Friday, December 31, 2010

God's plan for your life

This is an interesting article on Jeremiah 29:11 ("For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"):

http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/deeper-walk/features/21141-the-most-misused-verse-in-the-bible?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Indeed, this is how God loves us!

Quote from the video: "Have you encountered the love of God? If yes, then you will never be the same!"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Do you want to change the world?

I often meet people who say they don't need Jesus. How can that be possible?

Like, don't we all of want to change the world? (like, Obama's mantra during the elections was "change") There is so much darkness and chaos in this world. Like, it is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, about 100 times as many as those who actually die from it each year. Some say 20% of 20 million of children in India alone are part of the commercial sexual exploitation network. In 2000, nearly 88,000 children in the United States experienced sexual abuse. Intense human oppressions occurring now in Iraq, Afghanistan, North Korea, etc. Then there are happenings like 9/11 terrorism, Nazi oppression, etc. The list of crazy dark things happening in this world goes on and on.. we read it in daily news all the time.

So what is the best way to deal with the darknesses and chaos in the world? Bible points to Jesus as the solution. Jesus said in John 8:12: "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.". Jesus uses darkness as a metaphor for the sins in this world because sin is in total opposition to God/light (The book of Genesis says that God created light and he separated it from darkness). In a nutshell, as per Bible, Jesus is the best answer to all the chaos and darkness in this world. So, if you want to change this world and get rid of the bad stuff, you need to be that change first (as Gandhi said: "be the change you want to see in this world") by becoming a follower of Jesus Christ. So you do need Jesus (and so does your neighbor)!

References:
- lives of Martin Luther King, Jr; Mother Teresa; etc.
- http://my.auburnjournal.com/detail/150148.html

What has been the most peaceful moment of your life?

I met this woman at the UTMB Jail hospital. She is under custody and also suffering from cancer. She is probably in her forties. She said that right then at jail, as she is going through her cancer treatment, she has been most peaceful in her life. She has found her peace in eternal God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).

Hmm, so essentially she testified, what King Soloman said in the book of Ecclesiastes that our pursuits in this world is not going to give us everlasting peace/contentment/joy, if they are not centered around God.

It also reminded me of Apostle Paul: "I can rejoice at all times and I can be content in whatsoever state I am in, even when I am in prison" (Philippians 4:4,11). "Christ is everything I need! Christ is my Life!" (Colossians 2:10; 3:3). That is, our joy does not depend on circumstances, but on the eternal God.

This is also what Jesus said, in John 4, about the "living water" He gives: "Whosoever drinketh of this water (i.e., things of the world) shall thirst again.But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.".

Monday, June 7, 2010

God's timing

Yesterday I watched Spielberg's eye-opening movie "Schindler's list". It was pretty amazing that right when Schindler was about to finish up all his money (which he was using to protect the Jews in his factory and also towards non-cooperation of Nazi war efforts by not producing a single weapon that could be fired), Germany surrendered. Any delay of German surrender could have been catastrophic for all the Jews in Schindler's factory.

I was also wondering how much did the growing resentment of the weapon manufacturers, like Schindler, towards inhumane killings contributed to Nazi defeat.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Schindler

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Depending on God on a daily basis and GENEROSITY/laying_up_treasures_on_earth

Quoting from:
http://www.centralpc.org/sermons/2005/s050206.htm
http://www.urbana.org/articles/what-wesley-practiced-and-preached-about-money

In 1731 John Wesley made 30 pounds. He lived on 28 of them and he gave away 2. It's less than a tithe. The following year he made 60 pounds. He lived on 28 and he gave away 32. In the fourth year he made 120 pounds. He lived on 28 and he gave away 92 pounds. And finally, later in his career John Wesley became one of the best paid preachers in all of history. He made the modern equivalent of $1.4 million dollars in one year. Now that is without CDs, that's without TV. You know we think the TV evangelists are making it. This is on penny tracks and preaching engagements. $1.4 millon dollars. That year he lived on the equivalent of $30,000 and gave away all the rest.

He was afraid of laying up treasures on earth, so the money went out in charity as quickly as it came in. He reports that he never had 100 pounds at any one time. He was concerned about the gospel and the needs around him. He was content to live at some level that wasn't 100% of what he owned. And he really believed that it was worth it to live in light of eternity. He really believed that God was going to credit this to his account, just like Paul says to the Philippians.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You are what you eat

Yesterday, Gideon Stanley rightly pointed out "you are what you eat". And, Gideon said, this is exactly true with the Word of God, on which we need to feast on frequently, so that we can be more and more like Jesus... John said Word became Flesh (Jesus) and Jesus talked of eating His flesh...His body was broken for us, and we do communion to remember that (bread we eat reminds of His body and is analogous to in-taking Word that became flesh)...

More passages from Bible on the importance of regular feasting on God's Word (courtesy MIKE Cleveland):
- Not only were the Israelites told to put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, they were also instructed to eat the Passover lamb (now Jesus/Word). (Exodus 12:11)
- Psalm 1:2, 3: "His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law He meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither."
- Deuteronomy 8:3: "Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."
- John 6:48-51: "I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
- Jeremiah 15:16: "When your words came, I ate them. They were my joy and my heart's delight."
- John 17:17: "Sanctify them [set them apart from sin] by the truth: your Word is truth!"
- Joshua 1:8: "Do not let this book of the Law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful."

Monday, May 3, 2010

God is proposing to you right now

In the second video of his book "Crazy Love", Chan does a great job in explaining what a Christian life is about and about how God went crazy to pursue a deep,intimate relationship with each one of us. He uses the analogy of God as a bridegroom who is proposing to you to spend eternity with Him ...

Are you crazy about God?

I started reading Chan's book "Crazy love", which is getting popular these days. We are starting to follow it in our campus Bible study.

In this book Chan argues that if you are not crazy about God or if your lifestyle does not reflect your craziness for God, then probably you don't know or understand who God is and what He has done and is doing in your life. That's why in this book Chan's goal is to educate the readers about who God is and what He has done and is doing for us. So that they can become crazy about God after reading it!

He starts with this great video:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Ya12I036lg

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thinking is one of the most hazardous things we do.

I liked what Piper says in:
http://www.desiringgod.org/Events/NationalConferences/Archives/2010/Invitation/

"Thinking is one of the most hazardous things we do. But it is absolutely necessary for being human and worshipful. The apostle warns, "Knowledge puffs up" (1 Corinthians 8:1). But he also commands, "In your thinking be mature" (1 Corinthians 14:20). Do this dangerous thing. But do it well. ..."...FOLLOW THE ARTICLE FOR COMPLETE READ.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Song of the weekend: What a friend we have in Jesus

I found this new awesome song in the weekend prayer & worship meeting:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do your friends despise, forsake you? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In His arms He’ll take and shield you; you will find a solace there.

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to Thee in earnest prayer.
Soon in glory bright unclouded there will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship will be our sweet portion there.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Where do you find people praying and reading Bible all day?

So, where do you find people reading Bible and praying all day?

You can find such people in prisons.

I am planning to write-up my experiences of prison ministry, at TDCJ, UTMB.

Usually when I go to minister there, I would always find couple of them who would minister to me. They would spend their time so well in the prison: reading Bible and praying all day. I sometime ask them to keep me in prayers, as they pray so much.
They can essentially become pastors, when they are released.

I also notice that sometimes they give me affirmations & love much more than people outside prison.
Because they become so grateful that someone from outside came and showed them respect and care.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Who do you think in the Bible needed least prayers? And who do you think prayed most?

Today the sermon in the Galveston Bible Church was about prayers. It was a great session. Some quotes from Pastor Clay:

-Who do you think in the Bible prayed most? Jesus? But who do you think would have needed least prayers? Jesus?
--Prayer is conversation with God. Jesus, Paul, etc. needed constant communion with God so much. Just like in a relationship, how long can you stay away form your spouse without talking? God longs for us so much, that He gave his only Son to suffer & die to have a continuing relationship with each one of us.
--Intercessory prayer is an important component of prayer. Pray for unreached places, mission fields, those in drastic need & suffering (places in Haiti, Zimbabwe)
--Thanksgiving is also an important component of prayer
--What do you constantly pray for: for God to show up, which way to go: directions, etc.

-He knows what you need and when you need

-How sweet is Your Word, sweeter than honey

-IT IS SO EASY TO GO TO CHURCH, LISTEN TO A SERMON ON PRAYERS, AND COME BACK HOME AND NOT DO IT!
We have to keep up with your prayer life consistently. Jesus warned in Luke 22:46: "Why are you sleeping?"- he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tim Keller's new article: How Do We Handle the Big Issues Facing the Church? AND HIS NEW BOOK:"Counterfeit Gods:The Empty Promises of Money,Sex,Power"

http://theresurgence.com/handle_the_big_issues

This is a good read. It talks about one important need of the current time: "The local church has to support culture-making"

BTW his new book, Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters (Dutton Adult, October 2009)is becoming increasingly popular -- a very good book!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

This is the real deal

As we pray for John Piper and his family, this is one of his great sermons on living a Christian life:

Life does not become a cake-walk

Even so blessed people like John Piper get overwhelmed:
http://theresurgence.com/8-godly-precedents-piper-sabbatical
Quoting:
"I was brought to tears and was extremely humbled by the courageous letter that Dr. John Piper wrote to explain that he is taking a sabbatical “because of a growing sense that [his] soul, [his] marriage, [his] family, and [his] ministry-pattern need a reality check from the Holy Spirit.”"

I think this is a very good life lesson for all Christians.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Two great books I recently read

I liked these two books by BILL THRASHER and also recommend them to those looking for some Christian books to read these days:

--"Living the Life God has Planned"

--"Believing GOD for His Best: How to marry contentment and singleness"
----If you are single and wondering what is God's way to go about dating & marriage, then this is a very good book to read!

God's annointing on Francis Chan

I have been listening to Francis Chan's online sermons (sequentially from the day 1 of his church). As I listen to his sermons, I feel he has special anointing from God, to further His Kingdom in this age. In-fact people have started calling him young John Piper!! His book "crazy love" is becoming increasingly popular (reminds of Rick's "purpose driven life", when it came out first).

His wiki is interesting. It says:

"Chan's parents both died by the time he was 12 years old. He was somewhat close to his brother growing up. He did not get along well with his father, but says that his fear of his father has helped him understand a level of fear of God. He also stated he didn’t understand the love of God well until he became a father himself."

"Chan frequently talks about 'What the bible is really saying' and really living our lives that way. He is not afraid of confronting lukewarmness, but his challenge seems to draw more people to his message, rather than pushing them away. In-fact his church is now one of the largest churches in Ventura County, California. He started his church in 1994 with only 30 people. Within two months, the church had grown to 100 people, and by 2000, Chan was leading a $1 million project to provide for the 1,600 member congregation."

"Chan gives away about 90 percent of his income ... Chan doesn't take a salary from his church, and he has donated all of his book royalties, which total about $500,000 to various charities. Much of it goes to organizations which rescue sex slaves in foreign countries."

I do highly recommend listening to his sermons sequentially from day 1!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

It all belongs to God..we are just His stewards

Quoting from a text:

John Wesley’s house caught on fire and burned down. Someone went up to tell him about it and Wesley responded by saying, “God’s house burned down…one less thing to worry about.”

Friday, March 26, 2010

‘Do you mind if I clean the latrines again today?’”

Pastor Mark Zeiler talked about RAVI ZACHARIAS's account:

http://rzim.org/justthinkingfv/tabid/602/articleid/10018/cbmoduleid/881/default.aspx

Of all the stories I’ve told after thirty years of traveling, this one is nearest to my heart, probably the most moving to me. In 1971, I preached in Vietnam. I was in my mid twenties; my interpreter was seventeen years old. His name was Hien Pham. We covered the length and breadth of the country. The American troops carried us around or we went by motorbike. How our lives were rescued, I don’t know. But we came back safely. A revival broke out in the country through the preaching of these two young men.

Hien was my interpreter. In the city Natrang, I held him close, embraced him, and said, “Goodbye, Hien. I’ll probably never see you again.” I flew to Saigon and on back where I was living at that time in Toronto.

Seventeen years later, my phone rang. I was in Vancouver speaking and the phone rang at 11:00 p.m. The man said, “Brother Ravi.” There’s only one person who called me with that intonation that way. I said, “Hien, is that you?” he said, “Yes.” I said, “Oh my word! Where are you?” He said, “California.” I said, “What are you doing here?” He said, “Have you got a few minutes?” I said, “Yes.”

He said, “After Vietnam fell, I was imprisoned by the Viet Cong because I’d worked with the Americans, worked with people like you. They put me behind bars, they took away all English from me, took away my Bible from me, tried to knock faith out of me. I was only allowed to read Marx and Engels in French and Vietnamese. After about a year in there, so worn out, I said, ‘Maybe you don’t exist, God. I’m giving up all hope. I don’t believe in you. Tomorrow when I wake up, I’m not going to pray.’”

That morning, he was assigned to clean the latrines. He said, “Brother Ravi, it’s the dirtiest place on earth you’d want to be. I bound a handkerchief around my mouth cleaning the wet floor, and I saw a little bin with dirty pieces of paper, with human excrement in it. But something told me as I looked there, there was one paper, a piece of paper with English.” He said, “I hadn’t read English for so long. I washed it off, put it in my hip pocket, waited for everybody to go to bed, to sleep. Lights were out.

I took out my flashlight under my mosquito net. I flashed it. On the right hand corner it said, Romans chapter 8.” He said, “I started reading and cried. ‘Oh, my dear Lord, you didn’t leave me one day without you.’ ‘For all things work together for good to them that love God; to those that are called according to his purpose. For who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Neither things present, nor things to come, nor life nor death.’”

Hien said, “Next morning I went back to the commanding officer. I said, ‘Do you mind if I clean the latrines again today?’” He went there every day. He found another page from the New Testament. The commanding officer had been given a Bible a long time ago. He was tearing out a page every day using it as toilet paper. Hien was washing it and using it for his devotions every day.

I said, “Where are you now?” He said, “I’m at Berkeley doing my business degree.” I said, “I can’t believe this, Hien.” He said, “I’m in America.”

I said, “How did that happen?” He said, “I was released and I built a boat with 52 others. Four days before my release, before our escape, four Viet Cong came armed to the teeth and grabbed me and said, ‘Are you trying to escape?’ I lied and said, ‘No.’ They said, ‘Are you telling us the truth?’” He said, “Yes.”

They let him go. He got on his knees, and said, “God, I lied. I’m running my own life. I lied. If you really want me to tell them the truth, let them come back again.” He said, “I sincerely hoped that prayer would never be answered. Hours before we left, the four of them came with their machine guns, grabbed me by the collar, rammed me against the wall. ‘You’re lying, aren’t you?’”

Hien said, “Yes, I’m escaping with 52 others. Are you going to imprison me again?” They said, “No. we want to go with you.’”

“Brother Ravi, if it weren’t for them we would never have made it. They knew how to navigate the ocean on that boat, get us safely to Thailand. I was then listed as a United Nations refugee. I’m here in America now doing my business degree.”

He runs a financial planning company now in California. He came and visited us, wanted me to officiate at his wedding, and he looked at my kids and said, “Don’t ever think God is far away from you. That intimate relationship is the greatest thrill of anyone’s life, for He seeks such to have fellowship with Him.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The 20 Most Brilliant Christian Professors

The 20 Most Brilliant Christian Professors
http://www.collegecrunch.org/professors/the-20-most-brilliant-christian-professors/

Wow James Tour is there also :-) I attended his Bible classes and ate in his house many times :-)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tozer's pursuit of God

Quoting from Tozer's pursuit of God:

"The doctrine of justification by faith -- a Biblical truth, and a blessed relief from sterile legalism and unavailing self-effort -- has in our time fallen into evil company and been interpreted by many in such manner as actually to bar men from the knowledge of God. The whole transaction of religious conversion has been made mechanical and spiritless. Faith may now be exercised without a jar to the moral life and without embarrassment to the Adamic ego. Christ may be "received" without creating any special love for Him in the soul of the receiver. The man is "saved", but he is not hungry nor thirsty after God. In fact he is specifically taught to be satisfied and encouraged to be content with little."

(I think, Dallas Willard also stresses on this in his book)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Does God see you as His friend?

I was listening to a sermon from cornerstone/simivalley church on Genesis 18:16-33. It talked about God consulting Abraham in deciding the fate of Sodom. The preacher said, God was like: "Shall I hide from (my friend) Abraham what I am about to do?". The preacher claimed that this is a very good example of "personal relationship with God" ... I thought that was a very interesting analysis ... I had never seen Genesis 18:16-33 like that ...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

George Muellar

Quoting from "Living the life God has Planned":

George Mueller was burdened to encourage people to experience the faithfullness of God. He founded an orphanage not only because he cared about the needy children but because he wanted God's people to see that He is faithful and will answer prayer. He saw older people living in fear of whether they would be forsaken by God. He saw people operating unethically in their careers because the feared that they could not compete if they lived honestly in the business world. To honor God's faithfulness was his objective in starting an orphange and making his needs known only to God. In his lifetime he recorded more than fifty thousand prayer, and many of these are found in the book Answers to Prayer

Quoting from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_M%C3%BCller :

Müller prayed about everything and expected each prayer to be answered.

Once, whilst crossing the Atlantic, his ship ran into thick fog. He explained to the captain that he needed to be in Quebec by the following afternoon, but the captain said that he was slowing the ship down for safety and Müller's appointment would have to be missed. Müller asked to use the chartroom to pray for the lifting of the fog. The captain followed him down, claiming it would be a waste of time. After Müller prayed, the captain started to pray, but Müller stopped him; partly because of the captain's unbelief, but mainly because he believed the prayer had already been answered. When the two men went back to the bridge, they found the fog had lifted.

The captain became a Christian shortly afterwards.

Müller's faith in God strengthened day by day and he spent HOURS in daily prayer and Bible reading.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tiger Woods does remind me of King Solomon ;)

Yes, Tiger Woods does remind me of King Solomon ;)

Look at this article:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/233947

"Buddhism," said Woods in his awkward 13-minute address, "teaches that a creation of things outside ourselves causes an unhappy and pointless search for security. It teaches me to stop following every impulse and to learn restraint. Obviously, I lost track of what I was taught.".

The article also says, Woods – a man who has everything, and is reeling from the possibility that it will be taken away....

Pray for Tiger and also that people will learn from Tiger's life.

Friday, February 19, 2010

are you a happy soul? :)

http://www.crosswalk.com/1300750/

Fanny Crosby was given a wrong medical treatment at six weeks of age that resulted in permanent blindness. As a child she made up her mind to store in her heart what she called the "little jewel of contentment." She declared this jewel to be the "comfort of her life." When she was eight years old she wrote:

O what a happy soul am I!
Although I cannot see,
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't.
To weep and sigh because I'm blind;
I cannot, and I won't.

Scores of people have been blessed through the legacy of hymns she has left the church, and millions have been blessed by her learning the lesson of contentment in God's sovereign will.

Fanny Crosby married Alexander Van Alstyne when she was thirty-eight. This dear couple experienced a great loss when their only child died at a very young age. In her grief she penned the hymn "Safe in the Arms of Jesus." A ministry borne out of a humble and contented heart bears great fruit.....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Where did your riches/success come from? Abraham Lincoln "said" on National Day of Prayer & Fasting:

http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Now, therefore, in compliance with the request, and fully concurring in the views of the Senate, I do, by this my proclamation, designate and set apart Thursday, the 30th. day of April, 1863, as a day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer. And I do hereby request all the People to abstain, on that day, from their ordinary secular pursuits, and to unite, at their several places of public worship and their respective homes, in keeping the day holy to the Lord, and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to that solemn occasion.

All this being done, in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the Divine teachings, that the united cry of the Nation will be heard on high, and answered with blessings, no less than the pardon of our national sins, and the restoration of our now divided and suffering Country, to its former happy condition of unity and peace.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"We owe the world an encounter with God." -Bill

Pastor Bill Johnson says, "The only way we are going to be people who bring the world an encounter with God is if we are consistently encountering Him ourselves. We can only give away what we have..."

For example, (quoting from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_M%C3%BCller)
Müller prayed about everything and expected each prayer to be answered.
Once, whilst crossing the Atlantic, his ship ran into thick fog. He explained to the captain that he needed to be in Quebec by the following afternoon, but the captain said that he was slowing the ship down for safety and Müller's appointment would have to be missed. Müller asked to use the chartroom to pray for the lifting of the fog. The captain followed him down, claiming it would be a waste of time. After Müller prayed, the captain started to pray, but Müller stopped him; partly because of the captain's unbelief, but mainly because he believed the prayer had already been answered. When the two men went back to the bridge, they found the fog had lifted.

The captain became a Christian shortly afterwards.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Interview with Patrick Fung

I liked the interview with Patrick Fung at:
http://www.urbana09.org/program.webcast.cfm