Sunday, January 25, 2015

the gift

This is a first for me: sketchnote of a Mandarin +Chinese dialect Hokkien and Cantonese evangelistic outreach meeting at Wesley Methodist Church.
And the wonder of it all I DO NOT HAVE A GOOD GRASP OF CHINESE LANGUAGE. (Those who know me will know that this is true.)

We had brought dear friend to the meeting. As I was listening to the message, I said to myself, "Hey I can actually understand much of what he is saying". By the time the speaker came to the anecdote of the farmer wrapping pig dung I told myself I should do a sketch note. So I did!

The speaker was Moses Lim 林益民,a popular TV entertainer.
His testimony was about his rise, his fall and his restoration.

His comic entertaining way can be seen in his introduction

"Why are you here today?"
"And some might answer...."
"outside very hot- here got air-conditioning..."
"at home have to look after grandchildren- here can relax..."
"here got free buffet....... "

Yet Moses counters, "You are here by divine appointment".


Moses Lim was a freelance comic entertainer when Colour TV broadcast was started in Singapore in the 1970's. He had the opportunity to get part time contracts with Channel 8 (Chinese language channel) and was given the Tuesday slot with Malaysia TV as a hot rival for eyeballs.

As he put it

"not handsome
no six pack
only one big pack"
 yet his show was a popular success.

He was promoted to the Monday slot, then Sunday slot, then English channel (Channel 5)

He also got recording gigs regionally, in Hong Kong and Taiwan, with an eye for China. He was popular also for company annual dinners and other private functions.

When asked

"How is it you are successful?"
his stock answer was "Because I believe in Jesus... Jesus has the same standard yesterday today tomorrow"
But when asked further "Why is that so?"
he always turned that question away, because he did not have an answer.

Then he was called to meet the boss of the TV station.
The boss had a "part time contract" for Moses Lim to sign.
"Why does a part timer need a contract to sign?" he wondered.

"When there is a job we will pay you at this rate"
"When there is no job there is no pay"
So far it was not different to what had been happening.

At the bottom line was a clause "no outside work allowed"
He refused to sign. 
He thought his outside contracts at $3000 a gig could sustain him.

What followed was an unofficial ban that lasted 4 years.
No one would admit there was a ban on hiring Moses Lim.
But there were no offers for TV work for 4 years.

And those who called him for outside jobs vastly reduced the pay.
"Can you come to perform at our annual dinner?
"Yes of course"
"How much"
"Same as last time ($3000)"
"No cannot:
Now you not TV personality:
 Only $300"

Bitter pill to swallow!

So Moses did what all Singaporeans like to do.

Complain to God.
Complain complain complain.
Complain while walking.
Complain while sitting.
Complain while eating.
Complain when in bed.
Complain when in toilet.
Four years of complaining.

And God did not seem to answer.

But God did answer, eventually, in God's perfect time.

One day Moses saw in the newspaper SPH the newspaper company was going to open their own TV station.
"The answer to my prayers" Moses thought.
"I will freelance for Channel U and Channel I, the newspaper TV channels."

But this was not to be.
Instead the number two boss at Channel 5 called Moses.
The number one boss (who had instituted the unofficial ban on Moses) had moved to the newspaper TV station.
Moses was welcomed back to Channel 5 and Channel 8.
The long drought had ended.
The solution was not in the way Moses had thought,
but by God's own special way.


This anecdote is about timing:
A rural farmer had a son who was successful in the city.
Son got married and wanted the in-laws to meet  his father.
But son thought his father was a bit of a  country bumpkin,
so arranged for wife and in-laws visit father in the countryside.
Son instructed father to dress well and wait by the roadside for the bus that would bring son and family to village.

Father did as told.
Dressed in nice clean clothes he stood by the roadside and waited.
And waited.
And waited.
But the bus did not come.

But a pig did.
And as the pig passed the farmer there was a big malodourus outpouring of pig flatus and pig faeces.
All over his robe.
Farmer's response?
"Organic fertiliser!"
"Must wrap the precious gift and bring back to the farm."

So farmer hung his robe on a tree and stooped down to wrap the pig dung in a big leaf.
While he was busy wrapping his precious package in a big leaf the bus arrived.
Out came the city folk.

"What are you doing father?" son asks.
"Its organic fertiliser, son.
but why are you late?"

Moral of the story
People often late but God never late.
His timing always right.

Some say all religions teach us to be good
This may be so,
but Christianity is the only one to promise us eternal life.

Yesterday, today, forever, Jesus is the same.

He is always with you.

A story is told of a person was walking along the beach with Jesus.
There were two sets of footprints in the sand.

Later on there were only one set of footprints.

"Where were you Jesus?" the person complained pointing at the footprints.
"Those are my footprints" came the reply, "and I was carrying you".

Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks.
Will you open the door and let him in?

For years Moses Lim prayed "Lord I want to sit more comfortably in the aeroplane".
God heard and answered his prayers:
 enabling Moses to slim down from
120 kilogram to 76 kilogram.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound"
Song written by slave trader John Newton, who had a conversion experience in the midst of a severe storm at sea.

Jesus has a gift for you
When things are going good for you your praise of God may not be real.

But after hardship, the lows
when you have experience release and relief
when your trust in God has been established
then your praise is real.

God knows the perfect timing.

Are you ready for the gift from God
the gift of life?

(NB the flow of this sketch note is rather stilted due to my limited understanding of Chinese.)

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