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April 8 / April 15

April 1, 2018 - Prepare for that Moment

Happy Easter! It is so good to have you join us in worship on this resurrection Sunday. The movie "I can only imagine" is one of the hottest movies out this past week, which is absolutely amazing for a Christian film in our society. It chronicles the life of Mercy Me band's lead vocalist Bart Millard who wrote and composed the song in 1999 and was released in 2001. It focusses on redemption but includes a huge theme about heaven. Barb and I saw it and were quite moved by the story. We certainly recommend you to see it sometime. You will be blessed.

Very few people care nothing about life after death, even atheists. God has placed the hope for eternity in the hearts and souls of all mankind. And for Christians, this is special. Irenaeus of Lyons said, "The business of the Christian is nothing else but to be ever preparing for death." Now that may sound depressing unless you knew what that moment brings you to, and Easter allows us to get a phenomenal glimpse through that window. There is life after death and that life is abundant if you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. So the business of God's people is to get ready for that moment, and help others get ready as well. Just like it happened with Jesus, someday we will be resurrected with a brand new glorified body to live in heaven forever. The proof is in the empty tomb and the risen Lord. This is a promise given by the almighty God who never fails. So go right ahead, do some imagining. You will find yourself smiling a lot.

I hope you are having a wonderful Easter weekend. Resurrection Sunday should bring nothing but joy to our hearts. Stay after worship and spend it with us in the FLC for some fellowship and a light lunch. If you are in the English worship, a "Celebrating Easter around the world" will be programmed. If you are in the Chinese Worship, a wonderful fellowship luncheon is planned. And if you are here for the first time, thank you for blessing us with your presence. We hope you will come back soon. Again, Barbara and I wish you a very Happy Easter.

April 8, 2018 - To Be Content

A few weeks ago a friend showed me his new car. It was an Aston Martin DB9. Just in case you don't know what that is... well it's got 540 hp, can almost fly and costs more than the average house in Houston. And immediately I thought about my humble Camaro and realized it has less hp. Then in the next few seconds, I made a mental comparison leading to this brief conclusion... "I was a bit lesser." Have you ever gone through that process before? It can be a job, a house, a school grade, an award, the image you see in the mirror, or even a spouse. You see something else and compare what you have, and then in the seconds following determine where you are and what you are. This is what the world does to instill its values, goals, and moral compass onto people. This is Hollywood and why companies pay millions of dollars to run commercials. This is how the world grips people in the lifestyle of "this world". It makes us feel less, regardless of where we are on their scale, and whispers into our minds the need to have more of "that". And since all of us have grown up submerged in this pattern, our minds and hearts naturally will gravitate to it, unless we make some choices to not do so.

I know a man who was the CEO of a very large Fortune 500 corporation. I am sure he was a multi-millionaire and could afford to buy most anything. But you would never know that if you sat in his car or had dinner at his house. His lifestyle was simple and moderate. In his spare time he led Bible Studies and ministered in his church. He was quite comfortable in who he was and what he had. You see, he discovered the secret that Paul spoke about in Philippians 4:11-12, "...for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." I am not writing about whether it is right or not to have expensive things. That's for another venue. I am simply writing that as believers we can be freed from the cravings of this world to want more than what we have, thinking it will fulfill the need of our hearts' desire. You see only Jesus can do that, and in Him we can become all that he designed us to be, and nothing less. We really just need more of Jesus.

Praise God for an awesome Easter weekend last week. As we move towards the summer, CBC has so many great events for our church family. Keep an eye on our website cbchouston.org; we hope you can be a part of those events.

April 15, 2018 - Heaven and Hell

A few weeks ago, the Italian newspaper La Repubblica published a front-page article by Eugenio Scalfari stating that the Pope said, "Bad souls are not punished and a hell doesn't exist." This article went viral and was pretty much on the front pages of most newspapers worldwide. Furious debate ensued about whether the Pope actually said that or not, whether he was the most liberal secular pope ever, and whether Hell actually existed at all. Weeks later, there are still discussions and debates in the news and on social media. If you do a word search on "Hell", you will find results in excess of 100 million. Whether someone liked it or not, it is nevertheless on the minds of humanity. Should it be?

In 2011 one of my former favorite Christian writers Rob Bell wrote in his NY Times best seller "Love Wins" that he questioned the existence of hell. He urges the spiritual population to recognize heaven and hell as "states of consciousness" rather than outcomes of life. What an interesting re-definition of biblical truths. Having grown up in the inner city of New York and spending a whole lot of time with pretty rough guys who regularly used the word as part of an angry sentence, I can totally understand how the word hell is not well liked. But does redefining it make it go away? Does having someone like Rob Bell or the Pope tell you that it doesn't exist make it so? The answer is pretty obvious. Only the Word of God is absolutely true, yesterday, today and forever. Psalm 119:160 says, "All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal." The Bible states that there is a hell and a million book writers or important world leaders cannot change that fact. What I want to do instead is to tell people about the alternative which is also a biblical fact: it is the existence of Heaven. It is also not a state of consciousness. It is just as real as hell, but a whole lot better! (Do I hear a loud Amen?) And we can all go there instead if we trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.