Significant Times

When Jesus entered the world during the first century, the Mediterranean region was in the midst of significant historic events. The Roman empire, an expansive territory ranging from North Africa to Europe and Asia,  was under the “Pax Romana,” a time of relative peace among a wide variety of ethnic groups who were all under power of Rome.  Some notable aspects of life under the “Pax Romana”: Continue reading “Significant Times”

In a World of Strife, We Fight for Peace

In our world today, conflict seems to be everywhere. Whether between family members or between nations, people are fighting with each another.  On the micro-scale, people argue over spending, lifestyle, or beliefs. On the macro-scale, wars are waged between people as they fight for land, over religion, or resources.  Tensions seem to be rising, and polarization growing…what can we do in response to all the conflict? Continue reading “In a World of Strife, We Fight for Peace”

How to Develop a Flourishing Relationship

It goes without saying that each of us develop issues in our relationships. Sadly, however, consider how often we seek out others’ advice or answers and find no good results, or give up on relationships altogether when things get tough. Search no farther! God’s Word is practical, and he provides us many concrete ways to help us experience restoration and eventually flourishing!

Here are a few Biblically-based practices (taken from Dick Scoggin’s “Becoming One” series) that are solid foundations for building a healthy relationship.

  • Develop intimacy with the Lord. Our basis of good communication comes from an overflow of our relationship with Christ (1 John 1:3).
  • Listening to each other (Proverbs 18:13)
  • Openness and honesty (Ephesians 4:25)
  • An understanding attitude (1 Peter 3:7)
  • Getting beyond yourself to understand the other person (Philippians 2:1-4, Ephesians 4:1-3)
  • Practicing self-control (Ephesians 4:26-27)
  • Careful selection of words and tone of voice (Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 12:18)
  • Patience (Ephesians 4:31-32)

Healthy relationships also require vulnerability. The more you are willing to be honest and even reveal your weaknesses and insecurities, the more your relationship will get stronger. Though it is easier to retreat and allow your fears of criticism or judgment from the other to keep your from being vulnerable, your relationships will lack depth. With the guidance and healing from the Holy Spirit, you can learn to let go of the fear and self-protection, and learn to let your emotional guard down.

Healthy relationships require forgiveness. In Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus reminds us of the of God’s unfathomable, amazing forgiveness, and in turn he asks us to do the same for others. As many of us have experienced, when trust is lost, it is nearly impossible for a friendship or relationship to grow and deepen. On the other hand, genuine repentance and choosing to offer a humble apology, as well as a response of accepting it, are essential to allowing a relationship to be restored after a fall-out.

If you feel that you are at an impasse in a relationship, fight hard to restore it. Trying these helpful practices may lead to breakthrough!

The Great Cosmic War – Part 1

If you are like me, you’ve heard the creation story dozens of times. The story goes that God creates a beautiful planet, lots of animals, and the first couple, Adam and Eve.  Then the serpent (a.k.a. Satan) gets Adam and Eve to sin, they get in trouble with God, and God kicks them out of the garden.  Roll credits.

However, I recently heard the story brought to life in a whole new way.  I can now see much deeper into this ancient tale of humanity’s beginning and how much it has implications for us and our purposes on earth now.  So, for a moment, enter into the story like you’ve never heard it before.

Beauty and Power Bestowed

God creates an amazing, endless universe.  Within it he crafts a planet filled with beauty and thriving with life.  Pouring down power and glory, he fills it with an abundance of color, design, and intricacy.  He constructs an infinite numbers of creatures that swim, fly, and crawl amidst magnificent trees, plants, and breath-taking landscapes. This planet is a place of adventure and intrigue, but lacks anyone to cultivate and develop it.

Continue reading “The Great Cosmic War – Part 1”

Community: The Key to Healing and Transformation

By Joyce Ahn (based on the teachings of Dick Scoggins)

So many of us have issues we want to deal with and hurts from our past that keep us from fully living to our potential.  But often, the question is how do we get healed? Many of us seek out advice from counselors or friends, but more often than not, our wounds remain and so does the accompanying pain.

When we look at Jesus’ teachings, it is clear that living in His Kingdom means that we are transformed. In fact, most of Jesus’ interactions with people recorded in Scripture involve him radically disrupting their life, and often liberating them from a physical or spiritual issue.  

If we say we follow Jesus, why is it that so many of us lack that transformative lifestyle and freedom from brokenness?  Here’s a few insights into the process of experiencing deep transformation: Continue reading “Community: The Key to Healing and Transformation”

Building Cross-Cultural Friendships


You may have an interest in getting to know people from another culture and who speak another language than you. Here are some wise words of advice from people who have learned how to build deep friendships with people of other cultures:

  1.       Be inquisitive about the culture you are new to – Don’t just study extensively about people and their culture. Choose to let them tell you about their foods, traditions, and beliefs.
  2.       Be intentional with where you live and spend your time – When your neighbors are people from other cultures, or when you frequent places where they spend time, you have lots of opportunities to chat and get to know each other better.
  3.       Always keep a learner’s perspective – If something seems confusing or strange to you, rather than making an immediate judgment call, keep asking questions and see it as a learning opportunity about their culture.
  4.       Learn people’s language – Just because you flunked Spanish class in high school doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to learn someone else’s language (even if it’s a hard language to learn!). Language learning, even informally asking “How do you say…?” allows for a fun time to rely on them as your teacher and deepen your friendship.
  5.       Be a good friend – Learning about language and culture does NOT have to be complicated or formal. Often just being a good friend is all you need. 🙂


Seeking Peace

This past month was the month of Ramadan.  I attended a “peace-building event” that brought together Christians and Muslims during this fasting month as a way to build friendship and understanding between people from these two faith communities.  The event, with about half Christians and half Muslims, was an opportunity to come together, learn from one another, and eat a meal together. Continue reading “Seeking Peace”

Your Kingdom come…today!

There are days when the world’s problems can seem like too much.  If you are like me, there are days when I read current events and I feel slammed with a sea of stories filled with tragedy, disaster, and injustice.  Only wait a few more days, and we’ll have a fresh slew of information about human pain, tyranny, and death. As I read and hear more stories, humanity’s problems can seem endless, and any sense of reprieve seems unreachable.  And it’s so easy to try to drone out these stories and ignore the headlines, and live for me and pretend like these things don’t exist.

And yet… God promises that life in His Kingdom invades the evils of the world and the Devil. I am met with the burning question, how do I respond to the pain of this world, especially in light of my belief that God’s Kingdom exists on earth now? Continue reading “Your Kingdom come…today!”