JESUS IS YOUR FRIEND

This notion sometimes missing from our understanding of Jesus. I mean yes, He is our Savior, our Redeemer, our King, and our Baptizer in the Holy Spirit.  But Jesus Himself said this to the disciples, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14). By doing this we are not demeaning Him, because He declared that, “…I have called you friends…” (v.15). I encourage you to be grateful for this and make it our conviction.

We should be grateful for these reasons:

  • No other religion or faith could call God as a friend (this is distinctive for Christianity, the another one is grace).
  • Your status as a friend of someone as powerful as God is a privilege.

So why knowing Jesus as your friend important for every Christian? Because our thought has soiled with the concept of a friend from this world.

In this time of uncertainty, knowing that you have a friend, listening to you, care for you, and always there for you, is a gift. Jesus is our friend forever.

GodblesS

JEFF

COURAGE FROM GOD (Luke 1:37)

What do you afraid of?

What do you scare of?

We all have something that is holding us back.

We all have something that we feared.

But what if you cross to that one life-changing moment.

A moment of courage.

A moment where you can take your leap of faith.

A moment of strength.

A moment shared between you and God.

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Nothing is impossible with God (Message Bible Translation).

Mary, like other human beings, also experienced fear in her life. And I believe every one of us who come to this place also has “fear” and have something that we are afraid of. For some, it could be a fear of talking to someone new or maybe another kind of fear. It could be of animals, plants, places, or even something that you couldn’t see it, yet, like our future.

Let us go to the definition of the word “courage”. In one simple sentence, courage is persistence, perseverance even though there is a reason to fear. So, you know exactly what you fear something, but you choose not to give up on your fear. Courage itself could be an act of physical courage, moral courage, or psychological courage.

If you read our theme verse, in the Gospel according to Luke. We can learn a courageous act from Mary’s life story.It was started when she had the visitation from an angel, more details in Luke 1:26-38 (we can find parallel story also in Gospel according to Matthew). When I compared verses in Matthew and Luke, one important biblical value that popped out was about marriage.

Being committed to someone means you must be courageous. It’s easy to grab (or even pay) someone who you find attractive. But it’s hard, it needs the courage to keep yourself from doing that and committed to one person. Moreover, if there is a fear of rejection or a “mark” that you are “weird” and “not cool”. Matthew 16:26. Spiritually we are committed to our life-partner, Jesus.

Mankind is a unique species. They are doing a lot of horrendous things for the sake of love or fame. This is the world where the devil and his crafty evil plans try to rip you apart! The devil will try that with your family, with your close friends, with your significant others. However, remember this, an act of love (forgiving, admonishing, correcting, staying) needs a courageous heart.

Talking about a courageous heart, I can’t stop imagine Joseph, Mary’s fiancé. He is a good and noble guy but he heard the news about his fiancée who got pregnant before they are getting married. WWJD? What Would Joseph Do? Posting a status: UNFAITHFUL! Or an insta-picture with the caption: “all women are cheater”? No, he tried to compose himself and still showing his love and respect to Mary by divorced her in a quiet. Even though he has the right to do it publicly. You know sometimes courage is shown in a closed-door, love is not only about affection, but also a courageous act. When you release forgiveness to someone and wishing them all the best, you show them that you are a courageous person.

In such a condition you feel that you are losing meaning, you feel insignificant. But listen to this, your value, your meaning in this life is lay within the love that you have, not in love others don’t have. 1Corinthians 13:2. If you still remember the story of Joseph, do you remember who encouraged Joseph to take Mary as his wife? An angel. Now let’s forward our time capsule 33 years after that Angel came to meet Joseph, an angel also appeared to Jesus in His final hour at Gethsemane. Luke 22:43. What I can say, that was the appearance of the person Holy Spirit, the helping Spirit of God, like what Jesus had said in John 14:16-17.

At the end of this sermon, I want you to know that there are 3 pairs of significant threats in psychology that could cause you to lose courage. They are:

  1. Fate & Death
  2. Meaningless & Despair
  3. Guilt & Sin

The first two have been covered in the story of the first Christmas that I just told you in the last few minutes. But now maybe you have this guilty feeling over your life because you know that you have sinned before God. BUT, listen to this, your sin was the very reason Jesus came to this earth nearly 2000 years ago.

Is it possible for Him to forgive my huge mistakes? His coming is for the “sick” not for the “righteous healthy one.” Matthew 9:12.

Everything is possible because He is the Maker, the Source…

…and now He is standing right in front of your heart.

He says, “Be strong, take courage, for I love you so, and you are not alone.” Invite Jesus into your heart, invite the Holy Spirit to guide you and to give you the courage that you need.

SESSION-6: I.M.P.A.C.T for Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy Thanksgiving all. It is a good time to reflect on God’s goodness in our life. His goodness has impacted your life as Paul testified to Timothy in his letter. 1Timothy 1:12-16. Because of this, you want others to know Him in the hope that there will be a domino effect, or maybe more precisely, a chain reaction that impacted many lives. But there is one hindrance to let others know, you are afraid.

I don’t want to be judgmental and let your spirit down at the end of these I.M.P.A.C.T sessions. But I want you to see what Paul had suggested resolving this situation. Philippians 4:6-7. You don’t have to be worried all the time. It won’t take you anywhere, like a hamster who runs in a spinner wheel or a person sitting in a rocking chair.

So where do these worries come from? It is from the desire to have control of everything including your future. Jesus said worrying about your future will only paralyze you in the present. Matius 6:25-34. So if you have already learned about Intimacy, Maturity, Persistence, Action, Character, and Transformation, now is the time not to worry about those things, but give thanks for the opportunity. Make sure that today will be better than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today.

Don’t be afraid, you have Jesus by your side. He had started the good work in you, He will finish that as well. Philippians 1:6. For this every time you come to the Church, you will have Psalmist’s attitude, in Psalms 100:4.

SESSION-1: I.M.P.A.C.T for Youth

Let us start every session with this abbreviation: I.M.P.A.C.T. Intimacy, Maturity, Persistence, Action, Character, Transformation. I called these things: the precursors, something that formed another thing. When one of those precursors becomes real in your life, surely you will make impact in one or more area of your life. Can you imagine if you have it all? You are fulfilled and will have an impactful life.

Do you like to play the game “finding the differences?” Can you find a difference from the left to the right side of that picture? If I invite one of you stand beside me, you also can point many differences, between me and you.

But what if I put you side by side with any other youth in the same age? Do you think there will be many differences or similarities? Wait, we need a standard to point a difference or a similarity. All of us trained to compare ourselves with “the standard.” Let us discuss about that.

INTIMATE

I will start with “Intimacy” and “Maturity” for this session for Youth, because I think these two precursors important in order you are becoming an impactful youth. The world’s standard for intimacy has to related with a person that you can see and touch. I will try to group your “significant other” related with your age group:

  • From 0-5 years old – Parents (father, mother, or both).
  • From 6-15 years old – Friends (in school, church, or your neighbor).
  • From 16-22 years old – “Friends” (boyfriend, girlfriend, or best-friend).
  • From 23-70 years old – Partners (husband, wife, work or ministry partner). And if they have kids, that significant other could be them (physiological, spiritual or through adoption).

I don’t want to disappoint you with saying this, or being unreal, but they are your significant other until one day you’ll find out that you can’t keep them forever. They are important, but what if there is someone who is really significant, and you will never lose Him?

God said that “But even if a mother forgets her nursing child is possible, I would not forget you!” (Isaiah 49:15). I don’t know about you, but I experienced bullying in my elementary and mid-school years, but I know God is my friend that never fail me. Jesus said I am His friend because He laid down His life for me, He believed that I can do whatsoever He commanded me, and He opened up about the God’s plan that made my life become purposeful (John 15:13-15).

God is a Father of the fatherless and defender of the widows (Psalms 68:5), I know you’re not even married yet, but you get my points on how you are never walk alone. And last but not least, when you bring your brokenness to Him, it is the sacrifices of God, and He will not despise your broken heart (Psalms 51:17).  

ADULTHOOD

If you have the option to live the “Peter Pan” story or “Benjamin Button” story, which one do you prefer? I prefer to get back to reality. Every one of us is born young and going to die old, assumed there is no case of tragedy and life-threatening illness within that period. Psalms 90:10.

Your life is progressive, from babyhood (0-2 y.o.), childhood (3-12 y.o.), adolescence (13-18 y.o.), adulthood (19-80 y.o., or more), and eventually die. I heard a lot of kids in their childhood or adolescence stage of life, really can’t wait to become an adult. And that’s my experience too.

The world put standard for you to become an adult. And knowingly or not all the things that you can do or consume after you become an “adult” are crucial, and for some can bring fatality if those things being abused. From driving to smoking cigarette/e-cigarette, from alcohol consumption to age of consent (for criminal conduct or sexual activity). In some cultures, you must marry by the age of 10 to 12!

What I’m trying to say is that the world can tell you anything they want about your adult stage and it will change over time. If I ask you about an adult man, a gentleman, what comes up in your mind? Strong, and have all experience in smoking or using drugs, can be rough or violence, and good on girls (usually the definition of this is the sensual experience). How about becoming a woman, a lady? Sexy (whatever is the standard), and have all experience in make-up, shopping, and sexually free (to treat their body, giving-up to sensuality, and to the point of abortion if you have to).

But what if there is another definition about being adult, that will lead you to self-control, meekness, loyalty, kindness, generosity, patience, peace, joy and love. Galatians 5:22-23. Interestingly these values turned upside-down to define “cool.” Because to control your mouth is an “old-skool” model, being impulsive and put every f-ing word in each sentence is much cooler and show your assertiveness.

Do you want to know what is cool about being an adult? It is not that you can do whatever your heart desire, that is self-centered. But being an adult is that you could love, you could give, and realize that your life is not for yourself. This is counter-intuitive in the post-modern and post-Christian world that we living right now. When you are a child you can’t serve or love others like an adult. It is more likely that you are focused on your own needs. An adult think about others, what can I do, what can I contribute? 1Corinthians 13:11

Maturity comes with experience, not age. Experience is determined by every single choice you make. Many people get stuck to their past and can’t move on. Also a great number of people living in the utopian dream of the future without thinking of developing the present. But Jesus’ reminder to the inhabitants of Jerusalem remains relevant: “If you had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:42.

I pray that every day the Holy Spirit reminded you to do something that will give you everlasting peace, not the temporal, carnal peace. And I hope all of you become a mature Christian, an adult who can do something for others and not only for themselves.

BECOMING AN ADULT

If you have the option to live the “Peter Pan” story or “Benjamin Button” story, which one do you prefer? I prefer to get back to reality. Every one of us is born young and going to die old, assumed there is no case of tragedy and life-threatening illness within that period. Psalms 90:10.

Your life is progressive, from babyhood (0-2 y.o.), childhood (3-12 y.o.), adolescence (13-18 y.o.), adulthood (19-80 y.o., or more), and eventually die. I heard a lot of kids in their childhood or adolescence stage of life, really can’t wait to become an adult. And that’s my experience too.

The world put standard for you to become an adult. And knowingly or not all the things that you can do or consume after you become an “adult” are crucial, and for some can bring fatality if those things being abused. From driving to smoking cigarette/e-cigarette, from alcohol consumption to age of consent (for criminal conduct or sexual activity). In some cultures, you must marry by the age of 10 to 12!

What I’m trying to say is that the world can tell you anything they want about your adult stage and it will change over time. If I ask you about an adult man, a gentleman, what comes up in your mind? Strong, and have all experience in smoking or using drugs, can be rough or violence, and good on girls (usually the definition of this is the sensual experience). How about becoming a woman, a lady? Sexy (whatever is the standard), and have all experience in make-up, shopping, and sexually free (to treat their body, giving-up to sensuality, and to the point of abortion if you have to).

But what if there is another definition about being adult, that will lead you to self-control, meekness, loyalty, kindness, generosity, patience, peace, joy and love. Galatians 5:22-23. Interestingly these values turned upside-down to define “cool.” Because to control your mouth is an “old-skool” model, being impulsive and put every f-ing word in each sentence is much cooler and show your assertiveness.

Do you want to know what is cool about being an adult? It is not that you can do whatever your heart desire, that is self-centered. But being an adult is that you could love, you could give, and realize that your life is not for yourself. This is counter-intuitive in the post-modern and post-Christian world that we living right now. When you are a child you can’t serve or love others like an adult. It is more likely that you are focused on your own needs. An adult think about others, what can I do, what can I contribute? 1Corinthians 13:11

Maturity comes with experience, not age. Experience is determined by every single choice you make. Many people get stuck to their past and can’t move on. Also a great number of people living in the utopian dream of the future without thinking of developing the present. But Jesus’ reminder to the inhabitants of Jerusalem remains relevant: “If you had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.” Luke 19:42. I pray that every day the Holy Spirit reminded you to do something that will give you everlasting peace, not the temporal, carnal peace. And I hope all of you become a mature Christian, an adult who can do something for others and not only for themselves.

GodblesS

JEFF

Fear

All of us are prone to fall into the trap of the devil. And he wants us to repeat the history. What happened in Genesis 3:10 could happen in our lives. If I ask you this question: what is the biggest threat to our spiritual conditions? Fear is the answer.

Why is fear the biggest threat to our spiritual conditions? Because if we have fear, as little as it is, it will grow and become the root of our problems. Fear has a strong connection with punishment or condemnation. It is the opposite of love. We think that punishment and condemnation come from outside, but look it is started within you. Let me bring you back to the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. Fear becomes the root of all man’s wrongdoing. These three things sprang out from fear:

  • Breach the law (fear of being fooled by God). Isaiah 24:4-5. God’s law is His Word, and it is like the lines, the rules that keep everything intact.
  • Runaway (fear of being responsible). Jeremiah 2:4-6.
  • Hide (unrealistic fear). Job 34:22.

Another unrealistic fear is the thought that if you don’t have some amount of money (like others), then you lose your self-esteem. A rabbi named Smoley Boteach wrote this in his book: “Money should never be turned into a currency to purchase self-esteem.” Fear is gripping our modern society. It confuses them, brings anxiety and gives them death. Luke 21:25-26.

The answer for us in facing fear is by the Grace of God (2Timothy 1:6-7) and in believing that He gives that abundantly, read Romans 5:17. From the letter of Paul to Timothy, we learn that we must “rekindle God’s gift (His Grace),” and “remember that you need the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is not giving you a spirit of fear, but Spirit who produces power, love, and Self-Control.

GodblesS

JEFF

SESSION-5: REIGN IN LIFE (COURAGE)

Reign in life is reign over sin. Because sin is the opposite of life, remember the choice from tree of good and evil, and tree of life. Sin is changing the course of history. Genesis 3:22-23. And the result is death. Romans 6:23. To resist the attraction of sin and its stronghold we need courage.

Read Joshua 1:9. I think when God said, “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged!” God really understand that Joshua, as other human being also experienced fear in his life. And I believe each and every one of us who come to this place also have fear and have something that we are afraid of.

But let me back to the definition of the word “courage”. In one simple sentence, courage is persistence, perseverance even though there is a reason to fear. So, you know exactly that you fear something, but you choose not to give up to your fear. Courage itself could be a physical courage, moral courage, or psychological courage.

And we always admire people who show courage. That’s why we love movies about heroes or super-heroes. From Robin Hood to Harry Potter, or Spiderman to Captain America. I love movies, even though I don’t go to cinema any more. And I don’t against you to watch movies, but please watch it with discernments. Because “good and fascinating” not always reflect Godly thing. Satan in that garden was enticing people with something “good and fascinating” (the forbidden fruit), but by the act of eating it, Adam and Eve against God’s will. They are become unfaithful to The Word.

If you read the book of Matthew, in the first chapter you will find a list of biblical figures related to Jesus. Matthew 1:1-17. This genealogy of Jesus also can be found in the book of Luke but doesn’t appear in other two books who write about Jesus (Mark & John). Matthew put this in perspective of Jesus as The King. The genealogy shows that HE is from the line of David, as the prophesies from Old Testament being fulfilled in Him. I don’t have enough time to mention them one by one and tell you their stories. And each one of them did a courageous act, their stories lead us to the main characters in Jesus’ early life.

Mary. Matthew 1:18. Story about Mary with more details is in Luke 1:26-38. When I compared verses in Matthew and Luke, one important biblical value that popped out was about marriage.

Being engage with someone doesn’t mean you can give away your virginity. Either you are male or female. There is a false thinking or false value that growing among the young people that you have to be like them. They are kissing, they are having sex, they are cheating. Once I was invited to a talk-show with High School Students in Bandung. And I said this: “It’s easy to grab someone who think they want to do these things. But it’s hard, it needs courage to keep yourself from doing that. Moreover, if there is a fear of rejection or a “mark” that you are “weird” and “not-their-kind”. Matthew 16:26.

The second person who showed his courage is Joseph. Matthew 1:19-21. What is it like if you’ve found out your significant other in a condition that will most likely break your heart? Could you courageously be showing him or her an act of love?

I have seen young guys and girls, doing horrendous thing for the sake of love or fame. This is the world where the devil and his crafty evil plans try to rip you apart! The next generation of these last days. The devil will try that with your family, with your close friends, with all of your significant others. But the question is could you still say “I love you, God loves you, but we hate your sin!” Or you just keep that hatred in your heart to them and to God. An act of love needs a courageous heart. It shows that you are reign in life.

Now you imagine Joseph. He is a good and noble guy but he heard the news about his fiancée who got pregnant before they are getting married. WWJD? What Would Joseph Do? Posting a status: UNFAITHFUL! Or an instapicture with caption: “all women is cheater”? No, he tried to compose himself and still showing his love and respect to Mary by divorced her in a quiet. Even though he has the right to do it publicly. You know sometimes courage is shown in a closed door, love is not only about affection, but also a courageous act. When you release forgiveness to someone and wishing them all the best, you show them that you are courageous person.

In such condition you feel that you are losing meaning, you feel insignificant. But listen this, your value, your meaning in this life is lay within the love that you have, not in love others don’t have. 1Corinthians 13:2. If you still remember the story of Joseph, do you remember who gave encouragement to Joseph to take Mary as his wife? An angel. Now let’s forward our time capsule 33 years after that Angel came to meet Joseph, an angel also appeared to Jesus in His final hour at Gethsemane. Luke 22:43. What I can say, that was the appearance of the person Holy Spirit, the helping Spirit of God, like what Jesus had said in John 14:16-17.

At the end of this sermon, I want you to know that there are 3 pairs of significant threats in psychology that could cause you to lose courage, needless to say reign in life. They are:

Fate & Death

Meaningless & Despair

Guilt & Sin

Jesus standing among you, now it is your decision to approach Him, believe in Him, and like the woman who touch Jesus’ robe “if I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.” Invite Jesus into your heart, invite Holy Spirit to guide you and to give you courage that you need.

GodblesS

JEFF

SESSION-4: REIGN OVER TIME

Read the SUBTITLE. When you want to reign in life, one of the dimensions is reign over time. Time is the greatest non-renewable precious commodity in our life. Let’s see what the Bible say about time. Psalms 90:10. Sadly for the young generation, we feel forever young. I mean, I’m not against young in heart people, but when your attitude is not right then you only waste it.

In general, we know three parts of time: the past, the present, and the future. Let’s start talking about time one by one:

  • The Future. Here we have the fruits (or you can say the consequences of your past), a period where our hope will meet with the reality. There is a story about seed and tares in Matthew 13:24-30. And you may remember this one famous biblical principle: “what you sow is what you reap (Galatians 6:7).” The future gives us hope to recover and also warning to keep guard. Matthew 19:30.
  • The Present. Here we make the decision(s), a decision-making period. We learn to live in the present, do it now, don’t waste your time. Ecclesiastes 9:10. We also learn to repent now and don’t waste God’s grace. Romans 2:4, Matthew 24:43-44.
  • The Past. Here we can’t change a thing, an unchangeable period. Learn from David in 2Samuel 12:22-23. You can’t change even a fraction of time from your past, that’s why you must move on. Philippians 3:13-14.

Do you reign over time? Read again Romans 5:17, do you learn something from Jesus? He is our future, He is with us to get through today’s trial, and He already redeemed our past. I know that you have your own past stories, and maybe it affects your present and making your future filled with uncertainty. God reigns! And because He reigns, we have future in Him, and before that time comes, He gave us Holy Spirit so we can reign in life and spiritual family to grow with you.

Do you love your spiritual family? Do you want them to reign in life? Would you say a prayer for a specific person around you? You may know them or not, and God put this Word in your heart about them, to help them reign in life, as God wants them to be.

GodblesS

JEFF

SESSION-3: FOR YOUNG ADULTS

All of us are prone to fall into the trap of the devil. And he wants us to repeat the history. What happened in Genesis 3:10 could happen in our lives as young adults. If I ask you this question: what is the biggest threat to our spiritual conditions? Fear is the answer. And as our main theme talking about “reign in life,” we can’t give place for fear.

Why fear is the biggest threat to our spiritual conditions? Because if we have fear, as little as it is, it will grow and becomes the root of our problems. Let me bring you back to the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. Fear becomes the root of all man’s wrongdoing. These three things sprang out from fear:

  • Breach the law (fear of being fooled by God). Isaiah 24:4-5. God’s law is His Word, and it is like the lines, the rules that keep everything intact.
  • Runaway (fear of being responsible). Jeremiah 2:4-6.
  • Hide (unrealistic fear). Job 34:22.

Another unrealistic fear is the thought that if you don’t have some amount of money (like others), then you lose your self-esteem. A rabbi with the name Smoley Boteach wrote this in his book: “Money should never be turned into a currency to purchase self-esteem.” Fear is gripping our modern society. It confused them, bring anxiety and gives them death. Luke 21:25-26.

The answer for this is Grace of God (2Timothy 1:6-7) and He gives that abundantly, read Romans 5:17. From the letter of Paul to Timothy, we learn that we must “rekindle God’s gift (His Grace),” and “remember that you need the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is not given you spirit of fear, but Spirit who produce power, love, and Self-Control (check-out the notes on the Opening Session).

GodblesS

JEFF