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!