Isaiah 58: 6“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
for years, i've been excusing myself for not living a fasted lifestyle (fasting on a regular basis) when i frivolously offered it to others as a spiritual remedy. my excuse was diabetes. yet, i did not deprive myself of delicacies that paraded itself before me. so this is my confession. i've repented, because God has called me and a whole generation to live a fasted lifestyle. why? because i believe God is going to bring His glory down to His church with such force even the non-believing communities around our churches will bow and weep by the weight of God's holy presence.
So, why do i fast? my immediate response is for clarify of God's will, for intimacy with Jesus and for all the Spiritual benefits that i coveted so much and yet to experience. today I'm reminded something deeper to fill my spiritual hunger, in Isaiah. This is His heart for the nations, and our call as disciples of Jesus. should be the bedrock of our ministries at CCCLA (TCM). so by the authority given to us in the name of Jesus, let me declare. "it will be done."
"to loose" the chains of injustice - justice ministry
"to untie" the cords of the yoke of oppression - deliverance ministry
"to share" your food with the hungry - food distribution ministry
"to provide" the poor wanderer with shelter - shelter ministry
"to clothe" the naked - clothing for the poor ministry
"to provide" for your own family - family ministry
a young man committed suicide last week. his mother goes to our church. as a result, i spoke to a lot of people concerning this matter of suicide. as a father, i would think it is probably by far, one of the toughest things to deal with in life. watching the older generation passing is heart wrenching, but seeing your own child? i don't understand the pain, nor do i dare to take a sip of that cup. but after speak with so many, the lingering thought is "why can't we do something about this?" i know it is too late for this young man, but the prevailing sentiment i get from most people is that it is hopeless and helpless. most people don't believe we can do anything about it. it just happens! even as a church. in their prayers, they ask for mercy, but they don't believe they can intervene. why not? aren't you the church, ones given the authority of heaven and earth? our insular culture, respecting the privacy and freedom of individuals has calloused our sense of community, humanity, even human worth. why don't we risk the facade of peace and breakdown walls so that they'll hate us in the name of love? why don't we trust in the goodness of God and risk our pride, shame, so that truth in its naked-gory form can be exposed? instead of saving-face, we can be saving-lives. Jesus risked the facade of peace when he tore down the religiosity of the pharisees and sadducees, while he tore the temple veil in two. the Father also risked pride and shame, when he hung his son on the cross so bare and brutal, so that the world may see. sometimes, i am angry with God for not withholding the cup from Jesus as a Father. but without it, our human existence is fatal, so i'm grateful.
here's the long awaited post: (there's more, if I get feedback! LOL)
church leaders, this is how to build a smaller and narrower church?
1. calling: choose a church name that is ethnic, gender, age, language, political, socio-economic specific
2. finance: make sure there are no freeloaders by taking offering in the parking lot, and make sure they pay for lunch
3. grace: tell all the sinners outside that they don't belong and the church people that God is gracious
4. ministry: keep every member busy doing all the church events, so they don't have time to make friends anywhere
5. word: creating vocabularies that is uncommon to the rest of the world, so that every word has at least 5 words in its definition
6. holy: tell your kids not to listen, watch or participate in anything that did not have the word Christian in it
7. unity: make sure there is unity in the body by segregating those that are different from you, we don't want their kind
8. peace: harmony is the most important value in your church, so kick out those that disagree with you
9. respect: make sure you respect the hierarchy, especially key leaders and their family. it's a family business
10. protect: guard the door well, because the world is a scary place, full of bad people, they're going to overtake the church
11. division: never do evaluation, Satan will use it to cause division in the church, so everything is good
12. stewardship: do not trust anyone with money. they will always spend more than you. so, control every cent
Who would have thought God planned a revival under our noses. We knew something was up, when we went through so many Spiritual Warfare stuff. But God really showed off when: (this is only a fraction of what took place)
The following measurable inconveniences took place in the last four weeks. Praise the LORD!
Car Accident: Helen, helping a stranger to a bus stop, replaced four tires; 3 days later, helping a friend in Irvine, 1 flat tire, replaced another new tire on the same day; it turned out, the tire was the wrong size, got it replaced the next day
Car Accident: Tiffany, helping a pastor family house siting
Car Accident: James, on the way to Lunch meeting with a brother, both Helen and James felt stiffness in neck and upper back.
Near Accident: On the way home, the whole family in the car from Friday night bible study, the opposing car ran into a huge metal traffic construction sign that flew up and landed only a couple car lengths in front of our car
Car stopped: the wife of the pastor who initiated this fast at CCCLA, had a scare on the first day of the fast, her car all of a sudden died on the freeway
Home & Appliance: Microwave died and the repair shop reassembled it twice, it took over a month for the repair; Dishwasher died and it took 3 weeks to get it fixed; Electric Stove died twice; Water Pipe leak, under the slab (went away after prayer)
Retreat location: Lost, but God provided a much better location in 4 days
Victory over Demon
On11/15 Thursday night at 11 pm, I got a phone call…a woman in her 60s gradually losing her ability to speak and respond to stimulus, the son described her mom in a catatonic state unable to eat or speak. My first reaction was, why didn’t you call 911? The husband came on the phone and said he thinks there maybe other problems. So I drove to their house in the night.
Her eyes wide open, staring straight into space unable to interact with anyone. Brother Lin arrived at around the same time. We started our prayer. She began to describe these red eyes, two small creatures that have been tormenting her for 3 or 4 days. They even bit her right leg. She was in pain. We began to pray for deliverance and she responded violently and defiantly. I felt the spirit was going to manifest, so I requested that the family members to leave the room. That was when the evil spirit spoke. We weren’t able to exorcise the demon that night but the woman became coherent and responsive. After speaking to her a bit we left the house at around 2:30 in the morning.
Next day, 11/16 Friday, I knew we had to confront it again. This time I brought my buddy Sam to the house. Knowing her condition from earlier phone call, we went right into deliverance. The spirit was defiant and we learned that it was an unclean spirit that was attached to her past hurt and present experience, but we ran out of time, because we had to get back to church for bible study.
Saturday, I was at a meeting in LA. On my way back from the meeting I prayed for this woman and called her husband. Apparently, all along, he thought his wife was going through an emotional breakdown, but in our conversation, he said it took a couple bites on her leg. I said, what? Well, he took a look at her leg found the teeth marks and even took a picture. He was eager to show me. I told him I’d come by Sunday afternoon.
Sunday morning I was to speak in our 2nd service…the music stopped and I prayed…lost my message…what I was doing…heat came over me…I wanted to continue but I couldn’t. Something was wrong. I told the congregation to pray for each other as I ran out of the sanctuary to wash my face. What is wrong with me, I thought? Am I experiencing hypoglycemia? So I ran quickly to my office and got a snack bar. When I got back, Sam said he felt it (spiritual Warfare) and encouraged me to continue. I struggled and struggled…the Holy Spirit came…I was in tears…the Word came…almost everyone was in tears…God was breaking through.
That afternoon, after our board meeting, I went with Helen to visit the woman, brother Lin came exactly at the same time (interesting timing). We went through purification and prayed for each other before we engaged in deliverance. This time, I felt more confident in the Lord. However, after almost an hour, I was ready to give. I told brother Sam, “let’s get someone more experience to do this.” But that was when I got another surge of faith and I prayed for the woman. I felt the demon weakening inside the woman. In an instant, I commanded the spirit to leave…she collapsed on the ground...it was over.
It took another two weeks before she was completely recovered physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Shanghai, China Weather - Right Now
After a good hearty breakfast, we are ready to take it on. Please pray that we will not melt under the sun.
Morning Reading: "Suffering is consecrated to God by faith - not by faith in suffering, but by faith in God. Suffering has no power and no value of its own. To believe in suffering is pride: but to suffer, believing in God, is humility. If we consider suffering to be the greatest evil and pleasure the greatest good, we will live continually submerged in the only great evil that we ought to avoid without compromise: which is sin. Sometimes it is absolutely necessary to face suffering, which is a lesser evil, in order to avoid or to overcome the greatest evil, sin."
We arrived Beijing around 4:30am on Friday morning. We were welcomed by the vast grey skies as the city awakens. Our friend, Janet (The girl on the right of this picture, an ACP volunteer for Sunshine 2011) took us around for the first two days. Thanks for all your prayers, we were not jet lagged and the weather was much cooler than we anticipated. The highlight of our Beijing trip was a 5 1/2 hour dinner with young people we met last year. We dialogued about life, the influence of multimedia, values, relationships and serving our communities. It was awesome to see the growth and transformation in their lives. James and I had the opportunity to encourage and challenge them to live out what they have learned.
On Sunday, James and I visited our friends from the US. We held the little hands of their beautiful children as we walked from place to place. After Sunday service, I compared my notes with the two older girls, age 9 and 7. Here is what we all took note of the message: to be a good Samaritan is to be relevant to this world and to be a neighbor crossing social, geographical, religious and racial boundaries. Later in the afternoon, our friends showed us the prestigious yet serene campus of Tsinghua University.
James and I are grateful for the encouragement and love received from many of you. Your friendship is one of the greatest gifts in our lives. Facebook access may not be possible while we are in China. We will be updating you from this site. Here is our travel itinerary.
07/06 - 07/09 Beijing - planning meeting with staff members and ministry time with campers from last year
07/09 - 07/12 Shanghai - ministry time with private individuals and business leaders
07/13 - 07/26 Central China - University Camp Leadership Development
James will be the Program Director.
Helen will be the "office" mentor, tending to the spiritual and emotional needs of the young people on the logistic team.
07/27 - 08/03 Taiwan - ministry visits with short-term mission teams, local ministries, private individuals, business leaders, families and some R&R.
This is our third month at this new ministry. We've managed to host our first ever Good Friday service and joint Easter Sunday service at CCCLA. Several quite astonishing feedback came to me. One brother in tears told me he's never been to a Good Friday service and now he's wondering why it wasn't a part of the tradition at this church. I told him, it is now. Another brother with his wife came to me after Easter Sunday service and said that he's never quite encouraged in this way at our church before. Praise the Lord!
© 2014 by Community Christian Center