Author Archives: Stephen Rodgers

God’s Wisdom for Parenting (Part 3)

by Pastor Patrick Cho

One of the places in Scripture to find a wealth of helpful principles for parenting is the Proverbs. Almost every book on parenting will reference these Scriptures repeatedly because of the wisdom they contain. Besides the plethora of verses that apply to parenting indirectly, several passages address parenting specifically.

The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)

As the heading to the verse suggests, this passage marks the beginning of the long list of Solomon’s proverbs. Chapters 1-9 of Proverbs are generally introductory, focusing on the incalculable value of pursuing wisdom and warning against the tragic consequences of falling to the temptation of sexual sin. But starting at Proverbs 10:1, the author offers many short but substantial nuggets of wisdom gold.

The proverb, “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother,” is not arbitrary, but flows out of the previous context warning against foolishness and encouraging wise living. The previous chapter included the theme verse for the entire Book of Proverbs. Proverbs 9:10 states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” This theme verse helps us to understand that there is no true wisdom apart from God. To depart from God’s instruction to trust in one’s own understanding is folly.

It is significant to understand the meaning of the word “wise” in this context. The Hebrew word has the idea of someone being skilled in what they do (Heb. chakam). In this sense, wisdom is more than just what a person knows. It also involves how well they live in accordance with what is good and true. This is why Solomon tells his son that wisdom begins with fearing God. A right understanding of the Lord will make an impact on a person’s way of life. To fear God and thus live wisely is to love the Lord and walk in His ways, forsaking the foolishness of the world and of the flesh.

In contrast to the wise is the foolish (Heb. kesil). “Foolish” can also be understood as dull or insolent. Foolish ways are particularly enticing to those who are young and immature, and there is great peril with walking in foolishness since it can lead to destruction. But foolishness does not only have consequences for the person who is foolish. It also affects others around him, so passages like Proverbs 14:7 encourage people not to associate with fools lest their wisdom also become dulled.

Because of these biblical definitions of wisdom and foolishness, of course godly parents desire their children to pursue wisdom and forsake foolishness. No parent wants their child to walk the path to destruction and to be a spiritual detriment to the well-being of those around them. Every God-fearing parent wants their child to make choices consistent with God’s revealed Word. In this way, a child that pursues godly wisdom brings joy to his parents, but a child who departs from godly wisdom will only bring grief.

Who Hath Saved Us, And Called Us With An Holy Calling

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

2 Timothy 1:9

The apostle uses the perfect tense and says, ‘Who hath saved us.‘ Believers in Christ Jesus are saved. They are not looked upon as persons who are in a hopeful state, and may ultimately be saved, but they are already saved. Salvation is not a blessing to be enjoyed upon the dying bed, and to be sung of in a future state above, but a matter to be obtained, received, promised, and enjoyed now.

  • The Christian is perfectly saved in God’s purpose; God has ordained him unto salvation, and that purpose is complete.
  • He is saved also as to the price which has been paid for him: ‘It is finished’ was the cry of the Saviour ere He died.
  • The believer is also perfectly saved in His covenant head, for as he fell in Adam, so he lives in Christ.
  • This complete salvation is accompanied by a holy calling. Those whom the Saviour saved upon the cross are in due time effectually called by the power of God the Holy Spirit unto holiness: they leave their sins; they endeavour to be like Christ; they choose holiness, not out of any compulsion, but from the stress of a new nature, which leads them to rejoice in holiness just as naturally as aforetime they delighted in sin. God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but He called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by His workmanship in them. The excellencies which we see in a believer are as much the work of God as the atonement itself. Thus is brought out very sweetly the fulness of the grace of God.

Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord is the author of it: and what motive but grace could move Him to save the guilty? Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord works in such a manner that our righteousness is for ever excluded.

Such is the believer’s privilege-a present salvation; such is the evidence that he is called to it-a holy life.

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The Elder Son

by Roger Alcaraz

When we think about the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, not much attention gets placed on the older son. Granted, he doesn’t occupy as much space as the younger, nor is his story as happy. But I do think his story related the most to Jesus’ audience.

Jesus spoke this parable in the context of both the religious heroes and zeros of the day: the scribes and Pharisees versus the tax collectors and sinners. And one would expect the religious leaders to be the ones gravitating to Jesus, but it was more often the wretched sinners that drew near to him. And the parable of the prodigal son was about how lost sinners were being found, and the joy that consumes Christ whenever one of his children is back with him.

Christ is represented by the father in the parable who saw his son, felt compassion, ran to him, embraced him, kissed him, gave him a robe, gave him a ring, gave him shoes, killed the fattened calf, and celebrated. That’s quite the welcoming, especially when you consider that this is a man who had wished his father to be dead, abandoned him, and squandered away his inheritance. You would think that even if the father received him back, there might be conditions to pay back at least some of what he lost, but there are no conditions to pay back the father at all.

This man’s list of good deeds is empty and still the father receives him, and that must have driven the scribes and Pharisees crazy. Jesus was offering salvation to these deplorable sinners just for coming to him. He would disregard their whole past and call the people with the worst lives and say, “I don’t care what sins you’ve committed, only that you follow me now.”

What an offer! But I can imagine how infuriating it would be for the scribes and Pharisees. These are people who devoted themselves to obeying God’s word and who felt they alone were entitled to God’s kingdom because of their deeds. But Jesus knows that what they’re feeling is wrong, and so he concludes his parable by introducing the older son who represents the scribes and Pharisees.

It’s not a complicated story by any means. The older brother is tending the field, being a diligent and hardworking son, and as he comes in, he hears music and dancing and finds out his younger brother has returned. And upon hearing the news, the older brother is outraged. But notice this: nowhere does he take issue with his brother. He’s not angry about the son’s return; he’s angry at the father’s celebration. The father has thrown this huge celebration and even killed the fattened calf which would have been reserved for a wedding. All this for a son who spent his inheritance on prostitutes, when the older son has always obeyed and served the father, and he never even got a young goat.

He contrasts his relationship to his father against his brother’s relationship with his father. He essentially says, “I’ve done so much and have received so little, whereas my brother has done so little and received so much, and it’s not fair.” And in the older son’s heart, he has concluded that his father is not fair or good. And so the father reminds him of his love for the older son. The father loved his older son and this celebration didn’t diminish that. But the father reminds him of why they’re celebrating.

They’re not celebrating because the younger son did something to earn the fattened calf. They’re celebrating because the father is overwhelmed by the son’s return. And so it is a time of celebration. But the older son can’t celebrate. All he’s thinking about is, “Well then, what was this all for? What have I been spending my life doing if my father is receiving this sinner who laid with prostitutes back into his household?” How infuriating.

And this was what made Jesus’ teaching so difficult for the scribes and Pharisee. They spent their whole lives believing that if they lived a certain way, they would be accepted by God. And for Jesus to come and say, “You’re doing it all wrong” was unacceptable. “What was all this for? How can you tell me after all I’ve done that none of it mattered?”

Often times, we consider the cost of following Jesus to be one involving sacrificing our worldly pursuits. But for many, the biggest cost of following Jesus is going to be sacrificing your pride. Sacrificing the list of reasons you think you’re so wonderful and deserving of Heaven and calling everything you’ve ever done as useless. The cost of following Jesus requires that you lay down your pride and confess that everything you’ve done in life, if Jesus wasn’t in it, is useless for salvation. That’s a greater cost than you might realize.

Imagine you spent 30 years building a house and you’re still building on it to perfection. And it’s a beautiful looking house. But then someone says, “Your house is built on sand, and eventually, it will fall.” Would it be an easy for you to say, “I better stop building it and start building on a more solid foundation.” That might be a logical and safer thing to do. But if you’ve spent 30 years building a house, at a certain point, it’s a hard thing accept that the last 30 years was a waste. I get that. Most people would probably come up with an excuse to keep building on it and say, “It’s held up so far. I’ll just continue living in it and building it up.” And the tragedy is that as they build the house, they’re only adding to the rubble that will one day be their grave.

Let us not be like the scribes and Pharisees who refused to admit their need for a savior. But no matter how far we’ve come in this life, as difficult as it may be to admit that our works are useless for salvation, there is great reward for laying down our pride and submitting to Jesus.

Renewing Our Minds for Rejoicing, Pt. 3 – “Think Reverently”

by Pastor James Lee

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:4-8)

Paul says in v. 5, “The Lord is near” or “The Lord is at hand.” If my lack of joy, my lack of contentment, my lack of patience, says anything about me, it says that I don’t functionally believe He “is near.” Those sins always occur in the context of God’s omnipresence and omniscience. So that the Lord is right next to us, in the same room, and we’re behaving like He’s not enough, like He’s not holy, like He doesn’t actually care about us, like He’s not powerful or loving enough to be the answer to our struggles and problems. It’s one thing to believe the attributes of God, it’s quite another to see it and live it every moment. It’s both convicting and comforting, isn’t it? It is for me, big time… the “Lord is near” both in terms of our time and space. It’s both His presence and His imminence. He’s right here with us now, yet He’s coming back soon.

Depending on the state of our minds at a given time, we can view that positively, so that we’re running to God, rather than running from Him. His nearness in a sense equals His grace. Or we can view that just as accurately yet negatively, realizing we’re not getting away with anything. But, the good news is that the gospel addresses both in glorious mercy. So on one end, we should be deeply comforted, that Christ our Friend and Savior is with us all the time, and will never forsake us. He’s keeping us, our bottom line, our rock, our anchor, and if we ask, He’ll guide us, enable us, help us, transform us. On the other hand, there also ought to be a reverential fear, expressed by a poem titled, “If Jesus came to your house.” It challenges us about the things done, said, thought, and watched in the home, and asks what changes would there be if Jesus turned up as a guest for a day? But the point of the poem, of course, is that He is there every day. How true are the things we say? How different would our lives look if we each took holiness more seriously? How does our noble Savior judge our attitudes, the way we might deal with company expense forms, our critical spirit, our greed, or when we gossip about others? What would we do less of, or not at all? What would we do more of? What greater joy also might we experience? Greater usefulness and witness in the name of the Lord? How deep is our pride when we refuse to forgive brethren? Gerard Chrispin asks, “He will treat all His children with the same grace and favour. How can I face Him, and give an account of my life as a Christian, if I fail to treat some Christian brothers and sisters sensitively and gently, possibly just because our personal chemistry differs?” Therein, I believe, is the rub. Think reverently of God with me now. Do you know that every sin is a direct violation of the Great Commandment, which Jesus says is the sum of the law? Every sin is a failure to love God and love people, whether by commission or omission, correct?

That should cause us to pause and make us realize both how much grace we’ve received and how much grace we need. We’re washing others’ feet with joy and seeking to understand others and not just be understood. Everything has a horizontal and vertical component. Romans 12 is an example of that. To be a living sacrifice of worship to God, will mean humbly loving our fellow brethren. Philip Ryken comments, “We need to be honest about the fact that all of our dissatisfaction is discontent with God. Usually we take out our frustrations on someone else. But God knows that when we grumble, we are finding fault with Him. A complaining spirit indicates a problem in our relationship with God.” Right relationship leads to joy!

Missions Monday #7 – English Camp

by Hanka Rodgers

Ever since LBC started going on missions to the Czech Republic, the main focus of the summer trips has been week-long English Camps. It seemed then that the best way to share the gospel with the Czechs would be to offer to teach them English and share the gospel while doing so. That’s because he Czech Republic has about 10.5 million people, and that’s about how many people in the world speak Czech! That’s why every Czech needs to learn a foreign language, which is often English due to its universality. All kids have to take foreign language classes in elementary as well as high school and often even in college.

Sixteen years after this initial decision, not much has changed. Czechs are still very aware of the need to speak at least some English and are often willing to spend time and money working on their skills. English teachers in Czech schools are usually Czechs and even though today’s young people watch a lot of American TV shows (that’s also why they might think everybody in southern California surfs and looks good), personal interaction with native speakers is usually rare and for the most part is in demand.

That’s why a big part of the day at the Camp is spent learning English and interacting with the team. There are four hours of English classes in the morning and one hour of optional English conversation in the afternoons. Team members are assigned a class level to teach and all the campers are divided into classes depending on their English level. Seeing the same group of campers every day for at least four hours really helps not only with teaching English, but also with building closer relationships.

However, when Czechs are invited to these English Camps, it’s clearly stated that they are organized by a Christian church and there will be evening programs with Christian themes. When I was first invited to the first LBC English Camp in 2000 as an unbeliever, this was enough to deter my sister and me from going. We liked English just fine, but we wanted nothing to do with Christians. That’s how I missed the first year of the American and Czech church partnership. In 2001, due to some circumstances that year, I decided last minute that I would go to the Camp despite it being run by Christians. Thankfully, God often brings people that wouldn’t otherwise be interested in attending a church-organized event.

The Czech Republic is sometimes ranked as one of the most atheistic countries in the world. I think that in general, people dislike religion and the church more than they dislike the idea of God or a “higher being.” Whatever it is, most Czechs grow up in a worldview that the Christian God is not real and that the idea of a Christian God is an irrational crutch for people who are weak and uneducated. Even though some people think about God more than others and have a different level of understanding of the Bible, people generally don’t rush to repentance and don’t run to churches right after hearing the gospel. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I was 16 when I first heard the gospel clearly and even decided it might make sense, but becoming a Christian still felt like too much of a change compared to what I had believed the first 15 years of my life. It took months before God softened my heart completely and I repented being willing to deal with all the implications of my decision. The Czech Republic is definitely not one of those countries where people are eager to hear the gospel and believe in Christ.

This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to come to these English Camps ready to genuinely love the people God places in our lives. Even though we want all unbelievers to be saved more than we want anything else, they are not a project we get to work on. They need to know, see, and experience that thanks to God’s love for us, we can love others like ourselves. We want to show them that we care about them, not just about having another tally on our “evangelism list” and we want to share with them that life with God is better than the life they are used to.

As you can tell, this is no easy task. Please join us in prayer for God to soften hearts this summer and for unbelievers to be miraculously saved. Please pray for the team as a group of naturally selfish people is trying to share God’s truth in love with unsaved people. We are working hard to prepare, but we are ultimately so grateful to know that it’s by God’s grace that lives are saved, not by our own doing. Let’s plead with our Father that He saves Czech souls this summer.

Thou Art Weighed in the Balances and Art Found Wanting

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Daniel 5:27

It is well frequently to weigh ourselves in the scale of God’s Word. You will find it a holy exercise to read some psalm of David, and, as you meditate upon each verse, to ask yourself, ‘Can I say this? Have I felt as David felt? Has my heart ever been broken on account of sin, as his was when he penned his penitential psalms? Has my soul been full of true confidence in the hour of difficulty as his was when he sang of God’s mercies in the cave of Adullam, or in the holds of Engedi? Do I take the cup of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord?’ Then turn to the life of Christ, and as you read, ask yourselves how far you are conformed to His likeness. Endeavour to discover whether you have the meekness, the humility, the lovely spirit which He constantly inculcated and displayed.

Take, then, the epistles, and see whether you can go with the apostle in what he said of his experience. Have you ever cried out as he did-‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death’? Have you ever felt his self-abasement? Have you seemed to yourself the chief of sinners, and less than the least of all saints? Have you known anything of his devotion? Could you join with him and say, ‘For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain’? If we thus read God’s Word as a test of our spiritual condition, we shall have good reason to stop many a time and say, ‘Lord, I feel I have never yet been here, O bring me here! give me true penitence, such as this I read of. Give me real faith; give me warmer zeal; inflame me with more fervent love; grant me the grace of meekness; make me more like Jesus. Let me no longer be ‘found wanting,’ when weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, lest I be found wanting in the scales of judgment.’ ‘Judge yourselves that ye be not judged.’

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College Life Class of 2017

by Josh Liu

I have been able to personally witness God’s grace and faithfulness in many of this year’s graduates’ lives, which brings me to praise God for His glory. I want to simply highlight the LBCSD members that are graduating. This is an insufficient testimony to God’s work in their lives; there is so much to be said about each student’s experience and encouragement to the church family. Yet I hope it will spur your own interactions with these graduates. Please take a moment to pray for them and personally bless and encourage them.

Amanda Gon, B.S. Kinesiology

  • Note to the Church: I have been so blessed by this church body and how the members truly seek to love God and people. I have learned so much from the biblical teachings and really appreciate how Lighthouse has a high view of God and His word. There is so much I am thankful for in how the leaders and the church seek to foster a deep Christlike love and care for each other and practically living out the gospel through various ministries and in serving one another. It was here where I grew the most spiritually and thankfully, it is here where I am excited to continue to grow and serve for at least the next three years in grad school. There is so much I can continue to go on saying, but I just wanted to end by saying how thankful I am to have gone through college with the love and the support of my class, College Life, and the church as a whole.
  • Future Plans: SDSU Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (three years).

Andrew Chiang, B.S. Chemical Engineering

  • Note to the Church: LBC has been such a big stepping stone for my faith in college. Without LBC facilitating opportunities for fellowshipping and theological learning, I would have still been blinded by my sins. God sovereignty ordained my exposure to Christianity here and has been growing me ever since my initial visit. I earnestly yearn to see this church family continue to love God and people with its many gifts. Continue to love as radically and scandalously as He does.
  • Future Plans: I will be pursuing my PhD degree in Macromolecular Science and Engineering in University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for the next four to six years.

Andy Yeung, B.A. Human Development

  • Note to the Church: I am so incredibly thankful for Lighthouse Bible Church and its foundation in the Word of God. Upon entering college, I was merely pursuing my conception of who God was, not holding His word in high regard as to what was true and who He really was (and is). God has used Lighthouse to reveal Himself and His character to me through both His word and the example shown through His people. I could not have asked for a better church to serve and be served by!
  • Future Plans: In the immediate future I will be pursuing a career in technical recruiting, possibly considering MBA programs further down the line.

Brian Wong, B.S. Microbiology

  • Note to the Church: Through the preaching of God’s Word from the pulpit as well as the application of it among the congregation, I cherish Christ as my Lord and Savior so much more now than I did before coming to San Diego. Older members, thank you for your display of faithfulness and commitment to Christ and the church. Younger members, thank you for reminding me of the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus Christ our Lord. Thank you for being a church that I can confidently call my home!
  • Future Plans: Lord willing, I’ll be going with the Argentina Missions team in July. Aside from that, I’ll be staying down here for work.

Curtis Yee, B.A. Cognitive Science

  • Note to the Church: Hi Church! I am so incredibly thankful to have spent the last 4 years – and maybe best four years – of my life with all of you. The members of this church have been instrumental in my spiritual growth. Whether through teaching, encouragement, rebuke, or reconciliation, I have always seen this church exemplify Biblical care in the best of ways. This church has some of the most generous hearts I have ever come across and it has spurred me on to love others in that very same manner. Continue to love all the people who come into this church, whether they be students, singles, families, weirdos, atheists, introverts, the socially awkward, people that only wear neon orange shirts, people that never wear closed toed shoes, people that only wear snuggies, or people who do soul cycle.
  • Future Plans: Who knows. The sky is the limit.

Erica Truong, B.A. Political Science

  • Note to the Church: Throughout my college career, I have been so encouraged by the way that the pastors have continuously and faithfully preached the gospel on the pulpit. I have also been highly encouraged by the church body, in that I was able to form so many meaningful and intentional relationships. With each conversation that I was able to have, I could see how genuine the people were in striving to love, care, and minister to those around them. I have learned so much and I am truly grateful for all the ways that the body has enabled me to love Christ and know Him more. Thank you for making my time in college all the more special!
  • Future Plans: Planning on working; location is irrelevant (just wherever I find a job).

Greg Hall, B.A. Political Science

  • Note to the Church: Hi Church! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a blessing to me in so many ways these past four years of college. I’ve been so grateful for times we’ve rejoiced together when we were walking well in the Lord, as well as grateful for the love and care the church has bestowed upon me when I personally wasn’t.
    COLLEGE LIFE: I want to give a huge thank you to those who helped nurture me, run alongside me, and pave the way when I was just a young freshman, sophomore, and junior. To those whom I’ve had the pleasure run alongside with this year, it’s been awesome growing with you towards greater godliness! Thanks again for all the laughs, the Korean hearts, and the portrait mode pics. Remember to keep trusting in God in all things! Through it all, this I know is true: that God is good. He always has been, and always will be. This is hopefully not a goodbye, but if and when it comes time to go our separate ways, may God be glorified and His kingdom reign forever and ever!
  • Future Plans: I’m hoping to find work down in San Diego and continue to attend LBC! Salt & Light, I’m coming for ya!

Hosanna Koo, B.A. Human Development

  • Note to the Church: Hello church! God has definitely used the past four years and this church family to bless, sanctify, and show me more and more of the immeasurable riches of His grace and how good He is. I have loved spending time with the church and getting to know collegians, singles, and families. The relationships I have built here have pointed me to true fellowship and have pushed me to pursue Christ as my only treasure. I’ll always remember college retreats and serving on VBS as a few highlights of my college years. Thank you, church, for all that you have done and for all that you have invested into me, whether it’s been relationships, time, energy, or food.
  • Future Plans: I will be returning to UCSD as a graduate student in the M.Ed and Teaching Credential program for the next year! Yay! I get to stay in San Diego with all you lovely, godly folk!

Jeremy Tsui, B.S. Molecular Biology

  • Note to the Church: I thank God for all the ways that Lighthouse has ministered to me through the solid teaching and counseling. I’ve grown in my love for the Word and for that I am so grateful for. I will miss you all!
  • Future Plans: Going home to take a gap year to prepare for entering optometry school in the fall of 2018.

Joyce Christine Tai, B.S. Human Biology

  • Note to the Church: I’m incredibly grateful for my time at this church for nearly the past four years. You, my church family, have been a resting place from the day to day grievances of sin’s effect on the world. Lighthouse has been a place where I’ve had abundance of opportunity to not only continue learning the depths of the holiness and beauty of our God, but also to so very intimately practice the calls of the gospel in learning to love the body. While surely there were difficulties and painful seasons of endurance, at the same time, my college career here in San Diego has been an overflowing season of sweet blessings predominantly because of you. God has lavished grace upon grace for me by our unique fellowship by the blood of Jesus Christ. He has used this church body perfectly and so wisely to shape me more into his image, and to treasure him alone all the more. You, my church body, are beautiful to me because Christ is our perfect head.
  • Future Plans: After returning from Czech missions and taking a few weeks’ break to spend with family and friends, my plans are to work as a nurse aid here in San Diego!

Joyce Lam, B.A. IS Economics

  • Note to the Church: I’m so thankful for the pastoring staff for leading in God-honoring and biblical ways, for the support and craziness of my class, the generosity of brothers and sisters in serving me and loving me, and the discipleship of various moms- I have learned so much from all of you. Through the past 4 years, my love and joy in Christ has deepened through tested trials, and through these, Christ and the church has become so much more precious to me. I am humbled daily by what Christ has done for me- the gospel that was presented to me in the form of a savior nailed to a cross to save sinners like us. To pick up our cross daily is indeed a battle, but it is one most worth fighting. May we continue to keep the faith and fight the good fight for the glory of God.
  • Future Plans: Moving up to norcal for work in finance, and solidifying my reputation as a crazy chinchilla lady because I just found out that my chinchillas will probably live for another 16 years (I thought they were gonna die by the time I graduate).

Kevin Wilby, B.A. Cognitive Science

  • Note to the Church: I cannot describe how much love I have received from the church during the short time I have been attending. I have been inspired more than ever to be Christ-like and to fulfill the Great Commission. Being held accountable for my character and encouraging others to grow in their faith has not only enriched my college experience but my personal relationship with Christ as well. I look forward to visiting the church after graduating and maintaining the relationships I have formed with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Future Plans: I plan on moving back home to Los Angeles while pursuing further studies in either speech therapy or nursing. I also look forward to maintaining regular fellowship with members of my home church and continue to evangelize to my friends and family that are not saved.

Wesley Wong, B.S. Computer Science

  • Note to the Church: For as big as this church is, it’s the closest thing to family you can get.
  • Future Plans: Software Engineer at Cisco

Missions Monday #6 – How Can The Church Help?

by Pastor Patrick Cho

If you have been following this Missions Monday series, you know that Lighthouse San Diego is going to be sending two teams out this summer to do gospel ministry in the Czech Republic and Argentina. You have been walked through the missions philosophy of the church. You also know that the Czech team also includes members from the Lighthouse churches in Los Angeles and San Jose. You have been introduced to each of the team members, and you ought to know at least some of the details of each trip.

One thing to keep in mind is that in the Bible, the work of missions is not seen as the responsibility of a chosen few. It is meant to involve a whole church effort. The ministry of the Apostle Paul helps to demonstrate this. While he was the one who was sent out to go from city to city to spread the message of the gospel to the ends of the earth, he and his partners in ministry were sent out by the church in Antioch (Acts 14:1-3). It is important to note that Paul and his companions were not self-appointed. The Spirit of God worked through the people of the church to set them apart and to send them out.

Not only was the church a big part in sending out the “missions team,” Paul also relied upon the support of the churches to continue his ministry. There are passages in the epistles where he thanks various churches for their generosity and support. He informs the church at Corinth about his intent to stay with them and seeks not only their hospitality and but also their support to carry on his work (1 Cor. 16:5-6). He recognizes the Philippians’ gracious giving to support his ministry during a time when other churches shared with him (Phil. 4:15-16). On numerous occasions, he also expresses thanksgiving for individuals from the various churches who cared for him along the way.

The church sent Paul out on his missionary journeys, they supported him in his work, and they also held him accountable in the work. This is seen in his reporting to the church in Antioch at the end of his first missionary journey (Acts 14:26-27). He returned to his sending church to tell of all the amazing things God had done to include the Gentiles in the grace of the gospel. This was appropriate because Paul was not a lone Christian going about his ministry independently. He was send out and supported by the church such that his ministry was really the church’s ministry.

From the Apostle Paul’s ministry, then, we can conclude that missions is the work of the church. Whether the members of the church are actively going or sending, the entire church participates. This is mainly because every believer is called to be a witness for Christ. The command and call of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) applies to every follower of Jesus. Wherever you find yourself, you should consider how you can be part of the disciple making process of helping people come to the point of salvation and also helping them grow with respect to their salvation. Since God’s plan has always been to have a people for His own possession from the ends of the earth, the church’s goal should also be to take the gospel even to the ends of the earth (cf. Acts 1:8).

Our hope is that the members of Lighthouse at least desire to be involved in some way because they believe in what the teams to the Czech Republic and Argentina are doing. There is a great need for the support ministry of summer missions in both the areas of Beroun and Tucumán. It has been really encouraging throughout the years to see the support of the members of the church and their active participation to send the teams to the Czech Republic and Argentina. By God’s grace, we will continue to send teams to help fulfill the Great Commission by working with like-minded local churches to propagate the gospel. As a member of Lighthouse Bible Church, how does this apply to you? How can you be involved in the work of summer missions even if you are not part of the team that is going?

  1. Pray. We fully recognize that missions is God’s work. The Holy Spirit is the one who sets apart those who will go and works in the lives of the members of the church to make missions effective. God is gracious and desires all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). Independent of God, the team cannot be successful and nothing the team does will bring Him honor. Just as each team seeks to depend on the Lord in every step of the preparation and planning, in the travel, and in the trip itself, so the church should pray that God would mightily use the teams to bless the churches and leaders we work with and save many by His grace. Please commit to praying that God would be gracious to provide for the teams to go, that the time spent overseas would be profitable and a blessing, and that He would protect the team along the way.
  2. Support. Ever since we sent our first team in 2000 to the Czech Republic, we have been amazed by the generosity of the members of Lighthouse to send our teams on these summer missions. This demonstrates at least in part that the church understands its responsibility to help send those who are available to go. By now, the members of the Lighthouse churches should have received informational support letters for each team. Would you consider helping to send these teams through your giving?
  3. Participate. There are several opportunities to be involved with the team’s work even if you are not part of the groups going to the Czech Republic and Argentina. You can help plan and run a fundraiser, host a garage sale, and even promote the missions trips to those outside the church. Aside from fundraising, there may be opportunities to help in some of the logistics and planning. There are shirts that need to be designed and ordered, gifts that need to be purchased, etc. You can be involved with the planning to help the team best prepare to go.
  4. Encourage. Each year, when the teams return from their trips, there can be a sense of let down as they are excited to tell about all that took place. Sometimes it seems there is a lack of interest and enthusiasm to hear of all God did. This is somewhat understandable because only those that go on these trips will know about the blessings of the trips from experience. But one way you can be a blessing to the teams is to encourage the team members, hear about what the Lord was able to do, and demonstrate genuine interest in the work. This is tremendously encouraging to the team that the church at home keeps the trips in mind, actively seeks to support the work, and wants to hear testimonies of God’s grace from the teams’ time overseas. Some specific ways to encourage include writing notes of encouragement to the team members, writing notes of greeting to the people of the foreign churches that the teams can take with them, or grab a meal with a team member when they return to hear about the trip.
  5. Serve. While the teams are away, there will be a need for the church to fill some of the gaps in ministry that are left behind. Anytime a significant number of members are gone, the rest of the church may need to increase their participation and stretch themselves to see that the ministry at home continues healthily and effectively. While you can and should be praying for the teams that go, please do not forget to also pray for the church at home to continue to faithfully perform the work of ministry to the glory of God.
  6. Go. Considering all God has already accomplished through Lighthouse in Argentina and the Czech Republic, perhaps consider being a part of the teams that go in the years to come. By the will and grace of God, opportunities may arise to go to other parts of the world as well. People need to hear the gospel, and churches, pastors, and missionaries need our support. As God opens these doors to go and be part of the global work of the gospel, pray about whether you can viably be part of the teams that go.

As you can see, even though you might not be part of the “going team,” there is still a significant work to be done by the “sending team.” Prayerfully consider how you can be involved in the church-wide effort of summer missions. This is in line with the biblical idea that the entire church is the missions team. Think of ways you can apply these principles to be a faithful part of that team.

There Brake He The Arrows Of The Bow…

by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Psalm 76:3

Our Redeemer’s glorious cry of ‘It is finished,’ was the death-knell of all the adversaries of His people, the breaking of ‘the and the battle.’ Behold the hero of Golgotha using His cross as an anvil, and His woes as a hammer, dashing to shivers bundle after bundle of our sins, those poisoned ‘arrows of the bow’; trampling on every indictment, and destroying every accusation. What glorious blows the mighty Breaker gives with a hammer far more ponderous than the fabled weapon of Thor! How the diabolical darts fly to fragments, and the infernal bucklers are broken like potters’ vessels! Behold, He draws from its sheath of hellish workmanship the dread sword of Satanic power! He snaps it across His knee, as a man breaks the dry wood of a fagot, and casts it into the fire. Beloved, no sin of a believer can now be an arrow mortally to wound him, no condemnation can now be a sword to kill him, for the punishment of our sin was borne by Christ, a full atonement was made for all our iniquities by our blessed Substitute and Surety.

Who now accuseth? Who now condemneth? Christ hath died, yea rather, hath risen again. Jesus has emptied the quivers of hell, has quenched every fiery dart, and broken off the head of every arrow of wrath; the ground is strewn with the splinters and relics of the weapons of hell’s warfare, which are only visible to us to remind us of our former danger, and of our great deliverance. Sin hath no more dominion over us. Jesus has made an end of it, and put it away for ever. O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end. Talk ye of all the wondrous works of the Lord, ye who make mention of His name, keep not silence, neither by day, nor when the sun goeth to his rest.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.

6.11p

Weekly Links (5/5/2017)

by Stephen Rodgers

Alright…welcome to the first Friday in May! As is our custom, here’s a small pile of free resources that you can enjoy this month…

  • The Passionate Preaching of Martyn Lloyd-Jones by Steve Lawson (free audiobook) – You’re definitely going to want to pick this one up. It’s a combination of a good author and a good subject, which typically results in a great biography.
  • Live in Liberty: The Spiritual Message of Galatians (free Logos resource) – No clue about this one. It may be fantastic, or it may be abysmal. But it’s free in case you want to check it out.
  • “Why Are We Reformed?” (May Tabletalk) – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Tabletalk is probably the most under-rated free Christian resource out there. If you haven’t checked it out yet, there’s no time like the present.
  • Themelios 42.1 (free journal) – TGC’s journal is always an interesting read, if only for the book reviews. It can be a bit more academic than some people like, but it’s always worth skimming to see what you can find, even if you don’t read it cover to cover.

And since I always try to throw in at least one little bonus link, CredoMag has been doing a series of videos on the Reformers:

Enjoy!