God sovereignly set up a showdown with Pharaoh to show his glory to Israel, Egypt and us today

God sovereignty sets up a showdown with Pharaoh to show his glory to Israel, Egypt and us today

Exodus 10 talks about God, set up a scenario of the big scene of exodus for the nation of Israel, through the hands of Moses. He told Moses “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” It is very very clear that the entire saga of the seven plagues they almost destroyed Egypt, and in fact, killed the firstborn of pharaoh’s family, and the entire nation of Egypt is something beyond normalcy and bordering of a Third World war.

Exodus 10:1–2 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.”

God’s relentless assault of the nation of Egypt, who had enslaved the nation of Israel for probably 100 or 200 years during their 400 years stay in Egypt. To begin with, the entire nation of Israel in Egypt is also master mind by God himself. In fact, God spoke to Abraham, your descendants of possess the land I will give to you and your children , I shall make your name great but your descendants shall be in bondage in Egypt for 400 years however, I will punish the nation Egypt for us leaving them.

Genesis 15:12–14 12 As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. 14 But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.

The one who makes history is God and God alone

That was like 3 or 5 generations before Moses and Israel’s generation, and all happened precisely as God told Moses. The one who makes history is God and God alone. He himself designed orchestrated the entire history of humanity. And if you want, you can see God in the book of Hebrews says before the foundation of the world God has already Destin and plan that his son Jesus Christ shall die on the cross to redeem mankind. Everything is set up.

1 Peter 1:20–21 (NIV)

20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Easter resurrection and the death of Christ on the cross is not an accident, and in two weeks time or one month time we’re gonna celebrate Easter, but the reality is so true that God has designed that. Why? So this answer can be easily obtained by looking at God’s answer to Moses. God told Moses “Go and bring my people out of the nation of slavery in Egypt, I will  harden Pharaoh’s heart, I will rain down plagues after the plagues upon them. Pharaoh will refuse to give in because I hardened his heart.”

So how did the plague after the plague came in to being because Pharaoh refused to give in even after the almost destruction of Egypt after the first few plagues. And why is that you ask? The simple reason is as God, in Exodus 10, said he will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that “The people of Israel with see great sign, miracles of God for delivering Israel out of the bondage of Egypt, so that Israel can tell their sons and daughters, and their grandchildren and children about what God has done.”

 It’s very very important for people of God to remember what God has done. After the deliverance in Exodus, when they walked through that miles of Red Sea on dry ground, when God, also at the same time drowned thousands of Egyptian armies, that impression will never ever be erased from the minds of the people of Israel. For sure some liberal modern Jews today in America have even come up with a theory that Moses never existed. This is another story altogether that is why they called the junk and rubbish the enemy has thrown at God‘s people. To deny Moses’ existence is to deny the move of God in one of the greatest history in the whole entire world.

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to set up a ultimatum gigantic Armageddon if you like between God and the powers of Pharaoh. In fact, what drives Egypt is not just Pharaoh but its the idols the forces of darkness in Egypt driving him. People don’t seem to understand that the opposition and the trials that we face as Christian in this world is not just because the ideology the culture of fight against us, but really its the forces of darkness, principalities in the air, behind them are driving this forces of darkness against us, believers in Christ Jesus.

Now this is huge because God wants us to remember. God sets it up so that Pharaoh would not relent. So that God had the opportunity to demonstrate to show his power again and again and again, and almost wiped out the whole population of Egypt. The last  climatic point, God killed the first born of Pharaoh and all Egyptians. This is very very antithetical and fore shadow of God, having his own son first born, and only son Jesus Christ, killed on the cross in the reversal order to redeem mankind so that mankind’s first born lived. This article is really about the sovereignty of God.

The sovereignty of God mapped out everything while he needed to do.

The sovereignty of God mapped out everything while he needed to do. The lesson for today, for all of us is that God has mapped it out for each, and everyone of us, and that’s why we got his call to run a race that we have to win as Paul wrote in his epistles. Everyone  has a race, and that has been set up and given to us by our God in Jesus Christ. So now it is really important that we need to know, what God has destined for each one of us. And that is the only way God can showcase his power and he’s his glory to each and everyone of us in this very broken generation that we live in. Man’s depravity and anger and lostness and greed is unfathomable. However, having say that, God has also destined, common grace upon the world. Even people without Christ shows virtues of goodness and kindness and faithfulness, because of the doctrine of concept of common grace of God.

In conclusion, I hope this just would really encourage and everyone of us to know that we are not living in this world by chance and got his call for specific calling to do the works He has called us so that we can love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and soul. And love our neighbors as ourselves. And this takes supernatural the Spirit of God to deliver, working all hearts, because no man will bow to God in his volition, it has to be The Spirit of God. Amen a.

The Tension between Ambition and Humility-Moses

The Bible exhorts us to be humble before God. In fact, God told Israel in Jeremiah, if my people would humble themselves, and call upon my name, I will show them great and mighty things. It is interesting to see the great and mighty things comes after two conditions: 1) they will humble themselves, 2) they will call upon God. You know there’s a correlation between humility and calling upon God. In fact, most people and Christians, if not humble, would not even call upon God. Therefore, it is the humble, the meek, the needy, cry out to God. Very often calling upon God comes in the form of crying to God. This basic human psychology when we are lost, when we are despondent, we cry out to our savior. To many people in the world, they will cry out to a lot of other helps whatever they can find, especially in this world of brokenness and depravity. What’s worse is people who are in dire need do not realize that they are actually in great need of help. So that two things to block people from coming to call upon God, the self-sufficiency is number one deterrent for people to come to God. That’s why humility is a beautiful character before God.

If you look at the life of Moses, when he was in the probably 20s, as a prince of Egypt, he seemed to have a special call from God even at a young age without God, speaking directly to him. He had a special burden to set his own people, Israel, free from the bondage of Egypt while he himself was a prince of Egypt. What we call as dual nationality. He had the Egyptian persona or position or upbringing, but he also has the ethnically, biologically Jewish ethnicity though he was never brought up in a Jewish family. Although when he was a baby, he was actually brought up by his mom in a very providential way of God when Moses was found in the basket floating in Nile river by The princess of Egypt. She became his adopted and real mom. And just at that point the princess upon hearing a baby crying in a basket while she was bathing in Nile with her maiden servants, asked if they could get a Jewish mom to raise this baby for her.  Moses’ sister heard that and she ran to call upon their mom to come and raise her baby Moses. She must be overwhelmed with joy and thankful for how God intervened and saved her baby and even gave her a chance to race her own baby for at least a period of time. So it is that incredulous providential story testimony of the divine plan of God being worked out right in the Nile river before the very princess of Egypt daughter of pharaoh himself. Folks never underestimate God’s plan; He can even work out to get the enemy’s power to fulfill His plan. He’s plan cannot be stopped by anybody.

The plan of God continues to operate in the very palace of Pharaoh of all places, while the people of Israel continued to suffer under the tyrant hands of Pharaoh, who made them to be slaves to build the pyramid. One fine day when Moses was walking around, and he saw an Egyptian slave master flogging his fellow Jewish man, who was laboring away to collect to get to make bricks, etc., and in such an urge of wanting to save his fellow man, Moses killed that Egyptian. And then a few days later, while walking around the field again and he saw some Jewish men quarreling with one another. Moses went out to them and said “Hey guys, don’t fight one another, you are brothers.”  Those guys turn around and asked him “Who made you to be our leader, do you want to kill us as you did to the Egyptian?” Hearing that, Moses knew the news of him killing that Egyptian Must have leaked out. It is unusual Pharoah to go after him. In any case I guess Moses is really Jewish ethnic adopted child of his daughter. So Moses started to flee while Pharaoh was raging and had his army to kill Moses.

But Moses escaped and he landed at the wilderness at the far away land from Egypt, he landed at Jethro‘s Vineyard, who turned out to be his future father-in-law. Can you believe the providential hands of God? How beautifully God set up for him to be in Egypt, for him to be persecuted, and for him to flee, and for him to flee to the exact spot in the universe, called Jethro‘s vineyard. While he was there, he saw Jethro‘s daughters came out to draw water for the camels and the straws and some shepherd boys came and hustled them. Moses saw that, he came forward and defended Jethro‘s daughters, and he drove them away.

Jethro’s daughters went back , and their father heard of this of this Jewish man who saved his daughters. Jethro said to his daughter “how one on earth did you not invite him back? I want to thank him for that.” So they invited Moses back to the house, and Jethro hosted a big feast for him, looked up to him and finally they discovered that he’s a great material to be his son-in-law. I wonder is that not such a possibility? Well, most of such a charming prince of Egypt, and the called one of the Almighty God Yahweh, is there any doubt he’s the man? To cover story short, Moses married Jethro’s daughter and lived among them. And you know what? He lived in Jethro’s wilderness area far away from Egypt for 40 years. For 40 long years Moses lived in obscurity from the ivy league, tower of pharaoh’s palace to the shepherd boy status of the wild, and not for four days ,not for four years, but 40 long years. Those 40 long years were in complete silence, as per the divine sovereignty of God there’s no record of what the heck went through his mind, how exactly he was transformed. But suffice to say, it took 40 years for God to completely humble Moses with the self ego, self-confidence, to a totally transformed, fine man of God, with humility, and a heart full of gold for God as you can see later. Seriously, there’s hardly a man, with such piety as Moses in the Old Testament, I would argue. He didn’t squander the massive wealth that he got them for he didn’t get any massive. Unlike David and Solomon, accrued, massive wealth, massive number of wives and prostitutes, only to the downfall of Solomon complete destruction, but a part to partial downfall of David but thanks be to God with God’s grace, David’s immaculate heart of passion and love for God, David survived and lived a legacy that is pretty much unmatchable in the old testament, nevertheless.

So what we see here is a man of top caliber for God when he was called by God in the burning bush experience, he said he couldn’t even speak properly, he could not speak eloquently, and he had no courage to face Pharaoh when God called him. God was even frustrated with him so He appointed Moses brother Aaron to be his spokesman to help him to do the task and made made Moses to be like God to Aaron.

The rest of the story is Moses exploded into international limelight, he dethroned Pharaoh from being a humble shepherd boy in the wilderness, something that is unheard of, and God indeed displayed his utmost mighty powers that is unprecedented to the level of seven plagues that destroyed Egypt from the harvest, to blood on the Nile river, locust, eating up all the food harvest, and eventual the killing of all the firstborns of Egypt, including pharaoh’s. That demonstration of God’s power was ruthless, vicious, and mighty indeed. God’s power was ready to dethrone the idols of Egypt whom Egypt claimed to be gods. God delivered Israel, but also send a message to Egyptian how Yahweh is the true God, and opened up the door for them to put the faith in Yahweh.

So Moses became famous, and finally got into the calling (he originally wanted to do that when in his 20s in Egypt as the Prince of Egypt). Now he’s got it. But he’s a totally changed man. He faced enormous trials and challenges and difficulties from the people of Israel climaxed into the highest pinnacle of the golden calf story, and also rebels, led by some factions in Israel challenging Moses authority. God defended Moses mightily and zealously. In fact, those rebels did not get killed in the normal way, but as Moses proclaimed, “if this people do not die in an unnatural way, God has not called me”. With that the earth opened up and swallowed up all those rebels into earth alive with their families, the children and the wives, the whole lot. It is so incredibly shocking and sorrowful and grieving story, but God put an end to those rebels.

You see the tension between humility and ambition? It was resolved when God showed up in a burning bush. I believe the resolution of the tension of humility and big ambitions will be resolved in our burning bush with God, i.e. an encounter with God, showing us the way to go and what to do. The call must be and has to be from God himself. And he’s faithful and he loves his people. He loves the people he calls into ministry.

Paul say that we should know our calling and remain humble. We should be like David poured out his heart to God during his time of difficulties and hardship. For anyone going through a time of being humbled, you will need a time of patience and waiting upon the Lord. Someone said for I will wait upon the Lord. Paul says those who wait upon the Lord shall soar like an eagle.

Isaiah 40:30–31 (ESV)

30    Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted;31    but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Our strength will be renewed as we wait upon the Lord. There’s something about recharging of inner energy and inner self as we spend time in the presence of God waiting for God and hearing from God. Very often this would take the form of just prayer, meditation of the scriptures and lead a contemplative life. A lot of times we can’t wait upon the Lord because we can’t trust him. That’s a deeper group problem if we manifest impatience with God which I must admit very often I face that. It is good to wait upon the Lord, so that we shall renew our strength, so that we shall mount up like eagles and shall run and not be weary, Hallelujah! How many of you know that running a race in the Lord it’s not exactly an easy task? We need to really know him and wait in his presence.

The Basis of Revival

The basis of revival is the work of the Holy Spirit supernaturally: He stirs the hearts and minds of men and women, to worship him to pray, and to read and study the word of God. Many people do not know the Spirit of God can do such a thing in our lives experientially; except that we can be grounded by the Word of God.  If ever, the testimonies and biographies of what happened for decades and centuries ago, remains far-fetched events that’s almost too remote for us to identify with, to long for, to pray for in our days, in our generation. Many have brushed them aside, but the time has come for us to arise and pursue that. Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones have preached 24 sermons series on revival, and written a book on it. This well-known renown reformed preacher of the Word of God who has exercised enormous influence over his generation and us today, will be continuing to be a major force to reckon with in the days to come. He preached for revival consistently. Wow many churches today hardly talk about revival or be completely silent about it.

By any definition, a revival is characterized by spontaneous long-lasting episodes of collective worship: extemporaneous prayer, stirring music and rousing preaching. The concept has a history stretching back to at least the First Great Awakening in 18th-century New England, when crowds of newly fervent Protestants gathered to hear vivid extemporaneous sermons by pastors like Jonathan Edwards. (NYTWoodstock’ for Christians: Revival Draws Thousands to Kentucky Town)

Today we saw what seems to be a revival that broke out in Asbury university almost 2 weeks ago, and apparently they closed down the meeting hall as classes begin to commence again. What has happened over time, people seem to think that revival meetings have come to a grind ,to stop as reported with glee and simplistically in papers like liberal media that revivals has come to a stop. What they don’t know is what God has started, no man can stop. Hallelujah! And you know what? It has spread to other campuses nationwide even before the stopping, but now because of this stopping, the starting of the new revival works in other campuses, have taken on the new life. This is truly an exciting moment to live in. In fact New York Times today has reported the up springing of revival from Asbury again.


‘Woodstock’ for Christians: Revival Draws Thousands to Kentucky Town

For two weeks, tens of thousands of people have made a pilgrimage to a tiny Christian college, about 30 minutes south of Lexington, for what some scholars and worshipers describe as the nation’s first major spiritual revival of the 21st century.The revival at Asbury began on Feb. 8, when a few dozen students lingered after an ordinary morning chapel service to continue singing and praying together. Word about the spontaneous gathering spread on campus, and by evening, students were dragging mattresses into the chapel to spend the night. Within days, their enthusiasm had exploded into a national event.The university estimates that the revival has drawn more than 50,000 people to Wilmore, a sleepy town of 6,000 people where the grocery store hosts a weekly Bible study and police cars read “In God We Trust.” The Asbury revival is “marked by overwhelming peace for a generation marked by anxiety,” said Madison Pierce, a student at the unaffiliated Asbury Theological Seminary across the street who volunteered to pray with visitors and help with logistics.—NYTWoodstock’ for Christians: Revival Draws Thousands to Kentucky Town)

Our hearts’ longing for revival depends on how much you’ve experienced disappointment, trials, downs in life that you either give up with the Lord, or you long for a revival. Also how much you believed in the revival accounts like in Acts 2,  the Pentecost outpouring of the Spirit of God. If you say that it’s only for the Apostolic age, you’ve done a huge disservice to the body of Christ, and indeed to yourself.

“Never could I have imagined what we are experiencing now,” said Kevin Brown, who has been the university’s president since 2019, and spent several very late nights in the chapel. “There’s a deep hunger born of this trenchant dissatisfaction and disillusionment with what has been handed to the younger generation, and I think they’re just raising their gaze to higher things.”–NYTWoodstock’ for Christians: Revival Draws Thousands to Kentucky Town)

Healing is a consistent theme in the modern history of revivals.

But if 20th-century revivals focused on healing physical pains and disabilities, accounts of healing at Asbury are overwhelmingly about mental health, trauma and disillusionment.

“You have a generation identifying that these are the problems of our generation that are intractable,” said Erica Ramirez, the director of research at Auburn Seminary, who has written often about revivals and charismatic theology. “So many of their friends are not well.” Healing is a consistent theme in the modern history of revivals. But if 20th-century revivals focused on healing physical pains and disabilities, accounts of healing at Asbury are overwhelmingly about mental health, trauma and disillusionment. NYTWoodstock’ for Christians: Revival Draws Thousands to Kentucky Town)

Don’t box God in, and restrain him only operating miracles and signs in the apostolic age.  That’s simply inconceivable, and indeed, preposterous. Why would anybody do that? That somehow the gift of the Spirit and God’s promise to pour out the spirit of God, is looked at and perceived  with great suspicion in this day and age, especially in the reformed world. With all due respect, the reform teachings which I love most dearly, and I’m holding on and passionately preaching  myself, has some truly questionable doctrine opposition towards the gift of the Spirit, unfortunately (Gaffin—he wrote on the cessation of the gifts). To continue for all in this path of Doctrinal Theological understanding, it will box God in, correction, you won’t go box God in, you would just box yourself in. But I got to say that not all reformed folks believe this cessation of gift, and I know for a fact that when I took my worship class with Dr Ligon Duncan, he clearly articulated the prophetic gift as long as it is exercised in order in church service. I also know for a fact that John piper believes in the gift of speaking tongues though he himself does not get it because he believes God has called him to preach with prophetic word. That I love to be able to prophesy in preaching at a more grander scale that are short 2 minutes of prophecy. It’s important for reformed theology to accept continuation of gift to be a continuous in a proper order. God can never be boxed in by humans or any force. There is no return. The will of God must be done. And it will be done.

Pentecost has arrived. This is so significant because there are millions of millions of people who are in dire need of a refreshing touch of God in their feeble Christian walk.  Many have walked away from their faith in Christ, reduced that to a nominalism or a cultural Christ devoid of the power thereof. They perceivably has already left the Lord, and no amount intellectual, apologetic, argument or preservation will bring them back. They are gone. The only way to bring them back to Christ is by the Spirit of God and the revival. You better pray for the revival to come to your town today and keep praying. Because your hope is in the outpouring of the Spirit of God, like Pentecost. Don’t let the issue of speaking in tongues block you down or bind you. Like many thrown out the gift of the Spirit like throwing out the baby with the bathwater. This is an unacceptable theology. Admittedly, Pentecostal excess has happened, but just because it has happened, we must not discredit the genuine move of the Spirit of God and the gift of the Spirit. We have to move on and continue to pray for revival like Martin Lloyd Jones has been teaching and urging us to do.

The entire conversation of revival is so important and significant, because we humanly have no solutions to a lot of brokenness in our society, to a lot of sicknesses in our society in our churches in our community, in a lot of backsliding, a lot of confusion on sexuality and abortion in our church, and our society today in America. We need to pray for God to pour out the Spirit of God in the transformation of our lives, and the renewing of the mind so that we can be transformed. However, we’ll never have a chance to be transformed if my mind is not renewed. So you can argue that we are providing justification sanctification etc, and all these are good teachings and why are the peoples’ minds experience no renewal? Well, the simple answer is you can push all you want, however, if they don’t want to come to church, they’ll never hear. Even if they come, they may not receive it into the hearts. That’s why we need the Spirit of God, moving in a supernatural way. We need this supernatural move the Spirit of God.

And of course, the other problem of many charismatic churches is the love for the move in the Spirit of God, but they don’t have the doctrine of teachings the word of God for transform renewing of the mind sufficiently. Either way, we’re gonna miss the revival, we’re going to miss the move of God from that perspective. So the question is how much do we want the revival?

If you really want the revival, yeah, stop criticizing the move of the Spirit of God, and dwell in the presence of God and dive into the sovereignty of God, the beautiful bigness of God and the doctrine of teaching as well!

Trying to understand why would thousands of college students will flock into an auditorium, worshiping, singing, praying and listening to the word of God for 24 hours a day nonstop and for days and days. This is something truly phenomenal unheard of. What draws them there in the first place? When thousands and thousands of college are not interested to even to come to church. We have difficulty to fill 50 person room Space on Sunday morning let alone 5000 people flocking here and not wanting to leave! Not wanting to leave. There’s something to it. It’s called Spirit of God, working in the lives and is called revival.

While we study apologetics, study culture and philosophy, and systematic and biblical theology, they’re all good, however, without the move of the Spirit of God, this remains as a head knowledge and we bring no revival. Let’s be honest and real about this, the previous revivals of happened first with the Methodist Holiness, then, the Pentecostal, then really the college students now. You know it is really strategic for God to choose to revive to break out to college students, because it is precisely the same domain, demographic group that the devil has worked, penetrated it into their thinking through the professors and preaching the heresy on sexuality, heresy on abortions, heresy on Creation and Redemption substituting that by evolution. It’s hard to be a conservative, godly Christian in college campuses in America today, you have to face a whole lot of woke teachings that major on social justice (which is important) , and to the extent that, they paint themselves as the victim card and trying to get everything out of it in the name of emancipation in the picture of the Exodus narrative. However, Exodus narrative has come with the purpose of worshipping the Lord as God told Moses delivered Israel from Egypt and bring them out so that they can worship Him. Modern-day emancipation stories fight for racism, for sexuality, for anything major on emancipation and deliverance, but absolutely silent on to worship God. It is reductionistic and a heresy. Precisely they take God out of the equation they going to pay for it. No one mess around with the God.

We need and pray for the Revival. Gloria Yesus.

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God catches the wise in their craftiness

God catches the wise in their craftiness

One verse that I share with you the “Lord catches you’re the wise in their craftiness”.

1 Corinthians 3:18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

Paul writes in the book of 1 Corinthian that if you think you’re wise in the world, if you think you’re wise in this age,  you know this age is this spirit of this age. It’s a craftiness, deceitfulness, evils, potting, anger, unforgiveness, murderous, self-centeredness and everything that is against the Spirit of God. If you think you’re wise in this age means you wise in the scheming, godlessness living for yourself life. The Bible says let him become a fool that they may become wise.

Paul says they you need to become a fool in this age so they become wise. Because what is foolish in this world, in the world, in the eyes of this carnal, worldly fleshly world is actually wise in the sight of God. That’s why you don’t have to worry about on what the world accuses us to be on the wrong side of history. Or they said that you are missing out, you know. You act weird. You act holy and piety, piety. You’re really against the culture of the world. The culture is saying let go, be authentic you, enjoy the authentic you ,enjoy the life you’ve got. You only got one life. Yeah. I don’t plan to bring myself to hell, that’s what that one life. But I plan to run a good race, receive my reward from your father in heaven. The eternal reward.

If you say this to be wise in this age, this is the catch. It means going to do what the world tells you. The trend, the trending of the of the culture. Everything the culture says that it’s, it’s contradictory to the wisdom of God. There’s some amount of common grace in this world. The virtues of this world, forgiveness, kindness, helpfulness and the gentleness. There are snippets here and there, you know, thank God this image of God is not thoroughly destroyed yet. We still some see some patches of them around. Thank God.

However, the overall scheme of things is horrible. So what Paul is saying, if you’re thinking you are wise in this age, if you’re thinking you’re cool and hip, you want to blend in with this society this age. Think again, he said. May I suggest you become foolish in their eyes, then you become wise. I’d rather be foolish in the eyes of the world and be wise in the eyes of God. Would you not want that? Or would you really want to be wise in the eyes of this age, this? Very  accepted among the friends, your friends and all this. But you are a fool in the sight of God for eternity, for eternity. Think about that. You know people who opt for the wisdom of this age.  They’re cowards. They’re just afraid of being missing out on their friends and losing the culture friends and all this. You know, they’re afraid they offend their friends, offend their spirit of the world, offend this age, the spirit of this age. See, this is what they’re saying.

If you think you are wise in this age, let you become a fool at this age so that you may become wise in God’s sight. Alright, so the only way to be wise in God’s sight is go against the culture of the world. That’s it. Because the culture of the world cannot satisfy you. You know it.

Worldly satisfaction is a very ephemeral way, temporal way, you know, but there’s no lasting footing and the fruits out of it. You know, I’ve heard stories like Christian young lady, there’s a shortage of young men in the church, young lady said, “ You know what, I’m go out to meet with young men outside, date them, and if they are nice and kind, if they allow me to be myself, you know? Accept me going to church, that’ll be fine. We can raise the family and I’ll pray for him. As long as he doesn’t stop me, go to church. So you plan to go to church alone and leave your husband at home and you got to fight off  for the kids to follow your church and leave at home half of your life? What kind of marriage is this? The two shall be one. And no, it’s not like the two shall be two. You can’t do that. You know this. This is a fool in the eyes of the Lord.

They’re trying to craft something to get you and the Lords plays along and catch them from behind. In the incident. Being tested by the Pharisees. When asked, “Rabbi, shall we pay tax to Caesar? Jesus replied give me a coin and he asked them, whose face is on the coin? They replied Caesar. Then Jesus said , “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s.” That shocked everybody what a brilliant answer. They thought they’re being crafty and we’ll get Jesus because if Jesus said give to Caesar, the Jews is going to blame him forgiving or supporting an occupier of the Jewish people, and if he said don’t give to Caesar, they will accuse him of studying a rebellion against Rome. But neither, Jesus caught them the wise in their craftiness.

This is what we need to experience more of God so that we can outplayed the world. The Bible says be innocent as a dove, but as shrewd it’s a serpent. The wisdom of God of the powers the world through the cross, when everybody loved laughed at the cross, mocked Jesus at the cross, just like the world mocks Christianity Today, Jesus will always have the last laugh.

The Logic of Superabundance will transform our Society

Logic of Equivalence

Definitely our contemporary society follows the logic of equivalence. The logic of equivalence means essentially I’ll buy you a drink and I expect you to buy me a drink next time or in some philosopher’s words it’s a tooth for a tooth in the negative sense. Anything done for anybody else will have an expectation of some payback. This applies to the business world in particular, the professional service world, or even just family relationship or friends’ relationship even. The world looks at that as the norm. It is the logic of transaction and the market, a reciprocal paradigm in which debts must be paid in full but no more.

The Logic of Superabundance

This will transform our contemporary society because first and foremost it is only possible by God and from God. It is humanly impossible due to our fallen nature and our depravity, by human default in nature, we are all selfish beings, self-centered beings in our society is so shaped on the transactional calculative economy. This is not to say that there is nothing or no one that is selfless in this world, because there is generous heart that gives to charity in enormous amount, people volunteered their lives to fight for the countries, people volunteer to serve the poor and fight for the marginalized. All these are beautiful spots and manifestations of the common grace of God. Common grace of God is available to every creation and he doesn’t have to be people of the elect or believers in Christ even. In other words even non-believers non-Christians can manifest those virtues of generosity caring and fighting for the poor and marginalized. However they cannot move into the realm of superabundance because that will require supernatural ability and conviction.

Superabundance requires the grace of God meaning something supernaturally empowering us. The Son of God offered himself to die on the cross on behalf of mankind for the sins they have committed, so that whoever believes in him shall be saved and not perish. For God so love the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life, John 3: 16. That is the epitome of the superabundance of God and no one has ever seen or even imagined the mystery of God that he would even dare or willing to take upon the sins of the world upon himself while He is sinless and perfect to receive condemnation from the Father on our behalf. It’s scandalous.

So imagine if we apply that to our society, we will see so much flourishing, forgiving, caring, and believing in one another that we’ve never seen before. Jail population would drop drastically, political debates for self-gain or ideology will dim down to a simmer. Wars will cease. There’s just so much hope and joy in such a society and human flourishing it’s a sure thing to come.

Why is Bible’s account of sin is one of the “great overlooked resources for cultural engagement”?

There are numerous reasons why the Bible’s account of sin is one of the greatest overlooked resources for cultural engagement.

First, there’s a general disdain towards the whole idea of sin in this world

And the reason for the disdain towards seen as defined in the Bible is caused by the perception of the concept of sin by our culture today. Because people today love to commit sins so to speak, because they don’t want to be controlled or feel constrained by the laws of God in the Bible, example to have sex before marriage. It’s a huge deterrent for cultural engagement today. People do not think biblical concept of sin is in line with today’s understanding of what life is about especially its so influenced and the polluted by the corruption of sin itself, and also by the liberation theology or theory from the Enlightenment. Enlightened philosophers have taught that we need to look into our souls to find our authentic self, and that can only be found from within us not from the outside. This is very much influenced by people like Russoue and Freud and the like who keep telling us that inside each of us is the pure beauty however when a person is only wrong when he is corrupted by the surrounding him. So this generation is misled to think that inherently we are good people, however its the world and society that corrupts us inside. And that’s why for cultural engagement, people stay far away from the bible’s account of sin.

Secondly the people’s perception and conception of sin from the Bible is wrong that they look at the Bible’s laws and sin as a legalistic way

They do not understand that when we sin, we do not sin against a set of contractual agreements or laws like the Moses laws etc. But the Bible’s concept of sin is really a personal relational person called God. People do not understand that God is grieved when we sin, that speaks of the love relationship between humans and God. How can God be grieved if he doesn’t love us when we have done wrong? That’s precisely just like us when our kids done wrong, our hearts grieved because we loved them. The whole concept of sin from the Bible is motivated and driven and originated from the love of God. If only people today understand God starting point is love, I think the cultural engagement today with the proper understanding from Bible’s view of sin will be much more widespread.

Thirdly they are running away from God

The whole definition of sin in today’s culture is very much warped according to the idolatry of cultural leadings. Cultural mood is defined by the fallen human nature, the least the greed the corruption that’s rampant in our culture today. So when people deal with culture they do not want to bring sin as defined in the Bible to deal with real life, precisely because they are running away from God. To not to utilize Biblical concept of sin is really running away from God. Just like the prodigal son, he ran away from his father because he wanted money and for his own usage and wanted to do whatever he wants with inheritance. He grieved his father and the father gave him the inheritance with much reluctance and sorrow. That young man left his father and went to squander all his money with prostitutes with women with drinking parties and whatever and he was totally broke. And the parable that Jesus talked about says that that young man hit the bottom of the pit when he was so broke and on top of that a famine came and hit the ground hit the land. He was so hungry he didn’t know what to do so he applied and got a job to feed pigs. And while he was trying to feed the pigs, a realization dawned on him that he was so hungry he could conceivably eat those pigs’ food, it is at that moment he woke up.

He said to himself in my father’s household his servants eat proper food and here I am even longing to eat pig’s food. He woke up and he said I’m going home to my father and I’m not worthy to be his son anymore, and I will serve him as a servant. And the story goes when he gets back to his father, his father saw him from a long distance coming home, he ran out all the way straight to his young son, and he hugged him tight. The prodigal son said, “ Father I’m not worthy to be your son. Take Me Home to be your servant”. The father said to his servants, “Kill the fattest cow tonight we have a big feast, bring the best robes and put it on to my son and let’s celebrate tonight because my son was lost but now he’s found.” This parable story told by Jesus is precisely humans are running away from God and that’s why they want to run away from their sins as define and as in the biblical account.

Conclusion: Redemption brings reconciliation with God

But they don’t realize God’s waiting for the prodigal son to return to him. God is waiting for us to return to him it’s our Father in heaven. They do not realize that there is a hope to be reconciled with God. And God has initiated the redemption act by sending his son to this world to die for us, and whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life John3:16.

God has made a creation of superabundance

The God who created this earth this universe, this world , is a God of super abundance

The reason he’s a God of super abundance is if you look around this world, this world is full of green trees, fresh air, beautiful blue sea, oceans and brown river and if you live in the four season world like I do in the northeast of America, we see the leaves turned brown, orange, red, yellow over fall time or autumn. Where can you get all this from? There is no coincidence! There can be no diminishing of the greatness and the abundance of God by saying there we come from some kind of atoms that evolve around the centuries! That is so diminishing and so insulting to the God of superabundance and glory.

Supremely the God of abundance was manifested on the cross in Palestine 2000 years ago

And God of super abundance is not just reflected on the way he created the world created Adam and Eve, created all the animals the birds that fly in the sky and the fish that swim in the sea, but supremely the God of abundance was manifested on the cross in Palestine 2000 years ago. To imagine that the God who created the whole universe could possibly or conceivably hang himself because of the Roman soldiers and the Jewish Pharisees priests, dripping in blood and anguish and shame and pain, it’s not only insane and it’s unthinkable and scandalous! Now that is super abundance. The reason he hangs or he allows himself to be hung on the cross bleeding for what? He allowed himself to be hung there so that he can be a redemption substitute for the sins of mankind. Because we have violated the commandment of God, our covenant with God, we pay the price of dying and be eternally condemned. However Jesus Christ the son of God and our Father in heaven love us so much that God gave his only son Jesus Christ to this world to die for us so whoever believe in him shall not perish and shall have eternal life. If that is not super abundance I don’t know what is?

Huge contrast and antithesis to the transactional world and culture we live in

This is a huge contrast and antithesis to the transactional world and culture we live in and a calculative mindset that we deal with one another. There’s a sense of which we do things so that we can get things back from others. In itself it’s not the strangest thing, because basically you reap what you sow. However God is expecting us to show more than that.

That’s why we hear of this Samaritan parable in which a Samaritan helped a bleeding Jewish man beaten up on the road. When all the Jewish brethren who passed by that helpless Jewish man bleeding on the road, this Samaritan man who is supposed to be at enmity with the Jewish people, stopped and paused to quickly lift him up, cleaned him up, nursed him and gave him food to eat before bringing him to a local hotel. And he then paid the price of the of the stay of that wounded man for a few days to the hotel in advance and he before he took his journey on his way. He even told the hotel that the expense of the doctor or stay be upon him when he comes back. This may sound super abundance and excessively generous to the world we live in, because in reality we also face economic hardship and the challenges ourselves. However Jesus is teaching us who is our neighbor? Our neighbor are those people who look different from us, whom we usually dislike associating with due to socioeconomic reasons, as in this case this Samaritan man helping a Jewish wounded man on the roadside, while all the other Jewish men who passed by ignored him. This is a startling story illustrating the Super abundance of God.

The first greatest commandment is love the Lord your God with all your heart mind and soul

The first greatest commandment is love the Lord your God with all your heart mind and soul, the second greatest commandment is love your neighbor as yourself. And when the disciples asked Jesus who is my disciple or who is my neighbor? Jesus told them this Samaritan man’s story.

What Jesus is saying is even the most unlikely people in your neighborhood who needs help go  help them. This is an incredible story of selfless living because of the love of God. Because of the Super abundance of God. Because God rewards those who love thy neighbors.

 There is another place where Jesus said when I’m sick, you came and visited me, and when I’m hungry you fed me, when I’m thirsty you gave me drinks, when I’m in jail you visited me. The disciples then ask when did we do that? Jesus answered when you do this to the least of you among us, you’ve done that for me. Jesus also said to some others while I was hungry you did not feed me while I when I was what I was call you did not call for me etcetera, and Jesus said to them truly I don’t know you.

God did not tell us to love our neighbors out of own strength, but he has done it himself through the cross showing the Super abundant love and empowering, and also giving us strength through the Holy Spirit to carry out his commands. And he promised to reward us greatly including the reward being entering the Kingdom of God the eternal life in the paradise with him.

Our orientation to this world would drastically change if we grasp the superabundance of God and not holding on to our riches and money in our in our bank account only, but stand up to fight for justice and feed the poor and help the hungry.


Finding our authentic self and dignity and the Image of God

I want to talk about the image of God in this world. Scott who wrote Issues facing Christians today brought some powerful thing about the image of God. He wrote that the biblical revelation reminds us that human beings are not self-explanatory.

We derive the meaning from outside themselves, from God in whose image they are made

Now this is very significant essentially, that really just puts human beings into the right pedestal so that we don’t exalt ourselves as if we are god in this world living in self-denial that there’s a higher power we call the sacred power in this cosmos, caused by the enlightenment. During which Reiff and Freud and the Rousseau and all these folks abandoned the sacred order, and put ourselves in charge all the universe. (Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the most influential thinkers during the Enlightenment in eighteenth century Europe). They have forgotten completely that we derive our meaning from outside ourselves, not from within ourselves. That’s when exactly the modern contemporary cultures teaching that we just need to be authentic to restore our dignity to find our dignity by looking inwards to find our authentic self. They forgot that we did not derive our image, our meaning of who we, from within but we got it from God in whose image we were made. Like Scott said we are not autonomous individuals, creating ourselves constantly by the decisions and choices we make.

No, we are images, we are reflections

Now we are mere images we are not the thing we are not god! Can you imagine we images trying to say to the creator God that “we find our authentic self within ourselves not in your image?” That is completely laughable, in fact it’s not even funny anymore, because this is precisely what the world is doing heading towards ,causing millions and millions of millennial generations totally alienated from the image of God. They can’t find themselves anymore.

The dignity of a human humanity is derivative

That’s the important word. We derive our dignity from our created God in whose image we were made in. In other words our dignity is derived from God. Our dignity did not come from our authentic self deep within, it comes from him whose image we bear. We are dependent beings.

The Frailty of Life & the meaning of Life

Al Ngu          February 9, 2023

The frailty of life in this world should make everyone think hard and long for the long term that goes beyond just the 401K for retirement. Looking at what happened to thousands of people died in the massive earthquakes that just hit Turkey and Syria, our hearts break and grieve for them. And when I saw the TikTok videos on pulling out 6 year-old kid from the concrete blocks after 3 days in the cold weather freezing with snow and how the crowd cheered moved me to tears. And prior to that, I saw my own 83 year old mom who is getting older and more frail, and struggled to walk well, but thank God otherwise she is generally good. I thank God I have the opportunity to share with her the gospel and the exposition of the whole scriptures when I call her weekly. And I sincerely appreciate and thank my little brother Julian and his wife living with mum and taking care of her. The Lord bless him.

You know the reality is we’re all aging and moving towards closer to the finishing line in our lives. I just read Romans 13.

Romans 13:11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

Paul exhorts us to wake up from our slumber or our sleep, but even closer to the finishing line when Christ comes back. And there’s ultimately complete salvation. The chances is most people are still sleeping in their slumber because they don’t think about what’s going to happen in the end time. People get old, and some are already old. Age is really a relative thing, but the real deal is to know the end is coming and are you ready for it? Many people drift into the old age, and try to enjoy the pleasures of the world as much as possible, without knowing what is ahead. I think this is very sad , uncertain and also being very ignorant, not knowing. Not thinking of the end of life, it’s not going to make it go away.

The other thing grieves is the institution of old folks home or nursing home. I have seen and heard some of our friends who put their senior parents in this retirement home or old folks home, and basically what they do essentially all day long is to sleep, eat, watch TV, take medication, and calling for help. Sometimes worse some of the horror stories we heard, nurses would put the medications on the person’s beside and a little water, without bothering if the persons actually going to take the medication or not. Or worse, hit the old man or woman. The entire old folks home culture in the West seems to be a convenience outlet for the grown kids who want to continue to enjoy their own lives without being bothered with the aged parents. To me as an Asian immigrant to America, when I first saw and heard of this, I was horrified. The idea of children looking after aged parents it’s just naturally the responsibility of the children, as parents had raised them up with love and care and with great sacrifice. The notion that when children are grown up and parents are aged and feeble, old parents are conveniently slotted into some nursing homes which would not cost children’s’ down time and effort to look after them is unheard of and a very foreign in the Asian culture, and also in the biblical culture in the Old Testament and the New Testament. If you look at the Old Testament Jewish families look after their aged parents. With modern amenities, cities like New York of course you have the option of having the Medicare to have the State paid nurse to come and stay in your house even 24/7 to look after your aged parents if they medically require it, which is truly a wonderful gracious generous provision in New York State.

But the principle is this, children should look after their aged parents. There’s nothing hip and cool about living your own lives with your children while dumping your aged parents in their nursing home. Our friends, a married couple, in Long Island with the old 80 plus and 90 plus years old parents and in-laws living with them. They do their best to take care of them while they go to work and show the affection and care to them. Of course when they’re not around, they do have the nursing aides from the State to help look after them. You know psychologically and physiologically the aged parents or grandparents are just much more happier and joyful to be shown affection and care from their own family instead of from the nurses and strangers in their nursing home. In all ways and forms and shapes, their health just get better and live longer. And above all the emotional well-being is far better than staying without children and grandchildren at home. I’ve never seen a single instance in the Bible where parents are left in the nursing homes. Some may argue that there were no nursing homes in the old days, but we do have the same capacity of love as they do.

The Bible talks about love your parents and look after your parents so that:

Ephesians Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]

The Bible says children obey your parents in the Lord, not outside the Lord. Also honor your father and mother which is the first commandment with the promise so that it may go well with you and you may enjoy long life on the earth. I’m thinking most of the grown children today, when they put their parents into the nursing home, have not read this verse or been taught this verse. What’s bigger than this versus is the fact that it shows that we are basically self-centered people. And God has to put a promise right after honor your parents so that you may go well with you and enjoy long life. And it is very encouraging that God will think of this because he already foresees the problems is coming within the families in the future. The promise of God that you may go well with you and if you dishonor your parents do not expect that your life will go well. And do not expect that God will bless you to enjoy long life on the earth. People may be wondering why do they die young or young age because they have not obeyed and honored their parents. You know God takes parents very seriously and he expects us to honor our parents and to love them and obey them. America truly needs to read Ephesians 6 all over again and churches should preach them all over again. The command to honor our parents is even found in the Ten Commandments with a promise of long life!

Exodus 20: 12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Somehow the worldly modern contemporary culture catechizes our children ourselves day and night 24/7 to the point that jettisoned the commands of the Lord from the holy scriptures.

May we take the promises and the warnings of the holy scriptures seriously and let it sink in so we live the life that will honor our parents and honor and obey our God. And the blessing is we may go well in life and enjoy long life! How about that?

The God of Personalness- What does that mean to us?

Al Ngu    February 4, 2023

The Trinitarian God is the bedrock for understanding the ultimate reality in our culture and lives. So what does that mean exactly? Our God is personal, absolute and relational (Chris Watkin). These are the three foundational attributes of our God. That becomes the bedrock for our culture and lives. The fact that the universe was created by God, and because God is personal, therefore the universe has to take on the personality of its creator who is personal. And because the creator God is personal, therefore the universe inherits their personalness. Because humans were created in the image of God.

Now because God’s personalness is irreducible and fundamental in the universe, therefore all people have personalness and dignity that cannot be taken away. We have this dignity not because of our intelligence or ability, but because our God is personal and full of grace.

Now this is truly phenomenal because we do live in a personal universe. We don’t live in an impersonal universe where everything is, like scientific cause and effect, transactional, etcetera. It’s almost like inhuman or inhumane, you can almost even go to a robotic sense of the word to describe this world if the personalness of God is taken away. Therefore, how can anybody live in a universe without the personalness of God? Is it’s like our neighbor comes here, who has known us for a long time, we act like we don’t know one another. How? How you do it, and very formal kind of thing, that completely is so unnatural and unbecoming.

God wants us to have a personal, relational kind of universe, communal kind of world we live in. Now nobody can challenge that because that personalness comes from God. And you can’t challenge God.

Now our God is personal and full of grace.  John 1: 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

That’s such a beautiful word, such encouraging. Things for us to listen and understand. That means when anybody is hurt or downcast, he or she can begin to reach out to God and realize that God actually hears our prayers, actually feels our pain., especially in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the second person of the Trinitarian God. Because Jesus himself suffered in this world, and was tempted in all ways, and yet without sin, therefore he completely understands us where we come from, and he empathizes with us (Heb 4:15).

So this is super, superbly important so that we don’t live in a world devoid of human touch. The fact that some scientist or philosopher in this world, proposing that human beings are really made of ashes earth and we are returning to ashes earth without any living being personalness inside us, we simply vanish when we die, that is the most dehumanizing thing one can never hear.

It is therefore so important to embrace the God of Personalness, which is most beautiful. Beautifully amplified and communicated and expressed in the person Jesus Christ. As the second person of the Trinitarian Godhead, the son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, incarnated into this world and became like one of us. Would you call that personal? There’s nothing else more personal than God who became a human on this earth. And that is the Christmas. We celebrate each year. In the in the manger a child was given birth and his name is Prince of Peace, mighty God, Hallelujah.

With that we should always respect and honor one another should never look down on anyone else. No matter what skin color or economic background or ethnic background. You don’t need to fight for racial equality, by some campaigns, as human hearts are evil and depraved and broken on the first place;  the best way to approach it is to embrace the God of personalness who created us. In his image and being personal and full of grace, we therefore will have the ability to treat one another, one another we honor with compassion and respect and love because of the one who first created us. Amen.