Saturday, December 21, 2013

Free ebook Spiritual Formation on the Run

Christmas gift

 Free download until 26 December 2013

Download from my website Kairos Spiritual Formation


Have a blessed Christmas



Random Glimpses of My Desktop (26)

Battlestar Pegasus as compared with Battlestar Galactica in term of dimensions


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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Smyrna and Polycarp

According to scholars of Christian history in Asia Minor, the Christians initially lived in peace as it was regarded as a sect of Judaism until the second half of the first century. Judaism enjoyed a special place in Roman Rule especially after the Maccabees revolts. Jews are allowed to worship their One True God and are exempted from Emperor worship. They are to offer sacrifices to the Caesar, not as to gods but as to rulers. This changed during the rule of Emperor Nero who threw suspicions on Christians as the one who started the Great Fire in Rome.

The Jews themselves were increasingly unhappy to be grouped together with Christian whom they regarded to be following a false messiah. There began to have religious conflicts between the Jews and Christians. In Smyrna, the Jews were said to have ‘slandered’ the Christians (v.9) and exposed them to the Roman authorities who would imprison them or execute them (v.10). By distancing Christianity from Judaism, these Jews showed the Roman authorities that Christians are not under the exemption that Judaism enjoyed. The word ‘satan’ means ‘adversary’. One important point is Emperor worship.

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Monday, December 09, 2013

Ancient Pergamum

Pergamun or modern Bergama was the third church to which Jesus Christ directed his personal letters.
About seventy miles north of Smyrna and fifteen miles inland lay the magnificent city of Pergamum, with a citadel nearly thirteen hundred feet above the plain of the Caicus River and a major city at its base. It became an important city in the third century B.C.
Pergamum was a center of
  • Learning and education. Along with Athens and Alexandria it became a major intellectual center. Eumenes II was directly responsible for popularizing writing sheets made from animal skins that became known as περγαμηνή (pergamenē), known today as “parchment” (tradition says it was invented there, but that has been disproven).
  • Art and culture
  • Political capital
  • Commercial
  • Religious. 
  • Medical/healing.
  • Emperor worship.

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Friday, December 06, 2013

Advent 2013: Homecoming

As I write this, the sky outside is getting dark; ominous black clouds gathering, the harbinger of a coming tropical monsoon storm. Parts of my country Malaysia is submersed in the annual floods that plague this country in the monsoon period. The darkness of the gathering storm reflects the darkness of my soul. No, I did not have a bad year. In fact, 2013 will be considered by many to be a very successful year for me. I have received accolades for my medical work and medical teaching.  I achieved the pinnacle in my academic development. I have presented a theological paper in an international conference, taught well received courses in theological seminaries, preached numerous sermons and led a couple of retreats. And many have been blessed by these. Yet, I feel empty. I feel a longing for something or someone. I feel homesick. C.S. Lewis has expressed what I am feeling well when he described that feeling he had as if hearing a familiar music from behind a door of a party you have not been invited to. The music invoking a sense of longing, a sense of homesickness of a home you have never seen before.

Advent, the season which leads to Christmas offers me this opportunity to express my homesickness. Christmas is the day we celebrate the birth of the Christ, God incarnate who took on human flesh. The almighty that became vulnerable as a newborn baby in Mary’s arms. The Messiah has come to take on the sins of the world so that all may be reconcile to the Holy Father. The Christ event has made possible my ticket home. This ticket was offered to me free by God’s loving grace. Like a person with amnesia, I may not remember what this home is like but I know that it will be a good place. This home will be where there is space for me to be me; with no pretensions or deceptions. Where I am loved for who I am, not what I do. Home is a space where I feel wanted and am comfortable in. Not an alien resident or squatter in a foreign land. This space is where I belong and am being part of. Coming to this home will be like I have never left. While I am here in this world, this home is still in me and will always be part of me.

Advent and Christmas promise new beginnings. Being at the end of December it is the closing of the year and a new year beckons. Many new journeys begin from home. We strike out from our safe comfortable homes on new quests of discoveries. Advent is coming back to base, rest and equip for another year ahead. Advent is homecoming. Christmas is home base. Then living forward to another quest; another year ahead of discovering the transcendent and immanent God in our daily lives. 

Finally, Advent is coming home to another Christ event, that of His second coming. The return of the king will bring to an end the tremendous suffering of this groaning creation, and the billions of human souls on it. It will be an end to pain, suffering, loneliness and loss. The shalom of the Garden of Eden, the original perfect creation will be restored. And we will all come home, only to discover as T.S Eliot notes, it is where we all have began from.


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Thursday, December 05, 2013

Loving the Introvert

Loved this.

10 November, 2013 in Images, People | Comment


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

The Calvinist by John Piper

See him on his knees,
Hear his constant pleas:
Heart of ev’ry aim:
“Hallowed be Your name.”
See him in the Word,
Helpless, cool, unstirred,
Heaping on the pyre
Heed until the fire.
See him with his books:
Tree beside the brooks,
Drinking at the root
Till the branch bear fruit.
See him with his pen:
Written line, and then,
Better thought preferred,
Deep from in the Word.
See him in the square,
Kept from subtle snare:
Unrelenting sleuth
On the scent of truth.
See him on the street,
Seeking to entreat,
Meek and treasuring:
“Do you know my King?”
See him in dispute,
Firm and resolute,
Driven by the fame
Of his Father’s name.
See him at his trade.
Done. The plan is made.
Men will have his skills,
If the Father wills.
See him at his meal,
Praying now to feel
Thanks and, be it graced,
God in ev’ry taste.
See him with his child:
Has he ever smiled
Such a smile before,
Playing on the floor?
See him with his wife,
Parable for life:
In this sacred scene
She is heaven’s queen.
See him stray. He groans.
“One is true,” he owns.
“What is left to me?
See him in lament
“Should I now repent?”
“Yes. And then proclaim:
All is for my fame.”
See him worshipping.
Watch the sinner sing,
Spared the burning flood
Only by the blood.
See him on the shore:
“Whence this ocean store?”
“From your God above,
Thimbleful of love.”
See him now asleep.
Watch the helpless reap,
But no credit take,
Just as when awake.
See him nearing death.
Listen to his breath,
Through the ebbing pain:
Final whisper: “Gain!”