Monday, November 26, 2012

Learn To Express, Not Impress!

Better understated than overstated. Let people be surprised that it was more than you promised and easier than you said.

For effective communication, use brevity. Jesus said, "Follow me." Now that's brief! He could be brief because of all that he was that he didn't have to say.

You cannot speak that which you do not know. You cannot share that which you do not feel. You cannot translate that which you do not have. And you cannot give that which you do not possess. To give it and to share it, and for it to be effective, you first need to have it. Good communication starts with good preparation.

The goal of effective communication should be for listeners to say, "Me, too!" verses "So what?"

Learn to express, not impress.

Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.

Jim Rohn

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's Only Two Words!


Peter denied that he knew Jesus

by Max Lucado

It was small enough to overlook. Only two words. I know I’d read that passage a hundred times. But I’d never seen it.

But I won’t miss it again. It’s highlighted in yellow and underlined in red. You might want to do the same. Look in Mark, chapter 16. Get your pencil ready and enjoy this jewel in the seventh verse (here it comes). The verse reads like this: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.

Did you see it? Read it again. (This time I italicized the words.)

“But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.”

Now tell me if that’s not a hidden treasure.

If I might paraphrase the words, “Don’t stay here, go tell the disciples,” a pause, then a smile, “and especially tell Peter, that he is going before you to Galilee.”

What a line. It’s as if all of heaven had watched Peter fall—and it’s as if all of heaven wanted to help him back up again. “Be sure and tell Peter that he’s not left out. Tell him that one failure doesn’t make a flop.”


No wonder they call it the gospel of the second chance.

Those who know these types of things say that the Gospel of Mark is really the transcribed notes and dictated thoughts of Peter. If this is true, then it was Peter himself who included these two words! And if these really are his words, I can’t help but imagine that the old fisherman had to brush away a tear and swallow a lump when he got to this point in the story.

It’s not every day that you get a second chance. Peter must have known that. The next time he saw Jesus, he got so excited that he barely got his britches on before he jumped into the cold water of the Sea of Galilee. It was also enough, so they say, to cause this backwoods Galilean to carry the gospel of the second chance all the way to Rome where they killed him. If you’ve ever wondered what would cause a man to be willing to be crucified upside down, maybe now you know.

It’s not every day that you find someone who will give you a second chance—much less someone who will give you a second chance every day.

But in Jesus, Peter found both.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Revealing Your True Self To Be Loved And To Share Love?

Growing in Love

"We love him because he first loved us."1

"How many feel they would like to have more love in their life?" is a question I have asked many times to seminar attendees. Many, if not most, hands are raised. When I ask the same folk how many feel all of their love needs are being met, very few hands are raised.

Some years ago there was a popular song by Jackie Deshannon that stated, "What the world needs now is love / Sweet love / It's the only thing / That there's just too little of / What the world needs now / Is love, sweet love / No, not just for some / But for everyone."

Those words still ring true because so many of our human problems are caused by a breakdown or failure in love. And when I ask people how we get more love in our life, inevitably almost all say by giving love. Sounds good, but that isn't always true because we can't give what we don't have. In fact, unless I have learned to love and accept myself in a healthy way, I am not able to love or accept anyone else in a healthy way. My love will be contaminated by need.

Thus, love is an action/feeling to be learned. We didn't come into the world knowing how to love—only with the ability to learn how to love. So how do we learn to love? John stated that we love God because he first loved us. The same principle holds true for human love. We love others because others (or another) first loved us. If they didn't, and we didn't receive sufficient unconditional love as a child and learned how to love then, we need to receive it now and learn how to love maturely now.

Furthermore, I can only be fully loved to the degree that I am known. Thus, the way we grow in and learn to love is by becoming vulnerable and allowing at least one or two safe, accepting, and non-judgmental persons see and know us as we really are—warts and all. And as they love and accept us as we are, little by little we learn to love and accept ourselves. And as we learn to love and accept ourselves, we are then freed both to give and receive love without strings attached. But as long as we hide our inner or secret self (our dark side) behind any kind of a mask (no matter how sophisticated that mask may be), we will never feel fully loved, nor will we be able to fully love. I repeat … we can only ever feel fully loved to the degree that we are fully known.

Risky? Yes. But not to learn to love is the greatest risk of all.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to find a loving, safe, nonjudgmental, accepting person that I can trust, so I can share my total self with this person and be truly accepted and loved by this person for who I am (and not for what I do or don't do), so that I, in turn, can learn to accept and love others more fully. And help me to experience your love more and more so that I will also be able to love others more and more. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. 1 John 4:19.

Article by Rev Richard Innes

Is the God of the Old Testament the same One in the New Testament?

An Eye for an Eye:
Basic Biblical Interpretation for a Skeptical Culture, Part 1 
One of the most common cultural objections to the Bible, and specifically to ethical stands based on the Bible’s teachings, is the Old Testament.
You bring up Paul’s teachings on, say, homosexuality, and the counter punch is the plethora of laws in Leviticus that advocate stoning for…well, things we don’t usually want to stone people for.
The attempted point is that if you are going to buy into the New Testament ethic, you have to buy into the Old Testament ethic.  And since no one wants to buy into the Old Testament ethic – not even Christians – then let’s not be hypocrites.  Drop the cherry-picked New Testament stuff and realize that morals change with the times.
Heard this a few times?  Of course you have.  This argument is brought out so frequently, one is led to believe it’s the ultimate slam dunk against Christianity.
But is it?
The word testament simply means "agreement," or "covenant."  The Old Testament is the covenant God made with men and women about how to be in relationship with Him before Christ came.  The New Testament is the new agreement God made with men and women about how to be in a relationship with God after the coming of Christ.
But the New Testament didn't replace the old covenants - it fulfilled them.  The better way to think of them is the first covenant, and then the final, or fulfilled covenant.  All along, God's intention was to bring forth the Messiah, the Savior of the world.  The very purpose of the Old covenant was to prepare the people for the coming, complete covenant that would arrive with the Messiah.
Yet here is the caricature: we have two testaments with two radically different theologies - even two radically different “gods.”  In the Old Testament you get a God of wrath and judgment, but in the New Testament, you get a God of love.
Um, no.
The only way to reach that conclusion would be through a superficial reading of the texts themselves.  In truth, there isn't a difference between how the two testaments picture God at all.
For example, there is enormous love and grace and mercy in the Old Testament pictures of God.  The first thirty-nine books of the Bible are more marked by God’s incredible restraint, His unbelievable patience, His undying love, than any manifestations of His wrath.
The truth is that God is a God of love and justice, grace and judgment, mercy and accountability.  Together, they form a single picture, for the story of the two testaments is one story.  It tells the progressive, unfolding drama of the wild pursuit of God of those He created.  From creation through to Abraham, Moses to the prophets, a relentless love was being poured out that was growing, building, revealing itself until it reached its climax in the most radical moment in all of cosmic history:
God Himself shed His glory, assumed human form, and took the place of sacrifice in order to save us.
So is it “an eye for an eye” or “turn the other cheek”?  Understanding the two testaments as a single story, we now know the answer:
It’s “yes.”
Because it’s a singular story, we interpret the Old Testament in light of its fulfillment in the New Testament.  Jesus Himself said that He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it.  We all deserve an eye for an eye.  We all deserve death for our sins.  But Christ on the cross took on the penalty for our sin as a grace-gift to all who would receive it.  The Old Testament remains the yardstick, but not the pathway.
So does the law in the Old Testament apply to us today at all?
The law provides us with a paradigm of timeless ethical, moral and theological principles.  It’s just that some laws no longer have validity because they have been completely fulfilled in Christ, such as the sacrificial system.
Here's the principle:  all of the Old Testament applies to Christians, but none of it applies apart from its fulfillment in Christ.
We obey the laws of sacrifice by trusting in Christ as our once-for-all sacrifice, not by bringing sheep or goats to be slain each weekend in church.
The kosher laws were designed to set the Israelites apart from the other nations, so we obey this principle when we morally separate ourselves from sin.
And on it goes.
This is why so many misinterpret the “eye for an eye” and “turn the other cheek” passages.  The “eye for an eye” passage in Deuteronomy 21 was about whether you could pursue private vendettas, to retaliate when they had been wronged.
The answer was “no.”
That was for the judges to decide.  They were to follow a principle based on an eye for an eye, meaning compensation and restitution in direct proportion to the crime.  They were to match the damages inflicted – and no more.  You were not to have blood feuds, or private wars.
So “eye for an eye” was just a literary device intended to give the principle for a formula for compensation.
In the New Testament, we can paraphrase Jesus’ teaching as saying, “You have heard of ‘eye for eye’ – and that’s good – but I tell you to go farther!”
“Don’t retaliate at all!”
“Don’t harbor a spirit of resentment.  If someone does you wrong, meet it by doing them something right!”
This was a pattern throughout the teaching of Jesus such as “You have heard not to commit adultery – I tell you, don’t lust in your heart!”
Jesus wanted to take the law and put it in people’s hearts.  He wanted to take what was civically established, and have it burn in their souls as an internal compass.  So there’s no contradiction – just an expansion, an application, a personalizing of the Kingdom of God in every human heart.
Now, some might say, “Fine.  But what about the New Testament stuff that’s a bit sketchy – like headdresses for women – if it’s the fulfillment of the Old Testament, how do you deal with that?  Aren’t we right back to cherry-picking what we want to follow?"
Um, again, no.
But we’ll make that part 2.
James Emery White
Christopher J.H. Wright, An Eye for An Eye: The Place of Old Testament Ethics Today.
Klein, Blomberg and Hubbard, An Introduction to Biblical Interpretation.
Henrietta Mears, What the Bible is All About.
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Peter H. Davids, F.F. Bruce, and Manfred T. Brauch, The Hard Sayings of the Bible.
Editor’s Note
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president.  His newly released book is The Church in an Age of Crisis: 25 New Realities Facing Christianity (Baker Press).  To enjoy a free subscription to the Church and Culture blog, log-on to, where you can post your comments on this blog, view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world.  Follow Dr. White on twitter@JamesEmeryWhite.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Not Everything Under My Control

I have this constant fear about giving the impression that as a pastor, I have everything under control. I am afraid that those who hear me preached might think that I have such a connection to heaven so much so that I have all the answers. Nothing is further from the truth. 

There are days when my faith got shaken. Time and time again, I am placed in a waiting mode that I wonder what God is going to do. Yes, I do get impatient with God and if I had my way, I would have taken off running. But I have learned that it would be absolutely foolish and futile if I were to do that. 

Like every child of God, I am making my fair shares of mistakes, using my fair shares of doubt, and letting the Lord down more regularly than I like. However, one thing I lean heavily upon, in spite of my weakness, is the abundance of God's grace and mercy. His hands of restoration are always there to put me back on my feet whenever I cry out to Him. I am forever grateful that when I am weak, I have One who is strong. Thank you, Jesus, for loving me, in spite of me. 

Pastor Albert Kang

Sunday, November 4, 2012

You Are Complete

Jesus is the Redeemer
You are rescued!
Jesus is the Bread of Life
You are fed!
Jesus is the Light of the World
You are guided!
Jesus is the Door of the sheep
You are accepted!
Jesus is the Good Shepherd
You are cared for!
Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life
You are filled with hope!
Jesus is the Mighty God - You are safe!
Jesus is the Way - You are secure!
Jesus is the Life - You are whole!
Jesus is the Truth - You are certain!
Jesus is the True Vine - You have everything you need!
You are complete in Him. Colossians 2:10 NKJV