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Showing posts from March, 2015

God the Holy Spirit

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Walking along the shore, a man saw a boy scooping water from the sea with his bare hands and then running towards a hole in the sand to dump the water. After watching him do it a few times, he asked the boy, “What are you doing?” He replied with a determined smile, “I’m trying to put the sea into that hole.”

It’s the same when we study the doctrine of the Trinity. This led a theologian to quip, “He who tries to understand the Trinity fully will lose his mind; but he who denies it will lose his soul.” People who deny the doctrine use the simplistic argument that the word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. But they are not consistent. They use other terms that are not scriptural also, too, such as “omniscient” (“God is all-knowing”). Though admittedly the term itself is not found in it, the teaching on the Trinity is actually in the Bible. The term “is used to summarize the teaching of Scripture that… God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fu…

Life As Usual?

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Somebody asked this pointed question, “If the Holy Spirit would leave our church, would we notice the difference?” In his “Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit,” Pastor Francis Chan expressed his fear that it might be “business as usual” for many churches. Even our church growth can happen without Him. Let’s be honest: If you combine a charismatic speaker, a talented worship band, and some hip, creative events, people will attend your church. Yet this does not mean that the Holy Spirit of God is actively working and moving in the lives of the people who are coming. It simply means that you have created a space that is appealing enough to draw people in for an hour or two on Sunday. It certainly does not mean that people walk out the doors moved to worship and in awe of God. People are more likely to describe the quality of the music or the appeal of the sermon than the One who is the reason people gather for “church” in the first place. [1]
Will it be business …

Giving Till It Hurts?

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One church got a special box for its tithes and offering to encourage (read: force) people to give more money.  If you drop in a hundred pesos or more, it would make no noise, it will be silent. If you give fifty pesos, a little bell would ring. If you gave twenty pesos, it would blow a whistle. If you give ten pesos, a siren would go off. If you give five pesos or less, a shot would sound. If you give nothing, it would take your picture and post it on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with all the church members tagged on it! [1]We usually hear people say, “Give till it hurts.” But, we should not dread giving. We should give till it stops hurting. We should delight in giving. It is not supposed to be a burden but a blessing. One way of making sure that money occupies its rightful place in our hearts is through our giving. Always remember that God blesses us not just to increase our standard of living but also, much more, to increase our standard of giving.

We are both responsible to God …

Faith At Work

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How we view money, whether it belongs to God or to us, will affect the way we view work. 
For a person with a poverty mentality, he works only to meet basic needs. Of course, 1 Timothy 5:8 tells us, “But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” But the problem is that he endures and does not enjoy his work. How do we know if we have prosperity mentality? We are really driven to get rich that we compromise our standards or we cut corners, like cheating on our taxes or not paying the right wages. Another indication is when we work ourselves to death. Keep in mind that we work to make a living. We don’t live to work.
It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know he enjoys giving rest to those he loves? (Psalm 127:2, The Message)One time, I saw someone wearing a t-shirt that says, “Life is not a job.” I thought, “That could be…

Love People. Use Money.

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Our Lord Jesus did not call money as “true riches” but “worldly wealth” (Luke 16:11, NIV). Money is not to be considered our true riches. That’s why it makes no sense to love money for it is not our true riches, no matter how little or how many we have. We are to love people and use money, not love money and use people. How we view the lack or the abundance of money, how we relate to the rich and the poor, depends on our mentality. 
Those with poverty mentality think that spiritual or godly people are those who are poor. Why? Because they are humble. And the unspiritual people are those who are rich. Why? Because they are proud.  On the other hand, those with prosperity mentality think that the spiritual people are those who are rich. Why? Because allegedly God blessed them with so much as proof of His favor upon them. And the ungodly people are those who are poor. Why? Because supposedly they don’t have enough faith to believe God for His provisions. Both poverty mentality and prosper…

Money Is A Trust Issue (Part 2)

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Money is a commitment. Look at Luke 16:10 again. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Note the words “faithful” (in the NIV, “trusted”) and “dishonest.”So, according to stewardship mentality, a godly person is someone who is faithful and who could say, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.” (Philippians 4:11b) And, for that mentality, an ungodly person is someone who is unfaithful or dishonest and greedy.

Why? Our treasures are merely entrusted to us. It is not really ours. Luke 16:12 says, “And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” (NIV) Notice the words “someone else’s property.”We are just managers, not owners. 
Money is also a conduit through which we serve and love God. According to Luke 16:13, No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to…

Money Is A Trust Issue (Part 1)

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Here in Filinvest Community Christian Fellowship, we talk about money matters because we believe that our money matters to God. And when it comes to money, we have to avoid two extremes. (Dr. Steve Hobson, my leadership professor at the International Graduate School of Leadership, helped shaped my thinking on this.) I learned that we are to pursue neither poverty nor prosperity but stewardship. 

The first extreme is what we call poverty mentality. It is to think that money is a necessary evil, that to be spiritual, a person must take a vow of poverty. The second extreme is prosperity mentality. It is to think that having a lot of money is a proof that you are spiritual, that it is God’s will for each one of us to be rich. Instead of these two extremes, adhere to a stewardship mentality. We must remember, “money is a training ground and trust from God.” [1] The problem with both poverty and prosperity mentalities is that they have some truth in them or half-truths. But a half-truth is a…

A “Gospel” That Is Not Really The Gospel

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Prosperity preacher Creflo Dollar, founder of World Changers Church International, reaped a whirlwind of criticisms when he launched his Project G650 Campaign, asking for “200,000 people to donate $300 each so he can buy a brand new luxurious $65 million Gulfstream G650 airplane for his ministry” [1] Other than the recent engine failure of his thirty-one-year-old private jet, Dollar explained that “he needs one of the most luxurious private jets made today in order to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

One of those who reacted negatively to his campaign posted on Twitter: “Creflo Dollar needs $65 million for a new jet so he can spread the gospel. Is the gospel so weak it can’t endure coach?”

Because of the adverse reaction, he reportedly scrapped the project. According to his spokesperson, “He’s gonna continue traveling commercial.” [4] 

Dollar is one of the purveyors of the so-called prosperity gospel.  He preaches the prosperity gospel, which basically boils down to the idea that God re…

“Tetelestai!”

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“It is finished!” (John 19:30) That’s the sixth of the seven last words of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. He did not say, “I am finished!” It was not a cry of surrender. It was a declaration of victory. In the Greek, He shouted, “Tetelestai!” that is,“It is finished, it stands finished, and it always will be finished!”[1] That word is rich in meaning. A servant would use [tetelestai] when reporting to his or her master, “I have completed the work assigned to me” (see John 17:4). When a priest examined an animal sacrifice and found it faultless, this word would apply. Jesus, of course, is the perfect Lamb of God, without spot or blemish. When an artist completed a picture, or a writer a manuscript, he or she might say, “It is finished!” The death of Jesus on the cross “completes the picture” that God had been painting, the story that He had been writing, for centuries. … Perhaps the most meaningful meaning of tetelestai was that used by the merchants: “The debt is paid in full!” Wh…

The Greeks Have A Word For It (Part 3)

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We are bought with a great price. We are bought from the slave market of sin. We are bought to be set free. Those were the facets of the diamond of redemption. We got the big picture from the three Greek verbs that the apostle Paul used to described redemption. We already learned what agarazo and exagorazo mean. Now we look at the third one, lytroo. Related to the verb “to loose” (luo), it carriesthe fullest meaning of redemption, namely, “to set free by the payment of a ransom.” …Jesus’ death [is] the redemption price that sets us free and motivates us to live for Him. … A related noun is apolytrosis, the act of buying a slave so that he is free. When a person believes in Christ, he or she is freed from the slavery to sin. [1]
We were not bought to become slaves. We were bought to become free. This is the Greek word that Paul used in Ephesians 1:7. “In him we have redemption [from lytroo] through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace”. It is…