the basics of service

as we begin our new topic on the basics of service, i would like to have everyone clear on the direction of our topic. we go deeper understanding about service through asking several questions that would give us insight. make no mistake, service/serving God* is a BIG word. and sometimes it does (1)sound dull, or it requires (2)a whole lot of time, concentration, effort and we usually think that (3)someone else would do it.

just an overview of what we have discussed last week. whom do we serve? yes we are servants of God, and yes we are to serve Him, BUT the key point here is that God wants us to serve others in need of His love. so if you're still with me.

if you agree on points (2) and (3), you are dead right. service will take up a lot of time, concentration and effort. fulfilling God's ministry on this earth is a big task, and we tend to have the attitude of 'someone else will do it'. well, if there was anything that is so correct but it is still so wrong, this is it. God doesn't need you to go fulfill His will, if you ever think otherwise then God is not a sovereign God anymore because He needs you. if we don't go to this world, He will send forth another group of people, and we would have missed out on the glorious ministry of reconciliation. The God we believe in, breathed the world we live in into existence, is a God that knows all because He is the beginning and the end. we need Him.

the reason He wants us to be His hands and His feet is that He loves us and invites us to be a part of His salvation story. just a tiny part/dot in the unmeasurable eternity. He wants you to share in the joy and rewards of His great great love. therefore the call is to whether to WANT to do it on our part. the journey of a christian is one that is full of sacrifice just like the One who sacrificed all, for you and me on that rugged cross. (John 3:16)

if you still have any doubts about giving your all, perhaps this illustration(#) i heard recently may help you. lets say i ask you to wash my car. i cant pay you much, but would you still be willing? probably some of you guys would do me this service. now lets change it around, if you wash my car, i will give you RM 1000 for every time you wash it. the result of that would be probably more of you would want to wash my car.
this is exactly the point of following Jesus with the life of service. the reward is always GREATER! back to illustration, now don't come to me and tell me that "i have enough money of my own" or "i don't want to receive money, because i willingly want to serve", etc (you can fill in the excuses). i believe in your sincerity BUT there is nothing that we can give that could be ever enough for God because He is the ultimate Giver! we never lose when we give ourselves to God because He blesses us in return. recall the parable of the man who found the treasure in the field and he sold all his possessions with joy to obtain this treasure that he wanted so badly (Matthew 13:44). he never tried to weight whether he was on the profit end of things, he just went for the treasure. Jesus Christ is the treasure my friends and His reward outmatches all the worthless things of this world.

i pray that we would never ever have the guts to come before the Lord of the Universe, Maker of Life and say that we have served God in this way or in that way or just to pour out all the things that we have done for the Lord. no. let me tell you now, it is never enough. to know when to stop is when this race of life ends.
please do not think that i am saying that your services to the Lord are not good. it is good, but we have to have the understanding that it is nothing compared to what Jesus has done for us on the cross. and the worst that can happen would not use our lives fully for God. realise that all we really need is in Jesus already.

sing "Jesus what can i give, what can i bring, to so faithful a Friend, to so loving a King, Saviour what can be said, what can be sung, as a praise for Your Name, for the things You have done, oh my words cannot tell, not even in part, of the debt of love that is owed, by this thankful heart" (I Will Offer Up My Life, Matt Redman)

this week, we will continue in the Lifetrak series and ivan will be leading us in a time of worship (27/11). i would like everyone to pray for specifically two of the youths, rachel cha and liew shan berg who have willingly answered the call to serve God in a mission trip to Thailand this week and the next. pray for the hearts that God will touch through these two youths along with their mission team and also for God's presence to be with them.
invite friends who are interested in joining us for the orphanage visit on the 3rd of Nov. the orphanage is Stepping Stones and is located in Seputeh.

#Lukewarm Christianity, by Francis Chan (dvd available at WinGS)

...then before i die, i want to burn out bright...
Burn Out Bright, Jonathan Foreman of Switchfoot

Posted at at 1:33 PM on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 by Posted by tim | 0 comments   | Filed under:

prodigal we

we are always familiar with the story of the prodigal son, yet most of us never realize that the story isn't about the son, but the father. the story actually focuses on the forgiveness of the father, the story of the son was only to portray the depths of our failures and how far we go astray. yet because of love, the father wipes away the wrongs of the son and welcomes him to the family once again (Luke 15). to reconcile the relationship between father and son.

the word 'reconcile' implies a relationship that once 'was' but was broken, and to reconcile would mean to restore the relationship that once was (2 Corinthians 5:14-21). the beautiful story of reconciliation and salvation between Divinity and our fragile humanity is unfurled in the Bible.

maybe you may not have heard of Jesus or 'the relationship that once we had', nows a good time to get acquainted. He is the answer/solution to the brokenness of this life - all our failures, where we never measure up, dirty secrets that we keep. sin entered our lives (Romans 3:23) and no one is excluded from doing wrong. and the only thing strong and perfect enough to save us, is for a Divine intervention, Jesus came down from the heavens to die for us, because it can only be a God that saves. neither you or me can climb a stairway to heaven. and to prove that He isn't just a person that claims to die for a 'greater good', Jesus springs alive from the dead *

maybe you know Jesus, accepted Him as your personal Lord and Saviour and Treasure. let those three titles sink in. Lord does not mean just anybody but it means a kingship that presides over your entire life. take as an example, you would probably have to bow before a sultan, what more when we have met the King of the universe. this probably also means that you have to surrender your life and dreams to Him, but why worry when you are laying everything on the King Eternal, who tells you 'I have your back', 'I will carry you'.

Saviour, precious Saviour that washed our sins white as snow. He knew that we were all damned, but yet He still saved us.

Treasure is something we have to come to terms with too. we invited Jesus in our lives, but you don't just say 'Hi Jesus, thanks for saving me. Oh, here take a seat but be patient as i try to manage my life. Oh by the way, could you have made life any harder.' Jesus is the Treasure, when you know of something so wonderful, the cost is probably your life, but keep in mind of the glorious return and just to meet our Saviour (Matthew 13:44). Dig deeper, know this Treasure not just head knowledge, but with all your heart, soul and mind.

we believe in the titles above, but sometimes sin still holds us back, that does not escape me as well. just know Jesus is like the father in the parable of the 'prodigal son', He still takes us in. don't let sin be the hindrance to grow in Jesus.

if you have made it so far reading through, i thank you but as you would know, this is also a call. a call to return to Him. not just to grow deeper, but reach wider. our faith does not only belong to us, but to the lost, to your friends who may not know Him as you do.

we've been called to the ministry of reconciliation, and this is where i get personal with one word, 'metamorphosis'. to some it means a total change, to some just a camp. but what i saw was the beginning of a start. its like a spark that would ignite a total change in the lives of our young people. God uses young people for great things in the Bible (King David, King Josiah, the boy with five fishes and two loaves of bread, etc), if you just let Him - be ready to see God's wonders. our failures pale in comparison with the might of God, be awed and receive and return to the relationship that once was.

there will be a visit to the orphanage in the coming weeks, anyone is invited to join us. lifetrak continues this week with bryan leading us in a time of worship too (06 Oct).

where our depravity meets His Divinity, it is a beautiful collision (David Crowder)

* feel free to ask me any questions, regarding this claim.

Posted at at 1:50 AM on Thursday, October 4, 2007 by Posted by tim | 5 comments   | Filed under:

come be my light

"Please pray specially for me that I may not spoil His work and that Our Lord may show Himself — for there is such terrible darkness within me, as if everything was dead. It has been like this more or less from the time I started 'the work."
Mother Teresa, 1953 (personal letters)

“Such deep longing for God – and…repulsed – empty – no faith – no love – no zeal. – [The saving of] Souls holds no attraction – Heaven means nothing – pray for me please that I keep smiling at Him in spite of everything.”
Mother Teresa, 1956 (personal letters)

as more is revealed regarding the Mother Teresa letters, we see the glory of God revealed fold and fold. for someone so close to sainthood for all her strives for God, she was only human, going through valleys of shadows, pits of darkness when we feel so far away from God. for everything that she went through, it just eventually deepens our faith in Christ. i like the way Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary puts it - Salvation comes to those who believe in Christ – it is by grace we are saved through faith, but the faith that saves is not faith in faith, nor faith in our ability [to] maintain faith, but faith in Christ.

but like so often in our lives, we wonder if God is ever listening, or whether if He even does exist. King David of Israel who was a man after God's heart had the same prayer as Mother Teresa or maybe the same one that we may find ourselves crying late at night. O God, why have You forsaken me? (Psalm 13)

but for the times of doubt, King David always lifted his head to the heavens, acknowledging that our God is a God that saves. for each forsaken cry, he proclaimed more psalms of the greatness of our God, singing a new song to God (Psalm 40), God sustaining us (Psalm 55:22). King David even goes further to remind us in his songs/psalms to never lose hope in God, praising Him in all circumstances, leading us from the valleys of shadows of death (Psalm 23).

just like in, the emphasis was on the everlasting God, we are nothing more than never lasting. Isaiah 40:31 tells us to wait/trust/hope on the Lord for strength.

in response to the Mother Teresa letters, Rev. Joseph Neuner
gave her three pieces of counsel – first, there was no human cure for what she had, so she shouldn’t feel personally guilty about it; second, feeling Jesus is not the only evidence of His presence, and the fact that she longed for God is a “sure sign” of his “hidden presence” in her life; and last, the feeling of absence was part of the “spiritual side” of her work for Jesus.

i like the phrase "hidden presence". sometimes we are not 'holding' on to Jesus, but He's still holding on to us and we don't realize it if we base the circumstances on our feelings alone.

the Mother Teresa letters shows us the true cost of following Jesus, to embrace the suffering and the Cross. although it is not wrong to go about with our feelings because that is how we are made as emotional humans. However, our faith is not anchored in our feelings (never lasting - observe our swift mood changes) but in the solid truth of the Gospel (a sure way to know Jesus). understand that we are weak, He is strong. we fluctuate in emotional highs and lows; He is constant
. Those who come to Christ by faith are not kept unto Him by our faith, but by his faithfulness.

read the Word of God, let the truths flow through our lives. and like many things in life that is unfulfillable, Jesus is the solution. the times of darkness shows the way of a Saviour in our lives.
the shadows prove the sunshine (Jonathan Foreman, 2006).

ivan will be leading us in worship, before joel sharing to us the need of sharing this Good News of Hope of Jesus Christ to a world that needs it (Sept 15).

“I can’t express in words – the gratitude I owe you for your kindness to me – for the first time in ….years – I have come to love the darkness – for I believe now that it is part of a very, very small part of Jesus’ darkness & pain on earth.”
Mother Teresa, 1961 (in response to Neuner's counsel)

Posted at at 1:14 PM on Friday, September 14, 2007 by Posted by tim | 0 comments   | Filed under:

the legacy of mcgee

over the past year, matthew mcgee has shown us what it means to 'live by faith, not by sight' (2 Corinthians 5:7). WinGS has been blessed by the many activities that we achieved thus far.
a first youth camp. youth outreaches. community service visitations. we have a goal, a vision of Malaysian youths just living for the glory of His renown (Isaiah 26:8). many young lives coming face to face with a Saviour, mighty to save, for the first time. more hearts aligned toward the great Christ's call as His followers, to seek His will in the living Word of God. i, for one, am a life changed.

the term 'crazy fool' does not come up often but when a certain American told me two years ago - December 05 - to come along with him (a person that i just met that very day) thousands of miles away to America for a major Christian conference (Passion 2006), he definitely fitted the bill.
God works in miraculous ways, His wonders to perform.
i was the next 'crazy fool' as i found myself brought to the following year's Passion conferences along with matthew mcgee (the other crazy fool). i would not for once ever thought i could have the opportunity to travel so far to experience Passion. God teaches us lessons in so many different ways, sometimes being so ironical. i was not the first to find that out.
the Bible (Word of God) speaks of many crazy fools. a doubting man with a stuttering pr. prro pp p problem, who ended up leading a massive exodus (found in the book of Exodus). the isolated shepherd boy who defeated a giant (1 Samuel 17). God made a donkey talk to convince another stubborn crazy fool (Numbers 22:22). Hebrews 11 tells of the great heroes of faith that all have traded their own life stories to the sole purpose of Jesus Christ no matter the circumstances. God uses crazy fools like the ones mentioned above and you and me according to His will in order for His Glory to be revealed (Revelation 4:11).
my story in the beginning of this post may never compare, but matt has definitely showed us a true example of submitting to the sovereign will of God. that does not mean that we can never measure up but it is our time to stand and be counted in living our lives for Christ. if you do not gather anything from this post, just know that God can use anything and anyone without any warning. o i pray that we as crazy fools do not turn the other way but we heed our Saviour's calling.
the legacy of mcgee is simple yet as we see the greater legacy of Jesus Christ on this earth for our lives, it is never short of neverending extraordinary and He invites us to be a part of it.

we shall continue with our Lifetrak series for the WinGS fellowship meeting this week. we will be examining a tried and tested life manual.
:) continue to pray for matt as he makes new decisions in the coming months. pray for the WinGS ministry.

Posted at at 3:00 PM on Friday, September 7, 2007 by Posted by tim | 0 comments   | Filed under: