Living the Extraordinary Christian Life Part 6

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 ESV What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.

As we conclude our study, I hope we all got bless with the Word of God. Through the weeks we studied, we learn that God has covered our lives past, present and future. We have seen the futility of a life apart from God. This is a very gloomy state to live in and it’s not how God designed a believer to live. A believer should not fret because God has got us covered.

Going Beyond This Life

1 Corinthians 15:19 ESV “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

Let the above verse sink in to our very being. Our hope in Christ is not limited on this planet. If that is the case, “….we of all people most to be pitied”. Don’t look for others who we see are hopeless. If all of this talk about Jesus and His promises is bound for earthly use then it’s worthless for the afterlife. Past, present and future no matter how it was blessed by God it will be nothing if it doesn’t tip the eternal scale. How will you live yours? Knowing this truth do we set our minds to do what God wants us to be?  Let us all desire to live out the God designed plan for us that our life may count here and beyond.

The Quotable Round Up #12

September was the 36th Manila International Book Fair. I was held at the Mall of Asia SMX convention center. Got some books that I’ll be occupied till next year! It’s a good thing that the Christian publishers are active in the event. In fact almost all of the MIBF booth belongs to Christian companies. That’s a good sign. Filipinos are still concern in matters of spirituality. And it will be a great opportunity for Christians to reach out people with the gospel in MIBF. More of my analysis of the recent MIBF next week but for now here are the quotes:

“By continuing to study the Bible, we grow in faith and are able to stand firm in the truth.”
–R. C. Sproul
“The separation of faith from knowledge is the fast train to crazy town.”
–Michael E. Wittmer

“We are to give ourselves to God as living sacrifices. This means we are to give our time, our energy, and our very selves to Him as acts of worship and gratitude. But we must always be aware that God has given us these and all things. Biblical giving, therefore, is done in the context of stewardship, our management of the good things the Father showers upon us.”
–R. C. Sproul

“Worship that pleases God is not given grudgingly, out of a mere sense of duty to show up at church on Sunday morning, but it is motivated and driven by a soul that delights in the presence of God.”
–R. C. Sproul

“Whatever Jesus says we “ought” to do becomes a solemn duty for us to perform. Prayer is one such duty.”
–R. C. Sproul

“Our goal should be to please Christ, not perform merely for the applause of people. People-pleasers cannot be true servants of Christ. We must keep our eyes on Christ and not on the judges of this world.”
–R. C. Sproul

“If we serve out of an effort to earn our way into the kingdom of God, we’re deceiving ourselves. The motivation for Christian service is love for God. We serve not to earn salvation, but because Christ already has pur-chased salvation for us.”
–R. C. Sproul

Living the Extraordinary Christian Life Part 5

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 ESV What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
We are all curious about our future. That’s why we consult fortune tellers, read horoscope and buy good luck charms. We save money and invest for a brighter future. However, there is a much greater thing to look forward to. A life that God has set before us that is more secure.
Life Near to God: Past, Present and Future
Future: Romans 8: 18-19, Eph. 2:7 and 1 Cor. 15: 55-57
Romans 8:18-19 ESV For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
There are things that are in store for us that will eclipse the pain we experience here on earth. Whatever we are going through, persecution or injustice, let this promise of God sooth our wounded soul .
Ephesians 2:7 ESV so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
If we have lived by the sufficiency of God’s grace through hardships, pain and lost considering its enough for us, then there is more in store for us of this grace in the future. If however the overflowing of blessing we achieve in our joyous moments feels like God flooded us and sank us so deep, that verse in Ephesians lets us there is more. The “immeasurable riches of his grace” is waiting for us. That’s how good God is to us.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57 ESV “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In our very last breath we are victorious. We may have brought victory for ourselves, our school, family and workplace that we can be proud of. We can fill this world with our trophies of success. But that doesn’t compare to the victory beyond here on earth. We didn’t break a sweat in achieving this but rather Christ gave His blood. In death we will leave all of what we have on earth. But praise God as we go to eternity we are victorious. Truly the future is bright for us Christians.
(To be concluded next week…)

Book Review: Get A Life…Online by Mighty Rasing

Fresh from #SuperEpic” Mighty Rasing delivers another book about a subject he really really knows. Social media is going leaps and bounds. Then it got out of control (sort of). And what better way to sort it all out by reading “Get A Life…Online”.
This book packs lots of meat to enhance you digital life. It has everything for the novice to the hardcore netizen. Mighty not only wrote a book that is readable because its Taglish but grasp the Pinoy context of being online. He knows the Pinoy culture, ethics and behavior that affect how we use social media. He tackled topics like useful apps, how share your talent online, how to use social media for a good cause. The serious issue of privacy and cyber bullying were discussed. All of these topics and much more for a 75 pesos book!
I enjoyed reading because knows well the online culture of Pinoys or making much of social media but also he shared his personal experiences of being a netizen. For someone who’s been there as one of the popular new media practitioner, stories of failures and success is inspiring to people who wants their voice be heard.
This great book helps us understand and engage the online (and also offline) life for every Filipino. If you love “#SuperEpic” then you’ll love this one too. Embrace the digital explosion Pinoy style with “Get A Life…Online”.

The Quotable Round Up #11

Last September 19, me and my girlfriend enjoyed the annual Manila International Book Fair 2015 held at MOA SMX. Of course we came home with lots of books to read and share with others. Have you been there too? Can you share you experience here on my blog? I hope and pray that you have been part of this event and got your favorite book. Now on with our weekly quotes:
“A Christian who is full of joy, who is peaceful about his circumstances, is the Christian who has hope. He has the God of hope front and center in his heart.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“So my friend, no matter if your emotions are up or down, follow the Lord’s lead today. May the mind of Christ your Savior live in you from day to day, and ask God to simply put a song in your heart as you pick up your cross daily and follow Him.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“Believers have been purchased, and the price was the blood of Christ, the life of Christ, for in Jewish categories the life was in the blood. In the Old Testament, it was not enough to scratch an animal to get blood for a sacrifice. The animal had to shed its blood in death, and so did Christ to pay for sins.”
–R. C. Sproul

“Give thanks that He is sovereign. Give thanks that He is in control. Give thanks that He’s planning it all for your good—for your family’s good—which ultimately will be all to His glory.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“God won’t always change our circumstances, but if we ask Him, He will often step in to change our perspective!”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“A day of ministry in Christ’s kingdom is far better than a thousand days lived in pursuit of self-destructive pleasures.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

“We can’t afford to be complacent about God’s glory. The fact is that putting your Christian life on autopilot is the same thing as “walking in the flesh.”
–Joni Eareckson Tada

Living the Extraordinary Christian Life Part 4

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 ESV What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
After we considered the past set by God for us, we shall now look at what He gave us for our present. This plan of God is now a life that we have it all. It’s a How do we now conduct our “now” moment that is an extraordinary life is what we will aim for this week.
Life Near to God: Past, Present and Future
Present: Eph. 2: 12-13 and Romans 5: 8-9
Ephesians 2:12-13 ESV remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
It’s hard to adjust to a new neighborhood. The places, streets and people are unfamiliar to you. People will consider you stranger. It’s an awkward moment. How much more is our standing before God. We according to the verse, “alienated” and “strangers” from anything of God. But praise God, because of the blood of Christ we are brought near to God.
Romans 5:8-9 ESV but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
This present reality is something we can hold on to considering that our past or old self doesn’t bring us any good that will benefit us from here to eternity. This truth is as real as you reading this post this very moment. It is as real, authentic and trustworthy truth. We are now being saved by Christ. This very moment and millions of moments that will come that will be our “now” you are secure with Christ. You can now rest assured that no matter what, God is there.
Which brings us to the question: Are you saved? Have you accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and personal Savior? Have you heard about the gospel? It won’t matter all of what we are discussing if we don’t secure our salvation. If you want to learn about the gospel click “The Bad News” page on this blog or click this link. I hope and pray you will make a decision to come to Christ.
(To be continued next week…)

Book Review: 1001 Quotes, Illustrations, and Humorous Stories by Edward K. Rowell and Leadership

Preparing a sermon is hard labor sometimes. You have to pray for it, study the Bible, and dig to other resources to strengthen your message. Not to mention finding the right title for it (which if I’m struggling with it, I can’t move on writing the entire message itself). Also adding to that a need for quotes, stories and illustrations to make your message interesting. Whether it is to keep your listeners from falling asleep or a take home story or quote that will leave a lasting impact, you might want to have a reference book for it. Not that we discount the Holy Spirit that will work into the hearts of your pew by using your sermon, but an added “garnish” to the already appealing message you have prepared.

Enter  1001 Quotes, Illustrations, and Humorous Stories by Edward K. Rowell and the editors of  Leadership magazine. This awesome resource is well organized in three sections, Quotes, Illustrations, Humorous Stories and Pastors to Pastors. If that’s doesn’t make it user friendly already, they thrown in an Index to further assist you in your specific sermon, lesson or speech. Plus a “Date used” in every entry that you can jot the date to remind you that already have used it.

Although the entries of this 400+ page book seems to cater Western audiences, there are plenty of entries that can be understood by anyone, so you don’t have to fret that you can’t use this book. In fact the “Quotes” chapter has various words of wisdom from distinguished personalities. This is my favorite section that collects quotes from Christian giants (Spurgeon, Tozer, John Wesley, Martin Luther), to political figures (Napoleon, Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln) to authors (T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, Albert Camus) that will sure grab your listeners attention. The “Quote” section will be, I think the most used part of the book, because people love quotes. The “Illustrations” sections delivers “speech block” cure which includes interesting anecdotes, newspaper clippings and stories. “Humorous Stories” doesn’t just provide funny lines or stories but cartoons that will put a smile to your listeners. The last section “Pastors to Pastors” is quite short but still dishes out the good stuff if you’re engaging with your fellow colleagues.

“1001 Quotes, Illustrations, and Humorous Stories” is a quick, easy and useful reference book that will add some spice to you sermon, lectures or articles. Use this book as an effective springboard if you don’t have time to research or read something in the internet. Be sure that it’s near your study table.

Living the Extraordinary Christian Life Part 3

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 ESV What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
Now we come to Part 3 of our study and now we shall at the positive. We have seen the “gloom and doom” of a life apart from our Creator. This week we will now look at the God’s laid out plan for an extraordinary life. By that I mean the Christian life.
Let’s be honest, some of us may not be living in this kind of plan. We may be spending our lives on what we have studied last time. But it’s not too late. God is the God of second chances. Let us repent and desire to walk on what God has set.
Now let us dive in God’s Word to see the extraordinary plan He gave to us believers.
Life Near to God: Past, Present and Future
Past: 2 Corinthians 5: 17-18
Corinthians 5:17-18 ESV Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
This is a familiar verse that shed light on what happens to a person who became a Christian. In verse 17 we are “a new creation” and “the old has passed away.” Meaning our old self is connected with our past is now gone because we are “in Christ”. God in His goodness, cancels our past and gave us the now which is new. He gave us a fresh start. Looking at verse 18 we read that “All of this is from God…” Our past though colorful it maybe, we are apart from God. In that we should be grateful. We should be filled with thankfulness for what He has done. We are now to set an extraordinary life that is provided solely by God.

(To be continued next week…)

Living the Extraordinary Christian Life Part 2

Ecclesiastes 1:9-11 ESV What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.
Ecclesiastes gives us the blueprint of a life that excludes God. King Solomon did mentioned God in this book, but clearly Ecclesiastes narrates an earthly view of life. Let’s see that life that we shouldn’t walk on to.
Life Apart from God: Past, Present and Future
According to Solomon, a man centered life is a cycle of vanities. A life that is worthless, trivial and pointless. The past, present and future of this kind of life are connected with those words. If we think about it, this is the life that won’t guarantee you anything. That my friend is the life without God.
Past: “What has been…” vs. 9. Some of us may have graduated and that’s an achievement for us. Some of us may recently been hired and it’s a life changer for us. If we look at this excluding God’s perspective, it’s a vicious repetition of man. Yes it brings us joy. Yes it gave us a sort of milestone. We even may contribute to society. But Solomon said it bluntly it’s just a natural cycle which the end will be nothing.
Present: “See, this is new”? vs. 10. We may have that “Eureka” moment as if we found the fountain of youth but as Solomon stated over and over Ecclesiastes “there is nothing new under the sun.” What we have is a repackaged of things of the past. This is a present life that is connected with the past which we already knew that is useless. Do we live like what Solomon has described?
Future: “of later things yet to be…” vs. 11. This is the dead end street for all of us according to Solomon. No guarantee of a better future. Life is just life like what it was in the previous. Worst, we are doomed to be forgotten as if we didn’t exist at all. Even much worst, no life beyond this life. We are spiritual beings and God imprinted to our hearts eternity. But this earthly perspective of life doesn’t make mentioned this important thing that separates from animals. How sad this life can be apart from God.
(To be continued next week…)

4 Amazing Birds Mentioned In the Bible

God created birds at the fifth day of creation (Genesis 1:20) and was mentioned in the Bible many times. Now we list down notable birds that were mentioned in God’s Word and see how God used them.

  1. Ravens– (1 King 17: 2-7 and Luke 12: 24) the first mentioned of this bird was on the Noah’s Ark story. To check if the flood is drying up, Noah released a raven but the bird didn’t came back to send any news. This time in 1 King we see that God uses ravens to feed the prophet Elijah. These birds are predators and a selfish type. This should be a lesson for us that no matter who you are, we can be of use in God’s work. Then in Luke, Jesus declares the how God considers His children precious than raven which He provides food. We should always be dependent on His daily provision. As Christians let us keep in mind how blessed we are as followers of Christ.
  1. Eagle- This mighty bird is usually a symbol in our times for its character. It has been mentioned in the Bible but we will concentrate it in one verse. In Psalms 103: 5, God is the great provider that He rejuvenates us with renewed spiritual zeal. He will give us strength like an eagle. When we Christians are weary we should come to God to give us power.
  1. Hen- (Matthew 23: 37) after rebuking the duplicities of the Pharisees and the scribes, Jesus then poured out His heart to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. As we read the verse we can see that God in human form longs to gather the unbelieving like a hen that wants to gather her chicks. Followers of Christ should also have this kind of weeping heart for the lost souls.
  1. Dove– (Genesis 8: 12, Matthew 3:16, Mark 1: 10, Luke 3:22 and John 1:32) this bird has a good reputation as the bird who came back to tell Noah that the land is dry after the deluge. Jesus tells his disciples (including us) in Matthew 10:16 that in evangelism we should be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves”. Finally, the four Gospels recorded the baptism of Jesus Christ which all mentioned the Holy Spirit represented as a dove. The Holy Spirit seals us after we believe the gospel (Ephesians 1: 13) as being owned by God and recipient of the His promises. In Ephesians 4: 30 we are “sealed unto the day of redemption”. Are you sealed by the Holy Spirit? Are you saved? Repent and believe the gospel today!