Showing posts from 2006

Why Jesus Came

From my family, I would like to greet each of you an advanced blessed Christmas! I encourage you to watch The Nativity Story with your family or friends. Then, after the movie, you can share the good news of salvation to them. Again, God gave us an open door to share the Gospel at Hollywood’s expense!

Let me share with you the real score behind the nativity. Romans 5:6-10 gives us the reasons why Jesus came. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”[1]

First, Hi…

The Nativity

Mike Rich, a Hollywood screenwriter (Finding Forrester and The Rookie), was more than pleased when he saw that Time and Newsweek both had the birth of Christ in their 2004 covers. An evangelical Christian, Rich felt stirred to write a story about the events surrounding the event.

He intensely researched for eleven months before sitting down to write. It took him a whole month to finish the script. Then, as an executive producer, he worked on crafting a movie for almost a year. With an award-winning line-up (like Keisha Castle-Hughes of Whale Rider as Mary and Oscar Isaacs of Syriana as Joseph), the production filmed in Italy and Morocco. It was such an international cast with actors and actresses from twenty-three nations that on the set you can hear seven languages spoken.

The result? The Nativity Story.

Rich creatively focused on recreating the human side of the story, that is, the love story of Mary and Joseph, the shocking news that she is pregnant of wedlock and the reaction of Jose…

Compelled by Love

A man was surprised to receive a letter from his former girlfriend. Her letter goes like this:

Dearest Jimmy, No words could ever express the great sorrow I’ve felt since breaking up with you. Please say you’ll take me back in your arms. No one could ever take your place in my heart. So please forgive me. I love you... I love you... I love you! Yours forever, Marie.

P.S. And congratulations on winning the state lottery.[1]

Such “love” is actually selfish. It looks out only for its own interest. It is not something you want to be yours forever.

But this is not the case with God’s love. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8, NIV) That’s the kind of love one would want to have forever.

The Presidential Security Group woul…

How to Pursue a Significant Life (Summary of the Ephesians series)

Good AM. At the gate of FEBIAS College of Bible, you would see these words: “This life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” It is my prayer for each one of us that we would live our lives in such a way that it would last for Christ.

This morning we will wrap up our verse-by-verse study on the book of Ephesians, which we started last January. Throughout our series we sought to establish how we can live a significant life.

Allow me to summarize our series with the acronym P-U-R-S-U-E.

“P” stands for PURSUE your calling. We saw that chapter 4 verse 1 is the key verse of Ephesians. “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”[1] From chapters 1 to 3, Paul showed the calling we received from God. Make no mistake. He called all of us. Then from chapters 4 to 6, he showed how to live the life worthy of that calling. We are to pursue our call to live a life that matters. My role is to equip you to do just that. Your …

Cradle Power

If there was already CNN in 1809, it would have announced that, “The destiny of the world is being shaped on an Austrian battlefield today.” For Napoleon was sweeping through Austria . That was the biggest news at that time.

But CNN and the entire world would be overlooking some very significant births.

Let us look at some of the babies born at that time. William Gladstone was born that year. He became one of England ’s finest statesmen. That year, Alfred Tennyson was born also. He would one day greatly influence the literary world. At the same year, in America , a newborn infant cried for the first time in a rugged log cabin in Kentucky . What was the baby’s name? Abraham Lincoln. History took shape not in the battlefield of Austria but actually in the cradles of England and America .[1]

Similarly, around 4 B.C., the big news was that “Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.” (Luke 2:1, NIV) That was the year Jesus was born. Yet, the worl…

The “Thorpedo” Hangs His Shorts

Australia’s Ian Thorpe, after swimming to 13 world records, winning five Olympic gold medals and 11 world titles, recently announced that he is through with competitive swimming.

The “Thorpedo” is retiring... at 24.

According to an Associated Press report, “Plagued by illness, injury and a lack of motivation, Thorpe hasn’t competed in a major international event since the Athens Olympics.” A comeback for Thorpe is uncertain though he did not rule it out: “I never rule anything out, but it’s not going to happen.”

Why? Thorpe explains in front of 100 photographers and reporters: “I was catapulted into the international limelight as a kid. I’ve reached all the dizzying heights of this sport. It’s been a tough decision to make. None of my goals included breaking any more world records. I knew how to do it, but it wasn’t as inspiring as it should have been.” (Source: Yahoo! News)

I think the apostle Paul had an experience somewhat like that. “We can list what many might think are impressive cr…

How to Pray for a Significant Life

This morning, I believe millions of people, not only Filipinos and Mexicans but boxing fans all over the world, will be closely watching the final bout between Erik “El Terible” Morales and our very own Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao in the Thomas and Mack Arena, which is said to be the biggest show ever in Las Vegas. They are fighting to become the most significant or important boxer of our times.[1]

But I believe God is watching someone else. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”[2] Imagine God zooming in on the Philippines, courtesy of Google Maps. Then He focuses on this portion of Luzon, which is more than 28 square kilometers in total land area. This is the central business district of the country. God is now looking at Makati City. Then He zooms farther. Now, this building over here looks familiar. Yes, you are here in this worship place called Makati Gospel Church. The Bible says God i…

Far More Valuable than Picasso

Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn calls it “the world’s clumsiest and goofiest thing to do.”

Wynn owns “Le Reve,” a valuable 1932 work of Picasso which he bought for more than US$48 million almost a decade ago. Last month, he accidentally poked a thumb-sized hole in the canvas with his elbow while he was showing it off to his rich and famous friends. Around 36 hours before the mishap, he just agreed to sell it for a whopping $139 million in exchange for another precious painting of Picasso. “The blood just drained out of their faces,” Wynn described his guests among whom was broadcaster Barbara Walters. “They did not know what to say. I just turned around and said, ‘Oh, my God. How could I have done this?’” It would cost him $85,000 to have it repaired so that the tear will not be visible.

Now the art world is talking about “diminution of value.” A member of International Society of Appraisers said, A restored piece naturally is not worth full value. Usually when you have a unique, ver…

How to maintain moral integrity in the ministry

In view of the sex scandal in America involving a prominent minister, allow me to share an article from Dr. Rick Warren, bestselling author of The Purpose Driven Life.I believe what he wrote applies not only to pastors and also to all of us.

How to maintain moral integrity in the ministry
by Rick Warren

Integrity is the foundation of leadership. You only lead people if they trust you. If you lose people's trust, you've lost it all. That's why the right to lead is earned, and it's earned by being trustworthy. I think the most damaging sin a leader can commit is to betray the trust of his people.

Because Satan is on the attack, I want to share some biblical strategies for maintaining moral integrity in the ministry. In 2 Corinthians 1:12 (NIV), Paul says, "This is our boast. Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God." What I like about this verse is …

Close enough is not enough

An accountant in response to an ad applied for a high position with a large auditing firm. He went through a battery of tests and panel interviews. At the end of the final interview, the chairman of the board asked, “One last question—what is three times seven?”

The accountant impulsively answered, “Twenty-two.” After the interview, he realized he gave a wrong answer. He thought he lost the job. But he was surprised when the firm offered him the post later. So, he asked why he got the job despite the fact that he gave the wrong answer. The chairman with a shrug answered, “You were the closest.”[1]

Of course, that can’t be true. Accounting is an exact science. It is not enough to be close enough. You have to be right... down to the last centavo. That’s not being narrow. That’s the truth.

However, there are people who mistakenly think that God is like the interviewer. They think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re close to the truth. But, in heaven as it is in accounting,…

Ghost Myths

Even if Halloween seems to be a western festival, we Filipinos are into it also. Just stroll in the mall and we see a lot of fake cobwebs and plastic skeletons. Horror movies are popular movie genres nowadays. TV news programs are now working 24/7 just to make sure their Halloween episodes would be the scariest. Thus, allow me to debunk some myths on ghosts.

Myth # 1: Ghosts don’t exist. Yes, they do. We can’t deny the supernatural. We can’t always dismiss ghost stories as exaggerations, imaginations or indigestions. We have to accept that there is an invisible world which is as real as the visible one. Jesus taught about the after-life. If you can’t accept what he taught about life after death, don’t accept any of his teachings at all.

Myth #2: Ghosts are spirits of dead people.
No, they’re not. In Luke 16, in the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, Jesus made it clear that “between [paradise] and [hell] a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to [hell] ca…

Laying Everything on the Line

Michael Monsoor always dreamed of becoming a Navy SEAL, one the most elite, top-secret military units of the United States. To become one, Monsoor had to go through a 25-week grueling training, one of the most punishing programs in the military. Observers actually christened it hazing. In fact, the dropout rate is more than 50%. But Monsoor had to quit when he first went through the training due to a broken heel. Yet that did not deter him. He worked out for two more years then reentered the training. This time he passed. According to his family, when he finally graduated, “It was his proudest moment.”

In an encounter last May in Iraq, despite heavy fire from the enemy, Monsoor with another SEAL pulled an injured team member to safety. He got a Silver Star for his courage. Then last September, Monsoor with his team was providing sniper security in a mission. A rebel threw a grenade into their position. According to an Associated Press report, it hit Monsoor on the chest then it bounced…

Wage a Winning War for Life (Part 3)

Unless we are soldiers, we have no idea how intense a battle can get except by what we see on CNN. Let us watch a portion of the movie “Gladiator” by Russell Crowe so we can visualize the spiritual armor that God gave us. [Watch the opening battle scene in “Gladiator”]

Your battles in life are as real as that battle scene. And there are times you just want to surrender. But the Bible assures us that we can wage a winning war for life. We are not just survivors. Romans 8:37 declares that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”[1]

Last time we looked into the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness and the sandals of the gospel of peace. We are to live committed, consistent and confident lives. To continue our study, let us read Ephesians 6:16-17... “In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the wo…