Tuesday, March 31, 2009


What would the world be like without passion? Relationships would be boring and uninteresting; sporting events would be lacklustre; even actors in a stage play would be robotic and unreal. Love would not be love if it is devoid of passion.

The best love songs, the most inspiring poems, and the best selling self-help papperbacks all share one thing in common; a rare passion that sells the message of the author.

Often this passion and emotional release can be found in the midst of a crowd:

Normally shy individuals scream and cheer for their sports team till they are hoarse. A sports arena full of strangers will work in unison to produce the “wave” to cheer on their team to victory. A preacher will shout, jump, and even cry to get across his impassioned plea to the congregation. A hockey goon will drop his gloves to get his team into it.

Some closing thoughts on Passion:

Passion is founded on conviction.
Passion needs an outlet.
Passion is contagious.
Passion is needed to power a cause.
Passion is an essential part of our human makeup.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Isn’t it interesting that something as common as rocks and stones could be used as a lethal weapon in one instance, and in another it is used as an analogy to represent some important truth.
In the Bible, David defeated Goliath with a slingshot and a smooth stone.
Jesus referred to himself as the stone that the builders rejected.

Here are some thoughts to meditate on, the next time you see a stone on the ground:

1. Woman caught in sin, was to be stoned in the temple. John 8:1-11
How gruesome and extreme a punishment for adultery?
Sometimes our reaction to wrongdoing can be too extreme.
How quick the people were to pass sentence on another?
“Whoever is without sin, let him cast the first stone.”
“It is as easy to draw back a stone thrown with force from the hand, as to recall a word once spoken.” Menander

How did they get those stones in a temple?
They came prepared. It seems that many of us go through life with stones in our pocket!

“It's not a question of who's going to throw the first stone; it's a question of who's going to start building with it.” Sloan Wilson

2. Jesus’ teaching about prayer. Matthew 7:7-11
God promises us that if we ask for bread - you will not get a stone.

When we ask God for something, He always gives us what is best for us.

We have the capacity to nourish the souls of others. Speak life giving words!

“If you persist in passing out stones when people ask for bread, you'll find people quit coming to the bakery.” Lewis Castle

3. Jesus’ teaching on “mountain-moving” faith. Mark 11:22-24
A mountain is but a mound of stone.
Don’t view a mountain as a barrier, but as an exercise in faith and a growth experience in our life’s journey.
“Turn your stumbling blocks into stepping stones.”

Faith involves taking one step at a time.
“The man who moved the mountain began by carrying away small stones.”

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Urban Wildlife

It’s amazing the variety of wildlife that you encounter on a short walk in the city that I live in. Blue herons make their home by the river alongside bald eagles.

A colony of Blue Herons - Can you spot them among the bullrush?

Local ornithologists have discovered that hummingbirds have made this area their home year round, and do not even migrate South during the winter. While I was out gardening yesterday, I was buzzed by one of these hummingbirds in my backyard. The Snow geese have returned from their sojourn in warmer climes. They live right by a housing sub division and seem to be very much at home there.
It’s really a wonder that all these animals survive and even flourish as humans encroach on their fragile ecology.
I came across some rabbits running around an old heritage church while conducting a wedding rehearsal this week. They seem to be doing so well that the city has an overpopulation problem now. I must remember to clean out some of the bird houses on top of my trellis, and put out more bird seed for all my winged friends who consider my garden their home. Some chickadees nest in the bird houses every year.
It’s just lovely to wake up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, and be entertained by my un-caged pets.

“Poor indeed is the garden in which birds find no homes.” Abram L. Urban
“Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them, and you are far more valuable to him than they are.” Matthew 6:26 (NLT)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Rainbow Colors

One of the unique aspects of human life is the abundance of colors utilized to brighten up our world.

I realized that if I took a little more time to notice things in life; that life is a palate, full of the splashes of color that great impressionists try to capture on their tiny canvas.
God used color to whet our imagination concerning His variegated promises to us who believe. I have placed my rainbow in the clouds over the earth. It is a sign of my permanent promise to you and to all the earth. Genesis 9:13(NLT)
“If you want to have the rainbow, Then sometimes you're gonna have to deal with the rain.” “The rainbow comes and goes, And lovely is the rose.” William Wordsworth
“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again.” Elizabeth Lawrence

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Who doesn’t appreciate the beautiful lines of a muscle car?
O-60 in 4 seconds…600 horses under the hood…

Since the invention of the automobile, cars have come in all shapes, size, colors and brands. They used to call them sedans, station wagons, and vans. Now they are called SUVs, Crossovers, and Hybrids.
I’ve determined that, “a car by any other name is still a car.”
It was not too long ago when car manufacturers were making them bigger with more power and then the price of crude oil increased, coupled with the fear of global warming, now they are making them smaller, more fuel efficient and even with alternate power sources.

“I think that cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals: I mean the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object.” Roland Barthes

In certain places around the world, cars represent more than just a mode of transportation; they are a status symbol. You have the Asian version of the American dream summarized in a “1-2-3-4-5-6” mantra: One wife, two kids, three cars, four bed-room house, five-day work week, and six-figure salary.
My old faithful vehicle which was finally sold recently

Works for them in Bangkok!
I still appreciate a nice car though!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

5 Things That I Control

There many things in life that I cannot control; but I can choose my attitude and control my emotions.
Attitude determines Altitude!

1. My Attitude
I might not be able to control what other people do; but I can choose my attitude and control my outlook on life.
“Your attitude and your potential go hand in hand.” John C. Maxwell

2. My Thoughts
It’s been said; “You can’t prevent a bird from flying over you; but you can stop it from building a nest on your head.”
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

3. My Words
The old adage; “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”, does not always work. Words have the power to destroy, and they sometimes dig deeper than a bullet wound.
“Kind words toward those you daily meet, Kind words and actions right, Will make this life of ours most sweet, Turn darkness into light.” Isaac Watts

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa

4. My Actions
I’ve come to realize that my actions have far reaching consequences than affect many lives. Moving from Singapore to Taiwan, to Vancouver has opened up a world of opportunities for growth, service and ultimate joy. It has also put my family in harm’s way at various crossroads in my life.

“Actions lie louder than words.” Carolyn Wells
5. My Legacy
I can’t change where I was born; I can’t erase mistakes I’ve made; but I can still use my special gifts, talents, experiences and time to invest into others so as to leave behind something lasting and meaningful.
“Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later. Divide your gifts among many, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead. When the clouds are heavy, the rains might come down. When a tree falls, whether south or north, there it lies. If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything down.” Ecclesiastes 11:1-4 (NLT)

Friday, March 20, 2009


Orca Mural in Steveston Wharf, Richmond, B.C.

It all started 30 years ago, while I was still serving in the military. One morning, my commander called and made a strange request; “Can you paint?” The events that day put me on a path that would culminate with the completion of a 64 feet mural and a new found love for art.
Since then, I have come to appreciate every mural that I have stumbled upon in my daily walks, as well as in my travels.

Murals from Chinatown, Singapore

Mural on boathouse, Victoria Habor. B.C.

Murals depict everything from nature to life in different times and places. Depending on the expertise, style and gifting of the artists, these art works may vary in their size, color usage and expression. They may never ever rival the value and the importance of the frescos in the Sistine Chapel, but they have a message and story to tell.
The challenge of painting a mural is trying to put all the different elements into it yet keeping the main theme clear.

World Famous Murals in Chemainus, B.C.

Life sometimes is like painting a mural. There are so many interesting features you can add to the work, but sometimes those good things can take away from the big picture.

Keep the main thing, the main thing!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Most people are familiar with the windmills of Holland, and the dykes that keep out the sea and frame the rainbow coloured fields of tulips. Unbeknownst to most people dykes are more common than you would think. In many parts of the world, dykes are the only thing that holds back the surging high tides that threaten to flood low lying areas. I guess with global warming, dykes will become an even more common sight around the world. I’m blessed to live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which is surrounded on three sides by dykes. The Richmond Dykes not only serve its main purpose, but is also a great place to go jogging, biking or taking long walks. I’ve also seen many avid photographers with their massive telephoto lenses on tripods trying to catch the myriad of wildlife that calls the wetlands home.

Traffic comes to standstill when geese decide to go for a walk.

“We must build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” Martin Luther King, Jr. Dykes are one of those unseen, unappreciated things that silently does its job day in and day out.
I wonder how many dangerous situations I have avoided in my life due to God’s silent but sure protection.

“The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe.”
Proverbs 18:10 (NLT)