What I learned from my wisdom tooth

Maybe it’s called a wisdom tooth because it can teach us some things about life…

So, I had my first wisdom tooth extraction. Did I see it coming? No. Was I prepared going into the dental clinic a few days back, that my “toothache” would require a procedure on the spot? No. Did I regret the visit? No.

Because more than just fixing my problem, the experience taught me a few things.

1. Don’t wait till you’re in pain before visiting the Dentist

That was literally the last thing the nurse said to me before I left the clinic, of course, in a more Singlish way. Going to the dentist, I learnt:

  • My teeth weren’t as clean as they seemed
  • My teeth could have used regular cleaning by the dentist
  • My wisdom teeth do exist and have been growing “behind-the-scenes”

Yes, my last dental appointment was years ago. Is it because I wanted to be filthy? No! I just did not see the need to visit the dentist because I brush regularly and had it all taken care of. Well, that’s what I thought.

And isn’t this the same for our lives as well? Many of us do not consider a need for God – the greatest “Doctor” and “Dentist” in our lives. It is only in times of pain that we look to something or Someone higher for help.

Yeah, I have learned not to make that mistake again – either physically or spiritually. We are all not perfect. Our inner selves aren’t as clean as we want to believe sometimes. It could use regular maintenance and cleaning by God. And most importantly, there are always things beneath the surface we do not see, that He can reveal and fix before it causes us further pain. Choose to go to Him daily.

2. Removing a wisdom tooth is uncomfortable and even painful, but is good in the long run

For all of you who have been through an extraction before, you know it does not feel good. My dentist did a great job and I felt no pain in the whole process. But it still was uncomfortable! I mean who likes having to keep your mouth open, trying to breathe through your nose while someone else is trying to pull a tooth out from the back of your mouth using some tool or device? And of course, there is that sore afterwards.

But man, am I glad I did it. Now I do not have to worry about chewing food on the left side and feeling that sharp ache. And with confidence, I can even say I would not have to worry about it anymore in the foreseeable future!

Mirroring this to our lives again, it is the same with allowing God to remove negative or harmful things from our hearts. For some of us, it’s insecurity. For others, it’s fear. Or maybe, it’s bitterness, selfishness or anger or pride…

The process may not be easy and we may need to humble ourselves to admit we need change, but it sure is good for us in the long run! Just like how I chose immediately to remove my wisdom tooth, I want to obey God immediately and change quickly whenever He corrects me.

3. Getting an extraction costs, but is surely worth it

One last thing I found particularly interesting is how the dentist constantly tells me how much the procedure would cost me. It is almost like he did not want me to be surprised or shocked by the bill at the end. It was clear he wanted me to have a choice, and to be sure of what I am in for.

Before doing anything, he showed me the total cost of consultation, X-ray, extraction and sterilisation. If there was any price I was not willing to pay, say the extraction that would cost me hundreds of dollars, I could opt out and just have the X-ray first and do the extraction another day.

Yes, the entire visit cost me $300, and I did consider whether or not to spend that money for the extraction. But I am glad I did it. There was just no better alternative! It was well worth it. Would I rather spend some money which could be earned back or suffer more pain? The answer was clear.

This reminds me again of our relationship with God. Jesus makes it clear to us to “count the cost” (Luke 14:28-33) of following Him. Because as a Christian, our problems don’t automatically go away. As a Christian, we face challenges too. As a Christian, we learn to obey and trust in God even in times when it is difficult to. However, what we get in return is a pathway to joy and freedom that is eternal.

What is $300 compared to long-term painless eating?

What is humility and having faith compared to eternal life?

Nothing.

Entering the 2020s

First post of the decade. Second one about crossing into a new one. Just a random “diary” kind of entry.

Was just lying in bed two nights ago and it kind of hit me. This past decade was the one that changed me the most as a person. It formed the transformative years of my life.

At the start of the 2010s, I was a totally different person and would have never imagined how I would be by the end of it.

In this decade, I tried out martial arts (for awhile). In this decade, I found my love for movies – especially the MCU. In this decade, I picked up the acoustic guitar. In this decade, I discovered my passion for writing. In this decade, I experienced four phases of life – secondary school, polytechnic, army, university.

There were so many other things that happened in this span of 10 years, but nothing transformed my life like the following: coming to Heart of God Church and knowing Jesus.

In 2011, I became a Christian and everything has been the greatest adventure since. It is hard to believe just 10 years ago, I did not know God.

More than the skills, experience and interests I adopted along the way, with Christ and church, I have found true joy, purpose and relationships for my life. I enter the new decade with faith, friends and family – more than I ever had before.

It’s crazy. In this next decade, I am going to enter my 30s (though not that soon). I am going to experience the next phases of life – love, career and family.

But no matter where life takes me, I set my eyes again, like I did in the 2010s, on the one Person that is always there for me.

If there is only one thing I can bring from my life in the 2010s to the 2020s, it is my relationship with Jesus Christ.

I may not know what the future holds, but I know Him who holds my future.

And that makes all the difference.

Life is too short

For some reason, New Year’s Eve feels a little bit different this time. Maybe it’s the fact that we are crossing into a new decade, or maybe I am just feeling sentimental. Either way, time flies.

The older I get, the faster time seems to pass. And the faster time passes, the shorter life gets. Which is why I feel…


Life is too short to be petty. 

Life is too short to hold grudges.

Life is too short to make enemies.

Life is too short to complain.

Life is too short to fear.

Life is too short to be selfish.

Life is too short to be negative.

Life is too short to just gain personal success.

Life is too short to think small.

Life is too short to give up.

Life is too short to use it on oneself.


Life is too short not to be generous.

Life is too short not to forgive.

Life is too short not to make friends.

Life is too short not to give thanks.

Life is too short not to take a leap of faith.

Life is too short not to love.

Life is too short not to smile and laugh.

Life is too short not to make a difference.

Life is too short not to dream big.

Life is too short not to believe.

Life is too short not to use it on others.


Life is too short… to live for the short-lived.

How I find true Rest

It’s Chinese New Year – the best time to connect with our family members and friends. No matter whether you are reading this while on the way to a relative’s house, in the midst of a conversation (I hope not), or while eating handful after handful of snacks, I am going to keep this post short so I will not hold you back and keep you on your devices for too long. After all, like I’ve just said, CNY is about spending time with people.

But more than that, public holidays like CNY are a good time for us to rest. I believe different images just showed up in your head when you read that. For some people, “rest” means having a weekend getaway, vacation or a gathering with family & friends. For others, it’s playing recreational sports, exercising, or going for a hike. Or maybe, it could be engaging in a hobby, painting, reading a book, eating, or just simply sleeping.

“Rest” is something we always associate with things or activities that makes us feel relaxed and recharged. We rest in things we find certain levels of fun or peace in doing. And it is no different for me.

Just last week, I went to the National Gallery with a couple of friends. I can’t even begin to describe the level of “tranquility” I was at after taking a short tour around the art museum. Then the next day, I went cycling from the East Coast to the city with another bunch of friends. It was a pretty quiet afternoon and we cycled & skated while appreciating the Marina Bay skyline on the horizon. Eventually, we came to our last stop – the 100th Starbucks outlet in Singapore, where the River and The Esplanade could be observed from within the cafe.

Fast forward to two days later, I was on a day trip to Johor Bahru, where I had tons of food, a massage and a Lazer Tag game with once again – the craziest group of friends. That was just three days ago.

Right now as I am writing this, I am in the comfort of my room, contemplating what movies to watch at the cinema the next few days after house visits, and which Netflix shows I need to catch up on. All these things I have described are what personally brings me a certain level of rest, fun, and sometimes even peace. If you were Marie Kondo, you would say these are things that “spark joy” in my life.

But as I am thinking about the concept of finding rest and peace this festive season, I can’t help but be reminded of a couple of verses I came across in the Bible a few days back. Because while there is nothing wrong with recreational activities and doing things that we enjoy, true lasting peace and rest are not found in those places. I have to remind myself that true rest is found in a Person.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

While I had a great time at the National Gallery, I no longer feel the “good vibes” I got from there six days later. However, if you ask me right now if I still feel rested and at peace, my answer would be a resounding “Yes”. Because my rest is not found in circumstances, but in Christ. Think about it – if circumstances can give you rest, then circumstances can also take away your rest.

But if our rest is found in the God of peace, who promises to never leave us, then we will have the peace of God that will be always present despite what kind of day we are having.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

The peace of God is something that transcends situations and happenings in our lives. Even when it shouldn’t make sense to have peace in a certain moment, the peace of God can still be present. It surpasses understanding, and can guard our hearts and minds from negativity. It’s not just a peace that floats around, waiting to be dispelled. It is a strong peace – a shield that defends.

This week, apart from all the feasting and family bonding, let’s find time every day to be with God, shall we? He will give us a peace on the outside, but also peace from the inside out. And this peace will not just give us rest from work, but it will give us rest to work. We will have strength to run towards our goals again. Just like what my pastor has proclaimed, I believe this year, we will have rest from petty fights, battles with “enemies” and even personal struggles.

We will have peace with people and peace with ourselves. This will be a time when we will have a peace to build. A peace to build what? A peace to build relationships with our family & friends. A peace to build up our finances. A peace in our health to build up fitness. A peace to build up ourselves in faith and in our walk with God. Last but not least, a peace to build ourselves up for the future.

Alright, it’s time for me to go fill my belly with CNY goodies. I wish you peace & rest in 2019 and a Happy Chinese New Year.

Thank you for reading. Peace out.

An Open Letter to Heart of God Church – Part 4

This is the final part of An Open Letter to Heart of God Church. Read Parts 1, 2 and 3 first if you haven’t.

Clueless. I think that is how I would describe myself from 8 years ago. Other than being remotely skilled in playing computer games & the guitar, and knowing how to study, I don’t think I knew much about anything else. It never crossed my mind that I was gifted, even though God has blessed each and every single one of us with unique talents.

I was just an ordinary boy, but in Heart of God Church, I was given countless opportunities to discover my gifts and be trained in my abilities. When I was 17 years-old, I joined the Videos Ministry. I had 100% interest in making videos and 0% skills to properly do so. Yet instead of being placed somewhere else where I could serve immediately, I was trained from scratch by the leaders and more experienced crew in the ministry.

From knowing nothing about Photoshop, After Effects & Premiere Pro, I went on to be part of big video productions in church. And that is only one example of how people invested their time, energy and heart in me. If I were to describe every little and big thing they did just to encourage me and build me, this open letter will never end.

I never saw myself as someone who can be creative and bold or even as someone who can make a difference in people’s lives. But my pastors and leaders saw beyond the young kid I was and believed in me. Even as I grew older (and am still ordinary), they continued believing in my dreams.

That is why today, I can do the things I do – making videos, writing, giving Bible study lessons, preaching in Connect Groups, and just leading people closer to God in general. If God had not led me to Heart of God Church, where Pastor How & Pastor Lia have built an entire culture around “making the dreams of others come true” and “using the church to build people”, I would never have known I could do all those things or make an impact in the lives of others.

I really believe that is why Christians should always worship God and honor their pastors and leaders. God deserves our worship, and He is the only one worthy of it; there is no being in this universe stronger, higher, greater than Him, yet He cares for us so much to engineer circumstances where we can meet and have a relationship with Him. We should also honor Him in all areas of our lives. As for our pastors – while we do not worship men, we certainly should give them honor.

Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.

1 Timothy 5:17 (NKJV)

It is a biblical principle we ought to apply in our lives. More than just preaching to us on stage, my pastors have spent two decades building the church and people off stage. In fact, Pastor How & Pastor Lia did so for 21 years without a real, proper sabbatical. I think the least we can do is honor people like them, who are not just pastors but spiritual parents to us.

That is the main reason why I wrote this open letter. It is to honor the God, the church and the people who have changed my life so much. More than just being equipped with multiple skills, I am more grateful for having grown in my character and my heart. Because to me, that is what it means to become Christians. That is what following Christ and being His children means.

What it means to Become

Becoming a Christian is less about being skilled and multi-talented, and more about having great character. Of course, we can and should have both character and abilities so that we can serve God excellently. But being a part of Heart of God Church and seeing how my pastors lead people has taught me what it truly means to become. At the end of the day, if my pastors or leaders had to make an ultimate choice between building a person’s character or abilities – character will always come first. It is simply more important. When our character is at the right place, everything else (our abilities, skills, talents) will fall into place.

I love my friends at Heart of God Church so much because they are people of great talents, and people of even greater character. They have what I would describe as both “the hands & the heart of ministry.” People do not see Christ in us just by our charisma alone. They see Christ in our character. Who cares if we are awesome at dancing, singing, public speaking – but our hearts are inward-looking and far away from God?

So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

Psalm 78:72 (NKJV)
hogc-my-home

As I was writing this letter, I just can’t help but thank God again & again. He did not just give me a purpose & meaning in life, He changed me for the better through His Word and His people.

Looking back, I think I’ve grown in a few ways. First of all, I have definitely become a little more patient and accepting of people’s imperfections, haha. Because Christ and my friends in church first accepted me for who I am, I now know to do the same for others. No one is perfect, and we all need Jesus!

On a similar note, another phrase you would hear often in our church is “Build bridges, not walls.” More than just being accepting of people who come to church, we also work towards the acceptance and understanding of other ethnic and religious groups in our local community. For me personally, I just think it’s a real privilege to live in racial & religious harmony in Singapore. We should continue to protect that and build bridges with our community.

Check out Heart of God Church’s community involvement in 2018.

What else? I think I have also become a person who is more joyful. Does that mean I don’t have problems? No! It just means my problems don’t have me. Even in the worst of days when I have nothing to praise, I can still praise Him. Jesus still loves me. He is still with me and for me. Now, the source of my joy is no longer my circumstances, but His presence! With Him, I can have true joy from the inside out.

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

With God and my friends, I have also grown to become a person of faith and boldness. I never imagined I could speak confidently in front of a group of people, much less preach to them. Neither did I ever had dreams for my life and future. Thank God He came into my life.

Last but not least, I think I have grown to become a person who is a little more others-centered. Like I mentioned before, it is hard not to be challenged & inspired to love others when I am constantly in fellowship with God and my friends at Heart of God Church. The heart of God, after all, is always for people.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:3-4

We are so passionate about reaching out to people and bringing them to church because God desires it and has a plan for them. And just as how God has loved us and changed our lives, we want to see the same impact in the people around us. We simply just can’t keep all the blessings to ourselves. Ultimately, we are blessed to be a blessing.

With that, I would like to conclude this open letter.

I hope to whoever is reading this, that it has been a blessing to you. Thank you once again for sticking with this post and reading all my thoughts.

And for the last time today – thank you, Heart of God Church. I have written a lot of things over the past week about you, but honestly, no words can fully encapsulate the impact you have made in my life. Even though this post has ended, your amazing stories don’t end here.

To Pastor How, Pastor Lia, and all my leaders & friends, I am eternally grateful for you. See you all soon.

Gratitude is an offering precious in the sight of God, and it is one that the poorest of us can make and be not poorer but richer for having made it.”


A.W. Tozer

p.s. If you are interested to know more, visit https://heartofgodchurch.org/.