TC

Re-post from 2011… my first impression of Teen’s Conference.


Subhead: God is strong enough to displace a mountain, yet gentle enough to move hearts towards Him.

TC!!! WHOOOOO!!! Some of you may know what I’m talking about and may be screaming in our minds because we lost our voices…

Alright, alright, one step at a time. What is TC? It’s a Teen’s Conference (no not the business kind) where teens get together as one big family and just praise God for two days (and lose our voices in the process). There are teams, and games, and worship, and drama, and, and, and… well, words are inadequate to describe it!! I’m going to describe my personal first experience at TC as best I can below, but if you’d like to learn more, click here.

For anyone out there who has been to TC, WASN’T IT AWESOME?! For those who have heard this and are interested, I STRONGLY encourage you to go!!! For those who might want to go, but are not in the area, maybe you should try starting something like it in your own community, it’s an experience of a lifetime. For parents who are interested, send your teens!! I obviously can’t guarantee that they’ll love it, but it’s a great learning experience, not for just head knowledge, but in their “people skills” and most importantly, their walk with God.

But, let’s cut to the chase here. Ever since I joined my school fellowship, all I heard about was “oh yeah, remember that at TC?” or “HAHAHAAA that was so awesome at TC!!” or “Who?” “You know, the captain of that team at TC.” So, naturally I asked around, WHAT IS THIS TC?! Well, I just came back from it, still hyped up, still can’t speak without my voice cracking, and still can’t believe that so much happened in only two days.

DAY 1

Registration. I signed up, saw a bunch of people (a lot of people from my school actually. It really encouraged me!) and got my T-shirt, my bracelets, my schedule, all the boring details… blah blah blah.

Then I sat with my team (TEAM IMAGE!!! WOOOT!! Image for the nation, we are His reflection!!!) and we started off with some skits (PHENOMENAL JOB TC MEDIA!!) that were really touching and which I could really relate to… Then we had worship which really touched my heart and, I know for some of you might sound weird and cheesy, but I could really feel the Holy Spirit moving in me, in others, in the whole sanctuary filled with over 600 teens. I knew already, right there and then, less than a couple hours in, that this is going to be one of the best times of my life. Worship and skits alternated, then we had a little reminiscing of past TCs, and the rules.

Our guest speaker, pastor David Overholt (who is so hilarious and so wise), came and gave us a sermon about disobedience due to sin and temptation, and bad habits of sin. I might get into that in another post, but for those who are reading, please let me know!! I have holes in my head, so I don’t remember many things at the same time šŸ˜›

Alright, so we got into our teams (I-M-A-G-E made to reflect G-O-D!! Which reminds me, we were often called team “I’m a G”. Still not entirely sure what that means, but it seemed it was all in good fun…) and had our first interaction to get to know each other more to learn our team cheers of course! If Simon, Daphne, Natalie, and/or Johnathan, my team captains and coaches are reading this, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR AN AWESOME FIRST TC EXPERIENCE!!

Anyways, lunch!! We were hungry, there was food, dozens if not hundreds of teens waiting to get in… if you know teens dear reader, I’m sure you can picture what the scene was like. There were table calls, there was more bonding, and already I felt like I was in one HUGE family and I hadn’t known more than half these people only a few hours before.

Next came more interactions, my first workshop that I signed up for, bible studies, third interaction, dinner (YEAH!)… OH WAIT. I forgot one crucial thing in there. I know I could easily backspace and insert, this is the 21st century after all… ehn. But ya, REC!!! Sheesh, I have no idea how I missed that. Games! Competition! Teamwork! Screaming at the top of our lungs! Jumping! Waving arms! Cheering! Team Spirit! WHOOOOOO!!! huff huff… awesome stuff. That’s when our voices go.

Ok, ok, ok. My favourite part of the day. Evening worship and sermon. Before I say anything else, PRAISE THE LORD!! He was there that night, I know it. We had our sermon, about God being our Father, the perfect Father who cares so much for us. He loves us not because we did anything for him, not because he pities us, but simply because we are his own, and he loved us enough that he sent his only begotten son to die for us. I’ve been told that so many times from ever since I could remember anything, but that time, it really hit home, I really understood. God takes us as we are, regardless of what we’ve done or haven’t done for him, because we are his children. He created us with his own hands, he knows our hearts, he knows our thoughts, he knows what we’ve done, he knows we don’t deserve anything, but he takes us in anyways. Why? Simply for being his original masterpiece.

I could feel him, my team could feel him, the worship team could feel him, every single living thing in that sanctuary could feel him. The Holy Spirit practically shook the place, and many many hearts that night. It was so emotional, just everyone, huddled in together, arms around and upon one another, praying for one another and worshiping our amazing God. We stank of sweat and could feel the body heat from so many people around us, but did we back down and stick to ourselves? Of course not! We huddled up, we cried out to God, we cried on each other’s shoulders. We cried with tears of joy that God could love sinners like us. We cried with tears of sadness as He stripped our pride away. We cried, asking for forgiveness, praying for the weary, thanking Him for all that He’s done for us.

Rereading this, I really can’t seem to find the right words that would really capture the moment… I suppose it’s one of those things where you’ve got to live it for yourself. I can see why people were speechless at first when I asked them about TC… it’s indescribable.

DAY 2

It was mostly the same stuff as DAY 1, interactions, workshops, REC, bible study, intense worship morning and evening, lunch, dinner… we had a lot of sharing going on during the interactions, and it was very comforting to know that we are not alone in our struggles, nor were we meant to be alone. I still find it difficult to wrap my head around the fact that I had only known my team members for little over a day, and already we were sharing as though every hour spent together was a day spent together.

The sermon in the morning was very inspiring, about our mindsets and attitudes in different situations. Are we thinking thoughts of life, or thoughts of death? Thoughts of the Spirit, or thoughts of sin? Thoughts of happiness and joy, or thoughts of depression and believing you have the worst life ever due to so many reasons? We need to capture those thoughts of death, and replace them with thoughts of life, and ask God: “What do you want me to think?” Got me thinking a lot, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if gears were spinning in your own head right now as you’re reading this.

The evening sermon was very motivating as well, about reaching out to those around you and spreading the Good News, telling and retelling the Greatest Story Ever Told to anyone who asks. God opens doors if you ask Him to send you out. He makes things happen beyond our wildest dreams.

One of the stories that Dave told us that was absolutely MINDBLOWING went something like this:

One of Dave’s friends was in the praise group at church, and he had just broke a crucial and expensive part of his guitar. Dave was supposed to be working on an important paper, until out of the blue he thought of his friend and reluctantly decided that he should give him some money, because it was the right thing to do. So he put a hundred bucks in an envelope, scribbled a note: I think this is from God, don’t freak out, and sent it off. Three days later, his friend’s mom called Dave, and told him He had changed her son’s life. How? At the time, Dave’s friend was having doubts about God, and decided he’d test God. He decided he’d give some money to the ministry, and challenged God to show him He is real.

Three days later, he received Dave’s letter, with a hundred bucks (more than 4 times as much as he gave to ministry) and a note saying: I think this is from God, don’t freak out.

God is great, He is good, He is amazing!!!

I mentioned skits earlier in the post, and I just wanted to describe briefly a few of my favourites.

1. Sin, the puppet master – Don’t let sin control you. God already forgave you and broke your chains, all you have to do is throw that puppet master to the ground.

2. Obey – God created the stars, the moon, the planets, the rivers, the oceans, the continents. He had a specific plan for each and every one of them, and they obeyed, and it was good. Then God created man, the ones created in his own perfect and holy image. He uttered one single command: “Come.” And we said no.

3. Trapped – We are trapped behind this glass wall, people judging us, labeling us, and we can do nothing to erase them, but Christ sees us for who we are. He comforts us and holds us tight, and he erases all account of our sins, our labels, for we are made new in Him by His blood.

Life is an adventure, full of experiences out there that God has planned for us… Are you ready to answer the call?

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Light

Re-post from July 2010…


John 1:5 says “And the light shines onĀ in the darkness,Ā butĀ the darkness has not mastered it.”

It’s funny how God works. We’re always asking for “proof.” We always say, if You do this, then we’ll believe how awesome You are. But we always keep asking… I mean whatever happened to “don’t test the Lord your God?” (Sorry don’t know the verse on the top of my head, but it’s somewhere in Matthew I think).

Anyway, because God knows us inside out and in between, he does certain things for us despite all that.

But yeah, going back to the title Light. I was just thinking of the verse above about light, then my iPod, which was on shuffle, started playing the hit song on Tenth Avenue North’s album The Light Meets the Dark. My sister shouted “look at the lights!!” Like I said, kinda cool and funny and weird at how God works. So I thought, why not talk about light on a blog entitled The Light Within??

Well, light. What is light? Is it an element (as in earth, air, water, etc.)? It helps us see, it creates rainbows, it’s on the street, it’s in space, it’s EVERYWHERE! But what is it to us? How can we make it special? I think there’s a light of sorts within us, that God put in there. But what are we supposed to do with it? Stare at it like flies, or put it to good use? I was flipping through a book called “Beyond Jabez” by Bruce Wilkinson and it talked about expanding one’s territory just like in Jabez’s prayer (found in 1 Chronicles 4). At first I thought it was all about actual territory and physical belongings, but as I was reading in Wilkinson’s book, I realized that, why would God want us to want have stuff that we may want and not actually need? No, what territory meant was people. The number of people whose lives can be changed for the better by God, through you.

But back to light. (if you haven’t figured it out by now, I am easily distracted :P) So, what if God put a light in us for a reason? Well, be a lighthouse. Use that light inside of you to call people home throughout the darkness of this world.

Okay, so that’s the inside light, but what about the outside light? Surely that’s special too. Well, of course it is… It literally keeps everything alive with the power of the sun. But how can that help us spiritually? Well, you never know how God will work in your life but it will always be extraordinary and will be so personal in a special way. It will seem like no big deal to others, but for some reason it triggers something.

I used to sit in a parking lot under a tree every morning when I was a kid and look up at the sun through the leaves. (I know, horrible for the eyes) You know how if you look at the sun then look away, there are like dark purple-ish or sometimes green-ish spots in front of your eyes? (If you don’t, good because that means your eyes are fine and you’re no as crazy as I am) well, almost every day when I looked up at that sun, those splotches would form distinct shapes of a sword, a key and the cross. The sword for the bible and truth. The key for Jesus and the way. The cross for God and the life.

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Dream

This is my first re-post… throwback from 2010! It’s amazing to see how I’ve grown, how my writing has grown, and how my voice (of writing) has changed.

I don’t remember finding this excerpt. Reading that post, it really feels like it was a different person’s, and in some ways it was. Either way, I really enjoy this excerpt, especially because it feels like I’m reading it for the first time.


I can count as many scars as successes on the journey to my Dream. The way of the Dreamer is difficult– but anything less is hardly living at all! In fact, I’ve discovered that it’s the only way you and I can find true fulfillment and become all that God created us to be.

The Dream Giver p. 70-1

I call dreams gateways to different worlds. It seems impossible to travel across worlds right? Instead of going there, bring it here. Make your dreams come true…

For the dreamers out there, never give up. The road will be bumpy but it makes the smooth parts a whole lot smoother. Pursue your dream and if the going gets tough, just remember that God has a plan for you, a plan and purpose and he’ll always be by your side, ready to catch you if you fall and providing for you when you ask… And sometimes when you don’t.

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Migration

And this is the other side of the migration.

For those of you visiting from my blogger site, welcome to the new place. Feel free to explore, comment, share, interact – it’s a multimedia space that I hope to soon fill! Again, I’ll be re-posting some of my older nuggets from the old place on here (with maybe some modifications if my thoughts have grown a little), but if there’s one you REALLY want kept intact, let me know.

It’ll be interesting to revisit some old posts, revisiting the archives of who I once was in light of who I am now, seeing the actual evidence of growth. Part nervous, part excited. Ready?

You are loved.

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From Panem’s Capitol to the Factionless

First open post for THST 2450!

Today was a fun class, as usual.Ā The two main things we talked about were privilege andĀ creativity. Or at least, those are the two things I paid most attention to.

First, privilege. Panem’s Capitol. We didn’t actually talk about YA franchises, but I couldn’t title this post with something as boring as “Privilege and Creativity.” I was once again reminded that privilege comes way before gender or race or sexuality or other sensitive categories that we try to put people in. After just coming out of a season of learning to be grateful for everything I have, I was a little disappointed that I had already kind of forgotten about it.

We also did the demonstration of “right place, right time” part of privilege with the throwing a page into the recycling bin. I had seen that on Facebook a few weeks ago. To be born in Canada, in a loving family, a safe household, is a privilege in itself. For the exercise, I was at the farthest point from the bin, so I just fell short of the target (I wonder if I would have succeeded with a Ā paper airplane instead of a crumpled ball…). In fact, I was so far away I couldn’t even see it. I wasn’t too sure what I was aiming for. It was nearly a shot in the dark. How true is that for people in lower social classes?

It’s easy to want success, but without a target, a clear view of where you want to end up, trying, working hard, and putting in all your effort could get you close, but no cigar. This was something that I knew, but didn’t fully realize until now, and how scary that is. It’s especially scary because my dream job, the career I’m aiming for is practically based on “right place, right time.” Am I aiming properly? The TV/film industry is so gated, I have no idea what it’s really like.

The next exercise we did was the “levels.” Taking a step backward or forward to illustrate privilege in specific situations. It was the exact same exercise that I had done at Sanctuary in Toronto, a drop-in centre for the homeless. The questions here didn’t touch race, gender, income and other ones that we did at Sanctuary. There, I was almost up against the back wall, but today I was just a step back or two from the front-most person in the room.

To the same purposes as today’s class, after the exercise at Sanctuary, we went out on a route around a few blocks of downtown, with only some spare change, under two dollars. The route took us to shady places and very public places,Ā and the goal was to find a meal, and find a potential place to sleep. I got cat-called, I saw what might have been a drug deal, I saw a homeless turf war go down, I saw where prostitutes get clients… it was definitely an eye-opener to how different the world is when you have privilege and when you don’t.

As for the Factionless from Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, it is my not-so-subtle segue into creativity. The Factionless, who are the homeless in that particular world, are similar to the Divergent. The Divergent don’t fit into any one faction. Their strengths lie in a combination of the factions. We talked about how nothing is original in and of itself, but rather the recombination of unoriginal components is what makes us and our work unique. Another connection to Divergent was the Divergent thinking exercise.

Pick a random object and think of 100 other things that it could be. I love that exercise. I had heard of it in Sir Ken Robinson’s talk before, but I hadn’t actually tried it. I like to think that I would be good at it and be a divergent thinker, but such is not the case unfortunately (but we did get to 57 things). Ever since I stopped playing with toys, I’ve been somewhat aware of my creativity and its “decline.” When I’m not at school sitting and being anaesthetized creatively, I’m doing homework. Following a rigid structure, rigid rules, finding the exclusive correct answer that is required for reward.

For years, my Mom has been telling me, “never lose your imagination,” and I have taken those words to heart. But preserving my capacity for imagination is getting harder and harder for me now, naturally. What with planning for the future, but also living in the present, I draw more and more blanks on new, cool ideas. My creativity in terms of the stories I want to tell are automatically driven by some sort of ideology, rather than just for fun, for experimentation, like I used to when I played with dole, or built new things with my Legos. I’d like to go back, or relearn how to dream. How to draw instant inspiration from anything that I can lay my eyes on.

If ever I have the privilege of owning a home in the future, or at least a space to call my own, I know what my dream work space would be. ƀ la “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” half the room would be dedicated to the digital, and the other half to the analog. An entire wall will be turned into a chalk board, I’ll have a large white board and a large cork board. There will be a large desk with my organized mess: sticky notes, books, journals, Lego, clay, paint, sketch books, bristol boards, scrap paper, construction paper, sharpies, etc. Then on the digital side, I’ll have my iMac with Final Draft, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Suite. I’ll have cameras, tripods, lights and microphones, maybe even a projector, screen and smart board… it will be glorious. Knowing me, I might set up a cot and just live there and never leave. After all, time, hunger, thirst and sleep seem to vanish when I’m in the zone and have that creative flow going.

A creativity lab… there it is, there’s the familiar high that comes with flexing my imagination muscles. Imagining the details, daydreaming about what newborn projects I would usher into the world, fantasizing about what that kind of life would look like…

Though it doesn’t do it justice, it’s a rush thatĀ kind of feels/sounds like this:

Huzzah!

Coming Soon!

So I’ve noticed that my hit/view count is going up. Don’t know who’s exploring (it could even be myself, which would be embarrassing), but I thought I’d take this moment to give anyone out there stumbling upon this page a little heads up.

For the next little while the content that will be popping up here will be inaccessible, or at least it should be. A lot of the content that IĀ plan to put up beyond the protected posts, won’t be around for possibly a few months. Or I might start next week. I haven’t quite decided yet.

But yes, if the former is the case and you want a taste of what will eventually be coming, take a look at this little page:

http://thelightwithin-mk.blogspot.ca

Stay tuned folks!

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