Week 1

05 April 2019 – Luke 15:31-32 (NIV)

Scripture

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Reflection

God loves his children. He also enjoys to be and to work with us. However, God also loves those who do not yet consider themselves children of God. He wants them to be apart of His family and to experience his love and forgiveness.

This is God’s mission and as believers that’s our mission too – to help people know God and to make him known.

All around us we see people whom have strayed from God and or who doesn’t know Him – very much like the prodigal son. In the same way that the father of the prodigal son was waiting for his son to return, in the same way God waits for his lost children to return. It is our mission to tell those who are lost or who have strayed, about the father’s love and forgiveness and that He is waiting with open arms to accept them back into his family (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you consider God’s mission to be your mission?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray for those who are spiritually lost that they may surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ and receive salvation in His name.

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By |2019-04-03T12:17:42+08:00April 5th, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments

04 April 2019 – Luke 15:1-2 (NIV)

Scripture

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Reflection

Church community is very good. On Sundays, you experience great praise and worship music and great sermons. There are various activities to take part in and in community groups, you study the Bible with friends who become like your family and enjoy awesome friendships. Christian community plays a vital role in our lives in Shanghai.

However, if we think of a church community only in this way, we are missing the real reason behind Christian community. During Jesus’ time, the community of God was Israel, just as the church is today. Israeli society consisted of social classes and as long as one stayed within your social class, all was good.

But, Jesus did not meet only those in his class; he also crossed the social barriers and socialized with the marginalized, the tax collectors, the sinners, and the prostitute. In Luke 15:3, we read Jesus words “I’m here to find the lost sheep.”

The head of the church is Jesus Christ, and the church community must follow Jesus’ intentions and imitate him. Therefore, the church must proclaim the Gospel to those outside of our Christian community and introduce the joy of Christian fellowship to those who do not know him (Woowon)

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you keep the gospel only to yourself and to your Christian community?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray for the people of China.

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By |2019-04-03T12:13:34+08:00April 4th, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments

03 April 2019 – Psalm 32:10-11 (NIV)

Scripture

10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
    but the Lord’s unfailing love
    surrounds the one who trusts in him.

11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
    sing, all you who are upright in heart!

Reflection

The world is full of good and bad, and it is hard to sometimes tell the difference between what is good (righteous) and what is bad (evil). To make things even more complicated, the question ‘what defines good or bad, or what constitutes something to be good or bad, is often viewed by people as relative. The standards for what renders something right to one person might differ from the other. The basis for the word righteousness is derived form the word ‘right’. For Christians to know what is right and wrong, we don’t have to decide for ourselves. God sets the standards. He defines what is considered right or wrong. By reading the Bible, being in fellowship with fellow believers, and through prayer, our understanding of God’s righteousness becomes clearer and we will be able to live according to God’s standards. Living a righteous life doesn’t only bring glory to God, but it gives us joy too (Woowon)

Thoughts for the day

  • Who or what determines your standards for right or wrong?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Look around you right now at the people who are sitting near you or standing and pray for them.

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By |2019-04-01T12:31:19+08:00April 3rd, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments

02 April 2019 – Psalm 32:1-2 (NIV)

Scripture

Blessed is the one
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord does not count against them
    and in whose spirit is no deceit.

Reflection

We all make mistakes in our lives. We also commit sin. We know very well mistakes has the potential to ruin our lives. So the burden falls on us to make sure we don’t make mistakes or commit sins. But it is not easy. No matter how hard we try, we cannot seem to live a life free of mistakes and sin.

However, what if we could be forgiven for all the sins and mistakes in our lives? What if we can receive complete forgiveness from the sins and mistakes that can and has ruined our lives? If so, we could live without worry and fear knowing fully well the consequence of sin leads to death. How do you think this life measures up in comparison to what we will experience when we are with God?

David made many mistakes and committed the various sins (including adultery and murder). But he repented to God and God forgave him. There’s no sin or mistake too big for God not to forgive. As a result of this amazing forgiveness, David wrote today’s Psalm. David’s life, which initially led to not only physical death but also eternal death, was restored through God’s forgiveness. God always want to forgive our sins and mistakes just like David.

But what’s equally exciting is we could share the joy of forgiveness. There are lot of people around us, who need our forgiveness and God’s forgiveness. The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to forgive other’s debts in the same way that God forgives our debts (Woowon)

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there any sin in your life that you need to repent and ask God for forgiveness?
  • Is there anyone else you need to forgive that has harmed you?
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Pray for the leaders of the nations of the world. Pray for the leader of your home country by name.

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By |2019-04-01T12:27:57+08:00April 2nd, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments

01 April 2019 – Joshua 5:9-12 (NIV)

Scripture

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Today I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” So the place has been called Gilgal to this day.

10 On the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, while camped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. 11 The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. 12 The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate the produce of Canaan.

Reflection

We all have a certain identity. And we feel lost and confused when we can’t live it out. We, who believe in Jesus, also have the identity from God. We should feel the same when we lose this identity.

Israel had been enslaved for a long time in Egypt. They could not keep their identity during their time of slavery in Egypt, because they could not be circumcised. Circumcision had been a traditional ritual for Israelites to protect their identity from God since before the time of slavery; this situation made them feel shameful.

“Gilgal” was where the Israelites’ identity, “the beloved people of God” had been restored. It was also a place away from their shame of not living according to God’s people. With their identity being restored now they were ready to live in Canaan, a secular place with God’s mission.

Similarly, we are not slaves of the world anymore. We are God’s people living in this world. By living and knowing our identity in God, we can also live in this world and be a partaker of God’s mission (Woowon).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there any sin that I should be forgiven by God now? Let’s pray for repentance before God.What does this passage tell you about God and Jesus?
  • Is there anyone I should forgive now? Let’s pray before God to forgive them
  • What does this passage tell you about humanity?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

Ask God to deliver you from your troubles to protect you from the evil one and deliver you from temptation.

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By |2019-04-01T08:45:05+08:00April 1st, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments

08 March 2019 – Matthew 6:5-6 (NIV)

Scripture

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Reflection

Prayer is intimate. It is a blessed opportunity to commune with God. We pray not out of duty, but out of a desire to spend time with the God who created us, loves us, and guides us to a richer life in Him. Through prayer, we can listen to and learn from God, and receive peace and comfort through His Spirit. Prayer allows us to tell God the Father our deepest fears, desires and questions.

Prayer is not a show. It is not a chance to show people how holy pious we are. While this may seem obvious, the unfortunate truth is that many of us can’t help but be conscious of others when we pray in groups. Sometimes our prayer is more to be heard than it is to communicate with God.

Jesus did not just teach us how to pray, but he also showed us. He prayed at his baptism (Luke 3:21), after withdrawing from the crowds (Luke 5:16), after healing people (Mark 1:35), before walking on water (Matt 14:23, Mark 6:46, John 6:15), before choosing the Twelve (Luke 6:12), before Peter’s confession (Luke 9:18), at the Transfiguration (Luke 9:29), before teaching his disciples the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1), and on the cross (Mark 15:34). Jesus taught us and showed us that prayer is an indispensable part of our faith.

“…when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • Do you pray out of duty or because out of a desire to spend time with God?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

PRAY FOR THE CHURCH TO CONTINUE TO BRING HOPE As the global church, we have a message of hope that we can share far and wide, no matter what else is happening in our world: “…For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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By |2019-03-02T19:12:39+08:00March 8th, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments

07 March 2019 – 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NIV)

Scripture

As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,

“In the time of my favor I heard you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Reflection

In this passage, Paul urges the church in Corinth (and by extension, all of us who are Christ followers) to not receive God’s grace in vain. What does it mean to receive God’s grace in vain?

One way is to hoard your blessings. As we receive grace, we are called to give grace. As we are forgiven, we are called to forgive. As we learn God’s truths, we are called to share those truths with those around us. Hoarding God’s gifts not only limits blessings for those around us, but we are also held back from experiencing more of God’s goodness, because we are blessed when we are a blessing.

It is through faith that we can into God’s presence with the expectation that He will bless us. The time of God’s favor is NOW. The day of salvation is NOW. God loves you and desires for you to know more of Him and His rich blessings (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • Are you hoarding God’s gifts?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

PRAY FOR THOSE IN POWER Leaders across our world are humans, just like us, who need prayer: “… for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” – 1 Timothy 2:2-3

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By |2019-03-02T19:07:09+08:00March 7th, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments

06 March 2019 – 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

Scripture

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Reflection

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God.”

This verse summarizes the Gospel. Sin separated us from God and the law showed us that we cannot earn our salvation, so God sent His only begotten son to live a perfect life and, ultimately, to die on a cross as a sacrifice for all of our sins. As we accept God’s free gift of salvation, we are cloaked in the righteousness of Christ so that we too may be seen as holy in the eyes of God.

Through Jesus, we are seen as righteous in the eyes of God.

But that righteousness is not merely a cloak. God also sent His spirit to live and work through us, and as we submit to God’s Spirit in our lives, we are empowered to be righteous. God’s gift of salvation was once and for all, but it is also a continuous act of cleansing our hearts as we journey with Him.

Through the Holy Spirit, we can become righteous (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

PRAY FOR INDIVIDUALS AND COMMUNITIES We’re called to pray for others in our world facing challenges and difficult situations: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people…” – 1 Timothy 2:1

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By |2019-03-02T19:02:08+08:00March 6th, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments

05 March 2019 – Psalm 51:15-17 (NIV)

Scripture

15 Open my lips, Lord,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart
    you, God, will not despise.

Reflection

Sometimes church communities can seem plastic. People see each other only once a week, donning their best clothes, wearing insincere smiles, and shushing their rebellious kids for an hour of superficial worship. They act out a script that says, “We were saved, now we need to act like good people. And good people don’t have struggles, flaws or hurts.”

Another type of church community is the conspicuous martyrs – people who compete to show how pious they are, how hard they work to be holy, and tell each other stories of their immense sacrifices.   Their implicit script says, “We are saved by our actions. And the good Christians are the most religious ones.”

But this passage from Psalms tells us that God desires a different kind of worship. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart.”   He calls us to be authentic, vulnerable, humble and honest about brokenness. God is truth and He desires us to live in truth, which means tearing off the masks of hypocrisy and religiosity.

Throughout the Bible, the heroes of faith are often not the bravest, smartest, or least sinful. The heroes of faith are broken vessels thirsty to be filled with God’s streams of living water. Embrace your brokenness and do not worry about the values of the world. As it says in I Cor 1:25 – “The foolishness of God is stronger than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength”(Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • What kind of church-goer are you?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

PRAY FOR GOD’S KINGDOM TO COME The simplest prayer can be the most powerful: “Your Kingdom Come, Your Will be done, On earth as in heaven”.

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By |2019-03-02T18:58:15+08:00March 5th, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments

04 March 2019 – Joel 2:12-13 (NIV)

Scripture

12 “Even now,” declares the Lord,
    “return to me with all your heart,
    with fasting and weeping and mourning.”

13 Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity.

Reflection

Much of the Christian walk is not about ‘going’ as much as it is about ‘returning.’ We were made by God, for God, and to be with God. The plan was never for us to be away from His presence. But sin separated us and, as a result, humanity has been wandering in a proverbial desert, searching for but not finding what truly satisfies. However our goal should not be to find a new home; rather it is to return to the home in which we were never intended to leave.

God calls us to return to Him.

“’Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘Return to me with all your heart.”

God is calling us home. Repentance is the act of turning away from that which separates us from God. Anything that is given supremacy above God in our hearts – even things that we think are good, like friends, family and careers – are sources of separation. Only when Christ is given supremacy in our hearts can we truly be empowered to enjoy our relationships, have purpose in our careers and live healthy, fruitful lives.

You are called to be with Him who is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. God is calling you to return home to His presence (Charlie).

Thoughts for the day

  • Is there anything you should repent from?
  • What do you feel God is telling you through this passage?
  • How can you apply this message in an area of your life that needs transformation?
  • Is there anyone you think should hear or will benefit from this message? Go and tell them.

Prayer

ACKNOWLEDGE GOD’S POWER As humans, we can forget that ultimately, God has created the world and is not absent from it but all-powerful in it: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all who live in it.” – Psalm 34

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By |2019-03-02T18:54:30+08:00March 4th, 2019|Week 1|0 Comments