Tag Archives: identity

This is the only thing I can offer

I have a tendency to compare myself to others. Whereas many people tend to compare themselves to make themselves look better. I, more often than not, compare what I am lacking to what others have. This is quite prevalent when I look at what my friends offer in terms of the Church body. And while doing so, feeling like what I have to offer isn’t quite good enough. I realize that not only am I selling myself short (for failing to see what God has given me) I am also implying, through my thoughts and actions, that somehow God made a mistake…or that I am not as blessed or not as loved compared to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. 

Make no mistake, my friends are incredible blessings, super talented, and might I add, also ridiculously good looking. I can see, in some very incredible ways, how God is using them, growing them, and pressing them. Most of what I feel is joy, for them. Some of them are incredible speakers. Some, have been gifted just a beautiful talent for singing and instruments. Some offer incredibly sweet, life giving words of wisdom And others have this infectious, wonderful passion and joy for Jesus. Just to name a few.  

Yet, this gives me pause. What do I have to offer? I’m not as passionate, nor am I able to speak well. My singing is horrific, as is my instrument playing. As I dwell on what I lack, I am reminded that my identity isn’t founded on the talents I have. It is the same with my friends, their identities are not founded and grounded by the talents they were given. 

My identity is founded in Christ. My identity is grounded in who He is, what He has done, and His promises. My talents were never mine to begin with. So the only thing I can do, and the only thing I find myself wanting to do, is bless those around me with the talent God gave me. This is all I can do to bless the body of Christ and to give glory to God. 

Who I am isn’t founded upon what I can or cannot do. Who I am isn’t founded on what I do or don’t have. Who I am is founded upon a bloody Cross, an empty grave… a risen Saviour King. I don’t think it can get anymore stable, or any better than that.

 

Hansen

It is only in Jesus

” We hold on to the things we should forget; and forget the things we ought to remember.” – Tim Keller

One of the hardest lessons I am learning, have learned, and am reminded of constantly is the need to dwell in Jesus on a minute to minute basis. Sometimes I am frustrated because this is one of the integral parts of walking with Christ, and yet I am ALWAYS, ALWAYS, forgetting it. It is especially apparent when I am having good days, not only good days where everything seems to be going great physically, but it is apparent when I’m having good days when everything seems to be going great spiritually. When I’m successfully overcoming sin, when my Bible memorization and Bible reading goes well, when prayer seems to go well, those are the times when things are going great for me spiritually. And I’ve been realizing that those are the times that I tend to forget to give credit and praise to the Holy Spirit for making things run smoothly. Especially overcoming sin. I forget that my righteousness comes from the shed blood on Calvary. I develop a swagger as if to say “Hey God, look at my own strength. See how I’ve been able to change myself for the better? Aren’t I amazing?” All the while not remembering, holding onto, giving thanks for, and continuing to press into the God who saved me, adopted me, forgave me and changes me.
It is during these times, where I get arrogant that I tend to stumble and fall flat on my face. My self-righteousness, my arrogance and pride kill me. But Thanks be to God for the Gospel of Christ because it is the restoration and rescuing of a rebellious sinners life. I am forever thankful for Christ, that He is still pursuing me and reminding me that the only way I am able to overcome, that I am able to ever truly change is through what He accomplished on the Cross. I am forever thankful that because of the Holy Spirit within me I am able to change through the death and resurrection of Jesus. And I am thankful to God the Father because of His love and mercy towards someone like me. Who despite being weak and a coward, still is arrogant, prideful, and self-righteous enough to think that he can save himself.

I need you God. Because only in you am I truly free to overcome and change.
In your Son’s mighty name,
Amen.

Hansen

Hands and Feet, Old and New.

I’m not sure if I’ll get flack for this. The reason I type that is because I’ve grown up in and around Christian circles that, generally speaking, believe that being the hands and feet of Jesus is somehow more difficult, painful, and frightening than being pressed by Him. As if it takes a certain kind of courage to leave the comfort of our house and home and travel somewhere new, exotic…unreached.
Now of course, no one would outright say that. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe wholeheartedly that being the hands and feet of Jesus is difficult. It is painful. And it is certainly frightening. Especially when He calls you (generally speaking) out of the comfort of house and home and places you into a place that is new, exotic and unreached.
I believe, although I would never outright say it, that in the past, I held missions (being the hands and feet of Jesus) as the avenue in which the highest difficulty with following God lay.
And then I began attending the Gathering. I am fond of the Gathering. I love it. Through loving the Gathering, I understand why Jesus states that if I love Him, I will also love the Church. It is here that I began to have a paradigm shift. It is at the Gathering that I no longer viewed living out God’s mission, furthering His kingdom, as something incredibly frightening, that takes the greatest amount of courage. Part of reason is, I believe, that I was now surrounded by men and women who were willing and eager to go. and I was surrounded by men and women who have gone and have experienced the same fears of going and frustrations of coming back, and so I could talk to both groups. They were/are an encouragement. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that missions trips (no matter how big or small) do take a great amount of courage. It takes a willingness to obey God, and trust that He has something much bigger, much grander, much better than our mud pies.(this is a vague C.S Lewis reference)
Jesus has used the Gathering to press me in places I do not want to be pressed. And now I am just beginning to understand the terrifying nature of the prayer that I pray both for myself and others. The prayer that Jesus would press us.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I believe I am awesome. I don’t say it jokingly. Of course I wouldn’t say it out loud. But how I act, how I think, how I talk indicate at the very core of me, that there is a strong sense of selfishness, pride, arrogance and sense of entitlement. It is here that God has been cutting. It is here that God has been working. And it is here that I am terrified/unwilling to really go, and let go. It is at this place that those dangerous prayers (that Jesus would press me), and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are taking me. It is here that I know, I will see who I really am…in light of a mighty and Holy God. And it is here I am absolutely terrified to look. Terrified because I know what I will find. Terrified because I know that when I take a look, I will see something ugly. I am afraid to look because I will see that in front of a completely Holy Righteous God, all of me (good, bad, ugly) is nothing but filthy rags. And I know that the process of sanctification, the discipline of God is often times painful.
These are the moments that I need. I don’t need more knowledge about God. I will only know about Him. However, during these moments of sanctification, I will get to know Him. Not only His standards, but His love for me. I will come to understand that His discipline is because He understands that there is something much better if I follow His commands. He knows that it’s better for me in the end, if He holds off on answering certain prayers.
In the end, I find it slightly easier to go and serve than I do to have Jesus open me up. At least I don’t have to look at myself for who I really am. But even in the pain, I know that His Grace is sufficient for me. Even in that despair, I know I will be comforted because of His finished work on the Cross.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for the finished work on the Cross. Thank you for your promise that you will comfort those in distress. Not only over the loss of a loved one, but also for those that grieve over their own fallen, self-destructive sinfulness. Thank you for Your Grace. Thank you for everything. I ask that even as you bring me towards places I do not want to be, sanctify me in those places. Remind me that Your Cross has even paid for it, that I am no longer tethered by it, and I am free to let go. Thank you that because of what You did, because I am clothed in You, I am no longer who I was. But I am counted as righteous in Your sight.
In Your Amazing name,
Amen

Hansen

Biking + Worship + Praise

I don’t get it too often, but when I do get it. It hits. Hard.

What I’m talking about is an overwhelming paralyzing fear of an uncertain future. Uncertain for me at least. Don’t get me wrong, I find extreme comfort in the fact that God has a plan for me. But I have also learned to not try and guess and organize my life around what I think it is. Which at times brings me joy, calm and peace, and at other times makes me completely terrified.

Today was one of those days where the fear just absolutely pulverized me, to the point where I was beginning to hyperventilate. Was it because I didn’t trust God enough that He was still in control of my life? Perhaps. There are many possible reasons on why I would feel the way I did. I don’t want to coldly sweep them away by over-analyzing them, nor do I want to be consumed by the emotion of it all.

Before it could overtake me, I put on some music (Robbie Seay Band and Ascend the Hill) and began riding my bike around Peterborough. The intent was to make myself so tired that I wouldn’t be able to think about it, but before I knew it I began to pray. I wasn’t asking for anything like clarity, or peace or anything like that. What flowed out of my mouth was nothing by praise for my God. In that moment of biking, listening to old hymns and new p&w songs, and praise prayers, my worries and fears began to fade away. What a strong reminder to my soul that it is Jesus who is in control. Holy and mighty. What peace it brings to just praise Him.

I’m not saying that it’s a secret remedy to no longer worry or to not be frightened, but I recognize that at this exact moment this is what I needed. This is what my soul needed (before I realized that it was what I needed). And the Holy Spirit delivered, perfectly.

“It’s in times like this the world will come
Tempt me to just give You up
Oh but I’ve decided to trust
Completely in Your blood
I will run
Blindly, I’ll press into You ” – The Nehemiah Band “Press into You”

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for everything that you are. All you have done. Let the words that leave my mouth, whether in fear, anger, sorrow, joy, etc. be words of praise forever for You.

In your wonderful name,
Amen

Is Jesus more than enough?

“Jesus is more than enough” I have borrowed and kept that phrase ever since I heard Matt Chandler say it in the midst of finding out he had a brain tumour, and through the treatments. I say it to my friends, as an encouragement. I say it to myself to remind myself of that truth. Despite all of that, it appears that at times..no not just appears, I know, without a doubt, that I do not believe it. It is reflected in my thoughts which then reflect in my actions.

“Jesus is more than enough” is something that I want to live out, and it’s heartbreakingly frustrating that I do not. Sin impedes and distorts that truth. My sin distorts and impedes the truth and beauty of Jesus. And that just kills me.

Jesus, I admit that I don’t always understand you. I admit that I chase other things. Change my heart so that the amazing truth of You being enough settles and grows abundantly within so that I can live it outwardly. With your vibrancy. In your precious and beautiful name, Amen.

Back to our regular programming

Day 10 – Most inspiring Asian.

This topic was submitted by Andrew Tan Wei Aun. When I first saw this topic from him I thought that it would be easy to answer. However as the day of the topic drew closer, I realized that this topic would be a little more difficult to answer than I first anticipated. You see, there are a few Asian people that inspire me, but there are only a few amongst those few that “inspire” me. You know what I mean? It’s like, I can be inspired by the food artistry and creativity of Masaharu Morimoto, but his work doesn’t inspire me to pursue a career in a kitchen as a professional chef. For me, being inspired means that I am willing to pursue with everything that I have. And so, with that definition in mind, I had to ask myself “Does this man (or woman) make me want to pursue something, live better etc.” Essentially the question is “Does this person make me want to take action.” And if the answer is essentially a no, then I cross them off my list. So the people I have crossed off the list are: Masaharu Morimoto, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Bruce Lee, Hung Huynh (Top Chef season 3 winner), MC Jin, Kevin Wu (KevJumba), Wongfu Productions, David Choi, Nigahiga, and a few others. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate them, in fact I love them all. Masaharu Morimoto being one of my favourite chefs because of his artistry in the kitchen. KevJumba, Wongfu, and Nigahiga are hilarious. D.Choi is incredibly talented, as is MC Jin. And Jackie, Bruce and Jet are legends in the film industry. However, though all of them are incredible and talented, they just haven’t inspired me into a genuinely passionate pursuit. And although I enjoy cooking, martial arts, and vlogging/blogging, I was never interested enough at it to pursue it as a full fledged career.

The Asians that inspire me most into action are the men and women of faith that I have met, read about, or even heard about. They are men and women who understand, desire and seek above all else: Jesus…even at the possible loss of their life or “freedom.” Men like Francis Chan, who left growing fame and recognition and a secure job (as pastor of Cornerstone), to pursue Jesus. That inspires me to take action, but at the same time it does fill me with dread. Not because I hate change, I don’t hate change. I can deal with that. In fact sometimes I embrace it. But rather it’s because the call to sacrifice what I find comfortable,safe and known is something I would rather not do. The call to give my entire life to God and not be in control of even a tiny bit of it…yeah, it’s frightening. I would be lying if I said that I can do that with great joy, and I’m singing praises and dancing, clapping and being all “hallelujah! sing it!”. Because I can’t. Because there are sometimes, some instances, that don’t allow for loud, vocal praises. However, even in moments where there is wrestling, doubt, regret, tears and other emotions like that. Even in those moments, a statement never rings truer than “Jesus is still good, and He is more than enough.” When I look at the lives of those Asians (Francis Chan, Watchman Nee, Brother Yun, all those that have already died for the Gospel, my brothers and sisters in countries “closed” to the gospel, my C4C brethren etc.) I see much of that statement reflected in their lives. I inspires me to pursue Jesus with everything that I have, and not just speak it from my mouth. But to really grab hold of it and let it shape much of how I make decisions and whatnot.

Sorry Andrew, this may seem like quite the cop-out answer. But I can tell you that this is the truth. I aspire to be like them.The men and women of God who, above all else recognized that Jesus is our beautiful reward and was willing to give all (including their life) to acquire Him. May that be mine (and your) desire as well.

Hansen

Things that made me smile:

because I didn’t include one in my last post, I think I will include yesterday as well. In no particular order:

– doing floor set at work with people I get along with really well.

– finding a site that has every single season of Top Chef

– working out

– little kids that are unintentionally funny

– working with people that I enjoy being around

– having a dream about me cooking

– getting multiple compliments on the uniqueness of my name

Unique, just like everyone else.

Day 08 –  What makes you different from everyone else.

This is quite the question. How do you answer a question like this without sounding arrogant, or without sounding so self-deprecating. To be honest, I’ve been thinking about how I should tackle this question. Every time I thought of a quality that made me unique amidst the groups I hang out in I could think of other people within that group that had the same qualities…but only more noticeable.

My friends say that I often sell myself short, and maybe I do. In truth, I don’t really see anything unique about me. I don’t see anything about me that makes me different from everyone else…from the people I meet, and the ones that I hang around with. If anything, I think to get a better picture of what makes me different, you would have to talk to my friends and peers. I know that I do not see myself with clear eyes, I like to either see myself as better than I am or worse than I am. There really isn’t any middle ground. The lenses in which I see myself are clouded at best, and absolutely delusional at worst. So yeah, I don’t really know what makes me so different. To use a well-worn cliche “I’m unique, just like everyone else.”

Hansen

Things that made me smile:

– working out

– having friends come visit me at work, even if it seemed random. It was good.

– sushi with the ‘rents

– deep-fried tempura ice-cream. So interesting, but so good!