Preachings

Discipling Part 5 – Servanthood

By Pastor Ay Nee Ng
Questions raised when we talk about Servanthood:
• What was the significance of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples?
• Why should I want to serve God?
• Why is serving God important?

Do we enjoy playing pranks or do we enjoy doing good? I just received a video from some friends.

On their walk along a farm, a teacher and his pupil spotted a pair of old torn shoes. Being cheeky, the student wanted to play a trick on whoever owned that pair of worn out shoes by hiding the old shoes, thinking it would be fun to watch the owner’s reaction when he couldn’t find them. The teacher told his student that it is not good to play such cruel jokes on a poor person. The teacher came up with a better idea of putting coins in each of the worn out shoes and hide themselves somewhere to see the owner’s reaction when he finds the coins in his shoes.

After a while, they witnessed a farmer putting his foot into one shoe. He felt something hard; he checked and found the coins. He looked around to see if anyone had lost these coins, but he couldn’t see anyone, and so, he kept them. He got emotional when his other foot felt the same hardness that revealed some more coins. Tears came rolling down his cheeks. He folded his hands and looked toward the sky and said, “Oh God. Thousand times thanks to the unknown person helping me in this time of need. Because of that person’s kindness and help, now I will be able to buy medicine for my sick wife and bread for my hungry children.”

Tears came streaming down the student’s face after listening to the farmer. When the farmer had left, the teacher asked his student what lesson did he learnt. “What would have made you happier? Hiding his shoes or placing coins in his shoes?” With tears in his eyes, he told his teacher he will never forget what he learnt today and thanked him. He understood the meaning of these words: The joy of giving is much more than that of taking, for it is truly limitless.

Doing good is service. The Bible has a great deal to say about servanthood because the central theme is the Servant of all—Jesus Christ. The quality which so completely characterized the life of Jesus Christ is the quality of unselfish servanthood.

Folks, do you believe that servanthood is God’s work for every believer? You should because it sure is. All our actions should reflect the fact that Jesus is not only our Saviour but also the master of our lives. We are to be His servants. In the Old and New Testament, many were referred to as servants.

[Some of this content was taken from GotQuestions.org]

1. What does the Bible say about being a servant and servanthood? The Bible has a great deal to say about servanthood because the central theme is the Servant of all—Jesus Christ.

“But Jesus called them (his disciples) and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high position use their authority over them. It must not be this way among you! But whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant. And whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’” (Mt. 20:25-28)

Also, Jesus said: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mk. 10:45)

When we give Jesus Christ His rightful place as Lord of our lives, His lordship will be expressed in the way we serve others (Mk. 9:35; 1 Pet. 4:10; Jn. 15:12-13). This service is born out of compassion for the lost, poor, sick and needy.

2. What exactly is servanthood? 

A servant is first of all one who is under submission to another. For Christians, this means submission to God first, and then submission to one another. Then, as one in submission, a servant is one who seeks to meet the real needs of others or of the person he is serving.

Servanthood is the state, condition, or quality of one who lives as a servant. To put it another way, servanthood is the condition or state of being a servant to others, of ministry to others rather than the service of self. It means being willing to give oneself to minister for and to others and to do whatever it takes to accomplish what is best for another. It is not about service to self and self-gratification.

Some of us grew up having maids to do our chores, but majority grew up with at least someone serving to your needs. Guess who? Your parents, your mum and dad, or some grandparents to look to your needs. One way or another you were being served.

Saturday 25th November 2017, Today and Sunrise shows both reported that parents spent 850 hours chauffeuring their kids for sports every year! Parents do a lot for their kids! What about the many sleepless nights your parents go through diapers and feeding you? Remember those days? No, you can’t because you were too young. But when you become parents, then you would realise how much we appreciate our parents and what they did, and are still doing for us.

3. Why is servanthood so important? How were you treated when serving others and how did you treat them? Well, it is important to note the differences or, if they are, similarities in the treatment of those serving us and of us serving others. Servanthood is important to God because it helps build us stamina, humility and a great depth of understanding and wisdom. It is a matter of our HEART and ATTITUDE. That is what God is looking for!! How you serve others is how they will serve you and treat you. “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Mt. 7:12).

4. Why is serving God important? Our service to God demonstrates our love for Him. Our love for God will be expressed in our love for others. “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Cor. 4:5). Also, it demonstrates who we are–His children, identified with Jesus Christ as He came to serve humankind as well as He is our Lord, Saviour and Master.

Then the five words in the New Testament translated “ministry” generally refer to servanthood or service given in love. Serving others is the very essence of ministry. All believers are called to ministry (Mt. 28:18-20), and therefore, we are all called to be servants for the glory of God. Living is giving; all else is selfishness and boredom.

5. What is servanthood leadership? True Leadership is servanthood, and the greatest leader of all time is Jesus Christ. Servanthood is an attitude exemplified by Christ “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant” (Phil. 2:6-7).

In Matthew chapter 20, a mother craves position and prominence for her two sons serving Jesus, but Jesus had other plans about leadership. His plans do not suit the world; the world fights for and envies position and power, but God’s kingdom is about humility, understanding others, and compassion to serve, give and help others succeed with no jealousy!!

“Those who desire to be great in God’s kingdom must be the servant of all” (Mt. 20:26). It has been rightly stated, “Rank is given you to enable you to better serve those above and below you. It is not given for you to practice your idiosyncrasies” (General Bruce C. Clarke, USA).

Let us serve others by serving Christ (Col. 3:23-24). God the Father has served us by sacrificing Christ on the cross for our sins, and we should serve others by giving the gospel and our lives to them (1 Thess. 1:5-6).

6. Who do we serve? Do we need to serve at all or serve God?
The Apostle Paul points that “each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but the interests of others as well” (Phil. 1:4). He then directs his focus onto our Saviour as our great example, saying: “You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had.”

Paul then followed this exhortation with a strong reminder of the humiliation of Christ (Phil. 2:6) who, though being God of very God, emptied himself by taking the form of a slave. There is no question that if we as Christians are going to grow and mature into Christ-like character, we must experience progress in giving of ourselves in ministry to and for others.

We are to serve each other. That is our ministry, right? Who do you serve?
• At work? Your boss, your clients.
• In the university? Your professors, lecturers, tutors and fellow students
• At home? You serve each other, right? Your home is your sanctuary and you need help from each other. You serve because there is love.
• Then at church? You are not being paid and you step into church voluntarily. Who do you serve? To some, no one; to others, maybe for self-gratification; the rest, we serve God, hopefully, by serving others.

There is a difference when we come to church. We think that we are not expected to serve, especially if we come with the attitude to “get”. This kind of attitude (ex: “if I don’t receive from the pulpit or worship or get my way, then this is not for me”) is sad because we don’t come with the attitude of serving each other and God. When you serve to one of the least among you, you are serving to God himself.

Let’s read Matthew 25:31-46 on The Final Judgment.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Church, as all believers are supposed to be His disciples and the church is the body of believers, why are we short selling on serving? The church is in need; the church is hungry for lost souls, and in a way, if we don’t grow, we can become sickly. I implore you, there is so much to grow our church, and God has put you guys here to help each other to grow and to grow His church–our SGC.

7. Are we willing to put our hands to the plough? Or why shouldn’t we be willing to put our hands to the plough and serve our Lord Jesus Christ? Church, while we can and should find comfort and encouragement in Christ, we need to understand what the Apostle Paul is saying.

Let’s read Philippians 2:1-7 on Imitating Christ’s Humility.

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!”

Church, when we properly grasp what the Apostle Paul is saying, that comfort should propel us into being servants of the Saviour and one another. The world we live in is preoccupied with self today and is readily seen in slogans like, “Be all you can be”, “Experience your potential”, or “Do it for yourself.”

Therefore, the concept of servanthood stands opposed to the primary concerns of our culture and society, which are more focused on our own personal happiness, comfort and self-expression rather than growth in the character and quality of the life of the Saviour which is the heart of discipling.

Simply put, our modern day society, and this includes a great number of Christians, is focused on making satisfaction its goal, indeed, its religion. There is much more concern for self-fulfilment than for pleasing God and truly serving Him and others as seen in the life of Jesus.

Again, while many of these things are important and have their place, it does take the focus off of what is truly the heart of Christianity—knowing and loving God, and out of that resource and relationship, living as servants in the power of the Spirit according to the example of Christ.

Conclusion
Christ’s plan and that which produces maximum blessing to the world and the church is servanthood. A servant is one who, even when in positions of leadership, seeks to lead and influence others by giving his/her life in ministry for the blessing of others and their needs. The Lord Jesus came as a servant with a commitment to serve. Just think, if He had come to be served, our redemption could and would never have taken place. Likewise, our failure to live as servants throws up a huge barrier to effective ministry as representatives of the Lord Jesus.

Having pointed to His actions as an example for them, Christ then drove home an inescapable lesson, here defined as a “solemn truth” and for which we answer our first question. What was the significance of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples? Well, the significance is that if He, their master and the One they worshipped, assumed the role of a servant to minister to others, then certainly they must likewise take the towel of servanthood as to minister to others rather than seek to elevate themselves. Ironically and contrary to the thinking of the world, true blessing comes in serving others.

Let’s read John13:12-17 (NLT).

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am. 14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. 16 I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message. 17 Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.”

Let’s pray.
God, please change our hearts to one of servanthood and mould us to your image day by day. We give thanks and praise your mighty name. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Advertisements

Discipling Part 4 – Who is God’s Army? The Church

By Pastor Ay Nee Ng

Is there ever a feeling of fear, worry, doubts or anxiety when we are enlisted in the army, navy or air force?

From Worms to Wars

Taken from Our Daily Bread on Oct 9, 2017

Read: Judges 6:11–16, 36–40

The Lord said to [Gideon], “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” Judges 6:23

It was ten-year-old Cleo’s first time fishing, and as he looked into the container of bait he seemed hesitant to get started. Finally he said to the writer’s husband, “Help me, I-S-O-W!” When Cleo was asked what the problem was, Cleo responded, “I-S-O-W! I’m scared of worms!” His fear had made him unable to act.

Fear can paralyse grown men too. Gideon must’ve been afraid when the angel of the Lord came to him as he was threshing wheat in secret, hiding from his Midianite enemies who had been oppressing them(Judg. 6:11). The angel told him he had been chosen, enlisted by God into battle- to lead His people in battle (vv. 12–14) against his aggressor, the Midianites.

Put your faith in the living God that was Gideon’s response, not at first but after testing God, he did.

“Pardon me, my lord, . . . but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (v. 15). After being assured of the Lord’s presence, Gideon still seemed fearful and asked for signs that God would use him to save Israel as He promised (v 36–40). And God responded to Gideon’s requests. The Israelites were successful in battle and then enjoyed peace for forty years.

We all have fears of various kinds, more so, when we have to go into battle—from worms to wars. Gideon’s story teaches us that we can be confident when we are enlisted in God’s army especially If God asks us to do something, He’ll give us the strength and power to do it.

To take the fear out of living, put your faith in the living God.

******

Do you believe it? We need to believe that God fights our battles through Jesus Christ our Lord as we are at war constantly, either physically and/or spiritually. My message today is “Who is God’s Army: The Church”. By the end, hopefully, we will have a greater understanding that the Church is a body of believers gathered together as an army of believers called to war.

Let us read.

“Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.” (2 Tim. 2:3-4; NLT)

“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:10-12; NLT)

A. Why Is There a Need for an Army? Because There Is a War On.

1. Scriptures proves that we are in a warzone. If we are not at war, why does Scripture mentions that as a good soldier, we should endure suffering (2 Tim. 2:3-4) and asks us to put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:10-12)? Why do we need to put on the armour if there is no battle to fight in? Church, there is a battle for ourselves, families and souls. We are enlisted in God’s army. Are we ready for battle?

Revelation 16:14 tells of a final war, this coming battle before Christ sets up His millennial kingdom often called “The battle of Armageddon”. This is a misleading expression because Armageddon means “Mount of Slaughter” and refers to the beautiful valley to the east of Mount Megiddo. We have checked out this place and it is in Israel!

The Battle of the Great Day of God Almighty
Taken from Discover Revelation

This covers (Rev. 19:7-21), which shows primarily Christ as the righteous Warrior, for we see Him coming to do battle with the host of Satan’s armies in what is often called “the battle of Armageddon,” but which in truth is a war, or campaign, of the great day of God Almighty. This war is necessitated by the fiendishly evil ambitions of humankind and their evil source of power, Satan.

Our Lord Himself tells when this battle will take place:
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:29-31)

The Glorious Appearing will take place “Immediately after the tribulation of those days”. That is, at the end of the Tribulation and before the Millennium. Our Lord will time His coming at the most dramatic point in all history. The Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Satan will inspire the armies of the world to invade Palestine in a gigantic effort to rid the world of the Jews and to fight against Christ.

This coming battle before Christ sets up His millennial kingdom is often called “the Battle of Armageddon.” This is a misleading expression because Armageddon means “Mount of Slaughter” and refers to the beautiful valley to the east of Mount Megiddo. And the word “battle” here literally means “campaign” or “war”. No war has ever been won by a single battle. In fact, it is possible to lose a battle and still win a war. The war of the great Day of God Almighty takes place in a single day, and the Battle of Armageddon will be just one of the battles of that war.

The Battle of Armageddon: This war will encompass more than just the Valley of Megiddo; as we will see, it covers practically all of the land of Palestine. This conflict, when Christ defeats the armies of Antichrist, will be a series of at least 4 campaigns”; therefore it is more properly called “the battle on the great day of God Almighty” (see Armageddon; Rev. 16:14). This last conflict between Satan and Christ until after the Millennium will find Satan making one more fiendish effort to destroy the promised seed. Satan will order his armies to destroy the entire city of Jerusalem, but Christ will come to deliver her at the last moment, as is clearly seen (in Zech. 12:1-9).

Now we have proven there is a war going on – the battle for our lives are at stake!

2. Spiritually and physically, there is a fight for survival that has to do with obedience vs. rebellion. When we disobey God as seen in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Judges, the Israelites were constantly at war with their neighbours, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern people who invaded the country. Yet, whenever the Israelites obeyed God and cast away other gods, they had peace. During Deborah’s time, the people of Israel had peace for 40 years, then when they turn away from God, they were back in battle, threatened, robbed, oppressed and persecuted. They suffered in the hands of their oppressive neighbours.

Folks, when we obey God, our world has God in it and He fights our battles. Thus, we have a longer period of peace and harmony. When we come out of His covering, independent and in rebellion, we are under attack from the evil one and evil forces and we lose the favour of God. Constantly, we are warring within our mind, will and emotions!

When Adam and Eve sinned, sin came into the world and caused a separation of relationship with God. God wanted to make us right with Him by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus, born of a virgin named Mary, to pay the penalty of our sins by dying on the cross. The blood shed covered our sins, reunited us back to Him, and paved the way of salvation and restoration of relationship.

3. The battle lines were drawn long ago. A major part of this conflict has to do with the roots of Abraham. As Sarah was barren at the time, she gave her Egyptian slave girl, Hagar of Muslim faith to bear a son named Ishmael for Abraham. A stupid silly mistake caused so much jealousy between Sarah’s son Isaac and Ishmael that Sarah expelled Hagar and her son, Ishmael. Then comes his grandsons, Jacob (Israel) and Esau, who will always feel an enmity with his brother (Gen. 27:41). Esau held a grudge against Jacob and hated his brother because Jacob robbed him of his father’s blessings as the firstborn (Gen. 27:2)

B. What Is to Be Done?

1. Gather the army—the Church.

a. Body ministry is important.

i. Gather together to hear and learn from the preaching and teaching of God’s Word to equip and unite the believers. Christ provided believers, the Church, with pastors and teachers “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:12-13).

ii. Actively be involved in helping each other to grow in their faith. “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11) and release their giftings in engaging in warfare (Rom. 8:26; Mt. 18:18-20).

iii. Learn more and live more like Jesus Christ. “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Eph. 4:14).

iv. Keep encouraging each other in the faith and stir others into good works. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Heb. 10:23-25; ESV)

v. Obey Jesus Christ. Jesus gave believers special instructions before He ascended into heaven: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:19-20).

b. There is power in gathering together. “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Mt. 18:18-20; ESV).

c. Protection comes by covering each other’s back. If you are a Christian, do you need other believers? Yes definitely you do need other believers. God expects believers to grow in our faith and to do so by growing together in God’s Word. The growth and protection Christians need to experience occurs as believers assemble together as a local church—it won’t happen by individuals or families attempting to do it on their own. Christians and Christian families need each other to grow in their Christian faith.

2. Equip the army by training and discipling the Church in the Word of God and the use of the offensive and defensive armour of God in spiritual warfare.
Biblical truths:
You have sinned against a holy God.
The just penalty for your sin is eternal judgment in hell.
There is absolutely nothing you can do to make things right between you and God.
Jesus Christ, the God-man, lived a perfect life, died for your sins, and was raised from the dead.
The only way you can be delivered, saved, from sin’s power and penalty is to turn from it completely and trust entirely in who Jesus Christ is and what He did on the cross.

“That whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (Jn. 3:15-17; ESV)

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom. 10:9-10)

The moment you become a Christian, many wonderful and amazing things occur: you are united forever with Christ; you are declared righteous before God; you are placed into God’s family as an adopted son, gaining all the rights and privileges that come with that; God begins a work in you of setting you apart from sin to Himself. Your relation to God is completely changed, and that for the better!

C. The Church is the Body of Believers and the Army of God
The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people. Romans 16:5 says “… greet the church that is in their house.” Paul refers to the church in their house, not a church building, but a body of believers.

The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head. Ephesians 1:22-23 says: “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) until Christ’s return. So, in the New Testament, believers are always identified with other believers as Christians. The images used to describe this essential relationship between Christians are a body and a family.

The Bible describes the believers in Romans as being “one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5). It describes every Christian in Corinth as being essentially connected to each other—“the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body…the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Cor. 12:14-15, 21). Body of believers means they are interconnected with each other.

Almost 250 times in the New Testament Christians are called “brothers,” “sisters,” or “brethren.” These Christians were from different cultures, backgrounds, and races made up of men and women; poor and rich; slaves and masters; Jews, Greeks and Romans. In Church, they were “brothers,” “sisters,” and “brethren.” It didn’t matter what their status was in this world because they were related to each other in Jesus Christ.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:26-28)

Christians associate with and are committed to each other simply because they are Christians! That’s what Christians do because that’s who we are—a body of believers and a family. Remember, Christians are described as a body and a family. If your body and family are functioning correctly, pain is felt and taken care of! This same kind of care is also what God intends for a church.

“God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honour to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (1 Cor. 12:24-26).

If you read how Christians cared for one another in the New Testament, you’d find how they cared for each other’s physical needs (Acts 9:36, 39), financial needs (Acts 4:32-35), emotional needs (Rom. 12:15), and spiritual needs (Eph. 4:12).

Remember The Long Ranger and his famous words, “Hi Ho, Silver (his horse).” The Lone Ranger was a resourceful, smart, and courageous lawman, but there were many times when he needed the help of a posse—and don’t forget about the many times Tonto came to his rescue! What about his horse too!

God’s plan is so wonderful that He has provided for every possible need we could have on this earth through His Word and His people, the Church. You can’t be a “Lone Ranger Christian” because you need other believers’ help. They are our army of believers and they need your help too!

Conclusion
We need each other. We are known as the Body of Christ, called to war. God equips and trains us in our local church, giving us pastors and teachers to guide us in His Word. Do not fear for He is always with us (Isa. 41:10).

******

Testimony: Jake DeShazer’s Extraordinary Journey from WWII Doolittle Raider, to POW, to Missionary to Japan

Jacob Daniel DeShazer (15 November 1912 – 15 March 2008 at age 95) participated in the Doolittle Raid as a staff sergeant and later became a missionary in Japan. Jacob DeShazer tells how as a Japanese prisoner of war he discovered Christ –after two years as prisoner of war he was given some reading material and he saw a bible and started reading until he came to the passage in Romans 10:9 he confessed with his mouth Jesus is Lord and Believed in his heart–that day he accepted Jesus into his life and all the hatred, anger, bitterness left him and eventually returned to Japan as a missionary.

Jacob DeShazer, a farm boy from Oregon, joined the army Air Corps at age 27. He had always wanted to be a pilot, but when he did not qualify, an opportunity opened to become a bombardier. By luck of the draw, Jacob found himself as one of the 80 men participating in the famous Doolittle Raid over Japan shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

During the raid, Jacob and his fellow crewmen bailed out over China and were taken captive by the Japanese as prisoners of war for more than three years. In that Japanese POW camp, every day facing torture and death, Jacob’s path changed when his request for a Bible was fulfilled. Jacob came back to the Christian faith in which he was raised and made a vow to God in his prison cell that if he survived he would return to Japan, not as a warrior but as a missionary.

The Jacob DeShazer story is not only about the bravery of a soldier during war, but also about how powerful love and forgiveness can be when given to the enemy. This story is officially supported by the DeShazer family.

“Return of the Raider presents one survivor’s view of the Doolittle Raid against Japan in the early days of World War II after Pearl Harbor. Jacob DeShazer’s story is a testament to the grit and determination that saw the U.S. through to victory. Return of the Raider is also an unforgettable chronicle of one man’s faith during one of the most pivotal times in American history.”—Col. Carroll V. Glines, USAF (Ret.) Historian, Doolittle’s Tokyo Raiders

“Jacob DeShazer was brave like a Japanese samurai. He was brave as a prisoner of the Japanese. He never yielded to the guards. After conversion he was braver, enough to love Japanese. As a missionary, he never sought fame or wealth, just the lost. He was kind, patient, and humble, for he was a brave Christian. He was brave enough to make the Japanese commander of the attack on Pearl Harbor one of his best friends. Return of the Raider is a story of a person who knew that perfect love drives out all fear.”—Iwao Shimada Pastor of the church the DeShazers started in Japan

“The wonderful story of hate changed to love was in great demand all over Japan when Jake DeShazer, Florence, and toddler, Paul, arrived in 1949. Although Jake was gone so very much and Florence had the home to care for and Japanese language to study, she was soon involved in teaching Bible Study classes, her special gift. I am happy to endorse a book about this amazing team.”—Marjorie Parsons Fellow Free Methodist Missionary to Japan

“Jake DeShazer lived a life seeking to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So rarely today do we see a similar example of faithfulness in the midst of torture, uncertainty, and our own personal struggles. Goldstein and Dixon tell this story in a way that makes it difficult to put down. We hope to see redemption come out of such difficulty and here we have such a picture. This book will be an inspiration to all who read it.”—Doug Taylor Seattle Pacific University

“Jacob DeShazer, “a man after God’s own heart,” was respected by Japanese of every degree of social, political, economic, and religious strata, but never changed his purpose, to honor and please God and introduce these acquaintances to Jesus, who came ‘to seek and to save the lost.'”—Norman Overland, Fellow SPC alum and missionary to Japan

“It was one of the blessings of my life to call Jacob DeShazer my friend. He had a calm, quiet manner that covered the gutsy, inner toughness that helped him stand up to the vicious prison guards of his POW camp. Though he played down the danger to which he was exposed, it cannot be denied that God put a Bible in that prison cell. In the 1970’s, I had Jake stay in our home (whereas I usually kept guests in hotels) and then usually kept him for an extra day each subsequent visit. His testimony was riveting and I think his story is packed full of the miraculous graces of God, the transformational power of Scripture, the love God gave Jake for his torturers, and the calling God gave him to return to Japan as a missionary. He frequently told me how, after three-and-a- half years of torturous imprisonment, when he was released his biggest passion was to return to Japan and share Christ with them. Return of the Raider captures Jake’s testimony and ministry and I am delighted to endorse this wonderful story about my dear old friend.”—Dr. Paul RisserFormer president, The Foursquare Church

“I was a member of the team that located many prisoners of war, including Jacob DeShazer and the other Doolittle raiders. Meeting the three surviving Doolittle Raid flyers at their fifty-ninth reunion in Fresno, California, on March 21, 2001, I was privileged to be reunited with them during the premier of the movie, Pearl Harbor. I and my family had the pleasure of a subsequent meeting in Salem, Oregon, with Reverend Jacob DeShazer and his family. Knowing someone as dedicated and spending his lifetime in Japan ministering to the once enemy Japanese was most inspiring.”—Dick Hamada Member of Operation Magpie at the End of World War II

“The story of Jacob DeShazer has amazed and inspired people since he and three fellow Doolittle raiders were found alive in a Japanese prison at the end of World War II. With every reason to hate his captors, Jake had discovered a reason to forgive them—the love of Christ. This book by Jake’s daughter, Carol, and military historian, Dr. Donald Goldstein, is a long-awaited complete, contemporary biography of the raider who returned, not only to America but to Japan, with a message of hope and healing for the heart.”—David McCasland,co-producer, From Vengeance to Forgiveness: Jake DeShazer’s Extraordinary Journey, Day of Discovery Television

“For most of my life I have known the name Jacob DeShazer. I first heard his story when my grandfather, Dr. Don Falkenberg, published a gospel tract, I Was a Prisoner of Japan, which presented the riveting account of Jacob’s captivity and forty-month imprisonment following his role in the Doolittle Raid over Japan. That amazing story recounted how Jacob committed his life to God and His service while in solitary confinement. The story did not end there. When Jacob was liberated at war’s end, his testimony of God’s mercy and saving grace was published in scores of languages with more than thirty million copies in print. One who read that life-changing story was Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, the Japanese commander who led the attack that bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. God’s love changed the life of that man, too, and he and Jacob, together and separately, shared God’s love with countless people in the following decades.”—Jim Falkenberg, Reaching Souls International Oklahoma City, OK

“The story of Jake DeShazer has captivated many of us. Six years and eight months after his first trip to Japan, Jacob, along with Florence and their young son, Paul, arrived in Japan on a different mission. During the DeShazer’s career, twenty-three new Free Methodist churches were established throughout Japan. When each group of believers became a worshiping congregation, a church was organized and the DeShazers moved to a new assignment. His was the heart of an evangelist and church planter. We praise the Lord for those in heaven because of his ministry.”—Arthur Brown, Executive Director, Free Methodist World Missions

Discipling Part 3 – Our Church Core Values

By Pastor Ay Nee Ng

Our church would want to see our members have these 7 core values of a disciple.

1. Loves God
2. Loves people
3. Loves a Godly lifestyle
4. Loves sharing Jesus Christ
5. Loves God’s family—His Church
6. Loves God’s Kingdom
7. Loves being generous, giving

Why Do we Have Core Values and What Do We Want to Achieve from Them?

In the modern business era, we constantly hear the terms core values, mission statements and culture. We have integrated them in the business language among many other terms. But what are company core values? What about church core values? Why are they so important?

Let’s take Nike as an example. What do you think are Nike’s core values? Nike’s core values are performance, authenticity, innovation, and sustainability. These are the drivers of substantially every business decision the company makes.

Why Have Core Values?
Core values support the vision, shape the culture, and reflect what the company values. They are the essence of the company’s identity–the principles, beliefs or philosophy of values. Many companies focus mostly on the technical competencies but often forget what are the underlying competencies that make their companies run smoothly—core values. Establishing strong core values provides both internal and external advantages to the company, especially in the decision-making processes. For example, if one of your core values is to stand behind the quality of your products, any products not reaching the satisfactory standard are automatically eliminated.

Core values educate clients and potential customers about what the company is about and clarify the identity of the company. Especially in this competitive world, having a set of specific core values that speak to the public is definitely a competitive advantage.

So in discipling, what do we want to see in our disciples? What are Jesus Christ’s core values for His disciples? When we can identify these core values, these will be the drivers of substantially every church business decision that our church makes and every decision every believer makes!

Let us go back to Matthew 28:18-20. What did Jesus ask us to do when we believe He is our Lord and Saviour? “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’’’.

Jesus’ last command is to go and make disciples (v. 19). What we need to ask as we obey His commandments is: What did Jesus mean by ‘disciple’? The answer is found in verse 20. A disciple observes all things that Jesus commanded.

This Christmas holiday reach out to someone (your neighbour, a long lost friend), pray for their salvation, and disciple someone.

Studies have been done on all the commands, cultures and values that Jesus taught, and we have come up with a summary 7 core values of a disciple. Core values are important in taking decisions in life as disciples and allow us to stand for who we are–Christians! These are core values that our church stands for as I will be sharing over time. The challenge for us is whether we have these core values in our walk with Jesus and whether our church life is healthy?

The Seven Core Values of a Disciple

1. Loves God. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk. 12:30).

The qualities of a true disciple of Jesus Christ are that he/she:

  • has a passionate love for God,
  • is submitted and obedient to God’s commands,
  • loves to spend time with God in prayer, praise and worship,
  • loves to read and listen to His word, and
  • is committed to knowing, loving and serving God.

Are we true disciples of Jesus Christ? Do we have these qualities in us? And if we come short, are we able to work on them?

2. Loves People. “The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’(Lev19:18) There is no commandment greater than these” (Mk. 12:31).

 The qualities of a true disciple of Jesus Christ are that he/she:

  • has genuine love for people,
  • values people no matter the race, colour or creed,
  • has a forgiving attitude towards people who wrong him/her (Let us cultivate a healthy attitude towards people),
  • does good deeds for others, and
  • feels compassion when he/she sees people in need.

 3. Loves a Godly lifestyle. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).

  • Are we committed to becoming like Jesus Christ?
  • Do we make decisions based on what God would want us to do? Make it a habit to ask this question: “What would Jesus Do (WWJD)?”
  • Do we have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, whom we allow to work in our lives?
  • Are we consciously submitting our unrighteous desires to our Lord, and not giving in to the fleshy desires and sin?
  • Do we live life with passion and enthusiasm for God?

4. Loves Sharing Jesus. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mk. 16:15).

The qualities of a true disciple of Jesus Christ are that he/she:

  • looks for opportunity to share Jesus,
  • feels burdened by the plight of unsaved people,
  • is able to clearly communicate the gospel,
  • seeks the help of the Holy Spirit who enables us to be better witness (Acts 1:8), and
  • prays for the salvation of people and prays for people and our church.

 5. Loves God’s family. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (Jn. 13:35).

The qualities of a true disciple of Jesus Christ are that he/she:

  • regularly attends, is committed to and is planted in his/her own church,
  • makes a significant contribution to his/her church,
  • goes to a small group (cell group or life group) to be discipled and mentored,
  • is discovering and developing his/her spiritual gifts while using these gifts to serve, and
  • is submitted to the authority structure in his/her church.

6. Loves God’s Kingdom. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Mt. 6:33).

  • Do we seek the Kingdom of God as first priority in life?
  • Do we actually see that all that we do in life and work are connected to fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives? Are we in His destiny?
  • Are we committed to the cultures and values of God’s Kingdom?
  • Are we allowing God to renew our thinking to become more Kingdom of God-minded? Are we putting on the mind of Christ?
  • Are we committed to seeing God’s will done in our lives and in the world?

7. Loves giving, being generous. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Lk. 6:38).

The qualities of a true disciple of Jesus Christ are that he/she:

  • gives at least one-tenth of his/her income to the work of God,
  • financially supports the projects and missions of his/her church and beyond,
  • makes sacrifices to better others, give and serve,
  • is a good steward of God’s resources,
  • and looks for opportunities to serve and show generosity.

Conclusion
Let us strive to include these core values in our walk with God and take these core values in building into our SGC vision and mission statement. Are we committed to grow? Yes, take someone and walk with them. Let us love God even more, love people, love a Godly Lifestyle, love sharing Jesus Christ, love God’s family—His Church, have a Kingdom minded mentality and be generous in loving, forgiving and giving to the needs and not the wants.