christian life

Oct

01

2011

Are You Ready to Listen?

Sunday morning is coming soon. Are you ready to hear the word of God? Listen to Spurgeon about the importance of preparing to listen to God's word:

We are told men ought not to preach without preparation. Granted. But we add, men ought not to hear without preparation. Which, do you think needs the most preparation, the sower or the ground? I would have the sower come with clean hands, but I would have the ground well-plowed and harrowed, well-turned over, and the clods broken before the seed comes in. It seems to me that there is more preparation needed by the ground than by the sower, more by the hearer than by the preacher.

Cited in Ken Ramey, Expository Listening, (Woodlands, Texas: Kress Biblical Resources, 2010), 34.

 

Sep

05

2011

Faith Is Greater than Reason

I found an insightful comment from a puritan prayer I read this morning, entitled "Belonging to Jesus":

I thank thee for showing me the vast difference
    between knowing things by reason,
    and knowing them by the spirit of faith.

By reason I see a thing is so;
    by faith I know it as it is.

I have seen thee by reason and have not been amazed,

I have seen thee as thou art in thy Son and have been ravished to behold thee.

Indeed. I desire to know God not simply by reason as a list of facts which do not affect my heart and do not lead to amazement and worship, but rather to see him through the eye of faith to know him truly as he is. I desire to know God more and not simply know more about him. I so desire also to have God's blessing upon my ministry such that the Spirit of God might effect this in the hearts of others as well.

Sep

01

2011

Children are like upset little gods

I wrote most of this down in my journal on Aug. 16. Don't remember now what my kids did that morning, but it brought about the following reflections:

While I do believe in a kind of varying "age of accountability" before which all children will go to heaven, it is not because of their sinlessness before that age. Anyone still holding on to the conception that all humans are basically good should spend some good time with children. 

Children are like upset little gods. They always want to be in control of whatever they're doing. Yet they're not in control, and so they're often upset. The one thing that every parent who has been embarrassed before in public (i.e. in the supermarket) that the one thing you "don't do" to make these little gods angry is say "no" to them. Try not giving them what they want, or taking away what they want, and they throw a fit: "Oh no you did not just say no to me!!"

[...]

Continue post +

Aug

10

2011

Only One Life

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last." This oft-quoted line so succinctly puts into focus what really matters in life, and well summarizes how I want to live my life. However, it sadly is always quoted without any references. I think I heard first from John Piper in his book Don't Waste Your Life. Well, I finally and happily found a reference today! 

It was apparently written by C. T. Studd, a missionary to China, India and Africa (source). Here is the full text I found:

[...]

Continue post +

Jul

20

2011

Running Ahead with Patience

Running ahead is not usually  associated with patience, neither do these seem to fit well together. We might think to connect running with endurance, but not patience. We want to be like the hare racing ahead, yet also must be like the tortoise patiently trodding along. There is a strange tension as a Christian, and I feel it more intensely in the ministry, of a need to be running ahead, and yet doing so with patience.

We want to see the gospel advance, we want to see people grow, we want to see conversions happen and people saved, we want to see progress and moving forward; we want to see explosive things happen. We are to not look back, but to press on running forward (Phil 3:13).

Yet, we are told to be preach the word "with complete patience" (2Ti 4:2), that we are to sow seeds, that growth is like a plant that grows and bears fruit--not exactly something that happens overnight. Even though we are to press on running forward, we have not yet arrived (Phil 3:12)! Rather, we are told that this change happens gradually and slowly, "from one degree of glory to another" (2Co 3:18).

This tension helps me. We pursue excellence, yet recognize perfection does not come this side of glory. In all of our pursuit forward, we do so with patience. 

Jul

08

2011

Evelyn Claire Hauck (郝詠真)

My wife Sanny and I were expecting a daughter to be born on Thursday, June 30, 2011, yet instead on that day we found instead that something had gone wrong, and our daughter had no more heartbeat. Our hearts broke. That Thursday evening they began to induce labor, though it wasn't until Saturday that labor actually begun, and was finished in three (intense) hours. Sanny and I buried her a week later on July 7th, and we just had a memorial service for her today, July 9th, 2011. 

I write in order to inform those who have not yet heard, as well as to share some reflections on this in hindsight now that this chapter of our lives is wrapped up and we move on forward. 

Our hope is in the Lord

This is surely the first thing to say. The Lord truly comforted and strengthened us throughout this time, due in great part to the love and prayer of our church and family. The Lord carried us through. Our hope is in him none the less. When the grief comes in waves threatening to carry us away, we are tethered back down by God's goodness toward us in Christ and his kind reign over all things.

We trust in the Lord Jesus with our lives. We trust in him with our children. As we remember the love of God toward us, even sending his beloved Son to ransom us by his own blood, to pay the debt of our sin, withholding absolutely nothing needed to save us wholly by grace and make us wholly his forever--we are convinced of his love to us, and we are thus enduring this trial. We know his love for us not by our lives being smooth now, but by his securing our eternal redemption, safety, joy through the blood of the cross. 

We know she is with the Lord. We know that we will see her on the last day, in the resurrection. We know that the same Lord who redeemed her is also our Redeemer. Our hope is in the Lord.

We love her

If there is anything more to say, it is that we love her so much. We are thankful that we got to see her and hold her after she was born. She was beautiful. We cherish those moments. She is dear to us in our hearts. The memory of her is not bitter, or something to try to forget to ease our pain. We hope that we can always remember her. It was our great privilege to honor her and love her with a proper burial and a memorial service.

Yet we also feel the painful futility that the world we live in has been subjected to on account of our sin. In this we eagerly long all the more for the redemption of our bodies on that final day when the Lord Jesus returns and we are rescued from sin and all its horrible effects.  The concept of "kingdom" has been precious. We long for that perfect kingdom that Jesus will establish: the world as it ought to be, as God intended.

Evelyn Claire Hauck (郝詠真)

Her English name is Evelyn Claire Hauck. Originally, before we knew the gender, we thought of the name Evan, which comes from the Greek word meaning "the gospel". When we found out it was a girl, we chose Evelyn since it sounds similar to Evan. Her middle name Claire is my grandma's middle name. We had hoped she would know and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, and live as a testimony to it.

Her Chinese name is 郝詠真 ("hao3 yong3 zhen1"). The first character my last name. The second character means to sing / praise. The third word means truth. We had hoped she would treasure and praise the truth of God. Indeed, she now is praising and loving the truth of who God is in a much more and fuller sense than we are!

We look forward to joining her in singing the mercy of God's kindness toward us in Christ for all the ages to come (Eph. 2:7).

In closing?

It has been hard to find any fitting words in closing. The most difficult part is saying goodbye and moving on, and yet we must move on in faith. We move on not to forget, but to cherish. God has brought a peaceful sense of closure to in own hearts due to the hope we have for her and for ourselves in Christ.

We love her so much. We miss her. We hope in the Lord Jesus. We rejoice in the Lord with her, and we eagerly look forward to the resurrection.

Apr

19

2011

Depression Is a Sign of Love for Life

Depression is a sign that love for life still exists, albeit not the greatest sign. It is frustrated with the present unhappy state of things and wishes for life as it ought to be. Indeed, things are not as they ought to be. Any sustained meditation on the extent of this fact is quite able to sink the highest spirits. The depressed soul still has the capacity to long for life as it ought to be.

[...]

Continue post +

Mar

15

2011

Battling Depression, by Dan Phillips

"Battling Depression", by Dan Phillips

Great post. Depression is just as much a sin to be fought against as lust. He nails it right on the mark with point #7:

Here's a hard one: have you realized and "owned" how much laziness there is in the unbelief that fuels depression, how much pride and stubbornness too? Remember: everything we do, we do because we think (perversely, sometimes) that it will make us happy. Have you come to take pleasure in being seen as a noble sufferer, a tragic victim — has that become an important element of your self-image?

Mar

15

2011

The Bruising of Reeds

Richard Sibbes, The Bruised Reed:

After conversion we need bruising so that reeds may know themselves to be reeds, and not oaks. . . . Such bruising may help weaker Christians not to be too much discouraged, when they see stronger ones shaken and bruised.
...
Ungodly spirits, ignorant of God's ways in bringing his children to heaven, censure brokenhearted Christians as miserable persons, whereas God is doing a gracious, good work with them. It is no easy matter to bring a man from nature to grace, and from grace to glory, so unyielding and intractable are our hearts.

[...]

Continue post +

Feb

14

2011

Living by Principle, Not Practice

Yesterday I attended a conference here in Taipei by Stephen Tong (唐崇榮). Many people in our church had become quite a fan of him, and so I thought I'd take this chance to hear him speak. The topic was "The Key to Victory over Premarital Love/Sex" (婚前愛與性之得勝秘訣). I was greatly encouraged to see him address this important topic, and to see the huge auditorium of people  filled with people desiring to hear about this topic. 

But towards the end of the third session (the only one I attended), he began an aside on the question of masturbation (自慰), and his answer to this question was basically that it is not always wrong. I was shocked! I disagree strongly with his answer. Yet, his reasoning alarmed me even more.

[...]

Continue post +

Older »

Matt Hauck (郝柏昇)

A once enemy now son, forgiven and freed by Jesus' blood, adopted and called by grace for glory.   (more...)