Indelible Grace Church

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Indelible Grace Church Blog

Harry Chan: reflections on seminary

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I recently graduated with a MABTS (Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies) from Western Seminary. My time there was overall a good experience. I often found myself in class thanking God for the opportunity to even be immersed in a school dedicated to teaching and learning about the Bible and theology and practical ministry. But while Western has given me a much more in-depth knowledge in these various areas, what made my experience most rewarding was having the opportunity to serve as an intern at Indelible Grace Church during my entire 3-year seminary stint. Serving in the local church while learning from and being mentored by Pastor Michael during my time in seminary has been invaluable and a huge blessing.

Seminary should not replace the local church in teaching and raising up godly men and women to do kingdom work, but it is a great supplemental ministry that works alongside the church. My experience was exactly that, and I am so blessed to have gone through my seminary experience in this way.

Seminary was also a very humbling experience. After graduating, I didn't and still don't feel as equipped as I thought I would be. There is so much more to learn, and most things were only touched upon in seminary, but the beauty of this is that there is much more knowledge to be gained and much more growth to be had. I still feel inadequate to be doing ministry work, but this is ultimately a good thing because it keeps me relying on God to sustain and empower me, and it keeps me hungry to learn and grow in understanding and continually work towards excellence in ministry.

But even more than just growing in biblical knowledge and practical application, the combination of my time in seminary while serving and being served at IGC has helped me to truly develop a greater longing for God and his glory and a deeper love and appreciation for Jesus Christ and the church that he loves and died to redeem. I am thankful for faithful churches and seminaries that boldly proclaim the gospel!

Last Updated on Friday, 31 October 2014 10:38
 

The Primacy of Jesus

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In John 12, there's a very interesting passage where Mary pours out expensive ointment on Jesus' feet. One of the disciples chides her, arguing that the money could have been better used for the relief of the poor. What Jesus says in response would be outrageous on the lips of anyone else – "leave her alone; the poor you will always have, but you will not always have me." In effect, “before you care even for the poor, you must direct your highest devotion to me."  This should take our breath away. No wonder pious Jews wanted to kill Jesus. Jesus is claiming nothing less than our ultimate allegiance and affections. And so it is with the mission of the church. Everything we do as a church must first flow out of and center on what Christ has done for us on the cross, and then, only secondarily, out of reverence for Jesus, do we love the poor and engage in ministry.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 October 2014 11:04
 

Community and Morality

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So I recently read David Brooks’ The Social Animal. One of the things he talks about is how morals are shaped. We often think of our morality as arising out of solitary reflection and analysis. But according to a wealth of sociological data, our behavior and values are shaped mostly by our friendships and the people we associate with the most. So that with every conversation and interaction, we are unconsciously picking up standards of behavior, values and norms. In other words, we are who we hang out with the most.

This deeply resonates with how the Bible instructs Christians to live. “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10:24-25) In truth, no one lives apart from the company of others. The only question is which community do we choose to belong to.

Photo: a scene from IGC's 2014 Summer retreat.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 September 2014 16:03
 

The Heart Key

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"If I found a key on the road, and discovered it fit and opened a particular lock at my house, I would assume most likely that the key was made by the lock maker. And if I find set of teachings set out in pre-modern oriental society that has proven itself of such universal validity that it has fascinated and satisfied millions of people in every century, including the best minds in history and the simplest hearts, that it has made itself at home in virtually every culture, inspired masterpieces of beauty in every field of art, continues to grow rapidly and spread and assert itself in lands where a century ago the name of Jesus Christ was not even heard; if such teaching so obviously fits the locks of so many human souls, in so many times and so many places, are they likely to be the work of a deceiver or a fool? In fact it is more likely that they were designed by the Heart Maker." -- G.K. Chesterton

Last Updated on Friday, 01 August 2014 13:26
 

Shameless

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I read something recently that reminded me of the extravagant efforts people made to get near Jesus. Because everywhere he went, people were desperate to get near him. Desperate. Four friends dig a hole through a roof (property damage!) to get their paralyzed friend to Jesus. A tax-collector wants to see Jesus, but he’s too short and the crowds refuse to let him through. So he does something completely shameless and climbs up a tree like a child, desperate just to get a glimpse of Jesus. A leper causes a scandalous scene by approaching a crowd, breaking all social and legal taboos, and pathetically cries out, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" A street prostitute interrupts a gathering of dignified religious leaders meeting with Jesus to wash his feet with her tears and hair – an act that opens her to hateful scorn and sneers.

All these people were absolutely shameless in seeking out Jesus, just to be near him, just to see his face. And I look at myself and I ask – do I have faith like that? Do I love Jesus like that? Or am I reserved, self-protective, risk-aversed? Perhaps it's because I don't feel my desperate need like these other people. Because for them, Jesus was their only hope, their only salvation. And so they were shameless.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 July 2014 11:26
 


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