Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Baptism

It has been thirty days since our church's family day cum water baptism. More than 20 people gave their testimony of Jesus. Each were given 3 minutes to speak, but the existence of an interpretor ( a.k.a interruptor) to help all English speaking, Chinese speaking, and Bahasa Malaysia speaking people understand the message backfired as the time was almost doubled and the crowd grew restless and noisy.
I wonder if they heard the testimonies but I certainly did - I was the cameraman for the day. Each one had a special story about how they met Jesus and why they want to be baptised. There were little, but significant, victories that day. Some actually had their non-believing family to witness their baptism. WOW. That is just mind-blowing. God is doing a great work indeed. As they submerged in water, I felt that they weren't too concerned about the unattentive crowd. They knew their story was sounded and heard - by their family, by the devil, and by their Saviour.
I felt excited for them, especially those who were close to my heart. Dad came back this week and we saw the video. And I was again amazed by God's work over their lives. I have this tendency  of getting frustrated at the rate of their growth(pride and ungratefulness getting the better of me), but I don't want to doubt God's hand over their lives again. I must let God be God, and learn to love no matter what. I pray that they cherish this wonderful beginning. I'm so excited. I know God has something special planned for them.
I pray next year we'll be baptising some of my friends who have yet to believe.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Time of Repentance

At our last prayer meeting, the Holy Spirit led us to a place of repentance. We asked God to forgive us for placing Him in a box, in spite of all our good intentions. For so long we have been asking for all the "good stuff" - revival, healing, breakthrough, salvation - but we have not seeked God's heart. We prayed according to what we thought was necessary, needed, or missing in the church today. We asked God to conform to our desires, assuming that He would deliver according to our timing.
And because of this attitude, we have belittled this Dream-Giver. We made Him too small in our eyes. We forgot that He's the so-much-more God. We form our ideas of Him base on what we hear from pastors, elders, people we admire, and books. We did not seek Him. We forgot that He can do exceedingly and abundantly far greater than our hopes and imagination. We leaned on our idealisms, and disregarded His grace. His grace is sufficient, right? By our actions, we projected our disbelief. We couldn't lie to God. He knows it all.
There were prophesies. We needed to be set apart unto holiness and good works, and we needed to return to our first love. We were encouraged to place our worries at His feet and exchange it for His yoke and burden, which is light and easy.
Our prayer that night, and even now, is that God be magnified, and He take us deeper in love with Him. We desire so much to be by His side, in His embrace, listening to His voice, feeling His heartbeat... Take us there, Lord. Take us there. We want to be your partners in prayer.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Do we really want it?

You can't desire revival without being willing to pay the price or be the vessel through which it comes.
Maybe we haven't experienced revival as seen in the times of Acts because we don't really want it. Sure, we pray and ask God for revival. But do we really want it?
Is it fear that holds us back? Fear of persecution, rejection, death, commitment, sacrifice (time and money)? All these are likely to happen, and it's required. But do we know what God requires of us in the first place? Jesus only asked the people to wait in the upper room, and the rest is history. Maybe we have been fearing the unknown so much, that we are afraid to ask God what He really wants from us.
Do we even know God? Have we experienced His love? Do we recognise His voice? Do we know His words?
We know revival is good. We know God is good. We know that He won't give us what we cannot bear. We know where He wants us to go, He makes the way for us.
Now we need to know the heart of God. That's the best place to start.

This struggle of mine

Everything is the same. Nothing has changed. What's the use of discussing it? What's the point in mentioning it or bringing it up? Where is hope in repeating the same things over and over and over again?
I was silent. Maybe I was silenced, if there's such a word. My spirit is weak, and my flesh is ready to explode.
Here we are again. Same problems, same issues, same statements, same emphasis, same attitude... Something's gotta give. Should it be me? My presence hasn't made a positive effect. I felt useless. I feel useless. What's the point in staying and hoping when it has been so long now? Can I really make a difference? Will things ever turn out for good? Lies of the evil one... why do they seem so true?!!
I know it oh so well. It's never about the team. It's never about the individuals. It's not about the ministry. It's not about the leadership. All these are irrelevant in the light of what this Dream-Giver wants of me.
It's about CHANGING ME. It's about having that difference in me. It's about Christ-likeness - pleasing the Dream-Giver and loving people (even enemies); giving grace, just as much as I have received grace, regardless of the circumstances. And to be frank, I resent that. I am frustrated. He knows it. I can't lie about it. He also knows I love GRACE, because it's good and it's something free, given to all who don't deserve it at all. Given to me. I am without excuse. I have no right to be hopeless. Dang. He's good...
Here we are again. I hate this. I haven't changed. I am still the same.
I need peace. I want hope.
Don't give up on me. Draw near to me. Show me love. Teach me how to love.

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's Time To Fly

In the VisionCast Service last Sunday, I taught about Galations 5:6 which says that "For in Christ Jesus, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion has any value; what mattes is something far more interior - faith expressing itself in love". Easter Sunday reminded us of the implications of the blood of Jesus - the redemptive power of it all. We are no longer bound by law or religion or traditions. Salvation is assured. So 2 questions are left now, and I challenged the youth, myself included.

What is your faith? Do you know what you believe in? Are you sure of what you believe in? Millions of people since the early church has died and suffered under persecution of the faith. Many more have dedicated their entire lives to tell others of that same faith. Do you know what you believe? Do you know God?

What is love? How would you define love? How do you show love? Is it giving your best, your all? What then is your best, your all? There's no one else that can decide that but ourselves; it's between God and each individual - the how, what, and how much. So often I hear young people talking about how busy their lives are, and how they wish they can do this or do that. It's time to stop the wishing and start the walking!!

I reminded them about the commissioning of Peter. Peter just denied Christ a few days before Jesus asked him that important question- "Do you love Me?". That was Jesus' only concern, really. It was the only requirement for Jesus to trust Peter with that great commission and duty. The answer to that question would determine our direction and our course of action, which is far more important then our current state of being.

And maybe you can hear Jesus asking you that today. If it helps you, then imagine so... It's Time To Fly.

To watch the video:

1. Click on the "play" button.

2. Click on the "pause" button.

3. Wait till the the grey line is full, indicating that the loading process is complete. In the mean time, go and read an email or something.

4. Click on the "play" icon again and enjoy.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Vision

Found this piece of sermon as I was looking through old stuff. It's for our youth ministry's VisionCast 2004 - Cross for the Cause. 2 years I have learned much and my thoughts, perceptions have evolved as well. Nonetheless, this still remains as a part of my vision for myself and the youth ministry I serve in. The following is the contents of this sermon::

I have a vision - Unity among the youth. Unity through much work and prayer. I want everyone to be so excited for God and for the work of God that our youth will be happening and filled with joy and fun even though we might get tired. So much so that each one will only have love for one another because of their commitment to the Lord. United with one vision, moving towards one direction, there will be no arguments. No time for that. Souls will rush in to the extend that we could only reach out, forgetting about self pride and arrogance. Praise God! Great thought, don't you think? Let's hope it doesn't stay that way.

VisionCast Sunday - 12.1.2003

Cross for the Cause :: Luke 9:23 - 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".

The Cause :: John 18:37 - "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

- To bear witness to the truth.
- To win the world through our transformed lives by faith in Christ Jesus.
- For the King and the Kingdom.

If we could focus our lives on that cause, God will breathe life into our vision, like we never dreamt possible.

1st - Everyone (the church)
- To have a hunger for His presence and to never stop seeking Him. Presence Evangelism.
- The only way for His presence to come is with REPENTANCE and BROKENNESS - Die to self.

2nd - "take up his cross..."
- Each individual has a specific calling. Galatians 6:2-5, 1 Corinthians 12:12
- Therefore, each member of this body has a role to play for this body to function as it should. To follow Christ, you need to fulfill that calling; To fulfill that calling, you need to know that calling; To know that calling, you need to know God - your creator.

3rd - The cross of Jesus.
- Jesus died for a cause that we are to live for.
- Looking at the cross reminds me of the extent of Christ's determination to save the world.
- The gospel = the message of love and sacrifices of God.
- For everything we need, look to the cross - look to Jesus.

Cross for the Cause

- To walk with determination, knowing and clinging to the ultimate purpose, and finish the walk no matter what it takes.
- To forfeit all fleshly desires, totally set apart, holy and acceptable unto the Lord.
- In everythign we do, Christ is the center, that we glorify the Almighty with a holy zeal and passion.
- That every cause that we will cross for will be in God's will and purpose for our lives.