College family, are you well in the Lord's grace? Praying your days are filled with God's wisdom, joy, and provision. Young adult family, is the week coming to a blessed finish with the Lord's enduring help? Keep pressing-on as God's plans unfold for you each new day.
It was brought to my attention last week that as a young adult family, we need to nurture greater community amongst us, in knowing each other better and what the Lord is doing in our lives. Know that I am always listening to your hearts, and desire to put into practice what will flourish this precious group for the Lord!
Therefore, we'll have a "TESTIMONY NIGHT" alongside our Bible reflection. I'd love to hear how God rescued your life from the miry pit, and opened your eyes to behold His beauty and salvation. I'd love to hear the works of the LORD that awakened us all to trust in Jesus as our only great God and Savior! Let's get to know one another through these channels, and let the Spirit of God draw us to love the glory of Christ more and more, amen?
Our story is His story! Let us tell His story. Lord-willing, hope to see you soon tonight, pray for those who are far away, and enjoy the presence of the LORD in our midst!
Your Brother Chester
Young Adult (College/Post-Grad)Life group THE FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS Empowered by One and the Same Spirit [chapter 12] ONE AND THE SAME SPIRIT IMPARTS VARIETY OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS (12:1-11) (Question #1) Another problem that was brewing among the Corinthian Christians was about spiritual gifts – some may have thought that one gift was superior against another, or that the spiritual gifts could be used whichever way desired, even to accurse Jesus or deny His Lordship (verse 1-3). But no one can use the spiritual gifts this way because they are sourced in the Holy Spirit (verse 1-3). In the same way, there are many varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit (verse 4-5). What matters in the end in not which gift you have, but from who your gift is sourced in and is empowered by (verse 6). All gifts manifest the Spirit of God and are given for the common good (verse 7). What kind of varieties of gifts are there (verse 8-10)? Why does God give different gifts to different people (verse 11)? [*REFLECT #1] A spiritual gift is an unnatural ability that produces spiritual results. When we are able to say and do things that are beyond our nature in blessing others with the gospel, building them up, and pointing them to Christ, this is a spiritual gift! The apostle Paul describes the utterance of the gifts – which means the gift comes by something we say – through a text, a phone call, a message, a prayer, and much more. The apostle Paul also describes the gifts that come by signs or action over utterance, such as healing and miracles. *Have you discerned with the Holy Spirit your spiritual gift? When is a time God spoke an utterance to you, or when has God given an utterance through you to someone else? When is a time when God did an unexplainable sign or action through your actions? When is a time you have been jealous over the gifts of others? Are spiritual gifts the same as natural talents? How have these experiences brought you closer to the source of all gifts – the one and same Spirit who gives to each as He wills? Is it really about which spiritual gift you have, or about the source and stewardship of each spiritual gift? ONE AND THE SAME SPIRIT BAPTIZES MANY MEMBERS INTO ONE BODY (12:12-31) (Question #2) Next, the apostle Paul addresses another recurring issue – divisions between members of the Corinthian church. By illustrating the church as a body with members of the church likened to different parts of the body, we see how a church built on sound doctrine cannot ever be divided or members independent of each other. Although our body has many parts yet stay together as one body, how does this illustrate Christ’s body and its members (verse 12-13)? Are all the parts of Christ’s body equally important and belong to each other (verse 14-16)? Why did God not make every part of the body the same (verse 17-20)? What can different parts of the body never say to each other (verse 21)? How do we care for the weaker and less honorable parts of Christ’s body (verse 22-26)? As members of Christ’s body, what are some different roles and gifts the LORD has appointed to different people (verse 27-31)? [*REFLECT #2] You are the body of Christ, and individually, you are members of it. Christ’s body is His local church. How can we, as the church and body of Christ, show our unity in one Spirit to all the different people in our church? How can you proactively nurture this church to make every person belong to the body and never say, “I have no need of you”? Personally, do you feel you belong to this church? Is there anyone you have cast aside as not needing in your life? How can we be part of growing a church that suffers together, rejoices together, grieves together, and worships together? What is your role in this body – have you discerned it? How are we earnestly desiring to work out the role that God has given us in this body? HOLY SPIRIT MOMENT (APPLY #1) Spend two minutes inviting and listening to the Holy Spirit to show you your spiritual gift and the body of Christ you are called to be a member to work out that gift for your joy and His glory. (APPLY #2) Write two ways you can bless Christ’s body with your spiritual gifts and nurture oneness in the Spirit. (1) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (2) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (APPLY #3) Share one of them with the group, and a first practical step you can take to accomplish it. (APPLY #4) Write a sentence-prayer for it: _________________________________________________________________________________________ (APPLY #5) Share spiritual life – How are you? What is one thing about Jesus that carried you through this week? What is one thing you prayed for today? How has God answered in prayer, or asked us to keep requesting in prayer?
Sincerest happy birthday to our dear sister Hannah Lee at Texas A&M today! Praying you are well At College Station, sister, and the Lord is growing your walk with Him daily through the empowering of the indwelling Spirit of God within you! May the joy of the Lord fall upon you, who created you, sustains you, and finishes this life with you to carry you to the eternal life to come! Thank you for being so faithful to your calling as a student and as a servant of the Lord.
Another end-of-week has arrived, College family... how are you? As studies pile-up, or part-time work, internships, and other needs fill our day, remember to go to the quiet place as Jesus did - to withdraw, take a step back, to spend time with His Spirit and hear Him through the sacred Scriptures. May the Lord lead your life in these days where it is so easy to lead ourselves.
Post-Grad family, another work week is ending and you made it! The days are long, at times mundane, but remember God is in the little things as much as the big things of life. I trust you'll walk faithfully again, as you sort through the complexities of transitioning through this young adult season. May the Lord guard your hearts and keep Him as first love at all times. May the Lord maximize your time, energy, strength, and resources to be a channel for His glory - of which only you can be in this stage of life. Keep being all-in for the Lord today.
Join us, if able, tonight again for a somewhat difficult chapter in 1 Corinthians! We'll navigate through this broadly through two questions and reflections. I look forward to the lively discussion and reflections with you, especially about godly gender roles. We are all co-equal servants, regardless of gender, in Christ, and called to lead God's people as well as submit ourselves before the feet of Jesus. Let us hold to the integrity of calling all to be imitators of us, because we are imitators of Christ, amen?
Lord-willing, see you! Prayerfully,
Young Adult (College/Post-Grad)Life group THE FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS Be Imitators of Me, as I am of Christ [chapter 11] IMITATE GODLY HEADSHIP AND SUBMISSION (11:1-16) (Question #1) At that time, covering the head with some sort of veil was a custom that both men and women did to symbolize their submission under the authority and protection of another. Head coverings were worn during times of prayer to show honor and acknowledge a higher authority that covered over them. It appears in the Corinthian church, some women refused to wear their head coverings, while some men kept theirs on. *More specifically, it appears that the apostle Paul is addressing the relationship between wives and husbands within marriage over the relationship between all women and all men in a general sense. According to the apostle Paul, how are husbands and wives to conduct themselves with their head coverings when they pray/prophesy and why (verse 1-16)? How does this act of obedience between a husband and a wife within marriage reflect their relationship to Jesus Christ and to the Father God (look back to verse 3)? [*REFLECT #1] Today, head coverings are not used very often in church, but we could still honor the principle of this custom, especially if you are married, or possibly will be married in the future, or help bring order into a troubled marriage. In marriage, how is a godly man to conduct himself before his wife? How is a godly wife to conduct herself before her husband? In the church, how are all men and women to relate to each other, without shaming each other, before the authority of Christ and headship of Father God? **What are the key differences of gender roles between a husband and a wife within marriage versus all men and all women in Christ-centered community? Is spiritual leadership-headship the role for men alone? Is godly submission the role for women alone? IMITATE A WORTHY MANNER AT THE LORDS TABLE (11:17-34) (Question #2) In the last chapter 10, we saw how when the Corinthian church gathered, they had communion – blessing the cup and breaking the bread, participating in the blood and body of Jesus Christ, over just casually remembering it. There was no place for idolatry or division at the Lord’s table, the Corinthians were to put aside their false gods and internal conflicts (such as food offered to idols) and not become participants with demons (verse 14-22). Here, the apostle Paul brings up another issue surrounding the Lord’s table. What was happening as they were coming together to participate in the Lord’s supper and how did Paul react to it (verse 17-22)? As the Corinthians were desecrating this sacred supper, what does the apostle Paul remind them of what they were proclaiming as they ate the bread and drank the cup (verse 23-26)? So, what ought they be doing before they eat the bread and drink the cup (verse 27-34)? [*REFLECT #2] Coming together at the Lord’s table does refer to primarily the sacrament of communion/Lord’s supper, but it can also generally apply to all times of fellowship – when the church gathers as brothers and sisters in Christ to love God and each other. How can we gather in a manner worthy of being the Lord’s church? Are we come together as the church, around the Lord’s table, sharing Christ and giving Christ to each other, how can we destroy a spirit of division or selfish appetites to fill our stomachs first before feeding hungry souls? By gathering, how are we proclaiming the Lord’s death until He returns? What ways can we practically self-examine ourselves before we gather as the church, breaking bread and sharing the cup of Jesus Christ? Are you waiting or going ahead of each other? HOLY SPIRIT MOMENT (APPLY #1) Spend two minutes inviting and listening to the Holy Spirit to show you how you can imitate godly headship/submission and a worthy manner of gathering at the Lord’s table with the Lord’s people. (APPLY #2) Write those two ways you can imitate these truths, and call others to say, “Be imitators of me in this, as I am of Christ”: (1) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (2) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ (APPLY #3) Share one of them with the group, and a first practical step you can take to accomplish it. (APPLY #4) Write a sentence-prayer for it: _________________________________________________________________________________________ (APPLY #5) Share spiritual life – How are you? What is one thing about Jesus that carried you through this week? What is one thing you prayed for today? How has God answered in prayer, or asked us to keep requesting in prayer?
Happy Friday! God has gifted us again with another Friday. You all made it (!).... Thank you for your endurance in the Lord and continued faithfulness to Christ. I am inspired by you all. Keep loving the Lord, walking in step with the Spirit, and let NOTHING take away your joy and pleasure in Jesus.
College family, thank you for being faithful to your calling - whether studying, interning, working... press on to the Lord! Same to you - Post-Grad family - thank you for your endurance through another work week.
Well tonight, through our dear brother Yaesung's suggestion, we were thinking of attending the Dallas-wide Korean ministry to the disabled, also known as "Milal" - hosting a special fundraising concert through the selling of tickets (which Bethany already purchased in bulk). A special guest - Sunye - is coming - I presume she will share her testimony and lead a time of praise. Sunye was a former Korean-Pop singer in the girl group, Wondergirls. At the height of her fame, she quit the group, married a great Christian gentleman on a missionary trip, and now has a beautiful family. I am inspired by these kinds of testimonies as Jesus calls us to deny the fame in this world, and seek to live holy lives in obedience to Him.
*However, the concert is at Binnerri Church in Richardson, which is quite a drive out east of us. We would have to leave at the latest - 6:15pm - to have sufficient time to make it there with all the traffic. Plus, with prior schedules of some among us, it will be difficult to make it in time. In addition, I presume the entire night will be in Korean, and mainly for families with disabled children. Yaesung's parents have been involved in this precious ministry. Let's continue to pray for their awesome work in the Lord among those precious ones, physically and mentally disabled. As the Lord Jesus told the disabled man born blind, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him" (JOHN 9:3).
So also, let us press on here in our fellowship together! Whatever we do, whether in word or deed, or even as daily and mundane as eating (!), the glory of God can be seen and treasured, amen? So in whatever you do, do all to show that glory! Bless you, Bethany.
Your Brother Chester
Young Adult (College/Post-Grad)Life group THE FIRST LETTER TO THE CORINTHIANS Whatever You Do, Do All to the Glory of God [chapter 10] ENDURE TEMPTATION TO THE GLORY OF GOD (10:1-13) (Question #1) In the Old Testament, God blessed His people in so many ways, yet ultimately, they were not received sincerely, and most were overthrown in the wilderness. God overshadowed His people through the cloud that sheltered them from the unforgiving desert sun, and then lite their path in the darkness of night through a burning pillar of fire. When approaching the Red Sea, the Lord had His people pass through the seas with God’s incredible power to hold up the walls of the sea water, so they could cross over on dry ground. By passing through the sea, they were all baptized into Moses, identifying themselves with this spiritual leader as God’s chosen one to lead them through the sea. So also, we are identified with Jesus Christ through the waters of baptism. What ways did God provide for His people (verse 2-4), and why was God still not pleased with them (verse 5-11)? What can we learn from their failed example (verse 12-13)? [*REFLECT #1] Although God has provided for us all things and every blessing in Christ, how have we turned to our own provisions and treasures? God’s people in the Old Testament sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play (EXODUS 32:6), indulging in their desires for evil. How have we failed to say “no” to indulging in our own desires for pleasure over pleasing the Lord? The apostle Paul says, “we must not put Christ to the test… nor grumble…” – how have we tested and grumbled against God to bend to our own desires and ways? Especially as it concerns our desires for intimacy, we need to take heed, lest we fall. No one is tempted more or less than anyone else – they are all common. What common temptations are overtaking you? How is God providing a way of escape to glorify Him? FLEE IDOLATRY TO THE GLORY OF GOD (10:14-22) (Question #2) When the Corinthian church gathered, they had communion – blessing the cup and breaking the bread, participating in the blood and body of Jesus Christ. Idolatry has no place at this table of communion with the Lord. Because there is only one bread and one cup, how are the Corinthians to put aside their conflicts (such as food offered to idols) and not become participants with demons (verse 14-22)? [*REFLECT #2] How have we made communion – partaking in the Lord’s table – more about remembering rather than participating? How is our communion defiled with our idols that we bring to the table with the Lord, refusing His entry into our hearts to participate in our lives as the King over our lives and Destroyer of false gods? The next time you share in the cup and bread, what must we know about what is happening? The apostle says that when we take our idols to the table of communion, the Lord is provoked to jealousy. God desires the strength of attention and affections we give to other people, places, and things. How can discern the strength of your attention and affections today, and offer them to the Lord? SEEK THE GOOD OF YOUR NEIGHBOR TO THE GLORY OF GOD (10:23-33) (Question #3) The single aim of the apostle Paul’s life is to bring glory to God. Even if all things are lawful, he understands that God’s glory hangs in the balance if it is to the detriment of his neighbor. Therefore, what is lawful might not be helpful in building up other brothers and sisters in Christ. Concerning food offered to idols, it is lawful to eat whatever is sold in the meat market – even to idols – without any question on the ground of conscience, as the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof (PSALM 24:1). However, when and why should the Corinthian believers refrain and even forsake this freedom (verse 23-33)? [*REFLECT #3] How do we display the glory of God? How can we be seeking God’s glory in what is helpful and building-up of other brothers and sisters in Christ? What are lawful things that have become toxic things in tearing-down one another? What are those freedoms that we can refrain and even forsake for the good of other brothers and sisters coming to know the Lord? How can I be a stepping-stone over a stumbling-stone for Jesus? HOLY SPIRIT MOMENT (APPLY #1) Spend two minutes inviting and listening to the Holy Spirit to show you how God’s glory is the greatest pleasure of your life over your own glory, and how you can bring Jesus glory today. (APPLY #2) Write those two ways you can bring glory to Jesus today: (1) ____________________________; (2) ________________________________ (APPLY #3) Share one of them with the group, and a first practical step you can take to accomplish it.