Archive for September, 2008

Done with Romans

Today we finished Romans. I was thrilled to find so many insights while meditating on verses 1-16, the section containing personal greetings from Paul to those in the Roman church. However, I didn’t articulate those insights too well today during service.

Now that we’re done with Romans, what should we do? A pastor friend of mine recommended Iain Duguid’s sermons on the Old Testament to me. I listened to one on Numbers 31, and it was very pastoral in tone and full of insight despite its shortness (30 minutes). Maybe we’ll start listening to him and get some Old Testament teaching.

It was encouraging to hear Justin singing during praise. He has more personality now compared to before, when he was a bit anti-social and terse. His younger brother Austin’s still a little out of it during service, but seeing Justin stay awake during service is definitely encouraging.

Today we had 19 people including me. That’s the most we’ve had in a while. My entire family has been happy because of that: my parents, my brother, even my grandparents.

In the past few months, I haven’t been praying for a pastor to come to LEM, but after going to the two outreach seminars we had for KCM, I feel more motivated to pray bigger prayers. The reason I didn’t pray for a pastor was because of our previous experiences and the lack of growth stemming from lack of long-term commitment. But I can pray for a pastor who will not be like previous pastors. I can pray that we will get a pastor who will stay with us and shepherd us for a long time. I can pray for solid foundations so we can start getting our own elders, deacons, and lay leaders, teachers, and servant workers. I’m going to pray because God is more than capable of making it happen.

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I’m always tired after church

I thought everything was fine and good when I spent Friday night and Saturday morning choosing the Romans 15 John Piper sermon we would watch/listen to on Sunday. I was going to line up for the USC v. Ohio State football game at 10 am in the morning and would be there the entire day, so I had to prepare for church ahead of time. The previous two weeks I prepared my own message, and they turned out well. Today, things didn’t turn out so good.

We started late, and the sermon, which sounded okay to me when I previewed it, seemed long-winded and hard to understand (from the kids’ perspective) when we listened to it during service. I realized I could say the same things Piper was saying but in a more understandable way. So I got up after the video finished and recapped what the sermon was about so that they would be able to clearly understand how to apply Romans 15 to their lives. I realized that me doing the work and coming up with my own way of saying things would probably be better than taking the “easy” way out by watching or listening to someone else. There’s value in it, especially if it is a good sermon, but our group is pretty unique, so I will be more careful next time.

We shared prayer requests after the offering song. After all four of the junior high girls shared their prayer requests about tests they had this week, we asked the boys if they had any requests. Brian and John raised their hands. I thought Brian would say something serious. Instead, he said, “Can you pray that we get more hot girls at our church?” Wow, I thought. The language and mindset surrounding his request weren’t new to me, but the fact that he said this during service took me aback. Little 9th grade punk thinks he’s all that. Imagine the filth surrounding him in school.

An old member came back after over a year after leaving our church. She’s a senior in high school, which balances out the young crowd. She came last week, and it was so encouraging to have her kindness and affirmation with us. I look forward to having her be a leader and care for the kids in ways that I cannot. It was a prayer answered.

Psalm 31

9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief;
my soul and my body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my iniquity,
and my bones waste away.

An unseen perpetrator

I was biking back from the gym this morning when I saw a white BMW Z4 M with its driver side window smashed in. Only the window had any damage, so I knew it was a break-in, not a car accident. I’d seen the car several times before since it’s parked only a few houses down from where I live. It didn’t have its license plates yet, but the owner had already put in a shiny silver USC alumni license plate frame (it’s a good feeling to have that USC license plate frame on your car). I came back home, showered, went to class, and as I came back from class, I saw him next to his car with his girlfriend, on the phone and sounding a little shaken. It must have been a horrible feeling.

This could have happened to anyone. It must have sucked even more because it was a nice car, but it’s still a miserable feeling for anyone who has stuff taken from them. The car isn’t safe with its window missing. At least he doesn’t have to worry about the elements ruining the interior soon. The person was probably thinking, why me? Of all people, why me? A road of hassle, phone calls, and paperwork lies ahead for him, and I hope he makes it through okay.

Take care lest I forget…