Category Archives: Christian Living

Living the Christian Life

Playing Badminton, Making Disciples

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. – 1 Peter 5:8

This afternoon, I had a round of badminton with some friends from church. It was a good time of bonding and exercise, both of which were much needed. As we fought for points, I was acutely aware of how each person had certain styles, and how my opponent was exploiting certain weaknesses of my team’s, e.g. striking where we least expect. 1 Peter 5:8 came to my mind immediately. In a badminton match, we can ask for a time out when we’re tired, but that isn’t going to work with the devil.

We really need to be sober and vigilant at all times, and bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). How can we be sober and vigilant at all times? I believe a very important key to that is to be in a strong community of believers, brothers and sisters who will hold you accountable and watch over you. We all have times when we need to rest and may let our guards down. But if we stay connected to the vine, if we stay in the light, and keep our eyes on Jesus, darkness will have to flee.

Oh yes, I’m thrilled to find out that we have a digital keyboard in the office! Though I stopped piano lessons long ago, I thank God for the foundation that I still have, and coupled with my theory, am now able to play one of my favorite songs satisfactorily!

The Gift of Children

This Labor Day holiday, I had the privilege of spending three days with children from my church with other singles while the couples went away on a couples’ retreat. There were about 8 kids in total, and they were all very well behaved and they gave me visions of what I want my own kids to be like. I can only imagine the amount of effort that all these parents have placed into parenting their kids in the way of God, and the rewards that they will reap through their lives.

I experienced the joy of a kid filling the house with pleasant melodies from a piano, the joy of riding on a swing with some little boys, the thrill of racing down a slide with a little girl.

The Psalmist is right:

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate. – Psalm 127:3-5

I also had the privilege of observing how other people took care of the kids, including shopping, meal preparation, helping children wash up, taking them out to play, egging them to rest, helping them with their assignments, disciplining them when they disobey instructions, etc.

May God grant me strong foundations for the future of my family. I definitely look forward to the joys of parenting :D

Putting Our Burdens Down

There is a story told about a farmer in rural China who would harvest his vegetables, put them on a pole, and carry them into the city to sell. There was a beautiful valley between the village and the city that the farmer would cross everyday.

One night, there was a heavy downpour and the valley was flooded. When the farmer reached the valley, he realized that it had turned into a river! Anxious, he started pacing up and down along the banks of the river to figure out what to do. He noticed a boat cruising through the water. He shouted out to the boatman: “Hello sir! I need to cross to the other side of the valley to sell my vegetables, otherwise they will go bad. Would you be able to give me a lift across this river please?”

The boatman agreed as he was headed that way too, and steered the boat towards the farmer. Thanking the boatman, the farmer got onto the boat, and the boatman started crossing to the other side of the river. Halfway to the other side of the river, the boatman suddenly turned around, and shocked, he asked the farmer: “Mister farmer, the sun is shining brightly down, and you are carrying such a heavy load and sweating so much, why don’t you put your goods down instead of standing and carrying them?”

The farmer profusely replied: “Mister boatman, I am already so thankful that you are bringing me across the river, I don’t want to put more load on your boat by putting my goods down!”

Most of us would accuse the farmer in the story of being thickheaded. However, how often do we as believers continue to hoard our cares, even after coming to Christ? How many of us do not put our burdens down even after stepping onto the boat? Is that why the Bible needs to tell us (1 Pet 5:7) to cast our cares on him? What are you holding on to that is taking its toll on you?

One Life to Live

As I further ponder how to live this life, I consider the lives of great people who have gone before me. John Sung, Hudson Taylor, Paul the Apostle, Adoniram Judson, Charles Spurgeon, D.L. Moody, Amy Carmichael, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Elliot and a great many other people who I may never know. Whether it was a country like China or a people group like the Quechua Indians, every single one of them gave their lives for a cause they were called to, and not a few of them paid for it with their very lives. Many left their families, and suffered physically, emotionally, and were even taunted by those around them. However one thing they all had was a backbone of steel in the pursuit of their calling, and they were all people of character.

Looking at Adoniram Judson’s letter of courting to his first wife’s father tells a fair bit about him. I’m not sure I would have the guts to ask this of the father of a woman I’m interested in.

I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left is heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteous, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?

No doubt the world today is a very different place. The most remote places of the earth can now be reached in a maximum of days. Health standards have risen globally, and most of us shield ourselves from harsh climates by staying indoors.

Yet some things have not changed. He who gave his all for me, still expects me to give my all. Not 99%, not 101%, but 100%. How does that work? I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. – Galatians 2:20.

Recently I considered the option of teaching English. It’s not actually a new option, as I had contemplated it before and looked at numerous teaching opportunities. However what threw me off course this time was trying to evaluate the decision by myself. I thought about it for a few days, weighing the pros and cons. I eventually decided not to take it, as I felt it wasn’t the right time to move into teaching English. Teaching English is something that I will be able to do later, but it will be hard to pick up IT again if I put it down. Fair enough.

Along the way, I had a thought. IF God calls me right now to put my IT background and skills on the shelf; if he calls me to go to a remote village to teach the kids English; if it means taking a salary that will never buy me a return ticket to Singapore, am I willing to go? Have I truly laid down all of me? To laying down my IT career of 14 years, I’m willing.

It is one thing to be a martyr; quite another to be a living sacrifice. To lay still on the altar in the face of adversity and persecution when the main thought on my mind is to flee to my comfort zone.

Tonight I place myself on the altar again. Take all of me in exchange of all of you. Anywhere, anytime, I’m willing. One life to live, poured out at your feet.

Why Did God Create Us?

I recently had the opportunity to share my faith with a Buddhist friend in Chongqing. While we talked, my friend asked an innocent question: “Why did God create us?” My understanding of that has been to have fellowship with us, but that doesn’t sound complete in itself. Was he then lonely or incomplete? I promised to get back on it, and decided to blog about it at the same time.

I believe there are a few main reasons:

1. To glorify Himself. While there is much in existence, nothing glorifies God like man. Being made in his image, we are the pinnacle, the crowning glory of all his creation. Everything in creation glorifies him, but we, as people, are the only creation that actually reflect him.

2. For fellowship with us. Prior to the creation of mankind, there were angels, but still they were not created in God’s image. I am not sure what differences there are between angels and humans in terms of ability to communicate/fellowship though.

3. To demonstrate love. Perhaps as the very essence of love, God had an innate desire to exude love, and mankind was the best channel through which he has exhibited his love.

Do you have other thoughts? Post them in the comments!

Love and Sacrifice

This evening, a friend sent me this video. In the interview, Jaeson talks about his history in drugs and stealing, how he walked away from that, and walked into a life of love and sacrifice trusting that God would be able to satisfy his every need. At one point he says

Sexual temptation, abstinence, is not something I’m just trying to control, or something I’m trying to resist. It’s a battle, it’s a war, it’s a fight to be won. So really, when you look at purity, you don’t look at it as, “oh, I’m missing out on something.” Rather, I’m fighting for something. I’m fighting to give my future wife, my future family, my children, the very best. To give them my whole heart, to let them know that I saved myself for their mother, and I love her that much that I would not give myself to anyone else but her. For her, and for my children.

It’s actually the second time I’ve listen to Jaeson and I wept both times. Despite his status as an actor, musician and writer, he exudes true humility, passion and a sense of realness. It is truly the right video at the right time as I burn the bridges to my past. The fight for my future, my wife, and my children starts now.

Love, by Jaeson Ma:

Salt and Light

My company started a community project to start working with street children about a month ago. Each of us forked out VND 50,000 to create goodie bags to give out to street children. Unfortunately for some unknown reason, ever since that time, we hardly see street children these days. Might be that the police did something or maybe because it’s the rainy season.

Yesterday on my way to a birthday party, I saw a girl who looked Khmer, but I hadn’t trained myself to react to it immediately and because I was catching a lift with someone else, I did not ask her to stop. That would probably be my biggest regret of the week. It was the first time in a few weeks that I had the opportunity, had the goodie bag with me, but did not give it out. So now I’ve developed the instinct that once I see this opportunity, I will act immediately on it.

Tonight we had Soar Above the Storms, a leadership conference with guest speakers from Chick-fil-A, and I really thank God that I can say that I am truly gratified, because the great speakers came, did a great work, and I had the honor of playing a part in making the whole thing happen.

Wanna be salt and light one step at a time.

听话

星期天我参加了救主堂的中文聚会。本堂牧师吩咐我们应该听话。他说,不但儿女需要听话,但父母、长辈也得听话。听话,就是得听从神的话语。听到但没去做,不算听话。

他说到在基督教家庭里,父母和儿女有时会因为有人没听话而产生隔阂。尽管双方都承认是基督徒,但是孩子在家里不孝、父母在家里不当好家长等。

针对孩子的,他给了下面的几点:
消极的:不可轻慢父母、不可藐视父母、不可叫父母担忧、不可离弃父母的法则训诲、不可咒骂父母、不可让父母愁烦
积极的:当孝敬父母、当听从父母、尊敬父母、使父母欢喜快乐、奉养父母

关于尊敬长辈,他说了一句话:“在白发人前站起来,在没发人前也站起来!”有意思吧!

恳求主给我恩典,让我能够听从神的指导。

Purpose

A few days ago, I listened to a few sermons from Covenant Life Church by Joshua Harris. He talked about not wasting our lives, and also the issue of self-control in a wired world. What really struck out to me was the need for purpose. Truly without purpose and direction in our lives, it is just too easy for life to pass us by without us noticing.

Unfortunately I notice that is is too easy for me to lose track of my purpose, without regularly keeping the vision ahead of me. There have been far too many wasted lives. Far too much time, cognitive resources that have been wasted because of the distractions of the good, that rob us from our destiny of the best.

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