Sunday, May 30, 2010


‘Where is Jesus now, physically,
and what is the significance of this to us today?’

Answer to question:
Physically in heaven (many verses, Acts 1:9 being one)
Spiritually in Christians on earth (Col 1:27, for one)
Jesus is physically in Heaven, but spiritually lives on earth in us by his Holy Spirit.

(John 16:7 among others)
He sends the Holy Spirit from heaven. John 14-16 contain much information about the what this Holy Spirit will do. Also Acts 1:8 and others. Jesus said it was expedient that he must go, so he could send the Holy Spirit. He told his disciples to go into the world and make disciples, but to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from on high, the promise of the father, the Holy Spirit.

Point 1:
Jesus from his place in heaven sends the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us power to live holy lives and to be a witness to Jesus.

Point Two:
It means that we physically live on earth, but spiritually live in Him in heaven (Eph 2:6).

This means we are not bound by earthly viewpoints and understanding, but have a view from heaven through Jesus eyes and heart, if we will learn to see, hear, and understand not with our physical senses but through the spirit.

This is why we walk by faith, not by sight. Our faith is not blind faith, but faith in what we see from this heavenly perspective, in the spirit. We can see the promises of the Bible, and it is faith in this spiritual vision that we live by.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Someone was explaining how when he was a ‘young Christian’ he thought of Christ as the ticket to Heaven. Now, he realizes it is much more than that. He gave the example of a little girl, perhaps 4 or 5, coming home from school, seeing her father sitting on the couch reading. With a scream of delight, she ran across the room, slippers flying off her feet, bounding off the coffee table in front of her daddy, leaping onto his lap, then being smothered with affection. He talked for some time about this affection of the father, and while he was talking, thoughts raced through my mind about how Jesus is much more than the ticket. .

JESUS IS THE TICKET - No passage to heaven without the ticket of being washed in his blood.

JESUS IS THE PASSPORT - Cannot cross the border from earth to heaven, from darkness to light, without this passport!

JESUS IS THE TRAIN (or boat, or plane, or car, or whatever transportation you might envision for the journey. I think it is a roller coaster that does not return to where it started, but reaches another destination). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life!

JESUS IS THE JOURNEY Not only is he the transport, he is the sights, sounds, experiences along the way.

JESUS IS THE WELCOME PARTY When we arrive, there is a chorus of angels singing, and much celebration upon arrival.

JESUS IS THE ARRIVAL BANQUET - After arrival everyone gathers for the feast prepared by the King - it’s different than the welcome at the station, or port of entry.


Sunday, May 31, 2009


One very interesting method of presenting which I have discovered is to ask for favorite scriptures. From most groups I get three or more. In one of our meetings in Central Java, there were just three:

Psalm 37:4

Psalm 23:1
1 Cor 2:9

These scriptures all fit nicely into the message of the day for this area, described in the previous blog.

The basic teaching is from Romans 8:28 about whether we qualify, and whether we believe.

Then the additional encouragement about what great things God is about to do (1Cor 2:9) which we can’t even imagine. I also included some other scriptures like Luke 21:12-13. I also used James 1:2-4 which is described in the previous teaching on Faith.

Psalm 23 is one we haven’t looked at in this Faith series yet. We could consider this just a song of David. We could also make it our song, our confession, our discussion with God. If it becomes our confession, then we acknowledge that the Lord (Jesus) is our shepherd. We know that Jesus is our creator from John 1, Colossians 1, and other scriptures, and as such he loves us and will provide for us. We know he loves us because of the abundance of New Testament scriptures, from which we know he loves us so much he gave his life for us. So he will provide for us, protect us (in the ways described later in the Psalm, among others) just because he loves us.

In addition, his position as a shepherd is a job, with responsibilities. As a shepherd he is required to take care of us. When we realize this, and believe it, then the confession and profession of faith in the second part of verse 1 becomes ours. I shall not want. I lack nothing now, and I shall lack nothing in the future. I don’t lack health, I don’t lack wealth, I don’t lack customers (if I own a business, for example), I don’t lack friends, I don’t lack wisdom, I don’t lack clothes, and so on. I just simply don’t lack, don’t have needs that are not met.

It is amazing!! The favorite scriptures were quite unexpected, not the usual, especially the 1 Corinthians one, but they all fit together to make a message of faith. I kind of suspect any three scriptures might do so. The amazing thing to me is that as I stood in front of the congregation, I actually saw the message along with supporting scriptures materializing. And the message was an hour long, with interpretation. Not just a short few paragraphs as in this blog post. The Lord is good. He is my shepherd, and I shall lack nothing, especially a message tailored just for the group to whom I happen to be speaking at the time!!

Monday, May 25, 2009


We have just finished a week outreach in Central Java. The last three days have been in villages around Jepara, on the North coast of Java some two hours east of Semarang. We have had six meetings in the three days here, and most of the messages have been some variation of Faith, or lack of, as the case might be.

HEARING GOD - The first step
Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Hearing includes understanding, not just sounds coming into our ears, or words into our mind. My understanding of the biblical meaning of hearing is understanding. According to Paul here, it comes from Jesus, the word of God (John 1), the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Faith starts with the question of hearing God. James says that faith without works is dead. Our faith is based on the promises of God. If we can’t hear God, either through the scriptures or in our heart, then it is difficult to do. One of the most often asked questions I encounter is “how can I learn to hear God?” The answer is just like you learned how to walk: just start doing it. The key is in John 10:27. Jesus says that his sheep know voice, and follow him. It is a statement of fact. If we are one of his sheep, then we know his voice, if we believe the scripture. Now comes the faith and action part. First, do we believe the Word of God? If so, then we accept and believe that as a sheep, we do know the voice of Jesus in our heart.

Now comes the do part, a bit more difficult as it often doesn’t make sense, God’s ways and thoughts being so far different from ours (Isaiah 55:8-11). Once we overcome the Devil’s lie that we have believed, that we don’t or can’t hear or know Jesus’ voice, then we can expect to hear, and actually start listening. While we have believed the lie, we won’t listen because we think we can’t or don’t hear. I often say that the mind can be confused but the heart is never confused, because it is in the heart, or spirit, that we have a perfect relationship with the living God, our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit residing in us. Our mind was largely programmed by the world, which is the enemy of Jesus, so will resist most attempts to hear or obey. That’s why Paul in Romans 12:2 tells us to let God transform us by the renewing of our minds. Our minds are reprogrammed by the Word of God and by our new experiences as we obey and discover that indeed the Word of God is true.

So it is that we learn to hear the word of God. We train the unrenewed mind to be renewed and to hear the voice of God which we already hear and know in our heart, through the word of God which we find written in the scriptures.

OBEYING the voice of God starts, as noted above, with HEARING. Then comes BELIEVING. For example, John 14:12. The promise, prophecy, or prediction, this statement of fact, is for believers. If one does not believe, one will not experience it. Same with Mark 16:15-18. No belief, then it’s not true for you. (These scriptures are about believers and miracles).

Next comes REMEMBERING. How often Jesus told his disciples (and us) “I tell you these things so that . . . Whatever follows is ours, if we remember. If we forget, the the ‘so that’ part cannot be appropriated. My two favorite examples are John 16:33 and Romans 8:28. In John Jesus says I tell you these things so that in me you will have peace. In the world, he says, we will have trials and tribulations. For sure I have experienced in my 66 years that the statement about in the world is really true. I have not always experienced peace in the midst of the trials and tribulations. But when I remember and do his words, then I get the peace. My problem is that I forget, or just don’t do. Dead faith with no obedience doesn’t produce the promised result.
Romans 8:28 reminds us that we know. What do we know? That God works all things together for good.

With two requirements. For those who love God, and for those who are called according to his purpose.

Lets HEAR, which includes understand. 1 John 5:3 is the most direct of many statements about what is love for God. Love for God is that we obey his commands, which are not burdensome. John 15: If you love me, you will keep my commands. If you don’t keep my commands, it means that you don’t love me. I think maybe you get the point. If we are not obeying his commands (have to HEAR, BELIEVE , and REMEMBER first) then we do not meet the first requirement.
How about called according to his purpose? If we hear the call, then it has become a command for us and we must be doing what we are called to do. So, the promise is for those who are obeying and who are working within the calling with which he has called us. At least that is my understanding.

Now, I fully understand that I may not qualify 100% in these two areas, but then I realize that I am still a growing baby, and that my Daddy also realizes this, and will cut me some slack. So I believe that the promise in Romans 8:28 is for me. I have HEARD it. And I BELIEVE it. When I remember it, then it frees me from all fear and worry. If I believe it, then I understand that if God is working ALL THINGS FOR GOOD, then nothing bad can possibly happen to me. What about that promise of trials and tribulation? Well, it turns out that they are not bad for me, but good. I just have to HEAR, BELIEVE, AND REMEMBER James 1:2-4. James reminds us, just as Paul did in Rom 8:28 of something we know - that our trials will ultimately result in us being perfect, lacking nothing. That is my goal, so if it helps me reach my goal, it is good. In fact it is only through this path that I can reach my goal, so it is not only good, but necessary.

If I can only HEAR, BELIEVE, AND REMEMBER, then I am free from all worry and fear. Also free from anger, because I now realize that what someone may mean to harm me, God means it for good. The story of Joseph comes to mind here (Gen 45). He was not angry with his brothers, had not been bitter all these years, because he knew that God had a plan and a purpose, though perhaps he could not see it coming to pass through slavery or prison. Yet in just a day he was elevated from prison to head of the country. He had HEARD God in the dreams of his youth, he BELIEVED them, and he REMEMBERED them in all of his trials and tribulations.

It will only work if you obey. I heard TD Jakes say ‘The Word of God will work for you, if you work it.” It’s true. You must take the step of faith, evidence of things not seen, and then the thing not seen becomes seen and experienced. It may take some time as it did with Joseph (some 16 years) and Abraham (25 years) but it will come if you do live in faith.

When we really HEAR and BELIEVE, and REMEMBER, then we will OBEY just because it is the very best thing we can do, and we realize it. It is not burdensome, as John in his first letter has told us. If we try to OBEY without really HEARING (includes understanding, remember) or without really BELIEVING, then we do it from the flesh, not the spirit, and it is difficult, or burdensome.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


1. Servant knows who the master is: John 10:2-5
Sheep knows who the shepherd is and follows the shepherd, and no one else.
2. Leader is a servant in Kingdom of God: Mat 20:25-27; Mark 10:44
Leader must operate from a position of power and authority, but not for the purpose of having power, being ‘right’, or to elevate self, but from position of desire to elevate or serve others.
3. No reward for just doing duty: Luk 17:6-10
We expect thanks or recognition for doing work, especially when we think we did well. But the Bible says that a servant gets no thanks or reward for doing his / her job. On the other hand, there will come a day when we will be rewarded in heaven and our work will be found as treasure there. Mat 25:21, 23
4. A Christian is (or should be) always serving and is always a leader, always a teacher.
A. Col l 3:23 says we should do all things as though for Christ and not for people. Since we are Christ’s servants, this means we are 24/7 servants! This means that our job is ministry, our hobby is ministry, our sports are ministry. There is no such thing as a part-time minister, just as there could not be such a thing as a part-time pregnant woman! You either are or are not!
B. Mat 28:19 instructs the disciples to go and make disciples, teaching them to obey Christ. A disciple makes disciples, by definition here. If one is not making disciples, one is not a disciple. If your students are not making disciples, you have not made a disciple!

5. Heart or Mind?
We tend to think the heart is the measure of success in being a servant, but as the saying goes: The road to hell is paved with good intentions. We need to consciously control our minds and bodies to do the master’s will, and we need to ensure it is His will and not our own!
Romans 8:5 talks about having our mind on spiritual or fleshly (worldly) things. This does not refer to religious or secular matters, but to where our mind is, whether conscious to please Jesus or just unconsciously handle the matter of living, whether it be in religious activity (including ministry) or playing sports, for example.
6. Able to Give/Receive
A. Instruction - from any source
Our pride usually prevents us from learning new things, especially from subordinates. If we really have the paradigm that we are servant of those we lead, we should be eager to learn from them! Another aspect of this is that if we are unwilling or unable to learn, we cannot be good instructors. As noted above, a disciple is also a teacher, and must hone instruction skills.
B. Discipline: Hebrews 12:6 and 11, Prov 3:11, 15:31-32
God gives us the example by disciplining those he loves (and we are to love even our neighbors, more especially our subordinates), and we should welcome it, even though it is not pleasant at the time. This message is echoed throughout the Bible in various instructions and examples.
From the giving correction standpoint, we often are reluctant (or too eager) to correct because we don’t know about correction in love. Usually we correct with a negative attitude, thinking ourselves better, or ‘right.’ Correction in Love has the attitude recommended in Phil 2:3 . . . consider others better than yourself. If we have this attitude toward the other, and our correction is indeed intended to serve (help, build up, elevate) the other, then the correction can be received.
7. Position of Power
Servant Leader may seem to be a misnomer, or oxymoron, and in the world’s view this could not be effective, for the leader would become a doormat, or at best ineffective in commanding respect and discipline. A truly powerful person has no thought or need to protect him/her self. We need to lead (and serve) from this position of knowing who we are in Christ!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008




Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Men's Study group - Harvesters Christian Fellowship

Jesus had already appeared to the disciples twice, so they knew he was around. They must have been waiting for his return appearance, yet he was slow in coming. Peter, always the impetuous and impatient one, seems to have given up hope that Jesus would return, and said "I’m going fishing." This is what he knew, it was his life before Jesus, and without Jesus, he would return to the old life.

We now live with the promise that Jesus will return, and we, too, often lose hope that he will really return. After all, it is already more than two thousand years! And we, too, after being born again and having experienced a closeness with Jesus, sometimes seem far from him, and are tempted to go back to our old lives and habits of before we met Jesus. The temptation to say "I’m going fishing" is great.

When they returned to the old life, these fishermen were not successful all night. Then someone appeared to them on the shore, asked if they had success, and they had to admit they had not. The person, actually Jesus, but they did not recognize him, told them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat. When they did so, they caught more fish that the net was designed for.

Many questions here.
Why did these men, who had lived for Jesus for 3 years, not recognize him? The Bible says they were only a football field away from shore. Yet they did not recognize him. Perhaps it was not yet light? Or perhaps like the men on the road to Emmaeus (Luke 24) their eyes were prevented from recognizing him?
What difference is left side of boat or right? The net goes under the boat, the water is the same, the fish are the same. Yet they obeyed him, and were successful.

Of interest is the fact that Jesus was a carpenter, not a fishermen. They were the fishermen, and knew the fishing business. Yet Jesus knew where the fish were better than they.

Many times in our lives Jesus appears to us, perhaps as a person we do not recognize, and gives instructions. Something inside us tells us it is right. When we obey, we will be successful. Sometimes we must trust our ‘instincts’ and be obedient even though we don’t know the person and what they are saying doesn’t make sense. Sometimes we ‘know better’ but for the particular instance it would be best to follow what might seem like unwise advice.

There are all kinds of lessons and questions in the passage of Jesus feeding them breakfast, but I want to focus on John’s statement that they did not dare ask who he was, because they already knew. Why does John write this? Why would it even be in their heads if they already knew? This passage must be in the Bible for a reason, a reason for us and other believers through the centuries. Why?

I leave you for now with this question, though we did discuss it on the Sunday following Easter in Tondo, Manila, Philippines.