Drinking Deeply

Saturday, February 26, 2005 at 12:09 AM

Less of me and more of You.

It's been a week of ups and downs.

I don't know what is going on. I can talk to someone and feel better afterwards, trusting in a God that continues to work for His people... but then someone would ask if I was ok and I'd start sharing and.... *boom* it washes over me again, a complete feeling of despair and overwhelmness.

Just on Sunday (the day after my last post) I went through ok. I went to Sunday and worshipped and felt like it was real. I felt like I could honestly come to God's house and offer up my days, my struggles, my troubles and He would help me out, He would provide a way out. Got some work done, prayed a bit, read a bit... then someone asked how my weekend went.

I started sharing a bit. That weekend was noticeably difficult but I was doing ok...then I realized I wasn't doing ok... that I was still desperately in need of Christ and not seeing it.

I looked into myself and saw such a blackened heart and blood covered hands that I was sick of it. My pride swallowed up everything and it was so much of a part of me. I made myself sick. My heart was so hard and I couldn't see God. I didn't know why. Too focused on my own sin and suffering and not seeing enough of God's grace and mercy I know... gah.

I don't know what's going on, it comes and goes. I spent all of Monday night talking with David, really needed that. He really reassured me and just walked with me for like hours. I don't know. I needed, I need help. I spent Tuesday with P. Ting and got to talk with him a bit. They both just sat and listened to me and reassured me. It helped a bit... I don't know it comes and goes.

On the plus side on of the freshmen reached out, of which I was really encouraged by.

I wish FiCS was run differently, sometimes it feels like there's too much on too little. But who can do it? We desperately need God to raise up more leaders. I wish we prayed more. I wish so much... I guess just another example of how much I, as well as we, need to grow. =/

Today it was the same, I felt fine most of the day but then large group came and I was like... *boom* and it washed over again. Spent the whole time praying and hoping and needing...=/ gah I hate looking like this. I'm horrible at hiding my emotions, everyone is just like "what's wrong? Are you ok?" and it's obvious that I'm not... but I don't want to drag people down with me. I don't want my feelings of helplessness to mess up other people. I feel like sometimes all I do is drag people down.

But we don't struggle alone. That's what I keep telling myself. That's what I keep telling other people. Reach out and grab someone. Reach out and cry for help. God walks with us, God walks with me. God is Emmanuel. Ask and you shall receive. The burden is not on my back. The burden is not on our backs. God will provide. Grace is sufficient.

Just up and down up and down. Needing God, needing less of me and more of You.

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Sunday, February 20, 2005 at 4:00 PM

In Remembrance Of Hope

Everytime something happens that puts me under pressure, everytime something changes that I'm not ready for, I lose 5 years of maturity. I start getting spiteful, angry, distraught, impatient, emotional. It's all there.

I hate it. I really do. Instead of turning to the people that love me, to the God that loves me, I turn away, turn my back and run. I hide behind a shield of arrogance, a shield of a 5 year-old kid crying out "It's all your fault." I wish someone could catch me on tape and show it to me to really show me how immature I really am acting. All I have are flickers of memory and a deep sense of regret. Gah. I suck.

But I guess through it all God works for His ultimate glory. I wanted to help bake on Friday. I sorta did, but my bad mood just kinda leaked through and the shields went up. I just played ping pong, running around and acting like I did all of last year. I guess I helped a little but the heart was never quite there. I think I can't cover it very well. The first thing Jelly said to me when she saw me: "Are you in a bad mood today?"

I wanted to help bake on Saturday too, but I just ended up walking for like an hour through the rain (I guess I wanted my depression to show or something) and then I moped. I really just sat there and thought depressing thoughts and moped. Wow I am a such a pity-whore. Everyone noticed. I don't even know why I went. I didn't even help!

Well I guess I do know. I went solely for the reason that God wanted to manifest His glory in me. After a while of moping and sitting there and yadda yaddaing I ended up asking T for a sandwich because I was hungry and wanted more people to see what a sorry state I was in that I hadn't even eaten. He asked me if I was ok and I just... broke down. I guess I had a good cry... considering I used up like 20 sheets of his roll of towels. I dunno, he really didn't say anything that I hadn't already been trying to tell myself the entire week. He didn't say anything significant, reiterating a lot of things that I could say but didn't feel.

But there was something more about it. There was a fulfillment of a promise (of several promises in fact) that came along with it.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. -Matthew 18:20

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. - James 5:16

~~~~

I wish it solved my problems. I wish it did a lot more. I guess it wasn't my lot to have it that way, but at least I can still look up see the hope ahead. I'll take that, and in fact, that's all I need.

Psalm 51

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

1Have mercy on me,[a] O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

3For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.
5Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
9Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right[b] spirit within me. 11Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

8Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19then will you delight in right sacrifices,
in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

~~~~

Eden is hebrew for pleasure. Used only once outside of the "Garden of Eden" reference when Sara laughs and says "After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?"

For us who call upon Him, the answer even after we are worn, old, tired, weary, the answer even after all the trials and sufferings and the whips and lashes, the scorn, the disappointments, the unfulfilled expectations, the answer is "yes" - from P. Ting today's reflection

There always seem to be words that cut. Meet Grace.


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Saturday, February 19, 2005 at 2:42 AM

Fit to a T

I feel overwhelmed.

I feel like all the people that I would normally turn to have turned to me, and I no longer have anywhere to go. Things are happening, have been happening, will be happening, in basically every area that I've depended upon. What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to say? There's so much I've been asked to handle, there's so much I've been asked to watch over. There's so much I feel like I should be caring deeply about that I don't, that I just let slip because I'm like that. There's so much that I'm called to, demanded to care about that I cannot find a speck of in my own heart.

On Tuesday at RUF David Jones talked about how he was always scared when people told him "well it's the heart that matters" because "my heart has done things even my hands have not thought of"... and it's so true for me as well. I see it in everything I do. It's all tainted. It's all colored. Nothing I can, have, will do can ever be satisfactory. "All have fallen short, no one is righteous"

For a person who always tried to live in accordance to an "unofficial code" (except when it inconvienced me) prior to my conversion, and then tried to live to an "official code" after, that's a tough truth to grasp. But it's the only truth that really matters right? I guess I'm really feeling the full weight of the "T" in "TULIP." I'm so broken right now and I can continue telling myself that that's exactly where I need to be, but it doesn't eliminate the growing sense that I'm right there on the verge of depression, on the verge of burnout, on the verge of not caring about anything at all.

But yet I feel like I can only say the answers. I can only say that my hope, my joy, my life is in Christ. I try to pray, I try to talk to people, I try to confess, but it all feels so empty.

I can reread Job's book and examine his faithfulness, his trust in a God that will justify in accordance to his own sins (which apparently he had not many), but all I can draw from that is the fact that I am no where near Job's caliber and fully deserving of any and all punishment God may lay upon me.

Today our message was on Proverbs 3:5-6) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

From which there are a number of fundamental truths that I've been denying:

1. Trusting God - Just by being overwhelmed I'm taking a lot of pride in the fact that somehow the fellowship "needs" me. That it wouldn't operate properly without me. Where's the trust in that? Where's the dependence upon God? Where's my trust lie? Clearly only upon myself.

2. Leaning not on my own understanding - A direct corollary; when I take on more and more responsibility, more and more of me begins to think that "hey, my opinion is what matters. My opinion is what is necessary. My opinion is right" So stupid! So dumb. But so much of a part of me I don't know how to get rid of it.

3. Acknowledging Him in all my ways - ::sigh:: There is so much of me that I have a hard time giving up, have a hard time trusting with. There's a lot of me that is so distant. Every part of me is so far away from everything that it should be.

John Piper had a sermon about pride this last Sunday. Living Peaceably with All, If Possible.
There's so much in his words that shoot straight to the root of the problem. shoot straight to my heart that it hurts to read and I'm almost tempted to delete the email and forget about it.

It's so stupid, there's so much pride. There's so much of a part of me that is crying out, "look at me! I am important! Look at what has happened because of what I am doing! The fellowship (and God) needs me!"

But I know that is so wrong, but I cannot eliminate it. I know the answer is to confess, repent, pray, rinse in living water and repeat, but it's still there. My boasting is never in the cross alone, my joy is never in Christ alone, my hope and my desires are never in God alone. I am wrapped in self so much.

What do I do when I see the truth standing here in my face but I can't grasp it? "Trust in the Lord..."

I should confess. I should pray. I should repent. I should talk to people. But even afterwards I feel so fake, because I see myself sinking into it again and again. I see myself pursuing these transient joys, these transient loves, these transient experiences that quench my thirst much like salt water, for some reason always leaving me thirsty for more.

I was about to say I snapped today for the first time in months, but then I realized I snapped at my brother just 2 months ago. So immature. I feel like complete crap. I feel so selfish. I feel so stupid. I feel so irresponsible. How did I ever get entrusted with so much? I can't handle this. I don't know what to ask for, I don't know what to pray for. I don't know who I can talk to, who I can turn to. Who decided I was qualified to look after the freshmen? Who decided I was qualified to be the person that turns to? Who decided that I could handle these burdens. No, pick someone else. I'm too immature. I'm too young. It'll go to my head. I'm going to become prideful and that will be my downfall.

It's happened. I cannot do this. I cannot do anything right. It's all tainted. I don't care enough about people. I should be caring for my drawmates. I should be caring for my family. I should be caring for my home church. I should be caring for KCPC. I should be caring for the freshmen. I should be caring for the poor. I should be caring for the homeless. I should be caring for the weak. I should be caring for all these people that I said I'd be praying for. I should be caring for all those people that have questions, that are curious. I should be caring for all those people that just need someone. I should be caring for the TJ trip. I should be caring for the service that I try to go to but never end up getting involved with.

Ryan just stopped by. He's the guy that I essentially told to get his act straight or face God's wrath in the times to come. Well he took the denial route, but he was still willing to draw with me. I've done such a horrible job of trying to reach out to him. He's living in a different floor, in a different hall, with unknown roommates, he doesn't want to talk about it, he doesn't care anymore.... I have so many excuses and I feel so much like those people in Matthew 25

41"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' 44Then they also will answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?' 45Then he will answer them, saying, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' 46And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Just one of many, many things that I've ... let slide.

The verse says to trust in God, but what if I'm so wrapped up in my own pride that I don't? What if I'm so sunk in my own denial that I can't?

Pray right? Confess, repent, pray... but I feel like it's not working. I feel like there maybe no hope. I can say that the hope is in eternity, the certainty that the powers that raised Christ is now working in me and is raising me from this death and destruction that I see within. That those sins no longer have power over me because they've been crucified with Christ. But yet their tie is so much stronger than anything I've felt before.

In the past I've always had different verses that reassured me when I was struggling:

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings for we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope; and hope does not disappoint us because we know that God has poured His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.

Therefore, in view of God's mercy, offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is, His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Because we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let of throw off all that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us and set our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning it's shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Are they just words to me now? Memorized so much they have lost their meaning? I don't know.

Pray for me, that I would find rest, that I would find reassurance, that I would trust once more. Pray that I would not turn away but turn towards, that I would remain faithful and hold fast, ready to bear fruit in season. Pray that I would see the hope that I am called to, that I would care for those in need, even above myself. Pray for my heart as I prepare for a service missions to TJ. Pray for continual accountability and discipleship. Pray for trust.

Definitely something I'm not able to do on my own. Definitely something I don't see myself doing.

I'm guilty of "strength Christianity" so much. Guilty of "cat Christianity" guilty of Pharisitic thinking...

"all have fallen short"

gah

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005 at 6:31 PM

One plank at a time

So I managed to talk to my pastor yesterday, among the topics we talked about (which I won't divulge on this blog, but may share if you ask), I got a chance to ask him about the Mark 16:15-18 passage, which I will reproduce for your viewing pleasure.

15And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Basically he said there are 2 plausible answers:

1) Examining the footnotes, it states that some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20, but the Masoretic text, (the text that first added vowels to the Hebrew Bible) which most translations are based off of, does, there exists an inherent possibility that this part of the text was not really "Scripture," but that's a scary line to walk down. If we throw out parts of the Bible on grounds that there are texts that disagree, what do we do with the multitudes of translations? Additionally even if we restrict it to down to "early" texts, it's still dangerous when we play fast and free with Scripture.

***edit***

So I'm somewhat annoyed at myself for doing this, but I referenced the Masoretic text... but that text was the OT... so I was wrong about that, but I believe he did mention an old "source" text that includes it whereas most do not or something like that

***end edit***

2) A second possibility is the fact that with many cases, scripture records something that may not be "normative" literally. It may be true that leading up to and with belief come miracles (for example read the post below on just the sheer number of miracles that Mike is going through), and it is definitely within God's power to perform miracles as such, but thus far there have only been 3 periods in which miracles were really common: Moses, Elijah, Jesus. Additionally the anti-Christ will come with false miracles, so we cannot make "miracles" a test for salvation. Test all the spirits, be like the Bereans, who were commended for their faithfulness to Scripture. Even great spiritual leaders go wrong. Paul even rebuked Peter for requiring circumcision.

I don't feel like it's a completely satisfactory answer, but am I about to seek out poisonous snakes? Of course not.

Onto the questions from the day...

1 Cor. 3:10-15

10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw-- 13each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

If we follow Paul's reasoning, he seems to be saying Christ is the only foundation, additionally that we can have our home built out of different "materials", but it will be revealed by fire on "the Day." If the work survives (ie built of the right material), we will receive a reward, but if it does not, we will suffer loss, but "himself will be saved." What?

Ok, so #1 the foundation must be on Christ. #2 there are "better" or "more durable" material we can build a home out of. In context, this chapter Paul is talking about divisions in the church... So is he talking about differing doctrines... Which seems to answer the question I posed in my previous post which was : what matters? Calvin, Luther, Pope, Arimus? ... So forth.

Is Paul saying "as long as the foundation is on Christ"? But then the argument goes that some of the "opposing" stances deny Christ's work in belief but not in words. What matters? Should I be arguing at all? It seems like here it's saying no... but I don't feel like it's cut and dried.

At the same time Piper posted a new "Fresh Words" about the importance of doctrine. I definitely see the truth of this in my own life and the lives around me. There are a lot of people who are "marginal" Christians, and they are just as much part of the world as everyone else, but for those who hold to strong doctrine, there is a difference. I think the greatest example of this would be my roommate, whom, I've said before and I'll say again, if I were a girl I'd have married him last month. There is something more than meets the eye with people like him... Yet our salvation isn't based on doctrine... Otherwise that would be works based. What a conundrum!

Lord grant the insight and wisdom that only you can give. Grant us discernment and let us see that "the wisdom of this world is folly with God." Let us boast only in our weakness, in the cross, not of our works, for we fall short, but in you alone. Build upon us a home for you, one that will survive to eternity. Knock down the walls and open the doors. Let the light in and chase the night out.

John Piper calls himself a "7-point Calvinist," not to be adding to the sufficiency of the 5 (which I would all say were an "all or nothing" preposition), but just two extension points: 6. Double predestination, God chooses some for life, chooses some for death. 7. Best-of-all-possible-worlds, God has planned everything perfectly such that every moment is exactly what is the best for everyone in the long run. Just something I definitely agree with and hold onto, no matter the circumstances.

Additional reading on Piper's 7-point Calvinism


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at 2:47 AM

Simply...Irresistible

I guess I just wanted to share the story of Mike so you can be praying for him.

Mike came over around 5:45 today just to drop off something and decided to stop by my room, then stayed for dinner. Afterwards as we were walking back I challenged him: Where is your faith right now? (He is a seeker)

"Hmmm, somewhere between a seeker and a believer"

Where do you see it going?

I don't know.

A couple of questions later he asked me to share my story.

Then came the difficult questions: Why did he decide to join Testimony, the only Christian acapella group on campus?

He didn't quite know. He proceeded to rattle off a series of miracles, each of which just amazed me.

Family non-Christian, sister dated a "hardcore" Christian in HS, broke up, she became Christian in college

Not really interested in Christianity at all, got into Stanford and became my pro-fro, staying in my room over admit weekend, all because he knew Jon, my roommate last year.

Hears that I'm going to a praise night that weekend, he decides to come on a whim (remember, he was not really interested at all, just inexplicable). He asks me about FiCS. The weekend ends and he returns home.

He comes to Stanford this year. Had somehow gradually become more and more interested in Christianity, ends up going to church with his sister.

His dorm is filled with binge drinkers and pot smokers, so he feels like he needs something more, something to keep him away. Decides to walk around campus. Sees IV's table at the activity fair. Signs up. Sees Testimony's table. Signs up. Sees FiCS' table. Signs up. Tries out for Testimony, doesn't get in.

Ends up coming out to FiCS a few times, not too involved, busy freshman year. Two people in Tmony drop out after the qtr and Mike is asked to join.

Gets invited, and more plugged into a small group with FiCS.

Simply amazing. Every step of the way I see so much of what God is doing, drawing him ever closer, closer to the point of needing him.

Testimony was the only acapella group he tried out for. FiCS is the only fellowship he's checked out. Somehow, something is drawing him and he doesn't understand why.

wow

Afterwards, he asked me: I don't understand Jesus though, what did he do?

So I (tried to) present the gospel. I've never had someone ask me to do that before... to be honest I was quite scared and probably botched it up. Didn't include the "super statement" John 3:16. I dunno.

Lord, I know that your word does not return to you empty. Would it take root and bear fruit. Praise be to the you, Lord of all. It is truly you who draw, you who call, you who grant life. Work your miracle of miracles. It is you who speak, soften hearts and open ears. We know your grace is irresistible, that no matter how many walls we put up you can and will tear it down if it be your will. Do that now in my heart as well as in Mike's. I know you have great things in store and we eagerly anticipate your moment of glory.

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Monday, February 14, 2005 at 11:34 PM

Crossing the line

So apparently my brother doesn't have a layover in SFO... awells.

Gen 46:31-34)

31Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, "I will go up and tell Pharaoh and will say to him, 'My brothers and my father's household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32And the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.' 33When Pharaoh calls you and says, 'What is your occupation?' 34you shall say, 'Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,' in order that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians."
And they go on and do just that. If being a shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians why do they tell them that they are ones? I'm confused.

The message on Sunday was pretty cool about a missionary God. One thing that was only touched upon by the message but really jumped out at me was Gen 3:16 in the curse to the female (who did not have a name yet!)

"Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you" with a footnote on the "for" stating "or against." Creepy! I asked P. Ting about it and he said it that the term "desire for" was only used in the hebrew in Gen 4:7) "... And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it. (emphasis mine)" with a footnote on the same "for." Creepy! You know what I'm going to say!!!

Mark 16:17)

14Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Interesting! I remember someone telling me about a sect that used poisonous snakes to determine if someone was saved because of a verse in the Bible taken out of context. I believe this is that verse, but it does seem pretty creepy. Those who believe will be accompanied by signs... casting demons, speaking in tongues, picking up serpents... Why doesn't that happen today? Was Christ's words (which were directly to the apostles) only applicable to that time? Like I believe Paul the one that was bitten by a poisonous snake and shook it off with no effects. But at the same time that statement is right after the great commission: go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. (v. 15) and we definitely take that as authoritative. What an interesting thought!

An interesting thought from 1 Cor 1:12-17

12What I mean is that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," or "I follow Apollos," or "I follow Cephas," or "I follow Christ." 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.


Often I feel like I'm replacing Paul, Cephas, and Christ with Luther, Calvin, the Pope, and Arimius (sp?). Is predestination worth arguing about? How about dispensationalism? Catholithism? New Covenant Theology? Where is the line drawn for what is and is not a Christian? Where is the line drawn for "I need to evangelize this person." My roomate is Catholic and he struggles a lot because his belief system is very works centered and obviously (like everyone) he falls short. I try to reach out to him, to reassure him, but he holds so dogmatically to his Catholic Catechism that he feels like I'm speaking lies sometimes. I also feel like he's lying to himself a lot... and I'm always very quick to say "Hey! that's Satan speaking Dennis..." I don't think he's too receptive of that.

I also feel like the Bible speaks very clearly about His soveignty and to deny that it is God who chooses is almost heretical (in fact it was denounced as heretical by some council when Arimus first came out with his ideas... but so was Luther...). I know it's something that tears churches apart... but does that mean we shouldn't argue it? That just leads to pluralism though... and is grounds for a whole slew of things that I definitely don't want to see in the Christian community. Well God grant us wisdom!

Today is Valentines day. It's been packed. Deliveries to every single girl in FiCS. Crazy. I don't even know half of them. Man... but it's good. I'm glad I'm able to hang out with some of the other guys, especially those that I don't see that often. It's funny, I definitely see and hang out with a lot more the senior guys than anyone else. I wish I knew my classmates better, and I do know them decently well, but we don't really rub upagainst one another. awells.

Right now I'm feeling very blessed by all that the girls did for me. Seriously valentines day is totally no longer SAD (singles awareness day).


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Friday, February 11, 2005 at 2:08 AM

...but the flesh is weak

Gen 44: What's with Joseph? Why does he decide to play all these tricks on his brothers? I don't understand why it seems like he's playing a practical joke. On the plus side Judah offers to stay behind in lieu of Benjamin. Would I be willing to do something like that for my family? I wonder.

My brother has a 6 hour layover in SFO on Monday. Maybe I can convince someone to let me borrow their car so I can stop by and spend some time with him. I wonder how he's doing... I wish I could reach out better to my family. My relationship with them was never on that deep of a level, and it was only once I stopped competing with my brother for the car that he was willing to open up a little to me. ::sigh:: so much lost time... It's worse because I see him following exactly in my mistakes that I committed senior year. Dating to the exclusion of everyone and thing else, ignoring family for sake of my time, wrapped up in enjoying my last times at home to the expense of everyone else's time while denying that the family is still the (almost) strongest tie and support network I may have in the future.

I got a letter from my mom today along with a package of nian gao (Chinese treats for New Years). "...I think I have better faith now. I negociated [sic] with God that I will do the best I can everyday, he is going to take care of the rest..."

::sigh:: Part of me is so encouraged by the fact that she's pursing a relationship with God, but most of me is terrified because she sees it as a means to her joy and her happiness and her purpose, and whatever gets her that, be it "God", "Jesus", Abraham Hicks or whatever, will suit her fine... ::sigh:: I read an article yesterday by Greg Johnson, "Barbie Religion" and I feel like that's what she's fallen into, that's what she teaches her kids, and that's what I, as well as my siblings learned... and that's completely wrong. ::gah:: but all I can do is pray.

Mark 14:10-11 ) How did Judas betray Jesus? Didn't the chief priests know where Jesus was (the crowds, general recognition, the like). What did Judas have that they couldn't get? Perhaps an inside look on where Jesus was going to be I guess.

All too often I feel so akin to Peter. Quick to open my mouth and deny things that I will be doing, quick to fall asleep and to be inconsiderate of what others are going through, quick to make promises I can't keep, quick to have such a big picture of myself that I trust in me.
V. 37-38 "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
My flesh is weak, so very weak. I struggle with some really stupid things. Contentment, singleness, family, being a good steward, things that to me... I shouldn't be struggling with. Why can't I be burdened with not serving the poor enough, not taking care of the hungry, not reaching out to people? But all my struggles are focused on me... ::sigh:: I wonder what Paul's thorn was.
68) "But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you mean." And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed.
Hanging on to Romans 8:18 ) For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Even if I fail my classes, even if I never get a date, even if my family is broken, even if...

...not worth comparing.

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Thursday, February 10, 2005 at 8:12 PM

A (mountain) peak in my heart

"Isn't it funny that we don't want people to know how messed up we are, because we think they won't love us, yet we always doubt if anyone truly loves us, because they don't know how messed up we are?"
- a friend's away msg.

I definitely see the truth of that in my own life. The ironies are just amazing, amusing. Here I am, here we are, desperately hoping for something more, but living in this constant fear that this "something more" will ruin us.

Flipping the coin ... how am I showing myself to others? Am I judgemental, prideful, unapproachable. What do I do when people show themselves to me? I've heard many a time that we are to be FAT: Faithful, Approachable, Teachable. Where am I now?

~~~~

I went visiting a frosh who was studying at Meyer today. I walked right past her while she was working at a computer thinking to myself "that wouldn't be her, she wouldn't wear such a tight fitting outfit, especially not one that seems nearly transparent, ick." I look all around and come back to find that it was her! What do I do then? Judgement? Rebuke? Ignorance? Apathy? For me, I talked to her for a few minutes completely avoiding looking even into her general direction and then taking my leave... nothing said but a lot thought. It sucks being stupid. Girls are evil, and guys are stupid.

~~~

Still, ever thankful for God's promise that:

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8
Bam.

God tear down the mountains in my heart. Your grace is more than enough to break through the walls I put up, more than enough to drag me (kicking and screaming) out of my depths of sin and into your amazing presence. Your grace is enough.

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at 9:34 AM

My God is YHWH

Genesis 43: I like how this chapter ends.
v33) And they sat before him [Joseph], the firstborn according to his birthright and the youngest according to his youth.

So here we have Joseph's family seated at a table sharing a meal. Oldest on down... except Joseph is at the head. "...and the last shall be first" though Joseph was the 2nd youngest I believe. But he was the one cast out and left for dead... it's a good thing YHWH is his God =D

Job 9:20)Thought I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse.

huh?! It really just sounds like Job is being whiny "oh no God is injust..., I don't deserve this, it's not fair" Really continues to blow my mind just little I know. It seems like he has quite the grasp of God's Bigness, one that I need to continue to learn.

A lesson from Mark 13:11) And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

of course, tempered by: 1 Peter 3:15) but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you

13:20) And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days.

interesting! So if the days of tribulation and trial aren't cut short, we would all be doomed? But then He talks about the "elect, whom he chose" which seems to refer back to the idea that since God chose (from eternity) we're "elect"... but if the days were longer we would not be? Weird! Or maybe saved = spared from physical death? (Though this would deal a blow to those who believe in a pre-trib rapture)

Finally just a verse I enjoyed from Romans
13:12,14) The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. ... put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005 at 6:08 PM

Job 8

I feel like I don't understand the book of Job at all. I don't think I ever really read it that closely, always assuming that it was about the guy who hangs onto his faith through all these trails and said "naked i came, naked I shall return, blessed be the name of the Lord"... but it's more than that.

Job strikes me a whiny and arrogant. How does he know that he's really suffering? There are probably thousands of other people out there who were worse... or at least thats what I always tell myself.

Job's friends sound like they're right on the money. Repent. God will forgive. You don't understand what's going on. Sounds exactly like what I would say if I were in their position.

But yet I know the "ending." God commends Job and rebukes his friends. I always thought He rebuked them because they were saying falsehoods... but it sounds like they're saying what I would say if I were in the same position.

I guess the difference is in the fact that Job was gifted with a remarkable talent of introspection and thus knew what was "just" and was not. I, however, am not (and plus my meager abilities in that regards have already shown me how deserving I am of everything bad that happens to me. Yes.... my sin will find me out)

On a more amusing note. Job's wife demonstrates once again how women are evil:

Job 2:9
Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die."

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at 6:06 PM

along a journey

So I'm taking off from xanga surfing for Lent, but one of my friends reminded me that I must sacrifice something for the good of something else. So I've started a blogger! Right now I'm reading through a Bible in a year plan: Mccheyne if I recall correctly.

I guess this will contain the thoughts and reflections and questions of each day as I get through them. Hopefully I'll be able to answer them as I go through.

I've already got a list of questions. Maybe I'll backpost them.

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Tuesday, February 01, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Vision Summer School Thoughts: Summary

What did I think about Alaska? Posts in order:

Vision Summer School Thoughts:
1 - On child rearing and discipline
2 - On the power of prayer
3 - On the revival (1)
4 - On the revival (2)
5 - On the revival (3) [yeah, the revival was a big issue for me]
6 - On the revival (4)
7 - On fellowship
8 - Reflections

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