Thailand Convention Day 3 Morning

The final morning at the Thailand Foursquare Convention began with a growing unity and connection among the churches and pastors throughout Thailand.  We have had a good convention, learning about being the people of God. The word church means the community of God’s people (the same word as in the Old Testament. In Acts we saw the beginnings of the church as a dynamic and growing community. We looked at the dangers of division by gossiping and murmuring. We also looked at how we are one another.

We looked at God’s concept of living water. I’ll just let us get right into the message with the question, are we filled with streams of living water? Jesus gave the promise that if we are thirsty, we could be filled…

Today we will look at a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit.

John 4, Jesus came to Samaria, a people who were half Jewish (and looked down upon by the Jews). Jesus met a woman at the well. As she began to draw water, he said to her that if you knew who I was, you would ask me for living water. He went on to explain the living water was from him, John 4:13-14.

Living Water meant flowing water to the Jews. Water in a lake or well is stagnant, but water from a spring or river is flowing. Clean running water washes out the impurities. Jesus was talking about the religion, you can draw out of this well, but it is stagnant old teachings, but I can give you something that is living and will refresh you forever.

John 7:37-39: Whoever is thirsty come to me and drink living water.

Background: people gathered for the festival celebrating when the people wandered in the desert, sleeping in tents, eating mannah and following a pillar of smoke and fire and also occasions without water to drink. Every year they celebrated the festival of tents and lived in tents for a week. They ate bread for a week. On the last night, they built a huge bonfire to celebrate the pillar of fire. On the last day of the feast, all the people would go to the pool of Salom from the spring of Gihon. It was a spring that flowed like a river built by Hezekiah in case of attack, and the water would flow right out of a rock and into a pool. Seeing the water out of a rock, the people could say this is like the water God gave us in the desert.

On this day, all the people would go to the rock with a golden pitcher, carry it back to the temple with all the people singing songs. Psalm 42, As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for you. All the people gathered at the temple in the courtyard. They set up a large silver chalice. The priest would hold up the pitcher as everyone watched quietly. They would pour the water into the chalice (which was perforated with holes) and the water ran in and through the chalice into the ground. The people cheered as they saw the water as a symbol of God’s presence. They saw it as God’s presence filling the land. They saw that when the messiah would come, the Holy Spirit would fill the temple and water would flow out of the temple and out into the land around, Ezekiel 47:1, Zechariah 14:8.

They poured out the living water, and it flowed into the ground. They saw the Holy Spirit blessing their presence. They are waiting for the Messiah, when the presence of God would flow out of the ground and bless them.

Before they could pour the water into the ground, Jesus spoke out saying all who are thirsty, come to me, and out of your belly will flow rivers of living water. Jesus was the fulfillment of what they were doing. Jesus doesn’t say all who believe, but all who are thirsty. (the song they would have been singing was one of my soul being thirsty).

When the water flowed from the chalice through the channels and into the ground (a large hole) called coliea (pit). The same word used for stomach, the pit of their stomach. Out of the pit of your stomach would flow living waters, Zechariah said it would flow out from under the temple. As we talked yesterday, we are the temple of God.

Not only will the spirit overwhelm us, but flow out of us to bless others. The promise of Jesus is that the Holy Spirit would refresh us and thorough us bless others. Am I a spring, bubbling out and blessing others. If you were Satan, you would do anything to stop up the spring from flowing out and flooding demons. That is why he tries to so discord and fighting. James 3 says, a spring cannot have both fresh water and salt water. Out of you mouth cannot come both blessings and cursing. Out of your coliea will come the blessings of the spirit or the criticisms and strife that come from hell.

Is our pit flowing with the sweet water of the Holy Spirit, or bitterness of hell.

Living water is a great promise of the Holy Spirit. It is not just sow we can speak in tongues (which are to take over our tongue and give control to the Holy Spirit). God wants us to be a community filled with his Holy Spirit. Before we can go to the well of Samaria and speak to the broken women, we need to make the church a blessing. Then it can flow from us to our community. Be like a wet sponge that even if some one bumps you they will get wet.

Thailand Convention Day 2 Evening

Halfway through the convention, the concept of unity and family is seeping into all facets of the meetings. As we entered the conference room, we sang a song about being all the in the same family. Everyone greeted one another saying we are all family, we are all one.

I find it interesting how Thailand can have such a varied group of people in the country. Coming to Mae Sot, a border town on Burma at the Western most part of Thailand, we hear things like the economic crisis is hitting Thailand too? My thought, was that Thailand created their own problems a year ago with the airport closure and political instability that would have brought economic problems aside from a global market recession.  Yet in a town built on villages, the people are never impacted by the fluxuation of markets. They live a sustenance life based on the agriculture of the land. The villages vary from the different regions of the country. More than that we have many hill-tribes that all speak their own language. Bringing these people together is what makes the church so amazing. God always uses different people to make a beautiful family, knitting them together in through the Holy Spirit.

Tonight Clayton is talking about living together as family. We will look at Romans 12 which talks about how we should live together in our Christian life and together.

We looked at the way we should live through Romans 12, sacrifice, renewing our mind, serving, and more. A couple of thoughts before the notes.

The term One another appears throughout the New Testament. We are the church, not one…but one another. How do we live in this way? What changes when we see the church not as for me but for one another?

When we realize the way we live seeds are planted for the future of our life and the family we live with. How do we want to see those seeds harvested? They will come back in another season with abundance. What are we planting in our life and in our family?

Here are the notes of the message:

Romans 12:1give your bodies as a living sacrifice. The foundation of our Christian Life is sacrifice. As a preteen, I had a vision from God. I saw a picture of a globe and a picture of a cross. God said choose one. As I focused on the globe, it grew larger and the cross shrunk back. When I focused on the cross, it grew larger and the world shrunk back. I chose the cross which grew larger and the world disappeared. The cross turned into Jesus. After that, I found this passage. We are to give everything as a sacrifice. We cannot serve God and the world, money or anything. We cannot have both.

The Old Testament had God’s people serve God and other gods…which led to them being exiled. God will not have us serve both him and anything else.

Romans 12:2, be transformed by the renewing of your mind. What is God’s will…that we give him our life. There is a spiritual war for our life. The values of the world begin to change our minds. Should not be…the Bible should set our values. Renew your mind on Christ. When you have God’s mind, you will know his will. Col 1:15. Christ is the image of the invisible God.

You don’t have to chase after God’s will, but Chase after knowing Christ. If you follow Christ completely, God’s will will find you.

Rom 12:3 Think soberly as God has given to everyone the measure of faith. Do not think of ourselves greatly, but humbly. Why do we become offended? Because we think so highly of ourselves. How could they think of me that way, or not give me the seat of honor…instead we need to be humble. God’s will for your life is impossible. If you could do God’s will, you wouldn’t need God. Impossible for you, but not impossible for him. So we trust God and he shows us a little more of his will and a little more. After a lifetime, we look back and see how much God has done. We need to be humble, realizing we have nothing to offer but ourselves. It is God who does the work, therefore he who gets the glory. The verse ends with God has given each on a measure of faith. We all have what we need to accomplish God’s will for his life.

12:4-8, Many members in one body. If he gave everything to one person, we would be so filled with pride (look at me and my greatness). But he made one person a hand, and another a foot (they cannot do much, but take another person somewhere). Together we accomplish God’s will. Alone we cannot do it, but together we do it. How are you serving the body, not how is the body serving you? It all has to do with our altitude.

Romans 12:14 bless and do not curse. How many times have we wept in silence, because of absolutely cruel things spoken against us? Our tendency is to fight back. Scripture says, bless those that persecute you. We reap what we sow, hating when others speak against us, but that is the very thing we do.

Let’s talk about sowing and reaping.    If I plant one seed of rice, do I come the next day to reap one grain of rice? If I plant one seed of rice, do I hope for only one grain back? No, more…You plant in one season and reap in another season. You plant one seed and get many seeds back. If I get angry and gossip, complain and then get over it, forget about. In another season, I reap lots of complaining about me. You reap in another season and a lot more than you sow. If everyone is gossiping and slandering you and you bless them back. You will not see anything in the present, but in another season will come back blessings in abundance.

Romans 12:15-16, rejoice with those that rejoice and weep with those that weep, be the same mind towards one another…When our first child died, people said mean and nasty things. If only we had more faith, or if we were better…When some one is suffering, why do we stab them in the back and suffer more. Some people came over to our house and said, don’t worry, he is in heaven. We don’t want him in heaven; we want him in our arms. Another person came over and said nothing, just sat with us and wept with us saying nothing, just crying with us. It felt like they carried half our pain. When they left, half our burden went with them.

Have you ever received anything really good, a new car, nice crop, handsome boyfriend, and others began to speak jealously of you? Should not be. Rejoice with those who rejoice.

Third child became deathly ill at the age of 12, bedridden for 5 years until one day God healed her. Fore 5 years we cared for a very sick child. We trusted God everyday, but she was sick for 5 years. Why can’t we just love people for who they are, and when they suffer, suffer with them? When they are blessed, bless them.

Philippians 2 tells us what we should do. The best way to keep unity in the church is to stop striving for position, but simply love the humble and lowly.  Phil 2:5-11. Take the same attitude of Jesus Christ. Jesus living as the only Son of God in the entire universe emptied himself of his glory. He was born in barn and laid in a manger. How did he die, as a criminal on a cross. They beat him, spit on him, pulled out his hear, put a crown of thorns on his head. They mocked the eternal ruler of the universe. He humbled himself, therefore God highly exalted him.  If we humble our self, serve the weak and broken. IF we humble ourselves, God himself will raise us up. If we try to exalt ourselves, God opposes the proud.

Over and over again one phrase occurs, ‘One another’. The church is not one, but one another. This phrase shows up 99 times in the New Testament. Let’s read a few of them.

-Romans 15:5-7, May God give you a Spirit of unity…accept one another as Christ accepted you. If we are not in unity, God is not glorified.

– Eph 4:32, Be kind and compassionate, forgiving each other

– Col 3:13, bear with each other, forgive whatever grievances you have.

– Gal 5:13-14, If you bite and devour one another, beware lest you devour one another.

– Rom. 12:18, Let no debt remain, but that to love one another.

– I Thess 4:9, Love one another

– I Peter 1:22, Love one another deeply, from your heart

– I John 3:11, This is the message you heard from the beginning, that you should love one another.

– I John 4:7-12, Let us love one another…love comes from God.

– I Peter 4:8, above everything else, love one another deeply; love covers a multitude of sins.

– I Peter 4:9, Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

– James 5:7, Don’t grumble against each other, or you will be judged.

Conclusion: God has called us as a family. God loves our differences, the uniqueness that each of us bring. Those differences also bring challenges. How can we overcome the challenges? Submit myself to God, give up my selfish ambition. In humility, love others, and let God worry about me. If I take care of my brothers and sisters, God will take care of me.

Thailand Convention Day 2 Morning

We continue to meet as family in the bi-annual Convention with the Thailand Foursquare Churches. This family carries with it a variety of backgrounds. We have city people from Bangkok and Chiang Mai, village people and hill-tribes all gathered together. Yesterday we sang the hello song with the four ways to greet one another in the different regions of Thailand. This highlights the various dialects in Thailand.

Clayton continues to speak on the theme of family. Today we look at how to appreciate our differences. Appreciating our differences…it is our differences that make us unique. This is one of my favorite topics about community or family. We all bring something special to the table. As individuals, we can easily see the differences as negatives rather than something beautiful that can enrich our lives. Clayton walked through this issue masterfully.

Here are some questions as you read the notes.

  • How do we see people’s differences as a benefit to us?
  • What can we do to avoid murmuring or complaining about one another?

Here are the notes to his sermon:

Acts 2:5-11, We all know the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. The key is how many people were there? People came from all over the world and all different languages, completely different from one another. Yet, the same message was preached to all.

Acts 2:41, those that accepted the message were baptized and about 3,000 were added to their number. How do you think they lived together? What would happen to such a diverse group?

Acts 2:46-47, So many kinds of different people, such diverse cultures and yet they were one, the same family. They had great unity. They boldly proclaimed Jesus. Because of that the church grew rapidly. One word to key in on, they were of one accord.

One accord throughout the New Testament.

  1. Acts 1:14, before the Holy Spirit came and after Jesus left, the disciples along with the women and Mary and the brothers of Jesus were together in one accord. In Greek, homothumenia (sp.?) meaning of one mind and of one thought. What was that one thought? To worship Jesus.
  2. The concept of one accord is not one culture, one style, one language, but of one mind. Everyone has a different culture, different economic level, may live in the city or on the farm or in the mountains, but none of that matters, it is that everyone has the same mind, the same attitude to serve Jesus.
  3. Acts 2:1, the day the Holy Spirit fell, the church was together as one accord
  4. Acts 4, when great persecution came against the church, and they raised their voice to God. It was one accord and one mind.
  5. Phil 2:2, Being like minded and having the same love, being of one accord and one mind. A little later he challenges that nothing be done through selfish ambition, but in lowliness of mind in humility, let each one think of others as being better than themselves. Do not look out for your own interest, but for the interest of others. This is the foundation of strife. Envy for what others have. God comes where people are of one mind and not where there is envy and strife.

A story of how people stayed behind on the last night of the Bible Confernece in the SW District. The sme people that stayed in meetings 30 years ago were still hanging around in the presence of God today. Sometimes we envy what others have in position or influence, wonder what is wrong with me. What is really wrong is the envy in my heart. Is it not good enough to just be in the presence of Jesus. I observed that those who had a passion after God and not after a position 30 years later grew to be the spiritual elders. I looked around at the young people that were still there. I said to my wife, those are the spiritual elders for thirty years from now, and I want to get to know those people.

How did David get to become king. He was a shepherd in the field worshiping God. God reached down and took him from the field and made him king. If you are striving for position, you have your eyes on the wrong thing. Have your eyes on God.

God moves in us when we are one family. Find a passion after God and love each other dearly. Unfortunately, human nature is the same. Even the early church had problems.

Acts 6:1, A complaint rose from the Hellenists as their women were neglected in the distribution of food. We had people from Jerusalem and outside the country. What held them together was the Greek language, those on the outside were Hellenists. Prejudice is happening. A lot of widows in the church, but the food was coming from those in Jerusalem feeding their widows first and the foreigners later. They were all Jews, but some were Jews from Jerusalem and some that lived other places. When the food ran out, the women from other places began to grumble. How many think this pleased God? Suddenly the church is divided. Fortunately, by God’s wisdom they handled it. They put the Hellenists in charge of the distribution of the food.

The church continued to grow. Peter began to travel and visit the different churches. God gave a vision to Cornelius. Peter was praying and saw a vision. A sheet came down from heaven, full of all kinds of animals (the kind that Jews don’t eat). God spoke, rise, kill and eat. Peter objected, it is against the law. God said what God has purified is clean. Meanwhile the men from Cornelius came. Peter went and preached a message. The Holy Spirit fell and all began to speak in tongues. Excitedly, Peter went back to Jerusalem to tell what God had done. The Jerusalem church was not happy.

Acts 11:2, After specific visions and angels brought Peter to Cornelius and God fell without prompting on the gentiles, the Jews grumbled and complained that Peter would even go in their house. How easy it is to grumble and complain.

Acts 15:36-39, Even the apostles were not immune to grumbling. Paul and Barnabas argued over Mark going with them again.

If we are going to appreciate each others differences, we need to be of the same mind.

Peter and Paul disagree, Gal. 2:11 I opposed him to his face…when we keep our eyes on Jesus, we do well, but when we put our eyes on each other, then we begin to criticize. When we criticize each other, it may be true, but it is not good and does not show God’s love. God can take care of me, and he doesn’t need your help.

Divisions come straight from the pit of Hell. I Corinthians 1:10-13, be joined together in the same mind and same judgment. Is Christ divided? Chapter 3:1-4, Where there is envy, divisions and strife, are you not carnal and acting like men…They thought they were super apostles. Paul said, you are kidding yourselves, you are babies in Christ. Chapter 6, we are the temple of God in which the Spirit dwells. Anyone who destroys the temple of God, God will destroy. We are the temple and need to be careful how we treat others (the temple of God through the Holy Spirit).

James 4, where do wars and fights come from among you? The root of dissension is envy, that when we judge a brother or sister, we are judging the law (isn’t God the judge).

Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James is talking about envy, gossip and criticism. Root of envy is the devil.

Appreciate our differences, God only made one of me. Rom. 10:12, there is no difference between Jew and Greek, the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon him.

I Cor. 12:13, the body is one with many members, though many, one body, so it is with Christ. In the One Spirit we are all baptized into one body.

Gal. 3:27, many baptized into Christ Jesus, clothed in Christ, no longer Jew or Greek, American or Thai, slave or free, hill-tribe or city, male or female, all are one in Christ Jesus.

Col 3:11, Neither Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, Cythian (African), slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.

We have a choice, we can be carnal babies, or we can be mature and trust in God and be of one mind, one heart and filled with one spirit.

Thailand Convention 2009 in Mae Sot

The churches throughout Thailand have gathered in Mae Sot, a border town near Myanmar. The national leader for Foursquare pastors in Mae Sot. The ministry here is constantly expanding every time we come to this town. We can get into that another time, but today I want to share what the convention is about. The theme is family. We will be here for 3 days as we are staying in a resort just outside of town. Luckily we have internet, so I will be posting notes of the sessions on this blog as they happen.

The convention speaker, Dr. Clayton Robinson, Tina’s dad, spoke the first night on the family of God from the passage, I Peter 2:9-10. Our perspective in life will change, because we are now chosen and placed into the royal family of God.

What has changed in your perspective since you entered the family of God?

I Peter 2:9-10

We are one family of God

  1. We were a chosen people, a chosen people…what does that mean?
    1. Eph 1:4, we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. That means that God chose us carefully. Out of billions of people, God checked them all like some one shopping for produce, and chose us.
    2. I Thess, God chose us from the very beginning. God saw who we were and knew we would accept his love.
    3. I Corinthinans 1:26-29, God chose the weak and foolish to shame the wise and strong. In the world, we choose the rich, powerful and smart, but God chooses the weak, poor, lonely, ugly, despised of the world…God saw who you were. He looked into your heart and saw something of value. Something of riches, not the things of the world, but into your heart and God chose you.
    4. Illustration…Clayton’s grandmother was a homeless person on the streets of LA. She had no money and no place to live. She would take whatever work she could not knowing where the next meal would come from. She was desperate. One day, she heard the gospel and gave her heart to God. God takes care of his own. He looked before time and saw this poor women and her two children living on the street. He said, I choose you. No matter where we are, no matter what we have…God looks throughout the world and says, I choose you. We find so many ways to invalidate ourselves. We don’t have enough money, we don’t live in the right place, I don’t have what it takes. Yet God says I choose you and I will make you into my people. Peter says you are a chosen people, it is not by accident you are here.
  2. You are a royal priesthood. God is the king of the universe. He hasn’t called us to be his slaves, but to be his children. He has called us to be his children!
    1. Hebrews 2:11, both Jesus and us are from the one and only God. Therefore Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers. Jesus the son of God calls you and I his brother or sister. We get to say Jesus is my brother. He is the king over this earth. The king is my brother.
    2. II Timothy 2:12, if we persevere, we shall also reign with him. Not only is our brother the king, but he will say, I need your help. Would you rule with me?
    3. Revelation 5:10 , we will reign on the earth, I Corinthians 6:3, says we will rule the angels. Think about that…wow…

Not only are we appointed as kings, but also as priests, Rev. 5:10. Let’s talk about priests. Out of all his people, he chose one people, The Levites. Out of all the people, there was one family. The Levites were not the priests, they served the priests. Aaron’s family were the priests. When Aaron died, his two sons became priests, and after that all further priests came from Aaron’s family. If you were not from Aaron, you could not serve as a priest.  The priesthood served between the people and God. The priests were holy. They would stand before God. There was a temple. The people did not go into the temple. The priest would come into an empty room with just the priest, before God. He would bring their prayers and ask God to bless the people. Then he would go outside and tell all the people, God has heard your prayers. They had no access to God themselves. They could only approach God through the priesthood.

Now God has said, because we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. The Holy Spirit has cleansed us and made us holy, and the anointing of the Holy Spirit has anointed us as priests. Now we can come into the presence of God. We can come in and worship together. We don’t tell some one else to pray for us. We get on our knees and pray. God hears us and answers us. Remember the purpose for the priest. Not only to come before God, but to stand before the people. We represent God to the people in the world and to pray for God’s blessings on them. Another thing a priest did was to stand before the people and taught them about God. We think it is the pastor’s job to teach everyone. It is his job to teach us, but our job to teach the people of the world. How do we teach them.

By what we say and how we live. If we are God’s people…a royal priesthood, we need to watch how we represent God to the world around us.

  1. A people belonging to God, so that you can proclaim his praises. As priests, we have been given the privilege of offering spiritual sacrifices up to God. And he accepts them. In the OT, they had to come before God with a sacrifice. No one was to come before God empty handed. Even today, no one is to come before God empty handed. We must bring a sacrifice, spiritual sacrifices (the praises we give).
  2. Holy Nation. What is a holy nation. Full bottle of water. Who can drink it? Anyone… It is just water. If you take this water and dedicate it to God. Who can drink it? We gave it to God. Who does it belong to? Who can drink it? It belongs to God. Remember in the OT. David was hot. They were fighting the Philistines. ‘I am so thirsty, can some one get me water from my home town’s well?’ Three of his mighty men fought their way to get him water. David would not drink the water that came from blood sacrificed. He held it up as holy to the Lord, and he poured it out (because it belonged to God).

Holy means simply set apart to God. It is no longer common. It belongs to the King, God.

Peter says, God has made you a Holy Nation. Sometimes we confuse holy with perfect. Holy doesn’t mean I never make a mistake. Holy never means that we make a mistake. It means we have been set aside for God. I am no longer common. I belong to the king. Everything I think, and everything I do and have belongs to the king. When I gave God my life, he took something that was common and made it holy and said you are my son.

You are part of the royal family. I want you to act like you are part of the royal family.

I Corinthians 6:20, we were purchased at the price of the blood of Jesus. We were bought with Jesus’ blood.

Eph. 1:16, God has given us the Holy Spirit, the promise of salvation. We belong to God and not ourselves.

Eph. 3:15, says we derive our name from God. My name is Clayton Robinson. Clayton means the called one. Robinson means son of a bird or something. I don’t know where that came from, it came from my father and his father and his father and so on. My family name defines my heritage.

Paul says when you come to God, you gain a new last name, divine name…God’s name.

Imagine if some one knocks on your door and says, ‘we have been doing some checking…and we found you are of royal blood’. Coem with us and you have all the priviliges of royalty. Paul says, God chose the lowly things, the despised, the poor, the humble to raise them up and set them in a royal place. The only question is how will we respond.

Will I rise up to the calling

Will I act like one of God’s children?

Will I live and act like it?

We are all the same people in God’s family. Whatever privilege we thought we had before means nothing now. We have to leave that behind, so we can become God’s children. It changes our perspective. Now we treat each other as equals.