Why I Love GOC

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Philippians 1:3-6 “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.” (New American Standard Bible)

We have been at GOC since 2002 and have seen the people in the group change many times due to the nature of college ministry. Even though the particular people have changed the spiritual life has not. Thanking God is appropriate, because only He can provide such a work of grace throughout the years.

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My Golden Calf

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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.

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Honoring Our Self-Sufficient God

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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.

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God’s compassion towards Gentiles

 

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   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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Testimony of the Week – Daniella Ching

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. Continue reading “Testimony of the Week – Daniella Ching”

Lessons Learned from Working with the Urban Youth

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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.

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Testimony of the Week – Amy Junus

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Amy Junus is a third year Psycho-Biology major who hopes to pursue a career in nursing! While nothing brings her more joy than reveling in the evidences of God’s grace revealed new every day, she loves listening to classical music, washing dishes, having long conversations, messing around on the violin, learning random animal facts, laughing at anti-jokes, writing ridiculously long sentences, and using exclamation points!!!

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How Death Changes Life

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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.

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Testimony of the Week – Jeremy Tran

IMG_1316Jeremy is a second year statistics major who enjoys reading, napping, playing guitar, wearing sweaters with polos, and trying to understand cultural references.

Before I was saved, I was stuck in a life of pride and selfishness. Even though I grew up in the church and was praised as a good kid who said the best prayers, I did not truly understand the weight of my sin or my need for a savior. Instead, I placed my pride in being spiritually and intellectually superior to my peers, so I had little love for God and for others. At home, where there were no friends to see me, I rebelled against my parents and pursued pleasure above all else. I vainly sought satisfaction in video games, social status, and lusting. But evening in finding their failure to bring me true joy, I still did not want to commit everything to Christ. I “knew” God but did not honor Him as Lord.

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