Tuesday, April 13, 2010

God's Workmanship

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (so we may do them)" Ephesians 2:10

We know that we're redeemed by God (Ephesians 1:7-12), we are who we are and what we are today because of His work of redemption at the cross. Now, God didn't stop there. In Him, Jesus Christ, we are his workmanship. Jesus, The Creative One, has created us, design us, shape us not just to look good or to be seen good, He created us to do good works. There's long list of good works and we have the capabilities to do it. I believe that for every single problems or issue in this world, God already have the answer for it and it is inserted in us through Christ Jesus. We just need to walk in it.

Sometimes we christians try hard to squeeze our head to find a solution the problems/issue we're facing at the moment, we forgot that it is already prepared, the solutions (the good works) is already prepared before hand. We just walk in them one step at a time.

I pray that today, as you read this post, Holy SPirit will work in you and open your eyes to see the path that God has prepared for you. Don't use your head, your experience or whateve limited knowledge you have...you need to walk by faith. Be prepared to walk on unfamiliar teritory and I believe, you will walk from glory to glory, victory to victory. Amen.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Burned but not burnout (spiritually!)

Have you ever experience burned by the Holy Spirit? Me too! Do you still remember the time when you're on fire, all your energy, time, money..your whole life is dedicated for the work of God. Day and night, everything is about serving Him and His people. I've experience it. It's such a great feeling. Now, have you ever experienced burnout? NO? Impossible! You can't experience burnout if you haven't been burned by the Holy Fire.

Here's some defination of Burnout : "Burnout is a real term used in psychology to express a syndrome in which a person who works (minister), often in a high demand job (busy ministering), suddenly becomes disillusioned (lost), exhausted and disinterested (lost passion) in work. Work performance suffers (not ministering effectively anymore), the individual with burnout may seem withdrawn (give up and isolated oneself), and some people, feeling that there’s no recovery from the condition (permanently withdraw from ministry), leave careers (ministry) at which they’ve been very successful, or behave in ways that cause them to get fired (being disciplined or kicked out from the ministry). "

There're few people in the bible who experience both burned and burnout. Some of them are Moses, Jeremiah, and even Elijah. Check them out in the old testament. This is a huge topic to cover but here's my point, all of us has experience burnout or maybe some of you are experiencing it now. It is a humbling experience, it's a season where God wants to shape you, mold you and renew your strength. Based on my experience, here's some points that can lead to burnouts:

1) Overconfident
-I'm over confident with what God has done in my ministry. I forgot that it is not by me, it's God's work through me. Really! I boast, pride starts to sneak in your heart and cover your eyes. I'm doing ministry based on my knowledge and past experience with God and not by fresh revelation from Him. When there's no fresh fire and wind, when there's no fresh manna, there's no revelation.

2) Being Superman
-Being Superman is the foolish thing a christian minister can do. I've done it before. Becoming one man show. I run the show, I know everything, I handle everything and everybody just need to listen to me because I'm the superman! Well, we know that superman is a joke! What kind of superheroes wear his undies outside his pants? Even Jesus didn't do that! Guys, don't try to be Superman, doing everything on your own and assuming that God only speak to you and everything from you is right. You need the right commmunity to support you and to nourish you. When you feel tired and hopeless get someone to pray for you and give you inputs. But don't wait until you're tired. Even when you're on fire, you need people to keep you fired up...Elijah try to be superman, Moses did...but in the end he give up and as his uncle, Aaron help him doing God's work.

3) Unconfessed sin
-Be open, share to your guys about your struggles with sin. Let them pray for you. Find your mentor and ask him/her pray for you and check on you. Most of all, confessed your sin before God, He listens. When you pretend to be sinless, when you pretend not to notice how dirty your hands has become, you're actually beginning to die spiritually.

4) Connected 24/7
-Nothing can keep us on fire 24/7 other than a consistent relationship with God. we must receive fresh manna everyday. Get new ideas everyday. Read His word and obey them tho it seems ridiculous! (I'm serious!). God can only work through His servant. Let us be His servant, we learn to listen to Him, talk to Him and love Him more every day.
I like to talk more on this topic, maybe some other time :) Have a great day guys. Stay on fire!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Acceptance and Approval

We all know that Christ accept us as His child. That’s why He send His only Child, Jesus to earth. To redeem us. I, and I believe most of us been a situation whereby we need to distinguish the difference between God’s acceptance and God’s approval. We often mix both of them in our daily life. Here’s some straightforward example. Jesus Himself love sinners, but He hate sin. He accept sinners but disapprove what the sinners did (which is sin) (Luke 19:10).

Another example; I always know that my dad, my biological father, will always accept me as his son. Even though I let him down few times, he still accept me as his son. No doubt about it. But, despite the acceptance, I know clear there’s few things he didn’t approve of me. Being lazy, he didn’t approve it, committing crime, he didn’t approve that too (of course lah). But he approve it when I’m doing things that he instruct me to do, he approve it when I’m doing things that pleases God.

NEVER mix acceptance and approval. NEVER take for granted our acceptance in Christ and blindly take it as approval to commit sin. In church ministry, we can always twist acceptance and approval. Yeah, it’s a crime that we commit (either we realize it or not). Example, we know that God accept the sacrifice and offering of His people...so we give our tithes, our offering and serve Him. But God never approve us to come to Him with our offerings without reconciling with others. Read Mat 5:23-24 “ Therefore if you offer your gift on the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."

So guys, you got my point right? Know what is accepted and know what is approved. Have a blessed and fruitful day.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fear of Losing Your Creativity?

Ideas...we love ideas aren’t we? How about creativity? We love creativity so much that we afraid if we lose it. All kind of profession or jobs in this world needs creativity, even in church ministry. I’ve been involved in music & media ministry for many years and I thank God that the ideas still flowing and even grow until this day.

Have you ever encounter a situation where you can’t think of any ideas? Or maybe you didn’t realise that all this while you have been a selfish artist. Yeah, you afraid of people copying you or stealing your ideas and that make you reluctant to share with others. I’ve experienced it before until recently. God open my eyes and my understanding.

It all began in Genesis. God is The Creator. That’s what He does until He rest on the 7th day (Genesis 2:1-3). Every single thing in this world is created by God. Our God is creative, He make the impossible become possible, the “nothing” become “something”. Just read the story when Jesus do His miracles, He turn plain water into wine, feed 5000 men with 5 loaves and 2 fish and the list goes on. John 1:3 says “through Him, all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made” . This is clear enough that everything...I mean EVERYTHING. Does EVERYTHING include music? Creative ideas and resources? I hope you will understand how creative our God is. He is limitless, there’s no end to His creativeness and ideas. I urge you not to underestimate God, please don’t think God is an old-fashion God. He’s way up-to-date than us. He knows what kind of trend will happen in the future..long we before we predict it.

When you have creative ideas or when you have talents, just use them, give them to others, don’t keep them but develop and let them grow. As you give, He will fill you up (Luke 6:38). New things will be added to you. If you afraid of losing your ideas or creativity, that shows you either have lack of faith or have no idea how creative our God is...or you simply being satisfied with the ideas/creativity you get last year or few years ago.

Same goes with youth ministry or any ministry in church. Keep on raising the standards of creativity in your church, don’t worry, as you faithfully use your talents and deliver your God-given ideas, I believe more ideas will come. If you think otherwise, you’re basically depending on your own experience and your own head.

Here’s some tips I want to share on how to stay creative:
1) Practice your imagination
-practice to imagine things in your head before doing it. Visualize how you want your event to be like, visualize how you want your design to look like or music to sound like. I use the word ‘practice’ because that’s how you develop your imagination.

2) Open your eyes
-Walk around shopping malls to see what are the trend and how people display their products. Look for billboard and advertisement as you walk around. Even it is just a piece of flyers. Write notes whenever you got an idea. I used to write my ideas at the back of my shopping receipt.

3) Get inputs from the mass media
-Watch the right TV channel (apart from astro, 8tv is my favourite!)
-go to bookstore and browse through some magazines (they have lots of good magazines with good graphics and content out there).
-Search for blogs and website, there’s thousands and millions of samples out there.

4) Mix with creative atmosphere
-Well, I know it’s a bit difficult if you’re the only people who understand and can see all those crazy ideas...well, what I usually do is, mix with different kind of creative people. I have friends who’re actors and dancers; they’re creative in their own way. Mixing with them does help me see from different perspective.

5) Clicked to GOD
-This is the most important thing of all. We can have all resources in this world but without God, our ideas are no different from the world.
-As we get connected with Him, He’ll reveal His heart and His creativity. When God pour His ideas into you, it is something beyond comprehension!

So friends, continue to invest your ideas, continue to give your ideas, continue to execute your ideas because God will add more to you and you will get more fresh ideas. May God be glorified by His creativity that overflow in us.