Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Wedding Worth Celebrating!

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ll know that today was the long awaited wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.  What a wedding it was! (Yes, I watched the whole thing on tv, ha!ha! which was not something I had planned on doing!)

This pic of one of the 2 kisses on the balcony of Buckingham Palace was taken from CNN.com.

The nay-sayers or “haters” would say that there are more important things going on in the world and “who cares” about such things but the fact that hundreds of millions were watching across the globe shows that this attitude makes up only a small minority.

For me, the admiration of this wedding goes far beyond “what the bride was wearing” or “what was on the menu at the reception”.  I was encouraged and delighted by the sanctity, respect and holiness that marriage was afforded during the ceremony.

Check out the Royal Programme from the official Prince of Wales website: http://princeofwales.gov.uk/content/documents/RWOP_V2.pdf

Some of my favorite parts  of the wedding:

  • When the Archbishop of Canterbury states, “For be ye well assured, that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God’s Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful”…yet ironically, Elton John and “his partner” were sitting there listening…hmmm..
  •  …”according to God’s holy law“…”Through Jesus Christ our Lord“…”in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Amen.”  God was made the central focus of this union!
  • “To whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.”  I wonder if people who do away with their first spouse and get married to another leave this part out of their second marriage…
  • God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost bless, preserve and keep you;…”
  • The Hymn choices were awesome!
  • The prayer written together by William and Kate was beautiful: http://www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/blog/2011/April/29/Prince-William-and-Catherine-Middleton-s-Prayer
  • One of my favorite parts of the wedding are words from the Bishop of London’s sermon: In a sense every wedding is a royal wedding with the bride and the groom as king and queen of creation, making a new life together so that life can flow through them into the future.  William and Catherine, you have chosen to be married in the sight of a generous God who so loved the world that he gave himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.  And in the Spirit of this generous God, husband and wife are to give themselves to each another.” Words to live by!
  • The Bishop of London goes on to say: “As the reality of God has faded from so many lives in the West (and I would argue around the world!) there has been a corresponding inflation of expectations that personal relations alone will supply meaning and happiness in life. This is to load our partner with too great a burden. We are all incomplete: we all need the love which is secure, rather than oppressive, we need mutual forgiveness, to thrive.  As we move towards our partner in love, following the example of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is quickened within us and can increasingly fill our lives with light. This leads to a family life which offers the best conditions in which the next generation can practise and exchange those gifts which can overcome fear and division and incubate the coming world of the Spirit, whose fruits are love and joy and peace.”  Words of wisdom!

So, did any of you out there watch the wedding?  Did you enjoy it as well?

RESONATE Short Film Festival (RSFF) at Al Shatti Cinema Was a Smashing Success!

Oman’s 1st Short Film Festival for Youth for Christ (YFC) was an amazing event and there was an incredible turnout!

Tickets were sold at local churches for 2.5 rials in the weeks leading up to the event.  Thanks for the free tickets, Jess!  :-)

The organizers!

Watching 11 creative videos made by teenagers who had never created films before (which were inspired by the “red words of Christ”) on the big screen was something else!  If you get a chance, don’t miss this next year.  The theatre was packed!

A great part of the event was hearing from the local filmmakers.  They answered questions from the audience about their inspiration for getting involved, the resources/equipment used and lessons learned.

This is the informative pamphlet each audience member was given in order to help them keep track of the videos so they could vote properly for their favorite film at the end of the showing.  Promising filmmakers from Al Ain (UAE), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Muscat (Oman) and one entry from the USA (?!)) made videos of no more than 7 minutes based on the words of Christ from the Holy Bible.  A lot of work was obviously put into these short films.  I was so impressed with the depth and imagination of most of these films. 

I enjoyed all of the films, but Filipino expat, David Daang’s animation was by far the best in my opinion.  If I can get David to put his awesome short film on youtube, I’ll put a link to it here later. 

update (May 9th): It’s now on youtube! Here it is:

I’ll be waiting for the email to let us know who won 1st place!

To all the filmmakers/writers/actors/organizers who participated in this event, congratulations on a job well done!  It was a beautiful way to spend 2 hours on a Thursday afternoon.  Thanks!

What’s so “good” about Good Friday?!

This morning we “celebrated” Good Friday at the PCO (Protestant Church of Oman).  A lot of people wonder each year, “Why on earth is it called Good Friday if it commemorates the crucifixion of Christ?”  As one email I received this week (from the lead singer of Apologetix, J. Jackson) stated, “If you were a disciple of Jesus the day He was crucified, I guarantee that you wouldn’t have thought that Friday was good. It was the worst day ever — not just for them but for mankind itself.  If God can take the worst thing man ever did (crucifying His sinless Son) and turn it into the best news man ever heard (salvation for whosoever calls on His name), think about what He can do with our own worst experiences.”  Exactly, Jackson! As he goes on to explain, Good Friday is the ultimate example of Romans 8:28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”                                                                                                                                                                              Here’s a list of upcoming services at the PCO this Easter Sunday:

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.”  1 Peter 3: 18.  
It’s historical fact that Jesus Christ suffered. 
But the idea that His suffering was necessary-that He had to suffer-has often been the subject of scorn from those who have criticized and ridiculed Christianity. 
It’s also what sets Christianity apart.
Muslims, for example, show respect for the person of Christ-
- but see the cross of Christ as a stumbling block and regard the atonement as foolishness. 
Oxford scholar Alfred Heir called Christianity-
- “the worst of all because it rests on the idea of a suffering Saviour and a substitutionary atonement, which is intellectually contemptible and morally outrageous.” 
As followers of Jesus-
- we embrace His cross. 
We sing songs like “On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross, the emblem of suffering and shame.” 
This divergent thinking perfectly illustrates 1 Corinthians 1:18: 
“The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 
So why was the cross essential? 
Why couldn’t He have skipped the suffering and just died for us? 
1 John 4:10 says:
“This is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the payment for our sin.” 
The key word is payment. 
The Bible explains this payment in many different ways: 
He died to give us life. 1 John 5:11.
He died to bring us to God. 1 Peter 3:18.
He died, the righteous for the unrighteous. 1 Peter 3:18.
He died for our sins. Hebrews 9:26.
He died to save us. Romans 10:9.
He died to give us eternal life. John 3:16.
It wasn’t enough for Him to die.
He had to pay a debt. 
His payment was made to satisfy the demands of God’s anger.
Peace with God is the absence of anger. 
As much as God loves you-
He hates your sin with a holy, burning passion beyond comprehension. 
The only way He could embrace you was to make someone else pay for your sins. 
It couldn’t be just anyone.
It had to be someone perfect. 
Since we’re all sinners, He came Himself. 
That’s the whole gospel. 
Hear it again for the first time: 
You can be forgiven and washed clean. 
But God couldn’t do that lightly. 
He couldn’t say, “Oh, I see your sin, but never mind.” 
Someone had to pay for our sins. 
It was Jesus. 
He willingly suffered and died on the cross and God, somehow in His infiniteness, laid all of our sinfulness there upon His Son.
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. (from My Manna
Three lovely ladies sang “If That Isn’t Love” at church this morning, but unfortunately I failed to bring my camera/camcorder.  Click on the song title in the previous sentence to hear Elvis singing it!  
 Happy Easter, everyone!  :-)

Our Musically-Inclined Baby!

Our baby LOVES music! He’s always clapping his hands, humming to himself, drumming on the table and dancing whenever music is playing on the CD player or TV and often even when there is no music.

Gershom playing away on our Guitar Hero drumset!  He insists on grabbing the drumsticks and tapping away on the drums at least twice aday.               Here’s a short video of our drum master!                   Here’s another video of Gershom playing on real drums at church!!!

Hot Pot & Grills Restaurant in Bareeq al-Shatti Mall

A relatively new restaurant serving Asian food has opened up next door to Wasabi Sushi in Bareeq al-Shatti Mall.  The waiter said they served “Korean/Oriental food” but I wouldn’t call any restaurant Korean which doesn’t have kimchi on the menu! :-)

With a name like “Ocean Warrior“, we just had to order this salad, haha.  It contains mixed seafood: prawns, squid, fish with diced vegetables in oriental dressing. (3.5 OR) We really enjoyed this salad.

Under the Dim Sum Special section of the menu, we went with the “Seafood Dumplings“.  Steamed seafood dumplings in a Chinese hand-made pastry, served wtih chef’s special sauce. The wife LOVED this dish which says it all! :-)  (2.9 OR)

There are 7 selections of soup on the menu: Hot Pot Seafood (2.9) / Chicken (2.5) / Vegetable (1.9), FishBall Soup (2.4), and Mild & Creamy Meat (2.3) / Chicken (2.3) / Vegetable Soup (1.9). My wife chose the FishBall Soup pictured above which is a clear soup with Fish Balls and glass noodles.  My wife thought it was too salty but that’s exactly why I loved it! :-)

I wasn’t that impressed when the soup I ordered arrived at our table. I thought I had made a mistake as it didn’t look that impressive to me.  These thoughts quickly vanished with my first few spoonfuls, especially as I scooped so much hidden chicken from the bottom of the bowl.  This soup is “Mild & Creamy Chicken Soup” and it was almost as good as the salty FishBall Soup.

Because of all the dimsum, salad and soup we had, we decided to order just one main course (Seafood Platter) for the 3 of us which was a good call.  The main course section has 5 different styles of the Special Hot Pot Platter: Vegetarian (4.2 rials-additional vegetable plate costs 2.2), Chicken (5.5 rials-additional chicken plate costs 2.5), Meat (5.5 rials-additional meat plate costs2.5), Seafood (6.5 rials-additional seafood plate costs 3.5), and the Mixed Platter (6.9 rials-additional mixed plate costs 3.9).

The waiter poured out the soup contents into the metal container you see there and we started cooking up the food on the grill.  Reminds me of Korea where we would often have to cook our own food on similar type grills.  The other table didn’t seem as comfortable cooking their own food so the waiter kept coming over to turn over their food on the grill.  The “free” soup that comes along with the main dish is pretty good so we’d probably skip the soup on any future visits.

Overall, we had a very pleasant experience at this restaurant.  The price for all our food and drinks (including a large water, 2 softdrinks and a 1.9 rial avocado shake) was only 18 rials + 1.62 rials for tax for a total of 19.62 rials.  Not bad! :-)

Has anyone reading this been to Hot Pot?!  If so, what did you think of the place?  If not, why not try it out for yourself?  (Tel: 24404291, email: hotpotngrill.oman@gmail.com)