The Other Side

By Oscar Muriu

In this blog post I am going to be reflecting on Luke 8:26-39. I recommend reading this passage of scripture so you can better follow along with my message.

A common belief that Christians have, is that miracles are the key to people being saved, but this is not true. Miracles are not the final proof of who Jesus is, but they may point to Him when they are accompanied by Truth. Some believe because of miracles, while others deny and reject because of miracles; miracles can harden the hearts who see them, just as they did to the pharisees. Miracles are not the key to salvation, they can also be found in other religions. So do not follow a miracle alone, because that is insufficient, but it is the truth of scripture that is the proof of God.

In Luke 28-39, Jesus took initiative and went to the other side to heal a man. What does this mean? He crossed cultural barriers, spending time with people that were unlike Him. He went intentionally back and forth between His people and the gentiles. Jesus told His disciples to come, and go with Him to the other side. The other side is somewhere you may not want to go, and interact with people you may not want to be around. It may include not just people of a different culture, but people from a different status. The other side may include orphans, street children, the poor, the rejects, the mentally challenged, the oppressed, etc. It doesn’t matter who they are, Jesus loves them, and went to the cross to die on their behalf too. He calls us to love those He died for. We too must cross cultural and social barriers, and go to the other side.

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When crossing barriers and entering a new culture, there is something to be aware of, known as the Cultural Shock Curve. This curve has four phases within it. The first step is when you enter the culture, everything about about it has a wow factor. You love the food, the colors, the buildings, clothes, languages, etc. But after three months, the second part of the curve begins and issues arise. You begin to see problems, inconsistencies, and injustices. Reality checks in and the shine on the culture begins to fade. The third phase is about six months later, and you acquire resentment towards the culture. You don’t like anything; you want to leave and never come back. But you must not leave just yet. You must stay in the culture until you work through the fourth phase, resolution. You realize that the culture has both good and bad things, but so does home, they are just different.

Let’s go my friends, to the other side, and be disciples of Jesus.

Oscar Muriu is the Senior Pastor of Nairobi Chapel in Nairobi, Kenya and a dear friend to Resource Global.

True Acceptance

By Sonia Wirya

I have been battling much of my own insecurities this couple of weeks and I have contemplating a lot about whether it is possible for human beings to accept another fully. And what does it means to love one another.

True acceptance here is to be fully known and loved by another.

Yes, I do trust and I do know that such is possible. With God, we are fully known and fully loved. But does such love exist within one another? Is such love even possible? For if I known myself fully, I wouldn’t think that I am lovable.

But towards the end of my seeking an answer to this, I have found that such love is possible, that it is possible for you to fully know and fully love another person, and such true acceptance*comes from *extending grace.

1: By first accepting His grace to you

Understanding that He fully knows you, even more than you know yourself, yet He still loves you (which is why it is said that there is no greater love than His love for us, fully known yet loved by Him)

2: And then extending this same grace to yourself

This is a concept that was hard for me to grasp, and time and time again He has proven His love to me, His love enabled me to feel worthy of His love. Not because of what I have done but simply because He loves. And His love and full acceptance of me (for no human being, when true to oneself will ever think that he/ she is lovable, we are sinners and we are often too hard on ourself).

When we choose to extend the same grace to ourself, we’re able to find Self-Love.

3: And out of that, you will have the capacity to love others

And then you extend that same grace to others. This is what will enable you to love another and to let another love you.

When you are convinced that God loves you, you accept that you are lovable, you then become convinced that you are worthy of accepting the love of another and extending the same kind of love.

This will allow a chance for people to be vulnerable, to come to light to one another, and for relationships to grow. Because any form of relationship requires vulnerability. When there is no vulnerability, there’s no chance for any relationship to grow. But with Christ and in Christ, there’s a basis of full acceptance. To know that the other person is capable of fully knowing and fully loving you, brings much comfort and provides all the basis, the safety net for one to open up. This is why friendships and relationships that are based in Christ, tends to be the most vulnerable, open and yields great bond, because there is a commitment and a possibility of to fully accepting and loving the other

“Daily fight for vulnerability” because with it, you enable relationships to grow, and with it you become transparent enough to allow God’s great works within you to be visible to others, through your cracks

Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another - John 13:34

That’s the call of love that Christ has given us. Fully known and fully loved, by Him, and to “fully know and be known” requires vulnerability. Because true love is when you are known yet loved (you are loved inspite of your lackings)

Blessings to you,

Sonia Wirya was a part second Leadership Cohort in Jakarta. She has a degree in accounting and finance, but now works handling market strategies and rebranding in a company in Jakarta.

Reflections from Jakarta: Crazy Rich Asians

By Grace Liu

Crazy Rich Asians (just released on DVD) will resonate with anyone that has studied abroad and came back to Asia to experience the immediate cultural pressures of family obligations. The tug of war between putting your dreams or your family first is real, especially for those who inherit the family company upon returning from overseas studies. 

I grew up in North Carolina and New York. I moved to Indonesia during my early teen years and finished off my high school in Jakarta. I went to the University of Michigan and came back to Indonesia for family and for work.

But being Asian American, I saw the truths of both cultures portrayed in the movie. The western side of me believes that you need to stand up for what you believe in. So it is important to understand your passions and follow your dreams. Love who you want to love. You are your own person, it is important be secure and own the desires of your heart. At the same time, the Asian side of me understands the importance of being community-oriented; and how our personal dreams need to be in line with what is best for the family. This is not just about your immediate family, this involves your uncles, aunties, cousins, grandparents, nieces, nephews. Future decisions you make affect not just you, but your ENTIRE family.

Eleanor (the mother in Crazy Rich Asians) said that Americans are great with following their dreams and achieving their ambitions , but Asians are good with building things (such as family traditions, family businesses) that last. This is why in a culturally Asian family, who you marry is such a big deal. It is the prayers of the elders in your family that you find someone in line with your family values. Parents play a big role in this decision because you do not only marry the person, you marry into their family. Both families (their family culture, their reputation, their name) merge into one. When you marry, you carry the benefits and burdens of the family you choose to tie yours to. 

What does the Bible say about following your dreams verses building up your family? 

Philippians 2:3-4 says " Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." 

It is biblical to put the interests of others before yourself.  It is biblical to sacrifice you your fleshly desires for the good for your family, your community. However at the same time the Bible also commands us to "forsake your mother and father". 

Matthew 19:29 says, " And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or property, for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and will inherit eternal life."

How do you find common ground with these two verses? 

God has given us talents, gifts, ambition, vision for life and these are all good things! However God has also given us the responsibility to love and care for the people within our spheres of influence. This includes our family. Whether you are Asian or not, your life decisions do affect your family on some level. Making life decisions with or without the support of your family makes a difference. 

Does this mean all our life decisions need to be agreed on by our parents? Absolutely not. Our parents are also human and can make decisions out of selfish ambition as well (not saying that all parents do this, but just know that everyone will have this tendency no matter what life stage you are in).

God has also given us to Holy Spirit to guide us from everyday little decisions to major life decisions. Sometimes these decisions may not make sense to our family. However, when God will call us to a season of life where our obedience to God will be challenged; are you willing to follow through what God wants for your life regardless of what other people say? I understand that this might be a big struggle for many of my Asian American friends when faced with this verse. It goes against cultural values; it is seen as rude or disrespectful when we go against family wishes. Following what God wants for our life is not about being politically or culturally correct, it is about being obedient and trusting that God even when you cannot see the bigger picture yet. 

Crazy Rich Asians was a bit cheesy, over the top, yet entertaining and addresses some real struggles Asian young adults face when integrating back to their home country after studying abroad. One thing I took away is, no matter what ethnic or family culture you were brought up in, we should always revert to bringing the Jesus culture into our decision making and our family culture. 

Grace Liu is our Jakarta City Director and has a passion to bring young adults together in community for the sake of the Gospel. Her and her husband Ronald have two kids and live in Jakarta.