Monthly Archives: April 2011

Prayer and Humility

On Monday, we (as in the graduating seniors on core) shared encouragements and other “wise things” to the new core for next year. This made me reflect on my past two years of ministry on core for AACF. What are the main things I’ve learned about leading? I would say that #1 I learned about prayer. Seeing as how someone else was at first planning on sharing about prayer I decided to choose another that is closely related, humility. Then I found out that person was no longer doing prayer… but my heart had already been reset to humility. So I tried to weave the two together a little. But 5 minutes is not very long to share about humility and prayer in full… so prayer only got a small paragraph. Anyway, I thought I would share in a tweaked version of what I shared.

How do the clouds do that?

We as Christians seek to put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of our creator. In other words, we seek to imitate Christ in all that we do. One of the key components of this transformation is the clothing of humility. Especially as leaders, we must humble ourselves before our almighty creator.

9He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.” – Psalm 25:9

Now, I want to encourage you with something. This might not apply to you, but I think it helped me a lot when I went back to think about humility when I first started in ministry with AACF. I’ve seen many Christian leaders succumb to this depressed attitude because of their human sinfulness. I think for a lot of Christians, especially Asian Christians, there’s this feeling that being humble means not talking much, not insisting on our own opinions, and not taking a stand for ourselves, ya know, not thinking that we’re always right… but I think those are misconceptions. I think it’s similar to the theme of women’s ministry this year – to have a quiet and gentle spirit. In the same way that this doesn’t mean that all women should be week and hide in corners, humility doesn’t mean you down play yourself or just say the “right” things. I think there is such a thing as humble strength. If we look to Jesus, we see:

Philippians 2:3-11

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

And we think… WOW, if Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior made himself nothing, how much less nothing are we! Which is true… but the reaction is not to say “woe is me, I can do nothing for the kingdom of God, I’m just going quietly sit here and not make a scene”. But Christ was not like that! While he humbled himself before the Lord, he was strong in preaching truth. See, people try to learn humility through preoccupying themselves with their sin. We constantly bag on our sinful natures and how we are unworthy. It’s along the same lines of how we look to the cross and we mourn that Christ had to die for our sings, but then we forget to look up and say that “He has risen!”, “He has risen indeed” – we forget that not only die there crucified on the cross, but he also rose again on the third day. Christ defeated sin and we are no longer slaves to it.

The Christian experience becomes beautiful and blessed, when we realize how God is everything in life. We must embrace the sense of being nothing to make way for God to be everything. Through the awareness of our nothingness, we experience the richness of life through God. And this is the essence of true humility.

2 Corinthians 12:9,10

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ‘s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

The important thing is that we are not only week, but God has made us strong.

In these last two years on core, God and God alone has sustained me. Indeed, the secret to writing skits, organizing missions trips, and organizing events is this – prayer. When we come to God in desperate prayer, God helps us to humble our hearts and allow Him to run His ministry. If I were to do things myself, I would make a mess of things. Not only would I make a mess of things, but I would stress myself out, go crazy, and still make a mess of things. I have learned from experience. I encourage you –  pray for your ministry. Not just when there’s an event, not just when you feel stressed, but every week if not every day. If there is no prayer, if there is no reliance on God, then this is nothing more than a campus club and we are doing nothing more than entertaining people. It’s like Will said last week – God doesn’t need us, but it is our joy and privilege to be able to serve and to be able to pray.

I want to let you know that if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you believe that He died on the cross and rose on the third day. If you believe that He defeated sin, and if you desire to be with Him in heaven and live your earthly life for Him – then you have been made strong. So if you are leading a ministry, in a ministry, or just serving in the way God has called you, then remember – if you feel like you aren’t good enough, if you’re not equip, if you’re not ready, it’s ok because it’s not on you, it’s on Him. And if you feel all the weight on your shoulders because you are burdened with your ministry, then take the time to give the burden to God, because it’s His ministry and not yours alone. You being here means that God has indeed ordained you. That He has given you the authority to lead His ministry.


6am is early…

Even for me.

Although I was tired in the morning, for some reason it was never hard to get up. Through my morning prayers, God was faithful to me as I was faithful to hi. Each morning was a reminder of my commitment, reminder of my own failings, and a reminder of God’s sovereignty. Though in my grogginess I don’t know if my prayers were very “coherent”, but since God knows even the groans of my heart, I can put that word in quotes.

Here now is a summary of how I was blessed throughout the week:

Monday, which I blogged already, was like a wakeup call and reminder that God is my portion. The passages in Proverbs were like BLAM! Look at yourself, your spirit is broken, your heart is burdened, your soul is weary… but here, I AM.

On Tuesday I must admit I could barely stay awake. In fact I don’t think I did stay awake for the whole hour… and though I planned to do work after prayer, I crawled back into bed (this would be a trend continued for all days in which I had 10am class rather than 8am). It was one of those times where no matter how hard I tried o keep my eyes open, it was like my eyelids were heavy. Even as I was reading a line out loud, my eyes were still closing! I’m old. But somehow God still spoke to me. Near the end in desperation I opened my eyes super wide for a few seconds and my eyes locked onto one passage,

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Also on this day I fell asleep in lab and my professor noticed me since there’s only like 16 of us in the class :T I had been pinching my hand to keep myself awake. My hand was red, but I still fell asleep. I wish my friend sitting next to me had tapped me awake earlier, not just so that I wouldn’t get caught sleeping, but so I would have gotten to hear what he was talking about… I missed some good stuff L If you know me, I’m a student to likes to pay attention in class for the most part. Maybe I should clarify to my friends from now on that anytime I’m falling asleep in class or other places, please PLEASE wake me up. I don’t like going to things and falling asleep. The only time I like to sleep in the day is if I purposefully put my head on the desk during the 10 minute breaks in class, on my bed, and on the bus. That’s about it.

Wednesday and Thursday I stayed awake much better, but this time it was a test of how long I could pray for one thing. I must admit, I kind of failed. Not that I couldn’t continue praying for the same thing… but that I just really wanted to pray for other things. Also during these days God revealed to me sin in my heart. It’s interesting that even during a week committed to Him, it’s still possible to try to run away. I realized on these days that there aren’t a lot of sins in my life that I’ve caught that are like… physical sins that I can actually physically stop myself from doing. I mean, I guess at the root of them all, sins come from heart attitudes… though some manifest themselves more physically I guess. But anyway, in these mornings of praying for other things, I was also able to pray for God to help me overcome my sin. Through this time I realized how long it has been since I’ve come to God desperate for Him to change my heart and desires.  It’s good. I believe that sincerely asking God to cleans me and consume my heart so that no sin may enter… and coming before Him humbled knowing that my strength alone is not enough, it’s really putting my faith into practice. Like that one speaker said, actually sitting on the chair that I believed would hold me. And God is faithful.

The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.

And finally it’s Friday… Friday… finishing up with Friday. Hahaha, I woke up at 6am, and at 7am I went back to sleep 🙂 But yes … reflecting on the week of prayer, I truly have been blessed. There were times when I kind of felt like giving up… no one would really know anyway… but a commitment to God is a commitment to God. And having my yes be a yes and my no be a no has been something I’ve been working on. How fitting 🙂

It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows

For Acts and Genesis we went to Answering the Atheist put on by Presence Ministry. Apologetics has always been something that interests me and though I study up on it a lot all that knowledge never seems to help me when explaining things to friends. It’s like everything just goes out the window. I was thinking it might be good to collect all my thoughts on paper (or online) or something so that it will be well prepared and thought out before hand.

I also found another good one to match this idea!

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor be hasty and miss the way

And now I am very tired. Tonight I hope to get a lot of sleep 🙂

Tearing my robes

In the old testament, this seemed a common practice. To come and humble myself before an almighty God, desiring His presence and desiring to know His will … I feel like I should be tearing my robes. Of course though, a friend of mine pointed out that our clothes are probably harder to tear than they were back then, so my efforts might prove fruitless.

But I still think there is something to doing something out of the ordinary in times of desperation. Fasting is something I frequently enjoy. But this time… this time requires something different.

Yesterday Pastor Chan talked about how the Chinese congregations had started 6am prayer meetings to pray for the future of the church and other things. He talked about how directly after, he came under spiritual attack. He got into a pretty bad looking car accident and survived. Truly God protected him because his work for the Lord was not yet done.

Recently I had been talking to a friend of mine about being disciplined in seeking discipline, being accountable for seeking accountability, etc. Now I feel that God is pushing me to extreme discipline. In the situation that I am in, I need to humble myself more than I ever have before and need to seek God’s will more than I ever have before.

And so this week I have committed myself to an hour of prayer and devotion, 6am with the rest of the church to pray for God’s direction. It’s funny because after I decided this I found that this would be academically one of the busiest weeks. And a few minutes ago I found another assignment that is due tomorrow that I had entirely forgotten about. Now, would I call this spiritual warfare? Maybe, I don’t know, but it sure makes my commitment to God a lot harder.

In today’s devotion, verses that spoke most were:

Many are the plans in a man’s heat, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor.