Category Archives: Ministry & Family Updates

The Lord Provided – Debt Free!

I Asked. You Responded. God Provided.

I wanted to write a few thoughts that are on my mind tonight before I go to bed this evening. It is Chinese New Year today. New Years is always the symbol of a new or fresh start. And this year, I feel that is exactly what the Lord gave us.

As I mentioned before, we didn’t have the finances prepared in advance to make a move like we did, but we also knew that the whole situation was out of our hands. We were traveling a road that we didn’t specifically choose, but then again, the only real road that we can choose is to follow the Lord. Thus, in this sense, we were following where He was guiding, but we weren’t exactly sure where that was or how it was all going to work out. This is a path that we are still on and we call it “an amazing adventure”.

So there was faith and a lot of hope that God was going to provide for this move. I knew I needed to take care of our family like I was trained to do. So we went forward with a full setup. Honestly, it was exciting on one hand and extremely hard on the other. I didn’t want to make a foolish financial decision. But on the other hand I was willing to pay the price to keep going forward. It weighed heavy on me. So much happened so fast and things start to add up quickly. Where? What? When? How? But I had to remember WHO was in charge and keep looking to HIM.

As of today, all expenses…since leaving America, landing in China and then our unexpected transition to Taiwan and doing a completely new setup…everything up to this point has been paid for…we are DEBT FREE!

Before we left, we were raising some funds for our reentry into China and new church plant, and many gave to that and that helped us greatly as we needed the cash on hand once we landed. But then last November we reported that “we will need to raise [additional funds] for this special need so that we [can] get [established] and, Lord willing, be debt free at the end of it.” And we did it. God did it. The Lord has provided. He answered our prayers! As of today, we are debt free. Of course there are still things that we want to purchase, a church planting budget to finish raising, etc. but everything that we NEED (and then some) to have a solid fresh start in a new place has been provided and paid for. And we can’t be thankful enough. We are extremely blessed!

Praise the Lord.


Follow: I have documented this transition and relocation on this blog.

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Words can not express the gratitude we feel towards all you who have given to make our relocation to Taiwan financially smooth. I was humbly able to report in our most recent prayer letter:

We had our escrow and reentry funds on hand for our unexpected exit from China but we didn’t have anywhere near the amount needed to do a full relocation to Taiwan. Even though we had credit cards with good lines of credit, we knew this could only be a stop-gap measure and would be a hinderance if we were not able to pay them off right away. But as we felt this is where the Lord was directing, we moved by faith. We sent out a plea about our situation and you, our friends, family and supporters, took care of us in a great way. You sacrificially opened your hearts and gave to our family. I sit here humbled by your sacrifice and amazed at what God is doing. God’s people have truly taken care of God’s servant in an unexpected time of need. We estimated how much it was going to cost, but wasn’t sure exactly how much it would be, but around 85% of our actual costs has already come in or is on its way. Lord willing, by the end of this month, we will be setup and debt free! Thank you for giving. 

January 2020 Prayer Letter

When we received our support statement and we were just blown away by everyone who gave extra, not just for the holidays but specifically to be a blessing to our family during the transition. I will be trying to send thank you cards out to those who gave, but several even gave online with no return contact information…and some names I don’t recognize, so there is no way for me to personally say thankful, but by simply writing this public blog post to say, “Thank you”.

Also, we have been contacted recently by different churches who took up Christmas offerings for us of sizable amounts. Again we are humbled. We are grateful. We are unworthy of such pouring out of love.

What many might not realize, is that it is very uncomfortable for a missionary to put financial needs in his prayer letters. Especially if it is more personal and not directly for ministry. It goes against our nature of self reliance. It goes against our pride. It shows our weakness. It shows our needs and struggles.

At the same time it is an honor. Not everyone has the same privilege to write a letter like we do when we have a need. It is a privilege that we don’t take lightly or carelessly. We feel called to be in full-time ministry and many local churches have partnered with us to make that possible. Our partners have gone above and beyond in taking care of us and often tell us to let them know if there is anything that we need, and they would see what they could do to help out. We don’t take such kindness for granted.

I am reminded of the following verses:

“Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.”

2 Corinthians 8:1–7

The churches in Macedonia weren’t in a place of abundance where they could give freely, but they had to make a sacrifice to give. They gave as much as they were able, according to their means, but then they also gave beyond their ability or means. They greatly desired to be involved. I recognize that many of you gave sacrificially. You truly abounded in the grace of giving.

I wrote this blog post to simply say, “Thank you!” You didn’t have to give, but you did. You sacrificed. And my wife and I with our five rascals are extremely grateful.

2020 Taiwan Church Plant Budget

When we were returning to China, we had a planned budget of what it would cost to start more church plants. We already had some money given towards those needs and we were saving for it as well. We already had Bibles, chairs, and several church furniture type things in storage that we could use in the next church plants. But even though that will help those still in China, it isn’t going to help us is Taiwan.

After getting setup here and doing it debt free (Lord willing), our next plan is to start the church plant. Because of the unexpected way that everything happened, we didn’t have time to save out of our normal missionary support for this next church plant here in Taiwan. (Of course, any funds that have been given specifically for the next church plant, have been set aside and will be used for it.) We have been using our normal monthly missionary support to pay for our normal expenses, getting life setup here and continuing to support the ministry and pastors in China so they can go forward in our absence.

I have been trying to pay attention to how much every costs here and also been asking different missionaries about the expenses they had when starting their church plants. I was able to come up with the following budget to estimate the cost of getting this church plant going, which comes to a total of around $15,000. Of course, it would be nice to start with everything that we need, and we pray that it will. But I took the budget and broke it up into 4 phases of what we would need to spend based on importance and the minimum needed in each phase.


Budget By Phases

Phase 1 – Go For It

These are costs that we will need to start having services in a building. This will give us a meeting space and a place for people to sit as we invite people to start coming to our services.

  • $4,500 – Church Rent – We need around 3-4 months upfront to pay for the deposit, realtors fee, and the first month’s rent.
  • $1,000 – Chairs – We will purchase about 50 chairs at $20 each.

Phase 2 – Gaining Momentum

As services have already started, we want to make sure the meeting place is comfortable enough for people to come to, make ourself known to the community, and make sure that we have Bibles and other resources on had to help build momentum.

  • $1,000 – Bibles/Flyers/Tracts – We need to be getting the gospel out and making ourselves know in the community, thus having the proper literature and materials on hand to do so.
  • $2,000 – Construction Cost – Depending on the condition of the building that we rent, there might be some remodeling or painting needed.
  • $1,500 – Church Sign – We want to make ourselves very visible to the community and let them know that we are there. Anyone that passes by, walking or driving, should be able to know about the church.

Phase 3 – Growing Ministries

As people are saved and discipled, we will have more workers. Once we have people willing to serve, we can start ministries to train them and help mature the church.

  • $1,000 – Musical Instruments – Piano and guitar for the music ministry.
  • $500 – Children’s Needs – Material, Chairs, Tables, etc for children’s ministries.
  • $1,500 – Church Furniture – Tables, Pulpit, Speakers, TV.

Phase 4 – Extra

There are always extras that costs that are different for each area. One of the things that was mentioned to me is below:

  • $2,000 – Air Conditioners – If the location we rent doesn’t have air conditioners installed, then I am told we will need to install them when the weather starts to warm up. And from what I am told it is very hot and humid here!

Please be in prayer with us about the expenses. We know the Lord will provide. He has already shown Himself strong in a very real way in our lives as all of our plans have been shaken up. It doesn’t matter how much money you have if the Lord isn’t in it. What we need the most is not a budget fully funded, but we need the power of the Lord. We need to be Spirit-filled. We need revival and to be more like Jesus. We need God to work. Our reliance is on Him. Please pray with us dear friends!

Urgent: Persecution Continues. We Need Your Help And Prayers!

A Snapshot Of Our Move! Big Family, Big Move!

On November 11, 2019 we left our house around 6:15 in the morning (local time EST) to head back to China for our official second term. Here is a quick snapshot of what it looked like when we returned to the field: we had 28 checked bags (14 free bags, 1 free stroller bag, 13 paid bags); 7 carry-ons (one for each person); 2 strollers (for the twins); 2 car seats (for the twins on the plane); 6 personal items (5 backpacks and 1 diaper bag); all of this totals 45 “items” plus 7 people (2 adults and 5 kids). I must say that I have a faithful wife who loves God and is brave enough to travel to the other side of the world with this entourage. We arrived in China on November 12 around 10:15 at night (local time). There was a group of 11 or so Chinese waiting on us, many whom we longed to see since our departure last year.

A Radical Change Of Events: Persecution Continues…

The very next day we started house hunting. We had a friend watching the kids so we could spend the majority of the day looking at houses. The very first house we saw was exactly what we were looking for and in the very area we wanted to be in. Although the initial price was out of our budget. We continued to look at places. By the end of the next day, we ended up choosing the first house and discussing the price with the landlord. He was a friend of a friend. We met over tea and he agreed to a very reasonable price. We were praising the Lord for this. We were very excited and prepared to sign at least a two year contract the next morning and turn over six months of rent plus deposit. But the following morning the Chinese pastor received a WeChat request from the police officer who had given him trouble at the beginning of this year. He works for the Chinese Nation Security Bureau. We knew this wasn’t good news. After adding his WeChat, he requested to meet with him in person. He agreed to meet him that afternoon. The following five or so hours was long as we awaited news about what was going on. I fasted and prayed. My wife and a Chinese friend took the kids to a mall to play as a distraction for them. Once the Chinese pastor returned, he informed us that they knew we were back in the city and they were seeking information about us to deport us from the country. He said they were very clear about their intentions. This was a surprise to us as we already went through the necessary protocols and were issued work visas, allowed in the country through customs and security etc. But it appears there was someone who possibly reported us. The police officer had mentioned that someone gave him the Chinese pastors WeChat. We had only been in the city around 3 days and now it seemed that we wouldn’t be able to stay. 

Over the next several hours, we brainstormed about what to do. We got council and prayed for guidance. We concluded that the Lord is leading us away from our current city of ministry to another one, for the time being. Choosing to stay is putting our ability to work in the mainland at high risk and putting unnecessary pressure on the pastors who know me because they are being persecuted to turn over information on me. The Chinese pastor has to meet with the police again in the future because he did not cooperate with them by giving them my information. We are thankful he was released, but he might not find that favor at their next meeting. God has given me faithful men who put their own livelihoods at risk so we can minister here. They are truly willing to live persecuted lives for the sake of the gospel. I am humbled by their reasonable service to our Lord. WILL YOU PRAY WITH ME FOR THEM?

As we started praying about what city we could go to, we felt the best option for all things considered is to move to Taipei which is the capital city in the Republic of China (Taiwan). This will allow us as a family to have a home base and to start a new church and ministry, but also, serve as a launching pad for us to continue making trips into the cities of Northeastern China that we are ministering in. So the goal with this move would be to: (1) have a new base of operations since we are compromised in our current city; (2) have a place to easily travel from to the mainland so that we can continue to work with the Chinese pastors we are training and with our American teammates.

Relocating Setup Fund – A Special Need For Such A Time!

Over the eight years we have spent in China, we have waved through the storms of persecution. We have stayed, fled, moved locations or did whichever one we though was right for the situation. But each instance seems to bring them a little closer as they build a track record on me. This time we have chosen to flee (and avoid deportation from our current city of ministry) to another so that we may live to minister another day in the mainland. I am reminded of the following:

Go forward speaking the gospel and if needed flee to another location. Jesus tells His disciples that when people persecute them in a certain city they were allowed to flee to another city. We should be aware and alert to the danger that could happen and if needed move to another location as long as we keep on preaching the gospel. We are permitted to leave a city because of persecution but we shouldn’t stop preaching the gospel. Thus, the task is more important than the location—even if the location can’t be changed. Matthew 10:23

Lesson: How Can We Go Forward In The Face Of Persecution?

Thus, we are relocating. But this means that we also have to start from scratch for our setup. We will be able to take our belongings with us, but we won’t be able to take our furniture or vehicle and selling them second-hand in China won’t give us a good enough return to replace them in the new city. Thus, we will need to raise an additional funds for this special need so that we get establish and, Lord willing, be debt free at the end of it.

In our last prayer letter we were raising funds for this return to China and we reported the following: “We have raised nearly $5,500 of the $10,000 needed in our Church Planting Fund and nearly $17,900 of the $20,000 needed for our Reentry Setup Fund. Altogether we have reached 78% of our total goal. If you haven’t already, would you pray about giving a one-time love offering of any amount to help us reach these needs?

So we need to finish raising those funds but also raise at least an additional $30,000 for our move to Taipei to cover the cost of resetting up life there…as if it was our first time arriving on the field. This will help cover the cost of the following:

  • Plane tickets for our family of seven to the new city.
  • Moving cost of sending our belongings to the new city (extra baggage cost on the plane).
  • Cost of a new vehicle (van) for our family.
  • Furniture and appliances to furnish the house.

I am sure there are going to be much more cost as we get setup that we haven’t even thought of yet, but this should at least get us started and somewhat settled.

Will You Give A One-Time Love Offering?

We are NOT planning on returning to the USA but relocating ASAP to avoid the chance of deportation. Thus, a one-time love offering will help us relocate and continue the work the Lord has given us to do. We are thankful for our partners who support us on a monthly basis, those who have recently given to help us with our other recent funds and our praying friends, but now we are asking for you to consider again a one-time love offering of any amount ($100, $250, $500, $1,000, $5,000 etc.) to help us reach these needs.

Will you be willing to give a one-time love offering of however much the Lord leads towards our church planting and relocation setup funds? Your one-time gift of any amount will help us, Lord willing, relocated and continue to evangelize the lost, establish many more local baptist churches and equip and train national leaders. I hope that you will prayerfully consider partnering with us to see the cost of our relocation and the need of this new church plant funded.

Will you be an extra blessing to this ministry with a one-time love offering?

We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. All gifts and love offerings of any amount can be given online, ChinaMinistry.org, or sent to Vision Baptist Missions, PO Box 442, Alpharetta, GA 30009 with a note in the memo. Thank you for giving, praying, serving, and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward and keep fighting the good fight. May we strive every day to know Jesus, to be happy in the Him, and to make Him known! 

Special Giving Opportunity For Summer/Fall 2019

Dear Pastors, Partners & Praying Friends,

What if I told you that a one-time love offering from you would help us return to  China and continue to plant churches, would you consider giving?

The People’s Republic of China plays a crucial role in our world today and their influence is felt  around the globe. China is still the largest country on earth. Its population boasts of 1.4 billion souls. The majority have yet to hear a clear presentation of the gospel. And with a death rate that reaches in the millions every year, there is a desperate need for the gospel there. My question is, “What are you doing about it?” China is in need of church-planting missionaries.

God has called my family and I to plant churches in mainland China. Over the past 8 years we have  learned Mandarin Chinese, became familiar with the Chinese culture and gained ministry, church planting and pastor training experience. We are currently on furlough and are planning to return with a plan to establish more local Baptist Churches. Lord willing, we will be working on the foundation that we have already established in China. 

With the changing political climate of China and the constant threat of persecution, we never know when the door of opportunity will be shut unto us. Our desire is to reach the Chinese people while the opportunity to do so is still available. Lord willing, we are heading back to China this fall and will plant more churches. In preparing for this church plant, we are raising funds for all the cost in starting a new church, as well as, funds for our reentry, such as funds for plane tickets, at least three months rent, and the cost of visas before we return. We are thankful for our partners who support us on a monthly basis and our praying friends, but now we are asking for you to consider a one-time love offering of any amount ($100, $250, $500, $1,000, etc.) to help us reach these needs.

  • Church Planting Fund: $10,000
    • Building Rent for one year = $7,000
    • Utilities, Furniture, Materials, Misc. = $3,000
  • Reentry Setup Fund: $20,000
    • Plane Tickets for our family of seven = $6,000
    • Housings Cost for three months rent plus deposit = $4,000
    • Visas and Passport Renewal = $2,000
    • Furniture and Appliances = $8,000
      Washer $1,000; Refrigerator $800; Air conditioners $1,200; Deep freezer $500; Hot water heater $500; Living Room furniture $1,500; Bedroom furniture $1,000; Kids’ beds $1,500.

The one-time love offering will help us return to China and continue the work the Lord has given us to do. Will you be willing to give a one-time love offering of however much the Lord leads towards our church planting and reentry setup funds? Your one-time gift of will help us, Lord willing, return to China and continue to evangelize the lost, establish many more local baptist churches and equip and train national leaders. Of course, a gift of any amount is greatly appreciated. I pray that you will prayerfully consider partnering with us to see the need of this new church plant and the cost of our reentry funded. Will you be an extra blessing to this ministry with a one-time love offering?

We know that we couldn’t do anything without the help of God’s people. All gifts and love offerings of any amount can be given online, ChinaMinistry.org, or sent to Vision Baptist Missions, PO Box 442, Alpharetta, GA 30009 with a note in the memo. Thank you for giving, praying, serving, and being a part of our “China Ministry” team. We are especially fond of you! Let us continue pressing forward and keep fighting the good fight. May we strive every day to know Jesus, to be happy in the Him, and to make Him known! 

 In His Joyful Service,

Mark

Happy Easter!

The resurrection makes all the difference! Praise the risen One!

Romans 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

This Easter I want to praise the Lord for how he is helping us reach the Chinese here in America:

  • In our August 2018 prayer letter I reported:

“I was able to meet a Chinese man who was participating in an ESL class at our home church and started studying the Bible with him in Chinese. Please pray for his salvation.”

Once I started traveling full time, I turned the Bible study over to my friend Andy. He has been studying with him ever since. Andy has also started a Chinese Sunday school class at our home church. That Chinese man now believes in Jesus and is getting baptized tomorrow, Lord willing! Amen!

  • In our September 2018 prayer letter I wrote:

Pray as we reach out to the Chinese community we meet as we travel.”

Since then I have had the opportunity to teach at least two groups in Chinese and share the gospel with them. And just in this month’s (April 2019) prayer letter was I able to report of another Chinese man getting saved: During one of our missions conferences, I was able to teach a Chinese Sunday school class. The class seemed to really enjoy the lesson, especially since I taught a good portion of it in Chinese (usually the class is taught in English). Following the Sunday school hour, we all sat together for the main service. During the invitation, the teacher of that class brought one of the first time Chinese visitors over to me and said he wanted to know more about being saved. I didn’t have a Chinese Bible on me, so I opened the Chinese Bible app on my iPad and walked him through the gospel. At the end, I asked him, “Is this something you want to do now, or do you want to understand it more first?” He responded with, “Now,” and then he bowed his head to ask Christ to save him. Praise the Lord for saving another sinner!

Pray for another Chinese man who I was able to witness to last week in Tennessee that showed a lot of interest in the gospel.

Finally, I want to ask you to pray for Grace Baptist in China and the other churches we are associated with as they celebrate Easter. Through the recent and past persecutions there must be some anticipation about this Sunday, but pray they will boldly proclaim, “Jesus is alive! He is risen from the dead!”

Saving and Raising Funds

We have truly been blessed financially over the past 8 months or so of furlough. We have been able to raise some much needed support (not at our goal yet, but getting there) and even pay off the debt that we accumulated. Now as we look forward to our return to China later this year, Lord willing, we are looking to save and raise funds for the following two reasons:

  • Church Planting Fund ($10,000) – Lord willing, when we return to China from furlough we will be launching another church plant. Our next stage of ministry is to become a multi church planting ministry. With the recent persecution against our ministry, it just reemphasized the need to train men for full time ministry because one day we might not be allowed to return or be kicked out of China. But until that day, we want to do as much as we can with the length of days the Lord gives us in the country. So we want to be able to continue to help that church that was established but also press forward and plant another church and train more men to start more churches.
  • Reentry Setup Fund ($20,000) – As we prepared for furlough, we put much of our things, furniture and vehicle into storage but also several things we sold because of the need to upgrade to meet the demands of our growing family etc. when we return to the field. Thus, we will not only be looking to purchase those items that need to be replaced (certain furniture and appliances), but also need the funds for plane tickets, at least three months rent, and the cost of visas before we return.

Our supporters have always been so generous to our family and we don’t take it for granted. I pray God’s richest blessings upon you.

Also, please pray as we get some medical issues taken cared of before we return.

What Is An Attitude Of Love?

An attitude of love is a way of life that finds salvation in the love of God as it was manifested through the cross of Jesus and humbly accepts it by faith; this life-changing love causes the believers to choose love as the most important characteristic of all their actions and is to be paired with all their actions. As a result there is no more room for the sinful attitudes and actions that comes from a heart of hate. The Holy Spirit works in them to fulfill the royal law of loving others as yourself.
John 13:34-35

God Is Love And God Manifests His Love Towards Us

  • Love has a range of meanings but can be put into four main categories (based on the Greek language): sexual or erotic affection/love—the feeling of being physically attracted to someone; family affection/love—the feeling a parent has for their child; friendly affection/love—the feeling a person has towards their close friends; sacrificial affection/love—the feeling and action of making a willful decision to care about and do good for another, even if they are undeserving and despite the personal cost to do so. It is this kind of “sacrificial love” that God has shown towards us and the type of love we are aspiring to use to love others. This type of love is rooted in God Himself because the scriptures say that, “God is love”. Therefore, an “attitude of love” means to have a determined and authentic way of thinking and feeling about God that expresses being born of and knowing God (our relationship with Him) and enables us to properly respond as receivers of His sacrificial love—to love one another.
    1 John 4:7-8, 11; Luke 6:35
  • God’s sacrificial love was manifested towards us when He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, into the world to save us. While we were still sinners Jesus died for us—to be the propitiation for our sins—so that we might live through Him. We were completely unworthy of God’s love and goodness towards us, but because He is love He chose to share it with us according to His own purposes. He even paid all the expense—it cost Him the life of His son to love us and restore our relationship with Him.
    1 John 4:9-10; Romans 5:8
  • God’s love changes everything for the believer as it matures in us (perfected). As believers, we become children of God. He is love. Thus, love is to be characteristic of who we are. We are to sacrificially love others just like God did when He manifested His love to the world through Jesus’ death on the cross. We can’t see God or love, for these are invisible, but we can see them through the sacrificially loving actions of believers who are living out God’s love here on earth—it is a testimony or witness to the reality of God’s love. As we know and believe the love that God has for us and subsequently live out this love through the Holy Spirits work in our life, it provides assurance that we truly abide in God. It also gives us confidence (boldness) in the day of judgement—we know that our sins are forgiven by God because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, thus we no longer live in fear—anticipating an unsure or unpleasant outcome or punishment. But we live our lives knowing that we are loved by God and thus in return love God and love others.
    1 John 4:12-21; Matthew 22:36-40

To Love Above All Else Is The Goal Of Every Action

  • Love is the ultimate characteristic above all else and everything without love is useless. Thus love needs to be paired with every action that we do. We want to effectively communicate, have great faith, be full of giving and merciful acts and personal sacrifice, but if we do any of these without “genuine love” then it profits us nothing!
    1 Corinthians 13:1-3
  • Paul describes genuine love fo us and what it is really like. It is a love that never fails. The following is broken into four categories to help us apply these to our actions:
    1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  • The “temperament” of genuine love: (1) “suffers long”—patient and even-tempered during difficult times towards others; (2) “kind”—tries to be gentle, considerate and sympathetic towards others; (6) “does not behave itself unseemly” (rude)—not being offensive or impolite towards others; (8) “not easily provoked”—doesn’t get easily upset or irritable at others and doesn’t take everything personally; (9) “thinks no evil”—doesn’t keep count of other’s failures or sins nor becomes resentful towards them.
  • The “selflessness” of genuine love: (3) “envies not”—doesn’t become upset over someone else’s’ advantages; (4) “vaunts not itself” (boastful)—you aren’t focused on expressing your self-importance but on expressing others’ self-importance; (5) “not puffed up” (prideful)—doesn’t exaggerate a sense of self at the detriment of others; (7) “seeks not its own”—doesn’t take advantage of others to fulfill your own desires.
  • The “rigidness” of genuine love: (10) “rejoices not in iniquity”—doesn’t feel happy when others do wrong and doesn’t accept or allow sin; (11) “rejoices in the truth”—does feel happy when others do right and stands firm on biblical truth.
  • The “acceptance” of genuine love: (12) “bears all things”—willing to suffer everything  (small grievances and sins against you) that interpersonal relationship bring for the other persons good; (13) “believes all things”—willing to believe good about others and not wrongfully judge their unverified motives; (14) “hopes all things”—willing to expect good in your relationships with others; (15) “endures all things”—willing to courageously withstand all trials and do our best to manifest the love of God—others might treat us bad but we are going to stand firm and keep loving them.

To Overcome The Inward Attitudes Of Hatred

  • The opposite of love is hate. Hatred is the inward attitude of the heart that feels and thinks intense dislike or aversion towards others (for various reasons). This sinful attitude is often the root of the many outward actions, such as: verbally assaulting others (ex. cursing, insults); physically assaulting others (ex. killing, violence). Thus, hate and love cannot live together at the same time within believers, you must choose to hate or love others. As believers, we choose to love others through the power of the Holy Spirit—it is part of the fruit that the Holy Spirit is producing in all genuine believers.
    Matthew 5:21-26; Galatians 5:19-25
  • The Bible shows us that a habitually lifestyle of hate is a sign that a person is a false believer or false teacher. Is you life defined by love or hate?
    1 John 2:9, 11; 4:20
  • True love means we are not to be partial (respect to persons; show favoritism). If we do we become “judges of evil thoughts”. This includes discrimination (ex. giving preference to the rich verses the poor), racism and bigotry. Instead we are to replace any of these attitudes of hatred with the royal law found in Scripture, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”.
    James 2:1-9

Review Questions

  • What are the different kinds of love?
  • Who is love? How did He manifest His live?
  • The goal of every action fo the believer is to express what?
  • What is genuine love like?
  • Love helps us overcome what kind of wrong attitudes?

What Is An Attitude Of Humility?

An attitude of humility is a way of life that finds grace and blessing in humbling one’s self under the mighty hand of God. It starts at the cross of Jesus—which reminds of our sinfulness and God’s love for sinners like us. As a result we are to be clothed with humility, practically this means to live the life of a servant and to overcome our pride, arrogance, superior attitudes and huge egos.

Humility Starts At the Cross Of Jesus

  • Humility is the disposition or character of evaluating oneself appropriately or modestly. True biblical humility is rooted in the truth of assessing our sinfulness compared to God’s holiness—which leads to a low view of self and a high view of God. Therefore, an “attitude of humility” means to have a determined and authentic way of thinking and feeling about God that expresses our lowliness before Him and dependance on Him—thus enabling us to approach Him in a manner that is able to become receivers of His amazing grace.James 4:6, 10
  • Jesus exemplified what true biblical humility is like. Jesus was God, has always been God and will always be God (being in the form—full essence—of God). In every aspect Jesus is equal with God. But He didn’t fully grasp or make use of this rightful claim, instead He made Himself of no reputation—meaning He set aside many of the privileges that He has because of who He is. He set this aside and took upon Him the form—full essence—of a servant and was made in human likeness. Thus, Jesus who is fully God became fully man so that He could be a servant and accomplish the will of the Father. The Father’s will was the cross—for the salvation of sinners for the glory of His name. The world only found Jesus in “fashion as a man” but He was so much more. He was the eternal God in human flesh. Jesus was on a mission and this meant He had to “humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” The perfect One, the sinless One, the Almighty God died a criminal’s death. The exalted One humbled Himself for our benefit and afterwards He would be returned to His rightfully position of exaltation. If we understand this truth, it is humbling in the following two ways:
    Philippians 2:6-11; Hebrews 5:7-10; Matthew 26:39
  • (1) Jesus’ humility reminds us of who we were—sinners. The cross had to happen because of our sin. The cross reminds us that as sinners we deserves to die a criminal’s death and be eternally separated from God.
    Romans 3:10, 23; 6:23; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Galatians 3:22
  • (2) Jesus’ humility reminds us of God’s love for sinners like us. His humility was for our benefit—so that we could be saved. Without Jesus humbling Himself to come to earth and died on the cross for our sins, we would have no chance to be redeemed to God but be eternally condemned. His love for sinners like us is humbling—and through thus humbling we can accept God’s wonderful gift of salvation.
    Romans 5:8; 15:7-9; John 3:16; Psalm 149:4; Isaiah 66:2

To Be Clothed With Humility, To Be Clothed With Servanthood

  • Peter tells us to be “clothed with humility”—just like a person might tie on an apron or garment, we are to become humble. Paul tells us to put on “humbleness of mind”. It is through an attitude of humility that we can accomplish other commands that God has given us, such as submitting unto church leadership. Peter goes on to tell us that God accepts and gives grace to such a humble person, but He resisteth the proud. God wants to work His goodwill in your life, but you need to humble yourself under His “mighty hand” and know that no matter your situation, God in His timing will properly exalt you. Until then we humbly cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us.
    1 Peter 5:5-7; Colossians 3:12-13; Proverbs 3:34; (Job’s Example: Job 1:20-22; 42:12)
  • Jesus’ humility becomes the foundation for our humility. As believers and disciples of Jesus we are to follow in His humble footsteps. Jesus defined what truth greatness is when He addressed the disciples question about their position of greatness—and He pointed to the cross. Jesus came to minister and to give His life a ransom for the multitude. Thus, humility becomes the way we understand greatness. Practically, this means that “whosoever will be great” is measured by being a servant and “whosoever will be the chiefest” is measured by being a slave (servant) of all—like Jesus was.
    Mark 10:35-45 (27)
  • Jesus commands His followers to humbly serve one another. He gave us an example by washing the disciples feet. Jesus was their Master and Lord but He humbly served them. He was showing us how we are to serve. We are not greater than Jesus, thus we are to do as He did. If we know and do these things we will be blessed and find happiness.
    John 13:1-17; Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 9:33-35

To Overcome Pride, Arrogance, Superior Attitudes And Huge Egos

  • We are to think like Jesus. Paul tells us to “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus”. We are to have the same attitude, mindset or way of thinking that Jesus did—which was humility. Paul wanted all the believers to be “likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind”—to think and act in the same way, especially that which leads to unity. The enemy of this unity was doing things through strife (selfish ambition) or vainglory (conceit). Selfishness and pride only looks after one’s self. Instead we should “in lowliness of mind (humility) let each esteem other better than themselves.” In the same way Jesus humbled Himself, we should humble ourselves for the benefit of others and see them more significant than ourselves. He goes on to say that we should “look not every man on his own things (interests), but every man also on the things (interests) of others.”
    Philippians 2:1-5
  • We are to hate what God hates—to fear Him. God hates pride, arrogance and evil. The Bible warns us that pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
    Proverbs 6:16-17; 8:13; 16:5, 18
  • We are to give God all the glory. We are not to boast in ourselves and our accomplishments but we are to boast in the Lord for everything that we have accomplished or have become. This is ultimately recognizing that He is worthy, superior, wiser than we are. We are to always be abounding in the work of the Lord and at the same time know that we can only do so by the grace of God.
    1 Corinthians 1:27-31; 3:7, 21; 4:6-7, 18; 5:2; 8:1; 13:4; 15:10-11, 58;

Review Questions

  • What is humility? What is biblical humility?
  • Where does humility start?
  • Jesus’ humility reminds us of what two things?
  • Being clothed in humility means to live what kind of life?
  • Humility helps us overcome what?

What Is An Attitude Of Significance?

An attitude of significance is a way of life that finds purpose and meaning in God and His will for our lives. It’s when we realize our importance isn’t rooted in what we have accomplished but in the importance that God gives us because He loves us and in what Jesus has already accomplished for us. As a result we allow God’s purpose to rule in our lives and become set free from attitudes insecurity, inadequacy and inferiority.
Ecclesiastes 3:11; James 1:18; Proverbs 16:4

Our Identity, Meaning, Purpose And Destiny Are All Found In God

  • Significance is the state or quality of being important and worthy to merit attention. It means that you are noteworthy. As believers, this significance is directly connected to knowing and making Jesus known. Feeling significance is hard because we mistakenly try to become significant through the wrong “stimulus” such as our achievements or we had a hard life and were told that we are not significant and believe the lie that we aren’t important. The truth is you are already significant. To realize this significance you need to know your purpose in life—the reason you exist. Therefore, an “attitude of significance” means to have a determined and authentic way of thinking and feeling about God that expresses our purpose and importance in Him and enables us to live for the purpose that we were created for.
  • You are already significance because God is your Creator. You were not an unfortunate accident, an unexpected happening, or unintentional life. You bear the image of God because you were made in His image. God knew you before you were born. God brought you into existence. God is the source of your life. He knew your body type, your skin color, your gender and yet you were fearfully and wonderfully made. You are awesome. God wanted you to be born. He knows the what, when, where, how, and why of your life. He even knows all your days—how long you are going to live. And He brought you into existence for a reason or a purpose: to know and glorify Him.
    Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 139:13-16; Acts 17:25-28; Romans 11:36; Revelation 4:11
  • You were made for a purpose and this purpose means you are significant. God made you to love you. God loves you. He loves you so much that He did everything to restore you to Himself—so you could know Him. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. He showed us His love. He even chose to love us before the foundation of the world. It has been His plan the whole time. You were created to be loved by God. He wanted us to be part of His family. All of this was done in accordance with His good pleasure and will for the glory of God.
    John 3:16; Romans 5:8-9; Ephesians 1:4-6

To Allow God’s Purpose To Rule Your Life

  • God wants you to know Jesus. The work of God is to believe in Jesus who was sent by God to save us. The one way we can know the only true God is through Jesus. By knowing Him we receive eternal life. This means we are eternally significant. We enter into a relationship with God through Jesus and this relationship is eternal. We are to grow in knowing Jesus with every passing day. We joyfully live for the glory of Jesus’ name.
    John 6:29; John 17:3; 2 Peter 3:18
  • God wants us to make Jesus known. We are given great significance, but not to live for ourselves. We are to live for Jesus—the one who loves us and gave Himself for us. We are to be salt and light to the world—meaning letting the world see our good works and glorify God as a result of it. We are to preach Jesus’ love to every person. We are to boldly proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
    Galatians 2:20; Matthew 5:13-16; Colossians 1:27-29; Ephesians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 2:9-10

To Overcome Attitudes Of Insecurity, Inadequacy And Inferiority

  • As believers who have received the light that Jesus has given us, we need to understand what the will of the Lord is so that we can make the most of our time here on earth. God’s will concerning our significance includes establishing a biblical, healthy and secure self-worth, image or concept—how we think about ourselves. This includes three main areas that need to be brought into submission with the bible.
    Ephesians 5:14-17
  • (1) Acceptance—accept yourself but reject conceit and boasting. We need to humbly accept certain aspects about ourselves that are predetermined before we were born that we cannot change—whether good or bad. David did this by consenting that he was fearfully and wonderfully made by a marvellous God. We should agree with David. We also need to consent that we sinned against God and only through His marvelous grace are we saved. This acceptance leads to boasting not in ourselves but in the triune God—Father, Son, Spirit.
    Psalm 139:14; Jeremiah 9:23; Galatians 6:14; Ephesians 2:8-10; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Romans 12:16
  • (2) Love—love yourself but reject selfishness. We need to humbly love our souls which were created eternally to be loved and to love. (For how can you hate what God loves?). Naturally, a person loves himself and chooses to nourish and cherish their own bodies. As believers, we are to love ourselves in the sense that we see ourselves the same way that God does and to know that we are significant. But this love is never to become self-centered. We should never seek self-love directly, but instead know the best way to gain love for our souls is to love God and love others. The Bible warns of those that are “lovers of their own selves”—which is self love characterized by affections concerned chiefly with self or self-worship. This is wrong and should be rejected. The result of truly loving ourselves is always outward focused and not inward. To love yourself is to be secure in Jesus’ love.
    Ephesians 5:28-33; Matthew 22:39; 1 John 5:1; Philippians 2:3-4; 1 Corinthians 10:24; 13:4-6; James 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:2
  • (3) Esteem—esteem yourself but reject pride. We need to have confidence in the fact that we are valuable to God and He wants to use our lives for His honor and glory. Paul had this confidence and knew that he was “apprehended of Christ Jesus” to be conformed into His image. He knew that he wasn’t already perfect like Christ. But He pressed on toward this mark or goal by “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before”—meaning he didn’t let past failures, sins, insecurities or successes and achievements become roadblocks from him pursing Jesus and becoming like Him. We labour and aim to be accepted of Jesus. What in your past is holding you back?
    Philippians 3:12-16; 2 Corinthians 5:6-10

Review Questions

  • Why are we already significant?
  • What is God’s purpose for our life and what should we let it do?
  • God wants you to know who?
  • God wants us to make who known?
  • What are the three main areas of biblical, healthy and secure self-worth?