Saturday, October 29, 2005

Discipleship Week

Wow! We're entering God's THIRD PURPOSE for our lives this week: DISCIPLESHIP!! If you haven't done so, check out the other blog @

Allow me to share Rick Warren's comments in connection with our study on Discipleship which will begin tomorrow morning!

You were planned for God’s pleasure: That’s called worship.
And you were formed for a family, that’s called fellowship.
Here’s the third reason God made you: you were created to be like Christ, that’s called discipleship.

God made you to transform you into a likeness of his son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Romans 8:29, “From the very beginning, that those who came to him, and all along He knows who would, should become like His son, so that His son would be the first of many brothers.” Now this is not God’s new plan B. It’s been God’s plan from the very beginning of time.
God is far more interested in what you are than in what you do. He’s far more interested in your being than in your doing. A lot of people ask, “What is God’s will for my life in my job or my career?” Do you know what - you could probably have 2 dozen different careers and God would say that’s fine. God is more interested in your character, and I’ll tell you why - you’re not taking your career into eternity, but you are taking your character.

So God’s goal here on earth is more about what you become than what you do because it’s what you become that you take into heaven. One of the biggest questions we ask ourselves over and over is, “Why is this happening to me? Why did this happen? Why do I have this problem in my life?” The answer is always the same, if you’re a believer.

To make you like Jesus.

If God is going to make you like Jesus Christ, then He’s going to take you through everything Jesus went through:

Was there anytime when Jesus was lonely? Yes.
Was there anytime when Jesus was tempted? Yes.
Was there anytime when Jesus was unpopular? Yes.
Misunderstood? Yes.
Criticized? Yes.
Went without basic needs? Yes.
Was there ever a time in Jesus’ life when things did not make his life comfortable? Absolutely.
Why do you think God would spare you those things? The Bible says Jesus learned obedience through suffering. The Bible says in Hebrews, that Jesus was made perfect – mature - through suffering. What makes you think you’d be any different? What makes you think God would spare you from something He did not spare His own Son from?

If He’s going to make you like Christ, He’s going to take you through everything Jesus went through. God produces the fruit of the Spirit in your life by putting you in the exact opposite situation.

If God wants to teach you real love, does He put you around a bunch of lovely people just like you? No, if God wants to teach you real love, He’s going to put you around some unlovely people. It’s easy to love people like you. You like yourself.
How does God teach you peace? You’re sitting at home when everything’s perfect and the kids are quiet, and you’re making a lot of money? No. He puts you in a traffic jam. Peace is learned in chaos, in a crisis.

How about patience? God puts you in lines. Ever been to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)? That’s the number one way God makes you more patient.

There is no problem you can’t grow from if you’ll learn the right response. You become like Jesus. This is God’s third purpose for your life. Becoming like Christ is called discipleship.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

God Wants His Children To Know...

"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." Matthew 25:35-36 (niv)

Currently, I have been on a tough journey looking for the deaf in need of Jesus Christ. It is like a "needle in a haystack"! Ever since, I have been meeting deaf souls that have a steady jobs, great families, and nice homes who appears to have absolutely no desire to live a surrendered life for God among Fairfax. It put a tear in my heart seeing that they have hardened their own hearts. We have a few within the body of Christ (His church) whom portrays a strong desire to serve the Lord and a heart for deaf souls in the fields ripe for harvest. And I pray that God will use these few to reach out to hungry and lost deaf souls for His glory!

I have been reading Jesus' parable of the "Wedding Banquet" (Mt. 22) where He tells that God's Kingdom (church) is like a King (Jesus) who sent His servants (faithful Christians) out to invite those (lost souls) to the banquet (church; eternal life). There were lost souls with different professions who refused to come to the King to celebrate together (fellowship)! Not only do we feel the rejection from people we're trying to reach out to, God does! I have been struggling with this question, "Why aren't people who come don't become part of the family of God?" I have received an email from people whom have visited His church at Fairfax share their comments with me or that I get them from a person they are close to.

We do alot of things: fellowship luncheon (potluck), picnic, retreats, Ladies' Night Out, Men's Night Out, Christmas banquet to encourage souls outside of the body to grow with us. But it is still not enough to keep them within the body of Christ. Criticizing church is the easiest thing to do on this planet so you would think we know how to handle a rejection! Sort of. It makes a preacher bang his head on the wall when he hears a couple of things:

1. People couldn't find the church (we're right between two busiest highways!!)
2. We want more emotion in singing (or) there's too much emotion in singing.
3. You sang old and tired songs but we also sing new and exciting songs and get beat up for that!
4. Your worship center isn't worshipful (meaning pretty, crosses, stained glasses, wooden pews)
5. One of your members gave me the look so I am disgusted.
6. No one came up to me and welcomed me. (Now, that's not entirely true.)
7. I know one of your members (probably the weak ones) so I don't see how this church can help me if it doesn't help them.
8. The preacher doesn't have time for new visitors (probably because members are asking me questions after the services where they should be spending time with visitors).
9. The church isn't very friendly.
10. The sermon was too long but some of the sermons are short and I get beat up for that, too!

Allow me to give you a couple of conclusions to help both the members and those visiting Fairfax or your local church:

1. You might have been sitting near other visitors, and all of you waited around for the other to speak up, and you came to the wrong conclusions about the church (i.e. church is unfriendly).

2. Don't criticize my people for not being friendly to you if you do not seek out newcomers in your church back home and welcome them. It's real easy to get hypocritical on this issue.

3. True, the Bible tells God's people they are to welcome the strangers among them (Leviticus 19), but nowhere are we excused from doing the will of God because someone was not friendly to us. Some of the most influential Christians I know joined a church where no one spoke to them for the simple reason that they knew God was leading them there. He was, and their faithfulness made it a greater church.

4. Be real careful about telling other people that a church is unfriendly. You could be guilty of slandering the body of Christ (church). What if someone who overhears your attack is unsaved and has been invited to attend that church where he might have come to know Christ and be baptized? What if your negative words influenced him not to attend, and no one ever reaches him? Many a person has come to know Christ in churches that do not do a very effective job of greeting newcomers.

5. Learn a lesson from this. Look around for new faces and give them a smile and a handshake. Offer to introduce them to the minister. Make sure they filled out the visitors' information card so the church will have their address. We have some members who look for first-timers and offer to take them to lunch at the restaurant in your area. Lunchtime becomes an excellent occasion for the newcomers to ask their questions and to learn of the church.

These are the things God wants His children to know what to do with people who come to Him. Remember, we are His servants and He has called us to serve! The family of God is a fellowship of love in which the members treasure each other and minister each other, but are always reaching out to welcome the strangers whom the Father is adding to His church!

Monday, October 24, 2005


What in the world does, "KOINONIA", mean? It's a greek word for "fellowship", I mean an "intimate fellowship with God and His children".. We're all on a journey together. Similar to the time of the Old Testament, Israel stayed together on their journey in the wilderness. Not only were they the only ones in the fellowship, God was.

Fellowship encourages us to draw each other closer together and reach out to non-believers. We are to love because God loves us all! We have the healing power from God because of our love for each other. Many Christians and non-believers overlook the tremendous power displayed from those with strong love for others.

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to watch the Lord's children mingle after the services. We talked about how many of us misunderstand what "fellowship" means and what is God had designed for "fellowship" to be. Coming and going to church is not called fellowship. Talking about the world and its news with others is not fellowship. I could see the church have alot of work to do in relation to "koinonia". We need to have a "heart-to-heart" with our visitors. For those who know each other when they come together ought to begin to know another brother or sister they seldomly talk to. When that happens, koinonia is evident and GOD IS GLORIFIED! But when we clam ourselves up among people we feel comfortable with avoiding those we feeling uncomfortable with, "koinonia" diminishes. If we're saying we're not comfortable with other people but isolate ourselves from them, "koinonia" lost its meaning! That's why Paul urged Christians to "LIVE" in harmony with one another (not one or two but ALL!!). Do you know all about the person that sits on the opposite side of the worship room?

"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited." Romans 12:16 (niv)

In our minds, we think fellowship is going to clubs, parties, church services, or other social functions. But that's not God's plan for fellowship. God's fellowship is on another plane. It's much deeper than we thought! It's a desire to have an intimate relationship with God and with people. It's a yearning to get to know that person in a deeper way. When we have that desire and yearning, the church will become extremely strong in love and fellowship!

We need to go deeper in our relationship with God and people, after we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and baptized for the forgiveness of our sins. We need to learn how to manage our spiritual journey, a wonderful journey and a rough journey, so we can enjoy full fellowship with God and other people. The Christian life is not a matter of perfection; it is a process leading to a deeper understanding of what God wants us to do with our lives. Then acting out our Christian life in the face of today's meaningless values. We're the salt and light of the world. We show Christ by doing the right thing God wants us to do: doing the right fellowship before the eyes of the world. By doing so, we can reach the ultimate, eternal Koinonia with God and the saints in heaven!!

In Christ Alone!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Heart Of Worship - Part 6

You know that worship never ends but I "promised" you that I will give you six parts on worship. I know, from time to time, I'll talk about worship because it is our life! Worshipping God is like the air we creatures breathe and the water to all the creatures of the sea. You cannot have life without worship, only worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Without our daily worship to Him, we're "good-for-nothing, separated, eternally condemned". Not that God wants that to happen ("THE 1-2-3-4 DESIRE OF GOD" 1 Timothy 2:3-4) but it's a choice that us humanity make. That's why I chose to fear (respect) God because He "IS" the One who created it all, He's the Beginning and the End!!

God-pleasing worship is from <-- everlasting to everlasting -->

When we come to the services at church, we "just" started to worship God. That's a false meaning of "worship". We're told in the Bible to do one thing, "..worship Him continually.." Amen? I remembered one author wrote in his book, "We are to sing our hallelujahs from sunrise (the time we get up) to sunset (the time we go to sleep)!" Might I add that we can sing our hallelujahs while we're sleeping; in our dreams!? The Psalmist said, "I will thank the Lord at all times. My mouth will always praise him."

Rick Warren quoted in the Purpose Drive Life book, "Worship is not a part of your life; it is your life, and every activity can be transformed into an act of worship when you do it for the praise, glory, and pleasure of God." In the Bible, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

What is the secret to a lifestyle of worship? The secret is: do it all in the Name of the Lord. You're doing it all; everything for God. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men."

Everyday, when we're aware of God's presence in our everyday doing, we're worshipping Him. There's no stopping in meditation on His Word, His potential, His providence, and the awareness of His power. Romans 12:1 says "Take your everyday, ordinary life -- your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life -- and place it before God as an offering." (msg)

What are you, daily, offering God? How's your heart in worship to our Awesome God?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Heart Of Worship - Part 5

"Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe." Heb. 12:28 (TEV)

God-pleasing worship is thoughtful

Did you notice that Jesus commanded us four times in the bible, "Love the Lord your God with all your mind." What of those who comes before God in worship: mindless, distracted, unfocused? We may present careless words of prayer (babbling about whatever comes "to mind", heartless exclamations of "Hallelujah, Jesus!" because we can't think of anything else to express to God at the moment. We must be "mindful of God", otherwise worship will be simply a meaningless expression.

Then 2,000 years ago, Jesus classified this group: vain worshipers.

At first, our expressions, biblical quotes and other cliches may be inspirational, exciting, explosive. But we repeat these over and over then overlooking a deeper meaning of what we're expressing. Many of us arrive at church to skim through the Bible trying to decide what to say, what Scripture is best, and simply just pass on the information without meaning, without careful exegesis. Indeed, it's easier to offer "heartless words" in worship than making the effort to seek the Holy Spirit's guidance and inspiration when sharing before His church with fresh and vibrant insights. That’s why I encourage you to constantly read the Scripture. It will broaden your expressions of worship.

Allow me to give you a suggestion. Really, it's an encouragement and a challenge:

1. Instead of saying, "Praise You, God!" in repeated fashion, use words like, "God, wow! I admire You so much for all You are, our loving God!", "Lord, we come before you in awe and reverance! You're Forever our Lord!", "Father, I love You and Your commands! Help me do what You will in our lives today and forever!".

2. Try and be specific (the best you can) because God would love to see that we're mindful of spiritual things and situations.

3. Create a list of the names of God: Jehovah, Almighty, King, Savior, The Eternal One, Awesome God, The Beginning and End!

4. When we gather together to worship God, God expects us to be thoughful of Him. If your mind is on other things throughout worship, you're not worshiping Him at all. Whatever you're thinking, your focus are on it, not God. It is like a teacher teaching his/her students. If their mind is wandering elsewhere, they are: ignoring the teacher and missing out the important facts the teacher has taught.

5. Orderly worship: Paul devotes an entire chapter to this in 1 Corinthians 14 and concludes "Everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."

The worship we give to God must be understandable to the unbelievers. If you see an unbeliever come into the place of worship, go and sit by that person and welcome him/her. They are important to both us and God. Sit with them and help them understand why and how we worship Him. Make them feel comfortable in the presence of God and of His church. Being sensitive to unbelievers who visit His worship gatherings is a biblical command, not a passing fad. To ignore this command would be disobedient and unloving.

Once again, starting today, examine your heart. How's your worship to God?

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Heart Of Worship - Part 4

Here's the actual event that took place no long ago. After we (my beautiful wife, Michelle and I) ate at our favorite restaurant, TiJuana Flats, in Ashburn, Virginia, we decided to go and make a "long-overdue" appointment with the dentist. As I entered the office, the secretary looked up at me and smiled, "Hi! May I help you?". I could see the ultra-white teeth shining from her mouth. I need some eye-rays to block that oh-so-good shine out of my eyes. It was surely a pleasing sight. And, of course, she has to shine it out showing her faithfulness and example because she works at the dentist office. I don't think I ever seen a crooked and coffee-stained teeth displayed from the secretary at a dentist office!

Anyways, the story goes on.... She handed me a form for me to fill out as we are the first-timer at their dentist office. There were many questions such as:

When was the last time you had an oral x-ray?
When was the last time you had a full oral examination?
How often do you brush your teeth?
How often do you floss?
How often to you pay a dentist visit?

I had a pen in my hand and I felt embarrassed and chuckled! I am not too good with the dentist but I am faithful in brushing my teeth morning and night. Flossing only depends on my mood. But I know I will have to pay a heavy price for not going to the dentist. But, we finally made an appointment and looking forward to it!

One question hit me really hard! Here it is:

Would you like to keep all of your teeth for the rest of your life?

No! I am serious! I have never seen a question like this on a form! And it makes perfect sense! If you're faithful to: brushing, flossing, getting a 6 month check-up including all those grinding, squishing, de-plaquing, and flouride, it is possible!! It requires tremendous amount of discipline, perserverance and faithfulness to maintain a healthy teeth! Apparently, the dentist is giving us the hope of having an "earthly-eternal" teeth. You'll be smiling with your own teeth in the coffin. Ha!

So we can relate this in a spiritual perspective. Imagine there's a "Heaven" form for us to fill out, we write down all sorts of information: our background, our problems, and our expectations. What if there's a question:

Would you like to keep your Spirit for the rest of eternity?

Like me, you may be thinking, "Gee.. Tough question and I haven't been faithful, nor have I been praying or meditating on God's Word or helping those who are poor, weak or helpless, or faithfully coming together in worship at church." It is like you haven't been flossing, or paying a regular dentist visit to get flouride and deep cleaning and catch those nasty cavaties before it plagues your roots! You'll need more than ACT, or SCOPE, or CREST toothpaste with flouride. You'll need a Physician. You'll need Jesus! I am not saying you'll need to see Jesus every 6 months. No. You'll need Jesus 24/7! You'll need Him for the rest of your life. That's only if you want to spend eternity with God.

If you have the heart for "Earth-everlasting" teeth, you know what you need to do. If you have the heart for "Life-everasting Time with God", then worship and serve Him only! A faithful dentist-goer poses a ultra-white teeth as a faithful worshiper of God will brightly shine among the world!

'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' Matthew 4:10 (niv)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Heart Of Worship - Part 3

God-pleasing worship is from the heart

In the John 4, "..worship in spirit..", is not referring to the Holy Spirit, but to your spirit. Made in God’s image, you are a spirit that resides in a body, and God designed your spirit to communicate with him. Worship is our spirit responding to God’s Spirit.

Jesus said it another way when he commanded, "Love God with all your heart and soul."
Worship must be genuine and heart-felt. I know some of you blog-readers struggle in this area. It’s not just a matter of saying the right words; you must mean what you say. Heartless praise is not praise at all! You can deceive all you want but only God knows and it is worthless, and an insult to God.

When we worship, God looks past our words to see the attitude of our hearts. The Bible says, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." Since worship is delighting in and enjoying God, it engages your emotions. God gave you emotions so you could worship him with deep feeling - but those emotions must be genuine, not faked. God hates hypocrisy. He doesn’t want a show, or pretense, or phoniness in worship. He wants your honest, real love. We can worship God imperfectly, but we cannot worship him insincerely.

Of course, sincerity alone is not enough; you can be sincerely wrong. That’s why both "..spirit and truth.." are required. Worship must be both authentic and accurate. God-pleasing worship is deeply emotional and deeply doctrinal, straight from the Bible. We use both our hearts and our minds.

I want to emphasize again that worship is more than music. Actually, worship predates music. Adam worshiped in the Garden of Eden but music isn’t mentioned until Genesis 4:21 with the birth of Jubal. If worship was just music then all who are non-musical could never worship. Real worship happens when your spirit responds to God, not to some musical tone.

Unfortunately, many equate being emotionally moved by music as being moved by the Spirit, but these are not the same. In fact, some sentimental, introspective songs hinder worship because they take the spotlight off God and focus on our feelings. Your biggest distraction in worship is: yourself, your interests and your worries over what others think about you.

Therefore and thankfully, we're given the opportunity to repent from hiding our heartless, just-for-show, pretense, phony and hypocritical worship. It is the grace God desires to give us a pure heart to daily worship Him!!

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalms 51:10 (niv)

Once again, how is your heart in your worship to God now?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Heart Of Worship - Pt. 2

People in every culture have the instinct to worship something: a job, a family, football, my own life, my own problems, an object and various kinds. According to Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life book, "It’s a universal urge, hard-wired by God into the very fiber of our being - an inbuilt need to connect with God." Worship is as natural as eating or breathing. If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute which only lasts temporarily; even if ends up being ourselves.

"Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe." Heb. 12:28 (TEV)

The reason God made us with this desire is because he desires worshipers! Jesus said, "the Father seeks worshipers." Here are some great questions to ask yourselves. Do you see yourselves as true worshipers? How do people view your life: true worshiper of God or of ____________? What does God see in you: faithful, lukewarm (Revelation 3:16) or unfaithful?

So far we’ve seen that worship is bringing pleasure to God, and there are many way to do this: by trusting, loving, obeying, praising, surrendering, using our talents for his glory, and developing a close friendship with him. Often, the church lacks such these wonderful things leading us to daily (24/7) worship God!

Worship is the first purpose of your life. You are created and we’re commanded to worship. It is our greatest responsibility, our highest privilege, and it should have take priority over everything else. When asked, "What’s the most important commandment in the Bible?" (Matthew 22:36-38) Jesus answered, "Worship!"

He said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."

Anytime you express love to God, you are worshiping. It doesn’t matter whether you are by yourself, with family, or gathered with other believers. A Samaritan woman once tried to debate Jesus on the best time, place, and style for worship. Jesus replied that these external issues are irrelevant; what matters is your heart. Where you worship is not as important as how and why.

Jesus said, "True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks." These two statements by Jesus (Mark 12:30 and John 4:23) explain the kind of worship that gives God pleasure.

I am going to break down into six different points (actually six different blog entry) to help us understand how to live a "God-pleasing worship":

1. God-pleasing worship is based on Scripture....

"Worship in ...truth."

We must worship God as He is truly revealed in the Bible; anything else is idolatry.

You can’t just create your own image of God ("I like to think of God as...") and worship that. Real worship is rooted the Word; it’s based on truth, not our imagination. The more you know the Bible, the better you’ll understand the truth about God, especially his grace. That will compel you to passionate worship.

We worship Him because of His Ultimate Power of the Flood, the punishment on Sodom and Gomorrah, the birth of Isaac from an old, old womb, of all the Providences, the dividing of the Red Sea, having stilled the sun, the incarnation of Jesus, Your patience with us sinners as we, because of our sins, crucified Your Son, Jesus, on the cross, Your power in Jesus' resurrection, Your full potential in using Your faithful servants on earth and Your compassions they fail not!

Whenever you feel indifferent, apathetic, or bored with worship, it means you’ve forgotten how amazing God’s grace really is! Really, you have overlooked a very simple message to simple people!

"O God, we give glory to you all day long and constantly praise your name."

Is your worship to God Scriptural: FROM THE VERY CORE OF YOUR HEART (PASSIONATE)?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Luke 12:34 (niv)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Heart Of Worship - Part 1

There are people who mistaken worship as this:

When people come to church, they come into the presence of God.
When people leave the church, they leave the presence of God.

Our whole life is worship. It is our time. It is our money. It is our plans. It is our all that is given to God. That's our worship. It is not limited to a "Sunday's services". As Rick Warren clearly points out in his Purpose Driven Life book, "We come on Sunday to sing, "His Truth Is Marching On" but then go AWOL on Monday for the rest of the week." I mentioned that many Christians are "out of sight"!

So why do we "worship"?

"God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message." Colossians 1:27 (msg)

We worship because of Christ! We worship the glory God has for us all! It is the only thing that gives us eternity! Sadly, so many of us have led ourselves away from the Source (capital "S") into the source (lower "s")! We're often victims of misdirected worship. Misdirected worship is IDOLATRY! Our hearts may be on something else. If we do not live out the purposes God has for us, we're living in the state of idolatry. We could be led away from being "..true worshippers in Spirit and Truth.." by our friends, by our children, by our colleague, by a member of a family, by the standards of this world, or by the temptation the world gleams on our eyes and hearts! We cannot be the same in Spirit when misdirected worship happens. We have missed out the full potential God has for each of us in every walks of life: LIVING HIS PURPOSES!

We "worship God" because of His love. "See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children, and we really are! But the people who belong to this world don't know God, so they don't understand that we are his children." 1 John 3:1 (nlt) Worship is all about love. We have a deep and intimate relationship with God. I am not talking in a sexual viewpoint that you may be thinking of. No. I am talking about "a passionate love"! Remember the Mel Gibson movie, "Passion Of Christ"? Passion means suffering. We have passion for God! We're willing to suffer for God (Acts 5:41, Philippians 1:29 & 2 Tim. 2:3). Our surrender of our all is our loving worship to God. Our life has no beauty without Christ.


"We know what real love is because Christ gave up his life for us." 1 John 3:16 (nlt)

"And I will give them one heart and mind to worship me forever, for their own good and for the good of all their descendants. "And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, promising not to stop doing good for them. I will put a desire in their hearts to worship me, and they will never leave me..."" Jeremiah 32:39-40 (nlt)

Where is your heart in worship to Him?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Lord, Have Mercy

I was watching the news last night and saw all those in Pakistan under the rumble of stones from the terrible earthquake that shook the country! It's hard to watch these images: people crying out for help, the hurting, the hungry, the sick, and the poor. The worse-case of all this is there are some people buried alive under the rumble. All I ask from you is that you daily and constantly lift up your prayers for that nation in need of God's powerful hands!!

And remember, we have many within our community that are experiencing the hang-ups, hurts and habits that desires Christ-like compassion. As I look at this picture and thinking of all the people in our community, I hear in my heart Michael W. Smith's, "Lord, Have Mercy":

Jesus, I've forgotten the words that You have spoken
Promises that burned within my heart have now grown dim
With a doubting heart I follow the paths of earthly wisdom
Forgive me for my unbelief
Renew the fire again

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy on me

I have built an altar where I worship things of Man
I have taken journeys that have drawn me far from You
Now I am returning to Your mercies ever flowing
Pardon my transgressions
Help me love You again

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy on me

I have longed to know You & Your tender mercies
Like a river of forgiveness ever flowing without end
I bow my heart before You in the goodness of Your presence
Your grace forever shining
Like a beacon in the night

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy on me

Lord, have mercy on me - I will begin to provide for others
Lord, have mercy on me - I will strive to Show Jesus to every soul
Lord, have mercy on me - I will grow in fellowship with all believers
Lord, have mercy on me - my heart will hunger for lost souls
Lord, have mercy on me - I will pray unceasingly
Lord, have mercy on me - if I failed to please You and You only
Lord, have mercy on me - help me love You again
Lord, have mercy on me - I will turn away from a doubtful life
Lord, have mercy on me - my Spirit's fire will burn bright before the eyes of the world
Lord, have mercy on me - I will provide my eyes, ears, hands and heart for the hurting

Lord, have mercy on me!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Zoe '05

Deaf Zoe '05: David, Jennifer, Teresa, Paul, Isaac, Amanda, Tim, Cario, Forrest, David, Cindi, Michelle, Alan, Becky, Angela, Alyson, Mark, Dennis, Kayla and Jose! (Not pictured: Mike, Gina, Donna and Rachel)

Singing praises and shouting hallelujahs!!

Zoe group leading us to awesomely sing His praises!!

Spiritual Doctors

**Warning: long blog but important!!**

I believe compassionate churches (people) are built on broken (hurting) people.

Brokenness means a willingness to abandon our pride, our pretensions, and our self-righteous posturing. This is a pre-requisite to God's blessing on our lives and His church. So many of His children in His church are playing the "mask game". They cover themselves up with hypocrisy and say, "I love God! I am serving the Living Lord!" They have, not only overlooked their own destruction, but the destruction of others in the world without Christ.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Mt. 5:3 (niv) When we reach the end of the rope, we give up our self-sufficiency then God moves into our lives with healing and growth, eventually moving into other people's lives for the same blessings!

How can anyone praise and glorify God if we're not leading them to the blessings of God over their hurts, anger, poverty, and abandonment. We're challenged with a very difficult task. Finding deaf people that are hurting in the world is like finding a "needle in a haystack"!! We want to reach out but don't know where they are. We want to help but struggled to find those who need it. Not one of us is untainted, and because of sin, we've all hurt ourselves and hurt others and others have hurt us. So where are these deaf people that are hurting:

Drug addicts
People whose lives are out of control
Addiction to gambling

Each of us need repentance and recovery in order to live the lives the way God intended. There are people out there with incredible hurts, habits and hang-ups from 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago! Now, my question is, are we taking the "realization that there are hurting people out there" seriously? What are we doing to open the door leading the hurting to God at Fairfax or in His church in your community? We need faithful and compassionate men and women to oversee this important matter! I have heard, over and over, that when hurting people come to one of our members, they say, "Go and make an appointment with Mark (preacher)!" "I don't have time but Mark is available to see you." "I am sorry, I don't know anything about this but I am sure Mark has resources." These people are missing the grandest point! These hurting people want your eyes, your hands, your compassion, your empathy! They're not looking for words of wisdom in how to deal with their issues, they're looking for the Jesus touch a member may have on them. They may want a hug. They desire company. They want us to lead a "listening eyes".

We should consider taking this seriously and pray about this. Perhaps, we have too many events within the church that is keeping our lives away from those who are hurting. Consider this, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Mark 2:17 Is our focus on those without Christ, those hurting, those without a purpose in their lives. We shouldn't be attracting other "so-called believers" (whether they're lukewarm or inactive) to His church but reaching out to the unbelievers, those hurting.

Of course!!! What do you expect when His church makes a major transformation in their plans and visions when we, instead of focusing on the internal, but begin on those outside of God's blessedness? If we're serious about dealing with broken people, then we're going to bring in a lot of problems with us when they come to church. I keep thinking of the classic 12-step program for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They'll come in completely broken but as time goes and the Word of God is fed into their precious and fragile souls, the saving power of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit will be evident!

A couple of things:

Are we bringing the Word of God to those who are hurting?
Are we helping them focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past?
Instead of playing the "accuse & excuse" game of victimization, are we helping them avoid poor choices and transition into making right choices?
Are we emphasizing spiritual commitment to Christ? (Are you a perfect example of commitment?)
What kind of a community (church) are you?
Are we, as a church (not limiting only to the minister), addressing all types of habits, hurts and hang-ups?
Are we servants of the Most High Living God in our community? (Christlike!!)

If we allow God to help us be transformed into being "spiritual doctors" for the hurting in our community, we're going to see lives changed in dramatic ways that we cannot help but talk about what Jesus has done and still does and what the church is doing to them! We'll see hopeless marriages restored and people set free from all kinds of sinful habits, hang-ups and hurts. Read the Beattitudes (Mt. 5-7)!!

Monday, October 10, 2005

All Hyped Up!

We just returned home after a long but exciting and fantastic week/weekend at Zoe in Nashville!! I must tell you how spiritually refreshed I am now that I am home with a renewed sense of purpose in pursuit to glorify our Loving and Living God! During the whole conference at Zoe, God provided me with His blessings helping me to learn and understand a deeper meaning of worship and how we are all to worship our Creator! I will, indeed, show you all the spiritual bruises I received from the teachers of the Word.

Not only was I there but my family, the Stewarts, the Cesones and the Hinckleys were all there for the conference. I can see the lessons stirred up the Spirit in them and they're eager to do "all the more" for the Lord. They're already in an "outpouring of the Spirit" mode discussing ways to bring ourselves out of our "comfort zones" and into the "uncomfortable level of service". I will have to save this for this Sunday's 40 Days campaign because we're going to begin on God's purpose #1: WORSHIP!

Changes must be made and that will soon happen within the next month or two to give us a whole lot of room for energy and time for God among others in our community. I recommend that you keep reading my blog for powerful insights we all learned at Zoe this past weekend. The conference certainly is a great, great place to receive a spiritual renewal and leave the conference empowered to sacrificially serve the Lord! So many of us, Christians, love to remain in our "comfortable boundaries" that we wouldn't go too far to be like the Good Samaritan who stepped out of his (comfort zone) to help a bleeding and beaten person along the road.

I'm all hyped up for changes and challenges ahead! How about you?

Don't forget about the 40 Days blog: :)