Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Light of Christmas

Ah Christmas, it's a season filled with love, joy and peace...

"WAIT a minute? PEACE?" you say. "What's so peaceful about Christmas? I love Christmas, but it's gone all commercial and retail has made it even more crazy."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Life with God

What exactly does life with God look like? I think that it looks like a life where we are actually listening to God, and understanding that He wants to give us. I also came across this video on the web a few weeks back and thought that it would sum it up better than I could.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Forgiveness, Faith and Needs Met by Jesus

I find it rather soothing that Jesus meets us where we are. Where else in the world can you find past recordings of someone choosing to come over to find somebody and show them love and forgiveness without condemning them? Who else would decide to come to our level so that we can eventually learn to understand what he is getting at?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Image of God - Understanding His Character

         So this past Monday night was the beginning of a small group Bible study being held in one of the student residences at the Mount. The piece of Scripture that we studied was Genesis 2: 5-25 (which constitutes the majority of the chapter). This is actually a first for me in the past two years that we have conducted an inductive study in the Old Testament, as with Inter-Varsity, it is usually focused more on the story of Jesus. However, this year's study theme for the Mount is focused on living life and the things that corrupt and restrict us from living a prosperous life.

Friday, September 13, 2013

From Bread to Ice Cream

I'm really blessed to have such awesome friends through the Mount Christian Fellowship. During the past week, we have been reaching out to new students, giving them frozen treats during a high-energy orientation week event and inviting them to our upcoming events. This is also my second year as an orientation leader, which has been a big part of how I reach out to people on the campus. You know, this kind of reminds me of an event that was recorded in the Bible.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More Than Conquerors: Thoughts on Chapter Two

It's been a while since I last wrote about thoughts on the book that I had been reading (More Than Conquerors: A Call to Radical Discipleship). Therefore, I decided that I will share my thoughts on what Chapter Two was about. I still find that this book is getting me to think and reflect. So, here are some thoughts that respond to some study questions from the back of the book.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Made by God

I'm finding more and more that I am appreciating the life that God has given me over the years. Sure, I've had some struggling moments, but those were where I needed to grow more deeply. I'm also finding a great appreciation for the beauty around me, both in nature and people. I was thinking about this after reading through Psalm 139; in particular, this verse was what has been impacting me this morning:

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  your works are wonderful,  I know that full well." -Psalm 139:14 (New International Version, or simply "NIV")

I find that this verse is very powerful; if it could touch me into feeling more intimate with my Creator, how much more could it impact others, people who don't know Jesus yet? By reading this verse, I am reminded that I was born for a reason, a purpose, that I'm not just an accident. It shows that there is someone greater than what this world offers, someone who loves me so much despite my flaws and failures. As the loving father that He is, God will always catch me as I fall so I can be brought back to my feet and try again.

I understand how hard it is to feel that you are beautiful or amazing as I have struggled with this (sometimes, I still do, though not as much). Many teens and young adults have this problem. But I am grateful for friends and family who love Jesus and are filled with His Spirit; many of them have helped in shaping who I am today, a friend of Christ and a warrior for heavenly peace. This also reminds of of Proverbs 27: 17, which says (again, from the NIV): "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." Without the people whom God brings into our lives, we probably would be in more turmoil.

If you feel like you cannot see yourself as beautiful, I just want to let you know that God loves you; He made you to be who you are and wants to show you how beautiful you are on the inside. He wants to perfect you more into a diamond out of the rubble of sin and despair. I also want to say that you are not alone. God had promised that he will never leave nor forsake us (Joshua 1:9). We also have friends and family to count on when we are at our lowest points.

I think a song would greatly sum up my point. The song in the video below is called, "Made," which is performed by Hawk Nelson off of their new album of the same name. I hope that this song and what I said brings you encouragement today.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

John 3:16 - The Story of Love

This evening, I was checking through my social news feeds when I found this YouTube video that was shared by a friend. It was rather thought-provoking and a good reminder as to what Christ had done for me. I hope that this will be a blessing to you as well.

God bless,


Friday, June 28, 2013

Love and Brotherhood

At one point this year, I was talking with my friend, Ryan, over Facebook when I asked him how I could become closer with other Christian guys. I had asked him about his thoughts on this a few months ago as I was questioning if I will ever become close with another guy who also loves God. This past week, he made a response to my question through a long email, and the passages that he recommended me to meditate on were as follows:
  • 1 Samuel 20 (David and Jonathan's oath of friendship under the sight of God)
  • Proverbs 27 (wise expressions about love, family and friendships)
  • 1 Corinthians 13 (Paul explaining about the character of a Godly love)
I found that while 1 Samuel 20 portrays a great example of friendship between two close friends (who were guys), 1 Corinthians 13 seemed to pop out more to me. I still find it a bit hard to explain why, but it seems to be a more heavily focused passage, and that it was something on which I needed to reflect. Another particular thing that came to my attention was Proverbs 27:10 (see below).

"Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family,  and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away."

I guess that, based on these readings, I still have trouble with love. I guess it could have something to do with my difficulty to fully accept myself. I don't know why, but I find that as I get older, I feel more of the pressure to be like other guys (typical gender stereotypes). I try to go through life, but you keep hearing that you're supposed to be this or that. The thing is, I'm not so hugely into cars, I'm not a sports super fan, I don't even obsess over sex and girls like guys normally do.

I still tend to question God as to why he allowed me to be born with Autism as it tends to act more like a curse in both the "job world" and the "guy world" (which both co-exist as though they are one and the same; again, this is just my way of explaining things from my point of view). Because the main impairments caused by this disorder are my delayed speech and the fact that I need time to think things through before speaking. But the only thing I have going for me as an advantage is that I am often more focused on some things rather than others. Hopefully, I'll be able to get over this hurdle in my life.

Chances are, I'm not alone in these kinds of struggles: there are probably many Christian guys like me who are having trouble in making and maintaining strong friendships with other Christian guys. I agree that it's not easy, especially since I'm expressing about my thoughts. I think what might work for guys like us in being closer and more trusting with our Christian brothers is what Ryan had said to me in the email message: 

"As for advice? I would say, find a friend you think you can trust, and tell him you want to be a brother in CHRIST for him. Don't be clingy, but just say, 'Let's be there to encourage each other in our walk with God'. From my experience when you consciously make that decision then you focus a lot more on it. Pray, envision, minister with, and confess sin to brothers you can trust. The Bible asks this."

I hope that any of this helps somebody as I am also going through this. I find that expressing these struggles and lessons allows me to remain humble and to remind me, as well as everybody else, that we are all human and need God's love and grace as he conducts his work on us and through us. It's great to be writing about real life rather than some fantasy sometimes.

Peace be with you and keep it real with Jesus!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Gifts and Barbecues: Showing How God is Working Through Us

Over the past week or so, I had been doing the following three things: passing a social psychology course, trying to find a job, and continuing to explore more deeply into my relationship with Jesus. Mind you, trying to balance all of this is easier said than done. While I have been continuing to enrich my journey and have passed the psychology course, my job prospects have been very slim. Now, I'm starting to wonder if I'm looking for a job for the right reasons. Is God saying that I am supposed to be getting a "job" (a form of paid employment), or is that what society is pushing me to do? What is it that God wants me to be doing right here, right now? What about in the future? Things like this still plague me, no matter how often I try to wash it off.

However, this past Saturday was more of a lax day for me, especially since I had it in my heart to do something helpful. So when I had heard that my friend, Kayla, was putting on a "Love Halifax" barbecue party as part of celebrating her birthday and to show God's love to the city, I decided to jump on the wagon like many other people who attend Shiloh Youth and Shiloh University Church. It was definitely worth it; we cooked up hot dogs and burgers, we offered water, chips and freezies, all for free while there were people participating in road hockey competitions and the Walk the Walk for Autism around the Halifax Commons. We also had games and worship during those few hours when we were there.

Looking back at this event, as well as some recent venturing into understanding spiritual gifts, I can see how we were rather similar with each other but are also distinct. For instance, I had noticed some similarities between myself and my new friend Garret (pictured left): both of us appear to be very gifted in knowledge and evangelism, but he has more hands-on experience in practicing these gifts as well as his music skills (he was really good at leading worship). All of this had gotten me to reflect on 1 Corinthians 12, which talks a lot about spiritual gifts (among many other passages). I guess the whole point was to explain how God equips us to do certain things that all have a common goal: to bless others, but more importantly, to reveal the One who made us and loved us so much to die in our place.

I find it rather awesome as to how radical this journey with God has been so far. I feel that I learned so much and yet have a long way to go. I pray that as we continue to walk with Him that He will strengthen and equip us to do his work on the earth. Yesterday may be history for now, but there's still today to go through and if allowed, tomorrow will be another day set out for us as well.
Peace be with you all and God bless you!


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Faithfulness and Risk-Taking

Here are some more thoughts as I have been thoroughly studying Chapter One of Simon Guillebaud's More Than Conquerors...

Discussing about faith, I believe that I am rather confident in believing God's faithfulness; nobody can be as faithful as he is. This gives me some assurance that my life is in awesome hands. Though I would admit, it isn't always so easy to put your faith in Jesus. But I had to spend time with him, gradually allowing him to take up more of my heart. I pray that God will be able to mould me more into who he wants me to be, and use me to my best potential.

I’m continuing to learn more about how to handle failure. Failure doesn’t always mean that it’s the end of the line for me; it does however allow me to stop, look back, learn from it and move on to becoming better than how I was in the past. I believe that because of this, I have now become a better person and I am continuing to trust God more when I fall down. Sure, it’s often discouraging to fail and it has often made me question my beliefs and faith, but in the end, I just need to continue learning more about giving Jesus control; after all, he has greater plans set out for me (see Jeremiah 29:11 for context). By focusing more on him, I’ll have a more exciting and intimate relationship with him; I’ll be able to gain a better perception about how my life with Jesus has been an adventure. Speaking of adventure, this whole journey that I’ve been going through with Christ so far has been rather interesting, even though there were some moments that weren’t all too exciting, and some even dark ones; however, God has always managed to get me through it all stronger than before. I’m glad that I am covered by his grace and mercy.

I think God is urging me toward evangelistic and knowledge-based pursuits. This appears to be both appealing and risky to me as it is within my areas of interest and giftedness, and I don’t fully know what kind of outcome will arise from it all. I’m hoping that he will continue to shape and use me as I enter this set of endeavors that he has set out toward me. I also pray that the Spirit will enlighten the path that I am to take next (make it more clear on my next direction to go, as to clarify what I am saying). I know that eventually, things will make sense to me; until then, I’ll have to trust that God is going to be with me every step of the way. I hope that all of this encourages you as you continue on your walk with him everyday.

Take care and God bless you!


Friday, May 31, 2013

Living a Risky Life

Recently, I began reading through a book by Simon Guillebaud called, More Than Conquerors. This book is similar in theme to More Ready Than You Realize, but focuses more on living the radically changed life that is given through Christ. So, if you want a different take on understanding how God wants us to live our lives, this book would be a good read, especially if you want to see how the Bible can be applied into your life.

Chapter One of this book talks about how life involves taking risks and how living out how God wants us to live is risky business. I would agree with what he is saying there; it's a risky life I'm living, which is following Jesus and trusting him as my Lord and master. I wouldn't be as greatly surprised if I were all of a sudden discriminated and attacked in the future because of my chosen lifestyle. This reminds me of something that Jesus said in the Gospels as he was preaching:

"Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets." (Luke 6:22, 23 NIV)

Here, he explains that even though people around us are going to hate and ridicule us, we know that God is always going to be with us and he wouldn't want us to give up because we are being bullied or betrayed. Yes, it's going to hurt, but we shouldn't let that get the best of us; not only does it hurt us, but it hurts God too and it doesn't get work done to propell the kingdom forward.

I'll be reading through Chapter Two to learn more about how I can live radically. There's always so much to learn about God and what he intends for us. It has definitely been quite an intellectual and spiritual journey for me so far, and I hope that it continues to progress like that and that I will be able to apply what I learn into the world around me.

God bless you!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

More Ready Than You Realize - Overview and Afterthoughts

Now that I have finished reading the main part of More Ready Than You Realize by Brian McLaren, I thought that I would share some of my thoughts about the book as a whole. It has been a while since I last wrote here. I do enjoy writing about things that I am experiencing and learning.

The book as a whole was very well-written and thought provoking. It has allowed me to see evangelism done in a different, more practical way. I like the whole notion that all it takes is a simple conversation to get started. It also got me to learn that how Jesus evangelized was very process-oriented, meaning that the focus is on the journey and the destination, second. Although having milestone moments are great to celebrate, your journey, your walk with God, is what needs more attention.

I find that I am now learning more about how to apply the Bible into my daily life. No wonder they call it the "Living Word": it's so relevant, no matter the time or era. I also like how I can see a bit more about how I can use my gifts and talents to help people learn more about Jesus and what he has done for us. Also, with the verses and passages that were used, I now have a better understanding as to ow evangelism should work.

It's great that I have gotten to share some of the things that I am learning from these Bible studies and from the books that I have been reading. More Ready Tha You Realize is definitely a good, thought-provoking book that helps us to learn about and practice reaching out. I definitely feel ready to try talking with more people who are spiritually searching and trying to find answers to sme of life's big questions.

'Til next time,


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Words: A Piece of Advice

Many of these books have things in common.
I decided to bring in a more personal set of symbols to illustrate something. For example, why is there a picture of books here in this post? What do you think is the whole idea or theme that I am getting at here?

As a matter of fact, there is one thing in particular that they all have in common: words. I find that we use words so often in our daily lives that we have forgotten the power that words hold, written or spoken. All of this is what seems to be coming up to me from James, Chapter 3.

In his letter to Jewish Christians who were scattered all over the earth, he talks about the tongue, and the sinful dangers it holds, its corruptive nature. I find that this portion serves as a warning and a guide for us. For one thing, he expresses the dark nature of the tongue by comparing how we cannot tame it like we can other animals (see verse below).

"All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:7-8 NIV)"

I think what James is getting at here is that we should be more wary as to how we use our words and how they will affect the people around us. But we do not have to do it alone. God is always with us and will give us the heavenly wisdom (this wisdom is described in James 3: 17-18). As long as we have faith in Jesus, we will be able to do amazing things, even with our words. Here's a music video to a song by Hawk Nelson, called "Words" (pretty ironic, I must say). Perhaps it might help you understand a little bit about what I am saying, and how I feel that God has given me this passion for language and words.

Peace be with you and may God bless you in your future.


Friday, April 19, 2013

The Neighbourly, Spiritual Lifestyle

I find that some of the later chapters in More Ready Than You Realize have a focus on acceptance, exhortation and being neighbourly. I was discussing this with a friend earlier who agreed with this; it seems that God wants us to be showing love and acceptance to everyone, regardless of their status, appearance and behaviours. It isn't because God told us through the Bible that we should do it, but rather, it is because he loves everyone so much to die for them all that as his followers, we should also show this kind of love to everyone among us and beyond (after all, we're now able to love since God gave us his love).

Another big thing that I find is coming up a lot is this whole concept of prayer. It isn't just arising from this book in particular for me, but I am also reminded of passages from the Gospels, especially in Luke, where he writes that Jesus had disciplined himself spiritually through prayer. At one point, He was encouraging his disciples to pray during the night so that they would not fall into temptation. Prayer is very important in the life of a Christian. It allows us to personally connect with God without having to go to a priest (the "middle man" of the old covenant). Since we are living in the new covenant through Jesus, we are able to intercede, that is, come to God on our own behalf or on the behalf of others. It is through prayer and faith that we are able to do God's will for our lives, and help other individuals discover this truth for themselves.

I think that we need to be practicing prayer more, and that we should be more neighbourly with each other; what I mean is, we need to be practicing God's love for the nations. We should be going out into our communities and live our lives the way that Jesus would have lived them, encouraging each other as we move along. However, since God has given us free will, it is ultimately our choice as to whether or not we take on this neighbourly, spiritual lifestyle, a lifestyle that can be achieved through help and commitment to the Spirit.

I believe that we are still learning more about how this kind of lifestyle works in Mount Christian Fellowship at the Mount campus. We're all practicing to love and care for one another, praying and worshipping together, and going out to have spiritual conversations with other friends on campus. It's just so wonderful how God could use us in the university community, which extends itself to all of HRM. I'm really excited for the kinds of beautiful things that we'll get to do in the future.

Until next time,


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Love Has Come for Me (and Everyone Else)

I was checking around through my Facebook news feeds when I stumbled upon a video of Colton Dixon performing live on American Idol. The song he performed was an original called, "Love Has Come for Me," which talks about yielding our lives to Christ. I find this to be a remarkable song, and it has encouraged me to continue in my growing journey with God, despite all of the struggles that I am facing and what is yet to come.

The song reminds me of a few verses in the Bible. 2 Corinthians 5:17, which talks about how we are now a new creation through Christ, rings throughout the song as a major theme. Another theme-ringing verse is found in the book of Romans:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 NIV)

As you can see, love, sacrifice and new beginnings are the main themes of the song. I love how it expresses how little we understand of God and our current situation, but since God had first loved us, we are now able to truly love others and life, and more importantly, God himself. Here is the official lyric video for the song. I hope that it rejuvenates and encourages you as it has for me.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jesus to the Nations 2013: Lessons in Missions

This past weekend was the weekend of Jesus to the Nations. In case you don't know, this is a missions conference held in Halifax on an annual basis. This was the fourteenth year that this conference has been happening in Atlantic Canada, and has been my second experience attending so far. I definitely enjoyed last year's conference, learning a bit more about what missions are all about and how to intercede on behalf of others. Not to mention the fun concert put on by Fresh IE.

This year, I checked out two different seminars at J2N 2013: one was on indigenous missions, which discussed the differences and similarities of working both cross-culturally and non cross-culturally, and how both methods can coincide with each other to make an impact on places about which Jesus has not been heard. The second seminar that I checked out was conducted by Simon Guillebaud of Great Lakes Outreach (in Africa, not North America), and he talked about some of his more recent and life-changing experiences while working in Burundi. His seminar was rather interesting, as he discussed about this war-torn country plagued with AIDS and other diseases, as well as hearing some of the rewards that has come to him as he ministered in there. He was also one of the plenary speakers during the weekend, the other two being Nik and Ruth Ripken, who go out to areas of persecution. Through these speakers, God has given me a bit of a clearer picture as to what the ministry of the Apostles was like during the beginning of the Early Church, and how it applies to us today.

The music for this conference was also quite phenomenal. We had Chelsea Amber and Fraser Campbell join us that Saturday for a concert night. Both had quite some amazing talents and were aiming to worship God. One of the coolest things that I noted was that they were both from opposite coasts of the country, Chelsea being a Haligonian and Fraser, a Victorian. But they were very good, both separately and together. God was definitely working through them.

In short, I'd just like to say that I had enjoyed the weekend. It definitely gave me some new insight about missions and some more thinking to do. I'm hoping to apply more of what I learned from the weekend on campus and see what God will do through me.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Bible: Language of the Jesus Culture

Do you know what I like about studying French? I like how I am able to learn not just a language, but a set of cultures based around the language, each with its own rich history, customs and contemporary habits. I find that learning French has opened doors for me, allowing me to be more aware and appreciative of the ethnicity of other people. God has gifted me to learn French for a reason. Part of it might be because I need to be in a certain job where a knowledge in French is useful or even necessary. Studying languages like French can be rather beneficial, especially in the mission field.

In a way, you could say that the Bible is written as one of God's "special languages" that was designed for us while living on the earth. Unfortunately, this particular language is the most difficult to learn, especially when you have never lived in its culture before. Yet some pastors will tell you that reading your Bible is easy.

Why would pastors say this? Well, they do have a point; reading the Bible is easy, but understanding it is a whole different story. I think that if we are going to bring the Bible to our spiritually seeking friends, as I am learning to do through the book that I am reading, we should at least let them know that really reading it is not going to be as easy as it may seem.

A verse in the Bible that I see involving words is Psalm 119:105 (taken from the NIV): "Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path." It means that the Bible, as God's word, is a key piece to living an abundant life with him, another one being prayer. It appears to be part of a prayer of joy and promise toward God which can be applied to us today. By allowing Christ to take over that abundantly promising life will be more realized, and sharing the experience with a friend will also be very rewarding, not only for you, but your friend as well.

I think that a good challenge for me would be to go out and actually apply the principles of inviting a friend into spiritual conversation, or even just continue to be a generally good friend to him or her. That way, sharing things like faith would be easier to come around. Perhaps this is a good challenge for all of us Christians. You can consider this one for yourself along with God.

Take care and may God continually bless you along the way!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saint Patrick: A Man on a Mission

This image can be found on Wikipedia.
With today being Saint Patrick's Day, I thought that I would share a few things about who Saint Patrick was. I know this seems to be rather unrelated to the book, but bare with me.

Saint Patrick was originally from Great Britain but first arrived to Ireland as a slave at sixteen years of age. At this point, while tending his master's flock, he prayed to God for salvation and freedom. This came in a rather unusual way when sometime around his early twenties, he hears a voice that tells him to go on a ship, which he did after fleeing his master's house; he returned to his hometown and family, and he studied to become a priest, later becoming a bishop. Sometime when he's in his forties, he receives a vision from God to return to Ireland and preach around the country. He remained Ireland up until his death on approximately March 17, 490, though this date may be wrong.

Why bring up Saint Patrick? I believe that we can learn a few things from Patrick. For one thing, he is probably the most well-known of all the Irish saints. It is through people like him that Christianity had expanded further from England. Patrick was known for travelling around from town to town, preaching the Gospel as the Apostles had done in the past. Essentially, Patrick is continuing on the Great Commission as Jesus gave out to his disciples here:

"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation'". -Mark 16:15, NIV

Like Patrick, we need to have faith and trust in God in order to complete his will for our heart. We need to have a life built with prayer and devotion to him. Evangelism is not very easy to do, but it is rewarding when we do that which we are called to do.

I hereby encourage you, this Saint Patrick's Day, to look further into the history and and wonder of this man and this holiday, so that you too can see an appreciation of what a "man of God" can do. If this inspires you to share with your friends, feel free to do so. I pray that you will remain blessed to know that God loves you and has a plan for your life.

Take care!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lost (Not the TV Show)

Taken from: Wikipedia
Today's Bible study with Mount Christian Fellowship has brought up a rather interesting topic. We talked about the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin (Luke 15:1-10), which made me reflect from More Ready Than You Realize a little bit and about being lost (I'll get into that later). What exactly do we learn from these parables? There are a few things that have stricken us.

First of all, taking a look at the first two verses, we see that Jesus is being welcoming and teaching sinners and tax collectors and the Pharisees and teachers of the law are rather disapproving of this ("But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, 'This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.'" - Luke 15:2 TNIV). I think that the Pharisees believe that Jesus is upsetting the status quo and they're rather uncomfortable with what Jesus is saying, even though what Jesus is preaching may be considered as a new way of interpreting the Old Testament texts. I don't blame them. But God doesn't want us to be living like lumps on a log, but to be active, learn and grow. So by looking at this reaction, what exactly does Jesus do? He creates parables to teach the importance of life.

Taken from:
 The Lost Sheep and Coin help us to see that God loves and values everyone equally. After all, he did make us in his image. They explain that when a sinner repents, all of Heaven rejoices, or celebrates because there is now one more life being reserved to have a heavenly home in Heaven. To me, that gives a sense that as a father, God knows what's in our best interests, and loves us enough that he would sacrifice his son for us, so that we can have that better relationship with him.

Now, how does this passage relate to the book? If you took a look at what I mentioned from my previous post about being lost, you would remember that the author wrote about how we often refer to our Non-Christian friends as "lost people" and he wondered if the adjective of lost could still be applied to us. I think he's on to something as I compare the two texts as well as what's happening around me. Many of us are trying to understand our purpose in life, and have yet to reach where we fully need to be. So let me conclude by asking you these questions: "Are you lost? If so, shouldn't you pray that God gives you vision through the Holy Spirit so that you know where to go next?"

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Banquets and Speaking Life

         This evening, I went to an interesting Bible study that focused on Luke 14: 15-24 for a little while, and we got to learn what it means to get a taste of God's banquet. A lot of times, someone would start preparing a banquet or a potluck and invite their friends out in advance, but as soon as the event comes, the invited guests come up with little excuses. I don't know about you, but I think that they either get easily distracted or are trying to avoid the host because of their contentment. At least now I can understand why it would be better to start bringing in the poor and/or broken people; it would be easier for someone who has very little to accept something like attending a meal. I guess I can relate with both crowds in a way or two; I often see myself at times as not being worth for God to put up with me, while at other times, I might feel rather great and not want to bother doing something (I relate a bit more with the poor and broken people, though). But it is the choices that we make that determine whether or not we get to enjoy God's reward in Heaven. We choose whether or not we accept Jesus as our Saviour and Lord; he did give us free will, right?

         I find that this passage can also relate to some other aspects of our behaviours toward other people. In particular, I'm thinking more towards the words we say. We often don't realize what kind of power words can have until we see the kind of damage that we cause (I know, I have done it before many times and have also received it from the other end). We can choose to use our words as a way to build people up or tear them down, and I find that if we show love with our words, then we would have peace with the people around us, and they can get to know about God by him working through us. So I thought that this video would be a great fit for all of this; it's the official lyric video to the song, "Speak Life" by TobyMac, and I feel that this is a very relatable song.

         I hope that this inspires you and gives you something to think about. I believe that God will always find a way to get us to learn something. If you'd like some extra information, feel free to take a look at the links available.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Crazy Love: My Post-Valentine Thoughts

         I thought that today would be a good day to talk about love. No, I'm not referring to being in love with a girl; I'm talking about this crazy, unconditional love that God has for all of us, the same love of which he had reminded me this past Valentine's Day. The past couple of days have been rather empowering for me and my relationship with him.

         The past little while before Valentine's Day, I had been having doubts about Christianity at times: doubts about whether what I am doing is right or in vain, whether or not I fully agree with what people are doing. I think I also resonated a little from the book that I had been reading, asking myself and God, "if there are plenty of Christian students here on campus, why isn't there such a lasting impact of goodness to show it? Are we actually influencing our campus, or has the influence of the campus created our perpetual downfall?" Part of this fit of questioning had arisen from emotional troubles caused by my surrounding environment, namely how people may have treated me. It was with that happening that I started wrestling, started feeling that maybe I had been a fool to believe in all of this.

         I had expressed about all this to a friend, Brian (a staff worker for Power to Change), who helped steer me back in the right direction. He went over a tract with me that discussed about the role of the Holy Spirit. It seemed that I had allowed my emotions to take a stronghold of me, and that had been my downfall. As we went through the tract together, I started to understand better about how the Spirit helps mediate our relationship with God the Father as the "other counsellor" about which Jesus had mentioned to his disciples (John 14: 16-17). I also learned that I had not been so dependent on the Spirit as my guide, and that by faith, I could get back on track and out of the valley. I believe the last time something like this happened (which was last March), I was given help from a couple of Inter-Varsity friends at the Mount, notably Kaleigh and Rachel (the friend with whom I am studying "More Ready Than You Realize"). If it hadn't been for friends like them, I don't know what I would have done next.

         Now that I feel rejuvenated by being filled with the Holy Spirit, I can now grasp more about Christ's love for me, as though I have found the significance of the cross to be deeper than before. I understand that I mustn't let my feelings control me, that I must live in faith in order to be part of God's plan for change in Halifax, as Jesus expressed in John 14: 21, 23-27.

         Love is very mysterious, and no matter what we do, God is always going to love us; this is what we call unconditional love. 1 Corinthians 13 is an entire chapter in which Paul talks about what love looks like. It's quoted often during wedding ceremonies, which are also love-driven. I definitely find it rather suiting. Love and faith truly go hand in hand with each other, as written here: "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)" Hopefully the next time I find myself going downhill, I will cling on to my faith and ask God for strength, and he will continue to pour out his love for me so that I can continue on this journey called life with him.

God bless you all until next time!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Being Lost and Categorizing People

I went to church this morning and my pastor was preaching in part on the parable of the lost sheep. Just thinking about it made me reflect back to what I had been wading from the book, "More Ready Than You Realize", and how it talked about being lost. I often think that I can still be "lost", even with the right tools, which also makes me more aware of what kinds of terms I should be using when reaching out on campus. I do feel that we should try to avoid in-grouping and out-grouping people; it just seems so degrading. Now, I understand what it means when the Bible says that God doesn't really show favouritism.

The whole concept of in-groups and out-groups being talked about in the book also reminded me of the "blue eyes vs. brown eyes experiment" that I learned about in an introductory psychology class. The purpose of it was to show how favouritism and discrimination affects societies as a generalization. I do feel empathetic towards those who have been excluded; it's not a fun position to be in at all.

I think what God wants us to learn from this is that by being a bit careful with what we say and do, and by putting our full trust in him, we will appear to be safer, more accepting people who can discuss about spirituality, and help others discover that there is someone who loves them so deeply...without making the situation worse for everyone. There are a lot of spiritual people out there, just like us, and we need to remind ourselves that we can be just as lost as they are if we were to take our focus away from Christ.

If any of what I say helps or inspires you, feel free to share this with your friends. Keep your focus on God and keep on moving with him. Peace out, people!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Genuine Living and Genuine Relationships

I often find myself wondering if I am living out my life the way I'm supposed to live it, and this also tends to make me ask myself, "did I even bother so much with talking to a friend outside of the church about Jesus?" This past month has gotten me to reflect more on the past readings through the book I have been reading, how it talks about everyday conversations as a way to practice true evangelism.

Part of the book mentioned about how Gentiles had begun to learn the truth and become followers of Jesus Christ (you can find it in Acts 10:1-11:18). Here, you have a man named Cornelius, who was a God-fearing Roman centurion, receiving news from an angel that a man of God was to come, and Peter, one of the Twelve Apostles, who was sent by God to go see Cornelius. Once Peter had spoken with Cornelius and the other Gentiles in that area, he baptized them and returned to Jerusalem, justifying this action to the other Jews. I thought it was rather interesting that the authour brings this up. What you see here is an amazing example of how evangelism, or "spiritual friendship" should look like. Clearly, the authour is assuring that God wants to extend himself to everyone, not just a few people, and that we should remain humble when helping other people in their journeys.

Reading more through this book has got me into noticing that it doesn't take much to evangelize if all you have to do is talk to somebody about Jesus. I also noticed something really interesting over the past couple of weeks: part of how Power to Change works is through these relationships with others, handing out articles and discussing them sometime later in the coming weeks. I believe that we can learn a lot from these people as they have been doing this stuff for many years and have experienced what it's like to be in such a friendship with someone who is seeking answers to life's biggest questions. For one thing, they show humility by making Jesus famous wherever they go, proving that being humble before God is part of the key to living genuinely as a follower of Jesus Christ.

Now as I continue on my journey as everyone else (yes, that includes you too), I pray that we all can take something in from all of these thoughts. If you want more information about Power to Change, you can check out their website here.

God bless you all and thanks for reading.