When Will My Life Begin?

I have crafted my life long ago to be oriented towards missions. I don’t know why, though I’m impressed that my dull brain back then has led to the fruition of today, though different than how I set out for it to be. My initial plan was to become an awesome web developer/graphic designer. I would make websites and be a developer creating stuff on Ruby, Rails, CSS/HTML and the whole works; Perhaps I would have got into developing apps… and I started to go that direction. If you looked at my Macbook today, you’d see tons of apps/programs for making websites and the sort. I would be able to find work and work from anywhere in the world, say, work for clients that were in the U.S. while I was overseas at home in my undies.

After I got back from Taiwan, the second time doing SBS, I could not find a job in that direction for many months. During that time I felt like only Rapunzel truly understood the melodrama meltdown of my life. A dear friend was kind enough to let me work with him putting up night time races for Firefly Run, now also known as The Lantern Run. It was a side job to get some income while I looked for other jobs. After a short run with them I found my dream position, doing graphic/web design for a small start up. My boss was Christian and we had similar perspectives and he basically paid me to learn on the job. As great as it was I remember times during my bathroom breaks that I found my job unfulfilling and wishing that I could move on from this job to something else. I saw my job as a means to an end and that end had something to do with the Kingdom of God.

About 5 months in those feelings were placed to rest because I got laid off due to financial reasons; the boss could no longer sustain us both and I was lost again. Once more I woke up to Mandy Moore’s beautiful voice and we sung of our longing for the next phase of life. I was a man without a mission, a warrior without a quest, again. For a few months I was lost taking a break and wondering where to go. I remembered my love for teaching that I got to try out for the first time in Taiwan during my mission trips and decided to take a leap of faith with it. I entered an alternative certification program called, Region 10. I jumped through all the hoops of classes and tests and then student taught 6th graders in Wylie ISD for a semester. After about a year from when I first started I now have my teacher certification for Generalist 4-8 with ESL Supplemental. It was transformative and changed who I am to say the least…

With that I recently secured a position to go to Taiwan to teach English and the Bible to High School students as two different subjects. It’s a Private Christian School that is prestigious in that it’s accredited by WASC(I even checked too.) while not many other schools truly are despite their faulty claims.

Some of my friends are married, with houses, making great investments, and financially set. Here I am starting my second full time job with barely any money, to go to another country where I will pay taxes to two governments at the age of 28. Slow in my maturation and slow in my procession. I am late to the game… I always have been but I’m okay with that. For years I have been repeating that same question, yet I have always felt like something very big was coming. And now that it’s finally here in the horizon, I don’t even understand what I’m looking at. I have an opportunity to impact high schoolers in profound ways. I will be a teacher by deed and model where I show and share the love of Christ, but at the same time I get to teach them of it through the Word of God…

For some of them I may literally be their first exposure to Christianity and Christ. That doesn’t make the circumstance anymore valuable than other Christian teaching environments, but it’s the idea that I’m setting the foundation of what they know that is hopefully built on by others in the future. I don’t think I understand the magnitude or weight of what I’m about to embark myself into… But the way my life has often unfolded and how it’s led to a job that is so niche yet so fitting for me (by resume), I think only leads me to look to the Lord. This whole time I was asking this question I was not stewarding well enough of what was before me, and still am not really. What a fool.

The answer to the question, ‘When will my life begin?’ was that it began long ago, it’s just that I was anticipating this portion for so long that I neglected what was before me when I should have been prepping for what is now here. Perhaps when I start teaching I’ll already be desiring the next…

Truth and Love

‘ ..while God loves an innocent, beautiful heart that loves Him completely, this reality does not negate the fact we should love him correctly.

Imagine if I were to go home at the end of the day to see my wife. What if I am just overtaken by her beauty, her gorgeousness, and I just kneel right on the floor before her and say, “Baby, I love you so much right now my heart hurts, I don’t just love you; I am in love with you. And I don’t know if it’s your black hair or your brown eyes or what– just the sight of you is wow.”

Some of you might be thinking, That’s so sweet!

But let me explain. Let me tell you why if I were to do that, it would go very badly for me. My wife has blonde hair and blue eyes. Even if my emotions were powerful and appropriate, my wife is going to have a problem with how I expressed them.

Love is not simply something that we feel. It encompasses our affections, yes. It gets expressed in emotional ways, yes. But the Bible tells us that real love “rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6). I assume from Ephesians 4:15 that it’s possible to speak the truth from a lack of love, and by extension, that it’s possible to express love from a place of ignorance and even falsehood. ‘

Matt Chandler, “To Live is Christ to Die is Gain”, pg 178

Home

In “A Baby’s Funeral,” F.W. Boreham tells a most tearful story. He writes of the day he and his wife were packing a picnic basket to head out to spend the day in a park by the river. He looked out of his kitchen window and saw a woman pacing the sidewalk outside of his home, looking very troubled and tentative with every step, suddenly turning toward his door with determination and then, just as suddenly turning away. After watching her for several minutes, he stepped outside and asked if he could help her.

“Are you the minister of the church nearby?” she asked. When he said he was, she asked if she could come in; she had a sad story to tell. He invited her to sit in a comfortable chair, and he sat opposite her, leaning forward to hear her story. Her baby had died suddenly, she said, and she had rarely gone to church. She wanted someone to help her bury the little one.

“I’d be honored to do it,” said Boreham. He asked for all the particulars– the name of the father, the date of the birth, and all the information that should be entered into the register. They set the time for the funeral– the next afternoon — and she said good-bye. As Boreham picnicked with his wife that morning, he told her that the woman had seemed terrible distracted the whole time she was at their house. He wondered if there could be more to the story. But then he let the thought go.

When he and his wife returned at sunset there was the young woman, standing outside the house. “I’ve not told you the truth,” she admitted. “I am not married. My baby was born out of wedlock and was terribly deformed.” Sobbing, she proceeded to tell the rest of the story.

“That’s all right,” he assured her. “None of that ought to affect the funeral tomorrow.”

The next afternoon it was just the three of them at the funeral– Boreham, his wife, and the woman. To make matters worse, there was a driving rainstorm, and to add desolation to tragedy, the cemetery was brand-new. This little deformed corpse was the first to be laid into that barren stretch of ground. There they all clutched an umbrella, just the three of them. Boreham said that in all of his years of ministry, he had seldom felt as alone as at that moment. He could only imagine the young mother’s ache and fear. As the years went by, however, that mother became one of the most faithful members of that church. Week after week she showed up.

“Why would this woman be so faithful in church attendance?” one might ask. Surely it was because it was there that her baby was received and treasured. In a sense it became her new home, through the death of a beloved little one. It was the place where arms opened to her and became wrapped around her. It was the place where she felt loved and forgiven. It was the gateway to her baby’s heavenly journey.

The cemetery, new or old, is not our ultimate destination; it is merely a place in which to remember the symbols of a farewell. The person is not there; only the last memory is there. The respect shown in a cemetery comes not because it is home, but because it is where we bid believing loved ones a temporary good-bye. Jesus came from the Father and returned to the Father to prepare a place for you and for me. That’s home. That is our eternal dwelling. We cherish the tender metaphor of home because there we will unpack our suitcases for the last time.

-Ravi Zacharaias, “The Grand Weaver”, pg 157-159

Three Remarkable Things

In Matthew 12, Jesus said three remarkable things in his response to the accusations that were being brought against him:  he was greater than the temple (6); he was greater than Jonah (41); and he was greater than Solomon (42). As greater than the temple, Jesus meant that he could be worshiped anywhere; he was the object of all the law and worship. That Jesus was greater than Solomon meant that Solomon’s wisdom was mere theory and not practice; Jesus lived a life of perfection and true wisdom. That Jesus was greater than Jonah meant that Jonah had survived the catastrophe of spending three days inside a large fish– undoubtedly a miracle; Jesus would conquer death itself and three days after his death would rise again.

In effect, Jesus that he is greater than religion, greater than any religion teacher, and greater than any miracle. True spirituality is not a religion, a “guru”, or a miracle. True spirituality must follow where all these lead in ultimate truth– and that is to Jesus Christ alone.

-Ravi Zacharaias, The Grand Weaver, pg. 108

Hard Question

The gospel declares that the Holy Spirit brings about the new birth and that because of the Spirit’s power within us, we gain the ability to do God’s will. In other words, the new birth and the new walk are supernaturally bestowed. If by the sheer power of the will even a “pagan” is able to comply with a tough set of rules for living, then what does it say of the Christian who supposedly is supernaturally endowed but lives a duplicitous life? This is a hard question for the believer to answer. Only in and through the power of the Holy Spirit is the Christian walk even possible.

-Ravi Zacharias, The Grand Weaver p122.

Suffering

Suffering almost always shows you that some things you thought you couldn’t live without, you can live without if you lean on God. And that brings freedom. This doesn’t mean that if we loved God perfectly, we wouldn’t suffer. No–because those who love God well do and should love all sorts of other good things in this life too. Jesus loved God perfectly but he was a Man of Sorrows, largely because he loved us so much. We should not take the Stoics’ advice that we detach our hearts from things. We must love many things– and when these good things are taken away, it will hurt. And yet, if we cultivate within ourselves a deep rest in God, an existential grasp of his love for us, then we will find that suffering can sting and cause pain, but it can’t uproot us, overthrow us. Because suffering can’t touch our Main Thing– God, his love and his salvation.

-Tim Keller, “Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering”

Smallness of Our Love

It is probably impossible to love any human being simply ‘too much.’ We may love him too much in proportion to our love for God; but it is the smallness of our love for God, not the greatness of our love for the many, that constitutes the inordinacy.

-Tim Keller, “Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering”