content top

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,...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Jesus the Sure Foundation

Whether we realize it or not, we live a designer life. The only question centers on, “Who does the designing?” Is yours a life built by your own designs or by divine design? When we talk of design and building, we talk about “foundation.” Without a solid foundation, any building will eventually collapse. Your life and your faith work that way, too. It is significant that you are standing on a solid foundation. Psalm 18:1-3 says “I love you, O LORD, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and my horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” As we continue with our Easter Journey, we are reminded of this “foundation.” Those who live by God’s design rest fully on the only secure foundation-Jesus Christ, his life, death, and resurrection. Jesus is our stronghold, our fortress, the secure immovable footing on which God’s faithful live. Jesus described himself in these terms as he wrapped up the teaching that has come to be known as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). He said: These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit-but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just use my words in Bible Studies and don’t work them in your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards. (Matthew 7:24-27 THE MESSAGE BIBLE). IS JESUS THE SURE FOUNDATION OF YOUR...

Read More

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me

                                                                    Take Up Your Cross and Follow Me “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals-one on His right, the other on His left.” -Luke 23:33- A fundamental flaw in our thinking is the illusion that God has done everything and we-doing nothing-can become the recipients of His grace and goodness. “Jesus paid it all,” goes the old song, and therefore, we con-sider it our blessing to be included in the family of God. This attitude has turned Christianity into a marketable lifestyle that costs nothing and demands little if any-thing in return. In the process we have beautified the life of Jesus, ignored His death, and failed to understand the power of His Resurrection. Christ understood His mission clearly. He said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). In his parables He talked about the lost coin, the lost sheep, and the lost son. His mission was to do something about humanity’s lostness, the source of our estrangement from God. But Jesus never suggested that He was paying the price so that we should all have a totally free ride. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Luke 23:33). The illusion of a free ride disappeared with the left-overs of the loaves and fishes. When Jesus spoke so bluntly, it was no wonder that some quietly slipped towards the edges of the crowd and quit. The cost of Discipleship was too high; the demands were too great. The disciples understood the impact of Jesus’ talk about taking up a cross because they had seen its visible reality. For most of us a cross of any sort seems somewhat costly. But that was exactly what Christ had in mind. In today’s world, what does it mean to “take up a cross”? Obviously, it can’t be taken literally. We don’t crucify people outside the city gates anymore. But the significance hasn’t changed. Taking up your cross is an act of self-negation, a service to someone, a commitment with a personal cost, making ours a better world. Those who have made this commitment find themselves taking care of the elderly, feeding the homeless, housing the kids who sleep on the streets. It can mean as many different things as there are situations but taking up your cross signifies you have yielded control of your life to Jesus, who will be your strength. The power of the Cross transforms lives, churches, and society as well. No wonder Paul could glory in the Cross and boast...

Read More
content top