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Encounter: Warm Light

By Casey Iwanaga

Photo by Alexander Mueller

I was called to stand, stand in my shame and guilt in God’s light
I just wanted to run and hide in the dark
God’s light changed, from blinding to warm
He grabbed my hand as I turned to run
Just stood with me in His warm grace and love
Changing this unwanted, fearful encounter into a needed one
Full of acceptance and forgiveness
His warm light
A place I can stay forever

Casey Iwanaga is a junior at the University of California in Merced. Her father is a retired pastor currently serving as Chairman of the OMS Holiness Churches.

Photo by Dino Reichmuth
Photo by Dino Reichmuth

By Sarah D. Park

I grew up going to church retreats as a kid. I don’t know if this is a Korean church phenomenon, but it was normal to go up into the mountains to spend time with God once a year.

And the night before we had to go home, well, that was a special night. No cup ramen. No card games on the floor. The main sanctuary lights would be turned down low and the worship band would spontaneously begin to play moody background music. The youth pastor takes the stage, mic in hand and intensity in his gaze, calling out prepubescents to repent and cry out to their savior. Kids start falling to their knees, ugly crying into the carpet, scattered rows of small hunched over children shuddering into their tears.

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Encounter: Loneliness

By Diana Kim

Photo by Lenny K Photography

As a single woman in ministry, I have struggled with loneliness for many years, even considering and accepting it as a vocational hazard. There seems to be very few people I can truly be open and honest with, as my opening up to them can seem like venting and complaining (which, sometimes it is), and make me sound ungrateful for the opportunities I’ve been given. The pastoral hat I wear seems to hide the fact that I am human, capable of feeling lonely; perhaps it is because people often imagine pastors to constantly be with others that pastors suffering through loneliness doesn’t seem to be possible, or perhaps it’s because we are “one with God” that pastors are expected to never feel lonely.

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Photo by Alessio Maffeis

By Wendy Choy-Chan

The lie was that they could become like God, knowing good and evil. Little did Adam and Eve know that what they became was a twisted version of a monadic, exclusive god, with power and authority, but without communion, no more communion with the one true God and no more communion with each other.

And the lie continued. Cain killed to become the exclusive giver acceptable to God; the brothers sold Joseph to get rid of the exclusive beloved of their father, Jacob; Saul hunted down David to be the exclusive anointed king of Israel. The lie twisted the whole reality. Instead of a power that spread goodness and an authority that benefitted others, it was now a power that accumulated goodness for self and an authority that benefitted self. Continue Reading »

Subversion: God at Work

Photo by Chad Sparkes

By Tina Teng-Henson
Subversion:
Every now and then,
Jesus hijacks my heart
and captures it anew. Continue Reading »

Photo by Renaud Camus

By Young Lee Hertig

“Jesus rode into Jerusalem, announcing his kingship on a borrowed donkey.  He had no palace, much less a place to lay his head, and lacked a transportation.  This subversive king exorcised the temple, set limits on Caesar’s authority, publicly declared that a poor widow’s minimal offering was greater than all others, and redefined servanthood as beneficial for the needy rather than the benefactor.”[1]  Continue Reading »

By Emi Iwanaga

 

Photo by Andrea Rose

Our Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms,
may the glory of your name be the center on which our lives turn.
Manifest your kingdom realm, and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled
on earth, just as it is fulfilled in heaven.
Matthew 6:9,10 (TPT)

 

I will rejoice in this new Jerusalem and find great delight in my people.
You will no longer hear the sound of weeping or cries of distress.
Before they even call out to me, I will answer them;
before they’ve finished telling me what they need, I’ll have already heard.
The wolf and the lamb will graze side by side and the lion
will eat straw like the ox, and the serpent’s food will be dust.
There will be neither violence nor murder
on my entire holy mountain of Zion,” says Yahweh.
Isaiah 65: 19,24-25 (TPT)

 

SHALL WE?

My invitation, “shall we dance”?
Together you, Me, My Holy Spirit
Moving…forward, against, away

Follow My Lead
Keep your eyes on Me
Feeling My heart…passion, compassion, absolute

Take the next step
A move abrupt, daring or smooth
Staying with Me…synchronized, unfaltering, decisive

Listen to the music
Feel the rhythm
Losing yourself…in Me, in us, in our dance

Experience the dance
Together you, Me, My Holy Spirit
Moving…

Forward to heaven, bringing a portion to earth
Against unrighteousness, impurity
Away from crushing, restraining

So, sister, shall we dance?
His never-ending, ever-needed dance entitled,
Subversion
Let’s dance!!!

Emi Iwanaga served thirteen years as a missionary in Amazon Valley in Brazil, over 20+ years as a children’s ministry director, women’s ministry director, and pastor’s wife, and is currently a spiritual director.

Photo by Nenad Stojkovic

By Joy Wong

Growing up, one of my favorite Bible story characters was Esther. I remember dressing up as Esther one Halloween, wearing all white as she did when chosen to be the new queen. White was one of my favorite colors for that reason, and I admired how she was a person of beauty and purpose. Continue Reading »

Photo by David O’Hare

By Jerrica KF Ching

If there was ever a time that proved connection with other human beings to be crucial and vital to our mental health, we have been staring at it in the face for the past five months. For many of us, myself included, back in March when news of COVID-19 first came around, the idea that something invisible to the eye could cause statewide and later nationwide closures was unheard of. Continue Reading »

Photo by shiranai

By Melanie Mar Chow

“O be careful little eyes what you see, for the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little eyes what you see.”

As a child, Grandma reminded me of my parents when I lamented how she instead let me watch endless amounts of Saturday morning television. Continue Reading »

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