Sunday, August 11, 2013

If I was a pastor... Or just as I am...

One of my brothers once asked me what I'll like to see in a church (or something related). I think my response was that I'll like to see today's church become a true place of fellowship. Not a gathering of people who are so self-absorbed about their business they forget to smile at the person sitting next to them. Not a place we hurry in and hurry out weekly. Unless we really need to.

I do not expect us to come to church service pretending to be perfect. There was a time I used to expect that. But one day it dawned on me that most people who come to church are like me: imperfect beings seeking a place to refuel and just lay it all bare before God in worship, in the company of non-judgemental brethren.

These days I walk into church expecting that I don't come out the same way. I come out refreshed.

I think church these days need to conciously remember to keep their activities God-centered and not pastor-centered. I expect worship service to hold smoothly even if the pastors are not around. The choir members should be able to lead worship in a way that the sick will receive total healing and the hard-hearted will be broken and embrace Christ fully. Worship service should not depend on pastors alone. Every worker in church should be a minister. From the usher to the choir mistress, God should move mightily through these vessels and impact lives of those who come to worship.

I once heard an elder tell a pastor not to assume that everyone who come to church is born again. Some Pastors are sometimes in a hurry to double the number of their members that they don't remember to make altar-calls or feel the pulse of their congregation. This explain the reason we have people in the choir who are not born again. Or why people leave service feeling indifferent or as empty as they came in.

The church should be an awesome place of worship not a place to showoff one's latest pair of shoe. But of course it is important to come looking good, not slotful or haggard. Remember how much King Solomon spent in building the temple? How he used only the best of the best resources? Well, if our bodies are the temple of God I expect us to dress it up in our best, to honor God not oppress others. The content that go in e.g. food we eat, books we read, movies we watch should be only the best. Our bodies should honor and glorify God.

Today I did not go to church. I was upset I woke up late and hated the idea of walking into church halfway through the service. I tell myself to learn to treat God's business seriously. If we dare not walk in late to work on weekdays why feel it is okay to be late for church service? Or worse not even showup because it rained?

Well, I hear one day the religious practice of sunday-sunday gathering might become difficult due to attacks on church buildings et al. So we must cultivate the culture of ensuring our lives shine forth the glory of God in us wherever we go. And we must not wait for sundays only to fellowship with our brethren. We must not wait for pastor's instruction before we preach the gospel and pray for others. We must not wait for only Sundays to be Christ-like. Wherever we find ourselves, whatever day of the week, others should be able to see Christ Jesus reflect in us and through us.

May God deliver us from false purity. May God help us not to be a generation of creed without substance or seed. May God's word come alive in us and through us to influence others positively. May we worship God in spirit and in truth. May God preserve our saltiness.

Arise, shine and keep shining (make positive impact)! Praise God!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Desperate for change? Encourage Yourself, Attain New Level!

David, a strong warrior one day came to his wits end. He cried with his men (soldiers). He was devasted to find his land in ruin and his people (including his wives) have been taken into captivity by the Amalekites. David's men turned against him and were thinking about stoning David to death.

Are you at your wits end? Does it look like nothing is working around you? Have friends turned their backs on you and tagged you with all manners of names? Are things falling apart? Ruined? Are you desperate for change?

Victory is certain!

Here is what we can learn from David:

First, like David, you have to learn how to encourage yourself in the Lord. Quit looking for the approval of men or friends. No one might encourage you. So draw wisdom from David's story and encourage yourself.

1Samuel 30:6
"...But David encouraged himself in the Lord"

Another translation says, "...But David found strength in the LORD his God."

"...But he felt the LORD God giving him strength."

You might be wondering, but how can I do this when I have lost it all. The first step is to speak the word of God into your life by faith! Confess it! Bring to remembrance what God has promised you in His word!

For example, you might be depressed because you are broke and in desperate need. But Psalm 23:1 says "You, LORD, are my Shepherd. I will never be in need." God's plan for you is for you never to lack. Philippians 4:19.

Speak the Word by faith and not be sight. Encourage yourself in the LORD!

God will begin to open your eyes and direct you towards restoration. He will direct you tobyour solution. David understood the power of God's divine direction. He sought God's face and God told him what to do.

The same God who strengthened David and restored all him and his men lost is still alive and at work today! He changes not.

Are you willing to let God strengthen you in this month of new begining (August) and help you recover all? Then pray and ask God to direct you to your solution. Ask God to grant you grace to obey.

Psalm 32:8 says, "You said to me, 'I will point out the road that you should follow. I will be your teacher and watch over you.'"

Isaiah 30:21 says, "Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, "This is the way you should go," whether to the right or to the left."

May God open our eyes of understanding and help us obey His leading. May God send us a helper! 1 Samuel 30:11-16. As unassuming as the Egyptian was, it was through him David found the camp of the Amalekites. Don't despise a solution God leads you to because it does not look like it. May God grant us a discerning spirit!

David and his men recovered all they lost and much more! God was with them!

Dear friends, as God's gracious hand begins to move mightyly upon us, may we not become selfish and despise those with whom we once struggled.

David's men almost fell into that trap. 1 Samuel 30:22-26. Do not despise others when things begin to work out- because things are going to work!

Isaiah 43:18-19. God is doing something new in us and through us! Enlarge your tent because the harvest is huge! Isaiah 54:2.

"Fear not! You will no longer live in shame." Isaiah 54:4.

Are you ready to give gifts to others around you? Be prepared to make a long list because God is restoring all that you have lost! 1 Samuel 30:27-31.

Don't be afraid for the Lord has done great things! Joel 2:18-21.

There is a God! Don't let thanksgiving cease from your lips!

Our Lord Jesus Christ has given us victory!! Praise God!!