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Showing posts from 2016

Final Hours

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It's the last day of the year, and I read a devotion from John Piper's Solid Joys that really got me thinking. The devotional said;  "The 365 days of the year are like a miniature lifetime. And these final hours are like the last days in the hospital after the doctor has told me that the end is very near. And in these last hours, the lifetime of this year passes before my eyes, and I face the inevitable question: Did I live it well? Will Jesus Christ, the righteous Judge, say “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21)?" So as I looked back on my year, I asked myself - did I live it well? Would I hear the words "well done, good and faithful servant?" Accordingly to Dictionary.com, ' Faithful ' is defined as "steady in allegiance or affection, loyal; constant". And I don't think i've been faithful. I've found that this past year, i've chosen flesh over faith, and, after catching up with a friend, i'v

A Year In Review: 2016

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In my birthday messages or my christmas cards, I often encourage one to reflect on God's faithfulness and goodness to them that past year. Why? To give thanks for the grace God has shown to us - all we have comes from the LORD, none of it have we earned, none of it do we deserve - each breath we take is because God gives us each breath. It is also important to remember as we move forward. There will be times when God seems distant, when we may doubt or question His faithfulness, and it's in these times that we must remember how He has been faithful so we can continue to trust that He will be faithful.  As the year closes I took some time to reflect on these past twelve months and highlight 16 instances - not to boast in how great my year has been, but rather remind and encourage myself and others that God is good and that God is faithful!  1. Convocation This year, I wrapped up another season of life. After studying at the University of Guelph for four years, I gra

2017 Goals

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2017 is upon us! Within 7 or 8 days, it'll be January and we'll embark on another 365 days. For many it's a time to create New Years Resolutions; eating right, get that new gym membership... and though some may not think it's worth doing, I always think its good to set achievable goals as well as challenge yourself to build up one's discipline by setting resolutions. It's a time where everyone's doing it, so you might as well? Reading The Whole Bible Ambitious right? I remember the first time I read through it was with "The Daily Message", a one year bible given to me for my baptism back in 2008. I was pleasantly surprised with how I was able to keep up with it, even though none of it probably stuck with me - in fact fairly quickly, it became more of a chore - but I still did it! I do remember hearing that one has to read the whole bible over a couple of times before truly getting a full understanding. But that's not the main reason why i&

Millions of Years Ago

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Just about a month ago, I was assigned my main project for my one year internship at The Arboretum. My task was to create a 6 part interpretive sign series based on "Prehistoric Plants" or "Living Fossils". The focus was on trees, ferns, vines etc... that were around for a long long time, millions of years - according to the evolutionary theory. Some of the plants we picked can be found in the fossil record, and have remained unchanged, trees such as the Gingko / Maidenhair Tree.  I remember hearing the assignment and thinking "oh no, how is this going to go down". Even the topic itself, "prehistoric plants" - has tons of implications of true evolution and old earth theories that completely contradict and oppose our beliefs as Christians.  True evolution (I say true evolution because the word 'evolution' has been equivocated today to encompass more than it really should me, but that's a different story) is an idea that came up

Conversations with a Deaf Man

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This past Thursday, I got to finally return to AGAPEcafe, a local soup kitchen that I serve at. Though I was quite tired that day, I did not know that God had a unique opportunity awaiting me. There were plenty of volunteers that night (praise God!), but that also meant that some could sit and chat with those who came in. I will say that the first thought that ran through my head was "so I could have not come today then". But i'm glad I stayed. As food was being served, I made my rounds to different tables, greeting those coming in and catching up with those i've missed because of my trip. And as one conversation ended and as my eyes wandered around the room, I made eye contact with a fellow individual whom I recognized. He was one of the few deaf individuals that came regularly. I waved hello and then decided to head over since there was an empty seat next to him. I wasn't sure what I thought would happen by going over there considering I didn't know si

Don't Inquire a Piece of Wood

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"My people inquire a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles." - Hosea 4:12 Does this statement sound silly to you? It should, because it is a silly statement. It comes straight out my devotions this morning in Hosea 4 where the LORD is giving a charge against Israel through Hosea for their foolishness and the sin they've committed. The Israelites didn't acknowledge God (v.1), they broke all bounds, from their speech (swearing and lying), to their thought (lust and adultery), and their deeds (murder and bloodshed) (v.2), they exchanged their glory for something disgraceful (v.7), they gave themselves over to prostitution and wine (v.10-11), and much more which all led them astray. I remember thinking after reading this passage, "well, they were quite bad" and "I definitely haven't gone that far", but the reality is, is that this charge against Israel's sin is also against you and I. At the end of the day, we have a

A Spirit of Boldness

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In the past few months, I found myself in two books of prophecy for my devotions without really knowing it. After being intimidated for years and years, I finally decided to read the book of Revelation because I found out that its the only book in the Bible that states that one is blessed by simply reading it (Revelation 1:3) - was I withholding blessing this whole time? It's also important to read and know about the end times, for it is coming and we need to be ready. I also just wrapped up the book of Daniel today, which outside of the lions den and burning furnace stories is heavily focused on visions which tell of what's to come. It was quite a challenging read, and though I may not have understood everything (even Daniel didn't and some things are hidden from us for a reason!), it was encouraging to see and know that God is sovereign over all and though persecution is on it's way, it tells us in Scripture ultimately, that earthly king and kingdoms will fall and

Don't Be Content With Sin

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I've been very thankful that i've been able to spend the past few weeks in Sydney, Australia, Tasmania, and Hong Kong visiting family and exploring. I hadn't been back to Sydney since I was six months old and it's been over four years since i've returned to Hong Kong. It was a great trip and I had to chance to observe and try to understand the asian culture a bit more considering how different I found it to be compared to the western culture I've grown up in. Hong Kong is all about speed, and it's almost unfathomable to fully take in what they've accomplished in such a short amount of time. Every time we go back, it seems completely different. Skyscrapers that are higher than the mountains, the incredibly convenient transit system, underground and underwater cross-harbour tunnels, they're even making new land and are building into the sea. But one thing I noticed that I was rather uncomfortable with was how many people ignored what was around the

Sanctified By Street Outreach

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Will you be with God in heaven when you die?  The past few months, i've been going out to the streets of Waterloo, Kitchener, and Guelph periodically with the street outreach team at Harvest Bible Chapel Waterloo Region asking this exact question. This ministry focuses on the fourth pillar that Harvest is founded on - "sharing the good news of Jesus with boldness". At Harvest we believe that the preaching/speaking/sharing of the Gospel is the primary means God uses to save the lost. "and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth and boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak." - Ephesians 6:19-20  "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heart? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it i

Refreshed By His Word

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"who can say, "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"? - Proverbs 20:9 We have all fallen short of God's glory (Romans 3:23), and being the just and Holy God He is, perfect and set apart - all sin must be punished (Romans 6:23). If someone committed a crime, you would expect them to be punished or that justice would be brought - correct? We have all sinned, from the adulterers and the murderers to the liars and the slanderers. No one can come before God and say that they are righteous (Romans 3:10), at the same time, we cannot work our way to a right standing before God also (Ephesians 2:8-9). God demands perfection, and pretty much from the moment we were born, even in the womb, we were sinful (Psalm 51:5). So, "who can say "I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin"?" This summer, i've been doing the Proverbs challenge - where you read one chapter a day for the month since there are 31 chapters in the b

Immersed in His Creation

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This weekend we had the opportunity of practicing the spiritual discipline of silence and solitude. I remember trying this out in first year - I remember sitting in my room, in silence, and wrestling with just clearing my mind before I could start meditating and reflecting. And God revealed himself to me through music as a song lyric passed my mind and upon listening to it, it was exactly what I needed to hear. This past weekend, God graciously met me in my silence again. Just earlier that day, I had been sharing with my small group about how sometimes it gets lonely being single - it's hard to be fully content in singleness when the whole world (and even the church sometimes) emphasizes marriage so much. And being the emotional person that God has made me, craving relational and amicable intimacy with others, I find myself easily invested into people and friends. It is something that I wrestle with letting go of and submitting to God. I often catch myself finding my identity i

An Exchange Brought To Fruition

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Sometimes you aren't able to see God at work until later, and sometimes, much later. This morning whilst at work, I got this message you see at the top of this post. The first thing I thought was "who's Ryan?" but after searching through my mind, I realized that he was one of my Sunday school kids from a few years ago. Not only that, but my brother has been his overnight camp counselor, and I once taught him at a different church retreat last summer. Seeing texts like this are incredibly encouraging and they are such a blessing to me. It is so cool to see God at work like this. The "recommendation" he's referring is an exchange that actually happened almost a whole year ago at that church retreat I taught at. Even I had completely forgotten about it - but it's amazing to see how something as simple as that would have led to such a result. As I thought about it more, I realized that there was much more to the story than it seemed. BASIC, refer

Board Games Interrupted

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This afternoon, a few friends and I were having a good time of fellowship over board games when we saw the figure of a person outside our window. It came with a knock, and one of my friends went up to answer the door suspecting they were Jehovah's Witnesses - and she was right. What I thought was going to be a quick exchange at the door before resuming our game became a 10 minute conversation at the door as she engaged by asking questions, and challenging them and their faith while the rest of us sat and watched it all unfold. With time, it was suggested to invite them in to open up the discussion to the other three of us. To be honest, this was a bit hard for me - we were right in the middle of a game! I wasn't ready to engage in what ended up being two hours of conversation with these visitors, but I pushed myself to be more open to this opportunity, to not be so close-minded - this was clearly an opportunity from God! Even though it wasn't one that I was asking for

Convocation

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It's the season of convocations and graduations! This past Friday, I convocated from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science - majoring in Wildlife Biology and Conservation Science, with a minor in Child and Family Studies. 4 years and 28,000 ish dollars later - I walked across the stage, shook hands with the vice-chancellor and wrapped up this chapter of my life. Many people say that your convocation is a day you do not want to miss. Even during the ceremony, we were instructed to truly treasure those minutes because they are once-in-a-lifetime minutes. Convocation is a time to celebrate one's academic accomplishments, to take pride in all the hard work that has paid off - and I could see it very clearly every time I scroll through my newsfeed. If it was your turn to celebrate this year, congratulations! But as I reflected the day before and the morning of my convocation, I realized that I wanted to approach this special day with a different mindset. Yes, i

Praying For The Persecuted Church: China

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China is quickly on its way to becoming the #1 nation with the most Christians - 85 million of the 1.37 billion population, the faith is on the rise and is expected to reach this number by 2030. We give thanks that the kingdom of God is growing in China, but usually it comes as a result of the persecution at hand. With such a quick increase in number, the government has been feeling threatened and they've been doing anything and everything they can to regain power and control over their nation. With so many Christians, it has been found that they are all making their way into the different holes of society - from businesses to the government - which is so cool and awesome! I hope we are all also making our ways into the different sectors of society and being a light there for those around us. As a result, in March 2013, a three year campaign known as the "Three Rectifications and One Demolition" was established to get rid of "inappropriate structures". Sho

The Creator at Point Pelee

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I got to spend the past four days at Point Pelee National Park with a bunch of high school students and a handful of experienced birders - and this counted as work for me! I am so incredibly thankful for this summer job (which i'm only two weeks in), i've already learnt so much and have had such amazing experiences - may God receive all praise and all glory!! Throughout these past two weeks, being immersed in the natural and created world it's been oddly surprisingly at how difficult it has been for me to connect seeing creation and associating it with God - to see the beauty and glory of God in the natural world around us. It's been something i've been praying about and I think slowly but surely with some active intentionality, God has been answering my prayer.  It can be incredibly easy to forget about God when you're away, in a secular environment - whether if its finding time to pray, to do my devotions and even to see the Creator beyond the creatio