Saturday, December 23, 2006
Before I accepted Christ, I inclined to think that if I worked hard, and did my very best to rise above the average crowd, I would be rewarded with a good life. In other word, I thought my future was in my hands.
After I became a Christian, my value system has changed completely. I believe that God is omniscient; He is wise enough to predestinate my future, and absolutely capable of counting every strain of my hair. He knows my every thoughts and deeds, and He certainly knows in advance exactly how my life will play out. From this perspective, my fate seems "fixed" or "pre-destinated".
But thank God for giving us our freedom to choose, which is the key ingredient for true and genuine love. Even though God is a love-sick Father (as evidenced by His 'favoring' the prodigal son and the lost sheep in the Bible), He certainly doesn't want to force us to love Him. He wants us to choose to love Him, and choose to believe in Him.
Can our fate be changed? My answer is both yes and no. I believe our fate cannot be changed in terms of our heritage, identity, race, parents, siblings, and even our upbringing experiences. However, I believe my fate has already been changed right at the moment when I made my decision to trust in Jesus as my personal savior. I am absolutely 100% sure that my fate is now destined for heaven, not hell; and for eternal life, not hopeless perishment.
Climb on the bandwagon before it's too late! The journey to eternity has just begun. "O Lord, I'm amazed at Your love for me. ... What can I say? ... Thank you Lord!"
Saturday, December 16, 2006
It was IMPORTANT to PAUL (3:1-5), because God revealed personally to Paul that Jews and Gentiles are now ONE in Christ as members of the Body, sharing God's grace equally with the Jews.
It was IMPORTANT to the GENTILES (3:6-8), because it reconciled Jews and Gentiles to each other and to God, sharing the riches of Christ (e.g. His grace, His goodness, His wisdom, His mercy, His glory, His blessings, His assurance, His Word, His protection, His love, etc.).
It was IMPORTANT to the ANGELS (3:9-10), because they (both good and evil) too learned from the Church "the manifold wisdom of God". God's new creation, the Church, was something new to them. Though Satan knew from the Old Testament Scriptures that the Messiah would come, when He would come, how He would come, and where He would come, no one understood why He would come, as far as redemption is concerned. Nowhere in the Old Testament would Satan find any prophecies concerning the Church, "the mystery" of Jews and Gentiles united in one Body! God hid this great plan "from the beginning of the world", but now He wants "the mystery" to be known by His Church. This SECRET is now in our hands today.
It should be IMPORTANT to CHRISTIANS TODAY (3:11-13), because we would guard these revealed riches and share them (2 Tim. 2:2). When you understand this truth, it gives you great confidence and faith. This is like being given a new map to the endless spiritual treasures. If we understand our wonderful position in Christ, then we should live up to it - and share the blessing with others.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
One who is sent with a commission, i.e. a divinely-appointed representative. In general, apostle refers to a small, inner group of Jesus’ followers, such as the women who stood at Jesus’ cross and discovered the empty tomb. 
One who is a follower or a learner. The word is rarely used in the Old Testament. Isaiah used the term disciples to refer to those who are taught or instructed (Isa. ). 
To give witness of the resurrection (Acts -22), and therefore had to have seen the risen Christ personally (1 Cor. 9:1-2).
To follow Jesus. The word is sometimes used in a more specific way to indicate the twelve apostles of Jesus (Matt. 10:1; 11:1; 20:17; Luke 9:1).
There are no apostles today in the strictest New Testament sense. These men helped to lay the foundation of the Church – the foundation by the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20), and once the foundation was laid, they were no longer needed.
Yes, as follower of Jesus Christ, all Christians are
God authenticated ministry of apostles with special miracles (Heb. 2:1-4), so we should not demand these same miracles today.
In a broad sense, all Christians have an apostolic ministry. “As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). But Christians today must not claim to be apostles.
Sources:  “Be Rich”, by Warren W. Wiersbe, p. 100-101, Victor Books, SP Publications Inc., 1986,  Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 302, Thomas Nelson Publisher, 1986.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
In various ways, I believe we are all striving to live a difference-making life. Thus, CSAF can be recognized as a place where mature, gifted, and resourceful working-age Christians are striving to make a serious difference in the world around them.
Recently, I read the following famous poem from http://www.theinterviewwithgod.com (Author unknown):
THE INTERVIEW WITH GOD
I dreamed I had an interview with God.
“So you would like to interview me?” God asked.
“If you have the time” I said.
God smiled. “My time is eternity.” “What questions do you have in mind for me?”
“What surprises you most about humankind?”
God answered ... “That they get bored with childhood, they rush to grow up, and then long to be children again.”
“That they lose their health to make money ... and then lose their money to restore their health.”
“That by thinking anxiously about the future, they forget the present, such that they live in neither the present nor the future.”
"That they live as if they will never die, and die as though they had never lived.”
God’s hand took mine and we were silent for a while.
And then I asked ... “As a parent, what are some of life’s lessons you want your children to learn?”
“To learn they cannot make anyone love them. All they can do is let themselves be loved.”
“To learn that it is not good to compare themselves to others.”
“To learn to forgive by practicing forgiveness.”
“To learn that it only takes a few seconds to open profound wounds in those they love, and it can take many years to heal them.”
“To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most, but is one who needs the least.”
“To learn that there are people who love them dearly, but simply have not yet learned how to express or show their feelings.”
“To learn that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.”
“To learn that it is not enough that they forgive one another, but they must also forgive themselves.”
"Thank you for your time," I said humbly.
"Is there anything else you would like your children to know?"
God smiled and said, “Just know that I am here ... always.”
Yes, God has always been there. He will guide our way. All we need is to keep growing spiritually and continue striving for a life that makes a serious difference.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Since its inception decades ago, CSAF has been "earning" its reputation through an intersection of three distinctive attributes: spiritual maturity, gifted talents, and resourceful freedom. Any time this group of working-age adult Christians are motivated spiritually to labor together in one accord, there will be no limit to its collective impact both inside and outside the church. But any time we wavered in our purpose, vision, and trust in God, CSAF became wanderers in the "wilderness", as we probably are today.
Being conscious of age, an outsider may see the notion of "Adult Fellowship" as a negative factor deterring the younger counterparts from joining in. But the challenge to any fellowship group is idleness, not age. Being an adult fellowship implies our maturity, thoughtfulness, and experience. A youthful adult would say, "I am old enough to worry, but young enough to care less." It's just a matter of perspective.
CSAF should pass on its values, not just a fancy name. And we should give our younger counterparts a better example to follow in the future. It's the quality of our ministry and the vigor of our attitude towards God that really count. In the long run, a name is no more than just a name, but good work will inspire more good work.
Aging is a natural process we all need to face. The secret hinges on how well you age and what kind of legacy you want to leave behind. A good name may help if and only if we can really live up to the ideologies that the name implies. Unless the new identity or name is bestowed from above by God, like Jacob being renamed to Israel, there will not be any magic bullet to effect a face-lift for CSAF. To all who are willing to fellowship with us, we at CSAF would like to say one thing with a warm smile, "Welcome to AF!"
Finally, I was surprised to discover that a simple Abercombie & Fitch (a.k.a. A&F) tee-shirt carries a huge $35 price tag. Apparently, the A&F brand has a trendy reputation among teenagers that allows its products to command a high premium as a symbol for "casual luxury". Likewise, CSAF can be a premium "brand" in the Kingdom of God as a symbol for "serious difference", so long as we remain focused on "branding for God" as opposed to "branding for ourselves".
Sunday, November 05, 2006
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)
The salvation story is a simple, concrete, and credible truth, emotionally filled with love, totally unexpected from God Almighty, and absolutely significant in human history.
Without a doubt, I consider God's salvation a BIG SUCCESS.
[ Hear this song on the Web : http://188.8.131.52/zmzq/05h14.WMA ]
[ Free music download (size = 2.10MB) : http://www.east.casgv.org/CA_east_Media.htm ]
When I see the stars at night, how my heart is drawn to You.
And their light shines Your grace on me, how I long to be with You.
I lift my voice in praise, I will love You with my life,
For Your beauty and Your goodness never end.
Nothing compares to knowing You, You are the treasure of my life.
Trusting in Jesus Christ my Lord, my richest blessing in the world.
In the valleys or on high, You are with me all the time.
Thank You Lord, for the gift of knowing You.
Copyright 2003 Stream of Praise Music
Sunday, October 29, 2006
The Bible documented a great deal of human history filled with God's love stories. And His love has explosive power when one faithfully tries to fullfill God's promises (like Abraham). If you find yourself a stranger to the power of His love, you are most likely unaware of His great promises written in the Bible. David understood the power of the name of the living Lord Almighty as he faced the formidable 9-feet giant Goliath. He truly believed that the Lord would deliver Goliath over to him. Indeed, God did honor David's faith. That was God's power then, and His power is still at work today. You just need to have faith that can apply God's objective truth into your own subjective blessing. Try to know God's promises well (in the Bible) and you will know Him better (in your life) little by little and day by day.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Only Jesus claims to be the Son of God. That is the truth. Neither sincerity nor intensity of faith can create truth. Other religions have some emotional aspects which we need to try to overcome.
Christians are not being bigoted and prejudiced or presumptuous when they say that Christ is the only way to God. As Christians we have no other option because Jesus Christ Himself has said this. Although one may choose to believe whatever he wishes, he has no right to redefine Christianity in his own terms. If we're going to be faithful to Jesus Christ we must take our stand on what He said. Quite obviously, if He is God, this is the only answer. We're dealing with truth that has come to us by revelation, through the invasion into human history of God Himself in Jesus Christ.
God's law says: the wage of sin is death. We do not determine socially the penalty for violating the law of God; the penalty of eternal hopelessness is inherent in the violation. Thank God, Jesus provides the way out of man's hopelessness - Christ is the only way to God.
For a discussion on "Beyond Blind Faith", read Paul E. Little's article at http://www.leaderu.com/everystudent/religions/faith/faith2.html
Is Roman Catholicism Christian? In a nutshell, it would seem that there are so many ways in which Catholicism is not biblical that it is logically impossible to classify it as a genuine Christian religion. All this is why the obstacles between Catholicism and Evangelicalism are insurmountable, at least until there is fundamental biblical reformation in Rome.
Bottomline, there is a difference between being Catholic and Christian. This article below( http://everystudent.com/forum/difference.html ) stresses that "the real issue isn't what church a person belongs to, but whether the person individually has Jesus Christ living inside of him or her - if they really have a personal relationship with God."
Note that the present day Catholic doctrines may not be the same as the Roman Catholicism from which Martin Luther fought against so vehemently. Catholic church had their own "reformation," which is called Counter-Reformation. We don't know if the pope himself will be saved -- but Billy Graham in one Larry-King-Live interview called the late Pope John Paul II a brother in Christ.
But one thing is sure : without a genuine relationship with God through Jesus, the Bible warns that we will be spiritually dead in eternity.
On the other hand, Jesus came out of virgin birth and invaded human history. He is fully human and fully God, yet sinless. His birth is both for all mankind and for God the Father, whose righteousness attribute compels Him to sacrifice His only begotten Son to pay for man's sin.
Afterall, Jesus is the true King of Kings. He physically lived on the planet earth for 33 years.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Like it or not, faith is a common occurrence to daily life. We eat the food in a restaurant prepared by people we never met - by faith. Perhaps it was blind faith, but we trust the public health authority anyway. Here, we exercise 'reasonable' faith, sometimes even 'blind' faith as we eat from illegal street vendors.
Faith is only as valid as the object (the person or thing) in which it is placed. In other words, your faith in any person can be only as valid as he is trustworthy. Intense belief does not create truth. Faith's validity cannot be increased by intensity. Believing does not make a wish true. That's why Christian cancer patients are also not healed, despite their steadfast faith. Nevertheless, Christians understand that their future is in good hands - God's Hands.
Disbelief may cost you to miss the boat, and the consequence will be irrecoverable. For instance, a beggar disbelieves that he is actually the heir to a billion dollar inheritance (an objective truth). He will die starving and poverty stricken. The objective truth remains, but he misses out on its benefits because he fails to claim them in faith. Where can we discover these treasures? In the Bible - God's very own Words.
In the realm of everyday human experience, we tend to treat facts as facts. Few of us have trouble accepting the concept that belief can't create, and disbelief can't destroy, objective facts. When talking about God, many people are strangely naive. They say, "Oh, I don't believe in God, heaven and hell", as though that settles the question - they thought that by disbelieving they have supposedly wiped God out of existence. No, the objective truth lives on in spite of disbelief. 
Faith sees the invisible but it does not see the non-existent. As Hebrews 11:1 explains it, 'Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.' The eyes of faith see something that is real, although invisible. What blind faith or superstition sees is unreal and non-existent. As we learn to discern between unreality and invisible reality, we discover a world of difference between the two. Everyone believes in something. The object of faith, not the intensity of belief or disbelief, will determine faith's validity. Faith placed in something unreal is only superstition. 
Christ is the object of Christian's faith. Your leap of faith will be necessary to believe that Jesus is the only Saviour. Through faith alone you can come to Jesus Christ and invite Him into your lives as Lord and Saviour.
Ref.:  "How to Give Away Your Faith" by Paul E. Little, IVP 1966, Chapter 8, p.115.  ibid, p.116.
Friday, October 06, 2006
The AD calendar system was calculated by a scholar in 6 AD with the birthdate of Jesus as Western calendar's dividing timeline. But later scholars disputed that this calculation was inaccurate. (For more discussion on topics related to Jesus' birthdate, read http://www.hillsdale.edu/imprimis/1996/Dec96Imprimis.pdf )
The meaning of Christmas is not so much about its underlying date calculation arithmetic as it is about God's Love on earth to give hope and peace to those He cares about. Nonetheless, the most important date in human history is unhesitatingly "December 25, the year ZERO." Jesus' birthdate, whenever it may be, is the only point in time that matters to the faithful when they think of the marvelous work of God at Bethlehem.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Developing a good eating habit is important. Feeding a hungry stomach is urgent. Which aspect should drive your diet: constantly eating on the run to beat the clock, or continually enjoying a healthy diet for the long haul? You get the picture, don't you? I hope you do. See you on your 100th birthday.
I want to BE the owner of a Jook (porridge) Exchange Restaurant.
I wanted to DO bike tours to all state capitals in the U.S.
I want to DO peace-time tour to Jerusalem.
I wanted to HAVE a yacht to flee Hong Kong before 1997.
I want to HAVE a hill-top house facing the Pacific Ocean.
What did/do you want to BE, to DO, and to HAVE?
Monday, September 04, 2006
Activity is typically more urgent when it is time-specific. For instance, your passport has expired. You must renew it if you were to plan a trip abroad.
If an activity can be time-flexible, it is usually important. Following the same metaphor, you must know your final destination in order to plan a flexible flight plan with the best connection and cheapest fare possible.
Both time-specific and time-flexible activities must be carefully dealt with. You should invest more energy in time-flexible activities than in the time-specific activities.
Importance should take precedent over urgency. You will sure be in better shape preventing fire than fighting one.
Low hanging fruit always satisfies immediate pleasure, but it is by no means the final destination. Nonetheless, the act of harvesting low hanging fruit cultivates the beginning of a winning streak that will guide you to final victory.
Productivity begets real results and the path to success. Lacking it, you are just beating air, like running on a treadmill without the finish line. You also need to gain balance, knowing when to take a break, and when to garner up your final burst of energy for the final goal.
Productivity plus balance equal victory. This is your winning ticket in life.
Saturday, September 02, 2006
In life, size matters when stability does. Likewise, agility matters when maneuverability does. Navigating through life requires both. Deep in the open sea, ocean liner has the size and stability you can count on.
Back to the shallow harbor, lake boat ferries swiftly to scenic coves and beach heads. Where small is beautiful, large is comforting. Maneuvering through life, it makes sense to surround the big rocks with the small ones.
How do you line up your rocks?
Friday, September 01, 2006
The laundry list can only grow. But if you really spend time to prioritize -- sorting out the importance from the urgent matters, you will have some ideas about whether you are investing your time and energy wisely and efficiently.
I used to have three categories of "container" at my email address: File, Keep, and Toss.
I wear a smile more often if I clear my inbox and act on each of them by throwing it into one of the three "container". I would be really really smiling when the file category has just enough everything I need to have for future reference. Better yet, if my memory still serves me well, I'd rather archive them within my brain, or close to heart. I would burst into endless laughter if I don't have to prioritize after all.
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
So ... enjoy the view ... attach value to it ... and travel lightly.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
It debuts several songs I composed (with lyrics). [Click the Chinese-character links below and listen.]
a. 藍天下的神 (Piano / Melody) God Under Blue Sky
b. 只想話你知 (Piano / Melody) Just Checking In
c. 管練的歲月 (Piano / Melody) Time of Trial
d. 奔向彩虹 (Piano / Melody) Sprint to Rainbow
Bonus: 只想話你知 (Guitar / Victor's vocal)
(A special thanks to Jason Dam for his piano arrangements that magically wake up these songs.)