Sunday, October 29, 2006

Know Him Better

Part of Paul's important prayer in Eph 1:17 encourages us to know God better. As Christians, we constantly ask ourselves how much more we really know him after a period of say 5, 10, 15, 20 years and beyond. The difference in the knowledge of God between a 20-year-new Christian and a 2-year-new Christian may not be too significant. God is so unfathomable that the minute you thought you know God, another unknown void will pop up in your heart to urge you to desire more of Him. During my Christian walk, I gradually sensed that love and grace are the most precious lessons I've learned about God. Nowhere else is God's love offered so unconditionally. As a new Christian, I learned the head knowledge that grace means receiving something you don't deserve. As I 'ripe' a little more, I learned that God is a love-sick Father; He values the single lost sheep even more than the other 99 sheep that are still safe in His sheepfold. His grace is truly unbounded. As Philip Yancey painted the most vivid picture of grace, "there is nothing we can do to make God love us more, and there is nothing we can do to make God love us less."

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

Water Gives Life

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Gen 1:1-2)" Water is the chemical compound of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom bonded together. So is the bonding of my life growing up in the picturesque sunset view outside the window of my modest home at Wah Fu Estate. Looking back, my life has been forever netted with fond memories punctuated by waters. After I decided to leave Hong Kong to study abroad in the U.S. many years ago, I took my last lonely trip across the Victoria Harbor on the Star Ferry with two empty suitcases in my hands. There were waters around me then. When my departing flight started climbing up from the Kai-Tak Airport, there were waters welling up in my eyes. As I settled down in the new college campus and spent my first Labor Day weekend at the college president's resort home at a beautiful lake in Indiana, I ploughed through the crystal-clear water on water-ski and miraculously completed my first ever loop around the lake without falling. I still remember the water-cooling feeling through my veins. When I finally dipped into the baptismal pool at FCBC's old sanctuary on that beautiful Sunday afternoon, I was floating in the water of eternity - bonding my future with the Creator of heaven and earth. Amen! Life is good within the perfect will of God. Water gives life!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Is Christ the Only Way to God?

Yes. Christ is the only way to God.

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

Difference between Protestanism and Roman Catholicism

Rather than getting in a heated debate on religions and apologetics, perhaps it would do well to remind Protestants that, historically, one of the greatest enemies of Christianity has been false religion. It is the growth of such religion throughout the world that has remained the most serious threat to the health of the Church and will continue to do so far into the 21st century.

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( ) 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.

Difference between Jesus and the Monkey-king

The Monkey-king in Chinese legend came out of nowhere in the physical realm. It was just out of the author's imagination, trying to mystify (or make real) the story of the west-bound quest for the holy scripture of buddhism. Sadly, many Chinese idolize the fictitious Monkey-king as god.

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

Blind Faith vs. Christian Faith

Faith is central to the reality of Christian experience. During Church Reformation, Martin Luther drew a line in the sand and said that we are saved by faith. Faith is the key.

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. [1]

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. [2]

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.: [1] "How to Give Away Your Faith" by Paul E. Little, IVP 1966, Chapter 8, p.115. [2] ibid, p.116.

Friday, October 06, 2006

December 25, the year ZERO

The political events around the historical date of Jesus' birth are best known from the writings of Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian who lived from 37 AD to about 95 AD. His testimony has always been considered vital in determining Jesus' birthdate. According to Josephus, there was a lunar eclipse right after the death of Herod the Great, who executed John the Baptist and who ruled at the time of the Crucifixion. And on March 12 - 13 in the year 4 BC, there was a lunar eclipse. Tradition says that these dates are equivalent. So, Jesus was born before 4 BC.

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 )

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.