Thirteen Couples

Thirteen couples attended our first couples fellowship for the year (although I missed one of them in the pictures). It was a day-affair held at Woodland Villas in Nagcarlan, Laguna–a get-together for food, fun and fellowship. It was also the beginning of a refresher course on marriage for the benefit of old and new couples alike.

I led the workshop on “What are the marks of a good leader?” and then asked the men to rate themselves (and the wives to rate their husbands) as to how they fared with respect to spiritual leadership, friendship and companionship, fatherhood, and being a provider and over-all administrator of their households. The results (which were in writing) would help the pastors in overseeing the couples as to what areas they need more counsel and encouragement.

In spite of the horrendous traffic returning home, the day was well spent bonding with the couples and their families. I look forward to the next fellowship.

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Encouragements

I am encouraged that the warehouse staff in our Excelcare Bible Study in Taguig are very eager to hear the Word of God. For the majority, this is the first time that they have come into contact with the Bible, much less, join a Bible study group. From an irregular schedule, it has become more regular every Tuesday at 5:15pm. Please pray for the conversion of these warehouse workers.

Pas Mike teaches on Ps 32 (5/10/16)

Pas Mike teaches at Excelcare on Ps 32 (5/10/16)

I am also encouraged that our sister in church in Sta Rosa, the Reformed Baptist Bible Church, now has a deacon. For so many years, Pastor Marlon was the lone leader in the church, handling both ministry and practical affairs. Now that he has a helper, I pray that the work in Sta Rosa would grow. Sta Rosa is very thickly populated, on both sides of the South Expressway, there is much work to be done. In fact, there is room for more than one church.

I was invited to preach in a simple installation service, Saturday, May 14, afternoon. Bro. Fiel was installed into the diaconate. He seems to be a good guy. His background is Pentecostal although somewhere along the way he got exposed to Reformed teaching. Living in Sta Rosa, he searched on the internet for a church nearby and he found Pastor Marlon’s church. I pray that Deacon Fiel would truly be an asset to the church.

After I preach, Pas Jorge prays for Bro Fiel as new deacon of Sta Rosa church (5/14/16).

After I preach, Pas Jorge prays for Bro Fiel as new deacon of Sta Rosa church (5/14/16).

I was also encouraged at the turnout at the Pastors Conference in San Pablo City last Monday, May 16, sponsored by the Trinity Bible Church. I don’t refer necessarily to the number of those who attended, although there were probably more than fifty of both genders who came. I never expected many, being a Monday, and me being a lightweight in this area of ministry.

What I was encouraged with was that they came from places I never expected there would be reforming works. One came from Pitogo, Quezon; there were those who came from Calauan, Laguna; also Alabang; and Pagsanjan, Laguna. I also met a group from Tayabas, Quezon that has a core group and a preacher, just waiting to be covenanted. I was happy to know that the work of reformation is going full blast in Southern Luzon. Thank God for using the fellowship of Southern Luzon churches (Los Banos, San Pablo, Lumban, Calauag) for this purpose.

With the members of Trinity Bible Church

With the members of Trinity Bible Church

Posing after the conference. Some had left.

Pastors and women Bible teachers pose after the conference. A few had left.

I preached three messages on the theme “How Firm a Foundation: The Authority, Sufficiency and Clarity of Scripture.” The Lord helped me in preaching and answering questions. There was a good and peaceful spirit that prevailed. I also appreciate the warm welcome and fellowship enjoyed with the brethren from TBC who sponsored the conference.

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

 

Bridget

Congratulations to Bridget for finishing her course of Bachelor of Music, Major in Music Education. Her forte is the violin. As she said in her closing speech after her recital, it was her Lord and Savior who helped her all the way. May God guide her now as to where her abilities would be most used for His glory.

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Farewell to Jojo and Dinah

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Teary Farewell to Jojo and Dinah at 5:30am May 6 before they depart for the airport. The family is migrating to Canada.

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Friends and Family Gather Early in the Morning to Bid Them Goodbye

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Bye bye JD and Jaja. JD recovered from fever the day before; it was answered prayer.

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Bye bye Dinah. Hope we see each other again. I know it was hard for you to leave.

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Jojo tells me teary-eyed to “please take care of Ina.”

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And I reply, “Of course.” By God’s grace.

Election Fever

We read in Hos 8:4 “They made kings but not by Me.” The Jews never consulted God or asked His will about what to do regarding the issue of heavy taxation by Rehoboam. Instead they followed their own will, seceded from Judah and installed their own king–as if God was not involved in the affairs of the land. Eighteen kings all in all were made by the people, most if not all, dying a violent death.

“To choose leaders without the direction of God is not only sinful, it is foolish.  Those who follow their own wisdom in the choice of leaders inevitably get what they deserve.” (Boice)

We cannot proclaim our independence from God in facing the nation’s issues and choosing who to lead us in addressing national concerns. We need to turn to God and to His word. So remember these four Biblical guidelines as you troop to the polls next week to choose the next set of officials for the land.

1. Let your vote be freely decided.

a. When voting, be guided by liberty of conscience. This is one of the tenets of our faith. 1689 Ch 21 par 2, “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also.” Gal 5:1; Jn 8:32; Rom 14:4; Jas 4:12

b. “In this especially consists the best condition of the people, when they can choose, by common consent, their own shepherds [i.e. civil rulers]: for when any one by force usurps the supreme power, it is tyranny; and when men become kings by hereditary right, it seems not consistent with liberty.” (Calvin)

c. Do not be coerced or forced by anyone to vote for a candidate who is not yours by choice. You may be persuaded either by ads or friends but not forced. We are not into bloc-voting. Do not be pressured by regionalism or any other shallow external factor. Do not be bribed by money or even by a t-shirt. This does not mean however that asking other’s opinions or counsel is wrong.

2. Let your vote be Biblically guided. Here are ten marks of an ideal political leader:

a. Knowledge-This would include educational background and ability; he must know and have a background of what he is getting into; he must have some length of experience in governance and must possess a knowledge of law; he must be a learner engaged in continuous study; he must have a well-rounded knowledge of issues; he must have a good set of counselors or advisers; he must be able to apply his learning to issues and problems; he must possess some degree of Solomonic wisdom; he must be able to manage internal as well as external conflicts; he must be a good decision maker; he must be able to communicate his intentions and decisions well; he must not be impulsive and neither slow. (Prov 8:14-16; 15:22; 16:10; 20:26; 25:2; 28:2)

b. Humility-He must be a humble leader–one who listens to good advice. He must have open ears to the people. He must not be ostentatious with wealth. He must not think that he is the great solution to the country’s woes. He must have good things to say about his rivals. He must be willing to make a public apology for a wrong committed. Remember that God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. (1 Pet 5:5)

c. Truthfulness-He must be truthful and transparent. Granted that not everything can be made public, he must not be known as a peddler of lies. He should be a man of his word; a man of integrity; honest and not corrupt; files his SALNs (Prov 17:7; 20:28; 29:12,14)

d. German Reformer Martin Bucer: There is required of him, which must be chosen and called to be magistrate, that he be true in word and deed, so that he be not found to be an hypocrite, a liar, a deceiver, a turncoat, nor one which out of one mouth doth blow both hot and cold; but faithful, simple, a plain dealer, and blameless. He must not be more liberal in promising than in performing. He must not be one that setteth light by an oath, not a false swearer, nor a perjured man.

e. Just-He must not favor the rich neither the poor but treat everyone equally; no favoritism in extending budget; no partiality in the application of law; he himself must be law-abiding; he must avoid clashes like Kidapawan. (Prov 20:8; 29:4; Deut 16:18)

f. Martin Bucer: Because many who are in the office desire riches, and seek to increase their wealth by bribes, the Lord removeth such from the magistracy and forbiddeth good magistrates to be covetous: yea, he doth expressly charge them to hate and abhor it; as he both also, in another place, not only forbid them to take bribes, but also command them to shake off and rid their hands of all rewards. Covetousness and greedy desires of bribes are the very plagues that choke good magistrates.”

g. Righteous-There must be a level of conformity to good morals. He must not be known as a drunkard, a womanizer, a gambler, a murderer, or known for shady dealings. There must be some degree of the fear of God. He must not be beyond the law, an opportunist, but law-abiding. (Prov 14:34; 16:12; 16:32; 28:15-16; 29:2; 31:1-9; Deut 17:14-20; Ex 18:21; Neh 7:2; 2 Sam 23:3-4)

h. Martin Bucer again: “Let him fear God, let him be religious and not superstitious. No idolater preserveth the commonwealth, but rather destroyeth it; and a wicked man defendeth not truth and true religion, but persecuteth and driveth them out of his jurisdiction. Let this magistrate of ours therefore be of the right religion, sound in faith, believing the word of God, and knowing that God is present among men and doth repay to whom he list according to their deserts.”

i. Calvin: “This consideration makes a true king: to recognize himself a minister of God in governing his kingdom. Now, that king who in ruling over his realm does not serve God’s glory exercises not kingly rule but brigandage.”

j. Courageous-He must have the political will to execute his plans and reforms; not afraid of the mighty. But he must not be haphazard, reckless or impulsive; he must be bold but peace-loving not impulsive or hot blooded. He must be a peace-maker. (Prov 28:1)

k. Martin Bucer: “That he be a man of courage, of strength or force, that is, which hath ability to do the thing whereunto he is appointed. That ability consisteth in mind rather than in body. For it is required, that he be not a fool, but wise and skilful in that which he hath to do: because the office of a captain is to know how to set his army in order of battle, rather than to fight himself; or as a chariot-man ought rather to know how to guide his cart in driving, than to draw it himself. And therewithal too, there is demanded a boldness of stomach to dare to do the things that he already knoweth; for constancy and sufferance are very needful in every captain.”

l. Citizen-When foreigners rule a land, it is a judgment from God. The official must be one of our own, one who understands our culture, the sentiments and sensitivities of the people. (Jer 30:21)

m. Performance-He must be proven, having a good track record in previous responsibilities. He who is faithful in little is faithful in much; he should not be a neophyte. (Lk 19:17)

n. Healthy-How can you bear under the pressure if you are sick? How can you think well? How can you have time for the heavy responsibilities and intense pressures of government office?

o. Dignified-He must be dignified in demeanor. He must be respectable in speech, dress and bearing. He must be a true statesman. (Prov 30:29-31)

3. Let your vote be prayerfully considered.

Pray for guidance in your choice. Pray over these qualifications and ask the Lord who He is guiding you to choose. Pray that the Lord would provide a good leader. Pray for peace and order. Pray for unity as as church not in a candidate but in God’s word. (Jas 1:5-8; 1 Tim 2:1)

4. Let your vote be humbly submitted.

It is a recognition that at the end of the day, it is God’s choice that will prevail. (Rom 13:1)

Concluding Word-John Calvin on Choosing our Magistrates

“And ye peoples, to whom God gave the liberty to choose your own magistrates, see to it, that ye do not forfeit this favor, by electing to the positions of highest honor, rascals and enemies of God.”

First of May

Our pastoral intern Brother Clyde took the Sunday School yesterday and taught on the subject of “Regenerate Church Membership.” Many churches need to hear this. There is a Biblical basis for church membership and there is Biblical support for a regenerate church membership, that is, a well-defined body of believers.

Pastor Mike preached on the “Expected Conduct of God’s Children” from 1 Pet 1:17-19 in the AM service. That expected conduct is godly fear. Fear which is not dread but fear which reverences. This especially because the Father is also an impartial judge. The grand motive–we were ransomed not by perishable silver or gold but by the precious blood of Christ.

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After the preaching, we were witnesses to the baptism of Simon, the son of our deacon and a college student in a university where radicalism and atheism abound. Thank God for His work in this young man’s heart. According to his verbal testimony before the baptism, the Lord’s grace humbled him in his pride and showed him that his only hope for salvation was none other than Jesus Christ.

The Lord’s Supper meditation of Pas. Steve was on spiritual unity. True unity is spiritual unity, a unity based on grace and truth. The more we grow in grace and truth, the more united our church will be. There are so many things that can disunite a church, including the upcoming elections, but thanks be to God that He has preserved us from division. We love because God first loved us.

After the Lord’s Supper, there were mixed emotions as we rejoiced in welcoming three new members, Simon, and Jess and Mel Salazar, old-timers who have made MCBC their home after attending and being members in a few churches in the city. They were faithful attenders for one year before casting their lot at MCBC to become full-fledged members.

Jess and Mel

Jess and Mel

Simon

Simon

On the other hand, our hearts were heavy at the upcoming departure of a couple and their children whom we love dearly, Jojo and Dinah. Jojo is a covenanting member. He has been with MCBC ever since its first worship service in 1985. He met Dinah providentially in a funeral service that was held for the husband of one of our regular attenders. JD and Jaja are their school-age children. The family is relocating shortly to Canada.

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Exit Pastoral Oversight Meeting the Previous Week

Exit Pastoral Oversight Meeting the Previous Week

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May the new additions be a blessing to the old and may the old be an encouragement to the new. And for the family who is leaving, may the Lord keep them as they seek a new home in a faraway place. We will surely miss them!

Opportunities

We had 17 young people attend the youth fellowship last Friday, April 8. Bro Clyde taught on the subject of money and material things.

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I also had the opportunity of preaching to a group of 31 warehouse employees at our attender Steven’s company in Taguig. Steven’s family rents four warehouses in the area for their family’s warehousing and delivery business which he manages. The group was attentive as I taught on the importance of reading the Bible and finding Christ as the way of salvation in it. It is planned that this Bible study be a regular gathering.

Steven in his office

Steven in his office

Bodega Alley

Bodega Alley

Steven's Trucks-Narrow Passageway Here

Steven’s Trucks-Narrow Passageway Here

I only had 10 Bibles for 31 attenders

I only had 10 Bibles for 31 attenders

From the Open Air Pulpit (Left View)

From the Open Air Pulpit (Left View)

Right Hand View

Right Hand View

Pas. Mike meanwhile handles the newly opened Rodeo Grill Bible Study at SM Bicutan where our attender Kairus works as the chef.

Rodeo Grill Staff

Rodeo Grill Staff

Lots of Open Bibles

Lots of Open Bibles

Praise God for these opportunities to sow the gospel seed among the youth, among an all-male warehouse staff and among waiters and staff at a fast food restaurant. Pray for the salvation of these many souls that we reach out to.