Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Detox: After-effects

Let me backtrack a bit.

There is also a danger regarding conferences. But hopefully only a temporary one. When true messages of Christ's atoning death for our sins, and the Father's raising Him up in glory, and God's call for us to glorify Him in our faithful service, repeatedly hit you not in the head, but through your heart, somehow it takes a while for it all to sink in.

And when it does, it's just like the period right after a detox diet--you develop an increased sensitivity to certain things. It takes half the time to notice sin, or things that do not please God. This can be good or bad depending on how you look at it.

Good in the sense that God is refining me through discipline that purifies. But bad in the sense that sometimes I still feel off-balance, coupled with a vague sense of frustration, and the stark realization that there's a long way to go in my walk with God.

So ultimately, it must be for good, since the Holy Spirit helps in the process by opening my eyes to the things that need to be taken care of in my life, and reminds me that all my efforts are useless unless I first ask God to intervene and really work in all that I do.

God has an amazing way in working in "ultimate mode," and this encourages me when I can't see far on my own.

In conclusion, Resolved messages on "defending the gospel" have reminded me that the stuff I heard are in no way lofty philosophies fit only for intellectuals. They clarify very basic questions that each Christian has. This process of illumination is a fundamental necessity to all Christians at some point of their lives. It's just good to start the immersion process even when increased awareness sometimes involves necessary grief.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hangover: Resolved

[Hang.over] - My Definition: the lingering sensation from the effects of an intense event that just occurred. Dictionary Definition: A letdown, as after a period of excitement.

This is what I'm feeling w/ the Resolved Conference 2007 . It was the first time, believe it or not, that I went to a Christian conference such as this. 3,000 like-minded individuals, all hungering and thirsting for real spiritual food, not the watered-down stuff they serve you at some churches nowadays. It was really a blast of teaching at a weekend that I'll never forget.

It is so reassuring that there are others like myself who want something more, and who want to be better equipped for their local church. Also, I always felt I needed more explanation about certain phrases like "glorify God in all you do" or "go take part in a short-term mission". I really didn't know the full reason of these things until after Resolved.

A sample of the stuff I gleaned from Resolved:

1. Why do people say "glorify God in all you do?"
--> John Piper reminded us that the glorification of God is what God wants most of all, and that's what we are called to do ultimately as His creation

2. What's the true purpose of missions?
--> Following up from 1, so that all nations will not only know God but worship Him, so He can be glorified ultimately.

3. What does a truly expository sermon sound like?
--> I knew about this one from college days (PJ!), but John McArthur really laid it down without skipping any verses, in all his sermons

4. "How a good sermon points us toward God, not the preacher as personality/celebrity"
--> John McArthur said this, and exemplifies this too

5. What's wrong with the Prosperity Gospel (if you believe in God, you'll have a comfortable life, your kids will get to the best schools, you won't experience trouble/sickness)?
--> John Piper said because "natural man already desires this. You don't need the Holy Spirit to desire these things"; the same holds true for "believing God just to avoid the punishment of hell"--that's not good enough a reason to believe in God

6. Why do I feel embarrassed about sharing the gospel?
--> John McArthur: the gospel is foolishness to those that are perishing (1 Cor 1:18). Only the Holy Spirit will open the eyes of those who are called. Otherwise, no one would want to accept such a "shameful" gospel.

Also, I had the chance to meet some old friends from college, as well as get to know the new friends I hung out with during that weekend. God really opened my eyes that I wasn't living in a vacuum. There are God-honoring young people out there. It is possible to be knowledgeable about the bible yet humble at the same time. And it is extremely rewarding hanging out with them. Not only because they get my jokes wrought with dry humor, or because it seems like we've known each other more than a few days, but because of the assurance that their pursuit of God is founded on a solid foundation in Scripture.

Most of what officially went on this past weekend can be found here.

Still excited from the past weekend. Hope everyone had a wonderful western and Chinese new year! Maybe I'll share more next time.