Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Check It!

Hey guys, I just wanted to hop on here and post the link to the new Christian Ministries newsletter. Read it and see just how God is using Biola and the CM department to equip students to become leaders for Him!

http://biola.edu/academics/undergrad/ce/media/downloads/SP09.pdf

My Freshman year of college is officially over! I can’t believe how quickly this year has gone by. This year has, without a doubt, been the best of my life. God has blessed me sooooo much. I have grown in my walk with Him, I have become more independent, I have realized more and more just how great my family is, I have an amazing group of friends, and the blessings continue to flow and flow. This year has been amazing! Yay to summer, but I can’t wait to come back to BIOLA in August!

I’ve noticed something recently. People aren’t content. I know this isn’t groundbreaking news, but for me it has become a startling realization. Even though most of us have all of our needs taken care of, we are not fulfilled. We long for that which we don’t have and want to be places we aren’t.

Why aren’t we content? Why do we always seek out whatever is next instead of enjoying what we have now?

America, and my generation in particular, is a people of “me.” We live for whatever will serve our own ends. We have been raised this way. “Do whatever makes you feel good.” “You are number one.” “What you have isn’t good enough.” We have been fed these lines from the media, teachers, friends, and family our entire lives. We have been taught that the world revolves around us and that we, in our present state, aren’t good enough to be who we have been told we need to be. This is why we have to have the newest iPhone, live in the trendiest town, and drive the most expensive car. We are wired to long for what we don’t have. This is especially true when it comes to our stages in life. It is easy for us to want to press the fast-forward button and skip forward when our lives seem boring and fruitless. Do you remember the movie Click? In the movie, Adam Sandler’s character receives a magical remote control that allows him to control his life. He is literally able to fast-forward his life whenever he wants, but he can’t rewind. At the beginning, he uses the remote to skip remedial activities such as sleeping, showering, and driving to work, but he soon skips three months ahead to see if he gets a promotion, and then he continues to skip more and more of his life because he is intrigued by the future. In no time, he is lying on his deathbed and realizes that his life is near over and he has wasted it by constantly skipping forward to whatever he perceived to be the next big thing.

Life has to be more than just anticipating future events, doesn’t it?

Jim Elliot, the missionary to the Waodani people of Ecuador who died on the mission field, once said, “Wherever you are—be all there.” This hits the nail on the head. It is so easy for us to long for the future or think about what could have been, but we must understand that we are God’s witnesses everywhere we are. God has each and every one of us in unique places and situations for specific reasons. His ways don’t always make sense to us, but they are perfect because He is perfect.

I am a forward thinker. I always have been. This forward thinking is somewhat obsessive. For example, I started searching for colleges in fourth or fifth grade. I wasn’t even in Junior High and I was already starting to map out a decision I wouldn’t have to make for seven more years. Growing up in California’s Mojave Desert didn’t help, either. It is easy to think and dream about living near the beach where there is surf, palm trees, and a high of seventy-five when you are used to dirt, Joshua trees, and a high of one hundred ten. I have had to learn that while forward thinking isn’t bad, it can impede my abilities to enjoy the now. There is nothing I can do to control the future; all I have is the present.

So often I hear people, my friends and people in my ministry, say that they really want to serve God, but they just aren’t ready to right now. They say they don’t have the resources to serve God, but someday, when they have those resources, then they will be ready to be a sold-out, on fire believers who have nothing to lose and everything to gain from working to further the Kingdom of God. this logic is so backwards. We must look for ways to serve God here and now because wherever we are, God has us there for a reason. God had me grow up in the desert for a reason. He had me go through Junior High and High School and didn’t let me skip to college for a reason. Just as we often live life in an expectation of the things to come, so too do we wait to serve God. I think the Enemy’s biggest weapon against Christians is his ability to paralyze us from doing the will of God. Think about it. Since he has already lost the battle for our souls, the next best thing he can do is stop us from reaching out to the lost.

Catalyst West

A week ago, I was at an Angels game (which Biola sold $1 tickets for!) when my boss called me up and told me that he had an extra ticket for Catalyst West, an awesome church conference being held the next two days at Mariners Church in Irvine. I was so stoked and didn’t care about missing school or work at my other job. Some of the speakers were Andy Stanley, Rick Warren, Francis Chan, Erwin McManus, Ravvi Zacharias, Jud Wilhite, Luis Palau, Perry Noble, Brian Houston, and others. The conference was so amazing and my brain has definitely been on overload ever since. The biggest thing I got out from the conference was the fact that God’s plan is the Church. Since I am going into Church ministry, this affirmation was so important and impactful for me. Check out Catalyst West @ http://www.catalystwestcoast.com

American Christianity.

We live in a unique nation, where the large majority of its citizens claim to be Christians. There are little to no threats against American Christians. We are able to practice our beliefs without fear of persecution or prosecution. Unlike our brothers and sisters in Saudi Arabia, Laos, Turkey, The Maldives, North Korea, and China (and the list goes on and on), we do not have to fear being punished and possibly executed for our beliefs. We do not know what it means for our faith to matter.

The greatest challenge facing the American Christian Church today is safety. By this I mean that we are content living life in such a way that we don’t ruffle too many feathers. We spend far too much time trying to keep our lives at some sort of equilibrium that we totally forget what this life is all about.

Jesus’ Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:18-20, stands as a constant reminder of what our purpose here on earth is. The verses read this way, “‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

We know in our heads that the cause of Christ is important, but because of the culture in which we live, we fail to realize the gravity of what Christ accomplished on the cross. Thus, the Church in America has become complacent. We must remember the Great Commission and Jesus’ command to “make disciples of all nations.” What does this look like practically in our lives? It can look like any number of things, from becoming a missionary to showing love to our next door neighbor. We are all Christ’s ambassadors and as such have the responsibility to be His witnesses wherever we go. We must be missionally minded. When we realize that our sole reason for being here is to witness to others, it changes the way we live our lives. We no longer can think of a trip to the grocery store as simply a way to quench our hunger, but rather an opportunity to share the gospel. This does not mean that we are to live as nutty evangelists on the side of the street calling people to repentance. What it means is that we must view every encounter and every moment as an opportunity to build relationships. It is easier to think this way when we are in the mission field, but in the comfort and safety of the States, it is easy to not think missionally and become the complacent individuals we find around each and every turn in America today. Some may say that to live missionally requires risk. Risk is the essence of Christianity. Paul risked everything, yet he kept preaching the Gospel, even from his cell in Rome. It has been said that without risk there is no reward. Think then what the reward or mission of the Christian is. The answer to this is to build love others as Christ loves us and them. We are to be Christ to the world. For this to happen there is an element of risk that is involved. Jesus encountered much risk, yet He never lost sight of the people He came to save and neither should we.

It is easy to be unsure about living the missional life because it is something few of us have experienced for any real amount of time. It is in this instance where the final sentence of the above passage begins to take hold of our lives. In it Jesus says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” That is so wonderful! It is in the knowledge that Christ is with us always that we should find solace. He is the only place where true safety is found. When we risk ourselves for the sake of spreading the Gospel, we may experience suffering or at the least, discomfort, but I find solace in the fact that Jesus is with me to the end of the age.

My point in writing all of this is not to say that I wish Christians in America experienced suffering, rather that American believers would not take their faith for granted. My challenge is for us to get outside of ourselves and step out beyond our comfort zones. We need to stop hiding behind our churches and our schools and realize that there are people all around us who need to hear the Gospel. The Church does not exist solely for believers. It would be naïve to believe that believers are even the main focus of the Church. The Church exists to equip believers to go beyond themselves and reach their worlds for Jesus Christ. It is the Church’s responsibility to push its members to live missionally.

Just because we live in a “Christian” nation does not give us license to just sit by in the hopes that someone will reach out to those around us. We need to live missionally and to do this requires we take some risks.

This post can start with two words: I’M TIRED! Seriously, I’m soooo whooped. God has given me so many great opportunities this semester to serve Him and have fun at the same time that I never seem to have any free time. I’ve got a busy class schedule and I work two jobs and I recently made SOS (our student orientation service here at Biola). This is the new thing in my life right now. I absolutely love being a team member on SOS. We are such a tight knit family (and we’ve only been working together for three weeks!). The reason I’m so tired is because we have been working non-stop getting ready for Mock Rock. Mock Rock is a Biola tradition. It’s a dance competition and it gets really competitive. For the past week and a half, we’ve been practicing three hours a night for four nights a week. It’s pretty intense, but the end result will be so rewarding. I’ve learned that if you want to get to know someone really well in a short period of time, just dance (as the song goes lol) with them. Don’t worry about me though, I’ve been pounding on the OJ and Vitamins (gummy bear ones of course). PLEASE PLEASE keep SOS in your prayers. This ministry is so vital and it can become easy to forget that God is at the center of it all. Pray that we will always keep Him number one and that we will stay healthy and strong. Pray also for our incoming students, as they are making their decisions as to what school they are going to choose to attend in the fall. Pray that God makes it clear to them if Biola is or isn’t His choice for them. Thanks everyone!

It’s now officially the third week of the Spring semester and boy oh boy is this term already in full swing.

As far as classes go, I’m taking:
Foundations of Teaching Ministry with Michael Anthony
Foundations of Interpersonal Relationships with Shelly Cunningham
New Testament with Matt Williams
Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation with David Sunukjian
Theatre Appreciation with Forrest Robinson
Basketball with Jim Larson

These classes are going well, but since they are all liberal arts classes (except for Basketball, of course), I have a ton of reading this semester. I don’t mind this, though because I am definitely a reader. This semester is going to be busy, but I am so excited for what I am going to learn and how God is going to grow me.

I recently applied and interviewed to be an SOS leader for next school year. SOS is the orientation service that Biola provides for incoming students and their families. I don’t find out till the end of this month if I’m on the team or not, but I am excited at the possibility to ministering to new students as they enter their Biola experience.

My internship at High Desert Church is going well. Last night, I brought twenty of my students down to Biola for a quick taste of what life is like here at LA’s Bible Institute. We are currently doing a lot of planning for our two big summer trips: summer camp at Hume Lake and a missions trip to San Francisco. I am so excited to see how God is going to work in my student’s lives through these special events as well as the ways we try to facilitate spiritual growth every week.