And the countdown begins... 3 more days to our BIGGEST, BEST-est event of the year!

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A Battle Unlike Any Other
The two oppositions meet in a land of ironic bend, of comfort and death. Both approach each other. The Bi-pedals, vastly more superior, while the Hardshells, the underdog with the ability to surprise and chance a slow drawn out death.

The moment arrives and both stare at each other with awe, both evaluating opposing weaknesses and plan strategies of attack. The first blow is made, the stronger of the two has made its move. The blow is both swift and decisive, there are causalities. Majority from the Hardshells with their unmistakable remains stacking up. 

However the oppressed stands resilient, it will not go down without a fight. They are hard to break down, hard to siff out even with the Bi-Pedels' superior armory. And every now and then the Hardshells  would breakout a surprise ruse, a prick at the sensitive areas of the Bi-Pedals. Staining blows to the chest of their oppressors. They have studied their enemy well.

Although wounded, the Bi-pedals do not let up and soon the Hardshells are surrounded and their numbers dwindling. They are sieged, barricaded – there is no escape and the enemy continues comes in for the kill, the final blow.

“Hold fast” they cry, “to the every end!” screams a cry of defiance but alas, the bitter end is played out as the remaining few Hardshells are picked off and put out of their misery.

Scarred, stained, and filled, the conquerors finally chance the moment to seat back and savor the victory. Together they declare in unison …

“We did it … should have ordered less crabs man”

The Stranded Homesick 
P.S - Pictures below *Warning* - you may not want to see!

A visit from the HK golden boy 

The oppressed annihilated - there was another big bowl. (Guess who Poker boy is?) 

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Confessions of an Equally Troubled Soul #2
And now - the dawn of a revelation for one of our dear friends! 
Click here to read the first part of this tell-all testimony. 

This went on for one more year until… I was introduced to the church. A friend invited me to cell and somehow I was interested to check it out. For a couple of months after that, I didn’t know what exactly intrigued me but I attended cell and service regularly. Perhaps it was God doing His amazing work in me! I don’t know. But a part of me felt comfortable, relieved, and… happy. Happy just being around the church people, happy being in the presence of God. I’d grown to find a sense of belonging in a place where I truly felt accepted, loved and beautiful.

Many a time, I’d feel touched by the word of God and break down. It’s like, suddenly I realized how much God loved me, yet I was hurting His own creation, his own masterpiece… me. Not forgetting the ever so awesome song, Hosanna, by Brooke Fraser. Every single time that song played during worship, I’d burst into tears. The lyrics, they meant so much to me.

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity

I believe this song could mean a thousand other things to different people depending on their circumstance. For me, every single line spoke something to me. It became my prayer to God: to heal my broken heart and cleanse it, to open my eyes to see the beauty in me, to show me how to love myself just as He loved me, and to remind me it’s Him I’m hurting every time I chose to throw up. I then tried to pray to God every time I was tempted to vomit. It wasn’t easy at all, having to struggle with the urge to throw up. It became almost like an addiction, where I had to do it in order to relieve myself. At times, I would even vomit and shy away from God in guilt that I failed to consult Him before succumbing to the urge. For the longest time, I’d lived with the thought that “if one person can think I look ugly, I’m sure there are others out there who would think so too” and that kept me bonded to this “addiction”.
God's with you, every step of the way
But our God is a good God; when He says you’ll never walk alone, you never will. I knew little about Him, but somehow I was confident He was going to deliver me from my plight because He loved me too much – and He did! He taught me a few valuable lessons that changed my perspective in life and eventually helped me out of bulimia:

#1 God loves me so much that it doesn’t matter even if the rest of the world didn’t.
Romans 8: 38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

#2 I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. My face, my body – they all represent God. Our God is perfect, and because I am made in His image, I look perfect in His eyes. Who has the right to judge it? Or say that it’s ugly?
Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

#3 I am valuable despite what the world thinks.
#4 My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I should honour God with my body and not hurt it.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

#5 God put me through this to make me stronger and dependent on Him. It was only through this trial that I built a relationship with Him and found out more about His teachings in the bible.
1 Corinthians 10:13 And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

#6 I cannot expect to just pray and be freed from this “addiction”. I have to put in effort and draw strength from the Lord for then will I be delivered through Him.

#7 “Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause”, the second last line of the lyrics mentioned above. I am selfish for focusing entirely on myself by dwelling in this problem of mine. It’s never meant to be about me; it’s about God, it’s about doing things for his kingdom’s cause.

#8 Contentment comes from knowing Christ is sufficient for me. He is all I need, He is my source of strength.
Philippians 4:12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

#9Who better to seek than the Lord Himself? God is ever so patient to listen to me and help me out. He’s the one who will give me rest and peace from this tiresome circumstance.
Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Life still goes on, but this time ... with Hope
Of course, life is not always smooth sailing. Because then you wouldn’t even need God! At times, I still feel unhappy about myself. But I now have a God whom I can turn to, whom I can draw strength from. I have scriptures I can look back at to remind myself of God’s promises and teachings. Friends, this is a God who never fails. This is a God who would gladly carry your burdens. This is a God you can definitely rely on. We all have our own struggles and I hope this serves as a reminder that God is always there for you. He is a faithful and patient God. He WILL listen, He will help – because you’re valuable to Him and He loves you. Be blessed!

Written by a very missed friend of ZPH, 
Vera Lee 

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Study Break isn't a break
Open book tests weren't meant to be easy
It’s that time of the sem again, you simply don’t have the time, you’re tired all the time and you’re so sick of the subject matter you wished you could throw it all away. And there’s that looming deadline just creeping ever closer, ever so slightly, everyday.

Exams are around the corner, and we’re all struggling to study and do well for it (except those who have been there and done that of course, gratz to you) You have a mountain ahead, and with little time and energy left to surmount it. With already so little time for studies, you have even less for friends and family, but it’s alright, they understand, and you can always catch up with them when exams are over.

But in your zeal to conquer the academic world, is your spiritual world alright? Is God still the forefront of your thoughts? You may still do your quiet time, read your bible everyday, but when the studying starts, is He still there? Or do the stats don’t match up?
We need to find Wisdom, directions anyone?
Might I be so bold as to offer a suggestion? Many of you have amazing study styles, have many study tip skills to employ. Can I suggest a God-like one? Instead of using our own IQ of 130+, I say instead ask the One who has an IQ that no one would dare measure or give a number to (even infinity), but instead of just prayer, which is half the battle, I suggest a discussion with the Lord God, talk to Him, bring your problems (even math ones) to Him, or why the words don’t seem materialise - ask Him. And the answers will come in sudden inspiration, your brain would suddenly go into overdrive- gifts from our Father.

And another suggestion to those who still struggle, simply seek His kingdom first- do His work first I say, and the Lord Father will give you your victories everywhere else. 

Study hard, eat healthy & try to limit the red bulls! You are all in our prayers. 

The Blog Team 

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Confessions of an Equally Troubled Soul #1
Everybody has a past. Some wish they could relive theirs, while others wish they never had to go through theirs. I, for one, had the latter. I have a past that hurts me up to today. When I think back, I remember pain, disappointment, sadness, helplessness, loneliness and the lot. But of course, every cloud has a silver lining. Believe it or not, out of the deepest point in my life came its greatest joy.

I was always a happy girl who never felt I lacked anything. In fact, I felt very blessed with awesome friends and family. But about 5 years ago, a random comment hit me. A comment I would never ever forget.

My boyfriend back then had a friend who casually asked him, “Why are you dating her when you can get someone who’s so much hotter?” He told me that and all of a sudden, it’s as if my eyes were opened to the ugliness I exhibited. I started to see how unattractive I was, and how attractive the girls around me were. And I wanted to be like them. I was determined to do whatever it took to be better looking.

I started putting on make-up. And dieting became a new concept in my life. But because I was such a food lover, dieting was difficult. I was surrounded by such good food everyday, and my family went out for big dinners regularly. I soon figured dieting wasn’t going to work, so I turned to other alternatives. I then bought heaps of slimming pills and started inducing myself to throw up after each meal. Before I knew it, I was trapped in a vicious cycle.

At first it felt good to see the pounds go off so quickly. In two months, I lost 8 kilos. People started complimenting me, I could fit into more clothes, look better and yet still enjoy all my favourite food. I was more confident again and I socialized more. However, I still wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to lose more weight despite knowing I was hurting my body. My stomach would occasionally hurt at night but I chose to grin and bear it. The pills were recalled due to some reports on them causing liver failure so imagine what those did to my liver. I was simply a mess.

There were days where I’d lie in bed crying, thinking about how awful I looked (despite having lost all that weight) or how trapped and helpless I was. I’d try to stop making myself throw up for a few days but the moment I gained the slightest bit of weight, I’d succumb to it again. It was a constant battle in my head; having to force myself not to think about vomiting every time I ate something and hiding this urge to throw up what I just had whenever I ate with others.

I became depressed whenever I reflected on what I had gotten myself into. I wanted so much to break away from this vicious cycle, but I simply couldn’t deal with the consequences of gaining weight. I believed I already looked awful, and I couldn’t bear to look any worse. I knew I needed help. So after plucking up much courage, I told my parents. They were so hurt that they cried, yet helpless for they couldn’t do much. They hooked me up with a psychiatrist who finally diagnosed me with depression and prescribed me with Prozac. Perhaps things started to pick up a little, I’m not quite sure. But gradually, I decided to stop going to the psychiatrist and taking my pills. I had enough of “vomiting doesn’t help you lose weight” and “vomiting hurts you”. Whenever someone told me I looked nice, I was convinced he/she was just trying to make me feel better. I began to look haggard; my eyes said it all. Needless to say, I made no improvement at all.

Who is this author? What happens next? Find out in the second part of this amazing personal journey. 

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CBF - Pledging
If you can recall, Ray interviewed some people about our Zion Building Fund and their reasons for giving and this is the line that stuck;

Because God deserves a better house.

I’m sure we all know by now that the church is the house of God and that it is so much more than just brick and mortar. We also know that the church is made up of people, and it is in turn, the people who make up the church. However, let me submit to you that the church is not just a building to house people. Neither is it simply a place where we store our equipment or gather to praise and worship God.

A church building is more than that.

It is a place where we can reach out to people. With a church building to call our own, it can become a meeting place where we can organize meetings and invite people to come, to learn more about God, His love for us, and why we do what we do.

With a building, we have a common place to call home. A place that is available for us to use when we require it for rehearsals and practices for different ministries etc. But, the church is more than a building. What we are pledging money for may be a building and its renovations, but who knows what stories will come out of this building. The church building would be a part of our memories, a common ground from which to tell our story in our walk with Christ.

Search For A Star last year was at PCLC. Yes, PCLC is a very big place, but what struck me the most was their calendar of events. I had a look at it, and thought of all the endless possibilities we will have when we have our own building. 

One day, this building will be used to house events, as a point of outreach, a common place where we can gather for rehearsals and meetings. When that day comes, we will no longer have to worry about looking for places to gather and rehearse or the venue for meetings anymore! 

To sum up, it is said that once we are in heaven, we will not have use of any of our physical possessions and that what we do now directly correlates to our treasures in heaven. So what’s stopping us from contributing more to the kingdom of God? If you think what you are giving is an embarrassment, remember that God accepts your contributions just as they are, from the heart. No amount is too small to make a difference. Never think what you are giving is too little. 

Every bit counts! 

1 Chronicles 29:15-17 (New International Version)

"We are aliens and strangers in your sight, as were all our forefathers. Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope. O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you."

Written by 
Johnson Tan 

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For a lot of us, this would be regarded as “a long time ago”, and though I suspect most of us have no recollection of this date, you will remember these 4 digits by the end of this post.

1968 was one for the memories.

The Bad.
  • After three years of being deployed and fighting the Vietnam War, Anti Vietnam War protests were made throughout the western world.
  • Martin Luther King Jr spends a day in April at Lorraine Motel in Memphis working and meeting with local leaders on plans for his Poor People’s March on Washington. He was shot later that day and declared dead just an hour later.  
  • This led to the Civil Rights being signed, which made it an uneasy time in America. With much rioting and protest.
  • In France, “Bloody Monday” marks one of the most violent days of Parisian student revolt.
  • Senator Robert Kennedy, former Attorney General and brother of the former president John F Kenned runs for presidency in March. He was shot and mortally wounded in June.
There was some good coming out of 1968 of course.
  • The Boeing 747 made its maiden flight.
  • Air Bags in cars were invented.
  • Dr Christian Barnard performs the first successful heart transplant (hooray for doctors!)
  • The first Automated Teller Machine was install in the U.S (did you know that was what ATM meant?)
  • The Emergency 911 telephone service was started in the U.S to provide a single number for reporting emergencies 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. 

However, something else would save 1968 from being a year that everyone wanted to forget. The saving grace? Three men in a small capsule, sitting on top of a crazy huge rocket marked with the letters NASA. They went on to make the first manned space orbit round the moon. (hint: this was not the moon landing, that would happen a year later)

Their mission was to orbit the moon in a progressive step towards putting a man on the moon. However when they went round the moon, it was another planet that got their attention. This was what they saw.

The Good Earth
And with the whole world watching live, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William A Anders took turns reading from the book of Genesis, verse 1 to 10, and ended with this;

“And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.”

All of you on the good Earth.

Those words combined with that picture put everyone’s reality back in check. We weren’t the centre of the Universe, and in actual fact, we were really really small, just a little blue orb in space. Sure it was a bad year, one with much hatred, pain and tears, but no matter how big our problems were, especially with each other, we all shared a common thing, we are all inhabitants on the good Earth.

In the same way the people in 1968 got their reality check, we too have to get our own. Sometimes we focus so much on our problems until it becomes our world and consumes us, but we forget there is so much more out there, so many things that are bigger than ourselves and especially our problems.

Friends, I’m not saying you should disregard your problems or denounce your grief. If there is something to be settled, settle it. If there is a time to mourn, cry and mourn. But let’s keep these things in perspective and never let them become our world. Why?

Because we weren’t meant to live this way.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death or life, neither angels or demons, neither the present or the future, or any powers, neither height or depth, or anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
– Rom 8:37-39

Remember 1968. With the love of Christ, nothing is impossible.

From the land of predator surveyors,
The Stranded Homesick 

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