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Christmas Vine

Text of Christmas VIne

  • 2

    When I was young, I always looked forward to Christmas. Nothing could dampen my spirit. I

    sang holiday tunes in my house obnoxiously, danced around happily, stuffed my face with holiday crack-

    ers from Costco (I guess I still do that). I was so consumed by joy, childish or not, that no matter what

    happened, I was just happy for no logical reason.

    And then high school happened.

    And instead of focusing on the joy of this season, I find myself

    staying past midnight cramming in homework, procrastinating the

    homework I dread, being silent and pessimistic, just wanting the holi-

    day break to come so I can at last sleep, and sleep for a thousand

    years or two.

    Ive really lost a sense of what this season means, the reali-

    zation that Jesus, both man and God, was sent to earth, giving up all

    his heavenly treasures to descend as a lowly son of a carpenter, in a

    meagerly supplied barn. Theres something about it in Philippians I

    believe, about the importance of realizing how Christ diminished him-

    self in humility and became a servant to his friends.

    But in full honesty, Ive caught myself in gloom, thinking ahead

    to more college apps, feeling discouraged, thinking about applying to

    Financial Aid and how I have no inspiration to write college essays.

    Ive forgotten so much about the significance of Christmas, blanking looking at the 25th and hoping

    there arent any dinners to go to so I can work on more college things before I leave for Grace.

    But something surprising happened, as I grew older. My Christmas became a season of giving.

    Perhaps its my innate liking of shopping and spending on other people, or the challenge of finding the

    perfect gift, or something, but I do love giving gifts. I feel that the best gifts are the ones that are per-

    sonal and heartfelt.

    But then comes another complicationI become so obsessed with purchasing the right gifts I

    forget to stop and consider the gift God has placed right in front of my nose, his gift of Jesus and thus,

    life.

    It seems almost that I cant win sometimes, that when I do find joy, it is in self satisfaction and

    pursuit, rather than in enjoying Gods presence and just being with Him.

    Im like Martha, who just wants to do things but not listen like Mary.

    This Christmas season, I am challenging myself, and I challenge you too, that to take the time to

    stop, to pause, and to reopen Gods gift of Jesus.

    Lets strive to keep the Christmas spirit of thankfulness and joy alive in me year-round.

    From the Editors

    - Kelly Yu

  • From the Editors

    - Melody Zhang

    Recently my friend expressed deep concern and worry personally for the people who

    dont know or refuse to know God as our Savior. In other words, she felt that she was person-

    ally held accountable for the people around her that werent saved, that it would be her fault

    if the people that she could have reached out to didnt go to heaven. Shes obviously not

    alone in her thoughts; I ask myself the same question: (in her words) what if you and I

    couldve prevented someone from not making it to heaven?

    It seems true, doesnt it? I mean, without our lights as a candle and guide for the lost

    and the struggling, being a Christian wouldnt mean the same and the way that God saved

    people would be different. Obviously, thats not going to happen because reaching out to

    others is fundamental in our work and our belief, but the point is that God doesnt need us.

    Thats the thing. God is so much bigger than you and I and he doesnt need us to accomplish

    anything because He is omniscient in essence. Yes, he can use us as his medium to carry out

    what he wants to do and to help people, which he does. But Gods plan is foolproof; what has

    been determined will be His way in the end, and our trying or not trying will not stop his plan;

    it is actually part of his plan. God knows what each individual needs and what buttons to press

    in order for them to be arrested by His love. For some, it is people like us, for some it is the

    church, the community, the Word itself, the challenges we face in living, and for some, it is

    simply time. God can use whatever he wants because he knows how to capture each persons

    attention according to their characters, so that

    means he can even use bad experiences like

    partying stages, bad habits, even different relig-

    ions and self-explorations for the ultimate good

    and glory of Himself.

    God is God. He is always sovereign, al-

    ways in charge, no matter what we do. That

    doesnt mean that we should stop trying, because

    we should always provide the fire for the altar

    so that God can use you if He wills it to be so.

    What we can do as the stars for the darkness in

    the world is to offer our best up to God and leave

    the rest to Him.

    What is meant to be will be. So do live your best,

    do love your heart out, but take comfort in know-

    ing that He is God, He is faithful, He is sovereign.

  • 4

    From the Editors The Christmas story is simple if you view it like this: God sent Jesus into the world so that we

    could have hope.

    The virgin will be with child and will give birth

    to a son, and they will call him Immanuel

    which means, God with us.

    Matthew 1:23

    When you think of Christmas, what do

    you think of? Do you picture Jesus being born,

    finally shining a light into a world of darkness,

    the reason you and I are alive right now?

    Gods love is unfathomable that way. He

    gave the best gift we could ever receive in the

    form of salvation through faith in Christ. But do

    we really treasure that?

    I was talking with a friend the other day,

    and the parable of the vineyard came up. If you

    dont know it, go read Matthew 20:1-16! But in a

    nutshell, its about these workers who begin

    their work in a vineyard at the beginning of the day, and the employer, so to speak, hires more

    workers as the day goes on, but at the end of the day, they all receive the exact same paycheck. God

    says that anyone who believes in Him will receive the gift of eternal life. So what about the ones

    who have believed in God practically from birth, versus the ones who accept Him on their

    deathbeds? Is that fair? Being a follower of Christ is not easy. It is a spiritual battle, every single

    day, it is death to our desires, it is persecution, it is suffering. So why do the people who have sinned

    their entire lives but accept Christ as they lay dying also receive this ultimate gift? Wouldnt it be

    easier that way, if we could all do that?

    But then what would be the point? What would be the point of our lives, right now, when we

    already know of Gods love, already have felt this light we have in Christ? Because it is through suf-

    fering that we find peace, joy, and hope.

    Read these verses:

    Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does

    the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not

    prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? Then I

    will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!

    Matthew 7:21-23

    This is our calling. To wake from our slumber, and to start moving. We can sit with the Lord,

    reading His word and doing our devotions. We can pray all we want, and go to church all we want.

    The difference is whether or not we are going to actively walk with Him.

  • - Sharon Shen

    It is said that faith without deeds is dead, and deeds done without faith is equally useless. Being a

    Christian is a lifestyle. Worship is a lifestyle. Its not something we do every so often, a hobby we

    pick up and put away. This is our entire life. I cannot stress that enough; but only you can choose to

    care, about this ministry, about your life and the people you love. Only you can choose to get up on

    your feet and take Gods hand on this walk. Only you can choose to surrender your entire heart to

    Him.

    The question is, will you?

    Dont you think it would be selfish to keep this gift to ourselves? God has put a light, stoked

    a fire in our hearts. Dont contain it inside of youlet your life reflect the hope you have in Jesus.

    Look around you; see all the broken people that dont have the one gift that truly matters, but you

    could give them through an overflow of Gods own love. Brothers and sisters, nothing is ever going

    to be easy. For every step we take towards God, Satan is maliciously tugging on our backs, doing

    everything he can to make us fall. And sometimes we will fall, and there will be days we want to give

    up, days we are paralyzed by fear and helplessness. But let me tell you, God is going to pick you up

    and carry you when you cannot stand; is it not enough to know with confidence that Jesus will al-

    ways be by your side? This journey of faith will be far more worth it than you could ever imagine.

    So why do you and I have to endure this pain right now? Because we have also been blessed

    with Gods hope. When all is said and done, and we stand before Christ on judgment day, how

    much more lovely will the words, well done, my good and faithful servant, sound in our ears? God

    has saved each one of us (and in the process, enduring far greater pain than any of us will ever ex-

    perience); we are beyond blessed to have been saved at such a young age. What is a little earthly

    suffering going to compare to eternal life? We are living for His glory. Give this hope, this love, this

    redemption you have to your friends and family this Christmas. At the very least, remember what

    God has done for you this year. Thank God for all the blessings Hes given us. When you wake up on

    Christmas morning, take a couple minutes to reflect on how God is mighty to save. How He is faith-

    ful and His love is never failing.

    Think about your own life. Does your life reflect the joy and hope of knowing Jesus? Can

    others see that in you, or do you hide away from the light? Its a choice to love. Its a choice to live a

    life for Gods glory. What would you do? Dont waste another minute. Share this gift you have re-

    ceived, given so freely to such an undeserving people. Give yourself to the world as a messenger of

    light, a child of God, and ultimately, a messenger of hope.

  • 6

    Oasis! I've missed you guys. College has been changing my life, and I could go on about it for forever.

    For a couple of months in Boston, I went to several

    churches before finding the fellowship I'm in now.

    It's been quite a crazy journey but if there's one

    thing I've learned, it's that God is faithful and con-

    stant through it all.

    But right now I want to talk about your life in

    this season. I recently heard a series of sermons

    about the advent that's made me consider Christ-

    mas so differently. What are you doing this Christ-

    mas? Are you doing Christmas with your family or

    with friends? How do we "do Christmas"? Doing

    Christmas is about seeing Jesus.

    The three wise men traveled for months and

    months to find Jesus, following a star. God uses his

    creation, in every day, in every way, to give us a star

    to follow. When they got there, they were over-

    joyed. There was a baby in a manger, and they were

    overjoyed. Whenever we get a glimpse of Jesus, we

    should be overjoyed. Through so many nights in my

    life, I've found it so hard to find joy. But God is

    reaching out to me. And I am just finding that truth out for myself. God is reaching out to you. He

    doesn't have to, but He chooses to.

    When they saw Jesus, they fell down and worshipped Him. And then they gave Jesus the best

    that they had, not just the gifts they had but the way they bowed down to Him. I've thought about

    leading a life of service in Christ, but I've always thought, maybe I'll set up my career first. Maybe I'll

    have a family first. Maybe I'll have my retirement plan settled and my house bought and my kids' col-

    lege tuitions saved. And then someone asked me this is Jesus worth the best years of your life?

    These, these are the best years of our lives. It's why I've found myself in Boston; there's a reason, a

    time for everything. Christmas is one day, the season is just a part of a year, but living for Christ is a

    lifetime, starting now, starting today. We can't give any gifts to God that He doesn't already have

    except ourselves and our own lives.

    Bring your finest self and your worst self and all of yourself to Jesus in 2013, and He will meet

    you. God is good. Merry Christmas!

    A Lifetime of Christ Alum article! (and former Vine editor!!)

    - Alice Liang

  • - Charles Ko

    How I found out Santa wasnt real

    I believed in Santa until I was ten years old. That's like, fourth grade... And I only stopped

    believing because I directly asked my mom and she told me.

    I've been close to finding the truth on several occasions. Once, one of my gifts had a

    "made in Boston" stamp on its bottom.

    I asked my mom why a sticker would be there, and my mom goes, "OOOH, DON'T YOU

    KNOW? THERE'S A BOSTON IN NORTH POLE!" and stupid me goes "oh but of course! that

    makes sense..."

    ANYWAY, when I found out that he didn't exist, I thought it was the biggest conspiracy

    ever; you couldn't blame me: my teachers were in on it, all the parents were in on it, even my fel-

    low classmates believed in it. Even when my classmates started to not believe, I held firm to my

    faith.

    One day, Stephen Lee (David Legacy Lee's older

    brother) told me that Santa didn't exist. I got really

    mad.

    I got so mad that I ran across the room and

    knocked him off the chair and onto the floor.

    And I was choking him with my hands, saying

    that Santa existed.

    Did I mention that I did this in his house?

    And that his MOM WAS IN THE ROOM??

    Yeah.... LOL

    That's my Santa story.

  • 8

    Passion is a desire to see your

    brothers and sisters in Christ grow

    in their relationships with Him.

    I love you all.

    Thank you for these past two-and-a-half years so far, and thank you for being a second

    home to me. Especially thank you because I get to talk to Asian people! The Asian population at Ath-

    ens is tiny, for real.

    I ask that you hear me out on this. There are many people who might feel this way, and I

    think I can safely say that Im speaking for those people when I ask:

    What are you doing here?

    This is not to say, of course, that I dont want you to be here. In fact, just the opposite. Oasis

    has grown so much just in the time that Ive been here, and God has brought a lot of people to this

    ministrymore than anyone has expected, Im sure. And all of you are welcome. If no one has told

    you that yet, then let me say it now: welcome to Oasis!

    But also, with new people comes different beliefs. And so I think Oasis is falling apart, a little?

    New people bring new expectations, and this ministry cant always fulfill all of them. So we settle for

    less. And then the only thing you know is what less is like. So that sets your standard for Oasis, and

    its a vicious cycle because you dont know passion and therefore no one else that comes knows pas-

    sion, either.

    What is passion? Passion is a desire for God. Passion is a desire for worship because life is

    given so that we can glorify the Lord. Passion is a desire to see your brothers and sisters in Christ

    grow in their relationships with Him, and to encourage them as they seek God.

    This is passion. This is also something that we dont have.

    I ask, brothers and sisters, that you consider something. Why do you come to Oasis? Every-

    one will have different answers. Theres not necessarily one right answer, but there is definitely a

    wrong one.

    So I urge you to consider your heart. Does it desire God? Does it desire to praise and glorify Him,

    and to encourage others to do so as well?

    Because we expect the leaders, seniors,

    worship team, to do everything, and to

    bring Oasis back to its feet. In fact, all

    the leaders have this expectation for

    themselves, and it is a heavy burden to

    carry.

    They cannot do this alone.

    You have to help. This isnt just another Saturday hangout. Yes, Im sure you may have heard

    this beforepeople bring it up all the time. But maybe, just maybe, it is continually brought up be-

    cause no one has fixed it.

    Were not perfect. The leaders are as human as the rest of Oasis, and were going to make

    mistakes. And one of these mistakes might just be that were trying too hard to do this on our own.

    As A Family

  • We cant. There just arent enough of us.

    But if we come together as a congregation, as a family of Christ-followers, we can help

    each other out. There is more to this ministry. This isnt all that we can do, not all that we are

    capable of. And Im sure this isnt all that God has planned for us.

    Because we were meant for more. And because love sometimes means fixing the bad

    things.

    I dont want to come across as an angry hypocrite or whatever you might think after

    reading this. Ive written angry things about Oasisthis is not one of them. Because anger has

    not solved anything, ever. People who were angry about Oasis? Theyve all left. And they have-

    nt come back. Anger has never fixed a single problem.

    This is more than anger. This is me, pleading with you, to just lay down any other rea-

    son to come to Oasis, and to just come

    and worship God. To be filled with Him

    every Saturday night and to not fall away

    the next morning.

    He has loved us more than we de-

    serve. Nothing we can do will ever amount

    to the sacrifice He made. So we come to

    Him, empty, on our knees, and we thank

    Him.

    Oasis is a home. To those who are broken,

    and to those who need more of Him. We

    arent going to be perfect. We will never

    be perfect. But we strive for that perfection

    that comes from knowing God is with us.

    Soli deo gloria; glory to God alone.

    Love,

    Esther

    - Esther Yan

  • 10

    Treading Water

    One story I find particularly inspiring in the Bible is the one of Peter walking on the water.

    Faith has been a constant struggle in my life, and to read about Peter taking that step of faith astounds

    me. I know if I was in his place I would not have taken that risk. My fear and doubt would have held me back in

    the boat, where the space is cramped but the fish are plenty and life is for myself. In this boat, I would be able to

    pursue all my ideas and dreams, all that seems important, just like fish were important to the fishermen. But then

    they chose to look beyond the fish and fix their eyes upon the Creator and Giver of the fish.

    When I look past my ideal path in life, all I see is a haze of my own ambitions and willfulness, see myself

    so ignorant and obstinate, thinking I can have it all my way.

    Im treading along the shores, one foot in the sand, one in the water, unable to decide if I want to take

    the plunge, let the cold seep into my clothes. I dally and stall, making sand castles of my own selfishness, while

    staring into the blue, wondering what it would be like to just go, and jump. I see the tide come in, God reaching

    out to me, and I retreat. He knocks down my sandcastles, leaving me devastated, wanting me to return.

    But sometimes, I guess Ive just wanted to be so self-sufficient, to pick myself back up rather than grab-

    bing a hand.

    And I return to the shore, picking up shells, my trophies of useless and petty worth, making necklaces

    and collecting them and sorting them, convincing myself that they matter when I know the next tide will take

    them away. But yet I find it such a relief to deceive myself. These shells, these trophies of my accomplishments,

    countless things Ive taken glory for, rather than reflecting back to God, I cover myself in these shells, this sand,

    hiding. I sometimes look at the sea and shudder, imagine the cold trickling down my neck, my breath knocked

    away, my reality twisted, my fantasy twisted.

    And maybe if I entered the water I could at last see that it was no beach I waited on, but a thorny, rocky

    and desolate wilderness. If only I waded a bit in the water. If only I let God recreate my perspective.

    God tells me I have to drown to my desires and wants, that I have to just stop trying to float on my own,

    That Hell be my lifejacket, his Word the straps that bind me and secure me,

    So that I will finally stop treading water and wasting time and energy to do it all by myself.

    But the sand is so warm, the way it feels on my feet,

    My shovels and buckets waiting for me, to build another sandcastle.

    And so I build another one, all the time knowing how ephemeral it is,

    How itll last no longer than an hour, so temporary, so weak, so pathetic

    And I decorate it with my shells and tell myself its worth doing this,

    When the sea behind me roars in response.

    Sometimes I wish someone would just toss me into this sea,

    Force me the right way, while I scream and kick and maybe whimper

    But this is free will if there ever could be such a thing

    And I tempt fate, with one foot planted in the ocean and one foot on the beach,

    Looking from side to side, oscillating, indecisive, absolutely lost,

    Cursing the tide and the sand and the shells

    Im along the shore, walking,

    Pacing back and forth to no avail

    Watching my sandcastles fall down one by one

    Watching the water swallow up the shells

    And then turn toward the sun at the far end of the wide expanse of water

    I feel Im running out of time .

    -Anonymous

  • This Special Christmas

    -Peter Sun

    This special Christmas I hope to bring

    a little more joy, a little more peace, a

    little more faith, a little more hope, a

    whisper in the wind, umbrella in the

    rain, medicine for pain, a little bit of

    good, a little bit of smile, a little bit of

    wonder, at this little child, who on

    this Christmas day, chose to live and

    stay, In this broken world, to guard

    and watch us, heal and mend us,

    when we chose to hate Him anyway, a

    tiny small embrace, little bit of tears, little bit of fear, to bring God called Christ near, a little bit of

    hate, a little bit of sorrow, a little bit of shards, no more come tomorrow, the day when love was

    born, in a lowly manger, a world that looked confused, as if God was this holy stranger, brought

    down to earth that night, shining this light so bright, but we turn away in desperation, and we scoff

    with exasperation, oh who needs this God, when we have ourselves, slaves to our sins, addictions

    and dreams, chains that wont break, no matter what we do, until we give them up, and scream lets

    Crucify you, as if were more than gods, as if we stood a chance, before the God above, were

    merely specks of dust, and let me ask you this, would you look beneath your feet, scrape the

    ground, kiss the dirt, and say I love you?

    Well, God did, to you and me, He chose

    to save imperfection perfectly, bought

    at this wholly holy price, salvation on

    this cross, but He never boasted out,

    never told the world, to follow Him be-

    cause, He was the loudest or the bold-

    est, but no He came, to save the weak

    and the hurting, to be humble before

    men, even when He was God, and we

    were nothing, nothing but nothing, and

    there bleeding to death, on that twisted

    freezing tree, we spat at His face and

    said You cant save me, when right at

    that moment, all sin that came from me,

    was poured into His soul, and then I became free, but why do I still live, as if He didnt die for me, as

    if this cross where my Savior won, if nothing but imagery? How, oh God, do I turn again, and face

    you with all of me, instead of cowering behind these masks of deceit, running and running away,

    never really finding home, a place to belong, drifting in this ocean of nothingness, lost in this big

    world, yet found again in Christ alone.

    This special Christmas I want to remember, just what Christ did for me, when I was still a sinner.

    He chose to save imperfection

    perfectly, bought at this

    wholly holy price, salvation

    on this cross

  • 12

    Hebrews 12: 1 says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, us

    throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, let us run with perseverance the

    race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the

    joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne

    of God.

    My life has never been fuller of everything that the Lord can offer me. In a sense, I am a cup

    that is filled to the brim and continuously emptied, and then continuously filled. I find myself falling in

    love with Jesus in a different way every single day, and I just cant get enough of it. In November, my

    church, Livingstones, headed down to Chicago for a Chinese conference called MTC (Midwest Thanks-

    giving Conference). I wouldnt say that it changed my lifeGod was already placing a multitude of

    blessings upon mebut I certainly came back different. But there, those three days were so incredibly

    different. I had never encountered Jesus in such an intimate way before, I spoke in tongues, I fell pros-

    trate in His presence, and I was a witness to a dozen miracles. I saw broken bones being healed, I was

    given prophecies, and I felt the hand of an angel upon my back. There, God gave me such a feeling of

    peace, of satisfaction, of contentment that I wasnt hungry anymoreliterally and figuratively, and

    thats saying a lot for someone who can eat like me. And God didnt stop there; He gave me a vision.

    In this vision, I saw a thousand foot wide chasm that was

    connected by a string of rope. And there I was, cowering in

    a corner by a rock, stubbornly and cowardly refusing to be

    led by God across. Finally, God took me in his arms, placed

    my feet on the rope, and held my arms up at my side. Lit-

    erally forcing me to walk, He led me across, and I crossed

    it. However shaky my legs were at the beginning, each step

    strengthened me and gave me courage. I crossed that

    chasm in His arms, and on the other side, was only a

    beauty that God could create. I couldnt stand; all I could

    do was lie on my face, basking in His glory.

    Coming home, I was determined to change every-

    thing. God gave me a dream showing me that my job was

    in the way of getting to know Him more, so I cut down

    from working two days a week, to just working once a

    week for three hours. God told me that He wanted more

    time, so I quit piano. God told me that I was wasting time

    focused on other peoples lives, so I quit social networking.

    God told me that He just wanted to spend time with me,

    so now I worship every day. I find myself in a position

    where I am asking God for more and more. And now I am

    the one asking God for simply more than just my day to

    dedicate to him, but my life. I bet weve all known what its

    like to fall for someone before, I know I have. How you

    cant stop thinking about that person, how you fall asleep

    at night sometimes, your last thought on that specific

    someone.

    Hebrews 12

  • - Amy Lin

    Thats how it is with me and God. I cant stop thinking about God as I walk through

    the halls of school, every single hour when Im at home alone, and in my dreams. And when I

    worship now, the fire inside of me to praise my God, is so undeniable, I have to stop myself

    from breaking down every single time. Encountering the Holy Spirit, talking to God, drinking

    in as much of His word as possible, its too wonderful to even imagine, and yet Im living it.

    I finally understand what it is to lead a life of worship, and go deeper into His pres-

    ence. God is not a mystical genie who sits on a cloud and strikes fear into peoples hearts.

    God is not a presence that is foreign, and He is not someone who we talk about every single

    time we go into church or whisper that prayer at dinnertime. God is someone who is so in

    love with us that sent His one and only son to die for us. God is someone who is just simply

    begging for an hour or two of our time every day, God wants a relationship and not a rela-

    tionship where we have to be all mature or spiritual. God. Just. Wants. Us. However much

    we dont deserve it, God just wants everything of us, even the clean and the dirty. He doesnt

    care; all of our sins were washed away when He gave us the chance to be born again. All He

    cares about now is us encountering Him, and loving Him with everything we have.

    I want to worship Him with every day, all days, to the end of my days.

    Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of

    witnesses, us throw off everything that hinders and the sin

    that so easily entangles, let us run with perseverance the

    race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the au-

    thor and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before

    him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at

    the right hand of the throne of God.

    Hebrews 12:1

  • 14

    Right now, we live in an amazing time period: we are able

    to hear music with a flick of a finger, we are able to travel 6658.2

    miles in under 14 hours (distance from Detroit to Beijing), and

    finally, we are able to transmit mass waves of energy in the form

    of communication in a couple of seconds, all of which could not

    be imaginable a mere century ago. As our society continues to

    advance, the importance of knowledge becomes increasingly

    relevant. Who would be able to survive in a world where the im-

    portance is placed on, not living and satisfying the basic necessi-

    ties, but rather attending an elite college, receiving a respectable

    amount of pay, and striving for the best, something that has

    been engrained in our lives ever since we were small? But, if we

    actually take time in our fast-pacing lives to think about this con-

    cept, for whom is this intended for? What use does our constantly

    accelerating progress in technology actually accomplish? How

    does this actually improve our lives?

    True enough, better technology grants increased comfort

    in work, which grants increased productivity, which grants a longer life span, which grants an in-

    crease in the retirement age, which grants better technology, and so on. This ultimately proves the

    answer to whom this cycle is provided for: newer, faster, and more appealing technological devices.

    Essentially, Asimovs IROBOT did come true in the sense that robotsin this case older devices

    build other robotsin this case newer devicesdiscarding the toolshumansas gruesome as it

    seems.

    After rambling for this long, you may be asking how this relates to the Bible or why is this kid

    is talking about this stuff? Well, dont ask me, I dont know what youre thinking. But, I do know why

    Im talking about this: the issue of intertwining religion and daily life.

    Psalm 78 says what we have heard and known, / what our fathers have told us. / We will

    not hide them from their children; / we will tell the next generation [the Lords] power, and the

    wonders he has/ done.

    Well, what does this mean? If you dont know, read it again and if you still dont know after

    reading it again, read it again once more, and if you still dont know after reading it twice, just give

    up and go study English (hopefully everyone will understand thats a joke since the act of persever-

    ing something to the end is absolutely terrific and something to get used tounless its bad).

    Anyway, Ill still explain it: the Psalm says that we should spread our accumulating knowl-

    edge of God to our descendants in order to spread His words as well as to cultivate, dare I say it, a

    perfect human. The psalm (Random fact of the day: Psalm 78 is the second longest psalm) basically

    summarizes what has happened throughout parts of the Bible and gives examples of how humans

    have betrayed God. From verse ten to twenty-two, the Bible speaks of how the Ephraimites took

    advantage of the omnipotent God: these men disobeyed, disregarded, and even challenged Him. At

    Oasis, even though we accept the Lord and attempt to follow his ways (or at least I hope everyone

    does), I will almost bet some form of food that everyone here has ignored himnot doing any type

    of devotionals because of too much homework per seor tested Him at least once in their lives.

    Time with God

  • Now, after getting both concepts straight, they, surprisingly, correlate nicely.

    The generic phrase, time is money is true, and quite serious, as opposed to the usually lax

    tone when the sentence is used. What is also interesting is that the word money can also be inter-

    changed with any other type of word: time is number of buttons pressed from playing LoL,

    time is Facebook, time is amount of bacteria that has resulted from reproduction of a parent cell

    through binary fission, and most importantly, time is Gods relationship. As our time decreases

    from worrying about our future, the connection between God and us diminishes, usually placed on

    the back-burner with school, relationships, or other matters placed as our primary worry. As we

    grow older, we would typically scoff at our so called busy lives, a clich of sorts as an excuse to

    deviate from God and other important matters.

    200 years ago, the Bible was used to teach English (so if you dont understand Psalm 78, I

    suggest you read the Bible more) exactly 50 years ago, religion was banned from public schools,

    and now, confidence in religion is at an all time low. If this trend continues, who knows what will

    happen. What may have caused this? The answer may be in the proliferating competition of being

    the best. People are only given a standard amount of timeyou cannot change it. If studying is

    more important that God, so be it, its what you think: it cant be helped. But what if both matters

    can be balanced equally?

    Well, I dont know all the answers nor do I expect most people to know whats best, but try a

    few different things: reading the Bible before bed? After studying? Try what you like, who knows

    what you might stumble upon, maybe youll discover something that will change the way that you

    think forever. Oh yeah, congrats to all the seniors who are going to become college people next

    year. Have an excellent and merry Christmas and have a happy new year of 2013. THE MAYANS

    WERE WRONG (as expected).

    -Arnold Zhou

    what we have heard and known, what our fathers

    have told us, we will not hide them from their children;

    we will tell the next generation [the Lords] power, and

    the wonders he has done.

    Psalm 78

  • 16

    Oasis, I love you too much to not tell you this.

    Why is "thinking" such a rejected thing today? Why does one have to stay within boundaries and not

    be allowed think abstractly? I find comfort in the hunger, thirst, wisdom, and knowledge that the Lord has

    given me. What happened to finding motives and meaning to things?

    Why do you do, what you do? Nowadays, it's just a textbook answer

    that fills the blank time and questions asked. Have some faith in what

    you believe, for I'd rather call myself a non-believer than to lie to myself

    and say "I believe". No one bothers to think of another possibility of

    living life. We are all so comfortable to our own perspectives, our mor-

    als, and our beliefs, but what you say you believe in is not necessarily

    what you believe. It has gotten to the point where we have lied to our-

    selves and gotten away with it, and this is why I love to think and be

    accepting to new perspectives. Through certain other perspectives, you

    can be wrong, but knowing something is wrong is somewhere to start,

    forcing you to reevaluate why you do what you do. I desire to bear fruit

    to serve for the Lord, but there are other things in which my sinfulness

    desires. For God is number one and others, number two and then lastly

    yourself.

    It's all about us being third in our universe. We can bash on society and say how much harm it has

    done to us, how corrupt it has made us, but simply complaining doesn't change anything. Many things blind

    us from seeing; however, many of these are put up by ourselves without even knowing. It's about you being

    able to let God be in control and I know you hear this again and again, but have you ever wondered why? It is

    because we don't get it. They say to put God first but what does that mean to you? Too often these days we

    see people driven by their emotions, success, and relationships; none of these times do we take control of

    what we think because we are too busy being "emotional". You can be depressed, but that is a choice made

    by you. You and I always find justification for actions; twisting perspective to find a "good enough" reason so

    others can't say that you are wrong, for no one wants to be the "bad guy" or the one who is "wrong". Instead

    I say find comfort in your flaws, for if you know something is wrong, only then can you do something about it.

    For the Will of God doesn't come easily, and he does not simply hand the work finished, but His promise en-

    sures that he will struggle and labor with us... and that is enough. Even the Israelites had to fight for the

    promise land and walk through the desert.

    He is faithful to finish what he has started, so have some faith in your God even if you fail to defeat

    sin; be picked up by the Lord and continue walking and pressing for Him. No one is to blame for your trou-

    bles and failures but if even the Lord doesn't condemn you, who is there to be afraid of? For even your faith is

    given to you and may you be ever asking and repenting to the Lord. Many believe in themselves and have

    dug their own wells and forsaken God. But you already know all that has been said and is to come. No matter

    how much you try to change your heart, you cant. But, Christ gave you the gift of free will, so you can

    change your decisions. Choose to let Him take over and you will find a life of True everlasting Joy.

    May He bless you and keep you: and to Him be forever given the glory forever and ever, amen.

    I am Third

    Felix Chiang For with much wisdom comes

    much sorrow;

    The more knowledge the more grief

    Ecclesiastes 1:18

  • Shekinah Glory

    He raised his hands and screamed, God, where are You? He paced back and forth, frus-

    trated with himself and the world. He got on his knees only to find discomfort and pain. He started

    to break down. He got back on his feet and started to shake with fury. Fueled solely by rage and

    anger, he tore his notebook into little pieces. Lies, Lies, all terrible Lies, he muttered. Oftentimes,

    he wondered what he was doing in this world and how long he must put up with it. He walked back

    and forth some more. And some more. And some more until he came across a dusty rugged book

    with letters smeared HOLY BIBLE. He picked it up and a paper fell out of it. It wrote, Jesus loves me

    and will give his life for me to be with my daddy. The date written on it1/15/2001. He started to

    break down. Twelve years. So much has happened in these twelve years and his twelve-year-old self

    knew how to love without questioning. He curled into a ball wonderingwas he truly loved? Yes.

    The answer was yes. He got back on his knees and found comfort and reassurance flowing within

    him. Yes. Jesus loves me. He stood up and raised his hands to let out a faint sigh, God, You are

    love. Then he closed his eyes.

    We wait for you,

    Since you gave your life in a beautiful exchange.

    We wait for you,

    For you are our cornerstone, where weak are made strong through your blood.

    We wait for you,

    Surrendering all.

    To walk in the room

    So please Jesus cover us with an angelic symphony.

    Here we are,

    With our brothers and sisters,

    Standing in your presence,

    Remembering all the good things You have done.

    Shekinah Glory come down

    Let it rain and fall afresh on my living soul

    Release the fullness of your Spirit

    And forever reign

    Shekinah Glory come.

    After all, you are holy.

    Anonymous

  • 18

    Features

    Editorial from the Highly Esteemed Editorial Board: How to Write a Hit Vine Article

    1. Read a whoooole Vine because it is important to know how the Vine works and why people are cool

    if they write for it duh. oasisvine.tumblr.com

    2. Go onto www.facebook.com/oasisvine to find the deadline for the upcoming Vine issue!

    3. Have a wild experience or create an epiphany for yourself so you can have something interesting to

    write about

    4. Eat some food because usually that stimulates the mind.

    5. Open up Microsoft Word 2010 a couple of days before the deadline.

    6. Eat something to reward yourself for coming so far. Note: It is okay to fall asleep or get distracted at

    this point because as a wise Vine writer you have started so early! Good work!

    7. Wake up and write about the stuff.

    8. Revel in the joy of sharing and all of the holiday seasons.

    9. Send to all of the Vine editors two days before the deadline okie now. All of them. good

    10. Pat yourself gently on the back and then fall asleep with passion and a clear conscience.

    11. And then the editors saw that all that they had collected was good. And there was evening, and

    there was morningthe Vine. And it was good.

  • Features

  • 20

    Christmas Surveys

    7%

    64%

    20%

    7%

    2%

    I listen to Xmas music after...

    Halloween

    Thanksgiving

    Christmas

    Never

    ALL THE TIME

    68%

    19%

    6%

    5% 2%

    My ideal Xmas is...

    snowy

    warm

    cold

    rainy

    idk

    How did you find

    out Santa wasnt

    real?

    WELLI snuck downstairs

    thinking Santa was there. But

    NOOOO. It was my mom.

    Childhood dreams crushed.

    He is real..?

    No presents from Santa.

    From a textbook.

    I stopped getting both Pre-

    sents and Coal after age 6.

    I am Santa.

    I made a present for Santa, then my dad

    told me that Santa isn't real when he did-

    n't take it to the "north pole". Then he told

    me the Easter bunny isn't real and Peter

    Pan isnt real.

    Parents told me immediately after under-

    standing life.

  • Editors Picks

    Pokmon December: Who is who?

    Peter Hao

    Kenneth Wang

    Peter Ko

    Peter Sun

    Phillip An

    Teddy Du

    Kelly Yu

    Lily Wang

    David Lee

  • Love your editors,

    Give me articles!!!

    Butterfly | [email protected]

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    January Announcements

    January 1 Make New Years Resolutions

    January 2Write for the Vine

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    January 13Sharons Mommys birthday

    January 16 Cathy Yans birthday

    January AllWrite for the Vine! Okay.

    Merry Christmas, and a

    Happy New Year!!!