Campus Alive

December 24, 2007

Message For Christmas

Filed under: Message — campusalive @ 8:40 pm

It’s Christmas season. Even google is celebrating it with new interface. The forum that I am managing is in Christmas mood too with all the Christmas avatars and signatures. My apologies for lack of Christmas spirit here in this blog. XD

Just want to share the following.

I love questions. So I’ll ask questions.

Q: How are we supposed to celebrate Christmas?

Is Christmas all about decorating a fake tree, putting gifts (or boxes) under the tree, hanging socks around the house, cleaning up the chimney for santa to get in, or eating together as a family?

Or what about exchanging gifts? What gifts do we hope for? What gifts do we give away? For me, I never really received anything (as far as I can recall right now) and I never need one too. This year, I did receive an early gift from a friend of mine. So oh well, counted as blessing already.

To answer that question, why not we look at the celebration of the first ever Christmas, the day Christ was born?

According to the Bible, there are three wise men (Magi) who came all the way from Jerusalem. They stopped at King Herod’s place and asked him,

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2 NIV).

If you have not the slightest idea of how the Magi know about the star, you can trace back the bible to Old Testament book of Daniel and Micah:

“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.

“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” (Daniel 9:24-27 NIV)

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”(Micah 5:2 NIV)

If you were King Heord, what would you do? How would you feel even? Well, needless to say, King Heord felt threatened. He felt as if this new born kind would become his competitor and tried to eliminate Him.

Ok, say you were not King Herod who felt threatened by Christ. Say you were the Israelites who showed apathy towards God. We all know how the Israelites denied Christ and led their own Jewish way instead of admitting that Jesus was their Messiah. Why would these so-called people ignore their long-waited messiah? One theory explains that they responded with apathy because they had chosen to think that Jesus could no longer do anything for them. Therefore, by doing so, they had turned from seeing Jesus as their Messiah to seeing Him as their supplier.

To link it back to present day, how many of us here have this temptation in our heart that says, “I am the king of my life. I don’t need another kind to rule over me”?

Let’s narrow your life to this past one week. Who had been the king of your life for the past one week?

Have we trust Him enough? Why is it that even when we see Him as our God, we still let sin control our life? Why do we give the steering of our life to God only to find ourselves wrestle with Him to drive the path along our life?

Do we also merely see God as our supplier? Do we kick Him off our lives when we think that He cannot deliver us from any trouble?

Or

Do you have the COMPELLING desire to worship Him?

The Magi were happy to see baby Jesus, they bowed down and worshiped Him as their king.

“Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh” (Matthew 2:11 NIV)

The treasure-giving of the Magi marks a true believer’s heart because they did not hold anything back from God.

After meeting Jesus, the Magi returned back to their country using another route after they were warned in a dream to not go back to Herod, as stated in Matthew 2:11,

“And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
” (Matthew 2:11 NIV)

One more question, did the Magi give their treasures to Jesus in order to love Him or did they give their treasures to God because they loved Him?

In life, love will almost definitely make you desire to give things away, but giving things away doesn’t necessarily means you love someone.

The Magi went back to their country as changed men after meeting with the king. They did not go back the same before they met with Jesus Christ.

What about you?
How will you view Christmas this year? Will you come and remember Jesus and then return to your old person or will you let Christmas be a turning point your life and live a different, changed, godly life after experiencing and knowing Jesus’s birth?

How will you see Jesus now?
As a competitor? Or as a supplier? Or as a king?

What about the best gifts we can offer to God for Christmas?
What about the gift of ourselves?


(Most of the post content are taken from the sermon “All This For A King” from Ps. Joshua Kang in Lakeview Church Northbrook on December 23, 2007 with further verses reference by me)

December 20, 2007

Chain Email: Do You Believe In It?

Filed under: Question,Sharing — campusalive @ 4:20 pm
Technology is inevitable. You will all agree with me.

Emails and sms become a big part of our daily life. I can testify to that ( having just checked all 4 email accounts for about the 16th time with Gmail topping the list with 10 times). One thing that caught my interest just right now is the issue of forwarded emails.

Forwarded emails get especially annoying when it is stupid. For example, I had been cursed to have bad luck for 8 years, asked to forward the email to all the people in my contact list or suffer from something, and so on. I think back then, before I moved to Gmail, I had more forwarded message than I have right now. Also for those forwarded emails that ask you to send it back to the sender, does it even matter? If I send XYZ back to John Doe, John Doe will have to send it back to me again. And then, I’ll have to send it back to John again. When will it end?

I got sidetracked a bit there. >.< Well, let's go back to technology issue for now.

With technology, even Christianity advances. Nowadays, we see sms-chain link asking people to pray for item A, item B and so on. Not only that, we constantly receive encouraging forwarded emails containing inspiring stories (sometimes not-so inspiring) and other times, we are asked to forward email A, email B to everyone in our lists to help fund some insane operations.

Question: How much is it is true? How much of the forwarded email thing is true? Does Gmail pay 5cents for every forwarded email? Does AT&T care for a single mother in Malawi who needs money for her son’s operation? How would you respond to those emails? How would you respond to those sms-es?

Do you pray for those prayer request sent through emails and sms? How much do you believe that those requests are actually true? More importantly, does it matter if they are false? What about forwarding emails to help Jane Doe with her operation? Do you actually do it? Do you believe in what you did or did you do it for fun?

I’m curious to know the people’s respond on this topic. Share with me your thoughts.

December 19, 2007

Speeches and Variations

Filed under: Message — campusalive @ 11:29 am
I think a lot and I listen a lot. I always see how people use their arms and body when they talk. I observe the movement of their eyes when they talk. I listen to the tones of the voice. Most importantly, I catch their favorite quotes/words easily.

This is something I found from my unusual habit of observing how people talk (and the words that they use).

Type 1
People who talk using abusing language all the time and are not ashamed to use it. In these people’s speeches and talks, you will find a lot of f***, s***, and other forms of direct rough languages that normal people do not (normally) use.

Type 2
People who use variations to offensive languages. These people do not use “what the f***”. Instead, you might hear them saying something like, “What the F”. Or you might here this type of people using the word “B-S” when they are angry. Sometimes, they might say, “OMG” in replacement of “Oh My God” and other variations.

Question:
What is the difference between type 1 and type 2?

Answer:
There really is no difference.

In church, we might often hear the pastor saying, “Surrender your fear to God. Surrender your worries to God. Surrender your studies to God. ….” Even sometimes, without realizing it, we ourselves chant in our heart, “Lord, I surrender it to you.” There is even a hymn called, “I Surrender All”.

Taking back my observation to the context of discussion, what does it mean when we sing “I Surrender All” ? Does it mean I surrender my speech to God (by not using abusive language and do not defame His name) but I keep a portion of my thinking to myself (by still thinking about those offensive words in our mind)? Are we trying to justify our own variations of offensive language by using contractions to the words or by using a single substitution word to replace that offensive word? What use does it give us if we thinking of abusive language but try to cover it using some variations and modifications that can easily be uncovered? What benefit does it bring to us if we keep using very polite variations but we still think of those words in our head?

The next time you type “wtf” in your msn messenger, maybe you should think, “Am I surrendering my thoughts to God or am I trying to justify myself in front of God?”

The next time you say B-S to replace you-know-what, maybe you might want to consider not using it at all or just spit up the real words. There really isn’t any different.

We are not perfect; we make mistakes all the time. We wrestle with God more often than we think we do. One thing we can control though, is our speech and our thoughts. No one forces you to spit up abusive words. No one will force you to think of those words except for yourself. You might say, “I’m sorry but I’m so used to it.” That’s not true. Old habits die hard, but they can die if you are determined to stop them from invading your everyday speech.

I leave you with a scripture from Matthew 15:11

“What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’ “

December 6, 2007

Verse of the Day

Filed under: Bible Passage — campusalive @ 1:02 pm

I faced tough times in classes sometimes when people touch on bible passages. Critical discussion is crucial, but critical discussion that is biased is not fine. However, I never found enough courage to stand up for the gospel. No more. It’s time to stand up for the truth.

Are you ashamed of the gospel today? Do you feel weird or even shy to tell people that you are a Christian? I hope that today, this verse will talk to you in a special way. God bless.

In His service,
Leen

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