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”

Out of Season

Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; deprive, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 

2 Timothy 4:2

Never before have I felt so “out of season”. For those of you who don’t know, I’m not currently in vocational ministry, and I feel like God has been calling me away from vocational ministry for this next season of life. I feel aimless and uncertain. I don’t know where I fit, what I should be doing, ministry-wise. 

I am out of season, and this has had a very negative impact on my spiritual health. Since I haven’t had something that I was working toward, I let my training slip. Skipping my Bible for one day turned into two days, then a week, then three. I would come back and read again for a day or two, then lapse once more. 

But Paul instructs Timothy, a young pastor, to be ready “out of season”. I used to think that this meant to be ready even when I’m “off the clock”, but right now it feels like so much more. 

Be ready, when I don’t have to be. 

Be ready, when no one expects anything of me. 

Be ready, when I don’t seem to have a reason to be. 

Be ready. 

I must confess that through these last few months since my position came to an end, I have not been ready to teach. But I’m back, and I’m striving to be ready.

Second Timothy 2 shares the idea that a Christian (and the pastor specifically) is a like a soldier. Personally, I don’t feel like I’m on the front lines anymore. Or at least not right now. But, even being out of season, I’m a soldier. Perhaps the closest analogy to where I’m at is the national reserve. I’m here and could be called upon, so I must be ready. 

Aronofsky’s “Noah” and Masculinity

Aronofsky’s “Noah” and Masculinity

In 2014, Aronofsky’s representation of Noah created quite the firestorm in evangelical Christian American circles. Some people loved it because one of the most epic stories in the Bible finally hit the big screen. Others hated it, decrying it’s biblical inaccuracies (rock giants, a silent God, and evolution?). Still others tried to remain more neutral, saying it was a good conversation opener to spiritual things, and acknowledging that since Aronofsky isn’t a Christian (pretty far from it, actually) we shouldn’t expect him to present the story in a Christian way.

Glaring Biblical inaccuracies and misrepresentations aside, I think the most valuable conversation that we can pull from this movie is about masculinity. I’d like to unpack that a little bit, and I apologize in advance, because this will be pretty long.

****SPOILERS AFTER THIS POINT**** Continue reading “Aronofsky’s “Noah” and Masculinity”