This Sunday, Grace and Love Church participated in its weekly Sunday Service, but despite it being the norm, it felt different. We welcomed our guests who had come to attend our service and it was like a confirmation of the difference that day had. Jessy Sajquim led worship, and even the worship was different. The worship, along with the entire service, carried a welcoming presence. Pastor Mario Magana gave a word that was welcoming and encouraging. It was as if God was welcoming us to foretaste the blessings of the day, and we all walked in together, receiving the blessings.
1 Corinthians 3: 9-17
You are the holy temple of God. You are His holy dwelling place. Because you have been called, and have favor over your life, God has placed the privilege and honor of building into one another. In other words, God has trusted YOU to help build your brother and sister in Christ (His holy temple). Paul mentions six building resources available to us: gold, silver, jewels, wood, straw, and hay. Paul also mentions that a fire will test the works of every builder. Obviously, half of the resources will be completely consumed if fire is placed upon them, so wisdom is needed when building. Gold, silver, and jewels are all from God. That means they are good resources and are also eternal resources. Wood, hay and straw are resources we find outside of God, they are good resources because they can build, but they are only temporal and lack glory.
The temporal and very flammable resources come from work outside of God’s rest. Outside of God, we have access to what we can do, and what we can find. Our tools become obsolete and bland. A worker has access to tools, and depending on the quality of the tools, the finished work will either reflect the great quality and skill of the builder, or reflect the lacking of skill and quality. When we build each other up, it is important to do it partnered with God because He is the one who has set the perfect foundation (Jesus) and supplies the perfect tools (gold, silver, jewels). Obviously, the tools we use affect the beautiful work on the temple. Here’s the difficult thing to understand, you will be saved no matter what building material you use on yourself, or on your brothers. That will not affect salvation for anyone. What it does affect is whether you share in the glory of the beautiful temple created for God.
We are co-laborers in Christ. That means we co-create with God. God supplies all the tools, and the skill to create with Him. What He is doing is giving you the opportunity to be like Him, and to share in the glory of creating something beautiful. That is why Paul writes that the fire will reveal the value of every builder’s work. When we work with God’s supplied tools, we build on the foundation of Christ with righteousness, redemption, and majesty (gold, silver, and jewels respectively). The tabernacle and ark were made of gold, because gold has been attributed to the quality of righteousness. Silver, associated with redemption, is seen when Joseph was sold for thirty pieces of silver, and Jesus for twenty; they were redeemed for silver payment. Jewels often adorned crowns and priestly robes because they not only enhanced beauty, but they declared power and purpose in what they were on.
When we build with His materials not only does the finished work look beautiful and glorious, but God boasts about you declaring this co-labored work admirable and meaningful. God has entrusted you to help build up your brothers and sisters the way He has built you up. Build with the same resources and skill God has used on you; co-labor with God and experience the ability to be like Him. Outside of Him works are in vain, but within Him, rest produces a work that not only has meaning, but produces holiness. Be like God. Co-labor with Him. Build a Holy Temple.
Today, Pastor Mario spoke on the signs of the end of the age and the return of Jesus Christ. We read through Matthew 24:3-31 to review the prophecy that Jesus spoke of regarding the end of days. There would be wars, rumors of wars, natural disasters, and persecutions. In these verses, Jesus is calling His people to be on the lookout as these would be signs that His return was imminent. Pastor Mario challenged us to look at our lives and to evaluate our passion for Christ. Some of us, at times, may lose passion. This is normal. Through the wear and tear of everyday living, it can be possible that a Christian person can decrease his/her fire for God. Pastor Mario seemed to be going through this season when a chance encounter with a stranger helped him ignite the flame again.
On a Saturday morning evangelism event, Mario was praying outside of the church building. A sister met him and spoke a word of knowledge to him. She shared with Mario a vision: “I see a cloud hanging over the church, and new things are about to rain down.” Pastor Mario accepted this vision and believed that new things were coming for Grace & Love and its people. Another experience that happened to Mario was that he remembered a dream he had, and according to him, he never remembers dreams. In his dream, he saw ships in the sky and people going up to them. He saw thousands of ships in the sky, they were really awesome looking, people were in dismay. People began to be taken up randomly, and it felt as if God was taking His people up, Pastor Mario believes personally it was reminder that Jesus is coming for his church. Jesus is soon to return brothers and sisters.
If or when we feel like we lost our passion for Christ, all we have to do is remember the words and promises He said to us. Remember so that our hearts can be stirred once again. Verses 12-13 say, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Thankfully, our hearts can never grow cold. We have the power to change the atmosphere and show love to the world. Our job, then, is to keep seeking more and to keep going forward. Pastor Mario said, “As the world gets darker, the church gets brighter.” Receive that! Let’s be like Peter who focused solely on Jesus rather than the storm, or let’s be like John who had tremendous passion for Christ, even being named Mary’s son by Jesus Himself. If you want more, believe for more and He will give you more. We must be like the faithful servant mentioned in the later verses of Matthew 24. We discover Truth to feed ourselves and to, therefore, feed others.
Friday Night Service: July 11, 2014
It was a pleasure to welcome our brother Juan Reyes to speak during tonight’s encounter service. Juan shared a story about recently attending his friend’s church retreat where many young kids were in attendance. As Juan says he always does, he began making jokes and doing impressions. By the end of the day, the kids were mimicking Juan and doing the same impressions. This made Juan think of the influence he had.
And that was the focus of tonight’s message. Juan posed the question, “How influential are we?” Look at your life and the groups you are a part of – work, school, family, sports clubs, etc. As Christians, we are put on a “stage” 24/7; there is no on & off switch. We must realize that the light that was given to us by God never dims, so whatever we do will shine on others. This means good and bad. Fortunately, we have the power of God that leads us to do good.
Juan posed another question, “What do we do when we are wronged? How do we react?” Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” It is never our place to retaliate or exact revenge on someone. God will work all things for our good; He has already won the victory. Our job is to continue to love people & influence them. We are to change the atmosphere. I Peter 3:8-9 calls us to “…repay evil with blessing.” What response can someone do to us when we fight back with love? Look at the life of Joseph. He experienced traumatic events, from being thrown into a pit by his own brother to being put in jail for allegedly harassing Potiphar’s wife. Through it all, Joseph never bad mouthed his adversaries but rather kept his love on. Joseph continued to show and express God’s love and, in doing so, was able to influence those around him. That is who we should be like. The four walls of the church do not dictate when we are on or off for Christ. All things we do or say should be in reverence, honor, and glory to God (I Corinthians 10:31). There is no “secular life” and “Christian life”; we live one life led by Christ.
We have been chosen as children of God to arise and shine (Isaiah 60:1-3). The stage is set for our light to shine and vanquish the darkness. No matter who you come in contact with, no matter what happens to you, be like Christ. Love, honor, and influence.