Written by Eva Prokhorova Sunday, 17 February 2013 07:44
Written by Melody Nash Thursday, 14 February 2013 16:33Valentine's Day... this day either fills people with joy or with sadness. It's a day where people all over the country celebrate love, or mourn a lack thereof.
Written by Eric Wilkins Tuesday, 12 February 2013 22:20
For me, it seems far too easy to be in the company of, and minister to, those who seem to be fairing well in life. It is safer, more comfortable. MInistry, however, should not be based on the comfortability of the one ministering. Is not ministry the service of others, the giving of one's self for the benefit of someone else? It should mean loving people enough to care about their eternity no matter what the cost.
This past weekend we were with the Daytona Beach Alliance Church. I was struck by the way the church was not just a body of believers who came together on Sundays to fill a quota for the week or to show that they are upstanding citizens. This was a place for those who are clearly broken and shunned by the world as well as those who seem to have it together in life. Granted, everyone is broken and in need of the truth of the Gospel, but I definitely feel that there are those who are looked down on for their vices or their past. During our stay in Daytona Beach, I sensed a weight on the city. A seeming darkness hovering over it like a cloud. We heard of rampant drug use and you could see it in some of the people we saw around. It was awesome to see that some of those who have been addicted to the high of drugs or stuck in the grip of some other substance abuse are found in the pews. They are seeking the true Healer and the One who makes all things new. It was amazing to see a congregation who truly is impacted by and understands these dark realities and chooses not to ignore them but to counter it with the truth of the love, acceptance and fulfillment found in Christ. The church clearly has a heart for those who are lost and in need of the true healer. A verse that was used in the sermon on Sunday fits their actions perfectly:
"When the Pharisees saw this they asked the disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?' On hearing this, Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'" Matthew 9:11-13
Written by Angus Yao Monday, 11 February 2013 23:28
Well, maybe not at first, when you’re sailing around with the sun out and everything’s going your way. But when a storm rolls in and you realize that you’re missing the one thing that’ll let you ride out the storm safely, when you’re being blown around by the wind and waves and there’s nothing to hold fast to, suddenly all the other expensive equipment on the boat doesn't seem to matter as much. You just want that anchor.
“…so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…”
- Ephesians 4:14-5
For many of us, trying to figure out our faith is very much like a boat floating around without an anchor. Maybe we’ll turn to theology, life experiences, emotions, friends. And maybe, for a while, it’ll work out. We’ll feel good about ourselves, about the knowledge that we’re gaining, about the good works that we’re doing. We’ll enjoy the conversations that we have with others about how God is blessing our lives.
But what happens when the “feel good” emotions wear off, when the thrill and novelty of good works and knowledge grow old. At some point, my broken, human nature takes over and it’s easy for me to grow weary and cynical. I begin viewing God and his word through the lens of my own experiences which ultimately leads to frustration and disappointment. Through the lens of my sinful self, God doesn't seem to be faithful or constant, his promises not worthy of being kept.
How foolish can I be. To limit God who created the world with my shortsighted experiences and perceived injustices. To be swept so far off course that I forget about God’s ultimate promise. Jesus. Now there is nothing wrong with theology, emotions, and conversations. These are good things can inspire and challenge us, but when they become a substitute for Jesus, we've just dumped the anchor for our faith to be swept around by the waves.
This year with CTI is a constant reminder to put Christ at the center of everything that we do. To let Christ be the anchor through which we share our stories, sufferings, and joys. To let Christ be the lens through which we process what we are experiencing. To let Christ be who we are growing closer to, not lofty knowledge, or fleeting emotions. (Again, there’s nothing wrong with knowledge and emotions, they can strengthen our faith as long as we keep Jesus as our foundation)
In Jesus Christ, we have a solid hope and anchor. Apart from him, we’re aimless and drifting. Wherever you may be in your faith journey, I’d like to encourage you to stay fixed on Jesus. If things are difficult and you’re in a season of doubt, look to Jesus to hold you fast in the midst of questions and confusion.
“…let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the the throne of God.”
- Hebrews 12:1-2
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