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A newly launched initiative by Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, Resilient Church Leadership (RCL) hosted a webinar on the new physical and digital nature of ministry, termed “Phygital,” especially in this post-Covid era, with Eddie Copeland, Nate Bush, and Mindy Caliguire.


(Facebook video here)

Read more about RCL here.

Remembering Jim Morris (1933-2020) – memorial service starts @ 17:40

I came across Louise Morris’ Stronger than the Strong after attending my first GoForth Missions conference, as well as the STEPS program @ OMF. The biography of Jim and Louis Morris began to inspire and encourage me towards missions, discovering the rich legacy of the Morris and many other OMF missionary families, and the pioneer Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson, and the amazing history of the Karen people groups scattered across mainly Myanmar and Thailand. What stood out for me primarily was Jim’s lifeverse (which has been mine ever since as well), from Paul in Philippians 1.20-21,

… according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

To have arrived almost exactly 1 year ago here in Chicagoland for doctoral intercultural studies, his passing at this time is especially memorable and significant for me, as I owe much of the starting of my journey in missions to him. I praise and thank God for Jim’s life and the Morris’ legacy for His glory and kingdom. May their example model and inspire generations of disciplers of all nations!

Double rainbow

 

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As I was driving to the school library to pick up some books, I snapped a photo of what I thought was one rainbow, but it turned out to be a double rainbow after I relooked at it later. It reminded me of God’s covenant with Noah.

When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth. (Gen. 9.16)

The 2020 Singapore General Elections (GE) was an interesting experience for myself. Being away for overseas studies with family, this was the first time I was going to miss being able to vote (the nearest Singapore embassy was at least a 12-hour drive one-way). Having been away for almost a year has taught me many lessons, and also caused me to cherish and appreciate more what we have in Singapore. After the euphoria and hype of the elections begins to subside, I found myself reflecting what lessons we could learn, especially as the Church, the body of Christ, drawing from the life of David and the disciples.

1. Crisis is both a danger & an opportunity

In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, several secular and religious leaders have noted that a crisis can be both a danger and an opportunity, particularly if you consider the Chinese word for crisis 危机 (wéijī), literally a combination of two words, danger (危险 wéixiǎn) and opportunity (机会 jīhuì). Nations and governments have had to deal with the widespread coronavirus from both within and without their borders, forcing massive air travel restrictions, severe lockdowns and quarantines, and ramping up of support for healthcare and frontline workers and infrastructures. Our Singapore government was hailed as a leading role model in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis, especially in containment of imported and community cases, but also met some roadbumps in dealing with cases amongst foreign worker dormitories. Many questioned the calling of the elections in the midst of this pandemic as well. Although the initial predictions and political rhetoric was leaning towards the ruling party, to trust in and fall back on reliable leadership, and not to “rock the boat” in times of crisis, Singaporeans also showed that this could also be the impetus towards breaking new ground, making alternative choices, and taking a chance on new candidates.

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In the span of 2 weeks, we celebrated Father’s Day, my son’s 9th birthday, & the Fourth of July (America’s Independence Day). As we were preparing for the birthday celebrations, my wife noted that we’ve been parents for 9 years. As I was reflecting on Ps. 78, it seemed to be rather appropriate for these 2 weeks of events.

Psalm 78 is significant in the Bible and to me for various reasons. It is the basis for this blog’s title and focus, the concept of “skillful shepherds,” found in the last verse 72,

So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart,
And guided them with his skillful hands.

You can read more here.
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In these challenging times of the global Covid-19 pandemic, children and students can get too little or too much exposure to news and anxiety. As parents and leaders, we need to figure out a balance between the two and avoid too little or too much.

Tim Elmore wrote an interesting post “How often should we talk about the pandemic with our kids?” where he draws from personal experience and also discusses an upcoming book “The Pandemic Population,” where he interviews Great Depression kids and shares their responses. Here’s a summary.

Guidelines when talking about crises with kids:

  • Give them only as much as their minds can handle
  • Start the conversation over a meal; wait for them to ask a question
  • Let the news reports spark the conversation
  • When an overload is observed or building, stop
  • Move on to age-appropriate topics; let kids be kids

Great Depression kids’ responses:

  • The majority of them were not aware they were living in the Great Depression
  • Everyone felt they were all the same and we’re in this thing together
  • People maintained simplicity, gratitude, and contentment
  • Adults raised kids collectively and worked to build morals and work ethic
  • Good attitudes and virtues seemed to be paramount

Read the full article here.

Finding rest in the midst of anxiety (Matt. 6.25-34) | Tony Yeo

Introduction

Do not be anxious (x3)
Gk. worry, concern, restlessness, unrest
Not problem free, but anxiety free
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Of stars and wars

What is this fascination that we have with space adventures and science fiction? Two of the largest sci-fi franchises, Star Trek (1966) and Star Wars (1977) book-end the epic first landing on the Moon by Lance Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin via Apollo 11 in 1969. Both franchises have sparked and amassed a huge cult following of superfans, through various media forms, e.g. film, television, comics, animated series, toys, gaming, etc.

Without going into a heated debate over which franchise is better or superior, here are some basic observations. Whilst both introduced us to alternate galaxies with multiple planets and species, Star Trek mainly focused on space exploration, and it debuted in television. The main protagonists are the Star Fleet team on board the USS Enterprise. The story plotline is more believable and probable in the not-so-distant future of human history. Hence, perhaps its draw especially amongst science geeks and space nerds, especially with the recent resurgence brought about by the highly successful Big Bang Theory, with its cast of brilliant, nerdy, fanboy physicists obsessed with comic books, video games and sci-fi movies.
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Colours of springtime

Colours of springtime #isaiah6112 #nofilter

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up,
So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise
To spring up before all the nations. (Isa. 61.12)

Learning community

Every Tuesday, the PhD ICS (Intercultural studies) community (seniors, juniors, professors) meet together for lunch, with occasional sharings on relevant academic or missiological topics, and personal testimonies of those in the program as well. It has truly been an enriching and inspiring time for myself, even as I begin on the journey myself. I am indeed thankful to God for this rare opportunity, and more and more each day, I see His hand in directing me and my family here.

I had previously wanted to post a picture of our regular weekly lunch gatherings, but due to Covid-19, school closures & social distancing, we had our first virtual meeting via Zoom, ala Brady-Bunch-like, where we shared, reflected and prayed together. I am encouraged & appreciative of this group, when you miss family and home, especially in the midst of this pandemic world crisis.

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