The Mind of Christ

For a lot of the holidays we celebrate, people usually have several regular traditions. For example, on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day we will make a special effort to show our gratitude to our parents. On Thanksgiving we take the opportunity to thank those around us and also give thanks to God. On Christmas we gather at church and celebrate that Jesus Christ came to Earth. For New Year’s, it’s a time where we can set new goals for a new year.

As I was think about how to celebrate Christmas this year, God gave me this passage: Philippians 2:5-11.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The “form” that is mentioned in v. 6-7 is referring to the fact that Jesus has the status of God with power and authority. “Likeness” in v. 7 is referring to His physical appearance while on Earth. “Made Himself of no reputation” means that He emptied Himself and took on complete submission born out of humility. V. 6-8 talk about Christ’s coming and the reasons for it. V. 9-11 talks about God’s exaltation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name (for He will save the people from their sins).

Many times when I have a lot on my mind I will think of my dear little brother. That was the case while I was thinking about this passage. In the midst of the pain of my brother’s passing there was one thing that God helped me understand and brought comfort to me. That thing is our dear Heavenly Father is also a Father who has lost His Son. And because of that loss He can completely understand my feelings and comfort me. It’s hard to imagine how God must have felt watching His Son come to Earth. It’s also hard to imagine how much God loves us that He would give us His only Son so that those who believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus Christ was willing to take upon his shoulders this huge and weighty mission by humbling Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. He died on the cross for our sins, to save us from the power of sin and death. The love Jesus showed for the Father is what we should be emulating. A love that is fully aware of the Father’s love for the world. A heart that was willing to empty itself for the sake of the Father. He was willing to humble Himself. He was willing to submit. This passage’s most important line is right there at the beginning:  Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

This Christmas is a great opportunity for me to think about God’s love for me. To think about whether or not I’m willing to follow Jesus Christ’s example of humility. To follow His example of submission. To follow the example of intense, deep love that our Prince gives to us. To follow the example of Jesus Christ and let that heart be in me which was also in Christ Jesus.

On the flight back to Taiwan I saw a movie where a girl became crazily infatuated with a boy to the point where she was willing to try anything to make him happy. One day the boy asked her “Do you love me enough to die for me?”. After the girl said she would be willing to die for him the boy immediately posed a second question “No, dying is too easy. Are you willing to live for me?”

We should often be considering whether or not we love God to the point where we are eager to live for Him. We are carrying His death with us and we should let the Life of Jesus Christ also be evident in our lives. By having the mind of Jesus Christ we let Him become our living navigation system, our Google Map, a mobile battery pack that never runs out, fresh water on a sunny day or a warm coat in the middle of winter.

Jesus Christ’s gift of salvation is already there in front of us, but if we’re not willing to open the gift, it will never really be ours. And if I open the gift but don’t appreciate it then I’ll never understand its beauty. I’m willing to open this wonderful gift, enjoy its beauty, and practice throughout this new year how to have the mind of Jesus Christ.


Author: Uria Hsiung

Translation: Ethan Feig

life after VOICE

So a common question that my VOICE friends have asked since this summer’s conference is “What’s your life like now?”

Good question. Mostly, I am learning what it looks like to be a stay-at-home mom—with no other competing priorities. “That is the most rewarding work—you won’t regret it,” others tell me. And I know that.

But at the same time, VOICE was my first “baby.” I didn’t just work on it—I dreamt about what it could become. Now that I’ve stepped down, there’s a big empty hole in my heart, like part of me has died. Most days I’m too busy doing the next thing to notice, but when I try to articulate how I feel, the tears come.


Back before I had little kids underfoot, I joined everyone for the faith challenges at the Northwoods. That first year, I crossed the log without batting an eye. When I faced the log in 2006, however, my knees started shaking uncontrollably. I tried blocking out the well-meaning cheers coming from different sides of the pond (which meant that more and more people were watching). I inhaled deeply and coached myself with the words I’d used to coach dozens of others—”Don’t think about falling. Focus on the opposite end of the log.” I didn’t fall, but I couldn’t walk—so I ended up scooching awkwardly on my bottom.

Leaving VOICE has felt a little like that. Realizing that God was calling me out of VOICE was like taking that first step onto the log. Following Him out of VOICE—saying good-bye to something I loved so dearly, redefining my identity apart from it, and learning to live ordinary life for Him—has been hard.

But friends, this I know—Jesus gave up everything to make me His, and He deserves nothing less from me. I may no longer be the VOICE Conference Coordinator or the V2 instructor, but I am a child of God, and that will never change! Whether you are running, walking, or scooching in your Christian life, remember—we are not defined by what we do but by what He has done for us.

“For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 ESV)

goodbye, VOICE…

I once had the opportunity to ask well-known missionary and author Elisabeth Elliot one question: “What do I do when I have feelings for someone that won’t go away?”

“The things we love best,” she replied, “are substance for sacrifice.”

That two-minute conversation encapsulates a lesson that God has been teaching me throughout my life.

pitcher illustration

Many of you have heard me share my testimony at VOICE about how God asked me to give Him my love for volleyball, my hopes for education, my security at home in America, my feelings for someone I thought I’d marry… And now, God is asking me to give up one of my greatest passions: VOICE.

I spent the last twelve years developing VOICE into what I thought might be my life work. I made a lot of mistakes, but I got to see God do incredible things in your lives and mine. A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to take care of my sick family and get ready for this conference when God used a book I was reading to ask if I would be willing to give it up for Him.

“What?! Give up VOICE? How? Why?”

I write this with tears in my eyes. I wrestled with this decision as one can only wrestle with an idea that seems completely contrary to reality, but at the same time, it felt so familiar because I had been in this situation before. So I cried. I prayed. And I asked Him to confirm it to me through my personal devotions the next morning, and He did. In the words of a song, “Everything I once held dear, I count it all as loss…”

So what does this mean for VOICE? It means that #VOICE2016 may be our last conference. We hope you’ll pray with us that God will bring the people He wants to grow from the VOICE experience. If you have family or friends who have been thinking about attending “some day,” tell them this is the year they should go. If you’ve been wanting to come for V2, let me know.

Lastly, remember, VOICE is just a tiny chapter in God’s story of the world. We did everything we could to help you understand the Gospel and develop a personal relationship with Jesus. So now it’s your turn.

God is real. Live like it.

Loving Fathers

Merry Christmas!

2013 has been a year of dramatic change for me and my family. On June 7 my first son, Lewis, was born. Watching him grow and learn has been one of the greatest joys of my entire life. I could easily bore you with far too many tales of his exploits, but I’ll try not to…

Rowan & Lewis

Having a son has also opened up my eyes to new ways of understanding old truths of the Bible. I have always known that God is a father, but I only knew about one side of the father-child relationship. I always understood that Jesus was the Son of God, but I didn’t know what it was to be the father to a son.

Lewis is a dare devil. He is, as yet, unafraid of anything. He dives, lunges, crawls, topples, and bonks his way through every day, pleasantly unaware of all the near-pain experiences he has. Today he learned a new trick. As my wife and I were sitting on the floor with him he would pull himself up on us from sitting to standing and then let go, falling into our hands. He did this over and over for 20 minutes, slowly learning how to stand up, but still not capable of balancing on his own. Never once did he fall and hurt himself, because his mom and dad caught him every time.

This amazes me when I think about my Heavenly Father. Scripture says that God’s love for us is greater than a mother [or father] for her child. (Isaiah 49:15) I love my son enough that I will catch him when he [almost] falls off the couch or can’t quite balance on his own. Usually Lewis isn’t even aware that I’m hovering over him, alert to keep him safe.

God loves us enough that He promises, not to catch us every time, but to turn every situation for our good and blessing. (Romans 8:28) I don’t have a clue how this promise will work out for me or for you, but I do know that it cost Him deeply to fulfill it. The only way He could was to send His Son to Earth, to live a perfect life and to die in our place, as the Redeemer.

It grieves me that I cannot protect Lewis from pain or suffering, but I am so grateful that God would give His Son to care for mine!

The Pulse of Sacrifice

“Jesus loves me this I know,
for the Bible tells me so, 
little ones to Him belong, 
they are weak but He is strong.”  
Last time I wrote for the blog, I had recently taken on the challenge of learning to love by the measure given in 2 Corinthians 13:4-8; little did I know how greatly I would experience being loved firsthand by Jesus Christ. His love truly exceeds anything one could write about His being patient, kind, or selfless. 

He has held and comforted me as I sobbed my eyes out. He’s been patient through my countless questions and complaints of not understanding His Plan. His love gave me hope as I’ve been reminded of His promises –  and there are so many for you and I! Read His word – you’ll find them too! He works ALL things together for His glory! Love is the pulse of sacrifice – and ultimately the reason that He gave His life for you and I.  

Remember that little tune “Jesus Loves Me”? What a great reminder of belonging to God! I’m definitely a weakling, but, my God, no, OUR God is so strong!! 

He longs to be your Savior, Comforter, Restorer, Healer, Father, and so much more. Are you reveling in how much Our God loves you? Look at Arianna’s face in the picture – she is  smiling and giggling because of her parents’ love for her. That is exactly what she should be like with Christ’s love! 

Remember, It’s not just a Sunday School song… It’s the truth. He loves you. Dearly. 


What has Jesus done for you?

This past month I had the privilege to be part of the VOICE conference. As most of you know, sports activities at VOICE can be quite competitive at times. One afternoon at the Northwoods, I joined in a game of capture the flag. The game was going along rather well until I discovered I am not as fast or as coordinated as I previously imagined. This discovery was introduced to me through a full speed, literal head-on collision with a student. After crashing to the ground and rolling a few times, I eventually began to regain my senses enough to ensure I was in fact, still alive. As I lay on the ground watching the last few scenes of my life flash before my eyes, I prayed that the pain in my leg did not indicate a broken leg, and that my face was not bleeding too much. Thankfully, all that was required was a bandage and a few painkillers.

The next day or so, we had a church service in the tower. Going up that many stairs was a bit difficult as I tried to disguise the pain and act normal. As I sat in my chair, I was thinking about how much my body hurt, and frustrated at myself for not being able to avoid the collision. About that time, David L. began our worship service by reading Isa. 53:5 “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” When I heard that verse, the insignificance of my minor pains almost caused me to laugh at myself. At the same time, I had a tiny realization of the incredible physical and spiritual pain Jesus went through on the cross to pay the penalty required for my sins. The significance of Christ’s willing sacrifice out of love for me nearly brought me to tears. I had previously watched movies depicting the crucifixion of Jesus, read the Biblical account, and even heard testimony from medical professionals describing the intense physical pain Jesus went through on the cross, but at that moment the physical suffering of Jesus became real to me.

In living my life in a relationship with a real God, do my actions match my words? As imitators of Christ, we should be willing to love others the same way Jesus loved us. He was willing to suffer incomprehensible pain on my behalf, and yet I am often not willing to suffer embarrassment or rejection from others to stand for what I believe. This experience helped me to realize that nothing should hinder me from the responsibility I have of sharing the love of God with others that they too may know Jesus Christ personally.

Be bold to tell others what God has done in your life!

Lin, Lint, & Lent, Oh My!!!

Did any of you watch the Knicks vs. Heat basketball game last night? It was actually the first game I’ve seen this season, and I mainly wanted to watch because, yes, Jeremy Lin was playing. 🙂 Didn’t you?? After all the hype I’ve heard and read, I wanted to see this guy in action! And he didn’t disappoint. It was an awesome game.   

. . . . .

Don’t you hate it when you throw your clothes into the washer only to find out afterwards that you left something in your pocket? Tissues create the biggest havoc on black sweaters ever. Tiny white specks – everywhere! It’s just impossible to pick each piece off.   

. . . . . 

Last Wednesday was the kickoff to Lent, with it being ‘Ash Wednesday.’ It is the start of 40 days where people give something up for ‘Lent,’ to take part in Christ’s suffering. They pick one item/activity and fast from Facebook, music, soda, sugary foods, Starbucks, eating out at restaurants, movies, etc. Simply put, they give up something that they can live just fine without, or maybe it’s an activity or something that has taken more of their focus than it should be.   

It’s only three days into Lent, and I hear comment after comment, “Ugh, I can’t – I gave that up for lent,” “I’m going to starve! I can’t have meat, or drink soda,” & “I’m so glad I didn’t give THAT up! I don’t know how I’d be able to survive.” Was it a sacrifice or was it surrender? What was their motive in giving up something they enjoyed? Why did they do it? Did they desire to, but were just having a moment of ingratitude for all that they had beside? Or were they only doing it to gain admiration and boost their pride?

It made me ask myself – What is my attitude when I give something up for even a short time – like, music while at VOICE. Or when I put on a uniform instead of my own clothing choice for work. Is it given up begrudgingly? Or is my surrender genuine, knowing that the outcome is sweeter than the sacrifice. Our motive & heart attitude is a true indicator of who we are giving it up for. 

We each can definitely come up with a list of a few things we can live without. What is one thing you cannot live without? The answer is obvious – It’s Jesus Christ. Because ‘For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are ALL things.’ [Romans 11:36a ESV] It might be a small sacrifice – but, anything that we turn to, spend time or money on, and takes our focus off of God is in need of management. Maybe we should take these 40 days ourselves just to focus on the ONE who this season is about; remembering everything that He did & suffered. He gave so much for you & I – how could anything I give up for a mere 40 days even compare!?

I know what you’re thinking… what in the world does Jeremy Lin, lint, and Lent have to do with each other?! Basically nothing, but the random events that my life, and the musings of my mind. 🙂 But I can tell you – It doesn’t matter who [Jeremy Lin, or Katie Pleckham] or what you are [athlete, student, or piece of fuzz]; what you’ve done or are doing [sacrifices]; but, it’s merely about what has already been done by Christ on the cross. And for that, I am forever humbled, and grateful – with or without a Starbucks cup in hand.

Are you?