LEARING TO RESPOND AND NOT JUST REACT


When emotions take over, we sometimes end up making decisions that are not rational.

I recently spoke to someone who felt offended towards a person who did him wrong. We all have experienced being hurt or falsely accused. This person, as I spoke to him, had 2 choices: REACT or RESPOND.

To react is to give a knee jerk answer. This could be through words, actions or even in thoughts.
“I will never talk to him again… ever!”
“She will never get my help when she asks for it.”
“I’ll just give him the cold treatment from this day forward.”

On the other hand, to respond is to reply with a well thought out, prayed-through answer. Going to God for insight may very well be the best route before responding. It’s thinking through, processing and filtering words, deeds and even thoughts that wouldn’t be beneficial to the situation.

Philippians 4:8 tells us to “fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

To react is to answer without thinking.
To respond is to go to God with the situation and trust Him to give you the right reply to any given circumstance – good or bad.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, thank You that You will give me the patience to be sensitive to You, seek to understand more than to be understood, and wisdom to respond in a godly manner. Help me to fix my thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable for this is Your will for me. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

CAN MATURITY AND DEPEMDENCE GO TOGETHER

 

A couple of months ago, our youngest Joaquin wanted to go ice skating in one of the malls in the city. It wasn’t his first at it but I do remember the first time he tried. He held my hand most of the time and experienced a couple of slips and falls.

This time around, he still needed some help from daddy but mostly he was on his own. What a joy to see his skate!

While our goal is for our kids to become less dependent on us, we want them to become more dependent on God as they grow older. I’ve blogged about this in the past. You may read it here.

But at the same breath, as children of God, we mature and grow in our faith. However, the goal is not to become more and more independent from God. In fact, the more mature you become, the more dependent you become on Him. It’s actually the other way around. You depend on His Word. You depend on His ways. You depend on the directive of His Holy Spirit.

The more we mature in the faith, the more dependent we are to become on Him.

Question: What are some of the areas in our lives that we’ve operated in independent of Christ?

In John 15:5, Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Apart from Jesus, we can accomplish nothing.
And apart from Jesus, we are nothing.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word that reminds us that You are our Source. You are the vine and we are the branches. Without being connected to You, we have no real life. Help us scan our day and scan our lives to see what areas we seem to operate in without relying on You and Your grace. And when we see it, help us to revert to You for You are able to order our steps and that if we acknowledge You in all our ways, You will direct our path. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.

(MY) TOP 15 EN2013 TWEETABLES

 

It’s hard to summarize the Every Nation World Conference in one blog post because of the deluge of insights and revelation the past week.

In lieu of that, I just decided to summarize the conference with these top 15 tweetables…
(The ones that got the most retweets and likes on Facebook.)

1. “You can’t have family without government. But government without family is a revolution or a revolution about to happen.” —Russ Austin

2. “I am going to do something big because our God is big.”- Russ Austin

3. “Will you let your situation speak to you or will you speak to your situation? Power of life & death in the tongue.” – Wayne Alcorn

4. “There is a generation ready for a revolution. Give them one.” – Jim Lafoon

5. “When you get a tomato and step on it, pressure will reveal its contents. When pressure comes, what comes out of you?” – Wayne Alcorn

6. “There’s nothing I can do that can make him love me more and there’s nothing I can do that will make him love me less.” – Wayne Alcorn

7. “If I don’t know who I am, I will either be flattered by the praise of people or flattened by their criticism.” – Wayne Alcorn

8. “Discover who you are on the basis of what He says not on what others say.” – Wayne Alcorn

9. “My credentials don’t come from my Harvard education. My credentials come from Romans, Hebrews, Proverbs & I need to renew it daily.” – Rachel Ong

10. “Missions strategy like Manila traffic light: Green means go, yellow means go faster, red means go anyway.” – Steve Murrell

11. “We go and do good works because it comes out of a response of what God has done for us.” – Rice Broocks

12. “We have thousands of teachers but very few Fathers. 10,000 podcasts but few Fathers. The next generation needs fathers.” – Joseph Bonifacio

13. “I don’t resent my father because he casts a big shadow. I thank Him for the shade.” – Joseph Bonifacio

14. “Humility desires more to be reconciled than right.” – Brett Fuller

15. “We have a billion dollar vision with a thousand dollar budget. But we have a big God!” – Brett Fuller

GO!

Go where?

Tonight’s message from Steve Murrell at the Every Nation World Conference was another classic.

Since I started attending Victory in 1993, the message has remained the same – go and make disciples.

Consistent. Steady. Reliable. Relentless. Incessant. Unchanging.

Four gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all present the Great Commission in some shape or fashion.

Matthew? Make disciples. (28:19)
Mark? Preach the gospel. (16:15)
Luke? Power of the Holy Spirit. (24:47-49)
John? Feed the sheep. (21:17)

But Mark explains the who, the what and the where.

1. WHO

Jesus, the Commissioning Officer, says go and preach the gospel.

A story goes of Ken Gailbraith’s housekeeper:

It had been a wearying day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. US President Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House. “Get me Ken Galbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson.” 

“He is sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb him.”

“Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him.”

“No, Mr. President. I work for him, not you.”

When I called the President back, he could scarcely control his pleasure. 

“Tell that woman I want her here in the White House.”

It’s important to know who we work for.

2. WHAT

“Go and preach the gospel…”

Being new in the Philippines, Steve asked veteran missionaries in Manila for some tips regarding the culture of the city he was in.

One gentleman describe driving in Manila this way…

Green means “go”, yellow means “go faster” and red means “go anyway.”

This is how we are to think when going to the nations with the gospel.

When the nation is wide open, we are to go.

When the light is yellow, we are to go faster or else the door might close.

When the light is red, then we just go anyway.

We don’t call them “closed” nations anymore but “creative access” nations.

3. WHERE

“Go into all the world…”

Jesus is not just calling us “Every Nation” but He is calling us to every nation.

THERE IS A COST…

Someone came up to Manny Carlos years ago when he visited his office at our Every Nation Building at the Fort.  When he got there, he chided, “I’d like to be in your position, in this office at this time.”

What he saw is the present.  He didn’t see the years Manny labored, toiled, suffered, strained and travailed to be to where he is today.  He didn’t experience all that Manny experienced and what God led him through to get to where he is.

In the days of video podcasts and churches on the web, sometimes being in ministry may look so ‘cool’ and ‘chic’.

It is actually opposite to what Paul experienced.

In 2 Corinthians 2:6, he tells us,

“If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation.”

“The afflictions of a Christian minister are designed by God to achieve the comfort and salvation of his flock.  All pastoral afflictions are graciously designed to make us rely on God and not ourselves.  And therefore our afflictions prepare us to do the one thing most needful for our people – to point them away from ourselves to the All-Sufficient God.  In this alone is consolation and salvation.” – John Piper.

While this is not a call to suffering, this is however a reminder to the cost to discipleship and call to follow Christ’s call… whatever it takes!

“JUST A VOLUNTEER”

This weekend is Volunteer Weekend in many of the Victory churches in the Metro.

I remember speaking to a volunteer one time when someone asked her a question.  Because she’s a faithful and very committed volunteer, she was often seen at the church working on administrative stuff.  One person asked her if she was in full time ministry.

Her answer?  “I’m just a volunteer.”

Overhearing the conversation, I quickly yet gently corrected her, “You’re not just a volunteer.  You are a vital part of what goes own every weekend.  Don’t ever say that again.”

You are NOT JUST a volunteer.

If you are an usher that ‘ush’, you DON’T JUST point people to their seats.  You create a warm and friendly environment that would cause people to keep coming back to church so that one day they will make a commitment to follow Jesus the rest of their life.

If you are in the power point team, you are NOT JUST there to click the mouse.  You are vital to delivering the Word of God straight to the heart of the people that come.

If you are in Kids Ministry, you are NOT JUST taking care of the kids so parents can enjoy the worship service.  You are discipling the next generation of world changers.

If you are in the Administrative Support Team, you are NOT JUST in the registration table giving information to people who need it.  You are a bridge to get people involved in what God has prepared for them to be and do.

If you are in the Music Ministry, you DON’T JUST sing or play an instrument.  You have the privilege of bringing people right in the very throneroom of God.

If you are in the Communications Ministry, you DON’T JUST update websites, takes photo and video and write articles.  You are critical to the communication of God’s love to people who desperately need to hear it.

If you are in the Creative Support Ministry, you DON’T JUST create props and set designs.  You help the message of Gospel to be communicated in a way that is visual, powerful and sticky.

You see, you are NOT JUST A VOLUNTEER…

You are a vital part of what God’s doing so that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.

You are NOT JUST A VOLUNTEER!

ABSOLUTE SURRENDER

Absolute surrender… a phrase that has moved me since I read it from Oswald Chambers’ “My Utmost For His Highest.”

In a time when we question everything, this phrase may not necessarily be a welcome phrase in many people’s vocabulary.

One word can define why this can happen – TRUST.

… trust in Someone you know won’t fail.
… trust in Someone you are sure desires the best for you.
… trust in Someone you are convinced that He knows the end from the beginning…

When Jesus called His first disciples to an adventure for the next three years He’ll be in ministry, this is what He said, “Come, follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

The Bible didn’t say that the disciples thought about it first.  Neither did it say that they asked what it meant to be fishers of men (though I am pretty sure it crossed their minds).  Neither did they ask for assurance – ie, what’s the package, the benefits and the perks.

Matthew 4:20 tells us “AT ONCE they left their nets and followed Him.”

Absolute surrender.

Absolutely amazing…

IT’S A GOD-THING!

I’ve learned to declare this statement whenever something incredible happens and I know it wasn’t because of me.

Five Amorite kings launch an attack against Joshua and the Israelites.  That’s 5 kings plus their armies!

The Bible says that after an all-night march from Gilgal, Joshua took their enemies by surprise.  The Lord thew their enemies into confusion which was the cause of their defeat.  Not only that, many of them were killed because the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them that more of them died from hailstones than by the sword.

Then an interesting occurrence happens – Joshua asks the Lord for the sun to stand still.  And it did!  For a whole day!

Joshua 10:14 says that there has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a man.  Surely the Lord was fighting for Israel!

It was a God-thing!

Two things from this…

1. God listens.

God listened to the prayers of Joshua.  And He still does to this day!  He told us to ask, seek and knock!  Then we shall receive, find and the door will be opened.

2. God fights for His people.

You know it’s God when something amazing happens and it is clearly not of your own doing.  Why does He do that?  So that it will be crystal clear to us that IT WAS ALL HIM!

At the end of the day (or 2 days for Joshua and the Israelites), I’m sure they talked to each other and declared, “Surely, it was a God-thing!”

DESENSITIZATION IS DANGEROUS

Mary Malinao shared an awesome message during our noon time prayer meeting.

She asks the question that if Jesus is the wisdom of God personified (1 Cor.1:23-24) , and if we have Christ in us (Col.1:27), then why don’t we see a lot of Christians having wisdom?

That’s an very good question to ask.

Proverbs 8:13 says, “To fear the Lord is to hate evil…”

She then asks us, do we hate what God hates.  Is there a hatred for sin?  Is there a passion to shun evil the way God shuns it?

We’ve become ‘desensitized’ to the things God hates.  We laugh at jokes that we shouldn’t laugh at.  We watch shows that glorify sex and fornication.  We ‘tolerate’ things so as not to be called a ‘killjoy’.  Sad but true.

I need to repent.  Some you do too.  In this season of prayer and fasting, Lord help us to be sensitive to the things you love and the stuff you want us to shun!