Tag Archives: marriage

CHALLENGES FOR EVANGELISM

6 Jul

The Summary of Sermon by Ps. Djohan Handojo at Bethany International Sevice on Sunday, 2 July 2017.

CHALLENGES FOR EVANGELISM

Pastor Djohan recently attended a conference at Wittenburg in Germany where the Reformation started by Martin Luther. 

The conference discussed how to bring the Gospel for every person and challenges in sharing it. The gospel brings freedom and transforms life. 

In sharing the gospel today, we faced several challenges :-

 1. Ideology 

People do not believe in God. 40% of the people in the Western world become atheist. They do not find God important in their lives.
2. Secularism  

People look into the world and there is less emphasis of God in the society. In South East Asia, many people still have strong faith in God. We still find Christian schools, many Church services in the malls and hotels.

3. Moral 

Today sexual disorder is considered normal and acceptable especially in the western world. The government in America and other western countries legalized the same-sex marriage. Even the schools are teaching it and educate the right to develop love and feelings beyond the gender which is gender disorientation.

(
James 1: 2-3) The world is constantly under temptation by the devil. Only the kingdom of God is unshakeable. 

We are dealing with self centeredness. People have the tendency to become self centered. Some of us struggle with sin but Jesus is waiting for us to come back when we have gone astray in the world. 
(2 Corinthians 5: 17-18) We are the new creation in Christ. It is important for us to walk in Christ every day. God will see us in a different way, God will see Christ who has redeemed us and see us as a new man or new woman in Christ.

When we are still living in the old self, the devil can attack us. When we live as a new man in Christ, the
devil cannot attack us. However, we can live a victorious life because God is in us.

(1 Corinthians 6 : 2 – 3)  For us as believers, one day, we will reign and rule with Jesus. We will judge the world and the fallen angels. 

Now, the Holy Spirit is in the world but one day the Holy Spirit will be taken away from the world. The world will turn into chaos.
(John 6:54- 55) Whoever eat of my flesh and drink of my blood remains in me, have the salvation and eternal life.

V FORMATION

29 Apr

Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?”
This too is meaningless—a miserable business! Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Today’s Inspiration

A wild goose [Olor Columbianus] has a uniqueness that can teach us something valuable. When the winter is over, they will migrate in a pack from the southern part of America to the part of Canada and North Alaska to lay their eggs. A pact of wild geese can consist of around 500 of them. The journey of these geese has two special things. Firstly, they can fly up to 1,800 meter above the ground. That height is more than most mountains so that they can avoid any storm. Secondly, they fly in a V formation and are able to reach the speed of 160 km/hour. According to calculation, 25 of those geese that fly together in that formation will reach their destination 70% faster than when they travel alone.

Why is that so? A goose will fly in front of the others and it will ‘make way’ for all of the other geese behind it. Every goose will follow the leader with their wings. This way will lessen the power that they need. The leading geese will then take turn to continue to lead in front of the others. With that strategy, they can save a lot of energy and able to travel a very great distance.

Even, if there is a sick goose, the pack will not leave the goose behind. There will be another goose that will stay with the sick one until the goose is healed and can continue the long, exhausting journey.

This principal should also apply in Christian family. Christian family is also called to live as a team and to fly in a pack. Our lives are full of movements. Changes after changes come by. Challenges after challenges happen continuously. Pressures of this life are so heavy to be faced alone. In that kind of condition we need to support and strengthen one another, not kicking each other out. Husbands love your wives; wives should submit to the husbands. Parents love and educate the children of the Lord; the children should obey and respect the parents. That is the first thing that we can do to be a harmonious family.

Today’s Reflection

  1. Does your family work as a team?
  2. How big do you care about your family? Does your family strong in the Lord?

Today’s Action

Working together as a team in the family will be a lot more fun if we are willing to be humble and prioritize each other more.

Today’s Word

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor” [Ecclesiastes 4:9, NIV]

[Taken from Today’s Word: Recharge by Ps. Djohan Handojo]

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CRISIS

22 Mar

Luke 6:20-26

20 Looking at his disciples, he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. 23 “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets. 24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. 25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Today’s Inspiration

Do you remember when our nation was hit by crisis several years ago? The conditions were really though: many companies and business went bankrupt. Rich people suddenly become poor. The stock market fall to the doom. The exchange rate of rupiah towards other foreign currency came up. Social and economy impacts were really heavy because of that crisis.

What kind of teachings that we can receive from that occasion? Yes, financial crisis leads us to an understanding that financial assets are very fragile. The financial conditions are very fragile towards changes. There are no certain things. The exchange rate will always change. The stock market fluctuates every hour. The price of essential needs are also changing following all of those changes earlier.

Lord Jesus emphasised on this when He warned the rich so that they will not be satisfied. They were trying to fins the satisfaction of their lives by gathering riches, but actually their riches will not stand long. Crisis, accidents, foolishness, fire, and theft can wipe away all of our riches unexpectedly. Tragically, there are a lot of people who sacrifice their eternal lives for chasing the mortal riches. How sad this is! People are willing to spend and waste their time and energy for something that is mortal.

The condition of our nation’s economy always fluctuates uncertainly. There will be nobody that can guarantee its stability. When we only rely on our material abundance, we will always be panicked and worried because we are afraid to lose things. To rely on material riches is a foolishness that will destroy us. On the contrary, in every circumstance, rely on the Lord. Relying on Him will make us to live a calm life and a life that is full of hope. Even when we need to face crisis, the Lord will give us the strength to gain something for our lives to move on. He knows that we need all of those things, and He will fulfil them all for us.

Today’s Reflection

  1. What are you relying on in this life? To answer this, think about the next question: which one worries you; there is not enough money for tomorrow or displeasing the Lord by violating your wife?
  2. How the real form of relying on the Lord is can be visible in your daily life?

Today’s Action

Rely on the Lord not just for the major events of your life, but also for all the little things.

Today’s Word

“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.” [Luke 6:24, NIV]

[Taken from Today’s Word: Recharge by Ps. Djohan Handojo]

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GROWING IN ONENESS

16 Jan

GROWING IN ONENESS by Mitch Temple

It takes work to grow in oneness, but the reward is definitely worth it.

It takes work to grow in oneness. On a torn envelope, Sarah finds the following note left on the kitchen table one morning: “Sarah, I know you said you would like to spend time with me. I agree that we’ve really grown apart lately. I think we need to spend more time together, and I know you were looking forward to relaxing for a couple of evenings. Well, you get your wish. The boss called and said I have to work tonight.

“By the way, would you mind ironing my golf shorts when you get home? I have a tournament tomorrow. Oh, before I forget, tomorrow night the guys are coming over to watch the game. You don’t mind, do you? And something else — I’m leaving on business to San Diego Monday. I’ll be gone the rest of the week.”

If Sarah is like most wives, she’s thinking, How in the world does this goofball think we’re going to get close if he’s always gone or having someone over?

She’s right; healthy relationships don’t just evolve, they’re nurtured.

Suppose Jesus had taken the attitude that closeness would “just happen” with his disciples. “Okay,” He might say. “I have called you guys to be apostles. You have left everything to follow Me. But I have a lot of stress on Me; I have to save the world! So My ‘alone time’ is very important. Your job is to take the Gospel to the whole world, but I really think you can handle this without Me. I’ll spend Saturdays with you, but the rest of the time you’re on your own.”

Is that how Jesus became “one” with His disciples? No. He understood the value of spending time with them, talking, teaching, dining, and experiencing happy and challenging moments together. There were times when Jesus needed to be alone, but He understood the value of being with His followers, too. In the end, He gave His life for them and they gave theirs for Him — the ultimate testimony of oneness.

Togetherness: Making It Work

If you’re struggling with the challenges of togetherness, here’s help.

If you find yourself struggling with the challenges of togetherness, here are some simple suggestions.

Remember who brought you together. God has united the two of you for a reason. It’s no accident. He calls you to become one (Genesis 2:24), to honor one another (Ephesians 5:22-33), to love one another (I Corinthians 13), and to remain together until death separates you (Matthew 19:9).

Change the way you think. You’re still an individual. But God has called you to leave your father and mother and unite with your spouse. That means making changes in your thinking (you belong to someone else now) as well as your behavior (you don’t act like a single person anymore). Changing the way you think can change the way you feel. Start thinking like a married person, and you’ll probably begin to feel like one.

Educate yourself about God’s desire for unity in your marriage. Read Bible passages that emphasize the importance of oneness and unity (John 17; 1 Corinthians 7). Personalize them by inserting your name and the name of your spouse. Pray that God will show you any attitudes and actions that stand in the way of oneness. Stop focusing on your mate’s mistakes, and start working on unity by changing yourself.

Learn from others. Ask couples you know who have strong marriages how they moved from independence to interdependence. What mindsets and habits did they adopt that worked for them?

If you asked that of Bill and Ruth, here’s what they might tell you.

Bill was independent. So was Ruth. For the first three years of their marriage things were so rocky that both felt they’d made a mistake in getting married. They developed separate interests and friendships, spent little time with each other, grew apart, and even considered divorce. But because of their church background, they felt they had to stay together.

Things changed on their third anniversary. They made a commitment to each other: No matter what, they would learn how to connect and develop intimacy. They began studying the Bible and praying together, and attended every marriage conference they could find. They made spending time together a hobby; where you saw one, you’d see the other. They took up golf and skiing. For the next 20 years they would have at least one date a week.

Recently Bill and Ruth went to another marriage retreat — where they were voted Most Dedicated Couple. Their switch from aloneness to togetherness hadn’t just happened. They’d intentionally drawn closer and stuck with that commitment.

They’d probably tell you that intentional intimacy is an investment that always pays off — and they’d be right.

From Focus on the Family’s Complete Guide to the First Five Years of Marriage, published by Tyndale. Copyright © 2006, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Source:www.focusonthefamily.com

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KNEEL AND PRAY FOR NEWTOWN

3 Jan

KNEEL AND PRAY FOR NEWTOWN by Nicole Unice

I am in the carpool line and scrolling through my Twitter and I see the word “school” and “shooter” and my stomach drops and it hasn’t stopped hurting now. I pick up my children and I can tell the teachers and principal of my school don’t know yet, because when something like this happens adults can connect by just looking at one another, and I know that they haven’t heard.

And then I think about praying and I am also really crying inside, mourning for the rip into our lives that this creates, the searing, ugly, tearing wound of evil, and the hurt and tragedy of the fact that we have disregarded hurting people and ignored so much of the pain and hurt in our world, and that we are a hurting, isolated people who so need love and forgiveness and healing.

There are some things that I want to tell you, my friends, because I know that in times like this we look around and wonder what to do next, and mostly I don’t know, but here’s what I do know:

You need to let your children believe in God.

Even if you wrestle with the whole concept, and if it makes your head hurt to think about evolution and exclusivity and is Jesus the only way, and even if you wrestle with if the Bible is historically accurate or if God performs miracles, here’s one thing that no one, not any one person, can deny: the existence of evil.

Evil is real and I am begging you to face the reality. We are not raising our children in a Dora the Explorer make-believe land, and they can feel that. We cannot protect them from everything, and they can feel that. We are not enough. And they can feel that. If you make yourself the highest protection for your child, then what will you tell them when they ask about school shootings? About movie theatre shootings? About car accidents and natural disasters and fires?

We cannot have them within arm’s length at all times. They grow and they flutter their wings and they strain to fly because that’s what they are supposed to do. And so when God describes himself as a great daddy bird that lets us hide in the shadow of his wing, this great Lion who reigns and roars, this great I AM who exists outside and inside and around our reality and invites us to eternity, this one that guides and protects and is over all, even this tragedy, we must let our children believe in that God.

Without heaven, death is despair. Without eternity, the end of our time on earth is the dark, deep end. And without souls, we are merely animals. And so school shootings happen because pain and evil and suffering are real, and there is nothing scarier than a person who has disregarded human life, who has been so hurt by life that they have been caught up in the snare of evil, and darkness has won in their life but it doesn’t have to win in ours by staying indifferent to the reality.

I want my children to never feel alone, even when I am not with them. I believe in God because I have wrestled long and hard with the questions of life, of evil and pain and suffering and forgiveness. And I believe that this story only makes sense with Him in it.

So I’m asking you to give your children a narrative. Give them a framework for understanding good and evil and life and death. Do the best you can, even if it feels awkward or hard. I think we all know that these “days are evil” as Paul said to the church at Ephesus many years ago. Would you pray with me?

God of all comfort, we come before you with humble, silent hearts. You gave us tears so that we can mourn and we cry out for you to pour out your loving, warm light on the many so deeply affected today by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. For those who lost children today, would you gather them to you, for you promise that “those who mourn will be comforted.” For the children who have been traumatized by these experiences, would your healing light penetrate their souls and speak deeply into them, about the truth of the protection of their spirits and the reality of heaven. For the family of the shooter, we ask you to draw them close to you. And we thank you, God, that you are a God who remembers, you are a God of justice, and that evil will not have the final word in this earth, and that no matter what happens to us, our souls find rest in you, and they are secure in you. Help us to turn back to you as a nation, to take action to protect those who are suffering in their minds and souls, and that we would not “be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with love.” (Romans 12:21).

“A destruction, an annihilation only man can provoke, only man can prevent.” –Elie Wiesel

Source:www.crosswalk.com

A-destruction,-an-annihilation-that-only-man-can-provoke,-only-man-can-prevent.

TEN WAYS TO BRING THE GOSPEL HOME THIS CHRISTMAS – PART 2

25 Dec

TEN WAYS TO BRING THE GOSPEL HOME THIS CHRISTMAS by Jonathan Parnell

Part 2

(Continued)

6) Tell it slant

Some extended family contexts may be so far from spiritual that we need to till the soil of conversation before making many direct spiritual claims. It’s not that the statements aren’t true or desperately needed, but that our audience may not yet be ready to hear it. The gospel may seem so foreign that wisdom would have us take another approach. One strategy is to “tell it slant,” to borrow from the poem of the same name — to get at the gospel from an angle.

“If your family has a long history of negativity and sarcasm,” writes Newman, “the intermediate step of speaking positively about a good meal or a great film may pave the way for ‘blinding’ talk of God’s grace and mercy” (67). Don’t “blind” them by rushing to say loads more than they’re ready for. As Emily Dickinson says, “The truth must dazzle gradually / Or every man be blind.”

7) Be real about the gospel

As we dialogue with family about the gospel, let’s not default to quoting Bible verses that don’t really answer the questions being asked. Let’s take up the gospel in its accompanying worldview and engage their questions as much as possible in the terms in which they asked them. Newman says, “We need to find ways to articulate the internally consistent logic of the gospel’s claims and not resort to anti-intellectual punch lines like, ‘The Bible says it, I believe it, and that settles it.’”

Yes, let’s do quote Bible when appropriate — we are Christians owing ultimately to revelation, not to reason. But let’s not make the Bible into an excuse for not really engaging with their queries in all their difficulty. (And let’s not be afraid to say we don’t know when we don’t!)

8) Consider the conversational context

Context matters. It doesn’t have to be face to face across the table to be significant. “Many people told me their best conversations occurred in a car — where both people faced forward, rather than toward each other,” says Newman. “Perhaps the indirect eye contact posed less of a threat” (91). Maybe even sofas and recliners during a Thanksgiving Day football game, if the volume’s not ridiculous. Be mindful of the context, and seek to make yourself available for conversation while at family gatherings, rather than retreating always into activities or situations that are not conducive to substantive talk.

9) Know your particular family situation. In some families, the gospel has been spoken time and again in the past to hard hearts, perhaps there has been a lack of grace in the speaking, and what is most needed is some unexpected relational rebuilding. Or maybe you’ve built and built and built the relationship and have never (or only rarely) clearly spoken the message of the gospel.

Let’s think and pray ahead of time as to what the need of hour is in our family, and as the gathering approaches pray toward what little steps we might take. And then let’s trust Jesus to give us the grace our hearts need, whether it’s grace for humbling ourselves enough to connect relationally or whether it’s courage enough to speak with grace and clarity.

10) Be hopeful

God loves to convert the people we think are the least likely. Jesus is able to melt the hardest of hearts. Some who finished their lives among the greatest saints started as the worst of sinners.

Realistically, there could have been some cousin of the apostle Paul sitting around some prayer meeting centuries ago telling his fellow believers, “Hey, would you guys pray for my cousin Saul? I can’t think of anyone more lost. He hunts down followers of The Way and arrests them. Just last week, he was the guy who stood guard over the clothes of the people who killed our brother Stephen.” (53)

With God, all things are possible. Jesus has a history of conquering those most hostile to him. We have great reason to have great hope about gospel advance in our families, despite how dire and dark it may seem.

When We Fail

And when we fail — not if, but when — the place to return is Calvary’s tree. Our solace in failing to adequately share the gospel is the very gospel we seek to share. It is good to ache over our failures to love our families in gospel word and deed. But let’s not miss that as we reflect on our failures, we have all the more reason to marvel at God’s love for us.

Be astonished that his love is so lavish that he does not fail to love us, like we fail to love him and our families, and that he does so despite our recurrent flops in representing him well to our kin.

Source: http://www.desiringgod.com

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TEN WAYS TO BRING THE GOSPEL HOME THIS CHRISTMAS – PART 1

24 Dec

TEN WAYS TO BRING THE GOSPEL HOME THIS CHRISTMAS by Jonathan Parnell

Part 1

Tis’ the most wonderful time of the year . . . and it’s a unique opportunity to give the good news of Jesus to your unbelieving family.

Randy Newman’s book, Bringing the Gospel Home, is a resource meant to equip Christians in how to talk about the gospel in their closest relationships. Because of the book’s relevance in this season, Crossway is currently offering a free download.

Christmas with Family Who Don’t Know Jesus

David Mathis recently extracted some practical ideas from the book in connection to all the family gatherings accustomed to the holidays. Here are those ten points again, or in his words, “a few thoughts from a fellow bungler to help us think ahead and pray about how we might grow in being proxies for the gospel, in word and deed, among our families.”

1) Pray ahead

Begin praying for your part in gospel advance among extended family several days before gathering. And let’s not just pray for changes in them, but also pray for the needed heart changes in us — whether it’s for love or courage or patience or kindness or fresh hope, or all of the above.

2) Listen and ask questions

Listen, listen, listen. Perhaps more good evangelism than we realize starts not with speaking but with good listening. Getting to know someone well, and specifically applying the gospel to them, is huge in witness. Relationship matters.

Ask questions to draw them out. People like to talk about themselves — and we should capitalize on this. And most people only enjoy talking about themselves for so long. At some point, they’ll ask us questions. And that’s our golden chance to speak, upon request.

One of the best times to tell the gospel with clarity and particularity is when someone has just asked us a question. They want to hear from us. So let’s share ourselves, and Jesus in us. Not artificially, but in genuine answer to their asking about our lives. And remember it’s a conversation. Be careful not to rabbit on for too long, but try to keep a sense of equilibrium in the dialogue.

3) Raise the gospel flag early

Let’s not wait to get to know them “well enough” to start clearly identifying with Jesus. Depending on how extended our family is, or how long it’s been since we married in, they may already plainly know that we are Christians. But if they don’t know that, or don’t know how important Jesus is to our everyday lives, we should realize now that there isn’t any good strategy in being coy about such vital information. It will backfire. Even if we don’t put on the evangelistic full-court press right away (which is not typically advised), wisdom is to identify with Jesus early and often, and articulate the gospel with clarity (and kindness) as soon as possible.

No one’s impressed to discover years into a relationship that we’ve withheld from them the most important things in our lives.

4) Take the long view and cultivate patience

With family especially, we should consider the long arc. Randy Newman is not afraid to say to Christians in general, “You need a longer-term perspective when it comes to family.” Chances are we do. And so he challenges us to think in terms of an alphabet chart, seeing our family members positioned at some point from letters A to Z. These 26 steps/letters along the way from distant unbelief (A) to great nearness to Jesus (Z) and fledgling faith help us remember that evangelism is usually a process, and often a long one.

It is helpful to recognize that not everyone is near the end of the alphabet waiting for our pointed gospel pitch to tip them into the kingdom. Frequently there is much spadework to be done. Without losing the sense of urgency, let’s consider how we can move them a letter, or two or three, at a time and not jerk them toward Z in a way that may actually make them regress.

5) Beware the self-righteous older brother in you

For those who grew up in nonbelieving or in shallow or nominal Christian families, it can be too easy to slide into playing the role of the self-righteous older brother when we return to be around our families. Let’s ask God that he would enable us to speak with humility and patience and grace. Let’s remember that we’re sinners daily in need of his grace, and not gallop through the family gathering on our high horse as if we’ve arrived or just came back from the third heaven. Newman’s advice: “use the pronouns ‘we’ and ‘us’ far more than ‘you’” (65).

To be continued

Source : http://www.desiringgod.com

Merry-Christmas