Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Follower of Christ, Fellowship, Small group..

I was listening to NT Wright on the way to the pool yesterday. He is a Bishop of Durham. There was one quote he said that struck me in awe. I had to stop and reflected what he said. He was talking about the role of Christians after Jesus has risen.

The quote was:

"Preach the gospel at all times. And if you must, use words" - Saint Francis of Assisi

Wow. The words of Saint Francis of Assisi is what I have been feeling. I even finish the quote before NT Wright finish saying it.

What does this mean...well, it means everything I do, I do it to prech the gospel. Put it in another way. Everything I do should reflect the teaching of the gospel. This make sense. Basically, am I walking my talk?

I was born a Catholic. My mom was a Catholic and my dad believe in nothing. When I was in highschool, it was me and my sis that dragged my mom to Church. During Univeristy, lack of spiritual growth and politics, I stop going to Church.

I met Jenny in my last year in University. We became good friends. After I graduated, she invited me to her Church. Actually she brought me to a Fellowship. I have never been to one before. I was touch by seeing the love among the Fellowship members. This was incredible. Pretty soon, I joined the Church, got Baptised and now leading the Fellowship.

The below pic is taken just a few minute after New Years. In order from left to right (me, Alana, Emily, Bonnie and Pat). Notice I am smiling with my mouth close.

If someone come and lecture me and told me why I should believe b/c if I don't I will go to hell, I won't listen. That is just head knowledge. Show me a community that love and care and I am there. Action is much more powerful than words. When I was Baptised this summer, I told myself that I just don't want to say I am a Christian. I want to live it. I want to follow it. I want my actions to have people saying "woah, this is what Christian is all about."


Side joke: Someone asked me what is the difference between Christianity and Catholicism. Without being too technical and trying to keep the answer simple, I replied "Same God...different management" :D

Inherently I know I am the head knowledge type of guy. I have every urge to go up to my friends and challenge their faith (or the lack of it). It takes a lot of patience and hold my tongue. It takes even more effort to use actions. It takes the most effort to show mercy especially when your friends do something that ticks you off (gossiping etc). I have very little patience and at times when I am about to explode, I always go back to what Jesus said, "What I want is mercy, not sacrifice." I always double check myself, "am I being merciful?"

Beside leading a Fellowship (it is called Emmanuel and it is the Young Career Group), I attend another small group. This small group is led by Paul and Jessika. They are some of the most humble people you can ever know. Jessika just give birth to Heather few months back. Here is a pic of her:


So adorable.

We were at their place last night studying Thessalonians. We meet once a month and we have spent 8-10 months studying that book. There is a lot of deep meaning that if I read by myself I would breeze through it. We focus on what Paul was trying to convey to the Thessalonians. We see what the Thessalonians were going through. We try to draw Christian ideas from the passage instead of dumping our theology on it. The technical term is Narrative Criticism.

I really didn't feel like going last night. I got home and did some one leg bike drills. I felt asleep stretching on the floor. But I am glad I went. I haven't been reading the Bible lately. My spirituality was lacking.

I couldn't sleep last night. I was thinking the people I have met from my Church. Alice, Christina and Oliver are some of the most humbling people I know. Christina is in Thailand right now helping AIDS patients. Alice went to Malawi last year and hepled with the agricultural and drought problems. Jennifer and Julian were a great couple. They invited us to their cabin over the summer and allowed us to help them build a hut :). Pat is a new Christian like me and is full of enthuasim. He wants to do a tri this summer too (hahah..I have inflicted one soul :D). There is just so many people to list...Very grateful to be here right now. If tomorrow I have to see Jesus..so be it...I am training, I am fellowshipping..Life is good.

18 comments:

Mica said...

Nice post, Cliff. Thanks for sharing your testimony and challenging us in our spiritual walk.

Steven said...

Well said, Cliff.
I like the church I currently attend but am beginning to think it is too big. I'd like a smaller one so I can become closer with those that attend. I'd also like to find a good bible study group, too.

Comm's said...

You relate a common problem amongst Christians, getting the head and the heart to activate the feet. Many Christians spend years in study and small group and prayer and yet never lead anyone to Christ. And is a Christian really a Christian if their only projection of Christianity is going to church on Sunday, then spend the rest of the week cursing, vicing and leading an unGodly life?

If you want to have impact on others with your faith, just do one thing, dont hide it. you don't need to preach and invite everyone to service, but never forget once someone knows your motives they will judge you by them. And if your motive is to life a Christ filled life, then your deeds will be seen that way and your inspiration will motivate others to come to you and then thru you Christ.

Sorry so long a comment.

nancytoby said...

I think most Catholics would consider themselves Christians - just not Protestants. :-)

I can see you've put a lot of thought into the kind of life you want to lead and the type of people you want to surround yourself with. That's already a lot to emulate!

shenan said...

:)

E-Speed said...

Happy New Year Cliff. V. good post. It is nice to see that you do live your beliefs.

Steve said...

Cliff, that was one of my favorite posts on your blog. I dont post enough "spiritual reflections" and I should. Check out my brother's new Tri-blog at trigoose.blogspot.com. He's a believer also.

Hilda said...

Yes, your life looks good with the comunity you've choosen, the belief you trust and doing what appers to be always great workouts.

Those endorphins are great!!!

Happy 2006!!

Sarah Lukas said...

I really enjoyed this post- said a lot about who you are and you are definitely a wholesome person-If that makes sense? :-)

robtherunner said...

Wonderful post Cliff. You are much further along in your walk with Christ than I am. Thanks for your words.

Jennifer P said...

Ditto Shenan Liu. :)

Oldman said...

so there IS a diference between head knowledge and heart knowledge? If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. (1 jn 4:15)

good post.

Anonymous said...

Catholicism v. Christian???? Hmmmm.

I teach at a Catholic School and am baptist. however, haben't been asked that. My time is coming I am sure :)

Anonymous said...

Recently read , are you teaching to live Christian values, or to live like Jesus?

Chris said...

Love the post and Com's comments. I've known so many Christians in my day that seemed to judge and belittle not only non-Christians, but even more so Christian who maybe were as "devout" as they were. It's hard to call them devout just because judging isn't very Christian like, but you get the idea. In any case, walking the walk is much harder than talking the talk, I think.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I've had many thoughts recently similar to your own...

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