Monday, September 23, 2013

Francis Chan on The Movie of Life

"Suppose you are an extra in an upcoming movie. You will probably scrutinize that one scene where hundreds of people are milling around, just waiting for that two-fifths of a second when you can see the back of your head. Maybe your mom and your closest friend get excited about that two-fifths of a second with you ... maybe. But no one else will realize it is you. Even if you tell them, they won't care.

Let's take it a step further. What if you rent out the theater on opening night and invite all your friends and family to come see the new movie about you? People will say, "You're an idiot! How could you think this movie is about you?"

Many Christians are even more delusional than the person I've been describing. So many of us think and live like the movie of life is all about us.

Now consider the movie of life.

God creates the world. (Were you alive then? Was God talking to you when He proclaimed "It is good" about all He had just made?)

Then people rebel against God (who, if you haven't realized it yet, is the main character in this movie), and God floods the earth to rid it of the mess people made of it.

Several generations later, God singles out a ninety-nine-year-old man called Abram and makes him the father of a nation (did you have anything to do with this?).

Later, along come Joseph and Moses and many other ordinary and inadequate people that the movie is also not about. God is the one who picks them and directs them and works miracles through them.

In the next scene, God sends judges and prophets to His nation because the people can't seem to give Him the one thing He asks of them (obedience).

And then, the climax: The Son of God is born among the people whom God still somehow loves. While in this world, the Son teaches His followers what true love looks like. Then the Son of God dies and is resurrected and goes back up to be with God.

And even though the movie isn't quite finished yet, we know what the last scene holds. It's the scene I already described in chapter 1: the throne room of God [see Revelation 4]. Here every being worships God who sits on the throne, for He alone is worthy to be praised.

From start to finish, this movie is obviously about God. He is the main character. How is it possible that we live as though it is about us? Our scenes in the movie, our brief lives, fall somewhere between the time Jesus ascends into heaven (Acts) and when we will all worship God on His throne in heaven (Revelation).

We have only our two-fifths-of-a-second-long scene to live. I don't know about you, but I want my two-fifths of a second to be about my making much of God. First Corinthians 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." That is what each of our two-fifths of a second is about.

So what does that mean for you?

Frankly, you need to get over yourself. It might sound harsh, but that's seriously what it means.

Maybe life's pretty good for you right now. God has given you this good stuff so that you can show the world a person who enjoys blessings, but who is still totally obsessed with God.

Or maybe life is tough right now, and everything feels like a struggle. God has allowed hard things in your life so you can show the world that your God is great and that knowing Him brings peace and joy, even when life is hard. Like the psalmist who wrote, "I saw the prosperity of the wicked Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure....

When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God" (Ps. 73:3, 13, 16--17). It is easy to become disillusioned with the circumstances of our lives compared to others'. But in the presence of God, He gives us a deeper peace and joy that transcends it all.

To be brutally honest, it doesn't really matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory--whether eating a sandwich on a lunch break, drinking coffee at 12:04 a.m. so you can stay awake to study, or watching your four-month-old take a nap.

The point of your life is to point to Him. Whatever you are doing, God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His. It is His movie, His world, His gift."

~ Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lead Her to the Lord

So I made this simple rap about singleness, love and courtship. The scenarios are mere fictional. 
Btw, sorry if I couldn't sing it. XD

Still young, sixteen and into schooling
You met a gorgeous gal in your cellgroup gathering
She looked so passionate digging the word and
She seemed fond of you so the friendship began

In the course of time the closeness sparked
Suddenly you had butterflies in the stomach
But you better think twice and you better act wise
Is she to you a sister or the future wife?

If the latter then brother something's not right
Check your Bible verse 2 of First Timothy Five
Purity in all things is a Christian man's task
Don't ask a girl out if till death you can't part
Lead her to the Lord who owns her heart

Hook 1:
It's not the right time so surrender her in prayer
(Lead her to the Lord, point her to the Lord)
Be a man and shun being premature lovers
(Lead her to the Lord, point her to the Lord)
Let her now just see you as a spiritual brother
(Lead her to the Lord, point her to the Lord)
But lead her to the One who's always ready to love her
Lead her to the Lord who loves her most

Now you're of the right age and you're earning your wage
Been praying for a girl, a pious churchmate
And you wanna know if she feels the same way
Don't rely on mere feelings, do it the Lord's way

First check your heart if love's being an idol
Then seek godly counsel, consult your pastor
Your parents, your elders, your Christian friends
Lastly, meet her parents, tell them your intent

If they've uttered approval you may now start
To go tell her the God-centered courtship you want
And be still trusting Him if she isn't ms. right
But if to courtship she clicked a big like
Lead her to the Lord who owns her heart

Hook 2:
It is the right time but not to be ungodly
(Lead her to the Lord, point her to the Lord)
Be a man and shun bypassing authorities
(Lead her to the Lord, point her to the Lord)
Let the whole world see that true love is patient
(Lead her to the Lord, point her to the Lord)
And lead her to the Lord as you show what love is
Lead her to the Lord as you woo her heart

Now the boy met girl and it's courtship time
Don't you ever think now that the guarding is done
Compromise invites as intimacy grows
So be wise and despise always being alone

And plan your dates well like it's your wedding day
Read books, heed advices, perseveringly pray
Don't let your love life interfere with ministry
Let it be ministry, let the church oversee

Your love story, may it ever inspire
All the people who see you together in love
May you know your limits and protect her from yourself
And when you're all alone in a room that's dark
Lead her to the Lord by going out

Hook 3:
It is a great time to display God's glory
(Lead her to the Lord, point her to the Lord)
Be a man and shun a worldly love story
(Lead her to the Lord, point her to the Lord)
More than for you, let her fall for the Lord
(Lead her to the Lord, point her to the Lord)
Only then can you love her the most in this world
Lead her to the Lord with all your heart

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Desire to Fall (My New-Year Meditation)

For the past two years I've nurtured ambitious desires within me. All are intrinsically amoral. All can be means to glorify God. But it is impossible to fulfill them all simultaneously. And there the conflict lies.

A part of me wants to be a Christian mangaka. I was dreaming of the birth of "Soterioon" manga, aiming to make it as theologically symbolic as Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress yet as graphically good as the manga I read and the anime I watch. But I'm just a novice. I need time to hone my drawing and writing skills.

A part of me wants to be a successful programmer. I'll be happy if this would be my lifetime profession (I was really happy when programming became my job). But there are many languages, systems and frameworks yet to learn. I need time to read, practice and get more geeky.

Silently, a part of me wants to know who my godsend really is, the girl God has prepared to be my lifetime partner. Silently, a part of me longs to be freed from a nine-year illness and the sorrow it produces deep inside of me. Who would dare disagree that it takes time to do these?

A great part of me wants to pursue biblical and theological studies, and be an exceptional (lay) theologian. It was actually one of the reasons why I collect books and join theological fora. I want to know more about the Being who shaped this world and saved my soul. I want to see him more by faith. But though I have the resources I need, it requires time to have in-depth studies.

Still a greater part of me seeks to be a youth shepherd. Yet tending a flock requires time. Time not only to attend to their needs but also to really become a part of their lives. It's hard. Harder than the aforementioned desires. Especially because of my weird personality.

So I wrestled with Time with all my might. I didn't mind sacrificing my health. I knew I have to win this bout.

Unfortunately, I was losing. From time to time I found myself sacrificing one desire for another. I was trying to make the losses minimal (at least that's what I thought). Until my eyes were opened and my heart was broken when the sheep cried in despair, showing me how much I sacrificed them. I have no one to blame but myself. I felt like I betrayed the people I love most. But more than that, the thought of failing my Master tore me to pieces. I was so wrong. I realized that I can't win against Time... because Time is not my enemy in the first place. The sinful Self is.

If it has been the Lord's will, I could have done all those things simultaneously. If it has been the Lord's will, conflicts would not occur. But I followed the Self. And the sinful Self is cunning. It is impatient and seeks gratification under the guise of "good desire". It does not seek the heart of God. It forgets priorities and justifies self-seeking. It must be mortified.

As the new year dawned one verse kept ringing through my mind:
"Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." (John 12:24)
The word "unless" reminds us that this is not optional. It was the only way for Christ to save us all. Likewise, it is the only way for us to be fruitful in His vineyard. To not mind the worries of life. To forget the self for the good of others. To be more serious in discipleship. To give our lives away.

This new year I welcome all good desires to bloom within (including the ones I mentioned above). But only insofar as they will be subservient to this one great desire: to give myself wholly to following His will and serving others unto death. To fall to the ground and die. Just like the Lord Jesus. It will be painful. It will take sacrifices. But it's the only way to bear fruit. Spirit-produced fruits. Fruits with eternal value. The only kind of fruit a discipler would want. The only kind of fruit a disciple of the Lord must seek.

May the Lord enable me to do so.