Tuesday, December 26, 2006
How many chickens does God have in His church?
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The last chase the lion evotional is going out this week. For a free subscription you can sign-up @ theaterchurch.com/evotional. Just thought I'd share an evotional excerpt.
A few months ago I was in the Galapagos Islands on a mission trip. It almost felt like we were flying into the Garden of Eden. The Galapagos are like a zoo with no cages! And I'm not sure how to say it, but there was something so exhillirating about seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat.
It's one thing to see a caged bird. It's an altogether different thing to see a blue-footed booby circling about 100 feet up in the air and dive-bombing ten feet into the ocean and catching a fish two feet from your boat.
It's one thing seeing a dolphin show in a manmade pool. It is an altogether different thing swimming with sea lions or walking a beach at night with dozens of sea lions barking at you and chasing you.
We were surrounded by 250 year-old tortoises, beautiful marine iguanas, and pelicans that looked pre-historic. And what made it so amazing was that there weren't any cages!
So after returning from the Galapagos we took our kids to the zoo and it wasn't the same. I'm ruined for zoos! I love zoos, but it's just not the same seeing a caged animal. It's too safe. It's too controlled. So we were walking through the ape house and I had this thought as I looked at a caged gorilla: I wonder if churches do to people what zoos do to animals.
We take something that is wild and we domesticate it. And we put it in a cage called church for easy observation. We remove the danger. We remove the risk. And the end result is a caged Christian. Nice to look at. But I just don't think that was the original idea. Jesus handpicked a dozen disciples who were about as uncultured and undomesticated as you can get! And He unleashed them!
In fact, he used a zoological metaphor in Matthew 10:16 when he sent them out on their inaugural mission: "I am sending you like sheep among wolves."
Imagine a zookeeper putting a bunch of sheep in the wolf cage. That is what Jesus says he is doing. And that's why he tells them they need to be innocent as doves and shrewd as snakes. Jesus doesn't shelter them. He plops in the middle of a wolf pack!
The goal of church isn't to take people out of their natural habitat and domesticate them--make them look like and talk like and act like Christians. When we pronounce the benediction at the end of the service we're releasing people back into the wild. And they go back into their natural habitat as an ambassador of God's grace.
I love the way Erwin McManus says it in his book Unstoppable Force: The center of God's will is not a safe place but the most dangerous place in the world. To live outside of God's will puts us in danger; to live in his will makes us dangerous.
Unleash the lion chaser within!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
“It is not that we good Christians take God outside the walls of the church. We go outside because God is already there.”
In other words, we personally say we need to take the Gospel out into the world (outside the walls of the church) and preach the good news about Jesus Christ but failed to do what we personally say.
God is already out there (outside the walls of the church). And He's waiting for us.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
In the previous passages, Apostle Paul tells us, first, "Be ye therefore followers of God.." and to "walk in love" just as Christ Jesus did! Then Paul changed the tone a bit to discuss about the evil ways of the world: fornication (which means sex outside of marriage), and all uncleanness, coveteousness (always want more). Filthiness or foolish talking that comes out of our mouths and hands (sign language) or passing accusations. And be assured that no person who idolizes evil ways will ever enter the kingdom of Christ and God. A word of warning: let no one deceive you with vain words and it is guaranteed that God will pour out wrath on the Deceivers.
Most important of all is that we refrain from being "partakers of evil" or in other words, mingle around with evil people whom may plague you with evil influence. If you're around a very "negative person", you're more likely to become a "negative person". If you're around a drunkard, you could become one. If you're around a "critical person", you'll become a "critical person".
But, those who surrendered their life to the Lord, baptized into His death, into His blood to wash away our sins, we have become the light in the Lord. Walk as children of light proving what is acceptable unto the Lord!
Now, we're given opportunities. But, first, we need to be very careful IN HOW WE LIVE. Of course.. The world are watching Christians like we look at a fish in a fishbowl. They won't understand one, two or hundreds of mistakes we do and accuse us of being "hypocrites" (actors). Even worse, they'll think faith is futile, that we're chasing after the wind.
It is impossible to maintain purity and holiness of the heart and life without great wisdom and care. We're to walk wisely, not as unwise. We shouldn't declare to the world that we're the light of Christ but walking blindly and stumbling at every corner. We cannot do one and the other. Such a person doesn't comprehend all that God was trying to tell him/her in His Word. Such a wise person is thoroughly taught of God through His Word (Bible). Without the Word living in each of our hearts, we're walking blindly and living unwisely.
The one that walks wisely seeks to be godly husbands/wives, worshipping God faithfully, possessing a serving heart, daily seeking the Lord in prayer, watching for temptations and refraining from them, have better use of tongue/hands (no profanity/finger-pointing) and takes care of his/her life improving it to the best of God's purposes. They seek opportunities leading up to the gate of Heaven!
But the one that walks unwisely are in jeopardy every hour, stumbles into trouble and wickedness. They are troublesome and prone to fall into dangerous situations that threatens their entrance into eternity with God.
That's why Jesus died for us all! He died on the cross to save us from unwise and evil living. He wants us to always remember that He knows what it is like to be "tempted". He experienced that for 40 Days and 40 Nights! He didn't stumble into the three temptations Satan offered Him. He allowed the Scripture to prevail against such temptations. He quoted them. He stood by them. He sought opportunities that lasts for eternity!
Friday, December 08, 2006
Our "Resigned" Savior
With a piano played beautifully in the background, the color of the film does reduce its "graphicity", yet I see the emotions and expressions of Jesus' endurance from the garden to the cross!
Thank You, Jesus, for resigning (humbling) your life with a purpose to save us all from the pool of sins!
Monday, December 04, 2006
Wow! Psalm 46:10!!
Think of the days of Elijah! He escaped in fear for his life. He hid. But God found him in a cleft of a rock. Earthquake. Fire. Storms. And God is in none of these. But listen, Elijah! Listen carefully.
Elijah listened. And he heard. He heard a gentle whisper.
And the whisper is God.
You may not hear God because you're hearing and seeing storms, earthquake, fire of life. God said, "Forget them. Pay no attention to them and listen to Me."
Doesn't this make you think!! How many of your friends, families, co-workers and you-name-them are bound for the gates of hell.
After watching a person or two people falling down into the fire, it does make me squirm in my seat to continue praying for those God wants to save!
Remember Jesus' Great Commission:
1. He has the authority.
2. Therefore, Go in all nations.
3. Make Disciples.
4. Baptize them.
5. Teach them.
6. So Jesus will be with them til the end!
I'm feeling good this morning!! I feel "New And Improved" after my rotator cuff surgery last Wednesday morning.. I had two tears: a rotator cuff tear and a labria tear. But, it wasn't as bad as the surgery I had on my right shoulder years ago. Some of you have visited me at my home and noticed that I possess a character named Linus from the Charlie Brown gang. He's the one with a blankie. I don't have a blankie, exactly, but a fluffy pillow to put under and between my left arm.
Everyday, I'm feeling a bit tired. I guess it's the cells in my body that's working hard to heal my shoulder. It does take up alot of energy to bring things to par one. Also, I've been doing some painful exercises to bring mobility to my arm and shoulder.
But, I know one thing. I'm on the road to a complete recovery. And for that, I praise God! Thank you all for the prayers for me. Also, two families brought food for us and do wanted to take the time to ask God for His blessings on them! May God bless you!!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Here's a summary of my comments about the Asrats.
Abebe visited Fairfax last year. He comes every once in a while to worship with us.
Not long ago, he came with his fiancee', Jennifer, and announced that they are engaged.
I also learned that they were living together outside of marriage which is not something the Lord wants. And they wanted to be baptized! I didn't want to diffuse their excitement and joy to be connected to the Lord. Before being baptized, I gave them a choice to live separately until marriage or to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. They didn't want to live apart because of their love for each other.
They got married on November 25th. Not long after exchanging their vows, they buried their old lives in the Lord and their sins washed away with the blood of Jesus!
Abebe, in the dressing room, came to me and said, "Now, I feel no guilt!!!"
Monday, November 27, 2006
Yeah, yeah.. I guess you could call me a "Daddy-Rock (The wrestler named "The Rock")" or "Conan The Preacher". But it's been years since I last picked up my super-heavy girls now. And I do miss doing that. My girls love it!! They would come to me and say, "Pick me up, daddy. Pick me up.." I was like, "Oh, I do wish but I can't, right now, honey".. I just hated giving this kind of rejection. Every now and then, I go up to people with newborns and love to pick them up to give them a "blubber belly", my signature of giving a "raspberry tickle on their tummies". Sometimes, my shoulder couldn't even bear a 20 lb or less babies.. I forget that I have this problem.
Not only with kids and babies, but helping people I love move from their homes into the new homes. I would arrive home grimmacing with a little pain after lifting heavy loads of furnitures and boxes. I love to help but I hate to feel the consequences of helping with the move. My heart rejoices but my body doesn't. It sounded like a quote that God gave to one of His Disciples, "The Spirit is willing but the body is weak." Exactly!!
Now, I'm ready to get this taken care of!! Why?! So my body can be in step with the Spirit! And, that, I'm eager for a rejoicing shoulder with a rejoicing Spirit!! :)
Please lift me and my family up in your prayers. Remember me this Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. when I will be going under!!
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Awesome! What an awesome weekend we had!! Today in worship, Pedro Gelabert and his family from NYC came for worship and Pedro preached, from his heart, a wonderful lesson on "Transfiguration"!! We praise God for the lesson and he told us, like John, James and Peter, do not forget Jesus!!
In addition to this awesome weekend experience with God, last Saturday, Abebe and Jennifer exchanged their vows before God.. They are one of the most humbling people I know. I love their joy for Jesus. I love their love for our Lord. I love their smiles and do want them to be assured that they keep on smiling for Jesus, not allowing Satan to erase that away from their faces! They decided to make themselves right before God. After the exchange of their vows and rings, I pronounced them husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Abebe Asrat!
But the wedding ceremony wasn't over. They had another "wedding" to attend to! They have long wanted to get connected to Jesus. They need to become a "bride" of Christ. They need to be part of the family, the church. Abebe and Jennifer knew they were living in sin. They knew they had to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord. They asked the Lord to come into their hearts and bury their old life in the Lord in baptism. Together, they did! Together, they proclaimed to God and us, as witnesses, that Jesus is their Lord and that Jesus takes away their sins by His blood, burying their old lives in the Lord (in baptism) and now raised as new creations, joined with Jesus and now on the pathway to eternal life!!
Here are a couple of pictures for you to enjoy! Such joyful couple during this joyful time! This is the day we'll never forget!!
Abebe prepares to say the "vows" to Jenni with smiles!!
Mark Lowenstein emphasized the important of keeping ourselves under the authority of God!
Abebe and Jenni prepares to give their lives to the Lord in baptism asking Jesus and His blood to wash their sins away and clothe them in a garment white as snow!
Buried in the Lord (Into His death, Into His blood, Into His freedom from sin)
Joyful celebration!! Me, being stone deaf, I could hear them shouting, "Whooo!".. What an awesome "sound" coming into my "deaf ear"!!! Praise God!!!!
Pray that your clothes are made of eternal linen (spirit), bright and clean!!!
Friday, November 24, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Michelle and I noticed that each team were struggling to get their iceberg tees thawed! The maroon team managed to get it thawed and got one knot out!! They struggled with the second knot. So we decided to make things interesting by allowing all the teams to use running water. Everyone scrambled to the nearest water faucet to race for first place!!
The, gung ho, MAROON TEAM won the "Iceberg Tees Family Challenge"!! From left to right, Jason Bard, Asrat Kebede, Michelle Lowenstein, Alyson Lowenstein, Dennis Young and Tim Stewart were all smiles!!
Second place, GREY TEAM!! From left to right, Jasmine Bard, Jennifer Fox, Jason Jr (Bard), Liz Creamer and Amanda Lowenstein.
Third Place, GREEN TEAM!! From left to right, Darrin Forshay, Neil Ferris, Melanie Williams, Bev Young, Brandi Young and Christy Pomnitz.
Fourth Place, BLACK TEAM!! From left to right, Coral Kaplan, Kali Kaplan, Fred Orr, Matt Sickon, Kathy Flavin and Abebe Asrat.
Fifth Place, ORANGE TEAM!!! From left to right, Robin Forshay, Cario Stewart, Angela Lowenstein, Julio Rodriguez, Mark Lowenstein and Juber Cadima.
Sixth Place, YELLOW TEAM!! From left to right, Cindi Cesone, Joe Kaplan, Patty Ann Melnikas and Steve Williams.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
David Hinckley (left) and Dennis Cesone (right) cooking up some grubs for lunch!
Tim and Cario Stewart led us in awesome singing of the song, "You Are Holy, Prince of Peace"
The kids were fantastic over the weekend!! In the picture, they're playing "Shoot The Elephant" game..
Brother Jason Bard leading us to God in closing prayer..
One of the five keynote lessons on "Family", Joe Kaplan stresses the importance of praying for each other..
During Sunday's Worship (Lord's Supper), we followed "Jesus" in a re-enactment of Jesus' walk from the scourging to Golgotha (where Jesus was crucified). In the picture is Darrin Forshay carrying the wooden cross while Dennis Cesone and Neil Ferris, holding a whip, mock "Jesus".
(Re-enactment) "Jesus" being crucified and lifted up before beginning the Lord's Supper. What a great way to visualize how Jesus suffered for the sins of humanity!!
Fairfax Family circles around the cross observing the Lord's death and remembering that Jesus gave His body (bread) and shed his blood (wine) to cover the sins of the world!
A wonderful visual reminder of all Jesus did for us!!
Friday, November 17, 2006
Tonight, we'll be at Camp Wamava for our long anticipated Deaf Family Retreat with Joe Kaplan (North Carolina) speaking!!
I'm excited about this weekend! The theme of the retreat is, "Together In Christ".. We're getting some TIC experience from Joe's lessons, the fellowship and games!! In addition to this, we're going to have a new addition to the Fairfax church family!! I'm anxious to have him share his testimony then the church family will gather around him to welcome him to the family in prayer!
Well.. I'm outta here now!!
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Aww man! This is such a sweet, sweet animation.. At first, I wasn't sure what the purpose of this bird was until... He/she wanted to know what it is like to "fly" past the trees..
Make sure you watch the end where tears flowed from his/her eyes knowing he/she will die but knowing what it is like to fly past the trees..
Such a sweet and sad story. I can think of many applications from this story in a spiritual perspective!
This is one of the most important Scripture to keep in heart. From here, a couple of things pops out of this Scripture:
1. A great conceit of themselves, and of their own goodness; they thought themselves as holy as they needed to be, and holier than all their neighbors, and such as might serve for examples to them all. But that was not all..
2. They had a confidence in themselves before God, and not only had a high opinion of their own righteousness, but depended upon the merit of it, whenever they addressed God, as their plea: They trusted in themselves as being righteous; they thought they had made God their debtor, and might demand anything from him..
3. They despised others, and looked upon them with contempt, as not worthy to be compared with them. Now Christ by this parable would show such their folly, and that from there, they shut themselves out from acceptance with God.
In addition to this, I read a commentary that explains this Scripture well:
"That he trusted to himself that he was righteous. A great many good things he said of himself, which we will suppose to be true. He was free from gross and scandalous sins; he was not an extortioner, not a usurer, not oppressive to debtors or tenants, but fair and kind to all that had dependence upon him. He was not unjust in any of his dealings; he did no man any wrong; he could say, as Samuel, Whose ox or whose ass have I taken? He was no adulterer, but had possessed his vessel in sanctification and honour."
If Jesus were to appear to this Pharisee, again, what do you think He would quote?
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (niv)
"For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 23:12 (niv)
Keep in mind that there are two different hearts that God sees.. One heart consist of passing out accusations like the Pharisee while the other heart is broken and contrite like the tax collector!
Proud men, who exalt themselves, are rivals with God, and therefore they shall certainly be abased. God, in his discourse with Job, appeals to this proof that he is God, that he looks upon every one that is proud, and brings him low, Job 40:12.
Humble men, who abase themselves, are subject to God, and they shall be exalted. God has preferment in store for those that will take it as a favor, not for those that demand it as a debt. He shall be exalted into the love of God, and communion with him, shall be exalted into a satisfaction in himself, and exalted at last as high as heaven.
And our awesome Lord desires each of His children to always remain humble, forgiving others for their arrogance and sins, and consider others better than self.. Let us stop trusting self and despising others for the glory of God!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Take your time in digesting the article and comments made. It's a bit difficult to understand but worthy of reading...
Check out this blog @
I believe G. Brandon Hoyt's response to Phil's blogpost made a good point:
"I don't buy these argument because scripture is cross-cultural (*and remember 2 Tim 3:16, told to someone NOT WHOLLY OF the scripture producing culture...*) and because many of the things that Christians (and even Jews) are commanded are against the culture of their day..."
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
As Michelle and I came into the office this morning, Ellyn saw us and jumped right in front of us to tell us some stories of perseverance. Keep in mind that we do not "hear" these stories like most members do. We have to "see" it in our language. So we're very thankful that Ellyn was able to take the time to share with us and the stories journeyed into the very core of our hearts!
To be honest with you, I cannot explain this in words what we "saw" in the stories of perseverance. But, like fire that burns in our body, we cannot contain this in! It must be shared. Our jaws just dropped! Our hearts pounded! Our bodies just shiver with the "fear" that there is a God who continues to be in control. Some of you may know three of our members (hearing) are still battling with terrible diseases (cancer). While they're still battling their diseases, Michelle saw Bob at church just this past Sunday. Someone told me that Scott came to worship God while his wife lie in bed recovering from several brain surgeries. Ellyn continues to tell us these stories of what is happening in their lives right now. I can see that nothing hinders their walk with God! They're an inspiration, not only to us, but to many of those who loves them. Scott's wife, according to Ellyn, accepted the affliction and wanted people to know that it was for the glory of God!! This is heavy!
Again, I'm just speechless today! I think you know the rest of the story now. I just don't feel like doing anything here at the office but to give God my undivided attention and to say, "Glory to God! Glory to God!" I just personally don't know how I would do if I were in the spouse's shoes. Regardless and whatever the Lord wills for their lives to be (whether to continue with life or when death comes), I just wanted to take the time to thank them for sharing their struggles with us. When they learned that cancer has taken toll of their bodies, they fell before God saying that they continue to love Him regardless of the situation. They continue to pray to God to rescue them out of this horrible mess. Apostle Paul did the same thing asking that the Lord take away the "thorn in his flesh" in 2 Corinthians 12:7 (niv). But they continue to persevere through this trial. It is the food we need to eat. It's the drink we need to drink. They help us look at life differently.
Keep in mind that we continue to be amazed by the faith and perseverance of Scott's wife, Sarah!!! We didn't hear any, "Why me, God? Why not others suffer? Why didn't you choose someone else?" or any other questions pointing a blame to God.. She said, "I accept this and I do this to glorify God!"
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:3-5 (nas)
Monday, November 13, 2006
I just wanted to take a few minutes to jot down a few people that I have been watching and was filled with admiration and am blessed to be around with such godly people. Though, I cannot include everyone, just a few that really touched my heart in the past week..
(I just hope they don't mind my mentioning their names!)
Last week, I met with two wonderful people who just lights up my heart! Abebe Asrat and his fiancee', Jennifer, just couldn't stop smiling. I believe there's one of the most humble people I have ever met. They are hungry to serve God. Jennifer has been reading the Bible and Picture Bible. She has never gone to church until now. She's only 18 years old and such a sweet, sweet woman. I just pray that no one in the world, even in the church, will diffuse that light out of their hearts! They're eager to be baptized into the Lord's death and be risen with a new life soon! We continue to be in touch so be an example to them and pray!
Hazel Taylor is a joy to be around with. I'm just appalled in how she continues to persevere through her times of trials. She continues to fight to stay healthy. One time, she wanted to just die, die, die and go be with her late husband, Harold. Smile. But she continues to simply move on by saying, "Well, the Lord said, 'It's not time for you to go, yet.' I'll just sit and twiddle my thumbs until He calls me home." Man! I love her!! I love this sweet ole lady and she really inspires me so much! She knows some songs by heart and sometimes sings them to me. Then I join in with the singing! When she sings, she closes her eyes and smiles as if she can literally see God. And I have no doubt that God is also smiling. Everyone ought to follow her example! Really!
Another wonderful lady that also puts a smile on my face is Dorothy Eckert. She worked so hard to learn ASL and to communicate with deaf people like me. She continues overcome many obstacles including several surgeries to remove several cancer-causing cells. She's been so, so faithful worshipping God with the deaf. I hardly ever remember her missing a single Sunday except when she just returned home from the hospital or on vacation. Again, she's an awesome lady who loves to serve the Lord!
Susan Scholtz and Henry Cardenas, are both completing their "internship in ASL study" with us at Fairfax. They are another wonderful people whom are dedicated to bridge communication gap between the deaf and hearing in this world. They've been working real hard to bring themselves to the level of ASL certification requirements. We've grown fond of them and they're always in my heart and prayers! Please lift them up as they continue to work their way to become interpreters (secularly and religiously).
Finally, I met with a wonderful man today for lunch. His name is Asrat Kebede, a deaf man from Ethiopia. We only had one hour to chat and I learned a whole lot more about Asrat in that hour than knowing him since last Spring (off and on). I told him that I look forward to having more fellowship with him. If you haven't had a chance to meet Asrat, I encourage you to do so!And, what is more? Something exciting will happen this Sunday, Lord willing! :)
"For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you,.." 2 Thess. 3:7 (niv)
And, remember, the eyes in the world continue to watch you, your example and your influence.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
1,325,668 voted "Yes" (57%) to ban same-sex marriage
1,003,967 (47%) voted "No".
1,003,967 is a lot of votes against banning same-sex marriage. And I see a strong Genesis', Sodom and Gomorrah, in the world today! And over a million people in the state of Virginia, alone, are against the amendment to ban same-sex marriage. God designed marriage to be only a "husband & wife; male & female".
"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:24 (nas)
And here's a very, very strong verse the Lord provided through Apostle Paul:
"Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." Romans 1:24-27 (nas)
God takes marriage seriously:
"Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge." Hebrews 13:4 (nas)
Not only Virginia did the votes on "same-sex marriage ban" but alot of other states did. South Carolina had a 78% and Tennessee a whooping 81% of the votes were "Yes" to ban "same-sex marriage" while Arizona had 51% "No" vote to ban same-sex marriage.
How much work do we have to do in this world today to bring God in schools, in the Senate, in the House, in the White House, in the workplace, in our homes, and among our friends? I pray the Lord will increase our fervor to bring the gospel to both dying hearts (spiritual fire) and lost souls!
Monday, November 06, 2006
This morning, I did my sixth Cycle 45 (a cycling class I'm taking at Gold's that requires 45 minutes of rigorous cycling exercise led by an instructor).. I'm really enjoying the "pain & misery" of cycling! I know it does a whole world of good to my heart and my life!!
I was running out of time. Needed a quick shower and get ready for the "teacher's conference" to discuss the progresses of our three girls at school. Just before showering, I could almost hear the "blood" rushing in my whole body. My heart was still beating hard. I was still sweating. My "Under Armor" shirt was tremendously soaked as if I jumped into the water. Though, tired, it was an awesome feeling. I just loved hearing the rushing blood in my body..
And it made me think the moment of "hearing" the blood rushing in me.
Seriously.. When I devote my time in reading the Word of God (bible), talk to God in prayer, serve the Lord in our community, commit with all my heart, my mind, my soul, and my strength in worship to God, reaching out to the hurting, the poor, the sick, those who are "spiritually blind" and the lost souls for Christ Jesus, the rushing blood of Jesus continues to pour from within me out to others in dire need of His forgiveness for their sins! Otherwise, the "rushing blood" isn't overflowing from within us because we're not imitating Christ. Of course, only through Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins. Only through Christ, we receive the propitiation for our sins. Only through Christ, we're able to allow the world to see Him through our example in life, in love, in purity and in speech!
Not only that I love the feeling of the "rushing blood" in me after I do my exercises, but the "overflowing of Christ's blood" from within me as I do His Divine Will!
I feel His nails.
I feel the crown of thorns.
I feel His 39 minus 40 whip-lashed scars.
He did it for me and the world. Now, what are you doing for Him?
Is the "blood of Christ" rushing out of you?
Lord, have mercy on our souls!
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Blogger wouldn't let me post the pictures last Monday morning. Today, I'm able to post the pictures. There are more pictures on our website at www.fxcc.org/deaf. Feel free to browse through them.
Last Sunday, we did our first "We Are The Sermon" leaf raking service in our community. Though there are plenty of leaves up on the trees, there are still plenty of leaves on the ground too! We all had such a wonderful time. A total of 30 adults and children donned in "dirt-ready clothes" raked 5 houses in almost 2 hours!!! And, know what!!? They preached the best sermon yet!! :)
Hard working kids raking and bagging leaves!
Cario Stewart sweating it out by gathering the leaves!
Muscular Dan Robinson hauling the bags away from the house.
Brian Baell working at it with all his heart!
Is it quitting time yet, daddies?
The Aftermath: Two hours, Five Houses, All Joyful Smiles!
Many thanks to each of those who came to be the "sermon" in the eyes of our community! I'm already excited about the next community service project! May God bless you all!
Monday, October 30, 2006
I've been away from this Blog for a while. It's been a hectic month for me. I know.. 7 blogs out of 31 (days) during the month of October. Doesn't this tell you something?? It's not that I'm "busy". I'm starting to hate that word. It's that I'm "serving".
We're planning on doing something different within the next 6 mos. to a year @ Fairfax (depending on the Deaf Worship Team).. I've been talking with people, working with the Deaf Worship Team, praying, praying and praying that the Lord's will be done here in D.C..
It seems, these days, we're becoming much more swamped with our daily priorities. The more priorities that swamps our life, the less "real" Christians we are. True! Our purpose. Our vision. Our goals. Our mission. To some, they are, somewhat, vague. Some of us, Christians, haven't been consistent these purposes: in fellowship, in ministry, in mission, in discipleship and in worship with our True, Living & Loving God! I wouldn't know this brother or sister so deeply compared to those who spend their time and life in these five purposes. I'll be starting on a book and I love the author's phrase,
"Is the "REAL you" getting lost because the "FAKE you" is just so annoyingly impressive?"
This question is interesting..
Why do we fake it so much?
Why do we put on a mask and know it?
Why do we spend so much time trying to tell people I'm a Christian when we're not consistent in doing the Lord's purposes for our life?
Why do we make so, so little effort trying to please God and a whole lot of effort to satisfy self?
I don't really have all the answers to these questions. It's something you need to ask yourselves and ask God to help you be REAL with Him!
If you're determined to NOT commit to God and His church, just honestly tell your minister that "Christianity" isn't for you. Of course, you may not want to say that. You may prefer to hide. That's fine, too.. Because.... Let me allow you to read this Scripture:
"Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' "'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' "'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"" Matthew 13:24-30 (niv)
Weeds in the Lord's Kingdom... Weeds in the church... The Lord said to leave them there until... Harvest time...
I'll be patient with each of the weeds that they'll, honestly, coming out of their "acting" and get real!
I'm also trying to read more books (and the Bible, of course!). I'll get plenty of book readings while I recuperate from my November 29th surgery. Next month is Thanksgiving month!! We have alot going on: four different preachers every Sunday: (myself on the 5th, Brian Baell on the 12th , Joe Kaplan (NC) on the 19th and Pedro Gelabert (NYC) on the 26th). Think of the things you're thankful for! Remember, it doesn't necessarily have to be postive. It can be something that's negative and yet so thankful for them!
And.... I'll be posting the highlights of our weekend melee (pictures)!! Check back soon!!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
2007 & Beyond
Though, we don't know what the outcome of tomorrow will be, I'm still making plans from now through the end of next year! There's so much being planned for next year and I'm already excited about it! However, any future plans is needing a prayer that the Lord will provide for us with opportunities and blessings as well as a "spiritual learning experience" when we run into a dead-end or stumble. There are a couple of things that I am proposing to the Elders for next year and beyond. Please pray for this proposal I'm about to present toward the end of this week.
Next month, we're hosting the Deaf Church Family Retreat. It will be at Camp Wamava. If you haven't registered for the retreat, don't wait til the last minute. Help us make better plans with food and games. To register, you'll need to go to this site @:
Joe Kaplan and his family will be with us to talk about "Together In Christ". We're really excited about the Kaplans coming. They're wonderful Christians who loves the Lord! And you'll love them, too!
I will have a "much-needed" surgery on my left shoulder on November 29th. It will take me approximately 3 to 6 weeks to comfortably use my left arm depending on my consistency with the exercises at home and the gym. I've had this pain for over two years now and just tired of it. I'm not able to do a whole lot of things with that arm because of my shoulder so I'm eager to get this done and over with so I can resume normal activities. It'll be a rough 10 days for me. Pray for me as the day draws near.
During my recovery period, Brian Baell will teaching and preaching in my place from December through the end of February. I hope to resume preaching sometimes in the middle of January. We have other men "armed and ready" to teach as well.
Keep in mind to check out the educational "Cancer Outreach" tapes I have in my office, especially men and women over 50!!. They're helping people do an "Early Detection" for cancer prevention.
There's so much more but just couldn't put them in words. And, what is more, they couldn't be done without each of you. Your involvement in His Kingdom will mean alot to God! Only the Lord knows and that He will provide an open door for us.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11 (niv)
Monday, October 23, 2006
We started off to spend the day with God at 7:50 a.m. and didn't get home until close to 6 p.m.. There's no other place to be than with God among His worship-hungry children. Yesterday in class, we had a couple of visitors. Abebe, his fiancee' and Asrat came to be with us yesterday. Also, Joan, our loving sister in Christ from Louisiana came to be with us as well. We talked about "Reaching Out In Crisis" during worship. A few of us scattered away for a quick lunch then returned for "The Block Party". Kids had a whirlwind of fun on the moonbounce, face paintings, fishing, cotton candies, lemonades and the coveted cakewalk! Everyone enjoyed the fun day!
I had to zoom to room 206/208 for the Cancer Outreach Education presentation given by Patricia Branz from California. 10 of us, including two visitors, attended the presentation. Man! I was B-L-O-W-N away by such precious information regarding cancer that strickens our loves ones! We watched a 50 minute video (ASL, Open-captioned & voice translated) about Colon cancer. There are four more videos about Breast Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Colorectal Cancer, Prostate Cancer, and many more! I have these videotapes in my office now if some of you are interested in borrowing them to learn more about these cancers.
I just cannot thank God enough for those who continue to be around us yesterday!! Indeed, God knows who are "true worshippers". The more I see my brothers and sisters who come before God hungry to worship, the more I praise God for them. I have always kept these Scriptures in my heart:
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;.." Matthew 10:37 (niv)
"He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."" Luke 9:59-62 (niv)
(1.) We are tempted to rest in a undisclosed area as seemingly "a disciple" (quote), in which we may be at a "loose end", and not to come close to God and the fellowship of His body, the church, and give up ourselves to be "strict and consistent".
(2.) We are tempted to avoid doing what we know we ought to be "doing" and to put if off to some other time. How often is this true to many Christians out there. When we have got clear of such a "care and difficulty", when we have gotten ourselves into compartmentalized living (gotten caught up with other businesses (personal), then we will begin to think of being religious.
(3.) We are tempted to think that our duty to our job, friends, families, priorities will excuse us from our duty to Christ. It is a lame excuse indeed: "Let me go and bury my father,-- is the same as let me take care of my family first, get my kids in college, build up a retirement account, and provide for my children, and then I will think of serving Christ;" however the kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof must be sought in mind, heart, soul and strength in the first place, always!
Rather, I get myself and my family in a whirlwind of God's favor and plans than the whirlwind of the world's ways and priorities. There, I set an example to my wife, my children, my friends, and my families. Rather, I say no to my parents, my children, my wife that God comes first and that He seeks our hearts, the hearts that's whirlwind crazy for God!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Last evening in a small group one of the young men said in part, "Well, I am just a sinner too." The context was how we as believers should interact with those who are not. I wanted to correct him, but quickly decided to do so would be unwise in that context while having a discussion about personal evangelism.
A common misconception is that those of us who are "born from above" are "just sinners too". We are not sinners but saints. Of course we all sin. As long as we inhabit flesh we will fall short of God's standard for righteousness. This sad fact is precisely why Jesus came."And such were some of you." In 1 Corinthians 6:11 Paul set the record straight. In the previous verses Paul discussed sinners such as fornicators, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, covetous, homosexuals, etc. and then said, "And such were some of you".
Paul and others are careful to speak of those ugly lifestyles in the past tense when referring to believers. Interestingly, in the following verses he warns with these words. "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s."
These truths are clear. We used to be sinners ("And such were some of you"). We have been changed by Christ (But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.") Even though we have been changed, we can still fall into sin. ("Flee sexual immorality")
We have been given a new identity. We are not "sinners", but are now "saints". Over 50 times in the New Testament, by several different writers, all inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, we who are saved are called "Saints". I was a sinner, by God's grace I am now a Saint.
Grace and Peace
Monday, October 16, 2006
Clearly, every Christian is called to go out into the world and bring people into the Kingdom. We’re supposed to share what we’ve been given. But what exactly are we supposed to share?
Here’s your message in two words: Good News. Mark 16:15 (NLT) tells us to "preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere."
Do you like to get good news? Everybody does. Do you like to share good news? Most people do. I know you’re thinking, "The people I work with, my friends -- they’re not interested in the Good News.” You’re dead wrong! They may not be interested in religion, but they are interested in the Good News. The problem is not that your friends and co-workers aren’t interested. The problem is you have forgotten how good the Good News really is.
Once you’ve been a Christian for a while:
You forget how miserable it was to live without hope.
You forget what it was like to worry where you would go when you die.
You forget what it was like to have a life full of guilt and fear and regrets and bitterness and boredom before Christ brought meaning and purpose and significance.
What happens is that the longer you’re a Christian, the more you tend to take for granted how good the Good News really is.
If you go out on the street and ask, "How do you convince God to like you?” 99% of the people will say, "You’ve got to work hard to get God’s approval. You’ve got to be really, really good. You’ve got to keep a lot of rules and probably do some rituals. You’ve got to be religious. I'm none of those things -- so I'm never going to please God or get to know him.”
The Good News is that you get right with God through a relationship based just on faith (trusting in God)-- not through a religion of rules, regulations, and rituals.
When we trust our lives to Jesus Christ, he takes care of our past, present, and future. These are three fabulous benefits we can share with others.
He forgives your past.If we were to take everything you’ve ever done or said or thought and make a movie of it and show it on a screen to everybody, you’d be really nervous -- and probably embarrassed.
And so would I, because none of us bat 1,000. Nobody’s perfect. Everyone has made mistakes. Everyone has skeletons in their closet -- things they wish had never happened. God comes along and says, "When you trust Jesus Christ with your life, I take that movie (What Is Your Life?) and I burn it. I take everything you’ve ever done and wipe the slate clean. You get to start over with a brand new life.” Is that good news?
He takes care of the present and gives you a purpose for living right now. You weren't created by a mistake. God created you for a purpose. You need to know God (daily read the Bible, grow in fellowship with other believers, worship God, serve in your community and church) or you will never know God's purpose for your life. Knowing God isn't just by confining yourselves at home reading His Word alone. It's much more than that! In the past, when you gave your life to the Lord and buried it in baptism, you promised God that you'll follow and obey Him regardless of any circumstances. Through the course of your "Christian life", things become much more complicated. You add things to your list of priorities. You have kids. You work more hours to make ends meet. You begin to "re-focus" on self. In the past, you have been "crucified with Christ" but now you've resurrected self. In the past, you used to share with your friends about Jesus but now you fear rejection and ridicule. Your knowledge of God may be based on "human intelligence" (what you just know about God) rather than living the Word of God; being the Word of God (what you're living the will of God).
When you get to know God, you’re going to know who you are. When you figure out God, you’re going to figure out yourself. I meet people all the time saying, “I'm just trying to find myself.” You probably aren’t going to like yourself once you find yourself! They say, “There’s something missing in my life.” Of course! God’s missing! You weren’t made to live and go through life just on your own power.
He gives you a future And what is that? That’s a home in heaven. Most people hope they’re going to heaven, but they’re not sure. Most people think if you do more good in your life than bad, maybe God will grade on a curve and say, “Alright, you can come in.”
Wrong! It doesn’t work that way. You won’t get into heaven on your own power because you’re just not good enough. In the Bible, heaven is a perfect place -- free of sorrow, suffering, and sin. That means only perfect people get to go there. If God let imperfect people into heaven, it wouldn’t be perfect any more. And that leaves me out and it leaves you out, too.
There’s only one way you can get into heaven: on somebody else’s ticket. Since none of us are perfect, God came to earth in human form. And who is that? Jesus Christ, our Lord!.
He lived a life of perfection.
He died on the cross, paid for our sin, and then went back to heaven.
Now you get into heaven on his ticket -- if you believe in Him.
Have you (H)eard (seen) the good news? Have you (B)elieved in Him? After believing, have you (R)epented of your sins? Have you (C)onfessed that Jesus is the Lord (meaning you're going to submit to Him and His will for your life (surrendering)? Have you buried your old life in the Lord in (B)aptism (buried in the blood of Jesus; under water)? Are you (L)iving Christ-likeness?
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23, NIV)
Now, remember, it’s a gift. That means you can’t earn it, you can’t work for it, you can’t own it in any way other than accepting it. You're not "baptized" to earn your salvation! I surely hope you didn't give you life to the Lord in baptism "by works"!
Do you think anybody you know would be interested in that? Of course!
Satan has fooled you. You think that none of your friends or the people you work with are interested in hearing the Good News. You’re wrong. The world is hungry for Good News. They’re looking for it. The Good News keeps sounding better and better because the bad news of the world keeps getting worse and worse -- so go out and share it! I mean, really!
Otherwise, when the time comes, God will ask this simple question: What did you do with my Son, Jesus?
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Many religious people, with good motives, seek to save the lost by getting anyone they can to receive Jesus as their Savior through prayer. The so called “plan of salvation” often goes something like this:
“Pray the following prayer and receive Jesus as your Savior: Dear Heavenly Father, I come to You in the Name of Jesus. You said in Your Word: "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved" (Rom. 10:9). I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. Your Word says, "...with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:10). I do believe with my heart, and I now confess with my mouth Jesus as my Lord. Therefore, I am saved! Thank You, Lord!”
Yes. Without a doubt, it's a beautiful prayer but is this the Gospel plan for salvation? Is that all that is required of God to become a Christian? As popular as this doctrine may be, we need to look to “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) (not just Romans 10:9-10) to gain understanding of the truth on what exactly is the plan of salvation.
What Does it Mean to Receive Jesus as Your Savior?
Only two times during His ministry did Jesus speak about the importance of “receiving” Him (Mark 9:37; John 5:43) and in both cases Jesus gives no instruction to pray. For example, Jesus rebuked the Jews for their willingness to believe in false teachers or false Messiahs, but not in Him: “I have come in My Father's name, and you do not receive Me; if another shall come in his own name, you will receive him” (John 5:43, NASB). “Receive” (from lambanoo) in this context means to receive, accept, admit, or come to believe (See Thayer & Friberg Lexicons). “Receiving” Jesus, in this sense, is certainly important to a person’s salvation (e.g., John 8:24), yet never does Jesus (or His apostles) teach that one must pray to receive Jesus as their Savior in order to be saved.
If a person truly wants to “receive Jesus,” then that person will also receive the sayings or teachings of Jesus: “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day” (John 12:48). Being saved or entering into a right relationship with the Lord is not based on our faith in Him only, but also by our acceptance or belief in the words of Jesus. If, indeed, we believe in the words of Jesus (which would include the words which He gave His apostles – Eph. 3:3-5), then we will obey them. Those who truly believe in God’s word and accept the Scriptures as the actual words of God will perform the works of God (1 Thes. 2:13).
“Receive My Sayings”
Those who are quick to quote Romans 10:9-10 as the plan of salvation neglect much of the doctrine of Christ. Yes, Jesus did say (through the apostle Paul): “if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved” (Rom. 10:9), but that is not all that He said! If we truly want to receive Jesus and not reject Him (John 12:48), then we must take heed to all that Jesus said on how to be saved. True believers in Jesus receive all of His sayings, not just a few.
Jesus also said that in order to be saved, we must repent of our sins: “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Through the apostle Paul, the Lord tells us that repentance leads to our salvation (2 Cor. 7:9-10; cf. Acts 17:30; Rom. 2:4-5).Thus, repentance is as critical to our salvation as belief in Christ and our confession of Him.
Jesus, furthermore, said that in order to be saved, we must be baptized: “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). To become one of Jesus’ disciples, a person must be baptized into His name: “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Mat. 28:18-19). To become a disciple of Jesus means to become a Christian (Acts 11:26). No one is a Christian until he or she is baptized into Christ. In fact, no one belongs to the Lord’s church until he or she is baptized into His name: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ ... Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them... And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:38, 47, NKJV; cf. 1 Cor. 12:13; Col. 1:18).
Every single person, as recorded in the book of Acts, who received the sayings of Jesus to become a Christian was baptized into Christ (Acts 2:38-41; Acts 8:5-13, 35-38; 9:18; 10:48; 16:31-33; 18:8; 22:16). There is no record in the Scriptures of anyone “praying to receive Jesus as their Savior” to become a Christian. Can you name one?
Jesus is Savior to Those Who Are “in Christ.”
If you really want Jesus to be your Savior, it will not come by praying a prayer. To partake of “all spiritual blessings in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), you need to be “in Christ” or enter into fellowship with Christ where salvation is found. The way to do that is to be baptized into Christ: “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4; cf. Gal. 3:27).
Isn’t Romans 6:3-4 just as true as Romans 10:9-10? Read it again. It's in the same book, written by the same author, and inspired by God! If not, why not? Receive all of Jesus’ sayings and you will, in truth, “receive Jesus as your Savior.”
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I'll be getting a lot of poking this week: The first one will be in my mouth because of this dang cavaties (2)! Hey! Don't raise any assumptions! I've been extremely faithful with the art of tooth brushing.. My wife can vouch for that. Really! But she couldn't believe, after my faithfulness in brushing, I still get cavaties! I think it's called, "age". And the second one will be on my left shoulder where the nurse will put in a "dye" before MRI. It is believed that I have a rotator cuff injury sustained two years ago! (Ok. I admit it. I'm a crazy, stubborn old man who is one of the list of stoopid, stubborn men refusing immediate medical treatment!) LOL!
Tonight, I'm doing pretty good after my dentist appointment. One tooth, I must say, was pretty bad. The doctor said that it was a good thing the drilling was done today. Otherwise, I could be facing a more painful experience. I raised my eyebrows and said, "Wow!"
And guess what! I had a revelation! God, you're always good at this: revealing revelations!
Remember a couple of things. Every morning & every night, I'm 98% faithful to toothbrushing, de-plaquing, flossed more this year than ever before, and used Scope mouthwash. No question that it was all my doing!! Until... The Dentist's Chair.. Not good enough! My teeth needed the Doctor's hands with the nurse assisting him. Novacane, a powerful ointment to numb the mouth-wall. Shots to numb the whole area. Drill to destroy the cavaties. Patch to cover the holes. And it is now good as new!
Was it painful? Yes!
Did I like going to the Dentist's Chair? Of course, it was worth it!
If I hadn't gone to the dentist, I will suffer serious consquences. Maintaining a healthy teeth in my mouth all by myself will not work. We have dentists in the world that knows what our teeth needs.
God is our "dentist". He makes sure our life is on the same obedient track as show in the Bible. Without God, we're plagued with cavaties (sin). Without the Bible, we're ignorant about what is going on in the very core of our hearts. Our visit to God (dentist) for spiritual check-up ought to happen everyday! How I wished I could sit in the Dentist's chair to have my teeth thoroughly cleaned, flossed and de-plaqued!
I hope you're sitting with God (in the dentist chair), daily, asking him to thoroughly work around our lives to ensure it's on the obedience track. Then, ahhhhhh, how refreshing is that! The soothing Living Water being overflowed on our souls!
Next up: Needles in my left shoulder. Pray for me! God, send me another revelation!
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Now, I have allowed anyone to put their comments in. If you're an anonymous commenter, please do put your name down at the end of your comments. Please keep your comments as repectful, as encouraging, as inspirational as possible. Thanks!
Glad to have you back!
In Christ Alone! <><
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
After thinking and re-thinking this difficult, but eye-opening subject, no wonder why so many of us have not "counted the cost" (Luke 14:28) before making a commitment to be, live, walk like Jesus. I had the privilege to bring men and women to Jesus. But then they quickly fall away because they realized living with the Spirit isn't as easy as they think. Satan pressed (continue to press others) back into the worldview they once lived in. They returned back to their own vomit:
"Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."" 2 Peter 2:22 (niv)
Jesus, thousands of years ago, had already warned His disciples that those who follow Jesus will be persecuted, betrayed, mocked, and ridiculed. Many places in the Bible, Jesus, with great concern for His brothers and sisters, emphasized His followers with caution. Here are a couple of many admonishments Jesus gave:
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33 (niv)
"For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law -.." Matthew 10:35 (niv)
Even Jeremiah, the Lord's lone prophet, complained to God about the wicked. To Jeremiah, the wicked prospered with wealth and fame. They had everything they wanted. They were comfortable. They were far from God. And the "faithless" lived at ease! Jeremiah, a suffering servant, suffered the formidable suffering while Israel and the rest of the people in the world enjoyed their worldly pleasures. Sounds alot like today, huh? Do you hear people say, "I don't need to go to church?" I have. Alot! Deep inside me, I feel sorry for them for they do not understand. Of course, I give a chuckle. They're laughing right now but they won't be when their time comes.
"You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?" Jeremiah 12:1 (niv)
How about this one here?
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew 7:13-14 (niv)
Two words. Difficult passage. But the only road to life-everlasting.
"Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." Luke 9:23 (niv)
"And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:27 (niv)
Two words. Difficult task. A road to discipleship.
I have a heavy heart for all the deaf in the DC/VA/MD area without Jesus. They think we're insane. They think we're wasting our time. They can prove there are some hypocrites in the church. Of course, I can vouch for that. I agree. But God will judge them.
I also have a heavy heart for the "wishy-washy Christians" without consistent commitment with their Lord and King. Many of those in the world today do not realize they are blind to God's love and grace and His full potential in their lives. Mark Isaiah's word:
"..to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." Isaiah 42:7 (niv)
Amen, Isaiah, amen!
"Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law." Psalm 119:18 (niv)
Monday, October 02, 2006
Here's a neat, neat link to send a "Flash" e-card:
"Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you." 1 Thessalonians 5:12 (niv)
"We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing." 2 Thessalonians 1:3 (niv)
Let's appreciate what others are doing for the Lord!!
"As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, "Jesus, Master, have pity on us!" When he saw them, he said, "Go, show yourselves to the priests." And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him - and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."" Luke 17:12-19 (niv)
We can apply this Scripture to our lives today! My question is, "Are we the "leper who did not return to Jesus", who ought to give thanks to Jesus or are we the "leper who returned to Jesus" to give our thanks for what He has done for us? Those who formerly lived in the world were called, "sinners condemned to death" or in other words, "a leper". A person with "leprosy" has a non-curable-disease unless brought to Jesus. A person with "sin" has a non-eternity-with-God unless brought to Jesus! A person with sin has been eternally separated from God.
"Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong." Hab. 1:13 (niv)
Though, here's another powerful verse for you to remember:
"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." Ephesians 4:22-24 (niv)
Do you remember what you "formerly" did before you came to Jesus for forgiveness of your sins? Have you put off your "old self" and put on a "new attitude; self" and continue to be "like God" in true, I said it again, true righteousness and holiness?
What does true righteousness mean to you? And what does true holiness mean also?
Do you know what is "right" before the eyes of the Lord in word and deed? And not before your own eyes?
True holiness leads us to become a spiritual person, a new creation unlike the "former person you used to be in thought and deed", a regenerating soul, produced away from confusion and emptiness, with God's Almighty power at work in our lives, giving God the glory in everything we do, living a joyful life regardless of each and any circumstances, resembling the Lord, and being exhorted to purify our hearts and minds and life!
But, daily, we may often fail to fall before Jesus' feet giving Him our thanks for leading us to daily live a righteous and holy life. How often do we fail to come before God in worship expressing our thanks like the "9 lepers" who failed to return to Jesus? How often do we kneel before God in prayer repenting from our sins and "still" thanking Him for washing them away?
Do you hear Him say to you each time you come to Him say, "Rise and go, your faith has made you well."
Anyways, the church of Christ at Long Island was so warm and loving!! We're just overwhelmed by their loving welcome. The hearing congregation were lovable people, always hugging and "kissing" the brotherly and sisterly kiss (on the cheek, of course)!!! The worship was Spirit-filled! The message about the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant was strong and powerful!
Angela, Alyson, Pedro, A.J., Claribel, Enoch, Amanda and Michelle wait for the sub taking us to the lower Manhattan.
A windy boat ride to the Statue of Liberty!
Here's an awesome picture I took of one small part of the World Trade Center. I believe this was the South Tower but I may be wrong. What was left was the beam made into a cross. We were astonished to see it!! A wonderful reminder that the Lord is always near, even in times of peril.
The Lowenstein family on 42nd Street. NY mayor, Guilianni, cleaned this street up. The last time I visited 42nd Street (Hey! Remember, I wasn't a Christian at that time.) was in 1988 where it was infested with dirty business like strip bars. I think you get my point here! I don't want to be too graphic about this but I am so thankful for the mayor for his job well done!
Alas!! I love this picture!! It was taken after the Long Island Church of Christ service!! From left to right, Olivia, Pedro holding his son, Enoch, Clary hold her son, A.J., Alyson, Michelle, Angela, Mark and Amanda pose in front of the church building. We met alot of wonderful Christians there namely, Joe, Mike, Cinthia, Eli and many others..
Before I close, may I ask that you please, please lift up the New York state (especially Long Island and Queens) to God in prayer!! I asked if there are any deaf ministers currently working serving the deaf in this part of the U.S. and Olivia said that there aren't any except for a couple of church that offers interpreters. There are hundreds to thousands of deaf people living in this part of the country and surely it is RIPE for harvest! Pray for the Gelabert family as they're working extremely hard to build a deaf work there. Again, please lift them up to God in prayer!