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A bilingual and bicultural Christian young adults blog //////////////// 青年華裔基督徒的博客

Summer Reflections

Kendrick Lee

Sometimes it’s easy to forget. Forget? Forget what? Your name? Hopefully not…although I did forget my name once in Chinese school when I was ten. But maybe it’s something just as integral to my identity as my name is. I’m talking about forgetting what it means to be a Christian. You know, what it means to be one of those “followers of Christ.” Has this ever happened to you?

In summer 2009, over a series of events that included a mission trip, summer youth celebration (SYC), and my church’s summer conference, I struggled, resolved, and experienced this question.

This realization first hit me when I went on a trip to help with a children’s day camp. I find with these trips, it’s easy to rely on someone else to do the job of telling the gospel while you keep thinking, “Yeah, I’ll show these kids love by playing with them, while they’ll hear the gospel message by _____. Hopefully they’ll come to know Christ, and everything would be great.” It seemed just as easy to go through the motions — to get involved in the “serving” part — as it was to neglect the “testify about me (Jesus)” part. This “get the more qualified person to tell the gospel” sounded great in theory, but in reality, it failed because only about half the kids showed up for the activities we “planned” for them. Even though it failed, our fearless leader still encouraged us to intentionally start spiritual conversations with the kids there.

And that’s when it hit me. Why does talking about God — something He commanded us to do — seem so… strange, so… awkward at times? I wondered and worried about how to bring it up, what to say, would they even find Him relevant to their lives, do I even find Him relevant, and does being relevant even matter?

At Summer Youth Celebration (SYC), I helped out as one of the leaders. Someone once said that SYC could possibly be more for the leaders than for the youth. Do you ever get the feeling God is really trying to get a message through to you? The speaker, Cesar, for SYC, the theme of which was “Seed Stories,” talked about planting seeds and sharing your faith. And when you get to sharing your faith, you have to share your story, and when you share your story, it really forces you to examine just exactly, “Why am I a Christian?” On the first night, Cesar shared the gospel message, and I’ll admit, nearly every time I hear it, I come to tears. Why? I’m not sure, but I think it is probably related to me forgetting each time just how much Jesus did for me by dying on the cross for my sins. Cesar shared while the world struggles with loneliness, hopelessness, rejection, abuse and hurts, screaming that they want to die, as Christians, we take our stand on this earth and shout, “I WANT TO LIVE!” Why? Why do YOU want to live?

For me, I know I want to live because I have hope in a great big God who created me and loves me and yearns for me to be with Him forever. Okay. Check. Now what? During the course of the week, I had the chance to sit down with Cesar and ask him what he struggled with the most once he came to know Christ. He shared that it was simply changing his lifestyle and being transformed, taking efforts to avoid his old lifestyle. And it reminded me of something I heard once in a song, that once we are touched by Christ, our lives are never the same again. But at this moment, my life felt, well, the same. It’s felt the same for awhile. How do you do this transformation thing?

Then came Summer Conference. By coincidence, perhaps, the theme was “The Road to Spiritual Transformation.” By now, I thought God had a pretty good sense of humour.

Through the course of the weekend, Matthew 5:24 came up into my head. I felt really burdened about reconciling with some people, and I knew it was affecting my relationships with them as well as with God. Ephesians 4:26-27 fits nicely as well. I was feeling pretty nervous about putting myself out there and talking to them, but hey, once you know Christ, you’re never the same again, right? I guess it was the time to do something different, and knowing that He’d be with me helped. In the end, I was able to reconcile and clear up some misunderstandings, and I finally felt at peace. I really resonated with what Cesar said: being transformed was one of the hardest things to do. Yet, after changing the way I dealt with some of my relationships, I felt it was one of the easiest and most relieving things to do.

So in a nutshell, what does it mean to be a Christian? To me, it means knowing that God loves me, and that Christ died for my sins so I could be with God. It means my life is never the same again, but rather, it is constantly being transformed into the fuller and more peaceful life it was meant to be. Don’t get me wrong. It is a constant struggle. And I’ve noticed it’s always much more of a struggle when I forget. But I find encouragement in Luke 22:31-32, how even when Jesus knows that we will fail, he prays that we will not and encourages us all the more afterward. I hope you will too, on your journey of knowing Christ and being transformed.

“(Insert your name here), (insert your name here again), behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Kendrick is a graduate student at Trinity Western University, studying counseling. Ingrid is originally from Taiwan and is currently in the hospitality industry.

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Welcome

"Double-edged"is bilingual blog in affiliation with Truth Monthly, a Chinese Christian monthly print publication based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

This blog features mostly original writings as well as comics, poetry, and other works of art by local Christian young adults.

For more information or to submit your own writing, please email tm.double.edged@gmail.com

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