What do you want me to do Lord?

I've tried to do things my own way
and I've tried to do what people say
and I'm going nowhere fast
and I'm turning to you at last

What do you want me to do ?
What do you want me to do ?
What do you want me to do Lord ?

I can see the lights of home
but I can't get there on my own
I can see the landing slip
but I need you to steer my ship

What do you want me to do ?
What do you want me to do ?
What do you want me to do Lord ?

I've been a fool and I've been a clown
I let the enemy turn me around
I've wasted love and I've wasted time
I've been proud and I've been blind

I've got a lot of things to change
a whole man to re-arrange
but if you'll show me how
I'll begin right now

What do you want me to do ?
What do you want me to do ?
What do you want me to do Lord ?
What do you want me to do Lord ?

I'm listening...
Mike Scott - What do you want me to do Lord?

A House of God and a House of Loss What a contrast!

Not long ago my work responsibilities took me to Hong Kong for three weeks. I’m a theology professor, and I was invited to teach a class on the four Gospels to a group of Chinese pastors. Two experiences from that visit brought into sharp focus deeper realities of the great battle between good and evil taking place around us.

A House of God
On my last Sabbath in Hong Kong I was invited to preach in the Filipino Adventist church. Hong Kong is affluent, so I anticipated an attractive church building with adequate, functional facilities. The reality was quite different. The street we entered was an unassuming apartment block on which the meeting hall—hardly bigger than my living room—was located. About 70 people, mostly women, sat closely together. Sabbath school had just begun.

As I took my seat, I was welcomed with warm smiles and handshakes. The lesson study was ably led by a lay leader. The congregants had studied well, and the discussion was lively and personal. I noticed that several people had tears in their eyes. Life is not always easy for them. Many had left families behind in villages in order to find work—which was often grueling—so they could earn money to send back home. As I looked around the room at these dear people, I was nearly moved to tears myself.

After the service we had lunch together. The meal was simple but tasty. I was then free to return to my guest room to rest, but several people asked me to stay for the afternoon program. Though a rest sounded inviting, I decided to stay.

The time was 1:57 p.m., and soon the afternoon program would begin. Suddenly I realized that as the guest speaker, I might be asked to preach again. In my mind I began to reformulate one of my recent sermons—and I was just in time. At 2:00 the program started with prayer and a song; the leader then announced that the time would be given to me.

I preached from Matthew’s Gospel about the love of God, and I again saw people in tears. We then had a Bible study on the life of Christ.

The program is probably over now, I thought, but once more the program leader announced that the time would be given over to me. I was completely unprepared. I offered a silent prayer and said that we would have a question-and-answer session. This was followed by a sermon on prophecy. We then sang, prayed, and closed the meeting.

It was now evening, and one of the members traveled with me to my guest room, more than an hour away.

“Will you be going home?” I asked when we reached our destination. “No,” he answered. “I will go back to the church.”

Suddenly I realized that to these people, church is not something they do out of habit once a week. Church is a haven for them. They live difficult lives, often in challenging circumstances. Church is their home—the place where they are accepted and loved, where they feel part of the large, beautiful family of God. They come tired, sometimes broken, but leave spiritually renewed with fresh courage to face another week.

I looked back on my day. I had preached three sermons. In a sense I felt tired, yet I also felt refreshed—spiritually refreshed and invigorated. I had felt the presence of God in the love, the kindness, and the deep spiritual experience of those brothers and sisters in Christ whom I had met for the first time. This church visit truly had been a house-of-God experience.

A House of Loss
The next morning a local pastor took me to visit Macau, known for beautiful Portuguese colonial architecture and its many casinos. When we first arrived, hawkers inundated us with leaflets and vouchers for the casinos. We then noticed a row of buses offering free rides into the city. A free ride sounded good, so we hopped on a bus and a few minutes later were dropped off in front of a casino. We decided to go in just to see what it was like and to find a place to eat.

My pastor friend and I had already been given two vouchers worth a total of US$30. Soon after we entered the place, a woman approached and said that we had been randomly chosen to receive a gift. She gave us two envelopes. Inside was the equivalent of US$150 in additional vouchers. Between the two of us we now had vouchers worth $180. They obviously wanted us to stay and gamble. Instead, we used the vouchers to purchase a vegetarian meal in the casino’s Japanese restaurant. We also took the opportunity to visit with the chef and shared the gospel message with him.

Back in the hotel lobby, everything shone in opulence—the floor, the decorations, the walls, the sheer abundance of space. A group of singers wandered the corridors serenading the guests with Asian-Latino music. We noticed a large golden calf surrounded with gifts and brilliant light. My mind immediately went to the golden calf of Exodus 32. This calf was not displayed in memory of Exodus; the Chinese New Year was fast approaching, and it was to be the Year of the Ox. Yet the parallel with Exodus 32 was too strong to discount.

The people gambling at the casino seemed to be enjoying themselves. Alcohol and soft drinks are offered free. But despite some laughter and excitement, my pastor friend and I noticed several individuals apparently experiencing deep and painful financial losses. Some, it seemed, had just wasted away all their savings. Despondency is never far away in a casino, nor is the potential for violence, I thought to myself as I noted the metal detectors by the doors.

What a Contrast!
It was then that the irony hit me. All these trappings—the vouchers, the free meals and drinks, the beautiful music, the decadence—are but a hook to grab prospective victims. The entire setup was not to entertain but to separate people from their money. Just the day before, on Sabbath, in the humble environment of a small hall in an unassuming apartment building, I sensed the presence of God. People went into that building wounded but left healed. In the opulence and magnificence of the casino, however, many people go in whole but leave wounded and despondent.

What a glaring contrast between the ways in which God and Satan work. God—ever loving, ever true—will work in any environment, whether it is humble or rich, to heal, bless, and offer a peace that surpasses all understanding. By contrast, Satan is the ultimate loser. Having nothing of substance to offer, he focuses on gratifying the senses and then destroys peace and wholeness. He leads his unsuspecting victims to ruin. His houses are but places of loss and pain. And they abound.

Thank God for the opposite reality: for places of worship such as the Filipino Adventist church in Hong Kong and the thousands of similar facilities throughout the world for those dear members who love the Lord and the people around them. As long as there are people and places of worship such as these, there is hope for this world.

May every Adventist church be a house of God in which wounded people can become whole.

Kim Papaioannou is a New Testament professor at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS) in the Philippines.

Christians Aren't Perfect, Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary

This is what the bumper sticker said: “Christians aren’t perfect—just forgiven.” When I first read it, I was intrigued. Is this really what we are, “just forgiven”?

The theological one-liner made two assertions, and both were true. Yes, no human being (beside Jesus) is perfect. It is also true that God provides free forgiveness without exception to all who accept Jesus as their Savior—period. Yet there seemed to be something wrong with the message of that sticker, especially if you just read it on the bumper of a car that rudely cut you off in traffic. Is “being forgiven” really the only thing that identifies a person as a Christian or the only thing that matters in Christian life? The Bible seems to point to more. Remember John 10:10, which tells us that Jesus came to this earth and died not only to provide forgiveness but also to give us life, and to give it abundantly. If this is true, the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian should go beyond the fact that one of them is forgiven. There should be a notable difference in the “lives” they experience, don’t you think?

The answer we give to these questions has a lot to do with how we understand the ministry of Jesus in the heavenly sanctuary.

More Than Just Sin Management
Some think that Jesus is just the head of a very efficient system of sin management for the universe, located in the heavenly sanctuary. Jesus is much more than that! The proper disposal of waste is imperative to human survival. Governments spend great amounts of money to collect, transport, process, and recycle or dispose waste because they understand this is crucial to the preservation of the environment and the health of their citizens. God also understood from the very beginning that sin destroys life. Thus, before the creation of the universe, He made a plan to dispose of sin forever, should it arise (1 Peter 1:20). This is what is called the plan of salvation, and the three members of the Godhead were fully involved in it.

Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary
There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2,300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent. (Heb. 8:1-5; 4:14-16; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; 1:3; 2:16, 17; Dan. 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6; Lev. 16; Rev. 14:6, 7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:12.)God, however, is not only interested in collecting and disposing of our moral garbage. He is not content with being the garbage truck that comes every other day to take care of our sins. God wants to eradicate sin itself. That is why Jesus’ ministry in the heavenly sanctuary provides not only forgiveness but also the possibility of a new life—a life empowered by God.

New Covenant Blessings
The purpose of Jesus’ ministry in the heavenly sanctuary is to ensure that we receive the benefits of His sacrifice on our behalf. That purpose is fulfilled only when, after being cleared of the penalty of death, we are also delivered from enslavement to the devil. Jesus’ enthronement at the right hand of God guarantees these freedoms.

All over the world, governments protect certain rights of an individual. The second paragraph of the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, highlights four freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of belief, freedom from want, and freedom from fear—which is “proclaimed as the highest aspiration.” Jesus’ sacrifice was to protect the right of human beings to enter into a new covenant with God. Hebrews says that as a high priest of the heavenly sanctuary Jesus became “the guarantor” (Heb. 7: 22, NIV)* or “mediator of a better covenant” (Heb. 8:6, 7).

The new covenant guarantees or promises four things to believers: (1) God will put His laws in our minds; (2) He will be our God; (3) everyone will know God; and (4) God will forgive our sins (Heb. 8:8-12). The way Ezekiel refers to the promises of this covenant is enlightening (see Eze. 36:26, 27). Together with putting His law in our hearts (Jer. 31:33), God also promises to put His Spirit in our lives. Both promises refer to different aspects of the same reality. By giving us His Spirit, God gives us the power to obey His laws (Rom. 8:1-4). These guarantees effectively liberate us from enslavement to the devil and prevent future bondage to him.

With Confidence
God offers the guarantees of the new covenant to human beings not because it is their inalienable right. They forfeited these rights when they rejected His rule. These benefits are the inalienable right of Jesus. Because of His victory Jesus has been appointed “heir of all things” (Heb. 1:2) and ruler of a new people of God. Just as any country benefits from a good government, believers benefit from Jesus’ rule. Believers reap the benefits of Jesus’ victories over His enemies. Thus, when Jesus asks blessings for us, He is not asking the Father a favor on our behalf. He is claiming the benefits of His victory to share with us. That is why Hebrews says that we need to approach God’s throne “boldly” (Heb. 4:16) and “in full assurance of faith” (Heb. 10:22). We may have doubts about our own worthiness, but never of Jesus’ worth.

Not all human beings can approach God with confidence, though. This is very important. Only the followers of Jesus benefit from the guarantees that the rule of Jesus provides. This helps us understand an important aspect of Christian life. What determines our eligibility to the benefits of the new covenant is not our ability to defeat the devil (Jesus already did that) but our loyalty to Jesus. The crucial issue is not how strong I am, but how much do I love Jesus.

When I think of Jesus’ ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, I cannot help thinking about the contradiction of our situation. We have so rich promises but often live so poorly. We should claim those promises right now. I like how Ellen G. White says it: “With the persevering faith of Jacob, with the unyielding persistence of Elijah, we may present our petitions to the Father, claiming all that He has promised [that is, the new covenant promises]. The honor of His throne is staked for the fulfillment of His word” (Prophets and Kings, p. 158).

*Scripture quotations credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Félix H. Cortez, Ph.D., is a New Testament professor and secretary of graduate studies at Montemorelos University, Mexico.

Chamado para pregar

I. Deus chama o Seu Preachers
A. Nem todo mundo que diz que ele vem de Deus tem comissão do céu. "Portanto assim diz o SENHOR acerca dos profetas que profetizam em meu nome, e eu os tenha mandado, e que dizem: Espada e nem fome haverá nesta terra;. By espada e à fome deve ser consumido os profetas. " ( JEREMIAS 14:15 )
B. Um velho ditado do Sul tem mandato de Escritura; alguns foram chamados, alguns foram enviados, e alguns simplesmente se levantou e foi. "E como pregarão, se não forem enviados? como está escrito Quão formosos são os pés deles. que pregam o evangelho da paz, e traga boas novas de coisas boas! " ( ROMANOS 10:15 )
C. Um pregador não deve apenas ser enviado, ele também deve ser enviado por Deus. "E ninguém toma esta honra para si mesmo, mas o que é chamado de Deus, como foi Aarão. " ( HEBREUS 5:04 )
D. A Igreja confirma o que Deus tem feito e que deve estar certo de não confirmar o que Deus não fez ao identificar os ministros. "Não desprezes o dom que há em ti, que te foi dado por profecia, com a imposição das mãos do presbitério " ( 1 TIMÓTEO 4:14 ) "Lay mãos de repente, em nenhum homem, nem participes dos pecados outros-homens: mantém-te puro ". ( 1 TIMÓTEO 5:22 )
II. procurar sinais do chamado de Deus
A. Deus pregadores concentrar-se em mensagem de Deus. "Mas fala o que as coisas que se tornam som doc t Rine: " ( TITO 2:1 ) " fala de som, que não pode ser condenado, que aquele que é da parte contrária pode se envergonhar, não tendo nenhum mal que dizer de você. "( TITO 2:08 )
B. pregador de Deus será ardente sobre a comunicação que ele sabe, mesmo quando ele sabe que apenas uma parte da mensagem da Bíblia completa. "E um certo judeu chamado Apolo, natural deAlexandria, homem eloqüente e poderoso em as escrituras, veio aÉfeso. Este homem foi instruído em o caminho do Senhor e, sendo fervoroso de espírito, falava e ensinava diligentemente as coisas do Senhor, conhecendo somente o batismo de João " ( ATOS 18:24-25 )
C. Apolo estava aberto para aprender mais quando ele encontrou outros crentes que tinham experiência mais rica e mais profunda visão sobre a mensagem de Deus. "E ele começou a falar ousadamente na sinagoga: 'quem, quandoAquila e Priscila tinham ouvido, tomaram -no até eles, e expôs-lhe o caminho de Deus mais perfeitamente. " ( ATOS 18:26 )
D. pregador A verdade bíblica não vai deixar os tempos ou as estações distraí-lo da sua missão. "Prega a Palavra, presente na época, fora de tempo, redarguas, repreendas, exortes, com toda a longanimidade e doutrina " ( 2 TIMÓTEO 4: 2 )
E. verdadeira pregadores não tentará realizar com métodos humanos o que é inteiramente obra de Deus. "A minha palavra ea minha pregação não consistiram em palavras persuasivas de sabedoria humana, mas em demonstração do Espírito e de poder ' " ( 1 CORÍNTIOS 2: 4 )
F. Deus pregadores evitar gastar todo o seu tempo condenando outros pregadores; verdade, e não de erro, é o que . matérias "O profeta que tem um sonho, conte um sonho, e aquele que tem a minha palavra, fale a minha palavra fielmente. Qual é o joio com o trigo? diz o SENHOR. " ( JEREMIAS 23:28 )
III. Pregação Bom será equilibrada
A. Bom pregação toca o conselho todo de Deus. "Porque eu não tenho evitado a declarar-vos todos os conselhos de Deus. " ( ATOS 20:27 ) "Declarando o fim desde o princípio, e desde a antiguidade as coisas que são Não jet feito, dizendo: O meu conselho subsistirá, e farei toda a minha prazer: " ( ISAÍAS 46:10 )
B. Genuine pregadores encaixar as peças das Escrituras juntos para mostrar os padrões maior da revelação de Deus; a Geometria da Escritura e do Princípio Puritan mostrar a mente de Deus. "Procura apresentar-te a Deus aprovado, um obreiro que não tem que se envergonhar , que maneja bem a palavra da verdade. " ( 2 TIMÓTEO 2:15 )
C. pregação Bom também serão adequados a esse público; audiências esquina e capelas seminário comumente têm necessidades diferentes. "Eu tenho te alimentou com leite, e não com carne: pois até agora vocês não foram capazes de suportá-lo , nem ainda agora podeis. " ( 1 CORÍNTIOS 3:02 )
D. Boa pregação irá equipar as pessoas a aprender mais e mais da mente de Deus e então, como os ouvintes se desenvolver, vai entregar as verdades mais ricos e mais ricos. "Pois, quando o tempo devíeis ser mestres, vocês precisam de alguém que ensina novamente que ser os primeiros princípios dos oráculos de Deus, e se tornaram tais que necessitais de leite, e não de alimento sólido For. todo aquele que se serve do leite não está experimentado na palavra da justiça, porque é um . baby Mas forte o mantimento para os que estão de maior idade, mesmo aqueles que, em razão do costume, têm os sentidos exercitados para discernir tanto o bem eo mal " ( HEBREUS 5:12-14 )


Introduction: The Ten Commandments start out with the statement that we must have no other gods before our God. I've generally thought that idol worship (which was a big thing in the Bible), was idiotic. Why would anyone worship something that they made with their own hands? If the practice is idiotic, why is God so concerned about the practice? Why are fake gods addressed in His first commandment? Are the gods of the past nothing, or impostors? If Satan wanted to be like God, is it possible that fallen angels are the false gods of the past? (See Revelation 14:11.) If some false gods are not a piece of wood, but an intelligent being, would they try to keep us from properly worshiping God? Would they try to steal our worship? If so, this would explain why our God puts the issue up front. Let's dive into our Bible to see what it teaches us about true and false worship!
Burning Bush and Worship
Read Exodus 3:1-3. God has Moses attention! Why would God approach Moses in this way? (He wanted Moses thinking this is something he should contemplate.)
Read Exodus 3:4. Would you give the same answer? (Moses is obviously stunned by the voice - of course he was there.)
Read Exodus 3:5-6. Let's examine this a few moments to see what we can learn about worship. Why does God tell Moses to take off his shoes? (God is holy and that makes the ground around Him holy.)
Why must Moses keep his distance? (We can approach on holy ground, but we cannot come too close to a perfect God.)
What is the overall message about worship? (God comes in the miraculous - a burning bush. He makes ordinary places holy. We can only approach Him, we should not get too close.)
Read John 13:3-5. How do you explain going from a God in whose presence you take off your shoes, to a God who washes your feet?
Has the nature of God changed?
Has the nature of worship changed?
Read Hebrews 4:14-16 and Romans 5:10. What do these texts suggest?
Do they diminish the glory of God?
Golden Calf and Worship
Read Exodus 32:1-4. Is it possible for us today to be so stupid and so offensive to God?
What in these verses gives the greatest offense to God? (That God's powerful works get attributed to something made with human hands.)
Do you ever attribute your success to your hard work and skill rather than to the power of God?
Read Exodus 32:17-20. Is this how we can recognize false worship - singing, dancing, and loud music?
Read Exodus 15:20-21. Is this how we can recognize true worship - singing, dancing, and drums?
Read 1 Chronicles 15:27-29. Is this how we can recognize true worship by those who have the heart of God (1 Samuel 13:14) - shouting, loud music, percussion instruments, stringed instruments, and dancing? (2 Samuel 6:14 adds the additional detail that this was no restrained or ceremonial dance. David "danced before the Lord with all his might." This is King David's worship.)
We need to carefully consider the epilogue to King David's exuberant worship dance. Read 2 Samuel 6:20-22. What is the nature of the dispute about David's worship of God?
What is the position of Michal, David's royal wife? (She complains that David is being "vulgar," immodest and undignified. He is acting like the common servant. Note that this is before the ark, the symbol of God's presence.)
What is David's position? (That undignified worship and celebration of God is appropriate. God chose David and he will celebrate his God even if it seems undignified and humiliating.)
Well, friend, does this sound like the current debate over worship? Have you heard that "dancing, loud music, singing, shouting and general confusion" is the mark of idolatrous worship?
Let's read God's answer to this. Read 2 Samuel 6:23. (Michal was barren after she attacked David for undignified worship.)
Have you ever been in a "barren" house of worship?
Have you ever been in a worship service that is dry as dust? Everyone has grey or white hair (like me!), and no one seems to be celebrating, truly celebrating, what God has done for them?
Is the curse of Michal on your house of worship?
People have very strong opinions on this subject. Our opinions need to be based on the Bible - especially where it is very clear. There is a common sense component to this, however. Consider your children. Can they both love and respect you?
How do you want them to greet you? With their heads down and their lips pursed? Or, with smiles of joy and laughter, and obvious excitement?
Satan has seen, and before he rebelled, even been a part of the most glorious worship of God. If Satan wants to be like God, if he wants to be worshiped, what kind of worship would Satan inspire? (It would be logical that if Satan wants to be worshiped like God, he would want to inspire the kind of worship that is given to God. Unless some aspect of pagan worship clearly violates God's law, this suggests that what happened with Aaron's golden calf might look rather like true worship (albeit with the wrong object of worship).)
Modern Gods and Worship
Read Exodus 20:4-6. Do you know a single person who has an idol in his back yard and who goes out to worship it? (I've never seen that, not even once, in my entire life in the United States.)
Did one of Satan's most successful temptations become obsolete? Was it just a passing fad?
What are the elements of idol worship? (An idol is something that humans make. We "bow down" to it and we worship it.)
What does it mean to worship an idol? (We give it our money, our time, our respect and we take its advice.)
When I was reading "American Gods," (a book I do not recommend) one modern god was the Television. Television, to show her importance, said (this is paraphrased from memory) "Families gather around me, they sacrifice their time, they give me their attention, and they obey my words." Wow! That got my attention. Has our idol worship moved from the back yard to the family room?
Revelation Worship
Read Revelation 5:13-14 and Revelation 19:1-7. Is it your highest desire to join in these words of praise and adoration to God?
Friend, if you want to be part of this group, why not praise God with such intensity now? Why not shout and roar (Revelation 19:1) your praise to God? Why not praise Him like you really mean it, and not like you are getting ready for your Sabbath afternoon nap?

Next week: The Sabbath and Worship.
Copr. 2011, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.