Joanna Lai

by Joanna Lai

The past four years of college have been unexpected. I never imagined that God would use these four years to change me so significantly. From the beginning, God started to strip away the dross that consumed my life to form a more accurate view of Him.

Before coming to Lighthouse, my attitude towards church was characterized by apathy and selfishness. Though I had gone to church for most of my life, I only attended because I had to and it was all that I had ever known. I did it out of routine and it was one that I did not enjoy. Although eventually I began to want to learn more about God and enjoyed hearing sermons, I still didn’t understand the connection between love for Christ and love for the church. That was my attitude when I came to Lighthouse.

Coming to Lighthouse, one of the first things that I learned was that I was sinful. Though many would find this to be a morbid thought, it was an epiphany for me. I was always told that God loved me and that God died for me, but to understand what He saved me from and why He did it really eluded me. But as I began to learn more about God’s character—His holiness, righteousness, and grace—the more I began to really understand the work of Christ on the cross. I was pleasantly surprised by the teaching I received from Lighthouse. The sermons always challenged me. They weren’t watered down, but God’s word was preached faithfully. It was so different from what I was used to and I hungered for more. However, I still had a hard time with applying all the things that I was learning. I was still consumed with my self-centeredness and wanting people to satisfy my own needs. I used my shyness as an excuse, not making an effort to get to know the church but expecting others to make the effort. Thus, the first years of college were difficult in getting to know people and trying to overcome my selfishness.

One of the major things that I learned my junior year was the importance of God’s word. I realized that for most of my life, God’s word was simply given to me. I simply heard and accepted and never really went back to the source or really considered why I accepted what I heard. After a time of trials, I found that I really had to go back to scripture as the authority of everything I did and believed. It was such a blessing to dive into scripture everyday and pull from it truths about God and His will for me. I found that scripture was relevant to everything that I did and was comforting through every trial. Another major thing that I learned was God’s love. I always struggled with loving others. Yet as I learned more of God’s love, it demanded that I would love others in the same way. When I considered that God did not love us based on anything that we had done, I realized that I needed to show Christ’s love in the same way. Christ humbled Himself to the point of death on the cross for sinners like us. I was compelled to not merely love those who were lovable nor to seek after my own interests in the relationships that I pursued, but to put others interests first and choose to love others apart from whether or not they loved me back. Though I still struggled with selfishness, my love for others (especially for the church) finally had its foundation in Christ. I find that every year I am at Lighthouse, the more I love the church. I’m so blown away by the love I have experienced here and the awesome examples of Christ’s love demonstrated every week, always giving God all the glory.

Favorite place in SD: La Jolla Shores
What song will define this era for you: “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns
Favorite verse: Philippians 3:7-11
Memory that stands out the most: Intercepting a pass at Mission Bowl with my nose! Never played again!
Advice for collegians: You can never be too young to live for God’s glory (1 Timothy 4:12)

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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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