Google Simply Katherine, a Christian on campus: October 2011

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.