According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, we have physiological needs (e.g. food, water, air), safety needs (e.g. financial security, health), a need for love and belonging (e.g. friends, family), a need for esteem (e.g. respect, recognition), and a need for self-actualization (e.g. achieving desires). While we may not agree with all of Maslow’s theory, one thing is clear: we are extremely needy, perhaps more than we would like to admit.
Continue reading “Honoring Our Self-Sufficient God”
Where in the Bible do you see God’s compassion towards the Gentiles? Let’s first take a look at Jonah. Right from the start, Jonah’s disobedience was very evident. A constant tension to withdraw from and to fight against the Lord God is sustained throughout the book. Although many are familiar with the story, it is helpful to read the account with fresh eyes. When we read it anew, we will notice that the audience is kept unaware of the reason for Jonah’s resistance to God’s prophetic calling to Nineveh. It is only until near the end of the narrative that we are enlightened of Jonah’s reason for running away. Jonah was angry that the Lord had relented from Nineveh’s destruction because of His gracious and compassionate character, who is slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. Jonah could not live with the reality that the cruel and monstrous Ninevites would be spared the punishment. Did God forget Nineveh deserved annihilation? Who would exact revenge for their evil? Moreover, Jonah knows God is gracious and compassionate. Could not God pour out His favor upon the Israelites? From Jonah’s perspective, the compassionate character of God should have been fully displayed amongst the Israelites who were God’s chosen people. Although it may be true God could have easily portrayed His compassion towards Israel, the emphasis in Jonah’s adventure was to display God’s compassion toward the Gentile nations. We can see the thread of the Lord’s compassion to Gentiles weaved throughout the Scriptures. This common theme begins in Genesis and is carried throughout the Old Testament and into the New Testament until Revelation.
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A student telling me that it just doesn’t matter anymore because he’s going back to jail. A boy shaking on the floor overdosed. Another boy sitting in my office drunk. A girl revealing that she had been abused by a close family member. Another girl coming to school with new clothes, and new bruised marks. A student requesting to go to the local clinic during school hours. Students struggling with gender identity. Students staying at shelters, garages, motels, and group homes. Students living with no more hope and attempting to take their own lives. Students ready at any moment to fight and hurt each other – guy on guy, girl on girl, girl on guy, 10 on 7, and sometimes even to the point of getting stabbed or shot at.
Continue reading “Lessons Learned from Working with the Urban Youth”
I recently read an article that the anecdotal evidence that the 2017-2018 flu season has been one of the worst in recent memory is backed up statistically. As I thought about this, it brought to mind the many lessons that illness can teach us. Illness, whether it is caused from outside our bodies or inside our bodies, reminds us that Creation is fallen and it groans under the weight of sin (Rom. 8:22). For Christians, illness causes us to groan and to remember that this is not our permanent home (2 Cor. 5:1-4). Moreover, it causes us to long for our permanent home where God will remove all the effects of the Curse (Rev. 21:1-4). Beyond these lessons though, God reminded me of how illness instructs the way we evangelize. In his book Practical Religion, J.C. Ryle spends an entire chapter writing about Sickness and highlights the fact that illness is a reminder of death. He notes that most, including too often us Christians, live as if they were never going to die. But the author of Hebrews reminds us “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement” (Heb. 9:27). To most our age death is a distant thought, something to be dealt with in 50 or 60 years but our Lord reminds us in Luke 12:20 that we do not know when God has decreed our deaths. For some it will be very soon and for others it will be in many years. And illness, Ryle writes, awakens us from our day-dreams and reminds us that we have to die as well as to live.
Continue reading “How Death Changes Life”
Written by Elkana Chan
We spend a lot of our time on this earth working; I feel easily preoccupied by it and spend a lot of time thinking about it too. It seems that there is constantly more to do. I often fear, and sometimes even despair, How am I going to do all the things I have to do? And how can I work for the Lord, when I’m not even sure I can finish all that is placed before me? Honoring God in my work feels elusive and I struggle to work heartily for the Lord.
Yet God has shown us the gospel of grace that pervades all aspects of life, including work; I hope that in repeating these truths that He continues to teach me and apply to my heart may likewise encourage you and direct you to worship Him.
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Written by Jesse Fenn
Does God hear our prayers? Whether you’ve grown up in church or you’ve never stepped foot in a church, you know that the answer of the Bible is a resounding yes. But perhaps a better question is “How does God hear our prayers?” I live on a busy street, so I hear noises constantly, yet If you asked me to recount what I heard, I wouldn’t even know where to start because I rarely, if ever, give any thought to them. Parents will tell you that they hear children’s screaming differently as parents then they did before they had kids. When a friend from school talks to me about national security, I hear it much differently than when I hear the president of the United States talk about national security. I hear things that my parents tell me differently than I hear things that strangers tell me. We hear things differently depending on many different factors. So how does God hear our prayers? Does he hear them as white noise? Does he hear them compassionately, judgmentally, indifferently? The Scriptures answer these questions for us. Specifically, the Scriptures teach us that God does hear our prayers and hears them as both a sovereign king and a loving father.
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Written by Victoria Ng
The word “Christian” means “little Christ.” We, who follow Jesus, desire to be more like Him, to reflect Him and give Him all the glory. John 14:15 says, “those who love God will keep His commandments” and in the gospels, Jesus gave us a new commandment, “to love one another as He loves us” (John 13:34). Being called to belong to Christ is no small calling. We strive to be like a God who is perfect in every way. Though we fail to be holy, we desire to joyfully pursue holiness, trusting that the Lord will continue to perfect us until that last day. But do we forget the height of the standard God has called us to?
Continue reading “To Love as He Loves”