Thursday, September 29, 2005
No, no.. Not the second coming of Jesus, yet! :) It's the day of our move from the old to the new! We're very excited and nervous but everything will go very well, Lord willing. Just wanted to keep you on schedule:
September 29 & 30: our move
October 1st: 40 Days Kick-off picnic at Burke Lake Park #2
October 2nd: we're going to focus on another "24" series about two things we need to do throughout the day after waking up praising God in the morning!
October 6th through 9th: Zoe conference in Nashville.
October 9th: start of the 40 Days, "What On Earth Am I Here For?"
So my blogging this weekend and next week will be very sporadic. Please take advantage of the blog link on the right hand side of your screen.
Show Jesus, bloggers!
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Just a short note to let you know, starting next week Sunday, October 9th, I will be posting a daily summary in reflection from Rick Warren's book, "Purpose Driven Life". Be sure to check daily by clicking on "living with purpose blog" link on the right side of your screen. Feel free to add your encouragement after reading each daily 40 Days blog. Please try and be as positive as you can and share with us how God is, each day, impacting your life.
I am really excited about this upcoming 40 Days campaign and I am sure some of you are! I will do my best to do a Nike blog this week but I am in the middle of a move from one home to another. I ask that you pray for us all as the upcoming two weeks will be very busy! Please pray for the whole world as well that all will come to lift up their hearts to our Lord Jesus Christ!
Don't forget about the Kick-off picnic at Burke Lake Park this Saturday!! There will be food, devotional, fun games under the predicted beautiful sunny skies and cool weather!!
Bless you all!! Show Jesus 40!
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I am off to attend the gospel meeting at the Goodman Oaks church in Mississippi tomorrow. It will be interested to see what God has in store for them as well as for me. It will be beneficial because it will be extremely good to see other brothers and sisters hungry for the Lord and His Word. So please pray for me and the rest of the family at Goodman Oaks! Thanks..
Here's an interesting article I found on the web for you bloggers to read:
"Now you are no longer strangers to God and foreigners to heaven, but you are members of God's very own family ... and you belong in God's household with every other Christian." Eph. 2:19 (LB)
Today, a lot Christians are what I call "floating believers." It is an expression of America’s rampant individualism. Anywhere else in the world, being a believer is synonymous with being connected to a local body of believers. You rarely find a lone ranger Christian in other countries.
Many American Christians, however, hop from one church to another without any identity, accountability, or commitment. They have not been taught that the Christian life involves more than just believing – it also includes belonging. We grow in Christ by being in relationship to other Christians.
C.S. Lewis once wrote an essay on church membership, reminding us that the word "membership” is of Christian origin, but it has been taken over by the world and emptied of all its original meaning.
Today, most people associate the term "membership” with paying dues, meaningless rituals, silly rules and handshakes, and having your name on some dusty roll. Paul, however, had a very different image of membership. To Paul, being a "member” of the church did not refer to some cold induction into an institution but rather it meant becoming a vital organ of a living body (Romans 12:4-5, 1 Corinthians. 6:15, 1 Corinthians. 12:12-27). We need to reclaim this image!
THE MEANING OF MEMBERSHIP
Joining a church used to be an act of conformity in our society. You joined a church because everybody else did. Now the rules have changed and conformity is no longer a motivating factor. In fact, George Gallup has found that the vast majority of Americans believe it is possible to be a "good Christian” without being "added to His number" (or even attending) a local church.
Membership is now an act of commitment. The way you motivate people to join today is to show them value-for-value what benefits are in return for their commitment. When people understand the meaning and value "being added to His number", they get excited about it.
There are numerous benefits to "being added to His number":
1. It identifies me as a genuine believer (Ephesians 2:19, Romans 12:5)
2. It provides a spiritual family to support and encourage me in my walk with Christ (Galatians 6:1-2, Hebrews 10:24-25)
3. It gives me a place to discover and use my gifts in ministry (1 Corinthians 12:4-27)
4. It places me under the spiritual protection of godly leaders (Hebrews 13:17, Acts 20:28-29)
5. It gives me the accountability I need to grow (Ephesians 5:21).
Nothing helps this picture come into focus like personalizing the purposes of His church (worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry, mission). This is especially important when convincing attendees in your crowd to "be added" to His church.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
I think it's really amazing that some people just don't see themselves. They are people who "..like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." James 1:23-24 (niv) They are people who say one thing but doesn't even do it themselves. They just move their mouths (for the deaf, hands) but do not even do it themselves (action). In the same book, James argued that "..faith without deeds is dead." James 2:26 (niv) They are unfaithful people with a huge "log" in their eye picking on the faithful with only a speck in his/her eye. Man! It's annoying to go through this and often times it is hurtful. Those with a "log" in their eye will always have a hard time admitting they have a "log" but constantly denies they have it and begins to point finger at those with "specks". They are nothing but talkers, whiners, complainers, and critical toward others. Their words are nothing but empty words. The "loggers" will continue to defend themselves that they ever have a "log"! That makes our relationship with them much harder because "pride" and "humble" do not mix! So what do we do?
Until God ordains otherwise, every person ought to bear patiently whatever he/she cannot correct in himself and in others. Consider it better thus - perhaps to try your patience and to test you, for without such patience and trial your merits are of little account. Nevertheless, under such difficulties you should pray that God will provide the help so that you can bear them calmly.
If, after being admonished once or twice, a person (logger) does not change, do not argue with him/her but commit the whole matter to God that His will and honor may be furthered in all His servants (He's the J-man!), for God knows well how to turn evil to good, even will judge those who do evil on the last day!
Try to bear patiently with the defects and infirmities of others, whatever they may be, because you also have many a fault which others must endure. If you cannot make yourself what you would wish to be, how can you bend others to your will? We want them to be perfect, yet we do not correct our own faults. We wish them to be severely corrected, yet we will not correct ourselves.
Their great liberty (prideful denial) displeases us, yet we would not be denied what we ask. If all were perfect, what should we have to suffer from others for God's sake? But God has so allowed, that we may learn to bear with one another's burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough.
Therefore, we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise, for the measure of every man's virtue is best revealed in time of adversity - adversity that does not weaken a man but rather shows what he is.
Then, Lord willing, the "Loggers" will possess specky lil' speck in their eye because they have allowed God to destroy their prideful denial and humbled them before others! For those who loves to "show and talk", be sure to look at themselves first. Are you a strong example to others before God? Do you commit wholeheartedly and faithfully to the service of our King? Do others look up to you and respect you because you work hard for the Lord? If one person suggest something before the church such as be faithful to Sunday's services but he/she doesn't attend faithfully, they are classified as a "Logger"! Be careful what you say because others are watching you and your example!
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
God is looking for people with humble hearts; people who will sacrifice anything for Christ and the advancement of His Kingdom, His church. It all started by Jesus calling a few men to follow Him... His concern was not with programs to reach the multitudes, but with Christians like you and me whom the multitudes (people) would follow ... People were to be His method of winning the world to God. Why are there so few godly people? Why does every church I know of have a leadership problem?
One of the reasons is a lack of an intentional strategy.
This was the case at His church in Fairfax six years ago. We've developed a men's and women's ministry, a sports ministry and a prayer ministry, Visiting Angels and several other ministries. Obviously, this is a God-thing! But in seeking God, we have followed an intentional strategy.
The first principle is a bottom-line dependence on prayer. A couple years ago, I gathered about eight of us to seek God's vision for His ministries. I told them that if God was going to do miracles, then we were going to have to ask Him. We agreed to meet every week and pray for an hour to ask God for His direction on this ministry.
Sometimes all eight of us showed up, sometimes it was just me, but for a year or so, we prayed every week. We asked God for miracles. We prayed for people's salvation. We prayed for people's marriages. We prayed that His children be spiritual leaders. What we need to do is open with a Scripture reading and then we pray. We don't talk about prayer; we pray! There are alot of ways to do prayer meetings and each one of them is unique. However, God does love a variety of prayer approaches. Every church ought to have prayer meetings. I must admit that Satan has placed a spiritual lock on the "prayer meeting" door because I received several complaints about how the prayer meeting is done. They say one thing while another say another. Their focus are on themselves, not on others in dire need for God's answer. I have given the task to one who ought to lead but I pray that he will be encouraged to bring the "lock" on the anvil and break it away paving the way for us to the throne room of God to pray!
What do we do? We don't share prayer requests; we pray them. We spend time in praise and thanksgiving; we pray for our small groups, our leaders, specific men in need and we pray every week!
The second principle of His ministry is that - without apology - we challenge people to become authentic spiritual leaders.
Our mission is "to connect people with God and to other people, so that they become authentic spiritual leaders in their families, in the church, in the community and in the world."
What this means is that we do ministry with the end in mind of discipling people into mature reproducing leaders. Paul said in Col. 1:28-29, "We proclaim Christ, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ and for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."
Our outreach events, our Bible studies, our discipleship groups, our prayer meetings and especially our retreats, are all prayed for and programmed for challenging people to be spiritual leaders.
"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." (Prov. 27:17)
"And the things you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2 Tim. 2:2)
"One another's" presence will allow us to send more people as ambassadors for Christ. God wants your church to be filled with people who love Him more than anything else; people who will pay any price and serve in any capacity to bring Jesus Christ glory. Those people are sitting in the pews. They are at the gym. They are in your neighborhood.
And they are waiting for the church to pray for them, to welcome them, to encourage them and to train them to be men of God. So, where are you, today? Where are the people that God has called?
Monday, September 12, 2005
Yesterday's worship is still fresh in my heart this morning! What am I thinking? I am thinking of each of you. Last night, I talked with Michelle about all of our brothers and sisters and our precious visitors and said, "I wondered if the Lord's Word is reaching their hearts?" Michelle simply answered, "Mark, you do what you are commanded to do: "to preach, to teach, to guide, to serve, to help, to instruct, to rebuke, to correct, to encourage" and God knows what lies in the heart of those who "heard Him" and will do what He has to do. Remember, God will send Jesus and His angels to gather His little ones home but the "weeds" He will bind and throw into fire. (Mt. 13)" Then I remembered something. I looked back into the history of the Old:
- I saw Noah preaching His warning to the people around him.
- I saw Moses who tried so hard to encourage Israel to be faithful to God for His time for the Deliverance "will come" (after the 10th plague).
- I remembered Isaiah preaching the Word.
- I remembered Elijah preaching with boldness and fear then the next time, feared for the awful queen, Jezebel.
- I remembered the lone prophet, Jeremiah. Jeremiah is my man!
- I remembered John the Baptist preparing the way for the Lord.
- I remembered Jesus for some accepted Him but many rejected Him!
Noah preached. Moses preached. Isaiah preached. Elijah preached. Jeremiah preached. John preached. Jesus preached. Yet, many rejected His Word and fell away from the Lord. "The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me." Luke 10:16 (nas)
Now, about TiVo, it is time to invest in it! TiVo is a "digital recorder" that records your favorite programs on television. Why would I encourage you to invest in TiVo? My answer is: 15 minutes. It's a very simple answer. You will cut approximately 15 minutes of commercials OUT (well, actually you will fast-forward with a superfast digital speed through all the commercials)! Then that leaves you 15 minutes to read His Word, talk about God, chew on what was preached, and pray! TiVo anyone?
Dont' forget about "24" A Day With God! SHOUT IT, FEEL IT, HIDE IT, SAY IT!
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Today, I am preaching a three-part sermon called, "24 - A Day With God". I am encouraging the congregation and congregations throughout the world to keep God the Lord of your life 24 hours a day! Beginning in the morning, throughout the day and while you're sleeping. Pray that God will give you visions/dreams of what He would like for you to do for Him. Surely, God does go to His childrens' mind like Joseph (concerning Mary), Jacob (resting his head on a rock visioning the stairway to Heaven) and others.
In addition to this Fall season, we're hosting the 40 Days of Purpose campaign starting on October 9th through November 20th. Also, Jose Abenchuchan is coming to D.C., once again, for the 40 Days conference on November 11th through 13th. Zoe conference is on October 6th through 9th! And we're having another movie in the making will, Lord willing, will debut next summer.
I pray that each of you will begin your walk with God today with a renewed sense of direction, the God-way! Follow Him. Listen to Him. Love Him more. Read His Word. Share with others the gospel (good news). Pray, pray, pray! And God bless each of you!
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
God tells it all about the use of "profanity"! Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus, "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving." Ephesians 5:4 (niv) Also, wrote to another church in Colossae, "But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.. ..since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." Colossians 3:8-10 (niv)
When you used such words like, "f-word", "s-word" or any other "word" without guilt, your mind and heart is obviously polluted by the world's conversations. It is nothing but filth! Those who use cuss-words makes me squirm in my seat, especially those coming from the mouth and hands of a Christian. I have heard many Christians who told me that they have tried so hard to quit but couldn't. Must I spell this out that it is, indeed, hard for the person to stop but it is NEVER hard for the Spirit! Christians ought to examine their lives and those around them. Who are their friends? Do they read the Bible? Who do they fellowship with the most? You may be using cuss-words because you're with a Christian who uses them too. Such person is probably hanging with the wrong person because they are "polluting the mind of a Christian" instead of a Christian "cleaning the mind of the pollutant" with Jesus' love!
When I am conversing with a Christian who uses such filthy words, it's hard for me to see the fruit of the Spirit in the person. It's even more harder for me to continue conversing when they continue cussing. What should our conversation be? "Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.." Colossians 3:6 (niv)
I am inserting Murray Sanderson, our worship leader's comments regarding using the Lord's name in vain:
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.” Exodus 20:7
A dear friend of mine (a FXCC member) recently brought to my attention that she often hears “Oh my G-d” said aloud in the lobby of our building. This exclamatory phrase, perhaps used by all of us at one time or another, greatly disturbs her, and rightly so. It should disturb all of us. By biblical command, we should treat God’s name with utmost reverence.
If we sing on Sunday morning, “Lord, I lift your name on high!” Then on Sunday afternoon we exclaim, “oh my G-d!” in casual conversation, then you’ve just lifted the name of the Lord down low. You’ve reduced it to a common, trivial expletive.
As a church, let’s together admit that we can do much, much better with revering God’s name. Let’s not throw stones at any of us who casually use this phrase and haven’t really given it a thought. Let’s confess it as sin and move on. Commit to treating God’s holy name with the greatest care. Eliminate from your vocabulary “oh my God” as an exclamatory phrase. And no, “oh my ga”, “gosh”, “gee”, “Geesh”, “Geez” aren’t suitable either.
Remember, you can’t change yourself on your own power; allow the Holy Spirit to renew and transform you, every detail of your life…even your exclamations! He will give you the grace & conviction you need to gradually morph into the God-honoring person He intends you to be.
Two brothers of mine came up to me discussing about a "vision" they had together. They wanted to provide a ministry that provides a "spark"! Each and everyone of us need series of "sparks" every now and then! It is extremely easy, again I say this, extremely easy, to simply let the fire for God die down and give up. When that happens, the commitment you promised to God has ceased! Many of us are often offended by another brothers' or sisters' rebuke or criticism because they see something dying in them. They are doing all they can to glorify God by providing a spark on another instead be brushed away by their lame excuses.
So what does Jesus really want from us? He wants the big "C"! In Luke 14:33, "Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple." His challenge was TOTAL COMMITMENT! I believe you know what Jesus is trying to tell us in Luke 14:33. What do you do on Sundays? Do you follow Jesus or your kids? Do you follow Jesus or your friends? Do you follow Jesus or your plans? Do you follow Jesus or self? You may say, "Oh, my friends are in town so I must entertain them." You have failed to regard God as God instead regarding your friends as gods. True! If you want to entertain them, the church is the place to be, not to "entertain them" but to show Jesus to them. You're setting an example to your friends that God comes first! And you're glorifying God!
I know God doesn't appreciate "wishy washy" Christians. They aren't sure where they stand. They stand on God sometimes. Other times, they stand on sand! They say one thing, "I am committed." then do the other, the opposite. Believe me, I see "ALOT OF THESE TYPE OF CHRISTIANS!" It's really sad because they don't realize they are blind to themselves thinking what they are saying is true. If you're committed to a church, that's the church you're committed to, no other. If you're bouncing from one church to another, pick one and stay there. Childrens don't have two fathers or two mothers or two sets of siblings. Childrens that have one parent is like a Christian that belongs to one church.
So what does Jesus want from us in our everyday lives? He wants us to be committed to:
BEING MOVED WITH COMPASSION......
"Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." " Mark 1:41 (nas) Many of us are not as compassionate as Christ is! Christ is still a compassionate God! When we're not compassionate, we're not an understanding person. We're not a good listener. We're not living in obedience to His commands. We're not living the Christ-like life.
BEING CHRIST'S EXAMPLE......
"So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? "You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. "For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you."" John 13:12-15 (nas) Notice in the verse above, "..that you also should do..". All Christians should imitate Christ but often failed to do so. We neglect this simple command of Christ. He gave it to you then we simply stow it away. We do not examine Christ's life in the gospel and live like Him.
All I ask from you for the Lord is to increase your commitment to God. Not only that I am seeing the life each of you are ensampling, God is!
"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:10-11 (nas)
People must be taught to make wise commitments. Otherwise, they are planted in a very difficult soil, "'The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.'" (Luke 8:14) To many people the barrier to spiritual growth is not the lack of commitment, it is overcommitment to the "wrong things"! Open your eyes, today, and see where you stand! If you're frustrated with church, your priorities are probably whacked out of order! As Christ said, "Follow me..", are you?
Saturday, September 03, 2005
As I typed this blog, I am not trying to scare you but just thinking of the possibilities:
Funny, life seems so swell when we're a nation that is "Blessed by God" until 9/11! Our lives changed dramatically! All the airports in the U.S. (inbound and outbound) were closed. Planes all over the states were on standstill. That affects thousands of people whom works for the airlines. From CEO of the airlines to baggage handlers, all are without job security. Not only does it affect them, it affected us because we rely airlines for postage, business transactions, cargos, etc. Everything seems to have changed 360 degrees!!
Now, with the disaster by Katrina, the issue is "gas". How we all rely heavily on transportation such as cars, buses, trucks and many other small demands. It's a jittery feeling that area gas stations runs out of gas, being victimized by "gasoline" theft out of our very own cars (siphoning), car runs out of gas in the middle of the highway, and high gas price squeezing the dollars out of our wallets. Back in the good ole days, they didn't have cars and many people didn't own horses. There were bandwagons and "walking trails". We're so used to things that are so advanced to help us use our time in the most efficient way. We're so used to things that travel in the "speed of light". We're so used to living what seems to be done at the "blink of an eye". If we were to return back to the "good ole western days", would we freak out?! Indeed, it will be a totally different world so how prepared are we for such a day that may come?
We better not get accustomed to the life we're in. We just never know what tomorrow be. James 4 says,
"Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If its the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that."" James 4:13-15 (niv)
Are we ready to be cowboys and indians, again? Time to meet the "sheriff". We'll start building an "outhouse" in our backyard? Chimney will be our source of heat while shady trees the source of cooling? We will be parking horses and bandwagons. Guns will not be outlawed because help doesn't come at a "blink". We'll be hunting our own meat (I can't imagine that..!)..
Again, I am not trying to scare you but just that we never know what tomorrow be. Therefore, be prepared for a different world! You just never know. But one thing we all ought to be aware of is:
The only thing situations will not change is our worship to God and fellowship with all believers!!
Thursday, September 01, 2005
I don't know how to quote this because it's way beyond my capacity to understand situations like this. Is this an “Act of God.” It doesn't fare too well for God's reputation, huh? Is it that God doesn't have anything better to do than devastate the lives of hundreds of thousands of people? To some it may seem like that. Our human minds and nature doesn't quite understand all this. It is as if we're wrestling with a million pieces of puzzle that, never in our lives, would we be able to solve it? Impossible! The only way we do, because of our human nature, is that we call natural disasters “Acts of God” because there is no other way to explain them.
Therefore, I prefer to awesomely believe that God is and always has been and always will be in control, even through situations like this. Then we accept the inconsistencies that come with that belief, rather than living in the world where God is "NOT" in control and worse than the Louisiana situation, and where there is no purpose for our existence and no one there to hear our silent cries for help.
We are a very fragile living beings in need of God! We must understand (through the historical accounts in the Bible - The Flood, Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Joseph being sold into slavery by his own brothers, 400 years as slaves (Israel) in Egypt, many losses in battle against God's enemies (because of disobedience), exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon (606 B.C.), destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) and a whole lot more! The same God who "allowed nature to take its course" allowed the world and His human creation go bad, then turned around and sacrificed His own Son in a horrible death in order to save the world! Now, do we understand that? Probably not! We're still struggling with the great things God has done and we don't say word. But when bad things God seems to have done, we turn to Him with clenched fist and curse Him!
But believe me! God continues to be the Protectant on those who deeply depends on Him for His hand! God doesn't expect you to understand but He wants us to learn to understand. Just as God suffered over His Son, Jesus, heartbroken over these loss of His Son on the cross. Whatever you feel, you can be sure God feels also, and then some. God is a compassionate God who does aches for His children. He will turn our lives and devastations into good somehow, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been alled according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (niv).
Life moves on and God will still be our God.