April 2020…questions

Day 3

And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” Genesis 10:4

What are you doing these days? It’s April 3, 2020. Not much? Watching Netflix, YouTube, Hulu…staying busy on Facebook, Instagram, whatever, posting your home based activity during this time of “quarantine?”

Isn’t it interesting, the use of those Social Media platforms has been driving the world the last 30 years, and these are dependent on people being outdoors, at the Mall, in a restaurant, at a gathering for a party (birthday, wedding, debut, etc…), a wake, and whatever reason we may come up with to gather, and then “post” it in social media. But now, our movement is limited and confined. Nothing to post (announce about ourselves). In less than a month, we have all had to exercise social distancing (an answered prayer for some), all for our good and of others.

In a way, we’ve been “forced” to examine ourselves and how we relate to one another. Whether it is with a person you’re at home with (wife, husband, children, father, mother, etc…) and even with those people we have not seen in the last three weeks.

Like the rest of the world, because of the Novel Corona virus, Covid-19, Wuhan virus, CCP virus and so on, we find ourselves on the precipice of examining our mortality and that of others. Even with that, we are adding to our vocabulary using the latest buzzword phrases like social distancing, self-quarantine, PPE or personal protective equipment, pandemic, flu-like, influenza, WHO, CDC, and many more. Our usage of these tells everyone that “I am still relevant.”

We all are affected by this virus (directly and indirectly), “All means all and that’s all that all means”. The dictionary gives us 4 definitions for virus:

1. an ultramicroscopic metabolically inert, infectious agent that replicates…
2. a viral disease
3. a corrupting influence on morals or the intellect
4. a segment of self-replicating code planted illegally in a computer program, often to damage or shut down a system or network.

Do any of these look familiar? Are you like me asking the question, “What’s all the excitement about? How is this different from H1N1, SARS, MERS and other viruses in the past?” In the Bible, we are warned that in the last days, perilous times will come? We have been in the last days for two millennia, we are in part, experiencing those perilous times.

What is it people are asking? What are you asking? Are these some of them:

What is this virus, this Covid-19?
Where is the vaccine or cure?
How are the people infected by this virus going to be healed? And we don’t want to wait, we want it now;
Who is responsible and whom shall we blame? The World Health Organization? Communist China? Science? The bat, the pangolin? For some, they will dare blame God; the government;
Why should I follow what they say?; why is this happening?
When did they develop the virus and when will this end?

Yes many questions. In time, the answers will be revealed…Hold fast, keep the faith.

In the meantime, allow me to share these observations we can be thankful for since Covid-19 reached the world:

– Less noise, silence in the streets, in our neighborhood
– The skies are blue all the time.
– Less dust.
– Less smog, less cars driving around.
– More clean air.
– Families are staying home, just like 50+ years ago.
– Books on the shelves are being read.
– The wind feels fresh and clean
– earth is given time to heal from man-made pollutants
– There are no crowds.

The bible tells us, “All we like sheep have gone astray…every one to his own way…As I live, says the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live…the thing is…There is none righteous, no, not one…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of GodFor God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting lifethat the world through Him might be savedthat Christ died for our sins according to Scriptures…He was buried…rose again the third day according to Scriptures…For scriptures say, Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame…For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Exekiel 33:11a; Isaiah 53; John 3:16; Romans 3:10, 10:11,13; 1Corinthians 15:3,4

Actually, it all began when man was asked a question, “Did God actually say?” which was followed by, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower…and let us make name for ourselves…” Ever since those days, we have been questioning God and building and making a name for ourselves. We have this need to glorify ourselves, it is what one teacher refers to as the “resident evil.” It has been and is always there. This was the first virus (definition 3)!

When man answered the question, Did God…the consequences have become part of the human psyche (definition 4). But God already put in place the antidote for this virus, the reality of the Gospel!

Fortify Palawan…and beyond!

Draw your water for the siege!

Fortify your strongholds!

Go into the clay and tread the mortar!

Make strong the brick kiln!

Nahum 3:14

A message for God’s workers regardless of the position, from pastors, teachers, deacons, administration, missionaries, musicians, etcetera…this evening as Rod led the 2020 Fortify – Narra, Palawan team in a time of prayer, the Holy Spirit brought me to this verse. My initial thought was that I would speak this singular verse to the team. But I could not muster myself, to get up, and by the time I did, it was too late, P Rod had begun the last minute reminders for the team for the next two days, had I missed my moment?02/25/2020

Yet the Lord allowed this verse to stay with, He wanted me to consider the truth encapsulated in this word in scripture. At first, the word ‘fortify’ stood out as it is the theme of Cross Culture’s missions ministry. I searched and found the word six times (NKJV). In a way, it reminded me of the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25.

Though this part in Nahum was a warning for the Assyrians in Nineveh to ‘prepare’ for the siege expected from the Lord, it may very well be a warning likewise for the body of Jesus Christ, His church against the apostasy that was, is, is to come.

Breaking it down, thus the Lord’s revelation to me:

The siege is the Field God’s workers scatter seeds on; plow in; and reap from. It is a picture of the battle the missionary faces, which is all part of the ‘job description.’ Paul gives Timothy the reminder that he is like a soldier, enlisted by the Lord, there are dangers from without and within the church. Hosea 10:12 spoke of fallow ground as does Christ when He gave us the parable of the sower of the four kinds of soil.

The water we get to draw from is that which is given by the Holy Spirit… ‘out of him will flow rivers of Living Water’ (John 4:14; 7:37,38) The battle begins by drawing water, so we are not weakened/dehydrated/thirsty spiritually, we are called to ask Him to fill us with His water to allow us to stand fast against the onslaught perpetrated by the enemy (Ephesians 6:13-20). Therefore, be filled with His Word, being in prayer in the Word.

Fortify strongholds…the church…the body of Christ…in the ESV, strengthen your forts…the congregation, the assembly of believers. The call is to not neglect coming together so that we get to build each other up in the Word in word and in deed.

The Bible is full of warnings/reminders against apostasy, Paul spoke of it, Jude was passionate warning the church of certain men who creep in; the old testament reminded the nation of Israel through Moses, Joshua, Samuel, Elijah, and the prophets…don’t go far from the Lord!

Go into the clay…(the people that make up the church, teach the Word wholly) strengthen it, tread…clay needs to be molded according to the Potter, mortar is “a mixture of lime with cement, sand, and water, used in building to bond bricks or stones.”

Jeremiah 18:6; Isaiah 64:8, spoke of the clay being in the Potters hand; then in the NT, Paul reminds us that we are God’s workmanship created unto good works…Ephesians 2:10…which is why his call to us in Romans 12:1,2 being able to present ourselves, a living sacrifice, not because of us but because of Him Who called us.

Make strong… as we go through the siege, the Lord Jesus tells us that in this world, we will have tribulation…but we are to strengthen one another because He has overcome the world… we are to encourage one another…1Thess 5:11; Hebrews 12:12; 1Peter 5:10; Revelation 3:2 we are called to fortify each other and ourselves…in the Word, in prayer asking as we ought…2 Timothy 3:16,17

The picture we have is that of man who is made of clay is strengthened by the three-fold elements of water, straw, and baking through heat under the sun.

This is the church of Jesus Christ being built up, Peter uses an Old Testament reference of being living stones; the other is that the Lord is molding us to the image of His Son (Jeremiah 18:4; Romans 8:29, 9:21)that is done by those three elements mentioned in this last paragraph…a picture of the Triune Godhead working on a vessel honoring God, God’s masterpiece(Poiema)… are you surrendered?

Is the Potter having His way in you?

Are you being…?

Run with us…Spring 2020

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishabledo not run aimlesslydo not box as one beating the air…But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV

Your PDF copy here…

Spring 2020

“The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd.” Ecclesiastes 12:11

Are the heart of your eyes ready for God’s revelation of Himself through His Word?

These are the books of the Bible, and other courses offered in our Spring 2020 Off-Site Semester.

MATTHEW NT351 – 3 CREDITS*
The Gospel of Matthew presents Jesus as the long awaited King of the Jews. This class is an exegetical study of the gospel with emphasis on the authorship, context and content as written by Matthew. Discover why Matthew wrote his account, it is a defense for an early authorship of the book, and what the political, historical and cultural world of Jesus in the first century was that affected the writing of Matthew.
As students of scripture, you shall also examine how the gospel of Matthew fits in and compliments the rest of the Bible.

JOHN NT354 – 3 CREDITS*
The class aims to bring transformation to the student through a verse-by-verse study of John’s gospel; it is designed to bring an exegetical understanding leading to a Christ-focused passion through the text, for His glory. The book is recognized as the unique fourth gospel that gives us a unique portrait of Jesus Christ like no other book of the Bible.

ECCLESIASTES OT330 – 2 CREDITS
The course is a verse-by-verse exposition of the book of Ecclesiastes. Attention is placed on helping the student understand the book’s place in the canon of Scripture, authorship, ethical issues revolving around the meaning and actions of life, solutions to problem passages, and discovering and applying God’s greatest good to our lives.

I & II SAMUEL (Life of David) OT372 – 2 CREDITS
I & II Samuel gives an in-depth look into a time period in the nation of Israel when they moved from being a nation that had God as their king, to a nation that would be ruled by a man. These historic books give us a clear view of three individuals who played a major part in the history of the nation, King Saul, King David and the prophet Samuel.

You will learn much about God and the type of person that He chooses to work through from both the triumphs and the tragedies of these three men who helped shape the course of a nation and history.

ISAIAH OT332 – 2 CREDITS
The goal of this class is to deepen the student’s relationship with Christ while gaining an academic and devotional understanding of the book of Isaiah. Becoming familiar with the form and structure of the book, as well as its basic theology, purpose, authorship, and various historical accounts related to Isaiah. Though Isaiah relates God’s judgment upon those who reject Him, some of the most beautiful and profound prophecies of Messiah are found in this powerful book. This is a chapter- by-chapter, expositional study.

CULTS & WORLD RELIGIONS TH387 – 2 CREDITS
This class is a study of cults and world religions. As a class, we will first study the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, and then dive into the study of many religions and cults. With the goal being that of pointing out the differences between those belief systems with the divinely inspired scripture of the Bible.
The development and history associated with cults and other world religions, and how to share the truth with the spiritually lost people following these will also be studied.

BASIC ENGLISH ENGL101
This class shall provide students with the basics of English grammar, syntax, and composition using foundations that prepare you to communicate God’s revelation in writing, in a cohesive and understable manner. In this course, students will alsolearn and practice the strategies and processes that successful writers employ as they work to accomplish specific purposes.

These purposes include comprehension, instruction, persuasion, investigation, problem- resolution, evaluation, explanation, refutation and proper citation. In addition to preparing students for academic communication, this class prepares students to use writing to realize personal, professional, and ministry goals.

MARRIAGE TALKS CL335 – 2 CREDITS
This class is a time of fellowship for couples and singles where subjects concerning the marriage relationship are discussed. Allowing scripture reveal how a Christ-centered marriage is foremost in a covenantal union between a man and a woman.

Click here for enrollment.

2020…How’s your eyesight?


How’s your eyesight?

“…that our hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. ”
Colossians 2:2,3

It is 2020. The New Year’s message on the first Sunday of January from our Sta Rosa home church was based on Proverbs 16:3 and 9, relating to making plans for this 2020. It is good practice. We ought to submit/commit our plans for each day and the future, big or small, to God. It is He Who establishes (superintends) our steps. It begins with examining our vision of God and who He really is to us.

It is in surrendering ourselves according to His abounding mercy, grace, and will that the plans we commit are established in the heavenlies. The Lord does what He does all to His glory and the question is, do we plan and do these things for His glory?

This brings us to the question, how’s your eyesight? “20/20 vision, as most believe is synonymous to perfect vision. Yet it is just a measure of eyesight. It does not at all mean perfect vision. You may be able to focus your vision at 20 feet, but still lack the ability to see five feet in front of you.
(Hence the need for Opthalmologist and Optometrist care)

For spiritual eyes, the Lord gives us His Word, the Bible. Note the reminder on the description for 20/20, paraphrased it says”…you may see from afar, but up close, you couldn’t see a cobra if it were in front of you…” Such is the life of a Christian. I can say easily, “Oh, I can see …” but, what do I really see? Often, we only see what we want to see. Truth is, if I’m not personally invested in that person, I really don’t know him/her, do I?

It is the same when we say we know Jesus Christ. I can say for my part, that historically, I knew Him from a distance based on what other people said of Him. I was not intimate with Him, I knew of Him, not really knew Him. Paul in 1Corinthians 13 tells us that, “For now we see in a mirror dimly…“, that was where I was, all things Jesus Christ did was all I saw (dimly), I did not see Him personally…”but then face to face…” Is when He took hold of me, face to face with Him, when He opened my Spiritual eyes…”Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” I am getting to know Jesus Christ daily, more and more… all because of His goodness.

This is a reminder for me, for you, for us this 2020, let the Word of God examine our spiritual eyesight. We are called to examine ourselves, to test ourselves that we may continue daily in Him. In Genesis, the eyes play a part in the fall of man (Genesis 3:5-7), but God…the eyes also play a big part in man’s realization of his need to be redeemed (Luke 10:23,24)

In the first letter of John, the Lord tells us. “all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life is not from the Father but is from the world.” In the middle of the verse, the eyes are seen being between “the desires of the flesh” and “pride of life“. His exhortation, “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

Thus we are to be sober minded in all things, to be watchful, to keep ourselves unstained from the world. The Lord exercises His sovereign will not with punity or malice in thought as some have believed, He is the loving God, consistent with His attributes. This is a truth we ought to realize sooner than later, it begins by allowing God’s Word to examine our eyesight.

That leads us to the question, do we see ourselves through the lens of men, or of God‘s? Most importantly, on whom do you have your eyes fixed on this year… and every year? The world? or God?

“Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the LORD!”

Lamentations 3:40; 2Tim 4:5; 1John 2:16; James 1:27; 1Peter 1:13, 4:7, 5:8

Click on select verse links to take you to Blueletter Bible

Tuguegarao 2020 Vision

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3

These are the classes being offered in January to April 2020 in the Cagayan Valley. Review the classes listed below, read the description; pray, commit your heart to the Lord, surrender to Him anything that may present itself a hindrance in your desire to please Him; complete the enrollment form below, follow the instructions and email it. You do your part (obey), put your trust in Him.

Tuguegarao 2020

HERMENEUTICS/INDUCTIVE BIBLE STUDY(2 CREDITS)
Hermeneutics is the study of the system of rules, principles and methods applied during interpretation and explanation. It is considered to be the art of exegesis and translation.

This class is designed to instruct students in the foundational principles and practices of Bible interpretation, providing a framework with which to view all Scripture. The inductive method of Bible study will be taught with attention paid to the various features of a text that contribute to the interpretative process.
Special emphasis will be given to the role of biblical inerrancy, inspiration, objective meaning, problems in Hermeneutics, and the nature of Scripture itself.

ACTS (3 CREDITS)*
The class studies the book of Acts exegetically. Attention is given to biblical principles exercised by the early church and how those same principles apply today. Importantly, emphasis is given to the role the Holy Spirit has in the building up of the Body of Christ. Students are encouraged to use Acts as an example on how to cultivate a Spirit-led and mission-driven relationship in the Lord.

ROMANS (3 CREDITS)*
The class is a verse-by-verse study of the book of Romans, a book regarded as the most systematic presentation of the doctrine of salvation in the Bible. Students will look carefully at how the saving life of Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, does transform lives.

EPHESIANS (2 CREDITS)
The objective in this class is to give a student a thorough working knowledge on the book of Ephesians, one of the prison epistles. A student will study the book verse-by-verse, which includes major doctrines presented by Paul. Students will see a glorious picture of Christ, the Head, and His Body, the Church.

COLOSSIANS (2 CREDITS)
This class is an exegetical study on the book of Colossians. Attention is given to the Lord Jesus Christ, the central theme of the book. Students will consider His majesty, pre-eminence, authority, sufficiency, and fullness that we might grow in faith concerning how to walk in His provisions for abundance of life! With the verse-by-verse study, you will have the opportunity to extensively correlate passages from other portions of Scripture.

I CORINTHIANS (2 CREDITS)
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul demonstrates how the Gospel relates, redeems, and transforms culture. Paul addresses numerous topics such as schism, sexual immorality, marriage, singleness, idolatry, and disorder in public worship to name just a few. 1Corinthians shows that sanctification comes by faith in Christ alone.

II CORINTHIANS (2 CREDITS)
The purpose in this class is to study the history, context, and theology of Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church. Paul wrote this letter to dispute false teachers and build up his readers. Emphasis is placed on the basic hermeneutical principles of observation, interpretation, correlation, and application. As a student, you can expect to gain an appreciation of Paul’s painful autobiography.

OT372 I & II SAMUEL / LIFE OF DAVID (2 CREDITS)
I & II Samuel is an in-depth look into a time period in the nation of Israel when they moved from being a nation that had God as their king, to a nation that would be ruled by a man. These two historic books of the Bible give us a clear view of three individuals who played a major part in the history of the nation, King Saul, King David and the prophet Samuel.

You will learn much about God and the type of person He chooses to work through from both the triumphs and the tragedies of these three men who helped shape the course of a nation and history.

JOHN (3 CREDITS)*
This course hopes to bring transformation to the student through a verse-by-verse study of John’s gospel; it is designed to impart exegetical understanding leading to a Christ-focused passion through the text, for His glory. The book is recognized as the unique fourth gospel that offers a portrait of Jesus Christ like no other book of the Bible.

CHURCH HISTORY (2 CREDITS)
This course is designed as an overview of the major events, movements, doctrines, and people associated with the growth of the Christian church from the apostolic era until the present. Consideration is given to the Church’s doctrine and practice, and how we can learn from past generations of Christians.

CHRISTIAN LIVING (2 CREDITS)
This is a unique course designed to introduce students to the committed Christian life and all of its practical aspects. Attention is given to understanding and applying the Bible, prayer and fasting, growing in grace, marriage and relationships, and special topics related to the Christian life.

REVELATION (3 CREDITS)*
The Book of Revelation is a prophetic work of great importance. In this class, the Book of Revelation will be taught exegetically in order to help students achieve a clear understanding of its teaching regarding Jesus Christ, the Church, and the future.

New Student, click here.

Returning Student, click here.