Saturday, November 24, 2018

Waiting

While I was preparing for a message that I shared this morning based on 1 Peter 2, I had this sudden thought:

All of us have to go through times of waiting. In those times I believe there are at least three things we can do during that period. First we can just ENDURE it. We suffer through it. We may complain and be miserable. Waiting until mercifully the time passes by , when the waiting stops and we finally reach our destination or our turn is up.

Second, we can ENJOY it. And by this I mean we can think of ways for time to pass by quicker. We amuse ourselves, we find any form of distraction to avoid the reality that we are not where we want to be and this is just part of life. So we look to these forms of entertainment which allow us to forget that if we had a fast forward button we would simply skip through all these commercials of life.

But third, and I think this could be the better is to EXPLORE it. We can ask God what this time of waiting is for. We can seek if there is an opportunity that is there that otherwise would not have been open to us had not we been forced to stop from the constant movement that often describes our lives today. Maybe in those times when we seek God for His presence on those dreaded moments we can actually see that He has something that He is teaching us or even bringing into our attention.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Reflections on Sabbath Keeping - Part 1

I remember my initial reaction one Monday morning, once I went back to having my days off after Sunday, having that dreaded feeling of having to be forced to socialize with people. For some reason, I equated talking with people that had anything connected remotely to ministry as "work". I defined that as breaking Sabbath.

For some reason, I felt like Sabbath meant alone time. Not really alone time with God but alone time away from people.

But slowly, the dread faded away. Instead of becoming something that I was dragged to, it became bearable and then eventually enjoyable. It felt good to know that I  can meet people on a Monday, talk about church stuff, and not feel stressed by the encounter.

So maybe, my Sabbath is not really about getting away from people. Maybe my Sabbath is about having the freedom to talk about spiritual matters not because I have to but because I want to. That if I can enjoy doing something with no regard to whether there is a ministry angle to the investment of time, then that is actually a place of rest for me.

I also think that there are people that we can talk to that  refreshes us for different reasons. So talking with these kinds of people and being around them is not work or burden but rest.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Thoughts on Meaninglessness

As I prepare a sermon on Ecclesiastes, I've come across this sermon by Alistair Begg.. He's telling this story about watching late night tv shows and the Monthy Python series. Here's a thought I am now beginning to contemplate:

When we laugh at everything, life ultimately becomes a joke. That is not a happy place to be in.

He argues in essence that  when we hold nothing as sacred anymore, that everything can be made fun of, even the most horrifying of subjects, this actually leads to cynicism. His actual words are: "when everything is funny, nothing is funny."

Choosing not to laugh at certain things can be a decision to say I will not a be a cynic and I choose to find meaning and purpose in life. Choosing not to laugh at everything means believing in a God who gives space both for levity but also for sobriety.



Monday, April 04, 2016

A Theology of Hope

So the question is this, is this oft quoted statement true or misleading?

“God never gives you more than you can bear.”

When people make this statement they are probably referring to this passage in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (ESV) which says
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

Much like some concepts or phrases that Christians quote, the Bible does not actually say that statement in those exact words. But the question really is does the Bible teach what that statement implies?

Looking primarily at 1 Corinthians 10:13, this verse will have a direct relationship to this concept of burden bearing mainly if we understand burdens as temptations to sin.
If the problems and trials of this life are seen as a temptation to not trust in God or to not believe that God is greater than our problems then yes, God will not give us burdens that will be too heavy for us.
However, if we see burdens as those experiences which test our sense of independence or our ability to will our way through life then no, God doesn’t promise that this life will be easier for His disciples nor fair in its treatment of those who profess Christ.

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) says,
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

This passage teaches us that there are burdens that we don’t have to carry. Now this may seem contradictory to the idea that God will not give us a burden that is too heavy for us but it’s not. What I am saying is that if we think we are carrying a burden that seems to be too heavy for us then it means God is either telling us that we are not meant to carry that burden in the first place or if we connect that to Galatians 6 (Carry one another’s burdens and in this way you will fulfill the requirements of the law of Christ [that is, the law of Christian love]), we are not meant to carry it alone.What this means is that during times when we feel overwhelmed by the things that may be happening to us, God tells us it’s okay to feel weak and say "I'm not meant to carry this burden alone."

2 Corinthians 12:9,10 (ESV) says
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

It’s okay to say that I am not strong. It’s okay to say that I’m tired. It’s okay to say that I feel I want to give up. Its okay to feel and say these things because we know that in our weakness God is able to show His power at work in our lives. We recognize that even the strongest and most independent people in this world have a limit to their capacity to handle adversity. We gladly concede to this because doing so does not mean giving up. It is recognizing our human limitations and allowing God to do what only He can do.

In conclusion, I think we are meant to arrive at a place where we can say like Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10... "We are pressured in every way [hedged in], but not crushed; perplexed [unsure of finding a way out], but not driven to despair". So yes, there may come a point in our lives when we feel that our lives are falling apart and that we don’t think we can go on anymore.  We just have to remember that these were never meant to bring us to the point of despair and hopelessness. We are encouraged not to lose heart. Instead we are reminded than in our weak and frail bodies “..we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Jesus and Parties

I have a question:

Why was Jesus hanging out with known and perceived "sinners?"
is it a) He was there as a form of evangelistic/missions outreach
or b) He actually enjoyed partying
or c) both
or d) some other reason?

I ask this because I think one of the tensions that Christians face especially as we live among people who think Christians are kill-joys is whether or not we can actually go to the same places that they go to and not think of it as merely as a mission to infiltrate our target.

It also leads me to this whole idea of how Christians are supposed to have a life that is not just about sacrifice and self-denial. Spiritual disciplines are not the be-all and end-all of the Christian life. I believe the disciplines are just one half of the life that we are called to live. The abundant life or the full life should be a life of both discipline and celebration. John 10:10.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The difference

My dilemma has been since when I was young was whether I was waiting for things to happen or do I make things happen. Maybe its became im more of a Calvinist than an Armenian that I tend to believe that things will happen if they're meant to happen.

But I don't think it works as simple as that.

There is still an element of choice. Free will. Decision making.

Waiting passively has always been my thing.

I have waited a lot of times before doing anything sometimes in through guise of waiting for God's right time. But really how do I know that? What makes me sure that I can know with certainty that this is the perfect time to do something.

There are brief moments though when I am spurned to action.
Life springs into me and I am compelled to move.

I have a growing sense that one again I can not just let life pass me by. Yes, there are so many uncertainties in our life right now. But that doesn't mean we have to pause through button on life.

This is where we are and what we have. This will not be a long time. Especially in light of eternity. Time is more important than money especially in the area of waste. You lose money, you can earn it back. Somehow. Someday. Time wasted is gone. Forever. I need to be reminded of that. Everyday.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Habits

I've been reading about this topic recently and I have been thinking about it ever since I read NT Wright's book Virtue Reborn.
I'm hoping that Charles Duhigg's book can help me get more clarity on this issue and I hope to incorporate the lessons I learn here soon in my own life.

I believe that there are certain small changes that I can make now that God willing will have a significant effect on my life down the road.

There may be a lot of things which are not under my control as of the moment, but I am hoping that I can take this initiative to make a change in my life so that at least I am working on becoming the kind of person I want to be in the future.