Impact

1 July 2008

Abouts:
So for those who don’t know I will leaving for China in a few weeks for a mission trip from LAX and then after I will be flying home to SFO, because I didn’t want to bring my computer to China I have left it at home, so I will be without a computer for about a month. (In case you were wondering I am using the school’s computer right now)

Thoughts:
One thing I’ve learned is that I have conditioned my heart to be sustained by this world. I have wasted more time than I have ever thought, talk to me if you want to full story, no it’s not that interesting if that’s what you were thinking, I just don’t have time to spend on the computer here.


Don’t Waste Your Mind

26 May 2008

Abouts:
Watch House if you don’t, it’s such an amazing show…

Articles:
A Love for Missions Starts at Home (Desiring God)

2 Kinds of Regret: Godless and Godly (Desiring God)

The Challenge of Attention in the Digital Age (Albert Mohler)

We are al living distracted lives that promise only to grow more complicated and distracted in years ahead. The discipline and stewardship of our attention is a matter of great and unquestionable urgency.

The Ultimate Conference Guide (The Blazing Center) Rule 1, 2, and 3

Randoms:
7 Pleasurable Ways to Improve Your Reading Ability

This week over at Woot Shirts they have some pretty funny slogans, I might buy the blue one, tempting…

Thoughts:
Watch the video first if you haven’t. The saddest part of watching that was when panning through all those scenes of the doctors after work has to be Cutner’s scene. It was the scene where after a day as a doctor we see him just sitting at home eating cereal while mindlessly watching TV. Every time I see that my soul just cries, “STOP IT!” What makes it sadder is just how we see what he went through the rest of the day saving lives, seeing lives end, and some change, but at the end of the day where does he find his rest, in a bowl of cereal and some tv shows. I feel bad for him (as much as I can for a made up character), but how much different is that from our lives; after a day of hard work, seeing life changing, seeing tragedy in the news, we end up coming home and become a couch potato, thinking we lived life enough for the day and now we have gained enough life points to waste it away on the night being totally idle.

Videos:
Iron and Wine – Passing Afternoon (Season finale final scene of House)

Verses:
Hebrews 5:11-14
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

John 6:35
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.

So after going to my friends graduation and hanging out with him the whole day Saturday, inevitably I was tired on Sunday morning. So by the second half of the message I started to nod off a little. When I was thinking about it I started thinking about those people who go to church every week, listen to the messages and then goes home and when you ask them what they think about the message or church they have no idea what you are talking about. Then when you see them fall away from church and you ask them why they did, because they didn’t get anything out of it. But when you look back, they are the ones sitting down and nodding off during the sermon, they are the ones texting while the word is preached. They think that to be holy, to be sanctified is an involuntary motion. What happens every Sunday is the pastor takes the ingredients he has, prepares and prepares them throughout the week, cooks everything, makes a nice presentation, places the plate down with the right utensils and then on Sunday presents the meal in-front of everyone to enjoy. The pastor’s hard work is in-front of the congregation, sometimes the meal isn’t that great, and sometimes it’s amazing, but no matter what, he sets this meal in-front of them and then he goes on to prepare next week’s meal. What am I missing, where is the eating portion of the meal? Well, that’s my question as well. The pastor presents this meal but does he hand feed everyone, does he go to every member of the congregation and cut up the meat and then place the piece of food in their mouths? Of course not, he does all the preparing but leaves it up to the congregation to feed themselves. He goes and looks the Word, find the treasures that are in it and then prepares it into a message that will be impactful, applicable, and clear. Then on Sunday he presents this message to the congregation, but then here is where so many go wrong. People just tend to stop here and go, “Ok, now effect me sermon!” They think it is as involuntary as digesting food, but the truth is they don’t really care for the food. They look at it at a distance and think it’s nice and might even admit that it’s good for them, but when it comes down to it, they don’t feast on it. They sleep during the message, they listen to the sermon in one ear and it leaves out the other, and when you talk to them they explain how they don’t get anything from church, they say they aren’t being feed any food. The problem is that they aren’t taking the time to examine the food that is presented in-front of them, they don’t take the time to pick the food up and put it in theirs mouths to chew on, they don’t apply it to their lives to see what they may do with that new information. They


14 April 2008

Articles:
Finding Joy In The Mundane (The Blazing Center)

Deacons: Tried and True (Pure Church)

Randoms:
If you ever wanted to know all 613 commandments of the Old Testament

Thoughts:
So random eving I go up to this guy sitting on a bench reading some book and I ask him if he’s busy, he answers with a why, and I ask if he’s heard about the gospel. He’s taken back a little and says, ” The gospel!?” in a sour tone, I said, “Yeah.” Then unexpectedly he gives me a “ha, I’m not religious!” and at the same moment gives me the hand motion that clearly says, “Move along buddy, you’re not wanted here.” That same motion you see when an angry master wants his servant to leave him alone. I was taken back. Out of all the times I’ve done this, I’ve never had this reaction towards me, I’ve had a lot of no’s but never something so adverse to the gospel. While walking away, I really wanted to feel like punching him, but I could not but feel sad for him. That guy will go in life pushing and pushing aside the gospel not wanting to hear it, not wanting to think about it and have nothing to do with it. He’s going to wave that hand every instant the cross is presented and that will harden his heart even more every time.

Recently I watched a debate with James White and a Muslim, and I saw the same exact motion, no, he didn’t wave off James White, but he did wave him off with his attacks. It’s these moments that I rejoice in my salvation.

Videos:
Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab for Cutie) – Carolina

Verses:
1 John 4:20
If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

What does it mean when it says what is seen and what is not seen? One is in-front of you eyes, the other cannot be seen by the eyes those making it harder to perceive. Of course God is not seen and a brother or sister is seen but what does that have to do with love? Love is only some kind of feeling, right? Wrong, we must look at the previous verses to see that love is so much more than an expression. Verses 7 and 8 gives us the necessary foundation we need to validate the claim that the subject is a liar.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7-8)

In verse 9 God “manifests” that love through sending His Son.  Then, I think most importantly to understanding this passage is verse 10:

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

We are told the source of that love. The mainspring that love is manifested through and from  and in, it is God! And it is brought about from the cross.

So to answer the question in the beginning, how can they relate the sense of sight to love, it comes down to faith. John eloquently shows us faith is from this love and if one does not have this faith, he has not loved, and thus cannot say “I love God,” and hate his brother, for he is a liar and sadly perishing, for he presents to others what he thinks is genuine faith genuine love, but is really only clearly saying he has no God.


10 March 2008

Articles:
Ministering in a Difficult Church (Said at Southern Seminary)

I think Dr. Lawless’ message should be heard by all aspiring ministers. There are too many students at Southern and other seminaries who are attending not because they need to learn anything–they already know everything. Rather, they are attending simply to gain credibility. In essence their education has become the choice idol they would rather worship.

How to Ruin a Women’s Ministry (Resurgence), for the ladies

Jesus Christ: The Interpretive Key to the Scripture (Monergism), this article tackles some key concepts of Christianity that are taken to a level that it shouldn’t just because Christ was not the focus, for example the first point of how there is a false assertion that one can lose his salvation, but this is only “because the focus becomes your own moral ability rather than Christ.”

Love and Marriage: Luther Style (Boundless) “In a handwritten invitation to the public ceremony for their wedding, [Martin] Luther wrote to a friend, ‘I feel neither passionate love nor burning for my spouse, but I cherish her.'”

The Vow (Washington Post) Must be the sweetest story I’ve read in a long time, if not ever; I hope I will some day be as loving to my wife as he is

News:
If you have not heard, the New York Philharmonic (NY Times) has recently paid a visit to North Korea getting a chance to perform in front of the North Koreans (Times). With the orchestra came of course journalists, here are some photos not usually seen by Americans of North Korea (NY Times). (Links are to photoblogs and they are all different sets)

That Martin Luther? He wasn’t so bad, says Pope (Times UK), “the Pope will argue that Luther, who was excommunicated and condemned for heresy, was not a heretic.” If you read the article it seems to me that no one really has a solid stand on anything happening anymore, the article is confusing in the way it will say something like this, “the move would help to promote ecumenical dialogue between Catholics and Protestants,” and then say it is to “counteract the impact of July’s papal statement describing the Protestant and Orthodox faiths as defective and ‘not proper Churches.'” I think that sums up ecumenicalism.

Randoms:
Ligonier Ministries (Ligonier) now has started there own blog

Readings:
Five Books to Read Before Easter (Challies)

Here is a quote of a quote from Charles Swindoll’s book, Improve Your Serve, that I found most insightful and surprising that it came from a child’s book. The chapter is on how we are called to be servants and how it is what we were made to be, but so often we don’t think that way. The child’s book is about a stuff rabbit that wants so hard to be “real,” but then encounters a worn-out stuffed horse and begins to have a dialogue (If you’re wondering what child’s book it is, it is The Velveteen Rabbit.

The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for the had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “orbit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and yours eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Thoughts:
Usually on the bus ride from campus back to my apartment I tend to just stare at things or play some solitaire on my phone, it’s only a 10 minute ride so there isn’t much time to do anything. Well last Tuesday I look up just to look at what kind of ads there were this time around, and I look at one that seems to be a timeline, it had a the point ‘born’ at one end and ‘die’ at the other, and in between were just the “normal” phases of life, nothing fancy, it had ‘graduate,’ ‘get a job,’ and ‘retire.’ What I found interesting was that there was a hand (computer) drawn dot between ‘graduate’ and ‘get a job,’ it read ‘change the world.’ One would think, “O, how clever, maybe I should think about doing something after graduation?” I took a step back and I thought, “I can only change the world after I graduate and before I get a job?” Of course that is absurd thinking and not what the ad wanted to convey, but how many times do we think that way. We get stirred up by some sermon, we get pumped up about some future job, we hear stories about guys who are ‘living the life,’ and we think to ourselves, “Man, I wish man, too bad schools in the way, too bad I have this job.” How many times are we jealous of other’s circumstances, how many times do we just look at opportunities in the future and dwell on them and not see the plain opportunities now. For example, I would love to go on missions right now, but what is holding me back, school. See, already I put a condition in-front of myself, I was taking school as only the pathway between the parking lot and track. To me school wasn’t the main event, it was just stalling the main event to me, but I really don’t think we should think that way. I think each aspect of our lives we should take as a main event.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23-24) Who is your master?

Videos:


(For the Bereans you can see Diane, Mimi and Brian at the 1:03 mark)

Verses:
1 Kings 8:27
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!

God’s immensity, His eternality has always been some abstract concept that I never really grasped, and I know I will never fully grasp it in my lifetime, and knowing that I never really gave it much attention. But recently during my prayers questions like ‘Why did he make us?’ Why did he make us so small?’ started coming up. ‘If He’s so big, why make something so small to worship Him?’ Growing up in the church I heard all the illustrations comparing God’s immensity to us, like the universe compared to earth, a human to an ant, and so on, and that has always been my picture of God and us, but I think that has brought about a misguided illustration. All these analogies have something in common, the problem arises when all of them seem to place a finite quality unto an infinite God, they equate a Human which dies, which grows old, which is a certain height, which is a certain weight to God, who never will die, does not need to grow, and has no certain measurement. What I have recently realized is that we will be small and always small compared to God. You might say to yourself that I have gone in a complete circle and have not accomplished anything, but what I am trying to say is that if God created us as giants the size of planets, we still would be miniscule compared to God, if each of us were the size of solar system, we would be still be microscopic compared to God, what I am trying to say is we must realize how small we are and will always be, not because God purposely made us small, but because when you compare anything to an infinite, eternal God what you compare with Him will be essentially nothing. We cannot think or even compare Him in terms of physical capacities and earthly dimensions but I think we should grasp the idea that we will never know the immensity of Him and dwell not on analogies that show how small we are compared to Him, but we should show just how great, how everlasting He is and from that we begin to see how we are nothing. So the question I need to ask is not ‘Why did He make something so small worship Him?’ but ‘How glorious is our God?’


4 February 2008

Articles:
True Male Friendship: Part 1 (The Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood)

However, the role of another male friend is unique and cannot be matched by any other relationship. Society sees true male Christian friendship as something foreign. Camaraderie between male friends has been looked upon with suspicion of homosexuality. My brothers, this is a travesty of our time! What happened to male friends who sat and discussed great books until the early hours of morning? What happened to male friends enjoying Godly conversation over a cup of good coffee? What happened to male friends, together, making a difference in the course of history?

Cross-Centered Books (Sovereign Grace Blog)

Randoms:
Cartoon Characters Skeletons, pretty neat, with characters like Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner, and more it is funny how you can still recognize those characters from only the skeletons

7 Tips for Morning Alertness Without the Caffeine

Readings:
I have to be the happiest Chinese person alive, well probably not because I can barely read Chinese, but now Monergism has opened a Chinese Reformed Bookstore, man to be able to reach friends and family with rich theology has been a small dream of mine, the site is called Sinim Books, and of course it will be added to my resource links, but if you are wonder why it is called Sinim (for those who don’t read chinese but have friends/family who do and you want to get them books, the English title of the book is given):

Monergism is delighted to announce the completion of a major online project developed for the edification of the Chinese Christian community: Sinimbooks.com. We now carry Christian titles that are Chinese, Reformed and Christ-honoring.

Why call it Sinimbooks? … “Sinim” is a word that comes from the Bible in Isaiah 49:12:

“Behold, these will come from afar;
And lo, these will come from the north and from the west,
And these from the land of Sinim.”

In context, this verse speaks of the gathering of true Israel from all parts of the world (43:5,6), even far away places like Sinim, which many scholars say is an ancient name for China. God has particularly placed in our hearts a deep affection for the Chinese people and so we wish to make available the most edifying Christian literature to our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ; literature we pray will build up the saints and spread the fame of Christ’s name far and wide. We currently carry about 50 Christ-exalting Chinese titles in our Monergism Books’ warehouse and hope to grow the list over time. Thanks for your continued support. Be sure to tell all you Chinese Christian friends. (Monergism)

Thoughts:
Death is a funny thing, it has seemed to slow everything down and make this world more real, where death is real, where things do have an expiration date, where you realize you have time. There is no more excuse to not pray in the morning, you realize you have plenty of time, satan cannot convince you that spending a couple hours playing Mario is not bad for you, you can just make up for that time tomorrow by reading or something “godly.” I hate to use cliches but it is sort of a “slap in the face,” a bucket of water to wake yourself up, you realize you have been moving fast before but doing so little, as you move slow you realize you do so much more but feel less rushed, less worry, less anxiousness. It’s hard to describe and I’ll stop here.

This weekend I attempted to do the impossible, hold back the feelings God has so meticulously placed into our lives. Or course I failed miserably, going into it with confidence, ready to take on the world, ready to take on God’s sovereignty and be at peace. But what do you do, what do you say, what do you think about when you see someone break down into tears, crying out, when you have only seen them calm, peaceful, and collected, what do you do when the person you have lived with every second of your life for 50-60 years is gone in a second, to go back to a bed that you have shared all your life and find out the next night, you will sleep in it by yourself for the rest of your life. What do you do when you realize this, what do you say when all these emotions you have held back come out, what do you think when you wake up and that someone isn’t beside you and will be never be anymore. This hasn’t even happened to me and it’s still killing me…

I will miss his laugh, his gentle giant presence, his independent nature, his generosity; I will miss him…

Videos:

Verses:
Romans 12:15
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.


1 January 2008

Abouts:
Sorry about the late post, but Monday falling on New Year’s Eve, not really an empty day…

Articles:
Who is responsible for dealing with false teaching in the church (Against Heresies)

I’m Just Not Attracted to Her (Boundless)

We shouldn’t be surprised that attraction has such power over us. God designed us that way. He didn’t want us to merely know the truth and do what was right. He wanted us to love the truth; He wanted us to be powerfully attracted to the good. Ultimately, He made us to love and be attracted to the most beautiful person in the universe — Him! So He created beauty in this world, not as an end in itself for our selfish pleasure, but as a means to the end of our ultimate pleasure in Him (Psalm 16:11).

How Not to Lose Your Faith in College (Boundless)

News/Thoughts:
Foul-mouthed customer leaves waitress $50,000 (CNN), when I read the article I just thought how many times I thought my own life serving God all I was doing was serving some old guy who only cares about their own needs and wants, and who is only looking out for their own gain, but I put on a happy face and still serve because it is what I was suppose to do, it was the “right thing to-do,” how far from the truth I was. I think that’s what non-Christians think of the Christian life, when they hear us say that we live to serve our God and worship Him with everything we have, they think what a wasted life, just following rules, because this God said so, but we get to go to heaven after. But what are we going to do in heaven? Is God a grumpy old man too you?

Readings:
Monergism Books “End of the Year Sale,” which they say is their biggest ever sale which I believe with stuff marked down up to 80%, this is probably the last day for the sale so get a buying

Videos:

Verses/Messages:
Romans 15:30-31
Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those who are disobedient in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may prove acceptable to the saints.

Prayer Changes People’s Wills (Desiring God)


17 December 2007

Abouts:
It’s sad but you can kind of tell how much I didn’t want to study from this post

Articles/Thoughts:
Talking to People Rather than About Them (Desiring God), reading Respectful Sins has truly opened my eyes more to the world of sin I live in and has helped me recognize those sins in my life that I “tolerate.” It really goes back to the old repeated saying where how big your view of God is, is reflected through your life dealing with sin, and it’s so true. How holy of a God you have in mind, is reflected on how you think about sin. Is your God holy enough to say gossiping is not acceptable? Is your God holy enough to say that that pride you feel is evil? Is your God holy enough to say that calling someone fat is totally and utterly unacceptable? Do we repent when we talk behind someone’s back, do we repent when we think angry thoughts? How holy is your God?

Audios:
I think I should say a little bit more to entice you to listen to the music, to continue with the indie trend: Ingrid Michaelson, she has somewhat of an playful tone, a rockish edge sometimes shows up, but she has a nice smooth voice (keep in mind I am not a music reviewerer)

Crazy thing is all of them (Meiko, Priscilla Ahn, and Ingrid Michaelson) play regularly at The Hotel Cafe in LA, which is not where I discovered them, but when I turn 21 I will definitely head over there

Randoms:
Alarm clocks to lust after but to get angry over, if you actually owned them, my favorite would probably be the Rug Alarm, worst would be the decorating one

Rejected Star Wars toys, my favorite is the Force

25 Skills Every Man Should Know, not really, but interesting for what it is

This week’s Desiring God sale is on there Don’t Waste your Life Group Study Kit

Readings:
Her is an updated list of books Monergism suggests are Top Ten Books on Piety, Sanctification, Spiritual Growth

Videos:

Verses/Thoughts:
Philippians 3:18-21
For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

Looking through photos and notes and what-not on facebook, distracting myself from my studies, I found myself looking at friends who have once, maybe still do, consider themselves Christian seeing what they are doing now and how far they have gone in life. I found myself not so surprised but saddened, seeing them loving the world and everything that comes with it, playing Beer Pong, relaxing with a nice cigarette while proudly making out with their friend. (Even as it is only through facebook I see this, sometimes the subtle areas of life show the most change in someone’s life, as it is usually not a 180 turn at one specific moment, but a gradual change by change) I kept digging deeper and still more friends down that same hole, but then I looked at myself didn’t see anything too different. I am a wretched sinner that needs Christ as much as my friends do. You know the only difference I see that this passage clearly states is that we (Christians), “await a Savior.” We are looking forwards to the end, where God will be glorified through us. We need to live a life that isn’t of this world, we need to act knowing this is not our home, we need to speak as if Christ is coming in the next second, we need to “await” for our Savior, because He is the only one able to “transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body.” Sola Deo Gloria, because we sure shouldn’t have any.