Potluck This Friday! 10/28 at 7PM

I don’t know how else to say this but RGCSD loves our food. We are taking a small break in our study of Deuteronomy and doing a potluck instead this Friday. Bring a dish to share to William Mok’s house and be sure to thank him for graciously opening up his home to accommodate us. Thanks Will. We start at 7PM.

Nothing Else Will Matter

Although it may come as a bit of a shock to many here at RGC, I’ve always been very cerebral. My mind never rests, constantly wrestling with questions of varying nature: social, political, theological — whatever the poison, my mind is drinking it by the bucket. Deuteronomy 29:29 has therefore always been one of the most frustrating verses to me simply because, as someone who wants so badly and strives to understand everything that I can, it’s difficult to accept that there are things that belong to God and God alone; mysteries into which I may never, for all eternity, be given insight. If this sounds like a commendable trait, you are very gracious. If you see the pride and lack of trust in the Savior that it implies, you are very discerning. Often, I get tied up in the first part of the verse that I forget that the majority of that verse tells me that that which has been revealed belongs to me, to us, forever and for a purpose: so that we may do all the words of the Law.

Either I am a brain absent a body, only seeking knowledge, or I am a body absent a brain, doing without understanding. In either case, frustration has been my only reward.

Granted that the Law has been fulfilled by Christ, as of the past year, I’ve been hit repeatedly by the connection of mind to body. We receive knowledge of who God is by faith, revealed by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit then gives us understanding and from which should spring consequent action. Yet so much of the past year has been filled with me trying desperately, feverishly even, to do one without the other. Either I am a brain absent a body, only seeking knowledge, or I am a body absent a brain, doing without understanding. In either case, frustration has been my only reward.

The way it’s played out is always, “why did this happen? Why am I going through heartbreak, frustration, fear, anxiety, whatever?” followed by “well, maybe if I do, do, do, I can fight my way out of X, Y, and Z.” It seems only recently that understanding — TRUE understanding — has begun to sink in. Why do these things happen? Why do I seem to be met with loneliness and failure at every juncture?

Nothing Else Will Matter


The secret things belong unto the LORD our God. I don’t need to know why. The incessant need to know why, to know exactly what end suffering and even blessing will achieve is only an ill-fated and thinly veiled attempt to be in control, to replace God. Instead, it is my struggle now to believe and trust that He is good and that because He is good, He has provided for me all that I need and more. I have already been given revelation beyond what the saints of old were given and it has been given to me to keep, so that I can be obedient and faithful. I’ve begun to learn that nothing matters save this alone: to stand before God blameless with great joy at the onset of that Last Day, and to hear “well done, good and faithful servant.” All of life’s goals can be boiled down into these two future realities. And in the face of that joy, that supreme joy which surpasses all understanding and brings peace above and beyond what anything in this life could amass, nothing else will matter. It won’t matter if I was married or not (which is a big deal for young men and women), just as it won’t matter how much or how little money I made (which is a big deal for everyone); I’ll have Jesus forever. Having Jesus forever means that at the doorstep of eternity, I won’t ever look back and say, “thanks Jesus for dying for me, but boy I wish I could have done this or been that or had this or experienced that before, you know, I got to enter into my Master’s rest.”

So what have I learned? There might always be pain in store for me. Poverty might always be my possession. Uncertainty and mystery need not keep me up at night. Struggles with sin and pride will always be constant. But so what? What’s truly important is to continue fighting for faithfulness, for obedience, and to know that as constant as the struggle is, our Heavenly Father is yet more so and it will be Him who makes me able to stand in the presence of God’s glory blameless with great joy when at long last I enter my Master’s rest.

The Glory of the Gospel

It has been an exciting year of learning to delight in and savor the gospel, by meditating upon just how powerful it really is. RGC’s half-year sermon series on the book of Philippians has challenged me to not only center all of my thoughts, emotions, and actions on the gospel, but to also appreciate Christ more as my precious Lord and Savior.

So even though the book of Philippians is only four chapters long, it still reveals much about Christ’s nature and how the gospel should affect one’s relationship with God and other believers.

The first sermon we had on Philippians was about how fellowship is rooted in the gospel, not compatibility between people. This was challenging to me as a collegian because I often equated “fellowship” with “hanging out,” without giving intentionality a second thought because I was so comfortable in my bubble of friends. But what was the Philippian church initially made up of? A woman named Lydia and an ex-jailer and his family. Definitely not a community we would expect to see today if fellowship were based on similarities in personality. The fellowship that existed in the Philippian church, however, was Christ-centered because the gospel transcends differences and unites believers in Christ.

Relationships & The Gospel


Also, let’s consider how the gospel affects our relationships with others. We only need to turn to Philippians 2:1-4 for various commands on how to treat others (maintaining the same love, doing nothing from empty conceit, looking out for the interest of others). But in the context of the whole book, these are more than just commands. Paul’s exhortation is based on the example of Christ’s own humility and is seen later in Philippians 2:5-11: Christ, who is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, had every right to take advantage of His equality with God. But instead He gave up that privilege, humbled himself by becoming human, and obediently died a shameful death on a cross for us while we were yet sinners. The world generally seems to agree that the commands in the first four verses are good things. But they mean nothing if they are done for the sake of being done. If we were to take the first four verses without the second half about Christ, the commands become empty suggestions. The gospel should affect every aspect of our lives. Even the famous Titus 2 passage on roles of men and women in the church concludes with a reminder that the grace of God has appeared and that Christ has given Himself for us to redeem us.

Evangelism & The Gospel


The centrality of the gospel also has great influences on evangelism. Now obviously in these situations, the gospel must be shared verbally. But at the same time, just as importantly, we must also live a life that is worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1:27). In my own experience with campus evangelism, there have been many instances in which I just wanted to win the debate and have the satisfaction of presenting a thoroughly logical and irrefutable argument. I was so concerned with my own glory that I failed to realize the heartbreaking reality of a lost soul. Instead of being considerate and patient, I was hasty and forgot about God’s role in salvation. But upon reflection on the gospel, I remembered that I was once a sinner, dead in my transgressions, saved only by the grace of a loving God who revealed the truth to me.

On a similar note, Paul tells Timothy at the end of 2 Timothy that the Lord’s bond-servant must correct those in opposition in gentleness, because perhaps God may grant them repentance. But this is after he tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:8-9 to remember Jesus Christ, for whom Paul suffers all things for. The point is clear: do things in relation to the gospel.

Rejoice!


And the final culmination of Paul’s letter? Rejoice in the Lord always! How? By dwelling on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, and excellent.Things like the gospel, God’s holiness and grace, fellowship, creation, encouragement in Christ, and love.

None of this is to say that I am now super awesome and am able to fully appreciate all the complexities of the gospel all the time. There is still a constant struggle for me to see Christ as the treasure that He is, more delightful than any of my other desires. Which is why I am so thankful for the powerful Word of God, for it is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. So even though the book of Philippians is only four chapters long, it still reveals much about Christ’s nature and how the gospel should affect one’s relationship with God and other believers. May an overwhelming love for Christ cause us all to boldly proclaim, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil 1:21)

Keeping the Peace

Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. -Gal 6:1a

Over this past year, the teaching at Redeemer’s Grace has been growing with increasing emphasis on people, the people around us and our local community. With the emphasis on individuals and their growth and less on ministries, events and activities, Gal 6:1 really stands out. And in order to apply the command of Gal 6:1, this past summer our congregation has been going through the IBCD biblical counseling seminars in our DVD clubs.

Biblical Counseling in Today’s Society


During the first phase of the IBCD biblical counseling sessions we had, we were able to learn how biblical “nouthetic” counseling fits in a society that is heavily dependent and influenced by psychology. It was interesting to see and contemplate how much we rely on secular teachings and how predisposed to culture, media and worldliness we often are. Reflecting on my own life, the biblical counseling sessions have revealed how often I diminish the severity of sin in counseling situations or how I tend to fix problems with logic rather than biblical truth.

One of the more interesting topics for me as a biologist working in the pharmaceutical industry was learning about the use and interaction of drugs in regard to applying biblical counseling. In our culture today we rely on medications to numb our hearts and treat external symptoms instead of addressing the root problems. Instead, as we’ve gone through the DVD series, I realized to a greater degree how sufficient the Word really is for us and the people we minister to.

Keeping the Peace


As we moved on to phase two of the seminars so far one of the most beneficial topics has been that of peacemaking. So often there are misunderstandings in communications, sinfulness in anger, and pride that this topic is relevant in every conversation or form of communication we have with the people around us.

So what I have I learned this first year? I learned that to love people we must care for them and keep peace with them by first humbling ourselves and recognizing how much our Lord Jesus Christ has forgiven us. And as we move forward into the years to come I pray that our congregation will faithfully and biblically keep the peace among ourselves and the community around us as we seek to minister love and grow together in Christ.

Lessons Learned from Women’s Book Club

Eight years ago this week, I began my freshman year of college. Eight years ago this week, I began a journey of learning how to shift from being loved by others to being the one who loves others. You see, my freshman year, I was the freshman who was taken out and pampered by the older college students. I took pride in the fact that I was loved by those slightly older than myself. I never had a real desire to invest in anyone else, because, well, why would I when I got all the attention I wanted?

Slowly but surely though, all these older friends began graduating and leaving San Diego. Pretty soon this core support group of mine had all gone their own ways and I was left to strengthen relationships with sisters my own age. And of course, our all-knowing God knew that I’d placed a disproportionate amount of faith in my relationships with others, instead of in my relationship with Him. I sit here today, 26 years old, with almost all of my college friends living and working in other cities, and now one of the older women at RGC.

It’s no longer my place to take and to be served, but instead, to exercise my understanding of Titus 2 by teaching and training the younger women of Redeemer’s Grace.

To be honest, sometimes I am tempted to wallow in self-pity. “I have no friends my age,” and “The girls at RGC who are older than me are too busy to hang out with me,” are some of the lies I have to preach myself out of. And instead of believing that there is no one left to love me, I have learned the importance of investing in the community that God has placed me in now.

RGC’s Women’s Book Club


Our first women’s book club read the book Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney. In a small group of about six, we discussed such ideas as being a stay at home mom, and loving and submitting to your husband, just to name a few. While many of these topics were not immediately relevant to the vast majority of us, one thing I still look back and smile about is the relationships that I was able to begin. The book club gave me an avenue through which I could to apply the heart of Titus 2: to assist, train, and instruct the younger women of the church and to learn that ultimately, being available to disciple or mentor a younger woman (whether in a formal or informal setting) gives me an opportunity to display the gospel in my life.

It’s no longer my place to take and to be served, but instead, to exercise my understanding of Titus 2 by teaching and training the younger women of Redeemer’s Grace. While this continues to be a way in which I am learning and growing, I am deeply encouraged and challenged to be active in seeking out relationships with all women in the church; not only those who can teach and train me, but also those whom I can teach and train

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