Easter

Re-post. I wrote this post shortly after my time with TCMT13. Yes, I went back. One of the things that we did frequently was have communion together, and these are my thoughts on it.

Also, easter marks my baptism anniversary… this was my first year. :’)


Another year on TCMusic… way too much happened to retell in a post or ten, but it was amazing and memorable and the team is my second family 🙂

On easter Sunday as I was standing there with a broken cracker in my hand for communion, I was reminded of what we’d say to each other on the tcmusic team when we did communion:

The body of Christ broken for you, the blood of Christ shed for you.

And that first statement alone hit me with every word.

Let’s break it down.

THE BODY.
Whenever we speak of Christ’s suffering, it’s usually on the cross, but it started long before that. Christ is fully human, fully God. He had a body, a mortal, fragile body. But this didn’t simply happen, he had to be born just like the rest of us. He was clothed in majesty and glory with angels and cherubim singing his praises forever. He was living greater than any king or celebrity could ever imagine. But he gave it all away. He gave it ALL up. He became a baby, who couldn’t talk, couldn’t walk, couldn’t dress himself, feed himself, he was UTTERLY helpless. From having everything to nothing, not even the power or strength to hold his head up. And from that moment on, he had to suffer through everything we have to suffer through in life, and more. As a child he got scolded by his parents. As a man he was tempted, and he was both praised and mocked. He was betrayed and denied by his friends, he was popular but hated. And then he was tortured. From sweating blood, to thorns in his skull, to shredding his skin off, to being forced to walk however many miles or km, bearing the weight of the cross… he suffered, in his human body, and I haven’t even gotten to the crucifixion yet. How it must have burned to choose to keep suffering when he could have spared himself of the pain. Christ had a body, just like ours. He knows our pain, he knows our suffering, he went through it and beyond what most of us could even imagine. Because all of the above is JUST the physical.

OF CHRIST
Christ. A name so carelessly tossed around. So meaningless to many who speak it. But who is Christ? He is the Son of God. The messiah, the one who gave it all away in obedience to the Father, and who loved this world and its people enough to be willing to suffer for our sake. Suffer physically yes, but suffer so much more spiritually. He had to absorb the wrath of the Father, the wrath meant for us. Christ’s ‘loss’ when he left heaven all the way up until he was nailed to that cross is nothing compared to the wrath of God. Utterly scorned, abandoned, by your own father.

IS BROKEN
So let’s back track a bit. The body (fully human, fully God) of Christ (the second person of the trinity) is broken.
What?
Christ, who had a perfect body who cannot get sick, get weaker or stronger, now has a fragile human body. And it’s been broken. Torn. Shredded. Tortured. It’s not only broken it’s massacred, murdered.

FOR YOU.
When I got to this part, I was ready to sit down. All that. All that Christ gave up. All that Christ suffered. All that he let happen and stopped from happening, was not for his own glorification. It was not to get attention. It was his purpose here. He did all of that… FOR YOU. Yes, you, on the other side of the screen. He suffered, so that you wouldn’t have to. So all that happened to Christ, was for YOU. Why? He loves you. Not this greco-roman idea of love, but true, biblical love. Where the head or the authority, just takes the gloves off, and ‘volunteer as tribute’ if you will and says I’m first, if anything bad must happen.

This is love.

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The Beatitudes

Re-post. This is my take away from a great sermon at a NYCBC coffeehouse (where I also got to catch up with fellowship friends and TC family. It was so refreshing.)


Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:1-11

That’s a lot of scripture. I’m always amazed at the richness of literature in the bible 🙂 Anyway.

At a glance, in verses 3-10, the words that pop out are POOR, MOURN, MEEK, HUNGER, THIRST, MERCIFUL, PURE, PEACEMAKERS, PERSECUTED.

In other words, at a glance, it seems like this passage is saying, I can only have God’s blessing if:
1. I’m poor
2. Someone close to me died
3. I’m a pushover
4. I’m trying to be perfect
5. I’m a pure hearted do-gooder 24/7
6. I’m a pacifist
7. I’m always getting beat up (verbally and/or physically)

It seems kinda rough if I have to go through all that just to get God’s blessing. If he’s so loving, why do I have to be poor? Why can’t I stand up for something? Why does someone have to die? I’m not perfect, why should I try? Why should I get beat up?

So, that’s just at a glance, what does it REALLY mean?

Blessed are the POOR IN SPIRIT, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The speaker was looking at this passage, and for this verse in particular, he told us a story:

There was a king who was old, and had no successor. So he announced that the child who can impress him will be his successor. In the town square, every child was given a pot and a seed, and they were told to grow a beautiful flower for the king. Of course, all the parents were excited and wanted their child to become king or queen. A little orphan boy also received a pot and a seed, and he watered his seed, made sure it had lots of sunshine, but as the weeks went by, nothing grew.

Nothing came out of that soil. As he looked at other houses when he went out, he saw giant, magnificent flowers in the windows, and he became discouraged. Soon, it was time for each child to show the king what they had grown. Of course, as everyone was gathered, all the parents were so excited, hoping that their child will become king or queen. But the little orphan boy, with just his pot of dirt, was ashamed, especially with all these wonderful flowers there, so he hid behind one of the pillars.

So one by one, the children brought their flowers to the king, and when the last one was done, the king asked if there was anyone else. Then one of the guards at the back spotted the orphan boy and brought him from behind the pillar. When the king saw his pot of dirt, he asked what happened. The orphan boy told him that he tried to take care of his seed, made sure it was watered and had enough light, but nothing grew.

The king then announced that this orphan boy will be his successor. The children were meh, and you can imagine the parents were in uproar. All the other kids worked hard caring for their plants, and look how pretty those plants became… this kid has nothing. The king then told everyone that was there that he planted dead seeds in every pot. All these plants are not the ones he gave the children.

The poor in spirit, doesn’t mean depressed, it means humility. Acknowledging the fact that we have absolutely NOTHING of worth to offer to God, let alone impress him. Some people think of God as a comedian, and we are the audience, and no one laughs.

I believe it’s the other way around. God is the judge, and we’re on stage, auditioning, showing every thing we’ve got under God’s scrutiny, hoping that we’ll get that big break. Except, our best is not good enough.
Some of you might think sarcastically, “well that’s encouraging…” and you’re right, it isn’t, but let’s look at the other Beatitudes.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
 
Mourning here, doesn’t mean mourning someone who died, or being sad in general. In context, mourning, is the mourning of our poverty of spirit. We want to be rich in spirit, closer with God, understanding who He is and why He does what He does.
So, our best is not good enough, which is not at all encouraging at all until Jesus comes into the picture. In this whole audition analogy, Jesus is like your golden ticket. Where, it doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, you get in. Not only that, you get to CHOOSE whether you want the golden ticket or not. Haha, if you have Jesus, if you have that golden ticket, it’s like you have one of those VIP passes 🙂
And that’s what it means when it says they will be comforted. If you acknowledge that you have nothing to impress the judge, and you opt for the golden ticket, you got no worries, you’re comforted that you don’t have to impress the judge to get in. You still have to perform, but you have that safety net of already being in. At that point, the purpose of performing is not to get in, it’s to get better and clean up your act.
Now that I think about it, it’s all kinda backwards, but in a good way.
Normally, you practice, then you perform, then you get in if you’re good enough.
But in this case, you get in, then you practice to get good enough.
So what’s your act?
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
 
Meek DOES NOT EQUAL weak.
Yes it means humility, it means turning the other cheek, it means sacrifice, but those things don’t make a person weak. In fact, it takes more strength to be meek than not.
David was meek before Goliath, his little sling humbled before Goliath’s might sword. But he won. (1 Samuel 17)
Esther was meek before Xerxes, king of Persia, when she came before him to save her and her people (the Jews) from genocide. The Jews were delivered, and the mind behind the plot was hanged on his own gallows. (Esther 7)
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were meek when they allowed the king Nebuchadnezzar’s guards to take them to the furnace to be burned alive for worshipping God instead of the king’s gods and idols. They survived the furnace. (Daniel 3)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
 
To hunger and thirst for righteousness, obviously implies that we don’t have it (going back to the “our best is not good enough”).
It means longing for it, preferring it as well as pursuing it.
Romans 3:10 says, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” So we can never be completely perfect and righteous in God’s eyes, but that’s no reason to not try to come close 🙂
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
What does showing mercy look like? What does it mean?
It means not holding someone’s faults against them, and it means NOT giving them a punishment or treatment they deserve.
So being merciful… why should we?
Because of God’s mercy, we are not treated as our sins deserve (hell is an option not a destination). If we’ve been forgiven, what right do we have to not show mercy to someone who’s wronged us?
(See Matthew 18:21-34)
Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God.
 
Pure in heart isn’t just being righteous. It is devoting your heart to one thing, and one thing only: God. Naturally, if God is at the centre of our every priority, we’ll see God in the consequences of our actions, in the actions themselves, and in Heaven.
It’s not easy, there are a lot of “pretty things” to distract us in the world, and a lot of things that we have to have faith in to be pure hearted… so let’s see how that works out:
If everyone put God at the centre of every priority, children would obey their parents, parents would love their children, wives would respect their husbands, husbands would love their wives, there’d be no sexual immortality and STDs, everyone would serve everyone else (so no wars or starving countries), there wouldn’t be any greed (so no rich getting richer, poor getting poorer business), etc.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
 
In the bible, there are two kinds of people: Jews and Gentiles. So anyone who’s not a Jew is obviously a Gentile. Now, these two groups did NOT mix at all, and they resented one another.
So when Christ died on the cross and paid for the sins of both Jew and Gentile, both were reconciled to God, and to each other (but not everyone liked that idea… see pharisees and sadducees XP). In this way, He is THE peacemaker, between the people, and God.
So being a peacemaker in this context is not just stopping war, it’s sharing in Christ’s mission: bringing people to God and developing a relationship.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
 
This part is not fun. It’s beyond our comfort zone, and it’s frankly terrifying. But when I think of what Christ went through… we get to share in His suffering, and therefore His reward. Also note, how Christ brings this whole sermon full circle. The first Beatitude ends with “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” and the last Beatitude ends with the same thing 😀
Anyway, persecuted because of righteousness:
Christ was arrested, whipped, flogged, beaten, spat upon, wore a crown with 2-3 inch thorns driven in his skull, mocked, pulled until his arm was dislocated, and nailed to a cross. Before that, he was insulted and lied about too. And that’s just in the physical. Spiritually, God’s wrath crushed Him.
Him, instead of us.
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TCWT12 – Day 4: Seniors II

Re-post. Part 5 of 5. Recap vid here:


LAST DAY OF TC!!!!!

I’ll try to keep this one brief since most of the day was pretty similar to the previous 3.

I’d say the only thing that was different was that everything was MUCH LOUDER and even harder to try and get some sleep.

Funny story… After spending lots of down time journaling, praying, just meditating on everything that I’ve learned from this experience so far, I went up to the Sanctuary, lay down in the back pew and tried to get some sleep, earphones in to drown out any other sounds. Some of the media girls were already there, as was Funfun so I think they slept, but during a break within songs, the conversation of the workshop going on caught my attention for some reason.

I think it was about how to respond to those tough questions that friends have probably asked you because you’re a Christian.

Q: What do you say to someone who’s gay?
A: Just say “Hi!” God calls us to love unconditionally 😀

Q: Is God real?
A: This question took up a lot of time as you can imagine, and we got a very sidetracked but the speaker managed to bring it all back. He just did a quick Christianity vs. Evolution because there was an entire workshop on that question happening in another room. But in a nutshell, and I agree with this for now, that according to the Theory of Evolution, every human being alive, every newborn baby is a mistake, a sum of mistakes over time. No one is supposed to be here, we’re all here by accident. And because we’re here by accident, there’s no purpose in life. Without a purpose in life, without a God that will judge us at the end of our life, we are free to do WHATEVER WE WANT. Go ahead, drop school, go do some fun crimes, if you die, so what? You weren’t supposed to be here anyway. With evolution, it is implied that morals and ethics are as worthless as the bubbles in your coke: it’s just chemistry.

Obviously there’s still an enormous amount of debate going on, but this question of where we came from has been asked since the beginning of history, and whether the Earth is thousands or millions of years, there’s still no way for us to be 100% sure of what happened in the past. And while there is “evidence” you can often use the same evidence to prove opposite points, which just keeps us chasing our tails and causing more division and more resentment.

ANYWAY.

I had to go downstairs and meet up with everyone so I couldn’t stay for the whole workshop.

So that morning, Christine did a sermon on the need for continual cleansing.

Jesus took on the task of a lowly servant and washed the disciples’ feet, to symbolize the spiritual cleansing. We are declared righteous, saved, sanctified in Jesus Christ.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:8-9

We CAN’T claim to be sinless. We need to be cleansed, like taking a “spiritual shower” of love and grace. We are NOT cleansed by DOING things, although we do strive on towards the goal and prize of salvation. We are cleansed by repenting, admitting that we are dirty and broken, as well as accepting Christ’s forgiveness. 

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Phillippians 3:12-14

We need to confess our sins to one another… keep each other ACCOUNTABLE to stop sinning. Just because we are sinful by nature, does not make it an excuse to say, “I can’t help myself”. It’s still possible to sin less.

We’ve all sinned and done something crazy/stupid, so no one can judge, no on evan blame another for something. From the judgmental “woooooooooowww” to “hey… you know what? I’ve done that too.”

In confessing, your deep, dark, secret sin that only you know, that sin is laid down into the light and CLEANSED.

Though our sin is like scarlett, Jesus washes it til it’s white as snow.

We need to repent DAILY and cleanse DAILY.

So how is cleansing good news? I love this analogy she made:
It’s like going to a doctor and you get diagnosed with cancer. It’s good that it was found, since it was always there. Then, say the cancer is CURABLE. Removable, whatever.

That is good news!

The fact that you were dying, suffering, but that you have a chance to live on!

Going back to that song, Before the Throne of God Above

Because a sinless saviour died
My sinful sound is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me(emphasis mine)

In our little corner outside the Sanctuary, Planning Committee put up encouragement verses to each team, including the speakers.

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:22-25

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.

2 Corinthians 1:3-7

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ… We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

2 Corinthians 4:6, 8-10

So I mentioned that each of us on the team had some down time to just reflect on the past 3 days and everything that’s happened so here’s a bit of what I wrote…

Our God is able, He has done GREAT things. It’s the last day of TC and I haven’t REALLY been convicted of anything. I feel like, up ’til now, I haven’t taken anything away except for just having fun. but as I sit here, sink down under the weight of… I don’t even know, I feel Him. I hear Him. Like a gentle whisper in my heart, a silent embrace of love around my soul. MY GOD IS ALIVE!!

I won’t worry about the hundred tomorrows, I’ll trust in what You say.

God, you are so amazing, that you can use so many writings to speak to me, INCLUDING my own. Lord, I pray for your wisdom, for your comfort, and for your glory Lord. On the last day of TC, tonight, be with us all in your house. Make your presence INCREDIBLY LOUD to us so that more might come to you, might be freed… Cleanse me Lord, I want to be with you. I feel bad that I’m always asking, asking, asking, and even though you don’t five all the time, when you give, you deliver and you make it the best there is. So thank you 😀 Thank you for being who You are and always being by my side. I will seek you in the morning, and I will learn to walk in your ways, and step by step you’ll lead me and I will follow you all of my days…

In your glorious name,
Amen.

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TCWT12 – Day 3: Seniors I

Re-post. Part 4 of 5


Seniors.

Not old people… well… oldER people… grade 10-12s!!!

Rinse, wash and repeat.

For the Senior Conference it was basically the same thing, except we had A LOT more time on our hands because we weren’t assigned to teams.

A few of us tried to get some sleep, but I certainly didn’t succeed. Raph was doing homework and Christine and Charis were doing some outstanding legit art, so I did the iPod on face thing 😛 I think it kinda annoyed people though so they gave me earphones LOL.

Haha everyone was taking the smack down pretty seriously, so after nap time, we started singing our rep in our room. Some of us went to workshops, others went to learn their parts on their own and then joined us all in B26.

I took a break and hang out with media for a bit with Raph. We chilled, I got to know some of them a bit better, until the rest of us next door started singing REALLY loud with harmonies and all (it was pretty darn awesome) so we all migrated again. We set up chairs in a circle, and we just worshipped. Eliot came in at some point and fixed us, Michelle SR did too 😀

Next thing we knew, it was 2 hours later, and media had to go for their rehearsal. We followed them (heehee) and watched them rehearse, and experience first hand what El and Lorr were talking about when they talked about media in our smack down.

Us music kids got to participate in their piece called MOBS to kind of fill in their mob and have more than just 10 people. It was… interesting… to be an angry member wanting to destroy God. It was REALLY hard not to laugh, but again, their coach James talked to us about the striving for excellence, and it was very beneficial observing media and how they work.

Maybe it’s because we can get away with blips in music that we’re very laid back and not a very serious bunch, but watching them and their “no tolerance for mistakes” was incredibly inspiring 😀

Christine Lee, the speaker for the Seniors was always a joy to be around, but to be honest, I was so tired I couldn’t really concentrate on the sermons… SO GOOD THING I TOOK NOTES hehe 😛 (from the powerpoint)

Everyone struggles with sin, and sometimes it’s the same sin from youth to maturity. What’s often the most personal is the most universal… you’d be surprised how many people can relate to your story 😀

Alright, sin. So what? Why do we need to be spiritually cleansed?
1. The peace in your heart (1 Peter 1:24)
2. Confidence in life (Jeremiah 29:11)
3. Victory over sin (1 Corinthians 15:57)
4. Wisdom of the Word
5. Eternal Life <- comes only through this cleansing

^Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere (Psalm 84:10)

But above all, here are the MAJOR reasons for our continual need for spiritual cleansing:
1. The Glory of God
-Psalm 19:1
-Isaiah 43:6-7

2. ONLY GOD SATISFIES
-Psalm 17:15

Hmmm…

God you are amazing… beyond description, there isn’t a word that best describes you in your entirety, in your perfect love, and holy presence.

At the beginning of each conference they played a call of worship video. It’s amazing how simple words, and soft music could do so much. I know for me both times I watched it, I couldn’t help but take slow deep breaths and just calm my heart, close my eyes, and smile…

I don’t remember the words exactly, and I hope it goes on YouTube, though I doubt it, but I wrote down my thoughts in my journal as it was playing.

YOU ARE HERE.

TCWT12 – Day 2: Juniors II

Re-post. Part 3 of 5.


ALRIGHT.

So after a long and tangent full debrief at Lorr’s (and more “Ryan/Thew moments” <- cheese, who knew these two quiet kids could be so funny?!) we went to bed, and some of us skipped on showering ’cause we’re cool, efficient, and eco-friendly like that.

The rest of the day, schedule-wise anyway was pretty much a repeat. With the exception of course that this was the junior’s last day of the conference and they were much more excited and into the games and open to sharing during interactions and lunch. Music-wise, both sessions were MUCH better but there was still so much to do… more about that later 😛

Ho-ming’s sermons were really good that day, although I think I connected with day 1 stuff more. Hence, it’s kinda fuzzy already and I don’t want to accidentally twist what he was saying. I think the evening sermon was about the Gospel though 🙂

Throughout the day we got to watch media rehearse a bit, which was REALLY awesome.

One of my favourite pieces that they did was Jar of Hearts. It was more of a dance, but the stage presence was incredible, personifying how we’re not strong enough. How sin just plays with us, and we waste our time trying to please it, trying to please our selfish desires. How also, that by Christ’s strength and purification sin is also conquerable 🙂

Heartbeat – Sure, we go to church every Sunday, we read the bible every night, say a quick “Jesus, thank you for the food, in your name we pray, Amen” before eating, but… what does it all mean? What is it all for ESPECIALLY if we’re cheating in school, we’re having unhealthy relationships, being disrespectful to our parents, and just not following Christ’s commands in general? What is it all for if you’re only a Christian on Sundays and Fridays? Our spirit, just like the body needs healthy food, or else it will die, your heart beating at a slower and quieter pulse every time we sin, bringing us closer and closer to a spiritual death. The only way to be revived is to be cleansed in God’s love and grace 🙂

Another piece, that might have been during Day 1, but I forgot to mention was Charcoal. It’s so easy for us to be tainted with sin, and yet it always happens so subtly. Gradually, we tarnish ourselves with selfish and evil desires, and we don’t even realize until we are downright filthy, and the only way to be white as snow once again, is through the Lamb who is worthy to be slain for our sake, Jesus Christ.

They also showed a video that they had filmed earlier (NEAR MY SCHOOL!! HAHA) called CRASH. It’s really hard sometimes to believe in a God when life comes crashing down and explodes in your face. It’s especially hard when, if you are finding it hard to believe in God, to see Christians always so happy and smiling when life explodes in their face. In this video, Matt rediscovers God’s peace and grace when Jesse is called home in a car accident through a letter he wrote to Matt just before he “died”. (Hopefully this goes up on YouTube, so I can post it… and everyone’s fine btw… just thought I’d put that.)

Another one of my favourites, which is already posted in the TC VIDEOS post, is called Time, reminding us of the importance of urgency to spread the Gospel, and to be ready for Christ’s return. (GO WATCH IT BELOW!)

This was actually taken during the Senior Conference, but it’s the same skit 😛

Wow so much happened, I totally forgot to mention the amazing opening they did that morning (or maybe the morning of day 1. GAHH!!)

Masters – We must keep watch and be diligent in seeking God DAILY and not be pulled away from God by our own selfish desires and by Satan’s lies.

This is all in terrible chronological order, but I guess my brain’s a little scattered at the moment 😛

So earlier in the day, we got a smack down from our coaches… haha the “talk before the big game”. It felt really weird, and not at all offending surprisingly, to finally get down to business and put the fooling around far aside for a little while. It was nice in a way (again, surprisingly) to hear all the things that we did wrong, and all the things that those mistakes might have affected. There was also a lot of alluding to media and their excellence on stage, and our lack thereof. Looking back, it should’ve hurt, but it didn’t… like, at all. I don’t know, I guess I just kind of went, OK. Let’s do this. I spent the next while before going on stage solidifying harmonies and lyrics, lying down with my iPod on my face (I didn’t bring my earphones ok! The speakers are really low on the iPod too 😦 ). On top of the smack down though, just before we went on stage, they also reminded us to just WORSHIP. We’ve got this, we rehearsed it 50 thousand times, just gotta get our heads in the game and not worry about the music… worry about your hearts. Are you POURING your heart and soul out to God? This was the Juniors’ last night of the Conference for the year, gotta make it one they’ll remember with God.

All in all, the smack down helped A LOT, and definitely added to the experience. As always there are things that could’ve gone better, but the response we got was amazing. At Ho-ming’s altar call, I had never seen so many people come up and praying and crying and worshipping. About half if not more came up praise God!!

We did a quick send off and once we kicked 600 kids out, we promptly made our way to Lorr’s house, prepping to do it ALL over again (rinse, wash, and repeat) for the Seniors, only better — I mean…

😀

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TCWT12 – Day 1: Juniors I

Re-post. Part 2 of 5. Recap vid here:


I think after getting settled and showering and all that, we (well the girls anyway) went to bed at around 2 am. Next thing we know, it’s 4 hours earlier… RISE AND SHINE!!! Some of us were up before then to shower… SO MANY OF US!!

Morning waking up things, breakfast (waffles and pop tarts :D) and away we went to RH3C. After a Tim’s run of course 🙂 mmm French Vanilla…

On a side note, I later discovered the warming but refreshing peppermint tea. MY NEW TIM’S DEFAULT DRINK!

But yeah…

7:30 ish, we’re in the sanctuary setting up, sound checking, rehearsing for our FIRST SET OF THE CONFERENCE :O

When we were done we went downstairs had a mini debrief, calmed the few nerves we had and did Holy tingz 😛 Oh and we drank our coffee 😀
Morning session went really smoothly, everyone was really excited and we stopped worrying about the music so much and just worshipped 🙂 Ho-ming had a great message about idols and how we’re very protective of them in the treasure chest of our hearts. So many times we go to these empty wells for satisfaction, when God is there, and He’s ALL we need.
Media has been blessed yet again with so much talent and creativity. The skits and monologues this year were outstanding! The opening of course was our flashmob which was pretty fun. One of the other ones they did made you think a bit about why you’re at TC. For the hype? Your friends? Your parents signed you up and forced you to go? Or for God? Another skit they did that morning was called Vending Machine talking about the different gifts God has given us. Oh and they also did the rules video which was really funny 😛 [to be posted later]
For junior we were assigned teams, so we went to our first interaction after that. (TEAM CORE!!!) My captains, Josh and Rebecca were awesome, as well as John and Kat our coaches. A lot of the other kids on my team were quiet ’cause they were younger and for some this was their first time at TC. We did the introductions and learned the team cheer which was actually really cool 🙂 Soon it was time for lunch (yay subs!) so we headed upstairs, got a little bit rowdy (R-O-W… D-Y!) and ate. Near the end J-To did one of his spoken words which was really cool to watch. I forget now unfortunately what it was about 😦
After lunch was workshops. I forgot which one I had signed up for, so I just picked one and stayed there: Mormons and Bubble Tea. There was no bubble tea, but I did learn a bit about Mormons, their theology, the differences between it and Christianity even though they use the same terms, and what to do if you encounter a mormon. There were also some things that we can learn from mormons like their dedication and commitment and guarding their innocence. They spend 2 years doing missions work after high school before going to university. If Christians did that… how far would God’s kingdom be furthered? Also during those 2 years, they study their scripture every. single. day. Again, if Christians did that… would not our abilities to back up what we say be SO MUCH stronger?? They also wear “magic underwear” to not be revealing and to guard their innocence. While we don’t have to wear the thing, we can still be conscious of what we wear, the brands, the messages, the cut, etc. Because ultimately, people watch us and use us as examples. If Christians are wearing their jeans low or loose/low v-necks, definitely sends the wrong message. I think there were 8 things to do if you encountered a mormon, and I don’t remember them all, but the two that stuck out to me was: 1. Know your Bible and 2. Love them unconditionally.
Next was INTERACTION 2. Bible study on Hosea 🙂 [Hosea, Hosea, your wife was such a playa] ANYWAYS…
Hosea 1:1-11 and Hosea 3:1-5
As described in the passage, this whole situation represented the sins of Israel. Gomer was married to Hosea but was a prostitute, loving other men. Israel was God’s chosen people, but they turned from Him and worshipped idols. Most people would say that Hosea had the right to be mad, and in the same way, God was mad. But in His love and mercy, He would reconcile the Israelites to Him and forgive them. So how have we cheated on God?
I left the Bible Study a bit early to go to the sanctuary to rehearse for the evening session… MY FIRST SET OF THE CONFERENCE!!!

We had dinner and soon we were up on stage!

The set went well, always things to improve, but I just sang for God. It was a little weird at first ’cause this was the icebreaker (haha testing the waters) but ultimately God was glorified 😀

Media did their pieces, one was called the Proposal which captivated the Hosea story using a conversation between bride and groom. Even though the bride was totally undeserving of the groom’s love, and even though it broke the groom’s heart to see her in such a state, he loved her all the same with all his heart. (Great skit Matt and Grace!)

One of my favourite pieces of the conference was called Screwtapes where people came before a religious looking guy, calling him Lord, with prayers. The one they called Lord used scripture to comfort them and teach them or condemn them, but taking it grotesquely out of context and taking love out of the equation. Finally when one of the girls, Agnes, came up and repented, wanting to change, the man said nothing, only shifting in his seat. Again, he used scripture to send her away. When she ran, he got up and turned to show his face. “Surely you mustn’t be surprised. For even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.”

Here’s an interesting pic during dinner after Jesse got his makeup on for that piece. Plus Gabe with his troll face 😀
Ho-ming’s next sermon was on the 3 ways we take towards God. Every human being has used at least one of these ways.
1. The RELIGIOUS way:
This is the way that some people take, doing things to get to God. Praying more, serving more, doing whatever it is to climb that ladder to get to God.
2. The REBELLIOUS way:
Saying no. My life is only controlled by me, myself, or I. I make my own rules, I do whatever I want, I will do it MY way, because only I know what’s best. I don’t need God.
It’s actually BOTH ways that don’t work. The first way, is like the Pharisees… all show no substance. You do all these things, climb the ladder, but what we don’t realize is that we fall short of God’s glory EVERY SINGLE TIME. No matter what we do can save us, because salvation comes not from works alone. The rebellious way is simply rejecting God, going the TOTAL opposite direction, which usually lands you in tons of trouble anyway.
Gabe (not the one in the picture) also known as Floodgates I think, shared his testimony how he was a Sunday Christian. Raised in a Christian home, but only good on Sundays. The rest of the week, he did his own thing getting into tons of trouble with the law, at home, at school, struggling with his identity, following the crowd, when he decided to find his identity in Jesus Christ. His heart was changed so radically that people noticed right away before even talking to him. Today, his passion to serve is pretty amazing to see and also how far someone can come with God’s strength.
Which brings us to the third way.
3. REDEMPTION
God didn’t make us into human doings, but human beings. We can’t do anything to get to God because of sin. Even if we climbed that ladder, it wouldn’t get us anywhere. No, the only way to God is by being redeemed, cleansed of the sin that separates us from God, through Jesus Christ. How? By admitting that you can’t do it alone, repenting, by accepting that you deserve death in Hell but Christ took your place and punishment and rose from the grave out of His undying LOVE for you. On Sunday we sang an old song during worship called Before the Throne of God Above, and the whole song I think captures what Christ has done for us, but this one part sticks out the most to me:
Because a sinless saviour died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me
We went a little behind schedule (ermm half an hour… :/) but finally we went home debriefed, laughed A LOT and got side tracked but just talked about the stuff we’d learned, the things we need to improve on musically, etc. I think we went to bed at around… 1 ish? Anyway… Teen’s Conference Junior Day 1 😀
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TCWT12 – Day 0

Re-post. And this is the first post of 5 that chronicle every single day that I spent at TC12. It was on this team that I learned what real community looked like.


WHOA WHAT AN EXPERIENCE. I’m writing this exactly a week after the actual events.

ANYWAY.

This whole experience actually started on Saturday at Sanctuary, and continued the next day at RHCBC, our FINAL rehearsal ’til TC!!

After a few hours of rehearsing and getting yelled at to LEARN OUR CHORDS we went out for dinner where some of us got a canto crash course, and we indeed did crash. 😛

When we got back to RHCBC we chilled a bit with the media and A/V teams, got to know everyone’s names and practiced our flashmob!!! Hehe, after doing it a few times with media, we were challenged to do it just us… and media of course, pulled out every camera and phone they had. They laughed, we laughed… and it was decided that we were no longer going to be put at the front of the stage, but at the back.

There’s a reason why we didn’t sign up for dancing!!!

But anyway, it was OODLES of fun 🙂

So our lovely coaches organized a concert of prayer where awesome Joel shared, and the media coaches shared some tips and pointers and ideas that I had never thought of before. Like how HUMILITY DOESN’T EQUAL THE FEELING OF INADEQUACY, how God has given us gifts to use but also to ENJOY and of course our coaches (WOOT MCLEGSS!!) led us in a beautiful time of worship.

Soon after, the media team left and did their own thing while we stayed in the room. Steve, Terrol, Chris and a couple others played lotsa music and just worshipped for the next two hours while us kids spent that time with God in the dimmed lights. We all found a “happy place” read our bibles, prayed, journaled a bit, or talked to Gable or Michelle about life 😀 After a while we came together in a huge sharing circle lying on our bellies, “dad” started it all off I think, and we just prayed all at once 🙂 All the while, El and Lorr pulled us in one by one and had a one on one check-in, prayed for us, and before long, it was midnight!!

When everyone was finally in the same room, WE GOT OUR HOODIES!!! So cool, especially ‘cuz Mich Jr designed them 😀

 All tired, but inwardly abuzz with excitement for the first day of TC, we packed up and headed over to Lorr’s. (Hehe roll call 1, 2 and 3 had the best spots :D)

AND THUS ENDS SUNDAY.

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Sanctuary

Re-post. I will never ever forget what we learned and experienced that weekend.


As the last weekend before Teens Conference 2012, the worship team hung out at Sanctuary, an agency downtown that helps the homeless, poor and hungry, where we really got to explore what servanthood means.

I remember hearing a bit of a sermon on the radio one morning how Christians almost have their own secret code to weird people out like repentance, servanthood, holy, among others. Most of us have been brought up with this terminology, and all these Sunday school answers, but what does all of it MEAN??? In plain english, how do these terms and concepts apply to our personal everyday lives?

Not that I just noticed this, it’s kind of occurred to me since we started practicing, but… this worship team doesn’t really need me. At all. Everyone is so versatile musically, everyone has incredible talent and a heart for God, and there are FOURTEEN of us. One less singer wouldn’t hurt. In fact, it would probably be easier… But the point is: I don’t need to be there. I’m not entitled to be a part of this team. God doesn’t need me or anyone to experience His presence or to lead an amazing time of worship. If God did it… that would be… unimaginable joy and it would be so much easier and much more efficient to lead people to him. But as my coaches have kind of been drilling into us since day 1:

GOD DOESN’T NEED YOU. HE CHOOSES TO USE YOU, BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU.

Huh?

At first I was kind of all… alrighty then. But now that I’m almost at the end of this part of my journey, this particular segment of my life and how I’m developing spiritually in Christ (<- see how easy it is to get caught up in “Christian” lingo?), it makes sense. God is refining us, purifying us, burning away anything that weighs us down or slows us down, or just hinders as a whole in general. This can be related to parents disciplining a child, trying to reduce or remove a bad habit, or a certain behaviour.

God uses us to shape us and mould us into who he meant us to be. CERTAINLY NOT because he needs us to be there for Him. God holds us up, we never hold God up.

Another thing of servanthood:

Dying to one’s self.

Thinking of others as better than yourself, doing everything without grumbling or questioning/argument, resisting the temptations of your own selfish desires, and doing what God wants you to do instead.

We joked about this a lot, ’cause… well we’re just that kind of bunch 🙂 But in all seriousness, imagine all the problems that would be solved with this system of humility. Marriages, parent-children relationship, employer-employee relationships, all modelled after Christ’s humility and unconditional love, are bound for success, as described in Ephesians 6. Paul talks a lot about serving one another in that chapter, and you might think it’s silly to become “servant-like”, but we are slaves. No matter what. We’re either slaves of Christ, who are treated as family, and serve one another under one master, or we’re slaves of sin. And every time we sin, it is an act of worship to an idol, whatever shape or form it may be, like another person, a statue, another deity, money, sex, addictions, and other parasitical things.

We also got to have a very mild taste of what it’s like to be “powerless” at Sanctuary. First of all, we helped clean up the building, doing chores, sorting, tidying up, basically doing whatever we were told, which was, to my surprise some of the most fun I’ve ever had, and quite therapeutic in an odd sense. It really is the people you’re with that make all the difference 🙂

Secondly, we got to take a walk downtown in the shoes of someone running away from home, fending for themselves on the streets with very limited resources. It was tough, and really reminded me of how BLESSED I am to have shelter, food, a loving family, warmth, and other basic needs. It also made me realize that when we see people in tattered rags, or people who haven’t looked like they’ve showered in weeks, or people who look high and/or drunk, you CAN’T assume that this is the result of a poor life decision, as though what they’re going through is their fault and what they deserve. NO. While sometimes that is the case, other times they are not in this situation because of their own doing. Maybe they were abandoned or it made more sense to leave home, or whatever reason. But these people should not be looked down upon. Easier said than done with all these crooked teachings of society since birth, but, the stories of these people really make you think, and most of all ashamed for our petty, selfish, complaints about nothing, or about a luxury we take for granted every second of our lives, like fast food, grocery shopping, showering, or a bed.

All in all, servanthood: humility, let go of your pride, serve others because we are all the least of these.

Not really sure why I’m up at this hour especially when I’m losing an hour of sleep with DLST, but oh well.

Phillipians 2:1-18 pretty much sum up my entire day today…

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus, who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW!! Day before TC 😀 Bring it.

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Be the Tree…

Re-post. So after that first “experience” at TC 2011, I was eligible to volunteer for future conferences. One of the positions was for the music team. I auditioned and by God’s grace, I “got in.” What with school and practice and rehearsals, I didn’t have much time to blog as I went, but I started recording some of it during “crunch time.”


It’s been an AMAZING journey, and I can’t believe we’re almost there!!! 9 days left til TC!!!!!! Hehe, imagine, about a year ago, I blogged about my first TC experience 😀

Our very first bible study was on Zacchaeus in Luke 19.

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him,“Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

In a nutshell… there are 4 major characters/components to this passage:

1. Jesus
2. Zacchaeus
3. The crowds following Jesus
4. The tree

Yes, the tree.

A lot of times, in the church’s attempt to preach all these good things and follow all the rules, it becomes, just religion and the gospel is lost… it becomes man searching for God, instead of how God searches for man, to be reconciled. (I love that quote. Search “Why I Hate Religion” on Youtube if you haven’t seen this awesome video yet.)

But yeah… the church can sometimes obscure Christ from those who don’t know him yet, just like the crowd did for Zacchaeus.

The tree that this tax collector climbed however, lifted him up ABOVE the crowd so that he can see Jesus. The tree held his weight, stayed out of the way of things, ’cause… well it’s a tree.

IN THE SAME WAY… especially for any leaders out there… are you going to be part of the crowd, making lots of noise, blocking people’s (especially your friends who are are watching you as a Christian and evaluating your example…) view, or are you going to be the TREE. Invisible, carrying Zacchaeus, ALLOWING him to see Jesus?

Particularly for those of you leading worship… Worship is NOT a performance. You should be INVISIBLE on stage, using the musical gifts God has given you to lead a congregation to God, to experience Him.

This next part, v.7-10 are really cool too. This is Zacchaeus, who is a Jew, who is a tax collector. What tax collector did, was basically take money from people and give it to the Gentiles. That’s why a lot of times, in the bible, tax collectors are not usually people people like, ’cause it’s almost like they “betray” their jewish kin… and of course the thing about taking money from people… BUT ANYWAY. Basically, people don’t like Zacchaeus.

So yeah, Jesus goes over to Zacchaeus’ house and dines with him! Zacchaeus, the guy who stole people’s money by taking some of the taxes for himself, ate with Jesus, and promised to pay the people he stole from 4 times as much as he stole. Talk about a sweet deal 😀

The point is… JESUS, God in THE FLESH, chose to eat with this short thief that nobody liked. If God loved the loners, and if we’re called to do likewise, to love people as Christ did: unconditionally, without judgement, and keeping no record of wrong… why aren’t we?

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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 😛

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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