Sunday, March 18, 2018

Sunday Message: Turn Depression Into H.O.P.E Celebration (Ptr. Bong Saquing)


             Previous sermon from CCF was from the sermon series: The Minefield : Turn Depression into a H.O.P.E Celebration by Ptr. Bong Saquing.  A review of the previous minefield (hindrances, things that can stumble us, and derail our path to God in our Christian walk) are:

1.       Wrong Relationships (Follow God’s standards: Its better to be alone than to bring the devil along)
2.       Bad Choices
3.       Making Excuses
4.       Immorality
5.       Addictions
6.       Immediate Gratification
7.       Lack of Endurance
8.       Identity Crisis
9.       Entitlement Mentality
10.    Purposelessness

These things will happen to each and every one of us if we don’t recognize or identify them early. When we are depressed we might get into a wrong relationship. So we just grab anyone who comes along into our lives. Other people enter in a wrong relationship because they are depressed with their own family so they commit adultery. Depression is real. It is a mental disorder. Among 10 people, there is 1 in every group is depressed. Study shows that there are a lot of women depressed than men. According to Armand Nicholi, “Depression affects more people in our culture than any other emotional disorder.” You think financial prosperity is the answer to not being depressed but that is not true because according to Psychologist Martin Seligman, 'Americans may be more depressed, and at a younger age, than they have ever been. Unprecedented Psychological misery in a nation with unprecedented prosperity and material well-being. According to studies, If you have a lot of money, there's a bigger probability that you will be even more depressed. 

The sad truth today is that even Christians get depressed, According to D. Martin Lloyd Jones, "The devil's one object is to depress God's people that he can go to the man of the world and say, "They are God's people. Do you want to be like that?" A lot of people do vices to make them happy. Christians don't do these things because we don't need these things to make us happy because we have God in our lives. Our true joy. We don't need someone to make us whole, or make us happy, because we have the love of God in our hearts. 

How do you know if you or your loved one (or it can be someone you know) suffers from Depression. Here's a checklist:

  • Loss of interest in the usual activities
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and hopelessness
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depressed mood
  • Hyperactivity
  • Lethargy
  • Anxiety
  • Crying
  • Slow thinking
  • Suicidal thoughts


IF YOU:
"can't think straight"
"can't feel anything:
"can't even will YOURSELF out of the blue"
"can't find enthusiasm getting up from bed"
"can't find passion for GOD and in pursuing your purpose or maybe you feel burnt-out"

YOU MIGHT BE WEATHERING THE STORM CLOUDS OF DEPRESSION.

Do you feel happy when you get up every morning because you know that your life, is a gift to others, and share the word of God to others. The solution usually done by people to take themselves out of depression is to engage in various 'happy' activites (drunkeness, partying, gambling). But our Lord Jesus warns us to be careful. "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap." (Luke 21:34). What is the real cure to depression, it is by looking on to Jesus, and have hope in Him. As Christians we have the power to do that through Christ Jesus. Paul said, "we must rejoice always in the Lord, rejoice." To be down or depressed is we have power over it. It is a choice. We can choose to be happy but not in a manner that we become a laughingstock to others. We rejoice in the Lord! Immerse yourself in the word of the Lord, and surround yourself with fellow believers.

Depression is a mental disorder. therefore we put our minds in order. THINK RIGHT. Not by positive thinking or wishful thinking. We turn to the story of the prophet in Elijah in 1 Kings. Because he was also stricken with depression. Elijah was in the time wherein Israel was ruled by King Ahab and his wife Jezebel who pushed the people to worship false gods. Sometimes, what we feel for example being sad is just normal. Learn to listen. God gave us emotion, to speak to us.

God may allow depression to:

  • Warn you that something is wrong.
  • Slow you down and cause you to reflect inwardly.
  • Reveal to you your weakness.
  • Bring you to Himself.
  • Develop your trust in Him
  • Begin a healing process for damaged emotions.
  • Develop your perseverance and maturity
  • Confirm your worth and the value of your life. 
  • Cause you to rely on His resources.
  • Increase your understanding and compassion for others.

We should be thankful because we have a God that listens, and who never judge us. Talk to Him, and be honest to God. Just like what Elijah did. (1 Kings 19). Even if it seems that God doesn't seem to answer us, know that God is working. Hear, we should learn to listen to God everyday not only during the times that we are depressed. There are many promises of God in the bible. We should not look to others but to God. Own His promises. Are you serving the God of Elijah, or someone else? Preach God's word. Recite the verse, and sing God's word in your heart. Encircle yourself with others who are Christ committed followers. Know that you are not alone. That is why depression is higher among those who are single, and living alone. We are not meant to be alone. (Hebrews 10:24-25). God wants us to be with Christ committed followers. God doesn't want you to be alone, sad or depressed. So He wants you to be with fellow Christ committed people. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with peseverance the race marked out for us. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

I also would like to share to you this article from Prof. Claude Mariottini: Elijah's Depression (just click on it). Depression is real but GOD is more real than depression


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Message: Proverbs 3:9-10 "Worship as Giving to the Father" (Rev. Joel Pan)

   I thank God for today. I attended the early Sunday worship service at Jubilee Evangelical Church in New Manila. Today's Sunday message is about tithes, and giving to our Almighty Father. The preacher was Ptr. Joel Pan.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and you vats will be bursting with wine. - Proverbs 3:9-10  

When we worship God, we give Him the best, not only our time, but also our finances. Everything that we have comes from Him. We have 3 important points from the bible verse that we should not forget.

I. In all your ways acknowledge Him. 

Most people know about Faith, Repentance, and Baptism, and yet they found it hard to grasp, and to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord. What does it mean, that Jesus is Lord over all our lives? It means we are turning everything to Him. Everything that we have is given to God. Not our leftovers. We are committed to give to Him the best of what we have.

II. When we give, We honor God.

In the classic movie, Shenniddah. The scene was dinner time prayer. The man who prayed was not honoring God, in fact he was mocking God. For his prayer is not a humble prayer. This is in contrast with the Israelites.

III. When we give, We trust God.

God promised to bless us abundantly, test Him, and He will open the floodgates of heaven. (Mal. 3:10). If we are hesitant to give. It means we don't trust the Lord. When we give to the Lord it is our sacred exercise of worship. Our time, being attentive, our singing, and the earnings that God has blessed us with. Our worship should never be cheap. Just like in King David. (1 Chronicles 21:24).

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Sunday Message: John 4:23-24 "Worship Exalt Father God" (Rev. Christopher Young)

  I'm back at Jubilee Evangelical church. I have attended the past worship services here and its about the Church. The preacher for today's first service was Ptr. Christopher Young. It has been a blessed Sunday, I also had the chance to partake the communion here.

The message was take from the book of John 4:23-24. Why should we worship God? Because God wants us to worship Him. To acknowledge Him in our lives. True worship, we must give reverence to God alone. We need to always remind ourselves that God has to be the number one priority in our lives. We should watch over the things that makes God the second in our lives. We have many idols in our lives. It can be the many loves in our lives such as our career, loved ones, a lover, hobbies/interests etc.

Three points to keep in mind. The first one is the place where we worship. Where does God wants us to worship? Actually, the place according to the preacher is just secondary. Quoting from a bible verse in John 4:21. There will come a time wherein people will worship God from anywhere and everywhere. The important thing here is what is really in our hearts. Is my heart right before God?

The next one is whom do the people worship? God gave us emotion not to supress it but to express our feelings, especially to Him. We should be obedient and willing to worship God. If we are forced to worship Him? Like if our parents forced us to come to church, that does not pleases Him. It should be wholeheartedly. Whatever we do if we do it for the Lord, it is also a kind of worship that is pleasing to Him. Never fail to count your blessings, big or small. Never fail to thank Him.

Lastly, who is the person whom we worship. Ask God to show who he really is in our lives. Worship is recognizing God, for who He is in our lives. Ptr.Young, in closing gave us this encouraging statements.

God is always there for you. When you are sick, God is your healer. When you are in pain, God is your comforter. When you are worried, God is your peace. When you are in need, God is your provider. When you feel lonely, always remember God is always with you. When you don't know what to say and do, God is your wisdom. When you are tempted, God is your deliverer. When you feel down, God is your victory. 

Let our prayers be, that for God to show you who He really is in your life. It is never too late to come to Lord Jesus, repent, ask for forgiveness, and He will make you new. Just let Him in your heart. Accept that He is the Lord over your life.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

God's Love Is Unchanging: Receive It, Give It (Ptr. Peter Tan-Chi)

This world has a wrong definition of love. The prayer of the apostle Paul for everyone is to know God's love. In the the US, depression, and suicide rate is increasing more, and more. Study shows that depression is just a chemical imbalance in the body. If that is so, even if doctors prescribe medications, the number is still increasing. Why? because, the root of the problem is that young people, and adults nowadays do not have real connections. They have no one to talk to. We are made for connection, for relationships. We are made for love.

What is true love then? It is an unconditional commitment. You cannot legislate feelings, and you cannot command emotions. Love is more than feelings. It is a choice, it is a commitment. Love cannot be based on feelings. This is the biggest deception of Satan. Love is never ever dependent on feelings. To love somebody perfect, there is no problem. To love someone who is imperfect is a challenge. True love is unconditional understanding towards imperfect people. Just like the way Jesus love His apostles. Another perfect example of love is in the Old Testament, in the book of Hosea. Hosea is given a message by God, to show how He loves His people. What is the meaning of God's love. The word Hosea means in Greek word, 'Saviour'. The Lord says to Hosea, "Go take for you wife, a harlot, and have children of harlotry." God is saying, my people Israel, the people of Israel is exactly like a prostitute. The people of Israel, eventhough they knew God, they turned away from God, and that truly breaks the heart of God. Many times we don't fully understand the love of God.  The 3 children of Hosea, is a prophetic symbol for Israel. After Gomer returns to prostitution again, God commanded Hosea to go back to Gomer again. This is  God's love. Another meaning of God's love is to seek the highest good of a person. As stated in Hebrews 12:6, "Whom the Lord loves He disciplines..." Love and discipline is not contradictory. Your highest good might involve pain. Spoiling a child, even though you know that it is not right, is not real love. The way to love people is to see how God loves us. 

In Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." You will not know the New Testament, until you go to the Old Testament. Hosea is a picture of Christ Jesus. 2000 years ago, Christ Jesus gave His life for you and for me. In John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. By this all men will know you are my disciples." We give honor to God if we love one another. How to love your family. How to build love-relationship.  Love is an ACT. (Affirm/Appreciate, Communicate, and have Time with them).

Another story was shared by Ptr. Tan-Chi. About an employer who learned how to appreciate his employees. One day, he spoke to one his employees, and he praised this guy for doing a good job, for all the time that he spent working for the company. The next day, his employee bought him an xbox (a video game console by microsoft). The employer was surprised. Why an xbox? His employee told him he was contemplating suicide, but that all changed when he said a good word to him. He sold his gun (the one should be used for killing himself), and traded it for an xbox. So you see, all we need is love, the way that God loves us. Like one of the NFL members said,"Faith alone in Jesus is what leads to salvation, and then the works comes out of your salvation. Christianity is the only religion in the world where you can't earn right standing with God. You can't earn heaven. You can't earn afterlife, You can't earn good karma, whatever other religions think. It's the only religion in the world you can't earn it. Because its already been earned. Jesus already earned it. It's all about acception Jesus. Don't miss that point." The way that God loves us, is the way we all should love one another.

How do I love God? Jesus tells us if you love me? You will keep my commandments. Most of us do not center our lives in the reality of God's love. God's love you unconditionally. Humbly accept His love for You, through our Lord Jesus.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday Message: Colossians 3:12-17 "The Household of God" (Rev. Nehemiah Sia)

  Today at Jubilee church, is the continuation of the sermon series about the Church. The preacher Rev. Sia. The word 'church', comes from the Greek word kyriakos and the root its meaning was derived from the Greek word, ekklesia. It means belonging to a community. In Strong's Greek, it is the universal (total) body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom.

The church is a family. Wherein God the Father is the head. In the book the City of God by Augustine, it was stated there that there are two cities man chose to live in. That is the CITY OF MAN and THE CITY OF GOD. We have different churches that caters to different needs. For example Jubilee is a Filipino-Chinese church for the Chinese, and the Filipino brothers, and sisters in Christ. The local church family is a unit of believers, and we also have the universal church, believers from all over the world.

We should also remove the idols in our heart. As John Calvin stated our human heart is a factory of idols. "Man's nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols." Life should be transformed, from idolatry to a life committed to the Lord. Without faith in Christ we are dead in sin.

The preacher also shared with us something from the works of Tim Keller. A book that talks about why people like Jesus, but not the church, and it is about the different kinds of people in the church.  The two lost sons, in Jesus' The Prodigal Story, the Wayward son, and the Goody Show-Off son.

How do we function as a church? As stated in Colossians 3. We need to exhibit all of th traits that we have read there. (compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.) The preacher cited two examples of churches that are inspirational, and that we should strive to be the same. They are the Church of the Saviour in Washington D.C. It is a network of 9 independent, ecumenical Christian faith communities, and Over 40 ministries have grown out of the Saviour community founded in 1940's. Next one is the Church in China. We all heard of amazing, and inspiring faith stories in China. We are all aware that faith cannot be freely practiced in China. But despite of it, the numbers of Christian Chinese are increasing. According to Ptr.Sia, in a fellowship. There should only be 20 members. If they exceed, then they should branch out and form another group. We pray that our church is a church that always pleases God, and that the members will always lead lives that honors Him, and that is pleasing to Him!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Message: 1 Cor. 12:27; Eph 4:16 "The Church: As the Body of Christ" (Rev. Christopher Young)

  A blessed Sunday everyone! Even if I had a hard time sleeping last night (I slept late). I was able to attend the early worship service at Jubilee Evangelical church in Quezon City.

Last Sunday, the preacher explained what a church is. It consists of us! We are the church. The church is not the ministries, or the building. It is us! Today, the preaching is about The Church: As the Body of Christ. By the way if you are still not aware of your spiritual gifts please do check out this website spiritualgiftstest.com

The preacher says that we must not compare ourselves to another person. It is God Himself who made us, who arranged us. So there is no reason for comparison, and insecurities towards each church member. We have no reason to be envious of one another. God gave us different gifts. God made us the way we are. He can use us if we are willing to surrender our lives to Him. We all have a part to play in this world. We are not here to be mere spectators, but we are here to be players. We need to play our role. The role that God has given us. So it is important to know your spiritual gifts.

In reality we cannot do things alone. As a church, we need to work together. We need to encourage one another. We must not be dependent, or independent. Rather we ought to be interdependent. One that is in a relationship of mutual dependence characterized by mutual sensitivity, and mutual vulnerability. We work together as a TEAM (Together Everyone Achieve More). The preacher also gave another example that like our body parts we should all work together to be able to function fully. One example that he gave is about Linus and Lucy, from my favorite cartoon The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show. The scene about Lucy explaning to Linus the importance of her hands. It is from the episode, "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown: Queendom." I added the video below for you to check it out. How timely that the preacher used my favorite cartoon to cite an example.

One day we will all be together in heaven, so we might as well all get along here now. God does not want us to be divided. The sins that destroy the unity of the church. Gossip, unforgiveness, and envy/jealousy. These things do not only happen in the church but also in the secular world like in the workplace. When someone is promoted, do we thank God for them? For problems in the workplace, if we are not part of the problem. We need to pray for them, instead of gossiping. Next is envy, we get jealous over the other person for things or abilities that we don't have. We don't need to feel insecure because we are all special in God's eyes. We need to encourage and support one another as a church. If a member of the church is hurting, do you pray for them? Do you empathize with them? Are you happy for them when they are rejoicing? (When a loved one has passed the exam, getting high marks, got promoted at work).

We should be connected to Jesus. (Eph.4:16). Each of us has need to do our part of the work. We pray that we may be able to know our part.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Sunday Message: Acts 2:42-47 "The Church: Called out, not cold out" (Rev. Eugene Hao)

  I had the chance again to attend the early worship service at Jubilee Evangelical Church. After the worship service, I still went to our kids Sunday school at my home church which is at CCBC. The preacher was Ptr. Eugene Hao. The sermon today is about the church. Who and what is the church?
Let's define the true meaning of the the church. When we hear the word church we immediately think of a building or a place where people gather to worship and pray. But that is not the real meaning of the church. In Greek, the church means ekklesia, it means called out assembly; to be separate; set apart. Christ did not die for any house or building, He died for you and me. So the answer to the question, the church is YOU! The church is made up of you and I, the people who make Jesus the leader of their lives. You, who has been called out by God.

In the book of Acts. The followers of Jesus meet often. There were no churches yet at that time. They meet whenever they can. They pray, worship, and share everything together. They also put others first, especially those who are in need of help.We must live like Jesus and put others first, we exist for the world. We should not be proud of what we know. Who are we to judge if an unbeliever will go to hell or not. Just share the Good News, and don't be indifferent to unbelievers. Be in touch with them. Truth without relationship leads to rejection according to Josh Macdowell. Ptr. Hao shared a quote, "The greatest signs and wonder is the change of heart of man." Be a discipler. Bob Dukes said that a life coach is someone who meets people where they are and helps them take the next step toward Christ-like maturity.

Those who are called are:
1. Devoted to the teachings of Christ (true to the Scriptures).
2. Goes and make disciples of all nations.
3. People of fellowship.
4. People of prayer.
5. People of care and share.

We are defined not by what we say, but in what we do. We are busy people but we should have time for God. Don't put God in your schedule, instead put your schedule in God's time.

Two points to remember:
1. Called out yet relevant
2. Called out yet gracious and not proud.

Church is all about relationships, not just programs. Focus should be on relationships and not programs. In closing,"If we work, we work. if we pray God works." (Ptr. Peter Tan-Chi)