starving for substance

An Interesting Place for Revival

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on May 24, 2009

In my last couple years of high school, I grew extremely bitter towards my home church.  The Korean language never really clicked in my mind, so whenever I have to speak it, I sound like a stammering idiot.  Couple this with the fact that no one really went to my home church and I was just ready to leave it all behind come college.  Even in the times going back home, I never really enjoyed going back to my home church.  Too many bitter memories for reasons too long to go into.  Today was the first time I’ve been back since they got a new pastor and during worship, he really got into it (Kids worship with adults, then go downstairs for their own thang).  It’s been so long since I heard a Korean pastor really get excited about God, and it reminded me of my grandpa for some reason.

My grandpa is over 80, yet still preaches occasionally.  The thing I remember the most about him is his voice.   When I used to live in Indiana, we would visit his church and I remember hearing his voice ring throughout the building.  Last Christmas, he preached at a combined service and after 15 years, his voice is still the same.  Ringing, passionate, empowered.  Despite the fact that I don’t understand half of what he’s saying, his tone is one of conviction, tone that can only come from a lifetime of ministry.

Some more background:

2 Timothy has been on my mind all year.  It all started when I went to a missions prayer meeting and the message was on the first chapter.  Then I listened to some messages from The Gospel Coalition, and low and behold, the whole shebang was on 2 Timothy.  The main point from that first chapter was the idea that we are blessed to bless others.  Okay, duh.  But that never would have hit me as hard until I really paid attention to the first part of the chapter.  Paul mentions Timothy’s mother and grandmother, and the faith that they had.  This is included in the blessings Timothy has received.  But I already know this.  I know that my family isn’t normal.  I jokingly told my mom I was going to seminary and she thought it was a wonderful idea.  So while this message is nicely packaged in a fresh way, it’s definitely old news.

So what does it all boil down to?

Sitting in service today, I really felt God reminding me who I am.  Not just what my family is, but who I truly am in Him.  It’s about grace.  This has always been a difficult concept for me to grasp.  I look at the way my family has been blessed both materially and spiritually and I try and justify that.  Instead of seeing these blessings as freely given, I see it as something I need to earn.  Because it simply isn’t fair that my life has had no hardship or suffering and seemingly everyone else’s has.  So many times I would feel inadequate because my life has been so easy.  I had my own holy sounding justifications (“just because your testimony isn’t as intense, it doesn’t mean God hasn’t worked in your life any less” is something I would say but never believe), but it’s my age old problem of knowing the truth but not living the truth.  Yet tucked away in all this advice Paul gives to Timothy is one verse.  He says that God called us “to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of of his own purpose and grace” (2 Timothy 1:9).  And this is the verse that clarified everything.  It’s not my place to question why I have all these blessings, that’s the grace of God and I have to move on from that.  The issue isn’t why I have them, it’s what am I going to do because I have them.

This doesn’t absolve me of my responsibility though.  Grace doesn’t mean we work less.  Paul had another good line about that.  He still outworked everyone else even though he knew how much grace had been shown to him.

I need to stop being so lazy.  Flesh is so weak.  I wouldn’t even say my spirit is willing.

In other news, I love Reggie Miller.  The only sports moment where I can remember exactly where I was when it happened was this one.

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Books

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on May 24, 2009

I neglected checking my bank statement for the past couple weeks and today when I finally did, I realized that I’m essentially broke.  However, I needed to buy a book for class, and Champaign bookstores don’t have this book (for some odd reason).  Luckily, I managed to track down the only copy within an hour’s drive of me, conveniently at a Barnes 5 minutes from my house.  To buy that book, I had to ask my mom for money.  I think this is the first time in seven years I asked my parents for money.  Goodbye pseudo-independence.

While at the bookstore, I still browsed around for books, even though my entire networth was the $20 bill I had in my pocket, given to me by my mom.  It really doesn’t make much sense.

When I was a kid, I used to think being rich meant being able to own your own books.  I think this is because I loved reading, but I was never able to really buy many books.  Looking back, this makes perfect sense, partly because if I bought every book I wanted, I’d still be reading about the Bailey School Kids, and partly because it makes no sense to buy a kid books when there’s a perfectly good library in town.  And while I loved the library, it only grew in me the desire to own books.  There was one time in first grade when our school had a book fair so my mom gave me a blank check to purchase some books I wanted.  I arrived at school the envy of all kids and came back with a backpack stuffed with books and a $72 receipt.  Needless to say, I spent the next returning most of those books.  I also was never really allowed to buy many books again.

I’m a pretty big believer in the fact that knowledge is power, and in my mind, books have knowledge.  And so now, when I think of rich people, I imagine people with libraries in their houses.  I like the idea of thinking I’m smart.  I wish I could read all the books I wanted to and understand them so I’ll be able to show off how much I know.  I know this won’t happen, but I still keep lists of books I want to read.  And so, whenever I go to a bookstore, I usually pick up a book and imagine once again what it’d be like to have that blank check.  Not so much of what books are, but what books represent.  And what it could make me.

But back then, books were my favorite way of getting away.  I would read Tom Clancy books in middle school so I could escape to positions of power.  And I think right now, I miss reading just so I could go somewhere else.  I’m sick of reading for the present, I want to read about something that will never happen.  So I can lose touch with reality.

Here are some good children’s book recommendations:
– Anything by Richard Scarey.  Top tier children’s book author.  His book Peasant Pig is still one of my favorite books ever.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.  The imagination’s of kids need to be stimulated.  We don’t need to hook them on phonics and get them started on math skills before they’re potty trained (though my sister is a living testament to the effectiveness of “Hooked on Phonics.”  My brother is a year older than her and she was reading before he could talk.)
– The MacDonald Hall series by Gordon Korman, Toilet Paper Tigers, No Coins Please, and I Want to Go Home.  Funny stuff.  Probably my favorite books growing up.
– Hardy Boys series.  I read at least 200 of these.  No joke.
– The Boxcar Children series.  I read at least 100 of these.  I’m ashamed at this fact.  For some stretches during summers in elementary school, I would read one of these a day.
– Encyclopedia Brown.  This guy was baller.  Encyclopedia Brown Bakes a Cake was the book that got me started cooking as well.
– Harry Potter.  I can’t leave this guy off the list.  J.K. Rowling is a brilliant storyteller.

This was a really weird entry.  Enjoy it before it gets taken down, haha.

Oops…

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on May 18, 2009

I weigh 200 pounds.  This is 5 pounds less than I weighed my freshman year.  This is also 40 pounds more than the weight that was on my driver’s license as a 16 year old.  The height at all of those times has been 5’10”.  I’m kicking around whether or not I should start blogging my workouts to give me some accountability with that.  Seeing how my other “Side Projects” are going, nothing will really come of that.

I accidentally woke up at noon today…I wasted so much time…

Time to recommit.

Click

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on May 12, 2009

And it all makes sense.

And I understand the discontent.

The restlessness.

And I know what to do.

Questions are there.

Nothing still makes sense.

But I think I understand.

Ready.

Set.

Go.

Putting It All Together

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on May 11, 2009

I’m feeling listless, wanting to wander, wanting to stay put; looking for action but craving satisfaction; I want to explode into a million pieces and disappear into a ball, all of these at the same time.

I’m not content.

For me, the most frustrating thing in the world is to see my potential, to see what I can be, and continue to watch myself fail.  To see what I could be now if I just had more perseverance, more discipline.  And now I look at myself, almost 22 years old, and it just pisses me off.  Almost like it’s too late.

I’ve become so culturally holy, but do I really love Jesus?  Jesus once said pharisees were nothing but whitewashed graves.  The idea behind this is that according to Jewish law, one was made unclean by touching a grave.  So these pharisees were clean looking on the outside (whitewashed) but everyone who came in contact with them were made unclean.

That’s me.  A whitewashed grave.

That’s why I have a tendency to be so unedifying around church people.  It’s just my way of trying to show who I am.  A pseudo attempt at honesty.  I’m just a pharisee.  Good works on the outside, gunk on the inside.

Yes, I know the answers.  Yes, I know what I’m supposed to say.  I know what I’m supposed to do.  To think.

But it’s hard.

And so I’m not content.

Judge away…

Japan at War: A Book Review

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on May 5, 2009

I usually don’t read for class, but in “researching” (I use the term lightly) for a paper I had to write for my military history class, I came across a book called Japan at War: An Oral History.  It’s basically a compilation of many different interviews with Japanese people and their experiences with WWII.  I only picked it up because I’ve found primary sources to be the best sources in proving that you know something about the subject when you really know nothing.  I was only skimming the interviews when I decided to read a little more into one and was hooked.  The interviews take place in the 1980s and tell of the years between 1937 and 1944.  On a side note, I recently learned that many historians will date the start of WWII at 1937 because that’s when Japan really started escalating things in China (Rape of Nanjing anyone?).  The people interviewed in this book range from soldiers who killed Chinese POWs as part of their training to children who survived the firebombing of Tokyo and other cities.  In between are accounts of the second highest decorated flying ace, wives and sisters of soldiers, and civilians shortly before Japan capitulated.

This class has completely changed my mindset about war and culture to the point where I believe the best way to understand a culture is to understand how they conduct war.  This book does nothing but support this idea.  To describe the book in a word, I would say “horrendous.”  As I read through the multiple hells people experienced, I would have to pause every once in a while and really digest the fact that these were real people.  That this wasn’t some grusome work of fiction, but the actual life someone had on this planet.  One of the cruel ironies I’ve found is that the atrocities of real life usually trump the atrocities you’ll find in fiction; both in scope and in scale.  This is no exception.  There are stories of men turning to cannibalism, what it’s like to bayonet an unarmed prisoner, mothers killing children, children killing mothers, soldiers committing suicide, sisters hearing their brother has been killed, it just goes on and on and on.  One person was just a child when her city was firebombed, and in the inferno, her younger sister was badly burned.  In her naivete, she put mud on the wounds to cool her down, which led to her contracting tetanus and dying.  To this day, she is continually wracked with grief and guilt.

What this book does is portray one of the most accurate glimpses into a culture I’ve ever seen.  It implicitly explains familial loyalty, national beliefs, individual beliefs, and the hierarchy these take in an individual (one man selected to man suicide submarines wanted to protest but did not want to shame his university).  This book also gives such a chilling view of war that it really has altered my own personal beliefs on the matter as well.  So if you’re looking for something to do this summer, read this book.

You Gonna Eat Those?

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on May 4, 2009

Usually when you ask people what they’re majoring in, a popular follow up question is “So what are you going to do with that?”  History/English majors going into education, PoliSci majors going into law, bio majors on their way to med school, I’m sure the list goes on.

The nice thing about business majors is that we rarely get asked this question by non-business majors.  This usually stems from a complete lack of knowledge concerning what it is business majors do.  “Oh, you’re a finance major…cool…I guess you’re going to go into finance….”  Accounting/finance/business admin are such broad fields in themselves that to say an accounting major is going to go into accounting is like saying a political science major is going to go into political science.  It really does nothing to describe what that person will be doing in the near future.  However, business majors will almost never go in detail because unless you’re a fellow business major, chances are you won’t really understand without a few more minutes of conversation.  And face it, if you can’t offer the guy a leg up, he really has no interest in talking to you in the first place (yes, that was a cheap dig).

Another popular, and equally useless, question is “If you had all the money in the world, what would you do?” with the assumption that you would truly be doing what you love if money was not an issue, and that this is the occupation you should pursue.  Well if I had all the money in the world, I would drive around all day blasting Dr. Dre albums.  Something tells me that this is not a viable career option in even fantasy worlds.

So why am I a business major?

I think the only answer people will accept  is “It’s gonna make me cash mohnies.”

Bling. Bling.

I Like

Posted in Uncategorized by starvingsteve on May 3, 2009

I enjoy reading blogs.  Mostly because people are much more open and honest regarding things they post on the internet than what they’re willing to share with people upfront.  You could say it’s because they’re not expecting many people to read it, the depersonalized nature of the internet, or ten other reasons, but it is what it is.

And I like that.  I suck at getting “deep” with people.  So keep posting things!