Friday, June 24, 2011

It was my birthday


June 19, Sunday was my fifth birthday celebration here in Mae Sai. Like the previous celebrations, I was not expecting any fanfare at all. Narlin prepared fruit macaroni and JIllian baked bread and cookies. A simple celebration spent with the family was what really I was looking forward to every year.

It was also Father's day and Pastor Maung asked me to preach that Sunday morning. It was the day when the church appreciated and honored the fathers in the congregation. Unlike most of the churches here, our church actually has almost equal if not equal men to women attendance. The fathers were asked to stand up and were given gifts.

However, our Pastor made a big fuss about my birthday. He prayed with the congregation and requested them to sing the birthday song. As far as I can remember, this was the first time that the church prayed for me during my birthday. After the service, we had lunch at the church as we had customarily doing. While we were enjoying the lunch fellowship, somebody put the birthday cake on the table and once again everybody sang “happy birthday.”

I truly enjoyed the day. I thanked the church for making that day very special. Ultimately, I thank the Lord for another year he has given to me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Fatherhood of God: Father's Day Message

Father_and_Son_BW.jpgText: Galatians 4:6-7

Today is “FATHER’S DAY”. This is the day of the year when we remember and honor our earthly fathers. Fo most of us this is a happy day because we have such good relationships and for those whose father are not around any more, we surely have a good memories of them.

Moreover, we all have a common heavenly Father and all of us are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have a Father who cares for us and loves us like no other. When we believe in Christ, we become the children of God and our perfect, intimate relationship with the Father God is restored. Ultimately, we honor God the Father this morning.

We all know that everyone does not have the same experience with the earthly fathers. Some fathers are cruel and abusive. Some fathers ignored and abandoned their children. There are fathers who do not even care to know who are their children.

But there is hope and promise to us this morning. Nobody of us need live without a father. God is our Father. He loves everyone of his children. There is none like him. His fatherly care is not just a replacement for those who do not experience the love of their earthly father. God is our true Father.

This morning we will look at what the Bible says about the fatherhood of God.

First, the Bible tells us that God is by nature is our Father.

Good has the heart of the Father who cares for his children, more so with his creation. We can see this love through his relationship with his creation. God created all thing and continuously sustain them with loving care.

Jesus taught this truth to us. Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:26-34

Second, God is the model of Fatherhood.

When we think of God as Father, we try to understand it in reverse. We think of God to be like our earthly Father. Instead of modeling our Father to God, we model our God to our father. Evidently, this does not work because many fathers are evil. Some people reject God because if God is like their own father they don't want to have a relationship with God.

But God is not like our father. He is the Father. The Bible tells us that God is model of fatherhood upon which all other fathers are judged. If we want to know God as our father, we should not look at our father or any father in the world however good they are.

If we want to know the goodness of the fatherhood of God, we should read the Bible and see the heart of the Father revealed. He is the model. The one who is: faithful, true, just, merciful, compassionate, slow to anger, loving, providing, patient, kind, etc.

Third, God is our true Father

If you received Christ into your life, then you can be rest assured that you are a child of God in the fullest sense. You have been taken into God's household and you are under the care of the God the Father.

We have received the Spirit of adoption by whom we can cry out, “Abba Father!“ It is like saying Daddy or Khun Pho or A-phe to God. It is a term of affection that signifies a loving relationship with God. If we believe in Christ, we should in anyway have to doubt that.


Today is Father’s day. We celebrate and appreciate our earthly Father. But most especially we celebrate and honor our true Father.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blood and prayer

blood-bag2.jpgIt was the eve of Narlin's birthday when she received a text message from our friend. It says in effect, ‘the father of our worker is sick and he needs blood.’ Our friend is the director of the agricultural Foundation and he has several workers. This particular worker he was referring too is also our friend.

However, Narlin phone's battery was dead that night and it was only in the morning that she had read the message. She asked me, ‘are you willing to drive to Chiang Rai to donate blood.’ Chiang Rai is about 45 minutes to one hour drive from our home depending on the timing of the traffic lights. If all those traffic lights are green then we'll be there sooner, but if they happened to be all red then it will take an hour or so. But I digress.

Anyway, I agreed to donate my blood. In fact, I already missed doing it. I had been donating blood before that I could no longer remember how many times I have done it. Giving blood is scary. I know many people who are really afraid to give blood and I perfectly understand it. But when you overcome the fear, it is as easy as giving someone a drink, only there is a little pain involved.

So Narlin and I drove to Chiang Rai Hospital. Upon reaching the hospital, we called up our friend on the phone and told him that we arrived and I am ready to bleed. He met us at the lobby of the hospital and brought us to the ward where his sick father was. He introduced us to his father, brothers, sisters and nephews. He told them that I am a Pastor and a missionary here in Thailand. Then he asked me to pray for his father.

I wasn't supposed to do this. I expected to go the laboratory and give my blood and then just move on. At any rate, I had prayed for the sick on a hospital bed many times. And I was happy to do it.

My batting percentage in praying for the sick is very low my wife reminded me. It means many of those whom we prayed for didn't make it out of the hospital alive. Nonetheless, I prayed for him. This kind of prayer is the most fulfilling experience for me. Because I'm not uttering empty words, offering pretentious comfort for the sick and his family. I'm praying and I'm giving my blood and it is the least that I can do.

After the prayer, I uttered some words of encouragement to the sick. I then shook his hand and to my surprise he kissed it. I knew it was to show his appreciation either for praying or for donating my blood. But I surmised because I did both.

Faith without faith is dead. Likewise, prayer without efforts or at least an intention to be part to the answer of the things you are praying for is, for me, an insincere prayer.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The joy of the Lord is our strength

First of all we want to thank you for untiringly praying for us. God has been faithful in his promise to provide for the needs of his lowly servants. From the bottom of our hearts we sincerely thanks the people who have made big sacrifices for the sake of his kingdom.

Second, the Lord has greatly encouraged with the ministry through his words:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
In the moment of discouragement, people encourage us by telling us that what we are doing is really very much needed.

Third, we consider 2011 to be the year of short term missions. We have hosted and coordinated short-term missionaries in the previous years, but this year proved to be the grandest of them all.  For January to May, we have been blessed to work with different mission sending organizations. The teams performed various ministries that includes evangelism, medical missions, music camps, English camps, agricultural training, computer training, and children ministry. It was exhausting time but a very blessed fulfilling and meaningful time for all of us.

Fourth, we were blessed and humbled to have been visited by leaders of different missions organizations. We are thankful to the Lord for they have greatly encouraged us to persevere with the orphanage ministry.

Fifth, our ministry is now officially recognized by the Mae Sai municipality through our membership with Network for Women and Children Under the Same Sky (NCWSS). We are hoping to become active member of this organization.

It was a busy and tiring time but we have proved once again that the joy of the Lord is our strength.