Communion sharing for 25/1/2015 in Usher’s Meet Up

Good morning brothers and sisters. For today’s communion, let turn to the book of 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations,there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I believe most have read this passage before especially the older Christian. Ever wonder what is this ‘thorn in the flesh’ referring to? As I prepare for this communion, I read that some suggested it is referring to some unexplained suffering, pain or affliction. It could be emotional pain, physical pain like diseases and so on.

When I think about my life, I think the ‘thorn’ God gives me is called ‘Thalasemmia’. It is a type of inherited blood disorder. Because this is passed down from my parent, there is no cure for it. Actually there is, it is by undergo bone marrow transplant but that cost RM 350k but my bank account does not have even RM 35k 🙂 Normal red blood cell has 120 days life span while Thalasemmia red blood cell has only 90 days life span. People with thalassemia also easily fatigue because the body make less hemoglobin and have fewer circulating red blood cells than normal, which results in mild or severe anemia.

But thank God that mine is minor Thalasemia that I can still play my favorite sport like football. But sometimes, I do find life challenging especially right now I am venturing into health industry by sharing to people the benefits of nutrition and recommending health products for them. It is challenging because even I might have the knowledge, people also look at me outwardly, how healthy and energetic am I. But even, after I have made the changes in my diet and certain lifestyle, I can never able to remove this Thalasemia in my blood.

Just like Paul pleaded to God for his thorn to be removed, I also wish that God can remove this Thalasemia but I know this is impossible. I guess I just gotta continue to do what I can while rely and surrender to God of my career. Maybe this Thalasemia is the thorn that God put in my life so that I can constantly rely on Him, just like God did to Paul.

Brothers and sisters, God might also gives you a thorn. Each individual might have their own thorn. Let’s continue to rely to God because God’s grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in weakness.

As the bread and wine to pass around, let’s mediate on the cross, God’s grace and his love for us.

1 Corinthians 11: 23

For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Let’s pray.

Bible Discussion: Theme is “New”

Intro: Introduce yourself and what’s the ‘new’ thing with you today?

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I will start with a quiz.

[picture to be shown on TV – http://sagamer.co.za/img/evolution-phone.jpg]

What can you observe? Trend changes fast esp IT/gadget trend. Ie. One funny trend is from big size, it evolves to smaller size. Then to bigger size for bigger screen.

Anyone know how old is the bible? The Bible was not written in one specific year or in a single location. The Bible is a collection of writings, and the earliest ones were set down nearly 3500 years ago.

Now let’s turn to the bible, Heb 4: 12

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

What do we mean by the word of God is living and active? Meaning the word of God is ever-green, applicable to us 3.500 years ago and in today’s and future generation. In fact, God takes the bible so serious that nobody is allowed to change the content (Revelation 22:18-19). This is because the bible talks about human heart and human heart remain unchanged – That we are born with sinful nature (thankfully also with a good conscience). The bible is applicable to any race, young or adult, singles or married.

What are some examples of sinful nature? Lying, stealing, impurity, proud, evil thoughts, murder, etc. We don’t have to teach someone to be lazy or selfish. By nature, at least most of us are lazy or selfish.

Anyone here got operation or get cut deeply from knife before? My nose surgery experience and my father’s surgery without anesthetic (only antiseptic).

Why the word of God being compared with double-edged swords? Very ‘sharp’, cut our heart we we read it. God is like our best surgeon and the bible is like his surgeon knife. In any surgery, there is a consent form which you need to voluntary sign to give consent for that surgery. Nobody can force you to sign that consent form if you do not want to. Question is do we allow God, the spiritual surgeon to operate our heart.

Recently, I have lunch appointment with a guy. His mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer (2c stage). Some advice given to his mother to undergo chemotherapy but his mother is too scared go through it. She could not endure the pain and side-effect during or after the chemotherapy sessions.

Of course for short term a person won’t need to face up those pain and suffering during or after the operation. But the bad news is that person might not able to recovered in long run. By the way, I am not advocating chemotherapy is the best cancer treatment. I am just quoting a real-life recent example to relates to a point.

Conversely, for a person who is willing to undergo the operation (either physical or spiritual), that person will feel a lot of pain during or after the operation. But the good news is after some time, the person will get cured and feel refreshed (Acts 3: 19).

Of course, not each we read the bible, we need a big spiritual operation. But there will be times in our life or whenever God feels necessary, we can sense that God wants to move, cut, convicts our heart. And when those moments came, try to be sensitive to it and allow our heart to be operated by the word of God which is good for us at the end.

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Summary: Many things can become obsolete and out-of-date. Last time is Nokia, then BlackBerry, then Iphone, then Samsung, then XiaoMi. Fashion trend also changes. Cat, correct?

But, the heart of men always the same which explains why bible is never become too old and out-of-date. We don’t need a “new” bible. We just need a new heart, new mind and new perspective when reading the bible. . It has changed many people in the past. It can changes us today and it can continue to change us in the future.

 

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For those who are searching for new meaning of life, new life direction or new life-purpose, I wish that you can find so from the timeless bible in this new year 2015. If you wish to join us again, we have Sunday church service at 10.30am or another similar gathering like tonight two weeks later.

Iron Man from Bible

Found iron man in the bible 🙂 As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another – proverbs 27:17

Is this verse referring to mentoring or partnership (i.e. buddy system) relationship or both? Feel free to give me your thoughts ya at this comment post.

How to ‘sharpens’ one another? My thoughts (Not in any sequence though)

  • Speak the truth in love – Eph 4:16 as we all got our blind spot. Speaking truth without love can become blunt. Love without speaking truth can become hidden love (Pro 27:5).
  • Spur and encourage one another (Heb 10:24). Sometimes we know what to do but lack of courage, so needs encouragement. Analogy it is running a marathon together. Because of the distance of the race is so long, we can easily tempted to stop or give up the race. But when your running partner or the spectators cheer you up, we regain our spirit to continue the race.
  • Build up one another (1 The 5:11) . Means not to tear down like described in Eph 4:29.
  • Tool is needed. What tool? A sharp tool is found in Hebrews 4:12.

Other thoughts: When one sharpens another (2 ways), snergy (1+1=3) could be formed.

Keep The Fire Burning

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The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out – Leviticus 6:13

I think fire here is referring to zeal in spiritual life.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord – Romans 12:11

Gotta keep the focus (to get occupied with meaningful and purposeful activities) and zeal/fire no matter how tired. But then, gotta also have knowledge too, as it is written.

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way – Proverbs 19: 2

For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge – Romans 10: 2

I like how Neil Phelan Jr. described it:

“Zeal without knowledge is like a horse without a bridle or a jet without a pilot. It is a great force without direction. Zeal is a force and knowledge is for the direction of that force.”

The Term Fall Away

Sometimes we hear people use the term “fall away” in church, referring to those who left church. I think that is not a suitable term because maybe, they went to another church. Since we do not proclaim that we are the only true church, we should not judge another church. This means we should not say much on whether they fell away, wondered away or still faithful to God. The more appropriate term we should use is they are no longer a member of our church. I think we learnt this before, just that we can forget about it. 🙂