Life in the midst of death: miscarriage, hope, and eternal life

TemporaryVisitors - Guest Post

Now that we’ve been back for a month you’ve probably gotten a sense for how we plan take turns writing on a week to week basis. I’ll take the first Sunday, followed by Helicon the second week, then Tim, and finally Dien.

What do we do with those months with a fifth Sunday? We’ve invited some of our to friends contribute in what we’re going to call our “Guest Post”. So to kick things off, we’d like to introduce you to Tony Cruz. You can follow his blog, Remnant Legacy, or get in contact with him on Twitter: @_tonycruz.


Baby SoleilEarlier this month, a letter I wrote to Soleil on her first birthday was posted on a great website called Daddy Letters.  If you have a chance, you should check the website out.  The letter resurfacing, especially as I finish reading through Genesis 4-5,  reminds me of an experience Alison and I had two years ago during Christmas time in 2009 and the faithfulness God has shown to us consistently in our marriage, in life.  It reminds of me the hope that exists for us as believers in Jesus Christ.

Miscarriage, Christmas, and Alone

Two years ago, Alison and I flew to Phoenix, AZ to visit my family during Christmas week.  We really had one objective:  surprise my mother with news of our first pregnancy.  Alison was excited about it, but I was anxious.  I confess freely now (though I did not then) that when I found out we were pregnant, I was not excited.  Alison’s news revealed to me how inadequate of a husband I had been up to then and that in turn would eventually create much resentment towards our unborn child. This new child would interfere with my efforts to correct my first three years of marriage.  I was not ready to be a dad.  I did not want to be a dad.  I wanted time to fix my mistakes.  I was frustrated with myself, with God, with my wife, and my unborn baby.

Our plan was to tell my mom on Christmas Day, a Friday, that we were 9-10 weeks pregnant.  On Wednesday morning, Alison started experiencing severe pains.  By the end of the day, she had miscarried and we had lost our first child.  My mom was at work all day, our friends were in San Jose, and we felt incredibly alone.  Instead of giving my mom the good news of her being a grandmother, I had to explain why Alison couldn’t even get off the couch.  It was painful.  I was distraught.  Alison was in emotional, spiritual, and physical pain.  Our baby passed and it was just the two of us again.

Hope and New Beginnings

New born SoleilAfter working through the miscarriage with God and my wife, I realized how selfish I had been.  I forgot that life was not about me, but about God.   My real spirit and the real condition of my soul had been revealed with Alison’s news to me of her pregnancy and then humbled with the miscarriage.  I was a broken man, with a hurting wife, and the only one I could turn to was God.  As usual, He is faithful.  He gave me hope.  He healed my heart, my feelings, my marriage, and renewed my lazy focus which had made me into what I knew was an adequate husband.  I learned tremendously from that experience and became ready to serve Him in whatever circumstance of life that He was going to place me in.  Much to my joy, three months after we miscarried, Alison was pregnant again.  After 12 weeks, we heard the baby’s heartbeat.  Medically, that meant that the chance of miscarriage falls to less than 3%.  While Alison got to experience this new life in her body, my heart was cold and distant, not ready to commit to the feelings I had towards this new baby for fear of loss.  But when my daughter was born, all bets were off.  I was ready.  We were ready.  God had blessed us with a beautiful daughter and new beginnings.

Enoch Lives  (Gen. 5:21-24Heb. 11:5)

After the creation of humanity, marriage, the fall of humanity into sin, and punishment, Scripture paints a pretty meek picture for the next few chapters of Genesis.  Death reigned.  Not just death at the hands of others, but death in general.  Instead of the life that God had offered in the garden, you read these sections of Scripture where God seems to make it a point that death was the result of the fall.  A common phrase in Genesis 4-5 is “and then he died.”  This man lived this many years, “and then he died.”  That guy diedthis guy diedeveryone was dying.  When you are reading about life and things being good (Gen. 1-2) and then moving into this literary valley of death, it is so clear that God wants to make a point:  there is life in the midst of death.

The author of Genesis makes this incredibly clear when you read about a guy named Enoch.  You see, the Bible said that everyone was living their life, having their children, and then dying.  Except for Enoch.  The original Hebrew text paints this beautiful picture of Enoch and his relationship with God:  Enoch walked with God and then he was not.  The reason:  God took him.  Enoch never experienced death.  God took him away so he did not have to deal with that.  The point is that there is life in the midst of death.  It was God’s way of pointing to Jesus Christ, even in the Old Testament!  If there is life in the midst of death with Enoch, how much greater life would there be in Jesus?

Jesus Offers Life in the Midst of Death

We will always be surrounded by death. The nanosecond we enter in this world, our bodies experience the process of moving toward decay. That is reality. Death is inevitable.  Relationships die. Careers get shot. The natural world experiences death all the time.  People are killing each other.  People are dying.  It is a unarguable fact and reality for us.  Of course, our natural instinct is to hide from it, shelter ourselves from it, pretend it does not exist, or act like there is nothing we can do about it.  In some sense, we can’t do anything.  If we feed the starving, they will die eventually.  If we give water to those who thirst, they will die eventually.  If we give homes to the homeless, they will die eventually.  Please hear me when I say:  WE SHOULD BE DOING THOSE THINGS.  But we primarily need to offer them life in the midst of death.  As Christians, we know that the only life that can be offered in the midst of death is that of Jesus.

Jesus Christ offers life in the midst of death, through His own death. He does not just offer us eternal life, though that is His mission’s goal. But Jesus offers people hope, joy, and peace that no trouble in the world can take away from that.  As a Christian, I hear people arguing all the time that this reality of giving our life up to Christ is simply not enough. People need tangible help, too.  If you want to argue about how that’s not enough, I would challenge you to reconsider whether or not you believe in the full and complete gospel that Jesus Christ offers.  It is hard to share something, if you find no value in it.  Take some time and think about whether or not that’s your struggle.

Jesus offers you eternal life. The consequence for all of us is death. Not so with Jesus. In the midst of death, Jesus offers us life. He is the only one who can offer such an amazing gift, through the work He did on the cross. He offers it to everyone who believes.  Believe. Repent of your sins and believe in Jesus.  Share the good news of the arrival, death, resurrection, and second coming of King Jesus with everyone you know.  Believe.  Have hope.  Believe in life in the midst of death.  The gospel of Jesus Christ offers you eternal salvation and so much more in the present life.  He is waiting.

Believe.

If you want to talk about Jesus, about the Bible, about life or death, about hope, please contact me.  Just send me a message on here or on Twitter:  www.twitter.com/_tonycruz.  I will be praying for you.

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David and Goliath

David and Goliath

The idea for this post is a result of a sermon preached at DTS by one of the professors.

The setting of the battle narrative is Goliath as a representative of the Philistines on one side of the mountain and Israel on the other side of the mountain. Goliath continuously heaped insults against the army of Israel. He continuously defied the ranks of Israel. For fourty days, he taunted the armies of Israel. All of Israel was afraid and dismayed because of Goliath. No one dared to step up and battle Goliath as a representative for Israel. Who would dare to setup and fight Goliath? He was 9 feet and 9 inches. His physical stature alone would scare anyone off.

The author does something that is very atypical in a battle narrative. He gives a very detailed account of Goliath’s armor and weaponry. This passage is the longest description of military attire in the Old Testament. These things are unusually omitted in battle narratives. Goliath had five pieces of equipment: a bronze helmet, scale-armor which weighed 120lbs, bronze greaves, a bronze javelin, and a spear. And if that wasn’t enough he had a shield bearer going before him. No one wanted to challenge Goliath to a one on one combat until David appeared on the scene.

When David appeared on the scene in verse 26, David opened his mouth in the book of 1 Samuel to speak for the first time. I’m sure he spoke before this, but the author is trying to do something by recording this particular speech as his first speech in this midst of this battle narrative.

Where as everyone was concerned about the battle situation, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. David, when he opened his mouth to speak, was concerned about God’s glory. David says, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the army of the living God” (v. 26).  He was not concerned about Goliath, he was not concerned about the situation before him. He was concerned about God’s glory.

David in accepting the challenge to fight against Goliath was defending God’s glory because God was fighting for him. David declares, “For the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into my hands”, speaking of Goliath.

It is with this understanding that the author puts in the little description of Saul putting a bronze helmet and armor on David, and equipping him with a sword (verse 38). For Saul, in order to achieve victory in the battle he has to match equipment with equipment. Goliath has a bronze helmet so David must have a bronze helmet. Goliath has armor so David must have an armor. Goliath has a javelin (curved sword) so David must have a sword. For Saul victory is in what man can bring into battle. It is trusting in one’s own strength, ability, and resources. It is man achieving victory apart from God. Saul’s ideology is the one who is most prepared and most equipped will win the battle. Sometimes, if not all the times that’s our ideology. Do you fall into and practice Saul’s ideology?  

The author records for us that David could not go into battle with Saul’s equipment. Instead he went into battle with a sling and five smooth stones. Why five and not ten or twenty? Maybe what the author is trying to do is highlight for us Goliath’s five pieces of equipment to David’s five pieces.

Count them. Goliath has: bronze helmet, scale-armor, bronze greaves, javelin, and a spear. Count them. David has: five smooth stones. Goliath’s five pieces of equipment were man made and fashioned over time. David’s five pieces were divinely made and smoothed by the water over time. One commentator commenting on this says,”It is divine enablement over human devices.” When the Lord fights for us there is no need to try to secure victory by other means.

When David actually entered into battle he says, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands” (v. 45). David acknowledges and knows what he is up against. David would be too foolish to go up against the well-armed and well-equipped Goliath with just a sling and five smooth stones. David didn’t say, “I come to you today with a sling and five smooth stones.” Instead he says, “I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.” David realizes his greatest military resource in battle is God. May I say that our greatest resource in the Christian life is the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel?

The theology of the Old Testament and the New Testament is always those who achieve victory are those who depend upon the Lord. Jeremiah 9:23-24 puts it this way, “Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord.

Zechariah 4:5 puts it this way, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts (Zec. 4:6). There is no such thing as victory in the Christian life except when the Lord fights for us.

David was concerned about God’s glory. Knowing that God fights for him, he fights for God. How do we remind ourselves that God fights for us so we should fight for him?

Pick an area in your Christian that you’re struggling with: For some it might be gossip. For others might be pornography or maybe lust. An unloving heart toward your brothers and sisters in Christ. We all struggle with something. Once you think of that one area, every time you’re about to sin in that area, remind yourself that God fights for you in that area so fight for God.

Here is a living example of God fighting for me so I will fight for Him/with Him: http://www.iamsecond.com/seconds/josh-hamilton/

in His grace,

-dien

Christ and the Church

Ephesians 3:20

For most of my life, I viewed the Church as an incidental detail to the core doctrines of Christianity. What I mean by that is that the Church was of secondary importance to me; it was an accessory to my personal relationship with Jesus. I thought I could be a good Christian without caring too much about the Church. Later on, when I got plugged into a fellowship, the Church became the place where I could hang out with my friends.

Lately, I’ve realized that my attitude towards the Church does not reflect a Biblical understanding of what it really is. For example, take Ephesians. Ephesians has a high Christology–a high view of who Christ is and what He does. Consider the following:

In Christ:
  • We are blessed with every spiritual blessing (1:3).
  • We have redemption through his blood (1:7).
  • The purpose of God for the redemption of the cosmos is set forth (1:7).
  • We have obtained an inheritance (1:11).
This is just a small sample of the picture that Ephesians paints of Christ. He is the centerpiece, the focal point of God’s plan. This plan is not only fulfilled through him, but it is also fulfilled in him. That is, He (Jesus Messiah) is the one in whom we are blessed, chosen, redeemed, reconciled, and created anew. As Colossians says, Christ is the one who created all things and also the one for whom all things were created (Col 1:16).

But the high Christology of Ephesians leads to a correspondingly high Ecclesiology–a high view of the church.

The Church is:

  • The body of Christ (1:22).
  • Raised up with Christ and seated with Him in the heavenly places (2:6).
  • The household of God and His temple (2:17-21).
  • The manifestation of God’s manifold wisdom towards the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places (3:10).

Each of these verses certainly deserves its own exegesis, which I am not qualified to make, but the point seems to be that the Church isn’t only a gathering of believing individuals. It is a corporate entity, the manifestation of the new humanity that is Christ. Finally (and perhaps most easily overlooked) the Church has a cosmic significance as a part of God’s plan for the redemption of Creation. As one commentary puts it, the “very existence” of the Church demonstrates God’s wisdom to heavenly powers, and the local church is a “visible, concrete expression” of the new relationship believers have with Christ.

Thus, Ephesians suggests a link between Christology and Ecclesiology. A high view of Christ leads to a high view of the Church, his Body. But perhaps I find church uninteresting, unfulfilling, irrelevant, burdensome…is it because my view of Jesus is too small? Do I see him merely as a “personal” savior who meets my own individual needs rather than the One in whom all things are being reconciled, things in heaven and things on earth? It makes sense that our views and attitudes towards the Church would be influenced by our views and attitudes towards Christ, for without Him there is no Church. Now, I don’t claim to know the exact relationship between Christology and Ecclesiology, but this much seems clear: If we love Jesus we will also love his Church.

I suppose books could be written about the relationship between Christology and Ecclesiology, but I’ll conclude this post with one practical reflection. If what Ephesians says about Christ and the Church is true, then my relationship with the local church should not be an incidental detail or an accessory to my life; rather, I ought to see my relationship with the local church as intimately connected to my relationship with Christ. You might think that this reflection leaves you hanging as to what that actually means and how it actually plays out. I agree that it is quite open-ended, but I think the way to find the answer is to begin loving the Church now.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
-Ephesians 3:20-21

True Contentment (pt. 2)

Philippians 4:13

So in my last post, I posted some thoughts about New Year resolutions and how they are often manifested because of our dissatisfaction or lack of contentment with the way things are in our lives.  I moved on to talk about Gospel Contentment and how Paul is able to have such an incredible peace amidst the hardships that he was facing during his imprisonment.  What Paul shares to his beloved friends in Philippi is that he has learned to find this incredible contentment/peace in Christ through the depth of his understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how it is only through the Gospel that he can say with such confidence “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).

So why do we have a Part 2 to this True Contentment topic then, Helicon?  I could totally have stopped at the end of last week’s post and ended this train of thought but I believe that God has helped me see some new wisdom and insight on the topic recently.   There were times when it was not so easy to be filled with joy or fixated or at peace with Christ, but it was in those times that I continued to pray and ask God to show me more reasons why this understanding is so important and how much further it continues to go into my foundations and faith.

Here’s why this contentment stuff is so important… like me, you WILL face times when you will encounter hardships /discouragements /trials/suffering /loss/heartbreak/loneliness!  The question is… how will you respond in those times?  Will you become so distraught that you are unable to function?  Will you start to panic and perhaps even go as far as to blame God for what happens?  Maybe you won’t panic as much, but inside you are deeply shaken to the core of the foundations of your faith and this may become the catalyst to a growing distance from God in your daily life.  You may even be rebellious due to your frustration and lack of seeing God’s activeness.

The reality is we face these dilemmas and they are a part of our lives that we cannot ignore.  Rather than facing these times, we often rather hide these struggles as we try to put on a brave or courageous face for the rest of the world to see.  What happens is we ignore these thoughts until they are upon us and then we have to struggle even more so because we are ill-prepared to face the reality of our lives.  This denial or willful blindness only makes the journey longer and the hole deeper; rather than finding ourselves to God, we feel further and more ashamed than before.  To ignore these dilemmas then would be a huge blind spot in our soul, and a place where we will be missing God’s grace and refinement (God’s there, but our blindness leads us unaware or unwilling to listen to him in those areas).

Paul grasps this hope/eschatological confidence in the Gospel… and as a result, he not only has a deep peace in the truth of the Gospel, but in the promise of the Gospel.  What is the reason we can trust God so much in the present when things look so screwed up? I think that we can have such confidence in the present because of a confidence in the fulfillment of the promise in the future.  The promise of that hope and the belief that it will be fulfilled drives our confidence in the present… and though this may seem so elementary, we can easily gloss over it in our own hearts.  The truth is that this is a very powerful ingredient to Paul’s confidence in the Gospel.  He believes what Jesus Christ has said and that God will redeem it all in the future; he has no doubt about this and this is what strengthens him in the present.  We remember the past and what Christ has accomplished, but we anticipate the future for its fulfillment.

Too often, I think our understanding of the Gospel is stuck only in the present… and rather than seeing God’s powerful work transcending time, we can only see it from the singular (even narrow) perspective of the present.  We are so easily shaken because we can only see things within the present context and never consider the Sovereignty of God & His control that transcends time.  We may consider the past and we may consider the future, but what we must remember is that God is not bound by the boundaries of time.  God sees/defines/authors the complete big picture!  I think that it’s in seeing the promise of God (with an understanding of the future) that gives Paul this unwavering 100% confidence.  He doesn’t just understand this… he KNOWS this with all of his being to be true.  This is a real faithfulness and trust in God’s promises!

This is definitely something I feel that we have to desire and constantly pray for because it is so easily forgotten.  How often has that dreaded feeling of doubt and discouragement come creeping in during a bout or season of trial or hardship?  This is why preaching the Gospel to ourselves has such an essential role to our faith and its healthiness.  It is this constant radical reorientation back towards Christ; it is that recalibration that cannot afford to be off even by a teensy bit in our lives.  We need to be focused because even the smallest incorrect focus over the distance of our lives will end up far off the target of our relationship with Jesus Christ.  This constant vigilant correction is necessary and perhaps why we are compared to sheep: who are so easily distracted and strayed.

So as I share today, do we constantly see this future promise and it’s completeness in the Gospel?  Do we see and place our confidence in these promises and earnestly desire to see these things from this mindset?  It is perhaps when you are able to do these things that you can say with as much confidence as Paul the following words: “… for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:11b-13).

What do you place your confidence in when things get tough?  Do you place it in the promises that Christ will return and things will be made right?  How often do you reflect on the Gospel and preach it to yourself?  Do you believe and long for the future fulfillment of God’s promise and see it as a definite or a possibility?  This my friends will be something you wrestle with your entire life… it is a journey that you will constantly encounter such moments, and the question then is: will you continue to remember to preach the Gospel to yourself, and cling to Christ?

True Contentment (pt. 1)

Philippians 4:13

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I hope you were able to spend some quality fun time with friends and family. In light of this transition, I am wondering if you would take time to reflect on the previous year?

For me, I often spend some time reflecting on the previous year during the Holiday season.  I usually think of things I’ve done, and what I hope to see change in the new year; I set them aside as things to give to God in prayer.  I don’t set resolutions personally, but I know many folks that do set resolutions.  I find myself often at the gym, and the one thing we all know is that at the beginning of the new year, many folks set resolutions to work out and to lose weight (I need to do this as well).  The thing is…over the span of the next 1-3 months, many of these folks end up stopping or not showing up at all after a few sessions.  There are many reasons for this, but today I am not going to address that side of resolution setting.  Rather than talking about the outcome of resolutions, I want to talk about the reasons which we are motivated to set resolutions in the 1st place.

I think the primary reason we set resolutions is because there are ultimately certain elements/aspects of our lives that we are deeply unsatisfied with.  Whether with our own body image, the hardships of our lives, unanswered prayers, unhappy employment situations, broken relationships, or suffering from a difficult season, we set resolutions because we are not content or happy with our lives in one of these areas.  This dissatisfaction becomes a place of brokenness, shame and often is what leads to unhealthy choices or paths towards even more struggles and pain.  I was recently reflecting on the text of Phil. 4 and considering Paul’s words from verses 11 through 13.

11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

What gives Paul such unerring confidence and peace in the midst of his imprisonment and suffering to be able to trust God?  How can that peace or confidence or contentment or joy be found in Paul’s life… and more so how can we come to have that as well?

I think that as I thought about this, I realized that Paul is so at peace and so tremendously able to find confidence in God in the midst of his hardship because his understanding of God’s Gospel is so rich; it is a truth and a reality in his life and the source of his confidence.  It is this confidence in the Gospel that gives Paul his strength, and is often I think where we may fail in our own lives that leads us to be so easily discouraged or shaken when we encounter stormy weather of trials and hardships.

According to Gordon Fee, he points out that to the Philippians, who were Greek trained… they would have understood Paul’s words here (Phil. 4:11-13) as a nod towards stoicism.  Basically this “stoicism” is the seeking of an inner peace to help face the external pressures of life; it is this self-sufficiency, complete self-adequateness,  where a person needs no assistance.  This is also where we get the word “stoic” from… which is when a person can endure pain/hardship without showing their feelings or complaining.

This is so true and can be found in our lives even today especially while considering the reasons why we often set resolutions.  We believe that the Gospel gives us some sort of means or tools to overcome situations and be tough and confident in God in the midst of pain, suffering, loss, hardship, struggle, job loss, death of a loved one, etc.  The truth is this: this is NOT the Gospel and is not about a dependency on God, but a reliance upon self.  The Gospel is not a tool in which we use at our discretion; it is the entirety of our perspective of life.  When you fixate upon this strengthening to resist the buffeting of storms with your own power… I think this is more related to what is culturally acceptable and what is often taught in our lives today… whether thru self-help books or thru what is taught via media.  The Philippians were facing life with this stoicism just like we often do, and what Paul is stating here is a contrasting view to the stoic way of thinking.

The Gospel that Paul finds such peace and trust in is a far cry from the “tool” mindset of facing life with stoicism or with a Gospel tool.  The Gospel is so much more!  In this passage, the stoic way of thinking or the way may lead us to think is that we are to somehow avoid or transcend the circumstances by our own will power or strength.  But what Paul points out here is that rather than avoiding or circumventing the circumstances of our hardship… it is to live in the midst of it!  Our lives are still affected by our circumstances… but rather than moved left and right, we cling to Christ in the midst of it!  This sufficiency is not finite nor is it limited, but it is infinite and unlimited.

Consider Phil. 4:13… “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”  More often than not this is used wrongly by people to talk about how we are to overcome and do amazing things by God (aka Dwight Howard on his sticker for slam dunk contest a few years back).  I confess that I was of the same camp in thinking this way, but what Paul says here is NOT about new/crazier things, but how he has learned to live in the midst of these things through Christ.  Martin Luther’s words then are so poignant as I consider Paul’s words: “The Gospel cannot be preached and heard enough, for it cannot be grasped well enough.” 

Rather than setting a new year’s resolution and applying a temporary fix of discipline to your life, apply a change that requires the entirety of your life (all of your mental, physical, emotional, AND spiritual focus).  This kind of application is what Paul has discovered in coming to understand the Gospel.  The question we must consider then is what is the Gospel to you and I? Is the Gospel simply a tool to be used at certain moments, or is it the rhythm/melody/theme to which you base your entire life and mindset on?  Change happens not temporarily but infuses Paul’s soul and life.  The reason Paul is able to face the hardships of life is because the Gospel is the central foundation of his life; Christ strengthens Him because His promises are true and are a reality in every perception of Paul’s life.  Too often people have seen the Gospel as a message that speaks to a person up to the moment of their salvation.  They think that once you hear the news, there you go… you are in! But what Paul is saying is … the reason I can live how I live is because I have come to see the Gospel in everything I do.  “I can truly do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”

How often are you seeing the Gospel as the reality in which you live your life?  Has the Gospel changed everything in your life?  If not, then today, I challenge you to try out an experiment with me.  Rather than setting a temporary new year’s resolution, let’s apply this Gospel mindset into an area of your life, and reflect about how Christ’s life, death, and resurrection speaks to that part of your life.  Let the sovereignty of God, Christ’s victory over sin, and the Spirit’s powerful working in your life speak to that area of your life.  Feel free to email me personally (helicon.kuan@livingstonescc.com), and I would be glad to journey with you in this experiment; I’ll practice the same exercise with you!