“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good…in honor giving preference to one another…serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuingsteadfastly in prayer…” Romans 12:9-13
Yesterday is gone, you have today, set your sights on tomorrow…
“…Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.” John 2:24,25
Since that weekend of March 13, 2020, the world has spiraled for the worst; getting a heaping of obfuscation here, paranoia there. These things can easily side-track us. “…fear not, be of good cheer…”. Jesus Christ has overcome the world! Our prayer is that as you read, you will be encouraged you, all to the Glory of our God and Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
As you flip through these pages, that these are “one mans” thoughts and observations through the lens of Scripture, the standard we all ought to live by. God’s truth becomes personal when I read and apply what His Word says to my everyday. What you have is our continuing journey for “such a time as this.”
Leaving 2019, great hopes were in the horizon for the new decade, 2020 started with promise for my wife and I. This is our report…as of June 30, 2020.
The New Year was welcomed with at the home Errol (our son), his wife Cynthia, their children(Nathan, Anya (Nathania), and Nicolas) in their home. Nenita and I spent 2019 Christmas and New Year with them as in previous years.
1st On January 1, 2020, we drove up to Baguio (summer capital of the Philippines). Joining us were Lorenza, (Cynthias mom); coming along were friends: May, her husband Mike and their two children; and Boni, his wife Judith and their two kids.
That was how we kicked off 2020.
2nd …entering the second week, we settled in. But then, a passenger jeepney ran into us, a rear-right-end collision. The cost of the damage was not cheap, for parts and labor, however, the Lord provided the funds through two of the brethren. No one was hurt, thank you Lord.
3rd. Those were followed by the eruption of Taal Volcano near Tagaytay on January 12th. Portions of Northeast Calabarzon received a pungent dose of briny ashfall. You remember that Tagaytay was where MFHBC started the Lord’s work in 2013.
4th Spring Semester started the second week of February. Classes were held at Kingdom Ministries in Silang, Cavite. As you might recall, Pastor Sandy Molo had gone home to be with his(and ours) Lord earlier in December, the relationship the Lord forged between Bro. Sandy and MFHBC continues to this day.
5th The last week of February found us alongside the saints of Fortify on the island of Palawan, in Puerto Princessa, southwest of Luzon. Fortify, God’s vision received by Pastor
Rod Thompson, builds partnerships through the equipping of independent churches in the Philippines. Fortify first came to the Philippines via Tagaytay, the week my journey for a CABG4 bypass began in 2016.
We arrived from Palawan March 3, to continue the semester in Silang. The following week, Nenita celebrated her birthday, a Tuesday, March 10. The remainder of that week is as we say,shaped intowhat is now history.
6th The events we’ve witnessed and endured since that week truly is unfathomable. How that one weekend in March was transformed into a Sping nightmare in the Orient, and a Fall ordeal in the west. You don’t need me to rehash what we’ve all been through these last three and a half months, or 108 days beginning at March 13…but God.
Our students continued to stay in touch the first few weeks since that weekend in March. Thinking the “shut-down” would be short and temporary, we gave the students “homework” to keep occupied. They were to apply what they had learned in the past semesters, IBS/ Hermeneutics.
As circumstance would have it, most of the students faced limitations in distance learning. They all thrive on learning collectively and not individually, like a competition; in addition, they were faced limited WiFi and financial capabilities.
The first month, two of the students made the effort of submitting their assigned work. Demands of family along with other effects of the “quarantine” mandate from government, homework added to their already stressful days. The semester came to a grinding halt. The Lord has directed us to smoothly reboot the semester in August.
As we wait, I urge you pray our students. God has allowed this “interruption” all to His glory. For His body the church, that we may stand fast in His Word. This was something Nenita and I got to do. In addition to personal time with the Lord, we also found ourselves fellowshipping via the internet with other saints. These 112+ days showed me that I must needs to avail the much more of God’s grace from Jesus Christ, by His Spirit, thoughtfully and purposefully.
March, April, and May are normally the summer months. Curiously, when the government imposed the Philippines version of a “lockdown” and “ECQ (enhanced community quarantine)”during those months, we did not experience the anticipated heat. These were the months new words, acronyms, and phrases were introduced into our vocabulary: ECQ, flatten the curb, DOH, social distancing, CDC, virus, WHO, mask, and so on.
Another noticeable result due to shutdown of factories, minimized movement of motor vehicles, and people, pollution was also on a hiatus. The air we were breathing was cleaner, the sky was bluer and clearer, walking outdoors was conducive to everyones health, then government imposes limitations on such a “healthy” activity.
Nenita further reflected how the Lord has used the shutdown to bring revival, restoration, and rest to weary lives.
1) give earth time to heal from our reckless attitude toward it (Psalm 60:1-5);
2) allow families to be restored to Him, and to each another(Galatians 6:1-5);
3) remind His body, the church, to remain faithful (Jude 20, 21);
4) call attention to a Christ rejecting generation to God’s gift, His love, His Word to be received (Acts 2:38,39, 4:12; 2Corinthians 6:2).
Our dependence on the internet became evident these nearly four months. Again, an instance where evil meant to use for bad, God has used it for good: the Gospel reached the once unreached; Christian fellowship continued online; bible studies became more accessible; Church became a reality for many, no excuses; and many more.
On the ground was a little more challenging as we had more physical face to face, up close and personal encounters others (security guards, neighbors, soldiers, community enforcers, and so on). Regardless of how I view this “_demic,” which I believe to be a ruse, my main duty is to exhibit Christ in me to all men (Roman 13:3). Did I always succeed? No. But because of the grace of God, I am always able get up each time I fall.
Because we do not have a television, Nenita and I were more tuned to reports coming from the USA through the various “non-msm” information outlets off the internet. As Oswald Chambers calls it, we got to exercise the “ministry of the interior,”prayer, as the Lord brings to our remembrance those He reveals through the news, President Trump, our nation, Rodrigo Duterte, the saints around the world.
All in line with what we are called to do, “…seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace…”; “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving thanks be made for all men…kings…all who are in authority…that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life…”
The months rolled in and out, we welcomed the new days as we experienced breathing room, for everyone. These days of isolation, the Word in Jeremiah comes to mind. The prophet was told by God to limit his social and personal activities; that was what the Philippines did the first three months of the _demic. This country is a people who loves to celebrate, looking for any and every reason to do so, during the days of ECQ, no celebration or mourning of any kind was allowed.
However,we got to celebrate; on May 28, the arrival of Isadora Jr., youngest grand-daughter to date; then in June feasted on God’s blessings for the birthday’s of Nicolas (11) and Cynthia; on the 21st of June, twenty-eight years of love and grace, our wedding anniversary.
Where we go from here is in His hand. We’ve committed the remainder of the year to Him who called us, which includes a planned sabbatical. Thank you for your faithfulness in coming alongside us through these last seven years.
“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 imperishable…do notrun aimlessly…do notbox 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
In 2013, the Lord planted us in the beautiful city of Tagaytay wherein Taal Volcano was its main attraction. If you have been following the news, Taal volcano has been put under Alert Level 4, as it shows signs that hazardous eruption is possible within days
— Read on www.rappler.com/
“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilence, and earthquakes in various places.” Matthew 24:11
The events of the last 24 hours are again a reminder that today is the day of salvation. It has nothing to do with “global warming!” It more has to do with “global coldness” towards God. The Lord delays His coming while allowing the events we’ve witnessed in our lifetime to take its course, whether through nature or man made.
“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
“…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. ”
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!”
Isaiah Life of David 1&2 Samuel
Pastoral Letters- 1&2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
History of Redemption
This is a verse-by-verse study of the book of Genesis. The intention of this course is to study the magnificent account of the creation of mankind and the unfolding plan of redemption of mankind, leading each of us into a deeper faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The goal of this class is to deepen our relationship with Christ while gaining an academic and devotional understanding of the book of Isaiah. We will familiarize ourselves with the form and structure of the book, as well as its basic theology, purpose, authorship, and various historical accounts related to Isaiah.
I & II Samuel
This class is a survey of David’s life from the books of Samuel and the Psalms. Much of this class will be a verse-by-verse study through the books of I and II Samuel. There will be a devotional focus with opportunity for class-room discussion.
This course is a verse-by-verse study through the Book of Acts. We will look at the growth of the early church and church practice, including the function of spiritual gifts in the Church. We will also study the aspects of early church missions, church planting, and discipleship.
The course is a verse-by-verse study of the book of Romans, a book long regarded as the most systematic presentation of doctrine in the Bible. Students will look carefully at how the saving life of Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, can transform lives.
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.
History of Redemption
In this course we will see the unity of the Bible as it presents God’s plan of salvation for mankind from Genesis to Revelation and review the general content of the books of the Bible for the purpose of integration and seeing thematic relationships. We will approach this survey of the Bible from two points of view: what God has done and is accomplishing in history and what God has spoken or revealed in terms of Scripture.
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.
Inductive Bible Study
The purpose for this class is to teach and encourage students to study the Word of God by carefully observing, carefully interpreting, accurately cross-referencing, and relevantly applying the text to their lives.
“…His way is in the whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.” Nahum 1:3
We are well into the 2nd month of 2019 with last year quickly fading from view. What lies ahead in the coming months is known to the Lord. On our part, instead of speculating what it will shape out to be, we place our faith and hope in Him who promises to do all things well.
Nenita and I enter the seventh year of ministry at My Father’s House Bible Center (MFHBC) on the island of Luzon, and God has stirred the hearts of those He has partnered with us to hunger for Him and His Word.
It is a blessing being able to write this shortie of a newsletter from the Northwest in the state of Washington and report the goings on of God wherever and with whomever He has appointed for us to meet in this short hiatus. First of all, I can see snow from where I’m seated just as we had in Montana (photo above). A winter storm warning has been issued by the weather service. Precipitation (rain & snow) has been a constant companion of ours since we left the Philippines.
All this is a reminder of God’s faithfulness wherever we may be. MFHBC picks up where we left off in 2018. The new semester kicks off May 6, up in the province of Cagayan, northernmost part of the Philippines in the city of Tuguegarao. The semester is in collaboration with the TCPL (Tuguegarao Center for Pastoral Leadership) equipping the saints this part of the Philippines. We’re looking at a ten week stint interspersed with one or two block classes. God is doing His bidding in us, through us, for us. The journey the Lord is taking us in Tuguegarao has a multi-faceted purpose, to help train the Pastors and to minister to the Agta tribe of Bugatay in Penablanca. Praise the Lord indeed.
Not to fret, Calabarzon is not to be forgotten. Y’all must continue to pray for the church family in Cavite (Kingdom Ministries, Calvary Chapel Tagaytay, & Joyful Ruthies), Laguna (Without Walls ministries and SRV Bible Fellowship in Santa Rosa), and Batangas (Calvary Chapel Talisay) for the continuing ministry partnerships, church collaboration, training and equipping God has began.
Five years ago, the Lord opened the Prison Ministry through the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management & Penology) in Nenita’s hometown of Binan and has now been endorsed to the Rock of Refuge Christian Church in Quezon City. The new opportunity of Prison ministry work in the BJMP outpost of Santa Rosa now awaits us.
Pray for the continued growth in Medical outreaches, Ministry Partnerships, Church Collaboration to Train & Equip the body of Jesus Christ, the church, in the Philippines. We all are in this together and we are grateful saints indeed!
Your faithful prayers & gracious financial support fuel these:
1) Teaching Sites in Tuguegarao(north), Cavite & Laguna; Palawan (South);
Building up of the church in Bugatay & Apayao (North)
2) Santa Rosa & Biñan BJMP Prison Ministry Teaching & Medical Missions
3) Ministry Partnerships & Church Collaboration to Train & Equip
4) Committed Workers & Students to enter the Lord’s Harvest
5) Continued Faithful Enthusiasm as Ambassadors of Christ