by Ernest Liu
about the author

  • Random Snippets
    • Happy Birthday to Me!
      To be honest, I almost forgot about my own birthday. I didn't realize it was coming up until a friend reminded me. I remember the days when I would count down to April 25th, my special day with friends and presents. I could relish the newfound respect as everyone acknowledged my age counter tick up. The irony is that…
    • Little Thoughts on ❤ Relationships
      I've been single my entire life, for two reasons. One, because I am super picky when it comes to female phenomena. Two, and more importantly, because…
    • Highlights
      While reading it through Kindle, I discovered a neat feature. The app underlined passages that were…
  • The Art of Being Less Friendly

    One Friday night, I visited a fellowship in SoCal. I was taking the weekend to hang out with a bunch of friends at Disneyland, and decided to attend a fellowship I once previously enjoyed. I met a lot of cool people that night, including this one girl…

    Okay, wait. Hold on. No.

    I am not implying that I had a thing for her. And I didn’t. But she seemed very friendly and extroverted, so when she mentioned that she had a Disneyland pass, I invited her to come join us the following day. After all, we had seven people in our group, the worst number for ride distribution. In my mind, I loved the logistical outcome of an additional park goer, and I’d get to hang out with a new friend!

    But for the rest of the night, I thought to myself… “I better not engage in conversation with her, or even look at her, or I’ll accidentally lead her on.” So I proceeded with caution. And everything went pretty well. We ended up in a group together one last time before I left, and as I made my way to the car, I reminded her that she was welcome to join. She said she’d think about it. She was probably thinking, “Nnnnnnnope.”

    In the car, I turned to my friend Laurence and asked, “Do you think Mary (or whatever her name was) thinks I was coming on to her?” He answered with a pretty quick “No.” After he affirmed that he knew I was just being friendly, he later changed his mind and said, “Okay, maybe she thought something was up after you invited her a second time.”

    Later, we also talked about how Laurence was talking to a girl (since there was no one else to talk to) when her boyfriend swooped in to give her a hug. It looked like the guy was saving her from creeper Laurence, or trying to send a message that she’s taken and he can stop trying.

    Oh, the things we have to deal with.

    Sometimes it bothers me, though. In my mind, in a sinless and perfect world, we could be as friendly as we want to one another. No one would have the fear of being engaged by someone with ulterior motives. Friendships would abound, and if romantic interests developed, there would be no fear of the dreaded friend zone.

    But sin is abundant in the world, so friendships get stifled. We guard ourselves in case a fellow human being wants something from us. We take time to judge whether or not someone genuinely wants to be our friend. On the other end, we often climb the friendship ladder slowly so we don’t send the wrong message. It’s like we have to perfect the art of being less friendly.

    Learning to be An Extrovert

    In the past couple of years, I’ve been training myself to be more extroverted in my interactions. To be more welcoming and amicable. It probably started when my friend Veronica began asking me to greet new guys at church, and I have to say, it was a good push to get me out of my comfort zone.

    But now that I’m more comfortable with cold turkey contact, I’ve noticed that I need to pull back. Mainly when approaching girls. Actually, pretty much only when approaching girls. (With guys, it’s easy to dive deep, even after only meeting them once.) And honestly, I strongly dislike the need to hold back just so I don’t creep people out. But I see why it’s necessary. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming girls for being careful around guys. I’m just irked by how sin has inhibited many potential, fruitful friendships.

    Eventually, in Heaven, we won’t be ravaged with this problem. We’ll all be in a perfect state, able to interact without fear of any sort, and that is the world I long to live in.

    You Know What’s Underrated?

    underrated

    *during a conversation*

    Mike: That’s overrated.
    Kim: Dude, you think everything’s overrated.
    Mike: What, no! Okay. You know what’s underrated?

    *silence*

    Mike: The small things.

    My roommate was right. It’s usually the bigger things that get appreciated. The pastor’s heart-piercing message, the fantastic worship sets, or the fancy food at Thanksgiving banquets. But little things go a long way. Because at its core, they’re not little at all. It takes a big heart to do the little things. So here’s a tribute to those that do the little things.

    Continue reading

    The Malignancy of Sin

    Hell makes a lot more sense when you get past the elementary understanding of “eternal fire.” The thing that really burns in Hell is often misunderstood…

    I recently started reading the book Respectable Sins. In chapter three it reads:

    “Another term for cancer is malignancy. Medically, the word malignant describes a tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally into adjoining tissue by invasion and systemically by metastasizing into other areas of the body. Left alone, a malignancy tends to infiltrate and metastasize throughout the entire body and will eventually cause death. No wonder cancer and malignant are such dreaded words.

    Sin is a spiritual and moral malignancy. Left unchecked, it can spread throughout our entire inner being and contaminate every area of our lives.”1

    In Hell, God is no longer present to help you suppress your sin. It grows like a cancer, just like it did on Earth, but without restraint and for eternity. It invades every fiber of your soul until your burning pride, anger, selfishness, frustration, anxiety, and worldliness consumes you. But it doesn’t end. It never ends. Spiritual malignancy is eternal.

    The longer I live, the more I realize how sinfully capable I am and how lost my soul would be without the sanctification granted by my Savior. I can only begin to imagine where my sin would take me if given an eternity. And it’s not pretty.

    Thanks for the sacrifice, God.

    1Bridges, Jerry (2014-02-01). Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate (p. 23). NavPress. Kindle Edition.
    I Almost Died Today

    No joke. A few minutes away from my exit on the freeway, I my car started making a clanking sound every time I accelerated. I turned off my exit as usual, but the upcoming turn was different. The wheel resisted to rotate, and I barely made the left turn as oncoming traffic zoomed by. Later, the wheel resisted again, barely allowing my car to go right. Thankfully, I had already slowed down and was turning into my house.

    In short, if the wheel resistance occurred one turn earlier as I got off the exit, I could have gotten into a bad accident. And died.

    There are so many things you can think about when you realized death was just at your door. For me, there’s just one thing on my mind. And it is this.

    I’ve got a God who was merciful enough to save me tonight, despite the fact He knew I would betray Him with sin soon after. Sin that was enough to condemn me to eternal separation. He also knows that I will commit many more eternally damning acts in the coming days, weeks, and years. Yet He spared me.

    But it came at a cost. You know this nifty little holiday coming up? That one where people cuddle up and prance around in the winter wonderland? Where cheerful music fills the air and kids hold up their new toys in a victorious pose? That’s the holiday where we celebrate the birth of a baby boy who was born to be slaughtered.

    I don’t know how God thinks. But if I were to take a guess, I would wonder if any part of His heart was grieving as He stared down at baby Jesus, His Son that just began His life as a human so that He could die for those who would nail Him to the cross. I still can’t comprehend why He would die for stupid little humans like me, who betray Him day in and day out by rebelling and sinning against Him… why He would have spared me tonight to live another day.

    My sins have been nailed to the cross, to a perfect man who conquered death by coming back to life three days later. I’m saved, and all because I have set my faith in Him? Absolutely ridiculous, and that’s why many people dismiss Christianity. I’ll admit–it is absolutely ridiculous, but that’s why I love it. That’s why I love Him. Because His ridiculous love saved me.

    Merry Christmas, everyone. In a few days, anyways.

    I Now Baptize You In… uhh…

    My buddy Matt told me about a Christian comedian he saw at church. The guy posed a great question – how did John the Baptist baptize Jesus?

    “I now baptize you in… uh… the name of your dad, yourself, and… your best friend?”