Lord, You Are Good!

This is one of the greatest praise songs I have heard and learned in terms of instrumentation and melody although I have not mastered the original arrangement. It is a bit complicated for a simple musician like me. Perhaps, I can simplify the arrangement so we can use it in church in the next weeks to come. Besides, we do not have the same musical equipment “Israel and the New Breed” is using as you can see in the video below.

May you all be blessed as you listen and watch the You Tube video. Join the singing and praising unto the Lord because He is good all the time.

Sowing Kingdom Seeds: (Parable of the Sower)

“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”-Matthew 13:23

The Parable of the Sower is perhaps the best known and most noted parable in the Bible. Bible scholars point out three important elements in this parable;

  • the sower– the person who is living the life of Christ, out for mission, preaching, and teaching.
  • the seed– the Word of God, the insights that produces faith. Deep inside the seed is life and when it falls into the soil, it will live.
  • and the soil– the person who receives the Word.

Assimilation of the gospel truth may vary between people’s (listeners) understanding as they may view them at different angles. However, each Christian’s job is to “sow the seeds”. Whether people will accept the seeds, allow them to grow and bear fruit in their lives is no longer his or her responsibility. He or she only needs to trust God and obey the call to sow “spiritual seeds”.

The Parable of the Sower

Different Types of Soil

Pathway or Wayside– This kind of soil could be as hard as a pavement as people walk on it regularly. The seeds could not penetrate this type of soil so they remain on the surface, which makes it easier for birds to feed on the seeds. One may be like “wayside soil” at some point in his or her life. Prejudices, pride and even tradition may cause an unteachable spirit within the person. He may be too attached to his comfort zone that he could not entertain any call to change. Perhaps, bad experiences and unanswered prayers have hardened his or her heart.

Rocky Ground- This describes people who are excited about their religion. Spiritual experiences warm their hearts but they do not last. They receive the teaching with gladness but forgo the application.  It seems all superficial. Perhaps, certain influences cause them to lose the fire easily.

Thorny Ground- This describes people who become too pre-occupied with worldly affairs; forsaking spiritual responsibility in exchange for earthly pleasures.

Good Soil- This describes people who receive “the spiritual seed”, allow it to grow, mature and become fruitful and multiply.

At certain points in our lives, even as Christians, we experience all these four conditions of “spiritual soil” in our lives. At one point, we might have been hardened by despair, confused with our priorities and tired from responsibilities.

However, we need to strive to become “good soil”. The kingdom of God is like a seed that grows from small to great. We just need to be faithful with our calling to spread the good news no matter where the seeds fall. We can be sure that God will take care of the result.

Digested from a sermon by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church, July 10, 2011

Image above courtesy of: http://blog.beliefnet.com/beyondblue/2010/08/mindful.html

Rest for the Weary

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”-Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

Rest for the Weary

In chapter 11, of the book of Matthew, we can read the narration when John the Baptist has sent two of his disciples to ask the Lord Jesus if he has been the one who is to come. The Lord told John’s disciples to tell their teacher about what he has done and the miracles that he has performed. Then He speaks about the greatness of John the Baptist as a prophet and likens him to Elijah. He also speaks about the people who has hardened their hearts toward the Messiah and refuse to repent even after the mighty works He has done before them. They have closed their understanding to the knowledge of God. He says that the Father has hid those things from the proud and revealed them to those who trust God with child-like faith. The chapter ends with an invitation for those who are tired to come to Him to find rest.

I. The Fickle-minded Crowd

Jesus himself has been exhausted with questions that seem blind to obvious answer. In verse 17, “We have piped unto you, and you have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and you have not lamented”. The crowd seems exhausted too because they do not seem to find satisfaction for their own spiritual quest. The people could not grasp the spiritual event that is happening in front of them. They could accept their spiritual decay and they seem to want to see something more.

II. Child-like Faith

In verse 20, the Lord condemns the unfaithfulness of the people then in verse 25, He offers a prayer. He says that the Father has hidden the spiritual enlightenment to the prudent and has revealed it to children. The Lord is not against knowledge. He is speaking against those who absorb knowledge and bloat with conceit. What the Lord is looking for is simple trust, a child-like faith. A child-like faith is faith that trusts God in what is unseen or unsure in full confidence that God will act. Sometimes, people want to be sure. They want to see things clearly. Faith is not a riddle to solve but an action to express.

III. Invitation to Come

In verses 28-30, the Lord has given an open invitation to those who are weary about life. Burdens come in many different packages and we may easily get confused about so many things. Even John the Baptist has been confused. However, true faith listens without condition. Here the Lord invites us to lift up our burdens to God in exchange with His blessing. Here is an antidote for exhaustion: let us bring our pain to the Lord.

Digested from a sermon by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church, July 3, 2011

 

Image above courtesy of: http://newlife.id.au/christian-living/come-to-me/

The King’s Ambassadors

“He that receives you receives me, and he that receives me receives him that sent me. He that receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” –Matthew 10:40-42

Jesus Sends the Twelve

The text above has come from the book of Matthew, in the tenth chapter where we can read the narration when the Lord has sent out his twelve disciples to evangelize and reach out to the people around them. It is quite a long chapter but toward the end verses, the Lord has spoken about the rewards of those who will receive them in faith.

Verses 40 to 42 emphasize three points that we can reflect on.

Welcoming and being welcomed

When we welcome God, we welcome one another and even strangers. All local churches have Outreach Ministry where the members try to reach out to people outside the church. They put into focus the needs of people in poverty, those who are sick and jobless. They welcome those people for the sake of Christ’s love. In turn, those people welcome them with gladness.

When we welcome the Lord’s disciples or the King’s ambassadors, we are welcoming God Himself in our lives. We are welcoming His peace and his love right into our homes.

Start Small

Welcoming the King’s ambassadors does not mean offering a grand reception. The Lord says that even a glass of cold water that we give to a servant of God because he is God’s servant will certainly not lose a reward.

How can we be an ambassador for God? Listen with your heart to a person in need. Even if you could not give any financial assistance, the time that you give for the little ones will never go to waste. Exercise your faith and be faithful in little things.

We can be a blessing to others

Being ambassadors for the King, we are allowing ourselves to be channels of God’s blessing to people. Not everyone may accept us but we have to do our part in sharing the good news of salvation and bringing the love and peace of God to all who we can reach and touch.

Certainly, God will reward those who welcome His ambassadors for His glory’s sake according to His riches in glory through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Digested from a sermon by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church, June 26, 2011, Divine Worship Service

Image above courtesy of: http://www.graceproductions.net