“I Receive” by Israel Houghton

I have been trying to look for a song that I can use for our praise and worship teams’ spiritual retreat this coming October 25-26, 2011 at out church main sanctuary. I have been tyring to find a song that would fit our theme- “Experiencing God’s Power through Music”.

I could not find a song with lyrics about experiencing God’s power in You Tube but I have told myself perhaps I could find a song that would help explain what the theme says.

After several clicks and views, I have come across this song “I Receive” by Israel Houghton. I have found a video that looks like a small worship gathering and I have watched it.

The song speaks of receiving God’s love by grace at the cross and it has redeemed us from sin and has transformed us from within. Indeed, if we understand this truth by heart we can experience the power from God that saves and transforms. In that way, we too can receive the power to share that power unto others that they too might experience the power of God’s love in their lives.

I have tried to look for a lyric and chord sheet of the song in the net but there’s none so I have decided to buy a music sheet notation of the song from Musicnotes.com. I cannot share the sheet here because it’s patented but I would like to share the song here from the You Tube video that I have watched. Hope you will be blessed as well.

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Pentecost: What Difference Does It Make? –Acts 2.1-21

Pentecost Emblem UMC

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongue as the Spirit enabled them”. –Acts 2:1-4 (NIV)

June 12 is Pentecost Sunday. It is the birthday of church.

Acts 2:1-21 tells the events that have transpired that day when the Holy Spirit of God has come down on the apostles like tongues of fire.

It has been the Jewish Feast of Weeks. It is a special day for the Jews as they celebrate the giving of the Ten Commandments at Mt. Sinai and celebrate a good harvest with thanksgiving. That explains why there have been so many people in Jerusalem that day.

Suddenly, the apostles have received the power to speak in tongues and proclaim the message from God. The people have been astonished to hear Jews speak foreign languages. The power of the Spirit has come to the apostles and Peter has spoken to the people with boldness. On that day, three thousand have given their lives to the Lord Jesus to the glory of the Father.

As modern day church, we look back at the history of our beginning and we see how God has moved mightily in the lives and faith of the apostles. Now, what difference does it make for all of us?

Here are some insights:

1. The Spirit has brought about radical change.

We can see the apostles’ transformation from fear into boldness. Love has moved in their hearts both for God and the lost in a manner that cannot contain and they reach out to people to share the message of God’s love.

How do we see ourselves? As believers in Christ, do we bear the same fire? Is Christ at the center of our hearts so much, so that we love at a radical measure? Is it something we do not just say but we express?  Will people notice that fire?

2. The Spirit makes it easy for us to comprehend His message.

God has given a new tongue, and a new blessed way of listening to His voice by the power of the Spirit. It is like God speaking the language of heaven in our own language.

Beyond the gift of speaking in tongues, when we speak the message of love and comfort to people, most especially those who are looking for God in their lives, we are also speaking the language of heaven. Whenever we speak about the grace of God in Christ, the forgiveness of sin and salvation as a gift of God by faith in Christ alone, we are speaking in the language of God and we can expect the Spirit of God to dwell in those words to make them understand.

3. The Spirit makes ordinary people extra-ordinary.

The apostles are ordinary men like each one of us. Like them, we do not need to have special skills in order for God to move and speak through us. If we will only make ourselves available for God, He will use mightily wherever we are and whatever we are doing to touch other people lives. We can become extra-ordinary people because God makes wonders through us.

Digested from a sermon by: Rev. Orlino Veron, Administrative Pastor, Lagro, United Methodist Church, June 12, 2011- Pentecost Sunday

Image above courtesy of: http://new.gbgm-umc.org/resources/annual/pentecost/

Which Basin Would You Choose?

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” –John13:3-5

“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd.”I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” –Matthew 27:24

The above verses speak about two kinds of basins: the Lord’s basin and Pilate’s basin. They represent two ways of living: the former, a life of love and service, the latter, a life of indifference and slothfulness.

Jesus, washing the disciples' feet

The washing of the disciples’ feet is reflective of the Lord’s great love. If we will remember Mary Magdalene, she has washed the Lord’s feet with her tears and has dried them with her hair, then has poured perfume oil on his head. She has shown great devotion to her God and Master.

By washing the disciples’ feet, the Lord Jesus has left us an example to follow. He wants his disciples to serve one another in brotherly love and not to lord it over anyone for glory’s sake. The basin of the Lord is a symbol of meekness and servant-leadership. He is teaching his disciples to reach out to one another with a faith that cares, a faith that seeks the welfare of the brethren and works toward their good; showing love by helping, sharing, encouraging and building up the brethren toward maturity.

Pilate, washing his hands

Pilate’s example is one of selfishness, avoiding the responsibility and passing the blame to others. The basin of Pilate is a symbol of gross indifference and slothfulness in seeking after what is right and just. Pilate does not want to involve himself in conflict even if an innocent will suffer unjustly.

Sometimes, we do not want to get involved because we fear that certain activities would tie us down and we are afraid to give our time. Let us remember what the Lord has taught us. The Lord wants us to serve one another just as He has done.

In our Lenten reflections, maybe we can ponder, “Which basin would you choose?”

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

Images Above courtesy of: http://picturesofjesus4you.com/426.html http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1273952

The Handmaid of the Lord- Luke 1.34-38

“(And Mary said…) Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word.” -Luke 1:38

Angel Gabriel told Mary the good news that she had found favor in God’s eyes and she was going to conceive and give birth to the Savior Jesus Christ. It must have had been scary and shocking for her. First, she was not going to bear an ordinary child; it would be the Savior of the world- God incarnate. Second, she was a virgin and espoused to marry Joseph. It would have had been difficult for her to imagine how Joseph would feel and think if she would get pregnant even before they got together.

She asked, “How could it be, seeing that I know not a man?”

Sometimes, it is not wrong to ask the Lord about things we do not understand especially in particular endeavors, which He wants us to accomplish. Perhaps, He affirms within us the burden to do mission work in a distant place but we do not have enough funds at hand to sustain such a venture. Are we going to stop then? Perhaps like Mary, we would like to inquire of God about His will.

Angel Gabriel told Mary, in verse 35, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you…” The same message goes to all of us. God shall come upon us and His power shall go with us. We only need to obey and He will take care of the rest. For with God, nothing is impossible (v.37).

Like Mary, let us become “handmaids” or servants of the Lord, ready and willing to take on whatever the Lord commands us to do no matter how inconvenient, uncertain or dangerous it may seem for us.

Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All- Luke 1.26-33

“And behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name- JESUS.” –Luke 1:31

Christmas in the Philippines

Here in the Philippines, we hold the longest and the most festive Christmas celebration in the whole world. It starts from December 16 to January 6 of the following year. People adorn their houses with lanterns of different styles and sizes, Christmas trees with all sorts of lights, glitters and balls. Even the streets come alive at night with the different lights that dance with the cool December breeze. People fill marketplaces and shopping malls to buy special food like ham, cheese, and fruits for family reunions on Christmas Eve noche buena; and gifts for their friends and loved ones using their Christmas bonuses. There are Christmas parties and kris kringle almost in every corner, in schools and workplaces to celebrate the special holiday. People fill churches to hear mass or worship services to relive the biblical story of Christmas.

It is indeed the happiest season of all!

However, people has become so preoccupied will the festivities more than the birthday celebrator. They trouble themselves so much, with what they will prepare for Christmas and New Year’s Eve and the gifts that they are going to give and receive. What will Christmas be if there are no festive meals on Christmas Eve? Will it be the same if you do not have money to buy gifts for your loved ones? What will Christmas be in evacuation centers while a volcano threatens to erupt and destroy livelihood and human settlement? Will there be Christmas after a loved one has just passed away two days before Christmas Day? Will there be Christmas after losing your home and everything you have from fire one day before Christmas Eve?

For a Christian, Christmas brings tidings of great comfort and joy. It is a fulfillment of a promise that God has made and the tangible evidence of God’s amazing love. Whatever situation you may be in right now, the message of Christmas will renew your strength and empower your faith. Christ the Savior is born and He will save you from your hardship and pain.

On the first Christmas, sometime in 4BC, God has incarnated and has dwelt among men to save us from sin and give us eternal life with Him. The Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest gift humanity has ever received from the boundless grace and love of the Father, the Lamb of God that has taken away the sin of the world at the cross in Calvary.

Image from: www.flickr.com