Monday, August 30, 2010

Keeping Your Spirit High

by Rev. James Wong

All cars need periodical maintenance to keep them in good running condition. What is true of a motor car is also true with your spiritual life. Spiritual maintenance helps us to be useful for the Lord and prevents us from sliding into lukewarmness and complacency.

Acts 2 tells us the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the church had caused a great revival with 3,000 people added to the church. The subsequent activities of the church were fundamental in keeping the fire of revival going and by maintaining such activities we will be able to keep our spirit high and give no ground for spiritual dryness. Let us look at these essential spiritual dynamics in Act 2:42-47.

1. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. It is the word of God that can enrich our lives. We need to come with a humble attitude to learn more of God’s word. When we hear a sermon or listen to an audio sermon, always ask what is God speaking to me. That is not enough. We must devote, that is make effort, to read the Bible daily to keep our spiritual temperature up.

2. They devoted themselves to fellowship. Get to know the other brothers and sisters in the church. Don’t shut yourselves out. In a real fellowship there is always an environment of loving and caring. The way you treat people must be defined by mutual respect and acceptance. No one wants to be in a group where criticism and gossips flourish.

3. The devoted themselves to breaking of break and prayer. They spent time together having Holy Communion to remember the Lord’s death and also there were unique relationships with each other. We are united in the bond of love in Christ. Each of us is a member, a body part, of Jesus Christ. Members who spend time praying for each other’s wellbeing will stay together.

4. They met together in the temple courts. Make effort to participate in the Sunday service no matter how busy you may be. Worship reminds us of the goodness and blessing of God upon our lives. It makes the problems of our lives become so small when we compare them with our great God. Let us have this mindset when we think of worshiping God: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (Ps 84:10 NIV).

5. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Having meals together helps to build a relationship of mutual understanding and trust. Do have a meal with a brother or sister during the week to keep the friendship going and meaningful. It is during meal time that we really get to know each other better.

Do not neglect any of the five activities that will keep you strong in your walk with the Lord. When you are experiencing spiritual dryness, look again at the above. Are you slack in any of the above spiritual habits? We often think about revival coming from outside in but there is nothing to stop you from a revival that comes from inside out.

Praying For Our Nation

1. Prayer brings us victory
23In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. ~ John 16: 23 - 24

2. Praying for our nation
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7: 14

3. Becoming Salt and Light for our nation
13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. ~ Matthew 5: 13

16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
~ Matthew 5: 16

The discipleship making phases (2)

Will God Show Up to Help Me?

The Alpha Dinner

Trust God by giving in faith (3)

Leaders: Relate before you equip

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, August 22, 2010

by Rev. James Wong

The most “spiritual and charismatic church” in the New Testament was the church of Corinth (Read I & II Corinthians) but it was the most divided church. How do we build unity in our church today?

1. Maintain an attitude of acceptance.
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” (Rom 15:7 NIV). Some matters are disputable. We need to determine whether they are essential or non-essential issues. If it is an essential issue we deal with it. If it is a non-essential issue, learn to accept one another’s differences. In Rom 14:1-23 the disputes over eating vegetables or the observance of days are all non-essential issues. “Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” (Rom 14:1 NIV).

2. Focus in fulfilling the purposes of the church.
The unchanged purposes of the church is worship, fellowship, discipleship, ministry and evangelism. These are our ‘majors.’ How best can we achieve these purposes must be our governing question all the time. Are we loving God wholeheartedly and loving people fervently? The problem starts when we major on the minor, and minor on the major.

3. Speak encouraging words. Control your tongue. If something you say is going to destroy—stop it. The Bible makes it clear that gossip is a sin. When we participate in it we become a partner in that sin. Ephesians 4:29 says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

4. Support the leadership. Hebrews 13:17 says, "Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." God holds all leaders of the church, whether in the church council or ministries accountable. It is a scary job. God will hold us all accountable in his church.

5. Resolving problems with God’s method. Jesus says: "If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won't accept the church's decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.” (Matt 18:15-17 NLT). Certain behavior is expected in the church. When we practice the above principles, our ‘one body in Christ’ becomes our greatest witness. It is attractive to others.

God's Part & My Part In Changing Me

Discipleship Series (5)
Rev. Johnny Wong

12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. ~ Philippians 2:12 - 13


16The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right 17It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point.... ~ 2 Timothy 3:16 - 17 (LB)

11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. ~ Rom. 8:11

18As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him. ~ 1 Cor. 3:18 (LB)

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. ~ Rom. 8:28 - 29

30Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways.
~ Prov. 20:30 (GN)


1. I can choose WHAT I THINK ABOUT
23Be careful how you think. Your life is shaped by your thoughts.
~ Prov. 4:23 (GN)

23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. 25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
~ Eph 4:23-25
Rom. 12:2 Think Feel Act

Value of Bible Meditation: Psalm 1:1 - 3
Phil. 4:8, Col. 3:16, Ps. 119:11, Joshua 1:8

4Take care to live in Me and let Me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from Me. 5"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. ~ John 15:4 - 5 (LB)

2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2 - 4

3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. ~ Rom 5:3 - 4

Visit of Heilbronn Delegates

Ask God to help you with your finances (2)

The 3 R's of Decision-making

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Alpha Invitation

by Rev. James wong
In Luke 14:15-24, Jesus told a story about a man who prepared a great banquet and sent out many invitations. But on the day of the banquet the invited guests all had their excuses for not coming. The master told the servant to quickly go into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame. They all came but there was still room for more. The master ordered the servant again saying “Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full.”

Jesus told this interesting story in response to the comment of a man who was having a meal with him. He said: "What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!" (Luke 14:15). It is obviously a blessing to have a banquet in heaven in the presence of God. There are a few important truths we can learn from this great parable.

1. The invitation must be sent out before anyone could come to know Jesus.
The master, out of his love, wanted to invite his friends to share in his banquet. So, he sent out his invitation to his friends. We too must send out the invitation before our friends could have an opportunity to have any contact with the church and to come to know Christ.

2. Some or most invitations will be turned down.
No matter how good your intention, some or most of your invitations will be turned down. People are busy and there are things that take priorities in their lives. A new purchase or even family matters will make your invitation a small matter. So, if someone turn down your invitation, do not be discouraged. It is just part of life but don’t stop there.

3. Some will respond to your invitation..
The master asked the servant to go to the street and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame to come for the dinner. These were the people hanging out on the street and alleys. They had need of a good meal and they all came. There will be people who will respond to your invitation because you are their friend or they are seeking for friendship or truth about life.

4. Urging for a response to our invitation is necessary.
There was still room for more and the master asked the servant to go out again to urge more people to come to fill his banquet hall. To urge is to “compel or constrain” in the original Greek. It means to encourage strongly or to give a push to get a response. It is necessary to give a push to encourage our friends to respond to our invitation. (See p.6)

Spiritual Bonding Force

Discipleship Series (4)

The Greek word for fellowship, koinonia, means “sharing, holding in common.” It is in Jesus Christ alone that we find our spiritual bonding force.

(I) Jesus’ relationship with the Father.
We must develop our own walk with God. A disciple must establish communication with God on a regular basis as part of his or her lifestyle.

“Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” ~John 5:19 (NIV)

(II) Characteristics of Fellowship

1. Effective fellowship is characterized by total acceptance
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” ~Rom 15:7 (NIV)

“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.” ~Rom 14:1 (NIV)

2. Effective fellowship is based on a person’s fellowship with God
“One thing I ask of the Lord , this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” ~Ps 27:4 (NIV)

3. Effective fellowship includes the basic dynamics of spiritual life
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. … Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. ~Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)

4. Effective fellowship meets general needs and specific needs
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
~Acts 2:44-45 (NIV)

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." ~John 13:35

Understanding Disciplemaking (1)

The Alpha Course

An Evening of Testimony and Harvest

Trust your finances to God's provision (1)

R.E.S.P.E.C.T... What does it mean to you?

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Imporatance of Discipline

by Rev. James Wong
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (2 Tim 1:7 NIV).

Power, love and self-discipline are the three essentials that we need to rise above our human weaknesses and tap into the potentials that God has given to us.

Here are some thoughts from the Bible that talk about the importance and the values of self-discipline.

1. A lack of discipline is disastrous
Without discipline there will be no significant achievement in life. Most of our failures in achieving our goals are linked to a lack of discipline. In fact Proverbs 5:23 (NIV) says “He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.” A lack of discipline is fatal to any kind of success.

2. Discipline helps us to be a better person
Discipline is good punishment to correct our habits or thinking so that we can progress in life. We become a better person when we accept discipline. “People who accept discipline are on the pathway to life, but those who ignore correction will go astray.” (Prov 10:17 NLT).

3. God will discipline those he loves
Discipline shows that God loves us. We should look at the hardship we go through in life as a kind of discipline. They could be discipline that comes from God for our good. “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” (Heb 12:7 NIV). In fact blessed is the man that God disciplines (Psalms 94:12 NIV).

4. Discipline helps us to live a fruitful life.
“No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” (Heb 12:11 NIV). To live a fruitful spiritual life we need to develop certain spiritual habits of worship, daily devotion, prayer, serving and giving. If we are not successful in such basic habits, it is because we do not have the discipline to follow through.

This is true in all other fields of endeavors. It takes a certain measure of discipline to achieve a worthy goal. A musician is not born overnight. It takes years of disciplined practice to perfect the art. Zig Ziglar, the world renowned motivational speaker says: “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.”

Spiritual Disciplines

Discipleship Series (3)

1. “Spiritual formation” - Origin of the Term
19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! ~Gal 4:19-20 (NIV)

Spiritual Formation is the process in which the practice of a standard set of disciplines leads to the formation of Christ-like character. There is set of non-negotiable habits that are required and expected of every disciple.

2. The Importance of Spiritual Formation

(1) It requires “strict” discipline
25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. ~1 Cor 9:25-27 (NLT)

Paul liked to use the athletic metaphor. Godliness or Christ-likeliness is like the goal at the end of the race. The only route to this goal is through the necessary training or discipline.

(2) It takes labor and struggle
28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. ~Col 1:28-29 (NIV)

Anything that is worthwhile is difficult at first. To be successful in anything worthwhile takes discipline.

(3) It takes Perseverance
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. … 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” ~Gal 6:7-9 (NIV)

A man reaps what he sows. If we keep at practicing the disciplines we will grow up to become more like Jesus Christ. We must guard against an easy Christianity that only seeks to get its needs met. Eugene Peterson, a well-known Christian author says, “Shun all spirituality that does not require commitment.”

3. The ‘Spiritual Disciplines” - What are they?

(1) Disciplines that Deal with our relationship with God
2 Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. ~Rom 12:2 (NLT)

a. You must be disciplined to read the Bible
16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. 17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” ~2 Tim 3:16-17 (NLT)

b. You must be disciplined to pray
16 “Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” ~1 Thess 5:16-18 (NLT)

(2) Disciplines that deal with denial of the flesh
“Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” ~Luke 9:23-24 (NIV)

16 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.” ~Gal 5:16-18 (NIV)

(3) Disciplines that deal with serving Christ and His Church

a. Living in willing subjection to spiritual authority
17 “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.” ~Heb 13:17 (NIV)

b. Serve Others
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” ~1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

c. Financial Giving
“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do," says the LORD of Heaven's Armies, "I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!” ~Mal 3:10-11 (NLT)

The Alpha Course

The Best Blessing In Life

It's Never Too Late To Lead (7)

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Importance of Process

by Rev. James Wong

We continue our discipleship series this week (after a few weeks of break) and our focus is on Christ’s training phases.

I still remember in my younger days I was given the job of making cake. There was a process to it. I had to beat the butter and sugar with a bamboo made beater until they mix well. Then eggs were added and the process continued. Finally flour and coloring were added to it. This time I was only allowed to mix the ingredients in a slow cyclical movement and never to beat them otherwise the cake will not rise. Why not put all the ingredients in and mix them all at one time? The cake will turn out to be a piece of hard rock! The lesson is this: There is a process I must follow to make a proper cake. The process determines the result.

In discipleship making there are two methods of learning; Non-sequential learning and sequential learning. Non-sequential or random learning works best when a person needs to understand a concept. The Apostle John uses this approach in the Book of John. He wants to prove the concept that Jesus is the Messiah. So he went on to prove that (1) Jesus is the Lamb of God. (2) Jesus is the Bread of Life (3) Jesus is the Light of the World (4) Jesus is the Good Shepherd (5) Jesus is the True Vine.

In Sequential learning, it helps a person to accomplish a process, or to understand a concept in logical points built on one another. For example in learning a language, we learn first the words, then phrases, then grammar, the sentences and then to write essays. It is impossible to change the order of this and successfully learn a language. Similarly, sequential learning is indispensable in science, farming, engineering, sports, construction and in almost every area of life, including our growth as a Christian.

Bill Hull has written a book Jesus Christ Disciplemaker and it provides the most complete description of Jesus’ sequential training process. He noted that there were four distinct phases and he calls these phases the:

1. “Come and See” phase
2. “Follow Me” phase
3. “Be with Me” phase
4. “Remain in Me” phase

Understanding these phases will also help us to understand the stages of our spiritual journey with Christ. The sermon will help you to understand the different phases and also deal with their distinctive features. May you move towards the “Remain in Me” phase.

Jesus' Training Phases

Let God be God In Your Children's Lives (6)

The Alpha Course

News Highlight

Do You Have A Personal Plan For Growth?

Church Concerns

Church Activities For This Week