Friday, August 7, 2009

Two Years

Two years ago yesterday I received a phone call from my brother at 6:45 a.m. informing me that the Lord had taken my cousin and friend, Binil Samuel. The details of that morning are so clear:

Just getting out of the shower when the phone rang.
Standing next to my loft in a cramped university apartment.
Responding, "really?" That is all I could say.
Calling my sister.
Seeing a friend, receiving a hug.
Waiting for the bus.
Riding in a daze, realizing that the rest of the world thinks today is a normal day.

That day was anything but normal. Each day since has continued to be abnormal in the lives of many. In closing, I wanted to share a few links and a few quotes.

Binil's brother, Bijoy, has blogged twice in the last few days. His thoughts are authentic, difficult, yet hopeful in the Gospel.

Last year, I posted a few times about Binil. Watch his testimony or read my thoughts on John 11.

For today, I end with a quote:

Life is not joy above sorrow; life is a battle for joy in the midst of sorrow. --John Piper

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"All I Need"

My friend from undergrad wrote this song and shared it with me (so I wanted to share it with all of you, of course, with his permission). There are three reasons why I like this song:

1) It sings Scripture (Psalm 73 in this case).
2) It is simple, easy to remember, and easy to sing.
3) It leaves me at the Cross of Christ.

I quickly put the video together so you could hear the song (so please excuse the simplicity).


When this world has proved, all it can do is lie and lead astray
When darkness comes, and all around my soul is giving way
Lord I’m prone to doubt, remind me how Your hand will not let go
I’m Yours forever more

Oh my heart and my flesh will fail me
But my God, You’re all, I ever need
You are my strength and my portion
You are everything, O Lord You carry me
My God You’re enough for me

When Satan speaks, and all I hear, is of my sin and shame
When all my thoughts, are telling me, the debt is mine to pay
I will lift my eyes, to look upon, the Lamb who died for me
He paid my penalty

It’s Your face I need to seek
To Your cross I need to cling
For You alone, You never change
And Your Word, it never fails
When all I know is fading away

By: Matthew Damico

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Diametrically Opposing Emotions

Although the 2008 Olympics are long over, I still am blown away by two things from the 4x100 Men's Swimming Relay. Watch the video of the race here.

First, it is probably the most excited I (and the majority of the country) have ever been about swimming. Watching Michael Phelps chase eight gold medals was gut-wrenching, inspirational, and riveting. The 4x100 relay was arguably one of the most dramatic finishes I have even seen in a sporting event.

Second, and more importantly, the end of the race caused incredible joy, patriotism, and excitement. However, at the same time, I felt embarrassed and understood why many other countries around the world consider the United States arrogant and cocky. Listen to the announcers at the very beginning of the race and around the 5:47 and 9:08 marks. I found it extremely unprofessional for an announcer to seemingly "talk trash" to the French competitors.

In closing, I think there are numerous events/moments in life that produce opposing thoughts and feelings. The cross of Jesus Christ is the ultimate example. On one hand, we see a man suffering a torturous, brutal, and gruesome death on the cross. On the other hand, we (as sinful human people) now have the opportunity to experience the perfect, holy, all-satisfying presence of God because of that very death.

(For another Michael Phelps exciting finish, see the video below of the 100 meter butterfly)

"Don't Waste Your Life" Music Video

If you have not already seen it, check out the "Don't Waste Your Life" music video by Lecrae.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bold Is an Understatement

Have you ever heard of Polycarp of Smyrna? If you have a quizzical look on your face right now, do not fret. I was in the same position as you just a few months ago.

But over the past few weeks, through my dad and a History of Christianity class, I have had the pleasure of being exposed to his incredible story, especially the last few hours of his life.

Instead of rehashing the story for you, I will instead set up the scene for the last scene of his life. Polycarp was born around 69 a.d. He became the Bishop of Smyrna (a major city in the Roman Empire) and defended the Orthodox faith against Marcionism. Around 155 a.d., Christians began to be persecuted by the Emperors of Rome.

The following true story unfolds as Polycarp is 86 years old. Roman officials are on hot pursuit to arrest and kill Christian leaders. You can read the rest of the story here. If you do not desire to read it all, start at verse five and work through verse 19. The last few statements that Polycarp make are insanely bold.

You can find more information on Polycarp here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

It Is Coming...

If you have not heard about the ESV Study Bible, check out more information on it here. I am blown away at the amount of people I look up to who have endorsed the Bible.

The Understanding That I Have Nothing To Give of My Own

A few weeks ago, I was writing a chapter evaluation for my Missions class, specifically addressing the financial shortage in supporting missionaries. But the problem is not a lack of monetary funds, especially in the United States. More so, many people just to do not give (or give generously). As a generalization, it seems like people are very protective of their money, and are hesitant to give their money to anyone or anything else (because it is their money).

Oddly though, one of the richest men in the world seemed to understand reality. Not only did he have monetary wealth, but he had power, influence, and success in every aspect. Towards the end of his life, he prayed to God in the presence of the nation he ruled and said, "Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand" (1 Chronicles 29:14).

What would change if the reality that all things you supposedly "possess" (e.g. time, money, intelligence, skills, resources, etc.) were actually God's and he was allowing you to be a steward of it?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Consistency of the Gospel in Personal Uncertainty

The last four months have been extremely difficult. My thoughts about the future, vocation, and seminaries caused great concern and uncertainty. There were days I would wake up feeling certain of what to do, but going to bed thinking something completely different. One verse has continued to encourage me in this season, Psalm 119:92: "If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction."

Yes, this may seem to be an odd verse. Why would anyone delight in the law (Bible)? For me, this set my mind in a tumultuous time on the one thing that is consistent, the Gospel. The question then is, what is the Gospel?

Simply, the Gospel is the truth that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. But there is more. Our sin has a real consequence, eternal separation from God. Without Christ, there is no way (e.g. good works) we can overcome the great gulf our sin creates between God and us. But there is no strength, confidence or security in intellectually knowing these things. We must each receive Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. Truly then, my hope in uncertainty is not in myself, but in my relationship with Jesus Christ and His unexplainable love, compassion, and truth.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Discipline Leads to Freedom?

A friend shared a great quote on his blog on Discipline. Check it out here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Don't Waste Your Life by Lecrae

I just heard the song "Don't Waste Your Life" by Lecrae this morning. Once again, the lyrics are inspired by Scripture with an obvious passion for the Gospel and seeking Christ as our treasure. Check it out here.

You can preorder the entire Rebel album here.