Saturday, July 31, 2021

Hebrews 9:23 - 28

In order to understand this passage, we are to remind ourselves that people of the Old Testament often offer sacrifices to temporarily atone for their sins, they were not perfect. They did not purify anything and never truly dealt with sin and judgment.  Hebrews 9:23-28 tells us that Jesus’ sacrifice was perfect.

Jesus’ perfect sacrifice

In the Old Testament, every year the high priest had to return year after year into the Holy of Holies to represent the people before God with the blood of the sacrificial animals on Yom Kippur. The blood of animals was never going to permanently atone for sin which is why the high priest had to repeat it year after year. Jesus’s sacrifice did not need to be repeated. He did not have to suffer and die over again. On the cross, judgment for our sins was taken away. Legally, this means that our sins were annulled or cancelled. It was a perfect sacrifice because it took away judgment for all those who placed their faith in Him once and for all. We have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ. Because of Jesus’s perfect sacrifice, Christians can live and should live out a victorious live. This is why Paul can write with such triumph in Romans 8: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. We have been forgiven and redeemed. Because of this perfect sacrifice, we can look forward to an eternal life with God.  

No second chances

Apart from certain exceptions in the Bible, everyone will die once and when that person dies, there is no opportunity to redeem or repay his sins. There will be no second chance for salvation. It may be a hard truth for many to swallow. Some belief systems believe that a person will die over and over again and each time he has a chance to ‘rise’ into a better realm or life, i.e. reincarnation. Whereas some may offer prayers and sacrifices after death with the hope that the deceased will be forgiven. The Bible is clear, the account of our lives when we are on earth is the only thing that matters. It all boils down to this sobering reminder heaven or hell will based on their acceptance or rejection of Jesus Christ.  This passage serves as a reminder to us all as to why the Bible commands us to make disciples of all nations. We are commanded to tell people about the Gospel, the good news that salvation is in Christ alone and no other. 

We are also to reflect on our own lives because all of us will be called to account to God. There will be no second chances to what God has placed in our hands: our gifts or our talents. As Pastor Palan shared powerfully few weeks ago, will you be joyful or fearful when we meet God? Let’s all strive to focus on things of God, grow deeper in our relationship with Him and be faithful to Him in this race of faith.  At the finish line, we want to hear the words, well done, good and faithful servant.

Prayer: 

Thank you Jesus for being our living hope and thank you for the cross that has taken away judgment from us. Convict us and remind us to never take what you have done for us on the cross lightly. Help us to continue to be faithful with our talents that you have gifted us with. We pray that we can multiply it to Your Glory. Amen. 


Sunday, July 25, 2021

Do Not Despise Your Youth (1 Timothy 4:12 - 16)

Nowadays, youthfulness is a relative word. Today's sermon touches on the credibility of a person.

How can we be credible? ----------------------------------------- Stay connected: Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/st.andrews.parish.bsb/ Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/standrewschurchbsb Website: sacbrunei.org YouTube Channel: St. Andrew's Church BSB WhatsApp: +673 820 6850



Saturday, July 24, 2021

Saturday Devotion: Hebrew 7:20-28

 July 24th Devotion

Hebrews 7:20-28

Jesus, our High priest

 

In the old testament we learn and see that there is a barrier between God and man. A barrier that separates them from having a one on one relationship and conversation with God. However, this was not always the case. When God first created man, He was able to walk alongside Adam, and to talk with Him and to have a conversation as if He was right next to you. But because Adam and Eve disobeyed, that one on one relationship with God that once existed is now gone. No longer were the people of the old testament able to freely talk to God or listen to Him.

 

Thus came the roles of the High priest to become an intercessor to the believers. They were able to communicate with God, and to give instructions, and teachings, guiding believers and helping them with their growth to God. These high priests however were not perfect, just like other people, they were also sinful and as verse 17 shows that high priests have to still offer sacrifices for both their sins and others in order to continue fulfilling their duties and to be within their covenant with God.

 

But there is a hope found in a new high priest, one that is “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” that Hope is found in Jesus, and he is the perfect high priest. Through Him our relationship with God is restored. Because of Him the barrier between man and God has been broken and we are able to reconcile our relationship thus having that one to one relationship again with God. Through Christ we are saved.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The Danger of Spiritual Infancy (Hebrews 5:11 - 6:12)

Have you met people who refuse to grow up? There are some adults who prefer to remain as children because they do not want to take on adult responsibilities. Not only is immature behaviour unpleasant to observe or deal with, the consequences are often destructive. In Hebrews 5:11-14, the writer expresses his frustration that some members of the church were refusing to grow into spiritual maturity.

They were no longer trying to understand God’s word (v 11). Instead of taking on the responsibility of teaching others as they themselves had been taught, they needed to be taught the basics all over again (v12). Therefore, they were unable to take on “solid food” which is for mature Christians, and they were not able to distinguish good from evil (v14) or to understand teaching about righteousness (v13).

Spiritual maturity is a necessary part of our walk with God. Remaining as a spiritual infant means that you are not good at discerning right from wrong and you will have a hard time maintaining your faith when you face challenges (Eph 4:14). Infants require milk because their bodies cannot digest solid food.

However, as they grow they need to be weaned onto solid food and they learn to feed themselves. A child who remains on a milk-only diet and who is unable to feed himself is vulnerable to malnutrition, stunted growth, illness and possibly death. However, some people in the church wanted to be fed milk over and over again as if they were infants.

All parents understand that young children need basic instructions in how to live. The growing child learns the basic rules and eventually takes on more responsibility. A child who seems unable to learn and move on from basic teaching, would cause the parents serious concerns regarding their development and eventual ability to take care of themselves. The situation in the Hebrew church appears to be that some of the members just did not want to develop at all. They wanted to remain as ‘children’ (Hebrews 6:1-3). You may wonder what is wrong with this? Why can’t you stay in the same comfortable and undemanding place as a Christian? Hebrews 6:4-8 gives us the answer. This is a challenging scripture to consider. Spiritual infancy appears to be related to the risk of falling away from God. There are people who have felt the elation and excitement of having an experience of God’s goodness and who may even have experienced the Holy Spirit’s power working in their lives, but who do not want to fully repent of their sins or make a commitment to living in God’s will. This is commonly observed in people who may come to church or Christian events for the “experience” of an encounter in God’s presence or as a sort of “insurance policy” against going to hell. They want to be fed and ministered to, but do not want to serve others or to be accountable to others. There may be people in the church who go through the motions and rituals of Christianity, who would call themselves Christians and who look to the world as Christians, but at the core of their hearts they have not been born again in Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, ‘Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven’. This is a warning against superficial Christianity. We cannot live carelessly and pay lip service to God’s instructions. God is not going to be fooled by our insincere hearts. Hebrews 6:4-8 is a chilling warning to those who might think that they can get away with this attitude. If you have tasted God’s mercy and power, but still do not commit to Christ then it is possible that you will be lost without redemption. Despite knowing the truth that Christ died for your sins, do you decide not to respond in full repentance but instead turn your back to Him? 

This is ungratefulness to God and it has grave consequences (v8). The teaching here is similar toJesus’ parable of seed sown on rocky shallow ground where plants grew quickly but were scorched and withered by the sun because they had shallow roots (Matthew 9:5-6). We are warned in Hebrews 6:7-8, land that drinks in the rain often falling on it but produces thorns is worthless and in danger of being cursed and will be burned. However, land that produces a useful crop will be blessed. We cannot keep expecting to receive blessing and service from others. Spiritual maturity means that we also serve and bless others and learn accountability. There must be evidence of our spiritual maturity (Galatians 5:13- 26).

For those of you who may be feeling condemned by reading this, Hebrews 6: 9-11 clarifies that God is not unjust. He does not forget our work or the love we have shown him and the help we have given others. The falling away described in verses 4-8 is not the same as feeling you have let God down or temporarily ‘backslided’. It is a normal part of the Christian life to make mistakes because we are fighting a spiritual battle (Romans 7:15-20). We are not perfect in ourselves but justified by faith (Romans 5:1). However, living by faith does not mean living carelessly as we please. Instead, it means that we choose to allow God to transform our lives, to live by God’s Spirit and to serve one another humbly in love. We need to be sincere and diligent to the very end so that what we hope for may be fully realized (Hebrews 6:11). What do we hope for? Eternal life and God’s blessed assurance! (1 John 5:13-14).

Suggested Prayer

Almighty God, help me to examine my heart for any disobedience or insincerity to you. Help me to identify areas of my life that I need to submit to you. Most of all, help me to be fully repentant and committed to you so that I will have the full reassurance of salvation through Christ Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Loving Self

The sermon series on Equip The Saint continues. This topic will covers on a i. Self-love that depends on external voices ii. Self-love that depends on self iii. Self-love that depends on God Have a blessed Sunday and stay safe. God bless. --- Stay connected: Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/st.andrews.p... Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/standrewschu...



Saturday, July 17, 2021

Saturday Devotion: Hebrew 7:20-28

July 24th Devotion

Hebrews 7:20-28

Jesus, our High priest

 

In the old testament we learn and see that there is a barrier between God and man. A barrier that separates them from having a one on one relationship and conversation with God. However, this was not always the case. When God first created man, He was able to walk alongside Adam, and to talk with Him and to have a conversation as if He was right next to you. But because Adam and Eve disobeyed, that one on one relationship with God that once existed is now gone. No longer were the people of the old testament able to freely talk to God or listen to Him.

 

Thus came the roles of the High priest to become an intercessor to the believers. They were able to communicate with God, and to give instructions, and teachings, guiding believers and helping them with their growth to God. These high priests however were not perfect, just like other people, they were also sinful and as verse 17 shows that high priests have to still offer sacrifices for both their sins and others in order to continue fulfilling their duties and to be within their covenant with God.

 

But there is a hope found in a new high priest, one that is “holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.” that Hope is found in Jesus, and he is the perfect high priest. Through Him our relationship with God is restored. Because of Him the barrier between man and God has been broken and we are able to reconcile our relationship thus having that one to one relationship again with God. Through Christ we are saved.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Thursday Devotion: Fixing our Minds on God’s Truth

Psalm 116:1-2 says, “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live."

In this Psalm David didn’t say that he loved the Lord because he got everything he ever asked for or because things were going really smoothly in life – no, he said he loved the Lord because he trusted and believed that the Lord was listening and in that, the Lord would work in his sovereignty to protect and provide for him. David then goes on to say these words:

“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Our God is merciful. The lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116: 5-7

David is calling back to mind who the Lord is, what He has done and reminding his soul that the Lord is still trustworthy. David isn’t waiting for the feeling or the sign that his problems are over, instead, he is choosing to rest in the truth that the Lord moved in his life before and will move in his life again.

I wonder how many of us today need to take a moment to call back to mind the truth that God hears us and is still trustworthy. I know for me that has to be a daily thing or else it is so easy to get consumed by my own thoughts and feelings. Wherever you are and whatever you’re facing today- take a few moments to remind your soul of the truth of who our God is. He hears you, He is for you, and with you always.

Amen

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Tuesday Devotion: Made Perfect Through Suffering

 Tuesday Devotion


Made Perfect Through Suffering


 Today’s passage is Hebrews 2:10-18


In verse 9 we read that, Jesus was made a little lower than the angels for a little while, and in doing so, he became subject to death. He suffered death so that he might taste death for everyone! Jesus suffered the pain of death because he needed to experience death for us, in our place.


And so, the author continues in verse 10 saying: “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering.” Let us meditate this morning in this verse, in which the author tells us many things. 

First, He tells us that in order for God to bring us to glory— in order for God to save us, God had to perfect Jesus— who is the Pioneer of our salvation— and he had to subject him to suffering. And  “it was fitting that God” should do so.


I was pondering why “it was fitting that God” should do so. It simply means that it agrees with his character. In other words, that God should subject his son to suffering death. Death on the cross to cleanse and redeem us. It was fitting that God should do so because God the Father had you and me in His plan. He couldn’t think of a better way (“fitting”) to redeem us. 


Yes, He was the “Pioneer of our salvation”, made perfect through that suffering to which He was subjected. Very interesting!  What then does it mean that Jesus is the “Pioneer of our salvation”? It can also be translated as “Captain of our salvation” or “Chief-Leader of our salvation”. He is the one who goes on ahead of his people to prepare the way for them. And that’s exactly what the Lord our Christ did for us. He is our Pioneer, our Captain and Chief-Leader in three ways.


1) He is our pioneer or captain in the way of obedience. Our Lord Jesus had gone on before us to set the way of obedience to God through his own obedience. (John 13:15).


2) Second, Jesus is the pioneer of our salvation in the way of suffering. Our Lord Jesus had walked the way of suffering ahead of us and then called us to follow in his example. (1 Peter 2:21).


3) He is also our captain and chief-leader in the way of glory. Jesus paved the way for us to glory by entering heaven itself as our forerunner. In that way He became the Pioneer, the chief leader, the captain of our salvation. 


Finally, look at verses 17-18. “For this reason, He had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because He himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” 


The Savior’s coming as a man and his suffering death was imperative so that He might become for us “a merciful and faithful High Priest”. The Savior needed our humanity experience so that he might also be able to help those who are tempted. How wonderful this is! Otherwise how could He understand the struggles we have in life and help us as we journey on to the kingdom of God. 


The people of the world may boast that they own a position of power or treasures or a wealth of assets or some similar worthless perishables. But what we own and who owns us is beyond glorious. No wonder Paul declared that his greatest desire in life is to “gain Christ and be found in him”. (Philippians 3:8-9) What is your greatest desire? What are you pursuing in your life? In the end, the only thing that will matter is this: “Will you belong to Christ and will He belong to you”

Monday, July 12, 2021

[11.07.21] The Parable of The Talent

[11.07.21] We are honored to have Ps Palan to share with us this Sunday on The Parable of the Talents.


Are you fearful or joyful of Christ's return?

God has created you with talents, there are no chances in the world that God didnt give you a talent.

We apologize for the delay. Thank you and have a blessed day ahead!


 

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Saturday Devotion: Jeremiah 2

 Saturday Devotion: 10 July 2021- Jeremiah 2


In this chapter, God told Jeremiah to tell His people to submit themselves to the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon. The prophets from the nation of Israel resisted and instead prophesy against God’s instructions to come under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. God instructed Jeremiah to make bonds and yokes, devices placed upon the neck of an ox or other beasts to bring them under control. This was a visual illustration to God’s people that they are to submit to God’s instructions however surprising it sounds. The prophets of Judah encouraged the people by telling them what they want to hear by rebelling against Babylon.


Submission to God

This was a difficult command for the people of God to accept. The idea of submission to someone else’s idea or plan which does not correspond with your ways is difficult to accept. We all want control of our lives and control over situations which we think we can handle. Just think about how difficult it is to submit to our bosses or people of authority over you or even some of the laws of this country. What more, to submit to something which, on the face of it, is illogical or does not make any sense. But as Christians, through the Holy Spirit, we are able to obey and submit. But this is what we are called to do as believers. To submit to God in all circumstances.  


There is no greater example than Christ’s perfect submission in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion. We read about Jesus’ anguish as he faces the horrors of the cross. Jesus’ words, reverberate through the ages, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). Even with the terror of death looming, Christ does not exercise His own will but obeys His Father. 

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). We cannot submit to God without being humble. God calls for our obedience and we cannot be obedient if we are prideful. Which area of our lives requires us to submit to God? Our relationships? Our career? Can we trust God’s ways and plans are better than ours? We can just turn to the numerous stories in the Bible where God’s plan is better than any plan man can come up with. Tutor your hearts, mind and soul to trust God and be humble before Him.


Grace of God

Even though the people of God were disobedient and did not seem to trust what God was saying, God still warned them and the surrounding nations that they should obey to avoid an even worse fate. How patient and gracious is our God. He did not need to warn them repeatedly. But time and time again, we turned our backs on him and time and time again, he demonstrates his love for us by giving us his grace. From the beginning, even when Adam and Eve sinned, he still clothed them. We all fall short even when we do our best.  But passages like these remind us that God’s grace is greater than our shortfalls. He is ready to forgive our sins and brings us to repentance. When we sin and disobey him, he calls us to repentance with loving arms and say, ‘come here my child’.


Just like the Israelites in this passage, what they deserve was punishment and they did not deserve to be warned of the consequences of disobedience.   They took God’s grace for granted. Let’s pause for a moment and reflect are we like the nation of Israel who time and time again taking God’s mercy and grace for granted?


Prayer: Lord, I pray that humility and submission to You will take root deep within me. Father, I seek Your mind, Your heart, and Your will—not mine. I pray that I would obey Your plan regardless even if I don’t understand it, Your ways are better than my ways. I thank you for the grace that you have showed me everyday and forgive me for those days which I took it for granted. Amen

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Thursday Devotion,8/7/21

 Thursday Devotion, 8/7/21


Today’s passage: Philemon1:1-16


Philemon is Paul’s shortest and most personal letter, written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome. Philemon, the main recipient of the letter, was possibly a wealthy man from Colossae. Doubtless, one of Philemon’s slaves was named Onesimus. He was a runaway, had stolen from his master, Philemon and under a capital offense.

So, Paul made a request. He wanted Philemon to forgive Onesimus, to accept the slave as a brother in Christ, and to consider sending Onesimus back to Paul, as the apostle found him useful in God’s service (1:11–14). Paul did not minimize Onesimus’s sin. His letter to Philemon presents in full color the beautiful and majestic transition from slavery to kinship that comes as a result of Christian love and forgiveness. He wanted Onesimus, to be accepted not as a second-class citizen, but as a beloved brother in Christ (Vs 8, 10).


PUT ON THE NEW MAN IN CHRIST

Do you remember what was Paul before He met Jesus? When the Jews stoned the innocent Stephen, Paul watched this gruesome spectacle in hearty agreement (Acts 8:1) He was “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1). He describes himself during this time as being “a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor” (1 Tim. 1:13). Now he speaks on the ‘basis of love’(Vs 9), as a prisoner of Jesus Christ.


What is our life like after we met Christ? We probably had a reputation for having a short fuse, being snotty, and more. But, as we learn to walk in the Spirit, not the flesh, others should see “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23) in us. You and I learn to put off the sinful ways of the old man and put on the godly ways of the new man in Christ.


Now, let’s look at Onesimus. The gospel made a difference in his life too. Formerly, he had grudgingly served Philemon, doing only the bare minimum, and stealing everything he could as he looked for an opportunity to escape. But now in submission to the Lord, he returns to his master, ready and willing to render whatever service is required of him. Formerly, Paul says that Onesimus, whose name means “useful,” was useless to Philemon (v. 11) This can only mean that God had changed Onesimus’ attitude. He hated his master and he hated his master’s God. But now, he was in submission to God to the extent that he was willing to give up his freedom, go back and place himself under his master’s authority.


What is our attitude towards work and submission to authority? Colossians 3:23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.


EMBRACING FORGIVENESS AND RESTORING RELATIONSHIPS

When Onesimus absconded with Philemon and Apphia’s money and some of their personal belongings, they were no doubt angry. How can a relationship as strained as that ever be reconciled? Only by the power of God through the transformation of the gospel. One key evidence that a person is born again is when he wants to repair broken relationships and to make restitution for past wrongs. Jesus emphasized this in the Sermon on (Matt. 5:23-24).


Forgiveness does not come easy, yet as believers, we have to recognize that our ability and willingness to offer it are the result of Christ’s saving work on the cross. Because of that fact, forgiveness serves as a determining factor in who we say we are and how we hope to live our lives. When we do not forgive, bitterness takes root in our hearts and chokes the vitality out of us.

In what ways has forgiveness been a struggle for you since you accepted Christ’s forgiveness? Allow Paul’s letter to Philemon to encourage forgiveness in your own life, and trust God to foster renewed life in your heart and your relationships. Reconciled and restored relationships are a big deal to God! They should be a big deal to us, also!


Suggested prayer:

Dear heavenly Father,

Change me so completely that I will reflect Christ at all times today. Help me to bless those who have hurt me, walk in peace and joy, demonstrating Your love and life. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Tuesday Devotion: Titus 3:3-7

 Tuesday Devotion: Titus 3:3-7

Personal Surrender


Paul’s letter to Titus emphasizes that we all need a Savior; for we ourselves were once foolish and disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another (Titus 3:3), and a Savior is exactly what God provided. But God’s acceptance of us is based not on our works but on faith in Christ’s work.


When we first become a Christian, we consider the question, “will you invite Jesus into your life?”. But years later, we come to a realization that actually, we were the ones saved and He has invited us into His house. Often times, during our walk with God, we think that Jesus did his part on the cross, now we are supposed to do our part. He died for us, now we should live for Him.


Our call can be so much greater than that. Jesus did not only die for us, but he also rose again. His resurrection life and power is now in and available to all who trust in Him. Jesus wants to live His life in us and through us. The apostle Paul said that “Christ in you” is the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Our hope of living the life of Christ and becoming the people he calls us to be is the power of Jesus Christ living in us, so that we may become heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:7b).  


May we take the message in Paul’s letter in stride as we continue to be reminded, that we would lay down our lives, accept His invitation and allow the Holy Spirit to regenerate and renew us so that we can be ready for every good work He’s going to call us to. 


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Sermon for 21th February 2010 - Jacob: Father of Jospeh

So Far
  • Joseph, son of Jacob
  • sold into slavery
  • served at Potiphar’s home
  • now serving at Pharoah’s court
  • became the Saviour of Egypt, and Canaan
  • was re-united with his brothers
  • now to be re-united with his father, Jacob

Genesis 46: 31 to 47: 31
  • Family in Egypt
  • Jacob sends Judah ahead
  • The family has arrived in Egypt
  • Jacob sends Judah ahead
  • Joseph meets his father at Goshen
  • Joseph instructs his brothers on what to say when they meet Pharoah
  • Joseph went to Pharoah, bringing along 5 brothers and his father
  • Jacob blesses Pharoah twice
  • Famine worsens
  • People came to Joseph for grain
  • They bought grain with money, livestock and with their lives
  • Joseph re-located the people
  • He instituted a grain policy of 80-20

Joseph
  • A Great example of God's providence
  • A wonderful testament of God being in charge
  • Integrity and Character
  • An example of great leadership


But what about Jacob?
  • son of Isaac & Rebekah, brother of Esau
  • deceiver/supplanter
  • Traded for his brother’s birth-right
  • Stole his brother’s blessing, and runs off
  • Had a vision at Bethel
  • Conned by his uncle, Laban
  • Marries Leah, and Rachel
  • fathered 12 sons and 1 daughter
  • Left his father in law, Laban in a hurry
  • Angels met him at Mahanaim
  • Wrestled with ‘a man’ at Peniel
  • Re-conciles with Esau
  • Trouble at Shechem
  • Returns to Bethel
  • God re-names him, Israel
  • Rachel dies when giving birth
  • Genesis 47:9
    So Jacob said to Pharoah,
    "The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant has been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning."
  • Promise to bless him: Genesis 28: 13 to 15
  • Had a Trouble-some life: with Esau (twin brother), Laban (his father-in-law), his children
  • Had some God encouters: Bethel, Mahanaim, Peniel. Renamed Israel
  • Few and unpleasant...: Genesis 42:36, Genesis 45:28

Yet
  • He would live on for another 17 years
  • He would bless Pharoah (twice)
  • His family would prosper during the famine
  • His children would go on to form the people of Israel

A hope and a future
  • Jeremiah 29:11 - ‘For I know the plans that I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’.
  • Philippians 1:6 - For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 12: 1 & 2
  • LET US also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us
  • LET US run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus

Growth & Change

When we grow spiritually, sins become less and less attractive; more and more disgusting. The sermon series on Equip The Saint continues. 

Have a blessed Sunday and stay safe. God bless. 

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Saturday, July 3, 2021

What does it mean to be a Christian? (Titus 2:1 - 8)

What does it mean to be a Christian?

To some it may mean praying before you eat, to others it may mean attending church on Sundays and singing songs followed by a sermon, and again others may only be Christians not by choice but because their parents are Christians. But what does it really mean to be a Christian?

To be a Christian means to be a follower of Jesus, or in other words, a disciple of Jesus. It doesn’t just mean going to church on Sundays and doing nothing else on other days, but it means to journey with Christ daily, to build a relationship with Him, through prayer, through reading the Bible, through fellowship with other people, and helping each other to grow in the word and grow in Christ. 

But we also have a duty as Christians. 

We are called to make disciples. We are called to lead people to Christ.

We are put here to be disciples of Christ, and that means to make disciples of Christ. Our life on earth is a “mission trip” because our true home is up in heaven.

We don’t need to be sent out to different places, different nations on a mission trip to minister to people. There are plenty of people we see in our day to day lives that we meet and we interact with, and those people we can minister to. And for a lot of people, coming up to one of them, or even to our non-believing friends and talking about God may be intimidating, but ministering to them doesn’t have to be as complicated as that. It can simply be done through the way we behave and carry ourselves.

The way we choose to act, the way we choose to be in our daily lives could be a way to attract people. The phrase “fisher of men” comes to mind. If we choose to become people who are like the passage we just read in Titus, people who continuously practice imitating Christ, then it surely will be seen by others that there is something different about us, and that can be like our “bait” into bringing people to Christ. We can choose to share about our beliefs, our God, when people like that see us.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

God's Dream Team (Titus 1:1-9)

List down some characteristics of leadership that you would expect of leaders:

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Then compare your list with Paul's list. 

"...if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. ... must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict." (Titus 1:6‭-‬9)

Which of these characteristics caught your attention and why?

Consider these then. Today it is common to look up to successful leaders that are super rich or super smart and creative or communicate well or charismatic. It is 90% on the outward and 10% on the inward. 

The lists from Titus is so different. Recently I read in a Christian article of what God looks for using the metaphor of an iceberg. The tip of the iceberg which is about 10% the total size is liken to what God looks for- competence. 

What is the 90% God looks for?

Marriage & family, loving God and people, knowing God's words, and character.

Which team do you belong to?

Prayer

Lord, as I read this list in Titus 1, I pray that you align my heart to yours,  that what you desire becomes what I desire too. And keep my heart and mind from becoming so earthly-bounded that I forget what kind of disciples you call me to become. Thank you for including me in your Dream Team. In the precious Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen