4/22/2011: At Heaven’s Gate – My guest pastor’s sermon

4/22/2011: At Heaven’s Gate – My guest pastor’s sermon

S: 10:23pm

E: 11:16pm

I’ve just decided to write a discovery because while reading the news on Yahoo!, I read a lot of hateful comments.

Last Sunday, we had a guest pastor for our church. He is Chinese who can also speak Spanish :) . He titled his sermon “At Heaven’s Gate”.

In Spanish, El Paso literally means “the pass,” but is more accurately translated as “gate of entrance.” It is worthy of that name because the city of El Paso is a major transit point between Mexico and the United States.  A gate, as everyone knows, is not an easy place to get into. Only those who are authorized can enter.

Many Mexicans, when they look across the border into the United States, what do they think? In Mexico, living standards are poor, but in the US, it is much better. Some of them have a longing to enter in the US, but what if they legally can’t? What do they do? Some in the congregation said “dig a hole.” Yes, those seekers may choose to dig a hole to enter into the United States, but digging a hole is hard work and can take many years. Many may start digging, but as the hard labor and time goes on, many quit. They resign and decided that they could endure living in Mexico, but a few still chooses to not give up. The hole took many years of hard labor, but in the end, those men were able to enter into the US.

When you look at heaven, do you have a longing to go there? If you do, it is because Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart. Many people may disagree here. They may say going to church is a waste of time but that is because “they are fascinated by the rainbow lights of the world but they don’t see the true light” (John 1:9). The Bible says Jesus is the gate (John 10:9). In order to reach heaven, you must have longing to get there. We must have a desire to make time for God and to obey His Word no matter what the cost because if you have no time for God, you will be very susceptible to the world. Like the diggers who dug a hole in order to reach the US, we must have the same longing and desire to get to heaven and, if you are faithful to the end, you will get there.

The pastor gave our congregation some pointers on how to get there. First, we must love because God is love. We need to share love to other people. We need to believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths (Romans 10:9) that Jesus is Lord. We need to have time daily for God because without it, we would be very susceptible to the pleasures of this world. We must have a longing heart to invite people to church. Even if they say bad things about you, you must have a willing heart to the Lord. We must continue to dig our tunnel.

He ended by telling us not to worry if you lack strength. Just follow God and do things with love. All our effort will not be in vain. Just follow and walk with God. One day the gate will close but no one knows except the Father.

I took notes during his sermon and that is my effort in retelling what he taught us. He mentioned that a “Christian life is love because God is love.” While reading those comments on Yahoo! I feel that the end of the world is near because the Bible says towards the end, the “love of most will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12). Why do I feel that the love of most is growing cold? Because people are becoming more selfish; they are worrying more about themselves and disregarding others.

The right answer would be to love others regardless of circumstances because God loves us no matter what we do. Even if we have nothing, even when hardships come, we must still love because God is love (1 John 4:8).

1/15/2010

1/15/2010

S: 10:41am

Losing my external hard drive also made me wonder why I use Facebook. If my backup is in heaven, then what is Facebook for? If my purpose is to give God glory, then what is Facebook for? Many times, and especially when I write notes, Facebook gets time consuming. And it will get even more time-consuming if I chose to “take control of Facebook.” Part of me wants to continue and embrace Facebook. It want me to make my Face book a true reflection of myself with notes, videos, pictures, etc. And I don’t care what other people think, it’s me. Another part of me wants to completely dump Facebook. Facebook is a waste of time. It’s not about me, it’s about God. Facebook is so time-consuming that it will affect my growth in the knowledge of God. Oh yeah, I went to the PX today, and not only did I buy a new laptop and external hard drive, I brought a whole collection of Christian books. I’m glad that the PX had so many wonderful Christian books for growth. And, when I went to buy a new laptop, I had no plan. Yet, I found in the catalog that today is the first day of their tech sale. Wow. Praise God. I brought a high-tech Sony laptop for $679 and I’m using it now.

Since I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook, I’m just going to choose the middle course until I decide which path to follow. But it’s not easy to walk both paths. Very soon, I would have to make a decision.

14 Jan 2010

14 Jan 2010

S: 7:33pm

I have something that happened to me today that trimupts my experience in the field, what happened after the field, and almost everything in my life. I lost my little ewe lamb.

Well, not an actual lamb, but my external hard drive. By losing that, I lost a lot of my personal information and ALL my pictures (but praise God, I still have the pictures of the girl I love, but I will delete it if it causes me to sin; she can’t “accept [my] feelings”). True, I used to have a copy of everything in my computer, but ever since I reformatted my computer, I no longer trust my computer and relied on my external hard drive. It’s so important to me that I actually comteptated suicide. I can’t go on with a big part of me missing. Someone probably stole it and used it for what it’s for, meat. Forget about the feeling, the emotions, or the experiences.

As I ponder about my loss (after looking like a poor widow trying to find her coin), I relized that my copy of everything is actually in heaven. God already knows everything. When I get to heaven, I can recall all the experiences in my life in a flash. I don’t really have to worry about keeping a personal backup. Now that I thought about it, I still have some of my pictures on Facebook. Heh, praise God for Facebook! Wow, Facebook is now my personal backup. My backup is now online. I wonder how long that will last.

Of course I feel angry on the person who stole it, but I hope that he (or she? probably not) will be changed by God because of it. I wrote a lot of God-stuff and I hope it can be used to evangalize to him. I also have all my important passwords, and yes, passwords that I can’t remember. Ouch, that will hurt, but I won’t change it. If he takes my money, it’s not my money he is stealing, but God’s, for all I have belongs to God.

And it’s also time for me to get a new computer. I used all my technial skill to fix my computer but it still failed. Even getting this on Facebook is a mircuale. I just hope I can use this time to backup what I DO have in this computer to a flash disk.

You know, I’m thinking of buying a box of external hard drives and just laying it on my bed when I deploy. I would make a poster that says “Jesus loves you” and leave it to that. This reminds me of an experience I had in AIT. One of the segarents would inspect our rooms everyday and mess their rooms up for no reason. Well, the segarents say they have a reason, like there’s a piece of trash on the floor, or the bunk isn’t dressed perfectly, or other bullshit reason. I know their motive, and it is to mess with soldiers just for the hell of it, in the name of training. My bunk would be flipped everyday and I wouldn’t know why. One day, I was tired of it, but I wanted to show God’s love to whoever is doing this evil thing. I took a piece of notebook paper, wrote in permeant marker “Jesus Loves You,” and taped a $20 bill to it. The next day, the flipping stopped. I looked underneath my pillow, and there it is, a $20 bill with “Jesus Loves You.” From then on, the seargents still check rooms, but they will only mess it up for obvious reasons. My bunk wasn’t flipped again for a long while. I find this kind of strange, but I didn’t really understand what was going on back then. Now I know, praise God.

And so, now I’m back from the field, but I still can’t “take control of my Facebook.” I would have to buy a new laptop and 2 external hard disks, just in case one of them get’s stolen.

1/15/10
S: 10:52

Praise God, I found an old backup of my pictures and most of my information, even through its several months out of date. I’m still content.

And also, I already went to the PX (its like a Wal-Mart to me) and brought a new laptop and ext. hard drive. A box? Nah, a little too expensive.

12/29/09: At heaven’s gate

12/29/09: At heaven’s gate

 

I’m so happy. I finished uploading “Snowy and his master” (小雪球) and “At heaven’s gate” (天堂的門外) Land of Dream series to Youtube. I uploaded them so I can watch them when I deploy. There’s no way I’m going to bring those heavy books with me.

One story from the Land of Dream series that particularly strikes me in my heart is the “At heaven’s gate” (天堂的門外) episode. The story tells of a young adult mentoring three young kids to Christ. However, he wasn’t able to stay with the kids through the year for reasons unknown. This story strikes me because I was a tutor at SINWA education institute. I see myself as大哥哥, the young adult. However, unlike him, I wasn’t really active in sharing my faith to my students. I tried, but the principle told me sharing my faith is forbidden because it might offend the children’s parents. I could have been bolder; I could have found other ways to tell them about Jesus, but I didn’t. I was still struggling with my own weaknesses.

There was a time when I was teaching summer school (I was a horrible teacher, BTW) I wrote a few prospective journal prompts. One of them was,” All of us have a dark side. What is yours? / What is your dark side?” During class, some of my students saw my lesson plan and really wanted to write a journal entry on the dark side. I immediately grew afraid and rebuked them. They were pleading with me to write that. To them, that prompt was more interesting than, “If you have $100, what would you spend it on?” or “Do you like school? Why? (probably not).” Looking back, if I were more brave and honest, I would have been a 大哥哥 to them. Then maybe I would have been more bold to share my faith later on. But the time came for 大哥哥 (me) to leave, but unlike the 大哥哥 in the story, I failed to teach them about God’s love and why it is important to follow Jesus. I should have set eternity in their minds. Then maybe, they can also go to heaven.

12/13/09

12/13/09

S: 9:20am
E: 9:44am +

I’m writing things that will never be read. Well, maybe. Anywas, life is just so depressing. It’s too hard for me. Too much stress, too much trials, suffering, temptations, and shame. And not enough support. I can’t go through life alone. I can never go through it alone. I have to go through life with Jesus, but my faith is just too weak. I hate myself. I already told myself. If I fail to trust and have faith in God, and if it is too late to change my past, I am just going to kill myself. To die would be a sweet release. A sweet refrain. A permerant rest. At least I don’t have to hear the slave driver’s shout, and the weary will be at rest. The dead are happier than the living, what is this fultile life I”m living under the sun? I am doing nothing good, just evil. To do good and live, that would be a gift from God. I want to contribute to help this world for good, but life is beating me down. I just want to die. What is the point to live? It seems all the girls of my youth run from me. Nobody wants to be with me anymore. Life is pointless, life is fuitle if lived alone. It is fultile if lived for the self. I hate to serve myself, to live for myself, but I do it because I have no other choice. My flesh is too strong. It needs to be weak. It must be weak. Not my physical though. Heh. If I am too physically weak, if I am just too weak to do anything, then what difference is death? Life is pointless if I have no hope. I am just a big drainage tank to God. I betrayed Him so many times. Forget it! I am nothing, I am worthless. I give up. I lost. I surrender. I surrender! There’s no point to live anymore. I’m sorry, but life is just too hard. I have too many weaknesses and not enough strengths. Sure, I may have hidden strengths, but I don’t see them and they don’t help me to live. O, I wish I can go to the day of my death! WHat happy refrain! To die is better than to be born, for death is the destiny of every man. I’m nothing to God, I’m just totally useless. I will just do this little work that God has set for me: to post songs on youtube and send those children songs to that Sunday school teacher and that’s it. I will put a mask when I talk to other people. I will just be a logical shell of myself. Why? Because I am useless, I am hopeless. I am just too weak to live. Nobody loves me enough to want to take care of me. I just want to die. Please, I just want to die. Forget about oppertunties. What oppertunties do I have? WHat am I trying to strive for? The only thing my spiritual body want to do is to serve God. But, I’m sorry, I am just too weak. I.. people.. people just shames me, they will just hurt me, I think back about how much I have lost when I interact with people. Therefore, I will just treat them like business. It will be completely logical. I am preparing for my death. I hope I am already dead. I don’t want to come back home. I just want to die. I don’t care what other people think. They don’t care enough about me when I’m alive. ANd yes, its also my fault. They isolated way I was brought up. I was born to be a failure. Utterly useless! I don’t care anymore. This world has nothing for me. This world has nothing for me. I hate this world and its enticements and its desires and its longings and its sins. I can’t stand it anymore! I am just too weak. Stupid stupid flesh! Lol. I’m leaving and that is an answer. No, I am really leaving. From now on, I’m just going to put on my logical mask, heh, its one of the only mask that I have, thanks to my isolation. I will use my parent’s car and drive to my death. It will be at a hotel not too far from home. Why a hotel? Because it’s convient and the owner won’t know who I really am. And also, in a spiritual sense, a dying at a hotel makes sense (at a one-star or as low as possible of course). I am just a prligim in this world. My home is not in this world, but in heaven. But, even if it is not my time yet, I don’t care. Life on earth is just too hard for me. If I’m rejected in heaven, or judged when I wake up again, then so be it. Let God be the judge. He is in heaven and I am here on earth. If I go to the firely pit then so be it, this world is just too painful and sorrowful for me. I’m going to check in on earth and check out once I get to heaven. I hope I have the willpower to do this and not let the lures of this world to detract me. This is my chance, and I need to make it my only chance.

Of course, I will still do my best to worship and serve God not because I’m making my peace with Him, but because He is worthy. He is worthy of all praise. I hope I have the willpower to die in this everlasting arms, but if I can’t then cursed be my flesh. I will still depart from this sinful, hard world. A world that makes me think about sucide almost everyday. It’s okay, because I have heard of a land. I have heard of a land, in a far away strand. Tis a beautiful home of the soul. Built my Jesus on high, where we never shall die, in a land where we’ll never grow old.

10/22/09

10/22/09

S: 7:38pm
E: 7:49pm

I should not fear man, but fear God. Sigh, it’s depressing that I have to endure so much. The pain of weakness, of tireness, of legerthaic. I also have to endure the smiles and jokes of evil ones. Yes, evil ones. They say things that are funny, but wrong. It really isn’t funny. God doesn’t think its funny. Providing strangers with hospitality is pleasing and like a joke to heaven. The Bible said that there is no one who does good, on one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become corrupt. That is true, so true. It is in times like this, when I am surrounded by evil, that I long for peace. I long to be by myself, praying, seeking, worshiping God. Sigh, that is what I should be doing right before the field. Surely I do not have the things of God in my heart. I hate evil because God hates evil. I hate evil because it is against life. It is against love. It is against fairness and justice.

I am just so tired. I want to sleep, to rest in sweet peace. You know what, I’m going to sing along some of my Christian music. I must have Jesus. I cannot bear my burdens alone. I am weary and weak.

You know, many times, I wish I can be weak forever. By being weak, I seek and acknowledge God. I tend to seek the Lord if I am weak. If being weak helps me to seek the Lord, then I would rather have provety than riches, for I know that I have nothing apart from God. It is not my money but God’s. God owns everything I have. If someone steals from me, they are not stealing from me, no, they can have them, I will gladly give it to them, but they are stealing from God. Let God be the judge; let God be my judge. I will not resist evil men, for I know who holds tomorrow. Because Jesus lives, I can live again. Because Jesus lives, I can live tomorrow.

10/21/2009

10/21/2009

I find it funny that I have a longing to go back home. No, home isn’t my home in San Gabriel, it is my barracks room. After getting some chow, I didn’t realize our platoon is going back to the battery until it was almost too late. I almost jumped in, and then I got out and told them I needed to bring my laptop. Whew, they almost left with me. After some thought, I also realize that I have a longing to go to heaven. Heaven, heaven, it’s a happy home. There’s Jesus with you, there’s Jesus with you. I am going to upload the Land of Dreams series on youtube as soon as I get the chance. I loved it then and I loved it now.

I’m tired, but excited to come back home. I’m kind of used to uploading my life on facebook now. I feel happy knowing that others know my burdens and my life. Of course I must have Jesus, because I cannot bear my burdens alone. It’s painful going through life alone. I mean alone alone.
I love when hard or trying times come, I have the ability to talk to myself to follow Jesus. Like this morning when I acted like a dumbass in front of the chaplain because I was afraid and was tougne-tied. I tell myself that it’s okay. It doesn’t matter what I do, what matters is that I follow God’s Word. God will tell me what to say, I just need to have more faith. And sure, I think evil thoughts. When the chaplain said he knows someone named Sanchez who lives in Los Angeles, I immediately thought of “dirty Sanchez.” Sigh; blame my evil battle buddies and evil talk shows. I don’t care if they have talent, what matters is it causes dissension between brothers. I am being influenced by fellow soldiers around me. They talk about worldly things, especially girls. They say all kinds of jokes, regardless if it’s evil or not. It is evil and messed up. I laugh with them, because it’s funny, but I usually try to be alone, so I can listen to the “Land of Dreams,” or sing, or pray, or sleep.

10/14/09

[written diary]

10/14/09 S: 8:27pm E:

The fact is it’s awful that I did not prepare spiritually for the field. As I wrote on facebook, I chose to rebel against God. I thought to myself: if I’m going to sin against God, I might as well sin all the way. I am wrong. I have no excuses against Him. Now, I am paying the price. I hate paying the price. I want to move on, to advance spiritually with God. I must be honest with everyone on facebook because I always try to be honest with God. God, help me. Help me to obey and worship you. Guide me God. Sigh, I have to put on earphones because I am sinning against God by listening to sinful speech. Field is going to be so hard for me. I will trust in God’s faithfulness. I hope my church is praying for me. I know I am almost worthless, but I will still seek and oby God, because he is good and his love endures forever. I don’t think anyone will love me because I am underserving of love. I am just not good enough to have a wife. Look at me! I am sinful, I am not high-speed enough, I am too weak.

I guess my very life is God’s gift to me. Many times, I just don’t want to live anymore because I get no pleasure in them; and the pleasures of sin is not pleasure to me because they last only for a season.

The things I want, I cannot have. It’s painful. Sigh, I only have one choice left: to rest in His faithfulness. Heaven is my home! Because He is my hope, my life’s light. Thank you God, for your faithfulness. Each day I live is a gift from God.

9/22/2009

9/22/2009

 

I feel so bad. Today, during PT, I chose to be selfish, to follow my own self-interests instead of others. Yes, one of my online orders (睡夢鄉) got canceled because it’s out of stock and I was planning to share it on Youtube, and yes, this morning is freaking cold. It’s the coldest since I’ve been in this unit. I envied those who are strong; it seems I’m the only one feeling the cold. I really wanted to run, so in my jealousy, I chose to run even though almost nobody in my platoon wanted it. During the run, I felt so guilty and the cold is freezing my wrists that I fell behind. I was able to catch up in the end, but I ran with guilt the whole way. Who am I, to do what I want? Am I not to be a servant and to serve others? Why am I trying to make my life more comfortable? My home is in heaven and not on earth. I am here not to be number one, but to lead others to Christ. I can endure tough conditions, but only with God, and if I sin against God, who else can I turn to? He is my mediator, he makes my life bearable.