TD Fri. – “Dying to Live” SG Study/mp3

“Therefore, I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

– Romans 12:1

Hey TD,

Here’s your toolkit for this Friday’s small group study together! Download the study, listen to the message (or re-listen to specific parts of it) and spend time in prayer and prep during the week, so you can have a great small group discussion.  Use the Table of Contents to locate a certain section of the message.  Click below.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. – Coach John Wooden

“Dying to Live” (sg study)

“Dying to Live” (mp3) – Arthur

“Dying to Live” (mp3) Table of Contents 

“Renew” Theme Intro – 0:05

Intro to Romans – 10:30

“I urge you therefore brethren to present your bodies” – 20:45

What is a “living sacrifice”? – 30:40

**”Acceptable to God” – how we are all Stephen Paddocks** – 41:50 – 1:10:30

(video shown)

The $20 Challenge – 1:12:20

Check with your small group leader as to where and when you’ll be meeting!

Advertisements

TD Fri. – Frumpy Friday/Opening Message – Look Inside!

A throwback “classic” audio podcast from our first Frumpy Friday 4 years ago. Have a listen!

Hi TD,

Prolific social critic, Os Guinness, author of A Free People’s Suicide, has insightfully called America a “cut-flower civilization,” a term he uses to describe a nation that has been cut from its roots and foundations.  While a bouquet of cut flowers may appear vibrant and exquisite for a season, it isn’t long before it deteriorates and becomes ugly.

As a nation persistent in keeping God out of education and out of the public, over and over we are alarmed at the results.  TD, let us respond to the growing cacophony of what’s evil and wrong in our nation by passionately resolving to highlight the One who is Good and Right-eous, and who can bring true life and salvation to rotting and broken souls.  That’s done one person at a time through one genuine, authentic Christian at a time.

Transformed societies come from transformed people, not from those playing at or pretending to be transformed.  TD, we can’t change the world (yet), but we can change our worlds, and that’s where it starts.

Please join us on Friday as I give the opening message of our new theme, Renew: Transforming Our Lives in Christ.  

This Friday, we need you to come … frumpy.  Yep, frumpy.   Please come in ugly, frumpy clothes.  Don’t do your hair, don’t gel it, no hairspray, don’t blow dry it, don’t shave, don’t put makeup, no bows, no hair clips, no jewelry.  Wear your glasses, not your contacts.  Wear flip flops or old shoes you’d normally only wear around the house when nobody’s around.  We’ll explain at TD!

See you there! – Arthur

Confessions of a Churchgoer

20150619_152633

Introducing Jill to Almond Green Milk Tea with Boba (or bubble tea, as they say in Atlanta)

Hey TD!

The old maxim says, confession is good for the soul.  As I was reading today’s A Slice of Infinity by my friend, Jill Carattini, I must confess that I too share the same shortcomings that she references in her Slice. Read on, fellow churchgoer, and see if you do too. If so, let’s confess, repent, believe, and let God continue His redeeming work in our lives, so we can share the greatest confession of all:

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

– Arthur

Confessions of a Churchgoer

In a world of finger-pointing, Tetsuya Ishikawa paused instead to confess guilt. After seven years at the forefront of the credit markets, he took the idea of a friend to write a book called How I Caused the Credit Crunch because, in the friend’s analysis, “it sounds like you did.”(1) In the form of a novel that discredits the notion of the financial sector as a collaboration of remote, unthinking forces, he admits in flesh and blood that he believes he is guilty, too. Though reviewers note Ishikawa does not remain long with his admission of responsibility, he succeeds in showing the financial markets as a reflection of human choices with moral dimensions and, ultimately, the futility of our ongoing attempts at finding a better scapegoat.

Whenever the subject of blame or fault comes about in any sector of life, whether economic, societal, or individual, scapegoating is a far more common reaction than confessing. Most of us are most comfortable when blame is placed as far away from us as possible. Even the word “confession,” the definition of which is concerned with owning a fault or belief, is now often associated with the sins of others, which an outspoken soul just happens to be willing to share with the world. We are interested in those confessions of a former investment banker/warlord/baseball wife because the “owning up” has nothing to do with owning anything.

Perhaps like many of us in our own confessing, Charles Templeton’s 1996 book, Farwell to God, and the confessions of a former Christian leader, is filled with moments of confession in both senses of the word—honest commentary and easy scapegoating. In his thoughts that deal with the Christian church, it is particularly apparent. Pointing near and far and wide, Templeton observes that the church indeed has a speckled past: “Across the centuries and on every continent, Christians—the followers of the Prince of Peace—have been the cause of and involved in strife. The church during the Middle Ages was like a terrorist organization.”(2) He admits that some good has come from Christian belief, but that there is altogether too much bad that has come from it. He then cites the church’s declining numbers as evidence that the world is in agreement; people are losing interest because the church is failing to be relevant. Pews are empty; denominations oppose one another; the church is floundering, its influence waning—except perhaps its negative influence, according to this confessor.

Paul Klee, City of Churches, pen, pencil, watercolor, paper, 1918.

Of course, many of these confessions regarding the church are indeed riddled with difficult truths that someone somewhere must indeed own. Other assertions are not only difficult to posit as relevant, but are simply dishonest attempts to point blame and escape the more personal, consistent answer. As Templeton determinedly points out the steady decline of attendance in the church as reason to disbelieve, it is unclear how this supports his personal confession that Christian beliefs are untrue. Does the claim of the church’s decline (the veracity of which is debated) say anything about whether Christianity is based on lies, lunacy, or fact? Jesus spoke of those who would turn away, churches that would grow cold, faith that would be abandoned. Moreover, if one is truly convinced that Christianity is an outlandish hoax, isn’t it odd that so much energy is taken in criticizing the church in the first place—as if one had a vision of what the people of God should look like?

Of course, responding to Templeton’s darker admissions regarding the church, I am at times tempted to make a scapegoating confession of my own. Specifically, if I could reasonably judge God by some of God’s followers, I would surely say farewell as well. Like Templeton, I have seen so many lives badly wounded by the pulpit, people trampled by those who call themselves Christians. I have been more disillusioned within the church than I ever have outside of it. Templeton confesses in his book that the church “has seldom been at its best,” and on this point, I couldn’t agree more.(3) But I would also have to add a critical addendum; namely, that I am rarely at my best. I am a part of this church who fails to love well, who says things that hurt, and falls short of its best on a regular basis. But if the church is truly meant to be the place where followers learn to become more like Christ, then I also can’t imagine a better place to be holding such a confession. Failings and all, it is the community that communes with the one who longs most for our human flourishing, who embodies God’s hope for humans at our best. Of the one who meets us in this human place, it was once confessed: “The righteous one shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:12).

It was with such a conviction that G.K. Chesterton responded to a newspaper seeking opinions on the question “What’s wrong with the world?” in one sentence. “Dear Sirs,” he replied, “I am.” In confessions of dark or disappointing realities, can our own hearts really be excluded? It was with visions of war and brokenness around him that David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.”(4) It was before the cross scarred body of the human Christ that Thomas confessed, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” This, I believe, is humanity’s best confession.

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

(1) Sathnam Sanghera, “Confessions of the Man Who Caused the Credit Crunch,” The Times Online, April 20, 2009, http://timesonline.co.uk, accessed April 21, 2009.
(2) Charles Templeton, Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1996), 129.
(3) Ibid., 127.
(4) Psalm 51:10.

Something Personal to Share …

Hey TD,

I was hesitant to share this with you all, but as I’ve been preaching all year long, we are trying to forge a family culture that is transparent and that lets one another into each others’ lives., whether we have good news or bad news to share.

While last week, I was named All-Area Boys Tennis Coach of the Year by both Pasadena Sports Now (first time) and Pasadena Star News newspapers (4th time – 2 girls, 2 boys), it wasn’t something I was planning to exactly share here.

However, as I’ve been emphasizing an upward, outward, downward approach to our life in Christ that does get out there in our communities and that reaches beyond our church walls, I thought this article, written by one who has not yet come to faith in Jesus (but who I pray one day will come to know the beauty of life in the Lord), may help give one more illustration of outward engagement in the community in His Name.  So, for what it’s worth, here it is.  – Arthur

Pasadena Sports Now

Boys Tennis: Arthur Hsieh Named Pasadena Sports Now Coach of the Year; Maranatha Reaching New Heights with Lessons of Faith, Family

Hsieh Family

By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Sports Editor

Maranatha had never really been thought of as a tennis school.

That was until the arrival of coach Arthur Hsieh, who runs both the boys and girls programs.

Coach Arthur Hsieh at CIF Finals with Matthew Alleman.

The girls program won a CIF title a couple of years back.

The boys team, though, hadn’t been a championship caliber squad before Hsieh, and there was no reason to believe the 2017 season would be any different.

But there was one person who did believe bigger things were possible.

That man is 49-year old Arthur Hsieh.

He led his Minutemen to the title match in the CIF-SS Division 4 playoffs, which was the first time the boys program had ever made a championship appearance.

Top seeded Los Osos defeated Maranatha, 11-7, but the bar has risen drastically thanks to their coach.

More importantly, if you speak to any of his athletes, Mr. Hsieh impacts their lives much deeper and greater off, than anything that happens on a tennis court.

For his unwavering support of his players, his being a role model as a standup adult figure, and his success this season, Arthur Hsieh was named the Pasadena Sports Now Boys Tennis Coach of the Year.

Maranatha was 17-2 this season and won another Olympic League title.

It was their fifth league championship in his five years at the school, and their overall record in league play over that time is 43-1.

“Coach Arthur had a tremendous impact on us both as players and people. Every day before we even started practicing, he would read John Wooden’s book on the keys to success,” No. 1 singles player Matthew Alleman said. “More than anything, it taught me patience, as all I wanted to do was get on the court and start hitting. He invested so much of his time and energy into us which definitely paid off over time and helped us go as far as we did.”

Interestingly enough, Hsieh met John Wooden when he was 88 years old and struck up a conversation with the UCLA basketball icon.

As the event he was attending was about to start, Hsieh asked Wooden if it would be possible to continue the conversation another time, and to his delight, Wooden said he would love to, and they became friends.

John Wooden died in 2010 at the age of 99, but his books on success and life story have impacted thousands, including Arthur Hsieh.

“I tried to use ‘Woodenisms’ with my players, because they don’t just impact you as an athlete (or coach), they are keys to success in life,” Hsieh said.

One of the lessons he learned really stuck with his players.

“Coach taught us about the pyramid of success and competitive greatness,” No. 1 doubles player Drew Sierra said. “It was about being able to play your best when your best is required and that really stuck with me and my teammates, and I think it was part of us getting over the hump psychologically as a team that hadn’t been this far before.”

Hsieh is a deeply religious and moral man, and while that might not be everybody’s cup of tea as a coach, he is a perfect fit at Maranatha and has bettered the lives of all these young student-athletes he’s had the joy of coaching.

But it all starts at home.

Hsieh has a remarkably close, intelligent and beautiful family.

Next week, he and his wife Sandra will celebrate their 27th year of marriage.

Sandra also does her part in making both the boys and girls programs excel.

He has three sons.

Nathaniel (24), Randall (22), Daniel (20) were all athletes in their day, as is 17-year old Angela, who plays No. 1 singles for her father in the girls program.

“The reason this is so much fun for me is because everyone in my family is involved,” Hsieh said. “We enjoy impacting young people’s lives and my kids and wife have gotten to know and care about our players like I do.”

His daughter has another year at Maranatha that Hsieh will serve as head coach, and then the future is going to be a year-by-year decision in what he does with the program.

But for five years, Maranatha has been lucky to have a man that is as quality a person as he is a coach.

Regardless of when he steps off the courts, Hsieh’s lessons on life will reverberate through his players throughout their lifetimes.

Quotable:

Maranatha Athletic Director Brian DeHaan: “We affectionately refer to Arthur as the ‘tennis whisperer,’ because he has a way of softly, yet firmly, bringing the best out of the young people he works with. Arthur and his entire family ARE Maranatha tennis. His leadership has brought the program to the highest of heights, but most impressive is the impact he makes in the lives of student athletes. He has built this tennis program on character and we are all better people having worked with Arthur. He has the unique ability to bring discipline that is rooted in love into the lives of young tennis players and their families. He speaks truth with conviction and fosters an environment of love and accountability.”

This year’s CIF finals run has been built on the shoulders of those who fell short in prior years. We have seen the run coming and it couldn’t have happened for a better group of young men. The entire Maranatha community is thankful for the excitement this year’s team brought to campus. They have left an indelible mark in the history books of the program and raised the bar for future teams to reach.

Maranatha Senior Drew Sierra: “Coach is super ‘wise.’ his advice is applicable on and off the court. Even though he’s super nice and respectful, he’s very competitive and we all took him seriously. A lot of times in practice, we’d do our stretches and do drills and volley’s and repetition really helped me get better. His advice— being the most competitive version of yourself. He fueled the competitive fire in me.”

Maranatha Senior Bryan Lin: “Our coach fostering us to get that mind set of competitive greatness. Through our teamwork as well and our unity led to our success. I am really proud to be part of the program and where it stands now.”

 

TD Fri. – “The Sub-Conscious and the Way God Made Us”

Image result for subconscious

Hey TD!

There’s so much to say about the picture above, isn’t there?  Sandra really hit it out of the park in opening the door for us to begin walking through as we begin to observe, discover, and consider the unique ways God has wired and designed each of us, the people and culture He has placed us in, as well as the experiences He has ordained for us that has shaped us thus far.

Click on the link to listen (sorry, you won’t get to hear the movie clips!):

“The Power of Sub-Conscious Liturgies” mp3 (Sandra)

This Friday, we will take another step or two towards walking through the doorway by engaging in activities designed to help us discover more about ourselves, the way God made us, and what to do with that.

Jonathan Edwards stated that the two most important forms of knowledge are knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves.

Jonathan Edwards stated that the two most important forms of knowledge are knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves.  We often spend so much time on the former and so little time on the latter.  This is an area of my life that I’ve been personally working on in recent years and have found humbling, fascinating, and powerful.  It’s something we must all be working on.

Come join us for TD this Friday as Katherine and I facilitate some exercises and discussion that will hopefully open doors of discovery and transformation in your life.  Katherine is a psychology major at UCLA and has been experiencing the transforming power of Christ in her own life the last few years.  I look forward to our time together. See you Friday! – Arthur

TD Fri. – “Recalibrating Our Hearts” Pt.2

20170317_224357-002

20170317_224407-001

(“Recalibrating Our Hearts” Pt. 1 “live-type” notes. Thanks Melody T.!)

Hey TD!

It was great to see the sea of green last Friday, with green snacks and Sandra’s green guacamole 🙂  It was also a great time for what Luther called “table talk” discussion and learning.

This Friday, we will continue to examine the x-rays of our hearts, where we will consider just how it is that we got here.  But don’t worry, we won’t stop there! We will also learn how to recalibrate our hearts toward the right!  Make plans to join us as we continue our “table talk” learning format!

Please review the mp3 of last week’s teaching prior to coming this Friday.  It will be very helpful to connect the dots (see notes above):

“Recalibrating Our Hearts” Pt. 1 (message) Arthur

See you Friday!

TD Fri. – New Message, Aileen, V4V collection …

Image result for re-calibrating the heart

Hey TD!

Well, we have another great time in store at TD this week as we continue our Rebuild series on re-habituating our lives in Christ.  I think you’ll agree that getting back to the ground floor of our lives and beginning the process of re-evaluating our foundations and what our lives have been built on has been eye-opening.  And we need to press on …

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14

– Our message this week is entitled “Recalibrating Our Hearts.”  It will be a very important lesson that builds upon our previous lessons.  But before we study that, PLEASE REVIEW what I shared during our last meeting in February as a proper segue into our new study – “… WITH God.”  It’s challenging teaching that we need to master (and it’s only 25 min. 🙂 :

“… WITH God” (mp3) Arthur

Previous Messages (mp3’s)

– Aileen will also be sharing this week of a new opportunity for us to regularly serve orphaned children in our area.  She’ll also be sharing why she is pursuing the major she is pursuing.  What major is she pursuing, you ask?  Come to TD and find out! 🙂

– V4V Collection – if you have collected your V4V funds, please keep them in your envelope with your collection sheets (so we can match them), seal the envelope, and write your name and the amount collected on the envelope.  Then, give it to Sandra.

See you at TD! – Arthur