Thank you for stopping by 🙂 This blog consists of my random thoughts on being a follower of Jesus, a member of the Body, a neighbour who is learning how to love, and a seeker of the city that is to come.
But whether you are a believer or not, please know I am just as human as a …regular human. I do have a more “formal” website about who I am and what I do 🙂
By God’s grace, Christ captured my heart when I was 6 (still remember vividly the experience that was so human yet divine). By His grace, He has kept me despite I was wandering away from Him.
::: A more lengthy and annoying anecdote :::
Christians sometimes are curious about the background or specific beliefs of one another. I too have been asked some interesting questions. One of the most common (in the West) is perhaps if I am “reformed”? Preston Sprinkle, someone whom I admire deeply, has written an answer that I find myself resonating with so much. If only I had his gift of communicating 🙂
If knowing where I stand on some secondary issues does help you stay interested 🙂 — well, I am a nerdy, not-so-charismatic continuatist who does not speak in tongue but is earnestly desiring the gifts of the Spirit especially the ability to prophesy (hey I am just following Paul’s commands in 1 Corinthians), an amillennialist who grew up in a “rapture-ready” environment fearing that I had been left behind, a catholic reformed but still reforming and baptized anabaptistish believer who comes from Hong Kong, a part of China where lots of people have absolutely no clue what these terms mean but still love their Lord and neighbour to death while meeting in underground churches under threat of persecution everyday.
I mean…you may not find it funny but you get the point. We tend to define ourselves with a term or a leader rather Christ. We want to fit Christ into a label, want to force others to condense their faith in an -ism, and want to stick with our own tribe. I think James Emery White pinpoints this problem pretty well.
We all worship the same Christ. Christ is all and in all. I have been a part of Alliance church, Baptist church, Presbyterian church, Anglican church, house church, and non-denominational churches (not because I went church-hopping; I was moving a lot). Have starved in some, have been deeply wounded in some, and have grown tremendously in some (actually, in all the experiences — whether “good” or “bad” — Christ has helped me grown), but Christ is still the same Christ.
We give labels more weight than they deserve. We end up letting them play us. The “Anglican” church that I am a part of now is more “non-denominational” than many other non-denominational churches; the “non-denominational” churches that I have visited, on the other hand, can turn out to be more obsessed with idolizing certain leaders or doctrines.
I am not dismissing at all the value of having our own convictions regarding various doctrinal issues, but we often submit ourselves to our own ideology rather than to the cosmic lordship of Christ. Wayne Jacobson says it best,
“Church life grows out of a group of people who are focused on Jesus. Focus on the church, and you will always be disappointed. Focus on Jesus and you will find him building the church all around you.”
I believe God speaks through creation, the Scripture, His people, and via common grace.
I hold a similar view as John Stott does regarding hell — but mentioning it out loud may turn many Christians off.
I am learning to love as the loved, cultivating littleness, and longing for the full kingdom to come.
I believe kindness, gentleness, and humility are so underrated among Christians. I am of those weirdos who enjoy using Twitter to converse and learn from others, but I am not fond of those who indulge in misrepresenting others, mishearing others, and stirring up quarrels… it is a Christian basic to seek peace and unity. Paul deliberately said with everything we do and speak, we should aim to build up one another. When we accuse others of not knowing Jesus, we are also forsaking Jesus who is the embodiment of grace and oneness.
Yes, know God, and make Him known. Be known by God. But wanting to be like Him and know all things like Him is an idolization of the self. Paul again and again reminds us that,
Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor? (Romans 11:34)
Ben Witherington III says, “We should know enough to know—that they (the human writers of the Scripture under the inspiration of God) don’t know enough to produce a comprehensive system called ‘the knowledge of God’.” This humbling fact applies to all of us.
“The great cloud of witnesses” that has influenced me the most — speaking of those who are with the Lord now — consists of A.W. Tozer, Andrew Murray, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Watchman Nee, John Stott, Eugene Peterson, and of course the many unnamed Christians who have died for their faith.
I also enjoy teaching from Tim Keller, Tim Chester, Sam Storms, Frank Viola, Leonard Sweet, Scott Sauls, Ray Ortlund, Tim Mackie, Preston Sprinkles, Andrew Gardener, Craig S. Keener, Ben Witherington III, John Piper, David Guzik, Scot McKnight, and N.T. Wright… There are of course many unknown and unnamed “lay” brothers and sisters who have blessed me along the way.
Many of these people disagree with one another on a variety of topics — which is great, because we need each other’s portion of Christ. What is not great is when we find ourselves dismissing one another as a whole just because we don’t find ourselves echoing with what they stand on certain issues. I think we are all tempted to do so in a way, so there are several habits that I have developed over the years that help me remain sane:
Sometimes, when I become a bit bothered by someone running a little over in promoting their own doctrinal convictions to a point where people are hurt, and that I just want to completely brush him off, I deliberately make myself go back to reflect on how the Lord has graciously used this person to teach and shape me, and also to reconsider especially the outstanding work that he has contributed to the Church that is to be cherished and passed on.
On the other hand, if I ever find myself becoming too certain of a view that I may end up losing myself in pride or idolization of certain leaders, I push myself to read and listen to those who have a different perspective than that I tend to lean on more, for as 1 Corinthians 8:2 says,
“Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much.”
I am always struck that towards the end of his life, Francis Schaeffer spoke more and more against his previous Calvinistic determinism and today, L’Abri is considered by some a complete opposite of this set of belief. My point is not to argue which belief is right or wrong — but it seems there is a certain danger in putting too much trust in human certainty instead of His supremacy.
“Concepts create idols; only wonder comprehends anything. People kill one another over idols. Wonder makes us fall to our knees.” –
My favorite five Christian books are:
Some of my favorite quotes:
- Too many behave as if they believed not in the priesthood of all believers but in the papacy of all pastor. – John Stott
- It’s hard to throw stones if you’re busy washing feet. – Luke Lezon
- That’s the whole spiritual life. It’s learning how to die. – Eugene Peterson
- Learning Christ is discipleship; learning about Christ is scholarship. – Leonard Sweet
- Deliberately reject every source of strength but Christ. – Raymond Ortlund
- Human history is a shipwreck awaiting rescue: but the port of salvation is not the goal; it’s to resume the journey toward union with God. – Hank Hanegraaff
- Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh when we learn where the outcast weeps. – Brennan Manning
- We don’t become more spiritual by becoming less human. – Eugene Peterson
- I am too conservative for liberals and too liberal for conservatives. – Scott Sauls
- Grace is not opposed to effort. It is opposed to earning. – Dallas Willard
- The older I get, the more I meet people, the more convinced I am that we must only work on ourselves, to grow in grace. The only thing we can do about people is to love them. – Dorothy Day
- Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all. – Andrew Murray
- The most effective way to critique something is to create something more attractive. – Tullian Tchividjian
Thank you for your patience 🙂