Sunday, June 13, 2010
Text: 2 Timothy 4:6-8
In the movie ‘We Were Soldiers’ Mel Gibson is the tough battle hardened US Army Captain. He has a mission to complete! However, before his men leave for Viet Nam he promises them and their families that he will be the first one to step on to enemy territory, and the last to step off it. He cannot promise that they will all return alive, but he promises that all 395 men will return, dead or alive. He has a mission, but most importantly he has man to look after with.
In 2 Timothy, Paul told Timothy that Christians are soldiers of Christ and that we should "endure hardship' us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." Paul himself lived his life like a soldier. And we should follow his example.
A Dedicated Soldier
There was a time when Paul hated Christ and the Cross. He fought against Christianity with zeal. But one day on the Damascus road, Christ saved him and changed his life, and from that day on he became the greatest and most effective soldier Jesus ever had.
When Paul became a Christian, he gave his all to the Savior. He believed that he was dead to the old life and he was living only for Christ. He said that a solder should not entangle himself in the affairs of the world. For if a soldier tied himself to the world he could not his best as a soldier and he could not please his master.
We need to learn this truth this morning. Many of us are entrapped by the things of the world. And for that reason we become powerless and we could not do anything for God. For many of us, when the Pastor ask us to do something for the Lord and be faithful to the church, we made excuses and tell him that we are very busy. We should not be too busy to do things for God. When we are too busy to do something for God, then we are busier that God wants us to be.
Paul also said that a soldier of the Cross must learn to endure hardness. He was certainly a worthy example of this great truth. Have we ever suffered anything for Christ? Have we ever made a sacrifice for Him? Paul did this and calls on us to do the same thing (Romans 12:1).
A Victorious Soldier
“I have fought a good fight,” Paul says. He looks upon life as a battle to be fought, a victory to be won. He said on one occasion that he was not fighting flesh and blood, but the evil hosts of Satan.
Paul had to fight urge of his sinful nature. Writing to the Romans, Paul had said in effect, “I have been saved, but the old sinful nature is still present. I want to be absolutely free of sin, but I am having a desperate fight. There are two natures in me. The flesh and the spirit are both there, and they are always fighting, the one against the other.”
We are just like that. We are fighting a battle against sins and temptations. Temptations surround us. We are surrounded by the enemies. They are on the right of us, the left of us, in front of us, and behind us. We often give in and let the Devil defeat us.
Paul also had to fight the enemies of the Gospel. They knew how faithful he was to Christ, so they tried in every way to hinder him and to block his testimony for the Lord. These enemies are still alive today.
When we Christians set out to make our lives count for Christ, these enemies get busy and try to ruin our testimony (don’t give so much time to the Church; it won’t hurt you to miss prayer meeting; there’s no harm in this, etc.). Let me ask you a question: Have you ever seen anyone who has great influence for God who did not put Christ and His church first, always? No, and you never will!
Paul goes on to say, “I have finished the race.” He looks upon life as a race track: “This is the course that God has picked out for me, and now I have finished my course.” God has a course for you to run, also, and you ought to say, “Lord, what do You want me to do, I’ll go where you want me to go, if You will only go with me.” We do not always choose our course. I did not choose the ministry; God chose me.
An Awarded Soldier
One day they led Paul out to the place of death. He saw the block where his head would lie. He saw the executioner waiting to do his duty. He saw the axe shining in the sun.
But he looked beyond all of this and he saw Jesus waiting for him with something in His hand. What was it? Listen; “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness..”
Forgotten now are all the hardships endured for Christ. Forgotten are the stripes, forgotten are the days and nights in prison, forgotten are the shipwrecks, forgotten are the abuses, forgotten are all the tears that he shed and all the blood that he poured out. This makes up for it all. Christ is waiting to welcome him. The crown is waiting for him. Heaven is waiting for the old soldier.
Are you having a hard time, my friend. Is your body afflicted? Have your friends forsaken you? Do you face many difficulties? Do you have financial worries? Then just keep on. Trust the Lord; do the best you can. He will see you through and bring you home at last.
The Scottish soldiers, forced by their Japanese captors to labour on a jungle railroad, had degenerated to barbarous behavior, but one afternoon something happened. A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel be produced, or else.When nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and threatened to kill them all on the spot. It was obvious the officer meant what he had said.
Then, finally, one man stepped forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and beat the man to death. When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second tool check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a miscount at the first check point. The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to save the others!
We are soldiers. Are you willing to sacrifice for Christ and for his church?
Sunday, June 06, 2010
In all our prayers for all of you, we always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.As of the moment, our mini-orphanage ministry is being sustained because of your prayers.
One morning, as we watched happy children happy and excited preparing for the first day of school, we could not help but thank God for his faithfulness in looking after His children and for connecting us to you as our ministry partner.
Who would have thought that two months ago we almost gave up in getting them to school? One reason is that the Thai schools are giving priority to Thais but because our children are from the Myanmar, they were initially rejected. Another reason is that our support for their education is very limited nonetheless; we experienced how God provided.
God is answering you prayers for us and we can feel it every moment. Thank you very much.
Children’s Camp in Kok Noi
When we were invited to organize a Children’s camp in Kok Noi, we gladly accepted the challenge. Anyway, we already organized two camps in Mae Sai and Tachilek. This one would be easy thinking that the lessons and the materials were already prepared.
However, we were in for a big surprise. We did not know that Kok Noi although located in Chiang Rai is in the middle of the jungle 45 kilometers from the city with no electricity (although solar panels have been provided by the government) and can only be reached by foot or by a four-wheel drive truck.
God provided a way for us to get there. A Good Samaritan we met along the way gave us a ride on our way to the village. And then a 4-wheel drive truck owned by Compassion International brought us back to the city.
It was a wonderful camp with the children learned English and listened to Bible Stories. Some children from the neighboring village walked for couple of hours and joined the camp.
During our ministry there, God gave us a vision of planting churches in the nearby animist villages. We also see the need to provide home for the children from Myanmar who were given shelter by the villagers to study in the village school.
Seminary Education by Extension (SEE) at Grace Home Kindergarten Center
After Jimi taught music through SEE, the students could not wait for another class. When the Lacquian Family left for home, the burden of continuous theological/biblical education for church leaders falls on my battered shoulders.
When the school opened two weeks ago, we did not anticipate how busy it would be for us bringing and picking up the children from and to the school. As parents, we need to attend school meetings, talk to the teachers and bury materials and uniform the children need. Hence, we really don’t have the time to offer another SEE class.
Fortunately, another team from Asia Vision Short-Term Missions came and helped us out. My sister Dadai, came back with two short-term missionaries. Longtree Limtag taught “The Panoramic View of the Bible” and Enjae helped in teaching the children Grace Home Kindergarten Center (GHKC). Incidentally, GHKC hosted SEE for five days. We are thankful to Aye Phet for being a gracious host.
GHKC will host SEE classes in the future.
Narlin Volunteers in Municipal School
Since Aye Phet has been doing a great job at GHKC, Narlin does not need to be around in the center all the time. She now has free time to do other ministries.
Narlin is teaching English at Rong Rian Tesaban 1 every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours each day. This is the same school that our 7 children are studying.
We thank the Lord for this opportunity to be a witness and a blessing to the community.
Our visa extension is now being processed at the Rainbow Covenant Foundation. We will receive a phone call anytime now to come to the immigration office. Up to this time, we don’t have specific entity that helps us with our visa expenses. However, God’s provision is always on time.
God has given us the ministry of discipleship and mentoring. We will leave Mae Sai with peace knowing that we were able to train and disciple people to continue the work of the gospel ministry.
Pray for the SEE students. We are making seminary training available to church leaders and workers while they are doing their respective ministries. Please continue to help us to pray for SEE office and training center near the border.
Pray for Narlin as she volunteers to teach in a Thai school. We are expecting to organize more English camps before this year will end.
Pray Jared, Jillian and Reuven’s home schooling. We thank the Lord for School of Tomorrow for making our life easy with our children’s education. But we still have a lot of struggles.
In the last couple of months, God has brought us to different places namely Ban Klang, Mae Salong and a village 14 km from the City of Chiang Rai. God is challenging us to expand our vision. He is summoning us to get involved in children ministries, church planting and discipleship to the hard reached villages. We will train and mentor locals in starting and sustaining these ministries. This can be done on a regular basis at least twice a month.
Help us to pray for resources. Teaching materials, equipment and a vehicle. Pray also for knowledge, wisdom and empowerment of the Holy Spirit.