Thursday, November 29, 2007

A profitable day

My sign language class was canceled this morning. My teacher wasn't feeling too well on Tuesday, so I am guessing that she was sick today. It worked out well for me because I was trying to find time to watch a movie for that class so that I could write my paper. I had to watch Mr. Holland's Opus. I wouldn't recommend it. It had some good things, but I did have to do some fast-forwarding. Anyway, it was good to get that over with. I am really looking forward to Christmas break. I read 2 Corinthians 13 today. In verse 11, Paul is throwing in some last minute instructions. I like how it is so full of content.
Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

I am reminded of the following verses:

"brethren, rejoice"
Philippians 4:4 -Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

"be made complete"
Philippians 1:6 - For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

"be comforted"
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 - Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.

"be like-minded"
Philippians 2:2 - Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

"live in peace"
Romans 12:18 - If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

God's strength in my weakness

Basketball was a lot of fun this morning. We are not able to play at the church that we normally play at because they set up some kind of stage for a Christmas musical in the gym, so one of the guys offered to let us use the gym that he owns. It was pretty nice being able to shower up and get ready for school right there as soon as I finished playing. There were a few guys from the gym that played with us. Usually it's the same 10 guys each week, so it was nice to mix things up a bit. I had to get my car worked on today. It had been making weird noises, so we asked around and found a guy that is a christian. It was awesome! We asked him to take a look. He knew exactly what it was, he took off the belt and showed us exactly what the problem was, and gave us a very reasonable price. I can't tell you how much of a blessing that was after a couple bad experiences of being ripped off majorly. God is good! I went down to Cal baptist today to take Christina to choral union. There was a UCO concert going on for potential students, and I really wanted to go in and listen, but they wouldn't let me. Oh well. Choral union was in a smaller room, so there wasn't really any seating, so I called up a guy from Bible study (Joe) to see if he wanted to hang out for a bit. He has been such a great refreshment to me. His parents are unsaved, but God is working in amazing ways through Joe in his father's life, and has already changed his sister. It really is amazing to see God's work! My hanging out time with him was great; however, it was kind of a wake-up call for me. Let me explain. During the time we talked, there were a couple guys that joined us. These guys look like normal good Christian young men, but I was really sickened by what their mouth's revealed about their hearts. I won't go into any kind of detail, but when people are totally unashamed of their sin, that is really sickening to me! I have seen what it means to be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. I also see that it is not impossible for me to be exactly where they are. It is only by God's grace that He continues to draw me to Himself. I am still very concerned. If the average Christian college guy is like these guys (which is probably true), then I definitely don't want my sister to marry an average Christian guy. I would go as far to say that I do not recommend any average Christian college guy to any girl! Yes, I did say that. I would challenge Christian young men to step it up in a huge way. Be an example in what you say, in your Christ-like love for others (not self-centered love), in your time spent in the Word, in standing up for your faith, in your purity. I would challenge young ladies to live in complete purity so that the "average Christian guys" in your life are forced to raise their standards. Ladies, please do not encourage any inappropriateness from any guy. This will not help you, and this will not help them. As college guys, we need encouragement to pursue Christ! I read in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 today where Paul talks about God's strength in his weakness.
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

So often, I am not obedient to what God has called me to do because I don't feel comfortable doing it. I am convinced that this is exactly how God meant it to be! If I was completely comfortable with it, I would be more likely to take credit for it; if it is something that I must depend on God for strength, I am more likely to give Him all the glory. I must take full responsibility for my weaknesses, and depend on Christ to work through me even in those weaknesses.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

For God and God Alone

Today was a rather long day. I woke up early to study and make my study sheet, then I went to sign language, then studied for a few more hours, then went into my physics test. I didn't do as well as I was hoping to do. I don't know exactly how I did, but I didn't feel like I did well. I went straight from there to Awana. It is neat being a part of helping kids memorize God's Word. I find it a little bit frustrating at times when the kids try to memorize it just enough to pass the section... but they couldn't say it 5 minutes later. I have to slow them down, and explain what the verse is saying. The good news is that God's Word doesn't return void! After Awana, I went to someones house from church to help them with some computer things. I love computer jobs like that. :) As I was sitting here thinking about what I learned today, I really couldn't think of anything. I read 2 Corinthians 11, and I'll admit, I really didn't find anything that caught my attention. There was a song that I was singing throughout the entire day, so I thought I'd mention that. It is called "For God and God Alone."

God and God alone
Created all these things we call our own
From the mighty to the small
The glory in them all
Is God's and God's alone

God and God alone
Reveals the truth of all we call unknown
All the best and worst of man
Can't change the master plan
It's God's and God's alone

God and God alone
Is fit to take the universe's throne
Let everything that lives
Reserve its truest praise
For God and God alone

God and God alone
Will be the joy of our eternal home
He will be our one desire
Our hearts will never tire
Of God and God alone

I love that line, "Let everything that lives, reserve it's truest praise, for God, and God alone!" As I was driving to and from Awana, I was thinking about what it really means to reserve my truest praise for God. Words that come to mind are real, genuine, and authentic praise. This means more than simply singing a song, or reading a verse about praising God. This means praising Him with all that I am. This means that my actions much praise Him (ouch). My actions are often so self-centered. The first verse of this song really catches my attention. God created all these things that I call my own. I need to have God as my center. He alone is worthy of my praise.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Approval that matters

I am in need of sleep. I have been studying for my physics exam which was moved to tomorrow. I am having difficulty understanding a few concepts, but I am hoping that working out more problems tomorrow will fix that. As I read 2 Corinthians 10 today, the last two verses caught my attention.
But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.

We all want the approval of others. I think of how I want a good grade on this physics exam... not just because I want an A in the class, but it wins the approval of others. Truth be told, I could get 100% on this exam tomorrow and not have God's approval. We must keep our focus on desiring God's approval. The approval of others does nothing except for make us proud (God is opposed to the proud). Let's work for His glory!

Sunday, November 25, 2007


I actually woke up at 9 am this morning. Usually I am at church by about 9 to help set up. Needless to say, it was a rushed morning. I got to church at about 9:13, still wiping the sleep out of my eyes and all. I really enjoy playing guitar at church. I am so thankful that God opened that opportunity to me! This is totally not related to why I picked the subject of this blog entry, but it was quite humorous. The ushers forgot to come forward for the offertory, so we played through the song, and then we were going to sing it after the offertory. Adam (our worship leader) says, "now we will have our second offering, because the plates were passed so fast that all of you missed them." It was hilarious! We went to a baptism service after church. It was at the church that I was baptized at 10 years ago. It brought back good memories. We actually sang the same song today that was done when we were baptized ("He is Lord"). I have been studying physics all afternoon. I have an exam on Tuesday which I must do well on. This evening, I read 2 Corinthians 9. God has given me a totally different outlook on working over the course of the last year. I actually miss working more because I am not able to support the church financially. One thing about being in a small church like ours, you really feel like your money is making a difference. You see the tightness of the budget, and that small amount of money really does help the body of Christ! God blesses us for our giving. Take a look at 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.
Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;

Saturday, November 24, 2007

God's Riches!

I did one of those manly things this morning--plant flowers. Actually, it was quite enjoyable after a while. The weather was awesome today. We had a nice breeze, warm sunshine, clear skies. It doesn't get much better than that. My older sister (Deborah) and her husband came over this morning to celebrate Thanksgiving/birthdays. It was an awesome day. We had Domino's Pizza for lunch (Jonathan's favorite food). After lunch, we went out to the park to play ultimate frisbee, and throw the football around a bit. It was a lot of fun. Deborah is due in February, so she doesn't do a lot of running right now... but I think she enjoyed being out there and moving around. When we got back, they showed us pictures of their new apartment. It looks very nice (other than all the boxes of course), then we watched the DVD that I put together from our family cruise in 2004. It was weird to see how much we had changed since 3 years ago! We had another wonderful turkey dinner which mom prepared, and Christina did a great job on the pumpkin pie. They had to head back tonight, but it was great seeing them. I don't get to see them very often any more.

I really like the simplicity with which Paul describes what Christ has done for us in 2 Corinthians 8:9.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet
for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

We were infinitely poor because of our sin, and Christ was infinitely rich because of His perfection, and yet He chose to take our poorness upon Himself so that we could receive His riches (eternal life). Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift (2 Cor. 9:15)!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Godly Sorrow

This afternoon, we went to my grandparents house. Dad had good conversations with both his dad and his younger sister regarding the gospel. It is hard to not be pushy with the gospel, and yet present it clearly. I would say this was more on the pushy end, but I think it was definitely good. We do not know how long we will live. Sharing the gospel is an urgent thing. I am thankful for his example of boldness. My aunt seems like she has a lot of beliefs mixed together. I don't think she really knows what she believes. I am praying that God will unveil her eyes to the truth of the gospel, and close her eyes to the false doctrines that she has heard. They wanted to hear the songs that we did at the memorial service, so I played/sang those for them. While giving me a compliment, my aunt said something like, "If you made that song secular, you could make a lot of money." I think she saw my weird expression and so she said, "I mean, your lyrics were awesome too." I didn't really respond because timing wasn't good, but I was dying to tell her that I don't play songs because I want to get money; I play songs because they worship God. Anyway, I think it went pretty well.

I was reading in 2 Corinthians 7 today and the concept of godly sorrow caught my attention.
8 For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it--for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while--
9 I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us.
10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.
11 For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.

I pray that God would penetrate my heart with His Word like He did with the Corinthians. I don't ever want to become hardened by the deceitfulness of sin like Hebrews says. I want to have this godly sorrow so that I would hate the things that are wrong, and love righteousness with passion.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Day

We have a very good Thanksgiving! It was quite restful. I didn't think that we were going to have turkey today because my older sister and her husband are coming over on Saturday, so we were saving the turkey for them. Mom surprised us this morning and bought another turkey for today. She is a gem! Dad lead us in a wonderful devotion this morning, then we spent time thanking God for the many blessings that He has poured on us. We played quite a few games as a family (including football). It was a good time together! Tomorrow is my older sister's birthday and the day that the 3 of us older kids were baptized exactly 10 years ago.

I updated the Verse Memorization Tool. Now you can go back to the verse after you have converted it. Thanks to Chris Dortignac for that idea. He also suggested that I make a printable version for 3 X 5 cards. I will see what I can do to get that up and running in the near future.

I was really surprised in 2 Corinthians 6 today. If you have been in the church for very long, you have heard that Christians are not to be married with non-Christians. I would go as far to say that Christians shouldn't date non-Christians because the purpose of dating is to lead into marriage. Missionary dating isn't the way to go! If you want to present the gospel to them, hold to the commitment of not being in a relationship with a non-Christian, and present the gospel. Almost anyone will "say the prayer" to get what they want. This does not mean that it is from the heart. I would challenge anyone in this situation to step back, and watch for the fruit which comes with a relationship with Christ. Other passages talk about being unequally yoked. I think this is talking about more than just Christian and non-Christian. I think it is important to be of the same mind, having nearly the same maturity in Christ. All of this was to say that I was surprised by the context in 2 Corinthians 6. I am not going to post it here because it is basically the whole chapter (, but I will describe the situation. Paul is urging the Corinthians to believe in Christ, "Now is the day of salvation." In other words, if you have been debating in your mind if you should trust in Christ or not, stop it! You do not know if you will live another day on this earth. Now is when you need to give your life to Christ! Paul goes on to explain that he has suffered much hardship in the process of presenting the gospel without offense. Paul expresses that he has opened his heart toward them, and yet the are not responding because of their selfish desires. He urges them to open their heart to hear what he is trying to communicate to them. Immediately after saying this, he states that Christians are not to be with non-Christians. God's Word is always true! Sin hurts God, hurts us, and hurts others. Do not think that this is your life and you can do what you want, because you will give an account for every action. I challenge you to live a life of Biblical purity! Don't wait until God needs to break your heart in order to draw you back to Himself.

A Purpose

Basketball was a lot of fun this morning. Fifteen guys showed up, so we had three teams instead of just two. The team I was on won 3 games and lost 1. Dad's team won 1 and lost 2, and pastor Tim's team won 1 and lost two. I had calculus class right after basketball. I am really enjoying what we are studying in that class! Dad and I went out to the field for a bit and played some baseball. For some reason, I feel a big lack of power behind my swing. I'm trying to figure out what I'm doing differently. I'm not terribly worried though. Pastor Tim took me out to lunch today. We talked for a while about sabbath, and what it means today. I am kind of struggling as I try to formulate my opinion of what God wants me to do when baseball comes. I could go to a different church which has an early service, but that is leaning toward the idea that church is just about going. This is not the only purpose of church. Another alternative would be to go to just Sunday School. This would allow me to still have good interaction with others, and help set up in the morning. The last option would be to not let baseball change anything. I am leaning toward this option. Missing a lot of games will not put me in good standings with the guys, so in that sense, it could be a bad thing. Also, if I end of playing a key position, which I will work my hardest to attain, it will be hard on the team for me to miss games. I just want to do what honors the Lord. If you would pray for the Lord's leading in this area, that would be great! I was reading 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, and I would say it is one of the clearest short descriptions of the gospel, and describes our purpose in life. My prayer is that we would live in the reality of this truth!
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Light of the Gospel

I slept for a really long time last night. It was good to catch up on some sleep. This morning, dad and I went out and played some baseball. It definitely wasn't one of my better days hitting wise, but that's how it goes sometimes. I am looking forward to basketball tomorrow morning (dad is coming tomorrow too). 2 Corinthians 4:3-10 was a great reminder to me of our position in Christ.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

It is God that opened our eyes to the gospel. What an awful thing it is to be blinded from the gospel. We must speak with boldness when God gives us opportunities to share the light of His Word. I was thinking of a math illustration as I thought about the importance of this.

(Personal Comfort)/(Eternity) = 80/ = 0

We put a lot of value in personal comfort (we'll say 80% of what we do is centered around personal comfort), but when you compare that with (eternity), it comes out to absolutely no value. How often do we pass up opportunities that God gives us because it feels uncomfortable? Let us put ourselves out of the way, and let the light of the gospel shine through us!

Monday, November 19, 2007

It was a Monday

Today was definitely a long day since I didn't sleep last night... 41 hours with a 1.5 hr nap doesn't quite cut it. :) Having said this, God completely supplied the energy I needed to be prepared for my exam. I felt prepared, but I still got stuck on the last problem (ugg). Oh well... partial credit is a good invention. There were also a couple problems on the test that he specifically said that they would not be on the test, so I didn't study those problems. I think I did okay though. Regardless, God was more than gracious with the little amount of time that I was able to put into studying. 2 Corinthians 3:12-13 was encouraged my heart today.
Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.

I found it interesting that Moses covered his face. I am not exactly sure why he did this. From what I gather, it was because Christ was to be the fulfillment of the law, and so in covering his face, he was keeping that glory for when Christ came. I recall another time when Moses came off Mt. Sinai and his face was so bright that the people couldn't look at him. I wonder if that was related to what Paul is talking about here or if that was a totally separate thing. Whatever the case may be, Christ fulfilled the law which opened the door to reveal His glory with great boldness. Let us speak without shame of the great God who has given all of Himself so that we may live!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Memorial service and thankfulness

Thank you all for your continual prayer support. The memorial service went well. I managed to get through both songs just fine... God is good. Mom wanted me to sing the song that I wrote, and "Knowing You." Pastor Tim did an excellent job of not watering down the message of the gospel, but presented it with a gracious spirit. God was definitely working through him. There were a lot of people from church that came, and many that were unable to come were supporting us in prayer. I am so thankful for our church family! Generally, I'm not a big fan of showing up at people's memorial services if I don't even know who they are. It really means a lot when so many people go out of their way to do just that. What an amazing example of bearing one another's burdens. The whole day is kind of a blur right now. We had a wonderful time sharing what we are thankful for in church this morning. I have so many things to be thankful for. I have a wonderful family, a dad that diligently seeks God, and mom that is a woman of prayer, a sister that loves the Lord, a brother that is growing into a godly young man. We have such an amazing church family as mentioned above. God has blessed me with the opportunity to play guitar at church. Pastor Tim is an amazing: teacher of the Word. More than that, he is a great example of a godly leader. He is a great mentor and friend. I would not be who I am today if it were not for what he has allowed God to do through him. I have been blessed by the Bible study on Friday nights. There is nothing like fellowship with like-minded believers who truly care about you. I am so thankful for Mr. & Mrs. Babb for leading that Bible study. I am thankful for the opportunity I have to lead worship at the Bible study. Leading worship one of my passions. I am thankful for God putting me where I am... at a school that is in great need of people to take a stand for truth. I don't want to be in a place where I can't make a difference. I am thankful for my summer job. It has given me great experience in programming, and has helped me pay for school. I can't praise God enough for the financial help. By God's grace, I have not had to take out any loans for school! That is an amazing blessing! I am thankful for a God that pursues me when I start to wander. I am thankful for a God that continually changes my heart through His Word. I could go all night, but I am exhausted from the events of today. I actually got home at 1:30 am this morning... I had to get the bulletins printed off for the memorial service. It has been a long, but good day. I must study more for calculus. I am not ready for my exam tomorrow (yet). God always provides strength when we need it, and I am definitely in need of it tonight.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

God knows exactly what I need to hear

Jonathan had two playoff soccer games today. The first game, they played the best team in his division, and they lost pretty badly. Jonathan played a pretty good game though. The second game, they played a team that beat them twice before, but not by a lot. They ended up losing 3-2, so they are out of the playoffs with a 3rd place. Jonathan's coach called him the most improved player on the team. Honestly, he really stepped it up this year. He showed so much more desire to play well. It was really neat to watch him this year!

With the memorial service being tomorrow, I don't think I could have read a more appropriate passage today. I love when God shows me exactly what I need to hear. He is awesome! This is 2 Corinthians 1:3-7.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.

God has brought such an overwhelming peace to me in these last few days. Thursday was a big break through for my heart. God needed to rip some things out of my hands. It isn't pleasant when He does that, but I am so thankful that He does. It is amazing how often I grasp onto things that I have absolutely no control over. Many times, I don't even realize that I am holding onto it until He tugs on it, and it hurts. God is so merciful, so full of comfort, so patient, so loving. I am excited to see what He is doing in my life, and the lives of others. He is anything but boring!

Time for another weekend

I skipped basketball on Wednesday, so it was good to play today. We did the usual... won one, lost one. We had our review for our last Calculus exam before the final (which happens on Monday). Our teacher actually held us nearly 45 minutes after class was officially over to finish up the review. As much as I don't enjoy staying so long after class, it was a very profitable 45 minutes. Actually, prayers would be greatly appreciated for this because I will not have much study time this weekend with the memorial service. I decided to do the song "Knowing You." It is hard for me to sing a song like that when I don't think he knew Christ as His savior, but I know that the Lord will provide the strength to get through it. He is always good! Bible study was a blessing as usual. I messed up quite a bit in leading worship, but I know God is honored by our messed up praises too. :) Bible study was on the shorter end tonight due to the fact that several people had to go to a concert for the music program. I think everyone was pretty exhausted tonight. Thanksgiving break will be nice!

Just a quick note on something I was thinking about during Bible study. Mr. Babb talked about counting the cost of following Christ. The question is often asked, "would you be willing to die for Christ?" I would say, yes! I am ready to be with Him right now if it is His will. The not so pleasant questions comes when you ask why I do not always live for Christ. If I would be willing to die for Christ, why wouldn't I live for Christ. I would argue that it is much easier to die for Christ than it is to live for Christ. There are so many small things that get in the way of living completely for Christ. Paul urges us to not entangle ourselves with the things of this life, but to run the race that God has set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2). Let us be faithful followers of Christ!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

When we see Him!

Today was probably the best day I've had in a long time. I felt pretty well studied up for my sign language test, and I think it went well. On test days, I often push my time in the Word back until after the exam, but I need to stop doing that. I had a good time in the Word this morning. I guess it is all the more motivation to study harder so that I am not cramming early in the morning. I did not get much studying for my physics quiz in, but God was gracious and I aced my physics quiz despite my lack of preparation. Not only that, but my teacher graded my labs and I got 100% on all of those. This was a concern to me because we had not received any grades back, and he has a specific format that he wants all of our lab reports in. God is good! 1 Corinthians 15:10 is so true! It is only by God's grace that I am what I am.

At the end of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul talks about when we are resurrected. Stuff like this really encourages me to keep pressing on in what He calls me to do. We need to keep depending on Christ, because He is the One that brings the victory! Look at the words of the last verse... be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Let us be soft-hearted, strong willed christians, because He is our foundation!
But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "death is swallowed up in victory. O, death, where is your victory? O, death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Light of God's Word

This morning, I wasn't feeling completely well, so I decided that sleep was probably better than playing basketball. I am thankful for a mom that wakes me up for class after I've turned off my alarm. It was one of those mornings where you want just five more minutes of sleep, which results in you falling completely asleep. I really do appreciate her for looking after me like she does. :) This afternoon, I took Christina to Cal baptist for Choral Union. It is rather relaxing to study while listening to over 200 voices singing God's praise. It's awesome! After I got tired of studying for my sign language test, I went to the practice rooms and enjoyed a time of meditating on God's Word, and singing to Him. You may find this strange, but I really enjoy silence. It seems like it is in those times that God speaks the most (or more likely He is speaking all along, and I am not hearing Him because of the distractions around me). I was thinking about the whole memorial service, and what to say or do. God brought these verses to mind.
1 Corinthians 14:24-25
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.

When we shine God's light on the people that are living in darkness, God uses that to convict them so that they WILL fall on their faces and worship God. How amazing is that? I look forward to this weekend. I know that Pastor Tim will do an excellent job of proclaiming God's truth. I am praying that God would do exactly what this passage says in the hearts of many unsaved relatives. They need Christ! I still don't know exactly what I will do or say. Mom thinks I should play/sing a song, but I have yet to come up with a song that seems appropriate. Regardless, pray that God would fill us with His boldness. I was reminded again that there is never too high a price to pay for someone's soul. If you have any ideas for me, let me know.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Love Chapter

I had a couple unpleasant surprises today at school. The first one was the announcement of our sign language exam on Thursday, the second was the surprised quiz in Physics. I think I did okay on the Physics quiz. I had the right idea anyway, but I still wouldn't call it fun. I forgot to say yesterday that God has provided a wonderful little chapel for the memorial service on Sunday afternoon at 2 pm. Calvary Chapel Bible College has been extremely gracious to us by allowing us to use their facility for free! I still haven't decided exactly what I'll be doing at the service, so if you could pray for God to direct me, that would be great!

I read 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter) today. One thing that I hadn't noticed before was the context. Chapter 12 talks all about spiritual gifts, and the importance of using them for the building up of the body of Christ, then chapter 13 talks about the worthlessness of all of these things without love. I often fall into the habit of just reading a familiar passage without really looking at what it really is saying. Today, I was thinking about how amazing it would be to know everything, or have amazing faith. Could you imagine walking on water, or moving a mountain? How about knowing everything that will happen before it happens? That would be pretty incredible, but verse 2 says that we can have all of these things and be worth absolutely nothing if we are missing the key ingredient--LOVE. I need a godly love for the people around me. Loving people like Christ loved them is not an easy thing. Pastor Tim said something on Sunday that really hit me hard. He said something like, "If you only had an effect on one person during your whole life, would it be worth it?" The answer of course is yes, but do we live like this? The eternal destination of someone is such an important thing, and yet I put my comfort before my love for them. Oh, how I wish that I would get past myself and love others like Christ does.

Spiritual Gifts

This morning, I was able to play basketball without having to be done by 7 am. Yay for no class today! Two hours of basketball is a ton of fun, but a bit tiring too. Unlike the last couple times, I was actually making baskets. Warm-up really does help. I did a lot of random running around during the day. My mom gave me money and told me to go grocery shopping. That was something I hadn't done in a while. Lacey (our dog) needed a hair cut, so I took her for that and got some flowers for the garden. This evening, I spent some time with one of my good friends who is moving to Texas as soon as their house is sold. Friends are definitely a blessing from the Lord!

This morning, I read about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12. When I think about it, there are very few people that are trying to fill in for holes in the body of Christ. I have felt at times that I didn't have any opportunities to serve, but as Pastor Tim pointed out, when we get involved in the lives of others (personal ministry), all of a sudden we realize that we don't have nearly enough time to accomplish all the work that there is. Paul talks about how we are each a critical part of the body of Christ. We must do our part! If part of the body is not working properly, the whole body suffers, so we need to not only do our part, but encourage others as they do their part. Each of us (assuming that you are a christian), has been given one or more spiritual gifts for the purpose of serving others within the body of Christ (the church). I would challenge you to figure out what those God given gifts are, and start using them in every way that you can. It is a great joy to serve the Lord with the gifts and abilities that He has given me. I'm not saying that I always serve the Lord, or that I have some great spiritual gift or talent above what anyone else has, but God does tend to bless those that are obedient to Him. Part of this obedience is making use of what He has given to you. My prayer is that you would find joy in serving the Lord.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

True Love for God

The messages this morning was about true love for God. We studied 1 John 2:3-6.

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.
Having the "fuzzy-feelings" for God is not always love for God. When those feelings lead to obedience, that is true love for God. Pastor Tim gave us a great definition of love: "Selfish acts on someone else's behalf." In other words, wanting and acting on the absolute best of someone else for their benefit. In order to love God, we must pay careful attention to His Word, and be obedient to it. The word abide in this case literally means "to stay there." Just sitting and doing nothing is NOT abiding in Him! Sin can easily lure us away from God when we become stagnate in our relationship with Christ. Relationships require work, and a lot of it. A relationship with Christ requires work too! This work is pursuing Christ-likeness. There is no such thing as a healthy relationship with God without the pursuit of Christ-likeness. Let us press on to walk worthy of the calling with which we are called (Ephesians 4:1).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Long day

The four of us that were at home went to Cal baptist this morning and played ultimate frisbee. My team got pretty much slaughtered at the end. It was fun all the same. After that, we got some lunch and threw the baseball around a bit, and went to a play that was going on at Cal baptist. To be completely honest, I really didn't care for it. I found several things on the offensive end. I hate to say that when so many people I know have put so much work into this thing. The use of magic to manipulate people is really not appealing to me. Especially since we have been talking about this kind of thing in Bible study. We are not to take part in these things. I realize that it was just a play, but we aren't to have the appearance of evil. I think we need to be especially careful when we entertain ourselves with things that play around inappropriately in the spiritual realm. These thoughts are not healthy. The two things that come to mind off the top of my head are World of Warcraft, and Harry Potter. Both of these are generally accepted amongst Christians, but I would challenge you to consider what kind of things you entertain yourself with. Do these things really not have an effect on our minds? We are to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Are we doing this in our everyday lives? Just some things to think about.


I would have to say that Bible study definitely serves as good fellowship. It is an amazing blessing to be with like-minded people that are about the same age, studying God's word, praying, and singing together. It is such a refreshment after a not completely pleasant week (to put it mildly). We sang some Christmas songs tonight. I know, I know, it's not even Thanksgiving, but there are some incredible messages in Christmas songs. I tend to not like Christmas songs because a lot of them tend to be quite empty, but there are a lot of good ones too. I would encourage you to really think about what the Christmas songs are saying when you listen to and/or sing them in the coming month. It is easy to get in a pattern of just singing songs because that's what you do near Christmas time, but take the time to really think about what message is being communicated through the song.

In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul lists out some ways in which God punished Israel for their disobedience. It is easy to look at the nation of Israel and think that we would never do such a thing, but look at Paul's warning to us.
6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.
11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.
We must recognize that we are never so far up that we cannot fall. If you look at Biblical characters and commitment to Christ, I would say Paul is among the top. Look at all the things he suffered for the sake of Christ. It is incredible! If Paul is recognizing that he isn't beyond falling, we are definetely not beyond falling in a major way. We must pursue Christ daily. At the Bible study tonight, Joel said, "There are no big decisions, there are a lot of little one's that make up a big one." I really think he is right! We are making big decisions for our future by the little decisions we make now. It is vital that we live for Christ now!

Thursday, November 08, 2007


I was encouraged a great deal by 1 Corinthians 9:23-27 today.

I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it. Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

For me, this was a sobering reminder that we can be disqualified. I'm not exactly sure what Paul means when he says disqualified, but it is definitely some kind of fall into the flesh. If Paul realizes that he can fall, who are we to think that we are strong in the faith. We must constantly fight the battle of living for Christ. May we kill every hint of sin, and press on to Christ-likeness!

I wrote a song today called "Your Grace is Sufficient."

I’m faced with death again,
Oh Lord, I’ve lost a friend,
You know it’s hard to take,
But I know You’ll help me make,
Much of You, in this hard time I’m going through,
You are always faithful, You are always kind.

So I will sing, of Your mercy,
I will sing, cause You’re faithful,
Even when my heart is broken,
Your grace is sufficient for me.
Your grace is sufficient for me.

Lord, help me to move on,
Now that he is gone,
I know I should press on,
Lord, help me carry on, to make,
Much of You, in this hard time I’m going through,
You are always faithful, You are always kind.

There are many others here,
Who are overcome by fear,
Help them see Your grace,
In the death of Christ, so they’ll make,
Much of You, in this hard time they’re going through,
You are always faithful, You are always kind.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Trials and God's grace

After I got back from my Calculus class this morning, we got a call from my grandma (mom's side). She left a message saying that she had bad news. When mom called her back, she said that grandpa had died during the night. This was totally unexpected. They don't know the cause of death yet, but my guess is it was heart related. He has had several heart surgeries in the past. Regardless, it definitely hit us pretty hard. We are pretty sure that he did not know the Lord. That was the hardest thing for me. I can't explain the emptiness that I feel. It hurts so much to realize that he rejected the gospel. I just want to ask why anyone would refuse such an amazing free gift. I really don't know what to say. How do you respond when someone passes away without trusting in Christ as their savior? It leaves little room for peace.

Having said this, I must trust that this is God's plan and that He knows what He is doing. His plan is always the best plan. We have been blessed by many people already. Mrs. Lovegrove came over right after we found out, and took care of Jonathan while mom was making phone calls--a huge help. Mrs. Babb has also been a great encouragement to me personally--I am clinging to Psalm 46:1. Almost everyone from the Bible study talked with both Christina and I today at Cal baptist. Their love and words of encouragement has overwhelmed me. I know that there are a lot of people praying for us. Prayer is powerful! I am forever grateful for your prayers.

I know the question that you want to ask--"How is everyone doing?" In short, we are doing much better than I would have expected. Mom flew up to Sacramento with her brother to be with grandma, and make arrangements for the services. We are probably going to have the services down here in Southern CA, but I really don't know yet. God was gracious in the fact that mom's last communication with him was an email that said, "I love you dearly." Christina has shed quite a few tears, but I think she is doing fairly well now. We have been keeping Jonathan busy, and he is doing pretty well so far. Dad seems to be doing well, although I'm not sure that it has fully hit him yet. As for myself, God's grace has been sufficient as He promises in 2 Corinthians 12:9. My main prayer request now is that God would be working in the hearts of those that will attend the memorial service. Death causes people to really reevaluate their life. Pray that God would draw people to Himself through this hard time. Pray that God would give me opportunities to share the gospel, and boldness to do so. As the song "People Need the Lord" puts it so well, "What could be too great a cost, for sharing Life with one who's lost?" I don't want to go through this with more relatives. There is great peace when God takes one of His own home, but when someone dies without knowing Him, death does leave a stinger. I am not afraid to die, nor am I afraid of losing someone that knows the Lord. Not that it wouldn't be painful, but there is such an overwhelming peace that comes when someone has lived a life for Him. I want to have this peace for each of my relatives. As of now, I hardly have it for any of them. Please pray for them!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A new bat!

I ordered a baseball bat yesterday afternoon with the free shipping option, and it came this morning! I was quite pleasantly surprised! I am really looking forward to playing baseball again. I went out a couple times this last weekend to practice a bit. I have decided that it definitely helps when mom is watching. I hit 5 home runs out of the 20 pitches that mom watched. Before you are too amazed, realize that this was dad pitching to me, and the field is 20-30 feet smaller than a normal college field. I am more of a base hit person, not a home run hitter.

One of my friends and I had an interesting conversation last night. We were talking about Psalm 27:4-5.
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.

The phrase "to meditate in His temple" caught my attention. I have been thinking about prayer and how it is not supposed to be one-way communication. It seems that when I pray, it goes something like, "God, do this... God, do that... God, do this, thanks again." We seem to be so rushed in our prayer life. Sometimes, I just like to lay down and think about stuff, and let God speak. I think the church is lacking in this area. I realize that church time is limited, and the main purposes are Biblical teaching, and fellowship, but I think we miss out on the listening aspect. I think we hinder ourselves when we don't take the time to "be still and know that He is God." He has so much to say in His Word, and yet we are often too busy to really think about what He is trying to say to us. God, help me be a good listener!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Making the most of singleness

We learned triple integrals in calculus today. I must say that they are actually quite fun. I know that calculus is a scary word, but it's not as bad as you think it is. If you haven't tried it, you probably should... you might actually like it.

I studied 1 Corinthians 7 today. Paul makes it very clear that he thinks it is better to remain single. It allows us to focus on Christ, and not worry about a marriage relationship. I don't feel called to singleness; however, if God changes that, I know that He will provide the necessary help to follow His plan with joyfulness. Since I do not think singleness is something I will have forever, I see this passage as an urge to make the most of the time I have as a single. Now is the time for preparation, and growing in Christ-likeness. I must take advantage of the time that God has given me alone with Him. When I get married someday (Lord willing), I will have the responsibility of being the spiritual leader in my home. This means that my service for God in the church is secondary to my service for God in leading my family in His ways. I will take this responsibility with great joy when it comes, but it will change some of my freedom to serve the Lord elsewhere. Since I am not split between leading a family, and serving Him elsewhere, I must press on to do what He calls me to do without delay.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

A much needed message

I am really amazed at how God uses others to communicate to me exactly what I need to hear. The message today was a perfect follow-up on what I learned in Bible study. It was on 1 John 2:1-2.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin, and if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

Note that it doesn't say so that you can do better, it says so that you man not sin. Our job is to aggressively pursue holiness. We must not ignore any kind of sin in our lives. The problem is that we have two truths that are very hard to put together. The aggressive pursuit of holiness, and the fact that we will sin anyway. In order to live with both of these truths, we must learn to rest upon the forgiveness of Christ, while not allowing even the smallest sin to be ignored. His mercy does NOT change His justice. I am again in awe of His amazing grace. He is our advocate (defense attorney), and yet He also died for us. We are completely guilty and without hope, and He died so that He could trade His righteousness for our punishment.

I have definitely been guilty of tolerating sin and setting artificial standards for myself. "Everyone does it" is not a good excuse. All throughout the New Testament, Jesus says, "Go and sin no more." Just because it is not possible to live completely without sin doesn't mean that we have an excuse for not aggressively pursing holiness. I have found such incredible joy in this transformation of my heart. I commit myself once again to pursuing God's standards of righteousness.

Grand Prix

This is going to be extremely short since it is so late at night. We had Awana Grand Prix today. All five of us designed cars. God was really gracious, we ended up taking 3 trophies home. Mom received 3rd place design, Christina won 2nd place speed, and I took 3rd in speed. Always losing to my sister (hehe). Actually, my car was a bit on the random side when it comes to performance. I designed it so that my weight would slide down a wire as the car went down the trace. The only problem is that my block of wood was a little bit off, so I only had 3 wheels touching the track. When the weight shifted, it would change which wheels were touching, which caused it to wobble a whole lot. It varied from race to race though. Anyway, I need to hit the sack. More to share tomorrow.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


We have been talking a lot about foundational issues in Bible study. I was very convicted tonight about my ignorance of some very direct commands in scripture. Just because they aren't easy things to do, and I will never completely master them doesn't mean that I can ignore them entirely. For example, careless words that come out of my mouth. The other night, we were studying how we know that we have lost our first love. Some of these issues really cut to my heart. I found myself saying, "well, no one is fully obedient to all these things." Justification in my mind is not the solution. I must stop ignoring these small but totally clear things in scripture, and live for Him in the small areas of my life as well as the big. I need God's big hands to soften my hardened heart to the things that I have overlooked or just plain out ignored. I am so thankful that He doesn't give up on me when I fail Him. Great is His faithfulness!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Letting go of results

I'd have to say the one verse that dad has continually pounded into my head is Proverbs 16:1 which says that the plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer comes from the Lord. I am pretty sure that I did quite badly on this exam, but the results are God's. Honestly, I am very glad to be done. I am not stressed at all about it now (my teacher drops a test). I am very thankful for dad's continual reminders that the results are God's. God is good!

1 Corinthians 4:4-5 was a good reminder to me that I need to be very careful when making any kind of judgment.
For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will come to him from God.

God sees the heart, I do not. It also reminds me that I need to focus my full attention on doing things to please God. I think it is safe to say that we all like being complimented. Compliments are a good way of encouraging others in Christ; however, we can become people-pleasers if we are not careful with our response to these compliments. We must use these responses as an opportunity to point people to God. He is the one that gives us life and breath.