Sunday Services: English | 9:30 am & Chinese | 11 am

Weekly Pastoral Reflections (Page 3)

An Instrument of God

Profiles of the Bible: Joseph (Part 2)

Imagine in your life someone who has deeply hurt you. If you have, you may have done what I’ve done. I confess, I have driven in my car and have had imaginary conversations with various individuals. I have outlined my position with them. I have explained why they did what was wrong. I have wrestled with myself whether or not I should or could forgive that person. Then imagine what it would be like when you actually talked with that person. You’re not driving in a car talking to imaginary person- you are talking to the real person. What would you say? What would you do?

When Things Go Wrong

Pastoral Reflection: Bible Profile- Joseph (Part 1)

Where is God when things go wrong? Why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people? Where is God when I’m suffering? Why am I being held back from good things? These questions have been asked and answered by so many people in so many ways. When wrestling with these questions, some people have found these questions have strengthened their faith in God. Others come to the conclusion that God doesn’t exist. Still others sort of just move on, figuring that there is no point to these questions.

The goes about wrestling and answering these questions in a unique sort of way. Instead of simply listing reasons 1, 2 and 3, the Bible tells us a drama. It tells us of people who have gone through situations that would cause anyone to ask these questions. It shows us who God is by God’s actions. It is in this way that we can see not only reasons why God brings about suffering, but we can also learn about the character of God as well.

Change of Identity

Profiles of the Bible: Jacob (Part 3)

Over the past two weeks we have been following Jacob the grandson of Abraham and the younger son of Isaac. The Bible highlights certain episodes of Jacob’s life and portrays a man bent on gaining blessing. He is willing to deceive, con, and climb over anyone to get it. However, God has blessed him and Jacob has become a wealthy man possessing many servants, livestock and a large family. But after living with his uncle/father in law for many years, Jacob finally decides to go out on his own and decides to return to his native land.

Along the way however, Jacob has to bring his family through territory owned by his brother Esau. Last time he was with Esau, Jacob’s brother had threatened his life. Needless to say, Jacob is probably feeling a bit apprehensive. But out of courtesy, Jacob sends messengers to inform Esau that he is entering his territory. Jacob’s stress levels increase after his messengers return informing him that Esau is coming with four hundred men with him. Jacob goes into panic mode and decides to strategize on what to do next. He can’t fight Esau. He can’t outrun Esau. Jacob prays and asks God to fulfill God’s promise. Jacob then divides his camp into two. Perhaps if one is attacked, the other can flee. Additionally, Jacob decides to see if he can buy Esau off. He decides to send drove after drove of goats, camels and donkeys in hopes of placating his brother.

Jacob (Part 2)

Profiles of the Bible: Jacob (Part 2)

Last week we left Jacob off fleeing from his brother Esau. Jacob had taken his older twin brother’s birthright by offering his brother soup. Jacob had tricked his father by taking a blessing intended for Esau. Esau had vowed to kill Jacob. Fortunately, Esau and Jacob’s mother heard of Esau’s anger and urged Jacob to leave. And so Jacob was sent away to find his mother’s family and stay with them for a while.

God’s Mercy to A Cheater

As we continue through the book of Genesis, we continue to follow the family of Abraham through the child of promise- Isaac. After Sarah’s death, Isaac marries a woman named Rebecca. Not long afterwards, Rebecca becomes pregnant and was having a difficult pregnancy. It was revealed to her through a prophecy, that she was pregnant with twins and that the younger twin would serve the older. In other words, the Promise of Abraham would go to the younger son.

When the twins were born, the older boy was covered with red hair. This child the family named Esau, which means “red”. The younger twin was born grasping onto his brother’s heel. His name, Jacob, means, “he grasps by the heel” or “he cheats”. Unbeknown to his parents, his name would truly reflect his character more than his parents ever knew.

Abraham: Sacrifice Your Son?

Profiles of the Bible: Abraham (Part 2)

Abraham is known as the “man of faith”. He is not celebrated necessarily for his ability to plan, or his ability to be a wise person. He is most commended for his faith and his trust in God. Abraham demonstrated his faith most clearly in Genesis 22. There we are told that God tested Abraham. Here is a situation where God wanted to reveal what Abraham’s faith was like.

We read in 22:1 that God calls to Abraham. The proper response of a servant to a master when a superior calls is to say, “Here I am!” Remember Adam and Eve’s response to God when he searched for them after they ate the fruit? They didn’t respond. Here was Abraham responding properly as a servant of God. Then God tells Abraham something surprising. God tells him to take his only son Isaac, the one whom he loves and to offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain that God would indicate.