I guess though that my thoughts recently have been toward the topic of revelation. In Romans we read that God has been made known to all people through creation. In some ways, this is made known through man’s struggle and curse to work the ground (Genesis, as a result of the fall) in sweat and struggle, though even before that they were to care for the earth and work. As a result of this work, one is able to care for their families and others without family, by helping to provide food, shelter, clothing, health, water, etc., attainable through working hard for six days as was modeled by God in creation, and then to rest one. These things of work, creation, and management/care for each other and the earth are made known to us all, regardless of religion or religious belief (this line of thought is similar to my previous post on our shared humanity). And because of who God is, and His concern and love for His creation, despite our fallenness, He pours out on all His general grace though His creation and rewarding of hard work and toil (though too our fallenness and abuse of the earth often works against the way God originally set up His Great Economy, as Wendell Berry would say).
reflections from the prayer room: revelation
“To Him who ALONE DOES GREAT WONDERS. His love endures forever.” – Psalms 136:4
I have been challenged lately, in regards to church planting and the spiritual, physical, social, and mental needs. The primary component should be the spiritual, though not at the expense/neglect of the physical and social. It was part of the very substance of Jesus’ proclamation/ministry, and though His Kingdom is not of this world, it is manifested in this world and thus we are to pray, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on EARTH as it is in HEAVEN.” It is a both/and, not either/or requirement.
That said, in regards to the many people being relocated to Montalban (one of the many relocation sites here in Metro-Manila for the urban poor) know enough and have enough (most of them that is) because they are human beings that have been encoded with the knowledge and tools to care for the land, for their families, and for themselves, despite the many factors working against them in these regards (for instance the fathers having to live and work in the city still five days a week and only come home on the weekend, or extended family members providing support to those not able to work or find jobs). As I said in my previous post on humanity, as human beings we have an obligation to help our brothers and sisters in difficult situations like this, that is in helping them obtain basic human rights and the basic necessities to survive, which is actually practiced very well here in the Philippines with the extended family/kin systems that keep the jobless alive and with a full stomach (most of the time).
But where does faith come in, beyond hoping in the Lord for our next meal if we don’t know where it will come from, or believing that jobs will eventually make their way out to the relocation areas (which they will and have been already in some parts). What about the special revelation of Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh and the Good News that God is in the process of reconciling all things back to himself (as I ended in the last post).
Here I’m talking about the dual nature of development in a city – that is, the need for Nehemiah’s who can help rebuild the physical and social structure of the city (which, many times throughout history, these visionary and development leaders come from what we call the secular world, though it is worth arguing that God himself raises these leaders up ‘for such a time as this’, like He did Moses, Joseph, and Nehemiah in the OT), and Ezra’s that help rebuild the spiritual temples for God’s presence and for a renewed relationship between the people and their creator, God.
As for these Ezra’s and Prophets, they MUST be of the one true God, and not from the line of false prophets who lead the people astray. The words that come from the mouth of the prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, must not be their own words, but only the Word that they hear come from the mouth of God, or words that have been revealed by Him through His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit, which in the New Testament we learn is made flesh in Jesus Christ (though is evident throughout the Old Testament as well, supported by the gospels and Acts where Jesus opens the minds of the disciples to show them all the places where He is present in the OT).
While there is such a distinction between good and bad leaders/developers, it is evident that there have often been good leaders who are not necessarily Christian and many bad leaders who would claim to be, and arguably are Christians. But there is an even clearer line when it comes to true/false prophets, and no gray area (though admittedly some can preach the right message with wrong motives, as the Apostle Paul makes clear). Thus, those of us who would call ourselves evangelists, prophets, teachers, shepherds, and apostles have a huge responsibility and duty as the church to proclaim the fullness and true Word of God to the flocks under our care (or new communities to which we take the gospel). Though the Lord does at times speak through dreams and direct encounters with Himself or His holy angels (which in and of themselves must be confirmed and supported by the Word of God), He has specifically called the church, and Israel before it, to declare/proclaim the Word of God, namely reconciliation and eternal life and the Kingdom of God, to the whole world.
In the end, it comes down to this. The proclamation of the revealed Word of God, through Jesus Christ His son, is the churches responsibility. No other world religion, economic system, or government can have this role, namely to proclaim the Kingdom of God (though to adhere to it yes, and even share in furthering the Kingdom). Thus, the importance of multiplying church planting movements across the world, especially targeting unreached areas, is crucial; this, in addition to strengthening and discipling those places that have been reached (which is integral to evangelism in order to disciple further workers for the Kingdom).
“Lord, continue to burn on my heart a passion for the proclamation of the gospel. Matched with the Kingdom principles of justice, reconciliation, peace, redistribution, etc. And help me to be bold in sharing my faith. Do the same in (places i've been/interacted with):
- LRC (Tatalon and Fairview) - HTC (Holy Trinity Church)
- SLCC (Suburban Life Community Church) - MMP churches, Philippines
- CHBC (Cherry Hills Baptist Church) - Loyola Campus Ministry
- Victory Churches, Manila - New City Church, LA
- Convention of Philippines Baptist Churches - New Life Chicago
- San Diego Young Life - Boston
- Republic of Georgia - Kosovo
- Kenya - India
- Thailand - Canada
- Mexico - Costa Rica
And help me, and others here at LRC (Kuya Oily included) seek First the Kingdom, trusting, believing, and obeying You (even if, for your purposes, suffering might be our lot) that all these other things (money, jobs, relationships, school, food, shelter) will be given to us as well (in this life or the next).
Lord, continue to speak to us through Your Word and revelation, Jesus Christ, via the Holy Spirit, and empower us by Your Holy Spirit to carry that Revelation and Good News to the ends of the earth. Until You come again. O Lord, come soon!”