Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Message: Ephesians 5:22-23 "The Mystery of Marriage" (Ptr. Joey Cortes)

   Today we conclude the sermon series for this month of February. I really learned a lot from this sermon series, even if its addressed mainly for the married people, but single adults can also benefit from all of the Sunday messages. I pray that every young people, and those who aspire to get married someday will stumble upon the wonderful truths of what marriage should be, and what marriage is for, it is not just all about feelings, attraction, and emotions. It points us to Christ and His bride the church.
Today's preacher is Ptr. Joey Cortes. The Scripture readings were taken from the book of Genesis 3:14-21 and Ephesians 5:22-33. The Sunday message reading was also taken from the book of Ephesians. Ptr. Cortes began his preaching by citing an illustration about the Voynich manuscript. It is named after a Polish American bookseller, Wilfrid Voynich. Its origin dates back to the 15th century, and up to this day it is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the world. We can compare marriage to this manuscript. Do you have a difficulty in decoding your spouse like this manuscript? At times our marriage is one of the unsolvable puzzle, quoting from Tim Keller.

Here are the 5 Significant Truths from Ephesians 5:22-33 

1. It is the longest statement about marriage.
2. It tells us of the "significant thing" to know about marriage. (marriage is like a 'theatre, or a drama')
3. It gives us beautiful language to help understand marriage.
4. It's counter-cultural message was addressed to people just like us.
5. Ephesians 5:31-32 reveals something about marriage.

We are given another illustration by our preacher, that today's message reminds him of the 12 apostles, (limestone stacks found off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park in Victoria, Australia) a puzzle that he tried to piece together. It reminds him of the union of the Christ and the church, and the blood, sweat and tears that is experienced in every marital relationship, is like the way you piece together a puzzle. So here are 3 main points, that will help us solve the mystery of marriage.

Puzzle piece no.1 Wives, selflessly Submit to Your Husbands (vv.22-24)

A wife's submission to her husband is a matter of Christlikeness.As believer's we are to submit to one another as follower's of Christ. The word submit comes from the Greek word hupotasso which means to line up, to put in order (an old military word), and voluntary and continuous yielding in love. We ought to submit to one another as God has ordained. This word is used 40 times in this text. While the head means dominion, lordship, headship according to Wayne Grudem, it comes from the Greek word kephale. The husband is appointed by God to be the leader of the children, and his spouse. Wives should should submit to the leadership of the husband. This is different from children obeying their parents, or the duties of a servant to his master. Nowadays, to submit to one's husband is an archaic term for many especially for the feminist and those who are involved in the gender equality movement. To submit here doesn't mean servile, degrading or demeaning, but a dignfied submission. Ptr. Cortes also shared with us, when someone asked him before what is the one thing that attracted him to his wife. He said that, "She loves Jesus more than He does." Submitting to your husband should be patterned after the way you submit to the Lord. If you have difficulty in submitting, for guidance you can look to Jesus and His relationship with His bride, the church. The 'new thing' wonderfully connects the marriage of Christ to His bride the church. Look to Jesus always, our great shepherd, the ultimate leader of the church. We must be reminded that the love of Christ for His church, must reflect in our married life. If a wife fails to submit to her husband, then the family structure can break. Unsubmisiveness can spread like a virus to the family. The way a wife submit to her husband should always be patterned, the way the church submits to Christ. A continual dripping on a rainy day, and a quarrelsome wife are alike. (Proverbs 27:15). The opposite of submissive spirit is a fault finding, demandingness resistance. Wives should ask themselves. "Am I submitting to my husband in everything?"

2. Husband's Sacrificially Love Your Wives (vv. 25-30)

"God loved us when we are most unlovable." - Romans 5:8
Husbands are called to love their spouse as Christ loved the church. Quoting from Erik Raymond, "God did not choose His bride because she was lovely, but because He is loving." Husband's should love their wife with sympathetic understanding. The husband should be the head. A Christlike husband served her as her lover, provider, and defender as Christ does for the church (Ray Ortlund). A husband cherishes (give comfort, warmth) and nourishes (develop, lift up) his wife. Husband should also be on the lookout for the welfare and well-being of their spouse. Is she protected from abuse? from overwork? are her emotional needs being met? The Lord Jesus is a good example of someone who nourishes and cherishes His bride -- the church.

3. Church, Faithfully Honor Marriage, Defending the Gospel. (vv. 31-33; Heb 13:4)

"If you claim to belong to God's family, married or non-married because God's greatest purpose for marriage is His glory, marriage should matter to you."

Marriage is truly a gospel matter, therefore it is a matter that concerns everybody. This is all about the Eternal Romance, of what God has done for Christ and His church, covenant keeping just like in the promises and vows professed in marriage.

Is the Lord Jesus the ultimate lover of your soul?  

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday Message: Hosea 1-3 "The Grace of Marriage" (Ptr. Nathan Hutchison)

   We're still on our love month sermon series, The Eternal Romance - Marriage and the Gospel. The Scripture Readings were taken from the book of Hosea 2:14-23 and 1 Corinthians 6:12-19. While this Sunday's message was taken from the book of Hosea 1-3. Our pastor started his sermon by telling us a story about a married couple's broken relationship, 'broken marriage'. After a rocky relationship with his wife, while they are still not in good terms. The husband came back to church, was baptized and he also realized his selfish desires. He apologized to his wife, and wooed her for quite some time. They were reconciled and remarried. It's not that easy, but it is still good to know that they reconciled. Today's Sunday message is also about marriage and reconciliation.

 Here are the 10 thoughts for a 'Love That Will Not Let Us Go'.

1. Hosea is a prophet from the Northern Kingdom.
2. In Hosea's time there is economic prosperity.
3. The people in Hosea's time have spiritual poverty.
4. Hosea is faithful to his unfaithful wife.
5. Adultery is a major theological metaphor in Hosea.
6. Gomer symbolizes Israel's sinfulness.
7. Hosea symbolizes God.
8. Hosea's unrelenting love purchased his wife.
9. God's grace is more scandalous than our spiritual adultery.
10. Jesus is the greater Hosea who purchased us from our own slavery to sin.

  The book of Hosea reflects God's marriage to the people of Israel. According to Ray Ortlund, it is about the union of God and His people. In Hosea 1-2, it tells that God's love is exclusively jealous. From an article that I've read online, it says there that human jealousy is often a product of insecurity, envy, and resentment. But God's jealousy (divine jealousy), is holy and reflects the commitment of God to the welfare of His bride (God's people). Hosea chapter 1, 2, and 3 is about judgment and hope and the restoration of Gomer. Hosea lived a painful life, while he preached. God told him to marry a promiscuous wife. The word prostitute is mentioned 60 times here, and it is not just a mere slip of the tongue. The prophets, Ezekiel and Jeremiah also used this language - 'whore'.  It is also commonly misunderstood that God is commanding Hosea to commit immorality here. Verse 2 led to many interpretation. We can see in Hosea that the most sacred marriage has turned into a tragic romance. God's people stray far from Him, and they disobeyed Him. They worship the Canaanite false God Baal, and practiced cult fertility worship, symbolized by the cakes of raisins offer to their false god. As mentioned by Paul in Romans the wages of sin is death. Also, when we fail to give God our undivided attention, we also commit spiritual adultery. Let us ask ourselves what activity or thing that we do in our lives that robs God of our devotion to Him in our life. Still God never abandoned His people. Those not my people will be called my people (Romans 9). We, gentiles, who are not His people before are now people of God. That promise of His was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

"And I will betroth you to me forever, I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord." - Hosea 2:19-20

We must not forget that God's Love is Perfectly Faithful. Quoting Ray Ortlund, 'God's love is able to rekindle a dead romance'. The story of Hosea has a double meaning. Hosea was hurt when he was betrayed, and his wife, Gomer became unfaithful to Him.This is how God feels when we are also unfaithful to Him. Gomer has a wandering heart, and like her our hearts are prone to wander too! Also, like Gomer, whom Hosea purchased. We too are bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 7). Hosea paid something, but Christ paid by the full cost of His life. As Paul mentioned, we must not be slaves to sin for we have been bought with a price. God's love is something that we can count on to again and again. If we are unfaithful, God remains faithful. (2 Timothty 2). This beautiful message, it is about the grace of marriage, Hosea's love for Gomer, God and Israel, and the church. The story of Hosea, ends with great hope for him, and we certainly have a hope in Jesus.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Beauty in the Bible (Adult Coloring Book) by Paige Tate

   Adult coloring books was the trend last year and even until now a lot of bookstores are still carrying all kinds of adult coloring books. I have seen a lot of coloring books with different themes. Popular titles are Secret Garden, animals, mandalas, and there's even Japanese and Korean made coloring books. I even got one from a local Japanese thrift shop. They are very popular because in one way they are also considered as stress reliever, and these coloring books reminds us of our childhood days. The one that I bought wayback is a fairy-tale theme. I find it funny, that it was rather stressful for me when it comes to coloring the whole page. So I wasn’t able to finish coloring the whole book. I just set that book aside.

The coloring book that I bought is entitled Beauty in the Bible. It contains floral images, with a bible verse. I hope I won’t be stressed out again while filling this book with colors since its full of encouraging, and inspirational bible verses. Christian coloring books are also a good gift idea for your friends, loved ones, and also fellow church mates. They will not only enjoy coloring those uplifting bible verses, but its also one way of relieving stress, and unleashing one's creativity. 

Here's the item description from

 This inspirational coloring book is perfect for color enthusiasts of all ages who want to create works of beauty and devotion. These uplifting Scripture quotes and beautiful designs range from simple to complex, so that you can spend minutes or hours enjoying a single image. This book features encouraging Scripture quotes including “Do not fear for I am with you,” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and many more. Designed to give you both peace and inspiration, this adult coloring book lets you to focus on the beauty of scripture and bring it to life through coloring.

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Reading Room: Waiting For Morning by Karen Kingsbury

Our pastor’s wife Christmas gift to me was a book. She already gave me a few books before and I really enjoyed receiving different Christian 'good reads' from her. From titles like, Growing Your Faith by Jerry Bridges, The Westminster Collection of Christian Meditations, and last Sunday I got this book as a Christmas gift. I received it late because I was not around my home church for quite awhile. (I have been attending worship service in a different church). Anyway, the title of the book is Waiting For Morning by Karen Kingsbury. It is my first time to receive, and also read a Christian novel. When I was a teen, and still an unbeliever at that time, I used to read teen romance, and adults novels which just impressed a wrong idea about love and romance for me. So I encouraged teens, and especially teen believers, to be selective, and discerning with what they read. If they are fond of reading novels they can pick up a good Christian novel like this one, instead of the secular romance novels. Choose to read something that won’t be a stumbling block to one’s values and faith, that may cause you to commit sin.

Let's go back to the book. This novel is about a young woman named Hannah. Who has a wonderful family, a husband other women admire, and two charming daughters. Life’s going well for her until that day where everything was shattered in an instant. Her husband and daughters were victims of a car accident involving a drunk driver. So Hannah shuts out God of her life. I’m just in chapter 11 of the book so I can't really write a whole review. I can relate to main protagonist in the book. We have a similarity with regards to temperament. I can say that for now this is one book that I can't put down. I also researched about the author of the book, and I found out that Karen Kingsbury is a top Christian writer of fictions. A few of her novels were made into a film namely, Like Dandelion Dust, Every Woman's Dream and Gideon's Gift.

The book’s plot is really timely for us all believers. Life is not always fine and dandy for every Christian. The truth is, as a believer we face all sorts of trials, problems, and challenges everyday. The question is how are we going to respond to similar situations such as the one mentioned in the book. There is this one nagging question that I was able to formulize while reading the book's plot. If ever tragedy strikes will you still keep the faith? Or will you also shut God, and keep Him out of your life? Trials really tests us, and our faith. How deeply is our faith really rooted in God? We have been studying the book of Romans with my bible mates at work, and this verse really struck us. Whether it be good or bad, even if we cannot understand why such things happened, ..."We know that for those who love God all things work together for good. For those who are called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28  

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sunday Message: Genesis 3 "The Renewal of Marriage" (Ptr. Nathan Hutchison)

   At Cornerstone Community Baptist Church, this February we are studying a new series called, "The Eternal Romance" (On Marriage and the Gospel). To the cynics out there (like me -- just kidding!), I believe this series is really helpful with regards to marriage, and relationship. The scripture readings were taken from the book of Genesis 3:1-7 and Galatians 5:16-25. Here are some important points from Genesis 3.

Important points on Marriage After the Fall.

  • Couples planning about unrealistic expectations.
  • Unrealistic expectations can lead to disappointments.
  • Marriage is a gift but we cannot escape the fall.
  • The gospel can help prevent marital problem.
  • Jesus and the gospel can give us hope in surviving difficulties.
  • Good marriage is not only rooted in romance but rooted in God.
  • The fruit of the spirit leads to good marriage.
  • Marriage renewal leads to loving God more.
This Sunday message is about marriage after the fall. It takes us back to the beginning -- the creation, and the fall of Adam and Eve. Satan hates God's word and Godly marriage. Like in Satan's strategy in deceiving Eve, he distorgts God's word. We should also be careful, because Satan can make something harmful to us look like not really that harmful. Sin works overtime to destroy marriage. Let us not come to the point where we don't trust in God. In marriage we should confront unrealistic expectations. When Adam and Eve Has been deceived, their eyes were opened to the horror of what sin can do and their rebellion against God. We can see here the breakdown of marriage that broke the whole world. All problems that happens or will happen in our lives point to the fall. It tells that we are really dying physically if not for the grace and redeeming power of Our Lord Jesus to us. 

We should also safeguard our marriage. God intervenes with grace to overcome the war against love. Reconciliation in marriage begins when we reconcile with God. Remember that God offers hope and restoration. In Ephesians 4:26, it tells us don't sin by letting anger control, and that we must reconcile the soonest to the one whom we have a rift. Quoting from Ray Ortlund, Satan declared war on God when he recruited her but God declared peace with Adam and Eve, this is the renewal of marriage.When we face conflict, one way of dealing with it is having the right attitude towards our Lord Jesus, then we can deal properly with others. Remember tension can come daily in anyone's marriage. We are mistaken to think that all couples live happily after marriage. As they say marriage is like a car, it regularly needs maintenance. 

Here are seven marriage principles.    

1. Do not take each other for granted.
2. Make your personal walk with God your priority.
3. Stay involved in a strong church.
4. Resolve conflict fully and fast.
5. Be honest with each other.
6. Be careful with the opposite sex.
7. Be gracious to each other.

Have you been renewed in Christ? 

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Sunday Message: John 16:13-14 "The Holy Spirit as a Person"

   This Sunday message was taken from the book of John 16:13-14. The speaker was Rev. Joel Pan. The theme of the message is about the Holy Spirit as a Person. This is a more controversial issue regarding the personality of the Holy Spirit. For us, in order to believe something we need to see it first to affirm if it is true. But not all that is visible to the eye is the only real thing, or the only thing that exists because the things that we can feel, we know that it is true and that it exists. For example the feeling of pain, we can feel it. The wind blows but we cannot see it but we know that it is there. It bends the trees and directs the waves. So here we see the other senses that we have aside from  the visual, it tells of the other senses what it can feel, and thus we can validate it as also true. Nobody has seen the Holy Spirit but we know that it is true, we can see this during the pentecost event, wherein the Holy Spirit was felt like the sound of the wind, and it came down upon the apostles, and disciples of Jesus as tongues of fire. (Acts 2:3).

In Genesis 1.2, we read that the Holy Spirit hovers, and in Revelation 22:17, the Holy Spirit joins with the Bride. We can find the Holy Spirit's existence in the Holy Scriptures from the beginning up to the very last book. But some people today are dismissing, and brushing of the personality, or the existence of the Holy Spirit because of the influence of the media, like in the movie, Star Wars. Heretical claims that the Holy Spirit is an impersonal form, a mere emanation from God. So how do we prove that the Holy Spirit is a person.
What does it mean to be a person? A person has an intellect, emotion and will. First we are going to look into the intellect, and how the bible describes the Holy Spirit to have an intellect. In 1 Corinthians 2:10-12. The spirit that was first described here is the human spirit, which is the spirit of the person and the basic life force of a person that differentiates him from that of an animal. The next spirit that the bible describes here is the Divine Spirit. The man who is still not turning to God, does not understand the Divine Spirit, and the heavenly knowledge revealed to men (Romans 1:18). So those who profess their faith and believes in Jesus, we are blessed with this treasure. We become heirs of God, together with our Lord Jesus. (Romans 8:17). The Holy Spirit has a mind, and an intellect. It searches the deepest truth of God.(1 Corinthians 2:10). We must always rely on the wisdom of the Holy Spirit and follow His leading.  The second one is the emotion. We read in the bible that there is a warning, we should not grieve the Holy Spirit. We can't make a non-person grieve. So if the Holy Spirit grieves, then it is a person because it has emotions! (Ephesians 4:30). Every impure thought, unkind words can grieve the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit reproves and warns the apostles about their missions. For example the preaching of the gospel. Rev. Pan mentioned if the apostles have preached to China first then the gospel will not spread to the rest of the world for the Chinese will keep it, just like some of their inventions.

Another timely reminder also. We as Christians should be careful that we must not commit sinful acts because the Holy Spirit is already within us. When you think no one is watching while you commit a sin, remember the Holy Spirit knows. The last attribute is the will. The Holy Spirit sanctifies and justifies, and it bears witness to us. The Holy Spirit also leads.If you are led by the Holy Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:18). The truth is we do not want to follow where the Holy Spirit leads us. Even if we do not like where the Holy Spirit leads us, God's will for us is always the best. We are mistaken to think that we are smarter than God. The Holy Spirit's leading has eternal value, and it is something that we will never regret. So we learn now that the Holy Spirit can think, feel and exercise His own will. We must remember that the Holy Spirit is worthy our worship, faith and love. We, as Christians have no right to withhold the honor that is due to Him. His will for us is always the best. Be obedient children always, be attentive to the written word, and to apply it in the daily basis your daily lives.  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday Message: Luke 17:11-19

I was not able to worship today since I decided that it would be best if I take a rest because of what happened last Friday when I had the worst case of palpitation. I just listened to the audio recording of the sermon from Jubilee Evangelical Church where I have been attending starting from the month of January 2017.
The gospel message was taken from the book of Luke about the 10 lepers. The pastor speaker was Rev. David Cheung. He began by pointing towards the beautiful silver cross on the altar, comparing it the cross where Jesus was nailed. Jesus is no longer an accursed thing. Jesus won over sin and death, and that Jesus changes lives. He makes a difference in the lives of the people.

Rev. Cheung started the sermon with a story. In Puerto Rico, in a family with 17 sons and daughters, their house was known as the home for spiritists and mediums. Situated in a bad neighbourhood. This was the home of a boy named Nicky Cruz, who is a troublesome kid. When this kid was 8 yrs. old his mother said that he was the son of the devil because of his vile character. His mother sent him abroad to New York to live with his brother. But this kid runaway and he led a life of waywardness, he then became a leader of a gang in New York. This true story was made into a movie entitled, The Cross and The SwitchbladeDavid Wilkerson a missionary went to the place of Cruz’s gang, and he met Cruz. Wilkerson shared Jesus to him, but Cruz just slapped him and threatened to kill him. He told Cruz that Jesus loves Him, and that Jesus will never ever stop loving him. When Wilkerson was preaching into the arena Cruz's gang was there. He asked the gang of Cruz to collect the money from the people. After the collection Cruz told his gang to give Wilkerson the money that they collected. After that Cruz realized all the wrong things that he has done in his life. Cruz studied the bible and returned to his own neighborhood, and in the end he also shared the Good News to his family. He met his wife in the bible college where he studied. David Wilkerson died in 2011. Nicky Cruz is still alive today. He’s 77 years old now. So you see, such a tremendous change that Jesus can bring in one’s life!

Jesus can really change a person’s life. We have read in the bible. The sick were healed. The dead were raised up. No matter how devastating things can be, Jesus will make a difference in a person’s life. Now, let’s look at the 10 lepers in the story. First we must understand the condition of these lepers. Mainly, they lose sensation, they lose the sense of touch, the sense to feel. Because the bacteria of leprosy attacks the nerves so they can never feel anything. When someone loses the sense of hearing or sight they can still manage, but if you lose the sensation of touch. It is difficult. The book of Leviticus tells us that the priests handles people who are afflicted with leprosy. Aside from losing sensation, they also lose their self-esteem. Because during Jesus times lepers were treated as an outcast. When people see lepers, they throw stones at them, and if they didn’t hit them with that stone it means that they are still within a safe distance. In Leviticus, we read that lepers should tore their clothes, let their hair be unkempt,cover the lower part of their face and cry out, unclean!unclean! (Lev. 13:45). We can also see the physical ravages of this disease. People with leprosy were disfigured as the disease eats their flesh away. It is the same for our sins, it slowly eats us away and in the end will bring death to us spiritually, if we do not repent, and accept that Jesus is Our Lord and Savior! People with leprosy also stinks. We can accept an ugly person, and sit beside them, compared to a person who stinks. The dignity of a leper slips away. Lepers also lose their social life. In some countries, people with leprosy are declared dead. Jesus has compassion for these people. He sees more than the disease in these people. He knows the conditions of our soul, and He cares enough to do something about it. Jesus commanded the lepers to go to the priests and have themselves examined. We remember what Jesus have said before, that He did not came to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The lepers obeyed Jesus and they were healed!

We should always rejoice and give thanks to God. Humble ourselves before Him. All 10 men got healed but only one got a new body and a new heart. Let us never forget to thank God all the days of our lives. Jesus wants to make everyone healed and be whole again, even up to this day. We must surrender our lives to Him and He will make a wonderful difference in each and everyone of our lives. Trust in Him!