Archive for July, 2008

Ryan Chan

by Ryan Chan

Greetings from Berkeley. Go Cal! Go tritons too…I guess. It’s me, Ryan Chan, you remember me, right?

So I figured I’d take this opportunity to update you guys on how life has been whilst I have been up here in Berkeley, and to encourage you with some things that I have learned so far.

It wasn’t too long ago, 8/14/07 8:45AM to be exact, that I packed up my life into two cars, and headed up the 5 Freeway towards Berkeley. I was fortunate enough to get housing with some brothers at Eastbay (the church I planned to attend) who had just graduated from Cal, which proved to be a great blessing. Living with people who already went to Eastbay allowed me a foot in the door, as I could simply tag along to church, hangouts, and events. Now I know this might surprise some of you, but I am not exactly the most outgoing of people and I don’t really enjoy change all that much; knowing this, I had a lot of apprehensions about to a new city let alone a new church with new people. I had heard bits of information from people who visited or who previously attended, but that could only quell so much of the unease. Among the first things I experienced was that the congregation made a concerted effort to welcome me and spend time with me in order to make me feel comfortable. As I became increasingly comfortable with the church and its members, I could really see the emphasis put on church hospitality, not only from how they interacted with me, but also how they spent time with other newcomers. It really challenged me because I never put much effort into this aspect of ministry, thinking that there were others more equipped to do it; in reality though, our hospitality toward newcomers of the church is ultimately a reflection of the church body’s love for people. And so, when the time came when I was no longer the “new guy,” I came to realize that I am the one that needs to be displaying a genuine love for people through hospitality, setting aside my own personal discomfort for a greater cause.

This leads directly into another thing that I have been encouraged by: loving and caring for the church body. It’s something that seems inherent, but I’ve come to realize that we attend churches with members who are more than willing to sacrifice their time and resources in order to serve and care for one another. Our love for the brethren should not be fickle, but rather a natural response towards all because we have first experienced God’s love for us. About two months ago, I had the luxury of hearing Dr. Alex Montoya speak at Eastbay’s 10-year anniversary celebration, and he spoke on how we, the members of the church, need to shepherd Christ’s sheep. He spoke from John 21:15-19, and his main points were: 1) The Call to Spiritual Ministry, 2) The Call to Sacrificial Ministry, 3) The Call to a Humble Ministry, and 4) The Call to Singular Ministry. It was a definite reminder to me that the church is its people, and so, we need keep in mind that a worthy passion is to love God and people.

“This is humbling, but it’s also an inspiring picture of what the church is supposed to be—not a place where people are jockeying for power, but where people willingly take whatever role best serves God’s purpose” -Joshua Harris

Chris and Nelly Chung

by Courtney Chow

How did you guys meet?

Chris: We met at church. She was a bit young at the time and I had to wait a couple years. I was a little bit impatient but God is gracious.

Nelly: We started talking and became friends. I was having difficult time (with other things) but being with him the first months was like an epiphany. Everything he said was so clear. He was so sound and mature and I was so lost in just trying to find my way, to determine what kind of Christian I wanted to be and be around. He was my backbone during that the time, He didn’t really make me happy and we argued a lot but he always tried to take care of me. He always tries to do the right thing, not just in a society moral kind of way but according to God’s word.

You guys have the coolest engagement story…

Nelly: I was just talking about the Loch Ness Monster because I was really into that and we were at a bookstore all about it in Scotland. I was just talking and he wasn’t really paying attention to me. He just said suddenly “Do you think I’m your best friend?” and I said “Of course”. Then he got down on one knee. But I think the coolest part was that Eugene (Park) and Albert and Sara (Lee) were on the tower of the castle above. I preferred that…because a lot of people contributed to the success of “us”. There were a lot of people who were a good influence, kept us on track and encouraged us when it was tough. I think being in a relationship when it’s just all about you two and you kind of shut yourself off is so hard.

What are some of the things you like to do together?

Chris: We’re low key people. If its just me. Nelly and Penny (our dog) going for a walk or hanging out at home together. Nelly’s been giving in a watching the Lakers with me more lately.

Nelly: With the whole dog thing, he has treated her far and above any expectations that I ever had. I’ve always thought a man that was good with dogs had a good heart.

Chris: We have a lot of couples time with Albert and Sara (Lee).

Nelly: That’s very important. It’s been good because they’re also very involved in ministry so its not like we have to challenge each other in that way but they keep us on track.

That’s cool to hear how you encourage each other in ministry. How has it been serving in LKC (Lighthouse Kids Club) together?

Nelly: The LKC opportunity opened up and that has really helped our marriage more because we are serving with each other in a real coordinator kind of way. We go back and forth with different ideas, talk about discipline issues and and talk about things that are going on.

What’s been some of the blessings in your marriage?

Chris: Nelly has been a blessing. Realizing what a great lady I married. She talks about her wife role but she’s been really modest because I think she’s doing a great job and she challenges herself in ways that I don’t. She really goes above and beyond what I expected.

Nelly: For me, he’s always right – there are very few times when he’s wrong. He’ll tell me something and I may protest it but eventually I realize he’s right. It’s a security but also not depending on him to have all the answers.

Are there any myths of being married that have been dispelled in the past year?

Chris: People always talk about honeymoon phase but I never felt a time when it ended – but some people may say we’re still in it.

Nelly: We’ve always been pretty real from the beginning. I’m not one to bottle up my feelings.

Chris: Which I appreciate. I don’t think things have changed too much. Maybe for a future anniversary we can talk about honeymoon phase.

Cleaning Ministry

By Garrett Glende

As we continue to transition into our new church building, many new opportunities have been made available for those eager to serve God. One of these new ministries is not for the faint of heart or the weak-stomached. However, it is open to anyone who loves God and wishes to serve the church by lending a helping hand! Now that we’ve moved from the school in Scripps Ranch to our own building in Sorrento Valley, we face the responsibility of having to clean and maintain the facility on our own. You might have noticed that the bathrooms (especially the men’s) aren’t quite as offending to the senses as before and that the carpet seems to be miraculously devoid of stains (for now). This is all thanks to our wonderful new cleaning ministry led by its faithful servant, Simon Huang.

Every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday night a group of LBCers can be seen vacuuming, scrubbing, mopping, washing, wiping, and serving. The team works diligently to make sure that the church is tidy and presentable for the next time it will be used. Every night the leader of the group makes sure that the team is focused on serving God with a pure heart, wishing to glorify Him even through scrubbing toilets and wiping down sinks. Even though it’s a very simple job and may not get a lot of face time, the cleaning ministry is a vital part of the church. Randy Tsuchiyama, who leads the Wednesday night crew, says that “it’s cool to see people wanting to serve in something simple. It’s really encouraging just seeing people willing to serve by doing something that’s not glamorous at all.”

The cleaning ministry is in need of anyone who is willing to sacrifice their nights to get together and serve God. If you’re interested in joining, please contact Simon Huang.

David Brainerd: Long-Term Missionary Who Lived a Short Life

By Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

The life of a missionary is always a challenge for us to look at, especially one who resolves to be devoted to honoring God in all that they do. Lives spent to live solely for Christ and to see His Name proclaimed to all people discomforts us to think hard and reflect on whether we live with that same desire, knowing what we have been taught from the Scriptures on a constant, weekly basis. That becomes the danger of reading biographies about certain believers in history, and yet we’ve all been called to remember the saints from the past (Hebrews 11:1-12:3). David Brainerd is an example of a flawed saint used greatly by God to further His cause for His glory.

David Brainerd was born April 20, 1718 in Haddam, CT and died October 9, 1747 at the age of 29. Born to a CT state legislator, and mother, as the sixth of nine children, he lived to see his father die when he was five and his mother when he was 14. Living with his married sister, Jerusha, Brainerd soon inherited a farm and tried at it for a year, yet couldn’t find himself doing that kind of hard labor for long. He soon returned to prepare for Yale to enter the ministry at the age of 20, later admitting he was not converted at the time. He struggled with the truth that nothing could be done to merit a place at the table of God’s presence. His conversion occurred at the age of 21, he was awakened to see God’s weighty glory that led him to no longer live for his own but all and entirely God’s. This day was July 12, 1739, a couple months before entering Yale. His stay did not last long due to a case of the measles, along with the spiritual immaturity that many of the students, and even teachers, had. His life soon began to consist of a constant spitting up of blood that would be a recurring problem for him throughout the rest of his life.

Upon returning to Yale the next year, things had changed. This was the time of the Great Awakening. George Whitefield, from his visit, had helped awaken students to the seriousness and reality of true religion, wanting to live wholeheartedly for Christ, which was not a helpful environment for the faculty of Yale to be part of, given their lack of seriousness with the Word of God. Not too long after, Jonathan Edwards preached a sermon that explained what was a true work of the Spirit of God, in opposition to what wasn’t but was claimed to be. Knowing the staff were wary of the Great Awakening as being a work of God, Edwards argued that it was, knowing there were elements that people were engaging in that would be legitimate grounds to call “excess.” The college trustees then voted that anyone who would say anyone on staff were “hypocrites, carnal or unconverted men,” would have to make public confession and then would be expelled. Brainerd described one of the tutors as having “no more grace than a chair,” which led to him being expelled.

In those times, to be a minister in Connecticut, you had to have graduated from either Harvard, Yale, or a European university. This was a wound that deeply affected Brainerd’s desire for ministry. However, God’s sovereignty was displayed in the licensing of Brainerd to be a missionary under the Commissioners of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge in 1742. He preached for one year in 1743 to the Housatonic Indians at Kaunaumeek, not far from Stockbridge, MA, starting a school for the Indian children there. He then went to Delaware to preach to the Indians in that area, soon becoming ordained into the ministry in 1744. After another year, Brainerd preached through the area of Crossweeksung, NJ, bringing about a congregation of 130 people, later moving to Cranberry a little over a year after he started. He quickly became sick, left Cranberry to recuperate, but was able to visit one last time before his death in the house of Jonathan Edwards in 1747.

All his life, Brainerd suffered from great physical pain, leaving behind a number of entries in his own diary concerning daily struggles to stay joyful in God while coughing up blood throughout his life. He suffered from tuberculosis, as well as depression, stemming from a godly sorrow that knew he was unworthy to even enter into Gospel ministry. He led a life of deep introspection that flowed out of his vulnerable writings that weren’t intended to be published.

His life and ministry has led to a renewed calling for those of similar age to rise up and reawaken to God’s call to disciple the nations for His glory. His painful life should call into question our lazy and slumbered lives droning away at work, school, while untold numbers are not being told the Gospel. His pain helped strengthen him, knowing that through his own weakness, Christ would display His strength in using weak sinners saved by grace to reach many with His beautiful message of a crucified Savior from sin and death. This personally has confronted me to not be too sure of my own plans, but to trust in His for His good purposes. May our hearts be ignited to fight for missions and for His Name to be displayed among people we never thought we had intended to reach.

The Apostle Thomas – Part 1 – The Disciple Who Loved Jesus

By Stephen Rodgers

Part 1 of 4: John 11:1-16

I’ve come to the conclusion that the Apostle Thomas got a bad rap.  “Doubting Thomas” we call him; the expression has even made it into our vernacular as an example of someone who is skeptical beyond the point of reasonableness.  After reading the gospels and seeing what they had to say about Thomas though, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we got it all wrong.
Almost everything we know about Thomas (other than his name) is found in John’s gospel.  Considering that John is self-identified as the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” it is perhaps fitting that I intend to make the argument that Thomas should have been better known as “the disciple who loved Jesus.”
Matthew, Mark, and Luke each mention Thomas, but only as part of listing the disciples.  From his placement in the lists and his interaction with the others, people tend to place him in the “middle circle” of disciples with Phillip, Nathanael, and Matthew.  We know that he most likely had a twin brother or sister because in John 11:16 he is called “Didymus” (“the twin”), although his sibling is never identified in scripture.  However, this is not the most important detail that we learn about Thomas in this verse.  In fact, this verse tells us everything we need to know to understand Thomas’ later behavior and decisions.
At this point in Jesus’ ministry He had left Jerusalem to get away from the plots of the Pharisees and the religious leaders.  It was at this time that He received word that Lazarus was sick.  Now Lazarus (and Mary and Martha) lived in Bethany, which was practically next door to Jerusalem.  To go and heal His friend, Jesus would be walking right back into the very center of the plots to take His life.  In fact, the disciples knew that to venture that close to Jerusalem again was to court disaster as the Pharisees would know doubt try to kill Him.  And quite possibly, if they wanted to make a thorough job of it, they would kill the disciples too.
Now Jesus deliberately delayed until Lazarus actually passed away in order that He might raise him from the dead.  And once the disciples understood that Lazarus was dead (previously they were a bit confused on the subject), they knew that there was no talking Him out of it.  But they were scared.  They knew that the Pharisees would try to stone Him to death.
And this is where Thomas says something incredible.
Let’s take a look at exactly what the Bible says in John 11:1-16.  Seriously, go get your Bible and read verses 1-15.  But then think for a moment what it means in verse 16 when it says: Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
Now granted, that’s a very pessimistic thing to say.  But beneath it there is something more than just a depressed outlook on life; there’s love.  There’s a love that is so strong, enduring, and desperate that even his own pessimism can’t keep it down.  Thomas believed that if they returned to Bethany, the Pharisees would kill Jesus and them too.  But he didn’t believe that was the worst that could happen.
You see, Thomas ultimately wasn’t scared to die.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he wasn’t looking forward to it.  But there was something that he feared more.  He didn’t want to be apart from Jesus.  If Jesus was going to leave Jerusalem, Thomas was going to leave Jerusalem.  If Jesus was going to go back to Bethany, Thomas was going to go back to Bethany.  And if Jesus was going to get stoned to death, then Thomas was going to be there to die as well.
You can practically hear him telling the rest of the disciples to get in line.  And apparently they listened, because Scripture records that they all did go to Bethany.  Jesus went; Thomas followed Jesus, and the rest followed Thomas…
I’ve come to the conclusion that the Apostle Thomas got a bad rap.  “Doubting Thomas” we call him; the expression has even made it into our vernacular as an example of someone who is skeptical beyond the point of reasonableness.  After reading the gospels and seeing what they had to say about Thomas though, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that we got it all wrong.
Almost everything we know about Thomas (other than his name) is found in John’s gospel.  Considering that John is self-identified as the “disciple whom Jesus loved,” it is perhaps fitting that I intend to make the argument that Thomas should have been better known as “the disciple who loved Jesus.”
Matthew, Mark, and Luke each mention Thomas, but only as part of listing the disciples.  From his placement in the lists and his interaction with the others, people tend to place him in the “middle circle” of disciples with Phillip, Nathanael, and Matthew.  We know that he most likely had a twin brother or sister because in John 11:16 he is called “Didymus” (“the twin”), although his sibling is never identified in scripture.  However, this is not the most important detail that we learn about Thomas in this verse.  In fact, this verse tells us everything we need to know to understand Thomas’ later behavior and decisions.
At this point in Jesus’ ministry He had left Jerusalem to get away from the plots of the Pharisees and the religious leaders.  It was at this time that He received word that Lazarus was sick.  Now Lazarus (and Mary and Martha) lived in Bethany, which was practically next door to Jerusalem.  To go and heal His friend, Jesus would be walking right back into the very center of the plots to take His life.  In fact, the disciples knew that to venture that close to Jerusalem again was to court disaster as the Pharisees would know doubt try to kill Him.  And quite possibly, if they wanted to make a thorough job of it, they would kill the disciples too.
Now Jesus deliberately delayed until Lazarus actually passed away in order that He might raise him from the dead.  And once the disciples understood that Lazarus was dead (previously they were a bit confused on the subject), they knew that there was no talking Him out of it.  But they were scared.  They knew that the Pharisees would try to stone Him to death.
And this is where Thomas says something incredible.
Let’s take a look at exactly what the Bible says in John 11:1-16.  Seriously, go get your Bible and read verses 1-15.  But then think for a moment what it means in verse 16 when it says: Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
Now granted, that’s a very pessimistic thing to say.  But beneath it there is something more than just a depressed outlook on life; there’s love.  There’s a love that is so strong, enduring, and desperate that even his own pessimism can’t keep it down.  Thomas believed that if they returned to Bethany, the Pharisees would kill Jesus and them too.  But he didn’t believe that was the worst that could happen.
You see, Thomas ultimately wasn’t scared to die.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure he wasn’t looking forward to it.  But there was something that he feared more.  He didn’t want to be apart from Jesus.  If Jesus was going to leave Jerusalem, Thomas was going to leave Jerusalem.  If Jesus was going to go back to Bethany, Thomas was going to go back to Bethany.  And if Jesus was going to get stoned to death, then Thomas was going to be there to die as well.
You can practically hear him telling the rest of the disciples to get in line.  And apparently they listened, because Scripture records that they all did go to Bethany.  Jesus went; Thomas followed Jesus, and the rest followed Thomas…

Meal Ministry

By Moon Choi

What is it? The Meal Ministry is a way for the members of the church body to care for one of the most basic necessities: food. This ministry serves those who are unable or are limited in being able to care for this necessity for themselves of their family, be it from delivering a baby or a prolong illness.

How does it work? When a need is identified, an email is sent out, asking members if they, males and females alike, can sign up for a meal. The email provides information about which individual or family, how many times a week they need a meal, in what time frame they would like the meal dropped off, and if there are any dietary restrictions. People can sign up on the internet through a Google Calendar.

I don’t get the emails. Who do I contact? Mrs. Grace Lee

How can I help? As we know, there has been a LBC record-breaking baby boom this year. There is a need for people to help coordinate meals! Prerequisites include being diligent about emailing and a love for people, as one will need to be a communication liaison for those signing up for the meal ministry and the recipients.

Member testimonials Mrs. Grace Lee says, “It’s been a blessing to see people who are willing to give of their time and resources to minister to the physical needs of others… As the church has gotten bigger, it’s easier for people to just overlook the meal ministry emails and think that other people will step up to help, but that’s not always the case. … People don’t realize it until they themselves have been recipients of the ministry, but those who receive the meal ministry are truly blessed by it!”

Keziah Kim says, “I love food. I love people. When you put the two together, you get the meal ministry. … It is a blessing to have the resources and time to aid and encourage the church family during times of hardship, times of need, and/or times of transition. … I made this chicken thing… Though I went hoping to give encouragement, I received so much! … Romans 12:13 – Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Meal ministry is a very practical way of applying this, to share the love of Christ. Sign up today!”

What to Do When Things Are Going Well

by Pastor J.R. Cuervas

On an ever-so-relaxing morning in last June, I found myself on the porch of my uncle’s house in Kuna, Idaho—a rural farm town about 30 miles from Boise that I chose to visit for the purpose of rest.  Having asked my younger cousins (12 and 11 years old respectively) to join me for a time of devotions and games (20 minutes of Bible reading per game of othello), it occurred to me that contrary to the few months previous when I had to persevere through one of the most trying times of my life, I was now in a season when I felt like life could not be better—a season of absolute abundance and blessing.  Perhaps it was why, before the first game of Othello, the Holy Spirit brought me to a passage that I had previously read but had never spent a significant amount of time dwelling on—Joshua 23.

Joshua—now advanced in years—had gathered Israel together for a farewell address.  Having just conquered the promise land and having witnessed God’s incredible power in fighting for them through the defeat of enemy after enemy, Israel could not have been in a more blessed season of confidence and abundance.  What words would Joshua leave with his people?  Would he tell them to expand their territory?  To enjoy the milk and honey?  To relax and take it easy?  What would Joshua tell them?

“So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the LORD your God.” (Joshua 23:11).  Of all the things he could have said to encourage them with, Joshua instead chose to give Israel a warning – a warning to carefully guard their hearts and an exhortation to continue loving God.  In a time where things could not have been better for Israel, Joshua told them to be careful lest they fall into spiritual idolatry (read the rest of the chapter to get the context).

In the Christian walk, times of abundant blessings can also be the most dangerous of times.  Many have become experts concerning what to do in times of trials; passages like James 1:2-4 and Romans 8:28-29 are engraved into our spiritual cerebrum.  During times of trials, our spiritual lives become vibrant.  Our Bible reading becomes more frequent; our prayer lives become more fervent.  Not to mention, our conversations with people become more biblically flavored.  Yet, have you considered what happens to your life during seasons of abundant blessings?  It’s the time when our hearts are most prone to both spiritual complacency and spiritual idolatry – finding comfort, security, and enjoyment in those blessings apart from God.  When school is going well, it is easy to place security in our grades.  When work is going well, it is easy to find worth in our income and social status.  When God provides us with solid relationships, it is easy to value our spiritual brothers and sisters more than Christ.  When God provides blessings that are intended to be enjoyed in the context of our devotion to God, our sinful hearts tend to try to find enjoyment in them in place of God.

Here in San Diego, we don’t have to hold underground church services.  We can read our Bibles and pray in public.  We are allowed to pursue college and post-graduate degrees, pursue careers in whatever field we choose, and live in nice homes.  While it is no sin to enjoy these blessings, be alert to the warning and exhortation in Scriptures to diligently guard our hearts to love God—both in devotion and affection—with all that we have.  Loving God does not simply happen spontaneously; it is not merely an emotional whim.  While it is a supernatural gift of the Spirit characteristic of the regenerate heart, it is still a character quality that we are commanded to cultivate with watchful diligence and discipline.  During seasons of abundance, the more frequently we should take the initiative in challenging ourselves as to whether or not we would love God without the external blessings.  Bible reading and meditation must be more frequent; prayer must be more fervent.  Time spent cultivating our relationship with God alone must be a priority.  Refreshing our minds with the purity of the gospel message is a necessity.  If not, we will indeed fall to spiritual idolatry.

Are keeping watch over the affections of your heart?  Are you absolutely sure that, as of right now (as John Piper likes to emphasize) you treasure Christ infinitely more than His gifts? Unfortunately for Israel, history shows that they did not heed Joshua’s warning.  They allowed themselves to slip and fall into idolatry.  During your time of abundance, will you do the same?


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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