Sunday, November 27, 2011

Discipleship - Yup, that's what we do.

Luke 5:1-10 
Our part is to FISH. It is God who will bring the CATCH 
Our part is to make disciples. It is God who will change their lives 
Our part is to train leaders. It is God who will bring them to maturity 

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Don't believe in Jesus? That's ok...

He probably doesn't believe in you either."

Heard that from a preacher one time.
When he said it, it came across funny. Now that I wrote it, i know - not so much.
But here's my point.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The way God works: Guest blog by Kyle Eusebio

Luke 24:30-31As they sat down to eat, he TOOK the bread and BLESSED it. Then he BROKE it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!

He TOOK it, BLESSED it then He BROKE it.
That's how Jesus works in our lives.
That's how He uses people.
I've heard this message just few weeks ago in a podcast where I'm subscribing to but it's only this week that the message felt very real. There are things about the ways of God that's really hard to understand and sometimes we don't even have to understand it, we just have to trust Him that He knows what He is doing. But this time this message in the scripture is one of those patterns of God that is so obvious. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's biblical to be shrewd and innocent at the same time

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16 NIV)

I used to think that Christianity are for wimps. They are so easy to manipulate because they never lie, they don't return evil for evil, if you punch them in the face they'd come back for more with the other cheek. That is why I never wanted to be one because I thought Christians were losers.

GO FISH! But not like a Pharisee

(This article was used at our recent leader's camp entitled GO FISH)

“YOU HYPOCRITES!” Ouch. That must’a hurt. Jesus was furious.
He was making a point and a strong one if I may add.

I remember the last furious person I faced was my mom. I can’t remember much but I knew it was because of one of my crazy antics. I remember running away as fast as I can from a butt spanking but it was futile. I felt her fury.

Jesus was teaching in the temple courts when the priests, the Pharisees and the elders came and questioned Him looking for a way to arrest Him. But Jesus knowing their thoughts addressed their wrong motives and wrong doings with passion. They felt his fury.

Jesus was mad. Not only because these Pharisees were being hypocritical but more importantly, they PREVENT the people from coming to Jesus and entering the kingdom of heaven with their offensive ways.

Judas: The One Who Wasn't Quite One Of Them?

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. (Matthew 10:2-4 NIV)

"Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him."

His name was never blotted out in history, but was accurately described as the one who betrayed Jesus. He was one of them. He had to be.

Think about it, how could you be a traitor if you are not first one of "them" who you are to betray? That is why betrayal is such a nasty thing to experience because it is done by one of your own. It has to be. Otherwise it will not have the sting of betrayal, it won't even be called as such.

Jesus Calls Us To HIM first Before He Sends Us OUT

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. (Matthew 10:1 NIV)

Jesus called them first to HIM before he sends them OUT to do his will. He knew there was no way they could accomplish their purpose without His equipping and empowerment. He is not a god who sends us on a mission without His provision. He is our faithful God.

He knew it would not be possible for us to claim and walk in victory without giving us the authority over the very things that hinders us (the devil, his demons and sickness). Yet His ultimate provision is not the spiritual or material resources he gives to accomplish the job he sends us to carry out; His ultimate provision is the very relationship we can have with Him through Christ's finished work on the cross. His ultimate provision is Himself.

Nothing You And I Have Ever Seen

Call me weird but back in the day (when I was four and there were no Facebook, Wii and PSP yet, daydreaming, imagining and the ability to role play (aside from playing outside with other kids) were the quality past time activities for kids like me. There were days I would spent hours jumping on our bed imagining I was a Ninja fighting off Samurais and other days I am on top of our cabinet imagining I'm a soldier shooting at the enemy and taking down tanks with an RPG. I loved imagining and daydreaming!

Today i don't have much time to daydream but I still let my imagination work for me especially when I spend time with God through reading His word. I'd try to visualize myself as part of the stories I encounter in the Bible. I always wondered how life looked like from the perspective of the disciples of Jesus when they were with Him. I can just imagine it to be NOTHING I HAVE EVER SEEN!

Jesus Rudely Interrupted In Mid-Sentence

V18 "while he was saying this, a ruler came, knelt before him and said..."
Whoa! Jesus was rudely interrupted in mid-sentence.

Why? What's going on here? Let's back track a little bit. One day, Jesus was speaking with John The Baptist's disciples on the subject of fasting when a synagogue ruler interrupted them with a BIG request.

Bible says as Jesus was in mid-sentence, the Synagogue leader butted in, brought up a new topic and asked for a miracle.
"My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live." (Matthew 9:18 NIV)
Ok, his daughter just died. That explains the man's urgency and the lack of courtesy to let Jesus finish talking. But the request he made and the way in which he asked it was without shame and almost like claiming something he was entitled to have. Shocking.

Jesus Can Hear Your Thoughts And He Still Likes You

Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, "Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? (Matthew 9:4 NIV)

When I was a young christian, I would always wish that I was born at the time of Jesus so I could hangout with Him. "Wouldn't that be so cool to just chill with Him and talk to Him personally" and then when I read this verse, it made me think twice about that wish. If I would hangout with Jesus, what would He say about my thoughts? Wouldn't it be embarrassing for me to hear Jesus say what he said to the Pharisees? I know it would be... So I kinda went easy on that wish for a little bit.

According To YOUR Faith

We are never sure that every single prayer we utter, every single request and petition for a miracle is according to God's will. The bible promises that as we get to know Jesus more and more, we will eventually get the hang of it (knowing God's will) After all, the bible did say, the sheep knows the voice of the shepherd. But what do we do for the meantime?
We can ask in FAITH!
Whatever you ask, you ask in faith. Even if you are not sure if it is indeed God's will for you or not, you ask in faith. The blind men sought Jesus (that was pretty hard for a blind man) they followed them indoors and finally had the opportunity to have their miracle. Jesus asked them one thing first: do you believe that I can do this. Of course they said yes. But the real test came when Jesus called their bluff (if indeed it was just something they said because they were religious) jesus said, "according to your faith, it shall be done for you". What if they really didn't believe? What if they were just being polite in saying "yes we believe You can do what we ask"? What if they didn't really have the faith? Then the result would have been sad for they would still be blind.

Receiving Your Reward In Full But Not From God

"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

"And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.

"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16 NIV)

All 3 passages have 3 things to say about the "hypocrites"
1. They have a Common modus operandi
2. They all received their reward in full
3. Do not be like them

What does it mean when it said, "they have received their reward in full"?

What Used To Be Hard, Jesus Made Impossible

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17 NIV)

When Jesus gave his sermon at the mount, it was a buffet of wisdom and topics. But when he got to the discussion about the law of the prophets (ot), it got super interesting. He began to bring everything up a thousand notches. He began introducing new applications and correcting mindsets that are age-old already. And he did it without abolishing the law. It means the old revelation still stands, but the people's application of it has been so limited so he is expanding our understanding of it.

Ot - do not murder
Nt - anyone who gets angry at a brother is guilty of murder in his heart

The Audacity of Jesus

"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." (Matthew 4:19 NIV)

I used to think that this passage of scripture was talking to church going, bible believing, tithing christians who just needed to be challenged a bit to make disciples because they were getting a bit too comfy in church attending every Sunday, living good lives, doing good works but never really taking the time to go out and reach out to their next door neighbors. I was wrong.

Are You Quick to Assume or Careful to Obey?

Sometimes if we are not careful, we can get carried away and read between the lines of God's instructions and instead of getting it, we miss what God wants us to do specifically

Matthew 2:20-23
Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem when God told them to flee
to Egypt because the boy Jesus' life was in danger.
After many years in egypt, God said, "sector clear, go back to the land of Israel (bethlehem is in the land of Israel). Had Joseph not been paying attention, he would have heard God say through the angel "go back to the land where you came from which is bethlehem" after all,
1 Bethlehem is in Israel.
2. That was where they came from.

But when they arrived in Israel, they were warned in a dream not to go back to bethlehem because Herod had been replaced with a king who was also evil. Therefore they went to galilee district in a town called Nazareth, which is still in Israel.

Lesson: We cannot assume that because God did it this way before, God will do it this way again. God has an infinite number of ways of doing a single thing. Let us not allow our past experiences especially those that worked and those that we believed to be really God-led to dictate or box God in what He wants to do in our lives today. Just because God did it a certain way before doesn't limit Him from doing it in another way this time.

Are you quick to assume or are you careful to obey?