Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finding Our Identity in Christ: Kristen's Note


So, I was browsing through Facebook this morning when I noticed that my friend Kristen wrote a new note about finging our Christian identity. It was a lot of information that sounded so inspiring that I figured that I'd share it with all of you. You can click here to read what she had to say. I hope that this will inspire you all, and don't worry, I'll write another entry about what I am learning through the book sometime soon.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Being a Safe, Faithful Servant and a Supportive, Spiritual Friend

So, the past little while had me looking through a couple of things that I should keep into mind. What I noticed from this author in the portion of the book that I was reading the past couple of weeks was that people do want to talk about God and spirituality, but it's hard to know who is safe to talk with about these things. This was rather peculiar to me. What he was saying was that not every is easy to be trusted, which I understand quite well. I still have trouble trusting certain people depending on how they behaved around me. For me, I prefer having someone come up and actively listen and allow me to think and decide for myself instead of forcing a bunch of stuff down my throat. And that's kind of what the author was getting at.

Another thing that I noticed was something that we often talk about but don't always practice: we need to practice serving to others, and that can be done by identifying a physical need without expecting something spiritual to come out from this. If we were to expect that to come each time, then what's the point of serving? So if someone is feeling down, the best thing to do is to nicely approach the person, and actively listen to what's going on with that person. Just don't do it in a way that may appear to be creepy. Also, we need to be considerate about how we act and how we see faith. Faith should be something that drives you more into learning something, an adventure in its own right; it doesn't need to be used as an excuse or copy-paste answer to everything that is done through some of the acts under the name of God. God also called us to serve others and he blessed us so that we can bless others through him, just like his promise with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). This, I thought, was rather cool because it means that whatever's we do is not for our own pleasure, but for the blessing of others that is also pleasing to God.

Another good thing to note is that it's better to be an active listener and ask questions to get your friend thinking instead of hashing up answers all the time, and that we can help give space by allowing our spiritual friends to check out churches by their choice rather than always inviting them to your particular church (it could damage your friendship, so not pushing this is allowing space for your friend). However, sometimes going to church may not be a good idea for your friend. Also, asking questions allows the friend to think further and reflect. As Brian D. McLaren said, "As long as people keep thinking, they're giving room for God to work in their lives." I find that he's right in saying this because people need to encounter God for themselves, though having a community of spiritual people can help facilitate the encounter a bit.

If there's anything that I've noticed to have a struggle with, it's faith. How Brian puts it is like a flame on a candle that needs to be encouraged and supported in order to shine brighter and warmer and more consistently. We sometimes question whether or not our faith is real, but I feel that we all just need a little nudge from God itself to reassure our faith and to give us strength to reassure our friends about the same. Brian, as I have read from him so far, stated that having doubt can be holy as we are seeking for truth. It is this truth that leads us to faith and understanding.

So my take-home message is this: try to be helpful, faithful and supportive with your friend, and if always remember that God is right there with you to strengthen you. A verse that I tend to resonate with for this is Philippians 4:13, which states: "I can do all things through Him that gives me strength" (NIV). As long as we remember that God will strengthen us, then we will be able to do whatever it is that we are called to do.

Take care,


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sports, Dance, Jargon and Opening Up

Hey guys,

         I'm feeling up for a sharing mood, so I decided to bring it to your mind. Today, I want to express what was being learned throughout the past two weeks. I hope that this may inspire you or maybe even challenge you a little bit.

         So I read through the first two chapters of "More Ready Than You Realize", and I found it rather interesting. For one thing, it gives me a real life example to read through while explaining how the Bible can be applied to our lives when evangelizing. One of the first things that I thought was rather cool was to think of evangelism like a dance, as the authour explained it. It was a rather different image, but I understand what he means by this. People often bring up this expression during arguments: "it takes two to tango"; this is a very true expression, seeing as you need two people to be talking with each other. Just like dancing, we have to effectively communicate with the person to whom we are witnessing (or in better terms, "reaching out"). So yes, dancing is a great analogy to use if you want to understand about how you can reach out better to other people. Another great one that was used was a football match involving Christians against non-believers about many political and social issues, such as Sunday shopping and homosexuality; each team is trying to win over an argument, but evangelism doesn't need to be a win-lose situation; we need to change our game plan and aim for having everyone winning the real prize (1 Corinthian 9). So reaching out should be a win-win event where everyone will be able to live forever with Jesus.

         Another thing point that was brought up a lot was that we need to allow people to freely about what they are hearing, and let them choose as to whether or not they want to follow God. It's often better to openly express your opinion, but you shouldn't try to force it upon others; that would make them become less open to the topic, or scare them away completely. This often makes me think of another old proverb (not from the book of Proverbs): "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." It also helps that during an Inter-Varsity retreat that I recently went to two weekends ago, we were learning about "being sticky on campus", and what I mean is, learning to be more open and inviting with each other and with the surrounding communities, such as your circle of friends, and your co-workers. The point is to be inviting and give people the choice, not to "kidnap" them and force them to do something against their will.

         I also noticed that we as Christians tend to throw in a lot of vocabulary that can be rather confusing, such as the concept of being "born again" and the doctrine of the Trinity (God being one divine being in "three persons"). What being born again means, as Mr. McLaren was saying in his book, is that we change our mindsets from acting like we know it all to realizing that we have much to learn from God. As for the Christian jargon and doctrines, McLaren proposed that we "re-root" the doctrines into real Christianity, meaning that we try to simplify what is considered to be common in the Church without "watering it down". I really think that he's on to something with this whole idea, so I'm gonna take up on this challenge.

         So to summarize, I'd like to say it like this:

  • We should be warm, inviting people, opening up to people through God's love and by aiming towards everyone winning salvation through Jesus Christ and renewing strength and guidance by the Holy Spirit.
  • We should try to help our spiritually seeking friends to understand what Christians believe in general without having to water it down or go through all the details from history and controversies.

         I hope that what I'm saying helps you guys see this differently as it has for me. The challenge is out there if you ever want to take it. I hereby leave you with those parting points.

God bless you and thanks for reading.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Little Introduction


First of all, I'd like to thank you for visiting my new blog. I'm currently in my second year at the Mount, and it is also my second year being involved with Mount Christian Fellowship; my first year was rather a roller coaster ride of experiences and emotions, and I definitely learned a fair bit through it all with God's help. I'm not going to get into details here about everything that has happened, but if you want to learn more about who I am, I made a little note on my Facebook profile, so you can take a look at that.

This academic year has gone off to a good start. I became a frosh leader at the university this year, and I got to meet a few new people and made some closer bonds with some of the fellowship members. We're going through the book of Matthew this term in MCF and we learned about taking risks and about what it means to be truly loved by God. I also recently started studying more about evangelism by reading through a book with my friend, Rachel. The book's called "More Ready Than You Realize: The Power of Everyday Conversations", which was recommended to me by another friend during an Inter-Varsity retreat. I'm planning to use this blog to share my insight as to what I'm learning from these Bible studies and hope that by sharing this information, that other Christians would feel inspired and encouraged by God though me.

I hope that from future readings, that you'd feel inspired, encouraged and maybe even challenged to make an impact in your area. Again, I thank you for reading my blog.

May God always bless you!