Myunghwa Choi, ”Loneliness Unmasked” sermon (via hislivingpoetry)
i shared this pot with my wife yesterday, but reading my mom’s devotional email this morning compelled me to reblog this for others to see. if you have a tumblr account, i encourage you to follow hislivingpoetry; a sincere young man seeking o follow the heart of the LORD
so i make an effort to stay abreast of the news, thumbing through my pulse account at least 3 times a day. i still miss out on a lot of things, which my mom or co-workers usually fill me in on; i tend to focus more on international affairs, technology trends, and fashion- i love gadgets and clothes. this morning i came across an article about a Muslim cleric in europe that is, more or less, advocating for his followers to mooch off the government as a “Jihad Seeker’s Allowance;” crazy stuff, but not what i want to write about. instead, i was moved by this quote from a section of his speech:
“You find people are busy working the whole of their life. They wake up at 7 o’clock. They go to work at 9 o’clock. They work for eight, nine hours a day. They come home at 7 o’clock, watch EastEnders, sleep, and they do that for 40 years of their life. That is called slavery.
“And at the end of their life they realize their pension isn’t going to pay out anything, the mortgage isn’t going to pay out anything. Basically they are going to lose everything, commit suicide. What kind of a life is that, honestly? That is the life of kuffar (non-believer)…” - Anjem Choudary
wow; i wish we Christians were bold enough to make such statements as this. context aside; rhetoric aside; religion aside, this guy is right. as a man of God, i am called to be more than just another guy seeking a career. i admit it, i dream of a nice house and some “space of my own,” of regular employment with benefits and retirement, of “disposable” income and money in the bank; but in the end, those things have no value or merit. this guy is being lambasted for some of his comments now, and unfortunately, the truly insane words of his are drowning out the sanity in the previous section. those of us who believe in a higher power should realize that our priority is our faith, not our society; the difference between me and him is that my faith calls for me to convert the world through love, while his advocates removing all obstacles “by an means necessary,” to quote my favorite Muslim. one thing can definitely be learned from this misstep: as Christians, we need to be careful not to bury our message under rhetoric; we need to be careful to phrase our arguments in such a way that not only touches the hearts of our brothers and sisters, but can also withstand the scrutiny of our critics. this is what made Jesus’ ministry so impactful; people came from all around to challenge His teachings, but in the end they all had to say like Pilate “i find no fault in this Man.” let us be faultless as we pursue a life of higher meaning and value, leaving the meaningless distractions to the non-believers.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)
months ago, no, make thatseasonsago i started a series of three entries reflecting on one weekend. i’m so trustworthy that i only ever published the first installment. the second was never written, apparently, but here is the third:
sunday: i hate getting to church late every sunday, but i have no one to blame but myself. i need to get up earlier and do more to get us out of the house; maybe i will one day, but sunday i did not. yet, i was happy; despite our sloth, we got there in time to hear all of pastor marv’s message. my favorite part from it was when he said “Christianity is always better caught than taught,” in reference to how parents are called to present the gospel to their children. i love having him preach to us and thank God that i did not match again this year, because at least i will get to be around for more of God’s Word through him. sunday school is always my favorite part of sunday. as a teacher i am admittedly biased, but brother littlejohn really challenged me to dig deeper in my faith in God. looking at the story of lazarus, he asked us what parts of our lives do we feel is dead and fail to see that God can resurrect our lives now? i know for me it is my chance at a career in medicine. i desperately want to be a physician, but with each passing day i feel it is rotting away in its tomb. but He is the Resurrection and the Life presently, not just in the future, and no death can stand against Him. after church we went to little prince café with our family to celebrate nariah’s birthday. awesome place. it’s like chuck e cheese’s, but all clean and more modern, way more padding on hard surfaces and really good food; oh, and you have to take your shoes off. i think i actually like the feeling of being barefoot in public, or at least in socks. it makes the whole thing feel more comfortable and intimate, even if you are in public still. the kids played and had fun, the adults visited and ate. it was truly sublime for me. laura’s long-time friend leslie was there too. one of the interesting twists in the maturation of my wife and i in the Lord is our being a source of strength and encouragement for our friends and loved ones. in retrospect, i can see how this was occurring in college and even in mexico despite our extreme distance from our current walk in Christ; i recall counseling some people on how to pursue a healthy relationship in love when i was still too blind to see how i was smothering my wife in selfishness and contempt. i remember lecturing on the values of love and concern when i was still so caught up in my own life that i would treat all of laura’s ideas as insanity. i remember being called to speak on the virtues of education when i myself was skipping school as often as i could. God has never hidden from us that He wishes to use us in this way, but it is truly amazing looking at the difference between us counseling people and us being used by God to comfort people. leslie is in a very difficult place right now, and my heart goes out to her. my heart weeps for the scores of women in our lives who seem to only be trampled by the men that they love, and not cherished and respected and blessed within the safety of a marriage. it pains me not just because what they do is wrong, but because i know, in my heart, that i did the same thing to my wife. if there is any one sin in my life which satan continually exploits to bring me down, it is the recollection of how inadequate i am as a husband; but in this satan signals his own demise, because in no other area is the changing power of the Holy Spirit more evident than in my growth as a husband. God has shown mercy on me, granting me enough time to come to Him before i had driven my love from me for good. God sustained her over those difficult years, granting her patience with a wretched, monster of negativity like me; and now, God blesses her through me, a fact which fills me completely with joy. sunday ended with an up and a down. the up was the annular eclipse, which we enjoyed with our neighbors; though the kids seemed more interested in dirt than the crescent shaped shadows, still enjoyable and rewarding. the down was the spanking the kids had earned with all around poor behaviour at the end of the evening; but even this down was an upside. i am knazehrite; a husband, a father, a man who will do what i need to do, go where i must go, and strive day in and day out to live the life my Lord calls me to live with no shame in being His. my wife knows this; my kids know this. this weekend was great because i was the man i was born to be, and every day that i can say that is a good one. i pray that God continues to use me, challenge me, bless me and sustain me as He always has, and as i know He always will. selah
this week my son, oziah james richée was born, and not a word was posted on my behalf. around wednesday (he was born on monday) i shared this fact with my wfe, who said i should put some pictures on facebook or something, but i said no. why? why would a guy who writes as often as you, as personally as you refrain from at least writing an essay for your son’s arrival, or a picture to celebrate with the world? well to be honest, i had originally intended to; i had meant to write some rousing essay on the virtues of fatherhood, the joy of life, and all kinds of other interesting things; but i didn’t. not for lack of words or sentiment, i just didn’t feel like it. i meditated on this feeling, and by wednesday when i was sharing this absence of our news in our digital lives, i had my answer: our lives,the birth of our son, the sentiment of our family and the joy of its growth is not some thing to write about or post pictures, it is a joyous moment to be experienced. have you ever been so moved by a sunset that you didn’t take a picture because that would take away from the experience of simply taking it in? have you ever heard a song and had to pull off the road to truly listen with all of your being? have you ever read a sentence in a book, then read it again, put the book down, took a sip of wine and spent the next half hour watching your mind spill over with the thoughts that one sentence can bring? sublime is defined as elevated or lofty thought, impressing the mind with a sense of grandeur or power; the birth of my son was a sublime moment in my life. throughout the Bible people encounter the sensation of the sublime repeatedly. in every instance there are three responses which occur, usually in this order:
- bowing down in awe and humility
- naming of the place and the experience
having spent the last six days in awe, the moment is ready to be named; this moment is the point in my life when i begin to see that God finds favor in me. maybe, if you’re lucky, i will expound on that point on a later date, but suffice it to say that oziah and i have already had a number of conversations about things, and he has already helped me to see a number of truths which have been staring me dead in the face for some time. ok, now it is time to worship. i have prepared a fatted calf, and the alter is ready to receive the sacrifice. my sacrifice is me; all of my desires, my wants, my dreams and aspirations-all of them i offer on the alter of my family, which stands dedicated to the LORD God on high. i will spend the rest of my life in awe of His name, His wonder, His gifts which continue to shower down on me, an unworthy child; and at all times i remeber that first tattoo which resideds at my center: SELAH! selah for His love, selah for His mercy, selah for His grace, selah for his Son. my son was born this past week, and i didn’t write a single thing about it, because i was too busy paying reverence to this moment in my life, the moment when i came to know that God has found favor in my faltering, stumble-filled and, to be honest, rather pathetic walk. selah.
endurance is my weak point. i can do almost anything provided i am not exoected to do it for long. Paul challenges Christians to have endurance in our walk with CHrist; not splendor, not showmanship, not the ability to work miracles or knowledge or fame; endurance. help me Father to increase in endurance.