Archive for April, 2009

Trapped? I Hope Not!

Have you ever been trapped? I don’t necessarily mean physically locked into a small space and hoping for rescue, but rather that feeling you get when it seems like nothing you do could possibly get you out of whatever situation you’re in.

I’m writing this as a ‘late to the game’ response to a couple of posts by a friend of mine about regret, worry and conviction (see those here, and here). The question that arises most often when thinking about these terms is, ‘are they useful? And, if so, how?’
First, regret. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life (granted, not that long in the grand scheme of things) of the mindset that every single one of our experiences contributes to who we are right now, and to remove any one experience from our life would vastly change who we are. Since the general idea behind regret is the desire to take back or to change a decision that we’ve made or an experience we’ve had, I try to avoid having regrets as much as possible, because I believe that every experience contributes to me becoming a better man.
Now, that’s not to say that I don’t make bad decisions or that I don’t feel bad about making them. What it means is that I strive to learn from my mistakes in order to improve myself and my ministry, and wishing that I hadn’t made those mistakes is completely counter-productive.
Conviction, I believe, plays a very significant role in pursuing the goal of becoming better people. It’s through conviction that we recognize our mistakes and receive the desire to do better because of them. Conviction serves this purpose in addition to tugging at our heart, pushing us to make right decisions. It is how the Holy Spirit speaks to us, leading us to pursue Godly things and Christlike behaviour. Whether you believe this personally or not, I believe that conviction still serves these two purposes in all our lives.
This is the point where worry rears its ugly head. While the purpose of conviction is to encourage us to better ourselves and make changes in our lives, worry encourages the status quo. We, as human beings, fear change, and even more than that, we fear the unknown. So when a life-altering decision faces us, we begin to worry about what the possibilities will be, about whether we’ll make the right decision, and (here’s where we come full-circle) whether we’ll regret the decision we make later.
The reality of life is that we don’t have all the answers, we are imperfect humans, and we make bad decisions. The worst thing we can do is fall into the trap of dwelling on these bad decisions, both past and future (regret and worry), and simply make the best decisions we know how, following our own convictions. Right or wrong, we need to learn from our choices, that we can become better people, and live more fulfilled lives.

Seeing as how I’m more tech-savvy than I am artistic, I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve my photography. That’s why many of the links you see on the right are for photography-related sites. In the course of my daily rummaging through the internets, I came across this article on wikiHow. Some of the hints I’ve heard many times before, and some of them I don’t necessarily agree with, but I thought it was definitely a good read.

If photography’s your thing, or you just love taking pictures and are looking for some tips, check out the article here, or take a look at some of my links to the right (like or digital photography school, for example).

After spending three days commuting across the city, only to have to spend the weekend moving to a new apartment sight-unseen, we’ve finally got ourselves unpacked to a reasonable point and are starting to settle in to our new lives here in Gwanjeo-dong. We ended up getting sick from the stress of moving and the business of the commute plus the lack of time for packing, and so we weren’t able to get to church last weekend. We felt pretty terrible about that, as Shan and I both HATE getting sick, especially on a Sunday morning, but we were able to get right back at it this past weekend, and were glad of it.

A big shock that we weren’t fully expecting was that there is no holiday to speak of for Easter weekend. The Christians celebrate Easter, but there are no days of work (and certainly not a four-day weekend) to accompany it, like we’re used to. This wasn’t the biggest shock of the weekend, however, as we were in for a surprise at church on Sunday morning.

From a musical standpoint, it was a pretty standard Easter service. We did some ‘Easter-ish’ songs interspersed with some more generally worshipful songs (see the set list below), but it was the sermon that really made the service memorable (and I’m not entirely sure it was in a good way). For his sermon, the new pastor, Joshua Son, did what every good pastor does for his Easter sermon; he talked about God’s love, the necessity of the cross and the glory of the resurrection.

What he added to that were clips from The Passion of the Christ. Now, I’ve seen pastors use clips from the Jesus movie for Easter, but I’ve not seen clips from The Passion anything more than the resurrection scene from The Passion used during a church service before. Pastor Joshua did use the resurrection scene, but he also showed the scene of Jesus’ brutal beating, among others.

I remember thinking two things in the midst of this: first, that it was quite fortunate that there was an announcement at the beginning of the service that the children’s program was going to continue under new leadership, because of the extreme brutality in the film; and second, (which I hadn’t realized was echoed by Mary in the film) was the same thing that rang through my head the first time I saw The Passion – that at any point during the bloodshed, Jesus could have stopped it all and walked away…but He didn’t. He chose to endure the pain, the suffering, and even death, so that we could be saved.

I don’t as yet know my opinion on the use of the clips, but I definitely welcome any thoughts on the matter (please do keep in mind before commenting that there were no children in the service, so there were only adults present during this part of the service).

As promised, here’s the order of service from our worship time:

Opening music:
Above All (A)
Shout to the Lord (A)
Rock of Ages (G)
Because He Lives(G)
Lord I Lift Your Name on High (G)

Prayer time

Welcome and Announcements

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (F)

Message: ‘The Passion of the Christ’

Offertory: Special Music

Give Thanks (F)

This post also contributes to to the Sunday Setlists blog carnival over at Head on over there to read about other worship services, and feel free to blog about your own and join the community.