Saturday, December 23, 2006

Can Fate Be Changed?

On Dec 23 evening, we were blessed by more than a handful of new unbelievers joining us at our CSAF Christmas Outreach Program. There were many laughters, smiles, hugs, and heart-to-heart talks inspired by our speaker, who raised an interesting question: "Can we really change the fate of our life?" And I'd like to share some of my thoughts.

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

The Heart of the Ocean vs. the Unfathomable Riches of Christ

The "Titanic" movie featured Kate Winslet as Rose wearing "The Heart of the Ocean" - a huge blue diamond that she SECRETLY kept long after the historic disaster. Towards the end of the movie, you see a glimpse of her life lived out to the fullest, with photos of her flying an airplane, riding a horse, volunteering in community service, etc. That Titanic SECRET propelled her into attempting some "wildest" things she never dreamed of had she not gone through such a life-changing experience. Likewise, the SECRET of the "unfathomable riches of Christ" (Eph 3:8), as revealed through Paul the apostle to the Gentiles, is epically important to Christians today.

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

Apostles vs Disciples

During a CSAF Bible Study in October 2006, a question came up regarding the differences between the meaning of Apostles and Disciples. The following summarizes my research findings:



Word Meaning

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. [1]

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. 8:16). [2]


To give witness of the resurrection (Acts 1:15-22), 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).

Presence Today

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
disciples by definition.

Ministry Implication

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: [1] “Be Rich”, by Warren W. Wiersbe, p. 100-101, Victor Books, SP Publications Inc., 1986, [2] Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p. 302, Thomas Nelson Publisher, 1986.