Men's Workout #18 - September 9th

Pastor Dan led us in a singing of "Across the Lands" (hymn #198). Afterwards, we went through a devotion of 1 Corinthians 3.
As a group, we discussed and came up with the following prepositions:

  • Ministers of the Word are God's servants; they are not authorities in and of themselves.
    • It is interesting that it is Paul who says this. He could have said that he was an apostle and therefore he was special, but he does not say that. Rather, in verse 10, Paul says that the grace of God was given to him.
    • Paul is not denigrating the role that he has - he is a "master builder." Rather, he humbly understands the role of this work, and that God is the one who gave it to him.
  • God uses men as His instruments to cause growth in men. Or, to put it another way, ministers are God's instruments.
    • An instrument in and of itself can be valuable, but if it is not being played by a skilled musician, it is impossible to appreciate its true value.
    • For those who minister, this means:
      • We are utterly dependent on the Lord. Our confidence must reside in the Lord and not in ourselves.
      • We participate in God's work, but the glory is entirely His. All recognition should be directed toward God, and not toward us. God is doing the real work, all of its substance is always God's.
      • Paul planted, Apollos watered, but ultimately it is God who causes the growth (v 5-6). It is not any work of man that can cause change in people's hearts; only God can accomplish such a thing.
  • Our work will be tested with fire.
    • We should seek to build things that are eternal, not worldly. Christian labor can be wasted and result in worthlessness if they are not built on an eternal foundation.
    • God will evaluate our work, and He will expose its true eternal worth.
    • Not everything that is done in the name of the Lord is necessarily glorifying to God. It is feasible that one could even spend a lifetime pursuing the wrong aims and building the "wrong structures." Therefore, each man must be careful how he builds his works and honors the Lord through them.
    • We can "do church" in such a way that might seem exciting on the outside, but in reality it could potentially not honor or glorify God at all. If our motivations in our service and our works are not for the aims of glorying God and filling the hearts of people with that same aim, then our works are worthless and will be burned up.
  • The wisdom of man is foolishness before God.
    • Judge your works and pursuits against this qualifier: does this glorify God?
  • The church is precious to God.
    • Factionalism, division, jealousy, strife, and competition within the church demonstrates immaturity in the faith.
    • God destroys those who destroy His church.
  • Christ is the foundation that God has already laid.
    • Jesus Christ has finished His work. His foundation has once and for all been laid, and is forever finished. It is not continually being laid down. There is no further development needed.
  • There is no glory intrinsic to man
    • The one and only true glory is God's.
    • It is moral and right for God to love His own glory, for it is incomparable to any other glory.
  • Spiritual immaturity is unnatural.
    • Believers are spiritual people, not just fleshly. Believers who live like fleshly people, therefore, are unnatural.
    • Immaturity does not exclude the process of growth, but spiritual maturity should be a rapid process that is concentrated in the early stages of one's Christian walk. A good analogy would be to compare to how an infant develops rapidly over a relatively short amount of time; in the same way, a Christian ought to develop rapidly in maturity and understanding early on in his/her walk.
  • God uses man's work to build His church.
    • God can use our work for His purposes and His glory. It can be useful and have significance!

We also discussed the following questions:

  • Verse 9 says that "we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." Is this unique to the time and situation of apostles and laymen? Is there a distinction between apostles and the church?
    • This group of people being referred to is broader than just apostles, because Apollos is included and he was not an apostle.
    • We should understand "fellow workers" as any man who does the work of building on the foundation of Christ.
  • Verse 22 refers to "things belonging to us" (the church). How do all things belong to us?
    • Servants of God are not people to rally around; they are gifts of God to the church.
    • Benefitting from someone's ministry is not exclusive to any group of people; anybody can benefit from the ministries of any of God's servants.
    • All things in the church - the ministers, the world, life, death, present things, future things - they all culminate into a blessing of God's people for their good.
      • Similar to what is written in Romans 8, all things work together for good to those who love Him. The final good is the glorification of His redeemed people for all eternity.
    • This is why we are called "fellow workers".

We recited Matthew 7:13-18 together as a group.

  • Questions
    • Should there be a distinction between how we treat believers and unbelievers? (Matthew 7:12)
      • This is a principle of considering how we should treat others in general. We should treat others in the same way that we would want to be treated.
      • In general, we should always be aiming to do what is best for others. We should put ourselves in the other's shoes, yet we should not to go so far as to pamper other people either.
      • "This is the Law and the Prophets" - this statement is a corollary of the command to "love your neighbor as yourself."
      • However, there is a special attitude we should have toward fellow believers. Galatians 6:10 tells us to "do good to all people, and especially those who are of the household of the faith." This shows that there is a priority to love those in the church.


Next week's passage for memorization is Matthew 7:19-23.

Men's Workout #17 - September 2nd

Pastor Dan led us in a singing of "Jesus is Lord" (hymn #102). Then, he led us through a devotion of 1 Corinthians 2.
Some propositions that the group came up with are:

  • God reveals His power through the Holy Spirit.
  • God reveals His mind through the Holy Spirit.
  • The Holy Spirit teaches Christians.
  • God purposefully intended to reveal His wisdom to His people.
  • The wisdom in our speech and in our mind comes from God.
  • God revealed His truth through His apostles and prophets, and the church readily received and embraced it.
  • There is a difference between natural man and spiritual man.
  • There is a difference between merely knowing the truth and living by the truth.

The group then spent some time discussing the topic of knowing the truth, and trying to grasp "the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood". What kind of knowledge is this?

  • Empirically, many people can understand the truth of the gospel and yet reject it. This understanding of the gospel means that the individual has an acknowledgement or an intellectual understanding of the facts. They may perhaps also understand the personal implications of the gospel if they were to accept it to be true. In a sense, the rulers of this age could have had to this degree an understanding.
  • However, the gospel is more than mere intellectual understanding of facts. It is more, because this is a message from a speaker. In general, when there is a message from a speaker to a particular audience, that speaker has an intent with which he speaks so that his audience would understand. This intent is a crucial element of his message.
    • Sometimes we hear someone say, "I don't think you understand what I'm saying," or, "I don't think you understand what I mean."
    • Comprehension of facts does not always equate to understanding of the message's intent.
    • The gospel is not merely a bunch of facts. We must personally understand its intent from God, the speaker. And the gospel from God has a direct application to us and to our sins against God.
    • It is in this sense that people cannot understand the gospel unless God converts them and enables them. It is also in this sense that people cannot perceive the true nature of Christ's glory in the gospel apart from God opening their blinded eyes (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
  • Can someone be a Christian and not really want to know God?
    • No! One of the natural results of knowing God is to want to understand and seek more of the Lord and to obey Him.
    • 1 John 2:3-6 says that "by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments."
  • God has to be working in people to change them.
    • We can't fabricate conversion or rationally convince anybody to faith. What we are meant to do is to match people with God ("matches made in heaven").


Pastor Dan went over the acronym "ABS" to help us lead our children through understanding the following:

  • AGE of 99
    • When Abram was 99 years old, God changed his name to Abraham and confirmed the timing of his son's birth through Isaac and that his name should be Isaac.
    • God enabled Sarah to conceive and give birth to Isaac.
    • God tested Abraham's fear/obedience toward God through his willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac.

We recited Matthew 7:7-12 as a group.

  • In verse 7, Jesus tells us to “ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." This verse is very popular in prosperity gospel messages, but that's not the intent of what the Lord is proclaiming at all!
    • Verse 11 tells us that God gives what is good to His children. God discerns and decides what is good and bad - not our flesh!
    • In the mind of the Lord, the maximum good is God Himself.
    • The Spirit's work in a person's life is the greatest good God can provide to anybody.
    • Other Biblical arguments against the "name it and claim it" philosophy:
      • One cannot serve God and wealth (Matthew 6:24)
      • Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness - not your own kingdom (Matthew 6:33)
      • Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy (Matthew 6:19-20)

 Next week's passage for memorization is Matthew 7:13-18.

Men's Workout #16 - August 26th

We started off our time together by sharing things that were weighing on our hearts so that we could pray for them together.

  • One topic that we discussed was Jesus' address to the Pharisees, where He discussed the outside vs. the inside of the cup (Matthew 23:25).
    • The Pharisees clean the outside of the cup, which is what people can see and observe. But they don't clean the inside of their cup. The result is that whatever is on the outside of the cup is actually an overflow of what's inside.
    • Another example of how the outer appearances may not be what they seem: if you had a cup with brown liquid inside of it, people would probably assume that you were drinking coffee. However, in reality, you could actually be drinking mud water and fool everyone into thinking you were drinking coffee all along.
    • We shouldn't merely focus on our outer appearances, but more importantly, we should be focusing on the makeup of our minds, hearts, and character. In doing so, we can live consistently, internally and externally.

After this short discussion, Pastor Dan prayed for the group and then led us through the singing of hymn #307, "Christ Arose."
We then read through the book of Jude together. Some propositions that we discussed were:

  • We must build ourselves up on the most holy faith. (verse 20)
    • We must walk in a holy manner, and not be deceived by false teachers that take the grace of the Lord as an opportunity for the flesh.
      • Extending this point, this is also a severe warning against false teachers.
  • Those who are in the church but revile God are doubly dead (v.12)
    • This is describing what they are in the church now, because they are talking about the present. These people are not yet in hell at the time of this writing.
    • However, people who are like this are not a just cause for anyone to be a "hunter of heretics." We ought not to go around the church looking to draw out a heretic. But, we should be active in confronting others when they say things that are contrary to sound doctrine.

We took the time to sign up to lead the children during homegroup. Here's an example of a high-level outline that we can use as we lead them:

  • Go through one of the children's memory verses with hand/body motions.
  • Consider opportunities to explain the verse in further detail, foster discussion, and encourage interaction from the kids.
  • Sing songs together. "Seeds Family Worship" style songs could be a good format for this.
  • Play games with them.

We then took time to review Matthew 7:1-6 together.

  • Question: Is verse 1 talking about the judgment of God or of men?
    • There is no sense in which God's judgment is wavering or dependent on our own standards. One might argue that if someone had really low standards, God would judge that person by their own low standards. However, we can clearly see that God establishes His own high standard for us and explains what that is throughout the sermon on the mount.
    • At a high level, this passage is talking about the principle of reciprocation.
      • To reiterate, this is not saying that we should have low standards for ourselves or others. Rather, the point here addresses criticism of others and dealing with unfair judgment.
        • We should be reasonable people. Do not hold people to a standard that you're not willing to live by yourself. Don't put something on people that we ourselves aren't willing to do or work on ourselves.
          • This is the folly of the Pharisees - don't be like them!
          • Would you expect other people to read the bible everyday if you don't read the bible everyday for yourself? Do you expect others to worship the Lord day after day if you don't do it yourself?
  • Verses 3-5 brings up the principle of hypocrisy.
    • In the Greek, there is a conjunction that begins verse 3. However, most translations don't translate it. This ties verse 3 to verses 1-2.
    • Do not be a hypocrite when confronting someone of a committed wrong.
    • There is a priority and a chronology in dealing with hypocrisy.
      • First, take the log out of your own eye, then take the speck out of the other brother's eye.
      • Some might be tempted to leave the logs and specks where they are, but Christians should work through these issues with each other.
  • Verse 6 brings up the principle of prudence.
    • Some commentators say that verse 6 has no connection with the statements before or after, and say that this is about evangelism. However, you will most likely come across a situation like this when you're pointing out the fault in any other person.
    • Be careful to observe how the other person reacts to you.
      • Ask yourself, "do I answer a fool according to their folly or not?" (Proverbs 26)
      • As Christians, we have to be sensitive to assess the circumstances and the person's reaction.
      • Will the other person react to you harshly instead of receiving your instruction/confrontation?
    • When taking verse 6 to be a continuation of verses 1-5, there's a sweet reasonableness in coming alongside another person and beckoning them to join you. But you must take the lead yourself, and then you're encouraging them to proactively come alongside you
    • We need to be sensitive and forsake all "holier than thou," condescending, and critical attitudes if we want to be a help to others.
  • Question: If someone comes to you and confronts you about something that they also have an issue with, how do you react? 
    • Don't point it out to them right at that moment, but instead, choose the way of humility and focus on your own sanctification.
    • Entrust everything to God. If you feel that there is still an issue with the other brother down the road, then you should bring it up and work it out with that brother.
  • Question: In verses 1-2, there is no mention of anything related to "brotherhood," nor is there mention of it when discussing the "dog & swine". It is only mentioned in the context of the "log & speck" example. Is this an important significance?
    • These are principles to govern our thoughts and how we deal with judgmental and hypocritical attitudes. The principle described in verse 6 applies all across the board - believers and unbelievers alike.
    • Because of inherent differences in personality (or other deeper issues), sometimes there can be irreconcilable differences between certain people.
      • If someone doesn't respect you, they will condemn you no matter what you try to tell them. At that moment, it is important to recognize that you may not be the right tool needed to sanctify that specific person at that time. In these cases, we should pray that somebody will be the right tool used by God to sanctify that person.
      • If someone confronts you after prayerful consideration, and your response is to point out sin in their life, you're being reactionary and retributive, not humble and penitent.
      • When we confront others, we shouldn't always automatically assume a "Matthew 18 mode." The principles in Matthew 18 are prescribed for specific circumstances, not necessarily for general situations.
        • This passage doesn't trump all other passages in the bible regarding loving confrontation. Or, to put it another way, the method laid out in Matthew 18 is not the only one we can employ to sanctify each other.

Men's Workout #15 - August 19th

Pastor Dan led us in a singing of "Wonderful, Merciful Savior" (hymn #162), after which he led us through a devotional of Colossians 1:1-12.
Some propositions from this passage included:

  • Christians should pray for spiritual maturity and growth.
    • Paul and Timothy knew that God is the one who causes Christians to grow, and so they relied on God in prayer for the Colossians' spiritual growth (v 9-12).
  • A Christian's hope is laid up in heaven, not in the world.
    • It is important for us to always be looking forward to eternity in heaven.
    • There are things in our lives on earth that are exciting, such as getting married, having a baby, or getting a new job. To be sure, these are all blessings from God; however, in reality, these things are all temporal and will fade away in time. In contrast, heaven and the blessings laid up there are eternal, and so Christians ought to place their hope in heaven.

Questions about this passage included:

  • What is the "big picture" of this passage?
    • Verse 9 mentions the "goal", which is that Christians should be filled with the knowledge of God's will.
  • The world filled refers to the idea of "a saturation of knowledge". The Christian life begins with the filling of the mind with knowledge of what God wants.
    • In verses 9-12, Paul outlines the resultant fruit that is borne from the life of a Christian whose mind is filled with the knowledge of God's will.
  • Verse 12 refers to God as the one "who has qualified us". What does this mean? Is this describing the selection of those who have been chosen to receive the inheritance, or does it the describe the qualification of those who will receive inheritance?
    • It describes the qualification; the word "qualified" should be understood as "made adequate".
    • God is the only one who can do (and who has done) something to make us fit for inheritance. He can be the only one who qualifies us. In ourselves, we have no credentials that can serve as credit for receiving the inheritance from God.

Daniel Khuc, Nate Chang, John Tang, Peter Chen, and Pastor Dan recited all of Matthew chapter 6.
Some reflections from Matthew 6:

  • The full reward of recognition from men is contained in the earthly realm, but cannot be found in or brought to heaven. Social media can serve as a metric for us to measure and gauge approval from our fellow man (likes, etc.), but these earthly rewards, trophies, and honors are temporal and can be destroyed and forgotten.
  • Jesus calls God "our heavenly Father" numerous times. Hearing and reading about this helps to remind us that God cares for us and loves us as our Father, and helps to spur us on to love and thankfulness toward Him.

Men's Workout #14 - August 5th

Pastor Dan kicked off the devotion by opening us up in prayer, then leading us in singing hymn 129, Crown Him with Many Crowns


Next we opened up and read 2 Timothy 3, then each of us individually wrote down propositions to share with the group. Below are some of the propositions that the men made:

  • We see that all scripture is inspired by God to equip us for good works (vv16)
  • Godlessness is in our nature, but we who have been acquainted with the sacred writings shall be wise for salvation through Christ, and be equipped for every good work.
  • The Godly will be persecuted.
  •  God's inspired word is sufficient for the believer.
  • The love of pleasure is directly in opposition to loving God. (vv4)
    • Question - is Paul using a narrow definition of pleasure, because God gives us things to enjoy, doesn't He?
      • We certainly should enjoy what God has given us!
      •  However, we ought not to idolize anything or enjoy what God has given to us in a way that is devoid of giving glory to God
      • Reference Psa 16, 1 Tim 6:17
  • Merely holding to a form of godliness is not Godliness.
    • Question - What are some examples of a façade of godliness?
      • Rituals and vestments devoid of true Godliness
      • Being motivated by what others may think of you, or doing things in a way that is visible to others rather than doing things for God.
      • One practical example of that can be memory verses
        • However, we ought not to let our struggles with these things prevent us from memorizing, but always err on the side of memorizing rather than not because of all the blessings we open ourselves up to by memorizing.
      • We don't want to be showy, but we want to strive to be an exemplary model of Christ.
      • Our motivation should be, "what would really please Christ?"
  • Somewhat related to the point above about being motivated by what others may think of you…here's an example:
    • Imagine if a husband is only nice to their spouse when everyone is watching, but in private, he acts like she's not there.
    • This wrong marriage relationship helps us realize the folly of someone who has a relationship with God in public, but not in private.
  • We need to get away from ungodly men, and grow through God's word.
  • God defines what Godliness is.
  • The folly of men is obvious to all (vv9).
  • Something to note - while the pastoral epistles were addressed to individuals, it was fully understood that the entire church would read it.
    • This is why you find statements like, "grace be with you [plural]" at the end of 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus.


Next we continued on to read 2 Timothy 4, and we had another round of individually writing down propositions to share with the group.

  • Sober-mindedness is Godly; all things should be done in a sober-minded state.
    • On one hand we can point to passages like Ephesians 5 that command against being drunk, but we need to also think about the positive benefits of being sober-minded.
    • An example: if you are so engrossed in a novel, or TV show, or hobby that you are not aware of spiritual reality, that is not pleasing to the Lord.
    • We can still enjoy things, but we need to maintain a level of control.
    • An example: thinking about fighter jets, when a pilot is in battle, he is making evasive maneuvers and firing missiles, but he always knows where the ejection button is. Why? Because he may need to use it at a moment's notice to spare his life.
    • Don't be so engrossed in one thing where you lose the undercurrent.
  • Men can desert us.
  • Brothers should support each other, but not count a lack of support for each other against each other.
  • The love of the world is at odds with the love of God, and you can only serve one master.
  • Be on guard against those who oppose God.
    • Paul names them by name (Alexander the coppersmith), in order to warn Timothy about how much harm he could inflict upon Timothy if he doesn't guard himself.
    • Don't see this as Paul putting someone down.
  • The time will come when men will not endure sound doctrine.
    • Related to 2 Timothy 3:1; the men of the world are embracing/will embrace falsehood.
    • Be on guard, ready in season and out of season, as we will have to endure hardship.
    • Hardship is not just something physical, but there is also spiritual hardship - false teaching, for example.
    • There is an urgency to preach because of the progression of religion and the spreading of false doctrine.
  • He who is accountable to Christ holds on to sound doctrine.
    • Without accountability to Christ one could teach whatever he wants.
    • There are many men who are only seeking those to tickle their ears.


After this Pastor Dan handed out a couple sets of illustrations for the children, and due to time constraints we only went through one of them - Abraham (part 1)

The acronym is BABE, and stands for:

  • Blessing (Gen 12:1-3)
  • Age: Seventy Five (Gen 12:4)
  • Battle (Gen 15:5-6)
  • Enslavement (Gen 15:13-14)

Next time we'll go through Abraham (Part 2), and the acronym for that is ABS.


We concluded the time by reciting our memory verses, Matthew 6:30-34. A few notes:

  • God knows how people are, and the world works - enough trouble of its own.
  • This passage should be of great comfort to us when we are worried about the things of the world.
  • However, this doesn't mean you can "rest in Christ" and do whatever you want, or be recklessly risky - this is not a license to disregard being good stewards of God's blessings.


Pastor Dan will take a mini-vacation with his family next weekend, but the men agreed (by vote) to gather next week and have a Matthew 6 memorization cramming session.

Men's Workout #13 - July 29th


We began this week's Workout with a recitation of Matthew 6:22-29, after which we spent some time reflecting and discussing the passage together.

  • The obvious truth is that you cannot serve both God and wealth.
    • In a master and slave relationship, a slave can only have and serve one master.
  • For those who do not have to worry about basic provisions, such as food or clothing, what kinds of things could tempt us to worry?
    • Finding and keeping a job
    • Stability of the economy, and by extension, our own financial stability
    • Uncertainty in retirement
    • Personal appearance, other peoples' opinions, and social pressures
    • Natural disasters
  • The Lord tells us not to worry. Why?
    • God provides what we need, and He cares for us.
    • God cares for things in nature, such as animals and plants. If this is true, then how much more will He care for us who are made in His image?
  • In Matthew 6:23, Jesus says that "But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" What does He mean?
    • The best way to understand this is that one organ can impact the whole body. By this, we can understand that whom we serve can impact our whole lives. Specifically, what we do with money and whether we deal anxiously about money can impact and take over our whole lives.
    • How terrible and tragic is the situation where the light in us is not really light, but darkness!
  • Sometimes we face occasions where we can't fully understand a hardship that someone is experiencing. We can try and imagine what it might be like to share in their hardship, but the reality is that many times we can never completely empathize. What do we do when we try to sympathize with someone who is going through something that we have never experienced before?
    • We should try and minister to people the best way we can with what the Lord has provided us.
    • Sometimes the best and only thing we can do is "weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15).
    • We should try to show great generosity to others. Think of how we can be channels of blessing in order to provide for someone in their time of need. We could very well be the specific means of how God provides for and blesses a certain individual. We must be careful not to give ourselves too much credit, though, as if we are so great or worthy.
  • Verses 25-29 deal with trusting God in daily sustenance and trust, rather than whether we can amass enormous amounts of wealth in this world to act as our security. Also, this truth applies not only to matters dealing with wealth, but also to what (or who) we trust in when it comes to all areas of provision in life.

Next week's passage for memorization is Matthew 6:30-34.

  • Jesus gives a negative command (do not worry) but contrasts it with a positive command (seek first His kingdom and His righteousness).
  • What is the kingdom?
    • Heaven!
    • For example, Jesus refers to heaven as a kingdom in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-5).
  • What is the righteousness?
    • The practice of God's commands for righteousness
    • Jesus refers to a reward for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness ("Beatitude #4", Matthew 5:6)
    • Jesus says in Matthew 5:20 that our righteousness must surpass that of the Scribes and the Pharisees.
    • Indeed, the entire Sermon on the Mount is one long sermon telling us how to live according to God's righteousness!
  • We are to seek first His righteousness and trust in God before seeking or worrying about things in this life.
    • The worries of this life can keep us from living in the Lord's righteousness.
  • Is there a specific definition or understanding for "worry"? Do we not worry at all, or does it speak to something more specific? For example, how do we separate the worry from the desire or fuel to work hard and get ourselves out of our situation of lack?
    • Jesus is not saying that we should exclusively seek to be involved in spiritual activity. He also does not say that we don't need to work at all, or earn our own living. On the contrary, God's will for us is that we all work hard and eat the fruit of our labors (ref. 2 Thessalonians 3).
    • We need to obey the Lord in all aspects and serve Him. When we do this, Jesus comforts us that we have no need to be anxious.
    • We shouldn't let worry drive us; but what should drive us is a desire to obey, serve, and follow Him. When we do this, we can be confident that He will take care of us.
  • Sometimes one may fall into believing in a false understanding between trusting in the Lord and doing hard work.
    • For example, it might be easy to think that "God will provide, so I will just not work and let His blessings come to me". This is unbiblical! Seeking His righteousness first includes working - it's not separate from that.
    • Another motivation to work hard and earn is to share with others and help provide for them in their times of need (Ephesians 4:28).
  • It's good to plan for the future uncertainties, (e.g. buying life insurance), but ultimately we should realize that these plans can fail as they are not invulnerable or guaranteed. Ultimately, our trust and confidence must be in the Lord and His assurance that He will take care of us.
  • Be carefree, but not careless (for example, don't drive on the freeway without a seatbelt!). Do not test God.
  • Seek God's ordinary means of provision, trusting that God is the one who provides through those means.
    • God is the one who has to orchestrate and sustain the order of things (i.e. economy, supply chain) in order for us to be able to work and buy and have our money be worth something to trade for. So even though we earn money and are able to buy things in an ordinary way, God is the one who orchestrates and enables all of these things extraordinarily "in the background". In other words, without God's sovereign care, even what we consider "ordinary things" would not be possible.


Arthur was selected to lead the group in a short devotion.

  • Hymn # 393 - Take My Life and Let It Be
  • 2 Timothy 2
    • Proposition: Serve Christ faithfully.
      • Verse 3 tells us to suffer hardship as a good soldier of Christ. Although we live life on earth, we ought not to become entangled in everyday affairs and thereby neglect our duties to serve God faithfully. We ought to live our lives in service to him, being loyal, humble, and faithful to God.
      • Warning: we should not go AWOL by pursuing distractions that hinder us from our first order of service toward Him.
      • We must be faithful to serve God and follow His commands, as a good soldier in any army would. While we are on earth, we are not to leave our post, but rather we must fully commit ourselves to His mission and glory.

Men's Workout #12 - July 22nd

Pastor Dan kicked off our workout this week with a singing of "He Will Hold Me Fast" (hymnal #388), after which he led us in a devotional through Galatians 2.

Propositions from Galatians 2:

  • Believers are justified by faith. This was something Paul was willing to stand up for - even to Peter, the leader of the apostles. We should imitate Paul's resolve as believers today. We must contend for the truth of the gospel, especially the doctrine of justification by faith alone, not by works. Simply put, believers are justified by faith in Christ alone, and that is something worth fighting for.
    • Paul was courageous to defend the gospel. He recognized the truth of the gospel was more important than Peter's primacy, his experience, and reputation; after all, Peter had been with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry. In the face of these things, Paul was not intimidated, and he still stood for the truth of the gospel. Paul's opposition of Peter was not done with an attitude of anti-authoritarianism, but Paul ultimately submitted to God's authority and defended the truth of the gospel accordingly.
  • Christians must live in a consistent manner with what they profess to believe. Verse 14 stood out to Peter Chen. If we live like the world, then how can we genuinely lead our friends and loved ones to faith in the gospel?
    • Christians must be straightforward, not hypocritical.
    • What are some practical things we can do to live consistently?
      • Fellowship with others
        • When people are not in fellowship, they drift. However, if we link arms together, strengthen one another, and talk to one another, we will walk more consistently.
        • We identify ourselves through our connections to one another. We are made to live in a vibrant community that displays God's glory.
      • Confess our sins
        • Be honest about our own sins. Identify and confess them to God and to each other in loving and honest fellowship.
          • In Romans 14, Paul teaches that we commonly concentrate on somebody else's sanctification and yet neglect our own. Instead, we should be humble to identify our own sins first.
        • We should confess our sins to one another and forgive one another. It takes humility and work to build a level of comfort with one another in order to do this. It's not easy and can even be a bit scary! However, we can trust in God's design for the church to build itself up in love.
      • Witness to others
        • Communicate with others that there are certain things that we do not accept or tolerate as Christians, such as gossip, casual foul language, etc.
        • Our lives on earth are to be lived for God (Galatians 2:20)
  • Christians are not required to follow the OT law to the letter in order to have a right relationship with God.
    • How should we understand how to worship God today, who is the unchanging God of both the Old Testament (OT) and the New Testament (NT)? Are we to live in obedience to the laws prescribed in the OT?
      • The Law was given to the Jews in their time in history. Keeping the real, literal Law as given to the Jews in the OT is not required for the Christian today.
      • There are clear parts of the OT Law that still timelessly apply to all believers, such asparts of the Ten Commandments. In these instances, there are intents and commands that overlap with what is revealed in the NT. The NT reveals which parts of the OT Law deal with spiritual convictions, and which parts deal with literally abstaining from physical things, like worldly and fleshly indulgences.
      • In Romans 14, Paul deals with the idea of the strong in the faith vs. the weak in the faith. The "strong" understood the implications of justification by faith, recognizing that observance of the OT Law is no longer the only means by which the NT believer can please God. The "weak" still held to aspects of their Jewish upbringing in living in accordance to the OT Law.
        • In the end, we are to live with a clear conscience before the Lord in all that we observe. We should judge or show contempt toward others for their convictions; rather, we should accept one another and love one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Righteousness comes through faith in Christ, not in obedience to the Law.
    • If righteousness does come through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.
    • Our righteousness is not a result of our obedience to the Law, but through our faith in Christ. Righteousness is imputed to our account by faith, not earned by works.
    • As Christians, we love Christ. If our love for Him is true, then we will obey Him. As such, we are saved unto good works as we obey Christ out of love.


We learned about a new acronym ("STAG") to help us lead our children through an understanding of Noah and the Flood.

  • See
    • What did God see on the earth?
    • God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth… He was grieved in His heart.
  • Tell
    • What did God tell Noah?
    • Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood…
  • Annihilation
    • It rained forty days and forty nights.
    • [What happened to all the people who weren't in the ark?]
    • They were killed…
  • Go Out
    • After a year God called Noah to go out from the ark, him and his family and the animals.
  • Question: how do we explain that Noah walked with God?
    • Noah wasn't perfect, just like Abram, Isaac, and Jacob weren't perfect either. These men were not holy in and of themselves, but they believed God, and that was credited to them as righteousness.
    • Noah did not live a perfectly righteous life, but he trusted God and kept His word in the best way he knew how.


We ended our time with a quick review of next week’s passage (Matthew 6:22-29).

  • God is the one who takes care of both the lilies and the birds. When we realize this, how much more can we trust that He take care of us? We don't need to worry; God always takes care of His own. We can seek His kingdom and righteousness first, knowing that He takes care of all things.

Men's Workout #11 - July 15th


We started off today's workout by reciting our memory verses. Instead of just reciting vv7-15, to help us keep the previous verses fresh in our minds, we recited from verse 1 (Matthew 6:1-15).

Some notes on v.7-15:


  • Regarding verse 7, there is nothing wrong with repetition (some of the Psalms repeat the same words) but the key here is avoiding meaningless repetition.
  • When Pastor Dan was on a missionary trip in the Far East, he met a person with the erroneous belief that God will do miracles if he said the Lord's Prayer 1,000 times.
    • God is not going to answer someone just because he says the Lord's Prayer 1,000 times!
  • When we pray to God, we should pray with great mindfulness, consciousness, fully aware that God hears us, with His perfect mind, intelligent mind.
  • We ought to be conscious of what we say, and mean what we say.
  • Even children can tell whether what you are saying is rote or if you really mean it.
  • However, what God wants is meaning, not non-repetition.
  • Part of prayer is knowing God, knowing the fullness of Him
  • Think about the study on Psalm 19 we just went through, "the heavens are telling of the glory of God…"
  • In Luke 11, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray in a specific way, but Matthew 6 is different; in this passage, Jesus makes a contrast to how the Gentiles pray (note verse 1).

Give us this day our daily bread

  • God is teaching us to be humble, and dependent for daily sustenance
  • Here, the Bible is talking about physical daily sustenance (vs. general needs), like the manna that the Israelites ate when they were in the desert.
  • When was the last time you were not sure if you were going to have food when it came time to eat your next meal?
  • We can go to God with great calmness, knowing that He takes care of us, and we can focus on worshipping Him.

Forgive us our debts

  • The word for "debt" in v.12 is different from the word used in Luke.
  • The word for debt here (opheileta in Greek) is the same word as Romans 1:14 (obligation).
  • In Matthew 18, the slave owed something like $6 billion today. It would take something like 200,000 years to pay that off, assuming that you're paying back 100% of your earnings with zero interest!

Lead us not into temptation

  • In v.13, the word temptation (peirasmos in Greek) can be translated as "temptation" on one hand, and as "trial" or "test" on the other. While it is translated as "temptation" here (and has been traditionally translated as such), based on the context that we are delivered from them, it should be translated as "trials". This is because temptations come from us, not God (James 1:13-15).
  • Examples of deliverance from trials:
    • In Proverbs, Agur asks of God to spare him from trials (Proverbs 30:8-9).
    • Jesus exemplifies this in the garden of Gethsemane, when He asked God if it was possible to remove the cup (Matthew 26:39).
  • We ought to pray to God acknowledging that He knows our weaknesses, our frailty, and in humility ask that He would deliver us.

Forgive us … as we forgive …

  • God expects His people to be forgiving, and there is no way to trick God. There is no way to harbor sin or have an unforgiving heart while asking God to forgive us our sins.
  • Regarding debts (v.12), you could make someone pay for their sin every time and be exacting, pointing out what they say, how they look at you, and require an apology for every wrong thing. However, we ought not to do that, but to have a forgiving heart towards others.
  • When we go to God, we must continually have a heart and attitude of forgiveness.
  • This is a prayer that believers pray to maintain fellowship with God.

After going through Matthew 6:7-15, we looked over the passage that we were to memorize this upcoming week, Matthew 6:16-21.

  • Looking at v.19-21, it is opposite logic compared to what our society wants to tell us – you should only give when your heart is "in it.” However, Jesus tells us here that our hearts will follow where our assets go; there's a real truth to that.
  • As you generously give, your heart comes with the doing. There is no limit to our generosity.
  • Your heart and your treasures will always go hand in hand. For example, if you put a lot of your money into investment accounts, you will find your heart going there.
  • It is a great practice to commit ourselves long-term to giving and being generous. We will find that as we do this, our hearts will continually go towards things of heaven, the things of God's work.
  • Is v.21 cause and effect or correlation? The emphasis here is cause and effect.
  • Why store up your treasures in heaven? Because where your treasure goes, there your heart will. It is NOT "follow your heart." The heart is wicked above all things (Jeremiah 17:9), so don't follow your heart.

Building on Matthew 6:16-21, we all turned to 1 Timothy 6:17-19 to continue the discussion.

  • Wealth makes some people think that they are more valuable.
  • Do not find security in riches, because riches are uncertain. Rather, fix your hope on God, and be rich in good works.
    • For example, in the movie “Schindler's List,” Schindler regrets not liquidating his ring so that he could have saved one more Jew. While in the world's eyes he did great in saving Jews, he regrets that he wasn't more generous
  • Paul is talking about looking to the life we have ahead of us, so as a result we ought to look at our lives on earth with that perspective.
    • The "life" is not retiring at 40 and just playing golf for the rest of your life.
    • The "life" is finding joy in people coming to know God, using your resources to bring about that kind of fruit.
  • How can we be generous?
    • Sometimes it's taboo to talk about our needs (e.g., “I need money”).
    • In 2017 in America, it can be hard to tell if someone is truly in need. Some people have a lot of money but are miserly, while others are living on credit card debt.
    • The key is to get to know people.
      • People's needs may not be monetary, but our attention and courage to bring things up in their life (sin, areas of sanctification) where we can help them.
      • Keeping a list of people who are under a poverty line and need help is unbiblical and un-dignifying.
    • As we give, we should not expect anything in return.
      • We may give and people may not show gratitude, but when you're giving to them, you're doing it to serve them, not to earn their thanks.
      • Give in wisdom and discernment (don't want to butt in).
  • How else can we store up treasures in heaven?
    • Pray for others - that takes time!
    • We should be open to making sacrifices, and forego maximizing our incomes, finances.
    • The church is made up of volunteers; people's time and energy is not free. They are sacrificing - either their current finances or future finances (raise, promotions, bonuses, etc.) - and that’s honoring to the Lord.


Pastor Dan led us in a devotion.

  • We sang Hymn #176, "Be Thou My Vision.”
  • After we sang the hymn, we read 2 Timothy 2 together.
  • Proposition: God's useful servants are holy and prepared
    • Note that “prepared” is a more appropriate word here than “trained.”
    • God's servants are prepared to hand out the truth that has been passed on to them (v.2, v.15).
    • v.20-21 talks about how we can use our lives for honor or dishonor.
      • v.22 mentions fleeing from youthful lusts.

Discussing further in depth, some men brought out some observations:

  • God's workers know God's word so they can accurately and precisely use it.
    • We're not just talking about apostles, but any Christian who is willing and committed.
  • Entrusting things to faithful men, who find their strength in Jesus (rather than in themselves)
  • The words are taken from Ephesians, but is applicable here, "we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works"
  • God's servants suffer for the Word of God, but not in a masochistic way.
    • So many died for the word of God
  • We ought not to "wrangle about" by getting involved in worldly, empty chatter (v.14).
    • In v.18, Paul mentions two specific men as examples of men who have gone away from the truth.
  • There is perseverance needed in long term ministry. Making disciples is an ongoing work.
    • Obtaining salvation goes beyond just hearing the truth and believing, but involves coming alongside believers, teaching them to observe all that the Lord has commanded them.
    • When thinking about the strengthening gospel vs. saving gospel, it's not so clear cut - it's fluid. A biblical basis for this is found in the account of Philip and his sharing with the Ethiopian eunuch - he shared the gospel, but not the whole counsel of God.
    • There isn’t a clear distinction between evangelism mode and follow up discipleship mode - it's one fluid process.
    • Even among us today, we strive to help each other to endure day-by-day, and we ought to be doing more of that.
  • Looking at v.25, how do we approach people who have differing views?
    • One example: we don't want to support people going to Catholic church.
      • It's wrong, and some Catholics don't even really know what they believe, but we don't want that to be the first thing we tell a person.
      • You don't have to talk too much about Catholicism, but can simply talk about what the truth is.
      • While we must be kind, we also must not compromise the truth. This may lead to persecution.
      • Pray for those who persecute you (Luke 6).
    • As Christians, we ought to be kind to all, patient when wronged; instead of hurting people with your words or attitude, find ways to show kindness.
  • How do we deal with someone who disagrees with us when we share the truth?
    • Our objective should not be to convince them on the spot with eloquence or rhetoric, but to plant the seed. We're not going to change anybody, but if we plant the seed, God's word will change them.
    • Getting people to face the wrath of God may not be in your place; we can press an issue with someone out of love, but we shouldn't badger them.