Archive for November, 2007

Defining the Relationship

by Steven Hong

Recent Sunday nights at Lighthouse Bible Church havebeen packed, as a sizeable crowd has been in attendance for the current DTR series. DTR is an acronym for “defining the relationship”, the term du jour for that conversation when a girl and a guy first explore the possibility of moving from friendship to romance, or some variation thereof. This second sermon series on the same subject has come with great anticipation, as Pastor John has been dropping tidbits of it in recent sermons. In a church where the majority of membership is comprised of non-married people, the often confusing and nebulous subject of dating and courtship is a popular conversation topic. However, amidst the discussion, there is unfortunately not a shortage of bad counsel, ranging from unwise to unbiblical. This series is, in part, a response to such advice and confusion floating around.

Entertaining skits and informative interviews have certainly been highlights of these nights, but the main entrees have been our times spent in the Word of God. In the first few sessions, Pastor John’s aim was to lay a strong biblical framework to understand dating. As we entered Reformation Month, he unconventionally, but appropriately, recounted the Five Solas of the Reformation and tied them to dating. After challenging attendees to deconstruct their worldview, which can be subtly but powerfully tainted by secular movies, magazines, and well-meaning but misguided friends, he taught that the Word of God should be the primary source of our principles in approaching romantic relationships. In promoting the sufficiency of Christ (Solus Christus), he so poignantly asked, “The preeminence and centrality of Christ must always be the focus. Is Christ really the most important thing in the relationship?”

In further deconstructing skewed worldviews, Pastor John challenged listeners to reconsider their pursuit of “the magic” that we often find depicted on television or in the movies. The Bible, though not addressing the subject of dating specifically, has much to say about marriage and what a God-honoring marriage is based on and looks like. A successful marriage is not a union based on ephemeralß emotions, but grounded on the firm foundation of God’s truths.

Upcoming sessions promise to be just as provocative, as Pastor John plans to tackle specific subjects such as buliding proper accountability, God-honoring break-ups, sexual purity and working with parents.

In regards to the response thus far, Pastor John has been encouraged. “I think the interviews with the couples as well as the ongoing skits have been wellreceived as they help to provide a different angle in addressing the topic,” he explains. “I hope that people are being challenged and willing to consider how their worldview needs to be adjusted so that they would have the right foundation to build on regarding the issue of not only dating and rlationships, but everything else in life.” It is obvious that the leadership’s ultimate aim, in this and other studies, is to point members to Christ and Christ-centered thinking in every facet of our lives.

If you are interested in supplementing these sessions withadditionalreading, check out theses suggestions from Pastor John:

Suggested Reading

    1. Holding Hands, Holding Hearts by Richard D. Phillips and Sharon L. Phillips.

    2. 5 Paths to the Love of Your Life edited by Alex Chediak

    3. With One Voice by Alex Chediak

    4. Losing That Loving Feeling by Lou Priolo

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Glorifying God in Cyberspace

by Stephanie Shin

The speed and volume of knowledge in the age of the Internet is staggering. Cyberspace has penetrated virtually every domain of human living: sports, communication, finance, shopping, news media, entertainment, religion, and now more than ever, personal journaling, called weblogs or blogs, for short. You know these blogs well in its many forms: Xanga, WordPress, Blogspot, and social networking blogs such as Facebook and Myspace. The web has created a “blogosphere,” a little space on the internet that a person can call their own.

As I personally saw the internet become more heavily integrated into my own life, the questions I heard that related to this topic became more acute: if someone were to track my internet activity, would they be able to identify me as a Christian? Do the blogs I write and the blogs I read reveal a consistency of who I say I am in Christ? Do they reflect the reality of my walk with God? How do I surf the web to the glory of God? These questions have a two-pronged direction towards blogging and web surfing.

On his own website (albertmohler.com), Albert Mohler quotes Rupert Murdoch of the behemoth media conglomerate NewsCorp, “They don’t want to rely on a godlike figure from above to tell them what’s important. They certainly don’t want news presented as gospel. Instead, they want their news on demand, when it works for them. They want control over their media, instead of being controlled by it.” Ironic that Murdoch would use a religious metaphor, but he depicts well the liberty that the web offers, and this not only limited in the news that we read, that most people take for granted. Mohler addresses the new missiological challenge—how is the gospel to penetrate this new virtual reality?

In reference to personal blogs, we can look at the life of Paul, who allowed the gospel to direct all of his life. In 2 Corinthians 10:11, he writes: “Let such a person consider this, that what we are in word by letters when are absent, such persons we are also in deed when present.” In the context, the false apostles accused Paul of writing powerful, influential letters while in reality he seemed to lack the qualities of a truly great leader.

Paul’s response to the apostles was simple: he defended his ministry for the sake of the Corinthians, but his only interest was what his Lord thought of him. He sought to exalt Christ more than himself. Paul’s life was one characterized by the gospel and a desire to submit to the will of Christ—his words aligned with his actions; had he wanted to, he could have more than defended himself against these false teachers. Similarly, in the lives of our personal blogs, can we be sure that the content matches our real-life identity in Christ? Have our words become greater than we really are?

Recently, Pastor Patrick memtioned a post on Rick Holland’s blog during a sermon discussion. It served as a pretty harsh but helpful rebuke. Holland writes: “Most blogs are masquerades. They make people look like something they’re not. Bloggers pose as theologians, philosophers, statesmen for causes, even spokesmen for Christianity when they are little more than guys with some computer savvy and a strong opinion.”

Over a hundred years ago, William Blake prayed: “Take my intellect and use every power as Thou shalt choose.” When I stumbled across this quote, I altered it to: “Take my Internet and use every power as Thou shalt choose.” Cheesy, but it gets the point across! Web surfing is the 21st century’s invisible leisure activity. An innocent “checking-the-email” session can find unchecked hours fly by on Youtube. The websites available for our entertainment and reading pleasure are countless, and the time spent on it potentially endless.

But web surfing doesn’t always have to be wasteful; on the contrary, some time spent on the web can be profitable for the purpose of edification, encouragement and learning. Learned men of faith have kept up with the times and now post blogs of their own. Sermons are now offered on podcasts, and believers can interact on the net. Again, it’s not the internet that is, in and of itself, a bad thing; it’s the way we utilize it that can either bring God glory or not. Jonathan Edwards’s fifth resolution was this: “Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.” In the same vein, Ephesians 5:15-16 writes “Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.”

Rick Holland’s post on blogging ended liked this: “Because on the road to Damascus, in Acts 9, Saul was converted. The Apostle Paul met the living Savior and everything changed. His life was intercepted. His perspective was reversed. His eyes were opened. His passion was redirected. His worldview changed. His soul was converted. His mission was clear. Paul’s approaching Damascus is a rallying point. It symbolizes for me a place where the gospel of Jesus Christ changes everything” (emphasis added).

Our whole lives are to be marked by the gospel, even in cyberspace where the internet can serve as an extension of what we are learning and what we believe to shine the light to those who don’t know Christ.

Peter and Jinny Lim

by Grace Wu

How did you two first meet? When was your first date?

Jinny: We met at UCLA. I was a freshman that needed a ride to church and Peter was the church ride contact at KACF [Korean-American Christian Fellowship]. He ws the one who drove me to church. Our first official date was to a church banquet in Malibu.

For the unfamiliar, what ministries do you serve in?

Peter: I’m an elder, the church treasurer, I teach FOF, and I was a former Flock shepherd.

Jinny: I support Peter [laughs].

With Peter as an elder and serving in so many areas in church, how do you manage to spend enough time with each other and family?

Jinny: It’s been hard to balance. Something practical was when the Flocks structure changed, it freed up our Friday evenings and we made it Family Fun Night. There is no homework, no extracurricular activities, and no meetings. It actually doesn’t always happen that we get to have fun together. When Peter comes home for dinner, the kids have to go bed an hour and a half later, so it’s not that much time to spend with each other. We also have date nights.

How often?

Peter: It varies a lot.

Jinny: Sometimes even once every four months, but during the summer once a week, which is rare.

Peter: It really depends on other people’s availability.

Who are your family members at church?

Peter: Pastor John’s family; Carol [Lim] and her two girls; John and Grace [Lim]; and by marriage, Steve and Lynnie [Kim].

Peter, what is it like to go to church and serve with all of your siblings?

Peter: It’s the most wonderful blessing. Now that we’re doing this as grown-ups, it’s different from when we went to church together as children. We do it purposefully; we chose to be here, not just because our parents are making us go. There’s a duty to this because God has blessed us to be at the same church together. There’s a concerted effort to be a blessing to others because God has blessed us so much. I give credit to my mom because she always prayed that this would happen.

Did you ever think that it would actually happen?

Peter: We did! We thought it would be in LA, but it turned out to be in San Diego.

How often does the entire Lim family at LBC get together as a whole?

Peter & Jinny: Not that much actually. Every three months or so for birthdays. A lot of the times the children’s birthdays are grouped together because some are just within days of each other. [Jokes] Us adults can’t do things like that anymore.

Jinny, what is it like to raise all three girls?

Jinny: They’re so sweet, they really are. With my girls, there is so much affection shown. And stereotypically, there is a lot less roughhousing than if they were boys. They can show each other tenderness and it’s heartwarming. And because they’re girls, there’s a built-in “best friends system.” They may not realize it now, but they will as they get older. There is so much to teach them, stuff I wish I had known when I was younger. It’s a heavy responsibility.

Peter, what is it like to live with four women?

Peter: I understand females a lot better now than when I was single and that girls are normal people [laughs]. I thought I would miss out on having a boy but it’s not even a second thought.

Is having Matthew [John Lim’s son] as your nephew like having a son?

Peter: No, actually. I don’t get to know my nieces and nephew as much as I would like to because we’re all so busy serving in church.

Jinny: We’re at church to minister, not to huddle in a family clan and exclude others.

Leah Ocampo

by Jennifer Shin

Unlike many of us, Leah was neither born here nor was she raised in a home with godly, Christian parents. Rather, she grew up in the Philippines where she was submerged in a Catholic environment, attending a Catholic church and even studying at a Catholic school. Later, she moved to the States with her father and her brother where she began to attend a public school and, thus, wasn’t taught about God anymore, though she was still taught to be good.

When Leah was 20 years old, her father had a stroke and was forced to retire, which left her and her brother to take care of him and to support the family themselves. With this trial in addition to her parents divorcing when she was 5 years old, she turned away from going to church and blamed people and God for what had happened. From college, through dental school, and even after, she always wondered why bad things still happened to good people. Later, Leah went to Miramar where she met Tim Shen, who is now her fiancée. At the time when they were still friends and co-workers, he was concerned about her, which prompted him to share the gospel with her. Tim gave to her her first Bible and they started a Bible study in Romans.

In January 2007, Tim brought Leah to her first Sunday service at LBC where Pastor John actually answered the question that was on her mind for many years of why bad things happen to good people. He answered, “There are no good people.” This statement woke her up and opened her eyes in understanding the sinful state and depravity of mankind. Through LBC, its encouragement, times in small group, as well as Tim sharing the Word and guiding her, she learned more about the importance of salvation through faith and not through works. God led her to dedicating herself to Christ and becoming a member at LBC.

On Easter 2007, she was baptized. Leah stated how it is amazing that she was brought to San Diego and to LBC and that she undoubtedly sees God’s sovereignty in this. Whatever happens, Leah tries to rejoice in it, knowing that God has a plan and that He is in control.

Leah continues to revel in learning God’s Word as it guides her to live in a biblical and God-honoring manner, especially in the roles of being a woman and a wife. She is learning to be obedient in submission, understanding that God designed specific roles for both men and women. Leah admitted she struggled a bit with Tim at first, but she learned that there are certain roles that we fill. She learns from the examples of other sisters at our church and from that realizes that that’s the way God meant things to be. Leah stated, “We’re really blessed to have good examples in how they carry themselves. Even though I don’t interact with [the women] to that great extent, I see how they interact with each other…it’s a model I wish I had.”

In recently getting engaged to Tim, Leah desires to make sure that their marriage will still keep God in center. She stated that they are still looking to serve together, encourage each other, and eventually raise a family. The couple plans to marry sometime next year and desires to stay here in San Diego, especially because of LBC. If they do leave, they want to find a church that solidly teaches the Word. Wherever they may be, they want to serve together and be an example to others.

Leah will be deployed to the Maldives November 5th on a ship for humanitarian assistance, where she will treat dental needs. After the Maldives, though, she is uncertain where they will be shipped to, with the possibility of going to Iraq, Kuwait, or Afghanistan.

To the LBC family, Leah thanks you for all your prayers and encouragement in showing her how to live and how to rejoice in trials. She states that even now there is so much support from the church, which she never had growing up. She can’t wait to come back and share with everyone all that she’s learned and experienced.

It is more than appropriate to say that God is so good and so sovereign. Like what we, singles, have been studying in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything. Though Leah didn’t understand why things happened, especially in the midst of many tribulations, God was working away at her heart and was perfectly orchestrating each event, each thought, and each struggle to display His grace and His lovingkindness to her. As it is written in Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

Book Review: The Great Exchange

Book by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington

Review by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Books on the atonement of Jesus Christ are many, with titles such as The Cross of Christ by John Stott, and more recently with much fanfare, Pierced for Our Transgressions by Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach. The Great Exchange: My Sin for His Righteousness by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington recently came out with hardly a peep from among evangelicals. The issue of the imputed righteousness of Christ for our sins does not seem like a fitting topic to gain popularity or monetary gain, but these authors deemed it worthy of spending time to give the church a gift that glorifies our Great God who has redeemed us by the sending of His Son to die in place of sinners.

This book is fitting for us to delve deep into and look back at the source of our coming to Christ. There are many today who are unwilling to discuss, or are completely oblivious to the fact that Christ died as a substitute for sinners, and that his death truly brings dead men to life. Seen as a stark doctrine, many deride or even sneer at the concept that God the Father would punish His own Son, calling it a form of child abuse. God has blessed these men of God to write with passion the glory of this exchange that reconciles wicked sinners who were enemies of God to be able to dwell in His presence, voluntarily acted upon by Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.

Following the same outline as Scottish author/theologian George Smeaton’s The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement, both authors give a somewhat biblical-theological study of this great exchange through the majority of the New Testament. From Acts on to Revelation this subject is given treatment in how the apostles Paul, John, Peter, and the writer of Hebrews explain the importance of this transfer of Christ’s righteousness for the sins of those who believe and place their trust in Him. Insight after insight is sweetly interspersed throughout, as these authors give glory to God in how they present this loving act of crucifixion throughout Scripture. Bridges and Bevington do give introductory material for the reader to chew on before jumping in to explain the testimony of God’s Word upon this glorious act of divine mercy. My favorite verse, 2 Corinthians 5:21, is given as what summarizes and crystallizes this exchange: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (ESV).

The doctrine of sin is treated for us to consider the wicked nature of our sin and our deserving punishment of eternal damnation, in order that we may understand and cherish the grandness of God’s grace in overcoming this separation to bring reconciliation to the most broken of relationships: between us and God. Reading of the lengths with which the Israelites in Old Testament times had to go through to in terms of rituals performed by the priest on that Day of Atonement seemed staggering in that their sacrifice was inadequate to completely remove sin, knowing that it was a picture of the once-for-all sacrifice so beautifully explored in Hebrews. At the same time, you catch a glimpse of God the Trinity planning this act of demonstrated love that satisfies His wrath, upholds his holiness, and ultimately, gives Himself glory. Having Adam as our head and representative, he sinned, bringing death into the world (Romans 5:12), while we continue to sin personally, bringing more condemnation upon our own head. Yet Christ, the new Adam, represents a new group of humanity in living a sinless life and dying in our place as a substitute and sacrifice that gives a pleasing aroma to God, resurrecting Him from the dead to show the approval of the work of Christ.

Reading the apostles who witnessed Christ here on earth and then preaching to sinners with boldness gives me pause to consider whether I have truly treasured the atonement of Christ, the sin-bearing substitute of my own sins, being imputed to Him while I’m credited with His perfect righteousness, that I may give glory to God. I strongly recommend this book to those who are ever searching for a deeper picture into what the cross of Christ truly displays, and ever increase to have a high view of this God who loves us beyond comprehension. May God be glorified.

College Life Searchlight

by Moon Choi

College Life Searchlight began in January 2001 as an on-campus, student run organization. Pastor Patrick Cho headed, and still heads, the ministry. He started off the ministry with a study of the book of Philippians, a study which he titled “the Joy of Our Salvation.” A typical night at Searchlight is meeting on-campus at 7 o’clock with the night starting off with praise, followed by a sermon usually delivered by Pastor Patrick. Occasionally, the pastoral interns preach and challenge the collegians through their messages. Pastor Patrick also plans to have guest speakers come in to preach this year.

The goal of Searchlight is to fulfill the MVP of Lighthouse by reaching out to the campus and to foster a growth in faith in young believers. Searchlight does outreach is to hold campus evangelism, which is currently held twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 2 o’clock. There are also various events throughout the year, like the yearly luau and car rally. There are still many ministry opportunities available, which are not limited to only collegians but also to singles and married (especially ladies!).

The church leadership thought it a good idea to make Lighthouse’s presence known on campus as an on-campus ministry that is intimately tied to a local church. As Searchlight is a direct ministry of Lighthouse, the importance of the local church is emphasized and all who attend Searchlight can be assured that the doctrine being preached on Friday nights will be aligned with Lighthouse’s doctrinal statement. Searchlight also has Lighthouse as an awesome resource, something that parachurch ministries usually do not have available to them. Though College Life Searchlight is only on the UCSD campus right now, Pastor Patrick hopes to expand to other campuses soon.

This year, Searchlight will begin its study of Mark as PastorPatrick hopes to exposit the narrative in order to go through the life of Jesus. Pastor Patrick calls this task “incredibly weight” but is still excited to go through it. And what’s the reason for going through Mark, specifically? “Since I chose to preach through one of the gospels, it made sense to start with the shortest one in case I realized halfway through that I am way in over my head!” He also plans to go through Mark because, previously, he had exposited the rich theology that was found in Paul’s epistles but since an epistle and a narrative are exposited differently, Pastor Patrick wants to exposit Mark, as it is a narrative, so that it may also serve as an example to the collegians.

Though it was sad to let flocks go, College Life Searchlight brings very exciting opportunities to serve, to learn, and to become better acquainted with the collegians. The collegians, too, are thrilled. Garrett Glende, a third year, said that he was excited about “getting to know collegians better” and having “more intimate fellowship with [fellow collegians] outside of Sundays.” Anthony Kwon, a second year, said that something that he really appreciates about Searchlight is the small groups, with “an actual older person leading it,” rather than an older peer.

When asked about what he would like to challenge the collegians with, Pastor Patrick said, “I know it sounds unfair, but I often challenge collegians to not act like collegians…Unfortunately, many of these collegians use the fact that they are in college as their excuse…Many collegians, as a result, will stay up really late at night, waste hours and hours of time, irresponsibly procrastinate in their studies, and make stupid decisions that manifest their immaturity…Scripture does not segregate collegians and normal adults. Collegians should be expected to act as responsible adults and so this is how I challenge them.”

Praise Team

by Kevin Au

Every Sunday, after Scripture is read, we look up from the opening prayer and are greeted by the familiar faces of the praise team. Within moments, the entire congregation is engaged in praise through song, lifting their voices and clapping their hands, guided by a steady snare, bellowing bass, vibrant voices, gleaming guitars, and crisp keys. It’s a beautiful picture of the body of Christ responding in unison to their God, but behind this scene lays much unseen preparation and prayer. Leading the church in worship is a serious matter for those involved with the team, and it shows on Sundays, as well as throughout the week.

“I’ve been most encouraged by the standard of excellence on the team,” says Tim Yu, guitarist, “God demands our best because He is supreme and worthy of only the best.” The excellence we have come to expect during Sunday praise time comes from a common appreciation and love of music, as well as a lot of effort to improve technically, both individually and together as a team though two practices a week, on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. “This is where we iron out the nuts and bolts of the songs: how we start the song, when we decide when different instruments enter, what progressions we play, how many times we repeat the chorus, dynamics of the song, how the drum beat changes throughout the song, how we end the song or how we flow right into the next song,” says praise leader, Eugene Park.

In addition to the technical and practical aspects of playing music, preparation for Sunday worship is both a personal and continual matter; one that isn’t just limited to formal practice times and familiarity with the music set. “[There is] a lot of praying to make sure that my heart and mind are focused on truly worshiping God and remembering what worship is all about,” says Helen Wong, vocalist. An understanding of the nature of worship is essential both for cultivating a heart of worship and for leading on Sundays, which is why the team devotes half their Thursday practice times to discussing readings from Singing and Making Music: Issues in Church Music Today by Paul S. Jones. “The reason we take such a large time doing this is because it’s important that we’re not just a group of people who play music. Really, anyone can do that, and do that excellently at least in the world’s eyes,” explains Eugene. “But it’s also important for us to have a good understanding of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

Despite all this preparation, the team does still face struggles on Sundays, mostly stemming from the conflict between the responsibilities of personal worship and responsibilities leading corporate worship. “Perfection …doesn’t stop with the absence of personal mistakes; it’s so much greater than that when other people are involved,” says Brian Chan, keyboardist. “Finding the balance between musical creativity and helping other people worship God has proven to be one of the greatest challenges in my experience.” Drummer David Ahn adds, “Another big struggle is making sure that I’m worshiping [God] myself while I’m playing. Whether it’s in trying to sing along (which is hard!) or just dwelling on the words of the song, it requires a deliberate effort.”

Though it does require much effort and heart checking, everyone on the team enjoys what they do. They all share music as a passion and joy in their lives and the ability to fellowship with each other in service to the body is one encouragement that everyone on the team shares. “Just being around fellow brothers and sisters who genuinely and seriously desire to worship God and serve His Church in a biblical and excellent manner has been a great inspiration and accountability to me,” shares Abram Kim, bassist. It is also a unique encouragement to the team to be in a position to see the rest of the body worshipping God. “One of my most favorite things about being a part of the praise team is being able to stand up on stage every Sunday morning and look down at a congregation worshiping God. It is such an encouragement, especially when I see people who seem so joyful to be singing praises to God. It’s definitely one of the highlights of every Sunday service,” says Christine Cho, vocalist.

Many have expressed their appreciation for the work of the praise team and their commitment to excellence, both musically and spiritually. It is not often that the praise team gets to express appreciation to the congregation. But they really do wish to emphasize that praise and worship on Sundays is a corporate thing, not something that they do alone on stage. Though we are not all personally on the praise team, it is something that the body was meant to do together. They encourage the church to worship our God in spirit and in truth every Sunday. We must remember that our praise on Sundays, as with worship at any other time of the week is directed to God. Our attention therefore, should be on God not on the praise team. Their ministry is done excellently when the congregation sees past them and God, for whom all the songs are written and played, receives the glory.


About

The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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