Friday, January 4, 2008

happy new year!

yeah, i know. i'm 4 days late. nevertheless, Happy New Year!!!=)

not that it feels particularly new. still recuperating from the high-pressure, fast-paced camping season just over, coming back to work feels like... it's really, really old. does the work never end? i don't remember feeling this weary when i was a student. am i growing old or something? hahaha.

nevertheless, the promise of isaiah 40:31 still holds true: "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." so, i must learn to wait upon the Lord...=)

about emmanuel efc's youth camp, all thanks and glory to God. i survived, they didn't stone me. =P seriously, i think the sessions went well, and all thanks to God's grace. i did 5 sessions about True Reality:

1. Reality? What's That?
i questioned the nature of reality and how we can be sure what is real. perhaps we are all living in the Matrix now; how do we know we aren't? i concluded that as Christians we can be sure of truth and reality because we have a God who is True and Real. if there is no God, you're in big trouble because you can't be sure of anything.

2. Real Worldviews
different worldviews would give different answers concerning what true reality is. i briefly covered postmodernism, theism (Christianity, Islam and Judaism), pantheism (Buddhism, Hindhuism, and New Age), spiritism and polytheism (many chinese who call themselves buddhists actually fall in this category), and naturalism. yes, i'm aware that each of these worldviews can merit an hour-long session in themselves; so it was just a very broad introduction to worldviews, with the hope that it would start them thinking and challenge them to develop a true Christian worldview.

3. The World's Reality
the world constantly bombards us with a picture of reality which is at odds with what we as Christians believe to be True Reality. some of the skewed values of the world have sublty infiltrated into our churches. so in this session i talked about materialistic reality (money is of prime importance), aesthetic reality (beauty is of prime importance), hedonistic reality (pleasure is of prime importance), academic reality (education and results are of prime importance), and sexual reality (sex is of prime importance). for each of these worldly realities, we checked out bible verses to see what the Christian reality is.

4. Real Bible Characters
in this session, we looked at biblical examples of people who had the right ideas about reality and people who had the wrong ones. for example, samson (whose downfall was sexual temptation) vs joseph (who resisted portiphar's wife day after day). i did this session in a quiz format, in which the campers supposedly had to check the bible passages to find out who the biblical character was before they could answer. interestingly, on more than one occasion they just guessed instead of looking up the passage. apparently some people think being the first to answer is more important than getting the answer right!=P

5. Spiritual Reality
spiritual reality is an invisible aspect of reality. because it is invisible (or more accurately, intangible), many people dismiss it and ignore it. this has potentially catastrophic eternal consequences. i then talked abit about how the Christian portrayal of spiritual reality includes an element of spiritual warfare, and that if we take the bible to be true then we should know that we are involved in this spiritual warfare. i ended with some implications of spiritual reality, i.e. if what the bible says about it is true, then
- human beings are more than just intelligent animals
- there is such a thing as sin and morality
- death is not the final end of our existence
- questions of salvation, atonement, and etc arise.

so with that, 2007 ends and we welcome 2008. may God continue to lead each of us deeper into Himself as we journey on with Him. =)

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