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.

IMG_1074

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.

IMG_1086

Exit Pastoral Oversight Meeting the Previous Week

Exit Pastoral Oversight Meeting the Previous Week

IMG_1087

IMG_1080

IMG_1082

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.

dsc_0521.jpg

dsc_0532.jpg

dsc_0514.jpg

dsc_0512.jpg

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.

Allegro-0406

DSC_0499

We had a good number of attenders in our Bible Study at Siena Park last night. Twenty-two of Sudi’s officemates at Allegro attended the twice-a-month Wednesday Bible Study at the condo’s AV room. We are presently taking up the Ten Commandments and the purpose for why they were given. Please continue to pray for the salvation of those who attend. Many of these have been coming regularly since we started last year.

Kayla

It was a day of great rejoicing yesterday as we witnessed the baptism of the newest member of MCBC, Kayla Bartololome. Kayla is the youngest in a brood of three of Pas. Alex and Bang Bartolome. Paula, the second daughter was baptized, I think 2 years ago.

Kayla is a mere 17 years old. She struggled with her assurance of salvation for a while until the Lord made it clear that she was truly His. Here are excerpts from her testimony:

There was a time when I totally gave up seeking Him because I couldn’t have that peace even if I thought I was doing the “repenting thing” every night. There was always doubt. Still, I continued praying that I will be saved, even if sometimes it’s just a mediocre kind of prayer. My salvation didn’t come every time I prayed about it, but it became evident piece by piece as God cleared out the darkness in my eyes. I never knew it was already it, until He guaranteed my salvation through revealing Himself to me. It was like the sun covered by many clouds and through the wind the sun was slowly becoming evident.

I really started seeking Him at the end of summer, where He showed me the urgency of salvation through the verse, Ecclesiates 12:1, from the youth fellowship last May 2015. I was scared that time will come that I would have no chance of seeking Him. Every night I pleaded to God to save me, to touch my heart. Indeed He had. Every time I doubted my assurance of salvation, God gave me faith that His grace is sufficient. I saw God’s answers through preaching, like I just prayed last night on how to make sure if I’m already saved, then on Sunday preaching, there are the answers. Since then I felt the thirst of being fed from God’s word.

I didn’t find grace because of the sins I’ve committed or because of my prayers, but God found me and through His grace I saw Him. “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved.” I will never see the worth of Christ’s Crucifixion, and the state of my soul without His grace. “Grace that brought me safe thus far. And grace will lead me home.”

A Few Days in Davao

The smell of durian, the local fruit, may be uninviting but the smell of doctrinal error is much worse. It should turn every believer away to seek refuge in the sweetness and stability of the truth. Such was our agenda these past few days–to combat error with truth.

We were invited to Tagum City, Davao del Norte, to preach against the growing tide of anti- and neonomianism, no Law and new Law. These have been brought about by Pentecostal churches espousing the New Covenant philosophy that the Decalogue has become obsolete being part and parcel of the Old Covenant that was done away with by Christ.

The new Law is the Law of Christ, they claim, the Law of love. Yes, there is a moral law in the New Covenant but this law is Christ’s law as He expands on the moral principles of the Old.

But New Covenant Theology throws the baby out with the bath water. It fails to see that there are clear delineations in God’s one Law in the Old Covenant. There is the ceremonial Law that was abrogated by Christ’s sacrifice and the civil Law that ceased when God relinquished the nation of Israel. 

But why abolish the Decalogue? Have not these principles been in existence ever since man was created in the image of God? Are the Ten Words exclusively Jewish? Is not the decalogue a reflection of God’s immutable character written in the heart of every person, the conscience bearing witness to its presence?

And is not the new covenant new not because there is a new law but because there is an abiding law that is not written anymore in tablets of stone but, figuratively speaking, written on the tablets of the heart? That’s why (without judging the motives of others) I would not want to have a replica of the two tablets of stone on the gates or walls of our church. The physical presence of those commandments symbolized distance between God’s law and the people resulting to shallow obedience and evasion.

New Covenant believers love the Lord with heartfelt obedience. The Law is now within and not without; it is near and not distant. It has been understood, absorbed and felt. It is the same law to be sure, but there is now true conviction of heart.

Seventy church leaders out of 100 that we expected attended our 2nd annual 2-day conference in this city known for its gold trading. But we trafficked in better gold–the Law of God–its functions, exposition, perpetuity, distinctions, relationship with grace, and relationship with love.

Although a small band of Pentecostals disagreed with the teaching, never to return the following day, the majority, coming from Baptist and Bapticostal churches were appreciative. A few of them had their eyes lit up as they now saw clearly how grace, love and law were related.

I also got to visit our mission work in Davao City (aka Duterte City), 50 km away. There are more attenders now and there is a better meeting place. Plans are underway for an evening service and instruction concerning the church which in the Lord’s will would hopefully result to covenanting this year.

In spite of the fatigue and loneliness of travel, I was happy to have returned home encouraged at our mission works in Tagum and Davao and satisfied that many of our co-workers in the gospel hunger after the truth of God’s word. May Jesus be exalted in these places by churches that stand on His word and apply His teachings in their lives and ministries.

View from the Pulpit: Open Forum

View from the Pulpit During Open Forum

Lunch Time

Lunch Time

Our Men in Mindanao

Our Supported Missionaries in Mindanao: Davao, Digos and Tagum Cities

Pastor Contacts in Tagum

Enjoying Fellowship

Venue was a Pentecostal church of pastor who attends our RBIPT module

Venue was a Pentecostal church of pastor who attends our RBIPT module

Davao is Banana Country!

Davao is Banana Country!

They are even used as paperweights.

They even use them as paperweights.

Pas Steve reads a quote.

Pas Steve reads a quote.

IMG_20160226_112829

I belabor a point during Q and A.

Posing with the Men

Posing with the Men

Dinner with Two Influential Reforming Pastors in Tagum

Dinner with Two Influential Reforming Pastors in Tagum

For a Change: Enjoying Fried Matambaka and Ampalaya for Breakfast

For a Change: Enjoying Fried Matambaka and Ampalaya for Breakfast

I also visited our mission work in Davao at Green Meadows Subdivision, Mintal

I also visited our mission work in Davao at Green Meadows Subdivision, Mintal

Messing with the Whiteboard Teaching Sunday School in Davao City

Messing with the Whiteboard Teaching Sunday School in Davao City

The Men During Prayer Time

The Men During Prayer Time

The Group has Grown Numerically

The Group has Grown Numerically

Q and A after Lunch with the Men

Q and A after Lunch with the Men

Even Fruits Here Take Political Sides

Even Fruits Here Take Political Sides

Events

Open Module on Biblical Theology with Pas. Mitch Lush

Open Module on Biblical Theology with Pas. Mitch Lush (2-9 to 2-16)

Youth Fellowship (2-19)

Youth Fellowship (2-19)

Eccl 7:1 was the Topic

Eccl 7:1 was the Topic

Allegro Bible Study (2-17)

Allegro Bible Study (2-17)

Pas Mitch Lust on John Newton at Cubao Pastors Conference (2-3)

Pas Mitch Lush on John Newton at Cubao Pastors Conference (2-3)

 

Retreat to Advance

Like a pilot trying to land a plane at night in zero visibility on an unlit runway, is a church moving forward without any clear-cut vision of the future. It might find itself in a place it doesn’t want to be and should not be. Plane crashes have happened in low visibility. Similarly, churches who start out well may ultimately find themselves becoming centers of entertainment, politics, how-to advice, health and wealth instead of gospel preaching. History is replete with testimony of once flourishing congregations who for lack of Scriptural direction have ended up in ruins. Tragic is the sight of church signs torn down and buildings put up for lease.

We don’t want that to happen to us. We don’t want to be Ichabod, the Glory has departed. We want to have 20/20 spiritual vision as to where we are going so that our way may be safe and established and we may reach our destination.

In line with this desire, we held a short retreat at CCT Tagaytay to listen to three messages outlining our three-fold vision for MCBC: the glory of God, growth in grace, and, going to the godless.

The topics were assigned by lot to the three pastors of MCBC. Pas. Mike drew first blood, I was second and Pas. Alex last.

We saw in the three messages, first of all, that the unchanging atmosphere of MCBC now and in the future ought always to be a desire to see God exalted and given glory. We will exalt no man no matter how talented or accomplished. God will receive full glory without sharing any part to anyone. We will always be followers of Christ and not disciples of any man.

We also saw that the constant activity of church life ought to be growth in grace. We must never reach a point where we can rest with our laurels and say we are satisfied and it is enough. No, to stand still is to stall and ultimately to crash. Growth in grace must be a duty always persevered in. We must grow in humility, faith, love, moral discernment, among other graces.

And then it was laid out in the final message that our prayerful aspiration is the salvation of sinners. Thus, we go with the gospel to the godless, near and far, where the Lord’s providence gives us opportunity. Encouraged by Christ’s promise that He would be present with us always, we go and bring the gospel to the islands and to the nations.

The fellowship of the saints was sweet as well, no matter how quick the time.

All in all, our heartfelt prayer is that our three-fold vision would pave the way for the future. May God guide and direct us that we would always be a church that is pleasing to Him. Until Jesus comes, may all remain faithful.

20160206_115658

20160206_120405

20160206_120455

20160206_120526

20160206_120543

20160206_120555

20160206_120656

20160206_120709

20160206_120727

20160206_120820

20160206_120844

20160206_121040

20160206_121358

20160206_121426

20160206_121600

20160206_121735

20160206_121807

20160206_121843

20160206_122226

20160206_124926

20160206_125327

20160206_125627

20160206_125641

20160206_125830

20160206_130933

20160206_131728

20160206_132249

DSC_0510

DSC_0511

DSC_0512

DSC_0513

DSC_0514

DSC_0517