Goal Setting

As the year 2011 ends, we should look at 2012 not just hope and optimism but a specific goal in mind. What do I want to achieve? What do I want to do that will make an impact to me as an individual and to others? More importantly is how will I put God in the center of my goals and plans for next year.

As we look the in the topic of goal setting let us look at the text we will study. Written for the believers James, an apostle and the brother of Jesus Christ, points out how we usually plan or set goals.

James 4:13 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:”

We can see here that, using a usual business venture, a plan that has been made:

1.)    The duration of time

2.)    Target location

3.)    The methods they will use to profit

4.)    The main goal: to earn

As you can see its all set. I think they thoroughly studied, surveyed the market, considered if their goods are in demand etc,. Perhaps all they have learned from their business school (if they had one in those days) and life long experience are in place and are ready to take off. But something is quite wrong. Very wrong!

Turn verses 14 and 15, will give you why they are wrong:

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

“For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

What’s wrong? They left out two important things. One, the uncertainty of life. We are not secure on what will happen next. We don’t know what‘s waiting for us after we step out of the door. We don’t know what’s in store. Life is a vapor. A fleeting moment. As John MacArthur puts it “it is like steam from a cup of coffee”.  Don’t hold to dear life that made us plan and set those goals.

Second, they forgot God to be in their plans. Not that they are planning some ungodly activities or employ dirty tactics but they explicitly forgot God. It’s easy for us Christians to neglect God. Once we have this plan or goal in mind that we know we will benefit we set all our strength to pursue it. We make a map on what we will do and who are the right people to contact for our success. We even pray for it and see that it is godly. But no matter how beneficial or godly it may be if we neglect God in our plan or goal it will not be a success. Also remember success is not determined in your perspective but by God’s perspective. True success is seeing God in your goal. Acknowledging Him that He holds everything.

So why should we recognize those things found in verses 14 and 15? Well by reading the whole chapter we can see that:

  1. It makes us love our strength not God’s providence (v.15)
  2. It makes ground for boasting (v. 16-17)
  3. It makes us love the world more than God (v. 4)
  4. We reject submission to God’s will (v. 6, 7)
  5. We became a constant target of the devil (v. 9)
  6. It results in sin (v. 1-5,11, 17)

Verse 15: “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

My goal for 2012 is to have Children’s library for our church. I’m targeting 100 children’s reading materials to minister those children in our Sunday school. Isn’t that great? But as I read our text in James, I should consider my plans and goals for this project that I don’t hold time and I should surrender it to my heavenly Father. Praying and seeking biblical guidance is more important than knowing where I could buy the books, the budget to allocate for the materials and how to take care of the books. Letting the Holy Spirit take control of this project is more important. It’s by God sovereign grace that will determine the outcome. Don’t search for a place where God can fit in the plan or goal. He is everywhere in it. Most importantly it’s His plan and goal. We are merely the steward of it. We should remember that.

So what’s your goal this year? I would like to hear it. Please post it on the comments.

 

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God with Us (Matt. 1:23)

(This is the sermon I delivered on our Sunday School Christmas Fellowship last December 18, 2011)

Matthew 1:23 “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Kids, notice the two persons mentioned in the text. Who are they? First, is God and second is us. Notice again the word “with”. God wants to be near us. God wants to be close to us. I can go to one of you then say “I’m near you” or to one of your friends and say “I’m close to you.”

Kids, who among you have a daddy? Who among you have a daddy working abroad? Do you want to be with him this Christmas? Who among you sleep with your parents? Do you know why they sleep with you? Because they know you and love you. Do you want to sleep with a beggar? A jeepney driver? A complete stranger? Of course not. Why? Because you don’t know them and they don’t know you. Our God is a father and he knows you and loves you. And as a father He wants to be near you.

That’s what God wants. The real meaning of Christmas is God wants to be with us or near us. He doesn’t want an angel, animal or plant to represent Him to you but He wants Himself to be near you. But there is one problem. God can’t be near you because of sin. Suppose I will give you a toothbrush. But first I used it to a dog and brushed it to the dog’s teeth. Then I gave the toothbrush to you. Will you use it? Will you accept it? Of course not. It’s yucky. That’s what sin is. God doesn’t like sin.

Who among you children wants God, please raise your hand. I’m not asking if you want to go to heaven. Satan wants to go to heaven too. Again who wants God, please raise your hand. Remember kids, God is holy. That means he doesn’t sin. He doesn’t want sin near Him. Kids, do you know sin? It is breaking the 10 Commandments. Who among you told a lie? If you told a lie you are a liar. Who among you took money from your parents? That makes you a thief isn’t? Who among you kids disobey your parents? You disobey your parents when you don’t study, when you are lazy. That is sin. You’re a liar, thief and you disobey your parents.

And where do sinners go? Yes, in hell. Imagine you and your mommy went shopping. Then a bad man snatches your mommy’s bag. The police caught the bad man. What do you think the policeman will do to the bad man? Yes, he will put him in jail. What if the policeman let go the bad man? Is that OK? No! That will make the policeman bad also.  What if a policeman caught someone over speeding? Then the man will say to the policeman “Please let me go I’ll be good for now on!” What should the policeman do? The policeman should say “That’s good that you’ll be good for now on but you need to pay the fine to get out of jail.” Again the man pleas” Please let me go, I’m sorry.” The policeman replied “Being sorry is good but you need to pay the fine to get out of jail.” The man answered back” But I don’t have the money to pay the fine.” The policeman said” I’m sorry but you have to go to jail.” Suddenly, a friend of the man came and said” I want to pay the fine my friend can’t pay.” He paid the fine and his friend is free to go. That’s what Jesus died for you and me. He paid our sins in the cross so that we don’t have to go to hell AND God can be near to us.

Jesus broke the barrier between God and man so that God can be near to us. That’s good news isn’t it kids? So we should repent and believe the gospel so that God can be near to you and me. The true meaning of Christmas is that God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, so that our sins can be forgiven and God can be near us forever. Jesus is that gift that God wants to give you. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Greatest Gift for God

(Psalms 116: 12&13, 17-19)

Notice the title of this devotion: “The Greatest Gift for God”. Look closely at the word “for” and not “from”. Its means we are the ones who will be giving the gift. We know the greatest gift from God is His Son—Jesus Christ. We have heard it many times that He died to purchase us from sin and made us child of God. He is our only way of salvation. And that His greatest gift to us.

But have you ever wonder what can I give in return to God. King David, in writing this psalm ponders that question too. You might be surprise with the answer.

Psalms 116: 12 we read “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?”

I know you might be receiving much of blessing from God. A good career, good health, debt free and a happy family. This Christmas season for sure you’ll receive presents from people who cares for you. With all those blessings we have this intuition to somewhat share our blessings. We can give it to charities, feed the needy and help elevate the community. Those are good things but what really is the gift”… I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?” what is the most acceptable and pleasing to God that He will gladly receive if I have to present something to Him?

The following verse reveals the answer.

Psalms 116:13  “I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.”

SALVATION

Accepting the gift of salvation He is offering. Have you accepted it? God’s greatest gift to us is His Son, Jesus Christ. Our greatest gift towards God is accepting it. God and man’s meeting point is the gift of Christ. This is the divide exchange gift were Christ is the only acceptable gift in both parties. Dear reader, God has spoken. What is the very thing that most dear for Him if we ask what can we give back to Him. It is receiving Jesus Christ. You don’t have to look further for the best gift you can give to God. It’s in Christ, holy and acceptable to God. Have you received His as your Lord and personal Savior? You can receive Him by faith (Eph. 2: 8-9) and faith alone.

And if you accepted His precious gift He will accept you as heirs of His kingdom and be with Him for all eternity. Your life in earth will be a big adventure as you walk with Him by faith.

Now a gift received and offered is worth rejoicing on. How can I rejoice of this greatest gift God gave to me and what I gave to Him, so I can draw further blessing and joy?

The latter part of the Psalm gives us three things:

  1. Prayer (vs. 17)-give thanks to Him and ask for more blessings. God is happy if we thank and depend on Him always. Pray that God will reveal His will as you read the Bible.
  2. Testimony (vs. 18)-Show what He has done to you. Do it publicly. Share Jesus by evangelizing. Tithe to show that you trust Him and care for the furtherance of His gospel.
  3. Worship (vs. 19)-praise and worship Him in the proper place. Attend a Bible-preaching and believing church for your spiritual growth.

(originally from R.O.C.K. Campus Ministry FB page Notes, Sunday December 5, 2010)

Church News: Christmas Fellowship 2011

The Sunday of December 18, 2011 is something for us to mark. It is our Christmas Fellowship for this year and we are sharing it the less fortunate. The morning service opens with a special service for kids of Villa Gem where we conduct our weekly Bible-Study.

I preached Matt. 1:23 with the title “God with Us”. It’s my first time to deliver a sermon to children. At first it’s a little bit hard to preach because the kids are very noisy and restless, but thank God it went well.

Then it’s the members turn to be fed spiritually. Bro. Kim continued his Sunday School lesson about Christian Victory which got a surprise applause. Our pastor, Joberth Hernandez preached about the Love of God.

I on the other hand go in and out of the church to take pictures of the ongoing children’s Christmas Fellowship.

After the worship service, we ate lunch. We enjoyed the food prepared by our pastor. Our exchange gift went next. All of us got surprises that made the fellowship very special.

 

Thank you for praying and supporting us through the years. To all our members abroad you’re always in our prayers.

The celebration will be more special if you were here. See you guys in 2012!!! May God bless you always!!!Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year!!!

R.O.C.K.’s Christmas Fellowship 2011

It is the season to celebrate the birth of Christ! R.O.C.K. (Reaching Out for Christ’s Kingdom) campus ministry had its Christmas Fellowship last December 17, 2011.

They shared the occasion with CGLB and UB Bible Study (both are sister campus ministries of R.O.C.K.). Leviste Bldg. 211 was filled with exciting games and godly special numbers.

But the highlight is the preaching of the Word of God by Bro. Andrew Ferry. R.O.C.K. leaders and members got a big surprise when Ptr. Hary Basio of R.O.C.K. Palawan State University came to give his message to all.

It was a blessed Christmas Fellowship. We would like thank you for being a part of R.O.C.K. in prayers and support. Merry CHRISTmas and Happy New Year!!!!

Book Review: Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God by John Piper

Still in the theme of “God is most glorified in us, when we are most satisfied in Him” Piper with his uncanny gift of Bible expository make this book another blockbuster. You might have been anticipating that he will write a book about it thinking and how it relates to Christian Hedonism.

Loving God is the most essential in treasuring God. Piper reminds us Matthew 22; 37-39, to love God will all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. Meaning all faculties of our being should be engaged in loving Him. Since this book is about the mind, thinking of God with a deep pursuit to know God should have its depth in understanding not merely making a decision or having good thought.

Piper in the following chapters gives a one-two punch to the culture of relativism. Relativism is not a mark of being free and intelligent, but in God’s eyes it is foolishness and by pride it enslaves us. Surely this book is not only to exhort us to think but an indictment for those who think they are wise. Let’s put our thinking under the banner of humbleness and being God dependent. In the end, Piper puts, that we should make God the end of our thinking. And any out flow or fruit of this God centered thinking should benefit others. All scholarship of men, Piper writes ,must lead to the Creator of the mind.

Before he ends the book, John Piper pleas to the non-thinkers and thinkers. Wow what a great ending! Since one of his advices is to thank those thinkers that made an impact especially in the field of theology, I would like to do it here. Thank you Pastor John Piper for thinking, writing and preaching for the glory of God and inviting us to make most of God in everything we do.

Notable Quotes:

“The infinite glory of Jesus makes him infinitely valuable and infinitely satisfying”—John Piper

“Deeper than knowing God is being known by God.”—John Piper

“The only kind of faith that matters in the end is saving faith.”—John Piper

“Faith saves because it receives Jesus.” —John Piper

“Loving God is most essentially treasuring God-valuing him, cherishing him, admiring him, desiring him.” —John Piper

“In all my rejoicing in everything, there is a central rejoicing in God.” —John Piper

“Every joy that does not have God as its central gladness is a hollow joy and in the end will burst like a bubble.” —John Piper

Published by OMF Literature Inc. the book sells for P 295.00 but since I OMF is giving 20% off promo I got it for 250 pesos.

I Met Ptr. Pio Tica in Person!

Our mother church, Good Shepherd Baptist Church Batangas City had its 31st Anniversary last Dec. 11, 2011 with Ptr. Pio Tica as guest speaker. He is one of the prominent pastor in the Philippines and an author like his brother, Ptr. Gavino Tica. He is the pastor of Malabon International Baptist Church. Having the theme “Desiring God Above All”, Ptr. Tica preached Psalms 73: 21-28. It’s truly a blessing to hear this pastor and jot down the his sermon (thanks to Sis Mhei for filling some missing parts and for Sis May for scribbling some of it on my notebook J).

Desiring God

Psalms 73: 21-28

  1. What People Desire
    1. Prosperity
    2. Protection
    3. Provision
  2. Desire of God’s People

Psalms 73: 25

Exodus 33: 14-15

  1. Let us desire to delight the Word of God Psalms 1: 1-3
  2. Desire the will of God-
    1. Let me know your will God and I’m willing to obey
    2. The biggest accomplishment you can have in life is to know the just will of God

3.            Desire to Worship God Phil. 4: 6-7

Conclusion:  “If you have Jesus Christ, you have everything. If you don’t have Jesus Christ you have nothing. “

After the preaching, I was able to get his autograph and had a picture with him (thanks Bro. Henry).

 

Campus Ministry Special Number at GSBC

 

As part of the Good Shepherd Baptist Church family, R.O.C.K. (Reaching Out for Christ’s Kingdom) Ministry of LPU together with its sister campus ministries, had a special number on the church 31st Anniversary held last Dec. 11, 2011.

Leaders and members of the campus ministries sang a Papuri song “Isang Dakot na Himala” as a “Thank You” to everyone who prayed and supported this year 2011. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. See you all in 2012. God bless you!!!

Will The Real Yoga Please Stand Up!

People are now having this new wave of fitness and health revolution on which they are looking for the best diet and exercise. With this fervor, yoga has been found to be the most effective and popular way of work out. You can read it in countless books and health magazines. It has been endorse by celebrities (and sadly a actress professing to be a Christian.)

I’m not against being fit (actually I go to the gym) or being health conscious, but if it has something to do by being one by a Hindu god that’s another story. One may say, “It’s just an exercise!” But the question is: Is it just an exercise?

In his little booklet titled “The Perfection of Yoga” A. C.Bhaktivendanta Swami Prabhupada gives us the Real McCoy of yoga( underlines and comments are mine):

Back Cover: “A world-renowned yoga master cuts through the commercialism that clouds the real meaning of yoga. Beyond the postures and exercises, he explains, the ancient teaching of yoga aim at lasting, loving union with the Supreme.”

“At the utmost we can only gratify our personal whims by some pseudoadaptation (i.e. fake copycat) of this system. Thus people are paying money to attend some classes in gymnastic exercises and deep breathing, and they’re happy if they think they can lengthen their lifetimes by a few years or enjoy better sex life. But we must under that this is not the actual yoga system. “pg. 6

“There are some yogis who perform yoga for profit, but that is not real yoga. Everything must be engaged in the service of the Lord (Krisna that is).” pg. 8

“It is generally thought, at least in the western world, that the yoga system involves meditating on the void. But the Vedic literatures do not recommend meditating on any void. Rather, the Vedas maintain that yoga means meditation on Visnu (a Hindu deity) and this is also maintained in Bhagavad-gita.”pg. 13

“All of the systems of yoga are mean to disentangle the conditioned soul from this entrapment, to transfer him from false enjoyment of material things to the actual enjoyment of Krsna (or Krisna) consciousness.”pg. 26

“Actually all of the yogas delineated in Bhagavad-gita end on this note, for Krsna is the ultimate destination of all yoga systems.” pg.55

There you have it straight from the horse’s mouth. You can read the whole booklet by clicking here. Now be warned about this type of exercise. It may help you by being fit and healthy but it actually leading you to something else. For more of about yoga, I would like to refer you to Marcia Montenegro’s articles on yoga at her website.

Used Book Finds: Unafraid to Be by Ruth Etchells

You got to thank IVP (Inter Vasity Press) for putting books that are responding to contemporary inquires (or sometimes attacks) to Christianity. They are one of those publications on the frontlines of defending the faith. The last book I read from them is “The Dawkin’s Delusion” by Alister McGrath.  I never thought they have this reputation of putting unique books on apologetics. I’ve found this book titled “Unafraid to Be” by Ruth Etchells (IVP, London) 1st edtion 1969. Subtitled ” a Christian Study of Contemporary English Writing” book examines contemporary literatures and the arts that, not only tries to answer mans spiritual questions, (Who am I? Why am I here for? etc.,) but undermines the truth found in the Bible. Prominent figures mentioned in the book are Arthur Miller, John Le Carre, Alfred Camus, Jean Paul Satre, William Gooding (author of Lord of the Flies), Kingsley Amis, D. J. Enright, John Osborne, Graham Greene and others.  So the next time you visit BookSale check out books by IVP and you’ll be in for a treat…