Thanks for the good run, LJ. :)
True to your name, you will stay here, forever undeleted.
I'm not the most loving person in the world. In fact, I maintain I'm one of the least loving persons ever. It's hard for me.
But Jesus did the hardest thing, and loved someone like me just as I am, but so much that I'm not the same person anymore. His love makes me new.
God is trustworthy and faithful and beautiful and powerful. I pray you'll know that for yourself personally.
I've told a friend of mine that I don't care, I don't care if you're gay, straight, curly, wavy, bisexual, metrosexual, heterosexual, bent, wriggly -- I will love you (or at least try), because I know Jesus loves you.
Here's a conversation about homosexuality I appreciated.
I wish all conversations regarding homosexuality (and other sexual sins, let's not single it out) went this way.
Kinda long, but I thought it was worth the read.
Host: You are a Christian pastor, and you say you believe the Bible, which means you are supposed to love all people.
Pastor: That’s right.
Host: But it appears to me that you and your church take a rather unloving position when it comes to gay people. Are homosexuals welcome to come to your church?
Pastor: Of course. We believe that the gospel is a message relevant for every person on the planet, and we want everyone to hear the gospel and find salvation in Jesus Christ nbsp; So at our church, our arms are outstretched to people from every background, every race, every ethnicity and culture. We’re a place for all kinds of sinners and people with all kinds of problems.
Host: But you said there, “We’re a place for sinners.” So you do believe that homosexuality is sinful, right?
Pastor: Yes, I do.
Host: So how do you reconcile the command to love all people with a position on homosexuality that some would say is radically intolerant?
Pastor: (smiling) If you think my position on homosexuality is radical, just wait until you hear what else I believe! I believe that a teenage guy and girl who have sex in the backseat of a pick-up are sinning. The unmarried heterosexual couple living down the street from me is sinning. In fact, any sexual activity that takes place outside of the marriage covenant between a husband and wife is sinful. What’s more, Jesus takes this sexual ethic a step further and goes to the heart of the matter. That means that any time I even lust after someone else, I am sinning. Jesus’ radical view of sexuality shows all of us up as sexual sinners, and that’s why He came to die. Jesus died to save lustful, homo- and heterosexual sinners and transform our hearts and minds and behavior. Because He died for me, I owe Him my all. And as a follower of Jesus, I’m bound to what He says about sex and morality.
Host: But Jesus didn’t condemn homosexuality outright, did He?
Pastor: He didn’t have to. He went to the heart issue and intensified the commands against immoral behavior in the Old Testament. So Jesus doesn’t just condemn adultery, for example, as does one of the Ten Commandments. Jesus condemns even the lust that leads to adultery, all with the purpose of offering us transformed hearts that begin beating in step with His radical demands.
Host: You say he condemned adultery, but he chose not to condemn the woman caught in adultery.
Pastor: That’s right, but He did tell her to “go and sin no more.”
Host: But who are you to condemn someone who doesn’t line up with your personal beliefs about sexuality?
Pastor: Who am I? No one. It’s not all that important what I think about these things. This conversation about homosexuality isn’t really about my personal beliefs. They’re about Jesus and what He says. I have no right to condemn or judge the world. That right belongs to Jesus. My hope is to follow Him faithfully. That means that whatever He says in regard to sexual practices is what I believe to be true, loving, and ultimately best for human flourishing – even when it seems out of step with the whims of contemporary culture.
Host: But you are judging. You are telling all the gay people watching this broadcast that they are sinners.
Pastor: I’m not singling out gay people. I’m pointing to Jesus as the answer to all sexual sinfulness.
Host: But you are referring to gay people. Why are you so focused on homosexuality?
Pastor: (smiling) With all due respect, you are the one who brought up this subject.
Host: Are you saying that you can’t be gay and Christian?
Pastor: No. I’m saying that you can’t be a genuine Christian without repentance*. Everyone – including me – is guilty of sin, but Christianity hinges on repentance. We agree with God about our sin, and we turn from it and turn toward Jesus. When it comes to Christianity, this debate is not about homosexuality versus other sins. It’s about whether or not repentance is integral to the Christian life.
Host: But do you see why a homosexual watching this might think you are attacking them personally? You’re saying that something is wrong with them.
Pastor: I think Jesus’ teaching on sexuality shows us that there is something wrong with all of us – something that can only be fixed by what Jesus did for us on the cross and in His resurrection. That said, I understand why people might think I am attacking them personally. Most people with same-sex desires believe they were born with these tendencies. That’s why they often see their attraction as going to the very core of who they are, and so they identify themselves with the “gay” label. So whenever someone questions their behavior or desires, they take it as an attack on the very core of their being. That’s usually not the intent of the person who disagrees with homosexual behavior. But that’s the way it is perceived. I understand that.
Host: If it’s true that a person is born with one sexual orientation or another, then how can it possibly be loving to condemn one person’s orientation?
Pastor: Well, we really don’t know for certain about sexual attraction being innate and set from birth. All we have is the testimony of people who say that they’ve experienced same-sex desires since childhood. Christianity teaches that all people are born with a bent toward sin. It’s possible that some people will have a propensity toward alcohol abuse or angry outbursts, while others may have a propensity toward other sins. Regardless, Christians believe people are more than their sexual urges. We believe that human dignity is diminished whenever we define ourselves by sexual urges and behaviors. Consider this: married men are sometimes attracted to multiple women who are not their wives. Does this mean they should self-identify as polygamists? Not at all. And surely you wouldn’t consider it hateful for Christians to encourage married men not to act on their desires in an effort to remain faithful to their spouses. It is the Christian way, after all.
Host: No, but it still seems like you are telling people not to be true to who they are.
Pastor: It only seems that way because you believe sexual desire reflects the core of one’s identity. It would help if you and others who agree with you would understand that in your putting pressure on me to accept homosexual behavior as normal and virtuous, you are going to the very core of my identity as a follower of Jesus. The label most important to me is “Christian.” My identity – in Christ – is central to who I am. So I could say the same thing and call you intolerant, bigoted, and hateful for trying to change a conviction that goes to the core of who I am as a Christian. I don’t say that because I don’t believe that’s your intention. But neither should you think it’s my intention to attack a homosexual person or cause them harm merely because I disagree.
Host: But the problem is, your position fosters hate and encourages bullying.
Pastor: I recognize that some people have mistreated homosexuals in the past. It’s a shame that anyone anywhere would mock, taunt, or bully another human being made in God’s image. That said, I think we need to make one thing clear in regard to civil discourse: To differ is not to hate. I hope we can still have a real conversation in this country about different points of view without casting one another in the worst possible light. The idea that disagreeing with homosexual behavior necessarily results in harm to gay people is designed to shut down conversation and immediately rule one point of view (in this case, the Christian one) out of bounds. As a Christian, I am to love my neighbor and seek his good, even when I don’t see eye to eye with my neighbor. Furthermore, the picture of Christ on the cross dying for His enemies necessarily affects the way I think about this and other issues.
*I underlined these, just because I thought they were succinct.
If you don't agree that sin offends and grieves and provokes the anger of the Lord, and turn away from it accordingly, how can you be live and die for Him
Struggling with sin is a walk in the park... if the park is Jurassic Park.
(I can't get over this. Theo Espinosa made me laugh so much when he said this.
But you know that you can survive and overcome Jurassic Park, because of what He did on the cross, right
Thank You, Lord, for Your inexhaustible and ever present grace.
God bless you, bless you, bless you - reader!
1 Corinthians 15:57
But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
EDIT: I decided to put the clip here after I wrote this entry. You’ll have to forgive the inconsistencies in my dialogue, I had to type it up from memory. =\ His name is Chris Medina pala. Hindi talaga ako nag-iisip minsan, pinahirapan ko pa sarili ko hahaha.
Sorry, not happening again –
I don’t usually follow American Idol, but my dad’s a fan (I think he fancies himself one of the judges there; he tries to make his own opinion of the person auditioning before the judges do, haha) – so sometimes I get to watch it with the family.
Since I get home a little later, I don’t get to see the premier airing, but Papa does, and he tells me and Mama that there’s one story (of a guy named Medina) that made him a little teary, which shocked both Mama and myself, because Papa hardly ever tears up.
To make a long story short, they were engaged for two years. She got into an accident. Her caretakers are her mom and fiancée.
The guy, Medina, said,
“Everything changed. I was supposed to make my vows just two months before the accident happened. For better, for worse, in sickness, in health… What kind of guy would I be if I left when she needed me most?”
He sang “Break Even” by The Script. He was very good.
The judges asked him to bring his fiancée in so they could meet her.
And Steven Tyler bent down to her wheel chair and kissed the girl on the cheek saying,
“I knew he’d do well. But you already knew that, didn’t you? He sings so beautiful. He sings so beautiful because he sings for you.”
Mr. Steven Tyler, I only know you for Jaded and Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.
After today, I found that you’ve got one of the softest hearts I’ve seen (ever) on television.
I don’t think Medina is going to win the title of American Idol.
(I’m hoping, though.)
But like he said, he feels like he’s already won.
I started thinking.
What happened was terrible. I don’t know if Medina has a relationship with Jesus; I don’t know anything about him. But if he did, and what happened to his fiancée came to pass, wouldn’t that shake your faith so much? Wouldn’t that make you so angry, make you just want to cry and never ever talk to God again? Isn’t it enough reason to turn away from Him completely?
‘No, You don’t have everything under control because if You did, then why this? Why her? Why us? If you love me then why would you hurt me?’ I can almost hear these thoughts from Medina‘s head.
I’m tempted to think that if God ever did that to someone who was really important to me, I would never forgive Him, and would forever question His character of love, of kindness, of protection.
But I guess, like I always do, I miss the point.
When I have a relationship with Him, life never turns out good automatically.
Life is still what it is. Crap happens. People I love will die and experience pain.
When I have a relationship with Him, it’s never about me.
It’s never about my contentment, my satisfaction, or my happiness.
It’s not even about my loved-ones’ contentment, satisfaction, or happiness.
When we have a relationship with Him, He doesn’t promise happiness.
He promises eternal life, a life of abundance, a full life.
I guess a full life means not having a happy, normal marriage.
It doesn’t mean getting to read a book on a quiet afternoon.
It doesn’t mean getting a slot in my dream school.
It doesn’t mean getting to go on vacation every year, or a family that’s always safe and sound.
A full life doesn’t mean living the life I’ve always wanted in my head.
A full life is having Jesus.
And if I don’t have Jesus,
I’m sure my life, by His grace, can still be amazing.
I will experience love, and frustration, and pleasure, and pain, and victories, and failures.
I can still see the world, get that promotion, land that MA degree in a field I love.
Because He is that gracious.
But if I don’t have Jesus,
if I don’t have a relationship with Him,
Who died and rose again so I could fully live,
then – I have to ask myself -
what kind of life am I living?
Stupid American Idol. ._.
1. It’s so much easier to have faith when you’re not the one exercising it.
2. Talking to God about the things you don’t talk to anyone else can mean several things: (a) It’s incredibly dear to you; (b) You don’t trust that people can handle the really important things; (c) You don’t have anyone to talk to.
3. In relation to #2.c — I believe that is an utter lie.
4. In the search for inspiration, people run the risk of missing out on something uniquely theirs.
5. A smart phone is an immense convenience, and a deadly distraction.
6. Waiting is one of the indications of trusting. I think maybe trusting, over all, is what’s really hard.
7. Philosophies in life change, and maybe it’s not a sign of weakness when you let them. Maybe it’s a sign of growth, not cowardice.
8. Your parents are getting older. I hope you’re getting kinder. I hope you’re getting it.
9. Sleep and I, we’re starting to love each other more. I always get a little worried, because then I think I might be depressed when I’m in love with sleep, but then again, what’s not to love about it? My pillows, the quiet, the cold, the solace of being alone? If I could just read AND sleep at the same time, it would’ve been perfect.
10. You will get married to food by your 20′s. If you haven’t found a love relationship with food at this time of your life, you’re never going to get married to it. Love, ex-food hater.
11. Your life is a tapestry of beautiful hobbies, memories, love songs, inside jokes, feelings, victories, failures, and stories – not from your own experience – but from the experiences of your family, friends, and even that random kid that held your hand because she was too scared to get on the escalator alone.
11. Letting people in and letting people go is a cycle that you will learn season after season.
12. Love. You will never stop talking, thinking, musing, wondering about love.
13. Passion/Dreams cannot be god. The search for an undiscovered passion/unfulfilled dream cannot be god, either. It’s never going to be enough until we realize that He is more than enough.
14. In relations with #13, and even with Him, you’re going to get distracted. (So, try to take it easy, but at the same time, DON’T GIVE UP!)
15. Don’t worry about the guys with all the plans. They might not be letting you in on it, but they’re feeling pretty jarred and confused sometimes too.
16. Feeling a little lost and directionless? Join the club. (Egos are out of the question here.)
17. Marriage (to a person this time) will paradoxically seem very near and at the same time light years away. The reason why this is? PEOPLE ARE GETTING MARRIED RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES. AND HAVING BABIES. (Sometimes, not in that order, and I hope you have more time to love than to judge them for that.)
J. I. Packer:What matters supremely is not, in the last analysis, the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it — the fact that he knows me. I am graven on the palms of his hands. I am never out of his mind.
All my knowledge of him depends on his sustained initiative in knowing me. I know him because he first knew me, and continues to know me. He knows me as a friend, one who loves me; and there is not a moment when his eye is off me, or his attention distracted from me, and no moment, therefore, when his care falters.
This is momentous knowledge. There is unspeakable comfort — the sort of comfort that energizes, be it said, not enervates — in knowing that God is constantly taking knowledge of me in love and watching over me for my good. There is tremendous relief in knowing that his love to me is utterly realistic, based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery now can disillusion him about me, in the way I am so often disillusioned about myself, and quench his determination to bless me.
19. The moon will never lose its magic.
20. Enthusiasm wins. Competence is great. Intelligence is sexy. But enthusiasm wins.
21. So much of what is listened to (stories, conversations you eavesdrop on, music, soundtracks, audio books, nature) makes up so much of who you are.
Did you see what I did there?
Today at 22, aside from learning that God is being His usual wise self when He withholds something from me, I am (more importantly) …
On January 29, 2012, I wrote about my grandparents who live overseas.
On February 11, 2012, I found out that my grandfather (my Papa's papa) died.
Yesterday - April 11, 2012 - was his 2nd death monthsary.
Because I'm so proud of my grandparents, I'm making this entry public.
I miss you, Kong-Kong. I really do.
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If you talked to a random cross-section of non-Christians, and asked them what Christians aren’t supposed to be doing, you would get a nearly unanimous response: “Don’t judge!”
Folks who don’t know anything else about the Bible can correctly quote this verse: “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) It’s such common knowledge that folks on the streets wear “Only God Can Judge Me” tattoos, and Tupac rapped about it.
Christians, generally, respond to all this by falling into one of two camps.
Camp 1 ignores the verse entirely. They protest loudly, picket funerals, pound their angry fists on their antique Bibles, and go on news programs to deliver antagonistic proclamations without a hint of mercy or grace.
Camp 2 recognizes that, in fact, no, they shouldn’t be judging people. And they try to make sure they don’t. And they try so hard to not judge that they end up losing something else in the process. And that something is “discernment.”
A far less-well-known verse from the Bible is this one: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best .” (Phil 1:9-10)
Judgment, as it turns out, is about rendering a verdict – and a condemnation – on a person. It’s about declaring that a person is bad and can’t be helped. Discernment, on the other hand, is about understanding a situation, and whether or not that situation is a good one.
I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you’re feeling a little under the weather, and you go to the doctor. You wait in the tiny room with the paper-covered bench, you don’t have any pants on, and then the Doc comes in. He uses the stethoscope, makes you stick out your tongue, and at last says, with disgust, “All you sickies are the same. Bunch of disease-factories, if you ask me. And what’d you do to get sick, eh? You know what: just get out of my office.”
Well, now, this would be judgment. And, as you can tell, it’s neither very nice nor very helpful.
Let’s try again. Doc comes in. Stethoscope. Tongue. Ahh. And he says: “Hey, bro, you’ve got a body, and it’s your body, and, hey, bro, whatever your body needs to do, however it needs to be, that’s cool. I celebrate your body. ‘Cause every body is unique. And, sometimes, a body just wants to cough up blood. That’s cool with me. If that’s your choice, bro, I support that, and I think it’s great.”
Well, now, I bet you can see the problem here immediately. Yes, he has been very nonjudgmental. He also hasn’t fixed anything. I didn’t go to the doctor to get affirmed in my personhood; I went ‘cause I didn’t feel good.
Let’s try one more time. Small room. No pants. Say ahh. And the doctor speaks.
“Ok, well, it looks like you’ve got a fairly mild case of strep throat. It’s not bad at the moment, but we’ll want to knock it out so it doesn’t get worse. I’m going to write you a prescription for antibiotics, and you’ll need to take these daily for the next three weeks. And you should be all good.”
Amazing! Here’s what just happened. First, the doctor didn’t judge me. He didn’t label me as a bad person and hopeless. He simply looked at what was going wrong in my situation. “You have an infection in your respiratory system.” And he was prepared to help me fix it. He gave me the steps, the know-how, and the resources to do just that.
Well, now, all of this applies directly to being a Christian, and ministering to others. As you know, you should not ever judge or condemn people. But, in order to minister to people, to love them the way Jesus did, you do need to be able to discern what is going on with their situation.
As an example, if you knew a person who struggled with cowardice, and that person wanted to move forward in their life as a Christian, it would be an unloving thing to pretend they didn’t struggle with cowardice. We can’t fix what we won’t look at.
But if we’re willing to turn on our discernment, and look at the situation, yes, we’ll have to acknowledge that cowardly behavior is going on. However, we may quickly discover that the root of it is understandable, and the fix is much easier than we’d expect.
Our friend may struggle with cowardice because that’s what was modeled by his parents. Maybe they behaved in a cowardly fashion, and that’s all he’s ever really seen. That doesn’t really leave him room to feel bad about it, and it’s certainly not something to look down our noses at him about.
So, we help our friend find little moments of bravery in his life. Asking that girl out. Telling the boss he can’t work this weekend. Going down to the homeless shelter and serving soup.
And, as our friend takes these little steps, perhaps that cowardice begins to fall to the side, and the courageous man the Lord created begins to emerge. This is what happens when we love well, friends, when our love is couple with insight, and discernment. We didn’t judge, but we didn’t turn a blind eye, either.
And that friend, who is discovering a new freedom, boldness, and vitality in his life? I promise that he has no complaints.
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I haven’t stopped listening to him.
I’m holding on to the hope that one day this could be made right.
I’ve been shipwrecked, and left for dead, and I have seen the darkest sights.
Everyone I’ve loved seems like a stranger in the night
But oh my heart still burns, tells me to return, and search the fading light.
I’m sailing home to you I wont be long
By the light of moon I will press on
Until, I find, my love
Trouble has beset my ways, and wicked winds have blown
Sirens call my name, they say they’ll ease my pain, then break me on the stones
But true love is the burden that will carry me back home
Carry me with the, memories of the, beauty I have known
I’m sailing home to you I wont be long
By the light of moon I will press on
So tie me to the mast of this old ship and point me home
Before I lose the one I love, before my chance is gone
I want to hold, her in, my arms
I fall prey to thinking that the story of Jesus coming to earth to seek and save the lost as theological, boxed up in solemnness, obedience, soberness, suffering, and truth.
But there are times when I remember. I remember and think, “Right, You’d move heaven and earth, You’d defeat even death, You’d trade Your place in heaven for a manger on earth, even die by the cross, just because You want to hold me in Your arms.”
I remember love. And I remember, "You're coming back."
I can't seem to embed the song here properly.
But it is worth the listen. So click this.
Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by
Tempted and tried, I wondered why
The good man died, the bad man thrives
And Jesus cries because he loves em’ both
We’re all cast-aways in need of ropes
Hangin’ on by the last threads of our hope
In a house of mirrors full of smoke
Confusing illusions I’ve seen
Where did I go wrong, I sang along
To every chorus of the song
That the devil wrote like a piper at the gates
Leading mice and men down to their fates
But some will courageously escape
The seductive voice with a heart of faith
While walkin’ that line back home
So much more to life than we’ve been told
It’s full of beauty that will unfold
And shine like you struck gold my wayward son
That deadweight burden weighs a ton
Go down into the river and let it run
And wash away all the things you’ve done
Still I get hard pressed on every side
Between the rock and a compromise
Like the truth and pack of lies fightin’ for my soul
And I’ve got no place left go
Cause I got changed by what I’ve been shown
More glory than the world has known
Keeps me ramblin’ on
Skipping like a calf loosed from its stall
I’m free to love once and for all
And even when I fall I’ll get back up
For the joy that overflows my cup
Heaven filled me with more than enough
Broke down my levee and my bluff
Let the flood wash me
And one day when the sky rolls back on us
Some rejoice and the others fuss
Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess
That the Son of God is forever blessed
His is the kingdom, we’re the guests
So put your voice up to the test
Sing Lord, come soon
Chorus creditsfrom Love & War & The Sea In Between, released 15 June 2011
Vocals, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Dobro, Electric Guitar, and Drum Sequencing by Josh Garrels
BGV by Annalisa Nutt
Accordion and Bass by Jay Kirkpatrick
Electric Guitar 2 by Scott Frantz
They played this as the response song of Sunday Youth Worship today.
(Which, I would've missed, had I not been assigned to do something that Sunday.)
It's been a while since my eyes watered because of a song.
I rather like hymns, and well, when you mesh the new and the old together, it's so good. =)
So come on and sing out
Let our anthem grow loud
There is One Great Love
There are so few words that never grow old
Cheesy na kung cheesy, but my goodness, You are one great love. =)
I want to share this all with you.
Love and life.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of family.
(Even when at times we fall prey to seeing our family as a burden, not as a gift.)