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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Let’s talk about… Tim Tebow.

I’m not much of a follower of the NFL. I enjoy the game of football, but I don’t own a TV so I never watch football. But lately, I’ve been hearing a lot of mention of Tim Tebow, the quarterback for the Denver Broncos. The media seems to be hailing Tebow as a miracle QB. I’m not a sports commentator, so I intend to keep my remarks about the game out of this post. Instead I want to talk about two things regarding Tim Tebow. First, his dedication to Jesus Christ in the public arena, and second, the responses from the Christian community.

It seems that for Tim, his faith in Jesus Christ is an all-consuming passion of his life. In fact, his faith in Jesus is such a driving fuel for his life that he’s begun the Tim Tebow Foundation, which clearly and openly states,

“Tim Tebow has been very open about his faith and as a follower of Jesus Christ, has always expressed his gratitude to his Lord and Savior. His faith was the bedrock of his motivation for launching the Foundation.”

For this it seems that Tebow has taken on flack from the Christian community. They criticize him for being so public about his prayers before and after games, and for mentioning Jesus Christ in interviews etc. I find it amazing that so many Christians have problems with this. Here is a man who gives credit to God for everything in his life and yet Christians are criticizing him for it. It has been said that Christians tend to “shoot their own wounded.” In this case, as well as many other cases, they wound and then they shoot.

It would seem that Tebow considers himself a Christian football player, or a Christian who plays football. There’s a world of difference between a Christian who compartmentalizes his life and his faith and a Christian whose life is defined by his faith. Whether on the field or off the field Tebow makes no apologies for his faith. He lives it. For many Americans, Jesus is for Sundays and church potlucks, but not for work, and not for play, and certainly not for the media.

It seems also Tebow, not only takes his faith in Jesus Christ seriously, but he also takes the Word of God seriously. His life verse is Philippians 4:8-9

“whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things… and the God of peace will be with you.”

He’s made it his mission in life to live out these verses, and to make an impact in the world. Here’s a Christian who is not hoarding his money nor wasting it. He knows that football is not everything, but impacting lives with the love of God and for His glory.

The responses from Christians have been puzzling to me. Are they uncomfortable with him being so outspoken about his faith in Jesus Christ? Maybe they’re just uncomfortable about their lack of outspokenness.

When an evangelist was criticized by pastors, he responded by saying, “I’m not perfect, and I’m open to hearing any suggestions as to how I can improve. However, I prefer my way of doing it than your way of not doing it.” Many Christians may criticize Tim Tebow, but I prefer his way of doing it than the critic’s way of not doing it.

“I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8, NIV)

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Posted by on January 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Reflections from Winter Retreat 2011

In Mark 8:35 Jesus says, For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. This is a radical call to a life of discipleship for all those who receive Jesus’ gift of salvation. What does it mean to be a disciple, and what does a disciple look like? We pursued the answers to these questions during The Bridge Church (TBC) 2011 winter retreat. This was a joint retreat between Bridge Chapel (English Ministry) and Cross Connection Youth Ministries. As two ministries under one house, it is difficult to spend quality time in fellowship. Usually, each ministry has its own worship services, separate activities, and unless we have a church activity that calls upon service from both ministries such as Thanksgiving outreach and VBS, there is very little interaction. Over that past two years, my requests for joint fellowships have largely gone ignored or unanswered. Therefore, the chance to have time with brothers and sisters from Bridge Chapel has been a special blessing to me as well as to those in attendance from Cross Connection youth.

The word fellowship gets thrown around rather loosely in Christian churches these days. In biblical times, the word seems to have had some important elements such as, 1) being gathered in the name of Jesus Christ, 2) sharing a common calling from the Holy Spirit who had drawn them together, 3) reading and exposition of the Holy Scriptures, and finally, 4) an atmosphere of worship before the Lord. Today we Christians throw around the word to refer to engaging in “fun” activities or “eating” together. We’ve separated the Word and worship by falsely dichotomizing them as “service,” which is altogether serious, and “fellowship,” which is engaging, lighthearted, and is all about food and fun.

The kind of fellowship I’m talking about is the biblical fellowship of old. I believe this is the kind of fellowship that our churches and our two ministries need more of. This is what we experienced at the retreat up in Big Bear. Here I’d like to share three blessings from our joint fellowship at Big Bear.

  1. Blessed by Examples – It has long been my desire to see more such fellowship between Bridge Chapel and Cross Connection. I believe that this is important for two reasons. 1) many of the Cross Connection youth are in middle or high school, and they face challenges in their faith as only middle schoolers and high schoolers can. Their view of their world tends to be myopic: they only see life through the lens of school. However, many of the Bridge Chapel brothers and sisters have been through similar experiences and can empathize with their younger brothers and sisters. This is the second important reason why it is necessary for our two ministries to fellowship together. A college and/or post college brother or sister faces different challenges. In many ways they can speak into the lives of our youth with openness and share how they have walked their faith. This is what the Bible means by “set an example for the believers in speech, conduct, and godliness.” It’s the idea that “as you walk, so teach others to walk.”
  2. Blessed by the Word – Pastor Rich Katekawa has been a good friend and brother to me for more than 15 years. Through many difficult times of ministry, he has always encouraged and refreshed me with the Word. For that reason, I have always trusted him to deliver the exposition of God’s word with passion and precision. The same passages were used for small group discussions, and QTs. This multi-layered approach to Jesus’ challenge to His disciples really brought the message home for all of us. Not to mention, having a few of the leaders from Bridge Chapel lead the small groups was a huge blessing, not only to the students, but also to the leaders.
  3. Blessed by Worship – Our retreat worship team consisted of Steve Kim, Sarah Oh, and Sarah Ro. A worship leader and each member of the worship team is first a worshipper. It’s common and easy to find singers and musicians who can sing worship songs, but a spirit-led worship leader is a rare gem. Steve Kim led us, not as a singer or musician, but as a worshipper. It was because the Holy Spirit confirmed with our spirits that here was a man who worshipped at the throne room of God on his knees, that we were drawn to worship with him. I was so greatly pleased that he didn’t try to “tone-down” the music to age-appropriate songs for 6th graders. He led in humbleness of spirit and we were grateful for his leadership. It reminded me of something that my mentor said to me often, “A leader can never take his people where he’s never been.”
 
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Posted by on January 3, 2012 in Uncategorized