On Fire for All Things Christ

Archive for the ‘Sheep’ Category

Houston Project: “Awe” Mission

Day four of teaching VBS to our kids was on the topic of salvation. To start the lesson, I had the kids participate in a skit addressing the evidence and testimonies for Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. After that, teaching assistant David led the class with the felt board Gospel presentation that we had been discussing on a daily basis. We had started the lesson time a bit late that day so I kept  watching the time to see if we would have enough time for everything on the agenda. At some point I decided that after David gets finished we would have to cut the Bible highlighting activity and move straight into the salvation colors bracelet. But, one question remained in my mind. Would we have time to let Andre share his illustration before the frenzy of bracelets and beads?

The Moment of Awe – for Everyone!
After David  finished with the felt board, I went for it … I asked teaching assistant Andre to come and share his illustration of the cross with the kids. As Andre made his way up to the white board, the full room of 30 kids fell completely silent. Every eye was on Andre and every ear was hyper attentive to his words. Not a stir or sound came out of the students as Andre drew and explained his illustration. It was a complete God moment – one that He cleared completely for the sharing of this story. I was completely amazed. You see, Andre is very shy and does not talk much, if at all. During our last three evenings of VBS, I don’t think he said more that two words to the kids, but on this last day, God assuredly gave him the platform as he stepped out in faith and shared his illustration of the cross with the kids. (Below is my reiteration of his drawing.)

I give thanks to Jesus for blessing me with this awe-struck moment of watching Andre step out of his comfort zone and share with the kids. I praise God for the sensitivity in the classroom and most of all, I praise God for giving me a heart of patience to let Andre share his words and illustration. May we do all things with grace and patience as His great love abounds.

Exodus 34: 5-6
Then the LORD came down in a cloud and stood there with him; and he called out his own name, Yahweh. The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

Beattitude: Joy

: the emotion evoked by well-being
: a state of happiness or felicity

Two years ago I was going through a heart break situation. In that, I visited a church in which the pastor spoke joy over me. A year later I visited another church and again the word joy was given to me in prayer. Then again just a few weeks ago, I visited yet another church and there the pastor also prayed for me to receive the joy of the Lord. All different churches, all different people but the same message. I think the Holy Spirit is trying to tell me to receive joy as my healing strength! But how do I do that?

… the JOY of the Lord is my strength. – Nehemiah 8:10. This verse of scripture packs a punch of truth in such a short statement! (Read this awesome commentary) When I earnestly meditate on God and the great and amazing work He does for me and through me, I in turn take on an attitude of praising Him. When my attention is turned outwardly away from my selfish “pitty-party-of-one” attitude and onto Him and serving others, I see joy in Him – in His work on the cross for me. In His little day-to-day acts of love towards me. And in seeing His amazing hand go forth as I serve Him. The enemy wants me to focus on myself, but the Lord wants me to focus on Him. Thank you Jesus that my joy is found in all things You and that you give me strength to refocus my life.

After several weeks of amazing experiences in serving Christ, His people and in hearing and meditating on His amazing transforming power, I think I have a better understanding at what it means to have a glimpse of joy in Christ. I pray and hope that I continue to receive deeper understanding of this joy as I draw closer to Christ, and that I can give you further encouragement as I go along. May joy become our normal beattitude of living!

In Joy!

For fun, here are a few new songs to listen to and enjoy!!

Giving Life Away Expo Photos

This week, church had its annual missions expo, Giving Life Away. Being a designer, I enjoyed the graphics and display details very much and I wanted to share a few of my photos of them with you. I also included captions and links to some of the ministries that were on display for those who may be interested in additional info.

(Above) A vibrant blue light shines down on a large curtain made of plastic water bottles. In front of the water bottle curtain were water-shaped boards with facts and photos supporting the cause of Living Water International.

(Above) CHARM is a ministry to those in prison.

(Above) Talk bubbles of scripture passages illustrate part of the Aid Sudan ministry which, among many things, helps in supplying Sudanese with radios that play the Gospel and are shared among communities.(Above two photos) Photos and facts from the As Our Own ministry that serves in India to rescue girls from enslavement. As Our Own provides the girls with a safe and loving environment and the Word of God.(Above three photos) Stories, prayer and photos from past missionaries spread across a wall and are back lit to give the illusion of lights in the darkness.Burlap and other earth-tone fabrics draped across booth tops. That, along with the wide use of wood, lighting and other recycled materials brought a warm invitation to the displays. I must say, this was not at all what I was expecting to see at a missions expo.

Chopped Redemption

After a tough, long day at work, I came home, served myself a bowl of cereal for dinner and switched on the TV for a bit. Yes! It was Tuesday night and the Chopped evening marathon was on. Nearing 10pm, a preview came up to announce the coming episode. Wouldn’t you believe I was so excited when they announced a second chance episode and my favorite Chef from the Summer, Chef Lance, was back.

I remember the first time Chef Lance was on Chopped. He and another competitor (Chef Madison) were head-to-head in each round cooking amazing, creative cuisines with hardly no mistakes. I think it was the closest battle on Chopped I had ever seen. Both competitors had great attitudes and talents. It was hard to see either one of them lose.

This second chance episode called “Chopped Redemption,” (originally aired on July 26, then again on Dec. 6 & 20) was perfect for Chef Lance and I’ll explain why as you read along.

At the beginning of each show they introduce the chefs where each one is interviewed to give their inspiration to cook and reason for being on Chopped. As I watched this “Chopped Redemption” with anticipation through each course, I just knew Chef Lance was going to win, and I had a gut feeling that he was somehow going to give part of his winnings to his final competitor. And wouldn’t you believe that at the end of the show, that’s exactly what happened.

I share this with you because I love the story behind this episode and Chef Lance. Chef Lance is a Christian and an executive chef at Camp of the Woods Resort in New York. In his interview on the show, he spoke about the mean and inconsiderate person he used to be, but now, he has changed his attitude on life and others. I think most of us that have crossed from death to life can relate to this. Most of the competitors on the show come to prove themselves as good chefs to family and friends, for validation and credit, or simply just to win and get the prize money. Chef Lance’s competitor, Chef Yoanne, was there to win the money to pay for her future visit to France and see her dying grandmother – her inspiration. Chef Lance was so touched by Yoanne’s motivation, that in the end, he gave his competitor, Yoanne, part of his winnings so she could visit her grandmother.

I loved Chef Lance’s passion to cook, his mission to serve people through the food he prepares, his grace, and his heart to help others, as he did for Chef Yoanne. Chopped Redemption was the perfect title for this episode because it showed Chef Lance’s redemption as a chef and his redeeming character as a believer in Christ. Praise be to God! Congratulations on the win-win for Chef Lance!

Arguing the Ascension of Christ

I saw this write up: Ascension Day and Astronaut Jesus on another blog and was infuriated enough to write a response, (written below). I almost felt that the author’s original post was written as a joke, but in any case, a response was needed for those who are truly seeking truth on the subject on whether or not God’s ascension to Heaven can be taken literal. My response argues against the claims that Jesus’ ascension to Heaven cannot be taken literal.

Argument #1
Jesus “flew” up to Heaven? Is that what the scripture (Acts 1:9) says? No, the scripture says Jesus was lifted up/taken up. The Greek word there for “taken up” is “epairō.” It is important to note the details in the text and observe that Jesus did not “fly” or propel Himself up, but He was lifted/taken up by another source.

When we/the church are “caught up”(1 Thess. 4:17), that doesn’t mean that we will “fly,” it means we will be seized/snatched/carried off by force.

Hence, Jesus being “lifted,” or the saints being “caught up” is by a force outside ourselves.

Argument #2:
I’m not sure we all understand what the blog meant when he wrote “as we all now know, heaven is not ‘up’.” The topic under discussion itself is called “Ascension Day.” Does the word ascension not imply an upward direction? Scripture clearly states that the Heavens are above the Earth (Isaiah 55:9, Psalm 103:11). And, just so we’re clear, NOT EVERYONE will be raptured up unfortunately. And again, WE WILL NOT FLY UP, but we will be “caught up”/seized.

Argument #3:
Who is to say that our glorified bodies will need oxygen? God is the one who breaths life into us. (Genesis 2:7)

Argument #4
God created everything in 6 days (Genesis 2:2)!!! That included the Earth, the things under it, and the things above it (heavens). Therefore, ascension to the sky/Heaven by God’s power is not based on the laws of gravity and “light years of travel” through space. God Himself created gravity and all the things that govern creation, but He is not ruled or subject to these laws. He is sovereign OVER them.

Also, the apostle Paul in 2 Cor.12:2 says that he was “caught up” to the third heavens. Does that mean it took him light years to get there? Obviously not since he speaks of that being 14 years earlier.

So, yes, ascension did happen and it happened LITERALLY as the Word describes. However, it did not happen based of the defining laws that govern creation (such as gravity, space and time), but by God who created all and is above all things, including the the laws that govern creation.

So, that is how I make my argument against those who do not beleive that Jesus’ ascension can be taken litterally.

I would also like to make a note that in general, when making claims on Biblical text, one must consider the context (setting, atmosphere, audience, etc) of the scripture passage. If surrounding verses are literal, then most likely, so are the verses in question. One wouldn’t read Chronicles and think it is poetic literature, just as one wouldn’t read Song of Songs and consider it to be historical. That would be silly. So again, always consider the context and that will help give insight in how the text should be interpreted.

Praise and glory be to our Father in Heaven who has blessed us with wisdom, knowledge and faith to believe.

The Sword Against Satan

Beloved readers, I have an assignment for you. Research your Bible and see how many different names for Satan you can find. Remember, greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4), so don’t think of this assignment as an open door to the devil. In fact, it’s a way of keeping him away. The more you know about him and his craftiness, the better you can fight against him. If you’d like, get technical and do research in the Hebrew and Greek. You may discover interesting things like noticing that the word “devil” is only used in the New Testament. (hmm… I wonder why that is?)

To help get you started, I have listed a few examples below. Names for Satan, aka…

  • The accuser – Revelation 12:10 …the accuser of our brethren…
  • The deceiver – Revelation 12:10 …Satan, who deceives the whole world…
  • The devil – 1 Peter 5:8 (here’s a double) …Your adversary, the devil

With your list, now reflect and consider which of these he is using against you today. How do you plan to fight back against him? If you plan to use Scripture (and I highly recommend that you do), share with me what words you would use as your sword!

  • 1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome him. Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
  • Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
  • Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?
  • James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Remember, Satan fights dirty! But the more you know God’s Word, the quicker you will recognize his attempts. Be empowered by His words and have fun as you discover your victory! Blessings!

Hell: The Eternal “Scream World”

Image credit to ScreamWorld

If you drive around Houston area freeways, no doubt you have seen a billboard somewhere in the city advertising Scream World. It sure is a “scream world” when you have no hope! That’s what most people who have experienced visions of Hades (God’s holding cell for the wicked until judgement time comes when all who denied Him will be cast into the lake of fire) or Hell say.

While most of the American population gets psyched up for Halloween and the haunted house scares, do they know that each day they live without accepting the Truth of salvation is a day closer to their eternal abyss in Hell? Yes, the screams and fears of a Halloween night are only temporary, but those screams will not be temporary when death curses them into the eternal place of torment. There, they will be in a forever “scream world” with no hope in sight. Hell was only meant for Satan and his angels (better known as demons), Matthew 25:41, but that’s where all who reject Jesus will go after the Great White Throne Judgement proves them guilty.

It pains my spirit that so many delight in the cheap thrills and horrors of Satan’s schemes, including Halloween, a day most regard as harmless enjoyment of candy, jokes and dressing up. The lost live for the short-term satisfactions of this world, they bathe in wickedness, and taunt the enemy for more. Do they know that Satan is laughing at every oblivious step that they take towards him? In this moment, those people probably care less to think about where their eternity will be, but if they fully knew about the torments in Hell, would they choose to turn around and meet Jesus instead?

Nassau Bay Baptist Church (among others throughout) offers an alternative experience to secular haunted houses called “Judgement House.” Here, relief of Hell is granted by another way other than simply walking out the other side of the building 10 minutes later. Here, relief to eternal Hell is offered through the saving grace of Jesus – the only way out of Hell’s own eternal “scream world.”

While Satan uses Halloween horrors to draw people closer to his merciless wickedness, we can be sure that God is also using it to pull His created into discovering His good nature. My prayer is that many will awaken from the schemes of the devil and turn to Jesus to save them before it’s too late!

Tag Cloud