Dependence in Your Independence – California Southern Baptist Convention

Dependence in Your Independence

Published Jul 04, 2023

Happy Independence Day CSBC Family!

As we get ready for many church picnics, work those firework booths to raise mission funds, and enjoy those family gatherings, it is also important for our family to take a moment to thank God for this great mission field He has placed us in, the United States of America! As an immigrant from Thailand by way of Canada, the 4th of July was always a special day for me and my family. I remember loading up in my dad’s 1985 Datsun 210, where I could sit in the back and stare up at all the fireworks going off from Heritage Park in Cerritos. The sky would light up as bright as the day, and people would play baseball at night in the parks in the glow of the fireworks. In the neighborhoods, we would light up those firework fountains and run through them, long before Bill Goldberg made it a part of his wrestling entrance. It was glorious to launch them and see all the amazing shapes and colors. As an adult, I still love doing those things, except now I am the one driving my 2015 Toyota Sienna with a dual sunroof. OH YES!

We know from our history books why we celebrate Independence Day. Yet for me, the 4th of July celebrated a different kind of independence. It was independence from the expectations of the motherland that seemed to be written in the stars. In America, I could choose to believe in Jesus Christ rather than be forced to believe in Him. In America, I could be considered a success as an Asian even if I did not end up being a doctor, lawyer, or engineer. In America, I could even marry someone outside of my tribe who didn’t look, walk or smell like me… (I didn’t, but I could have). It was because of this independence that when God put it on my heart to answer the highest call of my life, to be a pastor, I went for it. And God blessed through it. Thank you, Jesus!

When I thought I was done there and perfectly happy living the life of a senior pastor in the SBC, He broke down walls for me to serve in a variety of roles. People immediately began to ask, “how are you doing all of these things?” The answer is, I do it by being completely dependent on my Lord Jesus Christ, and it is my dependence on Him that leads to the independence with which I work the mission.

Be completely dependent on Him for vision.

A billboard on the way to school served as a reminder that “Vision is not seeing things as they are but seeing things as they will be.” I never had much vision. It was my habit to grab everything I could just in case I needed it. Finally, God began to show me what my church could look like if I listened, followed, and depended on Him. And even though it was not what everyone else was doing, or the most attractive opportunity from a worldly perspective, I chose to depend on Him.

God sends a team – depend on them.

Here’s a secret: there are those on our teams who we think we are smarter than, or more gifted than, but to God, it doesn’t matter what we think. What we think is often wrong. So, learn to depend on Him with these calls as well. It’s risky living this way. We may not get credit from the crowd. It may not be what we are comfortable with or are used to. We need to depend on God for love and comfort. So many things happen that we won’t or can’t understand. Through all of it, He stands with us in the fires (that we sometimes start). But He brings family to stand together, hand in hand, rejoicing together, suffering together, and winning together, which all can bring about certain joy. He heals our wounds and helps us to stand again, even as our knees grow weaker by the year.

As we celebrate independence as a country, let us do that by aspiring to complete dependence on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as we await His imminent return. I love and appreciate all of you, my CSBC family, and I can’t wait to see you all soon at our annual family gathering in October!

“My soul, wait in silence for God alone, For my hope is from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, My refuge; I will not be shaken. My salvation and my glory rest on God; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:5-8 (NASB)