Welcome to Tarsus

Welcome to Tarsus

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about myself, so I thought I’d give you all an update on my life and talk a little about what’s been going through my mind.

I’m in a weird spot in life these days. To most, it just looks like a time of transition, a change in life direction. To some, it looks like an opportunity to move in a new direction. To me, it looks like waiting on God’s direction while doing my best to bloom where I’ve been planted.

Let me explain.  Continue reading “Welcome to Tarsus”

Joy and Seriousness

This past Sunday, I was visiting a church and the guest speaker was sharing something that God had impressed on his heart recently: The mark of Christianity is the permeating joy of Christ.

As he affirmed over and over, there was nothing surprising or new to his message. However, it was still a message worth sharing and worth pondering. How can my show, even when I’m not talking about it? His assertion was that it’s deep-seated, situation-independent joy. People should be able to look at us and recognize an inexplicable joy.

This reminded me of an experience I had a couple months ago. My small group was meeting at a local burger joint, and we were taking time sharing what God had been teaching us recently.  Continue reading “Joy and Seriousness”

God’s Grand Narrative and WCCC

Over the past few weeks, my Bible Study has been going over Stephen’s story in Acts 6:8-7:60. In his story, we see that Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, has to deal with opposition. Well, not just opposition. He’s arrested and put on trial, facing false accusations, and forced to defend himself. In the face of this opposition, Stephen relies on God and confidently responds, confounding and infuriating the Jews.

Stephen was accused of speaking against the temple and the law, both of which were held to be very sacred by the Jews. When asked to defend himself, Stephen gives a sermon about the work of God through the nation of Israel. He showed that God did not dwell primarily in the temple, and that He actively sought a relationship with His people. This culminated God the Son becoming a man, namely, Jesus, whom the Jews had killed. Enraged, the Jews drag him out of the city and begin to stone him. And with his dying breath,Stephen prayed that God would have mercy on his murderers.

Stephen’s confidence came from knowing that he was a part of the work that God had begun thousands of years before. During his sermon, Stephen traced God’s work, starting with Abraham, and he derived a confidence and security from the eternal perspective that this gave him.

If you’re a Christian, have you ever taken the time to trace God’s work all the way up to you? Not only does it give us a new perspective on everything, but it’s also kinda fun.

I wanted to do that for our group at West Covina Christian Church. It’ll start out with things that are applicable to every believer, but as we get closer and closer to our time, each of our stories will begin to diverge. And that’s the beauty of it. God has been weaving our threads together since the dawn of time, creating an immense tapestry that we can just barely glimpse if we really try. So let’s try! Continue reading “God’s Grand Narrative and WCCC”

Convenient Divorce: A Modern Mentality?

For me, one of the greatest disappointments regarding divorce is the apparent frivolity surrounding it. So often we hear that the cited reason for divorce is “irreconcilable differences”, and we joke that that could mean almost anything. The sad thing is that, due to the obscenely high divorce rate, many people go into marriage expecting, or at least preparing for divorce. And I would dare say that some people get married because they know they can always just get a divorce if things don’t turn out how they envisioned (side note from a realist: things never turn out exactly how you envision). Continue reading “Convenient Divorce: A Modern Mentality?”

Thoughts from Jesus’ Temptation

I’ve been going through Matthew for my daily Bible reading. It’s amazing to me what I still pick up, even though I’ve probably been through Matthew a dozen times or more.

If you’re human, you struggle with temptation. Maybe it’s resisting that Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup or hitting that snooze button one more time. Maybe it’s the siren call of a winning scratcher, or the “come hither” eyes of that pornographic image. Whatever it is, there’s some temptation in your life. It’s a (now) natural part of life on Earth.

In Matthew 4, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness for forty days. If you’re familiar with the story, you’ll recall that Jesus is tempted by the #1 demon, the adversary himself. And Jesus cleanly and decisively shuts him down, not once, not twice, but three times.

Most of the time people highlight Jesus’ usage of Scripture in defeating sin. I don’t want to take away from that at all. Memorizing and dwelling on Scripture is an excellent way to fight sin. But as I was reading today, one thing that really stood out was how swiftly Jesus rejected the temptation. He wasn’t sitting and staring at the stones, thinking about maybe turning one into a baguette. He answered immediately with Scripture and conviction that the very word of God sustained him.

Struggling in your fight with temptation? Try saying “No” right away, then leaving. Don’t sit near it. Don’t think about it. Just say no.