Forever Houston Strong

Houston made history yesterday.

I’m not a huge baseball fan, but what I find truly amazing about the Astros winning the World Series, the first time in franchise history, is the fact that Houston was hit hard a couple months back and is still recovering.

Hurricane Harvey left many parts of Houston under murky waters. People were in danger, homes destroyed and the only thing Houston could do was pray and hope.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,

To all who call upon Him in truth.

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;

He also will hear their cry and save them.

– Psalm 145:18-19

God heard our prayers. Houston got back on its feet faster than I’m sure most people had imagined. Houston has experienced His mercy, felt His love. Neighbors opened doors to those who had lost their homes, donations were made to help the city from entering major financial crises and volunteers came together to rebuild the city. Despite the destruction Harvey left behind, Houston is stronger than before.

But those who wait on the Lord

shall renew their strength;

they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary,

they shall walk and not faint.

– Isaiah  40:29-31

Houston couldn’t have won the World Series at a better time.

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Forever Houston Strong

Practice what you preach: Christian walk should be by faith, not by Sunday attendance

Church today is becoming overrated.

I’m sure everyone has had, or knows of, that one Christian friend that was never free on the weekends. Or maybe you were that friend. I know I was.

A devoted churchgoer’s weekend may generally look like this:

Friday: worship service, fellowship

Saturday: prayer meeting, fellowship

Sunday: worship service, fellowship

Despite the fact that each day of this schedule seems to be analogous to the other, missing one day makes a great difference. So what’s the big deal?

A churchgoer’s community will be the church. Some members of the congregation become your friends, and attending that particular church becomes more enjoyable. Eventually, the congregation as a whole will feel like family.

I’ve given the excuse, “Oh, sorry I have church, but maybe next time,” one too many times. “Next time” became never, and the friends that asked eventually gave up. It didn’t matter for me, though, because I had friends at church.

In the past, I’ve been a leader on the praise team and Sunday school teacher for children. I’ve also volunteered in Vacation Bible School programs during summers. The more involved I was, the more volunteering became a given.

I had focused too much on my Christian walk within the Church and forgot my mission as a Christian: spreading the Word.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

– Matthew 28:19-20.

Today, it would be appalling to see martyrs stoned to death. Persecution of Christians, especially in a suburban town in Texas, is highly unlikely. Living the life of a Christian has become comfortable.

Many Christians hear the Word, but fail to carry it out into the world. Monumental churches are built for stature, and the congregation works to maintain it. Unsaid dress codes have formed, and the calculative nature of Christianity — racking up good deeds to be a “better” Christian — continues to thrive within the Church.

It’s easy to sum up your faith with your servitude. By focusing on how “Christian” we are, we forget how we gained our religious freedom and what it took.

The judges of our faith tend to be other Christians. The acts of servitude have become a means for acceptance and recognition.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

– Galatians 1:10

Despite the fact that in almost every Bible lesson Christians are told that God is our only judge, the nature of humans are hard to ignore.

While many Christians are too busy engrossed in their own faith walk, non-believers are being neglected. The purpose of a Christian is to reach out and share the Gospel, yet more and more non-believers have reasons to avoid religious affiliations. The mission is outside of the Church, yet many try so hard to remain with the confines of its walls.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”

– James 1:22-24

Many Christians are forgetting what they look like.

Practice what you preach: Christian walk should be by faith, not by Sunday attendance

“THE CROSS CANNOT BE DEFEATED, FOR IT IS DEFEAT.” – G.K CHESTERTON

What does it mean to be Korean-American?

An interesting question, indeed. What does being Korean-American mean to me? This question had weighed my heart down countless times before. I cannot be identified as Korean, or American, but rather both. I cannot be in either nation and feel as if I belong, so then where do I belong?

A pastor once preached about the importance of identity. What does that word mean to me? What is my identity, and what do I identify myself with? Are these even the right questions? Throughout my life, I believe I have been trying to identify myself through my hardships, my failures, my achievements, my talents, etc. I feel that many others, along with myself, try to identify ourselves the way we want to be portrayed in others’ eyes. Not only does this create a false identity, but also one that may prove difficult to maintain. Falsifying one’s identity is like signing up for a constant, never-ending battle within one’s self. Why do we… why do I continue to do this even when I know that in the end, I will be the one hurting?

Growing up, I went through a crazed fanatic phase. I used to watch all the latest Korean dramas, TV shows, music videos, etc. I knew all the Korean celebrities, their names, their age, the dramas that they’ve been in, etc. Then I went through another phase. A phase where I wanted to leave behind my Korean heritage. Although I was Asian, I started to despise all things that were “Asian.” I steered away from the Korean music, culture and even friends.

I was one out of two Koreans at my high school until my brother came to join me my last two years. Most of my life, my friends cracked Asian jokes out of harmless humor, but for me, these jokes instigated thoughts of wanting to be more “American,” or questions like “What if I was white?” They made me realize how different I was. I despised that word back then. Different.

My mother has always told me, “You are different from them.” Them referring to my friends and kids my age in general. At the time I had no idea what she was talking about. Why couldn’t I be the same? Why couldn’t I go out to play just like all my other friends? My background, the circumstances I grew up in, the opportunities I had and did not have, she was referring to them all. The differences became overwhelming. The differences started to suffocate me to a point where my identity seemed to be lost. I was lost. I became apathetic. I started to lose hope.

So God created man in his own image, 

in the image of God, he created him;

male and female he created them.

– Genesis 1:27

It took me a while, but it wasn’t until I went off to college when I realized I was searching for my identity in all the wrong places. I used my achievements, work, friends and family to try and somehow identify myself, but it was all futile.

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”

– Luke 9:25

I found my identity through my faith. Identity matters because He has given us an identity. God has a specific purpose for every person. In the bible, Jesus is described as Jesus of Nazareth and Jonah calls himself a Hebrew when introducing himself. It is not an accident that various groups of people and cities are named in the bible. God has created us individually. We are indeed different from one another, but in Him we are alike. In Him we have a similar purpose that is unique in our own ways. In order to find our purpose, we must deny ourselves and follow Christ. This was never meant to be an easy task; however, it is what we are called for. The Lord yearns for us and inside, our souls, as well, yearn for Him.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

– John 3:16

A verse we all know so well… but do we truly understand? Would we ever truly understand how deep and abounding His love is for us? Through my God, I pray for strength, confidence, wisdom and love. Without my God, I am nothing. Without my God, I cannot be identified. Without Him, I would not be here today.

“THE CROSS CANNOT BE DEFEATED, FOR IT IS DEFEAT.” – G.K CHESTERTON