12 March 2014 by Adeline Lum CM –
Pr Ray-An Fuentes came as a preacher and gospel singer to the Mustard Seed Company on 9th March, welcomed by Pr Dr Nicholas Wu.
A multi-awarded singer, dancer, and songwriter born in the Philippines, Pr Ray-An left the showbiz 26 years ago for God’s business. He was the lead performer for many Philippines Broadway Musical Adaptations including The Wiz, Cats, Evita, and Jesus Christ Superstar. But in year 1988, he encountered the Spirit of God in such a powerful way that he turned from entertainer to minister.
In Mustard Seed Company that morning, Pr Ray-An spoke about a journey he had personally undertaken from his years of following God—‘The Kingdom Agenda: The Key to a Worry-Free Life’ based on Matthew 6:19:34.
What is the one thing that you’re most worried of now? Pr Ray-An shared that worrying is such a natural part of our lives that Jesus mentioned about the idea of worrying six times in Matthew 6 (from verse 25).
But Pr Ray shared that worry is not God’s agenda for us. While life will always have problems and troubles, we can have a worry-free life because God will take care of you. Why would He not when He has purchased you with such a high price, which is the blood of His Son Jesus Christ? The Bible says also that He who starts a good work in you will be faithful to complete it (Phil 1:6). That is why He says that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Rev 21:6). Because He sees the beginning and the end, Pr Ray-An shared that He also knows what will happen in between. Hence, God has an Agenda or Plan for all of us! And our job is to rest in His Agenda.
The key in resting in His Agenda, shared Pr Ray-An, is found in Matthew 6:33, which says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Expounding further, Pr Ray shared that the key word to focus in this verse is ‘kingdom.’ Hence, what is the Kingdom of Good?
The Kingdom of God is a form of government, whereby God is the head of the government. It is not a democracy, which takes everyone’s opinion and thoughts into consideration for authority. But it is a monarchy, which only takes the king’s opinions and thoughts as the source of power and authority. Likewise, in the Kingdom of God, only God holds all power and authority (Matt 28:18). That is why the Psalmist also proclaimed that the earth, the world, everything in it, and all who live in it are the Lord’s (Psalm 21:1-4). Another psalmist also proclaimed, “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens… Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.” (Psalm 119:89;91)
Secondly, like any form of government, a kingdom has its territory and form of governance. Where is God’s Kingdom found? Jesus says, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21 KJV) In other words, the Kingdom of God is not tangible because it lies within us. And if we are His Kingdom, what God wants is to govern every ‘territory’ or area in our lives, including all our problems and troubles! If we allow complete governance in our lives; He promised in His Word that He will take care of all our needs (Matt 6:33).
Thirdly, every form of government operates with a system of governance. The Kingdom of God operates according to His Ways and His Thoughts, which are higher than our ways and our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). How do we know that? Pr Ray-An shared that God’s ways are often counterintuitive with our natural ways. For example, while we would naturally hate our enemies, we are called to love our enemies instead (Matt 5:44). While the world teaches us to ‘see before we believe’, the Kingdom of God teaches us to ‘believe before we see’. That is why we are called to live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7).
And the best thing is God has freely revealed how his government operates through His Word. Heb 4:12 says that God’s Word is active and alive, sharper than any double-edged sword. Why is it alive? The Word is alive because it is full of Spirit and life! (John 6:63) What this means is that God’s Word is powerful and works hand-in-hand with the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit to help us live according to His Kingdom.
Hence, this morning, Pr Ray-An shared with the congregation the rich meaning behind Matthew 6:19-34—how he found the keys to a worry-free life by applying what he learned into his life, reminded and guided by the Spirit. Specifically, there are three critical areas of worrying revealed by this passage.
The first critical area of worrying is the providence of basic necessity, as in food, drink, and clothes (Matt 6:25-26). How many of us are worried about whether we would be able to pay the bills for the basic necessities in our lives—water bill, electric bill, gas, mobile phone bill, and rental price? Yet, God says do not worry about these needs because He will provide everything we need. Do you believe He will take care of your needs when we operate in His Kingdom?
But God is good! Pr Ray-An shared because God knew how quick our heart would sway into worrying and being afraid of the future, He provided us tangible and visible examples of God’s faithful providence, i.e. birds, flowers, and grasses. Hence, if God faithfully feeds the birds of the air that neither have a ‘savings account’ nor ‘investment plan’, will He not supply our need every day? (Matt 6:26) And if God faithfully clothes the flowers and grasses of the fields that are disposable, will He not faithfully provide for us who are valuable and irreplaceable? (Matt 6:30) We are valuable because we are created in the image of God!
The second critical area of worrying is the amount of treasures we can accumulate on earth—whether achievements, medals, collectibles, honorary titles, etc—basically elements or things we consider valuable in pursuing. But Jesus says:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6:19-21)
The word ‘on’ depicts something that can be found outside and is visible to people, while ‘in’ depicts something internal and invisible to people, shared Pr Ray-An. How many of us gather treasures to boost our external appearance in terms of self-reputation and fame? Although a good reputation comes with following God (Prov 3:4), the medals we get and the statues we set up for ourselves will soon be forgotten by the coming generations. What lasts for eternity beyond this lifetime is the treasures we store for ourselves in heaven.
The gospel is not against money, although the Word did say the root of evil is the love for money (1 Tim 6:10). But God is concerned when money is becomes our god! That is why out of all elements Jesus can choose, He chose to place God and money side-by-side (Matt 6:24), knowing that many people would treat money as their treasure, even their god; thus, this is the third critical element. He that if our treasure is money, then our heart will be in pursuing money as well, because ‘where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’
But such is the paradox of the ways of God’s Kingdom and the ways of this world. King Solomon wrote ‘whoever loves money never has enough, whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.’ (Ecc 5:10) But if your treasure is in the Kingdom of God, whereby you are passionate about what God is passionate about, He promised you that He will give you everything you need and you will be satisfied in Him. The psalmist testified to this by saying, “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.” (Psalm 34:10). In giving everything to God, you gain everything in Christ! All good and perfect gifts come from God. (James 1:17) Even the wealth He brings is good; proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, without painful toil for it.”
Pr Ray-An attested to God’s faithful providence 26 years ago when he pulled out from the showbiz in faith, without an education or business plans to fall back on. Some of his showbiz friends even made a bet that he would return to showbiz after six months of quitting. But Ray-An did not and till today, he has not regretted the day he left showbiz to full-time ministry because the Lord has provided every of his need!
Although his income is irregular, the Lord has sent him all over the world to minister and to sing. And out of all countries, He has led Pr Ray-An and his wife to a country of high-living standards, Canada. He learned that God later sent him there because they had no one to depend on. Hence, they could only depend on God. There, The Lord miraculously provided them a house, with the approval of bank loans although they did not have credit or banking history.
When God Ran- Written by Benny Hester and Sang by Pr Ray-An Fuentes
Today, Pr Ray-An understood the economy of God’s Kingdom of ‘freely one receives, freely one gives.’ (Matt 10:8) The more he gave, the more he received. He understood that God blessed him financially is not to raise his standard of living, but to raise his standard of giving. The couple has supported six ministries, two of whom they are supporting regularly.
In closing, Pr Ray-An shared that when we ‘seek first’ or prioritize the Kingdom of God or following His Ways in every area of our life, know that God will provide you everything you need. Because the Kingdom lies within you, He will take care of all areas of your life including your problems and troubles. Thus, the key to a worry-free life is really, seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be added to you. (Matt 6:33)
Note by Author: All bible verses are taken from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise stated. This article has been written and adapted from the writer’s perspective, with the permission of Pr Ray-An Fuentes.
ABOUT Mustard Seed Company (MSC) Pioneered by Dr Nicholas Wu on October 2009, MSC is purposefully planted at the heart of Petaling Jaya, to influence this city with a vision to be an apostolic and prophetic church. They believe in moving organically in the Spirit, akin to the New Testament church movement. Currently, there are 70 adults and 10 children members worshipping in this church.
WHY ‘Mustard Seed Company’? Mustard seed was named based on the Bible, with reference to faith like a mustard seed (Luke 17:6) and the Kingdom of God being like a mustard seed (Matt 13:31). They called themselves a ‘company’ because they are a company of believers in their Father’s Kingdom Business.
Visit them during their services times, which are Sundays (9-10 AM and 10:30-12 PM) and Wednesdays (8-9 PM). The location address is 73-2 & 75-2 1st floor, Jalan SS23/15 Taman SEA, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia.
References for pictures