Worldliness

Worldliness can easily be shrugged off as a minor inconsistency to what is a normal Christian life. It is not as wicked as taking another man’s wife or even taking another man’s life. It is not as evil as blaspheming God’s name or reasoning out that He does not exist. Rather, the twisted logic goes, it is something that every believer has to live with as he goes about business in this fallen world with all of its material attractions and entertainments. Anyway, this problem will disappear as soon as the new world comes.

But is worldliness a benign threat that should cause no alarm or does it pose a clear and present danger to our souls? Should it be tolerated as a relatively harmless weakness or should it be viewed as a malignancy that eats up our spiritual lives and leaves our souls a barren waste?

We let our invited speaker, Pas. Mon Macapagal, pastor of the Cubao Reformed Baptist Church answer these questions in our recently held annual church retreat. Pas. Mon preached two messages on the theme “You and Me Against the World-The Church and The Individual Christian Against the World.”

We were reminded that worldliness is not just a way of life but primarily a state of heart. The change must therefore come from within. There must be a renewing of the mind, an ordering of attitudes to value those things which truly matter and not those things which are fleeting and temporal.

It was also pointed out that the temptation is so strong that a clear imperative had to be given by the apostle John in his first epistle for the children of God not to love the world. Included in that command is the duty to mortify lustful desires and boastful pride and the motivation to that duty by saying that the love of the Father is not with those who love this world.

We were then given a few practical directives by our speaker as to how to overcome worldliness beginning with examining the inclination of our hearts, then to setting the right priorities in life, being committed to resist the creeping influence of worldliness, availing of the means of grace to strengthen us, and making a stand for God and choosing to serve Him rather than the idol of money and material things. Last but not the least was the reminder that one of the sins that Christ died for on the cross was worldliness-a great motive for us to repent of this sin which so easily entangles us.

We missed a few people at the retreat but the fellowship of those who were there was warm and sweet. We thank God for using Pastor Mon in our midst and pray that the Lord would bless His ministry in our sister church in Cubao with abundant fruit.

May God use the messages that were preached to make MCBC a more heavenly minded church without ever losing its earthly usefulness.

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Enter March

Construction work continues with our building expansion. I was elated that a few of the workers including the engineers attended worship last Sunday. Adjustments were made as the rear entrance to the worship hall was no longer usable. The side exits have become the main entrance to the preaching area. Thanks be to God that distractions were minimal last Lord’s day.

My Office is Now in Ruins!

My Office is Now in Ruins! (3-2-15)

What Was Once the Entrance is Now a Gaping Hole

What Was Once the Entrance is Now a Gaping Hole (3-2-15)

Pray We Finish Before the Rains Come

Pray We Finish Before the Rains Come (3-2-15)

Meanwhile, it was good to listen to and critique the RBIPT students and the regular MCBC preachers as they took turns in expounding successive verses from the book of Philippians at the RBIPT preaching clinic. We opened the evening sessions to the public so that some members were able to attend.

May God use these sessions to improve the capability and effectiveness of the students in presenting the truth to people. We read in Acts 14 that God uses a certain manner of preaching to save the lost. Paul preached boldly yet with reliance upon the Lord.

Preaching Clinic (3-3-15)

Preaching Clinic (3-3-15)

We were also able to visit one of our college teens, Kathlyn, who was involved in a vehicular accident at the West Service Road near the Villamor flyover early Saturday morning. A drunk driver fell asleep on the wheel of her car causing her vehicle to smash the side of Kathyln’s car which was heading on the opposite direction. The impact threw Kathlyn who was sitting on the left rear side to the right side of the vehicle causing her face to hit some of the car’s accessories.

The accident created a monstrous traffic jam Saturday morning but thank God, all three victims of the accident are safe. Kathlyn suffered a huge cut on her forehead which has now been sutured. Please pray for her recovery. She is still experiencing headaches.

I took the opportunity of my hospital visit to point her to Christ and to be urgent about it considering the uncertainty of life. I told her to be thankful that God was good to her and spared her from more serious injuries.

Young people, be urgent in trusting Christ for salvation!

Visiting Kathyln in Far-Flung St Luke's QC

Visiting Kathyln in Far-Flung St Luke’s QC (3-8-15)

My She Get Well Soon!

May She Get Well Soon!

Men of Prayer

Though all are commanded to pray, it is the men who are to lead in prayer. They are to be leaders at home and leaders in Christ’s church. But just as the apostles confessed their inadequacy at this heavenly engagement, we, much lesser men, readily admit of the same difficulty. However spontaneous this exercise may be, we need to be guided as to how to pray.

That was the rationale of our men’s retreat last Saturday. The subject was “The Godly Man’s Prayer Life.” 

The first message tackled the issue of the private prayer life of a man. While a number of reasons could be given as to why we pray, we merely focused on the most basic: it is commanded. Hopefully, this would not be the only reason why we pray. I am sure there are loftier motives. But why the need for a command at all?

The answer is sin. Sin detracts us and hinders us from drawing near to God. It makes us disbelieve God and it causes us to believe in ourselves. It makes the glitter of the world more attractive to us than the unfading beauty of our Savior. It pictures God as unforgiving and unapproachable whenever we come with a heavy heart, convicted of sin.

That is why we need to be commanded. We need to be told. We need to be encouraged. We need to be taught that we can pray without ceasing because God has His hears open to our cries at all times. Approaching God as repentant sinners, undeserving of the least of His mercies, we should never expect to be turned away!

The second message dealt with the practice of public prayer, that is, leading in prayer meetings.

There is a component of public prayer that is absent in private prayer, and that is the element of edification. The men who lead at a prayer meeting do not pray their own personal prayers (much less their personal devotions), they are acting as the voice of the whole congregation as the church draws near to God. Thus, they must pray loud and clear enough to be understood by all.

The bugle call in an army must be distinct enough for the soldiers to know that they are not being called to chow but to attack the enemy! The same is true in public prayer. How can the saints express their agreement when the prayer of the one leading is so indistinct it sounds like gibberish? Or how could the people say amen when they are lulled to dreamland by the circuitous route the prayer takes towards its destination?

The men have to be direct to the point. Long prayers are not necessarily more pious. In fact, God knows what we need even before we begin to pray.

Thanks be to God for the reminders. I pray that the retreat would stimulate more private prayer among the men. In addition, I pray that there would be more edifying prayers in our prayer meetings.

We’ll see this on Thursday!

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Farewells

Farewell to sister Dinna who is leaving tonight for New Jersey, USA. She will be away for four to six months as she meets up with hubby. We will miss her!

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Farewell too to our regular attender Stephen who is moving for good to Cebu. We will surely miss chatting with him after the services!

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Farewell too to Mommy Lily of Molino Grace Bible Church who is now with Christ in glory. May the Lord comfort the family during this time of grief. After preaching at the funeral, I posed with daughter Duch and granddaughter Natalie.

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Day One

Today marks day one of our actual building expansion program. I say actual because day one really started when we began praying that the Lord would provide an extension to our meeting place.

We hope to double the 200 seat capacity of our present building to 400 to comfortably accommodate present as well as future members and visitors. The Lord has tremendously blessed us over the years and this would be our third expansion program after our church building was built in 1989. The last one was in 2011. Indeed, we believe that although men plant and water, the Lord causes the growth.

Presently, one half of our Sunday attenders are either visitors or unbelievers. Half of this consists of the members’ children–a captive audience for the regular preaching of the gospel. The majority of the other half comes from our Bible Studies in the community.

Although we are encouraged at the numbers, we will rejoice with unspeakable joy if our friends and loved ones would also know the Savior whom we know. We are not content in merely seeing a building filled, but a building filled with saved sinners.

May we not therefore slacken in prayer. For after we have done our duty of evangelism, even if aggressive and without let up, the results are exclusively in the Lord’s hands.

We look to the Lord to provide all of our needs. He is a God who hears and answers prayer. May He raise up a multitude for Himself in the community where He has called us to labor. But along with this, may He provide an appropriate meeting place where they will be able to worship Him wholeheartedly as well as undistractedly.

To God be the glory in MCBC.

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Linda and Brenda

Birthday greetings to sister Linda who celebrated her birthday yesterday together with youngest son, Conrad. Linda is one indefatigable senior who has served the Lord with gladness ever since she became a member of MCBC. Her unchanging prayer request is for the salvation of her family.

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Please pray too for sustaining grace to sister Brenda who is suffering from cancer. She will be out of the hospital today, having been confined for a few days due to an infection arising from her low immunity. Providentially, her whole family (except her mom) was there when I visited so I was able to chat with them and do a brief devotional and prayer.

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Depressed Singles?

As I was dusting my bookshelf recently, a book accidentally fell to the floor from the top-most shelf. The title read, “Depression in the Christian Family.” I have never read the book (not that I don’t get depressed) but the curiosity in me made me glance at the Table of Contents.

Chapter 7 caught my attention: it was entitled Singleness. I knew all along that singleness could be a cause of depression. But I thank God that we have a batch of singles in our church who if asked by others whether they were married would reply “No, but I am happily single.”

Nevertheless, taking the dropped book to be a providential cue, I chose this to be the topic of our singles workshop, which I entitled “The Challenge of Singleness.” I could have entitled it “Depression and Singleness” but I should not be surprised if only two people attended. But I was happy that 19 singles participated in our workshop last Thursday.

The main question I threw at them was: What causes depression in singles? I pretended to be a single (I once was) and put myself in their shoes and answered the same question. Our answers were similar: nasty comments, failed expectations, societal labels and stereotypes, social stigma, loneliness, identity crisis, insecurity and low self-esteem.

How can these real challenges be confronted? I read Chapter 7 of the book but I must admit that I profited more from Chapter 7 of 1 Corinthians. In fact, it is from that informative chapter on relationships that I drew my six words of encouragement to the singles.

1. It is not wrong to be single. True, the societal norm is marriage. It even has a Biblical foundation. It is not good for the man to be alone. Yet, notwithstanding Paul’s exhortation to those burning with passion to get married, there is no universal command to get hitched. The world may think it is wrong to be single especially with the passing of years. But to be single is not living a life of disobedience.

2. In fact, it is a gift from God, (underscore “from God”). We rejoice when we receive gifts from men but some of them are redundant, some inappropriate and ill-fitting, some badly timed. God’s gifts are always perfect, well-timed, appropriate and an exact fit. They are for our good. Singleness then should be accepted with joy and not bitterness and should be cause of thanks to God.

3. It is a good state. If ever singleness is praised in this world, it is because of sexual promiscuity or an independently liberal spirit. Otherwise, there is a stigma of being single and left out. But Paul says that it is a good state. In fact, short of issuing a command, he encourages his readers to remain single in view of the things which he mentions.

4. It is also a calling. Being single at this point in time, singles must make the best of their situation to serve God and give glory to Him. If they seek to excel in their vocations, they must strive to be the best Christian singles they can be.

5. It is practical. It is easier to be just thinking of yourself in difficult times such as persecution or economic crisis. But not just in distress, considering the greater flexibility, mobility, time and resources that singles have in their hands, undistracted devotion to the Lord is more easily secured. Other than these, it might also be practical to mention that marriage is not doing very well in this world with 50% divorce rates in what are known as Christian countries. They may be spared from a thousand troubles if they are to remain single.

6. It does not preclude marriage. They don’t have to remain single all their lives. If God is pleased, He can provide a partner for them if that is what they need. But God knows best. Our duty is to pray.

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