Gus Dur

Just to give a tribute to our late ex-president. it's funny to read (albeit long) XD
Like the kiai part. =P

Di dunia ini ternyata ada empat hal yang tidak bisa diduga: lahir, kawin, meninggal, dan ... Gus Dur!

Oleh: Dahlan Iskan

Guyonan itu, rupanya, tidak berlebihan. Meski sudah banyak yang meramalkan bahwa penampilan Gus Dur di depan DPR Kamis lalu bakal ramai, toh tidak ada yang menyangka bahwa sampai seramai itu. Kalau bukan kiai, mana berani menjadikan pidato Ketua DPR Akbar Tandjung sebagai sasaran humor? Akbar sejak dulu memang selalu memulai pidato dengan memanjatkan syukur. Maka, Gus Dur pun melucu, yang membuat semua anggota DPR tertawa: syukur memang perlu dipanjatkan karena Syukur tidak bisa memanjat

Begitu menariknya, karuan saja pidato presiden kini banyak ditunggu penonton televisi. Padahal, dulu-dulu kalau presiden pidato di TV banyak yang mematikan TV-nya. Begitu tidak menariknya pidato presiden di masa Orde Baru sampai-sampai pernah para anggota DPRD diwajibkan mendengarkannya. Itu pun harus diawasi agar mereka sungguh-sungguh seperti mendengarkan. Untuk itu, perlu diadakan sidang pleno DPRD dengan acara khusus nonton televisi.***

Mungkin Gus Dur tidak menyangka bahwa suatu saat dirinya jadi presiden. Maka, di masa lalu banyak sekali presiden di dunia ini yang jadi sasaran humornya. Misalnya saat tampil bersama humorolog Jaya Suprana di TPI tahun lalu. Gus Dur menceritakan, Hosni Mubarak, presiden Mesir, sangat marah karena seorang rakyatnya membuat 39 humor yang menyakitkan hati Mubarak. "Saya ini presiden, saya bisa hukum kamu, apakah kamu tidak takut?" bentak Mubarak. pa jawab si pembuat humor? "Mohon ampun paduka. Humor ke-40 itu bukan kami yang membuat!"

Saat itu Gus Dur juga menghumorkan Pak Harto yang sangat ditakuti, tapi sebenarnya juga dibenci rakyat banyak. Suatu kali Pak Harto terhanyut di sungai dan hampir meninggal. Seorang petani menolongnya dengan ikhlas. Si petani tidak tahu siapa sebenarnya yang dia tolong itu. "Saya ini presiden. Presiden Soeharto. Kamu telah menyelamatkan saya. Imbalan apa yang kamu minta?" kata Soeharto. "Pak, saya hanya minta satu," jawab si petani. "Jangan beri tahu siapa pun bahwa saya yang menolong Bapak." Presiden Habibie yang doyan bicara itu juga dijadikan sasaran humor Gus Dur. Suatu saat Gus Dur yang terkenal gampang tertidur (tapi selalu bisa mengikuti apa yang dibicarakan orang selama dia tidur) menghadap Habibie. Sang presiden bicara ke sana kemari tidak henti-hentinya. Apa komentar Gus Dur? "Saya sih cuek saja. Biar dia bicara terus. Toh saya tidur," katanya.

***
Sikap cuek memang ciri khas Gus Dur. Namun bukan berarti mengabaikan. Dia memang ngotot tetap keliling negara-negara ASEAN meski banyak tokoh memintanya pulang (karena Aceh gawat). Bahkan, dia juga tetap ke AS dan Jepang. Dan, sebentar lagi ke negara-negara Timur Tengah.

Apakah Gus Dur cuek sungguhan? Saya kira tidak. Gus Dur tentu tahu bahwa salah satu syarat berdirinya sebuah negara adalah adanya pengakuan negara lain. Sepanjang tidak ada negara lain yang mengakui, maka berdirinya sebuah negara dianggap tidak sah. Nah, Gus Dur bisa sekalian keliling ke negara-negara itu untuk merayu mereka agar jangan memberikan pengakuan dulu
kepada Aceh atau bagian mana pun dari Indonesia. Kalau seluruh negara ASEAN tidak memberikan pengakuan, kalau AS dan Jepang tidak memberikan pengakuan, kalau negara-negara Timteng bersikap sama dan demikian juga negara-negara lain, maka kemerdekaan Aceh belum akan terjadi. Ini berarti Gus Dur masih punya waktu untuk negosiasi dengan Aceh. Selama kurun waktu yang pendek itu, Gus Dur bisa menuntaskan seluruh persoalan yang selama ini menyebabkan rakyat Aceh marah. Ini berbeda dengan soal Timtim yang memang tidak diakui dunia internasional sebagai bagian Indonesia.

***
Gus Dur memang kelihatan cuek, namun sebenarnya serius. Gus Dur juga kelihatan sering mbanyol, namun juga serius. Sikap cuek itu bukan saja tertuju kepada orang lain, tetapi juga kepada dirinya sendiri.

Suatu saat saya menjenguk Gus Dur yang diopname karena stroke di RSCM Jakarta. Saat itu saya memang presiden direktur PT Nusumma dan Gus Dur presiden komisarisnya. Saya lihat Gus Dur berbaring miring karena memang belum boleh duduk. Setelah menyalaminya, saya mengucapkan permintaan maaf karena baru hari itu bisa menjenguk. "Saya sakit gigi berat, Gus," ujar saya.

Tanpa saya duga, Gus Dur ternyata men-cuekin keadaan kesehatannya. Dia langsung memberi saya teka-teki yang ternyata humor segar. "Sampeyan tahu nggak, apa yang menyebabkan sakit gigi?" tanyanya. "Tidak, Gus," jawab saya.

"Penyebab sakit gigi itu sama dengan penyebab orang hamil dan sama juga dengan penyebab mengapa rumput sempat tumbuh tinggi," katanya. Saya masih melongo. Gus Dur menjawab sendiri teka-tekinya. "Yaitu sama-sama terlambat dicabut," ujarnya. Saya langsung tertawa.

Di saat yang lain pesawat yang akan ditumpangi Gus Dur ke Semarang batal berangkat. Padahal, dia sudah lama menunggu. Gus Dur biasa sekali antre tiket sendiri. Meski ada hambatan pada penglihatan, Gus Dur sudah sangat hafal liku-liku bandara. Saking seringnya bepergian. Saat itu di Jateng lagi getol-getolnya kuningisasi. Apa saja, mulai bangunan sampai pohon-pohon, dicat kuning atas instruksi Gubernur Jateng Suwardi. Maksudnya agar rakyat semakin mencintai Golkar. Maka, ketika para penumpang lain marah-marah, Gus Dur cuek saja. "Sampeyan tahu nggak mengapa pesawat ini batal berangkat ke Semarang?" tanyanya. Lalu, dia menjawab sendiri pertanyaannya: "Pilotnya takut, kalau-kalau begitu pesawatnya mendarat langsung dicat kuning," katanya. Humor ini kemudian menjadi sangat populer.

***
Begitulah. Hampir tidak pernah pertemuan saya dengan Gus Dur tanpa diselipi humor. Sasaran humornya bisa dirinya sendiri, bisa NU yang dia pimpin, bisa juga para kiai sendiri.

Pernah Gus Dur punya humor begini: seorang kiai datang mengeluh kepadanya karena satu di antara empat anaknya masuk Kristen. Sang kiai mengeluh, kurang berbuat apa sampai terjadi demikian. Padahal, dia tidak kurang-kurangnya berdoa kepada Tuhan agar tidak ada anaknya yang masuk Kristen. "Sampeyan jangan mengeluh kepada Tuhan. Nanti Tuhan akan bilang, saya saja punya anak satu-satunya masuk Kristen!"

***

Kita memang sedang melihat sosok presiden yang amat berbeda. Ketika dia salah ucap di depan DPR dengan mengatakan "tentang pembubaran DPR ... eh, Deppen dan Depsos..." dengan entengnya Gus Dur menertawakan dirinya sendiri sebagai penutup kesalahan ucap itu. "Yah, beginilah kalau presidennya batuk dan Wapresnya flu!"

Sama juga ketika dia tampil di forum internasional di Bali. Dengan entengnya, Gus Dur mengejek dirinya sendiri dengan bahasa Inggris yang sangat baik bagaimana sebuah negara yang presidennya buta dan Wapresnya bisu.

***
Dari semua tokoh yang berkomentar terhadap laku Gus Dur seperti itu, adik kandungnyalah yang bisa memberikan gambaran tepat. "Gus Dur itu seperti sopir yang kalau belok tidak memberi richting dan kalau ngerem selalu mendadak," ujar Salahuddin Wahid, sang adik.

Tapi, bisakah Gus Dur mengerem Aceh? Gus Dur tentu sudah mendengar Aceh itu ibarat kelapa. Seperti yang disampaikan seorang tokoh Aceh di TV. Rakyat adalah airnya, ulama adalah dagingnya, mahasiswa adalah batoknya, dan GAM adalah sabutnya.

Tokoh tersebut berpendapat ulamalah yang harus dijaga. Sebagai ulama, tentu Gus Dur lebih tahu bagaimana caranya. Gus Dur punya humor bagaimana harus merangkul ulama. Suatu saat rombongan ulama naik bus. Ada seorang ulama yang membuka jendela sehingga tangan si ulama keluar dari bus. Ini tentu bahaya dan melanggar peraturan "dilarang mengeluarkan anggota badan". "Jangan sekali-kali menegurnya dengan alasan membahayakan tangan si ulama," ujar Gus Dur. Lalu bagaimana? "Bilang saja begini: Mohon tangan Bapak jangan keluar dari jendela karena tiang-tiang listriknya nanti bisa bengkok!".

***

Lalu, bagaimana sebaiknya sikap DPR setelah dijadikan sasaran humor Gus Dur sebagai taman kanak-kanak itu? Sebaiknya dicuekin saja. Kalau DPR ribut terus bisa-bisa Gus Dur malah dapat bahan humor baru. Misalnya dengan mengatakan bahwa DPR ternyata malah seperti play group! Bahkan, tidak mustahil kalau Gus Dur justru berkata begini: Kok sampeyan yang tersinggung. Mestinya kan taman kanak-kanaknya!

Christmas Reflections


Now, this is the most melancholic period of the year. Ever since I entered NTU and knew about Christ better, the month of December got.. A certain special meaning. This Christmas is no exception, as it was very special as well.


I tried to reflect in my life what does Christmas means to me (For they say, Christmas isn't Christmas 'til it happen in your heart). I started from the first week of Advent as I went through the traditional meaning of each candles lit every week: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. I got mixed feelings, and I even experienced serious struggles in between them. Why does the second week of Advent celebrate Peace when I have troubles running into my minds? Where does the hope that they say comes with Him when I felt hopeless in my struggles? I can see the Joy in the celebration of Christmas, but it's not always inside people's hearts. And don't let me begin on the love - we are incapable of it.

But as today's Christmas service went through the candle light prayers I remember my friend back on the time of my late first year or early second year said on a sharing that:

"When an object moves towards a light or a candle, its shadow will grow bigger"

Now that was what we might experience in our life. We felt that even though we tried to do His bidding we are unable to do so. We felt that even when we tried to do what He commands us to do towards our neighbor, they don't response back or neglect us (it hurts even more when the neighbor is a fellow believer). We felt that we are hopeless men walking in sorrowful path, with the burden of our sinful ways (that we still walk into after we accept Jesus) crippling our spine.

But it is not because we are getting worse, neither it is because God is bullying us. But it is because He shows us what we need to do and what we are lacking of. He shows us who we really are by shining His light into our deepest, darkest heart.

Now that should make us realize that, even in our best condition, we are still far from God's standard. That is why we are able to appreciate His sacrifice even more: that God came down to earth as a humbled man to die on the symbolism of curses and stain. He brings hope to our life: for without Him we have none. He brings peace to our life: for without Him all is lost. He brings joy to our life: for without Him there is no reason to be joyful. He introduced to us what is love: for He is love, and with His love we are freed.

So to close this reflections, I want to share a song I used in the Christmas service when I am leading it. It is called "Muliakanlah" in Indonesian (KJ100), but in the original version, it is called "Ere zij God".


As usual, click on this link if you're reading from Facebook.

Ere Zij God

Ere zij God, ere zij God!
In de hoge, in de hoge, in de hoge!
Vrede op aarde, vrede op aarde,
In de mensen een welbehagen.
Ere zij God in de hoge, ere zij God in de hoge!
Vrede op aarde, vrede op aarde,
Vrede op aarde, vrede op aarde!
In de mensen, in de mensen, een welbehagen!
In de mensen, een welbehagen, een welbehagen!
Ere zij God, ere zij God!
In de hoge, in de hoge, in de hoge!
Vrede op aarde, vrede op aarde,
In de mensen een welbehagen.
Amen, amen.

Muliakanlah

Muliakanlah, muliakanlah!
Tuhan Allah, Tuhan Allah, Maha Tinggi!
Damai sejaht'ra turun ke Bumi,
Bagi orang pengasihan-Nya.
Muliakanlah Tuhan Allah! Muliakanlah Tuhan Allah!
Damai sejaht'ra turun ke Bumi,
Damai sejaht'ra turun ke Bumi!
Bagi orang, bagi orang, pengasihan-Nya!
Bagi orang, pengasihan-Nya, pengasihan-Nya!
Muliakanlah, muliakanlah!
Tuhan Allah, Tuhan Allah, Maha Tinggi!
Damai sejaht'ra turun ke Bumi,
Bagi orang pengasihan-Nya.
Amin, amin.

Let there be Light in our hearts.

Oh and yea... Merry Christmas to all of you =)

Budi Soehardi

I never heard this name before, but it was brought out by Yos last night and I checked about him afterwards. He received CNN Tribute to Heroes 2009, an Indonesian (and if I'm not mistaken, a Jogjakartans). Budi Soehardi was a pilot for Singapore Airlines, but he spend most of his salary to run an orphanage of 40+ children in Timor.

It was magnificent story of a Christian.. (I heard from Yos that he went to GPO when he's in Singapore) A real salt and light to the world. He actually turn words into action and it was encouraging to have someone like him giving an example.

Made me wonders sometimes, what is or role in this world? Did I spend my money correctly?

God, please teach me to be a true salt and light..

Below is the video of the awards. Click on this link in case you're viewing on FB..

Let there be Light!


Visit this link for complete videos and information on his work.

For every little thing

I got this youtube video from my colleague. It was hilarious, while my brother and some of my friend call them 'lebay' ;)


The thing that come into my mind is that there are some things that we take for granted. We experienced miracles every day to the point of being ignorant about it. The air we breathe, the food that we eat, the body that we have, the workings of the earth, the movement of the solar system, the kindness of God's providence. It is all miracles that we overlooked and said that it was ordinary, simply because we always have them. But we forget that without God's providence, we will never be able to have them.

Let us not forget these 'little' miracle we have in our life, and thank the Lord, our God, for every little thing we have in our life.

Let there be light!

Now on Windows 7

Last week, since I got a lot of free time to spend, I decided to overhaul my PC. I have planned to do it from 4-5 months ago as the Windows 7 only released on November.

The best part of this is: I got the Ultimate Edition for S$ 0.00 \(^^)/. Thanks to my cousin =D. He got technician license and I got one from him hehehe... Special thanks for ko Robert ;)

Now, the hard part comes later. When I tried to install the new OS, I found that my Desktop overheated pretty fast. Then it won't restart properly-- always got a blue screen every time i do so, and the DVD Drive was looking like a snail smashed by a car. I actually spend 3 days to figure out what's wrong (after patching drivers, BIOS and the keyboard drama)-- my power supply broke. Great. I knew it has been starting to get spoiled since last year, but I never thought that it was THAT broke. So I need to spend some of my money which I saved a new Power Supply-- and it really does its magic =D. Special thanks to the guys at www.dslreports.com, Topaz and Adrian for helping me out on solving this one.

So.. I got the OS free but need to pay for PSU, even though I still got some $ saved, but it still a bit sad. ---but wait--- when I checked the receipt of my old PSU i found that it's on 2 years warranty. The expiry date: 13 Dec 2009. Next Saturday. Muahahahahahahaha... I directly went to Funan to claim =P. So I guess, I can salvage some money by selling the repaired unit. All went nice and well I guess =D

If you do got some money to spend on OS or looking for new Desktop/Notebook, I really suggest you upgrade to W7 (that is, if you're not going for Mac). It's fast and responsive, better than Vista but as light as XP. ^^~

Now, I know that this post may sound a little bit geeky, but I really had a nice experience tinkering my PC for the first time =). Now I know a little bit more about it, and I guess it's learning by doing. I promise you that the next posting will go back to my usual topic. hehe. Until then, I just want to say, Have a blessed advent weeks to all of us! =)

God Bless!

Uncle-In-Waiting

I didn't plan to blog before the issues with my PC are resolved, but there is a big news coming out and I couldn't resist not sharing here hahaha...

It really made my day ;)


...

now back to my dying Power Supply.. gosh...

On trying

this is taken (with slight modification on a word) from C S Lewis "Mere Chrsitianity"

...many people are deterred from seriously attempting Christian [morality] because they think (before trying) that it is impossible. But when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility of impossibility. Faced with an optional question in an examination paper, one considers whether one can do it or not; faced with a compulsory question, one must do the best one can. You may get some marks for a very imperfect answer; you will certainly get none for leaving alone. Not only in examinations but in war, in mountain climbing, in learning to skate, or swim, or ride a bicycle, even in fastening a stiff collar with cold fingers, people quite often do what seemed impossible before they did it. It is wonderful what you can do when you have to...

I guess we are like that.. at least, i do, every once in a while.

May we always be reminded, that it was not ourselves who are working in imitating Christ, but it is always His Holy Spirit working inside us.

I really love this comic strip XD


http://www.phdcomics.com/

Bryan is still in the kitchen

It was a busy week as usual, trying to catch up with project deadlines and doing overtime. It actually got even more intense this week since the project manager are coming down to the Singapore office; meaning that we need to push for a demo to him. So, while I always said that I wanted to have some rest, I haven’t got any chance to have some. Haha…

So there I was, going home in Wednesday night, taking taxi since there wasn’t any bus going through my office after 8.15 pm (figure out yourself what time I went home, luckily it is covered). Now I was resting on the taxi and the driver played a very nice Chinese song. I enjoyed it so much I felt relaxed after a while. When the taxi passed near SPH, I started to realize that the tunes of the songs were… familiar.

Now, I am a twisted Chinese who don’t know any Mandarin, so it took me a while to realize it. I kind of heard the song somewhere, and I also found the “color” of the song to be very close to my ear. And then I heard the singer said ‘Yesu’. At that time I started to think that the songs I have been listening on were Christian songs. It picked my curiosity so I tried to listen to the song more carefully – and the more I hear the more I am convinced that it is Christian songs.

I mustered up courage to ask the driver about it, and it turns out that they were really Christian songs. I was really impressed with the driver when I find out; he was playing the songs to his passengers. And then he told me, something that made me even more impressed, he was a new convert. As his English was not good enough and he prefer to hear sermon and songs in mandarin, he found that Chinese songs are more suited to him. We actually shared some things on my way home. It was a blessed Wednesday, there are a lot of things to be thankful of that night and it made me smile.

The next day we had our demo, things went well, and it seems that the effort paid out. It’s not perfect, but at least I was relieved. So, that night I didn’t have any overtime work, and the team involved in the project went to East Coast to do barbeque with the product manager. They booked bbq pit #57, but when we alight at East Coast’s McDonald by a taxi driver ‘wise’ suggestion, we found out that we were off by… 34 pits and 3 sectors? Great – 40 minutes walk in the east coast prepares my stomach for what is coming. Haha.

Outside of that ‘incident’ it was quite an enjoyable bbq. There were 12 of us, and there were variety of nationality inside, Indonesians, French, Philippines, Indians, Chinese and Singaporeans. And throughout the discussion we actually tell the story behind our cultures, and why some uniqueness exists within each culture. It was great things to learn, and it was really insightful. Now I know why the PRC’s tend to speak in a unique style of English.

It was a mixed experience this whole week. Tired I may be, but I thank God that everything turns out well. It was his providence that really enables me. Thank you Lord!

Just a song I want to share =)

A little boy of thirteen was on his way to school
He heard a crowd of people laughing and he went to take a look
Thousands were listening to the stories of one man
He spoke with such wisdom, even the kids could understand

The hours passed so quickly, the day turned to night
Everyone was hungry but there was no food in sight
The boy looked in his lunchbox at the little that he had
He wasn't sure what good it'd do, there were thousands to be fed

I think you know what this is about. Even with the contextualization made inside the story. This was taken from Corinne May's song, "Five loaves and two fishes". I've been listening to her CDs lately (especially her Christmas album, 'The Gift'. Turn on music and air-con, it's early Christmas. Haha) and this is one song that catched my attention. Well, we know how things turns out but let's just go on with the song anyway =)
But he saw the twinkling eyes of Jesus
The kindness in His smile
And the boy cried out
With the trust of a child
He said: "Take my five loaves and two fishes
Do with it as you will
I surrender
Take my fears and my inhibitions
All my burdens, my ambitions
You can use it all to feed them all"
Well maybe that's not exactly what happened there in the feeding of the five thousands, but she made an interesting remarks in her lyrics though. It was the willingness of the boy to give what he had, no matter how inadequate it was, fully to the hand of Christ. I have to admit it that the song was touching. But more than just that, it told the story in a different point of view. I posted the story in Andrew's and Philip's point of view when I made the entry for "The twelve" before, and this is another point of view that I found pretty interesting.
I often think about that boy when I'm feeling small
And I worry that the work I do means nothing at all
But every single tear I cry is a diamond in His hands
And every door that slams in my face, I will offer up in prayer
So I'll give you every breath that I have
Oh Lord, you can work miracles
All that you need is my "Amen"
Now, I know that some of you might found the idea of creating a study based on a contemporary Christian song to be a little strange or hard to accept, but you can made the same interpretation when you study John 6 as well. And to some of you who knew how to do IBS (Inductive Bible Study), you should have crossed about this if you ever had done IBS on the passage =)

Anyway, there she was, sharing her thoughts when she read about the story, and how she relate the story to her life. And I think, it was the same to our lives as well. True, we may not be someone big or someone powerful or famous enough to do God's work in earth, to disciple all nations under the Lordship of Christ. But He calls us to do so anyway. He wants us to work with Him even though He always knew who we are. In fact, He usually calls common people, and to tell you the truth, no one is good enough to do His work. He just want us to do His will and surrender our life into His everlasting arms.

I read about a lot of people in the 2000 years history of Christianity lately, and I can only say no matter how small we are, no matter how weak we are, God can use us, and it is precious in His eyes. Even when you are only a student, a office worker, or in my case, a software engineer. =)
So take my five loaves and two fishes
Do with it as you willI surrender
Take my fears and my inhibitions
All my burdens, my ambitions
You can use it all
I hope it's not too small
(No gift is too small)

A prayer from a reformer

Been missing for a few weeks now from blogging, work and activities has been making me busy lately. Thank God for having been able to go through that with a healthy body though. Although, the coming weeks will be harder as well.. Please do pray for me.

I'm reading "Church History in Plain Language" by Bruce L. Shelley now. It was quite nice, as the title says, it's in simple English and quite exciting to be read. I'll give my review after finishing it.

But one thing that I want to share today is the prayer of the reformer, John Hus, when he was facing execution in the prison. In the midst of suffering and in the face of death, suffering and weakened, he still said this prayer, which have given me encouragement in those times of struggle.


O most holy Christ,
Draw me, weak as I am, after Thyself
For if Thou dost not draw us we cannot follow Thee.

Strengthen my spirit, that it may be willing
If the flesh is weak, let Thy grace preceeds us;
Come between and follow,
For without Thee we cannot go for Thy sake to cruel death

Give me a fearless heart,
A right faith,
A firm hope,
A perfect love,
That for Thy sake I may lay down my life
With patience and joy.

Amen.

Two Videos

These two days I watched two videos that really made my day. One is the video of my friend who's contesting for PINDOL (NTUers.. do vote for them). The other is the video of remarkable figures of Indonesia, the sons and daughters of Nusantara, singing Ismail Marzuki's classic song (credit to Alison for showing this video in his wall). I put the two of them in this post. Hope you will enjoy them =)



The Twelve Apostle


It takes me some time to finish this small project of blogging about the twelve original apostles of Jesus. I would say that throughout my readings I learned a lot of things. But the most remarkable words is that no matter who we are and how ordinary we are, God is the God who can change our life and enables us to do what he calls us to do. Our lives matters in the eye of the Lord, and he is willing to use us, no matter how weak or how imperfect we are.

Personally, I often find myself forgetting about this quite a number of times. I worried a lot about performing badly and felt unworthy of doing His calling into my life. But I thank God that He used friends to remind me that it was not me who is doing the works, it is Him, and for whomsoever He calls, He will give the power to enables them to do so. Seeing the life of the apostles reminds me of who I am, but more importantly, it reminds me of who God is.

So.. Just to give you the so-called homepage for the series of post about the twelve apostle, I made this post. I would like to give the credit of the post to Mr. John MacArthur though, since the content of the posts was taken largely from his books "Twelve Ordinary Men" (you can get it for S$15.90 at SKS. This post serves as a book review as well. LOL). Other source was taken from my notes of my church series of sermon two years ago about the apostles, and of course the Bible.


I would like to close the series with a sentence taken from the letter of an apostle who is not inside the twelve:

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. (2 Cor 12:9, NIV)

List of posts on the twelve apostles
  1. Simon Peter (click here)
  2. Andrew and James son of Zebedee (click here)
  3. John son of Zebedee (click here)
  4. Philip and Nathanael (click here)
  5. Matthew and Thomas (click here)
  6. James the Less, Simon the Zealot, Judas Thaddeus (click here)
  7. Judas Iscariot (click here)

Let there be light!

The Twelve: Judas Iscariot


We’ve come to the last apostle chosen by Jesus: Judas Iscariot. I have been unable to write since I was sick this week; but after sleeping my whole day off I don’t have anything to do other than writing this and read books. Perfect for me. 

He is the most notorious and universally scorned apostle. He is always mentioned last in every account of Gospel, and every record of him in the Gospel includes a notation of him being a traitor. Simply put, he is the most colossal failure in all of human history. He committed the most horrible, heinous act of any individual, ever. He betrayed the perfect, sinless, holy Son of God for a handful of money. He spent three years with Christ, yet his heart always grows hard and hateful. 

The other eleven apostles are all great encouragement for us since they exemplify how common people with typical failings can be used by God in uncommon, remarkable ways. Judas, however, stands as a warning about the evil potential in our heart. The New Testament tells us plenty about Judas; summarized into two points: (1) his life reminds us that it is possible to be near Christ and yet became utterly hardened in sin and (2) no matter what treachery he or she attempt against God, the purpose of God cannot be thwarted. 

Who he was

His name meant “Jehovah leads”, a name which will always be remembered as the synonym of treachery. His surname, Iscariot, signifies the region he came from: “man of Kerioth”, a small town south of Judea. Apparently, he was the only apostle who did not come from Galilee. The Galilean disciple unfamiliarity with Judas would have aided him in his deception, no one knows who he was, and it would be easy to play the hypocrite. He was able to became the treasurer of the group and pilfer their money. 

His calling into discipleship was not recorded in any of the Gospel accounts, but it is obvious that he joined willingly, eager to see the Messianic prophecy fulfilled. He obviously left behind all he have and followed Jesus. He even stayed behind when most of the less-devoted disciple left Jesus. He had given his life to follow Jesus, but he never gave Jesus his heart. 

It seems that Judas has the same hope with most of the Jewish community: that the Messiah would defeat the oppressors and restore the kingdom to Israel. However, his motivation was more political than spiritual. He is interested with the things he could get from being his disciple, hoping to get wealth, power and prestige. He chose to follow Jesus, and Jesus also chose him. His role of betrayal was ordained before the foundation of the world; even prophesied in the Old Testament. Jesus knew that he will betray Him, and he knowingly chose him to fulfill the plan. 

Having said that however, Judas was not coerced into doing what he did. No invisible hand forced him to betray Christ. He acted freely and without external compulsion, responsible for his own actions. There is no contradiction between being prophesied to betray and betraying out of his choice. It just perfectly concurred. 

He had the same potential as the other disciples; the difference is that he was never drawn to the Person of Christ. He only saw him as a means to an end. His goal was personal prosperity; he never embraced His teaching by faith. He never had an ounce of true love for Christ. His heart had never been changed, and the light of the truth only hardens him. 

Meanwhile, he was becoming progressively more disillusioned with Christ. It was no doubt that at the start all apostles thought of the Jewish Messiah as an oriental monarch who would defeat the enemies of Judea and reestablish the Davidic kingdom. Jesus was the obvious fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy. But Jesus did not always their personal expectations and ambitions (and He did that to us too). The apostles left everything they have behind, but with an expectation of getting their reward. He did tell them that they will have their rewards, but not in the immediate time nor in the material reward. If they expect that kind of rewards, than they will be disappointed. 

The eleven apostles catch who Jesus really was, albeit slowly, and their expectation and understanding was changed; they gladly became the partakers of Christ’s work in Earth. Judas, meanwhile, became disillusioned. He hid his disappointment within the blanket of hypocrisy, corrupting the money of the group in the meantime. His worldliness in his heart was never conquered, and he remained as an outsider secretly. As early as John 6 we can see Jesus call Judas as ‘evil’. He was starting to get disillusioned. By the time of Jesus last Passover, his spiritual disenfranchisement was complete, it turned to hate, mixed with greed that finally turned into treachery. He probably was convinced that Jesus had stolen his life; he thought that Jesus had robbed three years of money-making potentials. 

Avarice, Hypocrisy and Betrayal 

Let us turn back to the raising of Lazarus. Shortly after this story, Jesus and the apostles returned to Bethany, had a feast there alongside with Lazarus, Martha and Mary in the house of Simon the Leper. And there it happened, Mary took a pound of a very costly oil of spikenard and anointed the feet of Jesus, wiped it with her hair and the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil. This act was shocking in its extravagance, as it was not only an overt act of worship, but also because that it has an appearance of wastefulness.

Perfume, even at this time, was designed to be used in a small amount. To pour such an expensive perfume at one time was unthinkable. Judas then protested: Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? 

Three hundred denarii. Three hundred days of work. Imagine you work for S$2800 a month for a year – that’s how expensive the perfume was. And it was poured all at once. 

His response was a clever ploy. He hid behind the names of the poor, and it seems that it was reasonable in the minds of the other apostles as well. He was an expert in hypocrisy. But the true reason behind it was so that he can steal the money for himself. No one sees his true reason, no one except Jesus. But he did not blast Judas with condemnation nor did he expose his true intention in front of the other apostles. He just gave him a mild rebuke. However, it seems that this event broke the last straw inside Judas, because right after that he made an arrangement with the priest to sell him for thirty piece of silver – that was all he can get, a price for a slave set in Exodus. 

Our Lord has been anointed with such overwhelming love by Mary but at the same time He was betrayed with an overwhelming hate by Judas. This apparently was the first time Judas exposed himself and it was the first time he received a direct rebuke from Christ. He blended with the other disciple cleverly, he stored all his bitterness thus far, and it was poured in secret treachery. 

Having collected the money from the chief priest he went to the upper room. He received Jesus’ teaching of humility by washing of feet, unmoved. As Jesus said that they were completely clean, but not all of them are clean, and said that one of them will betray Him, he could join with the other apostles in asking Him: “Lord, is it I?” We know what happened afterwards. Jesus dipped bread, gave it to Judas and told him this: “What you do, do quickly.” Even with this expression the other apostles did not realize that Judas was the betrayer. That was the extent of his hypocrisy. 

Only after Judas left the upper room did the Lord institute the Lord’s Supper. To this day, when we come to the Lord’s Supper, we were instructed to examine ourselves lest we come hypocritically and bring judgment to ourselves. 

He went straight to the Sanhedrin, gave them the way to get to Jesus secretly and let loose the event that lead to Jesus’ crucifixion. This however, was not an impulsive act or an act in the moment of insanity. This act was premeditated and planned carefully, and he has taken his payment for it. He waited to betray them in absence of the multitude. He was a coward, and we know what happened afterwards. 

Jesus was still gracious to him even at the time of Judas’ betrayal. He still addressed him as ‘friend’. He had never been anything but friendly to Judas, but Judas was no true friend of Jesus. Judas profaned the Passover that night. He profaned the Lamb of God. He profaned the Son of God. He betrayed the Lord with a kiss. 

The Death of the Betrayer 

Immediately after he gave Jesus to the chief priest, he was disturbed by his conscience. He found himself in the hell of his own making. It was not because of his guilt caused by his sin, but simply because he did not find the satisfaction he expected. He even gave back the money he received, but nothing can undo what he had done. He threw the thirty coins of silver, and hanged himself afterwards. 

He was such a tragic figure that his death was not even in the way that he wanted. Apparently, he fell after he died of hanging into a rock and burst open. His life and death were filled with grotesque tragedies. 

Judas is a tragic example of lost opportunities. He heard the Lord’s teaching and he had all the opportunity to ask the Lord about his questions directly. Christ had given him all the opportunity to do so, yet in the end Judas was condemned because of his own failure. 

Judas is the epitome of wasted privilege. He was given the highest place of privilege among all the disciples; and he squandered it for a fistful of coins that he throws in the end. He is the classic illustration of how the love of money is root of all kinds of evil. 

Judas exemplifies the ugliness and danger of spiritual betrayal, but he is also the proof of the patient forbearing goodness and loving kindness of Christ. The sovereign will of God cannot be thwarted by any means. 

After his death, his office was filled by Matthias. Nothing is known of Matthias other than that he was a disciple from the time of Jesus’ baptism by John. Another perfectly ordinary man was chosen.

The Case for Faith and Creator


Book Title: The Case for Faith & The Case for a Creator
Author: Lee Strobel
Genre: Apologetics/Journalism
Price: S$ 9.50 each in SKS Bookstore

Last time I wrote a review on Strobel's first book on his investigation about the evidence surrounding Jesus claims and historical background which lead him to believe in Christ (you can read the review here). Apparently he wrote some other books discussing about different topics with regards to skeptics' claim against Christianity. I just put two titles in the same post here since i am lazy feel that the review on the two would be more or less similar.

The first book discussed about Christian faith, and the difficulties experienced by some people to be able to have faith in Christ. He discussed about 'The Big Eight' questions that always nag people's mind, Christian and non-Christian alike. I have to say that some of these questions have been bugging me at one time or another. Questions like the suffering of men, existence of hell and the controversial event closely related with Christianity is discussed in the book to provide the reader with a simple explanation.

The second book discussed about the existence of the Creator, answering the argument of infinitely old earth and evolution, investigating the phenomenon that is happening around us and marveling on how improbable the world is if it is just about a matter of chances. Lee Strobel interviewed both scientist and theologians alike to find out that science and God does not contradict each other.

Personally, I think that the topic discussed in The Case for Faith was more doctrinal, while the topic discussed in The Case for a Creator was more scientific. Nevertheless, like The Case for Christ it was written and explained in such an easy way that I didn't have much difficulty in understanding about it.

I would like to suggest anyone to read these books, but i need to give my remarks that the argument here will not be final in the sense that it will give the answer to all our questions. The critics of Strobel's books said that he didn't interview the skeptics to give their rebuttal to the theologians, and I would say that it would be interesting to read if he does that. But even with all its imperfection, I do think that these books will give the reader something to think about and insights about who God is, and what Christianity is all about.

Perhaps, the most impressive story that I read comes in The Case of Faith. Strobel interviewed the late evangelist-turned-agnostics Charles Templeton and did an interview about what he think about faith in the introduction, followed by the story in the closing remarks. I found it.. intriguing. Why so? Well guys and girls, read for yourself! =P


Children's Day Carnival

My church held a community service yesterday. It was an event dedicated for the children's day, hence the church made a children's carnival day for the kids in Geylang area. Oh yeah, for those of you who don't know, my church is in Geylang area. Nice area for a church eh?

The Indonesian ministry was asked to fill in a game stall in the event, and it was me and Hezron who were asked to coordinate the games. We were confused on what games to do as both of us was not the type of guy who like to play this kind of games (we tend to disappear from outing games). Luckily, Ibu Dina was kind enough to gave us an idea on what we could make for the event: Fishing Game.

We went on with the idea, named the stall 'Fishermen's Friend' and to out surprise, it went quite well. In fact, the children seems to come endlessly to the stall (well, it was quite a crowd) and it was a really tiring evening.

The original plan was to use styrofoam cut as fishes, paint them using pylox and put hooks in their mouth. Turns out, it was a BAD AND STUPID IDEA. Cutting fishes out of a styrofoam was cumbersome, and the pylox would destroy and corrupt the styrofoam, literally. I never knew about this before --'. So, with only a few days left before the event we need a change of plans. We improvised and change the fishes from styrofoam into..

..Cans of soft drinks. Genius. LOL.

We take out all the cans from the church's recycle bin, select the usable ones, clean them and use them as 'fishes'. Please don't ask us how gross it was when we actually clean those cans. It was not a pretty sight. To make things worse, there seems to be someone who throw his lunch into the recycle bin for the cans. I leave that into your imagination.

Ah.. Things we do to cut costs for a community service.

The problem is, the cans must be filled with water to make the mouthpiece hookable, otherwise the cans will nungging and the mouthpiece will face down. But to make it so will make the 'fish' very HEAVY for children. We was afraid that the rod/string will break so we help them take the cans directly after they are able to lift it from the water surface a little bit.

Overall, it was a very interesting day. There were some naughty children who cheat a lot, putting the hook to the cans using their hand (might as well take out the cans themselves.. duh..). There was a kid who felt frustrated since he can't get 5 cans in three minutes and made a fuss with other children. There was a parent who protests to us that the game was too hard (while other kids seems to hit 10 cans in 5 minutes).

There was a kid who cut the line, came from my back and talk to me. He told me about his experience with fishing, how we could make the game more interesting, and even told me that he like a certain girl that was playing at that time. I could only smile and feel SWT! Children these days --'. I lost count of how many times I said "The game will be played for three minutes. Please try to get 5 or more cans in that three minutes. Those who are able to do so, please approach that uncle or that sister for a gift stamp. 5 cans in three minutes. Please don't touch the string. The game will start in 3.. 2.. 1.. GO!"

This experience made me appreciate the teacher of Sunday School more.. Really.. Haha.. Doing that for four hours straight with only 5 hours of sleeping time the night before was really tiring.. But it was cool =D. Special thanks to Anthony (a.k.a. that Uncle) and Nesha (a.k.a. that Sister) for helping us. Arigato Gozaimasu.

Sebelas

~Sebelas~

Be Reminded

Tak terasa satu tahun sudah berlalu sejak saya menuliskan artikel untuk ISCF tentang eksistensinya didasawarsa pertama. Satu hari sebelum ulang tahun ISCF saat itu saya mengajak kita semua untuk mengingat kembali kebaikan Tuhan dan penyertaan-Nya selama sepuluh tahun NTU-ISCF melayani mahasiswa. Seiring ucapan syukur yang dinaikkan juga terdapat panggilan untuk memikirkan ulang dan mempertajam pelayanan yang ada, menyesuaikannya dengan konteks kampus saat ini, dan memantapkan kembali panggilan untuk bersaksi di tengah-tengah dinamika kampus yang tidak pernah terhenti (http://kristokuntadi.blogspot.com/2008/09/sepuluh.html).

Tak terasa satu tahun sudah berlalu, dan sebelas sudah menyongsong. Saya yang dulu dididik sebagai murid di dalam pelayanan inipun sekarang merefleksikan angka sebelas ini sebagai seorang pekerja kantoran. Satu hal yang terus terpikir: Visi ini tetap relevan.

Visi yang terus berkobar



Menumbuhkembangkan pemimpin-pemimpin yang serupa dengan Kristus yang berperan strategis di tengah kampus, gereja, masyarakat, bangsa dan dunia bagi kemuliaan Allah.

Saya berharap kalimat ini terus tertanam didalam hati dan pikiran teman-teman didalam NTU-ISCF, apapun kapasitas teman-teman dalam pelayanan ini, baik itu exco, pengurus maupun anggota. Tidak hanya anggota saat ini saja, namun juga staf, staf pendamping, narasumber, pktb dan alumni – inilah visi ISCF, this is the reason why ISCF is here in Singapore.

Masa kuliah sekarang ini umumnya merupakan suatu masa penjajakan yang krusial bagi kehidupan seseorang. Disini pola pikir dibentuk, idealisme ditanamkan, cita-cita dirumuskan dan kemampuan dipertajam. Disinilah seseorang mencicipi setetes kepahitan dunia. Disinilah pemikiran bertemu, worldview berbenturan, karakter bersinggungan dan emosi berbaur dengan ambisi. Saat inilah seseorang belajar baik secara akademis ataupun non-akademis. Mereka ingin dibentuk dan kuriositas mereka masih bertumpuk. Di titik inilah bahan mentah berubah menjadi produk jadi yang akan dilepas ke dalam dunia untuk panggilan masing-masing. Inilah alasan dibelakang kestrategisan pelayanan mahasiswa.

Tuhan memanggil kita untuk mewartakan injilnya kepada semua bangsa (Mat 28:19-20). Panggilan ini bukanlah semata-mata perintah untuk melakukan penginjilan verbal, namun juga memberikan pembaharuan sosial pada dunia, menjadi garam yang menghambat pembusukan dunia dan menjadi terang yang mengusir kegelapan sosial (Mat 5:13-16). Inilah panggilan murid-murid Kristus yang terlingkupi oleh perintah Allah kepada manusia untuk menaklukkan bumi (Kej 1:28). Panggilan ini mewujudkan satu frase yang muncul dalam doa yang Tuhan Yesus ajarkan: Datanglah Kerajaan-Mu. Kerajaan Allah di dunia menjadi nyata saat semua hal ditundukkan dibawah Kristus dan kasih-Nya.

ISCF memiliki 3 inti pelayanan di kampus: Penginjilan, Pemuridan, dan Misi (Evangelism, Discipleship, Mission). Mewartakan Injil keselamatan kepada sesama mahasiswa, mendidik mereka dalam Firman Tuhan dan mengokohkan iman mereka untuk menjadi impact terhadap dunia secara menyeluruh sebagai perwujudan misi Allah. Ketiganya menjadi core business kita, menjadi panggilan seluruh anggota ISCF. Teman-teman, INILAH PANGGILAN YAND DIBERIKAN UNTUKMU. Sudahkah engkau menyadari panggilan itu dan menjawabnya?

Dunia ini menjerit kesakitan ditengah kehausan akan kebenaran dan pengampunan dari Tuhan. Dimanakah orang Kristen saat dunia membutuhkannya? Dunia membutuhkan manusia yang takut akan Allah untuk menghambat pembusukannya. ISCF menjadi tempat dimana manusia-manusia itu dibentuk dan disiapkan, dengan mahasiswa Indonesia yang menjadi fokus utama kita. Karena itulah ISCF ada. Karena itulah visi kita terus berkobar.

Kuserahkan untuk Tuhan



Meskipun demikian, untuk mencapai hal-hal itu bukanlah sebuah pekerjaan yang mudah. Perlu kita ingat selalu bahwa kita manusia sudah jatuh ke dalam dosa dan sudah meleset dari tujuan mula-mula yang ditetapkan Allah (a tragic flaw, hamartia). Kepala kita mungkin mengerti apa yang harus kita lakukan, namun tangan dan kaki kita tidak (dan lebih sering lagi kita dapati mulut kita berbicara tentang hal yang harus kita lakukan tapi hati kita tidak menyetujuinya). Karena itulah Tuhan Yesus memperingatkan kita akan hal ini “Berjaga-jagalah dan berdoalah, supaya kamu jangan jatuh kedalam pencobaan: roh memang penurut, tetapi daging lemah” (Mat 26:41).

Bukan berarti kita tidak berusaha, bukan berarti kita tidak melakukan perintah-Nya. Manusia sudah jatuh kedalam dosa memang tidak mungkin memenuhi tujuan Allah, tapi Dia sudah memampukan kita lewat pengorbanan anak-Nya di kayu salib, dan Roh Kudus sudah diturunkan atas kita untuk menuntun kita dalam hidup kita. Saat kita dimuridkan Roh Kudus berbicara pada kita. Saat kita bermisi Roh Kudus yang menguatkan kita. Saat kita bersaksi Roh Kudus yang berbicara lewat mulut kita.

Karena itulah Paulus bisa mengatakan hal ini: “Namun aku hidup, tetapi bukan lagi aku sendiri yang hidup, melainkan Kristus yang hidup di dalam aku. Dan hidupku yang kuhidupi sekarang di dalam daging, adalah hidup oleh iman dalam Anak Allah yang telah mengasihi aku dan menyerahkan diri-Nya untuk aku.” (Gal 2:20). Tidak ada alasan lagi untuk menghindar. Kasih itu telah kita terima. Perintah itu telah nyata kita dengar. Roh Kudus sudah diturunkan atas kita. Hanya satu hal yang masih perlu dilakukan manusia: MENJALANKANNYA.

Tapi apakah kita menjalankannya? Kita sudah mempunyai ekspektasi tersendiri tentang hidup kita di tingkat mahasiswa. Kita ingin menikmati masa muda kita, bersenang-senang dengan teman-teman, hidup bebas tanpa harus mengikuti aturan-aturan orang tua (dan kebanyakan dari orang tua kita ada di Indonesia), mencari pasangan hidup, berpacaran sesuai keinginan hati kita, tenggelam dalam studi tanpa memperhatikan sekeliling kita – mengikuti keinginan hati kita, lupa mengkonsultasikan dan mengecek ulang itu semua dengan kehendak Bapa.

Tidak jarang kita sadari bahwa keinginan-keinginan itu, kenikmatan-kenikmatan itu harus kita korbankan kalau kita mau mengikuti perintah Tuhan. Berapa banyak waktu bermain game yang harus kita relakan demi menyiapkan bahan KTB? Seberapa sering kita merasa ‘terpaksa’ untuk tidak mengunduh (baca: download) film-film bajakan meskipun mempunyai internet 100 Mbps? Menyedihkan sekali karena seringkali meskipun kita tahu bahwa keinginan kita tidak sejalan dengan perintah Allah, kita memilih untuk mengkompromikan Firman-Nya.

Berapa banyak standar Tuhan yang kita kompromikan pada saat kita merasa bahwa itu tidak sesuai dengan keinginan kita? Seberapa sering kita menghindar dari tanggung jawab kita dengan bilang bahwa “ah itu ngga kontekstual buat hidup kita di sini.. ngga usah dilakukan gapapa kok..” atau “wah kalo gua sih ngga cocok ya ngelakuin yang kaya gitu.. terlalu ekstrim ah..”?

Well, Excuse me? Since when did we become the one who set the standard? Sejak kapan kita yang menjadi lembaga sensor buat Firman Tuhan, menentukan mana yang kita jalankan mana yang tidak? Bukankah Firman Tuhan yang seharusnya menjadi lembaga sensor buat kehidupan kita? Sejak kapan perintah Tuhan itu bisa ditawar? Betul bahwa kita bisa membaca “TUHAN adalah penyayang dan pengasih, panjang sabar dan berlimpah kasih setia.” (Mazmur 103:8), tapi kesabaran Tuhan itu tidak diberikan supaya manusia ngeles – ingat bahwa Tuhan Yesus menghardik iblis “Janganlah engkau mencobai Tuhan, Allahmu!” (Mat 4:7). Ingat bahwa inilah standar yang Tuhan inginkan buat kita: “Karena itu haruslah kamu sempurna, sama seperti Bapamu yang di sorga adalah sempurna” (Mat 5:48)

Friends, it is time for us to wake up and start moving. Mulailah dengan merefleksikan Firman Tuhan di kehidupan teman-teman, siapakah teman-teman sebenarnya dihadapan Firman Tuhan saat ini. Mohonlah ampunan untuk setiap Firman yang kita korupsi dan berdoalah kepada Roh Kudus untuk memimpin teman-teman. Dietrich Bonhoeffer menulis dalam buku “The Cost of Discipleship” satu hal yang sebenarnya Tuhan cari dalam kehidupan kita: Simple Obedience.

Memang jalan itu sempit dan tidak mudah. Memang kita harus menyangkali diri kita dan membuang segala hak dan mimpi kita dibawah salib-Nya. Tapi Tuhan sendiri sudah memberi teladan kepada kita lewat kerelaan-Nya untuk menjadi manusia, miskin, ditolak oleh umat-Nya, dianiaya dan disalib. Sekarang giliran kita untuk setia. Saya ingin mengutip kata-kata Bonhoeffer sekali lagi yang saya rasa sangat tepat dalam hal ini: “When Christ calls a man, He bids him COME AND DIE.”

Menyongsong Sebelas


Saya sudah berbicara terlalu panjang, dan mungkin menyakiti hati teman-teman dalam prosesnya. Tapi inilah yang harus kita sadari untuk bisa benar-benar menghayati visi pelayanan ini, untuk bisa menjalankan visi itu dengan sepenuh hati dan untuk mengerti panggilan Tuhan dalam kehidupan teman-teman sebagai mahasiswa. It does not apply only to students, but to anyone who dares to call him/herself a Christian.

Inilah saatnya untuk bangun dan mulai bekerja jika teman-teman belum melakukannya. Inilah saatnya untuk menggenapi panggilan Allah dalam hidup teman-teman. Jadilah generasi yang mengerti arti dari membayar harga, berkorban dan menyangkali diri demi memenuhi visi dan panggilan Allah. Ijinkan saya menutup dengan mengutip lagu ini:

Masa mudaku ini kuserahkan buat Tuhan

Untuk melayaniMu sampai akhir hidupku

Oh, Tuhan hamba lemah, b’ri kuat kuasa firmanMu

Untuk menjadi pekerjaMu

Selamat ulang tahun ISCF. Semoga eksistensimu benar-benar menjadi garam dan terang bagi kampus NTU, dan eventually, dunia. Soli Deo Gloria.

You just killed Beethoven

A doctor are consulting another doctor regarding abortion issue.

"About the termination of pregnancy, I want to ask for your opinion. The father was syphilic, the mother tuberculous. Of the four children born, the first was blind, the second died, the third was deaf and dumb, and the fourth also tuberculous. What would you have done (to the unborn fifth child) ?" The first doctor asked.

The second doctor replied, "I would have ended the pregnancy."

The first doctor concludes, "Then you would have murdered Beethoven."

- Maurice Baring, quoted by John Stott in "Issues Facing Christian Today", additional information added.

The Twelve: JSJ

Now, let us move on to the last group of four out of the twelve. We will discuss on three apostles at once in this post. It’s not that I’m lazy to write about them one-by-one. It’s just that we only know very little about them, even virtually nothing for some. The last four was almost unknown, except for you-know-who: Judas Iscariot. We will get to him in the last post. For now, please welcome James the Lesser, Simon the Zealot, and Judas who isn’t Iscariot (a.k.a. Thaddeus, a.k.a. Lebbaeus).

James son of Alpheus, the Lesser.


The ninth name in all scripture recording is James son of Alphaeus, and that is all that we know about him.

Seriously.

The only thing we know about him is his name, his father’s name and his family. If he ever wrote anything, it has been lost. If he ever told about anything or did anything notable, it is not recorded. He is neither stand out or notorious, totally obscure, totally common – even his name was totally common.

We know about James son of Zebedee, we know about James the brother of Jesus, but this James, eludes us. We know about the name of his father (Alphaeus), we also knew that his mother’s name was Mary (Mark 15:40) and his brother’s name was Joses (Mark 15:47, Matthew 27:56). We know more about his mother than we know about himself, which is, Mary was one of Jesus devout follower, she was a witness in the crucifixion event, and she was one who prepares the burial of Jesus. Even his nickname shows that he is not prominent: “the less” or mikros, meaning young or little.

From that nickname, scholars predicted that he might be someone quiet, small and young, who prefer to stay in the background. Nevertheless, he is still one of the apostles who in the end was used greatly by the Lord, and will have his name inscribed in one of the twelve gates of the heavenly city.

More interesting speculation about him is that Matthew’s father’s name was also Alphaeus, but we can’t conclude that James and Matthew were brothers. We also knew that in John 19:25 there was a woman named ‘Jesus’ mother’s sister, Mary, the wife of Clopas’ mentioned. Now, if this ‘Mary, the wife of Clopas’ and ‘Mary, the wife of Alphaeus’ was the same (meaning Clopas is the nickname of Alphaeus) then it is possible that James the Less was Jesus’ cousin. But again, this is just a speculation.

But one thing we know, James the lesser, might be the apostle who resembles us more than the other eleven: total nobody.

Simon the Zealot


Remember when I said that one of Jesus’ twelve apostles was a terrorist? Well, meet Simon, the Zealot. He was also mentioned as ‘Simon the Cananite’. It was not a reference to Canaan or the city of Cana, but rather, it came from the word qanna, meaning ’to be zealous’. He was evidently at a point of his time a member of the Zealots, a widely feared outlaw political sect in that period of time. The fact that he was a member of the Zealots tells us that he has a fiery and zealous personality.

The historian Josephus mentioned about four main sects of the Jews at the time of Jesus. The Pharisees were the fastidious one about the Law, the religious fundamentalist. The Sadducees were the rich, aristocratic, powerful, religious liberals who deny the supernatural. They were in charge of the temple. The third sect was the Essenes, who were not mentioned in the Scripture at all, but it was a group of celibate people studying the Law and secluded themselves in the caves of Qumran (said to be the one who wrote the Dead Sea Scroll). The last sect was the Zealots.

The Zealots was more politically minded than the other three. They hated the Romans, and their main agenda is to overthrow the Roman occupation. They advanced their agenda through acts of terrorism, violence, or even sometimes, assassination. In terms of the Law, they are similar to the Pharisees, but they are the militant version of the Pharisees. They believed that God Himself was the one who had the rights over the Jews, waiting for the Messiah to come and free them from the Romans.

They revolted once in 6 A.D., having thoughts that paying taxes to the Romans was treason. They revolted in a guerilla-style and terrorism actions, but eventually quelled by the Romans, and killed their leader, Judas of Galilee. His sons were crucified by the Romans. After that, they went underground. They formed a group of assassins named the sicarii (dagger men) who brought a curved dagger everywhere and would be ready to kill Romans soldier and politician from behind, stabbing at their ribs, expertly ripping of their victim’s heart. Galilee was their main hideout and they are so zealous that they won’t falter even in the face of tortures.

It was believed that the Romans siege over Jerusalem and their plunder over the temple were caused by the Zealots. The Romans under Titus Vespasian in 70 A.D. surrounded the city, cut off their supplies and sacked Jerusalem. It was even said that the Zealots would kill any Jews who wanted to negotiate with the Romans, allowing no one to surrender. Titus Vespasian eventually destroyed the city, slaughters thousands of Jews, and stole every treasure inside the temple. The Zealot blind hatred of Rome eventually brings the destruction of the city the loved the most.

Now Simon was one of them. The reason why he followed Jesus’ might be of a political one: hoping that Jesus the Messiah would bring an end to the Romans. Interestingly, he would be included in the twelve apostles along with Matthew, the tax collector. Well, I believe he would gladly kill Matthew because of it, or at least despise him, but of course, it doesn’t happen. He changed. When Jesus didn’t do anything to the Romans oppression (even saying to the Jews to pay the taxes of the Romans) we would be thinking that Simon will be disappointed and leave. But he did not. He changed because he knew Jesus, and he sees the truth.

Judas who isn’t Iscariot


The name Judas became notorious after Judas Iscariot betrayal. Actually, it was a very common name and a very good one. The name ‘Judas’ meant ‘Jehovah leads’. But after Judas Iscariot, it will forever be remembered as the name of the worst traitor in human history. He actually has three names: Judas, Lebbaeus and Thaddeus. Judas was probably his given name, while ‘Thaddeus’ meant ‘breast child’ or in today’s terms, ‘Momma’s child’. ‘Lebbeaus’ had a similar meaning, which is ‘heart child’. It seems that in the same group who had a traitor and a terrorist, there was someone who had a tender and childlike heart.

Like the James the lesser and Simon, few are known about this guy. But at least there was a record of him in John’s Gospel. The account came from (again) the Upper Room when Jesus held the Last Supper. It was when Jesus said to the disciples that “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father and I will love him and manifest Myself to Him” (John 14:21). Judas (not Iscariot) then said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” (John 14:22).

Here we see the tender-hearted humility of this man. He doesn’t say anything brash or bold or overconfident. He didn’t rebuke Jesus like Peter once did. His statement is full of gentleness and devoid of any signs of pride. Jesus would manifest Himself in the eleven common people. Judas (not Iscariot) can’t believe it. He thought that it would be far better if Jesus would manifest to the whole world. Now, that’s really something!

This was a pious, believing disciple. This was a man who loved his Lord and who felt the power of salvation in his own life. He was full of hope for the world, and he hopes to see His Kingdom come into the Earth. Jesus would then give him a marvelous answer: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him” (John 14:23). Christ would manifest Himself to anyone who loves Him.

The three unknowns

It was amazing that through various yet ordinary, defected people God would want His name to be glorified. James was a virtually unknown guy, without anything special attributed to him. If there’s anything special about him, it was ‘nothing special’. But tradition said that he brought the Gospel to Syria and Persia. His death was also obscure, some said he was stoned, others say he was beaten to death; some others say he was crucified.

Simon was a member of a rebellious terrorist sect. He was zealous but fiery. He might join Jesus for the wrong reason, but in the end he was changed, and through him, God is glorified. After the destruction of Jerusalem Simon took the gospel north and preached in the British Isles, and disappeared from the biblical accounts. No reliable records about his death, but all records said that he was martyred. The one who was willing to kill for his political agenda is transformed into someone who was willing to be killed for the proclamation of salvation.

Thaddeus was the gentle hearted apostle who experiences salvation in his life and wanted others to experience Jesus manifesting in their lives. He wanted to see His Kingdom come into the Earth and he shows it in his life. He brought the Gospel to the north, to Edessa (Mesopotamia, around Turkey). There was a record that he healed Agbar the king of Edessa. His traditional apostolic symbol was a club, because it was said that he was clubbed to death for his faith, following the Lord faithfully until the end.

Thus we know the eleven faithful apostles, who are very ordinary in their life accounts, but resemble our lives more than any others. God wanted to use them to fulfill His goals, and he transformed their lives. God can do the same to you and me.

Three ordinary men, with an extra-ordinary God transforming their lives.

The twelve: Matthew and Thomas

It took me some time to post this one, had a busy week. But now that I got a time to spare, let’s continue on the next two guys: the tax collector and the skeptic believer. Well, he’s not that skeptic actually, but his one mistake overshadows his trait. We will see it in a more detailed manner soon. Ladies and gentlemen please welcome the last two of the second group of four: Matthew a.k.a. Levi and Thomas a.k.a. Didymus.

Matthew, the tax collector


None of the twelve was more notorious sinner than Matthew. He was also known by Levi, son of Alpheus. As we know, he is the author of the first Gospel. We might expect to be able to know a lot of who he is from his writing; however as things turns out, it wasn’t the case. He was humble, low-profile guy who only mentioned about himself twice in his writing.

As mention earlier, Matthew was a notorious sinner. He was a tax collector – a publican – when he received his call. That is the last credential that we might expect to see from a man who would become an apostle of Christ. At that time, tax collectors were the most despicable being in Israel. They were hated, isolated and deemed lower than anyone else. Publicans bought the tax-collecting franchise from the Roman oppressors, extorted money from their own kin to fed the Romans and fill their own pocket, most of the time with violence. Most were despicable, vile and unprincipled scoundrels.

It was said that those who worked as a publicans are so despised by their own kin to the extent of exile from the access into synagogue. Their only friends would be another tax collector, the lowly people of the nation, thugs and thief, prostitute and bandits. Matthew is one of them. Imagine being isolated, despised by your closest friend, without any opportunity or hope to set things right. Well, that is what Matthew felt.

The time when he was called, he was sitting at the tax office. Jesus said to him, “Follow me”. So he rose and followed Him. The interval between the call and the answer was not long. It was more like done in an instant. He abandoned his work that he obtained with hardships and scorned the profits he could make to follow a carpenter son from a lowly town such as Nazareth. How could this be?

Imagine yourself as Matthew. When you are the outcast of the community, lowest of all, scorned by others and denied from God’s word, an endless pit of emptiness will be form inside your heart. The outcome from this will be on two extremes: if one doesn’t care about it any longer, than he will go on with his way of life and do the worst they can do, or, if their thirst of God and forgiveness are very high, they will scorn themselves and hope for that salvation. Matthew seems to be the latter, and that salvation came from the miracle worker, the teacher, the Son of Man himself, who called him personally to come follow him. That’s why he answered without hesitation. His soul was tortured.

And it doesn’t end there. So great was his joy that he took an irreversible action, he didn’t keep that blessing to himself. He invited his other friends to a party, introduced them to Christ. That was the extent of Matthew’s joy of receiving a new life. Are we living our renewed life with a joy like his?

Thomas, the faithful pessimist


When we talk about Thomas we will always remember his doubt against the resurrection of Christ. His mistake overshadowed his good traits and sadly it was the only thing we remember out of him. It is a little bit unfair to the lad to be remembered as “Doubting Thomas” while the other apostles are exactly like him. He was not there when Jesus appeared to the ten, and that is why he can’t believe. I mean, we are talking about a resurrected person here; how can someone believe such outrageous claims easily? The other apostle was exactly like him when they haven’t seen Jesus with their own eyes! The title “Doubting Thomas” was inappropriate for him.

Thomas was also known as “Didymus” which means “The Twin”. It appears that he has a twin brother or sister, but his twin brother/sister is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible. Like Nathanael, he is only mentioned three times in the first three gospels, which is when they listed the twelve names. The Gospel of John however, provided additional information about him. He was portrayed as a pessimist, seeing the negative side out of everything. However, great character is spotted in the midst of this pessimistic view of the world.

The first account of Thomas in John’s Gospel was in the time when Jesus is going to resurrect Lazarus. Jesus was in the middle of rising tensions with the Pharisees and the Scribes. They wanted to kill him. So he went to the place where John the Baptist do his ministry few years before and preached there. It happened that Lazarus was sick; Mary and Martha sent people to Jesus to ask him to cure Lazarus. Now, Lazarus stayed in Bethany and it was very close to Jerusalem, where the Pharisees and the Scribes are very powerful. The odds that Jesus will be captured and killed are very high. It would be virtually a suicide if he went to Bethany. Imagine Osama bin Laden sight going to the Washington D.C. to take a tour at the White House. It was that serious.

The disciple would be relieved when he waited until Lazarus died (so that God will be exalted higher). But when Lazarus died and he decided to go there, the disciple was in disarray. They ask him to stop and refrain from going there. They are afraid of the consequences they would have to bear if Jesus was captured because of going to Bethany. Jesus stood firm and teach them their lessons: The Son of Man must go there and perform God’s work. It was at this time that Thomas went forward and said: “Let us also go, that we may die with Him”.

It was such a pessimistic remark. It was so Thomas. But it wasn’t just a normal pessimistic remark. It was a heroic pessimism. He could see nothing but disaster ahead. He was convinced that Jesus is going straight into stoning. But if that is what the Lord is determined to do, he is willing to go with Him and die with Him. You have to admire that courage. He was loyal and devoted to Christ. And this remark was followed by his fellow disciple, they decided to follow Thomas’ lead, they went with Jesus to Bethany.

Another account of Thomas happened in the upper room at the last Supper. It was right before Philip question that we discussed previously. Jesus are telling them about His imminent departure, “I go to prepare a place for you” and “Where I go you know, and the way you know”. Thomas spoke afterwards, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, and how can we know the way?” It was like saying, I want to go with you, but we don’t really know where to. It would be much better if we die together with you so that we can go together. Again, it shows how big his love to Jesus and how loyal Thomas is to the Lord.

The final account was about his doubt. I don’t need to tell you this story. You know it very well. But remember that he was not there, and he was a pessimist. He loved Jesus so much and it would be normal if he is shattered by Jesus’ death. A person in that kind of condition will be hard to believe such an outrageous claim. That was the time when he said that unless he saw the hole in Jesus’ hands and put his fingers there he will not believe.

Now, Jesus did appear to him again later on. He didn’t need to ask Thomas what he wanted to do. He told Thomas directly to do what he wanted to do. And that was the time when the greatest statement made by the twelve came out: “My Lord and my God!”

Let those who doubted the deity of Christ meet Thomas.

Two transformed men

It was interesting to see how God use a publican and a pessimist to tell the world about His good news. Both of them were transformed by their knowledge of Christ. He can use anyone. Be it personality, background, and status, all are immaterial. The eleven (except Judas) had something in common: willingness to confess their sins and look to Christ for grace. He met them with grace and forgiveness, transforming them into a new person and enables them to do His work.

There are few credible accounts of Matthew outside the bible. But it was believed that he ministered both Jews and abroad until he was martyred. Thomas brought the Gospel as far as India, and tradition said that he was martyred there, thrust by spears – a fitting form of martyrdom for someone whose faith came when he saw Jesus’ spear mark.

Two ordinary men, with an extra-ordinary God transforming their life.

The twelve: Philip and Nathanael

We have discussed about the four of Jesus’ closest disciple before. The next two posts will be discussing about the next group of four of the twelve disciples. Interestingly, these four men are always named after the first four. This post will discuss about Philip and Nathanael, also known as Bartholomew. The source pointing to them inside the bible is very limited. These few sources, however, can actually infer much information about their personalities.

Philip: the master of impossible


Do not mix Philip the apostle with Philip of the seven deacons. Philip is always listed fifth out of the twelve. His name comes from the Greek language, but he was a Jew. It was common at that time in Judah to have a Greek name, but interestingly, his Jewish name was never mentioned. He was always known as Philip, meaning that his life is very closely related with the Greek speaking Jews.

The accounts of Philip came mostly from John’s Gospel. He came from Bethsaida, the same city where Peter, Andrew, James and John came from. He might also come from the same synagogue, and there is some convincing evidence that he, Nathanael and Thomas were fishermen as well. His call happened the day after Peter met Jesus. Interestingly, while the first four found Jesus when they were called to be His disciple, Philip didn’t. Jesus found him on the way, and He called him, saying, “Follow me”. And he did.

This is something that is very remarkable. Philip is the first disciple to be told to follow Jesus, and he obeyed His calling right away. While we might see that it was Jesus who found Philip, for him, it meant that he found Jesus. Similar to Andrew, he directly came to tell his friend, Nathanael about Jesus. When Nathanael was unsure about Jesus, he only said to his friend to “come and see”. Why? Philip did the same and he can see that Jesus is the Messiah directly.

While this account of Philip was remarkable, it was the only time (recorded) that his remarkable faith works. In the other accounts, he showed his lack of faith, and his pessimistic mindset gets the better of him. The first account was when Jesus fed five thousand men. Jesus asked him how to gave food to the five thousand (that is the man only, without counting the wife and the children they bring) food to test Philip. His answer was: “Eight months wage would not be sufficient to feed them a bite of bread”. The Greek version stated it as 200 denarii’s. One denarius is the wage for a day’s work. Apparently, 200 denarii’s is what they have that time. He did a quick calculation and he found it lacking.

It turns out that Philip was in charge of the logistics of the group (well, we know that Judas is the treasurer, so we can safely assume that someone must be in charge of the logistics as well, and he was the most probable out of the twelve). Philip has been traveling with Jesus so far, and he has seen His miracles. It would be logical if he knew that Jesus had the power to feed them, but the first thing that came to his mind was “It is impossible!” Friends, meet Philip, the master of the impossible.

The other account of him we found is when the Gentiles ask him to introduce them to Jesus. As we have discussed before when we talked about Andrew, he hesitates. He is not sure that Jesus will want to see them; he is a follow-the-rule, by-the-book, uptight and pessimistic type of person, so it would be natural for him to feel unsure when all the time he only knows that Jesus only minister among the Jews. It is ironic to see that someone who is so faithful at the start would turn out this way. Well, at least he asked Andrew.

The last account of him was in the Last Supper. In this room of the Last Supper, many of the disciple’s foolish remarks are being made. But Philip’s remark was arguably the most disappointing of all. After Jesus said the famous quote: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him” to answer Thomas, Philip asked Jesus this question: “Lord, show us the Father, and it suffice us.”

“Show us the Father??”

Duh. Jesus just said about it before. Philip was with Jesus for such a long time, witnessing his power and his ministry. If He really knew Jesus, he would have known the Father. He shows great faith in the start, yet he did not really open his eyes all those time. Where was he all that time?

Nathanael: the true Jew


In the list of the twelve, Nathanael’s name was always mentioned as Bartholomew. Nathanael means “God has given” while Bartholomew was his surname, which means “the son of Tolmai”, hence his full name would be Nathanael Bar-Tolmai. Outside of the listing of the twelve disciples, Nathanael’s name is mentioned only twice: when he was called, and when he went fishing after Jesus’ resurrection. He was close to Philip, and he came from Cana, where Jesus performed his first miracle. Virtually all we knew about him came from the story of his calling.

Well, the first fact about him is that he loves the Scripture. When Philip told him about Jesus, Philip said to him that he has “found Him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets wrote” (It implies the same to Philip’s love for the Scripture). Philip did not tell Nathanael that he met a wonderful man who can change his life, or brings better to his life or whatsoever. Philip told Nathanael that Jesus is the truth. Now, Philip obviously knew Nathanael well to be able to talk like this. This implies that Philip knew that Nathanael is a seeker of truth.

The second trait was not as good as the first one. When Philip told him that Jesus the son of Joseph from Nazareth is the Messiah he told Philip: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” As a lover of Scripture, it will be logical if he questions Jesus identity as the Messiah with a statement like “But Micah said that the Messiah comes from Bethlehem” or “Messiah will rule over Jerusalem so he would have to be closely related to Jerusalem as well”. But he didn’t use them, instead he told Philip: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Now that was not a rational or biblical objection. It was based on emotion and bigotry.

Nazareth, as it turns out, was a small town near Cana. It was a notorious town such that even the Galileans are looking down to them, while Galileans are being looked down by the Jewish community. In other words, it was the worst out of the worst. Cana on the other hand was a town even smaller than Nazareth. As archeology discovers, they found that Nazareth was at least a crossroad town, while Cana was a remote place. If you go to Jerusalem from Lebanon you will pass through Nazareth, but Cana was not passed by anything! Cana was in all sense a remote place no one even care to pass through. Interestingly, Nazareth was being looked down by a town that is smaller and more remote than Nazareth! It reveals what kind of contempt Nathanael has for this city and its people. This is the second personality of Nathanael we found: prejudice.

Fortunately, his prejudice was short-lived, as it was not as strong as his seeking heart. Philip knew who Nathanael was, and he was convinced that Nathanael will change his mind if he met Jesus. The words that came out of Jesus were a powerful commendation: “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Can you imagine a more wonderful thing than to have this kind of approval from Jesus, at the very start? The word ‘an Israelite indeed’ was written as alethos, meaning ‘truly, genuinely’. It does not simply talking about his genetics, but about his heart which have no deceit and hypocrisy, unlike the other Jews of that day. He is a Jew both inwardly and outwardly.

The most important of his characteristics, however, is his eager faith. He asked Jesus: “How do You know me?” He never knew Jesus before, yet Jesus can say such a thing about him. Jesus answered him: “I saw you under the fig tree. I knew what you were doing.” Nathanael was a man who constantly looks for truth. He loves the Scripture, and he is knowledgeable about it. Jews at that time used to read Scripture and do their reflections and meditations outside of their house, and a fig tree (which is common in Israel area) is a nice spot to do it. Jesus knew where he did his routine, and he knew his heart. Just by knowing this, Nathanael said to Jesus: “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” He knew who Jesus is from the start. What Philip didn’t get until the end, he knew it from the beginning. Nathanael follows Jesus faithfully ever since.

The two buddies: the pessimist and the man of prejudice

As we have seen with any other disciples, both Philip and Nathanael were not an exception to sin and negative habit. While Nathanael may seem to be a better guy than most disciple we have discussed so far, we should not forget that all of the disciples argues about who is the greatest among them, and Jesus label them as “foolish and slow of heart to believe”.

We might be able to identify our lack of faith like what Philip shown. We might have identified our foolishness in Philip’s remark on the Last Supper, or his pessimistic view on things. We might also see ourselves in Nathanael’s prejudice to someone that we hate so much that we actually can’t see that we were worse than that person. Those are our imperfections, and we can find them in our life.

But it was also a fact that Jesus would want to choose and use them to spread His Gospel. He chooses these imperfect men, foolish and slow to understand bunch of guys who came from a lowly area of Israel, rather than the scribes and the teacher of laws of Jerusalem. But for such an imperfect men, God’s glory is made known, as what Paul wrote on his epistle: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

We don’t really know how the two of them died, but every account of their life mentioned that they preached the Gospel faithfully and became effective tools of God. They are often mentioned together, showing that they were really close. Some accounts told us that Philip was crucified as well, while others said that he was stoned to death. Philip was one of the first to be martyred, as it was said that his death came only eight years after James, while there was no record on the death of Nathanael.

Two ordinary men used greatly by the extra-ordinary God.

Forewords

There was a time when I lost my desire to write and to share. There was a time when I didn't see the point of doing a blog to express my thought. I am who I am though, inconsistent as I am in doing this blog, but I do want to share and I do long to write. Today I'm giving it another go. Fingers crossed. But I still wish that "Let there be light" is the message that I convey.
  • January 1st 2012, Kristo