Tuesday, March 24, 2009


43 -45"You don't get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It's who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds.

46 -47"Why are you so polite with me, always saying 'Yes, sir,' and 'That's right, sir,' but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.

48 -49"If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don't work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss."

Luke 6

let's not be hypocrites. let's not say that we follow Jesus and turn around and do something that is not representing of Him. this is partly why people are so hesitant to turn to Him. "how can these people say that this man, Jesus, has changed their lives when they don't live it out??" it just doesn't make sense. how can we say that the Holy Spirit lives in us when we grow bitter towards people? how can He dwell in us when we cuss, gossip, have resentment and bitterness in our hearts, and say that we're fine. people will look into our lives and see that we are hypocrites if we have all these things harbored in ourselves. we have to realize that it's more than our actions and our words. even then, anyone can see right through it. especially God. it's a change of heart. your heart. to love people that are kind to you. to love people that you normally couldn't stand. to grow to love them because they need love as much love as you do. to love them because God loved you first. if you can't forgive someone. and know truly in your heart of hearts that you can't do it. you have to give it to God. we can't do this on our own strength! we learn all these things about Jesus and all these lessons on how to live. let's build our foundation on it. and live out our lives as people who are truly firm in the Word. i know we can do this! we have to! no more unnecessary bickering, gossip, and drama. more loving, laughing, and living for Christ!

Monday, March 23, 2009

give away your life

24But it's trouble ahead if you think you have it made.

What you have is all you'll ever get.

25And it's trouble ahead if you're satisfied with yourself.
self will not satisfy you for long.

And it's trouble ahead if you think life's all fun and games.
There's suffering to be met, and you're going to meet it.

26"There's trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.

27 -30"To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.

31 -34"Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that's charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

35 -36"I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You'll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we're at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.

37 -38"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don't condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you'll find life a lot easier. Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back—given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity."

39 -40He quoted a proverb: "'Can a blind man guide a blind man?' Wouldn't they both end up in the ditch? An apprentice doesn't lecture the master. The point is to be careful who you follow as your teacher.

41 -42"It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this I-know-better-than-you mentality again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your own part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.

Luke 6

pretty straightforward. =]

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

the great commission

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: "God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."

Matthew 28:18-20

just had to share this. we were actually learning about this at rock harbor on sunday night. todd proctor was speaking and he shared about sharing the gospel. and in all actuality, that's our goal here on this earth. it's to tell everyone of the good news! i hear so many stories of people smearing and bashing christians but it's because they don't have the real story! and it's up to us to set it right! give the world the real story of Jesus Christ! that He came to save, not to condemn. He came to seek and save the lost. He came out of love. and He offers a free invitation to everyone who is willing to listen! He died on the cross for us to wipe us clean and make us new. free from all our pain, our hurt, our past, our shame, our sin. this is the God that we love. and that's all we have to do! just let people know that. all we have to do is share the gospel. the love of God. and don't be afraid. Jesus is with us all the way. the Holy Spirit is living in us so be encouraged and speak from the heart. speak out of love. and people will see Jesus Christ through us! this is our mission! whether it be at home, at school, at work, or another city, state, or country. we have to share Jesus with everyone. we can't keep this joy just to ourselves! let's show the world what Jesus is all about!


Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, "The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they'll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn't afford—she gave her all."

Mark 41-44

i've been trying to do this. to offer what i can't afford. especially in my time. i can't afford to wake up early in the morning to read and pray. but i want to give God everything. i know i don't have a lot of time these days. i'm trying to go to sleep a little bit earlier just so i can wake up and read. lately, when i wake up, i go straight to studying for biology or psychology or whatever. and it's really unfulfilling. it's 7 in the morning and i feel great! to just be filled up in the morning and energized for the rest of the day is an amazing feeling. i find myself trying to get studying and homework out of the way just so i can spend some time with Him. let me tell you something. it's totally worth it. =]

Thursday, March 5, 2009

first and last

yesterday i found out on biblegateway.com that they have a lent reading plan. i was like, "hey, i'm going through matthew right now!" so i just jumped right on board and it helps a lot! it's trying to take us through all the gospels in preparation of easter. i've learned that lent is a time of deep prayer and preparation of our hearts for the death of Jesus. i've decided not to fast either. i've noticed that when a lot of people fast, mainly myself, i get distracted from the real reason that i'm fasting in the first place. i go, "oh man! i don't get to eat or drink whatever!" and i totally miss the point. if i were to fast, i would want to do it the real way. to give up something that i could not live without and to pray fervently and depend desperately on God to get me through. to know what it felt like to be a people so desperate for something and awaiting for their Messiah. and when He finally comes. we are free. free to celebrate and rejoice because He's the one that we've been waiting for! i've decided to actually spend more time just fervently praying this year, to really invite God into my life, and prepare my heart for easter. reading through matthew today, this is what stuck out to me:

1 -2
"God's kingdom is like an estate manager who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. They agreed on a wage of a dollar a day, and went to work. 3 -5"Later, about nine o'clock, the manager saw some other men hanging around the town square unemployed. He told them to go to work in his vineyard and he would pay them a fair wage. They went. 5 -6"He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o'clock. At five o'clock he went back and found still others standing around. He said, 'Why are you standing around all day doing nothing?' 7"They said, 'Because no one hired us.' "He told them to go to work in his vineyard. 8"When the day's work was over, the owner of the vineyard instructed his foreman, 'Call the workers in and pay them their wages. Start with the last hired and go on to the first.' 9 -12"Those hired at five o'clock came up and were each given a dollar. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But they got the same, each of them one dollar. Taking the dollar, they groused angrily to the manager, 'These last workers put in only one easy hour, and you just made them equal to us, who slaved all day under a scorching sun.' 13 -15"He replied to the one speaking for the rest, 'Friend, I haven't been unfair. We agreed on the wage of a dollar, didn't we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the same as you. Can't I do what I want with my own money? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?' 16"Here it is again, the Great Reversal: many of the first ending up last, and the last first."

Matthew 20

we should not be jealous or angry because we've been Christians longer than someone else and they are blessed just as we are. we should rejoice. we should take comfort in knowing that our God is a just and fair God and He doesn't owe anything to anyone. we also have to be careful to not think that if we believe at the last hour intentionally, God will take us in with no question. if we have heard the message but we say that "Because no one hired us" and we're going about living our lives for ourselves believing that we can just accept God anytime, we've got it all wrong. don't wait to accept God. i know it sounds kind of harsh but that's the truth of it. He's not something that you just put on a shelf and say, "I'll get to you later." He's offering an invitation to a life of unconditional love and mercy. something that the world can't offer. it's just something that we shouldn't take lightly. and finally, we have to remember that the first will be last, and the last will be first. we will all be blessed equally regardless of when we were adopted in.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

faint heart

22-23As soon as the meal was finished, he insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, he climbed the mountain so he could be by himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.

24-26Meanwhile, the boat was far out to sea when the wind came up against them and they were battered by the waves. At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror.

27But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid."

28Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water."

29-30He said, "Come ahead."

Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!"

31Jesus didn't hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, "Faint-heart, what got into you?"

Matthew 14

it was me. with Him right in front of me, i started looking around and saw the waves. i got scared. i started to doubt. this past Sunday when i read that last part, tears started coming to my eyes. it went straight to my heart. God saying, "Faint-heart, what got into you?" i don't know what got into me either. i lost hope. i need hope. i need to keep my eyes on Jesus. i've felt what it's like not to. and i never want to do it again. it's a very lonely feeling. this is what i needed to hear:

"my love is over,
its underneath, its inside, its in between
the times you doubt me, when you can't feel
the times that you've questioned 'is this for real?'
the times you've broken, the times that you mend
the times you hate me and the times that you bend
well my love is over, its underneath
its inside, its in between,
these times you're healing
and when your heart breaks
the times that you feel like you've fallen from grace
the times you're hurting
the times that you heal
the times you go hungry and are tempted to steal
in times of confusion and chaos and pain
im there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame
im there through your heartache
im there in the storm
in my love i will keep you by my power alone
i dont care where you've fallen or where you have been
i'll never forsake you
my love never ends, it never ends"

times - tenth avenue north


21At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, "Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?"

22Jesus replied, "Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

23 -25"The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn't pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

26 -27"The poor wretch threw himself at the king's feet and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

28"The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, 'Pay up. Now!'

29 -31"The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, 'Give me a chance and I'll pay it all back.' But he wouldn't do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

32 -35"The king summoned the man and said, 'You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn't you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?' The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that's exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn't forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy."

Matthew 18

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

18:21-35 Though we live wholly on mercy and forgiveness, we are backward to forgive the offences of our brethren. This parable shows how much provocation God has from his family on earth, and how untoward his servants are. There are three things in the parable: 1. The master's wonderful clemency. The debt of sin is so great, that we are not able to pay it. See here what every sin deserves; this is the wages of sin, to be sold as a slave. It is the folly of many who are under strong convictions of their sins, to fancy they can make God satisfaction for the wrong they have done him. 2. The servant's unreasonable severity toward his fellow-servant, notwithstanding his lord's clemency toward him. Not that we may make light of wronging our neighbour, for that is also a sin against God; but we should not aggravate our neighbour's wronging us, nor study revenge. Let our complaints, both of the wickedness of the wicked, and of the afflictions of the afflicted, be brought to God, and left with him. 3. The master reproved his servant's cruelty. The greatness of sin magnifies the riches of pardoning mercy; and the comfortable sense of pardoning mercy, does much to dispose our hearts to forgive our brethren. We are not to suppose that God actually forgives men, and afterwards reckons their guilt to them to condemn them; but this latter part of the parable shows the false conclusions many draw as to their sins being pardoned, though their after-conduct shows that they never entered into the spirit, or experienced the sanctifying grace of the gospel. We do not forgive our offending brother aright, if we do not forgive from the heart. Yet this is not enough; we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. How justly will those be condemned, who, though they bear the Christian name, persist in unmerciful treatment of their brethren! The humbled sinner relies only on free, abounding mercy, through the ransom of the death of Christ. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from him.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


lately i've been really attacked. more and more of those discouraging thoughts enter my mind. poisoning thoughts, really. these questions plague me. "what's the point?" "why even try?" "do they even care?" i drown in these. "it's no use." "nothing you do makes any difference whatsoever." "just give up." i've been unfairly comparing wb with other churches and that's a poisoning thought. in the sense that i think, why can't our church be like that? what's wrong with us?? i learned those are the wrong questions. i've learned that the questions i should be asking are, what does God want for our church? not "what do i want for this church." i took my mind off of God, and it really messed me up. i need to keep my mind on God always. He has to be the center of everything. there's no real point if He isn't. i had lunches and phone calls with friends and i found encouragement and wisdom. God blesses different ministries in different ways. be grateful for the ministry that we do have. put your all into it all the while having God back you up all the way and He will bless it. it isn't our job to change people's hearts. it's our job to offer the invitation. God does the rest. no matter how hard it seems, we need to push on. but we have to make sure our own mind, body, and soul are in tip top shape before we can help others. will taught me this cool analogy. we're like a cup. and we want to be filled with God. whatever overflows should be our ministry. to put our all into ministry without being first filled with God is a trap. we find ourselves furiously shaking the cup for some drop of God's blessing and miracles but to no avail! we're not filled with Him, so how can we possibly expect God's blessing to come out of us? how can we show people what God's love is like if we're not experiencing it ourselves?? it just doesn't make sense! that's when we get burnt out. that's what happened to me! i learned it the hard way. but i think it's something that i had to learn because i know the dangers of it now and how scary it is to not have God prominent in my heart. right now i'm trying to just be still and know that He is God. i'm filling myself up with Him. the only thing that really satisfies. i find comfort and strength in Him. to know that everything is in His hands. that He is watching out for me. to know that His love is never-ending and His love is always here. it's up to us to acknowledge it or not. i took time to finally just worship and read the Word and spend time with my Father. He was here all along. tears came to my eyes. He was saying to me, "I'm here. I was just waiting for you to look at me. I would never leave you. How could you ever think that? I'll never forsake you. you are mine, and i am yours. don't forget that, thien. i love you." i needed that. i think everyone needs that. those who believe and those who don't. to know that God truly and genuinely cares about them. and it's our mission to go out into the world and let them know that they are loved. everyone deserves to be loved even if they've done things that make it seem like they don't. God loved us when we were undeserving. so if Holy Spirit lives in us, we are called to love like that. to love with generous, sacrificial hearts. not scared of rejection and shame. because we've been saved from that. we've found acceptance and honor. we're called to love the easy to love. and we're also called to love the undeserving. those who hate us. those who hate God. this is the love that God had for us, and this is the love we have to offer for those who were just like us at one point before we were saved. those who are indifferent. those who are angry. those who are questioning. those who are confused. those who are hurting. those who are lost. those who were just like us. it's our calling to go out and share this love we found. we will endure criticism and questions we can't answer. but be encouraged because God delights in our passion for Him. He smiles when we are willing to risk our own reputations and our desires for Him. and He is standing there. holding our hands. always.

10"You're blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God's kingdom.

11-12"Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don't like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

14-16"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5

let's be the light that God wants us to be. by living generous lives, people will see God in us. and they'll want to know Him more. and that's when He is glorified. let's be God's light.