Archive for March, 2009

God’s Good News

We have learnt so far about what it means to grow in Christ, individually and together in fellowship. In our last study we learnt about another growth and it is the growth of the gospel. The gospel is all about God’s good news. We read:

To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27 (ESV)

God wants the world to know about Jesus Christ. This was the mystery that was hidden for thousands of years since the day he made the promise to Abraham. Now we see Christ fulfill this promise by being our hope of glory through his death and resurrection for us, blessing all those in the world who believe and trust him as the King.

If we heard and believed this good news, and it is good because it is saves life, then it should be natural to share this news with those who haven’t heard it. But we must remember that it is God’s news and it is God who chooses whom to reveal this mystery to. So when we tell the gospel, why not always ask God to reveal Jesus to those we want to evangelise. Let’s pray “that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ” and “that [we] may make it clear, which is how [we] ought to speak” Colossians 4:3-4 (ESV).

Even if we are not evangelising, by being wise in our life, in our behaviour and attitude, and simply by being real and humble servants of Christ, we can make opportunity for non-believers to see and ask about about Christ.

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:5-6 (ESV)

When our friends asks us to participate in something that we clearly know is not right, why not make a stand, be different and when the opportunity arises explain it. If you get into a conversation on a topic that deals with moral values, why not try go deeper and explain the reasons for your values. If your friends or colleagues or family does not know that you are Christian, why not start telling them. You could tell them when they ask about your weekend.

Let’s encourage each other to continue sharing the good news. Remember that we are not alone, God is with us every step of the way.


Table Talk – Defending the Gospel

Table Talk

Over the past month God has graciously given me the opportunity to participate in discussions on the topic of God and religion during our Friday pizza lunch at my work. Praise God for this.

There were a few things that I have learnt so far from my discussions around the pizza table. I learnt that it is not that helpful and it does not benefit the person you are debating with to simply argue against their claims or to defend your Christian belief. For the conversation would simply just go around and around in circles as each person has it’s own beliefs which they will not easily move away from. I’ve been meditating on this verse lately:

I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. ” Luke 10:21-22

What we should remember is that God has actually hidden the truth about himself and Jesus from the wise and understanding. The only way to know the truth is to be like little children, to humble ourselves and to depend on God’s grace to let us know him and believe in Jesus Christ, rather than trying to seek God through the wisdom of this world, trying to find God on our own.

This is a great reminder for us on how we should approach our discussions with our non-Christians, such as Atheists who will use the evidence of this world to say there is no proof there is a God, or for other Theists believing that other religions or other way points to a particular God. The only way anyone can know God is if the Son decides whether this person will know God or not. So let us continue to pray not for good articulation and wisdom to come up with compelling arguments but to pray for the Holy Spirit to open up the eyes of our friend or family so they may see the truth found in the gospel. The first step is to pray for that person that God will reveal himself to him. The second step is to read the bible together to know who God is. The rest is up to God’s grace.

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Real Perspective – Hope

A glimpse of hope

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

We see the word ‘hope’ appear many times in the New Testament and may have studied or heard it preached many times before. It is the hope of the inheritance that we have received in heaven (Ephesians 1:11-12, Romans 8:23-25). But this hope seems so distant and so far away, consumed by the immediacy and important things of every day life. What we see and know right here, right now are the things that constantly makes us wrestle with our belief.  That is why in Romans we ask the God of hope to fill us with this peace in believing so that everything we believe and trust in Christ we can be sure about it, such that in the midst of the difficulties of life we can continue to hope in Christ.

So what can we do? We can pray for this peace and we can keep reading his Word to continue in our faith, but this has to be done habitually, for if we don’t then we would be wrestling a lot more than if we do. Remember, it is not something that we can do ourselves hence it is only by the power of the Holy Spirit can we abound in hope.

Just like how we saw the other day about Paul and his rejoicing during times of suffering, we also ask God to fill us with joy in believing. How can we be joyful in this hardship? I think when we put things into perspective and see where life leads to, our life is really short in comparison to the eternal life that is ahead after this world. The suffering and hardship now will go away and we can be thankful and be happy because of our hope in the future. It’s not until we see God’s big picture and his amazing grace and plan for us, our inheritance in heaven, our glory in Christ, then this hope may be more real.

How can our hope be more real?

For Mel and myself, this year by God’s grace our hope in Heaven and our personal knowledge with Christ is made more real than ever before in our Christian life because we were able to put our life into God’s perspective as we keep learning from the bible. We worry about Bungie, her health and her future, if and when we should put her into childcare. We worry about her education and a home for her to grow up in. We worry about our finance and our future because of our one-single income. However, we know that all we can do is trust in God for his goodness and kindness to us. But most importantly we know that life is short and that God has given us a new life to serve him and to glorify his name.

We’ve both lived a thankful life, now our future is to ensure that Bungie is raised in a Godly family and that she knows and trusts in God; and to try help others come to know him. It’s not easy I must say… last week has been the most stressful week so far. One of the things we like to share with the group is the Introduction to the Bible course which helps us see God’s plan. It’s a topic we think would help us Christians understand why things are so hard and what the whole of point of life is.

Prayer for the week

“Thank you Sovereign God for an opportunity to influence the nations for good. May you please give us your Spirit to keep our minds learning, hearts loving, ears listening, hands serving, and humility growing for your glory and our joy. We ask this for your fame by the Spirit’s power in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

How fitting is this prayer for our group as we seek to live as Christians each day. May we remember how we do this and why we do this.

This prayer is from More Thoughts on Time Magazine and New Calvinism. Don’t worry too much about the topic on ‘Calvinism’. This is one of many insightful posts from theResurgence RSS.

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Know – Apply – Share

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  – Colossians 3:16-17

Being a Christian isn’t just about having received the gospel of Jesus Christ once, and putting our faith in Him and then not have our lives transformed by it. We learnt that receiving Christ  is to continue to accept Christ as our Lord in our daily living. But what does it mean to live with Christ as Lord? In Colossians 3 and this verse we see 3 things:

Know – The word of Christ is to dwell in us ‘richly’. As we read the Word, learn from it and trust in it, we  grow in our knowledge of Christ and this knowledge should permeate and fill every part of our Christian life.  In knowing Christ we understand who he is and what he has done, and what it means to live with Christ as Lord.

Apply – Knowing Christ isn’t just an intellectual exercise. This knowledge demands change in our lives as we submit our life to Christ. It means totally transforming our life so that we have put away our old ways and put on a new self, imitating Christ as we learn more about him. The Word sets our mind on God and other Christians, not on this world. In everything we do, we are to have Christ saturate our talk and and our deeds.

Share – Just as we come to understand God’s grace in Christ through hearing the gospel, so it should be natural that this good news be shared to others. When people see us living the way we are in Christ and for each other, they will come to know about Christ, opening doors for us to tell them about Him.

As we continue to study God’s word together, we learn to grow together in maturity in Christ, to love each other and to share God’s word. Finally, all this is possible because of God’s grace in Jesus, so let us always give thanks to him.