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The story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman is recorded only in John's gospel.  And after hearing Joseph Prince's exposition, I understood better how to correct someone whose love language is Words of Affirmation.  Having the same love language, I understand the trickiness of doing such correcting.

For those of us whose love language is WOA, correcting us with words must be done carefully.  It is said that Jesus knows all 5 love languages and knows how to relate to each of us through our specific one.  I have already said before that the term "You have a came long way since" has often been used by the Holy Spirit when it comes to communicating with me.

The style that Jesus did is the "divine sandwich" style.

 6 He *said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus *said to her, “You have correctly(beautifully in the original language) said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.”

Basically the method to do is "Affirm-tell the truth without normative judgment-affirm".  To put in point form:

Affirm: Praise her for telling the truth.
Truth telling: Stick to facts with absolutely zero moral judgments.
Affirm: Reaffirm her for telling the truth.

John 20:30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.

Imagine a world without the Gospel of John

It was Joseph Prince who pointed out something yesterday I have not really taken note before.  Many of the miracles and events recorded in John's gospel did not appear in the other 3 gospels.  Turning the water into wine, the meeting with Nicodemus where the issue of being born again, as well the meeting with the Samaritan woman at the well were some of these issues.

Now imagine we lived in an alternate reality, Earth 2, where the gospel of John did not exist.  Without the lessons of those events, surely we would all agree that Christianity would be worse off.  Once you accept that, it is quite easy to imagine, and I am sure I am not the first one to think of this, the many lessons we could have gotten from all the other signs that the Holy Spirit felt that there is no need for us to know them.

I recalled how the movie Da Vinci Code, made me realized there were other gospels that were rejected by mainstream Christianity, such as the gospels of Thomas and Mary Magdelene. 
Based on what I was thinking above, I sometimes wonder whether I might benefit from reading those “lost gospels” since they might have recorded things that were not recorded in the 4 mainstream gospels.

But then again, being a mainstream Christian, it is probably better that I respect the Holy Spirit’s view that reading those would not be good for me. I guess its one of those things that we will only understand once we get to heaven, then we can ask God directly. =)

The 5 books of the New Testament.

The other new thing that I have learned from the sermon was summed up in this picture:

Exo 30:22 Moreover, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Take also for yourself the finest of spices: of flowing myrrh five hundred shekels, and of fragrant cinnamon half as much, two hundred and fifty, and of fragrant cane two hundred and fifty, 24 and of cassia five hundred, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, and of olive oil a hin.

According to JP, Matthew and John both illustrated Jesus as pillars, King of the Jews, and the Son of God, so they represent the 2 shekels of 500.  While Mark shows Jesus as a servant, which represents an ox, and Luke shows Jesus as Son of Man, our representative, so these 2 will take the 250 shekels in between.  The Olive Oil is representing the book of Acts. 

"You see Jeff there are certain things man was not meant to hear. We were designed, by whatever entity you choose, to hear what's in this range, and really this range alone. Because you know who is talking to us in this range? The people we love"


Ever since I finished watching Signal, this drama is now my replacement for the public transport journeys.  Its so much better than Smallville, every episode was short and sweet and to the point.  Many times, I actually end up laughing out loudly even on trains and buses with some of the scenes.  But every now and then at the ending, there comes a scene that really made me reflect and go "Wow, I am actually learning something deep from this!"

Should you care about hearing gossip?

So in episode 4, Jeff wanted to use Pierce special ear piece to hear what his friends may have been saying about him, and Pierce replied with the above quote that gave me lots of room to reflect.  I am a firm believer in the need to stay away from people who are not just narcissistic but also seem to gossip all the time.  I realized over time when I hang around people that somehow made me more uncomfortable afterward, it will be people who are mostly like these.

The longer I live, I found out that there is a power I have, that is to choose the company that I am with.  Choose to hang around with people that you love to hang around with, and don't really bother about how people may be gossiping about other people, and maybe even about you. =)

Socrates 3 Filter Test in decision making

Recently, I also heard of Socrates and his Three Filter test that can also be related to why we should avoid people who gossip excessively.  It shares similarities to the 4 questions of Byron Katie in "The Work".

In ancient Greece, Socrates (the philosopher) was visited by an acquaintance of his. Eager to share some juicy gossip, the man asked if Socrates would like to know the story he’d just heard about a friend of theirs. Socrates replied that before the man spoke, he needed to pass the “Triple-Filter” test.

The first filter, he explained, is Truth. “Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to say is true?” The man shook his head. “No, I actually just heard about it, and …”

Socrates cut him off. “You don’t know for certain that it is true, then. Is what you want to say something good or kind?” Again, the man shook his head. “No! Actually, just the opposite. You see …”

Socrates lifted his hand to stop the man speaking. “So you are not certain that what you want to say is true, and it isn’t good or kind. One filter still remains, though, so you may yet still tell me. That is Usefulness or Necessity. Is this information useful or necessary to me?” A little defeated, the man replied, “No, not really.”

“Well, then,” Socrates said, turning on his heel. “If what you want to say is neither true, nor good or kind, nor useful or necessary, please don’t say anything at all.”

16th-Sep-2016 09:29 am - Review of Korean drama Signal


What a great drama this turned out to be.  It was quite easy for me to decide to give this drama a try, which was the second Korean drama that I have followed since DOTS, since I was always fascinated by time loops and alternative reality themes.  The movie Frequency was also one of those that I really enjoyed watching.

Time shifting using iPad

And boy, this drama certainly brought excitement back to taking public transport for me.  As I have mentioned before, the great benefit I see from my iPad, as what the humble VCR did for my life in the 1980s and 90s, is the concept of time shifting.  Instead of watching this drama at home, I opted to watch it only when I take public transport.

Previously before this drama, I was watching Smallville.  I realized it was not working for me as the drama was rather boring, with Clark Kent not being able to fly due to a deliberate policy for the producers, and the whole villian of the week in each episode turning out to be a yawn fest.

What ended up happening was that I fast forwarded each episode as I was sitting in the bus.  I chuckled as I read recently that Millenials are now watching dramas at twice the speed as another way to make full use of the scarce time resource.  Well, me being Gen X, I have not reached that stage yet.

For Signal, it was exciting enough throughout the drama to make me look forward to all the early morning bus trips that I take for work, as well as the journey back home and I don't even mind having to wait long for the bus as a result.  Of course, the only con is that sometimes you reach your destination just when it reaches the most exciting part of the drama and to me, even though I am generally a moderator, I still sometimes feel a bit sian haha.

Starting well and character development

This drama followed a similar theme in Frequency, here Signal uses a walkie talkie to allow inter-temporal communication. The first episode was also very encouraging for me.  I always enjoyed US and HK drama for being very fast paced relative to the Korean ones, where the first episode begins with a bang.

Thus, when I decided to watch this, I told myself I will give this particular drama three episodes.  If I am still yawning by then, I would stop watching it.  On reflection, I should have started on this criteria for Jessica Jones.  I recalled for that drama, I was yawning but I dragged it on until episode 7, until I finally couldn't take it anymore haha.

I was thus very pleased to see that the ending of the first episode grabbed me immediately,  At the end of the first episode of Signal as shown above, Lt Park stood in front of reporters and shouted out loudly in public that he had proof that the little girl was actually kidnapped by a lady, instead of a male, which certainly qualified as "starting with a bang" for me.

As I continued the drama, I also note that there was definitely ample character development.  What I found very interesting was seeing how the main actress grew from an innocent and bumbling detective to a confident team leader of the "Cold Case Squad".  It made me smile when her mentor Lee Jae Han was also caught by surprise at this when told by Lt Park over the walkie talkie.

Most memorable scene

Being a Korean drama, there are also standard tear jerking moments in it.  One that stood out for me was when Lt Park found out that, when he was a little boy, in the above video, it was actually Jae Han that paid the lady for all the omelet rice that he has been eating since young.  The scene where, as an adult, Lt Park recalled how, as a young kid walking back home after being full from the meal, he could now see that Jae Han was actually following behind him.

It was really tear jerking for me because he was very encouraged that, in those sad young days after his parents separated, due to the older brother being sentenced for sexual assualt, he was not alone, an "angel" in the form of Jae Han was making his paths smooth, without him realizing it.  It made me recalled how, during 2013, I actually made a trip back to my childhood home at Bedok, I saw that HDB block as well as the jogging track that was next to it.  My mind wandered back to my schooling and NSF days.  The HDB block and the carpark that surrounds it definitely look smaller now, partly due to the construction and upgrading, as well as my bigger size of course.

I even took the lift up and walked along the corridor and saw that there are now two entrances to the flat, and another family is now living there.  Looking back at the surrounding really brought a warm feeling to my heart as I recalled, much like what Signal showed in that scene, how I was as a young person then, and grateful to Daddy God for how far I have came since then, which I always have the habit of doing since its one of my top Words of Affirmation.

I also recalled Joseph Prince saying before that, often we thank God for all the problems he has deliver us out of.  But truth be told, there are many bad things that did not happen to us because God went ahead of the way and smooth those paths out for us.  We often don't thank God for those things that did not happen but could have happened to us.  We have "wells that we did not dig and vineyards we did not plant".  One of the stories that also illustrated the above principle, that I have internalized from NCC, is the story of Boaz and Ruth.  In Chap 2:15-16

And when she rose up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. 16 Also let grain from the bundles fall purposely for her; leave it that she may glean, and do not rebuke her.”

So as I saw that scene where Lt Park superimposed Jae Han in the road leading to his house, I could see also how Daddy God was also following behind me.


So to have that same scene in Signal was very heart warming and sealed my liking for this drama since it activated many of my schemas.  As I have said before, to rephrase Alain De Botton, "When a drama say something to you and you understand yourself better as a result. That is when you feel less alone, and the emotions and feelings allow you to easily fall in love with that drama". =)
Btw, to put pastor’s sermons out there for free downloads, it is stealing. So please don’t do that. Be fair to him. He has to feed Justin. Justin eats a lot.
To me, this was the most interesting part of yesterday's sermon, and I thought I laughed the loudest among the congregation during the 4th service. The main reason for that laughter was that it awoke the economic schema of non-rivalry in my brain.

High start up cost but zero marginal cost
Joseph Prince, to produce a sermon for the first viewer, has to put in a lot of "work" (Of course, he would say he is resting in God's finished work, but I am sticking to secular interpretation here). He has to read the Bible, reflect upon what he has read, and write down the ideas. On Sunday, he has to stand in the pulpit and deliver the sermon. There will be video crew recording, and of course the Star venue has opportunity cost in terms of the rental it could have earned during Sunday and so on and so forth.

The initial start up cost is high. But once it is recorded in video form, the video sermon becomes a non-rival good. It is now possible for it to be seen by millions, but at no additional cost to him. The marginal cost is zero for all the additional viewers.

Marginal benefits to viewers are significant
On the other hand, the marginal benefits that those viewers reap are not zero. From all the testimonies that are often shared in church, many of those viewers see significant gains in their Christian walk. Since these viewers are reaping all these gains, from the perspective of pareto efficiency, zero marginal cost for them to reap those gains means, as far as possible, they should be allowed to watch even if they are unwilling or unable to pay.
The moment you charge a price, some of these people will not watch since they will be unwilling or perhaps they are unable to pay that price. By making it free for them to view, clearly many people can be made better off, at zero additional cost to Joseph Prince.

How then should the preacher be compensated?
But, as Joseph Prince is also stating above, he still needs to ensure a steady income from viewers to give him a “fair rate of return” for the high startup cost. But I chuckled because, from my perspective, it is definitely not the congregation recording the sermons in the Star PAC that is causing this problem. I believed its more from people recording the live broadcast of his sermons overseas, as well as people who bought the DVD, ripped it, and upload to Youtube.

Indeed, you can view so many of those “almost full length” sermons there currently. I recall years back in 2009-2012, such uploads are almost immediately taken down. Nowadays, I think they are less zealous about doing so. I guess people in JPM are also beginning to understand that the marginal benefits of letting people watch those sermons are too significant for them to ignore.

NCC paying him a regular salary in the past would have been an ideal solution. Since JP is ruling that out as a current option, I guess appealing to more of his listeners to buy more of his sermons and books will be the second-best solution. So long as there is a sufficient group of supporters who will support him with such purchases, allowing others to “free-ride” and watch those sermons for free would be fine.  In this aspect, if there are indeed people overseas who have redirected their tithes, that would have gone to their local church, to JPM directly, even though his TV broadcast always reminds them not to, I guess that could be the second-best outcome.

I made a similar point about this in Kpop: all those hardcore fans who are buying CDs and other products so that they can go into music shows, the rest of us kpop listeners overseas, who are only enjoying their live performances over the Internet, are basically “free riding” on these hardcore fans. =)
The steps of a good man  Are ordered by the LORD: And he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, He shall not be Utterly cast down:
For the LORD upholdeth him With His hand.

Whenever I sit in a car with a GPS system, I sometimes crack this joke to the driver, "If I were to create a GPS system, I will like to make one where, if you miss the turn after the advice came in, the voice will go, "My grandma can drive better than you, how did you pass your driving test?"  It was all in good fun of course. =)

Viewing this sermon by Joel Osteen brought a smile on my face and another perspective to the above verse, as well as that joke.  Joseph Prince also said before that in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11, all the mistakes that those heroes of faith did was not recorded.  In the 18th minute, the Holy Spirit is like the GPS system, when we miss the turn because of one reason or another, he straight away goes, "Recalculating route".  No matter how many times I miss the turn, there is always an alternative route to the destination that I was meant to walk in.
10th-Aug-2016 09:47 am - In Whom I can Trust
This is such a lovely Christian song that I sang recently in New Creation Church.  The quality of the live acoustics and the live band performance are the main reasons why I very much prefer to attend the Star, rather than any of the overflow rooms.

Usually in church, whenever I am singing a song that I felt was especially uplifting for my spirit, I will eagerly wait until the end of the first or 2nd verse, where by CCLI rules on copyright, NCC will flash the song title and the publisher on the bottom left part of the lyrics.  I will then take out my phone and type the title of that song, to search for it on the Internet later.  I did that for this song, and was pleasantly surprised to know that it was actually locally composed by Scripture Union by Steven Wee.

Although I could not find the NCC version, this version to me was sweet enough, especially when they inserted the voices of children into it.  The innocence of those voices putting their trust in the Lord was so sweet and it reminded me of my own transition to NCC.  I always marvel that, at NCC, its probably the first church that I went to, where the songs are about how great God is and how much he loved me, and the sermon also follows through the same theme.

In many other charismatic churches, the latter will be more of what I should do for God to bless me.  To put it in NCC lingo, its like the worship is based on Mount Zion, but in the sermon, there is a sudden change of covenants, to be based on Mount Sinai.

I have occasionally heard of Martin Seligman idea of how to cope with negativity using 3Ps, Personalization, Permanence and Pervasiveness, well summarized here.  I guess nothing really beats hearing it being applied from an actual person that is going thru grief.  I especially like the part when she mentioned that, in the case of Permanance, she experienced what she felt was the "second derivative" of the pain, where she felt sad that she was sad, she felt miserable that she was miserable.

Thinking of "What if"

Her psychologist friend who advised her to "I think about how much worse things could be," brought a smile on my face because it made me recall that excellent episode of the OC final season where Ryan finally found a way to let go of his grief thinking that he was responsible for Marissa's death.  It was that Earth 2 episode where he realized that, if Marissa had not met him, she would have died even earlier, in season 1, when she overdosed on drugs after realizing that her ex boyfriend was two timing her.  During that season, Ryan was the one that saved her.
This particular actor Onew, from Shinee, had a role in DOTS that really reminded me how important it is for a man to solve all his problems in the cave first before he could come out and start to love others.

He was a very happy person but made the wrong judgment that resulted in the death of a patient, that really made him doubt his profession as a doctor.  That blow on his self esteem and confidence was so bad that he refused to go back to Korea when he could, and did not want to call his wife back home, who was pregnant with his kid.

It was only after he risked the chance of being infected with a dangerous virus, to save a patient, and having the soldiers praised him "you looked like a doctor", that he finally found peace in his profession, and he now realized he is okay and could now call his family and his wife back home.

That was really a sweet moment that reminded me that, for many guys, being able to feel competent in our chosen profession can take on such an important role that goes way beyond love.  During such times in our own caves, when we are struggling with the thoughts in our mind, as John Gray would probably remark, our loved ones should give us the time in the cave and not enter the cave to try to force us out by telling us they think we are competent, they love us, etc.

Because, during those times, it may be more important for us to hear that affirmation from people who do not know us well and not from our loved ones.  After all, we may think that those people have no vested interests in making us feel good and will only affirm us if we are really competent.

And only after we get that affirmation, then we can finally emerge from our cave, and start to love our loved ones. 
18th-Feb-2016 06:28 pm - Link between righteousness and health

I don't know how long this sermon would remain up but it has really taught me how to understand Romans 8:11 and understand the link between receiving the gift of righteousness and divine health.

Romans 8:11

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

Interestingly, Prince talk about Ephesians as a proof on why God took the most power to raise Christ from the dead, but he might have forgotten to continue to that passage.  After doing some research, I think the verses he was referring to should be

Ephesians 1:19-20 (AMP)

and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength
which He [a]produced in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places

According to the Greek, there are actually 4 words describing power here, to illustrate that the mightest power ever seen on Earth was when God raised Jesus from the dead. The first word, dunamis, means inherent power. His second word, energeia, means operative power. The third word, kratos, means ultimate power. The fourth word, ischus, means endowed power.

From these 4 words, Paul wants me to be convinced that God took the mightest power to raise Christ from the dead.  If that is the case, it is easier for God, thru his Spirit, to give life to my mortal body.  That mighty power is in my spirit.

Let me meditate on Romans 8:11 as another verse for my soul to prosper, and I will be in good health even as that happens
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