June 22, 2012

Making a Difference: Where it All Begins

Looking back in my early childhood, I remember wanting to make a difference. I didn't know how I was going to make a difference - I just knew I wanted to. I always changed my mind from one thing to another. Maybe I could make a difference through astronomy, or as a veterinarian, or a missionary to Australia, or a construction worker. On and on I went, changing my mind on what I wanted to do for the rest of my life over and over again. I wanted to know the first step. I thought, at first that the first step was picking your major or getting a job or growing up. I really wasn't quite sure. Turns out I was wrong (as I usually am). Today I realize the first step, and the first step was not choosing a major or growing up - it was wanting to choose a major and grow up.

See, the world will only change if the one that changes the world wants to change the world. That is the very first step. In my early childhood, I wanted to know the first step but I never realized that my wanting was the first step. Now, as a teenager, I realize that I'm still on Step 1: wanting to change the world. I don't know for sure what my major will be in, but I sure do know what I want to be in the future - a man worthy of the Gospel. That's where the heart comes in. Your heart contains all the dreams and the desires of your life and when you let Christ into your heart, He becomes the dreams and the desires of your life and Christ commands us to make disciples and be the change that this dying world desperately needs. In other words, if Christ is the dreams and desires of your heart, then imitating Him by changing the world and making a difference almost certainly is as well.

What about making a difference every day? Well, to put this in the perspective of the heart, it is impossible to make a difference for the Kingdom of God unless it starts there, in your heart. Just wanting to make a difference makes all the difference in the world. I want to make a difference. Therefore, I am convinced that I will. I don't know what that difference I make will be. All I know is that it's there, waiting to be made, and God has called me to make it. And I can't make that difference unless I want to make it every single day and every single moment.

We do not start changing the world with choosing our major, whether it be ping pong or rocket science. We do not start making a difference when we graduate high school or turn 21. We start a making difference today. And the best place to start is your heart. So if you desire to really make a difference every day, make sure you really really really really really want to. Make change the obsession of your heart. I've never been a big fan of sitting around, living for the moment, celebrating the most pivotal events in history only on Christmas and Easter, and bickering about how twisted the world is without giving the time to actually do something about it. If I have said anything, I've said this: you can't change the world until you've changed your heart.

I'll let you go on this final note, if you go to any ministry or revival or church plant or anything that you know is changing the world today, and you go down into their history, I can 100% guarantee that the ministry started in the hearts of few and just spread like... something that spreads real quickly (the only thing I can think of are diseases and weeds). The hungry have been fed, the naked has been clothed, the needy have been given to, the broken have been mended, the imprisoned has been visited, the lost have been found, and the blind have seen, all because somebody's heart wanted it to happen. Every day, that passion for change needs to be implanted in your heart. It needs to be the definition of your dreams and desires. That is how you can start making a difference every day.

For now, I want to set a goal and cast a vision. I have no clue who you want to be, but I sure know what Christ wants you to be. This passage that I'm about to share with you is really close to my heart right now and it really gives me something to live for. Please, if this isn't your vision, make it your vision today and change the world!

But as God’s ministers, we commend ourselves in everything:
by great endurance, by afflictions, by hardship, by difficulties,
by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by labors,
by sleepless nights, by times of hunger, by purity, by knowledge,
by patience, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
by the message of truth, by the power of God;
through weapons of righteousnesson the right hand and the left,
through glory and dishonor, through slander and good report;
as deceivers yet true; as unknown yet recognized;
as dying and look—we live; as being disciplined yet not killed;
as grieving yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many;
as having nothing yet possessing everything.
2 Corinthians 6:4-10

In Christ,

June 15, 2012

Rebuilding From the Ashes: Introduction

Our world is messed up. It really is. But Christ came to fix that. He also wants to use us. As He said in Matthew 28:19-20:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”[1]

So are we making disciples of all nations? Or, if you're just a teenager, here's another question: are we even helping make disciples of our nation? Or are we doing the opposite?

Our World 

This blog is about living out Luke 10:27. We need to help by using our heart, soul, strength, and mind. Let's take a glimpse at the world we need to, by the grace of God, fix:

Love is a foreign language to us. There are kids out on the street starving while the fortunate are living in mansions eating giant feasts. We take too much while some have too little. We can help fix this problem by obeying Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 25:34-40 and John 15:12.

We are not loving Christ, or others, with our soul. One of our authors Langston describes loving the Lord with your soul in this way: 

"Well from my understanding, your soul is basically your core. It's you. It's your personality, how you view the world, your thoughts, etc.
It's not the same as your heart, which (again, from my understanding) is your passions, desires, goals and your emotions. That's just from what I know though.
I could have some details mixed up. :P But yeah.

Now the question is, how do you love Jesus with your soul?
Well, you first need a relationship with him. If he's a stranger to you it's going to be hard to love him in general. And its going to be especially difficult to love him with everyone you are.

The next thing is that you imitate Christ.
If you love someone with your soul, they are like a role model to you. And that's what Jesus should be. We all should want to be just like him.

We've fallen away from that. Christian means "of christ."
We should live in a way that people can tell we follow Jesus, or at least be able to tell that there's something different about us."[2] 

About the lack of strength: there are some Christians who are not really of Christ. They just go to church on Sunday and forget about Jesus for the other six days of the week. I was once one of them, but God changed, and is still changing, me. I mean no condemnation on these people. I just think we should let them know where life is really at and show them the awesomeness of our God. 

We live in a culture where atheism is growing. The faith of many Christians is being crushed by deceptive philosophies. The culture is displaying Christians as intolerant, hypocritical, and stupid. Since Christ commanded us to love Him with our mind, we must show that love not only to Him, but to others. 

The Series

I and the other Agape authors want address these problems of the world while giving advice to fix them. So, we are doing a new series called "Rebuilding From the Ashes." A godly society has been burned up, but we can rebuild it through the power and grace of God. We can make a change. Since this blog is mainly written to other teenagers, we can do that. For the Bible says this in 1Timothy 4:12-

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe. [3]

Like I said above, the world is messed up. We must help fix it. God can use us to do that. 

So this series will go in this format- there will be four posts for each three topics. The topics are:

-Making a difference in everyday life
-Shaping the culture
-Being the perfect example of Christ

I will write from the perspective of mind, Paul from heart, Courtney from strength, and Lang from soul. 

I hope that you enjoy the series and that it inspires you to live life to the fullest by Christ. Please enjoy. 

[1] I copy and pasted this verse from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+28%3A19-20&version=NASB
[2] I am quoting Langston from a post called "Soul? Love? How is this going to work?"
[3] I copy and pasted this verse from http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Timothy+4%3A12&version=NASB 

April 10, 2012

Happy Belated Easter

We forgot an Easter post... I promise we'll do something cooler next year. But for now, a big "Happy Belated Easter" to all the people on the planet! He has risen and he reigns!

Eater celebrates the most pivotal day in human history.

He is risen and He reigns!

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

April 6, 2012

Moving {Closer} to God

If you only talked to your best friend when something was wrong, would they really be your best friend? What if you only spoke to them when you needed something? Doesn't sound like a very personal relationship, does it? Well sadly, that's how must of us are with Jesus. We only talk to him when we need something from him.

There's a song that played once at the church I used to go to, and it went something like

"You say that you love me,
that you can't live without me,
but then why do you call me,
only when you need me."

You can't have an intimate relationship with someone if that's the only time you talk to them. We have to take that step to push ourselves, to spend time with God regularly. I struggle with that a lot, but God makes everything better. I find peace in him. He is Jehovah-Shalom, meaning "God is peace." (Judges 6:24 NLT) [The Hebrew word for this can be translated either as Jehovah-Shalom or Yahweh-Shalom. I chose Jehovah because I liked the sound better :P]

It's stupid how I stray away from him and try to do things my own way, just to end up crawling back to him days later. But that's how we are. We're corrupt and broken people, and we need God in our lives as much as possible.
And that's not going to happen if you only talk to him when something is wrong.

So I want to challenge you. Sometime this weekend, take some time just to hang out with Jesus. It can be through a devotional book, through reading the bible, lying down and listening to some good Christian music, anything that can get you closer to God. 

Because honestly, he doesn't need us. But we need him. 

So let's make the best of it.

Oh, and if you'd like to read more about the names of God, you can click here. It's where I got the information behind Jehovah/Yahweh-Shalom. :D

Closer by Sanctus Real. It goes great with this post :) Have a great day and God bless!!

March 31, 2012

The Jesus Games (How weird does this post title sound?)

You've probably heard of a movie, based on a book, called The Hunger Games which came out recently. If not, I'll sum the plot up: so every year in this future country, twelve kids are chosen from each area (called districts) to fight for their lives in something called the Hunger Games. They have to do this to pay for rebellion against the government (called the capitol).

So I saw this movie last Sunday and throughout the movie, I really saw Jesus in it. Many times I could relate a scene in the movie to what Christ did for us. Here's the first one: these children/teenagers had to fight to death due to a rebellion they had caused. We have to face the wages of sin which are death (Romans 3:23) because we have sinned, and rebelled against God. In the movie, only one person comes out alive. But in reality, none of us will survive the wages of sin. None of us.

The more main and prominent example is one that reflects Christ offering to take our punishment. So the contestants of the Hunger Games are chosen by a drawing. In the beginning of the movie, the drawing takes place. When her sister gets chosen to participate in this contest that could bring about her death, Katniss, the main character, steps up and volunteers to take her place. When we had to go face the punishment for our sin, Jesus said that He would pay our ransom.

So Katniss (who represents Jesus) goes off to fight. She's basically an underdog; kind of like Christ. I mean, when the Lord lived on earth He was homeless, broke, and an outcast. When Katniss is placed in the Hunger Games, she wins. The Hunger Games represents death. Katniss is like Jesus. So Jesus offered to be a substitute for us and He goes off to face death. Not only does He face death, but He beats it. He overcame Satan and the grave.

I was glad to see how a secular movie showed the gospel in disguise. I knew that these examples and metaphors would be an interesting subject to blog about (that's why I'm writing this post). And as you all know, this movie is extremely popular. So next time you think about or talk about the Hunger Games, be sure to associate God with it also.

March 28, 2012

If Jesus came back now..

Would he recognize you? Not as yourself, but would he recognize you as a his follower? Would it be clear to everyone who you belong to? Or if Jesus came back now, would it be a possibility that you would be left?

I think a common idea is that all we have to do to be a true Christian is accept Jesus, and we have a free ticket to heaven. We can live our lives the way we want, we just have to go to church every week or so. Well that's not so true. Matthew 7:21-24 shows the truth.

Here's the passage in case you're on the mobile site:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." (Matthew 7:21-24 ESV)

I don't know about you, but I really don't want to be one of those people. But how can we be sure of that?

Look at verse 21 (the first sentence), ".. but only the one who does the will of my Father.."

We have to do God's will, not our own. We can't stay on the path we were on.
Being a Christian is more than just acknowledging Jesus as Lord.
Because of God's love for you, when you truly become saved, you want to live for Jesus. You have a passion for doing God's will instead of your own. That's a big part of what a being a Christian means. You have to adjust your life to his plan. Not him adjusting to you. You can't serve yourself and serve God.

Matthew 16:24: Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me."

  • Deny yourself. You ignore what you want. You put Jesus first, putting aside your own dreams and goals. You hand them over to God, and instead, get something much better in return.

  • Take up your cross. You're bearing the weight of following Christ. It's not always a light load either. But it gives you purpose. It gives you hope. And it gives you life.

  • Follow me. It's pretty straight forward. You follow Jesus wherever he goes. He does not follow you to where you want to go. We have to be obedient, and trust his judgement. Jesus knows what he's doing.
If you are dedicated enough to follow Jesus as stated above, then that's being a true disciple. You aren't deciding what you want to do for God..you're following his plan, and allowing him to work through you.

And at the end of it all, either when you return back to dust, or when Jesus comes back, he wont just recognize you as yourself.

He will recognize you as his follower, his disciple, and his friend.

Have a great day and God bless!

March 21, 2012


What kind of legacy are you leaving behind?
How will people remember you when you're gone? What will they see?

Will they see the essence of Christ? Will they see just another one of the crowd?
Will they see light? Or will they see darkness.

Abel left a legacy. And he still speaks, even from the grave. (Hebrews 11:4)
We should be like that. Our life should shine so bright, that even when it ends, it still speaks.

Here on earth, we are ambassadors for Christ.
How can we do that if we live just like everyone else?
We are the LIGHT of the world. Stop trying to cover it up. You have already been chosen.
Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to show the world who Jesus really is.

We cannot to that if we don't love God. 
We need to love him everything--especially our souls, if we want to do this right.
When you idolize a role model, you want to be just like them. You imitate them. 
That's how it should be in our relationship with God. We should love him so much we want to be just like him, 
to be just like Jesus.

Through that is how we'll leave a legacy. Not by how much money we have, or the friends we made, not even solely on our actions. 
It's by who you were, and still are. 
It's by how you see the world. 
It's by your motives, by your thoughts, by how you interacted with others, by your dreams, by how you respond to situations, by your heart, and by your soul.

And in my eyes, all of that means nothing if its not reflecting Christ. 

Our sole purpose in life is to bring glory to God, because he deserves it! 
He created the Earth,  he created what we know as the laws of physics, he created you, me, your family, friends, he made love, happiness, joy,  he created life in general. And there's so much more. 
But we need to live for so much more than just ourselves. We need to live to show the world how great our God is.

That's a real legacy. Making your life a path that leads to Jesus. 
That's how you can be remembered. 
Maybe by following Christ, your life doesn't turn out how you planned it. 
Although I can't tell you the exact outcome, I can tell you that it will be a whole lot better than what you have planned. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

So remember, in this life we represent Jesus. And let's do it right,  
by leaving a true legacy.

Also, here's the song that inspired me to write this post. Legacy- by Sanctus Real. :D


What will they say when I'm gone,
In words that are written in stone?
Under my name, what will they claim about me?
Oh, I want to leave a legacy to be remembered
More than just a memory that fades away
Because we only, we only get one life
Free me, my hands are tied
I'm so tired of wasting time
These endless inventions
Steal my attention from real life
And when its done, when its over

Oh, I want to leave a legacy to be remembered
More than just a memory that fades away
Because we only, we only get one life

And will the world see Christ
When they look at my life?
Oh, will the world see?

Mmm, come on, give me, give me, give me real life
And no more, no more, no more wasting time
Because we only, we only get one life (Just one Life)

Oh, I want to leave a legacy to be remembered
More than just a memory that fades away
Because we only, (Get one shot, at this one life) We only (One moment in time)
Because we only, we only get one life

Have a great day and God bless you guys!