Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

December 5, 2012

Out of sight, out of mind

Click for YouTube video

Click for YouTube video

 

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I’m really bad at keeping in touch with people.  Unless I see you on a consistent basis (i.e. church or school), I probably haven’t talked to you in a while.  I have more fingers than instances I can count that I met up with a friend from high school.  Long-time friends in Connecticut only get to see me during major holidays.  I’ve even started giving the shaft to my friends from BC.  Sometimes, it takes more than a full week for me to realize that I haven’t talked to my parents in quite some time.  I guess I could use the excuse of saying I’m so busy up here in Boston… but that wouldn’t suffice, as there’s always time to spare for a little bit of effort and good conversation.

Over the course of seminary, I’m humbled each and every day of how imperfect I am.  While I thought I was coming to grad school to get smarter and better prepare myself for ministry, I’ve never been more aware of my flaws and felt as incapable as I have ever before.  Not being able to maintain all my relationships throughout the years plays a huge discord with my inner desire to please as many people as I can.  But with my recent revelation of inadequacy, I was confronted with the fact that I can’t make everyone happy.  The catch-up coffee date, the long-awaited meal together, or even the simplest email slips my mind, and someone is inevitably let down.

I’m certainly not perfect.  And I am indeed not my own or anyone else’s savior.

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Gospel Connection

During this Advent season, we are reminded of a coming Messiah who does not let us down.  While friends, family, careers, and diplomas may fail, the birth of Christ harkens back to a God who chose to enter the story as one of us.  Jesus was a man who was able to weep for entire cities because he emphasized with all the fears and insecurities of wayward loved ones.  And he was also a God who didn’t come to judge us justly for our guilt, but compassionately bore all of these shortcomings by death on the Cross.  With Christ, we can never be “out of sight” or “out of mind,” as his very incarnation was to keep us in sight and mind, and certainly in heart and in the Kingdom.

May our attempts to show love to close friends and distant strangers this holiday season stem not from our selfish desire to clear our consciences, but out of response to this Gospel narrative.  There’s no better news than the Good News that we’ve received something we didn’t deserve.

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it…
– Luke 19:41 (ESV)

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October 17, 2012

Nameun and Eve

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It’s October and that means we’re in the full swing of playoff baseball.  But with the way the Yankees have been playing, it looks like they’re at the back end of that swing.  This time of year always gets me to be at the peak of my emotional sensitivity, as I am forced to feel both utmost elation and utter defeat in the span of about three hours.

This current postseason has proven to be no different, but these past couple of days have produced more frustration than satisfaction.  One of our star players (or at least supposed-to-be-“star”-quality-dictated-by-his-salary) is really struggling and was actually benched from the starting line-up tonight in a crucial Game 3 of the ALCS.  Alex Rodriguez (pictured above), had 3 hits in his last 23 plate appearances (a dismal .130 batting average), of which 12 PA’s resulted in strikeouts and no RBI’s.  For someone who is getting paid $29 million this year, it’s no wonder he is greeted by a sea of “boo’s” by his own home crowd.

As an avid fan of baseball, my natural inclination is to think, Give me a $275 million contract, and I could get 3 hits!  And it was in this very sentiment that I discovered an epiphany (and awoke from my 2-month blog slumber)

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Gospel Connection:  Anybody thinks they can do or be better than the next guy.  My gut reaction is to think that I could hit a 95-mph fastball without any practice or experience at least once out of a hundred times (or in this case, four times out of 23 chances).  Or, in many other instances, to think: I could have painted that… I could have cooked a better meal with a can of beans and baking soda… I could have figured that out in half the time…I could have done that with my eyes closed.

In the story of Adam and Eve, we encounter one of these very moments.  If only Eve didn’t eat the fruit, or Adam wasn’t persuaded by his wife to do so too.  Many times I thought to myself: If that were me in the Garden, I wouldn’t have eaten the fruit.  If I was in Eden, I would have obeyed His commands to the ‘T.’  If God had created Nameun and Eve, all of mankind would have been free from the Fall right now…

Therein lies my sin.

I’m sure many of the Israelites shared the same sentiments when they were wandering through the desert without food and little water for 40 years.  But even when God delivered them from Egypt, and after giving them the Great Commandments to inherit the blessings of obedience, they demonstrated infidelity and idolatry time and time again.  The Law actually showed that their own hearts were not immune to the self-desire that Adam and Eve were, and that they too would have encountered a great Fall if ever confronted with the situation.

The beauty of the Gospel is that everyone is a sinner.  No one can do better.  And the only One that actually could, chose not to flaunt it, and instead died for those who boasted that they could.  Now it doesn’t matter “who does better.”  All that matters is getting to know the One who did the best.

Therein lies my hope.

July 10, 2012

Lamp Post (Guest Entry)

by: anonymous

Whenever the weather is nice, I like to go out onto my porch.  It’s usually at night so I always end up staring at the street lamp post behind my house.  It’s not too bright, but you definitely notice it.  One night it really stood out to me.  I noticed how it was always there, showering the street with its orange glow.  The lamp post is always there, so people know where they are going.  Its constant presence seems to provide a sense security.  Everyone knows that lamp posts are there and they know why they’re there, but rarely do people appreciate them.  That is, until they go out or they walk onto a street without any.

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Gospel Connection:  Now mind you, I’m no seminarian, but on this night, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the never-ending love of Christ.  There are times where we go on with our lives worry-free.  Then only during times of distress and anguish, do we cry out to ask for God’s intervention.  But the fact of the matter is: He was, is, and ALWAYS will be there… whether we happen to notice Him or not.  We may not acknowledge or appreciate Him as we should, but He’s there, wanting to be available to you.  And just like a lamp post, He’s there so people can see where they’re going.

I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come,
the Almighty.
– Revelation 1:8

April 30, 2012

The Constant

Lost S4E05(“Like” this post if you know where this photo is from)

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Aside from not getting much studying done before entering finals season or failing to be consistent with this blog, these past two weeks have been pretty great.

I was able to go to a Rangers/Red Sox game last Wednesday at Fenway with my friend, and watched Texas exercise their offensive dominance over Boston.  The following Saturday, I witnessed one of the greatest comebacks in Yankee history, as the Yanks put a shellackin’ (yes, shellackin’) on the Sox 15-9 after being down 9-0 after the 5th inning.  I had tickets to go watch the last game of that series on Sunday night, but sadly, it got rained out.

This past weekend I got to play host and chauffeur to my cousins and a friend who were visiting from out-of-town.  Not only was it an opportunity for me to re-explore Boston, but I spent the weekend with good weather, great food, and amazing company.  All in all, I felt pretty blessed these past couple days.  At one point, I thought to myself, “I must have done something really good lately to deserve such favor from God.”  But I had to catch myself before I let my faulty mindset sink in.

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Gospel Connection: God isn’t Santa Claus.  It’s not as though He sits up in heaven with a “Naughty and Nice” list, watching over our every move to place us in one column or the other.  There are times when we experience trial and suffering even when we’ve been faithful, and blessings when we’ve been less than favorable in His eyes.  However, our ultimate standing before God is not based on our actions or performance.  What I was quick to revert to in my thinking was that I had been “good enough” to deserve blessings in my life at that particular time.  But conversely, does that mean I am to be punished when I falter from His standard?  Certainly not.

The only constant we have as Christians, and the biggest hope we can offer others, is Christ himself.  Good or bad, righteous or sinful, selfish or humble, our identity rests in the righteousness of the only One who deserved eternal favor in the first place.  Therefore, the joy I have in Jesus is the same after experiencing the blessings from these past two weeks, as it will be these next two weeks when I suffer through finals.  To all my fellow students, let’s rejoice in the Constant we have in our triune God!

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16