February 22, 2013 § 4 Comments
“I counted to three in my head followed by a long exhale, turned my head and finally said: what’s up man? After a cold stare and a couple seconds of silence, John replied me with a quick hey before going back to his newspaper. I thought to myself, how awkward was that..”
“How did I end up talking to a stranger? Let me rewind real quick to Sunday.
As I already mentioned in my last post (read it here), God stirred something within me through the Sunday message. Placing my hand on my chest, I told him that I want to have compassion for those who he loves, to be a bold witness for the Gospel and pray for the Unreached People Groups of the world. I was on fire!!!!
Monday morning, once again I felt the Holy Spirit moved me to pray for the lost, so I did. I didn’t know who I was praying for, but my heart was burning. When I asked him who did he want me to witness to, God showed me two places: the Starbucks near my place and the Gym where I usually workout in. I was excited and anxious altogether, but I knew that God wanted me to meet someone [or more than one person?] that night:
I showed up in Starbucks at 5PM, the barista greeted me as I entered the door. I said a little prayer in my heart while
looking around. People were studying and chatting like usual. Ordered my usual sweetened-ice coffee-with half & half when suddenly something caught my attention. I learned that my Barista’s name was Calvin from his name tag. So I said hi and asked about his name. He told me he didn’t know what it means and asked me if I knew anything about it. I told him of a Christian Theologian named Calvin and asked him if he was religious (whaa..??). Calvin told me that he is
Catholic but does not really practice it. I sat at the bar in front of him and had a great chat with him. I wanted to share about Jesus with him but Calvin of course had to help with new customers walking in.
Now alone by myself, I started praying again, asking God for direction. Before I finished praying, a guy with a newspaper sat next to me. I thought wow! this must be the person:
“I counted to three in my head followed by a long exhale. I turned my head and finally said: what’s up man? After a cold stare and a couple seconds of silence, John (I overheard his name) replied me with a quick hey before ignoring me and went back to his newspaper. I thought to myself, how awkward was that. His body language mouthed: “Don’t bother me, not in the mood of talking.”
A bit disappointed being shot down, I prayed again. Then at that time:
I turned around and saw this guy sitting alone reading Dr. Edwin Louis Cole’s book: Maximized Manhood [A Great Christian book for man]. Before I could approach him, his friend came in through the door and sat down in front of him; they started chatting away. I finally mustered up some courage, came to their table and introduced myself. I told them that I saw them reading the book from a far and couldn’t help to say hi. Found out that Ronn & Tom [who were Christians] were getting ready to teach a Bible Study to the inmates in the Chino State Prison that night. I was so amazed at God and this divine appointment. I joined their preparation; they were going to talk about forgiveness. In the end asked if I could pray for them and their ministry that night. We prayed together right there and then. Ronn shared to me about prison ministry and gave me his card. Then we said goodbye and parted ways.
Even with so little success (or so it may seemed), I was filled with so much joy from meeting Calvin, John (although I didn’t talk much with him) and the Prison ministry guys. I learned a lot from that Starbucks appointment with the Lord:
– God taught me how to be obedient to his voice in witnessing to others.
– I must follow the Spirit lead and should not be afraid of making a mistake. Screw ups are normal!
– God gave me words and wisdom on the spot as I initiated my conversations.
– People wants to talk to you! Even about their faith or beliefs.
Hope God will speak and challenge you through my experience. And I hope you can gain some insights from this.
I thought my night was over, but I was dead wrong. Someone else was waiting for me at the Gym.
– TO BE CONTINUED
February 20, 2013 § 3 Comments
Last Sunday my buddy Josh the director of Global Gospel Movement shared a fiery sermon with us about evangelism. This guy is nuts (in an amazing Jesus way!) At 12 he felt the Lord called him to preach the gospel across America. Guess what, so he did! Went backpacking with another friend for 6 months to preach the Gospel. He is my new role model, I have much respect for him and have a lot to learn from the guy.
As I was listening to Josh preaching, God stirred something within me. I learned three important things about witnessing (from Mt. 9:34-38):
1. Do not wait until we FEEL compassion to witness. If this is the case, you will never move. Compassion will come, as we are immersed in loving others and sharing the good news.
2. Prayer must always lead our witnessing not the other way around. Learn to stop yourself, give up your agenda and listen to the Holy Spirit.
3. If we do not expect ourselves to play like Kobe Bryant the first time we pick up a Basketball, why do we expect seeing the same result like Apostle Paul’s when we just start witnessing? It’s a learning process, don’t be afraid of making mistakes, awkwardness or rejections. Conversation is an art and skill, we need to practice.
God actually gave me the opportunity to practice what I learned from Josh. My heart was burning with compassion until I couldn’t contain it anymore, I had to go, obeyed Holy Spirit and went witnessing on Monday. And WOW! I was so surprised with my experience. It broke down my paradigm about people. I made a commitment that I am going to go witness at least once a week and blog about my experience.
I’ll share about Monday night on the next post.. Because it’s late now, I’m going to bed. Cheers!
TO BE CONTINUED..
November 17, 2010 § 3 Comments
Got inspired to write a post today from my morning readings.
I never really understood the Old testament readings. I love the stories in it but could not relate to it much. But since The eternal purpose, my eyes has been opened to the richness of Christ that the OT has.
Before, I thought that the lives of the people of the books (such as: Moses, David and the Israelites) were only to be modeled after. Boy was I missing the point! There’s a greater picture! Here is one that I found today.
The Ark of the Covenant
Let me give you the background story behind this magical box. Then I will break it down part to part. Hopefully you’ll see what blew me away.
During their time in the wilderness, God asked Moses and the Israelites to build this box with some other things (Exodus 25). The Ark was placed inside God’s dwelling place called the Tabernacle. Why does God need a tabernacle? Because from the beginning of time, God wanted to live among His people. (Ex 29:45-46)
The ark was to be put inside the Holy of Holies (Where God dwelled) of the tabernacle. No one had access to this room other than the high priest for “The day of atonement” — On this day, God’s people (the Israelites) was made right of their wrong doings for the year. It was a day of purification from sin.
Throughout the OT, the Ark was a literal sign that God dwelled among His people. In the time of Joshua, when the Israelites circled the walls of Jericho guess what was being carried upfront? In the time of the kings, the Israelites would win their war when the ark was with them and vice versa. The Israelites weep when they found out that the ark was taken by the philistine. The ark represent God’s presence for the Israelites.
Now let’s take a look at the parts of the ark and its significance:
Inside the Ark, Moses put the two stone tablets – the ten commandments – that God gave to the Israelites (Exodus 40:20). The cover was called “the atonement” cover. On the top of the cover there was two cherubs (angelic being) facing each other with its wings opened forward (look at the picture)
God did not ask the Israelites to build this box for kicks and giggles, there’s a significant to it. The Israelites believed that God sat in between the cherubs on top of the atonement cover. This was God’s throne among his people (Lev 16:2)
Now get this, what was inside the box? The 10 commandments (THE LAW). On the day of atonement, the high priest had to come in the presence of the ark. Then, he had to sprinkle blood on the cover of atonement for the purification of the Israelites. After that ritual, the Israelites was made right with God for the year. WOW! The blood that was sprinkled on top of the cover of atonement cancelled out “the law” inside the box. What a foreshadowing of Christ!!
What about the two cherubs on top? They are the guardian God’s presence. If you remember, after Adam and Eve sin, God kicked them out of the garden and there were two angelic beings (Cherubs) placed in front of the garden to guard it. In fact the jewish people called the tabernacle or the temple of God in their time: “the second garden” (Frank viola)
The ark was none other than the picture of Christ Jesus, our Lord. The ark to the Israelites was like Jesus to us.
Not only the ark was a picture of Jesus, Hebrews wrote:
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. (Hebrews 4:14)
“The high priest” was also a picture of Christ. The difference between Christ and the high priest of the old testaments is that: Christ made us right once and for all (imagined if we had to be made right once a year?) not with animal’s blood, but with His blood.
And he understand your weaknesses (Hebrew 4:15)
God loves to play hide and seek eh? 😉 find more of Him in your own reading!
November 3, 2010 § 4 Comments
I will address this post specifically to all the young people out there (Don’t worry I won’t exclude the young at heart. This is also for you),
I’m reading an amazing book called “Against the tide” by Angus Kinnear (check my books-listing on the side of my home page). The book is a biography of the Evangelist-China-man “Watchman Nee.”
I won’t be surprised if some of you never heard of him or his work. Yet Nee’s writings were part of the essential resources that inspired the generation before us, focusing on God’s heart and the eternal purpose (By the way, my Dad was the one that introduced me to Nee’s books).
Youth today (you and me) are so excited to bring about what we like to call “Revolution” and “Movement.” We believe that we are the future leaders, called to spend our lives on Christ to bring about change. And that’s all swell and good. But I see a huge issue that needs to be addressed.
Personally, I fear that our generation is disconnected from the pervious movements and our rich history — heritage. It’s easy to forget that today we’re only standing on the shoulders of revivalists before us that have paved the way for God’s eternal purpose leading to this day. Yet I will carefully say that many of us are clueless and ignorant of our history (including me). Now, I believe that God is using many of his servant to edify and equip the body through the mainstream resources available today, but not all of them focus on what is essential. There were times when I feel that I’ve wasted my $20 and my time on books that talked about “christian-youth-pop-culture-lesson” that left me feeling unsatisfied.
Nee’s book on the other hand, lit a fire inside of me. Witnessing God painting Nee’s life story through this book is amazing. His burning passion for the eternal purpose and God’s work in all simplicity broke my heart. It revived a fire that I remember having when I was in my teen years. The way Nee and people around him acknowledged God’s sovereignty in their life would not make any sense to many people. As ridiculous as it sounds, Nee lived daily depending on God’s voice in his life. His life’s calling reminded me so much of mine. I remember when I was a new-born again Christian. I didn’t know much about theology or theory and was still very naïve. But God’s voice was always clear speaking in my heart. And every-time I obeyed, He manifested greatly in my life.
The book talked not only about Nee’s success but also his weaknesses. As a 21 years old, Nee was very impatience because of his zeal for the Lord, but God patiently taught Nee through slow processes and struggles. He used problems and people around Nee to mold this beautiful clay. God used Nee and his friends to bring about His kingdom in China. There was a great revival happening as these group of young believers daily came together to fellowship, learn about God’s word and preach the good news. The body moved so viral, spreading fast and no one could stop it. Nee stayed faithful until his death through enduring persecutions with the other believers.
His last words written in his hand:
“Christ is the Son of God Who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days. This is the greatest truth in the universe. I die because of my belief in Christ.”
Therefore, I am encouraging my fellow brothers and sisters, young people around the world to be rooted in God’s eternal purpose and to learn our heritage. Most importantly, be sensitive to god’s voice for He is speaking loud and clear. Waste your whole life on the eternal purpose. Get His heart. if he’s called you to speak, speak out of the overflowing of your heart. If he’s called you for other things follow Him. For our stories have been written before the foundation of the world.
This is a wake-up call for my generation.
October 20, 2010 § 6 Comments
Apostle Paul had a dilemma that I had experienced for a long time:
“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another powerwithin me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” (Romans 7:21-23)
Christ died for two things in our life. For the Consequences of our sin and the Power of sin. I put it this way: if you are a Shopaholic (Come down ladies, shopping is not a sin. Addicted to shopping is), the consequences will be your credit card debts. But the Power of sin is your urges to shop. I am talking about the second one here. The power that makes you want to touch the wet painted wall when there is a sign saying: “Don’t touch”
Even though Paul realized that Christ had redeemed him, he was still enslaved by “The power of sin.” By the end of Romans 7 he screamed out of frustration: “Oh what a miserable person I am! who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death.” — That’s exactly how I felt before this revelation: STUCK.
Romans 8 – Life in the Spirit
I never really passed romans 7. I understand what it means to be forgiven, but I never truly understand what it means to live in true freedom from the power of sin. But one graceful day, God revealed Romans 8 to me. Even though I have read it before, I never really got the “EUREKA” for it (you know that feeling).
Notice that Romans 5-8 were not written for Unbelievers but for Believers (Read it carefully, it’s life after Christ). Romans 8 is the answer to Paul’s struggles in the chapters before:
“And because you belong to him (Christ), the power of the life-giving Spirit (Christ) has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. (Romans 8:2)
This statement blew my mind away. Let me paraphrase: If you belong to Christ = you are free from the power of sin.
“Wait God, you’re telling me that the key to my freedom from the power of sin is in my status? You’re saying that the key to be free is realizing that I’ve been set free? That sounds too simple God. And If I’m already free like you said, then how come in reality I still lose to the power of sin?”
Let me tell you a story to help you understand how “knowing that we’re free is the key to our freedom”:
Indonesia was conquered for 350 years. After a series of struggles for independence, on August 17, 1945 Indonesia declared their independence. Indonesia is made up of many islands separated by a couple of oceans. Due to its geographical form, the news of the independence was slow to spread. The conquerors did not want to give back control, so they isolated the remote areas from any means of communication. The people in those areas were still oppressed even though in nature they were already free (Any Indonesian was automatically free, once the declaration of independence was read). Until one day some people tried to tap in to the underground radio station. They were surprised to hear the news that they were already free from the oppression. Once they learned about their freedom, they gathered strength and fought for control.
EUREKA! We are already free from the power of sin. The reason why we are still control by the power of sin is because we do not understand that we’re already free. The enemy tries to isolate our life from hearing the declaration of independence – which is Christ. He still wants to oppress us, and we’ve played along.
Don’t get fooled when the enemy tells you that you need to fight the temptation and stay holy for God. It does not work this way. Remember what Paul said: the more you try to do what is right, inevitably you will do what is wrong. This is our sinful nature. The only answer to this is to yield to Christ’s life inside of you. Declared your independence from sin by surrendering to His life inside of you.
Next time you get tempted, admit your disability to God and acknowledge that you have been set free from the power of sin through His life inside of you. Understand your status in Him and come to your brothers & sisters in Christ for prayer and encouragement.
Read my other post about grace: CLICK HERE
October 12, 2010 § 2 Comments
Hi everyone, just wanna let you know I just added a new feature in my blog.
Because some people want to know what books that I’m reading, I’ve decided that I should post them up for you: By the title and the author. I am hoping that you will also be inspired through them. You can find this list below my twitter update.
You can check out the books that “I’m currently reading” and the ones that “I’ve finished reading.” Leave a comment here to ask me anything about those books. I will be glad to answer you.
(I didn’t come up with this feature. I came across it in Michael Young’s blog: Blogging for Jesus Read his blog here. Awesome stuff! you can also find his blog listed under resources, at the bottom of my page)
Also, stay tune for my next posts. Very excited about them, they are very dear to my heart. God has touched my heart and gave me a new perspective through this revelation! It’s gonna be the continuation of yesterday’s post.
Read about the mystery here if you haven’t: The mystery: The eternal purpose
October 11, 2010 § 10 Comments
What if I told you that God has a mystery? A secret that has been kept for ages, something that was not even revealed to Abraham, Moses, Elijah or other prophets of the old testament.
What if I told you that this secret is the highest desire of God’s heart? His passion. His heartbeat. His longing.
All creations exist out of the overflowing of this passion. The whole entire bible points to this one mystery. And the Church exists by and for this mystery.
“That is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3-4)
“According to his Eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:11)
God revealed this mystery to Apostle Paul — the Eternal purpose of God. Eternal means that it was present in the “Past”, also here in the “Present”, and will still be there in the “Future”.
What could have existed in the past, present and future? (Here is a list of what christians today pursue)
- Evangelism? — No, there was no need for evangelism before Creation. And when Christ come the second time there will be no more need for evangelism.
- Bible study & Theology? — No, there was no need for theology before Creation. And when Christ comes the second time, our knowledge of Him will be perfected.
- Miracle & Healing? — No, there was no need of faith and healing before Creation. And when Christ comes the second time, our faith will be perfected. Also, there will be no more sickness and sorrow, remember?
- ____________ (FILL IN THE BLANK) — Social work? Apologetics?
(All the things in this list are good, but none is the ETERNAL purpose)
So what is the eternal purpose?
The only way for us to understand this mystery is to go back in time before creation (The eternity past). Whatever God was doing back then must be the eternal purpose.
“What was God doing back then before the creation? Was He jobless, bored and lonely?”
I am glad that my God is The Trinity. Thank God that we were not created out of boredom and loneliness, but out of the abundance of Love.
The answer to my question is this: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit was enjoying each other as a Divine community. Loving, respecting, glorifying, and abiding in ONE ANOTHER.
And behold, the mystery revealed:
God enjoyed this lifestyle so much and being so passionate about it, He decided to SHARE and MULTIPLY this Divine life with us. That’s why He said: “Let us make man in OUR image” (Genesis 1:26) And the rest is history.
God’s eternal purpose is to establish His body – “true communities,” where The divine community can express/manifest themselves among His people.
If our church’s and our personal purpose in life does not align with this purpose, we are missing the mark. Without the eternal purpose, all the things I mentioned in the list above will not mean anything.
TO BE CONTINUED..
(Taken from “From eternity to here” – by: Frank Viola)