Join TD for Performing Arts Show this Sat., 4/8 – RSVP!

Hey TD!

Last year, after going to Maranatha HS’s Performing Arts Chapel, I texted TD’s leaders suggesting we cancel our regular TD meeting to go see “Beauty in Brokenness.”  They agreed to give it a try.  TD went and was blessed, moved, and touched by the theme, the beauty, and artistry of fellow high schoolers really putting out to the glory of God.

Well, Sandra and I went to the Performing Arts Chapel again today, and, once again, my heart was moved.  We both had tears in our eyes.  So, once again, I texted the leaders and asked them if they’d like to go again with TD.  They agreed.  What’s great is that this year, there is a Saturday night performance for us to go to!

So, we’d like to invite you to join us at the world-renowned Ambassador Auditorium on the Maranatha campus for an evening of revisiting the stories that have touched us; but this time through the creative arts.

“Join the MHS Performing Arts Department this Spring as we bring the wonder and joy of childhood stories to the Ambassador stage. Stories come in many forms and provide a unique connection to memories, personal/spiritual growth, and remind us what it looks like to live without fear and doubt. With the creative collaboration of dance, choir, and orchestra, this show will take you on a journey that you won’t want to miss!”

Please let your small group leader know … NOW … if you can make it! I will be purchasing group tickets on Friday.

If you can meet at Maranatha at 6:30 p.m., that would be great since car space is limited.  But if you need a ride, we’ll try to find you one! – Arthur

 

 

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The Pernicious Lie and the Naked Truth

Hey TD’ers!  Have you ever been naked in front of someone? Perhaps in the locker room or in front of a doctor or nurse?  How did you feel?  Why did you feel that way?  Have you ever felt spiritually naked? How did that feel?  What determines its appropriateness, how you feel, and how you will respond?

In this next essay in “The Pernicious Lie” series, Sandra strips away our camouflage, calls it like it is, and calls us to get naked and get real. Please read, work through it, and then act! – Arthur

The Pernicious Lie – “What you see is what you get”

     You wake up in the morning, open your eyes, turn off the irritating alarm and get out of bed.  You stumble into the bathroom and you stare into the mirror…..you are looking at yourself.  Or are you?  You brush your teeth, wash your face, put on your make-up, put on your clothes, and are now presentable to face the world.  This is the pernicious lie – What you see is what you get.  You took care of your body, the casing of yourself, but your real self may have never gotten out of bed.

Ever since the Garden of Eden, mankind has had this confusion about who we really are. After Adam and Eve disobediently ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened in one sense and closed in another sense. After they sinned, the physical world became their default lenses, and they immediately saw that they were physically naked and sewed fig leaves to cover themselves up.  Their immediate concern was to take care of the nakedness of their bodies.

The Naked Truth – “What you don’t see is what you get” 

As the day progresses, your mind starts “talking” to you.  “I feel so tired, I wish I could sleep more today.”  “What should I wear today?”  “What should I eat for breakfast?”  All these random thoughts flood our minds.  We think that no one can “hear” these thoughts because we aren’t verbally talking to anyone.  The last we saw, there weren’t any bubbles over our heads with these thoughts being broadcast to everyone around us.  Yet, the truth is that all these thoughts (plus more), our emotions, our guilt, our insecurities are PLAINLY visible to God and eventually get revealed to those close to us one way or another. What you don’t see is what you get.

     After Adam and Eve made clothes for themselves (Gen. 3:7), they actually thought that they could hide from God.  It’s almost like kids playing hide and seek.  They stand in broad daylight, covering up their eyes.  They figure, if I can’t see anyone, then they can’t possibly see me.  We use that same logic for God.  Since we can’t “see” our own sinfulness, surely God and others can’t see it either.  The truth is God sees it as clear as day and so do others that have the eyes of the Spirit.

The Solution – “Lord, help us to see what we don’t see”

     We are all playing charades, pretending to be who we are really not.  We walk around as blind men, “talking” about all the things that we are “seeing.”  Our thought lives are not neutral.  Trivial, earthbound thoughts make us trivial, earthbound people.  We need to have courage to first deal with all the “crud” that is in our own hearts and then we have to be truthful enough to relate to others on that unseen level.  Like Spurgeon said, “You cannot slander human nature, it is worse than words can paint it.”  This takes time, commitment and spiritual eyes.  It is not done in sound bites, in posted comments, or on virtual “walls,” but by much time spent under His gaze through the Word.

God had compassion on Adam and Eve.  He killed animals to make them clothing that was much more durable than fig leaves.  God is willing to do the same for us today.  He provided the perfect Lamb to cover our nakedness on Calvary.  But we must be willing to take off our own flimsy coverings of fig leaves and humbly come to Him in full nakedness.

Every day is a challenge to pray, “Lord, help us to see what we don’t see.”  As we read in II Cor. 3:18, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”  In II Peter 1:5-9, God outlines our journey for us, “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”

How is your eyesight these days?  Focus on the Family’s Del Tackett calls us out and poignantly asks, “Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?”  These bodies will fail us and then our “security blanket” will be removed.  At that point, may we find that we obeyed His command for us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regards to its lusts.”  (Rom. 13:14)  So, tomorrow, when you wake up to brush your teeth, don’t forget that your spiritual “morning breath” is more offensive than your bad breath.  Take the time to let the Word “wash” you up!

– Sandra Hsieh

The Pernicious Truth

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Spoiler alert! Spoiler alert!  Only read this essay all the way through if you want to know the Enemy’s plans of attack on you, and only if you want to know why you are stuck in spiritual mediocrity.  If you don’t want to know “what’s under the hood” and you want your relationship with God to remain as is, DO NOT CONTINUE READING!  You have been warned.

If you do continue reading, then please let me know your thoughts and responses are.  Thanks. – Arthur

Pernicious.  1.  Causing insidious harm or ruin; ruinous; injurious; hurtful.  2.  Deadly; fatal.  3.  Evil; wicked.

While the definition of pernicious is easy to state, it is not so easy to pinpoint in today’s postmodern mindset, where things once thought obvious no longer are.  Once you invoke terms like harm, hurtful, and evil, you invoke a moral reference point with which to measure one’s thoughts or actions by.  What is that point?  Says who?  This ultimately is a matter of truth, and truth, by definition, is exclusive.  British author GK Chesterton astutely noted that there are many angles by which you can fall, but only one angle at which you can stand straight.

Therein lies the challenge for God’s people living in an age with pluralism as its king; finding that truthful angle at which we can stand straight, and then committing and subjecting our very lives to living at that angle, the Angle of Truth.  Even the slightest tilt of the angle leads to a fall … even if that angle seems much “straighter” than other angles.  Though it is often difficult to discern a straight angle from a slight one, it IS possible, as long as all of life’s angles and options are measured against the one straight angle, the truth of God’s word.

Theologian RC Sproul describes truth as that which corresponds with reality … as perceived by God, because God’s perception of reality is never distorted.  It is perfect.  Our problems arise when we set even the slightest gaze of our eyes upon other norms and standards in addition to God’s word.  It’s what I call “Christ AND … theology,” where we look to Christ AND this, where we want Christ AND that, instead of Christ alone.  In reality, as RC says, only God’s view of life is perfect and complete.  Any addition to it (or subtraction) at all, and you’ve got that tilted angle – no matter how much Scripture you have as a base.  God alone, and Scripture alone stand straight.

To the one whose values are not clear, this is more easily deciphered in concept than it is in practice, for Satan is masterful at blurring the lines of distinction, giving you nourishment, while at the same time diminishing you in the process.

It is said that if you drop a frog into boiling water, it will jump out instantly, but if you drop it into room temperature water and very slowly bring it to a boil, it will boil to death before it has a chance to figure out it’s being boiled.  The Bible warns us that Satan will come as an angel of light (2Cor. 11:14), not fire!  He will try to imitate light.  He will promote virtual light, if you will – illuminating but only so far, enlightening but incompletely, keeping our focus on the image and the visible, leaving out of sight the infrastructure and the foundation upon which the illuminated façade is built upon.

Aaahh, that is so Satan.  He aims to keep us entertained, tickled, and warmed, keeping us at eye level with incomplete, sensory, on-the-surface truths while boiling us within, deadening our senses, and making us dependent upon our feelings and insecurities for our decision making.  Little by little, step by step, we rely less and less on the sharpness and razor-like precision of the Word of God to carve out our paths.

Satan is no dummy.  If he’s going win his battle for our souls, he’s got to somehow find ways to neutralize our strongest weapon, the Word of God.  For the non-Christian and the “flimsy” Christian, that job is easy.  Discredit the veracity of the Bible at the hands of human brilliance and seemingly empirical science, pluralistic philosophy, or just plain doses of sensual hedonism (note that sensual is referring to being led by the senses – this is not only sexual).  The classic lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. (1John 2:16)  Suck them in with pernicious lies.

But what about the serious and committed Christians; those of us who don’t fall for the obvious pernicious lies; the ones who recognize those ploys?  For that, Satan must neutralize the word of God WITH the word of God, substituting out the best for the good, fighting fire with fire.  He sucks us in with what I call … pernicious truth.  Pernicious truth?  It sounds like an oxymoron, but propositional truth that isn’t rooted in the Person of Truth is harmful, hurtful, and spiritually deadly.  It is pernicious truth.

Put on God’s lenses and you’ll see your enemy’s strategy. Make the living waters ever-so-slightly murkier.  Introduce a virtual word of God, which looks the same in content, but not in intent, and start creating micro-tears, slowly disconnecting the “strong” Christian’s biblical head from his sinful heart.  Subsume “committed” Christians to secondary “wholesome” and “harmless” forms of encouragement, edification, and entertainment.  Slowly but surely dull the razor’s edge.

When one begins to believe that things unreal are really real, we say he is going insane.  Yet, when the masses begin to believe in things that are not really real (i.e. virtual communities), we call it normal, and call it a cultural shift.  With whole-hearted thanks to God, we have His word preserved – the perfect, powerful truth –

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).  

There’s the rub.  Are we going to go under the knife and cooperate with the Surgeon of our souls as He completes the needed surgery of sanctification, right down to the deepest parts – changing all of our thoughts, all of our attitudes, all of our actions, or are we going to play doctor and just say we did?  It’s true that most people won’t even notice, but God will … and so will Satan.

– Arthur Hsieh