Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Where is the Power of the Church
by Rev. James Wong
“Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means 'rock'), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matt 16:18 NLT).
According to Jesus Christ, the church is the strongest organization in the world. The church that he builds will have the power to conquer hell. Why is this so? Because wherever the Good News of Jesus Christ is preached it will bring life to those who receive it by faith. Eternal life can only be given by the creator of life, the Almighty God.
But what about the church today? How can we witness the power of the church today? The church buildings today can cause an awareness of the church presence in the society but it does not mean the church is powerful. Some churches are empty of people. Its empirical power lies in the prayer life of its members.
For example, Daniel was fasting and praying for 21days and during which time a spiritual warfare was going on in the heavenlies. An angel said to Daniel: “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words.” (Daniel 10:12). God heard Daniel’s prayer.
Spiritual warfare is very real. God has given us the appropriate weapons for war. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete” (2 Cor. 10:4-6 NIV).
Prayer and intercession are great spiritual weapons. As Daniel prayed, warring angels were dispatched to make sure the message of God was delivered to the earth (Dan. 10:13-14). Satan was there to hinder the work of God but he was defeated by prayer.
In the New Testament, we also see how Satan constantly tried to hinder the work of God from advancing. In Acts 12, Peter was arrested and the enemy tried to keep him in prison in an attempt to stop the gospel from spreading. However constant prayer was offered to God for him by the Church (12:5). As the Church prayed, Peter was loosed from his chains (12:7) and he continued to lead the church in advancing the gospel.
Today, the power of the church lies in the prayer life of its members. The transformation of lives, salvation, miracles and healing, revival of the church and the advancement of the gospel can only happen when God’s people pray. Let us never take prayer lightly. Pray daily, fast one meal on Wednesday and come for the Thursday Morning prayer meeting from 6:45am-7:30am. “Pray, and let God worry” said Martin Luther.
1. The facts of Jesus Resurrection
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
~1 Corinthians 15: 3-8
2. Stop Doubting and Believe
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” ~John 20: 27
3. Sharing to others the hope and joy of eternal life.
31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. ~John 20:31
by John Maxwell
Too often we think that if we can impress others, we will gain influence with them. We want to become others’ heroes – to be larger than life. That creates a problem because we’re real live human beings. People can see us for who we really are. If we make it our goal to impress them, we puff up our pride and end up being pretentious – and that turns people off.
If you want to influence others, don’t try to impress them. Pride is really nothing more than a form of selfishness, and pretense is only a way to keep people at arm’s length so that they can’t see who you really are. Instead of impressing others, let them impress you.
It’s really a matter of attitude. The people with charisma, those who attract others to themselves, are individuals who focus on others, not themselves. They ask questions of others. They listen. They don’t try to be the center of attention. And they never try to pretend they’re perfect.
Spend today listening to others and letting them impress you.
~ From The Maxwell Daily Reader
“5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. 6 Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8 he humbled himself in obedience to God … 9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the Earth.” ~Philippians 2:5-10 (NLT)
It gladdens my heart to minister to those who are the future members, ministers, pastors and elders of our church. I look out at the young faces in our church service on Sunday and see that ahead of them are life’s greatest blessings and challenges. Trials, temptation, battles, and joy await them. This is the outset of their walks with Christ. It is in these initial years they have the opportunity to learn spiritual disciplines they will benefit from for the rest of their lives.
Generation 412 is our new fellowship for teenagers. The first fellowship meeting was held on the 27th Saturday 2010 and we had 42 teenagers with us and 10 youths to help out. The purpose of this fellowship is to reach out to teenagers. Many of them came from the BB and GB members and their friends.
On the 3rd April 2010 we had an Easter Celebration. A total of 64 teenagers and adults were present for this celebration. We start our program with a very yummy dinner followed by a creative ice breaker by Bro. Alexander Liew. A team of young and energetic members led in the worship with a full band of musicians. The teenagers responded enthusiastically to the worship songs which brought across the message that Jesus has risen.
A group of boys and girls who had practiced throughout the afternoon put up a hilarious and meaningful drama which talked about the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Rev. James Wong gave a short message to explain the true meaning of Easter. Each one was given an Easter Egg to represent the new life we have in Christ.
It was an exciting night and the celebration ended at 9:30pm. Apart from the church van, we had church members to help to send the teenagers home. There was much to do after the fellowship, like cleaning up and storing all the equipment to their proper place. It is our prayer that many of these teenagers will find Christ through worshipping with us. Do pray for a great harvest.
1. Here are some fatal flaws concerning sex in our consumer society. Many people think that sex is largely divorced from relationship and intimacy. There is this wrong assumption that enjoyment wanes with familiarity. Because of these wrong understanding about sex, sex is often tarnished by guilt.
2. The biblical teaching about sex was discussed. Sex is a gift from God for our pleasure and enjoyment within a marriage relationship. Song of Songs is a good example of the good sexual relationship between a husband and wife.
Sex is also a way of communicating love that goes beyond words. It is to express and deepen the ‘one flesh’ relationship. Sex can grow over a lifetime of developing intimacy for couples.
3. Further, sex should be understood as a vital part of a marriage relationship. It is not just the icing on the cake but a vital ingredient. Sex is part of the marriage relationship and not to be compartmentalized. Thus, the sexual intimacy of the couple affects every other part of the marriage and vice versa. Couples should watch out because very often sex is the first casualty to tiredness or laziness. They may need to make lifestyle changes, for example, taking exercises or change their eating habits to have better sex in marriage.
4. Couples can encounter sexual problems in their marriage. But most problems can be resolved through a better understanding and making changes. However, some sexual problems involve deeper issues from the past. God is able to heal and restore, through prayer and specialist help.
The evening also had a section on the qualities for great lovers. These qualities involve the knowledge of: (1) the importance of communication (2) The importance of tenderness (3) the importance of responsiveness (4) the importance of romance (5) the importance of anticipation and (6) the importance of variety.
Couples are responsible to protect their marriage through building each other up, setting boundaries, talk to their partner their feelings and keeping sex alive.
As our church progresses so is our need for equipment to run some of our services. At present we are sharing the church laptop computer and the LCD projector with our Chinese Church.
With the start of our Generation 412 fellowship on Saturday evening and many other church events, the present equipment could not be shared so conveniently.
Since we are spending a huge sum on upgrading our sound system and church hall acoustic treatment, we would be most grateful if you would think of giving to the above equipment. Your giving will enable us to serve the Lord together as we will use them for worships, teaching and training.
You can use the specially provided envelope in this bulletin for this purpose. You can drop your offering into the offering bag or give it to brother Wong Vui Min or brother Anthony Ying.
If you are not using the envelope you can return it to the counter for our future use. May the Lord bless you as you give to his work.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
By Rev. James Wong
We have decided to upgrade the sound system and also treat the acoustic of the worship hall to provide better sound quality for our members. Between the speakers and those on stage and the audience is the sound system. If the sound system is not good it will affect the sound quality and ultimately the audience.
But good sound equipment is just one side of the coin. The acoustic of the church hall also plays an equally important part in the eventual quality of the sound. When these two sides of the coin are available, the soundman will determine the final production of the sound. The joke is quite true that we don’t anger the soundman because how the speaker sounds largely depends on him. What the audience will hear will also be determined by the soundman. Good sound cannot be compromised so that the speaker and the hearers will not need to battle to get a message across or for the hearers to hear clearly and comfortably.
This is what Rick Warren, the author of the book the Purpose Driven Church says about the sound of the church.
“Invest in the best sound system you can afford. If you are trying to cut costs, do it in some other area—don’t skimp here. Saddleback grew for fifteen years without our own building, but we’ve always had a state-of-the art sound system.
It doesn’t matter how persuasive the message is if people can’t hear it in a pleasing manner. A tinny, fuzzy sound system can undermine the most gifted musician and incapacitate the most profound preacher. And nothing can destroy a holy moment faster than a loud blast of feedback” (pg. 266).
The church has approved a budget of RM27,000.00 to change our sound system and treat the acoustic of the church hall. We have also engaged a professional to assist us in this project so that in the end we can serve our church members with good quality sound in our worship services. Do pray for those who are involved in this sound project. Better sound is coming your way.
Focus On The Family (Part 2)
1 Pet 3:7-10
1. Be Considerate
“Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, …” ~1 Pet 3:7a
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” ~Eph 5:25 (NIV)
2. Treat Them With Respect
“… and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” ~1 Peter 3:7b (NIV)
“Be faithful to your own wife and give your love to her alone. Children that you have by other women will do you no good. …”
~Prov 5:15-20 (TEV)
3. Be a Good Person To Live With
8 “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
~1 Peter 3:8-10 (NIV)
4. Give Praise and Don’t Criticize
"Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.” ~1 Peter 3:9 (NIV)
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” ~Prov 16:24 (NIV)
“Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.” ~Prov 13:3 (NLT)
5. Give A Listening Ear
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
~James 1:19 (NLT)
By John Maxwell
In a university commencement address several years ago, Brian Dyson, CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises, spoke of the relationship of work to your other commitments:
Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them – work, family, health, friends and spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back.
But the other four balls – family, health, friends and spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged, or even shattered. They will never be the same.
I love this! Think about it: A glass ball is not only more fragile than a rubber ball; it’s also more valuable. So why do so many of us devote ourselves to keeping the rubber one from crashing?
Keep your priorities straight. Taking care of your family, your health, your relationships and your spirit is not a selfish act. It’s a sustaining one.
“Seventy years is all we have- eighty years, if we are strong; yet all they bring us is trouble and sorrow; life is soon over, and we are gone. ... Teach us how short our life is, so that we may become wise.” ~Psalms 90:10 -12 (TEV)
KUALA LUMPUR: The issue of Christians not being allowed to use “Allah” goes back to the 1980s when the authorities ring-fenced a list of Arabic terms first on national security grounds then later in order to prevent confusion among Muslims.
The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), an umbrella body for Christian groups in Malaysia, said the use of the word “Allah” became a “problem” because of the distortion of certain facts by a government department in the mid-1980s.
“First, they say it is national security. Then they say it will confuse Muslims. But why are they listening only to Jakim?” quizzed NECF’s Bahasa Malaysia section executive secretary Alfred Tais, referring to the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia. The department proposed a ban of certain Arabic words being used by non-Muslims which was then endorsed by the Cabinet in 1986. However no action was taken to completely enforce the ruling until 2007, prompting the Catholic weekly Herald to dispute it.
The Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB), an evangelical church founded in 1928, also wanted a review of the decision three years ago after a shipment of imported Christian religious books meant for Sunday school children were seized by the Royal Customs and Excise Department at the KLIA low-cost carrier terminal (LCCT). The ministry’s basis for doing so was because the books contain the word “Allah” and may confuse Muslims although the books are meant for Christians only.
But the Home ministry, which also oversees the Customs department, quietly returned the books to SIB two years ago, just before the historic 12th General Elections which saw Barisan Nasional lose its traditional two-thirds grip on Parliament.
The ministry then followed up with a letter signed by Yaacob Samat from its Publication Control and Al-Quran Text division, in reply to the SIB’s earlier appeal and listed 16 reasons for the ban, which are:
1. “That Article 3(1) of the Federal Constitution states that Islam is the official religion of the Federation.
2. “That Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution permits laws to be made to control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among persons professing the religion of Islam.
3. “That several states have made laws or control or restrict propagation among persons professing the religion of Islam and have prohibited the use of certain words or phrases of the religion of Islam in publications of other religions.
4. “That due to the differences in the words and phrases prohibited, confusion has arisen as to what words and phrases are prohibited in particular in Christian publications in the Indonesian language.
5. “That in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was uneasiness among the community and problems of enforcement among religious officers in the various states due to differences as to the words and phrases prohibited.
6. “That following the above, the issue had become sensitive and had been classified as a security issue.
7. “That the Government had decided that the Ministry of Internal Security [now called the home ministry] which controls published materials under Section 7(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 is to deal with the issue.
8. “That vide PU (A) 15/82, the Government had gazetted the prohibition of the Alkitab in Malaysia under Section 22 of the Internal Security Act 1960.
9. “That special exemption was made to the said prohibition vide PU (A) 134 permitting the Alkitab to be possessed by Christians in churches.
10. “That there was continuing confusion and uneasiness in the community when enforcement on the use of the words and phrases in religious publications was not effective.
11. “That on 19.5.1986, the Government had decided that the words ‘Allah’, ‘Kaabah’, ‘Baitullah’ and ‘Solat’ are words and phrases exclusive to the religion of Islam and cannot be used in published materials of other religions save to explain concepts pertaining to the religion of Islam.
12. “That the Government had permitted the use of the Alkitab by Christians in churches only and not in any other places.
13. “That the aforesaid permission did not extend to other Christian publications other than the translation of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, i.e. the Alkitab.
14. “That the Government practices religious freedom as enshrined in the Federal Constitution but bears the responsibility of avoiding any confusion in the community of various religions which if allowed to occur will threaten security and public order.
15. “That religious sensitivity must be respected and preserved by all.
16. “That the Applicants [SIB] as a religious institution with a large number of followers also bears the responsibility for promoting religious harmony in the community.”
The ministry told the church to just comply, leaving no room for disagreement. Two judges, Datuk Abdul Kadir Musa and Datuk Aziah Ali, who have been entrusted to sort out the dispute have been eagerly pushing for the two parties to settle without the court’s interference, especially after another High Court ruled on the Catholic Herald’s case on the use of the same word three months ago.
The Home ministry plans to appeal against this even as it is holding closed-door talks with the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur. The High Court has given the state and SIB until April 30 to try and settle the dispute amicably, failing which it will set a hearing date.
Do you know what is affecting your marriage? Our family background has a big influence on marriage. The session highlighted the different phases of family development in our growing up years: (1) Early years (2) teenagers (3) coming of age / leaving home (4) Getting married. These different phases of growth influenced us and unresolved childhood pain must be addressed otherwise this will carry over to the marriage.
How to create healthy family relationship? The session covered the following:
1. Resolved conflict. Identify the problem, apologize and forgive. This must be adhered to in order to heal broken relationships. Jesus taught us to forgive and we must learn to forgive although we may not feel like forgiving. Determine to forgive and move on.
2. Consider their needs. Show gratitude to our parents. Do not show your contempt for your in-laws or abuse their availability. Take the initiative to maintain contact. Call them regularly and set a good example for your children. We are to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).
3. Let go of emotional dependence on parents. This does not mean you got nothing to do with your parents or parents-in-law. ‘Honor your father and mother’ is one of the Ten Commandments. But it is important that you do not abuse the relationship. Learn not to be emotionally dependent on your parents.
4. Make your own decision. Parents can be of great help to us in the early years of our marriage. It is important we listen to their advices and discuss issues with them to avoid any kind of misunderstanding.
5. Support each other. Help each other to draw boundaries and never listen to criticism of your partner by your parents or in-laws. Don’t take side and start attacking your spouse.
The session also covered how to have a realistic view of our parents and a very important section on healing childhood pain. The exercise helped participants to understand in more details how their upbringing had influenced them and to discover what can adversely affect their marriage.
With the start of our Generation 412 fellowship on Saturday evening and many other church events, the present equipment could not be shared so conveniently. Very often we need to borrow the LCD projector from other organization and could not work with the computer because it was being used for other purposes. Thus we feel that there is a need for us to have our own equipment so that our work will not be interrupted unnecessarily.
Since we are spending a huge sum on upgrading our sound system and church hall acoustic treatment, we would be most grateful if you would think of giving to the above equipment. Your giving will enable us to serve the Lord together as we will use them for worships, teaching and training.
You can use the specially provided envelope for this purpose. You can drop your offering into the offering bag or give it to brother Wong Vui Min or brother Anthony Ying. May the Lord bless you as your give to his work.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
by Rev. James Wong
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:55-57 NIV).
Easter Sunday is the most important annual religious event in the Christian liturgical year. It is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection brought an end to death. It was the day death died and the beginning of a new era where we can live with hope in the knowledge that there is life beyond the grave, and this life is eternal life given by God in Christ.
The New Testament teaches that the resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of the Christian faith. “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (11 Cor 15:14-15 NIV). Without the resurrection, there is no Christian faith … and no church!
The resurrection established that Jesus is the son of God. Through his resurrection Christians are given a new life. “... just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life” (1 Cor 15:21-22 NLT).
Here is an interesting description of death. ‘Death is the strongest predator on the face of the earth -- relentlessly tracking down each victim, catching and wrestling him down to the rot and mire of the grave! Death is seen day and night going to and fro throughout the earth stalking his prey. He is seen lurking in the shadows, with the souls of men in his grasp. He is the terror of the night. He plays no favorites and is not prejudiced: He leaps upon you and old; man, woman, and child alike. Red, yellow, black or white. He rides the wind gapping and screaming for the body and soul of man’ (Dr. Ralph J Mcintyre, Feeding the Inner Man, p.109).
Everyone is stung by sin and sin is the poison of life that ultimately brings death to our mortal bodies. But God gives us victory over death through our Lord Jesus Christ. Darkness ceases whenever there is light. Death ceases whenever there is life. Let us celebrate Easter, the day death died, conquered by life. Thus death was disabled forever.
1. The Empty Cross
The empty cross is the promise of forgiven sins because of the love of God for you and me.
“I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.” ~1 Cor 15:3
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Rom 6:23
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” ~Rom 5:8 (NLT)
2. The Empty Tomb
The empty tomb is the promise of eternal life that is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.
“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” ~Luke 24:2-3
“He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:” ~Luke 24:6
“The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~1 Cor 15:56-57
3. The Empty Burial Cloths
The empty burial cloths is the promise of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” ~Luke 24:12
“But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God.” ~John 1:12
By Pastor Kong Hee, founder of the City Harvest Church, Singapore.
“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Acts 26:19
One of the main reasons God pours out His Spirit is so that we can all see visions and dream dreams (Acts 2:17). Visions and dreams are the substance for life’s great achievements. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). Martin Luther King was a black pastor growing up under severe racism in America. On August 28, 1963, he led a march in Washington, D.C. and gave one of the greatest speeches ever in human history. Reverend King said, “I have a dream that one day, my four little children will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character!” Racism policies in America started to change. King’s vision became a reality.
Carey was the first missionary in modern history. He wanted to go to Burma to preach the gospel at a time when church leaders were saying, “If God wants to save the Asians, He can do it all by Himself-without us!" But Carey had a vision for mission outreaches. His motto in life was “attempt great things for God, and expect great things from God.” His vision eventually came to pass.
There is no such thing as a great person. We are all ordinary people committed to great dreams. And when what we dream happens, that dream makes us great. You may think that you are developing a dream. The contrary is true: your dream is really developing you. Dr. Yonggi Cho, the pastor of the world’s largest church, once said: “You don’t make a vision, your vision will make you!”
There are five types of people in the world:
(1) Those with no vision. You will live out your life in boredom, frustration and regrets. One day, you will look back and wonder about the what-if's of your life.
(3) Those with wrong vision. Make sure you know where you are heading. Make sure that you don’t climb up the ladder of life, only to realize at the end of your life that your ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. Don’t pledge first class allegiance to second class causes.
(4) Those with vague vision. You want to do something great with your life but you don’t know what you really want.
(5) Those with God’s vision. Paul had a heavenly vision from God and he was absolutely obedient to fulfill it. When you are living out God’s vision, you will experience the most exciting and meaningful life possible!
1. A public execution assured His death.
During the Jewish Feast of Passover, Jesus was swept away by an angry crowd into a Roman hall of justice. As He stood before Pilate, the governor of Judea, religious leaders accused Jesus of claiming to be the king of the Jews. The crowd demanded His death. Jesus was beaten, whipped, and sentenced to a public execution. On a hill outside of Jerusalem, He was crucified between two criminals. After he died, they thrust a spear into His side as a final precaution. It would take more than resuscitation for Him to ever trouble them again.
2. A high official secured the gravesite.
The next day, religious leaders again met with Pilate. They said Jesus had predicted He would rise in 3 days. To assure that the disciples could not conspire in a resurrection hoax, Pilate ordered the official seal of Rome to be attached to the tomb to put grave robbers on notice. To enforce the order, soldiers stood guard.
3. In spite of guards, the grave was found empty.
On the morning after the Sabbath, some of Jesus’ followers went to the grave to anoint His body. But when they arrived, they were surprised at what they found. The huge stone that had been rolled into place over the entrance to the tomb had been moved, and Jesus’ body was gone. As word got out, two disciples rushed to the burial site. The tomb was empty except for Jesus’ burial wrappings, which were lying neatly in place. In the meantime, some of the guards had goneinto Jerusalem to tell the Jewish officials that they had fainted in the presence of a supernatural being that rolled the stone away.
4. Many people claimed to have seen Him alive.
About AD 55, the apostle Paul wrote that the resurrected Christ had been seen by Peter, the 12 apostles, more than 500 people (many of whom were still alive at the time of his writing), James, and himself (1 Corinthians 15:5-8). By making such a public statement, he gave critics a chance to check out his claims for themselves. In addition, the New Testament begins its history of the followers of Christ by saying that “during the forty days after His crucifixion, [Jesus] appeared to the apostles from time to time, and He proved to them in many ways that He was actually alive. And He talked to them about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3).
5. His apostles were dramatically changed.When one of Jesus’ inner circles defected and betrayed Him, the other apostles ran for their lives. Even Peter, who earlier had insisted that he was ready to die for his teacher, lost heart and denied that he even knew Jesus. But the apostles went through a dramatic change. Within a few weeks, they were standing face to face with the ones who had crucified their leader. Their spirit was like iron. They became unstoppable in their determination to sacrifice everything for the one they called Savior and Lord (Acts 5:29, 42). 6. Witnesses were willing to die for their claims.
History is full of martyrs. Countless men and women have died for their beliefs. For that reason, it is not that significant to point out that the first disciples were willing to suffer and die for their faith. But it is significant that while many will die for what they believe to be the truth, few if any will die for what they know to be a lie. That psychological fact is important because the Disciples of Christ did not die for deeply held beliefs about which they could have been honestly mistaken. They died for their claims to have seen Jesus alive and well after His resurrection.
7. Jewish believers changed their day of worship.
The Sabbath day of rest and worship was basic to the Jewish way of life. Any Jew who did not honor the Sabbath was guilty of breaking the Law of Moses. Yet Jewish followers of Christ began worshipping with Gentile believers on a new day. The first day of the week, the day on which they believe Christ had risen from the dead, replaced the Sabbath.
8. Although it was unexpected, it was clearly predicted.
The disciples were caught off guard. They expected their Messiah to restore the kingdom to Israel. Their minds were so fixed on the coming of a messianic political kingdom that they didn’t anticipate the events essential to the salvation of their souls. They must have thought Christ was speaking in symbolic language when He kept saying over and over that it was necessary for Him to go to Jerusalem to die and be resurrected from the dead.
9. It was a fitting climax to a miraculous life.
While Jesus hung on a Roman cross, crowds mocked Him. He helped others, but could He help Himself? Was the miracle suddenly coming to an end? It seemed like such an unexpected ending for someone who began His public life by turning water into wine. During His 3-year ministry, He walked on water; healed the sick; opened blind eyes, deaf ears, and tongued-tied mouths; restored crippled limbs; cast out demons; stilled a violent storm; and raised the dead. If all this was true, should we be surprised that his enemies didn’t have the last word?
10. It fits the experience of those who trust Him.
The apostle Paul wrote, “The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you” (Romans 8:11). This was the experience of Paul, whose heart was dramatically changed by the resurrected Christ. It is also the experience of people all over the world who have “died” to their old ways so that Christ can live His life through them. This spiritual power is not evident in those who try to add belief in Christ to their old life. It is seen only in those who are willing to “die” to their old life to make room for the rule of Christ. It is apparent only in those who respond to the overwhelming evidence for Christ’s resurrection by acknowledging His lordship in their heart.
Adapted from 10 Reasons To Believe Christ Rose From The Dead © 2009 RBC Ministries. Read it on the Web at rbc.org/bookChapters.espx?id=46266
Written by Chua Sue-Ann
Monday, 22 March 2010 18:46
KUALA LUMPUR: PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on Monday, March 22, urged the federal government to view positively the usage of the word 'Allah' by non-Muslims, hailing it as a starting point for greater unity.
"Christians have realized that the word Allah has unggul ("Superior") meaning. All this while, (the words) 'God', 'Lord' and others are not accurate. Tat is why the government has to accept this positively.
"Certainly, Christians and Muslims would interpret the word Allah differently but they have accepted one word. That is the end point but at the same time, we can enter the court to engage in discourse with them, debating based on knowledge," Hadi told reporters in parliament's lobby.
The Marang member of parliamnt (MP) pointed out that non-Muslims have accepted Islam as the religion of the federation of Malaysia and that the Allah issue could be the catalyst for greater unity.
Hadi said that the responsibilities of the Muslims were to "explain and not to attack" and that any disputes can be solved through dialogues between religious scholars.
When asked, Hadi maintained that "true Muslims" would not be confused if non-Muslims were permitted to use the word "Allah".
"The problem of ignorant Muslims is our own mistake. We have to guard our believers, educate them so they understand the word Allah," he said.
"I urge, then, first of all, that request prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority that we may live peaceful and quet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." ~ 1 Timothy 2: 1-3 (NIV)