How do you stay optimistic, lively and happy despite all the problems and negativity around? How do you turn negativity to positivity? I guess this really boils down to … how do you find your sense of purpose? - follower who requested to say anonymous
First off, let’s get one thing straight:…
READ THIS POSTTT :D :D :D Esp you medicine type peoplez :D
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”—Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1951. pp. 182. Print.
First three sections of Matthew chapter 9 explained:
Jesus heals a paralytic
context: many Jews had the mistaken belief that disabilities were caused by sin (see John 9, where Jesus’ disciples ask why a man was born blind, whether it was because of his or his parents’ sins), but Jesus emphasizes that disabilities are not caused by sin, and that they can be healed, just as sins can be forgiven as well. both physical healing and spiritual forgiveness can be received through faith in Jesus.
i think what’s tough about this section is that i find it hard to answer Jesus’ response to the teachers of the law: “which is easier to say, ‘you are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘get up and walk?’”
more context: Jews lived in a system where the religious authorities (teachers of the law, Pharisees, Sadducees, priests) were in power, because they either mediated the interactions between people and God (through sacrifices and religious rituals) or made rules that governed how people should live to please God (e.g. no working on the Sabbath). when Jesus was alive, these rules had gotten way out of hand, to the point where the demands were ridiculously impossible (e.g. no walking a certain number of steps on the Sabbath) so Jesus came to fulfill the law through His sacrifice on the cross, so that we can have a direct relationship with God, regardless of our sins, and outside of the rules of the man-made religious establishment
i think when Jesus asks this question, He is challenging the teachers of the law, who are outraged by Jesus’ forgiveness of the sins of the paralytic. He is saying that He has authority, as the son of God and God incarnate (in the flesh) to forgive sins. He is challenging their assumption that forgiveness of sins is impossible without earning it through obedience of rules and perfection. when He heals the paralytic, He proves that He is the son of God and that He does have authority to forgive sin.
Calling of Matthew
context: (from the Bible Quizzers’ study guide for Matthew)
Romans (who ruled the land occupied by the Jews) sold a franchise of an area to the highest Jewish bidder, allowing them to collect taxes in the area. tax collectors were told how much they had to pay the Roman government, and could keep any extra they collected. as you can probably guess, the tax collectors were often corrupt and taxed people higher than they needed to, and pocketed the extra money. the Pharisees were probably justified in lumping Matthew the tax collector along with other sinners.
so emo, rite?
but Jesus cites Scripture to emphasize how God is concerned more about humility (a humble attitude) than about works (living a perfect life). “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” comes from Hosea 6:6, an Old Testament book written by Hosea, a prophet who married a prostitute, Gomer, who was unfaithful to him, as a metaphor for how the nations of Judah and Israel were unfaithful to God. Jesus’ uses this Scripture to show that God loves us so much that He would rather have us in close relationship with Him than be alienated and isolated by impossible rules and standards (sacrifice). in the same way, the Pharisees should have mercy on the Jews, rather than demanding that they make sacrifices that don’t bring them closer to God.
Jesus is saying that a) the sick, the sinners are the ones who are more humble and open to Jesus’ message of mercy and b) the sick and sinners are the ones who need a doctor and God’s grace the most, respectively
Jesus questioned about fasting
context: fasting was done for mourning, and to bring people closer to God
this is a lot simpler to explain— Jesus is like the bridegroom. as long as He is with his disciples (like the bridegroom is with the guests), the disciples should celebrate, because they do not need to do things to become close to God… He is right there with them!
more context: wine skins are made of animal skin (as I understand it), and burst when new wine is poured into old ones, because they have been stretched to their limit
no one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, no one pours new wine into old wine skins, just as you can’t add a new system onto old rules. Jesus is saying that with Him, there is a new system for approaching God. you have a direct relationship with God through faith that Jesus is the son of God (and later, that His death erases our sins and allows us to approach God without shame). although Jesus is the fulfillment of the old Jewish law (matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”), He is asking us to accept this new system for approaching God, and to become new themselves.
…basically circles back to making Christianity personal :)
YAY CAT YAYYYYY
i really encourage you to find some way of consistently reading the Bible— it will help you understand and make the most out of what you are learning.
If I speak with the charm and sophistication of James Bond 007, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol.
If I have the gift of being faster than a speeding bullet, stronger than a locomotive and am able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I live in Sherwood Forest and together with my merry men steal from the rich and give to the poor, and even die in the process, but have not love, I gain nothing.
A real hero, as I have learned, is patient and kind. A real hero does not envy or boast, and is not proud. A real hero is never rude or self-seeking and keeps no record of wrongs. A real hero does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. A real hero always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
If a real hero loves— he or she will never fail. The bionics of the Six Million Dollar Man will one day cease. The sword of Zorro will one day be stilled. The white stallion of the Lone Ranger will pass away.
When I was a child I thought like a child, I talked like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me.
For the real heroes among us, these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
This day and everyday, with the help of God, I pray that I will always be a real hero.
Daniel Walker’s paraphrase of 1 Cor 13, which he read at his wedding ceremony.
Walker, D. God in a Brothel. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011. 24-25. Print.
A blog worth following, by the founder of More Than Compassion, a non-profit that provides education, housing and spiritual mentoring to Guatemalan orphans at Fundacion Salvacion. The founder is a Pepperdine University alumnus from the class of 2011.
“One design ye are to pursue to the end of time,— the enjoyment of God in time and in eternity. Desire other things so far as they tend to this; love the creature, as it leads to the Creator. But in every step you take„ be this the glorious point that terminates your view. Let every affection, and thought and word, and action be subordinate to this. Whatever ye desire or fear, whatever ye seek or shun, whatever ye think speak, or do, be it in order to your happiness in God, the sole end, as well as source, of your being.” (Ibid., pp. 207, 208).”—A Plain Account of Christian Perfection by John Wesley
Spotlight on an awesome local non-profit! New Life Church helped to start Faith in Action (FIA) in 1990, a rotating homeless shelter that houses up to 15 men who are motivated to get back on their feet. FIA provides job training, bus passes, laundry soap and connections to affordable housing as these guests live at a religious institution (church/synagogue) each month and eat their meals there. The financials for this non-profit are wonderful— very transparent and efficient— they don’t have a physical office and many of the people who work for the non-profit are volunteers. No one is getting rich from doing this, but there are great results. Men have been able to get jobs and gain financial independence and housing, allowing them to lead their families once more. Not only that, but the friendships they build during their time as guests have made some become men of faith and regular attendees of participating churches/synagogues.
We have the privilege tomorrow to prepare a meal for them. Sean Fitzgerald, a member of our congregation who has gone to culinary school, will be planning the menu. Meet at building D at 4:30p tomorrow to help out!
I wrote this for our church newsletter. Then I put pictures and gifs to make it more interesting. You have permission to laugh at me now.
I, Karen Yang, was a boring teen. I didn’t go to birthday parties or sleepovers. I never saw a movie at night and definitely never went with boys. I hardly went to youth group, except when I felt bad for Sharon and Pastor Mike, who kept calling me.
Of course, now I am a youth intern for a youth group filled with boys, who organizes birthday celebrations, all-nighters and movie nights… through phone calls. God chooses unlikely people to serve Him in unlikely ways. Moses lead the Israelites out of Egypt, possibly with a stutter. The prostitute Rahab hid Hebrew spies in Jericho. Jesus’ mother, Mary, was chosen as a girl from the middle of nowhere. The list goes on and on: that’s why the Bible is full of genealogies, lists of names of people who followed God that show that anyone can serve Him.
These names point to God’s glory, just as real love is “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins” (1 Jn 4:10). Our teens could be more studious about 1 & 2 Peter and Hebrews, could spend more time at Villa Garcia and could raise more money for 30 Hour Famine, but real love is not about the little ways we love God. Real love is about the big way that He has loved us first.
Real love is about how God brings together diverse teens from the Southwest region of the Nazarene church to Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California for a weekend of worship, learning about God and hanging out, regardless of how much Scripture they know. Real love is about how Villa Garcia kids look forward each week to meeting our teens for math tutoring. Real love is about how World Vision has partnered with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries to send funds directly to areas that suffer from famine, such as Malawi, Africa.
My family has started gardening a lot, so when I think “new life,” I think about seeds. I think about how love springs up like new life, because “No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us” (1 Jn 4:12). No one has ever seen the inside of a seed (at least, not without killing it), but if we give it some time and attention and kindness, the seed lives, and its life is brought to full expression; it sprouts, it grows, it matures, it blooms and eventually makes other seeds.
When I first started as a youth intern, I used to worry. What if I don’t teach enough? How will they know how much God loves them, that they should honor their father and mother, that approval shouldn’t come from romantic relationships, that the Old Testament is interesting and that we are to love those who are marginalized in society? What if they don’t have enough fun? How will they want to come to youth group, or make Christian friends, or think that Christianity is an exciting adventure where we are free to do what we are meant for? But my sister said, “Don’t worry. Just plant the seed. And give them candy!”
Now I don’t worry as much, which has been better for all of us. I trust that “the [Holy] Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true— it is not a lie” (1 Jn 2:27) and that just as the Holy Spirit taught us, we are to “remain in fellowship in Christ” (1 Jn 2:27). We’ve had fun on Friday nights, playing sardines and capture-the-flag, pre-ordering tickets to The Avengers for a group of 13 and eating shawarmas (a Mediterranean food featured in The Avengers movie). We are currently plotting to put flamingos on your lawns. I haven’t bought candy for the teens yet. As I said, I was a boring teen.
You can learn more about the youth by emailing karen[dot]lynn[dot]yang[at]gmail.com. We have a Facebook group and you can be invited.
Don’t for a moment lower your expectations or your ambitions. But don’t let them consume you to the point you become indifferent to the journey itself. Or to the extent that you fail to recognize how good you may have it at certain points along the way.
This was seriously such a great speech. Watch it, read it, think about it.
I was talking to one of the teens about 30 Hour Famine and his response was:
who what when where why who’s going what’s happening when is it where is it why are we doing it
Whoooooo that’s a lot of questions!
Let’s do this.
Who: New Life Church Youth
What: 30 Hour Famine. We will learn about world hunger (specifically in the country of Malawi), experience hunger by fasting for 30 hours (juices only) and we will overcome hunger by fundraising ($30 can feed a child for a month; partnering with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and World Vision) and serving in the local community to raise awareness.
When: We started learning about hunger and painting signs last Gathering (4/13).
Did you know that we have nail artists and chefs in our midst? Yes. Yes we do. We will start fundraising with Manicure and Meal for Malawi next Sunday after church. Invite friends!
Where: New Life Church, duh!
Why: You ask me a why and I raise you several questions…
1. What is pure and faultless religion?
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress (translation: the poor in society) and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
2. What is a righteous man like?
He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.
3. Does it really matter if I help alleviate hunger? Can’t someone else take care of world hunger?
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
(Of course, I am not saying that you have to help alleviate world hunger or you are a bad person, but I think we are called to have an others-oriented mentality. To be concerned about need in the world and meet that need in our own way.)
Who’s going: I hope you are! Even if you’re not a youth, please contact me at karen.lynn.yang[at]gmail.com if you want to be involved! Invite your friends!
What’s happening: We hang out. We watch videos. We make signs. We cook. We paint nails. We have a sleepover. We play games. We pick up litter. We drink juice. Whatever you think will help us alleviate hunger.
When is it: June 22-23 is Famine Weekend. Mark your calendars!
Where is it: We are giving our funds to help overcome hunger in Malawi.
“God died for you and for me and for that leper and for that person dying of hunger and for that person on the street…. It’s not enough to say that you love God. You also have to say you love your neighbor. Love, to be true, has to hurt. This requires people giving until it hurts. Otherwise it is not true love… Be the good news to your home people first. Find out about your next-door neighbor.”—
-Mother Teresa, as she dedicated a convent in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1995; c.f. “Sacred Pathways” by Gary Thomas; “Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” Charlotte Observer (June 14, 1995)
Honestly, I think I would be terrified to meet Mother Teresa. Honored, but terrified. From what I’ve read, it seems like she was a spitfire, not afraid to tell people her mind, sometimes to the point of bossiness. But this came from a place of conviction, her confidence in what she was doing was right.
What she says here is incredibly challenging. “Love, to be true, has to hurt.” This week in women’s Bible study, we discussed Jesus’ crucifixion and the question: Why did Jesus have to suffer physical pain as He died?
When I think about the sacrificed that the Israelites once offered as atonement for sin, I don’t envision the flogging of a lamb. I envision the clean slitting of a throat, a quick death. But for Jesus, the sacrifice was different— it was messy, it was horrific, it was profoundly unfair. And through it all, his mother Mary watched and as Simeon prophesied to Mary in Luke 2:35, “And a sword will pierce your very soul” as she watched Jesus suffer and die in excruciating pain.
As hard as it is to imagine what Jesus’ sacrifice is like, it does convey that the sacrifice was important and authentic. That God takes seriously anything that might make us distant from Him (sin) and that Jesus’ love isn’t about words or little actions. It’s about giving up a life.
For us, words and little actions are important. Because love starts with being willing to give up our entire lives to God and other people. But it’s not about what’s safe, what little part of our lives we are willing to give on certain times when it’s convenient.
Sometimes it’s the giving up of a grudge against someone who has wronged us. Sometimes it’s spending time with someone who you don’t really like to show them that someone cares. Sometimes it’s choosing to work in a field that doesn’t pay very much so you can serve. Sometimes it’s holding your tongue when someone makes a false accusation against you. Sometimes it’s giving up a friend who makes you think about the world in a cynical way. I don’t know what it is for you. But these are the little ways we can choose to hurt for the sake of love.
“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees.
With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.
I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.”—Psalm 119:9-16