UCSD Outreach

Recent Posts

Mother's Day

Pastor James
May 9, 2024

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I hope you can take some time to express your gratitude to your mom in some tangible ways. This is not to say that her love is perfect, or the way she shows her love is always right, or she always knows the correct thing to do. By now, you may see many flaws in your mom’s love. I’m sure your mom, too, is painfully aware of the many mistakes she has made in raising you. But I hope you see that love can be genuine without being perfect.

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Predestination?

Pastor James
May 2, 2024

What is predestination?

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Did Jesus Claim to be God?

Pastor James
April 18, 2024

“So they picked up stones to throw at [Jesus]...” (John 8:59). The crowd gathered around Him wanted to stone Him to death. Why?

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Christianity Without Jesus' Resurrection?

Pastor James
April 11, 2024

Last Sunday was Easter. For Christians, it’s a day to commemorate Jesus’ resurrection, which occurred around 30 AD. What is the big deal? There are many instances of people brought back to life, aren’t there? There are three unique things about Jesus’ resurrection.

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Liberty or Safety

Pastor James
March 7, 2024

We just had our primary election. It seems that this election cycle will be another tumultuous one. Many agree that so much is at stake in this (presidential) election. Some fear that our democracy itself is at stake. Others are upset about the present direction of our country.

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Science or Scientism

Pastor James
February 29, 2024

Science is one thing. Scientism is another.

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Is Guilty Feeling a Disease?

Pastor James
February 22, 2024

Last week’s question was, “Should We Feel Guilty?” One lady saw the question and gave a decisive “No!” I was taken aback by her response and asked, “If you did something terrible to someone else, shouldn’t you feel guilty?” Her reply was, “No. You should take responsibility. But feeling guilty is a disease!”

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Should We Feel Guilty?

Pastor James
February 15, 2024

Guilt. That terrible, oppressive word. Nobody likes it. It’s also a uniquely human experience. Do piranhas feel bad about attacking some poor animals in the river, tearing off their flesh down to the bones? Will lions form the CA (Carnivores Anonymous) and turn into vegetarians in big numbers anytime soon? But some humans choose to be vegans and vegetarians for moral reasons.

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Just a Job or a Calling?

Pastor James
January 25, 2024

How do you know which career is for you? There are many things to consider: your aptitude, your passion, the expected level of compensation, etc. There seem to be two approaches to thinking about our jobs.

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What Desire Drives You?

Pastor James
January 18, 2024

Are you healthy? How do you know? There are many measures to gauge our health. One is the presence of robust desires. When sick in bed, we have no desire for anything, not even for food, except for getting well. I have heard from others that, when a person reaches the last stage of his life, his desire to do things decreases, including his appetite. Soon, he turns into a shell of his former self, closer to the grave than to life.

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Best Use of Time?

Pastor James
January 11, 2024

“Time is golden.” In fact, it is our most precious asset as it is inseparably bound to our life. We can lose money and still live. We can move on after failed relationships. We can even go without food or drink for a time. But when our time is up, so is our life: to lose time is to lose life.

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What Are You Thankful For?

Pastor James
November 16, 2023

Thanksgiving is one week away. Is there anything you are thankful for? Are you a grateful person? Do others see you as such? Gratitude is the key to happiness, they say. Some have enough to be the envy of everyone around them, yet so miserable because they are fixated on what they don’t have. I hope you are not such a person. If you are a grateful person, you don’t need much to be happy, do you? It’s not that you are unaware of what you lack. But you do not take for granted what you already have. So, you can be content despite your many needs.

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Veterans and You

Pastor James
November 9, 2023

As Captain Miller dies, he says to James Ryan, “James, earn this! Earn it!” This is a scene from the film, “Saving Private Ryan.” The story takes place at the end of WWII following the Normandy Invasion. It’s about Captain Miller and his seven men on a special mission—to locate and rescue Private Ryan who is missing in action. His three brothers were all killed in battle in the span of a few days. The U.S. Department of War wants him found and brought back home.

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What is Your Word Worth?

Pastor James
November 2, 2023

Few things anger us more than people not keeping their word when we need them to come through. When that happens, a deep crack sets in in our relationship with them. The next time they make a promise, we have a hard time trusting them no matter how sincere they are. We have seen it before and we see what happened.

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What is a Good Friend?

Pastor James
October 19, 2023

Who is your best friend? Why do you consider him/her your best friend? Do you have other friends you can call “good friends”? What makes them “good friends” instead of “just friends”?

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Chance or Fate?

Pastor James
October 12, 2023

Whether UCSD was your first choice or just a backup plan, you are here. Do you think you are here by random chance or by fate?

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Side Effects of Approval?

Pastor James
October 5, 2023

Who doesn’t want approval? At times, we feel uncertain about ourselves and our abilities. In such moments, we feel so alone, and the world feels so dark and cold. We find ourselves on the brink of giving up. Then, comes along someone, who gives us unexpected, heartfelt words of approbation. Those precious words have the power to break through the dark clouds of self-doubt and lift us out of the mire of discouragement. You must have seen those contestants on shows like AGT, who cannot contain their overwhelming joy as the audience gives their approval with an enthusiastic standing ovation.

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Who Will Remember You?

Pastor James
May 25, 2023

I hope you’ve made good friends here at UCSD. Even though there are people all around, most of them your age, a college campus can be a lonely place. It is difficult to make it through college, and life in general, without friends. I’m sure you’re enjoying, building up, and working on the friendships you have developed in college.

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Are You at Peace with Yourself?

Pastor James
May 18, 2023

Alienation. We all feel it one way or the other. That horrible feeling, that sad reality, is the result of the Fall. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, all kinds of alienation came into being.

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Who Do You Say Jesus Is?

Pastor James
May 11, 2023

Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am” (Matthew 16:15)? What is your answer? Be careful how you answer it: your eternal destiny depends on it.

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Why Does God Want You?

Pastor James
April 27, 2023

God wants you. That’s why Jesus told His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20). We are here to extend God's invitation to you.

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Why We Need the Bible

Pastor James
April 20, 2023

That’s a bold claim. Maybe even preposterous. You have been doing just fine without the Bible, without bothering to open it even once to read it. You don’t see why you need it and for what. But here is a question for you: are you living as you ought to live?

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Resurrection — Really?

Pastor James
April 6, 2023

“This coming Sunday is called Easter Sunday. The name "Easter" has a complicated origin, going back to some ancient, pagan spring festivals. But for Christians, it is a day to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which occurred around 30 AD.

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Morality — of God or Man?

Pastor James
March 9, 2023

“Two things fill the mind with every new and increasing wonder and awe...: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me” (Kant). Each is awesome in itself: scientists will tell you about the former and philosophers, the latter. But the two existing together in the same universe is even more amazing. In nature, everything behaves according to its physical properties--except man, who has in him this mysterious sense of how he ought to act, not just what he wants to do.

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How Do You Deal With Failures?

Pastor James
March 2, 2023

We all fail. It’s not a question of if but when and how big. I’m sure you’ve had your share of failures. How do you deal with them?

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Best Use of Time?

Pastor James
February 16, 2023

"Time is golden,” they say. It’s the most precious asset we have. In fact, it’s more than just an asset because our lives are bound to it. When we lose money, we can still live. When our relationships break down, we can still go on. We can even go on without food and drink for a time. But when our time is up, our life is over, too.

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Greatest Love of All?

Pastor James
February 9, 2023

Valentine’s Day is next week. For some, it’s a day to celebrate love found. For others, it’s to renew their love. Still, for others, it’s a day of wondering when they will find someone special. Love is on everyone’s mind.

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"What about 'the Problem of Pleasure'?"

Pastor James
January 26, 2023

Pleasure and pain are the most basic motivators of all that we do. Avoiding pain and seeking pleasure is instinctive for us like the sunflower being drawn to the sun and the moth to the fire.

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When Will You Be Happy?

Pastor James
January 19, 2023

Are you happy? If you are, congratulations! But may I ask what’s making you happy? How long do you think your happiness will last? And if you are not happy, why not? What will make you happy? When do you think you’ll finally be happy?

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Death?

Pastor James
January 12, 2023

How often do you think about death? Do you think it’s morbid to think about it, every day, especially at the beginning of the year? Most people fear death. Even though death is everywhere—tens of thousands of people die every day—we don’t know much about dying as we know about living, experientially speaking. We fear what we don’t know. So, most people avoid the topic of death as much and as long as possible.

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What is Your Worth?

Pastor James
November 17, 2022

If you were kidnapped and the criminals demanded 100 million dollars for your ransom, how would you feel? Flattered? Maybe for a moment. But you would soon fall into despair. Who would pay that much for your life?

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Tolerance ≠ Acceptance

Pastor James
November 10, 2022

In this age of ever-increasing globalization, tolerance is a must. Even the nations, which have been traditionally homogenous, are becoming more pluralistic.

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Are There Ghosts?

Pastor James
October 27, 2022

Would you be afraid to go to an old, gothic cemetery at midnight, by yourself? Would you feel afraid to walk through the woods in the middle of the night, alone? Why? Is it because you believe in ghosts?

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Are You Good or Just Nice?

Pastor James
October 20, 2022

Is there any difference between being good and being nice? Does it matter whether you are one or the other?

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Is Theism Irrational?

Pastor James
October 13, 2022

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What Gives You Rest?

Pastor James
October 6, 2022

When you feel tired, what do you do? Sometimes, just taking a nap or sleeping in a little does the trick. But there are fatigues for which physical relaxation is not enough—the ones that are due to psychological stresses. 

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What Makes a Good Friend?

Pastor James
September 29, 2022

Friends are life’s wonderful gifts. You may already have many friends back home, but I hope you get to make many more friends while you are at UCSD! If we have no friends to turn to when we are in need, how bleak our life is!

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Where's Your Finish Line?

Pastor James
September 22, 2022

Here you are, starting a new school year. For some of you, this is your very first year at UCSD! Congratulations on being accepted to this wonderful school! We at New Life Student Ministries wish you a memorable, productive, successful year and college life! But how? Maybe your plan is to simply live your life to the fullest—“Seize the day!” This is an inspiring message. How sad it is to live our lives, doing things only half-heartedly, wishing we were somewhere else doing anything but what we are doing now! 

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Who Will Remember You?

Pastor James
May 26, 2022

Some of you are about to graduate. Congratulations! You're finishing up the most formative years of your life. It must be bittersweet, having to close this chapter of your life and start a new one. A big part of your life here, besides getting your degree, has been developing and deepening new friendships. What will happen to them once you leave this place? How many of your friends will keep in touch with you and for how long? Do you sometimes wonder who will remember you?

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Urgent or Important

Pastor James
May 19, 2022

We may live in "the land of the free and the home of the brave," but there's a tyranny that few of us are free from--"the tyranny of the urgent" (Charles E. Hummel). Daily, urgent matters come at us from every direction--exams to study for, deadlines to meet, chores to be done, emergencies that pop up, etc.

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What Defines You?

Pastor James
May 12, 2022

Many define themselves by their job--a lawyer, a doctor, an artist, etc. Some are defined by the awards they've won—a Nobel laureate, an Olympic medalist, etc. We're also defined by our relationships as so-and-so's child or sibling, etc. College students are often defined by their school, their major, or their GPA. We even define ourselves by our problems—"I'm too short"; "I'm shy"; "I'm a victim of this," etc

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Happy Mother's Day

Pastor James
May 5, 2022

Mother's Day is coming up in a few days. Once a year at least, we want to express our gratitude to our parents. It's easy to take their love for granted, especially that of our mothers because it is so profuse and readily available.

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Inner Peace

Pastor James
April 28, 2022

When was the last time you enjoyed some inner peace? It's hard to maintain peace of mind when exams and papers keep creeping up on you, isn’t it? It's even more difficult when you don't do well in some of your courses because so much rides on your GPA. With the worst possible scenario replaying itself over and over in your mind, your heart sinks deeper and deeper into fear. Our rapidly-changing, fast-moving, increasingly-competitive society induces so much stress in us. We may smile on the outside, but we may be hiding a thousand tears.

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What Do You Want?

Pastor James
April 21, 2022

Do you know what you really want? I am sure there are many things that you would like to buy and have and do and accomplish, many places you would like to visit and see, and many people you would like to meet and know. But are these things that you really want? What if they were but "superficial" manifestations of a deeper longing?

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Resurrection? Really?

Pastor James
April 14, 2022

This coming Sunday is called Easter Sunday. The name "Easter" has a complicated origin, going back to some ancient, pagan spring festivals. But what it means for Christians is very simple and clear: it commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which occurred around 30 AD. 

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"COEXIST"?

Pastor James
April 7, 2022

I'm sure you have all seen the "COEXIST" bumper sticker. It is quite a clever design. Each letter is designed to represent a religious symbol, including that of the Wicca. Its message is clear: it calls on all religious groups to stop fighting and get along with one another!

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Where is God?

Pastor James
March 31, 2022

We are watching in disbelief and dismay what is going on in Ukraine. So many videos and photos show the devastation that is being wrought on that land and people. For what? We are impressed by the courage of the Ukraine people to continue fighting this David-and-Goliath war. But we cannot help but wonder whether more can be done as the international community tries to help Ukraine without escalating the conflict into a nuclear or world war. In the meantime, so many innocent civilians, who are someone’s moms and dads and sons and daughters, are getting killed amid so much destruction. 

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Got Joy?

Pastor James
March 3, 2022

When was the last time you felt deep joy? I’m not asking when the last time you had a lot of fun was. Fun is just “light-hearted pleasure.” We have fun when we do pleasurable things—playing video games, hanging out with our buddies, etc. We are drawn to pleasure; we wish we could have fun all the time. But fun is like a piece of cheap gum, whose flavor is quickly gone. 

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Who Are You?

Pastor James
February 24, 2022

It's a simple question. Answering that question, however, is anything but simple. It is easy to tell people certain facts about us—our name, our age, our school, our major, etc. But we are so much more than what these facts say about us, aren’t we? So, how would you answer the question? 

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What Is Education For?

Pastor James
February 17, 2022

"Knowledge is power," said Sir Francis Bacon almost 400 years ago. If that was true then, it is true all the more now in this informational age. The famous economist, Peter F. Drucker, said, "Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement." 

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Greatest Love of All?

Pastor James
February 10, 2022

Valentine’s Day is four days away. Red and pink merchandises are everywhere: the day is right around the corner. For some, it’s a day to celebrate love found; for others, it’s to keep it going; still for others, it’s a day of longing for love. Love is on everyone’s mind. 

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Your Life— a Comedy or a Tragedy?

Pastor James
February 8, 2022

Our life is a story. Our life has a beginning, middle, and end, just like a story. So then, just like a story, our life too can be categorized as a tragedy or a comedy. 

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(Why) Are You Stressed?

Pastor James
November 18, 2021

Ours is a stressful society. Life is getting more and more competitive and fast-paced. We feel like we have to be on the go all the time. In fact, being busy has become a virtue in our society. When our calendar is not packed with things to do, we feel like a loser.

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The Most Painful Disease?

Pastor James
November 4, 2021

What do you think is the most painful disease known to man? Some may say it’s gout. Others may say it’s kidney stones. Still, others may say, though it’s not a disease, the birth pang. Which one is it? One person was honest enough to acknowledge, “The most painful disease is my sickness.” Isn’t that so true? We care more about our headache than someone else’s cancer.

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Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Pastor James
October 28, 2021

Would you be afraid to go to an old, gothic cemetery at midnight, by yourself? Would you feel afraid to walk through the woods in the middle of the night, alone? Why? Do you believe in ghosts--the immortal souls of the dead that haunt people? Do you believe in the paranormal/supernatural?

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Just a Job or a Calling?

Pastor James
October 21, 2021

How do you know which career is for you?

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Do You Know Yourself?

Pastor James
October 14, 2021

“Know thyself!” In Greek and other ancient civilizations, self-knowledge was viewed as the paragon of wisdom. There are obvious practical benefits in knowing oneself. Knowing our aptitude will help us find a major/career that fits us well. Knowing our strengths and weaknesses will help us maximize our efficiency and recruit the right kind of help. This kind of self-knowledge should be easy to obtain, considering how many personality tests and assessment tools are available these days.

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What is the Meaning of Life?

Pastor James
October 7, 2021

When it comes to the meaning of life, there are 3 approaches: 1) there is no meaning in life; 2) the meaning of life is what we make it out to be; 3) there is an objective meaning of life for everyone. Which one is yours? 

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Do You Know Your End?

Pastor James
September 30, 2021

Throughout history, so many people have had to wrestle with the message of Christianity. You can dismiss the resurrection of Jesus Christ as a myth. But on what basis? Is it because science says no such thing is possible? Can science explain everything? Isn’t that faith because it cannot even explain everything about the material world? Is the grave your final destination? The Bible claims, No! You are immortal and you must give an account of all that you’ve done. Can you withstand God’s judgment? Jesus died and rose again for your forgiveness. Accept His work and trust Him for your salvation! 

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