Inquire

2 Samuel 5

22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.

Another thing that we can learn from David’s life is that he inquires of the Lord before making a move. This is a foundation in Christian leadership. Do not make a major decision without inquiring of the Lord.

To inquire of the Lord is to get His thoughts on the matter. It is not relying on my human abilities and strategies but trusting even in God’s unconventional ways to make it happen.

Pastors, as we make decision this week and this year – let us not forget to inquire of the Lord. Let’s put our dependence on him and ask for his wisdom.

 

 

The Quartet of the Vulnerables

The next two weeks, the whole Victory Metro Manila churches will be talking about compassion to the poor. Our church has made deliberate efforts to help our brothers and sisters who are living in poverty. For the past years, we have seen growth in the number of scholars being empowered to live their dreams, leaders from church who formed foundations and organizations to help the poor and the whole Victory movement responding collectively every time there is a national calamity from typhoons, floods and the like.

Why do we help the poor and have compassion ministries?

When God was introduced in the Bible – here was the introduction:

 Psalm 68:4-5 Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Deuteronomy 10:17-18 17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.

God, the king of Kings identifies with the poor and the powerless. The question we need to answer is this: Does the church reflect the nature of God to administer justice and extend mercy and help to the poor. It is a challenge that we as a local church need to act upon. We cannot remain distanced to the plight of our city. The church is called the light. We have the gospel but the only way for the poor to receive the gospel is for us to live out the gospel to them.

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Right Start foundation, started by people from Victory Greenhills to help the poor kids in San Juan city.

1958257_10152054528951997_453226566_nVictory’s Real Life Foundation has been helping empower dreams of hundreds of scholars every year. Another amazing foundation that I support personally.

 

Witch Hunt

2 Samuel 4

9 David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, “As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 10 when someone told me, ‘Saul is dead,’ and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more—when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed—should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!”

If there is one thing that I admire about David’s life more than his courage and giant fighting skills was how he honored people even when they were not seeing eye to eye. In fact, some might say that David went as so far as to to put too much honor on men like King Saul, Jonathan and on this story Ish-bosheth. The men David honored when actually men who in our eyes are not as honorable and are hard to honor.

It actually hit me that David build a culture of honor even among the people who did not agree with him and who are out to kill him. Sad to say, in our Christian circles especially among theologians – there is deep seated pride and a culture of correcting people publicly instead of privately. I have seen people maligned, gossip in the guise of theological discussion with the end result putting people and even pastors in a bad light. The sad thing is the pastor being discussed is not given an opportunity to respond back. Nakakalungkot dahil ang mahilig manira sa Kristiyano ay ang kapwa Kristiyano.

I have no problem with correction as long as the first step is to correct privately. But to start spreading it publicly and to the world through social media, it is below the belt and dishonoring to the Lord. We as Christians should come together and discuss with a sound mind and not with a judgmental heart. I was guilty of this before and I have repented of my ways and I do hope we would see a resurgence of the spirit of honor among ourselves.

To my fellow Christian bloggers and leaders, let us pray that we will be like David – not easy in pinpointing the errors of somebody publicly but try to reach out to them and point their errors privately. The Scripture commands us to settle the matter privately so that the world may see that we Christians can actually get along.

 

 

 

The Weird and the Dead

I remind you that there are churches so completely out of the hands of God that if the Holy Spirit withdrew from them, they wouldn’t find it out for many months. – AW Tozer

Reading through chapter 5 of Pastor Steve’s book 100 Years From Now is a good reminder for very pastor and church leader that apart from the power of the Holy Spirit, we have no power. We can speak but it won’t have power. We can have a worship leader but no worship. We can have entertaining preachers without life change – all this could happen because we don’t rely on the power of the Holy Spirit.

When it comes to the subject of the Holy Spirit, most churches go to an extreme. Some go all weird, while others are dead because there is no mention of the Spirit of God. Being truly Spirit filled and Spirit empowered will keep us out of both ditches.

“The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions. Also, if the Holy Ghost guides us at al, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.” – George Mueller

The result of Spirit filled and empowered churches is that the church becomes a witness for Christ. In other words, the church becomes more missional and not mystical. There is a bold declaration of the gospel, more people are getting saved and not just other Christians from other churches hopping and shopping from one church to the other finding the latest fads on the Holy Spirit’s move so that they could get filled again and again. You see to be empowered by the Spirit of God is not about us. Yes there is an effect on us but it is not about us.

Acts 1:8 sums it up: And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses……

Below is a picture of our recent event FIRED UP, a spiritual boot camp for kids to learn about the Holy Spirit and to move in spiritual gifts so that they can go out and change the world.

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Parents laying hands on their kids as they are being commissioned to make disciples.

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My daughter Alyanna was really excited to learn and hear from God the past 3 days of FIRED UP. Thammie praying for Alyanna.

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The Born Supremacy

Taken from 100 Years From Now: Sustaining a Movement for Generations

In heaven, Jesus, the Lamb of God, is not a side issue; He is front and center.

Pastor Steve shared how we can lose Jesus in the midst of religion based on Luke 2:41-44

1. They lost Jesus while doing their religious duties.

2. They lost Jesus but didn’t realize it. (Scary thought)

3. They assumed Jesus was with them, but He was not. ( a more scary thought and thing to happen for a Christian leader and church)

There are a lot of churches where the center is not built on the Lord. Here are some examples:

1. The preacher-centered church. Seen a lot of this churches where the hero is the senior pastor and not Jesus. Ministry names are centered around them rather than on Christ.

2. The experience- centered church – A lot of experience centered church is based on what I can get from God and from this religious experience. It is always about the great worship, the signs and wonders, the gold dust. Nothing wrong with all that I mentioned until that becomes the center of why people go there.

3. The worship-centered church. The worship of worship is troubling today. We have worship leader celebrities. The Presence becomes more important than the Person who is present.

4. The doctrine-centered church. Correct doctrines are great and necessary but not at the cost of taking Christ out of the center. You know what I mean, when church becomes Bible study all the way and we forgot about reaching the lost and making Christ front and center because we are busy studying.

5. The cause-centered church. It is a church that has a great compassion ministry but no matter how important helping the poor is, it should never be the center.

6. The meeting-centered church. It is a Sunday church. It is open on  Sundays and that’s it.

7. The fellowship-centered church. My Pinoy readers would relate to this. They follow the one another verses and take it to heart that there is endless fellowship among each other.

Jesus is not to be top priority on our long list of priorities, the first of many. Raher, He is to have supremacy, meaning He is the foundation and cornerstone, the starting line and the finish line.

 

The Ultimate Motive

Continuing the book notes I have for Pastor Steve Murrell’s new book 100 Years From Now: Sustaining a Movement for Generations

Every Nation’s Mission Statement is:

We exist to honor God by establishing Christ-centered, Spirit-empowered, socially responsible churches and campus ministries in every nation.

Honoring the Lord is not an institutional policy, but a moment-by-moment awareness of the presence of God. It is not a doctrine preached only from the pulpit, but a mindset in people whose hearts are turned toward the Holy Spirit and sensitive to what pleases Him and what does not – Steve Murrell

I thank God for the leadership of the team that embodies what honoring God is. Honoring God is easy to teach but hard to live out. To create a culture that honors God requires that we as pastors be Spirit empowered to do so. It works hand in hand. I need to constantly remind myself that apart from Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit I cannot honor God.

Honoring God is a lifestyle. It means before making any decision in church or in family, I have to ask myself – is this honoring to God? Honoring God is the framework where I base my decisions

 

Why We’re Better Together

Here is my book note for chapter 2 of 100 Years From Now: Sustaining a Movement for Generations by pastor Steve Murrell.

Eccelesiastes 4

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone?12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Pastor Steve gave 4 reasons why we’re better together:

1. Increased productivity.

Our church in Greenhills after 5 years is growing slowly but steadily. From 300 people in 2007, we now have an average attendance of 2500. This is not because of the preaching but of our 300 victory group leaders inviting, discipling their family, friends and relatives week in and week out.

Discipleship is the lifeblood of our church.

2. Increased protection.

There is a high level of accountability in an environment of teams. I thank God for pastors and friends who keeps me grounded and I thank God for people who are willing to be protected from the schemes of the enemy through accountability.

3. Increased passion.

People on fire for Jesus keeps me on fire for Jesus. That is why discipleship groups work.

4. Increased power.

What seems impossible can be made possible if people work towards a common mission. In Every Nation, we exist to honor God and make disciples.

one hundred years from now

100 Years From Now Perspective

I am currently reading the book of Pastor Steve Murrell, 100 Years From Now: Sustaining a Movement for Generations, and will do a series of blogs on the learnings from the book chapter by chapter. Consider this to my book notes:

100-Years-from-Now-Cover-Cropped-FBCHAPTER 1: 100 Years from Now

If we make this decision now, how will it impact us in one hundred years? And if we drop the ball on this ( project, value, relationship, doctrine), what will we be as a result in one hundred years?

This reminds me to look at a different time perspective when making a decision as a senior pastor of a local church. It is not just building or leading a church for one generation. It is deciding on the basis of leading a movement that will affect generations.

If we drop the Gospel Baton or leave it at the starting line, everything else we do in ministry is a waste of time.

What baton are we passing to the next generation. Some pass church programs, financial debt or church culture but ultimately what we need to pass is the gospel of Jesus Christ or we are just wasting our time.

Deep in our hearts, we all want to find and fulfill a purpose bigger than ourselves. Only such a larger purpose can inspire us to heights we know we could never reach on our own – Os Guinness

Every Nation’s mission statement: To honor God by establishing Christ-centered, Spirit empowered, socially responsible churches and campus ministries in every nation.

Glad to be in a movement with a vision that requires God to intervene. Never settle for a vision too low that you don’t need god to fulfill it.

You can buy the book by clicking on the box below