Aug 18

In the Name of Jesus

John 20:31
but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

 

Today I had the privilege of attending one of the most life changing conference in my life, City Impact 2013, here’s a brief video about what City Impact is:

 

Here just few testimonies I can remember and I have encountered:

 

One volunteer from the prayer tent shared that when the event first started, only one Asian grandma came not speaking English at all. They found a translator and started this three-way conversation getting to know the grandma and the Spirit just started prompting the volunteer questions to ask. Long story short, the volunteer got to know the grandma’s story and also shared the gospel, and here’s the amazing thing, the part that shocked and blessed the volunteer so much, the grandma asked, “are you coming to bless me in the name of Jesus?”

 

Another two volunteers found out they just ran into a girl who has been reported missing by her mom for over a year, upon realizing, they went out and started looking for her. She was 20 minutes ahead of them, as they searched and searched and searched, they felt like there just no way to find her and one of them just started praying, “Jesus, your hand is gotta be in this, otherwise we aren’t going to find her…” and just as he continued to pray, his buddy yelled out, “there she is down the block!” So there they started chasing her and she ran (she’s mentally unstable) and eventually the police came and got her settled and the mom is flying out to see her.

 

Another volunteer, after back massaging one of the tenderloin guest, shared something God has put on his heart, and the guest looked up and said “thank you Jesus!”  It was the first time the volunteer heard someone saying “thank you Jesus” for what he had done, it was so much more fulfilling and amazing than being thanked or being complimented.

 

As I was walking out of the Warfield Theatre, I saw a homeless guy and just felt the Spirit prompting to talk to him and give him some money, I asked him what his name was, and he told me his name, but there’s more, he said that’s his real name, I was puzzled. I asked him what does that mean, and he told me homeless people have street names and no one tell others their real names, and I told him my name and I asked him if he knows Jesus. We talked a little bit more and he asked me, “what are you on?” I was like what? He said, “you are on a mission!” I was like, “what mission? I don’t know what you are talking about,” “You are on a mission for Jesus,” he said.

 

There are so many more stories, one after another, the same thing over and over again, it is so uncomfortable to share about Jesus, to speak of His Name, to serve and to love in His Name, yet it feels so right, it feels so alive, it was absolutely life-changing.

IMG_20130817_234901

 

Ultimately, it’s not about City Impact, it’s not about Francis Chan, it’s not about Bethel Music, it’s not about the volunteers, it’s not about Oscar, but it’s all about Jesus. His name that changed lives, moved the mountains, calm the raging sea, bringing dead to life, make what is impossible possible, that is the name of our God, the name of Jesus!

 

It was so phenomenal and incredible just seeing the body of Christ coming together, across the US, across all the different churches, denominations, and backgrounds to just serve and love in the name of Jesus. There’s something so different when the name of Jesus is being lifted up, and it wasn’t about any particular individual or groups of individual, but watching and seeing God do the impossible, witnessing people proclaiming the goodness and greatness of our God beyond what we can or cannot do!

 

Several notable quotes:

“It’s when we start self-forgetting that we start finding ourselves.”

“Being rejected is not failure, refusing to be rejected is.”

“When we bring our natural and meet with God’s super, He does the super natural.”

and my reflection, when we begin to recognize and acknowledge that it isn’t about us, it was never about us, but it is all about Him, that’s when we discover, He is all about us, every single one of us!

 

I am so tired, but so fulfilled, so thankful for what God did today in and through everyone involved. It is truly more amazing to give than to receive. It is truly transformational when God’s name is lifted high and we become so insignificant but so intimate to the very heartbeat of God to connect and experience the glory of God.

 

There’s just so so so much more, please, spend some time, find out more about what’s going in the SF Tenderloin district and what City Impact is doing through Adopt-A-Building initiative. If you have more questions, please contact me or leave a comment below.

 

In His name…

Apr 15

Christlikeness Part 3 – With God

I ended my last post on Christlikeness with several questions:

 

So then… What is the solution? If Christlikeness is not about being like Jesus, if we are to stop trying to be like Jesus, then what should we do? Where should we go?

 

A different way of looking at this question is this. Given two people, both loving, both joyful, both considerate, patient, pure, generous, you name it, they got it. One is a Christian, one is not, what sets them apart?

If we as Christians are seeking purely for Christlike virtues, what then sets a non-Christian apart from us in our lives? Because I can certainly identify several non-Christians in my knowledge whom exhibit same and sometimes greater virtues than most Christians I know.

Let us push that envelope a bit further, what if you can go to a heaven without God? Would you still want to be there? You experience no pain, no sorrow, no sin, and only perfection, joy, peace, comfort, love, and all that is good, but God is not there, would you still want to be there?

To be honest, at several junctures in my life, I would scream out, “YES!!!,” because I was so troubled with my sins, so entrapped with my depression, insecurity, anxiety and fear, all I could think about was what could I do to get out of my condition, what could I do to be freed and saved from all these junk in my life. With God or not was irrelevant, without pain and without sorrow was all that I could care about.

But that doesn’t work as I discussed in previous post, so we are back to ground zero again, what then matters?!

Exodus 33:12-16

12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’ 13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.” 14 And he said,“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

 

This is the answer. The entire Jewish heritage points to this one particular truth and point:

Matthew 1:23

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

 

God’s calling and God’s promise also boil down to this simple idea:

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Matthew 28:20

20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

 

Parallelism is one of the most defining traits of the Hebrew language, and we find in Micah 6:8, the act of doing justice, loving kindness, is in direct parallel to walking with God. It is by walking humbly with God, one exhibits such character of justice and kindness distinct from all other people. It is for this very purpose, Christ came down from heaven to save us from our sins, so that we know God is with us. It is for this very purpose Christ came back to life, so that we can be with God through the great high priest, Christ Himself and no other names, no other barriers, no more annual sacrifices, no more curse and no more condemnation.

 

Therefore, With-God is the crescendo of Christian walk, the result of crucified and resurrected Christ, the source and the sustenance of Christlikeness.

 

Yet, being with God is not something we earn, but an act initiated and completed by God through our participation. Similar to a parent child relationship, a child did not “earn” his or her right into the family, one is simple born into the family based on the initiation of the parents, the nine months of carrying out the baby by the mom and I will stop the analogy right there. Point is, it is not earned, but given into. Still, in the process of growing up, a child can choose to either participate in building a relationship with the parents, hardening one’s own heart, or outright forsaking the family. In a very similar way, people can also choose to receive the adoption of becoming a child of the heavenly Father, or building up walls around one’s heart, physically there but not really, or, leave the relationship altogether.

With all that has been said so far, there are few questions we ought to ask, if with-God is what defines a Christian, then do I truly want to be with God? More than anything else? Really?

If I do want to be with God, what does that look like?

Well… it’s getting late, I will answer that in another post, for now, think about the questions asked here, and really, be honest with yourself, do you desire God, really?

Apr 08

Christlikeness Part 2 – Stop Trying to be Like Jesus

Living the Christian life is not about being like Jesus!

What?! There, I said it, and I will say it again, Christian walk is not about becoming more like Jesus Christ, that is only the end result of something else entirely different.

I find this quote to shed some light on the same idea I desire to communicate:

“Healing is not about doing better or being stronger or going to church more. It is about experiencing a love that will never let you go.”

For all our good intentions and strenuous methods, we do not approach and receive that life in a way we perceived. It is so easily being shaken and broke down when we experience failures after failures and seemingly living a life having the appearance of a Christian, Christ-like, on the surface, but deep beneath the holiness we put on, shattered, and broken pieces of our past, present and future lingering around, waiting for the moment when we slip.

“Where did that come from?”

“That can’t be me?!”

“I’m usually not like this…”

We say, and genuinely so, we are confused by these sudden outburst of anger, jealousy, anxiety, fear, and depression. But why? Where does it come from? How do we fix it?

We then proceed to add on more Bible studies, more prayer, more worship, maybe even verse memorization, or even fasting, for days! Surely these things will make me more like Jesus, right? Right?! Yet, no matter how much we do, how much we try to be like Jesus, we might be good for a while, then, that person said that, this thing happened and that incident reminded me of, on and on and on, we failed at the most insignificant trigger of a much deeper issue at the root of our hearts.

So then… What is the solution? If it’s not about being like Jesus, if we are to stop trying to be like Jesus, then what should we do? Where should we go?

I will talk about it in Christlikeness Part 3!

 

 

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