January 2006

My dad addressed a common question in his sermon today: “Why isn’t God helping me?” Why doesn’t he just take all my problems away? But we are at war. It’s like we are standing in crossfire and asking with a sense of shock and betrayl, “God, why don’t you just make them stop firing at me?” But no! This is the part of the story we’re in! That day is coming, when Jesus returns, but right now it’s a bloody battle. Jesus said, “In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, for I have overcome the world.”


Taekwando class has taught me that I’m very inflexible; the least flexible in my class. So I try to spend as much tiem per day stretching my legs in every direction. I’m also stretching myself spiritually by joining the leadership team of an upcoming Alpha course. I’ll have to do some direct “evangelism” – talking to strangers about coming to Alpha, which scares me and will stretch me. I’ll probably have other responsibilities that will stretch me, too. I look forward to the challenge. Yet, it seems no matter how long I reach toward my toes, I can never wrap my palm around them.

God still teaches me things every day, but I’m just sooooo busy these days.

It’s hard or impossible to rid my mind of lust when I keep putting lust into it by watching movies like Wedding Crashers. But, to keep my mind lust-free in our time, I’d probably have to blind myself, which also makes me less effective in God’s kingdom work. Watching less movies like Wedding Crashers is a step forward, though… let’s see how that works.

I’m a fairly hardcore techie and everybody knows it. So, if anything goes wrong with a friend’s computer, they call me. This used to irritate me. I wanted my gifts for myself! But of course i wanted to benefit from the talents of everyone else (especially people who understood cars). But my talents are not for me; they are to empower the body of Christ and God’s kingdom work. Now I am glad to give of my talents for God’s purposes, and have been doing it regularly. It feels good to be living in your purpose. Try it.

I attended a private Christian school for K-11th grade. One year, my Bible teacher had the class memorize all of Psalm 119, the longest and most repetetive chapter in the Bible*. I developed an allergic reaction to its verses. But today I read Psalm 19, a passage from which covers the same topic as Psalm 119 in paraphrase: “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes” (verses 7,8).

Only very recently have I learned how this can be true, that God’s law need not be an annoying burden, but an empowering and wise approach to life. Is it really so hard to believe that God, the smartest and most knowledgeable being in the universe, who personally created us, would give an “owner’s manual” to his most beloved creation? God’s commands are not tiresome boundaries; they are the most sensible way to live in maximum joy and effectiveness. God is much smarter than the most well-known psychologists, economists, and self-help authors. His way is best; he knows what he’s talking about!

*The same teacher also had us hand-copy entire chapters of the New Testament. If one letter was messy, we had to do the whole page over again. Clearly, he was too lazy to teach a useful course on the Bible.

Every week I have breakfast with my dad. It’s a real treat because God has gifted him for discernment, wisdom, and relational ministry, and he has developed those gifts steadfastly. He often has useful insights for me.

Today I mentioned that I had such diverse interests that I felt I couldn’t focus my life for God’s Kingdom the way The Purpose Driven Life recommends. I know that a focused life is most effective, but I have many passions and talents and I don’t want to abandon any of them. My dad pointed out that I’m in the middle of the stage of life where we must explore and seek out the talents and passions God has given us, develop some of them a little ways, and later select one or a few to develop intensely, as God sees fit. That relieved me, and I know some of my discontent is that I don’t want to be in that stage of life anymore. I want to establish a base of operations, have steady and significant income, start a family. I want to be secure and fortified. But God doesn’t want that. My dad pointed out that this is a good thing that I have twisted. The body of Christ needs people who prepare for endeavors, but I have become dependent on being careful and safe and I don’t take enough risks.

Good stuff.

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