Thursday, October 25, 2012

Good night

Got to love on, encourage, and pray for an awesome friend tonight. So blessed =]

We are where we are now for a reason. God has us on a mission. To love these people well, to shine Jesus' love, to sow seeds. Be encouraged and take heart because God is on your side. The Holy Spirit is here =]

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


now is the next part of my journey. i know where God has called me to be committed in the sense of a church family and body. where to serve and pour my efforts into. to pray for and lift up. but now is when i face the next big question. what do i do for a living?

how am i going to make money? do i go into ministry? into worship leading? do i continue on and get my master's in counseling and down the line become a therapist? do i try to intern at olive crest again and see if i can get a job working with foster youth? do i give photography another try and start up a business again? 

i was talking to my mentor and was learning that any choice i choose now will be God-honoring. that God will use for His glory. but he made sure to tell me that i shouldn't go into ministry if there are other things i feel like i should be doing. ministry should really be a calling from God and not just an option amongst others. so when i'm actually in ministry, in the midst of the pain and confusion and trials, i know that i'm not there because of a whim, i'm there because God called me into it and i will be steadfast in it.

i know i love working with kids. i love working teenagers. i get passionate when i think about being able to mentor and let younger ones know that they have people who truly care about them and believe in them. especially the ones from broken families. i want to be able to be there to point them to Jesus, the one who will love them always when everyone else fails to love them. 

or photography. it's something that i enjoy doing. something that i have a knack for. and it frees me up to be able to lead worship. to mentor youth. to invest in my community. 

right now, i'm just asking for signs. for affirmations. for God to show me which way to go. God has given me gifts. and i want to use them well. i've been mulling on this verse for the past couple of days from 1 peter 4, "do you have the gift of speaking? then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. do you have the gift of helping others? do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. all glory and power to him forever and ever! amen." i want to do whatever i choose to do with the strength of God. to endure the hardships of my work with the strength of my Father so i do an amazing job and God is glorified through it! i want to use my gifts to serve and bless others well. all so that God may be glorified. 

God, would you take out selfish motives from my heart. help me to be attentive to Your Spirit. help me to make a decision that will serve the kingdom and the people around me. help me to keep my eyes on you always! you take care of me, not my job. my job is to help me love the world well and serve you, Lord! keep me connected to you as i try to make these important decisions.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

there's nothing like

all powerful, all glorious, there's nothing like the name of Jesus. i've been listening to the newest hillsong album and there's a song that has this refrain in it. it's amazing how much more a song means when you're broken and in need of Jesus! and when you really read into a song, it has so much more power! for this particular verse, it really reminds me that there is nothing like the name of Jesus.

Jesus. yah-shua. the God who saves. the name that brings healing to broken lives. that brings hope to the hopeless. that is close to the broken-hearted. that came to bridge the gap between us and God. that broke the chains of sin. that took on the punishment and wrath of a just God. that shows us that God cares. that shows us that God chases. that shows us that God immensely loves His children so much that He would sacrifice a part of Himself so that we could be together. the name that brings worth to the those who think they are worthless. the name that is a solid rock in the midst of trials and difficulties that this life has to bring. the name that secures our seat next to the Father. the name that gives us courage to love, to endure, to pursue people in the same way that He pursues us. Jesus. what a beautiful name. =]

i want to lift my gaze to this name. this man. this God. who loves me so. even through the ugliness inside of me and my forgetfulness. my life is a response to what this man did on the cross for me. in response to what God sacrificed for me. i lay down my life so that others will hopefully see Him alive in me. that they would someday understand how much He loves them and wants to be with them. to let them know that He calls them His own, bought by the blood of Jesus, adopted into the family, restored and redeemed for a purpose much bigger than anything any of us could have dreamed of. =] 

the cost is great but the reward is greater! Jesus Christ is all i want. He is more than anything this world has to offer me. more than all the riches, more than all the adventure, more than all the memories, more than all the relationships. these things are all great things, but in light of Jesus, they just can't compare! nothing compares to this great love that chases and redeems! His love is my riches, following Jesus is my adventure, memories will fade, and relationships will too but knowing Him will last forever and ever! my hope isn't here on this earth, my hope is heaven. my hope is in Jesus.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

can you use even me, Lord?

been learning more and more to die to myself. to really put my loved ones before me. to actually put their needs before mine. just last night, thuy was feeling sick so i stayed home with her and watched seek week from the live stream. that is a big deal. haha it shouldn't be, but it is. most of the time, i would put my needs before hers. but i was still able to worship and listen to mike erre's teaching through a laptop, and God met us there haha. it's going to take time and constant reminders but i want to be a man of sacrifice, not just to my friends and acquaintances, but to the ones who see me the most, my family!

it was so cool to hear what mike was teaching on last night! simply that God works in our weakness. breaking the cliche that he won't give us more than we can handle. time and time again in the Bible, we see story after story of unqualified people in over their heads. so when they succeeded, there was no other explanation than God was with them! examples of these guys were solomon, the man who had hundreds of wives and concubines who would write about love and fidelity, david, who was a murderer and adulterer who wrote the psalms and taught us how to worship, and paul, the christian-killer and super jew who was sent to share Jesus with the non-jews! God continually uses the people who just don't have it together to play a huge part in His story!

God works in our weaknesses so that we have no room to boast. i feel like God is really laying that on me now. my worship leading, my singing, my guitar playing. all my idols. my position, my respect, my glory. God is stripping away and letting me know that i am capable only through His power. that He could use a broken and desperate man like me to do amazing things for the kingdom. and i'm just brought back to mephibosheth. the cripple who is invited into the king's court to sit next to the king at the table. what do i have to offer, God? i'm a man who is struggling with so much sin and guilt and fear, what can you possibly do with me? and God tells me that i get to have a seat right next to Him and He tells me that He is going to use me to shame the things that are wise and the things that are strong. wow. =]

God uses the weak. God uses the foolish. God uses the broken hearted. why? because these people are honest and real. they know how weak they are and they know that only God, only His power, can use them to do amazing things because they can't do it on their own. and not just humanly amazing things, but out-of-this-world, miraculous things. =]

the other thing that i've been thinking about and i should be lifting up in prayer is community. i need to pray for community now. i need to pray that i can have people that i can love and serve and who in return can do the same for me. i was just reading this verse in 1 peter 1 and was just really convicted that i need to love and care for my church, "you were cleanses from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. love each other deeply with all your heart." who are my brothers and sisters? who am i directing my deep love towards? i know i'm doing my best to do that with my family, with thuy, the kids at my work, and my coworkers, but what about my church? i need to meet with them and love them deeply. be there for them, invest in them, encourage them, receive from them.

God, help me to be a man of sacrifice. to be a man that remembers that You work in my weakness. to be a man that deeply loves his community. use me for Your kingdom, God. help me to keep my eyes on You. and not to be ignorant to the world and what's going on, but to remember to always view everything with the comfort that my hope and salvation are already in you. =]

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


God, please open the doors for the Gospel to be shared this week, for amazing things to happen =]

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

eyes on the prize

had an amazing talk with a friend last night. we kinda started the talk through an argument and it eventually turned into a time of church. defensiveness turned into a night of affirmation and looking to Jesus. i was able to encourage and pray for a brother of mine and we got to praise God through it. what a blessed meeting that was!

we talked about how much God loves us. and how much we have a role to play in sharing with the younger ones what it is to love like Jesus. how we don't want to focus and change behaviors but the most important thing for us to aim for as leaders is their hearts! if we only focus on their behaviors when they haven't even encountered Jesus yet, then we're just teaching them to be hypocrites! we want them to get to know Jesus and actually encounter the living God, that's what matters! that they are saved, and once they come into that understanding, the Holy Spirit starts changing their lives!

we talked about persecution and loneliness. we talked about praying for people who don't understand us, even when they're in the church.

we talked about how the church is supposed to be a safe place. where all the walls and barriers are torn down. where Christians know that being called a Christian means that we're so bad and so sinful that we had to have the Son of God die for us on a cross. church is supposed to be the place where you can share all your baggage and burdens and ugly stuff that you have and not be judged. rather, it's a place where your family should be able to see your ugliness and be prayed for and loved and taken care of!

we talked about forgiving people and praying for people. even when they don't even acknowledge that they've done anything wrong to us! but that's the way Jesus loved people! He died for those who didn't even know what they were doing. we want to be good shepherds and love people the incredible way that Jesus loves us!

we talked about how Jesus is our everything! how we don't worship Him for what He gives us but simply because He is who He is. our Savior. He has already given everything, that is His identity. the God who saves! we love Him because the amazing love that He has that compelled Him to die on the cross for us! and even if everything, everything, everything is taken away, we will still rejoice because we have Jesus! He gave us Himself! the greatest gift of all! and our mission on this earth is to share this with others! to hopefully have them understand this peace and joy that comes out of that understanding. it's not peace and joy in the way the world understands it, it's so much more! peace and joy in the midst of everything being taken away, in persecution, and in loneliness. this is the peace and joy of Jesus, the man who gave Himself so that we could be together! so amazing.

what a great night. =]

with all of this there has been something else that i feel satan is trying to claw at me with. my idea of being jealous. of wanting an experience that someone else had. feeling like, "oh, i could be somewhere else right now, doing something cool." i keep comparing myself to other people. and it's something that's going to take a lot of praying and repenting to get out of me. i've been doing it for so long!

but it made me think of this verse from philippians 3, "no, dear brothers and sisters, i have not achieved it, but i focus on this on thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, i press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." i need to stop looking at the past, i need to keep my eyes ahead, on Jesus. i can't look left and right at the other people running the race. i need to run at my own pace, i can't be looking at other people and get discouraged that they're running faster than me. i just need to keep my eyes on the prize. keep my eyes on Jesus. =]

that's how i'm going to be a blessing to the world. when i look to the past, behind me, or to the sides at other people, i think about myself. i think about how inadequate i am or how frustrated i am that that is where i am compared to other people. but for me the best blessing to the world, i need to keep my eyes on Jesus! to keep my eyes on the source of my strength and love. that's how i'm going to glorify God. that's how Jesus is going to work through me. that's how i'm going to love, love, love without end. by me taking my eyes off of myself and others, and simply shifting the gaze to the prize. =]

help me run this race, Lord. strong and enduring. keeping my eyes on you. =]

Sunday, October 7, 2012

His plans over mine

i've been making plans for a long time. i've gotten used to making plans and then doing everything in my power to make them happen. when i make these plans, most of the time, i leave God out of the decision-making process. these past couple of years, the majority of my plans have been sourced from my own thinking and feelings. not made in prayer with people who love me and care about me. as a result, i now have fractured plans that i'm not passionate about anymore because they were rooted in my fleeting feelings at the time.

whether it was to invest in a certain church, pursue a certain career path, or invest in a certain friendship, it was rooted in my own thoughts of what was best. i didn't do a lot of prayerful considering. and i didn't do a lot of decision-making that was made in community with wisdom from people around me and people who are way wiser than i am. 

and now there i was, a couple weeks ago, my plans shattered and blown to pieces because my heart wanted to change directions and make new plans. i was lost, confused, scattered. turning left and right, back and forth, all over the place trying to figure out the best way to go. but i was still trying to figure everything out by myself. i didn't ask God to show me where to go, i didn't ask Him to send me people to lead me, and i didn't ask anybody about it. i just made the decisions on my own.

after all of that, i made a mess of my life. turning away from responsibilities, becoming inconsistent, doing things for the wrong reasons. i realized again that i didn't know what the heck i was doing and i was tired of making these decisions all on my own. and i needed someone to help me. so i turned to someone who called me out on my fickleness and for following my own desires. someone who i was angry at the time but i'm so glad i ended up talking to you.

he got me to center my life around Jesus again. to ask Him where i should go. he gave me tough wisdom but things that i needed to hear to set my life back on track. i needed to humbly lay down my plans and take up God's again.

when God is in the center of my life, my path is so much more clear, in a sense. i'm not tossed to and fro any longer, not having trajectory changes because of how my heart feels that week. my path is set because of God. if that's where He wants me to be at the time, then i will be there gladly even if i don't see why He has me there. my heart won't simply say, "man, things aren't working out. i should get out of here and try something else." centering my heart on Jesus, i can say, "man, things aren't working out. but this is where God wants me to be right now and i'm going to serve faithfully and keep my eyes on Him!" 

and even after realizing all of this, i started doing the same thing again, but very subtly. i was thinking that if i go to a certain church, i can take things back to somewhere else. and that's what i wanted to do. but was that what God wanted me to do? i was planning on staying for a year and then going back. is that what God's plan for me is? what if He takes me somewhere and has me there for another 5 years? who am i to say where i will be? or where He will lead me next? 

my job is to simply remain faithful and keep my eyes on Him. and in that, i find peace. in the uncertainty, i'm pushed into God's arms and i find more peace than i could in making my own plans. because my plans could always fall apart but i will always be in His arms. =]

i read this verse in james 4 this morning, "look here, you who say, 'today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. we will do business there and make a profit.' how do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? your life is like the morning fog - it's here a little while, then it's gone. what you ought to say is, 'if the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.'"

so that's what i want to say now. if the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that. wherever He leads, i will follow faithfully. until He calls me elsewhere, until i've thoroughly talked it through with Him, until i've talked and prayed it out in community and with leadership, i will remain faithful to where He's called me. this is my commitment. 

help me, Lord. let me keep my eyes on You. let me trust my leaders and my community. You have given them authority to speak into my life and i will humbly listen and take what they say to heart. i trust You, Lord. Your will be done in my life. Your plans over mine. You know what's best. Use me to share Your love!

take back the throne

following through on commitments. asking God for more affirmations that this is where He wants me to be. to show me the bones. to remind me that i'm on the right path. no matter the trials that i may face, whatever the loneliness, or the hard lessons to learn, i want to be totally committed and trusting God all the way. no matter where He takes me, i will remain faithful. no matter where He will have me, i know that that is where i truly want to be, in His will. =]

read this in james today, "for wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. but the wisdom from above is first of all pure. it is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. it is full of mercy and good deeds. it shows no favoritism and is always sincere." i want to be a man that is seen for the wisdom that's from God, not for jealousy and selfish ambition. for so long, i've been doing things because i'm jealous of other churches or people or because i want to be somewhere for my own personal benefit. and my ministry and my life get messed up because of it! people get hurt and i end up serving fleeting desires that just don't satisfy. but no more! i want my motivations to be pure! i want to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus! i want to glorify God and serve wherever i am. not for my benefit but for the world to see Jesus! i can't make people fall in love with Jesus but i can set up the first date. =] or even let people know how amazing He is by the way i talk about Him and live my life. =]

it's the surrender of my heart. to trust when i don't see what's ahead. to remain faithful when i don't see how long the pain will last. to love strong even when the hurricanes come. to have my foundation built on solid rock. to let God back on the throne of my heart and my life. to let Him take the reins. to simply rely on Him and let Him take me where He wants to take me. to find comfort in Him and Him alone. to be still and know that He is God. to be connected to the true Vine. my Jesus. my Savior. =]

use me, Lord. i love You so much. God, i surrender everything to You. You deserve it all. all the power, glory, praise. forever and ever. i just want to know You more and more. continue to refine me, God. purify my heart. make me more and more like You! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012


slowly but surely, God is leading us to a decision. as i'm surrendering my desires and what i want, i start seeing the need and how i can glorify God the most. as i factor myself out of the equation, it becomes apparent of what decision i need to make, no matter the trials, difficulties, uncertainty, and fear that i face. again, i have to remind myself that God is with me and i don't have to fear. =] my life is in His hands and i just need to trust.

when i think about the next steps, the move, i remember the pain. the disappointments, the loneliness, the tears. but it was in these moments that my faith grew because God met me. and He made me strong through the obstacles. thuy and i started reading james yesterday and this verse really stuck out to me. "dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. for you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow." i want my endurance, my perseverance to grow. i want to be more mature in my faith. i want to serve God with everything that i have, when things are amazing and especially when everything is falling apart. i want to be faithful and marked by endurance. the same way Jesus endured all the pain of going to the cross for me. He didn't back out, He took on sin and death and didn't give up because He knew who He was doing it for. To glorify His father and to save us! 

I want to endure to glorify my Father and hopefully share this love of Jesus with the world! and in this love, people would come to know the endurance and faithfulness of God's love and they would come to know Him through me. through a love that doesn't give up in hardships, that endures through pain and tears, that perseveres through so much difficulty. this is the love of Jesus and i want to be the man that displays that for people to see. =] so they can see Jesus and ask about Him. and i can share the amazing story of the God who gave everything to be with us. =]

and not just through me. i want to pass this love on to the younger generation. to fill up youngsters just like me. to disciple and show them what it means to love like Jesus. to multiply this love. to share the Gospel. this amazing, revolutionary, Good News! 

Lord, fill me to fill others! give me the love to love the world. help me to teach younger ones how to love without end. to love in a way that the world cannot understand. to love like Jesus. =]

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

the peace of God

had an awesome talk with a friend last night. talking about Jesus and just how amazing He is. the crazy thing is this person is going through some really tough life circumstances right now but it's so cool to see them just depend on God and find His peace through it. so encouraging. something that anyone else would easily find frustration and anger at God. but to see this person praise God through it and lift Him up was just so beautiful.

i've been learning how to pray out my anxieties and to be filled with the peace of God. and it's possible to be filled with peace because i know that my circumstances don't define and dictate my joy. my joy is in Jesus Christ, who is never-failing and always there for me. so whatever happens in my life, i don't have to worry anymore. God is with me, whom or what shall i fear? to see this person going through so much, and to see them trusting in God, it tells me that i, too, can handle anything that this world has to throw at me!

i'm brought to this verse in philippians 4. "don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." it's true. it exceeds all understanding. people don't understand why these Christians can have such peace in troubling times. it's not because we're ignorant or refuse to face facts. we see all that life has thrown at us and find strength in Christ Jesus who strengthens us. 

God is our everything. our hope and strong foundation. unchanging and unshakeable. my life will be shaken and pushed back and forth. but my God is strong and always with me! no matter what happens, God is so good! He has already given me so much and i couldn't ask for anything more! what an amazing peace we have. =]

and with this, our conversation turned from our circumstances to talking about how we could glorify God through our circumstances. to be able to share how much Jesus loves us using the life situations we've been through and we are in. to always be on mission. to share this hope, peace, and love that we've received with the world. =]