Saturday, January 31, 2015

Good Bye Religion

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17, NIV). When Jesus says he is not coming for the “righteous,” he does not mean that some people don’t need him. The clue to what Jesus does mean is his reference to himself as a physician. You go to a doctor only when you have a health problem that you can’t deal with yourself, when you feel you can’t get better through self-management. What do you want from a doctor? Not just advice – but intervention. You don’t want a doctor simply say, “Yes, you are sick!” You want some medicine or treatment.

Jesus calls people “righteous” who are in the same position spiritually as those who won’t go to a doctor. “Righteous” people believe they can “heal themselves,” make themselves right with God by being good or moral. They don’t feel the need for a soul physician, someone who intervenes and does what they can’t do themselves. Jesus is teaching that he has come to call sinners: those who know they are morally and spiritually unable to save themselves.
Because the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus Christ, said, “It is finished,” we can rest from religion – forever.

The renowned British minister Dick Lucas once preached a sermon in which he recounted an imaginary conversation between an early Christian and her neighbour in Rome.
Ah,” the neighbour says. “I hear you are religious! Great! Religious is a good things. Where is your temple or holy place?
We don’t have a temple,” replies the Christian. ‘Jesus is our temple.”
No temple? But where do your priests work and do their rituals?”
We don’t have priests to mediate the presence of God,” replied the Christian. “Jesus is our priest.”
No priests? But where do you offer your sacrifices to acquire the favour of God?”
We don’t need sacrifice,” replied the Christian. “Jesus is our sacrifice.”
What kind of religion is this?” sputters the pagan neighbour.
And the answer is, it’s no kind of religion at all.
[Reference: Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God by Timothy Keller (Riverhead Books, 2011) Page 50-51]

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Friday, January 30, 2015

Berjalan dalam Cahaya atau Kegelapan? (Renungan tentang 1 Yahya 1:6-7)

Sekiranya kita mengatakan bahawa kita hidup dalam keakraban dengan-Nya sedangkan kita melangkah dalam kegelapan, maka kita berdusta dan tidak mengamalkan kebenaran
(1 Yahya 1:6, KSZI, Kitab Suci Zabur dan Injil)

Jika seseorang mengatakan bahawa dia seorang Kristian tetapi tidak melakukan apa-apa tentang dosanya, maka kata Rasul Yahya, dia seorang yang belum menerima keselamatan daripada Allah lagi. Dia tidak memiliki “keakraban dengan Bapa dan Putera-Nya Isa al-Masih” (1:3). Dalam percakapan, mereka mendakwa bahawa mereka orang Kristian, tetapi sebenarnya mereka masih lagi hidup dalam kegelapan. Sekiranya mereka tidak mentaati Bapa dan ada lagi dosa yang tidak diakui, maka mereka masih lagi sesat. Oleh kerana mereka hidup dalam kegelapan, mereka tidak dapat melihat dosa mereka sendiri dan tidak sedar bahawa mereka sebenarnya jauh dari-Nya. Kegelapan telah membutakan mereka tentang realiti dan keadaan sebenar mereka.

Jika kita tidak berjalan dalam kebenaran dan cahaya Allah, maka ianya jelas menunjukkan yang kita sebenarnya belum percaya sepenuhnya kepada Isa al-Masih. Jika kesaksian dan kelakuan kita tidak sama dengan percakapan kita, maka pengakuan kita adalah dusta.

Mereka yang benar-benar telah diubah oleh Allah pula akan menunjukkan bukti tentang kebenaran itu dalam kehidupan mereka. Mereka berjalan dalam terang cahaya Allah (1:5) dan ini membolehkan mereka melihat dosa sendiri dihadapan-Nya. Kesedaran dan pengetahuan tentang dosa inilah yang membimbing mereka kepada Isa supaya Dia boleh menyucikan mereka daripada kegelapan. Rasul Yahya menulis: “Tetapi jika kita melangkah dalam cahaya, sebagaimana Allah wujud dalam cahaya, maka benar-benarlah kita hidup dalam persaudaraan satu sama lain, dan darah Isa, Putera-Nya, menyucikan kita daripada segala dosa” (1 Yahya 1:7).

Berjalan dalam cahaya Allah bermaksud carahidup dan kekudusan keperibadian kita dipimpin oleh-Nya. Gambaran “berjalan” atau “melangkah” disini menujukkan bahawa ianya merupakan suatu proses yang mengambil masa. Ianya memberi gambaran tentang pergerakkan, tujuan, sikap dan pemikiran kita. Berjalan dalam cahaya Allah menggambarkan seseorang yang hidup dalam kebenaran dan kekudusan-Nya. Sentiasa dan konsisten. Saya tidak bermaksud bahawa kehidupan kita mesti sempurna, tetapi tujuan, keinginan dan hala tuju hati dan pemikiran kita harus tertumpu kepada Isa al-Masih.

Berjalan dalam cahaya maka kegelapan akan dinampakkan.
Dosa yang dilihat dan diketahui akan membawa kepada pengakuan.
Pengakuan dosa akan menerima pengampunan.
Darah Isa akan menyucikan kita daripada segala dosa.
Oleh itu, berjalanlah dalam cahaya, kebenaran dan kekudusan-Nya.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

5 Important Lessons I Learned from Jesus (A Reflection on Mark 6:30-44)

At first Jesus intentions was to take his disciples away for a brief “staff retreat”. They had just returned from their preaching mission and “met with Jesus, and told him all they had done and taught” (Mark 6:30, GNB) and they were tired. Jesus understand their fatigue and said to them, “Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest for a while” (6:31). So they started out in a boat by themselves for a lonely place. But the crowd followed them by land and arrived ahead of them. Then Jesus was filled with compassion. So he gathered them around and taught them.

By late afternoon the disciples interrupted Jesus to tell him that “It is already very late, and this is a lonely place. Send the people away, and let them go to the nearby farms and villages in order to buy themselves something to eat” (Mark 6:35-36). How considerate his disciples were to their Master and the people’s welfare. There was no food available, so it is practical to let the people go and find something to eat. But Jesus commanded them a very unpractical command, “You yourselves give them something to eat” (Mark 6:37). Doesn’t he knew that they were tired, a bit irritated by the people, and broke? Why would he asked them to give the multitude of crowd something to eat? What was in Jesus’ mind?

I think Jesus want to teach his disciples some lessons here. First, as it is also apply to us, that sometime we have to sacrifice our rest in order to attend the immediate needs. My number one priority in student ministry is to teach students to read and to live out the Gospel. There were time when I was very tired that I want my personal quiet, solitude and rest, then suddenly student leaders asked me to share God’s Word in their camp or Christian fellowship at campus (obviously because the initial speaker doesn’t turned up). What should I do? Say no and let the opportunity goes by? Never! First thing first. God first, personal second. People first, program second. “Sheep without shepherd” (6:34) first, be alone and rest second. Sometimes it’s the other way round. Use God-given wisdom and conscious.

Secondly, Jesus wants to teach them and us that success in the ministry (and life!) is dependence on Him. I think when they “met with Jesus, and told him all they had done and taught” (6:30) there was some proud moments involved. During the mission, they were casting out demons and healed people. What can be more excited than that? Sometime accomplishments and successes in ministry can intoxicated us with pride and sense of superiority. Overtime, if we’re not careful, we will think that all the things that we have done and achieved are due to our own efforts and independent from God. That’s why Jesus said, “You yourselves give them something to eat.”

Since they can’t do miracle on their own, to feed more than 5,000 men, they gave the most practical and calculative respond, “Do you want us to go and spend two hundred silver coins on bread in order to feed them?” (6:37). Peter and the gang why so cynical in your response, since you all had casting out demons and healing the sick, can you all perform some miracle here? No, Jesus will. He will show them and all of the people and us who the Boss is. Who is the source of success in God’s Kingdom and the Person in whom should we dependent upon.

So Jesus asked them, “How much bread have you got? Go and see” They told him, “Five loaves and also two fish” (Mark 6:38). Forget about logical thinking, mathematic equations and the law of physic, Jesus the Lord of all creation will defy all of them. “Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish, looked up to heaven, and gave thanks to God. He broke the loaves and gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people… Everyone ate and had enough… the number of men who were fed was 5,000” (Mark 41-44). Thirdly, Jesus teaches them and us that nothing is impossible for God. It doesn’t matter how much we have but how much we know who our God is. Even the situation may seem hopeless and impossible – 5 loaves and 2 fish vs. 5,000 hungry men – God of the Bible can make thing happen! Here Jesus also showed (forth lessons) that God not only cares for our spiritual needs (Jesus taught God’s Word) but also for our physical needs as well (Jesus feeds his people). Just like Jesus, we should care for people’s spiritual and physical needs around us too. Awesome Jesus! Thank you Lord.

Fifthly, by performing this miracle, Jesus showed himself to be the Messiah.
The Jew expected the Messiah to bring manna down from heaven
just as Moses had done in the wilderness. Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
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Monday, January 26, 2015

Jesus Teaches the People First, Dinner Later (A Reflection on Mark 6:30-34)

After Jesus sends out the twelves disciples for a mission, “the apostles returned and met with Jesus, and told him all they had done and taught” (Mark 6:30, GNB). The disciples must be excited but tired, and so they wanted to have a refreshing rest, away from the crowd. Jesus told them, “Let us go off by ourselves to some place where we will be alone and you can rest for a while” (Mark 6:31). “We” said Jesus. Jesus in his humanity also felt the need for a rest. They worked very very hard, don’t you think? God’s calling is not for us to sit back, relax and hoping for the best, right? We must “go” (Matthew 28:19) and work hard, then, only then we’re deserve to rest.

But “many people, however, saw them leave and knew at once who they were; so they went from all the towns and ran ahead by land and arrived at the place ahead of Jesus and his disciples. When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw this large crowd, and his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd” (Mark 6:33-34). Jesus heart was yearned for the spiritual needs of the crowd flocking to him. Jesus was “moved with compassion” (NKJV). It is a feeling of strong-deep emotion acted with positive action. It is a costly, self-giving compassion. Why? Because Jesus saw them as a starving flock of sheep without a shepherd. They were like orphans with no one to care for them. They were leaderless. This is why, I convince, Jesus wasn’t annoyed but showed compassion.

There were a lot of religious teachers during Jesus time, but why they were still leaderless? Same as today, the people are “like sheep without a shepherd.” When I read this, I’m thinking of how many young people that I know of went to this and that event, jumping and singing, having fun and ‘empowered’ by almost hysterical prayers, come back home empty and their hearts and minds still hallow. There is something missing – God’s Word. Someone missing – Lord of the Word – in their lives. When the supposed teachers should feed the flock, they care more about church attendance, personal spiritual growth and success, defending the faith with all might and power, emphasising on musical worship, teaches church history and doctrines, and even doing social work – everything – everything (secondary) but feeding the people with God’s Word (primary). Where are the teachers who supposed to teach people the Word of God?

For a shepherd, a teacher, a leader the main thing is God’s Word. When I asked most people, which book of the Bible are you all studying now, they blurred. When I told a story of Jesus (basic) and asked do you remember reading this, I get silent treatment. When I read this one church mission statement: “Untuk mempersiapkan jemaat dengan Firman TUHAN” (To equip the church with God’s Word), I was so excited until I heard the preacher talked about his endless journey of accomplishments and successes. Teachers, if you read this, we need you to feed us with God’s Word. Sheep without a shepherd, and so the first thing Jesus does was “he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34). Not complaining and whining about having no rest (or salary) but seeing people as God’s answer to our revival prayer. Not irritated by them but having a deep compassion with action like Jesus. Not feeding the five thousand with five loaves and two fish first but feeding the people with God’s Word first. Jesus teaches the people first.

Let continue Mark 6:35-44 in another article.
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

10 Bahagian Penting dalam Kitab Yunus

Dari Kata Pengantar Alkitab, Kitab Yunus:

Kitab Yunus berbeza daripada kitab-kitab nabi yang lain di dalam Alkitab kerana kitab ini menceritakan pengalaman Nabi Yunus ketika dia cuba membantah perintah Allah. Allah menyuruh dia pergi ke Kota Niniwe, ibu kota Kerajaan Asyur, musuh Israel. Tetapi Yunus tidak mahu pergi ke kota itu untuk menyampaikan perkhabaran Allah kerana Yunus yakin bahawa jika orang Niniwe berhenti berbuat dosa, Allah tidak akan melaksanakan rancangan-Nya untuk menghancurkan kota itu. Akhirnya, selepas beberapa peristiwa yang mengesankan, Yunus mentaati perintah Allah. Tetapi kemudian Yunus bersungut kerana Niniwe tidak dihancurkan.

Kitab Yunus menggambarkan kemutlakan kuasa Allah terhadap ciptaan-Nya. Tetapi terlebih pula, kitab ini menggambarkan Allah sebagai Allah yang penyayang dan belas kasihan; Allah yang lebih suka mengampuni dan menyelamatkan suatu bangsa daripada menghukum dan menghancurkannya, walaupun bangsa itu musuh umat-Nya sendiri.

Siapa tahu kalau kamu ingin mendalami Buku Yunus dengan lebih lanjut lagi. Siapa tahu kalau kamu ingin mengkaji Buku Yunus bersama dalam Persekutuan Kristian (CF) kamu di kampus. Di bawah ini ialah ringkasan tentang cerita yang indah dan penuh dramatik ini: 10 Bahagian penting dalam Kitab Yunus (Kamu boleh guna dan simpan gambar-gambar ini). 

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The Domino Effect: One Thing at a Time

Every great change starts like falling dominoes” (BJ Thornton)

In Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, on Domino Day, November 13, 2009, Weijers Domino Productions coordinated the world record domino fall by lining up more than 4,491,863 dominoes in a dazzling display. In this instance, a single domino fall that cumulatively unleased more than 94,000 joules of energy, which is as much energy as it takes for an average sized male to do 545 push ups.

Each standing domino represents a small amount of potential energy; the more you line up, the more potential energy you’ve accumulated. Line up enough and, with a simple flick, you can start a chain reaction of surprising power. And Weijers Domino Productions proved it. When one thing, the right thing, is set in motion, it can topple many things. And that’s not all.

In 1983, Lorne Whitehead wrote in the American Journal of Physics that he’d discovered that domino falls could not only topple many things, they could also topple bigger things. He described how a single domino is capable of bringing down another domino that is actually 50 percent larger.

Do you see the implication? Not only can one knock over others but also others that are successively large. In 2001 a physicist from San Francisco’s Exploratorium reproduced Whitehead’s experiment by creating eight dominos out of plywood, each of which was 50 percent larger than then one before. The first was a mere two inches, the last almost three feet tall. The resulting domino fall began with a gentle tick and quickly ended “with a loud SLAM.”

Imagine what would happen if this kept going. If a regular domino fall is a linear progression, Whitehead’s would be described as a geometric progression. The result could defy the imagination. The 10th domino would be almost as tall as NFL quarterback Peyton Manning. By the 18th, you’re looking at a domino that would rival the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The 23rd domino would tower over the Eiffel Tower and the 31st domino would loom over Mount Everest by almost 3,000 feet. Number 57 would practically bridge the distance between the earth and the moon! …so when you think about success, shoot for the moon.

[Like The Domino Effect] when you see someone who has a lot of knowledge, they learned it over time. When you see someone who has a lot of skills, they developed them over time. When you see someone who has done a lot, they accomplished it over time. When you see someone who has a lot of money, they earned it over time.

The key is over time. Success is built sequentially. Its one thing at a time.*
*Quote without permission from The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan (Bard Press, Austin, Texas, 2012). Page 12 to 16. Bracket mine. Buy this book!

The Domino Effect. In everything you do, the key is over time.
Success is built sequentially. Its one thing at a time.
As I always end my post – THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.
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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Allah itu Cahaya (Renungan tentang 1 Yahya 1:5)

Simon Petrus, seorang nelayan
Inilah perutusan yang telah kami dengar daripada-Nya dan sampaikan kepadamu:
Allah itu cahaya; dan sama sekali tiada kegelapan dalam-Nya
(1 Yahya 1:5, KSZI, Kitab Suci Zabur dan Injil)

Rasul Yahya memulakan perutusannya dengan mengkhabarkan tentang kesucian Allah. Selagi kita tidak melihat kesempurnaan-Nya, kita tidak mungkin akan sedar tentang dosa kita. Gambaran bahawa “Allah itu cahaya” sangatlah mendalam maksudnya. Seperti cahaya, suci, sempurna dan tiada kegelapan, Allah itu suci, murni, sempurna dan tiada cacat cela. Oleh itu, kesucian Allah akan menjadi ukuran bagi Dia menghakimi setiap kita kelak. “Hendaklah kamu suci, kerana Aku suci” (Imamat 11:44, 1 Petrus 1:16) Dan Isa juga berkata, “Hendaklah engkau sempurna seperti Bapamu di syurga” (Matius 5:48). Hanya kerana Isa mati bagi dosa kita barulah kita sempurna dihadapan-Nya. Terima kasih Bapa!

Rasul Petrus yang dahulunya seorang nelayan pernah melihat (hanya) sebahagian daripada kesucian Allah ini di tasik Genesaret. Selepas semalaman tidak mendapat apa-apa tangkapan, Isa menyuruh dia menolak perahu ke air yang dalam dan menebarkan jalanya. Petrus pada mulanya memberi alasan dan kemudian berkata, “…tetapi, kerana Engkau menyuruh, aku akan menebarkan jala.” Setelah menebar jala, dia dan rakan-rakan kongsinya menangkap begitu banyak ikan sehingga jala hampir terkoyak. Mereka yang lain pun datang lalu memenuhi kedua-dua buah perahu mereka dengan ikan sehingga perahu-perahu itu hampir tenggelam. Kemudian, “apabila Simon Petrus melihat apa yang telah berlaku, dia berlutut di hadapan Isa dan berkata, ‘Tinggalkan hamba, Ya Junjungan kerana hamba seorang yang berdosa!’” (Lukas 5:8). Petrus berlutut di hadapan Isa, Isa tidak menolak penyembahannya. Petrus berkata, “Tinggalkanlah aku, ya Tuhan! Aku orang berdosa!” (BM), Isa tidak menyangkal kata-katanya kerana ia benar.

Seperti nabi Yesaya yang melihat kemuliaan Allah berkata kepada dirinya, “Malanglah aku! Tiada harapan lagi bagi aku, kerana tiap-tiap perkataanku itu dosa, dan aku hidup di kalangan orang yang begitu juga” (Yesaya 6:5, BM) – rasul Petrus juga sedar akan dosanya apabila berhadapan dengan kesucian Isa. Mukjizat yang dilakukan Isa sangatlah luar biasa. Nelayan yang berpengalaman seperti Petrus tidak mendapat seekor ikan pun, tetapi apabila seorang yang dikenali sebagai tukang kayu melakukan mukjizat – seperti Allah mengarahkan ikan-ikan masuk ke jala! – ini bukanlah seorang yang biasa-biasa, Dia ialah Tuhan. Kesucian Isa al-Masih memancar seperti cahaya dan segala dosa-dosa kegelapan Petrus dinampakkan dihadapan-Nya. “Allah itu cahaya,” oleh itu dia berkata “Hamba seorang berdosa.”

Apabila kita datang kepada Isa al-Masih, berhadapan dengan Dia, kita juga akan melihat dosa-dosa kita dengan jelas sekali. Adalah penting bagi kita sedar dahulu bahawa “Allah itu cahaya” kerana apabila kita tahu bahawa Allah itu suci dan kita berdosa, kita takut akan Dia. Kemudian apabila kita mengenal Dia secara peribadi, kita sedar juga bahawa “Allah itu kasih” (1 Yahya 4:8). Jadi hubungan kita dengan Bapa dan Isa al-Masih adalah hubungan kasih dan hormat akan kesucian-Nya. Rasul Yahya menulis tentang Isa: “Cahaya sudah datang ke dunia, tetapi manusia lebih suka akan kegelapan kerana mereka berbuat jahat. Orang yang berbuat jahat benci akan cahaya dan tidak mahu mendekatinya kerana takut perbuatan jahatnya terdedah. Tetapi orang yang berbuat benar merapati cahaya, supaya jelas bahawa perbuatannya dilakukan melalui Allah” (Yahya 3:19-21).

Inilah sebabnya kenapa orang membenci dan mengasihi Isa.
Allah itu cahaya” jadi kegelapan membenci-Nya.
Allah itu cahaya” jadi orang yang mencari kebenaran akan menjumpai dan mengasihi-Nya.
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Friday, January 23, 2015

Kebahagiaan Sempurna ada dalam Isa al-Masih (Renungan tentang 1 Yahya 1:4)

Gambaran pelukis
Kami menulis tentang segala ini kepadamu supaya kebahagiaanmu sempurna
(1 Yahya 1:4, KSZI, Kitab Suci Zabur dan Injil)

Dengan penuh sukacita di hatinya, rasul Yahya menulis surat ini supaya kebahagiaan yang dimilikinya dapat dikongsikan dengan orang lain yang ingin mengenal al-Masih. Kebahagiaan yang paling indah sekali di dunia ini ialah memiliki keakraban dan kesatuan dengan Isa al-Masih. Kebahagiaan yang kedua terindah ialah melihat orang lain datang kepada-Nya. Inilah apa yang dimaksudkan dengan “kebahagiaanmu sempurna.” Kebahagiaan dalam mengenal Isa al-Masih, kebahagiaan kerana mengetahui bahawa dosa kita sudah diampuni, kebahagiaan kerana mentaati Allah, kebahagiaan dalam mengasihi satu sama lain, kebahagiaan dalam kebenaran, kebahagiaan di dalam penganiayaan kerana nama-Nya, dan kebahagiaan dalam doa yang dijawab oleh Allah.

Kamu dan saya tidak akan mengenal kebahagiaan yang sebenar jika kita tidak mengenal Isa al-Masih. Isa ialah sumber segala kebahagiaan, hanya Dia yang boleh memenuhi setiap hati kita. Melalui kesatuan dengan-Nya, hidup kita akan dipenuhi dengan hadirat-Nya, dan sukacita Dia akan melimpah di dalam hati kita. Isa ingin supaya “kebahagiaan-Ku ada dalam dirimu dan sempurnalah kebahagiaanmu” (Yahya 15:11). Penulis mazmur juga berkata: “hadirat-Mu menggembirakan aku, dan sentiasa membahagiakan aku” (Mazmur 16:11, BM).

Bagi saya, kebahagiaan sempurna hanya dapat dialami sekiranya kita benar-benar pasti tentang keselamatan kita. Tidak akan ada sukacita yang benar sekiranya kita tidak pasti tentang destinasi kehidupan kita selepas mati nanti. Di dalam iman kepada Isa al-Masih, tidak ada istilah “insyaallah.” Yang ada hanyalah – pasti atau tidak. Orang yang paling kecewa dan hampa di dunia ini ialah orang yang ingin pergi ke syurga tetapi tidak pasti samada dia akan dapat pergi atau tidak. Hanya apabila kita benar-benar pasti tentang destinasi kehidupan kita, barulah kita dapat mengalami kebahagiaan sempurna. Oleh itu, Isa berkata tentang diri-Nya, “Akulah jalan, kebenaran dan hidup. Tidak seorang pun datang kepada Bapa kecuali melalui-Ku” (Yahya 14:6). Isa al-Masih ialah satu-satunya jalan kepada Allah Yang Maha Tinggi. Mengenal Isa bererti mengenal Allah, dan mengenal Dia memberikan kita kepastian tentang keselamatan kita. Dengan ini, kebahagiaan kita sempurna!

Adakah kamu mengenal Isa secara peribadi? Adakah kamu “hidup dalam keakraban dengan Bapa dan Putera-Nya, Isa al-Masih” (1 Yahya 1:3)? Adakah kamu mengalami dan merasa hadirat-Nya dalam kehidupan kamu? Adakah kamu mempunyai sukacita dan kebahagiaan hasil daripada hubungan intim kamu dengan Dia? Jika ya, berbahagialah! kamu ialah pengikut Isa yang sebenar.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Memiliki Keakraban dengan Bapa dan Putera-Nya Isa al-Masih (Renungan tentang 1 Yahya 1:3)

Kami memberitahumu apa yang telah kami lihat dan dengar,
supaya kamu juga dapat bersaudara dengan kami.
Sesungguhnya kami hidup dalam keakraban dengan Bapa dan Putera-Nya Isa al-Masih
(1 Yahya 1:3, KSZI, Kitab Suci Zabur dan Injil)

Tujuan rasul Yahya menulis tentang Isa ialah kerana dia ingin supaya setiap orang datang kepada-Nya untuk memilikihidup dalam keakraban dengan Bapa dan Putera-Nya, Isa al-Masih.” Persaudaraan (koinonia) bermaksud persekutuan dan perkongsian. Lebih daripada perhubungan sosial yang biasa-biasa, “bersaudara” di sini bererti hubungan-perkongsian yang akrab diantara dua atau lebih orang. Pada asalnya, ia menggambarkan hubungan perniagaan dimana beberapa orang bekerjasama dengan satu sama lain, seperti rasul Yahya dengan abangnya Yakobus bersama Petrus dan Andreas dalam perniagaan menangkap ikan (Sebelum mereka dipanggil oleh Isa, mereka adalah para nelayan. Rujuk Lukas 5:1-11). Mereka menebarkan jala bersama, mereka menaikkan ikan bersama, mereka berkongsi hasil perolehan bersama, mereka berhadapan dengan ribut dan hujan bersama. Hubungan seperti inilah yang dimaksudkan dengan “hidup dalam keakraban” bersama Isa al-Masih.

Bersaudara” bermaksud kita mempunyai hubungan-perkongsian dengan Isa. Kita berkongsi kehidupan kita dengan Dia, Dia dengan kita, kamu dan saya. Melalui Isa al-Masih kita telah memasuki hubungan yang sangat intim dengan Bapa dan Roh Suci. Ini sangat luar biasa! Sebagai orang-orang berdosa, kita tidak mempunyai apa-apa yang membolehkan kita mempunyai hubungan dengan Allah Yang Maha Suci. Bahkan, kita tidak layak untuk berdiri dihadapan-Nya kerana dosa kita yang sangat besar. Tetapi, Allah Bapa sudah melakukan sesuatu yang indah buat kita, “darah Isa, Putera-Nya, menyucikan kita daripada segala dosa” (1 Yahya 1:7). Melalui Isa al-Masih kita dapat mempunyai hubungan yang intim dengan Allah Yang Maha Suci! Kerana Isa benar-benar mati di kayu salib bagi dosa kita semua, kita boleh datang dekat kepada Allah bila-bila masa, ketika dan dimana saja kita berada. Kita boleh mengenal Allah secara peribadi!

Dengan menjadi manusia, Isa menanggung segala dosa kita di kayu salib. Jika Isa datang sebagai “Yang Suci dari Allah” (Markus 1:24), dosa-dosa kita tidak boleh ditanggung-Nya kerana Dia suci. Oleh itu, Dia menjadi manusia. Firman Allah ada tertulis: “[Isa al-Masih] menanggung dosa kita dalam tubuh-Nya sendiri di kayu salib, supaya kita mati terhadap dosa dan hidup untuk kebenaran” (1 Petrus 2:24). Dia datang ke dunia supaya kita boleh pergi ke syurga. Dia dilahirkan oleh seorang dara melalui kuasa Roh Suci supaya kita boleh dilahirkan semula melalui Roh Suci-Nya. Dia menjadi Putera Insan supaya kita boleh menjadi anak-anak Allah. Melalui iman kita kepada Isa Al-Masih, kita “akan mengambil bahagian dalam sifat keilahian Allah” (2 Petrus 1:4), “kita menjadi benar di hadapan Allah” (2 Korintus 5:21), “dikasihi oleh Bapa” (Yahya 14:21), kesejahteraan-Nya akan ditinggalkan bagi kita (Yahya 14:27), kita akan tetap dalam kasih-Nya (Yahya 15:10) dan kebahagiaan-Nya ada dalam kita (Yahya 15:11). Ini sangat luar biasa!

Kita memiliki semua ini bersama kerana kita “bersaudara” dalam Isa al-Masih.
Inilah yang dimaksudkan dengan “keakraban dengan Bapa dan Putera-Nya Isa al-Masih
Adakah kamu mempunyai hubungan-perkongsian seperti ini dengan TUHAN kamu?
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

John the Baptist was Beheaded for Telling the Truth (Reflection on Mark 6:17-29)

I heard someone said, “You’re not ready to live until you’re ready to die.” Then I read the Book of Mark and tempted to alter that statement slightly to fit the death of John the Baptist in Mark 6:14-29 like this: “You’re not ready to live for Christ until you’re ready to die for Christ.” That is something that we all need to think about time and time again.

I remember when my senior asked me who my hero is, I answered without a pause, “John the Baptist!” I’m not sure exactly why I said something rash like that, but I was (and is) admired John’s boldness and fearless living. John boldly and publicly scolded Herod for his sinful involvement with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife by saying, “It isn’t right for you to marry your brother’s wife!” (Mark 6:18, GNB). Because of that Herod imprisoned John. On the other hand, Herodias “held grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because of Herod. Herod was afraid of John because he knew that John was a good and holy man, and so he kept him safe. He liked to listen to him, even though he became greatly disturbed every time he heard him” (Mark 6:119-20). Herod have a divided heart, a love-hate relationship with John.

But in the end of this recap story by Mark, Herodias eventually succeeded in having John executed. How? Through Herod’s lush and speedy vow he made in front of his guests due to a seductive dance by a young woman a.k.a. his own step daughter! The request was easy and simple: “I want you to give me here and now the head of John the Baptist on a plate!” (Mark 6:25). The reason was also simple: because John was telling the truth. Truth hurt, telling the truth may kill you. Good bye John the Baptist…

Now, I don’t believe that every time we speak out for God and tell the truth we will end up with death sentence. Sometime we may risk our lives, sometime we may just be ignored. But nonetheless, like John the Baptist, we are not ready to live for Christ until we are ready to die for Christ. What if God asked you to put your life in the line by doing something like John? How would you respond? It’s not an easy topic to discuss because humanly speaking we treasured our lives more than Christ (especially, when you read this you’re at your comfortable place and perhaps a good life). It’s easy for me to say to God that I will walk with Him, talk with Him, read His Word and witness for Him, but it’s not easy, even for you, to say “Jesus, I’ll gladly die for you” and mean it.

Seriously, brothers and sisters in Christ, whether we’re able to say and mean it or not, when we signed on as Jesus’ disciples, to follow Him rather than the world systems and religious, we’re signed for the Cross too (with that we also will have eternal life in Him). When we become Christians, true Christians – we are potential martyrs. Living for Jesus means that there is nothing more important than finding out what Jesus loves and hates, feeling and thinking, commands and joyfully obey. We probably, especially in Malaysia, might not experience death as a martyrs today like many Christians throughout the church history or like John the Baptist. But we should always be ready for the possibility (Just read the news). I’m thinking, what is the best way to be ready for the persecutions to come? This sentence from the beginning comes to mind: “You’re not ready to live for Christ until you’re ready to die for Christ.” We must be ready to live every day for Christ. This or never.

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Isa al-Masih ialah Hidup Itu (Renungan tentang 1 Yahya 1:2)

Isa berkata kepada pengikut-pengikut-Nya, "Akulah Roti Hidup itu" (Yahya 6:35)
Walaupun kita tidak pernah melihat sendiri Isa al-Masih seperti rasul Yahya, namun Isa menampakkan dirinya melalui kesaksian Yahya kepada kita. Rasul itu menulis:

Apa yang telah wujud sejak dari mulanya, yang telah kami dengar, yang telah kami sentuh dengan tangan – itulah yang kami beritakan tentang Firman yang memberi hidup. Hidup itu telah ditunjukkan; kami telah melihat, dan memberi kesaksian, serta memberitahumu tentang hidup kekal bersama Bapa yang telah ditunjukkan kepada kami
(1 Yahya 1:1-2, KSZI, Kitab Suci Zabur dan Injil).

Hidup itu” merujuk kepada keperibadian Isa yang tidak pernah dirahsiakan kepada sesiapapun, malah ditunjukkan kepada semua orang. Rasul Yahya sendiri telah menulis kitab Injil, kitab Wahyu, dan surat-surat supaya “hidup itu” diketahui oleh kita semua. Dia menulis dengan penuh dedikasi, tepat dan benar melalui apa yang dia sendiri telah lihat, dengar dan sentuh. Apabila Yahya menulis “kesaksian” ini bermaksud dia ialah saksi mata yang melihat sendiri keperibadian Isa al-Masih sebagai Putera Allah secara peribadi, bukan melalui perantaraan orang lain.

Sebagai Firman yang memberi kehidupan, Isa datang untuk menyatakan tentang kehidupan yang sebenar. Isa ingin memberi kita “hidup kekal bersama Bapa.” Isa sendiri berkata: “Akulah jalan, kebenaran dan hidup. Tidak seorang pun datang kepada Bapa kecuali melalui-Ku. Dengan mengenal-Ku, kamu mengenal Bapa-ku juga. Mulai sekarang kamu mengenal-Nya, malah sudahpun melihat-Nya” (Yahya 14:6-7). Dia ialah “hidup,” dialah pencipta segala kehidupan, dialah juga yang memelihara hidup itu.  

Lagi, selepas Isa bercerita tentang seorang gembala yang baik, dia memberi kesimpulan dengan berkata, “Aku datang supaya manusia mempunyai hidup yang berlimpah-limpah” (Yahya 10:10). Tanpa Isa al-Masih, Putera Allah kehidupan kita kosong, tidak bermakna dan tiada tujuan. Kita mungkin bernyawa tetapi tidak mempunyai kehidupan yang sebenar. Oleh itu, Isa datang untuk memberi hidup kepada kita. Mengenal Isa secara peribadi dan mempunyai hubungan dengan Bapa melalui Putera Allah bermaksud kita mempunyai “hidup kekal.” Isa berfirman, “Inilah hidup kekal, iaitu mereka mengenal-Mu sebagai satu-satunya Tuhan Yang Benar, dan mengenal Isa al-Masih yang Kauutus” (Yahya 17:3, KSZI).

Adakah kamu mempunyai hidup itu?
Mahukah kamu memiliki hidup kekal?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Isa al-Masih ialah Firman yang menjadi Manusia (Renungan tentang 1 Yahya 1:1)

Rasul Yahya benar-benar pernah mendengar, melihat, menyentuh Isa. Oleh itu, dia menulis dan bersaksi.
Apa yang telah wujud sejak dari mulanya, yang telah kami dengar, yang telah kami lihat,
dan yang telah kami beritakan tentang Firman yang memberi hidup
(1 Yahya 1:1, KSZI, Kitab Suci Zabur dan Injil)

Lebih kurang dua ribu tahun dahulu, Yang Kekal telah menjadi manusia dan dilahirkan oleh seorang dara (Lukas 1:35). Misteri yang tidak mungkin kita dapat ungkapkan dengan kata-kata. Tuhan datang sebagai manusia; Tuhan sepenuhnya, dan manusia sepenuhnya. Dia Tuhan seperti Dia bukan manusia; Dia mempunyai darah daging seperti Dia ialah bukan Tuhan. Akal fikiran kita tidak dapat memikirkannya, “Firman itu menjadi manusia dan hidup di kalangan kita. Kita melihat kemuliaan-Nya sebagai Putera tunggal yang datang daripada Allah Bapa, penuh dengan kasih kurnia dan kebenaran” (Yahya 1:14).

Surat Yahya yang pertama (1 Yahya) ditulis untuk menyangkal pemahaman ajaran sesat pada masa itu yang mengatakan bahawa Isa al-Masih, Putera Allah, tidak mungkin telah menjadi manusia. Oleh itu rasul Yahya menulis: “yang telah kami dengar, yang telah kami lihat, dan yang telah kami beritakan” – Isa benar-benar ialah manusia! Dengan telinga mereka, rasul Yahya dan pengikut-pengikut yang lain telah mendengar Isa berfirman. Dengan mata mereka, Yahya dan yang lain telah melihat kehidupan Isa yang sempurna, kematian Isa di kayu salib, dan kebangkitan Isa dari kematian. Dengan minda dan fikiran mereka, mereka telah mendalami keperibadian Isa, mengkaji kehidupannya dan memikirkan dakwaan-dakwaan Isa. Dengan tangan mereka sendiri, mereka telah menyentuh dia. Bukan sebagai roh atau ilusi seperti yang digambarkan oleh guru-guru agama sesat, tetapi sebagai manusia yang sejati. Tetapi bukan sekadar manusia biasa, Isa ialah Putera Allah, Tuhan-manusia.

Ini bukan kepercayaan yang diberitakan dari pihak ke-dua, tetapi kepercayaan yang datang melalui pengalaman peribadi. Yahya dan mereka yang lain benar-benar pernah tinggal bersama Isa lebih kurang tiga tahun lamanya. Ianya bukan kerana mereka mengenal Isa secara fisikal yang mengubah kehidupan mereka, tetapi hubungan rohani dengan Isa yang telah mengubah kehidupan mereka. Mereka bukan hanya kenal Isa, mereka mengenali Isa! Mereka menyerahkan hidup mereka kepada Isa al-Masih dengan iman sebagai Junjungan Yang Esa dan Penyelamat. Isa benar-benar adalah Hidup mereka.

Rasul Yahya mengenal Isa secara peribadi kerana dia telah “dilahirkan semula” (Yahya 3:3) secara rohani. Inilah pengalaman sukacita yang Yahya ingin kita rasai dan alami sendiri di dalam Isa al-Masih. Dengan percaya dan beriman kepada Isa, kita juga boleh mengenal dia dan beroleh hidup kekal! Amen.
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Do Not Soften God's Word to Please Anybody

Jesus can bring you out of darkness to the Light
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household” (Acts 16:31)

Whenever I’m losing my focus, I’ll come back to my old friend. A good friend that was very faithful to his Lord. A friend that I cherish because he loves Jesus more than his life. A teacher, mentor and brother. My dead old friend that always remind me of what’s matter most in my life – Jesus. His name is Charles H. Spurgeon (1834 – 1892). These words of wisdom speaking to me about the urgency of Christ’s message to all people, why sometime we have to say what we need to say even if people may not like it. Truth is like that…

“Everybody says, ‘Be quiet about the wrath to come, or you will have everybody down upon you.’ Be down upon me, then! I will not soften God’s word to please anybody; and the Word of the Lord is very clear on this matter. If you receive not the Lord Jesus Christ, you will die in your sins. If you believe not in Him, you must perish from His presence. There is a day coming when you will die. After this, comes another day when you must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, and all your actions shall be published, and you shall be judged for the things done in the body, whether they be good or whether they be evil. And then you shall receive the sentence of, ‘Come, you blessed,’ or ‘Depart, you cursed.’

Do you think we like to preach this? Do you think that it is any pleasure to the servant of God to deliver these heavy things? Oh, no! We speak in the bitterness of our spirit every often, but we speak because we dare not refrain. It is infinitely better that men should be told the truth than that they should be flattered by a lie into eternal ruin. He ought to have the commendation of all men, not who makes things pleasant, but who speaks things truly. Somebody is preaching of how to get people out of Hell. I preach about how to keep them out of Hell. Do not go there. Keep you clear of the fire, which never can be quenched. Escape for your lives; look not behind you; stay not in all the plain, but haste to Christ, the mountain of salvation, and put your trust in Him.”
[Taken from Spurgeon Gold by Ray Comfort (Bridge-Logos, 2005)]

Powerful. Very powerful message.
Loving. Bold. Truth.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Let Jesus Be Jesus (Reflection on Mark 6:14-16)

Now King Herod heard about all this, because Jesus’ reputation had spread everywhere. Some people were saying, ‘John the Baptist has come back to life! That is why he has this power to perform miracles.’ Others, however, said, ‘He is Elijah.’ Others said, ‘He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.’ When Herod heard it, he said, ‘He is John the Baptist! I had his head cut off, but he has come back to life!’” (Mark 6:14-16, GNB).

After Jesus sends out the twelves disciples (read Mark 6:6-13) for mission around Nazareth nearby villages, “Jesus’ reputation had spread everywhere.” Because of this, there are many speculations about who he really is. Some thought he was Elijah, the great prophet of the Old Testament. It is commonly expected that Elijah would return to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah (However, John the Baptist fulfilled this expectation in preparing the way for Jesus). Others, however, thought that he simply one of the prophets sent by God to Israel. Jesus spoke with authority like no other and probably he was because there had been silent in Israel for three centuries since prophet Malachi.

Most people, like Herod, thought that Jesus was John the Baptist. Of course, both of them preached the message of the Kingdom of God and called people to repentance. Some suggest because Jesus and John were cousins, they might have looked alike. Interesting. But the fact was – John is death. Herod out of his guilty and bad memory said, “I had [John] head cut off, but he has come back to life!” Guilty breed superstition.

I’m surprise, people even today won’t allow Jesus to be Jesus. We like to compare him with other great men of the world. But he is the One and only. None like him. Even though Jesus said “among those born of women there is no one greater than John” (Luke 7:28), John said that Jesus “is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie” (John 1:27). Jesus is greater, incomparable One. Michael Green in his book Navigating the Multi-Faith Maze, writes: “Jesus is unique among religious leaders in claiming to bring God to our world in His own person and making good that claim by such powerful evidences.” When I read the Gospel stories and think of history of today, no other spiritual leader or teacher but Jesus of Nazareth ever claimed to bring God to man, dealt radically with our wickedness, broke the final barrier of death and to offers to ‘live inside’ his followers.

C.S. Lewis, my favourite author, said that when it comes to the categorical claims of Jesus Christ regarding his Divinity, “There is no half-way house, and there is no parallel in other religions. If you had gone to Buddha and asked him, ‘Are you the son of Brahah?’ he would have said, ‘My son, you are still in the vale of illusion.’ If you had gone to Socrates and asked, ‘Are you Zeus?’ he would have laughed at you. If you had gone to Muhammad and asked, ‘Are you Allah?’ he would first have rent his clothes and then cut off your head.” When the high priest asked Jesus, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:63-64, NLT). No denial. Directly answered. Jesus, are you the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God? Yes, you say that I am.

Do you want to know Jesus? Let him be as he is. Let he tells you His Story through God’s Word, the Bible, especially the gospel stories. Don’t be afraid. There is no spell or magical charm about the Bible. The Bible is just a book, an ordinary book. The greatness about the Bible is the Person behind the book. This is why the Bible, on the other hand, is extraordinary. Your religious teachers may advice you to stay away from the book, but don’t be afraid. Let Jesus be Jesus. Another way is through Prayer. Pray like this: “Jesus, I don’t know if you’re for real or not. I want to know you more. Amen.” Be open to any guidance in your life. See that if you really looking for the truth, God will show you the way. Let Jesus be Jesus. Another way or as compliment to the Bible and prayer is to join God’s People Worshiping Together. There is something unique about Christians coming together. Don’t be afraid. Just enter in, dress appropriately, people won’t chase you away. Your present in the ‘live’ worship may just a stepping stone for Jesus to speak to you. The people won’t convert you, the presence of the Holy Spirit will. No force. Jesus want to be known, that’s all. Let Jesus be Jesus.
[Let continue Mark 6:17-29 on another article]

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Have You Heard Heavenly Music Lately?

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up,
left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)

We live in a very busy and noisy world. Think about how life was less busy and much quieter (imagine) 100 years ago, 300 years ago, 500 years ago, 1,000 years ago, 10,000 years ago. It is only in recent time the world has become extremely busy and very noisy. We might probably not adapted to this yet, since everything changes so fast nowadays. Whenever we thoughts we have settled, another changes took place, even now. The most suffers are the young generations. We have iPad, iPhone, iPod, Facebook, Twitters, Instagram, assignments, practises, classes, and hundreds of mundane works!

Therefore, we need to experience quiet time in order to balance the busyness and loudness of life. Seek out and take advantage of quiet time. I know, for most of us, it is common to think of time spent doing nothing or solitude relaxing as a “waste” of time. But it is actually just the opposite. Everyone needs to pause, slow down, stop, breathe, and be in a solitude with God. Solitude is not loneliness. Loneliness is inner emptiness, whereas solitude is inner plenty. Loneliness is marked by a sense of isolation. Solitude, on the other hand, is a state of being alone without being lonely and can lead to self-awareness.

I don’t know if you realize this or not, but Jesus practised quiet time and solitude during his life and ministry. Jesus did not get away by himself just to get away from people, of course. But he used time of solitude as a means of getting closer to God. In his humanity, he knew that he needed to maintain a close relationship with God if he wanted to be effective in his ministry. He wanted a close relationship with the Father. He wanted to hear God whisper. He wanted to hear that “still small voice” of the Father speaks to him. So, Jesus intentionally sought quiet time and solitude so that he could hear God’s voice clearer.

Follow Jesus. Seek out your personal quiet time. By doing so, you are developing a sense of calm awareness, patience, attentive, refreshed and centred. This is something that will come in handy, possibly save you, many time in the future. Friends, the quieter you become – in heart, soul and mind – the more you can hear… there is heavenly music in silence.

Psalm 46 background are very busy and noisy,
But God through the psalmist still can say, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Verse 10)
It’s not about the place, it’s about attitude.

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