“And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure,
for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth.”
In our theme verse, 1Peter 3:15, 16, the students of MFHBC learned and dug for gold nuggets of truth what it means to “sanctify” or “honor” Christ the Lord as holy. Looking back on our rear view mirror, it is as important as keeping our eyes ahead to 2018.
The goal that every man/woman be presented complete in Christ (Colossians 1:28) Here at “My Father’s House“, God continues to do the work He promised we (that includes you)get to be a part of. The fall of 2017 saw us planted in the heart of the city of Silang, about 10 kilometers away from Tagaytay, we came alongside Kingdom Ministries to pass on how to mine God’s truth to group leaders.
When classes began on September 5, the room was filled to capacity. The excitement of something new proved too much to resist for these men and women. They flocked to this “old” new thing, studying the Word of God as He intended for all. The sense of joyous expectancy were with these students, coming to learn NT Greek, Inductive Bible Study, Theology, and the Gospel of Luke. They shot off from the gates like a rocket…and then…the truth of the parable of the Sower soon was manifest over the coming weeks, beginning in mid October leading to December. Keep praying with us for these (Jude 20-24).
Glory and praise belongs to the Lord in all that has been accomplished in Fall 2017. The prayer of the Lord in you are being realized in this area of ministry here with us in the Philippines, such as:
1. The Lord opening the offsite teaching ministration at Kingdom Ministries in Silang.
2. The continuing partnership with the Rock of Refuge Christian Church testifies to the unique relationship that exist amongst God’s children without focusing on the “brand.” They are co-workers to the BJMP inmates in Biñan, Laguna, and together we all have been blessed by many fruits of salvation.
3. Then there is the women’s Bible fellowship, Joyful Ruthies faithfully come together. Praise God for all that He has done, is doing, and will continue to do.
Towards the start of December, Pastor Ren Sabio, one whom God has used in our lives, visited us along with his niece and parents,”Pops” and Mom. Every year since we’ve been here, God is faithful to press us forward through visits from the church, His body, through folks like you, and this year the Sabios.
Not only that, MFHBC hosted aspiring film maker Melissa, her cast Janine, Jude, TJ and Kevin for the weekend before Christmas. The Indie film titled “Enough” in English will be entered in 2018’s Cine Malaya Film Festival at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
* For the next place of God for us. Pray with us for the right place in wisdom, that His will be done on the where and when, that the how be manifest by Him (Hebrews 11:10).
* For the coming Off Site Spring 2018 semester; for current and future students to be wholehearted and steadfast in their trust and dependence upon Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith. Pray for churches to be single minded towards Christ, that we all come united in His Body being the Bride until He returns. Jude 20-24
* Pray For the BJMP prison ministry; for the inmates and the officers who are hearing the Gospel, to be transformed as they hear and believe and make confession with their mouth Christ Jesus in their lives. Romans 10:10
* Pray For our ministry partners, Rock of Refuge Christian Church(RRCC) and Kingdom Ministries of Silang (KMS), their pastors and leaders in training to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. 2Peter 3:17
* Pray For the Ladies of Joyful Ruthies Women’s Bible Study that by their model, other women(young and old) will know Christ in the teaching of His Word, and in their actions win many to Jesus. Titus 2:3,4
* Pray the Philippines be transformed by the Word of God. For us not to be weary in this field of dreams and to keep on being joyful in His strength as we continue to sow in the fallow grounds. Hosea 10:12
The midpoint of 2017’s third quarter is upon us with summer winding down. In many parts, it means harvest time is near. What does the harvest mean for us? In yesterday’s reading in John 4:34-38, what ought to grab our attention is Jesus Christ’s statement in verse 35, He commanded the disciples, He commands us, “Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”
Someone has already been used to spread the seed of the Gospel, it is God who makes it grow. Our part is to participate in His harvest, whatever the season. We ourselves are answers by someone else’s prayer to the Lord of the harvest, cool huh?
In just over a month, the seventh semester at My Father’s House begins. It would have been the eighth but we took leave in the Fall 2016 as part of my recovery from the heart operation the Lord deemed necessary. So here we are, preparing for the new season as we lift up our eyes that we may see what Jesus saw that afternoon in Sychar, “…the fields are white for harvest.”
You have been a part in this work God has wrought us through. In four years, we have not been in lack for any good thing. The Lord shows Himself a just Employer through His body, the church. What we may view as hindrances, bumps or bruises, these are interruptions that Jesus Christ be glorified in our lives. It has once been said, “All we get to do is be a spectator and sit back, relax and behold God work.” Exodus 14:13
Unless we make the time to listen and lift our eyes to see Him, we will miss out, not only the opportunity to be used by God, but to witness God work through us.
There is much to be done, keep praying the Lord for the people of the Philippines, for the city of Tagaytay and beyond. The fallow ground has been sown with seed meant to bear not the fruit of the Spirit, but of the flesh. Pray that we may be quick and willing to lift up Jesus Christ by the teaching of His commands. (Matthew 28:20)
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.” Revelation 3:7
Speaking of fruit, here is what the Lord continues to do:
1) The Rock of Refuge Christian fellowship came alongside us last year while I was recovering from my operation. They joyfully took on the mantle in ministering to the inmates of BJMP (Bureau of Jail and Penology) in Biñan. This includes fortnight teaching of the Word of God.
Four years ago the Lord opened the door at BJMP. What was at that time a mere 20′ x 20′ enclosure (with a population of 100 or something with no ventilation)has been transformed as of this writing. The size of the jail facility has multiplied 5 times the previous size in order to accommodate the more than 600 men and some women(and still growing). Three tiered bunks have been constructed and still some sleep on the floor.
The other piece of good news is that the facility now has an exhaust system that brings in fresh cool air and pushes out the old, stale air. Praise the Lord indeed. “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them…” Hebrews 13:3
2) Joyful Ruthies is a women’s bible study fellowship meeting twice a month. Nenita is used by the Lord to facilitate the study. The women’s fellowship includes Grace, Lani, Lei, Marg, Fae, Espie and Garet.
The ladies are now in the 4th chapter of Ephesians. The fellowship gave Lani a baby shower, her first child. “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” Titus 2:1
3) We look forward to receiving more students this coming Fall as He directs us. Opportunities abound in the areas of ministry outreach and church partnerships.
Consider that an outreach to a small town in Bagac, Mariveles in Bataan which is part of Central Luzon be had. Mariveles happens to be the starting point of the Bataan Death March. We had the opportunity to share the Gospel to a family and many more awaiting our return.
In that same town, an Aeta community exists. These Aeta is one of many indigenous groups in the Philippines considered still a minority. Pray for an outreach to this town in Bagac, that we get to minister the word of God.
As it relates to church partnerships, there is opportunity up in Baguio, Benguet in Northern Luzon. This would be to come alongside the pastor in teaching on Saturday’s.
We have a desire to go and help, yet there is pause because of the logistics. The distance is far from Tagaytay. Baguio, the summer capital of the Philippines, is almost 200 miles away with a travel time ranging anywhere from 6-9 hours away from Tagaytay.
What we get to do for now is pray the Lord for these places, in Mariveles for the family and the Aeta’s; and for the church in Baguio, both places in need of workers.
It was true then, it still is true today, laborers are few…thank you for your love in prayer and joy in giving to the Lord for His work through us.
“Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
The Spring Semester is in full swing with three students, Cathy, Marge, and Ryan. It is always an exciting time each season to behold the beauty of God’s work here in Tagaytay…considering…
“kon-sid´ẽr: In the New Testament the force of the word is brought out most vividly in Mat_6:26 (καταμανθάνω, katamanthánō), where it means to “examine closely,” as though the observer had to bend down for this purpose, and in Luk_12:27; Heb_10:24 (katanoéō, to “observe well”), while in Heb_13:7 the anatheōréō, “look up toward” or “look again at” is consistent with the reverential regard commended in the context. Used in the Old Testament for a variety of Hebrew terms, signifying inspecting (Proverbs 31:16), examining (Leviticus 13:13), giving serious thoughts to (Isaiah 1:3), it often means little more than “see” or “behold” (Psalm 8:3).” (ISBE)
There are many things to consider if we took the time to the reality of the days we are living in. Classes offered this semester include Inductive Bible Study (IBS), Theology, the books of Jeremiah / Lamentations and 1 & 2 Peter / Jude. It would seem like a random selection, but it is not. IBS is learning how to study the Bible on your own, unearthing the treasures found in the word of God; Theology has been defined to which I agree by Ryrie as “…the discovery, systematizing, and presentation of the truths about God.” These two subjects tackle the source of God’s revelation of Himself, in His Word, the Bible.
In the gospels, Jesus said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you.” Having said that…consider this…The west has veered way much to the left than the right over the last century, but has only manifested itself the last 40 years and gotten “worser and worser,” it has crept in slowly into the fabric of society. Especially since the media continue to coddle the likes of Soros, Obama, Reid who continue to spew their venomous seeds of hate, not only affecting the United States, but even to other parts of the world, including the Philippines own(DV, 3Lanes).
The book of Jeremiah and 1Peter were issued in times similar to the one we find ourselves in today, they each serve both as a warning and an encouragement. It is as Jesus said it would be, “…many false prophets will arise and lead many astray…and because lawlessness (anarachy) will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”
Jeremiah was chosen by God to point the people back to the Word of God, to return “Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness…Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to return.” Jeremiah 3:22a & 8:5; and then Peter reminds his readers, which includes us, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1Peter 1:13-16.
This is a reality we face daily in that the Bible is being criminalized. During the time of Jeremiah, people didn’t want to hear God’s word, they wanted things that tingled their ears, make them feel good about themselves and put their lives in peril by not heeding God; then, during the days of Peter, persecution was the norm, people were faced with life or death if they confessed Jesus Christ as Lord. We Christians have been given the blessed opportunity to imitate these servants of God as they imitate the Lord Jesus Christ walking in obedience, which is where it all begins, doesn’t it?
This year will be no different, we get to press on and consider the work of God in our lives and in those around us, pressing on to His upward call. Come, join us in praise and prayer!
The Inductive Bible Study class in session includes Marge, Cathy, and Ryan. Marge and Cathy are holdovers from the “Joyful Ruthies” Women’s Bible study group Nenita started last year after my operation. One of the ladies we were expecting to join us, Lani, is not able at this time, she is pregnant with her first child. Rejoicing and praise all around indeed, keep lifting up those holy hands. Ryan is from Guilhulngan in Central Visayas, he is ea scholar via an anonymous husband and wife team from SoCal, praise the Lord.
Also, you know that we have been at our location for four years and finally last Sunday we had a Bible Fellowship with our neighbors going through Psalm 1. Be in prayer for those who joined us: Dianne and her two children, Daniela and Jinella, Lito, Imong and Ryan, God’s scholar from Negros.
At the writing of this letter, welcome the arrival of our ninth grand-child in Grande Prairie in Alberta, Canada, Jeremiah, all 7.10 pounds, 21 inches of him. God bless you Roda, great going! With the two men in her life, her newborn child and her Raymund, our son.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…”
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Family and Friends! In the Philippines and the U.S.A.
2017 is here, not a moment too soon. Just as scheduled…you know, 2017 usually comes after 2016, followed later by 2018.
Many of us have begun to list down our “New Years’ resolutions.” What are yours? As you decide to read on you may just be inspired to add the “Word of God” to your “resolution’s list.” What is yours for 2017? Do you have the resolve to follow through with it? I’d like to believe that I’m able to do better next year, but I still need help.
In Luke 4:18, 19, the Lord Jesus Christ made clear His objective and the means He would accomplish it, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Did you get that first part? He tells us the source of His power, “The Spirit….,” …then He enumerates what He is set out to do. Interestingly, in the same book of Luke, He says to several men, “Follow Me!” (5:27, 9:23, 59). When Jesus repeats a statement like “Follow Me!” It must be important.
When He invites me to follow Him, what are my expectations? Many of us expect our greatest wishes, desires to be met by God. Actually dear friend, He invites you, invites me to follow Him and all the benefits that come in doing so…
What does it mean to follow Jesus Christ? The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” Paul knew the law inside and out, but it wasn’t until he came face to face with the risen Christ, that the reality of what he knew, was now a reality within his reach, a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.
It is important not to just have head knowledge, but, like Paul, we can have a personal relationship with God. Like Jesus, Paul tells us to “Imitate…”, and it all begins with reading His Word everyday.
Dear reader, whether you are a first time visitor here or a long time reader, I’ll pose the question to you, how much time do you spend time reading your Bible? What has God revealed to you through His Word to you today? Not yesterday, or a few months back, just today.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” As a disciple of Jesus Christ, one must have that determined mind-set to follow Him. Jesus speaks of the cost of following Him in Luke 14:26-33, read it.
Resolve is defined as:
1. to decide or determine firmly; 2. to express an opinion formally, one agreed by a vote; 3. to separate or cause to separate; 4. to change, alter, or appear to change or alter; 5. to make up the mind of; cause to decide; 6. to find the answer or solution to
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From Jackson Sia
The sky was dark and gloomy as we drove to Biñan for the prison Bible Study. We were praying that the weather would cooperate. By God’s grace, the downpour did not occur until we reached our destination. Praise the Lord! God is in control. I was really blessed by His providence.
Prior to the study, we handed out gospel tracts to the visitors already there. We had a short chat with a jail guard, we inquired what the inmate’s needs might be. He answered,“toiletries…tsaka pagkain (and food).” In addition, we inquired what their needs were, he and the members of their detachment. The guard seemed surprised by the question, but at the same time pleased. He answered, “toiletries din (as well), tsaka (and) office supplies para sa (for the)office”.
The study we have the privelege of leading these men and women through is the book of John. On this day, we were wrapping up chapter 3, a narrative on Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus and being born again.
Most of the inmates seemed to be listening and were saying “amen” to what kuya (older brother) Doy was teaching. One may not be entirely sure if that “amen” was a real amen or a mockery. All we know is what Scripture has promised about the Word of God… “It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11. We were just as blessed seeing them intently listening to the gospel. Kuya Doy told me he saw an inmate become teary eyed. Why? Only God knows. Pray he would truly repent and his hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, and many like him, that they would truly “repent.”
Read up, John 3:3-21
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Before leaving, we asked for their their prayer requests. Many listed down prayers for their families; and silently perhaps for themselves (as most of them feel lonely and neglected. ) As I read through their requests, it is hard not to have mixed emotions. It is a joy to read that they are putting their hope in God, but at the same time…they had to go to prison before realizing their need for God. Not religion and empty worship, but true fellowship with the Living God. “For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him.” Luke 20:38
Pray for the inmates and their families, the jail guards, and for us. May people be regenerated. May God be glorified in this ministry.
P.S. Here are some samples of the inmates’ livelihood products. The wallets, however, costs as low as 60 and as high as 150. The rags are not yet available. Any income generated from these is used to buy the needs of the inmates and the facility.
October 8, 2016
…we just finished the Bible study at Biñan city jail, began by reading John 4:1-21. It was a wonderful scene seeing the men and women again closely listening to the Word of God. The study centered on the living water and worshiping in truth and in spirit. Both men and women gave their prayer requests and we were truly the one being blessed after the sharing.
Like the rest of the country wherein prison facilities are impacted by the influx of surrenderees, the count at the BJMP in Biñan is at 576 inmates occupying cramped quarters. Pray for these and those like them, God bless you all!
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God...” 2Timothy 1:8
As September comes to a close with limited fanfare it is with joy we get to report God’s work continuing in the lives of the saints here in Tagaytay and the Calabarzon region. The “ber” months have begun which is a signal for preparation for the arrival of Christmas here in this part of the world. All will soon be festive and “trafficky”.
After the blessed interruption the Lord allowed in late May, which is my heart surgery, it seemed like all would come to a halt when it came to ministry “activity.” It did not…
The Philippines at this point is the focus of attention from the rest of the world with President Duterte’s fight against illegal drugs. He may not have the sophistication of a high profile politician familiar with “p.c. speak,” however, he is a man of great conviction. He is after all, I believe, God’s appointed leader for the Philippines for such a time as this. Borrowing a statement from Pastor Chuck Smith, “All we get to do is sit back, pray, and watch God work.” That is what we have been doing.
Segue to the work the Lord began at BJMP in Biñan more than a year ago. When my condition dictated my limited activity for the remainder of the year, including that at the prison ministry, unbeknownst to me, the Lord had prepared men who would take up the mantle for the rest of the season beginning in July. Praise the Lord, as I was informed that the men and women at the prison were in prayer for me. As of this writing, they number nearly 500 in their small holding cell.
As the Lord revealed to Gideon (Judges 7:1-8), the men to be involved with the Bible study at the prison went through a similar screening process. What seemed like the ideal team at the start in my mind in July, was soon righted by the Holy Spirit by August.
Good thing it’s HIS team. They are currently going through the book of John, with the inmates participating in the reading of His Word.
Praise the Lord! Jesus Christ is watching over His flock in the jail cells of Biñan. “And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6, He never ceases. Tracts, Christian based reading, and Bibles have been distributed not just in the jail but in the town proper as well.
The next narrative involves the on-going work of the Lord to the women through Nenita. Before my confinement, the women began their study on the book of Ruth. Meeting at the center once a month, it seemed to proceed at a snails pace because of my surgery. As of late, they have been meeting twice a month and are due to wrap up by October.
I am blessed to have a godly wife who is faithful to her calling, to me and the people of God…“the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things— that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5 NKJV
Not only at the center, dear ones! During an out of town visit to a church family in Quezon City, Nenita was treated to a pedicure and a massage. The spitfire that she is, that in no time did the women working there find themselves drawn to this woman of God. Nenita was teaching the Word. They all were listening…“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 Amen!
Pray for these whom you’ve just met, some you know from the past, others just now. Keep praying for the work of God here in the Philippines. As Isaiah had written, “On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; all the day and all the night they shall never be silent. You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.”
Let us keep in and partake of the ministry of intercession by the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is our intercession.
Less than a month away before we all get to be with family and friends in the West Coast. See you then!