Archive for the ‘Future Events’ Category

In my morning Newcomer Refugee class, I currently have a student from Burma, one of The Karen People, and some Yazidi students. They all came here as refugees seeking freedom and safety. Yesterday we talked about the 4th of July and what it means. They all understood the word Freedom.

For my Karen student, freedom means not worrying about the military dictatorship that took over Burma which caused her parents to flee to a refugee camp in Thailand. My student was born in the refugee camp and has never seen her native homeland.

For my Yazidi students, freedom means being safe from the murderous criminals who were committing genocide. It also means they are free to practice their religion without being oppressed or discriminated against.

Freedom is so precious and yet taken for granted by us Americans. We do not have to worry about government troops or police coming into our churches to arrest us, not yet anyway. We are free to practice our faith or to not practice any faith. We do not have people with weapons pointed at us telling us what we must be.

I appreciate my freedom here in America. There is another freedom I look forward to even more than the freedom I have here. It is the freedom from the effects of sin in this world. For now my citizenship is U.S. citizenship. The day will come that either I die or Jesus comes back for us that I will more fully realize what the bible says- “but our citizenship is in heaven.” Only by God’s grace, I have been granted citizenship in heaven. I do not deserve it.

As I help refugees and immigrants here in my hometown, I am constantly mindful that I have dual citizenship- U.S. and heavenly. My desire is to help my newcomer friends with their new lives here in America. My desire is to also show them the love of God, whether it be in ways such as joining them for a meal, listening to them, or teaching them English. I realize that each day I can help them in a much bigger way that is not seen. I can pray for them. I can pray for them because in God’s grace, I have been granted citizenship in heaven and with that comes the birth right to talk to God anytime.


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Good Friday and Easter Sunday deservedly receive a lot of attention. They are the pivotal events in not only Christianity, but also in History. On Good Friday we remember His sacrificial death for us. On Easter Sunday we remember how He defeated death for us through His resurrection. But what about the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday? The day when Jesus’ body laid in the tomb. His followers were in despair. They had lost hope. They thought it was all over and done with and their beloved leader was gone forever.

I have been to the funerals of loved ones and friends. Looking into a casket is perhaps the most solemn experience we face in this life. That and watching a loved one die. I was with my father when he died. He died while I was reading from the bible to him. When my father died, I did not despair. That was because over a year before he died, I was with him while he made peace with God by trusting in Jesus. I had so much peace about where my father went to that I taught my class that evening, but I had the benefit of knowing the rest of the story which is that Jesus conquered death through His resurrection.

There are other moments in life that might we feel all hope is lost. We look at our life obstacles and wonder if there is anyway that we can find that job, get out of debt, experience our loved ones finally getting their life turned around, recover from an illness or any other of life’s seemingly unending problems. We at times are like the followers of Jesus on that Saturday between the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is as if we are on the outside of the tomb lost in despair.

I often wonder how His followers felt that Saturday. What it must have been like for those who washed His body and prepared His body for burial. They had forgotten about how Jesus called Lazarus back from the dead only days before Jesus entered Jerusalem. They had forgotten how Jesus had told them that He would die and that He would be raised from dead. They had lost hope. We do the same thing. We lose hope even though we have the rest of the story. We know that Jesus defeated death. His resurrection proves that He has power even over our worst enemy. When we face life’s difficulties, it is too easy for us to lose hope and not keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

On this Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, I would like to encourage you to think about your problems and then remember that He has all power. His resurrection is the proof that we too will one day enjoy the benefits of heaven, and also that He does have all power. He is more than able to help us to overcome our difficulties.

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In the bible it says that one day every knee will bow and every tonuge will confess Jesus Christ is Lord. What a wonderful day that will be when Jesus fully reveals Himself as Lord of all. That means no more war, sickness, poverty, or any of the other troubles that plague us.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to experience a little glimpse of what that day will be like. We read from Psalm 100 in 7 languages in worship service. We had Chinese, English, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese read in the worship service. It was a beautiful peek into what that day will be like when Jesus fully reveals Himself to us and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.

That moment also underscored for me that God truly does love the world. He loves all people. He wants all people form all languages to know Him as Father. That is why Jesus said “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not persih but have eternal life”. The question is do we want to confess Jesus now and experience His love asnd forgiveness now or wait until it it too late?

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This past few weeks  have had the pleasure of giving rides to a woman from Brazil who is here visiting her son and his wife. The first time I picked her up she heard the CD playing in my van from Jesus. It is from the musical My Utmost for His Highest. One of the songs if “Blessed is the Holy Name”. She smiled and said “in my church”. In her church in Brazil they sing the same song in Portuguese. we have talked about how she prays for her family. Today she told me that when her husband died she called out to Jesus and He came to her. She has a relationship with Jesus. She enjoys worship music and worshiping Jesus.

I have had the pleasure of worshiping in other countries and in church services in other languages  here in Lincoln . Each time I come away with the wonderful realization of how Jesus is for all people from every culture. It causes me to think about what the bible means when it says “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in Him should not persih but have eternal life”. God loves all people and showed His love through Jesus.

These experiences also cause me to think about that wonderful day in the future when as the bible says “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord”.

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This past week we had two senseless shootings in America. There has been a dramatic increase in violence over the past few decades. It can leave us wondering what is going on. It can also leave us feeling confused, worried and a lack of peace in our spirit. It is interesting to me that the one who said things like “love your enemies”, “pray for those who persecute you”, and  “turn the other cheek”, the one who is called the Prince of Peace, Jesus, also said of a sign of His return would be “an increase of violence”. The world certainly seems to be much more violent than 20 or 30 years ago.

There is encouragement for me in that Jesus promised that He will be with us always. He also said “I have overcome the world”. Recent events may be part of what Jesus was talking about when He said there would be an increase in violence or even more worrisome is that it could get worse. However we can rest in the fact that it is a sign of the return of Jesus and that He is in control even though it does not seem that way.

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Christians talk a lot about Jesus did when He was here on earth. Deservedly so when we stop to consider all of His miracles, His death and Resurrection. That was 2,000 years ago. He is not back yet. What is He doing now?

He is always at work on our behalf. He has not stopped helping us. One of the things He is doing is preparing a place for us. Jesus said”if I go, I will prepare a place for you that where I am you may also be”. He is at work right now preparing places for all who believe in Him. What a wonderful place that will be. A place where there is no sorrow, no sickness, no pain, no wars, none of the problems that plague this life. Best of all we will be  in His presence forever.

When we begin to feel tired and worn out with this life, we need to remember what Jesus is doing right now for us. He is preparing a place for us to marvelous for words. One day He will come for us to take us there. In the meantime we have work to do here to show His love to others.

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Many signs of the return of Jesus are in place. The table is set and ready. There is one important thing that must take place first. Jesus said the “Gospel must go to all nations and then the end will come”. The message about Jesus needs to go to all people groups first. This means we have work to do. We should do this work because Jesus commanded us to do it and even more so out of gratitude to Him and love for others. Jesus said after His resurrection, “All power has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations….”

The message about the love of God and the love Jesus showed when He died on the cross for all of our sins must go to all people groups first. Jesus wants the message be communicated. Our energy, resources, prayers, devotion and service should be given to spreading His kingdom whether at home or abroad. This is a short but important message. GO TELL them about Jesus!!

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