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Christmas Vine


Page 1: Christmas VIne
Page 2: Christmas VIne


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.

I’ve 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. There’s 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, I’ve 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.

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

there aren’t 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 it’s 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 complication—I 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,


It seems almost that I can’t win sometimes, that when I do find joy, it is in self satisfaction and

pursuit, rather than in enjoying God’s presence and just being with Him.

I’m 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 God’s gift of Jesus.

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

From the Editors

- Kelly Yu

Page 3: Christmas VIne

From the Editors

- Melody Zhang

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

don’t 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 weren’t saved, that it would be her fault

if the people that she could have reached out to didn’t go to heaven. She’s obviously not

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

could’ve prevented someone from not making it to heaven?”

It seems true, doesn’t it? I mean, without our lights as a candle and guide for the lost

and the struggling, being a Christian wouldn’t mean the same and the way that God saved

people would be different. Obviously, that’s not going to happen because reaching out to

others is fundamental in our work and our belief, but the point is that God doesn’t need us.

That’s the thing. God is so much bigger than you and I and he doesn’t 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 God’s 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 person’s

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

doesn’t 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.

Page 4: Christmas VIne


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?

God’s 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

don’t know it, go read Matthew 20:1-16! But in a

nutshell, it’s 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? Wouldn’t 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 God’s 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.

Page 5: Christmas VIne

- 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. It’s 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 God’s hand on this walk. Only you can choose to surrender your entire heart to


The question is, will you?

Don’t you think it would be selfish to keep this gift to ourselves? God has put a light, stoked

a fire in our hearts. Don’t contain it inside of you—let your life reflect the hope you have in Jesus.

Look around you; see all the broken people that don’t have the one gift that truly matters, but you

could give them through an overflow of God’s 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 God’s 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 He’s 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? It’s a choice to love. It’s a choice to live a

life for God’s glory. What would you do? Don’t 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.

Page 6: Christmas VIne


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

Page 7: Christmas VIne

- Charles Ko

How I found out Santa wasn’t 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


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

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


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.

Page 8: Christmas VIne


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 I’m speaking for those people when I ask:

What are you doing here?

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

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

ministry—more than anyone has expected, I’m 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 can’t 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

it’s a vicious cycle because you don’t 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 don’t have.

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

one will have different answers. There’s 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


They cannot do this alone.

You have to help. This isn’t just another Saturday hangout. Yes, I’m sure you may have heard

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

cause no one has fixed it.

We’re not perfect. The leaders are as human as the rest of Oasis, and we’re going to make

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

As A Family

Page 9: Christmas VIne

We can’t. There just aren’t 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 isn’t all that we can do, not all that we are

capable of. And I’m sure this isn’t all that God has planned for us.

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


I don’t want to come across as an angry hypocrite or whatever you might think after

reading this. I’ve written angry things about Oasis—this is not one of them. Because anger has

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

n’t 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


Oasis is a home. To those who are broken,

and to those who need more of Him. We

aren’t 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.



- Esther Yan

Page 10: Christmas VIne


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.

I’m 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 I’ve 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 I’ve 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 He’ll 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 it’ll last no longer than an hour, so temporary, so weak, so pathetic

And I decorate it with my shells and tell myself it’s 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

I’m 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 I’m running out of time .


Page 11: Christmas VIne

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 won’t break, no matter what we do, until we give them up, and scream let’s

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

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 can’t 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 didn’t 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”

Page 12: Christmas VIne


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 can’t get enough of it. In November, my

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

giving Conference). I wouldn’t say that it changed my life—God was already placing a multitude of

blessings upon me—but 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 wasn’t hungry anymore—literally and figuratively, and

that’s saying a lot for someone who can eat like me. And God didn’t 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 couldn’t 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 people’s 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 we’ve all known what it’s

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

can’t stop thinking about that person, how you fall asleep

at night sometimes, your last thought on that specific


Hebrews 12

Page 13: Christmas VIne

- Amy Lin

That’s how it is with me and God. I can’t stop thinking about God as I walk through

the halls of school, every single hour when I’m 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, it’s too wonderful to even imagine, and yet I’m 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 people’s 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 don’t deserve it, God just wants everything of us, even the clean and the dirty. He doesn’t

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

Page 14: Christmas VIne


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, Asimov’s IROBOT did come true in the sense that robots—in this case older devices—

build other robots—in this case newer devices—discarding the tools—humans—as gruesome as it


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, don’t ask me, I don’t know what you’re thinking. But, I do know why

I’m 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 Lord’s] power, and the

wonders he has/ done.”

Well, what does this mean? If you don’t know, read it again and if you still don’t know after

reading it again, read it again once more, and if you still don’t know after reading it twice, just give

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

ing something to the end is absolutely terrific and something to get used to…unless it’s bad).

Anyway, I’ll 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 him—not doing any type

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

Time with God

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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 God’s 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 cliché 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 don’t 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 time—you cannot change it. If studying is

more important that God, so be it, it’s what you think: it can’t be helped. But what if both matters

can be balanced equally?

Well, I don’t know all the answers nor do I expect most people to know what’s 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 you’ll 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 Lord’s] power, and

the wonders he has done.”

—Psalm 78

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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


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 can’t. 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

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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 it—1/15/2001. 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 wondering—was 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.


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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.

2. Go onto 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 morning—the Vine. And it was good.

Page 19: Christmas VIne


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Christmas Surveys






I listen to Xmas music after...









5% 2%

My ideal Xmas is...






How did you find

out Santa wasn’t


“WELL…I 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 isn’t real.”

“Parents told me immediately after under-

standing life.”

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Editors’ Picks

Pokémon December: Who is who?

Peter Hao

Kenneth Wang

Peter Ko

Peter Sun

Phillip An

Teddy Du

Kelly Yu

Lily Wang

David Lee

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Love your editors,

Give me articles!!!

Butterfly | [email protected]

I Butter | [email protected]

I just fly | [email protected]

January Announcements

January 1— Make New Year’s Resolutions

January 2—Write for the Vine

January 5—No Oasis

January 13—Sharon’s Mommy’s birthday

January 16— Cathy Yan’s birthday

January All—Write for the Vine! Okay.

Merry Christmas, and a

Happy New Year!!!