30 August 2010

A Church - Moses, Elijah and Jesus

Luke 9:35 (NLT)
35 Then a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him."
As Christians, we like very much for every church to have a desire for the things of God, a heart or hunger for His Word, for His revelation, for His presence, for His Kingdom and much more.

However, it is important that we do not and should not put (or create) that desire in the hearts of the people. For us to do so would be of our own works, it is not of God and when that happens, nothing good comes out of it.

That is for God to do (Heb 8:10-13) and only God can place the right desire into the heart of each of His people. After all, He created each of us and knows us much better than we think we do ourselves. We can and should however, encourage, support, nurture and fan that desire that God placed, in His people so that they may experience the salvation that comes through the Spirit who makes us holy and by our belief in the truth (2 Thess 2:13). This is to be done through the Spirit of Christ that is with grace and truth.

For unbelievers, they have only to hear the Gospel to be convicted by the Holy Spirit and they too will have the desire for the things of God. It is fresh in them. The question then is, as a church, how do we maintain it?

What about us, the believers, how do we maintain that desire for the "things of God"?

How we nurture this God given desire in His people, the church, is critical as it sets the church on a path that leads to life and life abundantly (John 10:10) or to a life of frustration and/or confusion.

The answer to the above questions may well be in what happen at a mountain where Jesus took Peter, James and John to pray. That time is known as 'The Transfiguration'.

The Transfiguration
Refer to Luke 9:28-56; Mark 9, Matt 17.

The crux of the story is that, at the mountain as Jesus was praying, Moses and Elijah appeared before Jesus. Peter wanted to build three shelters (tabernacles), one for each of them, a symbolic act that places Moses and Elijah on equal footing with Jesus.

This is what each of the individual represents;
• Moses represents the Law.
• Elijah represents the Prophets.
• Jesus represents Grace and Truth (John 1:17).

But God the Father spoke and said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to him.” When these words were spoken, Jesus was the only one left standing there. No Moses, no Elijah.

The Church Make-up
If we observe the church today, we would find the spirit of Moses, Elijah and Jesus (for lack of a better word), in the people; believers who are more incline towards the law, the prophetic or grace and truth. The truth is likely that all three can be found in each of us, in varying degree.

Given the passages on The Transfiguration, the emphasis however, should be to transform the church towards grace and truth through Christ Jesus. That is, the church (believers) are to nurture and grow their desire to know Jesus, more and more.

However, we do have a tendency to lean towards the ways of the old covenant; the law (Moses) and the prophets of old (Elijah). It would seem that it is in our nature to do so. There is much for us to unlearn and to then re-learn from scripture under the light of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:17 (NLT)
17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you do, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
From Desire to a Love Relationship
The church needs to hear and see the Truth, gilded with Grace, in order to come to know the Truth. It is in knowing the Truth that builds Faith which then leads to actions towards a transformation or repentance that is founded on faith and faith in Christ Jesus.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6a). Anything else would at best be, on shaking grounds of our works and at worst, from fear. It is throught faith in Jesus that will nurture the God given desire that then leads to life and the deeper things of God.

Growing in the knowledge of Jesus, fan the desire in the things and ways of God, and that in time leads to a love relationship with Jesus for we can come to love a person. Teachings that reveal Jesus, nurtures that desire to love the person(s) of God. As Christ increases in us, Self decreases in us ...and not the other way around, ...then the glory of God is revealed in and through us. The people will run towards one who reflects the glory of Jesus (Mark 9:15), for the betterment of His Kingdom (John 14:12-14).

Teachings that reveal the rules, principles or power of good Christian living, does not nurture a love relationship with Christ. It has a strong tendency to lead us towards works and self sufficiency which is what the Law is about. Anyway, how does one form a relationship with rules, principles, power which are non-persons?

I am not saying that teaching Christian living principles are wrong. God knows we need them, but it has to come through in the light of Jesus and His finished work at the Cross. It has to be with a New Covenant perspective e.g. Exodus 20:1 -17 (The Ten Commandments) vs. Matt 22:37-39.

Matthew 22:37-40
37Jesus replied, " `You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39A second is equally important: `Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.

It is not just receiving truth that we are saved, but having a “love for the truth”. It begins with the desire that God place in each of us. Those who have a true love for the truth that is gilded with His grace will never quit. They can only grow and be enriched by it.

An interesting verse to look into is Act 28:23 where the Kingdom of God and Jesus are revealed by Paul (get this), from the 5 books of Moses and the books of the Prophets.

Teachings for the church to fan the desire for the things of God:
  • Old Covenant vs. New Covenant – the Fulfilment of Christ.
  • The Kingdom of God – the Heart of Christ.
  • Who am I in Christ? – the Love of Christ.

26 August 2010

Kuala Lumpur Highlights - Wild Wildlife

Early the next morning and I mean early, early the next morning, we woke up to the noise of someone knocking on wood, outside our window. When I first looked out to see what the noise was about, I did not see anything and about that time, the knocking stopped. You have to understand that I wasn't awake yet and our room was on the first floor, so I was expecting to see someone hammering away at something at a neighbour's house, ....further away.

When the knocking happened again, it was Margaret who first saw it and hence the photo. There was a punk looking white and yellow woodpecker with a red Mohican hair-do, "knocking" at a tree, just outside the window. Imagine my surprise. It obviously did not notice us at the window, for it carried on for a good few minutes before it took flight across the field, towards another tree. Could not go back to sleep after that, so "got up" for an early breakfast.

Just after breakfast, my brother called us out to the front of the house and pointed us to some tress at the boundary of the housing estate. There were movement in the tress that he wanted us to capture on video.


Seems there is a troop of monkeys roaming the area, every morning. They come from an oil palm estate just beyond the fence and railway line. And what was the attraction for them to risk crossing the railway line and into the homes of people in the area; fruit trees like the papaya tree at my brother's garden. It seems like a constant battle to keep the monkeys away. Often half eaten green unripe papaya can be found around the gardens, when they do manage to venture close to the homes.

They are curious of anything lying around the grounds of the houses or the laundry hung out to dry. I heard stories of monkeys entering homes and the kitchen in search of food.

While these cute and playful monkeys are an attraction for people like myself visiting home, "Oh, look at that cute little monkey!" .....they have become .."Those filthy creatures!" .....an annoyance if not, a pest to the people living in the area. It certainly highlights to me how much the jungles where these animal once called home, has shrunk as the country develop. Certainly the oil palm estates have replaced the jungles as their home, but I think it is not the same. Their natural habitat do not consist of neat rows of "trees" appropriately spaced apart.

But this issue is not unique to the city of Kuala Lumpur.

Effects of Wild Animals moving into the city
Wild animals turned to city residents to beat the latest heatwave
Jungle with wild animals in modern city
Wild Animals Displaced by Logging in Cities and Towns
Wildlife - Wikipedia

Video Clip of Monkeys

24 August 2010

Kuala Lumpur Highlights

KUALA LUMPUR, is the capital of Malaysia and it is also commonly known as KL for short. It is our next and last stop into our holiday to Malaysia for the year. Looking forward to catching up with family and friends; some I will not meet due to scheduling issues, some I meet after having not seen them since my time at secondary school, thanks to my brother who organized it.

One of the major highlights of KL is the "serious" shopping you can do there. The week we were at KL must have been a fashion week, for there were fashion shows at several of the major shopping centres in the city centre, not to mention the shopping centres at the hotel where we stayed.

There is a shopping district at the city centre known as the "Golden Triangle" with at least a dozen shopping centres all within walking distance of each other. The shops ranges from the everyday shops, boutiques, major emporiums, to the pricy outlets like the Louis Veton, Gucci, Chanel, etc.

One major issue at the triangle is traffic. It is a crawl, even with the light rail introduced into the city, to alleviate traffic congestion. People in KL, seems to love their cars.

One of the highlight of our visit this time round is Putra Jaya, a planned city primarily the administrative centre of government. It was in the planning stage when I just before I migrated to Australia, so it was good to see the outcome of that vision. Impressive as far as the city planning and building design goes.

Did not get to see Cyberjaya, another planned township with a science park. It is said to want to become the Silicon Valley of Malaysia. Maybe my next trip back to Malaysia.

Other attractions to highlight would be the view of the city from the hotel where we stayed and the shopping centres under and around the hotel.

There is always one constant in any holiday that we take and that is the food. We just had to sample them and sometimes dare I say, excessively. There is a wide range to choose from, from the street food to the cuisines at restaurants and not just from the local people but also from the international community's too.

There is always the local favourite such as the nasi lemak, roti chanai and chicken rice. Must not forget the ice kachang, a favourite local dessert, for a hot day. They are simple fares which I could eat, everyday and not grow tire of them (I think).

Then there are the international restaurant cuisines, some of which do stand out in taste and fancy presentations.

Any surprises in this trip?

Well there were two. The first surprise is the wild wildlife I found at the city edge where we stayed for a couple of nights.

The second is a new pass time, feeding the fish .....and I mean literally, feeding the fish.

18 August 2010

Psalm 23 - The Poet vs The Shepherd

In a church meeting one evening, the pastor had those who were visiting stand up and introduce themselves. The first to rise and give his name mentioned that he was an actor.

Thinking quickly, the pastor asked, “Do you know Psalm 23?”
“Why, yes,” the actor replied with a smile.
“Would you mind treating our congregation to a recitation of it?”
“I would love to!” came his enthusiastic answer.

Rising in his place the artist turned, acknowledged his audience, cleared his throat, paused, and then launched into a flawless and eloquent oration of the familiar psalm. When he finished, the people in the church burst into hearty applause. "It was perfect! And such expression!"

Before the pastor moved on to the next visitor, he thanked the actor and remarked, “It’s obvious you know Psalm 23 well!

The next gentleman to introduce himself as a visitor was an elderly senior, bent with age, who commented that he was a retired preacher.

“Oh! Then I’m sure you know Psalm 23, too!” exclaimed the pastor. “Why don’t you share your rendition with our people.”

With great difficulty the old man of God rose from his seat, turned, and with a raspy, aged, shaking voice, began. Slowly he articulated his way through the beloved psalm. More than once he had to stop and struggle with his tears. When he finally finished and sank into his seat, there was only the sound of choked sniffles as everyone sat, too stunned to move or respond.

Dabbing his eyes and finding his voice, the pastor of the church quietly spoke, “And you, sir, it’s obvious that you know the Shepherd well.”

A Final Prayer for You

My prayer for you is that, you may not merely appreciate the poetry and the imagery and the sentiments expressed in Psalm 23, but may you believe and abundantly experience God’s rich promises to you for each and every circumstance and season of life. As this poem reminds us,

God is before me, He will be my guide;
God is behind me, no ill can betide;
God is beside me, to comfort and cheer;
God is around me, so why should I fear?

May you know full well and acknowledge with full confidence that “the Lord is my Shepherd.”

Psalm 23 NIV

1 The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, [Or through the darkest valley]
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23 NLT

1 The LORD is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the dark valley of death,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You welcome me as a guest,
anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD

Contributor - Anonymous

12 August 2010

Who Says God Can't Use You?

The next time you feel like GOD can't use you, just remember this.

Noah was a drunk
Abraham was too old
Isaac was a daydreamer
Jacob was a liar
Leah was ugly
Joseph was abused
Moses had a stuttering problem
Gideon was afraid
Samson had long hair and was a womanizer
Rahab was a prostitute
Jeremiah and Timothy were too young
David had an affair and was a murderer
Elijah was suicidal
Isaiah preached naked
Jonah ran from God
Naomi was a widow
Job went bankrupt
Peter denied Christ (3 times!)
The Disciples fell asleep while praying
Martha worried about everything
Mary Magdalene was promiscuous
the Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once...
Zaccheus was too small
Paul was too religious
Timothy had an ulcer


Lazarus was DEAD!

Now! No more excuses!
God can use you to your full potential.
You aren't the message,
You are just the messenger.

Contributor - Anonymous
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