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Archive for December, 2010

To Save a Life is a beautiful, heart-touching movie about the reality of high-school life. Jocks, cheerleaders, fashion, dating, sex, clubs, parties, depression, drugs… you name it, they have it. The story is about a basketball jock who misses a chance to lead his ex-best friend to Christ, and wonders… what would he do if he got a second chance.

Packed with emotion, suspense, and all the elements of an awesome movie, To Save a Life is bound to change your life as it did many others. Be prepared to laugh, cry, and rejoice as you watch this special film.

Please click on the picture for more information.

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Hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians are running (not walking!) away from their faith each year. They leave for many different reasons, based on their experiences with God and other believers. What are these reasons, and what can we do to lead them back?

In Generation EX-Christian, Drew Dyck analyzes people who leave the faith and categorize them into 6 major groups: Recoilers, Drifters, Rebels, Neo-Pagans, Postmodernists, and Modernists. After familiarizing you with these groups, their characteristics, and possible reasons as to why they left, Drew also gives examples of what a typical person from their respective group looks like. He then gives you practical advice on how to bring them back to the light.

I personally know some people who have left the faith, and found this book valuable in identifying possible reasons of why they left. Knowing these facts helps me pull together a version of the Gospel tailored just for them. It also helps me know what to say and what not to say to them in conversations.

Overall, Generation EX-Christian is an easy to read book, with little ambiguity except for some big words I had to look up. It is an excellent resource for ministry and youth group leaders, church members, parents, friends, pastors, and just about anyone who wants to help bring God’s lost sheep back to their Shepherd.

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David has written several Psalms that praise God and His Creation, and what strikes me about these verses is that David lived in a time where electric lights did not exist. Candles and lamps were the only source of light at night. But even with the whole town lit up with flaming candles and lamps, the stars in the night sky will still be visible.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?”  – Psalm 8:3-4

On a recent camping trip with my church, we had the opportunity to go out at night to an open field to gaze upon the dark blue sky, with the bright twinkling starts scattered all over the endless sheet of night. I lay there on the rocks in awe of the heavens. I could see the Big Dipper, Venus, and the spray of white that was the Milky Way. And what made me silent was the number of stars hanging there.

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” – Psalm 147:4

Only God could know so many names. I could hardly take in everything I was seeing. I felt like I could just lie there and stare at the sky the whole night. It was just so beautiful! It was that night that I really came to understand David’s fascination of the heavens and the night sky. How awesome and powerful God must be to be the Creator of all these gorgeous wonders in the world. Only a Perfect Designer could have set everything in place with such ideal planning.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” – Psalm 19:1-4

I would strongly encourage everyone to plan a camping trip to an open field; a desert or meadow or anywhere where you can gain a clear view of the sky. What with today’s technology, electric lights are all over the place. It is difficult to see even a few stars in the sky. But once you get a good view of the sky, it is an ineffable experience. The expanse of the heavens is so marvelous, you can only know that the Lord of all Creation had set everything where it is, and knows every single star by its name.

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Have you ever had those times where you try so hard to fit in, but with no success? You tried everything you could, been all you could be, acted all you can act, said all you can say, but you just can’t fit in with that particular group you so want to be with.

I certainly have. Seriously, I did all I could to fit in, but I just could not succeed. But pretty soon I asked myself: WHY do I want to fit in? Should I fit in? What does fitting in look and feel like anyway? Is it ever even really achieved?

Recently I began to think about my identity in Christ. As a Christian, I should care only about God’s opinion. People can give me feedback and stuff, but ultimately only what God thinks and says counts and has any lasting impact.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

– Romans 12:2

We try to change so that the World can accept us. We spend so much time, energy, and effort to do so. And yet no success.

God has the solution. Why not channel the same effort to try to change towards HIS image, to what he wants us to become? We will feel at peace, I mean, only God’s perspective counts, right? And you can’t get more real than being a genuine follower of Christ. You should be so much absorbed into Christ that if people reject you for who you are, they are rejecting God for who He is. Don’t follow the pattern of this world. Be conformed to the pattern of God. Follow His ways, walk in His truths, see things from His perspective. You will feel no greater joy than to enjoy oneness with God… every day of your life.

We are called to stand out, not fit in. People will question why we choose not to be like the world, and there lies an opportunity to share Christ.

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.'”

– Mark 8:34-38

I choose to be like Christ. I choose His perspective. I choose to reflect the image of God.

What about you?

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Christmas is coming, and with this joyful season comes joyful caroling. It is a time when old hymns are sung probably more frequently than other seasons and months. But what makes these songs so popular? How did they come about? Not many know the history behind traditional hymns such as “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, “Silent Night”, and “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee”, but thanks to Then Sings My Soul, a collection of 150 beloved hymns and their histories, you can!

When I first ordered my copy of Then Sings My Soul, I was expecting a small, compact gift book. Imagine my surprise when a rather large package appeared in my mailbox. Upon opening the package, I found that the book has each song with its sheet music on one page, and the song’s story on the next. Therefore the book had to be quite large in order to accommodate the 150 songs. Believe me, the more of this book you read, the more you will wish for it to be longer. x)

I found this book really inspirational. I knew there was some sort of significance behind these hymns, but there were some stories I’d never even heard about. Some are sad, some are happy, but each made me want to praise the Lord for what He has done. Without His work in the lives of these songwriters, we would not have the hymns we sing today. And without His revealing of His Word to the writers, they would not have the powerful lyrics that compel us to bend in adoration to our Creator and Savior even to this day. The best way to praise the Lord is to sing His Word back to Him, and many of the songs do just that.

Learn more about these songs by ordering a copy of Then Sings My Soul today! It also makes a great gift for your worship leader or choir members… and just about anyone who appreciates music and its history. =)

Please click on the image to order the book from Amazon.com

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Names hold a lot of power in our lives. I’m sure you’ve seen people with names that for some reason match their personalities. These are pretty obvious, like Sophia (wisdom), Charity (love), and Joyce (joy). Others may not be so easy to identify, but nevertheless, our names hold a certain degree of power over our lives. Why do you think so many people look and look for the right name for their baby? =D

What does your name mean? There are several ways to look up one’s name, the most common being to Google it. Sometimes you can grab hold of a name book and look up your name there. If you want to know the Christian meaning of your name, you can find a Christian name book. These are pretty accurate because many olden names were derived from religious philosophies.

My name, for example, literally means “narrow strait / narrow body of water”. Its spiritual meaning is “integrity”. This is pretty strange because most of the time, I can’t stand evil. And no matter what goes on in my life, I strangely keep my morals no matter how far I wander away from God. I’m always striving to be a man of integrity, and purity is one of the topics I talk about the most. Coincidence? I think not!

Look in the Bible, and you’ll see instances where a person’s name reveals some part of their character. For example, “Adam” means “man”. “Jesus” and “Joshua” means “Salvation” or “the Lord saves”. “Samuel” means “God heard”. As you can see, the names of these Biblical figures had a strong effect on their lives. Even today, peoples’ names control their lives to some extent.

As you learn about the definition of your name and strive to live up to it, you can be sure that pretty soon you will come to understand the effect it has on your life.

Happy name hunting! =)

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Oki stared at the pieces in silence. The truth slowly seeped into her mind, and nothing but the sudden realization occupied her thoughts. She did not hear Zebu yelling for her to go away, and his efforts to remove her from the scene were in vain.

Finally, she turned around. Tears ran in streams down her face. In an agonized voice she cried, “You! It was you! Why? Why? Why would you do this? You—“

“Oki— I— listen—” tried to cut in.

“No! YOU listen to ME. Why did you do this? You promised at our wedding that you will stop your old lifestyle. You took an oath, an OATH! It was a covenant, and covenants are not to be broken! Why? These are my friends, my sisters! Have you no respect for females at all? You say that you love me, but you go off and consume my friends as mere prey! Why, tell me why?”

Oki broke down and began to sob like a newborn piranha once more. She mourned the death of her friends, the lost of her sisters, and the breaking of her husband’s promise. Everything as she knew it was gone. Everything had fallen apart.

It was a long time before their relationship healed.

THE END

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