“Belongings Left Unattended Will Be Removed.”

“Belongings left unattended will be removed.” – says Starbucks.

And that’s exactly what the devil says too – “Belongings (your church members) left unattended (uncared for, discouraged and emotionally abandoned or marginalized) will be removed (from your church into my kingdom of darkness)!”

The church – God’s family – must live and behave like a family. Church is NOT a meeting for 1.5 – 2 hours a week where we sit in the nice air-conditioned sanctuary or auditorium to enjoy worship and an encouraging sermon to give us a lift – it is not supposed to be consumeristic! The main and plain message of the Bible is primarily about community and giving since we are recipients of grace. Church is about giving, sharing, encouraging, sitting with someone in pain, listening to someone in distress, reaching out to someone nobody talks to, saying hello to someone new and maybe a little lost, imparting love, care and generosity to the next generation, paying attention to the needs of the elderly, praying with someone in need, and a whole lot more! Try one or more of the above the next time you’re in church and your church family will never be the same again! A church that doesn’t love their own cannot genuinely love those outside the church – it would be hypocrisy, nothing less.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” – 1 THESSALONIANS‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – JOHN‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭NASB‬‬

What Comes After Resurrection and Ascension?

After resurrection comes the ascension, and then Pentecost. Christians should never just rejoice over the resurrection of Christ and basked in amazement over the ascension. We have to move on to Pentecost. While the Day of Pentecost took place some 2000 years ago, every believer today needs a personal Pentecost! Pentecost is about waiting on the Lord to be filled with the Spirit and to be empowered to be witnesses of Christ. Pentecost is about going out into the world to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to do so fearlessly and powerfully. Miracles of all kinds should not be exceptional experiences, they should be normative! The miracle of life-change, healing of sicknesses, deliverance, and more. That’s what you and I are called to as disciples of Christ – don’t just stare or bask in wonder and amazement, for the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you and me too – go out there and change the world with Pentecostal fire and power! Being Christian has never been about sitting through a 1.5 or 2 hour service – you don’t see that in the Bible – it’s about a community of faith that loves and serves one another, and a community that preaches the gospel to the ends of the earth!

What Is Love?

What is love? Love can be felt and it generates emotions but it is not merely a feeling or an emotion. Love is a verb, an action verb. That means love is something demonstrated. We don’t just SAY we love, we SHOW our love. (Do note that I said “show” not “show-off”.) “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” – John‬ ‭15:13‬. Jesus demonstrated His love for us through death on the cross. So as we give thanks to God on this Good Friday for demonstrating His love for us by sending Jesus to die on the cross on our behalf to pay the penalty for our sins, let us also love one another sacrificially and unconditionally. That would mean be kind to one another, speak with love and respect even to those we are familiar with such as our family members. For the Christian household, familiarity should not breed contempt. Honesty and openness are needed but they should not be an excuse for unkind words. As they say, good conduct begins at home, then we will be able to love others. Have a blessed Easter!

God Is Powerful!

God has the power to deliver us from hurt and pain. He has the power to heal our sicknesses. He has the wisdom to counsel us and He has the patience to remain faithful even when we are faithless. He alone is God and no weapon formed against us will prosper because the Lord will fight for us, we only need to be still and know that He alone is God! (Lk.4:18-19; Exo.15:26; 1Cor.1:25; Isa.9:6; Exo.34:6; Deut.7:9; 2Ki.19:15; Isa.54:17; Exo.14:14; Ps.46:10) And by the grace of God, I have experienced all of these attributes of God when I was betrayed and rejected, when I nearly died from multiple medical conditions, when I was at a loss and needed wisdom, when I was without faith, when I could fight no more and when I was hard pressed from every side. The Lord is God and there is no other, none compares with Him!

Worship – A Means to Experience God

Both personal and corporate worship are amazing means through which we draw close to the Lord, give thanks to Him for His love and faithfulness toward us, express our love and devotion for Him and recall to mind His goodness, kindness, love, mercy, grace, holiness and righteousness. The vehicle of music is a God-given means to give God’s truth access to the deepest recesses of our hearts in a way that is both personal and experiential. Coupled with the priority given to the study of God’s Word and the expression of God’s love through Christian service, we grow deep and strong in our faith. One must be careful never to depend only on worship and experience to build our faith in God for without the study of Scriptures, faith is without substance and crumbles easily in the face of trials and temptations.

Chief Dangers Confronting Christianity

The founder of the Salvation Army, William Booth – who was always quick with a quotable quip for the press once responded:

“In answer to your inquiry, I consider that the chief dangers which confront the coming century will be: Religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, politics without God, and Heaven without Hell.”

Are You an Admirer of Christ or a Disciple of His?

White American pastor Clarence Jordan asked his brother Robert Jordan (state senator) if he would serve as legal representative of his church – the Koinonia community (an inter-racial Christian community, where white and colored people worshipped together, severely persecuted by white Christians in 1950s) and the following was how the conversation went.

“Clarence, I can’t do that. You know my political aspirations. Why, if I represented you, I might lose my job, my house, everything I’ve got.”

“We might lose everything too, Bob.”

“It’s different for you.”

“Why is it different? I remember, it seems to me, that you and I joined the church on the same Sunday, as boys. I expect when we came forward the preacher asked me about the same question he did you. He asked me, ‘Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ What did you say?”

“I follow Jesus, Clarence, up to a point.”

“Could that point by any chance be – the cross?”

“That’s right. I follow him to the cross, but not on the cross. I’m not getting myself crucified.”

“Then I don’t believe you’re a disciple. You’re an admirer of Jesus, but not a disciple of his. I think you ought to go back to the church you belong to, and tell them you’re an admirer, not a disciple.”

“Well now, if everyone who felt like I do did that, we wouldn’t have a church, would we?

“The question,” Clarence said, “is, ‘Do you have a church?'”

(From the book, “Mere Discipleship: Radical Christianity in a Rebellious World” by Lee C. Camp)