Kasalan sa Aklan

We arrived Manila 30 minutes ahead of schedule thankful to God for a safe flight and a fruitful five day trip to Aklan.

I had come to Kalibo (with Gels and Jaden) to do a wedding and to preach on the Lord’s day. The last time I was there was in 2011 when I did the wedding of the youngest of seven Revesencio sisters, Janet. Now I was doing the wedding of the second to the youngest, Betbet.

In fact, I had done four Revesencio weddings over the past years-Lalay to Andy, 19 years ago, Carolyn to Arnold, 11 years ago, Janet to James, 3 years ago and now Betbet to Ian. They have begun to call me suki. Is it a period then or a comma for the Revesencio sisters? Who knows?

I was pleased with how the ceremony went. I believe the Lord answered prayer. It was raining hard the day before but we had very pleasant weather the Thursday morning the wedding took place. The occasion was solemn and yet joyful; orderly and yet lively.

Betbet (or Novelyn during the wedding) got married to Ian, a school teacher from Sydney, Australia. Ian belongs to a church in Sydney that holds to the same truths we believe.

In the past, whenever Betbet and I met, I had always kidded her that I would look for a husband for her for as long as she shoulder the fare for the man wherever he came from. Little did I know that she was doing her own homework on the internet. I heard that Ian and Bet initially met and became friends online.

Now that the Lord has joined their hearts together I pray that they would have a happy married life. They are presently honeymooning abroad and Ian told me that he planned to settle down in Kalibo. Good for him and good for them. The Lord bless their relationship.

It was also heartwarming to renew ties with the brethren from the church in Kalibo. The members of the church are warm, friendly, and hospitable that they make you feel at home. They also make sure that you have a present before you leave for home. There was a time when a church member gave us a whole cluster of bananas which looked like they were just picked from the tree that morning. That was easy during the days of checked-in baggage; not anymore during these days of cheap no-baggage promos.

I was surprised at their number during the worship service. They have grown over the years. They had many visitors, in fact, a few of them, first-timers. The Lord is blessing their evangelism. In spite of a Yolanda-destroyed church building and a temporary semi-open humid and non-acoustic friendly meeting place, I was blessed by their vibrant worship. I must say that they had excellent singing. They were eager listeners too when it came to the preaching.

One of the leaders, Pastor Andy, is a product of MCBC. A privately practicing lawyer, he shares the leadership with Pastor Nelmar, who has left his job in a bank and has gone full time in the ministry.

The first time I was invited to Kalibo in the mid-90s to deal with a church problem, brother Andy was my “sidekick.” Little did I know that he would fall in love with an Aklanon lady, get married, ultimately settle down in Kalibo and become the pastor of the church there. I had a good time of fellowship with Andy, who remains as humble and accomodating as ever, in spite of his stature in the church and in the community.

I also did a side-trip with my wife and grandson in Boracay where we had a good time of bonding. Pastor Alan and the singles from San Pablo and MCBC were also there.

Had a wonderful time this past week. Yet nice to be home as well.

Airport to Hotel Service

Airport to Hotel Service

L stands for...

L stands for…

...LOVE!

…LOVE!

With Janet, James and Mimi

With Janet, James, Japheth and Mimi

Gels and Jaden wait at the Side

Ninang Gels and Jaden wait at the Side

With the Maid of Honor and Jaden's Babysitter

With the Maid of Honor and Jaden’s Babysitter

Revesensio Family in a Playful Mood

Revesencio Family in a Playful Mood

I Married Four of These Five Couples

I Married Four of These Five Couples

With Pastors Alan, Nelmar, Andy and Bro Jojo

With Pastors Alan, Nelmar, Andy and Bro Jojo

Pas. Nelmar Leads the Sunday Service

Pas. Nelmar Leads the Sunday Service

Pas. Andy Does the Scripture Reading

Pas. Andy Does the Scripture Reading

Congregation (Right)

Congregation (Right)

Congregation (Center)

Congregation (Center)

Congregation (Left)

Congregation (Left)

Building Construction at Full Blast

Building Construction at Full Blast

Will There be New Vehicles as Well?

Will There be New Vehicles as Well?

They Hope to Make This Usable by December

They Hope to Make This Usable by December

 

 

 

Bday Video

I’ve been very busy on travel this past month that blog time was not on my side. In the meantime that I gather my wits to resume writing, here’s a video of the 80th birthday of our regular attender Monina Visitacion which was held in their farm in Calinan, Davao City recently and where Bro. Boy was the guest speaker.

I was told that the family was blessed by Bro. Boy’s preaching. Here are some snippets:

Seniors Pride

If the elderly think that they have graduated from the sin of pride, let them think again. Pride is a sin that affects the youthful as well as the mature. It is a subtle disease worse than arthritis or memory loss.

How does pride manifest itself in the elderly? Have you heard too many stories from grandpa where he always ended up as the hero in the drama of his life? Have you always heard your elders comparing themselves with the younger concluding that they were far more virtuous in their day?

Have you ever encountered someone whose boast was always that all of their children are successful and well-to-do? Have you heard old people bragging about how large their estates are and how by their diligence and hard work all of this was attained? Have you ever heard the older say that at 70 they could still run the Milo Marathon? Or has someone even bragged to you how good he was at wine, women and mischief?

I’m sure you would answer in the affirmative.

For the seniors to share their life experiences with the juniors is a good thing. For the seniors to inculcate values to the young by sharing the challenges they overcame when they were younger is extremely helpful. For seniors to tell stories of how they fared in the war or how they courted your moms or your lolas in their day is worth listening to. For seniors to tell us that they were rich with a P300 monthly salary amazes you as to how things have changed.

I would rather listen to the stories of seniors than to much of the boring talk of a younger generation about how much their iphone can do or what the newest gadget in the market is and how you can buy it cheap at CDR King.

But although the virtues of hard work, discipline and fortitude that have led to the success of many are commendable, they usually attract the evil of pride. Pride is a sin that simply will not vanish with age. We have to rely on a better remedy to address pride than to wish that it would simply disappear as we mature. That remedy is the word of God.

I suggest six reasons for the mortification of pride, all of which, have their foundation in God’s word:

1. God is opposed to it (Jas 4:6). A proud person does not have God on his side. And God is a bad choice for an opponent. Look at what happened to proud angels (Jude 6), a proud king (Dan 4:28-37), proud women (Is 3:156ff) and a proud speaker (Acts 12:20-23). You would not want to be in their place, would you?

2. It leads to our downfall and dishonor (Prov 11:2; 16:18-19; 29:23). Of all people to be honored are the elders. But pride does not lead to that. Further, you can never expect continued success with it. Look at what happened to King Hezekiah who flaunted his success to others (2 Chr 32:22-26).

3. There is absolutely no reason for it. Everything–abilities, accomplishments, including our breath, health and strength come from God (1 Cor 4:7; Deut 8:11-14).

4. There is really more not to be proud of in our age (Ps 90:10). Most of our boasting will be about that which is past. Even if we boast about longevity, there is so much physical weakness, pain, affliction, and emotional scarring that ought to discourage us from boasting.

5. It is a mark of the wicked (Ps 73:3-6). Although pride lurks in every heart (Mk 7:22), it is openly displayed in the speech and lifestyles of the wicked. Asaph tells us the higher we go, the harder we fall in judgment.

6. God is with the humble (Is 66:1-2; 1 Cor 15:10; Lk 18:14). The model of humility is none other than Jesus (Phil 2:3ff).

May the Lord give grace to all of us, seniors as well as juniors, to grow in the grace of humility!

SENIOR MOMENTS 08-30-14

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Visiting Jojo

Let’s pray for former MCBC member Jojo Andongo. I, along with my fellow pastors, got to visit him last Monday, a holiday, in their hometown of Calasiao, Pangasinan (normally 3 hours away from Manila). The family, but especially Jojo and Elsie were overjoyed by our visit. It has been a long time and they needed encouragement.

Jojo was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. The symptoms surfaced last year when he was still working abroad. (Jojo had left MCBC many years ago and has worked in Singapore ever since.) He was asked by his doctors abroad to go home and have further testing done here. He arrived last March. And it was confirmed that he was seriously ill. He just finished his first chemotherapy session last week.

Jojo wept, confessing that he had lived a wayward life for so many years. He had turned his back on God. Now, he has become remorseful and hopefully repentant. I encouraged him by pointing him to 1 Jn 1:9, a text that I had recently preached on, and told him that there is forgiveness with God. He was comforted.

I told him that if this sickness leads to his salvation, the trial was a mercy from God and it was worth it. He agreed.

Let’s pray for genuine faith and repentance in Jojo. His life is ebbing and I don’t know how much time he has. But I told him whether life is long or short, he must be urgent in preparing for eternity. I told him to read the Bible everyday, having so much spare time just laying on his bed practically the whole day.

Right now he is listening to sermon tapes of local preachers.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family continue to go to church. We had an enjoyable time with them. I was amazed at how tall the children had grown.

May the Lord provide for their needs now that Jojo is out of a job. Above all, may He grant the urgency to trust in Christ and to truly repent not knowing what a day will bring forth.

I thank the Lord too for His safekeeping mercy considering the heavy rains and traffic we encountered going home. What normally took 3 hours took us 7 hours to negotiate going back to Manila.

Thanks too to Pas. Alex who drove for 10 hours to take us on a worthwhile visit. We offered–but, he declined.

Gel and Viel are now teens

Gel and Viel are now teens

With Hans

With Youngest Hans

For now they are a complete family

For now they are a complete family

With Us

With Us

Church Retreat

The fellowship just could not stop. The elders extended at Razons and disbanded at 9:00pm. But the real event of the day was the MCBC Annual Church Retreat. This time we invited a speaker from outside; it was a good time to sit and listen instead of preach.

I invited Pas. Diego Bulatao to preach on love. I actually heard him preach on this subject at the recent pastors conference in Cubao but he couldn’t finish-he was only given an hour and the material needed two.

He got what he wanted at our church retreat-he was very satisfied that he was able to complete the exposition.

We were blessed too. It is good to be reminded about love. We have received God’s love in Christ and we have the Holy Spirit to enable us to love but with remaining sin in our hearts we are still prone to be unloving, selfish and insensitive.

The fact that so many wild ideas about love proliferate in the world does not help. We need to hear time and again what God says about love. Our consciences need to be impressed repeatedly with the duty of loving one another. Our minds need to be instructed constantly as to how God defines love. First Corinthians 13 was a good place to park.

May the word that was heard bear concrete fruit in the growth of this most excellent grace in our midst. Without love, MCBC is nothing. With love, God is glorified and we accomplish much.

We were not only fed spiritually but we had a satisfying lunch fellowship as well. Thanks to typhoon Glenda and the firewood that we stacked from the branches of our fallen neem tree, we had a tasty meal of bulalo courtesy of one of our RBIPT students who is an expert in cooking this exotic meal.

The early afternoon consisted of a series of games where four teams competed for the top prize. There was so much fun and laughter that my grandson thought there was a riot going on and he almost cried. But that was because the team members were giving their heart to the contest. Though we take games for granted it is also a test of love: For the victors: love is not boastful; for the losers, love does not envy.

After the games, we settled down for our prayer meeting. The subject of our prayers was the present needs of MCBC. I spoke to the congregation about the present status of MCBC ranging from the leadership to worship to evangelism and other concerns.

One big project that we have is our building expansion program. With God’s gracious provision, we aim to double the capacity of our present facility. Right now, the Lord has been blessing us with so many attenders that we are having problems of space every Lord’s day. The suggested expansion program would address this need and create more space for future attenders.

All in all, it was a blessed day. The Lord met with us. We were built up by His word and we enjoyed the fellowship as well as the food.

Thanks be to God for answered prayer. May God give grace for everyone to grow in love! May MCBC not just be a united church but a loving church as well! To Him be the glory for all things!

Pas. Diego Preaches on Love

Pas. Diego Preaches on Love

Some Took the Word "Retreat" Seriously

Some Took the Word “Retreat” Seriously

"Di pa nga tapos mag brew e.."

“Di pa nga tapos mag brew e..”

Haaaa?

Haaaa?

Pas. Diego and MCBC Elders

Pas. Diego and MCBC Elders

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Check out more retreat photos: Open “Retreat-Couples” Page Above

Check out more retreat photos: “Dan and Jaden” at rolsev.wordpress.com

 

Again

Sorry folks. Internet problems prevented us from streaming the worship services yesterday and recording the messages. These are the hazards of high technology. We may have the equipment but if the problem is online, we raise our hands in surrender. We cannot expect too much.

Nonetheless, I am posting a few videos of our gifted men preaching in other churches.

The Lord has provided us with manifold gifts not the least of which are men who can preach the word. This has afforded us opportunities to help a few sister churches who have a lone pastor in the leadership.

May the Lord be pleased to edify all of us through the preaching of His word.

Bro. Mario Betangcol at Molino Grace Bible Church

Bro. Mario Asis at Molino Grace Bible Church

Pas. Alex Bartolome at Molino Grace Bible Church

Pas. Steve Hofmaier at Sovereign Grace Church

Pas. Mike Dairo at Sovereign Grace Church

 

Harana

A harana or serenade is usually sung on a calm evening with the suitor, gently strumming his guitar, passionately singing a love song as he woos the woman of his dreams. The lady meanwhile, hearing the familiar voice, is distracted from her business and peeps from her bedroom window delighting at the wafting of the notes on a clear moonlit night.

It only happens in the province, if it still does. There are modified versions in the city though. Like what happened this morning.

I was asked the favor of leading a small group to serenade a young couple celebrating their 4th wedding anniversary today. It was a surprise that the hubby had planned for the wife.

And so, at 5:30 am, with voices still raspy from sound sleep rudely interrupted by our alarms, we sang three Tagalog love songs to Clyde and Sharon. Sharon was all smiles as she peeped not from her balcony (they have none), but from their half-open living room door, halfway through our first melody.

We did not actually wake her up. She had been awake since 3 am. Still, it was a pleasant surprise to her.

I had with me the RBIPT group with whom the songs we sung, two by Sharon’s namesake megastar, were familiar. After singing three songs succesively, the clouds burst forth in torrents! And we burst forth in laughter! Is heaven sending us a message to improve on our singing?

Anyway, after the serenade, I gave a brief devotional with three points:

1. Express praise. Let’s give thanks to God for our spouses. Where would we be without them? Who would correct us intimately without them? Who would pull us up when we are down without them? Who would encourage us dearly without them? No marriage is perfect. But we should be thankful for the one we have, especially if our relationships have been flourishing through the years.

2. Exhibit love. It is the duty both of the husband and of the wife to love one another. And love is not primarily a feeling, as we all thought when we were yet immersed in the world, but doing good to our spouses, having their best interests in view. It is amazing how Paul’s description of love in 1 Cor 13 is strikingly different from the world’s view of the same.¬†

3. Engage in service. Although we are to cultivate intimacy and closeness in our relationships, we are also to look outward and use the gifts God has given us to serve others for His glory. We should not just have time for ourselves but also for kingdom work outside of our homes.

After coffee and small talk we bid goodbye to the couple.

Happy anniversary Clyde and Sharon!

Early Morning Harana

Early Morning Harana

Maalala mo Kaya?

I Hope We Didn’t Wake up the Neighbors

There We Go!

There We Go!

Rain!!

Rain!!

Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished

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Happy Faces