Quieting down life//[guest post]//Ginny Tung

Our guest blogger is Ginny Tung! She is married to Alan and they have 2 sweet kiddos, Ella 2 and Micah almost 1. She works for Cru and lives outside of Philadelphia, PA.  She loves lots of things in life but longs for eternity![Ginny and Alan worked with Cru in Tidewater from 2010-2013, specifically at CNU & W&M.]
Hello girls,
     I so wish I was sitting on your campus, could hear your story, see your face and ask you a gazillion questions about who you are.  I mean it when I say that!  Your life is so precious, your story so unique and Jesus loves you more than I could ever convey through a blog.  Oh, but I do hope you will see HIM through what I write and that ultimately the gospel would sink into the depths of your hurts and pains and set root in your heart. 

     To be honest, I’ve tried to write this entry a dozen times and am having a hard time putting together my thoughts; possibly because I’m still in the midst of what I want to write to you.  So, let me take you back a couple years ago to when I got an IPhone and downloaded the Instagram app.  At first it was just a few close friends following me and a handful of people that I was following.  My daughter, Ella was born and I’d say 99% of my pictures revolved around her.  It was a fun way to keep up with friends and I enjoyed showing off my sweet new baby girl to friends that lived far away.  As time went on I got more followers, more comments, and more likes.  I don’t know when it happened but along the way my heart got sucked into more than just posting a picture.  It felt like I needed to top my last post.  Was Ella (and now Micah) wearing a cute enough outfit to post that picture?  Maybe I should take another 100 pictures to get the perfect smile.  How many likes did I get? Does my picture compare to the other people I’m following?  Does it look like I’m a good mom?  And the list could go on.  

     But it didn’t just stop there, I also was beginning to see a trend of envying other people.  I’d see a picture of cute décor and think what I owned wasn’t good enough.  I had read that social media leaves people feeling unsatisfied with their own lives and makes people judgmental. For some reason I felt exempt from it. I thought I could handle it just fine.  Instagram seemed to be a gateway for me.  It shaped how I spent my time, thoughts and money.  It was easy for me to get lost in mindless scrolling once I was done on Instagram.  Or I’d then go to other sites looking to buy something for my home.  If I was bored it was my first go-to-thing and it would always lead me to wasting time.  I would then feel stressed that I didn’t get done what needed done, which then affected how I responded to my children and husband. It wasn’t until one day I was in Ella’s room scrolling through pictures while she played.  She said a couple times, “momma, build blocks!”  Each time I replied, “okay, just a minute.” She eventually came over, grabbed my phone and said, “put it in your pocket.”  Ugh!!! My daughter just called me out.  There I was sucked into another world, missing out on the precious moments with my daughter.  I guess I wasn’t exempt.   

     Sure I was praying and reading my Bible throughout all this but I can’t say I was really hearing from the Lord or really desiring Him very much.  Here’s what it boiled down to…there was an idol in my heart.  I was worshipping ME.  I was the center of my heart.  My wants, desires, and how people perceived me were more important than my sweet Savior.   I felt him tugging on my heart and telling me to get off Instagram.  (Just so you know, I’m not saying that Instagram is a bad thing and you should delete it from your phone.  I just know it caused me great temptation and I easily fell into that temptation.)    

     I needed change and I’ll tell you that I struggled to take a step forward.  Sin is often times the easier and more natural choice.  But I’m so grateful that we serve a God who is patient, doesn’t stop pursuing and is bigger than our temptations.  So at first I just stopped posting pictures but still got on to look at other people’s pictures.  I wasn’t fully surrendering this to Christ.  I did see a little improvement but really I was still disobeying the Lord and continuing to feel empty.  I sat down with a woman from my church who led me to this Scripture: Romans 8:32he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also along with him, graciously give us all things.” My heart and eyes burst with tears.  How could I hang on to something so meaningless compared to Jesus?!?!  He gave up his life for me!  He desires to give us so much but he won’t if we’re unwilling to surrender to him.  It was then that I knew I needed to change.  I deleted the app.  

     From there I started to see change.  I was finding myself really enjoying my home and how it was decorated and not as worried about what wasn’t on the walls.  I found myself leaving my phone in rooms of the house and engaging more with my kids.  I found my heart desiring more of the Word.  I started listening to sermons by Tim Keller (he’s one of my favorites).  I found myself in the mornings choosing to pray instead of jumping on my phone right away.  My days and my attitude have radically changed.  I still sin and I still struggle but I’m finding it easier to yield to the Spirit as I truly walk with him.  As I let the Lord tear down the idol in my heart and put him back at the center, things changed naturally.  I can honestly say that I have more joy than I’ve felt in quite some time. (This is not to say that there isn’t hardship but I can find joy in Him through it).  My pastor recently gave a sermon in which he was explaining how our culture is terminally ill.  He said we are a culture that continues to try to find happiness in everything but Jesus.  Girls, isn’t it so easy to get wrapped up in what the world tells us to be like?  It’s so hard to go against the grain.  But I have found that it’s only Jesus that satisfies.  And sometimes that means giving up things that seem harmless or denying ourselves something that we think we need.

     Lastly, I was then challenged to do a 40 day fast.  So I decided to give up buying things other than the essentials.  I’m still in the midst of it and it has been challenging for me.  Ella doesn’t have church shoes right now.  She has bright pink tennis shoes.  So on Sundays when it’s time to dress up she has a cute outfit on and good ol’ tennis shoes with them.  I cringe at how it’s a bit dorky looking but honestly, who cares?  She doesn’t!  She’s 2! But it’s nice not having to worry about it. It has led me to trust that Jesus will give what my family needs when we need it. It’s hard and I so badly want to keep up with fitting in.  But it is worth it if my eyes turn away from Jesus?  Surly not!    

     Girls, it’s so hard to be different from what the culture tells us to be but it is so worth it!  What is keeping you from Jesus?  What idol(s) are in your heart that needs to be torn down?  Let Him in!  He’s calling your name! Your heart will be filled with joy!  You will hear his voice speaking to you.  Your heart will be renewed!

 With love,
 Ginny Tung

God’s will is the very best//Lindsay

As a senior in college, I struggled with what job to take after graduation. I felt the pull of the Holy Spirit to intern with Cru, yet the pull of my flesh was to take an Event Coordinator position. One meant raising financial support; the other meant earning a salary. Interning felt daunting, impossible, and shaky. Taking a salaried job felt more acceptable, stable, and comfortable. 

Considering obeying the Lord and interning with Cru was so scary. Ignoring His voice and taking the full-time, salaried “business world” job was so appealing.
Have you ever been torn about whether to obey the Holy Spirit’s quiet voice 
or pretend like you never heard it? I was. 
I will never forget my campus leader’s advice one day when processing this with him. As I shared my fears with him, he didn’t try to tell me what job to pursue. He also didn’t try to tell me what he thought God was saying to me. Instead, he simply listened and gently offered this gem of advice: “Lindsay, You are never more financially stable than when you are in God’s will.”
His words struck me at my core. It’s been almost 10 years and I still reflect back to his words in ever-changing situations. 
“You are never more financially stable than when you are in God’s will.”
Let me clarify: To walk in obedience with God’s will, to follow what I know to be the Holy Spirit’s leading… THIS is true security.This is true financial stability. I could lose a fancy job at any moment; security in the things of this world is an illusion. True security is found in walking with God, listening to His voice, depending on Him and His promises.
By God’s grace, I interned with Cru the following year. And the next. Then, I joined staff for the long haul. It’s been almost 10 years since that decision and I have never been in need. God has amazed me by His provision and His goodness to me. I love my job! A short time after I declined the position as the Event Coordinator at that company, I learned some things about the company and the position that were less than desirable. I wouldn’t have been happy there. As it turns out,God knows what is best for me – better than I do.
My leader’s wisdom can be applied to many other aspects of our lives. Here are a few other ideas for you to consider:
You are never more satisfied than when you are in God’s will.

You are never more of who you are meant to be than when you are in God’s will.

You are never more free than when you are in God’s will. 
Can you think of other ways that walking with God changes 
our perspectives and our realities??

Monday Minute//Communion//Brooke

This book! Have you read it?  Like the subtitle says it is indeed wrecking my comfortable Christianity. Thank God.

This book is based around the parable found in Matthew 25:32-40. Read it here.

Along with this there are more than 2,000 verses involving poverty, physical oppression and justice, and the redistribution of resources.  All the while I am memorizing pretty verses and missing a lot of the heart of God.

I just wanted to share with you one of the oh-my-gosh-I-can’t-breathe-this-is-so-true-help-me-Jesus excerpts from this book:

on pages 56-57 regarding communion:

“Do this in remembrance of Me”…Not only does Jesus’ statement require a constant response, but remembrance is from anamnesis, meaning to make real.  Communion is more than a memory, more than a reverent moment when we recall Jesus’ heroic sacrifice.  Remembrance means honoring Jesus mercy mission with tangible, physical action since it was a tangible, physical sacrifice.  In other words, “constantly make this real.”

The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you, do this in remembrance of Me.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-24

“Now you are the body of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:27

Not only was Communion a symbolic ritual, it was a new prototype of discipleship  “Continuously make My Sacrifice real by doing this very thing.”

Become broken and poured out for hopeless people.

Become a living offering [denying yourself] for the salvation and restoration of humanity.

Obedience to Jesus’ command is more than looking backward; it’s a present and continuous replication of His sacrifice.  We don’t simply remember the meal; we become the meal.”