Tuesday, April 8, 2008


I was trying to be provocative in my last post. But just to clarify, when I said "the only way to please God, to live a holy life, was to do absolutely nothing at all." I don't mean that to be holy, it means we sit around and do nothing. But in a very paradoxical way, I think living a life of faith means surrendering our will completely to God, even abandoning our efforts to "try" to be holy, to please him. But that surrender requires all of our effort.

Monday, April 7, 2008

You might be a legalist

In his book, Putting the Truth to Work, Prof. Dan Doriani explains the differences between four classes of legalism:

Class-one legalists are auto-soterists; they declare what one must do in order to obtain God's favor or salvation. The rich young ruler was a class-one legalist.

Class-two legalists declare what good deeds or spiritual disciplines one must perform to retain God's favor and salvation.

Class-three legalists love the law so much they create new laws, laws not found in Scripture, and require submission to them. The Pharisees, who build fences around the law, were class-three legalists.

Class-four legalists avoid these gross errors, but they so accentuate obedience to the law of God that other ideas shrivel up. They reason, 'God has redeemed us at the cost of his Son's life. Now he demands our service in return. He has given us his Spirit and a new nature and has stated his will. With these resources, we obey his law in gratitude for our redemption. This is our duty to God.' In an important way this is true, but class-four legalists dwell on the law of God until they forget the love of God. Worshiping, delighting in, communing with, and conforming to God are forgotten.

(I found the above on my friend Jason's blog)

I think I was a class four legalist for most of my life. The breakthrough in my life occurred when I discovered that the only way to please God, to live a holy life, was to do absolutely nothing at all. And I was freed.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

A Sort of Interesting Chinese Dining Experience

Last night I was in the mood for some Chinese food. Unfortunately there are not too many good Chinese restaurants in our area - we've tried a few - but we decided to try another one that we had passed on the road before. 

We drove up and saw that the place actually looked kind of nice, and wondered for a second if we were dressed properly since we were just in jeans and long-sleeved shirts. But then we saw some people come out who were dressed pretty casually and figured we were fine. We got inside and realized we were the only Asian people in there who weren't staff members. (It is not uncommon for us to be the only Asians in the entire restaurant when we go out to eat near our home.) There were a lot of people waiting, but thankfully we got a table after just 5 or 10 minutes.

When we sat down, there were already plates and forks out, but the waiter also put two sets of chopsticks down. Ben looked around and noticed that no one else seemed to have gotten chopsticks. Hmm... He also looked back toward the front desk and noticed there was a large American flag hanging from a wall, maybe about 6 feet wide by 4 feet high. Not something that we've seen in many Chinese restaurants before.

We looked at the menu and saw "Peking Ravioli" as one of the appetizers. What is that? We decided to order it. Then the waitress came to take our order:

Waitress: "Are you ready to order?"
Ben: "Yes, what is the Peking Ravioli?"
Waitress: (writing) "One order of Peking Ravioli..."
Ben: "No, what is it?"
Waitress: "Peking Ravioli."
Ben: "Um...no, what's IN it?"
Waitress: "Pork."
Ben: "So, is it like dumplings?"
Waitress: "Dumplings."
Ben: "Uh...OK, yeah, we'll take one order."

I didn't bring my camera with me, so I don't have an actual photo of what we got, but here's something that's representative:

I guess Peking Ravioli = potstickers? Oh, well, they were still tasty. We also got long green beans with minced pork, and beef chow fun (aka ho fun - one of my all-time favorites). Quite greasy, but isn't that what most Chinese food is like? It was still very good, and we had plenty left to eat for dinner today. And the bill was pretty inexpensive.

So not a bad option to return to, and I'd say definitely one of the better ones among the Chinese food options around here. There are good places downtown, but that's far away, and we don't have the luxury (as much as we did in Houston) of joining in on large family gatherings where we can eat big 9-course meals with a variety of dishes. Seafood soup, beef with gai lan, crispy-skin chicken with shrimp chips, snow pea leaves, lobster, fried rice, steamed fish, seafood "bird's nest" thing, sweet tapioca soup (or a trip to a boba place afterward)...all wonderful blessings from the Lord. :) Somebody please invite us to your large Chinese banquet!