Time To Grow Up (SUNDAY RECALL October 11, 2009)

Do you remember the time when you were a toddler wearing diapers and your parents look at you as the cutest baby in the world? You are starting to coo, learning to walk and would even dirty the diapers. And your mom and dad would find that to be adorable. But if you are now a 35-year old man and you still do the same things when you were a tot then that is no longer cute.

Heb. 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.
Heb. 5:12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
Heb. 5:13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
Heb. 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
We are called to grow in our relationship with God and not to remain like babes. How does one measure maturity?
Myth of Time – It’s not the length of time of church attendance that measures one’s maturity. There are people who are one year old in their relationship with God who are more mature than some Christians who may be in church for 10 years. Time simply cannot measure maturity.
Myth of Association – Maturity does not happen when you hang out with mature Christians. It cannot be transferred by osmosis. Even if you are close to the bishop, pastor or small group leader, it doesn’t make you mature.
Myth of Knowledge – Some people think that the more they know about the bible, the more mature and close to God they are. The bible says “knowledge puffs up”. Sometimes, it actually just brings more pride. It’s not about how much bible you know but how much of the bible you actually do that determines one’s maturity.
We are called to go on towards maturity.
There is a difference between growing old and growing up. All people (without exception even with all the cosmetics and botox) grow old but many still act like kids. Some choose to grow up.
Here’s the bottomline: It’s time to grow up.

Source: Sunday Recall

Passion #1 Sunday Recall (Sept. 13, 2009)

We are starting a 2-part mini-series entitled PASSION.
I am posting the outline of the message that I used last Sunday. Thanks to our missions guys: Pastors Michael Paderes, Jonathan Bocobo and Jun Escosar for passionately working on the details of this sermon.
Definition:
Pas•sion – a strong and barely uncontrollable emotion; obsession; fervor; enthusiasm; eagerness
I have many passions in life. As you can see in my blog, I write about my faith in God, my family and about finances. Other things that I am passionate about are food and fitness. Can I make a confession? The reason why I exercise is not really to look good or be slim but so that I can eat good “stuff”. I sometimes find myself checking the calories that I burned in order to find out how much food I can take in.
Filipinos are a passionate people.  We are a very emotional and spontaneous culture.  Filipinos are most passionate about basketball, Manny Pacqiao, picture taking, videoke, shopping, etal.
Transition: If as a people, we get excited about the things mentioned, have you ever considered what God is most passionate about?  What excites Him?  What moves Him?  What commands His attention?
This sermon is focused on the heart and passion of God.
“God’s ultimate passion is His glory,” (John Piper) and He is most glorified when nations are discipled.
Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;”
This is the starting point of World Missions.
Let me just clarify one thing: All the earth belongs to Jesus Christ.
The world does not belong to the devil, media, terrorists or tyrants.  The earth and all who live in it belong to Jesus Christ alone.
Mission is personal to God.
Rev 5:9b “and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”

By His own blood, Jesus has purchased every person, every tribe, every language, every nation.

What are you willing to give up to get something that is close to your heart?
God is most passionate about the nations because He created it for His purposes and He purchased it with His blood.  No other god, power, force can lay claim to the earth.  There are almost 7 billion (by April 2010) people in the world today, Jesus Christ died for every one of them.  He purchased the over 16,000 people groups, estimated 7,000 languages in the world, and 195 countries.
– How could God not be passionate about the nations when He created them, owns them, and purchased them with His own blood?
God wants every nation to be reached.  Not some, not most, but every nation.
(Ps 67:2) “that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.”
(Mt 24:14) “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
(Lk 24:47) “and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations,”
(Rev 7:9) “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.”

World missions is not just another church program or activity.

It is the passion of God, heart of Christianity and the reason the Church exists on the earth – to make disciples of all nations.

If God’s heart burns for the nations, what does the world look like today?
7 billion people
–        2.1 billion Christians (only .7 are Bible believing, the rest nominal)
–        2.1 billion non-Christians within reach
–        2.8 billion non-Christians unreached
If the world was made up of 10 people…
–        1 true Christian
–        2 nominal Christians
–        3 non-Christians within reach
–        4 non-Christians unreached
Let’s look at where the harvest is…

If the World was a Village of 100 people
–        1 is from Oceana
–        5 is from North America
–        9 is from Latin America
–        12 is from Europe
–        13 is from Africa,
–        60 would be from Asia
MAINPOINT: GOD’S ULTIMATE PASSION IS TO DISCIPLE NATIONS.
Revelation 1:6 “and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”
God has made the Church “a kingdom” and “priests.”  Kingdom refers to our role in extending God’s rulership over all the earth.  Our priestly duty is to stand in the gap as ministers of reconciliation until every nation is brought back to Christ.
John 4:34,35 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.   Do you not say, ‘Four months more and then the harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.”
Like Jesus, our will is to do the will of Him Who sent us.  Our passion must be His passion – to make disciples of all nations.  When that happens, every nation becomes a harvest field, and will be redeemed back to Christ.

Source: Sunday Recall

Sunday Recall (August 30, 2009)

We just finished our series – Genuine. We received a lot of feedback that it is one of the best series for the year.
The topic we talked about was on suffering. Not a very exciting topic for some people. In fact, people want to avoid and get rid of suffering. Here’s my sermon outline last Sunday.
The reality is: ALL people go through suffering.
Some suffer physically or chronic pain due to sickness. Some suffer mental anguish. Some are struggling relationally. Some have financial crisis.
Some have emotional problems. Some just feel alone and think that God has abandoned them.

TENSION: Why do bad things happen to good people?

James 5:7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains.
James 5:8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
James 5:9 Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
James 5:10 Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
James 5:11 As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Look around you and you will realize that suffering is all over the place.
One usual question that people ask is, “Why do people suffer?”
Can’t we skip the bad parts and then proceed to the good parts like watching a DVD?

3 Reasons why people suffer:
1.  Because of sin and wrongdoing

Many times people suffer because of the consequence of their actions and wrong decisions.
Example:   Financial disaster or debt because of greed or over-indulgence

Sexual disease because of promiscuity
Teenage pregnancy due to pre-marital sex

Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

2.  We live in a fallen world.
There is sickness and disease, pain and sorrow.
The ground was cursed because of the sin of mankind. (Gen 3:17-19)
Example: Children in Africa born with aids. Not their fault.
Earthquake, tsunami, and other calamities.
3.  Because of righteousness.
1Pet. 3:17 It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
EXTREME VIEWS ON SUFFERING

One extreme: Christians don’t need to suffer. Only blessed.
Other extreme: Suffering brings you closer to God.
As Christians, we need to have a healthy and balanced view of suffering.
Three pictures of suffering in the book of James:
1. FARMER (waits for the rains and the crop to grow)
He suffers because of waiting.
He is confident that there is a harvest but don’t know when.
Cannot help by doing the “raindance”.
Waits for blessings or promises to come to pass.

We live in a microwave generation. Instant noodles, rice, instant bride, etc.
We want instant gratification.
No one enjoys the wait.
EX. Abraham and Sarah had to wait for 25 years before having the promised son. Abraham was 100 years old!
But while waiting, do not justify sinful alternatives.

ILLUS: Couple waiting to have a child. You may be waiting for a job promotion. Freedom from debt. Singles – getting married. Parent for a child to be saved or vice versa. Sick with dreaded disease wait for healing.
God’s timetable is different. 1000yrs =1day. His thoughts are not our thoughts. Ways not our ways.
Man: Dear God, how long is a million years?
God: A million years is like a minute to me.
Man: Dear God, how much is $1,000,000?
God: $1,000,000 is like 1 cent to me.
Man: God, can I borrow one cent?
God: Just a minute.

But in the end, it’s worth the wait.

2.  PROPHETS (speak the word of the Lord)
They suffered because of righteousness. Preaching the Word of the Lord.
Not popular among the people. Persecuted for standing for their conviction.
ILLUS: Jeremiah, Elijah, the Apostles, Stephen, martyrs, modern day Christians in hostile nations who are currently being persecuted.
1Pet. 4:14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

3.  JOB (persevered in suffering)
Suffering caused by “unknown reasons” or “I don’t know”.
God considered Job as blameless and upright and yet He allowed Job to suffer.
God bragged about Job with Satan. But the outcome of Job’s life was a breakthrough.
“Double for all the trouble”
Round 1: Job’s stuff was taken and the following was his response.
Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship
Job 1:21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

Round 2: Job’s health was touched and the following was his response.
Job 2:9 His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
Job 2:10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Personal: I shared a story of suffering of a close friend who I will write about in my next blog.
1Pet. 1:7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Purpose of suffering. God wants to make our faith mature and complete.
James 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
James 1:3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
James 1:4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Job 42:5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.

Can you see God with you in the midst of your suffering?

MAINPOINT: GENUINE FAITH SEES GOD IN THE MIDST OF SUFFERING.
2Cor. 4:17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Sufferings are temporary!

Heb. 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Heb. 12:3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Jesus endured because he saw the reward of multitudes getting saved.
He can empathize with you and what you are going through.

Source: Sunday Recall

Sunday Recall (August 16, 2009)

We are on week 3 of our series Genuine. As we continue with our preaching series, we talked about another area where the merging of our faith and action can be clearly seen – in the way we use our tongue. Below is my preaching outline last Sunday:

Have you ever been a victim of a gossip or a rumor that is not true?
How does it feel?
On the contrary, have you ever said anything about a person that may be true but done with a wrong intention.

James 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.
James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.

What is the real test of maturity? Prayer, fasting, studying the Word, worship, giving?
James said if we are never at fault in what we say we are perfect!

A good gauge in measuring spiritual maturity is how one controls his tongue.
The tongue is the muscle that is the most exercised but is the least controlled.
Somebody said, “Everyone of us is carrying around a concealed weapon.” All we have to do is open our mouths and it can do damage.
Men speak 10,000 words per day while women speak 25,000 words per day.
Somebody calculated that we probably put together a 54-page book every day. And in a year, we would probably produce about 66 800-page books. This means, if you’re a normal person, you spend one fifth of your life talking.

Proverbs 10:19 – When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.
With our tongue we either build people up or tear them down.
When you go to a doctor, you probably remember as a child, the first thing the doctor would say is, “Let me see your tongue.” James is saying the same thing, “let me see your tongue.”

“The nurse puts a thermometer under your tongue and tells your physical temperature. James says, your tongue itself will take your spiritual temperature.” – John MacArthur
There is a direct relationship between the tongue and the heart.
Matt. 15:11 What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.’”
Matt. 15:17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?
Matt. 15:18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’
Matt. 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

IT SETS DIRECTION.
James 3:3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
James 3:4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
Last week from Aug 11-15, the USS George Washington (nuclear powered super carrier) visited the Philippines and docked at the Manila Bay. It is one impressive military ship. Its flight deck is 18,000 sqm; the height is equivalent to 24 story bldg, with 6,250 crewmembers and about18,000 meals are being served per day. But no matter how huge the ship is, it is still steered by a rudder that is much smaller in size compared to the whole ship. But the rudder is controlled by the captain whichever direction it wants the ship to go.

Prov. 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

The verse above says that words are containers of power.
God spoke and it came to be.
I am not teaching on hyper faith i.e. “Name it, claim it.” Or “Blab it, grab it!” I may confess that words “I will be rich, I will be rich, I will be rich” but nothing will happen unless I go out and work.
But we need to realize that words have power to influence our walk. We may say statements like these:

My child is never going to change. He ‘s becoming worse.
This marriage is not going to work out. We might end up separating.
It won’t work. Even if I work hard, I still won’t have enough.

James is not talking about simply “Christianizing” our vocabulary. He is telling us to examine our speaking habits. It reveals what is in our hearts.

And then we see that these statements are becoming real in our life.

IT CAN BRING DESTRUCTION.
James 3:5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
James calls it “a world of evil” able to express every kind of sin – lust, hatred, malice, envy, jealousy, bitterness, greed, lies, etc.
ILLUSTRATION:

In 2007, there was a Southern California forest fire that burned over 38,000 acres resulting to injury of 3 and loss of 21 homes and 22 buildings. How did it start? A 10 yr old boy was playing with matches.

How could just a few words of gossip destroy a friendship, a marriage, a ministry, a church? Just a few words—it seems all so small and insignificant. But James says those little sparks can cause great destruction.

Slander is saying false things about another. Gossip is spreading the truth about someone’s faults or failings. Both are used to destroy the reputation of the person.

Prov. 12:18 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Prov. 26:22 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.
How can blessings or curses coming out of the same mouth? This should not be.

In the morning worship we may use our tongue to pray, then spend the afternoon using it to rip apart our family.

IT NEEDS DEPENDENCE ON GOD.
James 3:7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,
James 3:8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
James 3:9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.
James 3:10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

Animals are being tamed but no man can tame the tongue. But it does not mean that it is untamable.

We need to depend on God to control our tongue.
Only the Spirit of God can tame a man’s tongue. In fact, God changes the heart of a man in order for the tongue to be tamed.

A NEW HEART WILL PRODUCE A NEW TONGUE.

Prov. 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
James has written to believers. He is reminding us that salvation does not automatically change the way we live. Discipleship and dependence on the Holy Spirit is needed.
When a Christian walks in dependence upon the Holy Spirit, he will bear the fruit of the spirit.
It is depending on God daily that keeps our body in check.
MAINPOINT: GODLY SPEECH REVEALS GENUINE FAITH.
Luke 6:45 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.

Source: Sunday Recall