10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman
Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) by Chris Tomlin
Jesus Paid It All by Kristian Stanfill
Nothing But the Blood by Leah Mari
How Great Thou Art by Chris Rice
Idolatry. Wait.. like statues? You mean like those golden calves that the Israelites worshipped? Nope, that’s not me. I don’t have idols. Wait… but I do, I have idols. You have idols. And I don’t just have one idol, but so many. In fact, our hearts are idol factories.
But, what is an idol exactly? It is anything that captures my thoughts, emotions, affections more than God does. It steals from the full glory of God and the worship He deserves. Examples of idols can range from academics, food, friends, family, careers, approval of others, anxiety, or sports. In fact, many of these were originally created to be good things for us to enjoy, but as sinners we are capable of distorting anything so that it replaces God in our hearts.
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.
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.
Daniella is a third year PhySci major who loves ice cream, boba, cows, cheesy movies, and anything Disney related, but who is extremely indecisive otherwise!
Growing up in a Christian family and attending church every Sunday, as well as attending a Christian school all my life until I came to UCLA. I was constantly surrounded by people who loved Christ and made it a point to share the gospel with me. Because of that, I grew up believing that God was real and that Jesus came and died for my sins. But if I had to pinpoint when I became a Christian, it would be when I was in third grade. At that time, my teacher asked me if I remembered how or when I became a Christian since I claimed I already was. Realizing that I had no memory of accepting Christ as my Savior, I was scared and went home and told my mom. She asked me if I did believe in God and if I believed that I was a sinner saved through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for me, and I said yes. Since this is when I actually distinctly remember confessing what I believed, I consider this to be the point when I became a Christian. But though I believed, my understanding of the gospel was still shallow and part of my reason for wanting to be a Christian was to go to heaven and for social reasons. However, through His grace, I slowly began to understand more in middle and high school about what I professed, and how these truths impacted my life personally. The fact that I am a sinner makes me an enemy of God (for someone who was generally regarded as a good kid, that hit me so hard). But God, who is so rich in mercy and abounding in love, pursued me even while I was hostile through sending Jesus Christ to die for my sins. Christ suffered to become sin on my behalf so that I may have a righteousness that I do not deserve (2 Corinthians 5:21). And praise God that “if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Romans 5:10). I, and anyone else who believes, am not only forgiven and no longer an enemy of God, but adopted into His family as His child.
But though I had a deeper understanding of the gospel, a lot of what I did was because of selfish reasons, like wanting to further my own reputation and to meet others’ expectations of me. This manifested itself in a lot of pride, worry, and a fear of things that were out of my own control, which pointed to a lack of dependence and trust in God. But at that time, God grew me through putting me through circumstances completely out of my control to teach me to rely on Him. Through the same trial, He also showed me His peace and His comfort in times of difficulty. In ninth grade, I had to undergo surgery for scoliosis. When I found out, I dreaded all the fear that I knew would fill me during the months leading up to the surgery. But knowing that the situation was completely out of my control forced me to not rely on my own efforts, but to surrender this entirely to God. We are commanded in the Bible to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). With the prayers and support of the family of God around me during this time, the six months prior to the surgery were filled with so much peace and comfort. But when unexpected complications arose after the surgery resulting in a longer hospital stay and a second surgery, there were moments when it was definitely hard to trust that God had a good and perfect plan. We were praying, but it didn’t seem like the physical circumstances were getting any better. But at that time, Psalm 121:1-2 came to my mind over and over again to comfort me: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Though things were so uncertain, I could rest in who God is and in His promises: He is the Creator of all things and the same God is the one from whom our help and strength come (Col 1:11).
Even since coming to college, pride and worry are still areas of sin in which I have been needing to constantly fight and through which God is continually growing me. Upon entering college, I was no longer in my little Christian bubble, but thought I was prepared because I had a deep foundation in knowledge of the Bible and grew up so surrounded by Christianity. But my spiritual pride quickly disappeared as I was humbled through meeting believers whose love for God was so evident in their actions and speech. I was a Christian for so long and though I had a lot of head knowledge, I didn’t have as much passion for God as they did. I was convicted to not just be content with where I was spiritually, but to really seek to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling, to live out my life to reflect Christ in fighting sin and in trusting Him more (Phil 2:12). And I am so thankful for the fellowship with other believers that God has blessed me with, through which I can be challenged to excel still more.
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.