Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Good Fight

Remind the believers… they must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.
Titus 3:1-2 (NLT)

There’s an appropriate, effective and productive way for us to disagree with one another: don’t slander or quarrel, but be gentle and truly humble.

Taking the original Greek meaning into account, this verse might say: Don’t speak evil or be contentious. Be equitable, fair and mild. Have a gentle or meek spirit.

Today we might say: Stick to the truth and remain calm. Be open minded and willing to listen. Consider what’s best for everyone. Don’t insist on being right.

When Christians disagree, let’s stick to the truth, remain calm, and listen well. (tweet this)

Do you think this verse offers good advice?
Is this method effective?
How well do you express a difference of opinion?

#SeedsofScripture #disagree #humility #slander #listenwell

Thursday, May 10, 2018

My Selfish Love for Jesus

Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell. Yes, he’s the one to fear.
Luke 12:5 (NLT)

Aren’t these some of Jesus’ most encouraging words?

I grew up hearing about hell as a very real, scary, painful, forever place and I did not want to be there. So I chose the way out and avoided destruction by following Jesus.

I didn’t love Jesus, nor did I feel loved by Him. But I selfishly wanted what He had to give: a ticket to heaven. I began doing what I thought God required: attending every church event, memorizing Bible verses handwritten on index cards, and kneeling bedside in prayer.

As time went on, my enthusiasm faded. It was too hard and it didn’t mean much. I avoided thinking about God, Jesus and hell for the next 25 years. With my questionable behavior, I figured I was doomed. Then my nerdy curiosity (or was it God?) led me to join the Disciple Bible study.

God was wooing me back.

This time, my ticket to heaven came bundled with helpful guidance, explanation and discussion about the Bible which helped reshape my angry, judgmental, ‘damning me to hell’ image of God. I began to see God’s true character and to know that He loved me. And I began to love God.

In His own words, God revealed the life He wants for me right now, not later in heaven and certainly not hell. The Disciple Bible study was the beginning of the best part of my life, thank God!

Jesus is more than a ticket to heaven. (tweet this)

Does your picture of God match His self portrait?
How do you know?

#SeedsofScripture #heaven #tickettoheaven #Jesuslovesme #selfish

I will have the privilege of co-leading the Disciple Bible study next year with Pastor Phil. If you’re local and interested in learning more about this life changing study, email me at cathychungblog@gmail.com.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Is There Only One Way to Heaven?

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 (NIV)

Is Jesus the only way to heaven?

Jesus says yes. “No one comes to the Father except through me.” This one statement prevents many from believing. How could a loving God exclude good people? How could He ignore the faithful of other religions? Don’t all religions really worship the same God? Doesn’t God love everyone?

I don’t have answers. But I do believe that Jesus is the Son of God who carried our sins to the cross. And as the one whose blood covers sin, He alone is qualified to decide whether or not a person enters into God’s presence. So I believe Jesus is one way to God.

That said, there may be many ways to Jesus. We don’t know. Jesus is the gatekeeper and gets to decide. But why, after knowing the one sure way, would we take a chance on an unknown possibility?

You may unfollow this blog because of this post, but I hope instead that it will prompt deep thinking. Wrestle with the question. Read scripture. Engage in conversation. Pray. I have come to this place in my beliefs over years of study, prayer and conversation. Is my view correct? It’s impossible to know. I, too, am disturbed by the possibility that not everyone I love will live in eternity. I can’t know the answers. I can only know and trust Jesus. By His wounds we are healed.

We can’t know all the answers. We can only know Jesus and trust His goodness. (tweet this)

Now it’s your turn. What do you believe?

#SeedsofScripture #TheWay #heaven #GodisGood #TrustJesus

Personal note #1 – God moment: Immediately after writing this blog, I got in my car and the song on the radio was The Way by Pat Barrett. Have a listen.

Personal note #2: I will have the privilege of co-leading the Disciple Bible study next year with Pastor Phil. If you’re interested in learning more about this life changing study, email me at cathychungblog@gmail.com.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Kingdom's Power Pyramid

For you granted [your Son] authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
John 17:1,4,19(NIV)

Jesus had authority over all people.

Yet instead of wielding his power to stay on top of the power pyramid, Jesus elevated the sick, poor, grieving, humble and persecuted. He declared blessings on the generous, compassionate, peacemaker, and believer.

We have power too.

Our socio-economic and educational statuses often position us within the power pyramid, but we have power in every human interaction. Our words and tone of voice can build or destroy. Our choice to see and hear someone defines their position above or below us.

What did Jesus do with His power?

Jesus paid particular attention to the outcast of His day. He listened, taught, healed, touched, and made himself  known to these people. Those who were confident in their status weren’t changed by Jesus’ power. They didn’t comprehend His teaching. They weren’t healed.

In God’s kingdom, the last will be first.

After the God of the universe stooped to touch dirty feet and tenderly, lovingly do a servant’s task, he silently accepted unjust accusations and brutal punishment. He withheld his power and allowed these events to occur with a specific purpose – so that you and I could approach God and have a personal relationship with Him.

For them Jesus sanctified himself so that they too could be sanctified.

Discover the Christian meaning of power and learn how to use it for the good of others. –Richard J. Foster (tweet this)

How do you use power?
How can you support the Kingdom’s power structure?

#SeedsofScripture #followJesus #discipleship #power

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Let Them See You in Me

I heard this song for the first time in church this morning - Let Them See You by Colton Dixon. The song beautifully expresses the hope I wrote about in Don't Follow My Example.

Here are two YouTube links. The first is a Laura Daigle cover which makes the song a universal prayer that any of us could say. The second is the Colton Dixon original.

Laura Daigle cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phx-MkVGUnc

Colton Dixon original: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuyIQNDAxGs

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Don't Follow My Example

I have become a servant… to present to you the word of God in its fullness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for… generations, but is now disclosed to all [believers]… God has chosen to make known…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you... We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom... To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:25-29 (NIV – abbreviated and emphasis added)

Don’t follow my example.

After my 13 ‘kids’ confirmed their faith, a friend complimented me for leading by example. Oddly, it disturbed me. Part of me appreciated the kind words, but another part said “You’ve missed the point.”

I don’t want to be an example; I want you to see Jesus. I am who I am because Jesus is inside me. What you see is His energy working through me.

My last post encouraged you to follow Jesus’ example. I take it back. Don’t kill yourself trying to meet Jesus’ crazy high standard. It’s unachievable, discouraging, and leads to feelings of guilt.

Let me explain. Even though Jesus himself told the disciples “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:20), in the same conversation He said “apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Let’s not strive on our own, but get Jesus inside of us. The Holy Spirit is the motivating force within us, providing the desire, wisdom, and capacity to be good examples.

May people see Jesus in us!

Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. We just get tired trying to be good people. (tweet this)

Do you work hard at being a good example?
Could you use some help?

#SeedsofScripture #followJesus #discipleship #goodpeople

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

It's Harder Than I Thought

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth.” When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:21-23 (NIV)

Jesus left us an example.

As we follow Jesus to the cross, we learn what it means to be disciples. We are called to love others as He loves, serve with humility, treat outcasts as equals, call out hypocrisy, and entrust ourselves to God. Even in His suffering, Jesus is our model.

He didn’t retaliate. He didn’t threaten revenge. While His lips were sealed, I’m certain His heart was in prayer for His oppressors. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught “But I say love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!” (Matt 5:44) Can you even imagine praying for the one ripping flesh from your back or spitting in your face?

What is our suffering?

Is it the dismissive eye roll in response to objections to profanity? Is it being excluded from neighborhood book group because we don’t gossip? Is it explaining to our child that they’re sitting the bench for choosing worship over practice? Is it losing a job for maintaining Christian values?

None of our suffering compares to His and yet He didn’t respond bitterly. He prayed for changed hearts and God’s forgiveness.

Jesus set a high bar and we are called to follow. (tweet this)

Will you make the difficult choice no matter the consequence?
Will you pray for those who hurt you?

#SeedsofScripture #followJesus #cross #GoodFriday #discipleship