Strive for True Victory (CIF-SS Championship Video)

Recap video of Maranatha’s CIF-SS D-5 Girls Tennis Championship

Hey TD!

Last week, we had a post entitled, We Must Play. It’s a must read.  Well, along those lines, a few weeks ago, Sandra and I had the privilege of coaching the Maranatha High School Varsity Girls Tennis Team to a CIF-SS D-5 Championship.  It was a stressful but thrilling two weeks of intense playing, soul-searching, and figuring out how to be able to produce our best when our best is needed.  The playoffs are not for the faint of heart. Sports is a great revealer of things.  It has been said that when you play competitive sports, the real you comes out.

It is incredibly difficult to win a championship at any level; there is an incredible amount of focus, discipline, character, desire, perspective, and providence that must all come together for the desired result to occur; and even then, there are no guarantees it will.  So many others want the same thing, yet only one will be left standing.

I want to remind you that while only one team or one person can win the championship, it is absolutely possible for more than one to come out a champion.  Your “thing” may or may not be sports; but whatever it is, you can come out a true winner – if you figure out how to do it to His honor, to represent Him well, with your very best effort with integrity, with grace and fairness towards your competitors – regardless of the outcome.  Col. 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men.” If you do that, you are a winner in the eyes of the only One that matters.

We are grateful for God’s generosity and kindness to us in granting us the championship; but as I told our team, it comes with great responsibility of stewardship and giving credit to Whom credit is due.  Our theme verse was 1 Cor. 10:31, “Whether then you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  While our team really wanted to earn championship rings, we agreed that, more than for the ring alone, we are playing for the “King of the ring.”

Your “thing” may or may not be sports; but whatever it is, you can come out a true winner – if you figure out how to do it to His honor, to represent Him well, with your very best effort with integrity, with grace and fairness towards your competitors – regardless of the outcome.  Col. 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily as for the Lord rather than for men.” If you do that, you are a winner in the eyes of the only One that matters. 

This was the first time in my years of coaching boys and girls tennis that both finalists were Christian schools, both bearing witness.  After the ceremony was over, a long-time CIF official made a point to come to me and let me know that it was the finest display of sportsmanship at the ceremony that he’s seen, and that that’s how high school sports should be.

Indeed, it has been an opportunity to give thanks to God and attempt to represent Him well.  If you’re interested, here are a couple of newspaper articles.  They don’t always include the faith aspects into their stories, even when you share it with them, but you can still catch the drift:

Pasadena Sports Now

Pasadena Outlook

TD’ers, none of us is going to go through the game of life smoothly.  We’re going to have bumps and bruises, successes and failures along the way.  My dad used to remind me that failure is the foundation of success.  He’s right.  Failure can be such a powerful teacher.  I’ve always told people that the mark of a Christian is not whether you fall (you will), but the manner in which you get up when you fall.

I encourage you all during this finals season to prepare well, think well, treat others well, put God first, love your family, live honorably and consistently inside and out, and trust Him. If you do, whatever the results, you will have earned true victory.  Amen.

Go get’ em! – Coach Arthur 🙂

 

 

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TD Sat. – “Evening of Christmas: Joy”

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Hey TD!

There’s something special about the arts. The arts are often able to communicate and resonate with us with a depth propositions cannot.

This Saturday night, Maranatha High School’s Performing Arts Department will be putting on “Evening of Christmas: Joy” at the world-renowned Ambassador Auditorium on Marantha’s campus in Pasadena.  Tickets through TD are $5 ($10 to the public).

Let your small group leader know by Thursday night whether you are able to make it or not! Hope to see you there!

 

Here’s what’s in store:

Join us for a festive evening of music and dance and discover the joy of the season at “Evening of Christmas”!

We use the word “joy” so much during this holiday season. We sing “Joy to the World,” and “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” We bring tidings of “comfort and joy.” But the joy of the Christmas story is contained in the story of a young couple, separated from home and family and forced to deliver their first child in a stable. That is the difference between joy and happiness. Joy isn’t based on circumstance as much as perspective.

Our presentation of “Evening of Christmas” this year explores the true meaning of that word joy through music and dance. Come join us as we usher in the Christmas season with performances by Mixed Ensemble, Maranatha Orchestra, and Dance Company. It will be two evenings filled with the heart and soul of the true “joy” of the season. “Evening of Christmas” takes place on Friday and Saturday, December 7 and 8 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ambassador Auditorium. 

TD Fri. – Forum – “Can I Really Know God Personally?”

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Hey TD!

Most of you have been churched for as long as you can remember, and you have accumulated some important knowledge about God over the years. How would you respond if you were asked whether you in fact knew God … personally?  Further yet, how would God respond if He was asked whether He was in a personal relationship with you?

In order to see what this all looks like in various personalities, stages of life, and contexts, we’ll have an opportunity to learn and pick up tips, ideas, and strategies to incorporate into our relationships with God.  

Last month, we opened up our theme of Engage: Living Life in HD by addressing our engagement with God by delving into the topic, “Can I Really Know God Personally?” In that message, Arthur walked us through various perceptions that mere humans cannot know God personally, and led us to God’s own revelation to us that not only can we know Him personally, but He wants us to.  In fact, if we don’t, then all we’re doing is practicing a human-generated religion, like every other religion out there.

Arthur then opened the door on a to answer the next question, “How can we begin knowing God personally?  He gave us 3 preliminary, foundational steps to take in order to begin that journey:

  1. Improve your reading skills and reading habits. God revealed Himself in a book, which makes improving our reading an important part of getting to know Him better.
  2. Train yourself to improve your listening, so you can listen well to God while in the Bible. Listening well isn’t merely a physical phenomena; it’s very spiritual
  3. Learn how to respond and dialogue with God about what you’ve read and heard while spending time with Him.  Relationships require, well … relating; and relating means it’s two-way.

In order to see what this all looks like in various personalities, stages of life, and contexts, we’ll have an opportunity to learn and pick up tips, ideas, and strategies to incorporate into our relationships with God.

We’ll get to hear from the counselors and one another, and get to ask questions that can spark creativity and freshness into how we relate with our Creator.

See you Friday!

 

“We Must Play” (a must read)

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Chloe closely guarding her mom while Elijah tries to help – 2018 TD Ultimate Tourney

Hey TD!

One of the virtues of our Asian heritage is the valuing of hard work.  And yet, like anything else in life, a virtue can become a vice if emphasized too heavily.  In this humorous and compelling Slice of Infinity, dear friend, Jill Carattini, draws upon the mischievous side of CS Lewis to highlight our God-given need to play; and play we must.  Looking forward to playing with you more in the months ahead! – Arthur

We Must Play 

In August of 1963, due to his ailing health and increasing responsibilities, C.S. Lewis announced his retirement from Cambridge. His stepson Douglas Gresham and friend Walter Hooper were sent to the university to sort out his affairs and bring home the two thousand or so books that lined the walls of his Magdalene College office. Knowing the house was already filled to its bursting point with books, the pair wondered all the way home where on earth they would find the space to put them. But Lewis had already contrived an intricate plan for their use.

A nurse named Alec had been hired to stay up nights in case Lewis fell ill and needed his assistance. As the men returned with the enormous load of books, Alec was asleep in his room on the ground floor. As the truck pulled into the driveway, Lewis appeared, cautioning them to silence. “Where’ll we store the books?” Hooper whispered, to which Lewis responded with a wink. Carrying each stack with tedious concern so as not to wake the sleeping victim, the three men piled the works around the nurse’s bed, sealing him in a cocoon of manuscript and literature. When they were finished, the books were stacked nearly to the ceiling, filling every square inch of the room where the snoring nurse still slept.

Much to the relief of the anxious culprits who were waiting outside, Alex finally awoke. From within the insulated tomb, first came sounds of bellowing, and finally the tumbling of the great literary wall. An amused nurse emerged from within the wreckage.

The characters in this story are every bit as spirited as some of the playful personalities from Lewis’s imaginary worlds. These are the whimsical scenes—fiction and non-fiction—that seal in my mind the many weighty lessons I have wrought from him. But perhaps namely: Christianity is a religion with room—and reason—for life and laughter.

Henry Ossawa Tanner, The Banjo Lesson, oil on canvas, 1893, Hampton University Museum.(2)

Much of the thought and work of C.S. Lewis wrestles with the existential evidences of the life-giving presence of God and the winsome invitations around us that beckon us to participate in this life. I am not alone in saying it was Lewis who first taught me to move toward the questions that reappear though we bury them and to at least be honest about the logical outworkings of the philosophies we hold, even loosely. It was Lewis who taught me to search after God with both heart and mind and energy, but with the wonder and imagination of a child who is able to be startled by the very thing she is looking for. A former atheist, Lewis came to believe with everything in him that Christianity gives an explanation—and a face—to the joy we stumble across, joy that “flickers on the razor-edge of the present and is gone.”

On the one hand, if life is but time and happenstance, why do we laugh or wonder, or experience a desire to play, however fleetingly at all? Is the encounter of delight simply the mind’s attempt to distract us from pain? What good is joy, what purpose is humor or laughter or beauty, if life is but a series of instincts to survive and the universe at a cosmic level is meaningless? On the other hand, if we are made in the image of a holy, loving, imaginative God, how wonderful that God has made us with both logic and laughter, with intrinsic worth and immortal wonder.

Nearing the end of one of his most remarkable lectures, in which he spoke hauntingly of the glory of the God and the immortality of the soul made in God’s image, Lewis added a word of warning: “This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously.”(1)

The resurrected, vicariously human Son of God invites us in to such a story, a creator who made us to live fully, coming in person to confront our desolation and to be our consolation, that we might encounter what the very word means. What if the door on which we have been knocking all our lives will one day open at last? Seeking and playing, finding and living may well be among life’s greatest efforts.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

Missions Conference This Friday!

Hey TD!

We will be joining the rest of the church this Friday at our annual missions conference.  It will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Main Campus Sanctuary.  It will be an encouraging time to broaden our horizons by hearing how God is working around the world.

The missions conference continues on Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the Main Campus.  If you are planning on attending, RSVP with your small group leader asap if you want to enjoy a free lunch!

“Offerings 8” Pics & Videos

 

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Hey TD!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families! Click on the link below to view pics and videos from A TD Thanksgiving feat. Offerings 8 and Sandra’s 60th birthday, courtesy of Peter. Thanks Peter! (apologies if your pic didn’t get in)

Offerings 8

TD Sat. – Thanksgiving Weekend Fun For Family and Friends!

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Hey TD!

We have a weekend extravaganza of fun for the whole family! You, your family, and friends can come to one or both Saturday events:

10 a.m.  – It’s SOS Saturday!  Our Thanksgiving visit to the Care Center!

Come join us as we join our elderly, widowed, disabled, wonderful friends at the Care Center to bring fellowship, friendship, and God’s love and touch.  Meet at the Hsiehs’ at 9:30 a.m.

2 p.m. – “2018 TD Ultimate Frisbee Tournament”!

This is fun and healthy for the whole family. It’ll be a great time to work off all of that Thanksgiving feasting and get some exercise 🙂 Don’t know how to play? No worries! We’ll have games for beginners to advanced.  This will be a great way to spend healthy time with your family and friends, and will be an opportunity to bond and build community.

Please rsvp with your small group leaders as to which event(s) you’ll be participating in.

See you Saturday, TD!