Don’t be swayed

15 more days…then what?

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin…We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one…we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true…in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
1John 5:18-21

We all are counting the days when we can all go back to “normal.” I shudder at the thought that I should go back to doing the normal things before the Wuhan/CCP virus invaded. What has this event taught us about ourselves? About the world around us? The people from other countries? How different are we from each other? No difference.

It is amazing really how God has allowed technology to be used for His glory. Much like Joseph told his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”

Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him because he was their father Jacob’s favorite, so they threw him into a pit, then sold him off for cash. But God allowed it and watched over Joseph all those years he was in Egypt till He brought Joseph to prominence. Because of that, with confidence in God, Joseph reminded his brothers with those words in Genesis. Consider the words spoken thousands of years ago and apply it to the world’s state, to yourself, this time in human history.

The perpetrators of this weaponized corona virus (my opinion) meant it for selfish reasons, whatever it is they intended, God allowed it for good. Families have re-acquainted themselves with each other (husband with wife, fathers with children, children with mothers, brothers with sisters); homes are cleaned (spring cleaning); books on the shelves are being read; church has been brought back to its roots, the home; the air is cleaner; skies are bluer; and most importantly, the Word of God, the Gospel is reaching places the pre-virus world had not seen.

Dear ones, do not be swayed by what the world is saying, instead, look around you and see that the Lord is good. Beware of those who try to give you a narrative filled with untruths and deception. I encourage you to ask the hard questions no one dare ask regarding anything, even regarding this virus. Don’t be content with what this or that person says, learn for yourself.

Use this extra time to exercise prayer, logic and reason. Isaiah 1:18 invites us to, “Come now let us reason together...” and again in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” In Hosea, a reminder is given, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge…” and in the book of James, the invitation is given, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives to all liberally…” therefore, ask!

Since the quarantine/lockdown, our five classes for the semester have been placed on a Long Distance learning mode. Our four students, were given their assigned readings and “home works”. Sadly, all four have not been able to send in their work/s online amid varying challenges (technical and financial). It is with confidence in the Lord we pray they continue to receive wisdom and understanding from Him as we all enter our 45th day of ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) in our area.

Our student #1 is a mother of two small girls, she has her hands full, her husband works overseas; student#2 serves her family since the start of the “ecq” days (she’s got two girls as well, older); and students 3 & 4 are in the dark. Pray for these four.

Where we are today, started before the week of March 10, 2020. Do you remember what you were doing when all of this began? That week, Nenita had just celebrated her birthday and had just finished teaching classes, Isaiah and the Gospel of John, that Friday afternoon, we had an impromptu “potbless”.

Before that, beginning the last week of February, we were invited to join the 2020 Fortify conference in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, southwest of Manila. We joined the brethren who flew in from SoCal, Reliance Church, Temecula, and Calvary Chapel Vista, CA. It was a fruitful week in the Lord. 3) While in Puerto Pricessa, we’d heard rumblings about a virus from Wuhan.

Celebration of my wife’s birthday should have continued that week, or so we thought. As that weekend began, suddenly these acronyms, words and phrases dominated internet and local news: CDC, DOH, WHO, ECQ, PPE, quarantine, quarantine pass, lockdown, corona virus, social distancing, N95 face mask, face mask, covid, covid 19, CCP virus, wuhan virus, China, novel corona virus, shutdown, amelioration, stimulus checks, unemployment, etc…

For those of you who know me(my wife specially), questions abound in my mind regarding this added event of 2020. They include the: what, where, how, when, who, why. The year 2020 is proving to be filled with stories worthy of praise for God…

1) In early January on a Sunday afternoon while spending time with the grandchildren at a local mall, Taal volcano near Tagaytay erupted after 43 years of silence, reminding us in the CaLaBaRzon area that it is no longer idle as many believed. Ash was blown into cities northeast of the volcano, that included Santa Rosa, it wasn’t a dry kind of ash, it was wet with a briny smell. The volcano is after all surrounded by what once was salt water, but is now a freshwater volcanic lake.

2) After that, we (Nenita and I) found ourselves in a “bumper to bumper bender” with a passenger jeepney. We were hit from behind. With the incident, the Lord allowed us to experience Philippine law at its finest in the city of Santa Rosa, Laguna, which surprised us, from the traffic enforcer to the police investigator to the fiscal’s office to the fiscal himself, all of whom exemplified courtesy and respect. This episode with the bumper rolled through March, with the offending party (not us) making arrangements to settle the damage incurred by our vehicle through the Fiscal’s office.

It is April 30, has anyone really figured out what’s going on? The only way I’ve approached the predicament we find ourselves in, is holding fast to Whom I believe. The narrative we’ve been given is one of dire and dread, leading those who are faint of heart to lose it. Yet, the Lord Jesus Christ reminds and calls to you, to me, “Do not fear any of those things you are about to suffer…” This tale being weaved regarding the man-caused virus, has been allowed as a 1) reminder to believers; and 2) a call to an unbelieving world.

Jesus Christ spoke the words above in a letter He wrote through John the apostle for the church in Smyrna. Much like us today, despite the unknowns, the church was called to remain faithful till the end, you and I must do the same, hold fast knowing in Whom you have believed. In the words of my wife, it’s not who we are anymore but Whose we are.

Take this opportunity to spend more time in His Word, being in prayer for our leaders and the world at large, and consider these: What has God shown you of Himself during these quarantine days? How has He revealed His love to you? In all this, Who is Jesus Christ to you today? Press on!

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…

Study for Fall 2018

“But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.”
Titus 2:1 NASB

Daniel

This class is a chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse study of the book of Daniel. Known as the “Apocalyptic Book of the Old Testament,” Daniel holds the keys that unlock understanding of the book of Revelation, as the two partner each other.

Some of the main topics of the book are the sovereignty of God, the biblical accounts of secular historical events, the preservation of Israel while in exile, and detailed accounts of major prophetical events.

Pastoral Epistles

The Pastoral Epistles of 1&2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon are indispensable guides for contemporary ministry. In this course, each book is exposited in order to gain an understanding of the biblical material. Additionally, major themes from the books and practical application are discussed with the goal of better equipping the student for ministry.

New Testament Greek 1

This is designed to equip the student with the basic skills of reading and translating Biblical Greek at the beginning level. The emphasis is upon building vocabulary and learning the basics of biblical Greek grammar so that the student acquires the necessary skills to read and translate selected biblical texts. Students are introduced to the pronunciation, morphology, and syntax of biblical Greek.

Beginning with learning the basic building blocks of the language such as the alphabet, vowels, nouns, adjectives, articles, prepositions, pronouns, and verbs, etc. Through building vocabulary throughout the course and learning basic sentence syntax, the students begin to use their acquired skills in translating selected texts.

Theology

This class consist of a survey of the main doctrines of the Christian faith. Attention will be given to the topics that include: divine authority and revelation, the nature and theological role of the Bible, the existence and nature of God, the three Persons of the Trinity, angels, man, sin, salvation, church, and eschatology.

Prayer

All relationships involve communication and our relationship with God is no different. To grow in that relationship we must spend time in His presence and there is no greater opportunity available to the believer than prayer. One cannot be equipped to do the work of God without a rich prayer life. This course takes a broad look at prayer using the Bible as the primary source of instruction.

Hermeneutics

This class is designed to instruct students in the foundational principles and practices of Bible interpretation, giving you a framework with which to view all of 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. A special emphasis will be given to the role of biblical inerrancy, inspiration, objective meaning, problems in Hermeneutics, and the nature of Scripture itself.

Men’s Stewardship

Teachers, pastors, and various speakers, share from Scripture and exhort the men coming alongside them in their Christian walk. Topics pertaining specifically to men and their role as Scripture indicates are discussed.

“…so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…”

Summer 2018

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but He is (has) risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee,”
Luke 24:5b, 6

This is a reminder to keep our eyes, ears, and hearts on Jesus Christ. In this gospel account, the Lord’s disciples are reminded to exercise those senses (eyes=Why do you seek…?; ears/memory=Remember how He spoke to you while He was still-with you-in Galilee…) In the encounter with the angel the attention is directed at the source of all things, not ourselves, not the work, but on the Words of Jesus Christ, what He said and continues to say.

The Lord reminds me that I ought to look expectantly for Him to hear His voice in the ministry. Now that Nenita and I have moved to Santa Rosa, I stand guard; station myself where I ought; and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me…”(Habakkuk 2:1-3).

Looking back, my hubris gets the better of me in specific situations; and when it does, I view such instances with a sense of finality. I mumble and say to myself, “Oh no, what have I done?” But the Holy Spirit is quick to remind me that nothing can separate me from His love; and that with God, all things are possible. The words of Jesus always comes at a time I need His assurance, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house…” In my mind the Spring semester was in full view, but by His grace, it has been pushed to be a Summer semester for His purpose. He knows best!

The Lord has brought us thus far in the first quarter of 2018:

1) MFHBC continues with “Off-Site” classes, a.k.a. “W.o.W – Word on Wheels” beginning in April out of Santa Rosa, Laguna. Because of the move and requests from two churches, classes have been rescheduled to start on the third week of April 2018, which is summer(in the Philippines).

2) MFHBC over the last six years, continue to establish relationships with existing fellowships, rekindling old friendships not just in Calabarzon(southern Luzon) but to include northern Luzon for the “…equipping of the saints, for the work of the ministry.” We continue to follow His directive that more may know Christ and make Him known.

3) During this recent “spring” break, we were blessed to visit new places. As we did, we got to pray up the people we encountered. For the most part, the Gospel needed to be proclaimed; and equally important is the need for the Word of God taught at the small independent churches.

The move to Santa Rosa was explained in a previous newsletter, and is so ordained because the move allows us easier access to the “highways and byways” for the work we have been called to(this includes you…we’re in this together).

The urgency is a reality until the Lord returns. You may remember this phrase, “Go and tell, or they will go to hell” by Nenita, so yes, the work we are called to is urgent. The call is to reach the most number of teachable saints for the work of the ministry. The upcoming 2018 semester is out of the norm and is slated to begin with two churches, Kingdom Ministries in Silang, Cavite – down south; and Rock of Refuge at New Manila, Quezon City – at the center. Keep in prayer as the Lord wills, for a class to start with a local church in the Santa Rosa area.

As part of our preparation for the coming semester, we went on a retreat (step back), to seek His face and scout the landscape beyond CaLaBaRzon. Last June 2017, we visited Mariveles, Bataan (west of Manila) for a wedding, then to Baguio (north) to celebrate our 25th anniversary, these cities mentioned are far from Santa Rosa and Tagaytay, way north.

This 2018, we attended another wedding up in Baguio. It was a ceremony that had all the elements of what a wedding ought to look like, restoration, forgiveness, reconciliation, and redemption. What a beautiful wedding, through it, God is glorified!

The grooms parents are Nenita’s friends from way back. They invited us for a road trip to a city in Ilocos Sur, named Vigan. It was a four and a half hour drive northwest of Baguio. It was cool to see this part of the country and spend time with friends…”are we there yet?

Before the Vigan road trip, we made new friends in Baguio, the parents of one of Nenita’s doctors. Meet Buddy and Marie Jose, and Buddy’s sister Tess. It was a pleasant and fun-filled first meeting over lunch, Baguio style: deep fried bangus (milkfish), tilapia two ways (fried, and stewed in mustard leaves and tamarind), duck cooked in coconut milk…Yummm. Introductions through stories were exchanged, it was like we’d known each other a long time and were simply catching up by giving updates about our lives.

In addition to visiting the countryside and making new friends, we got to spend time with the saints of Calvary Chapel Fellowship of Baguio. The family of God is awesomely large that wherever you turn, if you remain alert, you will meet brothers and sisters in the Lord you otherwise might have ignored.

These encounters are such an encouragement. We were blessed to sit down with them on Holy Wednesday to teach on the book of Ephesians for four hours as the Lord allowed it.

Do keep us both in your prayers to the Lord of the harvest, which indeed is plentiful, laborers are few. Let us press on together in the power of His might. Again, from Nenita and I, thank you for your faithful participation to His work through us. Praise God indeed!!! We love you.

Christmas 2017

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
.”

Micah 5:4

Three’s

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.

Final IBS class…Koinonia

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 “oldnew 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.

P.S.
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.

God is sending everyone and anyone our way…we look forward to seeing you here soon.

Pray

* 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

Inductive Bible Study

Coming this Fall 2017…beginning the last week of August 2017…


Inductive Bible Study
The purpose for this class is to teach and encourage students to study the Word of God by observing, interpreting, cross-referencing, and relevantly applying the message of Bible passages to their lives.

In Luke 11:28, Jesus says “…Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!

“Come and see…”

Learn with us…

Visit http://www.mfhbc.org and contact us at mfhbcinfo@gmail.com, or go straight to…

New Student
Returning Student