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July 9 / July 16 / July 23 / July 30

July 2, 2017 - Invite Someone

In two days, our nation will celebrate its 241st birthday. It's a nice time to spend with family and friends... and also thank God for a great country where we can worship in freedom and experience blessings more than we deserve. Many of our families are gone on vacation and many will be having some fun time with BBQ's. I hope you all can join us here for our 4th of July picnic on Tuesday. It will be lots of fun.

The earliest memory I have of church was in Cheung Chau, Hong Kong. I was invited to a VBS event. I can't remember much about it except that it was a lot of fun. When you are 4 or 5 years old, that can leave a lasting memory for you. When I finally immigrated to the United States at 7 years old, going to church was something that I looked forward to. Finally, at the age of 13, I gave my life to Jesus Christ and accepted him as my Lord and Savior. I wonder what may have happened if I was never at that VBS event? Perhaps I wouldn't want to go to church. I may have had negative ideas about Christians. I could have just not even stepped into the doors of a church at all. I share this because most of us hesitate when it comes to sharing the gospel. As socially open as I am, and even being a pastor, I hesitate sometime to share the gospel too. The thought of not offending someone, or fearing a person's negative response, or just not knowing the right words to say... they all can make us hesitant. But do you know what we all can do easily? We can invite people to a fun event. VBS is something children can enjoy and many look forward to it. A July 4th picnic is something people love to be invited to. So I want to encourage you all to pick up some flyers, some invitation cards, and prayerfully invite your friends and neighbors to them. Maybe folks you invited can say years later that it was that event that brought them to the place where they encountered the love of Jesus Christ and their eternities were changed. I know it happened to me, why can't it happen to someone else?

July 9, 2017 - Care For Others

This week North Korea test fired successfully an ICBM capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to the USA. Suddenly a lot of Americans are concerned. The folks in Hawaii, California, and especially in Alaska suddenly are thinking about the possibilities of a nuclear bomb landing in their cities. The North Korean military has been able to nuke somebody nearby before, like South Korea or Japan, but not all the way to the United States. Now it seems like they can and now we care. Perhaps not too much for Houstonians... yet. But what if they can in a few months send a missile to downtown Houston, would we care more then? This is pretty much how human beings operate. If it affects me, then I care. If not, then it's not a priority. It is that way on a geo-macro sense, and it is that way even when it deals with the smallest of things. One time a few years ago, a church member asked me to do something I have never done before. He asked me to go out to his new car and pray over it so it won't get damaged. Now I have no problem praying about anything and trusting God for his grace in anything. But I thought about all the other member cars next to his. Shouldn't we pray for those too? Somehow, we just do have a tendency to care about ourselves far more than others. So a nuclear bomb on Anchorage is terrible, but one on Houston is far worse!

Here is one of the most dramatic differences found in a born again believer's life and experiences. We are to care about others so much more than that. When Jesus was questioned as to what are the most important things in life, he answered in Matthew 22:37-39, "Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself." So we are to care about others as much as we care about ourselves. Wow! Do you see how people can be drawn to the message of the gospel? When we care about others far more than they have ever experienced, when we treat others as important as ourselves, when we live sacrificially so that others can be blessed and ministered to... Jesus is glorified and the gospel becomes powerful. No, we can't determine whether a nuclear bomb will fall on Tokyo, but we can care about the people there and pray for them like we would pray for our own family. That's just how God's people ought to be as they allow God's love to flow through them.

This week will you lift up one another in prayer to the Lord? Will you pray for our president and the leaders of our nation? Will you pray for our VBS program this week? And let's trust God to do great and wonderful things in and through us.

July 16, 2017 - Count Your Blessings

So this week we had a water main break and water was lost for a few days. By God's grace and the efforts of some folks, a possible major crisis was resolved with just some inconveniences. We were able to have church on Sunday and our VBS program did not have to be curtailed. But for a day or two, a lot of bad scenarios were being considered. Not having water and facilities for over 500 people can certainly be traumatic. And have you ever counted how many times a third grader needs to "go to the bathroom?" For most of the time, we don't ever think about how wonderful it is to have running water. In fact, there are probably dozens of things we take for granted every single day of our lives. The only times we realized what blessings we have been endowed with like AC, electricity, internet, and yes water... is when we lose them. Think about the millions of people in the world who don't have all these things and live every day without them. Perhaps the only way we can is if we had to places like Mali, Haiti, Moldova, etc. Then we can come back home and really appreciate all the blessings we have here in America.

There is a song we used to sing in church called, "Count your blessings" by Johnson Oatman Jr. It begins like this, "When upon life's billows you are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done." God does so many things in our lives. He not only takes care of our needs as he promised in Matt. 6:33, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you..." He also takes care of the deep spiritual and eternal issues of our lives. If he did not, we would sorely miss his hand of blessings and power. Losing water for a few days was almost catastrophic. Can you imagine what it would be like losing the hand of blessings from the almighty God? Praise him that it won't happen, because he promised to be with us always. Now each time you turn your water on, keep that in mind.

Thank you all for your prayer support this week for VBS. Praise God for giving us a wonderful event.

July 23, 2017 - 94%

Did you know that 94% of Christians in America made their decision for Christ before the age of 18? (The Barna Group) An even more eye opening statistic from the Nazarene Church Growth Research says that 85% made that decision between the ages of 4-14. Just looking at the numbers apart from anything else, we can easily come to a few conclusions. First, there is something really fresh about the young minds. They have not become indoctrinated yet by the world. Perhaps their simplicity of life allows them to embrace their creator easier. Second, parents have a lot to do with their children accepting Jesus as their savior. Moms and Dads talking with their children about Jesus, taking them to Christ centered churches, raising them up in the fear of the Lord... all make huge differences. Third, sharing the gospel to lost young people must be one of the priorities of any church. Only 25% of Americans consider themselves evangelicals. So it is not a stretch to say that there are close to 60 million youths (under 18) who are not in families where the gospel is told. And as they enter adulthood, their chances of responding to the love of Christ significantly diminish. All this tells me as pastor that we must ramp up our children's ministry, and we must make huge efforts to reach the youths of our city for Christ.

So we praise God for a very successful VBS a week ago. Only the Lord knows the full eternal impact of that week. As our youths leave for D-Camp and Impact this week, we need to keep them in prayer every day, trusting God to work in every heart. And as we encounter this year through CBC outreach ministries (AWANA, Sports ministries, Children ministries, Youth ministries, Sunday School, Chinese School, TCS, etc.) various young persons, we need to be involved through our prayers. Remember what a great time it is for them to hear the gospel, encounter God's love, and decide to give their lives to Jesus. I know statistics can be extremely boring, but not this one. Remember what the 94% means. Make that number a part of your prayer life.

July 30, 2017 - Family

Just this week I had a chance to visit with someone and he showed me a portrait of his very large family. It was amazing seeing four generations of this family together. There must have been close to 50 persons in the picture. A family is uniquely special. And having your family near you is such a blessing. Being able to spend time with them, doing things together with them, seeing them grow up... well, words cannot really describe the joy in that. Our children are literally half way across this country. One is in New York and the other in Sacramento. The pleasure of being able to hug and kiss our children and grandchildren is few and far between. Those of you who have family right here in Houston, you are blessed. Barb and I will have an opportunity to spend some time this week out in the west coast and enjoy our family for a week. We are looking forward to that.

God created the family when he decided to make Eve to partner as wife to Adam. Unlike anything else he created, only mankind has this family relationship. Animals through instinct will have a brief family type relationship as they rear their young offspring for a time, and then it is over. It is not like that for us. Being in a family is permanent, and this is an awesome thing. Being blood relatives make a difference in so many ways. The term "blood is thicker than water" is meaningful to everyone.

There is nothing more special than being in your own family... until the almighty God created something even more special. It is being in the "Family of God." When we gave our lives to Jesus Christ, we are adopted into God's family. Romans 8:15-16 says, "...the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship... he testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." So we are now members of a spiritual and eternal family. And that too is permanent, and forever.

So as we gather today on this "Family Worship" day, isn't it great to be a part of this awesome spiritual family with the almighty God as our "Abba father?" Many of you are doubly blessed to be surrounded by your earthly family as well, but for some of us who may be far away from them, we will have CBC as our special family along with knowing that our Father in heaven has adopted and embraced us into His family. If being in a family means something special for you, then this is really special!