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Response to “What if money were no object” by Alan Watts

Alan Watts was a British philosopher who believed and taught Eastern Philosophy. Though raised an Anglican Christian, Watts turned away and embraced the ideals of Buddhism. Though he died in 1973, his teaching have gained a lot of favor over the internet. One means of popularizing his teaching has been this video posted on youtube.

One of the things that Watts says in the video is, “A short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.”

While it may be all good and well intended for the Eastern philosopher, it is quite different for the Christian. Whether a long life or a short life, both can be wasted lives if God and His purposes are ignored.

1. Life is a gift from God (John 10:10) “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
2. God’s calling for every person is to live his/her life well for His glory by being driven by the love of Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:14, 15) “For the love of Christ controls us… that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”

In a self-loved delusional world it may seem like a noble thing to pursue one’s desires. However, when those desires are selfishly motivated, it neither glorifies God nor promotes the life of sacrifice that Christ calls every disciple to live.

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Posted by on February 12, 2013 in Uncategorized

 
Aside

The first leaders’ meeting of Arizona Mission 2013 will be held on Nov. 3, 2012. Time: 11:30am. Location: The Bridge Church. Map

Arizona Mission 2013 Leaders’ Meeting

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

God fulfills His purpose for me

Today I was reminded of Psalm 57:2, which reads, “I cry to God Most High, who fulfills His purpose for me.”

There are projects I start, and which for one reason or another I cannot, or do not finish. As I reflect on my life, I am reminded in many ways that my best laid plans are flawed. It’s not that they’re bad plans or ideas, it’s not that I’m lacking the resources to accomplish them, it is because I am a flawed individual.

At this point in my life, I find it easy for me to look back on so many things I’ve started and never finished. “If only I would’ve finished my business marketing degree. If only I would’ve stayed in that business and just toughed it out.” There are so many of those “What ifs?”

When God redeems a man does he just redeem us for eternal life, or is there a redemptive element in this present life? In other words, does His purpose for me only get fulfilled in eternity or is there a here and now aspect to His redemptive work? I believe there is! I believe that all my failures, disappointments, discouragements, all my shame, and pain are not wasted. He is not a God who is far off, but a God who is near, and very near to all my life experiences, whether they be good or bad experiences. He’s familiar with me and to every experience I have encountered or endured.

“You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good,” has been a theme verse for much of my Christian life.

It is God’s purpose He will fulfill in me, not my purpose. Sometimes, I get that turned around. I want Him to be there when I need Him. When I feel that things aren’t going the way I planned, I just need him to come alongside and make up for my inabilities–it’s the God “AND” complex. He’s just there to help me with my agenda when I can’t finish the task. However, for the beginning to the end, He has to be the author and finisher of everything in my life.

So, I have this assured hope that when God is in control, He will fulfill his purpose for me. This fleeting life will not have been wasted, and my hope will finally we realized when He completes the work he’s begun in me on the day of Christ Jesus.

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Preaching to a Preacher

I was at the mall the other day shopping for my son’s graduation clothes at a men’s suit store. The owner of the store was a seasoned tailor, an Indian by way of South Africa. Upon entering his store, one gets the immediate impression that this man knows his trade. We chose this place because we had gone to a Men’s Wearhouse across the street and was told that nothing in the store would fit my son, and that we should go see this man who catered to youth sizes.

We were greeted by Musta, a friendly dark-skinned man with silvery hair and goatee. He was very likeable from the beginning. As my son was in the dressing room trying on various things, he made natural conversation with me. It got down to the question that many people ask, “How’s work?” I answered, “Well, work’s work. I enjoy it though.” He asked, “Oh yeah, what do you do? Are you an engineer?” I’ve got to say that I’ve never been mistaken for an engineer. With a look of surprise I asked, “No. What makes you think I’m an engineer?” Musta replied, “Oh, no, I was just curious. So what DO you do?” I replied, “I’m a youth pastor.” He seemed to be genuinely interested in my work. And, he seemed to have a better understanding of youth ministry than I would have guessed. From that point on, Musta addressed me simply as “Pastor.”

Well, after trying on an ensemble and a suit, we decided to go with pants, shirt, and a skinny blue tie. It was nice that Musta was the only tailor in our area who carries youth sizes. He told us that alterations would take 35 minutes. My son, daughter, and I wandered the mall for about 30 minutes, bought some snacks and drinks and sat down for ten minutes, then returned to the shop. Musta was sitting outside talking to a couple of people. I think one man was a customer, and the other, an associate of Musta’s. When he saw us coming he immediately rose from his seat and said, “Your clothes are being pressed and will be ready in ten minutes.” Meanwhile, the associate had joined us in the shop and began making conversation with me. Unrecognizing his deep Latino accent, I asked him where he was from. This man was short, stocky, and dark-skinned. It said, he was from El Salvador–though he did not look anything like a Salvadoran. I thought he looked more like an indigenous Oaxacan.

The most interesting part of the whole conversation was when he asked what I do for a living and I told him that I am a youth pastor. What followed a virtual diatribe of how evil our world had become and that Jesus is coming back soon. It was clear that this man had read some Scripture–though it was clear that he hadn’t read enough Scripture. He talked about the terrorists, sex on TV, gang bangers, drug pushers, etc. He said these are all signs that Jesus is coming soon and that God’s judgment will be poured out on these people.

I was grateful that this man was so willing to engage in dialog. I was able to agree that there are many signs that seem to indicate that Jesus is coming soon. However, I stopped him and said, that’s why the world needs Jesus. It’s easy for Christians to criticize the world for it’s immorality, and wish them all to burn in hell. Personally, I hope that someone wasn’t thinking the same way about me before Jesus saved me.

God would be fully right to judge a sinner like me but with love and grace he chose to redeem me through His Son. As I shared with him about how God delivered me, and that it is my goal to share this hope with everyone, his tone began to change.

The conversation ended with him saying, “You’re a good person.” I was thinking, “You’ve completely missed the point. God doesn’t save good people, he saves evil people.” But I just ended it with “I’m a different person now because of Jesus’ grace toward me. He loves you just as much as He loves me.”

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Voodoo tactical MSP-3 hydration pack

With Arizona mission now just a week away, I’ve decided to go a step beyond my military canteen to keep myself hydrated for the 11 days of ministry in the intense desert heat. I went to M&I Surplus, a military surplus/camping/outdoors store located in Pomona, CA. There weren’t many selections available. In fact, they only offered two choices, either Mil-Tec or Voodoo Tactical. The Mil-tec was quite a bit more expensive so I opted for the Voodoo Tactical MSP-3 in olive drab.

It seems to hold a 3-liter bladder. and has a nice off/on switch. The fill opening is rather small so I’ll need to see how difficult it’ll be to clean the bladder. What makes the MSP-3 appealing is the pack which has an expandable zipper providing lots of room for carrying things.

The following is a list of gear I carry with me whenever I go hiking:

  1. Lensatic compass w/ map of the area I’m hiking.
  2. Mirror
  3. Snake bite extraction kit and basic first aid kit.
  4. Full tang bush knife
  5. At least 100 yds of parachord
  6. Rainfly I can use as an emergency shelter
  7. Katadyn Hiker Pro Microfilter water purifier
  8. Packable raincoat and/or windbreaker.
  9. Enough food for the journey and back which often includes: energy bars, oranges, apples or bananas and a sandwich. (By the way, last week a friend gave me an entire case of “Meal Ready to Eat” (MREs), which I will probably try out on my next hike.)

And depending on the weather forecast I will often have a packable fleece sweater. Also, depending on the weather as well as trail conditions I may also pack a pair of water shoes.

I think this new Voodoo hydration pack will be quite sufficient for me to carry all of the above items. I’m looking forward to hitting the trails. If I don’t get to do that before Arizona, then I’ll try it out there.

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Hollywood Plus Politics Gone Bad Equals Hollytics

It is no secret that Hollywood loves to demean by any means possible conservative political figures, and especially Republicans. The tool they seem to use most often is to caricature the political figures by satirizing them. However, sometimes the envelope gets pushed too far as in the recent case of HBO’s use of a prop head of former President George W. Bush which was impaled on an episode of an HBO show.

The Director of the show mentioned in the DVD of that show that the head was that of George W. Bush.

Since then, the producers as well as HBO have issued official apologies. The producers explained that for such scenes, they make a request to a prop warehouse for heads and they just use whatever they are sent. They further explain that there was no disrespect intended.

Do they really expect us to believe that they weren’t trying to make a statement? If the director or the prop man or anyone else who was in charge of the props saw the head of the president, wouldn’t he, couldn’t he have thought to himself, “Oh this is a President of the United States. I can’t use this one, it would be inappropriate.” I am of the opinion that someone knew what he/she was doing and the director lacked the foresight to do something about it.

But, apologies have been issued–by HBO–and I guess we should give them the benefit of the doubt. (By the way, did I mention that it was HBO that did this. One of the largest cable companies that’s constantly pushing the envelope of porn and mainstream?)

This leads me to another related topic. That is that many Christians are just as apt to mock, deride, and demean political figures. Clearly, this is one area where such Christians have chosen conform to worldly patterns of behavior rather than be transforming agents.

I don’t mean that we have to agree with all leaders or their policies. However, rather than make a sport of demeaning any human being made in the image of God, can we disagree AND be respectful?

How does the Bible speak into this kind of behavior?

1. God is Sovereign King over all rulers

“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding” (Daniel 2:21 ESV)

“You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory” (Daniel 2:37 ESV)

A biblical view of politics recognizes that God alone if the Sovereign ruler of the events of our day as well as the rulers of our day. I wonder if we have compartmentalized our faith to such a degree that we actually believe that God is active in our churches but not in our politics?

2. God establishes all rulers in their positions of power

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1 ESV)

Rulers act because they have the authority to act. In a democratic society like ours rulers act because the people have given them the authority to act. However, the actions of rulers go higher than the ballots. They act because God has allowed them to act. They are His subjects, and whether they know it or not, He is using them for His good purposes.

In a democratic society, when rulers choose to act in ways that are contrary to values and beliefs of God’s commands, we the people have a channel to voice our complaints. That does not mean resorting to demeaning and deriding those in high office, but we must make our voices heard.

3. Our behavior toward our leaders is reflective of our attitude toward God.

‘He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’s anointed, to put out my hand against him, seeing he is the LORD’s anointed.” ‘ (1 Samuel 24:6 ESV)

In the Bible, king David understood this notion of delegated authority better than anyone in his day or since. His predecessor Saul had been disavowed by the Lord and David had been anointed to replace him. Saul’s jealousy over David led him to pursue David for years. David’s was constantly running for his life, hiding in caves, and fleeing from an enemy he did not want to fight.

In more than one occasion, David had the chance to sneak up on Saul and take his life. If he had done so, those around him would have hailed him as a hero. However, David’s conscience would not allow him to strike Saul because maintaining his character was more important than a momentary victory.

Saul had been chosen by God, and if God so chose, He would have to take Saul out. David would wait for God to bring about that day.

The lesson for us is that we shouldn’t get involved in the types of demeaning methods the world employs toward politicians. Rather, we trust God, we uphold our character, we pray earnestly for those in office, we perform our civic duty at the polls, and if it comes down to it we respectfully disagree.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

SOG Powerlock Multitool

I purchased the SOG Powerlock w/ V-Cutter S62 multitool a while back. Among the multitools SOG rates as one of the highest. I had been wanting to get one for quite a while, but couldn’t get myself to fork out $114 for a multitool. However, I saw the S62 at our local Lowes store and picked one up for $59. The pliers are great. The SOG patented gearing system really makes the pliers exceptional. I also like the spring locking feature. Although there is enough play on the tools when they are in the lock position, that it seems dodgy at best to trust the locking feature when using the knife blade, it is tolerable. I am fairly satisfied with all the tools included on the S62 Powerlock w/ V-Cutter. However, last week I was using the phillips screwdriver to take apart a portable speaker system when the screwdriver snapped with very little force being applied.

I emailed SOG’s warranty service dept, and received a prompt reply saying they’d be happy to send out a new phillips screwdriver as soon as possible. I received the replacement part within three days. However, the replacement part looks to be made of the same brittle gray metal (looks like iron) as the original. I will switch out the broken tool and see what happens. I was told by the warranty service rep that his phillips screwdriver broke when he pushed it with his fingers and he guaranteed me that this one will be much stronger. Though I am apprehensive, I am hopeful.

UPDATE: I tried the knife SOG Powerlock (S62) w/ V-cutter’s knife tool last Friday on a piece of pressure treated hardwood. Although I’ve never liked the half-serrated type blades on knives (And I still don’t), I was very pleased with the performance of this knife. It cut through a piece of pressure treated hardwood like it was butter. The cuts were smooth and clean. However there are two negatives about this knife blade.

First, the blade is a bevel cut so one can only perform a slice cut on the flat side of the blade.

Second, the bevel cut blade only allows for a left-handed cut when slicing wood. (I have not tried cutting rope or fabric.) I think I will try to change the knife for the file on the other side of the handle and see if it’ll allow me to cut right-handed.

Although SOG multitools have a reputation for durability and reliability, my experience thus far has led me to conclude that in retrospect, I would not have paid $59 for this tool. I think $29 is about where it should be priced.

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2012 in Uncategorized