It was a great time attending General Council 2017 in Columbus Ohio. Here is the link of the video of different sessions I recommend you to watch : http://www.cmalliance.org/video/series/alliance-council/2017/
The theme of this Council is “Forward”. As a mission organization of more than 100 years, how can we still move forward in advancing God’s kingdom and completing His Great Commission?
The answer is: It all depends on the His Spirit!
6 So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 4:6
This passage gave Zerubbabel’s courage to rebuild the Temple.
7 “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’” Zechariah 4:7
May the LORD bless our church! Bless our building project! May the LORD bless our evangelism and mission effort!
When we face difficult, we need to humble and come to God, surrender ourselves to Him. Trust in Him. Drink from the source of power! The Holy Spirit will work! Indeed it is not by our ability, it is Him! We wait patiently and pray earnestly. We will see the glory of God.
Dear LORD Jesus, let your Spirit fill us fully. With your power, we can witness you and give glory to the Father.
June 9, 2017
Greetings from Columbus, Ohio! It is really a pleasure to attend the General Council. It is a refreshing event listening to encouraging testimonies and powerful messages. Also it is a great time in fellowship with other pastors and missionaries.
Check out the highlights and livestream from C&MA website: http://www.cmalliance.org/events/2017/council/
On the first day of the Council, I attended a workshop conducted by Phil Vischer, creator of VeggieTales. I love VeggieTales because they are serious about the teaching of the Bible yet they make it so clear that even children can understand. I found out many years ago, Phil is part of the Alliance family. He was invited to the Council to give a workshop. During the workshop, he told us about how he developed VeggieTales and his spiritual journey. One of the most important spiritual truths he put at the closing line of most of episodes:
Bob the Tomato: God made you special, and He loves you very much.
Yes, like what I preached last Sunday: God is love. And the Bible does not stop there.
“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” 1 John 4:11
Five times in this letter of John mentions “love one another”. So you know it is important. This verse tells us our reason to love one another is because God first loves us. Church is a family of love. It is a place for people to come to experience “true” love from God. If we cannot do that, we cannot tell the world we are Christ’s disciple. We would lose our voice. What we do will have no meaning.
How do we let people know God’s love? First we need to fill with God’s love fully. Love is not something totally rational, it is something engaging our feeling. Use our spiritual sense to receive God’s love. The more we feel God’s love, the less we are self-centered and the more we can love one another.
Dear LORD Jesus, help us to feel the deep love from the Father. Take away our self-centeredness so that we can respond by loving the others.
June 1, 2017
Five times in Leviticus talks about “deny yourself”. All of the context of these scriptures is related to worship. So we know it is the proper attitude of coming close to the LORD. to serve Him and worship Him. Now what does it mean by “deny yourself”:
- To be humble
- Not to focus on yourselves
- Also not to think of your own problem, shortcomings or burdens
That is not to be self-centered but to move to God-centered. It is an everyday attitude and especially when we come to worship God. In the New Testament, Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24. Not to think about ourselves, our plan, our interest and our desires but God’s plan, His interest and His desires.
What a difficult (if not impossible) thing to do? Who would be able to do that? Yet Jesus demands all of us to do that, to deny ourselves and take up the cross. To follow Jesus is to follow Him with the cross.
Dear LORD Jesus, we are not able to do what you require of us. Have mercy on us and help us with your Spirit that we can follow you with the cross.
May 25, 2017
In his farewell speech to the elders of Ephesus, Apostle Paul taught them:
35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”
Somewhere, our LORD said: it is more blessed to give than to receive. We receive blessings so that we can give. See, there is a process of transformation here. People come to Christ (church) looking for blessing, there is nothing wrong about it. That is the beginning, after we taste the goodness of the LORD, we should be like a channel of God’s blessings, like one of the hymns we sing, to share what we have. The LORD knows our nature: we need to first receive before we can give. The difficulties would be not holding on what we have and share, like what we teach our children.
Let us be generous to the others.
When I talk about generous, it is not just material, it is also has a strong spiritual sense.
Do you give your time and effort in supporting the weak? Do you pray for people, encourage them? Do you frequently forgive people? There are the blessings you cannot buy with silver or gold.
Dear LORD Jesus, remind us on the blessings we received and help us to give generously.
May 19, 2017
Colossians chapter 3 tells us that as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, we need to practice all kinds of goodness, especially forgiveness. Forgiveness is the key to the Gospel: Through Jesus, the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. This is the one of God: while we are still sinner, Christ died for us. Christ gave His life to us in a total sacrificial way. Through this love, we can be healed and we can come together to worship Him. For any community, love is glue, without it, everything will be broken, fragmented. With love, a perfect unity will be demonstrated and people will know that we are His disciples.
This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. Let us celebrate the sacrificial love our mother has provided to the family. Yes, indeed, a family needs love to bind everyone together.
We pray for all the families in the church that they can practice and experience the sacrificial love of our LORD Jesus Christ. Bear with each other and forgive as the LORD forgave us.
May 12, 2017
2:18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
In this world, we face many failures. Life cannot be always smooth and easy. It is because there is sin and we are living in a sinful world. Sometimes other people sin, but often we sin too. Our sinful desire drives us to somewhere we should not go, results in pain, failure and shame.
It is not easy to accept failure, experience frustration and expose to shame because sometimes it is not totally our fault. How do we deal with these feelings? Come to Jesus. He understands how we feel. He went through temptation, suffering and crucifixion. He can give us comfort and strength to face adversity. When we see failure, frustration and shame as an invitation of grace, we have a new perspective. It can be something that makes us better and stronger, indeed a gift from God. Also, failure, frustration and shame can be a way to expose the idolatry and sin in our heart. Yet it is another way that leads us to Christ.
Let us fix our eyes on our LORD Jesus. LORD Jesus you are merciful, carry us when we are weak and weary. Let us deal with idolatry in our heart and let us worship you
May 5, 2017
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?”
In Romans, Apostle Paul warns us that allowing sin lingering in our lives is not acceptable. If we do not deal with sin, sin will kill us. “The wages of sin is death”. We cannot pretend that it is okay. Sin is heavy, powerful and destructive. Perhaps we feel like we are doing fine with other aspects of life, sin cannot hurt us: We can do well in our studies, do well in our career. People may respect us because of other achievements. But if sin is there and we choose not to deal with that seriously, eventually it will kill us. We cannot cover it either. Nothing hidden will not be revealed. The LORD demands us to be accountable. He would not allow us to linger in sin. He is holy and we have to be holy.
Dear LORD Jesus, shine on us with your Spirit so that we can see our sin.. By your power help us to deal with that. Help us to submit to your discipline. Let us crucify sin on the cross and resurrect with the power of your Spirit.
April 21, 2017