Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Consuming Fire!

Deaf worship under the beautiful sky! (August 24th)

"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters." Ps. 24:1-2 (niv)

"Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe for our "God is a consuming fire."

See to it, then, that you do not refuse his gracious call and offered salvation.

See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks from heaven in His Word, with infinite tenderness and love; for how can those escape, who turn from God in unbelief or apostacy (led astray), because "There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:18 (niv), while He so graciously seeks them to be reconciled, and to receive his everlasting favor! God's dealing with people under the gospel, in a way of grace, assures us, that he will deal with those who despises the gospe of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a way of judgment.

"Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose." Philippians 2:12-13 (niv)

We cannot worship God acceptably, unless we worship him with reverence and godly fear. Only the grace of God enables us to worship God the right way! God is the same just and righteous God under the gospel as under the law. The inheritance of believers, which is eternal life with the Father, is secured to them (the faithfuls); and all things pertaining to salvation are freely given in answer to prayer.

Let us seek for grace, only the grace God gives, only the grace we receive through Christ, His Son, that we may serve God with reverence and godly fear. Think of the church, in the book of Acts, throughout Galilee and Samaria, "..was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord." Acts 9:31 (niv) Why? Because our God is a "consuming fire!"

"Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water." Revelation 14:7 (niv)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Magnetic Starbucks

I am about to be honest about something that will make me vunerable to ridicule. I'm okay with that so here goes: I only like Texas sweet iced tea at home but when I go to Starbucks, I only get the cold sweet drinks. There, I said it. It's a Venti Iced Chai, 7 pumps with less ice and more whole milk. That's exactly how I say this to every barista I meet. Load it up.

I read somewhere about a book called, 'Pour Your Heart Into It' by Howard Schultz, the chairman of Starbucks. Critics says it is a great book and I love learning about how Starbucks got started and how it became what it is. Just like Pizza Hut, they were founded about 2 1/2 hours from where I grew up (Manhattan, Kansas). Anyways, the truth of the matter is this: I LOVE Starbucks and so does my wife. I know people who loves Starbucks and I even ask if we could bring them a kawfee (my slang for coffee).

Speaking of kawfee, how can I love a place that is founded on dark roasted coffee beans, when I don't even like the 'coffee' part that much. The reason for that is this: I love the EXPERIENCE of Starbucks. I love the look, the feel. I love the smell, the colors, the nice baristas (the people). I love seeing people sitting around drinking coffee, having good conversations. I love seeing people I know. Starbucks isn't in the coffee business for people. It is in the people business while serving coffee. And, frankly, it's hard to stay away from the place.

So, I ask you. Yeah, you... reading this blog. Critical questions: What kind of experience are we giving those who don't know Christ? Are we (believers) getting it? Are people magnetized by what we are offering, or what He is offering? What are we doing wrong?

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Bloggers, I added a comment in Dennis Cesone's blog and thought you all ought to read his blog! I was really excited to read his blog on, "My Food":

We've got to hunger for fellowship regardless if there's difficult people we're struggling to get along with.

We've got to hunger for His righteousness if we're daily reading His Word and meditating on them.

We've got to hunger to worship God which is not confined only on Sundays but everyday, 24/7 and for eternity! Sadly, many Christians go when they feel like it, just simply disappeared from the place of worship and fellowship during the whole summer, too, and are controlled by others (kids, friends, time) rather than God (conviction, inspiration, motivation).

We've got to hunger for discipleship because God wants those who love Him to shine His light before others.

We've got to hunger for mission because hundreds of thousands of deaf people are without Christ. Doesn't that make you SQUIRM knowing that you know Christ and they don't! Too few harvesters are out in the field. In other words, too few of them are hungry in this area!

We've got to hunger for ministry because God has blessed each of us with a gift He wants us to use for His service and glory. When we're not performing His precious gift, we're not hungry to serve.

In the passage, John 4, the Disciples, unintentionally, tries to distract Jesus from the opportunity to harvest Samaria (Samaritan woman and her community) by urging Jesus to eat food. Jesus wasn't interested in this type of food. He was hungry for food in another plane! Spiritual food. Food that brings people to His Father.

In the same way, Satan offers us "worldly food": time, events, extracurricular activites outside of the church that falls on Sundays and Wednesdays, social events that appears to be more fun than church, open captioned movies on Sundays (alot of people missed the blessedness of worshipping God because of this!) and hundreds more!! Like Jesus, we ought to say, "No to these because God comes first and the field is extremely ripe for harvest!" It's the harvest we ought to be hungry for! A Spiritual Harvest! So how hungry are you!?

If you're missing worship, missing the most important spiritual activities that provides you the eternal nourishment you need, you're NOT hungry.. You're simply hungry for the "worldly food", the food that spoils!

Beyond Comparison

(Warning: long post)

Jotham’s son Ahaz reigned over the southern kingdom after him, but he followed in the evil ways of the Canaanite nations. Ahaz closed the doors of the temple and placed altars to false gods on every street corner in Jerusalem and in every city in Judah. He even sacrificed his own sons to the false gods. On his death, he was not buried with the other kings, because of his wickedness, and his son Hezekiah took his place. (2 Kings 16; 18:1 - 19:37)

Hezekiah’s first command was to reopen the temple doors and to cleanse the temple. When the temple was cleansed, sacrifices were offered, the people sang, and the priests played David’s instruments. On that day, Hezekiah and the people knelt and praised God and dedicated themselves and the temple to his service once again. Hezekiah then sent messengers throughout Israel, inviting the people to come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. God’s people responded to Hezekiah’s lead so that the Passover celebration was greater than anything in all Israel since Solomon was king. In fact, the people extended the celebration for seven extra days. These were exciting times of worship and praise.

Fourteen years later, Sennacherib of Assyria surrounded Jerusalem and proclaimed loudly that no God could protect Jerusalem from the hands of the mighty king of Assyria. In common terms, he dared God to do something. Hezekiah prayed to God for help, and Isaiah provided God’s answer. That night God defended his honor and his people, and 185,000 Assyrian soldiers died. Disgraced and defeated, Sennacherib returned to his home and shortly afterward was killed by his own sons.

Then what does that mean to us? How do we apply this in our lives?

God will always defend his honor.
When His children worship him and obey him and remember His relationship, He is honored.
When Christians renew their commitment to God, He is honored.
When His people kneel before His throne in daily prayer, He is honored.
When evil actions are thwarted and human pride is broken, He is honored.
When we stand before God and the world in weakness (meekness), He is honored.
Even in the discipline of His disobedient children, He is honored.
Awesomely, God will be honored — through us, or in spite of us. God, the Holy One, says, “Can you compare me to anyone? He is BEYOND COMPARISON!” Read Isaiah 40:

"Is anyone equal to me?” Look up to the skies. ‘Who created all these stars? He leads out the army of heaven one by one and calls all the stars by name. Because he is strong and powerful, not one of them is missing.

People of Jacob, why do you complain? People of Israel, why do you say, “The Lord does not see what happens to me; he does not care if I sin treated fairly”? Surely you know. Surely you have heard. The Lord is the God who lives forever, who created all the world....

No one can understand how great his wisdom is. He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak. Even children become tired and need to rest, and young people trip and fall. But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired." Isaiah 40:26-31

We shall overcome not " might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty." Zechariah 4:6 (niv)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Daddy's Empty Chair

Normally, I don't forward stories to anyone but this story, "Daddy's Empty Chair", is something I couldn't hold back from each of you! Very touching!

A man's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father.

When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows An empty chair sat beside his bed. The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting me," he said. 'No, who are you?" said the father.The minister told him his name and then remarked, "I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up," "Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man."Would you mind closing the door?" Puzzled, the minister shut the door.

"I have never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day four years ago, my best friend said to me, "Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus.

Here is what I suggest." "Sit down in a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, 'I will be with you always'. "Then just speak to him in the same way you're doing with me right now.""So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died that afternoon "Did he die in peace?" he asked. "Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange about his death. "Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair beside the bed. What do you make of that?" The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we could all go like that."

I asked God for water, He gave me an ocean.
I asked God for a flower, He gave me a garden.
I asked God for a friend, He gave me YOU...
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.
Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God.
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Holy Temple

"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (niv)

We are God's temple! We are a Holy vessel! A dwelling where God lives by His Spirit. God lives in us. What we do in our bodies is part of our worship to him. We shouldn't sleep around, we shouldn't smoke, we shouldn't take drugs, we shouldn't get drunk. Rarely, do we focus on all the "positive" things it takes to care for and maintain these temples of ours? We are called to not only abstain from impurity, but we are called to glorify God in our bodies and honor the sacrifice by which our holiness was bought.

This Sunday, we're going to put more focus on 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 and 3:16-17: The Spirit's Temple.

Let's pray: Father, I confess to you that I sometimes lose sight of how precious my body is to you. With aging and the other challenges that daily remind me that my body is a vessel of decay, I find it hard to believe that I can glorify you with it. Please, through your Spirit, quicken in me a deeper reverence and appreciation of your presence in me. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

I'm Back!

As the opposite of Arnold S., The Terminator, "I'm back!"

It's been a great week after our 9 days of vacation! :) We're getting back on track now and ready for the Fall season! We're going to start working on "Deaf Rick (Warren)", a new 40 Days of Purpose video in ASL because some people have had a hard time following Rick Warren's 40 Days video. Lord willing, we'll get it done before Oct. 16th. The deaf need something in our language.

VBS is this week so our kids will have a very busy week! We were supposed to join with the hearing in worship but ended up having no interpreters available (all of our interpreters are out of town and we lost alot of interpreters to relocation). So I had to scramble getting the deaf worship ready today. We had our worship outside under an awesomely beautiful weather. It was actually a very natural A.C. breezing through. Everyone loved it and they want to do it again. :)

Today, I preaching about Jesus and the Samaritan women (John 4). You can preach a whole lot from this one history and apply it to our lives in many ways! Our focus was on "Thirsting For Living Water" which is thirsting for Jesus Himself! :) I asked the congregation some questions: Do you have family struggles? Tensions in relationships? Restlessness? Emptiness? Perhaps, you always ponder this in thought, "Life isn't fair!" You go door to door seeking answers, seeking peace. One door may be seeking for psychiatric help (sometimes that's good but they don't always give us an eternal answer to life's problem). One door may be drugs, alcohol. One door may be a door of "self-help". One door may be a friend's door (remember they can give good advice but they don't always give you full satisfaction).

Perhaps, we're looking in the wrong places seeking peace in life. Our frustrations, going door to door, led to our total surrender and loss knowing that we have been defeated by "life's pressures". We stick with whichever door gives us a "temporary relief" and do it all over again.

The Samaritan woman kept going to the well every day! The woman had an empty life. People in her community wasn't paying attention to her. Her expectations in life had faded. No longer is she expecting anything different in life. It's all a "merry-go-round" from her home to the well then back home. She's had five husbands and lived with another man. Having tried everything, she was miserable, unhappy - thirsty. That's when she met Jesus. Jesus provided the water she needs. A different kind of water. Not tap water. Not bottled water. Not Pur (filteration) water. It's the Jesus water. It's the Living water. It's the Eternal water. Stop running away from Jesus and seeking the water that doesn't quench our thirst for abundant life.

"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." John 7:37-38 (niv)

In shared with the Frederick congregation that Jesus wants the well of our lives (those who are committed, faithful and believes in Him) to be overflowed with His goodness and love. When we bring God, His Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit into our lives, the Living Water overflows from within us unto others. When I meet Christians or "so-called Christians", I can tell if the water is overflowing from within them. How? By their conduct, their fruitfulness, their conversation, their understanding of the Scriptures, their compassion for the lost souls in the world, their eagerness to learn and grow, their maturity and more!! When I do not see any of the above, the well of their life is dry. I can tell they need help. When they resist the need for Jesus in their lives, I do not see how I can be filled by their empty way of life. There's nothing to drink from their well.

It is my prayer that we will constantly keep ourselves at the well of Christ then the well of our lives will be overflowed with blessings after blessings within us and around us.

Here's a pic of my three precious girls at the beach in Duck, NC. They really had a blast! The waves was very nice to them, though I wanted a monster waves for my pleasure. ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Weedy Weeds

"The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' "'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' "'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Matthew 13:27-29 (niv)

Last Sunday, we returned from our family vacation finding that our lawn has been infested with weeds! All the weeds sprouted up during the 9 days we were gone! I learned from a brother in Christ that it has been very stormy and rainy all week while we were at the beach. It's one of the after-effects of 'Cane Dennis causing wreak havoc throughout parts of the midwest and the eastern seaboard.

I have been tending to our lawn almost everyday. Watering, pruning, mowing, and fertilizing. Even, I asked a neighbor to do me a favor by watering our plants and grass if needed. But God provided the rain! After weeks of work on the yard (probably since April), the weeds still come up, not taking weeks, but only a mere 9 days! This makes Jesus' parable so clear that even though you've done all the great work with the effort to care for your yard, weeds still pop up! Now, I am back to work doing "re-fertilization" to get rid of the weeds in my yard.

But the parable says the opposite. Jesus said to leave the weeds? Let's go to the Scripture and begin to understand His parable and how this applies to us today.

The "field" is the world; the world of mankind, a large field, capable of bringing forth good fruit; the more is it to be understood that it brings forth so much bad fruit: the world here is the visible church, scattered all the world over, not confined to one nation.

The "good seed" are the children of the kingdom, true saints, faithful, hard worker, goes the "second-mile", shows Jesus 24/7. This is the seed from which "fruit" (Galatians 5:22-23) is expected, the fruitfulness of honor and service God has rendered us.

The "weeds" are the children of the wicked one, even in the church. Here is the character of sinners, hypocrites, and all profane and wicked people. They are the children of the devil, as a wicked one. They bear his image, do his lusts, and from him they have their education; he rules over them, he works in them.

They are weeds in the field of this world (and in the church); they do no good, they do hurt; unprofitable in themselves, and hurtful to the good seed, both by temptation and persecution.

They are weeds in the garden, have the same rain, and sunshine, and soil, with the good plants, but are good for nothing: the weeds are among the wheat. Understand this, God has so ordered it, that good and bad should be mixed together in this world, that the good may be exercised, the bad left inexcusable, and a difference made between earth and heaven.

We give every weed a chance. We feed them the Word of God in hope that they will become a beautiful golden wheat by nurturing them with our love, encouraging them in fellowship, worshipping God with them, and sharing our burdens. But the time will come when the weeds are still weedy weeds, they will face judgment:

"Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'" Matthew 13:30 (niv)

The weeds will be judged, tied up in bundles along with other stubborn weeds and thrown into the fire of hell. That's the truth. That's the judgment of God. How many times has God given the weeds of the world and church a chance to repent and become a beautiful wheat? They are the first to go.

The wheat! Man! I am really excited for those who are wheat. You ought to be thankful to God for all the trials and temptations we have endured. They made you stronger. The service you've done for God has made you stronger. I can picture a small group of wheat softly singing, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, our God!" before our God like the Kansas wheat softly waving in the wind. Beautiful! Like the farmer knows how to raise a good crop of wheat, God raises a good crop of faithful Christians!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Bad Church Day

I had this funny thought in my sleep (yes, in my sleep) about the first time I visited Sports Clip, a new barber shop in the Broadland area, for a haircut. The welcome was a nice one. There were tv's everywhere in the barber store. When called to take a seat and meeting "Edward Sissorshand", something natural sets in the very core of my heart: fear of a bad hair day! I am very picky on who cuts my hair. A selfish side of me have a wish how my hair is to be cut. After "Edward", well, he is actually a she so may call her, "Edwina" does her job on my hair, I was rather impressed in how she did it. I walked out with a neatly trimmed hair on my head with a big smile.

A couple weeks later, my hair grew up like weeds in the yard! So it is time, again, to return to Sports Clip for another haircut. This time, "Edwina" wasn't there and there was another lady barber standing at the cashiers box. I am going to call her, "Cruella De Vil" because she's one cranky lady. She prompted me to sit down on the barber chair and asked how I would like my hair done. I explained exactly as I always have to every barber I meet (Paul, a deaf member and also a deaf barber, you're probably next!). Then "Cruella" probably did her worse. My hair was out of style. I could see that she missed some strands of hair. Yes, I actually use a microscope to see if any strands are left uncut. I, politely, told her that she needs to trim it a bit more, neatly (pretty please). But it wasn't the best cut, it was actually the worst cut in my life. I walked out with a Bad Hair Day! And since then, I didn't return to get a haircut there at Sports Clip.

Then a dream came in as I was asleep giving me a parallel between the barber shop and the church. Even though, "Edwina" did a fantastic job, "Cruella De Vil" erased the great things about Sports Clip! I should have seen "Edwina's" job more than "Cruella's", but instead, I see "Cruella's" more because I care about my hair more than the store. An interesting parallel between that and the church is suppose there is an "Edwina" in the church that gives positive attitude, fruitfulness and inspiration to a visitor but "Cruella" comes up to that specific visitor and causes discomforts probably because "Cruella" isn't as sensitive as "Edwina". "Cruella" may not have the fruit the Spirit is trying to help her grow, may not have the excitement for God like "Edwina". I wouldn't blame the visitor for not returning to church because "Edwina's" example may have been erased by "Cruella's" example. People always remember the bad things more than the good and that's sad.

The "visitor" may feel inferior, intimidated, neglected, insulted by the bluntness of "Cruella" and felt the church isn't given him/her the necessary things in life. He/she may be more "selfish" not to attend church in fear of the pressures of "negative" things a "Cruella" does on him/her. It's extremely crucial that we keep the spirit of "Edwina" in our lives and reflect the Lord more! How many "Edward's" and "Edwina's" do you have in the church? Are there any "Cruella's" that's causing harm to the church and her growth?

Let's pray that the visitors do not walk out with a "Bad Church Day"!

"If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother." Matthew 18:15 (nas)

"For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,.." 2 Thessalonians 3:7 (nas)

Sunday, July 17, 2005


Even a car is recalled by its maker,
so are we recalled by our Maker because of our sin problem.

He desires every living soul be "re-processed", "re-conditioned", "re-stored" through Jesus (Soul Shop). Only the blood of Jesus can restore our broken relationship with God. However, many of us feel broken down, weak and unable to perform at the fullness of God and His will. Remember, you don't have to "earn" His pardon and Hands that is able to restore your broken spirit:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30 (niv)

Even David, a man after God's own heart, asked God for a divine restoration. He has his ups-n-downs through life: lust, murder, adultery, and denial. David is no better than us, nor is he less. Though, chosen by God, he is still a weak person like us. Yet, he knows when he ask God for restoration:

"Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." Ps. 51:12 (niv)

David knows God doesn't have pleasure in our sins against Him and others. But He is able to put behind the displeasures of our actions and grant us restoration through our repentance:

"Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us." Psalm 85:4 (niv)

God is able to restore Himself to us when we show a repentant heart. He knows every child on earth must be "recalled" back to Him through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus. Why? Because all of sinned (broken down, disconnected from the source of life) and fallen short of the glory of God! Have you been "recalled"?

Friday, July 08, 2005

Which Kind Of Fruit Are You?

"In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs on it, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" And immediately the fig tree withered up. The disciples were amazed when they saw this and asked, "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" Then Jesus told them, "I assure you, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this mountain, `May God lift you up and throw you into the sea,' and it will happen. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."" Matthew 21:18-22 (NLT)

Like Jerusalem, we are given so many opportunities:
  1. To be fruitful.
  2. To show our faith.
  3. Be faithful to the Lord.
  4. And to live a life that blesses others to the Fathers glory.

But opportunities are not forever. God calls us to reflect his character and grace. But the problem lies within us. It lies within the very core of our hearts. Many christians fail to reflect His character and grace. They're too busy. They're tied up with many things. Maybe, they don't want to.

When we don't reflect his character and grace, and this refusal and neglect become habitual, God will give us opportunities to repent and change our actions. Isn't that great! He's a compassionate God! He's a kind God! He's a great God! He wants to have a "relationship" with each of us. He wants to restore a broken one. He wants to forgive.

But there comes a time when we must change or judgment comes. If we are truly connected to Jesus, if we are truly his disciples, we will bear fruit that reflects his character. The Spirit will help make sure of this. Our love for the Savior will call us to this. Our friends in Christ will encourage this. But ultimately, we must decide that Jesus is Lord and is worthy of our life's commitment to him!

So what kind of fruit are you reflecting? What kind of people are you in the church? I am talking about Christians but this does apply to those who haven't committed their lives to the Lord:

1. PLASTIC PEOPLE (fake, plastic fruit that sits on the table for decoration): it is hard, it only shines on the outside, it is hollow inside, there's no life in plastics. This type of people shows their stubbornness, hard-hearted, and refusal to take in the Lord's message and repent from their sins. No matter how hard you try and admonish, encourage, instruct, rebuke, correct and train a fellow Christian, they remain a hard vessel before God, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,.." 2 Timothy 3:16 (niv)

Then there are peel people in the church:

2. PEEL PEOPLE (picture a banana peel sitting on your dish without a banana): it's only the surface of the real thing! They are two-faced type of people who loves the world and loves God, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth." Matthew 6:24 (nas) They are not deep Christians. They don't go into the depth of God's Word and allow God to work in the depth of our lives and hearts.

Time after time and with prayers, you work with a fellow Christian by encouraging him/her to live the life of Christ and His faithfulness to us so that we can pour our God's faithfulness among others through our example. But the example may not be the example God wants us to portray. When we live a Christian life on the surface of His Word, i.e.: we understand bits and pieces of God's commands, we're portraying only a peel. Would people in the world eat a peel of fruit? I don't think so. They haven't tasted the goodness of the Lord, "now that you have tasted that the Lord is good." 1 Peter 2:3 (niv)

Now, the REAL THING,

3. THE PRODUCE: (picture yourselves in your local supermarket seeing and smelling a fresh smorgasbard of fruits): Christians drool over Christians whose heart loves the Lord and loves to obey His commands, who portrays the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), who serves and do the divine will of God. They are the real thing. They are what God sees having an attitude of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5). They are delicous, juicy, fruity, and healthy. There's life in the produce, the life of Christ whereas there's death and destruction in the plastic and peel.

So what kind of fruit are you? Plastic? Peel? Or the real thing, Produce. If you see yourselves as a plastic or a peel, God gives us all an opportunity to come to Him and confess our sins, repent from our evil ways (hardness of heart and surface of our service). If you haven't given your lives to the Lord in baptism, I strongly encourage you to study the Bible with your local minister with the churches of Christ (deaf or hearing).

Go back to the verse at the beginning of this blog (Matthew 21:18-22), we will all stand before Jesus, someday (judgment), and if He doesn't find any fruitfulness, the real thing, the produce in us, He will rebuke us and make us wither away. Not that Jesus wants to do this but He is just and fair, "For we will all stand before God's judgment seat." Romans 14:10 (niv) Think about this! Just as God loves those in the world, so do I! It's, with great privilege, to share you the good news that God is able to forgive those who changes their hearts and their ways! Be fruitful!! Let's multiply!

(My family and I will be on vacation this week so will not be able to blog until after the 17th. Enjoy the week, bloggers, and thanks!)

Friday, July 01, 2005

How To Power Up Your Marriage?

Good morning, bloggers!

I was reading Bruce Black's blog last night about "marriage". He met a couple who knew a young couple whose marriage has gone sour! Just like Bruce said, "..the story I heard is all too familiar." Read on:

I would like to add one important advice to both of his list for those "planning to get married" and those "already married":

P R A Y E R ! !

Never underestimate the power of prayer. If you ask God, He will provide for you in the way He will. Some of the common cause of problems in marriage today:

1. Lack of communication.
2. Independent behavior.
3. Selfish demands.
4. Angry outbursts.
5. Involved in a wrong group of people (negative influence).
6. Dishonesty.
7. Annoying habits.
8. Disrespectful judgments.

I strongly believe every married couple or couples planning to get married ought to get themselves involved with a church where the Word of God is taught!. For a healthy marital investment, attend marriage enrichment seminars. It doesn't matter if your marriage is doing very well. I have heard people telling me, "Ha. I don't need this seminar. We're doing fine. What makes you think we need it?" My wife and I attended the "Dynamics of Marriage" and that doesn't mean our marriage is on the rocks. Just don't wait until your marriage is near or on the "rocks". It will be like you have fallen from the peak of the mountain to the bottom. It will be extremely hard to climb back to the peak. However, God is able to lighten your burdens in your marriage and lead you to the peak in no time. It all depends on your heart as well as your spouse. Please pray for all the "married" in the world today! It would be nice to have this, "..all too familiar" a quote that "marriage on the rocks" have become rare because they brought God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the middle of every "two shall become one flesh"!

"Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control." 1 Corinthians 7:5 (niv)

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:7-8 (niv)


DNA of Relationships by Gary Smalley (A Wow!)
Five Steps to Romantic Love by Willard F. Harley Jr.
Love Busters by Willard F. Harley Jr.

Blessed Be His Name!

Mark Lowenstein <><