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Showing posts from 2013

2013: God's People, Providence and Promises

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Counting down the final hours of 2013, I really wanted to take some time to reflect on how the past 365 days have gone by. Time does fly, and if we never take the time to sit down and ponder on how we've grown and how we've changed, we'll probably end up sweeping it aside and taking it for granted. Sometimes we shouldn't always be focusing on the future and what is ahead, but instead look back and see how far we've come. I've divided my year into three, and thought of how I could sum up  what i've learnt in these three chunks in one statement or a few words. God's People (January-April) This was my second semester of my first year of university ever. It was the second half of my transition period, and there were huge changes this year. But looking back at my old posts I think the biggest thing I encountered was God's people and the community He grants me with. God didn't create us to live life alone. ACF is a home away from home, a second fa

Shovelling Snow

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There was quite heavy snowfall a few days ago and I remember having to shovel the snow three times that day. I remember thinking to myself "other people get sand and warmth, we get snow and ice; why can't we get sand?" But as I continued the tedious task, I started to ponder more and more on the subject. No matter how hard or how many times I try to shovel the snow, it will keep falling; piling onto my driveway. I found myself coming to an analogy, that the snow can represent our sin, and the driveway our lives. Because we've fallen short of God's glory and are sinners, our driveway will always be covered in snow. Some of us may think that if we do enough good, that can rule out all our wrongs, and we continuously shovel our driveways with our good works, working towards a clean, and blank driveway. The bad news is that the snow will continue to fall. What we need is a greater force and being to get rid of the snow. The good news is that there is a greater b

Christmas, Not Givemas

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I remember waking up extra early on Christmas morning, running downstairs to the decorated fake tree, waiting anxiously for my parents to come down so we could open the presents. As time has gone on, my understanding of Christmas has changed. What started as receiving gifts, getting stuff, and having the most presents under the tree had become more about giving to others. Whether if it is giving to our loved ones or the less fortunate, I had understood Christmas as a time of selflessness, and putting others before oneself. Fast forward to this year, and my perspective of Christmas has changed once again. Growing up in a Christian family, I always knew the Christmas story. Jesus being born in a manger, the three wiseman and the bright star that guided them. I am currently going through the Gospel of Luke in my devotions and chapter three talks about the birth of Christ. As I pondered and thought about this Christmas story, something about the thought of "Christmas is a time to

The Gospel (In Couplets)

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My friend and I worked together to lead an outreach program today at fellowship and decided to review the Gospel in a different fashion, in a poem. May the Gospel be what brings you joy each and everyday. Be blessed. At first, we were made perfect, by God, the creator, Then Adam fell short of God's divine nature. He loves the world, but we ignored Him, So He sent His Son, to die for our sin. His body broke and His blood was shed, Now we can rejoice cause He rose from the dead. This payment reconciled both man and God, He justified, adopted, and sanctified the flawed. With genuine faith, we must repent, To cherish the love of Christ who was sent. Promising eternal life to those who believe, Without faith and just works, this can’t be achieved. But His last command was for us to go, To all the nations, our faith we must show. By Iris and Jason verse of the day: John 3:16 16  For God so loved  the world that he gave  his one and

A Vision For Community

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" And when he returned to  Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he (Jesus) was at home.   2  And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.   3  And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.   4  And when they could not get near him because of the crowd,  they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5  And when Jesus  saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,  “Son,  your sins are forgiven.”" - Mark 2:1-5 Praying that God would reveal His Word to me in a new light, he answered immediately while I was doing my devotions this morning. This is the story about the paralytic and his friends, and there were two main things I got out of this passage that I think can and should be applied towards community. Our Desire for Christ.  These four friends and their sick friend came seeking for Christ, a

I, The Fig Tree

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"Jesus was hungry and when he searched a fig tree and found no figs, he said "may no fruit ever come from you again!" and the tree immediately withered." (Matthew 21:19) The other day, I was doing my devotions and for the first time I found myself laughing. In Matthew 21, Jesus curses a fig tree because it had not bore no fruit while he was hungry. I couldn't understand why Jesus was so dramatic, it seemed a bit unnecessary to kill a whole tree just because it had no fruit on it. Later that day, I got to share my devotions and my thoughts on this with a friend and she saw it in a different perspective. When you think about it more and more, the fig tree actually represents us, and as followers of Christ, we are to bear and produce good fruit. If we produce bad fruit, or no fruit at all, it is said that the branches will be cut off and burned (John 15). She helped me realize that Jesus wasn't being dramatic, but that is exactly how he feels towards thos

playtime

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Do you have time to play? James Bryan Smith brings up a good point in Chapter 2 of his book "The Good and The Beautiful Life". He talks about playing being "a spiritual exercise that can teach us about living in the kingdom of God." One thing we experience during play is spontaneity. We come across random situations that were not planned and have to deal and cope accordingly. It brings us to a state of vulnerability, when faced with uncertainty. In the chapter for this exercise, Smith talked about the kingdom of God, and scripture tells us that those who have a child-like faith will enter the kingdom (Matthew 18:4). Children are very dependent, and have no power to control what goes on in their lives. They are innocent, and trusting, and that is exactly how God wants us to receive Him and His kingdom. Children are able to play without worrying about what's coming next; do we know how to play? Play includes spending time with your kids, sports, wondering, l

Coming Home

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"Quick! Bring the best robe  and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger  and sandals on his feet.   Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate." This is the parable of the lost son, when a son left his father and his family to pursue his own wants, only to find that nothing satisfies. He finally comes to himself and turns back to go home as his father anxiously waits and greets him upon his return, preparing only the best for him. This parable popped in my head yesterday when I got home from school. Although I hadn't sinned against my family, or done anything wrong, every time I come home, they prepare me my favourite food, they prepare all the best things for me, excited for my return. I don't expect or ask for any of it, but yet every time it happens. It reminds me of how blessed I am, and the endless love my family showers on me. It only gets better because it parallels exactly with our heavenly Father's love, how he loved us

Act Like Men Conference 2013

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Over the past 24 hours, I had the opportunity to go down to Hamilton, Ontario and attend the Act Like Men Conference with a group of ACF Men who I really admired. Their spirituality, their strength and maturity and their love of God has captivated me since I walked in last September as a first year. Coming to this conference, I really didn't have any thoughts about it until we got to the stadium, hearing the roar, and seeing the gathering of thousands of men who love God; that's when it really sank in. This conference was jam-packed, with six sessions from five different speakers in less than 24 hours with worship in between, there was a lot I experienced and a lot I learned. First was worship. Something about the worship at the conference was so different. It was transforming and it was so freeing. I found Vertical Church Band's music to be very simple, from easy to follow melody-wise, to the straight-forwardness in the lyrics. "glory glory hallelujah you threw

Summer's Come & Gone

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It’s finally September, and here I am, moved in and all snuggled up in my new house in Guelph, preparing to take on my second year of Wildlife Biology & Conservation Science. I can’t believe how fast time has passed; and before I want to wish my summer farewell, I wanted to write a short but probably lengthy blog post on what I’ve learnt this summer and what went down. If you’ve been reading my blog, you’d probably know that finding a job has been one of the big things going on in the past. I had started searching since February (which apparently isn’t early enough), and application after application, interview after interview, and rejection after rejection, I finally got a job this summer; in fact, I got two. I had to privilege of working with Allure Window D├ęcor Inc, as a Flyer Distributor and as System Migration Assistant at Tyndale University College and Seminary while volunteering at the Reptilia Zoo. Finding a job this summer was definitely quite the hun

Gospel-Centered Discipleship (VII)

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Chapter 7: Practical Discipleship: Putting The Gospel Into Practice I have to say that I definitely have not been putting my effort into my faith lately, with this dry spell, things are only more difficult. I finally decided to put up the book again and carry on through the final chapters in the book, and each time I do this, I am always overwhelmed by how God is shouting at me, as it reminds me of what I should be doing. The real issue is if I really put it into practice or not. Jonathan uses this chapter to talk about how fight clubs actually work, what they are and how they should be executed. Each and every day we are at spiritual war, facing temptations, tuning out lies and fighting the flesh. With the world around us, we "are tempted daily to believe the empty promises of the millionaire, movie-god, and rock-star lifestyles. we are tempted to believe that if we had a little more money, power, notoriety, respect, beauty, influence of success we would be truly happy.&q

Gospel Centered Discipleship (VI)

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Chapter 6: Communal Discipleship: The Three Conversions There are three conversion Dodson talks about that are needed for us to allow us to become a true disciple of Christ. It isn't just that one day when you decide to turn away from sin and choose to follow God, but there are two more conversions that follow, the conversion to community as well as mission. God granted us a community to be in, people to love, people who love, people who support, encourage and struggle with you as you fight and overcome obstacles together. Men and women who focus on God's love and grace rather than themselves. "Instead of being the church, we have fallen into merely doing the church, and far too often our doing is disconnected from being." I think especially as a someone brought up in the church, we know the routines, we know the right things to say, we know the sunday school answer, but growing and being rooted in the church and it's community is a different story. Dod

Gospel Centered Discipleship (V)

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Chapter 5: Gospel Power: The Essential Role of The Holy Spirit I know i've been pretty slow with reading the book, and going through such a dry period really makes me not feel like doing stuff like this, but I'm trying to press on with it. Reflecting and talking with friends the past week really is helping me realize the amount of effort I put into my relationship with Christ and I really need to step up my game. I know it, but the worst part is I'm not doing much to really further it. Back to the book. Dodson explains in this chapter that the Holy Spirit is the main motivation behind the motivations discussed in the chapter previously. He reveals that often times, the Spirit is often pushed aside, and is neglected compared to the rest of the Trinity. Gospel Holiness is something we should be striving for; it is defined as "obedience to Christ procured from belief in the gospel, not from one's moral effort." It is not to be mixed up with morality, w