re: can you keep a secret?
... i'm scared.
i'm scared for my mom, that she won't get the chance to really have time to seek after God until she retires. i'm scared for my brother that he will crack under the pressure that my dad's infamous for exerting. i'm scared for complacency, after retreats, after convictions, after undeniable acts from God. i'm scared of this semester... of the work, of the possible mistakes, regrets, fears.
i'm scared of my small group.
the one i'm in this semester is called loving justice. and it's maybe 7 upperclassmen, all of whom have served on IV exec... and me. i never thought i could have a heart to love justice. i'd always be encouraged by those who had the heart to feed the poor, administer justice in the urban community, battle racism and sex trafficking in southeast asia. but i never felt God tugging -- no, i never listened to God's tugging on my heart to do something like that.
tonight, we had sg in one of the dorm lounges. it was weird being in the public -- after having small group in our iv staff worker's office last semester.
then it came.
"what the hell are they doing there?"
and it came again. and again.
"are we going to let them have a bible study in our lounge?"
"what are they even talking about? Jesus?"
can you keep a secret?
i think i was the most fearful i'd been in a long time.
who has to know? when we live such fragile lives....
i had the strangest dream last night. the kind where once again, you can't separate the real from the dream.
oh, the song changed.
it's now.. yellowcard, one year six months.
this song was summer 04.
it's like you said on wednesday.... when we fall in love with Jesus first, all the other things seem to fall in place.
one thing i love about blue like jazz (the book i'm falling in love right now) is that donald miller, the author, finds truth in the people who are absolutely in love with Jesus. it's not those who try to sell the gospel, or talk about Him by mentioning costs and benefits.... but really, those who talk about Jesus like He is their best friend, someone who they've just had a conversation with.
with that said, i'm so.. excited/unsure/encouraged/scared/giddy that i got to talk about Jesus, church, and prayer like that with my suitemates, friends in my classes this past week. i think i've only hung out w/people from my fellowship once since felly dinner.
im starting to realize that passion isn't just an emotion, it's a mentality. and i'm so thankful that He's giving me glimpses of what it means for His love to truly hold our whole lives in his hands.
//its all for YOU my God
is it weird that i'd rather stay in my room by myself than go out and be with people
that i'm feeling way more introverted than extroverted lately
and not talk to anyone
and not go on aim or chat..
that i like being alone.. and antisocial?
maybe people are just exhausting.
let us let
have you ever seen glory falling?
one thing about gravity is that it's the natural way things are. the heavier something is, the more force there is attracting things to it. thus, something like the earth -- a decent amount of gravitational force. something like the sun, a whole lot more mass = a whole lot more gravitational force.
something -- someone like Jesus?
yeah. a whole lotta weight. a whole lotta glory to fall.
and it's how things are supposed to be. things on earth don't fall upwards -- they have a natural tendency to fall down.
how often do we hinder the glory of God on earth? in our classes, hallways, families... lives?
// open up the heavens.. and let Your glory fall
today was the first day of classes. i kept thinking about how i didn't want to be that person who hung out w/christians, ate with christians, went to felly dinner, and ... missed the point
so i went to econ, sat down... and 5 minutes later, lo and behold was one of my old chem partners (he dropped the class later on).
"wait, what major are you again?"
"engineering physics.. concentrating in astrophysics."
"mm... see you at NASA then?"
" ..... yeah =]"
i hope my dreams remain God-sized.
and for the rest of the day, i found myself sitting with, talking with people who were nonchristian. i stopped by a lunch gathering, but then left out of that discomfort of such a huge group of asian christians gathering. when i had a free hour between math and astro, i found myself at Sage.. reading through isaiah, and prompted to pray for those around me, those in my life back home who i'm worried crazy over, but should .. need to, surrender to God. those here who i am walking with, journeying with.
man. there's so much.
the sky is beautiful outside. i wish you could see it.
beauty that beckons
two of my suitemates came to church with me today.
... thank You, Daddy, for working in their hearts. thank You for being there, convicting them, showing me how much of this is from YOU, for YOU.... and not for me.
i feel like these past two days, You've shown me a little bit of what You hope for this semester, at school, in my fellowship... in my heart. and though i'm still holding on to way too much from home, i know You'll keep showing more of Yourself.
do we ever really understand the cost?
no... -- regardless
i'm off... to the freshmen prayer meeting. sharing a passage from mark 6. a passage studied so many times with those back home.... and now, with the people i'm ministering with.... funny how You work like that.
so tonight at prayer mtg.. we were sharing about our breaks and what God was doing. and somehow the topic of... playing offensive for God came up, how as Christians we're always playing the defensive.. we go to class, sit with christians, eat lunch w/christians, go to prayer mtg, go to felly dinner, study w/christians, then pray that God will help us reach out to our non-christian friends.
and thats exactly the problem, and i'm so glad we got it out in the open. im so thankful we got to pray for it, through it, and hopefully... really learn the true meaning of ministry.
God answers prayers, yo.
for you... o Lord... have delivered my soul from death
my eyes from tears
my feet from stumbling
sometimes, i need to pause... - and let God be God in situations. i know that i can do nothing more than care, ask, and pray. but somehow, the pride inside of me screams more. when i hear that something between two friends has gone wrong, my first instinct is to talk to both of them and find out whats wrong. when you tell me you're struggling with something, i want to perscibe the ailment and fix it... though sometimes, often, that sickness is sin.
who am i to save anyone of sin?
i desperately want to fix this for you. for you. and for you. i'm desperate for something -- anything, that will fix, resolve, convict, ... lift out of this disgusting mess we create for ourselves.
his name is Jesus.
my dreams these past 24 hours have been haunted by those thoughts. i woke up this morning around 11 to the violent pattering of leaves, water, debris against my window -- not the gentle patterings of a hopeful rain. and i just woke up after a nap, distraught of the violence flowing in my subconscious.
sometimes, i just.. don't know what to do.
// i love the Lord.... for he heard my voice; he heard y cry for mercy. because he turned his ear to me.. i will call on him as long as i live. ps. 116:1
it's because i smile whenever people just hang around a dunkin donuts at 11:00 at night after a prayer meeting. it's because i look around an empty basement at living water and know that in a half an hour, it's doing to be drenched with prayer. it's because while God has set eternity in the hearts of men -- and in the hearts of me and you, He couldn't help but set a sense of longing to see His work done in His church in this yg.
or maybe it's because i sit here, an hour before my ride comes to take me to the airport. looking at my feeble attempt to pack everything i've received into the same suitcase i came in. but i know i'm leaving with more. i'm leaving with a sense of Home....
and maybe i should remember that and embrace it -- not miss it.
// sigh, i love you guys like crazy.
Same order, same server. The barista saw her, smiled, and started to pump shots of vanilla into her grande-sized order.
"Thanks Em," she chuckled, proceeding down the line towards the cash register.
"Haha, just like every morning. Hi, what can I get for you today?"
"Yeah, um... can I get a...."
It was his voice. She turned around, and saw him, that slightly worn brown leather wallet, the warm smile, the dimple on his left cheek ... she saw him. It seemed so long ago, so long that she stood entranced by his mere presence, not noticing when she automatically picked up her latte... or when the he turned around and walked straight into her through her daze.
"Oh!" She could feel the scalding coffee slowly seep through her jacket, but she didn't care. Clutching onto her half-spilled vanilla latte, she almost didn't dare to look up, knowing it'd be the same piercing gray eyes that had been familiar so long ago.
He paused ever so slightly. "...I'm so sorry."
"Yeah... yeah, me too." She whispered softly.
"do you know what my fear is?"
"one day we'll pass each other on the street and have that... artificial conversation. you know?"
once again, i had this really vivid dream -- but i don't remember it. it felt relatively normal though.
all i remember is the end, and i remember it so vividly, what you said so vividly. i think we were at my school, and your hair was a lot longer. and you ran your fingers through it sheepishly, and said -- "i hate my hair when it's this long. but i still care about it and how i look... heh, i guess it shows how i haven't changed much. i still care about stuff like that. but wendy.. in case we ever do go down.. you know, that road in the future... that guy you hope for? i'll be there one day."
and then you looked at me, hopeful, promising, adament. and i woke up.
still praying for my dreams before i go to sleep.
but sometimes, dreams are just dreams... right?
i think the last few days have been filled with an increasing sense of paranoia. of going back to school, of the clutches of sin, of idols, mistakes... and i think i've always struggled with some sense of that. always criticizing, worrying, stressing, and not.. hoping.
i reread romans 8 last night, and prayed through it, and... was reminded once again i love romans and paul's writing so much =] i love how paul basically tells the romans to get their heads out of the mud. lately i've been realizing that convictions aren't solutions -- they're just making us realize the stench and depravity of the mud we're really in. and we're spurred on to do something about it.
next semester, i think i'm going to devote myself to going to at least 2-3 prayer meetings a week. you freaked out about my schedule last night when i showed you :P but i think it'll be alright. too busy not to pray, right?
when all the layers and anxieties are removed, i really am excited about this semester. and i know God has a lot of Himself to show through it.
remember these things
it felt like my thoughts and prayers exploded into 12930 different dreams swirling, crashing, in my head last night.
it was sunday morning, and you were crying in the back, so i came to sit with you.
we were at winter camp, and you sat holding my coat and backpack.
they ended worship abruptly after one song, then suddenly half the chairs and people were gone.
the iv staff worker was at lincoln.
i walked into prayer mtg, and you were there.
you wanted to eat at some sandwich place.
my ipod looked like it was decaying.
i woke up with a headache, and wondering what it could mean. what i was supposed to glean from these, seemingly minute-glimpses into dreams. for the past week, i've been saying a quick prayer about them before i go to sleep.
the afternoon was filled with a surprisingly good conversation about the nature of psalms, and baby-dashing. (ps. 137). then late at night, another filled with the seeds of sin, mental idols, and physical and emotional lusting...
i don't know if
i have the words anymore
take till there's nothing
nothing to turn to
nothing when You get through
won't You break
scattered pieces of all I've been
bowing to all I've been
....where are You?
is. 44.22.... return to me.
somebody told me
secrets revealed. a refuge for something you've been dying to confess, itching to spill.
then there's this one.
oh, if we could all pray for the unsaid...
i woke up around 8, fell back asleep, and dreamed.
it was odd, yet fitting. the dream was in a series of letters, emails, voices. i think your brother was giving a sermon about one critical flaw in the asian american community - our own laziness.
we're not lazy because of indolence or an unwillingness to work... in fact, in the means of good works, we can be just the opposite. eager to volunteer, clean, babysit, do this or that charity, raise money. we, as asican americans, are lazy in the sense of an unwillingness to show, ineptitude of act out in. we're lazy in love.
you spoke, wrote about how as brothers and sisters in Christ, we're too lazy to show that we love each other. we can show that we can serve each other, pray for each other, but... when it comes to knowing and showing that we love each other, we're lazy.
and somehow, that seems oddly fitting.
i think lately, i've been praying a lot of preemptive prayers. maybe it's because the worrier inside of me is so wrought with anxiety that i have to pray for things i think will go wrong in the future :P
or maybe it's because it's these calms that scare me the most. when i feel like i'm praying through psalm 62, a psalm that i found a lot of solace during this past semester. maybe it's because i'm scared that with the pressures of school and status quo and being good enough to affiliate with my major will get the best of me. maybe it's because i don't want to go back to staring at idols that have been broken over break.
who i am hates who i've been
i think we can relate to that...
when does obsession
we all know the people. maybe it's after a spiritual high, or a camp, or some sort of life-startling conviction from God. maybe it's because suddenly you realize what a dire need your school, workplace, or family needs Jesus. needs grace, salvation.
and that's not bad. in fact, that's good -- it's what this world needs more of. people who realize the extent of our sinful nature and just how much we need to convey that to the rest of the world.
but when does obsession become obnoxious?
i have to confess, sometimes it's the people who are most "on fire" for God that frustrate me. years of complaints from non-Christian friends have developed an increased intolerance for those who preach God's word on an daily basis - yet fail to live out His love. for those who want to see Jesus' work on earth -- and believe me, i understand. i want that to. but by telling people they're going to hell without His love is not the way. by obnoxiously rubbing it into other people's faces, using christian jargon like redemption, salvation, faith and good works, is useless.
it's one thing to boast in our weaknesses... and it's another to boast in general.
it's exactly like talking about light to people who have been locked up in a dark room all their lives. even if it's the most amazing thing -- and when we talk about Jesus, He is -- they're not going to understand.
one thing i love about reading about Jesus' ministry in the gospels is how He goes to the people. to those in the dark rooms, He brings light to them -- He doesn't condemn them. He doesn't throw the first rock. and if that's all we do, then... we've still got a lot to learn about His kingdom.
all the colors of the street signs
lincoln service a tad late, burger king, car rides and conversations, willowbrook, afternoon service, baptism, dunked, testimony, prayer, congratulations, cards, flowers, hugs, smiles, home, shower, jekalin's, chicago skyline, house of sushi, tea leaf, pineapples, jerry's apartment, unknown, fallout boy, then home.
it's as if you were to take all the colors of normality and paint them onto a canvas of future. greens for the peacefulness shared with Family. yellows for the joys and laughters, from the ungraceful elders to celebration. pinks for the delicate yet fervent bond of sisterhood and support throughout the years. whites for that holiness -- rightness of relationship with each other, with the Father. and blues..... blues for hope.
and you'd think that it wouldn't mesh well.... but it turns out to be beautiful.
our God really is an awesome God.
from the first time i heard this song in the summer camp '01 recap video... to now, sitting, waiting again for God to still work in my family despite discouragements...
there's still blue.
why am i so...
why can't i just accept that people are sinful? that we're flawed, imperfect, prone to depravity, fallen?
man. sometimes i really don't understand how anyone could love us so much to call us heirs, yet hate the sin inside of us so much.
through the night
I saw a host of silent angels
Waiting on their own
Knowing that all the promises
Of faith come alive
When you see home
Hold still and let your hand melt into mine
Shed your heart and your breath
And your pain and fly
Now your alive
last night, for the first time since camp, i deliberately sat with God for a prolonged period of time. and out came 7 pages in my journal, an outburst of crying out to God, and the fulfillment of His promise.
sigh... God is so strong.
on the last day of summercamp, when everyone else was at lunch and/or packing, i saw near the music equipment and wrote this ---
i took the road less traveled. and it has made all the difference.
... i feel alive. not just this moment. but i feel alive.
i feel like i'm breathing. i'm tired. i'm so sinful.
i'm not wanting to meet with the senior girls later. but i'm feeling freed.
my eyes are open
what color is your silence?
how can you say your life is empty?
so late in the day
why would you stay another second
now your sight got in the way
this song brings back old memories of high school, an overrated normal, and trying not to fit in.
i have to confess, i have a terrible soft spot for cheesy sport movies. i grew up watching the mighty ducks (all three) over and over, i loved movies like remember the titans and air bud, and tonight added another to the list -- coach carter.
maybe it was 'cause i had some iced coffee and a jelly donut before i watched, so i paid extra attention to the movie. maybe it's because one of the major themes of the movie struck a chord inside me... complacency.
in the movie, a basketball coach (coach carter, hence, the title :P) puts the entire team on the bench 'cause their gpas aren't high enough. and he keeps them there, even though the school board doesnt like it, teachers call to criticize and yell, and people throw rocks at the store he keeps. yet he stands firm. he knows what he believes in, and stands firm in that. he doesn't comply to those around him... to the statistics.
and at the end (per usual of these sorts of movies), was the speech.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
we're all meant to shine
liberated from fear
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -- john 8.36
fair weathered faith
Though my heart has been torn by loves I have worn
And I'm tempted by them ever still
I tremble inside when you walk in the room
You hold my affections and will
i felt like i could just sleep the day away. and i think i almost did, after sleeping for twelve hours and waking up still feeling tired. if only we could take a break like that in our faiths -- rest a little bit, hibernate a bit and wake up more energized, ready to face the world.
but we're not allowed to do that. there's no pause in life -- if you fall, gravity overcomes, and if you rise... well, grace abounds.
i've been thinking a lot about the phrase, "love the sinner, hate the sin." but when Jesus preaches about it, He always brought forth commandments of love. If anyone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we have not seen? -- 1 John 4:20. as humans, is it ever really possible to hate sin like God does, yet love someone like God does at the same time? so many times i find it easy to love in a fair weathered reality -- when sins are considered acceptable, not 'that' bad, easy to turn a blind eye to. but that's not the love that Jesus preaches.... so many times i feel my judgemental eyes associate sin with people, and justify it with just that -- hate the sin.
does it mean we turn a blind eye? no. but it remains that we stay in just that.... a posture of humility. above all to love one another. what happens when that friend tells you she's been drinking the past two months? or that relative says he really did have that affair? or when that brother or sister confesses something unthinkable?
love the sinner
and maybe, we'll start at that.
come and walk with me.. i have stories to share. stories of struggle, of pain, of misfourtune. of what it means to give up only to be found, to wrestle only to result in defeat, to strain yet remain stagnant.
i have stories of failure. times where i've messed up, windows of opportunity shattered. stories that sometimes remain too painful to tell. that leave scars, nearly healed wounds.
i have stories of a redemption. i have stories of a saving grace that keeps no record of sins. i have stories of living hope, living faith... i have stories of life.
i have stories of bondage.
and now... i have stories of freedom.
come walk with me.. let me share them with you.
but You'd bear it for me
betraying nails and jeers of scornful man
You'd bear it for me
the hate you never deserved
the crown of thorns upon your head
for me, for me
// what i ended up being led to pray through during quiet time today instead of the study...
4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. -- ephesians 2:4-5