Pastor Lok-Kei Devotional Sharing 2015-01-13 Genesis 8

Today's devotion passage is from Genesis 8.   After a year in the ark, Noah emerged to offer a sacrifice to God and worship Him. At the time God made a solemn commitment never again to destroy all living creatures.

As I reflect on my personal situation, I am in this season where my family and I feel safe inside God's protection from the rain and storm.  My family and I are taking time as we have a new addition in our family.  We spend lots of time caring for one another.  God's Word remind me of how I should respond to God's grace.

The world is full of chaos as we look to the news of terrorism attack and political unrest.  Closer to home, I already see many of my peers experiencing difficulties in their marriage.  I also see the uncertainty in the economy and job market, as young people are vulnerable to.  I pray and sense what's going on with the teenagers I am ministering to.  God reveal to me their emotional distress and confusion through their sharing, through movies and music they listen to, and practically by the way they behave.  Of course most of us would not admit it, it is a stormy and uncertain world out there.  On the surface, we have material abundance and excess.  Deep inside, we are drowning from our emotional confusion, or in some cases, financial distress due to soaring living expenses.

My natural and sinful response to stress is to escape and hide.  During a season, God calls me to hide in the ark of his presence and experience his protection and saving grace while watching the chaos out there.  There is another season where the storm and rain will stop, and God is establishing a new relationship.  The faithful response to God's saving activity is always worship.

The Bible did not give much details on what Noah and his family do in the ark.  All we know is that God remembered Noah and all the beast and all the livestock that were with him in the ark.  Noah and his family should be praising and worshipping God majority of the time. (Internet, computer games, etc were not available yet).

I thank God for this morning's passage for guiding me to worship God as the proper response to God's grace on me and my family.

Pastor Lok-Kei Devotional Sharing 2014-12-18

Today's 260 devotional passage is Luke 13:10-17.  Jesus out of compassion healed a woman with a disabling Spirit.  The synagogue ruler was indignant because Jesus broke the rule of Sabbath.  The woman who experienced grace praised God.  The message from today's meditation remind me that I may be taking the rules literally in order to rationalize our lack of concern for others.

I am very touched by how brothers and sisters pray and care for those who are suffering from physical illness in PGC.  Also, I see the love of Christ bringing healing to those who suffering emotional and spiritual sufferings, as I recalled the testimonies given from baptism.  My prayer goes out to the Rosanna and Carmen for bring glory to God in witnessing for Christ.  Christ continues to do the work of healing and reconciling people to God.

Personally, I will be stepping down my role as the pastoral assistance in youth ministry beginning April 1, 2015.  The decision is not made rashly as I have prayed and discerned for a year over how to lead people to the presence of Christ for the years to come.  The growth of the English ministry has been slow in the past two years and there are many reasons for this.  As a leader, I will have to take responsibility.  I find that over the years I have become more and more like the Pharisees, who just try to keep the rules and regulation, and may neglect to love others compassionately.  I find that I focus more on keeping the rules and regulation of being a pastor and may do the work of ministry instead of out of the power of the Holy Spirit.  I prayed to God to restore my heart.  I would like to pray and love people purely because I love Jesus and not because my job is being a pastor and it is my duty to do the work of ministry.

I am thankful that God provided me with apprenticeship work as I step back from vocational ministry.  I was able to experience the power of this passage during my work.  One day, I was assigned to maintenance check-up work for furnaces in a co-op housing complex.  I did not want to do the work as the environment was dirty.  My boss told me to just do the work and minimize the amount of conversation.  As I finished up the work, I just want to get out as soon as possible.  The last house I service was a house of an old lady.  She lived by herself and she had a series of surgeries in the past year and she was in a lot of pain.  I have finished the work as she shared about her life.  The more I listened, the more I have compassion on her.  The Holy Spirit promoted me to share my faith and pray with her.  This is totally against what my boss would like me to do, and I would break a few rules.  The lady shared that even though she is poor, sick, and would not live a long life, she is willing to let God use her in whatever remaining time she has on earth.  She is a faithful member of her church as she would take 3 buses to get to her church for worship, Bible study, and prayer meeting, even though sometimes people drive her, but she tries not to burden brothers and sisters.  I shared my testimony and we prayed for one another.  

God reveals to me that I am to listen to Him humbly.  If I allow the Spirit to lead me instead of I use my own self-will to follow the regulations, I will see Jesus Christ and people around me with compassion. 

Pastor Lok-Kei: Reflection from Romans 3:21-31

Reflection from Romans 3:21-31

When  I was engaging in my personal devotion, in my devotional time with my wife, in my youth group, in my men's group, and in my attempts for evangelism, we all seemed to have no fear of God.  Yes, we do preach on the Gospel message, but not getting the tough message of the wrath of God.  We worry more about our own health, wealth, family, comfort, jobs, education... than being right before God.  What makes me different than the oikos I am praying for and trying to share the Gospel with?  

Today's Words from God reminds me of the real spiritual condition of everyone on earth.  We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Like prisoners on death row, all people are guilty, condemned and awaiting the execution of God's wrath.  They sit silently in the miserable darkness of their cell, all hope extinguished.   I know how to get pardoned.  I get pardoned by putting my trust in Christ through repenting from our sins and obeying our master Jesus Christ.  The message of God's grace become real to me when I surrender my brokenness and being real to God.  The impact of God's Words in my life right now is that it is rebuking and getting me back on the path that God wants me to be on.

I thank God for revealing where I should go as I engage in 260 devotion this morning.  As I prepare the work of proclaiming the Gospel to the peoples, I am reminded to preach the message of God's wrath and righteousness.  I grow in the love for the Gospel by realizing and being convicted of what God did to save me from my real spiritual condition.  Finally, as I reflected on all the activities on the past thanksgiving weekend, there were church meetings, family gatherings, friends gathering, outreach nights, fellowship with church families...  I realized how I am very different than the brothers and sisters in our church in terms of gifts and personality.  We are all connected because we are righteous before God.  With the foundation of being right before God, we can face the challenges of ministry and life.

Pastor Lok-Kei Devotional Sharing 2014-9-18

I was at the Festival of Hope last weekend.  It was an inspiring evening full of songs and testimonies that touches the hearts of young people.  Rev. Graham shared the message of the Gospel.  By God's grace, hundreds of people went down and responded to the Gospel message.

This morning's devotion draws me to Psalm 149:1 "Praise the LORD, sing to the LORD a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints."  The artists at the concert were famous Christian bands.  They were singing new songs in pop, R &B, rap, rock style that are relevant to the culture of the young people.  People rushed to the front and jump up and down with excitement with musics that expresses one's love for Jesus Christ.

The  last time Billy Graham Foundation came to Toronto was in 1995.  My teens were asking me, "I really felt God's presence and the music spoke powerfully."  Let's go again next year.  There are powerful worship experiences at Teens Conference, Urbana Conference, at Camps, at Hillsong Concerts...  I cannot count on going to events after events to get the spiritual high.  The people of Israel did not have the conferences with fancy sound systems.  They lived out the reality in the Psalm by singing and playing their ancient instruments for what God did for them.  The artists were able to deliver powerful songs because of their intimate personal relationship with God.

How about myself?  When I sing praise songs during personal devotional and church worship, am I singing with the reality of what God did for me personally?

Pastor Lok-Kei Devotional Sharing: Psalm 124 (8/17/2014)

Psalms 124:1-8

1  A Davidic Song of Ascents. If the LORD had not been on our side—let Israel now say—
2  if the LORD had not been on our side, when men came against us,
3  then they would have devoured us alive, when their anger burned against us.
4  Then the flood waters would have overwhelmed us, the torrent would have flooded over us;
5  the swollen waters would have swept us away.
6  Blessed be the LORD, who did not give us as prey to their teeth.
7  We have escaped like a bird from the hunter's trap. The trap has been broken, and we have escaped.
8  Our help is in the name of the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.

What is the meaning of the text?  If the LORD had not been with the people of Israel, they would have been completely destroyed.  Throughout the history of the people of Israel and even so today, they were attacked by surrounding enemies.  When the people of Israel were led by a God fearing judge or king, they had peace and prosperity in their land.  God promised His people that if they fear Him and keep the commandments, God will bless and protect His people.  

What is the meaning of the passage to my personal context?  If God had not been with me personally, I would have been completely destroyed.  God blessed Vicky and I with some Oikos (friends that we pray to know Jesus Christ) from high school and university days.  The Holy Spirit is stirring my heart to make efforts to connect with them.  Through social interactions like BBQ and parties, Vicky and I caught up with our oikos, we listened to what is happening to their lives.   Here are a few themes that struck our hearts when we pray for them.

1. Stress and hopelessness in their workplace.  Most of our friends are very dissatisfied with their job.  They shared that work drains them physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  They have no time and energy for anything.  This is not just happening to our oikos, this is happening in the lives of the brothers and sisters we worship with.
2. Indulgence in harmful activities.  During the social time with our oikos, we discussed activities we engage in.  Some oikos of mine have a schedule like this: Sleep, work, computer games, and parties involving addictive substances.  I do not judge my oikos and I feel sad for them.  
3. Type B unbelievers.  My oikos are open for purely social events and they are comfortable to open their hearts to us.  There are great resistances and fear in them when they sense that we are attempting to share the good news of Jesus Christ to them.  Some of them explored and attended churches before.  They were left hurt and neglected.

Vicky and I had our difficult moments at our work respectively, but it is nowhere close to the stress and hopelessness that our friends shared.  We thank God for the work he provided us.   We believe that work is toiling and stressful after the Fall of Adam and Eve, but we do have many moments of joy in our work.  There was a time when I sought to indulge in harmful activities before I know Jesus Christ.  One harmful activity is call basketball, I would play like 6+ hours a day when I was in school.  Today, my knees and ankles are in bad condition.  I acknowledge and have personally experience hurt and neglect from church life, but God has placed mentors and other loving brothers and sisters to encourage me to remain in the love of Jesus Christ.  
                
How do I respond to God’s Words today? I acknowledge that apart from the love of Jesus Christ, I would get completely destroyed and be in a similar predicament as my oikos.  Vicky and I commit to open our home and time more to LISTEN and be a place and instrument of rest to our oikos.  We share how God is blessing and protecting us in a natural manner in our conversation.  We show to our oikos the hope we have in Christ through listening and being Jesus Christ to them, giving natural life testimony, praying for them continually, and seeking more prayers from our small group brothers and sisters.   

Pastor Lokkei Law Sharing: Psalm 112 (July 17, 2014)

Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands.  Do I fear the LORD?  Do I find delight in God's commands?  

I reflected upon the relationship with my earthly father.  I have lots of respect and admiration for him as he is a good role model.  I find delight in applying the commands and instructions in life.  The principles and commands he taught me when I was a child holds firmly today.  For example, he commands me not to smoke.  I cannot stand the presence of second hand smoke.  When peer pressure came and ask me to smoke a joint with them, I don't have to second guess and I am stand firm easily.   

When it comes to my personal relationship with God, would I have the fear and respect I have for my earthly father?   Do I delight in following God's commands knowing it is for my own good?

I further reflect more on this passage.  The Psalm describes a picture of what happens to a righteous man: mighty children, light and hope even in dark times, prosperous, generous, never be shaken, no need to fear for bad news...  It is a picture I see in women and men who fears the LORD.  Personally, I see God's blessings in so many areas of my life.  

How about the tough times?  I also see righteous men and women suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  There were times in my life when things are going badly that I question why is God allowing it to happen.  The righteous man will have no fear of bad news.  Whatever life situations come, God is in control.  Like the blind man that was healed by Jesus, when the disciples asked who sinned, himself or the parents?  Jesus said, "Neither...  this happens so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."  

Today, I see some suffering in the lives of brothers and sisters.  Some are battling cancer, some are searching for meaning work, some are getting burned out from work, some are having a rough time in the family, some are lonely and desperate for friendship...  I pray that we all pray and support one another so that we all can be like the righteous person in Psalms 112 for the glory of God.

Pastor Lokkei Law Sharing: Acts 13

Thoughts on 260 Devotional: June 12, Acts 13

 

In this passage, worship, prayer and fasting are integrated into the selection and installation of Barnabas and Saul as missionaries.  Today worship and prayer are common in the ordination of pastors and installation of missionaries, but fasting is not.  Why has fasting been dropped from the preparation for these times of consecration? 

Worship: Expressing in words, music, rituals, and silent adoration the greatness, beauty, and goodness of God, by means of which we enter the supernatural reality of the glory, of God.
Prayer: Interactive conversation with God about what we and God are thinking and doing together. Therefore, there is talking and also the silently listening.
Fasting: The voluntary abstention from an otherwise normal function – most often eating – for the sake of intense spiritual activity. Other examples include websurfing, TV, favourite food, sports, etc.

Today is the opening day of the World Cup.  I believe World Cup is one of the biggest sport event of the world.  I relate today's passage on the mission of Barnabas and Paul with the World Cup.  Paul and Barnabas travelled aboard had the mission of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentile nations.  All 31 teams except the host nation Brazil travelled aboard to proclaim the greatness in their nation's soccer pride.   The players playing in the world cup could count on the prayer (literally) and fasting and inappropriately worship from fans in their home nation.  Paul and Barnabas relied on God's grace through worship, they are confident that brothers and sisters were praying and fasting for them.

The work that Paul and Barnabas did was very demanding.  They were persecuted as their life were often threatened.  The work that the soccer players engaged in is physically and emotionally demanding.  The work that we are called to do as pastors, teachers, small group leaders, missionaries is physically, emotionally, and spiritually demanding.  

Why do may pastors, teachers, small group leaders, missionaries get burn out?  God is calling me to worship, prayer, and fasting for this season as there will be great challenges ahead.  I am challenged to pray for my brother Chun who commits to serve the LORD for 9 weeks leading children in the Ontario Pioneer camp.  Also, I am challenged to pray for Ernest and Steven who are serving for 9 weeks in the GCGC children camp.  

Please note that there are updated prayer requests from the English congregation.  We can count on you to pray and fast for us.

 

Pastor Lokkei Law May 15 Sharing

Today’s devotion passage is from Psalms 98.  God use this poem to call me to sing and praise Him for the work of salvation.  I ask myself, when was a time I sing and shout for joy to the LORD?  I recalled singing joyfully and passionately during TC.  I was singing joyfully and passionately during the retreat.  I was singing joyfully because I was surrounded with brothers and sisters who are also singing joyfully and passionately to God.  During our worship service now, we sing louder and with more joy.  We have our university students coming back to worship with us in the summer.

 

As I talked to each one of the university students, many of them were active in their campus fellowships.  They have grew spiritually over the course of last year.  In a sense, they are like bamboo trees.  The growth of bamboo tree is very slow in the beginning, then all of a sudden, they would grow tremendously.  With their experience of God’s presence and seeing disciples being made on campus, they sing with passion to God for what God has done in their lives.  I thank God for convicting me to experience the work of God’s salvation.

 

Finally, I reflected more on what the majority of the people praise and worship .  I remembered the last playoff game the Toronto Raptors played on a Sunday afternoon.  I imagine all the fans watching live in the arena paying at least $100 a piece, all the fans watching outside the arena on the street, all the fans watching in sports bars, and all the rest watching at home.  I imagine how people were shouting and praising the key players at the final minute of the game (for the record, Toronto loss by one point).    Why are people passionately shouting and praising for a bunch of guys bouncing a basketball up and down a wooden floor?  I personally like the game of basketball.  Why people do not shout and praise God’s name with such passion?

 

The main reason is “Who” is reigning our heart?  To a devote fan of a basketball team, success of the team rules in his/her heart.  To a devote follower of Jesus Christ, the LORD reigns (rules) in his/her heart.   Success of the team means money, fame, and power, which are essentially what the world worships.  Jesus Christ is my master who gave me the gift of salvation and I have been free from the bondage of sin.

 

It comes down who do I open my heart to be ruled by.  Do I open my heart to be ruled by worldly success? or Do I humble my heart to be ruled by Jesus Christ?

 

Lok-Kei Law: Lent Reflection Mark 11:8-18

Throughout his 3 years of ministry on earth, Jesus has performed many miracles, healed, fed preached to many people. Thus Jesus receives a glorious reception when he entered the ancient city of Jerusalem. Yet as Jesus has told his disciples many times, he knows he comes back to this city to be crucified. Imagine the city gate into Jerusalem, the busy crowd going to the Holy city to observe Passover, the horses and donkeys, the noises … and people chanting “Hosanna” when Jesus riding on his colt enters the city. Imagine the scene, and how Jesus may feel knowing in his heart the most painful death awaits him in this city.

How deep is Jesus’s love for us. In response, how is our love for Jesus?

Jesus' love for us is too deep beyond my understanding.  I am deep in my sin and my rebellion in how I live my life.  God's deep love also extends to brothers and sisters who place their trust in Christ.  In response, our love for Jesus falls way short of Jesus's deep love for me.

Gospel of Mark records upon entering the busy city of Jerusalem, the first thing Jesus did was to enter God’s temple, and Jesus was absolutely angered by the all the buying and selling in the temple. Jesus called them ‘robbers’. Today in our lives have we maintained ‘worshiping God’ as the corner stone of our lives? Or have we allowed all the buying and selling, all the money and finance matters to take priority in our lives?

I read on the news church leaders who use the name of Christ for personal financial gain.  Jesus would be angered by wicked people who use Christ's name to stumble people from enter God's kingdom.  I reflect on our church PGC.  Is our church conducted in a manner that is a house of worship?  Is the way we use our finance facilitate the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel, growing in the love for Christ, and connecting with brothers and sisters in Christ?

Personally, have I give more thoughts to money and financial matters than to the worship of Jesus Christ?  I need to repent from the times when I have more concern over personal financial success over glory of God through disciples of Christ growing in love for Christ.  I feel that at times I am more drawn to how the basketball team is doing than how God's churches are doing?  There are times I care more about what's on Facebook than my devotion towards Christ.

I can imagine I was a guy who cheered Hosanna with my mouth.  But in my heart, I am still hanging on my ideal way of live that is totally within my control.  I see Jesus Christ coming in and I cheer with the others hoping that he will bless me with success and health.  When I saw that he was captured and condemned, I fled away and do not want to have anything to do with him.

Christ is worthy of my worship because He is God who is able to overcome death.  Christ knows my heart and still loves me and draws me close to him.

 

--
Lokkei Law

Lok-Kei Law: Pastor’s Corner 2014-03-16

Psalms 78 teaches present and future generations to learn from the past, and it stresses the grace of God. It recounted their history. In the wilderness, God’s people were judged when they put the Lord to the test. Even though later generations forgot His miracles and were disloyal to His covenant, God was merciful to them. Despite the love displayed in the Exodus and Conquest, Israel continued to rebel against the Lord, and was justly punished.  Despite Israel’s faults, God chose David to shepherd His people. The lesson of the psalm is clear. In David, Israel was granted a fresh start. God’s people had to learn from their past, and follow David’s example of faithfulness to the Lord if they hoped to avoid future disaster.

What story of God’s past dealings with you can you remember in times of temptation, forgetfulness and doubt you still face?

I still face doubt of whether God is present and his power is enough.  I have been tempted by seeking a easy way out of the hard work of making disciples.  I confess that I forget about all the goodness and mercy that God has blessed me.  In terms of story of God’s past dealings, I remember the following:

 

  1. When I was feeling hopeless about the future when I was an university student, God used a brother with a passion for evangelism to invite me to accept the good news of Jesus Christ during fellowship.
  2. When I was facing temptation from my career crisis a few years ago, God opened the door to experience Him through opportunities to serve Him in various mission opportunities.  When I fled away from the temptation, I was blessed with edifying fellowship with brothers and sisters who were passionate for Christ.  Through seeing the lives of brothers and sisters who surrendered themselves to God, I am able to see that God has a different plan than the one I envision for myself.  Through all the years, I was never lacking by any means.
  3. When I was facing temptation from relational brokenness a few years ago, God sent His servants to minister to my wounded heart.  I was tempted to be unforgiving and turn to lustful pursuits to bury my heartache.  The unconditional love and encouragement from the brothers I serve showed me the love of God.
  4. Today, when I am facing temptation from abandoning God’s calling, I recalled what God did for me for the last decade since I received the gift of salvation.  I was blessed with the opportunities to connect with some brothers and sisters whom made significant impact to my faith in Christ.  I was able to serve as a leader in the Teens Conference for the 5th year.  Through witnessing the power of God’s Word changing the heart of the teens, God gave me renewed passion to serve Him.