The real gospel or the false witness

I have heard people preach this way: “The good news is that God is healing and will heal the world of all its hurts; therefore, the work of the gospel is to work for justice and peace in the world.” The danger in this line of thought is that the good news becomes a divine rehabilitation program for the world, rather than an accomplished substitutionary work. “Believing the good news” means joining that program, rather than receiving Christ’s finished work.

In other words, the gospel becomes primarily a salvation by practice instead of a salvation by faith. As J. I. Packer says, “The gospel does bring us solutions to these problems, but it does so by first solving…the deepest of all human problems, the problem of man’s relation with his Maker; … and unless we make it plain that the solution of these former problems depends on the settling of this latter one, we are misrepresenting the message and becoming false witnesses of God. –Tim Keller

What shocked me here is the sentence “good news (gospel) becomes a divine rehabilitation program for the world.”—That is pretty shocking and I feel guilty that to some measure we, evangelicals, charismatics, are guilty. And that’s precisely what diminished the power of the gospel or the word of God in our lives because we misrepresent the gospel. We preach a gospel that’s cheap. We want to stress the divine healing. Or we say “Come to Christ, and you will be blessed with healings, eternal life etc”. This is true, but the emphasis is not reflecting the real gospel. The true gospel is to resolve the deepest of all human problems, the problem of man’s relation with his Maker. Only then through this, we can see solution to all the problems of hurts, brokenness that we face in the world.
Very powerfully stated, we can be misrepresenting the gospel and becoming false witnesses of God.

Thanksgiving , Advent…Christmas 2013

I am thankful for my wife Doreen who stands with me and serves the Lord together fervently. For our 4 children and seeing God’s grace upon their lives. Praise God Paul has gone into a fine college, Sarah has started working. For our church’s folks that had been great companions in this journey of faith together to build a community that embodies the gospel of Christ and his aroma.
Very thankful for the greater revelation of Christ in my life through the gospel. I am more and more made aware of the profound power and impact that the gospel has on me, the church, and the city. The gospel is not only for our salvation only, but also for sanctification of our lives.
This year 2013 has been spectacular. I started my MA Religion with Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary; enrolled my with Redeemer City-to-City Incubators course (2 years for church planters getting equipped to launch), and seeing some refreshing sovereign work of God in Hope NY Church that is amazing. Though we lost a few folks who left for mission, personal reasons, we start seeing some growth among the local New Yorkers. The words of Christ that says “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” rings loud and clear.

Advent for Christmas is coming. It traditionally starts on Dec 1 till Christmas Eve. I have downloaded a great Advent devotion to prepare oneself before this awesome world changing time called Christmas, the birth of the Son of the Almighty God, the Creator of the universe, into this world, 2000 years ago in a humble manger in Bethlehem.

In 4 months’ time we will celebrate Easter, the resurrection of Christ, another momentous day when the world is profoundly changed for ever. Then we will have the Lent period.

I lament that many evangelicals/charismatics have lost track of these very fine godly institutionalized practices to bring soberness, and meditation of our souls on what the Lord Jesus has done for us. Let’s begin the journey!

Here is an excellent Advent.

http://dwynrhh6bluza.cloudfront.net/resources/documents/5544/DG_Advent_eBook-2013.pdf?1384881563

Good morning from NYC! Summer is here!! 80F

Good morning from NYC! Summer is here!! 80F in NY! Some updates & prayers!
Doreen, Sarah, rachel & I dad a great time in Kingdom Prayer training the last 2 days conducted by:

http://www.prayercurrent.com/    from Grace Vancouver Church. William-check it out! They conduct Kingdom Prayer all over the world. It’s a prayer training that focuses on the Kingdom & not personal laundry list. Great stuff! We prayed through the Lord’d Prayer & broke it down into various prayers!! Very scripture based. Speaker John Smed is Presby-Costal!! 🙂  Presybeterian & Pentecostal. Wow! About time!
 
I am also thankful & excited to be admitted the renowned Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary for MA Religion, which is also transferable to MDiv later. 
MA under Hispanic Ministries which make it affordable for minsters full time or bi-vocational like me.
 
Prayer requests:
1) Reaching to grad students Columbia University-Chinese students group; meeting the para church (InterVarsity) leader Monday to have them come to our saturday night service. Big harvest! One PhD student has come to our church now.
 
2) B’s reaching out and inviting King’s College NYC freshmen to come to our church September. (B from Hope LA). Exciting-these are mostly white Christian students from the mid-west. Middle class christians.
 
3) Praying to move again! Yes! Freaked out my kids. But alas, what can I say, the incarnation model is calling. Our focus will be Columbia U on the Upper West side and the young professionals. Move only in September or later. After our son Paul gone to college this end August. Kids are growing fast! Pray for God to open the door & also able to move out of our 2 years lease in Forest Hills.

 

Gospel theology or reformed theology is the way

Gospel theology or reformed theology is the way that has cracked open the liberal city of New York and big metropolis of the world as proven by Redeemer. Reformer in history always have to be bold and courageous and act on conviction like Martin Luther, against all odds brought on Reformation. So I will not let circumstances hinder this reformation I am in.
I am learning a tremendous amount from great preachers like Keller like also in my Incubator course , sermons, books and other Gospel Coalition preachers too. It’s taking a long time.  My preachings are totally Christocentric and using redemptive narratives to melt and crush the hearts of men and women. It deals with the will, mind, and eventually the spirit. It is slowly catching fire but I have long way to go in terms of multinational . I analyze all the great sermons deeply and try to assimilate it, cutting the part that’s too philosophical. In fact, a lot of them are not that philosophical. 
Something I am working hard and praying hard and also getting lessons from City-to-City church planting, gospel contextualization, and building an evangelistic dynamic in church. I also get to understand the context and culture of the Jewish nation at that time so we can bring it into 21 century America . It’s fascinating . Gospel teaching is indeed very powerful. They are also theologically much stronger  than my background.
 
In a Sermon ending sometimes , It’s said that if you have any integrity, if you are not crushed after this sermon , you are not truthful to yourself. 
I look forward to starting my master in art in urban ministry in NYC with Gordon conwell seminary . I call myself a reformed charismatic. And find it very empowering and referencing to my soil .  
 
As I shared this morning, after attended the Gospel Coalition 2013 in Orlando, our hearts are broadened & excited to see the glory of God in raising up so many anointed and gifted preachers, pastors, young ones all over the country. Definitely it’s more than just Tim Keller in the gospel movement. Here are the few that impacted us during the conference.I am browsing through some of their books and should study in depth what they brought to the table.
I encourage you to follow their tweets & read their books as I am trying to learn.
 
1) Ps /Dr David Platt 

http://www.brookhills.org/new/pastor.html

 
He wrote a book …Radical-take back your faith from American dream (NY Times Best Seller)

MDiv, ThD, PhD in Theology from Baptist Theological Seminary.
 
He blew me away with his teaching on Dsicipleship & church Multiplication. Soooo passionate for Jesus! His first point us “Total abandonment for the glory of Christ” touching on Peter, James & John in leaving behind their boats to follow Jesus.
 
2) Ps Matt Chandler 
Megachurch pastor Matt Chandler told ministry leaders at a conference in North Carolina on Wednesday that churches seeking to be both fruitful and faithful must first and foremost be built upon the person and work of Jesus Christ.

I absolutely love that. We must build our churches upon the person and work of Jesus Christ!! That’s why I love the gosple centered movement!
 
3) Ps Colin Smith
Great preaching.
 
4) Ps Kevin Deyoung
MDiv (young pastor)
Great communicator pastor/thinker/book writer
University Reformed Church, MI
 
5) Ps/Dr John Piper
Good thinker, foremost theologian cum writer
 
6) Dr Don Carson
Chair of Gospel Coalition with Tim Keller; foremost theologian, writer
Prof in Trinity Evangelical Seminary, IL
 
7) Ps/ Dr Tim Keller
You heard too much of him…:)
 

Sept 2, 2012 will be memorable

Sept 2, 2012 will always be memorable. It’s the 1st Sunday service after a few weeks break over summer and marks the 1st service of the new era as per prophecy given to Doreen over NACC Camp by John Jacks. Interestingly it really is a new experience. In our newly rented place, the internet was still not installed after a 2-week wait, a pretty pathetic service by Time Warner, known for their bad service. I usually email my message to myself so I can always download it in church just in case. As it turns out, there is no internetr, and on Sunday before going to church I loaded my laptop into our van and planning to swap to our Toyota car for a smaller car. But when I swapped car, I forgot about the laptop left in the van.

I arrived in church and realized that I had to preach from memory! I prayed and asked God for help and jotted down the main themes and points and thoughts. And it was a great experience, I free flowed and spoke a lot from my heart and experience based on the conceptual points, and it was a good service. New preaching too. The Lord took over, so to speak, in some ways.

Though attendance is low, I saw one unbeliever who was brought by her daughter. She profusely thanked us for the community and she dropped in a check too as her offering to our church.

I believe God will bring a in new harvest in a fast way. Coming up!

Making choices in life-Your plan & God’s plan Proverbs 11, 16

Making choices in life-Your plan & God’s plan   Proverbs 11, 16

Making choices in life makes you or breaks you. It is profoundly important that we find how God works and what does it mean and how to receive God’s guidance. One of the MOST important subjects we need to grasp and have in life facing all the choices, decisions, in this turbulent world. We shall take a look at some of the great men’s lives like Paul, Joseph in the bible. Come and find the wisdom of God and what is God after and why is He so silent some time?–What does it mean to trust God utterly?

Prov 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. Prov 12:5 The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful. Prov 12:15 The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. Prov 15:22 Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.  Prov 16:1-5    To man belong the plans of the heart,  but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue. 2 All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. 3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. 4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends — even the wicked for a day of disaster. 5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Prov 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course,  but the LORD determines his steps. Prov 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Prov 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap,  but its every decision is from the LORD.Prov 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.Prov 27:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

NT Wright has i…

NT Wright has it powerfully nailed.This is very new to me, but profoundly important. He said: What the New Testament really says is God wants you to be a renewed human being helping him to renew his creation, and his resurrection was the opening bell. And when he returns to fulfil the plan, you won’t be going up there to him, he’ll be coming down here.

I think there is so much truth in that God wants us to be renewed first and then renew the world we live in. We are not going to leave this world and join God in heaven and leave the world to rot on its own. But rather we are here in this world for a purpose, to renew this world we live in!! To renew the city we live in.

Hence the revised Vision/Mission statement for Hope NY Church:

To be a renewed person joining God to renew his creation, the world and to proclaim the gospel to the city with words, power, and the Holy Spirit & deep conviction . Also to build a community towards fullness in Christ in New York, and through it, to the world.

Fullness in Christ: Means our being (character) and our serving/obeying (purpose).

HAPPY NEW YEAR …

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012

Dear friends,
Personally, 2011 has been a wonderful and challenging year for me. I
got a new job with ConEd, which is a very big and stable utility
company, which gives me more time & energy to serve the Lord. It’s a
miracle in this time of economic downturn, and a fresh breath of life
from the Lord. God has continued to bless my family, with Rachel’s
acceptance to Columbia University, and Sarah’s, Paul’s, and Rebecca’s
continued success in their schools.

Hope NY Church has also grown in 2011 both in number and quality. The
most important change is the gradual transformation of the church to a
more Gospel-centered Church. A number of new college students continue
to be added to our church including some salvations. I am very
thankful for the leadership team that stood with me all year, coming
together for the Hope North American Camp and progressing even further
as a team in the months afterwards. I am sure they have grown in the
Lord as much as I have over the year. Thank you guys!! I’m very proud
of you!! It’s been a sweet and tough year.

Looking forward to 2012, I am certain that God has greater things for
us! We are praying to move into Manhattan from Long Island, embracing
the principle of living with the people to whom you want to reach out.
God has taught me to love and respect the city.

Finally, we wish you all a very happy & prosperous New Year.  May the
Lord shine upon you and guide you to truth, filling your hearts with
joy & peace! Like Mary says “My soul glorifies the Lord and my heart
rejoices in Him.”

In Christ,
Albert, Doreen, Sarah, Rachel, Paul and Rebecca.
New York, December 2011
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Dear Pastors, …

Dear Pastors,

 
I have been praying about the NACC camp Vs local NY Church camp over the last few weeks. What’s the best for our local churches. I am leaning to host our local church camp, and today it’s all confirmed. I spoke to Minyu from Hope London, also Jon Ah Chern from Hope London and Jon Foo who was from Hope London too. They confirmed that in Hope Europe they no longer do the annual Europe camp anymore, instead they have ELC (European Leadership Conference). I am totally in agreement to this.
I propose we abolish NACC Camp and substitute it with ALC (American Leadership COnference). Our own local church members will have local camp, just like London, Berlin, Oslo etc. 
I subsequently brought it up to our core group meeting today in our leadership meeting and my core team totally & unanimously agreed to the concept of Leadership conference for N America, and local camp for members. (Life Gp leaders and above). Thats what we in Hope NY will do in 2012 onwards. I ask that all pastors consider this and pray about this. There is a reason for Hope Europe to do that and honestly, they are doing better than us. I believe that the benefits of spending thosuands and thiousands of dollars does not justify it. We should mobilize ALL our members for local church camp at like $100/person for 3 nights, 4 days. That’s what we plan to do in NY.
BTW, today my real self preaching came through with 20% Keller’s intellectual stuff, and 80% my won from Hope training and the atmosphere took off. Thanks for listening guys.
In Christ,
Al