Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy 10th Anniversary, Megan!

I don't want to place too much importance to numbers in the Bible, but many scholars consider the number ten to be a number of perfection (The Ten Commandments, the ten northern tribes of Israel, tithing, etc.). It also happens to be the number of years Megan and I have been married. Although I have been astronomically far from being the perfect husband, God brought us together perfectly in holy matrimony after a nearly three-year long-distance relationship. To celebrate our ten years of marriage, I would like to share ten ways Megan has pointed me to the perfect man and our only Savior, Jesus Christ.

1. Megan has loved me not only when I've been super nice and smellin' real good, but when I've been at my absolute worst. Megan has loved me even when I've been a complete blockhead.
2. Megan has brought joy into my life even when I've been a little high-strung and forgetting the big picture. She knows how to bring a smile to my face, a task that has been challenging for many.
3. Megan has helped provide me peace even when Mr. Wick has been more like Mr. Whack. Megan reminds me that God is sovereign and that we are to rejoice even during the darkest of times.
4. Megan has displayed the utmost patience despite my repetitive middle school humor that has been known to cross the line. She has displayed patience despite the immature and idiotic statements that have come out of my big mouth.
5. Megan has taught me much about kindness. How she interacts with friends and complete strangers shows who she belongs to and reminds me that I have much to learn.
6. I see the Father of Lights producing more and more goodness out of Megan. I am blessed to partner with Megan as we play a minor role in Kingdom work.
7. Megan is all about faithfulness - to me, her children, our community, and most importantly, to God. I certainly wouldn't be who I am had God not placed Megan in my life.
8. I grew up thinking toughness was a fruit of the Spirit, but Megan helps me remember that gentleness is where it is at. I can't just be a warrior; I need to be a tender warrior.
9. When others have wronged Megan, she has shown self-control when I would have given my mean face. Instead of trying to control a situation like me, she'll remain calm and pray about the matter.
10. Megan is a woman of truth who truly sharpens me. I can count on her to provide me different perspectives in a manner that is honest and respectful. I'm so thankful God has gifted me with Megan these past ten years, and I look forward to seeing how He will work in our lives in the future.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cancer Does Suck, But...

Over the years several close family members of mine have been stricken by cancer. This includes my American aunt and grandfather, Japanese grandparents, and my mother-in-law. I of course would never in a million years ever wish cancer on someone; however, I am thankful that canceramniotic band constriction, dementiadiabetes, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, strokes, and other medical conditions my family members have battled can be opportunities to cling to the cross and witness to the goodness and hope found in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. May He be given all of the glory during the pain-free and painful times of our lives.

Noah Spivey from The Summit Church on Vimeo.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Difficult Days, A Divine Deliverer

I recently started my ninth reading of the longest book in the Good Book, the Book of Jeremiah. If you need to be reminded how easy you have it and how good God is, this is the book for you. I'm puzzled how I can forget how difficult Jeremiah's life was, yet it happens. Here are some eye-opening facts about the Prophet Jeremiah that can provide us the right perspective on life:
  • Jeremiah was told he couldn't marry or have children (Jeremiah 16:2), and he preached the truth with dogged determination for 40 years. 
  • The people desired Jeremiah's death and discarded God's message. 
  • Jeremiah felt depressed, discouraged, and deserted, and he really started to doubt God's plan for him.
  •  Although Jeremiah has much to say about death and destruction, we see that God is the deliverer of the good news. 
  • Jeremiah did not just weep, but he was dedicated, and it was God who helped him to go the distance.
I do not understand everything we have to go through, but I know God is good and He is there for us. Sometimes I get furious about the injustice in the world, heartbroken about the personal challenges family and friends are facing, and pessimistic about dilemmas I must help resolve. At times I complain and want to quit, but I know our Father's grace is sufficient. I must look to the cross and remember that Sunday is coming. I look forward to the day when you, me, and Jeremiah can talk about the greatness of God.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Son of Man Raised

1. The Resurrection proves that the Son of Man is the omnipotent God victorious over sin and death. We can trust Him.
2. The Resurrection confirms that God's wrath was satisfied and our debt was paid in full. We are forgiven for our sins.
3. The Resurrection assures us that we serve a living Savior who continues to intercede for us. We are to be envied.
4. The Resurrection guarantees our future resurrection. We are alive.

Victorious. Washed. Prized. New. Let's make sure we are constantly sharing this good news of blessed hope.

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, who he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If the Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

From Principal to Teacher

In a couple of months I will move across the hallway from my second office to my sixth classroom. Many of my present duties will change as I transition from a middle school principal to a classroom teacher. Although I am excited about the change, there is still much to be done in my present position. Below is some of what the next school year will look like which I'll give more thought to when the summer hits. I will go from...

1. assigning teachers to spring trip teams to chaperoning the sixth grade spring to Liaoning Province.
2. emceeing major House events to sponsoring House 4 - a mixed group of more than 20 middle school boys and girls who meet once a week and compete against four other Houses.
3. presenting faculty devotionals several times a year to facilitating the middle school team devotionals.
4. providing advisory resources and schedules to advising a small group of sixth grade students.
5. speaking at middle school assemblies on a monthly basis to emceeing the assemblies on a weekly basis.
6. visiting the cafeteria occasionally to serving lunch duty every Friday.
7. watching middle school athletic events to coaching the middle school girls' soccer squad.

Serving as a principal these past four years has blessed me in numerous ways, and I look forward to seeing what our Father will do in the coming months. I'm blessed to work with such a great team of teachers who understand the great responsibilities we have, and the great expectations that are placed on us.

Not many of you should become teaches, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1

Thursday, March 27, 2014

How Can We Inherit Eternal Life?

1. The Problemo: We must understand that a holy God made us in His image (Genesis 1:26), but that we are wretched sinners (Romans 3:23) who deserve to be eternally separated in Hell from God's love (Romans 6:23).

2. The Solution: We must believe Jesus, God's perfect Son, died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins (1 Peter 2:24) and that He resurrected (rose from the dead) three days later. Jesus is the only way to the Father, and He is the only way to satisfy God's wrath (extreme anger).

3. Our Response: If we receive God's gift of salvation in faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), we will be:
    A. regenerated (We are made spiritually new),
    B. converted (We repent of our sins and trust in Jesus for salvation),
    C. justified (We are forgiven of our sins and declared righteous),
    D. adopted into God's family (We are reconciled with God and become His child),
    E. and through the Holy Spirit, sanctified (We become more like Jesus as we live our lives for
         God's glory - 1 Corinthians 10:31).

4. The Future: When we die or when Jesus returns, we will go to Heaven with resurrected bodies (glorification) to worship God forever (Revelation 21-22:5). All creation will be restored, and it will be da' bomb diggity!

Do you believe this? Do you believe For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16)? Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (Romans 10:9-10). This is the way to a life of purpose. To deepen that life, you will want to:

1. Rely on the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16).
2. Read, study, memorize, meditate on, and share God's Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
3. Constantly pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
4. Learn from Godly people and worship with them (Hebrews 10:25).
5. Serve others joyfully in Christ (1 Peter 4:10).

to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen (Romans 16:27).

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Power of the Resurrection

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "all things are put in subjection," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Eating Dogs and Talking Dogs

Last weekend we discovered a nice-looking restaurant near our apartment complex that serves man's best friend. I wouldn't have known that it was a dog restaurant, but I have a smart wife who can read Chinese hieroglyphics. I used to have a reputation of chomping down on some interesting things such as entire fish, the reproductive organs of different animals, and various raw meats (including dog), but I do have my limits. Although it's certainly permissible to eat meat (e.g., Matthew 3:4, Matthew 14:17-20, Romans 14:1-3), I take serious issue with eating endangered animals or animals that are still alive. That's pretty twisted. I do believe there will be a day when I'll be eating meat substitutes with enhanced taste buds (e.g., Mark 14:25, Revelation 22:1-2), and my meals will be far greater than any beef jerky, bacon wrapped shrimp, and Buffalo wings I have consumed. Perhaps I'll even enjoy these meals with talking dogs. Chew on that one.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

What Mistakes Did I Make As A Middle School Principal?

As I finish my fourth and final year as a middle school principal (at least for the near future), I've been pondering how God has used me and what I could have done better. If I had a do-over, these are three things I would do differently:

1. Not Respond To Emails So Quickly - If you wait to answer emails, you can often provide better answers or an answer may not even be needed because the matter gets resolved.

2. Not Accept So Many Unscheduled Meetings - Telling a person that you don't have a minute and scheduling a meeting with that person can enable you to have a better meeting and be more productive.

3. Not Place Work Responsibilities Ahead of Family Time - Who is more important: your colleagues or your family? Too often we bring our work to home when in many cases it needs to stay at work. Don't blur the lines.

I made a ton more mistakes than what I mentioned above, and I certainly continue to mess up, but I'm extremely thankful to work in a great community of believers and to have such a patient and gracious family. More importantly, I'm thankful for the merciful Father who never gives up on me, the Spirit who works in me, and for the Son who said, "It is finished."

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Is War Ever Justifiable?

John Adams, the second president of the United States, said, "I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy." Do you believe war is ever justifiable? Explain. This was a question we challenged our 115 middle school students with recently, and three groups said war is always unjustifiable, one group said war can be justifiable, and one group gave the pros and cons to both sides. I can understand why the majority of young people would think war could never be justified.

I'm a certified U.S. history teacher who has visited the Independence Hall of Koreathe Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museumthe Nanjing Massacre Memorial Museum, and the War Remnants Museum (Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam) so you could say I've educated myself a little about the atrocities of war. To say war can be ugly and horrible is quite the understatement. We are an absolutely sick bunch, but unfortunately there are times when wars should take place.

I am all for being peacemakers (Matthew 5:9) and loving our enemies (Matthew 5:44); however, I'm not going to simply pray for someone who breaks into my home. I'm definitely going to pray, but I'm also going to make war because I have a duty to protect my family. Wickamania will be unleashed, and it ain't gonna be pretty. We have a duty to forcefully protect human life against those who forcefully attempt to harm human life. To take a pacifist route would most likely result in more violence and harm being done. If pacifism was biblical, we should not only get rid of the military, but police officers. Can we say absolute chaos?

The bottom line is the world is filled with sinful people, and sometimes the only way to stop sinful people from killing others is to go to war (e.g., American slave owners, Hitler). God is clearly not against every war. There are numerous Bible verses showing that the sovereign LORD of hosts (armies) is not a pacifist (e.g., Deuteronomy 20:16-17, 1 Samuel 15:18, Ecclesiastes 3:8). When Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, returns, he will make war (Revelation 19:11-21). We should be constantly praying for wisdom and peace, but we must understand that there will always be conflict until we see the New Heavens and New Earth. Come, Lord Jesus. Come.