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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Pentecost

30 May 2012

Opening Prayer/Worship

Song:     Fill my cup Lord; I lift it up, Lord
                Come and quench this thirsting of my soul
                Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more
                Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole!          

Theme: Be filled with the Holy Spirit

Topic: The Pentecost

Reading: Acts 2:1-13
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

In the next several weeks, we will turn our attention to the study of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is to me the most misunderstood of the Trinity. Although I do not know exactly why this is the case, He is usually associated with certain characteristics that are incorrect. For example, when I was younger, I used to think that He only operates through holy, righteous and perfect individuals. But now I know this is not true. The Holy Spirit will fill and use anybody that has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his/her personal Lord and Savior. This is one of the several misconceptions we may have concerning the Holy Spirit. In this series on the Holy Spirit which we will begin with the topic ‘The Pentecost’, it is my prayer that He will reveal Himself to us in a fresh and powerful way. When we know and understand who He is and how He works in and through us, we will allow Him to fill us to overflowing.

1. How will you describe the Holy Spirit?
Joel 2:28-29
28 *Then afterwards
   I will pour out my spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
   your old men shall dream dreams,
   and your young men shall see visions.
29 Even on the male and female slaves,
   in those days, I will pour out my spirit.

John 7:37-39, 14:25-26
7:37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, ‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38and let the one who believes in me drink. As* the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart* shall flow rivers of living water.” 39Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive; for as yet there was no Spirit,* because Jesus was not yet glorified.

14:25 ‘I have said these things to you while I am still with you. 26But the Advocate,* the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.

2. Why did Christ say it is better for Him to go away so that the Holy Spirit will come?
John 16:5-16
But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, “Where are you going?” 6But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. 7Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate* will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about* sin and righteousness and judgement: 9about sin, because they do not believe in me; 10about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; 11about judgement, because the ruler of this world has been condemned. 12 ‘I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 16 ‘A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me.’

3. What are some of the misconceptions we may have about the Pentecost and the Holy Spirit?
Acts 2:6-13, 10:34-38, 44-48
And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, ‘Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.’ 12All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, ‘What does this mean?’ 13But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’

10:34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47‘Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ 48So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 14:1-5
To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. 14 Pursue love and strive for the spiritual gifts, and especially that you may prophesy. 2For those who speak in a tongue do not speak to other people but to God; for nobody understands them, since they are speaking mysteries in the Spirit. 3On the other hand, those who prophesy speak to other people for their building up and encouragement and consolation. 4Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those who prophesy build up the church. 5Now I would like all of you to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. One who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.


It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can live the Christian life. May we continually yield ourselves to His indwelling and guidance.  

Closing Prayer
We thank You Lord for the outpouring of Your Holy Spirit on all flesh. Fill us up with Him and use us for Your work here on earth to Your own praise and glory through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Trust in the Lord

23 May 2012

Opening Prayer/Worship

HYMN: Trust and Obey

Theme: Connecting with God

Topic: Trust in the Lord

Reading: 1 John 5:9-13

9If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son.10Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God* have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.11And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.


In the past 12 studies, we have been discussing topics based on the theme ‘Connecting with God’. In these preceding topics, we discussed how we get connected to God and the benefits thereof, several benefits of connecting with God and things that can distract us from being connected with Him. In this concluding study, we will focus on how we should trust God even as we get connected with Him. To connect with God is not a one-time event but a continuous process as long as we live. Every day we are presented with fresh opportunities to connect with God. One factor that makes this process smooth and fulfilling is trust. To trust is to place one’s confidence in someone/something. Our ultimate means of trusting God is through the expression of our faith in the power of Christ to save. When we put our trust in the Lord, we find it easier to obey Him, to connect with Him and consequently, experience the abundant life that can only be found in Christ. Trust cements our relationship with God through Christ.

1. What does it mean to trust in the Lord?

Psalm 1:1-3

1 Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
3 They are like trees planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

Psalm 20:7

Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,
but our pride is in the name of the Lord our God.

Psalm 22:4-5

4 In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

Psalm 37:3-7

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will make your vindication shine like the light, and the justice of your cause like the noonday.

7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him; do not fret over those who prosper in their way, over those who carry out evil devices.

Psalm 56:3-4

3 when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I am not afraid; what can flesh do to me?

Psalm 62:5-10

5 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my deliverance and my honour; my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
9 Those of low estate are but a breath, those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no confidence in extortion, and set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.

Proverbs 3:5-7

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

1 John 5:9-10

9If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son.10Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God* have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.

2. How do we put our trust in the Lord and what are the benefits?

Exodus 14:10-14

As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord.11They said to Moses, ‘Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt?12Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, “Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians”? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’13But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again.14The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.’

Psalm 9:9-10

9 The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
10 And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

John 3:18

18Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Romans 3:21-28

But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets,22the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ* for all who believe. For there is no distinction,23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God;24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,25whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement* by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. *27 Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith.28For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

Colossians 1:22-23

he has now reconciled* in his fleshly body* through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him—23provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel.

3. What are some of the consequences of not trusting in the Lord?

Numbers 14:1-4, 20-24, 26-35

Then all the congregation raised a loud cry, and the people wept that night.2And all the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron; the whole congregation said to them, ‘Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness!3Why is the Lord bringing us into this land to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become booty; would it not be better for us to go back to Egypt?’4So they said to one another, ‘Let us choose a captain, and go back to Egypt.’ 20 Then the Lord said, ‘I do forgive, just as you have asked;21nevertheless—as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord22none of the people who have seen my glory and the signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tested me these ten times and have not obeyed my voice,23shall see the land that I swore to give to their ancestors; none of those who despised me shall see it.24But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me wholeheartedly, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it. 26 And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying:27How long shall this wicked congregation complain against me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites, which they complain against me.28Say to them, ‘As I live’, says the Lord, ‘I will do to you the very things I heard you say:29your dead bodies shall fall in this very wilderness; and of all your number, included in the census, from twenty years old and upwards, who have complained against me,30not one of you shall come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.31But your little ones, who you said would become booty, I will bring in, and they shall know the land that you have despised.32But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness.33And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness for forty years, and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lies in the wilderness.34According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day a year, you shall bear your iniquity, forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’35I the Lord have spoken; surely I will do thus to all this wicked congregation gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall come to a full end, and there they shall die.

Hebrews 3:12-19

Take care, brothers and sisters,* that none of you may have an evil, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.13But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today’, so that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.14For we have become partners of Christ, if only we hold our first confidence firm to the end.15As it is said,
‘Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.’
16Now who were they who heard and yet were rebellious? Was it not all those who left Egypt under the leadership of Moses?17But with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness?18And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, if not to those who were disobedient?19So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

Hebrews 4:1-3

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest is still open, let us take care that none of you should seem to have failed to reach it.2For indeed the good news came to us just as to them; but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.*3For we who have believed enter that rest, just as God* has said,
‘As in my anger I swore,
“They shall not enter my rest” ’,
though his works were finished at the foundation of the world.



Let us learn daily through the power of the Holy Spirit to put our trust in the Lord that we may remain connected with Him.  

Closing Prayer

Father, You have called us to trust and obey You; grant us your Holy Spirit to help us put our trust in You. Give us a heart that will thirst and yield to Your love and call upon our lives daily through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The love of Christ Pt II

16 May 2012

Opening Prayer/Worship

Theme: Connecting with God

Topic: The love of Christ Pt II

Reading: 1 John 4:7-21

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another.12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. [13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world.15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God.16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.] 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgement, because as he is, so are we in this world.18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love.19We love* because he first loved us.20Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters,* are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister* whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters* also.


We will continue our discussion on the topic ‘The love of Christ’ as a follow-up to last week’s study. The emphasis last week was on the characteristics of the Christian love and how we should love in action and not by words. Since God first loved us while we were yet sinners and I dare say, unlovable, sending His Son to die for our sins, will it be asking too much to say that we are all in debt to love? I think we owe love not just to God who first loved us but also to the people we interact with including those that may even hate us. Infact this is God’s greatest and pivotal command to us- love the Lord your God and love your neighbour as yourself. But then one will ask how do we love? As mentioned earlier on, we are called to love in action and if our love is not seen or felt by the intended recipient, then we should have a re-think on what we are actually doing. As God demonstrated His indescribable love to us, we are expected to do likewise. But how?

1. How do we love in action?
Luke 10:25-37

Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.* ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’26He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’27He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’28And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’ 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’30Jesus replied, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.31Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35The next day he took out two denarii,* gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.”36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’37He said, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’

1 John 4:7-12, 17-21
See above

2. Do we really have to love those that hate us? Really? If yes, how, and if no, why not?
Matthew 5:38-48

 ‘You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also;40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well;41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you. 43 ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.”44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same?47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,* what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Luke 6:27-38

‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.29If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.30Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.31Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 ‘If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.33If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.34If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.35But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return.* Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. 37 ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven;38give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’

3. What are some of the things that make love somewhat difficult to put into practice?
Matthew 21:28-32

‘What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.”29He answered, “I will not”; but later he changed his mind and went.30The father* went to the second and said the same; and he answered, “I go, sir”; but he did not go.31Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, the tax-collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.32For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax-collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.

John 5:36-47, 15:5-12

36But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.37And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, 38and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent. 39 ‘You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf.40Yet you refuse to come to me to have life.41I do not accept glory from human beings.42But I know that you do not have the love of God in* you.43I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.44How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God?45Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope.46If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me.47But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?’ 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become* my disciples.9As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.10If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.11I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. 12 ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.


We are called to love God and our neighbors as ourselves. Just as God first loved us, let us heed the call to love by genuinely loving both God and our neighbors through the things we do.  

Closing Prayer
Lord, we are eternally grateful for Your great love towards all people. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit that we may be true agents of Your love in our world all the days of our lives. We ask this  through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.