Church is not a physical building, but an Ekklesia.

I know that it’s time to blog about Faith when I get emails from readers about a post.

Since the time in 2014 that I blog about the topic of Church, namely this post, The Search for a Church. There have been some personal updates on my end.

I have stopped searching since September 2015, after being in a new church for one year. Not that I have found the church where I finally feel that I belong but rather, I have decided to move on (again).

There is this disconnect that I feel from churches, all churches that I have attended so far. With this latest one, the people are nice, the leadership in church are genuine, the sermons from the Pastor are good.

But there is something deeper that I hope to get from church, in terms of deeper fellowship amongst Christians, and I am not getting it from church, any church.

After being a veteran of Church-search the last couple of years, I have decided to throw in the towel from January 2016, to be officially free from attending ‘Institutionalised Church’.

I have decided that I rather not be tied to the cultural or religious stigma of belonging to any church.

It’s ok for you reading this to assume I am now less Christian or have fallen away from the faith, just because I choose not to attend church weekly on Saturdays and Sundays. I don’t mind being judged 😛

Church is still a good thing, I never said it was bad.

Just that it’s not working out for some people…and I believe I am not the only one. I truly believe there are more people who are feeling the same disconnect from church as I do. Indicated through a random post that I wrote in 2014, which started a conversation with a fellow sister of Christ whom I don’t know personally, who shared with me that she feels the same disconnect from church. And she is courageous to acknowledge it.

Would getting involved in some ministry or a cell group in church help to ease that disconnect?

When we get busy enough with activity, getting into the motion of doing things does help to convince one that you are a key part of a group or gathering of fellow believers, make most feel good about yourself, believe that you are doing good and feeling that you are contributing to the Kingdom, all through the activities of a church.

That’s not a bad thing.

I have tried attending cell groups over the course of the churches I have attending the last 15 years. Coming together with the same subset of the people whom I am meeting on Sunday, just don’t cut it for me.

In some gatherings, it becomes about the potluck or the spread of food that the host generously provided for the gathering. Maybe I am just the weird one out, who struggle with having to be open and vulnerable to share my current challenges in my life to that few people in the group I just can’t seem to be comfortable with, for the fear of being judged.

So does all that activity, bring true Ekklesia amongst a group of believers? Maybe. It might work for some people. Just not for me, or this other lady who I have been conversing with.

So what does people like me feeling this disconnect do?

Quitting church temporary then seeking God fervently on your own helps. It’s crucial to come to a point to ask yourself, ‘What do I really want from attending Church?’

Some people attend church to listen to sermons. While some others attend church to ensure that their spouse or their child get some exposure on the ways of God.

Another young lady wrote to me recently to share that attending church for her was necessary, as she feels that it helps her to be more aware not be sinful or fall into the world’s ways of doing things. I think attending church is beneficial when it brings about conviction for a change of heart and a change of ways to be walking closely with God.

Have we asked ourselves, is that truly working out for me? I did. And I realised church-going doesn’t make me a better person. The conviction of the change of heart only lasts for a few days after listening to a sermon, and after a week, I am back to my rotten old self.

What made the difference for me was the time I set aside seeking God daily on my own. Reading the bible, listening to sermons online, meditating on the word from the bible, spending time in quiet reflection and in prayer.

Having an accountability partner, also made a difference. Someone that you can meet weekly to share about your spiritual walk, life struggles and being there for one another for constant edification and encouragement.

 

 

Church = Ekklesia

Have we asked ‘What does God want for me?’ or Christians knowing what is God’s will for us, when it comes to church.

The best way to find out what is God’s will for Christians, is to read the bible. So what is church exactly?

In New Testament, church actually means Ekklesia. So what is Ekklesia anyway?

Ekklesia is a Greek word which definition is “a called-out assembly or congregation”. In the New Testament, Ekklesia is translated as “church”. Ekklesia is definitely not defined as a membership to a physical church, but a called-out assembly of people.

What does it mean by ‘called-out’?

Does attending a specific church or calling yourself a Christian automatically makes a person part of the ‘called-out’ assembly?

This verse from 1 Peter 2:9 gives a very good explanation of what God called us out from;

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‘Called out of darkness into His marvelous light,’ what this means, is that being ‘Called-out’ ones have to be different from the world.

If you belong to a church or a gathering, that looks to the world, or encourage you to embrace worldly principals. Then in order to walk with God truly, you need to run, run far far away from this church or gathering.

Tozer

This site have addressed this to-the-point, ‘God has called the church to be separate from sin (1 Peter 1:16), to embrace fellowship with other believers (acts 2:42) and to be a light to the world (Matthew 5:14). God has called us unto Himself, “Come out from them and be separate,” says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:17)

So Ekklesia can mean any form of gathering of people who are called to be separate from sin, embrace fellowship with one another and be a light unto the world.  Not just a gathering of people who believes in God, who are gathered weekly in a physical building which is commonly known as ‘a church’, and then go on to behave like a non Christian on a regular day when there is no church to attend.

There is a common assumption amongst Christians these days, that one has reach a certain level of maturity spiritually, if you are actively involved in some ministry in a specific church, or even better, be some kind of leader at church.

Learning about the definition of Ekklesia has changed my paradigm of what I used to think church was about.

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One can find Ekklesia beyond the walls of a physical church and definitely need to be walking the Christian life daily to be a light unto the world. Christians are called to be the Church, and not just religiously go to a church weekly, or keep ourselves busy with church activities.

Ekklesia can be found anywhere, even in coffee shops, where 2 or more believers gather together to have coffee and just talk about God, share their walk with the Lord and encourage each other in the faith. Or it can be even found in homes, something that I have been doing with a dear friend for some time now. While Ministry or Kingdom work can be found beyond the walls of a church.

 

Is church truly working out for you?

If you are already finding that deep connection and fellowship with a fellow believer in your church who can consistently encourage you to walk closely with God and can give constant spiritual support, and someone whom you can openly share your heart with. Then I am glad for you. Keep at what you are doing.

But if you have experienced the same disconnect from church.

Maybe looking for another church and getting to know other believers in a different church gathering might solve the issue. But once you feel the disconnect, you will find that the deeper fellowship that you may be looking for cannot be found in churches, and have to be sought after some place else.

If you are one of those who feel the disconnect. Could it be time to acknowledge it? Is it time to take that courageous step to find that deeper fellowship amongst Christians and support for a deeper walk with God that you are looking for.

Stop being focus on just going to Church and keeping yourself busy with activities in church, but BE the church, everyday of your life.

Church

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Bibi Blogs: Pet Subscription Box – Wiggle Box Review

Subscription boxes is in the rage these days, from beauty, food to even dog subscription boxes. So my human got me a trial subscription box from Wigglebox.sg.

If you have a short attention span (like me) and like surprises in a box to be delivered to your home monthly (dogs especially love new toys and goodies). For human subscription boxes, there are new stuff in their boxes monthly, and things are curated for the box, usually at a discount from retail prices. Dog subscription boxes are similar that way.

So what do I like about Wigglebox so far?

I like it that there was free and reliable delivery. The morning on the day the item was delivered to my home, my human received an sms in the morning to inform her that the courier will deliver the item at a specific window of time later that same day.

It was all very exciting for me, to see this man at the door with a box with an orange ribbon, with a box of stuff just for me! Only for me! And to think that just 1.5 weeks ago, I was still in a cage in a petshop.

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The human didn’t even take a proper photo of the box with the nice orange ribbon, she just couldn’t wait and ripped open the box, I suspect she is more excited about my stuff than I am.

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The next thing I liked was that the box was bigger than I am, I could sit in it and practice my pensive look.

This was a trial box at $28, with 5 items. I packet of treats, 3 toys and a product sample.

Product Plans :

One Time Trial Box – $28

3 month Plan @ $26 a month – $78

6 month Plan @$25 a month – $150

12 month Plan @$23 a month – $276

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What’s in the box?

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1. Wellness Petite Treats in Duck, Mango and Coconut 170g – Retail Price $9.50 from Pet Lover Centre

My human just got a pack for me last week in a different flavour. I can regretfully only eat 1-2 a day, as the woman is stingy with her treats. For a chihuahua pup, 120 pieces in a pack of treats can last me a long time. So this pack will be going to Uncle Moey (my human’s extended family’s 7 year old Sheltie).

Uncle Moey is really benefitting from all these really, ever since I came into my human’s life, she has been buying treats for me and then sharing them with Uncle Moey.

2. Warren London Sample  – Deep Cleaning Paw Fizz Tablets 30g (4 tablets)

Retail price probably ZERO, cos my human who was trained in Marketing in Consumer Goods says that it cost them nothing to have it in the package. All it took was Wigglebox people to seek sponsorships from brands and they usually give it FOC to them.

This will go to uncle Moey too, as my pink tender paws have only seen the marble in the home, I am still not a fan of the concrete and the grass as far as I know. Come on woman, you have to give me time!

3. Rope Toy – Retails price estimated the most $6

4. Bedroom slipper squeaky soft toy $4.50

My human saw it at Lazada.com at that price

5. Life Buoy looking toy – Retail price estimated the most $6 

Total Estimated Value at $26

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As you can see in the photos, the toys are quite big. Again I am in extra small sized now, so everything will look big relative to my size.

I may be small and don’t eat too much treats, but only 1 treat in the box?

As for the toys, they may be aesthetically impressive due to their size relative to my size, but it doesn’t entertain me for very long. There needs to be more customisation on the toys especially for toy sized dogs, in fact even an option for puppies will be so much cooler. The slipper thing is pretty good with its squeaky feature and plush fabric, but there are many toy Poodles, Shih tzus, Yorkshire Terriers, Malteses with small mouths that will prefer smaller toys.

My human paid $28 for the subscription box, so I was hoping that I could get more treats of toys for a better value.

My human said that we will likely not continue our subscription with Wigglebox until we see some improvements in their offerings. So far, I am really not impressed by Wigglebox.

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I don’t particularly enjoy it when my human makes me pose for picture especially with that big buoy thing around my head, but hey! A pup eventually needs to get use to having the phone camera at his face and learn to stay still for photos.

My human told me that there are two more subscription boxes coming our way in the next couple of weeks, one from Malaysia and another catered for puppies from the USA.

So how will Wigglebox compare with these other subscription boxes? Stay tune for my next review!

Woof! Signing out!

Bibipaw

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A Gold Coast Family Vacation

It felt rather surreal for hb and I to have returned to the same place where we first visited 16 years ago, when we were poor, ‘starry-eyed’ Uni students.

Then, we took a 30+ hours Greyhound coach ride from Melbourne and spent a week in Gold Coast, hopped onto public transportation to get the various theme parks. Being poor students, we could only afford one expensive steak dinner, from a steak restaurant which we discovered while strolling along the 5km stretch of long sandy beaches along Surfers’ Paradise.

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The Gold Coast that we remembered 16 years ago, definitely had less buildings peppering the skyline.

This time round, we opted for a less busy place to stay in Gold Coast, specifically, Broadbeach, instead of Surfers’ Paradise, which was quieter and had plenty of amenities. Broadbeach has a nice stretch of the beach, with good restaurants.

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So what do you do in Gold Coast with an 8 year old?

Gold Coast is theme park central in Australia, so visiting the theme parks is a mandatory major part of the visit there.

We spent 4 days in a theme park, mostly weekdays, from the time the parks were opened in the mornings to the late afternoon queuing up to take the various rides in Dreamworld, Wet & Wild, Movie World, and viewing marine life and watching performances at SeaWorld.

Dream World

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi2KungFu Panda themed section in Dreamworld 

Dreamworld main attraction is its Big 9 thrill rides, rides with names like ‘The Giant Drop’, ‘Tail Spin’, ‘Tower of Terror’, ‘Wipeout’, ‘Cyclone’ etc, you can probably know what to expect.

I used to be very game to take thrilling rides in theme parks, but not anymore. All it took was one ‘deceiving’ rickshaw looking ride known as ‘Pandemonium’,  in KungFu Panda theme section, which kept me off from taking any ride for the rest of the day. I definitely did not do well in the ride which soared 8 meters high, sent round and round in circles, side to side and upside down at up to 3.8 G-forces!

The little boy on the other hand, seem to do quite well even after taking the rides.

Dreamworld had a wildlife area with a small section of Australia wildlife, which provided a good respite from the crazy rides.

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi3Birds in Dreamworld Coroboree

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi9The customary photo with the Australian Kangaroo

Seaworld

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This theme park was Kyle’s favourite amongst the others, I think it was the experience of viewing marine life, animals, sitting rides and watching animal shows, all found in one place.

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The highlight of Kyle’s SeaWorld visit had to be the 30 minute Helicopter ride, taking in the aerial view of Gold Coast and the Hinterlands…

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and getting his personalised trucker cap and temporary tattoo :)

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Mount Tamborine

We took a drive up to the Hinterlands, Mount Tamborine when the weekend came around. It was a refreshing change from the theme park experiences, but it fell short of what I expected the place to be like. If you have been to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, or Cradle Mountain in Tasmania, and expect something similar to these places, you would be sorely disappointed, like how I was :(

Apart from some quaint cafes along Gallery Walk, the row of shops sold mainly china-made goods and offered new age services like tarot reading. I was hoping to see some shops with locally sourced products or hand crafted goods, but there was none. The only shop that was worth visiting was the shop that sold Tamborine Tea.

The Gallery Walk experience was such a disappointment that we decided to skip the nature hikes and took a drive back to Broadbeach.

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 combi10We had a Devonshire Tea set in a quaint cafe along Gallery Walk

Burleigh Heads

We headed over to Burleigh Heads on Sunday morning to visit the monthly Art and Crafts Market at the beachfront, which was about a 10 minutes drive away from Broadbeach.

There were quite a number of interesting stalls with handmade items, and locally produced products. Although it was smaller than expected, it was worth the visit.

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 78Along Burleigh Heads Beach

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 59Spotted a Peaceful Protest along Burleigh Beach

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary

One of the things we felt we didn’t see enough of from the last 6 days of our Gold Coast trip were animals, so a trip to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was a must-do on our last full day in Gold Coast.

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Kyle spent his time feeding Kangaroos and spotting the lizards that freely roamed around the Sanctuary

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A key milestone he achieved from his visit to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary was attempting the Treetop Walk Challenge, as he overcame his fear of heights by braving through the course with hb behind him.

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I think a week in the Gold Coast is adequate to experience the most of what Gold Coast can offer, while I would most likely need another week at home to recuperate from the trip 😛

Goldcoast holidayDec2015 17The view from our room in Broadbeach

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