Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Why are we doing what we are doing?

Someone wrote, “The wisest person is not the one who knows the right answers but the one who asks the right questions.”

I came across a sermon by Dr. John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis who authored more than 20 books and host of a daily radio program, Desiring God. It is really a thought-provoking one that would lead us to ask,
“Why are we doing what we are doing?”

We are to live our lives aligned with God’s goal for us. Piper wrote,
“For if we don't know His goal and our lives are not in alignment with it, then we will find ourselves at cross purposes with God and excluded from His Kingdom in the age to come. It is a fearful thing to be at cross purposes with your maker! But on the other hand, nothing inspires courage and endurance and pluck for daily living like knowing the purpose of God and feeling yourself wholeheartedly in harmony with it.”

Why did God create us? In Isaiah 43:7, God declared, “They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory.” (Good News Bible) He created us to bring honor to Him. You may say, “That verse refers to Israel.” But the apostle Paul also wrote: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.(1 Corinthians 10:31, New Int’l Version) Piper explained, “This is not an admonition to do God a favor. It is a command to align our lives with His eternal goal. He created us for His glory.”

Brethren, I encourage you to take this calling seriously. I shared to you and will continue sharing to you what God wants to do in and through us. God wants us to fulfill His Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) and His Great Commandment (22:37-40). As long as we fulfill these, we glorify God. Failure to do so means we are at cross purposes with God.

So, let’s go back to our question: “Why are we doing what we are doing?” Are we here to fulfill that goal to give God glory? Or are we just playing church?

P.S. By the time you read this, my wife and I are on our way to Singapore. We will attend the Asia-Pacific Healthy Church Conference 2006 by Sonlife Ministries. Other than safe travel, pray also that we will learn everything we need to learn from this conference. Thank you!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

The Right Way that Leads to Life

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 16:25, NIV

Last weekend, two contrasting events occurred.
There is a crowd that rushed to their death and another crowd that flocked to their life.

Tragedy struck in the Wowowee anniversary celebration at the ULTRA last Saturday, February 4. Around 50,000 people tried to cram inside the sports arena that can only seat 19,000. They pinned their hopes in that show which dangled prizes up to a million pesos. They hoped that winning would change their future. But a stampede broke that killed more than 70 people. It was such a waste of life! It was a way that seemed right, but in the end it led to death.

Salvation occurred, on the other hand, in Rizal Park during the Metro Manila Franklin Graham Festival on February 2-5. A total of 317,600 people joined the 4-night festival. When Franklin Graham gave the invitation, 33,844 people came forward either to accept the Lord Jesus as their Savior or to rededicate their lives to Him. It was a wondrous sight to behold! It was a right way that in the end led to life.

When I heard the tragedy, I thought, “It would have been different if they went to the Festival instead.” But sadly there were reports that the victims were there few days before the show. I can only hope that someone shared the Gospel to them when they were still alive. That underscores the fact that people desperately need to hear the Good News. People are looking for hope, searching for salvation, grasping for something or someone to hold on to.

Thus, I appeal to each one. I thank God that MGC supported the Festival in full force. From the executive committee to the ushers, from planning the event to the stacking of chairs, an MGC member is involved. We are a small church yet I believe we made a big impact in the Festival.

But this is not the end. This is only the beginning. Let us press on. Keep on sharing the Gospel. Keep on inviting people to our church. Cultivate relationship with seekers. Plant the seeds of the truth in their hearts. Reap the harvest by proclaiming the Good News to them. Make it your lifestyle to witness for Christ in words and works.

“For [God] says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2

Brethren, let us lead people to the right way that in the end leads to life.