Reminisce 2013: Part 2

Let me continue on from my previous post and reflect on the other areas of my life for this year. Previously, I addressed full time work as succinctly as I could, seeing as it took up the majority of my time in a week. There would still be much more to say about work and all, but I suppose for now it is not the most urgent thing on my mind; ironically, it feels like work should be the most important thing for me now, giving the amount of time I invest into it daily. But in trying to keep a healthy perspective of (my) life, I’ve invested more energy and thought into ministry instead.

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Reminisce 2013: Part 1

As the year draws to an end (even though there is two months to go technically), it’s a good chance to reflect on the year that has been for me; in particular how my first year of full time work has gone, and how my growth as a Christian has been going. There are many things to mention in my year that I have regrettably not found the time to share with people; and many more thoughts and ideas to lay down for myself and others.

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Putting Rudd into Context

In light of our Prime Minister’s recent words regarding his position on the Bible, many issues that have been in heated debate over the course of this year still continue to be in debate; and it would probably be a good idea to put Rudd’s statements in the context of the bigger picture. His words on the ABC program “Q&A” (or QandA) has shocked both Christians and non-Christians for different reasons and brings forth mixed feelings and reactions. On one hand you would have Christians (such as myself) appalled at the Prime Minister’s poor handling of Scripture, and on the other hand you would have non-Christians give a round of applause in approval of his adaptation of the Bible into modern society.

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Feelings and Convictions

Our actions are influenced by a variety of things around us. If we try to trace back where our actions come from, we would first say that our “decisions” influence our actions – we choose to actively perform that particular action, and we also decide our action is “right” or “wrong”. But where do the decisions for our actions come from? I would like the investigate just two sources which loosely covers where all our decisions and actions come from – our minds and our hearts. When we think of our minds and our hearts together, some of us might instantly think of the notion that what we think and what we feel are opposed to one another; a battle of logic against emotions that rages within us. As Christians, though we already have been saved through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, we still need to pay careful attention to the way we live. And if indeed we go by the classic idea that our convictions and our feelings are opposed to each other, then we need to figure out how we’re going choose the right thing to do.

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Back to Basics

A lot of us as Christians understand the need to “grow” as a Christian. From when we first repent and turn to the Lord Jesus, up to and beyond the times we go into ministry and start serving and bringing others to Christ, we always need to strive to become more Christ-like. Some of the things we do in the process of “growing” as a Christian includes: reading and understanding the Bible, practising godliness, and earning skills needed to serve and train others. Undoubtedly, there will come a time when we feel we cannot grow anymore, or that it feels like we are growing much slower than we used to when we were younger in our faith. What happened?

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Time to Ponder

Today I was reminded a bit more about the importance of pondering over the things we learn and do. A lot of the time we try to be productive and efficient and feel that the best way to understand something is to spend as much time actually “doing” something. Be it studying (for academic marks), reading the Bible (to increase our theological understanding), or talking to someone (to build relationships), we feel that the more we do these things, the faster we strive towards our goal. But in thinking back about the concept of a “Sabbath”, we know God has deemed “rest” to be good, and is in fact useful for us to grow as Christians. If we use our resting time to ponder/reflect/think deeply about what we’ve done/heard/read, it’ll ultimately help us to make sense of our past experiences and plan well for the future.

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Deep and Meaningful (Part 2)

In the last post, I offered the idea that when seeking out friendships, what most of us earnestly desire is not a large number of relationships, but rather deeper and closer friendships. Such relationships take time to build, but given the ease in which we can connect and network with people all around the world, it has been harder to focus our time and attention to build such relationships (some of us may feel like we’re surrounded by too many people – and this is true compared to pre-Internet days). In this post, I will clarify a few implications of the previous post and then move on to give a few suggestions as to how we can go about building deeper and more meaningful relationships.

 

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Deep and Meaningful (Part 1)

If you were given the option between:

  1. Talking to one friend for an hour; or
  2. Talking to six friends individually for ten minutes each

Which option would you pick? On one hand, talking to just a single friend for an hour gives more room to grow that friendship and to get beyond the surface formalities of “How are you going?” On the other hand, talking to more friends for a shorter period of time gives more opportunities to catch up with multiple people and allows you to manage more friendships simultaneously. Some of you may have opted for an in-between option; perhaps chatting to three friends for 20 minutes each instead. And perhaps how we decide to use an hour for our friends depends on what we aim to achieve in our relationships.

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Grace and Gratitude

Commonly when we do things for other people, in whatever ways it might be in, we typically want something back. In light of seeing God’s grace (a free gift that we do not deserve) for us through Jesus Christ, Christians have learnt what loving grace is: it is caring for someone else without expecting anything in return. Whether it be saying something encouraging, giving someone a present, giving someone a lift or spending time for someone, we know that it is real genuine love if we do these things without wanting anything in return. Love is selfless and with the idea of grace permeating the whole of a Christian’s life, the balanced “equation” of receiving what you give out no longer holds. To some degree, the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is talking about doing things you “hope” others will do back for you, but they may not necessarily return that favour. The golden rule is about giving than receiving.

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One Week at a Time

It’s now been pretty much a whole month since I started full time work, and the last four weeks have definitely been a huge struggle in getting used to this weekly routine and restructuring the different parts of my life. Despite all the challenges I’ve faced and know that I will face, God has been guiding me in the last month and helping me adjust to this new lifestyle. As I’ve gone through full time work in the last few weeks, I’ve been asking and wondering questions about how I should be living as a Christian in the workplace, as well as how I should still be serving my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, particularly those back at church. The biggest realization that prompts me to have to carefully consider how I should live out my daily life is the fact that I no longer have the same amount of free time that I used to have back in university – those days of what I would call in hindsight “bliss” are now gone, and the freedom to spend time with others (or just procrastinate) is no longer there.

 

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Christian Dating Part 2: Leadership and Submission

Before we get into the practical side of dating relationships, we should continue looking into the Bible at what the final outcome of dating relationships (ie marriage) should look like from the heart. Let’s move onto the topic of submission, as it’s the one that’s still widely misunderstood by non-Christians. If you haven’t been paying to all the marriage debates that have been going on in the last year or so, let me bring you up to scratch with why secular society looks badly at the word “submission”. Society seems to synonymously replace “submission” with “domination”, so that a wife submitting to her husband means “letting the husband do whatever he wants, without any regard to what she wants or doesn’t want”. And alarm bells start going off because this seems to suggest that the husband has the option of abusing his wife (in a world where domestic violence happens somewhat frequently), and so for Christians, we seem to be allowing husbands to abuse their wives, because they are “commanded” to submit to their husbands. And of course there is this notion that the wife is now inferior to her husband, and Christian marriage doesn’t seem to have gender equality.

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