Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Return to the Gospel

It's been a while since last time I blogged. Much has happened since then as I have grown through parenting, praying and through ultimately God's Word. As the summer approaches I pray that none of us will remain idle but be active in our spiritual life. I'm constantly being reminded of Jesus' words, "what good is it if you gain the whole world but forfeit your soul?" All the earthly riches that surrounds me will not and cannot buy the blood of Christ. It cannot save your pitiful soul from hell, nor can it give you eternal comfort that brings sustaining joy in Christ. It simply cannot satisfied God's wrath. We live in America as though we never had the wrath against us. It is as though we have never offended God, His great Holiness. We live with blindness that Gospel is optional, as sort of like extra credit from a class wasn't required to take. We often have disillusional view of what it means to be poor in spirit. We do not see ourselves as poor beggars needing the Eternal Bread, and needing and want to share with it to other beggars because we do not have such deep satisfaction from it. We cannot because of such devil's lies that comes to our hearts, promising contentment in living safe and clean community with respect of privacy and good family home. At least from outside it looks as though it's true. But as we dig little deeper and starting scratch the surface of our white washed tombs, we see the ugly selfishness and pride that shuns upon taking any risk of loving others or going out to reach to the lost, simply because we have too many excuses to make. We are too busy with our own plans. We have families. We have demanding jobs. We have kids to feed. We have to consume ourselves with activities that does not quench our thirst. Yet we keep chugging along like an aimless man who is full of activities. We are, in America, most to be pitied if we think that living in a Christian bubble will bring Christ His due glory. I'm reminded of the young rich man who comes to Jesus with such attitude that he has fulfilled God's law. Even though he has never fulfilled the law, the rich man approaches Jesus with such pride and self-centeredness. He does this by coming to Jesus to prove himself, justify himself that he has lived a good life. A good life meaning moral, upright life. He is craving for acknowledgement. Perhaps he may have come to Christ out of boredom because he thinks he has everything but he wants that extra affirmation, that he is worthy of praise from Jesus. He does not recognize that he is indeed poor in spirit. He is blind to the reality of his beggar's state: while he may be wealthy and upright citizen, he is absolutely guilty of his sin. He deserves eternal death sentence and yet he does not know it. How can he when he has been consumed by self-reliance perhaps all his life? Or perhaps he is like one of the regular church goers that keeps everything safe by not committing any heinous acts of sin, or crime. Perhaps he has a family and he worked hard to provide for his family, he has never cheated anyone or disobeyed his parents. Outside he looks like a clean-cut upright Christian man who is faithfully attending Church, perhaps even once in a while serves the community. But his blind heart has never been tested until He came to approach Jesus with such arrogance. When Jesus says to the young rich man to sell his possessions to the poor and he will inherit riches in heaven. Immediately the rich man frowns and despairs over Jesus' commands. The man never recognized nor acknowledged that the riches are also from God and it never really belonged to him in the first place. Oh how hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven! Yet Jesus still loved him. I pray that I will continue to die to myself over these matters. I also pray that men in our Churches, our communities will find such delight in Christ and looking forward to the riches of heaven in Christ, that we can be radical and actually live through it. O Lord, help us today that we have been saved by Grace from You. We confess that we were once children of wrath, not indifferent to you, but rather hated you because we never wanted to have life. Yet You being in rich in mercy, you loved us through death of Jesus, who took our sins, to become sin for us, even though He was perfect and sinless. Lord, this is not a small matter to us. It is not a historical event that's no longer relevant. But it's a daily feed for us. So thank you Father for provoking our hearts to you to repent. Thank You for Your holy spirit that intercedes for us when we do not know what to pray for. For He searches our hearts deeply within our hearts to the will of God. Thank You for the Word that sharpens us faith. Without it, we would be utterly lost. Thank You Jesus!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Chapter 1 God Speaks

Key points to this chapter:

· Words belong to God and therefore they do NOT belong to us.
· Because words to not belong to us, we must use them to His standards. This means godly talk is not an option but a command from God.
· God created words for us to understand Himself, his plans and his purpose. This is clearly evident through Lord Jesus Christ who is THE Word, and our only hope for our words.
· Words also help us define, explain and interpret who we are in light of the Gospel and others.

It’s incredibly difficult for us to communicate without words. Even if we tried to communicate through sign language, without meaning in each word, it could be all gibberish. But more importantly, words belong to God. How often are we thinking of this truth when we are communicating with our loved ones, our neighbors, and our co-workers during the day? Unfortunately we often misuse and abuse words to our own selfish interests, hence, forgetting that God demands words for His glory. But there is hope because Jesus is the Word and He alone can help us in battling our use of words.

There are so many great questions in this chapter but I want to pick a few below:

1. In what ways do you misuse words to reflect your own self-interest/self-righteousness with your (choose one or more): spouse, co-worker, stranger, and friends.
2. In your times of trouble or struggle or difficult circumstances, how do you use your words to others and to yourself in light of the Gospel? (i.e. recognizing God’s forgiveness, His grace and sovereignty, etc.)
3. Do you talk with others to develop relationship with them, or do you only talk to solve problems during times of trouble.

Don’t feel pressured to answer all of them but please share with us at least one of the questions.

For me, I tend to use extreme words when I’m frustrated or angry. For example, I often catch myself using words like “never” or “always” or “stupid” to make an exaggerated point. I think I used one of these words even this weekend when Owen was being fuzzy and refuses to go to sleep as I said to JJ, “Owen is never going to be sleep trained” forgetting that God is infinitely wise and sovereign and works all things for those who love Him, and that Owen is indeed grace upon grace! Another example is dealing with my lack of love for my earthly dad as I usually vent these phrases to JJ, “I have absolutely no relationship with him” as though justify my estranged relationship and blame shift everything to my dad (as though it’s his fault!), and thus, not making real effort to re-establish relationship. While this has been on-going and has been up and down, I need help from Jesus, big time.

But I’m encouraged brothers because no one on this blog has it all together, but rather, we are all in one great mess in our sinful nature. But thank God that He will (and has) help us! Look forward to your responses.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chill-Out session

It's been almost two months now since I've taken an indefinite time of sabbatical from leading praise at my local Church. I actually think it's more like a chill-out session to bond with my son Owen. But I must admit that initially, I thought I would miss serving and leading praise early on, but I actually really enjoy simply being with the congregation! I mean, I do miss playing and being with the praise team, but I really thank God for this time of restoration and refreshing times of singing God's Word together on Sundays. I think one thing that I am learning about enjoying praise songs is that, whenever you recognize scriptures that's reflected in a song, you cherish the words that you sing even more so than simply singing it. For example, when I first heard a song called, "Everlasting God" by Brenton (I think), I wasn't much of a fan. But when I was reading Isaiah 40 during those those times when I was SOOO tired spiritually and physically from lack of sleep since Owen's birth, God was so gracious as to allow me to re-recognize, opening my heart to see, how God will never, ever exhaust himself and grow tired, unlike me! Even though the young men (which I sort of consider myself in that category for now) grow weary and exhausted, those who wait upon the Lord will shall renew their strength. Amen! Amen!

So it really is true. Singing God's Word is so much sweeter than singing words that we can merely relate or personalize in our own experiences (even though there's nothing wrong with that at times). When we sing these songs in the light of God's Word mirroring Christ's glory and grace, we are able to cherish that much more, and enjoy the songs more richly because it's more than a "feel good" song to us. IN fact, if that is all it sums up to be, than we have nothing more than emotionalism. But we adore Christ for all that He is for us and to us, but more importantly, to the Lord. Christ has saved and conquered death once for all, so that we may be restored back to God. And this is reflected in God's Word. What better news than this? Which sweeter songs to sing than to sing of Christ and His redemption? What songs of glory of men is bigger than Christ Himself?

O that we may continue to sing more of His worthiness in the light of scriptures!

Amen! Amen!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sleep training

I must admit, I had enormous expectations for Owen, even before he was born. But now that he is 7 weeks old, my expectations starts to grow even more. One of which is sleep training. Through countless books on this topic, JJ & I feel so confused and weary about letting Owen cry out to sleep. At first, 5 minute felt like 5 hrs. And then 10 minutes felt like a whole day. After few attempts using Ferber method, we concluded that Owen is not like other kids that can sooth himself to sleep, hence, we will wait until he is older. But I'm very thankful that I went through this process of sleep training because I got to learn more about Owen. Some good, some, well, let's just say I hope that he will love the Lord as much as cries at night (and sometimes day). :)

I'm so thankful for Owen despite his tasmania cries and his uncontrollable kicks during his fuzzy hours. Thank you Lord!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

O Happy Day

I’ve been waiting and wanting soooo badly to introduce this song for our local Church (Wellspring Church) about a year now since the Worship God conference 08 (where I initially heard the song). When I first listened to this song I thought it would be more appropriate for youth group audience since the tune/melody appear bit…I don’t know “yippidy do?” (sorry for the lack of relevant terms). I mean, when was the last time you sang the words, “happy day” especially in worship song without thinking of Fonzie with his black leather jacket being cool like that. But when I carefully read the lyrics and realized that despite its simple words to song, they paint an awesome picture of what has already happened 2,000 years ago when Christ died for our sins on the Cross and three days later rose again! Without resurrection of Christ, our forgiveness of sins and righteous standing before God would deem insufficient because we would still be enslaved to sin and consequently our sins would still hold us captive. But in the light of Pastor Sam’s sermon last week regarding centrality of the Gospel and its “First importance” of Christ’s death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:3-5), I think it’s MORE than appropriate to sing this song with a LOUD shout of joy!

So will you join me in listening and learning this song in light of upcoming Easter this year? And it’s totally okay to shout aloud with one voice “O happy day!”

Link to the song:

O Happy Day by Tim Hughes

Verse 1:
The greatest day in history, Death is beaten
You have rescued me
Sing it out Jesus is alive
The empty cross, The empty grave
Life eternal You have won the day
Shout it out Jesus is alive
He's alive

Oh happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh happy day, happy day
I'll never be the same
Forever I am changed

Verse 2:
When I stand, in that place
Free at last, meeting face to face
I am Yours Jesus You are mine
Endless joy, perfect peace
Earthly pain finally will cease
Celebrate Jesus is alive
He's alive

Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious way
That You have saved me
Oh what a glorious day
What a glorious name

And yes, Wellspring Church, we WILL (well, most likely…hopefully) sing this song in next few weeks. Lord willing! :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Questioning God?

We cannot remain faithful and question God’s own faithfulness. His love for those who are in Christ is beyond question. His character is a constant and his love never fails. He is not loving and gracious toward believers at one moment, only to turn into a malevolent deity the next. He never changes.

In this light, it would be sin to question . . . whether God really loves us, or if He is really faithful to his promises. This is not the questioning worthy of a believer, but of an unbeliever.”

- Albert Mohler, “Is it Legitimate to Question God?“

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Grace is Jesus!

Grace is Jesus

“There is no such ‘thing’ as grace! Grace is not some appendage to Christ’s being. All there is is the Lord Jesus Himself. And so when Jesus speaks about us abiding in Him and He abiding in us – however mysterious it may be, mystical in that sense – it is a personal union.

Christianity is Christ because there isn’t anything else. There is no atonement that somehow can be detached from who the Lord Jesus is. There is no grace that can be attached to you transferred from Him. All there is is Christ and your soul.”

- Sinclair Ferguson on John 15 at the 2007 Banner of Truth Ministers’ Conference in Grantham, PA.