jeudi 17 août 2017

People Can Change

I think it’s imperative that in order to believe in a better tomorrow, you must believe that people can change (the growing challenge now in hoping the future is better). Just thinking about my own journey, I used to:
  • be racist making fun of other races -- now, though not perfectly, I give utmost respect to every culture especially those disenfranchised;
  • protest affirmative action – now I support it;
  • think conservatives were idiots – now I feel genuine conservatives offer valuable input to society (while self-identified liberals hold conservative beliefs without knowing);
  • be into politics in order to look down on others – then I was apathetic – and now I’m into it for the pursuit of equity;
  • be a skeptical atheist – now I’m an enthusiastic Protestant;
  • resent learning Chinese – now I’m committed to getting it;
  • think myself the victim – now I’m aware more and more of pain I’ve caused people in the past.
I’m sure people will not like all these changes, but the fact is I’m different from my past self. Satan loves nothing better than for us to give into labeling and caricaturizing each other, where in reality we’re all complex, ever-morphing onions.

Someone once said beliefs can be changed provided 1) someone is intellectually convinced, 2) emotionally stirred, and 3) given the social space to practice and live out those beliefs. May we strive to minister good holistically.

lundi 17 juillet 2017

Embarrassing Nostalgia

As my parents are cleaning up their house in preparing to move to their dream home (just down the street lol), my sister forwards me this little piece of history.

I really resented this backpack. The “Victory U.S.A.” clearly shows this wasn’t made in the USA. I simply didn’t have the social tools during my childhood to deflect the insecurity.

Maybe it’s a loss that my kid will not go through this degree of socio-cultural tension, that maybe he’ll lose the opportunity to empathize with the awkward/misfit. Or it’s too early to say.

lundi 22 mai 2017

Institutional Forgiveness

I wonder how people wronged by systemic injustice learn to forgive those oppressors, if they do. Like what should they do: seek resolution with the leader(s) of those guilty associations? Are the members of the group also held culpable? Make the reconciliation private, or announce publicly for the benefit of a group of victims?

Though terrible in scope and degree of destruction, institutional wrongdoing is biblically accounted for: the fall of humanity logically necessitates the fall of institutions. This simple fact is important but not always fully recognized.

So what of forgiving these institutions? Granted, different situations will require different approaches. Putting my counseling hat on, an ideal way would be personal and face-to-face, all parties acknowledging the fault committed and the appropriate restitution. This way, the victim(s)’s hearts aren’t prolongingly hardened against the one-dimensional oppressor in their mind. Indeed, the temptation to objectify institutions into cold caricatures explains why activism, with all its merits and drawbacks, can be so impassioned.

But wrongs need to be made public and acknowledged, right? Companies or countries need to be genuinely grieved by their actions! I don’t think this point can be overstated. Special committees and tribunals an apology does not make. Germany enjoys a reputation for being a leading, liberal democracy with most of its citizens deeply remorseful of WWII. In contrast, public opinions from Japanese citizens and their leaders don’t seem to display this remorse, and so would-be partners in the region will always hold this grudge.

What about suffering that is so complex and multifaceted? Who apologizes for the 2008 financial crisis? Partial apologies have been submitted by lenders, Fannie, Freddie, Congress, and Greenspan, but the blame really gets distributed widely, and so does the lingering suffering. And when the restitution consists of propping up powerful multinational companies instead of consumer-friendly mortgage relief policies (not that that was completely wrong but the optics weren’t good), one easily sees why trust and confidence in our institutions are at a record-low.

Going back to my original questions of how to reconcile/vindicate (the mechanics)…that’s intimidating in itself. There’s the actual harm inflicted, but then seeking justice creates another burden. Oppressed people don’t have the capital or leverage to fight their case effectively; they can’t afford to split time being an activist/self-lawyer and supporting themselves. My head hurts, but there appears to be no shortage of need for prayer.

EDIT: I just remembered my main impetus for writing this came from trying to understand why any black person would want to be in my denomination given the extremely racist origins (background information). That goes for a lot of things..public housing, police and criminal justice, education, media and entertainment, the list goes on and on… and I wonder just how they go on living normal lives when everything is perpetual PTSD. The courage of black people astounds me.

lundi 20 mars 2017

Backhand comments from work

“So when do you actually plan on remediating this?”

“We’re having trouble scoping this because we need to find an area where there are no known problems.”

“Are you guys planning on walking at this pace for the remainder of the trip? I’m asking because I may need to go faster.”

mardi 7 mars 2017

for the nostalgia

*writing while listening to La La Land, the ostensible nostalgia movie*
Strictly my own opinions --

Childhood bands that have gotten bad

  • Relient K: infectious riffs turned vanilla riffs
  • Linkin Park: stopped incorporating hip-hop sampling, so the energy and edginess is lost. Now very poopy
  • Anberlin: got too new-age-y
  • Flyleaf: I was borderline on this, but losing the lead singer will do it
  • ONE OK ROCK: western-style sound engineering forced the drummer to overcompensate with more high hat over increased bass. Messy now, and overall sold out
  • So-so in descending order Rise Against, The Killers, Starship Cobra
Bands that stopped in time before they got bad

  • System of a Down
  • Mae
  • Daphne Loves Derby
  • The Academy Is..
  • Last Winter: it's a newer band, I know, but they put out good albums then stopped. Same with Search the City

Bands that stayed good

  • Switchfoot
  • Fall Out Boy
  • Muse
  • Mutemath
  • Maroon 5: arguably
  • Rise Against: changed my mind while writing
  • The All-American Rejects: surprisingly
  • John Mayer: doesn't count as a band, but much timeless
What do you guys think? Any bands I missed?

dimanche 22 janvier 2017


主,感谢你赐给我们儿子, 感谢你的恩典满足了他初生几日的需求。初生的这些天里,他带了欢乐,也时儿让我们焦虑和当心,不知所措。他是奇妙的礼物, 我们将尽职尽责好好带大培养他

当然, 我对他有不凡但又现实的梦想。我希望他善良,希望他爱神和他的同伴邻居,我祈盼他做大丈夫并能收留异乡人

在你的引导下,请帮助 Lucy和我,让我们庆祝所有的突破,祈祷去战胜困难。帮我们给他选个中文名子。亲属们都说一家人全部都上调了一级, 而我渴望的则是基督被最尊崇

dimanche 21 août 2016

Gospel-centered Chinese resources 以福音为中心的资源

Amazing site, particularly looking at the Biblical Counseling section on the left (bottom of the page on mobile). 请您过目.

I think a non-Chinese runs the site because the English is too good and the Chinese is suspect? Someone want to confirm who may be behind this?

mercredi 4 mai 2016

Why do we resent God?

The answer to this could take many forms depending on the person, but let’s look at Paul:

8 But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness…10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. (Romans 7:8,10)

Here we see Paul, then Saul, actually coveting obedience to God, making that an end in itself. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine him looking down on others’ lack of zeal, and conversely, start resenting God when things didn’t pan out right in light of his obedience. Apart from knowledge in Christ (Romans 10:2-3), this zeal for God will ultimately, and ironically, cause one to hate God thus leading to death.

We all have a bit of legalism in us. Whenever we fail God too often we think “need to read more Bible, pray longer, ___ more.” We don’t really believe in our removed condemnation (Romans 8:1). And when we forget that love, we will resent God when we follow the law because our obedience won’t come from freedom and pleasure but pride and fear of punishment.

From April 2016 TableTalk (J.D. Greear) and August 21, 2011 Renewal Presby. sermon (Dwight Yoo)

vendredi 29 avril 2016

On prayer

“It is possible for a Christian to be perfectly orthodox and yet to be defeated, and to be living a defeated and a useless life.”
– Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Not to want to pray, then, is the sin behind sin. And it ends in not being able to pray. That is its punishment — spiritual dumbness, or at least aphasia, and starvation. We do not take our spiritual food, and so we falter, dwindle, and die. ‘In the sweat of your brow ye shall eat your bread.’”
– P. T. Forsyth

From May 10, 2015 sermon, Renewal Presby.

mercredi 27 avril 2016

Freaks Alum vs. Students Battle (edit)

Clips from Freaks of the Beat reunion. Edited out Alex’s burns..

Full clip:

Video credit: Chi Tu

lundi 25 avril 2016

Chinese churches in America

Thankful for the past weekend of catching up with old friends. A brother recently wrote about a particular burden of his:

“In my personal experience in the DMV area, Chinese-American or Asian-American churches are either:

1) Family Churches
2) Just YA’s / Single’s / Young couples

Young Adult’s ministries are either thriving, dying, or non-existent. Praying for more churches with solid inter-generational fellowship.“

There could be, in the same way second-generation Asians are trying to navigate and define their standing in the mainstream culture, a spiritual parallel of identity-seeking that causes this disconnect within the second-generation church with respect to fellowshipping across generations.

To the praise and glory of our God, there are a couple examples where this true inter-generation fellowship and love occurs, albeit with specifically 1.5-generation and primarily Chinese-speaking members. One comes out of a city church where the leadership holds deep convictions about manifesting God’s covenant to his people – think children sitting through the entire service and young adults actively serving the disabled and elderly. Another example comes from a selfless, sacrificial love on the part of some young adults in a suburban context, where that environment costs them career and social advantages.

Both were Chinese churches, one presbyterian and the other non-denominational (baptist), yet both saw how desperately they needed each other for the sake of their own discipleship with Christ (Acts 2:44). Even more ideal would be the marriage of the best of these two theological traditions: a deep covenantal commitment to each and every member (Hebrews 10:24-25) while each one heeds the call to diligently strive for individual holiness (Colossians 1:29).

The potential perspectives and gifts that could be shared across generations simply blows the mind. Thank you again for the brothers who hold this vision by the Spirit.

jeudi 21 avril 2016

One reaps what they sow, always

All of human existence can be summed in Galatians 6:7-8. 

If you spend just a little time on something, that thing will start to fester inside of you. People may deny it, but what you consume (movies and music) or fantasize about (an idea or a person) will deeply shape your character. 

Even if what you're doing is mindless, the eventual result is you'll be a mindless person. Working and talking with people without an interest in either the work or the people. Watching series on Netflix or endless entertainment on Youtube. 

There's no such thing as a standalone thought. Decisions aren't made in a vacuum. What you feed will only grow. God is not mocked, that is, you can trick yourself but you can't trick God.

And there is the (potentially hopeful) converse: what you starve will not grow. Avoiding violent and irreverent media makes one dignified. Refusing temptation and curbing bad habits simply makes one a self-controlled person.

We hear the continual refrain to set our minds in a particular way (Colossians 3:2, Titus 3:8, Philippians 4:8, Romans 12:2). There is divine wisdom here, because the war of the mind is the war for everything. 

mardi 19 avril 2016

Hospitality is defined as “love for strangers.”

Ecclesiology/Soteriology #n

“As a new Christian, Drew seemed to have an insatiable love for the things of the Lord. He could not find enough Bible studies. He got as many Christian books as he could get his hands on. He took copious notes during every sermon. His presence seemed to open and close every gathering of his church.

Now five years later, Drew seems to be a different man. The sermon notebook doesn’t accompany him to worship anymore. He seldom attends the gatherings of his small group. He barely has enough time to have a brief moment of worship before he starts his day. 

What happened to Drew? The same thing that happens to many believers. Drew came to Christ as a lonely young man. Although he did not know it, his enthusiasm for the gospel was not about the grace and glory of Christ. No, in the church, Drew found the circle of friends he had always longed to have. In the church, Drew had found a family. And while that is very good, the spiritual problem was that the end (a love relationship with Christ) had functionally become the means to another end (acceptance with a family of people). Big kingdom glories were a way to experience little kingdom treasures.

And these relationships with sinners proved to be flawed, as they always will be this side of heaven. Eventually, Drew’s growing lack of enthusiasm for the gospel revealed that his excitement about his newfound faith was simply was kingdom of self dressed up in the costume of the kingdom of God.”

– Paul Tripp, Chapter 6 of A Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You

jeudi 14 avril 2016

Ecclesiology Revisited #13

“None of us ever gets to be in a relationship with a finished person [read: Jesus]. God’s redemptive work of change is ongoing in all our lives.
When I fail to worship God as Savior, I am too casual about my sin and too focused on yours … When you are sinned against, you will be impacted by the weaknesses and failures of that other person. When this happens, you need to allow God to use you as an instrument in his redemptive hands, rather than seeking to make changes in the other person yourself.”

–Tim Lane, Chapter 6 of Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

“Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and to try to realize it.
Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive. He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.

God hates visionary dreaming; it makes the dreamer proud and pretentious. The man who fashions a visionary ideal of community demands that it be realized by God, by others, and by himself. He enters the community of Christians with his demands, sets up his own law, and judges the brethren and God Himself accordingly. He stands adamant, a living reproach to all others in the circle of brethren. He acts as if he is the creator of the Christian community, as if his dream binds men together.”

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Chapter 1 of Life Together

Ecclesiology #14

It is through the messiness of relationships, and not in in spite of, where God works. Idols are exposed and people change.

dimanche 6 décembre 2015

Bonhoeffer on the Christian’s call to action

Finished reading Renate Wind’s biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, whose life and mind are so complex that they stumble the modern reader attempting to caricature him in either conservative or liberal frames. In contrast to a recent biographical work by Eric Metaxas, Wind’s take has a liberal bent (consistent with the observation that she herself is a female pastor).

There has been criticism lodged at Metaxas for attempting to superimpose the American right-wing agenda on Bonhoeffer’s perceived beliefs on Christian ethics and relationship with government. I also hold reservations on whether Bonhoeffer would consider himself aligned with political conservatism -- if not merely due to the lack of compassion it has often presented itself with in the culture wars.

During the end of his life, he expressed reluctance to lord religion and insert the name of God into all issues (even in cases of Christian encouragement of comfort!) precisely because he wanted to so exalt the name of God and prevent the name from being stained as it was by the Nazi-supported Protestant church. Sounds familiar now with the public’s resentment of prayers offered without the corresponding action. If there has been any action, it’s a Christian university president calling on his students to resort to violence.

Bonhoeffer’s disdain for the church losing her way is reflected in this quote:
“Our church, which over these years has fought only for its self-preservation as though that were an end in itself, is incapable of being the vehicle of the reconciling and redeeming word for human beings and the world. So the former words must become powerless and fall silent, and our being Christians today must consist of two things: in praying and doing what is right among men.”
For Bonhoeffer, prayer and action were two sides of the same coin. He wanted to live and act “as if there were no God,” at least not the God that relieved him of acting. Because if Christians were to start doing those activities of compassion and loving our enemies, we would find ourselves a lot closer to God in desperate prayer.

samedi 10 octobre 2015

“That is the capitulation of church to politics!”

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, said of Protestant church groups who did not openly repudiate fascist policy during Nazi rule.

Bonhoeffer, among other liberal or non-reformed Protestants, can be a thorn in the side. Whereas traditional Calvinism inclines the church to distance itself from political provacateuring and incendiaries, we have these heroes outside the reformed tradition that were, to use a loaded phrase, “on the right side of history.”

Today, the situation is ironic in that American Christians, of all the issues we could politicize, appear to be most vocal about topics that will earn public disdain (I’m speaking mostly in the modern era). I acknowledge that the church does lesser-known good in the areas of poverty, illnesses, and disaster relief, but Christian blogs and podcasts would have me believe that majority culture evangelicalism doesn’t mind projecting its public identity onto unfavorable positions on sensational issues.

Maybe Bonhoeffer would be just as vocal as well on those issues, but can’t we gain some social capital by “diversifying” our outrage across the political spectrum? Why isn’t evangelicalism by-and-large decrying structural deficiencies leading to gun violence? Why don’t pastors give credence to climate change?

Our reformation fathers were bold in decrying the structural abuses of the Roman Catholic church, but from the modern perspective, the progressive causes of abolishing slavery and racial civil rights get the most kudos. My take is, of all the progressive causes, let’s make sure we’re leaders on all the right ones soli Deo gloria.

dimanche 27 juillet 2014

2014 Chiago, Cancun Trip

samedi 26 juillet 2014

From Residence to Home

It’s been a great week where I’ve been finally able to settle into Queens. Though labeled New York’s “most boring borough,” Queens is pretty ideal, and I can’t help but wonder if some of my colleagues in deafening Manhattan yearn for a little bit of “boring” as they work themselves to death. Rego Park is ideal in that Costco, Russian produce, the post office, the parks and rec, the library, and the train station are all one block away. The Chinese eateries are split between Elmhurst and Flushing in which Rego is in the middle, but really, my generous apartment space accommodates any Chinese food preparation I will undertake.

One fear (“fear” by the way is usually way too strong a word for males in talking about domestic things, but “concern” didn’t quite fit but it’s ok I’m over it) I had in coming was if I’d be able to make friends. I know many a young adult that struggle to establish themselves because making friends with people twice your age in a borough filled with immigrants while on a consistent work schedule is not easy. Christians have it a little easier because of an immediate network and spiritual kinship (Hebrews 10:25), but without immediate family in the same unit it’s still very difficult to feel “at home.”

Enter the Puerto Ricans. In my apartment building there resides an extremely hospitable Puerto Rican family who have been New Yorkers longer than I have been alive. I was asking fellow tenants basic questions about getting cable internet, and the next thing I knew, I was in a Puerto Rican apartment drinking French press coffee, Portuguese Porto, whiskey, Argentinian wine, Long Islands, and green tea while talking about life, marriage, and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” until midnight. Unbelievably hospitable. Us Chinese, with thousands of years of history, need to learn again what it means to be human, because as far as I see, the average Chinese immigrant in Queens treats complete strangers sub-dirt.

I look outside my window overlooking the courtyard, and our Russian super is trying to build community as well, getting involved with whatever he can. Last night, the neighbors and I went out to see the city’s most not-so-secret secret skyline by Long Island City – and it was unobstructed New York skyline magic. Queens is magic, and hopefully I can pay it back by learning a Russian and Spanish phrase or two.

mardi 22 juillet 2014

2014 Cancun Bachelor Party

Bachelor Party AKA Justin Bieber “Beauty and the Beat” MV remake. Mad ups to @DShineee1 for equipment and editing! With +Albert Chu +Danny Shin  +Dustin Shung 

vendredi 27 juin 2014

Normal Christianity #2

Most days I feel my set-apart-ness slipping away. I laugh at the same jokes and complain the same complaints as everyone else. Sometimes though it takes an oldie-but-a-goodie to bring you back to what it’s all about.

On the train ride back from Connecticut my phone decides to play Hillsong United’s Salvation Is Here. Wow, I couldn’t imagine how refreshing that was. It was surprising given my recent foray into the works of John Owen, whose writing can only be described as having a lumbering literary gait. But this song makes its point clear and fast: God has brought salvation in our midst (Matthew 16:18, 28:20, Luke 17:21).

No other religion has this claim, that salvation is not just a future thing but a very near present thing. Nay, salvation is a person.

It is this person, Jesus Christ, who will be with us until the end of the age, and all the while we are his instruments in proclaiming the gospel. By this gospel will the kingdom be ushered and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it. Ye Christian brethren, may our lives reflect the courage worthy of these promises.

samedi 21 juin 2014

Normal Christianity #1

One retreat that impacted me like none other was Bethel's winter retreat in 2009, titled, "Christianity A to Z." Pastor Hank blew open my mind, and soon after my heart, to the way God revealed the person of Jesus in every story of the Bible, from Abraham to Moses to David. This supposedly basic Christian teaching was a hard thing to swallow, in large part because of its peculiar absence in my initial Christian years when I would ostensibly be learning the "basics."

And so it is with all "basic" Christian teachings. We never stray too far from our baby "spiritual milk" (1 Corinthians 3:2) because sin is never too far in grounding us (Genesis 4:7).

All that was to really preface this first reflection in how I am attempting to live out normal Christianity in my maturation to full independence. I mean "independence" in the sense that the student environment provided many guards and brackets that shielded worldly temptations I now face, and "normal" in the sense of a "basic" Christian walk.

The first basic principle I must remind myself overandoverandover again is that every individual -- of the thousands that surround me everyday -- is in part a reflection of the eternal God (Genesis 1:27). Let's start with that. The implications are as such:

    There is a beauty about every individual because of God's own beauty.
    There is a respect due unto every individual because of God's own authority.
    There is an infinite value ascribed to each individual because of God's sovereign purposes.

This principle has been most effective in my everyday relational attitude. How can I disrespect any individual if God himself is imaged in him? How can I not have compassion on any individual if God sacrificed his son to bring him close? Innate human dignity is an epic level-setter that vertically silences my righteous heart and molds it into a vessel of grace for its daily horizontal transactions.

vendredi 20 juin 2014

What Coworkers and I Laugh About #2

Let me totes end this non-series series.
  • Using a rolling backpack at work elicits the same responses as it would in middle school.
  • I am famous among security guards in Frisco because I badged incorrectly. I also invoke memories of the Vietnam War.
  • A lesson in resource estimates: “Throwing more resources in this situation would be as useless as telling a pregnant woman that she can cut her lead-time from 9 months to 4 with help from another person.”

jeudi 19 juin 2014

2014 Houston, Dallas Trip

vendredi 7 février 2014

Weeks #49 - 52

lundi 2 décembre 2013

mercredi 4 septembre 2013

Week #35

Week #34

lundi 2 septembre 2013

Louis Berkhof《系统神学》

310 lectures in Chinese on Berkhof's Systematic Theology.

dimanche 25 août 2013

A note on being a tool

I made this somewhat a point in my message to my disciples, but it should be one's aim in life not to be a tool for women. While reading at Columbia, I literally witnessed a Korean fob with designer jeans and frames sit down and have long coffee chats with two different women, with an hour of separation in-between. He propped his feet up on the chair, made the girls squeal "oppa~" a couple times, and smiled at his own occasional cleverness. Tool, tool, and super tool. And yet I observed these things while intermittently exchanging sentimental messages to my girlfriend on my phone. I conceded we're all entrapped by similar things.

Why is it I'm writing this? Because I realize I'm growing. Yes, I'm pronouncing a judgment on him here on the internet (there is a purpose for that, namely, I don't want to see you guys doing shady stuff too). But it didn't stop there. I prayed for the guy, for his future marriage, that he would learn the emptiness of his boyish ways, and even prayed for the gift of tongues - for God to somehow endow me with Korean so I could befriend him. I prayed for my brothers to stand countercultural and love fellow sisters by loving God more than their egos. I earnestly wanted those prayers answered. We must all learn that the mark of manliness may indeed be how many marks we've left on fellow men, and not scars on women. LORD, forgive me all my wrongdoings; I am a worm, but what makes it all worthwhile is that I am your worm.

To be fair about painting pictures of certain people groups, there was a group of very loud and vulgar Chinese FOBs on the other side so I much preferred the Korean couple(s). Also, to the Korean brethren, if you could supply translated phrases along the lines of, "Have you ever heard of covenantal theology?" I'd be most thankful! I surmised it would have been fun to see what this guy felt about covenants, both with God and with other people. Apologies, I'm inextricably going through my 5th relapse into cage-stage Calvinism.

mardi 20 août 2013

Week #33

dimanche 11 août 2013

Week #32

vendredi 9 août 2013

Biblical theology

It’s important! When actual counseling situations arise - as they have - and you need to explain what Jesus means when he’ll separate the wheat from the tares or goats from the sheep, what system of biblical narrative could you offer in that moment? The one that makes arbitrary xyz fruit the underpinning of one’s standing with God? Or the one that stresses preaching the truth of the gospel to believer and nonbeliever with equal, unyielding emphasis?

These are the implications of one’s biblical theology. Or a new believer wants to know the significance and purpose of the sacraments, i.e., baptism and the Lord’s supper. Your understanding of the covenants, the continuity or newness of them, will let them know how each sacrament edifies the believer and community of believers. Extremely practical stuff.

Don’t stop at systematic theology. Know the Bible as one huge chunk: how is the gospel (the coming kingdom of God) heralded throughout the ages? Doing so, at the very least, will edify your private worship of God as one whose sovereign hand cannot be hindered in blessing his people. And the best thing you can do for your church is increase your private worship.

Specifically, you can start at any number of systematic buckets (end-times, sacraments, covenants) and compare each biblical theologies’ (covenantal or dispensational) treatment against the Bible’s own hermeneutic (hinted in John 5:39, Luke 24:27). Personally, the hermeneutical lens I prescribe to is the one that magnifies the Father’s sovereignty, Christ’s sufficiency, and the spirit’s consistent, unthwarted execution of a masterful redemptive plan.

On moral relativists

“Suppose we think of a man made of water in an infinitely extended and bottomless ocean of water. 
Desiring to get out of water, he makes a ladder of water. 
He sets this ladder upon the water and against the water and then attempts to climb out of the water.
So hopeless and senseless a picture must be drawn of the natural man’s methodology based as it is upon the assumption that time or chance is ultimate. On his assumption his own rationality is a product of chance. On his assumption even the laws of logic which he employs are products of chance. The rationality and purpose that he may be searching for are still bound to be products of chance.”
— Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith (P&R, 1972), p. 102, writing on the inconsistencies present for moral relativists. What makes your ethical opinion hold water?

Pray without ceasing

And don’t put that added pressure of “it doesn’t work until I’m broken because that’s when it’s most passionate” as if you’ve discovered some formulaic approach to 2 Corinthians 12:9-11. Brokenness is not a matter of the circumstantial or existential, but the spiritual reality is that we’re all broken. Right now. Status quo. Baseline. It is just a matter of realizing it.

It doesn’t matter who you are. Where you’re from. What you did. You are broken. Heed not the line, “I’m a good man, with a good heart” from John Mayer’s Shadow Days when your flesh is still bent and inclined towards destruction. How many other song references can I make lol.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere (2 Corinthians 2:14). Prayer is effective so long as our hearts sincerely have the Matthew 6:9-13 posture.


"Surprised by God"?

Perhaps I’m not a fan of the semantics that involve the word “surprise,” but in the contexts where worshippers ask God to execute something they would deem miraculous, it is almost like Satan putting God to the test (Matthew 4:7). Having written before about God’s will being abundantly clear in order that we be effective disciples, the Christian life is not about “surprises” but an everlasting, sustainable joy. Surprises, therefore, connote some vacillation of that joy.

Let’s take this presupposition: if you are a Christian, then you would agree it takes more “faith” not to believe in God than to believe, because God’s presence is much more obvious than his absence. Therefore, you are never really surprised when God answers prayers. I wasn't surprised on the mission field. Yes, there occurred many amazing coincidences and providential acts that brought much joy, because the God we prayed to was looking out for his name being famous (Psalm 115:3, Colossians 1:16). The Christian prays with the heart of making God famous and nothing else (Luke 6:9).

I’m not knocking on prayer for miracles, but oftentimes our definition of a miracle can be so man-centered. A restored limb benefits one person; a changed heart can transform communities and generations. Is not joy the ultimate goal? And is not joy consummately found in Christ? We have not because we ask not (Matthew 7:7-12).

Can we as a people celebrate at the end of our prayers even when nothing has occurred? David certainly did amidst his betrayals (Psalm 3:8). And have we not greater assurance than David - for the historical death and resurrection of the LORD Christ is rock-solid security that God will deliver us from the hands of our enemy!


mercredi 7 août 2013

Week #31

Week #30

Week #29

lundi 5 août 2013

Not a mite

At the Flushing Chinese church I attended yesterday, there were some special needs children in attendance. These precious children were tended to as they fidgeted, uttered sounds, and stared off during the worship service.

O LORD! How wonderful a depiction you’ve given us of our helpless estate - at every moment. Not a mite of my own doing, my own efforts, have added to the blessing of knowing you. Nay, it was me that constantly hesitated to run to you, made sharp complaint, or looked to lesser rust-friendly pleasures. I was especially handicapped (read: dead), and so only your extravagant love has buttressed our relationship. You embraced me when I fought back, my rebellion putting you on that cross. You interceded amidst my shout to “crucify him," groaning on my behalf as I pierced you. As I looked to free Barabbas, you looked to the joy set before you in expectation of bringing me into your kingdom. It’s all so one-sided.

Had two communions yesterday. Emotionally wrecked during both.