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You Can Play Well But….

You can play well, wear the nicest jersey, pass the ball well, even shoot the ball on target frequently enough, but if you don’t score, you lose in the end! That’s what happened last night in the 2018 World Cup Final match between France and Croatia. Croatia had possession of the ball most of the game, took more shots at goal, passed the ball more accurately and more frequently, yet in the end, it was France who won – beating Croatia 4-2. Thinking about the church, I see a similar thing. We could sing well, worship intimately, spiritually and even prophetically, we could have great fellowship – warm, supportive, caring and loving, we could have many deep, intensive Bible studies and we could have fantastic people enjoying serving the Lord in the ministries of the church BUT if we don’t win souls, we lose in the end! “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” – Lk.19:10

I Chew, I Spit, Then You Eat!

This is the best US grass-fed ribeye steak – LET ME CHEW IT, SPIT IT OUT, THEN YOU EAT IT. I’m sure you’d love it!

That’s disgusting isn’t it?? But that’s exactly what so many Christians are doing today – let someone else take in God’s Word, chew it, spit it out and then we eat what they spit out!

We need to read and study God’s Word ourselves, just like we got to eat that steak ourselves. And the reason why we need to study God’s Word ourselves is so that we are not tossed around by false teachings or half-truths intentionally or unintentionally communicated by people. When you become familiar with what is real, the moment you hear false teachings or half-truths, you’d know it!

I heard over K-Love earlier today a statement made by one of the songwriters (either Ben Fielding or Reuben Morgan) of the current hit worship song, “Who You Say I Am”. He said the song was inspired by John 8 where Jesus said in v.35 that the slave does not remain in the house forever but the son does. He was basically saying we are not slaves but sons (and daughters). Well, we are indeed sons and daughters of God and we must never forget that BUT we are also slaves. The Apostle Paul often referred to himself as doulos (Greek) which means slaves! Is the great apostle not saved? If we read v.35 in context, we will discover that in v.34, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.” Then he said in v.45, “The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.” When we look at the context, we realize that the slave that does not remain in the house forever is explained in v.34 – someone who remains specifically a slave to sin (even though he or she may have decided to follow Jesus at some point in his or her life). Thus, a slave to sin does not remain in the house forever! However, a slave to Christ will remain in the house forever and be saved!

The next time you listen to teaching, make sure you check it against Scriptures, don’t just take it in without discernment. The Lord bless you!

[Note: I’m not saying the song is not a good song, it is! I’m only saying that the statement made by one of the songwriters was either incomplete or a misinterpretation of Scripture. Thought I should add this note before queries come my way :)]

Deny Myself? – A Biblical Message Not So Well-liked Today

Many of today’s Christians don’t like it when a sermon based on Mt.16:24-27 is preached. We prefer the comforting stuff such as “for God soooo loved the world, that He GAVE…” wrongly interpreting the word “so” (Greek: houtos) to mean the extent of God’s love when it actually means “thus, in this way”. Jn.3:16 should therefore be translated “for God loved the world this way – that He gave His only begotten son…..”. Mt.16:24-27 speaks of denying ourselves of what we want, desire and love and instead embracing what God wants, desires and loves. It warns us of the consequence of being self-indulgent and having a form of Christianity that is focused in ME – how much God loves ME, wants to bless ME, etc. Following Christ is never about serving our needs but serving God’s Kingdom purposes and the needs of others. And in so doing, God meets our needs. Have a great day!

“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:24-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Good or God?

Good or God? (my reflection inspired by John Bevere’s sermon of the same title)

“And Peter took him (Jesus) aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.”” Matthew‬ ‭16:22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Mt.16:22 was Peter’s reaction when Jesus spoke about his impending suffering, death and subsequent resurrection. In Peter’s mind, suffering and death can’t be good! Surely God wouldn’t allow us to go through that! Surely God wants us to have the good things in life – strength, pleasure and comfort must be the marks of a believer and weakness, pain and suffering can’t be good – Peter must have thought. Jesus’ reply in v.23 must have shocked Peter – “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Jesus saw that such a way of thinking was first of all satanic; second, such a belief was a hindrance to Jesus; and third, it was worldly and not of God! Clearly, not everything that is good in our opinion is of God.

The Righteous Will Flourish

Ps.92:12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

God blesses those who love Him and who walk in His way – the way of righteousness. Just as He has made us the righteousness of Christ, He has also called us to walk righteously. No one who is made righteous and who chooses to continue to live in sin and darkness pleases the Lord. The Lord is full of grace and truth, loving and righteous, merciful and holy at the same time! It’s not “either-or”, it’s “both-and”.

If Jesus Were To Plant a Church Today…..

If Jesus were to plant a church today, I wonder what His priorities would be? Would worship – whether traditional, contemporary or Charismatic be His priority? Would He want the Sunday service to be the highlight of the week which seems to be the case for so many? In fact, while many sees the Sunday service as the highlight of the week, many others treat it not as the highlight of the week but as the only “light” – the only thing they do that has any Christian semblance during the week! Or would the community of believers gathered together for mutual care, support, encouragement, exhortation and even correction be Jesus’s priority? Would in-depth, seminary-styled Bible study classes be an important thing or Bible study that leads to obedience and lifechange be the priority? In fact, is Bible study that DOES NOT lead to and does not have a way to ensure obedience and lifechange be of any value at all? Jesus did say in Mt.28:20, “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you “. The list goes on. At the end of it all, I have a strange feeling that if Jesus were to plant a church today, it would look very different from what we have become familiar with, what we call church. Grant us wisdom O Lord!