Sunday worship 10 am

https://www.lialc.com/

Welcome to my preaching in LIALC Church in Hicksville . I would love to have you join us for a glorious time of worship and have the word fill you for his glory and purpose!

Confessing Christ in challenging time John 6:60-70

We are like wondering sheep seeking our true home. Like the lost sheep of Israel, we will always feel lost in this world without the eternal home that God sets up in Christ Jesus. Thats our family, our eternal abode.

God is all out to bring us back to his family, and the devil is all out to stop us. This website is my way of bringing the spiritual realities closer to home. And it is only possible as God reveals to us by his Spirit in Christ Jesus.

My name is Al Ngu, an interim pastor of a local church Long Island Abundant Life Church (www.lialc.com) in Hicksville, Long Island. Currently in my 5th year for my MDiv with RTS (Reformed Theological Seminary) in New York and Orlando.

I am passionate about reading, posting, writing talks on the surpassing glory of Christ and His power to enable us to partake of his divine nature facing this hostile difficult world and culture.

I am posting almost daily short podcasts, Spotify, and also video posts in TikTok, and Youtube on my devotional inspirations as I meditate on the scriptures. Many have been blessed especially in TikTok where I have over 2000 followers, and 28,000 likes thus far after something like 6 months. So do check it out. And you are welcome to post any questions.

My Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@alngu2?is_from_webapp=1&sender_device=pc

My Youtube:https://youtube.com/c/AlNgu

My Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/2xmarDtww1G8YddGjW69A0?si=ef36f08d6d204521

Welcome!




Why did many come to Jesus and sort of believed him, but Jesus said ” you don’t believe me?”

John 6: 35-36

Al Ngu, Oct 17, 2022

Last Sunday I preached on the crowds came to follow Jesus to other side of the lake after seeing him performed miracles of feeding 5000 men with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. They were following and in fact wanted to make him king of Israel to deliver them from the Roman rule and oppression. However, Jesus said to them, you have seen me and still you do not believe.

John 6:35–36 (NIV)

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe.

This is interesting, what does Jesus mean exactly? If they didn’t believe, why did they pursue Jesus across the Sea of Galilee on a boat all the way to see him? They were ready to make him king!

John 6:14–15 (NIV)

14 After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15 Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

So why did Jesus say that they don’t believe him?

Well, the reason is they believed in Jesus’ power to heal, and his power to preform sign of multiplying food for them, they just didn’t have faith to believe he is the Son of God , the Messiah of the world!  You see they got everything going, but they lacked the most important ingredient! No use just to believe in his power to heal, multiply, but not believing him as the Son of God! The savior of the world. That’s why Jesus said to those who prophesy in his name, that he never knew them!

Matt 7: 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

What a shocking and sad statement for Jesus. Even those who prophesized and cast out demons are not accepted into the Kingdom of God!!

Then you ask, then who will?

The answer is that you must believe with all your heart that Jesus is the Son of God from heaven and savior of the world. That’s the single most important thing. Faith in him. Not just what he can do for you, but who He really is.

Many today missed that. They loved the signs and wonders, but their hearts never believed to put their faith in him. Some takes Jesus as a convenient name to practice their religion per se, but their hearts are far away from him. Like Jesus said, “they honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from me.”

Some take Jesus as a front, to sort of take a liberal theology from the bible, and taking Jesus as the one who teaches “love your neighbor, feed the poor, help the homeless, and the migrants”, but they don’t take Jesus as the Holy one of God! They want all the goodies of Jesus, but not the divinity of Jesus. Why? Because it will mean they will have to submit to the lordship of Jesus, and they don’t want to. They want to hang on to their way of life, which is continually sinful before the eyes of God. What about those who fight against the sexuality as given and created in the image of God? They call themselves as Christians, but they want to twist the bible to their advantage and agenda. This is highly dangerous, and causes heresy, and definitely a heavy judgement of God coming!

There are also others who view Jesus as a faraway divine figure, who is only mild and meek and gentle, and they have no intension of knowing deeper the will of God and heartbeat of Christ for us. Righteousness and holiness and justice are literally the foundation of the throne of God. Many young people only want the justice, example, racism is loathed and condemned, that’s using the justice of God. But not righteousness and holiness. They are conveniently put them aside, so they can continue to live their lives deviant from the scripture and do what they like.

The day will come soon, when they meet Jesus, he will say “I never knew you.”

We must therefore have the faith in Jesus as the Son of God, and not just what he can do. Everything he does flows from the faith in him as the Messiah, the Son of God.

Sexual revolution hitting Churches & Our Response

The word of God is explicitly clear on the sexuality given by God in Genesis 1 when God created Adam & Eve in God’s image.

Genesis 1:26–27 (NIV)

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

Great interview talk by Carl Truman on sexuality. My reflection on this most important development that has wrecked many split churches & denominations and caused untold heartache to families and young people. May God arise and scatter our enemies.

God created us in his image.

Human beings are defined by their sexual desires, the birthing of the sexual revolution

Al Ngu—reflection from Carl Truman’s Video.  Oct 7, 2022

An excellent video by Carl Truman talked about the identity of a community that emerged suddenly over last years and took the Western world by storm, especially in America.

Carl talked about:

Decades ago, most lived in a community setting. That’s how we are framed in our worldview. Our lives and world is very fixed.

But today largely from 15th century onwards, people moved from the countryside.  My world is no longer fixed, I can move to the city. Outside world is flexible now, and hence my point of reference is not wrapped up with the outside world. I am wrapped up with my own ambitions, my internal desires. I can choose. What’s going on in my own head: my feelings, my desires, my ambitions, less to do with what’s fixed outside.

Human beings are defined by their sexual desires—Sigmund Freud

What’s it in the space. Sigmund Freud, 12th century psychoanalyst in Vienna. Freud came to conclusion what drives a persons is his inner space, by his sexual desire. Human beings are motivated by that we desire sexually. Freud is on something here. When we turn on TV, what drives most dramas is sexual desires. You have friends who destroy their marriage because they can’t control their desires. Freud stands that humans beings are defined by their sexual desires. How their life is shaped by their sexual desires. In ancient Greek, in the bible, bible talks about behavior when we talk about sex.

After Freud, sexual becomes something who they are. Teenagers may say he or she is trans. They are asking about the nature of their sexual desires, an extension of the psychological self. If you have a view of sex as an activity, some activities are legitimate some are not.

Hundreds of years ago, sex was a private activity. It’s not anymore. It now their identity.

Discern which battle to fight. First, make a distinction between the political movement or ideology movement like LGBT. We can see something driving the public policy. We must use the civil right so to make sure policy is not going to be formed that will harm children. We can  use the freedom of speech, to speak against the kind of policy. We need to make a distinction with individuals.

LBGT offers a community to all those who have such inclination of same sex attraction

Stable family…no more common in this generation. Many growing up not sure of their selves, looking for their identity.

LBGT people feel the power of identity. Remember we are all made in the image of God. We desire that no one be harmed.

Model in our own to live a better life. Its one thing to say it’s wrong, another to provide them with an alternative to that.

Christians need to show what the good life looks like, good community. A church where people can flourish.

That’s a very important thing because it’s all about identity. The potency of their identity. Calling their sexuality inclination and urge is their identity, you have nothing really to argue with them. They can switch to any gender they like, using the call it as you wish style of inner desire. The concept of identify for them is powerful, because it’s not what they practiced on their sexual expression per se, but rather they call it as their identity. You can’t defy or deny a person’s identity.

Having said that, Christians today should not just being quick to point out the error and wistfulness of such, but rather Christian’s need to offer an alternative lifestyle of flourishing in church to the LBGT community and not merely speaking against their lifestyle. We need to appreciate the power of community, and LBGT offers an attractive community of identity for those who are struggling with their sexuality.

Conclusion

How can we find flourishing life in church and our identity in Christ?

This is so very needed to our world today especially the young’s. People long  for a community and church can provide a flourishing community like no others. Carl talked about the potency of the Freud inner psychologist who came to the conclusion that humans are driven sexual desire. And that defined a human. He pushed the inner psychology to the idea that you are really what your inner desire is. Or you are defined by your own sexual desire. That changed everything when it comes to the 21st century, when the LBGT community claimed and capitalized on Friend’s theory on that, propagated that men and women are really what they inner desire is, and not being collectively defined by a community. That perpetuated the entire movement today which calls that your sexuality is what you feel inside. What you feel inside is who you really are, and not how and what you look like on the outside. Hence that birthed the transgenderism movement.

The wicked blessed by the Lord’s providence and yet curses his Name

Introduction

The most glorious city in the world at the time of AD 410, Rome, was sacked by the barbarians. St Augustine took up his pen in 413 AD and wrote the most famous world treasure in literature in Christian and non-Christian alike,  The City of God.

The book shook the world and became the foundation stone for much of philosophy of the world today. Today we can learn a lot from Augustine as we face our present world of turmoil , godlessness and uncertainty. After the Barbarians sacked Rome, an unbelievable occurrence in the minds of the entire Roman population that the most glorious powerful city in the world with its civilization of luxuries could be sacked by anyone. Rome was stunned at her collapse with all its glory.

Chapter 1

The Ungrateful Betrayers

In sacking of the city of Rome by the Barbarians in the AD 400+, the Barbarians actually stopped killing those who escaped into the Christian sanctuary of sort out of respect to Christ. And those Romans who were totally godless and brutal also made use of that opportunity to seek refuge in church and they were spared. But instead of being thankful to Christ, they gave credit to their own luck.

Many people today were blessed by the common grace of God, but thereafter they turned around and failed to give credit to the God who saved them. For those Romans who were spared by the onslaught of the Barbarians because of the name of Christ, they failed to even acknowledge God. Today, many have been blessed by the goodness of God in their lives, been to universities, good jobs, and make a good living, however, deep inside they continue to pursue what’s in the fleshly desires, with no intension to give God the glory and thanks. So much so our Americans society sees the church as a decline and irrelevance delegating the church to the old folks, and those who are conservative in social values. Anything that that’s attributed to for the good fortune , above God, is called as ungrateful. Being ungrateful, i.e.. failing to acknowledge the God who gives us the good health, the fresh air to breath, the society stability and financial sufficiency is astoundingly disappointing. If there is a movie that shows such an ungrateful character, public would have had an uproar with that kind of figure. However, that’s precisely the very thing the society at large doing! And what’s worse, the society at large engages themselves with even more godless indulgences like blaspheming God’s name, full of lust for more, challenging the image of God for humans. We are all created in the image of God, and what that means is we bear resemblance in the attributes that God had given us as He breathed his Spirit into us. That resemblance of God in us, is now so distorted by the power of sins, seriously the image is so disfigured bringing major wrath of God in the days to come, and even in the present days now.

The spirit of godlessness continues to work in the sons and daughters of disobedience, and the bible calls him as the spirit of the air, the prince of darkness.

Those who escaped the peril of the invasion of the Barbarians, preserved their life on account of the Name of Christ, instead of thanking the Christians for what Christ has covered and protected them, they blamed Christ for the downfall of their city. The barbarians preserved those who escaped to the sanctuary house of worship of Christ, out of respect for Christ. Bu those who escaped, attributed to their own good luck.

Augustine wrote that If they had any right perceptions to attribute the severities and hardships inflicted by their enemies, to that divine providence which is to reform the depraved minds of men by chastisement (discipline), they would have passed through the trials to a better world. This indeed is a profound and deep perception of Augustine. TH problem is these worldly people have absolutely no right perceptions of any kind, as everything they look into is attuned to the depravity of minds. If they has perceived it as a chastisement of God, they would have had the opportunity to repent and grow into something better.

Ungrateful Pride and impious madness

After being saved as these Romans fled into the sanctuary of God and being spared by the Barbarians for their respect to the God of Christianity, these very same people now in ungrateful pride and most pious madness, perversely opposed the Name of Jesus. [1]  The key words I want to bring up is “Ungrateful pride” and “most impious madness”.

These describe the conditions of many in our modern days in America today. While the perverse language flying all over our culture against the Name of Christ, these are the very people who had been blessed by the Name of Jesus. They were brought up in a stable country with the wealth and comfort most nations would envy, and do they already forget the source of all these blessings? Failure to recognize the grace of God upon our nations, upon our families and our lives, is a sure reason of being prideful of our own achievements. It’s like we have, by our own strength, and luck, achieved what we have today. The sheer humanistic pride of what I can do, and what I have achieved with hard work, is a sure way to destruction without recognizing and giving honor and glory to the One who gives us all these. It’s what Augustine called as ungrateful pride. It’s not only pride but being ungrateful. It’s like what the saying says you bite the hands that feed you.

The impious madness as it’s called such is because of two reasons. First, it’s a total lack of reverence to who God is. Not pious or religious; lacking reverence for God, religious practices, etc.; irreligious; ungodly. Lack of reverence and respect to the Name of God and who He is, is the result of centuries of decaying moral due to the works of constant rebellion and relabeling Christianity to what suits human evil depravity. Very much driven by the power of the Prince of the Air. (Eph 2: in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience).

The most scaring thing in my mind is that these people today, in ungrateful pride and most impious madness, and at the risk of being punished in everlasting darkness. By opposing the Name who provided all unto us under what’s called “common grace” of God, they perversely oppose that name under which granted themselves for the sake of enjoying the light of this brief life.  


[1][1] Augustine, City of God, chapter 1

My Pastoral Walk with the Lord & His People

Calling

I have the honor of being called to be the interim pastor in a local church in NY beginning January 2022, after some six months preaching twice a month prior. I have learnt so much the hands of God in my life and calling through this church, and it’s been God’s answer to my prayer to restart preaching and ministering in some local congregation with all the great reformed theology I have learnt with my pastoral and church plant ministry.

What’s the most intriguing emotional, spiritual , and pastoral lesson I learnt, still learning it, is what transpired within the first three months of the year. Little did I know that within the first three months of this year or after I started interim pastoring the congregation, two dear members of the church died, and a third member’s dear young son died. Two of them due to Covid, and one due to cancer.

Encouragement from our dear friend John Barilla 

To make the matter more exasperating, one strong reason God led me to apply to pastor this church was due to a very pastorally warm brother, John. While I was invited to preach there last May 2021, before my arrival to preach my first sermon there, he wrote me an email and he said a very heart warming and Spirit led email to me even before meeting me.

John wrote: “This week I spent some time reading your blog posts and listening to some of your You Tube videos and I found myself very much in agreement with the emphases of your ministry. In reviewing your posts, I noticed that you have a vision for combining the strengths of Reformed doctrine with the charismatic openness to the work of the Holy Spirit. I agree that they actually complement one another and I affirm the importance of preaching the “full gospel”. So I just want to encourage you and let you know that you have a kindred spirit in the congregation, and I am looking forward sitting under your ministry of the word on Sunday.” May 2021

This is a guy with a MDiv with previous church planting and pastoring experience in Long Island. To me, that’s such a providential work of God as I sought His leading. 

During the last few months of last year, I started sharing my blogs, mainly my reflections of theology I learnt, and also my YouTube inspiration devotional sharing’s of my devotional reading. He would, often give me feedback either he liked it much for inspirational teaching or at times also critiqued it saying it’s not for ordinary church folks. He would also gave me feedback, together with another brother Charlie, on his analysis of the church dynamics, and the challenges I would face to pastor it. I have been so encouraged by his weekly feedback and exchange of views and thoughts on church pastoral and theology.

John ’s Unexpected and Untimely Death

That brother passed away in January 2022 due to Covid very unexpectedly, and leaving suddenly a big vacuum in my friendship, ministry in the church, of which it made me seek the Lord more. In his funeral, I fought for a burial for him. However due to financial reason with no family’s help at all, it ended up that the church being his only real big family,  picked up the tab for cremation with offerings from the congregation. In his funeral, I gave an emotionally strong message that we lost a dear brother which we could never understand, but we know that he’s in the good hands of our Lord Jesus, and we must all move on in life in the calling of our Lord. We must not be stuck in this mourning mode. I felt the Lord was with me as I spoke that. (Truly I spoke more to myself at that point).

My wife’s Anointed Input to me

I am thankful to the Lord for my wife, Doreen’s sensitivity to the Lord. Literally two days before John passed away on Sunday, we got news that he got covid and was resting and recovering. Some of our church folks including me emailed him, texted him, to see if we can help him in food and urged to him to take good rest. On Saturday my wife urged me to contact John to check on him, and let him know that we will buy some food and groceries for him and would just leave him by the door. I emailed him on Saturday and let him know that we would be dropping by the next day Sunday after preaching in the church. To which, him being the type of never bother anyone type, as I expected, emailed me on Saturday that he was doing fine and recovering, and he didn’t need any food or groceries and he thanked me for our kindness and thought. The next day, Sunday afternoon, I got a text from Charli that he passed away. I wept hearing that. That’s almost too much out of unexpectedness and the fact we were still emailing the day before and he was dear to me. Recalling back, I am so thankful I listened to Doreen to reach out to him on Saturday even though I knew he would not bother anyone. And that was the last we heard from him. The day before he passed away to be with the Lord.

Pauline’s struggle and death

And a month into the beginning of March, we suddenly got news that a dear sister, who had been battling with cancer for months, passed away. My wife and I had joined our weekly prayer meeting on zoom, and that sister, Pauline, had also been a faithful passionate prayer warrior. The little prayer group I was in, prayed weekly for more than 6 months for her healing. Every time I heard an update of any of her chemo treatment, the pain she went through, my heart sank, and grieved within. I would pray with all my heart together with some seven others weekly for her and of course the church and America that the Lord put in our hearts. I took over leading the prayer beginning of this year with my pastoral. By March, we got news she passed away. It was a hard moment to swallow, with questions why didn’t God heal her? As much as the question that loomed in my mind for John, why didn’t God heal him over Covid? Even though we prayed with our faith and belief, and certainly seeing these as the will of God to heal, they both died. That was what it was like the first two months of my pastoral calling there. We all trusted the Lord and that she was in a better place with the Lord. We comforted ourselves. I was then asked by the family members to conduct the funeral planned for her as the English church pastor. I have never conducted a funeral all my life, and hardly been to funerals except my dad and grandparents. By then, thankful to God, I just done my church polity, with the Book of Church Order, I picked myself up with the liturgy prayers listed in the book to conduct it. I had to seek the Lord hard to find a message to bring the clear gospel and the comfort for her husband and children and indeed for the whole church community. I guess all eyes were on me. I finally picked a sermon on Abraham and others: 

Hebrews 11:13 13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

They waited for their promises to be fulfilled, from afar, like Abraham didn’t see the promised land, only saw from afar and acknowledged them to be strangers and exiles on earth, as a reflection for Pauline’s family and the church wondering why didn’t God answer our united prayers of over half a year. And frankly, I needed that sermon myself. It was an emotional process of seeking God and to preach. I like to reiterate what I heard from Dr Ligon Duncan on his lecture on Funeral: 

Reformed doctrines of God’s love and sovereignty is a towering strength for funeral. 

Charli’s twenty one year old son’s death

Then literally a month later, a dear brother in church, Charli’s twenty one year old son suddenly died out of the blue, and when he texted me, my heart sank one more time, and that groan “Why Lord?” Its three persons death within four months in a small church since I took over leadership. It’s like the most crazy thing ever happened in my ministry. His son did not come to our church, and he lived with his mum, Charli’s ex-wife, who is a Catholic. The memorial service was called to be conducted by a Catholic priest, and it was to be on the middle of the week at 7 pm. I had a decision to make, as the following day is a workday, and that service parlor place is about 1.5 hours’ drive one way in the evening from my house. I was debating whether we should go or can just offer prayers for my member. Just at that time, my wife (again!) full of the Spirit told me that we must go to show support to our dear friend in church, and to that I immediately said yes as I sensed in my heart. I had initially reasoned that young man does not come to our church, and it’s under a Catholic church pastoral from his mum and I don’t know him either. But to comfort and stand with Charlie, it was important that I, the pastor turned up. And we did turn up that night and prayed for Charli and consoled him together with some other members from church. The next day, Charlie emailed us all how much he thanked the Lord for our showing up as he felt all alone in the service with his ex-wife’s Catholic group. How much it meant to him when we showed up. I thought to myself, “Thank you Lord .” I was so glad that we went. Just to strengthen and encourage Charli, who is also dear to us, was an important moment pastorally. It dawned on me how important pastoral presence with our member in times of grieving is, and what it means to them!

Conclusion 

The Lord is our God and I thank Him for His sovereignty over our lives for His providence and love. Amen.

Psalm 85:10–13 (ESV)

10  Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. 11  Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. 12  Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. 13  Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.


Do we pray to God for vengeance of evil forces?

Many people wondered if we could ask God to pour out his anger on those who taunt Christianity and devalue, diminish our values in schools, cultures, TV, and even families. Christians are intimated by the fierce secularizing voices out there on the streets, that many believers are seeking refuge or simply stop showing any trace of the godliness our Lord Jesus has endowed us. Often the world labels us as on the wrong side of history, but like one preacher commented, “I am not worried about to be on the wrong side of history, but I am worried to be on the wrong side of eternity.”

The forces of secularization has altered the very fabrics of our faith in Christ, challenging our holy scriptures, the high inerrant scriptures of God. If there is any doubt on that, they are experts in twisting the gospel to a man-made salvation religion and appease everyone on earth. Because the reality is, real authentic Christianity faith in Jesus is offensive to many, no wonder Jesus said, many will be stumbled. Jesus is the corner stone, and stumbling block to many. To the Jews who are seeking signs and wonders, and the Greeks seeking wisdom, Christ is neither, but Christ is the power of God to save.

So when we see the evils done in the world, from abortions, transgenderize, same sex sexuality issues, and to the recent shootings in Texas, Irvine, Buffalo, wat do we make of it? How do we respond?

Many are  confused and restrained by the gospel teaching of Jesus who said if someone slap you on one cheek, turn around your other cheek. He also said that if you only love your friends, and not love your enemies.

This is a stunning and counter intuitive teaching:

Matthew 5:43–45 (ESV)

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Jesus taught us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, as the Father makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good. I would argue that God the Father, yes makes sun rise on the good and the evil, and sends rain to the just and unjust, that’s a temporary set up. A temporal scene, because judgement of God will come when He returns. We are to pray for those who persecute us.

This is , however, different from the forces of darkness that are bent to destroy us. Often, persecution can be and had been used by God to purify us, to discipline us, to refine us like gold to make us into something more beautiful. Yes it is different for the forces of darkens, like the satanic forces of principalities. God destroyed the idols of Egypt when He sent 7 plagues that destroyed them like the Nile River that was worshipped by Egypt. We are called to demolish strongholds, and tear them down. Kingdom of God is marching forward, and taking it by force. Kingdom of God takes no wimps. We are to be strong and to be overcomers. But in no way, in our zeal, and lack of biblical understanding, that, we curse everything that seems to be in our way. No, we do need to pray for those who persecute us even! But we do need, at the same time, know what we are fighting a spiritual warfare, and God has called us not to be gentle with the satanic forces, the prince of the air.

That’s why :

Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you,   and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name!    For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation.

Psalmist prayed that God pour out his anger on those who don’t know God! Why? Because they devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation. Who is Jacob today? That speaks of the church of Christ! So anyone who devoured the church, we pray for God to pour his anger on them! Not praying for them!

10    Why should the nations say, Where is their God?”      Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes!

You see avenge the outpoured blood of your servants. They killed Christian servants; we pray for vengeance of God!

11    Let the groans of the prisoners come before you; according to your great power, preserve those doomed to die! Preserve those of believers who are doomed to die, but God can intervene and save!12    Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!

Return seven times those who taunt our God. Do it!

13    But we your people, the sheep of your pasture, will give thanks to you forever; from generation to generation we will recount your praise.

But we the people of God, the sheep of our Jesus’ pasture, will give thanks forever. From generation to generation to count God’s praise! Our children are not to be snatched by the devil, pray to God to save them! God’s promise!

Little Outpost of Glory

Even though the church is in a mess, fallen world, yet when gathered as a congregation, it is a little outpost of glory. It is a foretaste of eternity; a tiny glimpse of what heaven is like.—Ligon Duncan.

I read this in my Worship Class today, and it resonated something within me. Perhaps it’s the longing to see the little community separate from the corrupted world today as we see, somewhere else out there. And that little community of God in Christ is captured so well in the term, “A little Outpost of Glory”.

First, it’s an outpost.

It’s not in the mainstream of society where so much twitter bombs, corruption fire breathing down from the Biden administration pushing for codifying abortion laws at the eve of what could be the overturn of Roe V Wade in Supreme Court. All these begin to make your heads spin on what’s going on, in a Christianized country in so many ways, the president of such is actually not just pushing abortion, but also wanting to codify it, meaning putting into laws. Apparently there are only 4 countries in the world today who practice such extreme abortion legislations, and they are, it may shock you, N Korea, China. ..and some extreme nation. Just to see the supposedly the crown jewel of the beacon of liberty nation, USA, being lumped into the same category with N Korea, is something just revolting, nauseating. Okay, there are much more going on. Biden administration will fund all kinds of abortion, sexual transgenderism for people and even young kids with tax dollars, something of an abomination to the God of the Bible. If that doesn’t incur the wrath of God, I don’t know what will. That’s why running away from all these corruption for the mind and soul looks very refreshing and energizing and promising. It’s what Augustine called semi monastic living. He withdrew with some of his friends from the corrupted world at that time, and began to dedicate themselves to God, praying, and worshipping God, and also reading and writing theology books that eventually changed the world. A recent book that came out few years ago called “The Benedict Option” also sounds very appealing along this line. Benedict is essentially the monk in the AD 480 who was disillusioned with life . The Benedictine Order is named after its founder, St Benedict, who was born in Nursia, near Spoleto, in Italy, around 480 AD. While in his late teens he was sent to study in Rome, but dissatisfied by the life he found there, he decided to turn away from a worldly existence to seek and serve God. Instead of seeking worshipping God in solitude, many came and joined him and he taught them to live in community to worship and serve God. [1]

Second, it’s an outpost of glory.

Not just being tucked away from the hustle and bustle of life with the currents of corruption and sin’s deceitfulness, it’s an outpost far away from all these, and it’s a community or outpost of glory. Its glorious. Its only glorious because it connected with the God of heaven and heaven. Like Peter and John and James witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus , when Jesus was transfigured.

Matthew 17:1–3 (NIV) After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

Peter, James and John saw with their eyes the face of Jesus shone like the sun and his clothing was white as the light. Jesus’ face shone like the sun…that would have blinded anyone looking into that! That shows how much glory is Jesus when he is transformed or transfigured to His original divine form. At that time, Jesus was appearing and talking with the disciples as a man with his divinity tucked at the back, and within those moments, He revealed his glory on his face. Wow! That’s the glory of God. Compare that with the corruption of the world today. 2 Peter 2:17–19 (NIV)

17 These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18 For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”

The glory of Jesus! The corruption of the world.

Its glorious because we saw the glory of God. Henceforth we are transformed by the glory of Christ! Real transformation happens when we behold the glory and beauty of Christ in our souls and spirits. Nothing will be comparable to such glorious moments and revelations of Christ.

That outpost of glory can only happen, when Acts 2 the outpouring of the Spirit of God happened, i.e. revival happens. When that happens, we will have the outpost of glory on earth.

Sooner than later, that outpost of glory will become the main city square of glory. We will have the city back.

Like Augustine calls it, “The City of God”.

Foretaste of Heaven

The little outpost, under the power of the power of the Holy Spirit, and the power of our Christ’s redemption, will become the highest mountain.

Isaiah 2:1–3 (NIV) This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:  In the last days

the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains;

it will be exalted above the hills,and all nations will stream to it.Many peoples will come and say,

“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob.He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

We are all looking to the day this promise of God will become reality, and doubtlessly,

this will be the time of consummation, i.e. Christ return. The promise is for us. We are tasting beforehand the beauty and glory of the heaven that’s coming. If the church can’t reflect that glory bit by it, surely we will fall short. But, praise the Lord, for He will bring us through to such perfection. We can’t wait for such to happen. It will over shine all powers of principalities, be it twitter, Facebook, political parties, believe or not, church will over shine them. Come Lord Jesus.

Amen.

Amen.


[1] The History of the Benedictine Order

https://www.durhamworldheritagesite.com/learn/history/benedictine-order/history