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 (Manna 39: Spiritual Discipline)
A College Blog: Youths Sharing Their Faith Through the Internet
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ARA College Blog: Youths Sharing Their Faith Through the Internet With the advent of the Internet comes the wonderful world of blogging. Do you know what it is? Find out more and learn how to make a blog edifying.Youths today spend a lot of time on the Internet. What better way to make that experience more edifying than to have a place online to share God’s grace and to count His blessings? In this special feature, a group of youths keep an online journal to encourage one another in their faith.
A web trend recently spawned—you may have heard of or taken part in it—is the advent and emergence of web logs, or “blogs” for short. These are sites like blogger.com, blogspot.com, movabletype.org, livejournal.com, and xanga.com, which drastically simplify the process of repeatedly updating content on a webpage. In fact, all one needs to do is supply the content, press a submit button and, just like that, it’s automatically published on the web. No knowledge of webpage design, coding, uploading, nor any technical knowledge is needed whatsoever. For that reason a significant portion of the internet community has harnessed this technology to post some sort of an online journal, or blog.

January 24, 2002

Announcement

You are currently staring at our website’s long-awaited redesign. Was it worth the wait? Maybe not; however, I’d say it’s more professional looking, more efficient, less cluttered, yet still packed with the same delicious content.

The most prominent change you will notice from the previous version is the very window you are reading this text in. In this little window of scrollable goodness, Andy and I, as well as several other guest writers will be posting our thoughts, reflections, and tidbits from our daily lives so that through this sharing both writer and reader can be edified and encouraged.

Not only will it contain our contemplations of our common faith, but we will also be sharing light-hearted, silly things that happen during the day, so that there’s a nice balance.

If all goes according to plan, it won’t just be me and my big mouth talking :). Our website can very likely be a daily-visited site, with this constant fresh content.

Anyhow, browse around (especially the stuff under the section "Last Update::", enjoy the site, and may God smile upon you!

Samuel Kuo | 1/24/2002 04:57:27 PM

January 31, 2002

Reflection

The other day I felt that I was in good condition to start running in the mornings again (after being pretty sick for a week now). Having been accustomed to sometimes humming or singing when I run, I started to sing "All I Ever Do Is Love You" that morning. We sang this hymn at senior SC [Spiritual Convocation] this past winter, and it really touched me then as it still touches me now. So it was pretty neat how it applied to the Bible passages I had been reading this week:

I finished up the last few chapters of John this week, and these chapters basically retold the events that happened before, during, and after Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. (This also reminded me of another very touching hymn we’re singing in youth choir called "Is it I?") From the beginning, all God has ever done is love us. Who are we to ever doubt that love when things don’t go our way after He has given up so much for us? I mean, you can’t even put into words how much he has done for us. Recently, I’ve learned the true meaning of forgiving someone, and it really took a lot out of me to accomplish that task. So imagine God, who knows all our iniquities against Him... He forgives us every time! His love is truly...wow.

Ruth Huang | 1/31/2002 02:40:37 PM

February 3, 2002

Comment

Hey. It’s Sunday again *groans* Homework deadlines are dangling in front of my face and yet I haven’t budged at all. I blame it partly on going to Houston this weekend :) Well, since I’m on the topic, I’ll share w/ u guys what I learned in the sermon that Pastor Chen gave this Sabbath.

He basically said two things that really hit me: 1) don’t be an onlooker and 2) don’t hit the bench when people say GO!

1) He said in a typical football game there are thousands of spectators watching 22 men battling the game out on the field. This is often true also inside the church—many onlookers watch a few members taking it upon themselves to do all the work. Those workers are the ones who really need the rest—just like the players in the football game. Yet the spectators are the ones sitting down doing nothing but watching them play. In the same way, the church members who are lounging around do not really contribute or participate in holy work or related activities but find the time to analyze those few who are working and, at the same time, find stuff to criticize. So the lesson here: don’t be onlookers—be players.

2) He also said that, usually before a team charges onto the field, they’ll huddle and the coach will yell “GO GO GO!” and everyone will rush off into the field all pepped up and ready to go. But a lot of times in the church, you’ll hear God yell “GO GO GO!” but no one goes. Everyone seems to have retreated to the locker room or sit on the bench. A lot of people mention there is work to do and are enthusiastic, but they’re nowhere to be found when the time comes. Without the players on the field—without soldiers in a battlefield—there is neither game nor battle. That means the game has been forfeited to the advantage of the opponent. So note: don’t let Satan win without a fight! Everyone gird yourselves and let’s GO GO GO!!

Alright :) hope u guys are edified. Keep fighting! See "y’all" in the field :)

marred jar | 2/3/2002 11:30:27 PM

April 11, 2002

Quote

The other night I was looking through a prayer book that was given to me before I left Houston last fall. To be exact, it is “God’s Instruction Book on Prayer.” Anyway, as I sifted through the pages, one particular quote caught my attention. This is how it goes: “The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us...but that we finally hear Him.”

I find this quote to be particularly interesting because it made me ask myself, why do I sometimes pray so much for something? It might seem trivial, but what is the purpose of praying so earnestly so often? I’m not going to go into detail, but think for a moment about what your prayers are typically like? Have they allowed you to gain a better understanding of God, or is it merely a “God, I want to do this, show me the way” or “God, please don’t let this happen.” Prayer is one of the most powerful tools that we possess; surely we can utilize it better than that. It’s like having a Dual Athlon XP 2000+ with 1 gig of DDR 333 Ram, a GeForce 4, a Sound Blaster Audigy, Klipsch Pro Media 5.1 speakers, and a 21" flat panel monitor to play solitaire on. It’s pretty sad.

Enoch Chang | 4/11/2002 12:56:50 AM

April 17, 2002

Reflection

I was going to post this earlier last week but wanted to straighten out my thoughts first. Most Christians know of Isaiah chapter 6, whether having read the book of Isaiah or not. It recounts the story of how Isaiah, a major prophet in the Old Testament, was convicted of his wicked tongue, living among people of unclean tongue, and how he cried out “Woe is me, for I am undone!” A seraph flew to him, having in his hand a live burning coal, and touched Isaiah in the mouth. Isaiah was cleansed of his sin.

Shortly after, God called out, “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Isaiah responded with an emphatic, “Here I am! Send me.”

It is important to note that before anyone does any work for God, he must be purified of his sin like Isaiah was. Especially when the bulk of Isaiah’s work required the use of his mouth, which once was dirty and shameful but now honorable and used for God’s glory. This reminds me of 2 Tim 2:21 about the vessels: “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.”

Sure, there is a deeper understanding of this passage. But most importantly, the words of God must be applied in our own respective lives. So after finishing the chapter, I gave my usual morning prayer. I kept thinking and wondering, which part of me do I need to be touched by a live coal? What must be purged away? As I got up from prayer, it hit me.

The heart. My heart.

Can someone with heavy responsibilities in the church seriously and fervently serve God? If the heart isn’t there, the answer is no. Complaint and frustration soon cloud the mind and tongue. Why? Because the love of God and the Spirit of God has not filled his heart.

Therefore, if one really wants to serve God, it must start from the inside out. Because the bulk of the work would consist of using his heart—once dirty and shameful—now honorable and used in His glory.

Samuel Kuo | 4/17/2002 12:20:38 AM

May 3, 2002

Observation

The coolest thing happened to me on the bus going home today. A guy sitting behind me was whistling “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art.” It was hard not to break into a smile. Though not a great whistler, as he often was out of tune, it kept me great company in my heart while I sang the lyrics inside my head. It amazed me how he was willing to whistle inside a moving bus. Not many people nowadays seem to whistle, much less in a bus! It also made me believe how much joy he must have had within his heart! The short 15-minute ride home suddenly became so rewarding inside. He probably had no idea that such a small action, maybe annoying to some, could have impacted someone’s day, my day, this much. Thank God.

marred jar | 5/3/2002 07:54:07 PM

May 17, 2002

Comment

For the record, this is written in all sincerity and love. In no way do I want to come off seeming unconstructively critical.

I was awakened this morning with pain in my teeth—I had attempted to wear the retainers I haven’t worn for about a year. So six o’clock in the morning I’m lying in bed and, being a thinker/dreamer, something came to mind:

The internet presents the wonderful opportunity to publish anything you want. You are your own publishing company. With recent user-friendly content management (journal) systems, such as blogger, livejournal, and xanga, publishing one’s own ideas is even easier.

However, we all must realize the very fact that publishing means making public. Hence, the same root word "-pub." As followers of Christ, we cannot merely follow what everyone else is doing—posting all of our feelings and actions without any concern for our readership. Who is our readership? The PUBLIC, meaning anyone, from your next door neighbor to your school mates to some stranger searching the internet to your little sister, mother, pastor, or, perhaps, younger believers in Christ who cannot discern yet what is right or wrong. The latter is my main concern.

An owner of a blog must question the purpose of his/her blog. What’s its point? A place to encourage, exhort, edify? To entertain, to vent, rant, and rave? Or just a place to let folks know what’s going on?

My main point is, if you have a blog or are planning on creating a weblog, consider your readership and the point of your blog. I believe most intend their readership to be other TJC friends. In that case, please watch what you write—there are younger ones (physically or spiritually) that will not benefit from certain types of posts. Those go in your own personal journal, not on the internet. If we are going to be a generation that simply follows trends without foresight, we are in some deep trouble. We ought to use technology to our advantage.

I am happy to say that the guest writers on this site have exemplified this, and, in fact, at times write too little! If we could only have more of their learning experiences and acquired wisdom! Our guest writers, including myself, go through the same deal most people go through—fun, laughter, sadness, spirituality struggles, and personal problems. But a PUBLIC blog, especially from a TJC believer, should follow the teachings of Ephesians 4:29: “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your [fingers], but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the [readers].” Therefore, blog in moderation with nothing excessive, avoid unnecessary posts, and privatize in your own handwritten journal.

Samuel Kuo | 5/17/2002 08:06:33 AM

June 6, 2002

Reflection

I saw the first lightening bug of the summer last night! I was walking to my car late at night after my physics lecture and I saw one of those guys light up. Pretty cool, huh? Summer is here. =)

Besides that, while Sam and Andy are off working and gaining experience, I’m stuck here commuting almost 2 hours total a day taking torture classes. However, one thing nice about summer classes is that I have a lot of time to myself (I have a morning lecture and night lecture), so I can actually think about a lot of stuff. Well, I finally got to reflect about the past year, and it’s made a big difference in how I approach life now. It’s funny how great epiphanies come to me in the strangest places, too. Haha, so anyway...

Being on your own really tests you in every aspect: habits change a little. Without the supervision of my parents, I unconsciously slacked off a little (mentally, physically, spiritually). What I once thought I was so absolutely strong about started to become shaky with exposure to different ideas and perspectives from the variety of people I’ve encountered. I made all these goals for myself before each semester started, and when I couldn’t meet all of them I realized that I didn’t really know myself. However, one endures and realizes that things eventually happen for a reason. If I had to sum up the past year in three words, I’d say, “God is awesome.”

A lot of ups and plenty of downs can happen within a year. Let’s not disappoint God by growing bitter from the downs. Fight on.

Ruth Huang | 6/6/2002 04:47:29 PM

June 7, 2002

Comment

Being on my own has taught me something else, too—the importance of earning and spending money wisely. I never knew that a simple lunch would amount to 6 bucks...and then there’s dinner and gas. Seriously, your wallet is looking nil by the middle of the week. So I was thinking about it lately—how my parents really work hard to support me and put food on the table. I never could relate to this struggle, but now, when you’re on your own, its hard to make a buck and to provide for yourself. Also, I feel like I’m more of an adult now—I feel more resourceful and responsible. Like Ruth said, when you’re on your own, you really do have a lot of time to think about yourself: your accomplishments, your wrongs, your spirituality, and life in general. It is really a time you should cherish. I think I’ve done more reflecting in the past week than for the whole year. Pretty cool stuff.

Andy Wang | 6/7/2002 02:31:58 AM

September 9, 2002

Reflection

We often ask for “God’s guidance” in our prayers. Yeah, “God’s guidance.” I noticed that I say those words out of habit. In fact, those words are almost automatically inserted into my prayers, whether in understanding or in the Spirit. I can just hear myself right now, “God, please guide me today....”or “God we ask you to guide our _____ today…”

But it wasn’t really until yesterday (Sunday, 9/8) that I really thought about those words. “Guidance” infers that there is a leader and a follower. And since we’re asking for the guidance, we are the follower. But I noticed that rarely do I look for God’s guidance in my daily life. I just simply ask for it in my prayers, but there really isn’t any action in my daily living. If God is really to guide our day, then we have to actively follow, no? How can one desire guidance from one place to another, if he is not really going to follow? It would be absolutely pointless to ask in the first place. So the next time we ask God to “guide our day” or “guide our week” or “guide our future,” we really ought to follow God and LET HIM LEAD.

And how do we do that? How do we let him guide our day? Sometimes it’s obvious, as in the pillar of cloud and fire that led the Israelites for over 40 years. Obviously, one way to let God lead our lives is to live according to the Bible. So we have to read it. Other times, God’s guidance is less obvious, and it takes the movement of the Holy Spirit. So we have to be one with the Spirit through prayer for Him to guide us. In any case, we have to be observant enough to let Him lead.

Hold His hand. He’ll lead you through.

Samuel Kuo | 9/9/2002 01:15:17 AM

Conclusion

The experiences that we have encountered over the past several months during the breadth of our college career have produced quite a bundle of Internet postings on our blog. In retrospect, these posts, intended to edify the readers through sharing, probably helped the writers as much as, if not more than, the readers. Blogging on daily Christian living (specifically our time while on campus or in summer activities) enables us to reflect, ponder, and express those thoughts, thereby meditating on and applying the words of God. We hope to validate our words with our actions and life.

Just as many other Internet sites come and go, the future of our blog is uncertain. Nevertheless, for however long we decide to keep blogging, we hope we can continue to build up others. Perhaps you can join us in this wonderful technology and start a blog, too.

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Publisher: True Jesus Church
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