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Archive for February, 2008

This is the new look of the Emerge Network.

Everyone is invited to join this network of believers. The goal of this Christian community is to reach out to emerging Christian leaders and to help them maximize their potential through online discipleship and community interaction.

Come and join us. See you there!

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This is the site of CrossReach where Alan Staff works as the overall Director of Social Care under the Church of Scotland (Alan literally drives across Scotland to visit the churches of Scotland).

He works with corporate people, and his job always puts him in a tough position not to compromise his faith. He uses his influence and position to spread the love of Christ, making sure he “walks the talk” as a living testimony to his colleagues.

It was  a blessed time with Alan and his wife Dawn last December. God gave me an opportunity to visit them while I was processing my Ukrainian visa in Edinburgh. They made my visit with them another memorable one.

I first visited them when they were still living in the UK. They moved to Scotland two years ago when Alan accepted the offer to work with the Church of Scotland as the Director under CrossReach. He and Dawn found a new adventure with God when they moved to Scotland. They enjoy living in Scotland as they work with their new family and friends that God has given them in Scotland.

I will always treasure my visits with Alan and Dawn. I know that life can be really busy, but God always gives all of us an opportunity to slow down and spend time with friends and just enjoy each other’s company. 

Thank you again Alan and Dawn for your hospitality and warm friendship. You always make me feel at home with you, and you always take care of me whenever I’m visiting you. May God bless you both in everything that you do, and may this year be another great year for you in Scotland!

(Note: To view more photos of my visit to Scotland, click here.)

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Have we ever really stop and ponder this word?

We’ve been hearing this word everyday from people around us or even from ourselves. We utter this word so easily, but do we really know the meaning of “Love” in our lives? Personally?

There are different meaning of this word that is uttered so easily by everyone of us everyday. Sometimes we used the word Love without really understanding it and don’t mean it at all.

Love is a vast word. It has different meaning that sometimes we don’t even think of how we use or say the word Love. I think and believe that we start to think before we utter this ever-used up word Love. I hear people use this word so easily with everything or everyone. And as we do this and hear this word being used without thinking or meaning, sooner or later the word Love will just be a word that doesn’t carry any personal touch or a deeper meaning that attach to it.

I think of Christ when I hear or read the word Love. The example of Love that He showed us and lived it for us to see and follow is just exemplary. His unconditional Love brought Him to the cross. And to use the word Love without really understanding it or its meaning is showing how a person really doesn’t know real love or haven’t experience the real love in his/her life.

Using casually the word love is something that we need to look into and consider it before uttering. Love is a powerful word and act that can change a person’s life and can make a positive impact to someone else’s life as well, if and when given and uttered with genuiness and with pure intention.

We can’t use the word love to obtain something or attention selfishly. That is just an opposite of the unconditionaly love that Christ showed and gave us.

We can always look back on the cross and the work of love that Christ has given and showed us, to learn that the word love has a great impact and meaning to mankind not only to one’s self.

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What is Real Love?

“Love is a many splendour things” as the song says. There is truth in that line though.

Love in Hebrew “ahavah” and Love in Greek is “agape.”

Here are some of the definition of Love from Collins Gem English Dictionary:

Love is: have a great affection for; feel sexual passion for; enjoy (something) very much; great affection; sexual passion; wholehearted liking for something; beloved person;

Many people are looking for real love. Others look for it in their job; profession; success; achievement; possessions; family; friends; etc.

But to some people the real love seems evasive and hard to find or get a hold of.

There are people that are seeking for real love and found it after several relationships and experienced the pain on the road to real love. But the point is, there is such a thing as real love, it’s out there for those people that are looking and wanting it.

Love is everywhere we hear it. The question is “is it the real love?” People can feel the love and fall in-love for different reasons. But whatever the reason is, as long as they feel happy and their feeling is reciprocated then it’s a happy relationship.

But there is a greater love of all. And that is the agape love. Agape love is the kind of love that doesn’t need conditions or reciprocation. It is the kind of love that is unconditional.

An unconditional (agape) love is the kind of love that gives and doesn’t expect anything in return. An uncoditional (agape) love is the kind of love that will accept a person for who he or she is no matter what. It is a kind of love that knows no bounds. An agape love is a kind of love that is willing to sacrifice, give, and forgive someone that they love unconditionally. A kind of love that is willing to give-up everything or something for someone.

Many people missed or haven’t experienced this kind of love for an obvious reasons. Perhaps, they are scared to give themselves completely and scared to get hurt and scared of, or doesn’t like being vulnerable.

In other cases, people didn’t experience or feel the real love because of self-centeredness or selfishness. That they are not willing to give unless they will receive in return. A conditional kind of love. A self gratifying kind of love. The kind of love that only think for himself or herself happiness.

But then, if we do not allow ourselves to feel and experience the real love or the unconditional love (agape love), then we will never know what true love is, and how it feels to really fall in-love without reservations. Even if it means that we will get hurt in the process, at least we knew, felt and experienced the true love, the agape (unconditional) kind of love.

I think, we can always look back and learn from the agape love of Christ for the humankind. He sets an example to follow when it comes to agape (unconditional) love when he gave and sacrificed his life for humankind. And this applies to all kind of relationships that we have.

To give an unconditional (agape) love to those that we love and care.

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Slumber Party in my Flat

Last weekend, I organized a slumber party for the church’s youth group (check out our group photo). It was in line with my promise to them that we would be celebrating Christmas, New Year, and their birthdays upon my arrival from my trips abroad.

Due to extreme excitement, they came in earlier than the time we set (it was their first time to have a sleepover activity with friends). They helped me decorate my flat, and some helped me out in the kitchen. It was a fun time for us all.

We started the party at 3 p.m. After praying together, we feasted on the meals I whipped up (yes, I was the one who prepared the food — amazing, huh?).  As we were all enjoying our meals, I asked each one of them to give their “Christmas gifts” to Jesus:  their tales of personal struggles that they wanted to share with the Lord. I jotted down everyone’s gift and we then prayed for each prayer point raised. It was a glorious moment.

After this main event, we played games from afternoon till evening! Talk about youth energy. In between and after the youth games, we watched films the whole night. Film after film after film. It was like a film festival of some sort. After our “filmfest,” they had their midnight snacks. They ate whatever food was left on the table.

I did the sleeping arrangements: the boys would stay in my room (they were just a few of them) and the girls would sleep in the living room, which can accommodate more people.

But even though everyone was already in bed, they were still not ready to sleep! Both the boys and the girls kept talking and giggling until the wee hours of the morning. So we ended up chatting away — the boys, girls, and me — in the living room till 5 a.m.!

I was able to catch some sleep, but got up at around 7 a.m. to prepare breakfast for the whole group. I woke up the sleepyheads at 9 a.m. for their morning meal.

Everyone had their breakfast and then got ready for church. We all left for church at 10 a.m. At the worship service, everyone was sleepy the whole day (who wouldn’t if you only get two hours of sleep?!). But the important thing was, everyone (including me) enjoyed immensely the fellowship at the slumber party.

Such moments are priceless.

(Note: To view more photos on the youth group slumber party, click here.)

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