Friday, December 16, 2011
Fridays are often looked upon with a lot of excitement and joy. Everyone wants to end a boisterously busy workweek to start a perfectly peaceful weekend. Offices everywhere have at least one person saying, "TGIF" to a co-worker at least once every Friday. At my work, I am that person.
I love Fridays. And even greater are the Friday Holidays I don't have to go to work (Cesar Chavez Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving-...I know you keep track too). But as much as I look forward to this day, the reality of it is that good old fun Friday will always come to an end... in 24 hours. Fun Fridays become Fleeting Fridays. And so before this Friday fleets away, I want to celebrate my last Friday by posting some lessons this day of the week taught me about life. So... here we go.
Lessons from Fridays
1) There are always good/better days ahead.
We've all had tough workweeks (if not, where do you work?!) - the kind that gets you tired, exhausted, and pondering why you even do what you do. But no matter how badly busy and seriously stressful it gets, there is a glimmer of hope that shines through your eyes (even if they are super small like mine) when you think about Friday. The thing about Friday is that even if you're having a bad Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, you know Friday is coming with promise of rest. Fridays never fail you - it has and will always show up. And so Fridays teach me that there are always good days ahead. Of course we have bad days and times of hardship and busyness... but trials will end, rest will be provided, and relaxing days are sure to come. It might take a while, but it always shows up. Fridays teach you that there are always better days ahead and that's surely something to keep you going and enduring.
2) Press the brakes and take some breaks.
Fridays teach me that it's okay to take breaks. You always have something to take care of, something to accomplish, somewhere to be, but you also need to press the brakes and take some breaks. Rest is not forbidden - it is allowed and encouraged. Breaks will refresh you and help you to be much more productive when you go back to tackle your work. Can you imagine how ineffective you would be if you worked every single day - 7 days a week? Take a break. Enjoy family and friends and take care of other things. Take a breather, enjoy what you have and the people around - it's okay.
3) Finish Strong.
The biggest temptation when I see the end nigh is to slow down, be slothful, and finish weak. But friends, you don't finish your week by finishing weak (I'm getting really punny around here). Fridays teach me to discipline myself to finish strong. Fridays are unique in that though it marks the beginning of much needed rest, it still contains 8 hours of work. So, just because it's Friday does not mean you get to rest. Don't press the brakes until it's time to take the breaks (punny punny). Finish your work strong - it'll make your time of rest feel much more deserved and you'll start it off feeling accomplished and able.
Well... there are more but I must do my last work meeting ever soon so we'll just end here. Working life Fridays - it has been a good two years. Thank you for all your lessons.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Mondays are often looked upon with a lot of grief and dread. No one wants to end a perfectly peaceful weekend (does that even exist?) to resume a boisterously busy workweek (definitely exists). But the reality of it is that good old mean Monday, with the exception of Holidays (Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day - ...I know you keep track too), will always come. And though sometimes I do dread the menace Mondays bring, I am thankful for the lessons that Mondays teach.
I've been journaling what Mondays have been teaching me about life and such and want to celebrate my last Monday by posting some of those lessons here on my entry-deprived blog. So... here we go.
Lessons from Mondays
1) You can't outrun your responsibilities.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has thought on Friday: it's the end of the week and I'll just hold off on this one! I've done that a lot in my short 2 years of working here. But the first thing Mondays teach me every morning when I sit down on my office chair is that I cannot run away from my problems and my responsibilities. It's always waiting for me when I return.... I'm going to have to take care it eventually. So... take care of it. Or else it's like the tortoise and the hare story - you are the hare and your work is the tortoise (spoiler: the tortoise wins the race).
2) You have responsibilities.
Mondays teach me that I have things I need to take care of. That I do need to get up and get somewhere or accomplish some task. That though the weekend was a time of needed rest, I have duties, responsibilities, and actual things I'm entrusted to do. It reminds me to get to work and be active rather than to be slothful and lazy. I need that boost and reminder... or else I would be accomplishing very little. Rain or shine, you must still rise. For this lesson, I am thankful.
3) You must get enough sleep.
My brave friend used to say that 'Sleep is weakness entering the body. I'll sleep when I'm dead.' That same friend once stayed up for 3-4 days straight and then suddenly knocked out for a full 24 hours. He has never repeated his statement since.
Mondays are probably the most sleep-deprived day of the workweek because Sundays are the hardest days to discipline yourself to sleep. This is probably due to many reasons like late Friday nights, which lead to Saturday sleep-ins and Saturday sleep-lates, which lead to the post-church nap (I can't be the only post-church napper), which lead to not tired Sunday nights, which lead to the Sunday stay-ups which lead to tired Mondays. Tiresome Mondays are not fun, especially with much to do. So Mondays teach me the importance of sleep and to discipline myself to sleep. I need it and am dependent on it because I am a weak creature. Therefore I have to discipline myself to sleep because 'sleep is strength entering the body' so that I can face Mondays.
4) Coffee works magic.
Mondays teach me that you will fail Monday lesson #3 very often. But, not to worry, there is an alternative solution called, 'coffee.' Absolutely amazing. I will let a comic strip I made do the talking for me here.
5) Work is a Grace Gift.
Yes, in all honesty, sometimes I absolutely dread coming into work on Mondays. But I think the biggest thing Monday mornings teach me is to chill, take a breath, and realize what I have. Every single Monday (no matter how stressful or dreadful) reminds me that I have a job with which I can support myself, pay the bills, and even save. It reminds me that my employment is a privilege and a grace gift. I do not deserve it at all and I am absolutely thankful that I have it. I have an amazing office that I love (full-loaded with a sling-shot and stress target), amazing co-workers who are fun and hard-working, and an amazing sick/vacation time and benefits package. It has been a good 2 years. Work has truly been a privilege.
Well... Working life Mondays - it has been a good two years. Thank you for all your lessons.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
I've been pondering the life of Paul as I study his dying words in the epistle of 2Timothy. I can't believe the adventures Paul has been through by the time he writes this letter - from Persecuting Pharisee to the Appointed Apostle, Paul's life has had its fill of hardships. And after recapping his 2Corinthians11 list of troublesome journeys, he is finally near his end... awaiting his execution in a jail.
And thus this is perhaps why I don't understand when people say, 'Believe in Jesus, because if He exists and is God then you are going to heaven. But, if He does not exist, at least you've lived a good life.' Ever heard that before? I'm sure I'm not the only one. All I can say to that with all my heart's passion is, 'No.'
At the end of Paul's life as he reflects as a lonely man in his cold uncomfortable prison, jailed for the gospel, he can confidently say that it was all worth it. He can reflect on his life and say, 2Tim4:7 - 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.' (Amen brother Paul). What you do not find him saying is, 'Well, when I die I'll go to heaven and if I don't, then at least I've lived a good life.'
Are you kidding me? That is the last thing Paul would say. I cannot imagine Paul even coming close to saying such a statement. I cannot imagine Paul saying - 'If Christ does not exist, if He did not rise from the dead, at least I've lived a good moral life.' To the contrary, what I do clearly remember him declaring is, 'If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.' (1 Cor 15:19).
If it was just about morals... if it's just about following Christ's teaching in this life, but He never died nor rose from the dead, then pity me beyond anyone else. I have lived my life for nothing and for no cause.
Christians cannot adopt the saying above ('if He does not exist at least we've lived a good life'). We cannot adopt it because it is not true and because it is not about morals. It is about Christ. This isn't some easy road we're all on. This is a road filled with hardships and persecutions (2Tim 3:12), of self-dying and self-sacrificing for the sake of Christ. This is a hard long-endured long-fought life where family members become persecutors, friends become foes, and giftings become 'a waste of talent'.
There is no option 2 for the true believer. Believe in Christ because He is God. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He did die for your sins. He did rise from the dead 3 days later. And He does work in you and cause your heart to repent and turn to Him. Believe because He is.
I'm sold out. The gospel is true. That's why I believe. If I am wrong - then for goodness sakes this was not the good life. There is no safe way out for me. If I am wrong - then pity me for I am of all people most to be pitied.
But save your pity... God's Word is never wrong.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
When I visited my parents a few months ago, I found my old journal from when I was a little kid. It was the funniest thing I ever read. I was an awesome kid. I'm glad I have these writings to read and remember - it brought back good memories that I have long-since forgotten.
That said, I started journaling a lot more, which has led to blogging a lot less. Going to try to update at least once a month, but priority will be on reading and journaling over blogging.
Here are a few snippets of what I've been learning in the past few months:
1) You can tell a lot about a person's character by the way they treat difficult people.
-my own character included in this.
2) Biographies are hands down the most encouraging and edifying books.
-Profoundly impacted by the life and testament of Jim Elliot in the book - Shadow of the Almighty.
-Also deeply spurred on by the character and words of Corrie ten Boom's dad (Casper ten Boom) in The Hiding Place.
3) Co-workers are funny and a blast to eat lunch with, talk with, and work with.
-They are a special bunch and I need to stop being so introverted at times.
4) Physical exercise helps me in my spiritual walk in terms of discipline, energy, mindset, and flesh-fighting.
-Shortage of time makes me not exercise. But taking the time to exercise makes me utilize the remaining time much more efficiently.
-It also feels good.
5) Ezra sets a great example for me. Ezra 7:10
-Study, do, and teach the word of God.
6) Sleep is amazing. Forfeit it at times when needed, but when you can, welcome it gladly.
-Yesterday, I literally crashed onto my bed and fell asleep as soon as I got home at like 7:45pm or so. I feel like a new person today. I feel amazing.
7) Watch what you say and don't complain. Phil 2:14-18.
-It is all a joy. And it is all a privilege.
8) Lead by example. 1 Cor 11:1.
9) Stand firm. Phil 1:27.
-Know what to stand firm for and stand firm for it.
-Be someone with conviction. People won't remember what convictions you said you felt. They will remember what convictions you lived out. They won't remember what truths you said you believed. They will remember what truths you manifested through your life. Live out the gospel and stand firm in it.
10) Rebuking is necessary. Psalm 141:4-5.
-I expect the same from my friends. Seriously.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Well... here are some short, simple, to the point honest thoughts on the few books I read in the past few months. If you want an actual in-depth review of the content of the books - let me know and I'll be happy to tell you about it/borrow it.
1) Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson - D. A. Carson
Please read this. I've read biographies of many influential peoples' lives and been astounded by their extraordinary greatness and success. This was the first time I read a biography on a 'mere nobody'... and no biography has impacted me more. D.A. Carson does a great job portraying the life of his father in a genuine manner with stories of childhood, historical events, and journal entries. But what is so great about this book is that it shows the life of an ordinary pastor who has never been famous or well known (unlike his son, D.A. Carson). He is relatable because the heavy majority of people will be labeled among him as 'ordinary.' I was tempted at the end of the book to label Tom Carson as an 'Extraordinary Pastor.' He isn't ordinary! That was my reaction. But after I soaked everything in I realized that he was ordinary indeed. He was ordinary, but faithful. If there is anything to take away from this book, it is to be faithful. This book was refreshing, encouraging, eye-opening, and convicting. Even if you aren't in ministry, this book will give you a glimpse into the life of your pastor or quite simply the life of a Christian.
2) Humility: True Greatness - C. J. Mahaney
This is actually my 2nd time reading this book due to the nature of my.. well... pride. It's a short book and could be a quick read... but I took it slowly to reflect and think upon each chapter. And this time around I took the effort to apply some of the book's applications to my own life as I was convicted of my own pride and need for humility. It was convicting because it helped me see how great God is and how sinful I am.
3) Basics for Believers - D. A. Carson
I'll be honest - you probably won't buy this book. It's an exposition of Philippians. This was given to us at the start of my church's ministry class to help us preach through Philippians. It is short and simple. It was supposed to be some sort of commentary book we were going to use, but we stopped using it right away because our leader said it wasn't in-depth enough. But I read it and found myself very blessed by it. It is clear and simple exposition from D.A. Carson on the book of Philippians... and exposition of the word = blessings.
4) The Silver Chair (Narnia Series) - C.S. Lewis
Classic Narnia. Although... I have to say that I miss the original characters - Peter, Susan, and Lucy aren't in this one. Eustace (the annoying cousin from Voyage) is back with his friend and this is his adventure. As usual the quotes make great illustrations - "'You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you,' said the Lion." I have to say... the books are all better than the movie series.
5) John MacArthur: Servant of the Word and Flock - Iain Murray
This is a great biography - and the first I read on someone who is still alive. I can't believe Iain Murray (he is a great writer) wrote a biography on MacArthur. This was a fun encouraging read as I got to see the life and ministry of the man who may go down in history as the greatest expository preacher of our generation. The book takes you through the early days of John MacArthur, how he decided to go into ministry, the early days of Grace to You, and such and such. What was most encouraging was that MacArthur had and still has no ambition for fame - he only wants to simply proclaim truthfully the word of God and hold to the promise that God blesses his word. He has a clear love and confidence for the word which is something desperately needed today. I was very encouraged and respect the man and his ministry much more now and I encourage you all to read it. For all who went to Resolved and are wondering if there is a chapter on his wife - Yes... there is... but only 2 sentences on how he got her.. the rest is on how godly she is. And yes - there are pictures in this book (although I wish there were a few more).
Let me know what you guys think about these books if you read them. Or if you have any suggestions for me to read. Or.. if you want to borrow 2, 3, or 5.
Friday, July 1, 2011
I've met all of these men before and taken pictures with all of them with the exception of John MacArthur (he escapes me every time). Here are a few from this year:
In order: Rick Holland, Al Mohler, Phil Johnson, Bob Kauflin.
The biggest reflection I've had on Resolved was not in the sermons, but in the opportunities and blessings given me by God. I walked around before a session and looked around to see the thousands of people who were gathered at this conference. Shocking - filled with excitement for the word and for worship. I looked to the front and saw some of my heroes in front of me. I realized I had gotten a chance to meet them multiple times and taken pictures with them. I looked in my bag filled with books that have spurred me towards Christ - some of them signed by their authors. I thought of all the books I had at home and how I was blessed to own them...though many remained unread. I thought of the sermons I had heard at earlier sessions, then to the sound teaching I get to hear week after week at my own church. Then I looked before me and saw my Bible, the very word of God, in my hands. I remembered the 5 other Bibles I had at home. I stood amazed and awed at how much God had given me - so many opportunities and resources to know Him more.
I am a Christian who is blessed beyond what I deserve. I can say that alone about just the mere fact that God has saved me. But to have multiple copies of the word, to have books a-plenty that spur my thoughts of Christ, to have met my favorite authors/speakers, to have sound teaching, to have consistent life-examples in my own life, to have conference opportunities like Resolved... these are gracious gifts abounding from God. They are meant to drive me more towards him and I am thankful. I don't want to waste any of it. I have been given these resources so I can use them and know Him more.
What good is it if I just own these books, meet these examples, attend these conferences, and forget about it soon afterwards? No - I've been given this opportunity that few people than we realize receive - why would I waste it? I will not waste it.
Been reading, praying, reflecting much. It has been good.
Resolved: To use all God has blessed me with - the Word (especially), the books, the examples, the sermons, the church family, the conferences, and whatever else he sends my way - to know the giver of these gifts more.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
This particular man, I saved about 10 times. I performed CPR, used the AED machine, and performed more CPR. Probably broke his rib cage... but 'injury is better than death.'
Then this particular man turned into a child. I saved the child's life like 8 times. Amazing what skills I possess to do all that in one day's work.
Then... I saved a baby's life. Many many times.
Wow. I'm amazing.
Under my leadership:
"You, call 911! You, get the first aid kit and bring me the AED!" You, with the iPhone, take a picture of me saving this child's life!"
I am now 1st Aid & CPR Certified thanks to work.
Now I can save lost lives and lost souls.
I'm a full on hero.
Friday, June 10, 2011
World - you can take away everything from me.
Be it money.
Be it health.
Be it family.
Be it my own desires and my own wants.
Be it everything I hold dear to my heart. Everything.
But you can't take away Jesus.
I'm going to finish my race even if I have to crawl on all four limbs like a dog; yes, even if I have to stretch and squirm like a worm. Christ has already finished for me - He has already made me His own. Therefore, I will finish for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus fully.
Give me Jesus,
Give me Jesus,
You can have all this world,
Just give me Jesus.
Monday, May 16, 2011
I highly encourage you to read it.
I was profoundly amazed at the kind of life his father had lived just by reading this one line:
(Context: Right after his father's death, John Piper is talking to a random young man sitting outside of his father's hospital room).
"Hello, my father just died. One of the greatest tributes I could pay to him is to ask you, Are you ready to meet God?"
Wow - I know nothing else about Bill Piper (Piper's dad), but I can tell you that if that's what would pay him greatest tribute, this was a man who loved the Lord and spent his life spreading, preaching, and living the gospel.
When I die, I want to have lived in such a way that John Piper describes of his dad. That the most honorable thing for someone to do after my death to pay tribute to me is to share the gospel. Amazing - a life that spurs people to Christ and even afterward in honor spurs others to share the glory of Christ.
Friday, May 13, 2011
My Master God,
I am desired to preach today,
but go weak and needy to my task;
Yet I long that people might be edified with divine truth,
that an honest testimony might be borne for thee;
Give me assistance in preaching and prayer,
with heart uplifted for grace and unction.
Present to my view things pertaining to my subject,
with fullness of matter and clarity of thought,
proper expressions, fluency, fervency,
a feeling sense of the things I preach,
and grace to apply them to men’s consciences.
Keep me conscious all the while of my defects,
and let me not gloat in pride over my performance.
Help me to offer a testimony for thyself,
and to leave sinners inexcusable in neglecting thy mercy.
Give me freedom to open the sorrows of thy people,
and set before them comforting considerations.
Attend with power the truth preached.
and awaken the attention of my slothful audience.
May thy people be refreshed, melted, convicted, comforted,
and help me to use the strongest arguments
drawn from Christ’s incarnation and sufferings,
that men might be made holy.
I myself need thy support, comfort, strength, holiness,
that I might be a pure channel of thy grace,
and be able to do something for thee;
Give me then refreshment among thy people,
and help me not to treat excellent matter in a defective way,
or bear a broken testimony to so worthy a redeemer,
or be harsh in treating of Christ’s death, its design and end,
from lack of warmth and fervency.
And keep me in tune with thee as I do this work.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
One day in the future, I will read my journal from this month and think - What were you thinking?! You were so young. O, you fool!
So... I think I will just admit now that I am young. I am inexperienced. I lack wisdom at so many levels. And I need guidance and help - much help. I think I know a lot, but I know so little. I have so much more to learn and so much more to grow. I write my thoughts on this blog and in my personal journal about theological things I've studied or come to understand, but I am merely a child and there are plenty thousands out there who know it, understand it, and can explain it much better than me.
And so I will look to the older men in faith who have much more knowledge in terms of studies, experiences, and life wisdom. I will learn from them. And I am thankful for them. Their guidance and even humility in serving with me and my foolishness has been the most humbling thing to witness and experience.
For everyone who has invested into a sinner like me, thank you so very much. I am forever grateful - truly truly so - for your example, wisdom, knowledge, and investment. I value it very much.
I'm only 22 years old. I'm so young. I have so much more to learn and so much room to grow... so here I go, in humility.
Monday, March 28, 2011
[1:1] Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,  in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began...
Two things to catch here:
1) God never lies
2) God (who never lies) promised
Let's just think about this for a few moments. God never lies! It is against his nature to do so. And this God, who never lies, also promised! Oh how much surer and truer eternal life is since this is so.
The very character of God is one of absolute truth. His holiness and perfection has no room for any lie. The smallest of lies is worth an eternity in hell facing the wrath of God. He never lies - in fact Hebrews 6:18 tells us that 'it is impossible for God to lie.' This is His character - part of who He is as God. And if he never lies, then we can take him at his word without ever questioning him.
Some of us are blessed to have friends who rarely lie (because we are all liars). They're proven themselves worthy to be believed; their yes' are yes and their no's are no (for the most part). When they say they will be there at a certain time or say they will get something done, you know they will. But we have a God who never lies. When He speaks, only truth comes forth.
And our God does not stop there. But to reassure us, our God, who never lies, PROMISED. When the trustworthy friend who rarely lies also promises something, you know for certain that he or she will come through. But when the perfect God, who never lies, promises something... then there is no denying whatsoever that the things He says are true! (Because there was no denying it even in the first place).
This is comforting and incredible is it not? Every promise God makes in the Bible is true. It is His word. He never lies and yet He gives us an oath/promise to reassure us and make our feeble human hearts even more certain of his word.
What a great God and what great promises we have received and look forward to receiving in full.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
And yes, this is the sermon many of the youth kids at the most recent baptism referenced. And since many people have been asking me for it, I've uploaded it onto the only place I know how to upload to. I think it allows only a few downloads per every 24 hours. And it only stays up for 21 days. So if anyone knows of a better place to upload sermon files, let me know.
How We Are To Love God - What The Love of God is NOT - Eric Chabaneix
(Wait 25 seconds, and then click "Regular Download")
Thursday, February 24, 2011
I'm writing this because #7 of 7 just preached today and the cycle starts over again. I'm excited for what I've learned from watching everyone struggle through their text and their preaching. We all seem to have one struggle/worry in common, regardless of our lack of training and our lack of giftings (so it seems).
This common struggle/worry/goal is simply to expound the word of God. To be faithful to his Word. To not worry about "wow-factor" and "compliments," but to make his word known and trust His word to pierce through the division of heart and soul, of bone and marrow. It has been the utmost encouraging thing to see... because it is precisely the only thing that seems to pierce any Christian's heart - both the preacher's and the listener's.
How crazy the thought we hold God's word in our hands.... How awesome the thought we get to proclaim it.