Mobile Phone Portability

Finally, this has been announced as a sure thing. I’ve heard of the intention since 2003 itself, but progress in this has been so slow, due to one of the major telco’s reluctance in the effort. Anyway, that is the past. What is coming is the ability to change your mobile phone plans while retaining your existing number. It will only cost RM25 for each change.

That will certainly drive the price downwards; which is a very good thing for consumers in the long run!

🙂

Full article can be read from: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/8/28/nation/20080828115854&sec=nation

Mobile phone users can now enjoy the freedom of switching network service providers without having to forego their original phone number (including the prefix).

Effective Friday, the service will be extended to users with prepaid mobile phone numbers in the Klang Valley. Postpaid users can start enjoying the facility in two weeks.

“Service providers are allowed to charge up to RM25 each time a subscriber changes their mobile phone service provider. This will give the users choice and freedom to choose their service providers without the inconvenience of having to change their numbers.

“The nationwide launch for the MNP will be in October,”

Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2

Starts next week on the 9th of September (Tuesday!). Cannot wait! 🙂

Apparently, there will be more action and tension among the cast… and ONE cast will be killed off by the end of the Season!!!!

Out of Malaysia?

9 out of 10 times when I get into a conversation about studying in Melbourne for nearly 3 years, people will always ask “Why did you not stay in Melbourne/Australia? Did you not get to work there?”

*Smirk*

I cannot remember who, but I believe it was an old preacher who once told me… “I’ve been to many different countries and seen so many things around the world… but you know what? They are all the same.”

I think he captured the essence of what most people who came back to Malaysia would say; the grass always look greener over the other side of the fence. But in reality, people are always people, and there is no perfectly safe or secure place in this world.

*Reminds me of the episode where Will (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) was shot by a robber. At his bed, and with a smirk he tells his mum, “Just think, I moved out here (Bel-Air) from Philly cause we thought it was too dangerous…”

Funny, but sadly true!

Humility in Learning

It is unbelievable how God has been so gracious to me in my pre-conversion years, and subsequently in my early conversion years. In my pre-conversion years, one thing that I thought was essential and integral to the Christian life was ‘discussions’.

Discussions and the Sharing Approach

Discussions was the prevalent view of how one grows and become mature in the faith. Everyone and everything that I was involved in had discussions in its centre, from casual prayer meetings to bible studies to cell groups to fellowships. It was the ‘in-thing’ to get a few people together to trade views from the bible. It went in a round-robin manner, and everyone gets to say something (and hopefully profound). I cannot mention church names and people names, but suffice to say, even the teachers (grown up men) would encourage a person to give out their opinions on a matter and merely state their corresponding reply, without pressing on any particular stance. In peer groups, many would be given the opportunity to speak out their thoughts and ‘insight’ to the bible, and it is up to you to choose and take which argument you believe to be right.

Looking back, I can say with much conviction that this is certainly an unbiblical act of learning and growing in the faith. In fact, it is an ugly reminder of how self-centered and self-indulgent an approach to the bible can be. Acts 2:42, 4:2, 5:25, 5:42, 6:4, 9:22, 9:28-29, 10:48, 11:26 points to the constant primacy of teaching in the lives of the believers, wherever the Spirit works. Especially in the last two references, we see that whenever a believer converts; there is always a need to learn and listen to God’s Word from His appointed teachers (not just any person). Many good Christians have misapplied the incident of Philip and the eunuch, thinking that just about anyone can ‘teach’… but Acts 8:5-6 clearly shows that he was an appointed evangelist who has God’s Spirit powerfully working in his life, after his prior office as a church deacon. You will not find any reference to ‘discussions’ in God’s Word. It is God’s appointed way to have teachers (pastor-teachers) to teach God’s Word to His people.

(1 Peter 2:2-3) Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation– if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Learning in Humility

One of the stark changes that happened when I was converted back in 2000 was the desire for me to stop and learn. It did not happen over night, but it was certainly a gradual (but sure) process. I would just learn and ask questions from the pastor, and read more of God’s Word. This did not mean that I would not preach to non-believers of course, for we all ought to spread the Gospel in whatever locality we are in. But gone is the desire to ‘learn’ through discussions. For many years after coming back to Malaysia, I basically just had the urge to ‘shut up and listen’ to God, through His appointed ministers (which is in church). It was hard, because it called for me to put away the old self which wanted to rely on the ‘accumulated knowledge acquired since Sunday School’ and ‘the achievements’ I had before. By God’s grace I had to and I did. I learnt all over again what is the God’s Word all about. I learnt from scratch what Grace is, what Mercy is, what Justification is, etc. I am still learning, but by God’s grace, I am what I am now.

 

And the joy I have in seeing lives who are also exhibiting these sort of Grace-enabled humility is indescribable. Truly God’s grace is clearly seen and powerfully magnified in the lives of those who once went their own ways, indulging in what their itching ears want to hear and doing what they feel is right, and then seeing them conform to the humility which the Son had towards the Father. I am privileged to see such workings of the Spirit weekly, and sometimes more.

Learn much from the teachers. Do not seek to see yourself greater than others (constantly striving to be better than others!), as though it is your choice to choose what you want to believe in. It is God’s Will that His children ought to find His truths through His appointed means (which means, no hermit Christianity, or loner Christians who are ‘churchless’). Objective truth, and not subjective ones that our itching ears want to hear. God’s word is always consistent to itself. Far better to maintain the unity of Doctrine and centrality of the Word than to maintain a consistency in the ‘specific method’ of interpreting the Scriptures. Far better to hear pure unadulterated Word from His appointed shepherds than to follow blind denomination affiliation. I can never understand how Christians can choose to compromise with their church on spiritual issues that are both doctrinal and practical, just because they had ‘history’ with their denomination. It is treating church affiliations like a societal club membership! Downgrading indeed of the view on the Church! Better to be doctrinally correct and be with people who esteems God’s doctrines and then work towards the practical issues than to be right in the ‘works’ and neglect the essence of Godliness. Much of ecumenicalism is marked by the latter view if you were to analyse their thinking.

(1 Peter 5:1-7) So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: (2) shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; (3) not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. (4) And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (5) Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (6) Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, (7) casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

 

Article on Pelagian Heresy in Modern Churches

An insightful article written by R. C. Sproul. Full article can be read from http://www.bible-researcher.com/sproul1.html. It is often very sad to see good people caught under a heresy, which they do not ever see. Worse still when it affects their decision making unconsciously… and yet they believe that they are doing ‘right’ in the Lord’s sight.

Our generation is full of well-meaning people who think that God will accept them because they have done their ‘best’ and with the ‘best intentions’. Why? Because society has always taught us that the world accepts and cannot condemn those who has given ‘their best’, and therefore many equate that as the same for God’s response to our ‘best’. That is a lie. Fallacy, which can easily be seen in God’s response to Cain’s offering. Cain gave ‘his best’ from the works of his hands. But God decried that as not having faith. Faith is never about ‘giving your best’, but to merely ‘submit to God’s decrees’. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Alas, many of our brethrens are more influenced by the world’s standards than God’s…

Which is why Sproul’s article is necessary. It is not new (isn’t everything so?), but timely for us now:

I’ve often wondered if Luther were alive today and came to our culture and looked, not at the liberal church community, but at evangelical churches, what would he have to say? Of course I can’t answer that question with any kind of definitive authority, but my guess is this: If Martin Luther lived today and picked up his pen to write, the book he would write in our time would be entitled The Pelagian Captivity of the Evangelical Church. Luther saw the doctrine of justification as fueled by a deeper theological problem. He writes about this extensively in The Bondage of the Will. When we look at the Reformation and we see the solas of the Reformation — sola Scriptura, sola fide, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria, sola gratia — Luther was convinced that the real issue of the Reformation was the issue of grace; and that underlying the doctrine of solo fide, justification by faith alone, was the prior commitment to sola gratia, the concept of justification by grace alone.

In the Fleming Revell edition of The Bondage of the Will, the translators, J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston, included a somewhat provocative historical and theological introduction to the book itself. This is from the end of that introduction:

These things need to be pondered by Protestants today. With what right may we call ourselves children of the Reformation? Much modern Protestantism would be neither owned nor even recognised by the pioneer Reformers. The Bondage of the Will fairly sets before us what they believed about the salvation of lost mankind. In the light of it, we are forced to ask whether Protestant Christendom has not tragically sold its birthright between Luther’s day and our own. Has not Protestantism today become more Erasmian than Lutheran? Do we not too often try to minimise and gloss over doctrinal differences for the sake of inter-party peace? Are we innocent of the doctrinal indifferentism with which Luther charged Erasmus? Do we still believe that doctrine matters?

Seadragon by Microsoft

This is the best tech demo I have ever seen. Wow… the ability to zoom in and out of a high resolution picture without any lag. Interesting that it is made possible because the programmers had to only worry about the amount of information/data that a monitor would show at any one time.

Is it possible to code such a thing?

Android 0.9 SDK beta – Out now!

Finally, after such a long silence, the next (last) beta release of Android SDK for mobile application building, is out!

http://code.google.com/android/documentation.html

Download it now! 🙂

Quote from http://android-developers.blogspot.com/ on the changes:

Enough of that though — you’re probably wondering what’s actually new in the SDK. Well, you should read the Release Notes, the Change Overview and the API Delta Report for all the details, but here are a few highlights:

  • First and most obviously, the new Home screen is included, along with a ton of UI changes for 1.0.
  • Some new applications are included: an Alarm Clock, Calculator, Camera, Music player, Picture viewer, and Messaging (for SMS/MMS conversations.)
  • Several new development tools were added, such as a graphical preview for XML layouts for users of Eclipse, and a tool for constructing 9-patch images.
  • Since we’ve got a new Home screen application now, we thought the now-obsolete version from the M5 early-look SDK might be helpful to developers, so its source is included as a sample.
  • A number of new APIs are fleshed out and improved, and others are now close to their final forms for 1.0.
  • Tons of bugs were fixed, of course. (If you had problems with the MediaPlayer, try it now!)

There are a lot of changes — the ones in the list above are just my personal favorites, so you should check out the links above for the full story. Not all the changes are additions, though: I’m sorry to say that we had to remove a few things, such as the GTalkService (for security reasons), and the Bluetooth API. There’s a bit more detail in the links above, and we’ll follow up on those in particular here in this blog to give you the scoop. In fact, we’ve got a little list of topics we want to talk about here, so stay tuned.

One more release and we’ll have version 1.0

FCC Approves HTC Android “Dream” Phone

I am hyped!!!!!!!!!!!

http://androidguys.com/2008/08/18/fcc-certifies-dream-android-announcement-moves-closer/

This is clear that the secrecy on Android SDK and on the Dream Phone has been part of Google’s epic plan for the year. Too many things have happened since middle of the year (iPhone 3G, Omnia and Touch Diamond launches). Even Neo Freerunner is on the list.

The confirmed specs are:

  • UMTS/HSDPA 3.6Mbps
  • Qualcomm MSM7201A 528MHz processor
  • Synaptics capacitive touchscreen (yes, capacitive)
  • GPS w/built-in compass
  • 128MB RAM / 256MB Flash

http://androidguys.com/2008/08/18/the-hunt-for-android-in-august/

Again, very good job by the Androidguys for uncovering the conspiracy slowly 😛

P.S.

Why am I so hyped about Android? A lot of reasons why. But it will only be known for those who are in the know 😛 If curious, ask me. I just ‘might’ tell.

Modern Arminians Versus Historical Arminians

I am glad to learn about the Historical Arminians who would not submit their definition of what Jesus accomplished at the cross to their compromise-laden brethren (the Modern Arminians).

According to the Historical Arminians (HA); “If you believe that Jesus died for everyone in the world/universe (universal redemption), then you must conclude that Jesus suffered for the people, but did NOT paid the price for anyone. It was a ‘potential’ redemption that could not possibly paid or redeemed anyone. Which is why the sinner has to ‘choose’ salvation to finish the last hurdle for salvation.”

Rephrased: HAs believed that Jesus suffered for everyone, but He did not die for anyone. For if He had died for anyone, than the ransom was paid and thus redemption was purchased, thus the one whose sins are paid for (by death on the cross) HAS to be saved; thus there can be no CHOICE because it was effectual. Therefore, the HAs are right (logically) in saying that Jesus merely suffered, not died for everyone, which procured a potential salvation which enables people to have a ‘choice’.

I (and Reformed believers) of course disagree with the content, since Arminians LIMIT the effect of redemption (according to the logic given by them, Jesus made 99.99% for salvation to be possible, and the last 0.01% has to be from the person’s choice, i.e. the way to salvation is broad but falls short of a 100% guarantee of salvation). Whereas, Reformed belief see that Jesus died and paid the sins for His elect, thus limiting the extent of salvation (i.e. the way to salvation is narrow but fully is given by God and Him alone – 100%, with no boasting from the repentant sinner at all!).

Based on Jesus’ own revelation on the pathway to salvation in the Gospels and from the dealings of God with the Israelites in the Old, it is clear that the extent of salvation should always be limited to the elect.

It is just really sad that many Arminians do not understand that “Limited Atonement” is a limitation on extent of salvation and that they themselves are limiting the gospel in its effect.

But now you know 🙂