All posts by Li Jie

Playing Badminton, Making Disciples

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. – 1 Peter 5:8

This afternoon, I had a round of badminton with some friends from church. It was a good time of bonding and exercise, both of which were much needed. As we fought for points, I was acutely aware of how each person had certain styles, and how my opponent was exploiting certain weaknesses of my team’s, e.g. striking where we least expect. 1 Peter 5:8 came to my mind immediately. In a badminton match, we can ask for a time out when we’re tired, but that isn’t going to work with the devil.

We really need to be sober and vigilant at all times, and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). How can we be sober and vigilant at all times? I believe a very important key to that is to be in a strong community of believers, brothers and sisters who will hold you accountable and watch over you. We all have times when we need to rest and may let our guards down. But if we stay connected to the vine, if we stay in the light, and keep our eyes on Jesus, darkness will have to flee.

Oh yes, I’m thrilled to find out that we have a digital keyboard in the office! Though I stopped piano lessons long ago, I thank God for the foundation that I still have, and coupled with my theory, am now able to play one of my favorite songs satisfactorily!

The Gift of Children

This Labor Day holiday, I had the privilege of spending three days with children from my church with other singles while the couples went away on a couples’ retreat. There were about 8 kids in total, and they were all very well behaved and they gave me visions of what I want my own kids to be like. I can only imagine the amount of effort that all these parents have placed into parenting their kids in the way of God, and the rewards that they will reap through their lives.

I experienced the joy of a kid filling the house with pleasant melodies from a piano, the joy of riding on a swing with some little boys, the thrill of racing down a slide with a little girl.

The Psalmist is right:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. – Psalm 127:3-5

I also had the privilege of observing how other people took care of the kids, including shopping, meal preparation, helping children wash up, taking them out to play, egging them to rest, helping them with their assignments, disciplining them when they disobey instructions, etc.

May God grant me strong foundations for the future of my family. I definitely look forward to the joys of parenting :D

Tears she held back

As we get ready to board the bus,
she comes to bid us farewell,
but the tears she holds back I can see.
How she wishes we could stay and not leave.
How she wishes we could have another moment together.
People frequently come and go,
so many passersby.
Who will love her?
Who will love her home?
Are we another group that comes and goes,
or will we be one that will be committed?
One that will be committed to a partnership so deep,
that it will bring forth fruit,
fruit that will last?

Quicksand

A note I wrote from 9 April 2012:

With a density greater than that of the human body, it is impossible for a person to be killed by quicksand. However, the way to get out of its trapping is sometimes counterintuitive. I think there are some analogies with temptation. As children of God, with wisdom and the Holy Spirit, we know that temptation has no (final) hold over us, and is incapable in itself to cause death. However, just like quicksand, its suction force gives it the potential to be an accomplice in murder. Toying with, or struggling with temptation is oftentimes natural, but that just strengthens the grip that it has on us.

Just like how explorers have placed warning signs in places of quicksand, the Bible and people around us forewarn us of situations of impending danger. It is foolish not to heed such warnings.

There is a sentence that I’ve found worthy of quoting: The devil tempts all other men, but that idle men tempt the devil.

From the time I received my letter of offer from Accellion, I went into cruise mode, as though I was on ecstasy, and didn’t schedule things in the upcoming (last) week, as I did previously. It was possibly the lowest week for this year. With nothing on my calendar, I had plenty of idle time, a devil’s playground. I yielded and sinned against my own body.

10 years ago on Easter, a drama scene depicting Jesus’ struggle in Hades pierced my heart and I turned away from suicide and never contemplated it again. The price he paid and the realization that this life doesn’t belong to me made me see the unfairness of giving up on myself.

This year I make the same choice again, to walk from death into life. This time, in preparation to enter society and work and get married, I choose the fullness of life. Abundant life. Just the way it is written about in the Bible, and the way I see it lived out by the many who have gone before. I choose to seize every day, for the satisfaction that that day was lived for God. Not just a good life, but a great life.

为什么我喜欢中国、北京

别人常常问我,我为什么选择来中国,甚至北京这空气恶劣的城市?澳大利亚不好吗?美国不好吗?有些人说,城里的人想出去,城外的人想进去,但我觉得这不完全正确。很多人也喜欢待在家里。今天,我希望跟大家分享我怎么喜欢上中国。

我小时候,基本对中国和中华文化没什么概念,甚至在上中学的时候被排到了慢班。我跟我家人一直以来都用英语交流,中文对我没有什么意义,而且中文课应该是我比较讨厌的课。

2006年初,我在大学放了暑假,但因为签证的问题,我不能跟我爸妈待在新加坡三个月。那时候,我爸派了我去上海待一个月,让我感受感受中国。那时候,我也去了江南地区玩了一趟。我觉得,那时是我跟中国培养感情的开端。2007年末,我跟我的家人一起去了澳门玩。我们那时候也去了珠海一趟。我还深刻的记得,我那时过了边境,踏上中国的土地的时候,突然感觉我回到了家的样子。2009年,我去了华师大进修了一年的中文,在暑假期间跑了西安、北京、温州。那次的旅程让我更深的了解了中国。2011-2012年我在新加坡找工作的时候,因为不能留在新加坡,去了厦门、黄山、成都、九寨沟、重庆、海口。经过多次的旅途和接触,我跟中国渐渐地定了情。

这感情是怎么培养的呢?长话短说,是神把中国放在我的心里。经过不同经历,经过跟别人沟通,我发现中国在我心里慢慢地占了个越来越重要的位置。

那,我为什么喜欢北京呢?
一、我喜欢北京的文化气氛。北京是祖国的古都之一并且是目前的首都。在地铁站里看到字原的宣传,也会让我很开心。
二、我感受到北京的包容性。这城市包容了中国各地以及世界各国的人民。
三、在北京居住的人一般比南方人要坦诚、大方。
四、我觉得北京的生活节奏会比上海慢一步,给人呼吸的空间去思考生命中的大问题。

这些年跟中国培养的感情,去年十一月21日终于上了一个台阶。老子说:千里之行,始于足下。在中国安家的第一步,就是立足。在这里生活,这段时间,每天知道我在中国,都会让我开心起来 :-)

2013年第二季度

大家最近好吗?好久没有静下心来写东西了。这段时间生活过得很快很丰富,但可惜没有记录下来。

上一个季度,除了工作,我花了更多时间在看书、主持团契、以及参加小组活动。上一个季度也是我第一次在中国过年,学会自己从淘宝上买东西,发传单,还有去了长城大约五次。

即使住宿还没找到,我很感恩神每天供应我一切所需。

接下去,我打算开始一个新的系列,以“为什么”开始来更好地了解我自己,以及让我梳理我的思路。如果你想更好在某个方面更好地认识我,或者有个问题要我回答,欢迎在在我的博客留言或者给我发邮件 :-)

第一期:《为什么我喜欢中国、北京》

恩典之路

YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q444bzsehU
优酷:http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTI5ODg4Nzc2.html

你是我的主
引我走正义路
高山或低谷
都是你在保护
万人中唯独
你爱我认识我
永远不变的应许
这一生 都是祝福

一步又一步
这是恩典之路
你爱 你手
将我紧紧抓住
一步又一步
这是盼望之路
你爱 你手
牵引我走这人生路

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Markers of Time

The tenth of December last year was the start of a new chapter in my life as I took my first step into my first “proper” job. In this brief one and a half months, I’ve realized how easy it is to get sucked into work as a single adult male. It’s true. I wasn’t prepared for how addictive work can be, especially when I have no other commitments. Ok, I should rephrase that. There were other (more) important things that I needed to do too, but most of them were things I needed to find some solitude to do, e.g. writing, thinking, planning, meditating. Those things that don’t always seem fun. Or perhaps it just takes mental effort to leave work aside and make time for myself.

I’m thankful for this trip as it has given me some time away from the office. While waiting at the airport for my flight, I had an hour to sit down in BCIA’s T3 Chinese garden, and enjoy the soothing instrumental music in the background. I reflected on how the past one and a half months of work has blurred into an almost contiguous block of time as I frequently stayed late and went back to the office on weekends. With the lack of sunlight in my working space, there is lesser distinction between night and day.

Quoting from Moonwalking with Einstein (p. 75):

“I’m working on expanding subjective time so that it feels like I live longer,” Ed had mumbled to me on the sidewalk outside the Con Ed headquarters, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. “The idea is to avoid that feeling you have when you get to the end of the year and feel like, where the hell did that go?”

“And how are you going to do that?” I asked.

“By remembering more. By providing my life with more chronological landmarks. By making myself more aware of time’s passage.”

—–

Our lives are structured by our memories of events. Event X happened just before the big Paris vacation. I was doing Y in the first summer after I learned to drive. Z happened the weekend after I landed my first job. We remember events by positioning them in time relative to other events. Just as we accumulate memories of facts by integrating them into a network, we accumulate life experiences by integrating them into a web of other chronological memories. The denser the web, the denser the experience of time. (p. 76)

—–

Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next—and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.

May each day be well lived and meaningful :)

The Best Investment

Every day, we have 24 hours given to us to choose how we want to live the day. Some days, we may be on a mission. Other days, questions about our existence may run through our head. An investor always looks for the investment that gives the best ROI. This ROI is not necessarily financial, possibly including emotional paybacks such as personal satisfaction, or gratification from doing something good.

Every morning, we wake up with a set of resources available to us. Our time, our money, our energy; and a whole host of things that place a demand on our time—work, family, friends, personal problems, etc. Bills to be paid, fires to be put out. Yet the urgent always seems to draw attention away from the truly important.

Over the first month of my first proper job, I’ve seen how easy it is to get consumed in one’s work, especially when it’s something that one enjoys. That’s not to say that work is evil. Rather, there are usually more important things to be done.

I haven’t heard of anyone who on his deathbed wished that he had worked harder, earned more money, or spent more time at work. Usually it’s about spending more time with family, or done something more meaningful.

This year, I choose to live the best I can. By that, I will give myself to the people around me, especially those who mean the most to me, and those to whom I’m called. We are relational beings and it is core to our reason for existence. I will strive to spend more time with people and less time hiding behind the screen, and I will strive to leave a smile on everyone I come in contact with.

Have you considered what is the best investment of YOUR time, energy, and resources? What kind of life will you look back on with no regrets at all?

If the world ended last week

If the world ended last week and all that I knew ceased to exist,
I would never again be able to soak myself in the beauty of snowfall
Everything I have done would be meaningless
I would never have the chance to enjoy the blissfulness of marriage
All the pain in the world would be in vain
and all the blessings experienced would amount to nought

But the world did not end, and I’m glad it didn’t, because it means that I can look forward to standing in an open square and allow snowflakes to flutter down all around me
because I may look forward to one day entering into the blessedness of marriage
because what I know to be true still holds true: that life is meaningful and everything we go through is part of an overarching plan.

Merry Christmas and have a blessed 2013.