TD Fri. – “Straight Talk on Love” SG & mp3

 

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Hey TD!

This Friday, we will be meeting in our small groups to work on our “love lives” as we discuss last week’s message, “Straight Talk on Love.” Each small group will be meeting at different venues, so make sure to check with your small group leaders for the meeting time and place.

Please review the message below and be ready to bring some thoughts and questions to your small group.

“Straight Talk on Love” (mp3) Arthur (Table of Contents)

0:00 – 1:02                      Opening Prayer

1:05 – 11:33                    Why are we to serve the world?

11:33 – 15:55                  Grounding Ourselves in Who God Is

15:55 – 22:25                  The Ontology of Love

22:25 –   29:29                A Closer Look at Love: Real Love vs. True Love

29:50 –   47:27                Q: Can you love if you don’t believe in God?

47:40 –  1:08:00             Q: What about non-Christians who love more than Christians do?

1:08:00 – 1:09:16           Closing Prayer

 

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Galen Jee (1950 – 2018) – My Pastor

Galen Jee

Galen giving some pre-marriage counseling to Arthur and Sandra during TD in the ’80’s

Hello TD,

It is with deep sadness that I must inform you that Pastor Galen Jee, our English Department pastor for about twenty years, passed away suddenly yesterday from cardiac arrest.  He was doing what he loved to do – walking in nature and capturing it in photographs.  An avid and talented photographer, he loved capturing God’s creation.

I want you all to know that our English Department wouldn’t be what it is today without the foundation-laying, seed-planting, and personal investment into people that Galen and his wife, Eunice, provided.  What God has done in our congregation in the years since he moved on from our church has been built upon the foundation that God had Galen and Eunice lay; it’s a foundation that was committed to the gospel rather than gimmicks, to people rather than programs, to integrity rather than ingenuity, … to a saving God rather than to self-glory.  This is absolutely true.

Often times, people embellish the facts and persona of someone’s life after they have passed on, out of deference and respect, and sensitivity to the surviving family.  Galen would not have that, nor would want me to do that.  Anyone else who was under his care and leadership would whole-heartedly affirm what I just wrote above.

Pastoring our congregation during the heyday of the “seeker sensitive” church growth movement in the ’80’s and ’90’s, Galen felt the external pressure to grow our numbers more quickly, which forced him to look within and to continually check himself in order to stay faithful to our Lord and His Upside Down Kingdom, where measures of true success rarely look like what we think it looks like (even church goers).  Having his success as a pastor often gauged by others according to the metric of numeric success, Galen stayed faithful and true to what he knew the true church to be, Christ’s Bride; not a platform or a stepping-stone for feeling good about oneself and achieving some sort of self-worth and self-satisfaction through serving and through church-y “success,” which he rightly knew was still, in fact, worldly.  He wouldn’t do that.  He just wanted to be found faithful and obedient, plain and simple.  That was success.

Personally, it was Galen who not only was the official English Department pastor when I arrived at MBCLA, but who became MY pastor.  He saw a young, unchurched, worldly high school graduate and met with me in my home before baptizing me not too long afterwards (announcing to the congregation that I graduated from Marshall HS rather than my alma mater, South Pasadena HS).  Over the ensuing years, he saw something in me, investing in me and showing me the ropes.  As the years ensued, his belief in me grew and he entrusted me with the opportunity to serve our congregation in many ways.  He gave me my wings in ministry, as it were.  Though young, inexperienced, and “wet behind the ears,” he allowed me to make mistakes, and more importantly, he trusted me; for that, I will always be humbled and grateful.  I had the privilege of preaching several times at the pulpit of the church that he shepherded after he left MBCLA.  Knowing that he would only let people he trusted to preach from his pulpit, I always counted it a great honor to do so.

He preferred the private impact of personal ministry over the public show of it.  There is a place for everyone to minister, whether in public or in private; he was quite aware of the potential traps of public ministry.  He was understated in personality and not the dynamic “life of the party,” by any means.  I’m not sure he could’ve actually drawn the attention to himself that other more vibrant, boisterous, magnetic personalities can; nonetheless, he knew that even desiring to do so is tantamount to doing it in God’s eyes.  He knew himself and knew that he could “go there” if he wasn’t alert and careful.  So, he ordered his life to make sure he didn’t “go there.”

I appreciated his down-to-earth humility in that way.  He didn’t want anything to be above the Christ of the gospel, nor anyone to be out of His reach.  Galen was a personal minister who cared about the person and cared about that person living life truthfully, according to the way God ordained, as revealed in Scripture.  He was committed to the sufficiency of Scripture for all of life.  He was not one who could get himself to bend the rules, shade the truth, or to go against conscience, having to turn various people down for different requests, even though he hated to do so.

When Sandra and I got engaged, I remember him asking both our parents how they really felt about it.  Since Sandra and I have a large age gap, he was a little apprehensive of whether our relationship would really work out.  He loved us both and didn’t want to see us take a hasty step that would result in disaster down the road.  He did our pre-marriage counseling with us and gave us his blessing, eventually marrying us.

I spoke to him last week, and as usual, his eyes were ultimately on the Lord.  Over the last couple of years, he often spoke frankly and realistically about the tenuousness of life on earth, saying that God could realistically take him at any time.  A lifelong diabetic, he had to constantly inject himself and was constantly experiencing new ailments in his later years.  He reminded me that he was not scared of death and that he would be with the Lord.

Well, Galen is with the Lord now. and I bet he wishes he had his camera equipment with him.  It won’t be long, however, before realizes that he doesn’t need his camera to capture the splendor of what he is experiencing and seeing.  It’s permanent now.  He lives it 24/7.  I have an idea of who he’s making a beeline toward, who he’s anxious to meet and ask questions of.  Most of all, I know that he is overwhelmed and humbled to be in God’s immediate presence, as we all will be when our time comes.

I will miss my dear friend and pastor.  I’m thankful for his investment in my life and for handing the baton to me.  I pray that I will be faithful to carry that baton well and to faithfully hand it off to those such as you.  Amen.  – Arthur

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 🙂

 

 

“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 Fri. – “A TD Thanksgiving feat. Offerings 8”!

Hey TD!

This Friday is “A TD Thanksgiving feat. Offerings 8”! Woohoo! It’s going to be great time of giving thanks to our ever-so-gracious God through food, fun, fellowship, and Offerings 8! We’ll meet at the Hsiehs’ home at 6:30 p.m. to begin the festivities.

Potluck

Each small group member will bring primarily main dishes and sides, while one person in each group will bring drinks and one person will bring dessert. Let your small group leaders know what you’ll be bringing.

Offerings 8

The theme is “Engage!” and is an invitation for us to engage with God and one another creatively and artistically by giving Him an offering of music, art, writing, reading, recitation, whatever.  You may be hesitant or nervous about giving Him a public offering, but we encourage you take a risk and go for it.  It will not only be a blessing to others, but to yourself as well.  If you haven’t signed up yet, sign up with your small group leaders today!

I posted this interview last with the one and only Jill Carattini month, but it’s a great reminder as to why the arts are an important component to the Christian life and the Christian community.  I’d encourage you to watch it again and respond:

 

See you Friday! – Arthur

TD Vlog – “How the Arts Can Deepen Your Faith” w/Jill Carattini

Hey Masterpieces of God!

This summer, while at ReFresh with in Atlanta with some TD’ers, I had a chance to spend some time with dear friend, Jill Carattini, writer extraordinaire on the deeper spiritual life, managing editor of Ravi Zacharias Int’l Ministries’ (RZIM) Slice of Infinity, and curator of RZIM’s formal art gallery, Stillpoint.

Jill agreed to come on camera with me and share with you TD’ers how the arts can deepen and energize your faith, and help you to get a greater apprehension of who we are. It’s spiritually insightful and very personal and vulnerable, reflecting her journey, my journey, … and for many of you … your journey. Where she was is where many of you are at. It will be a worthwhile viewing.

With Offerings 8 coming up on November 16, I thought this would be a great time to give you some inspiration and perspective, so you can prepare to give a meaningful offering to the Lord. Enjoy! – Arthur

Ravi @ “Refresh ’18” – “Building Your Private Life”

Michelle with RaviAnabell with Ravi

Ravi with Michelle and praying with Anabell

Ravi’s recap of Refresh (look who made it in the video!)

Hey TD!

Many students responded in faith and commitment at Refresh ’18, including some of our own TD’ers. Ravi’s message at Refresh ’18 brought conviction and perspective to all of us present. Even though it’s not the same as being there, you can still watch the videos above and glean from one of God’s choice servants. In our day and age, where the private life has not only gone so public, but has gone so wrong, this is a timely message calling for integrity and transparency before God. Please watch, pray, and obey. God bless you. – Arthur