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Sunday Lunch: Tanindon and the Mission of Church

November 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Last evening, a housemate met a student at supper who’d heard intimate details about the food we had at Sunday lunch that had concluded barely 3 hours before. We’re famous! said the housemate.

TanindonNot quite the point of these Sunday lunches though – which are meant to (1) welcome newcomers to the church family; (2) provide the opportunity for members of the church family to talk about the sermon that morning, speak truth to one another, build up and encourage each other in Christ.

Tanindon + some sort of saladWhat is the church? And what is God’s mission for the church? Was chatting about this over lunch with a Tutor last week (who afterward complained of a brain-ache :-(). Briefly (and inconclusively, awaiting further investigation):

What is church?
The Bible talks about it being, on the most fundamental level, the totality of people (“saints” – see, eg. Ephesians 4:12) who have trusted and will trust in Jesus as the Christ – past, present, and future. One becomes a member of this universal church by believing that the blood of Jesus paid for their sin against God.

Mixed berry coulis + freshly-whipped cream + vanilla meringueIn characterising the church, Scripture speaks of it as, inter alia:

  • the household of God (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 4:17);
  • a holy temple in the Lord and a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22); God’s temple where God’s Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16); a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5);
  • the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27; Romans 12:5; Ephesians 4:12);
  • the bride of Christ on the Last Day (Ephesians 5:22; Revelation 19:6-8);
  • a kingdom and priests to God (Revelation 5:10).

Mixed berry coulis + freshly-whipped cream + vanilla meringue
What is God’s mission for the church?
What a great goodness the church has enjoyed and continues to enjoy! A close loving relationship with the Creator and Sustainer and his providential care and concern for her. She is chosen and precious to him. She now knows true peace, hope, and unity. And because of this relationship, she is called to:

  • be (and surely it would be shocking to think otherwise) holy and set apart for God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 2 Corinthians 6:16);
  • hold fast to her confidence in God and boast in her hope in him (Hebrews 3:6);
  • to build up members of this body in Christ and to love each other and encourage each other to persevere in trusting in God.

We then discussed the contemporary push for a missional church and the lack of explicit instructions for evangelism (the so-called Great Commission seeming to be directed primarily to the 11 apostles), and whether modern evangelicals had their balance right in light of Scripture and also this age. A discussion to be continued…

Dessert - doneA clear implication though is that Sunday lunches, being for the good of the members of Christ’s body, don’t have to be fancy affairs – although it might be slightly less distractingly ugly and more conducive to conversations if I didn’t serve food out of plastic containers and mixing bowls (which is all we had in the kitchen).

a pile of meringuesMeringues: 4 egg whites + 180g caster sugar + vanilla essence x 180 degrees celsius x 1 hour-ish, then left over night in the oven. Because there was no table space.

PlusSixFive Cookbook + Papa Palheta's Terra FirmaIn other news, a kind friend acquired the (+65)PlusSixFive Supper Club Cookbook and another kind friend muled it over to London (having remarked on the irony of a London Supper Club book having to be brought over from Singapore to London) together with a bag of Papa Palheta’s Terra Firma – double yay! Ideas for more Sunday lunches to come perhaps!

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Mass Meals for Guests and N00bs

August 29, 2013 Leave a comment

For once in my self-centered life, I’ve been arrowed to play the role of The Concerned Parent to the new associates and random guests. This has meant welcoming newbies, co-ordinating moves, settling people into flats, introducing various individuals, explaining how things work and hints on hacking London, making many beds, enduring hugs and kisses, and cooking big meals to sustain everyone in their packing/unpacking/unsuccessful bank runs.

Because i myself was running around so much and so also to allow for the fullest freedom for newbies and guests, the house menu consisted mainly of large quantities of food left in the fridge to be spooned out and re-heated whenever individuals were peckish; tummy-fillers not haute cuisine nor even experiments to satisfy morbid curiosity:
pork sausage bologanesepork sausage bolognese. I begged the Italians to cook their own pasta, since I wouldn’t be able to do it justice. But they sniffed and said that it was impossible to cook good pasta here in London because the pasta and the water were wrong;

beef stew in an enamel roasterbeef stew – overcooked the meat because I was in a good old yabber with one of the guests. But it seems that if you then dump the lot in the oven for some time with a glug of red wine, the meat relaxes again;

dense chocolate loaf cake + extra thick cream + strawberry and redcurrant coulisdense chocolate loaf cake with extra thick cream and homemade strawberry and redcurrant coulis. Malaysians were happy to have this for dessert. Good for unexpected Aussies, Canadians, and Englishmen, and other random drop-ins at teatime. French guests liked this for breakfast.

Ah, the start of the academic year. Greatly encouraged by the Rector’s welcome talk at staff meeting a few days ago, on 1 Corinthians 12 and John 15; we can all read the Bible and understand it for ourselves, but it’s always helpful when someone who has lived a little longer points out how God’s word applies to one’s own situation.

Dessert, Grace, Sunday at The Training Shed

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

A bully of a weekend, despite having to miss the mildly-attractive Laneway Music Festival line-up. Time was fairly spent, though results not quite as hoped (and some just short of being complete disasters).

A prayer meeting (at least i made it for the prayer part and not the earlier frivolous chatter bit) and some cider, the first AGM of a newly-minted society, then hacking dessert for dinner:

Deconstructed "Banoffee Pie"Can’t remember how I made the last dessert (which could have been euphemistically termed “banoffee pie” but people were too honest for that). Setting out POI below in hope of boosting future efficiency:

Digestive biscuit crust: buy 1kg bag of broken digestive biscuits from Phoon Huat, vent frustration on bag. Melt butter. mix melted butter with enough biscuit crumbles so resulting mixture feels like damp sand.

Banana layer in banoffee pieBananas: local varieties contribute more flavour than bland Del Monte and friends. Slice into thin slivers with mandolin.

Condensed milk reduced to dulce de leche Dulce de leche layer of banoffee pie

Dulce de leche: use condensed milk not evaporated milk. Method of boiling whole can in water for 3 hours is superior to water bath method in terms of achieving caramel taste. But for utter unctuousness, the marriage of good butter and sugar for caramel is superior to all else.

P2111478 Drizzle of chocolate over banana slices and digestive biscuit crust

Chocolate layer: to maintain stability at room temperature in Singapore, do not mix melted chocolate with butter which decreases melting point. The Valrhona 66% Caraïbe wasn’t quite bitter enough for my taste, but dark enough for the kids.

Creaming whipping creamCream: use whipping cream (35%) not “pure cream” (45%). Whip. To stabilise at room temperature in Singapore, add icing sugar or cocoa powder.

ET Artisan Bag ET Artisan box
ET Artisan Macarons

Everyone was polite enough to commend the mess and the kids apparently even whooped. In any case, had standby dessert in the form of macarons from the best commercial baker of such treats in Singapore: ET Artisan (facebook) – not Pierre Herme or Ladurée, but the macaron shells were very well-done.

The next day, we were on to the sixth session of Christianity Explored, which has proven to take quite a systematic approach to things.

So far, people had been asking why they should bother with Christianity, which is reasonable. Now, they had to consider what their own answers would be if God asked them why he should let them into heaven (synonymous with: give them eternal life, save them from coming judgement). Most people might say:

  • I’m generally a good person,
  • I don’t steal large sums of money,
  • I give to charity,
  • I work to make sure that the poor, old, disabled, disadvantaged are taken care of,
  • I don’t eat shark’s fin or foie gras and I contribute to animal welfare organisations,
  • I’m a spiritual person,
  • I give up my seat in MRT trains to those who need it more,
  • I’ve been baptised, I go to church, I take communion,
  • I’m not a murderer,
  • I don’t commit adultery with IT execs trying to get contracts in my organisation,
  • I read the Bible,
  • I’m not a rapist,
  • I don’t visit prostitutes,
  • I pay it forward,
  • I’ve been nice to people and lived life the best I know how.

In Mark 10:17-22, Jesus meets a rich man who has been even better than most of us can claim to have been. The man falls on his knees before Jesus and says,”Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good – except God alone.” Jesus wasn’t discounting his own goodness or deity; he was challenging the man’s concept of what it meant to be good.

So, Jesus said, the man should already know what he had to do – it’s no different from God had told the Israelites hundreds of years ago – to enter heaven, the man had to keep all the commandments (embodied in general in the ten commandments given to Moses on top of Mount Sinai after God saved the enslaved Israelites out from Egypt).

“Teacher,” the rich man declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Although the man would have been said to be a good son who honoured his father and mother, a good employer who did not begrudge his servants their wages, a good business partner who did not lie or steal, a good husband who did not commit adultery, a good member of society who did not covet his neighbour’s things and act to get them, he actually failed to keep the first commandment: to have no other gods before God (Exodus 20:3). And as we’d already understood from previous session, the greatest commandment is “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:29-30). But money was actually the rich man’s god, which is why he could not give up his wealth.

The disciples were shocked that even this “good” man could do what was expected of him, and so wouldn’t be able to get to heaven. If even he couldn’t have eternal life, then who could?! Jesus affirms their conclusion: “with man this is impossible”.

This is consistent with what we have seen so far: it is not anything outside ourselves that corrupts us and makes us evil, as if babies start off (as someone at the session termed it) tabula rasa and are then polluted by the world; rather it is our heart that is inclined to evil all the time. As Jesus said:

“For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean’” (Mark 7:21-23).

Because our hearts (and minds and souls) refuse to love the Lord our God, it is impossible for us ever to enter heaven, no matter how relatively good (better than others) we think we are.

But (and this is a great “but” in bold capital letters in dancing lights) what is impossible for man is possible for God:
1. This is exactly why Jesus had to die – to pay for our sins that we ourselves could never pay for, even if we killed ourselves. If we could somehow save ourselves from God’s wrath on us because we sinned against him, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die.

2. The only way to be saved then (and to enter the kingdom of God, to get to heaven) is by just accepting and trusting that Jesus’ death paid for our sins. This is what it means to “receive the kingdom of God like a little child” (Mark 10:15) – not that we are to have regress to some sort of feigned innocence, nor to switch off our minds and pull on blind faith, nor “take a leap of faith” into the dark; rather, it is merely to trust, from the evidence we have seen so far in the Gospel of Mark that no matter how bad we’ve been, God, by his grace (undeserved favour) has ordered it such that all sins will have been paid by Jesus. There is nothing left to do (or can anything be done in any case).

This is what’s so good about the good news (that is, the gospel): it is impossibly valuable and life-saving and it is free!

Labrador Park Labrador Park
Reflections at Keppel Bay

After such a full weekend, we’d schemed some chillaxing at Labrador Park.

Sunday at The Training Shed, Port Road Graffiti, Sunday at The Training Shed
P2121544 Graffiti, Sunday at The Training Shed
Graffiti, Sunday at The Training Shed Burgers, Sunday at The Training Shed
Beers, Sunday at The Training Shed Drinks, Sunday at The Training Shed

At Sunday at The Training Shed (8 Port Road, Labrador Park), there was dancing with beer bottles in hand, graffiti and watching paint dry, burgers on the grill and satay, and fun for all (including babies and dogs). But it got too hot and muggy from the recent rain, and, despite the promise of good beats, not wanting to quench thirst with just Heineken and Tiger, sweatily decamped to Chinatown Complex for eats and good cold ‘uns from The Good Beer Company (facebook, #02-58 Chinatown Complex, Smith Street).

The end.

Wimbly Lu Chocolates at Jalan Riang

October 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang
Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang
Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Mosaic, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang

Wimbly Lu Chocolates (Facebook) is a complementary addition to Jules Cafe Bar and The Fat Cat Bistro on Jalan Riang. It is easily identified by the red-and-white Volkswagen Beetle outside the continental-style shopfront and the gold mosaic on the doorstep.

Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang

Inside, the walls are exposed brick and the floor is covered with mismatched furniture picked up from neighbours and the Salvation Army thrift shop then sanded down and varnished.

Kids' Corner, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Freedom Eggs,Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang

In a corner, the kids’ corner is filled with books donated by the surrounding neighbourhood and there is a cabinet displaying egg cartons and a sign declaring that they only use organic freedom range eggs in their products. Kid and chicken-friendly.

Breakfast and brunch menu, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang
Dessert menu, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Drinks menu, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang

The food, dessert and drinks menus are fairly extensive for a chocolate cafe. No wonder Wee Bin and Lucinda (x Wimbledon = Wimbly Lu) haven’t had much sleep. They have no F&B experience and not much in the way of help so they’re learning on the job and tweaking things as they go.

Scone and muffin display, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Cake display, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang
Eclairs and Rocky Roads, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Apple crumble under a glass bell, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang

The scones, muffins, eclairs, brownies, cheesecakes and chocolate truffles on display all look great.

Raisin scone, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Bacon and cheese mini muffin, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang
Flourless Orange Cake, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Eclair, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang

Having tried the scones, mini muffins, flourless orange cake, chocolate truffles, chocolate blackout cake and rocky road,

Chocolate blackout cake, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Rocky Road, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang
Chocolate truffle display, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang Chocolates in a box, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang

it only belatedly occurred to me that if one is in a chocolate cafe, one ought, common-sensically, to focus on the chocolate bit of the menu. And the Belgian chocolate used is good. We can thank Wee Bin/Lu’s French host family for teaching them to enrobe chocolate truffles the French way.

Monk's Blend Tea, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan RiangWhat really stood out though was the service from Wee Bin and Lu: friendly and attentive but not overly-effusive. They used to work in the media industry (Weebin was a programmer for ESPN Sports) and decided (perhaps it was a midlife crisis, she said) to go and do something else they loved – either mosaic or food. So this cafe is their baby and it’s become a third place for the neighbourhood – homey enough for them to saunter in before bedtime in their pyjamas.

The wine tutor too has also been talking to some of us, in a fatherly way, about deciding what we wanted out of life. He himself came out from the F&B industry after a mentor pointed out to him that he had only so many fruitful years left and asked whether he wanted to continue to spend them in the same way.

I’ve always been fairly clear about my interest and goal in life – not just to educate about specific issues or subjects but to make the ultimate truth known. This hasn’t been too popular to the parentals who have offered, of their own volition, to send me to Le Cordon Bleu Paris as an alternative, or a distraction perhaps, to my taking this path. Most of the cousins have gotten or are in the process of getting their PhDs (the new masters), have set up and sold Silicon Valley start-ups, gone into cutting-edge research and/or become highly-sought specialists and consultants.

But it’s my life. And if ultimate truths are indeed ultimate and accurate reflections of reality, there can be nothing else out there for me.

Wimbly Lu’s current opening hours:
Opening Hours, Wimbly Lu Chocolates, 15-2 Jalan Riang

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