Official Podcast of Agape Church of San Diego
Official Podcast of Agape Church of San Diego
You are Called to Belong
God made you to be loved by Him. But God did not made you just to know and love Him, He also made you to know and love His family—the Church. The word for “church” in the Bible is the Greek word ecclesia. It comes from the word kaleo which means “called.” We’ve talked about five callings on your life. Ecclesia means you’re called out. So the word “church” literally means the group of people who are called by God. The called out. Ecclesia. Called by God. Christianity is based on God’s Word and God’s Word says the church is the called out. In other words church isn’t an event. It isn’t a program. It isn’t a building. If I asked most people, “What do you think church is?” They’d think of a building. Or they think it’s something you go to—“I’m going to church.” Church is not something you go to. Church is something you belong to. It is not an event and it’s not a location. Church is a relationship. We worship here, we have a place here. But the church is the people of God. It’s our relationship. Because God designed his family, the church, to meet your five deepest needs. In fact the church is the only thing that can meet your five deepest needs. God created the entire universe because he wanted a family. And God doesn’t want his children to be orphans. He doesn’t want his children to be street kids. He puts them in the family. That family is called the church. There are many metaphors used in the Bible to refer to the church. Today we will look into five of them, and each metaphor actually has great implications in your life. The Church is called a family, a temple [building], a body, a flock and a garden.
Called to Be Loved
To understand your life purpose and understand your life calling you have to begin with God, because God created you. You can’t tell yourself what your purpose is. Only your Creator can tell you what your purpose is. Your purpose, your calling in life, actually begins in the nature of God. The Bible tells us that God is love. The only reason you’re able to love, the only reason you’re able to give and receive love is because God, who is a God of love, made you in his image. Ants can’t love. Snails can’t love. Cows can’t love. But human beings love because we're made in the image of God. The Bible says that everything in the universe was created so that God could love it. God mad you, and he made you to love you. The Bible says this in Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) “Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.” The first purpose of your life is to be loved by God. Let that sink in a little bit. The first purpose of your life is not to serve God. The first purpose of your life is not to trust God. The first purpose of your life is not to obey God. The first purpose of your life is not even to love God. No! The first purpose of your life is to let God love you. God didn’t create you in the first place to do something. He created you in the first place to receive something. He created you to accept, to receive his love. To just let God love you. That’s the first purpose of life. To be loved by God.
The Call is For You
One of the most beloved verses in the Bible is Romans 8:28. It’s a verse you’ve probably heard many times, maybe hundreds of times. It’s one of the great promises of the Bible. It says this: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him…” Usually we stop right there. We leave off the second half of the verse and we say what a great promise. “We know that in all things… Not just the good things in life, but even in the bad things, the ugly things, the terrible, the tragic things of life. In all things God works for the good of those who love him…” It doesn’t say they’re good. He can bring good out of even bad for those who love God. Usually we stop the verse right there. But the rest of the verse says this: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.. Circle “called” and circle “purpose” and draw a line between them, because calling and purpose go together. Do you reject calls when the number is unregistered on your phone? I do sometimes! But what if someone who called was to bring the news that you inherited $50 million dollars and you decided not to answer? I guess you will regret that for life. But what if God is the one calling you and the news He brings is way greater than that $50 million dollars and you opted to ignore, or rejected his call? You will regret that forever. Your calling is connected to your purpose and that’s what we’re going to look at for the next six weeks.
Who Am I?
This is the time of the year when our hopes are high. We have the feeling of new beginnings and new opportunities coming right back up at our doorsteps. It’s like one of those video games that you played when you were younger, after messing up in the game, you’re anxious to get to another fresh start. 2019 could be different for all of us. To some, it must have been a great year, to some not really, and yet to some, kinda so so. Regardless of how your year treated you, a new year is always a new chance in itself. A chance to make it right, or a chance to make it better. Making new year’s resolutions somehow leads you to some goals and plans. And there’s nothing wrong with that! In fact it is biblical to set those goals, and to make those plan. Proverbs 21:5 ESV says, “5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Planning leads you to abundance. While being hasty leads you to poverty. Hasty - done or made in a hurry. Acting too quickly. Overly eager or impatient. You have to slow down for a second here! Setting goals and making plans without first knowing who you truly are, could lead you to empty results, worst is you could drift into frustrations if your goals are not met! Yes! Planning could answer the HOW question. But NOT knowing WHO you are. NOT knowing WHAT are you capable of. NOT knowing WHERE your God-given destiny is taking you. NOT knowing WHY are you still here on earth, could obstruct your 20/20 vision. These could impair your ability to see where God is leading you. And if your vision is impaired, what would happen? Tendency is you’ll get lost! You’ll travel in circles just like the Israelites! The supposed 2- week journey from Egypt to Canaan took them 40 years! It took them 40 years to figure out WHO they are, WHAT are they capable of, WHERE their God-given destiny is taking them, and WHY on earth they were in that generation? It took me 45 years to figure out Who Am I! For a while, I thought I was an engineer, then a janitor. And then I thought I was a Pilot. I thought I am a disc jockey spinning records, a computer instructor. An entrepreneur, a politician. It was only when I started knowing God that helped me know myself.
The incoming year is when God will make our vision clear. Visual acuity is usually measured with a Snellen chart. A Snellen chart is an eye chart that can be used to measure visual acuity. Snellen charts are named after the Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen, who developed the chart in 1862. Snellen charts display letters of progressively smaller size. "Normal" vision is 20/20. This means that the test subject sees the same line of letters at 20 feet that person with normal vision sees at 20 feet. 20/20 is the minimum requirement to be a fighter pilot. I started wearing reading glasses when I entered politics, and that was around 2001. Since then, my ability to physically see things just keeps on deteriorating, until just recently, I got a new pair of reading glasses with higher prescription lenses. Physical sight diminishes with age (Genesis 27:1). It is God that gave us vision, both the physical act of seeing (Exodus 4:11) and the gift of spiritual insight (Acts 2:17). When I was first called by God into ministry, I received a vision. A vision that was stuck in my heart and mind up to now. When I first became part of Agape, I shared this vision and it was embraced by the leaders/elders. We reduced the vision into writing and this is what we came up with: “To Glorify God by building communities that are spiritually healthy, morally upright, physically fit, mentally alert, emotionally happy and financially stable. To share His love to the un-churched, un-loved, un-inspired, un-motivated and especially to the believers of Jesus Christ.” Inspired by this vision we embarked on our mission guided by The Great Commission and the Great Commandment.
The Path to Adoration
What is a Magi? First of all, Magi are not kings, they are royal advisers to the kings. We don’t know too much about them. The Bible did not mention their names, however, tradition game them the names Balthasar, Melchor and Casper (Gaspar). The Bible did not also mention how many Magi went to pay homage to baby Jesus. But again, eastern tradition set their number to twelve, while the western tradition said there were three. Probably they made use of the number of gifts as their basis. The Magi came from Parthia, Persia and Yemen, now known as Iran, Iraq and Yemen. The estimated distance they traveled was around 1,300 miles, and if they were riding camels, that would have taken them two to three weeks to get to Betlehem. It was not clear why did they have to go and see Jesus. Coming from different directions, we can conclude that they have their own reasons whey they followed the start. But one thing in common with all of them is that, they were all “seeking”. After they found the Messiah, the Bible said, “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh”. Take notice of what the Magi have done. They sought and followed God’s light, and when they have found the Savior, they humbled themselves to Him, and they gave Him their best.