Cafe Hopper Gets Spiritual – Reflection at Starbucks

I must say that there is a strong parallel between coffee drinking and spirituality. I woke up this morning around 5 and I heard the rhythmic raindrops outside my window. I felt so comfortable listening to the raindrops falling and realised how blessed I am in The Lord. For a good many years I have not felt this way. I continued to roll in my bed and bathing myself in this divine bliss. Oh yah, because God sent the rain, I was so not going to the Cathedral for my service today. Believe me, I really wanted to go for my service.

When I opened my room door, I was greeted by Toffee, my little toy poodle. Every morning she will wait for me to come out from my room faithfully without fail…well unless my mum ground her in the kitchen. Toffee never fails to greet me with lots of leaps and bounds. I decided that since I am not going to the Cathedral, I might as well go down to Starbucks and do some reading. I packed with me my old, tattered Bible and techy iPad. I am a strange person, I usually have my Our Daily Bread on iPad and prefers to read the Word from my physical copy Bible. I never like the idea of digital Bible. I like to feel, touch and experience the Word of God.

The reading for the morning was from Psalm 51 and it speaks about David and his sin. I was once again moved by David’s repentance and reflected on that. The Lord reminded me of His grace and compassionate in forgiving us and cleanse us when we truly repent of our wrongdoings. I was very moved by the message. Of course, I had my sips of coffee as well. I felt as though God reached out His might hands from His throne of grace and touched my feeble heart. The touch was so tangible that I almost tear.

I then started to worship God with a few songs from YouTube, songs from Psalm 51. I must say that Keith Green has a way to soul-bound you with his voice. He is just so gifted and inspired by the Holy Spirit. When I heard his version of Psalm 51, my spirit was so bound by the words and the music, and of course by the Spirit of God. God, help me to stay true to Your Word. I held my old, tattered Bible and was reminded how I delighted in the Word of God as a young Christian back in the 1990s. I was even reminded of my faith back in the 1980s as well. I believe that King David was also reminded of the joy of his salvation when he repented before Almighty God.

I guess, coffee really has away to bring us closer to God. This morning was indeed a coffee time well spent with Jesus. In fact, I felt that he was just sitting right in front of me the whole morning. Like it or not, God is everywhere…. The next time you visit a cafe, invite Him along and you might just have a very different encounter of His Presence right there. Go experience Him over a cup of nice, hot latte….☕☕

The gatekeeper

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Cafe Hopper Review: ‘爱自己’论 (续在续)

我们也说到多爱自己一些,你也会对别人好一些。很多时后我们处事待人的方试跟我们对待自己的态度有很大的连系。我们会怎么对待一个人或一件事请和我们那些所为的’不合理’要求是有关系的。 如果说一个常常认为自己很笨的人,当他对待人的时后往往会想法子要遮盖他的所为的’不理想’,应此他会不由自主的会想要表现一翻。可是因为太过想要表现,有时会弄巧成拙,搞到一踏糊涂!相翻的,如果一个有自信的人,因为不觉得自己缺发什么,他对人也会比较自信,也不会太过要表现自己!当然有些很自信的人也会因为太过自信而变成骄傲,自大,这就不好了。

the gatekeeper

Cafe Hopper Review: ‘爱自己‘ 论 (续)

昨天说到一大堆马桶论。今天让我们来说说为什么我们会有这些‘不合理’的要求?人本来就是一种不容易满足的动物。上帝给了亚当和夏娃一个这么美好的花园,丰衣足食,不愁吃也不愁穿,但他们还是不满足。他们要更多但不一定更好的。人会有对自己的‘不合理’要求是因为我们不满现状。我们一直以为我们现在所拥有的是不够的。其实你想想:我们为什么要的更多呢?别误会,我不是说上进是不好的。我赞成进步与发展,但在进步与发展的当而,我们要懂的知足常乐。当你知足的时后你就拥有全世界。记:人心不足蛇吨象啊!

the gatekeeper

Cafe Hopper on a mini Food Trail in Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima)

I walked out of the Alpha Students’ Centre, thinking of just having something simple for the evening. The stall that I normally frequent happened to be closed and I decided to walk down further to a little mini street paradise just at the junction of Soi Sam Sip Gaan Yaan and the main road. Honestly I didn’t want a heavy meal this evening. I ended up having a little feast, hopping from stall to stall. I started with the stall that always display this whole lot of pork trotter, selling pork trotter rice and wanton noodle. I am not a fan of pork trotter so I gave that a skip. I decided to use my sign language to order whatever I think is possible to order. I pointed here and there and the lady seemed to understand what I was trying to order…actually I didn’t even know what ordered. I sat there and while waiting for my food to arrive, I decided to order my favourite som tum again. This time I told her “mai phet” meaning non spicy. Last night I ordered from the same stall with “phet” and trust me it was spicy!!! Miraculously I finished the som tum last night.

My “finger-pointing” food finally arrived. It turned out to be a very decent bowl of wanton noodle with roasted pork on top of it. I must say that I don’t normally enjoy soup-based wanton noodle. This is one that I enjoyed and it was really tasty. The soup is very rich and the ingredients compliment each other very well. The noodle is of the right texture…it doesn’t clog together and you can taste the soup in every strand of noodle. There’s so much of ingredients in it that every mouth of it is great. The som tum this time round tasted much better without “phet”. It’s crunchy and the veggies are very fresh. I thought for a moment that was it for dinner. I decided to walked down to Seven-Eleven to get some snacks for myself. Before I could reach there, I stopped by at this stall that sell all kinds of satay like stuff, like fish balls, fish cakes, fried wanton and etc. I was so tempted…no I was tempted indeed to buy two sticks of it. I actually tried them yesterday and it was really good….so I decided to buy again today. So, since I got this as snacks, I would suppose that’s it. No….it didn’t end with the satay.

Before I could turn into Soi Sam Sip Gaan Yaan, there is this stall that sells dessert. They sell toast like those in toastbox (Singapore). I was tempted again to order a set to try and I did. Trust me….this stall is not inferior to toastbox. The toast is crunchy and with all the spread…mine! This is a perfect dessert after dinner. I was given a little surprise. The stall owner made a pot of tea for me after the dessert…you tell me that’s not value-added service?The tea was just perfect to make you feel less sinful after a heavy meal like this. Guess what? At the end of it, I still headed down to Seven-Eleven to buy a pack of snack just in case I really need it tonight.

Mine! That was really a mini food trail. I think I have tried almost everything along that small stretch. Look at the pictures below and you will know how much I have enjoyed my dinner tonight. Thank God for such a time.

the gatekeeper

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Cafe Hopper in the Land of Smiles (Thailand)

Its been about one month since I first arrived in Bangkok on the 3/12/2012. I still remember that it was right after my Standard Charted Full Marathon. Before I could be fully recovered, with all the aches in my muscles, I made my way to the airport. The impact of the 42 KM and slightly more was still on my body but still I felt a sense of relieve to be leaving the country to doing something very different in my life. This is really something that I have never tried….to leave home for more than a month and to step into unknown arena. But I must say that this venture has been a very fruitful one and I have learnt a lot about overseas works and I have also discovered a lot about myself. Trust me, there is so much of dying to self and being alive in God. I am not just saying this out of my head knowledge of the Bible. Dying to self is not something for the Apostles of old…it is real and everyday I commit a murder…sometimes with great violence I killed them. Sometimes the process can be very bloody and of course some are easy to kill. There are more to be killed…I don’t know how long more before the killing stops. I am sure that as long as I am alive, I will kill!

I have left Cornerstone Students’ Centre as of 14/1/2013 and I travelled up to Korat on my own. I have never done that in Thailand and that was the first time. Turned out that it was not difficult to travel from Mochit to The Mall in Korat. The nature of the work in Korat is very different from Latkrabang. In Latkrabang, the work is more direct as far as teaching is concern. In Korat, there’s alot of pioneering works to be done, such as BB, Boonwattana and etc. My every week would probably be packed with many activities and meeting with various people to build bridges and establish connections. I sort of like it so far.

This is my second day in Korat officially and I am sure that I will be expecting exciting times ahead. May God bless my journey here in Korat!

the gatekeeper

Cafe Hopper on Special Task Part 2

Right now I am taking my Christmas leave from the works in Korat. Although I was only in Korat for a few days but I have experienced much of the work there. I know that the work in Korat is extensive and I really respect people like Kim Yien and Pastor Dickson and the rest of the team for holding the fort there. I saw everyone so eager to do God’s work and they all contributed in so many ways big or small just to share the gospel with the community. Really a beautiful bunch of people.

After a few days there in Korat, I am having a clearer picture of my role there. I thank God for showing me clearer what I am suppose to do in Korat. I thank God for the people that I met in Korat, both locals and friends from Singapore. I am thankful to God for Mark and Angela for also ministering to me by praying for me before I leave for Bangkok for my Christmas break. They have been a tremendous blessing to me and I am sure to the people at Alpha.

So what did I do in Korat for the past few days. Honestly, The things that I am doing is only such a small fraction of what the whole team in Korat is doing. Basically for the past few days, I have been going for one Christmas event to another Christmas…and all these events are organized with just one purpose – that is so that the people can hear the gospel. For the past few days, I have been following them from Christmas party to caroling…then the Christmas service on Sunday. We also go to members house to pray and bless them. Then it was meeting at the university and at Boonwattana. The meetings were basically our way of building bridges to the various schools and institutions. Its been very exciting and I pray for God to bless the works of our hands. Unless the Lord build the house, the laborer would labour in vain.

Well, at night I am usually all by myself in the house of God. I live in the church and I will be living there for the second round when I am in Korat. Its simply amazing because this is really a dream come true. I always wanted to be a gatekeeper in the house of God and there you go…I am a gatekeeper for the past few days. At night I would do some housekeeping by washing my clothes and hanging them up. I would also iron my clothes so that I can look presentable at times in the ministry. I find worship in doing all of these. They are not chores but a worship unto the Lord. Sometimes I would help mop the floor of Alpha Cafe, which is at the first floor. I also helped to tidy up the place to make sure that the place is ready the next day.

Once all of those things are done, I will go to the Lord in prayer using the Book of Common Prayer. This is really my personal time with God and it has been most wonderful standing before Him and to worship Him; to give thanks to Him the day’s works. I do the same in the morning. I pray the Morning Prayer and offer the day to God and to His work in Korat.

For now, Merry Christmas to all my readers and May the Lord richly bless you!

the gatekeeper

Cafe Hopper on Special Task (Nakhon Ratchasima or Korat)

On the 19th of December, I followed Pastor Dickson to Korat after meeting him at Cornerstone Students Centre, Latkrabang. I stayed in Latkrabang for about one and a half week and had a wonderful time with the university students there. Although our times were short but I hope this brief friendship that was fostered will carry on for a good cause. Indeed, I am thankful for Pastor Andrew for giving me this opportunity to serve and to learn in the centre. To be honest, when I first came to Bangkok, I wasn’t exactly sure what the Lord would lead me to. Perhaps the whole sentiment of uncertainty and unsure-ness have made me feel a bit lost at first. However, as I seek the Lord during my time alone with Him, the Lord showed me clearer and clearer what He was leading me into. Like what Pastor Dickson said, the vision should get clearer and not more blur. I look forward to seeing the friends in Latkrabang.

On my way up to Korat, I had a very nice chat with Pastor Dickson. The first time when I met him, back in June this year, he was already a very friendly man and he was always ready to help in many ways. This time when I met him, I must say that I have a deeper respect for this man of God. On our way up to Korat, he was sharing with me and challenging me to continue to seek the Lord for what is the direction in my life. It was him who dropped me the idea of tent making ministry. I sort of know this concept but I do not know why it didn’t dawn upon me what the Lord is leading me to is tent making. He also cautioned me about being too indifferent towards expectations as some expectations are not expectations…they are obligations. They are naturally expected of us. I must say that the simple truth he was sharing to me really spoke to my heart. I felt that the direction now is clearer and he was like a light that suddenly shines on me and I suddenly see where I am heading to. He has also taught me about self-less giving in the mission field. I see this man as a giving man. He is always giving. There is not a single moment he is not giving. There was one day, Pastor Dickson told me one of the most important truth about leadership. He said that leaders are there to solve problems. There are not here to create problems. When there is a problem, it is always no-problem to a leader. Because of this principle, he always avails himself to solve problems.

Pastor Dickson has made me feel how small I am and there is so much I have to learn from this man. He is so simple and yet so profound in his faith to God. Its not easy for a man to leave his family in Singapore and come here all alone to avail himself for God and for His people. Yet at the same time, he has not neglected his family as well. Pastor Dickson, keeps reminding me to update my family about my whereabout and my well-being. I always assure him that I did call back home. I am determined to learn from this man about doing God’s work and to be more effective in my service to God.

I mentioned about tent making and somehow the Lord has allowed to meet fellow tent makers. Mark and Angela are so much more senior than me, and honestly through their sharing, I have learnt so much about tent making and how they give themselves in various ways to the mission field. They could have just enjoyed their retirement back at home and travel to many parts of the world. But they have chosen to avail themselves for God’s work. Beautiful people they are and again meeting them is really a humbling experience for me. This is my first update on my three months attachment with Anglican Church in Thailand and I know very well that the Lord will continue to speak to me and mould me and make me into the person that He wants me to be. Praise the Lord for all the people I have met and not forgetting Kim Yien and her team of church staff at Alpha Centre. They have done so much for the Lord and their works are sincere and full of love for God and for His people. I have deep respect for all these people. May the Lord have mercy on me and forgive me of my pride and arrogance. May the Lord have mercy on me and forgive me of my ignorance and stupidity in all of my previous ways. God help me!

the gatekeeper

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