Category Archives: Affinity Groups

The Blessing of Serving in Sparklers

by Arthur Wang

My wife and I have been serving in the Sparklers preschool ministry for two years, and with our utmost joy, we can say that God has used this ministry to grow us in the knowledge of God’s truth and in love for God’s people. It has been an incredible blessing to serve and teach.

The preschool ages are such a wonderful stage of a child’s life. As many know, they are also the most fundamental years in development. They are so energetic, silly, curious, and can be very receptive to teaching. In Proverbs 22:6, the Bible says “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” If we establish a strong foundation for the gospel message in each child’s heart, our prayer is that God would use those seeds to someday save them. That said, our Children’s Ministry as a whole emphasizes seizing the time we have with them so that they may learn God’s Word while their parents are in service.

Teaching a group of 20 or so preschoolers can have its challenges. Any small distraction can lead to complete chaos during Sunday school lesson time. I naively thought in the beginning that it would be easier to teach to a preschool audience rather than an adult audience. Let’s just say God humbled me in a very big way. Preparing a lesson that did not dilute God’s Word and yet is understandable to a three to five-year old is no small feat. It involves many hours of preparation and creative ideas to engage the children, using age appropriate terminology. Teaching in Sparklers has taught me to be succinct and concise with God’s Word while at the same time not minimizing the valuable truths of the passages we go over each week.

It involves a lot of patience, love, and understanding the unique traits of each special soul. I pray more prior to when I am scheduled to serve. I pray that God would give me the strength and energy to be super enthusiastic around the children. They may be young, but they are also very perceptive and constantly observing. We need to be good testimonies with the aim to exemplify Christ-like behavior.

Some things I really try to emphasize are God’s attributes. For example, what does the story of Jonah tell us? It is not simply about Jonah, but it is about a forgiving God who gave Jonah not one, but multiple chances. In our lessons, I emphasize who God is (holy and just) relative to who man is (sinful and wretched). Even though there is a huge discrepancy between God and man, God lovingly provided His Son as the sacrifice on our behalf for the sin of all men. How amazing is that? We hope to clearly communicate our need of God to the children, being sure to remind them that we are sinners too.

Preschool-aged children, however small they seem, are capable of learning God’s truth by what we formally teach them during lesson time and by what they observe us say and do outside of teaching time.

Serving in Sparklers has been so much fun and a tremendous blessing. God has taught me that it is only by His mercy and grace that any of us are able to understand the great gospel truths in Scripture. We look forward to not only serve, but to grow alongside other Sparklers staff and the Sparklers’ parents as we continue to study and teach the amazing truth of God.

Rest for Moms

by Pastor Patrick Cho

A few weeks ago, we were pleased to have Pastor Mark Chin from Lighthouse San Jose come to speak for our annual Grace Life Weekend Conference. Mark addressed the theme of “Time, Work, and Rest: Ours or God’s?” The messages were timely, convicting, and extremely helpful. One of the principles Mark walked through was the importance of maintaining a time of spiritual rest amidst our hectic lives. A question that came up several times was: How can moms do this effectively when their responsibility to their children is seemingly endless? Here are some practical helps to consider:

  1. Turn Off Your Phone. This obviously does not apply to all mothers, but many who complain about not having time for the Word of God spend significant time on social media. Understanding that this seems outrageous in today’s culture, consider uninstalling Facebook and Instagram (or at least severely regulating your usage). Enjoy life’s moments without the incessant need to capture every one of them. You might be surprised at how much time this frees up!
  2. Maximize Nap Time. If you have young children, chances are they take at least one nap during the day. It is easy to utilize this time to catch up on chores and emails or even to nap yourself! But if you are one who really struggles with finding refreshing time in Scripture, take this time to spend with the Lord and feed your soul. You can discipline your children to help you with chores, but they cannot spend time with God for you.
  3. Go to Bed Earlier. God has designed us to need rest. He is the only one who neither sleeps not slumbers (Ps. 121:3-4). Implement a stricter schedule that will allow you to go to bed and wake up earlier. If it is not practical to spend time with the Lord before the children wake up, at least you will have greater energy throughout the day.

Any husband who has taken care of the kids while mom was away understands how incredibly challenging it can be. Whenever Christine goes out even for a little while, and I have to watch the kids, I can hardly get anything else done! This should clue you in to the fact that your wife needs a break from time to time. Dads, what are some ways you can provide your wives time alone to spend with the Lord or even to recuperate from the daily challenges of motherhood?

  1. Give Your Wife an Evening Off. If this can’t be weekly, then plan for at least twice a month. This time could be used to enjoy some much-needed fellowship with other ladies in the church, or it might best be spent going to a coffee shop to read her Bible and pray. Since you know that your wife needs these times to rest in the Lord and that she seldom gets time when she is home with the kids, this is a great way to serve her and encourage her faith.
  2. Institute a Quiet Time. Most families understand that with young kids there is hardly a quiet moment in the house. One thing fathers can do is to implement a quiet time in the evening before bedtime. Try starting with a fifteen-minute period and over time extending this to half an hour. The way this works is that you, your wife, and your kids enjoy some quiet reading time together before the kids go to bed. If your child is too young to read, they can work on a puzzle or draw, but they have to do it quietly. This might seem impossible for your kids, but with perseverance and discipline it could develop to be a refreshing oasis in an otherwise spiritually barren day.
  3. Weekend Retreat. Consider providing your wife a weekend retreat away with friends. One great way to implement this is to send your wife to a biblical women’s conference. Usually, groups from church will attend these conferences together. Plan ahead to clear your schedule and watch the kids. This also gives you a chance to have some extended quality time with the kids. Take them to the park, the beach, or the zoo. Or better yet, encourage them to help you clean the house or do chores to serve Mommy.

Tongue Un-Twisted

by Josh Liu

Our lives are filled with words (e.g., speech, communication). Many of us acknowledge the power and influence–and source of problems–speech and communication have. However, very few of us discipline our speech with careful discernment. Paul Tripp has said,

…even though we aren’t always aware of it, every day of our lives is filled with talk. Every moment is infected with talk. Every relationship and situation is dyed with words. We’re word-ish people. You could hardly identify a more formative aspect of our daily lives than our world of words. Yet whenever I begin to think, speak, or write about this topic, I experience a bit of frustration. What frustrates me is the vocabulary of communication. The terms are so mundane–words, talk, dialogue, conversation, communication. They just don’t seem to carry the freight of how profoundly significant and important this area of life actually is. (The Power of Words and The Wonder of God, 23)

Words are ultimately significant because of what God reveals in Scripture concerning our words (the Book of Proverbs contain over 100 verses related to speech). Our words are a window into the human heart. We speak thoughts, intentions, desires, wishes, beliefs, and so on contained in the heart (cf. Prov. 18:4; Matt. 15:18; Luke 6:45; Mark 7:21). Our words command power and can be a source of destruction (cf. James 3:2-12). Our words are so important that Scripture describes controlling the tongue as one of the keys to a successful life (cf. Prov. 21:23; 1 Pet. 3:10). Frighteningly, God will judge our words (cf. Matt. 12:33-37).

So, how aware are you of your speech and communication? Do you think before speaking, or do you more often find yourself regretting your words? Is there any sinful speech you need to repent of and work to root out of your life? Is there any edifying speech that you to include more in your life? What are some helpful communication skills to practice in applying biblical principles on speech? These are important questions to reflect on.

Christ’s servants are commanded to silence sinful speech. In other words, believers are to silence, put away, stop, mortify, mute, reign in all speech that dishonors or disobeys Christ and tears down others (cf. Eph. 4:29). This is not exclusively about profanity; this is any speech dishonors Christ and tears down others. E. Bradley Beevers says,

Evil speech isn’t just talking when you should be silent or saying things you immediately wish you hadn’t said. Some things we say are bad for other reasons. For example, with some speech, we determine whether it is evil or good by asking when, to whom, under what circumstances, with what tone of voice something is said. At the other extreme, we distinguish “foul language” from the rest of language; “foul language” is inherently bad. It’s not a matter of saying something at the wrong time or to the wrong person. Such “evil talk” is always wrong, always to be avoided by the believer. (“Watch Your Langauge!”, 24)

Believers’ speech is not to be characterized with the world’s speech. The Bible describes a variety of sinful speech that must be silenced. Below is a summary of a personal study on sins of the tongue with questions for reflection.

Sinful Speech Description Scripture Questions
Sinful Speech About Others Gossip The spreading of unfavorable information about someone,
even if that information is true.
Prov. 11:12-13; 18:8; 20:19
  • Do you sweetly cherish secrets so that you can talk about it with others?
  • Do you inappropriately pry for information so that you can talk about it with others?
  • Have you said, “don’t tell anyone else” for fear of repercussions by sharing something that was shared with you in confidence?
  • Will you betray anyone’s trust by sharing?
Slander Speaking about another person (whether false or true, an accurate or inaccurate/misrepresentation) that defames or damages the person’s reputation (or character). Prov. 16:28; Eph. 4:31-32
  • Would what you say impugn someone’s reputation or character?
  • Would it cause conflict if discovered?
Lie Making a false statement; exaggeration for selfish reasons
(e.g., greater recognition); intentionally withholding the whole truth for sinful reasons.
Prov. 10:18
  • Do you lie or exaggerate truth claims to create a certain perception about yourself or someone else?
  • Do you intentionally mislead because you rejoice in deceit (for compulsive liars)?
Critical speech Negative comments about someone that may actually be true but doesn’t need to be said, but said for the purpose of tearing that person down. Prov. 21:9, 19
  • Do people seem to walk on eggshells around you, afraid of provoking you to typical negative comment?
  • Do you mostly criticize and not praise?
Instigating Stirs up strife or conflict; to provoke. Prov. 17:9; 23:9
  • Do you call out individuals to specifically set a certain context? (i.e., romantic relationships)
  • Are you a hype-man just shooting out “oh” to any comment that would normally be regarded as innocuous?
Sinful Speech About Others Harsh words Words spoken inconsiderate, thoughtless, reckless, imprudently, impetuously. Prov. 12:18
  • Are you brash or rough in speech?
  • Do you excuse bluntness as simply a personality trait or basis of perceived intimacy of friendship, excusing a lack of discernment in words and tone?
Joking or sarcasm Crude or coarse humor (words or actions/pranks) intended to amuse oneself at the expense of others (ridiculing, putting down, belittling, provoking a response, etc.). Prov. 26:18-19
  • Do you find your jokes often hurting others?
  • Have they been the source of conflicts or misunderstandings leading to conflicts?
  • Do you often excuse the shock value of your words by saying that you’re only joking?
Insults To wound, put to shame, humiliate, disrespect, dishonor. Matt. 5:22
  • Do you directly insult others without remorse?
Discourage To put down, shut out, or sadden Num. 13:31-14:4
  • Do your words remove biblical hope from someone?
Boasting To exalt self above others, and to belittle others Luke 18:11
  • Are you the hero of your stories?
  • Do you make comments to compete with others (e.g., you slept for 5 hours? I slept for 3 hours)?
Unbiblical counsel Communicating a choice, decision, or expected response as biblical yet purely based on opinion, preference, experience, or worldliness. Job’s friends; Prov. 18:2
  • Do you misrepresent or misapply God’s Word to someone’s situation?
  • Do you counsel out of personal opinion, preference, or experience and place it as God’s standard?
Internal speech Indicting God’s character, entertaining sinful fantasies (e.g., immorality, vengeance), excusing or justifying sin, or internal complaining Prov. 20:22; Mark 2:6-7; Phil. 2:24
  • Do you think about what you would say as a comeback to insult someone?
  • Do you rationalize or make excuses to sin in your mind?

Christ’s servants are also commanded to speak sanctifying speech. In other words, as a servant or disciple of Christ, you seek to do all things, including communicating, for the glory of God. Seek to not bring reproach or stain upon the testimony of Christ with your words. Rather, be known as one filled with the sweet words of your Lord and Savior. This is not about saying sweet nothings, tickling people’s ears with what they want to hear or what makes them feel good. This is about honoring Christ and loving your neighbor. Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Some examples of sanctifying speech about others are giving the benefit of the doubt (cf. Prov. 18:13), believing (or speaking) the best about another (cf. 1 Cor. 13:7), commending others (cf. Rom. 16:1), and giving thanks to God for one another (cf. Rom. 1:8; 1 Cor. 1:4; Phil. 1:3).

Some examples of sanctifying speech to others are words that build others up (cf. Eph. 4:29; consider the timing, Prov. 27:14), encourage (cf. Acts 11:23), exhort (cf. Prov. 27:6; Heb. 10:24), comfort (cf. Prov. 15:4; 16:24; 18:23; 2 Cor. 1:3-4), confess (cf. Prov. 28:13; James 5:16), and seek understanding (cf. Prov. 15:1; 18:13). Do you build others up and encourage? Kevin DeYoung helps to describe encouragement,

Encouragement means highlighting the evidences of God’s grace in the gospel or in a gospel-centered person to the glory of God. Each part of that definition is important. Encouragement is not spotlighting a person but underlining God’s grace. It is not about commending nice people to make them feel good but about commending the work of the gospel in others to the glory of God. The definition above can help differentiate encouragement from flattery. Encouragement is based on what is true about a person. Flattery affirms through exaggeration or falsehood. Encouragement keeps human praise in proportion, lifting everything up for God’s praise. Flattery gives too much influence to human agency. Encouragement blesses for the sake of the blessed and the Blessed One. Flattery harbors ulterior motives and looks for favors or reciprocal affirmation. While God despises flattery, He delights to see Christians encourage each other. (“Encourage One Another”)

Be careful of becoming the tongue or speech police. This is first and foremost an opportunity to examine your own life and heart to discern any spiritual logs in your eyes. Take this as an opportunity for you to consider how to honor Christ with your words and love your neighbor.

As They Grow, I Grow

by Nelson Kha

It is crazy how six months has gone by since my first day in the Sonlight ministry. For those who know me, I have always been very involved with the music ministry at the church, but the thought of working with kids has never been at the forefront of my mind. Just a little over a year ago, I prayed and asked God to reveal to me where He could use me to help and serve in other ministries other than the praise ministry. The timing was perfect because in the last few members meetings, Ryan shared during the ministry updates that the Sonlight ministry was in need of some help due to the large number of children now at the church. In the little time I have been involved with Sonlight, there are a few things that I was able to glean from it, including how the Sonlight ministry has been a profitable time for me.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Being at the church for close to 8 years now, I have been given the wonderful privilege of seeing many of the children grow from infants to toddlers, and now to school-age children. They know the Bible! They know the stories! I can recount quite a handful of incidents in which even the youngest ones can retell what they have learned in the last few months. Sometimes, they even remember the stories and lessons better than me! In addition to the teaching time, the Sonlight ministry does a great job having supplemental activities and discussion times when the kids can further participate in applying the lesson to their day-to-day lives. It is during those moments that we as teachers can be a little more intentional with them, helping them better understand the Bible lessons and apply them to their lives. Now at this point, whether they have come to an understanding of the gospel or not, what is encouraging is seeing the children ministries at our church hold fast to the Word and raising the children up in the knowledge of our Lord. As the children continue to learn to love the Lord and others, it’s also a personal reminder for me to love in the same way and consider the lessons being taught.

Lessons after lessons, you will normally see the kids excited to participate and hear God’s Word being taught. They would come in the room, sign-in, grab their seats and are excited to learn. At times I wonder about our own attitude when it comes to hearing God’s Word preached. Do we share the same enthusiasm as these kids do? Why not? Seeing their excitement is definitely refreshing and it is an area where I am being challenged to cultivate an enthused and excited attitude towards the Word of God.

A typical day in Sonlight usually starts with the lesson being taught during first hour. Currently, we are studying through the book of Acts, though we did take a small break during the Easter season. What was helpful though was that the kids were able to follow-up with the life of Christ, then continue on with how the early church was started after Christ’s ascension. Like Ryan’s past Beacon article mentioned, this journey through Acts shed some light into God’s work in Paul’s life and in how God intended to accomplish the mission to make disciples of all nations through the vehicle of his Church. My prayer is that as we finish up our study in Acts, God will use the remaining time to teach the children to see how He intends to draw all nations to Himself and through it, they may see the sovereignty of God. After the lesson, we usually have an activity, which consists of either a game or something that will supplement the lesson. This is a good time for the kids to expel some of that pent-up energy! Right after that, we have a time of praise and then go straight into second hour. Second hour is usually where we have snack time and really get to know the kids during table time. As I mentioned before, this is where the teachers can help the kids apply the Bible lesson to their lives, as well as a chance for us to get to know the kids better.

As this school year concludes and promotion Sunday approaches, I highly encourage those that have been on the fence on whether to serve in a new ministry to serve in Sonlight! This ministry is a great place to witness God’s saving work in the lives of future generations, growing them to love Him and His people. As these kids continue to grow (physically and spiritually), God continues to use them and this ministry to grow myself. I can’t help but say that it is truly a sanctifying process, as I sometimes feel like I gain more from it than what I put in. Long story short, join us!

A Gospel of Repentance

by Roger Alcaraz

Back in high school, I would always sign my close friends’ yearbooks with a message, and somewhere in that message would be the words, “Don’t ever change.” That was because, in my mind, that was the greatest compliment or sign of love that I could give. It’s like saying “You’re perfect just the way you are.” It was only after I became a Christian, I realized how wrong I was.

Nobody is perfect, and the gospel we proclaim is not only about the forgiveness of sins, but about repentance. “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations” (Luke 24:46-47).

Repentance is a complete change of heart that grieves over sin and, in response, seeks to live a changed life. It’s turning your feelings, thoughts, and actions away from sin and toward Christ. This has always been the heart of the gospel call. We often think of evangelism as preaching the forgiveness of sins, but Christ has told us to also preach repentance. Why? Because without repentance, there is no forgiveness of sins. Yet repentance is perhaps the single most neglected aspect of contemporary evangelism, especially in an age when it’s all about accepting people as they are and just letting them be. This nation teaches that if you want to show love to someone, you must accept them as they are, without changing them.

Now, I’m not arguing that acceptance is bad. But there is definitely a good way and a bad way to practice it. If a doctor had a patient with diabetes, and the doctor accepted his patient without wanting him to change, that’s bad. But consider Scripture and how the heart of mankind is desperately sick and how mankind is heading to Hell. Would accepting people without any desire for change be what’s best for them?

Coaches tell their athletes to change all of the time. Parents tell their children to change all the time. If you saw a child practically inhaling sugar, and the parent casually said, “Let him be,” you would say, “You’re a bad parent.” And so if calling for change is the mark of a good parent, and it’s the mark of a good coach, isn’t it also the mark of good friend?

The world has believed that calling someone to change is unloving, but as I consider my life, it’s quite the opposite. The people who have loved me the most were the people who called me to change. And the greater test of love isn’t whether a person accepts you as you are; love is demonstrated when, as a person seeks change and growth another, that they bear with them with gentleness and patience. So we’re not beating people over the head with the command to repent and believe. We’re urgent yet patient, firm yet gentle, always seeking what’s best for them based on the truth of Scripture.

And so while the world might look at our gospel of repentance and say, “Why can’t I just keep living how I’ve always lived?” you can say, “Because I love you too much.” If your friend were planning to rob a bank and you knew that this bank was an impenetrable fortress guarded by hundreds of police officers, you would probably tell your friend to stop or else he’ll be thrown in prison. And he might object and say, “I thought you supported me. Can’t you just let me be me?” And if you were a good friend, you would say, “No.”

But would you be quicker to warn people of prison than you would of Hell? We have to remember that as each person dies, they will stand before the God who created them and have to give an account for their entire life. Everything will be exposed before God as he determines their fate. How sad would it be for people to stand before God and think, “I had Christian friends. Why didn’t they tell me I would be here one day?” Therefore, let us warn the world of their fate if they do not turn away from their sins and turn to Christ. It is a loving thing to turn them away from fire.

Spiritual Anatomy

by Josh Liu

The Bible is replete with references to various parts of the human body (e.g., foot, hand, tongue, arm, eye, head, etc.). While many references to body parts are in a literal sense (i.e., a physical organ), Scripture often uses body parts figuratively to represent or address some spiritual principle. For the 2016-2017 academic year, College Life Bible study went through a topical series entitled “Spiritual Anatomy.” We examined what the Bible taught on specific body parts to further understand how we ought to honor God with our whole being, physically and spiritually.

The following provides a brief overview of the topical series:

1. “Body Worship” (Rom. 12:1-2)

Sinners rightly deserve God’s wrath for their unrighteousness. Yet God would be merciful to justify sinners by faith in Christ so that they would never face His condemnation (cf. Rom. 3:21-22; 5:1-2; 8:1). In response, believers are commanded to spiritual worship by presenting their bodies (i.e., lives, whole being) as a living, holy, and acceptable sacrifice. This is a comprehensive body (whole person) response–a life of worship to the God Who saves.

2. “A Theology of the Flesh” (Rom. 7:14-8:1)

Besides literally, Scripture also refers to man’s flesh metaphorically, representing all that opposes God. Theologically, the flesh represents the principle of indwelling sin in believers–that which remains of his former, unregenerate, old self (cf. Gal. 5:13, 19; Eph. 2:3). While believers have a new nature in Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17), they will still battle sin on this side of eternity. Believers should not be discouraged, but persevere in opposing the sinful flesh.

3. “A Heart for God” (Selected Scriptures)

The heart is like the control center of man, being the source of life, thoughts, and actions (cf. Gen. 6:5; Prov. 4:23; 20:5; Luke 6:45). However, sinners’ hearts are also corrupt with sin (Jer. 17:9) and require God’s transforming, regenerative work (Ezek. 26:26; Acts 15:9). In response to a transformed heart for God, we are commanded to seek the Lord with all your heart (Deut. 4:29); love the Lord with all your heart (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37); serve the Lord with all your heart (Deut. 10:12); obey the Lord with all your heart (Deut. 30:1-2); turn/return to the Lord with all your heart (Deut. 30:10); follow the Lord with all your heart (1 Kings 14:8); give thanks to the Lord with all your heart (Pss. 9:1; 86:12; 111:1; 138:1); and trust in the Lord with all your heart (Prov. 3:5).

4. “Mental Metamorphosis” (Selected Scriptures)

How would you evaluate your thought life? When you are not required to think about something, what do your thoughts drift toward? How well do you control your thought life? Are you concerned with what fills or influences your mind? As God transforms and renews believers’ minds (thoughts, desires, intentions), they are commanded to proactively set their mind on the Spirit. One means is by being devoted to the things of the Spirit: edification of believers (Eph. 4:7, 12), worship (Eph. 5:18-20), submission (Eph. 5:21-6:9), etc.

5. “Spiritual Nephrology” (Selected Scriptures)

In Scripture, the human kidney is sometimes figuratively used to refer to man’s inmost being, mind, or affections and has been translated as mind, heart, and feelings. Since the areas surrounding the kidneys are sensitive, the kidneys were believed to be the seat of emotions (cf. Job 19:27; Ps. 73:21; Prov. 23:16). Often times, people have been told to ignore their emotions and grunt through some situation by sheer will power. While we are not be led or dictated by our emotions, we must redeem our emotions to honor God.

6. “Tongue un-Twisted” (Selected Scriptures)

The mouth, tongue, and lips are often used to refer to the activity of speech and communication. Scripture confronts the misuse of speech (cf. Prov. 10:1-32; 12:18; 20:19; etc.). God will judge every person for his or her words (cf. Matt. 12:33-37). Christ’s servants ought to seek to honor and glorify God with their speech and communication. They must silence sinful speech (e.g., gossip, slander, lying, critical speech, insults, etc.) and communicate sanctifying speech (e.g., edifying words, encouragements, comfort, etc.).

7. “Covered and Unashamed” (Selected Scriptures)

Scripture uses a variety of words to euphemistically refer to the sex organs. The sex organs are also used to refer to the activity of sex. Unfortunately, these (literal) parts are sinfully abused and used to pursue immorality and wickedness. Figuratively, Scripture references the sex organs in contexts of shame and guilt. For example, after Adam and Eve sinned, they realized they were naked and ashamed (cf. Gen. 3:7). However, for those who have ever sinned sexually yet have submitted to Christ as their Lord and Savior, Christ covers their shame with His righteousness and allows them to stand unashamed (forgiven, reconciled, and sanctified) before God.

8. “God’s Good Design – Part 1: Male Headship” (Selected Scriptures)

Scripture uses a variety of words to euphemistically refer to the sex organs. The sex organs identify mankind’s gender–male or female. God created mankind in His image male and female (though God is not gendered). Men and women are created equal as God’s image-bearers, and fulfill differing functions or roles. As heads (or leaders), men are called to be mature–spiritual maturity, character maturity, relational maturity, and stewarding maturity.

9. “God’s Good Design – Part 2: Female Helpership” (1 Tim. 2:9-15)

Men and women are created equal as God’s image-bearers and fulfill differing functions or roles according to those genders. One of the primary responsibilities for women is the role of a helper. A significant aspect of understanding this helper role is authority-submission. The Apostle Paul provides further instruction on authority and submission in the church by addressing women’s appearance, conduct, design, and blessing.

10. “Eye Exam” (Selected Scriptures)

The eye is used in its literal meaning and in connection with expressions relating to seeing. Figuratively, the eye refers to the seat of perception, understanding, and realization. Theologically, sinners are spiritually blind (cf. Jer. 5:21) and Jesus Christ gives spiritual sight (cf. John 8:12). Sinners ought to turn to God for spiritual sight through repentance and faith. Also, believers ought to fixate (focus, behold, look toward in anticipation and priority) on God (as oppose to worldly things), purity (as oppose to immoral images), and eternity future (as oppose to only the present).

11. “Beautiful Feet” (Rom. 10:1-15)

Scripture often uses the feet to refer to activity and movement. Believers are to be busy (active) in witnessing, evangelizing, and making disciples. The Apostle Paul declares, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Rom. 10:15). To be active in evangelizing (declaring the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ), believers can remember to be impassioned for the lost, recognize man’s responsibility, be confident in the promises of salvation, make no distinctions between persons, and carry the Gospel wherever they go.

12. “A Spiritual Physical” (Ps. 38)

A brief observation of the world (and human history) will reveal at least one thing: the world prizes health. There are many who are ailing and ill in need of care, recovery, and cure. It is often during ill health where man recognizes the fragility of life, true priorities of life, the blessing of good health or relief, and so on. Believers can idolize health in much the same way as the world. Scripture reveals that sinners are spiritually sick and in need of Christ, the spiritual Physician (cf. Luke 5:31-32). Our physical and spiritual health–emotional, cognitive, and physical state–can be affected by sin. Psalm 38 is the portrait of one who is in poor physical and spiritual health due to personal sin. Such experiences are opportunities to worship God, examine oneself for personal sin, and patiently endure suffering.

13. “One Body” (Selected Scriptures)

One cannot miss the absolute unity of believers as the body of Christ (cf. Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:14ff; Eph. 4:4-5). Each believer is to be a healthy, functioning member in the body (i.e., church), with humility and harmony.

Conclusion

As sinners, man’s body and spirit is corrupt with sin. By the mercies of God, He transforms man’s spirit in Christ and promises a bodily resurrection. So then, while believers await new glorified bodies, they are to steward their bodies (literally / physically) and lives (figuratively / spiritually) for God’s glory as an act of worship. May the Spiritual Anatomy series exalt God, edify His saints, and evangelize the lost.

Fireflies Nursery Update

By Sallie Yang

Lighthouse Bible Church, San Diego (LBCSD) has an ever- growing Fireflies ministry of children aged three and under. The Fireflies ministry is comprised of two groups, N1 and N2. In N1, we care for babies from birth until they can walk; and in N2, we care for those who can walk until they are three and potty-trained. As our church continues to grow, so does the number of children in our care and subsequently, our need for more nursery workers. We seek faithful women who are LBCSD members and have a heart to care for these children to join nursery. If you are interested, please contact Carol Lim, our lead nursery coordinator.

Truly, there is never a dull moment when serving in Fireflies. By the end of nursery, I often have to go home and take a nap! The babies and toddlers command our full attention with all of their energy, personalities, and cute and crazy baby–and toddler–ways. They are a handful, but a joy to take care of. Personally, I enjoy the time I get to interact with them one on one, even if it is just to console them as they are crying. It is a way that I get to display Christ to them and to practice kindness, patience, and love, which are fruits of the Spirit. It is my hope that the kids will have a positive view towards nursery and love being at church.

In nursery, we have the awesome opportunity to share the love of Christ with the children through our interactions with them and teaching time. In N2, we teach simple lessons about God and Jesus to build a foundation for what they will continue to learn as they move on from nursery into Sparklers and beyond. This month we are teaching the kids that God made everything based on Genesis 1. We start the lesson by sharing how in the beginning there were no trees, flowers, dogs, daddies, mommies, and babies. But, there was God. And, God is big and strong. God created the trees, flowers, dogs, daddies, mommies, and babies. God created everything! Our memory verse, Genesis 1:1, ties in beautifully with the lesson this month. It is put to a simple melody and sung with hand motions. The Fireflies memory verse songs can be found in the Resource section on the LBC Children’s page.

We teach the same lesson every Sunday for the whole month, adding a craft at the end of the month to reinforce the truths learned. The lesson becomes really familiar to them by the end of the month. I think it’s particularly encouraging when the kids are able to state the truth being taught even before we get there in the lesson. At the end of the lesson, the kids have the opportunity to color on the take home lesson sheet and memory verse paper. I often use this time to reiterate the truths to them. We encourage our staff to be intentional with the time we spend with the kids.

I love the chance to serve alongside the wonderful women in our Fireflies ministry. We have women from all affinity groups and walks of life. It has been great to meet and get to know ladies that I may not have had a chance otherwise to meet. I’ve been encouraged by their hearts to serve God and love people in caring for the youngest, most vulnerable of our church with such joy and sacrifice.

To God be the glory in all that we do!

God’s Wisdom for Parenting (Part 3)

by Pastor Patrick Cho

One of the places in Scripture to find a wealth of helpful principles for parenting is the Proverbs. Almost every book on parenting will reference these Scriptures repeatedly because of the wisdom they contain. Besides the plethora of verses that apply to parenting indirectly, several passages address parenting specifically.

The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)

As the heading to the verse suggests, this passage marks the beginning of the long list of Solomon’s proverbs. Chapters 1-9 of Proverbs are generally introductory, focusing on the incalculable value of pursuing wisdom and warning against the tragic consequences of falling to the temptation of sexual sin. But starting at Proverbs 10:1, the author offers many short but substantial nuggets of wisdom gold.

The proverb, “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother,” is not arbitrary, but flows out of the previous context warning against foolishness and encouraging wise living. The previous chapter included the theme verse for the entire Book of Proverbs. Proverbs 9:10 states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” This theme verse helps us to understand that there is no true wisdom apart from God. To depart from God’s instruction to trust in one’s own understanding is folly.

It is significant to understand the meaning of the word “wise” in this context. The Hebrew word has the idea of someone being skilled in what they do (Heb. chakam). In this sense, wisdom is more than just what a person knows. It also involves how well they live in accordance with what is good and true. This is why Solomon tells his son that wisdom begins with fearing God. A right understanding of the Lord will make an impact on a person’s way of life. To fear God and thus live wisely is to love the Lord and walk in His ways, forsaking the foolishness of the world and of the flesh.

In contrast to the wise is the foolish (Heb. kesil). “Foolish” can also be understood as dull or insolent. Foolish ways are particularly enticing to those who are young and immature, and there is great peril with walking in foolishness since it can lead to destruction. But foolishness does not only have consequences for the person who is foolish. It also affects others around him, so passages like Proverbs 14:7 encourage people not to associate with fools lest their wisdom also become dulled.

Because of these biblical definitions of wisdom and foolishness, of course godly parents desire their children to pursue wisdom and forsake foolishness. No parent wants their child to walk the path to destruction and to be a spiritual detriment to the well-being of those around them. Every God-fearing parent wants their child to make choices consistent with God’s revealed Word. In this way, a child that pursues godly wisdom brings joy to his parents, but a child who departs from godly wisdom will only bring grief.

The Elder Son

by Roger Alcaraz

When we think about the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, not much attention gets placed on the older son. Granted, he doesn’t occupy as much space as the younger, nor is his story as happy. But I do think his story related the most to Jesus’ audience.

Jesus spoke this parable in the context of both the religious heroes and zeros of the day: the scribes and Pharisees versus the tax collectors and sinners. And one would expect the religious leaders to be the ones gravitating to Jesus, but it was more often the wretched sinners that drew near to him. And the parable of the prodigal son was about how lost sinners were being found, and the joy that consumes Christ whenever one of his children is back with him.

Christ is represented by the father in the parable who saw his son, felt compassion, ran to him, embraced him, kissed him, gave him a robe, gave him a ring, gave him shoes, killed the fattened calf, and celebrated. That’s quite the welcoming, especially when you consider that this is a man who had wished his father to be dead, abandoned him, and squandered away his inheritance. You would think that even if the father received him back, there might be conditions to pay back at least some of what he lost, but there are no conditions to pay back the father at all.

This man’s list of good deeds is empty and still the father receives him, and that must have driven the scribes and Pharisees crazy. Jesus was offering salvation to these deplorable sinners just for coming to him. He would disregard their whole past and call the people with the worst lives and say, “I don’t care what sins you’ve committed, only that you follow me now.”

What an offer! But I can imagine how infuriating it would be for the scribes and Pharisees. These are people who devoted themselves to obeying God’s word and who felt they alone were entitled to God’s kingdom because of their deeds. But Jesus knows that what they’re feeling is wrong, and so he concludes his parable by introducing the older son who represents the scribes and Pharisees.

It’s not a complicated story by any means. The older brother is tending the field, being a diligent and hardworking son, and as he comes in, he hears music and dancing and finds out his younger brother has returned. And upon hearing the news, the older brother is outraged. But notice this: nowhere does he take issue with his brother. He’s not angry about the son’s return; he’s angry at the father’s celebration. The father has thrown this huge celebration and even killed the fattened calf which would have been reserved for a wedding. All this for a son who spent his inheritance on prostitutes, when the older son has always obeyed and served the father, and he never even got a young goat.

He contrasts his relationship to his father against his brother’s relationship with his father. He essentially says, “I’ve done so much and have received so little, whereas my brother has done so little and received so much, and it’s not fair.” And in the older son’s heart, he has concluded that his father is not fair or good. And so the father reminds him of his love for the older son. The father loved his older son and this celebration didn’t diminish that. But the father reminds him of why they’re celebrating.

They’re not celebrating because the younger son did something to earn the fattened calf. They’re celebrating because the father is overwhelmed by the son’s return. And so it is a time of celebration. But the older son can’t celebrate. All he’s thinking about is, “Well then, what was this all for? What have I been spending my life doing if my father is receiving this sinner who laid with prostitutes back into his household?” How infuriating.

And this was what made Jesus’ teaching so difficult for the scribes and Pharisee. They spent their whole lives believing that if they lived a certain way, they would be accepted by God. And for Jesus to come and say, “You’re doing it all wrong” was unacceptable. “What was all this for? How can you tell me after all I’ve done that none of it mattered?”

Often times, we consider the cost of following Jesus to be one involving sacrificing our worldly pursuits. But for many, the biggest cost of following Jesus is going to be sacrificing your pride. Sacrificing the list of reasons you think you’re so wonderful and deserving of Heaven and calling everything you’ve ever done as useless. The cost of following Jesus requires that you lay down your pride and confess that everything you’ve done in life, if Jesus wasn’t in it, is useless for salvation. That’s a greater cost than you might realize.

Imagine you spent 30 years building a house and you’re still building on it to perfection. And it’s a beautiful looking house. But then someone says, “Your house is built on sand, and eventually, it will fall.” Would it be an easy for you to say, “I better stop building it and start building on a more solid foundation.” That might be a logical and safer thing to do. But if you’ve spent 30 years building a house, at a certain point, it’s a hard thing accept that the last 30 years was a waste. I get that. Most people would probably come up with an excuse to keep building on it and say, “It’s held up so far. I’ll just continue living in it and building it up.” And the tragedy is that as they build the house, they’re only adding to the rubble that will one day be their grave.

Let us not be like the scribes and Pharisees who refused to admit their need for a savior. But no matter how far we’ve come in this life, as difficult as it may be to admit that our works are useless for salvation, there is great reward for laying down our pride and submitting to Jesus.

College Life Class of 2017

by Josh Liu

I have been able to personally witness God’s grace and faithfulness in many of this year’s graduates’ lives, which brings me to praise God for His glory. I want to simply highlight the LBCSD members that are graduating. This is an insufficient testimony to God’s work in their lives; there is so much to be said about each student’s experience and encouragement to the church family. Yet I hope it will spur your own interactions with these graduates. Please take a moment to pray for them and personally bless and encourage them.

Amanda Gon, B.S. Kinesiology

  • Note to the Church: I have been so blessed by this church body and how the members truly seek to love God and people. I have learned so much from the biblical teachings and really appreciate how Lighthouse has a high view of God and His word. There is so much I am thankful for in how the leaders and the church seek to foster a deep Christlike love and care for each other and practically living out the gospel through various ministries and in serving one another. It was here where I grew the most spiritually and thankfully, it is here where I am excited to continue to grow and serve for at least the next three years in grad school. There is so much I can continue to go on saying, but I just wanted to end by saying how thankful I am to have gone through college with the love and the support of my class, College Life, and the church as a whole.
  • Future Plans: SDSU Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (three years).

Andrew Chiang, B.S. Chemical Engineering

  • Note to the Church: LBC has been such a big stepping stone for my faith in college. Without LBC facilitating opportunities for fellowshipping and theological learning, I would have still been blinded by my sins. God sovereignty ordained my exposure to Christianity here and has been growing me ever since my initial visit. I earnestly yearn to see this church family continue to love God and people with its many gifts. Continue to love as radically and scandalously as He does.
  • Future Plans: I will be pursuing my PhD degree in Macromolecular Science and Engineering in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for the next four to six years.

Andy Yeung, B.A. Human Development

  • Note to the Church: I am so incredibly thankful for Lighthouse Bible Church and its foundation in the Word of God. Upon entering college, I was merely pursuing my conception of who God was, not holding His word in high regard as to what was true and who He really was (and is). God has used Lighthouse to reveal Himself and His character to me through both His word and the example shown through His people. I could not have asked for a better church to serve and be served by!
  • Future Plans: In the immediate future I will be pursuing a career in technical recruiting, possibly considering MBA programs further down the line.

Brian Wong, B.S. Microbiology

  • Note to the Church: Through the preaching of God’s Word from the pulpit as well as the application of it among the congregation, I cherish Christ as my Lord and Savior so much more now than I did before coming to San Diego. Older members, thank you for your display of faithfulness and commitment to Christ and the church. Younger members, thank you for reminding me of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank you for being a church that I can confidently call my home!
  • Future Plans: Lord willing, I’ll be going with the Argentina Missions team in July. Aside from that, I’ll be staying down here for work.

Curtis Yee, B.A. Cognitive Science

  • Note to the Church: Hi Church! I am so incredibly thankful to have spent the last 4 years – and maybe best four years – of my life with all of you. The members of this church have been instrumental in my spiritual growth. Whether through teaching, encouragement, rebuke, or reconciliation, I have always seen this church exemplify Biblical care in the best of ways. This church has some of the most generous hearts I have ever come across and it has spurred me on to love others in that very same manner. Continue to love all the people who come into this church, whether they be students, singles, families, weirdos, atheists, introverts, the socially awkward, people that only wear neon orange shirts, people that never wear closed toed shoes, people that only wear snuggies, or people who do soul cycle.
  • Future Plans: Who knows. The sky is the limit.

Erica Truong, B.A. Political Science

  • Note to the Church: Throughout my college career, I have been so encouraged by the way that the pastors have continuously and faithfully preached the gospel on the pulpit. I have also been highly encouraged by the church body, in that I was able to form so many meaningful and intentional relationships. With each conversation that I was able to have, I could see how genuine the people were in striving to love, care, and minister to those around them. I have learned so much and I am truly grateful for all the ways that the body has enabled me to love Christ and know Him more. Thank you for making my time in college all the more special!
  • Future Plans: Planning on working; location is irrelevant (just wherever I find a job).

Greg Hall, B.A. Political Science

  • Note to the Church: Hi Church! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a blessing to me in so many ways these past four years of college. I’ve been so grateful for times we’ve rejoiced together when we were walking well in the Lord, as well as grateful for the love and care the church has bestowed upon me when I personally wasn’t.
    COLLEGE LIFE: I want to give a huge thank you to those who helped nurture me, run alongside me, and pave the way when I was just a young freshman, sophomore, and junior. To those whom I’ve had the pleasure run alongside with this year, it’s been awesome growing with you towards greater godliness! Thanks again for all the laughs, the Korean hearts, and the portrait mode pics. Remember to keep trusting in God in all things! Through it all, this I know is true: that God is good. He always has been, and always will be. This is hopefully not a goodbye, but if and when it comes time to go our separate ways, may God be glorified and His kingdom reign forever and ever!
  • Future Plans: I’m hoping to find work down in San Diego and continue to attend LBC! Salt & Light, I’m coming for ya!

Hosanna Koo, B.A. Human Development

  • Note to the Church: Hello church! God has definitely used the past four years and this church family to bless, sanctify, and show me more and more of the immeasurable riches of His grace and how good He is. I have loved spending time with the church and getting to know collegians, singles, and families. The relationships I have built here have pointed me to true fellowship and have pushed me to pursue Christ as my only treasure. I’ll always remember college retreats and serving on VBS as a few highlights of my college years. Thank you, church, for all that you have done and for all that you have invested into me, whether it’s been relationships, time, energy, or food.
  • Future Plans: I will be returning to UCSD as a graduate student in the M.Ed and Teaching Credential program for the next year! Yay! I get to stay in San Diego with all you lovely, godly folk!

Jeremy Tsui, B.S. Molecular Biology

  • Note to the Church: I thank God for all the ways that Lighthouse has ministered to me through the solid teaching and counseling. I’ve grown in my love for the Word and for that I am so grateful for. I will miss you all!
  • Future Plans: Going home to take a gap year to prepare for entering optometry school in the fall of 2018.

Joyce Christine Tai, B.S. Human Biology

  • Note to the Church: I’m incredibly grateful for my time at this church for nearly the past four years. You, my church family, have been a resting place from the day to day grievances of sin’s effect on the world. Lighthouse has been a place where I’ve had abundance of opportunity to not only continue learning the depths of the holiness and beauty of our God, but also to so very intimately practice the calls of the gospel in learning to love the body. While surely there were difficulties and painful seasons of endurance, at the same time, my college career here in San Diego has been an overflowing season of sweet blessings predominantly because of you. God has lavished grace upon grace for me by our unique fellowship by the blood of Jesus Christ. He has used this church body perfectly and so wisely to shape me more into his image, and to treasure him alone all the more. You, my church body, are beautiful to me because Christ is our perfect head.
  • Future Plans: After returning from Czech missions and taking a few weeks’ break to spend with family and friends, my plans are to work as a nurse aid here in San Diego!

Joyce Lam, B.A. IS Economics

  • Note to the Church: I’m so thankful for the pastoring staff for leading in God-honoring and biblical ways, for the support and craziness of my class, the generosity of brothers and sisters in serving me and loving me, and the discipleship of various moms- I have learned so much from all of you. Through the past 4 years, my love and joy in Christ has deepened through tested trials, and through these, Christ and the church has become so much more precious to me. I am humbled daily by what Christ has done for me- the gospel that was presented to me in the form of a savior nailed to a cross to save sinners like us. To pick up our cross daily is indeed a battle, but it is one most worth fighting. May we continue to keep the faith and fight the good fight for the glory of God.
  • Future Plans: Moving up to norcal for work in finance, and solidifying my reputation as a crazy chinchilla lady because I just found out that my chinchillas will probably live for another 16 years (I thought they were gonna die by the time I graduate).

Kevin Wilby, B.A. Cognitive Science

  • Note to the Church: I cannot describe how much love I have received from the church during the short time I have been attending. I have been inspired more than ever to be Christ-like and to fulfill the Great Commission. Being held accountable for my character and encouraging others to grow in their faith has not only enriched my college experience but my personal relationship with Christ as well. I look forward to visiting the church after graduating and maintaining the relationships I have formed with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Future Plans: I plan on moving back home to Los Angeles while pursuing further studies in either speech therapy or nursing. I also look forward to maintaining regular fellowship with members of my home church and continue to evangelize to my friends and family that are not saved.

Wesley Wong, B.S. Computer Science

  • Note to the Church: For as big as this church is, it’s the closest thing to family you can get.
  • Future Plans: Software Engineer at Cisco