadership.

-i give the youth 3 months to burn out.

-introducing more Indonesian songs.

-respect leadership.

-you want this to happen? you do lah?

-ask not what the church can do for you.

-stop looking at the past.

-you guys are like fireworks. one moment you are light, next you are dust.

-submit to leadership.

-stop looking at the past!

-introduce more melodically uneven songs.

-stop, i said stop, looking at the past!

-respect your leaders.

-you want this to happen? you do lah?

-support Chara! we need more help!

-talk about the United States of America.

-you want this to happen? you do lah?

-tell us that we are at a very awesome state.
[transition, desert, moments before dawn, what else?]

-respect leadership.

-don’t worry.

Of course, there were some signs of life in between, here and there.
oh, i was also told how other churches face similar problems.

and true enough, burning out came at the 5th month.
the final month was just our ego going to work.
so where’s the achievement in that, preacher?

every. single. time.
why not give us encouragements, things to do, plan for us.
instead they watched, as we turned to dust.
today, there is no youth. the ones on the left side of church.

i’m here because my parents are here.
i’m here because i can go shopping with my bestfriend after this, convenient!
i’m here because… i’m here.

is it no coincidence, that so many who left this church
became a better man/woman of God?
a new and improved person? (Elizabeth, Natalie, Shao Hen, Sze Juin…)
serving at a far greater capacity.

of course there were some that never went back to church.

my brother came back to church after a 10 year hiatus.
that year he did so many things.
camp commandment [arguably the best camp ever], cell leader intern,
organising so many events and outings, bringing people to church,
bringing people to Christ, acting, providing food…

and what did the church do about him?
he was effectively a one year old Christian.
and we expect him to run on what kind of fuel?

our favourite line is

“YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN SPIRITUAL WALK.”

biggest mistake ever.

no one really attended to him, and for a long time now he has been absent
from church. nothing.

today, he’s attending another church,
passionate about evangelising to everyone he knows.
senses the urgency of God’s kingdom.

Kingdom mindset, that’s the word. It’s all about God’s kingdom.

today, i see a church with a small mentality.
a comfort zone church mindset.

i have absolute respect and love for my leaders.
i do the things they tell me to do.
i listen.

without a shadow of a doubt, they are great men and women of God.
i do not question their credibility. i do not question their motives.

but it puzzles me how we have moved to absolutely nowhere.
[then they come at me asking me to ask myself what have i done]

so, what is the church surviving on, now?

i’d say, 3 things.

habit. people. God.
oh, also, the lack of need of commitments, perfect for Sunday Christians.
some of us are here because it is easy.
that’s odd, because the Christian life isn’t supposed to be easy! [narrow is the gate]

some people here today have been in CBC for over 15-20 years.
it’s hard to leave something you’ve known all your life.

but we’ve acknowledge that it is not impossible to cut the habit factor.
some (if not most) of the pioneers have left, and some toying with that thought.
with the physical building going to be sold.
i don’t see how it’s hard to leave now.

people, need i say more.

God, to some people, God told them to stay.

take away all that, we have a group of people.
believed, hoped, stayed, prayed, teared, sweat, stayed.

heroes.

i love my church.
and i’m scratching for something,
something. a reason to stay. a solid reason to believe in this concept.

i truly hope that i need not search much further than here for an answer.

not just me, many are struggling to spring out of bed to go to church.
to come up with new ideas. to TRY.

cause every time someone does that, we’ll be given the cold water,
sat down in front of the leaders, confronted of our thoughts.
questioning our motives.

and it is not enough to say that the promise land is here or there.

even Moses, the great man who parted the sea.
listened to the elites who reported of the giants that resides there.
leaders make mistakes too.

i’m not pointing fingers. i have no rights to do that.

some of you are reading this and are saying

“we’re not all that bad…”
“we’re okay..”
“every thing is never as it seems.”
“thoust knoweth nought what thoust art sayeth.”

“i’ve heard all of this before..”
“this is another phase you’re going through..”
“you’re never gonna’ leave your beloved church…”

“you missed out on some of the good things we did!”

give me a break.

churches out there are battling the spiritual,
getting souls saved, getting people to know God,
bringing salvation OUT THERE.

and we’re here, having meetings after meetings,
neither listening to another,

for what?
for things that are not even supposed to be issues.
that are supposed to be like clockwork.
administrative problems seems endless.

we are supposed to be concerned about the things of God’s concern!

call me airy-fairy, but

where are the alter calls?
where are the prayers for the needy, the sick, the poor?
why are we leaving the prayers only to the “Thursday Intercessors”,
and first weeks of the month @ Ignite?

where are our evangelistic classes, events?
where are new leaders?
why are our cell groups not multiplying? [purpose]

“We are preparing you for that, how to do it if you’re not prepared?”

nonsense.
at 15 years old i prayed and evangelised to my friends
and they got to know Jesus and salvation.

but i didn’t dare to bring them to my church for the long term.

when i was 15, the youth cell was so big we had to multiply.
for the nth time.

when i was 14, we had 6-7 potential cell leaders, waiting for training.

did you all know that? did you all acknowledge that?
did you all do anything about that? did you all use the resources we had?

no, let’s just watch Suzanne and David do everything until they burn out.

the only thing i really thank God for, and the best thing that ever happened for this
church in a long time is Pastor Soo.

i’m really restless.

i’m really not moving yet, because

-i’m having STPM this year, no major changes please.
-habit.
-people.
-promise.

i’m ready to stay as long as God calls for me to be here.

i hope this post serve as to edify + encourage,
and be something that people can relate to.
and to shed some light on this matter.
and not be treated as a reprove.

these are strictly my own words.

Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 

1 Corinthians 14

-zachsiow