Some thoughts on suffering

There are so many terrible things that happen in this world–terrible suffering and injustices all around us. There are some “Evangelicals” who believe and teach that “if you only have enough faith, you can have power to drive out bad or evil circumstances.” They even go so far as to say that “if you’re suffering, it’s because you didn’t have enough faith.”

Still, there are a lot of people who criticize us for believing in a God who allows “bad things to happen to good people.” Why do we suffer? Why DO bad things happen to good people?

A clear biblical view of suffering is not a view that excludes believers from suffering in this world.

First, we become very familiar with a God who condescends to relate with us on every human level. God is not so capricious as to watch as a mere spectator of our human sufferings. In and through His Son, Jesus Christ, God is “acquainted” with our sufferings (Isaiah 53:1-9). He knows the spectrum of human experiences as explained through many ways that the Messiah’s sufferings are characterized:

– griefs

– sorrows

– stricken

– smitten

– afflicted.

– pierced

– crushed

– chastised

But, would a capricious God choose to experience this kind of suffering? Why would he willingly allow himself to suffer? It is because if we had to suffer it alone, we would only be getting what we deserved. However, Christ the perfect holy and righteous one did not deserve any of it. His suffering 1) identifies Himself with a fallen humanity, 2) Releases fallen man from the debt owed to God, 3) reconciles fallen man to a holy and righteous God. A capricious God might use suffering as a means of punishing a fallen humanity, but He would never choose suffering as a means of saving humanity. Only a personal God, a God who identifies Himself on a personal level with fallen men would choose to suffer in their place.

The worst thing about suffering in this world is the terrible sense of loneliness and isolation one feels while enduring the terrible pain. The Bible never promises that Christians will be exempt from suffering in this world. We are only given the promise that when we do suffer, we will not be alone (Matthew 5:11, 12; John 16:22). The presence of Christ fills us with peace to endure, but more than that, the peace of the Holy Spirit gives us hope for the world to come. If all we had to hope in was this present world of darkness and pain, what an empty and meaningless faith it would be. However, knowing that there is a better world where those who suffer faithfully will receive their reward for having endured the hardships of this world, gives us a hope to drive toward.
God is not content to leave us promises of what is to come, as important as that may be, but He shows us how to suffer (1 Peter 2:19ff.). We are not to suffer as those deserving of judgment from the world, but we are to suffer righteously by following the example of Christ’s sufferings.

As followers of Jesus Christ, I hope we can become more conscious of the truth that how we suffer in this world magnifies the sufferings of Christ. Also, i hope that out of our identity with Christ, we can also identify with others who are suffering.

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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


Serving in Ministry through Our Weakness

As teachers and leaders of God’s people, we are expected to live up to a higher standard of character and integrity. One of the ways in which we develop character in ministry is in the area of personal openness and vulnerability.

There is a natural human tendency to place spiritual leaders on a pedestal and think of us more highly than they ought. This is dangerous for the leader as well as for those who follow the leader. One dangers is that it can create a wall between a leader and the layman. The truth is that all leaders are just as prone to sin as everyone else. Another danger is that when a leader is placed on a pedestal, it is difficult to meet up to many social expectations. Therefore, people may be setting leaders up for failure.

Embrace weakness, for in our weakness, Christ’s strength shines.
“9 Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10, ESV)

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Serve in Transparency

What we practice in secret will eventually be revealed before everyone.
1. Admit the those areas of temptations where you are weakest and prone to fall into sin.
2. Ask for others to pray for you.
3. Be accountable to a brother or sister who will have the guts to call you out in the most direct and loving way.
Serve in Openness
Open yourself up to people, don’t close yourself off from them.

“26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29, ESV)

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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


1997 Toyota 4Runner Wheel Bearing Project

For those who are looking for an exhaustive writeup on how to change wheel bearings on a 3rd Gen 4runner, this post will not suffice. There is a really nice article here. That being said, this information pertains to my 1997 Toyota 4Runner Limited, 6cyl, 3.4l engine, automatic trans, rear wheel drive w/ ABS.

IMAG2887I noticed that my brakes were gradually becoming less responsive. After neglecting it for quite a while, I decided it was time to take a look. One tell-tale sign that the wheel bearings and/or seals are bad is wetness or dark oil saturation on the axle housing as is plainly visible here.



IMAG2888The picture on the left shows the leakage coming from the outer seal. If you look closely, you can tell that the outer seal is damaged.









IMAG2919The picture on the left shows the ebrake cable disconnected.









IMAG2916Here, I have disconnected and plugged the brake line.













IMAG2902With both the ebrake cable and the brake line disconnected, you can remove the axle which are held on by four 14mm nuts. (Be sure to have a container underneath to catch any spillage.)








IMAG2903This is the axle removed.

Cost of new parts:

1. Inner and outer seals. I purchased these from a nearby Toyota dealer for about $22 for both.

2. Wheel bearing. I purchased the OEM wheel bearing from my local Napa for about $45. The guy at the shop was nice enough to give me a %50 discount. The regular price would’ve been more than $85. Toyota’s prices were much higher. Make sure the bearing comes with two retainers.

3. ABS ring. I could only find this at the dealer. It was a challenge to find it because Toyota calls it a “Skid Control Rotor.” Usually, one can go to an auto parts store ask for it simply by ABS Tone Ring or ABS ring, but if you go to a toyota dealer, make sure to ask for the Skid Control Rotor. Btw, I was only able to find this from a Toyota dealer at a cost of more than $65.

4. An O-ring. This goes on the axle housing. I got this from Toyota for $5.99.

I will update this to let you know how much it was to get the new parts pressed on.

Now here’s the problem. I dropped off the new parts along with my axle to Golden Eagle Manufacturing here in San Dimas. My friend Bob is an owner of this family run business. They specialize in turning stock engines into racing engines. Bob had told me that they have a shop press and had invited me to bring it over.


Later I got a note from him saying that the parts weren’t matching right. I went back and picked up the parts and took them to Toyota. The guy at the parts counter said these are the right parts. On the left is the outer seal I purchased from Toyota, the one on the left is the one that was removed from my axle.



IMAG2909The new outer seal doesn’t look like it’s going to fit without damaging the seal.










Another problem we ran into was that the new wheel bearing I purchased (left) seems a little different from the one they took off my axle (right). All the dimensions match except the protruding lip in the center of the one on the right. Again, Toyota tells me that the one on the left is the correct bearing for my runner. I am stumped! perhaps one explanation is that if the seal and bearing are factory made, they are made a little differently than OEM parts made for Toyota. Or, another reason might be that the first owner of my 97 4runner swapped out the axle with an aftermarket assembly.


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Posted by on March 19, 2014 in Uncategorized


El Shaddai means God Almighty

In Exodus 5:22-23, Moses questions why the LORD has called him to deliver Israel from Pharaoh. In Chapter 6, the LORD answers his question by reaffirming His Name,

“I Am the LORD (YHWH). I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD (YHWH) I did not make myself known to them…” (6:2-3).

If we think backwards from the New Testament understanding of Lord, we might go away with a faulty understanding of “Lord” as “master, boss, ruler.” However, the proper way to understand the New Testament’s usage of the word is to begin here in the Old Testament, where LORD is God’s name.

When reading the Bible, it is important to notice and understand the repetitions:
1. (6:2) “I am the LORD” – The God who appeared to the patriarchs and established His covenant with them.
2. (6:6) “I am the LORD” – The God who will act on behalf of Israel to liberate them from Egypt with deliverance and redemption.
3. (6:7) “I am the LORD” – The God who will not only bring Israel OUT of Egypt but INTO the land he swore to their fathers.

Moses’ experience thus far has been one of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. He knows YHWH, but he needs to know without a doubt that YHWH will make good on his promises. I believe this passage is one of the most important passages in YHWH’s disclosure (revelation) of himself in the Bible.

By this disclosure, 1) Moses will know and trust YHWH’s plans and ultimately surrender to that plan, 2) Israel will also recognize that YHWh–God Almighty (El Shaddai)–is God and not Pharaoh. This God acts to deliver and liberate whereas the other acts to oppress and enslave, 3) Pharaoh will recognize that YHWH is God Almighty through His Almighty acts of judgment on behalf of His people.

Up to this point, Moses has been on a journey of discovery about God’s nature and character. That knowledge of God which has been built up through personal experience of Him will translate into a life of full surrender of His decreed purposes for the redemption of Israel.

Much like YHWH’s disclosure of himself to Moses in chapter 3, chapter 6 builds on that revelation. In chapter three, YHWH makes three statements about himself in his initial revelation to Moses: 1) “I have surely seen the affliction”, 2) “I have heard their cry” and 3) “I have come down to deliver” (3:7-8). In chapter six, the same tone is taken when YHWH further develops the revelation of His purpose to Moses:
1. (6:4) “I established my covenant”
2. (6:5) “I have heard the groanings of the people”
3. (6:6a) “I WILL bring you out from the burdens”
4. (6:6b) “I WILL deliver you from slavery”
5. (6:6c) “I WILL redeem you”
6. (6:7) “I WILL take you to be my people”
7. (6:7) “I WILL be your God”
8. (6:8) “I WILL bring you into the land”

The personal pronoun is intentionally emphatic. YHWH wants there to be no doubt that all this will be by HIM, in HIM, and for HIM. His purpose is that Israel will know that YHWH, her God, is El Shaddai–God Almighty.

Therefore, in your life today whether you are a parent, a child, a son, a daughter, a student, an employee, or a boss, how do you want to see God as ALMIGHTY? Is there time in your life to recognize Him who is El Shaddai?

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Posted by on February 5, 2014 in Uncategorized


Thanksgiving in Mexico

On Friday night, Dec. 6, 2013. A group of us including members for The Bridge Church and others will be heading down to Valle de la Trinidad to celebrate another year of Thanksgiving with the church. As we do each year, we will collect food and other donations and deliver them to the Rodriguez family. Our normal procedure is that we do not pass out goods to the people in the community. When outsiders do that it draws attention to us. Instead, we will deliver the goods and allow the church and its members to distribute them to the community. In that way we empower the local church and the leadership of of that church. As American Christians we want to leave as small a ministry footprint as possible, and enlarge the visibility of the local church within their own communities.

Here are ways that you and your church can help.

1. Gather a prayer team to pray for the needs of the Rodriguez family as they serve the community of Valle de la Trinidad. Their ministry is called “Ministerio de la Vida en Abundancia.”

2. Collect school backpacks filled with school supplies for the children of Valle de la Trinidad.

3. Collect monetary donations of $20 for Thanksgiving hams. We will deliver them on Dec. 7 and share them with the church and the community. Remember, the church will distribute these, not us.

4. Gather a support team and raise funds to help support the family and their ministry.

5. GO WITH US TO VALLE DE LA TRINIDAD on Dec. 6 and 7. We will leave late Friday night and return late Saturday night.

For further information, please contact Bill Vorhees at

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Posted by on October 9, 2013 in Uncategorized


How to Light a Coleman Dual Fuel Stove

I picked this coleman dual fuel stove up from a Good Will store this past Saturday for $10. I believe they sell for $50 new from Walmart. This stove runs on Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline. Coleman warns folks “Do not use kerosene.”

This video is a step by step on how to lite the Coleman Dual Fuel stove Model 424.

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Posted by on September 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


Arizona Mission Leaders’ Meeting

Arizona Mission 2013 Leaders’ Meeting will be held this Saturday at 4:00pm at The Bridge Church 1067 East Badillo Street, Covina, CA 91724.

People who should be at this meeting are: 1) Those acting as church leaders (pastors, missions leaders, and church reps), 2) Those who are interested in leading a ministry team (VBS, Youth Outreach, Drama/Body Worship, praise, construction, or whatever else the Lord puts on your heart), 3) Those who want to volunteer their logistics/administrative skills (Finance, Transportation, Food, etc).
Where: The Bridge Church 1067 East Badillo St, Covina, CA 91724
When: Saturday, Feb. 23. 4:00pm (Out of courtesy to others please be on time.)
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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in Uncategorized