“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
What is the tie that binds our church family together? Love. Love that simply accepts one another unconditionally (warts and all).
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro tells the story of meeting a man who was sent by his denomination to plant a new church in Hawaii. The man told of how he was given a large amount of money to lead this new church plant. After listening, Wayne simply asked him one question: “Do you love the Asian and Polynesian people?”
“Oh they’ve been given the nicest place on the globe to live. And my kids love the beaches.”
“I agree. But do you love the people?”
“Yes, I love the way they gather in families on the beach.”
“But do you love the people?”
“… What do you mean?”
“The people here deserved to be deeply loved. Do you know that they take naps in the park and sometimes stop in the middle of the road to talk with a friend they haven’t seen in a while? Do you like kimchee? Have you ever tasted haupia?”
The man stared at Wayne, and replied, “I’m sure I will like their food. Back home, we have a Chinese restaurant that we eat at sometimes.”
Wayne advised the man not to plant a church yet. But instead, to buy a map of Hawaii and pray over the towns, walk the avenues, learn to pronounce the street names, and get to know the people. Learn to love them for who they are.
But it was too little too late. The denomination had already tasked the man to plant a church, and two months later he moved to Hawaii with his family. Within three years the church plant closed and he went back to mainland America.
Our church is a family. And family members love one another. In your own family, if you have a down syndrome or physically handicapped child, you will still love him/her unconditionally. So let’s do the same in our church family, loving one another unreservedly!
Action Item of the Day
Pray for love to reign in our City family!
 Cordeiro, Wayne (2011). The Irresistible Church (p. 110). Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers.
by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” – Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV)
What or rather who makes us a family? The answer, pure and simple, is that we have the privilege of being a family because of Jesus Christ, who gave himself up for us so that we can belong to his family. Jesus who never committed any sins, the firstborn of many siblings (Romans 8:29). Yet in his love for us, he gave up his life so that we too can have the privilege of being sons and daughters of God.
The New Testament often calls believers “adopted sons and daughters of God.” We receive adoption into God’s family because of Jesus. Modern day Christians may have a less than flattering view of adoption. “I’m adopted? That means I’m second class. I’m not as good as the natural son.”
But we have to understand that when the Bible talks about adoption, it means that the adopted child is given the FULL rights and privileges of a natural son or daughter of God! Which means as sons and daughters of God, we are his heirs and we have all the honours which come with being his children. We are prince and princesses of heaven. And what did we have to exchange in order to get that? Nothing. What did Christ have to exchange in order to give us that? Everything.
So now that you know your rights and privileges as sons and daughters of God, how are we to treat our siblings in Christ? With love. We are to love each other as Christ loved us. Because we are one family under Christ.
Action Item of the Day
Pray for a heart full of love for your church family! We can love because he loved us first!
by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:24-25
A lot of times when a believer backslides, church attendance is the first thing to suffer. The person may start by coming irregularly to church, and then make special guest appearances once in a blue moon, and finally not come at all. Why do people stop attending church? A variety of reasons. It could be past hurts with church leadership, boredom, difficulties at home, feeling distant from other church members etc.
But more importantly: why would a person come to church? If we take away everything from a Sunday service experience – meaning if we take away the lights, sounds, sermon, music, announcements etc. – what is the most basic element that will lead people back to church? I believe it’s love. To love God and love one another. The two greatest commandments. If a person feels loved at church, she will be back. Again and again. Because love is one of the most basic needs of human beings.
Why did the Samaritan woman go draw water from the well at noon (John 4), when it was so hot and no one else came? Because she didn’t feel loved by her town. And what brought her into God the Father’s arms? Jesus’ love for her.
And in Hebrews 10:24-25, we are encouraged to show this exact same love for one another. A nonjudgmental love that spurs each other on.
If you’re on the margins of church attendance, get yourself plugged into a LifeGroup today! Don’t be afraid to take the risk of getting to know new friends! If you’re already committed to a LifeGroup, take an extra step to reach out to those who are not regular.
Action Item of the Day
Pray for someone you haven’t seen in church for a while. Then send them a text message, asking how they’ve been and if there’s any prayer requests.
by ERIC SUNG for THE CITY
EASY AS 123, ABC!
Calling all young believers and for those who desire to strengthen your faith! Come learn about baptism, communion, the Trinity and much more in our upcoming Foundation Class.
Those interested in being baptized on 13 July must attend this class! For more info, please contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was the blessing we pronounced over The City’s mothers on Sunday – 11 May. We continue to declare greatness and strength over the mothers as they take on the world’s toughest job.
Today is a very special day and we would like to bless all the mothers in our midst. We want to honour all of them today.
For the mother who’s chosen to stay at home while her children are little: May your patience be great and your influence even greater.
For the mother who strives to balance work outside the home with love inside the home: May you be given energy, strength and grace as you daily make the leap from one world to another.
For the single mum who never planned on doing this alone: May you be consistently strengthened by your heavenly Father. And may you daily hear His voice singing over you.
For mums who had poor mothers themselves, but who now refuse to let that pattern repeat itself: May the godly legacy you’ve started be carried on for generations to come.
For mothers with grown adult children: May today be filled with joy as you experience deep satisfaction and fulfillment.
For women who have no biological children of their own yet, but mentor younger women as their daughters: May you understand that God is leading you to transform their lives.
Today is a unique day, so for all those we mentioned and even those we didn’t; be blessed, be honoured and be filled with joy! God’s blessings are upon you, and let it be passed down to your future generations!
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.” – 2 Timothy 1:5
“For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons… As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled.” – Ezra 9:2-3
“In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab… And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair.” – Nehemiah 13:23-25
Be yourself. Every leader is different. Don’t try to be someone you’re not.
There’s lots of similarities between Ezra and Nehemiah. Both were leaders of Israel who led the Israelites to rebuild Jerusalem. And both encountered the same problem: Jews marrying foreign women. And they dealt with the problem very differently. One pulled out his own hair, whilst the other pulled out other people’s hair! Both their actions brought the people to repentance and draw closer to God. But the way they did it was very different, showing that different leaders have different styles.
Some leaders operate best in a structured environment whereas others are at their peak in an unstructured one. Both systems have their strengths. Structuredeness allows tasks to run smoothly and efficiently, plus members will know what to expect. Unstructuredeness allows for more creativity as well as room to try new things. Both are needed in the Kingdom of God. Some leaders are great visionaries. But not so competent when it comes to following through with plans. Others are the exact opposite.
My point is this: God made every leader different. Oftentimes frustrations happen when we want to be like someone else, but end up realizing that we are so different. So don’t aim to be someone you’re not. Aim to be whom God made you to be. Discover your own giftings, passions and calling. Sometimes this process of finding yourself may take a while, but don’t give up. And be comfortable with who you are. Some people find out more about themselves but aren’t comfortable with who they find. So remember to take time to become comfortable with who God has created you to be.
 Ezra and Nehemiah were contemporaries who governed around 12 years of each other. One can argue that Ezra’s action were to touch the hearts of the people to repentance. Nehemiah’s actions occurred around three decades later. Since the people had not fully repented from Ezra’s time 30 years before, one can argue Nehemiah’s tough love was needed to humble them and bring them to repentance. Nevertheless, this does reflect the actions of two dissimilar leaders.
“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.”- John Wesley
The City LifeGroups are embarking on a revival adventure together. We are using the “Firestarter” set from Bethel Church. Through this series, LifeGroup members are being equipped to be revivalists who bring catalyst to their spheres of influence.
For 12 weeks, each LifeGroup will learn more about who God is, experience walking in passionate revival and reach out to those around them through prophesying, praying etc. So far there’s been excitement and talk in our LifeGroups as we embark on an adventure of personal revival. Together, we aim to see The City family touch more lives in our community!
For more information, check out http://www.kevindedmon.com/ministries/firestarters/