This is currently the sermon series that we’re going through, and honestly it is something that frustrates me the most because it is something I’m having a hard time seeing.
This stems from a conversation/a series of conversations with some friends at church on why they don’t plug into church. On one hand I kind of understand some of their sentiment because I too struggled with it, but after much talking it just seems like there’s still issues holding them back (comfort, pride, culture), all of which should be irrelevant when it comes to matters of the church. Ah, yes I know, Christine you are too idealistic and critical, but am I? Why is it that we refuse to keep trying to connect to the body of Christ because we have a few bad experiences. If I refused to go to ACF, simply because of everything I went through with Joy, I would be a non-Christian now (but seriously…). If we are Christians and we understand the concept of forgiveness and that we are all sinners, imperfect and in need of Christ, who gave us this high step to stand on and look down at the other imperfect people? This type of attitude is toxic for the body of Christ. Mind you it’s different if the doctrine is bad. If a church is practicing things that are not Biblical, then that is a sure sign of danger, and should be addressed. If that is sound then, I really challenge you guys to reflect on why you would choose to be critical and distance yourself, rather than jumping in and being a part of this change you want to see.
Maybe other people don’t notice this type of cliquey-ness that I’ve been seeing, and if you haven’t…I guess it’s great that you’re not discouraged by it, but I am. Immensely. I hate feeling conflicted in the place where I am supposed to feel safe and whole, and yet I find myself facing this a lot. And it’s not just discouraged by the people that won’t get plugged in, but it’s also by the people that prevent them from coming into the body. If we are a family that is connected through Christ, why aren’t we acting like it? This is church guys, not a scene from Mean Girls.
Posted 8 months ago with 6 notes
Having grown up in the church and American culture, I feel a lot of times that while I’ve grown a lot in my faith, it’s so easy to get distracted by other things. Laziness, work, chasing money, the secular lifestyle, I mean really, I wander constantly.
Yesterday I ended up going to the baptism service at my parents church. Before each person got baptized they each shared their testimony (which was then translated into English). I felt myself being moved to tears, on one hand remembering a lot of my similar struggles, but also being moved by how God had revealed himself to them and how excited they were to start this new chapter in their lives. Most of the time if you hear kids get baptized that grew up in the American church, you’ll hear things like, “I grew up in the church.” “I realized how much Jesus loved me by dying on the cross.” etc. etc. Not to criticize anyone’s testimony, but most of these things don’t really reveal a true understanding of the gospel and how it transformed their lives. I know when I got confirmed at 13, my testimony then was similar to that. It highlighted things that should have pointed me to Christ, but it didn’t speak on an actual change in my heart. In China, they do not have the same luxuries of religious freedom as we do. They do not grow up in a country with Christian influences, and instead are constantly being taught things that point away from God. So for them to come to Christ, despite everything they were raised with, is amazing to me. They shared about their struggles with coming to accept Christ, they shared about the freedom they now feel, they shared about their heart for their unbelieving family members. There was no way you couldn’t have seen God working through their lives and just sit and think, “Amen, Praise God”.
Being at that service reminded me of that feeling when I finally started to understand the Gospel and truly accept Christ. A feeling that has been pushed back by distractions of financial responsibilities, spending time with friends, and an overall lack of discipline and faith to follow the Lord wholeheartedly. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 says,
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.For God will bring every deed into judgment, withevery secret thing, whether good or evil.
As a believer, my duty on this earth is to fear God and keep his commandments. To fear his is not to be afraid of him, but to give him all the recognition and respect that he deserves. So if I believe in Him, yet I pick and choose which things I want to accept, then I don’t fear him. If I am a Christian, yet I don’t live out the Gospel, then I do not fear him. My purpose on this earth is to do everything for Christ, and to not worry about everything else because God will address these things in his perfect timing.
I want to experience God in a real way. I want to understand and feel his presence and glory, not just in the hard times, but every day of my life. I get so frustrated because I let other things take my eyes off of Christ, but as yesterday reminded me, he never leaves us. He has his hand in everything, and he draws us closer to Him, even when we don’t realize it yet.
Lord please give me a heart that believes and fears you. A heart that is not swayed by the things of this world, but beats and moves for you. Let me know you and draw closer to you, so that I may stand firm in my faith and be a better witness to you and your glory. Teach me how to trust in your plan, and to be patient with your timing, and to be perfectly whole and content with you.Posted 8 months ago with 7 notes
so i said i was going to bed early. i finished discipleship/mentoring with daniella around 830, got home at 9, washed my face, changed into PJ’s, closed the door………
….and i’ve been on tumblr/gmail/facebook for 2 hours. now i can no longer blame others for my lack of sleep. i can only blame myself and my lack of discipline.
long day tomorrow. let’s try to get some sleep. and maybe work out before work.
one step at a time.
okay i’m tired.
goodnight.Posted 8 months ago with 1 note
Summer’s almost over and I didn’t even get a vacation. Actually, since I started I haven’t taken more than 1.5 days off, just been working day in day out, waiting. I calculated that I got vacation time in October, and I figured I would use the mL tour as an excuse to take a mini-vacay to DC and just get. out. of. the. office. Get out of Jersey/Philly, get away from all the activities and just play. Found out that I don’t actually get vacation time until November. I was so upset. THAT’S IT! I AM TAKING OFF AND I DON’T CARE! I NEED A VACATION.
This afternoon I got the email. October 11th & 12th approved. Thank. You. Jesus. I am so looking forward to this vacation. Time to play, time to dance, time for me.
as;ldkfja;sldkfjas;dfjas;dlfj Can it be October yet?
I didn’t have siblings growing up, but Jack and Kathy might as well have been my siblings. Funny how we’re all grown up and yet this picture seems to perfectly capture our personalities. Jack and his laid back smile, Kathy and her inquisitive/judging side glare, and me…up to no good :P
I’ve been looking at old pics to put together this project I’ve been working on, and it’s really interesting to see how we seem to change as time passes.
yihe, yunyun, & dingding <3
God is playing a big practical joke on me and I don’t like it. I asked Suzanna why this was happening, and her simple reply was, “maybe he’s teaching you patience? ;)”
*sigh* Don’t get me wrong. I’m not dying to get married or have kids quite yet, but I do want it. It was different when all my other friends were single, or just in relationships, but now I’m reaching that age where my friends are getting married, engaged, or having children. I am so happy for them, but I can’t help but inwardly covet their happiness from these events. Especially when inwardly I feel a sense of ‘lack of closure’ for a lack of better terms. I realize I’m still holding onto something that wasn’t really there, and I find myself being frustrated at being unable to move forward, or to really trust God with this area in my life.
I remember reading ‘When God Writes Your Love Story,’ it talked about this feeling of being single for right now. Acting as if God calls you to singleness everyday, and what that looks like in terms of how you pursue your relationship with God that much more. I realized that while Suzanna’s answer wasn’t what I wanted to hear, she was right. After ACF’s retreat on Centering ourselves in Christ, I realized there were a lot of things that I was holding as my center rather than Christ and I was determined to change that. Part of that was painfully and intentionally letting go of something that my heart didn’t want to admit was getting too close to it. It was hard, but I guess bit by bit it got better, but whenever certain things come about, it’s like those feelings that I cut out come snapping back, and it stings a bit each time…which frustrates me even more. I’m realizing that while it is hard to move on from something you care about, if my focus is not on Christ, or on finding healing/trusting in God’s ultimate plan, this concept of moving on is impossible. It becomes bitter and frustrating and spends time coveting other relationships and major life changes. However, God is not placing these things in my life to make a big joke of me. Rather he is revealing to me more and more what is truly in the center of my heart. It makes me realize that I need to recenter myself in Christ and find joy in him first. Whether he chooses to reopen, close, or reveal new doors, my focus shouldn’t be what is behind those doors, but should be trusting in the one that controls them.
God I really pray that you help me find joy in your presence and comfort alone. Sometimes I forget that relationships (on all levels) are never mine to begin with but gifts from you. Please guard my heart and help me be more conscious of the things that sway it, and I pray that you would really take this feeling of burden off of my shoulders. Whether I find someone tomorrow, next year, or never, I pray that you would always be more than enough for me, and I pray that you help me learn to trust in your plan for me.Posted 9 months ago with 16 notes
- Moving Forward
- 1 Corinthians 13:7 — Reflections from Second Hour
- Internal Conflicts
I’ll get to these….eventually. PUAHAH. GG Christine.Posted 10 months ago with 1 note
In light of my recent post, I’ve been thinking a lot about non-Christians and the type of stuff they say/post to try to disprove/invalidate God and how powerful he is. They take scripture (esp. Leviticus) out of context and try to show how irrelevant it is. Or they take a biased scientific argument to try to show how God couldn’t have created it. I mean really the list goes on and on. And then when something happens that Christians are known for being against, they rejoice and laugh in our faces, like “Ha, ha, look at how stupid you Christians are for being against it because it happened anyway. Where is your God.”
You know, as much as ignorance pisses me off, I’m coming to realize that arguing with people that don’t want to have a fair conversation is pointless. I cannot prove to you my opinion if you do not care to see my side as much as you want me to see yours and vice versa. If you want to take Scripture out of context to prove a point, go ahead. If you want to mock me because of my beliefs and how they may be out of date or irrelevant, go ahead. Your ignorance cannot break my spirit and your ignorance cannot defeat my God.
People say no one can judge them but God himself. I challenge them to truly understand and know God, and then see if they are truly as blameless as they hold themselves. If we were perfect, there would be no need for Christ to come and die on the cross, but as Luke 5: 31-32 says,
31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Posted 10 months ago with 5 notes
thoughts thoughts thoughts…
It was interesting to say the least. I wasn’t really sure what to expect about the movie, because I wasn’t really sure what it was about, except to see God in a way that shows his heart for the world. You will see the impossible, and you will be changed forever.
Did I walk away changed forever? Well, maybe not, but it’s not to say that this movie didn’t challenge my thinking and in some aspects change my outlook on evangelism.
The film follows Darren Wilson, as he travels around the world and documents the power of God. There’s a lot of different things, some of which I’ll highlight, but overall I would suggest watching the movie if you get a change, either by seeing it while it’s on tour or buying it, or you could borrow it from my small group (if asked obvi).
There were a few things that really stood out to me (in no particular order)::
- Evangelism can be done anywhere. Wait what? They were following this guy that was evangelizing through interpreting people’s tattoos, who went to clubs/raves and evangelized there, who was even challenging and praying for those that were fire and brimstone evangelizers. I mean, this is pretty out of the box. At least with evanglizing in the club, that kind of blew me away, because this guy, wasn’t like in the club on a soap box like, YOU HEATHENS REPENT NOW (lol), but through different conversations he had with different people and just through getting to know them in a short amount of time and evanglizing in that way, that concept really challenged me. Well one, I go to clubs. I like dancing and having fun, but I get really irked by the people that get either super drunk or are the biggest tools on planet Earth. Lord, they try my patience. But a lot of people that go out, are not necessarily in that category, and as a Christian, do I not think that they need Jesus as much as I do, as much as my kids and the guys at SBRM do? I’m a fake extrovert, where I’m super extroverted when I have buffers to ease my sense of social anxiety, but I am super introverted when I’m put in situations where I don’t know people or my surroundings. How is that showing God’s love though? I am only willing to show it when I’m in my comfort zone, even if comfort zone includes a homeless shelter, or QV, or going to a Native town in Alaska, however these things are all structured. How can I show God’s love in a genuine way on an every day, every where basis? (Food for thought and prayer.) God please give me the boldness, courage, and heart to share your love in every encounter/situation that you put me in. I pray that I would not be held back by my pride, or my fear of uncontrolled social interactions, but that I would truly have your heart for your people, and show your love in an honest, humble, and genuine way.
- Miracles/prophesy/healing. Yeah. As someone that comes from a fairly conservative Middle-class, Christian, Asian upbringing, I can for sure tell you I have probably never encountered any of this. As far as my faith and upbringing is concerned, the charismatic side of Christianity is something I have never understood or experienced up until about recently, and something I looked at with much skepticism and confusion. Instead I have been taught, and relate to, the aspect of intellectualism and thinking through what and how God works in the world and in my life. In the film you see this one guy that they follow, that does two things. First, he meets people, and before they tell him anything, he tells them about themselves, or things he feels/sees about the person, and after confirming that it’s true, he prays for them. Second, is he’s meeting people, and by laying a hand on him and praying on them, he heals them, from bad backs, uneven legs, to chest pains. I won’t lie, I was kind of ignorant during these parts of the movies and raised my eyebrow because yeah, I could see the reactions of the people interacting with him, but was this for real?
Prior to seeing this, my view towards these types of miracles/spiritual gifts, has been negative as a result from people manipulating this ability to profit, or falsely claiming to have these gifts. By seeing multiple examples of this, it created a natural skepticism in me. So when I watched this part of the movie, I was kind of unsure how to digest it. At the same time however, I was kind of convicted in my heart, because I was asking myself, “Why do you not believe?” If I believe that God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, why would I be willing to see and acknowledge the first two but not the last? Did people not believe in Christ after they saw his mighty works? Did the apostles not go spreading the gospel, but also performing miracles? Did the Holy Spirit not come down at Pentecost and cause the people to speak in tongues? If these things are from the Spirit and happened back then, and if I believe in the Holy Trinity, and that the Holy Spirit is just as relevant as the Father and Son, why didn’t I believe that these things were possible in modern day society?
Ultimately, I don’t doubt that these things happened. I mean, just because God hasn’t been revealed to me in this way in my life, doesn’t mean he isn’t making major moves this way in other parts of the world. I mean there are things that can be learned and appreciated from both the intellectual and charismatic sides of Christianity, as long as they are rooted in the Word and are Christ-centered. I think that’s one of the things that we take for granted here in the States. We have the luxury to question everything and to study and try to argue how God doesn’t make sense. It’s probably a huge reason why it’s so hard for people to trust in God whole-heartedly. You see these instances where in other countries, people just present the Gospel, plainly, and that transforms lives. I mean, that’s pretty awesome. To me, it’s encouraged me to know that God is moving, even in ways beyond our knowledge and understanding, but if we follow him whole heartedly, if we put our faith in Him fully, he can use us to do mighty things in His name too. I’m willing Lord, Use me!
Here’s the link for the actual site if you’re interested. http://fatheroflightsfilm.com/Posted 10 months ago with 2 notes