Planting roots: Standing tall

Roots Christian Club attends inter-district United in Christ Praise Night

Flora Peng, Tyler Cho, and Collin Qian

On Saturday, Nov. 17, Roots Christian Club members attended the United in Christ (UIC) Praise Night at the River of Life Christian Church. Hosted by all the local Christian Clubs of the FUHSD, the theme of gathering was “Valiant.”

Drawing inspiration from the Bible verse, Luke 24: 32, the message of the theme was to stay rooted as a warrior of God, in faith and in training, and to ignite students’ passion for God through rediscovery of the Gospel, the Word and a passionate burning heart. Appearing as a guest speaker, the Rev. Brian Hwang believes the message has the potential to change the lives of Christians who haven’t been in touch with their faith, having preached the topic multiple times since the start of July.

“I hope this message softens the heart of Christians whose hearts are often hardened living out there in the world,” Hwang said. “I hope it spurs on many people to pursue their God-given callings, God-given destinies, and I hope it spurs on people to seek the truth further, to not only study the Word but see how it stands tall among all the other religions and … all the other philosophies.”

UIC Praise Night 2018

To start off, UIC representatives led attendees in various games intended to promote fellowship and unity. Because clubs from across FUHSD were present, MVHS UIC representative junior Yoanna Lee noted the power of Christ in being a tangible connection between schools, allowing everyone to feel welcome and loved.

“We’re Christians and we are part of the body of Christ, like this is a unity, a family,” Lee said. “And I really don’t know more than half of these people because they’re from other schools. But just the fact that we’re coming together under one thing, Christianity, to be able to see these people who we could love, it doesn’t matter what our differences are. We just love each other, and that family feeling [is] just so, so nice.“

The gathering then moved to an adjacent sanctuary for music, where the praise team led the group in a set of worship songs before allowing Hwang to take the stage. The praise team, a combination of five students, including Lee, on various instruments, had begun practicing weeks before the event to prepare meaningful songs for the worship.

“I had quite a lot of fears or anxieties going in just because … we’re just meshing from all these different schools,” Lee said. “The event never goes exactly as planned because we’re trying to coordinate with one another. But this year, … everything went so well, and I think a lot of people were really blessed and want to come again next year, which is why I’m really excited right now.”

It doesn’t matter what our differences are. We just love each other, and that family feeling [is] just so, so nice

— junior Yoanna Lee

Pleased with the event, MVHS junior Charlie Yi added that the praise allowed the attendees to show their passion for Christ, emphasizing the role of community in helping Christians through difficulties. He recognized that the key points from Hwang’s message could resonate with both Christians and non-believers because of their applications to localized issues.

“I think a lot of people are scared to go into religion because I feel like people are afraid of opinions,” Yi said. “But knowing that there are so many people around you that are the same is just very helpful … [Pastor Hwang] really spoke about [things] that really tie into the Bay Area, especially [when] talking about rediscovering the Gospel.”

In his sermon, Hwang stressed how a startling number of the youth he works with in the Christian community appear half-hearted in their relationship with God, expressing much more enthusiasm when reacting to things like a basketball game or receiving a gift than when at church. He advises Christians to look into their hearts and reignite their fervor for God through love for God and spiritual brothers and sisters, and to get more involved in their Christian communities.

“I know many youth students who are Christians or part of Christian families that don’t go to church or don’t go to Christian clubs because they think it’s lame,” Hwang said. “I would say first, you need the love of God re-ignited in your heart. As you start with the heart, I would suggest to that person just to come before God, to love God with all [their] heart and then get it plugged into your Christian community, both on campus and at church. And as you start to work with God and with your community and get that down first, people will start to evangelize.”