Wednesday, November 27, 2013

YOU’LL GET THROUGH THIS – MAX LUCADO


He has done it again! This time, Lucado has inspired and stretched me with his insightful views and no nonsense approach to suffering. His artistic writing skill of Old Testament’s story of Joseph penetrated into my spirit deep within. The book would hopefully provide an encouragement and relief to those who are going through severe trials that indeed, God will get them through! In the end, one thing is clear in this book, we will go through trials and there is no easy way out. However, we will get through any trials if we do not give up on God! Words of men sometimes are not enough to heal a hurt but when the eyes of sufferers are focused on God, they would eventually sail through! The Joseph's story is true testament to what God can do in our lives if we let Him.

I give this book 5 stars.

Thank you, BookSneeze, for providing this e book free for the purpose of this review.


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

BILLY GRAHAM IN QUOTES by Franklin Graham and Donna Toney


I love reading whatever books and articles concerning this man called Billy Graham. There is so much to learn from this spiritual giant of a man. This book is precious to me for several reasons. First of all, I could just flip to many of his quotes at will to learn from him and his many years of experience. Secondly, I can get to keep his quotes at hand, whenever I preach or share, I could use them. Thirdly, the compilations of topics and dates of the quotes make it easier for me to find his quotes. Most importantly, I am so blessed to be able to strengthen my spiritual life with so many golden nuggets from the greatest evangelist of the 20th Century. He left a true spiritual legacy not only in his quotes but more so, his well-lived life! I give this book 5 stars. 

I want to thank BookSneeze once again  for their generosity in providing this free-ebook for the purpose of this review.

Monday, October 7, 2013

NOT BY MIGHT, NOR BY POWER BUT BY MY SPIRIT


In the years leading up to the destruction of the nation of Judah and its temple, prophet Jeremiah preached of repentance. Sadly, the cries of the heart-broken prophet went unheeded. God made up His mind to raise up the Babylonians to finally subdue the stubborn nation. King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple and took most of the people into captivity. Thus the colourful history of Israel ended with no national and spiritual identities. 

Seventy years later, another empire,  King Cyrus of Medo-Persia, took a different stance and released some Jewish people back to their homeland. He even allowed them to rebuild the temple. It was a small taste of restoring national and spiritual identities albiet under foreign domination.

Zerubabbel, the leader of the remnants that returned, together with Chief Priest, Joshua, challenged the people to rebuild the temple. Under the preaching of prophets Haggai and Zechariah, the Jewish people began to visualise the spiritual identity of their nation. The temple must be rebuilt to reunite the people under one God! When the foundation was laid, the older ones who saw Solomon's temple began to weep aloud because it was a much smaller temple (Ezra 3:12-13).

Many returnees were still discouraged as they looked to their own feeble strength and the power of the Persian empire. This was when the word of God spoken through prophet Zechariah saying, “Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit” (Zechariah 4:6).

‘Might’ here in Hebrew also speaks of army or corporate strength and power (perhaps personal strength or status of a person). Both these utterly pale in comparison to the power of the Holy Spirit!

What can we learn from Zechariah 4 about the Holy Spirit?

1. THE HOLY SPIRIT CLEARS THE PATH

“What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground...” (Zechariah 4:7a).

God will make a way when there seems to be no way through the power of the Holy Spirit! Mighty mountains may be a hindrance to man but not to the Holy Spirit. In fact, nothing is impossible to God! He is able to clear all ‘mountains’ in your life to bring out the best that He created you to be!

What are your mountains today that keep you hindered from giving your best to the Lord? Perhaps past and present hurts? Are there fears, weaknesses, inadequacies or discouragements? Whatever our mountain may be, the Holy Spirit is able to level it! He doesn’t want us to be stuck or stagnated in our walk with God! He wants us to move on to another level of faith, bringing glory to God in our lives!

The Holy Spirit is both a passionate and compassionate Spirit! He loves to help us live a power-filled life, full of meaning and purpose. To be the best God has for us!

The famous philosophical group among the Greeks and the Romans called the Stoics had decided that the essential worthwhile attribute of God was what they called ‘apathea’. So their ‘gods’ were apathetic - but not in the sense of the English word because ‘apathea’ means much more than simple indifference- it means: incapable of feeling anything; without any pathos; without any feeling; and without any emotion. The Holy Spirit is ‘Hagios’ Spirit and not ‘apathea’. ‘Hagios’ here means ‘set apart’ or simply, ‘different’. Jesus is definitely different from the ‘apathea’ gods that the Stoics believed. He was compassionate and even wept when Lazarus died.

The normal Greek word for ‘help’ is “Antilambano”. Paul deliberately used ‘Sunantilambano’ for Holy Spirit’s help in Romans 8:26, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”

The above passage is the only time Paul used this word for help. In fact, in the whole New Testament, the word, ‘Sunantilambano’ appeared only twice. The other was used in Luke 10:40. Martha reacted angrily when he asked Jesus for Mary’s help. “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 

The emphasis on this Greek word for, ‘help’ speaks of the Spirit’s passion to come alongside Christians to help achieve great works for the glory of Jesus Christ! 

The Holy Spirit passionately cares for us! When we plan to share the gospel to others, the devil is angry and may want to discourage us. Sometimes we may feel overwhelmed by the task ahead, just like the Jews who came back from captivity. They felt overwhelmed with oppositions and minimal resources in rebuilding the temple. Yet, the Holy Spirit levelled all mountains of obstacles in their paths! 

The same Spirit will level the mountains for us! He clears all paths that hinder us with His awesome power! At the end, Zerubbabel and the Jews rebuilt the temple as promised. Later, Nehemiah rebuilt the walls in Jerusalem thus continuing Jewish national and religious identities. 

In the New Testament, despite severe oppositions, Peter and the rest of Jesus’ disciples changed Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria upside down for God’s glory! The name of Jesus was lifted high! His ministry continued unabated through the power of the Holy Spirit. True enough, the commands of Jesus to go to all the world in the Holy Spirit’s power was fulfilled by His followers (cf. Acts1:8). 

Mighty mountains will be levelled!

2. THE HOLY SPIRIT CREATES UNITY

“...Then he will bring out the capstone to shouts of ‘God bless it! God bless it!’” (Zechariah 4:7b).

The Jewish people were challenged to stay united in rebuilding the temple. They had the same vision and same dream - to shout the fame of Yahweh, the true and the living God! And to make Israel great again.

After Jesus gave His last command, 120 gathered in the upper room waiting for the power of the Holy Spirit! The Bible says they were all together. Everyone got the vision, everyone owned it! 

Great evangelist Dwight L. Moody once stated, "I have never yet known the Spirit of God to work where the Lord's people were divided." 

3. THE HOLY SPIRIT COMPLETES GOD’S WORK

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you. (Zechariah 4:8-9).

The rebuilding of the temple in Zerubabbel’s days was vital in galvanising His people to stand united under God. As promised, the Holy Spirit completed God’s plan by His power through Zerubabbel and the people! 

No matter how difficult it may be, how long it takes, the Holy Spirit will complete the plan of God! The plan of God will go on! Do you know that the plan of God will go on with or without us? If Moses’ generation didn’t want to do, God would raise up a Joshua’s generation! If Jeremiah’s generation was not willing, there would be a Zerubabbel’s generation! 

Why does God choose to restore this nation called Israel? It all started with this man called Abraham. God called him and gave him a promise that he would carry His plan to the rest of the world.

From Abraham to his son Isaac and finally to his grandson, Israel (or Jacob, his old name). Israel became a nation which God chose to carry on His plan. From this nation came forth the Saviour of the world - Jesus Christ and from Jesus Christ, blessings flow to the rest of the world! And God will finally complete His plan for planet earth through the power of His Holy Spirit! 

4. THE HOLY SPIRIT CAUSES SMALL TO BECOME BIG

“Who dares despise the day of small things,... (Zechariah 4:10a).

To God, size does not matter. His principle is always to start small. A mustard seed will eventually grow into the largest garden plant and a tree. A small amount of yeast will permeate the large amount of dough (Matthew 13:31-33). The former will have birds making their nests on the tree, and it all began from a small seed. The latter shall become bread, feeding many and making them strong. All because of little yeast! Jesus started His kingdom on earth with Himself, and then He gathered a small band of twelve unschooled, rough and tough disciples. Today, we have more than two billion believers! Small shall become big when the Holy Spirit moves! 

5. THE HOLY SPIRIT CLOTHES GOD’S PEOPLE WITH POWER

Again I asked him, “What are these two olive branches beside the two gold pipes that pour out golden oil?” He replied, “Do you not know what these are?” “No, my lord,” I said. So he said, “These are the two who are anointed to serve the Lord of all the earth” (Zechariah 4:12-14).

God uses people! He used Zerubabbel to rebuild the temple. He used Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Throughout history, all men and women of God did great things for God because God chose to use them by the power of the Holy Spirit! 

In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit empowers only in certain people. Priests, kings and some leaders were anointed with oil! But the prophet Joel prophesied that one day all of God’s children will be endued with the Holy Spirit’s power!

“And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days! (Joel 2:28-29).

Peter quoted the above verses when he preached his first evangelistic sermon where three thousand souls gave their lives to Christ. From then on, there was no stopping the power of the Holy Spirit!

If a reverend or reverend doctor in front of his name comes to you and says, ‘Only I have the anointing of the Holy Spirit,’ he might be reading a different Bible than the universal Holy Bible. 

In conclusion, the baton is now in our hands! In the hands of all of us who are called to be followers of Christ! To bring to reality the promise first given to Abraham as the blessing to the whole world! To shine forth Christ to christless souls all over the globe. How in the world are we to achieve this gigantic task? 

Not by might, nor by power but by My Spirit (Zechariah 4:6)!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH AND LIGHT OF THE WORLD


Dave raises both his hands in triumph! In the quietness of his office, he lets out a soft, “Yes!” After many years of research, finally a breakthrough appears imminent. Now, no one can stop him from creating a powerful vaccine to protect human lungs from tuberculosis. It can even cure it much quicker than normal medicine can. As he still celebrating in his heart, Becky, his assistant comes in for a usual discussion. This gives Dave a fright that he almost falls down from his chair. “Sorry, Dave, I should have knocked,” Becky speaks with a grin. “It’s okay. I was being careless just now,” Dave replies quickly.


“You were asking for some virus samples so urgently yesterday. Is there any improvement on the vaccine yet?” his able assistant asks casually. “Not really. Still working on it. As you know how any research is,” Dave explains sheepishly.

Becky leaves him alone again. The scientist quickly dials for the Director of Potent Drugs Co., the largest pharmaceutical company in the state. An appointment is hastily arranged.

“Dr. David, this is quite a news,” James, CEO of PDC leans over and speaks softly to him.


“This is gigantic news, one that can create waves around the world,” Dave proclaims excitedly. “I know that it is the government’s project but if you patent this, your PDC can own this first. You do know about the ramifications on the P and L, don’t you?” he adds.


“So, cut the chase. What’s in it for you?” James speaks sternly.

“100 million ”

“How do you plan to settle with our government on this before we give you the money?”

“You give me 100 million and bank into my Swiss account and I give the entire research to your scientists. I want money not name or fame. You can do what you want with the whole research”

“Can I trust you on this?”

“Bring a scientist that you can trust and I will show the person the real stuff.”


Later at Home

“Hello baby, I am home,” Dave greets Donna, his wife. “Hi! How’s work?” Donna asks with concern as it is late. “As usual,” he bluffs.

“You know what, Dave. Just now, our daughter came home crying and said how come your research on tuberculosis took so long. Her friend’s mother is diagnosed with that and has been coughing super badly,” his wife speaks enthusiastically about their 8-year old daughter’s compassion.

“Oh..that is sad. Our girl is really growing up well,” he answers and turns away. His conscience takes a sharp jab.


The Next Morning

“Who are these people, Becky?” Dave asks, visibly upset. “Oh.. these are the family members of people they love who suffer severe tuberculosis. They are touring our facilities and wanted to know the latest happenings in our experiments,” Becky replies. “Can you do a short briefing and just encourage them a bit?” she adds with compassion.

“I have been hearing of tuberculosis sufferers lately. Is God telling me something?” Dave thought to himself. Although he attended church only a few times while he was younger, some verses flash back to his mind. "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:13-16).

Suddenly, he realises that his research project is bigger than him. It is absolutely priceless. This 'light' will bring hope for tuberculosis sufferers (or even later, lung cancer patients) all over the world. Dave decided not to hide his research anymore. He makes up his mind too not to let greed mix into this 'salt' and loses its effectiveness to impact the world! If he hands over this research to a company, they may make the vaccine unreachable to poor people.


The Sermon on the Mount continues with salt and light analogies. God is so bent on blessing the world that He  even sent His Son, Jesus to die for the sins of mankind. In others words, God gives His all. His 'light' is never once hidden. His 'salt' never loses its saltiness!


Jesus challenges all of us to be like God. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).


Be a blessing! Don't 'hide' our kingdom-living lives or 'shine' only for a select few. During Jesus' days, there were towns built on a hill. Still they are today in Israel. Those towns are plain for everyone to see. In the same way, let us shine Jesus for all to see! There are so many today trapped in darkness, groping along dark alleyways of worldly philosophies in a uncaring world. They need to be set free from all kinds of bondage! Jesus calls us 'light of the world' and if we are not shining, it is so 'oxymoronic'.


Salt is used mainly to add flavour to food and to preserve food for a longer period of time. Many people ask, 'can salt actually loses its saltiness?" The answer is yes. Salt loses its saltiness when it mixes with water or perhaps some kind of substance that dilutes its influence. Believers in Jesus are salt of the earth, influencers in the stinking world! If we lose the salt 'value', then it is good for nothing*. 


All of us have been gifted in one way or another. Use whatever God has given us to influence lives for Jesus! We are saved to serve. We are purposefully created to accomplish God's purposes. And we do it for His glory! 

*When Jesus says, 'thrown out and trampled underfoot' when salt loses its influence, He is NOT talking about Christians being thrown into hell when they do not produce results. Our Master Communicator just uses common things to illustrates His teachings. He is plainly saying that it is useless when salt has lost its saltiness, that's all.

Next: The Fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17-20)

Monday, June 24, 2013

GODS AT WAR – KYLE IDLEMAN



This is the most comprehensive book on idolatry that I have ever read. Often times, Christians today are underestimating the powers of all kinds of idolatry seeking their focus and eventually sucked their faith dry. These so called ‘gods” would entice and lure all whose hearts are unprepared for war against them. The author identified the various ‘gods” but also warned of their powers. He showed the reality of all these by giving real life stories and how these “gods” had damaged them spiritually and mentally.

Although the book suggests a serious battle for our spiritual lives, it offers hope for all. The Almighty God is on our side! God is actively and jealously pursuing men and women to be who He wants them to be! There are stories of victory! It is possible to stay focus on the true and living God. The “gods’ of idolatry can be defeated! 


This book is both inspirational and practical and I enjoyed it thoroughly! I highly recommended to all who desire to go all the way for Jesus!

I give the book five stars. I would also thank Book Sneeze for their generosity in giving me this free ebook for the purpose of this review.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

DIRTY GOD: JESUS IN THE TRENCHES – JOHNNIE MOORE



When I first started to read this book, I was skeptical of another ‘cheap grace’ kind of author expounding overarching encompassing grace of God to envelop humanity. Everyone would have a sweet aroma of life on earth and “and they will live happily ever after” stuff at the end of the book. But I was wrong. The author knew his stuff as a well-traveled man who has seen, read and experienced what was truly grace. I was particularly excited when he mentioned the grace that Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s in his book, The Cost of Discipleship, wrote about. Grace is not cheap! Moore’s comprehensive and thorough takes on the grace of God thrilled  and inspired me. It made God to be more wonderful that I ever thought before. It also made me to be much smaller, more stinkier that I ever thought before. I was not worth the effort Jesus put in for me, yet He did it anyway.

All in all, it was a very well-written, a book that will perhaps transform perception of many readers of the Saviour, Jesus Christ, the Grace personified! And I love the catchy title too.

Thank you Book Sneeze for allowing this free ebook for the purpose of this review. I give this book a five-star!

Monday, April 8, 2013

DEEPEST CONDOLENCES TO THE FAMILY OF RICK AND KAY WARREN


When it was announced last Sunday by my senior pastor at the pulpit over the suicide of Rick's youngest son, I was deeply saddened. The first thing that came to my mind is "why?" as usual. Human words will never be sufficient to ease the pain but God's Word and His Holy Spirit will eventually be able to penetrate the deepest hurt and heal them. 

To Rick and Kay, although I am in Malaysia, I felt the grieve and so did great many pastors and members I know here. You are greatly loved and we are all praying for you and your family.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

THE BIBLE SERIES BY MARK BURNETT AND ROMA DOWNEY


PS BIBLE MINISTRY salutes Mark Burnett and Roma Downey for their godly passion and hard work in making The Bible Series a reality! I pray that it would come to the shore of Malaysia soon! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE – MARK DRISCOLL


One of the best books I have read on finding our identity in Christ. Interspersed with real life stories, the author brought to life the passages of the epistle to the Ephesians. In today’s upside down world of brokenness, the importance to grasp our solid foundation in Christ cannot be taken for granted anymore. Many young people have lost their footing in Christianity and wavering about between what is the philosophy of the world and what is of the Bible. Peer pressures and the unreal world of entertainment have clouded the eyes from seeing what God sees in His sons and daughters. Mark Driscoll’s seriousness of wanting readers to stand upright in this broken world is permeated in every page of this book. The reading of this book must not be rushed. I hope this book can help Christians appreciate the Bible even more as they grasp the full meaning of who we really are in Christ. The title of the book also gets the attention of everyone, both believers and unbelievers. I urge everyone to get hold of this book and praise God for what He has given to us and done in us! I give this book five stars! 

Thank you, Thomas Nelson's Publishers, for providing this ebook for the purpose of this review.

Friday, February 8, 2013

LEARNING FROM THE MASTER COMMUNICATOR - JESUS' TALKING WITH THE SAMARITAN WOMAN



“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” - Romans 10:14.

When Jesus Christ walked on the earth, He was a Master Communicator. There are many lessons we can learn as we read about His dealings with all kinds of people. 

I would like to share step by step how Jesus communicated with the Samaritan woman and also to His disciples found in John 4:1-42. In the end, He won the woman and many villagers over to God. He managed not only to show a tangible example of winning the lost to His disciples but also challenged the disciples to see that the Harvest was ready!

There are six steps we can deduce from Jesus communicating with the Samaritan woman.

1. INTENTION.

Now He had to go through Samaria (John 4:4). The word, “had” speaks of Jesus’ prayer that led Him to the woman. There is undeniable fact that Jesus always prays to the Father before He does something significant - His prayers scattered throughout the Gospels. His life was entirely led by the Spirit. His intention was to do the Father’s will and going through Samaria was part of the plan. Jews would go one big round instead of stepping into this town to avoid meeting with Samaritans, considered impure Jews.  

2. CONNECTION 

He chose the place, Jacob’s well, to meet with the woman (John 4:4-6). Jacob’s well was not just any place, it was a common ground where Samaritans gathered to talk about old times, spiritual things, a place of discussions and drawing of water. Common ground is like a starting point for contact. It interests both parties, breaking ice and easing tension along the way. Jesus connected with her not only with the place but also He spoke with her about the subject at hand - water!

We can start communicating with our not-yet-Christian friends with many common-ground subjects such as football, or any kind of sports, business, food, community works.

3. CONVERSATION 

Once we make the connection, we engage with the person in CONVERSATION! 

Notice that Jesus did not go to her back while she was drawing water and said, “I am the Messiah”. That would definitely frighten her and kill the connection even before the conversation began.

First of all, to make any conversation fruitful, there should be respect for each other. Jesus showed her respect by asking her for water. Jews were forbidden to have anything to do with the Samaritan (John 4:7-9). Furthermore, the men of the day would not ask anything or listen so much to a woman! When Jesus asked for water from her, He made an impact in her life by going against the social norm of the day.

John, the gospel writer placed a parenthesis (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food) in verse 8. John knew that if they were there that day, it would not be conversation but commotion. They would not show respect for her. They rather died from thirst than asking from the Samaritan woman.

There was two-way conversation when Jesus spoke to her. He listened to her as she spoke. Jesus showed interest in her, a Samaritan and a woman! People can smell from afar if you are uninterested in them during a conversation.

4. ATTRACTION

In the midst of the conversation with her, Jesus offered her living water (John 4:10)! This is the step I called ATTRACTION. 

To make conversation fruitful and exciting, you offer something. Something tangible that you can do for the person you are having conversation with. Listen out for anything that you can help or do! 

When the woman initially gave a sarcastic remark, Jesus did not react (vv. 11-12). Jesus did not get overly sensitive . He did not defend Himself even though He was the Creator of the Universe! He offered even more things about this living water (vv. 13-14)! Let us not be sensitive when people at first reject your Christ! Don’t fight them, walk alongside them calmly. 

5. CONVICTION

When she got excited, Jesus went for the heart issue. It had become personal! Everyone has complications in life, some more painful than others.When the Samaritan woman admitted, she opened up her soul to God! She was in essence saying to Jesus, “My life’s broken!” She needed a Savior! That living water!  

If  a person can open up to you personally, then it is much easier to share with them Christ! This person has a higher chance to embrace Jesus! This is the step we want to achieve in our sharing of faith! we watch for opening into life’s complication! 

Jesus did not condemn her loose living, merely acknowledged her honesty. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world but to save the world through Him (John 3:17). Let the Holy Spirit convict the pre-believers. Let the Judge from on high judge His own creation! Our job is to draw them to Christ!

6. SOLUTION 

Here Jesus spoke about worshipping God in spirit and truth the solution for the woman (John 4:23). What does it mean?

I. Worshipping in spirit 

“A pure, a holy, a spiritual worship, therefore, is such as he seeks the offering of the soul rather than the formal offering of the body - the homage of the heart rather than that of the lips." - Albert Barnes

The emphasis here is on the spirit of man, not his physical senses! Outward worship is not so important as inward worship!  Therefore, we are not bound by a place to worship God! Samaritans didn’t have to wait for Mount Gerizim to begin the worship experience with God. The Jews  didn’t have to find God only in the temple in Jerusalem. 

God is Spirit and people can worship God in spirit. They do not need to go to specific mountains, caves, temples, churches, or houses to look for God. Not only that, they need not be bound to an earthly person. We don’t need Feng Shui Masters to tell us what’s good or what’s not. Neither do we need to go to some gurus on some caves, special monks or powerful preachers in churches! (I am not saying here that earthly pastors are not important. But they are not mediators to go to God). We are free to worship everywhere in our spirits! God is in us! Wherever we go, God will be with us! His Name is Immanuel! God with us! All the Samaritan woman needed was the Messiah, Jesus! The solution is Jesus Christ! Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

II. Worshipping in truth.

Worshipping God in truth here is not talking about true and false worship. But between that which is true or reality and that which had been a shadow. In today’s context, people are following certain traditions passed down from generation to generation much the same like this Samaritan woman - “our fathers worshiped on this mountain!” Jesus spoke to her, “you worship what you do not know.... “ (John 4:20). 

On my wedding day, I asked my grandma why we have to put a red cloth on top of the door and she didn’t know, saying that it was always been done this way. 

In the OT, both the tabernacle in Moses’ time and temple in times of the kings were shadows of things to come, all pointed towards one Person who was to come! God in flesh! God does not want anyone to shadow worship Him anymore! No more following blindly those earthly traditions passed down from generations of old. Everyone can now seek the truths in Christ!

Martin Luther, the Great Reformer in the sixteen century defied death to proclaim the truth. He desired the Word of God being released to everyone and not just in the hands of some priests. How many young people today are like Martin Luther? Instead of just following their parents’ faith, they must seek truths for themselves. No longer satisfied with second hand crumbs, but fresh hot bread from the oven of heaven!

Jesus told the Samaritan woman,  “I who speak to you am he” (v. 26). Jesus led her to Himself! We lead the lost to Jesus!

Let us turn our non-Christian friends to the PERSON that matters the most - Jesus Christ! The One who made everything possible! He is risen! He is alive! And God is still in the business of saving souls!

The Samaritan woman was saved and not only that, she went back and told people about Jesus! That’s great evangelism! Our gospel must be an attractive solution! 

After offering the solution to the Samaritan woman, the Master Communicator spoke to the disciples. 

Jesus told his disciples, “Do you not say, 'Four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest” (John 4:35).

The harvest is NOW! How come many Christians could not see people are ready to receive Christ today? Perhaps, there are two kind of eye problems blocking their view on this,

1. Blurry Eyes - This condition comes when the Christian has entangled himself/herself with too many unessential things of the world.  

2. Apathetic Eyes - This condition comes because of lack of sensitivity to the things of God and the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Let us see the pre-believers through the eyes of God! The compassion of God towards the lost! All Jews would have passed by Samaria but Jesus went to talk to the one, lonely, sinful Samaritan woman! (Some Bible teachers said that the Samaritan came out to draw water at noon where no one wanted to do so because of the blazing sun. This is because the Samaritan didn’t even want to meet with anyone to avoid being ridiculed).

While the disciples concerned for food, Jesus’ concerned for God’s work on one soul, the Samaritan woman (John 4:31-34).

Jesus spoke also about reapers and sowers in the Harvest fields as both were needed (vv. 36-38)! As sowers look with anticipation to harvesting, so we must look forward in faith that one day what we shared would come to fruition! Reapers rejoice at the bringing in the Harvest! But we must not think that we did it all by ourselves! We are merely contributors to what was already sown! 

If we are called to be sowers in any given opportunity, let us introduce Jesus to the pre-believers and guide them to the One who is the only solution to their lives. If they are ready to embrace Jesus, let us take up courage to be reapers!

The Harvest is NOW! God is ready! Are we ready?

Friday, January 11, 2013

GOING DEEP: BECOMING A PERSON OF INFLUENCE by GORDON MACDONALD



This Book is a moving, practical, fictional story written by a pastor at heart. Although the story pans out quite perfectly in the book, (real life may not be so smooth) the focus is there. Are the churches today willing to pull every resource and manpower together to cultivate deep people for greater influence in the world? Gordon MacDonald has provoked thoughts from both young and old. The elders and the leaders must continue to learn and then be available to cultivate deep people of the church, especially the younger generation. They are to be patient with them. The younger generation must be willing to be cultivated. Anyway, it takes two hands to clap. The author makes it clear that not everyone would love to be cultivated or willing to go deep in God.  Some obviously are not ready.

While I love all the practical lessons learnt, somehow, I still think this book is written for those whose age in ministry has caught up on them. These elders must now pass on the mantle. Nevertheless, the book has brought out a sharper focus on discipleship, albeit through some new captivating words. A good read. I give this book a four star.

Thank you,  BookSneeze,  for this free E-Book, for the purpose of this review.