Fruit

things above

Bible Talk: Persevering In Christ October 24, 2009

Greetings

Hello! HSC is under way! In one week I will be flying off to Hong Kong for a holiday while I giggle at all of the poor suckers like the rest of the state excluding myself who still have to study for the week ahead. And giggle even harder at the ones who have to study for the week after THAT.

But anyway, here is something to fill the gap in between my blogs because I am not exactly blogging any more until after HSC finishes. So my blog on ISCF at Ruse will be coming up after this one.

Yes, I said I would put up the talk I wrote in year 10 and also my talk from term 2 ISCF here so this is the year 10 talk (not done at school), with as little editing as possible. It’s not a very LONG LONG talk, so hopefully you can read it without dying in the middle. During stressful times (e.g. HSC), I think it is very easy to push God aside and let your studies take first priority. But I think that striving towards knowing Christ is something that should be constant. It shouldn’t be pushed aside for anything. If we stop doing this for exams, what is taking priority in your life? And what is more important than God? I’ve been challenged myself because a lot of the time I put other things in my life before God but I know this isn’t right. If I have this hope of salvation, then what am I doing in putting things of the world before God?

If you’re reading this and you’re in year 12, I hope you’re doing well and that exams aren’t weighing you down. Don’t stress too much! Just do your best, leave the rest to God and it will all be over soon! Then PARTYTIME! See you all on the other side of HSC!

And if you’re not in year 12, I hope you’re doing horribly. Kidding, of course. I also hope that you’re doing well and not stressing too much over whatever you might have going on in your life.

So yes. Until after HSC,

Peace, love and lol.

Simon

Persevering in Christ

Passage: Philippians 3:12-4:1

Introduction

How do we become more like Christ? Imagine you’re running a 100km  marathon. You’ve still got half of it left to go and you’ve already fallen over so many times on the run because you’re just not that fit (like Andrew Tsang. Sorry, just had to throw that bit in when I re-read this). You remember all the times you fell down and how painful it was and just thinking about it makes you want to pull out of the marathon. The rest of the 50 kilometres you have left… I mean, it’s spastic to even think about running it when you remember how tired you are… and how much it hurt before when you fell over! But should you really be spending all that time thinking about what happened before instead of focusing on the finish line? Let’s look at Philippians and see what it says about what we should do in trying to achieve Christ-likeness.

Passage Breakdown

In 3:12-13, Paul writes “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold on me. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.” He starts off by saying that he isn’t perfect. Paul is writing this letter in prison, so even though he’s suffering in prison for Christ he’s not perfect! But something he does is forgetting what is behind and strains towards what is ahead. If you’re having school exams and you just flunked your maths exam, you don’t go home and worry about maths and start studying for it again, do you? NO! That test is already over, so you start studying for your next exam because there is NO point worrying about the test that is already over. In a similar way, we shouldn’t keep worrying and feeling GUILTY about how we’ve sinned against God, because he forgives us for whatever we’ve done. So instead, we are to strain on towards what is ahead. Verse 14 says “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” This prize that Paul is pressing on towards is knowing and GAINING Christ completely. In chapter 3:8-10 in the passage before this, Paul says that everything is a loss compared with the greatness of knowing Christ. He says he wants to know Christ above ALL other things!

In verses 15-16, Paul continues, “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” He is writing this to the Christians at Philippi, and is telling them that they too, are not perfect. And if they THINK they are, God will correct them. We need to admit that we aren’t perfect. We are to live up to what we have already attained. This means that if we claim to be perfect, we are to show that we are perfect through our lives. If we AREN’T perfect (we’re not), we need to persevere to become more Christlike.

In verses 17-19, Paul writes “Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things.” Paul wants us to follow his example of persevering towards gaining Christ. He says not to follow those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. Following the cross of Christ is suffering and being a servant to others.. while enemies of the cross indulge in the things of the world. But verse 20 tells us that our citizenship is in heaven.. this means that we should have our mind on heaven, instead of following the ways of the world. Say you wanna lose a whole lot of weight. If your focus is on losing weight, you wouldn’t indulge and stuff yourself with KFC every day, would you? Like this, since we belong in heaven, we shouldn’t “stuff” ourselves with earthly things, and instead we are to focus on heaven.

In verses 20-21, Paul says that we as Christians belong in heaven.. and we wait for Jesus to return from there to raise us up with him and transform our bodies to be glorious like his.

Then in 4:1, Paul finishes by saying that we are to stand firm in the Lord. This means we are to forget what is behind, so we can focus and persevere towards the goal of knowing and gaining Christ completely.

Application

So how do we press on towards gaining Christ?

  • We first need to realise we are not perfect. Then we need to forget what is behind us (all the guilt from sins of the past) by asking God for his forgiveness.
  • We need to keep meeting up with each other… ENCOURAGE one another and spurring each other on. It’s so much easier to run the race with others helping you along through it.
  • In striving towards Christ-likeness reading the Bible is very important, as it is there for us to understand Christ.
  • PRAYER: nothing is possible without God. How can we press on towards knowing Christ if we don’t ask God Himself to help us?

So to run the race, we need to forget what is behind us, and persevere towards the prize: the greatest thing of all, knowing and gaining Christ Jesus our Lord.

Advertisements
 

Blogs and RICE August 26, 2009

Filed under: Christian — Simon Chow @ 9:55 AM
Tags: , , ,

Blogging?

Ew. Never thought I would ever start one of these. Ever.

But my blog will be more like an open diary, primarily focused on my walk with Christ, with a few other things here and there.  Ooh look! I can use bullet points in this! I’ll take advantage by listing below what may appear in my blog:

  • Findings and thoughts from reading the Bible
  • Findings and thoughts about events and experiences in my life
  • Findings from YouTube
  • Music I listen to
  • Other things which I can’t think of now

The purpose of this being like an open diary is so that readers might keep me accountable for everything and so I can track my progress over time. I’ll get the small talk (videos and music) out of the way before I start.

Recent videos

Sand animations from Ukraine’s Got Talent. Absolutely amazing:

Old clip but still makes me laugh every time. Asians do the darndest things:

Behind the head slap prank. Ridiculous, Doug-esque:

Recent music

Haven’t bought new CDs recently and don’t want to go through my music until later. One song:

Starfield – Remain (one of the songs at RICE Rally)

“Day after day Your love will remain

Faithful and true you are good”

Trevor Hodge – Surrender All (another song at RICE Rally)

“For amazing grace stepped into my place

Took the punishment for me”

The RICE Blog

Hmmm… Now how do I start this? I guess I’ll do a blog about RICE, since I find it blog-worthy. I’ll try to keep it relatively short but who knows? And after writing this blog, it seems to be very very long. It’s probably very hard to read too but oh well. I guess I’ll review exams and other things later. Now why can’t I be this efficient at writing essays?

RICE Rally was on last Saturday! If you don’t know what it is, RICE is a Christian evangelistic event organised for youths across Sydney (you can read about it HERE) with the purpose of spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. My thoughts on the night (thoughts on talk and in general afterwards):

  • I’m amazed at how much it has grown in size over the last few years. When I went in year 7, it was held in a hall in Chatswood with probably about 1000 people. In 2009, there were over 4000 people listening to God’s word in the entertainment centre, which I find amazing! Praise God for this!
  • Pre-night entertainment was perhaps a little long for my liking but I guess I don’t have a problem with that if it helps people connect with God and gets people pumped up for hearing God’s word.
  • Talk was great and challenging, I thought (more later).
  • RICE lounge was KUH-RAZZYYYY. There were so many people who were affected by God’s word, both people who had never heard the message before that night and also people who reaffirmed themselves as Christians. I heard more than 500 people became Christians there that night! Insane! Really have to thank God for this because it’s only through His work that these people were brought to RICE and that they heard the message!
  • I really hope that these people can be followed up by friends and other Christians. What good is it hearing the message and being moved by it and then going back to living the same life as before?

My thoughts on the talk:

  • Opening example of phantom limbs… interesting. I’ll stop here before I sound like a little girl.
  • The talk was extremely challenging! God spoke through Matt Chandler about our identity. He was very confronting and upfront about our outright rejection of our Creator, which made me have a big think about why we treasure this creation over the one who created it? Every time we choose the things of this world and put them over God are we lacking faith in His promise of eternal life in a place far better than this world? Matthew 19 talks about the rich young man who couldn’t enter the kingdom of God because he wasn’t able to let go of his earthly possessions. If we love God’s creation more than God Himself, it really looks like we’re doomed to the same fate as the rich young man.
  • 3 types of people: the lovers of God, the “fakers”, the lost. This “faker” identity hit me pretty hard because now that I come to think of it, if someone met my group of friends for the first time, would they be able to tell I’m a Christian? I really doubt they would know straight away because the way we act is too similar. I think that being not only a Sunday-youthgroup-ISCF-Focus Christian is something I really need to work at and I encourage other Christians out there to work at it too (more on WHY later). I guess all Christians can identify with this “faker” identity to at least some extent, since we’re all sinners no matter how hard we try. But the GREAT thing is that although we are sinners, Jesus took the punishment for OUR sin upon himself and we are able to come before God and ask for His forgiveness!
  • He also talked about our “talents” and how we use them. It really gave me a kick in the butt, as I realised how fortunate I am to be who I am. I’m blessed with so much: living in Australia, loving family and awesome friends, as well as a lot of personal things too (I don’t want to brag, of course 😉 ). There’s really nothing I did to deserve ANY of it. It is all God’s work and so our “talents” really belong to Him and we should be using these talents for His work. And not only because it’s what we SHOULD be doing but we should also WANT to be using ourselves for God’s glory.

My thoughts on RICE and evangelism:

It’s an event I’ve gone to every year since year 7 (which would make this my sixth: yes, I’m old). Over the years it has grown to be HUMUNGO but I think this is the first year I actually put in effort to ask people to come. I think RICE is a really great event and a REALLY REALLY GREAT opportunity for people to come into contact with Christians and God’s word. It’s a very nonthreatening environment and there are so many other people there who have never heard God’s message before or are very doubtful about it. It is an event DESIGNED for reaching to people who AREN’T Christians, rather than things like church and Christian groups at school, where people would feel left out when they don’t understand what the speaker is on about and the place is full of Christians, which can be very intimidating.

I was quite a bit bummed out when there were so many people who were invited who didn’t go or even consider going, even when they were offered free tickets. I thought about it and came to realise a few things:

  • Firstly, inviting people had the purpose of letting them come into contact with God’s word. But I wasn’t trusting God myself by praying to Him about my friends. I was just inviting people in the hope that they would come. It is ultimately God who brings people to Him, not us. I realise that in doing works for God that I can’t forget about God Himself. Prayer is essential for everything, as it is God in control and not us.
  • Even though many people DIDN’T come, there were still many who DID come. The talk might have caused them to become Christians, I’m not sure. Or maybe it didn’t but they might be curious about this Christianity which they were exposed to. Maybe the talk caused them to reassess their lives. Maybe it just washed over them. But no matter what, I thank God that these people went to RICE and I hope that something from God’s message stuck with everyone.
  • Before I mentioned that it is important to work at being not just a Sunday-Christian. I realise that it’s not just merely inviting people that will cause them to go to RICE. I wondered how there were some people who could just seem to get all of their friends to go. Evangelism is something that should NOT be confined to once or twice a year for evangelistic events like RICE. It is really something that Christians should ALWAYS be doing, through our lives. If we live our lives loving God and trusting Him in everything, others will see this. Our lives should be different from others and set apart, so that others might realise it and find the way that we live attractive. If we live the same as the rest of the world, what will Christianity be seen as? Just another religion full of people who live like everyone else! There is nothing special about that. I find that I don’t exactly stand out as a Christian in the way I live nearly as much as I should. However, I find encouragement in the fact that evangelism is not just inviting people to events. I think the majority of RICE inviting is over for me because I’m finishing high school but that DOESN’T mean I don’t have any more opportunities to evangelise, does it?

This has been long.