The List

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Taken from Activate Your Faith by Russ Johnston

Do this: make a list of what you would like to be doing or have accomplished in three months if resources of any kind were no problem. Write what has been on the back burner of your mind from a week to ten years. In fact, go ahead – write some of those right now:

  1. Become a discipler and enjoy pouring out to him/them
  2. Be fully committed to God and His plan for me after graduation
  3. God willing, that I would know God’s calling for me
  4. Regularly keep in touch with overseas missionaries and V-SET students
  5. Bring at least one person to Christ
  6. Daily quiet times and consistent prayer (30 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening)

The Rich Fool

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Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’  And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”

Fall Quarter 2011 Reflection: Fall Conference

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Out of all the fall conferences I’ve been to, this one touched me the most. Coming into it, I felt pretty overwhelmed and burnt out but by the end of it I came out feeling at peace. The most memorable part of the conference for me was the small group time. Peter, David, and Nate were all in my small group and we were sharing about what was going on in our lives. It was weird because our small group seemed pretty calm and mellow. Even David, who is usually very upbeat and lively, seemed to be a lot more calm and humble. It turns out that Peter, David, and I were going through similar issues. Mainly, we were all tired and burnt out.

I hadn’t met Nate before, but he was a blessing to have in the small group. He wasn’t a Christian, but when it was his turn to share, he mentioned that he was enjoying the praise time at conference a lot. He said that he felt so much power while praising God! It was a very encouraging touch to an otherwise depressing small group 😛 We then got around to answering some of his questions about God and Christianity and I then proceeded to share the bridge illustration with him. It was very beneficial as it helped answer some of his questions and it was a blessing for me to share with him. Even though he didn’t accept after my sharing, I knew it was just a matter of time before he would invite God into his heart. Nate also mentioned that he had recently had a conflict with a friend and I could tell that he was feeling guilty. I assured him that God had already payed for his sins and that he is forgiven. Since there was a session of prayer later in the day, I encouraged him to spend that time to ask God to reveal Himself and to repent and ask God for His forgiveness. By the end of the day, Nate had invited God into his heart and shared in front of the congregation that after repenting during the prayer time, he received a text from his friend he had an argument with who forgave and apologized to him.

It was also cool that the UCLA campus skit was such a blessing to the audience, especially since it was frustrating (for me at least) during rehearsal.

Fall Quarter 2011 Reflection: Serving

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Fall quarter 2011 was the first quarter serving full-time with the Bruin ICA servant’s team. I had previously spent most of the time serving on the ULC council and helping out whenever I could with ICA. Serving with ICA has been totally different than serving at ULC and I believe it can be summed up with a passage in Acts 6:1-6

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them.

At ULC, the council’s duty was to manage the church, which is exactly what a council should be doing. Serving at ICA has been a very different experience. Instead of “serving tables”, I’ve been put in a role where I am able to preach the word of God. Now I’m not saying that one position is better than another; both are necessary to help maintain the body. I’m just saying that being a disciple maker is very different than anything I’ve ever done before. Thankfully, V-SET helped a lot!

This year I’ve been thankful to be leading an investigative bible study with Mark at Dykstra and De Neve. The first couple of weeks we spent most of the nights in the dorms visiting contacts from the enormous activities fair and asking people if they are interested in bible study. It’s funny because I don’t think any of the people in our bible study right now came from the activities fair, but just through knocking on doors throughout the dorms. Thankfully, God allowed us to meet people that we could serve and reach out to. I still remember the first day we went dorming on Dykstra 10 where we first met Elliser and Xiao. Throughout the rest of the week we continued to go down the building where we met Andrew. We would occasionally go into the De Neve buildings and dorm. We even had a pretty good game night at Evergreen but didn’t do a good job following up afterwards. Thankfully we met Andy on that floor, even though he didn’t come to the game night, and he eventually invited his friend Philip to bible study. I see Mark and I as very lucky being assigned Dykstra since that’s where a lot of the UCLA freshmen are and the majority of them are very friendly and sociable.

Once classes started picking up and bible studies started, we stopped dorming but we had only hit the top half of Dykstra and half of the De Neve buildings. Mark and I wanted to some more recruiting but we simply did not have enough time. Once our bible studies settled down, we had five consistent attendees: Andrew, Andy, Josh, Phillip, Xiao. Elliser came to bible studies a few times but goes to GOC small group during that time. Thankfully he has been very consistent coming out to our ICA rallies. We have a very unique set of guys in our small group and it’s a good challenge serving them in their own different ways. Thanks to Josh and his extra swipes, we have been able to start weekly dorm dinners with our small group and later expand to a larger ICA dorm dinner near the end of the quarter. These dorm dinners have been very beneficial because it gives us a lot of time to hang out with the guys and to get to know them better. It helped me to see them more as friends, not just contacts.

The bible studies themselves went alright. There were a couple of times where Mark and I didn’t really prepare so it turned out unorganized, but we quickly learned our lesson. There were some awkward silences when everyone was tired and not really in the mood to share, but overall I’m thankful to how much the Word of God is speaking to them. All of them have really good things to share and their questions and insights are very thought provoking. We’ve gotten through 6 of the 7 miracles of John during fall quarter so I plan on finishing the 7th miracle early in the winter. I have no idea what we’ll be doing afterwards though. We do plan to meet up with the guys one on one starting next quarter and continue to bring them up in the faith.

Matthew 6-9

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Did a little bible reading this morning and wanted to share a couple things. His Word is full of truth and knowledge and it’s always very convicting to read it. Shows how imperfect I am 😀

Matthew 6:

I feel like I don’t have too much trouble following verses 1-18. For some reason, I never got much of a kick out of being praised or looked highly upon.

What I do need to work on is verses 19-34 – laying up treasures in heaven, not on earth. Not being anxious about anything. Trusting in God for his provision (food, drink, clothes). It’s something I’ve been struggling with for a long time. And now that the job search has started, I am tempted to worry a lot more. Thankfully, I have been growing over the past couple years (and especially on V-SET) to entrust my life to Him for His glory. But it is still very difficult for me!

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” – v. 28-30

Matthew 7:

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” – v. 13-14

For some reason, these verses struck me this morning. I’ve heard these verses many times before and I always seem to focus on the wide/narrow way. Have never considered the easy/hard way. Caused me to ask myself if following God is difficult. EE is hard. CS is hard. For my life so far, being a Christian hasn’t been too hard. I’ve been free to follow God my entire life and I haven’t been persecuted for my faith. These verses have opened my eyes but I don’t know specifically what God is asking me to do about it.

Matthew 8-9:

Going through the various healings performed by Jesus, one thing I picked up upon was the faith of the people who came to Jesus. They genuinely believed that what they were asking for would be done, with 100% confidence. The faith of the centurion (Matt. 8:5-13), the dead girl’s mother (Matt. 9:18), and  the bleeding woman (Matt 9:20-22) in particular really stand out. They knew that Jesus had the power and authority to heal each and every sickness they may have. They believed with all their heart without any doubts! I rarely (maybe never) come to God and ask Him with confidence quite like these people.