"A sinful man can marry a sinful woman and the whole world, including the Lord himself, will rejoice."

Thank You for never giving up on me, when I looked to everything else and lived so selfishly.  You bled. You died to be with me. Why would You do something like that, for someone like me?

It’s starting to hit me that this semester will be a challenging one.  I would much rather spend all day singing God’s praises, reading my Bible and some C.S. Lewis.  To some people, the seraphim shouting “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty” 24/7, all day err day might seem a bit overwhelming, but I would much rather spend my days doing that than this full-time student looking for a job crud.

'We have seen the faces of those we know best so variously,  from so many angles, in so many lights,  with so many expressions - waking, sleeping, laughing, crying, eating, talking, thinking - that all the impressions crowd into our memory together and cancel out in a mere blur. But her voice is still vivid. The remembered voice - that can turn me at any moment to a whimpering child.'

'We have seen the faces of those we know best so variously, from so many angles, in so many lights, with so many expressions - waking, sleeping, laughing, crying, eating, talking, thinking - that all the impressions crowd into our memory together and cancel out in a mere blur. But her voice is still vivid. The remembered voice - that can turn me at any moment to a whimpering child.'

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
"I am not what I will be, but by God’s grace, I am not what I was."

— Heath Lambert

I am normally a very confident person. More specifically, I know I have the skills to hold a conversation with strangers. Thus, I volunteered to do proxy station for oWo, which consists of talking to others about identity and spirituality. But on that tuesday, my confidence wavered and it left me. What was left was fear and nervousness. The conversations I did have were good. But I found myself trying to hide and duck away as much as possible. After 45 minutes, I had to retreat into prayer and scripture. I read Jeremiah because he struggled with the boldness of sharing the word.

One of our devos was 1 Corinthians 1. God uses foolish to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong, and the low and despised to bring to nothing the things that are.

It was the most humbling experience I’ve had in a while, failing at proxy station. Luckily, the rest of the Body picked up my slack. And it drove me to be more Spirit led rather than man led.

After church today was a time of me reading my little Christian book and belting praises at the top of my lungs. That’s the difference between living and life.

Lately, I’ve been having more and more selfish thoughts. I came to this conclusion during oWo devo time Monday morning. For some reason, my thoughts just kept wandering and I couldn’t focus.

But God is good. Monday was training day. The entire day was a packed schedule, full of devotionals, scripture reading, and gospel presentation. By the end of the day, I realized I hadn’t thought about myself for the whole day. I spent the entire day so focused on God and so focused on doing God’s work, that I had no time or mental capacity to think about myself. That’s exactly how it’s suppose to be done. See, when we choose to focus on sin and say “I need to not think about all these temptations”, we end up doing exactly the opposite and we end up thinking about it more. But sanctification doesn’t call for thinking about the bad stuff less, but God more. If God is above all these things, the natural logical response is to focus on that which is greater. And as we do this, we gradually replace all our thoughts with God, such that the selfishness of the flesh is no more.

Last week, I got my wisdom teeth out. I could not talk for a while, but my friend was having a rough day and asked to vent some of her frustrations. And while the best thing to do was listen, I wanted to offer words of comfort. What a terrible time to get my wisdom teeth out. There was a perfect opportunity to serve someone and I couldn’t do it to the best of my ability.

It got me thinking about my future family. What happens when my health fails and my love ones needs me? I have shared here before that one of my greatest fears is not being able to serve those I love. Thus, I lift weights so I can serve. And now, with my recent injury, I realize I need to keep my health up, otherwise, some I love will suffer.

Dare I say it? I resolve to eat more vegetables.

Hillsong Church NYC

I was home last week and I received a text from my (second?) cousin.  She asked me to go to Hillsong church with her.  I don’t believe she is a Christian so naturally I agreed.  It’ll be good for her to learn more. I’ve never been to Hillsong church before, and I was nervous about whether my style would fit at the church (I’m quite picky).

It was quite a sight to see. All attendees were tall, good looking and well dressed.  Wow.  Interesting.  As they started, a lot of yellow flags started popping up for me.  “When are they going to start talking about the cost of following Jesus?” I thought. “When are we going to do exegetical analysis on scripture?” They do tend to focus on God’s love and grace more than I would prefer.  And during worship (their musical talent is immaculate), everyone was raising their hands and shouting praises.  Uh oh - maybe too many emotions?

The church is too hip and cool for me.  And maybe a ton of people who were shouting Jesus’ name didn’t own Bibles (they didn’t).  Maybe I didn’t get much out of it because I’m much more mature than most of the congregation was.  Maybe they do like NIV and NLT more than NASB and Greek/Hebrew transliterations.  But at one point, I realized, it doesn’t matter that these people aren’t as deep and grounded in Christ as they should be.  Lord willing, they’ll get there. And you know why?  Because they are there praising God, and shouting his name, and singing their hearts out because at least in that moment, nothing else really mattered to them, their hearts were on God.

And that makes it all ok.

Welcome to the body, newcomers.

"We have all come selfishly to Christ before. Coming to Jesus means looking at him as a comprehensive Savior rather than just as another Mr. Fix-It."

— Heath Lambert (Finally Free)

the wheels stopped turning

Immediately after I disembarked from my wonderful journey, I was reminded of the harsh reality that is the world, a world that needs more God in it.  

I had to throw out the remainder of the XL root beer. As I crossed the street, I saw a presumably homeless man sitting by the sidewalk with his simple cardboard sign.  Maybe he had not eaten in a few days. Maybe he had a beard because he couldn’t shave.  Maybe he was thirsty, and could have used that drink I just disposed.  Yet, because my family was waiting for me, I could not go to him, because that would be unloving to my family, who I am called to love even more.  

It took us an entire hour to decide what to eat, and one dish we got as $22.  We have luxury of choice and freedom to spend.  I did nothing to deserve this. I was merely born into a good environment.  I reap the benefits. Some people out there have it hard and are working hard, but not me.  

The next day, we spent our entire afternoon at an outlet mall. My dad said in the business world, it is absolutely necessary for me to get an expensive suit/shoes.  I have 3 $200 suits, which I like, but they are not good enough. I had just gotten these new $50 shoes that I love.  My dad said an $1000 suit is well worth it. So are $200 shoes. I walked around the outlet mall, lamenting the whole time…how many people can that $1000 feed? How many new pairs of socks and shoes can it provide to those who genuinely need it?  Here I am, looking for an expensive suit in Brooks Brothers, when I don’t really need it.  We didn’t buy anything that day, nothing was “good enough quality.” It was already dark when we got home.  Some poor people spent their entire Sundays working, but nah we just chilled looking for high class stuff. I can easily see how luxury and comfort are the opposite of what we’re looking for when we view the gospel.  

I’m still waiting on the $1000 suit.  My dad and I argue about it. I don’t want it. I can see this attitude consume me as I ponder my future job prospects.

Do I begrudgingly submit or do I fight for those who don’t have a voice or a chance?

"Though I defy him, the Maker of the universe, He still gives me breath, food, shelter, and countless other gifts."