Sunday, November 21, 2010


Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a celebration. A lot of things have happened this year, but this may overshadow them all. There may just be no newsworthy stories as big as this one. What is this ‘news of news,’ you ask? Well, none other than the official post that brings this year’s blog entries to the highest number of any previous year! That’s right boys and girls, this post is my 12th entry this year, which surpasses my previous record total of 11 in 2007. This has been my most productive year as far as blogging goes. Not only has it been my most productive, but there is still over a month left in the year, so who knows how high that number will go!

What should this blog post be about? What does a record post deserve by way of contents? Well, perhaps a little history about the blog itself. As you can see from the sidebar, I’ve had this blog since 2006. The blog itself however, evolved from a mass e-mail update that I used to send out. In November of 2004, I found myself headed to South Korea. I had never been outside of North America, and really, I was just a kid who had a lot to learn. Friends and family wanted to keep in touch with me and know how and what I was doing in this new country. I also wanted to keep in touch with them. This spurred me to gather a list of e-mails to people who wanted to stay abreast of all my happenings. I sent out my e-mails to four groups, because the amount of people who wanted to receive the e-mails was too big to be sent out at once. The e-mails were really probably the best way for me to keep in touch with people, as they were able to reply, and we could converse back and forth on different issues or ideas I offered in my e-mails. The contents of the e-mails included anecdotes from my daily life, lines of thought I had been thinking over, and insights into personal and spiritual subjects. For over a year I sent out a monthly update, and had a positive response from people.

If I had a positive response, why the change? The answer is simple. Pictures. E-mail was not a convenient way to send large amounts of photos and/or videos. I wanted to highlight my stories with pictures and videos to give a more vivid idea of my life here in SK. A friend told me about ‘blogging,’ and I decided to give it a go. By this time, my e-mail updates were sporadic, because I had left Korea for about 3 months, and wasn’t sure about the validity of sending out the e-mail. I returned to South Korea, but didn’t have the same motivation to send out monthly e-mails.

The blog began as a way to share stories. I decided to blog approximately once a week. My goal was to make a video every week about my life and post them on the blog. I had been doing this with myspace, but would now switch everything to my blog. So the inception of the blog was primarily media focused, not necessarily updates on my life. Over time, I began posting some of my own thoughts and reflections, which garnered me a positive response, including readers who I had never met. The blog then kind of fell into disarray, as I would lose focus with regards to it and never really have a good motivation for it. Getting married, having a child were all nice things for me to write about, but I wasn’t really sure what my blog was supposed to be about, and I could e-mail or skype people to talk about those events. I created a separate blog (there’s a link on the sidebar) to post my studies in the Bible, and tried to do a podcast of my sermons. I just couldn’t stay focused on the tasks, and didn’t maintain them properly though.

This last year saw me decide to post weekly (which has also been adhered to sporadically), thus the jump in posts this year. Over the next month, I will be thinking about how to take this blog forward. What should the contents of my blog primarily be? Should I change the title? I’m not sure about where the direction of this blog is going to go, but next year, things will be different! I hope. I believe it would be a profitable endeavour for me to maintain this blog and to use it to map out my life, the question is whether I should focus the contents of the blog on one specific part of life, or keep the blog sort of all-encompassing, about everything? What are your thoughts? What should this blog look like in the future? Are there any specific things you want to see with this blog?

Here’s to a year of records, and a wide-open future of blogging!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Russians… they’re putting out some sort of jamming signal!

I’m a big believer in communication. I feel quite strongly that the key to any good relationship is quality communication. Quality communication is entirely dependent on truth and honesty. You can’t have a good relationship with someone you don’t trust. Period. That’s why I’ve learned to place a high value on the integrity of my words; because they will end up being the measuring stick by which people judge me.

Truth is important. There should be no compromise in our commitment to it. It seems common for people to justify telling small untruths to serve some greater end. I believe at the heart of this is the great lie that the end justifies the means. This is a patently false worldview. Were Stalin to have succeeded in creating a utopian society, a virtual heaven here on earth, would that have justified the millions of deaths by which it was created? In the same way, we cannot allow ourselves to fudge on our standards of truth. Christ defined Himself in terms of truth, saying ‘I am the… truth.’ God laid out the standard of holiness at Mount Sinai when He said, ‘thou shalt not lie.’ Over and over again in the New Testament we see truth as fundamental to the gospel and to a consistent, holy life. We also see deceit and error and lies as being diametrically opposed to all that is the gospel. How then, can we justify fudging on being truthful in our own lives.

All of this was spurred on by the knowledge that people seem unable to take me at face value. It seems that everyone is always looking for some sort of ‘hidden meaning’ in my words. It thoroughly confuses me, as I know I’m being truthful, and I know I have no hidden agenda. There’s just something about me that makes people guess at my real meaning. I think it’s my face. Apparently my face often looks angry, and I’m constantly being told by my wife that I look angry. I’m not, but apparently I look it. My words are often mistaken for sarcasm as well. I guess people assume I wouldn’t say what I said in the way I said it without trying to be funny. Today I was talking with my co-teacher about our upcoming winter camp. I mentioned that it was 3 weeks long, and asked her if she had plans to go anywhere on vacation (her family usually travels during the breaks). She returned with a puzzled look and questioned me if there was a problem with the camp, if I had a trip I couldn’t go on because of the camp, etc. She cocked her head to the side and looked at me intently, as if to say ‘why are you asking me this?’ This kind of reaction happens often. Too often.

Which leads me to believe that there is something happening in the time between when my words leave my mouth and they hit the ears of my hearer. I think it’s the Russians. Either that or I’m just a really terrible communicator. Who in their right mind would ever believe that though? Clearly the most logical, sane answer to my problem is that the Russians are putting out some sort of jamming signal to change my words. That’s clearly the most obvious answer.

Monday, November 01, 2010

My Daughter Cried

This morning I felt one of the greatest joys a father could ever feel. My daughter… cried. I know, I know. It’s cruel to take pleasure in something that causes your child pain, but, it really did warm my heart. I guess I should also explain why she cried. She cried because I was leaving. After hugging her in the morning and spending a little bit of time with her, it was time for me to go. So I put her down. As soon as she was out of my arms, she cried. Immediately. There was no hesitation on her part. She wanted her daddy.

It was cute the way she was crying, too. She just stood there. She didn’t flop down and have a temper tantrum, flailing her arms and legs. She just stood there, crying. Mouth wide open, eyes closed with tears streaming down. I waved bye-bye to her and she waved back. She even managed to say a short ‘bah bah,’ which is her way of saying bye. But she never stopped crying. She knew I had to go, but she just didn’t want to see me leave. It really, truly warmed my heart. It pained me because I had to go, and I wanted to stay and be with her, too. From now on though, I know that my daughter loves me. Because she cried.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

1 Year

My little girl turned one not too long ago. We finally finished celebrating yesterday. We had 4 separate parties for her. The first came in August with my mother’s side of the family. She wasn’t even 11 months yet at that point. She had her very own cake made for her, but didn’t really dig into it like everyone was hoping. She just tenderly touched the cake, inspecting it to see what it was.

The next celebration came on her real birthday. Mommy, Daddy and baby girl celebrated together. They went to VIPS (an all-you-can-eat buffet chain in Korea) so daddy could have ribs. She got to sample lots of different foods; she even tried ribs! She loved to chew on the bones after daddy finished them off. Sometimes she feels like a pet…

She tried so many new foods and seemed to relish the opportunity of eating whatever she wished. She had pineapple and litchy fruit for the first time ever. She loved litchy fruit - who doesn’t? Some waitresses came and gave the three of us some silly hats to wear and then sang a jazzed up happy birthday song for her. After the meal she went into the kids’ playroom and ran around screaming excitedly. She was so happy to be with other kids, and we were shocked at just how well-behaved she was with other children, no matter what the other kids were doing. After VIPS, our family went back to our apartment to have cake. Mommy and daddy sang happy birthday and then let baby girl play with her cake. She really liked it.

The next celebration was the big one with all of her Korean family and friends. We rented a room at the same buffet place that mommy and daddy got married at. More than 50 people showed up to celebrate with us! Daddy made a video for his daughter, and there were some ‘MC’s’ who danced and ran the program. A table was placed out for her which contained some objects which symbolize possible paths for baby to take in the future. Among the items were a microphone, mouse, pencil, money and stethoscope. She was supposed to choose one item. The microphone meant she would be a singer, the mouse meant she’d work in some capacity with computers, the pencil meant she’d do something with education, money meant she’d be rich, and the stethoscope, well, obviously meant she’d be a doctor. When asked what we’d prefer baby to choose, mommy said money and daddy said the pencil. As it would turn out, she chose the pencil, and daddy couldn’t have been happier!

The last and final celebration came yesterday with people from church here in Busan. About 30 people came over! We had cake and ice cream, watched a video and opened gifts. She really dug into her cake this time. She loved it! She got it all over her face, arms and legs. She was so good with everyone and was hamming it up for some of the girls.

Our little girl is now a year old. It’s so hard to believe that a year has already passed. She’s developing well, getting cuter by the day, and making mommy and daddy laugh so hard every day. Her name, Charissa, means joy. Over the past year she has displayed how aptly she is named, as she has been a constant source of joy to those whom she meets. We brought her into school one day, and one of the teachers told me that seeing Charissa helped her get through the long night of work she had to do.

We love you little girl, and we’re still praying that you’ll grow up to know the joy of honouring and serving the Lord. You are in our hearts always, and we’re so proud and humbled to be your parents.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Waste not, want not

The break is officially over. I’m back working again, back ‘into the swing of things,’ by which I assume means back into the usual routines of my daily life. You may have noticed that just after I said I was going to try and blog about once a week, I suddenly stopped posting blogs. I was going on vacation and decided that entailed everything in my normal life, including writing. It was a much needed break, one that has left me loathe to get back into my duties and responsibilities as a husband, father, Christian and employee.

My lack of desire to really get grinding to work again has caused me to start thinking about wasting time. I asked myself the question, ‘what if i lived every day without wasting any time at all?’ The mere thought of it causes me to feel tired and heavy. Reflecting on this question has led me to believe that I approach my days with an unconscious desire to simply kill time. I seem to be constantly looking for ways in which to distract my mind, to ‘get through my day.’ It's funny, too, because if you were to ask me, I'd probably tell you I was really busy now. I sometimes come to the end of the work day and think to myself, 'oh no! I have so much left to get done!' Then I think back on how I spent my day and see lots of wasted time. I guess it's a case of waste not, want not. If I didn't waste the time to begin with, I wouldn't be begging for more time to finish things. I hope the microcosm of 1 day doesn't hold true for the sum total of my life!

Reading biographies of great Christian men such as Robert C. Chapman and George Mueller have led me to believe that a pretty common thread in the lives of godly Christian men and women is a constant drive to use their time for godly pursuits. It seems to me that a key to godliness is using all of the time available to us in connection with the Lord. Not only this, but it seems to me almost as though by holding back and wanting to ‘waste time,’ we’re actually holding something away from God.

Imagine spending every free moment of the day thinking on portions of Scripture you’ve been memorizing or talking with the Lord? I can’t. It’s a terrible thing to admit, but I can’t imagine giving every moment of the day over to God. I’ve spent a lot of time talking as though I’ve been doing it, and I think at one point in my life I actually was, but not now. It seems to me like it would be too burdensome to always be thinking spiritually. It seems like it would cost me my friends, yes even my church friends, if I were to live like that.

Though it does seem like that is what God has called us to do...

Monday, July 05, 2010

Let your anger flow like molasses

There have been many different minor issues floating through my head lately. None of these has really taken up a significant amount of time, I’ve only thought about them in passing. There has not been a major issue that has taken up my time as of late, and that’s probably because I’ve just been too lazy to put in the time to think through an issue to completion. Only having minor, passing ideas filling my head makes it difficult to write on anything with meaning. There is however, one concept which I believe I can offer up some worthwhile statements about: patience.

I am not a patient person. I find myself getting frustrated easily. Sometimes I feel like the pot is always about to explode, like I could just spew a string of vitriolic phrases without a second thought. I get ticked by people’s driving. I become bitter by the lack of courtesy shown me by others. I make quick judgements about people’s behavioural patterns and cannot seem to find any spot of grace in my attitude toward them. I also get frustrated by my quickness to be frustrated. In short, I am not a patient person.

Something has begun to change though. A thought has seemed to creep in unnoticed. The thought hasn’t been pondered on yet but it seems to have permeated the way I view relationships now. Slowly but surely I seem to be growing in patience. I seem to be able to offer true forgiveness, I seem to be able to disagree without growing incensed that the other person doesn’t agree. I’ve grown comfortable with allowing others to be accountable before God and not me. The thought, although a small one has nevertheless begun to transform my attitude toward other people. That God, in His patience, continues to work on me to transform me into Christ’s image. Although I continue stubbornly to refuse Him and to walk in my own ways, He has patience with me to bring me to where He wants me to be.

Grace - patience - has been given to me. God has refused to allow my rebellion to permanently ruin me. He has allowed the consequences of my rebellion to affect me, but He has never beat me into the ground because of it. He’s never told me I’ve run out of chances. He has patiently given me what I need when I need it, and patiently tried to teach me the lessons I need to know. I can’t imagine being the kind of teacher that God is. He’s willing to review the same thing with me over and over and over again. I’m sure He’ll keep reviewing the same lessons with me until I fully understand them. What a great God we serve! This grace - patience - that He’s extended to me has subtly begun to have an affect on me so that I now am trying to be gracious and patient myself. My confident prayer is that God will patiently continue to teach me this lesson.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The quiet comforts

This last week was a doozy. I found myself so discouraged by the end of the week, I literally just wanted to leave my life behind, sever all connections and live alone with my family in the woods somewhere. Every now and then I have this kind of desire. I grow so frustrated - hurt is probably a better word - by the people around me that I wish I could just start a new life somewhere else. But I know that’s not how God has designed us. Unfortunately personal relationships with other people are part of God’s great plan for us. Also unfortunately, these personal relationships seem to be the great source of frustration and pain in life.
When going through a period of discouragement, I find it very easy to simply embrace feelings of self-pity and bask in the dark feelings that permeate my soul. This is not a proper response, though. We are to look to the great God who created us, saved us and is currently making us into something better to comfort us. It’s not an easy thing to do when feeling so black.
On this particular occasion I was lifted again to a thankful spirit by two circumstances. The two circumstances came in the form of two different means, both impersonal and personal.
Due to my sad state, I decided to pull away from my wife while our daughter was sleeping and sit quietly upstairs on our patio. It just happened to be the time for the sunset. I sat quietly watching the sky change colours, brilliantly. It had been raining all weekend long, and had only just stopped, so there were a lot of differently shaped clouds in the air, dancing rapidly across the sky. There quick entrances and exits on the stage made for a constantly changing scene before my eyes. Curiously there was one cloud that maintained its position in the sky, while all the others hurried on before it. The sky behind the fixed cloud lit up in a bright gold. It seemed as though there was a fire behind it blazing uncontrollably and that the small dark clouds passing before it were the smoke from that fire. It also gave the effect that the sky had been ripped open at this one place and I was being given a glimpse into the dwelling place of the Lord. Off to the side there were clouds stretched out like a cotton sheet, couched with red all around. The scene looked entirely surreal, like a cheaply made set, and yet it was all real. Somewhere as I was thinking about God reigning on His throne, ruling the heavens and the earth, I glanced behind me and saw the largest rainbow perhaps I have ever seen (most good rainbows seem to take this superlative quality). I was amazed and thanked the Lord for His promise. After showing me His glory, He reminded me of His promises. I sat there thinking, thanking. I began to think about Brian MacLaren for some reason. I thought about how he believes Genesis is just a book of fables that people thought up to explain natural events. For him the account of the flood is a nice way to explain rainbows. I began to not care about Brian MacLaren anymore. He can believe what he wants to, but he’s missing out on the promises of God. My heart grew warm with thanksgiving that the Lord spared mankind through Noah, and that He promised never to bring about such a terrible catastrophe again. I was reminded again of G.K. Chesterton’s quip: ‘Oscar Wilde said that sunsets were not valued because we could not pay for sunsets. But Oscar Wilde was wrong; we can pay for sunsets. We can pay for them by not being Oscar Wilde.’ I will pay for my sunset and my rainbow by not being Brian MacLaren. The payment is worth it as well, as God rewarded me with an incredible affinity to Himself through a revealing of His glory and a reminder of His promises.
After the heavens had finished their performance I went back downstairs to my family. This is when the second joy found its way into my heart. My daughter for some reason was standing at the couch, supporting herself with one arm. She looked at me, smiled, and then started babbling excitedly. Her eyes gleamed with a rapturous joy. She seemed to be telling us that she was happy to be with her mommy and daddy. My wife and I just sat there listening to her, watching her explore the world around her and grow excited. Every now and then she would look up at us, smile and babble. Our hearts melted at every sound. God used this little girl to remind that relationships aren’t all bad. Joy can and should be found in our relationships with one another. It only depends on how much we value the glory of God, and how often we think on His promises.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What to do when you have nothing to say...

So I’ve set a goal for myself to write a blog once a week. It’s not really a firm resolution, rather just a loose ideal I’d like to maintain. I wouldn’t be particularly crushed if I were to miss a week or two here or there. The problem is though, as with most things, when I began to make small excuses here or there to not do something I’ve previously decided I want to do, it often leads to abandoning the task altogether. It seems that the small instances of not fulfilling goals tend to be the small cracks in the windshield that grow and eventually shatter the glass. Certain things tend to be easier to fulfill. The things that simply require me doing something non-creative. Things like prayer, reading or studying. Goals involving these kinds of things are simple to fulfill; all you have to do is do them! Not fulfilling them can usually be directly linked to laziness. But what about creative goals? Things like painting, writing or composing music? These things can really pose quite a different problem. Even if you set aside the time to do them, you may just find yourself at a loss for what to write or paint about, or how your composition should come together. Particularly with my goal to blog, I’ve faced the problem of what to do when I have nothing to say!

So here I am. I have literally nothing to say, but you’re still reading this as if I did have something to say. You half-expect to unearth some rare jewel of wisdom by the act of my reflecting on nothing in particular. You think to yourself, ‘He can’t possibly write about absolutely nothing!‘ Yet here I am, and I assure you I’m only reflecting on my problem of having nothing of worth to write about. My soul doesn’t feel like singing the praises of the rain that’s finally coming here, nor does it feel up to the task of pondering the great mysteries of life and faith. I just feel kind of tapped. I have some studying I need to do, I have some reading I can get done and I have a few other menial tasks that I can attend to perfectly well right now. What I can’t do is offer any insights into life at all - except maybe this one: there are times when we have nothing to say.

Over the last few years I’ve learned that it’s okay for me to be quiet. Not only is it okay to be quiet, but it’s actually preferred that I don’t add my thoughts on issues that I haven’t spent any quality time thinking through. By speaking I render myself vulnerable to being wrong. It’s okay to be wrong, but it’s not okay to be wrong while offering advice to other people. ‘I don’t know.‘ Those three words have become a regular part of my speech over the last few years. I don’t know but I’m being honest enough with you and myself to admit my lack of knowledge.

If you don’t really know me well, you won’t understand how big a deal this is for me. I used to pride myself on knowledge. The irony of that is that I prided myself on knowledge when I had next to none. Now I can gladly say that I’m not sure about the right answer on particular issues, but I’ll do my best to find the answer. I’m now convinced that I do know some things (a very little still), because I searched for the answers when I realized I didn’t know.

So what is this blog about? The random prattlings of a confused man? Maybe. The whole point of this blog entry was to answer the question, ‘what do you do when you have nothing to say?’ I can confidently say that the answer is this:
I don’t know.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Why Won't Anyone Listen To Me?

I had to think for a couple seconds about the title of this blog. I wanted to highlight the need for patience, prayer and humility, but titles with those concepts just wouldn’t adequately describe the purpose of this entry. The truth is, I want this blog to be an adequate reminder of an attitude and practice that I want to maintain in my life. I figured the title should reflect the attitude and line of questioning I had when God revealed to me the untrusting nature of my belief.

Let me set the background scenario for how I began to think of these things. The first thing you should know is that I believe the Bible to be true and adequate for training us in all areas of life. I believe it should be the primary source for Christians to understand how our lives should be lived. This would include our attitudes at work, at home and at church. It would also include the way we as a corporate body structure our churches. I believe firmly that God has not left us without instruction to something as dear to Him as His Church. I believe firmly that Scripture should drive us in all that we do. Part of that is submission to church leadership. That’s a background of my beliefs relevant to this discussion. Now I’d like to detail my predicament.

Believing all these things has translated historically into a lack of grace in my life when discussing with people who seem to me to have impure doctrinal beliefs. I have historically grown impatient with those who seem to misuse the Bible, or simply not understand it correctly. The last few years, God has been working on my heart to make me more gracious. Unfortunately for those around me, it’s been a slow process. I don’t want to write to much about the actual scenario, lest those involved would feel I had betrayed their trust, or talked badly about them - that is not my intention. I’m simply writing these things so that I remember them in the future, and I feel that they may be of profit for the three people that read my blog. For sake of understanding what I want to share, it’s important (at least for me) to know (for me to remember) the context of how I learned it. So here is the scenario in a nutshell: I have very formed beliefs about what the Church is and how certain things should be practised. I was asked to do something by my church leadership which I didn’t feel comfortable with, as I thought it betrayed the truth of Scripture on particular areas of Church practice. That is the scenario. What to do in this situation was a source of great concern for me.

I began with prayer. My prayer followed three main lines of petitioning: that God show me how to react to the situation, that God show me if I erred in my interpretation of the Scripture and that God move the hearts of the leadership to understand the Scriptures correctly. All of these things, of course, I prayed would be according to the will of God. As I was praying for these things, God really spoke to my heart. He began to reveal an attitude in my heart that was untrusting of His methods and plans. I grew convinced through my study of the passages in question that my interpretation was accurate, but I noticed a desperate feeling in my heart to see my church practice according to the Scripture. This, needless to say, is not a bad thing. What was bad was my willingness to judge my leaders based on their not understanding the Scripture. I was eager to prove to them the truth of Scripture. I was willing to attack their current practices and argue about what was true and right. I was not willing to submit to their leadership and recognize that the same Holy Spirit which dwells in me also dwells in them. I was not willing to trust that God was working in this church, and that He had things under control. I began to feel uneasy about the situation, and I doubted whether I could have any ministry at the church. I began considering whether I needed to begin searching for a new church.

But God in his ever so gracious, ever so tender manner spoke to my heart. ‘It’s okay,’ He said. ‘Don’t forget why this issue is important to you. It’s important to you because I said it’s important. You can trust that if something is important to me, I will work it out. The truth is that I know what I’m doing, and I’m working at your local church. Take your stand and refuse to do what they’ve asked, because your conscience is convicting you. Then submit to their leadership and follow whatever decision they come to. Don’t forget that I chose them to shepherd my church, and I’ve given them authority over you. Don’t trespass my Word with the guise of following my Word. Don’t be divisive. Don’t judge. Just trust that I’m working in the church, and I will execute my will. Remember that I’m a patient God, patient even with you when you sin against me, and I’m asking you to be patient with my people, as I’m patient with you.’

So I have a problem with trust, do I? As I began to search my heart I recognized that yes, yes indeed I do have a problem with trusting the Lord. I give up so quickly because ‘things aren’t right.’ Thank God He doesn’t give up so easily, because when it comes to me at least, things are almost never right. Trust. That’s what I’ve gotta do, huh? Trust.

The concept is so simple: God knows everything, He has power to accomplish anything He wants to, so just trust that He knows the circumstances of my particular situation, and trust that He has the power to accomplish what’s best in my particular situation. So simple… to give lip-service to. I began finding how difficult it is to just trust that God is working in other people’s lives. As I began trying to focus on this idea, though, there was a very real positive practice that began to develop in my life. Prayer. Real heartfelt, intercessory, supplicatory, thankful, penitent prayer. I started to approach all my relationships with this main idea at the forefront of my mind: God is working in this person’s life. I began to stop trying to convince people of how right I am, or even of how they need to follow the Scripture, and began to just pray for these people sincerely. It doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped telling people they need to submit to the Lord or follow the Scripture, but I’ve realized that it’s not my job to convince them. I can honestly leave it up to the Lord! He knows what He’s doing. If there is something Biblical that is important to me, it’s infinitely more important to Him. If I don’t see Biblical practices being practised, it’s entirely arrogant of me to think that I can somehow cause them to be practised. God is entirely more powerful than I am, and He cares for these things entirely more than I do. More than that, He’s asked me to pray that they occur, and trust Him.

So I trust. I trust God to work in other people’s lives. I trust God that the same Spirit He’s given me, He’s also given to others who have believed on His Son. What’s that coming my way? Oh, freedom. Hi freedom, it’s nice to finally know you! The freedom that comes with a simple trust in the Lord and His Word has been monumental in my life. I’m well aware that to most Christians all that I’ve just written is completely basic, fundamental and boring. For me though, because I haven’t been practising it, it’s been transforming. Why won’t anyone listen to me? Because I’m just a jerk trying to convince people that I’m right about the Bible. Why would anyone listen to me? Because I’ve simply trusted the Lord and prayed that He would work in their hearts, and when I discuss the Bible with them, I’m not trying to convince them I know something they don’t, but graciously offering what the Lord has taught me and what about the Scripture drives me to do what I do, and believe what I believe.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Unclear ramblings... don't read

It seems it's been a while since I've really written about a subject with the intention of finding an answer. I don't just mean posted on this blog, but actually taken the time to really think over and meditate on a subject. I've thought about things, true, but I just haven't really been searching for answers. I think I've just been enjoying the process of thought. Certain philosophies have crept into my mind unawares, and I suppose it's partially because of those philosophies that I haven't really taken the time needed to gain answers. These philosophies would include the 'don't worry about the answer, the enjoyment comes from the questions,' and 'you've always got time to figure these things out, just enjoy your day today.'
What a rude awakening I've received lately. It seems like God has finally allowed the dam to burst; the dam that allowed me to store questions away for 'further observation.' Issues that I am incapable of giving adequate, Scriptural (for every good answer surely must be rooted in the Scriptures) answers to complicated questions. A friend of mine has challenged me on the idea of having answers to questions. He thinks life is such that we just kind of depend on God during the period that we go through trials, and we learn both the questions and the answers during that time. I grew so uncomfortable when he was trying to explain this to me, but I couldn't adequately support my belief that we need to be rooted in God's Word (knowing what God has to say in His Word about issues) before the situation arises. I'm reading Psalm 119 right now. I'm absolutely amazed at how the Psalmist approaches the Word of God in nearly every verse! At one point he says that his soul is 'crushed with longing after (the Word of God) at all times.'
I realize what someone may say to this. Someone might well say, 'you're using a circular argument.' This may seem to be true on the surface, but the argument runs much deeper than this. Let me put forward the argument like this:
1) I believe that Christ is who He said He is on the basis of the resurrection.
2) I received the news of His resurrection from the Scriptures.
3) The same Scriptures which tell me of His resurrection tell me of His life.
4) Jesus is shown to have a high view of the Word of God, and tells me His Word is true.

5) I believe the Word of God is true.

6) I believe what the Word of God says about itself.

I guess that, in a nutshell is why I believe the Word of God to be so important. The reason isn't because the Bible tells me so (although, in a way, yes it is), but rather that Jesus proved His claims by rising from the dead.

This was not supposed to be what this blog was about, though. The real thing I wanted to write about was the idea of compartmentalization. I've been told recently by a friend of mine that 'Christians tend to compartmentalize life,' and that this is a bad thing. The idea really resonated with me, but not in a good way. Of course I didn't have an answer, nor did I even try to engage the idea at the moment, I just let it pass away into the air. But I've been thinking about it. The reason I've been thinking about it is because I do compartmentalize life. I put ideas into categories. I filter comments and remarks people make through the appropriate compartments that they touch upon. It's what I do. Is it bad?

Thinking about it, I've got to say no, it isn't bad. It's actually helpful to me. The reason I compartmentalize ideas is not because I want splinter life into different categories and divide life into separate, unconnected areas. The reason I compartmentalize is because it helps me understand the whole. I'm not infinite. God is. He surely does not view truth and life in propositional statements or ideas. I do. I must. I must because I'm not infinite and have no hope of ever seeing truth like that. Let me give an illustration. Take a watch. A watch has distinct parts to it, all of which contribute to make a watch. If one of those parts isn't working properly, the whole watch doesn't work properly. This is true of any kind of machine or system. The parts in and of themselves are separate entities which are composed of certain elements of their own. They are distinct, but they are all connected. Life and ideas to me seem a lot like that. I separate thoughts into categories, and I seek to know what the Bible says about a certain topic, not because I only want to know about that topic or idea, but because I want my life to run more smoothly, to be more in line with what God has designed. I need to know the parts in order to have a complete, working whole. That's why it's important for me to think about subjects, and then once understand what God has spoken about a particular subject, to see how it fits with the whole of His message.

Anyways, the conclusion of all of this is that I need to begin taking the questions I encounter and looking for the answers. I need to be diligent to find the answers, so that I can live my life adequately in the truth of God. I'm sorry to any of you who didn't heed the warning of the title of this blog. I really just wanted to throw some not-well-thought-through notions on paper (or screen) as a reminder for myself later of the importance of thinking through issues to find answers.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Sometimes things happen to me or I witness things and just chuckle about them to myself. I don’t tell anyone about them. I’ve been thinking that it’s kind of sad that I don’t tell anyone, because sometimes they’re funny little anecdotes or interesting stories that add some colour to my life’s story. I thought I’d just write about them and post them on my blog. That way they’re recorded, so I can remember them, and the 3 of you who read my blog will also be in on some stories with me!
This week two things of note happened to me. On Monday night, I was walking to a meeting in Seomyeon from our apartment(which is a good distance). I had debated if I should drive, take the bus/subway or walk. I really wasn’t sure, and I made the decision to walk. During my walk I came to a point where I needed to cross the street. I waited at the crosswalk patiently for the ‘walk’ sign to appear. When it appeared I began to cross the road, the whole time being sort of lost in thought and prayer. I was rudely jostled out of my state of reflection/supplication by the sound of an engine revving. I glanced to my left and what did I see but a sedan accelerating in my direction. Over my years in Korea, I’ve learned that red lights don’t often seem to command the same respect to drivers that they do back home. I prepared myself to jump on the hood of the car (as I’d done a couple years earlier) and shouted a rather forceful ‘HEY!!!!’ The car came screeching to a halt about a foot and a half in front of me. I looked up and saw before me a woman, scared and embarrassed. I then continued with my walk, shaking my head a little.

Earlier in the same walk something happened that I couldn’t stop myself from laughing at. Close to our apartment is a police station, and in front of it there was some loud yelling. A confrontation between a short, near-elderly taxi driver and a tall, young, well-to-do arrogant man was taking place. The taxi driver was yelling at the young man and the young man’s girlfriend or wife was yelling at the taxi driver. The young man was making remarks, and was clearly upset, but wasn’t talking as rapidly as either the taxi driver or the woman. I was wondering if I was going to see a fight take place. What happened just blew my mind, and it’s a picture I won’t soon forget! All of a sudden the young man spat in the face of the taxi driver. The taxi driver grew enraged and spit in the young man’s face, rather comically and with some effort because of the height difference. Surely, I thought, this will come to blows. Again I was wrong. A spitting war ensued. I’ve never seen anything like it! It was like two sprinklers fighting. Each wet blow was followed with a wet response. Finally, the taxi driver gave a weak slap to the young man’s face (it was so weak it actually resembled more of a push). The young man responded with facewashing (hockey fans know what this is) the taxi driver. The ‘fight’ ended with the taxi driver wiping his glistening head with a handkerchief and looking around, wounded, as though trying to find someone to verify that he’d been wronged by the young man. It was at that moment that I was sure that I made the right choice to walk to Seomyeon.

Monday, April 26, 2010


I’ve been a Christian for a long time, and the majority of that time has seemed to be a little, shall we say, flat. I’ve often marvelled at the descriptions of power that surround the early Church in the New Testament. I’ve often asked myself the question, ‘why don’t you see power like that in your own life?’ We’re certainly told that belief in the Gospel brings with it an incredible power to transform your life; to make you new. Why is it that I so often feel that my faith just has not produced that kind of power?
Through my years of study/experience, I’ve come across what I think is the answer to this question. That answer is simply that I do not pray enough and honestly humble myself under the Word of God. I’ve been able to neatly categorize many of the ‘great truths’ of the Bible, and I have a lot of intellectual knowledge of the Word of God. But I’ve known for a long time that the practical side of my faith has been perversely shallow. I’ve known this for a long time, but could never quite find the ability to change it. I would concentrate on the Spiritual Disciplines and devote myself to really reading the Word of God and even what I would have called ‘prayer’ at the time, but the effects would usually last only a couple of weeks or months. There has always been something lacking in the way I’ve approached my spiritual life.
Recently, as I was praying, something really clicked for me. It was an incredible enlightenment, though nothing I hadn’t ‘known’ before. It suddenly dawned on me that when I was praying to the LORD, I was praying to another person. I wasn’t just having dialogue with myself. My prayers were not merely me thinking through situations. I was making my heart known to a God who is really there and listening. The personality of God is something that has long been lauded by Christians, indeed I myself have even praised it, but all these years I lived as though God were an idea and not a person. The thought both terrified and comforted me. I realized, for maybe the first time in my life, that I really needed to submit myself to the will of another. God is not an idea, He’s a person, and so we cannot just make any assertions that we want to about Him. He is a real being who has a real personality. I can’t just view Him in whatever way I want to. I can’t make statements about Him that aren’t true, in the same way that I can’t make statements about my mother that aren’t true. Through living with and talking with my mother I know certain qualities about my mother. In the same way through living with and talking with God, I can know Him in a true sense.
Not only has this reality given life to my prayers, but it has opened up the Scriptures to me in an entirely new way. God has told us certain things about Himself that He wants us to know. How important, then, is it for me to know those things. I’m now re-evaluating all of the attributes of God that I’ve learned and thinking about what they really mean. All of the attributes about God were completely meaningless to me, practically speaking, without the belief in the otherness of God. I’ve always* believed that Jesus was real, it’s always been easy to acknowledge that this man lived in real time/history. I’ve always believed in His death/resurrection. I’ve always believed in God. For some reason though, I never really approached Him as a person outside of myself.
This change in perception has changed the depth of my relationship with the LORD in an incredible way. What a wonderful thing to know that when God says ‘I AM,’ He says it because it’s true. He IS.

* I say this because it seems like I’ve been a Christian for my whole life, but not actually.