Friday, October 29, 2004


The Return of the Prodigal Son (Rembrandt)

This picture is a powerful reminder of God's forgiveness of our sins through His Son, Jesus Christ. This picture was drawn hundreds of years ago by a famous painter, Rembrandt. The Prodigal Son, seen kneeling before his father, was very desperate for his father's forgiveness. If you read the Scripture about the "Prodigal Son" in Luke 15:28-32, it tells of a son that went away with his share of inheritance and spent it all on prostitutes and parties until he had nothing left. Famine came into the land and food was scarce. He had to work to earn his own living but it wasn't enough. He long to eat what the pigs were eating but he wasn't allowed. Then he looked back and pictures all of his father's servants living comfortably under his father's riches and food.

Then he set back to return home, not as a son but as a slave. Then there is the father, whose desire for the lost boy is so deep that he sees him coming from a long way off - he has been watching and waiting. So forgiveness is assumed; it's a given.

And there is the older brother. He's the party pooper, if you recall. The father wants to celebrate his son's return home but the older brother refused. He stands outside sulking. The older brother is the picture of the man who has lived his entire life from duty and obligation. The brother expected a punishment on the son but instead, the father gave mercy and compassion.

What hit me was in the picture, the older brother standing on the right side, was A STEP ABOVE the reunion of the father and son! A step above - he is above it all! He will not step down, enter in the reunion! He will not humble himself and welcome his brother with open arms. But who receives redemption?

There will be those who kill desire (compassionate desire): the legalists, the dutiful - are not the ones who experiences the father's embrace!

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (NIV)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

..a good confession...

I couldn't type anything yesterday to recap all that had happened this past Sunday during worship. Must I say that I am just overwhelmed knowing that God is much enormous than I thought. Originally, I knew He was larger than life itself, even the universe! I am trying to make sense here because my mind is so miniscule standing before the omnipotent (All-Powerful), omniscent (All-Knowing), and omnipresent (Everywhere!) God!

I open my mouth but no words can come out.

I raise my hands but no signs (ASL) can be expressed.

Even if I have to draw a picture but it wouldn't make sense.

If I have to build something that explains all that had happened, it wouldn't be clear.

Apostle Paul couldn't explain what he had seen when he went up into the third heaven, "..He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell." 2 Corinthians 12:2 (NIV) For all I know, it was God who is in control of everything life is. He planned it all, even before the Beginning! He knew this would happen.

"Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12

All I can say is that I praise God for His hand in, around, and through Nancy Rarus' heart. How it all came to the point of her confession this past Sunday is a long story. What had happened is not the issue here. She is an example that all believers ought to follow. God touched many hearts through her. Tears were flowing from the eyes of those who witnessed the confession. When we see another person confess his/her sins, we confess ours! What she did was, according to Timothy, "..good confession.." and that, " the presence of many witnesses."

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

Father God, I thank You for guiding Nancy to Your throne where she poured out her heart before You. Please continue to be with her, forgive her and bless her. We thank You for the example she gave us and pray that this "good confession" will help us confess our own sins. We know you delight in our weaknesses so that we depend on Your strength (2 Cor. 12:9-10). God, You are an awesome God! To You, we bow down and adore You! In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, October 22, 2004

7 Ups

Thanks to Kara Gournaris, baptized member of the Lord's church living in Massassachuset, for forwarding this email. This is something you can copy, design with your favorite fonts, colors and graphics, print and frame it. Then put it on your nightstand in your bedroom as a daily morning reminder to do the 7 Ups!

1. Wake Up !!

Decide to have a good day.
"This is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalms 118:24

2. Dress Up !!

The best way to dress up is to put on a smile. A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.
"The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." I Samuel 16:7

3. Shut Up!!

Say nice things and learn to listen. God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking.
"He who guards his lips guards his soul." Proverbs 13:3

4. Stand Up!!

. . . for what you believe in. Stand for something or you will fall for anything.
"Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good..." Galatians 6:9-10

5. Look Up !!

. . . to the Lord.
"I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me". Philippians 4:13

6. Reach Up !!

. . . for something higher.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6

7. Lift Up !!

. . . your Prayers.
"Do not worry about anything; instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING." Philippians 4:6

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

ID and Purpose Driven

Jose Abenchuchan during the "ID" weekend.

Today is Wednesday and the ID lessons are still fresh in my heart. The Spirit in me keeps reminding me five important points for the world to identify Christ in me: Demonstrate, Connect, Lead, Accept and Celebrate. God has a purpose for every person who has a "relationship" with Him. His purposes for our lives are: worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and mission. It just caught my eye that the five identities and five purposes (Purpose Driven Life) relate together very close.

Demonstrate Christ's love is worship
Connecting Christ's love among each other is fellowship
Leading ourselves and others with Christ's love is discipleship
Accepting the gift we have from God and use it in His Kingdom is ministry
Celebrate the gift we have with a zeal to reach out to our community is mission

We were called to love these purposes! We were called to carry out His will. We were called to demonstrate His love He has given us.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Light from within


There's no wrong.
There's no disorder.
There's no bitterness.
It does not criticize.
There's no hatred.

It is merciful.
It gives hope.
It shines peacefulness.
It radiates love.
It comforts us.

Jose Abenchuchan talked about us being the light of the world and salt of the earth (Mt. 5:13-16). He gave us a perfect illustration as if we are a diamond in a dark world. If the whole world (people) are pure white, there's no need for us to be diamonds (Christ-like). But the world is full of sin (darkness) and it is very important that we be diamonds before the eyes of the world.

Imagine this. Most of us have diamond rings and it is visible during the day time. If you went into a dark room, would you be able to see your own diamond ring? I don't think so. So a diamond alone means nothing. It is just a piece of rock. This is true for those who claim to be Christians (faith) but have no deeds (James 2:26). However, if light were to come into the dark room, it would sparkle and shine catching even the smallest glimmers of light and reflecting them all over the room.

Brothers and sisters, without the Word (Christ), we are diamonds in a dark room. We cannot shine and display all the wondrous beauty God made us to have without His light. When we walk with Christ, His love is reflected in us and then we shine and sparkle so brightly that others see us and want what we haveGod's love, mercy, and grace revealed in the Gospel, the Good News about Jesus. 2 Corinthians 4:6, ".."Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."

Father God, thank You for the light we have in our hearts. Pray that we will shine Your light with rays of peace, joy, compassion, and love. When the diamond of our heart does not shine Your light, we will know it is tampered with bitterness, envy, criticism, or even lukewarmness. Please forgive us if we have these and lead us to a more clearer Christ-like living. Let's live our lives like we are diamonds that let the floodlight of Jesus shine down on us! May the world see Your love through us! In Jesus' Name, Amen!

1 Peter 2:12, "Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."

Monday, October 18, 2004

It is with great joy that I share these pictures from last night's baptism of Teena Meirs. We, as a church at Fairfax, celebrate a new life in Christ, a new birth, a new addition to God's family, a new sister in Christ, a new creation, and a new person that has been forgiven of her sins by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ......

Teena listens to an important message about the true meaning of sacrificing herself to God.

Washed in the blood of Jesus! Posted by Hello

Victory in Jesus! Posted by Hello

Oh, joy, joy, joy! Posted by Hello

Teena, born again, October 17, 2004. Posted by Hello

This Is The Day The Lord Has Made

I love this song!

"This is the day, this is the day, this is the day
that the Lord has made!
And I will rejoice, I will rejoice, I will rejoice
and be glad in it!"

I sing it more often than most songs. Regardless of the circumstances, and may I say this again, "regardless of any circumstances (positive and negative), it's my personal admiration of what the Lord has done to us everyday! What the Lord has done to us during the three "DAY" "What Is Your ID?" conference weekend was wonderful! With Brother Jose Abenchuchan guiding us in His Word, regarding what our ID (identification) is, was thought-provoking, heart-piercing, and Spirit-stirring! And a special thanks to Andy Deuschle (North Carolina), Dirk Albrecht (Maryland) and Darrin Forshay (Maryland) for leading the Saturday's small groups!

During the course of this conference, I have watched the Lord's church put constant attention to His message through Jose. All I know is that the Seed (Lord's message) has been planted in their hearts and it is between them and God to work up the Seed they received. Jesus told the parable of the Sower (Mt. 13) where a farmer went out to sow his seed. We understand Jesus referred God has the farmer and the seed as the Word of God. But He has to tell the truth that not all hearts will receive the Seed with gladness! In the parable, Satan is identified as the birds, the sun, and thorns. These are negative things that hinders the process of the Seed in our hearts. The Lord's message has been preached over the weekend, the hearts have received His message, now it is up to us to determine what to do with the Seed. It is my prayer that God's children will put them into practice by showing the light of Christ (ID) before the hearts of deaf people in this community and the world.

What made these days special was the love everyone has for God and each other. Last Wednesday, I posted a BLOG just a day before the conference weekend was about to unfold. I mentioned that I wasn't sure what to expect from this conference but I know it will always be in the hands of God. I believe God has touched the core of many hearts throughout the weekend. Janet Smith came forward asking for the Lord's strength and guidance as she continues to work with the deaf work in Portage, Michigan. A couple of members have expressed desire to free themselves from the bondage of sin! A few were overwhelmed with God's power with encouragement to pursue a life as a servant (living sacrifice pleasing to God).

But God wasn't finished with this conference. He had other plans. At the close of this marvelous and wild DAY (Sunday), Teena Meirs offered to help transport Jose around town and to our home to gather his belongings before leaving for Steve and Melanie Williams' home for the night. He has to leave at 8 a.m. today! So I couldn't help him with that as I have my hands full with a harem of girls (5!) and get them into school. We offered them taco salad for dinner before they leave to meet the Williams'. Jose threw in a "convo", that he and Teena had on the way to our home, with a line that I used on Teena during a conversation a couple months ago, "You're a lost soul". She informed Jose what I had told her before. I may be blunt but a truth needs to be told. Then they returned to eat their food. (I am laughing here!) I looked at them and said, "Oh, did you see this as a negative remark?" Teena blurted out saying, "No! No!" and so did Jose! Then the rest was history! Because of that line I made a couple months ago led Jose and me to talk with Teena about the importance of being "saved" and being part of the family of God. We portrayed her a beautiful picture of God's love for her.

I believe this was a true PROVIDENCE of God! In addition to this, (thanks to one of our beloved members of the church for pointing this out to me) God used various channels using the members of His church to work in Teena's heart. It is not "I" that do it, but God through His people. What had happened that night was a very small part of God's whole plan for Teena. He had it all mapped out using other people around Teena's life. His time came for Teena as she was baptized last night, October 17th, 2004 @ 8:45 p.m.. Welcome to the family of God, Teena, our dear sister in Christ!

"This is the day, this is the day, this is the day
the Lord has made.
I will rejoice, I will rejoice, I will rejoice
and be glad in it!"

That's why I sang this song this morning savoring the goodness of God yesterday! It was wild! It was awesome! It was marvelous! He is good!

Father God, You're wonderful beyond description! Too marvelous for words! We cannot describe all You've done through the men and women of faith. You're a patient God, even though we expect a quick response. We expect to see something happen in a flash. But You know the time when the heart is ripe and ready! We have seen your Providence and we stand in awe of you, still! Lord, there are so many more out there that need Your love! But workers are so few! We pray that You will do what You will and lead us into serving Your will! Thank You, God, for the weekend. We ask that You bless those who have taken part of the conference abundantly. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, October 15, 2004

ID Weekend!

The "ID" weekend starts tonight with a praise event so I don't know what God has planned for this. I've been feeling a bit different this year compared to the last 4 years of hosting deaf conferences at Fairfax. This year, we're going to hear Jose preach then I have divided the deaf members into three small groups discussions. Perhaps, they will benefit more from this type of conference rather than just be, "hearers of the Word" over "doers of the Word." Once we have received the message Jose is preaching this weekend, we will be able to chew on it, taste it, savor it, understand it, and digest it in small groups! So I am leaving this in the hands of the Lord and I am really excited about it! :)

I read this daily Christian quote and found this to be very true among Christians in the world today. Prayer is an extremely important "organ" of our Christian living, our relationship with God. Without a daily prayer life, we're worthless. This was written by an anonymous author:

"Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, "Brother, the grass grows on your path." Anonymous

Do you have a "well worn path" between your heart and God?

Preach the Word, Jose!
See (hear) the Word, Church!
Lead us in the Word, God!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

What Is Your ID?

This year's deaf conference is coming in full-swing this weekend! We haven't really decided the name of the conference yet as I believe the "East Coast Deaf Christian Conference" is too long. Though, we can say, "ECDCC" but then the person that doesn't know what that is will demand for an expanded version.

Jose Abenchuchan is flying in tomorrow so I am pretty tied up at the moment preparing for the weekend. I pray that the Father in heaven will expose His beautiful light into our hearts through Jose's lessons. I pray that we will come to realize that we're not doing enough for the Lord that He expects more from us. The fields are ripe for harvest and we haven't had much success reaping them into the fold (Kingdom). Workers are too few these days (Mt. 9:37) and God is trying to bring His children into identifying who they really are. Lord willing, God will open up the hearts of His children and lead them into doing His will with their gift.

I am reading from the book of 2 Corinthians, chapter 6, verse 14-15: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" The writer, Apostle Paul, is not telling us to discontinue fellowship with the unbelievers in the world. No. He is warning us that we do not be like them in word and deed. We are to be different from them. Just as light and darkness is completely different from each other, this is the way we ought to be.

So who are you (ID) among the unbelievers?
Who are you (ID) among your friends and families?
Do they see Jesus in you (ID)?
Do they see the difference in you (ID) from themselves?

It is not that you become "holier" than them, no! It is that you become "Jesus" before them. When you show Jesus, they see some sort of an ID on you. They may not understand all you do before them but eventually, they will see a clear picture of Jesus in you.

Now, my question is, "What Is Your ID?" I pray that the world will see Jesus in you in your daily word and deed. What do you do that shows Jesus? What have you done that shows Jesus? It is not only attending church services that show Jesus, no. It's more than that. It's your everyday life that shows Jesus.

Father, it is our heart's desire to please You in worship and praise. We express our love to You and to others. We thank you for pruning us to be more and more fruitful and faithful. Wow! There's no one like You in this world. We bow down and worship You, Lord. We give You our solemn thanks for the life we have. I pray that Your children in the world will grow to know You. I mean, "KNOW" You through Your Word. May we show our ID, that is Jesus, to the world so that they will know You through our loving example! Please bless us this weekend and bless Jose as he leads us closer to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Closer than you think!

I am still soaked with the Holy Spirit of God after three days at the Zoe conference last week. It is exactly a week ago today! I have been singing Zoe songs: Blessed Be Your Name, Blessed Jesus, Come Ye Sinners, Poor And Needy, Forever, and others. It is a sure blessing from God and He has filled my soul with His goodness! And guess what!? I am already hungry for Zoe '05!

Last night, I took the time to get some R&R after a long day in the open. My parents are here which is a great help. After I finally sat down, I tuned to channel 9 (CBS) to watch "Survivor Vanuatu". Yes, I watch "tv", but very seldom! : ) They introduced us to a game called, "Memory Game" where you have to remove one cone then the other and if it doesn't match, memorize the location of the items. What's the reward? They get a Vanuatu tribesman experienced in cooking, building, and with the knowledge of the jungle. He will teach them how to live, find food (how to fish), build better shelters and bedding and many more. The women's group won the challenge and got the tribesman.

Before they won the tribesman for the day, they were desperate for food, their shelter was horrible, they didn't know how to catch a fish and all they lived on was coconut hanging above their heads. The Vanuatu tribesman arrived in his canoe and walked past the "welcoming committee" straight to work. The ladies followed him around. First, he climbed the palm tree to retrieve bundles of coconuts. He chopped them at the top three times with his bare hands and the top came off like it has a plastic lid! He moved into the jungle (it's actually their backyard) and pulled out some green leaves. The ladies were astonished that it looks like romaine lettuce and tasted it. Then he pulled out a brown stem from the ground and chopped it up. Under the stem is one delicious sugar cane. They looked like they were in heaven when they ate them! Then the rest is history! The tribesman taught them all they need to know and all along the ladies did NOT KNOW they had a supermarket in their backyard! Then men still do not know the secret of survival!

This reminds me of God in many ways. We often overlook many great possibilities. We overlook great potential. We're looking in the wrong places when it is right under our noses, or even your backyard. People think God is so distant that He hardly have time for us. We're looking for His blessings but gave up when the blessings were right next to you. Sometimes, we press ourselves so hard hoping to overcome a barrier. But God feels that it is not the right thing to do. He stops you right there, frustrates you in hope that you will open your eyes and see your "backyard" which is full of His blessings.

We think that the time of judgment is a long way off. But believe it or not, it's the opposite. Our earthly mind think this way but the spiritual mind thinks the other. Jesus warned us in the book of Matthew that the time is near, "The kingdom of heaven is near." (Mt. 10:7). "Near" can be your death due to natural causes or accidents. Many of us are like these "Survivor" group overlooking great potentials. I must assure you that you and I, together, have great potentials to be with God in heaven. One of us may look other ways to arrive where God is. But I, personally, prefer to depend on a "Heavenly tribesman" that is Jesus. He is the one that KNOWS THE WAY according to John 14:6: "I AM the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Now, my question is, if you're desperate for answers in how to live a Christ-like life, what would you do? Depend on your own wisdom to figure out a way or depend on the "Heavenly tribesman" Jesus Christ?

Father, I thank You that we have Your Son as our guide through this world. Our earthly mind is so limited that we do not know our way around here. We're blessed to have Your Son in our life and we have faith in Him that He will provide us with the necessities in life through our prayer and faithfulness and He will lead us home to You. I must say that I am proud to have Jesus as my tribesman to show the Way! In Jesus' Name, Amen!

Monday, October 04, 2004

Awe of His Power

I don't know what to say! I am just overwhelmed with God's power. He's so good! He's awesome! He's wonderful beyond description! The Spirit in me is elated to be in fellowship with the Spirit of God. According to John 4, "God is spirit, and His worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." Since there's a pure goodness in God's spirit, we show our pure goodness to God in fellowship with Him and the church. Everyone who came to Zoe were full of spirit and truth. They praised God! They worshipped God! They sang to God! They bowed down before God! They embrace along with others before God! So much love and joy filled the conference.

We just returned from music country of Nashville after the marvelous weekend at Zoe and Hermitage Church of Christ! All I can think of is Psalm 46:10-11:

"Be still and know that I am God,
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.
The Lord Almighty is with us,
the God of Jacob is our fortress."

There were no dry eyes as tears flooded the Woodmont Hills church. Hearts ache with the realization that they are nothing compared to the Awesome God. People embrace one another everyday. Numerous prayers were seen and heard. Cries were heard among the crowd of 1,200. God's children poured out their hearts before Him. People sang from the top of their lungs and hands were raised up higher than ever. Joy filled the people's hearts. Everyone was filled with the Spirit of God and His Word. Hundreds and hundreds of confessions were given to God.

Forever God is faithful.
Forever God is strong.
Forever God is with us.
Forever and ever.

And we, daily, express our desperate hearts seeking His goodness and grace. Be desperate for God's love. Be desperate for God's power. Be desperate for God's hands. Be desperate for God's mercy. Be desperate...... Be desperate.....

In closing, I must share with you how I adore Linda Bridgesmith, the wife of the Zoe chairperson, Larry Bridgesmith. She's a very mature, strong Christian lady who have been with God for so many years! She came up to me and remembers me from last year and was thrilled to have the deaf there! She filled my heart with God's love and I just fell in love with her fruitfulness and faithfulness. She IS one of the greatest Christ-like example among Christian ladies in the world! God, please bless her as she continues to imitate Your love!

We're ready for Zoe '05!