What To Give The Typhoon Ondoy Victims

Is. 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Is. 55:2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
In the feeding and relief distribution, I saw people lining up for relief goods for hours. Some of them line up from morning in order to get the much-needed packs by evening. In the news, some people are fighting just to have some canned sardines and instant noodles. We went to several evacuation centers to do medical missions, relief distribution and feeding program and saw people who are distressed; many of them grieving because they lost everything that they have. But when they get the bags or the food they have waited for, you will see their faces light up. But it dawned on me that these things that we are giving them would only satisfy their stomachs for a few hours and then they will go hungry again.
Relief, as the word connotes, is really just a temporary remedy to their huge problems. Many of them had the problem of poverty and hunger even before the typhoon hit.
Different government agencies, companies, private individuals and media organizations are also doing relief work. Some have moved on from relief to rehabilitation and rebuilding. They offer things that will only fix the problem temporarily. But as a church, we have something to offer that will last. We need to give them a better solution. Besides giving them a pack of food and mineral water, we can also introduce them to the Bread of Life and the Living Water. People need the Lord. He is inviting us to come to Him because He is the only One who can truly satisfy. I believe that during times of disasters, people hearts are more open to receiving comfort from the Prince of Peace.
Is. 55:6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

In photo:  Children of the evacuees in Alabang Elementary School praying as Carlo Santos (Head of Kids Ministry) leads them while the parents are queing up for the  relief/ food distribution.

Source: Faith

Hope In God (Sunday Recall October 4, 2009)

As a nation, we have gone through several disasters. President Arroyo declared a state of calamity in the Philippines. We were  hit hard. During these times, people are shaken to the core. And when things are shaking, we want to hold unto something that is stable so we can be safe. But where is a safe place to run.
Hebrews 12 says, everything that can be shaken will be shaken so that what cannot be shaken will remain.

But during times of calamity, where can we run to? Or a better question is , who do we run to?

Is. 54:9 “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.  So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.
Is. 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Is. 54:11 “O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires.

We can always trust in God that He will not leave us not forsake us.
1.  GOD’S PROMISE IS SURE.
Is. 54:9 “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth.  So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.

DAYS OF NOAH –
Gen 6:11-13 – The earth was corrupt in God’s sight and full of violence.
– “I am going to put an end to all people for the earth is full of violence because of them.”
– God started all over again and chose Noah to whom he will establish covenant with.
Insight: We just had one day of rain and it flooded all over. Imagine having rain 40 days and 40 nights.
God’s promise:
Gen. 9:11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
– The promise was that the earth will not be destroyed by flood again. Not that storms won’t come anymore. Storms will still be part of our life. But earth destruction via a flood is not God-initiated. He said it in His word and I believe Him.
– If it did not come from God, then could it be man-made. Could it be brought about by illegal logging, deforestation, irresponsible land use, carbon emission, etc?

2.  GOD’S LOVE IS ETERNAL.
Is. 54:10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

–  Everything else will fail us – parents, friends, government, our spouse, our children, the church may even fail us. There is only one who cannot fail us. GOD. His love is unfailing. It is never-ending. Some people call it a stubborn love.

Psa. 13:5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Psa. 21:7 For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.

3.  GOD IS OUR SURE FOUNDATION.

Is. 54:11 “O afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires.
–  Cleansing before foundations can be laid.
Is. 54:14 In righteousness you will be established:  Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear.  Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.

Philippine Daily Inquirer – News Headline October 3, 2009
Pag-asa tip: Seek refuge in strongest building.

– I believe we know who we can seek refuge from. Someone who is strong enough to defend us and fight our battles.

Psa. 9:9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Q. Where do you put your trust?
ILL: During the flood, expensive cars and homes were not spared. The flood will not distinguish between village homes or squatters. People who trusted in wealth suddenly realize that having a lot of “stuff” cannot save them. In fact, it may be a burden during the flood because you have to find a safe place for them where they can’t get wet.
– When you talk of shaking, it’s not just a minor problem like: losing your parking slot, or you woke up late or you failed in an exam. Some shaking is a matter of life and death.
– Shaking can bring grief due to loss of personal property or even worse a loved one.
– We need not despair when loved ones die or situations take a tragic turn. God will turn tragedies into triumph, our poverty to riches, our pain to glory and our defeat to victory.

MAINPOINT:  PUT YOUR HOPE IN GOD.

Psa. 42:11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Source: Uncategorized

Top Ten No-No’s In Times of Disaster

What do people do after a calamity hits a nation? Many did acts of heroism that saved lives. A lot more generously gave to help those who lost valuable properties and even loved ones. But others simply don’t get it. Here’s an excellent blog on what not to do in calamity times written by Pastor Ferdie Cabiling of Victory Ortigas:
IN A WEEK’S BATTLE WITH the devastation brought about by typhoon Ondoy and the threatening attack of  “Parma” (international codename) in a few hours time, here are suggested no-no’s to shy-away from:

1.) A non-stop playing with ‘Mafia’ and ‘Farmville’ games in Facebook, as if 90% of your city has not been flooded. A little sensitivity to our fellow men’s predicament would be greatly appreciated.
2.) Uncalled for comments that say’s that God’s judgment is upon the nation because of the people’s sins. The victims who have been on their roof for almost 24 hours want to be rescued not verbally condemned.
3.) Doing vain, empty, and constant photo ops during relief efforts to show to the world how benevolent you are is sickening. (Though I understand the need for proper documentations for reports and further appeal for support.)
4.) Too much concern about your own political party/organization/corporate’s PR. Too much image consciousness makes other people nauseated. This might not be the time to try to gain “pogi” points.
5.) Impatience with the poor and the victims. It may not be a sign of ingratitude per se. Give them the elbowroom to spill out their initial sentiments. It may just be a sound of cries due to seemingly unbearable misery. Remember, even the prophet Jeremiah spat it out too (Jer. 20:7 KJv “O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me.”)
6.) Non-stop political infomercials on media in the midst of disaster is an unwise thing to do.
7.) Being a conduit of FEAR and PANIC, rather than FAITH and PRAISE. Look at how we disseminate info’s via the Internet? Are we propagating more panic or tid-bits of wisdom and tips?
8.) Credit grabbing. As long as the relief efforts are given peacefully and generously to the proper recipients, it’s enough already. We all can rejoice together for the efforts.
9.) Using foreign donations given for the disaster management efforts to gain tax exemption of a certain company is criminal.
10.) Price hike of commodities in times of disaster is the height of greed.
One thing I can say…God knows.
And…”in times of disaster the blameless will not wither.” (Ps 37.19)
What about you? What’s you contri?

Source: Uncategorized

How to Donate For Typhoon Ondoy Victims

In response to the recent calamity brought about by Typhoon Ondoy, Victory Metro Manila has been doing relief operations for flood victims in Marikina, Pasig, Taguig and other areas.
Specifically, the following Victory Centers are currently open to receive donations, whether in cash or kind:

Victory Alabang (+63 (2) 771 1212)
Victory Fort Bonifacio (+63 (2) 8171212)
Victory Greenhills (+63 (2) 584 1212)
Victory Malate (+63 (2) 522 1212)
Victory Ortigas (+63 (2) 631 1212)
Victory Pioneer (+63 (2) 687 1212)
Victory Quezon City (+63 (2) 426 7031)
Victory U-Belt (+63 (2) 736 0752)
Victory Malolos (09228424403)
Victory Los Baños (+63 (49) 536 8201)
Victory Sta. Rosa (09228424403)

The following items are considered priority goods to be donated:
Clothes
Bottled water
Baby milk formula
Canned Goods
Bread
Medicine (Biogesic, Neozep, Diatabs, Alaxan, etc)

For donations in kind, Victory is receiving cash and check donations at the centers stated above.
For those interested in making bank donations, please follow the following instructions:
PESO ACCOUNT
Account name: Victory Christian Fellowship
Account no: Current acct no. 0821-0298-13
Bank name:  Bank of the Philippine Islands
Bank address: Fort Serendra Branch Ground Floor Serendra Retail Area Bonifacio Global City. Taguig City
DOLLAR ACCOUNT
Account Name: Victory Christian Fellowship
Account Number:  Dollar savings account no. 0824-0542-58
Swift code: BOPIPHMM
Bank Name: Bank of the Philippine Islands
Bank Address: Fort Serendra Branch Ground Floor Serendra Retail Area Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Please email carol.almadin@everynation.org.ph with the following information so that we can confirm your deposit:
Your name
The Victory church you’re a member of (if applicable)
The Name of the Organization on behalf of whom you’re giving the donation (if applicable)
The dollar or peso amount deposited
Date deposited
Bank branch
THROUGH CREDIT CARD
Philippine-based donors may call 8171212 (9:00am to 5:00pm Philippine time) and inform the operator you would like to make a credit card donation to Every Nation Ministries for the victims of Typhoon Ondoy. You will be connected to a representative who will take down your information.
International donors (persons based outside the Philippines) may process their credit card donations through the Every Nation Ministries donation gateway.
You may also go to http://tinyurl.com/victorydonate.
Thank you very much and please do continue to pray for those who are affected by Typhoon Ondoy.

Source: Uncategorized

Update on Relief Operations

Day 1 – Several Victory churches organized relief operations for their respective communities affected by the flood. Centers were used to receive goods/ donations.

Day 2 – Many church members magnanimously gave and volunteered to do relief operations such as receiving, packing and distribution of goods to the respective barangays. Victory Alabang volunteers went to 2 evacuation centers – Tunasan High School and Muntinlupa Sports Center to distribute relief goods.

Day 3 – We sent medical personnel and feeding program volunteers to Alabang Elementary School.

Day 4 – More re-packing of goods in the center.

For those who still want to donate food like canned goods, noodles, water, medicine, clothes, you may still bring it to the Victory Alabang center. Look for Miel or call 771-1212.
For day 5, we will be distributing the relief goods in evacuation centers.
Thank you to all who generously gave and helped in the relief efforts. We truly appreciate you. You are all heroes!
2Cor. 8:2 Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.
For more updates/ pictures,  please check my facebook.  Thanks.

Source: Church

Jesus and The Storm

Last Saturday (September 26), we witnessed the fury of tropical storm storm Ondoy as it unleashed massive rains that caused damaging and rampaging flood waters throughout Metro Manila. Billions of pesos worth of property damaged and more than two hundred lives lost. Many even lost their homes.
All over Metro Manila, we see the different areas where the fierce floods had destroyed property – cars, houses, etc.

Several of the Victory churches cancelled their services last Saturday and Sunday. Others including us decided to do a worship and prayer service. We decided to postpone our new series preaching and instead minister encouragement and comfort to the people.

Here was the sermon I shared during the Sunday services (Sept. 27):
Mark 4:35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”
Mark 4:36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
Mark 4:37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.
Mark 4:38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Mark 4:39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
Mark 4:40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Mark 4:41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

How can we survive the storms of life?
Notice that Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side.” It is important to note that his intention is to go to the other side and not in the middle of the lake and drown. If he says something, he will definitely fulfill it even if there are obstacles. Also he said,” Let us go. . “ and not just “Go”. His intent was to go with his disciples and not just to leave them.

Lessons from the story:

1.  Storms will come.
Storm came in the life of Jesus as well. He and the disciples found themselves in the middle of a strong storm out on the lake.
Storms are part of life. Here in the Philippines, storms will hit whether we like it or not. The question is’ “Are we prepared for it?”
1Pet. 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
But even with the promises of God, we can still experience disappointments. Endurance and faith in God are the keys.
Hebrews 6:19 “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure”
There are some people here today in whose life a storm is raging. For some it is financial. For others it is a health issue. Still others are being swamped in the area of relationships.
Just like the disciples, you may ask “Lord, don’t you care if I drown? Are you aware of what I am going through?”
A storm does not mean that God does not love you or is punishing you or is angry at you.
2.  Jesus is with us in the storm.
If you are going through a storm, one person you want in your boat is Jesus.
The problem of the disciples was not that Jesus wasn’t with them. He was with them but he was asleep. It was the only recorded verse where we see Jesus sleeping.
Other passages indicated that even late at night or early in the morning, Jesus is awake. In fact, he rebuked the disciples one time for sleeping instead of praying.
It seemed odd that Jesus would be sleeping in a storm. It seemed like He doesn’t care or He is too tired. We all have been in situations like this. You are in the middle of a crisis and it seems like God is off somewhere taking a nap. You get a silent treatment to your prayers. He does not seem to respond to your needs.
But could the real reason be that: He is at peace because he is in charge.
Mark 5:36 “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
After he rebukes the storm, he rebukes his disciples. He asks them two questions: “Why are you so afraid?” and “Do you still have no faith?”.
He is hoping that his faithfulness in the past will cause you to trust him in the future.
Is. 43:2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
ILLUSTRATION:
When we ride the roller coaster, we look forward to the thrill that we’ll get out of the ride. We are not really scared because of the harness and the safety measures that are in place. But what if before riding the roller coaster, you read assign that says “WARNING: There is a 50% chance that this roller coaster might breakdown during your ride due to worn-out parts!” Will you still go for the ride? The reason why you are thrilled riding in the first place is because of the confidence and security that your ride will be safe.
We are actually riding the roller coaster of our lives. Jesus is our harness and our security. And no matter how bumpy the ride will be – with all the ups, downs, twists, turns, flips, dips; you can be confident because the One holding you is reliable and trustworthy. In fact, we can let go of our hands!
3. Jesus will calm the storm.
Storms are temporary. At His perfect timing, He will speak to the elements of the storm “Quiet! Be still!” We need to be patient and just see the deliverance of God.
1Pet. 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
4.  Jesus reveals himself in a storm.
Mark 4:41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
The disciples have seen miracles in the past- healing of the sick, casting out of evil spirits, etc.  But the disciples saw the Creator and Lord that even the wind and waves will obey Him.
In the gospels, the disciples keep coming to new revelations of who Jesus is in the context of some crisis. Abraham knew God as Jehovah Jireh as he was going up Mt. Moriah. Noah met God as a giver of new life in the storms and flood. Daniel met the tamer of lions in the lion’s den. This is also true in our lives. Expect to know God deeper in a crisis.
MAINPOINT:  TRUST THAT JESUS WILL CALM THE STORMS OF LIFE.
If you don’t understand God’s hand, trust his heart.

Source: Faith

S.A.S.G. (Single and Serving God)

Last week, I went to Boracay to minister in our singles retreat. I got caught in traffic in front of NAIA 3 (due to road diggings) at 6am and my flight was at 7am. I decided to take some drastic action. I flagged down a motorcycle that would bring me to NAIA 2 (since I took the PAL flight). And a guy was kind enough to stop and let me hop on board his motorbike. It’s a good thing that I only brought a backpack with me for the trip since I was only staying in Boracay for a night. So I almost took all modes of transportation to get to Boracay – a motorcycle, a plane, a bus, a boat and a van. When I got to the conference venue, the singles looked excited and exhausted (from the beach activities in the morning).
I was asked to preach on the topic of sex. Singles and sex. Is there a connection? Should there be sex as a single? The answer of course is obvious – NO! The bible is clear “there must not even be a hint of sexual immorality. . .” This is indeed, a challenge to the Christian single. In the midst of a promiscuous culture, one must have a big vision and strong conviction to remain pure and holy. I don’t believe in “safe sex”. There should only be “save sex” until you are married. It can be done. And it’s worth the wait.
We are not to follow the standards of the world but the standards of God.
Col. 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
Col. 3:6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.

Source: Discipleship

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

Suffering of A Close Friend

As I closed the series on Genuine, I shared in my sermon a story of a close friend regarding her journey of pain and suffering and the outcome of her life now that she is a Christian.
This is the story she told me:

She was raised in a well to do family as a young girl. Her parents have established businesses. Their house was the biggest house in their neighborhood then. People came in and out of their house because there was always food for everyone. Where there is food, there is a crowd.
She was a menopause baby – born 13th from a mother aged 43.
She had tetanus when she was 4 that almost took her life.
Lost her mother when she was 7years old in a tragic truck accident. A speeding truck lost its brake and turned to the sidewalk where her mom was and hit her. Her mom suffered a broken skull and died on the spot.
At age 8, father abandoned the family because he got depressed due to loss of his wife.
Lost their family home through a fire. Not a single thing in the house was saved except the clothes they were wearing. She was 9 years old.
Rebuilt the house but only to lose it in lawsuit because the other party bribed the judge (10 years old). She saw her house being bulldozed to the ground.
Lost all their vehicles and taxi business because of a betrayal of a family friend.
Eventually lost their business and stocks because of mismanagement of her father. In other words, they lost everything.
All siblings were distributed to different relatives just to survive. She was 10 years old then.
At 11 years old, she worked in the market selling fish and other seafood so she can continue her elementary school. She would wake up at 3am everyday then work until 11am then go to school from 12-6pm.
None of her siblings were able to finish school. She studied hard so she can be a scholar and continue her studies. She continued working through HS and college so she can cover other school expenses.
Her father died of emphysema when she was 24.
Her second eldest sister, died of cancer.
In a span of 2 years, 3 other siblings died. One sister to renal failure, a brother to cardiac arrest and another brother to asthma.
Lastly and most painful of all sufferings, she lost a child due to sickness.

Then I asked her, “How do you view life now having experienced all these?”
She answered, “The way I view life changed when I became a Christian. We still go through suffering and pain but we know that God never leaves us nor abandons us. I am grateful to God for my life. I was also blessed when I married you. ”
Yup. This is the story of my wife Shirley. I asked her permission to post this in my blog. I hope this can give hope and encouragement to those who are going through difficult situations. Though life may seem unfair many times, we serve a God who is abounding in loving kindness and mercy. He is a God who give us hope and a bright future. He is a God who can restore things and make them new.
I haven’t met anybody who suffered so much in life as my wife (maybe Job) and still manages to serve God and her family.
She is able to see God in her sufferings and continues to hang on to Him.
2Cor. 1:5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

Source: Faith

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