Humility

I find that many times I turn things into a competition. I find it more fun when I’m competing against someone. I will turn the most trivial things like who can eat faster into a race. It doesn’t even occur to me sometimes until a friend will stop and ask, “why must you make everything into a competition”. But its true, I do a lot, I find that I compare myself with others, trying to beat them.

Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness –CJ Mahaney

How highly am I assessing myself? Knowing that God is so holy, my view of myself should be nowhere close to that of our Holy God. In addition, this competing against others not only doesn’t encourage others but rather is an attempt to praise myself rather than giving all the glory to God. It is all out of my selfish ambition, when without God I can do nothing; he deserves all the glory.

God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble -James 4:6

During a series on humility at Grace on Campus,  our pastor, Justin Mckitterick gave a long list of questions for us to see pride in our lives, here are some of them:

Do you plans ways to encourage people?
Are you quick to be critical or do you assume the best?
Do you pray for others?
Are you patient with others?
Do you speak kindly about others?
Do you defer to others?
Are people encouraged when you talk?

The question that spoke really loudly to me was are people encouraged when you talk. How can people be encouraged if I try to make everything a race between us, if I’m trying to beat them? I  become so prideful in wanting to build up myself, and for what reason? Its nothing more than selfishness. Rather, I should be a good testimony for God and show love to others, that my speech may be encouraging to them as we do all things for the glory of God.

In his book Humility, CJ Mahaney talks about ways humility can be applied to our lives. One that really stood out to me was “identifying evidences of grace in others”. Instead of being quick to point out faults we should look for ways God is at work and actively calling attention to the evidences of God’s work in their lives.

Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Heb 10:25

Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing 1 Thes 5:11

But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” Heb 3:13

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Break My Heart

“Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like You have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks Yours
Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity”

Most of you reading probably know these lyrics are from Hillsong’s Hosanna. If you’re not familiar with it, check it out:

I just wanted to point out what we sing when we sing this popular song. Do we actually even know what we’re singing? Or are we letting the cool buildup to the bridge overcome us realizing what these words mean? Do we realize the depth of of what we are asking here? Because I sure didn’t.

I know it’s cliche when people say “let it not just be lip service”.  But let us not leave it as a cliche statment and  remind ourselves that we are singing to our God here.

I just want to emphasize one of the lines, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours”. All of a sudden, it just hit me what a huge request this is that we are making to God. But I hope that this can be all of our request and prayer to God. That the things that break our God’s heart, would also break ours. The things that God is disappointed in, we would also be disappointed and not satisfied in. That my heart would be aligned with God’s.

Winter Retreat: Seek and Worship

Where do I start? God took each and every youth and challenged them with a Word that spoke of undying truth and love. Winter Retreat of 2009 showed me that I was not seeking God, and that I won’t be unless I pursue it.

This Retreat was an oppurtunity to serve God in a way that was 1) not stressful and 2) with power. I prepared music of worship along with a hope of captivating the hearts of all. It was the outcome of the lesson I had learned from Summer Retreat of 2009, where although there was power, it was stressful and lacking worshipful hearts. I prayed to God to give me wisdom in leading the youth into worship, to organize teams, sets and practice with minimal to no stress. I wanted this Retreat to be a retreat.

Our message was “Citizens of Heaven, Aliens in the World”.  Music that depicted the Christian lifestyle? Easy. Done, just like that. But God worked through the planning to measures that I would never have done, many details and things that God blessed me with. In all, I felt ready and set.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is Gain

This is from Philippians, and it was our theme verse. Throughout the retreat I found myself calling out to God to create in me a heart that sought Him constantly, to worship Him through song and life.  And no matter how cliched it is, and how cheesy it may sound, God gave and took away.

God’s Giving:

Before the retreat, Hannah Weidman, our worship team’s backup singer was extremely sick, and because of this she was unable to sing for she lost her voice. Day 2 of retreat, God gave her the health and strength to praise Him through her voice. Also, Randy Chen, our electric guitarist, was able to help me in terms of technicals things, giving me freedom throughout the sets. I can’t thank him enough for willingly perfecting our set up with the equipment we had. We also had many great worship sets for all sessions which could not have been done without His guidance.

Taking away:

Sound was an issue, and by the end, we found that in the clash of our equipment and the camp’s, it was inefficient. Again, thanks to God, and His working through Randy, we gave it our all and put the best into it. The biggest part that pushed me near to the edge was when, through whatever reason, our bass guitar snapped a string and my acoustic guitar’s battery ran out. When I walked in ready for food in the main hall, I saw the news and heard it as well. I saw it and felt the pain and anger throughout my very soul dying to reach out. I couldn’t believe it, Praise Night was that night and I had planned it to be BIG. A beautiful time of music and worship for all. I was so angered, wanting to just lose it on all those who kept playing those instruments during the freetime, overusing them and destroying them. I was broken in absolute distress, and ran outside.

God’s Blessing through all:

I ran outside in the unreal cold night, looking into the night sky, into that little face of a moon. “God, what do I do now? I should’ve known that I would fail again. Are You are telling me that I am not up to this anymore? That I should just stop?”

I stood out there for about 5 minutes, wondering if I would ever go back in to face that mass of an issue. I could leave, and never show up again, leaving these guys to do something themselves without me. I had the pride of a lifetime that moment. If I left then, then, they would be sorry that they broke those instrument, ruining my plan for worship.

God told me to walk back in.

When I walked in, dinner was being served. I sat with Stephanie Yang, Jane Liu, William Chen and Daniel Ip. They knew the problem, they were there, but they had something to offer, not some apology to me, but a further praising of God even through it all.

God worked through each one of them, and lastly through me. “You want to seek me, then seek me without music on your side, seek me with a heart that wants to worship, and not conduct some extravagant “praise night”.

For our praise night: no bass, no drums, no electric guitar. I led off my acoustic guitar acoustically, with light keyboard by Kelly Mak in the back (whom I also praise God for!). But what God revealed to me was to have everyone else on the praise team sing. We didn’t have enough mics, so I just asked the 3 instrumentless guys to stand by a music stand and just sing like the rest of the Body. God was telling me that this is what He wanted: a Body that worshipped His name and cried out to Him. It was amazing.

The final worship sets for the sessions also were light and strove for a full, untainted worship to God.

What God showed me through this retreat, was that in order to seek Him, was to accept what God was doing in our lives, whether giving or taking away. To live is Christ, and to die is gain. There is nothing else to live and strive for than God. Through God we find the strength and boldness, without shame and fear, but with faith and an everlasting love to our Lord and Savior.

Family

Recently, I made a resolution to actively and intentionally be a Godly light/witness to my family.

It is no easy feat. Many times I lose patience, lose hope, even lose the will to be a light at all. And all this just makes me feel like an utter failure. No matter how hard I try, I can do nothing.

Which is exactly the point to this post. One of the underlying themes God has revealed to me in my study of the Word and daily walk with Him is that ALL WORKS ARE DONE BY GOD. And this of course applies to my family’s salvation. God’s living Word says:

“In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” [Ephesians 1:4-6]

What does this tell us about how sinners are adopted into the mighty spiritual family of God? (These are based off of my small group notes on adoption)

1) Adoption is from God:

– Eph. 1:5 – In love HE predestined us!

2) Adoption is a fully Trinitarian work:

– i.e. It involves the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the love of God revealed through HIS initiative of sending forth His son for us! (Eph. 1:5 — according to the purpose of HIS WILL)

3) Adoption is through Jesus Christ:

– Jesus came to redeem those who were under the law. Back in the day, the law was made to show how short we fall from the glory of God, since no one could have followed these laws perfectly. And since we could not save ourselves, Jesus suffered our payment in full.

4) Adoption is confirmed by the Holy Spirit

– After adopting us into His Kingdom, God then sends us the Holy Spirit into our hearts so that we can experience a close, familial relationship with God the Father!

Conclusion: God did everything.

With my family, most of the time I feel completely inadequate (which we are — Romans 3:23). Then one night my dad comes into the kitchen and takes the giant pot of porridge from the stove. His face is all lit up and giddy. I ask him,”Dad why are you taking the xi fan away…” He explains that it’s his turn to bring food for the Monday night Ping Pong/Bible Study Fellowship! Heeheehee!

This event may not seem like a big deal, but just seeing how excited he was to fellowship (and study the Bible!) with Christians was an amazing miracle to witness. And the critical realization is that I didn’t do anything to spur this on. It was ALL God, to the praise of His glorious grace.

God is so good, and whether He saves my family or not, He is still good. I am already so thankful to be part of His heavenly family, and I anxiously await those who will be joining it in 2010. Happy New Year! :D