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As we start the fast today globally in Every Nation, I read Day Zero in our Prayer and Fasting Guide (download here). But since it’s also Day 1 here in Manila, I will read Day 1 as well.

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I remember in the old house we were in, my wife and I had a problem with the faucet in our bathroom. Because the water flow was so slow, to be able to brush your teeth, we had to wait about a minute for the cup to be filled. We endured this for several weeks until we got a plumber to help us with our faucet. In 10 minutes, he figured out the problem thus a cup could be filled in 3 seconds instead of a minute.

What you tolerate, you will never change.

I’ve heard that many times on different occasions. What you will allow to continue in your life, you will never see changes. God desires to sanctify and change us into the image and likeness of God. But if we stay stuck in our ways, we won’t be able to move forward.

The Bible says in Matthew 22:19 that “you are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Change happens all the time. But genuine and lasting change in the life of a person can only happen when God does it. By His power and the power of His Word, we are transformed.

The starting point is with the gospel. We can try to write 10 steps to change or 7 stages to transformation but if they don’t start with an understanding of what God has been done for us rather than what we can do for God, then we only find ourselves frustrated as with many of our New Year’s resolutions.

Jesus became flesh.
Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life.
Jesus was crucified.
Jesus was buried.
Jesus rose from the dead.
Jesus is coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The Scriptures declare that Jesus is Savior and Lord. (Acts 2:36)
And the power of God is the gospel for through it, many are saved. (Romans 1:16)

 

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Watch Pastor Jim Laffoon as he explains further …

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Have you ever planned something but ended up not following through for some reason? Or scheduled appointments that resulted in either postponements or cancellations?

I usually try to have my week all set by Monday. I have my appointments pretty much done so that I can forsee the things I need to prepare and work on.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but when things don’t work out as I’ve planned, I get irritated, upset and annoyed. I feel bad that I seem to have wasted my time. I am in a bad mood because I don’t get to execute what I have prepared.

I remember the time when Paul and Silas went to the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The Bible says that the Holy Spirit forbade them from speaking the word there. Then they went to Bithynia. Same thing happened. The Holy Spirit had another plan. After a series of changes in itinerary, they ended up in Macedonia where they had many fruits in terms of ministry. (Acts 16:6-10)

When our plans get messed up and we get annoyed, it is usually because:

1. We assume our plans are better than God’s plans.
2. We want to be in control all the time.
3. We don’t trust God’s divine interruptions.

Remember, His perspective is way better than ours and His vantage point is way superior than the one we have. He is not only capable but also concerned to see that best come out of every situation you and I are in. Some people are capable but not concerned. Others, they are concerned but not capable. God is both. And His thoughts for you are only for you best, ultimately for His glory.

Lord, help me to trust You each and every day. I don’t see everything that You see which is why I need to trust Your will, Your way and Your plan. You are not only capable. You are also concerned. You desire the best for us which will ultimately give praise and honor to Your name. We commit to you all our plans and You have full authority to switch things around as needed. In Jesus name. Amen.

There’s  a lot of hype going on these days because the iPhone 5 is coming out soon.

Because of all the iGadgets, our life has never been the same – from music to movies to reading books to social networking. Steve Jobs and Apple have successfully revolutionized how we live our lives.

Or has he?

Why did he have a measure of success?
He was crazy enough to believe that he could change the world.

I remember when he was trying to get John Sculley to join his team. John Sculley was the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Operations for Pepsi Cola Company. He was trying to convince him to come on board.

Here’s what Steve told John:

Because of this, John Sculley was able to successfully apply his marketing prowess in the personal computer market.

Steve Jobs had the audacity to believe that he could change the world.

Here’s my question to the church:
How dare Steve Jobs have a greater vision than the church of Jesus?

Better yet:
How dare us allow Steve Jobs have a greater vision to change the world than God’s very people?

And iPhone or iPad will last you 3 or at most 5 years…

The Gospel of Jesus will last for eternity. It will transform a life, a family, a city and a nation.

I know it has changed mine. And I bet my life (if I were a betting man) that it is going to change this nation only if we continue to honor God and make disciples, advancing His kingdom in every sphere of society.

Steve Jobs was crazy enough to believe that he could change the world with gadgets.

Do we have the audacity to believe that the Gospel of Jesus is potent enough to change my world, your world, our world?

“Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”

So… who’s crazy enough?

A child had a little garden in which she planted many flowers, but they never grew. She put them in, as she thought tenderly and carefully, but they would not live. She sowed seeds and they sprang up; but very soon they withered away.

So she ran to her father’s gardener, and when he came to look at it, he said, “I will make it a nice garden for you, that you may grow whatever you want.” He fetched a pick, and when the little child saw the terrible pick, she was afraid for her little garden. The gardener struck his tool into the ground and began to make the earth heave and shake for his pickaxe had caught the edge of a huge stone which underplayed almost all the little plot of ground.

All the little flowers were turned out of their places and the garden spoiled for a season so that the little maid wept much. He told her he would make it a fair garden yet, and so he did, for having removed that stone which had prevented all the plants from striking root he soon filled the ground with flowers which lived and flourished.

Just so, the Lord has come, and has turned up all the soil of your present comfort to get rid of some big stone that was at the bottom of all your spiritual prosperity, and would not let your soul flourish. Do not weep with the child, but be comforted by the blessed results and thank your Father’s tender hand!

(The Story Of The Gardener by Charles Spurgeon)

The perennial statement: “I need to go on a diet.”

Not sure if you’ve said this before.  If you’ve never, congrats.  You’re either a hunk or a hottie.

But to the ‘average’ person like us, we’ve said this time and time again.

Thus, the invention of ‘lite’ foods – Coke light, Breyers light, Mayo lite, Coffee Mate light, Spam light, Tuna chunks light plus all the other products you can think of.

Even iPad apps have them – from Angry Birds lite to Fitness lite.

Their tagline?
Same flavor; less filling.
Great taste; less ingredients.

But we carry that over, unfortunately to our life with Christ.

Same flavor; less filling.  Great experience; less ingredients.

Jesus just becomes one of the ingredients of our week – 1 cup of work, 2 teaspoons of friends, 5 pints of family plus a dash of Jesus to cover all bases.

No wonder why we see ‘lite’ transformation… ‘lite’ lifechange … ‘lite’ adjustment … in our lives.

Same person; just different packaging.

Now we to church.  We carry a Bible around.  We say the right words like ‘Praise God’ and ‘God is good’ (‘all the time’).

But after peeling off the veneer, it’s the same rotten, depraved, lost person.

Jesus doesn’t want to just be one of the ingredients in your near perfect life.  When He comes in, He takes over.  He is not just Savior (to get us out of the mess we got ourselves into).  He is LORD.  And that means boss, in charge and the One who calls the shots.

When we surrender our lives to Christ, we die … so that He can live in us and through us.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

I can’t get over how one “small thing” is making a difference in the lives of many.

This morning, in our Metro Manila Staff Meeting, Lynn Nawata who is the Executive Director of Real Life Foundation shared what happened last Sunday.

Joshua Suarez ran 102 kilometers during the “Death March/Life March” and in the process raised 130,000 pesos for Real Life’s Scholarship Fund.  People gave 1,000 pesos for every kilometer he ran.  But since more than 102 people wanted to give, the money raised reached 130,000.00.  Imagine how many high school and college students are helped through this.

I love what Lynn shared from the book, “The Hole in our Gospel” by Richard Stearns.

“We, as Christians, can look at our broken world, shrug our shoulders, and say, “That’s just the way things are.”  Or we can instead embrace a vision of what could be – if we’d each pitch in.  Isn’t it better to light a candle than curse the darkness?  And what could be accomplished if we lit not one candle but many?  The light of even one challenges the gloom, but the light of a million could obliterate it.”

One can make a difference – as each in unison determine to work together for a common goal.