Peter’s Racism & Luke’s Great Joy

I’m writing two papers, one for an Anthropology course and another for a Christology course. The thesis statements are as follows:

Anthropology (6,000-10,000 words):
Peter’s struggle with practical racism (Acts 10, Gal. 2:11-14) despite his clear understanding of the Gospel (Acts 2:38-29) and his own conviction against racial division in the Church (Acts 11:17-18) should motivate the Church in every age and culture to deliberately put the effort to unpack the Gospel to fuller terms to enable Christians to see God’s image afresh and more complete in humankind.

Christology (6,000-7,000 words):
Luke’s use of καρὰν μεγάλην in Luke 2:10, καρᾶς μεγάλης in Luke 24:52, and again καρὰν μεγάλην in Acts 15:3 is a literary tool that serves as a spine between his two books, with Christ expounding the Old Testament to reveal Himself in Luke 24 as a hinge that joins the two accounts together and propels the story forward. This is one way Luke chooses to introduce the exigent and indispensable Christ so “that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4).

I’ll spend the next 3 weeks (until 23 November) mainly on exegesis and the following 2 weeks (until 7 December) to fill in the rest of my arguments and wrap up the papers.

Have these ideas crossed your mind? Do you have any question lingering in your mind on these topics for which you haven’t found a satisfactory answer yet? If you do, I’d like to hear from you, and maybe walk with you to find the answer you need!

Otherwise, do you know of resources you think will be useful for me to process these topics? I’d like to hear from you too!

Being Prophetic?

What do you feel about being prophetic? I imagine many Christians would feel that it’s cool to be prophetic, or at least it’s something good and desirable. And why is that? I guess that’s because what many people has in mind about “being prophetic” is something verbal: it’s something you express in words. There are various kinds of artistic expression as well that are generally regarded as expression of “being prophetic”.

However, what if God calls you to be prophetic with your life? What if God chooses to speak not through your posts, nor through your lyrics, nor through your sermons, nor through your works of art; but through your life? Would that still be cool? Would that still be good and desirable? Would “being prophetic” still be something you desire for your loved ones?

Would You Rather be Isaiah or Jonah?

Any Christian in their right mind would choose Isaiah over Jonah. People name their sons Isaiah over the biblical character, but my guess is when they name their sons Jonah it’d probably be after some famous people instead of the biblical Jonah.

However though, looking at these two men’s lives, I imagine most parents in their right mind would rather choose Jonah’s life over Isaiah’s for their children.

Who is Jonah?

He’s probably the one Israelite prophet with the most glittering CV of all. He had a highly successful career both at home and abroad. At home, he served under an evil king, Jeroboam II, yet he prophesied great victories for the king and his prophecies came true (2 Kings 14:25). I imagine he’d be rubbing shoulders with the dignitaries of the day. No wonder he’s so afraid being sent abroad! Abroad though, he only repeated his success at home — probably with more stunning result: he preached not even 10 words, and every single person in the big city repented!

Today, Jonah would be that pastor with the best LinkedIn profile of all: great prophecies, highly effective sermons, successful both at home and abroad.

Who is Isaiah?

He’s born a royal, a nephew of King Amaziah, yet he died sawn in two (Heb. 11:37). Talk about reverse social mobility! His whole life, humanly speaking, was virtually a downward social mobility, and that included his ‘ministry life’. The reverse of Jonah’s super-short sermon, Isaiah’s sermon is a literature masterpiece, and not a short one at that, his masterpiece is also one of the longest books of the Bible! Was it effective?

Reading Isaiah’s commissioning by God in Isaiah 6:8-13, could you not feel sorry for him? Right after he said, “Here I am! Send me,” God right away received Isaiah offering of his life and, almost in the same breath, essentially told him, “Whatever you do, nothing will work.” What kind of CV can a guy like Isaiah put together these days?

And Then, There’s Ezekiel and Hosea…

God assigned Ezekiel to act like a crazy guy for roughly 14 months, eating bread that’s baked on cow’s dung — and that’s already a compromise since God initially instructed him to use human dung. I wonder if you don’t feel some sense of disgust and pity, just from reading how God uses Ezekiel’s life as an act of prophecy in Ezekiel 4.

And finally there’s Hosea, whose life is probably the Old Testament’s most vivid imagery of the Gospel: God chasing His unfaithful people, seen through Hosea’s dedication to his prostitute wife. God told Hosea to go to a brothel and take a professional prostitute as his wife!

Not only would she return to her former life as a prostitute and Hosea would again have to redeem her, from how the story is presented we’re not even sure that the children this woman bore to Hosea during their marriage life were actually Hosea’s biological children!

As a man, how would you feel, and how would you respond, if God calls you to be prophetic through your life, like He did these men in the Bible? Living a life that literally goes against the current: Instead of building a glittering CV, follow God’s direction the other way around? Instead of marrying up into a respectable family, marry a woman of dubious reputation?

These men of the Bible actually lived what Paul says in Philippians 3:8, “I consider them sh*t” (literally, that’s the translation of Paul’s choice of word). God called them to be prophetic, first and foremost, with their lives!

Being Prophetic with Your Life?

Have you ever imagined “being prophetic” in this way? It can be cool to be prophetic in what we say, in what we express, in what we produce…. God may not be satisfied with that though.

He may want to speak more of Him, through more of you: not just your posts, not just your lyrics, not just your sermons, not just your works of art; but first and foremost through the life you live, through the crucial decisions in your life.

What would you feel about being prophetic in this way? Would this still be cool for you? Would you still see this as something good and desirable? I guess the ultimate litmus test is: would this be a life you desire for your loved ones?

The Reverse of a Miracle

Birthdays
Used to be many different things
For me, at least

A hundred wishes
A dozen celebrations
A number of birthday cakes

Now
For the past 3 years
3 wishes would be the norm
5 is many
A dozen is a miracle

On my birthdays
I’ve lived in cities where I know
2 people
20 people
200 people

It’s not relevant
I still don’t get the wishes
I used to get

This year
I’m getting accustomed to a muted kind of birthday
I’ve been having lately, but still
It hurts
I don’t get offended though

This year
I asked God a miracle
That it’s not another muted birthday
It didn’t happen
I didn’t get the miracle I asked for

But this year
The reverse of a miracle
Happened
And it’s as miraculous
As a miracle would be

In a perfectly natural way God shows
That He is there
That He is here!
He remembers
He cares

I’m reminded

That all my ministry
Isn’t a personal investment project
That I should — that I could! —
Expect for a return
On my ‘investment’

That’s it’s perfectly fine
To be forgotten
To phase out
And disappear
Into the background

This ministry — heck, even this life! —
All His!
And He’s opened up paths
Provided the means needed
10,000 miles ahead of me

And He delivered them
All
His provision
To me
Very tangibly

Let me remember this
And how He shows Himself
As who He is
To me
For me
With me
In me

And that should be more than enough

A Gift Long Awaited

this is the end of a season
a season of waiting
an extended season of waiting

a season in which i’ve received
a gift i’ve asked for as long
as i remember

back into my childhood
before i started kindergarten
before i could read

of a community
of brothers
who

walk together
together love GOD
together live

Matt is a brother for whom I thank God
For his love for Him, for his life, for who he is
For how He’s created and designed him

Vulnerable. Honest. Passionate. Courageous.
One who love God just like David did in 2 Samuel 6:14!
It’s just what I saw in his blog entry being the message is a lifestyle:

May I develop a love that is relentless in chasing after Him. Through all the things that I may go through, let my heart remain tender before God. Despite what the world can offer to me, it can never be compared to the day where I will be meeting The One I love face to […]

My old friends have heard me speak so often of being God’s #signpost. Heck, how could this guy speak with a language that resonates so clearly with my heart?

Virtuous Corporations

virtuous corporations
is it an oxymoron?

some people around me believe so
i grew up believing so

but then…

would good people inevitably turn evil
once they become entrepreneurs?

virtuous corporations
it’s a categorical possibility

just like air purifiers…

they face the wild, dirty, cunning, evil world outside
to provide a tamed, cleaner, more habitable world to those they serve

they deal with our daily evils
so many don’t have to

who’s got the gut?
who’s got the call?

will you answer it?

Still …

“Who will roll away the stone for us
from the entrance of the tomb?”

Still they prepared the spices.
Still they beat the sun, waking up in the dark of the night.
Still they walked to the tomb.

Doing what they could.
To the very end of their wit.
And it’s there …

He met them.

Loving God in the Waiting

how to love god
in the waiting?

to love is to be positively engaged
but, to wait …?

waiting
is a void in between
is a gap to be filled
or ignored
or wasted away
but definitely
not treasured

or is it?

what do people do in the waiting?
looking around
reading
playing games
mindlessly scrolling through their timeline
all just for killing the time

the value of the activity
is in salvaging the time
otherwise wasted
in the waiting

then how to love
in the waiting?

does it make a difference
between loving in the waiting
and waiting while loving?

reframe

to love in the waiting
is not just about salvaging the time
it’s about turning this wasteland
into a springboard

a springboard of exploration
a playground for us, lovers
a time in between where no deadline reigns
a space in the darkness where no predefined path imposes its way on us

to play
to abide
to enjoy

without constraints
without expectations
without burden to perform

just to be
together
with god