Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I have had a break through. Last night, I was doing my daily Bible study for church, and I realized something, or I should say that the Holy Spirit was kind enough to open my eyes to a certain reality. God has been using the past 8 months of my life to teach my the Beattitudes. Here is a short summary on them. There are 8 of them, and the first four are different from the second four. The first four are blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, and blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. These four bring you to the reality that you need God and are the door to His greatness. The second four are blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the peacemakers, and blessed are the persecuted. The latter four here are our giving of ourselves and the practice of God's greatness. You must have the first four actively in your life before you can display the last four. For how can you give of yourself when you do not realize your need for God? No need= nothing to give. The first half is love God, and second is love others. I am seeing that God has allowed me to be poor in spirit, to mourn for a considerable amount of time for different reasons, to be meek (which the study says you need others in this time, and I have desperately needed others over the past 8 months), and to hunger and thirst after righteousness. This last one has not come quite as it did in Texas. It was always so emotionally charged in Texas, and I think the passion and emotions are good things, but as of late it has been more a decision to hunger after Him than a feeling about it. Let's be honest, you don't feel it everyday, at least that's how it is for me. Even on the days when I don't feel it, and cannot hear Him, I choose His road, because I have come to find that there are no other roads that lead to life. This leads to me to my last post. I have been thinking about it a lot, and God has given me peace about it. I will not go into detail about the thought process, or this entry would be like a Dickens novel. To close this post, I will say that I am excited about what God is doing, and how He is working in me to form the Beattitudes. There are greater things to come through the pain of this transformation. Hoping that I will see it, and that I will start living out the last four Beattitudes here in Korea.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Today, I heard a sermon by Francis Chan. He is a great preacher out in California. His sermon disturbed me greatly. He spoke on Phillipians 3 when Paul says,
"But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow, to attain the resurrection from the dead."
The word that Paul uses for rubbish is apparently the equivalent to dog crap, it's actually even stronger than that, he pretty much says s**t. So the question was posed, are all these things in life worthless to me compared to knowing Christ? Is He my treasure? The next question left me in tears. Do I desire to share in His suffering so that I might have this deep fellowship with Him? The answer would be no.
I find that the word suffering strikes terror into my heart, especially this year. I feel that if I had been in Texas and heard this sermon, I would have said heck yes, sign me up for Your sufferings Lord, because I had nothing in mind of what suffering entails. The most suffering in Lubbock was that my car got totaled, but then all my friends surrounded me and offered to drive me places. I did not know suffering. I will say that I still do not the depths of suffering, and that is why that passage scares me. This year has brought a taste of suffering, and the thought of worse things happening feels like too much to bear. Obviously, Christ does not mean more to me than all these things. I am grieved. Francis asked if you would be crucified next to Christ. He said that it would be such fellowship keeping your eyes on Him the whole time through the excruciating pain. My heart says why would I ask for additional pain in this life? I see that I do not trust Him to carry me through it, to give me the strength each day to face it. I must end in saying that I am praying for a change of heart. A friend of mine said that a servant cares deeply about their master's business, that is where I think I have to start.
Monday, February 9, 2009
If you are a habitual reader of my blog, or just happen to skim a few entries every now and again, you will notice a running theme. Life in Korea is hard, not easy, not an overflow of happy times. Matter of fact, it has been a time where everything is stripped away from physical health to people in my life. The point of this entry is not to dwell on that, but I must mention it, so that the next part of this entry will come to complete fruition in all its glory.
Today, I was listening to a podcast from Pastor Mark Driscoll at Mars Hill Church. He is doing a sermon on trials and going through I and II Peter along with it. His message was regarding grieving your trials and out of that rejoicing. He was on I Peter 1:3-9:
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ fro the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which is perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
The two things that left a dent in my heart were when he talked about how it's okay to grieve your trials. Some people have hard lives, and mine has not been a hard one up to this point in time, but we all endure trials of some sort in our lives. He said that it is good to grieve and be honest with how you are feeling about the situation you are in. Whether it be financial difficulty, chronic illness, or trouble in some life relationships, you do not need to belittle it, you need to grieve. Some times, as a believer, I feel I should suck it up, like it is wrong for me to feel the way I do now. So many people in Korea are shocked when you tell them that you do not really like it here and that it has not been a good time for you. This conversion mainly happens in the Church. I used to think that if I tried hard enough, I could love any place in the world, and people who had gone somewhere and said it wasn't for them were ignorant fools. I recant my words now more than ever. It is freeing to know that I do not have to be in love with this place. So how should we live since we have this grief in our lives? Mark's next point, was that rejoicing should come out of our sorrow. We do not rejoice in our trials, but rather in our Savior! I may never like Korea, and things may never be easy or enjoyable here, but there is sooooo much more at stake than that. The evidence is branded in my mind from Friday night, and other nights with related conversations of that nature. I should rejoice that my reward is my Savior here, and hopefully, it will become the reward of those I love dearly here who are searching for only God knows what (hahaha, hope you like my little pun). Now we move forward and rejoice, because this life may be hard, painful, and honestly, just suck, but it will pale in comparison to eternity with our Lord in Heaven. It won't always be this way. God may not fix your situation, but He will always be your reward. So rejoice my friends! For we know and have what the whole world pines after and yet rejects everyday. Ending on that note, let us be all the more excited to share our hope with them daily.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Here is the short end of it, I will share more later when it is not 4 am and I am not dead tired. Tonight, I went to a house warming party for Yanin and Bhavani. As the night rolled on, we all started talking about what we believe. I got a chance to share the gospel with Yanin, she was raised Catholic, and she said that she wants that for her life. I told her that I would pray that she would understand it and have it, she said thanks!!!!! On the way home, Andrew and I had a good talk about his past and what he thinks of Jesus. He said that he is still bitter over some things and was depressed in the past. He asked about my conversation with Yanin, and after I told him he seemed pleased and said that I opened a door for her. Then, in front of our apartments, I told him that I think he should talk with God about his bitterness and the past again. He agreed. I told him that I pray for him and the other Wolbae folks everyday, because in view of eternity this is soooooo important. He said thanks and that he needs it. Then I got to talk with him about how knowing God is not just a ticket out of hell, but that we need Him EVERYDAY. I shed a few tears, he said that he needed to hear that. This is one of the best nights in Daegu ever, and to think, I almost did not go to the house warming party. Praise the Lord! Now, I pray that the truth will sink into their heads and hearts. That they will truly come into a relationship with Jesus. Please, I beg you, pray with me for them. They are closer than we all know.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
As I have previously stated in my blog, I am going through a study called the Mind of Christ. In addition to lists that make you face yourself, we are supposed to memorize scripture for each unit. I have been shocked in the past week how different my day goes if I carry the scripture in my heart with me. Why am I really all that shocked? It is after all, the spoken and inspired word of God, that should be pretty life changing if nothing else is. When I memorize the Word, I have time to meditate on it, and think deeply about what it means. I find my thoughts become thoughts of scripture, and not the others things that normally possess my brain during the waking hours of this life. My verse for this week is James 3:17:
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere."
We so often overlook scripture memory. My challenge to you is to memorize a passage this week. Maybe you could pick this one, and meditate on the characteristics of wisdom from heaven, and what it means in your life. Also, how it should play out in your life.
I titled this entry "DON'T QUIT!" because it is the embodiment of the message that I needed to hear, and need to still hear so often here in Korea. I recently finished listening to some talks by a pastor from Tennessee named Brian Loritz (sp?), he is a phenomenal communicator of the Word. In his last talk that I listened to, he brought up runners block. When you are running a marathon, your body gets runners block, it starts to yell at you and say, "stop, this hurts!" and you have to press on through the voice in your head. He related this to our spiritual lives, he said some of us have runners block right now. Everything within us is saying this hurts, stop now! We have to press on through this. That is why we have the Holy Spirit. He is here to yell back, "DON'T QUIT!" There are many times where I have wanted to give up on my year in Korea and pull out. Matter of fact, I dream about it at times, but then I heard this talk. It was like God was in the room yelling, "DON'T QUIT!" so I am not quitting. I am here until the 12 months is up or longer if that is what God asks. I feel like a load has been lifted and there is much more joy in my life since making this concious decision. Let me encourage you right now wherever you are, if life hurts and is hard, "DON'T QUIT!"