Google Simply Katherine, a Christian on campus: 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Conversations with Mrs. L - Overcoming Confusion in the Church Life

I haven't added more posts on my series, Conversations with Mrs. L. Honestly, I didn't spend that much time with Mrs. L. During those two years in California, it was so busy that I only had time to visit Mrs. L maybe twice a month.

There was this one day, I was sitting in Mrs. L's living room. I asked her concerning a semi-real scenario, "Mrs. L, in the event of a confusion in the church life, for instance, if there's someone dissenting against the leadership in the church, what should we do as sisters? - I mean whom should we believe and stand with?" Like always, she never failed to smile and calmly answer, "Keep eating the tree of life. Just enjoy the Lord." Yes, it's Mrs. L. Her answers were always elegantly simple. She continued, "And just pray."

It was like a heavy burden lifted up from my shoulders. We all know that there is only one Body of Christ in the universe and we have to keep the oneness of the faith at all times. The ground of our oneness is the track for the Lord to move on the earth. Yet often there are discords and disharmony. 

The temptation ahead is to take sides, to label who is right and who is wrong. Believe me, it is an arduous work to analyze a situation and pass verdicts to those who are in conflict. Sooner or later, a distant conflict becomes our own conflict. 

What a relief! Our responsibility as sisters is not to take sides, but simply to partake of the tree of life and to fervently pray. I'm not saying that I have arrived, but I have kept this lesson in my heart since my tendency is to be a problem solver and to systematize situations. 

Dear Lord, by Your mercy and grace, keep us feeding on Yourself, our Tree of Life. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Singapore: The Rainy City-State

immigration
I wish it would stop raining. Po, I, and my brother are in Singapore. We're trying to visit as many places as possible in Singapore but the weather isn't cooperating at all. It's been five days since we got here in Singapore. The trip from L.A. to Singapore was remarkably filled with obstacles, due to Po's passport problem. United Airlines refused to fly us to Singapore because Po's passport is expiring soon.

Long story short, our brother helped us from back home. So five minutes before missing the flight from L.A. to Singapore (via Tokyo), the airline cleared us to fly. Then we got stuck again in Singapore, trying to get Po to pass through immigration. It was the most difficult airplane trip I've had thus far. The encouraging part was we still managed to pass a gospel tract (which includes a free Bible offer) to the airline counter's staff in LAX. She was quite receptive, although we didn't get to speak about it much (we were in a hurry, almost missed our flight).

I apologize for the lack of photos in my recent posts. Po has this nice SLR camera that she carries everywhere, so I let her take the pictures. I haven't been carrying my camera this past week. I'm the map carrier. I carry my Singapore maps everywhere. I have maps for the Sentosa Island, Chinatown, Little India, Orchard Road, oh and of course the SMRT (Singapore's bullet train). My brother teased me for carrying so many maps and opening them everywhere we go. It was interesting to learn how I depended a lot on research, user reviews, and planning. 

Anyway, I want to share with you what we've done so far in Singapore. Check out my post on My Days in Singapore at www.simplykl.wordpress.com.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christ, Our Life

This post was scheduled to be published right when I'm boarding to fly to LAX. I'm very excited to go home! We're going to lay over in L.A. and Tokyo, then Po and I will meet our brother in Singapore. We will spend about a week there in Singapore. I will definitely update you all.

Coming into this winter break, I'm reminded again that I can't afford to take a break from the Lord. I hope that this break will be a season of refreshing, where the roots of my personal relationship with the Lord would go deeper and richer. 

Going home is never easy for me. There are many complications of feelings, situations, and many more. However, I'm looking forward to be able to fellowship with my family. I remember my fellowship with Judy (the wife of the older couple whom I met through Christians on Campus) when I was a freshman in college. I was having a hard time being with my family back home because at that time we were having some family issues. 

Judy told me that I simply needed to realize that I didn't need to be anxious about my spiritual condition. She said, "That's okay, K. Do not worry about any deadness in the situation. You simply need to realize that you are the life-bearer." Her fellowship helped me to see the situation from God's perspective. If I never knew that I could be a life-bearer, dispensing life supply to my other family members, I would be totally stuck in the miserableness of blaming everything that was happening to me.

So during this winter break, I'm looking forward to continuously turn inward, to the Christ within me - Christ, our life (Colossians 3:4).

Friday, December 9, 2011

From Texas to Southeast Asia

I can't wait until the D-day. I'm going back to Southeast Asia this winter! Adios, wintry mix! We will spend our winter break on a tropical island.

I have been waiting for the past two years - to go home. Po and I are going to bring tons of stuffs home. Our tiny dwelling here is too tiny to house all of our belongings. Usually we'll fly with some Asian airlines but this time, we're going to fly with United Airlines. Po complained a lot but I told her those were the cheapest tickets I could get for our trip home.

Well, let's see. I've packed the sugar-free cookies and candies for my grandma, tie pin for dad, bag for mom, bunch of random items for my brother, and some cocoa mix for cousins. I told Po that we would not spend any more money on anything else, but failed. Today I went out with my awesome companions and ordered "chicken katsu bento" for lunch. 

Random gifts for my family!
Did you see that emergency freeze notice?
That's why we're leaving Texas.
Oh, and the MacBook Pro is mine.

Yes, I do daydream about what I want to do at home with my family. I never forgo my daily responsibility, but when you see me spacing out, now you know why. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Selah Moments

These days I've been so busy that I feel like I have a spiritual indigestion.

I mean throughout the years, I've developed a habit to read the Word and to have a small morning time with the Lord on a daily basis. Yet I feel like my brain is cluttered with so many things during the day that I usually forget what I've read from the Word or what I've enjoyed in my morning time with the Lord. Even worse, often I already forget what I read as soon as I step out from the door to go start my activities out there.

The Lord has been reminding me to stop and have some selah. The word "selah" is used in the Bible. In Hebrew, it can have multiple meanings but one of the most commonly accepted meaning can be found in the Amplified version of Psalm 46:3. In this verse, selah means "pause, and calmly think of that."

So that's what I need. Just to stop, to pause, from my busy mind, my busy soul,... And calmly think, consider, meditate, digest the Word of God that I've enjoyed that morning. I can stop and digest even in the midst of the haphazard schedule that I have.

Thank You, Lord. You've made it so easy and simple for us to turn to You. We can simply turn to the innermost part of our being, our spirit, where You are dwelling.

Friday, December 2, 2011

To Contend for the Common Faith & Not to be Contentious for Other Things

"Concerning the faith, we must be definite. But as for doctrines such as immersion, sprinkling, head covering, foot-washing, eating, keeping days, and so many other things, we must be general. If we would not be so general, we will surely be divisive." - Witness Lee
contentious
I had dinner with my friends and we got into this topic about why Christianity fell into an endless division, into so many denominations. 

One of them read 1 Corinthians 1:10, "Now I beseech you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be attuned in the same mind and in the same opinion." In verse 13 the Apostle Paul wrote, "Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul?" My friend pointed out that divisions in Christianity contradicted these verses.

I truly appreciate our time together that Friday evening. We all speak the same thing, the common faith, but when we begin to emphasize and insist other items aside from the common faith, the vicious cycle of division has already started. Of course, I don't mean we should stop studying the Bible thoroughly and overlook the other Scriptural items, but we should maintain a spirit of being open, general, and learning all the time. We also should not practice generality to the extent that we can take any kind of persons. In his epistles, the Apostle Paul himself is general and gracious in receiving believers, but he is also very strict and resolute in exhorting us to turn away from those who are dissenting, who make divisions, and who make causes of stumbling.

I'd like to share one occasion in which I failed to maintain unity. I can't remember when, but I was definitely much younger. Our extended family had a relative who needed us to pray. So we, all Christians, prayed together. As we prayed, I noticed how different we were just from the way each one of us prayed. So I was quite determined that I would not pray like the others. I was actually hoping that the others would follow the way I prayed. I prayed loudly so others could hear the way I prayed. I did everything according to my way. The prayer time highlighted our differences. I even had a slight pomposity, boasting in my own ways. Within everyone's heart, we all knew that we were not the same.

Now when I look back to that moment, I repent with my whole heart. I was ignorant. I did not care to preserve the oneness of our faith. May the Lord have mercy on all of us, so that we would not divide our Christ, His Body, all His members, ourselves.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Common Faith of All Christians

All throughout my college years, Christians on Campus has taught me to contend for the common faith. I've heard rumors before about members of Christians on Campus being exclusive, but whoever has come to their gatherings would quickly realize that Christians on Campus receives all genuine Christians. Yes, all genuine Christians who believe in the common faith (this term is used in Titus 1:4 and Jude 3).

The common faith is not a doctrine that someone wrote. I didn't come up with it, nor Christians on Campus, nor Martin Luther. It's the Bible, it's God Himself, who defines our faith. Thus, I simply appreciate the fact that I was given the opportunity to learn how we need to fight for the faith and not fight for anything else that is not part of the common faith.

According to the Bible, there are eight items in our common faith:
  • The Bible is the complete divine revelation inspired by God, word-by-word, through the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Timothy 3:16
  • The Son of God, even God Himself, was incarnated to be a man by the name of Jesus Christ. (John 1:1, 14
  • Christ ascended to the right hand of God to be the Lord of all. (Acts 1:9; 2:33, 36
These are the specific, absolute items that God defines to be the bases of our identity as Christians. In other words, we are Christians based upon our believing in these items. Yes, very specific and special indeed. That is why, the Apostle Paul said he fought the good faith and kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). The Book of Jude specifically urges us to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered unto all God's people (Jude 3).

This past week I was reminded once more, our faith is the ground of all the Christians' genuine oneness. We are one not because of some kind of agreement, we are one because we are of the same faith. All Christians are the same in the faith. There is no argument.

Although we are the same in the faith, many of us may be very different in the doctrines. Shall we be divided then? Why emphasize differences when we have the common ground? Must the Body of Christ be divided due to our doctrines?

I have a personal experience to share in my next post

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Rich Young Man Entering the Kingdom

Cherry picking God's Word is definitely faulty, yet it seems impossible for me to apply God's Word in its entirety. For instance, the Bible tells me not to covet but "Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24). I continuously fail in fulfilling this matter of not coveting. So what then shall I do?

There is a particular fellowship from one of the Christians on Campus gatherings that has greatly helped me. I can't remember exactly which gathering but at that time, one of the speakers mentioned about the passage of a rich young man trying to enter into the kingdom in Matthew 19 (please read Matthew 19:16-26 for context).

riches

This rich young man asked the Lord what good deed he must do to have eternal life. The Lord pointed out that there is only One that is good and that if he would enter into this life, he should keep all the commandments. Afterward the Lord showed him which commandment he should do, to sell his possessions and give them to the poor, but then the rich young man went away in sorrow because he had great possessions. 

Does this sound familiar to you?

The implication of the Lord's response highlights the fact that the rich young man can never be and do good, only God is goodness Himself, and that he can never keep all the commandments. However, this account does not stop here at the dead end of impossibility. The verses (Matthew 19:25-26) following this interaction between the Lord and the rich young man are very enlightening indeed:

"When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, 'Who then can be saved?' But Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.'"

Actually the Lord knew very well that the rich young man would not be able to fulfill all God's commandments. Jesus said, "With man this is impossible,..." So then what was the main problem with this rich young man?

The Lord didn't stop with the impossibility, He specifically showed all of us the way, "... but with God all things are possible." The main problem was the rich young man did not stay with the Lord, with God, in whom all things are possible! He gave up and left.

The Lord knows that I cannot entirely fulfill God's Word. The Lord knows that, in myself, I have no strength to follow and say "Amen" to everything that He has spoken to me. He knows yet He never give up on me. He is always there ready to be the supply, the strength, for me to say "Amen." All He wants me to do is just to say "Amen," agreeing with His Word, confess that I cannot, but then stay with Him and open to Him, letting Him be the One who can within me. The answer to Romans 7:24 is actually the next verse, Romans 7:25, which begins with:

"Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Joining Ourselves to God's Desire through His Word

The question from my last post on Christians on Campus Fall 2011 College Conference - how can we join ourselves to God's desire through His Word?

Many times our application of God's Word is a cherry-picking business. Yes, it's a fallacy indeed. Let me explain what I meant by that. Believe it or not, most of us have a hidden motive when we come to God's Word. That hidden motive varies with every person but usually it's in the form of expectations, hoping for certain things to be found in the Word.

cherry picking God's word

For example, a couple years ago a Christian man was sharing with me a story about his mother. His mother had to work hard to feed her many children. So one time, she told people that her favorite verse in the Bible was 2 Thessalonians 3:10, "... If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat." Actually I knew another hard-working person who appreciated the Bible's encouragement to labor for our living in a similar way. But a lazy person may take Psalm 127:2 as his/her favorite verse, "It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil, for He gives to His beloved sleep."

Basically, the point is we hardly accept God's word in its entirety. We only pick and apply certain things that we favor or agree with. I'd be the first one to confess that I'm guilty of this fallacy, but then again, how can we fulfill all the requirements from God's Word?

On one hand, we must simply accept and be one with what the Word says. We need to practice "obedience to the truth" (1 Peter 1:22) and "holding to truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). In other words, saying "Amen" to what God says. On the other hand, our joining ourselves to God's desire through His Word is only possible with God Himself. This is probably better depicted from the passage in Matthew 19:16-26 about the way for a rich man to enter into the kingdom.

We'll get into that in my next post, entitled The Rich Young Man Entering the Kingdom.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Christians on Campus Fall 2011 College Conference (Part 4)

The next message after the early rising session was entitled, Daniel and His Three Companions - God's move through Young People. Christians on Campus arranged this message to be "by-the-students-and-for-the-students" format. 

Daniel and his three friends
So we were given materials to be read together in small groups. The entire message was divided into sections. Each small group would focus on a particular section for the first thirty minutes or so. The group came together to fellowship based on that reading. Then the next event was to gather the small groups and present what we had learned from the section we read to this bigger group of audience. So when all the groups presented their sections, the audience ended up with an entire message, spoken by multiple people from the small groups.


Continuing on with the message itself, I was blown away by the reading material that we got. It opens with a section, God calling young people to turn the age.

"The young people need to realize that this is their golden time to be used by the Lord. The Lord needs you as a channel through which He can carry out His move. The way for you to grasp this opportunity is to go to the Lord to open and empty yourself. You need to give yourself to Him and allow Him to take you, to possess you. Never have something within your being set, settled, or occupied. Keep yourself empty, open, fresh, new, living, and young with the Lord. Then the Lord will be able to go on through you in a marvelous way. We all need to consecrate ourselves once again to the Lord for His eternal purpose." 

The next section is the characteristics of the men who turn the age. The first being separation from an age that follows Satan. The ones who turn the age (from the age of grace to the age of the kingdom) must be those who consecrate themselves voluntarily to God, against the tide of this age. 

The second characteristic is, being joined to God's desire through His Word. Daniel did not read God's Word for knowledge but he read to receive and keep God's commandments. He accepted God's desire revealed in His word and applied them to himself. His action in rejecting the choice food from the king was due to his reading and joining himself to the Pentateuch, the five books that Moses had written. To Daniel, the Scripture was not separate from his person. 

Many of us, Christians, read the Bible daily. Yet the Bible remains the Bible, and we are still who we are. We read but we don't quite live by God's Word, let alone join ourselves to His Word. In my case, often I just have no strength to fulfill the requirements in the Word. So this was my question during my time in the small group, reading this section with my companions. How can we join ourselves to God's desire through His Word?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Christians on Campus Fall 2011 College Conference (Part 3)


On the second day of the conference, we gathered early to listen to a 15-minute fellowship on early rising to have a morning time with the Lord. Then we went to find a private place where we could spend a personal, intimate time with the Lord. This fellowship was very healthy and helpful. As young people, many times we all love to sleep late and wake up late. 

Actually that morning, our fellowship began with this quote by a sister in the Lord: 

"How much a person loves the Lord can be judged primarily by the way he chooses between his bed and the Lord. Do you love your bed or the Lord more? If you love your bed more, you sleep a little longer. If you love the Lord more, you rise up a little earlier."

This quote stings, like putting salt on my wound, my weakness, but I realize that it's very true. Of course, striving in ourselves to wake up early can only work for two or three days. We all know that soon after we'd revert to our old habit, sleep late and wake up late. So through this fellowship, I was greatly helped to learn how we needed the Lord's grace to build a new habit of early rising.

So this week I was just practicing, as soon as I heard my alarm, before I automatically hit the snooze button, I would speak a little something to the Lord. Something like...

"Lord, I have no strength to wake up to live today. You have to be the One living through me."

"Lord, wake me up."

"Lord, I'm sorry I slept too late last night."

"Lord, I still love You."

Yes, I have a long way to go to just keep practicing touching the Lord in the morning. To be with Him in a personal, private, and intimate way. If we do not practicing meeting the Lord everyday, what will we do when we have to meet Him later at His second coming?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Christians on Campus Fall 2011 College Conference (Part 2)

I'm back from Christians on Campus College Conference (Fall 2011), which took place just this past weekend. I've attended this conference many times since I first joined Christians on Campus as a freshman at UT, but this last one had adopted a different overall structure so it was very refreshing indeed!

The structure now encouraged the attendees' active participation in smaller groups. It'll take a while for me to explain all the details but just to give you a picture, by the end of the day on Saturday, almost everyone who attended the conference had spoken at least once. Of course, I don't mean speaking with each other about random things. Almost everyone had spoken concerning Christ to one another, at least once. There were apportioned times for personal morning revival/devotion, group Bible study, presentations on the Bible study material, and campus clubs' reports. Seemingly all these were just outward adjustments to the old format, which was mainly listening to messages all weekend long, but I felt like behind the scene the Lord had abundantly blessed us with a season of refreshing, of enjoying Christ in His Word, both in a personal way and together with many others.

Friday evening we started the conference with a message entitled, "God's Move through Christ." The brother, who was sharing, opened with the first point being the Triune God likened to a river (Genesis 2:10; Revelation 22:1). Indeed there's only one river but the source of the river is the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6), the course of the river is the Son as the Father's manifestation (John 1:14, 18), and the flow of the river is the Spirit (John 7:37-39). Finally, the destination of the river is the Body of Christ. 

This beginning message was very appropriately positioned. Many times when I think about God's move, my first thought would be "how can I participate in His move?" Yet it was clearly revealed in this conference - first, we need to realize that God's move is through Christ. God's move began with Himself, not us. God was the first one who took the step to enter into the course of time, stepping into the path of man. God became a man, named Jesus, the Christ. He took the initiative to reach man so that man can be saved, not only from eternal perdition but even saved from all the negative elements of himself and of this world. Actually saved from veering off from His purpose in creating man.

mystery of human life
God flowed from eternity past, into time, into man. He, in Christ, went through the process of incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, ascension, and descending into man's spirit as the life-giving Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45b) to be one with man (1 Corinthians 6:17). This message uplifted my view from the view of man into the perspective of God. How touching, God became a man to be one with us. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Christians on Campus Fall 2011 College Conference (Part 1)

Everyone is packing to go to the college conference tomorrow. We're having a regional college conference. Students from several universities, from all over Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arkansas, and more, will be gathering together to worship the Lord, listen to life-changing messages, fellowship, pray, and interact with each other. This fall, Christians on Campus is revamping their college conference's structure to a more engaging, interactive format. The conference will definitely put more emphasis on active participation in smaller groups, especially on the practice of speaking. There will be many opportunities for college students to share their experiences with one another. Mutuality is very much encouraged. 

Christians on Campus Fall 2011 College Conference

I'm quite excited myself to be able to go and participate in this conference. My right foot is still recovering from a recent injury, but I just can't miss out on this one. The topic will be "God's Move Through Young People," it's an inspiring topic indeed. This reminds me of my first college conference in Texas, about 8 years ago. 

Remember, the older man I mentioned in my previous post on the Christians on Campus series? Yes, D. He actually spoke in that conference. It was Fall semester 2003. He spoke for an hour and a half on church history. God raised young men throughout the history to answer a higher calling. That higher calling is the call to cooperate with God in His move on the earth. D took us through a bullet train experience on church history. I couldn't recall every name he mentioned, dozens of them. I'm sure there were many more, but in an hour and a half, he gave us a panoramic view of how God has moved throughout the ages. Stellar! 

After listening to D, I felt like a speck of dust in the massiveness of God's move for the accomplishment of His eternal purpose. Yet in the midst of almost reaching 7 billion people on the earth, I had the opportunity to learn the divine history behind the apparent human history. By God's mercy, I was no longer confined in the universe of my own narrow life. I don't know how to share the sensation I had within after that message, and the sensation I have whenever I'm reminded of what was spoken. There are thousands and millions Christians throughout the ages, why did and does God call some to a higher calling to participate in His move? What is God's move? How can we be part of His move? I hope to find out more this coming weekend at the Christians on Campus College Conference Fall 2011. I'll get back with you afterward.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Giving by Taking

This week, I had fellowship with one of my friends on campus. This is her second year being part of Christians on Campus at UT. We were reminiscing how the Lord had been very faithful to bring us back to Himself. I don't have the liberty to share with you her story, but she shared with me from Psalm 116:12-13. There's a short hymn written based on this psalm (click here to listen to the tune):
"What I shall I give unto the Lord
 For all, for all, for all He's done for me?
I'll take the cup of salvation, 
And call, and call, and call upon the name of the Lord."
When my friend was younger, an older Christian spoke to her concerning this hymn. He pointed out how the psalmist began by asking what shall he give unto the Lord to return all the goodness, all that He had done for him, but ended with taking the cup of salvation and calling upon the name of the Lord. 

In one of my previous posts on God's salvation to us, I shared a similar experience. Many times after acknowledging and recognizing all that the the Lord has done for us, we would like to return His favor by giving something, doing something for Him. To know merciful and graceful the Lord is, of course, a divine revelation, yet to know who we really are is part of that revelation. 

In Psalm 116:12-13, the psalmist asks what he shall give unto the Lord for all that He has done for him but then he realizes the best he can give is to take what the Lord has done, the cup of salvation, and to call upon His name. Actually his calling is also another taking, another receiving. We usually call someone because we are in need of that person. In the same manner, our calling upon the Lord's name is our needing Him to come into us, our receiving of His presence, our taking of His person.

Today I'm reminded again, the best I can give unto the Lord is to simply take all that He has done and all that He is. "Lord, I' take the cup of salvation and call upon Your name. O Lord Jesus, come into me, come into my day. You are my daily salvation."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Auxiliary Evidences of Christianity

In the previous post, I wrote on William Paley's work on the evidences of Christianity. In this post, I'd like to continue with Paley's auxiliary evidences of Christianity in mostly his own words. Paley considers his two propositions as the main defense of the Christian faith yet he believes that their argument is also supported by auxiliary evidences, of which the most important include:
  • Prophecy - Prophecies, which no natural means could foresee, came to fulfillment in history, such as Isaiah chapter 53 and the Lord's prophecy on the destruction of Jerusalem. 
  • Morality - Although not the primary design of the mission, the depicted morality in the Bible is unprecedented. Paley points out two noticeable facts: first, the Gospel omits qualities that are often praised and admired by mankind but have been prejudicial to human happiness, such as friendship, patriotism, and active courage; second, it has brought forward highest intrinsic values, but commonly overlooked, such as passive courage in the endurance of sufferings, patience under affronts and injuries, humility, irresistance, and placability. 
  • Candor - The writers of the New Testament write passages and instances in such a particular way that no writer could have forged or carved or molded according to his own choice or judgment. For instance, the evangelists unanimously state that after Christ's resurrection, He appeared to the disciples alone.
  • The Identity of Christ's character in the four Gospels is confirmed to be of the same person.

The Great Isaiah Scroll (Dead Sea Scrolls, Facsimile Editions)
Paley concludes that many more auxiliary evidences can be found:
"In the originality of our Savior's character; in the conformity of the Scripture narrative with contemporary history; in the undesigned coincidences between the Epistles of St. Paul and the Acts of the Apostles; in the history of the Resurrection; and in the manner and success of the propagation of Christianity,..."
Like Paley himself specifies, all of the above is auxiliary, obviously not the main items of the Christian faith. Yet reading these causes me to appreciate the verses I read this morning:
"For indeed Jews require signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1:22-25)
Even today,  many require signs and many seek wisdom, but little do we know that Christ is the power of God (nature can be a little sample of God's power, that's a big enough sign) and the wisdom of God. To those who are entangled in their mind, believing in Christ is a weakness, a foolishness, but the fact is there are too many evidences. The way I see it, it's in fact very logical to believe in Christ, it's very wise to believe into Him, and it's very human to need Him.  

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A View of the Evidences of Christianity

William Paley (1743-1805)
Recently, I read a summary of a book written by William Paley, A View of the Evidences of Christianity.  Paley was a British Christian apologetic, known for his teleological argument in his 1802 famous book, Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, which prelude included the watchmaker analogy (i.e. the analogy that argues design implies a designer). There has been a long chain of philosophical debate on the latter book, so I'm not going to get into that right now. I'm more interested in the content of his previous book.

In A View of the Evidences of Christianity, Paley has two propositions on the historical evidence of Christianity:
  1. Proposition I: 'That there is satisfactory evidence that many professing to be original witnesses of the Christian miracles passed their lives in labors, dangers and sufferings, voluntarily undergone in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and solely in consequence of  their belief of the truth of those accounts; and that they also submitted, from the same motives, to new rules of conduct.'
  2. Proposition II: 'That there is not satisfactory evidence that persons pretending to be original witnesses of any other similar miracles have acted in the same manner, in attestation of the accounts which they delivered, and solely in consequence of their belief of the truth of those accounts.'
Proposition I specifically refers to the "original witnesses," mainly the early disciples of Jesus. It actually boils down to a simple logic: why would these witnesses be willing to live their lives in labors, dangers, and sufferings solely due to their belief of the truth of the Biblical accounts, if what they believe as the truth was false? They could have simply renounced their belief of the truth of these accounts to live a quiet life, "bothering" no one. History can barely record how many martyrs have sacrificed their bodies and souls for this belief. It went beyond the early disciples; more believed and witnessed, lived and died on account of this belief. As others try to press them down, more lives are ready to be poured out. It's unstoppable; it's pandemic. It transcends eras, ages, centuries, you name it. Do you know that even in this very second, as you leisurely sit in front of your computer, history is still counting martyrs for the Christian belief?

Proposition II is quite simple as well. The key lies in "common sense". Paley argues that our "common sense" won't allow us to pretend to be something we are not and die for that cause. In the same way, the disciples could not be just pretending to be "original witnesses of the miracles." In Paley's words, "there is not satisfactory evidence" that persons would labor, suffer, or die in account of pretense.

Paley also provides auxiliary evidences of Christianity. I'll save those for my next post, but I want to leave you with a word of wisdom by Gamaliel, a Pharisee, a scholar of the Mosaic Law, not sure if he ever became a believer, also known as Saul's (later known as the Apostle Paul) mentor:

"And now I say to you, withdraw from these men and leave them alone; for should this counsel or this work be of men, it will be overthrown; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them, lest you be found to be even fighters against God." (Acts 5:38-39)

With that quote alone, are we not convinced yet? This work has not been overthrown for the last two thousand years.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

God's Perfect Will

God's will

It's early October but in about two months, I'll be flying back to the other side of the globe. Over there I'll probably have limited access to the Internet. I just bought my ticket this afternoon. Honestly, I got butterflies in my stomach, thinking of some possibility of me not being able to go back to Texas. It's a small possibility but I don't do well with surprises. So please keep me in your prayers. My hope is to come back.

This is not the first time. I've had similar experiences in the past, not knowing what will happen to me next. So I'm learning just to trust in the Lord, trusting that His heart is always good toward us. Thus far, I have the full assurance that where I am now is where the Lord has arranged for me to be. I'm most grateful because until today, the Lord has not let me veer off from the journey that He has specifically designed for me to take.

When I was younger, I had lots of dreams. I wanted to be an architect, an entrepreneur, an actuary, a CFO, a teacher, a theorist, a walking encyclopedia, etc. I traveled to many places to discover new things, learn new languages, experience new cultures, eat new cuisines, and on and on. Nevertheless, deep in my heart, I know that my satisfaction is anchored in only one thing, the Lord's perfect will.

You know, sometimes you want something really bad so you pray a lot to get what you want. Then after some time, it seems like the Lord is actually giving you that thing. The question is, was that truly His perfect will or was it merely His permissive will? It's like how loving parents would treat their children. The parents know what's best, but often the children are so adamantly demanding that the parents would simply give them the permissive will with the knowledge that it may not be the best thing for the children.

So my desperate prayer is that I'll be kept in the Lord's perfect will. Everything else is sub-par to His perfect will. I want nothing less than what He can be, give, do best. I have no trust in my own preferences. I choose to stay within His untainted, perfect will lest I'd always fall short from living life to the fullest.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Conversations with Mrs. L - Helping the Younger Sisters to Love the Lord More

love Christ

I finally wrote a card and sent it to Mrs. L. She's recovering from a surgery but I have no clue how she's doing right now. So I decided writing a card would be the best way to reach her at her convenience. While writing the card, I was reminded of a conversation I had with Mrs. L about serving the Lord.
On my previous post, I mentioned about how sisters should let the brothers take the lead. Well, actually this was not all. On that day, Mrs. L also encouraged me, "Katherine, help the younger sisters to love the Lord more." After a long pause, I thought to myself - I had to be the first one loving the Lord more. I found no other way.

In my experience, my heart grows colder toward the Lord rather quickly, especially when I'm so occupied with daily human responsibilities or even, spiritual responsibilities. Yes, I'm talking about Bible reading, sometimes I just want to whiz through it without stopping my busy mind and turn my heart to contact the living Person in the Word.

There was this other time, I was busy preparing an event to welcome young Christians into the church without having an inward, intimate fellowship with the Lord. You know, love is developed and preserved by spending time with the person. I know it's kind of a general statement but it's true, the condition of my love depends upon how much time I've spent with the Lord that day. Not only that, to love Him I have to know Him deeper through His Word. These are the practical handles of loving the Lord more.

In the morning, the faces of the young ones whom I'll meet during the day cross my mind and I know I cannot let my heart goes on without being rejuvenated with the Divine Love. Mrs. L's words have encouraged me to stop all my doing and spend a personal, private, intimate time with the Lord in His Word in the morning.

So when I meet others during the day, I wouldn't be too concerned with other goals, such as how to solve anyone's problem, instead I would have the opportunity to simply help them touch the loving One. Since my heart is in a loving condition, helping someone else to love the Lord becomes who I am, not merely something that I do. Truly, we can only bring someone to where we are. We can't bring someone to go beyond who we are.

Monday, September 26, 2011

How to be a Christian

how to be a christian

Some are satisfied just to be saved from eternal perdition, while others have continued to struggle to be better Christians. The question has many facets, implications, and complications. How to be a Christian? Is it all about good deeds? Is it all about trying to obey the Ten Commandments? Is it about doing great things for God? Is it about getting hundreds of thousands saved? Or is it just about being saved from eternal perdition? Let's take a journey along the path of this big question.

To those who are seeking the Lord in a genuine way, naturally we all have a concept of needing to do something for God. Like the disciples themselves had asked, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God?" (John 6:28). Also in Exodus 19, the children of Israel answered, "All that Jehovah has spoken we will do" (Exodus 19:8). To work for God is the mindset of most Christians throughout the ages.

This is how I often think of 'how to be a Christian' as well. However, the standard of God's work is, by no means, a human standard. Matthew 5:48 mentions, "You therefore shall be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." God's standard is God Himself. Yes, we can attempt to attain to this standard but in reality, we did and will always fall short of God's standard. So what then? Why then God put such high demands on us, if we can never attain them?

I don't know about you but I find the way the Lord answered the disciples' question in John 6 to be mysterious yet simultaneously revolutionary. Verse 29, "Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe into Him whom He has sent." So, as how to work for God, the least we can do and the best we can do is to believe into Him, Jesus Christ, whom God has sent. That's awesome! God put the highest requirements on us to emphasize the fact that we cannot do things for God and to emphasize the need of our believing that He will do all things for us. He becomes the supply to meet His own demand. 

In Exodus 19, the children of Israel declared that they would do everything that Jehovah had spoken, but what had Jehovah been speaking? Jehovah was not telling them what to do, He was speaking concerning how He had done everything and would do everything for them-- He bore them on eagles' wings, He brought them to Himself to make them His personal treasure, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation. I was deeply touched. I love the Lord but many times, I've misunderstood Him, thinking that He wants me to do something for Him. This shows how often I have loved blindly. The Lord wants to do everything for me, yet here I am, trying so hard to please Him without knowing what He truly desires. Believe it or not, His real desire is for me to believe into Him-- to believe that what I cannot, He can; what I have not, He has; what I am not, He is

"...God did not appear for the purpose of telling man what to do. Instead, God came again and again to make promises, promises which indicate that God's intention was to do everything for man. On our part we should simply turn to Him, seek Him, love Him, be one with Him, and stand with Him in His interest. Then He will do everything for us. This was the situation with Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. These men received God's promise and they experienced Him coming to do things for them. God's intention is to do everything for His people" (Life-study of Exodus, pp.747-748).

You know, slowly I'm learning that what I really need is to subjectively know the Lord, not just know about Him. To believe into Him, I need to know who He is whom I have believed; and to know Him in this way, I need to spend more time with Him in His Word, praying while reading, reading while praying. This revelation has been a milestone in my journey, being a Christian.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

God's Salvation to Us


Dear readers,

I've been out from my daily routine this past week due to an injury. It's truly challenging, staying at home, not knowing how to best occupy my time. Well, a lot of my companions dropped by to see how I was doing. Their visitations were God's salvation to me, from wasting away my time doing other things. Whenever these ones came, they not only brought physical food but they were also ready to dispense spiritual food into my hungry spirit. We didn't do a serious Bible study or anything like that but... how should I say this? It was like they were living out the spiritual nourishment, Christ, into me in the most normal way.

I've also enjoyed reading an in-depth study of the Book of Exodus. I came across this matter of God's salvation depicted in the giving of God's law to the children of Israel in the Old Testament. Do you know what was God's original intention in giving out the law? In Exodus 19, this account was fully recorded.

It all started with a pleasant atmosphere. Jehovah was speaking in a lovely way. It was a word of love expressed by grace, "You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagle's wings and brought you unto Myself." This is God's salvation to us. It's not to just make us law-keepers, or to make us good people. God's salvation to us is to bring us back to Himself.

Every detail of our daily life has been arranged so that He can continually draw us to Himself. He has not only saved us from eternal perdition but He's saving us even now by bringing us back to Himself again and again.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Conversations with Mrs. L - Letting the Brothers Take the Lead

let brothers take lead
Growing up, I was taught to be an independent thinker. So when Mrs. L mentioned this matter about letting the brothers to take the lead, I was somewhat puzzled. I understood that we, as sisters, should follow the brothers' lead but Mrs. L opened up another dimension on the matter. She said, letting; to me, that sounded like there was an implication of "you may not be thinking the same thing, but you would still let them take the lead." Now that was contrary to a popular notion out there -- "stand up for what you think is right."

I'd be the first one to confess that this isn't easy. Many times I insist on my ways because I genuinely thought that I was right, but if you think about it, that's exactly what the other person would think about his/her ways. So who's right?

In the end, it's not about being open-minded or conservative. God's ordination is God's highest wisdom in relation to His purpose. Actually my attempt to explain what Mrs. L implied in her words still falls short, but you know what, I simply received and kept her words in my heart. And do you know why they were "words of life"? With time, these words have continued to grow in my heart, adding more and more dimensions to Mrs. L's simple sentence, "Katherine, let the brothers take the lead."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Conversations with Mrs. L - The Role of a Woman in the Church

I've been blogging on my Christians on Campus series these days, so I just decided to revisit my experiences with Mrs. L. For those who want to read the previous posts on this series, click here for Conversations with Mrs. L

Letter

Recently, I've been wanting to write Mrs. L a letter. The last time I tried to visit her in July she was resting, recovering from a surgery, so I didn't get to see her or talk to her at all. Well, since she needed a lot of rest, I thought maybe I could just write her a letter so that she'd be able to read it at her convenience. But I never get to write anything yet.

I really want to thank her for all her words of grace, of life, that she had infused into my being. In particular, I was always impressed with her answer to the question I had concerning the role of a woman in the church. I know, I know, you may think it's an old-fashioned concept. "I'm young and capable, so why be limited with this thought of how to function as a woman, a sister, in the church?" many thought. Honestly, I believe the best way to address this matter is just to confess that, by the Lord's mercy, my heart inclines toward the Word of God. In the Book of Genesis, God created man and woman; and in the church, God has a certain ordination as well. I don't know about you but in my experience, whenever I stay within God's ordination, deep within me, I truly enjoy the sense of "life and peace". I'm not here campaigning for a certain ideology or doing anything of that sort. 

To be honest, I was a little hesitant to ask her this question because I thought surely she'd say, as sisters, our primary function is to pray. We have plenty of examples of women praying in the New Testament. FYI, I specifically mentioned sisters to Mrs. L because of the fact that as believers, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, possessing the same divine life within us, having the same Father, belonging to God's own family. I didn't intend to ask her an obvious question, but one time I was talking to her son-in-law. He said, "Just ask questions, even those that you think you already knew the answers to." So based on that, I asked the question, "Mrs. L, what is our primary role as sisters in the church?" 

Like always, Mrs. L answered in a warm yet steady tone, "We need to let the brothers take the lead, Katherine." At first, I was simply amazed with how Mrs. L put this matter of the sisters submitting to the brothers' leadership as our primary position in the church, but what is this thing about letting the brothers to take the lead? 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Divine Accounting

My sister, Po, is studying accounting in one of the top business schools in the U.S. She's super busy but I appreciate her endeavor to make time for the Lord and the church life. That's an important prelude to my story. So here we go.

divine accounting

Long story short, about two years ago, I was given the responsibility to own a house (I know it sounds strange, I should be happy getting a house for "free"). Yet with that ownership, there would be taxes and other liabilities. In my head, a balance sheet kept appearing. That's right, every asset is always followed by some kind of liabilities. Well, let's see. Fixed assets are tied to depreciation. Current assets can incur operating expenses, e.g., inventory generates the cost of holding goods in stock. Liquid cash is vulnerable to inflation rate, while accounts receivable are problematic in themselves if they're never met with actual payments. It wasn't that difficult to come up with a realization that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Only Christ is pure gain. It's a fact because my experiences of Christ have confirmed this again and again. Christ does not depreciate, on the contrary, the more I know Him in a deeper way, His value exponentially appreciates. 

Also, if you have any background in economics (Po studied that too), there's this measure of relative satisfaction received by a consumer after consuming a good or service, called utility. A good or service can cause a consumer's utility to increase but usually at a certain point the law of diminishing return kicks in. Okay, for those who don't know what I'm talking about, basically it's like this: when you eat your first glazed doughnut, it literally melts in your mouth; your second one tastes pretty good as well. But then your third is somehow a little bit hard to swallow, and by the time you get to the fourth one, you start feeling sick. So that's when the diminishing return begins because from then on the more you consume, the less happy you'll become. How disappointing - that's the first thing that comes to my mind. But it is not so with the enjoyment of God. By default, I'm always looking for something to make me happy, something to do to entertain me. Yet one day, I had an injury that didn't allow me to physically move much so I decided to sing hymns. I picked up a hymn book and started singing hymns with my whole heart day in and day out for several months. The enjoyment never grow old! Everyone, Christ is the real, pure enjoyment! Guess what, the taste of this enjoyment of Christ does not diminish; on the contrary, the more we enjoy Him, the deeper, richer, sweeter, fuller He becomes to us! It's pretty awesome!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Christians on Campus - I Needed a Home

Like always, please check out my previous post (Christians on Campus: Needing Older Christians) for context, everyone! This post is part of a series, entitled "Christians on Campus".

So Grace took me to this couple's house for a dinner one evening. Honestly, I can't remember when exactly we went to their house, but I think it was early in the Fall semester. It was just the four of us: the couple (Don and Judy), Grace, and I. We had a delicious home-cooked meal and chatted about many topics.

Don was interested in the geography of my home country. He was an extremely resourceful man, both in knowledge and spirituality. Judy was a very pleasant, warm lady. The whole atmosphere in that home was casual, loving, and comfortable. I couldn't help but falling in love with being in their home, being in their midst. My cheeks were sore that night because I couldn't stop smiling all evening.

Oh, I forgot to tell you that Don was the older man who gave practical Biblical lessons in the Christians on Campus Saturday night gatherings. Yes, what an awesome divine arrangement! So happy, so thankful, so restful when I found out that their home was open to receive a young freshman like me. At another dinner with them, Judy gave me a pair of winter gloves. I grew up in a tropical island so they were helping me with some tips on how to properly dress for the windy Texas winter. The gloves were too big for my hands (I lost one of the them that winter), but my heart was deeply touched receiving that token of love and care from them.
winter gloves
All my fond memories of this couple reminded me once more of how the Lord Himself had nurtured me in such a loving and intimate way, through this couple, through Grace. The Lord knew exactly what a young person like me needed. What I needed was that home- the best environment for me to grow in a normal way, both humanly and spiritually.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lord Jesus, I love You.

I'm not well at all today. My head and stomach feel so tensed up. I think I have the symptoms of stressing out. Time to take a vacation! Just kidding. But then I remember from my reading on this series called the Life-Study of Exodus (it's an exposition of the Book of Exodus in the Bible), that God desires to be one with His people and the only way for us to be one with Him and to be one with His Word is to love Him.

So I'm praying now, "Lord Jesus, I rest from all my struggles and strife. I just love You, cause me to love You even more today." As I utter these words, He's infusing Himself into me. I know He is because layer after layer of all my burdens are being lifted up and within me I can sense I'm being filled, comforted... peaceful, alive, and real.

What a blessing to be able to converse with Him, to be able to touch Him, contain Him, to be one with Him. He is not a far-away God. He's right inside, so available and so experience-able.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Another selah!

Dear readers,

I apologize for the delay of the next post. I just had the busiest week of the year this past week, so please bear with me. But I do have a quote from Mrs. L's husband, "Progress depends upon the Lord's blessing." This quote encapsulates my week, helping out with a Christian club in a nearby university.

The first order of business of any Christian work is to pray; that I learned. Also, we must love one another in the Lord so that we can be the proper container for His abundant blessings. These blessings, of course, are not mere material blessings. The Lord's blessings include who He is, what He has done and is doing. Who He is and what He has done and is doing are very much related to our personal spiritual progress and the progress of our Christian labor.

That's all for now! Gotta get some rest and proceed onto the next week.


Ready to write,

Simply Katherine

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Christians on Campus - Needing Older Christians

I can't believe I've written ten posts on Christians on Campus series already. Thank you for all your support. Please enjoy reading and don't forget to read my previous post on Christians on Campus: Gatherings, Activities, and A Message as well.


The beginning of my first semester was not smooth. Although I had my own apartment, I felt like I was still a wanderer in a new city. I met tons of people, mainly Christians. It was great but something was missing. I didn't know how it all began. I met an upperclassman at UT, she was part of Christians on Campus. She was very friendly and accommodating, so I decided to get help from her, "Grace, I feel like I need an umbrella." 

I remember sitting down in a cafe with her, having this conversation. She was somewhat confused by my strange comment. She asked what I meant by an umbrella. I told her, "I don't know why but within me, I feel like I need someone older to cover, to help me. You know, like an umbrella." How should I say this better? Well, to be brief, I was young and insecure. I needed someone to tell me who I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do. Until today, I still don't know if Grace really got what I was trying to say but after that time, she truly became to me an entrance to the treasure house. I'm eternally grateful to her. She told me, "I want you to come with me next time, to have dinner at this older couple's house." I had no clue which couple, which part of the city she was going to take me, but I agreed to go with her.