Monday, July 12, 2010

Religious versus Spiritual

Surveys around young adults tell us that more of these claim to be more spiritual that religious. But have you ever wondered what you could be: religious, spiritual, both, or neither one?

Well, struggling with these two words--religion and spirituality--here is how I understand them:
1. It has been said that all humans are religious. This is because part of our human history, humans have always believed in the existence of God and superior beings.

2. Religion is the human search of the divine and what they cannot understand.

3. Understanding and the building up of a relationship with the divine is what I would call spirituality.

4. Strong Christian institutions are those that are used as expressions of what the Church should be.

5. An effective Christian is the one who lives out his religion as a result of their spirituality.

Religion and spirituality are not two separate entities. They intertwine. As a Christian you cannot be just one of the two. All should begin with you letting Jesus into your life (Revelation 3: 20). It is He who will help you live out a Christian life. Your relationship with Him is what takes you deeper in your spirituality. As a result, you will become so instrumental through the church, small groups and other institutions to touch other people's lives. Going to a Sunday school class, belonging to a small group or a church will just be a result of your faith.

This week, may you live out your faith (religion) and present Jesus Christ to everyone you encounter!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Great Harvest, but few workers

How do you feel about what you’re doing as a Christian? Is what you’re doing sacrificial that you can claim that you’re giving up something for the sake of God’s kingdom? What makes you happy about the type of ministry work you’re in right now?

One of my favorite verses since when I was a youth is Matthew 9: 37: “the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few?” This scripture first brought me an understanding that anything I do in church is God’s stuff. It then created some urgency in my life about the mission of the church. I began to feel that every new day is as if it was the only day I had to do God’s work.

Also, I learned that Jesus here is not only talking to the twelve apostles, but to his disciples, which included other men and women. In other words and based on another version (Bible in Basic English), “there is much grain but not enough man (people) to get it in.” Not only this is an urgent mission, but it needs as many people as possible, everyone in the church is needed to be in the field. Lastly, I discovered that I should be intentional about taking in the grain. If I didn’t do it noone else would. That was my principle.

What if all of us, as community of believers, could respond to God’s calling as it is in Matthew 9: 37 and begin to take in all the grain from the harvest? What if we could all experience the urgency of God’s mission and intentionally jump into some ministry around us, not only because someone had told us about it on the phone, but because God is calling us for a specific ministry area?

Be blessed and always of good courage!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Is your life like a flame of fire?

Fire is a good thing when used for good reasons. Otherwise, it can be very destructive. Fire can kill and really destroy. But the Bible tells us that "God makes his servants flames of fire" (Hebrews 1:7). What do you think about that?

There are a few stories about fire in the Bible, but I will highlight just three of them. The first one is that of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. We are told in Genesis 19 that fire was used to destroy these two cities. Another story, but this time with a different side of the use of fire is the confrontation of Elijah with the priests of Baal (1 kings 18). This time, fire was not used to destroy, but to burn the sacrifice, which was prepared for an offering. Later, in the book of Acts (now in the New Testament), you read the pentecost story in chapter 2. Tongues of fire descended upon the 120 disciples who were gathered in the upper room.

What do we see here? I believe three things come to mind when you think of our opening statement: "God makes his servants flames of fire."
1. Fire is a symbol of delivrance. Everything that is temporary is destroyed. We are only left with eternal stuff. Divine things are the ones that can withstand fire. Gold is purified through fire.

2. Fire is a sign of revival and repentance. The story of Elijah and the priests of Baal told us that when fire came down to burn the sacrifice, all the Israelites came back to their God. They all renounced Baal and returned to the One who made them. When our life is like a flame of fire, everywhere we go, there will always be a sense of repentance and revival around us. Our words, actions and ways of living will expose the truth of the Gospel, and thus bring people back to Christ.

3. Fire is a sign that we are not alone. God's nature has been placed in us. It means that we are filled with God, God's Spirit to the point that it is not we who live, but Jesus Christ. So often we are scare to do God's stuff. All this is as a result of Failing to acknowledge that God is the One doing all in all. We choose to stay however in our comfort zone because of fear instead of moving into the faith zone. There it is no longer going to be about us, but God alone.

Now, as you have read this, rise and life knowing that God has made you a flame of fire in your marriage, family, at your school, at work, at the mall, in your community, everywhere you go. And be assured that, you are never alone as you move from your comfort zone to the faith zone where God has been waiting for you.

Be blessed and always of good courage!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Believers Pray for Boldness

Have you noticed how secularism has been spreading in countries, schools, in communities and, I am afraid, it is even getting into churches now. in other words, the Christian voice is being shut down, surprisingly, with no resistance. It is becoming so odd for kids to talk with their friends about their faith in schools and even in other places. We, as adults, fall also into the same situation with the kids. Even when our co-workers or friends are in the need of spiritual help, we are still so scare to tell them about the One who can quench their spiritual thirst and meet their needs.

There is a story in the book of Acts about the first century Christians who faced almost the same crisis with what we are having today. In Acts 3, Peter and John, healed a lame person at the entrance of the temple. This got to the ears of the religious leaders during that time. They arrested these two disciples and brought them to justice before the council of Jerusalem (Acts 4). Peter and John were ordered never to talk or teach again in the name of Jesus Christ. Is this not what our today's culture telling us to do?

Now what is your response as a Christian and as the Church? Do we have to comply to this or do we have to do like the apostles? Three things we should consider here:
1. Don't give up, but confront them. That is what Peter and John did. They told them about Jesus and the reason why the man's healing happened.
2. Don't keep from speaking what you have seen and heard. Your personal experience with Jesus is such a great gift for you to use in order to counter every opposition against your faith.
3. Pray for boldness. Always remember Jesus will give you boldness and power to stand against any power or force that strive to hinder your faith/ beliefs.

Friends, the Scripture tells us in Acts 4: 26 that "the kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers of the earth have gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah." This is not something that took place already, but is happening now. Like what Jesus says: "pray and watch."

Be blessed and always of good courage!


Thursday, March 4, 2010


When you hear about L-E-N-T what comes to your mind? As for me, when I look at this word, I think of the following: Level, Encourage, Number and Touch. Do you remember what John the Baptist’s message was? In Luke 3: 4, he says: “prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” That is what it means to Level. Lent is a time to make things right with God and our neighbors. It is time to forgive and be forgiven.

Lent is a time to Encourage and be encouraged. Remember that this whole season points out to Jesus. It is a season we should tell ourselves and others that there is and will always be hope for all of us through Jesus. He took our death penalty and died in our place. He rose from the dead to give us freedom and power over sin and death. That is the God we worship and serve. There is a reason why we should always be hopeful for all was accomplished on the cross.

The Psalter tells us about to learn how to Number our days (Psalm 90:12). Lent should also be a moment to look at the reality of who we are with Jesus and our neighbors. “There is no vitality without reality.” You should take time to look at what you think you have done for the Lord as you compare it with what God expects you to do for God’s kingdom. How would you assess your ministry and calling?

Lent is an opportunity to Touch and reach out to someone. Most of us think of Lent as a time of fasting. No matter how you look at fasting, but true fasting results in repairing the breach and restoring the streets to live in (Isaiah 58: 12). It takes us into mission and social justice advocacy. This season, find something you can do, a mission opportunity in which you can be involved this year. Or pick a few names of people at the hospital or those who are recovering, and pray for them. You can visit some of our home-bound members. There is so much you can do to touch and reach out to someone.

May we all be encouraged as we go through this season of Lent and get ready to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord on Easter!
Pastor Emmanuel T Naweji