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The Chemistry of Love

“Love is patient and kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” -I Corinthians 13:4-8 February 14 is coming up and I would like us to think about love. Dr. Karl Menninger, one of the most prominent psychiatrists, has said, “Love is the medicine for our sick old world.” His staff was often told that love was the most powerful thing they could give to their patients. Scientists have been analyzing love in the laboratory for many years. They have learned that love produces changes in body chemistry. When male meets a female, the blood level of an amino acid, phenylalanine, leaps to a high equaled only by devouring a pound of chocolate. “People in the throes of love,” says researcher Cathy Lawhon, “call it magic, but human behaviorists attempt to define it scientifically. Theories of how chemistry works range from the biochemical effects or raised phenylalanine levels in the blood during love relationships to synchronous and harmonious personal interactional styles.” More than 2,000 years ago, in the city of ancient Ephesus, a learned rabbi, turned missionary-preacher by the name Paul, analyzed the chemistry of love. He mentioned a variety of ingredients which make up the real thing: patience, truthfulness, sacrifice, service, etc. Let’s recall I Corinthians 13:1-3: “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels but do not love, I have become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries, and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains but do not love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not love, it profits me nothing.” This will be a good place to begin as we renew our commitment to love one another, to love others, to love our spouse, to love our children, and to love our...

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Let’s Begin With God

(A meditation Based on Isaiah 40:25-31) As you and I stand on the threshold of a new experience, consider this; “Let Us Begin With God.” Let us not treat God as a mere accessory or as optional, but as God-the Creator, the Redeemer, the Comforter-who is part of any worthy endeavor to bless and help. So the question is: “How Do We Begin With God?” LET US BEGIN HUMBLY We must be honest about ourselves at the very outset. How very limited we are, but how unwilling we are to admit! We shall learn about ourselves sooner or later. The prophet cried to the callow young men and women whose lives were yet before them: “Remember…your Creator in the days of your youth.” Be humble. Be honest. Remember where you came from/ Are you and I gods, or there are limits to what we are and can become through our own strength? Many today feel as the spies felt who came back and reported to the children of Israel that they saw giants and said, “We seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers: and so we seemed to them.” Moreover, you and I must confess to being driven by pride, envy, evil desires, and anger. Yet we are reminded, we must begin with humility. LET’S BEGIN CONFIDENTLY That is possible only if we look to God for our resources, rather than ourselves. The witness of the Bible tells us that God is able to bring victory and success into these faltering, ineffectual lives that have suffered so many humiliating defeats. He will deliver us, in his own way, and in his own time. We may begin with God at any significant juncture in our life, confident that he will be with us (Emmanuel) all the way. The unspeakable love of God is able to absorb our defections and despair. Remember, we cannot live victoriously without God’s continuing help. We must begin confidently with God. LET’S BEGIN DECISIVELY Our unhesitating commitment to God must be without reservation. There must be no private sanctuary for self. We must draw the curtain of concealment over any loyalty, any love, any sin, anything contrary to God’s idea and plan! For that, we must faithfully and consistently avail of the means of grace; otherwise, our inner life will be like an empty house, cleaned and swept, and perfectly prepared as a residence for the devil. There is nothing more horrible that a spiritual vacuum. God in his mercy gives us Christian friends and companions. God gave us prayer. God gave us love; therefore, as we attend church, participate in communions, read the Bible, pray, and live lives of love and tender...

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Growth

GROWTH My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, 2 and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. -I John 2:1- One of the things that came out of our Healthy Church Initiative is the area of “Growing Opportuni-ties.” Wesley pointed out that not growing is an indication of “diminishing grace.” Paul even used the anato-my of human body to describe the church-THE BODY OF CHRIST. Growth is a phenomenon! Think about this, “It is amazing what parents will do to see growth in their children. When parents suddenly realize that their child is shorter than other children of the same age, most start booking appointments with doctors and embark on a regimen of nutrition or medication. They don’t want their youngsters to be underdeveloped.” With this in mind, let us also think and ponder about how we grow spiritually as indicated in our Healthy Church Initiative prescription. Normal physical growth is the result of three factors: 1. Nature, 2. Nutrition, 3. Nurture. The right kind of food, exercise, and enough sleep in a good environment usually ensures that our children grow up healthy. The same factors produce spiritual growth as well. The News Testaments says, “No one is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him…” (I John 3:9). Growth is the result of our response to what God has done in our lives. The question is, “Are you interested in becoming all you can be spiritually?” If your answer is yes, then make it a habit to be in God’s Word on a daily basis. Make prayer part of your daily routine. Be quick to acknowledge when you have violated what the bible tells to be right. John says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). When difficulties come, instead of thinking them as God’s rebuke, consider them as opportunities to grow and find out how great God’s resources are for his children. Your greatest growth spiritually does not take place in a warm, cozy and comfortable place but out on the playing fields of life where your faith is challenged by a hard world, and by situations which you wish you didn’t have to face. It is there that we grow or die. It is there where we find a faith by fire, one which will make us tough,...

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The Only Way

The Only Way “6 Jesus said…, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” -John 14:6- Most of us have had the experience of finding ourselves in a strange place, unable to find our way back to our starting point or else unable to find our way toward our destination. What we have done then? We asked directions from someone. Now sometimes the directions given were quite simple: “Keep on walking straight ahead until you come to the next crossroad, then turn left and you will find the place you are looking for when you come to a small bridge.” Very well, anybody can follow directions like these. But sometimes we hap-pened to be still quite far from our destination and the directions given were very complicated: “At the first crossroad turn to the right when you come to a big red water tower, then three crossroads father turn to the left, then turn to the right when you have gone past the church, then turn left after a mile and a half.; the place you are looking for is on the fourth street past the old house.” In such a case we invariably got lost again before we were half-way to our destination. However, it might have sometimes happened-very rarely, in fact, but miracles do happen-that the person we were asking directions from has told us, “Come along, I’ll take you there myself. You see, I happen to be living right next to the place you are looking for.” When that happened, we knew we could not possibly get lost: the person helping us became our direction and our way, such so that we could not miss our destination anymore. John 14:6 articulates this for us today. Jesus is telling us, “you do not need any complicated directions. Just take my hand and follow me. I AM THE WAY. Unfortunately, many Christians are not too aware of what that means, namely, to have Jesus as the way. They take for granted what is actually a tremendous advantage. For indeed, the great majority of human beings on this planet have to find their way through life by means of a very complicated directions, or even without practically any directions at all. We do not need to stumble and even wandering around. We do not stumble it by gosh and by golly. There is a way. And Jesus tells us today it is through him that we find the way. He is the ONLY way. The safest, most secured, most dependable way of life is by Christ. That is why Jesus said, “I Am...

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Mindset

Have you noticed that some days you have a better attitude than other days? Our mind-set determines, to a large extent, our successes and failures. God has created our marvelous brains with the capacity to improve in function, ability and attitude with proper use and exercise. Our brains constantly reshape themselves according to what they learn, think, feel, and expect. Attitude is far more important than facts when it comes to conquering life’s mountains. When we possess bad attitudes, we may expend a lot of energy attempting to mount small issues but find ourselves unprepared when we need the mental resolve to scale a genuine peak of difficulty. On September 6 to 8, our church will embark in Healthy Church Initiative Consultation-commonly known as HCI. Healthy Church Initiative is process of “COMMUNITY REFORMULATION AND BRIDGING LEADERSHIP” that will empower the Church to see ministries and mission in the light of God’s Will and Genuine Presence in the Church. It invites the congregation to engage in determining weaknesses and strengths. And with the help of consultants led by Dr. Jaye Johnson, come up with prescriptions that will lead us to new visions and new direction. With this in mind, what mindset do we bring into this initiative? What will be our attitude when we come to face the challenges of the realities that will come out of this process? Social psychologist Carol Dweck studied what she terms the “FIXED VERSUS GROWTH” mindset (Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, New York: Random House, 2006, p.16). Fixed mind-sets believe that traits such as intelligence, ability, personality, and competence are inborn and unchangeable. They believe the need to “WORK” at improving means there is a basic lack on intelligence or ability. They tend to view themselves as smart or dumb, strong or weak, winners or losers. On the other hand, GROWTH mind-sets believe that although people may differ in basic aptitudes, interests, and temperament, everyone can change, grow, improve. They have the passion for stretching and growing, even while mak-ing mistakes and facing challenges. GROWTH mind-set people may not feel smart, but they are interested in “GETTING SMART.” Here is the comparison when it comes to attitude according to Carol Dweck. FIXED MIND-SET                                      GROWTH MIND-SET ●choose easy problems instead                      ●embrace challenges of hard ones in order to reassure                     ●persist in the face of obstacle themselves they are competent                       ●learn from criticism ●tends to avoid challenges                              ●find others’ success inspiring ●gives up easily when                                      ●tend to be positive confronted with obstacle                                  ●able to trust others ●ignores criticism                                              ●can bounce back when difficulties get them down ●threatened by others                                      ●tend to be more forgiving of others . Victor...

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Is It Too Late To Pray?

IS IT TOO LATE TO PRAY? “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” -Luke11:1- Luke 11 will be the lectionary reading for July 30. In verse 1, the disciple came to Jesus and asked one thing: “Lord, teach us to pray….” Does it do any good to pray persistently and consistently? Does it do any good to pray when your ship is sinking, when your plane has been hijacked or when you have reached a point of desperation? Does God hear you when you ignored Him for years and now need His help? Will it be too late to pray in a given circumstance or situation? The good news is that it is never too late to pray. In a time of national disaster, Nahum cried out, “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7). In this verse, Nahum gives us three very encouraging assurances about God. FIRST, God is a good God. He hears the voice of the one in need and responds, whether he is in good standing with Him or a stranger at His Table. Otherwise, none of us would ever qualify to get a hearing with the King of kings. SECOND, God is a refuge to whom we can flee when difficulty, tragedy or disaster confronts us. “God is a refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefor we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging,” says Psalm 46:1-3. AND FINALLY, Nahum tells us that God cares for those who trust in Him. Ours is a world that knows little of real compassion and concern. It is comforting to know that in our times of need, God is not indifferent. I believe this is what the disciples observed when Jesus was praying. So, they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. The more you know of God’s love and concern and the promises of Scripture, the greater your faith will be in time of need or even in your ordinary faith walk. In His Service, Pastor...

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The Power of the Holy Spirit

6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? (Acts 2:6-7). Pentecost is one of the great Christian Feasts. This is when we celebrate the Power of the Holy Spirit present in Body (Church) of Christ. In Israel, Pentecost was a festival of harvest (Exodus 23:16; 35:22). Later on, it was transformed from an agrarian feast to a historical one to commemorate the promulgation of the law of Sinai. On that day, the city of Jerusalem filled up with believers from various places coming to the festival. As we already know, the disciples are fearful, and they are gathered without knowing exactly what to do. The gift of the Holy Spirit will empower them to proclaim the good news to all the peoples who have come to the city (Acts 2:1-11). Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the disciples find the suitable language for the proclamation. Acts 2 provides us with an important detail which contradicts a superficial, though frequent, interpretation. It is not a matter of using only one language but rather of being able to understand one another. The text is clear: the people hear the disciples “speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they ask, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?’” (Acts 2:6-7). They ALL understood in their language, from their own cultural world. Thus, evangelization does no mean a superimposed uniformity but rather fidelity to the message and to understanding in diversity in functionality. That is the church, a communion in which every member has a function (1 Cor. 12). ALL members count and must, therefore, be respected in their own charisms. As we come to the pinnacle of our Easter Celebration and welcoming the gift of Pentecost, we’re invited to receive and embrace the Power of the Holy Spirit that is made manifest in the life of the church. The diverse gift that we receive from the Holy Spirit invites and calls us to have the courage to proclaim the gospel and true meaning of ecclesial communion. In His Service, Pastor...

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