Friday, February 26, 2010
That’s the tagline for Kung Fu Panda (the movie). I mention this because I have just finished watching it on this cozy snow day. Po, the protagonist panda, also says, “There’s no charge for awesomeness," but I beg to differ. The awesomeness that we are preparing for is Jesus, the One who is coming again, but there is a charge. It’s not a monetary charge, but a charge of our lives.
This week in Newing Small Group (WOOT WOOT), we studied Luke 9:57-62, The Cost of Following Jesus (sorry if this is a spoiler for you if you haven’t studied this in small group yet). In the passage, there is no explicit list of what we need to give up or take up to follow Him. But as we dig deeper into the passage, we see that there are things that we must be willing to leave behind. There are things we must change to live a life that is following Jesus. A man tells Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus’ response is, “Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to rest His head." As willing as the man may have been to follow Jesus, Jesus reminds him that to follow Him, he will have to risk the possibility of having no place to stay. This may sound odd, because nowadays, we have motels, hotels, inns, etc. available everywhere, including places where we go to do the Lord’s work. But if we dig deeper, we see it is really Jesus telling us that the cost is much more than just a home, it’s everything. To the man who wants to bury his father, Jesus replies, “let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God”. And to the man who wants to first say good-bye to his family, Jesus answers, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”. If we want to follow Jesus, we need to leave everything else behind and follow Him right now.
Our journey with Jesus begins right now.
This journey isn’t an easy one. It began with a sacrifice that Jesus made and now it requires sacrifice from us. It may be something big, something small, something long term, something short term, something cultural, or something that we have grown to love.
Sacrifice isn’t really sacrifice unless we do it with a humble and willing heart though.
Jesus doesn’t want us to be walking besides Him, grumbling the entire way about how we had to do this or give up that. He wants us to be joyful, because although we gave up something here on this earth, His glory here on earth trumps our desires and we are also expectantly looking towards the day where we will be with Him forever and ever (and if you ask me that will be pretty sweet).
If you have told Jesus that you are going to follow Him wherever He will go, how have you been following Him? Are you still holding on to things that are slowing you down, that are keeping you from walking with Jesus at a full pace? Have you been grumbling about how much you have had to give up or what you have had to do? Is He asking you to give something up for the kingdom of God? Do you need to re-evaluate where you have been walking?
Whatever it is, don’t wait.
Jesus, His Awesomeness, is coming.
He wants us, every part of us, so give your life over to Him.
As we prepare for Him to return, He is preparing for us a home in His kingdom for eternity.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
I told him that I believed Basileia was a foundational means of how God has opened my heart and my eyes throughout my time here at Binghamton thus far. Ever since going to Basileia my freshman year, I've been a big fan of IVCF conferences...in fact, I get really excited anticipating their arrivals, and I get more excited when I leave them.
What other kind of conferences or retreats do you attend that you leave being more excited than before or during your actual experience?
Usually we get disappointed when the end of those kinds of trips comes because you want to stay in that place of solitude, peace, comfort and fun. But that's not where the growth happens.
Growth happens when you walk down from that mountaintop into the dark valley following God's direction to climb up the next mountain, when you're challenged to move from your temptation to remain complacent, stagnant, and satisfied.
Conferences and retreats like Basileia, Urbana, and Expedition help prepare us with the right tools for the inevitable valleys and the mountain climbs that we will face on our journeys with Him. They also create an opportunity where God can open our blind eyes to see what He sees and calls us to then "Get up, take your mat, and walk," right now. These conferences help us see...here's where we're going and here's how we can get there, so what is your next step?
I enjoy attending conferences like Basileia for a number of reasons:
- I get to see that our mission as InterVarsity is not limited to our campus. Visually experiencing how other students from other campuses are empowered by God to carry out the same mission in a different university is something you cannot be told but must see for yourself. We are not alone in the great commission.
- I am equipped with seeds of ideas, tools for efficacy, and motivation to go out and learn what part God has designed just for me in His bigger plan not by sitting and listening, but by practicing and doing.
- I have the privilege to see God at work in others' lives, especially those within our own chapter, as we may walk on different paths but strive to move together in the same direction.
- It's fun, relaxing, and peaceful. You can meet new people from other schools, and you bond with people from our own chapter in a way you've never done before. There are fun things to do, and the Saranac Village campground is just a beautiful place to enjoy God's blessings of creation and rest.
Others who have participated may have other reasons - don't be afraid to ask them.
But I'm not telling you these things to hype it up, nag you to go, or make you feel guilty if you decide not to. I and many others who have gone before want to invite you to experience God moving through you the way we've seen God move through our own lives. We don't want to keep the goodness to ourselves - we want to share it with you.
It's not too early to think about it. There are lots of other schools that are registering, so there are limited spaces, especially with the Work Crew track that gives you a $200 if you stay an extra five days.
We would love to see you there. I can't wait to see how God will meet you where you are and walk alongside you in this journey you have with Him.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I hope you enjoyed your Christmas and are enjoying your post Christmas weekend! This whole week has been busy for me with teaching, celebrating Christmas with teachers, celebrating Christmas with team, and even attending a Christmas Eve service at His house with Chinese believers. It's been tiring, but so full of love and goodness.
Teaching the real reason for this season in my classroom was a blessing. It was so empowering just even saying the Son's name in the classroom. Teaching my students also meant opportunities for my co-teachers to hear the story, because they were translating. My teamleader reminded me how lucky I was to be able to freely share that part of my life with them this week.
Three students came to my apartment to celebrate Christmas with me. Two of them are in my class. One of them actually asked me in class if he could come to my apartment with his friends at 9:00 pm. It was really cute haha. They came at the same time that we were having a Christmas party with our co-teachers. It was really fun not having to be their English teacher and just playing with them
As for the Christmas party with the teachers, it was a pretty good turnout =) We also had 2 other foreign teachers come to our party. I was really glad that my co-teacher, Max, was able to make it. During class this week, I had my worldless word book with me, and I asked him about it. He told me that he had read parts of it before, but felt intimidated by it. I hope that as the year goes on, his perception changes and there will be encouragement for him to read it again.
Celebrating Christmas in China wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. My team and I celebrated by doing secret santa, eating breakfast together, unwrapping presents, and caroling. All the days leading up to Christmas, my secret santa left jokes for me in my office and apartment =) Here's my favorite one:
Why does Santa Claus like to work in his garden?
Because he likes to hoe, hoe, hoe! :)
Overall, this week has been good. Tiring, but good. I hope you all had a great Christmas and are relaxing this weekend. Enjoy the rest of the holiday season :)
Peace and Joy,
P.S. I made collages of my Christmas celebration. One is with students and the other is with teachers & team. Check it outttt
Email Received 1/15/10:
I hope 2010 has been off to a good start for you. I just finished my first semester at SMBS (Shanxi Modern Bilingual School)... which means I'm officially on vacation! My team and I are leaving for Thailand tomorrow morning at 9 AM (Friday at 8 pm in America) for ELIC's annual conference. During this time, ELIC's staff will be seeking for next year's plans. My teammates and I are nervous about what will be revealed to us. Please rap that we would be reminded that His plans for us are not just for His glory, but also have our best interests at heart. Please rap for clarity and protection, because I know it's also an opportune time for the devil to work distraction, confusion, and lies.
I hope to update and connect with you in the next month and a half when I'm not in China. It will be easier without online restrictions (facebook & gmail). Hope to talk to you soon!
Monday, February 8, 2010
led by Katy McFadden and Kat Pan* (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mondays, Bingham 5th Floor Lounge @ 7:00 PM
Newing II (Delware-Endicott)
led by Meir Mok and Priscilla Lin (contact: email@example.com)
Wednesdays, Endicott Lounge @ 7:00 PM
led by Mike Leung, Andrew Steier, and Mary Tuttle* (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tuesdays, O’Connor Lounge @ 8:00 PM
led by Matt Tuttle and Oscar He* (contact: email@example.com)
Wednesdays, Digman Lounge @ 7:00 PM
led by Charles Young and Rachel Goldberg (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mondays, Oneida 1st Floor Lounge @ 7:30 PM
led by Will Chang and Brian Lee* (contact: email@example.com)
Tuesdays, Onondaga 3rd Floor Lounge @ 7:00 PM
led by Joanna Lee, Anthony Chen, Jen Lee* (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thursdays, Hinman Cafe near Table @ 7:30 PM
led by Steve Kong, Jonathan Jacob, and Garnett Benjamin (contact: email@example.com)
Wednesdays, Choconut 201 @ 7:00 PM
led by Carissa Rajoon, Marilynn Chacko, and Angel Abraham (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sundays, Appalachian 111 @ 3:00 PM
led by Lindsey Privitera and Gwang Lee (contact: email@example.com)
Mondays, 240 Hudson Street, Johnson City @ 7:00 PM
led by Thomas Chen and Colin Anderson (contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mondays, Choconut 201 @ 7:30 PM