Seattle — Day 51: Freedom in Boundaries

Reflections — Ah Palm Sunday. What a glorious reminder that we are of the fold of God now, for those who believe and testify to Christ as Lord and Saviour. What a wonderful reminder, or perhaps new announcement for those who have never heard, that there is life and hope available to you who are dead in your sins and transgressions if you do not believe in Jesus Christ today. On this day, let us remember how truly fortunate we are as believers to be under the grace of God, and no longer His wrath. Let us remember the great sacrifice that was made, in not only His death and resurrection on the cross, but simply, His humility to lower Himself to be in the skin of man, the flesh of humans, so that He could save us from ourselves.

Due to morning complications (aka, my sister having a rough time sleeping yesterday night, and sleeping a bit in), we were unable to go to New Life Fellowship’s service this morning; however, I was able to take her to Downtown Cornerstone Church’s service. Man, I can’t tell you how much I straight up love this church. I love this church a lot. Literally, if I could structure church to be in a manner that I thought was biblical, beneficial, encouraging, bold, etc this is it. Love it. Again, a thing that I love about this church is that they take communion every Sunday, and they make extra clear emphasis on differentiating between believers in Christ and nonbelievers. A constant repetition of phrases like these:

  1. Please do not tithe unless you are a believer in Christ, since we aren’t a charity; instead, if you’d like to give, know that Jesus wants you, not your money first.
  2. If you are a nonbeliever, please do not feel compelled to participate in creeds, readings, or singing. You are more than free to just listen. We want to you only participate in these things if you have conviction that you believe them, or in faith, want to believe.
  3. If you are not saved, do not take communion. Instead, work your way to the back where we have people that can pray with you and help walk you through the journey of coming to give your life to Christ. Like this stuff man, so good.

This is what I would love for all churches to do so as to remove confusion for nonbelievers that come in through the gates. Let’s remember that church as much as it is for believers to come and commune together, is also significantly for nonbelievers coming to know Jesus. Anyways, continuing forward, the message was spoken by head pastor Adam Sinnet. It was on Galatians 5:1–15:

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” — Galatians 5:1–15

Here are some quick take aways from the message:

  1. Know it Alls — Stop thinking whenever a word of God is shared with you, that you already know it in head knowledge so you ignore it, you choose not to dwell on it. Don’t get sucked into a mentality at skipping certain parts of your bible because you already read them. In fact, read them over and over and over again, because you will not be able to retain that information and apply it without the grace of God. Please do not let your arrogance get in the way of thinking that just because you know it conceptually it’s assumed you’ve already applied it in your lifestyle, and devotion to the Lord. May we repent for our foolishness in thinking that we understand God’s word so well already, when in fact we apply little to none of it in our lifestyles.
  2. Salvation by Grace Alone — We who believe in the gospel, believe that there is salvation by faith, and no longer by works. Meaning that all the law is fulfilled by you loving Christ, trusting Him, and in turn, loving those around you. All by grace. However, let us not forget that the law is still there.
  3. Freedom — The purpose of the law (all the commandments given to us in the Bible) therefore is to advise you in living in freedom. Many times we think that freedom is the unrestrained ability to do whatever we want in life. That’s wrong. Rather, freedom isn’t found in the lack of boundaries/restrictions, but in the abundance of them. Freedom is understanding that the law is no longer the means for salvation, but given so that you may flourish in this life. He made this life, your life, and knows your life intimately in everything that’s happened and that will come, so clearly, He knows best in terms of how it’ll work for your good. The freedom that Christ has set us free for, is a life of living with Him, for Him, and through Him for all things. The constraints and boundaries given to us by the law are not to deprive you of liberty, but to help you thrive in it. To look to God not as a spiritual convict to a judge saying what can’t I do today? What am I even allowed to do?, but as a beloved son and daughter to their Abba Father asking, Daddy, what is going to best way to live my life for you? Do you see that huge shift in tone and receptivity? The obedience of the law comes therefore not as a means to earn salvation, but as a response to being saved from death. Boundaries create peace and order. “The laws aren’t meant to impoverish you, but to flourish you.” — Adam Sinnet
  4. Our Offense — The offense of the cross is this. You are a wretched sinner apart from Christ, and any redemptive work that He has done in your life, and my own. There is nothing good in you apart from Jesus. Belief otherwise is utter heresy. We put our hope and faith knowing that we are therefore no longer justified by the law, but through faith and what has done in the cross. Let us remember how much we have offended Christ prior to us being wiped clean from our sins, and receiving Him as our Savior. If you are not of Christ, know this truth. You have deeply offended the Lord Almighty with your sin, to the point that without Him saving you, He will rightly and justly sentence your life to hell; however, by grace and love and mercy, He has sent His son to die for your sins, and to give you life, so that you may call Him Father as a child of God. This is the reason why we sing, Hosanna, Hosanna! on Palm Sunday. Praise the Lord.

Again a great message spoken by this man. Honestly, I love hearing him speak. I’m planning on just listening to his messages from their website. You can too! They should have this message up soon.

After service, we went out to get some lunch, then went quickly back over to Pike’s place + Patagonia, to buy some gifts for friends and my mom. We ended up getting her a really awesome Patagonia jacket that I think she’s going to love. I can’t wait to see her response. Love my mom.

We then stopped by my apartment because my sister was pretty tired. She took a quick nap, and then we headed over to Washington University to see the cherry blossoms, and see Zootopia. It was awesome. Cherry blossoms were beautiful and Zootopia was a great movie. It really was. Great animations, voice acting, soundtrack, villain development, etc. Here are some pics of the cherry blossoms:

Christine working it with the cherry blossoms.
She wore these boots that hurt her feet for 2 hours just for this picture. So for her sake, enjoy this picture. Haha.

Tonight is the night that some very good friends come up from Livingwater church to spend some time with me in Seattle. The full group is Daniel, Nick, Susie Kang, Josephine Wu, and Tammy Shih. I especially can’t wait to see Daniel Kim and Nicholas Choi, who are apart of the 5 man caravan that’s coming up to Seattle tonight from Berkeley, after making a pit stop in Portland, Oregon. Specifically pointing out these brothers because they’re two brothers that have been with me through some incredibly rough times of my life, and are just two very good friends, two of my closest. I can’t wait to just be with physically, to pray with them, catch up, encourage one another, and push for Jesus together with, even in the short amount of time that we have together. Even if it’s just saying hi to them because they’re tired, I’m thankful for that. They’re apparently 20 minutes away. Can’t wait.

Agrippa replied to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.” And Paul said, “I would wish to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.” — Acts 26:28–29

Prayer Requests — As my sister is leaving tomorrow, please pray that she would use the time on the plane to really reflect and think about all the various things we talked about, the seeds that were planted deep within her heart in faith. Please pray that she would begin to question the beliefs she stands for, the morals she has in life, the approach she takes toward education, reflects upon whether the people she’s surrounding herself with are beneficial for her, and just for her salvation through all of this. Because at the end of the day, all the food, gifts, trips that I can pay for her, her having fun is great, but at the end of the day I want for her, as her brother, to receive the greatest gift of all — the gift of life through grace by faith in Christ alone.

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
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