“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.
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.
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.”
Coming this Fall 2017…
The story of Jesus Christ is the most important and most captivating story in all of history. In this class, you get to study this story as told by Luke in his Gospel.
The focus will be on the time, place, circumstances, and people involved in the events of our Lord’s time on earth…students will attempt to grasp a deeper understanding of Christ’s works and words, in light of Old Testament history and prophecy.
In Isaiah 55:11, God says…”So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
Visit http://www.mfhbc.org and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go straight to…
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV
Is the daily grind (life) more than you can handle? Jesus says…
“Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
“And He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to Me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
“…If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”
The question is, what “season” are you in? We don’t pick and choose where we are born in, but the same statement given by God to two men in the Bible, we find to be true in our own lives, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you…I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5; and the salutation of Romans 1:1, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God…”
Both Jeremiah and Paul were called by God, just as you are called by God. He has revealed Himself to us in His written Word, the Bible; He has revealed Himself in creation; and more importantly, He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ, “…He who has seen Me has seen the Father…”
Where do you find Jesus Christ? In the pages of the Bible, in Scripture! In a Messianic Psalm, in 40:7, the Lord through David says, “Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of Me“, in the King James it is rendered, “Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me…” A verse later repeated in Hebrews 10:7.
Whatever season you may be in, know that God is involved! He reminds us of this in Ecclesiastes 3. God knows all about us, what He desires is for us to know Him, not in the intellect, but as intimate as possible. That begins by knowing what His Word says, the Bible.
The people around us ought to know the truth of the Word of God not just by what is written, but in the life we live. If we believe God is revealed in Jesus Christ, is He glorified in the life we live? Do they see Christ in us? Do we preach Him not just in words, but actions as well? How? We…you begin by knowing Who it is you worship, know truly what the Bible says. Not a regurgitated response from someone else (priest, pastor, deacon, teacher etc…says), but the truth the Holy Spirit reveals, He is both Author and Revelator of the Bible. It begins with you making the time.
We should not pick and choose where and when we exhibit our Christianity, but as the Lord orchestrates…any time…any place…that is the moment. Paul reminded Timothy, and by extension…us, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” How can one “convince, rebuke, exhort, if you do not make the time to study God’s Word to communicate by word and deed God’s truth.
As my wife fervently reminds me about reading and studying the Bible, it’s not just a have to…it is something we get to. “The purpose of the Lord is His will for you.” (or vice versa) Let His life manifest in yours by studying the Word of God. Jesus promises, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
God says in Isaiah 55:11…”So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.”
“For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”
The word anniversary is described as “the date on which an event occurred in some previous year; the commemoration of such an event on that date in following years.” The next step, is remembering that anniversary. Is that tricky? Remembering? Throughout a year, dates are marked for a reason: a birthday, a wedding anniversary (attention men!), Mother’s day, Father’s day, graduation, Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, and oh yeah, let’s not forget Valentine’s day which is followed by tax day. Like clockwork, these are observed by many of us, one way or another. Of course, different countries mark specific dates meant to remind the people, whether good or not so good events unique to that nation or country.
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Throughout the Bible, we are taught that God reminds creation to remember events, places, actions, and people. The nation Israel was reminded of their Exodus from Egypt, their condition before and after slavery, “And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing to day.” Deuteronomy 15:15.
In the New Testament, Paul quotes Jesus, “and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me. In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 1Corinthians 11:24-25
In both passages, notice the “R” word repeated. So if the Lord shows us that these events are worth remembering, one from the past, the other in the future, therefore, if it’s important to Him, it should be learned by us to keep these in mind, to remember.
The sad reality is, we pick and choose what to remember. We’ve even been introduced to make excuses, with phrases like “selective memory, mis-remembered, mis-spoke” and a few others, all for the purpose of defending ourselves, that silly pride. But He, the Lord Jesus Christ knows that we will have “lapses“, which is why He assures those who believe in Him, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26
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The question is, do we remember events, places, things, and yes, people along with the things they say, people whom God has put in our midst for our edification and correction? Do we remember to thank God in those instances? Or do we choose to simply make an excuse and say, “Ooops, sorry, I forgot!” We do that, we’re in bigger trouble than we think. Thus He reminds us (there’s that word again), “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.“Revelation 2:5
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Because of these truths we’ve just reviewed, here is one way to get started to apply “remembering” in my life today…in this issue, you’ve noticed names, names of family (near and far) and friends (old and new), some I have seen face to face, while others, not yet, who in the past year of 2016-2017 have been privy to my “heart journey“; included are places the Lord has allowed Nenita and I to visit during the past year.
This is my exercise in remembering, to give thanks for you, as you all remember us in prayer, for God’s work in the Philippines…and the love we received from you always. For my “new heart.” There may be some of you not included in this list, looking forward to hearing from you, thank you for understanding…like I said, I’m still exercising to remember. In all this, “I thank my God always when we remember you in our prayers…”Philemon 1:4
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember Your wonders of old.” Psalm 77:11