Monthly Archives: May 2009

The Grass Factor

The God of Multiplication Series

Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. John 6:10

Jesus was in a familiar place. He felt it. He saw it. Five thousand sheep depending on their Shepherd in a place where there was a great deal of grass. Psalm 23 declares, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.”

Multitudes of grass is a factor for feeding the multitudes. Is this a coincidence? Is this accidental? No. Jesus knows His calling.  He came to be the Shepherd. Leading His sheep to a green green grass place.  A place where He makes them reclined and rest. A place where He fills their lack. A place where Jesus shows there is abundance in following the Shepherd. Notice that obedience of the sheep abounds in the green pasture. The disciples were told by Jesus to have the people recline, so the disciples did. The people were told by the disciples to recline, so the people did.

Jesus always leads us to a great deal of grass kind of place.  He takes us to places where we can gaze more of His face.  He brings us to places where we can be fed by His words. He brings us to fellowship with other sheep who likewise depend on the Shepherd. He allows us to have rest, to have peace in His presence. He would never lead us to a place of lack. There is no multiplication with zero. And when green pasture abounds, obedience of the sheep to the Shepherd abounds by grace. As His sheep we will be satisfied by His presence, more than His providence.

In your place of great deal of grass where He has led you, declare and proclaim – The LORD is my shepherd.

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The Philip Factor

The God of Multiplication Series

When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.  Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little (bit).” John 6:5-7

How big and large is the problem?  Who is concerned? What is the concern? How much extent does this problem go?  How strong is the storm in your house? How deep is your neck in the flood? What does it take to overcome the mountain?

Philip defined the problem at hand.  He had words for the abounding task they are facing.  He described the monumental crisis confronting Jesus and His disciples.  And as Philip defined the problem, there was acceptance in his speech that this dilemma is beyond man’s capability-  wages worth of two hundred days of labor for each needed at this instant?  Which is why Philip had to reply this to Jesus. Because he knew, as earthly beings, only Someone from above can work this out. He knew that the problem is impossible for man to solve, but is possible only with God.

I call it The Philip Factor. God’s operation of multiplication starts when we spread the whole and complete picture of the problem to Him.  When we claim that He alone has the power to see us through the present predicament.  We come to Him with our problems and He comes to us with His solutions.  Allowing God to be God and allowing man to be man. Know that God always has a rescue plan in place, but when we define the problem to Him and accept that He alone can provide an answer we are acknowledging that God is God.

When you have a big problem, always remember – you have a big God.

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The Andrew Factor

The God of Multiplication Series

One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish………..” John 6:8-9

Out of more than five thousand people, Andrew identifies a boy who has five loaves and two fish. Out of multitudes, Andrew points to someone who has something. Out of waves of humanity, Andrew spots a child who has open hands.

For God to multiply resources, He enables people like Andrew.  Persons who have the gift to spot someone who has something to give.  Keen eyes for skills which can be useful for the Kingdom.  A nose for men and women willing to give what they posses for God alone. People who are involved in God’s work making people to get involve. To be mentors of men needing direction in offering their resources for God. Disciples who can pass on the discipline.

Andrew’s work is not in vain. If you think someone has something small to offer, think again. We have a God who multiplies.  Our big God can make do with something small with His work.  God does not look in the amount of the skill but looks at the heart of the skilled. God specializes in small things in His big scheme of things.

Go ahead. Identify talent. Identify skills. Identify open hands. Identify open hearts.  Enable others to be able for God. Allow others to give for God.

As we follow and serve the God who multiplies, be an Andrew among His people.

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Step by Step

“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” John 16:12

They heard the words of Jesus about love, comfort, peace, fellowship, security, new life, etc. I really thought Jesus brought the disciples to a college course in three years.  And as the disciples are about to finish the course, Jesus informs them – you have not heard it all.  If we go on to the next verse, Jesus tells them that the Holy Spirit will lead the disciples to all truth.

He tells them there is much more to be heard.  There is much more to be pondered.  There is much more to hear and experience. There is much more to respond to. There is much more of God’s words working in His people.

He has much more to tell. Not much more to give. Not much more to heal. Not much more to feed. Not much more dead to rise. This is how important God’s word is.  The psalmist wrote, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  We live by God’s word. We walk in life to a direction following His words. We see our way by heeding His words.  We find peace and comfort through His words.  We seek answers from His words.

Accept His words for you for this is the one you can bear for now. He meets us where we are. He keeps up with us not us keeping up with Him. It’s not that He does not want us to look into the future. It’s just that we are limited humans following a limitless God. Contemplate how you can apply His words to your life. Deliberate your life if it is in accordance to His words. His word today for you is your direction today. No shortcuts. No quick turns. He tells us His words step by step.

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Theology Questions from my Daughters

I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. John 15:15

Since we started to pray the rosary as a family every day and have bible sharing on Saturdays, my daughters have significantly been aware of their Christianity.  Recently, they have been asking me on sort of theological questions like the following:

  • How come God created us?
  • What is God’s purpose for creating us?
  • How do we know God is walking with us?
  • Can you mix science in biblical discussions since science most of the time is not in agreement with the Bible?

In my own capacity as their father, I answered those questions with simplicity up to their level. It is good that my daughters have questions and their questions are addressed to their father.  I hope their questions will lead to their friendship in Jesus.

As children of the Lord, we have our own questions to God:

  • Why did I lose my job?
  • How come I am not getting healed?
  • What is God’s purpose in the death of a loved one?
  • Can you mix up your secular life with your Christian life?

We seldom understand His wisdom on what’s happening in our lives. We might be impatient to wait for His plan to be fully unveiled before our very eyes.

Jesus tells us that we are His friends for He has revealed to us what He has heard from the Father.  We can come to Him to find response to our inquiries.  Sometimes, He can quickly tell us the answer and sometimes we ought to wait or we just need to be more attuned to His presence.

Bottom line is, it is good our questions are addressed to the Father.  And hopefully, our questions lead to a deeper and lasting friendship with Jesus.

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Take Your Office

”May another take his office.” Acts 1:20

What the disciples of Jesus saw, they saw. What the disciples of Jesus heard, they heard. What the disciples of Jesus experienced, they experienced.  They walked where the disciples walked.

You won’t see them at the forefront. They were at the backgrounds. They have been dwelling in the shadows shunning the limelight. They were not counted among the disciples but they kept the discipline. Maybe they were assistants to the assistants of Jesus. But these men walked with Jesus from His baptism until He was taken up. Throughout the ministry of Jesus, they followed Him.  These men were constant and committed.   And now they are called to take the office. Taking the office calls them to leave the background and to be at the forefront.  No abilities on their resumes but hearts ready and prepared to take the office.

Are you on the same situation? You have followed Jesus and served at the backgrounds.  You have been dwelling in the shadows of leaders who are at the forefront. You have been assisting men who are leading God’s people.  In that role, you have been constant and committed. And now you are called to take your office.  Called to leave the background and stand at the forefront. Your abilities do not count just your heart prepared to take the office.

As you take your office, realize that the same God is with you at the background as well at the forefront. Realize that God anoints whom He appoints.  Don’t let the office define you, allow God to continue put meaning into you.  Don’t let the office possess you, by God’s strength possess the office. Don’t let the office take you, take your office.

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Remain There

“Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

This just made sense. In mathematics, the number in a division operation that is left over of a quotient is called remainder. This is the amount undivided by the divisor.  It’s a simple thought, the undivided will be the remainder.

The call to remain in Jesus is challenged all our lives. He surely remains in us. On the other hand, we can fall short of remaining in Him. When frustrations about the fruits sets in. When the fruits are not the way we expected. When the fruits are too big to handle. When the fruits are too small to be compared. When the fruits begin to wither.  When the fruits get spoiled.

Let me picture this in actuality. Your loved one died. Your marriage rocks. Your job is gone. Your kid is out of control. Your finances hit all-time low. Your health is dimming. Your friends and community discouraged you.  Your logical knowledge takes over your belief.  Your pressure to conform is too much to hold off.  Your faith falters as situations deviated as you envisioned.

The test to remain is when you seem to be divided. Loyalty to Jesus is polished when the divisor is so strong to divide our hearts.

No matter what, Jesus remains.

No matter what, by His grace, be undivided.  Be a remainder. Remain there.

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