Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pimp My Tent (Body)

This is an awesome article written by Kasia Kedzia..

There is a show in the U.S. called "Pimp My Ride." The show is about people who get a car makeover. Basically, their old, run down car gets completely redone inside and out, everything from a new engine to a pool in the trunk. Since the show started there have even been rumored spin off shows such as "Pimp My Cubical." Why do I bring this random show up since I am in a foreign country with no television? Well, it came to mind as I studied out 2 Corinthians 5 recently.

2Cor5:1-21 (NIV) 1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

I have slept in a tent before. It is not the most comfortable thing in the world. Tents are portable, flimsy, temporary. You know, it really doesn't matter if I am in Sudan, Poland, or the U.S. everywhere I have been I've desired more, I have longed for more and known people who are unhappy, unsatisfied and not fulfilled. And although God desires to give us life to the full while we are here, He continually reminds us that this place is not our final destination. This life is just camping; it is not my home. I lost sight of that. I have been groaning and yearning and lost my perspective! I tried to 'pimp my tent'. I forget that my body will be destroyed. Heaven is my home and it waits for me.

6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

It is so easy for me to live by sight. It is easy to trust and desire someone providing for me, caring for my physical needs, nurturing me, idolizing me. But the reflection I see of myself in them is only temporary and this person too will let me down and I them. The security I feel is a temporary illusion. It is yet another way that I am trying to fill my life here, rely on self or someone else. If I strive to please God it enables me to be faithful. I tried to find fulfillment and security in other things, and it is true, at the end of the day the void is still there, the longing remains for something more. But when I put my faith in God and live by faith I am calmer, I stop grasping for other things and I am able to hope for Heaven and be so much more at peace. I am also able to find the strength to let go of my earthly desires and let God love me. I am able to share that love with others in it's purest form and not perverse it selfishly.

11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are out of our minds, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Even at my worst God's grace engulfs me. When I feel like He should turn his back on me and say, "Enough!", He wraps his arms around me tighter and restores my hope. When I was feeling hopeless and searching my heart and grasping to turn away from sin, He reassured me. He continues to reassure me. All of a sudden the calls and emails came and the gears started moving. I am no longer idle, but am starting to work and do things. It was really humbling as I am sure God looked down from heaven and said, "If you could have just held on another day, but even though you lost faith and turned from me I will still give you what you long for. I will restore you." To feel God's love I have to continually seek it and recognize that it is His voice calling out to my heart to not lose heart, to restore it. I have gotten to a place where I am not broken about my sin because I fear judgment; I am broken by the pain I cause Jesus. I draw strength from Him and am able to share that strength with those around me. I am lighter because my conscious is clear. I am compelled by His love.

16 So for now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

And so I spend time with my first love. I cling to Him and hope in Him, as only He can guard my heart and yet simultaneously allow me to share love (His love) with others. But this is a constant daily battle - die to self and trade human affection for God's love. There have been days this week when I have lost the battle and days I have won. This battle has raged inside of me for two weeks and it continues as I persevere to fight my way through it and seek God's wisdom and His answers. And somehow a part of me knows there is something I am still holding onto that is preventing me from fully turning back to God. I am still trying to 'Pimp My Tent'. I have accepted and seen what God's will is in my mind, but I am still fighting for my heart to surrender all.

"Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love." Revelation 2:4 (niv)

Monday, February 26, 2007

What Inspires You? (Top 10)

What inspires me?

1. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
2. The Bible.
3. My family & church family.
4. Committed Christians (undying commitment to do the Lord's will!!)
5. Christians with the example of Christ - humility (resignation), love, faith, obedience...
6. Christians with "Other-centered" heart & mentality (not me-centered).
7. Giver (not takers).
8. Positive people (Negative people annoys me unless they have a perfectly good reason for it.)
9. Knowing there's Heaven waiting for me (I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world!)
10. Knowing there's Hell waiting for me (It inspires me to keep my faith with God)!

A Stormy Weekend!!

I've had encountered a couple of storms over the weekend!

Our basketball kids had quite a scare last Saturday morning when a loud-mouth father of a daughter on our opponent's team stormed the floor yelling at our coach, referees and the crowd. It was quite shocking. This would be a perfect video to include in a segment called, "When A Parent Attacks (at ballgames)!"

I saw a video on television not long ago showing a father running across the football field and hit the opponent's player flat on the ground because this football player apparently gave a "late-hit" on his son. He got arrested and spent a day in jail plus heavy fine. Then Michelle and I got to see it, "LIVE", right in front of me. I didn't have my hearing aid on so I wasn't sure how loud he was until one of our team parent came up to me and said, "I'm glad you didn't hear this obnoxious guy! (chuckle)".

What apparently happened was one of the players on the opponent's side got too rough on our star player and our coach informed the other coach to calm their players down. Then the play resume and apparently one of our players got rough on this "Obnoxious Dad's Girl", the girl cried covering her face then the dad stormed the floor wreaking havoc! The opponent's coach yelled at our coach and said, "Then you tell yours to calm down!! Look at this poor girl!!" The referees gave the dad a warning and the wife of the dad yelled at him for making a scene. I could read her lips a mile away. She said, "You do this in every game! Come on! It's just a game!"

Quite a storm, huh?

Another storm... This time, it's weather-related.. 4.5 inches of snow in 6 hours!! We woke up yesterday morning wondering if there will be services at church. Checked the internet and my email. Still on. Walked out the door finding myself on a slippery walk. Started to sleet then quarter to half-dollar chunk size snow came down. Roads accumulating super fast! Managed to get to church. We worshipped God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strengths! By the time worship was over, there was approximately 2 inches of snow on the ground and still snowing!

We had Dr. Hughes from Pepperdine as our guest speaker yesterday. He preached the Word! He opened the lesson with a cute story about "Frederick" written by Leo Lionni. Then he quoted several verses in the Scripture including Matthew 25:32 (ff) where Jesus talked about those on His right and left, sheep and goats. Then he concluded the lesson asking people to get themselves into the "Story" where God continues to witness our love, faithfulness and obedience to His loving commands. Hope you've begun your journey with God and the "chapters" are continuing in your love story with God.

Another final storm of the weekend! It is, however, still brewing in the world today! What saddens me is that there are people in relationships that are on the brink of a fallout. Satan has been successful in destroying marriages. Either one or both of the spouse side with him rather than siding with God, the Designer of Marriage. Once a marriage falls apart, either one or both also depart God and close the love story with a final chapter. I often tell couples in any relationships to keep Jesus at the center, in between them. When you look at the person you're having a relationship with and before you "react in anyway" to the person, you must go through Jesus first. Here's an example, if you're going to "yell" at the person you love, you'll have to "yell" at Jesus first. If you're going to "hate" the person, you'll have to "hate" Jesus first. Every action and words must pass by Jesus first. Indeed, He'll be hurt because many of us, including myself, have hurt Him with words. This is the storm I hate!

May the Lord continue to be a blessing to you all this week!!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Church on Sunday with Mr Bean

Not Jelly Bean but Silly Bean! :) I had a great laff at the end of this video. He's very expressive. Even without captioning, he does make those who don't hear, laff! :) Enjoy!

Amazing Grace

Lots of repetitions but neat showing all the "sinners" like 'me', 'us'! We need God's grace because we do not deserve anything! Thank You, Lord, for giving us Your grace and truth!

Never been unloved

Neat! With Jesus, we've never been "unloved".

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

March of the Unqualified

Yes! Get in line! Love this short video!! Each of us have a "gift" from God. Use it for His glory!

The Last Painting

Whoooo! This is really touching!! Stay fixed to the end!! Just Ultimately Awesome!

Watch The Lamb!

Awesome play reenacting the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Big, Bad Wolves

During yesterday's powerful bible class, Matt led us into the gospel of John, chapter 10, where Jesus talks about "thieves and robbers" and "wolves". (Read John 10:1-18) After class, I was informed, in private, that there were "wolves" on the outside of the Lord's church at Fairfax persuading some of our members to leave Fairfax and join another denomination/church. Not long ago, I got a comment from someone explaining how they really enjoyed our deaf services and how I continue to be an inspiration to them are the ones that passes "hollow and deceptive words" (Col. 2:8). They are the very ones trying to destroy other churches (not only Fairfax) for their own gain.

If the "so-called sheep" leaves the flock for another "pasture" (church), they're either "confused", "deceived", or "one of the first three soils" mentioned in the Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13). In my previous blog, "Let It Go", if they do not want to remain with us, we can, at least, try and work things out. But most of the time, they prefer to simply "vanish into thin air" without a reason. I will never know except that only God knows. It's not really my problem. If their "story" ends with a final chapter with us, then I leave that up to God.

"They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us."
1 John 2:19 (niv)

Such "so-called sheep (Christian)" did not follow the Scripture, "..did not wholeheartedly obey the form of sound doctrine.." as shown here, "But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted." Romans 6:17 (niv)

The church knows whom are "vital servants of the Lord" and "who are not". The church ought to be considered as internally sanctified. There will always be "hypocritical actors/actresses" connected to the church that those outside have already identified by observing their "unmasked action".

"For if they "had" belong to us, they would remained with us" was clearly quoted in 1 John 2:19. This has been happening not only for centuries but today and until Jesus comes again! Now, returning to the "Parable of the Sower", there will be approximately 75% (3 out of 4 will fall away from the truth) of the people whom have "connected" themselves to the Lord will fall away with either a "hard heart" (without understanding), or "unrooted" (temporary servant), or "worry wort" (deceitfulness of wealth and worries of life chokes this person).

Believe me.. The grass (pasture) you're eating at now may be delicious for a time-being (exciting church, exciting worship, instrumental music, lights & sounds, liturgical dancing, and others). Then you'll begin looking for a better pasture to eat. But, again, it'll become "manna and quail" to you then you'll begin looking elsewhere. This clearly explains the "first" and "second" person in the Parable of the Sower. Such a person is never "rooted" in the truth, in His church. They've temporarily rooted then de-rooted themselves in/from"organizations".

Here's an interesting article @ this site: http://www.thepropheticyears.com/reasons/Wolves%20in%20sheeps%20clothing.HTM

Be forewarned of the Big, Bad Wolves out there! "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10 (niv) Jesus identified the "thieves" as other "religous leaders" during His days: Pharisees, Saduccees, and teachers of the law. Satan was using them in effort to destroy the Lord's church!! And that's exactly what's happening around the world today! We have other "deaf churches" criticizing, ridiculing, stealing to/from other "deaf churches".

The Apostle Paul had the same issue as we're having today. He had "wolves" whom have infiltrated the Lord's church in Galatia, "[This matter arose] because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves." Galatians 2:4 (niv)

Christians, stop being the "Big, Bad Wolves". We're not to fight against each other. We're to fight against Satan. There are souls out there without Christ Jesus, without access to Heaven. They are the ones we're to steal away from Satan and "kill and destroy" his/her relationship with evil. Let's lead them to Jesus whom is the gate leading them to green pasture (Kingdom of God; church), "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture." John 10:9 (niv)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Who is this?

"Sh@'ar Yashuwb"

Who is this person?
What does it mean?
And who was the "remnant"?

Lowenstein's Mountain

Here's the icy slope that I was talking about in my previous blog. It's too dangerous to go sledding or tubing on this slope. There are fences at the bottom of the slope as well as some trees and electric generator (boxes)..
My daughter, Angela, managed to slide down the lower portion. She was actually stuck on the upper part where I had to rescue her. :)
Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Ice Age 3

Yup! We're living in "Ice Age" now!! It's a "three-quel" now with tons of action. We have this huge hill just in front of our home and the snow is all iced up!! You can literally slide down without a sled. My daughter's friend, Hanna, literally zoomed from the top to the mid-point of the slope and has a sore bottom. I just couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her have this "guts" to do that! Ouch! Then my daughter, Angela, got stuck on the brim of the upper slope. I had to walk all the way around the neighborhood to enter from the top instead of climbing the slope. Then cracked the ice creating a "mile-long" path leading up to where she needed to be rescued. Amanda helped create a "yard-worth" path and got to Angela first. But Angela refused to allow Amanda to be her "Savior" and waited for Daddy to come to her rescue. LOL!

Anyways, it was an interesting day. I saw my neighbor trying to remove the ice from around his car with a snow-shovel. I knew it wouldn't budge. You will need a metalic ground shovel to crack away the ice around the cars. I saw that he had simply given up and decided to ring his doorbell and offered my help. We went on attacking the ice and they got to move two of their vehicles out of "ice-way".. I told my neighbor that I'm doing this for God and then said, "God bless you this icy day!" :)

Here are a couple of pictures of me sliding down the ice. I'll try and get the picture of the slope tomorrow and post it in my blog. Stand by but for now, here's me on the ice!! Whoopee do!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Mind Over Matrix

Awesome! Sorry, no caption for this one but points do prove a point! Jesus Rules!!

He Died For You

"Warning": Graphic video..

While Jesus is being crucified on the cross, watch His eyes as He looks up into Heaven. His pupils are being dilated meaning He's approaching His final breath. Interesting special effects.

Game Of Life: Night School Pt 1

Game of Life: Keep Asking Questions sermon from Sunday, February 4th..

Game Of Life: Night School Pt 2

Game of Life: Keep Asking Questions lesson from Sunday, Feb. 4th..

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Game of Life: God-sized Goals Part one

This is the fourth of seven lesson series on the Game of Life. Part one..

Game of Life: God-sized Goals

Game of Life: God-sized Goals part two..

Deaf Ninja

Let It Go!

Thanks to John Holton for forwarding this article.. Point #2 caught my eye because of the word, "story".. When each soul commits his/her life to Jesus and His church, his/her "story" with God begins. But it ends when he/she cease to be faithful with God. Read on!

Let it go for 2007 By T. D. Jakes

1. There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk. I don't want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left. The bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us. [1 John 2:19] People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can't make them stay. Let them go!

2. And it doesn't mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you've got to know when people's part in your story is over so that you don't keep trying to raise the dead. You've got to know when it's dead. You've got to know when it's over. Let me tell you something. I've got the gift of good-bye. It's the tenth spiritual gift, I believe in good-bye. It's not that I'm hateful, it's that I'm faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He'll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don't need it. Stop begging people to stay. Let them go!!

3. If you are holding on to something that doesn't belong to you and was never intended for your life, then you need to...... LET IT GO!!!

4. If you are holding on to past hurts and pains. LET IT GO!!!

5. If someone can't treat you right, love you back, and see your worth.....LET IT GO!!!

6. If someone has angered you .......LET IT GO!!!

7. If you are holding on to some thoughts of evil and revenge......LET IT GO!!!

8. If you are involved in a wrong relationship or addiction......LET IT GO!!!

9. If you are holding on to a job that no longer meets your needs or talents….. LET IT GO!!!

10. If you have a bad attitude.......LET IT GO!!!

11. If you keep judging others to make yourself feel better......LET IT GO!!!

12. If you're stuck in the past and God is trying to take you to a new level in
Him...... LET IT GO!!!

13. If you are struggling with the healing of a broken relationship.......LET IT GO!!!

14. If you keep trying to help someone who won't even try to help themselves...... LET IT GO!!!

15. If you're feeling depressed and stressed .......LET IT GO!!!

16. If there is a particular situation that you are so used to handling yourself and God is saying "take your hands off of it," then you need to......LET IT GO!!!

Let the past be the past. Forget the former things. GOD is doing a new thing for 2007 !!! LET IT GO!!!

"The Battle is the Lord's!"

During the next 60 seconds, Stop whatever you are doing, and take this opportunity. (Literally it is only ONE minute!) All you have to do is the following: You simply say "The Lords Prayer" for the person that sent you this message:

The Lords Prayer Our Father, who are in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom Come,
Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day, our daily bread
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, forever.

Next, stop and think and appreciate God's power in your life, for doing what you know is pleasing to Him. Jesus said, If you are ashamed of me, I will be a shamed of you before My Father" If you are not ashamed, send this message only if you believe. "Yes, I love my God. He is my fountain of Life and My Savior. He Keeps me going day and night. Without Him, I am no one. But with Him, I can do everything, Christ is my strength." If you love God and you are not ashamed of all the great things that He has done for you send this on. God loves you and watches over you everyday.

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"

Monday, February 12, 2007

Transforming Worship

Yes. I'm sharing my thoughts aloud! Sometimes I feel like Isaiah when he cried out to God,

"Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." Isaiah 6:5 (niv).

Doesn't that make you shiver?? If not, you're standing far from God!

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." Matthew 15:8-9 (niv).

I hate superficial praise. I hate worshippers who comes in with an intentional "half-heartedness". In my experience, discussions about worship tend to focus on the mind, what you know or what you have learned (traditions & knowledge), not in the heart. "True" worship -- we are often taught -- is more about the mind thinking right about God rather than the heart's hunger for Him.

But the words of our Savior resound the undeniable call to worship that enters the intellect: "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).

We've been inclined to conclude that mind is the spirit, but the Bible shows that heart is a better candidate, indeed! "In truth" certainly suggests "participation of the mind" in worship, but it is inescapably the second and most dependent on the heart first.

The heart is controlled by affections but more vulnerable to deception than the mind. But to base worship on the mind is to entertain delusion:

The mind is less subjected to deception than the heart.
The mind is the main means to "contact" God in worship as quoted in Job 11:7, "Can you fathom the mysteries of God?"

Of course! What you know about God contributes to worship but the Word of God clearly indicates that such a person may not be looking for something brilliant but something that is broken. I love this verse, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart - these, O God, You will not despise." Psalm 51:17. If we're to exercise worship with our minds, it may deduce God. Only hearts ignited in worship and delighting God will, in turn, experience His desire to delight us back!

Allow me to be specific in how we are to delight God in worship:

1. True worship treasures God's presence.
God welcomes those into his presence who want him. The quest may be one of desperation or of delight, of frantic need or of a loving hunger for fellowship, but the motivation is clear-and so is his pleasure with it.

In Exodus 33 and 34, a tender and powerful exchange takes place between God and Moses, spanning the range from an intimate face-to-face encounter to a dramatic declaration by the Almighty. Central point of this Scripture is the cry of Moses: "Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in your sight, show me now your way, that I may know you and that I may find grace in your sight." To which God replies, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest" (Ex. 33:13-15). Shortly following this, God displays his glory to Moses-as sure a sign of his pleasure and presence as he ever gives (Ex. 40:33-38; 1 Kings 1:8-11).

One author quoted in regards to a constant repetitions in how we worship God: "We've been vigilant in seeking constant renewal of the practice because we know that even the finest spiritual habits are vulnerable to the arthritis of ritualism-when form loses its focus. But with gentleness, the Holy Spirit has a way of drawing us back to our "first love"-to a renewed hunger and thirst for the Living God."

How true this is, "arthritis of ritualism - when form loses its focus".. It is necessary, when we gather together in worship, that we surrender our traditions and thoughts to the Lord allowing the Holy Spirit to work in the very deep core of our hearts. Certainly, this will draw us back to God with a renewed sense of worship. This eliminates comparison between our past worship experiences to the current worship experience.

Such worship encourages people to "fall in love" with God. If the phrase fall in love offends anyone (as it once did me-it wasn't sufficiently "objective") perhaps we might learn to be equally offended by "reason" that distances the heart from a passion to simply know and love God.

2. True worship humbles the heart.
In Isaiah 6:1-8, the abject cry of a sinful man, "Woe is me, for I am ruined," was not something that came to mind, but of the heart, a self-discovery made upon entering God's presence. In other words, Isaiah was pierced in his heart knowing he's doomed!

Isaiah says "I saw the Lord" with neither apology nor arrogance; it was a breakthrough of grace that produced a breakup of pride. Isaiah, a member of the educated elite of Judah, demonstrates a childlike humility and teachability. Therefore, Isaiah modeled to us how we're to worship God, "his cry, without a consciousness, shows an unreserved availability to God." We're to follow Isaiah's example of deep, hard-core humility!

Because of the importance of humility, years ago I began encouraging people to become more expressive in worship. Of course, a few things do challenge our pride more than the simplest summons to expressiveness. We're to be like a child because Jesus commanded us to be like little children. In this way, we can experience a childlike liberty in expressing themselves in worship.

One of our members, with the best of motives, once suggested, "Mark, if the leaders teach and invite people to lift their hands in worship, I think our church would grow faster," and then added, "I think you might injure some people's pride." "Injure pride?" I said gently. "Why, I was hoping to kill it altogether."

Though we're to "come as little children before the Father", pride tends to insist on finding a way to justify and preserve itself (even in church). I try to help people learn the humility of Isaiah. If you have seen a fellow brother or sister falling flat on the floor, or raising his/her arms up in the air, what would your response be? Only this will help them view God afresh and pave the way to deeply felt confession and purification. Few things challenge our pride more than the simplest summons to expressiveness.

3. True worship sacrifices and then expects something from God.
Hebrews 11:6 puts it clearly: "He that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those who humbly seek him."

Worship always brings a sacrifice to God, that "he that comes," whether with praise, an offering, or by "laying down" something instructed by the Holy Spirit, is presenting something of himself to God. Simultaneously we are told that the worshiper is to believe something will be given in return by God himself-something rewarding, benevolent, and good.

Some try to defend God against human selfishness and refuse all talk of "reward." But the truth is, God freely offers the reward of his blessing and delights to do so. He doesn't yell, "Don't you dare give me something and suppose you're manipulating me to give back!" Instead, his Word simply says, in effect, "Since you come to me, I would expect you to believe I will reward your quest."

Of course, tithes or offerings (which are, indeed, appropriate and biblical "sacrifices") aren't to be a tit-for-tat bargain with God! But God's call to worship is attended by his own commitment to bless us. The promise of God in Malachi 3:10 ("Try me now in this ... if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it") reveals a largess in the heart of God toward human giving-and the justice of our expecting a blessing in return.

4. True worship extends God's love.
If God-pleasing worship addresses human need, it also will extend God's love to others. It is, thus, unsurprising that the "greatest commandment" issues into "the second, which is like (in importance) unto it." Vertically, we're to love and worship God while horizontally, to love the neighbor. This means such things as: Forgiving others, seeking peace and reconciliation day-by-day. Gracious, lifestyle evangelism in both conduct and communication, living out a believable, winsome witness.

We're to have an unselfish, servant-minded attitude in reaching out to others in need. Such a person has a "heart" to care for victims of neglect and injustice. It's not always that easy to do but it's a privilege to serve and bring our community to Jesus.

Perhaps, we ought to have a "Ministry time," which can lasts about 10 minutes as we prepare then direct people to form small groups, to share needs, then pray. This can be an essential act to our effectiveness as a congregation.

"Ministry time" accomplishes four things:

(1) it is a way to express God's love evoked during worship,
(2) it helps people use their ministry gifts in the assembly,
(3) it allows people to express themselves personally and to care and pray for one another, and
(4) it lays the foundation for the invitation-it is infinitely easier to invite people to receive the love of God in Jesus Christ after they have had a personal encounter with some people who have shown it!

With such sacrifices, God seems to be well pleased!!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Righteous Anger

What really angers me???

I'm not talking about my personal pet peeves. Like when someone near you in the theatre kicks your chair through an entire movie. Or when an inattentive driver leaves on his turn signal for fifty miles. Neither are we talking about annoyances that triggers your temper tantrums because of sinful issues in your heart.

Rather, what stirs righteous anger inside you?
What makes you made on God's behalf?
What offends your sense of justice and morality?

Seriously, I have plenty of that! Is it wrong to be "angry" with a righteous anger? Jesus did!

There are a couple of things that made Jesus angry. He once entered the temple in Jerusalem and found a bunch of merchants who had turned the "House of Worship", "The Place of Prayer" into a "worship emporium". They weren't interested in "honoring God"; all they wanted was a profit. So Jesus made a whip and drove them out!

Once of His core values, then, was the sanctity of worship.

Another time, He got so fed up with the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders that He chewed them out. If there was ever a time Jesus yelled Himself hoarse, this was it!

So another of Jesus' core values was integrity.

I'll tell you one thing that makes me real mad. I hate when Christ's followers; those supposedly devoted Christians, become so self-focused that we think the church is here for us. You hear and see them through thick walls asking themselves:

"What about me?"
"What about my needs?"
"I don't like the way our leaders are doing this."
"I want to see more of this than that."

It's nothing but "me's", "my's" and "I's".. All of this is simply a "me-centered mentality!"

Hello!? Sometimes, Christians forget that we are the church, and we're here for the world, not for ourselves!! Where's the "Christ-centered mentality or the Other-centered mentality" when God needs it!! I don't care what your grandparents, or your parents, or your Philosophy teacher or your brother, or your sister, or your aunt told you what you need to be "forewarned" about church. We overlook the things Jesus knows best and what He's done for humanity!! Yet, in the church, we're arguing over change, systems, belief, and other petty stuff. We hold on to traditions. Then ignoring those hurting out in the world.

One of my core values is reaching out to those without Jesus!!

Unfortunately, I'm not bringing them into the quagmire in the church right now.. Would you have a surgery done in an infected operating room? Clean (repent) what is going on inside before we bring in the those hurting in the world!!

So, what drives me up the wall for God?
  • Christians decided to skip church for other activities.
  • Christians do not take the time in reading the Bible before Sunday's services. Boy! I tell you that many come to church unprepared. They don't even have an answer.
  • Christians comes to church with a "half-heart".
  • Christians comes to criticize, ridicule, and looking for faults.
  • Christians who are rude.
  • Christians who put on a mask (fake) on Sundays but live a different life the rest of the week. I desire authenticity!!
  • Christians who doesn't understand my vision for the deaf church (I can't move on without the leaders support and blessings.)
  • Christians who knows they're giving excuses why they "can't" serve, worship, fellowship, praise, pray, study and love God.
How about you? What drives you up the wall for God? What makes you angry?

In my next post, I'll tell you what brings me joy for God?

Thursday, February 01, 2007



In the past two weeks, I've been carefully watching the hit counter and noticed "THE NIKE FORMULA" has not been visited as much as it ought to be. So, I decided to take a break from blogging and use my energies on other things that proves to be more effective than this. I'm not able to get much help from Blogger and YouTube with problems in posting videos on my blog after transitioning from the Old Blogger to the New Blogger. I can see a spike in "hits" when I post videos on my blog but a sharp decline when my postings are typewritten.

It's been a fun 2+ years blogging.. Obviously, my bloggers are more focused on other things in life. And, I guess I'll move on, too.. :)

If you see a post in the future, that'll be more of my journal recording my thoughts, spiritual inspriation, etc..