Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Hole in our Gospel (Free Books Inside!)

The kingdom of God is in the midst of you
(Jesus in Luke 17:21ESV)

Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., write in his book The Hole in our Gospel (Thomas Nelson, 2009, 2010):

This book asks the question, What if? What if each of us decided with renewed commitment to truly embrace the good news, the whole gospel, and demonstrate it through our lives – not even in big ways, but in small ones? What if we each said to God, “Use me; I want to change the world”? There are now two billion people on earth who claim to be Christian. That’s almost one in three. Have we changed the world? Certainly, but our critics would be quick to point out that the changes have not always been good. So have we changed the world the way God intended? Have we been effective ambassadors for the good news that we call the “gospel”? The Lord’s Prayer, repeated in churches the world over, contains the phrase “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Do we believe what we pray?

The whole of gospel is a vision for ushering in God’s kingdom – now, not in some future time, and here, on earth, not in some distant heaven. What if two billion people embraced this vision of God transforming our world – through them? Imagine it. Indeed, what if even two thousand people took their faith to the next level – what might God do? Two thousand years ago, the world was changed forever by just twelve.

It can happen again.

The Hole in Our Gospel is the compelling true story of a corporate CEO who set aside worldly success for something far more significant, and discovered the full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ to change his own life. Richard Stearns uses his journey to demonstrate how the gospel – the whole gospel – was always meant to be a world-changing social revolution, a revolution that begins with us. Truly when Jesus says, “the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”

September 2012 FREE Book

I’m giving away ONLY 3 copies of The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns. You are welcome to get a copy for yourself. Do these 2 things:
  1. Comment below “Rich, give me one copy___(Your name). I want to renewed my commitment to truly embrace the good news, the whole gospel, and demonstrate it through my life – not even in big ways, but in small ones."
  2. E-mail me at or send message to my Facebook your real name, phone no. and your postal address. Thank you.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

God’s Timetable for Your Life

Jesus had been with His disciples about three years when He said, “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future” (John 16:12-13NLT). He had more He needed to teach them, but they were not ready to receive it. Jesus knew, however, that the Holy Spirit would continue to guide these disciples into truth on God’s time table.

You may be saying, “God, hurry up and make me mature.” And God is saying, “I’m moving just as fast in your life as you will allow me. When you are ready for your next lesson, I will bring a new truth into your life.” Relax. Be faithful with what you’ve learned from Him. Obey His Word and come to know Him more as He reveals Himself to you day by day. Maturity in the truth comes with time, not overnight.  

Hendry T. Blackaby writes, “Grass that is here today gone tomorrow does not require much time to mature. A big oak tree that lasts for generations requires much more time to grow and mature. God is concerned about your life through eternity. Allow Him to take all the time He needs to shape you for His purposes.” Do you want to be like a grass or an oak tree? Allow God to take all the time He needs to make you mature. Meanwhile – be obedience and give time for the truth to grow into your life. The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth.


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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We need Ezra-like Leadership Today

When the Israelites had settled in their towns, all the people assembled with the unified purpose at the square just inside the Water Gate. They asked Ezra the scribe to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had given for Israel to obey” (Nehemiah 8:1NLT).
We are organizing leadership training seminar next month and we had chosen Ezra and Nehemiah as our main models of godly-leadership character that we want to see in our campus fellowship leaders. Ezra, especially, is one of my favorite Bible's characters. I’ll tell you why. Right after the wall of Jerusalem finished, the people wanted to continue to enjoy God’s blessing and dedicated not to fall into sin again. So they assembled together – hungry to hear God’s Word. And here is the best part: whom they ask to read the Word? Ezra!

Ezra was someone who “had determined to study and obey the Law of the LORD and to teach those decrees and regulations to the people of Israel (Ezra 7:10NLT). They could count on him because he had devoted his life to studying God’s Word. As he read, “all the people listened closely to the Book of the Law” (Nehemiah 8:3). He and the Levites; “read from the Book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage” (Nehemiah 8:8). Wonderful! People trust that Ezra can explain God’s Word clearly and accurately because of his integrity in handling the Word of Truth effectively and he know his God personally. Oh I love Ezra!

Today, The Bible, God’s Word is still the authoritative guide to knowing God and to live according to God’s way. Like the Israelites on that day; today, we need URGENTLY individuals who are experts in the Bible and can share their godly insights, knowledge with us. We need people like Ezra who are determined to study and obey God’s Word and able to teach others effectively. We need leaders (pastors, especially and all Christians, generally) to give more time on studying the Word and to increase their knowledge of the Word. If leaders are going to feed the flocks, they must have time to feed themselves. We need leaders like Ezra who treasure God’s Word both in his mind and heart; who study and meditate on the very words of God; who read and obey; who live his own teachings and teach others to do the same.

We need more Ezra-like leadership in our generations today!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Leadership and Self-Control

Do you manage your emotions well? When someone says something irritating, do you get mad right away? In my opinion, that’s a sign of poor leadership ability. If you’re a leader, you’re automatically setting yourself up for criticism. In fact, all leaders are the targets of criticism – the most visible get all the criticism. Why? Dr. Myles Munroe writes, “Because they are the head and shoulders above the crowd and the most elevated. They can easily be seen. The minute you become a leader, remember that you are a target.” Therefore, you must be able to control yourself and not allow anger “to immobilize your rational capacity”.

Proverbs 16:32(NLT) says, “Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city”. In other words, you could be a powerful conquer, and still not be a good leader. A wise leader is one who controls his or her temper – who has self-control.  One of the fruits of the Spirit is self-control; “…the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23NLT).

Do you have the fruit of the Spirit?
As a leader, do you have the fruit of self-control?
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If I were preaching this Sunday morning… ‘A Sermon on Singing’

Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say let it be as representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:16-17NLT).
First I would say thank you for inviting me to a very privilege opportunity to share God’s Word this wonderful morning. Then after brief introductions about myself, I would jump straight to the Word. But before that, I would give the background of the Letter from Paul to Colossians. Some slideshow perhaps; maybe not – depend.

Then I would proceed with my outlines and points:

1) Why we sing?
Paul, in his mind, inspired by the Holy Spirit, sees that our singing as having God-ward dimension (‘Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God’) and one-another-ward dimension (‘to teach and counsel each other’). Then, I would emphasis that any classic or modern Christian songs should be based on ‘the word of Christ’ which refers especially to Christ’s teaching in the New Testament and also include the Old Testament. When we sing songs (involve our heart) base on, inspired by, our knowledge of ‘the word of Christ’ (involve our mind) – it glorify God and able to encourage one another.

2)  What we sing?
We sing the message of God that is ‘the word of Christ’. 3 principles I would underline here:

Content is important, not style – lighting, disco ball, dry ice, impressive showmanship, music volumes, spiky hairstyle, not-relevant-shouting, ‘flowery’ & ‘too-much’ slideshows etc. ought not to be our major concern here! It is the content of our songs based on ‘the word of Christ’.

Sing along, (everyone takes part) – remember; sing songs to God are not a band or solo performance, it’s a time of worshiping together.

Mixing of old and new songs are recommended – Old or classic songs, no doubt are wonderful and powerful. But new songs are very welcome because we want a ministry of ‘the word’ that is also contemporary to our culture and situations today. Mix of songs that are inspired by ‘the word of Christ’. [See Zondervan NIV Bible Study notes for ‘psalms, hymns and spiritual songs’, page 1857. it is very interesting]

3) How do we sing?
Paul said “with thankful hearts”; giving thanks through him [Lord Jesus] to God the Father” (bracket mine). How to cultivate such attitude will be discuss in the light of the Cross. I would share about the life, the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ to my hearers.

For closing, I would repeat my points and reread again verses of the Letter to Colossians above. Then conclude my sharing with a prayer or perhaps also with a thought-challenging question… still working on it. Help me here. Happy Sunday!


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