Monday, November 29, 2004


God bless you all!

This past Thanksgiving weekend has been great for me and my family! And I hope its the same for each of you!

I talked with the congregation this morning about "Excellent Living" and pray those who received His message will allow God to work through each one of you! As for those who missed today's message, you missed out a great lesson because it applies to me, too! Oh, how I love God's Word! It is sweet to my soul!

Life is a series of choices. God gave each of us the ability to make our own decisions. If you're going to live a life of excellence for God, then you've got to concentrate on making wise, godly choices that bring honor to the name of Jesus and not shame or disappointment. 2 Timothy 2:20-21 says, "In a great house there are not only vessels of gold or silver, but also of wood and clay; some for honor and some for dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself, he shall be a vessel unto honor, made holy and useful for the master's service and prepared for every good work."

1 Corinthians 11:28, "Let each man examine himself..." tells us to CONSTANTLY evaluate your life and make sure that you're NOT making decisions and choices that are hindering your walk with the Lord... Every major decision you face, you should ask yourself the question, "What would Jesus do in this situation?" "How would He respond?" "What type of attitude would He have?" Every place you go, especially when you're not real sure you should go there, you should ask yourself, "Would I be comfortable bringing the Lord Jesus Christ with me into this place?". After all, He lives on the inside of you. If the church gathers together in His Name, Jesus is there with you! But if we, instead of gathering together, decide to stay home for a very personal reason (I mean inexcusable reasons), then you ought to feel uncomfortable sitting at home knowing Jesus isn't happy with you.

I hate to say this, but you probably agree that's the generation we're living in right now! We've lost our sense of value and unless we go back to the foundational principles in God's Word, we're never going to really know what the truth is. In 2 Corinthians 4:4, "Satan blinds the minds of those who believe not." If you're going to live a life of excellence before God, you're going to have to base every decision you make on God's Word! Do I hear an, "Amen!"?

A couple of things I talked to the Lord's church are these:

1. SNOOZE BUTTON: See that God speaks to every single one of His children through His Word. He wants to guide you and help you make the right choices throughout life. But many times, we don't recognize how He speaks and we feel that uneasiness that we begin to push it down and ignore it. When you wake up in the wee morning hours of the night to the alarm, we push the snooze button ignoring the reminders to wake up. We push God's goodness down so much, it becomes so common and so routine we can't even hear Him anymore.

2. A OBEDIENT PERSON LIVES A LIFE OF EXCELLENCE FOR GOD: See that every person here, every person listening, has the ability and you have the opportunity to live a life of excellence for God.

3. THE SPIRITUAL DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE: I honestly want to tell you this. Too many people today are "Sunday Christians". They think a church as a social gathering, deaf club. They come in churches with their Bibles and notebook and they, you know, shout in all the right places, they sing the loudest, they say "Amen!" at the right places. But you know what? Monday is a different story. They're two-faced, just like the Devil. They talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk.

Friends, if you're not grounded in God's Word. If you don't know who you are in Christ. If you are not sober and vigilant and serious about your relationship to God, unfortunately, you're not going to have a chance. And that's the truth. There's no way you're going to be able to live an overcoming, victorious Christian life. But the good news is that God is alive and has been since the Beginning! God is looking for someone who won't compromise, someone that won't live like the rest of the world. God is looking for people who is full of integrity and hey, you can hide from me and the rest of us but you can't from God!

Alas, I told a story about a man and a woman involved in a car accident. Of course, every story has its ending. For those who missed today's celebration of the Lord's Day, you missed not only the story but the experience. The experience of a commitment toward "Excellent Living!"

Monday, November 22, 2004

Don't Throw Away Your Confidence - Be A Nike!

"Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised." Hebrews 10:35-36

If you persevere, you will receive.
If you persevere your task will be completed, your ministry will grow, your body will be healed, your marriage will be changed, and your children will come into the Kingdom of God.

You don't get anything for quitting.

You have to keep on persevering. There's no question that opposition will come. I guarantee it! Whenever you do something for God, you're going to face opposition. The devil will do his best to tear you down, to defeat and destroy you. He'll come at you with persecution, discouragement, and compromise. He'll do everything he can to get you to give up on that call of God on your life! But, praise God, you can overcome!

Blessed Father, I thank You that You have called me. Man didn't call me, but You called me to accomplish this task. And because You called me, You have anointed me, equipped me, and given me the courage I need to see it accomplished. Thank You, Father, that I can and I will overcome all opposition that the devil throws at me because greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thanksgiving For The Faith We Have

To the brothers and sisters with the Fairfax Church of Christ, I want to thank those who have took the time to reach out and invite friends to next month's Christmas banquet! You are awesome! Cario just informed us, yesterday during the praise team practice, that we have ovr 45 addresses and 82+ "new" people to invite this year! I think this is a "record" number of people you have invited! Last year, we had a total (including members) of 122 people who have RSVP'd when only 95 attended! Currently, we have 55 members of the Deaf Ministry added to the 82 that makes up to 137, not counting those we have invited in the last 4 years!!!! Therefore, let's pray for those who have received the wonderful and beautiful invitation to RSVP soon!

Here's Paul's thanks to the church in Thessalonica, "We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 (NIV)

The Thessalonians in the church in Thessalonica were a very young group of Christians who loves the Lord. Paul learned of their work of faith, labor of love and endured with the hope they have in Christ! So Paul commended these young Christians for their work. These characteristics are the marks of effective Christians in any age!

Father, thank You for Your great, great love! Thank You for this life You have given us! Thank You for helping us endure through our trials and joining with us in celebrative joy regardless!! You brought smiles to our faces and lifted us up to praise You. I pray that Your love will abound more and more as we continue on in the faith we have by carrying out Your will with love and endurance! May You continue to bless Your church in the world! Forgive us if we have lacked in anything and lead us in filling such void! Again, I thank You for the church here at Fairfax and all those who continues to serve You! Come, Lord Jesus, come! In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Salty Living

“Salt, when dissolved in water, may disappear,
but it does not cease to exist.
We can be sure of its presence by tasting the water.
Likewise, the indwelling Christ, though unseen,
will be made evident to others from the love which he imparts to us.”
— Sadhu Sundar Singh

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Paid In Full

What our Lord did was done with the intent, and this alone, that he might be with us and we with him.” — Meister Eckhart

In the movie, "Passion of the Christ", I watched the part where Jesus approached to the time of His last breath. All bloodied from series of strokes from a whiplash, nail-scarred hands, crown of thorns, pounding on the ground because of the heavy cross and the men who demanded Jesus to prophecy on which fist hit Him, Jesus looked up toward heaven and said,

"It is finished."

It was a very touching movie! The cinematography! The power it displayed! It actually brought us to the scene of Jesus' final hours. The movie quoted it in a similar way, "It is accomplished." Therefore, until the time of Jesus' torture, crucifixion and death, a complicated system of sacrifices the priest, for thousands of years, had atoned for sins.

Sin separates people from God, and only through the sacrifices of an animal, could people be forgiven and become clean before Him. But the problem lies within. People continued to sin. Once sin entered their lives again, sacrifices were required for the remission of their sins.

Jesus, however, became the Final and Ultimate sacrifice for sin. The word, "finished", is the same as "PAID IN FULL". Jesus came to accomplish, finish God's work of salvation to pay the full penalty of our sins. With His death, the complex sacrificial system ended because Jesus took all sin upon Himself for us. He did this in order for us to restore the "once lost relationship with God."

Is your soul stamped, "PAID IN FULL" with Jesus' blood?
JESUS died on the cross to pay the price for SIN.
"For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
(2 Corinthians 5:21).
Those who believe in Jesus and place their trust in Him (Acts 16:31),
repent of sin (2 Corinthians 7:9-10),
confess Him before men (Romans 10:9-10),
and are baptized (immersed) into Christ (Acts 2:38),
received the forgiveness of their past sins.
Those who CONTINUE to follow Christ as a way of life will CONTINUE to be cleansed from SIN (1 John 1:7).

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Circumcised By Christ

Before we believed in Christ, our nature was evil. We disobeyed, rebelled, and ignored God (even at our best, we did not love him with all our heart, soul and mind (self-seeking)).

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)

The Christian, however, has a new nature, " putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead." Colossians 2:8-12 (NIV). God has crucified the old rebellious nature (see Romans 6:6) and replaced it with a new loving nature (see Romans 3:9-10). The penalty of sin died with Christ on the cross. God declared us not guilty! Salvation is through "FAITH" in Christ (see Romans 10:17) that includes: (H)earing, (B)elieving, (R)epenting, (C)onfessing, (B)aptizing, and (L)iving Christ.

This chart will help you determine where you stand today: (1) A religion by self-effort or (2) Salvation by faith in Jesus?

Religion by self-effort:
1. Goal: please God by your own good deeds.
2. Means: practice, diligent service, discipline and obedience, in hope of reward.
3. Power: Good, honest effort through self-determination.
4. Control: Self-motivation, self-control.
5. Results: Chronic guilt, apathy, depression, failure, constant desire for approval.

Salvation by faith:
1. Goal: Live by faith; live to please God according to His Word (His Will).
2. Means: Confess, submit, and commit yourselves into Christ's control.
3. Power: The Holy Spirit in us helps us do good work in Christ's Kingdom.
4. Control: Christ in me, I in Christ (Galatians 2:20)
5. Results: Joy, thankfulness, love, guidance, service, forgiveness.

Salvation by faith in Jesus seems to be an easy task for many people. They would rather think they have done something to save themselves. So their religion becomes one of self-effort that leads either to disappointment or pride. The simple way is through Jesus and Jesus only! He alone is the door to eternal life.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Got Bread?

The Model Prayer

"Give us each day our daily bread."Jesus in Luke 11:3
"Give us today our daily bread."Jesus in Matthew 6:11

It is not Texas toast, sourdough bread, New York style bagels, hot dog buns, or tortillas. No. It's the "spiritual bread". Jesus is the "bread of life" and we need to feed from Him. The question is, "How often?" Can you go without food for 2, 3, 4 days? How about weeks? How about a month without food? Man! I didn't think so.

If you have gone without "spiritual bread", you're dying spiritually. Jesus is also the "Living Water". If you have gone without "spiritual water", your spiritual life is drying up or have already dried up. This person has lost the fear (respect) of God. They return to their old selves, to the normal way of life they once lived. This "normal way of life" is a pathway to death.

Two things Jesus wants us to know:

1. Jesus wants us to be conscious of the daily dependence on God for the necessities of life, not just bread but any necessity for the day.

2. Jesus wants us to be grateful for what we have and the gratefulness causes me to want to share with others the blessings we have and want to share the abundance to someone else's needs.

Are you, daily, eating the Bread of Life? We ought to model this to ourselves and others: "Give us today our daily bread." If you haven't eaten it, DAILY, you're not doing what Jesus encourages us to do. Don't let your soul die of spiritual starvation!

Friday, November 12, 2004

Becoming Like Children

During the prayer meeting last Wednesday night, my wife, Michelle and I volunteered to spend an hour with the children while their parents are in the prayer meeting praying to God for those hurting, depressed, oppressed, afflicted, weak and sick. We worked with the children making get-well-cards and we're-praying-for-you-cards. This is the first time, in almost 3 or 4 years since the launch of the prayer meeting, we're doing this in effort to teach our children the importance of thinking of others in their times of trials.

Michelle and I sat down explaining the reason for this "new project" and assigned each names we're praying for to each children. We had glue, crayons, crafts, construction papers, Christian symbols and many more. The kids, tireless, focused their energies on this project and asked us questions such as, "When will they get better?", "Why aren't they coming to church?", "Will they love God like we do?" and the list is endless! You know! They're kids asking neat questions! These questions made them think and made us think, too! These will apply to themselves in the future when they become teens, 20-something, 30's, 40's and on!

Just at the end of the hour-long project, one of my daughters became frustrated that she didn't finish her project in time (it was her second card-work) and just barked at me telling me to finish it. I didn't like the tone and expression of my girl, especially when she's giving this kind of negative influence on other girls in the room. Gently, I instructed her the proper way to behave and be an example to other girls. She humbly apologized and "rephrased" her question in a more gentle and fruitful way, "Dad, can you finish this for me, pleeeeeeze!!" (laughing) Certainly!

Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3-4 (NIV)

If you are a child of God, be like an earthly child, sweet, innocent and subjective to correction. In today's society, Christians (deaf and hearing) have problems humbly accepting correction. When a child of God becomes defensive against correction and offensive with belittling words, they aren't a child but a brute beast growling, clawing and snapping back. So what should every child of God do?

A child desires the sincere milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2).
As children, be harmless and inoffensive, avoid malice (1 Corinthians 14:20).
As children, governable, and under command (Galatians 4:2).
The child of a gentleman will play the child of a beggar ("..but be willing to associate with people of low position." Romans 12:16).
And lastly, we should, in like manner, behave and quiet ourselves (Psalms 131:1-2).

Father, we thank You for this rainy day! You have blessed us, abundantly, with water for us to drink, for the plants to grow, for the food we eat and many more. We can't never say enough to express our thanks for everything! They all came from You. God, we ask that You help each of your children to learn the importance of humility. That includes me, Lord! Let us keep our eyes on the children, watching and learning how they humbly respond to correction. Jesus loves them! When we behave like the little children, Jesus will love us! Thank You, Lord, for this message. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Perseverance, Persistence, the Prize!

The Christian life was never promised as an easy way to live, instead, Paul constantly reminds us that we must have a purpose and a plan because times will be difficult and Satan will attack. But we never persevere without the promise of a prize - a promise God will keep.

In 2 Timothy 2:1-13, especially this verse: "Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs - he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops."

As Timothy preached and taught, he would face suffering, but he should be able to endure. Paul used a comparison with soldiers, athletes, and farmers who must discipline themselves and be willing to sacrifice to achieve the results they want.

Like SOLDIERS: we have to give up worldly security and endure rigorous discipline.
Like ATHLETES: we must train hard and follow the rules.
Like FARMERS: we must work extremely hard and be patient.

But we keep going despite suffering because of the thought of victory, the vision of winning, and the hope of harvest. We will see that our suffering is worthwhile when we achieve our goal of glorifying God, winning people to God, and one day living eternally with him.

Let's pray, I stand in awe of You, God, for all of Your children at Fairfax. I pray that each of Your children will take the time to repent, give up the worldly security they may have, once again, become entangled with, train hard by praying, reading and studying in their home, renew their purposes in life (living up to God's five purposes!) and being patient as they "continue to work out their salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12). Those who do not pray, study and worship You are deprived of Your power and love. Their shield is gone. Their faith is weak. They are standing on "sinking sand" rather than on the Solid, Rock of Jesus Christ. Again, I pray that they not be "sidetracked" but carefully put their attention and devotion on Christ and His Word. Eventually, those who faithfully endure with the Solid, Rock of Christ, will receive the victor's crown in Heaven! And that's His promise to each of the faithful! In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Standing Firm In One Spirit

"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved - and that by God." Philippians 1:27-28 (NIV)

Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. Paul wrote this encouraging us to be joyful in suffering, serving, believing and giving! Chapter one is all about the joy of suffering. I pray that Christians, including myself, be humble to accept the fact that opposition will always come to the door of your heart.

As I read the Scripture above, I led myself on a journey back into the Old Testament to the time of Gideon in the book of Judges (Judges 6-7). If you don't know the story about Gideon, I recommend that you read this section of the book as well as the rest of the judges during the times of Israel. We understand that Israel was oppressed by the Midianites because Israel sinned against God. God handed Israel over to the Midianites in hope that Israel will repent. Eventually, they cried to God asking for His help. God sent Gideon as a judge to defeat the Midianites and freed Israel from bondage. Read this small part of this chapter where the Midianites turned against one another in Judges 7:22, "..the Lord caused the men throughout the camp to turn on each other with their swords." Man! They were asleep as Gideon and God's army encircled them creating an ambush. When Gideon and God's armies blew a war-cry, the soldiers woke up, dazed and didn't know what was happening and turned on each other because it was dark outside. They killed their own! And God handed the victory to Israel because of their repentance.

Let's turn this the other way around. Let's picture Satan in the body of Gideon. Satan uses his armies to encircle the camp of God's church. Their eyes are on us. Many churches fall because they aren't unified! Many churches split over a mere issue. But Paul encourages the believers to be unified, as they "stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith." How sad that much time and effort is lost in some churches by fighting against one another instead of uniting against the real opposition! It takes a courageous and conquering church to resist in-fighting and maintain the common purpose of serving Christ.

Lord Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your great love that You have lavished on us through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that Your church continues to grow in the faith. Please lead Your church in the right direction according to Your Word. Indeed, Satan has been working extremely hard to cause trouble among the church and I pray that we will keep alert and together stand firm as conquerors of the faith. Let us do a "war-cry", as a church together, against Satan's counter-attack. Lord, if there's anyone in Your church that's self-seeking with a desire to cause more harm than good in Your church, I pray that such person will repent and take his/her stand with us. Otherwise, we know You will judge such person because you gave us a sign that such person will be destroyed. Lastly, I pray that every Christian will be a "NIKE MAN"! Let's SWOOSH Satan! Lord, we embrace You and Your Son forever. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Training For The Christian Life

As a great amount of training is needed for athletic activities, so we must train diligently for the Christian life. Such training takes time, dedication, energy, continued practice and vision. We must all commit ourselves to the Christian life, but we must first know the rules as prescribed in God's Word.

"Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules." 2 Timothy 2:5 (NIV)

I encourage you to open your Bible and find these verses:

1 Corinthians 9:24-27:
Metaphor: RACE
Training: Go into strict training in order to get the prize.
Goal: We train ourselves to run the race of life. So we keep our eyes on Christ - the goal - and don't get sidetracked or slowed down. When we do this, we will win a reward.

Philippians 3:13-14:
Metaphor: RACE
Training: Focus all your energies toward winning the race.
Goal: Living the Christian life demands all of our energy. We can forget the past and strain for the goal because we know Christ promises eternity with him at the race's end.

1 Timothy 4:7-10:
Metaphor: EXERCISE
Training: Spiritual exercise will help you grow in faith and character.
Goal: As we must repeat exercises to tone our bodies, so we must steadily repeat spiritual exercises to be spiritually fit. When we do this, we will be toned Christians, living in accordance with God's will.

2 Timothy 4:7-8:
Metaphor: FIGHT, RACE
Training: Fighting the good fight and persevering to the end.
Goal: The Christian life is a fight against evil forces from without and temptation from within. If we stay true to God through it all, he promises an end, a rest, and a crown!

Sometimes, trying to live a perfect Christian life can be so difficult that it leaves us drained and discouraged. We may feel so far from perfect that we can never please God with our lives. Paul used perfect (2 Timothy 3:12) to mean mature or complete, not flawless in every detail. Those who are mature should press on in the Holy Spirit's power, knowing that christ will reveal and fill in any discrepancies between what we are and what we should be. There is no excuse for a lagging devotion, and Christ provides relief and assurance for those who feel driven.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Pray for our Nation

1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NIV)
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and on mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all men - the testimony given in its proper time."

Tomorrow is the day when America will place their votes! I urge you to get down on your knees and pray to our Lord for our leaders (Govenors, Senators, politicians, Judicial Court and President), and plead God's mercy and love upon them. Many issues that have been discussed are at stake. We urge you to be in prayer for this process, as well as for the leaders of our world. We want God's will to be done, His Word to be spread, and His people to be used to glorify Him.

Let's pray, Oh Lord, we thank You for the freedom we have to worship You in this world! We want to extend our hearts to those who do not have such freedom to praise You in other countries. Pray that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We know You can choose a terrible leader for our nation to show us the sins America is swimming in. This way, You will help America see a great need to restore themselves to You! We know You are in control of everything in life and You choose for us the right leader to lead our nation so we live peaceful and quiet lives in godliness and holiness. In Jesus' Name, Amen!