Sunday, September 30, 2007

Pressing on in the Word

At church this morning, Pastor Tim concluded with a good practical application for pressing on from where we are in our walk with Christ. For me, I feel pretty satisfied with spending a few minutes in the Word, but it can be frustrating at times. He mentioned that for him, the first 10 mins or so tend to be very hard and frustrating, but the next 10 mins are much more focused and clear. For me, it is not often that I spend that much time reading the Word. I'll read for a few minutes, then go back through and study it more deeply, but it is rare that I spend 10 mins reading. So, I plan to make some changes in the amount that I read. After all, it is the most important book!

Tonight was "Go Night". Basically, we take a flier filled with gospel truths, and we are trying to get it out to every home in our city. I would say that we do about 1,000 homes every time we go out (once a month). Occasionally, we get to talk with people if they are outside doing yard work or something. I'll admit, it is definitely out of my comfort zone. It is fun going to all these houses and praying for these unknown people inside as we put fliers on their doors. I had a couple opportunities to talk with people today. The only one that I gave me time to say anything already had a church home, but it was a blessing and encouragement.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A day full of fun...

This morning, Christina and I went to Cal baptist to play Ultimate Frisbee. It was a ton of fun! Christina made several touchdown catches. We were very blessed at lunch! Lunch at CBU isn't the cheapest thing, but they have good food. They only had one cash register on which was only for scanning student IDs. Well, Christina doesn't have a meal plan, and so I was paying and it took maybe 2 mins for the man to get someone to open the other cash register. Because of this "horrible" delay, he only made us pay for one of us. It was definitely a blessing. :)

About yesterday night, we were talking about the opposition we face as Christians. The main verse we looked at was 2 Timothy 3:12 which says, "Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." This reminded me of Luke 12:11-12 which I read on Thursday, "When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say." The words "when" and "will be" really caught my attention. It is not a matter of escaping these things, it is a matter of pressing on within the circumstances that we are given.

We have had several missionaries come to our church recently, and the persecution we have here is so wimpy (for lack of a better word). I have a tendency to put personal comfort above full obedience. More practically speaking, I naturally prefer to not stand up and speak the truth when I could just ignore whatever it was that I should have taken a stand against. I have one word for living like this: SELFISHNESS! Galatians 5:16 says, "But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." This really shows me some things about my heart. I am obviously not walking in the Spirit to the point that His desires become my desires. I realize that we will always have our sinful nature on this earth, but all the same, God has given us freedom from sin by His spirit. He gives us the power to overcome any temptation (1 Cor. 10:13). We need to drown out the flesh in the water of His Word! Press on!


Well, this morning I had an orthodontist appointment (just the normal checkup). When I got there, they decided that it was time for me to get braces once again. So, I now have braces. As not fun as it is, I can already see a lot of change in the 12 hrs of me having them (which is rather cool, and a bit painful). Long story made short, I had braces for about 10 years, then got a retainer to wear at night that was supposed to move my lower jaw forward. My jaw started popping and getting stuck, so I had to discontinue wearing that which lead to my teeth becoming crooked again. They are recommending a jaw surgery which would mean they cut my jaw where my wisdom teeth would be (yeah, I still need to get all 4 taken out at some point), and then add a titanium extension to my jaw on each side. I am thinking right now that if my teeth are straight, I can live with the overbite, but we'll see what happens.

We had Bible study again tonight. I went a little bit early to play tennis with a guy in the Bible study who is also on the tennis team. Worship was quite enjoyable. We talked about temptation and hardship faced in walking with Christ. I'll have to share more tomorrow when I am not so exhausted.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's almost the weekend!

Many would argue that it is not almost the weekend, but I only have one class on MWF at 7:50 am, so once I finish my physics lab on Thursday evenings, it feels like the weekend. :) Today was one of those rare days where I actually finished the lab way early!
Anyway, I have been thinking about Psalm 29. For those of you that have received emails from me, I often sign them with Psalm 29:2 because it is one of my favorite verses.

1 Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the LORD glory and strength.
2 Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name;
Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The LORD is over many waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful;
The voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

I find the beginning of this passage rather unique. What do we have to give the Lord that He doesn't already have? Really, we have nothing to offer but our "filthy rag" righteousness (Isaiah 64:6), and yet we are to give Him glory and strength. Well, if we cannot give Him anything that He doesn't already have, then why do we need to give Him anything? I would argue that it is not only for His glory, but also for our hearts. Paul says in Romans 12:1 that living our lives as a living sacrifice is our reasonable service. I find it so easy to get into a "it's all about me" thought pattern, but in reality, we owe it all to Him!

That was a long tangent to get to the point I was planning on making. I love the words "beauty of holiness" in verse 2. When we get to heaven, surrounded by nothing but holiness, it will be truly beautiful. I love how the rest of the chapter describes God. If you have ever been in a huge thunder storm, it is a bit scary how powerful that bolt is, and the sound that comes off it. If you can't identify with that, have you ever been near a huge waterfall where it is not physically possible to yell loud enough to be heard above the sound of the water crashing down? These are some awesome pictures of God's power, and yet He is infinitely more powerful than these things! May we live beautiful lives of holiness so that we glorify Him!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Another full day

This morning, Pastor Tim showed me how I should be setting my blocks in basketball. :) We played two games (1-1). It was quite a bit of fun.

I am a little frustrated by the lack of opportunity to talk with people in my classes. It is hard to influence anyone without talking with them. I guess 7:50 am class isn't ideal for that (people don't exactly show up early). I guess I need to make it a more central thing in my prayer life.

This afternoon, Christina had practice for Choral Union at Calbaptist. They are singing Handel's Messiah (which I sang a couple years ago). I usually work on homework in the back as they sing, but studying for my sign language test got boring after a while, so I joined in and sang. :) Much fun! There is a intramural flag football team made up of girls from choir, and so a few of us went down to the field and watched them play their game. They played hard, but lost miserably. I can identify (my flag football team didn't win any games last year). I think they still had fun though. :)

I have a sign language test tomorrow, so I better finish up studying. If you get a chance, pray that God would open doors of opportunity for me to show Christ to others. It is difficult to break the ice of casual to serious conversation. I need wisdom.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The week continues

I have been continually blessed by 1 John. It is very practical in the fact that it shows us what real living for God is all about. Take a look at these verses in 1 John 4.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
19 We love, because He first loved us.

I think it is safe to say that love tends to be a risky thing which involves fear. The reality is that if we loved others as Christ loved the church, we would have no reason to fear. This fear comes when we are focused on ourselves. When we love someone unconditionally with no expectation of being loved back, that is true love. This reminds me of Ephesians 5:22-24 where men and women are given their responsibility within marriage. It would seem like being submissive would be very difficult, but if we as men would love others how we should (as Christ loved the church), I don't think it would be difficult at all for someone to submit to our leadership. Godly leadership needs to be based on the love that is only found in Christ! May we grow to be men and women that lead with love!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Choir concert

Christina had her first choir concert last night. They did very well! Actually, the Male Chorale and New Song (Christina's choir) were about 5 miles away from one another, so we went to the Male Chorale concert for 30 mins, and then saw Christina's choir.

This morning, I woke up at about 4:20 am thinking it was about time for basketball (I play basketball at 6 am on MWF). Maybe it was because dad and I usually leave about the same time and for some reason he left earlier today. His diligence amazes me! Anyway, my alarm went off at 5:20, and I decided that I could sleep for another 10 mins or so. Well, you know what happens when you decide to go back to sleep... I woke up at about 5:55 and was out the door by about 5:58. I must admit, I played horrible basketball this morning. It was pathetic! There was one play where I was passing the ball in, and Pastor Tim faked to the right and then went left... I was already in motion to throw it right, and tried to hold onto it. I ended up bounce passing it to the guy on the other team nice and softly. I am just so glad that wasn't on video. :) It was fun anyway, although I think I did more good for the other team than I did mine.

I had Calculus class this morning. We were doing some physics problems today, so it was nice actually knowing how to do the problems before he taught anything. :) Well, time to study 1 John 3 and do some homework.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

California.... and that wet stuff that comes from the sky

Well, we actually got some rain yesterday! It was rather pleasant--running around on the soccer field in the rain (I had to ref Jonathan's soccer game at 8 am). After we got home and had lunch, we had some family time which included playing a game, and worship/prayer time (which is always enjoyable). Since I don't have a lot of homework this weekend, I got to go over to the Sisson's house where Ethan and I played random songs (him on the guitar, and me on his keyboard). Anyway, that pretty much sums up my Saturday.

This morning, we talked about Judaism. It is very sad to see how works based it is (much like Islam and Mormonism). The message was "A Challenge for the Jews - from Jews". We talked about Galatians 2 and 3 where Paul states that we cannot be justified by the Law; therefore, we are hopeless without Christ. Several months back, we did a study on Matthew 5. It really opened my eyes to my narrow-mindedness in which I interpret Scripture. Jesus attacks that artificial standard of "goodness" that we set for ourselves, and shows the heart issues. Pastor Tim gave us an example listing two sets of things: the external things (stealing, killing, committing adultery, etc.), and the internal things (coveting, anger, looking lustfully on someone else, etc.). Jesus was basically pointing out that we look good on the outside, but in our hearts, we are full of wickedness. When Jesus says "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect", He is basically killing all hope for doing it on our own. Paul also hits on the worthlessness of our "good works" in Phil. 3:2-9. He states in verse 3, "...have no confidence in the flesh..." He then goes on to talk about the fact that he has more reason than any of us to put confidence in the flesh, and yet he counts it loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus! Hebrews 2:2-3 leaves us with the sobering reality that God is always just. The reality is that our righteousness is nothing (Isaiah 64:6, Gal. 5:2-4). Talk about a reason to praise Him for Christ!!!

I liked this equation:
Calvary = 100% X Mercy + 100% X Justice

For me, this was a very practical message. I am praying for opportunities to share this message with people that I am in contact with. This world is so satisfied with personal righteousness as being good enough. May God open their eyes to see the truth!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Bible study

Last night we had Bible study again. It was a blessing as usual. We talked about Gideon in Judges 6-7. It is amazing to see God's sovereignty within impossible odds. Goes to show, God doesn't work based on odds. It's interesting to see when God chooses someone... it really doesn't matter what kind of person they are! God pursues the ones He calls. We need to be faithful and obedient to what He has called us to do, and He will do the rest. One thing that really caught my attention is that at the end of Gideon's life, he falls away from God. Looking at people who have experienced the blessing of God, and great victory and then falling away from God really is sobering. I realize that I don't fully trust God; otherwise, I would obey Him immediately knowing that His way is the best way... yet I try to take shortcuts that are harmful to me and others. We must continually pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness (1 Tim. 6:11). The battle is there whether we are fighting or not. Let's fight!

Friday, September 21, 2007

I Can't Believe that I'm Updating this!

I can't believe I am actually updating this blog. I have absolutely no desire to blog, but several people have challenged me to do so.... and looking back on my old blog posts is quite fun I must admit (even if I did them only because I had to).

I had no calculus class this morning... which I won't complain about. Calculus and physics tests this week made it long enough. :) I went out to eat with my pastor this afternoon. He is such a blessing! God used some unique circumstances to bring us into this new small church that meets at a school. I have been challenged a great deal through the preaching and teaching of Pastor Tim. When I first came to the church, my first thought was.... wow, this is what I've been looking for all my life in a church, but I really don't see opportunities to serve musically (which is what I've always enjoyed doing). Little did I know what God had in store... I am blessed with the opportunity to play guitar almost each Sunday!

Since my last post, I transferred to La Sierra University due to Calbaptist dropping their computer science degree. I really miss the Male Chorale at CBU, but I am confident that I am exactly where God wants me. This semester I am at the community college due to financial aid running out soon. I am quite excited about the opportunities that God has placed before me. Many people in need of the forgiveness found only in Christ... and I have the opportunity all semester long to be with them and hopefully share Christ with them with my words as well as my actions.

Tonight, we have Bible study at CBU. I can't tell you how much of a blessing that Bible study is! A family from our church (the Babb's) started this Bible study last year. It is exciting to see commonly minded college aged people pursing Christ, and taking action! It is another opportunity to lead worship, and I absolutely love doing that (especially when all the people can sing too). :) Well, this is probably going to be the longest blog post I will ever write, but you know... a lot of time has passed between now and the previous post.

Time for calculus homework. :)