Sunday, July 31, 2011

Be Humble to Live a Blessed Life

Matthew 5:1-12

Rev. Johnny Wong

1 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them, saying: 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ~ Matthew 5:1-12

I) A humble person knows his need and weakness

II) A humble person admits he needs help from God

III) A humble person is willing to say: I am wrong, please forgive me

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men— robbers, evildoers, adulterers— or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13 But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14 I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. ~Luke 18:9-14

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Creativity & Innovation

by Rev. James Wong

“The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them” (Prov. 18:15 LB). New ideas is the driving force of a wise man. He is wise because he is not stuck with old ideas but in endless search for new ideas that work better.

We are living in a world of creativity and innovation. The progress and advancement of this world is fueled by creativity and innovation. Anything that does not change will soon become irrelevant or obsolete.

Definition. Creativity is having the ability or power to create and innovation is simply introducing something new or something better. In the business world, creativity and innovation are fundamental for progress and profitability. New ideas and innovative products that can bring better values and meet the needs of the customers is a key to successful business.

Creativity in the church. In the business of the church, we seldom understand the importance of creativity and innovation in developing our ministries and the things we do. The early church gives us a very good example of creativity in ministry. When the church first started as recorded in Acts 6, it did not only proclaim that Jesus was the son of God and the savior of the world. The church quickly moved into helping the poor with a food program. Many church members contributed generously to this effort and there were those who sold their properties and give their money to the church. Soon the food program took a lot of the apostles’ time and attention and they used an innovate method to solve the problem by choosing 7 deacons to help out. New and creative ideas and innovative methods must be used to advance the work of the gospel. We must always ask the age old question constantly; how can we reach others more effective with the good news and how can we meet their needs? How can we do our ministries better?

Creativity in our work place. We must develop our creativity especially our creative problem solving skills in order to survive and thrive in the 21st Century. For example, you can increase your value as an employee by being creative and innovative in your job to achieve higher productivity. As a business owner, you can use creativity and innovative ideas to increase the value of your services to customers. In marketing, combo sales is a power technique to sell product by combining a few items to compliment each other in a sales package. In fast food outlet, I normally settle for a combo meal because it helps me to solve the problem of tedious choosing and it comes with added value.

What about using our creative ideas or innovative methods to increase the productivity of your work or increase the profit of your company? God has given us great gifts of creativity. We can tap into it by simply asking this question: What is a better and more efficient way to get this done?’ In everything, we must learn to think in a new way. Old ideas cannot solve new problems. Ideas that are good enough never is. If

Creativity & Innovation

Rev. James Wong

A lesson of creativity. The Toyota organization implements a million ideas a year. It’s a fact. It is the largest car manufacturer in the world. Its profit outstrips GM, Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, Honda and Volkswagen put together. It is one of the planet’s ten most profitable companies. It is their fanatical focus on getting a little better, daily.

1. God and his creativity

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning — the first day. ~Gen 1:1-5 (NIV)

2. Creative gifts of God

Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 "See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, 3 and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts — 4 to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, 5 to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. ~Ex 31:1-5 (NIV)

10 God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.

~1 Peter 4:10-11

3. Use your creativity in serving God

“The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them.” ~Prov. 18:15 (LB)

“Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do. Whatever else you get, get insight. 8 Love wisdom, and she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will bring you honor. 9 She will be your crowning glory." ~Prov 4:7-9 (TEV)

The church’s creativity: 2 So the Twelve called a meeting of all the believers. They said, "We apostles should spend our time teaching the word of God, not running a food program. 3 And so, brothers, select seven men who are well respected and are full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will give them this responsibility. 4 Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word." ~Acts 6:2-4 (NLT)

When you approach life with creative ideas and seeking innovative ways to improve your performance and productivity, you go beyond your limitations..

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Power Of The Cross

by Rev. Johnny Wong

Crucifixion was a feared and shameful form of execution. The victim was forced to carry his cross along the longest possible route to the crucifixion site as a warning to bystanders. There were several shapes for crosses and several different methods of crucifixion. Jesus was nailed to the cross; condemned men were sometimes tied to their crosses with ropes. In either case, death came by suffocation as the person lost strength and the weight of the body made breathing more and more difficult.

Jesus could have saved himself, but he endured the suffering because of his love for us. He could have chosen not to take the pain and humiliation; he could have killed those who mocked him – but he suffered through it all because he loved even his enemies.

How do people respond to the cross? Apostle Paul in the book of 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 pointed out that there were 3 different attitudes toward the cross:-

Some stumble at the cross. This was the attitude of the Jews, because their emphasis is on miraculous signs and the cross appears to be weakness. Because they were looking for power and great glory, they stumbled at the weakness of the cross. How could anybody put faith in a carpenter from Nazareth who died the shameful death of a common criminal? But the gospel of Jesus Christ is “the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile” (Romans 1:16). Rather than a testimony of weakness, the cross is a tremendous instrument of power!

Some laugh at the cross. This was the response of the Greeks. To them, the cross was foolishness. The Greeks emphasized wisdom and looked at the cross from a human point of view. Had they seen it from God’s viewpoint, they would have discerned the wisdom of God’s great plan of salvation.

Some believe and experience the power and the wisdom of the cross. Those who have been called by God’s grace, and who have responded by faith, realize that Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom. It is in the death of Christ that God has revealed the foolishness of man’s wisdom and the weakness of man’s power.

We are called into fellowship because of our union with Jesus Christ: He died for us; we were baptized in His name; we are identified with His cross.

Today, our Lord Jesus is calling us to come and follow after Him. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:23-25).

The Power Of The Cross

1 Corinthians 1: 18-25

Rev. Johnny Wong

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate. 20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling-block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

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