Some Little Thoughts

Monday, August 28, 2006

Passion for Christ

What comes to mind when you see pictures of these people?

World class footballer Ronaldinho.. (ok i couldn't find the exact picture i used for my sermon.. and cheryl says he looks like a horse. lol)

Chef Jamie Oliver..

and some of you may not know him, but this guy is andres segovia, often considered to be the greatest classical guitarist who ever lived.

Well, the thing they share in common is that they all have or had passion for what they do. and we should learn how to develop our passion for Christ.

Well firstly, what is passion?
Passion can be described as boundless enthusiasm for something, something you can keep doing again and again and not get tired of it. Some people can eat and eat and not seem to get tired of it haha. teachers also appear to have boundless enthusiasm, especially primary school teachers.

“When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn." – John Wesley
Many famous musicians have great passion for what they do, and hence people come from all over to hear them.

"You never achieve success unless you like what you are doing.” – Dale Carnegie
How many of us say we have passion for maths or chinese? if we did we would probably do much better.

"One person with passion is better than 40 people merely interested." - E.M. Forster

Passion is something circumstances can only weaken, but cannot kill
Beethoven started to lose his hearing, something so valuable to a musician, but committed himself to composition, and among the pieces composed during his deafness was the 9th Symphony, that ends with an Ode to Joy chorus. all this despite not being able to hear or conduct properly. if you want the account of the premiere, can go to wikipedia and search.

but of cos all this besides the point that beethoven was going crazy, just an example to show haha.

Passion for Christ
Christ had boundless love for us, so shouldn’t we serve God with all our hearts? – Matthew 22:37: 'Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”' Shouldn’t we value our salvation more than anything else? the chorus boundless love also reflects how our focus should be like towards God.

Passion for Christ is the drive that helps us work tirelessly for the Lord.
Matthew 6:21: 'For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.'

In the course of developing passion faith is needed: wise and foolish builders – Matt. 7:24 – 27
24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

in my opinion, i think the two men took an equal amount of effort to build their house, i mean, you try building a house on sentosa beach la. haha. but in the end, it was the wise man's house that stood through the problems.

Example of Paul – Paul was someone who had incredible passion for Christ, suffering a lot more than what we as followers of Christ would suffer in our lives. see 2 Cor. 11:16 – 33

Passion can spread
A fantastic example is the World Cup. i think the 2nd universal language besides music must be soccer. to have fans from different areas of the world cheering and cheering in one voice and to see the unitedness that stems from the World Cup, it must be something big. even i who know nuts about soccer knows that zidane headbutted materazzi. lolol.

and of course another example would be National Day. Even though the songs are sometimes like -.- but when you see the fireworks at the end of the parade (this year 3 times haha) and see the amount of effort put into the performance, you indeed can feel a sense of nationhood.

Developing Passion for Christ
Passion is not developed overnight.. if it could it wouldn’t be passion already!!

and by the way for those who didn't notice, my points spelt out the acronym PASSSION!! haha.

Pray Always – Eph 6:18: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Phil 4:6 – 7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Prayer is powerful. An example would be the everyday prayer that we did leading up to youth camp. i prayed for my group every day, and even though i had doubts whether we would be able to cohere well together or not, in the end it turned out okay, and we even emerged the top group!! yay for KOTL!! haha.

Armour of God: put it on! – Eph. 6:10 – 17
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

1 Peter 3:15: ‘But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,’

Study the Bible constantly and meditate on it – Romans 8:6: 'The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;'
Committing scripture to memory is a powerful sword. songs are also a good way to keep the mind pure, and what we think about defines our actions and words.

Strength in weaknesses – 2 Cor. 12:9: But he said to me, '"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.'
This is a very powerful verse for me, as it often reminds me even though how weak i am God still can use my weaknesses for his glory. as many of you know, i was a very soft spoken person, and still am. but in a given situation, God has provided opportunities for me to develop my public speaking skills so that i may inspire others and give glory to God.

Serve unceasingly
Service is a gift of our time back to God
Jesus washes his disciples’ feet: John 13:1 – 17
1It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.[a]
14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Our attitude should be that of Christ, one of humility. my example here is CAS, something like CIP that we have to do thats part of our IB diploma programme.. we need to clock 150 hours of it. what some of my school friends did was to clock their church youth activities as CAS. even if it was allowed, i wouldn't do it, cos it it is like forfeiting your service for God for something else.

I am not alone: make time to be with your Christian brethren – Hebrews 10:25: Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

It's kind of like a piece of coal that you take out of a fireplace.. it slowly turns cold, while the rest of the coal in the fireplace is still blazing.

Open your eyes to the harvest – Matt 9:37: Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.
This is an issue that i've often struggled with, as the situation in Singapore is often one of Tolerance vs Truth. We are often taught about inter-racial and inter-religious harmony, but we all know about John 14:6..
God has given each and every one of us our unique gift of influence. this gift differs for all of us and only each of us has this unique circle of influence. we should use this gift to touch lives so that others may see God through us.

Never give up – Parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1 – 8
Parable of the persistent widow:
Luke 18
1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: "In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
4"For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, 'Even though I don't fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out with her coming!' "
6And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
If our intentions are pure, if we are persistent we will succeed.

Hebrews 12:1: ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’

Closing verses

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, Col 3:23

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil. 4:8

It's difficult for both good and bad thoughts to coexist at the same time in our minds. if we keep thinking about all these things that are good, then all those other troublesome thoughts and worries would have to take second place in our mind.

in closing, i have a question for all of you.

Where is your treasure?

cos theres where your heart will be also.


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