In the Beginning There Was the Fruit

One of the most embarrassing prayers I ever uttered in my entire life was the one I made when I was in high school. I remember being so convinced that I was near perfect that I ended up telling God he should really be proud of me. At least he didn’t have to do much overhauling with my life. He can focus his redeeming work with someone else’s life. Me? I was fine, thank you very much.

Continue reading In the Beginning There Was the Fruit

Are We Preaching Prosperity Gospel?

Every now and then, people would approach me and ask about prosperity gospel. The questions come in different forms but the gist always boils down to this: are we preaching prosperity gospel in Victory?

My short answer is “no”. My long answer is “Noooooo!!!” We  preach finance sermons from time to time because money is one of the common idols of our day and one biblical way to battle idolatry is to expose it in the light of the gospel.

Continue reading Are We Preaching Prosperity Gospel?

What Does the Bible Say About Dreams and Visions?

Last week I received a message from a victory group leader asking what the Bible teaches about dreams and visions. We know about people in the Bible having significant dreams (like Joseph and Daniel) but does God still reveal things to us that way?

One of the fascinating books I read more than a year ago was Nabeel Qureshi’s “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus” where he recounted his dream of standing outside a narrow door and not being able to get into a wedding feast; a dream he later realized was taken straight out of the parable of Jesus in Luke 12:22-29. Qureshi was a Muslim who had been wrestling with the decision to accept Christ but was held back by so much intellectual doubting. Seeing a series of three dreams was his final confirmation of the divinity of Jesus. Today, Qureshi is one of the itinerary speakers at the Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. (Edit: In September 16, 2017, Nabeel Qureshi died of stomach cancer). Continue reading What Does the Bible Say About Dreams and Visions?

This Ginormous Misunderstanding

When people talk about the Holy Spirit today, the conversation usually revolves around the question on spiritual gifts. Is speaking in tongues still operational today? What about prophecies? Why is the baptism of the Holy Spirit weird?

Few years ago, I had a friend who came out of a Victory Weekend session crying. When I asked her what happened, she told me she was scared of the speaking in tongues. She was ready to bolt out and go home but I convinced her to stay and read the Bible with me. We skipped lunch that day as we opened the Scriptures and did some digging about the gifts of the Spirit. She later returned to the afternoon sessions and got baptized the following day. Continue reading This Ginormous Misunderstanding

Of Blood Moons, Madonna Concerts, and the End of the World

A friend from church recently sent me a link about some signs of the times blog posts circulating the internet right now claiming that in September 2015 a confluence of world-shaking events will happen. The posts mentioned the end of the Jewish Shemitah year in September 13 and Isaac Newton’s prediction about the significant events that would happen in September 23. The posts sounded cryptic and scary. How do we think Biblically in the face of these issues?

Quite honestly, I simply ignore these kinds of stuff on the internet because most of what I read so far missed the point of the nature of Biblical revelation. God gave us the Bible for the purpose of revealing his plan of redemption for mankind through Jesus. All the other themes are secondary to this one big theme. While the Bible has types and symbolisms, it is not a book of mystery where we hunt for cryptic codes and hidden messages to interpret isolated world events.

I have in my email folder a long list of the events that are supposed to happen this month. I applaud the people who made that list for their desire to know what God is doing in the larger story of the world but I still could not figure out how anyone could make a connection between September 13 Shemitah, Isaac Newton’s mathematical formula on Daniel 9:25, a research facility in Switzerland trying to discover back holes, Madonna’s concert in Washington, D.C., the lunar phenomenon from AD70, a creepy sampling of Hollywood movies all referencing September 23, a tricky use of Hebrew numerology and calendar, and the Pope’s visit to the United States (the 266th pope to visit the US on the 266th day of the year creepily tied to the 266 gestation period of babies) and tie them all together to a confluence of eschatological events this September 2015. If that doesn’t make your head spin, good for you. Continue reading Of Blood Moons, Madonna Concerts, and the End of the World

The Order of Salvation

Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation) from Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology:

1. Election (God’s choice of people to be saved)
2. The gospel call (proclaiming the message of the gospel)
3. Regeneration (being born again)
4. Conversion (faith and repentance)
5. Justification (right legal standing)
6. Adoption (membership in God’s family)
7. Sanctification (right conduct of life)
8. Perseverance (remaining a Christian)
9. Death (going to be with the Lord)
10. Glorification (receiving a resurrection body)