Archive for the ‘ Reflection ’ Category

A Fascinating Quote – Martin Lloyd-Jones

If I am asked which sermons I wrote, I have already said that I used to divide my ministry, as I still do, into edification of the saints in the morning and a more evangelistic sermon in the evening. Well, my practice was to write my evangelistic sermon. I did so because I felt that in speaking to the saints, to the believers, one could feel more relaxed. There, one was speaking in the realm of the family. In other words, I believe that one should be unusually careful in evangelistic sermons. That is why the idea that a fellow who is merely gifted with a certain amount of glibness of speech and self-confidence, not to say cheek, can make an evangelist is all wrong. The greatest men should always be the evangelists, and generally have been; and the idea that Tom, Dick and Harry can be put up to speak on a street corner, but you must have a great preacher in a pulpit in a church is, to me, the reversing of the right order. It is when addressing the unbelieving world that we need to be most careful; and therefore I used to write my evangelistic sermon and not the other…

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Prosperity Preaching: Deceitful and Deadly

When I read about prosperity-preaching churches, my response is: “If I were not on the inside of Christianity, I wouldn’t want in.” In other words, if this is the message of Jesus, no thank you.Luring people to Christ to get rich is both deceitful and deadly. It’s deceitful because when Jesus himself called us, he said things like: “Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33). And it’s deadly because the desire to be rich plunges “people into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9). So here is my plea to preachers of the gospel.

1. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that makes it harder for people to get into heaven.

Jesus said, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” His disciples were astonished, as many in the “prosperity” movement should be. So Jesus went on to raise their astonishment even higher by saying, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” They respond in disbelief: “Then who can be saved?” Jesus says, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:23-27).

My question for prosperity preachers is: Why would you want to develop a ministry focus that makes it harder for people to enter heaven?

2. Do not develop a philosophy of ministry that kindles suicidal desires in people.

Paul said, “There is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.” But then he warned against the desire to be rich. And by implication, he warned against preachers who stir up the desire to be rich instead of helping people get rid of it. He warned, “Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:6-10).

So my question for prosperity preachers is: Why would you want to develop a ministry that encourages people to pierce themselves with many pangs and plunge themselves into ruin and destruction?

3. Do not develop a philosophy of ministry that encourages vulnerability to moth and rust.

Jesus warns against the effort to lay up treasures on earth. That is, he tells us to be givers, not keepers. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19).

Yes, we all keep something. But given the built-in tendency toward greed in all of us, why would we take the focus off Jesus and turn it upside down?

4. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that makes hard work a means of amassing wealth.

Paul said we should not steal. The alternative was hard work with our own hands. But the main purpose was not merely to hoard or even to have. The purpose was “to have togive.” “Let him labor, working with his hands, that he may have to give to him who is in need” (Ephesians 4:28). This is not a justification for being rich in order to give more. It is a call to make more and keep less so you can give more. There is no reason why a person who makes $200,000 should live any differently from the way a person who makes $80,000 lives. Find a wartime lifestyle; cap your expenditures; then give the rest away.

Why would you want to encourage people to think that they should possess wealth in order to be a lavish giver? Why not encourage them to keep their lives more simple and be an even more lavish giver? Would that not add to their generosity a strong testimony that Christ, and not possessions, is their treasure?

5. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that promotes less faith in the promises of God to be for us what money can’t be.

The reason the writer to the Hebrews tells us to be content with what we have is that the opposite implies less faith in the promises of God. He says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?'” (Hebrews 13:5-6).

If the Bible tells us that being content with what we have honors the promise of God never to forsake us, why would we want to teach people to want to be rich?

6. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that contributes to your people being choked to death.

Jesus warns that the word of God, which is meant to give us life, can be choked off from any effectiveness by riches. He says it is like a seed that grows up among thorns that choke it to death: “They are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the . . . riches . . . of life, and their fruit does not mature” (Luke 8:14).

Why would we want to encourage people to pursue the very thing that Jesus warns will choke us to death?

7. Don’t develop a philosophy of ministry that takes the seasoning out of the salt and puts the light under a basket.

What is it about Christians that makes them the salt of the earth and the light of the world? It is not wealth. The desire for wealth and the pursuit of wealth tastes and looks just like the world. It does not offer the world anything different from what it already believes in. The great tragedy of prosperity-preaching is that a person does not have to be spiritually awakened in order to embrace it; one needs only to be greedy. Getting rich in the name of Jesus is not the salt of the earth or the light of the world. In this, the world simply sees a reflection of itself. And if it works, they will buy it.

The context of Jesus’ saying shows us what the salt and light are. They are the joyful willingness to suffering for Christ. Here is what Jesus said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth. . . . You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:11-14).

What will make the world taste (the salt) and see (the light) of Christ in us is not that we love wealth the same way they do. Rather, it will be the willingness and the ability of Christians to love others through suffering, all the while rejoicing because their reward is in heaven with Jesus. This is inexplicable on human terms. This is supernatural. But to attract people with promises of prosperity is simply natural. It is not the message of Jesus. It is not what he died to achieve.

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: www.desiringGod.org. Email:mail@desiringGod.org. Toll Free: 1.888.346.4700.

Unconditional Election

Unconditional Election is the doctrine which states that God chose those whom he was pleased to bring to a knowledge of himself, not based upon any merit shown by the object of his grace and not based upon his looking forward to discover who would “accept” the offer of the gospel. God has elected, based solely upon the counsel of his own will, some for glory and others for damnation (Romans 9:15,21). He has done this act before the foundations of the world (Ephesians 1:4-8).

This doctrine does not rule out, however, man’s responsibility to believe in the redeeming work of God the Son (John 3:16-18). Scripture presents a tension between God’s sovereignty in salvation, and man’s responsibility to believe which it does not try to resolve. Both are true — to deny man’s responsibility is to affirm an unbiblical hyper-calvinism; to deny God’s sovereignty is to affirm an unbiblical Arminianism.

The elect are saved unto good works (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, though good works will never bridge the gulf between man and God that was formed in the Fall, good works are a result of God’s saving grace. This is what Peter means when he admonishes the Christian reader to make his “calling” and “election” sure (2 Peter 1:10). Bearing the fruit of good works is an indication that God has sown seeds of grace in fertile soil.

The Five Points of Calvinism by Jonathan Barlow

Total Depravity (Total Inability)

Total Depravity is probably the most misunderstood tenet of Calvinism. When Calvinists speak of humans as “totally depraved,” they are making an extensive, rather than an intensive statement. The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality — his thinking, his emotions, and his will. Not necessarily that he is intensely sinful, but that sin has extended to his entire being.

The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:11f). This is why Total Depravity has also been called “Total Inability.” The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God’s making him alive through Christ (Ephesians 2:1-5).

The Five Points of Calvinism by Jonathan Barlow


My Graduation Testimony

It is a privilege to be used by God but it is more honored to be a minister of God’s Word. And I thank the Lord for this grand opportunity to be trained to become a mighty vessel in the expansion of His kingdom in the coming years.

The Lord has used Biblical Seminary of the Philippines (BSOP) as a pruning tool—the Lord has cleanse me from the ignoble things, so that I could be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Lord and prepared to do any good work. Moreover, BSOP is instrumental in imparting to me the importance of relationship, excellence, abilities, and practice.

Relationship. The inter-racial and inter-cultural community of BSOP was a challenge. Living together with people of different culture is challenging and a great opportunity to adjust and understand them in order to live harmoniously.

Excellence. The training that I underwent was tough. The assignments were thought-provoking and the exams pushed me to my limits. However, I never regretted these ordeals since the Lord made me realize again and again that He will continue to sharpen me so that I would become the kind of servant He wants me to be. As what Paul said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Abilities. The encouragement of the BSOP administrators and professors in each student’s unique ability allowed me to sharpen my God-given abilities and talents. The Lord has helped me discover some of my untapped potentials through the challenging tasks that I had engaged in.

Practice. As God’s shepherd, I have learned that we must live out servant hood and to practice what we preach. I have to lead the sheep that the Lord has entrusted me by example.

Through my four years of seminary training, the Lord has shown me my weak spots and that I had to depend on Him for wisdom, illumination and guidance.

It is my prayer that everything I learned in BSOP may be passed on to the churches or institutions where I will be serving. To God be the glory.

Singaporencore

Wow!!! Great experience, good food, nice people and the best Jazz music that I have heard so far… I truly thank Rev. Anthony Ang for inviting my wife and I to be his guest in the “Singapore Encore” January 31, 2008. The event was organized by Singapore International Foundation, in partnership with the Singapore Embassy in Manila at One Esplanade, Pasay City. The event was in celebration of the Singapore spirit through music, food and art. They were proud to present a night of enchantment, with performances by Singapore’s premier musicians. Reputed for its exponential growth, Singapore has an ever growing vibrant arts and cultural scene.

This premier musician made my night. I can only stare, listen and open my mouth in awe as I listen to their music. Mr. Jeremy Monteiro is a pianist, vocalist, composer, jazz educator – has won critical acclaims worldwide. He is dubbed as “Singapore’s King of Swings”. He is sooooo great. I love his composition. Indeed, music alone can talk. His quartet was also remarkable; Alemay Fernandez – vocals; Tama Goh- drums; Andrew Lim – guitar and Colin Yong – bass and flute. But their performance would never be as great without our very own filipino musicians: Tots Tolentino – saxophone and 75 years old, Sotero “Terry” Undag – trumpet.

Satay, Laksa, Chicken Rice and Nyonya Desserts were prepared by Chef Sunny Goh, the Executive Chef of the Heritage Hotel Manila.

With us as Rev. Anthony Ang’s guests were my favorite pastor Rev. Dr. David Cheung of ATS, brother Sam and sister Esther of UECP/CEF.

Meeting Singaporeans are like being in Singapore. The accent was there to stay and their hospitality will never be taken for granted. That was the place were I learned many things about Singapore, especially foods :). And the experience was unforgettable.

Mind you… the event was strictly formal… 🙂

Family appointment with God

How nice it is to see a family all in one room doing devotion time. It was a struggle for an individual to do it but if it is practiced and initiated in the family it would be easier both for the parents and children. Doing things at home is like flock of geese flying in a “V” formation, the one at the back of another doesn’t need to exert too much effort to flap its wings to fly. Young kids are sometimes like that, when they see everybody is reading they will read too. When they see adults watching T.V. they will join and watch too. Kids follow what the adults are doing. (Ang ginagawa ng matatanda sa harap ng mga bata, ito man ay mali o tama ay magiging laging tama sa mata ng mga bata.) Ultimately, this attitude can be of good use. As parents, we can show our kids that meeting with the Lord everyday is as special as we are meeting with their grandparents or their favorite cartoon character.

Let us have a habit of reading our Bible, praying and meditating with our kids. Start early in their youth.

Just a friendly reminder from a sinner saved by grace…

To God be the glory!

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