Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lincredible Love the Bible!

Last week, John Lin wrote a guest post in my blog about what men want. And reading the post, I took it like a stereotypical girl. I (accidentally/purposely...IDK) misconstrued what he was trying to say. When he said "I want Jeremy Lin" my immediate thought was:

"Typical. Another guy looking for a super star."

But at second look I had to admit: Jeremy Lin ain't no superstar. At least, he didn't use to be. Jeremy Lin, until 3 weeks ago, was part of an unrequited love story.

Have you ever been in love with someone who didn't love you? At all.

Jeremy Lin played basketball, the game he loved, in high school...but didn't get an athletic scholarship to play college ball. Jeremy Lin played basketball, the game he loved, in college...and he left Harvard undrafted. Jeremy Lin played basketball, the game he loved in the D-League, and was waived by two teams (Golden State and Houston) before joining the Knicks where he warmed the bench.

Jeremy Lin loved basketball, but basketball clearly didn't love Jeremy Lin back. At all.

It's probable that he had some dark hours, in which he thought: Am I ever gonna play? In the same way, many of us (singles) hit a rock bottom moment when we wonder: Who's gonna love me?


Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face. Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”... So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her. 
Genesis 29:16 - 20

This right here is true love. Jacob is no slave. Jacob is a descendant of Abraham, blessed of Isaac, chosen of God, heir to promise. But he'll be a servant if it means Rachel will be his. Leah sees this love story unfolding in front of her face of 7 years. She knows that what Jacob feels for her sister is real. I bet the "who's gonna love me?" chorus sang daily in her ears.

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed, that I may go in to her.”  Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast. Now in the evening he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her...So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me?
Genesis 29:20-25

After this, Laban made Jacob wait one week, spend time with Leah, and then he could marry Rachel if he consented to work another 7 years. He worked the 7 years, and thus had two wives. But Jacob didn't love Leah:

When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved*, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”
  She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Because the LORD heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon.
 Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So he was named Levi.
She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, “This time I will praise the LORD.” So she named him Judah.
Genesis 29: 31-35 

Guess what? Still didn't love her. But...Leah is still like Jeremy Lin. She hasn't yet risen to Jacob's eyes. Jeremy Lin has been the subject a lot of hate, and he has been written off by some to hype, and though the people at home have "Linsanity", it seems that "basketball" has had a less than warm reaction to his rise to fame. 

Jacob might not love her, but God certainly did. Remember how I said "Jacob was heir to promise"? Whoever was his wife...both her and her children became joint-heirs with him. God made sure that both Rachel and Leah married into His family. Had it been left to Jacob, Leah would have been outside of the Promise. And Leah's sons?

Do we think God makes mistakes? That this trick of Laban's was outside of God's will? If so, then we have to believe that Jacob + Leah = Disaster. But in fact:

Jacob + Leah = Levi

Levi - the tribe of the priesthood: commissioned by God, separated unto God, and were allowed to approach God. (Numbers 16:5)

Jacob + Leah = Judah.

Judah - the tribe from which the line of kings flowed. King David, and our king forever Jesus Christ.

Just look at what Leah was appointed to! God made choice of someone who was no one's choice.

Her life seemed bad, but it was all for the good (Romans 8:28). She might have seemed like she was in last place, but it seemed like God made her first. (Matthew 19:30)

And hey, when it's all said and done, when Jacob died...he said: (Genesis 49:29-32).

Something happened between Genesis 29 and Genesis 49. Something happened after those hard romantic triangle years. Something Leah-nbelievable? Leah becomes a star. Leah gets love.

There's not much documenting Leah's life after those early rough years. So I don't know if she figured out that the most important person who was gonna love her was...God.

But I sure hope she did.

*In other versions, this says she was hardcore is that?!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Men Want: It's Linsane!

Dating. It's a topic that lots of Christians talk about; however it's really hard to talk about love and relationships from a biblical point of view, because the only relationship that matters in the scriptures is the one between us and God. However, He's not blind to our issues, so there is something to be discovered in the Bible about romantic love. God sees us, but I might be blind to the issues from a man's perspective, so I asked my friend - and fellow blogger - John Lin to help me out with a GUEST POST!

Side note: only a dude would compare Love & Basketball...smh.
About John: Johnny is a teacher in Virginia.  He has been a Christian since 2007, and a sports junkie his entire life.  He is also in no way related to Jeremy Lin.  Check out his blog at

Alright folks, first guest post ever starts...NOW!

February 4, 2012

Krissy K approached me a few days ago about writing an entry in her dating series.  I understood the purpose:  to get a guy’s perspective on the Christian dating scene.  I said "yes", but inside I thought:

“What the heck am I going to write about?  I’m not exactly the resident expert on dating!”

You see, I’m 34 and single, and don’t exactly have women knocking down my door to go out with me.  Or even talk to me.   After my sister gave up her possessions and her cell phone to become a missionary 2 years ago, the number of female phone numbers in my address book was reduced by 50%. 

OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating just a little bit.  The point is, please take what I’m writing with a grain of salt.  So… what am I looking for in a woman?  Well, let’s start with…

Hold on, the Knicks are playing! I can only do 1 thing at a time.  Yes, I realize I’m playing into all the male stereotypes that are out there.  No I won’t explain illegal defense right now, wait till commercial break.  Huh?  There’s an Asian kid playing?!?!

3 Weeks Later

WOOHOO!!!!  How bout those Knicks?  In 3 weeks time, they went from an NBA team in name only to a playoff hopeful and (dare I say it?) championship contender.  Let’s see, where was I?  I left off at what I’m looking for in a woman.  Well, let’s start with… I want her to be Jeremy Lin.

OK maybe I’m pushing this Linsanity thing a bit too far, but hear me out before you email Krissy and tell her never to let me blog for her again.

“I just want to make sure that I’m not doing a disservice to my team by milking all the attention because at the end of the day, that’s not what I love.  I love playing basketball.”

I love this quote by Jeremy Lin.  First, he graduated from Harvard with a degree in economics.  He could do anything, really.  But he loves basketball, so he chooses basketball.  And in my analogy, basketball is Christianity.  I want a woman who chooses Christ through thick and thin, and loves Christ above all things.

If basketball is Christianity, I’m the New York Knicks.  With or without a wife, I’m a Christian.  A born again, God-is-the-most-important-three-things-in-my-life Christian to be sure.  In the same way, the Knicks – with or without Jeremy Lin – are still a basketball team.  Not just a basketball team, but an NBA team that plays in the world’s top basketball league.

The Knicks aren’t satisfied with being a middling NBA team; their goal is to win a championship.  Likewise, I’m not satisfied with being merely a Christian.  I want to grow closer to God and achieve in Him the plan He has set aside for me according to Ephesians 2:10.

Enter the Lin-possible…

Jeremy Lin isn’t the most physically gifted player in the NBA.  He just so happens to fit exactly what the New York Knicks need to make them a championship caliber team.  His role is that of a point guard, and while what he does on a game-to-game basis changes, his best attribute is that he plays his position well, plays with a team mentality, and allows the team to help his star shine the brightest. 

The woman that we, as Christian men, should be looking for isn’t necessarily the prettiest girl in the church (I originally typed ‘physically gifted’, but thought better of it – that could have generated the mother of all misinterpretations!), but rather the one that fits what we need to grow closer to God and help us achieve what God has planned for us.  Her role is that of a teammate, and our relationship makes her a better person and drives her closer in her relationship with Christ.  The one I’m looking for is the one that makes me a better person and Christian, and who understands that there are times where I need her to bear more of my burden just like there are times where she needs me to bear more of her burden. 

One of the biggest reasons that Jeremy Lin has become such a media sensation is because he defies what has come to define NBA basketball players.  He is humble, down-to-earth, unselfish, and his teammates love playing with him – you can see their joy written on their faces in a manner seen more with children than with multi-millionaire athletes.  Oh yeah, he’s unabashedly Christian and takes every moment to credit God for the success and hardship which he endured, both which were part of God’s divine plan to prosper him and gave him hope and a future in accordance to Jeremiah 29:11.

Proverbs 12:4 says, “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown.”  In my life, I pray for this noble character.  Dating and marriage – like the long NBA seasons – isn’t bliss, so I also pray for myself in this regard.  And, I pray for Jeremy Lin – the metaphorical one, and also the real one.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Run Without Stopping

If you read my blog, you know how I feel about working out. In prior blogs, I made mention of Insanity Workout and how proud and accomplished I felt doing it. Not long after that blog post...I gave up. Shameful I know, but in my heart I felt like I just couldn't do it. It just started to feel out of reach and so I quit.

Then, a few weeks later a friend asked me to run the Cherry Blossom 10 miler with her. And fool that I am, I said: OK. I started off slow, run 3 minutes/walk 2 minutes, then run 4 min/walk 2 min. And then run 4 min/walk 1min. After that, it got to a point where I was supposed to run without stopping for 3 miles. How do you go from 4 minute spurts to running for 30 - 36 minutes straight?! Man! Whoever came up with this running plan is a nut job. I cursed their black hearts and developed my own plan. For the race, I need to run less than 14 minutes per mile or a truck comes and takes you away. So, I figured I'd do a mixture of running and walking that would be just enough to avoid public shame. As such, I never got to the point where I was running without stopping. Then I had this conversation at work:

Co-worker friend: I've found that I can run longer/further if I never stop running. Once you stop, or you start just lose momentum and psychologically you're done for.
Me: Hmmm. Yeah. So how far can you run without stopping?
Co-worker friend: Like 1.8 miles.

I wasn't even running 1 mile (I sucked)! Needless to say, I was...bothered. Convicted if you will. And so I went home, and I ran. And when my legs started to hurt I told myself "No! You can do this. Your legs don't hurt. You can't even feel your legs. You are a machine!" That was dumb. OF COURSE I could feel my legs! They were super tired! And I'm not a machine...I'm a girl! However, I pressed on. And when I checked my time, I'd been running for 25 minutes. I figured I could go further. I looked down, I'd been running 35 minutes. I was at my goal: 3 whole miles! But I kept running, for nearly 4 miles. And I was shocked. I didn't think I could do it, and as a result I couldn't do it.

I think it might be the same way with the life we give to God. Spiritually, I am often a stop and start runner. I run spiritually in much the same way as I was running physically: just fast enough to not be picked up by the truck. And if the truck does reach me, I'm just like "grace." Which is cool if I'm just really done in, tired, stumbling, after giving it my all. But if I'm running in spurts just to come in under 14 minutes...I'm not running correctly.  The good book says:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

I have to run to WIN. I'm not going to win the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. But I should train to do so. Same thing with the life I offer as a sacrifice (Romans 12:1) to God. My aim should be perfection instead of just "good enough." I have to "press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us." (Philippians 3:14).

In other words, I have to run without stopping.

Man! Whoever came up with this running plan is...God.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Facebook De-Activation

Facebook just went public. Millions were made. However, there are still people who opt-out of the worldwide phenomenon that is Facebook; there are people who de-activate their accounts.

There are a myriad of reasons why people decide to close down their Facebook account, but I think one of the major reasons people leave is: exposure. In this "look-at-me" culture that social media has created (Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Tumbler, Blogspot, Instagram, Pinterest) it seems insane that sometimes people don't want to be seen or to see. But it's true! All those social sites, and especially Facebook are tools that we use to show the world that we are living our best life. Or it's the tool we use to compare lives. We're checking in at awesome restaurants, concerts, and posting our promotions at work. We're letting everyone know 1) when we fell in love, 2) how we got engaged, and 3) can invite them to the wedding without the cost of a plate. Booyah! It's quite awesome. Until it's not. It's awesome until you realize too much of your life is exposed (we saw your little emoticon heart get broken), or you're too readily available/accessible. Or you realize that you're taking in too much of the lives of virtual friends who are technically strangers. At the point of over-exposure, we deactivate. We don't want to see or be seen anymore.

What am I getting at here?

The reasons why people stop 1) going to church, and 2) reading the Bible.

To some degree it is sheer laziness (that is not to be discounted or ignored), but to another degree, scripture says:

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

The word of God makes us see ourselves, and for others who are reading and discerning the word of truth...they can see you too. So in order to avoid over-exposure, we deactivate our accounts. Things you might not want to hear at church or read during your quite time if you do the following:

ANYTHING - Genesis 1:1 - Revelation 22:21 (all versions)

That's the list. For real.

At first, I was going to construct a list of things that people commonly do that the Bible exposes and that other Christians see in us through their knowledge of the Word. But I can't needle it down, because then I do the Word a disservice. It's crazy, but you can either read it and let yourself be exposed and convicted, and let it change you, or you don't read and you are "free" to do what you think is cool (Proverbs 14:12). The Bible gets ALL of us, if we read it. It takes ALL of us down when we sit in the sermon thinking: this sermon is about me! What other book can millions of people think (and know) is about them individually?

I can control social media's perception of me. I'll only post pretty pictures of me at awesome parties, only check-in at swanky restaurants, I'm an open "face"book and I'm the author of it. It's when the social media gets outside my realm of comfortable exposure that I deactivate. But there's another "book" about you, and it's not even written by you. Reactivate your account and find out about yourself in the Bible.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Impromptu Haiku Movie Review: The Artist

 A silence so loud
You're sure that you hear
What eyes comprehend

June: How about we see The Artist?
Me: Ummm...Isn't that in black and white?

This is a conversation that has possibly been happening ever since the Academy Award Best Picture nominees were announced.

The Artist is one of the movies you've heard little of, and the fact that it is in black and white is a huge deterrent to many modern day movie-goers. But if you think that's bad, there's another reason why you haven't heard much about this movie: there's nothing to hear. That's right, The Artist is a silent film. Upon discovering this, I won't lie to you: I became excited. It was suddenly more than just a black and white art project, it was an homage to an art form that I (and the rest of the world) deemed obsolete. Someone was trying to prove us wrong. So, I had to see it.

This movie, in a very loose manner, remind me of Once. Once was an indie musical about the creation and production of indie music. The Artist is a silent movie about silent movies. The film is set in the late 1920's in both pre-and post-depression era America. The story follows the quickly failing career of a famous silent actor named George Valentin (played by Jean Dujardin) and the up-and-coming career of "talkie" actress Peppy Miller (played by Berenice Bejo). Their lives intersect time and again, and they wordlessly fall in love at what are the lowest and highest points of their lives, respectively.

It's a movie about losing your voice and finding it again, all without a single utterance.

To be frank: I thought I would hate it, but it was quite excellent. The acting is superb, and you fall in love (completely) with the three main characters (in no particular order):

George Valentin - Jean Dujardin in this movie is the very definition of dashing*. I was besotted (that's right...flat out smitten) with his grin, and his slicked down hair. The way he carried himself, and the way he gave himself over to this part was just mesmerizing. He had me at the pantomimed "hello."

The Dog - Apparently this dog is famous! I guess he was also in Water for Elephants, but this canine should be up for best actor in a supporting role. He steals the show on a number of occasions.

Peppy Miller - Like her male counterpart, Berenice Bejo blows you away with how explicitly she falls in love. I've never heard body language speak so loudly. She's not conventional beautiful, but you are taken with her, and if Dujardin is dashing, then Bejo is simply adorable**.

Get over your instant dismissal of black and white films, and forget everything you think you know about silent films. You will be thoroughly entertained. I promise.

*elegant and gallant in appearance and manner
 **you know what adorable means