Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Cure For Pain

I'm not sure why it always goes downhill
Why broken cisterns never could stay filled
I've spent ten years singing gravity away
But the water keeps on falling from the sky

And here tonight all the stars are blacking out
With every hope and dream I've ever had in doubt
I've spent ten years trying to sing these doubts away
But the water keeps on falling from my eyes

And heaven knows
Heaven knows
I try to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord, to suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away

So blood is fire pulsing through my veins
We're either riders or fools behind the reigns
I've spent ten years trying to sing it all away
But the water keeps on falling from my tries

And heaven knows
Heaven knows
I try to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord, to suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away
A lie to run
It would be a lie
It would be a lie to run away

It keeps on falling
It keeps on falling
It keeps on falling
It keeps on falling
The water keeps on falling from my eyes

And heaven knows
Heaven knows
I try to find a cure for the pain
Oh my Lord, to suffer like you do
It would be a lie to run away
It would be a lie to run away
It would be a lie to run away

- Jon Foreman

Saturday, May 16, 2009

a good post

Some of you may or may not be familiar with the campus evangelist Tom Short. Unlike many preachers who frequent campuses with the fire and brimstone approach, Tom's theology comes straight from scripture. He preaches with love and patience as opposed to anger and scare tactics. It's kind of funny in a way(not really, but bear with me, I have a unique sense of humor) how the last time he was at UCSD preaching the gospel, he was lovingly preaching near Geisel while another man was damning people to hell just down library walk near Student Health Services. While other preachers don't give you the time of day to listen to genuine questions, Tom sits there and patiently answers not only questions from honest truth seekers, but also from skeptics and others who just want to poke fun. But instead of getting annoyed or turning them away like many would, he respectfully listens and answers questions. Believe me, this guy's patience is pretty crazy haha. Anyways, here's an entry that he wrote that I thought it might be good to share.

Since it's summertime and the weather is nice and hot, the clothes come flying off and people start working on their tans and such. Unfortunately, sometimes when the clothes come off, so does the modesty :(

My friend Tom will take it from here.

"I preached this week on The Oval at Ohio State where a warm, sunny, spring day resembles a beach more than an institution of higher education. I refer to the hundreds of girls sunbathing in their bikinis and a similar number of guys out to watch the show. The scene prompted me to write in this edition of word of the week about being a “stumbling block.”

On the negative side, a stumbling block is a person who causes another person to stumble, or to sin, in their relationship with God. Scripture has grave warnings for the person who lures someone into sin. On the other hand, the term can also be used concerning wicked people who are stumbled by that which is good, as in those who refuse to believe in Christ and, therefore, the word of the cross is a stumbling block to them (1 Corinthians 1:23). In this particular article, we will be referring to the former application.

The “term stumbling” block comes from the Greek word skandalon from which we get our words scandal and scandalous. Skandalon refers to a snare or a trap and, more specifically, to the part of the trap to which bait was attached. The obvious implication is that people can prove to be a snare, a trap and even bait that leads others into sin.

Jesus gave stern warnings against being a stumbling block. “"Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” (Matthew 18:7). You don’t want Jesus saying “woe” to you. But He goes even further. Jesus had just told His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, be rejected by men and crucified. Peter loved Jesus too much to allow such a thing to happen and urged Jesus not to follow such a path. “But He (Jesus) turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's.’" (Matthew 16:23). Can you imagine the scandal of being a stumbling block to the holy, sinless and pure Son of God? To show us how awful this is, Jesus actually called Peter “Satan”!

It is no small thing to be a stumbling block to another person. I hear people flippantly dismiss their behavior which tempts others as if it were all the other person’s fault. While it is true that each of us is responsible for the sins we commit, nevertheless, both Jesus or Paul taught that we bear some responsibility for how our behavior affects others. Jesus said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6). Paul taught that we should “determine not to put an obstacle or stumbling block in a brother’s way” (Romans 13:14).

OK, let’s get practical. Do you do things that lure others into sin? Is your behavior so scandalous that others fall into a trap of sin? Let me give some examples.

I’ve already mentioned that this article was prompted by the sensual and tempting attire (or lack of attire) of so many women on campus. Scripture tells young women to adorn themselves with “proper clothing” that is “modest and discreet” (1 Timothy 2:13). Christian women’s clothing ought to draw more attention to their godly character than to your curves! Your kindness, purity, love, good works and radiant countenance is what can and should attract a man to notice you. But ungodly women of low character can not attract a man in this way and so they must resort to luring him with sensual and immodest clothing.



It is not my intention to lay down a list of specific rules concerning dress. The last thing I would like to do is fall into the trap of the Islamic “moral police” who institute man-made regulations to uphold their own standards of righteousness. Rules just create a bunch of sneaky people who are always trying to figure out how far they can bend the rules without breaking them. I would like to motivate you to be as righteous and pure as you possibly can and to help those of the opposite sex to maintain pure thoughts as well.

That being said, let me give an example of two.

Years ago, Roz and I had a young lady living with us who had come from a rather loose background. She often wore tight tops with a plunging neck-line that drew undue attention to her breasts. It was embarrassing to her and to us, but we brought this up to her for discussion. She was unaware that she had been a stumbling block to guys in the fellowship and actually thought she was dressing far more modestly than she had in the past. However, she heeded our advice and began to wear tops that were less revealing. A couple of weeks later, she shared with me how things were going. “I’m not used to feeling clothing up near my neckline, but it sure is better to have a shirt around my neck than a millstone!” What a sweet, teachable spirit! She didn’t want to be a stumbling block and, once she became aware that she was one, she made a change.

John writes, “The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him” (1 John 2:10). This young lady loved the brothers more than she loved herself. She yielded up her right to wear whatever she felt comfortable in so that she would cause no offense to some young man seeking to have a pure heart. She took the attitude of a servant rather than that of a self-centered person who cared less about others. She now had Christian character that was far more attractive, precious and enduring than any skin that was to be reserved for her future husband. O, that more young Christian women would have this attitude today!

But this week I noticed how sensual and immodest dress can do more than stumble a Christian brother who is trying to maintain pure thoughts. On Friday, a small group of Muslims were interacting with me about the gospel and why they felt Islam is superior to Christianity. At one point, they referred to all the girls in bikinis and said, “Our religion does not allow a girl to dress like this or allow us to look at them. These are Christian girls wearing such tempting bathing suits. Obviously, they don’t care whether or not they sin or whether or not others sin. What do you think of these girls? Do you think God wants these girls to dress this way? Isn’t it obvious that Islam is a better religion that Christianity because Muslim women would never walk around dressed the way these Christian women are dressed?”

I’ve got to admit, these Muslims had a good point. Personally, I doubt the “bikini babes” were Christians. (Many Muslims believe all Americans are Christian, but we know better.) But suffice it to say, there are people who watch our behavior and make judgments on how serious we are attempting to live a righteous life.

Other Applications

I have focused on women’s dress being a stumbling block and said some things that need to be said. But there are other ways in which we should be careful not to be a stumbling block.

For instance, you may feel the liberty to partake in activities that are neither right nor wrong – they are “gray areas.” But if your liberty tempts another person to do something they feel is sinful, you have become a stumbling block to your brother in Christ. “Gray areas” may refer to such things as what movies you watch, the consumption of alcohol, or even what slang words to use.

You may stumble a person by something that is not “evil,” but which may be wrong at the time. Tempting someone to join you in playing video games when he was feeling led to spend time in the word or prayer is being a stumbling block to him.

Guys, just as you would not want a sister to dress in a tempting way, you might use words or look at her in ways that lead her on and tempt her to lust for you. This may be far more subtle, but every bit as much of a stumbling block as it would be for you if she were dressed in an alluring way. (And, by the way, guys, you do not have a free pass on dressing modestly, either. Being overly “showy” with your body can be just as tempting to girls as their immodest dress can be to you.)

Again, the key to all of this is love (1 John 2:10). We should never do things out of selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mind, we should consider others interests above our own (Philippians 2:3-4). Rules and regulations will never prevent you from being a stumbling block; only genuine love can do that."
- Tom Short

Amen :) This doesn't mean you have to be a prude or imitate the clothing of the men and women of olden times or something(OH NO! AN ANKLE! AHHH!) But just use your discretion.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

love > logic

It's not logical for you to believe in something that you can't physically see.
It's not logical for you to put the needs of others before your own.
It's not logical to choose a life of humility instead of chasing after earthly riches.
It's not logical to endure hardship in the hopes of finding something better.
It's not logical to seek comfort in an intangible being during a time of hardship or strife.
It's not logical to be patient with those who don't deserve it.
It's not logical for a mother to slave away all day, whether at work or at home, to support her children.
It's not logical for a father to invest time and effort into a career which will only lead to stress and little income to support his family.
It's not logical to jump in front of a careening car in order to save the life of your friend.
It's not logical to live a perfect life and then endure the most painful death imaginable on the cross.
It's not logical for a Father to sacrifice His only son to save a species of wretched and unappreciative sinners.

But love overcomes all logic.

I'll be the first to admit I never was the most logical person. In a discussion or debate of logic, I'd lose 9 times out of 10. But I think I've come to terms with that. I don't need to have all the answers. I have somebody who does. Many of my actions and viewpoints would leave some of you with a puzzled look on your face. But I have experienced the greatest love that this world has ever known and ever will know. And that's good enough for me.


Monday, May 11, 2009

a strong love. THE strong love.

It has recently come to my attention that I worry and fret about small things that I shouldn't stress about. Not to say that they're meaningless things, but just that they are things that I should not worry myself to the point that I lose sight of what I'm called to do and be. To tell you the truth, the aforementioned matters are quite important. BUT, in the process of being such a whiny worrywart, I forget that the more I try to foolishly take control of my life, the more I make a mess of things and muddle up what God originally had planned for me.

While I try to commandeer the vessel that is my life, I overthink, I stress, and I dig myself into a hole that the most skilled climber could scarcely climb out of. -_- Tis a slippery slope, to overthink things. I have a bad habit of doing that - of playing out scenarios in my mind; of batting around what ifs, couldas, wouldas, and shouldas around in my head like a kitten with a ball of string. This usually continues until I'm so lost that I don't know what to do with myself. What a fool, no? Haha.

So anyways, I was reminded last night that sometimes, I have to remember to let go and LET GOD. He's gonna work His plan out to work out for me, because He's got my back and He's infinitely smarter than dumb old me. (I wonder how long it's gonna take for me to actually learn my lesson and not make the same mistake again.)

And God is faithful. I guess He really wanted to remind me. :) Today, on the way to work, I was listening to my iPod. The song Your Love is Strong by Jon Foreman(lead singer of Switchfoot) began playing. It's a really beautiful song, if you haven't heard it before. But then again, a song is just a song at first. It only becomes truly beautiful when the listener actually has a personal connection with the song and when it evokes meaningful emotions in said listener. But I digress. As I listened to the song, it served as a strong reminder to how great our God truly is. And it stabbed me through the heart. Oh, ye of little faith!

Here are the lyrics to the song.(I think they're right) I recently discovered Jon Foreman's solo stuff. It is awesome.

Jon Foreman - Your Love is Strong

Heavenly Father, you always amaze me
Let your kingdom come in my world and in my life
Give me the food I need to live through today
And forgive me as I forgive the people that wronged me
Lead me far from temptation
Deliver me from the evil one

I look out the window the birds are composing
Not a note is out of tune or out of place
I walk to the meadow and stare at the flowers
Better dressed than any girl on her wedding day

So why should I worry?
Why do I freak out?
God knows what I need
You know what I need

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

The kingdom of the heavens, is now advancing
Invade my heart, invade this broken town
The kingdom of the heavens, is buried treasure
Will you sell yourself to buy the one you've found?

Two things you told me
That you are strong
And you love me
Yes you love me

Your love is
Your love is
Your love is strong

Our God in heaven
Hallowed be
Thy name above all names
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us weary sinners
Keep us far away from our vices
And deliver us from these prisons

enough said. :)